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Key Posts | Anorak - Part 3

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Non-violent murder by natural causes: the mysterious death of George Floyd

Non-violent murder by natural causes: the death of George Floyd

Death, murder and a killing. How do you report on George Floyd, the 46-year-old man filmed telling the policeman kneeling on his neck, “Please, please, please, I can’t breathe”? He had already been handcuffed. Four Minneapolis police officers have been fired and federal authorities are investigating what happened to George Floyd, an unarmed black man who had allegedly used a forged check in a grocery store. What we know is mostly broadcast in this video below. Police say George Floyd resisted arrest:

“Hundreds demand justice in Minneapolis after police killing of George Floyd,” says the Guardian. Mr Floyd was “killed when a white Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck as he lay on the ground during an arrest”. Does the policeman’s whiteness matter? Was the man killed, a word that suggest it was no accident? Was it murder? Did he “lay” on the ground or was he being pushed into it.

Minneapolis police department says George Floyd “died a short time” after a “medical incident”, after being transported to hospital. He just died. It was passive. “[They] were able to get the suspect into handcuffs and realized that the suspect was suffering a medical distress”. Dutifully, officers “called for an ambulance”. Was this medical incident related to the large, armed man named Derek Chauvin kneeling on his neck? “He physically resisted officers,” MPD said in a statement. “Officers were able to get the suspect into handcuffs and noted he appeared to be suffering medical distress. Officers called for an ambulance. He was transported to Hennepin County Medical Center by ambulance where he died a short time later.”

The Daily Mail is no less circumspect, reporting that “footage emerged of a white cop kneeling on the neck of a black man who then passed out and died”. He was not killed. He just died. Al Jazeera agrees, although its headline only identifies the dead man by skin colour: “George Floyd: Black man dies after US police pin him to ground.” It was the “death of a black man” says the BBC. “CHAOS, ” yells the Sun, “Riots erupt in Minneapolis as thousands demand arrest of cops over George Floyd’s death with riot police firing tear gas.” Not a killing. A death that plays second fiddle to the “riots” -of which there were none. There was protest. Given what had occurred and the long, ugly history of African Americans being abused at the hands of white police and the US State, the crowd was remarkably calm.

Who do we fear – the police or the crowd looking on? A policeman is kneeling on a man’s throat. Another policeman stands by them both, watching the crowds for signs of insurrection. The man being pinned to the tarmac is about to breath his last.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports on “The nonviolent incident that led to Floyd’s death”, adding that “a cause of death has not yet been determined”. It’s a mystery. But the coroner may care to take a look around Mr Floyd’s neck area for signs of “non-violent” trauma.

The Washington Post says Mr Floyd “died at the hands of police”. There’s no mention of any underlying health conditions. He didn’t collapse. He was taken down and kept down in brutal fashion. Was his death preventable? That one for the experts.

From one newspaper’s”killing” to another’s “non-violent” incident, the story is packaged and shaped to our tastes and prejudices. We need the facts.

Posted: 27th, May 2020 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment


‘I’ve Got The Miley’ – slang in the age of Coronavirus

miley cyrus virus covid 19

Australians Kate Burridge and Howard Manns tell us how coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic is creating new words and phrases. You got the ‘covo’, mate?

In these times of COVID-19, there are the usual suspects: shortenings like “sanny” (hand sanitizer) and “iso” (isolation), abbreviations like BCV (before corona virus) and WFH (working from home), also compounds “corona moaner” (the whingers) and “zoombombing” (the intrusion into a video conference).

Plenty of nouns have been “verbed” too — the toilet paper/pasta/tinned tomatoes have been “magpied”. Even rhyming slang has made a bit of a comeback with Miley Cyrus lending her name to the virus (already end-clipped to “the Miley”). Some combine more than one process — “the isodesk” (or is that “the isobar”) is where many of us are currently spending our days.

Linguist Tony Thorne, has a list of new language, writing beneath the headline: “CORONASPEAK – the language of Covid-19 goes viral”. Here are some from his glossary coined by an excited media:

Coronaverse (Guardian) – the now prevailing socio-economic order

Quarantimes – a hashtag or label for the prevailing circumstances under lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic

Viral anxiety (New Statesman) – fear and uncertainty, sometimes excessive, due to the COVID-19 outbreak and its ramifications

The coronopticon (Economist) – the notion of a national or global system of surveillance and control

Contagion chivalry (New York Times) – an act or acts of selflessness during confinement

Coronaphobia (Daily Mail) – fear experienced by the public at the prospect of having to return to work, send children back to school, use public transport, etc.

