An Ecological Timebomb | A New Mystery Virus | Bad Neighbors Galore
June 10, 2020
“When we connect with others with their humanity, without the filters of race, nationality, gender, religion and so many other artificially constructed divisions, most of the world’s problems will be resolved. After all, we are all the same humans who have evolved through millions of years of evolution on this earth. All I am doing through my activism is showing the world that how we all share the same humanity regardless of our skin color, nationality or religion. Division only creates more division and inclusion is the only way we can move forward as a civilization.”
― Yeonmi Park, North Korean defector & human rights activist
Some More MIS-Cellaneous 2020 Problems
(John Moore via Getty Images)
The least likely age group to have become seriously ill from Covid-19 are young children, although they can still be infected and spread the disease. But at the height of the pandemic youngsters began showing up in doctors’ offices and hospital emergency rooms exhibiting symptoms that at first blush mimicked another inflammatory illness: one that causes inflammation in the blood vessels, particularly the coronary arteries, called Kawasaki disease. Patients may have very high fevers, red eyes, lips and tongue, a rash over their body, swollen lymph nodes, swelling of their hands and feet. In other cases they may present with severe abdominal pain.
Doctors now know what’s affecting these patients is a mysterious new condition called Multisystem-Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C), and they’re attributing it to complications linked to the coronavirus. When children do become infected with Covid-19 they often don’t exhibit any symptoms at all. If they begin complaining of something that seems different, it’s nearly impossible for parents to know whether their child has the coronavirus, or is at risk for MIS-C.
Children’s National in Washington DC has been a leading hospital in treating patients with MIS-C. Doctors there have seen 35 children with the syndrome since the end of April; thankfully none have died. The majority of known cases have been concentrated on the East Coast. The youngest patient with the condition was just weeks old — at least four children have died from it, one in Louisiana and three in New York.
Early research suggests MIS-C is rare, but experts still race to answer even basic questions about the illness, like how to safely treat it, why some children are more susceptible than others, and what the prognosis might be for their health long-term.
- In the W.H.O.’s Coronavirus Stumbles, Some Scientists See a Pattern (NYT, $)
- For Indian Women, the Coronavirus Economy Is a Devastating Setback (NYT, $)
- Judge orders Bolsonaro to resume publishing Brazil Covid-19 data (Guardian)
- The Coronavirus Is Already Reshaping Urban Life (Atlantic, $)
- Argentina records more than 1,000 daily cases for first time (Guardian)
- The first wave of Covid-19 is not over – but how might a second look? (Guardian)
- Quarantine has changed us — and it’s not all bad (Vox)
They Couldn’t Just Leaf It Alone
(Chung Sung-Jun via Getty Images)
- In 2018 North and South Korea set up a liaison office, located in the North Korean border city of Kaesong, to reduce tensions after peace talks ended. When the liaison office was temporarily closed in January because of COVID-19 restrictions, contact between the two states was maintained by phone. The neighboring countries held calls twice daily — until Monday.
- North Korea announced that, beginning Tuesday, it will cut off all inter-Korean communication lines with the South, including a hotline between the two nations’ leaders. Military communication channels will also be cut. “We have reached a conclusion that there is no need to sit face-to-face with the South Korean authorities and there is no issue to discuss with them, as they have only aroused our dismay,” the Korean Central News Agency said.
- The North’s leaders have been angered by a leaflet campaign being carried out by groups of North Koreans who successfully defected to the South. Kim Yo-jong, the North Korean leader’s sister, threatened last week to close the liaison office unless the South stopped the leaflets from coming into the North. She called the campaign a hostile act that violated peace agreements made during the 2018 Panmunjom summit between the South’s Moon Jae-in and Kim Jong-un. (BBC)
- North Korean leader’s sister emerges as policymaker in spat with South Korea (Reuters)
One Land Annexed, Two Steps Back
- Palestine’s Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh warned that if Israel goes ahead with plans to annex land it occupies, Palestine will declare statehood over all of the West Bank and Gaza, with Jerusalem as its capital, and push for global recognition. Shtayyeh described the potential step pledged by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as an “existential threat” to a decades-long international effort for Israelis and Palestinians to reach an agreement that establishes two states side by side.
- Shtayyeh claimed Palestine would not continue to wait on statehood just to honor previous agreements if Israelis broke them by annexing territory, adding: “It takes two to tango.” Shtayyeh said he was leading a concerted push to gather diplomatic pressure against Israel and wanted world powers to threaten sanctions on Netanyahu’s government so that “Israel does not get away with murder.”
- Palestinian leaders have declared statehood in the past, including Yasser Arafat in 1988. Palestine gained UN observer state status in 2012, but in the absence of an agreement — and with Israel continuing to occupy the Palestinian territories — there has not been full international recognition. (Guardian)
Additional World News
- Brazil Coup: Threats Rattle Bolsonaro as Coronavirus Deaths Surge (NYT, $)
- Russia will open nuclear disarmament talks with US (Guardian)
- Britain goes coal free as fossil fuels edged out (BBC)
- Russia, China build case at U.N. to protect Iran from U.S. sanctions threat (Reuters)
- Prince Andrew in war of words with US prosecutors over Epstein (Guardian)
- Chinese companies put U.S. listing plans on ice as tensions mount (Reuters)
A General Distaste For The President
- As of 2019, there were only 39 four-star general officers across the various services of the US armed forces. With very few exceptions, those four-star generals and admirals avoid taking any kind of public stance on political issues once they retire, seeking instead to continue upholding the apolitical nature of the military that most Americans appreciate.
