A new disturbing trend has emerged among Zoom conference calls called “zoombombing.”
Due to the coronavirus, colleges and businesses have had to relocate their classes and meetings onto online video conferencing platforms, such as Zoom. According to the FBI, many Zoom video conference calls have been subjected to some form of hijack.
“The FBI has received multiple reports of conferences being disrupted by pornographic and/or hate images and threatening language.”
There have been several incidents of this happening in various college courses and meetings. At the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, for example, a mandatory diversity workshop called I-connect was hijacked recently. An individual appeared in the Zoom call showing a swastika on their forehead. This led to a series of mass emails that were sent to students who attended these sessions.
“During these workshops, online participants engaged in patterns of disruptive behavior, which culminated in hateful interruptions by a number of individuals using racist and derogatory slurs, showing images of swastikas, and making threats of violence,” said one of the mass emails.
The school said that it would report the incident to the Office of Student Conflict, as well as the Bias Assessment Response Team.
“Any behavior deemed to be a legal violation will also be reported to the University of Illinois Police Department”UIUC added.
Incidents like this have occurred at other schools across the country. One notable instance happened during a Student Government meeting at the University of Florida. “BREAKING: the Senate livestream was just ‘zoom bombed,’ or crashed,” said University of Florida Student Government Reporter Chasity Maynard. “Multiple unknown people joined the meeting and wrote offensive comments, drew swastikas. The meeting ended abruptly after one person ‘mooned’ the camera.”
Maynard later issued a “correction,” saying that “the Zoom meeting ended after images of genitalia and sex acts were displayed on the screen, but the meeting was not officially called to a close.”
“Genitalia, naked butts and swastikas flashed across the screens of Student Government senators and guests tonight as they attempted to attend their weekly meeting over Zoom,“Maynard added.
Some UCLA lectures hosted via Zoom were subject to similar hijacks. According to the Daily Bruin, many classes at UCLA were interrupted by individuals yelling vulgar words or typing vulgar messages.
One student, Jessica Jackson, recorded the incident and posted it on her Twitter. Speaking to the Daily Bruin, Jackson said, “About five minutes into the lecture, someone was presenting as if they had a question, … and then finally, when the professor acknowledged the person, he just immediately jumped out with the N-word and was calling him that repeatedly.”
“Over time, I got my phone and started recording what was happening,”Jackson said.
“It just then spiraled out of control – chaos,”said Jackson.
Do not make meetings or classrooms public. In Zoom, there are two options to make a meeting private: require a meeting password or use the waiting room feature and control the admittance of guests.
Do not share a link to a teleconference or classroom on an unrestricted publicly available social media post. Provide the link directly to specific people.
Manage screensharing options. In Zoom, change screensharing to “Host Only.”
Ensure users are using the updated version of remote access/meeting applications. In January 2020, Zoom updated their software. In their security update, the teleconference software provider added passwords by default for meetings and disabled the ability to randomly scan for meetings to join.
Lastly, ensure that your organization’s telework policy or guide addresses requirements for physical and information security.
The FBI also encourages those who were victims of these incidents to report them to the FBI.
”If you were a victim of a teleconference hijacking, or any cyber-crime for that matter, report it to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at ic3.gov,” the FBI encourages online users.
New York, Italy Report Promising Drops In Daily Cases, Deaths As America’s ‘Hell Week’ Begins: Live Updates
NY reports first drop in daily deaths since outbreak began
FT shows how US has become COVID-19s “epicenter”
NY hospitalizations drop
Italy follows New York with another promising drop in deaths
France also reports a drop in deaths
UK reports biggest jump in new cases as Queen speech about to air
2 Walmart workers die in store near Chicago
Louisiana warns it will run out of ventilators in five days
India bans export of Trump’s ‘miracle’ coronavirus drug
Tokyo reports yet another jump in new COVID-19 cases
Queen Elizabeth plans special televised address to Britain, only the 4th during her reign
Australia launches criminal probe into Carnival Cruises
COVID-19 deaths in Japan pass 100
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Update (1400ET): Some more encouraging news out of Europe: Like Italy before it, France reported an encouraging drop in deaths, with 357, lower than the count from the last two days. It raised the death toll to 8,078, but still qualified as a “significant” drop, according to the French Ministry of Health. France also reported 1,873 new cases of COVID-19, raising its total to 68,605 cases.
