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Thu, 20 Feb 2020
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UK home ownership among people aged 35-44 has plunged as wages continue to stagnate and house prices soar

estate agents
© Tim Ireland/PA
Rising house prices and sluggish wage growth have left many middle-aged people priced out of the property market.
Home ownership has collapsed for adults in their prime working age, according to official figures that show those in their mid-30s to mid-40s are three times more likely to rent than 20 years ago.

In a reflection of surging house prices and a lost decade for wage growth since the financial crisis, the Office for National Statistics found that a third of 35- to 44-year-olds in England were renting from a private landlord in 2017, compared with fewer than one in 10 in 1997.

The government statistics agency said home ownership had become increasingly concentrated among people over the age of 65. Almost three-quarters of adults in the generation that includes baby boomers born after the second world war own their own homes outright, up from just over half in 1993.

Comment: The future for Brits is looking pretty dire:

Eye 1

Four Chinese military hackers charged with massive 2017 Equifax breach

The defendants stole the personal information of nearly 150 million Americans in one of the largest data breaches in history, the Justice Department said.

Attorney General William Barr
© Win McNamee / Getty Images
Attorney General William Barr during a press conference on the shooting at the Pensacola naval base, in Washington on Jan. 13, 2020.
Four Chinese military hackers were charged with hacking into the Equifax credit reporting company in 2017 and stealing the personal information of nearly 150 million Americans, the Department of Justice said Monday.

The nine-count indictment says that the four officers exploited a vulnerability in Equifax's online dispute portal to conduct surveillance on the company's network and then steal login credentials in what was one of the largest data breaches in history. The hackers managed to spend several weeks inside Equifax's network collecting data, storing it in output files and ultimately downloading it onto computers outside the United States — all while avoiding detection, the indictment says.

Blue Planet

China dismisses coronavirus bioweapon rumors, infection rates fall for 4th day

© China Daily via Reuters
Medical workers in protective suits attend to novel coronavirus patients at the ICU in Wuhan, Hubei province, China
As the death toll from the novel coronavirus outbreak soared to over 900 people worldwide, the Chinese ambassador to the US has cautioned against fueling panic and spreading dangerous rumors about the virus' unknown origins.

With China's Hubei Province, the epicenter of the lethal viral outbreak, reporting 91 deaths and some 2,618 additional cases of infection throughout Sunday - the global toll now stands at over 40,000 cases with at least 904 fatalities.

Asked about the situation and speculation surrounding the 2019-nCoV origins and spread earlier in the day, Chinese Ambassador to the United States Cui Tiankai told CBS it would be "absolutely crazy" to believe unsubstantiated rumors online while the entire global scientific community that is working day and night on the issue has yet to come a conclusion.

Comment: An app has been created that claims to be able to predict potential contact with the virus:
A mobile application developed by the Chinese government and a state-run tech company is reported to warn users when they are at imminent risk of contracting the killer coronavirus, which has claimed more than 900 lives.

The "close contact detector" has become available to Chinese users, requiring only their name, phone number and ID for installation, Xinhua reported on Monday. The app then lets the user know if they have been in contact with someone infected by the deadly 2019-nCoV virus.

Qihoo 360, China's biggest cybersecurity company, has also come up with an application that lets users check if they traveled by plane or train with someone who caught the virus.

Search engine Baidu has released an add-on for its Baidu Map app, which locates confirmed and suspected cases in cities that have been put on lockdown. The map also shows real-time data on the coronavirus, including traffic updates and epidemic control checkpoints.
Moon of Alabama provides some recent transmission and related coronavirus data:
Caixin reports (machine translation):
In general, with the increase in isolation and treatment work, the number of new suspected cases nationwide has decreased, and the number of new confirmed cases outside Hubei has fallen for 4 consecutive days. The situation of the new coronavirus epidemic situation may have improved. On the 7th, the first confirmed case appeared in only one city, and the number of newly cured cases exceeded the number of new deaths for 9 consecutive days, indicating that the epidemic was under control.
The graphic below shows the newly suspected cases per day (yellow) and the number of newly confirmed cases per day (red).

© Dxy - bigger
Graphic updated with February 8 data


Data source: National Health Commission of China
The new cases per day number in China stabilized at around 8,000 per day and is now sinking.

The epidemic is still a local Chinese affair. Of 34,956 global cases 34,664 are in China.

Of the 32.000 current confirmed cases 25.000 are in Hubei province. The provincial capital Wuhan alone has 13,600 cases.

Health services and personal in Wuhan were extremely stressed (recommended) during January. The death rate there (blue) topped at 5% of the cases before it came down below 3%. The death rate of nCoV19 cases in all of China (yellow) is now about 2%. The rest-of-the-globe rate (grey), with probably too few total cases to be meaningful, is at 0.17%.

A number of anti-virus medications are now being tested on the current cases. Some combinations seem to help which will further lower the death rate.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said that 88% of those who died were over 60 years old. 76% of the dead were men and 70% of the dead had underlying diseases.

China's economy is severely effected by the epidemic.

After the Lunar New Year on January 25 property sales stayed at zero instead of increasing towards their normal height.

Road congestion is at a record low.

The Chinese authorities will soon have to balance public safety with the necessity of economic activities. They are likely to stay cautious. They will want to make sure that the epidemic is under total control before allowing a return to normal life.

Further shutdowns of factories and curfews will interrupt supply chains and will affect the global economy. This will likely speed up the 'decoupling' from China which the U.S. under Trump promotes.
See also:


The nightmare of airport facial recognition

Biometrics Roadmap

TSA Biometrics Roadmap, September 2018. Note that face ID will be used for all air travelers and that all use of physical ID credentials is “phasing out” in favor of facial recognition and digital tokens on mobile devices.
The ACLU has released an important white paper on airport facial recognition by ACLU senior policy analyst Jay Stanley. Citing some of our previous reporting and analysis, the ACLU white paper focuses, appropriately, not so much on the details of current use of facial recognition at airports, but on where governments and the aviation industry — who share a an explicitly-recognized interest in common use of facial recognition — say it will lead if we don't stop them.

IATA airline vision

IATA airline vision for shared use of facial recognition by governments, airlines, and airports
Driving the dystopian trend called out in the ACLU white paper is the malign convergence of interest between governments that want to use facial recognition and other techniques of compelled and automated identification for surveillance and control of travelers' movements, and airlines, airports, and other businesses that want to share use of the same identification systems and data for business process automation and commercial tracking and profiling of travel customers.

Comment: See also:


Some Americans would rather die by meteor than see Trump re-elected

donald trump meteor
© PA Images/Buena Vista Pictures
US President Donald Trump has his eyes on the 2020 campaign trail. However, some voters would rather see 'a giant meteor strike the Earth, extinguishing all human life' than endure him being re-elected.

Trump escaped being ousted from office on Wednesday, February 5, after the Senate voted against two impeachment charges advanced by the House last November.

With that acquittal, the president will be ramping up his re-election efforts. However, not everyone is keen on him renewing his stay at the White House, with some wishing for death by meteor instead.

Comment: Leave it to self-centered screeching leftists to wish death upon the entire earth because their chosen candidate didn't get into office. Apparently their own deaths are not sufficient - the entire human race needs to pay for their bad feelings. Well don't worry Lefties, your wish is probably on its way.

See also:


From 'artificially inseminated cows' to a John Bolton joke: Oscars 2020 Top 5 cringiest 'woke' moments

oscars statue
© REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni
The Academy Awards were full to the brim with virtue signaling, including actress Natalie Portman's dress calling out nominated male directors, and Chris Rock and Steve Martin complaining about missing 'vaginas.'

Missing 'vaginas'

Despite the Academy Awards going forward with their night without a host, comedians Steve Martin and Chris Rock were still given an opportunity at the top of the evening to throw out some digs at the Oscars, including the lack of female artists nominated.

