FBI questions Dianne Feinstein about coronavirus stock sales

FBI questions Dianne Feinstein about coronavirus stock sales

Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s office says she was contacted by the FBI about stock sales her husband made early in the coronavirus pandemic.

The California Democrat is one of four senators facing scrutiny for stock sales early in the crisis. The FBI served a warrant Wednesday on Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) and seized his cellphone.

Feinstein spokesman Tom Mentzer told The Post that she was contacted last month. Feinstein provided the FBI written answers, he said.

Mentzer said in a statement he believes that the offices of Sens. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.) and James Inhofe (R-Okla.) also were contacted by the FBI.

Spokespeople for Loeffler and Inhofe did not immediately respond to The Post’s requests for comment.

“Senator Feinstein was asked some basic questions by law enforcement about her husband’s stock transactions, as I think all offices in the initial story were,” Mentzer said.

“She was happy to voluntarily answer those questions to set the record straight and provided additional documents to show she had no involvement in her husband’s transactions. There have been no follow-up actions on this issue,” Mentzer said.

Therapeutics on Jan. 31, less than a month before panic about the virus caused markets to plunge, Senate records show. Her husband sold $1,000,001 to $5 million worth of Allogene shares on Feb. 18, according to financial disclosures.

Burr, who was privy to early intelligence reports on the pandemic, sold as much as $1.72 million in stocks weeks before the market crashed. He lost his chairmanship of the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday amid the FBI investigation.

Loeffler and her husband sold millions after she attended a Jan. 24 private briefing for senators on COVID-19. She said the sales were made by outside advisers.

Feinstein and Inhofe said their stock sales were unrelated to non-public information and their reps said they did not attend the private briefing for senators.

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‘Cuba provides Brazilians better care than our gov’t,’ says reporter

‘Cuba provides Brazilians better care than our gov’t,’ says reporterBrasilia, May 13 (Prensa Latina) Cuba is providing better care than Brazil to a group of Brazilians on the island trying to return home in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, assured on Wednesday journalist Ana Graziela Aguiar, from the Caminhos da Reportagem programme, in TV Brazil.

‘The Cuban government takes better care of us than our own government. We feel much more protected here, medicine is much more advanced but we want to go home because it is our right, like any Brazilian,’ affirmed Aguiar, cited by the O Globo daily.

The report reveals that at least 53 Brazilians remain in Cuba including a two-year-old boy since they cannot return to Brazil due to the closure of airports in coronavirus times.

The daily details the group of Brazilians in Cuba is made up of medical students, researchers and professors located in Havana, in addition to the EICTV students, placed on a farm in San Antonio de Los Baños, 40 kilometers from the Cuban capital, where there are also two teachers, one of them along with his wife and little boy.

O Globo reviews that, founded by Gabriel Garcia Marquez in the late 1980s, EICTV had to cancel its activities in April due to the restriction measures in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic.

However, the EICTV school decided to continue working until July to support some students and teachers unable to return home.

‘Despite recommendations to return home, many employees preferred to continue living with us at school during quarantine to look after students and teachers who were unable to leave. Now that the quarantine has been lifted, they are changing shifts,’ said Aguiar.

The spirit of collectivity and solidarity is very beautiful to see, ‘the school is a family,’ noted the reporter.

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Michigan Gov. Whitmer calls protests ‘racist,’ ‘misogynistic’ on ‘The View’

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said Wednesday that the lockdown protests were “racist and misogynistic” — and noted that such scenes make it “likelier” that residents will have to stay home even longer to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Whitmer told ABC’s “The View” that the protests were “really political” as demonstrators have brought nooses, rifles and Nazi symbols along with Confederate flags, The Hill reported.

“This is not appropriate in a global pandemic,” said Whitmer, whose name has been floated as a potential running mate for Joe Biden and who received threats over the lockdown.

“It’s certainly not an exercise of democratic principles where we have free speech. This is calls to violence. This is racist and misogynistic.”

She also asked that those who have a public “platform” use it “to stop encouraging this behavior because it only makes it that much more precarious for us to try to re-engage our economy,” and to promote the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for reopening.

“The whole point of them supposedly is that they don’t want to be doing that. And that is why I’m asking anyone with a platform to call on people to do the right thing,” she said.

Protests have broken out against Whitmer’s stay-at-home order over the past month as some residents want the state economy and businesses to reopen.

Whitmer extended the state’s stay-at-home order last week to May 28 from the previous deadline of May 15.

President Trump has voiced support for the protesters, calling them “very good people.”

Michigan has recorded 48,021 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 4,674 deaths, according to the state health department.

Despite the protests, some polling showed that the majority of Michigan residents approved of Whitmer’s handling of the pandemic, including the state’s stay-at-home order.

