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Thu, 09 Apr 2020
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Another pastor arrested for holding services in spite of lockdown order

Tony Spell
A Louisiana pastor will be charged on six counts of misdemeanor for holding services in defiance of Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards's stay at home order.

Tony Spell, pastor of the Life Tabernacle Church near Baton Rouge, was arrested Tuesday morning. He faces individual charges for each time he held a service in his church that exceeded the 10-person limit set by Edwards, according to the local CBS affiliate. Spell faces a $500 fine and up to six months in prison, according to East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore.

Throughout March, Spell boasted about holding services attended by hundreds of people even as the state restricted the number of people who could gather from 50 to 10. Spell said he would continue to hold services, calling the shutdown orders "politically motivated."

Comment: This is the second incident of a pastor being arrested for holding large services against quarantine lockdown rules. In Florida, Pastor Rodney Howard-Browne was also arrested.

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Canadian senator calls for immediate release of inmates to curb COVID-19

© ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty
A Canadian senator is calling for the release of inmates as the threat of COVID-19 spreading within prisons grows.

On Friday, Sen. Kim Pate told Global News that while most people practice physical distancing, those in federal and provincial prisons are being subjected to a dangerous environment.

"Some [inmates] have dementia, some have mental health issues, some have underlying physical health issues," said Sen. Pate via Skype.

Pate, who is the former executive director of the Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies, believes additional measures are necessary to not only protect inmates from the virus but also the greater public.

Comment: Welcome to the upside-down where criminals are seen by politicians as a vulnerable class.


Coronavirus: You have given your freedom away don't abandon critical thinking too

coronavirus martial law
[Disclaimer: I am not medically qualified. If you feel ill you should always seek medical advice and should not take medication without medical advice.]

Coronavirus has supposedly forced the UK State to enact medical martial law. Yesterday (23rd March) Prime Minister Boris Johnson addressed the nation and outlined the measures to be enforced. The vast majority believe these are as follows:
people will only be allowed to leave their home for the following very limited purposes:
  • shopping for basic necessities, as infrequently as possible;
  • one form of exercise a day - for example a run, walk, or cycle - alone or with members of your household;
  • any medical need, to provide care or to help a vulnerable person; and
  • travelling to and from work, but only where this is absolutely necessary and cannot be done from home.
Yet how many of us are aware of the other liberties and individual protections we have we just given away? For this, we need to look at the Coronavirus Act.

Comment: See also:

Yellow Vest

Amazon worker fired after organizing strike over coronavirus response

amazon worker strick new york covid-19 coronavirus
© Reuters
Workers at Amazon’s Staten Island warehouse strike over demands that the facility be shut down and cleaned after one staffer tested positive for the coronavirus.
Amazon has fired the worker at its Staten Island warehouse who organized a walkout on Monday to demand greater protections from the company amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Chris Smalls, 31, a management assistant at the facility, told The Post he was canned in a phone call following Monday afternoon's strike.

"They pretty much retaliated against me for speaking out," said Smalls. "I don't know how they sleep at night."

He and dozens of other employees at the Bloomfield warehouse walked off the job to demand Amazon temporarily close and clean the facility after a worker tested positive for COVID-19 there last week.

They also asked the e-commerce giant to offer paid time off for folks who feel sick or need to self-quarantine.


UK mood shifts after first week of lockdown as Brits blast 'overzealous' police

british police
© AFP / Andy Buchanan
After clamoring for stricter measures, some in the UK have started complaining about a "police state." Transport minister Grant Shapps admitted some officers had been "heavy-handed" but insisted most have been doing a "good job.

The mood of most Britons seems to be shifting, just one week after Boris Johnson announced a coronavirus lockdown.

Following a raft of calls for more draconian measures, and criticism of the government for not imposing stricter controls, the country now appears to be concerned about a loss of civil liberties and about the hugely-damaging economic fallout.

Police have widely been slammed for being 'over-zealous' in enforcing the new rules, brought in to slow the spread of Covid-19.

Snakes in Suits

Revealed: Monsanto downplayed risks of new crop system, were aware it would damage US farms

Missouri farmer Bill Bader
© Bryce Gray/AP
Missouri farmer Bill Bader won a $265m jury verdict against Monsanto and BASF after alleging his peach trees were damaged by the illegal use of the herbicide dicamba
The US agriculture giant Monsanto and the German chemical giant BASF were aware for years that their plan to introduce a new agricultural seed and chemical system would probably lead to damage on many US farms, internal documents seen by the Guardian show.

