News

News and Headlines. 4/16/2020

News and Headlines: In The News, Politics, World News, Commentary/Opinion.

In The News:

Angry shopper leans under Plexiglass to spit on grocery worker, Pennsylvania cops say

Brandon Thompson ALLEGHENY COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE
Brandon Thompson ALLEGHENY COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE

Brandon Thompson, who officials dubbed the “spitting shopper,” was arrested Wednesday, according to a news release from the Allegheny County Sheriff’s Office.

Thompson was at a Giant Eagle supermarket in the Pittsburgh area and demanded be get a money order worth $100, the county’s police department wrote in a Facebook post earlier this month.

When workers figured out Thompson had actually paid $50, he started “screaming and threatening employees,” officials say.

Trump unveils phased approach to reopening economy

President Donald Trump waves during an event celebrating American truckers,
President Donald Trump waves during an event celebrating American truckers, at the White House, Thursday, April 16, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Trump briefed the nation’s governors on the plan Thursday afternoon, saying they were going to be responsible for deciding when it is safe to lift restrictions in their states.

“You’re going to call your own shots,” Trump told governors, according to an audio recording obtained by The Associated Press. “We’re going to be standing along side of you.”

Meanwhile, under the federal guidelines, those most susceptible to the respiratory disease would be advised to remain sheltered in place until their area enters the final phase — and even then are advised to take precautions to avoid close contact with other people.

The federal guidelines come after seven governors in the Midwest announced Thursday they will coordinate on reopening the economy, after similar pacts were announced earlier this week in the West and Northeast.

Dead people are receiving $1,200 coronavirus stimulus payments, lawmaker says

IRS Building
Getty Images
IRS Building
Getty Images

A Twitter user posted about his deceased grandmother receiving a check.

“Deceased people are receiving stimulus checks today,” he wrote on Wednesday. “My grandmother passed away in 2018 — and $1,200 was deposited in her bank account today.”

A TIME Magazine reporter said her deceased relative received a direct payment.

Federal agencies paid $175 billion in error during fiscal 2019: government report

Hundred dollar bills
(Xinhua/Liu Jie via Getty Images)
Hundred dollar bills
(Xinhua/Liu Jie via Getty Images)

The report found that the majority of the improper payments occurred in the areas of Medicaid, Medicare and the Earned Income Tax Credit. The payments occur because of fraud and other reasons, which the GAO describes in its full report.

“Increasingly, the federal government is making payments it shouldn’t,” the GAO reported on its WatchBlog.

According to the Office of Management and Budget, the 2019 improper payments were reported in four categories:

Florida man threatened to shoot up supermarket because not enough people were wearing masks: police

Robert Kovner, 62, of Sebring, Florida, was arrested for allegedly a mass shooting at a local supermarket because not enough people were wearing masks
Robert Kovner, 62, of Sebring, Florida, was arrested for allegedly a mass shooting at a local supermarket because not enough people were wearing masks.
(Highlands County Sheriff’s Office)

The Highlands County Sheriff’s Office said Robert Kovner, of Sebring, made the alleged threat in a Facebook post.

They said Kovner threatened a mass shooting because he was upset that not enough people, in his opinion, were wearing masks outside. Officials did not disclose the Publix location.

“We realize these are stressful times, but there is no excuse for making threats like this,” the sheriff’s office said in a Facebook post. “It’s not a joke. It’s not just a bad day. It’s a crime. We will ALWAYS take them seriously and you will go to jail.”

Border town ‘man camps’ spark coronavirus fears as Democrats call for halt on wall project

In this Jan. 10, 2020, photo, people work at a portion of border wall which is under construction in Yuma, Ariz.
In this Jan. 10, 2020, photo, people work at a portion of border wall which is under construction in Yuma, Ariz. Illegal border crossings have plummeted as the Trump administration has extended a policy to make asylum seekers wait in Mexico for court hearings in the U.S. (AP)

In mid-March, shortly after Trump declared a national emergency amid the pandemic, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced plans to build 150 miles of 30-foot high border fencing in Arizona, New Mexico and California, while continuing construction at 15 sites across those states and Texas.

So-called “man camps” are being erected in Arizona and New Mexico border towns to house construction workers coming to build the wall, leaving residents fearing out-of-towners may spread COVID-19 into their communities.

Businesses that provide essential lodging for medical professionals and construction workers have been allowed to remain open amid statewide stay-at-home orders.

Treasury Dept. working to iron out ‘glitches’ in direct deposit, as millions await coronavirus stimulus payment

The official said the Treasury Department is actively looking into payments that have yet to be received by those qualifying Americans.

