“Don’t Test, Don’t Tell!”

“Don’t Test, Don’t Tell!”

Authored by Ben Hunt via EpsilonTheory.com,

I believe that a healthy society should not have only one voice.

– Li Wenliang, Wuhan physician, born October 12, 1986, died February 7, 2020.

Last night, I received a Twitter DM that included screenshots of an email that went out to staff at the UC Davis Medical Center. After checking for authenticity, I posted the screenshots in a tweet of my own.

And that’s when, as the kids would say, it blew up.

I want to highlight a couple of quotes from this email.

Since the patient did not fit the existing CDC criteria for COVID-19, a test was not immediately administered. UC Davis Health does not control the testing process.

The facts here are pretty clear. Patient comes in from another hospital on Wednesday, Feb. 19 – this is one week ago – already intubated and on a ventilator, and the doctors at UC Davis – who have treated other COVID-19 cases – IMMEDIATELY suspect COVID-19.

But the CDC refuses to test for COVID-19.

Why? Because it didn’t fit their “criteria” for testing. They didn’t know for sure that the patient was in mainland China within the past 14 days, and they didn’t know for sure that the patient was in close contact with another confirmed case, so BY DEFINITION this patient can’t possibly have COVID-19. No test for you!

This is “Don’t Test, Don’t Tell” and it is the single most incompetent, corrupt public health policy of my lifetime.

And it’s happening all over the country.

Here, take a look at yesterday’s press conference from Nassau County, Long Island.

Excruciating. They spend the first five minutes of the presser congratulating each other. Then the update: 83 people are in self-quarantine at home, where they are supposed to “check their temperature” daily. Don’t have a thermometer? Not to worry! The Nassau County Health Commission will provide one for you!

Who are the 83 in self-quarantine? Why, they’re everyone that Homeland Security says should be in self-quarantine, based on “current guidelines” of someone who was in mainland China within the past 14 days.

Has it been 15 days since your mainland China visit?

Have you been to Northern Italy in past 14 days?

Have you been to Iran in past 14 days?

Have you been to South Korea in past 14 days?

Well, no self-quarantine for you! You’re fine!

And here’s the kicker. Not only is there ZERO tracking or monitoring of anyone who has been swimming in the coronavirus stew of South Korea, Northern Italy and Iran, but let’s say that you have in fact been to one of those areas recently and now you’re feeling sick. You go to the doctor and you tell her the whole story. Both of you suspect it might be COVID-19. You’re trying to do the right thing here. You call the county health authority. You call the state health authority. You call the CDC. And then you learn the awful truth of Don’t Test, Don’t Tell.

It’s not that testing is not available…It’s that testing is not ALLOWED.

I’m not panicked. I am perfectly calm.

But I am really, really pissed off.

Because here’s the other quote from the UC Davis email that I’d like you to pay close attention to:

When the patient arrived [Wednesday], the patient had already been intubated, was on a ventilator, and given droplet protection orders because of an undiagnosed and suspected viral condition. … On Sunday, the CDC ordered COVID-19 testing of the patient and the patient was put on airborne precautions and strict contact precautions.

Translation: for four days, every healthcare professional treating this patient at UC Davis was exposed to airborne transmission of COVID-19. And so was every healthcare professional at the hospital before UC Davis. Because the CDC refused to test this patient for COVID-19 in a timely manner, the doctors and nurses and technicians caring for this patient were put at risk.

Sure enough:

We are asking a small number of employees to stay home and monitor their temperature.

This is the part of the story that we must yell at the top of our lungs.

Don’t Test, Don’t Tell is not just hiding the true extent of COVID-19 cases in the United States.

Don’t Test, Don’t Tell is not just perpetuating the politically corrupt “Yay, Containment!” narrative of this White House.

Don’t Test, Don’t Tell is endangering the lives of our doctors and nurses.

Just like in China.

Just like in Wuhan.

