Homeless Californians take over vacant houses


This 13 April 2020 video from the USA says about itself:

Homeless Families Are Taking Over Vacant Homes to Protect Themselves From Coronavirus

In most major American cities, residents have been told to stay home and avoid unnecessary contact with others to slow the spread of coronavirus.

But California has by far the largest homeless population in the United States, and while state and local jurisdictions have taken certain measures to protect the unhoused from COVID-19, the vast majority are being left in the lurch.

That’s why a group of families in Los Angeles decided to take matters into their own hands, forcing their way into a number of vacant homes owned by Caltrans, the state transit authority, in the East LA neighborhood of El Sereno.

Yelkouan shearwaters nesting in Malta


This 14 April 2020 video says about itself:

Pairs of Yelkouan Shearwater across the Maltese Islands are busy incubating their eggs. Incubation lasts between 50-52 days, during which each partner will take 4-5 day shifts caring for their single egg.

Nest duty is more than just sitting on an egg. Constant cleaning and rearranging of nesting material (which isn’t much for Yelkouans) takes place. The egg must be moved occasionally to facilitate development, not an easy task when you don’t have hands!

Sometimes the egg is left alone for periods of time, this is known as egg neglect. This is a common behaviour in some seabird species but especially shearwaters that depend on unreliable food sources that are often far away from their colonies. In this case it was a storm that delayed the return of the second partner so the bird on nest duty must have become fed up and left to feed.

Editing by Katarzyna Pacon.

Vietnamese medical supplies to the USA


A motorcyclist drives past a poster calling people to take care of their health against coronavirus in Hanoi, Vietnam

By Steve Sweeney in Britain:

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

VIETNAM has sent 450,000 protective suits to the US as part of the country’s support in the “global effort” to contain the coronavirus pandemic, the government said.

The shipment was provided to help US medical teams who face a severe shortage of equipment as the number of cases of Covid-19 there continues to spiral.

Vietnam’s communist government has also sent more than half a million masks to European countries including France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Britain.

It said that it aimed to show its “spirit of mutual support to partner countries.”

The country’s large manufacturing capacity enabled it to produce 450,000 protective suits in just 10 days, a process that US company DuPont said would usually take three months.

A statement from the US embassy in Hanoi confirmed that the first batch of supplies arrived in the US’s national strategic stockpile on April 8.

“This shipment will help protect healthcare professionals working on the front lines against Covid-19 in the United States …” it said.

The supply of the suits is “part of Vietnam’s participation and contribution to the global effort to push back the Covid-19 epidemic,” the government said.

More than 1 million people were killed and many more maimed as the US propped up a corrupt and murderous anti-communist South Vietnam government in the 1960s and ’70s, bombing with napalm and other chemical weapons, including Agent Orange. Despite its efforts, the US left defeated and Vietnam was reunified.

This 1960 Dutch music video is the song De kinderen van Vietnam (The children of Vietnam), by folk singer Ellen van Eijk. Dutch radio then boycotted this song criticizing the war, as the Dutch government was a NATO ally of the United States government.

Vietnam has 251 cases of Covid-19 and no confirmed deaths, despite its proximity to China, where the outbreak began.

By contrast, the US has become the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak with nearly 600,000 cases and more than 23,000 deaths.

Vietnam has managed to contain the spread of the disease by placing whole cities under quarantine and taking early action.

It “declared war” on the coronavirus during the Tet New Year celebrations, when there were no reported cases in the country.

Early testing and contact tracing has been crucial, the government said, with Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc praised as a “national hero” for his efforts.

US President Donald Trump snapped under pressure over his handling of the crisis today in a stormy press conference in which he hit out at CBS journalist Paula Reid when she questioned the lack of preparedness. She highlighted 20 million unemployed and tens of thousands of Americans dead.

But Mr Trump responded by branding her “disgraceful” and said that the channel was guilty of “fake news” in its coverage of the pandemic.

Stunningly effective coronavirus approach: the secret of Kerala and Vietnam. The Indian state of Kerala and Vietnam are two poverty-stricken regions that are also particularly vulnerable to the spread of Covid-19 — yet they managed to control the epidemic in an impressive way. Why do they manage to save so many lives when the West still has thousands of new deaths every day? asks MARC VANDEPITTE.

WASHINGTON has been accused of showing “contempt for life and hatred of the Cuban people” after it bought up companies making ventilators and immediately banned them from exporting the machines to Cuba and Venezuela: here.

