Wildlife in Indian cities and national parks

This May 2020 video says about itself:

Urban wildlife lives in cities with people – Black kites, rats, wild boars, ravens, crows, snakes. Wildlife in nature lives in national parks and reserves – tigers, dholes, elephants, gaurs, deer, mongooses, monkeys, snakes.

We want to show that we need to value biodiversity and realize that most species live in natural habitats. On the other side, it is amazing to watch how well some animals survive in the cities.

Black kites (Milvus migrans) are birds of prey living in Europe, Africa, Asia, and Australia. They are very good at surviving close to people. In many places they scavenge.

COVID-19 disaster in Donald Trump’s USA

This 5 May 2020 video from the USA says adout itself:

Navajo Nation Suffers Third-Highest COVID-19 Infection Rate in U.S. with Limited Healthcare & Water

As COVID-19 continues to ravage the Navajo Nation. Gallup, New Mexico locked down to control spread of coronavirus. By Evan Cohen, 5 May 2020. The crisis in Gallup is a preview of the situation that small towns across America will face as states continue to ease social distancing restrictions and open their economies.

The American oligarchy decides for death. 5 May 2020. The Trump administration has embraced an approach to the pandemic that will—and that it knows will—result in the deaths of tens of thousands of people in the coming weeks and months: here.

The Trump administration and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell are demanding that a new pandemic relief bill provide businesses with legal immunity for causing disease or death to employees by failing to provide a safe work environment: here.

From the World Socialist Web Site, 5 May 2020:

Minnesota poultry workers protest company’s refusal to provide information on COVID-19 cases

On April 27 over 20 workers accompanied by supporters walked out of Pilgrim’s Pride poultry processing plant in Cold Spring, Minnesota, angry over management’s failure to properly handle COVID-19 cases. Workers described cases where employees with COVID-19 symptoms were still working or returning to work after a brief period off the job.

Mohamed Goni, with the Greater Minnesota Worker Center, told the Star-Tribune, “The company is not sharing any information with workers.” Workers who were sent home after temperature checks were soon back on the processing line. “The maximum they stayed at home was three days,” said Goni.

Initial public awareness about positive cases of coronavirus were the result of phone calls from employees themselves and were not the result of any management alerts. The Minnesota Department of Health, which visited the plant last week, has not provided exact numbers on COVID-19 cases at the plant. Pilgrim’s Pride said that it would not release information, claiming respect for families.

Last month a protest took place over lack of information at a Pilgrim’s Pride plant in Timberville, Virginia. Pilgrim’s Pride is the largest chicken producer in the US and second largest in Mexico. It is owned by the Brazilian company JBS, which was forced to close its Worthington, Minnesota plant due to COVID-19 cases.

Waste management workers protest Republic Services’ failure to provide protective equipment

Teamster union members in four states picketed outside the waste management facilities of Republic Services on May 1 to protest the lack of personal protective equipment (PPE). According to Chuck Stiles, president of the Teamsters waste division, “Republic Services workers have reported inadequate and infrequent PPE at worksites across the country, specifically, a lack of puncture-proof gloves, face masks, protective eyewear and face shields.”

In March, the union’s waste management union sent out letters to all the major companies, including Waste Management, Republic Services, Waste Connections and Recology. Republic Services was the only company that did not respond with a mitigation plan.

Republic Services, whose revenue was $10.299 billion in 2019, is the second largest waste management company in the US, operating in 40 states and Puerto Rico and employing 35,000 people. About 7,000 are members of the Teamsters.

From daily News Line in Britain today:

Trump seeks to blame China as he orders US workers back to work

US PRESIDENT Donald Trump is seeking a scapegoat for the inevitable deaths of millions of people following a forced return to work while the coronavirus pandemic still rages.

In an increasingly desperate attempt to place the blame for the pandemic, which has claimed the lives of more than 245,000 people worldwide so far, the US secretary of state Mike Pompeo on Sunday claimed that there is ‘enormous evidence’ that the coronavirus outbreak came from a Chinese laboratory.

Trump’s Big Lie, accusing China of spreading COVID-19, a prelude to US war against China. By Peter Symonds, 5 May 2020. US efforts to scapegoat China, backed by allies such as Australia, are a crude attempt to deflect attention from its own criminal negligence, amid mounting opposition in the working class.

