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Mon, 06 Apr 2020
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Rescuer dies as enormous FIRE erupts near Rostov-on-Don 2018 World Cup stadium

russia fire
© Ruptly
A raging blaze, near a stadium used for the 2018 football World Cup, in Rostov-on-Don has scorched an area covering 25 hectares and claimed the life of one emergency worker.

The fire was fueled by a deadly mixture of dry reeds and a swirling wind, which allowed it to rapidly spread.

Emergency services are scrambling to battle the blaze with dozens of firefighters training their hoses on the inferno and helicopters dumping tons of water on it from above.

Eye 2

Naked man breaks India's national virus quarantine to viciously kill woman in savage bite attack

© Joint Base Charleston
Amidst all the anxiety-inducing developments of the coronavirus pandemic comes a grisly report that a man in India broke out of quarantine in order to nakedly chase after a woman and viciously kill her by biting on her throat.

The horrific slaying took place in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu on Friday when the man, who is in his 30s, ran out of his home naked and violently attacked the throat of a 90-year-old woman who was sleeping outside her house, Times of India reports.

The man, a textile trader, had been isolating because he had recently returned from Sri Lanka; the Indian newspaper also reported that he was "mentally disturbed."


Calm down: Covid-19 hysteria vs. your actual (very low) chance of dying

stock market face mask coronavirus covid-19
How likely are you to die from Coronavirus Disease 2019 (Covid-19)? Based on the hysteria spreading across the globe, it would seem like the chances are fairly high.

But Statnews.com would report on the actual projected death rate of those who contract Covid-19 based on US Center for Disease Control (CDC) data, noting:
...the death rate in Covid-19 patients ages 80 and over was 10.4%, compared to 5.35% in 70-somethings, 1.51% in patients 60 to 69, 0.37% in 50-somethings. Even lower rates were seen in younger people, dropping to zero in those 29 and younger.
The article also noted that the worst cases involved not only people who were much older, but involved people who were also already unhealthy and vulnerable.



Russia to ban all cross-border travel, presents possible drug treatment - and other Covid-19 updates

russian trucker
© Sputnik / Oleg Mineev
A Russian border guard officer checks the temperature of a truck driver at Belarusian-Russian border.
Automobile, railway, pedestrian and river checkpoints on the Russian border will go on a lockdown on Monday in order to prevent Covid-19 from spreading across the country, the government has announced.

The order said that the measure was "temporary," but provided no indication as to when the border traffic will resume.

The border ban doesn't apply to diplomats or members of official delegations departing from the country. Russian truck drivers serving international routes, as well as the crews of trains and river vessels, will be able to return home. Exceptions will also be made for the residents of the Baltic Sea exclave of Kaliningrad, as well as Russian passport holders living in the People's Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk in eastern Ukraine.

Comment: Russian specialists say they have identified a good treatment for Covid-19 - Mefloquine, an anti-malarial drug. Two more have died in Russia (both in their fifties with pre-existing conditions), with total cases reaching 1,264. Lombardy's VP has called Russia's assistance there "very much needed":
The Russian servicemen will first be providing assistance to 65 of Bergamo's homes for the elderly, which are suffering from a lack of qualified personnel, according to the deputy head of Russia's own NBC defense forces, Sergey Kikot.

When a Russian field hospital is established in the city, the medics will then move their operations there, Kikot said.
Here they are disinfecting a nursing home.

Cases worldwide have reached over 615k. India saw a daily jump up to 900 cases. Spain recorded over 800 new deaths. (These numbers shouldn't be seen as definitive - they are based in large part on catchall diagnostics, not lab testing.) Netherlands recorded 93 new deaths, and 1,100+ new cases. Germany recorded almost 6,300 new cases, with a total death toll of 325. Merkel is warning that Germany's lockdown won't be lifted. Gaza saw its first cases, and West Bank recorded a spike. (Israel coldheartedly confiscated a Palestinian field clinic.) Wuhan reopened its subway, and China has sent its first train of medical supplies to Europe. Rouhani says Iran's healthcare system is ready for a peak in infection, whereas over in LA, the mayor says he expects the city to catch up with NYC in terms of cases within days. Tragically, over 1,000 Iranians were poisoned after a rumor that methanol protects against Covid-19.

See also:


Poll suggests Russians split down the middle on presidential terms reset; Putin's ratings take a hit

Walls of Kremlin
© unknown
Walls of Kremlin in Moscow
Following a few months of political shocks in Russia, voters have become used to surprises. But opinion seems to be divided on whether restarting the clock on time spent in the Kremlin is worth supporting, says a new survey.

Pollsters at the Levada Center report that 48 percent of their respondents support the nullification of terms, and 47 percent are against, with 5 percent undecided.

Levada also revealed that Putin's approval rating is on the decline: It stood at 69 percent in February but decreased to 63 percent in March.

Named for its founder, the late Yuri Levada, the polling company is regarded by many in Russia as being effectively a liberal opposition think tank. In 2016, it was accused of "performing the functions of a foreign agent" by authorities, and it has received western funding in the past but claims to have stopped this practice after 2013. A rival state-owned outfit VTsIOM is accused of similar bias by Kremlin critics.

