Are Lockdowns Necessary? What Data From 10 Countries Show

A new Heritage Foundation special report analyzes the COVID-19 responses of 10 countries, with varying levels of economic freedom, to better understand which policies might have been more effective than others.

Here’s what the report found.

The 10 countries we studied have taken vastly different approaches to handling COVID-19 with varying degrees of success.

The evidence suggests that full lockdowns, such as those implemented in Italy and Norway, are not as effective as the more targeted approaches taken in other countries, such as in South Korea and Iceland.

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Business Continuity and the Chinese Virus

By Christopher Monckton of Brenchley – Re-Blogged From WUWT

Early in 2001, an international corporation’s chief financial officer conducted a business-continuity appraisal of the entire business. All insurances were reviewed and brought up to date. The pension fund was audited to make sure it could meet its obligations. Health, safety and business-risk assessments of every kind were conducted.

The United States headquarters of the corporation were in a prominent New York skyscraper. The cautious finance officer decided that if one of the many totalitarian regimes worldwide that hate democracy and, therefore, have a particular loathing for the United States were to mount a terrorist attack, the building might be vulnerable. At some cost, he turned in the lease and, notwithstanding some grumbling from the board, moved the entire operation to somewhere less prominent.

The building was No. 1, World Trade Center.

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The Chinese-virus lockdowns that have done their job

By Christopher Monckton of Brenchley – Re-Blogged From WUWT

In Italy and Spain, two of Europe’s hardest-hit nations, the compound daily growth rates in cumulative cases of Chinese-virus infection have fallen to 2.8% and 3.4% respectively. The lockdowns in these two countries are, for the first time, being eased.

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Fig. 1. Mean compound daily growth rates in confirmed cases of COVID-19 infection for the world excluding China (red) and for several individual nations averaged over the successive seven-day periods ending on all dates from March 28 to April 12, 2020. A link to the high-definition PowerPoint slides is at the end of this posting.

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Coronavirus Death Predictions Bring New Meaning to Hysteria

By Michael Fumento – Re-Blogged From WUWT

20686795 - ironic satirical illustration of a retro classic comics woman being a drama queen
image licensed from 123rf.com

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COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Economic Impact Sweeps Down on Global Economy Like a Fat Black Swan

It is the senseless things of this world that sometimes knock sense into the high and mighty whose hubris causes them to believe they cannot fall. In this case, the tiny COVID-19 virus (coronavirus) is bringing down a global house of cards long perched to fall — locks, stocks, and barrels of oil.

Stock investors thought the over-Fed market’s bull run would prove immortal, but all the overripe market needed was for a fat, black swan to drop down on the market’s head and knock some sense into it. Economic damage worldwide, however, is far from limited to stocks. Some of it seems almost silly or bizarre, but such is the case when the entire global economy is already in ill health, having survived on Fedmed for a decade.

Pentagon Denies Report U.S. Mulls Pulling up to 4,000 Troops From South Korea

Reporting by Joyce Lee in Seoul and Phil Stewart in Hanoi; Additional reporting by Hyonhee Shin in Seoul, David Brunnstrom and Daphne Psaledakis in Washington of Reuters – Re-Blogged From IJR

The United States on Thursday denied a South Korean news report that it was considering withdrawing up to 4,000 troops from South Korea if it does not pay more for maintaining a 28,500-strong U.S. contingent deterring North Korean aggression.

South Korea’s Chosun Ilbo newspaper reported that the withdrawal of a U.S. brigade, typically 3,000 to 4,000 soldiers, had been discussed with the top brass of the U.S. military in South Korea, citing an unidentified diplomatic source in Washington.

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Nuclear Talks in Doubt as North Korea Tests Missiles, Envoy Cancels Trip

North Korea test-fired two new short-range ballistic missiles on Thursday, South Korean officials said, its first missile test since its leader, Kim Jong Un, and U.S. President Donald Trump agreed to revive denuclearisation talks last month.

South Korea, which supports efforts by North Korea and the United States to end years of hostility, urged the North to stop acts that are unhelpful to easing tension, saying the tests posed a military threat on the Korean peninsula.

The South’s National Security Council said it believed the missiles were a new type of ballistic missile but it would make a final assessment with the United States.

