‘We All Feel At Risk’: 100,000 People Dead From COVID-19 In The U.S.

‘We All Feel At Risk’: 100,000 People Dead From COVID-19 In The U.S. (Source npr.org)

The U.S. death toll from COVID-19 has reached a somber milestone: As of Wednesday afternoon, the highly infectious viral disease has taken more than 100,000 lives nationwide. Soaring from two known coronavirus fatalities in February to more than 58,000 in April, the tally of U.S. deaths — in a country with fewer than 5% of the world’s inhabitants — now accounts for nearly one-third of all the known lives lost worldwide to the pandemic. According to a mortality analysis by Johns Hopkins University’s Coronavirus Resource Center, about 6% of the nearly 1.7 million people who have tested positive for the coronavirus in the U.S. have succumbed to the disease.

‘Overtaken by Aliens

‘Overtaken by Aliens’: India Faces Another Plague as Locusts Swarm (Source nytimes.com)

Magan Doodi, a groundskeeper at a golf course in Jaipur, was making his rounds earlier this week when he saw the sky suddenly turn a weird pink. It wasn’t some quirk of the weather.

It was locusts — millions of them, “like a spreading bedsheet,” he said. “The locusts have attacked the golf course!” Mr. Doodi yelled into his cellphone during the battle Monday morning. “It’s man versus locusts!” As if India needed more challenges, with coronavirus infections steadily increasing, a heat wave hitting the capital, a recent killer cyclone and 100 million people out of work, the country now has to fight off a new problem: a locust invasion.

New Stimulus Check “Debit Cards” Show America’s Banks Are In Big Trouble

New Stimulus Check “Debit Cards” Show America’s Banks Are In Big Trouble (Source forbes.com)

A new wave of stimulus payments is hitting people’s mailboxes. But they’re NOT coming in the form of checks. Instead, millions of Americans are now receiving pre-paid debit cards. The Treasury Department is sending out around 4 million debit cards to people who haven’t provided their banking information to the IRS. The Treasury’s calling them Economic Impact Payment (EIP) cards. But look at the top right corner. These are Visa (V) cards. This is the end of the bank. And another reason to bet on the true financial disruptors, like Visa and Mastercard. It hardly matters what bank you use. At the end of the day, your card likely needs Visa or Mastercard’s payment network to function. It’s not a coincidence every one of these new EIP cards have Visa’s logo plastered on them! Over 80 million stores accept Visa or Mastercard. With one of their cards in your wallet, you can buy stuff anywhere in the world. Visa and Mastercard have effectively created a universally accepted money—a “global currency.” $13 trillion flowed through their networks last year. They make money by taking a small cut of each transaction, like a tollbooth on a highway. Both Visa and Mastercard are minting record profits, and their stocks have handed investors tremendous gains.

Russia’s Tu-22M3M Supersonic Bomber

Russia’s Tu-22M3M Supersonic Bomber: Now Hypersonic?(Source nationalinterest.org)

A second prototype of the Russian Air Force’s Tu-22M3M supersonic bomber underwent trials at hypersonic speeds during a fourth test flight, Russian state media reported. 

This second prototype successfully performed its maiden flight in March of this year, and the aim of that flight was to assess the takeoff and landing characteristics, as well as to test the information control system. “Five flights have already been performed,” a defense industry source told TASS. The hypersound speed was achieved during the fourth flight. The aircraft demonstrated good stability and controllability. Modified systems and equipment are performing normally during the trials.”

Royal Caribbean CEO Talks August 1 Restart Date

Royal Caribbean CEO Talks August 1 Restart Date — and What Your Next Cruise Could Look Like

(Source travelandleisure.com)

Royal Caribbean announced it expects to resume sailing the high seas as early as August, but the company’s CEO says nothing is definite. “We won’t come back until we’re absolutely sure we have done everything we can to work to protect the safety of our guests and crew.” Whenever cruise ships reopen for business, there will likely be drastic changes onboard. “I think we’re all learning I think that’s one of the important things and it’s important that we do understand all of the implications,” he said. “We have consulted with some of the leading experts in the world to make sure we have the best protocols, the best sanitation, the best hygiene, [and] the best testing to allow us to come back in a way that we’re confident in doing all the things we should be to protect those people.” Fain suspects that capacity will be limited and self-service buffets have not been definitely eliminated, but their status is up in the air. “My guess is that when we start, we will limit the number of people who can go onto a ship just as my neighborhood restaurants are beginning to open up,” Fain told CNBC. As for social distancing he noted that a large cruise ship capable of When occupancy rates are capped, people will be able to be spread out throughout the ship’s multiple floors. thousands of passengers will make social distancing easier.

