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Widower to Twitter: Delete Trump Suggestion That My Wife Was Murdered

The widower of a woman who died nearly two decades ago is asking Twitter to delete U.S. President Donald Trump’s repeated tweets insinuating that her boss, a former Republican congressman-turned-TV-critic of Trump, murdered her.Research engineer Timothy Klausutis told Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s chief executive, last week that “conspiracy theorists, including most recently the President of the United States, continue to spread their bile and misinformation on your platform disparaging the memory of my wife and our marriage.”“My request is simple: Please delete these tweets,” Klausutis wrote.Twitter did not promise to delete Trump’s tweets, but a company spokesman said Tuesday it was “deeply sorry about the pain these statements, and the attention they are drawing, are causing the family.”  Twitter said it was “working to expand existing product features and policies so we can more effectively address things like this going forward, and we hope to have those changes in place shortly.”A 2001 autopsy concluded that 28-year-old Lori Klausutis, an aide to Congressman Joe Scarborough in one of his field offices in the southern state of Florida, had an undiagnosed heart condition, passed out and died when she fell and hit her head on her desk when no one else was in her office at the time.  FILE – MSNBC television anchors Joe Scarborough, right, and Mika Brzezinski, co-hosts of the show “Morning Joe,” take questions at a discussion forum on the campus of Harvard University, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Oct. 11, 2017.Trump was a frequent guest on Scarborough’s MSNBC show “Morning Joe” that he co-hosts with his wife, Mika Brzezinski, in the months leading up to his 2016 election to a four-year term in the White House.But Trump turned on the talk show hosts as they increasingly attacked his performance in office, suggesting as far back as 2017 that Scarborough played a nefarious role in his aide’s death even though he was in Washington hundreds of kilometers away at the time she died.  But as word of the widower Klausutis’s request to delete Trump’s tweets about the case spread across the Internet Tuesday, the president tweeted again about the case.“The opening of a Cold Case against Psycho Joe Scarborough was not a Donald Trump original thought, this has been going on for years, long before I joined the chorus,” the U.S. leader said.“In 2016 when Joe & his wacky future ex-wife, Mika, would endlessly interview me, I would always be thinking about whether or not Joe could have done such a horrible thing?“Maybe or maybe not, but I find Joe to be a total Nut Job, and I knew him well, far better than most. So many unanswered & obvious questions, but I won’t bring them up now! Law enforcement eventually will?” Trump suggested.The opening of a Cold Case against Psycho Joe Scarborough was not a Donald Trump original thought, this has been going on for years, long before I joined the chorus. In 2016 when Joe & his wacky future ex-wife, Mika, would endlessly interview me, I would always be thinking….— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 26, 2020 ….about whether or not Joe could have done such a horrible thing? Maybe or maybe not, but I find Joe to be a total Nut Job, and I knew him well, far better than most. So many unanswered & obvious questions, but I won’t bring them up now! Law enforcement eventually will?— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 26, 2020Earlier in May, Trump tweeted, “When will they open a Cold Case on the Psycho Joe Scarborough matter in Florida. Did he get away with murder? Some people think so.”Then, last Saturday, Trump tweeted, “A blow to her head? Body found under his desk? Left Congress suddenly? Big topic of discussion in Florida…and, he’s a Nut Job (with bad ratings). Keep digging, use forensic geniuses!”A blow to her head? Body found under his desk? Left Congress suddenly? Big topic of discussion in Florida…and, he’s a Nut Job (with bad ratings). Keep digging, use forensic geniuses! https://t.co/UxbS5gZecd— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 24, 2020On Sunday morning, Trump added another tweet: “A lot of interest in this story about Psycho Joe Scarborough. So a young marathon runner just happened to faint in his office, hit her head on his desk, & die? I would think there is a lot more to this story than that? An affair? What about the so-called investigator? Read story!”The widower Klausutis told Dorsey, “There has been a constant barrage of falsehoods, half-truths, innuendo and conspiracy theories since the day she died.“The frequency, intensity, ugliness and promulgation of these horrifying lies ever increases on the internet,” he said.“I am a research engineer and not a lawyer but reviewed all of Twitter’s rules and terms of service,” Klausutis told Dorsey. “The President’s tweet that suggests that Lori was murdered without evidence and contrary to the official autopsy is a violation of Twitter’s community rules and terms of service. An ordinary user like me would be banished from the platform for such a tweet but I am only asking that these tweets be removed.”“I’m asking you to intervene in this instance because the President of the United States has taken something that does not belong him – the memory of my dead wife – and perverted it for perceived political gain,” he added.“My wife deserves better,” Klausutis concluded.It was not immediately known whether Dorsey has responded to Klausutis. Brzezinski, who has called for a ban on Trump using Twitter, told viewers last week that she is trying to arrange to talk with Dorsey.Trump has long traded in debunked conspiracy theories.Perhaps his most discredited theory was that former U.S. President Barack Obama was not born in the U.S. state of Hawaii and shouldn’t have been eligible to become the country’s leader, a claim Trump eventually acknowledged was wrong as he ran for the presidency in 2016.  Trump also claimed that he saw Muslims in a television report celebrating the Sept. 11, 2001, al-Qaida terrorist jetliner attack on the twin towers of New York’s World Trade Center by dancing on the rooftop of a building in neighboring New Jersey. No such television report has ever been found. 

