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Daily Archives: May 19, 2020

Coronavirus: When Will Schools Reopen? | NBC Nightly News – NBC News

  1. Coronavirus: When Will Schools Reopen? | NBC Nightly News  NBC News
  2. Coronavirus: Ministers under pressure over schools return date  BBC News
  3. Only 5% of teachers think it safe to reopen English schools, poll shows  The Guardian
  4. The Guardian view on plans for primary schools: stop bullying teachers  The Guardian
  5. How Long Can Public Schools Operate This Way?  National Review
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US Charges Texas Man with COVID-19 Loan Fraud   

A 32-year-old Texas man was charged Tuesday in the Eastern District of Texas with bank fraud, wire fraud and making false statements. He allegedly sought millions of dollars in loans meant to help those affected by the coronavirus.

Samuel Yates of Maud, Texas, is accused in a federal criminal complaint of seeking $5 million in forgivable Small Business Administration loans, prosecutors said. He also submitted forged tax documents, they added. 

“Any time the government provides large amounts of money to the public there are people who will try to cheat the system,” U.S. Attorney Joseph D. Brown of the Eastern District of Texas said in a press release. “We encourage lenders to be very careful, and to report suspicious applications. It is a priority of the Department of Justice to deter and prosecute this type of fraud.” 

According to court documents filed in U.S. District Court in Texarkana, Texas, Yates used an internet random name generator to come up with his list of employees. Yates allegedly filed applications with two lenders. The first application sought $5 million in Paycheck Protection Program loans by claiming to have a business employing more than 400 people, with a monthly payroll of $2 million. In the second application, made to a different lender, Yates claimed more than 100 employees and obtained a loan for more than $500,000. 

Paycheck Protection Program 

The Paycheck Protection Program is part of the CARES Act, enacted in March. The PPP allows qualified small businesses and other organizations to receive loans with a low interest rate for two years. They must be used to pay business payroll costs, interest on mortgages, rent and utilities. 

“Today’s arrest should serve as a strong deterrent to anyone considering exploiting the COVID-19 pandemic to enrich themselves through fraud,” agent Ryan Spradlin of U.S. Immigration and Custom’s Homeland Security Investigations said. “These individuals have no concern for legitimate businesses whose employees and their families are hurting financially during these unprecedented times.”  

The Justice Department is urging all U.S. financial institutions to immediately report all suspicious applications or suspected fraud.  

Ken Starr urges judge in Flynn case to ‘step down’ – Fox News

  1. Ken Starr urges judge in Flynn case to ‘step down’  Fox News
  2. Flynn attorney files emergency appeal to shut down Judge Sullivan’s orders, boot him from case  Fox News
  3. McConnell challenges judge’s handling of Flynn case  POLITICO
  4. In Michael Flynn case, Judge Sullivan’s gross overreach turns justice into mob rule  USA TODAY
  5. Commentary: Why the Michael Flynn case matters in the fight against Illinois corruption  Chicago Tribune
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Feds Urge ‘Extreme Caution’ for Reopening Nursing Homes

Federal authorities are urging governors to use “extreme caution” in deciding when to resume visits at nursing homes, saying it shouldn’t come before all residents and staff have tested negative for the coronavirus for at least 28 days.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ criteria for relaxing restrictions at nursing homes come more than two months after the agency ordered homes to ban visitors. Instead of firm dates, it lists a variety of factors state and local officials should consider, such as adequate staffing levels at homes and the ability to regularly test all residents and workers.

“We’re urging governors to proceed with extreme caution because these are the most vulnerable citizens. We know that nursing homes have struggled,” Seema Verma, head of CMS, told the Associated Press.

Already, outbreaks in nursing homes and long-term care facilities have claimed more than 33,000 lives, more than a third of all coronavirus deaths in the U.S., according to a count by the AP.

The recommendations bolster the Trump administration’s broader guidelines that say senior care facilities should be among the last in a community to reopen, given the vulnerability of their elderly residents. And they noted that some homes may have to wait even longer than 28 days from the last negative test if they have had problems with infection controls, staffing or other issues.

Once visits resume, family members and others should still wear face coverings and practice social distancing, CMS said.

Negative consequences

Although the ban on visitors is intended to keep residents safe, Toby Edelman of the Center for Medicare Advocacy said the prolonged isolation could have negative consequences, since family members often act as an extra set of eyes to ensure their loved ones are being properly cared for.

“It’s been necessary, but it takes its toll on residents and family members, psychologically, mentally, physically — in every conceivable way,” Edelman said.

Dr. Sharon Inouye, a professor of geriatrics at Harvard Medical School in Boston, said it’s been distressing to watch her mother cope with the isolation.

“She got pretty depressed initially. She kept calling me and sometimes she’d be crying, ‘I’m so lonely,'” said Inouye, who had to cancel plans to fly out and see her mother at an assisted living facility in the San Francisco area.

Inouye’s sister, who lives closer to the home, was only able to see their mother from a distance twice. The in-person encounters between family members and residents by the home’s entrance are difficult for staff to coordinate more frequently, Inouye said.

Calls for COVID tests

For weeks, nursing homes have been calling on local and federal officials for help accessing tests and personal protective equipment.

Mark Parkinson, president of the American Health Care Association, which represents nursing homes and assisted living facilities, said the testing of residents and staff should be possible within a few weeks with the federal government making access for homes more of a priority. 

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas ends security agreement with Israel and US – The Guardian

  1. Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas ends security agreement with Israel and US  The Guardian
  2. Israel’s annexation of Palestinian land will be the result of U.S. policy, not a betrayal of it  The Washington Post
  3. Palestinian Authority president says no longer bound to commitments with US, Israel | TheHill  The Hill
  4. The Palestinians Need to Make Bold Moves  The Wall Street Journal
  5. Palestinian President Abbas says accords with Israel, US are void  Al Jazeera English
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