Thursday, May 6, 2021

New Study Says Covid-19 Has Killed 7 Million Worldwide Since The Start Of The Pandemic. Not The Official 3.25 Million Number

Daily Mail: Covid has killed 7MILLION people around the world — more than DOUBLE the amount officially reported, experts claim 

* Analysis by Washington University academics claimed the disease has killed 6.9million people globally * The team's estimate is more than double 3.2million officially declared by the World Health Organization * Scientists said toll of the pandemic is 'significantly worse' than meets the eye because of a lack of testing 

Coronavirus has killed more than double the number of people officially reported, a study has claimed. 

Analysts in the US estimate the disease has caused about 6.9million deaths globally – as opposed to the 3.2m declared by the World Health Organization (WHO). 

They warned that low testing numbers and weak healthcare systems in developing countries were partly behind the skewed statistics.  

Read more ....  

 WNU Editor:  This makes sense. 

China says only 4,800 have died from Covid. A ridiculously low number.

Countries like Brazil Mexico, and Venezuela do not have the facilities that can accurately count their Covid numbers. And then there is the disaster that is currently unfolding in India where the system has more or less collapsed.

Nepal's Covid Cases Soaring Amid Fears That It Could Match India's Current Infection Rate

Nepal is now reporting 230 Covid cases per million, only narrowly behind India's 280 per million, though its healthcare system is even less able to handle the surge 

 

Daily Mail: Is Nepal the new India? Covid cases soar in the impoverished nation amid fears the country facing a crisis to rival its neighbour 

* Nepal has seen Covid cases a soar amid fears the country is facing a crisis that could be worse than the one unfolding in neighbouring India 

* It is highly likely that more-infectious variants driving India's outbreak have crossed the more-than 700 mile border 

 * Country has fewer doctors, hospitals, ventilators and ICU bed than its neighbour 

 * Has also vaccinated a lower share of population and cannot produce its own jab 

Nepal is seeing its coronavirus cases soar amid fears that it could soon face a crisis on par with neighbouring India. 

The impoverished Himalayan nation reported 8,659 cases on Wednesday along with 58 deaths - both record totals, though they are almost certainly under-estimates. 

It means Nepal now has around 230 cases per million people, just shy of India's current infection rate of 280 cases per person.  

Read more .... 

More News On The Covid-19 Coronavirus Pandemic In Nepal 

Nepal facing ‘human catastrophe’ similar to India’s amid Covid surge -- The Guardian  

'Human catastrophe' as India's COVID-19 surge spreads to Nepal -- Reuters  

Nepal's cases skyrocket, prompting concern the country's outbreak could mimic India's -- CNN  

Nepal appeals for COVID-19 vaccines as cases rise -- Reuters  

Red Cross warns 'Covid variants are running rampant across Asia’ as India’s crisis spills over into neighbor Nepal -- RT

Covid Forecasters Are Now Warning That If Current Proections Continue, India Will Have Over One Million Covid Deaths By August

Bloomberg: Covid Forecasters Warn India Deaths May Double in Coming Weeks 

(Bloomberg) -- The coronavirus wave that plunged India into the world’s biggest health crisis has the potential to worsen in the coming weeks, with some research models projecting that the death toll could more than double from current levels. 

A team at the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore used a mathematical model to predict about 404,000 deaths will occur by June 11 if current trends continue. 

A model from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington forecast 1,018,879 deaths by the end of July. 

While coronavirus cases can be hard to predict, particularly in a sprawling nation like India, the forecasts reflect the urgent need for India to step up public health measures like testing and social distancing. Even if the worst estimates are avoided, India could suffer the world’s biggest Covid-19 death toll. The U.S currently has the largest number of fatalities at around 578,000.  

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: The projections can be seen here .... Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation

Bottom line. This pandemic is going to burn itself out in India. But the next month or two is going to be hell for all those who live in India.

India Reportd 412,000 New Covid-19 Cases And Almost 4,000 Fatalities

 

 CNBC: India reports over 412,000 new Covid cases as court demands plan to tackle oxygen shortage in Delhi 

* Health ministry data showed there were 412,262 new reported cases of infections over a 24-hour period, pushing the total tally to over 21 million — days after crossing the 20 million mark on Tuesday. 

* India’s Supreme Court ordered the central government to present a comprehensive plan by Thursday outlining steps it will take to meet medical oxygen requirements for hospitals in Delhi. 

* India has sufficient oxygen available, but the main issue lies around logistics, according to Siddharth Jain, director of Inox Air Products. 

India once again reported a record number of cases and fatalities on Thursday as it faces a devastating second wave of Covid-19 infections that has pushed its health-care system to the brink of collapse. 

Health ministry data showed there were 412,262 new reported cases of infections over a 24-hour period, pushing the total tally to over 21 million — days after crossing the 20 million mark on Tuesday. 

India also reported its highest daily death toll, with 3,980 fatalities. But media reports suggest that the death rate is being under-reported.  

Read more .... 

More News On The Covid-19 Pandemic In India  

India sees record COVID-19 deaths, new cases in 24 hours -- MedicalXpress  

India hits another grim coronavirus record as oxygen demand jumps -- FOX News/AP  

India's Covid record hits grim new high as 412,000 new cases swamp hospitals -- RFI  

India breaks daily COVID-19 record with over 412,000 confirmed cases -- NYPost 

India reports highest-ever 24-hour surge in Covid-19 cases and a record-high daily death toll -- CNN 

India sets new COVID world record as oxygen demand jumps seven-fold -- Axios  

India posts record daily COVID deaths, 1 in 4 globally last week -- Al Jazeera

25 Killed In Rio de Janeiro Shoot-Out

Brazilian police raided the Jacarezinho slum in Rio de Janeiro, May 6, 2021. © REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes  

BBC: Brazil: At least 25 killed in Rio de Janeiro shoot-out 

At least 25 people including a police officer have been killed in a shoot-out in Rio de Janeiro, according to local media. 

