News and Headlines: In The News, Politics, World News, Commentary/Opinion.
In The News:
Drone footage shows San Francisco deserted under coronavirus lockdown
The effect of the three-week-long lockdown on daily life in San Francisco is revealed in drone footage showing empty streets and deserted landmarks.
The city was the first in the US to announce a ‘stay-at-home’ order on 16 March, restricting all but essential activities .
Inmates rampage through offices, set fires at Kansas prison
The prisoners broke windows and set small fires for several hours before the facility was secured, officials say.
The disturbance involving about 20 men began about 3 p.m. Thursday in medium-security cell house C of the Lansing Correctional Facility.
Two inmates had minor injuries and were treated at the site.
Staff members were able to get out of the building when the disturbance began, and no staff was injured.
The cell house sustained “quite a bit of damage,” including damaged computers, furniture, security cameras and lighting.
N.Y. man arrested on child porn, sex assault charges after he abused girl in Greenwich, police say
John Mueser, 69, of the village of Tuckahoe in Westchester County, was charged with first-degree possession of child pornography, fourth-degree sexual assault, risk of injury to a minor and voyeurism, police said.
He was booked after being extradited from New York on Tuesday; police took him into custody April 1 while working with the Westchester County Safe Streets Task Force.
Mueser posted $250,000 bail and is scheduled to be arraigned in Superior Court in Stamford June 4, police said.
Burbank explosion: Fire erupts at power substation, rattling area and causing outages
Firefighters were battling an explosion at a power substation in Burbank on Friday.
The blast, which rocked the surrounding area around noon, sent thick smoke billowing into the air above Burbank Water and Power, located near the 5 Freeway.
Burbank police said Pacific and Monterey avenues between Brighton and Myers streets were closed as first responders descended on the area of the 1800 block of North Lincoln Street.
Nearly 260,000 without power in Maine amid stay-at-home order; companies warn power may be out for days
Central Maine Power reported some 197,000 customers without power Friday morning, while Emera Maine said 64,000 of its customers were affected, cautioning that more could lose power as heavy wet snow downs wires and branches.
CMP has been working throughout the day to clear debris and downed wires while trying to restore power, the company said in a Facebook post.
“We are advising that given the extensive scale of outages, customers should be prepared to be without power for a couple of days,” the company said.
After months in space, astronauts returning to changed world
Andrew Morgan said the crew has tried to keep atop the pandemic news. But it’s hard to comprehend what’s really going on and what to expect, he noted, when his nine-month mission ends next Friday.
“It is quite surreal for us to see this whole situation unfolding on the planet below,” said Jessica Meir, who took part in the first all-female spacewalk last fall.
“We can tell you that the Earth still looks just as stunning as always from up here, so it’s difficult to believe all the changes that have taken place since both of us have been up here.”
Industry scrambles to stop fatal bird flu in South Carolina
The high pathogenic case was found at an operation in Chesterfield County, South Carolina, marking the first case of the more dangerous strain since one found in a Tennessee chicken flock in 2017.
In 2015, an estimated 50 million poultry had to be killed at operations mainly in the Upper Midwest after infections spread throughout the region.
The USDA has been working in recent months with scientists and farmers in North Carolina and South Carolina, where a low pathogenic — or less severe — strain of bird flu had been detected.
U.S. meat packing plants close after employees get coronavirus, show symptoms
At least two have closed in recent days – a Tyson Foods hog slaughterhouse in Iowa and JBS USA’s beef plant in Souderton, Pennsylvania, according to Reuters.
The Tysons facility closed after more than 24 confirmed cases of coronavirus involving employees. The company plans to send hogs to other pork plants to minimize disruptions.
Analysts say the recent closures represent only a small percentage of the overall domestic food supply and should not result in shortages at stores.
10 percent of US workforce now unemployed
Unemployment concerns are growing across the country amid the coronavirus pandemic; Bryan Llenas shares Americans’ stories.
Office of Director of National Intelligence says CNN coronavirus report ‘contains inaccurate information’
CNN published a story claiming United States “intelligence agencies started tracking coronavirus outbreak in China as early as November” and shared the link on Twitter, but the DNI’s verified account shared the story with a caption informing followers that it got the facts wrong.