Made-in-Israel anti-pathogen mask ‘Registered for Marketing’ by FDA

Made-in-Israel anti-pathogen mask ‘Registered for Marketing’ by FDA (Source jpost.com)

Sonovia’s Sonomask has been recognized by the US Food and Drug Administration as “Registered for Marketing,” the company told The Jerusalem Post. An Israeli start-up, Sonovia developed an almost-permanent, ultrasonic, fabric-finishing technology for mechanical impregnation of zinc oxide nanoparticles into textiles. The company sped up efforts to manufacture masks using its anti-pathogen fabric at the start of the coronavirus crisis in Israel. Now, three months later, it has undergone extensive tests that showed positive results, including its latest filtration results – inhalation and exhalation – which showed a 98% success rate for stopping aerosols that are less than five microns in diameter, the size of the droplets that World Health Organization officials think are transmitting the contagion. Typical respiratory droplets exceed this size. Other tests showed that it has a 99.8877% viricidal effect, meaning the fabric works to deactivate viruses so that they cannot enter host cells, after an exposure time of 24 hours. It was these results that helped enable the company to receive its FDA status. The company launched commercial sales earlier this month.

Scientists believe cannabis could help prevent and treat coronavirus

Scientists believe cannabis could help prevent and treat coronavirus

(Source nypost.com)

A team of Canadian scientists believes it has found strong strains of cannabis that could help prevent or treat coronavirus infections, according to interviews and a study. Researchers from the University of Lethbridge said a study in April showed at least 13 cannabis plants were high in CBD that appeared to affect the ACE2 pathways that the bug uses to access the body. “We were totally stunned at first, and then we were really happy,” one of the researchers, Olga Kovalchuk, told CTV News. The results, printed in online journal Preprints, indicated hemp extracts high in CBD may help block proteins that provide a “gateway” for COVID-19 to enter host cells. Kovalchuk’s husband, Igor, suggested cannabis could reduce the virus’ entry points by up to 70 percent. “Therefore, you have more chance to fight it,” he told CTV. “Our work could have a huge influence — there aren’t many drugs that have the potential of reducing infection by 70 to 80 percent,” he told the Calgary Herald.

China’s five-year plan to focus on independence as US decoupling threat grows

China’s five-year plan to focus on independence as US decoupling threat grows(Source scmp.com)

How can China survive and thrive in the face of US hostility? What does it need to take development to the next stage? And where should Beijing focus its resources to turn the Chinese dream into a reality?

These are the big questions Chinese officials and researchers are deliberating as the nation begins drafting its new five-year plan, which will set out key economic and political goals for the period 2021 to 2025. With China and the United States increasingly at odds, the new policy blueprint is likely to reflect a shift in the way Beijing conducts itself in what is perceived to be an increasingly adversarial international system, according to Chinese researchers who are involved in preparations for the new plan. While the final version of the 14th five-year plan will not be made public until March 2021, preliminary research and discussions show that China will seek more autonomous development by cutting reliance on the US for technology supply and exports.

Digital Currencies Threaten USD Dominance of Global Financial System

Digital Currencies Threaten USD Dominance of Global Financial System (Source coinidol.com)

The Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) idea is gaining more and more traction today, with countries such as China, South Korea, Japan, France, and more exploring the possibility to introduce some sort of an equivalent of their local currencies in digital form. As coinidol.com, a world blockchain news outlet reported, China is now holding trials of its digital yuan in 4 locations across the country. Korea is also testing its digital won. Generally, around 46 central banks worldwide are exploring the possibility of launching their CBDC. However, as a survey shows, most of them have no actual plans for issuing their own coins. Nevertheless, the interest in the technology is significant. Even more to worry about by the US dollar is that the innovation around the CBDC growth has gone past the ordinary means of payments domestically, but countries are looking at a CBDC at interbank payment options as well as the internationalization of the CBDCs. A recent analysis by JP Morgan has warned the increasing adoption of digital currencies by countries could weaken the US dollar supremacy in the international financial arena. Although the analysis does not point to the US dollar being topped from its position by other currencies soon, it concluded that the US should be concerned about the recent developments in digital currencies. The US dollar is still the biggest and the only recognized reserve currency, however, its position is being challenged by the recent developments in the global financial system such as the rise of CBDCs.

Russia Launch EKS Early Warning Satellite Aboard Soyuz 2.1b

Russia Launch EKS Early Warning Satellite Aboard Soyuz 2.1b (Source rocketrundown.com)

Russia has launched an EKS missile early warning satellite for the country’s Ministry of Defense from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome. The missile early warning satellite was launched aboard a Soyuz 2.1b rocket equipped with a Fregat upper stage from Plesetsk on May 22 at 07:31 UTC. Following a successful launch, the satellite was placed into a highly elliptical orbit of 38,508 x 1,656 kilometers at an inclination of 63.8 degrees. Russian space agency Roscomos confirmed in a May 22 press release that a signal from the satellite had been successfully acquired and that the satellite was operating nominally. The release confirmed once the mission had been deemed a success, the satellite was assigned an official designation of Cosmos-2546. Cosmos-2546 is the fourth edition to Russia’s EKS early warning satellite constellation. In addition to the constellation acting as an early warning system for the launch of intercontinental ballistic missiles, each satellite is believed to also be equipped with an emergency communications payload to be used in case of a nuclear war.