Coronavirus: Store Shelves Empty as Panic Buying Hits Italy

Infected victims jump from 3 to 165 in just a few days.

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People in several regions of Italy have reacted to coronavirus spreading throughout the country by panic buying, leaving some store shelves empty.

With 165 people infected, Italy has the most coronavirus victims out of any country in Europe. Five people have died.

Footage out of Milan shot yesterday shows some products almost or entirely out of stock.

Some residents flippantly likened the situation to a “zombie apocalypse.”

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Lock downs are in place in the regions of Lombardy and Veneto, with 50,000 people being unable to leave without special permission.

Numerous museums, cinemas, bars, businesses and schools have also shut down and sporting activities have been suspended.

The Venice Carnival was also cancelled, while designer Giorgio Armani streamed his Milan Fashion Week event from an empty theater.

The panic is largely being driven by the speed at which coronavirus cases in Italy jumped from just 3 on Thursday to over 150 by the end of the weekend.

Coronavirus Deaths Outside China Spike As WHO Team Visits Wuhan: Live Updates

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Summary:

  • Italy confirms second death, 12 towns on lockdown, more than 50 cases confirmed

  • Japan cases triple in a week to 121

  • Chinese scientists find virus in urine

  • Experts propose 27 day quarantine, say 14 days likely not long enough

  • Cases outside China go exponential

  • WHO team visits Wuhan; will give Monday press conference

  • Iran reports 10 new cases, deaths climb to 5

  • San Diego says 200 under ‘medical observation’

  • Young woman infected five relatives without ever showing symptoms

  • South Korea cases surge 8-fold in 4 days to 433; country reports third death

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Update (1100ET): Italian health officials have confirmed nearly two dozen more cases across Lombardy and Veneto, according to Bloomberg.

The Lombardy region has 39 coronavirus cases with another 12 cases in the Veneto, regional officials said in a press conference Saturday in Milan. Most of the cases are in the Codogno area, 60 kilometers (37 miles) from Milan. A woman who was found dead in her home subsequently tested positive, the health secretary said. Earlier, three tourists in Rome were diagnosed with the virus.

* * *

When WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros was asked on Thursday whether the COVID-19 virus was at a tipping point, he replied that the window to stop the outbreak from growing exponentially worse was rapidly closing.

Though by Friday night, it certainly seemed like that window had slammed shut. In South Korea, cases went exponential, soaring by 70% in one day.

Overnight, the country reported another rash of confirmed cases, bringing the total to 433, with 352 in Daegu, presumably members of the cult-like church where a ‘super-spreader’ worshipped. That marks an eight-fold increase in cases in just four days for South Korea, as the AP reported.

SK also reported its third death, a man in his 40s who was found dead in his apartment and posthumously tested.

South Korean health officials warned they could soon see a rash of deaths as several patients are in serious condition. Virus patients with signs of pneumonia or other serious conditions at the Cheongdo hospital were transferred elsewhere as 17 of them are in critical condition, according to SK Vice Health Minister Kim Gang-lip told reporters.

The country has followed China in imposing quarantines (everyone is too terrified to go outside anyway) and they’re hoping to prevent a national outbreak, despite a few cases in Seoul that weren’t immediately traceable to an obvious source, which is sort of discouraging.

“Although we are beginning to see some more cases nationwide, infections are still sporadic outside of the special management zone of Daegu and North Gyeongsang Province,” Kim said during a briefing. He called for maintaining strong border controls to prevent infections from China and elsewhere from entering South Korea.

In Italy, a seemingly minor outbreak went exponential. By day’s end, Italian health authorities had confirmed their first virus-related fatality, and 12 towns in Lombardy were under strict quarantine orders with residents huddling terrified inside their homes, a tableau that has become all too familiar by now. Another fatality followed overnight, as a couple more towns joined in the lockdown. This marked Italy as the first European country to see its own nationals succumb to the virus, according to Euronews.

Across Italy, there are 32 cases in Codogno, Lombardy, and seven in Veneto, according to the AFP and Sky Italia television. Many of the new cases represented the first infections in Italy acquired through secondary contagion.

In Iran, 10 more cases, and one more death, were recorded overnight. That brings the total number of confirmed cases to 28, including cases in Qom and Tehran. So far, five Iranians have died.

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As we await more information out of China, CNBC’s Eunice Yoon reports that the team would hold a press briefing on Monday at 6 am ET.

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Meanwhile, as we noted yesterday, the team has arrived in Wuhan, where it’s gathering information and observing the situation on the ground.

The team has already been to three Chinese provinces, Beijing, Sichuan and Guangdong, but are only now just visiting the city at the heart of the outbreak. Dr. Tedros confirmed the trip during public comments on Saturday, where he once again shared some familiar words.

“We have to take advantage of the window of opportunity we have, to attack the virus outbreak with a sense of urgency,” Dr. Tedros told the leaders, who had gathered for an emergency meeting on the response to the coronavirus in the continent.

President Xi said Saturday that the situation in Wuhan remains ‘grim and complex’ – which means the WHO team should be in for an eye-opening experience.

As of Saturday morning in the US, 1,200 cases of COVID-19 have been diagnosed outside China. More than 200 cases have been confirmed in South Korea, more than 30 in Italy, roughly a dozen in Iran, and one in Egypt, the first to be confirmed in Africa. China has reported over 76,000 cases, including over 2,300 deaths.

Confirmed cases in Japan rose to 121 on Saturday, having more than tripled in a week.

Meanwhile, the Washington Post reports that health officials and the cruise line are continuing to test crew members aboard the Diamond Princess. So far, 74 crew have been confirmed to have the virus, but they have been included in the toll already.

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So far, China has reported only 397 new cases Saturday, as the rate of increase continued to decline, but another 109 have died. And even the Washington Post acknowledges that there is a “great deal of skepticism” about China’s numbers, according to a new case study seen by Reuters.

Cases where patients didn’t show signs of infection for longer than two weeks have prompted some epidemiologists to suggest a 27 day quarantine period instead of just a 14 day. Also on Saturday scientists in China revealed that they had discovered a strain of the virus in a patient’s urine, raising new and uncomfortable questions about the virus’s ability to spread through sewer systems.

There have also been several new indications that the virus’s incubation period might be longer than the 14 days currently believed. A woman in Wuhan with no symptoms infected five relatives without every showing signs of infection.

In the US, health officials are scrambling to contain the fallout from the evacuation of 300 Americans from the ‘Diamond Princess’. It appears that the decision to transport 14 infected passengers along with the rest of the group was a disaster. Dozens of others appear to have been infected either during the trip, or shortly before.

But in San Diego, officials announced that they’re monitoring some 200 cases, none of which had anything to do with the ship.

After confirmed US cases more than doubled to 34 on Friday, officials in San Diego on Saturday confirmed that more than 200 people are currently being monitored over virus concerns, according to ABC News 10.

Officials said everyone being monitored had either come in contact with one of the three confirmed cases, or others under suspicion. Health officials didn’t exactly offer specific details.

They’re among more than 300 people who have been, or are being, ‘monitored’ by the county.

The 204 people under county supervision include those deemed at risk of having been exposed to the virus due to close contact with confirmed cases or because of travel to China in the past 14 days, the county said.

Those individuals are monitoring their health under the supervision of county health officials.

So far, 338 people in all have been monitored by the county, with 134 people completing their time under supervision.

Health officials say the CDC is conducting screening for those landing at one of 11 U.S. airports from China. From there, if a patient shows no symptoms they are self-quarantined at home for self-monitoring with public health supervision.

Keep in mind: These individuals aren’t being held in isolation or a mandatory quarantine. Instead, they’ve been asked to self-quarantine, and immediately report any suspicious symptoms.

San Diego has had two confirmed cases of coronavirus, or COVID-19, among the evacuees who were flown out of Wuhan a few weeks ago. One patient has since recovered from the virus and has been released. The second patient is still receiving care. A third patient, reportedly a child, is still awaiting test results, but has been said to be showing symptoms.

When they extended a coronavirus-related emergency declaration for another 30 days, officials said there were no signs the virus was spreading around San Diego. But it never hurts to be cautious.

Before we go, we wanted to remind readers of a chart we first shared a couple of days ago:

Shocking Spike In COVID-19 Cases Puts Beijing On High Alert; Officials Weigh “Wuhan-Level” Lockdown

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Summary:

  • Iran confirms 5 cases of COVID-19

  • Japanese officials defend their handling of ‘Diamond Princess’ quarantine

  • Beijing tightens lockdown after dozens more cases reported

  • As outbreak ex-China accelerates, WHO warns case #s “won’t stay low for long.”

  • Hong Kongers evacuated from ‘Diamond Princess’ after Japanese government confirms 2 deaths

  • Researchers confirm COVID-19 more contagious than SARS and MERS

  • Tim Cook welcomes back employees, customers as Apple reopens some China stores

* * *

Update (1420ET): WSJ reports that Japan’s top health officials have defended their handling of the ‘Diamond Princess’ quarantine during a statement to Japan’s parliament, the Diet.