- This non-partisan stance is the reason retired three-star general Michael Flynn’s behavior in 2016 — leading “Lock Her Up” chants directed at Hillary Clinton — was so shockingly unacceptable to other military officers. However, over the past week, a tipping point was reached with Trump’s mishandling of the protests over the death of George Floyd. It has been extraordinary to see the flood of public criticism coming from so many of the leading retired US generals and admirals, including unprecedented criticism from four former Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff who served as the top-ranking military officer in the nation.
- Admiral Mike Mullen was “sickened” to see peaceful protestors “forcibly and violently” removed from around the White House so President Trump could be photographed holding a bible aloft in front of St. John’s Church. General Richard Myers said “that should not happen in America.” General Martin Dempsey said Trump’s threat to use military force against protesters was “very troubling,” and “dangerous.” And General Colin Powell said that President Trump lies “all the time” and that he had “drifted away” from the Constitution.
- Even Marine General Jim Mattis, who served as the president’s Secretary of Defense for two years, broke his long silence by saying the president works at dividing the American people. (CNN)
- It Looks Like Trump Will Just Trample the Constitution, Military Leaders Warn (Vanity Fair, $)
When There’s Something Strange, In Your Neighborhood…Who You Gonna Call? Well, Let’s Figure That Out
- In the wake of George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis policemen, calls are mounting from some activists and elected officials to defund, downsize or abolish police departments. On Sunday a veto-proof majority of the Minneapolis City Council pledged to dismantle their city’s police department and create a new system of public safety that eschews racism. But how would these changes be accomplished?
- City Council president Lisa Bender wants to cut $200 million from Minneapolis’ overall annual budget of $1.3 billion, shifting those funds to programs related to mental health, housing and education. In other cities, leaders have advocated plans aiming to reform police tactics, ending no-knock warrants and military-style raids. Other proposals seek to restrict the flow of military-style gear to police departments and change police tactics used against protesters.
- Some cities have already begun making changes. Last year Austin, Texas added millions of dollars to its city budget for mental health issues as part of a major revamping of public safety. Eugene, Oregon deploys a medic and a crisis worker with mental health training to emergency calls. And in 2017, Camden, New Jersey revamped its policing, with officers undergoing more training, and handing out more warnings than tickets. (NYT)
Additional US News
- Georgia primary blighted by long lines and broken voting machines (Guardian)
- Stock Markets in Europe Fall. Wall Street May Follow. (NYT, $)
- Trump Falsely Targets Buffalo Protester, 75, as ‘Antifa Provocateur’ (NYT, $)
- Republicans Craft Own Police-Overhaul Proposals (WSJ, $)
- Biden clinches the Democratic nomination after securing more than 1,991 delegates (WaPo, $)
- States Face Wave Of Environmental Waiver Requests (NPR)
Black Lives Matter
- George Floyd’s funeral hears calls for racial justice (BBC)
- What to Know About Calls to Defund the Police in California (NYT, $)
- Take the Confederate Names Off Our Army Bases (Atlantic, $)
- The Secret Project That Led to Black Lives Matter Murals Coast to Coast (New Yorker, $)
The New Scourge of the Seas
- The coronavirus pandemic is starting to leave a trail of devastation unrelated to sickness, death and economic jeopardy: it’s sparking a surge in our oceans’ already skyrocketing plastic pollution.
- A glut of discarded single-use masks and latex gloves is washing up on shorelines and beginning to litter the seabed, further threatening marine life. Disposable litter is literally floating like jellyfish along France’s sparkling Cote d’Azur, with its glamorous resorts.
- French conservationists are calling it “Covid waste” and predicting: “It’s the promise of pollution to come if nothing is done.” Eric Pauget, a French politician whose region includes the Cote d’Azur, penned a letter last month to President Emmanuel Macron, calling on him to do more to address the environmental consequences of disposable masks. “With a lifespan of 450 years, these masks are an ecological timebomb given their lasting environmental consequences for our planet,” Pauget wrote. (Guardian)
- Major Petroleum Spill Spreads Toward Arctic Ocean in Russia’s North (NYT, $)
- Our oceans are amazing, but they need our help (CNN)
- On the Many Mysteries of the European Eel (Lithub)
- “Pursuit as Happiness,” by Ernest Hemingway (New Yorker, $)
- The End of Minimalism: Keeping a cluttered house has long been considered a little tacky, a little weak. But now it’s looking very wise. (Atlantic, $)
- IBM quits facial-recognition market over police racial-profiling concerns (Guardian)
- The Search for the World’s Simplest Animal (Atlantic, $)
- First U.S. Woman To Walk In Space Dives To Deepest Point In The Ocean (NPR)
RECOMMENDED FOR YOU