PROTESTS SCHEDULED FOR CONFEDERATE "INSTITUTE" HELD IN RALEIGH THIS WEEKEND: A group of protesters will try to disrupt a Sons of Confederate Veterans symposium this weekend in Raleigh that is billed by organizers as an educational event and condemned by opponents as racist. The national Sons of Confederate Veterans has staged the Stephen D. Lee Institute annually in different cities around the South since 2003, inviting members to come listen as teachers, writers and researchers lecture about the Civil War, the Confederacy and Southern history. McCollum, an N.C. State University junior from Apex studying political science and French, said she decided to rally the group’s energy against the SCV’s institute after studying some of the writings of its featured speakers. McCollum said the institute and its speakers’ arguments that the Civil War was about states’ rights and was the result of unconstitutional acts by an overreaching federal government are attempts to rewrite history.
CRAZY LIBERTARIAN PIZZA GUY STRIKES AGAIN: Haugh, the Libertarian who's run three times for the U.S. Senate, is running for the state House this year in Durham. His campaign committee is named "Howdy Colin! Hope you are well." That's more exclamation marks than you'll usually see in a campaign finance vehicle, and more well wishing. The "Howdy" is classic Haugh, who says it all the time. The Colin is Colin Campbell, who reports for the NC Insider, a subscription service covering North Carolina politics. Campbell got scooped Thursday, by WRAL News. The campaign's only donation is from Haugh himself: The $140 filing fee he paid to get on the ballot. He listed himself as Sean Haugh, Emperor of the USA & Protector of Mexico. His address? "The Universe" on Danbury Drive in Durham. "I've always tried to have fun with this and be lighthearted while getting the message out," Haugh said.
15 NORTH CAROLINIANS DIED FROM THE FLU LAST WEEK ALONE: Another 15 people died from the flu in North Carolina last week, helping to raise the toll for the 2019-2020 season to 115, state health officials said. Fifteen deaths were reported for the week that ended Feb. 22, along with 10 deaths from previous weeks, the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services said Thursday. Of the additional 15 deaths, 13 were age 65 or older, eight from ages 50 to 64 and four from ages 25 to 49. The DHHS warns that the weekly count doesn't represent all flu-associated deaths in the state because many could go undiagnosed or unreported. The number of reported flu cases fell for the second consecutive week, this time by 16.4% to 4,916 for the week that ended Feb. 22. The seasonal peak was 7,162 cases that occurred in the week that ended Feb. 8. DHHS has extended the flu reporting period to the week ending May 16. A typical flu season runs from Oct. 1 through March 31.
WHISTLEBLOWER SAYS TRUMP ADMIN EXPOSED HHS WORKERS TO CORONAVIRUS: The complaint alleges HHS staffers were “improperly deployed” and were “not properly trained or equipped to operate in a public health emergency situation.” The complaint also alleges the workers were potentially exposed to coronavirus because appropriate steps were not taken to protect them and staffers were not trained in wearing personal protective equipment, even though they had face-to-face contact with returning passengers. The workers were in contact with passengers in an airplane hangar where evacuees were received and on two other occasions: when they helped distribute keys for room assignments and hand out colored ribbons for identification purposes. The whistleblower is seeking federal protection, alleging she was unfairly and improperly reassigned after raising concerns about the safety of these workers to HHS officials, including those within the office of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar. She was told Feb. 19 that if she does not accept the new position in 15 days, which is March 5, she would be terminated.
TURKEY SAYS RUSSIA ALLOWED ATTACKS ON THEIR TROOPS IN SYRIA, RUSSIA (OF COURSE) DENIES IT: Reports from the scene described a Russian jet striking a Turkish convoy and then artillery strikes pounding Turkish troops in several buildings. The prolonged strikes prevented rescuers from reaching the wounded, Ahmed Rehal, a Syrian journalist, reported. Turkey was not able to evacuate the casualties by air, because Russia controls the airspace in northwestern Syria. As a result, rescue workers and civilians were forced to transport the dead and wounded to the Turkish border in trucks. Mr. Altun called on Russia and Iran to abide by the agreement reached in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan, two years ago for de-escalation in the region, and he repeated an appeal from Turkish officials for NATO to honor its responsibilities toward a fellow member. Turkey has blamed the strikes on the Syrian government. But it has also indirectly blamed Russia, saying it knew of the presence of Turkish troops and did nothing to stop the attack even after being alerted. Russia has been conducting a ferocious campaign of aerial bombardment in the province of Idlib in support of the Syrian offensive to seize control of the last rebel-held region.
Turkey has blamed the strikes on the Syrian government. But it has also indirectly blamed Russia, saying it knew of the presence of Turkish troops and did nothing to stop the attack even after being alerted. Russia has been conducting a ferocious campaign of aerial bombardment in the province of Idlib in support of the Syrian offensive to seize control of the last rebel-held region.