The shoot-out took place during a police operation in a favela in the Jacarezinho area of the city. 

Police launched the operation after receiving reports that drug traffickers were recruiting children for their gang. 

Two passengers on a metro train were hit by bullets but survived. 

Police in the Brazilian city confirmed the death of one of their officers, Inspector Andre Leonardo de Mello Frias. 

A statement on Facebook said "he honoured the profession he loved and will be missed".  

Read more ....  

Update #1: Slum dogs: Marauding cartel foot soldiers shoot up Rio favela as at least 25 of them die in bloody battle with 200 heavily armed cops (Daily Mail)  

Update #2: Rio de Janeiro police raid on favela leaves at least 25 dead (The Guardian)  

WNU Editor: For as long as I can remember Brazil's slums have been cesspools for crime.

White House Will Support Ukraine Joining NATO

 

NYPost: White House ‘open’ to Ukraine joining NATO in jab at Russia  

The White House said Thursday that it’s keeping the door “open” to Ukraine joining NATO, in the latest escalation of tensions with Russia. 

President Biden plans to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin next month during his first trip abroad since taking office — after Russia allegedly massed troops near Ukraine. 

NATO members are committed to collective defense, meaning the US would be obligated by treaty to fight Russia on Ukraine’s behalf.  

Read more .... 

Update: US: NATO ‘door remains open’ to nations that meet conditions (Al Jazeera).  

WNU Editor: In the meantime the U.S. will continue to ship military equipment to Kiev .... U.S. Considering 'Additional' Military Assistance To Ukraine, Blinken Tells RFE/RL (RFE).

While Visiting Ukraine US Secretary of State Antony Blinken Says The United States Will Respond To Reckless Or Aggressive Acts By Russia

 

Daily Mail: America will respond to 'reckless or aggressive' Russian acts, Anthony Blinken warns as he arrives in Kiev after Putin sent thousands of troops to Ukraine border 

 * The Secretary of State's comments came ahead of a visit to Ukraine on Thursday 

 * He said the emphasis is on Russia for a more 'stable and predictable relationship' 

 * Blinken has been in the UK for a two-day meeting of G7 foreign ministers

 * President Biden has made it clear he will take a tougher stance against Putin 

 * Upon his arrival in Ukraine, Blinken held a conference with Dmytro Kuleba 

 * He told the foreign minister that the Biden administration was committed to 'Ukraine's sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence' 

Secretary of State Antony Blinken has warned that the United States will respond to reckless or aggressive acts by Russia. 

His comments came ahead of a meeting with Ukraine's leadership on Thursday where, in a visible show of support following a massive troop buildup by Russia, Blinken said the Biden administration supported 'Ukraine's sovereignty'. 

Speaking during a visit to the UK for a G7 meeting of foreign dignitaries, Blinken spoke about President Biden's approach to foreign policy, putting the emphasis on Russia for a more 'stable and predictable relationship'. 

Read more .... 

More News On US Secretary of State Antony Blinken Saying The United States Will Respond To Reckless Or Aggressive Acts By Russia 

Antony Blinken: US tells Russia to cease 'reckless and aggressive actions' -- BBC  

Blinken reaffirms US support for Ukraine amid Russia tension -- AP 

In Kyiv, Blinken Calls On Russia To Cease 'Reckless And Aggressive' Actions Against Ukraine -- RFE 

U.S. Secretary of State Blinken Visiting Ukraine -- New York Times  

Antony Blinken vows US 'will respond' to Russian acts of aggression -- NYPost

Fourteen EU Countries Have Proposed A Rapid European Military Response Force To Intervene In A Crisis

Belgian special-forces soldiers during an exercise with EU countries in Belgium, November 30, 2016. REUTERS/Yves Herman  

Reuters: EU countries are again talking about forming a military rapid-response force 

* Fourteen EU countries have proposed a rapid military response force that could intervene early in crises. * They say the EU should create a brigade of 5,000 soldiers to provide urgent help to foreign governments, an official said. 

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Fourteen European Union countries including Germany and France have proposed a rapid military response force that could intervene early in international crises, a senior EU official said on Wednesday, two decades after a previous attempt. 

The countries say the EU should create a brigade of 5,000 soldiers, possibly with ships and aircraft, to help democratic foreign governments needing urgent help, the official said. 

EU defence ministers will take up the idea on Thursday at a regular meeting chaired by EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, who has chided the bloc for reluctance to intervene more abroad, particularly in failing states such as Libya. 

The 14 countries are Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, France, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia and Spain.  

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: This is what NATO is suppose to do. Not some independent EU brigade. 

More News On Fourteen EU Countries Proposing A Rapid European Military Response Force  

With An Eye On Russia, EU Opens 'Military Mobility' Project To NATO Allies -- RFE  

EU army: Majority of states back plans for 5,000-strong rapid response force -- Daily Express  

European Union lets Canada join major military project -- AP  

Closer EU military cooperation with U.S., Canada, Norway is quantum leap, Germany says -- Reuters  

Germany Calls US, Canada, Norway Joining EU Military Mobility Project a ‘Quantum Leap’ -- Sputnik

Former Maldives President And Current Parliament Speaker Injured In Targetted Bomb Attack

There were no details of the injuries suffered by Mohamed Nasheed. (File) 

Al Jazeera: Former Maldives President Nasheed hurt in suspected bomb attack 

Ex-president and current Maldives Parliament Speaker Mohamed Nasheed rushed to hospital after the blast. 

