Boeing’s New Nuclear Bomb Guidance System Has Software “Vulnerability”: Pentagon Report
Despite Boeing’s deep financial and reputational woes amid the 10-month 737 Max scandal, which have begun to also negatively impact the company’s Defense, Space, and Security sales — the company has actually long been working on some of the DoD’s most sensitive and key defense technology projects, including how to better “guide” nuclear bombs to their targets.
What could go possibly wrong?
Since 1968 the B61 nuclear bomb has been the primary thermonuclear gravity bomb in America’s nuke stockpile. The Air Force has since 2012 contracted Boeing to upgrade the bomb’s tail-kit assembly as part of a broader life-extension program to “refurbish, reuse or replace all of the bomb’s nuclear and non‐nuclear components to extend the service life of the B61 by at least 20 years, and to improve the bomb’s safety, effectiveness and security,” according to the Department of Energy.
Boeing has overseen a new tail kit guidance assembly since being awarded an initial $178 million contract in 2012, and subsequent ones since, which allows for air-launched nukes to utilize new “guided freefall capability” using four maneuverable fins (to be sure, and quite tragically, Boeing is all too experienced with “freefall” capabilities). Essentially the internal guidance system allows the upgraded B61 tactical nuke to glide to its target.
Military experts believe the weapon’s accuracy and variable power reduces the risk of collateral damage and potential widespread civilian casualties.
The B61-12 bomb features a tail kit from aircraft manufacturer Boeing which will enable a precision-guided trajectory.
But again, what could possibly go wrong?
Amid scandal and cover-up concerning Boeing top executives “cutting corners” on safety which appears to have been driven by“relentless cost-cutting” which tragically led to two 737 MAX jetliners crashing within five months, killing a total of 346 people, Boeing has been busy at work on safety updates to B61 nuclear bombs.
This deeply unsettling irony has yet to receive much in the way of broad media coverage.
Let’s hope for the sake of the survival of the human species there’s no relentless cost-cutting implemented by the Boeing higher-ups when it comes to guiding nukes to their intended targets.
On that note, Bloomberg reported Thursday the findings of the Pentagon test office’s annual report: Preliminary results indicate Boeing’s improved tailkit for B61 airdropped nuclear bomb “demonstrates high reliability, availability, and accuracy” during tests in September and October, Pentagon test office says in annual report.
“There have been no reliability failures during flight,” Director of Operational Test and Evaluation Robert Behler said in the just-released 2019 testing report.
But what’s that he adds?…software and feasibility issues as Boeing oversees nuke delivery “safety”?
“One system component presents a cybersecurity vulnerability” but mitigating or eliminating the vulnerability “appears feasible without a major investment of time or money,”Behler writes.
Not too comforting considering the events of the past year: a Pentagon oversight office writing in its review the words Boeing, nuclear bombs, reliability, cybersecurity vulnerability — followed by concluding lines of “appears feasible without a major investment of time or money.”
Recent ‘dummy bomb’ tests of the new tailkit dropped by a B-2 stealth bomber as well as from F-15E jets were reportedly successful.
From the Pentagon’s Office of the Director of Operational Test and Evaluation 2019 report.
The report notes further that “A unit equipped with the air-delivered B61-12 nuclear weapon plays a critical role in supporting the airborne leg of the nuclear triad for the United States and allies.” It adds: “The B61 thermonuclear bomb family is a key component of the current U.S. nuclear deterrence posture.” The report lists Boeing Defense, Space & Security company as the sole major contractor.
One thing is certain: if Boeing quietly outfits America’s nuclear bomb arsenal with its infamous MCAS system, it may all soon be over.
Coronavirus Explained: Everything You Wanted To Know But Were Afraid To Lift Your Mask To Ask
As depressing as the constant thread of headlines about the Wuhan coronavirus is, we leave it to the ‘satirists’ at Babylon Bee to, perhaps, put a smile on some faces (if you can see the smile under the masks we are all wearing)…
Well, this can’t be good: the coronavirus is spreading faster than support for socialism, and it’s only slightly less deadly.
It’s important to take precautions to avoid both the coronavirus and socialism, so we’ve thrown together this little explainer to help you navigate this frightening potential pandemic. We asked for advice from a lady who sells essential oils at our church and a woman on Facebook who posts about “gut health” a lot, so you can be sure this is incredibly accurate.
What is the coronavirus?
An alt-right conspiracy theory invented by Russian hackers to distract us all from the historic impeachment proceedings.
How can I tell if I have the coronavirus?
Go to WebMD and search your symptoms. You probably have either the coronavirus or cancer.
How many calories does the coronavirus have?
Coronavirus Extra has 149 calories, while Coronavirus Light has only 99 calories with the same delicious symptoms.
Can anything kill the coronavirus?
Only a Dragon Uppercut (Shoryuken) if perfectly executed, but only experts should perform this move.