Japan’s Health Minister Katsunobu Kato told Parliament the two people from the Diamond Princess cruise ship who died had “received the best medical treatment” but couldn’t be saved after catching the novel coronavirus on board. As of Thursday, 634 passengers and crew members were diagnosed with the virus out of 3,063 tested. Slightly more than half have no symptoms at all, officials said, and many of the remainder have only mild fever or a cough. Among patients who tested positive for the virus, 28 were reported in serious condition Thursday.

Doctors have said the virus can be particularly harmful in elderly patients, and one of the two fatal cases from the Diamond Princess, a Japanese man in his 80s, had pre-existing bronchial asthma and had been treated for angina. The other, a Japanese woman in her 80s without underlying illnesses, came down with a fever on Feb. 5, the same day passengers were told they would be quarantined in their cabins for two weeks, according to health ministry officials. The next day, she started suffering from diarrhea and saw a doctor on board.

She wasn’t taken to a hospital until Feb. 12 when she started suffering shortness of breath. Her virus test came back positive the following day, and despite treatment with antiviral drugs normally used to treat HIV infection, she died Thursday.

Asked about the woman’s case, health ministry official Hiroshi Umeda said, “I believe it was handled promptly.” He said the ship was a difficult environment for medical staff but they worked day and night and tried to prioritize the most serious cases.

The country has been widely criticized for appearing to break quarantine on the cruise ship, which was home to the largest COVID-19 outbreak outside China. More than 700 passengers who tested negative for the virus disembarked the ship on Wednesday and Thursday.

* * *

Update (1415ET): A group of 59 Hong Kong police officers has been quarantined after a fellow officer tested positive for the virus, according to a statement released publicly by the city’s police.

* * *

Update (1250ET): Less than an hour ago, we mentioned that Beijing’s heavy-handed virus-fighting measures had become the subject of an intense “public debate” about whether they were doing more harm than good.

Well, according to an unconfirmed report from the Epoch Times’ Jennifer Zeng, party officials in Beijing are upgrading its “epidemic prevention” status to “Wuhan-level” – meaning a complete lockdown where residents aren’t allowed to leave their homes without specific permission.

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Another tweet sent earlier in the day reported new restrictions being imposed at a Beijing apartment complex.

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How much longer can the party keep this up before it damages public confidence to a degree that can’t be repaired.

* * *

Update (1200ET): In what appears to be yet another consequence of Beijing’s rushed push to get all of China “back to work” nearly two weeks ago, the Global Times, a Chinese tabloid that also publishes in English.

A hospital in Central Beijing has reported 36 novel coronavirus cases as of Thursday, a sharp increase in the number of cases reported in the capital city. The new cases bring Beijing’s total to 45, stoking fears that the outbreak could accelerate.

Among the infected at Fuxing Hospital in Beijing’s Xicheng district were eight medical workers, nine cleaning staff and 19 patients, along with members of their families.

These confirmations follow reports that Beijing officials quarantined whole office buildings following after some employees were suspected of having the virus.

“Considering 36 confirmed cases were found in Fuxing Hospital, it is more about one case of multiple infections rather than an epidemic of the whole area,” Wang Guangfa, director of the department of respiratory and critical care medicine at Peking University First Hospital, told the Global Times on Thursday.

“This coronavirus issue is big. It will effect a lot of companies, and I think the market’s have underestimated what a big supply-side shock this is,” said Mohammad El-Erian, Bill Gross’s former No. 2 man at PIMCO and a widely watched economist who works now with PIMCO parent Allianz.

Peking University People’s Hospital, another major hospital in Beijing, confirmed that it had received three patients carrying the virus earlier this week on Feb. 17. Already, a total of 164 medical workers at the hospital have been placed under close medical observation after they had “close contact” with the patients – something that seems almost unavoidable for nurses and doctors.

A total of 164 people including medical staff at People’s Hospital who have had close contact with the patients have been put under close The hospital said it had conducted coronavirus tests on 251 personnel, and so far, they’ve all been negative.

In other news, another analyst has told the GT that Apple’s iPhone sales in China will shrink 40% to 50% in the near term after the company closed all its retail stores in the country earlier this month. Those stores have only just started to reopen.

Liang Zhenpeng, a senior industry expert, told the Global Times on Thursday the COVID-19 outbreak has dealt a heavy blow to the sales of all mobile phone suppliers in China, including Apple.

“The iPhone’s sales in the first quarter of this year are likely to be less than half of the same quarter in 2019,” he said. “Mobile phone sales, both online or offline, are very difficult during this period, because the supply chains can hardly be normalized.”

Apple CEO Tim Cook said on his Sina Weibo account, China’s Twitter-like social media, that the company is welcoming back employees and customers and is looking to work closely with their manufacturing partners to get everything back on track.

We suspect this is what triggered the market plunge over the last 30 minutes.

Circling back to Beijing, the municipal officials said that all hospitals in Beijing should “accelerate hospitalization of patients and try their best to diagnose suspected cases to treat the infected patients at the earliest time.”

So far, the confirmed cases in the city have been scattered around 15 of its 16 districts.

The hysteria surrounding the outbreak across China has actually sparked an interesting public debate – something you don’t see much in China – about whether all of the heavy-handed government measures – the quarantines and lockdowns and roadblocks – and the work stoppages are really necessary.

Some even contend that by impoverishing regular Chinese people via work stoppages that damage the economy, the government might be doing more harm to the population than the virus has, according to the New York Times.

With hundreds of millions of people in China now essentially living in isolation and its economy nearly at a standstill, experts in the country are increasingly arguing that Beijing’s efforts to fight the coronavirus are hurting people’s lives and livelihoods while doing little to the stop the virus’s spread.

If the country becomes poorer because of emergency health measures, they say, that drop might hurt public health more than the virus itself.

The debate – including questions about whether mandatory 14-day quarantines, roadblocks and checkpoints are really necessary in areas where there have been few cases – is unusual in a country where dissent is usually censored.

It comes as China reported a significant decrease in new coronavirus infections on Thursday, as health officials changed the way they counted confirmed cases for the second time in over a week.

Of course, President Xi and China’s senior economic officials claim that there won’t be any economic pullback, since Beijing is obviously winning the ‘People’s War’.

* * *

Update (1010ET): Talk about a spike in deaths: Iran is now reporting 9 deaths after shocking the world by revealing that two Chinese nationals infected with the virus had died in the city of Qoms earlier this week.

The Iranian regime has reportedly imposed a China-style crackdown on Qoms, deploying military and crowd-control police across the city.

It’s just the latest sign that the cases and deaths ex-China are accelerating.

CNBC’s Eunice Yoon reports that Beijing has warned Hubei not to allow people back to work before March 10.

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Local leaders said yesterday that they would launch a special financing vehicle to help struggling companies in the province survive the outbreak.

Following the WHO’s daily press conference, Director General Dr. Tedros said the WHO had confirmed 1,000 cases outside mainland China (with more than half of them infected aboard the ‘Diamond Princess’), and 7 deaths, likely excludes some of the deaths announced over the past 12 hours. Though he added that the data coming out of China “appeared to show a decline in new cases.”

“Outside China, we have seen a steady drip of new cases, but we have not yet seen sustained local transmission, except in specific circumstances like the Diamond Princess cruise ship,” he added.

More ominously, Dr. Tedros exclaimed that the outbreak is far from over, and if governments don’t take adequate steps to fight the virus, the number of cases outside China “won’t stay low for very long.”

Worried about more shortages of personal protective equipment like facemasks, Dr. Tedros pleaded with a dozen different manufacturers to do whatever they can to keep up appropriate global supplies.

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The director said the WHO expects to have more data from two clinical trials for treatments in roughly 3 weeks.

Since we haven’t posted a breakdown of new cases yet today, we figured we’d share this list of countries, cases and deaths courtesy of the Associated Press:

According to the Associated Press, the latest figures provided by each government’s health authority as of Thursday in Beijing are:

  • Mainland China: 2,118 deaths among 74,576 cases, mostly in the central province of Hubei

  • Hong Kong: 65 cases, 2 deaths

  • Macao: 10

  • Japan: 727 cases, including 634 from a cruise ship docked in Yokohama, 3 deaths

  • Singapore: 84

  • South Korea: 51, 1 death

  • Thailand: 35

  • Taiwan: 24 cases, 1 death

  • Malaysia: 22

  • Vietnam: 16

  • Germany: 16

  • United States: 15 cases; separately, 1 U.S. citizen died in China

  • Australia: 14

  • France: 12 cases, 1 death

  • United Kingdom: 9

  • United Arab Emirates: 9

  • Canada: 8

  • Iran: 5 cases, 2 deaths

  • Philippines: 3 cases, 1 death

  • India: 3

  • Italy: 3

  • Russia: 2

  • Spain: 2

  • Belgium: 1

  • Nepal: 1

  • Sri Lanka: 1

  • Sweden: 1

  • Cambodia: 1

  • Finland: 1

  • Egypt: 1

In other news, UK passengers aboard the ‘Diamond Princess’ will be evacuated by their government on Friday. The chartered evacuation flights (following the standard template) will land at Boscombe Down airbase in Wiltshire. Elsewhere in the anglosphere, Australia has extended its travel ban for arrivals from China into a fourth week. It will last until Feb. 29, the Guardian reported.

* * *

Hours after Japanese press reports claimed that two passengers who contracted COVID-19 aboard the ‘Diamond Princess’ died yesterday – news that was later confirmed by Japanese authorities – South Korea reported its first fatality while one of its major cities asked citizens to stay inside and avoid venturing outdoors, according to the Washington Post.

According to Japanese government officials, both of the virus-related fatalities were Japanese citizens in their 80s who had been moved off the ship more than a week ago for treatment in a Japanese hospital, though the government has so far declined to release names.

The latest reports Thursday morning confirmed another 13 cases aboard the DP bringing the total to 634. The odds that individuals being released from the 2 week quarantine on Thursday and Friday might have contracted the virus, but have yet to show symptoms, remains high. The death in South Korea raised the death toll ex-China to 10.

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The speed is hardly a surprise for those who have been paying attention to all of the new research, instead of dismissing it for being ‘alarmist’ and ‘not peer reviewed’.

Finally, earlier this week, researchers published the largest study yet of the outbreak, which confirmed that COVID-19 is more contagious than SARS and MERS, leaving it on par with seasonal influenza.

Still, experts insist that the virus’s fatality rate is probably around 2%, meaning that it’s less deadly than SARS, but the wider spread will result in more deaths, CNN reports.

“My sense and the sense of many of my colleagues, is that the ultimate case fatality rate … is less than 2%,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told CNN’s Jim Sciutto on “New Day” Tuesday. “What is likely not getting counted is a large number of people who are either asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic, so the denominator of your equation is likely much much larger.”

“So I would think at tops it’s 2% and it likely will go down when all the counting gets done to 1% or less. That’s still considerable if you look at the possibility that you’re dealing with a global pandemic,” he added.

Even as President Xi does everything in his power to present an image of success to the Chinese people – in his speeches, he claims the Chinese government’s strict quarantines have been an unmitigated success – global experts, including the WHO, have warned that the disease will continue to spread globally, and that the end of this crisis is still far from certain.

And as new confirmed cases dropped substantially on Wednesday in Hubei, everywhere else, the rate of new infections is accelerating.

In South Korea, the number of cases soared by almost two-thirds to 104 overnight, further emphasizing our observation that the number of cases ex-China has started to accelerate notably as the curve starts to resemble an exponential progression.

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One WHO health expert told a Japanese TV station on Thursday that the virus is “a moving target” making it difficult to collect information and treat people: “Nobody has ever had to deal with this situation before, this is a new virus on a ship with 4,000 people, there are no guidelines for that.” He added that he suspects there was a substantial amount of transmission before it arrived in Yokohama, adding that it was “not possible” to isolate everybody individually.

The WHO senior epidemiologist was responding to claims made by another expert in infectious disease that the Japanese had failed to observer proper quarantine protocols.

Back in Korea, the mayor of Daegu, a city of 2.5 million where 10 South Koreans contracted the disease from a church service, asked residents to stay indoors. Iran also reported two infected that then died.

Experts suspect that one woman in Daegu may have infected at least 40 others by going to her Christian church, according to Yonhap. The alleged ‘superspreader’ is the reason for the huge jump in new cases on Thursday. Experts say the city is now facing an “unprecedented crisis” following the spike in cases.

“We are in an unprecedented crisis,” Daegu’s mayor, Kwon Young-jin, told the press.

Cases are also surging in Singapore, where Deutsche Bank confirmed that an employee in its Singapore office had contracted the virus.

Adding to its woes, Iran reported three new cases on Thursday a day after it confirmed two virus-related deaths in the city of Qoms.

Warnings about the virus’s economic blowback are increasing, as Goldman said Thursday that stocks aren’t completely pricing in the risks from the virus.

Meanwhile, Air France-KLM, Qantas, and the global container shipping giant Maersk became the latest companies to warn about the financial impact from the continued spread of the coronavirus.

As President Xi balances the risks to tens of thousands of lives on one hand, and keeping his promise to double the size of China’s economy by 2020 on the other, it seems the leadership in Beijing are beginning to believe their own propaganda. Premier Li Keqiang, Xi’s No. 2 who is in charge of the committee managing the crisis, local governments should seek to increase the rate of resumed production and work, according to China Central Television.

