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Fri, 29 May 2020
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The new stupid: Design firm announces protective virus-proof suit designed for concerts and clubbing

bubble suit 1
The concert and nightlife industry has been one of the hardest-hit by the coronavirus pandemic because live events with hundreds, if not thousands of people is an essential part of the business model. Some artists and music producers have attempted to stream into their fans' homes through online platforms, and this has created a great way to connect, but some of the social aspects of these events are lost in the internet gatherings.
bubble suit

Comment: Now you can succumb to the virus hysteria, still go out clubbing "safely" - and look like you work at the Pentagon's most flamboyant bio-research lab in existence while doing it! Welcome to the New Stupid!


Footprints

Global tourism faces biggest slump in nearly 70 years, UN agency says

Sultanahmet Square and Hagia Sophia

Istanbul's popular tourist sights Sultanahmet Square and Hagia Sophia left deserted amid the spread of COVID-19, May 21, 2020.
International tourism is set to fall by 70% this year, marking the sector's biggest slump since records began in the 1950s, the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili said.

In an interview with German newspaper Handelsblatt, Pololikashvili said this prediction for the coronavirus-hit sector was based on the assumption that countries around the world would gradually open their borders from August.

UNWTO forecasts published in early May suggested that the number of tourists worldwide could fall by between 60%-80% in 2020 as a result of the pandemic.

Comment: And, needless to say, the airline industry has taken a very big hit leaving many working in that sector unemployed - or about to be:
International carriers which have been suffering massive losses due to the coronavirus crisis are massively cutting their workforce, leaving thousands without jobs. More cuts could come as the prospects for a quick recovery fade.

Europe's top airlines said they would have to ax tens of thousands of jobs in order to cut costs because of the rapidly deteriorating medium-term outlook for aviation. According to the general secretary of the British Airline Pilots' Association, Brian Strutton, aviation workers face a "tsunami of job losses."

Ryanair, Lufthansa, British Airways, Scandinavian Airlines, and Air France-KLM could shed as many as 32,000 jobs among them. The Irish discount carrier Ryanair will cut 3,000 jobs and keep 99 percent of flights grounded through June, adding to a mounting employment toll that includes 12,000 cuts at British Airways and 5,000 at SAS AB.

EasyJet announced on Thursday it will cut up to 30 percent of its workforce and reduce its fleet, with CEO Johan Lundgren saying these were "very difficult decisions."

[...]

While the pandemic has led to a 96 percent plunge in air travel within the United States, the nation's airlines are not allowed to implement any layoffs as a condition of their $25 billion bailout package. However, the ban only runs until September 30.

United Airlines has already told staff it plans job cuts of at least 30 percent on October 1. According to reports, a third of United's 12,250 pilots may have to leave the company. Other airlines, including Delta, also have warned of coming job cuts.
Around 100,000 employees at the four major US airlines (American, United, Delta, and Southwest) have also agreed to take salary cuts or unpaid leave, some for as long as nine months.

American Airlines announced on Thursday it is planning to cut 30 percent of its management and support staff, a reduction of about 5,000 jobs, because of the toll the pandemic is taking on the business. The carrier had about 130,000 employees at the end of 2019 and so far, about 39,000 have taken voluntary leave or early retirement.



People

IKEA values vs Polish traditions: Manager faces up to two years behind bars after firing employee opposing pro-LGBT event

rainbow flag pride
© Global Look Press / Michal Fludra
FILE PHOTO.
An IKEA HR manager has been charged in Poland with violating the religious rights of a Bible-citing employee, who was fired after refusing to endorse a pro-LGBT event. Now, the manager could end up behind bars.

The Warsaw-Praga District Prosecutor's Office has decided to press charges against the manager, whose identity has not been revealed, arguing that this person has infringed upon an employee's rights on the basis of religion. The decision to sack the employee was based on "arbitrary assessment and prejudice" toward a man expressing "Christian" views, it added. Now, this person could face anything between a fine and a two-year prison sentence.

The controversy dates back to last June when the Swedish furniture and home goods store decided to delve into the public debate on LGBT rights in Poland and express solidarity with LGBT people by staging an event in support of the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia.

Yellow Vest

People power! Texas bar owner forbids customers from wearing masks to 'push back' on the 'snitches'

liberty tavern no masks
© KXAN
While most business owners around the country are mandating that customers cover their faces, one bar in Texas is taking a different approach.

The owners of Liberty Tree Tavern in Elgin, Texas, have hung a sign in the window, notifying customers that they are not to wear face masks inside the establishment. The sign read, "No masks allowed. Due to our concern for our citizens, if they feel the need to wear a mask, then they should probably stay home until it's safe."