A city falls when its healthcare system is overwhelmed. A city falls when its national government fails to prepare and support its doctors and nurses. A city falls when its government is more concerned with maintaining some bullshit narrative of “Yay, Calm and Competent Control!” than in doing what is politically embarrassing but socially necessary.

That’s EXACTLY what happened in Wuhan. More than 30% of doctors and nurses in Wuhan themselves fell victim to COVID-19, so that the healthcare system stopped being a source of healing, but became a source of infection. At which point the Chinese government effectively abandoned the city, shut it off from the rest of the country, placed more than 9 million people under house arrest, and allowed the disease to essentially burn itself out.

And so Wuhan fell.

The disaster that befell the citizens of Wuhan and so many other cities throughout China is not primarily a virus. The disaster is having a political regime that cares more about maintaining a self-serving narrative of control than it cares about saving the lives of its citizens.

We must prevent that from happening here. From happening anywhere. Yes, containment has failed. But that does NOT mean the war is lost. We can absolutely do better – SO MUCH BETTER – for our citizens than China did for theirs.

The CDC’s Don’t Test, Don’t Tell policy came crashing down last night. So did Trump’s “buh, buh the flu” and “Yay, Containment!” narratives.

Now let’s get to work preparing for the fight to come.

Not in panic. Not in fear. But with resolve, sacrifice and righteous anger for those who would use us instrumentally for their own political ends.

Clear eyes. Full hearts. Can’t lose.

Tyler Durden

Sat, 02/29/2020 – 18:00

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Iran Blasts US Offer To Help Fight Coronavirus As “Political-Psychological Game”

Iran Blasts US Offer To Help Fight Coronavirus As “Political-Psychological Game”

Washington momentarily put aside the fact that it’s essentially at war with Iran and in a very rare moment actually offered to “help” Iran combat the rapidly spreading and deadly coronavirus according to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Friday.

“We have made offers to the Islamic Republic of Iran to help, and we’ve made it clear to others around the world and in the region that assistance, humanitarian assistance to push back against the coronavirus in Iran is something the United States of America fully supports,” Pompeo said.

Pompeo clarified after the hearing to reporters that the offer of support was made “to the Iranian people” and “formally conveyed to Iran through the government of Switzerland,” The Hill reported.

Despite Iran’s official death toll now standing at multiple dozens, rising to 43 as of Saturday morning, with a total number of infected at 593 (though the true numbers of infected are believed to be in the thousands or possibly tens of thousands), the Islamic Republic’s leaders promptly mocked Pompeo’s claim to have extended a hand of “support”. 

Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Mousav on Friday slammed America’s offer as “ridiculous,” according to the Mehr news agency.

“The claim to help Iran in dealing with corona from a country who with their economic terrorism has created widespread pressure for the people of Iran and even closed the paths for buying medicine and medical equipment, is a ridiculous claim and a political-psychological game,” Mousavi said.

Meanwhile, a number of reports have analyzed the impact of US sanctions on Iran’s coronavirus crisis – the hardest hit country outside of China – and concluded the US administration’s punitive attempt to devastate the Iranian economy is a contributing factor to Covid-19’s rapid spread there. The National Interest reported that the White House has responded to this criticism by opening up humanitarian avenues. 

Image source: AP

“The Trump administration is partially reversing course on economic sanctions that have slowed down Iran from importing coronavirus test kits as the country faces down the most deadly COVID-19 outbreak outside of East Asia,” according to the report.

Iranian leaders have blamed Washington for the worsening crisis, given the limited ability to import virus testing kits and equipment and medicines. 

“The U.S. Treasury announced on Thursday morning that it was lifting some terrorism-related sanctions on the Central Bank of Iran, which re-opens a channel for humanitarian trade that had been closed since September 2019,” The National Interest said further.

Tyler Durden

Sat, 02/29/2020 – 17:30

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Meanwhile At A Costco In Brooklyn, The Hoarding Begins

Meanwhile At A Costco In Brooklyn, The Hoarding Begins

The same long lines that we’ve seen in China, Japan, South Korea, and across the world as people panic buy food and health supplies have started in the US.

