Korean cult boss arrested for spreading coronavirus

This 17 September 2018 video says about itself:

Accused South Korean cult leader filmed beating her followers

Footage has emerged of a South Korean pastor beating and slapping her followers. The video also appears to show family members being encouraged to abuse each other. Pastor Shin Ok-ju led 400 of her followers from South Korea to Fiji where it is alleged she was using them to work without pay. Shin was arrested when she returned to Seoul from Fiji in August. The footage in this video was first aired by Seoul Broadcasting System’s investigative program ‘Unanswered Questions’.

Translated from Dutch NOS radio today:

South Korean cult leader arrested for withholding information about outbreak

In South Korea, the leader of the Christian Shincheonji cult has been arrested. The 89-year-old Lee Man-hee is said to have withheld information about the outbreak in his sect in February.

The Shincheonji cult has been linked to 5,200 infections, 36 percent of all coronavirus cases in South Korea. According to the indictment, Lee refused to share information with the authorities about the 200,000 members and where they meet. This made it more difficult for health services to contain the outbreak.

Lee previously called the coronavirus “an act of the devil”, who supposedly wanted to put an end to the growth of his cult.

Thousands of Irish children in mass graves

This 15 July 2020 video says about itself:

Six years after from the discovery of 800 babies’ bodies in sewage tanks under a former [Roman Catholic religious] mother and baby home in the Irish town of Tuam, a state commission to investigate what really happened still has yet to report. But Tuam seems to be the tip of the iceberg.

Irish religious children’s mass graves scandal

This 9 June 2020 video says about itself:

Ireland’s Mother and Baby Scandal (Part 1) | People and Power

Content warning: Some viewers may find this film distressing

Six years ago, Catherine Corless, a local historian from County Galway in the Republic of Ireland, discovered that hundreds of babies and young children had died in a home for unmarried pregnant women, run by Roman Catholic nuns in her hometown of Tuam.

Further research revealed that many of the babies had died of malnutrition and other forms of neglect. Most of their bodies had been disposed of, officially unrecorded, in an old septic tank buried in the grounds of the home.

Angry survivors and relatives called for an investigation – for the remains to be exhumed, identified and properly buried, for compensation and immediate government action. Concerned families began to ask questions about other homes run by the Church in Ireland and how many other babies had died in equally mysterious circumstances.

In 2015, in response to publicity and pressure in Dail Eireann, the lower house of the Irish Parliament, the government announced it was setting up an official Commission of Investigation. The body was required to provide answers by 2018. Indeed, some modest interim findings have since been released, but two years since its official publication date, the full report has still not seen the light of day.

This June, partially in response to the coronavirus pandemic, the report was again delayed until October 2020.

In its absence, the suspicion, frustration and anger of relatives have mushroomed. And the once shameful secret of a single small rural town is developing into a broader and more profound national scandal; an affair which goes to the heart of the close relationship between successive Irish governments and the Catholic Church.

In two special episodes of People and Power, from filmmakers Callum Macrae, Mark Williams and Al Jazeera correspondent Laurence Lee, we investigate deeply disturbing allegations that both the Irish state and its religious orders were responsible for a systematic decades-long regime of institutional neglect and exploitation involving the death of thousands of children.

Florida COVID-19 denialist mother kills teenage daughter

This 6 July 2020 video about the USA says about itself:

Florida Teen Carsyn Davis Passes Away After QANON Mom Takes her to a COVID Party

QANON is an extreme right conspiracy theory.

Earlier today, outlets like Raw Story reported on the story of 16-year-old Carsyn Leigh Davis, who passed away after her mom took her to a church COVID party where there were 100 children without masks. Her mother Carole Brunton Davis then gave her medicines which were unprescribed by a doctor based on theories from Donald Trump and QANON. She also failed to allow her daughter access to a ventilator.

The church was apparently First Assembly of God Fort Myers.

A Pentecostalist fundamentalist church.

As a result of this, this young woman who was a cancer survivor was needlessly taken away. This is why we call out anti-science anti-mask Karens, and the damage they do, including to the children they are supposed to love and protect

COVID-19 infects United States Donald Trump supporters

This 24 March 2020 video from the USA says about itself:

Pastor Holds Services Despite Coronavirus Outbreak

A pastor is receiving criticism for hold services despite the coronavirus outbreak, KDKA’s Ross Guidotti reports.

