A day doesn’t go by without some news hitting us about COVID-19, but that’s not the only thing happening in the world. This week, there were plenty of stories that received little to no coverage as a result of the ongoing crisis — even if the stories only sprung up because of it.
That’s not to say the crisis doesn’t deserve the airtime it’s getting, but there’s more to life than an apocalyptic pandemic that’s sweeping across the globe.
These are the stories that should have been bigger news this week — or, they would have were the world not collectively freaking out right now. Of course, Wuhan flu looms on many of these stories, but the virus can’t get all the attention.
10The WHO Hung Up On Journalist Asking About Taiwan
Taiwan is a tricky place where international relations are concerned. Mainland China claims the small island nation as one of its territories. It is formally known as the Republic of China, but the country is not a member of the United Nations, and the People’s Republic of China refuses to establish (or continue) diplomatic relations with any country that recognizes it. This point of contention is a big deal for pretty much any country interested in working with China, and it’s a problem for organizations like the WHO.
On March 28th, a journalist with Hong Kong broadcaster RTHK was speaking with Bruce Aylward, an official from WHO who led a mission to Wuhan, China (later praising the communist state for its action against the Wuhan virus). The question was, “Will the WHO reconsider Taiwan’s membership?” This was met with a feigned attempt to appear not to have heard what was being asked, followed by a request to move on to another question. Shortly after this, Aylward hung up on the journalist. After the incident went viral following the Twitter post above, the WHO issued a statement, clarifying that employees have no say as to which nations can become a member. Additionally, the statement praised Taiwan for its low infection numbers and indicated the WHO has a point of contact in the country.
WOW: Japanese official blasts China, says the WHO should be renamed the CHO — China Health Organization, given the Chinese Communist Party’s role in covering up the #coronavirus outbreak: pic.twitter.com/www1S2nRUu
— John Cooper (@thejcoop) April 1, 2020
It has, nevertheless, added to the numerous controversies facing the WHO since the elevation of Tedros Adhanom (a member of the socialist Ethiopian terrorist organization known as the “Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front”) as its head in 2017. He is also the first non-doctor appointed. Even an official of the Japanese government has stated that the organization should be renamed the “Chinese Health Organization” due to its pro-Chinese stance.
9 Prime Minister Viktor Orban Of Hungary Officially Becomes Dictator
Viktor Orban, the Prime Minister of Hungary, has been granted an unprecedented level of power to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. The new authorities granted the PM may make his job easier in protecting his citizens, but critics warn of serious consequences in the granting of open-end rules. The fear is that the populist PM will retain those powers, and that will result in the death of the Hungarian democracy. It’s happened before, and there’s a good chance it could happen again. The Roman Senate did something similar by recognizing Julius Caesar as Dictator for Life, and Germany did the same with the passage of the Enabling Act of 1933, which helped the Socialists take over Germany.
The law passed in Hungary extends the state of emergency declared on March 11th for an indefinite period. It also suspends Parliament and introduces jail terms of up to five years for anyone who is caught intentionally spreading misinformation (CNN will be scurrying to get out of Hungary right now!) that makes it difficult for the government to respond to the pandemic. The law effectively suspends the rest of the government and places Orban into a dictatorial position, where he has the power to run things without anyone standing in his way.
One of the first acts he has undertaken in his new role as absolute leader is to strip the notion of “gender” from all laws and replace it with “sex at birth”, causing an outcry from the transgender lobby (ironically largely funded by Hungarian expat George Soros), and calls for Hungary to be expelled from the European Union.
8 Belarus President Believes COVID-19 Is A “Psychosis,” Leaves Country Open
While the Hungarian PM is ramping up his power to fight COVID-19, Alexander Lukashenko, the President of Belarus, stands firm in his insistence that the global response seen in other countries is the product of “psychosis.” Because of this, Belarus has done virtually nothing to prevent the infection of its people, and it stands as one of the only nations on the planet where professional sports haven’t been canceled. When it comes to sports, Lukashenko was out and about in Minsk playing amateur hockey, where he gave a quick interview about his response to COVID-19.
The president of Belarus is insisting that #vodka and saunas will cure the #coronavirus — while claiming nations that have gone into lockdown are in the throes of a “psychosis,”…“There are no viruses here,” (Alexander Lukashenko) said…“I don’t see them.” NYPOST 3-30-20 pic.twitter.com/jcktiMj5PV
— raizin * Head Loon & Sous-chef of the absurd (@TheBuffaloon) April 2, 2020
“It is better to die on your feet than live on your knees! …I don’t understand. There is no virus here. This (arena) is a refrigerator, it is the best thing for your health. Sport, especially on ice, is better than any antiviral medication, it is the real thing.” Lukashenko is keeping businesses open and isn’t enforcing any of the suggested measures the World Health Organization have called for to stem the spread of the virus. He added that Belarusians “do not suffer the same psychosis as those in Western Europe.” The country hasn’t been spared from infection, with the first case having appeared in Minsk on February 28th.