DFL Endorses Incumbent Ilhan Omar for Congressional Seat

First-term U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar has won the DFL endorsement to run in the August primary election for the Minneapolis congressional seat long held by Democrats.  
The party endorsement Sunday pits Omar against primary challenger Antone Melton-Meaux, an attorney and political newcomer.  
The 37-year-old Omar was elected to Congress in 2018 after a rapid rise through the state Legislature. She’s the first Somali-American elected to both a state Legislature and to Congress. She has been a target of conservatives in Washington where she has publicly sparred with President Donald Trump on Twitter.  
Melton-Meaux has collected some high-profile endorsements from Minneapolis-area DFLers, and has had some success in fundraising, the  Star Tribune  reported. The Republican-endorsed candidate is Lacy Johnson, a north Minneapolis businessman.  
The endorsement vote was done online over a nine-day period because of the coronavirus outbreak. Democrats have held the 5th District congressional seat since 1963.  
DFLers in northeastern Minnesota’s 8th District also voted to endorse health care advocate Quinn Nystrom to challenge Republican incumbent U.S. Rep. Pete Stauber in November.

Italy’s New COVID-19 App Tracks Contacts and Protects Privacy

Italy’s new contact tracing app for the coronavirus is about to be launched in a number of pilot regions. It will be available to everyone in the country on a voluntary basis and will guarantee the privacy of users, officials who commissioned its development say.
 
Italians will be able to download the contact tracing app on their mobile phones that will help combat the spread of the coronavirus, starting May 29.  “Immuni” was developed at the request of Italy’s Ministry of Innovation Technology and Digital Transformation. Paolo de Rosa, its chief technology officer, says the app can speed up the process of finding people who have had contact with the coronavirus.
    
“The app is able to do that in a privacy-preserving way so it is not like the traditional approach where you need to identify people. In this case there is only an alerting of people that have been in contact with someone that result positive,” de Rosa said.
    How contract tracing apps work
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Those alerted they have come close to someone that has tested positive for the coronavirus can quickly take action and contact health authorities or their personal physician.
 
De Rosa stressed that privacy is guaranteed as special measures have been taken and it would be extremely difficult to identify anyone using the app. The only data that a user must provide is the territorial province to which he or she belongs.
 
For the app to be fully effective, de Rosa said, there needs to be a significant amount of people using it, up to 60 percent, but that is only if one does not take into consideration other factors like social distancing. In any case, de Rosa is convinced that it will be a useful tool to have on one’s phone. “This is a very bleeding edge technology, very few countries in the world have used it,” he said.
    
Creating the app was no easy matter, de Rosa said, adding trade-offs had to be made between the requirements of health authorities and privacy. Knowledge was shared with many other countries as well, but no one really knew what the best app needed to look like. With such a highly infectious virus, the need for a tool that would help speed up contact tracing was considered essential to break the chain of the contagion.