Translated from daily De Limburger in the Netherlands today, about that preacher:

Republican Tim Walters, co-founder of the ReOpen Maryland movement, now is infected by the coronavirus. Walters, who opposes corona measures in the US state, went to meetings and church services without facemasks in recent months.

In March, the Reverend Walters – who quotes Bible verses – suffered from a “dry cough.” On Thursday, he was found to be infected with the virus. …

The 53-year-old conservative says he has diabetes and his health is not too good. Despite his infection, Walters refuses to cooperate in a contact investigation or share personal information with government agencies.

At least one other Donald Trump-supporting and COVID-19 medical science denialist preacher has already died from the virus

Internet church services preferred to church buildings

This 24 May 2020 United States TV video is called Chicago faith leaders split on reopening churches after Trump’s request.

United States President Trump, Brazilian President Bolsonaro and right-wing preachers make a big fuss that churches should reopen.

According to them, having religious services on the internet instead of in jampacked church buildings supposedly violates freedom of religion.

In fact, Trump and Bolsonaro have economic rather than religious motives. They want people to go to unsafe church buildings in order to make it easier to drive them to unsafe factory halls, unsafe distribution centres etc, to work to make billionaires even richer.

The far-right preachers insisting on reopening church buildings have economic motives as well. It is possible to contribute financially to a church through the internet. However, these preachers estimate that having the faithful in COVID-19 contagion prone jampacked church buildings with peer pressure may yield more financial benefits for them. Eg, for buying private planes.

In Germany, churches reopened on 1 May. Shortly afterwards, over 100 people became ill with COVID-19 after a Baptist church service.

In California in the USA, Governor Gavin Newsom ramps up reopening despite serious public health threats. Newsom is accelerating the re-opening of the state, allowing resumption of business for shopping malls, dine-in restaurants, and large gatherings, despite the enormous dangers of COVID-19.

Despite governor’ green light, California synagogues will mostly stay closed.

Trump’s Push To Open Churches Contradicts Jesus’ Teaching To Love Neighbors, Clergy Say. Loving your neighbor means keeping them out of harm’s way, Rev. William Barber said — joining other faith leaders criticizing Trump’s push to reopen churches: here.

Now, translated from Dutch NOS radio today:

Online Church Services More Popular Than Physical Services

The number of people who watch an online church service is often much higher than the number of churchgoers in normal times, according to a study by [Protestant Christian daily] Trouw. Since the outbreak of the coronavirus crisis, many churches broadcast their services on Sundays.

Trouw sent a questionnaire to almost 250 congregations and parishes, of which about ninety replied. Some churches have several dozen more church attendants, others hundreds. Protestant digital services are doing particularly well.

An important explanation for its popularity is the accessibility, Mirella Klomp of the Protestant Theological University told the newspaper. “People who do not like to go to church buildings, or who do not come for health reasons, can join easily.”

German restaurant, church, coronavirus epicentres

This 24 May 2020 German TV video is about the COVID-19 outbreaks after a party at a restaurant and a church service.

Translated from Dutch NOS radio today:

The number of corona infections after a party in a restaurant in the German town of Leer has risen to eighteen. Seven infections were reported on Saturday. The number of quarantined people has risen to 118, local authorities report.

Fourteen infected people attended a private party at the restaurant on May 15. Four others have been infected through them. They all come from the area of ​​Leer, which is just across the border of Dutch Groningen. The restaurant also received guests on May 16, 17 and 20.

Some of the people who have to be quarantined already show coronavirus symptoms. Part of the management of the nearby big shipyard Meyer must also be kept in isolation, because the personnel chief was present at the party.

Shake hands

Visitors to the party say that in the restaurant anti-coronavirus rules were broken. Eg, guests or staff are said to have shaken hands, kept insufficient distance and did not wear a mask, even though the rules said they had to.

According to German media, the restaurant boss may also have made mistakes with the guest list, so it is not clear who has been inside. Eg, candidates coming for job interviews interviewed in the restaurant are said to not have been registered.


The local authorities are investigating the reports. The restaurant may be fined € 25,000. …

A [Baptist] church service in Frankfurt has also led to a corona outbreak. The service was on May 10 and it is now known that 107 people have been infected.

On 1 May, anti-coronavirus rules for religious services had been relaxed.

High COVID-19 infection rates among doctors and nurses in Germany. By Markus Salzmann, 25 May 2020. According to the public health body Robert Koch Institute, more than 20,000 workers in German hospitals, doctors’ practices, nursing homes and care services are now infected.