The survey, conducted after the protests last month by the Detroit Regional Chamber, found that 57 percent of residents approved of Whitmer’s coronavirus response, while just 37 percent disapproved.

Overall, a majority of Americans disapprove of protests against restrictions aimed at preventing the spread of the coronavirus, another poll showed.

The new survey from the University of Chicago Divinity School and the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found that 55 percent of Americans disapprove of the protests while 31 percent approve.

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House Republicans to Probe Use of Chinese-Made Drones by U.S. Law Enforcement

U.S. intelligence agencies have warned that drones by Da Jiang Innovations could be used by the Chinese government to spy on American infrastructure.

An Evo II drone flies in the Autel booth at the 2020 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nev., January 8, 2020. (Steve Marcus/Reuters)
Republican members of the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday announced an inquiry into the use of Chinese-made drones by U.S. state and local police forces.

U.S. intelligence agencies have warned that drones made by Da Jiang Innovations, a Chinese company that manufactures about 80 percent of drones in the U.S., could be used by the Chinese government to spy on American infrastructure. But local law-enforcement agencies have nevertheless been using DJI drones to enforce social-distancing measures during the coronavirus pandemic.

“Although federal law enforcement agencies have warned of potential information security concerns with DJI drones, it is not clear whether state and local law enforcement agencies are fully aware of these issues,” the representatives wrote in letters to the Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security. “On April 1, 2020, DJI announced that it had donated 100 drones to ‘45 police, fire and public safety organizations in 22 states’ under the potential guise of helping with the problems caused by the coronavirus pandemic.”

The letter to the Justice Department requests a list of all local police forces currently using DJI drones, and both letters ask whether the DOJ and DHS are monitoring the use of such drones.

As early as 2017, the Department of Homeland Security warned that DJI was “selectively targeting government and privately owned entities within these sectors to expand its ability to collect and exploit sensitive U.S. data.”

DJI spokesperson Adam Lisberg disputed those claims.

“With more front-line workers testing positive for COVID-19, our focus is giving our public safety professionals every tool possible to fight the virus and protect citizens. That is our goal,” Lisberg told National Review. “False claims that our drones spy on people or send data to China actually risk interfering with public safety efforts to protect people and communities.”

Police tasked with enforcing social-distancing measures have used DJI drones to look into areas that would otherwise be difficult to reach. Chris Bollwage, the mayor of Elizabeth, N.J., defended his city’s use of drones in an interview with MSNBC in mid April.

“If these drones save one life, it is clearly worth the activity and the information that the drones are sending,” Bollwage said at the time.

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CNN Buries Its Own Poll Results on Trump’s Favorability. Guess Why.

His approval ratings have never been higher, including on Election Day 2016. Plus, he’s ahead of Biden in battleground states.

Well, that’s interesting, I thought, as I noted that the RealClearPolitics homepage stated that President Trump was tied for his all-time high in CNN polling. Then I went over to the CNN homepage for confirmation. Guess what I found?

The main story was about a church that lost 44 parishioners to COVID-19. The second-most prominent story told us that “Grocery Prices Are Soaring” (which is true if you think that a 2.6 percent increase in April should be called “soaring”), the third-most-prominent item told us, “Doctors treating coronavirus patients are seeing odd and frightening syndromes.” Running down the rail on the right we were given such important developments as “Man refusing to wear a mask breaks arm of Target employee,” “CNN Investigates: He’s willing to get Covid-19 to speed up vaccine efforts,” “Five surfers die after huge layer of sea foam hampers rescue” and “How coronavirus spread from one member to 87% of the singers at a choir practice.”

Only after all of this stuff did we learn that CNN has a new poll out, under the headline, “CNN Poll: Biden tops Trump nationwide, but battlegrounds tilt Trump.” Polls are expensive, news organizations tend to hype them breathlessly to generate headlines in rival media outlets, Wednesday was (obviously) a slow news day, and politics is one of CNN’s core topics. Yet CNN seemed oddly unenthused about its own poll. And the story to which the homepage linked doesn’t mention that Trump had never scored higher in a CNN poll. True, there are lots of noisy data in the piece, most of which cut against Trump. But on the other hand the single most surprising and hence most newsworthy detail of the poll was that Trump holds a seven-point lead over Biden in the battleground states. The CNN story doesn’t even tell us what that figure is — seven points seems like a pretty big number — and downplays its own finding by noting, “Given the small sample size in that subset of voters, it is difficult to determine with certainty whether the movement is significant or a fluke of random sampling.”

The headline of a different CNN news story about the same poll carries the headline, “CNN Poll: Negative ratings for government handling of coronavirus persist” over a picture of Trump looking downcast. This story, unlike the other one, mentions (but not till the fourth paragraph) that Trump’s approval rating of 45 percent “now matches his high point in CNN polling dating back to the start of his term.”

