Daily Digest 9/23 – U.S. Reached 200,000 Coronavirus Deaths, Why Gold In Your Phone Could Be Funding Drug Gangs


U.S. reaches 200,000 coronavirus deaths (TS)

And deaths keep coming — we’re averaging roughly 830 per day — even as the country increasingly sees the pandemic as background noise, as live sports resume and schools reopen and interest in news about the pandemic wanes.

Between the lines: The percentage of infected people who ultimately die from the coronavirus is lower now than it was in the outbreak’s earliest months, partly because doctors have gotten better at treating the virus and partly because outbreaks are now occurring within younger and lower-risk groups.

FinCEN: Why gold in your phone could be funding drug gangs (Downunder Bound)

Codenamed “Honey Badger” and led by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the investigation concluded that Kaloti was involved in a scheme to transport or transfer “tremendous amounts of illicit value through the use of gold as a commodity”.

Under the scheme described in the documents, criminals anywhere in the world could use drug money or other unlawfully obtained cash to buy scrap gold such as second-hand jewellery and bring it to Kaloti.

N.Y.P.D. Officer Is Accused of Spying on Tibetans for China (000)

A 25-page criminal complaint unsealed in federal court in Brooklyn accused Mr. Angwang of reporting on the activities of ethnic Tibetans in New York at the behest of Chinese government officials, who were seeking to recruit intelligence sources in the community.

He also is accused of inviting a Chinese official to N.Y.P.D. events, offering potential access to senior police officials, prosecutors said.

Louisville under state of emergency as city braces for Breonna Taylor decision (TS)

Schroeder’s declaration was issued with an additional order that put a moratorium on officers’ vacation requests, canceling any time-off requests that have not already been approved. Officers will also work 12-hour shifts as part of the department’s emergency response plan, according to the memo.

He fought wildfires while imprisoned. California reported him to Ice for deportation (000)

After 22 years in prison, Kao Saelee had modest plans for his first days of freedom: swim in a lake and barbecue with his family.

But when his release date came on 6 August and his sister was waiting on the other side of the barbed-wire fence to take him home, California prison guards did not let them reunite. Instead, officers handed the 41-year-old over to a private security contractor who shackled his hands, waist and legs, put him in a van and drove off.

North Carolina Nurses Win Union In Landslide After Bitter Opposition (000)

“We could not be more proud of the unity, the perseverance, and the patient advocacy and dedication of the Mission RNs to their patients, their colleagues, and their community,” said NNU and NNOC Executive Director Bonnie Castillo, RN, in a statement. “At a time when nurses are in a daily battle with the deadly fight for their patients and their own lives in the era of COVID-19, they have demonstrated incomparable courage and resilience that is an inspiration to all of us.”

Pentagon used taxpayer money meant for masks and swabs to make jet engine parts and body armor (jdargis)

The payments were made even though U.S. health officials think major funding gaps in pandemic response still remain. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said in Senate testimony last week that states desperately need $6 billion to distribute vaccines to Americans early next year. Many U.S. hospitals still face a severe shortage of N95 masks. These are the types of problems that the money was originally intended to address.

Dr. Malcom Kendrick: More COVID19 news from Sweden (dwatney)

When I sit in the tube on the way to and from work, it is packed with people. Maybe one in a hundred people is choosing to wear a face mask in public. In Stockholm, life is largely back to normal. If you look at the front pages of the tabloids, on many days there isn’t a single mention of COVID anywhere. As I write this (19th September 2020) the front pages of the two main tabloids have big spreads about arthritis and pensions. Apparently, arthritis and pensions are currently more exciting than COVID-19 in Sweden.

In spite of this relaxed attitude, the death rate has continued to drop. When I wrote the first article, I wrote that COVID had killed under 6,000 people. How many people have died now, six weeks later? Actually, we’re still at under 6,000 deaths. On average, one to two people per day are dying of COVID in Sweden at present, and that number continues to drop.

The Public-Shaming Pandemic (jdargis)

The Vietnamese government, clearly committed to making an example of Nhung, let it be known that when she flew home from London she did not mention her visit to Italy. Not only had Nhung apparently infected her sister; according to officials, she was the probable source of infection of ten other people on the flight, all of whom tested positive shortly afterward, as well as the driver who picked her up from the airport, her housekeeper, and one of her aunts. Some of the infected airplane passengers were British tourists, leading the Daily Mail to proclaim that Nhung was a “super-spreader.” The Vietnamese government posted photographs of Nhung in her hospital room—ostensibly to prove that she was recovering—and social-media users marshalled these images to lambaste her yet again.

Thanks to anti-COVID efforts, expert says South Africa “didn’t have a flu season this year” (TS)

“What happened was completely unprecedented and unexpected in that, in fact, what we saw is that we just didn’t have a flu season this year in South Africa. That really is unprecedented,” Dr. Cheryl Cohen, co-head of the NICD’s Centre for Respiratory Disease and Meningitis, told CBS News.

‘Zombie’ storm Paulette regains some strength, adding to weird 2020 weather (TS)

“It’s not unprecedented, but it’s not something we see very often, and it kind of fits this year of weird, weird things happening,” said Phil Klotzbach, an atmospheric scientist at Colorado State University in Fort Collins.

The National Weather Service also referred to the odd nature of the storm’s return, tweeting Tuesday: “Because 2020, we now have Zombie Tropical Storms. Welcome back to the land of the living, Tropical Storm #Paulette.”

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