European, Bangladeshi workers strike for their lives

This 30 March 2020 video from the USA says about itself:

Amazon worker on why he’s organizing a protest against the company over coronavirus safety measures

Christian Smalls, who works at Amazon‘s facility in Staten Island, NY, discusses why he and others are staging a walkout to demand the building be closed due to what they say is the company’s mishandling of the coronavirus crisis.

Amazon warehouse workers on New York’s Staten Island plan to strike Monday to call attention to what they called a lack of protections for employees who continue to come to work amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Nearly 100 workers at the facility, known as JFK8, plan to participate in the work stoppage, planned for noon ET. The employees will walk out Monday morning and “cease all operations” until their demands are heard by site leadership, said Chris Smalls, a management assistant at JFK8 and a lead organizer of the strike.

Smalls and other workers said they’ve grown increasingly concerned about coming into work after an employee tested positive for the virus last week. …

The workers want to pressure Amazon to close the facility for cleaning and offer employees paid time off while it’s shut down. Smalls said the facility has continued to run as usual since the employee tested positive. He fears the virus will spread like “wildfire” if no extra precautions are taken. JFK8 is 855,000 square feet and has 4,500 workers.

“Since the building won’t close by itself, we’re going to have to force [Amazon’s] hand,” said Smalls, who is also a member of nonprofit advocacy groups Make the Road New York and New York Communities for Change. “We will not return until the building gets sanitized.”

By Robert Stevens, 1 April 2020:

With 30,000 dead in Europe from COVID-19: Workers strike to demand safe working conditions

1 April 2020

The worsening coronavirus crisis has taken the lives of over 30,000 people in Europe. This is accelerating the class struggle, as workers strike and protest to demand safe conditions.

With employers breaching social distancing measures and often not supplying even the most rudimentary personal protective equipment and hygiene supplies such as sanitisers and soap, strikes and protests have been mounted by Italian and Spanish auto and steel workers, Amazon workers, postal workers, bus drivers, supermarket staff and local government workers.

Bangladesh: Garment workers strike over safety amid COVID-19 crisis. By Wimal Perera, 1 April 2020. The anger of Bangladeshi factory workers is mounting because they are unable to practice “social distancing” in their plants or during transit.

Coronavirus epidemic news, the Americas

This 31 March 2020 video from the USA is called Fundamentalist Christian Blames ‘Fornication’ For Coronavirus.

Hundreds of Amazon, Instacart and Whole Foods workers throughout the United States took strike action yesterday and Monday against hazardous work conditions amidst the coronavirus pandemic: here.

Amazon worker at Staten Island Facility JFK8 (Image Credit: @AngeMariaSolis)

The wildcat strikes and protests by Instacart, Amazon and Whole Foods workers are in response to the criminal subordination of workers’ safety to corporate profits: here.

Demonstrator against corporate profit over human lives policies

Coronavirus deaths in US nearing 4,000 as Trump washes his hands of responsibility: here.

The epicenter of the coronavirus in Michigan continues to be the City of Detroit, as the number of confirmed cases surged to 2,080 and the number of deaths reached 75 on Tuesday. Wayne County, where Detroit is located, now has 3,735 confirmed cases and 120 deaths, which represents approximately half the total cases (7,615) and deaths (259) in the state: here.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo launched on Tuesday a grotesquely cynical initiative, dubbed a “Democratic Transition Initiative”, aimed at furthering Washington’s longstanding campaign to provoke a pro imperialist coup in Venezuela. This so-called initiative is a blatant attempt to utilize the coronavirus pandemic as a weapon. It is seen by US officials as a means of intensifying the suffering of the Venezuelan people that has been inflicted by a succession of ever-tightening “maximum pressure” sanctions: here.

Brazil: Shocking images of stadiums transformed into concentration camps for the sick and dying stand in stark contrast to Bolsonaro’s criminal denial of the seriousness of the pandemic: here.

From the World Socialist Web Site, 31 March 2020:

Chile: On Friday, March 27, following four days of demanding sanitary measures at the plant, scores of workers at the Coca Cola plant in the Maipu suburb of Santiago blocked entrances to the facility and denounced the indifference of management as well as Santiago municipal and federal authorities.