Under US pressure, Mexican government vows to impose return to work and “herd immunity” policy. By Andrea Lobo, 5 May 2020. Hundreds of non-essential maquiladora plants across Mexico have remained open during the pandemic and those that were closed after a wave of wildcat strikes are reopening.

COVID exposed America as a failed state. How can I honor the military oath I swore? By Josh Knobel, May 4, 2020.

Baby leatherback turtles, video

This 5 May 2020 video says about itself:

Baby Turtles Hatch And Race To The Ocean | VR 360 | Seven Worlds, One Planet

Leatherback sea turtle hatchlings are just emerging from the sand on a desert island beach in the Caribbean. Stay in and explore as they make their way to the sea for the very first time.

Coronavirus update, Britain

This 5 May 2020 video from Britain says about itself:

Coronavirus Vaccine: Big Pharma Only Cares About One Thing | Nick Dearden

Pharmaceutical companies don’t benefit from epidemics, they benefit from people having long term chronic conditions”.

Covid-19 is deadlier in Britain and the US than anywhere – and it’s no coincidence: here.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain, 5 May 2020:

Covid-19 sample couriers face redundancies after risking their lives during the pandemic

COURIERS who have been playing a vital role in transporting Covid-19 material during the pandemic are facing redundancies for their efforts, their union revealed today.

The 10 workers are employed in London by private pathology company The Doctors’ Laboratory (TDL) and are expected to be laid off in a month’s time, according to the Independent Workers of Great Britain union (IWGB).

IWGB said the sackings target individuals who led industrial action last year leading to “historic pay rises and improvements” for workers in the gig economy.

Lift lockdown now and our members will refuse to work. ‘THE GOVERNMENT is trying to say: “You take the risk to the staff, and you take the risk to the passengers, it is on your heads”,’ Mick Lynch, assistant general secretary of the RMT union said yesterday, underlining that train and tube drivers will refuse to work if the Tories attempt to open the transport system to the general public too soon: here.

By Lamiat Sabin in Britain:

Government again fails to hit 100k Covid-19 tests per day target

A coronavirus test

THE government has failed again to hit its target of 100,000 coronavirus tests per day.

At the daily Downing Street press conference on Monday evening, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said that just over 85,000 tests for Covid-19 took place on Sunday.

He announced that the total number of positive Covid-19 tests had risen by 3,985 to 190,584 and the number of deaths was up by 288 to 28,734.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain, 5 May 2020:

‘A national scandal’ — a timeline of Covid-19 failures

Health Secretary Matt Hancock looks confused at the opening of the Nightingale, a desperate measure for a dire situation

SPEAKING on BBC Question Time on March 26 2020, Richard Horton, the editor-in-chief of the Lancet medical journal, described the government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic as “a national scandal.”

A look at the warnings the government received before the national lockdown on March 23 explains why.

October 2016

Exercise Cygnus, a three-day training on how to deal with a pandemic, is carried out, involving all major government departments, the NHS and local authorities. “It showed gaping holes in Britain’s Emergency Preparedness, Resilience and Response plan,” the Sunday Telegraph notes. A senior academic directly involved in the exercise and the current pandemic said:

“These exercises are supposed to prepare government for something like this — but it appears they were aware of the problem but didn’t do much about it.”

From daily The Morning Star in Britain, 5 May 2020:

Jeremy Corbyn calls on all to join online People’s Assembly Fight for Our Lives rally this Thursday

JEREMY CORBYN is calling on everyone to join the online People’s Assembly (PA) Fight for Our Lives rally on Thursday to unite the left around socialist answers to the injustices exposed by Covid-19.

“These are unprecedented times,” the former Labour leader told the Morning Star, saying that the inability to hold ordinary meetings didn’t reduce the need to “urgently communicate a response that recognises health and social inequality have made the effects of Covid worse on the poorest. Join the People’s Assembly this Thursday!”

The online meeting hopes to bring together organisations that can put forward specific demands to campaign on coming out of the crisis that can be built into “a tangible left programme we can fight to implement,” according to People’s Assembly national organiser Ramona McCartney.

Teachers warn education ministers against reopening schools too soon: here.

Ancient Devonian fossil plant, new discovery

Barinophyton spp.

From Stanford’s School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences in the USA:

New ancient plant captures snapshot of evolution

May 4, 2020

Summary: Researchers have discovered an ancient plant species whose reproductive biology captures the evolution from one to two spore sizes — an essential transition to the success of the seed and flowering plants we depend on

In a brilliant dance, a cornucopia of flowers, pinecones and acorns connected by wind, rain, insects and animals ensure the reproductive future of seed plants. But before plants achieved these elaborate specializations for sex, they went through millions of years of evolution. Now, researchers have captured a glimpse of that evolutionary process with the discovery of a new ancient plant species.

