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Israeli police charge first quarantine violator, open dozens of other related cases

Israel Police squad car
© CC BY-SA 3.0 / Gellerj
Israel Police squad car
The Israel Police announced that, for the first time amid the COVID-19 novel coronavirus outbreak, it has filed charges against an individual who broke quarantine.

The police force announced Wednesday that it will file charges against one individual who defied an ordered quarantine and exited their home at least three times in the past three days, reported the Times of Israel.
Police are seeking to have the indicted individual remain behind bars - with no chance of bail - until their court proceedings conclude in the case.

Comment: The Israeli government just couldn't wait to start enforcing these dystopian quarantine laws.


James Corbett: New York City lockdown and the cascading effects of Covid-19

NYC lockdown
Jason Bermas joins James for a powerful interview about the seriousness of the situation that we are facing. From lockdowns and quarantines to the US military and medical martial law, things are getting real. Are you prepared for what's coming?

Comment: Please see some of our recent focus articles and reports, and do keep that information firmly in mind as you listen to Jason Bermas - whose mostly excellent information is also colored by emotion in what has become a distressing situation for those in and around New York City like himself:

Comment: See also:

Heart - Black

Amber Heard smashed door in Johnny Depp's Head, 'clocked' ex-hubby in jaw, leaked tapes reveal

johnny depp
© REUTERS / Suzanne Plunkett/Files
The latest leaked court tapes featuring the two bickering celebrities emerged as Amber Heard and ex-husband Johnny Depp gear up to face off in two separate defamation lawsuits on both sides of the Atlantic.

Actress Amber Heard admits to "smashing a door" into Johnny Depp's head in the latest spate of leaked court audio recordings from their legal battle over allegations of domestic violence, published by DailyMail.com.

​The 33-year old actress is also heard on tape suggesting she had "clocked" her then-husband in the jaw, saying:
"I am so sorry ... I can remember hitting you as a response to the door thing. And I'm really sorry about hitting you with the door or hitting your head. I did not mean to."

Comment: Previously:


Russia sends humanitarian aid to Iran to help fight coronavirus

Russia has sent humanitarian aid to Iran to help the country curb the spread of the coronavirus, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said Tuesday.
"This [humanitarian aid directed to Iran] has been done, and we are considering possible further steps in this direction," Ryabkov revealed.
Foreign Minister Javad Zarif last week sent out an appeal to the international community for aid over a severe lack of medical supplies such as masks and ventilators. He also called on the United Nations to push back against the US' Iran sanctions.

Comment: It's pretty sick that the US continues their economic war against Iran while the country is so short on medical supplies.

Afterward, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Abbas Mousavi thanked China, France, UK, Turkey and other countries for sending monetary and medical aid. China, in particular, sent medical professionals recently freed up from tackling the coronavirus spread in their country.

As of Tuesday, Iran has over 16,000 confirmed cases of infection with over 980 deaths as a result. At the same time, nearly 5,000 people have recovered.


Pew Poll: 62 Percent of Americans believe media has exaggerated coronavirus risk

corona virus
Majority think press has overhyped the threat.

62 per cent of Americans believe that the media has exaggerated the threat of coronavirus, according to a new Pew Research poll.

The results of the survey found that 63 per cent of Americans believe the CDC and public health officials have got the risk of COID-19 about right, with just 21 per cent believing they have exaggerated the risks.

While 62 per cent think the media has overhyped the threat, 29 per cent believe President Trump hasn't taken it seriously at all while a further 52 per cent say he has not taken the risk seriously enough.

pew poll Corona virus


Former top Moscow investigator sentenced for accepting bribe from crime boss

Aleksandr Drymanov

Aleksandr Drymanov appears for his sentencing in Moscow on March 18.
The former head of the Moscow branch of Russia's Investigative Committee, Aleksandr Drymanov, has been sentenced to 12 years in prison for accepting a bribe from a notorious crime boss.

The Moscow City Court on March 18 found Drymanov guilty of taking $1 million from Zakhary Kalashov, known among organized criminal groups as Shakro Molodoi, in exchange for the release of one of Kalashov's associates from custody.

The court also deprived Drymanov of the rank of police general and his For Service to the Fatherland medal.

Drymanov's two co-defendants in the case, two former subordinates, were sentenced to 10 years and 14 years in prison, respectively. Drymanov was arrested in July 2018, weeks after he resigned from his post.

Kalashov is known as a "thief by law," a title traditionally given among criminal groups in former Soviet republics to kingpins. He was sentenced in March 2018 to 9 years and 10 months in prison on extortion charges.


WHO announces first vaccine trial for Covid-19 has begun

© Simon Belcher/imageBROKER.com/GlobalLookPress
The World Health Organization (WHO) has confirmed that the first vaccine trial for the Covid-19 virus has begun as the world continues to battle the growing pandemic.

In a media briefing on Wednesday, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the trial had commended "just 60 days after the genetic sequence of the coronavirus was shared."

Tedros paid tribute to the "incredible achievement" of researchers around the world "who have come together to systemically evaluate experimental therapeutics."


