Monday, 30 March 2020

Philippines grounds company's aircraft after deadly fire

Philippines grounds company's aircraft after deadly firePhilippine aviation officials on Monday grounded all aircraft belonging to a company that owns a plane that caught fire while taking off from Manila's airport, killing all eight people on board. All of Lionair Inc.’s aircraft will remain grounded during the investigation of the burning of its Westwind 24 plane late Sunday, they said. The plane had been used earlier to transport medical supplies for the coronavirus outbreak.




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Police commander killed, 2 officers wounded in Phoenix shooting

Police commander killed, 2 officers wounded in Phoenix shootingCommander Greg Carnicle, a 31-year police veteran, died after being shot in the line of duty. Two officers were shot and are expected to recover.




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Incredible satellite photos show parked planes sitting on runways at airports in the US and Europe, as COVID-19 puts a near stop to global air travel

Incredible satellite photos show parked planes sitting on runways at airports in the US and Europe, as COVID-19 puts a near stop to global air travelAs the coronavirus causes airlines to cancel flights and ground planes, they've piled up on runways and taxiways as airlines look for parking spots.




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US awol from world stage as China tries on global leadership for size

US awol from world stage as China tries on global leadership for sizeMike Pompeo labelling the virus ‘Chinese’ has added to lack of international cooperation * Coronavirus – latest updates * See all our coronavirus coverageWhen the UN security council and the G7 group sought to agree a global response to the coronavirus pandemic, the efforts stumbled on the US insistence on describing the threat as distinctively Chinese.There are other reasons for the lack of collaboration in the face of a global crisis, but the focus on labelling the virus Chinese and blaming China pursued by the US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, helped ensure there would be no meaningful collective response from the world’s most powerful nations.For some US allies, the fixation on words at a time when the international order was arguably facing its greatest challenge since the second world war encapsulated the glaring absence of US leadership.And that absence was illustrated just as vividly by news coverage of planes full of medical supplies from China arriving in Italy, at a time when the US was quietly flying in half a million Italian-made diagnostic swabs for use in its own under-equipped health system and Donald Trump was on the phone to the South Korean president pressing him to send test kits.“To me what is so striking is the complete absence of the US from public debates. The US is basically off the map, and China very much is on the map,” Nathalie Tocci, the director of the Italian Institute for International Affairs and a former EU policy adviser, said.“Whatever happens in the US elections, what is happening now is going to linger on, simply because what we’re going through now is such a traumatic experience … It is going to remain very much in our individual and collective memories.”During the Ebola outbreak that began in 2014, the US was a highly visible leading presence on the ground in West Africa, sending emergency medics, troops and supplies. In sharp contrast, this week’s $2tn stimulus bill contained scarcely more than $1bn (about 0.06%) for spending outside the US.The state department pointed out that the US was separately spending $274m in emergency health and humanitarian assistance to help countries in need, on top of the funding to international organisations like the WHO.However, at a time when the scale of the damage is being measured in trillions, the additional aid has done little to soften the image of an administration that has employed xenophobic rhetoric and breaking with its closest partners in its efforts to intensify economic pressure on its enemies, Iran and Venezuela, whose populations are at high risk from the coronavirus.Despite its responsibility for allowing the virus to run rampant in the first place, China has had notable success in reshaping its image as a leader by its later efforts to contain the disease and its outreach to Italy and other vulnerable countries.“US global leadership won’t just end because they bungled their response to the coronavirus, but I think we will come to find that this was a pivotal point,” said Elisabeth Braw, the director of the Modern Deterrence Project at the Royal United Service Institute in London.Braw argued that the coronavirus crisis will inflict more lasting damage on the US’s standing than the 2003 Iraq invasion.“China wasn’t in the wings in 2003,” she said. “It wasn’t ready to take over that global role. Well, it’s now in a position where it can take over global leadership, and it’s just waiting for the US to misstep or to lose support among its allies … And the past couple of years have really been beneficial to China from that perspective.”From the debacle over testing to Trump’s months-long denial about the scale of the threat and his constant political point-scoring, the US has showed itself to be anything but a model for the rest of the world to emulate.Stephen Walt, a Harvard University professor of international relations, has argued that worldwide faith in US competence has been one of the pillars of its global standing, and is currently crumbling.“Far from making ‘America great again,’ this epic policy failure will further tarnish the United States’ reputation as a country that knows how to do things effectively,” Walt wrote in Foreign Policy, in a commentary titled “the death of American competence”.Not all global analysts look at the coronavirus as being so irreversibly negative for US standing in the world, pointing to more long-term trends, like US self-sufficiency in energy and its enduring economic, military and democratic advantages, as well China’s many shortcomings as a credible alternative global leader.“Geopolitics are not episodic. You cannot talk about geopolitics in two-week timescales,” Parag Khanna, a former adviser to US forces who now runs a Singapore-based consulting company, FutureMap. “The power dynamics are what are fundamental, not whether or not China is sending lots of face masks to Africa.”Khanna pointed out that China’s neighbours in Asia are well aware that Beijing’s censorship during the initial outbreak in Wuhan resulted in a missed opportunity to contain the virus, and that its diplomats have been spreading conspiracy theories about the origins of the disease.“China is filling a public goods vacuum, not a leadership vacuum,” Khanna said. “People here are not idiots. They know exactly where this came from, so you don’t need to worry about China winning any global narrative campaign in the world.”Tocci argued that the extent to which China succeeds in exploiting the crisis to pursue global primacy would be dependent on whether Beijing can be successfully challenged, for example from a change to a more outward leadership in Washington, or a Europe that can transcend its divisions.“It basically depends on how everyone else reacts more than how China itself acts,” Tocci said.




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Photos show crowds of New Yorkers breaking social distancing rules and gawking at the USNS Comfort docked in Manhattan

Photos show crowds of New Yorkers breaking social distancing rules and gawking at the USNS Comfort docked in ManhattanThe New York City Mayor's office eventually asked police to disperse the crowd that was not following social distancing guidelines.




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Pelosi bashes Trump on coronavirus: 'As the president fiddles, people are dying'

Pelosi bashes Trump on coronavirus: 'As the president fiddles, people are dying'"This is such a very, very sad time for us," she said.




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Mexico's president defends his handshake with 'El Chapo' Guzman's mother — a 'respectable old lady'

Mexico's president defends his handshake with 'El Chapo' Guzman's mother — a 'respectable old lady'The president said corruption is a much bigger threat to Mexico than a 92-year-old woman "who deserves my respect."




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Poll: 15% of Sanders supporters will vote for Trump if Biden is nominee; 80% would back Biden

Poll: 15% of Sanders supporters will vote for Trump if Biden is nominee; 80% would back BidenThe poll also found Biden with a 16-percentage-point advantage (55%-39%) over Sanders among registered Democrats and independents who lean Democratic.




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Indian police fire tear gas at jobless workers defying coronavirus lockdown

Indian police fire tear gas at jobless workers defying coronavirus lockdownNEW DELHI/AHMEDABAD, India (Reuters) - Police in India fired tear gas to disperse a stone-pelting crowd of migrant workers defying a three-week lockdown against the coronavirus that has left hundreds of thousands of poor without jobs and hungry, authorities said on Monday. Prime Minister Narendra Modi ordered the country's 1.3 billion people to remain indoors until April 15, declaring such self-isolation was the only hope to stop the viral pandemic. On Sunday, about 500 workers clashed with police in the western city of Surat demanding they be allowed to go home to other parts of India because they had no jobs left.




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Time to 'revenge shop': China's virus hot spot reopens

Time to 'revenge shop': China's virus hot spot reopensThe city at the center of China's virus outbreak was reopening for business Monday after authorities lifted more of the controls that locked downs tens of millions of people for two months. “I want to revenge shop,” declared an excited customer at one of Wuhan's major shopping streets. A teacher from the eastern city of Nanjing was visiting her family in Wuhan when most access to the city of 11 million was suspended Jan. 23 to stem the coronavirus spread.




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FBI report describes China’s ‘biosecurity risk’

FBI report describes China’s ‘biosecurity risk’In late November 2018, just over a year before the first coronavirus case was identified in Wuhan, China, U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents at Detroit Metro Airport stopped a Chinese biologist with three vials labeled “Antibodies” in his luggage.