7 Man Intentionally Derailed A Train To Hit A Hospital Ship
On April 1st, Eduardo Moreno (a California train engineer) intentionally drove his locomotive at full speed with the intention of jumping off the tracks, so he could slam into the USNS Mercy, a Naval hospital vessel docked at the Los Angeles Port. Moreno has been charged with train-wrecking following two police interviews, where he allegedly admitted to committing the crime. “Moreno stated that he thought the USNS Mercy was suspicious and did not believe ‘the ship is what they say it’s for.’”
Train engineer Eduardo Moreno admitted to derailing a train through a several barriers and two lots in an attempt to “wake people up” and damage the Hospital Ship Mercy which he believed will be used as part of a government takeover. (Video: @pjreynolds505 / Instagram) pic.twitter.com/lq2qfPLeDE
— Disclosure Backpack (@DisclosureBP) April 2, 2020
Moreno further expressed his belief that the vessel was potentially linked to a government takeover, and had nothing to do with the treatment of patients not related to COVID-19 infections in Los Angeles. A California Highway Patrol officer witnessed the wreck, describing how he saw “the train smash into a concrete barrier at the end of the track, smash into a steel barrier, smash into a chain-link fence, slide through a parking lot, slide across another lot filled with gravel, and smash into a second chain-link fence.” The train stopped 250 yards before it could come in contact with the ship. Train-wrecking carries a potential sentence of up to 20 years in federal prison.
6 ‘Rick and Morty’ Is Coming Back — Or Is It?
Fans of the hit series Rick and Morty got two animated treats related to the series’ return this week, with one indicating the five episodes remaining in the season would begin airing on May 3rd. The trailer came days after an animated short of the characters in an anime format, and while any news is often well-received by fans, more than a few noticed the trailer was released on April Fool’s Day. Series co-creators, Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon, are well-known to enjoy the occasional April Fool’s Day prank, leaving some fans dubious.
One fan on Chinese-owned website Reddit commented in a post, where they wrote that “Normally I’d be skeptical but remember when they released the first episode of season 3 on April 1st and let people stream it for free all day on their website?” Other fans noted the likelihood of creating a complete trailer just to tease fans was unlikely. Regardless, any news of Rick and Morty is a bright spot of hope in a year that’s been more than a little horrible thus far.
5 US Unemployment Rate Doubles To Highest Numbers In History
Last week’s jobless numbers broke records with a spike of people claiming unemployment in the United States to 3.3 million. Those numbers were expected, as more and more people are left without a job to go to, thanks to various’ stay at home’ orders across the nation. The numbers released on April 2nd covered claims sent in between March 21-28 blew past the previous week with a total of 6.6 million. Additionally, the previous week’s numbers were adjusted up by 24,000, making the two-week increases in jobless claims total nearly 10 million new filers.
The significant increase in numbers was caused primarily by the COVID-19 crisis, but also due to many economists’ concerns that the country had entered into a recession as the virus began to take hold. Daniel Zhai, a senior economist at Glassdoor, said, “Four years of job gains have evaporated in the span of two weeks.” The numbers are concerning, but many new filers are able to do so as a result of the recently-passed $2 trillion economic stimulus package, which expanded unemployment benefits to Americans meeting certain conditions. The largest jobless claims for a single week prior to this one was 695,000 in 1982.
4 Pakistani Court Overturns Conviction Of Killing Of Daniel Pearl
In 2002, a Pakistani court found that Ahmed Omar Sheikh, a British-born militant, was guilty of kidnapping and murdering American journalist Daniel Pearl. On April 2nd, another Pakistani court overturned that conviction, which resulted in a death sentence that had yet to be carried out. Pearl was working for the Wall Street Journal in 2002 when he was abducted by a Pakistani group with links to al Qaeda. Pearl, like many other westerners captured around that time, was beheaded in a propaganda video made by the group.
A court in Pakistan has overturned the death sentence and murder conviction of a British-born terrorist, Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, for the kidnap and murder by beheading of Daniel Pearl, the South Asia Chief of the Wall Street Journal, in 2002. https://t.co/6ek0sy2lPN
— Shan Kamaraj (@skamaraj32) April 2, 2020
The court also overturned the convictions of three other men found guilty in the original trial. Mr. Sheikh’s sentence was reduced to seven years for kidnapping but found that there wasn’t enough evidence to maintain the conviction for murder. Because he and the other three men, Fahad Saleem, Syed Salman Saqib and Sheikh Muhammad Adil, had already served 18 years of a (now) seven year sentence, they are all expected to go free soon, though the court has yet to release a detailed ruling. There has been some doubt as to the men’s role in the killing since a 2011 report cast doubt on the extent of their involvement.
