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News and Headlines.4/23/2020

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

Late and short post due to ISP @Spectrum down most of the day.

In The News:

Watch Live: President Trump & The Coronavirus Task Force News Conference 4/23/20

Thursday, April 23, 2020: President Donald Trump & members of the Coronavirus Task Force hold a news briefing from The White House.

Man Accused Of Killing Couple In Utah Home Invasion Arrested In California After Fight With Police

Albert Johnson Photo: San Joaquin County Jail
Albert Johnson Photo: San Joaquin County Jail

Tony Butterfield, 31, and Katherine Butterfield, 30, were shot to death in their West Jordan home early Saturday morning as they attempted to fight off an intruder, West Jordan Police spokesman Sgt. J.C. Holt told Oxygen.com on Monday.

Albert Enoch Johnson, 31, was identified as the suspect behind the slayings at a Monday press conference.

Holt told Oxygen.com Wednesday morning that Johnson had some connection to California and investigators found him after his car — a 2008 Toyota Corolla that was mentioned in his wanted posters — turned up in Sacramento.

‘No One Is Getting Justice’: Teen Guilty Of ‘Sexual, Sadistic Murder’ Of Dad’s Girlfriend Receives 7 Years As Victim’s Family Fumes

Kimberly Forness Photo: Facebook
Kimberly Forness Photo: Facebook

On March 8, 2017 Vineyard slashed Forness’ throat, beat her with a pair of baseball bats, and then sexually abused her body at a home in McMinnville, Oregon.

Afterwards, Vineyard, watched a Korn music video, took a bath, drank a cup of tea, and bleached the crime scene. He later turned himself in at a county courthouse, according to community newspaper the News-Register.

“Ms. Forness’s death was prolonged and it was extremely violent,” Yamhill County Chief Deputy District Attorney Kathryn Lynch said, the newspaper said.

The teen, now 18, previously confessed to the murder. Vineyard also admitted to shooting his father’s 55-year-old roommate, Ron Spiker, in the face and the hip with a pistol. Spiker, who survived, now reportedly walks with a limp, according to the Oregonian.

Arizona unemployment claims continue to fall

A person passes a temporary take-out only restaurant Friday, March 27, 2020, in Phoenix. Arizona
A person passes a temporary take-out only restaurant Friday, March 27, 2020, in Phoenix. Matt York / AP

The U.S. Department of Labor released weekly unemployment claims data for last week, showing 26,668 fewer applications than the week prior, a 27 percent drop.

The numbers represent the third week of shutdowns mandated by Gov. Doug Ducey to fight the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Ducey said this week that he’s been in communication with business leaders in preparation for reopening sectors of the economy.

More than 400,000 Arizona workers have applied for unemployment benefits since mid-March.

New unemployment claims in Tennessee drop again

A man walks across Broadway, where the streets are usually filled and the sidewalks are usually crowded, on Monday, March 23, 2020, in Nashville, Tenn.
A man walks across Broadway, where the streets are usually filled and the sidewalks are usually crowded, on Monday, March 23, 2020, in Nashville, Tenn.
Mark Humphrey / AP

Employees in Tennessee could be returning to work next week after Gov. Bill Lee said some businesses will be eligible to open as soon as Monday and a majority of businesses will be able to open May 1.

Lee has not revealed specifics surrounding this phased-in approach. Social distancing guidelines still will be in effect for all businesses.

Nationally, more than 4.4 million Americans filed unemployment claims last week, UDSOL reported, down 810,000 from the week prior, when 5.25 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits.

Pennsylvania will lift pandemic restrictions in northern counties first

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf announces the first two confirmed cases of COVID-19 within the state on March 6, 2020.
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf announces the first two confirmed cases of COVID-19 within the state on March 6, 2020. Image courtesy of PACast

“Many people are still getting sick, but the current pace is allowing every patient to get the medical treatment they need,” Wolf said.”You all have done so much to step up and avert what could have been a much, much worse tragedy.”

Nearly 36,000 residents have tested positive for COVID-19 over the last seven weeks, and 1,662 have died. The majority of patients reside in the state’s southeastern and northeastern counties, along the New Jersey border.

Significant outbreaks have also cropped up around Pittsburgh and in the south-central region of the state.

But for rural, more sparsely populated counties to the north and west, Wolf and Levine said the virus isn’t spreading as fast and far, making the areas good candidates to progress from phase red to phase yellow of the reopening plan.

California leads nation in new unemployment claims

Unionized hospitality workers wait in line in a basement garage to apply for unemployment benefits at the Hospitality Training Academy Friday, March 13, 2020, in Los Angeles.
Unionized hospitality workers wait in line in a basement garage to apply for unemployment benefits at the Hospitality Training Academy Friday, March 13, 2020, in Los Angeles. Marcio Jose Sanchez / AP

While state and national officials are talking about the possibilities of reopening the economy once the novel coronavirus abates, the impact of the shutdown of all but essential businesses continues to be reflected in the latest unemployment data.

California’s new claims were down from the week ending April 11, when 655,472 filed for unemployment benefits.

But the five week total means more than 3 million of the state’s residents lost their jobs since Gov. Gavin Newsom’s stay-at-home order closed businesses deemed nonessential.

