Coronavirus crisis in Britain and France


This 26 May 2020 video from Britain says about itself:

Who is Dominic Cummings & What Does He Have on Boris Johnson? | Peter Jukes

“The fact that Boris Johnson had to defend breaking lockdown shows his power. So… why is he so powerful?”

UK’S JOHNSON DEFENDS CHIEF ADVISER AMID LOCKDOWN BREACH SCANDAL U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaped to defend his embattled chief adviser Dominic Cummings, who refused to apologize for multiple breaches of lockdown guidelines. Cummings said he didn’t regret traveling 260 miles out of London to his parents’ home with his child and wife — who had coronavirus symptoms — at the peak of lockdown in March. He also claimed a drive to the town of Barnard Castle was to have an eye test, as he was worried his vision had been affected by coronavirus. The revelations have sparked a huge backlash among people who adhered to guidelines despite dire circumstances. [HuffPost]

UK: Johnson government opposes pay increase for nurses. By Rory Woods, 26 May 2020. Boris Johnson and other ministers busy hailing nurses and doctors as “heroes” have again made clear they are bitter enemies of all health care workers.

Postal workers stop work in Peterborough and High Wycombe, England, over COVID-19 safety fears. By Paul Lee, 26 May 2020. The threat to safety in the two offices are replicated in delivery and sorting offices all over the country and internationally.

Reopened schools close across France as coronavirus found among students and staff. By Will Morrow, 26 May 2020. Two weeks after the reopening of schools began in France, more than 70 schools have been forced to close as coronavirus cases have been found among students and teachers.

Black kites rest in Morocco during migration


This video from Morocco says about itself:

Tens of thousands of Black Kites roosting near Jbel Moussa on 2 March 2020. They waited for the weather to improve to continue their migration towards their breeding grounds in Europe.

Video clips by Rachid El Khamlichi.

Teachers may get COVID-19 in reopened schools


This 25 May 2020 video from the USA says about itself:

California governor Newsom has so starved the California-Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) that is it doing no physical inspections of factories, hospitals and workplaces to see if workers are protected from Covid-19.

Former California-OSHA Medical Director Dr. Larry Rose talks about the collapse of Cal-OSHA and his visits to the former NUMMI plant, now Tesla run by billionaire Elon Musk. Cal-OSHA refuses to have any inspections of the Tesla plant and is leaving it up to the Fremont police to protect the health and safety of workers. There are less than 200 Cal-OSHA inspectors and only one doctor and one nurse for California’s 18 million workers.

This interview was done on 5/22/20.

Translated from Dutch NOS radio today:

Almost 70 percent of primary school teachers and teaching assistants have doubts about the government’s decision to allow all children to go back to school from 8 June on. The one-and-a-half meter distancing measure cannot be properly maintained in crowded classrooms, say participants in an inquiry by trade union AOb.

Also, the extra cleaning that is needed is not yet properly arranged. In addition, in full classes you also get more parents at schools, which increases the risk of infection. Half of the 8000 participants are concerned that little is known about infection by young children.

See also here.

Small new frog species discovery in Madagascar


Life colouration of Stumpffia froschaueri sp. nov. A dorsolateral view of holotype ZSM 169/2019 (ACZCV 0940) from Anketsakely (Anabohazo Forest) B dorsolateral view of paratype ZSM 166/2019 (ACZCV 0939) from Ankarafa Forest C dorsolateral view of paratype ZSM 168/2019 (ACZCV 0966) from Ankarafa Forest D dorsolateral view of paratype ZSM 167/2019 (ACZCV 0968) from Ankarafa Forest. Pictures by Gonçalo M. Rosa

A 25 May 2020 video used to say about itself:

A frog no bigger than a 5p coin has been discovered in Madagascar – and already classed as critically endangered by conservationists. The new species of stump-toed frog, named Stumpffia froschaueri, is brown in colour with black spots on its side, in an apparent attempt to camouflage itself among the leaves around it.

From ScienceDaily:

A new critically endangered frog named after ‘the man from the floodplain full of frogs’

May 25, 2020

A new species proposed to be classified as Critically Endangered of miniaturised stump-toed frog of the genus Stumpffia, found in Madagascar, is named Stumpffia froschaueri after “the man from the floodplain full of frogs,” Christoph Froschauer. The namesake of the new frog is famous for being the first, and European wide renowned, printer from Zürich, famous for printing “Historia animalium” and the “Zürich Bible”.

