Cut war, not healthcare, John Pilger says

This 16 May 2020 video from Britain says about itself:

Cut War Not Healthcare, with John Pilger

World-renowned journalist and film-maker John Pilger joins us live from Australia. His last two films are The Dirty War on the NHS and The Coming War on China so there are few people the world over better placed to contextualise the current crisis.

John is joined by Kate Hudson, General Secretary of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and NHS psychiatrist Mona Kamal to give us a view from the front line as we look at the systemic misplacement of funds towards war and away from healthcare over the course of successive governments.

COVID-19 disaster in Donald Trump’s USA

This video from the USA says about itself:

“He Thinks He Is Above The Law” Jail Elon Musk & Health & Safety Rally at Tesla plant

A rally was held in front of the TESLA Fremont plant on 4/16/20 to protest Elon Musk’s illegal opening of the plant and violation of the Stay in Shelter rule by Alameda County.

Workers are worried about the health and safety for themselves, their families and the public.

Back-to-work drive places countless thousands at risk. 18 May 2020. Major American factories are reopening today, each one the potential center for a major new outbreak of the coronavirus: here.

North American auto industry reopens amid mounting opposition by workers. By Marcus Day, 18 May 2020. Roughly 133,000 workers are expected to return to automotive assembly plants this week.

Amazon eliminates pay raises for workers as COVID-19 toll mounts. By Douglas Lyons, 18 May 2020. As the number of infections and deaths continues to rise at Amazon, the world’s richest man joins Trump’s murderous campaign to “reopen” the economy.

Maryland and Virginia begin “phase one” reopenings despite record increase in COVID-19 cases. By Nick Barrickman, 18 May 2020. The two jurisdictions began reopening their economies amid a consistent uptick in the amount of infections produced by the coronavirus.

Stonechat, butterflies and wild pansies

This June 2019 video says about itself:

Singing Common Whitethroat (Sylvia communis) in Heemskerk, the Netherlands.

This is a common and widespread typical warbler which breeds throughout Europe and across much of temperate western Asia. This small passerine bird is strongly migratory, and winters in tropical Africa, Arabia, and Pakistan.

After yesterday, again to the coastal sand dunes nature reserve on 18 May 2020.

A cuckoo calls. A nightingale sings.

A common whitethroat on a treetop.

A great spotted woodpecker.

Lakelet, 18 May 2020

We arrive at the lakelet.

At the lakelet, a willow warbler sings.

Lakelet, on 18 May 2020

The white water-crowfoot flowers are still there.

White water-crowfoot, 18 May 2020

A bit further, a great tit.

A stonechat on top of a bush.

Two meadow pipits flying.

A great cormorant flying.

A common blue butterfly on a wild pansy flower.

Wild pansies, 18 May 2020

Unfortunately, when this photo was taken, the butterfly was gone.

Wild pansies, on 18 May 2020

A small heath butterfly.

A barn swallow flies. Three northern lapwings fly.

A buzzard flying.

A blackbird sings.

An orange-tipped butterfly.

Two swifts.

Finally, a meadow pipit on a pole.

COVID-19 disaster in Johnson’s Britain, update

Cartoon of British Conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson, from Dutch daily NRC

From daily News Line in Britain, 18 May 2020:

‘You Have Right To Refuse To Work!’ – Aslef Advises Members

As London Underground ramps up services today, ASLEF has advised members of their right to refuse to work in circumstances where they are at risk of serious and imminent danger.

Finn Brennan, ASLEF organiser on the Underground, said: ‘Despite our objections, London Underground has insisted that train drivers revert to working as they did before the Covid-19 crisis. They are being told that they can no longer continue to work in the safer way that they have been working over the last six weeks.

‘This is because the government is insisting that Transport for London (TfL) maximises the service it operates, regardless of the implications for driver safety. 42 TfL workers have already lost their lives to this dreadful disease. The government appears to regard them as nothing more than collateral damage.

‘Until now Underground train services have been operated by drivers working to and from depots so that all unnecessary contact with other individuals and passengers is restricted. This has now been stopped, directly putting the safety of Tube train drivers at risk.

‘Consequently, we have advised our members of their statutory right to refuse to work in circumstances where they are at risk of serious and imminent danger.