Swedish Foreign Minister Defends COVID-19 Response 

Sweden’s foreign minister has defended the nation’s response to the COVID-19 global pandemic after a recent “week-by-week measurement of mortality” that shows the Scandinavian country as having one of the highest rates in the world. The website Ourworldindata.org reported that for seven days between May 12 and 19, Sweden reported, on average, 6.25 COVID-19 deaths per million per day. That was the highest in Europe. At a news conference in Stockholm Tuesday, Foreign Minister Ann Linde called those numbers “a concern” and “tragic,” but she said Sweden did not quickly get high mortality rates as some other countries did, nor would it get quickly, radically, low numbers.  FILE – Young people hang out outside a restaurant in Stockholm, Sweden, April 8, 2020.She said the nation’s strategy is not based on a “week-by-week measurement of mortality. It is based on a long-term perspective on how we can save lives, protect our health care system, and make sure our society and the population will go as unharmed as possible.”  Linde said it was a myth that life has gone on “as normal” in Sweden during the pandemic, saying while there has been no full lockdown, many parts of the nation’s society have been shut down. She said that transmission of COVID-19 is slowing down in Sweden, the treatment of patients in intensive care is decreasing significantly, and “the rising death toll curve has been flattened.” She added, “This is not a sprint, it’s a marathon.” The coronavirus causes the COVID-19 disease. Sweden’s relatively “soft approach” to the pandemic banned large gatherings but restaurants and schools for younger children have stayed open. The government has urged social distancing, and Swedes have largely complied. But the country also has more than 4,120 fatalities from COVID-19, almost 40 deaths per 100,000 people, compared with about 10 per 100,000 in neighboring Denmark and just more than four per 100,000 in Norway, which imposed stricter lockdowns early on.  

US Imports Record Amount of Gold From Switzerland as Virus Upends Trade

Swiss exports of gold to the United States leapt to 111.7 tons in April — by far the biggest monthly total on record — while shipments to other destinations dwindled, customs data showed on Tuesday.     The global gold market has been turned on its head by the novel coronavirus, with demand in China and India collapsing due to lockdowns while in the West investors rushed to buy bullion as a safe asset to weather a period of financial turmoil.      High prices on CME Group’s Comex exchange spurred shipments to New York.      Switzerland, a major trading, vaulting and refining center for precious metals, exported a total of 131.8 tons of gold in April, up from 96.2 tons in March but slightly lower than in April 2019.     The United States, which typically imports less than a ton of gold a month from Switzerland, accounted for 85% of that total.      Switzerland meanwhile shipped 500 kgs (0.5 tons) of gold to India, 1 kg to Hong Kong and no gold at all to China in April. Each of these destinations usually receive tens of tons of metal from Switzerland each month. 
 

Students Exasperated After MCAT Schedule Site Crashes 

Medical school hopefuls and students eager to start other professional healthcare studies endured grueling wait times online recently to sign up for their licensing and medical school entrance exams. And then they were denied entry to the testing center’s national website.  Applicants and students wanting to take the med school entrance test — MCAT — as well as the physical therapy, occupational therapy, and nursing licensing exams, were stymied when the online test scheduling system failed, according to the medical news website MedPageToday.“I would estimate about 33,000 students were impacted,” said Matthew Durst, president of the University Medical Student Council (UMSC) at the University of Illinois College of Medicine (UICOM), told the Student Doctor Network.  Because of the coronavirus pandemic, testing centers are closed for the MCAT — administered by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMXC) —  and all appointments were cancelled in March, April and the large part of May.  The AAMC condensed the MCAT from 7 hours and 30 minutes to 5 hours and 45 minutes to handle the high volume of students who will take the test once shelter in place orders are relaxed. That allows test centers to schedule three tests a day.  But when about 62,000 students logged on May 7 to schedule their exams, the system crashed and did not come back online for hours, Gabrielle Campbell, AAMC’s chief service officer on May 8, told MedpageToday. “The system became overwhelmed with the number of accommodations requests due to the condensed processing period,” said Karen Mitchell, Ph.D., senior director of the MCAT program for AAMC.  “We are sorry that the MCAT scheduling process has been frustrating for examinees testing with accommodations and are actively working to address the issues,” the official MCAT account tweeted on May 21. We are sorry that the MCAT scheduling process has been frustrating for examinees testing with accommodations and are actively working to address the issues.— MCAT (@AAMC_MCAT) May 21, 2020Fortunately, by the end of the day, 78,000 test takers were registered for exams from May through September, with thousands of seats and multiple dates remaining. “We have made extensive changes to the exam to ensure that students can safely take the test during the COVID-19 pandemic, including shortening the test and administering the exam three times a day for all remaining dates this year. Additionally, we have increased testing capacity by 50% for each exam date,” Mitchell stated on the AAMC website. The spread of COVID-19 remaining uncertain and test dates tentative, some students expressed worry about the expense of driving long distances or overnight stays to take the exam. “I have to drive an hour and a half for my exam. One way. Since I take it on two days, I have to get a hotel room,” tweeted Emma Eaton. “My other option was a month and half later in my requested city. Does this sound equitable?” I got my request back and have to drive an hour and a half for my exam. One way. Since I take it on two days, I have to get a hotel room. My other option was a month and half later in my requested city. Does this sound equitable?— Emma Eaton (@emmabaileyeaton) May 21, 2020Cristina Goerdt contributed to this report. 
     

