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Top 10 Fascinating News Stories This Week (05/08/20)

by Jonathan H. Kantor
fact checked by Jamie Frater

As the world slowly progressed into May, several countries began the process of reopening their economies, letting millions return to work. There’s a sense of hope in the air, though some continue to worry about returning to normal sooner than is safe.

Despite everything that’s happened since Father Time shifted the world into the dumpster fire that has been 2020, it isn’t all bad, and while most have been entirely focused on the virus, other things were happening around the world.

This past week saw quite a few changes in and around the world, with these ten being the most interesting, uplifting, horrifying, and odd.

10 California’s Zero-Bail Policy Screws Up

Prior to the passing of California’s Zero-Bail policy, people would find themselves in jail for extended periods of time, as they lacked the money needed to purchase their release while awaiting trial. It makes sense when you look at the numbers and find that tens of thousands of people were stuck in pre-trial confinement for months at a time. Passing a law like this one may have been done with the best of intentions, but an unintended consequence played out this week.

On Sunday, 24-year-old Dijon Landrum was arrested not once, not twice, but three times with each arrest being followed by his release, and it all played out in 12 hours. He was arrested around 8:30 in the morning while trying to break into a car. He was found to have narcotics but was released in line with the new law. An hour after he was released, at around 2:20 pm, he was found with stolen property. Once more, he was released, and at about 9:00 pm, he was arrested a third time after stealing a vehicle.[1]

A representative from the local police department said, “Due to the California Zero-Bail Policy, Landrum was released with his third citation of the day.” Needless to say, the policy has seen a rise in recidivism throughout the state. For more on unintended consequences, check out 10 Decisions With Bizarrely Unexpected Consequences.

9 Banksy Honored Workers Of The NHS

Banksy has surprised the world once again with a new painting, and this one is unlike his usual fare. The painting depicts a young boy wearing overalls, and in his hand is a doll he is zooming through the air in front of him as if it were Superman. The toy isn’t Spider-Man or Batman; it’s a National Health Services nurse, and the meaning is clear. The nurse is wearing a facemask and cape, and she’s replaced the boy’s former heroes, who are now languishing in the trash beside him.

The painting made its surprise debut at the Southampton General Hospital, where it will remain until the Fall when it will be auctioned off to raise money for the NHS. The painting was accompanied by a note from the artist, which read, “Thanks for all you’re doing. I hope this brightens the place up a bit, even if its only black and white.”[2]

Paula Head, CEO of the University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, said in a statement that “Our hospital family has been directly impacted with the tragic loss of much loved and respected members of staff and friends. The fact that Banksy has chosen us to recognize the outstanding contribution everyone in and with the NHS is making, in unprecedented times, is a huge honor.” There’s more information about this crazy artist on Top 10 Interesting Stories About Banksy.

8 An Artist In The UK Stockpiled PPE And Refuses To Share Any Of It

Becca Brown has become notorious online, where she’s become the center of a controversy surrounding her disaster preparedness, and the UK’s planning for a viral outbreak. The 35-year-old administrative assistant and part-time artist stockpiled more than £2,500 (Around $3,085) in hard-to-find medical equipment, and she’s not sharing any of it with anyone. Brown went into debt, so she could purchase surgical masks, military face masks, coveralls, face shields, shoe covers, hand sanitizer, surgical gloves, and other PPE to prepare for the outbreak. She also hoarded food, medicine, and first aid kits to prepare for the coronavirus.[3]

Brown has been called out over her purchases, but not because they were unnecessary and more than any one person would need; she’s been called out for keeping it all to herself. “Friends have said I should donate them to the NHS, but I won’t – they should have been more prepared.” Instead of giving them to the NHS, she’s using the PPE as a surface for painting. “I need every single one of the masks, face shields, gowns, sanitizers, and other items I have stockpiled. I make absolutely no apology because, as an artist, I have to stand by my work and my right to buy what I want.” Is it time to consider that we might have been giving “artists” a free pass for too long? This list might indicate so: Top 10 Crazy Pieces Of Art Made From Bodily Fluids.

7 Kim Jong-Un Is Back… Or So They Say…

For weeks, the media speculated about the fate of the Supreme Leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea, the enigmatic Kim Jong-Un. Some reports said he died or was in a vegetative state following a botched surgery, while others claimed he was vacationing at a beautiful villa. Nobody was certain as to what happened to the man, but according to the state-run media in North Korea, Kim is alive and well, having made an appearance at a fertilizer factory on Saturday.

