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Member since: Thu May 18, 2017, 11:36 AM
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FIFA President Gianni Infantino faces criminal proceedings in Switzerland

Swiss special prosecutor Stefan Keller announced Thursday he has opened criminal proceedings against FIFA President Gianni Infantino and former Swiss Attorney General Michael Lauber.

The proceedings relate to an undisclosed June 2017 meeting between Infantino and Lauber, who at the time was investigating allegations of corruption at FIFA. A Swiss court concluded last week Lauber covered up the meeting and lied to his supervisors about it, prompting him to offer his resignation.

“This concerns abuse of public office, breach of official secrecy, assisting offenders and incitement to these acts,” Keller’s office said in a statement. Both Infantino and Lauber previously have denied wrongdoing.

The proceedings against Infantino, 50, raise the specter of another scandal hanging over FIFA. The original FIFA scandal, known in some circles as “FIFAgate,” broke in 2015 after the U.S. Justice Department indicted several world-soccer officials, leading to the downfall of former President Sepp Blatter, who reigned over the sport’s governing body between 1998 and 2015.

At: https://nesn.com/2020/07/gianni-infanto-fifa-president-faces-criminal-proceedings-in-switzerland/

FIFA President Gianni Infantino and former Argentine President Mauricio Macri, whom Infantino backed as head of FIFA’s educational foundation - but whose own legal troubles at home have put the appointment in doubt.

Infantino's previously undisclosed meeting with former Swiss Attorney General Michael Lauber - amid a Swiss probe into alleged corruption at FIFA - has opened a new avenue of investigation into Infantino's use of his office.

Arizona Republican Rep. David Schweikert admits 11 ethics violations, will pay $50K fine

Arizona Republican Rep. David Schweikert reached a deal announced Thursday to end a longstanding House Ethics Committee investigation by admitting to 11 rules violations, accepting a reprimand, and agreeing to pay a $50,000 fine.

The committee found “substantial evidence” of violations by the five-term congressman stretching from 2010 into 2018.

Those violations include undisclosed loans and campaign contributions; misuse of campaign funds for personal purposes; improper spending by his office; and an environment where office staffers were pressured to do political work.

At: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2020/07/30/schweikert-arizona-republican-admits-11-ethics-violations-fined/5547002002/

Arizona Rep. David Schweikert

A former rising star in state GOP politics, an ongoing corruption investigation has cast a shadow over Schweikert’s political career since late 2017, when allegations of misspending first surfaced.

After more than 150 years on the South Side, Chicago's Mercy Hospital is closing.

After a long, storied history in Chicago, Mercy Hospital & Medical Center in Bronzeville plans to close next year, dealing a blow to the South Side community it’s served for more than 150 years.

The shutdown follows a decision in May by Mercy, Advocate Trinity Hospital in Calumet Heights, South Shore Hospital in South Chicago and St. Bernard Hospital in Englewood not to pursue a planned merger.

State lawmakers failed to set aside funding for the deal.

Community groups and labor unions decried the decision as another hit to African Americans living and working on the South Side. The hospital maintains 292 beds and employs 1,680.

“People in the surrounding neighborhoods will have to go outside their community for treatment, which can be difficult if they’re experiencing life-threatening situations or don’t have transportation,” said Deborah Harris, executive director of Action Now, which works to empower Black families on the city’s West and South sides.

Anne Igoe, vice president of health systems for SEIU Healthcare Illinois, said she’s disappointed in the decision given the size of Mercy’s owner, Trinity Health, which acquired it in 2012.

At: https://www.chicagotribune.com/business/ct-biz-mercy-hospital-closing-20200729-dql6xd36g5dazkzviq3upyukvi-story.html

Mercy Hospital, in the Bronzeville neighborhood south of downtown Chicago.

Closing the hospital amid COVID-19, according to Deborah Harris, executive director of Action Now, “is outright telling me you do not care about Black folks, brown folks, disenfranchised folks finding access to health care.”

Argentina starts trials on hyperimmune horse serum to treat COVID-19

Argentina has started clinical trials on treating COVID-19 using hyperimmune serum developed with antibodies from horses, authorities from the laboratory involved said on Wednesday.

The serum, produced by local biotechnology firm Inmunova, is obtained by injecting a SARS-CoV-2 protein - which causes the animal to generate a large amount of neutralizing antibodies. Plasma is then extracted from the horse, purified and processed.