The bar's co-owner, Kevin Smith, said that he has been following the Centers for Disease Control's guidance on social distancing but believes the issue of face masks has been taken too far.

Comment: LMT online adds:
Smith, who said he did not believe that the virus poses a serious threat, wanted to stir the pot.

For years, he has run his 60-seat bar, which occupies a converted alleyway on Elgin's main drag, just as he pleases. Smoking is permitted during karaoke nights and performances by local talent, and beers are served in black-and-white koozies that say, "Come and drink it," playing off the Texan battle flag.

A two-month shutdown from Texas officials had forced him to cancel a benefit concert for veterans and close down during the busy rush of customers that fly into nearby Austin for South by Southwest. For three weeks, a Bastrop County rule required him to wear a face mask in public or face up to 180 days in jail.

"Why are we having to do this?" he asked. "We're not here to live in fear."

A town of about 10,000 people, Elgin has reported 53 coronavirus infections and one of the two deaths in the county. Even as numbers in Texas are on the rise and local officials continue to encourage residents to cover their faces, Smith said he does not believe masks are necessary.

Bartenders need to see their customers' faces to check IDs and make sure no one gets served too many drinks, he argued. Anyone with the virus, including those who are asymptomatic, should not be coming out to begin with. Besides, he asked: How are you supposed to down a beer with a bandanna stretched across your lips?

One regular at the Liberty Tree Tavern, 58-year old Charles Chamberlain, said he survived both stage 4 cancer and the H1N1 virus, also known as swine flu. He spent a full year living out of a Houston hospital, he told the Austin American-Statesman, before becoming so frustrated at his isolation that he cut the cancer treatment short.

"This quarantine . . . That's not living, that's existing," he said. "Going to the bar, going to the lake, going swimming with your friends, barbecuing, fishing - that's living."

Smith, who also ranches cattle, said his customers have social distancing built into their rural lifestyle. For now, the regulars don't seem to mind his request. No one had been kicked out yet for disobeying the poster, and one customer's son, who has intellectual disabilities, was allowed to keep his mask on.

Chamberlain, who has been out to the Liberty Tree Tavern about three times since it reopened, plans to keep coming back.

"You should have a choice of what you want to do," he told the Statesman. "If I get it, I get it. If I do, I'll deal with that. You can't his sentiments clear:
Kevin Smith was a little more blunt about his sentiments on Twitter:




Arrow Up

Homeless deaths in San Francisco are soaring, but officials say they are not directly due to Covid-19

homeless tents
© Nick Otto/The Chronicle
A row of homeless tents are seen in an alley way in the Tenderloin in San Francisco, Calif. on Tuesday April 7, 2020.
The number of homeless people in San Francisco who died over a recent eight-week period spiked compared to the same time last year, an increase that officials say was likely driven by drug overdoses, underlying medical conditions and a disruption to shelter and services due to the coronavirus pandemic.

None appear to be directly related to the coronavirus that is spreading throughout the city, according to preliminary Department of Public Health data obtained by The Chronicle. It is not clear how many people were posthumously tested for the virus.

Forty-eight homeless people — an average of six per week — died in San Francisco between March 30 and May 24, according to Dr. Barry Zevin, director of the Department of Public Health's Street Medicine Team. For comparison, 14 people died in the same time period last year.
SF Civic Center homeless
© Santiago Mejia/The Chronicle
The homeless encampment along Fulton Street at the Civic Center on Saturday, May 23, 2020.

Comment: As conditions rapidly and radically changed to accommodate the demands and restrictions of 'coronavirus mandates', the last in line and most in need were unable to cope with increased in levels of vulnerability. Removals of stability and changes in 'crutch access' spelled disaster for both physical and psychological wellbeing of those most at risk - and not just in San Francisco.


Gold Coins

Venezuela reaches deal with U.N. to buy food, medicine with gold - central bank

venezuelans
Venezuela has reached a deal with the U.N. Development Programme (UNDP) to destine part of its gold in Bank of England accounts toward the purchase of food and medicine during the coronavirus pandemic, its central bank governor said on Wednesday.

The deal comes after Venezuela's central bank made a legal claim earlier this month to try to force the Bank of England to hand over part of the 31 tonnes of gold in accounts belonging to the government of President Nicolas Maduro, whom Britain does not recognize as Venezuela's legitimate leader due to allegations he rigged his 2018 re-election.

Central bank Governor Calixto Ortega told Reuters that under the arrangement, the UNDP would receive the funds directly, a move meant to assuage concerns about potential corruption.