When talking about directors nominated at this year's ceremony - all males - the pair called out the show for its lack of recognition for females behind the camera.


celebrity opinions
See also: Oscars 2020: Joaquin Phoenix wins Best Actor as 'The Woker', Brad Pitt Best Supporting Actor with edgy quip about Bolton & impeachment


Why I'm anti-woke

police with pride
© getty
The woke police?
Woke authoritarians are a threat to freedom and equality.

During 2019's Last Night of the Proms, the audience was treated to a rendition of Daniel Kidane's latest composition, 'Woke'. Kidane had written the piece because he was concerned that the word had veered from its earlier definition - that is, to be 'alert to injustice in society, especially racism'. This was how the word was understood when it originated in the various black civil-rights movements of the 20th century. If this is all it means to be woke, then count me in.

Unfortunately, over the past few years the term has been appropriated and sloganised by the cult of social justice. 'Woke' is no longer simply a matter of standing up to racism, but is irrevocably connected to the authoritarian mindset of the identitarian left. Rather than confront bad ideas through discussion, debate, ridicule and protest, those who self-identify as 'woke' would sooner intimidate their detractors into silence through what has become known as 'cancel culture'. More insidiously, they have sought to empower the state and strengthen hate-speech laws, which curb individual freedom. They do all this in the belief that theirs is a righteous cause, but their illiberal actions ultimately bolster the very ideas they purport to despise.

Comment: More on the state of 'woke-ness' that has so damaged and divided so many in the Western world:

Yellow Vest

Sinn Féin's historic Irish election and what it means for Ireland's future

mary-lou mcdonald sinn fein
There is just one fact that explains all about the Irish election. Among voters, 18-35, housing was the most important issue among a whopping 38 percent.

In real terms, it meant that young adults who can no longer afford a home or even to pay the rents demanded by landlords had had enough.

Tale after tale of people and couples still squatting in a parent's home or in tiny apartments were carried far and wide. Along with housing, the homeless also rated hugely with 10,000 a night sleeping rough. Only Sinn Fein seemed to focus on the issue. That focus paid off bigly as Donald Trump might say.

Heart - Black

Wichita woman convicted of beheading ex-boyfriend's mother

Rachael Hilyard

Rachael Hilyard and Micki Davis
A Wichita woman was convicted Thursday of first-degree murder in the decapitation death of her ex-boyfriend's mother, whose head she left in the kitchen sink.

Prosecutors said Rachael Hilyard cut off the head of 63-year-old Micki Davis using two steak knives on April 9, 2017. Davis had gone to Hilyard's home with her 9-year-old grandson to collect her son's belongings, at Hilyard's insistence. The child ran away before his grandmother was beheaded and called for help.

Hilyard's lawyer acknowledged his client killed Davis but said it was not premeditated, which is required for a first-degree murder conviction, The Wichita Eagle reported.

Hilyard, 38, attacked the older woman without provocation then grabbed a knife "to finish what she started," Sedgwick County District Attorney Marc Bennett said during closing arguments. He said Hilyard used a second knife after the first blade broke.


What is 'resignation syndrome'? Oscars doc legitimizes illness that affects only children of failed asylum seekers (yes, really)

Life Overtakes Me
© YouTube/Netflix
Screenshot from Life Overtakes Me (2019) Dir: Kristine Samuelson, John Haptas
Some are skeptical about a new psychiatric condition found almost exclusively among children of rejected refugees in Sweden. But Hollywood is lapping it up, even if its coverage will only create more victims, real and imagined.

I am not surprised that the film 'Life Overtakes Me' has won an Oscar nomination for a documentary short. This film resonates with Western filmmakers' - and activists' - fascination with psychological problems, particularly those suffered by children.

Resignation syndrome is an almost-entirely mysterious condition that had never been diagnosed until the 1990s, and is not officially recognized anywhere outside of Sweden. To what extent it is physical, psychological or social is still being hotly debated in the pages of both medical journals and Scandinavian newspaper columns.