Day: May 20, 2020
Venezuela to Sue Bank of England for Theft of 31 Tons of Gold
teleSUR | May 20, 2020
Bolivian diplomacy also reported that the UN Security Council will analyze the mercenary incursion that occurred on May 3.
Venezuela’s Representative to the United Nations Samuel Moncada Tuesday announced that his country will sue the Bank of England for stealing 31 tons of gold that this financial institution had in its custody. This lawsuit will be brought before a British court.
US Military Planners Advise Expanded Online Psychological Warfare against China
by Alan Macleod
MintPress News | May 18, 2020
As the U.S. military turns its attention from the Middle East to conflict with Russia and China, American war planners are advising that the United States greatly expand its own online “psychological operations” against Beijing.
A new report from the Financial Times details how top brass in Washington are strategizing a new Cold War with China, describing it less as World War III and more as “kicking each other under the table.” Last week, General Richard Clarke, head of Special Operations Command, said that the “kill-capture missions” the military conducted in Afghanistan were inappropriate for this new conflict, and Special Operations must move towards cyber influence campaigns instead.Read More »
‘Bolsonaro Is at War With Science’ Brazilian Doctor Warns
teleSUR | May 19, 2020
The War on Labour
by Prabhat Patnaik
People’s Democracy | May 17, 2020
EVEN as millions of migrant workers are wearily trudging back to their villages with no money, no food and no shelter, or are locked up en route in shoddy quarantine camps, a war has been unleashed on the rights of workers under the cover of the lockdown. The BJP, true to form, is the political formation leading this class war through its state governments. The Uttar Pradesh government has through an ordinance suspended all labour laws (except just four) for a period of three years. The Madhya Pradesh government has made labour laws inapplicable to new units for a period of one thousand days. The Gujarat government has taken decisions along similar lines; and the Karnataka government is planning to follow suit. The Congress governments of Punjab and Rajasthan, though yet not going so far, have extended the working day from 8 to 12 hours.
The suspension of labour laws means above all that employers are free to fire workers at will and are also exempt from the obligation to raise minimum wages; but it also means that the employers are not bound to provide to workers “ventilation, lighting, toilets, sitting facilities, first-aid boxes, protective equipment, canteens, crèches and an interval of rest” (The Hindu, May 8). It means in other words, not just in small enterprises where the conditions of work are abysmal anyway but even in large enterprises, a return to conditions similar to what Marx and Engels had written about in nineteenth century Britain. It amounts to rolling back the rights earned by the working class after two centuries of struggle.
Study: Coronavirus Has Been a Massive Boon for America’s Billionaires
by Alan Macleod
MintPress News | May 15, 2020
America’s billionaires have seen their wealth increase by 12.5 percent during the COVID-19 lockdown period. The Institute for Policy Studies (IPS), a Washington, D.C.-based think tank, released a study Thursday showing that, in the eight weeks between March 18 and May 14, the country’s super wealthy have added a further $368.8 billion to their already enormous fortunes.
Among the more famous big winners during the pandemic include Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg, who adds $21 billion to his net worth (a 38 percent increase). Failed Democratic presidential contender Michael Bloomberg is up $10 billion as well, meaning he has recouped ten times as much as he lost in his big money political campaign that went nowhere. Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates has increased his fortune by around $6 billion as well. Read More »
Trump Unveils Plan That Would See Big Pharma Reap Massive Profits from COVID-19 Vaccine
by Raul Diego
MintPress News | May 15, 2020
A former Big Pharma executive and a four-star General have just been appointed by President Trump to lead a “Manhattan project-style effort to develop a vaccine for the novel coronavirus.” The effort, called Operation Warp Speed, has set a goal to create 300 million doses of a non-existent vaccine by January.Read More »
Keep your nose out of it: why saliva tests could offer a better alternative to nasal COVID-19 swabs
The Conversation | May 20, 2020
Saliva is one of our biggest foes in the COVID-19 pandemic, because of its role in spreading the virus. But it could be our friend too, because it potentially offers a way to diagnose the disease without using invasive nasal swabs.
Our research review, published in the journal Diagnostics, suggests saliva could offer a readily accessible diagnostic tool for detecting the presence of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, and might even be able to reveal whether someone’s immune system has already encountered it.
COVID-19 testing is a crucial part of the pandemic response, especially now countries are gradually lifting social distancing restrictions. This requires widespread, early, accurate and sensitive diagnosis of infected people, both with and without symptoms.Read More »
COVID-19: Through the Eyes of Workers in the US
Sarah Jaffe, with co-journalist Michelle Chan, interviews US workers of all stripes for their podcast “Belabored” for Dissent Magazine. The following interviews are excerpts from their series on COVID-19 stories, republished with permission. For the full interviews, more workers’ stories, and the podcast, visit here.
Rebel News | May 11, 2020
Farmworkers need Field Hospitals
Farmworkers in the fields are some of the most important workers in the U.S. food supply chain, yet they do their work completely isolated from most of the country. Organizations like the Coalition of Immokalee Workers have done much in recent years to get the stories of farmworkers in front of the people who buy the produce they pick, and they are now organizing to make demands for safer conditions.Read More »
Back to work, or else: Trump administration tells states to pull unemployment benefits
by Mark Gruenberg
People’s World | May 15, 2020
President Donald Trump and Tony Stallings, vice president of integrated supply chain at Honeywell International Inc., right, interrogate a worker about his job during a tour of a Honeywell plant that manufactures personal protective equipment, May 5, 2020, in Phoenix, as Honeywell CEO Darius Adamczyk and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows watch. | Evan Vucci / AP
WASHINGTON—GOP President Donald Trump’s Labor Secretary, Eugene Scalia, and his #2 who runs the agency that oversees jobless benefits want employers to report—and states to bar benefits from—workers who fear returning to their old jobs because their employers won’t protect them against the coronavirus.
The memo, from John Pallasch, a GOP operative, an advocate for so-called charter schools and a former top Kentucky Employment Department official under right-wing GOP Gov. Matt Bevin, makes clear the intention is to deny jobless benefits to those jobless workers.