As the Queen prepared to deliver a historic speech, the UK reported a 5,903 new cases of the virus, a record increase for one day, bringing its total to 47,806, while another 621 deaths brought its death toll to 4,934. Daily testing rose to record 12,334.
In Ireland, 21 more people infected with the coronavirus have died, bringing the total number of deaths in Ireland to 158 . There have been 390 new cases reported Sunday, bringing its total to 4,994.
In a story that once again exposes the dangerous risks being taken by “essential” workers, many of whom are low-paid hourly employees who work retail, CNN reported Sunday that two workers at a Chicago-area Walmart store have died from the novel coronavirus, the company confirmed Sunday, the first deaths among Wal-Mart workers since the pandemic began. It once again highlights these risks, which have been exacerbated by the shortages in PPE that have made these products virtually inaccessible for store workers.
“We are heartbroken to learn of the passing of two associates at our Evergreen Park store, and we are mourning along with their families,” an emailed statement from the company reads. Walmart in its statement did not provide the workers’ names, ages or how long they had been with the company. It is also unclear exactly when the two workers passed away.
The two associates had not been in the Evergreen Park store “for more than a week,” the company said, but of course, there’s no way to guarantee that others weren’t exposed.
Finally, in Louisiana, Gov. John Bel Edwards Louisiana’s governor says state will probably run out of ventilators in 5 days.
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Update (1245ET): Another promising headline has just hit the tape: Italy just reported the lowest number of daily deaths in more than 2 weeks: 525 new deaths were reported over the past 24 hours, along with 4,316 new cases. That bring’s Italy’s death toll to 15,887, still the largest in Europe.
Italy remains on a strict lockdown, with the hard-hit Lombardy region over the weekend requiring citizens leaving their homes to shield their mouths and noses with masks or other coverings and insisting residents remain inside for all but essential activities, after seeing an increase in people venturing outside in defiance of the quarantine. Tuscany soon followed suit with similar rules.
Police have fined over 175,000 people since March 11 for violations of the lockdown, according to the Interior Ministry. As the country prepares for a fifth week of lockdown measures, opposition leader Matteo Salvini of the right-wing League called on the government of Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte to open churches for the coming Easter holiday. Measures to keep the country shut down have been extended through at least April 13, and Conte is expected to announce revised rules and time lines by the end of next week, according to reports in the Italian press.
Most importantly, this news will likely be met with cries of relief from struggling Italians, weary of their more than month long struggle with the virus, who are hoping this is evidence that they’re finally riding down the ‘back side’ of the curve.
Before we delve into our daily breakdown of some of the biggest coronavirus-related news from around the world, we’d like to highlight yet another grim milestone in COVID-19’s “conquest” (are we still allowed to use war metaphors or has that been declared un-PC?) of the US. While the outbreaks in Mexico and Canada have only produced about 16k cases between them, the total number of cases confirmed in the US has ballooned past 300k in the US (to 312,249 as of 11amET Sunday morning).
Now, here’s the FT, which detailed the shift in momentum from Asia, to Europe, to the US. It’s a little more complicated than look at only the overall totals and the current daily figures.
In a little over one month the daily number of Covid-19 cases globally has grown exponentially from 2,359 on March 1 to 101,503 on Saturday. At the beginning of March, Asia accounted for more than half of the total cases reported each day. This quickly shifted as outbreaks began in continental Europe, with Italy, Spain, Germany and France all reporting cases in the thousands. By mid-March, Europe was responsible for four in every five new confirmed cases each day. While Europe is still responsible for nearly 40 per cent of daily cases, the US has become the new centre of the Covid-19 pandemic. The country accounts for nearly one-third of all daily cases, with New York state particularly affected.
Here’s most of that, broken down into a chart:
All that said, with the US gearing up for what President Trump and NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo expect to be the week where the outbreak peaks (in New York, at least), the Empire State has at least started off on the right foot.
New York reported 8,327 new cases of coronavirus and 594 new deaths on Sunday (compared with 630 a day ago), marking the state’s first drop in daily deaths since the outbreak began. In total, 122,031 cases have been confirmed in the state (roughly equivalent to the national totals of both Italy and Spain )and 4,159 deaths. While we’re certainly no epidemiologists, we suspect others might point to this as a small, but hopefully promising, hint that the ‘peak’ is near, or here.
And as we noted last night, hospitalizations in the state have shown another encouraging decline, even as many ICUs in NYC remain very close to, or at, capacity.
Cuomo is beginning his daily press briefing below:
The governor kicked off Sunday’s presser by thanking New York’s health-care workers, before adding that recent trends suggest that the state might have already arrived at its hoped-for plateau.
“You could argue that you are seeing a plateauing,” he told reporters in Albany. “Next week they will tell you whether we are on a plateau or is it just a blip,” he said, referring to statisticians. He noted that deaths had leveled off for three days following the dramatic increases seen for most of last week, which saw the state reporting close to 1k deaths a day for a few days there.
New hospitalizations dropped to 574 on Sunday from 1,095, Cuomo said, adding that 74% of those hospitalized have been discharged.
Being a pandemic with almost no precedent in modern times (other than the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918), traditions of culture and governance are being disrupted left and right (hell, we just cancelled the Olympics). In keeping with that trend, Queen Elizabeth will deliver a special televised address to Britain; it will be only the fourth time she has done so during her nearly 70-year reign. Excerpts from the address have already been released, and in them, the Queen acknowledges the suffering of hundreds of thousands of families around the country, while seeking to “lift their spirits” and “offer hope,” according to ABC News.
The 93-year-old monarch is expected to acknowledge the suffering that many families have experienced because of the COVID-19 crisis, which has infected more than 42,000 people in the U.K. and killed at least 4,313 of them. She will seek to lift spirits and offer hope to the country in its hour of need.
“I am speaking to you at what I know is an increasingly challenging time,’’ she said, according to excerpts released ahead of remarks that were being broadcast Sunday night. “A time of disruption in the life of our country; a disruption that has brought grief to some, financial difficulties to many and enormous changes to the daily lives of us all.”
Elsewhere, Tokyo reported yet another record jump in daily cases, with 143 new coronavirus infections announced on Sunday, metropolitan government officials said. Meanwhile, the number of COVID-19-related deaths finally surpassed 100 in Japan, Nikkei reports. In India, the government of Narendra Modi has banned the export of hydroxychloroquine, a drug widely touted by Trump for treating COVID-19. In Australia, prosecutors have launched a criminal investigation into Carnival Cruises as hundreds were sickened, dozens died on their ships.
Next Wave Of Shortages Strikes: NYC Pharmacies Run Out Of Tylenol, Hand Sanitizer, Common Drugs
In the weeks since California became the first state to order residents to shelter in place, millions of Americans have grappled with an alarming fact: That shortages of products from Tylenol to toilet paper have continued. If anything, they’ve gotten worse, even as governors like Andrew Cuomo have pleaded with the public not to hoard and buy up supplies like gloves and masks that are needed by health-care professionals.
While health officials have tried to dismiss this simply as a consequence of panicked hoarding, there are more complex dynamics at play, as CNBC explains in a recent piece exploring the shortages of basic products and common medications at pharmacies across NYC — the epicenter of the national outbreak.
In Broadway Chemists, an independent pharmacy on the Upper West Side, Tylenol, the classic over-the-counter painkiller made by JNJ, has been unavailable for weeks. Sophia Liristis, the pharmacist in charge, told CNBC that it’s on back-order until April 30.
So unless something changes, the people of the Upper West Side won’t be able to buy Tylenol until the end of April at the earliest.That’s four weeks away.
But Tylenol isn’t the only common medical item that’s in short supply.When Liristis checked her system on Tuesday while speaking to CNBC, she found that thermometers, gloves and masks were not available until May. Pulse oximeters, used to monitor blood-oxygen levels, were unavailable until May 31. Ventolin inhalers, which can ease shortness of breath, were only available two units at a time. Hydroxychloroquine, the drug used to treat malaria and lupus, and the Zithromax Z-Pak, were so limited as to be practically unavailable.
S Bros Pharmacy in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood filled its inventory with hydroxychloroquine and Z-paks when word started to spread that the drugs could be used to treat COVID-19. But the pharmacy is now dispensing hydroxychloroquine only to patients who suffer from chronic autoimmune diseases and those enrolled in a New York study of the drugs’ efficacy, in accordance with state laws and guidelines.
However, S Bros’ shelves are also scarce, with no Tylenol, no hand sanitizer, and no cleaning supplies like alcohol and peroxide. By now, these products have been long gone. The store struggles to get a few cans of sanitizing spray to decontaminate the pharmacy.