United States slaughterhouses, coronavirus epicentres


This 14 April 2020 video from the USA says about itself:

Terrified to Go to Work”: Hundreds of Workers in Meat & Poultry Plants Test Positive for COVID-19

We look at the spike in coronavirus infections at meatpacking plants. In just one case, Smithfield Foods shut down a plant responsible for 5% of U.S. pork production after more than 350 workers at the facility tested positive for COVID-19.

Meanwhile, deaths of slaughterhouse workers have been reported in Pennsylvania, Georgia and Colorado. Many meat processing facilities employ large numbers of immigrants, including undocumented workers. We speak with Wenonah Hauter, executive director and founder of Food & Water Watch, and with Magaly Licolli, executive director of Venceremos, an advocacy group for poultry plant workers, based in Springdale, Arkansas, home to Tyson Foods headquarters.

Coronavirus, United States update


This 14 April 2020 video from the USA says about itself:

Anti-Asian racism is sweeping across America as COVID-19 spreads.

In US news and current events today, as the coronavirus outbreak continues to pose challenges for the U.S. and world at large, America is also facing a rise in hate crimes against Asian Americans.

“We are human, and they cannot abuse us in this way”. Meatpacking workers demand protection as pandemic hits US food supply chain. By Jerry White, 14 April 2020. Over the last few weeks, more than 2,000 food processing workers have tested positive and scores have died, including five meatpacking workers in Colorado, Pennsylvania and Georgia and at least 41 grocery store workers in New York, Illinois and Michigan.

Five Michigan grocery and retail workers die from COVID-19. By Stephen Fuller, 14 April 2020. Evidence is emerging that the pandemic is sweeping through workers at grocery and retail establishments, which have been kept open and identified as part of the critical infrastructure workforce in most states.

From the World Socialist Web Site, 14 April 2020:

Illinois food processing workers walk out after worker falls sick with COVID-19

Some 70 workers at Raymundo’s Food Group in Bedford Park, Illinois walked off the job April 3, one day after being notified a co-worker contracted COVID-19. Workers charged management has done nothing to implement social distancing in the plant and have since self-quarantined claiming two other workers showed signs of the virus.

Workers signed a petition to management demanding a $2 an hour hazard pay increase and that the plant be disinfected. They claim the company has a long record of forcing employees to work while sick. Management responded by refusing to provide hazard pay and declared they would hire replacement workers to reopen the facility.

The company claims to have hired a professional cleaning but has not indicated they would follow through with a plan on social distancing. “What’s the point of cleaning the plant if workers who are potentially already infected come straight back to work?” Moises Zavala, a union organizer with the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) told the Chicago Sun-Times. “The company didn’t take precautions to stop the spread to begin with, now who knows how many people are infected.”

Workers unionized in November of 2019. Raymundo’s countered by appealing to the National Labor Relations Board to decertify the UFCW.

Nurse fired for defending hospital workers against discipline for complaining about lack of protective equipment against coronavirus

A registered nurse at Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune, New Jersey was fired April 6 for seeking to defend a nurse who was being disciplined. Adam Witt, who worked in the hospital’s emergency room and also serves as the president of the local chapter of the Health Professionals and Allied Employees union, accompanied the nurse to a disciplinary hearing. Management fired him for being a no-show at his job.

According to the union, there have been a rash of disciplinary actions and terminations against nurses who have complained about a lack of personal protective equipment to combat the coronavirus and then resorted to bringing their own masks.

Management has responded by demanding nurses dispose of the masks. After firing Witt, his photo was posted on doors in the hospital notifying staff he was not permitted on the premises. A complaint by the union to the National Labor Relations Board claimed, “his was clearly posted as a warning to other employees to not support the union and not to speak up on behalf of their fellow employees.”

“[COVID-19] will turn our detentions into a death sentence”. Immigrants at US detention centers lead hunger strikes, face persecution demanding protections from pandemic. By Renae Cassimeda, 14 April 2020. Nearly 200 immigrants, in male and female cell blocks, are currently staging a hunger strike and sit-in at the Mesa Verde ICE Processing Center in Bakersfield, California.

As US infections and deaths continue to rise. Democrats join with Trump in bipartisan push for rapid return to work. By Benjamin Mateus and Barry Grey, 14 April 2020. The ruling class in the United States is preparing to reopen the economy despite a complete lack of a public health infrastructure to address the deadly risk of a second surge.

Trump, the media, and the COVID-19 disaster. 14 April 2020. Even as they focus on Trump’s obvious negligence, the Democratic Party and the New York Times cannot account for their own failure to warn the public and demand emergency measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic: here.

As first sailor from COVID-19-stricken carrier dies, Pentagon stresses readiness for war. By Bill Van Auken, 14 April 2020. The deadly coronavirus has spread to a number of other ships in the Navy and is infecting members of every other branch of the US military.