On Saturday, the US Surgeon General urged people to “stop buying masks,” saying on Twitter that they’re not effective in preventing the general public from catching coronavirus.

Despite the CDC telling everyone to calm down, alleged video of long lines pouring out of a Costco store in Brooklyn, New York, surfaced on YouTube Saturday afternoon. 

This comes days after we reported Hawaiians raced to Sam’s Club and Costco to panic buy food and health supplies as virus fears surge.

And as we noted earlier today: “The great panic of 2020 is underway” as Americans are now stocking up on supplies as the next pandemic could be imminent.

Tyler Durden

Sat, 02/29/2020 – 17:00

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Did China Close First Lab To Sequence Covid-19 Out Of Fear It Would Lose Bat Soup Narrative? 

Did China Close First Lab To Sequence Covid-19 Out Of Fear It Would Lose Bat Soup Narrative? 

The question we all should be asking: Why was the first medical research lab, located in Shanghai, to sequence the whole genome of Covid-19 and publicly share the data shut down? 

The Shanghai Public Health Clinical Center & School of Public Health at Fudan University was the first lab in the world to sequence the whole genome of the virus on Jan 11. Then, the Shanghai Health Commission, one day later, on Jan 12, shuttered the lab for “rectification.” 

“The center was not given any specific reasons why the laboratory was closed for rectification. [We have submitted] four reports [asking for permission] to reopen, but we have not received any replies,” a source from the lab told the South China Morning Post (SCMP). 

The source said it wasn’t clear if the closure of the Level 3 biosafety facility was a direct result of the lab publishing virus sequence data on virological.org, an open-access virus discussion forum, and GenBank, an open-access data repository. 

The release of the genome data on the public domain allowed researchers to develop a new test kit to diagnose the virus. By Feb 3, the lab’s Professor Zhang Yongzhen, who was responsible for the sequencing, found his data published in Nature. 

“It was not about any individual’s achievements. It’s about having biological test kits ready in the face of a previously unknown respiratory disease, especially when a large part of the population [was] moving [across the country] during the Lunar New Year holidays,” said the source. 

The source warned that the closure of the lab slowed down scientists and their research when they should have been developing new tools and vaccines to manage the virus outbreak, but for some reason, and it’s still unknown, the government immediately closed the lab after the genome sequence was published in the public domain. 

“There have been applications from research institutes and universities to try drugs and compare the effects of different treatment and the development of vaccines, but [all these will have] to be turned down. Closing down the laboratory also affects the studying of the virus,” the source added.

China’s lack of transparency since the outbreak began late last year is a significant concern. The likely reason behind the lab’s closure early last month was pressure by the Chinese government on Shanghai Health Commission to prevent the spread of scientific data to the international community that would likely debunk the official narrative that the virus came from a food market in Wuhan, China. But as we noted last week, it’s too late, and the Global Times had to admit that a “New Chinese study indicates novel coronavirus did not originate in the Huanan seafood market.”

Even China has had to question its official narrative; the NY Post published an article which sounds very familiar to ours: “Don’t buy China’s story: The coronavirus may have leaked from a lab” in which the author writes “the evidence points to SARS-CoV-2 research being carried out at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.”

As to why China pressured Shanghai to close the lab that first sequenced the virus and published it on open-access sites for the world’s scientific community to observe is that it attempted to limit information about the virus so its official narrative wouldn’t be debunked; oops too late. 

Tyler Durden

Sat, 02/29/2020 – 16:40

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“We’ve Reached The Tipping Point” – Guggenheim’s Minerd Warns Virus Will Deflate The Everything Bubble

“We’ve Reached The Tipping Point” – Guggenheim’s Minerd Warns Virus Will Deflate The Everything Bubble

Last week, Guggenheim’s Global CIO Scott Minerd exclaimed that “the cognitive dissonance in the market is stunning,” as he reflected on the ever-rising stock prices (and collapsing credit spreads) he was seeing in the face of growing global fears of the virus’ spread.