Former Maldives president and current Parliament Speaker Mohamed Nasheed was injured in a blast outside his family home on Thursday, police said in a statement. 

“Following an explosion … Speaker of Parliament President Mohamed Nasheed has sustained injuries and is currently receiving treatment at ADK Hospital,” the statement said on Thursday.  

Read more ....  

Update #1: Maldives Speaker Mohamed Nasheed injured in blast: Police (Times of India/AP)  

Update #2: Former Maldives President Injured In Blast, Hospitalised: Report (NDTV (AFP)  

WNU editor: No details on his injuries have been made public.

Will Taiwan's New Fighter Jet Survive Against A China Attack?

A ROCAF F-16 and F-CK-1 in formation. ROCAF 

 Forbes: Taiwan Is Developing A New Fighter Jet—It Might Last Minutes In A War With China 

Taiwanese industry is developing a new manned fighter jet. It might be a bad idea. 

The Republic of China Air Force might not survive the fiery early moments of a Chinese attack on the island country. The People’s Liberation Army could pummel Taiwanese air bases with thousands of rockets and cruise missiles.

Any ROCAF fighters that manage to take off could face dire odds in the air. China can sortie hundreds more planes than Taiwan can do. 

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: This reminds me of an old Russian military saying .... "There we were. 3 against 10,000. And I told my men to spread out".

The Experts And Pundits Differ On China Wanting War Or Not

Chinese President Xi Jinping (Image: Li Gang/Xinhua)  

WNU Editor: Below are some links to what the experts and pundits are thinking. 

As to what is my take? I agree with this analysis .... China already ‘engaging in irregular war’ with US in the ‘grey zone’ (News.com.au).  

China does not want war, at least not yet. It’s playing the long game -- John Blaxland (The Conversation)  

Is There a War Coming Between China and the U.S.? -- New York Times  

War over Taiwan a ‘gamble’ for China – this is what it really wants -- News.com.au  

Why Australia-China War Talk is Rising Between the Two Nations -- Newsweek  

The west is in a contest, not a cold war, with China -- Financial Times  

US China Sea War Could Spread to Japan, Australia, India -- Bloomberg 

Can a US war with China be limited? -- Asia Times

U.S. National Security Council Coordinator For Asia Says China’s Military Crisis Strategy Needs A Rethink

Kurt Campbell says ‘I believe there is a general worry of miscalculation, and of incidents and accidents’ with China’s current strategy. Photograph: Thomas Peter/Reuters 

The Guardian: Hotlines ‘ring out’: China’s military crisis strategy needs rethink, says Biden Asia chief 

Kurt Campbell says Beijing has been increasing military activities without taking measures to reduce the chance of miscalculation 

The Biden administration’s top Asia official has warned about the absence of a crisis-communications channel between the US and China at a time of rising military tensions over Taiwan and the South China Sea. 

Military and leadership hotlines have been established at various points in the fraught history of the relationship, but Kurt Campbell, the White House Asia “tsar” responsible for coordinating policy across the administration, said Beijing had shown no interest in using them, out of a preference for uncertainty. 

The hotline simply rings out in “empty rooms”, he said.  

 Read more .... 

WNU Editor: This caught my eye .... 

 .... “China has generally resisted any effective efforts at these kinds of confidence-building, crisis management procedures. In the past, the hotlines that have been set up have just rung, kind of endlessly in empty rooms. So the Chinese have chosen not to go in that direction.” 

National Security Council Coordinator for Asia Kurt Campbell is also saying this .... Taiwan conflict would 'trash' world economy: Kurt Campbell (Nikkei Asia). And this .... Pro-Taiwan US official discourages promising military assistance to nation (Taiwan News). And this .... Biden’s China Policy Blends Obama’s and Trump’s, Top Aide Says (WSJ).

China Suspends Economic Dialogue With Australia ‘Indefinitely’ As Ties Worsen

 

 BBC: China 'indefinitely' suspends key economic dialogue with Australia 

China has "indefinitely" suspended key economic dialogue with Australia, the latest in a growing diplomatic rift between both countries. 

Relations have been on the decline since Australia called for a probe into the origins of the virus and banned Huawei from building its 5G network. 

Last year, China imposed sanctions on Australian goods like wine and beef. 

In a statement on Thursday, a Chinese government commission accused Australia of having a "Cold War mindset".  

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: This is China's reason for suspending economic talks with Australia .... China's suspension of economic dialogue with Australia 'a necessary step' to defend national interests: analysts (Li Xuanmin and Chen Qingqing, Global Times).  

More News On The Worsening Ties Betwen China And Australia 

Beijing suspends China-Australia Strategic Economic Dialogue -- ABC News (Australia)  

China suspends economic dialogue with Australia -- AP  

China suspends economic dialogue with Australia as relations curdle -- Reuters  

China indefinitely halts economic dialogue mechanism with Australia -- Nikkei Asia  

China suspends economic dialogue with Australia as ties worsen -- Al Jazeera  

China suspends economic dialogue with Australia ‘indefinitely’ amid spat over Belt & Road Initiative -- RT

China Condemns G7 Statement Censuring Beijing's Human Rights Record And Supporting Taiwan

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin attends a news conference in Beijing, China December 14, 2020. REUTERS/Thomas Peter 

Reuters: China condemns G7 statement censuring Beijing, supporting Taiwan 

China condemned on Thursday a joint statement by G7 foreign ministers that expressed support for Chinese-claimed Taiwan and cast Beijing as a bully, saying it was a gross interference in China’s internal affairs. 

G7 foreign ministers said in a communique after a London summit that China was guilty of human rights abuses and of using “coercive economic policies”, which the G7 would use collective efforts to stop. 