Corona-shaming (New York Times) – publicly criticising those, particularly celebrities, who have infringed public health regulations

Coronacoma (New York Times)

Spotter: Kottke

Posted: 14th, May 2020 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment


England edges towards post- Covid-19 freedom, Scotland bans common sense and Wales threatens to arrest the English

The Government’s new Covid-19 guidelines tell us that two people from different households are able to meet in outdoor settings so long as they stay more than two metres apart. “If you’re out in the park and you’re 2m apart… and use some common sense and you socially-distance, you can meet up with other people.,” says Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab. You can’t meet indoors, not even if you both wear wide-hooped crinoline skirts, gas masks and rubber gloves. (I’m sorry, Prince Andrew, but those are the rules.) You can “take more and even unlimited amounts of outdoor exercise” rather than only exercising once a day, “play sports” with people from the same household, and people from one household can drive to other destinations (such as forests, parks and beaches).

But only in England. Politics has stepped in to muddy the waters. Many Scots will no doubt be delighted that more than one bout of daily exercise remains forbidden. The SNP Government in Scotland says the country must remain in lockdown. No common sense or you. And the Welsh Government’s counsel general, Jeremy Miles, says Wales is closed to the English. “Our regulations do not permit people to get in their car and drive to destinations in Wales,” says Mr Miles. “And that also means people getting in their cars in England.” Break the rules for Wales and you may well be fined.

Looks like only parts of the UK trust the people to stick to rules on social distancing and consider the risk and take responsibility for themselves.

Posted: 11th, May 2020 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians | Comment


British newspapers marks Hitler’s death with bizarre tribute

Adolf Hitler died on April 30 1945. The Independent newspaper seems to want to thank the German leader for doing his bit to end World War 2. The headline marking 75 years since the genocidal, mass murderer’s death chimes: “How Hitler met his death 75 years ago and brought the Second World War and brought the Second World War to a close.”

Hitler death independent

Not all bad, then, right?

On 20 April, Adolf Hitler made his final appearance above ground as he emerged from the sanctuary that had become his prison to hand out the Iron Cross to members of the Hitler Youth, among the devastated remains of what had been the Chancellery’s garden.

It was his 56th birthday and the last time he would feel the brush of sunlight against his cheek.

Aw. Shucks!

On 23 April, Eva Braun wrote to her sister Gretl, sending gifts of coffee and tinned food for their parents and giving instructions for the disposal of her gold and diamond watches, photograph albums and her love letters.

You want more? You should see what he did for gender equality:

On his last morning on earth, a pallid Hitler is said by biographer Hans-Otto Meissner to have greeted Magda Goebbels, the Nazi Party’s unofficial “first lady”, by taking the gold party insignia from his grey overcoat and fastening it to her lapel with trembling hands, prompting her to burst into tears at the honour. It was the highest recognition ever awarded to a woman by the Third Reich.

Adolf Hitler – gave his life to end the war. Whaddaguy! Such are the facts.

Posted: 1st, May 2020 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment


Kick It Out: Newcastle United’s Saudi Arabia money is perfect for the greedy, moralising Premier League

Newcastle United: Saudi Arabia money  is perfect for the greedy, moralising Premier League

The latest plot to make Newcastle United winners is under attack. beIn Sports wants the Premier League to stop Newcastle’s proposed £300million takeover from a Saudi Arabia-led consortium. The prospective buyers have funds from Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund – money controlled by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Qatar media network beIN SPORTS has an exclusive deal to broadcast all Premier League football matches in the Middle East and North Africa for the three seasons 2019/20-2021/22. “Nothing brings people together and excites passions and emotions like sport; particularly football,” guffed beIn’s spots chairman as the £400m deal was signed. But sport can only do so much. The hand of friendship can be cut off at the wrist. The two countries are not on the best of terms:

Since 2017 Qatar has been subject to a boycott by Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt (the Arab Quartet), creating a deep rift in a region already beset by civil wars and insurgencies

CityAm explains:

BeIN is locked in a bitter dispute with illegal Saudi-backed broadcaster BeoutQ, which it has accused of pirating its coverage of Premier League fixtures.

