Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Thousands of rental cars destroyed in fire at Florida airport

More than 3,500 rental cars are damaged or destroyed after a fire near a southwest Florida airport.  The fire burned at a rental car overflow area near Southwest Florida International Airport. Another 3,850 vehicles were undamaged. The fire spread across 15 acres. Nobody was hurt, but witnesses told the newspaper they heard several explosions and flames jumping high in the air. The cause of the fire remains under investigation. (WINK)


Cashier sprayed in eyes with Lysol by customer mad about purchase limit, police say

Police in Leicester, Massachusetts are searching for a woman who allegedly sprayed Lysol in the eyes of a cashier at Walmart after the woman was told there was a product limit on her purchase.  police said the incident happened on March 27. The cashier told the woman there was a limit on the number of Lysol disinfectant cans that she was trying to purchase. The woman then sprayed the cashier in the eyes with the Lysol, requiring a response from EMS, police said. She then completed her purchase and left in what is believed to have been an Uber. Several retail stores have purchase limits set on certain products amid the coronavirus outbreak. (WCVB)


Police searching for teen who claims she will spread coronavirus

Police in Carrollton, Texas, are investigating a teenager’s claims that she has coronavirus and plans to infect others. According to police, the 18-year-old went on social media and said she tested positive for COVID-19 and is “willfully spreading it.” Police will charge her with making a terroristic threat. The police admit on their twitter page that they have no confirmation if she is actually a threat to public health. They are, however, taking her social media actions very seriously. Authorities are asking anyone with information regarding her whereabouts to contact (972) 466-3333 or (Carrollton, Texas, Twitter Page)


As many people shelter from the pandemic at home, there’s been a “horrifying surge” in domestic violence, U.N. Secretary General warned

In some countries, calls to domestic violence hotlines have doubled, while the number of workers to help them has been overwhelmed by the pandemic. “We know lockdowns and quarantines are essential to suppressing COVID-19, but they can trap women with abusive partners,” the Secretary General said. “Over the past weeks, as the economic and social pressures and fear have grown, we have seen a horrifying surge in domestic violence.” Statistics show that:

  • Domestic violence rates have surged in France and South Africa. In South Africa, authorities said there were nearly 90,000 reports of violence against women in the first week of a lockdown.
  • Since the start of the pandemic, the U.N. reports that Lebanon and Malaysia have seen the number of calls to help lines double, compared with the same month last year. In China, the number of calls has tripled.
  • In Australia, where the government has promised some $91 million to address the problem as part of its COVID-19 response plan, Google reports a 75% increase in online searches for help with domestic violence.
  • In Turkey, activists say the killing of women has risen sharply since a stay-at-home order was issued on March 11. (NPR)


One-quarter of US economy wiped out

U.S. daily output has dipped by about 29% compared with the first week of March. Researchers analyzed every U.S. county to see how coronavirus-linked closures have impacted output — eight in 10 U.S. counties are under lockdown orders, or nearly 96% of national output. For comparison, annual output fell 26% during the Great Depression (1929 to 1933), per Commerce Department data. Moody’s chief economist does not believe the 29% drop will be sustained, and some anticipate output to pick up again this summer or fall. (Market Watch)


Bold play could get the ball rolling

Health authorities have informed major sports leagues and their tens of millions of fans that stadiums will likely sit “vacant and silent” into 2021. But the desire for games to return far outstrips the ability for league bosses to predict when they will. So the NBA and major league baseball are pondering a radical plan to restart play: quarantining players and playing in small, empty stadiums. Officials say the ambitious plan has “business and altruistic motivations,” as leagues work to recoup heavy losses and also provide a welcome diversion for a weary public. So far, ESPN and Fox have not withheld rights fees in the U.S., but overseas television networks have. And cable television customers are already telling cable companies they want refunds for hefty fees for sports networks that are currently showing no live sport. (The New York Times)