After positive results in laboratory tests, the clinical trial to study the effectiveness of the serum will be carried out on 242 people diagnosed with the disease in moderate to severe conditions, the laboratory said.

"If we can lower viral replication in the first days, not only are we going to lower the viral load of the disease and the referral of patients... but we think this neutralizing capacity will allow patients to develop their own immune response," said Fernando Goldbaum, Inmunova's scientific director.

Plasma law

Argentina's Congress likewise passed a bill on July 23 promoting the donation of plasma by recovered Covid-19 patients - awarding donors two days of paid leave.

The bill, introduced by Congressmen Máximo Kirchner of the center-left Front for All and Cristián Ritondo of the right-wing PRO, found rare common cause in the country's sharply divided politics, and passed unanimously.

"Seven out of ten recovered patients develop antibodies," Front for All Senator Inés Blás noted. "600 milliliters of plasma, which is normal, is enough to transfuse three people."

Argentina has recorded 179,000 cases and 3,288 deaths. Its death rate of 73 per million people, however, is a fraction of the 424 in neighboring Brazil, 465 in the U.S., and 485 in neighboring Chile.

At: https://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2020/07/29/world/americas/29reuters-health-coronavirus-argentina-horses.html

A gaucho and his horses in Argentina's Patagonia.

Long known for its horsemanship tradition, Argentina is now exploring equine serum as a possible therapy for Covid-19 patients due to its potent generation of antibodies.

Argentina's Tollgate: Macri-era economy, transport ministers indicted

Argentine Federal Judge Rodolfo Canicoba Corral indicted former Transport Minister Guillermo Dietrich and former Economy Minister Nicolás Dujovne for abuse of power and malfeasance.

The charges relate to presumed irregularities in the awarding of highway toll concessions and payouts during the 2015-19 Mauricio Macri administration, in which the two officials served.

The "Tollgate" case last week yielded its first indictments: those of former National Highways Director Javier Iguacel and former Treasury Prosecutor Bernardo Saravia Frías - a longtime Macri family lawyer.

The case is probing the 10-year extension of the concessions to the toll companies in 2018 without calling new tenders.

Also under investigation is a 2017 payout of $499 million to Ausol and a further $245 million to Concesionaria Oeste as compensation for presumed investments made since 1994. These companies are accused of claiming these debts despite not complying with their obligations.

Macri, who owned 7% of Ausol, sold his shares for a reported 3,125% profit following these moves.

At: https://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&tab=wT&sl=auto&tl=en&u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.politicargentina.com%2Fnotas%2F202007%2F33743-procesado-dujovne-tal-como-iguacel-y-dietrich-el-ex-ministro-de-hacienda-quedo-complicado-en-la-causa-peajes.html

Former Argentine Economy Minister Nicolás Dujovne and former Transport Minister Guillermo Dietrich, who today became the highest-ranking officials in the right-wing Mauricio Macri administration (2015-19) to have been indicted.

Both face charges over the allegedly fraudulent payouts of nearly $750 million to two toll road operators - one of which yielded Macri a 3,125% stock windfall in 2017 following these moves.

Dujovne is also facing investigations into $45 billion in loans taken from the IMF ahead of the 2019 elections - loans which Trump's top Latin America point man, Mauricio Claver-Carone, today admitted to have largely been granted to facilitate Macri's failed re-election bid.

Judge sends two ex-Macri officials to trial over $750 million in toll firm payouts

In the last full week of a lengthy judicial career, Argentine Federal Judge Rodolfo Canicoba Corral on Monday committed former National Highways Director Javier Iguacel and former Treasury Prosecutor Bernardo Saravia Frías to trial for fraudulent administration.

The charges relate to presumed irregularities in the awarding of highway toll concessions during the 2015-19 Mauricio Macri administration, in which the two officials served.

Canicoba Corral also slapped a lien of half a billion pesos ($6.6 million) on the assets of each - but chose not to remand them in custody.

The case is also investigating the 10-year extension of the concessions to the toll companies in 2018 without calling new tenders.

The Argentine state, in 2017, also paid out at least $500 million to Ausol and a further $250 million to Concesionaria Oeste as compensation for presumed investments made since 1994. These companies are accused of claiming these debts despite not complying with their obligations.

Macri, who owned 7% of Ausol, sold his shares for a reported 3,125% profit following these moves.