Put another way: Come on in, the water’s fine, and if you get the virus and die, we’ll cremate your body and tell your family you died of “pneumonia.”

China’s smartphone shipment declined 50%-60% during the 2020 Spring Festival holidays due to the coronavirus outbreak. About 60 million smartphones remain unsold.

Chinese officials are pulling out all the fiscal and monetary stops to protect China’s damaged economy, and on Thursday local officials from Hubei announced a new lending scheme – a “special financing vehicle” – worth 50 billion yuan (more than $7 billion) to stabilize financing for local companies.

To be sure, the drop in new cases last night was largely caused by health officials reversing their decision to include “clinically diagnosed” patients – i.e. those who haven’t yet tested positive due to a shortage of effective tests – in the case totals.

The spate of deaths rattled investors overnight, and US equity futures are pointing to a lower open on Thursday, and a rush of risk-off trading in Asia has pushed the BBG dollar index to a 4-month high following the latest piece of evidence that the coronavirus isn’t simply “another flu”.

TWO SOMALI REFUGEES ARRESTED FOR PLANNING ISIS ATTACK INSIDE U.S.

Two Somali Refugees Arrested For Planning ISIS Attack Inside U.S.

FBI apprehends terrorists as they tried to board flight at Tucson International Airport

JULY 30, 2019

Two Somali refugees were arrested after the FBI uncovered a plot for them to join ISIS abroad or conduct an attack inside the United States.

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“Ahmed Mahad Mohamed and Abdi Yemani Hussein, were arrested for conspiring to provide material support and resources to ISIS, a designated foreign terrorist organization,” reports the DOJ.

Mohamed had obtained lawful permanent residency within the U.S. and Hussein remained a refugee.

The suspects had been in communication with an undercover FBI agent whom they thought was an ISIS supporter and had purchased airline tickets to travel to Egypt, with the intention to travel on to Sinai and join ISIS.

If they were unable to travel for any reason, the pair had planned to carry out an attack inside the United States.

FBI agents arrested the suspects right before they tried to board a flight at Tucson International Airport in Arizona.

President Trump tweeted about the arrests this morning, commenting, “Somali refugees arrested in Tucson on way to Egypt. They were in touch with an agent posing as a terrorist. One of them stated, “The best wake up call is Islamic State to get victory or another 9/11.” Get smart people!”

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Mexican Officials Confirm U.S. Warned Them About Suspected ISIS Terrorists Headed to Border

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By Ildefonso Ortiz and Brandon Darby

Mexican authorities are on high alert regarding three ISIS-linked terror suspects who are believed to be making their way from Central America to Mexico and potentially the U.S. border. Authorities were warned the suspects could try to enter Mexico within a large migrant group or with the help of human smugglers.

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Breitbart News exclusively confirmed that Mexican Federal Police are on alert, preparing to encounter or arrest Ahamed Ghanim Mohamed Al Juburi from Iraq, and Ibrahim Mohamed and Mohamed Eissa from Egypt. The three men are believed to have entered through Panama in May, crossed through Costa Rica on June 9, and could be headed to Mexico, a leaked internal security memo revealed. The documents make reference to BITMAP, the U.S. Homeland Security Investigations’ Biometric Identification Transnational Migration Alert Program, a collection of databases on “special interest aliens, violent criminals, fugitives and confirmed or suspected terrorists encountered within illicit pathways.”

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So Woke: Disney, Netflix Threaten Georgia Boycott But Continue Work in Countries Where Abortion Is Illegal

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By Dr. Susan Berry

Film industry giants Disney and Netflix are threatening to boycott the state of Georgia over its new “heartbeat” abortion law, but have continued and even stepped up filming in countries in which abortion is entirely illegal or highly restricted.

Variety reported Monday Netflix intends to increase production in Egypt – where abortion is illegal – with Paranormal, directed by Amr Salama and based on the horror books by late Egyptian author Ahmed Khaled Tawfik.

“We are excited to continue our investment in Middle Eastern productions by adapting the highly acclaimed Paranormal novels into a thrilling new series,” said Kelly Luegenbiehl, Netflix vice president of international originals.

Variety reported Paranormal is the third Middle Eastern Netflix original series. It follows Jinn, a teen drama with supernatural themes that was filmed in Jordan, where abortion is illegal, except to save the life of the woman or if her health is threatened. Women as well as abortionists can be penalized for defying the law in Jordan.