*Note: does not prevent the coronavirus but looks cool as you suffer the symptoms.
How should the coronavirus be treated?
With kindness and compassion. The coronavirus was raised in a biological warfare lab in China before escaping, and may not be familiar with your part of the world or western social norms, such as not causing people to puke their guts out and die.
What are research scientists doing to combat the spread of the coronavirus?
They’re creating what they’re calling the dextervirus — a deadly virus that only kills other viruses. They assure us this can’t backfire in any way.
Will the coronavirus affect the economy?
Yes, many fear the coronavirus will take away the jobs of many hardworking, locally made viruses.
Mainland Chinese stock markets are poised to open on February 3rd following its annual Lunar New Year holiday – which was extended on account of the coronavirus outbreak, and in an attempt to slow down the spread of the pathogen.
THE LATEST: China announced that the confirmed number of coronavirus cases increased to 9692 (Prev. 7711) and total deaths at 213 (Prev. 170). Moreover, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) verified the first human to human transmission of coronavirus in the US, to bring total number of cases in US to 6 (Prev. 5), in which the new patient is the spouse of the Chicago woman who brought the infection back from Wuhan
WHO’S VERDICT: World Health Organization declared the coronavirus a Public Health Emergency of International Concern in which the decision was near unanimous although it did not recommend limiting trade and movement due to the China outbreak and noted the greatest concern is for the virus to spread to countries with weaker health systems. Furthermore, WHO said there has been progress made in developing a vaccine and believes measures taken by China “will reverse the tide”. Participants digested this a as a “soft announcement” which provided markets with some short-term relief at least.
CATCH-UP PLAY: Using Hong Kong and Taiwan as proxies, Shanghai and Shenzhen markets look set to open with significantly steep losses. The Hang Seng fell over 5% in the two days after its extended break, while the Taiex saw its worst open since late-2018, and the FTSE China A50 futures trimmed ~6% since the last trading day in the Mainland.
Mainland China abandoned circuit breaks in onshore equities following major declines in 2015. Stocks trading on the main boards are permitted to fluctuate 10% intraday on either side of break-even. Desks note that investors find it hard to hedge positions in onshore markets amid the lack of index futures, volatility products and single stock options.
Pre-market prices for Shanghai are released at 09:25am Beijing time (01:25GMT) with Cash open at 09:30am (01:30GMT)
In terms of sector focus:
Commodity stocks will bear the brunt of the W/W declines across the oil and base metal complexes
Airline names are likely to see effects amid numerous flight cancellations and isolations in the region
Luxury and gambling names will have to face the prospect of lower demand as tourist numbers fall
Financials will be opening to a lower-yield environment vs. Jan 23rd
Healthcare names may see support amid heightening demand for drugs and due to the sector’s defensive nature
Metals: Shanghai Iron ore, steel and coking coal futures are seen declining upon Mainland’s return as the contracts are likely to align themselves with price action in the Singapore Exchange (SGX) and London Metal Exchange (LME) over the past week.
Bonds: Yields on Chinese bonds are likely to fall in synchrony to Western core bond markets.
Unsurprisingly, participants expect Beijing to take steps to stem losses. The PBoC has said that the Central Bank will offer abundant liquidity after the Lunar New Year Holiday through Open Market Operations. Additionally, Chinese government stated that it is to study and implement tax and financial support policies to mitigate effects of the coronavirus outbreak. In terms of other interventions to lookout for:
PBOC CNY FIXING: Since Mainland’s New Year departure from the market, the Yuan briefly surpassed the 7.00 mark vs. the Dollar for the first time since late-December amid the implications of the outbreak on the Chinese economy. The PBoC’s last USD/CNY fix stood at 6.8876; some desks note that the Chinese Central Bank may set a firmer-than-expected fix for the CNY to provide markets with some reprieve.
The Yuan fixing occurs at 09:15am Beijing Time (01:15GMT) with onshore (CNY) trading commencing at 09:30am (01:30GMT)
OPEN MARKET OPERATIONS (OMO): China will experience the largest single day maturity in almost four years upon its return, with some CNY 1tln of Central Bank funding due. Traders expect the Central Bank to roll over some of the funds. As mentioned above, the PBoC stated that it will ensure ample liquidity using tools, including open market operations.
Details of OMO are seen at 09:15am Beijing Time (01:15GMT)
OTHER FORMS: Aside from the above, Chinese state funds are widely expected to buy stocks to stem the downside in cash markets via the government’s influence.
Fidelity Has Launched Fractional-Share-Based Investing To Compete For Younger Clients
Robinhood’s impact on the brokerage space has certainly been profound. Not only has the app caused significant M&A in the industry as brokerages battle to compete with its zero commission gimmick, but now it has enticed brokerages to follow in its footsteps with fractional trading.
And this week, that exactly what Fidelity announced they were doing.
The firm said this week its clients can now trade fractions of stocks and exchange traded funds. The “dollar based trading” option allows individual investors to own any company they want, regardless of the share price, according to CNBC.
For instance, if a client only has $100, it can still purchase fractional shares of a $2000 stock, like Amazon.
Fidelity said in a press release: “Customers can now own a piece of their favorite companies and ETFs based on how much they want to invest, independent of the share price.”
Fidelity currently has $8.3 trillion in client assets and is following in the footsteps of Schwab, who also announced it would offer fractional trading this year. Other companies, like Stockpile, have offered this service for $0.99 per trade.
Robinhood started offering fractional trading in December 2019 and announced that more than 200,000 users were already “in line” for the service within hours of launching it. Robinhood topped 10 million accounts last year, causing bigger names in the industry – like Fidelity – to gun for their client base.
“Fidelity will execute all fractional trades in real-time during market hours, meaning customers will always know the share price, unlike some firms that execute fractional trades at the end of a trading day or wait for multiple orders to add up to full shares,” Fidelity concluded.
Not unlike ETFs themselves, we’re sure this will at some point come back to bite the market when it decides to revolt against central bank policy. Until then, these brokerages are more than happy to sell your order flow to the highest bidder.
At the 2020 World Economic Forum in Davos, Bob Prince, co-chief investment officer at Bridgewater Associates, attracted attention when he suggested in a news interview that the boom and bust cycle as we have come to know it in the last decades may have ended. This viewpoint may well have been encouraged by the fact that the latest economic upswing (“boom”) has been going for around a decade and that an end is not in sight as suggested by incoming macro- and microeconomic data.
But would that not reject the key insight of the Austrian business cycle theory (ABCT), which says that a boom, brought about by artificially lowered market interest rates and injections of new credit and money produced “out of thin air,” must eventually end in a bust?
In what follows, I will remind us of the key message of the ABCT and outline the “special conditions” which must be taken into account if the ABCT is applied to real-world developments. Against this backdrop, we can then form a view about how the next crisis might look.
What the ABCT Says
The ABCT is actually a “theory of crisis,” and it explains the broader consequences if and when central banks, in close cooperation with commercial banks, increase the amount of money in the economy through credit expansion—that is, an increase in bank lending that is not backed by real savings. The increase in the circulation of credit supply initially lowers the market interest rate below its “natural level,” or, “the originary interest rate level,” to use the Austrian school’s term.
The artificially lowered market interest rate discourages savings and encourages consumption and investment expansion. The economy enters a boom. However, after the initial injection of new credit and money has had its impact on prices and wages, people start realizing that the economic expansion was a one-off. People return to their pre-boom savings-consumption-investment ratio, which means that the market interest rate finally returns to the higher originary interest rate level. This is the very process that makes the boom turn to bust.
To prevent the boom from turning to bust, central banks take action to bring down market interest rates even further. For if the market interest rate drops even more, the production and employment structure can be upheld and the boom can continue. In other words: the trajectory of market interest rates—which are actually expressive of how people allocate their incomes to savings, consumption, and investment—is the crucial issue in the boom-and-bust cycle. And this is where central banks have increasingly taken control.
Controlling Interest Rates
Since the financial and economic crisis of 2008/2009, central banks have more than ever before taken control of market interest rates. They no longer limit themselves to setting short-term interest rates, but hope also to control interest rates with longer maturities. In fact, central banks have started to set long-term interest rates as well, through purchasing, say, government bonds, mortgage bonds, corporate bonds, and bank bonds. In this way, they directly influence bond prices and thus their yields. Market interest rates are no longer determined in a “free market.”
Not only have market interest rates been distorted and set at too low a level through central bank policies, they are also kept from returning to economically sensible levels. At least this is what financial market agents seem to think: they assume that central banks will continue to take care of the credit market—they know that if and when market interest rates rise, the boom will undoubtedly turn into a bust, something central banks wish to prevent at all costs.
And given the basically unlimited power of central banks in the determination of bond prices and thus bond yields, no investor (in his right mind) will want to bet against the monetary authority. In fact, investors have a great incentive to trade bond prices toward the level they think the central bank would like to establish in the marketplace. In other words: if the market thinks that the central bank does not want higher interest rates, interest rates will remain artificially low.
Mind the “Safety Net”
By controlling market interest rates, central banks have in fact put a “safety net” under the economies and financial markets. As central banks have signaled to the public that they feel responsible for a healthy economy, and, in particular, for ensuring that “financial market stability” prevails, investors can put two and two together: should the economies or financial markets get to the verge of collapse, investors can expect central banks to step in, fighting the impending crisis. This understanding encourages investors to take additional risks, step up their investments, and disregard and underestimate risk.
Central banks’ “safety net” is not only a powerful tool to sustain the boom, it is also a rather subtle, stealthy intervention in capital markets. It effectively brings about an entirely rigged financial market: prices are higher and yields are lower than unhampered market forces justify. The central banks’ safety net policies amount to a manipulation of the market system on the greatest scale possible. With basically all prices and all market yields distorted, the economy and financial markets enter a “hall of mirrors” regime, where consumers and firms must inevitably get disoriented and make wrong decisions.
However, under such conditions the boom can be kept going much longer compared to a scenario in which free market forces are allowed to do their job—that is, establishing financial asset prices as well as inflation, credit, and liquidity premia according to real-world realities. However, today’s environment is rather different: central banks, in their attempt to prevent the current boom turning into another bust, have effectively corrupted the vital roles that financial markets and market interest rates play in a free market system.
The Role of the Originary Interest Rate
It would be a mistake to conclude that a boom can be upheld indefinitely if central banks beat down the market interest rate to zero, or even push it into negative territory. In fact, without a positive market interest rate (in real terms), the modern economy, which rests on the division of labor and complex “roundabout production” processes, could not exist. This is an insight derived from the Austrian time preference theory of the interest rate. In a nutshell, time preference means that acting man values earlier satisfaction of a want more highly than the satisfaction of the same want at a later time.
The manifestation of time preference in the market is the “originary interest rate.” It denotes the value discount that a good that is available in the future suffers compared to the same good that is currently available. Acting man’s time preference and thus his originary interest rate are, for logical reasons, always and everywhere positive. They may well approach zero, but they can never hit zero, let alone become negative. This is a significant insight, as it tells us what would happen if the market interest rate were to drop to zero: the modern market economy would disintegrate. This is why:
Every acting man carries, so to speak, a positive originary interest rate in himself. So if the market interest rate is zero, no one would put their savings in time-consuming production processes any longer. People would not be willing to offer their savings for replacement investments or new investments. They would simply hoard them “under their mattresses.”Capital consumption would set in. In other words: by bringing the market interest rate down to zero, central banks would destroy the market economy with its division of labor as we know it today.
The End Game
In recent years, most central banks have concentrated on policies that push down selected types of market yields, in particular those in the funding markets for government debt, mortgage debt, and bank debt. However, the consequences of such actions are increasingly felt in other asset markets. In a search for yields, investors increasingly use their funds to purchase, say, stocks and real estate. As a result, these asset prices rise, thereby lowering their future returns. In other words: the zero interest rate policy of the central banks drags down basically all kinds of yields with it.
This may go on for quite a while.
But once all market interest rates hit zero, the real trouble starts: the boom turns to bust. Credit markets shut down, borrowers can no longer roll over their maturing debt, and no investor is willing to lend new funds. To prevent credit defaults and the collapse of the debt pyramid, central banks would presumably step in as “lenders of last resort,” refinancing basically all kinds of borrowers in need. An outright inflation policy would begin. Nevertheless, capital consumption and economic regression would set in. People’s living standards would nosedive; many would be thrown into outright misery.
Applying the ABCT to real-world developments yields the following insights: Central banks have done nothing to put an end to the boom-and-bust cycle. Instead, their unscrupulous interventions in credit markets just prolong the boom. However, it would be mistaken to assume that by bringing market interest rates to zero, a perpetual boom could be created. Such a policy is self-defeating: once all market interest rates have been dragged down to zero, the capitalistic economic system will collapse. Then—at the latest—the boom will definitely turn into bust.
Meet The Ex-Professional Tennis Player Whose Hedge Fund Soared 124% In 2019
SoftBank was the butt of many jokes in 2019. in fact, it’s likely the bank will remain the butt of many jokes heading into the new year.
But despite the bank’s well known embarrassing failures during 2019, namely the botched IPO of WeWork, the bank did have one thing going for it this year. One of its executives, Marcelo Claure, backed a $160 million hedge fund that surged 124% last year, according to Bloomberg.
The fund smoked the S&P index and stood out at one of the lone beacons of success related to anything having to do with SoftBank.
DPM started in 2017 with personal backing from Claure, who had a stake in at least 20% of the firm. The founder of the firm, Pedro Escudero, is a former pro tennis player who has worked on several shops across Wall Street. Most recently, he worked in sales and marketing for Latin America on behalf of J.P. Morgan.
In keeping with the SoftBank ethos, the fund says it invests in companies that are “unique species” and have adapted their price models to survive intense competition. DPM said 95% of the positions it took or held at the start of last year has positive results for 2019. The fund is up 49% since its October 2017 inception, versus 34% for the S&P 500.
Escudero said in his investor letter: “We need to understand exactly where in a business’s story we stand — are things just about to get good, or is it headed for a swift decline? — before we invest.”
His letter also says he’s using bearish wagers only as a hedge.“Absent signs of an imminent recession, we believe our time is better spent on longs,” his letter says.
He also said that the hedge fund industry’s track record over the past decade is “embarrassing” and that if DPM doesn’t beat the S&P, it’s “just another hedge fund”.
We’ll check back in on Escudero and Claure in a couple of quarter to see if the magic still exists…
‘The U.K. health department confirmed two cases of coronavirus in England on Friday, while the U.S. and Japan advised citizens to avoid traveling to China.
UK confirms first two coronavirus cases after multiple scares
Hong Kong schools shuttered until March 2
Singapore closes borders to Chinese travelers, first southeast Asian nation to do so.
More than 43 airlines cancel flights to China
France successfully evacuates citizens
1,000 suspected virus cases ‘under observation’ in India
Confirmed cases near 10,000 as Russia confirms 2
JPM cuts global growth forecast
United and Delta allow pilots to decline trips
Delta expands China cancellations through April; American also suspends flights
CDC quarantines Americans
Canada announces fourth case
* * *
Update (1315ET): In a historic move, the CDC has issued an official federal quarantine order for the Americans who returned to Alaska then California, on a chartered Boeing jet. The 195 passengers were mostly diplomats and other professionals living in Wuhan. The quarantine order will keep them isolated for 2 weeks – the same length of time that evacuees in the UK will face.
CDC SAYS REPATRIATED AMERICANS ARE UNDER FEDERAL QUARANTINE
QUARANTINE ORDER IS THE FIRST IN THE U.S. IN 50 YEARS
CDC OFFICIAL: VIRUS CONTINUES TO SPREAD RAPIDLY IN CHINA
Its the first time such an order has been issued in 50 years. The CDC also warned that the virus continues to spread rapidly in China, appearing to contradict their international partners at the WHO. The order comes after one of the quarantined Americans reportedly tried to leave the base where they were housed in California Thursday night. Because of this, Politico reports that the White House is weighing an order for all American citizens to leave China.
The Trump administration is planning to evacuate additional Americans next week from the region of China at the center of the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak, and officials are considering a mandatory order for all U.S. citizens there to leave, two officials told POLITICO.
The process is being led by the State Department and supported by HHS, which is handling the medical and other needs of evacuees.
Curious how the CDC has the authority to do this? Here’s a rundown on how federal quarantine powers work, from the CDC’s website:
The federal government derives its authority for isolation and quarantine from the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution.
Under section 361 of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S. Code § 264), the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services is authorized to take measures to prevent the entry and spread of communicable diseases from foreign countries into the United States and between states.
Federal isolation and quarantine are authorized for these communicable diseases
* Infectious tuberculosis
* Yellow fever
* Viral hemorrhagic fevers
* Severe acute respiratory syndromes
* Flu that can cause a pandemic
Federal isolation and quarantine are authorized by Executive Order of the President. The President can revise this list by Executive Order.
The authority for carrying out these functions on a daily basis has been delegated to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Under 42 Code of Federal Regulations parts 70 and 71, CDC is authorized to detain, medically examine, and release persons arriving into the United States and traveling between states who are suspected of carrying these communicable diseases.
As part of its federal authority, CDC routinely monitors persons arriving at U.S. land border crossings and passengers and crew arriving at U.S. ports of entry for signs or symptoms of communicable diseases.
When alerted about an ill passenger or crew member by the pilot of a plane or captain of a ship, CDC may detain passengers and crew as necessary to investigate whether the cause of the illness on board is a communicable disease.
Elsewhere in North America, Canada’s Global News reports that Canada is about to announce its fourth confirmed case of the virus. Meanwhile, the Washington Post reports that the White House could further restrict travel to China, possibly in the form of an outright ban on travel in China for Americans. Last night, the State Department lifted its travel advisory warning to 4. Meanwhile, the Guardian and others are reporting that Washington has apparently angered Beijing with its ‘Level 4’ travel advisory (especially after President Xi strong-armed the WHO to propagate Beijng’s lies). If that’s accurate, imagine what would happen if the US imposed a travel ban?
* * *
Update (1255ET): Almost immediately after the Daily News report, a NYC spokesman was quoted by Bloomberg saying there were “no confirmed, suspected” Coronavirus cases.
*NYC HEALTH SPOKESMAN: NO CONFIRMED, SUSPECTED CORONAVIRUS CASES
So… chaos, although even if NYC is not “bending” the truth to avoid a panic, it is likely just a matter of time before Coronavirus does make landfall in the Big Apple.
* * *
Update (1245ET): New York City has reported its first case of Coronavirus according an unconfirmed report in the NY Daily News.
An Asian man in his 50s was admitted to Elmhurst Hospital with the illness, the source said.
The FDNY and the NYPD could not immediately confirm a coronavirus patient in New York.
An NYPD message sent to eight Queens precincts early Friday advised officers to protect themselves if they planned to go to Elmhurst Hospital.
“Make sure the officer has proper gear (mask) to protect themselves,” the message said. –NY Daily News
* * *
Update (1045ET): After its pilots’ union sued the airline to try and force cancellations, American has acquiesced and joined Delta in cancelling all flights to and from China, though the exact timeframe of the cancellations hasn’t yet been reported. Analysts expect the airline will wait a week to start cancelling flights to give customers a way out of China.
in China,A railway policeman inD5319 train found a woman without a mask (which is banned)and she tried to cover her face with clothes. She explained that she couldn’t buy a mask which is in short supply,crying. so he gave her a one and comforted her. pic.twitter.com/MUzfRn8XqQ
Considering it doesn’t have the resources to combat the virus should it arrive, Iran is cutting off all flights to and from China indefinitely due to the outbreak.
That’s right: Iran cancelled flights before the US.
CNBC reported that travel on Beijing’s public transit shrank 84% from a year earlier on Jan. 30, given that it’s traditionally the first day after the LNY holiday.
The NYT published the following chart comparing the official infectiousness of the Wuhan virus with other recent pandemics.
* * *
Update (1000ET): Medical journal The Lancet just published a new study claiming that up to 75,800 people might already be infected with novel coronavirus in the city of Wuhan alone.
“Not everyone infected with 2019-nCoV would require or seek medical attention. During the urgent demands of an expanding epidemic of a new virus, especially when system capacity is getting overwhelmed, some of those infected may be undercounted in official register.”
“The transmissibility of 2019-nCoV—or at least its geographical distribution—seems to be higher and broader than initially expected. Why? Partly this may be because of China’s rapid expansion of its transport networks, especially air and high-speed rail. Wuhan is a crucial hub: linking west to Chengdu, south to Guangzhou and Shenzhen, east to Nanjing and Shanghai, and north to Beijing. With much of December a period when the outbreak went unreported and unrecognised, the population exposed to the virus is far greater than first thought—a cause for heightened concern.”
The scientists also acknowledged that the virus has spread “more broadly than initially anticipated.”
This new modelling study estimates 75,800 individuals in the Chinese city of Wuhan may have been infected with 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) as of January 25, 2020 – but authors caution that the true size of the epidemic remains unclear https://t.co/SvJQDRrKovpic.twitter.com/xsLlwiejFZ
These early estimates underscore that it will likely take rapid immediate scale-up of substantial public health control measures to prevent large epidemics in areas outside Wuhan. In our new issue @richardhorton1 shares early lessons from the outbreak https://t.co/N8ZJ49lndP
Just imagine: If there are 75,000 cases in Wuhan, what’s the total number from all of China’s 31 provinces?
In the US, Delta just suspended routes to China until May because of the drop in demand caused by the coronavirus. It will continue operating flights between now and Feb. 5 because it wants to give customers the opportunity to get out of China. Delta’s cancellations have been described as the “most aggressive” of the major US airlines.
For whatever reason, flights have continued out of Wuhan as more countries seek to evacuate their citizens.
So governments are now hoarding supplies to fight this virus as Wuhan remains totally screwed.
United and Delta are now allowing pilots to decline trips to China, policies that will be tantamount to a shadow cancellation of all flights until further notice. This comes after an American Airlines pilots union sued the company to try and force it to cancel China trips.
* * *
Update (0845ET): The total number of confirmed cases worldwide is creeping closer and closer to 10k. In the latest cases to be reported in the press, Germany has confirmed a sixth case – a child in Bavaria, according to the Guardian. The child is related to an employee at a Munich company where four others were infected, virtually guaranteeing that this will be confirmed as a human-to-human transmission.
Meanwhile, 83 British citizens have been successfully evacuated from Wuhan. There were another 27 passengers on the flight who weren’t British nationals. They will all be quarantined for two weeks at Arrowe Park hospital in Wirral.
* * *
Update (0745ET): Like the UK, after several false alarms, Russia has now confirmed its first coronavirus cases, Deputy PM Tatiana Golikova confirmed, according to RT. Russian media said two cases have been confirmed, and are now in isolation.
Two Chinese citizens have been diagnosed with the coronavirus in Russia’s Zabaikalsky Krai and Tyumen Oblast in Siberia, Golikova said on Friday.
In other news, analysts at JPM have released their own projections for how the outbreak will hurt global growth: analysts at the biggest US bank shaved its forecast for global growth by 0.3% points for Q1. “Based on the patterns observed from other epidemics, we assume that the outbreak will likely run its course over 2-3 months, meaning the hit to activity happens in the current quarter,” JPMorgan analysts wrote in a note to clients. “Also in line with historical experience, we expect a full recovery to follow.”
Goldman, meanwhile, forecast that the outbreak would shave 0.4% off Q1 growth in the US. After shuttering its land border with China, Russia said it’s weighing whether to temporarily halt working visas for Chinese nationals, in the latest repudiation of the WHO’s insistence that traveling to China is still ‘safe.’ The Vampire Squid also cut China’s 2020 GDP growth expectations to 5.5% from 5.9%
These, added to the latest count of confirmed cases from China, has sent the number of confirmed cases over 10,000.