Kim Hong-Ji/File Photo/Reuters

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Putin Says US Guarantees Unlikely to Prompt North Korea to De-Nuclearize

By Hyonhee Shin and Joyce Lee, et al – Re-Blogged From IJR

Russian President Vladimir Putin said after holding talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Thursday that he thought U.S. security guarantees would probably not be enough to persuade Pyongyang to shut its nuclear program.

Putin and Kim held a day of talks on an island off the Russian Pacific city of Vladivostok two months after Kim’s summit with U.S. President Donald Trump ended in disagreement, cooling hopes of a breakthrough in the decades-old nuclear row.

Shamil Zhumatov/Reuters

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How China Is Muscling In on Lithium-Ion Batteries

Re-Blogged From Stratfor

Highlights

  • In spite of potential global pushback against Beijing’s investments, Chinese companies will acquire control of a majority of the lithium-ion battery market, giving the country a significant advantage in a sector of growing geopolitical importance.
  • The United States will exploit economies of scale and focus on finding domestic sources of materials as it attempts to carve out a market share amid China’s growing dominance.
  • Japan and Korea will have the most success penetrating markets in which there is significant pushback against Chinese investment, such as in North America, Australia and parts of Europe.
  • Europe will likely fall behind because its battery manufacturing capacity does not have the ability to meet its demand.
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U.S. President Donald Trump Cancels the North Korea Summit With Kim Jong Un

Re-Blogged From Stratfor

In a shock announcement, U.S. President Donald Trump has canceled the planned June 12 summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. In a letter directly addressed to Kim, released early May 24, the U.S. president thanked his North Korean counterpart for his time and patience in the discussions but said that the “tremendous anger and open hostility” displayed in North Korea’s most recent statement made a meeting inappropriate. The letter is referring to a May 23 statement made by North Korean Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Choe Son Hui in the state-run media outlet KCNA, in which she threatened to pull out of the North Korean summit and condemned U.S. Vice President Mike Pence for recent remarks threatening North Korea if it doesn’t make a deal with the United States. Choe’s statement is the second such threat from North Korean officials in the past week. Trump’s letter ends with an invitation for North Korea to reach out if the country changes its mind about its position on the United States.

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Can North Korea Really Give Up Its Nukes?

Rodger Baker By Rodger Baker – Re-Blogged From Stratfor

Highlights

  • North Korea’s diplomatic outreach again raises the possibility that it is willing to use its nuclear program as a bargaining chip.
  • With an eye toward regime survival and eventual Korean unification, Pyongyang could trade away the public face of its nuclear weapons program.
  • Having offered such a concession, North Korea will demand a lot more than an easing of sanctions by South Korea and the United States in return.

In this photo, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visits the Chemical Material Institute of the Academy of Defense Science at an undisclosed location.

(STR/AFP/Getty Images)

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China Re-Enters the Korean Field of Play

Re-Blogged From Stratfor

It can be difficult to separate the important from unimportant on any given day. Reflections mean to do exactly that — by thinking about what happened today, we can consider what might happen tomorrow.

Highlights

  • Through a top-level meeting with North Korea, China is signaling it will not be a bystander in the evolving dynamics on the Korean Peninsula.
  • China may have an opening to restore its long-frosty relations with South Korea by extending outreach on trade measures.
  • Both North Korea and South Korea have an interest in including China to some extent in their evolving diplomatic dynamic.

Following days of heightened speculation about who was aboard a mystery train that traveled from Pyongyang to Beijing, China confirmed on March 28 that it hosted North Korean leader Kim Jong Un this week.

(-/AFP/Getty Images)

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North Korea Ready To Denuclearize “If Regime Safety Is Guaranteed”

By Zero Hedge – Re-Blogged From Info Wars

The headlines come from South Korean National Security Office special envoy Chung Eui-yong

Score another diplomatic victory for Trump, whose hard line negotiating tactic appears to have generated a dramatic – and favorable for market – outcome. Moments ago futures spiked, 10Y yields jumped and the USDJPY bounced about 106 on what the FT dubbed a “diplomatic breakthrough” that North and South Korea have agreed to hold direct talks between their leaders with North Korea signalling it is willing to abandon its nuclear program “if regime security can be guaranteed.”