The fossilized specimen likely belongs to the herbaceous barinophytes, an unusual extinct group of plants that may be related to clubmosses, and is one of the most comprehensive examples of a seemingly intermediate stage of plant reproductive biology. The new species, which is about 400 million years old and from the Early Devonian period, produced a spectrum of spore sizes — a precursor to the specialized strategies of land plants that span the world’s habitats. The research was published in Current Biology May 4.

“Usually when we see heterosporous plants appear in the fossil record, they just sort of pop into existence,” said the study’s senior author, Andrew Leslie, an assistant professor of geological sciences at Stanford’s School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences (Stanford Earth). “We think this may be kind of a snapshot of this very rarely witnessed transition period in evolutionary history where you see high variation amongst spores in the reproductive structure.”

A major shift

One of the most important time periods for the evolution of land plants, the Devonian witnessed diversification from small mosses to towering complex forests. The development of different spore sizes, or heterospory, represents a major modification to control reproduction — a feature that later evolved into small and large versions of these reproductive units.

“Think of all the different types of sexual systems that are in flowers — all of that is predicated on having separate small spores, or pollen, and big spores, which are inside the seeds,” Leslie said. “With two discrete size classes, it’s a more efficient way of packaging resources because the big spores can’t move as easily as the little ones, but can better nourish offspring.”

The earliest plants, from between 475 million to 400 million years ago, lacked reproductive specialization in the sense that they made the same types of spores, which would then grow into little plantlets that actually transferred reproductive cells. By partitioning reproductive resources, plants assumed more control over reproduction, according to the researchers.

The new species, together with the previously described plant group Chaleuria of the same age, represents the first evidence of more advanced reproductive biology in land plants. The next example doesn’t appear in the fossil record until about 20 million years later.

“These kinds of fossils help us locate when and how exactly plants achieved that kind of partitioning of their reproductive resources,” Leslie said. “The very end of that evolutionary history of specialization is something like a flower.”

A fortuitous find

The researchers began analyses of the fossils after they had been stored in the collections at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History for decades. From about 30 small chips of rock originally excavated from the Campbellton Formation of New Brunswick in Canada by late paleobotanist and study co-author Francis Hueber, they identified more than 80 reproductive structures, or sporangia. The spores themselves range from about 70 to 200 microns in diameter — about a strand to two strands of hair. While some of the structures contained exclusively large or small spores, others held only intermediate-sized spores and others held the entire range of spore sizes — possibly with some producing sperm and others eggs.

“It’s rare to get this many sporangia with well-preserved spores that you can measure,” Leslie said. “We just kind of got lucky in how they were preserved.”

Fossil and modern heterosporous plants primarily live in wetland environments, such as floodplains and swamps, where fertilization of large spores is most effective. The ancient species, which will be formally described in a follow-up paper, has a medley of spores that is not like anything living today, Leslie said.

“The overarching story in land plant reproduction is one of increased division of labor and specialization and complexity, but that has to begin somewhere — and it began with simply producing small spores and big spores,” Leslie said. “With these kinds of fossils, we can identify some ways the plants were able to do that.”

Co-authors of the study are from Brown University, the University of North Carolina — Chapel Hill and the University of Sheffield.

Coronavirus disaster, United States news

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

Trump Challenged on False COVID-19 Testing Statements | NowThis

Watch Trump promise 5 million COVID-19 tests per day — and then deny it the very next day.

In US news and current events today, watch President Trump get himself caught in another lie on COVID-19 testing.

3,000 DEATHS A DAY BY JUNE A startling new projection presented by the Federal Emergency Management Agency shows a possible COVID-19 toll surge to 200,000 cases and 3,000 deaths daily by June 1. The predicted death toll increase — a 70% jump from the current daily average of 1,750 — comes as dozens of states begin to drop strict social distancing requirements and open businesses to workers and customers at Trump’s urging. [HuffPost]

3 hospital workers gave out masks. Weeks later, they were all dead.