This person noted that many who have yet to receive the direct deposit had used H&R Block and Turbo Tax to file their taxes in the past and used the refund anticipation loan programs with the companies.

That’s a service where taxpayers can pay the company a small fee in order to receive your tax refund immediately, versus getting it a week or two after filing.

A Treasury official said the issue is that those fast tracked refunds are put on debit cards, which means the IRS doesn’t have the filers direct deposit information.

The official told Fox News that the Treasury is aware of the problem and is actively looking into ways to iron out the issue, while maintaining that the program, in general has been expansive and successful.

Advertisements

US, Canada have funded Chinese lab eyed as likely source of coronavirus outbreak

The Canadian news site Rebel News first reported on the grant.

This comes after recent reports, including from the Daily Mail, of millions of dollars in U.S. government grants funding research conducted at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in recent years, news that has upset multiple members of Congress.

According to public documents compiled by the White Coat Waste Project and shared with Fox News, The Wuhan Institute of Virology has been involved with research funded by $7.1 million worth of U.S. government grants from the National Institutes of Health as it has participated in projects in collaboration with U.S. institutions.

One grant for research on bat coronaviruses has received $3.7 million and another grant involving injecting viruses into mice’s brains got $3.4 million.

LGBTQ website says ‘coronavirus is punishment for conservative Christians’

ANDREAS SOLARO/AFP
ANDREAS SOLARO/AFP

LGBTQ Nation is “an online news magazine, reporting on issues relevant to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer community.”

Mark Segal, who is a contributor to the site, posted an article Wednesday titled, “If HIV was God’s punishment for gays, then coronavirus is punishment for conservative Christians.”

Segal contends that “God must now be angry with religious people by striking the headquarters of the world’s religions with the COVID-19: Rome, headquarters of Catholics; Athens, the headquarters of Greek Orthodoxy; Moscow, the headquarters of Russian orthodoxy; London, home of the Anglican communion; Mecca, home of Muslims; Jerusalem, home of Jewish faith; and Salt Lake City, home of the Mormons.”

To attempt to support his argument, Segal claimed that there are fewer confirmed coronavirus cases and deaths in San Francisco than other international cities that hold religious significance.

New York stay-home order extended to May 15

Gov. Andrew Cuomo provides a coronavirus update during a press conference
Gov. Andrew Cuomo provides a coronavirus update during a press conference in the Red Room at the State Capitol. | Mike Groll/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

Cuomo, during his daily briefing in Albany, said extreme distancing measures that began on March 22 have helped slow the coronavirus infection rate, but he’s not ready to let up on the far-reaching restrictions.

The extension, which continues the closure of nonessential businesses and restrictions on public gatherings, also includes school closures, a Cuomo official confirmed.

He said the move was based on state data, and will be carried out in coordination with neighboring states such as Vermont, Delaware and New Jersey, which are looking at later dates for the apex of their infection spread.

Politics:

The Government Is Destroying Our Cities, But Trump Might Be Onto A Cure

Commentary/Opinion:
When our front doors finally swing open and we come out blinking in the sunshine, our cities and towns will be mere husks of what they were just a month ago.

Empty storefronts, boarded-up shops, terrible “local art” installations in windows that once showed friends and families laughing over their favorite dish and bottle of wine.

Nine states have issued similar “plans.” Washington, D.C. chimed in Wednesday, extending the shutdown another month. Meanwhile, the House and Senate are fighting when they’re talking at all.

The ideas batting about Capitol Hill are more money for leftist projects, more for employees, and more for that last plan that isn’t working.

There is, however, a major resource to stop this nightmare that has not been tapped yet — one the president, who has spent far more years as a businessman than politician, teased on Friday.

Congress’s Fund to Backstop Paychecks is Officially Out of Money

Getty Images
Getty Images

Small business owners seeking a loan guaranteed by the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) were greeted Thursday morning by a statement from the Small Business Administration that, “based on available appropriations funding,” it was currently unable to accept either applicants or new lenders.

A spokesman for Sen. Marco Rubio (R., Fla.), who chairs the Senate small business committee, told the Washington Free Beacon that the program was just shy of its $349 billion cap, with remaining funds reserved for processing fees.

The program has been one of the most heavily demanded during the current recession, and Republicans warned last week that it would run dry.

Democrats, however, blocked a $250 billion infusion after Republicans refused to package it with additional funding for hospitals and state and local governments.

Protesters interrupt governor’s televised briefing, chanting ‘We want to work’

On Wednesday, for example, thousands of people marched in Michigan to protest Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s stay-at-home order.

Protests in Raleigh, North Carolina, and Columbus, Ohio, also drove home the message that more and more Americans want the government to focus on reopening the economy, not adding layers of restrictions.