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Consumers In Surprising Places Are Borrowing Like Crazy

By John Rubino – Re-Blogged From Dollar Collapse

The Money Bubble is inflating at different speeds in different places. But apparently no culture is immune:

Household Debt Sees Quiet Boom Across the Globe

(Wall Street Journal) – A decade after the global financial crisis, household debts are considered by many to be a problem of the past after having come down in the U.S., U.K. and many parts of the euro area.

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GM Plant Shutdown Shocks South Korea

By Thomson Reuters – Re-Blogged From Newsmax

Only weeks into a new job heading General Motors Co’s international operations, Barry Engle flew into a frigid South Korea in January and held a series of meetings with government officials to discuss the future of GM’s loss-making local unit.

In what they thought were meet-and-greet introductions, senior officials agreed to work with the global automaker on problems at GM Korea, according to South Korean officials with direct knowledge of the meetings.

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South Korea Seizes Second Ship Suspected of Providing Oil to North Korea

By Yuna Park & Hyunjoo Jin – Re-Blogged From Reuters

SEOUL () – South Korean authorities have seized a Panama-flagged vessel suspected of transferring oil products to North Korea in violation of international sanctions, a customs official said on Sunday.

The seizure was the second to be revealed by South Korea within a few days, as the United Nations steps up efforts to squeeze essential oil supplies to the reclusive North following its nuclear or ballistic missile tests.

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Who Will Protect the Next Olympics From North Korea?

By Austin Duckworth – Re-Blogged From Stratfor

In less than six months, the XXIII Olympic Winter Games will begin in Pyeongchang, South Korea. But with an increasingly militant North Korea located less than 161 kilometers (100 miles) away, legitimate concerns have arisen over the event’s potential disruption. Thomas Bach, the president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), recently said he was closely monitoring the situation, adding that it would be a topic of discussion at the committee’s upcoming meeting in Peru. Even so, it’s hard not to wonder who will bear the responsibility of ensuring the safety of athletes and spectators in Pyeongchang. The answer has been constantly evolving for over four decades.

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Are Deflationary Forces Here To Stay

By Sol Palha – Re-Blogged From http://www.Silver-Phoenix500.com

Manufacturing output continues to improve, even though the number of manufacturing jobs in the U.S. continues to decline and this trend will not stop. While some Jobs have gone overseas, the new trend suggests that automation has eliminated and will continue to eliminate a plethora of jobs. As this trend is in the early phase, the momentum will continue to build in the years to come.

Machines are faster, cheaper and don’t complain; at least not yet. So from a cost cutting and efficiency perspective, there is no reason to stick with humans. This, in turn, will continue to fuel the wage deflation trend. Sal Guatieri an Economist at the Bank of Montreal in a report titled “Wage Against the Machine,” states that automation is responsible for weak wage growth.

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China Builds Maritime Muscle

Re-Blogged From Stratfor

China recently reached a new milestone on its path toward military modernization. On June 28, the country launched the first Type 055 warship from the Jiangnan Shipyard on Shanghai’s Changxing Island. The vessel is China’s first heavy destroyer, and it is the largest surface combatant warship built by an Asian power since the end of World War II. With the Type 055, China shows how far it has come in its efforts to expand its maritime capabilities.

The Type 055 warship is a large and heavy vessel, with a full displacement — or weight — of more than 12,000 tons, a length of about 180 meters (590 feet) and a beam of roughly 20 meters. In fact, the U.S. military classifies the Type 055 as a cruiser, a class of warship larger than a destroyer. And despite its size, the new ship is sleek and modern in its design. For instance, it incorporates numerous features that reduce its visibility on radar, such as a fully enclosed foredeck and an integrated mast.

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China and North Korea

Re-Blogged From http://www.Stratfor.com

As diplomacy breaks down on the Korean Peninsula, all eyes are fixed on a pair of events that stand to either worsen or ease the tension mounting between the United States and North Korea. On April 25, North Korea celebrated the 85th anniversary of its military’s establishment, an occasion that has been accompanied by missile tests in the past and that now comes as expectations of a sixth nuclear test by Pyongyang rise. Then, three days after the North Korean military’s birthday, the U.N. Security Council will convene to discuss the country’s persistent march toward a demonstrable long-range nuclear weapons capability. And as the threat emanating from North Korea grows, Washington will be more and more likely to use the summit to call for heavier sanctions against its belligerent adversary.

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