In an unusual step, the G7 also said they supported Taiwan's participation in World Health Organization forums and the World Health Assembly - and expressed concern about "any unilateral actions that could escalate tensions" in the Taiwan Strait. 

Speaking in Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin condemned the statement saying it made "groundless accusations" that were a gross interference in China's internal affairs.  

Read more ....  

Update: China Slams G7 Rights Criticism: West "Openly Intervening In China's Internal Affairs" (Zero Hedge) 

WNU Editor: The official Chinese media response is here .... US takes subtle moves to rope in G7 allies against China (Global Times).

UK And France Send Navy Ships To Jersey As France Threatens To Cut Power Over Fisheries Dispute

 

NBC: U.K., France deploy Navy vessels to Jersey in post-Brexit fishing feud 

The French government has suggested it could cut power supplies to the island if its fishermen are not granted full access to U.K. fishing waters. 

LONDON — The U.K. and France were engaged in a naval standoff on Thursday as a long-simmering dispute over post-Brexit fishing rights escalated in the English Channel. 

France deployed two maritime patrol boats to the waters off the British Channel island of Jersey, its navy said, after the British Navy dispatched two of its own vessels to the area late Wednesday. 

The dueling moves came as a flotilla of French fishing trawlers sailed to the Jersey port of St. Helier to protest over fishing rights.  

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: This dispute could easily escalate if an understanding between the two sides cannot be reached..

More News On The Post-Brexit Fishing Dispute Between The U.K. And France  

Flotilla of French fishing ships sails for home after protest over Jersey fishing grounds -- France 24  

French boats stage protest off Jersey in fishing row -- DW  

UK Sends Navy Ships To Jersey As France Threatens To Cut Power In Fisheries Dispute -- Zero Hedge  

Jersey row: fishing leader says French threats ‘close to act of war’ -- The Guardian  

French presidency: in our interest that Jersey situation does not worsen -- Reuters  

Boris Johnson says Royal Navy to stay on patrol in Jersey as French military ships head to post-Brexit fishing protest -- SKY News

Will Beijing Force President Biden's Hand To Defend Taiwan From A Chinese Invasion?

Alex Ward, VOX: How China could force Biden’s hand on defending Taiwan 

If a war breaks out over Taiwan, Biden may be forced into a decision no American president since 1979 has wanted to make. 

No American president has had to choose whether to go to war to defend Taiwan against a Chinese military invasion. President Joe Biden might have the decision thrust upon him. 

The outgoing commander of US forces in the Indo-Pacific region, Navy Adm. Philip Davidson, told US lawmakers in March that he believes Beijing will attempt a takeover of the neighboring democratic island — which it considers part of mainland China — within the next six years. Davidson’s successor, Navy Adm. John Aquilino, expressed a similar concern days later. 

“This problem is much closer to us than most think,” he told members of the Senate Armed Services Committee. “We ought to be prepared today.”

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: The impression that I have from my sources in China is that Beijing is confident that President Biden will not involve the U.S. in a war between China and Taiwan. 

I think this is a mistake. 

Beijing's subjugation of Hong Kong was easy because the people are not armed. Taiwan is a different story. They armed to the teeth and they will resist a Chinese invasion.

And as for the U.S. response. 

My prediction is that Washington cannot stay neutral and/or uninvolved. 

I predict America's allies in Asia will be the first to get involved in this war by aiding Taiwan. In return, China will respond by targeting these nations. Probably with military strikes.

This is where U.S. policy no longer becomes unambiguous. Chinese military strikes on U.S. allies like Japan, the Philippines. Australia, etc., will kick in treaty and security obligations that will oblige the U.S. to intervene. Failure to do will then destroy all U.S. treaty commitments and promises to all of its allies around the world.

US Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency: Russia Poses "Existential Threat" From North To South Pole

 

 CNN: Top US military intelligence official says Russian military poses an ‘existential threat’ to the US 

The top US military intelligence official said during a congressional hearing on Thursday that the Russian military is an “existential threat” to the United States. 

“The Russian military is an existential threat to the United States,” Lt. Gen. Scott Berrier, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, said during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing about worldwide threats. 

Berrier said the country’s military is being used to maintain influence over states “along its periphery, compete with US global primacy and compel adversaries who challenge Russia’s vital national interests.” 

“Moscow continues to invest in its strategic nuclear forces, in new capabilities to enhance its strategic deterrent, and that places the US homeland at risk,” Berrier said. 

Read more ....  

Update: US Military Intelligence Chief: Russia Poses Existential Threat From North to South Pole (AntiWar.com).  

WNU Editor: The Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency is also concerned about China .... DIA Says China’s Weapon Technology Advancing Fast While Russia Falls Behind (Air Force Magazine). 

You can watch Lt. Gen. Scott Berrier​'s testimony in the above video, or you can read the transcript here .... (Statement For The Record Worldwide Trhreat Assessment -- Armed Services Committtee United States Senate, Lt. Gen. Scott Berrier)

Another Anecdote From President Biden Falls Apart

 

Daily Mail: Amtrak Joe hits the buffers: President's story about conductor congratulating him for traveling 1.5m miles had RETIRED 20 years earlier - and his mother who he 'was visiting' was already dead 

 * Biden shared the anecdote in a speech on Friday celebrating 50 years of Amtrak 

 * Said conductor congratulated him on 1.5 million miles in his second VP term 

 * Recalled the incident occurred while he was traveling to visit his sick mother 

 * Biden began his second term in 2013, but conductor he named retired in 1993 

 * And Biden's mother sadly passed away in 2010, at the age of 92 

* It is not the first time questions have been raised about Biden's anecdotes 

President Joe Biden's strange anecdote about reaching 1.5 million miles on Amtrak has come under scrutiny after key inconsistencies emerged that make it impossible to have occurred as he told it. 

