Warmongering during coronavirus disaster


This 20 November 2018 video says about itself:

War in Yemen: Trump support for MBS [Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman] “is prejudicing any attempts at peace talks”

France, along with Britain and the US, is the major arms supplier to the Saudi-led coalition. There have been long campaigns to end such arms trade. However, Donald Trump has loudly and notably declared no, the business is too important to his business policy.

CHASING SAFETY: FACING THE U.S. IMMIGRATION SYSTEM More than 3 million Yemenis had been displaced by the ongoing conflict as of last year, and over 65,000 Yemenis had fled the country entirely. Trump signed an executive order in 2017 that barred entry to the U.S. from several Muslim-majority countries, including Yemen. The U.S. closed itself to Yemenis in spite of its own complicity in the war there: It has provided billions of dollars in weaponry and intelligence support to Saudi Arabia … further escalating the worst humanitarian disaster in the world. [HuffPost]

US trains Sri Lankan naval elite forces during COVID-19 lockdown. By Vijith Samarasinghe, 4 May 2020. US combat training of Sri Lankan navy personnel forces is part of Washington’s military preparations throughout the Indo-Pacific against China.

Think tank sees coronavirus crisis as “opportunity” for German militarism. By Gregor Link, 4 May 2020. The German Council on Foreign Relations calls for a “comprehensive conflict strategy” in order to emerge “even stronger” from the crisis.

Coronavirus disaster in Trump’s USA news


This 2 May 2020 video from the USA is called Striking Worker Dunks On Amazon.

TRUMP ADMITS DEATHS WILL BE VASTLY HIGHER President Donald Trump dramatically raised his prediction for the eventual death toll from the coronavirus pandemic within the United States, saying up to 100,000 people could die. That figure is a sharp revision from last month, when he said he believed around 60,000 people would die from the virus. Despite the shift, Trump claimed his response to the outbreak in the United States — where more than 1.1 million people have been infected — had been “successful.” [HuffPost]

TRUMP CLAIMS VACCINE COULD BE AVAILABLE BY YEAR’S END Trump, who has a poor record promoting phony coronavirus cures, predicted a vaccine could be available as soon as “the end of the year,” during a virtual Fox News town hall. He acknowledged medical experts would likely caution against such claims. Medical professionals ― including Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country’s leading expert on infectious diseases ― have said that it could take at least a year to 18 months for a vaccine. [HuffPost]

MICHIGAN GOVERNOR DECRIES SWASTIKAS AT ANTI-LOCKDOWN PROTEST Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) on Sunday condemned the racist symbols, including Confederate flags and swastikas, displayed by some attendees of an anti-lockdown protest at the state’s Capitol building last week. Photos showed hundreds crammed inside the building, many not wearing masks and flouting federal social distancing guidelines. The protest’s stated purpose was to demand Whitmer ease coronavirus restrictions, though some protesters were seen holding up racist and anti-Semitic symbols during the event. [HuffPost]

PANDEMIC THREATENS NEW EVICTION CRISIS The coronavirus has put America’s housing market on hold. As residents shelter in place, real estate listings have slowed to a trickle. State and federal policymakers, facing an unprecedented spike in unemployment and a pandemic simultaneously, have banned evictions to ease economic hardship during the crisis. But when the eviction bans expire, millions of Americans will find themselves on the hook for months of back rent. Thirty million Americans — overwhelmingly the poor and renters — are newly jobless as unemployment hits previously unthinkable levels.

COVID-19 disaster in Trump’s USA, update


This 4 May 2020 video from the USA says about itself:

90% of U.S. COVID Deaths Could’ve Been Prevented | NowThis

Here’s how Trump could’ve saved 90% of American lives lost to COVID-19.

In US news and current events today, 61,881 people in the U.S. died from the coronavirus by the end of April 2020. 90% of those deaths could have been prevented if Trump had issued physical distancing guidelines 2 weeks earlier, according to an analysis of date from the Institute for Health Metrics & Evaluations.

Trump White House steps up return to work drive. By Bryan Dyne, 4 May 2020. The recent surge in coronavirus cases and deaths heralds even greater suffering by the population as states continue to reopen.

US Amazon worker describes callous attitude toward safety as management reports $75 billion in 2020 revenue. By Nick Barrickman, 4 May 2020. Amazon did little to protect its workforce during the first several weeks in March, when the COVID-19 disease was declared a pandemic.

Scapegoating China for US administration’s failures. Trump and Pompeo’s “big lie”. 4 May 2020. Knowing that its policy will lead to a rapid growth in fatalities, the White House is preparing a narrative to argue that whatever happens, it is China’s fault: here.

By Kayla Costa in the USA, 4 May 2020:

“They are sucking the lifeblood out of us”

Millions of Americans cannot pay their rent

Emberlea, a veteran with metastatic stage four cancer who is living with her adult son in the Sacramento area of California, spoke with the World Socialist Web Site about the enormous financial hardship produced by the pandemic and the area’s high rents.

“Our rent is close to $2,000 a month,” she explained. “That is close to 60 percent of our regular income. We paid only $500 this month for rent because my son hasn’t gotten compensation yet. The apartment complex took the $500 and applied the rest over the next eight months, an extra $170 per month.”

Veteran and renter Emberlea

Inmates at Michigan prisons exposed to COVID-19 in unsanitary conditions. By Stephen Fuller, 4 May 2020. As of May 2, almost 2,000 inmates have tested positive with 41 prisoners succumbing to the coronavirus.

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

Daughter Loses Health Care Worker Mom to COVID-19 | NowThis

Just 9 days after returning home from college, this freshman lost her mom to COVID-19.

In US news and current events today, a daughter reflects on the loss of her mother, a health worker who died from COVID-19. For the past 12 years, Minnoli Aya’s mother Madhvi worked as a physician’s assistant in the ER department at Brooklyn’s Woodhull Medical Center. Madhvi developed a cough on March 12. She exhibited a fever soon after. Her husband Raj drove her to a nearby hospital, where she tested positive for COVID-19.

Minnoli returned home from her freshman year at the University of Buffalo on March 19. Just 10 days later, Madhvi Aya passed away due to COVID-19 complications. Aya was the family’s primary breadwinner and the source of their health insurance. A GoFundMe was set up to help the Aya family with funeral & daily costs, as well as to care for Madhvi’s 86-year-old mother.

Tennessee health commissioner blocks release of data on likely COVID-19 deaths. By Warren Duzak, 4 May 2020. Tennessee Department of Health Commissioner Lisa Piercey has refused to release figures on “probable” deaths where symptoms were present but no test was done.

Antibodies from llamas could help in fight against COVID-19, study suggests: here.

COVID-19 disaster in Boris Johnson’s Britain


BMA Council Chair DR CHAAND NAGPAUL (centre) on a pre-coronavirus crisis march against GP surgery closures in Britain

This photo shows British Medical Association Council Chair DR CHAAND NAGPAUL (centre) on a pre-coronavirus crisis march against GP surgery closures in Britain.

From daily News Line in Britain, 4 May 2020:

BMA’s Nagpaul opposes PM’s plan to ease the ‘lockdown’

‘THE Government has five tests it has said must be met to ease lockdown – the first of which is “making sure the NHS can cope”,’ said BMA Council Chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul yesterday.

‘Six weeks into this crisis,’ he continued, ‘how can the government be confident that this condition is anywhere near being met, or that the pandemic is under control, when the very people on the frontline are not being made safe?’

Nagpaul was announcing the results of the biggest survey of frontline NHS doctors since the coronavirus crisis began, with over 16,000 doctors answering questions on PPE (personal protective equipment) provision, their well-being and drug shortages.

The survey revealed nearly half of doctors have sourced their own PPE for personal or departmental use, or they have relied upon donations.