"It's not my word, it's not me saying that I am going to buy food, medicine and medical equipment," Ortega said in an interview in his downtown Caracas office. "It's the United Nations who is saying that. They are not going to be involved in anything dark that is not neutral and independent."

Car Black

Bombing similar to last year's terror attack stopped in Pulwama, 40 kg IED in car, driver escapes

exploded car
Security forces prevented a massive car bomb attack in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama on Wednesday night after they stopped a vehicle carrying 40-45 kg of improvised explosive device (IED). The plan had chilling similarities with last year's terror attack in Pulwama, when over 40 soldiers were killed as a suicide bomber drove a car full of explosives into a CRPF convoy.

Based on intelligence inputs, a white Hyundai Santro car with a fake registration number was signalled to stop at a check point on Wednesday night, but it tried to accelerate and go through the barricade, the police said.

"The security forces opened fire. The driver managed to escape, leaving behind the car laden with IED," Inspector General of Police Vijay Kumar said. "We got intelligence about a possible attack. We were looking for a vehicle with IED since yesterday," he added.

"The terrorist intended to target vehicles of security forces. We are calling expert teams from outside. We suspect that the vehicle was carrying 40-45 kg of explosives," news agency ANI reported quoted Mr Kumar. He said the driver is suspected to be a Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist, who is also in touch with Jaish-e-Mohammed that was involved in last year's suicide attack on the CRPF convoy.

Red Flag

UN admits 70% of boat migrants not eligible for asylum

migrants
© ANNE CHAON/AFP/Getty Images
The vast majority of boat migrants are not refugees, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has admitted.

Vincent Cochetel, the UNHCR special envoy for the illegal immigration situation in the Mediterranean, demanded EU member states give private NGOs unimpeded access to ferry migrants to Europe.

In an interview with InfoMigrants published on Tuesday, the French official claimed that so-called sea rescue is a "basic principle of humanity", likening open borders NGOs to the emergency services, such as fire brigades.

"If European states do not want to take responsibility for rescue at sea, let them make way for civil society actors," he said. However, he failed to comment on the fact that European taxpayers — rather than mass migration-backing NGOs — are left housing and footing the bill for migrants who are picked up in the Mediterranean.

Comment: So if they are not refugees, why is there such a widespread push from European leaders to allow them to stay? Perhaps the reason is that illegal immigrants can disrupt and destabilize the societies they join, further dividing the populace against each other and keeping eyes off the evil and incompetent deeds of the leaders.


People

Almost quarter of Russians believe coronavirus is fictional, according to new study

moscow face mask
© Sputnik / Alexey Mayshev
More than 23% of Russians think the coronavirus threat is not real and the epidemic is made up, according to a survey by Moscow's Higher School of Economics, published on Thursday.

Conducted in May, the survey of 30,000 Russians found that 23.2% believe Covid-19 is a work of fiction, while 9.6% of respondents think the danger is being exaggerated. This suggests that when combined, almost a third (32.8%) of respondents do not fully believe in the coronavirus threat, the RBK newspaper reported.

The study revealed a dramatic split in Russian attitudes toward self-isolation and the government's anti-coronavirus measures. Of the non-believers, 43% decided to visit relatives during self-isolation, and three-quarters (74.2%) were convinced that there was no need for the mandated stay-at-home regime. Those who believe in the danger of the virus visited their relatives much less often, with only 18% going to see family members.

Light Sabers

Race war or bust? MSM smothers racial unity over police killing of Minneapolis man by reminding blacks & whites to hate each other

george floyd protest
© Reuters / Eric Miller
The brutal police murder of an unarmed black man in Minneapolis united all races and political stripes in shocked outrage. So why is MSM invoking every racially-divisive incident they can to set society at each other's throats?

Liberals and conservatives alike were horrified on Monday by a widely-circulated Facebook video showing a white police officer choking an unarmed, handcuffed black man to death by kneeling on his neck for upwards of seven minutes, ignoring his increasingly feeble cries for help until he went limp. Regardless of their race, viewers demanded the officer - Minneapolis Police Department's Derek Chauvin - be charged with murder and cheered at the news he and three colleagues present during the Memorial Day incident had been suspended from the force.


Given the country's oft-lamented polarization, it's rare to see such broad agreement on something as controversial as a police killing. But the sight of George Floyd struggling to wheeze out "I can't breathe" while Chauvin mocked the anguished cries of onlookers convinced many to put aside their ideological feuds and get outraged. Seeing the life slowly choked out of the 46-year-old for nothing more than allegedly "resisting arrest" over supposedly forging a check at a supermarket was beyond the pale.