And as the market began to waken from its dissonant slumber, he warned:

“This is not a buy-the-dip market. It is a don’t-catch-a-falling-knife market. “

As he detailed to CNBC the threat the coronavirus poses to corporate earnings and the U.S. economy if the pandemic spreads.

And now, after an unprecedented collapse in stock prices and Treasury yields, Minerd details his portfolio positioning with coronavirus on the brink of pandemic.

The impact of the coronavirus has made for a crazy couple of weeks in the financial markets. Now spreading beyond Italy into other parts of Europe, it is on the brink of a pandemic and investors, fearing a sharp slowdown in global growth, have reacted by taking out support for yields for the long bond and the 10-year Treasury note. Bonds are comfortably below 2 percent and the 10-year Treasury yield is hovering around 1.3 percent. Unlikely as it may seem, technical analysis now indicates a target yield on the 30-year bond at 1 percent and the 10-year note at 0.25 percent. Stocks are nearing correction territory, with more downside likely.

At the same time that long Treasury yields are making new historic lows, credit spreads, while widening, remain relatively tight. This does not make any sense given the fundamental backdrop which indicate that defaults will rise significantly, particularly in energy, airlines, retailing, and hospitality. Nevertheless, central bank liquidity continues to drive flows into bonds at a record pace. These flows are keeping spreads tight and, until there is an interruption of the inflows, credit spreads will be contained.

We are trying to buy as many high-quality longer-duration assets as possible at reasonable yields to help lengthen duration in the face of potentially lower rates, but 3 percent is becoming a difficult yield to reach. We are selectively adding to BB credits which we think are “money good” to certain accounts to enhance yield.

All in all, these are “interesting times” as the old Chinese curse goes. Going into February, my overriding concern was that the Federal Reserve, by purchasing $60 billion in Treasury bills per month, was lifting asset values across the board in the fourth quarter and into the first. This form of quantitative easing was causing what I called the everything bubble, because virtually every sector was up over the past year.

Now apparently the everything bubble for risk assets is in danger of deflating. The coronavirus is showing us the unpredictable path that an exogenous force can play in interrupting an economy that is already exhibiting many late-cycle symptoms. And it is far from over. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has been firm in its warnings, as Dr. Nancy Messonnier of the CDC urged, “We are asking the American public to prepare for the expectation that this might be bad.”

We have reached the tipping point. Either the epidemic will be quickly contained or the world will soon slip into pandemic. I’m not an epidemiologist so I will leave the semantics to the medical experts, but of this I am certain: From a U.S. perspective if our neighbors are infected, it will be an epidemic. If infections begin rapid transmission in the U.S., we will call this a pandemic.

For the moment we have found support in the S&P 500 around 3,000 and the decline in the 10-year Treasury yield has stopped out at around 1.25 percent. For the time being, I would expect retracing in both markets as stocks and bonds stabilize or even rise in price.

In the coming days, market prices will be the tell as to how the disease progresses. For the moment, panic is high. To be clear, I am not saying the worst is over; but, rather, it is time to take a break and assess the next moves.

Eventually, we may have an opportunity to add more risk assets to our client portfolios as economic growth slows around the world and corporate borrowers default. Certainly, the chances of recession are rising rapidly for which we are well positioned. As Solomon said, “The wise man sees danger ahead and prepares himself.” There is certainly possible danger ahead and we will be looking for its cousin “opportunity” if this turns into a crisis. It may already be one.

Tyler Durden

Sat, 02/29/2020 – 16:15

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China Orders Owners Of Closed Factories To Boost Electricity Usage, Pretend Economy Is Back To Normal

China Orders Owners Of Closed Factories To Boost Electricity Usage, Pretend Economy Is Back To Normal

While the media is doing its best to pin the upcoming coronavirus epidemic in the US on a botched response by the Trump administration, with TrumpVirus already starting to trend across social media, the truth is that no matter how bad Trump’s reaction to the pandemic is, it is rocket science compared to the botched, catastrophic actions undertaken by China, which also happens to be source of the deadliest global pandemic in decades.