CHRIS CHRISTIE: PEOPLE WILL HAVE TO ACCEPT MORE DEATHS TO REOPEN ECONOMY Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie joined conservatives saying it’s crucial to restart the U.S. economy, even if that means losing thousands of more lives to COVID-19. In an interview on “The Daily DC” podcast, CNN’s Dana Bash asked about new internal government projections that nearly 3,000 people will be dying daily by June 1. He answered that people “are going to have to” swallow the idea of losing thousands of more lives. [HuffPost]

Amazon Vice President quits over firings of protesting workers.

THE CHOICE FOR SOME WORKERS: RETURN DURING A PANDEMIC OR LOSE YOUR JOB The online car retailer Carvana gave its employees a stark choice last week: return to work as COVID-19 deaths still mount, or walk away from your job. It’s an example of the pressure many workers will confront as states ease stay-at-home restrictions, and employers call them back to work amid the pandemic. But for employees, that could mean returning to a worksite even as the COVID-19 death count nears 70,000 in the U.S, and many schools and child care facilities remain closed. [HuffPost]

YOU CAN’T REOPEN THE ECONOMY WITHOUT CHILD CARE Catherine Carberry would love to go back to work. The staffing agency she works for in Easton, Pennsylvania, regularly offers her temporary gigs at nearby factories and warehouses. But Carberry, 40, can’t work. It’s not because she’s at high risk of contracting COVID-19 or flush with unemployment benefits. There’s no one to watch her 4-year-old son, Robbie. Robbie’s child care center is closed because of the coronavirus pandemic, and Carberry’s family lives far away. Carberry is a single mother with less than a dollar in the bank. [HuffPost]

AMMON BUNDY BLAMES JEWS FOR HOLOCAUST AT RALLY Anti-government extremist Ammon Bundy compared government measures to slow the spread of the coronavirus to the Nazis’ genocide of Jews during World War II. Bundy, a notorious militia leader who once organized an armed takeover of an Oregon wildlife refuge, made the absurd comparison while speaking at an “Idaho Is Open For Business” rally ― one of several anti-lockdown demonstrations held across the country demanding that governors allow businesses to reopen despite the urgent warnings of public health experts. [HuffPost]

MNUCHIN URGES AMERICANS TO LIVE DANGEROUSLY, TRAVEL THE COUNTRY Despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin is encouraging Americans to travel around the country this summer. “It’s a great time for people to explore America,” Mnuchin said on Fox Business News. “A lot of people haven’t seen many parts of America. I wish I could get back on the road soon.” One problem: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention strongly recommends avoiding all nonessential travel to protect against contracting or spreading COVID-19. [HuffPost]

Translated from Dutch NOS radio today:

Governor of New York: Thousands of Unreported Nursing Home Deaths

New York State has reported more than 1,700 previously undisclosed deaths in nursing homes and healthcare facilities. At least 4,813 deceased residents with (a suspected) coronavirus infection have died since March 1 in 351 of the 613 nursing homes in New York, reports Governor Cuomo.

WHITE HOUSE BLOCKS CORONAVIRUS TEAM FROM TESTIFYING The White House has reportedly blocked members of its coronavirus task force from appearing before congressional lawmakers without the express approval of President Donald Trump’s top deputy. The Trump administration sent a memo to congressional committees saying task force officials were under an “extraordinary” demand as the nation reels from the ongoing pandemic and said it was “reasonable” that they not appear at any hearings. Only White House chief of staff Mark Meadows may give them special dispensation to do so. [HuffPost]

FAUCI SCOFFS AT TRUMP’S VIRUS LAB ESCAPE MYTH Dr. Anthony Fauci told National Geographic there’s no solid evidence of a conspiracy theory promoted by Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that the coronavirus originated in a Chinese lab and escaped. The infectious disease expert said leading biologists say all the evidence shows the virus evolved in animals and jumped from bats to humans in the wild — findings supported by the World Health Organization and U.S.-allied intelligence agencies. [HuffPost]

TRUMP LASHED FOR SICKER, POORER U.S. IN GOP GROUP’S AD A lacerating new ad by a conservative Republicans who oppose Trump takes him to task for having “ignored” the onset of COVID-19 that has cost nearly 70,000 U.S. lives ― and counting ― and tanked the economy. The 60-second spot was produced by The Lincoln Project, whose “never-Trump” founders include lawyer George Conway, a fierce critic of the president even as he’s also the husband of White House counselor Kellyanne Conway. The ad’s bleak scenes evoke images of the Great Depression. [HuffPost]

How salmon find the way back home

This video from New Zealand says about itself:

Chinook Salmon Spawning April 2019

This series of videos captures a pair of sea run chinook salmon spawning twice in the same Redd in a Canterbury stream bed. The spawning acts in the video are at 5:15 and 13:45.