The DNI did not specify what was specifically wrong with CNN’s report, but came one day after a defense official issued a rare denial of a similar report by ABC News.
Col. R. Shane Day, the director of the NCMI, a component of the Defense Intelligence Agency, refuted the ABC News report in a statement.
Feds open signup for getting coronavirus ‘relief’ payments
The Treasury Department said Friday that taxpayers who didn’t file in 2018 or 2019 because they didn’t reach the income threshold can submit payment information at a new web portal.
To receive direct deposits, the department said, individuals should enter their bank account information.
Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin said: “Our teams at Treasury and the IRS are working around the clock to ensure American workers and families receive their Economic Impact Payments.”
3 more San Bernardino County deputies test positive for coronavirus as Inland Empire toll climbs
One of the three new cases is a detective assigned to a patrol station who has been off work for the last two weeks with flu-like symptoms.
The other two are “professional staff employees,” one assigned to corrections and one to a patrol station in an administrative position.
Both had also been off work with flu-like symptoms before getting tested.
President Trump & The Coronavirus Task Force News Conference 4/10/20
Friday April 10, 2020: President Donald Trump & members of the Coronavirus Task Force hold a news briefing from The White House.
Minneapolis Providing Millions In Coronavirus Assistance To Illegal Aliens
Living unlawfully in the city is not a disqualifying factor for the funds. In fact, the guidelines specifically state that “households are eligible irrespective of immigration or documentation status.”
What’s up for grabs? Recipients will receive funds depending on their “individual needs of the household,” but generally they can receive as much as $1,500 per household, or up to $2,000 under “extraordinary circumstances.”
Minneapolis is not the only city or state that is providing financial assistance to illegal aliens amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom, who is already providing millions in economic assistance to businesses owned by illegal aliens, confirmed that he is in talks with state legislators to establish a “Disaster Relief Fund” for those living unlawfully in the state.
Church members get $500 tickets for sitting in their vehicles with windows closed during radio service in church parking lot
Gordon told the Democrat-Times he and his wife were among those gathered in the church parking lot — and figured they all were abiding by the coronavirus social distancing guidelines given they were in their cars with the windows rolled up.
But that wasn’t the case — and they paid for it.
Gordon told the paper he and his wife were both issued $500 tickets.
“I think somebody called the police,” he added to the Democrat-Times. “And we were just doing the same thing we’ve been doing the last three weeks.”
Top Navy admiral open to bringing back fired aircraft carrier captain
Adm. Michael Gilday, the chief of naval operations, said on Thursday he wouldn’t rule out reinstating Crozier following the completion of a Navy internal investigation, the Wall Street Journal reported. Gilday said, “I am taking no options off the table as I review that investigation.
I think that is my responsibility.”
Some 416 crew members have already tested positive since the carrier diverted its course after the Navy confirmed the ship’s first three coronavirus cases on March 24.
One of those infected members has been moved to an intensive care unit after being found unresponsive. Crozier himself tested positive with coronavirus.
Aerial images show New York ramping up burials as officials grapple with coronavirus death toll
The city’s medical examiner’s office also announced Thursday that it will keep bodies in storage for 14 days before they are sent to Hart Island.
It is not immediately clear how many of the bodies being buried at Hart Island are coronavirus victims — but the images show two fresh trenches that have been dug and contractors wearing protective suits. Other images show caskets piled on top of each other.
Elsewhere in New York City, overwhelmed hospitals have been placing bodies in refrigerated trucks parked outside their doors. Cuomo had said Thursday that “additional funeral directors” are going to be brought in to deal with the crisis.
Soros pumps more than $28 million into Democratic groups for 2020
Soros’ $10 million will go to Win Justice, which mobilizes people of color and other infrequent voters who could be disenfranchised in the coming months as states battle over whether to hold in-person voting in November, an increasingly pressing concern among Democrats.
He gave the money at a moment when many in the Democratic political world have warned that PACs and campaigns may run out of money as the economy — and with it, donors’ pocketbooks — seize up.
Soros’ $28 million in donations, detailed in a new campaign finance disclosure from his family’s PAC, marks a major down payment on the election for the 89-year-old billionaire financier, who has not publicly outlined his spending plans for the 2020 election.