Dr Nagpaul said: ‘In what is the biggest survey of frontline NHS staff during this crisis, thousands of doctors have told the BMA that they have had to personally buy PPE for themselves or their department or rely on donations.

‘55% of GPs told us they sourced their own PPE or relied on donations and 38% of hospital doctors.

‘On the one hand, it shows how resourceful they have been and how much support there has been from the general public in providing kit; but far more importantly, it is a damning indictment of the government’s abject failure to make sure healthcare workers across the country are being supplied with the life-saving kit they should be.

‘The survey shows that overall, there has been an improvement in the provision of PPE, but if almost half of all doctors report that they had to resort to purchasing PPE themselves or rely on donations, then there is still a lot for the government to do to protect its frontline.

‘Doctors are still reporting shortages in gowns, with one in three not having enough gowns in settings where they are most at risk with the most poorly of Covid patients.’

One doctor commented: ‘The PPE situation is an outrage for all staff. Lives lost for want of plastic visors, masks, and eye protection.’

Another said: ‘Adequate PPE supply in terms of gowns and visors would reduce stress within the team as almost all of our patients are Covid positive.’

65% of doctors said they felt only partly, or not at all protected from coronavirus, in their workplace. And one in four report worsening mental distress during the pandemic including depression, anxiety and burnout.

Dr Nagpaul added: ‘30% of doctors told the BMA they wouldn’t bother to speak up about an issue such as PPE or drug shortages, as they didn’t think anything would be done about it.

‘That’s a terrible state of affairs and the BMA calls upon NHS England and the government to remind employers to encourage and support staff to speak out and be heard.’

From daily News Line in Britain, 4 May 2020:

Tories Seeking To End The Lockdown To Save Capitalism – While Covid-19 Rages

ACCORDING to the Johns Hopkins University count, the coronavirus pandemic has infected more than 3,402,400 people worldwide and has claimed the lives of at least 242,000 people.

In the United Kingdom, the Covid-19 tally has surpassed 183,400, with over 28,200 fatalities. Britain is heading for second position after the USA as far as the scale, depth and cost of the coronavirus crisis is concerned.

It is right at the sharpest point of the world crisis, at the height of the mass slaughter, that the bosses and their Tory government are now urging that there must be a return to school, and a return to work.

The amazing discovery has been made that the two-metre distancing rule, which people have been arrested for not carrying out, is after all incorrect and can be made redundant. The Sunday Telegraph has trumpeted that an announcement is to be made next Sunday of a return to school after a review of the lockdown.

The Tory party stands for big business. It is desperate to rescue British capitalism which is on the rocks. UK industries are closed, BA and Ryanair are to sack thousands more, Gatwick Airport has been made redundant and millions of workers are furloughed, until the end of June, when 11 million UK unemployed will be added to the current UK total.

Meanwhile, the banks are collapsing under the weight of their debt, which as in 2008 they intend to heap on the backs of the working class.

The UK bosses’ big brother, the USA boss class, is in even worse repair. Its economy has crashed with 37 million workers sacked in just a few weeks. Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway holding has reported a loss of $55 billion in Q1 because of the Covid-19 pandemic, compared to $21 billion in profits over the same period last year.

In fact, the British Tories in 2016 refused even to prepare for the pandemic that they were told was on the way by their scientists. Their loyalty and faith in capitalism was absolute. They continued to hack at the NHS and attack the junior doctors so that when the pandemic did strike, the NHS was on its knees.

Their refusal to prepare to fight the pandemic saw a runaway epidemic of Covid-19 in the hard-hit areas of the UK, a massacre of the elderly in the care homes, and a decimation of NHS staff who heroically ran into the breach, without equipment to do the job.

PM Johnson is being depicted as the man who escaped death at the hands of Covid 19. In fact, he and his government will be known as the party that disarmed the UK and slashed its NHS, opening up the way for the greatest pandemic since the Black Death.

