Tag: mass

Trump to Go Ahead With ‘Law and Order’ Protest Amid D.C. Mayor’s Ban on ‘Mass Gatherings’

President Donald Trump is expected to give in-person remarks during an event today on the South Lawn of the White House, despite his coronavirus diagnosis and restrictions on mass gatherings that remain in effect for Washington, D.C.



a man wearing a suit and tie: President Donald Trump removes his mask upon return to the White House from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on October 05, 2020 in Washington, DC. Trump spent three days hospitalized for coronavirus.


© Win McNamee/Getty
President Donald Trump removes his mask upon return to the White House from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on October 05, 2020 in Washington, DC. Trump spent three days hospitalized for coronavirus.

The president’s schedule for today suggests that he will deliver “remarks at a peaceful protest for law and order” at 2 p.m., confirming the ABC News report yesterday which said Trump was expected to address attendees from a White House balcony.

‘Get Out There’: Trump Removes Face Mask For Photo Op As He Returns To White House

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If it goes ahead, it will mark the president’s first in-person event since announcing last Friday that he and the First Lady had both tested positive for COVID-19.

Trump spent three nights at Walter Reed Medical Center, returning to the White House on Monday while appearing to have labored breathing. He has since released video statements, including one which touted his treatment as a possible cure.

Under medical care, the president was reportedly administered antiviral drug remdesivir, the steroid dexamethasone and an unproven experimental drug from Regeneron. He said on Twitter yesterday a “big rally” was scheduled for Florida on Monday.

According to CNBC, all attendees at today’s event will be asked to wear face masks on White House grounds and will undertake a temperature check and brief questionnaire. It was not immediately clear how many people were expected to take part.

Under Phase Two of Washington, DC’s COVID-19 restrictions, which are still in effect, mass gatherings of more than 50 people in a single location are prohibited.

“If shouting or singing is involved, these activities can create droplets that may spread the virus that causes COVID-19 if you are infected. To prevent this, wear a facemask and find alternative ways to voice your message, such as through holding signs and using noise makers,” explain the guidelines from D.C.’s Mayor, Muriel Bowser.

The White House event today comes after a string of Trump administration officials who attended a previous gathering in the Rose Garden on September 26 tested positive for the disease, described as a “superspreader” event by top scientist Anthony Fauci.

On Thursday, D.C. health officials urged anyone who had worked in the White House in the past two weeks to contact local health agencies for guidance about their “potential need to quarantine,” noting there had been “limited contact tracing.”

Despite health concerns, the president’s physician, Dr. Sean Conley, claimed in

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National Independent Venue Association Begs Government to Save Concert Industry from “Mass Collapse”

The post National Independent Venue Association Begs Government to Save Concert Industry from “Mass Collapse” appeared first on Consequence of Sound.

Today, Donald Trump halted all negotiations with Congress regarding further COVID-19 relief until after the election. The abrupt political move, which comes across like the actions of a manic drugged up on steroids, will undoubtedly impose even more financial hardship on a country that’s already months-deep into an economic crisis.

The National Independent Venue Association, having already suffered major losses the last few months — including the shuttering of Washington, DC’s iconic U Street Music Hall just yesterday — has now responded to Trump’s decision.

“We have been sounding the alarm since April that if our members don’t get emergency assistance, they will go under forever — and it’s happening,” said Audrey Fix Schaefer, director of communications for NIVA. “This is real. We need help.”

The urgent statement continued,

“We urge Congress and the White House to continue negotiations and reach a deal quickly or there will be a mass collapse of this industry. The Save Our Stages Act has already passed the House and has strong bipartisan support with more than 160 Congresspeople cosponsoring because they know independent venues can be part of our country’s economic renewal once it’s safe to welcome people back — if our venues can survive this pandemic. We’re also hoping for the sake of our furloughed employees that the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance will be extended, as people are suffering through no fault of their own.”