FBI Received Evidence Of Russian Disinformation In Steele Dossier
Despite those red flags, the FBI continued relying on Steele’s information in applications to obtain surveillance warrants against Carter Page, the former Trump campaign aide.
The bombshell disclosures were made Friday in response to repeated requests from Sens. Chuck Grassley and Ron Johnson to disclose four redacted footnotes in the IG report.
Inspector General report: Treasury Department allowed to reject Dem’s request for Trump tax returns
In April of last year, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.) requested six years of President Trump’s personal and business tax returns from the IRS.
The Treasury and Internal Revenue Service rejected the request, leading to the inspector general’s investigation, in addition to a lawsuit that has not yet been resolved.
“From the beginning, Democrats have insisted that something must be awry if they didn’t immediately get their way.
But that’s not how checks and balances work and it’s not how the process of congressional oversight works,” said Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, who requested that the IG report’s findings be made public.
Virginia Governor Signs Package of Gun Control Bills
“This is an exciting day for Virginia,” the Democratic governor said in a phone call after the signing event, which would have usually been held during an in-person press conference but was instead done in private due to the coronavirus outbreak.
“We’re working very hard to keep Virginians safe and together we will all get through this and hope to be stronger for it.”
Long a Republican stronghold, Virginia was home to some of the loosest gun laws in the mid-Atlantic. But when Democrats took control of both legislative chambers last year for the first time in over two decades, they brought with them a desire to change the state’s gun-friendly reputation
Resistance mounts to Gov. Whitmer’s COVID-19 restrictions
Negative reactions stem from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s executive orders, which declared many businesses “nonessential” and threatened $1,000 fines for people violating the six-foot social distancing rules.
Those edicts took effect on March 24, and were set to expire on April 13.
On Thursday, however, the governor extended her executive orders to April 30 – and added tighter restrictions on personal travel and businesses previously declared essential.
Bill Barr Says Evidence From Durham Probe Is ‘Troubling,’ Report Of Investigation Is ‘Likely’
Barr said that Durham, the U.S. attorney for Connecticut, has been “diligently pursuing” the investigation.
“I think the report may be, and probably will be, a byproduct of his activity, but his primary focus isn’t to prepare a report,” Barr said.
“My own view is that the evidence shows that we are not dealing with just mistakes or sloppiness, there is something far more troubling here.”
Teen in remote Amazonian tribe tests positive for coronavirus
As of Friday, the teen from the Yanomami tribe remains in the ICU at a hospital in Roraima state, Insider.com reported, citing the O Globo newspaper.
Health Minister Luiz Henrique Mandetta was quoted saying that the case is “worrying” considering the tribe’s isolation from the outside world.
The Yanomami tribe, which inhabits the Venezuela-Brazil border region, is estimated to have around 22,000 members on the Brazilian side. They have been photographed in recent years from the air.
Report: China’s Coronavirus Data Off by Millions of Cases
Using the best available dataset from South Korea, a far more honest country that experienced one of the first massive outbreaks beyond China’s borders, AEI argued that for China’s official count of infections to be accurate, the coronavirus would have to be less than half as infectious as the lowest estimate from reputable epidemiologists and virtually none of the migrants who left Wuhan in early 2020 or late 2019 could have been carrying it.
Those assumptions are, as the AEI report put it, “not reasonable.”
China’s already absurd claims look even more ridiculous when remembering that China claims 67,803 of its 81,907 coronavirus cases occurred inside Hubei province – which means less than 15,000 people were infected across the rest of China’s huge land mass and teeming population.
As AEI pointed out, in every other country on Earth, it took less than a week to surge past 15,000 cases before stringent quarantine measures were put in place.
South Korea reports recovered coronavirus patients testing positive again
Jeong Eun-kyeong, director of the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC), told a briefing that the virus may have been “reactivated” rather than the patients being re-infected.
South Korean health officials said it remains unclear what is behind the trend, with epidemiological investigations still under way.
The prospect of people being re-infected with the virus is of international concern, as many countries are hoping that infected populations will develop sufficient immunity to prevent a resurgence of the pandemic.
