News Burst 18 April 2020
- The news of the death of the Hessian Finance Minister Thomas Schäfer (†54) shook all of Germany. Now there is said to have been another suicide in the vicinity of the ministry. According to Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland (RND), another high-ranking member of the Hessian finance department has apparently taken his own life. The official was found “lifeless in his office on Thursday morning. According to police reports, a self-inflicted suicide is to be assumed”, the RND quotes an internal mail from the Secretary of State for Finance, Martin Worms (65), to the employees of the Ministry of Finance in Wiesbaden.
- Last time Jessica Meir, Andrew Morgan and Oleg Skripochka were on Earth, there were house parties, happy hours, handshakes, crowded concerts and no one was yet talking about the novel coronavirus that has reshaped daily life across the world. More than 200 days since they each embarked on their trip to space to the ISS, things are different. All three astronauts landed Friday morning near Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan.
- The Vatican on Wednesday replaced the director of its financial watchdog agency, completing a coup that began in October with controversial police raids on the watchdog offices and an investigation into a London real estate deal. The Vatican secretary of state named a Bank of Italy official, Giuseppe Schlitzer, to head the day-to-day operations of the Financial Information Authority, known by its Italian acronym AIF. Schlitzer replaces Tommaso di Ruzza, who was suspended as part of the investigation. Seven months after the raids, neither di Ruzza nor anyone else has been charged. The delay and gaps in the prosecutors’ case suggest the investigation was sparked by a Vatican turf war over fears that AIF was being too aggressive in rooting out financial malfeasance that could have implicated high-ranking Vatican officials. Vatican prosecutors are investigating allegations of corruption in the Secretariat of State’s 2012 purchase of a stake in a luxury residence in London. The Vatican bought the other investors out at the end of 2018, but then realized it had taken on an onerous mortgage as well as Italian middlemen who were fleecing the Holy See of tens of millions of euros in fees, according to officials familiar with the deal.
- Twitter on April 14 unsuspend the official account of the Chinese Embassy in Sri Lanka 24 hours after it had suspended it causing a stir on social media. The Chinese Embassy in Sri Lanka in a statement said that Twitter had contacted them on 14th April morning saying the suspension was a systematic mistake and had apologized over it. On 13th April, Twitter suspended the official account of the Chinese Embassy in Sri Lanka, without informing any specific reason.
- Congregants from the Seattle-based Satanic Temple of Washington drew a crowd of prayerful onlookers Friday as they hoisted their pentagram and conducted a satanic ritual at the state Capitol Friday, March 6. Christian groups and followers caught wind of the Satanist celebrants and showed up to sing and pray in the name of Jesus. Some younger Christians held a sign that read “Satan has no rights.” Satanic Temple affiliates, such as Justin Harvey-John Ashby, said their event was about promoting religious plurality. He said he believes satanic beliefs have been misunderstood and viewed as “grossly perverse,” and that their primary values are empathy, reason, bodily autonomy and justice.
- Buffalo sighting propels biosecurity measures in Namibia. The Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform has instituted a set of biosecurity measures in some northern regions after an African buffalo was seen at a village in the Okongo constituency of the Ohangwena region last week. Veterinary officials from the agriculture ministry, alongside officials from the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism, have been pursuing the buffalo since Wednesday last week and the search for the animal is ongoing. “The buffalo broke into a nearby farm unit before it could be put down by the rangers and fled into the thick bushes,” he said. “ The presence of a buffalo in livestock areas poses a high risk of transmitting FMD virus to livestock through close contact or contaminated grazing and water by the buffalo’s excretions and secretions such as faeces, urine, saliva and other bodily fluids,” Misika said.
- Police have offered assistance to a group of day laborers found homeless at Chao Anouvong Park in Vientiane Capital, Laos. The laborers say they have no work, no food, and no home. Living with the group was a woman some seven months pregnant. The woman says she had been employed at a rubber factory at KM 52 and now had no place to sleep. The group of homeless people has been meeting at Chao Anouvong Park every day in the afternoon to receive food and handouts from charitable members of the public.