Now with capitalism collapsing, the Tory party, aided by a Labour Party whose shadow Home Secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds yesterday refused to even criticise the Tories, are getting ready to make the working class pay for this crisis of capitalism by forming a national government.

The trade unions must now stand up for the working class and hit back with great energy and determination to make the bosses pay for the crisis.

Yesterday, Dr Chaand Nagpaul, BMA Council Chair revealed: ‘In what is the biggest survey of frontline NHS staff during this crisis, thousands of doctors have told the BMA that they have had to personally buy PPE for themselves or their department, or rely on donations.

‘55% of GPs told us they sourced their own PPE or relied on donations and 38% of hospital doctors … it is a damning indictment of the government’s abject failure to make sure healthcare workers across the country are being supplied with the life-saving kit they should be.’

The NEU teachers’ union opposed an immediate return to school, insisting that: ‘The new case count must be much lower than it is now … They must have a national plan including parameters for both appropriate physical distancing and levels of social mixing in schools, as well as for appropriate PPE, which will be locally negotiated at school-by-school and local authority level.

‘There must be comprehensive access to regular testing for children and staff to ensure our schools and colleges don’t become hot spots for Covid-19.’ The National Education Union is very clear that for schools to reopen ‘we need to have sound scientific evidence that it is safe to do so. The NEU’s petition to that effect has over 200,000 signatures.’

In fact, the only way forward is for the trade unions to oppose the Tory attempt to stampede a return to work. They must demand that the lockdown continues on full pay, as was the case in China.

The unions must organise a general strike to put an end to British capitalism by nationalising the banks and the major industries under workers control. This is the way to rid the UK of Covid-19 forever by bringing in socialism and putting an end to capitalist barbarism!

UK Nightingale field hospitals to be “mothballed” as coronavirus death toll reaches 28,446. By Alice Summers, 4 May 2020. The new Nightingale facilities were meant to provide overflow capacity to overwhelmed hospitals, but patients have been turned away due to a lack of suitable equipment or staff.

ASOS warehouse workers: Lives versus corporate profit in the UK. By Tony Robson, 4 May 2020.

British health care, poem


This 27 November 2019 British Labour party video says about itself:

REVEALED: the truth about the Conservatives, Donald Trump and our NHS.

By Sally Flynt in Britain, 3 May 2020:

21ST-CENTURY POETRY

Free for All by Sally Flint

i.m Doll Warner

Before she turned 10 they called her
Little Mother. The oldest of 11 siblings,
she knew about ailments — how to attach
string tight to a doorknob and extract a tooth.
She could tempt a TB victim with broth and starve
a fever. She knew diphtheria meant death,
that few people had money for medicine,
or a midwife. She’d race to a stranger’s house and boil
water, prepare rags and, often in the dark hours,
persuade a doctor to help for free. For years
she witnessed birth and rigor mortis, saved pennies
to put on dead children’s lids. If she was still alive she’d hunt
down her prayer book, find God and scream to Bevan:
Quick! Someone! Save the Nation’s Health.

Sally Flint is the founder-editor of Riptide short-story journal and Canto Poetry at the University of Exeter.

Aneurin Bevan was the Labour party minister who after World War II founded the National Health Service, ending a time when poop people could not adfford medicine.

How koalas drink, new research


This 28 December 2019 video says about itself:

Thirsty koala approaches cyclists for a drink of water | DW News

Fires are threatening the lives of koalas in Australia. It’s feared that thousands of the animals have died in the blazes. Rescuers and good Samaritans are doing what they can to save the endangered koalas. Cyclists in Adelaide stopped in their tracks to give a parched koala some water. After giving water from seven bottles to the animal, the group cycled home thirsty in 40-degree heat.

Australia is the animal’s natural habitat, and the only place where koalas can be found living in the wild. It is estimated that up to 30% of the country’s koalas may have been killed in the fires.

