Preachers risk their congregations killed by coronavirus


This 3 March 2020 video from the USA says about itself:

The REAL Reason Churches Are Holding Services During Quarantine [money]

Pastor plans Easter “Woodstock” at church. Ana Kasparian and Cenk Uygur discuss on The Young Turks.

“A Pennsylvania pastor said Tuesday he plans to organize an outdoor “Woodstock”-like service in protest of coronavirus stay-at-home orders and following the arrests of multiple pastors in the US for allegedly violating such orders.

Evangelist Jonathan Shuttlesworth said he will hold an “outdoor Easter blowout service”, even though Florida pastor Rodney Howard-Browne was arrested Monday for holding services the day before, potentially placing attendees at risk for COVID-19.

“I’m gonna announce it. … We’re gonna hold an outdoor Easter blowout service. Not online. A national gathering. You come from all over, like Woodstock. And we’re gonna gather and lift up Jesus Christ,” he said.”

Read more here.

Louisiana pastor grilled by CNN for plan to pack 27 buses full of worshipers and haul them to church during coronavirus crisis: here.

Wreathed hornbills, self-quarantining birds


This 3 April 2020 video is about wreathed hornbills. These birds are originally from Asia.

In the video, bird keeper Maartje talks about the wreathed hornbills of Artis zoo in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Maartje says that wreathed hornbills are self-quarantining (like many people do during the coronavirus crisis) birds: as during breeding the female hornbills are isolated for 100 days, with just a small hole through which the males bring them food.

Trump supports Brazilian Bolsonaro’s coronavirus denialism


This 3 April 2020 video from the USA says about itself:

Trump PRAISES Brazil President For Downplaying Virus

Donald Trump’s buddy Bolsonaro is downplaying the coronavirus risks, and Trump is just fine with that. Michael Brooks and the Majority Report crew discuss this.

This 1 April 2020 video from the USA says about itself:

In this clip, we show how presidential spiritual adviser Paula White has been using her quarantine to host daily prayer sessions during which she heaps praise on Trump.

Coronavirus embarrassed Trump and Bolsonaro. But the global right will fight back. By Paolo Gerbaudo (useful article, unfortunately misusing the word ‘populism‘).

Coronavirus, other United States prisons scandals


This 3 April 2020 video says about itself:

Slave Labor, Dire Conditions: A TRNN Update On Prisons And COVID-19

Eddie Conway talks to journalists Kim Kelly and Adryan Corcione about how the coronavirus pandemic is exposing the poor healthcare system in US prisons and jails.

Coronavirus information censored on the internet


This video says about itself:

Japan Coronavirus Update 3/21/2020: Imported Cases, Censorship, Government Ineptitude, Olympics

Today I discuss a new case in my particular area and it’s significance to my assertion that cases are being imported and underreported. The handling of this by the authorities expose government ineptitude even at this point. The censorship is blatant now. The USA swimming team for the Olympics want the games to be cancelled. I found a disinfection site and it doesn’t fit the narrative Japan is pushing.

By Kevin Reed:

Why is the World Socialist Web Site banned from the subreddit r/coronavirus?

3 April 2020

On Thursday, March 19, users attempting to share the latest World Socialist Web Site articles on the subreddit r/coronavirus were notified that the wsws.org domain had been banned and labeled as an unreliable source by moderators. The message said, “wsws.org may not be reliable. Your post has been automatically removed. If possible, please resubmit with a link to a reliable source, such as a reliable news organization or an [sic] recognized institution.”

The label also says, “I am a bot, and this action has been taken automatically. Please contact the moderators of this subreddit if you have any questions or concerns.” Efforts by the WSWS to contact the r/coronavirus moderators have gone unanswered.

Significantly, the notices banning the WSWS began appearing less than 24-hours after Reddit users shared our article “Mounting anger as workers demand protection from unsafe conditions” which subsequently received thousands of upvotes and hundreds of comments. Although no new WSWS article links can be posted and this article is labeled as “removed by moderators of r/coronavirus” for “off-topic political discussion”, it has been “locked” and remains available to readers. It has more than 21,000 upvotes and 2,500 comments from workers.

Message noting that a popular posting of a WSWS article had been removed by the moderators of r/coronavirus

Given that references to “reliable” and “recognized” sources are well-known euphemisms for the corporate media and our article had already received a widespread response on r/coronavirus, the banning of the WSWS by subreddit moderators is unmistakably an act of political censorship designed to block our analysis of the unfolding crisis from reaching the public.

The following timeline of events leading up to the WSWS domain ban confirms this assessment:

  • On March 11, the White House hosted a video conference call chaired by US Chief Technology Officer Michael Kratsios which included the participation of major technology companies and “other administration officials”. Although the reported details of the tech conference call are limited, it is clear that a major topic of discussion was shutting down so-called “misinformation” and the implementation of a censorship regime aimed controlling online and social media information about the coronavirus.
  • On March 16, a group of eight major tech platforms—most of whom were in attendance at the White House call—published a joint industry statement which says, “We are working closely together on COVID-19 response efforts. We’re helping millions of people stay connected while also jointly combating fraud and misinformation about the virus, elevating authoritative content on our platforms, and sharing critical updates in coordination with government healthcare agencies around the world. We invite other companies to join us as we work to keep our communities healthy and safe.”
  • Reddit was one of the signers of the joint industry statement and posted it on the Reddit Twitter account at 8 p.m. on Monday, March 16 with the following comment, “Together with @Facebook, @Google, @LinkedIn, @Microsoft, @Twitter and @YouTube, we are committed to keeping our communities informed.”

By signing the joint industry statement—although there is so far no evidence that Reddit participated directly in the White House tech conference—the social news aggregation site that identifies itself as “The Front Page of the Internet” is demonstrating its collaboration with online censorship of content about the coronavirus that does not conform to the narrative developed by the US political establishment and faithfully repeated by the corporate media.

Reddit—which was founded by college roommates Steve Huffman and Alexis Ohanian in 2005—is owned today by Condé Nast, a subsidiary of the Advance Publications conglomerate which is owned by the Newhouse family publishing and news empire that dates back to the early twentieth century. Condé Nast acquired Reddit from its founders and others, including Aaron Swartz, in 2006 for an estimated $10 to $20 million.

Beginning in 2014, a series of private and institutional investors injected hundreds of millions of dollars into Reddit and transformed it into a multi-billion dollar enterprise. With just 500 employees and an estimated valuation of $3 billion, Reddit is one of the most valuable assets in Silicon Valley.

The presence of the billionaire Peter Thiel—cofounder of Pay Pal and right-wing technology advisor to the Trump administration—on the list of private investors in Reddit is an indication of the types of figures who are playing a role in the organization and directing its collaboration with the White House censorship initiative.

Due to the way that Reddit is organized—with subreddit moderators given autonomy in making decisions about the activity of users, posts and shared links—there is no way to know for certain what role, if any, is being played by the management or owners of the company in preventing WSWS content from being posted on r/coronavirus.

Frequently, subreddit moderators are Reddit users who sign up and volunteer for the role and are then granted significant authority over the activity of users within the community and the content that is posted there. The Reddit structure allows for different levels of moderators with various degrees of permission. The top level has “Full Permissions” including the ability to remove posts and ban users among many other rights.

Like all Reddit users, subreddit moderators enjoy a degree of anonymity and their identity is often concealed behind obscure usernames. Despite this feature of the platform, it is possible to develop a picture of individual moderators based on the subreddits that they moderate as well as their own posting activity on Reddit.

In the case of the subreddit r/coronavirus, there are 67 moderators. The top ten moderators listed on the subreddit all have the top level “Full Permissions.” As an example, one of the r/coronavirus moderators with Full Permission named “justcool393” is also a moderator of 206 other subreddits. Among these are sexually-explicit subreddits, including one called r/porn_cringe and one specifically political subreddit called r/radicalcentrism.

Significantly, on another subreddit called r/subredditcancer, the moderator “justcool393” was asked why Reddit had abandoned its commitment to freedom of speech, to which the moderator replied, “It’s a multi-faceted answer that requires a lot of history and has a lot to do with the complexities of reddit’s situation. Firstly and foremostly, it’s a company that needs to make a profit. Is not exactly that shocking of a revelation but it’s probably the biggest reason.”

With such people having the authority to make the decision to label the World Socialist Web Site as an “unreliable source,” our characterization of the banning of our domain from the subreddit r/coronavirus as political censorship is entirely justified.

Therefore, the World Socialist Web Site is demanding the r/coronavirus moderators provide an explanation: Why are our reports and analysis of the global pandemic coronavirus being labelled “unreliable”? We further demand that all links from the wsws.org domain be restored, and users be permitted to share them on the subreddit immediately.

The WSWS has been published daily for twenty years by the International Committee of the Fourth International and is recognized internationally as a major source of authoritative Marxist journalism and analysis. We are quoted in numerous books and dozens of academic papers. Some of the leading historians of American history have been interviewed on and published statements on the WSWS.

Meanwhile, links from the WSWS have been posted on Reddit for years and our content is whitelisted on r/politics.

The WSWS is currently playing a decisive role in telling the public the truth about one of the greatest global disasters to ever confront mankind. Since January we have published nearly 300 articles on the COVID-19 pandemic by writers based in the Americas, Europe, Asia and Australia. Throughout this coverage, we have sought to educate the public about the details and dangers posed by the pandemic.

Earlier than other news sources, the WSWS recognized the significance of the emergence of the coronavirus in Wuhan, China and its global implications:

  • On January 24, we pointed to the growing danger in an article entitled, “Major Chinese city on lockdown as novel coronavirus spreads internationally.”
  • On January 25, we raised the question, “One must ask, how prepared would the United States be should an epidemic similar to that presently developing in China affect it?”
  • On January 28, we wrote, “It must be noted that while the situation in China is dire, the so-called first-world countries are no more prepared to deal with an outbreak on the scale currently occurring in Wuhan.”
  • On January 29, we raised the impact on the world economy and stated, “The underlying fragility of global share markets, which have been boosted to record levels by the injection of trillions of dollars from the world’s central banks over the past decade and more, was underscored by the sharp falls on Monday and Tuesday in response to the coronavirus crisis.”