German church service infects over 100 people

This video from the USA says about itself:

Contact Tracings Show Risk Of Coronavirus Spread Through Churches | Rachel Maddow | MSNBC

Rachel Maddow looks at how contact tracings have taught us that church gatherings have been a particular point of vulnerability for the spread of coronavirus in the United States, a fact not changed by Donald Trump’s posturing.

Aired on 05/22/2020.

Translated from Dutch NOS radio about Germany today:

Not 40 but 107 people infected after church service in Frankfurt

After a church service in Frankfurt, 107 people became infected with the coronavirus. That was announced by the Minister of Health. Yesterday it was reported that it concerned forty people.

People come from Frankfurt and the surrounding area. The service was on May 10.

On May 1, public health restrictions on religious gatherings had been lifted.

German church reopened, dozens infected

This 3 March 2020 video from South Korea says about itself:

COVID-19: Seoul’s mayor sues Shincheonji Church of Jesus leaders over spike in cases

The mayor of Seoul, Park Won-soon, is suing South Korea’s Shincheonji Church of Jesus over the spike of COVID-19 cases in the country. There are now more than 4,800 confirmed cases of the virus in South Korea, and about half are linked to the church. CNA’s Lim Yun Suk with more.

Translated from Dutch NOS radio today:

More than 40 people have been tested positive for the coronavirus after a church service on May 10 in Frankfurt, reports German news agency DPA. …

Religious meetings have been allowed under certain conditions since May 1 in the state of Hesse, where Frankfurt is located.

How Italian renaissance domes were built

This 2014 video says about itself:

How an Amateur Built the World’s Biggest Dome

In 1418, Filippo Brunelleschi was tasked with building the largest dome ever seen at the time. He had no formal architecture training. Yet experts still don’t fully understand the brilliant methods he used in contructing the dome, which tops the Santa Maria del Fiore cathedral in Florence, Italy.

From Princeton University, Engineering School in the USA:

Double helix of masonry: Researchers discover the secret of Italian renaissance domes

May 18, 2020

Summary: Researchers found that the masonry of Italian renaissance domes, such as the duomo in Florence, use a double-helix structure that is self-supporting during and after construction. Their study is the first to quantitatively prove the forces at work in such masonry domes, which may lead to advances in modern drone construction techniques.

In a collaborative study in this month’s issue of Engineering Structures, researchers at Princeton University and the University of Bergamo revealed the engineering techniques behind self-supporting masonry domes inherent to the Italian renaissance. Researchers analyzed how cupolas like the famous duomo, part of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence, were built as self-supporting, without the use of shoring or forms typically required.

Sigrid Adriaenssens, professor of civil and environmental engineering at Princeton, collaborated on the analysis with graduate student Vittorio Paris and Attilio Pizzigoni, professor engineering and applied sciences, both of the University of Bergamo. Their study is the first ever to quantitatively prove the physics at work in Italian renaissance domes and to explain the forces which allow such structures to have been built without formwork typically required, even for modern construction. Previously, there were only hypotheses in the field about how forces flowed through such edifices, and it was unknown how they were built without the use of temporary structures to hold them up during construction.

For Adriaenssens, the project advances two significant questions. “How can mankind construct such a large and beautiful structure without any formwork — mechanically, what’s the innovation?” she asked. Secondly, “What can we learn?” Is there some “forgotten technology that we can use today?”

The detailed computer analysis accounts for the forces at work down to the individual brick, explaining how equilibrium is leveraged. The technique called discrete element modelling (DEM) analyzed the structure at several layers and stages of construction. A limit state analysis determined the overall equilibrium state, or stability, of the completed structure. Not only do these tests verify the mechanics of the structures, but they also make it possible to recreate the techniques for modern construction.

Applying their findings to modern construction, the researchers anticipate that this study could have practical applications for developing construction techniques deploying aerial drones and robots. Using these unmanned machines for construction would increase worker safety, as well as enhance construction speed and reduce building costs.

Another advantage of unearthing new building techniques from ancient sources is that it can yield environmental benefits. “The construction industry is one of the most wasteful ones, so that means if we don’t change anything, there will be a lot more construction waste,” said Adriaenssens, who is interested in using drone techniques for building very large span roofs that are self-supporting and require no shoring or formwork.

“Overall, this project speaks to an ancient narrative that tells of stones finding their equilibrium in the wonder of reason,” said Pizzigoni, “from Brunelleschi’s dome to the mechanical arms of modern-day robotics where technology is performative of spaces and its social use.”