“In light of the Saudi Arabia government’s facilitation of the near three-year theft of the Premier League’s commercial rights — and in turn your club’s commercial revenues — through its backing of the huge scale BeoutQ pirate service, I would strongly suggest that you fully interrogate this deal, and ask the Premier League to do the same, as a matter of urgency,” al-Obaidly wrote.

“It is no exaggeration to say that the future economic model of football is at stake,” he added.

Pick a side: Qatar or Saudi Arabia? And don’t forget to pull on your rainbow laces. This is what Human Rights Watch says of each bastion of the beautiful game:

Qatari laws continue to discriminate against women, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals

The Premier League says: “The Premier League, proudly stand alongside Stonewall in promoting equality and diversity… we ask that all fans support LGBT people in football and beyond by making them feel welcome.”

Premier LEague kick it out

Saudi Arabia faced unprecedented international criticism in 2019 for its human rights record, including continuing repression of dissidents and activists and the failure to provide accountability for the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi agents in October 2018. Amid the criticism, Saudi authorities announced landmark reforms for Saudi women that, if fully implemented, represent a significant step forward, including allowing Saudi women over 21 years old to obtain passports and travel abroad without male guardian permission for the first time. However, women’s rights activists still remained in prison or on trial for their activism. In 2019, Saudi Arabia carried out 184 executions, 84 for non-violent drug crimes. Through 2019, the Saudi-led coalition continued a military campaign against the Houthi rebel group in Yemen that has included scores of unlawful airstrikes that have killed and wounded thousands of civilians.

Racism and sexism are the norm in Saudi Arabia. The moralising PL must be shocked. It support Kick It Out, stating:

The Premier League is making it clear there is No Room For Racism as we continue to work with all our clubs, fans, the FA, EFL, PFA, Kick It Out and the police to tackle discrimination across all areas of football.

The League’s No Room for Racism campaign demonstrates its continued commitment to equality and diversity, using the power and popularity of the League to oppose racism in football.

Racism is not acceptable in our competition or the wider sport.

The Saudi and Qataris are just the sort of people, then, that our moralising Premier League can do business with. Time for the PL to make a tough decision and stop using football to teach the fans how to think.

Posted: 23rd, April 2020 | In: Key Posts, News, Sports | Comment


Tabloid readers flock to buy Vogue for news of Harry and Meghan as former royals ban the Sun, Express, Mirror and Mail from doing their PR

prince harry meghan
Harry and Meghan – live cam

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will no longer “offer themselves up as currency for an economy of clickbait and distortion”. The couple, now living in LA and functioning as the ambulatory Archewell brand, tell four of the main British tabloids, The Sun, Daily Mail, Daily Express and Daily Mirror, they are above such things. They are beginning “a new media relations policy”. They tell the media:

“It is gravely concerning that an influential slice of the media, over many years, has sought to insulate themselves from taking accountability for what they say or print – even when they know it to be distorted, false, or invasive beyond reason. When power is enjoyed without responsibility, the trust we all place in this much-needed industry is degraded.”

From now on the tabloids will have to rely on gossip, paparazzi photos and ‘sources’ close to the couple for news. Yeah. Plus ca change. Harry and Meghan will bar the media they don’t like from receiving official updates and photographs. The four newspapers of the apocalypse will not receive the couples press releases telling of their unique inspiring love and where you can buy their news range of scented candles. The papers will have to wait for other approved organs to publish the PR before splashing the statements across their web pages. The papers will also be banned from attending official Archewell events.

Tabloid readers will be distraught at the news and flock to buy Vogue and therein read of the couple’s wonderful lives and where to get their merchandise.

Posted: 20th, April 2020 | In: Key Posts, News, Royal Family, Tabloids | Comment


The NHS advert for staying at home during coronavirus crisis features a headless woman trapped beneath two laughing women and a dog

The NHS advert tells us to Stay At Home. Yeah, you can go out to exercise for an hour a day. And you can go shopping. And if you’re in the police force you can stand on a bridge and clap. But STAY AT HOME! One tip to prevent any urges to leave the home is to trap yourself beneath two fiends and a dog.

