Archive for April, 2020

‘Israeli helicopters’ fire missiles at Syrian military sites – state media

Posted by RT on April 30, 2020  |   Comments Off on ‘Israeli helicopters’ fire missiles at Syrian military sites – state media

Israeli helicopters attacked a number of military positions in southern Syria with missiles, Syrian state media reported, noting the strikes inflicted “limited material damage."

The aircraft bombed sites in the Quneitra and Daraa provinces early on Friday morning after approaching from the occupied Golan Heights, firing some five missiles, according to the Jerusalem Post. A number of unconfirmed reports said the targets included militias allied to Damascus, such as Hezbollah, in addition to the Syrian military.

Known to carry out frequent cross-border bombing raids in Syria, the IDF’s last such attack came on Monday, killing up to three civilians and wounding several more, according to the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA). The strikes, launched from Lebanese airspace, triggered Syria’s air defense systems, which intercepted a number of missiles.

Armed groups with ties to Iran – which for years have aided Damascus in its fight against jihadist rebel factions – have been a frequent target for the IDF throughout the Syrian war. While the military rarely discusses the operations on record, Israeli officials insist they are purely ‘defensive’ – over repeated objections from the Syrian government, which has condemned the attacks as blatant violations of its sovereignty.

Also on rt.com
The Syrian historic city of Palmyra during the sunset. © Sputnik
Syrian air defenses respond to missile attack over Palmyra - SANA

Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!

Fin24.com | Stock markets plunge on devastating growth data

Posted by Fin24 Markets on April 30, 2020  |   Comments Off on Fin24.com | Stock markets plunge on devastating growth data
Stock markets plunged on Thursday after economic growth data confirmed fears of Covid-19's bruising impact on the world economy.

Fin24.com | Stock markets plunge on devastating growth data

Posted by Fin24 Markets on April 30, 2020  |   Comments Off on Fin24.com | Stock markets plunge on devastating growth data
Stock markets plunged on Thursday after economic growth data confirmed fears of Covid-19's bruising impact on the world economy.

‘Stunning, brave’: Actress ‘goes gray for frontline workers’ in latest slacktivist Covid-19 attention grab

Posted by RT on April 30, 2020  |   Comments Off on ‘Stunning, brave’: Actress ‘goes gray for frontline workers’ in latest slacktivist Covid-19 attention grab

Actress Hilarie Burton has joined the ranks of attention-starved celebrities desperately seeking to stay relevant during the Covid-19 pandemic with an ostentatious display that does nothing to help the situation.

The 37-year-old announced in an emotional Instagram post that she is ditching hair dye in a symbolic show of support for essential workers on the coalface of the public health crisis.

“The ‘silver lining’ is literally growing out of my skull,” she wrote. “For all of our frontline and essential workers who are too busy to fuss with things like hair color, I grow mine out in solidarity with you,” Burton added.

When I see it, I’m reminded of all you’re doing to keep us safe. I’m reminded that you deserve to be taken care of.

Unfortunately for the former ‘One Tree Hill’ star, the publicity stunt didn’t quite have the desired effect as it inspired a jaundiced reaction from the public.

“Wow, the courage this takes is immeasurable. I’m sure that the people dealing with this pandemic will read about this and surely feel the appreciation of their efforts. God bless her soul for the sacrifice,” one person sarcastically replied. Meanwhile, another commenter upped the stakes: “Just lit my neighbor’s front door mat on fire to show my solidarity with the frontline workers. Your move, Hilarie.”

Of course Burton’s roots are far from the only coronavirus attention grab. Here are some of the worst offenders.

Greta Thunberg

Unsurprisingly, teen climate activist Greta Thunberg has been keen to keep herself in the news and she has done this by lecturing the world’s governments about how to do their jobs. 

The 17-year-old instructed leaders that they must fight the twin crises of climate change and the global coronavirus pandemic simultaneously. The climate change call to arms was perceived by many as somewhat tone deaf, as it came while many countries struggled to equip frontline medical staff with vital equipment.

Also on rt.com
FILE PHOTO.
Onto the next ‘child-rights crisis’? Greta Thunberg launches fundraiser to battle Covid-19 pandemic

Unperturbed, Thunberg pressed on and sprang into action again in recent days, launching a fundraising campaign to help the children of the world survive Covid-19. Though the pandemic has largely spared the young, Thunberg nonetheless branded it a “child-rights crisis.”

Gal Gadot et al

As lockdowns began to be introduced in many countries, some two-dozen celebrities released a cringe-inducing cover of John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’ that was so embarrassingly bad that it’s hard to believe it was cleared by the army of PR experts that those involved have in their employ.

‘Wonder Woman’ star Gal Gadot masterminded the entire sorry production, which was so nauseatingly bad that we’re reluctant to revisit it here. The only positive out of the entire sorry exercise is that it quickly became fuel for parody.