 On Friday, delivering a speech in Philadelphia commemorating the 50th anniversary of Amtrak, Biden launched into the tale of a certain conductor congratulating him on reaching the milestone as he traveled to visit his sick mother. 

Biden said the incident occurred in his 'fourth or fifth year as vice president', or around 2014-2015, at which time the conductor he named had been retired for 20 years and his mother had passed away, inconsistencies first pointed out by Fox News. 

The White House did not immediately respond to an inquiry about the inconsistencies from DailyMail.com on Wednesday night.  

Read more ....  

Update: Biden's bizarre Amtrak story doesn't add up (FOX News)  

WNU Editor: Forget about these untruths and inconsistencies. The bigger story is that President Biden firmly believes these anecdotes and stories are true.

It Looks Like We Are Going to Get A Third Covid-19 Vaccine Booster Shot Later This Year

A third shot of either the original Moderna vaccine or a variant-specific booster improved antibody levels against two major variants, which were first detected in South Africa and Brazil  

Daily Mail: Moderna's booster shots improve protection against South African and Brazilian variants and updated formula triggers DOUBLE the level of antibodies as a third dose of the original vaccine, data suggest 

* Moderna announced early data from its booster shot trial on Wednesday 

* People who got a third shot of either the original vaccine or the updated version had higher levels of protective antibodies than those who got two doses 

* After six months, those who got the booster designed to block the variants had levels nearly twice as high as those who got a third dose of the initial shot 

 * It is the first of the vaccine-makers to announce results for its booster shot 

Moderna on Wednesday announced initial data from a small clinical trial that showed its booster shots improved people's immune responses against key coronavirus variants of concern. 

A third shot of either the original Moderna vaccine or a variant-specific booster improved antibody levels against two major variants, which were first detected in South Africa and Brazil. 

 'We are encouraged by these new data, which reinforce our confidence that our booster strategy should be protective against these newly detected variants,' said the company's CEO Stephane Bancel.  

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: These are early test results. I have been told that the results are excellent.

Oxford University Study Says Canada's Lockdowns Are As Strict As China, Iran, And Cuba

Westphalian Times: Oxford University: Canada ranks among highest in the stringency of government measures, near China and Cuba 

The COVID-19 Government Response Tracker (OxCGRT) from the Oxford University suggests that the stringency of lockdown measures in Canada ranks nearly as high as those of communist China and Cuba. 

The staggering figures from the OxCGRT were originally reported by Cosmin Dzsurdzsa from True North. 

Oxford’s OxCGRT quantifies the stringency of governmental COVID restrictions by looking at a variety of variables such as school closures, travel restrictions, workplace closing, restrictions on gathering and more. 

Canada obtained a stringency score of 75.46, slightly behind China’s 78.24 and Cuba’s 79.63. 

The United Kingdom obtained a score of 61.11 as the country is in the midst of a gradual reopening. 

The United States obtained a score of 56.94. Countries with scores higher than Canada included Algeria, Iran, Turkey, Venezuela, Argentina, and others.  

Read more ....  

Update: Canada’s lockdowns nearly as strict as communist China, Cuba: Oxford University  

WNU Editor: In the case of Canada we find ourselves in this situation because we fail in obtaining and distributing vaccines in a timely manner. 

The Oxford study is here .... Relationship between number of COVID-19 cases and government response (Oxford University).

Tweets Of The Day

Picture Of The Day

Queen Elizabeth II presents Bill Gates with his honorary knighthood at Buckingham Palace, London, Wednesday, 2 March 2005, watched by his wife Melinda. Gates, one of the richest men in the world, cannot use the title "Sir" as he is not a British citizen. He received the KBE insignia, in recognition of his charitable donations in Commonwealth countries. © AFP 2021 / Pool / Chris Young  

WNU Editor: The above picture came from this photo-gallery .... While They Were Still Together: Bill and Melinda Gates' Most Iconic Photos (Sputnik News).

Poll: Two-Thirds Of Americans Support The U.S. Withdrawal From Afghanistan

US Army soldiers return home from a 9-month deployment to Afghanistan on December 10, 2020 at Fort Drum, New York. © John Moore, AFP  

The Hill: Poll: Two-thirds support Afghanistan withdrawal 

About two-thirds of U.S. adults support bringing U.S. troops home from Afghanistan by September, according to a new poll commissioned by the libertarian Charles Koch Institute and obtained exclusively by The Hill. 

In the survey, 38 percent said they strongly support bringing the troops home by the Biden administration's announced deadline, while 28 percent said they somewhat support doing so. 

When the question was posed to just military members and veterans, there was a similar response, with 38 percent saying they strongly support the withdrawal and 30 percent saying they somewhat support it.  

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: Only two-thirds?

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Widespread Unrest In Colombia Leaves 25 Dead After Eight Days Of Protests

 

CBS: "The situation is out of control": 24 dead in anti-government protests in Colombia 

Mass protests continued for a seventh day in Colombia as international groups and celebrities have begun to call attention to the violence that has resulted in at least 24 deaths and left hundreds more injured. 

Colombia's ombudsman said Wednesday that 24 people – 23 civilians and one police officer – have been killed in the protests that started April 28. 

The recent unrest was originally sparked by Colombian President Ivan Duque last month attempting to pass a tax reform bill aimed at mitigating the country's economic crisis that would raise taxes on some essential items and public services.  

Read more .... 