From Oregon State University in the USA:

Magnetic pulses alter salmon’s orientation, suggesting navigation via magnetite in tissue

May 4, 2020

Researchers in Oregon State University’s College of Agricultural Sciences have taken a step closer to solving one of nature’s most remarkable mysteries: How do salmon, when it’s time to spawn, find their way back from distant ocean locations to the stream where they hatched?

A new study into the life cycle of salmon, involving magnetic pulses, reinforces one hypothesis: The fish use microscopic crystals of magnetite in their tissue as both a map and compass and navigate via the Earth’s magnetic field.

Findings were published in the Journal of Experimental Biology.

Researchers including David Noakes, professor of fisheries and wildlife at OSU and the director of the Oregon Hatchery Research Center, subjected juvenile chinook salmon to a type of brief but strong magnetic pulse known to reverse the polarity of magnetic particles and affect magnetic orientation behavior in other animals.

Orientation behavior of pulsed salmon and un-pulsed control fish were compared in a magnetic coil system under a pair of conditions: the local magnetic field, and one in which “map-like” information from the magnetic field had been shifted.

In the local field, pulsed and un-pulsed fish oriented almost identically. But after the magnetic map was shifted, the test and control salmon behaved much differently from each other — the control fish were randomly oriented and the pulsed fish displayed a preferred heading.

The difference in behavior suggests that chains of magnetite, which would have been altered by the pulse, may play a role in the navigation system of salmon.

Magnetic pulses are known to alter magnetic orientation behavior in a range of terrestrial and aquatic animals, among them mole rats, bats, birds, sea turtles and lobsters. The study by Noakes and colleagues at Oregon State, the University of North Carolina and LGL Ecological Research Associates, Inc. is the first evidence linking a magnetic pulse to behavioral changes in fish.

Magnetite, an oxide of iron and one of the primary iron ores, is expressed chemically as Fe3O4 and is the most magnetic of the Earth’s naturally occurring minerals. Naturally magnetized magnetite is known as lodestone and was ancient people’s introduction to the concept of magnetism.

Magnetite is the basis for one of two ways salmon are thought to find their way around; the other is the theory of chemical magnetoreception, which suggests biochemical reactions influenced by the ambient magnetic field are a navigational tool.

“In the big picture, these salmon know where they are, where they’re supposed to be, how to get there and how to make corrections if needed,” said Noakes, the study’s corresponding author. “While they’re in freshwater, they’re imprinting upon the chemical nature of the water. When they hit saltwater, they switch over to geomagnetic cues and lock in that latitude and longitude, knowing they need to come back to those coordinates. And when they decide to come back, it’s months in advance because they’re halfway to Japan.”

After reaching the mouth of the river that took them to the ocean, the salmon swim upstream to spawn at the exact location where they hatched.

“In the river they seem to rely upon chemical signals,” Noakes said. “There’s ongoing research looking into that.”

The magnetic pulse could have affected the salmon’s map, compass or both, Noakes said.

“Our findings are consistent with the hypothesis that magnetoreceptors are based on magnetite crystals,” he said. “But we’ll need more research to confirm or refute this hypothesis and to definitively characterize the mechanisms that underlie magnetoreception in fish. We’re trying to figure out the life cycle of the salmon from the points of highest information — when they go from freshwater to saltwater and when they turn around and come back.”

Coronavirus disaster, worldwide update

This 5 May 2019 video from the USA says about itself:

Johns Hopkins Leads The COVID-19 Response, But Just Laid Off Its Low-Wage Workers

At a May Day rally, workers said Johns Hopkins University reneged on a commitment to give laid off workers four weeks pay.

Modi government punishes officials for urging increased taxation of rich to fight coronavirus. By Wasantha Rupasinghe, 4 May 2020. Even as India’s workers and toilers face the COVID-19 pandemic and mass hunger, the Modi government is opposed to imposing even one additional rupee of tax upon the capitalist elite.

At least 1,245 Philippine health workers test positive for COVID-19. By Owen Howell, 5 May 2020. The WHO said that the rate of infection among health workers, which is now 13 percent of all cases in the Philippines, is likely linked to the shortage of personal protective equipment.