Risks were downplayed even while they planned how to profit off farmers who would buy Monsanto's new seeds just to avoid damage, according to documents unearthed during a recent successful $265m lawsuit brought against both firms by a Missouri farmer.

The documents, some of which date back more than a decade, also reveal how Monsanto opposed some third-party product testing in order to curtail the generation of data that might have worried regulators.


US ban bites into Huawei's profits as company warns of potential Chinese retaliation

© Karlis Dambrans via Shutterstock
What just happened? The US ban on Huawei is starting to have an effect on the Chinese giant's bottom line. The company reported a 5.6 percent rise in profit last year, its smallest increase in three years, and warned that 2020 would be its most difficult year yet. Huawei also predicted that the Chinese government could hit back against the US.

In its annual report, Huawei revealed that its net profit for 2019 was 62.7 billion yuan (around $8.8 billion). The 5.6 percent YoY increase paled in comparison to the 25 percent jump from a year earlier, and was the smallest increase since 2016, reports Reuters. Its carrier business, meanwhile, saw its sales rise by just 3.8 percent.

Revenue for the year was up 19.1 percent to 858.8 billion yuan (about $121.billion). Growth for the first half of the year was at 23.2 percent, meaning sales declined throughout 2019, and things are expected to get worse in 2020.


Spain's minister says older people have been found 'dead and abandoned'

Emergency unit
© Reuters/Susana Vera
Members of the Military Emergency Unit leave an elderly home after carrying out disinfection procedures during the coronavirus disease in Madrid, Spain.
Soldiers drafted in to help Spain tackle the coronavirus pandemic by disinfecting and running residential homes have found a number of elderly people abandoned and dead in their beds, according to the country's defence minister.

News of the grim discoveries came as Spain experienced a further rise in the number of coronavirus deaths and cases, and as health authorities set about distributing almost 650,000 rapid testing kits.

On Monday, the country's defence minister, Margarita Robles, said that members of the specialist Military Emergencies Unit had found the corpses as they carried out their duties. "During some of its visits, the army has seen some totally abandoned elderly people - even some who were dead in their beds," Robles told the Ana Rosa TV programme.

Robles said such inhumane treatment would not be tolerated and that anyone ignoring their responsibilities would be prosecuted.

Post-It Note

Signed by the Governor: Idaho expands "Constitutional Carry" gun law

Idaho Governor Brad Little

Idaho Governor Brad Little
Last week, Idaho Governor Brad Little signed a bill into law to expand a current "constitutional carry" law, and allow any U.S. citizen over 18 who can legally own a gun carry concealed in city limits without a permit.

The House State Affairs Committee introduced House Bill 516 (H516) in February. Under the new law, any U.S. citizen can now carry a concealed firearm without a permit within city limits in Idaho. Under the former law, people over 18 could carry a concealed weapon without a permit in most places in Idaho, but only Idaho residents could do so within city limits.

Last month, the House passed H516 by a vote of 56-14. On Wednesday, the Senate concurred with a vote of 27-5. With Little's signature, the law will go into effect on May 19.

Since passing a law allowing permitless concealed carry outside of city limits in 2015, the Idaho legislature has loosened restrictions several times. In 2016, it got rid of the requirement that Idaho residents must have a permit to carry concealed within city limits. In 2019, the age for concealed carry in city limits was reduced from 21 to 18.

Comment: No doubt there are many individuals and groups who are now not only deeply concerned about the elevation in violent crime that is likely to occur as a result of impending economic disaster, but also fear Federal Government over-reach and the infringement of basic constitutional rights in an ever-growing police state.

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Stock Down

Stocks sag in volatile trading as Dow heads for worst-ever first quarter

stock market face mask coronavirus covid-19
Stocks fell on Tuesday, the last day of the first quarter, as investors wrapped up a period of historic market volatility sparked by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average traded 197 points lower, or 0.9%. The S&P 500 was down by 0.9%. The Nasdaq Composite fell 0.3%. The 30-stock benchmark was up as much as 152 points earlier in the day; it has fallen as much as 293.63 points, or 1.3%.

Investors digested a slew of news that may be contributing to the volatile swings on Tuesday, along with the monthly rebalancing of portfolios: