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The Mafia’s using Facebook to whip up violence aimed at ending coronavirus lockdown in Italy’s south

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The Italian mob has been stirring up trouble and looting stores as the country endures its coronavirus crisis.

Guards stand outside grocery stores after people started refusing to pay, and clerks were too afraid of catching the virus to stop them — and authorities believe the Mafia has been stoking the unrest before stepping in to bring order and increase their power in the southern regions, reported The Daily Beast.

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Closed Facebook groups with thousands of members have been calling for riots and civil disobedience in southern Italy, which so far has escaped the grim coronavirus fate as northern regions for reasons that aren’t entirely clear.

Authorities fear the Mafia will be able to offer up loans and black market jobs as the government is distracted by the COVID-19 outbreak that has claimed thousands of lives, and Italians start missing paychecks and payments on their housing.

“We need to act fast, more than fast,” said Palermo Mayor Leoluca Orlando this week. “Distress could turn into violence.”

Italy has been locked down for four weeks, and that country-wide order has been extended until at least Easter.

Orlando fears the Sicilian Mafia or Cosa Nostra is behind closed Facebook groups calling for unrest if the lockdown is not lifted in areas where the virus has not been as devastating, but officials fear less consistent testing in the south has given rise to a false sense of security.

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Organized crime has gutted the south’s infrastructure and medical system, which would be wholly unprepared for the type of large-scale outbreak that overwhelmed even the wealthier north’s hospitals — and officials fear unrest in the south would spread to the north.

“The situation is very heavy,” Orlando said, “because behind the threats of unrest echoed via social networks is a den of Mafia jackals ready to exploit the desperation of the new poor from coronavirus. We cannot underestimate the risk of an alliance cemented by despair. In the north the risk is speculative, but here, where there is greater poverty, the danger is that desperate subjects may fall into the hands of criminals, Mafia members.”


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Idaho’s Trump-loving lieutenant governor declares war on state’s GOP governor over COVID-19 shutdown

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Idaho's lieutenant governor has gone to war with her state's governor -- fellow Republican -- over coronavirus shutdown orders.

Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin has gone after Gov. Brad Little, who has ordered bars to stay closed until at least June 13, angering the lieutenant governor whose family owns The Celt Pub and Grill, reported The Daily Beast.

“As Lieutenant Governor, I am one heartbeat away from the governor’s chair,” McGeachin wrote. "[We were] sidelined and left to watch silently as the government closed Main Street by unilaterally deciding which businesses were ‘essential’ and which ones were not.”

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Major hospital chains reap billions in federal bailout money while sitting on piles of cash: report

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According to a report from the New York Times, a substantial amount of federal funds that were designated to support hospitals overwhelmed by the coronavirus pandemic ended up being shipped off to major hospital chains already flush with cash in the bank.

The report begins by noting that Providence Health System, one of the country’s largest and richest hospital chains, was the recipient of $509 million in government aide even though the company is loaded with so much money it invests its excess cash and reaps big rewards.

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WATCH: Staten Island grocery shoppers drive out woman who refuses to wear a mask in the store

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A group of angry shoppers at a Staten Island ShopRite were captured on video driving out a woman in the store who refused to wear a face mask.

The 20-second video clip shows masked shoppers swarming around a shopper who is pushing her cart around without any kind of face covering.

"Get out!" one of the shoppers yells at the woman.

"Get the f*ck out of here!" yells another.

While the woman is initially defiant, she eventually relents to peer pressure and leaves the store.

Staten Island has been hard hit by COVID-19 and has recorded more than 13,000 coronavirus infections and nearly 1,000 deaths from the disease.

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