Why Did The WHO Bury This Damning Report On Italy’s COVID-19 Response?

A World Health Organization (WHO) official reportedly removed an important study on Italy’s early response to the coronavirus pandemic. Ranieri Guerra, the Italian WHO official who removed the study, previously served as director-general for preventive health at the Italian health ministry from 2014-17. The report – extremely critical of Italy’s haphazard early response to the pandemic…

The post Why Did The WHO Bury This Damning Report On Italy’s COVID-19 Response? appeared first on True Pundit.

Source: True Pundit, Why Did The WHO Bury This Damning Report On Italy’s COVID-19 Response?

Pelosi, caught violating Covid-19 rules, makes masks compulsory in the House even while SPEAKING

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) has vowed to unleash a crackdown on US lawmakers removing masks after taking the floor, saying they will have their recognition withdrawn if they do so.

“Masks will now be required at all times in the hall of the House without exception, including while members are under recognition,” she said on Tuesday, calling the new rule a matter of order and decorum. “To be clear, members will not be recognized unless they are wearing a mask and recognition will be withdrawn if they remove the mask while speaking.”

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FILE PHOTOS. © REUTERS / Leah Millis; © REUTERS / Jonathan Ernst
‘Hypocrites of 2020’: LA store celebrated for blasting Hunter Biden, Pelosi, Fauci, & more with unusual holiday window decorations

The California Democrat had already mandated that all lawmakers wear face coverings when they appear on the House floor, after a Republican representative who was among a group of lawmakers opposing a sweeping mask rule, tested positive for Covid-19. 

Since then anyone who dared to disobey the mask order has risked being thrown out of the chamber by a sergeant-at-arms. 

However, lawmakers were still allowed to remove their masks when speaking – until now.

Also on rt.com

‘It was a set-up!’ Nancy Pelosi claims salon tricked her into flouting coronavirus restrictions to get hair done, demands APOLOGY

While Pelosi has been pushing for the ever-stricter version of the mask rule, she has faced accusations of hypocrisy after getting caught flouting Covid-19 regulations herself. In September, she was recorded having her hair done – without a mask – in a salon that was not supposed to be open to the public, pursuant to the San Francisco health guidelines.

Pelosi brushed off the criticism, accusing the owners of the indoor establishment of “setting her up” and insisting that she has done nothing wrong, while refusing to apologize.

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Source: RT, Pelosi, caught violating Covid-19 rules, makes masks compulsory in the House even while SPEAKING

The U.S. government spent billions on a system for detecting hacks. The Russians outsmarted it. – The Washington Post

  1. The U.S. government spent billions on a system for detecting hacks. The Russians outsmarted it.  The Washington Post
  2. U.S. federal agencies hacked by foreign entity  CBS News
  3. Government and industry reeling after Russian hackers pierce internal networks  Yahoo News
  4. Enough is enough. Here’s what we should do to defend against the next Russian cyberattacks.  The Washington Post
  5. Hack may have exposed deep US secrets; damage yet unknown  Associated Press
  6. View Full Coverage on Google News

Source: Google News, The U.S. government spent billions on a system for detecting hacks. The Russians outsmarted it. – The Washington Post

Border Patrol Installs First ‘Missing Migrant Rescue Beacon’ In Effort To Save Lives

DEL RIO, Texas – U.S. Border Patrol Del Rio Sector’s Foreign Operation Branch/Missing Migrant Program deployed the sector’s first state of the art Rescue Beacon in the wilderness outside Comstock, on Dec. 8.

“Too often, migrants are abandoned by human smugglers in the harsh Texas terrain. These individuals are often left with little to no provisions, lost in a foreign country, and without any avenue for rescue,” said Del Rio Sector Chief Patrol Agent Austin L. Skero II. “These beacons enhance Del Rio Sector’s capability to respond to those in distress and save lives.”

Del Rio Sector’s intent is to help save lives through placement of Rescue Beacons in areas with the highest environmental risks, migrant rescues, and deaths. These beacons allow agents to quickly locate subjects and mitigate the risk of death or bodily harm.