- Professor Luc Montagnier, 2008 Nobel Prize winner for Medicine, claims that SARS-CoV-2 is a manipulated virus that was accidentally released from a laboratory in Wuhan, China. According to Professor Luc Montagnier, winner of the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 2008 for “discovering” HIV as the cause of the AIDS epidemic together with Françoise Barré-Sinoussi, the SARS-CoV-2 is a virus that was manipulated and accidentally released from a laboratory in Wuhan, China, in the last quarter of 2019.
- ANA Holdings Inc. and Japan Airlines Co., Ltd. (JAL), Japan’s two biggest airlines, have cut around 90 percent of international flights but left their domestic networks relatively intact, industry data showed. The two normally fly around 800 or more domestic flights daily. They are currently flying around two-thirds of capacity with 10 percent of the usual demand, according to the airlines. That is despite Japan declaring a one-month state of emergency in major cities on April 7, which was expanded on Thursday to include the entire country.
- Michael Cohen, the former personal attorney to US President Donald Trump, will be released early from prison because of the coronavirus pandemic, Cohen, who has served less than one year of a three-year sentence, will serve the rest of his time in home confinement.
- A “wild feeding frenzy” is under way in China for medical equipment crucial to containing the spread of the deadly coronavirus around the world. Scalpers stake out factories with suitcases loaded with cash to secure millions of surgical masks hot off the production line. Dealers trade ventilators back and forth as if they were cargoes of coal, before they finally reach the end buyer carrying eye-watering mark-ups. Governments wire eight-figure sums of money for vital equipment only to lose out to another government that was quicker to produce the cash. We are slap bang in the middle of a gold rush for the year’s most sought-after commodities – masks, gloves, thermometers, ventilators, hospital beds, testing kits, hazmat suits, hand sanitiser and goggles – and according to those involved in the scramble, there are no holds barred.
- Namibia has, over the last five years, spent N$1,2 billion on projects aimed at biodiversity conservation, climate change adaptation and combating land degradation. According to a report submitted to the National Assembly by environment minister Pohamba Shifeta in March and made available to Nampa recently, the funds were mobilised through the Green Climate Fund (GCF), Global Environment Facility and the Adaptation Fund. “The interventions were aimed at making Namibian communities more resilient to climate change and other environment-related problems such as water insecurity, human-wildlife conflict, and poaching,” it said. In addition, pilot projects also found that solar-powered boreholes and the use of desalination technologies saved communities money and were effective in ensuring water supplies to communities, livestock and wildlife during droughts. As a result, solar-powered boreholes have become a central component of efforts to mitigate human-wildlife conflict. Other major successes include the installation of drip irrigation systems in community gardens and 54 schools to benefit 10 000 people, the report said.
- Japan will offer a cash payment of 100,000 yen (US$930) to every resident, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced on Friday, as the coronavirus pandemic continues to decimate the world’s third-biggest economy. “We are moving quickly to deliver cash to all people,” Abe said in a televised news conference to explain his decision to expand a state of emergency nationwide.
- Moroccan internet users have launched a social media campaign responding to posts by alleged Emirati social bots that attacked Morocco’s Head of Government Saad Eddine El Othmani. The campaign, launched under the hashtag “Thank You El Othmani,” aimed to highlight Morocco’s unprecedented measures to manage to COVID-19 crisis. The fake accounts reacted to posts about three different countries: Morocco, Qatar, and Turkey. Considering the diplomatic tension between the three countries and the UAE, it is highly possible that the social bots are led by Emirati people, he speculated. The social media hostility comes amid new rumors of tension between Morocco and the UAE. Earlier this week, the UAE threatened to impose restrictions on a list of countries, including Morocco, that cannot repatriate non-resident nationals to their countries of origin.
Sunspot number: 0
Current Stretch: 12 days
2020 total: 82 days (76%)
2019 total: 281 days (77%)
Strongest EQ in Europe M4.0 Greece
Strongest EQ in North America M3.7 California
Strongest EQ on the Planet 5.7 South Indian Ocean
Deepest EQ M5.7 513 km South of the Fiji Islands News Burst 18 April 2020
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