More News On the Unrest In Colombia 

25 dead after eight days of protests in Colombia -- The Hill

Colombians march in eighth day of protests, police deploy tear gas -- Reuters  

‘No food and no fuel’: Colombia torn by protests and violent crackdown -- The Guardian  

Internet Disrupted in Colombia as Protesters Killed During Rally Against Iván Duque Márquez -- Newsweek

'Police opened fire' on protesters in Colombia; UN, NGOs pressure Iván Duque -- USA Today 

Demands grow as Colombians hold eighth day of mass protests -- Al Jazeera

A Former Green Beret Gives His Take On A Recent Viral Video Of An Insane Armored Truck Heist

 

Task & Purpose: A former Green Beret breaks down that viral video of an insane armored truck heist 

A massively viral video shows a pair of security guards driving an armored cash-in-transit truck in Pretoria, South Africa, when they are suddenly ambushed by armed robbers on a highway. 

The entire encounter, from start to finish, was caught on the dashboard camera from inside their Toyota Land Cruiser. You see the guards’ reactions as the chase intensifies — the furtive looks to the side and rearview mirrors, the way one of the guards readies his partner’s rifle as he clutches his pistol in his other hand. The camera catches the moment their bulletproof windows become pockmarked by incoming rounds, like a high-caliber Jackson Pollock painting on polycarbonate. You hear everything they hear, from the ‘crack’ of incoming fire and the combination ‘smack-splatter’ of rounds impacting the windows to the low rumble of engines and the ‘thud’ as the would-be robbers’ car collides with the side of the armored truck. And the video keeps rolling as the attempted robbery concludes with one of the guards exiting his armored truck, rifle in hand, to lay in wait for their attackers. Miraculously, both guards came through the incident unharmed.  

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: I have already watched this video three times. It is a must see. The comment thread to the above video is also a fun read. 

On a side note. I love his take on this attempted armored truck ("The Officer Tatum". See below). 

Facebook Board Upholds Former President Trump Ban

 

Daily Mail: 'A total disgrace and embarrassment to our country': Trump blasts 'radical left lunatics' on Facebook's Oversight Board for upholding Zuckerberg's ban on his accounts and warns big tech will pay a 'political price' for taking away his free speech 

* Facebook's Oversight Board ruled to keep Trump banned for another 6 months 

* Then, the final decision will be made by Facebook on whether he can come back 

 * Trump was banned from Facebook, Instagram and Twitter in January 

* The social media giants blamed him for the January 6 riot at the Capitol 

* It punts the controversial decision back to Facebook after months of waiting 

 * The board has 20 highly paid, left leaning members who make the decisions 

 * They get paid six figure salaries for approximately 15 hours of work a week 

 * The non-decision on Wednesday has galvanized Republicans' calls to split FB up 

 * They say it is proof of Facebook's continued censorship on free speech 

 * Trump issued a statement from his office to criticize the decision 

 * He said it showed the 'Radical Left Lunatics' are 'afraid of the truth' 

Former President Donald Trump says it is a 'total disgrace' that Facebook's Oversight Board is upholding the ban on his accounts, and says big tech will pay a 'political price' for taking away his free speech. 

In an email to supporters on Wednesday, Trump fumed: 'What Facebook, Twitter, and Google have done is a total disgrace and an embarrassment to our Country. 

'Free Speech has been taken away from the President of the United States because the Radical Left Lunatics are afraid of the truth, but the truth will come out anyway, bigger and stronger than ever before.  

Read more .... 

WNU Editor: I have said this more than once. These tech monopolies need to be broken up.

More News On Facebook Board Upholding Former President Trump Ban  

Facebook board upholds Trump ban, just not indefinitely -- AP  

Trump's Facebook ban to stay in place, board rules -- The Hill  

Facebook upholds decision to suspend Donald Trump from platform -- France 24  

Facebook's Trump ban upheld by Oversight Board for now -- BBC Facebook upholds ban on Donald Trump's account -- DW  

Trump rips Facebook, Twitter, Google for taking ‘free speech’ away from him to appease ‘radical left lunatics’ -- RT 

Donald Trump's Facebook ban upheld but review is called for before former president lashes out -- ABC News (Australia)  

Facebook Oversight Board Upholds Ban on Donald Trump's Account -- Sputnik

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- May 5, 2021

Lisa Hänel , DW: COVID leads to erosion of fundamental rights and freedom 

The coronavirus pandemic has led to an erosion of basic rights around the world. 

The "Atlas of Civil Society" shows that many governments restricted citizens' freedoms under the guise of fighting the spread of the virus. 

The "Atlas of Civil Society" report is full of examples of restricted freedoms: overcrowded prisons in the Philippines, arrested journalists in Zimbabwe, threatened human rights defenders in Mexico. 

For the fourth time, the organizations Bread for the World and Civicus published a comprehensive report on the situation of civil society organizations and their members in almost 200 countries.  

Read more .... 

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- May 5, 2021  

They Desperately Need COVID Vaccines. So Why Are Some Countries Throwing Out Doses? -- Nurith Aizenman, NPR 

 Is time up for Israel’s prime minister? -- The Al Jazeera  

The explosive reset of Czech–Russian relations -- Erik Tabery. The Strategist  

Nicola Sturgeon's Quest for Scottish Independence -- Sam Knight, New Yorker  

Ethiopia ‘at a crossroads’ amid spiraling ethnic conflict -- Rodney Muhumuza, AP  

Afghanistan’s Moment of Risk and Opportunity: A Path to Peace for the Country and the Region -- Ashraf Ghani, Foreign Affairs  

Leaving Afghanistan Makes US Less Safe -- Bruce Hoffman & Jacob Ware, WOTR  

‘Thank you’ from Afghanistan: How to continue counterterrorism after the withdrawal -- Lt. Gen. M. Farid Ahmadi, Military Times  