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NIVA was formed earlier this year in response to the pandemic and represents roughly 2,800 venues from all over the US. The organization was one of the main proponents of the “Save Our Stages Act”, a bipartisan bill that guarantees six months of financial support to “keep venues afloat, pay employees, and preserve a critical economic sector for communities across America.”

The House of Representatives successfully passed the “Save Our Stages Act” just last Friday, agreeing to set aside a potentially industry-saving $10 billion dollars for the independent venue community. However, the Senate won’t get a chance to weigh in due to Trump’s shutdown of all coronavirus relief negotiations. Without proper financial aid, it’s estimated that 90% of independent music venues could close for good.

National Independent Venue Association Begs Government to Save Concert Industry from “Mass Collapse”
Lake Schatz

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UK government urged to classify leisure centres ‘essential’ or face mass closures

Video: Mayor: I do not accept COVID restrictions (Sky News)

Mayor: I do not accept COVID restrictions

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The government has been urged to reclassify swimming pools, gyms and leisure centres as ‘essential services’ vital to public health – or face the prospect of thousands of facilities being shut permanently if a second lockdown is introduced.



a group of people sitting at a table in a room: Photograph: Oli Scarff/AFP/Getty Images


© Provided by The Guardian
Photograph: Oli Scarff/AFP/Getty Images

As the Guardian revealed in June, nearly half of Britain’s public leisure centres and 20% of the country’s swimming pools risk being closed for good before Christmas – putting more than 58,000 jobs in peril – because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Related: Back us or risk losing half UK’s public leisure centres, industry warns

Even though lockdown restrictions have been eased, a third of leisure centres have still not reopened because of their parlous financial state. And amid reports that the government is planning a new three-tier lockdown system – which could see gyms and pools close again this winter – UK Active says the government needs to do more to recognise the benefits of the industry on the nation’s health.



a group of people sitting at a station: A third of leisure centres have still not reopened since the first lockdown.


© Photograph: Oli Scarff/AFP/Getty Images
A third of leisure centres have still not reopened since the first lockdown.

“We are calling for the government to recategorise all fitness and leisure facilities as essential services so that they can be fully supported to stay open during this period and play their role in the nation’s fight against Covid-19,” UK Active chief executive Huw Edwards told the Guardian.

“The government and its health agencies must lean on our sector over the coming weeks and months to keep the nation fit and healthy, and in particular to support the prime minister’s ambitions to address obesity.”

Edwards added: “We note the reports of a new three-tier lockdown system which includes ‘leisure businesses’, but it is important our sector remains open given the vital role it plays in every community.”

The sports sector has collectively asked for a support fund but there are growing concerns that the government will only focus on those sports which have been impacted by the current ban on fans at elite competition.

Insiders have told this paper that the treasury is sitting on proposals for a £500m bailout for leisure centres and grassroots sport but are “sceptical” about providing the funds.

Meanwhile, UK Active, which represents more than 4,000 gyms and leisure centres, said that there was little evidence to suggest that reopening of facilities had spread the virus. They said that gyms and leisure facilities in England have seen more than 22m visits since reopening in July but just 78 confirmed cases of Covid-19 among customers.

Data from over 1,500 facilities across the nation shows that the prevalence of the virus within the sector’s facilities remains extremely low, measured from 25 July to 13 September, and that very few people are visiting gyms with the virus.

“Since reopening, all of the evidence shows that the sector has been successful

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Republican Senate candidate’s law firm set bankruptcy of mass shooting victim’s family into motion

Bryant Corky Messner
Bryant Corky Messner

Bryant Corky Messner Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

After ammunition and body armor retailers were unsuccessfully sued by the parents of Jessica Ghawi, who was killed in a 2012 mass shooting, the companies sought to recoup their legal fees. According to the victim’s mother, her family declared bankruptcy after it was ordered to pay more than $200,000 by a judge. Now, Corky Messner, the Republican whose law firm represented one of the retailers, is running for a U.S. Senate seat in New Hampshire on a staunchly pro-gun platform.

Messner told WMUR last month that he opposed any gun control measures, and he would support rolling back some existing gun safety laws already on the books. Messner has touted his endorsement from the National Association of Gun Rights, which has attacked the National Rifle Association (NRA) for being “soft” and has called for “absolutely NO COMPROMISE on gun rights issues.” The group has spent “more on pro-gun lobbying than the NRA in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook mass shooting in 2012,” according to Politico.

Messner’s law firm, Messner Reeves, was previously involved in a case which led to the eventual bankruptcy of the family of one of the victims of a mass shooting at a movie theater in Aurora, Col. It was the first-ever case where a plaintiff was forced to pay defendants’ legal fees under a Colorado law shielding ammunition and weapons retailers from most liability. 

James Holmes was sentenced to 12 life sentences and an additional 3,318 years after he was convicted of killing 12 people and wounding 70 others during a screening of “The Dark Knight.” One of the dead was Ghawi, a college student pursuing a career in sports journalism who had narrowly escaped another mass shooting a month earlier.

Sandy and Lonnie Phillips, Ghawi’s parents, sued the retailers which sold Holmes ammunition and body armor in 2014 in spite of laws shielding them from liability. The lawsuit argued that Lucky Gunner, which sold Holmes more than 4,000 rounds of ammunition; The Sportsman Guide, which sold him a 100-round magazine and 700 rounds; BTP Arms, which provided the tear gas canisters used in the attack; and Bullet Proof Body Armor negligently sold Holmes weapons used in the attack online without assessing his state of mind.

“A crazed, homicidal killer should not be able to amass a military arsenal, without showing his face or answering a single question, with the simple click of a mouse,” the Brady Center, the gun control advocacy group which filed the lawsuit on behalf of the family, said at the time. “If businesses choose to sell military-grade equipment online, they must screen purchasers to prevent arming people like James Holmes.”

The lawsuit did not seek any monetary damages but rather asked a court to order the retailers to change the allegedly “negligent and dangerous business practices” which allowed Holmes to purchase his weapons.

Sandy Phillips later told Time that the case was “dismissed before it

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Israel bans mass protests as Covid lockdown tightens



a group of people holding a sign: Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images


© Provided by The Guardian
Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Israel has passed a law that bans mass protest during the country’s coronavirus lockdown in a move government opponents have claimed exploits the health crisis to suppress demonstrations calling for Benjamin Netanyahu to resign as prime minister.

The contentious legislation was approved at 4:30 am local time (1:30 am GMT) on Wednesday after an all-night session by the country’s parliament, the Knesset. It allows the government to restrict people from travelling more than 1km from their homes to demonstrate and bans outdoor gatherings of more than 20 people.



a group of people holding a sign: People gather in front of the Israeli parliament to protest against the decision to curb mass rallies.


© Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
People gather in front of the Israeli parliament to protest against the decision to curb mass rallies.

Critics say it, in effect, criminalises weekly rallies in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, where thousands have voiced their anger over Netanyahu’s handling of the pandemic as well as charges of alleged corruption, which he denies.

Outside the Knesset, several hundred people had gathered on Tuesday to condemn the new laws.

“I think we can see they are not aimed to stop the pandemic or the coronavirus but it’s a political restriction in order to stop and kill the demonstrations against Netanyahu,” said Yaniv Segal, an actor who has been out of work for several months.

“This is an anti-democratic law. It’s only to stop resistance against a prime minister that is corrupted and accused of many crimes.”

Netanyahu’s ruling Likud party had previously demanded that the ban on mass protests remain in effect even after the lockdown was lifted but lawmakers rejected that proposal. The new law can only be used during a lockdown.

After the law was passed, Yair Lapid, the head of the opposition, tweeted: “What’s the next step? Banning the opposition leader from addressing parliament?”

Israel has recorded some of the highest per capita daily infection rates in the world, and a military body said on Tuesday the country’s coronavirus deaths per capita had surpassed the US.

While a spring lockdown managed to get infection rates to very low levels, officials say the country was reopened too fast and with few restrictions.

“We were not careful. We weren’t careful in how we emerged from the last lockdown, I think we are not doing enough to lower infection and morbidity,” Health Ministry Director General Hezi Levy told public radio.

A three-week lockdown imposed this month has forced all non-essential businesses to close and largely shuttered the country.

Protest leaders have questioned the science behind the new rules, arguing that open-air rallies do not pose a significant infection risk, especially when compared with indoor religious gatherings, which have been singled out as hotspots.

Netanyahu’s critics accuse the prime minister, whose government is propped up by powerful Jewish ultra-Orthodox politicians, of not doing enough to limit religious gatherings. This month Netanyahu dropped a plan for localised lockdowns, which would largely impact religious communities, after pressure from ultra-Orthodox mayors.

“I’m not saying I have anything against religious people, I don’t,” said Liri

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Coronavirus: Israel passes law to ban mass protests during lockdown

People protest in Jerusalem before an Israeli parliamentary vote on a law that allows ministers to curb mass protests (29 September 2020)

image copyrightEPA

image captionPeople protested outside the Israeli parliament before the law was approved

Israel’s parliament has handed the government the power to ban mass protests during the country’s second nationwide coronavirus lockdown.

Demonstrators will be confined to groups of up to 20 people and must stay within 1km (0.6 miles) of their homes.

The law should have been part of a range of measures passed on Friday.

But the government struggled to get the necessary votes after critics accused it of trying to stifle protests against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

For weeks, thousands of people have gathered outside his official residence in Jerusalem to demand he resign over corruption allegations and his handling of the pandemic. Mr Netanyahu has denied any wrongdoing.

media captionWhat does a second lockdown feel like?

The protests have continued despite a dramatic resurgence of Covid-19.

Israel currently has the world’s highest infection rate per capita, with the daily number of new cases exceeding 8,000 last week despite the second lockdown.

Since the start of the pandemic more than 237,000 cases and 1,528 deaths have been reported in the country, which has a population of nine million.

  • Israel tightens second lockdown amid acrimony

  • Coronavirus: Where are the global hotspots?
  • Anger swells in Israel against ‘king’ Netanyahu

The law approved by the Knesset early on Wednesday gives ministers the power to declare a “special state of emergency” related to the coronavirus pandemic for renewable one-week periods.

During that time, people will not be allowed to go more than 1km from their homes to take part in a protest – a limit that is already applied to journeys for anything other than essential purposes, such as buying food or medicine.

Demonstrators will also be confined to “capsules” of no more than 20 people.

image copyrightReuters
image captionA car park in Haifa has been converted into a ward to treat coronavirus patients

Mr Netanyahu has described the protests against his premiership as “coronavirus incubators” without providing evidence to support the claim.

Protest organisers called the vote on the new powers an “execution ceremony for democracy”.

Yair Golan of the left-wing Meretz party has warned the restrictions “won’t stop the demonstrations”. “The anger growing in the streets will find its way out,” he said.

BBC Middle East correspondent Tom Bateman says tensions have come to the fore over Israel’s democratic versus its religious character; with a heated debate about restrictions on protest and prayer.

A top scientist warned that allowing worship inside synagogues on Yom Kippur – Judaism’s holiest day, which fell on Monday – risked “mass transmission”; while reports have emerged of widespread flouting of the rules in some of Jerusalem’s ultra-Orthodox areas.

Mr Netanyahu also warned on Tuesday it was unlikely that the second lockdown would end in mid-October, following the Jewish festival of Sukkot.

“The numbers [of infected] are climbing, they will rise even more. The lockdown will take no less than a month and

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