File under: it’s amazing what you can find down the back of a sofa.

Posted: 19th, April 2020 | In: Key Posts, News, Strange But True | Comment


Everything explained in one huge conspiracy theory graphic

Everything explained in one huge conspiracy theory graphic

The conspiracy theory about the conspiracy theories has been pulled together in one graphic. Of course, what you can’t see is the real evidence just just off the page to the right. And it will blow your mind!

Posted: 19th, April 2020 | In: Key Posts, News, Strange But True | Comment


Coronavirus coppers filmed harassing and threatening journalist in Finsbury Park

police london

We don’t know why the police were talking to a woman and her dog in Finsbury Park, North London. But one journalist who tried to find out was harassed and threatened with a fine by the coronavirus coppers. The best part might be when one copper asks Michael Segalov for his “credentials”. It’s journalism and free speech, officer, you don’t need any:

Posted: 18th, April 2020 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment


10 Questions for journalists to ask Government about Coronavirus

Journalism matters. It’s not all talking truth to power and showing us things other people would rather we didn’t know. Sometimes it involves talking about the latest shoes, if Meghan Markle takes one or two bottles into the shower and pandering to your audience’s prejudices. The clip above was a Channel 4 News anchor not asking a question to shed light on the Government’s handling of the coronavirus crisis, but simply demanding something. The anchor’s grandstanding serves only his needs, which are: look important; display your sense of entitlement; show your Labour voting audience how right they are to dislike a Tory Government; and give it up for the narcissists. Robbie Gibb has heard enough of this self-aggrandizing point scoring. Journalists with access are letting us down:

coronavirus 10 questions to ask journalists
coronavirus 10 questions to ask journalists

Gotcha!

Posted: 15th, April 2020 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians | Comment


Prince William says Britain is ‘best’ in a crisis and coronavirus is media hype

Prince William coronavirus
Smile and wave, just smile and wave

Prince William says Britain is “at its best” when people are suffering. How he knows this is moot. “I think Britain is at its best, weirdly, when we’re in a crisis,” says Wills. “We all pull together and that community spirit and that community feel comes rushing back quicker than anything else.” A week earlier, Wills, who belongs to the very rich landed community, was at a reception at Guinness Storehouse. He told a medic: “Does it seem quite dramatic about coronavirus at the moment? Is it being a little bit hyped up, do you think, in the media?”

It’s he kind of bone-headed comment that gets people’s backs up.

Smile and wave, Will, stick to the smile and wave…

Posted: 13th, April 2020 | In: Key Posts, News, Royal Family | Comment


The Government Coronavirus advice vs Cards Against Humanity

coronavirus

Lots of us got the Government’s letter telling us to stay indoors for at least 12 weeks and protect the NHS. Amy Allen had updated the missive with a a few rounds of Cards Against Humanity, “a party game for horrible people”. The game simple: “Each round, one player asks a question from a black card, and everyone else answers with their funniest white card.”

Cards Against Humanity coronavirus
Cards Against Humanity coronavirus
Cards Against Humanity coronavirus
Cards Against Humanity coronavirus

Spotter: Amy Allen

Posted: 12th, April 2020 | In: Key Posts, News, The Consumer | Comment


Coronavirus: Queen urges ‘self-discipline and resolve’ – Prince Andrew leads by example

Queen coronavirus
The Queen during The International Driving Grand Prix at the Royal Windsor Horse Show.

Her Majesty the Queen says to endure the coronavirus crisis we need “self-discipline and resolve”. Prince Andrew, how has been self-isolating from Royal duties and the FBI leads by example.

“I am speaking to you at what I know is an increasingly challenging time,” says Her Maj. “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. And those who come after us will say that the Britons of this generation were as strong as any. That the attributes of self-discipline, of quiet good-humoured resolve and of fellow-feeling still characterise this country.”

Anyone feeling trapped, vulnerable and isolated should not try to track down Andrew for company, should he be staying on a billionaire’s private island, which he isn’t, and call 0800PrincessDiana and ask for Squidgy.