Biden Must Boost 2022 Defense Budget To Counter China -- Thomas Spoehr, Breaking Defense  

If China ruled the world -- Urban C. Lehner, Asia Times  

China and Russia’s Dangerous Convergence: How to Counter an Emerging Partnership -- Andrea Kendall-Taylor and David Shullman, Foreign Affairs  

Colombia protests: What is behind unrest? -- BBC  

'Diplomacy is back': G7 foreign ministers present united front despite COVID setback -- Charlotte Chelsom-Pill, DW  

Federal Reserve turns the dollar into toilet paper -- David P. Goldman, Asia Times

World News Briefs -- May 5, 2021 (Night Edition)

The G7 foreign ministers' meeting at Downing Street was held with plastic shields in place  

SKY News: G7 nations hit out at Russia and China - but fail to establish action against them  

They said they were worried about Russia's malign activities against other nations and China's "coercive economic policies". 

G7 foreign ministers have hit out at China and Russia - but failed to establish any concrete actions against them. 

Following two days of meetings in London, the seven nations said China, Russia and the COVID-19 pandemic are the world's biggest current threats.  

Read more .... 

MIDDLE EAST 

US, Iran signal possible breakthroughs in nuke talks

Saudi Arabia and Iran held talks ‘more than once’: Iraq president. 

Iraq pushes vaccine rollout amid widespread apathy, distrust. 

One killed in Israeli attack on Syria’s Latakia, state media says. 

Israel opposition chief Yair Lapid handed mandate to form government.

Israel: Opposition leader Yair Lapid tapped to form government. 

Shadowy Hamas commander warns Israel over Jerusalem. 

ASIA

India reports another record daily rise in COVID-19 deaths, as PM Narendra Modi becomes focus of mounting anger. 

India warned to brace for new coronavirus waves

Taliban captures district in northern Afghanistan; attacks increasing as US pulls out. 

US warplanes help Afghan forces fend off Taliban offensive. 

Philippines tells fishermen to ignore Beijing's ban on fishing in South China Sea

New Zealand refuses to accuse China of genocide against Uighurs in break with Western allies. 

Myanmar coup: Military bans satellite dishes in media crackdown. 

Singapore says it has detected the ‘double mutant’ Covid variant from India in its community, tightens restrictions. 

AFRICA 

French journalist kidnapped in Mali appears in video asking for help. 

Six Western hostages now held in Africa’s troubled Sahel region. 

Nigerian college students released two months after being kidnapped. 

Egypt in Covid 3rd wave calls off end-of-Ramadan festivities. 

In Ethiopia camp, displaced Tigrayans live with hunger, fear. 

Libya’s PM ‘hopeful’ foreign mercenaries will withdraw soon. 

Sudan secures loan to clear African Development Bank arrears. 

Zimbabwe mulls first mass elephant killing in decades

S.Africa's ANC party suspends top official in graft scandal. 

EUROPE 

G7 to continue working with Moscow to settle regional crises — statement. 

US aims to mediate Russia-Ukraine conflict. 

Biden-Putin meeting in June to take place, but breakthrough unlikely — analyst

Blinken heads to Ukraine in show of support amid Russia tensions. 

 EU announces new powers to restrict takeover bids by foreign entities. 

Lawyers file suit against Belarus' Lukashenko in Germany. 

Former Ukrainian prosecutor says he was fired for not investigating Hunter Biden: report. 

With independence in play, Scotland votes in pivotal election. 

UK sends Royal Navy to patrol Jersey port amid fishing row. 

Two California students, 20 and 21, are found guilty of murdering Italian cop in botched drug deal while on vacation and sentenced to life in prison. 

 AMERICAS 

US announces support for COVID vaccine intellectual property waiver

CDC predicts a 'sharp decline' in US Covid cases, hospitalizations and deaths in late July: Fatalities could drop to just 'tens' a week by September if vaccinations continue at the current pace, model shows. 

US birth rate falls 4% to its lowest point ever. 

ICE deportations fall to record low in April: report. 

Colombians return to streets after deadly week of anti-government protests. 

Brazil's Bolsonaro links pandemic to 'germ warfare'

Brazil’s central bank raises interest rate, promises June hike. 

Covid: Canada authorises Pfizer vaccine for children aged 12 to 15. 

TERRORISM/THE LONG WAR 

Jihadist attack in Burkina left 25 dead: minister. 

Iran diplomat's 20-year sentence for France bomb plot confirmed. 

Italians convicted of left-wing terrorism face French court. 

ECONOMY/FINANCE/BUSINESS

US stock indexes mixed as tech rebound fades; Peloton sinks. 

Google boss emails staff detailing return to office. 

 Facebook upholds decision to suspend Donald Trump from platform. 

Jeff Bezos sets date for space sightseeing flight.

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- May 5, 2021

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin delivers remarks during the change of command ceremony for U.S. Indo-Pacific Command on April 30, 2021. DoD Photo  

Politico: Austin rolls back Trump-era policy on special ops  

A change in November elevated the Pentagon civilian overseeing special operations matters. 

 Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is partially reversing his predecessor’s last-minute decision to elevate the top civilian Pentagon official overseeing special operations matters, according to two defense officials and a memo obtained by POLITICO. 

The policy shift is a mostly bureaucratic move within the department but continues the Biden administration’s broader push to undo Trump-era policies at the Pentagon. 

Most recently, President Joe Biden canceled all construction projects for former President Donald Trump’s southern border wall, which were paid for with money originally intended for military projects.  

Read more .... 