North Korean state media posted a picture and some video of Kim holding a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the factory, which quieted rumors that he was sick or deceased. The video showed Kim alive and well on an event that reportedly took place on May 1st. Accompanying the news was a text to reporters from the South’s Unification Ministry, which said, “The groundless rumors about North Korea have caused various unnecessary economic, security and societal confusion and costs.”[4]

Kim’s reappearance may suggest he’s doing fine mentally and physically, but there is no explanation for his three-week absence that preceded the ribbon-cutting ceremony. Then again, it’s not like we haven’t come to expect the odd bit of crazy from North Korea right? Top 10 Kim Jong-Un Crazy Rumors.

6 Asian Murder Hornets Are A Thing And They’ve Made It To The USA

If you’ve heard the term “Asian Murder Hornet” this past week, and pictured a gigantic hornet the likes of which Westerners have never before seen, you’re not far off the mark. It was reported this week that the Asian Giant Hornet had been found in the United States for the first time, and while their media-hyped name (standing in stark-contrast to the media-war on the name “Chinese coronavirus”) suggests they will sting people to death, humans aren’t on their list of preferred targets. The number one target for these enormous insects are honeybees, and that’s a bigger problem than most realize.

Bee populations in the States have been declining over the years due to Colony Collapse Disorder, mite infestations, and the use of dangerous pesticides. Because bees pollinate most of our cultivated crops, losing them could lead to a collapse in produce production, which could lead to widespread famine. Introducing a deadly honeybee foe is only going to make keeping bees more difficult. The so-called “Murder Hornets” are larger than most, with the Queen reaching up to 2″ in length. They can quickly destroy a beehive in only a few hours.[5]

Getting stung by one will hurt like crazy, and unlike bees, they can sting a person multiple times, so avoid them if you see one. Fortunately, they were only found in a few places, and haven’t established themselves across the country. Evidence of their intrusion can be seen in destroyed hives and the few individuals that have been identified. If you’re inclined to enjoy tales of monstrous animals, you’ll want to follow this news tidbit up with 10 Horrifying True Stories Of Murderous Wasps And Bees.

5 Taika Waititi Set To Direct New Star Wars Film

JOJO RABBIT | Official Trailer [HD] | FOX Searchlight

On May The 4th Be With You, Disney surprised Star Wars fans by releasing The Rise of Skywalker on its digital streaming platform, Disney+, months before it’s original scheduled release. That wasn’t the only bit of good news to come out of the House of Mouse where Star Wars is concerned, as the studio announced that a new film was being directed by Taika Waititi. Most people have discovered Waititi’s work recently, thanks to the Academy Award he received for Best Adapted Screenplay for last year’s Jojo Rabbit (trailer above). Waititi also directed Thor Ragnarok in 2017, and an episode of The Mandalorian in which he also provided the voice for one of the characters.[6]

Lucasfilm made the announcement on May 4th, confirming that Waititi would be directing an as-yet-untitled Star Wars film, which he would co-write with Krysty Wilson-Cairns, who recently wowed audiences with her screenplay for 1917. Unsurprisingly, nothing else has been revealed about the project, so there’s no way of knowing when it is set within the established timeline of the Star Wars universe, who will be in it, or anything else to include a release date. Still, having Waititi take the lead on a new film for the franchise was welcome news to most fans, as the director has a love of the characters and setting as evidenced by his work on The Mandalorian. If you can’t contain your excitement about this positive news, you can head over, as quickly as you can, to Top 10 ‘Star Wars’ Background Characters You Never Even Noticed.

4 The US Supreme Court Issued The ‘Flush Heard’ Round The World’

This week, the United States Supreme Court heard arguments in real-time remotely, which marked the first time in the court’s history, where the public could listen to arguments. While that alone is unprecedented and newsworthy, the simple fact that the cases were heard around the nation wasn’t the leading headline about the SCOTUS this week, as there was something overheard soon after oral arguments began on Wednesday. It wasn’t a perfectly worded argument or anything of the sort — it was a toilet flushing.[7]

Everyone involved in the arguments was doing so from a safe location, and while many may not have been wearing pants, that doesn’t mean a trip to the bathroom wasn’t going to be heard by everyone listening. The lawyers and judges didn’t seem fazed by the distinctive sound of a toilet flushing its contents, but it’s pretty much all anyone was talking about on Wednesday. Ajit Pai, the chairman of the FCC took to Twitter to discuss the flush, and its impact on the argument, which was about robocalls, in which he wrote: “To be clear, the @FCC does not construe the flushing of a toilet immediately after counsel said ‘what the FCC has said’ to reflect a substantive judgment of the Supreme Court, or of any Justice thereof, regarding an agency determination.” You can find a little more scatological news on 10 Bizarre Toilet Tales From Around the World.