‘Tube drivers have risked their own safety and that of their families to keep services moving for essential workers over the last six weeks. Now they are being asked to take unacceptable and unnecessary risks. They are frightened for themselves and frightened for their families.’

The government bailout of TfL has forced fare rises onto ordinary Londoners – a condition it did not, perhaps predictably, impose on private providers on the main line.

‘Once again,’ said Mick Whelan, general secretary, ‘It’s one rule for the public companies and another for the private.’

Responding to the government announcement that it is imposing austerity cuts and direct control over transport in London, RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said: ‘London Transport workers have been vital to fighting Covid-19 and any attacks on their pay, jobs and conditions arising from this imposed settlement will be a complete betrayal.

‘It looks like Boris Johnson is back in charge of transport in London. We will not accept one penny of austerity cuts imposed by Whitehall or passed on by City Hall as part of this funding package and our resistance will include strike action if necessary.

‘We are also deeply concerned that this is a sign of wider austerity conditions to be imposed on the transport industry across the UK.’

By Peter Lazenby in Britain, 18 May 2020:

Tube bosses accused of sending drivers home for raising safety concerns

LONDON’s Tube drivers are being sent home for raising coronavirus safety issues, Aslef said today.

Management have also threatened to stop their pay, said the train drivers’ union, which vowed to fight “industrially and legally, on the picket lines and in the courts” if necessary.

Transport for London (TfL) planned to increase services from 50 to 75 per cent of normal timetables today to cope with an expected increase in passenger numbers following the government’s “back to work” call.

By Peter Lazenby in Britain, 18 May 2020:

Train services to be ramped up despite safety fears

BRITAIN’S train companies will ramp up services today to reflect coronavirus travel restrictions being eased amid warnings over the safety of passengers and staff.

Industry body the Rail Delivery Group said that services will be increased from around 50 per cent of the standard timetable to 70 per cent.

But in a bid to enable social distancing, their capacity will be reduced to as little as 10 per cent of normal levels, and passengers are being urged to avoid non-essential travel.

By Ceren Sagir in Britain, 17 May 2020:

Calls for greater protection for Filipino health and care workers following highest death rates

THE ambassador from the Philippines to Britain called for key workers to be “properly protected” today following claims that Filipinos had the highest death rate of NHS and care staff.

By May 16, 173 frontline health and care workers had died with Covid-19, according to the PA news agency.

Of those, approximately 13 per cent were of Filipino heritage.

White-tailed tropicbird feeds youngster

This video from Bermuda says about itself:

Adult Tropicbird Feeds, Broods Sleepy Nestling – May 15, 2020

Who’s up for a mid-nap snack? Watch the White-tailed Tropicbird chick wake up to a short preening session and meal from the adult. Both adult birds attend to parenting duties over the course of the nestling period. After the first couple of weeks, the chick will be left alone at the nest more often as the parents forage for food over the open ocean.

Coronavirus disaster in Trump’s USA, news

This 17 May 2020 video from the USA says about itself:

Donald Trump rages over Dr. Fauci protecting kids from coronavirus. John Iadarola and Michael Shure break it down on The Damage Report.

“Health officials are looking into a rare inflammatory syndrome and how it could be impacting children during the coronavirus pandemic.

Now 15 states, including New York, are investigating cases that could be linked to Kawasaki disease ⁠– a rare inflammatory condition that often impacts children aged five years or younger ⁠– and toxic shock syndrome, Governor Andrew Cuomo said during his press briefing on Wednesday.

New York has discovered 102 cases in children that show symptoms similar to the rare disease and are now looking to see if there is a connection with Covid-19.”

Read more here.