Protesters in Kentucky also marched Wednesday to demand that Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear reopen the state, according to the Louisville Courier Journal.

Huckabee: Trump ‘would be very wise’ to allow governors to reopen states

Commentary/Opinion:
‘We cannot holed up in our homes for 18 month or there will be nothing to come back to,’ says Mike Huckabee discussing how Trump should ‘ramp up’ the economy.

The Pelosi Recession

Getty Images
Getty Images

Commentary/Opinion:
With a few exceptions, congressional Republicans have agreed with this analysis, working swiftly and aggressively to staunch the bleeding.

Not an economic conservative to begin with, President Donald Trump has been particularly gung-ho, calling for another $2 trillion in stimulus spending before the ink on the first $2 trillion bill had dried.

If you want to know how congressional Democrats are thinking about the crisis, though, just ask House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (S.C.).

“This is a tremendous opportunity to restructure things to fit our vision.”

His fellow Democrats were obviously listening. Few have been more unwilling to not let the crisis go to waste than Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.).

If we don’t take our freedoms back they may not come back: Napolitano

Commentary/Opinion:
Fox News senior judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano tells ‘Fox & Friends’ that he’s surprised Michiganders did not protest sooner against the state’s stay-at-home order.

World News:

Protests erupt after deaths at U.S. factories in Mexican border town

So far, 82 people have tested positive for the new coronavirus in the city that lies across the border from El Paso, Texas, local authorities said on Thursday. A total of 19 have died, the city health department said.

Several workers for Lear Corporation, a Michigan-based car seat maker, have died from respiratory illnesses, the company said in a statement to Reuters.

Honeywell International Inc on Thursday told Reuters a worker at one of its plants in the city had died after being sent home to self-quarantine and receive medical attention.

Economic Pain Spreads Around the World

A worker protects himself against the coronavirus as he donates food to poor families in Turano favela,
A worker protects himself against the coronavirus as he donates food to poor families in Turano favela, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on Wednesday. (AP photo/Silvia Izquierdo)

In France, Amazon suspended operations altogether after a court ruled it wasn’t doing enough to protect its workers in the country. The online retailer, which has six warehouses in France, said it would evaluate the court decision.

The International Monetary Fund said fallout from what it calls the “Great Lockdown” will be the most devastating since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

Yet in China and the handful of countries in Europe that have partially reopened their economies, even people who still have jobs are wary of spending much or going out. In nearly empty stores and streets, people eye each other from a distance, their faces covered by masks.

With many factories shut down, American industrial output shriveled in March, registering its biggest decline since the nation demobilized in 1946 at the end of World War II. Retail sales fell by an unprecedented 8.7%, with April expected
to be far worse.

G7 Leaders Join Trump In Calling For World Health Organization Crackdown

Sean Gallup/Getty Images
Sean Gallup/Getty Images

The announcement comes after Trump on Tuesday cut off U.S. funding to the WHO pending a review, which he said was necessary due to the organization’s “China-centric” coronavirus response.

“The leaders recognized that the G7 nations annually contribute more than a billion dollars to the World Health Organization, and much of the conversation centered on the lack of transparency and chronic mismanagement of the pandemic by the WHO,” the White House said in a press release regarding the meeting.

“People think the World Health Organization should change its name,” Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso said, according to translators. “It shouldn’t be called the WHO, it should be renamed the CHO.”

Israeli Drone reportedly targets Hezbollah in Syria; IRGC harasses U.S.Navy-TV7 Israel News 16.04.20

1) A spike of confirmed corona virus cases has been reported by the Israeli Health Ministry, after almost two weeks of a meagre, yet significant, decline in the up-ward trend of newly diagnosed patients throughout the Jewish State.

2) Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Parliament Speaker Benny Gantz have yet again failed to strike a deal on forming a unity emergency government, regrettably projecting yet another unprecedented extension to Jerusalem’s political deadlock.

3) An Israeli unmanned aerial vehicle reportedly targeted a car belonging to the Lebanese Iranian-proxy Hezbollah on Syria’s southwestern border with Lebanon.

Commentary/Opinion:

Ex-Press Secretary: Would I Work For Trump? (Pt. 3) | Dana Perino | POLITICS | Rubin Report

Dave Rubin of The Rubin Report talks to Dana Perino (Fox News, Anchor of The Daily Briefing) about the media,

Trump and what it was like to be a Press Secretary.

Dana answers how she would handle Trump if she were his Press Secretary.

She also shares her opinions of Joe Biden and the mistakes he needs to avoid to run against Trump.

Dana also reveals what position she would want in a Ben Shapiro administration. Dana also gives her perspective on the changing perception of conservative politics.

She thinks that politicians like Dan Crenshaw are showing people a different side of conservatives.