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Can you reuse a face mask? It won't be as effective if you do

Can you reuse a face mask? It won't be as effective if you doFace masks are not meant to be reused. But a shortage is forcing health care workers to — here's the best way to reuse a face mask if you have to.




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Trump in Close Race With Biden, ABC Poll Shows: Campaign Update

Trump in Close Race With Biden, ABC Poll Shows: Campaign Update(Bloomberg) -- Donald Trump and Joe Biden are in a tight race for the White House, as Americans focus on the response to the coronavirus pandemic, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll released Sunday.Trump has closed a 7-point deficit from February and is in a statistical tie with the former vice president, 47% to 49%, among registered voters. Among all adults, Trump trails Biden 44% to 50%. But Trump’s voters are far more enthusiastic about turning out.Biden, the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, is more trusted by voters on health care and Trump more trusted on the economy, according to the poll. When registered voters are asked whom they trust most to confront the coronavirus, there was no statistical difference between the two.The poll of 1,003 adults, including 845 registered voters, was conducted March 22-25. The margin of error was 3.5 percentage points.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.




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Can I walk outside? Is the virus on my shoes? Q&A with experts

Can I walk outside? Is the virus on my shoes? Q&A with experts"CBS This Morning" assembled a panel of experts to answer questions from viewers who want to know how the coronavirus and its economic impact affects them.




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Pelosi on virus: ‘As the president fiddles, people are dying’

Pelosi on virus: ‘As the president fiddles, people are dying’“As the president fiddles, people are dying,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi during an interview on Sunday morning.




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U.S. spies find coronavirus spread in China, North Korea, Russia hard to chart

U.S. spies find coronavirus spread in China, North Korea, Russia hard to chartAs U.S. spy agencies seek to assemble a precise picture of the world's coronavirus outbreaks, they are finding serious gaps in their ability to assess the situation in China, Russia and North Korea, according to five U.S. government sources familiar with the intelligence reporting. The four countries are known by U.S. spy agencies as "hard targets" because of the heavy state controls on information and the difficulty, even in normal times, of collecting intelligence from within their closed leadership circles.




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29 Best Closet Organization Ideas to Maximize Space and Style



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Pelosi aims to move fast on next rescue package

Pelosi aims to move fast on next rescue packageThe speaker is eager to include Democratic priorities in any coronavirus relief bill.




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U.S. judge stops Texas from curbing abortions during coronavirus crisis

U.S. judge stops Texas from curbing abortions during coronavirus crisisThe ruling by U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel in Austin was the first in a series of legal actions aimed at blocking similar steps by various Republican-led states cracking down on abortion during the pandemic. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, a Republican, last week announced that abortion providers were covered by a state order that required postponement of non-urgent medical procedures to preserve hospital beds and equipment during the pandemic. Yeakel ruled that Paxton's action "prevents Texas women from exercising what the Supreme Court has declared is their fundamental constitutional right to terminate a pregnancy before a fetus is viable."




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An Arkansas doctor stayed in his home to socially distance from his wife and child. Days after his photo went viral his house was destroyed by a tornado.

An Arkansas doctor stayed in his home to socially distance from his wife and child. Days after his photo went viral his house was destroyed by a tornado.He went viral for distancing from his wife and 1-year-old son. Days later, his house was destroyed by a tornado that hit Jonesboro, Arkansas.




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'This is not a reality TV show': Trump criticized for tweets on TV ratings as coronavirus death toll rises

'This is not a reality TV show': Trump criticized for tweets on TV ratings as coronavirus death toll risesTrump said the news media was "going CRAZY" because the TV ratings for his recent news briefings were so high.




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Coronavirus: India's pandemic lockdown turns into a human tragedy

Coronavirus: India's pandemic lockdown turns into a human tragedyHundreds of thousands of migrant workers are fleeing cities, posing a fresh risk of infection.




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A coronavirus patient's phlegm or poop could still have live virus in it even after they recover and test negative, new research suggests

A coronavirus patient's phlegm or poop could still have live virus in it even after they recover and test negative, new research suggestsNew research raises doubts about whether negative throat swabs are enough to say a patient is coronavirus-free. Doctors may have to sample their poop.