Despite filming in these nations, however, on Tuesday Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s chief content officer, told Variety the company has “many women working on productions in Georgia, whose rights … will be severely restricted” by the Georgia law that prohibits abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected.

Sarandos said Netflix would be working with the ACLU to fight the new law.

“Given the legislation has not yet been implemented, we’ll continue to film there, while also supporting partners and artists who choose not to,” he added. “Should it ever come into effect, we’d rethink our entire investment in Georgia.”

While Disney Chairman Bob Iger commented that it would not be “practical” for his company to continue to shoot in Georgia, given its new abortion law, the Washington Free Beacon reported that Disney filmed part of its 2019 film Aladdin in Jordan as well.

The Free Beacon also noted that Disney owns the Star Wars franchise. In 2015, the company distributed Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which was filmed in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, where abortion is illegal except during the first 120 days of pregnancy and only when the mother’s life is threatened or the baby is diagnosed with a “lethal abnormality” that is “incompatible with life.”

Republican pollster Logan Dobson also observed on Twitter that Star Wars: The Last Jedi filmed scenes in Croatia, Ireland, and Bolivia – all nations in which abortion was highly restricted at the time of filming:

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The Wall Street Journal editorial board noted the inconsistency in Disney’s policies, and specifically pointed out that the company also touts its theme park and films in China, where Turkic Muslims are being held in internment camps:

More than a few Americans may also notice the contradiction that Disney is more worried about filming in a U.S. state that has passed a law democratically than it is operating its theme park and hawking its films in China, which uses facial-recognition software to monitor its population and has a million Uighurs in re-education camps.

For decades, China also attempted to force control of its population with its “one-child policy,” which restricted the number of children a couple could have to only one.

Georgia’s Living Infants Fairness and Equality (LIFE) Act (HB 481) prohibits abortions in the state after a heartbeat is detected, usually at about six or seven weeks of pregnancy. Cases of rape, incest, or if the life of the mother is in danger are exceptions to the law.

Georgia is the third largest production hub in the country, due to its generous tax incentives.

Actress and political activist Alyssa Milano called for a Hollywood boycott of Georgia if Republican Gov. Brian Kemp signed the bill into law. Milano then followed with a call for a sex strike – urging women to engage in abstinence from sex – to protest the end to “reproductive rights.”

NYT: Trump ‘Siding with Autocrats’ by Weighing Terror Label for Muslim Brotherhood

Members of the Arab-Israeli Islamic Movement chant slogans during a protest in support of deposed Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi (portrait) and against the army crackdown on Muslim Brotherhood supporters, in the northern Israeli city of Nazareth on August 17, 2013. AFP PHOTO / AHMAD GHARABLI (Photo credit should read AHMAD …

By Edwin Mora

U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration would be “siding with autocrats and roiling [the] Middle East” if it joins several Islamic countries in designating the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) a terrorist organization, the New York Times (NYT) argued this week.

NYT has itself in the past sided with several leftist leaders including Russia’s Joseph Stalinin lying about the Soviet genocide; with Cuba’s Fidel Castro in inflating the size of his guerrilla prior to the Cuban Revolution; and taking money for ads from socialist Nicolás Maduro’s regime.

The Trump administration has been considering labeling MB a terrorist group since soon after taking office in January 2017.

NYT has joined opposition to the move expressed by the likes of Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), which leads the world in jailed journalists.

On Monday, the Times argued that designating the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization would “ignite a firestorm in the Middle East,” adding:

Government lawyers had warned that the Muslim Brotherhood did not meet the legal criteria to be designated a terrorist organization. And in a volatile region where American troops were already battling Islamist extremists, the three men believed, taking on the Brotherhood was one fight too many.

The newspaper goes on to note that Trump officials who opposed labeling MB a terror group – namely former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, former Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson, and Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, the president’s former national security adviser – are now gone.

Their departure has reportedly opened the door for “autocratic leaders” like Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt to influence the U.S. to move forward with the designation.

NYT reported:

The Trump administration has resurrected the proposal to brand the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization, prompting a fierce debate between the government’s political appointees and its career experts.

The designation would impose wide-ranging American economic and travel sanctions on companies and individuals who interact with the loose-knit Islamist movement that was founded in Egypt and is recognized as a legitimate political entity in many Muslim-majority governments.

It is the president’s latest major foreign policy decision that appears to have been heavily influenced by autocratic leaders without first being fully vetted by career American government officials.

NYT identified the “autocratic leaders” as Sisi, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia, and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), all of whom have already outlawed MB in their respective countries.