Madonna

Ever the expert at drumming up publicity, Madonna managed to grab the spotlight in late March with a bizarre bathtub video in which she made the nonsense claim that coronavirus has “made us all equal.”

Also on rt.com
© Twitter / Madonna
Nude Madonna calls coronavirus the ‘great equalizer’ in bizarre video, inspires instant mockery

“What’s terrible about it is that it’s made us all equal in many ways and what’s wonderful about it is that it’s made us all equal in many ways,” the veteran popstar claimed from her  flower-petal-festooned tub. OK, Madge. Whatever you say.

#ClapForCarers

It may have begun as a genuine outpouring of appreciation for Britain’s healthcare workers but the weekly routine of applauding the National Health Service quickly morphed into a jingoistic display in which, staggeringly, participants openly flouted all social distancing guidelines.

The viral phenomenon saw a ferry performing donuts in the river Thames and all manner of other high-jinks passed off as “support for the NHS.” The most galling example took place on Westminster Bridge in mid-April when social distancing rules went out the window as crowds of people stood cheek-by-jowl to take part in the spectacle while the police stood idly by.

Meanwhile, the UK’s number of Covid-19 cases has continued to spiral and the government has failed to hit its own testing targets.

Also on rt.com
© REUTERS/Hannah Mckay
Police slammed for standing and watching as dozens breach social distancing rules during #ClapForCarers (VIDEO)

Like this story? Share it with a friend!

Fin24.com | JSE erases earlier gains as global economy exhibits more strain

Posted by Fin24 Markets on April 30, 2020  |   Comments Off on Fin24.com | JSE erases earlier gains as global economy exhibits more strain
The local bourse had managed to open firmer following a rally in Asian stocks in earlier trading.

Fin24.com | JSE erases earlier gains as global economy exhibits more strain

Posted by Fin24 Markets on April 30, 2020  |   Comments Off on Fin24.com | JSE erases earlier gains as global economy exhibits more strain
The local bourse had managed to open firmer following a rally in Asian stocks in earlier trading.

No-fly year: 1.5 BILLION fewer air travellers in 2020 amid Covid-19 crisis, UN aviation agency predicts

Posted by RT on April 30, 2020  |   Comments Off on No-fly year: 1.5 BILLION fewer air travellers in 2020 amid Covid-19 crisis, UN aviation agency predicts

The pandemic has hammered the airline industry worldwide. With seat capacity dropping by three-quarters, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) predicts a drop of 1.5 billion passengers by the end of 2020.

In a statement released on Thursday, the ICAO, the UN’s aviation agency, predicted that, by December, passenger numbers will have fallen by more than a third on the most recent figures from 2018.

Also on rt.com
Virgin Atlantic planes are seen at Heathrow airport, London, Britain, March 31, 2020. © REUTERS/Toby Melville
Airlines are in freefall amid Covid-19 pandemic, but why should taxpayers foot the bill?

The coronavirus pandemic and subsequent travel restrictions have posed an existential threat to the airline industry. While the ICAO broadly supports grounding flights, it states on its website that “longer-term restrictions are normally not effective once appropriate containment measures are in place.”

In the US and much of Europe, talk has now shifted to how and when to lift the current lockdown measures. For the aviation industry, this is a matter of survival. The International Air Transport Association estimates that as many as 25 million jobs in the industry could be lost worldwide, and several airlines – Flybe and Germanwings to name but two – have already permanently ceased operations. Others, such as Virgin Atlantic, Lufthansa, and Air France, have pleaded for government bailouts.

Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!

 

EU’re on your own: Dutch PM Rutte says there should be ‘no, no, no’ Covid-19 bailout for Italy & Spain (VIDEO)

Posted by RT on April 30, 2020  |   Comments Off on EU’re on your own: Dutch PM Rutte says there should be ‘no, no, no’ Covid-19 bailout for Italy & Spain (VIDEO)

As EU top dogs attempt to agree on a Covid-19 rescue package for the worst-affected member states, including Italy and Spain, Dutch PM Mark Rutte publicly reaffirmed his view on the matter to a concerned voter: “No, no, no.”

Rutte was approached on Wednesday by a worker at a waste collection plant, who implored: “Please! Do not give the Italians and Spanish the money!”

“Oh! No, no, no,” Rutte responded in a comment captured by news cameras, adding that he would “take note” of the request, all while offering a thumbs up to the worker.

The exchange was a timely reminder that domestic politics often trumps European “unity” when it comes to touchy subjects like financial bailouts.

While EU finance ministers last week agreed on a short-term rescue package of about €540 billion ($588.3 billion) for hard-hit member states, it is still struggling to agree on debt distribution, with Germany and the Netherlands in particular reluctant to spread the burden around too much.

Rutte’s comment sparked angry backlash from some of the more unity-minded MEPs on Twitter, who said his rhetoric flies in the face of EU solidarity.