* * *
Update (0650ET): India has only confirmed a single case of the virus, and the victim’s condition is said to be improving, But the Guardian just noted that there are 1,000 people under observation in various parts of Kerala. 15 are in isolation wards in various hospitals.
Authorities were attempting to contact all the passengers who traveled on a flight from Kolkata to Cochin on Jan. 23 that the infected patient had been on, a day after she traveled from Beijing.
Meanwhile, earlier, Carrie Lam, Hong Kong’s chief executive, offered some insight into the WHO’s insistence that countries don’t need to curtail travel to China, when she insisted that a complete border closure is “not the right answer.”
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For a few hours on Friday, the global community will turn away from obsessively following outbreak news to acknowledge the UK finally leaving the EU. But with US stocks on track to open in the red once again now that the first cases have been confirmed in the UK after multiple scares, all other news on Friday will be more or less irrelevant.
Though the WHO insisted that restricting travel to China during the outbreak simply wouldn’t be necessary, airlines and governments continued to cancel flights and tighten border restrictions. American Airlines has acquiesced to the pilots union, which filed a lawsuit demanding that flights to China be cancelled, and cancelled two of its routes. According to Business Insider, 43 airlines – Lufthansa, British Air, United, American, Air Canada, Air Seoul, Air France, etc. – have cancelled some or all routes to China, with some of the cancellations stretching out until late March. Most have cited a drop in demand as the reason as passenger plane traffic has plummeted. Russia has closed its border, Italy has cancelled flights to China, while the US and Japan have implemented the most urgent travel warnings advising citizens not to travel to China. Other governments, including the UK, have warned against travel to Hubei.
Singapore has also closed its borders to all Chinese travelers, becoming the first southeast Asian country to do so.
The number of cases and the death toll haven’t budged from late Thursday in New York, when we filed our last update. However, speculation about underreporting by the Chinese government has intensified in recent days. Though the total number of cases of the novel coroanvirus outbreak has already surpassed the total from the entire 2002-2003 SARS outbreak.
Research suggesting (though not confirming) that the virus can spread asymptomatically – meaning that individuals are contagious before they’re even aware they have contracted the virus.
Roughly half of Chinese will stay home from work next week, and indefinitely until the virus is contained, according to local officials. This is tantamount to two-thirds of the economy – the second-largest economy in the world – virtually guaranteeing that knock-on impact to global growth will be severe.
Now to the big news on Friday: UK health officials have confirmed two cases of the virus in England. The victims are being treated at a hospital in Newcastle.
BREAKING: two cases of coronavirus being treated at Newcastle’s infectious disease unit.
New Gov advice: anyone coming back from China with respiratory symptoms should self isolate for 14 days.
Anyone coming back from Wuhan, with symptoms or not, should self isolate for 14 days.
As Beijing scrambles to contain the outbreak, the contagion has spread to all 31 of mainland China’s provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions, and at least 19 other countries or territories. After confirming its first cases on Thursday and cancelling all flights to China, Italy has declared a state of emergency to last six months.
Though officials are touting unexpectedly strong progress on their two slap-dash coronavirus hospitals – Huoshenshan and Leishenshan – being erected in Wuhan to house another 2,300 patients, Beijing has sent more than 7,000 medical workers to the province to help fight the disease. As of Thursday, the province had reported 5,806 confirmed cases, with 32,340 people still under observation for infection. A total of 804 patients were in severe condition and 290 in critical condition. Across China, there were more than 100,000 people under observation as of Friday morning, according to Bloomberg.
France is the latest country to complete a chartered evacuation flight has rescued dozens of citizens from virus-plagued Wuhan.
As mask shortages led to absurd price gouging, China is importing more than 56.228 million masks in the past week, according to the General Administration of Customs. Some 290 million yuan (US$41.8 million) worth of protective gear was imported between Jan. 24 and Jan. 30. That included the masks, 69,000 pairs of goggles, and 738,000 items of protective clothing, according to the SCMP.
Shocking photos published by the Guardian that were allegedly smuggled out of Wuhan show nurses at a hospital making their own makeshift facemasks out of cloth.
Hong Kong schools have announced that they will remain closed until March 2. Many countries, including Vietnam and the US, have suspended some or all visa processing for Chinese citizens, or residents of Hubei.
Goldman said it expects the outbreak to wipe 0.4 percentage point off US GDP growth during Q1. However, the investment bank believes growth will rebound in Q2, and that the long-term impact would be negligible. Labor Secretary Wilbur Ross disagrees, arguing that the outbreak will help bring more jobs back to the US.
One thing’s for sure: The total economic fallout will be difficult to gauge until we figure out how long it will take to implement a vaccine. If a vaccine really is a whole year away, that could become a problem.
In an hilarious hypocritical display, Hillary Clinton tweeted out “In America, no one is above the law,” on the same day that she used her secret service detail to turn away legal documents attempting to be served to her as part of a lawsuit.
Richard Nixon once made this argument: “When the president does it, that means that it is not illegal.”
So no one is above the law, except if it’s Hillary Clinton, who has now TWICE refused to accept service from Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s lawyers, as part of a $50 million defamation suit relating to Clinton’s accusations that Gabbard is a “Russian asset”.
Gabbard’s attorney, Brian Dunne told The New York Post, “I find it rather unbelievable that Hillary Clinton is so intimidated by Tulsi Gabbard that she won’t accept service of process. But I guess here we are.”
The Post notes that “Dunne said their process server first attempted to effect service at Clinton’s house in Chappaqua on Tuesday afternoon — but was turned away by Secret Service agents.”
The report continues, “The agents directed the server to Clinton’s lawyer, David Kendall, who on Wednesday claimed at his Washington, DC, firm, Williams & Connolly, that he was unable to accept service on Clinton’s behalf, said Dunne.”
Rep. Gabbard on her new $50M lawsuit against Hillary Clinton:
The news comes after the New York Times got some extra mileage out of John Bolton’s new book, which claims that Trump’s efforts to pressure Ukraine into investigating the Bidens began ‘earlier than known.’
Why didn’t The New York Times release this information in its initial report on Sunday when it first reported on what was allegedly in the book? https://t.co/wDyHmWNggU
Yet, despite the pressure campaign to flip undecided Republicans to the Democrats’ demand for witnesses, holdout Sen. Lisa Murkowski is now a ‘no’ on calling witnesses, virtually ensuring President Trump will be acquitted within the next week.
BREAKING: GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski: “I carefully considered the need for additional witnesses and documents, to cure the shortcomings of its process, but ultimately decided that I will vote against considering motions to subpoena.” https://t.co/8dPFKZkZJkpic.twitter.com/HB83VKLKcc
It looks like Hunter Biden can sleep well at night in his $12,000 per month Hollywood home after Politico reports that the GOP has enough Republican Senators to block witnesses in President Trump’s impeachment trial.
Democrats needed at least four Republicans to defect – two of which they found in Sens. Mitt Romney of Utah and Susan Collins of Maine (who was mercilessly flamed by conservatives over social media) – however an 11th hour ‘no’ decision by Lamar Alexander (R-TN)means that the decision would fall to Chief Justice John Roberts in the event of a tie. And Roberts may not even have to weigh in if the fourth potential GOP defector, Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, votes ‘no’ as well.
In a Thursday night Twitter thread, Alexander says “There is no need for more evidence to prove that the president asked Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden and his son, Hunter…” and that “the president withheld United States aid, at least in part, to pressure Ukraine to investigate the Bidens.”
Still, Alexander argues that while Trump acted inappropriately, “the Constitution does not give the Senate the power to remove the president from office and ban him from this year’s ballot simply for actions that are inappropriate.” He also reasons that “The framers believed that there should never, ever be a partisan impeachment. That is why the Constitution requires a 2/3 vote of the Senate for conviction. Yet not one House Republican voted for these articles.”
“If this shallow, hurried and wholly partisan impeachment were to succeed, it would rip the country apart, pouring gasoline on the fire of cultural divisions that already exist,” Alexander continued. “It would create the weapon of perpetual impeachment to be used against future presidents whenever the House of Representatives is of a different political party.”
The question then is not whether the president did it, but whether the United States Senate or the American people should decide what to do about what he did. 8/15
While the outcome will allow Republicans to put a bow on the affair, expect Democrats and their MSM amplifiers to cry foul over the ‘rigged farce’ while parroting distributed talking points.
And while Democrats may fume over not being able to hear from John Bolton, Mick Mulvaney and other current and former White House employees regarding Trump’s conduct with Ukraine, Republicans hoping for a nervous Hunter Biden and a CIA operative ‘whistleblower’ to take the stand, will be equally disappointed.
Meanwhile, Susan Collins has taken a ration of flack over social media for essentially virtue signaling to the Democrats when she (likely) knew Alexander would be a ‘no’ – and the battle over Bolton and the Bidens was never going to happen.
Shots were fired at President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort after a woman in a black SUV tried to drive through a security checkpoint north of the resort shortly after Noon on Friday, according to WSVN 7, citing law enforcement.
A heavy police presence was seen after Police and Secret Service opened fire at the gate crasher. Two people are in custody following a short chase involving a police helicopter.
I’ve seen multiple FHP cars coming from Palm Beach Island heading west on Southern Blvd with lights and sirens activated. Ongoing investigation on the island with a heavy police presence near Mar-a-Lago. All we know is that PBSO is the lead agency investigating @WPTVpic.twitter.com/6EbxCbStu5