Since the coronavirus appeared in Chile, the Piñera administration … has insisted that workers remain on the job while it relaxed labor rules, making it possible for corporate management to inflict sackings and wage cuts. …

USA: The president of the Raleigh, North Carolina, City Workers Union warned of a “very strong possibility” that city sanitation workers may strike in the wake of the death of Adrian Grubbs, a 37-year-old, 17-year sanitation worker and supervisor. Grubbs died March 25 after testing positive for COVID-19.

Canada: Last week, 70 sanitation workers for the City of Hamilton, Ontario, refused deployment to their garbage collection routes after filing an unsafe work complaint due to inadequate protection from possible COVID-19 infection. Workers have demanded face shields and N95 masks to guard against splash-backs from green bin collection and garbage cans, proper time for hand-washing and changes in curb-side bagging requirements. The municipality has said it has run out of N95 masks and is unable to comply with worker demands.

Refusals to engage in unsafe work continue to grow throughout the country. Fiat-Chrysler workers in Windsor stopped production for three shifts earlier this month, idling over 6,000 autoworkers. Mail carriers in Peterborough interrupted mail delivery for a day to force health and safety protections. This week, 600 mail sorters in Canada Post’s Edmonton mail processing center have threatened to stop work over unsafe conditions unless management addresses important cleaning issues. Last week, community nurses in Edmonton refused unsafe work when they were not provided with N95 masks.

Ontario and Quebec, Canada’s two most populous provinces, have officially been under government-ordered shutdowns of all but essential services and businesses since midnight Tuesday, March 24, to prevent the spread of the highly contagious and potentially lethal coronavirus. But the reality is very different. The two right-wing governments, led respectively by Ontario’s Doug Ford and Quebec’s Francois Legault, have promulgated an expansive, almost catch-all definition of what constitutes an essential business. This is so they can continue to force hundreds of thousands of workers to stay on the job, putting their health and well-being and those of their families at risk, in order to churn out profits for big business: here.

South African Kruger park wildlife, video

This 20 March 2020 video says about itself:

SOUTH AFRICA touching and exciting moments in Kruger national park (the south)

Here is a collection of animals we saw in the southern part of the park (Satara to Berg-en-Dal and Crocodile Bridge).

I have used only original sound, because most viewers prefer that.

Sometimes the natural sound is very weak so give a bit of extra volume. And if possible play the video on a big screen.

Coronavirus update from Britain

This 2017 video from Britain says about itself:

Respect ASOS workers

We’ve been campaigning over working conditions at ASOS’s Barnsley Warehouse for over a year – calling on the company to treat its workers with respect.

We have been told stories of workers being disciplined for using the toilet and not meeting unrealistic targets – investigations from Buzzfeed, the BBC and the Mirror have uncovered fresh concerns about working practices.

As the company today boasts of bumper UK sales over the Christmas period, please watch and share this video of our campaign so far and help tell ASOS bosses: treat your workers with respect.

From daily News Line in Britain, 1 April 2020:

‘CRADLE OF DISEASE’ – 4,000 packed into ASOS warehouse

JAM-PACKED ASOS clothing warehouse is a ‘cradle of disease’, terrified workers in the GMB union warned yesterday, calling for their entire operation to be immediately shut down.

Up to 4,000 people work at the ASOS warehouse in Grimethorpe, Barnsley – and 98% of them feel unsafe at work amid the coronavirus crisis, according to a GMB survey.

While competitors have closed down to keep the public safe, ASOS has ramped up their operations in Barnsley.

The warehouse is now processing orders from the company’s German warehouse – which has closed – and hundreds of extra staff have been drafted in to deal with the million online orders ASOS received over the weekend.

Workers report no social distancing measures, a complicated clocking in system which means large numbers of people gather in a small area, and hundreds of workers all breaking for lunch at the same time.

Almost 500 people responded to GMB’s survey of ASOS workers.

Responses include:

‘I am with high risk so if something happens to me, they will look the other way because I am not important enough. Who is going to raise my one-year-old son?’

‘It is an infectious centre, you can get the Covid at any given time. Why am I still there? I can’t live on 94 pounds per week. I cannot help my family with that. It sounds stupid but making money to live is more important than being healthy right now.’

‘No social distance, not enough sanitiser, not safe at all, I am scared to go as I have a 3 years daughter.’