3 Prince Charles Will Foot The Bill For Henry & Rachel’s Security Costs
Henry Windsor and his wife Rachel (pictured above in wax) recently abdicated their royal titles and all access to public funds, effectively becoming commoners like the rest of us. They are currently spending their days in Los Angeles, where they require expensive, round-the-clock security (for reasons unknown). On March 29th, President Trump made it clear the United States Of America wasn’t going to cover their security costs in a Tweet, where he wrote, “I am a great friend and admirer of the Queen & the United Kingdom. It was reported that Harry and Meghan, who left the Kingdom, would reside permanently in Canada. Now they have left Canada for the U.S. however, the U.S. will not pay for their security protection. They must pay!” The United States stopped giving its citizen’s money to the British crown in 1776 and it doesn’t intend to resume the practice in 2020.
I am a great friend and admirer of the Queen & the United Kingdom. It was reported that Harry and Meghan, who left the Kingdom, would reside permanently in Canada. Now they have left Canada for the U.S. however, the U.S. will not pay for their security protection. They must pay!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 29, 2020
On April 2nd, Prince Charles has “agreed to pay a private contribution” to ensure his youngest son and daughter-in-law are protected, though his contribution may only cover half of their needed £4 million ($5 million) in security costs. The Tweet may have been premature, as the Duke and Duchess said they had no plans to ask the U.S. for assistance. A spokesman reported that “Privately funded security arrangements have been made.” The couple is expected to remain in L.A., though they initially planned to settle in Canada.
Oh . . . and if you are wondering why we called them Henry and Rachel, it’s because Harry is the affectionate name given to the former Prince Henry by the royal family, and Rachel Markle goes by her middle name of Meghan. How’s that for mind-blowing news?
2 Marvel Announces Social Justice Superheroes
As the Chinese coronavirus crushes stock markets and damages world economies, it’s having another impact many people may not be aware of: it’s killing the comic book industry. Fortunately, Marvel, DC, and other publishers are halting the production of print and digital books during the crisis, and hopefully, that will save the direct market from collapsing. In the meantime, Marvel announced some rather interesting new characters to debut in the near future, and they all appear to be social justice warriors where sexuality and gender identity are concerned.
The new roster of heroes includes Snowflake, Safespace, Screentime, B-Negative, and Trailblazer. The latter has a “magic backpack” with an infinite dimension held within, and she’s fat, which is a first for the publisher. Screentime has the ability to be continuously connected to the Internet due to an experimental gas. Snowflake is a “non-binary” who goes by the pronouns they and them. It has the power to create snowflake-shaped shurikens. Safeplace is all about defense from meanies and scary words. These additions to the New Warriors are clearly meant to be more “inclusive”, so it will be interesting to see how they are received by fans once the publisher begins releasing new content. All indications so far, are that it is yet another virtue signalling disaster about to unfold.
The Domestic Box office (movie theaters) brought in a whopping $5,179 for the week of Mar 20-26. Down 100% from $204,193,406 the same week a year ago… These numbers are just incredible.
— Strider Elass (@StriderElass) March 31, 2020
Considering that the US total box office take for the last week was $5,179 (not a typo) down from 204 million dollars for the same period last year, companies like Marvel may need to start rethinking just how much money they are willing or able to lose to continue pushing propaganda that a tiny, but incredibly loud (and screechy), minority are clamoring for.
1 Plague Bells Ring Again
In a move straight out of a plague drama set during the Middle Ages while it was ravaged by the Black Death, the Swiss city of Lausanne is ringing the plague alarm bell (made in 1518) in the Cathedral of Lausanne nightly. The bell is manually rung for three minutes after the watchman calls the hour from the four corners of the belfry. The clang of the tolling bell floating out across Lake Geneva should give us all pause to think and consider our own dead (not just from plague or pestilence).
Not wanting to be outdone by 16th century technology, the owners of the Empire State building announced: “Starting tonight through the COVID-19 battle, our signature white lights will be replaced by the heartbeat of America with a white and red siren in the mast for heroic emergency workers on the front line of the fight,” the Empire State Building tweeted. Unfortunately though, the result is a dystopian vision that could be the central icon of any post-apocalyptic film. The light appears to spin like an ambulance light. And I’m sure I don’t even need to mention its frightening resemblance to the Eye of Sauron.
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