Over 2,000 doctors infected with COVID-19 in Ukraine amid growing protest by medical workers. By Jason Melanovski, 5 May 2020. Opposition grows among Ukrainian medical workers as they are left to combat the disease while lacking both essential equipment and funding.

Australian governments reopen schools despite studies warning of COVID-19 danger. By Mike Head, 5 May 2020. The federal government’s attack on the Victorian state premier was aimed at suppressing opposition by teachers and parents.

Canadian workers at Cargill meatpacking plant forced back to work despite 935 infections. By Carl Bronski, 5 May 2020. The events at the Cargill plant are a case study in the drive by corporations across the globe, backed by governments of all political stripes, to place profit over human lives.

The calamity at Quebec City’s Jeffery Hale Hospital is a product of decades of federal and provincial government austerity: here.

From the World Socialist Web Site, 5 May 2020:

British Columbia Dollar Tree workers denounce lack of virus protections

Low-wage retail workers at “extreme discount” Dollar Tree stores in British Columbia are speaking out about the dangerous lack of company actions to curb the transmission of the coronavirus in their workplaces. Dollar Tree, a Fortune 500 company with over $24 billion in annual revenues, has 85 stores in Canada with 29 in B.C. There are over 15,000 outlets across North America.

Last week workers in the British Columbia stores told reporters that management had failed to provide any basic personal protection for employees. No masks had been provided. Promises posted on Dollar Store’s corporate home page that plexiglass shields would be installed at all work stations by the end of April have not been met in any outlet and will not be installed for at least two more weeks.

Cleaning protocols for shopping carts have not been implemented, placing staff in jeopardy as well as customers. Social distancing procedures limiting the amount of customers in the stores at any one time are ignored. In one store, a worker told Press Progress management had given a directive that it is permissible to attend a shift even while suffering from “cold” symptoms.

Uruguayan supermarket workers strike for 24 hours over lack of preventive measures

Workers for Disco, Uruguay’s largest supermarket chain, held a one-day strike on May 2 to protest the appearance of four cases of COVID-19 and the failure of management to take preventive action. According to the Disco Workers Syndicate, the four cases were discovered in Punta Carretas, a coastal suburb of Montevideo, two in April and two already in May.

A union communiqué said that “the company doesn’t have the slightest intention to close the location, putting at risk the health of the staff … and its customers.” It added, “therefore, we are in contact with Public Health Ministry and Social Security authorities, since this is an emergency situation, and we don’t want it to be repeated in other locations.”

Peruvian nurses protest for better working conditions, pay

Nurses held a protest on May 1 at the Hospital Belén in the northwestern Peruvian city of Trujillo to demand higher wages and better conditions for confronting COVID-19. The nurses currently are paid 1,300 soles (US$385.30) per month in accordance with their Service Administration Contract (CAS). However, due to a so-called descuento de ley (law discount), the real amount is 1,100 soles (US$326.02).

The nurses also live in constant fear of contagion from COVID-19, since they are not provided with personal protective equipment (EPP in Spanish). One nurse broke down crying as she talked to reporters about having seen colleagues die and of living in fear of bringing the virus home to her family.

Dominican Republic: Textile workers strike, protest over noncompliance with COVID-19 guidelines

Daily protests by textile workers began April 28 at the Willbes Dominicana, a factory in a free trade zone in Barahona, Dominican Republic. Protesters picketed, burned tires and placed debris at the company entrance to inhibit entry and exit.

The workers had resumed work after a halt to production due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The executives promised to implement protective measures suggested by the International Labour Organization—provision of masks and gloves, social distancing, checking of temperatures upon entry, and provision of disinfectant gel. The workers were also forbidden to talk on the job or at lunch.

A short while after starting their workday at 7:30 a.m., the workers realized that management was not seriously committed to the protective measures. They walked out demanding that the measures be carried out and that the workers be paid their full wages in the interim. They also demanded that their wages, which are much lower than the free trade zone’s norm of 11,500 pesos (US$210), be raised.

On April 29, police were deployed to the site, and some confrontations broke out. In one, a young man was shot in the right leg, after allegedly brandishing a homemade weapon, and was then taken to the hospital.

Crested tit in backyard tree

This October 2019 video from Germany shows a crested tit at a feeder. With a great tit.

This morning, looking from the balcony, a little bird on the backyard tree. A great tit? A blue tit?

The binoculars show it is a crested tit! This forest species is very rare in this built-up area.