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- May 5, 2021  

Defense secretary partially reverses Trump-era order on special operations chief -- UPI  

Pentagon Partially Reverses Trump Move to Elevate Head of Special Operations -- Military.com  

Top U.S. general warns of 'potential international instability' -- Reuters  

Milley to Howard graduates: Your generation will make military 'truly inclusive of all' -- The Hill  

What's In Biden’s First Budget? And How Late Will It Be? -- Marcus Weisgerber, Defense One  

House Appropriators Fear Army Cuts, Continuing Resolution -- Breaking Defense  

Putting warheads on foreheads — This is the gear Air Force combat controllers carry into battle -- Task & Purpose  

The F-35 Question - Value vs. Price Tag -- Stew Magnuson, National Defense  

The B-21 Raider: A Marvel Of Digital Development -- Breaking Defense  

Guard Chief Pushes Back on Proposed Cut to C-130 Fleet -- Air Force Magazine  

USS Gerald R. Ford carrier completes post-delivery tests -- UPI  

Oshkosh’s Latest Bid To Grow Its Military Vehicle Footprint Could Change The Industry -- Forbes  

How the Army Software Factory Preps Soldiers for Future Battlefields -- NextGov  

Some US Military Bases Begin to Loosen Mask Rules -- Defense One  

Pentagon watchdog investigating military handling of UFO sightings -- The Hill  

Pentagon Has No Plans to Shoot Down Freefalling Chinese Rocket -- Defense One  

Pentagon chief orders review of deadly 2020 attack in Kenya -- AP 

US Reportedly Set to Join EU Defence Plan for Fast Redeployment of Troops in Europe -- Sputnik  

Army fires are at the center of a major NATO exercise — as Russia watches -- Army Times  

Biden Officials Say Russian Troops at Ukraine Border Bears a Message -- New York Times  

British Aircraft Carrier Departs on Landmark Deployment with Marine Corps F-35s Aboard -- Military.com 

Royal Navy’s First Type 26 Frigate HMS Glasgow Takes Shape -- Naval News 

 Russian Navy Conducts First Black Sea Supersonic Cruise Missile Test -- Moscow Times 

 Russia launches supersonic missile test with 'aircraft carrier-killer' in Black Sea -- Daily Star  

New approach to combat at sea: Russia eyes unleashing swarm of unmanned marine vehicles -- RT  

Russia holds airborne rehearsal of Victory Day Parade over Moscow -- TASS  

Does China's Carrier Strike Group Have a Stalker? -- National Interest  

Beijing Promises Aircraft Carriers to Drill ‘Regularly’ as Shandong Returns From South China Sea Ops -- Sputnik  

Militants threaten Iraqi F-16 program, Inspector General report says -- UPI  

Turkey’s Air Force Is Obsolete, Warns New Study -- Forbes 

 Greece, Saudi Arabia Forge Closer Ties In Shadow of Iran & Turkey -- Breaking Defense  

Soldiers leaving Myanmar's air force by the dozens, report says -- UPI  

North Korea: Keeping Its Powder Dry -- 38 North

WHO To Open A Global Pandemic ‘Intelligence’ Hub In Germany

 

CNBC: WHO to open a global pandemic ‘intelligence’ hub in Germany 

* The World Health Organization is to open a “Global Hub for Pandemic and Epidemic Intelligence” in Germany. 

* WHO says the center will focus on gathering data to predict and prevent future pandemics. 

* The new global hub for pandemic and epidemic intelligence, data, surveillance and analytics will be based in Berlin. 

The World Health Organization has announced plans for a “Global Hub for Pandemic and Epidemic Intelligence” in Germany, which it says will help gather data to predict and prevent future pandemics.

The new center for pandemic and epidemic intelligence, data, surveillance and analytics will be based in Berlin but will involve a global collaboration of countries and partners worldwide. 

The hub, due to officially open later this year, is envisaged as a way to create a large network of global data “to predict, prevent, detect prepare for and respond to pandemic and epidemic risks worldwide,” WHO said in a statement Wednesday.  

Read more ....  

Update #1: WHO, Germany launch new global hub for pandemic and epidemic intelligence (World Health Organization)  

Update #2: WHO to set up pandemic early warning center in Germany (DW)  

WNU Editor: I am skeptical on this new "hub". It is dependent on a global collaboration of countries and partners worldwide. But if countries like China continue to limit access to outside researchers and investigators to investigate outbreaks, I fail to see how this global pandemic "intelligence" hub can be 100% effective.

U.S. Air Force Aborts Test Launch Of An Unarmed Minuteman III Nuclear Missile At Vandenberg Air Force Base, California

 

Air Force Times: Air Force aborts test launch of unarmed Minuteman III nuclear missile 

The Air Force said Wednesday it called off a test launch of an unarmed Minuteman III nuclear missile at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, after the weapon turned itself off during the final countdown. 

The intercontinental ballistic missile, fired from an underground silo at the coastal base, “experienced a ground abort prior to launch,” the service said in a release. 

“During terminal countdown, the missile computer detected a fault in the sequence of checks it does prior to launching. Upon detection of this fault, it shut itself down,” just as the system is designed to do, Air Force Global Strike Command spokesperson Carla Pampe told Air Force Times. 

USAF will investigate the root cause of the problem. “There has not been an incident like this in recent memory,” Pampe added.  

Read more .... 

More News On The U.S. Air Force Aborting A Test Launch Of An Unarmed Minuteman III Nuclear Missile At Vandenberg Air Force Base  

Air Force aborts ICBM test before launch -- The Hill  

US Air Force aborts the planned test launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile for unexplained reasons -- Business Insider  

Air Force Aborts ICBM Test After Problem on the Ground -- Military.com  

US Air Force to investigate aborted ICBM test flight -- Space News