‘4,000 people touching six turnstiles to enter and exit building, no working fire registers, hardly any cleaning going on in warehouse, never seen handrails cleaned.’

‘Social distance impossible to keep, the aisles are less than 2m wide and it happens many times to pass face to face with another person, you can only hope that is not going to sneeze or coughing and if he does, you can only pray that he doesn’t have the virus.’

‘If one single worker gets coronavirus then all warehouse workers (over 3,000) will get it. We are not key workers … we are used just for their profit.’

Tim Roache, GMB General Secretary, said: ‘Conditions at ASOS are scarcely believable – workers we’ve spoken to describe it as a “cradle of disease”. It’s absolutely horrifying, a real catalogue of shame.

‘Here you’ve got people packed onto public transport, a lack of social distancing, thousands of workers going into one warehouse then back to their families – it’s only going to get worse with a huge sale promoted over the weekend.

‘The government’s scheme for furloughed workers is there to support employers to do the right thing and keep people safe. ASOS can more than afford to pay the extra 20% to help stop the spread.

‘We no longer believe ASOS can keep their workplace safe – they need to shut it down.’

By Tony Robson and Dan Richardson in Britain:

UK warehouse and distribution workers protest exposure to COVID -19

1 April 2020

Major UK retailers have kept their workers on the job in unsafe conditions since Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced special measures to restrict movement and enforce social distancing.

This involves companies that are far from providing essential services, such as IKEA, the self-assembly furniture retailer, and fashion retailers Next, ASOS and Pretty Little Thing.

Following the adage, “Never let a serious crisis go to waste,” they have taken advantage of the suspension of High Street trading to increase their online sales. The burden has fallen on warehouse and distribution workers being made to sort and dispatch goods without any regard for their safety, including the inability to maintain social distancing and inadequate provision of washroom facilities.

Workers have taken to social media and spoken to the press, usually anonymously due to fear of disciplinary measures. South Yorkshire, in the north of England, is the site for many distribution centres, in Sheffield and other former industrial towns such as Doncaster and Barnsley and in surrounding villages on brownfield sites.

Mayor Sadiq Khan told the BBC evening news on March 30th that despite the new ‘NHS Nightingale hospital’ potentially providing space for 4,000 beds, double the number of intensive care unit (ICU) beds would actually be needed in London. The new temporary NHS Nightingale Hospital situated at the Excel conference centre in Docklands, is being rapidly kitted out with beds, oxygen pipes, ventilators, electricity supplies etc. to house 500 patients to start with, expanding eventually to care for 4,000. Khan said that London needed to double that number to 8,000 beds. As there are just 800 intensive care beds in London at the moment, hospitals need to increase that number ten-fold: here.

Top 15 biggest extinct elephants and mammoths

This November 2019 video says about itself:

Experts say the last mammoths died out just 3600 years ago…but they should have survived. We usually think of woolly mammoths as purely Ice Age creatures. But while most did indeed die out 10,000 years ago, one tiny population endured on isolated Wrangel Island until 1650 BCE. Geneticists have sketched out the woolly mammoth’s family tree using ancient DNA found preserved in Siberia.

The extinct beasts are more closely related to Asian elephants than to African elephants, the researchers found, and the three species diverged within a surprisingly short period of time. In this video, we showcase and explain to you the 15 largest and biggest extinct elephants and mammoths.

Coronavirus update, the Americas

This 31 March 2020 video says about itself:

Brazil: Sao Paulo residents stage noisy lockdown protest against Bolsonaro

Sao Paulo residents protested against Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro from their homes on Tuesday, by banging pots and pans, and turning on and off lights, as he gave a televised address to the nation.

Although the Brazilian Health Ministry has urged people to follow social distancing measures due to the coronavirus outbreak, and multiple states in the country have declared emergencies, Bolsonaro has faced widespread criticism after repeatedly downplaying the situation. …

According to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, Brazil has 5,717 confirmed coronavirus cases, with 201 people dying as a result, as of Tuesday.