Meanwhile, 46 percent of those questioned indicated they would like to see Putin as president after 2024, with 40 percent against.

Star of David

Israel confiscates clinic's tents during coronavirus crisis as communities face expulsion

Demolishing clinic
© Unknown
This morning, Thursday, 26 March 2020, at around 7:30 am, officials from Israel's Civil Administration in the West Bank arrived with a military jeep escort, a bulldozer and two flatbed trucks with cranes at the Palestinian community of Khirbet Ibziq in the northern Jordan Valley. They confiscated poles and sheeting that were meant to form eight tents, two for a field clinic, and four for emergency housing for residents evacuated from their homes, and two as makeshift mosques. The force also confiscated a tin shack in place for more than two years, as well as a power generator and sacks of sand and cement. Four pallets of cinder blocks intended for the tent floors were taken away and four others demolished.

As the whole world battles an unprecedented and paralyzing healthcare crisis, Israel's military is devoting time and resources to harassing the most vulnerable Palestinian communities in the West Bank, that Israel has attempted to drive out of the area for decades. Shutting down a first-aid community initiative during a health crisis is an especially cruel example of the regular abuse inflicted on these communities, and it goes against basic human and humanitarian principles during an emergency.

Arrow Up

Sweden refuses to lock down country despite coronavirus hysteria

© (Anders Wiklund/Tt/ZUMA Press/Newscom)
The Scandinavian country is betting against draconian restrictions and in favor of the free movement of people and goods.
The lights are going out all over Europe, the U.S., and increasingly the rest of the world. Borders are closing, cities are shutting down, and governments are imposing export bans. It looks like one of the first victims of the new coronavirus is globalization.

The World Bank has estimated that 80 to 90 percent of the economic damage from epidemics usually comes from aversion behavior, not from disease, deaths, and the associated loss of production. This time, due to the massive scale of the shutdowns, that cost is going to be much bigger.

Perhaps not in Sweden, though. It's hard to predict even the next few hours or days, but it is interesting that Sweden — the one European country that did not want to shut its borders, did not close schools, and has not banned gatherings of fewer than 500 people — so far seems to be containing the spread better than other countries have.

Comment: They are taking a similar stance in Iceland:
"authorities are testing large numbers of the population - without imposing any lockdown or curfew...half of those who were tested positive have no coronavirus symptoms..."The other half displays very moderate cold-like symptoms."
Which begs the question, why are so many other developed countries enforcing a complete lock down, pushing their already fragile economies to breaking point, over a virus that is less deadly than the seasonal flu?

Brick Wall

Why it is right to question the experts

flatten the curve
© Getty
The sneering at 'armchair epidemiologists' misunderstands how important critical debate is.

A virus is sweeping Europe: the virus of obedience.

A new intolerance is spreading. It is a kind of bigotry that suggests that those of us who are not epidemiologists should just shut the fuck up and accept and act upon what we are being told by those who are. As non-experts, we are exhorted to submit humbly to those who apparently know what is best for us - to defer to expertise and stop second-guessing uncertainty.

Comment: This is reminiscent of the cries from pro-vaxxers that anyone questioning the safety and/or efficacy of vaccines is "not a doctor". The idea that no one has the right to question the experts is inimicable to freedom as a whole. Experts are human, they make mistakes, have ulterior motives and succumb to peer pressure, just like the rest of us. Question everyone, regardless of who they are.

See also:


Edward Snowden's warning: Surveillance measures will outlast the pandemic

Edward Snowden
Edward Snowden has a warning for those who are giving up liberty for a false sense of security: the temporary mass surveillance measures put in place will be anything but temporary. Snowden says that these measures are not worth giving up even more liberty.

Nothing is so permanent as a temporary government program, and infamous whistleblower Edward Snowden is sounding the alarms about the Orwellian mass surveillance that will long outlast this coronavirus pandemic.

The former CIA contractor, whose leaks exposed the scale of spying programs in the United States, is warning that once this tech is taken out of the box, it will be hard to put it back. "When we see emergency measures passed, particularly today, they tend to be sticky," Snowden said in an interview with the Copenhagen International Documentary Film Festival.

Comment: Yup, govts do NOT let go of 'emergency powers' once they have them. Not until a major catastrophe in which they're all but wiped out anyway.

Things are not ever 'going back to normal'.


The numbers just don't add up: Nearly 500,000 went to hospital in 2018-19 flu season but today there are not enough hospital beds for coronavirus patients?

hospital beds
Really, What is going on? The data just don't add up.

The MSM and Democrats claim there are not enough hospital beds for the current 85,000 people identified with the coronavirus, many of whom will never even enter a hospital due to their relatively minor condition. Also, in 2018-19 there were plenty of beds for the nearly 500,000 patients that spent time in hospitals, due to the flu.

Via the CDC - there were 490,000 hospitalizations during the 2018-2019 flu season.

Comment: See also: