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Monday's Mini-Report, 4.20.20

Today's edition of quick hits.


Today's edition of quick hits:

* I never thought I'd see the day: "U.S. crude oil prices dropped by almost 300 percent to turn negative for the first time as plunging demand pushed storage facilities to their limits."

* OMB memo: "The federal government is preparing to bring employees back to the office as soon as state and local authorities permit, the Office of Management and Budget told government agencies on Monday."

* Must be nice: "South Koreans are returning to work and crowding shopping malls, parks, golf courses and some restaurants as South Korea relaxes social distancing rules amid a continued downward trend in coronavirus cases."

* Poor planning: "U.S. manufacturers shipped millions of dollars' worth of face masks and other protective medical equipment to China in January and February with encouragement from the federal government, a Washington Post review of economic data and internal government documents has found. The move underscores the Trump administration's failure to recognize and prepare for the growing pandemic threat."

* Brett Giroir, the federal official overseeing coronavirus testing efforts, "was told in 2015 he had 30 minutes to resign or he would be fired. His annual performance evaluation at Texas A&M, the local newspaper reported, said he was 'more interested in promoting yourself' than the health science center where he worked. He got low marks on being a 'team player.'"

* There was an interesting ideological split in this 6-3 ruling: "The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday that jury verdicts in trials for serious crimes must be unanimous."

* Tragedy north of the border: "A gunman killed at least 16 people, including a police officer, and evaded authorities for hours while dressed as a Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer in rural Nova Scotia in what was Canada's deadliest shooting in three decades, officials said Sunday."

* Bolsonaro: "Brazil's far-right President Jair Bolsonaro is the focus of a fresh outcry after taking part in a public protest against democratic institutions that included calls for a military takeover."

* We'll see: "President Donald Trump will use the Defense Production Act to compel an unnamed company to produce 20 million more coronavirus testing swabs every month -- weeks after labs and public health officials started warning that shortages of these swabs were hurting efforts to ramp up testing nationwide."

* Better late than never: "The National Institutes of Health on Friday announced it would launch a sweeping public-private partnership between federal researchers and 16 pharmaceutical companies, aimed at coordinating and accelerating the development of Covid-19 treatments and vaccines."

* A Trump-appointed judge: "A federal judge on Saturday blocked Kansas from limiting attendance at in-person religious worship services or activities to 10 people or fewer to check the spread of the coronavirus, signaling that he believes that it's likely that the policy violates religious freedom and free speech rights."

* A turning point, perhaps? "Three of America's best known TV doctors are taking their medicine after making inflammatory statements about the coronavirus. Dr. Drew Pinsky, Dr. Mehmet Oz, and Dr. Phil McGraw have all been criticized in recent days for making statements on television and podcasts that appear to downplay the dangers of COVID-19, for buttressing their arguments with bogus statistics, and for making remarks that have been branded as insensitive."

See you tomorrow.