Also on rt.com
File photo © GlobalLookPress/dpa/Rene Traut
Dutch PM boasts Netherlands has so much toilet paper ‘we can sh*t for 10 years’

“This is really shameful,” MEP and vice-president of the European Greens Ernest Urtasun tweeted, adding that Rutte was feeding domestic nationalism which could ultimately break apart the EU.

“This is not a football match, there’s no rival to beat. We are part of the same team,” wrote Iratxe Garcia Perez, a Spanish politician who leads the socialist bloc of MEPs in the European Parliament.

Rutte’s comment did not go unnoticed in Spanish and Italian media either, with the El Espanol news website writing that the Dutch PM was continuing to work hard to create “antipathy” to southern Europe. Meanwhile, an article in Italian newspaper Il Giornale said the exchange “speaks volumes about the phantom European solidarity.”

Spain and Italy have been the worst-affected countries in Europe so far in the coronavirus pandemic, with Spain reporting almost 240,000 cases of Covid-19 and over 24,500 deaths, while Italy has over 203,000 confirmed cases and reported nearly 28,000 deaths as of April 30.

Like this story? Share it with a friend!

‘Immunity’ with benefits? Germans worried as govt mulls IDs ‘making life easier’ for Covid-19 survivors

Posted by RT on April 30, 2020  |   Comments Off on ‘Immunity’ with benefits? Germans worried as govt mulls IDs ‘making life easier’ for Covid-19 survivors

Berlin is reportedly considering issuing IDs confirming the bearer is immune to Covid-19 and may have more freedom than the as-yet uninfected. It adds to debate on whether recovery from the virus protects humans from reinfection.

Germany's federal government has passed a bill that would allow for handing out “coronavirus immunity cards” to anyone who has recovered from – and thus developed enough antibodies against – the disease, according to Suddeutsche Zeitung newspaper, citing a copy of the document. 

Read more
FILE PHOTO © REUTERS/Eric Gaillard
Magic bullet for Covid-19? Scientists look to century-old plasma treatment, but there are some big ‘BUTS’

The IDs, similar to a vaccination certificate, could make life easier "in many places," Health Minister Jens Spahn believes. Owners of the "immunity passports" will be afforded a chance to carry out certain activities more easily, he said, citing healthcare staff as an example.

While such a rationale looks legit at a glance, further passages of the bill suggest more intrusion. They refer to the Infection Protection Act, under which the state can forcefully send contagious people or those with "suspicious" symptoms into quarantine, or even bar them from entering certain public places.

The draft would also allow employers to learn about all the "transmittable diseases" of their staff, possibly including Covid-19. So far, this right has only applied to "diseases that can be prevented by vaccination." The plan, however, appears to be on hold because there is no reliable scientific data as to whether coronavirus immunity insures against catching the virus again. 

But online observers have already likened these sections to what had happened in Germany under the Nazi regime. One user suggested "sticking a [yellow] star to my right breast and sending me into an internment camp," while another netizen reminded readers that "curbing basic rights for a group of the population has already existed in Germany."

Others draw attention to the fact that the World Health Organization (WHO) warning against giving out such IDs. There's "no evidence" that people who recover from Covid-19 are protected from a second infection, it said, in the latest brief widely quoted by German Twitter commenters. 

Some of them pointed out that the measure would have the opposite effect. It will cause people "to get infected deliberately, in the hope that the course of the disease will go off lightly and that they will receive the special card," one opined

Also on rt.com
An employee scans the smart ticket at a drive-in cinema in Essen, western Germany, on March 29, 2020
Privacy-minded Germans wary as Berlin develops nationwide Covid-19 tracking app & calls for EU-wide system

Local politicians have been equally skeptical of the idea. "Under no circumstances should such data be misused or lead to discrimination," Ulrich Kelber, federal data protection commissioner, told Suddeutsche. Kordula Schulz-Asche, the Green Party speaker in charge of healthcare, called the plans "questionable."

Meanwhile, the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, is set to trial a "digital immunity card" throughout the course of two or three weeks. Patients will have to use a mobile application to save the results of their Covid tests in an encrypted database; authorities and other concerned entities will then be able to digitally check the test status.

Like this story? Share it with a friend!

Fin24.com | SA stocks are on track for a record month

Posted by Fin24 Markets on April 30, 2020  |   Comments Off on Fin24.com | SA stocks are on track for a record month
Unprecedented demand for online services and entertainment during the Covid-19 pandemic lockdowns, along with a scramble for haven investments, have helped set South African stocks on course for a record month.
  • Head Office

    AfriSat Investments Ltd Office 113, 2nd Floor, Medine Mews, Chaussee Street, Port Louis, Mauritius
    Telephone : +230 212 99840
    Email : info@afrisatinvestments.com
    Mobile : +27 79 100 4087
    Website : www. afrisatinvestments.com
  • Map

    Click to open larger map