Christoph Froschauer’s (ca. 1490 — April 1564) family name means “the man from the floodplain full of frogs“, and the printer used to sign his books with a woodcut, showing frogs under a tree in a landscape. Amongst his publications are works by Zwingli, Bullinger, Gessner, Erasmus von Rotterdam and Luther, and as a gift for his art, the printer was given citizenship in Zürich in 1519. Now, scientists have also honoured Froschauer’s great contributions by naming a new frog species after him.

The discovery, made by an international team of scientists from CIBIO (Research Centre in Biodiversity and Genetic Resources) of the University of Porto, Zoological Society of London, University of Lisbon, University of Brighton, University of Bristol, University of Antananarivo and Museo Regionale di Scienze Naturali, is published in the open-access peer-reviewed journal ZooKeys.

The new species is reliably known only from a few specimens collected in three forest patches of the Sahamalaza region, an area severely threatened by fire, drought and high levels of forest clearance.

“In Anketsakely and Ankarafa this species has been found only in areas with relatively undisturbed forest, and active individuals were found during the day within the leaf-litter on the forest floor, where discreet calling males were also detected,” shares lead author Dr. Angelica Crottini from CIBIO.

Even though two out of the three forest patches where Stumpffia froschaueri occurs are now part of a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, there is a lack in forest border patrols and the area remains under strong pressure from slash-and-burn activities and timber harvesting. Habitat loss and fragmentation are likely to represent a huge threat to the species’ survival and cause population declines, unless remedial actions to enforce the protection of these habitats are taken. The scientists suggest to classify Stumpffia froschaueri as a Critically Endangered species according to criteria of the IUCN Red List.

“We here reiterate the need to continue with field survey activities, giving particular attention to small and marginal areas, where several microendemic candidate species are likely waiting to be discovered and formally described. This description confirms the Sahamalaza Peninsula as an important hotspot of amphibian diversity, with several threatened species relying almost entirely on the persistence of these residual forest fragments,” concludes Dr. Crottini.

COVID-19 crisis in Boris Johnson’s Britain


British school closed

By Bethany Rielly in Britain, 25 May 2020:

Ignore ‘failed’ PM and open when safe, schools and councils urged

TEACHERS have called on schools to ignore the “failed” Prime Minister and only reopen when they are sure it is safe.

The call today from National Education Union joint general secretary Mary Bousted came after a weekend in which embattled PM Boris Johnson — on the ropes over the lockdown breach by his top adviser Dominic Cummings — insisted that he would begin a wider reopening of schools on June 1 despite fears over safety.

Councils, schools and unions have urged the government to follow scientific advice and delay school openings that could revive the spread of the coronavirus.

Who is Dominic Cummings? PETER FROST uncovers a few facts about the man who it seems has a different coronavirus rule book from the rest of us. See also here. And here.

Where the wealthy go in epidemics, then and now. Research shows that as the pandemic hit, those fleeing New York and London were white, educated and rich — we are certainly not all in it together, says KEITH FLETT.

How hundreds were excluded from the Tories’ ‘Everybody In’ scheme. On March 26 the government declared that every rough sleeper must be brought in off the streets. The call was hailed as a ‘landmark moment’ and an opportunity to eradicate homelessness once and for all. But why, two months later, are there still hundreds of people sleeping rough? See here.

Government’s own science advisers flag risks to opening schools in June: here.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain, 25 May 2020:

Majority of education staff anxious about returning to work, Unison survey finds

THE vast majority of education staff in Scotland are anxious about returning to work, according to a Unison survey.

The union’s poll of more than 5,000 education staff in Scotland found that 83 per cent are worried about going back to work or increasing the number of children returning to classrooms.

Just 3 per cent of respondents to the survey, carried out between Monday May 18 and Friday May 22, consider it safe to return to work.

By Jamie Caldwell in Scotland, 25 May 2020:

The picture has become clear for all to see. The Tories want to save money not lives

The Tories would have us paying for this crisis to claw back normality for the most wealthy – we can’t allow that to happen, says JAMIE CALDWELL

NEVER before have we been given the opportunity to go forward in a different way like now.

Back to normal can’t be back to “normal”. Deep divides, rampant inequality and the underfunding of our NHS, including so many staff going underpaid — all of them key worker “heroes”.

They don’t need charity. They need proper, secure jobs with decent pay and conditions and a union for solidarity.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain, 25 May 2020:

Workers must have access to Covid-19 tests and be given paid time off to do so, TUC urges

WORKERS must have access to testing for coronavirus including paid time off to be tested, the TUC urged yesterday.

The trade union organisation said there should be easily accessible testing sites as part of measures to ease the economic lockdown.

Priority should be given to those in at-risk and shielding groups or who care for individuals in those groups, it said.