USA: TRUMP STILL WON’T CALL FOR NATIONWIDE ORDER President Donald Trump, warning of “hard days that lie ahead,” failed to explain why he hasn’t imposed a national stay-at-home advisory or quarantine order. Instead, Trump boasted about how his response is keeping the projected death toll lower than it would have been if he had done nothing. [HuffPost]

WHITE HOUSE PREDICTS AS MANY AS 240,000 U.S. DEATHS Trump’s White House released new projections that there could be 100,000 to 240,000 deaths in the U.S. from the coronavirus pandemic even if current social distancing guidelines are maintained. Public health officials stressed that the number could be less if people change their behavior. [HuffPost]

This is what it’s like to be an Asian woman in the age of coronavirus.

TRUMP MOVES ON HUGE ENVIRONMENTAL ROLLBACK The White House released the final version of its rules to roll back Obama-era auto emissions standards, taking a critical step toward completing what would be Trump’s most damaging environmental change since taking office as the novel coronavirus pandemic rages. The rule would lower fuel economy standards for vehicles sold in the United States from 54 miles per gallon by 2025 to 40 mpg. [HuffPost]

GOP-LED STATES LAG IN SOCIAL DISTANCING A new study has found that states with GOP governors or a majority-Republican electorate have lagged behind their Democratic counterparts by nearly three days in instituting social distancing policies amid the coronavirus pandemic. While the gap may initially appear to be small, the difference could translate into a significant number of human lives with a disease that can spread explosively in a single day. [HuffPost]

TEXAS SHERIFF TRIES TO FREE INMATES AT RISK OF COVID-19 Faced with the looming threat of the coronavirus, Harris County, Texas, Sheriff Ed Gonzalez two weeks ago issued a “compassionate release” plan to complement an arrest-reduction strategy that shrank the jail population from 9,100 to 8,500 in just a few weeks. The new plan would have removed several hundred more elderly or ill defendants from jail. But on March 20, Judge Herb Ritchie issued a general order limiting the defendants eligible for release. [HuffPost]

SHE BEGGED FOR MERCY, BUT HER PARENTS’ POWER GOT CUT Angela Haislip begged the power company not to cut off service to her elderly mother and stepfather, both stroke victims who depend on oxygen machines and nebulizers to breathe. In more than 20 years, her parents had “never, ever, ever missed a payment” to the Halifax Electric Membership Corp., the power cooperative that serves rural Warren County, North Carolina, she said. But amid the pandemic, they fell behind. [HuffPost]

Prothonotary warbler feeding in Panama

This video says about itself:

A Prothonotary Warbler Makes Room At A Feeder Full Of Thick-billed Euphonias – March 31, 2020

A Prothonotary Warbler was attracted to the Panama Fruit Feeder today, perhaps by the bustling activity surrounding the generous banana buffet. Prothonotary Warblers will soon depart Panama for their breeding grounds in the United States. They are habitat specialists and as such, are vulnerable to habitat destruction and alteration, especially forested wetlands. This warbler’s population has decreased drastically since the 1960’s, falling 42% from 1966 to 2015.

Greta Thunberg on coronavirus and climate crisis

This 30 March 2020 New Scientist video says about itself:

Greta Thunberg: We must fight the climate crisis and pandemic simultaneously

The world needs to tackle the coronavirus pandemic and climate change simultaneously, and guard against people who try to use the current crisis to delay action cutting carbon emissions, Greta Thunberg explains in this conversation with New Scientist‘s chief reporter, Adam Vaughan.

The Swedish climate activist, who revealed last week that she and her father had likely had Covid-19, said the response to the virus outbreak revealed societal shortcomings, as well as our abilities to change in the face of a crisis, but had proved they can act fast.

“If one virus can wipe out the entire economy in a matter of weeks and shut down societies then that is a proof that our societies are not very resilient. It also shows that once we are in an emergency, we can act and we can change our behaviour quickly”, she says.

Helping hungry red squirrels in England

This 1 April 2020 video from Dorset in England says about itself:

Protecting squirrels’ nuts at National Trust Brownsea Island

Rangers on Brownsea Island have spotted the resident red squirrels are struggling to find their nuts.

Throughout autumn, red squirrels store food in tidy piles around the island, however, the forgetful rodents soon lose track of where they’ve stashed their snacks. This winter, we followed our team of dedicated rangers as they stepped in, setting a trail of squirrel-sized markers to lead the squirrels back to their lunch.