The South Korean figure had risen from 51 such cases on Monday.
PM Johnson up and walking in COVID-19 recovery as UK deaths near 9,000
A spokesman for Johnson said the prime minister, 55, was back on a hospital ward as he continued his recovery, which was said to be at an early stage.
“I was told he was waving his thanks to all of the nurses and doctors he saw as he was moved from the intensive care unit back to the ward,” the spokesman said.
“The hospital said that he was in extremely good spirits last night.”
Billionaire to Distribute 10 Million Free Face Masks in Vending Machines in Hong Kong
The dispensers will provide 10 million face masks in 35 vending machines in 18 locations to the residents in late April. Each resident will be able to claim a pack of five masks every week by registering online for a “smart redemption card”.
This way people won’t queue for their packs and practice physical distancing.
The start of the program is expected to reach more than 40,000 low-income residents, who are forced to use the same mask repeatedly because of shortages.
Hundreds Arrested for ‘Fake News’ in Asia
From teenagers to a TV star, people have been wrongly detained under vaguely worded cybercrime laws or broad state-of-emergency powers ushered in since the outbreak began, human rights groups say.
“Governments are using the ‘fake news’ label to dress up their rights-abusing efforts to censor views and statements that are at odds with whatever strategy they have taken to deal with the Covid-19 crisis,” said Phil Robertson, Asia deputy director for Human Rights Watch.
At least 266 people have been arrested for posting coronavirus-related information in 10 Asian countries, from Thailand to India and Mongolia, according to an AFP tally based on police reports.
Border closes between China, Russia as fears linger over a second wave
The temporary border closure came as the Chinese city of Suifenhe in Heilongjiang province on the border with Russia was put on lockdown after it reported 40 new cases on Wednesday, all Chinese nationals who returned from the Russian side of the frontier, according to several state media reports.
On Tuesday, Russia’s TASS news agency reported 20 new coronavirus cases among Chinese citizens all of whom arrived Vladivostok on an Aeroflot flight on April 3, then crossed the Russian-Chinese land border the following day at Suifenhe.
In Beijing, foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told a regular news conference unknown number of Chinese nationals stranded on the Russian side of the border
US airstrikes kill 11 Al Qaeda affiliated terrorists in Somalia
One airstrike against Al-Shabaab came as a defensive measure after the terror group’s fighters engaged U.S. and Somali government forces near Kobon, Somalia on Thursday, according to a press statement U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) provided to American Military News. AFRICOM supported partner forces with an airstrike that killed 10 Al-Shabaab terrorists.
Another airstrike on Friday also targeted members of the group near the town of Jilib, and resulted in the death of one more Al-Shabaab fighter.
U.S. forces were working alongside partner forces of the Somali National Army Danab and Jubaland Security.
Stampede in Kenya as slum residents surge for food aid
Residents of Nairobi’s Kibera slum, spotting a food distribution, tried to force their way through a gate outside a district office for their chance at supplies to keep their families fed for another day.
The scene in Kenya’s largest slum reflected the fears of millions across Africa as nearly 20 countries have imposed full lockdowns and others have shut down cities or imposed curfews.
A vast population of informal workers, with little or no savings, worries about the next meal as no one knows when the measures will end. Already,
Rwanda and South Africa have extended their lockdowns by two weeks.
What Will the Post-Virus Economy Look Like?
Some experts predict the peak of the pandemic will hit later this month, and then there’ll be a steady decline in cases and deaths in the months thereafter. At some point later this year, hopefully, as many are predicting, the pandemic will be fully behind us.
But what will happen the day after the pandemic is officially over?
Thankfully, plans to open the economy are already in motion. According to economic adviser Larry Kudlow and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, the target date is four-to-eight weeks from now.
That sounds like a reasonable estimate. As of March 23, 2020, for example, Gates Foundation founder Bill Gates figured we could get back to normal in about six to 10 weeks, if “we do everything right.” Even if both estimates are off by a few weeks, it would be fantastic.
But as far as the near future is concerned, it still looks like an economic disaster lies before us.
Tucker: In crisis, nothing is more important than staying connected to reality
Facts change very fast; it’s easy to miss them and get trapped in a storyline you created weeks or months before.