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Publix Announces It Will Buy And Donate Produce From Farmers Impacted By Coronavirus Shut Down

ARIANA DREHSLER/AFP via Getty Images)
ARIANA DREHSLER/AFP via Getty Images)

Specifically, the initiative will help Florida produce farmers and southeastern dairy farmers, according to the statement. During the first week alone, 150,000 pounds of produce and 43,500 gallons of milk are expected to be donated.

“As a food retailer, we have the unique opportunity to bridge the gap between the needs of families and farmers impacted by the coronavirus pandemic,” Publix CEO Todd Jones said in the statement.

“In this time of uncertainty, we are grateful to be able to help Florida’s produce farmers, southeastern dairies and families in our communities.”

The project was started Wednesday and is expected to run for several weeks.

US astronaut returns to world changed by COVID-19 after 9 months in space

After ascending to the International Space Station (ISS) in July of 2019, Dr. Andrew Morgan has returned to a world greatly changed by the coronavirus pandemic.

In an interview Thursday on “Fox & Friends” with host Brian Kilmeade, Morgan said that while it was “a tremendous experience and great honor” to be able to represent the country and the planet as part of the ISS crew – with some of the busiest operational time in its history – in talking with family and friends he “started to build the picture that the Earth that I was going to return to wasn’t going to be the same one that I left.”

In a previous career, Morgan served as an emergency physician and military officer.

Lara Logan calls out ‘fundamentally false’ media reaction to Bill Barr’s comments about state lockdowns

Barr took a clear swipe Tuesday at state restrictions on citizens during the coronavirus pandemic, indicating not only that people could sue over measures that go too far, but that the Justice Department could end up siding with them against the states.

In an appearance on Hugh Hewitt’s radio program, Barr specified some of the legal issues raised by state orders – likening some to “house arrest” – and how they could lead the federal government to get involved.

“I think that people should go and listen to what Attorney General Barr actually said and not take anyone in the media’s word for it,” Logan said, reacting to the coverage.

The veteran foreign correspondent pointed out that she listened to Barr’s entire interview and that his point was “very clear” and was not contrary to science.

Nikki Haley launches petition urging Congress to investigate China over coronavirus crisis

“We have long warned about the threats China’s Communist government poses. Now, in a time of crisis, we are seeing just how dangerous China is.

The time for warnings is over. We must act and protect American security, health, and prosperity,” Haley said in a statement.

In a nod to Haley’s role at the U.N., the petition wants Congress to “make China pay the U.N. and other international organizations’ like the second largest economy in the world should — no more being treated like a poor ‘developing country.’

Politics:

California lawmakers seek details on Newsom’s $1 billion mask deal with Chinese manufacturer

California lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are requesting details from Gov. Gavin Newsom regarding a $1 billion deal to buy hundreds of millions of coronavirus protective masks from a Chinese manufacturer, according to a report.

Two weeks after announcing the plan on cable news, Newsom has given few details about the deal, which will cost taxpayers 30 percent more than the governor’s January budget allotted for infectious diseases for the whole fiscal year, The Los Angeles Times reported.

The governor’s office has denied requests for more information about the deal, The Times reported and the state has already sent the first installment of $495 million to BYD.

Sarah Sanders shreds AOC over call for work boycott

Commentary/Opinion:
Former White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders sounds off on Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for her call for Americans to boycott work once the economy reopens.

Tammy Bruce slams Gov. Cuomo for insulting remark about protesters: The curtain was pulled back

Commentary/Opinion:
“He’s been getting a lot of good reviews … for what he’s been saying on a day-to-day basis as though he’s the second coming in some sense, and that he’s a fabulous person.

And I think what’s good on a day-to-day basis is every now and then, you really get to see who people are and the curtain is pulled back,” Bruce told “Fox & Friends.”

Bruce said that the level of contempt for protesters in that statement was “extraordinary.”

World News:

Chinese citizen journalist missing for 2 months after reporting on coronavirus in Wuhan reappears

Li Zehua was last seen on February 26 after he posted a video to several social media platforms which showed him being chased by
Li Zehua was last seen on February 26 after he posted a video to several social media platforms which showed him being chased by a white SUV and a live stream that ended when officials entered his apartment (YouTube)

Li Zehua was last seen on Feb. 26 after he posted a video to several social media platforms which showed him being chased by a white SUV and a livestream that ended when officials entered his apartment, according to The Guardian.

He was subsequently made to accompany the so-called public security to a local police station where he was told he was being investigated for disrupting public order.

He was later told he would not be charged but would have to undergo quarantine because he had been to “sensitive areas.”

Commentary/Opinion:

Victor Davis Hanson: Coronavirus one of many dangers facing US – beware of China, Russia, Iran, North Korea

While Americans debate the proper ongoing response to the virus and argue over the infection’s origins, nature and trajectory, they may have tuned out other, often just as scary, news.

Rumors have spread that China may be conducting nuclear tests in violation of zero-yield global agreements. If true, it reminds us that our adversaries are most dangerous when cornered and wounded.

Baiting America may be a dangerous strategy for Iran, but it is running out of choices as crashing oil prices, trade sanctions and the costs of dealing with the virus have all bankrupted the country.

Iran can hardly expect help from its usual patrons — China, Russia and North Korea. China is now an international outlaw facing a severe recession. Russia is reeling from crashing oil prices. And North Korea is embargoed and broke.