Keeping the faith: How religions are coping with coronavirus

Street art of Buddha
Street art of Buddha wearing a facemask, in Mumbai on March 16, 2020.
The fear, despair and isolation resulting from coronavirus has resulted in something akin to a global spiritual crisis, as the world's largest religions seek to provide solace to the faithful during the pandemic.

The illness began to spread as many Buddhists were preparing to observe the Lunar New Year, forcing temples across Asia to choose between continuing regular services or shutting their doors. A Buddhist hall in Hong Kong apologized this week for not closing its temple sooner, after it was discovered that 19 people connected to the institution had been infected.

In Taiwan, Buddhist sermons are being live-streamed to worshippers who are trying to avoid mass gatherings.

The Tsuglagkhang Complex, which houses the holiest sites in Tibetan Buddhism, was closed on Wednesday in response to the spread of Covid-19. The religious site will be shuttered until at least April 15. The office for the Dalai Lama also stressed that a viral social media post, which shares purported instructions from the leader of Tibetan Buddhism on how to treat coronavirus, was in fact a hoax with no factual basis.

Gold Seal

Overwhelmed Italian hospital is rescued by volunteers 3D printing crucial replacement parts for ventilators

Christian Fracassi isinnova 3d printed medical part
© Massimo Temporelli
Christian Fracassi, Founder CEO of Isinnova (on the left) designed and 3D printed the missing valve.
A hospital in Brescia, Italy, which is near one of the regions hit hardest by the coronavirus outbreak, is reportedly turning to 3D-printed replacement parts in order to keep its intensive care unit running.

Specifically, the hospital needed extra valves for ventilator devices sooner than its usual supplier could send them, according to 3D Printing Media Network. So on Friday, it called in local 3D printing companies that were able to design and manufacture the valves on-site.

As a result, ten patients were treated with a ventilator that night, 3DPMN reports. Without the valves, their severe COVID-19 cases may have gone untreated in the overwhelmed hospital.

Comment: Sadly, greed never far behind in a crisis. Techdirt reports
Techdirt has just written about the extraordinary legal action taken against a company producing Covid-19 tests. Sadly, it's not the only example of some individuals putting profits before people. Here's a story from Italy, which is currently seeing more new coronavirus cases and deaths than anywhere else in the world. Last Thursday, a hospital in Brescia, in the north of Italy, needed supplies of special valves in order to use breathing equipment to help keep Covid-19 patients alive in intensive care (original in Italian). The manufacturer was unable to provide them because of the demand for this particular valve. The Metro site explains what happened next:
With the help of the editor of a local newspaper Giornale di Brescia and tech expert Massimo Temporelli, doctors launched a search for a 3D printer -- a devise that produces three dimensional objects from computer designs.

Word soon reached Fracassi, a pharmaceutical company boss in possession of the coveted machine. He immediately brought his device to the hospital and, in just a few hours, redesigned and then produced the missing piece.
Actually, it wasn't quite as simple as that suggests. Business Insider Italia explains that even though the original manufacturer was unable to supply the part, it refused to share the relevant 3D file with Fracassi to help him print the valve. It even went so far as to threaten him for patent infringement if he tried to do so on his own. Since lives were at stake, he went ahead anyway, creating the 3D file from scratch. According to the Metro article, he produced an initial batch of ten, and then 100 more, all for free. Fracassi admits that his 3D-printed versions might not be very durable or re-usable. But when it's possible to make replacements so cheaply -- each 3D-printed part costs just one euro, or roughly a dollar -- that isn't a problem. At least it wouldn't be, except for that threat of legal action, which is also why Fracassi doesn't dare share his 3D file with other hospitals, despite their desperate need for these valves.

And if you're wondering why the original manufacturer would risk what is bound to be awful publicity for its actions, over something that only costs one euro to make, a detail in the Business Insider Italia article provides an explanation: the official list price for a single valve is 10,000 euros -- about $11,000. This is a perfect example of how granting an intellectual monopoly in the form of a patent allows almost arbitrarily high prices to be charged, and quite legally. That would be bad enough in any situation, but when lives are at stake, and Italian hospitals struggle to buy even basic equipment like face masks, demanding such a sum is even worse. And when a pandemic is raging out of control, for a company to threaten those selflessly trying to save lives in this way is completely beyond the pale.


State Duma: Soviet-era dissident/writer Eduard Limonov dead at 77

© Reuters/Sergei Karpukhin
Limonov, the leader of The Other Russia party, attends a rally in Moscow, August 2013.
Eduard Limonov, who has died in Moscow, was a one off. A Soviet-era dissident, his controversial 1970s memoir 'It's me, Eddie' scandalized Russia when first published in the country in 1991, selling over a million copies.

His death was announced by State Duma (national parliament) deputy and chief editor of Yunost magazine Sergei Shargunov. Limonov's assistant Dmitry Sidorenko subsequently confirmed it to Moscow daily RBK. He didn't specify a cause of death, but Russian media suggested it was due to complications from surgery.

Shargunov told the TASS news agency that Limonov died on Tuesday evening at a hospital in Moscow. "He had his wits about him to the end, and was talking, he remained of sound and clear mind," the MP explained.