Posted: 5th, April 2020 | In: Key Posts, News, Royal Family | Comment


Prince Charles and his faceless friend open the Nightingale hospital for Coronavirus

Prince Charles Nightingale hospital

When Prince Charles opened the Nightingale Hospital in London that will deal with coronavirus patients Richard Little noticed something behind him. There on the dressing table was a framed photo of a ghost. Or is it a smudge? What or who is it?

Prince Charles Nightingale hospita

Richard and Twitter got to work:

Cilla Black By @ReactionsTo2023

Rod Hull @ReactionsTo2023
By @raghard

Posted: 4th, April 2020 | In: Key Posts, News, Royal Family | Comment


Eddie Large died with Coronavirus not from it

Eddie Large died “with” Coronavirus, says the BBC. The entertainer, one half of the Little and Large comedy duo, contracted the virus in hospital. He had been suffering with heart failure. So how does the Mirror report on the death of the 78-year-old? Not well. Eddie Large’s death is presented as part of the “Coronavirus Crisis”. “Eddie’s heart wasn’t strong enough to fight the virus.” But the virus didn’t kill him.

Eddie Large coronavirus tabloids

Eddie Large was not killed by Covid-19. Well, not unless you read about his death in the Mirror:

Eddie Large coronavirus

The Mail says Eddie Large “death in hospital from coronavirus while being treated for heart failure”. It adds: “Mr Large, who was famous for his singing and impressions, is the most famous Briton to be killed by coronavirus, which has now claimed almost 3,000 lives in the UK with deaths hitting 500-a-day.” Deep into the story we’re told: “The father of three had a successful heart transplant in 2003 – but it appears that the organ began to fail before his death, leading to his hospital admission in Bristol.”

The Sun notes: “The comedian had been suffering with heart failure and contracted the deadly virus in hospital.” To say nothing of heart failure being deadly, which it doesn’t.

Eddie Large’s son, Ryan McGinnis, wrote on Facebook:

“It is with great sadness that Mum and I need to announce that my dad passed away in the early hours of this morning. He had been suffering with heart failure and unfortunately, whilst in hospital, contracted the coronavirus, which his heart was sadly not strong enough to fight. Dad had fought bravely for so long. Due to this horrible disease we had been unable to visit him at the hospital but all of the family and close friends spoke to him every day. We will miss him terribly and we are so proud of everything he achieved in his career with Syd and know that he was much loved by the millions that watched them each week.”

Eddie Large: Edward Hugh McGinnis (25 June 1941 – 2 April 2020).

Posted: 3rd, April 2020 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts, News, Tabloids | Comment


Help the NHS fight Coronavirus in North London by donating to the Royal Free Charity Covid-19 Emergency Fund

Royal Free hospital covid-19 charity

In North London, the Royal Free London hospitals – the Royal Free Hospital, Barnet Hospital and Chase Farm Hospital – need your help. The Royal Free Charity has become the Royal Free Charity Covid-19 Emergency Fund to support NHS staff through the crisis. Clapping your hands for the NHS is all well and good but money is better.

Many of the staff at the three hospitals are now caring for patients with coronavirus, or are dealing with patients who are not unwell with the virus but still desperately need their help. Resources are stretched to the limit and they’re working under the most extreme pressure. It’s not just affected doctors and nurses; everyone, from ICU and the wards, to the porters, cleaners and support staff, is playing a role in the fight against the virus. As we all know, the situation is going to get even worse before things start to improve.

The aim is to get a complete support service in place as soon as possible. This will include the provision of care packages at the end of a very long shift, to psychological support and the creation of physical respite spaces, all of which have been suggested by staff. Every penny raises will make a real difference to their lives.

Please make a donation here.

Posted: 2nd, April 2020 | In: Key Posts, Money, News | Comment


Kate Winslet gives tips to keep you safe during the coronavirus pandemic

Kate Winslet gives tips to keep you safe during the coronavirus pandemic

Kate Winslet is well placed to keep you safe during the coronavirus pandemic. As Sky News tells it, Winslet starred in the film Contagion about a hypothetical virus outbreak. All of you who think EastEnders is a fly-on-the-wall documentary about London life stay tuned. After this look out for Winslet telling us to maintain a youthful complexion into your second century of living (see the Titanic CCTV footage from 1912).