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Sunday, 29 March 2020

'Super-spreader' guru puts Indian villages on high alert

'Super-spreader' guru puts Indian villages on high alertAt least 15,000 people who may have caught the coronavirus from a 'super-spreader' guru are under strict quarantine in northern India after the Sikh religious leader died of COVID-19. The 70-year-old guru, Baldev Singh, had returned from a trip to Europe's virus epicentre Italy and Germany when he went preaching in more than a dozen villages in Punjab state. It has sparked one of India's most serious alerts related to the pandemic and special food deliveries are being made to each household under even tighter restrictions than the 21-day nationwide stay-at-home order imposed by the government.




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Australia to Unveil Wage Subsidies, Limits Foreign Takeovers

Australia to Unveil Wage Subsidies, Limits Foreign Takeovers(Bloomberg) -- Australia will announce further income support for workers on Monday as part of a third stimulus package as the coronavirus savages the economy.Treasurer Josh Frydenberg also announced tighter restrictions on foreign takeovers, ensuring all proposed overseas investment in Australian businesses will trigger government scrutiny, regardless of the value.The government is battling to cushion the impact of the outbreak and safeguard jobs and has already passed more than A$80 billion worth of fiscal stimulus. In an interview with Sky News Monday, Frydenberg declined to comment on the scale of the planned wage subsidies, reported to be up to A$1,500 a fortnight per employee for the next six months.“The announcement today is all about providing additional income support,” Frydenberg said. The Australian Financial Review reported at the weekend the subsidy will be similar to the 75%-80% program enacted by Canada, Denmark and the U.K.The virus has smashed the economy and Australia’s unemployment rate could soar to 12%, from 5.1% in February, as tens of thousands of workers lose their jobs amid the shutdown. Fashion and homewares chain Country Road on Saturday joined a swathe of retailers closing their doors as consumer confidence slumps and people stay at home. Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Sunday limited public gatherings to just two people under tighter social-distancing controls as the national death toll climbed to 16.Australia Limits Public Gatherings to 2 as Death Toll Rises Australia’s banks are extending a six-month deferral of loan repayments to 98% of companies, according to the Australian Banking Association. The support was initially extended only to small businesses.Under new rules announced by Frydenberg, all proposed foreign investment in Australia will require scrutiny by the Foreign Investment Review Board. The change removes thresholds for scrutiny that ranged from A$1.2 billion to A$275 million depending on the buyer or nation.“This is not an investment freeze,” Frydenberg said in a statement. “Australia is open for business and recognizes investment at this time can be beneficial if in the national interest.”“However, these measures are necessary to safeguard the national interest as the coronavirus outbreak puts intense pressure on the Australian economy and Australian businesses,” he added.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.




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Cruise workers are using TikTok to give a behind-the-scenes look into what life is like on an empty cruise ship

Cruise workers are using TikTok to give a behind-the-scenes look into what life is like on an empty cruise shipWhile Carnival, Royal Caribbean, and Norwegian have canceled US-based cruises until mid-April at the earliest, some ships are still at sea.




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California has surge of virus cases that threatens hospitals

California has surge of virus cases that threatens hospitalsThe surge of coronavirus cases in California that health officials have warned was coming has arrived and will worsen, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Friday, while the mayor of Los Angeles warned that by early next week his city could see the kind of crush that has crippled New York. “We are now seeing the spike that we were anticipating,” Newsom declared while standing in front of the 1,000-bed Navy hospital ship Mercy that arrived in the Port of Los Angeles. It will take non-virus patients to free up rooms at hospitals for infection cases.




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Coronavirus cradle Wuhan partly reopens after lockdown

Coronavirus cradle Wuhan partly reopens after lockdownPeople enter the Chinese city where the coronavirus outbreak began for the first time in months.




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China defends against incoming second wave of coronavirus

China defends against incoming second wave of coronavirusA growing number of imported coronavirus cases in China risked fanning a second wave of infections when domestic transmissions had "basically been stopped", a senior health official said on Sunday, while eased travel curbs may also add to domestic risks. China, where the disease first emerged in the central city of Wuhan, had an accumulated total of 693 cases entering from overseas, which meant "the possibility of a new round of infections remains relatively big", Mi Feng, spokesman for the National Health Commission (NHC), said. Nearly a quarter of those came from arrivals in Beijing.