US Moves Up Brazilian Travel Ban by 2 Days

A new U.S. ban on travelers from Brazil goes into effect Tuesday, two days earlier than the White House initially announced, in an added effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus. Officials did not provide any specific reasons for moving up the ban from its planned Thursday start date.   It applies to foreigners entering the United States who have been in Brazil at some point during the prior 14 days.  Health officials say it may take two to 14 days before symptoms appear in someone who contracts COVID-19. Brazil has emerged as a new coronavirus hot spot, trailing only the United States in the number of confirmed cases, according to Johns Hopkins University statistics. The Brazilian health ministry said Monday that COVID-19 killed 807 people in the previous 24 hours. The one-day U.S. death toll was 620.  The White House said the travel ban “will help ensure foreign nationals who have been in Brazil do not become a source of additional infections in our country.” U.S. President Donald Trump has similar travel bans in place on China, Iran, Britain, Ireland, and the 26 countries in Europe’s Schengen area.  Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro, wearing a face mask amid the new coronavirus pandemic, stands amid supporters taking pictures with cell phones as he leaves his official residence of Alvorada palace in Brasilia, May 25, 2020.Brazil’s far-right President Jair Bolsonaro has for months played down the seriousness of the coronavirus, urging businesses to reopen and dismissing many social distancing recommendations.  He has brushed off the virus as nothing more than “a little flu” and says a wrecked economy will kill more people than the illness. He has called Brazilians worried about the coronavirus neurotic.  The head of the World Health Organization said Monday the agency is pausing the use of hydroxychloroquine in its trials to find effective treatments for the coronavirus while experts review its safety. A chemist displays hydroxychloroquine tablets in Mumbai, India, May 19, 2020.Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus cited a study published last week in the medical journal Lancet in which the authors reported an estimated higher mortality rate among coronavirus patients who received the drug. Tedros stressed the drug is “accepted as generally safe for use in patients with autoimmune diseases or malaria.” WHO emergencies chief, Dr. Michael Ryan, said there have been no problems with the drug in WHO trials so far, but that the pause was being done out of an abundance of caution. Trump has touted hydroxychloroquine as an effective coronavirus treatment and claims he has been taking it even though he has not tested positive for the virus. People sit at Prospect Park on Memorial Day weekend during the outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Brooklyn, New York, May 25, 2020.Saudi Arabia is set to relax some of its lockdown orders on Sunday, including lifting bans on domestic travel, holding prayers in mosques and dining in restaurants and cafes. A statement posted by the state news agency Tuesday said all restrictions will end June 21, except for the city of Mecca. Saudi Arabia has reported about 75,000 confirmed cases. Chile reported a record daily high of 4,895 new cases. Public Works Minister Alfredo Moreno announced on Twitter that he was among those who have tested positive, though he said he has so far had no symptoms. 

California Issues Guidelines for Churches to Reopen

Religious services in California will look much different under rules unveiled Monday that limit attendance to 100 people and recommend worshippers wear masks, limit singing, and refrain from shaking hands or hugging. The state released guidance under which county health departments can approve the reopening of churches, mosques, synagogues and other houses of worship. They have been closed since Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a stay-at-home order in March to slow the spread of the coronavirus. It’s not immediately known how soon in-person services will resume. Counties that are having success controlling the virus are likely to move quickly. Others with outbreaks — such as Los Angeles County, which has about 60% of California’s roughly 3,800 deaths — may choose to delay.  The guidelines ask worshippers to wear masks, avoid sharing prayer books or prayer rugs and skip the collection plate. They also say to avoid large gatherings for holidays, weddings and funerals, and warn that activities such as singing or group recitation “negate” the benefits of social distancing. The guidelines say even with physical distancing, in-person worship carries a higher risk of transmitting the virus and increasing the numbers of hospitalizations and deaths, and they recommend houses of worship shorten services.FILE – A woman and child sit in a circle designed to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus by encouraging social distancing at Washington Square park in front of Saints Peter and Paul Church in San Francisco, May 23, 2020.Each county will have to adopt rules for services to resume within their jurisdictions and then the guidelines will be reviewed by state health officials after 21 days. The guidelines include limiting gatherings to 25% of building capacity or 100 people, whichever is lower.  In Los Angeles County, Rabbi Shalom Rubanowitz of the Shul on the Beach in Venice Beach said he hopes his congregation can meet for this week’s Shavuot holiday, to celebrate when Jews received the Torah.  The congregation will have to figure out how to provide temperature checks and provide a place for individual prayer books and shawls. Orthodox Jews do not use technology during the Sabbath and may not carry most personal items. Some church leaders aren’t eager to reopen. The Rev. Amos Brown, pastor of Third Baptist Church in San Francisco and head of the local NAACP chapter, led a protest Monday against reopening. FILE – The Rev. Dr. Amos Brown, senior pastor of Third Baptist Church, San Francisco, California, speaks during an African American clergy announcement of support for the civil marriage of gay and lesbian couples, Sept. 21, 2012.”We are not going to be rushing back to church,” he said by phone, noting that many leaders of his denomination have been sickened or died nationwide. Freedom of religion is “not the freedom to kill folks, not the freedom to put people in harm’s way. That’s insane,” he said. Many have been eagerly awaiting an announcement on religious services after Newsom began relaxing constraints on stores and other secular outlets as part of a four-phase plan to reopen the economy.  The Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange announced last week that it is phasing in public Masses beginning June 14, starting with restricted numbers of worshippers. At first, choirs will be banned, fonts won’t contain holy water, and parishioners won’t perform rituals where they must touch each other. “We know that God is with us, but at the same time we have to be careful and make sure that we protect each other in this challenging time,” Bishop Kevin Vann said Friday. Some 47 of the state’s 58 counties have received permission to move deeper into the reopening by meeting standards for controlling the virus. The state on Monday cleared the way for in-store shopping to resume statewide with social distancing restrictions, although counties get to decide whether to permit it. Some places of worship around the country opened over the weekend after President Donald Trump declared them essential and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released guidelines for reopening faith organizations.  In California, most houses of worship have complied with social distancing, making do with online, remote and a few drive-in services.  In the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles, Archbishop Jose Gomez called on parishes to celebrate Pentecost — a major religious day for many Christians — next Sunday by holding food and blood drives.  FILE – Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez leads Catholics in prayer during a National Moment of Prayer at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles, April 10, 2020. The church has been livestreaming services during the pandemic lockdown.”I think it is important for all us of to be aware that this is a very dangerous illness, and we are making sure that everything is OK when we come back and celebrate the Eucharist together,” he said.  But several thousand churches have vowed to defy the current stay-at-home order on Pentecost, arguing they can do so safely. Two church services that already were held without authorization have been sources of outbreaks; one in Mendocino County and the other in Butte County. Newsom’s cautious approach to reopening has angered opponents who claim the rules violate religious freedoms. A Pentecostal church in San Diego County lost a federal appeal Friday in its quest to reopen immediately. The South Bay United Pentacostal Church of Chula Vista immediately filed an appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court. The nonprofit Center for American Liberty, which has filed several lawsuits over church restrictions, said the guidelines don’t go far enough. Newsom “lacks authority to dictate to California’s faithful, how they may worship,” said Harmeet Dhillon, a San Francisco lawyer and the group’s CEO. “Let people who wish to worship safely and together, do so.”  For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death. As of Monday, California had at least 94,558 confirmed cases of COVID-19, more than 3,000 hospitalizations and 3,795 deaths. The state is still seeing troubling COVID-19 flare-ups. More than 150 employees at a Farmer John meatpacking plant in Vernon, an industrial city south of Los Angeles, contracted the coronavirus. Imperial County, across the border from Mexico, has seen a surge. Two inmates from the California Institution for Men in San Bernardino County died Sunday from what appear to be complications related to COVID-19.