People have been grateful for Kate’s expertise and selfness willingness to educate:

Kate Winslet gives tips to keep you safe during the coronavirus pandemic
Kate Winslet gives tips to keep you safe during the coronavirus pandemic

It’s not a Sky News production. GQ explains:

In addition to [Matt] Damon and Winslet, Laurence Fishburne, Marion Cotillard, and Jennifer Ehle have also filmed PSAs, which were made with the help of the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. Soderbergh and writer Scott Z. Burns teamed up with the school’s Dr. W. Ian Lipkin, a professor of epidemiology who also served as an advisor for the chillingly realistic 2011 movie.

“The Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University reached out to the cast and asked us if we’d have a virtual reunion and do some PSAs,” Damon explains. “Everything you’re going to hear from us has been vetted by public health experts and scientists.”

It’s only real if a famous face says it is.

Posted: 1st, April 2020 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts, News | Comment


The Coronavirus reading list by Ernest Hemingway: 14 books and two shot stories

Ernest Hemingway reading list

Stuck for a good book to read as the coronavirus spread makes staying in doors obligatory? Don’t be. This is a great reading list compiled by Ernest Hemingway. As Paul Gallagher writes at Flashbak:

In 1934, Arnold Samuelson read Ernest Hemingway’s short story One Trip Across. It inspired the 22-year-old student to travel across America and seek out the author. He wanted to ask Hemingway for his advice on how best to write.

Samuelson had just finished a course in journalism at the University of Minnesota. He harboured ambitions to be a writer. Packing a bag, he hitch-hiked his way down to Hemingway’s home in Key West. When he arrived, he found the place, like the rest of America, in the grip of the Great Depression. He spent his first night sleeping rough on a dock. During the night, he was woken by a cop who invited Samuelson to sleep in the local jail. He accepted the offer. The next day, feeling refreshed, Samuelson ventured out in the sun to search for his hero’s home.

When I knocked on the front door of Ernest Hemingway’s house in Key West, he came out and stood squarely in front of me, squinty with annoyance, waiting for me to speak. I had nothing to say. I couldn’t recall a word of my prepared speech. He was a big man, tall, narrow-hipped, wide-shouldered, and he stood with his feet spread apart, his arms hanging at his sides. He was crouched forward slightly with his weight on his toes, in the instinctive poise of a fighter ready to hit.

The full list is at Flashbak. But my pick would be… Well, I don’t know. I need to read them all. It’s a cracking list.

Posted: 30th, March 2020 | In: Books, Key Posts | Comment


Coronavirus: Dr El-Hawrani, the NHS and the death of facts

Four newspapers lead with the death of Dr Amgad El-Hawrani, an NHS and private earth nose and throat consultant who was infected with coronavirus before he died. All newspapers call him Dr Amged El-Hawrani, even though the NHS knew him as Dr Amgad El Hawrani. This is his profile on the NHS website:

NHS doctor covid-a9

Having renamed the doctor – although a filing at companies house does give his name Amged El-Hawrani – the papers tell the story of how a talented man at the top of his field came to die at just 55 years old. The Times leads with news what he picked up an infection from a patient.

Amged El-Hawrani

So Dr El-Hawrani picked up Covid-19 virus from a patient. Fact. Well, no. It’s just a maybe. After the headline news has grabbed your eyeballs, the Times tells its readers:

A consultant ear, nose and throat specialist has become the first frontline hospital worker to die in the fight against Covid-19 after seemingly contracting the virus from his patients.

So he could have come into contact with the disease anywhere. We’re looking at likelihood not facts.

Amged El-Hawrani, 55, died on Saturday night at Leicester Royal Infirmary after testing positive for the virus and being treated on a ventilator for the past two weeks.

We do not know where Dr El-Hawrani caught Covid-19. But the story is out there that he caught it on a ward as he worked for the NHS. The headlines suggest that much. We hear an opinion:

The death of Amged El-Hawrani, 55, an ear, nose and throat specialist, marks a sad moment in Britain’s fight against coronavirus but is a familiar story in countries around the world (Kat Lay writes).

In China, Iran and Italy doctors from his specialty seem to have been particularly likely to become hospital in-patients or even die from the virus. Another ENT consultant, in Sheffield, is said to be improving after receiving critical care. The nature of ENT doctors’ work means they have to get close to patients’ faces — and coronavirus spreads through droplets from sufferers’ noses or mouths. This means that specialists are particularly likely to be exposed. Research suggests that those exposed to a higher initial “dose” of the virus are more likely to suffer a severe form of the disease.