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The mystery behind Germany's low coronavirus death rate

The mystery behind Germany's low coronavirus death rateExperts see a number of possible reasons why Germany has fared better than Italy in the pandemic so far.




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Rhode Island Governor Announces National Guard Will Go 'Door-to-Door' to Identify New Yorkers to Slow COVID-19 Spread

Rhode Island Governor Announces National Guard Will Go 'Door-to-Door' to Identify New Yorkers to Slow COVID-19 SpreadRhode Island officials will order anyone coming from New York into quarantine




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'I don't know how you look at those numbers and conclude anything less than thousands of people will pass away': Cuomo discusses state fatality projections

'I don't know how you look at those numbers and conclude anything less than thousands of people will pass away': Cuomo discusses state fatality projectionsGov. Andrew Cuomo spoke about New York state’s fatality projections during a press conference on Sunday.




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Saudi Arabia expands lockdown as coronavirus death toll doubles

Saudi Arabia expands lockdown as coronavirus death toll doublesSaudi Arabia halted entry and exit into Jeddah governorate on Sunday, expanding lockdown rules as it reported four new deaths from a coronavirus outbreak that continues to spread in the region despite drastic measures to contain it. The Saudi health ministry said four more foreign residents, in Jeddah and Medina, had died from the virus, taking the total to eight. Oman, Kuwait and Bahrain reported more cases, taking the total in the six Gulf Arab countries to over 3,200, with 15 deaths.




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North Korea Fires Missile Into East Sea



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Clinical trials on coronavirus drugs may take only months, researcher says

Clinical trials on coronavirus drugs may take only months, researcher says"If everything goes according to plan, I am talking months, not years," for completion of three clinical trials, a researcher said.




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Ex-Venezuelan spy chief Carvajal discussing surrender with U.S. authorities: sources

Ex-Venezuelan spy chief Carvajal discussing surrender with U.S. authorities: sourcesCARACAS/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The former head of Venezuela's military intelligence unit, Hugo Carvajal, is discussing his possible surrender with U.S. authorities, three people familiar with the matter said on Saturday, after prosecutors charged him this week with drug trafficking alongside Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. Carvajal, a former general and ally of late Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez, has been in hiding since a Spanish court in November approved his extradition to the United States.




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Joe Biden is the worst imaginable challenger to Trump right now