From the University of Sydney in Australia:

Tree trunks take a licking as koalas source water

First study to show koalas drink water by licking tree trunks

May 3, 2020

Koalas are one of the world’s most charismatic animals. But there is a lot we still don’t know about them. For example, how do the marsupials access water in the treetops? Do they only absorb moisture from the gum leaves they eat? Or do they come down from the trees to drink from a waterhole? Until now, no one really knew.

A study published today in Ethology, led by a researcher from The University of Sydney, has captured koala drinking behaviour in the wild for the first time. The paper describes how koalas drink by licking water running down smooth tree trunks during rain.

The news arrives in time to celebrate Wild Koala Day on Sunday 3 May.

“For a long time, we thought koalas didn’t need to drink much at all because they gained the majority of the water they need to survive in the gum leaves they feed on,” said Dr Valentina Mella, in the School of Life and Environmental Sciences. “But now we have observed them licking water from tree trunks. This significantly alters our understanding of how koalas gain water in the wild. It is very exciting.”

Survival

Australia is currently suffering the longest dry period ever documented, with severe rainfall deficits and record maximum temperatures. Koalas experience severe heat-stress and mass mortality events in prolonged hot and dry conditions and they spend more time drinking from artificial water stations if rain is scarce.

Further research could investigate when and why koalas from different areas need access to free water — not contained in the leaves as moisture but available freely as liquid, such as rain, river water or puddles — and whether water supplementation is necessary for some populations.

“This type of drinking behaviour — licking tree trunks — relies on koalas being able to experience regular rainfall to access free water and indicates that they may suffer serious detrimental effects if lack of rain compromises their ability to access free water,” Dr Mella said.

“We know koalas use trees for all their main needs, including feeding, sheltering and resting. This study shows that koalas rely on trees also to access free water and highlights the importance of retaining trees for the conservation of the species.”

Koalas rarely drink water

Each day, wild koalas eat around 510 grams of fresh succulent eucalyptus leaves, and the water in the foliage they feed on is believed to contribute about three-quarters of their water intake in both summer and winter.

Among their adaptations to the Australian climate, koalas also possess extraordinary urinary concentrating abilities and have restricted respiratory and cutaneous water loss compared to similar-sized mammals.

In captivity, koalas have been observed to drink water, but this behaviour has often been considered unusual and attributed to disease or to severe heat stress.

However, anecdotal reports suggest that koalas in the wild drink from waterholes in summer when temperatures exceed 40 degrees Celsius.

Koalas have also been observed approaching humans to access free water (in bottles, gardens and swimming pools during drought and after fire. But this is considered an unusual occurrence.

Observing licking behaviour

For this study, Dr Mella collated observations of koalas drinking in the wild made by citizen scientists and independent ecologists between 2006 and 2019 at the You Yangs Regional Park in Victoria and the Liverpool Plains in NSW. Each observation was koala behaviour noticed by chance and reported to Dr Mella.

There were 44 observations of free-ranging koalas licking water running down a tree trunk during or immediately after rain in the You Yangs Regional Park.

The other two observations of koala drinking behaviour were recorded between the towns of Gunnedah and Mullaley, in the Liverpool Plains. One was an adult female, with a joey, who drank profusely and uninterruptedly for 15 minutes. The other was an adult male who drank at a steady pace for 34 minutes.

“As koalas are nocturnal animals and observation of their behaviour rarely occurs during heavy rainfall, it is likely that their drinking behaviour has gone largely unnoticed and has therefore been underestimated in the past,” Dr Mella said. “Our observations probably only represent a minority of the drinking that normally takes place in trees during rainfall.”

Koalas were observed accessing water in trees by licking the wet surfaces of branches and tree trunks during rain across a range of weather conditions, even when free-standing water was available in dams.

“This suggests koalas were drinking not as a result of heat stress and that this behaviour is likely to represent how koalas naturally access water,” said Dr Mella.

QUT researchers have published an improved and innovative method for estimating the number of koalas in an area detected by using drones and an artificial intelligent algorithm as they continue the quest of identifying surviving koala populations in bushfire areas: here.