As these warnings made by the WSWS were being fully vindicated, the political establishment on every continent was seeking to conceal the implications of the unfolding crisis from the public.

Our reports throughout the month of February—including “Coronavirus to have deep impact on global economy” on February 8, “The coronavirus pandemic: A global disaster” on February 11 and “The coronavirus pandemic and the need for global socialized medicine”—focused on the expanding international crisis, its impact on the working class in countries around the world and on the global capitalist economy.

The WSWS analysis proceeded in direct opposition to the incompetent statements and actions of political figures around the world—including US President Donald Trump—about how the crisis was “under control” and public risk was “extremely low.”

On February 28, the WSWS published a statement from the International Committee of the Fourth International “For a globally coordinated emergency response to the coronavirus pandemic” which stated, “The working class must demand that governments make available the resources required to contain the spread of the disease, treat and care for those who are infected, and secure the livelihoods of the hundreds of millions of people who will be affected by the economic fallout.”

Throughout the month of March, our articles and statements continuously urged independent action by the working class in the face of the criminal negligence of the ruling class. These included, “Capitalism’s disastrous response to the coronavirus pandemic” on March 4, “What must be done to fight the coronavirus pandemic” on March 6, “The response of the working class to the coronavirus pandemic” on March 11 and “Capitalism is at war with society” on March 13.

It was during the second week of March—as workers around the world began to take action in defense of their own health and safety—that the state, media and tech corporations came together in an effort to control of the flow of online and social media information about the coronavirus crisis.

Given these facts, it is clear that the banning of WSWS content from r/coronavirus is political censorship which only serves those, like US President Trump, who seek to downplay the disease and disorient the public about the meaning of the unfolding crisis.

We demand immediate action by moderators to restore access to our coronavirus pandemic reports, articles and analyses on the subreddit r/coronavirus and the removal of the label on our content as coming from an “unreliable source”.

Coronavirus crisis, worldwide update


Trump and the coronavirus, cartoon

This cartoon by Henry Beaumont from Britain shows United States President Donald Trump running away from the coronavirus disaster which he helped to cause with his policies. The wave symbolizing the coronavirus pandemic is inspired by Japanese artist Hokusai´s depiction of a big wave.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain

Friday, April 3, 2020

Fears of pogroms in India as Muslims blamed for Covid-19 outbreak

Fears have been raised over a return to faith-based pogroms in India after a rise in Islamophobic rhetoric seeking to blame the coronavirus outbreak on Muslims.

More than 300 cases of Covid-19 have been linked to a recent week-long Islamic gathering in Delhi, which attracted thousands from India and overseas, and officials are trying to contact attendees and their secondary contacts.

But the news has led to fears of a repeat of the communal violence seen in recent months following the introduction of the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act.

El-Sisi uses coronavirus pandemic to tighten grip on Egypt. By Jean Shaoul, 3 April 2020. Egypt did nothing to prepare for the onset of the virus, despite being identified in early February, along with Algeria and South Africa, as one of the African countries most at risk.

An interview with four Chinese physicians at the epicenter of the pandemic in Wuhan: here.

Over the past week, state and federal governments have demanded that nine cruise ships in Australian waters near major ports depart immediately, despite the risk of mass coronavirus outbreaks on board. As many as twelve other cruise liners are in or near Australian waters. The dictates have placed at risk the safety and lives of the 11,000 people on board the nine vessels, the majority of whom are low-paid workers: here.

South Australian teacher speaks out against governments keeping schools open. By Sue Phillips, 3 April 2020. Amidst the mounting coronavirus danger, teachers are demanding the closure of schools.

Injured silvery-cheeked hornbill gets new horn


Silvery-cheeked hornbill Balou with its new horn, photo by Texel zoo

This photo by Texel zoo on Texel island in the Netherlands shows silvery-cheeked hornbill Balou with its new horn.

Dutch NOS radio reports about this today (translated):

Silvery-cheeked Hornbill Balou in Texel Zoo has a 3D-printed horn on its beak. The animal was brought in by previous owners with a broken horn. They hoped that the animal park could mean something to the bird. The horn is made by Utrecht University.

According to Texel Zoo, the horn is important for a silvery-cheeked hornbill, because it protects against any head injuries. “He was very vulnerable,” said a spokesman. “Only a thin membrane still protected the veins. When he bumped, he started to bleed enormously.”

Utrecht University performed a CT scan on the bird to make the correct fit. “This was the first time here in the Netherlands, a horn will not break easily,” says a spokeswoman for Texel Zoo. According to her, information from abroad about the printing of beaks could be used to see how a horn could be made.

In December, the bird was successfully operated and then monitored. “We weren’t sure how it would react, if the horn would stay on and if there would be any complications. The horn has passed all the tests and the bird is behaving the same as before.”

It is not known how the horn on the beak of the animal broke.

Silvery-cheeked hornbills are from Africa.