At: https://www.batimes.com.ar/news/argentina/judge-sends-two-ex-macri-administration-officials-to-trial.phtml

Former Argentine Treasury Prosecutor Bernardo Saravia Frías and former National Highways Director Javier Iguacel.

Both are currently on trial for the allegedly fraudulent award of some $750 million to two toll operators - one of which was partially owned by their boss, former President Mauricio Macri.

Saravia Frías, a longtime Macri famly lawyer, has also been implicated in Macri's attempt to write off a $270 million debt to the postal service in 2017 - when he was named to replace Treasury Prosecutor Carlos Balbín, over Balbín's refusal to approve the write-off.

GOP Senator Blames Latinos For Virus Surge

A Republican senator is blaming Latinos for the resurgence of COVID-19.

Citing anecdotal evidence that contradicts federal government data, embattled Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., linked “the Hispanic population” to the steady rise of COVID-19 infections in his home state.

“And I will tell you, I’m not a scientist, and I’m not a statistician, but one of the concerns that we’ve had more recently is that the Hispanic population now constitutes about 44% of the cases — the positive cases,” the Republican senator said.

At: https://breakingnewsusa.com/2020/07/16/gop-senator-blames-latinos-for-virus-surge/

North Carolina GOP Senator Thom Tillis: The new Steve King?

Upset for Pinera as Chilean Lower House approves withdrawal from pensions

Chilean lawmakers in the country's lower house on Wednesday approved a bill to allow citizens to withdraw up to 10% from private pension funds, in a significant blow to the government of center-right President Sebastián Piñera.

Deputies gathered in the Chilean Congress in the coastal city of Valparaiso cheered and sang the national anthem after the result was announced. The vote was 95-36, with 22 abstentions. The bill was backed by 13 members of Pinera's ruling coalition.

Pinera on Tuesday announced cash payments to middle-class citizens hard-hit by the coronavirus outbreak to try to kneecap support for the bill, which economists have warned could cause a short, sharp shock to the country's bourse and diminish future pension payouts, already widely accepted to be too low to live on.

Chilean senators will vote on the bill in the coming weeks.

At: https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2020-07-15/protests-erupt-in-chile-on-eve-of-lawmaker-vote-to-allow-pension-withdrawal

Scenes last night's protests in Santiago, Chile, in favor of a bill allowing a 10% withdrawal from pension funds - and against the center-right Piñera administration.

While Chile's private pension system has received plaudits in much of the western media, 30% commissions leave 80% of Chilean retirees with depleted pension accounts - thus leaving them dependent on state subsidies to cover the minimum $200 pension Chilean law guarantees.

The pension system was implemented in 1981 by dictator Augusto Pinochet's Labor Minister José Piñera - the current president's brother.

Your Boss Can Now Search Your Car

Thanks to Trump, Labor Board gave employers permission to search your personal property.

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has given employers a sweeping ability to increase surveillance on their employees. The case overturns years of labor law that protected the privacy of workers.

On June 24th, the board issued a ruling that expanded an employer’s right to surveil their workforce. In the decision, the board said that employers have the right to search employee’s personal property while they are on the company’s property. This would include allowing a boss to search someone’s car, locker, or personal workspace. T

he board also said that a company can track employee activity on company-provided devices, networks, and computer systems.

The ruling, which will be known as Verizon Wireless, applied the Boeing Rule which said that companies can institute policies that govern what is and is not allowed in the workplace.

At: https://ucommblog.com/section/corporate-greed/your-boss-can-now-search-your-car

Flood-weary Venice puts 'Moses' inflatable barriers to test

enice has conducted a trial run of an ambitious anti-flood system of 78 inflatable barriers in hopes of protecting the lagoon city from devastating high tides.

Premier Giuseppe Conte on Friday at a ceremony in Venice pressed a button that activated compressors to pump air into the bright yellow barriers, which then started rising from the sea to act as a kind of a dike-on-demand. All 78 barriers were successfully raised, authorities said.

The project, riddled by corruption, was supposed to be working in 2011. Now the latest date is 2021, but Conte expressed hope it could be ready by this autumn. In November 2019, Venice suffered its worst flooding in more than 50 years.

The project’s name, Moses, recalls the Biblical figure who, the Old Testament recounts, parted the waters of the Red Sea. But it also is the Italian acronym for Experimental Electromechanical Modules.

At: https://abcnews.go.com/Business/wireStory/flood-weary-venice-puts-moses-inflatable-barriers-test-71712516

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