Here is a quick recap of what has happened so far in China:

  • The deadly Covid-19, i.e., SARS-like coronavirus, originated as a byproduct of banned “gain of function” genetic engineering conducted at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. Contrary to the conventionally accepted official narrative, it then spread, presumably by accident, to a nearby food market, where it infected patient zero and the rest is history (in the meantime, anyone who reported that the virus was sourced at the Wuhan Level-4 biolab was ostracized, shunned, threatened, arrested or simply ordered to retract their statement or research).
  • In the early days of the pandemic, in hopes of avoiding a panic, Beijing actively rounded up any doctors who tried to sound the alarm on the danger that the coronavirus posed. Only three weeks later, around Jan 20, did China start reporting official numbers associated with the disease.
  • Just days after it “broke the seal” on the information blackout, Beijing quarantined over 60 million people in major Chinese cities, in hopes of avoiding a further panic, and preventing further spread of the virus. Ultimately, over 700 million people – half of China’s population – was put on some form of lock down. Panic had by now spread across the mainland, as virtually nobody in China had any idea what the facts were aside from the government’s propaganda.
  • As a result of the widespread quarantine, China’s economy came to a complete halt and for weeks after the Lunar new year, various high-frequency indicators showed that the economy has failed to reboot. Realizing that an economic paralysis could be just as devastating for its primary objective of preserving social calm and stability, Beijing had a change of heart.
  • Faced with a catastrophic dilemma, and forced to choose between either economic collapse due to mass quarantines, or economic collapse due to a frozen economy – with the bulk of China’s SMEs which are responsible for 60% of China’s GDP, facing insolvency in 2-3 months unless things return to normal – Beijing reversed track and started to openly manipulate the coronavirus data in mid-February to contain the widespread panic and give the impression that it had the pandemic under control, even though periodic reports demonstarting just how Beijing was lying about the real numbers and occasional “changes in definition” which resulted in a surge in “new cases” confirmed to the population how Beijing was purposefully underreporting the full extent of the pandemic. This only made the distrust worse, not helping to contain the rising panic.
  • Meanwhile, with social media reporting of mass arrests and still showing sick Chinese citizens collapsing or outright dying out of the blue, the population lost all faith in anything disclosed by central government and virtually nobody went back to work despite the politburo’s strict orders to do so, correctly convinced that Beijing is lying and the pandemic is far from contained. The panic continued, as did China’s economic devastation.

We know much of this, because as we first noted almost three weeks ago, “alternative” trackers of China’s output in near real time confirmed that the economy had ground to a halt: pollution, traffic, congestion, coal and electricity usage data, all showed that the country was paralyzed, its economy hibernating at the near-zero output level reached during the lunar new year…

And while few believed just how catastrophic China’s slowdown – which we profiled in “China Is Disintegrating: Steel Demand, Property Sales, Traffic All Approaching Zero” was – it was all confirmed when the latest Chinese PMI data released early on Saturday showed that China’s economy was now in freefall, as both the manufacturing and non-mfg PMI had cratered to record lows, taking out even the financial crisis lows.

And this is where the reflexivity of “everyone knowing that China does nothing but lie” comes in, because Beijing was well-aware that it couldn’t print some overly cheerful PMIs prints – not only would that be ridiculous in light of the complete halt in China’s economy, but it would further crash what little was left of Beijing’s credibility. Instead, China decided to kitchen sink February – after all that’s when the bulk of official corona cases and deaths was reported – and push for an impressive rebound in the March economic data, with February marking the bottom, or to loosely paraphrase Lester Burnham “It’s all uphill from here.

There’s just one snag: while Beijing may report any fabricated data it wants – whether coronavirus-related or economic – in hopes of easing the mistrust and social panic, China’s population still has absolutely no confidence in either Beijing, in Beijing’s ability to contain the coronavirus, or especially in Beijing’s apparent willingnes to sacrifice its population in order to reopen some mothballed factories to give the impression that the economy is on the mend. And here Beijing’s task has become especially complicated, because the world’s attention has now focused on those alternative, high-frequency economic indicators which we first laid out weeks ago; indicators which are far more difficult for Beijing to forge than just GDP, or industrial production or retail sales, which as everyone knows, represent just goalseeked numbers in an excel spreadsheet and nothing else.

And what’s worse, with everyone closely following said alternative indicators, it makes Beijing’s task of staging a miraculous economic rebound in March, April and onward from the February crash, virtually impossible since as the following charts show, China is still very far away from normal output.

At this point, Beijing had an idea: instead of goalseeking its GDP number or retail sales print or fabricating a 50+ PMI report, which nobody cares about now anyway, China’s political elite would have to focus on manipulating the high-frequency indicators that everyone (such as Capital Economics) is closely following to determine if China was careening over the cliff – after all, as we explained last week, Beijing now only has about 3 months before its companies run out of cash and the economy implodes from mass defaults and bank failures unless the economic situation is stabilized.

Incidentally, this is what we said back on February 10, when we warned that the “alternative” economic data sets would provide a far more comprehensive and accurate view of economic activity in major cities in China, “at least until China decides to “adjust” the high-frequency, real-time data too, making this latest “alternative” indicator of China’s economy also meaningless.

Three weeks later that’s precisely what has happened, because in order to game these high-frequency data, of which coal and electricity usage are the most important ones, we now learn that a “Wenzhou-based factory owner tells how district officials are telling him his closed factory (he has no workers) must turn on the machines and consume electricity or he’ll get “a visit”. ” 

Why must the owner of the empty factory pretend the factory is operating? Because “Higher ups are watching the electricity numbers.” And why are higher ups watching the electricity numbers? Because they know that not only the rest of the world is also watching these numbers, but so is China’s population. And absent a rebound in electricity usage, even if it is to power unused machines in empty factories, China can’t hold out hope to pretend that February was the kitchen sink month as the level of economic activity simply will not rise for months… unless of course Beijing orders the local population to simply consume for the sake of giving the outside world it is consuming as if things were back to normal.

Only they aren’t, and instead of Chinese ghost towns, we now have Chinese ghost factories whose only purpose is to try to fool its population and the world that the coronavirus pandemic, which is still raging in China, is under control and the Chinese economy is back on solid footing. Of course, neither is actually happening.

And in further proof that China is now openly manipulating those same “alternative”, high-frequency data, we get another account according to which a factory manager was told he must consume 3000 kWh electricity by midnight, as authorities use electricity usage as a criterion of re-open rate. Even the factory has not re-opened for lack of supply and manpower due to #COVID2019, the manager had to switch on all the air conditioners and other equipment to ensure they achieve the quota.

Why? Just so this chart swings sharply higher – a necessary condition for Beijing to be able to “report” that the Chinese economy is back online, and restore confidence in global supply chains.

Will this grotesque gamble at telegraphing economic “normalcy” work? Perhaps for a week or so, but if Beijing is unable to restore the all-important confidence of the local population that the pandemic is under control – and as a reminder just last week we noted that “Chinese Workers Refuse To Go Back To Work Despite Beijing’s Demands” – then all these desperate actions will be for nothing: after all without its massive workforce back in the office, or the ghost factory as the case may be, China can only maintain the facade that it is back on-line for just a few weeks at best.

Meanwhile, the 3-month countdown to economic Armageddon continues, and absent some miraculous cure of the viral pandemic which Beijing itself started with its forbidden viral experiments, China’s economy has less than 100 days left before all hell breaks loose.

Tyler Durden

Sat, 02/29/2020 – 15:53

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Turkey Says It Destroyed Key Syrian Chemical Weapons Facility Near Aleppo

Turkey Says It Destroyed Key Syrian Chemical Weapons Facility Near Aleppo

Via AlMasdarNews.com,

Damascus has denied Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s claims about destroying a chemical weapons facility or warehouse in northern Aleppo this week.

The Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) denied the existence of such a facility, accusing the Turkish President of “practicing a policy of misinformation.”

Illustrative file image, RAF Tornado

The agency noted that had the Turkish President’s allegations been correct to destroy a chemical facility 13 km south of Aleppo, there would have been a large number of deaths in the surrounding areas.

“Everyone knows that the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons confirmed in its reports that Syria does not have any chemical facilities,” they added.

Turkish media had previously claimed Saturday

Turkey has destroyed a chemical warfare facility in northwest Syria in an overnight attack, said a Turkish official Saturday.

The Turkish army destroyed overnight “a chemical warfare facility, located some 13 kilometers south of Aleppo, along with a large number of other regime targets,” the senior official told reporters on condition of anonymity.

Smoke over Saraqib in Idlib on Friday, via Reuters.

The Turkish President announced in a speech during his participation in a meeting with the deputies of his Justice and Development Party in Istanbul, the destruction of chemical warehouses belonging to the Syrian government, noting that “we did not want to reach this point, but the regime forced us to treat it with this method.”

Tyler Durden

Sat, 02/29/2020 – 15:25

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Kim Jong Un Threatens To Execute Politburo Members If They Fail To Contain Coronavirus Outbreak

Kim Jong Un Threatens To Execute Politburo Members If They Fail To Contain Coronavirus Outbreak

As the coronavirus death toll in Iran soars, with western media organizations reporting a death toll north of 200, North Korea has remained a vexing cypher amid whispers about gruesome executions and a rash of cases along the country’s northern boundary.

According to Scott Snyder writing in Forbes, the North Korean leadership declared preventing the spread of the coronavirus as a matter of “national survival” and moved rapidly to close its borders during the early days of the outbreak. NK was actually one of the first countries to close its border with China, beating Russia by a few days.

Still, many suspect the country still didn’t act quickly enough, and it’s likely a few infected Chinese tourists or businessmen probably entered the country at some point, particularly the border area in the north, as Forbes points out. Hence, NK’s heavy handed response to citizens who put the public at risk.

To prevent a devastating outbreak, the North Korean regime has leveraged the same level of civil discipline that made this insane placard display possible.

According to the Washington Post, Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un is ratcheting up the pressure on his inner circle, warning that if they screw up and fail to contain an outbreak, they might be the next general to be publicly executed via anti-aircraft missile in front of a rabid crowd of brainwashed, Kim-loving syncophants baying for your blood.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has warned of “serious consequences” if coronavirus reaches his country, the state-run Korea Central News Agency reported Saturday.

Kim convened a meeting of the ruling Workers’ Party’s politburo, where the battle against the virus was called a “crucial state affair for the defense of the people” that required maximum discipline.

The politiburo also vowed stricter enforcement of “top-class anti-epidemic steps,” KCNA reported.

“In case the infectious disease spreading beyond control finds its way into our country, it will entail serious consequences,” KCNA quoted Kim as saying.

North Korea says it does not have any confirmed cases of coronavirus, although news services with contacts in the country have reported suspected cases in cities bordering China.

So far, NK has relied on a similar approach to Beijing: Quarantines and strict transportation restrictions.

State media says a month-long quarantine period had been imposed for people showing symptoms. North Korea has banned all tourists, stopped all flights and trains from coming and going, shut down almost all border trade and placed foreign diplomats under virtual house arrest in a bid to prevent the virus entering from China.

Amazingly, it looks like the Kim regime is going to make it through this crisis with its legitimacy intact.

That’s not a good sign for negotiations with the US, which were just a charade anyway.

Tyler Durden

Sat, 02/29/2020 – 15:00

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Peter Thiel-Backed Startup Says Texas Is The Best Place To Mine Bitcoin

Peter Thiel-Backed Startup Says Texas Is The Best Place To Mine Bitcoin

Authored by Samuel Haig via CoinTelegraph.com,

Alex Liegl, CEO of Layer1 Technologies, a US-based Bitcoin (BTC) mining company that recently announced its intention to repatriate 30% of Bitcoin’s hash power by 2022, has described Texas as offering miners the “cheapest power in the world, at scale.”

image courtesy of CoinTelegraph

Less than two weeks ago, Layer1 commenced mining operations at its facility in western Texas, bringing multiple 2.5-megawatt container rigs online.