Approximately 30 feet tall and equipped with a high visibility strobe light on top of the structure, the Rescue Beacon contains a red button that allows someone in distress to activate a call for medical assistance or rescue while automatically providing their geographic location. This beacon also has drinkable water and cellular charging capability available to assist subjects in distress.

The post Border Patrol Installs First ‘Missing Migrant Rescue Beacon’ In Effort To Save Lives appeared first on Breaking911.

Source: Breaking 911, Border Patrol Installs First ‘Missing Migrant Rescue Beacon’ In Effort To Save Lives

Harris to ABC’s Robin Roberts: 'I applaud Mitch McConnell for talking to Joe Biden' – ABC News

  1. Harris to ABC’s Robin Roberts: ‘I applaud Mitch McConnell for talking to Joe Biden’  ABC News
  2. McConnell for the first time recognizes Biden as President-elect  CNN
  3. The Guardian view on US democracy: safe – for now  The Guardian
  4. Richard Fowler: Trump’s defeat is now final, bringing a disastrous presidency to a welcome end  Fox News
  5. Mitch McConnell begs Republicans to stop feeding the Trump beast  The Washington Post
  6. View Full Coverage on Google News

Source: Google News, Harris to ABC’s Robin Roberts: ‘I applaud Mitch McConnell for talking to Joe Biden’ – ABC News

Australian regulator sues Facebook over now-ended app’s use of data

December 15, 2020

(Reuters) – Australia’s competition regulator said on Wednesday it filed a court case against Facebook Inc for misleading consumers over the use of data collected by a now-discontinued mobile analytic app.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) said the Onavo Protect mobile app, which Facebook ended in 2019, told customers it would keep their data private but it had instead been used by Facebook for research and identifying future acquisition targets.

The regulator alleged Onavo Protect, which let customers use a virtual private network (VPN) service, misled consumers in Australia between February 2016 and October 2017.

Facebook did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

“Consumers often use VPN services because they care about their online privacy, and that is what this Facebook product claimed to offer. In fact, Onavo Protect channelled significant volumes of their personal activity data straight back to Facebook,” ACCC Chair Rod Sims said in a statement.

(Reporting by Nikhil Kurian Nainan in Bengaluru; Editing by Chris Reese and Sonya Hepinstall)

Asia stocks look up as global markets show confidence in economic growth

December 15, 2020

By David Henry

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Asian stocks were poised for gains on Wednesday as global markets moved with confidence that vaccinations and additional monetary and fiscal support from governments will drive economic growth.

Australian S&P/ASX 200 futures rose 0.77% in early trading.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 futures added 0.04%.

E-mini futures for the S&P 500 rose 0.05%.

The day started with momentum from gains on Tuesday in U.S. and European stocks, gold, oil and U.S. Treasury yields. Optimism for a trade deal on Brexit contributed to a weaker dollar against the British pound and the euro.

“Tighter lockdowns will impact short-term economic activity but Brexit talks and the US aid package discussions remain alive providing a degree of longer-term optimism,” strategists at ANZ Research wrote.

Goldman Sachs strategists said, “This remains a friendly backdrop for cyclical and risky assets.”

Markets will now look to the U.S. Federal Reserve for new projections on whether the economy will suffer a double-dip recession or is on the cusp of a vaccine-inspired boom. The central bank is to release a statement on Wednesday, with a press conference set for the afternoon.

Some analysts expect Fed Chair Jerome Powell will underscore the increasing short-term risks to the U.S. economy.

The Fed could also give guidance on when and how it might change its bond purchases, impacting views on longer-term yields and exchange rates.

On Tuesday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1.13% to 30,199.31 points. The S&P 500 gained 1.29% and the Nasdaq Composite climbed 1.25% to 12,595.06, exceeding its previous record close on Dec. 8.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.25%.

Economically sensitive U.S. stock sectors, including consumer discretionary and materials, led gains as some investors viewed the recent spike in coronavirus infections and deaths and the grim November jobs report as drivers of a COVID-19 relief and stimulus bill.

Optimism over a $1.4 trillion U.S. spending package increased after House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi invited other top congressional leaders to meet late on Tuesday to hammer out a deal to be enacted this week.

Progress on vaccine rollouts continued on Tuesday after Moderna Inc’s COVID-19 vaccine appeared set for regulatory authorization this week. The U.S. also expanded on Tuesday its rollout of the newly approved vaccine developed by Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE.

Expectations U.S. government spending drove spot gold up as much as 1.4% on Tuesday afternoon to $1.852.36 per ounce as U.S. Gold futures settled up 1.3% at $1,855.30.

Gold, regarded as a hedge against inflation and currency debasement, has risen over 22% so far this year amid unprecedented government stimulus globally.

Despite a report from the International Energy Agency that any impact of vaccines on oil demand is several months away, Brent crude oil on Tuesday afternoon gained 30 cents to $50.59 a barrel and U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude rose 43 cents to $47.42.

(This story has been refiled to fix typographical error in headline)

(Reporting by David Henry in New York)

Federal Taxes Are Sending An S.O.S Signal

Federal Taxes Are Sending An S.O.S Signal
Tyler Durden
Tue, 12/15/2020 – 18:45

Submitted by Joseph Carson, former chief economist at Alliance Bernstein

Data on federal tax receipts paints a grim picture of the state of the US economy. Weak tax receipts are sending a signal of economic distress. Congress needs to act with urgency and pass federal support legislation to help broad parts of the economy.

Federal withheld income tax receipts represent hard contemporaneous data. Tax receipts are current and complete, unlike other economic data series such as household and payroll employment, which are based on a sampling of a small percentage of the working population and businesses.

The pandemic hit the economy in March, triggering widespread job loss and partial and full closing of many small businesses. In November, 9 months into the pandemic, federal gross withheld income tax receipts were off 13% from a year ago. That is roughly in line with the average decline of 15% recorded over the 9-month span, March through November.

Checking the tax data records from the US Treasury the decline in tax receipts over the last 9 months is the largest on record. The only comparable period is the 14% drop in 2009 during the Great Financial Recession.

But the decline in withheld tax receipts in 2009 was in part driven by the tax cuts passed by Congress. A report by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) found that the 2009 decline in tax receipts consisted of a sharp drop in household income, especially among the top 1 percent earners, and through a reduction in withholding taxes. Recall in 2009, finance, a sector that employs a lot of the top-wage earners lost a record 300,000 jobs, and those that kept their jobs saw a sharp reduction in pay and bonuses.

In 2020 Congress did not pass any tax cut, and top-wage earners, especially in finance, have seen increases in jobs and income. So the record decline in federal income tax receipts in 2020 is of a different ilk.

It’s too early to ascertain the main source of the tax receipt collapse in 2020. But I would be willing to bet that in addition to the income loss associated with job loss in travel, entertainment, and recreation, a big chunk is also due to the income losses incurred by small businesses.

According to the National Federal of Businesses of Independent Businesses, 75% of small firms operate as “unincorporated pass-through entities. That means the small business owners pay the personal tax rate, which is calculated on the business owners total earnings. So taxes paid by small businesses show up alongside workers taxes in federal withheld income tax receipts. That probably helps explain the gap between the 15% decline in tax receipts over the past 9 months and the 7% decline in employment.

Congress has been negotiating for several months a second federal stimulus package. But political fighting over the scale and who gets support and who doesn’t has so far stymied a bi-partisan deal. I don’t support big government, but the federal government is supposed to step up during a crisis.

Taxes are sending an S.O.S signal, saying that significant parts of the economy are experiencing severe distress. Anyone in Congress that is on the fence over whether a second stimulus bill is necessary needs to look no further than the tax data.

Investors have been patient, banking on Congress to build a bridge of fiscal support until medical science develops a vaccine. Medical science has done its job, but Congress has not. If Congress doesn’t act soon the speculative gains in the equity markets could quickly reverse in scale.

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Source: Zero Hedge, Federal Taxes Are Sending An S.O.S Signal