Monday, June 8, 2020

Hiring’s shock rebound in May

In a stunning turnabout, the U.S. unemployment rate fell to 13.3% in May, signaling that jobs are returning as businesses reopen. The Labor Department report, which showed payrolls climbed by 2.5 million last month, defied expectations of a new post-War high in joblessness as shutdowns due the pandemic continued to take their toll. The rate declined from 14.7% in April, the highest since 1948. (The Wall Street Journal)


New rules for PPP loan forgiveness

President Trump signed a bill to extend Paycheck Protection Program loans, from covering eight weeks of payroll to 24 weeks for small businesses. The bill also reduces the amount businesses have to spend on payroll to be forgiven, to 60% from 75%. The Treasury Department and Small Business Administration released new guidance on how enterprises can get their PPP loans converted into a grant, including a stipulation that owners will not be penalized if previous employees rescind an offer to be rehired. Small businesses have found themselves competing with unemployment benefits, which in many cases pays workers more than their original wages. (CNBC)


The last American to collect a Civil War pension —$73.13 a month has just died

Irene Triplett, who lived in a North Carolina nursing home, rarely talked about the source of the money. She was the last American to receive a pension from the Civil War — $877.56 a year from the Department of Veterans Affairs. The jaw-dropping fact that someone in the year 2020 was still earning a Civil War pension was the result of two factors: First, she suffered cognitive impairments, qualifying her for the lifelong pension as a helpless adult child of a veteran. Second, her father, who’d served as a private in the Confederate Army before defecting to the Union, was on his second marriage when she was born in 1930. He was just a few weeks away from turning 84. On Sunday (5/31), Irene Triplett died at Accordius Health, a long-term-care facility in Wilkesboro, NorthCarolina, at the age of 90. A relative said she’d broken her hip a few days earlier and died of complications. She never married, and her only brother had died in 1996. (The Washington Post)


FCC extends deadline for ISPs to quit charging customers who use their own equipment

US internet service providers can continue to charge customers a device rental fee, even if they have their own equipment, at least until December 20th. A law barring the practice was set to go into effect on June 20th, but the Federal Communications Commission has extended the deadline for ISPs to comply due to the pandemic. The “truth-in-billing” requirements of the Television Viewer Protection Act (TVPA) of 2019 state that ISPs must “refrain from charging a consumer for using equipment not provided by the service provider.” The FCC said in its ruling that broadband ISPs are integral to efforts to “keep Americans informed and connected” during the COVID-19 pandemic, and it was granting the six-month extension “so that these service providers may focus their resources on this critical effort.” Some internet service providers charge a monthly Wi-Fi router fee, even when a customer uses their own router. (The Verge)


President Trump signed off on a plan to withdraw 9,500 U.S. troops from Germany, a key NATO ally, by September

President Trump has argued that European NATO members should spend more on defense rather than relying on the United States and wants American troop levels in Germany to be capped at 25,000, down from the current 34,000. The 9,500 troops would return home or be redeployed elsewhere. The U.S. has stationed military forces in Germany since the end of WWII. It has the largest number of American forces in Europe, followed by Italy, the U.K., and Spain. A formal order to relocate the troops is expected shortly. (The New York Times)


Joe Biden formally clinches Democratic presidential nomination

Joe Biden has formally clinched the Democratic presidential nomination, setting him up for a bruising challenge to President Donald Trump that will play out against the unprecedented backdrop of a pandemic, economic collapse and civil unrest. The former vice president has been his party’s leader since Bernie Sanders ended his campaign in April. But Biden pulled together the 1,991 delegates needed to become the nominee after seven states and the District of Columbia held presidential primaries. Biden reached the threshold three days after the primaries because several states, overwhelmed by huge increases in mail ballots, took days to tabulate results. (The Denver Channel)


A third of Americans surveyed engaged in risky cleaning behaviors during the Covid-19 pandemic, even gargled with bleach

About a third of Americans surveyed by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have used some kind of risky cleaning practice to stop the spread of Covid-19, the CDC said. People have put bleach their food, others have gargled or inhaled it, and some have washed their bodies with household cleaning and disinfectant products. None of this cleaning behavior is recommended by the CDC. But this gap in understanding how to safely clean and handle cleaning products during the Covid-19 pandemic may explain why there’s been a sharp increase in the number of calls to poison centers during the pandemic. The new research was based on an online panel survey of 502 adults in May of this year.  (Center for Disease Control and Prevention)