I don’t want to spin this poll as great news for President Trump — he has a 55 percent disapproval rating, and only 36 percent think he’s a trustworthy source of information about the crisis — but the story of the 21st century has been persistently low faith in presidents, government, Congress, and the direction of the country. President Obama had an approval rating of about 48 percent at this point in May of 2012, on his way to being reelected by a wide margin. Joe Biden has an approval rating of only 45 percent, as against 46 percent disapproval, and that’s with Biden mostly shielded from public view. Biden’s penchant for gaffes largely escape notice when his public appearances mainly consist of reading from a Teleprompter in his basement, whereas Trump’s gaffes make headlines. Biden bears no responsibility for all the things that have gone wrong, whereas Trump not only gets heaped with blame, but the pressure of managing a crisis spurs him on to more gaffes. Trump probably doesn’t need to win a plurality of voters to win a majority of Electoral College votes. And being disliked by a majority didn’t stop him before: The day he was elected president, he had a 37.5 percent approval rating, according to the RealClearPolitics poll of polls.

Biden does appear to be the favorite at the moment; he is, after all, leading in nationwide polls by an average of 4.5 percent, according to RealClearPolitics. He appears to have carved out a substantial lead among older voters, whom Trump has to thank for his win in 2016. Yet betting markets still rate Trump a big favorite. After three and a quarter years of the media talking themselves into believing the “walls are closing in,” “the noose is tightening,” and “the endgame has begun,” the voters don’t seem to be confirming that Trump is toast. On the contrary, they have substantially more positive views about Trump than they did when they elected him president. And Biden can’t hide in that basement forever.

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Over 1,000 Cuban health professionals fight Covid-19 in 23 countries

Havana, May 14 (Prensa Latina) More than 1,000 Cuban medical collaborators are working in the red zone providing care to Covid-19 patients in 23 countries, while the others are working in wards for observation, convalescence and consults, it was reported here.

Those professionals are members of 25 brigades of the Henry Reeve International Contingent Specialized in Situations of Disasters and Serious Epidemics, who joined the existing missions in 60 countries, the director of the Central Unit of Medical Collaboration, Jorge Delgado, said on Cuban television.

Speaking on the Mesa Redonda (Round Table) radio and television program on Wednesday, the expert noted that before leaving for several countries, the medical personnel is trained by a team from the Pedro Kouri Tropical Medicine Institute in such matters as measures of protection, prevention, clinics and intensive care therapy.

They are trained to cure and protect themselves with elementary biosecurity and control measures, he said.

Delgado added that the collaborators are tested for Covid-19 before arriving at the Unit, where the test is repeated, and before leaving for the mission, they get a PCR test in real time, whose results are available 48 hours before departure.

In addition, during their stay in the institution, they are checked medically and conditions are guaranteed to keep the necessary measures of protection and hygiene, he underlined.

The physicians and nurses who are fighting the new coronavirus in other countries have already treated 14,000 patients, saved 493 lives, and 41 people have died in the centers where they are working, Delgado noted.

On May 23, Cuban medical collaboration will mark its 57th anniversary, ‘during that time, more than 420,000 Cuban health professionals have fulfilled missions in 134 countries, and 1.9 billion patients have been assisted, a number that has increased considerably during the pandemic,’ he stated.

Since 1963, when the history of Cuban medical collaboration began, 14 million surgeries and four million births have been performed, and 8.3 million lives have been saved, he added.

According to Delgado, there are 29,455 collaborators, including those who were already in a mission before the Covid-19 outbreak, caused by the SARS-Cov-2 coronavirus, and those who joined later.

He said that it is worth noting the work of the nursing staff, especially due to the impact caused by the brigade in Barbados, which was recognized by local authorities for their timely and professional work.

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Japan, UK ban tourists traveling to Mexico due to Covid-19

Japan, UK ban tourists traveling Mexico due to Covid-19Mexico, May 13 (Prensa Latina) Mexican destinations have been eliminated from the main travel guides of Japan and Great Britain, the two countries with the largest tourist markets in Asia and Europe, respectively, local media reported on Wednesday.

FordwardKeys points out that the most visited places by British citizens are Spain and the United States to travel in July and October. Other countries of interest by potential British travelers are Pakistan, Greece, Turkey, Portugal and the United Arab Emirates.

Great Britain is the third-largest tourist-sending country to Mexico, only below the United States and Canada, and it is Europe’s main market, ahead of Germany, Spain and France, Notimex news agency says.

Almost 550,000 residents in Great Britain traveled in 2019 to Mexican destinations by air, an amount greater than 290,000 visitors from Spain and 260,000 from Germany and France.

Uruguay and Colombia are the countries announced with high contagion risk, and restrictions will be strengthened over the next two weeks, Notimex said.

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