Apple’s latest product: Face shields

Apple will design, produce and distribute more than 1 million face shields a week, CEO Tim Cook announced. The protective gear will first be distributed to medical workers in the U.S. with a goal to expand distribution overseas. The tech giant has also sourced 20 million face masks to donate globally in a bid to slow the spread of coronavirus. The move comes as companies around the world shift production to help make much-needed medical equipment and supplies. (Tim Cook Twitter)


Health officials: Worst days ahead

White House coronavirus response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx said infections could peak in New York, Detroit and New Orleans in the next six to seven days, with health officials warning “Americans to brace for a pivotal week.” There have been over 330,000 reported cases of the coronavirus in the U.S., claiming more than 9,000 deaths. (365 News)


Cardboard cutout wedding guests will make for a not-so-cookie-cutter wedding as a Michigan couple prepares to tie the knot during the coronavirus pandemic

After a couple in Michigan wedding plans were disrupted amid the outbreak, a packaging company donated more than 100 cardboard cutouts to pose as stand-ins for the family and friends who couldn’t attend the wedding this Saturday because of Michigan’s stay-at-home order. Menasha Packaging Co. in Coloma, Michigan made cutouts to resemble guests tall and short, young and old, with long hair, short hair and ponytails. The groom said he’ll forever be thankful to Menasha for helping him do something special for his fiancée. “I wanted to do something (creative) so she wouldn’t walk down the aisle to an empty church,” he said. “That was a painful part, that her wedding was being stripped away from her, but Menasha helped bring a little back.” (The Herald-Palladium)


The Taliban said that a peace agreement signed with the U.S. in February may soon collapse

The group said that Washington had not fulfilled its part of the deal because it has conducted drone attacks on civilians and accused the Afghan government of failing to release 5,000 political prisoners. The Taliban said that unless the U.S. and the Afghan government comply with the agreement, their fighters will start relaunching attacks. The U.S. government described the accusations as “baseless.” Last month, Washington cut economic aid to Afghanistan, arguing that the country’s leaders are stalling the deal. President Ashraf Ghani and his political rival, Abdullah Abdullah, are engaged in a bitter political dispute over who won a presidential election last year. As of February, there were around 12,000 U.S. troops stationed in Afghanistan. (US News)


Using radiocarbon dating, researchers have been able to calculate that whale sharks can live for more than 100 years

Scientists have long estimated the age of dead whale sharks by counting tree-like growth rings on their vertebrae, but that technique has always been thought to be inaccurate. A team of researchers has found a better method: tracing carbon-14, a naturally-occurring radioactive isotope that is commonly used to date archeological artifacts. However, in this case, scientists traced the carbon-14 that was released into the atmosphere by atomic explosions conducted during the Cold War. This isotope was eventually absorbed by every living organism on the planet, leaving a tell-tale signature that can be measured using lab tests. (National Geographic)


YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook say they are taking measures to stop the spread of a conspiracy theory that connects the rollout of 5G networks to the coronavirus pandemic

Fires were set at multiple cellphone towers in the U.K. over the last week, suspected to be connected to the theory that radiation from the towers either caused or exacerbated the spread of COVID-19. There is no evidence that 5G WiFi networks have any connection to the spread of the virus. YouTube said videos promoting the theory will be demonetized and removed from search results; Twitter and Facebook also said they would aggressively remove false information. (CNN)


Xerox has teamed up with medical device manufacturer Vortran Medical to produce as many as one million low-cost ventilators for use in U.S. hospitals

Xerox will help rapidly manufacture Vortran’s disposable, FDA-approved Go2Vent device and charge hospitals $120 for each unit, significantly less than the $25,000 or more spent on newer, hospital-grade ventilators. The devices would primarily be for use in patients with “lower-level symptoms,” saving the most advanced modern ventilators for more severe cases. (NBC News)


Wednesday Comes Humpin’ In With:

  • Buddha Day (Historical Birth Date)
  • Draw A Bird Day
  • International Roma Day
  • National Dog Fighting Awareness Day
  • Trading Cards for Grownups Day
  • Passover

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