Amged El-Hawrani

The Mirror calls Dr El-Hawrani a hero and links his death to a demand for more protective kit.

Ear, nose and throat specialist Dr El-Harwani, who died on Saturday, is understood to have contracted the virus several weeks ago.

Understood by whom? We’re not told. We do not know where the doctor caught the virus. Low down the front-page story, the Mirror concedes: “It is not known how Dr El-Hawrani contracted Covid-19.” But that fact comes after readers are told:

NHS England described Dr El-Hawrani as the first practising hospital doctor to die of the virus…

Might he have caught the disease elsewhere? Did he travel overseas recently? We’re not told.

As worrying footage of a nurse working in a coronavirus ward wearing only basic protection was passed to the Mirror, the Doctors’ Association UK said it was “deeply saddened” by Dr El-Hawrani’s death.

And it urged the Government to make a priority of “protecting the lives of the life-savers”.

The facts are thin. But that does not stop the Mirror from spreading anxiety. Aren’t things safer than they were several weeks ago when Dr El-Hawrani caught the disease now that the country is under lockdown, patients are being tested for Covid-19 and awareness is growing? It’s not ideal, of course, this is dangerous work – and medics come into contact with sick people every day of their working lives in GP surgeries and hospitals. But without facts media should be cautious about using a man’s death for any narrative purpose other than to mourn it and empathise with his family’s loss.

Amged El-Hawrani

The Guardian reports:

A 55-year-old hospital consultant has died of coronavirus, underlining the danger to frontline NHS workers.

It’s horrible news. But we do not know how Dr El-Hawrani caught the disease.

Amged El-Hawrani

Did Dr El-Hawrani take on private patients? If he did, as many consultants do, might he have contracted the coronavirus working with them and not on the “frontline” for the NHS? But the media narrative has not time to entertain that possibility:

Did he only work for the NHS? No papers mention that Dr El-Hawrani also worked in private medicine.

About Private Healthcare UK

Private Healthcare UK was established in 1996 and helps patients to find information about private medical treatment, hospitals, clinics, doctors, specialists and health insurance.

Amged El-Hawrani private NHS

And there’s BUPA – “A leading international healthcare group, we run care homes, health centres, dental centres and hospitals, offer personal and company health insurance and provide workplace health services, health assessments and chronic disease management services including health coaching.” In short: private healthcare.

Dr El-Hawrani

Such are the facts.

Posted: 30th, March 2020 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment


May 16 2020: The Moon, Venus and Jupiter will make a smiley face in the sky over North America

occulation

This May 16, a crescent moon beneath Venus And Jupiter will form a smiley face in the sky. The occultation, says ABS-CBN News, will only be visible from the USA and Canada.

Smiley face moon venus jupiter
Sunday May 16, 2010 in Manila, Philippines

Posted: 29th, March 2020 | In: Key Posts, News, Strange But True | Comment


Internet Archive creates National Emergency Library for instant access to its 1.4million books

Shut indoors you can read and read thanks to the Internet Archive which has suspended waiting lists for the 1.4 million book on it shelves by creating a National Emergency Library.

During the waitlist suspension, users will be able to borrow books from the National Emergency Library without joining a waitlist, ensuring that students will have access to assigned readings and library materials that the Internet Archive has digitized for the remainder of the US academic calendar, and that people who cannot physically access their local libraries because of closure or self-quarantine can continue to read and thrive during this time of crisis, keeping themselves and others safe.  

This library brings together all the books from Phillips Academy Andover and Marygrove College, and much of Trent University’s collections, along with over a million other books donated from other libraries to readers worldwide that are locked out of their libraries.

And you can help:

  1. Read books, recommend books, and teach using books from the National Emergency Library
  2. Sponsor a book to be digitized and preserved
  3. Endorse this effort institutionally or individually
  4. Share news about the National Emergency Library with your social media followers using #NationalEmergencyLibrary
  5. Donate to the Internet Archive

Fantastic.

Posted: 26th, March 2020 | In: Books, Key Posts, News | Comment