“There’s a shortage of everything — it’s never enough,” said Evangeline Frezoulis, 37, the pharmacy manager at S Bros. “The wholesalers are not able to supply as many pharmacies as needed.”
When these small independent shops run out of items, some independent pharmacists tell customers to check with the chain pharmacies, even though it hurts their business.
“You’re just trying to help the patient get what they need,” Liristis said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s here or somewhere else — we’re just trying to work together.”
While pharmacies in NYC are probably feeling these problems most acutely, it’s occurring across the country to varying degrees. Furthermore, what’s causing these widespread shortages isn’t all that complicated:Over the past few decades, production for medical equipment from masks to plastic gloves has mostly been moved abroad, to places like China and India. With China now battling the second wave of the pandemic, and Indian factories struggling under the weight of an unprecedented lockdown, production is being constrained at a time when demand is soaring all over the world at the same time.
In other words, a “supply shock”, is meeting a different kind of “demand shock.”
If that isn’t clear enough, supply chain managers from Amerisource Bergen and CardinalHealth, two of the biggest suppliers of drugs and medical equipment in the US, explained the problems they are facing.
AmerisourceBergen, a pharmaceutical wholesaler, said the pandemic is pinching supply chains worldwide. As the company places large orders to meet surging U.S. demand, manufacturers in countries like India, which is under nationwide lockdown, are balancing those orders with obligations in regions like the European Union, which is also severely impacted.
“What we’re seeing in the supply chain today particularly from the pharmacy side is an insatiable demand for a limited amount of product,”said Heather Zenk, senior vice president of secure supply chain at AmerisourceBergen. “We are seeing manufacturers talk about things like historical inventory demands and historical product movement,” she said.
In response, AmerisourceBergen is limiting how much pharmacies receive of certain drugs to ensure they get at least some product, a policy the company calls “fair allocation.”
Cardinal Health, another major wholesaler, said it’s managing the distribution of more than 100,000 products considered critical inventory which are in unprecedented demand since the pandemic started to spread. “We are experiencing backorders and declining inventory levels at rates never experienced before,” the company said, in a website statement, warning that customers may only receive partial deliveries while other products are out of stock altogether.
It’s impossible to say when inventories for thousands of products like Tylenol and hand sanitizer will stabilize. And as Americans in certain hot spots around the country continue to struggle to find toilet paper, we suspect widespread hoarding will continue.
Some pharmacies are even home-brewing their own hand sanitizer, just like the inmates in New York’s state prisons. City Drug & Surgical in Manhattan’s Washington Heights neighborhood has been making hand sanitizer since the brand names sold out about three weeks ago. The pharmacy’s owner told CNBC that a batch of the stuff typically takes about 40 minutes to make a batch of 24 bottles. They sell out almost immediately.
How long before pharmacies start making their own reusable face masks — like the kind that the CDC are recommending — out of old T-shirts and rags?
Fired AU Ambassador Reveals the People Behind African Presidental Assassinations
This is an example of why the people of the planet are at each other’s necks. The inability to admit one’s shortcomings. This has been an ongoing issue for the world because Europeans past and present have somehow lost the ability to share, but never the ability to take.
I’m not putting this at the feet of all Europeans, however, it is your culture. Even if one can say this is man’s nature, it would seem if we look back in history there is evidence of co-operation between Africa and China and also between Africa and South and middle America. Also, if the rumors are true, then we would have to include North America also. Trade, not conquest foresters grow and innovation. Most Europeans believe that all early technologies come from Greece, however, most brown people (who know) will tell you the technologies come from Kem (or Egypt). But even it is becoming very clear for anyone who cares to look that these ideas are both in error. That there is truly “Nothing New Under The Sun”. So no matter how advance we believe ourselves to be we have lost decades of advancement by under-development of the rest of the world (so-called) the third world.
A memo terminating Ambassador Arikana Chiombori Quao’s appointment, which Africa Cable Network obtained, stated no reason for the action. Moussa Faki Mohamat, the chairperson of the AU, did the honors of signing the memo and directing the termination. “In line with terms and conditions of service governing your appointment as Permanent Representative of the AU Mission to the United States of America, I have decided to terminate your contract in that capacity with effect from 1st November 2019,” the five-paragraph memo read in part. The AU chairperson’s decision has been generating reactions among diplomats and policy workers across in international communities. An online petition register has been opened on www.change.org to prevail on the AU to reinstate Arikana. www.change.org