Texas is the largest producer of wind power in the United States, outproducing the second, third, and fourth-largest producers combined. If Texas were an independent nation, it would be the world’s fifth-largest generator of wind power worldwide.

Despite the cheap electricity, many miners have avoided the Lone Star state due to its heat – with temperatures regularly exceeding 90 degrees for half of each year. To combat the heat, Layer1’s mining apparatus comprises 20-by-8 shipping containers filled with miners that are suspended in a non-conductive liquid. 

“If they were air-cooled, the processors would burn up,” Liegl told Forbes.

Layer1 plans to pause mining during summer

During October 2019, Layer1 raised $50 million for its venture capital investors, led by Peter Thiel alongside Digital Currency Group and Shasta Ventures.

The cash infusion funded Layer1’s acquisition of an electric substation capable of generating 100 megawatts situated on 30 acres in western Texas and rose the company’s value to $200 million.

Layer1 also plans to take advantage of skyrocketing summer electricity prices and selling its power to the grid, with Liegl stating:

“We can stabilize the grid by selling capacity for curtailment at the push of a button.”

Northern Bitcoin AG to construct “largest Bitcoin mining facility in the world” in Texas

During January, Whinstone, a subsidiary of Frankfurt-based mining company Northern Bitcoin, announced that it had inked partnerships with Japanese internet provider GMO and financial services company SBI to process transactions at its forthcoming facility in Rockdale, Texas.

Whinstone’s facility is slated to launch with a capacity of 300 megawatts, with the company to expand to 1 gigawatt before 2021.

When constructed, Whinstone’s facility will have three times the capacity as Bitmain’s mining site in Rockdale — which is held to currently comprise the largest mining operation in the world.

Tyler Durden

Sat, 02/29/2020 – 14:35

via ZeroHedge News https://ift.tt/39b6NPZ Tyler Durden

Biden Doomed Unless He Gets Blowout Tonight In South Carolina

Biden Doomed Unless He Gets Blowout Tonight In South Carolina

For those who still haven’t called the patient known as Joe Biden’s presidential campaign, all hope now hinges on a win in South Carolina’s Saturday primary – and not just any win, but a blowout, according to The Hill.

“I think it has got to be at least 5 points. Ten points is optimum, and anything beyond 10 points would be extra,” said South Carolina politician Dick Harpootlian, a state senator who sits on the Biden campaign’s finance committee.

Five to 10 points is enough of a win to show to the rest of the country,” he added. 

The margin of a Biden victory in South Carolina is far from an academic question. He needs a win that packs enough punch to reshape the national race.

A narrow victory for Biden in a state that has long been regarded as a stronghold would not be enough to throw national front-runner Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) off his current trajectory.

If, on the other hand, Biden were to win with a thumping majority, that would be a different story — one that would potentially revitalize his campaign and reestablish his primacy among several centrist candidates.

But Sanders has not given up hope of pulling a surprise. –The Hill

“I’m asking you to bring out your friends and co-workers and neighbors,” Sanders asked South Carolina supporters on Friday afternoon at an event featuring actor Danny Glover and rapper Killer Mike.

According to polls, Sanders needs all the help he can get in SC – trailing Biden betweeen 9% and  21% in Friday polls.

Biden, assuming he will win in SC, plans to remain the state for a victory rally, while Sanders will move on to Virginia.

As The Hill notes, “If Sanders did spring an upset win, it likely would end Biden’s White House hopes. The intensity of the Vermonter’s supporters is evident, and many of the people who attended his Friday rally had already been won over by his calls for sweeping reform of American society.”

Read the rest of the report here.

Tyler Durden

Sat, 02/29/2020 – 14:10

via ZeroHedge News https://ift.tt/2I85xkw Tyler Durden