[guest post by Dana]
Well, it’s happened. I have totally lost track of what day of the week it is, as evidenced by the fact that I thought it was Thursday, and as such, just sat down to figure out the weekend open thread a few days ahead of time. Heh. I also can’t keep track of the time now, given that it remains light outside til all hours. So, like my baggy, ubiquitous sweat pants, I’ve lost any semblance of structure in my life. Anyway, feel free to share any news items you think might interest readers.
First news item
Paging Johnny Appleseed! Ten new varieties of apples rediscovered:
A dizzying 17,000 named apple varieties once decorated orchards in North America. Most of those strains are now extinct, and today, just 15 varieties account for 90 percent of the United States’ apple production. In the Pacific Northwest, however, a team of retirees has rediscovered ten apple varieties once thought to be lost forever.
The ten types of apples represent the most Washington state nonprofit the Lost Apple Project has ever found in a single season, reports Gillian Flaccus for the Associated Press. The newly revived varieties were collected last fall and identified by botanists at Oregon-based nonprofit the Temperate Orchard Conservancy (TOC).
Second news item
The Navajo Department of Health and Navajo Area Indian Health Service have announced 85 new cases of COVID-19 and three additional deaths Friday, April 17. The Navajo Nation is now at a total of 1,127 cases of COVID-19, with 426 confirmed cases in New Mexico, and 44 confirmed deaths.
The confirmed positive cases include the following counties:
Navajo County, AZ: 316
Apache County, AZ: 168
Coconino County, AZ: 203
McKinley County, NM: 235
San Juan County, NM: 153
Cibola County, NM: 13
San Juan County, UT: 14
Socorro County, NM: 13
Sandoval County, NM: 12
Further, Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez said that in spite the there being three legislations that have been passed by Congress and signed into law by Trump, Indian country has yet to see any of the promised dollars.
“Money that was intended for U.S. citizens throughout the country, they’re getting it, the states are getting it, the counties are getting it … but the first citizens of this country are still at the bottom of the list,” he added.
Third news item
U.S. manufacturers shipped millions of dollars of face masks and other protective medical equipment to China in January and February with encouragement from the federal government, a Washington Post review of economic data and internal government documents has found. The move underscores the Trump administration’s failure to recognize and prepare for the growing pandemic threat.
In those two months, the value of protective masks and related items exported from the United States to China grew more than 1,000 percent compared with the same time last year — from $1.4 million to about $17.6 million, according to a Post analysis of customs categories which, according to research by Public Citizen, contain key PPE. Similarly, shipments of ventilators and protective garments jumped by triple digits.
Fourth news item
As unemployment numbers continue to soar and economic uncertainty looms due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, food banks across the United States are experiencing a surge in demand.
At the same time, however, a parallel narrative has emerged as new reports and social media posts detail farmers dumping or throwing out produce, dairy and even animals destined for slaughter. With restaurants and other big venues closed, many farmers and food processors have lost their largest buyers.
Now, many are questioning why these surpluses can’t be redirected to those in need. According to food industry experts, solving this problem isn’t impossible, but it will require an efficient plan and help from the government.
Fifth news item
Sen. Tom Cotton and Rep. Dan Crenshaw have introduced legislation that would allow Americans to sue China in federal court over the death and economic damage wrought by the “Wuhan Virus.”
“By silencing doctors and journalists who tried to warn the world about the coronavirus, the Chinese Communist Party allowed the virus to spread quickly around the globe,” Cotton (R-Ark.) said in a statement.
“Their decision to cover up the virus led to thousands of needless deaths and untold economic harm. It’s only appropriate that we hold the Chinese government accountable for the damage it has caused,” he added.
Crenshaw (R-Texas) said Americans “need to hold the Chinese government accountable for their malicious lies and coverup that allowed the coronavirus to spread across the world.”
“The communist regime expelled journalists, silenced whistleblowers, and withheld vital information that delayed the global response to the pandemic,” he added.
I’m continually listening to Chopin’s Prelude No 4 in E minor, Op 28 and Debussy’s Clair de lune, which are perennial favorites to so many, and I get that because they never grow old and their exquisite beauty is always fresh and new. For some new music, head over to NPR’s The Best 2020 Tiny Desk Contest Entries and give a listen.
Well, it’s Saturday night, so I better go get my good Sunday best (sweats) ready for tomorrow…
Have a good weekend, and stay healthy.