The newspaper said those leaders “revile” MB simply because they consider the group a political opponent.

Several Muslim-majority countries — Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, and Egypt — and Russia have already outlawed MB.

Qatar, which has long housed the group, and Turkey appear to remain ardent supporters.

Nevertheless, the Washington Post (WaPo) argued on Monday that “calling the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist group would make all Muslims scapegoats.”

In December 2017, MB threatened to “wage war” against the United States in response to Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and move the American embassy there, a move that angered several Muslim countries and jihadi groups like al-Qaeda and the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL).

For NYT, that is not reason enough to label the group terrorists. On the contrary, the paper claimed that “unlike the Islamic State or Al Qaeda, there is no evidence that the Egyptian group has called for, or directed, terrorist attacks against American interests.”

Critics have linked the NYT to anti-semitism in recent weeks. Citing unnamed Trump officials, the news outlet noted that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and John R. Bolton, the current national security adviser, have expressed support for the terrorist designation for MB.

The U.S. has already designated top MB offshoot Hamas, a Palestinian group intent on destroying Israel, a terrorist organization.

NYT did not identify the so-called opponents of the designation within the Trump administration.

“Beyond Turkey and Qatar, the Brotherhood or offshoots are also a recognized political party or represented in governments in Morocco, Mauritania, Tunisia, Jordan, Bahrain, and Kuwait,” it reported.

The newspaper acknowledged that officials under former President Barack Obama also considered naming MB a terrorist group. NYT, however, did not accuse of Obama of “siding with autocrats” over the consideration as it has with President Trump.

For years, some Republicans in Congress have been proposing the label.

ARMED MOM SAVES DAUGHTER FROM MUSLIM KIDNAPPER IN SHOPPING MALL ABDUCTION ATTEMPT

Armed Mom Saves Daughter From Muslim Kidnapper in Shopping Mall Abduction Attempt

Mohamed Fathy Hussein Zayan from Egypt released child when mom pointed gun at him

 | Infowars.com – APRIL 2, 2019

A mom armed with a pistol saved her 5-year-old daughter from being kidnapped at a West Virginia mall Monday night.

The incident happened in Old Navy at the Huntington Mall in Barboursville around 6PM as Mohamed Fathy Hussein Zayan, 54, from Alexandria, Egypt, “grabbed the child by the hair and attempted to pull her away,” reports WYMT.

“Police say the mother then pulled out a handgun and told the suspect to let go of the child. The mother told police the man then let go of the girl and ran out of the store into the mall.”

Zayan was taken into custody after he was located walking near the food court.

“The woman helped police track the man down in the mall,” reports WSAZ’s Melanie Shafer.

Screen Shot 2019-04-02 at 6.03.33 PM

According to WYMT, a magistrate has revoked Zayan’s passport and an Arabic language phone translator was needed during his arraignment.

Image credit: WSAZ.com

His bond is set at $200,000 on a felony charge of attempted abduction, and a preliminary hearing has been set for April 8.

ISIS Brides Are Enforcing Caliphate Rules in Refugee Camp — Beating Women Who Remove Their Niqabs

 

ISIS brides are reportedly enforcing strict caliphate rules in the al-Hawl refugee camp in northern Syria.

According to the Guardian the ISIS brides are beating women who remove their niqabs.

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The ISIS women are known for their savage treatment of their peers.

Female ISIS militants published a manifesto recently hoping to draw more girls and women to the Caliphate. The manifesto says it’s acceptable for girls to marry at nine years-old but that 15 and 16 was preferable – when they are “still young and active.”

Women in the World reported, via Religion of Peace.

As ISIS makes its last stand in the Syrian village of Baghouz, thousands of women and children have been pouring into the al-Hawl refugee camp in the northern part of the country. Among the refugees are wives of ISIS fighters who, according to the Guardian, have taken it upon themselves to enforce strict caliphate rules.

“In recent days, many woman said they only left because the group’s leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, ordered them to do so to make it easier for the men to fight,” the Guardian reports, adding that “senior-ranked wives” have been stealing from and beating other women who take off their niqabs. When a leaking gas canister sparked a fire, rumors began to spread that an ISIS sleeper cell had deliberately set the fire in order to free the refugees.

Though some women in the camp continue to express allegiance to the militant group, others are eager to leave that world behind. Shamima Begum, a British teenager who infamously ran away to marry Islamic State fighter and has since expressed a desire to return home, was among the ISIS wives in al-Hawl. She was recently forced to move with her newborn after being threatened, reportedly because she had not been properly veiled and had been showing her face in TV interviews.

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