New Satellite Images Show Arctic River Turned Red From Diesel Spill

Newly released satellite images show the extensive damage caused by a 22,000 ton diesel spill that took place last week in the Arctic Circle, prompting a state of emergency declaration by Russian officials. Captured by the European Space Agency’s Copernicus Sentinel-2 mission, the animation shows crimson-colored diesel oil winding its way through the Ambarnaya River on May 31 and the following day, just two days after a diesel fuel tank owned by Nornickel, the world’s largest nickel producer, reportedly leaked on May 29. Following the leak, a vehicle driving into the spill site ignited a fire. Contaminants found in the surrounding waters are tens of thousands above permissible levels and at least 252 people and 72 vehicles are reportedly working on cleaning the area. Nornickel reports that a total of 7,400 tons of contaminated soil and 440 tons of diesel fuel has been “gathered up” from the surrounding area, as well as 150 tons of diesel fuel from the surface of the river. Environmentalists argue that isn’t enough. The Ambarnaya River is an important tributary of the Kara Sea and has been identified as a key climate indicator when it comes to measuring carbon released from plant and soil matter in the Arctic, notes NASA Earth Observatory. The former Soviet Union once dumped nuclear waste and materials into the shallow sea near Novaya Zemlya, yet a 1992 report published by the International Atomic Energy Agency found that leakage from “dumped wastes has been small, with negligible doses when compared with those from natural sources.” (IFL Science)


California Governor ordered the state police training program to stop teaching officers a submission technique that uses a neck hold that blocks the flow of blood to the brain

It marked his first action on police use of force following more than a week of protests across the country over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Police around the country condemned the Minneapolis officer for using an unacceptable method. However, many departments still employ the carotid method, also known as the sleeper hold, that critics say is overly dangerous. It involves applying pressure to the sides of the neck with an arm, which can almost immediately block blood flow in the carotid arteries and render someone unconscious. If the blood flow is restricted too long it can cause serious injury or even death. Newsom ordered the state Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training to stop teaching the hold and he said he will support legislation to outlaw the method. The commission provides curriculum for training law enforcement officers throughout California, though the decision on using the hold is up to police agencies. The Governor also said he wants the Legislature to set standards for crowd control and police use of force in protests. (NBC Bay Area)


Denver police ordered to stop using tear gas and plastic bullets in protests

A U.S. District Court Judge ordered Denver police on Friday to stop using tear gas, plastic bullets and other “less-than-lethal” force such as flash grenades against protesters. The temporary injunction was in response to a local lawsuit filed recently in the Denver District Court by protesters complaining about excessive force used by officers during public demonstrations following the death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis last month. The ruling cited examples of protesters and journalists being injured by police. (Reuters)


Marine Corps bans public display of confederate flag

The United States Marine Corps is banning the public display of the confederate flag at its military installations in the U.S. and around the world. Those new guidelines were being shared with all marines and also posted on Twitter. Across the nation many U.S. cities are removing confederate monuments and now the marines says all depictions of the confederate battle flag are banned. The new rules go on to ban confederate patches, posters, and even bumper stickers on private vehicles that marines might drive onto a military installation. (United States Marine Corps Twitter)


57 Buffalo Cops Resign From Emergency Response Team To Support Officers Who Nearly Killed Elderly Man

The entire Buffalo Police Department Emergency Response Team consisting of 57 officers decided to resign from their post in the team to show their supporter for the two officers who were suspended after they pushed down an elderly man and nearly killed him. Two officers from the Buffalo Police Department Emergency Response Team were captured on camera pushing 75-year-old man to the ground, causing him to hit his head on the ground and get seriously injured. According to reports, the officers are still employed, but no longer on ERT. An attorney for the 75-year-old man shoved by police said he has been a longtime peaceful protester, human rights advocate, and overall fan of the US Constitution for many years. At this time, the man is in serious but stable condition. He is alert and oriented. He also equests privacy for himself and his family as he recovers. He appreciates all of the well wishes he has received and requests that any further protests continue to be peaceful. (WIVB)


Former Springboro teacher sentenced to 8 years in prison for molesting first-graders

A judge sentenced a former Springboro, Ohio teacher to eight years in prison. A jury found the man guilty of 34 of the 36 charges against him in March. He molested 28 first grade girls at Clearcreek Elementary School. His actions were caught on surveillance video. He would nuzzle and kiss the girls. He put his hands on their thighs and other body parts and inside of their shirts. He had told police he only gave side hugs and high fives. During his trial, prosecutors noted he didn’t treat the first-grade boys the same way. His defense attorneys said he was on the autism spectrum at the time of his trial. Parents who’d seen the videos testified how they felt “appalled” and “disgusted” by his behavior. He could have received a maximum sentence of 170 years in prison. (WKRC)


Monday Brings Happy Thoughts With:

  • Best Friends Day
  • Caribbean American HIV/AIDS Awareness Day
  • Ghostbusters Day
  • Name Your Poison Day
  • Shavout (Sundown)
  • Upsy Daisy Day
  • World Oceans Day

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