13 SAILORS ON USS THEODORE ROOSEVELT AGAIN TEST POSITIVE Thirteen sailors aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt have again tested positive for the coronavirus after reportedly recovering from COVID-19. Eight sailors aboard the aircraft carrier tested positive for the disease after previously testing negative. They were in addition to five sailors who tested positive after recording two negative tests, meeting “rigorous recovery criteria“, a Navy spokesman said. All 13 sailors have been moved off the ship. [HuffPost]

HANG FAUCI’ SIGNS SEEN AMID LOCKDOWN PROTESTERS TRUMP CALLED ‘GREAT PEOPLE’ A disturbing sign with the words “Hang Fauci” appeared in a news report about COVID-19 lockdown protesters hailed by Trump as “great people”. The sign was part of a threatening rhyme … It appeared in a local TV report Thursday on News 12 Long Island about the “Re-Open New York” protest that day. The chilling message was part of a report on the protest by TV journalist Kevin Vesey, who has become a target of Trump on Twitter. [HuffPost]

HHS CHIEF: DEFYING SOCIAL DISTANCING ‘PART OF AMERICAN FREEDOM’ During CNN’s “State of the Union”  Sunday, host Jake Tapper asked Alex Azar, U.S. secretary of health and human services, if he’s concerned by photos of people without masks crowding together in large groups in some states that have begun to ease coronavirus restrictions. ″You’re going to see people doing things that are irresponsible,” Azar said. “That’s part of the freedom that we have here in America.” [HuffPost]

Why stadiums are incubators for coronavirus spread.

ERIC TRUMP: COVID-19 WILL ‘MAGICALLY VANISH’ AFTER ELECTION DAY Taking a page from his dad’s playbook, Eric Trump insisted in an interview that COVID-19 will “magically” disappear — after Election Day. He claimed that the coronavirus that has killed 312,000 people around the globe — including nearly 90,000 Americans — is a ploy cooked up by the Democrats to stop Donald Trump from rallying his supporters at campaign events. Democratic presidential front-runner Joe Biden “loves this,” Trump’s middle son told Jeanine Pirro on Fox News. [HuffPost]

Return to work proves there’s nothing equal about the pandemic.

People of color are thrown to the wolves with back-to-work guidelines.

PHARMA ‘BRO’ DENIED PRISON TIMEOUT TO WORK ON COVID-19 TREATMENT A federal judge has denied a request from Martin Shkreli — the smirking, price-gouging former drug company executive known as “Pharma Bro” — for a three-month prison release to research a COVID-19 treatment. Brooklyn U.S. District Judge Kiyo Matsumoto said in her ruling that she agreed with a probation report that described Shkreli’s plan as the same kind of “delusional self-aggrandizing behavior” that landed him in prison. [HuffPost]

Trump-Pompeo corruption scandal in the USA

This 17 May 2020 video from the USA says about itself:

A White House official said the ousting of State Department Inspector General Steve Linick came on the advice of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Democrats told NBC News that Linick had opened an investigation into possible misconduct from Pompeo in terms of a government employee who may have been doing personal errands both for him and his wife.

Purge of government watchdogs escalates drive for authoritarian rule. Trump fires State Department inspector general. By Barry Grey, 18 May 2020. Over the past six weeks, Trump also has removed the inspectors general of the Intelligence Community, Defense and Health and Human Services.

SCANDAL OVER POMPEO ‘DOG WALKER’ State Department inspector general Steve Linick, who President Donald Trump fired last week, was reportedly investigating whether Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had made a staffer run personal errands for him. Pompeo has faced scrutiny in the past for allegedly using special agents to carry out personal tasks. Linick launched a probe into whether Pompeo had made a staffer — described in some reports as a “political appointee”— walk his dog, pick up his dry cleaning and make dinner reservations for him and his wife, among other errands. [HuffPost]

PELOSI: TRUMP FIRING OF INSPECTOR GENERAL COULD BE ‘UNLAWFUL’  Trump’s firing of the State Department’s top internal watchdog “could be unlawful” if it was intended to retaliate against one of his investigations, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said. Inspector General Steve Linick was the fourth inspector general fired by Trump since early April, following his February acquittal by the Republican-controlled Senate in his impeachment trial.  The top Democrats on the House and Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Saturday began a probe into the firing. [Reuters]

North American rufous hummingbirds, video

This April 2020 video says about itself:

The Rufous Hummingbird is a priority species for us at American Bird Conservancy due to significant population declines. In spite of its small size, it’s the most aggressive of the North American hummingbirds, often attacking birds many times its size in defense of its territory. It reigns supreme at feeders and choice flower patches.

Video by Don DesJardin.