3 More Retail Giants Are Filing For Bankruptcy Protection In The US

Last week, Saks Fifth Avenue joined other department stores, including Macy’s and JCPenney, in filing for bankruptcy, and now Neiman Marcus has followed suit. On Thursday, the retail anchor store found in many malls around the United States filed for Chapter-11 bankruptcy so that it can restructure its massive debt-laden business, which has been steadily losing money even before lockdowns forced shoppers into their homes.[8]

Neiman Marcus Group Chairman and CEO Geoffroy van Raemdonck issued a statement explaining the decision to file, “Prior to COVID-19, Neiman Marcus Group was making solid progress on our journey to long-term profitable and sustainable growth. However, like most businesses today, we are facing unprecedented disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has placed inexorable pressure on our business.”[9]

Neiman Marcus wasn’t the only retailer to file for protection this week — J.Crew did the same on Monday. The retailer is hoping to restructure its debt so that it can survive the pandemic, and it’s unlikely that J.Crew and Neiman Marcus will be the last such businesses to file in the coming weeks and months. Hmm. Now where do we go when we run out of the Top 10 Obscenely Expensive Luxury Fashion Items?

2 Mueller’s Case Against General Flynn Dumped

The case against former National Security Adviser, General Michael Flynn, has been a long and circuitous one. He initially pled guilty to lying in an interview with the FBI, and his case was one of the highest-profile people to be charged as a result of the Mueller Investigation. Shortly before he was to be sentenced, his attorneys challenged his original plea deal, and the case has finally met its conclusion with a dismissal of all charges against him.[10]

Such a dismissal is unprecedented, as it involved the highest levels of government, including Attorney General Barr and President Trump, who Tweeted that Flynn is “an innocent man.” In the filing by the Justice Department, the agency noted that it was dropping all charges “after a considered review of all the facts and circumstances of this case, including newly discovered and disclosed information.” The document further explained that the original interview with the FBI was “untethered to, and unjustified by, the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation into Mr. Flynn,” and the interview itself was “conducted without any legitimate investigative basis.” If you’re a long-time reader of Listverse, you really shouldn’t be too surprised by this news. After all, we already showed you 10 Disturbing Signs That The FBI Is Corrupt.

1 Is China Preparing For War?

The “Wuhan Flu” as some have taken to calling it, has done more to harm China’s reputation around the world than anything since the infamous 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown, which saw pro-democracy protesters killed in the streets. China faces widespread criticism for issues related to human rights abuses, religious discrimination, its stance toward Taiwan, island-building in the Pacific, and anti-democratic movements, but the coronavirus may be the straw that breaks the camel’s back, as far as the world’s opinion of the country is concerned.

It was revealed this week in a Reuters article that a worst-case scenario was presented to China’s President Xi Jinping related to the rise in anti-China sentiment. In those documents, the so-called “worst-case scenario” was an all-out war with the United States.[11]

“One of those with knowledge of the report said it was regarded by some in the Chinese intelligence community as China’s version of the “Novikov Telegram,” a 1946 dispatch by the Soviet ambassador to Washington, Nikolai Novikov, that stressed the dangers of U.S. economic and military ambition in the wake of World War Two.”[12]

Criticism of the Chinese response to the outbreak, and its refusal to allow outside investigators have been pushed by the highest-levels of the Trump Administration, and while a war between the two nations is unlikely, it’s important to note that China isn’t ruling it out. Oh well, I guess we can just add this to the list of Top 10 Creepy Things Happening Inside China.

fact checked by Jamie Frater
Jonathan H. Kantor

Jonathan is a graphic artist, illustrator, and writer. He is a Retired Soldier and enjoys researching and writing about history, science, theology, and many other subjects.

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