Joe Biden is the worst imaginable challenger to Trump right nowFor anyone plugged in to the news firehose about the coronavirus pandemic, it has been extremely bizarre to watch President Trump's approval rating. He has botched the crisis beyond belief, and the United States now has the biggest outbreak in the world. Because of his ongoing failure to secure stockpiles of medical supplies, doctors and nurses are re-using protective gear over and over, and suiting up in garbage bags and page protectors to treat COVID-19 patients. Some have already caught the virus and died — along with over 1,300 others at time of writing, which is very likely an underestimate.Yet Trump's approval rating keeps going up. Poll averages show a marked bump in favorable ratings, a recent Washington Post/ABC poll has him above water. He does even better on the coronavirus response, with a Gallup poll finding him at 60 percent approval of his handling of the situation.This is what happens when the Democratic Party, de facto led at this point by its presumptive presidential nominee Joe Biden, refuses to make the case that Trump is in fact responsible for the severity of the disaster. Biden is proving to be about the worst imaginable nominee to take on Trump.Now, Biden is not entirely to blame here. Surely some of Trump's approval bump can be chalked up to the usual "rally around the flag" effect that tends to happen at times of crisis, and the fact that we are likely still in the very early stages of the pandemic.But if we dig into the numbers, some of the bump in Trump's approval rating is coming from changes in Democratic attitudes. A Pew poll, for instance, found that Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters nearly doubled their approval of Trump over the last few weeks, from 7 to 12 percent. It's not a huge change, but it could make the difference between Trump winning or losing in an election which is likely to be close.As has been made abundantly clear, Democratic voters tend to take their cues from Democratic elites. The party rallied around Biden in lockstep right before Super Tuesday, and voters fell in line. Biden won multiple states he has not visited in months and in which he had no campaign offices. And now that he's the probable nominee, Biden is not savaging Trump's response. On the contrary, his campaign says they are hesitant to even criticize him at all. "As much as I dislike Trump and think what a bad job he's doing, there's a danger now that attacking him can backfire on you if you get too far out there. I don't think the public wants to hear criticism of Trump right now," one adviser told Politico.Indeed, Biden has barely been doing anything. As the outbreak became a full-blown crisis, Biden disappeared for almost an entire week. His campaign said it was trying to figure out how to do video livestreams, something any 12-year-old could set up in about 15 minutes. (Hey guys: Any smartphone with Twitter, YouTube, or Twitch installed can become a broadcasting device with the press of a single button.) When Biden did finally appear, he gave some scripted addresses that still had technical foul-ups, and did softball interviews where he still occasionally trailed off mid-sentence.People crave leadership during times of crisis, as evidence by the sudden surge of positive sentiment towards New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who seriously mishandled the initial crisis response, and is still trying to cut Medicaid, but has been giving reassuring daily press conferences where he seems like he is on top of the situation. Washington state Governor Jay Inslee did a much, much better job (just compare the numbers in New York to those in Washington state), but has gotten comparatively little attention precisely because there are a lot fewer cases and deaths (and there are many fewer reporters in Seattle than New York City).Trump, meanwhile, is similarly out there on TV every day boasting about how what he's doing is so smart and good. What he's saying is insanely irresponsible and has already gotten people killed, but absent an effective response from the Democratic leadership, it can appear to casual news consumers as though he has the situation in hand. Democratic backbenchers and various journalists are screaming themselves hoarse, but it plainly isn't working.Biden's strategy appears to be to coast to the presidency in basically the same way he coasted to the nomination: Keep public appearances and therefore embarrassing verbal flubs to a minimum, and rely on Trump's disastrous governance to do all the work for him. But this is a horribly risky strategy. Biden is already a candidate whose awful record will make it harder to attack Trump on trade, protecting Social Security and Medicare, corruption, mental fitness, and his treatment of women — indeed, just recently a former Biden staffer came forward with an allegation that he had sexually assaulted her 26 years ago. Hunkering down and refusing to criticize Trump's world-historical bungling risks him successfully arguing that it was an unforeseeable disaster and he did the best anyone could have done.Contrary to these half-baked notions that the public doesn't want to hear criticism of Trump, we saw during impeachment that once Democrats actually started going through with it, approval jumped — largely because the liberal rank-and-file took that as a cue it was indeed a good idea. It's just another instance of the Democratic establishment's habit of hiding their desire to avoid conflict and do nothing behind an imagined obstacle of public opinion, when in fact they can change those opinions dramatically by offering a strong and clear alternative.Moreover, if and when Biden does become president, he will be in charge of a country in ruins. Fixing the place up will require extremely energetic leadership. But both Biden, his campaign, and the Democratic establishment seem to believe that if they just pretend hard enough, everything will go back to normal on its own. It is willful blindness on par with the worst Trump loyalists.Want more essential commentary and analysis like this delivered straight to your inbox? Sign up for The Week's "Today's best articles" newsletter here.More stories from theweek.com Once coronavirus infects a human body, what happens next? Elton John to host 'Living Room Concert for America' with stars performing from home Trump brags about his television ratings as pandemic intensifies




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North Korea test fires missiles amid worries about outbreak

North Korea test fires missiles amid worries about outbreakNorth Korea on Sunday fired two suspected ballistic missiles into the sea, South Korea and Japan said, continuing a streak of weapons launches that suggests leader Kim Jong Un is trying to strengthen domestic support amid worries about a possible coronavirus outbreak in the country. South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said it detected the projectiles flying from the North Korean eastern coastal city of Wonsan into the waters between the Korean Peninsula and Japan on Sunday morning.




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Trump asks why reporter doesn't act 'a little more positive'

Trump asks why reporter doesn't act 'a little more positive'President Trump on Sunday asked why a White House reporter does not act “a little more positive” in covering the administration’s coronavirus response.




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Tornado tears through Arkansas city, prompting curfew and National Guard response

Tornado tears through Arkansas city, prompting curfew and National Guard response“I know there is property damage,” Gov. Asa Hutchinson said. “Just praying all is safe.”




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Europe, US virus tolls surge as Trump reverses on New York lockdown

Europe, US virus tolls surge as Trump reverses on New York lockdownThe coronavirus death toll shot past 20,000 in Europe on Saturday, with Italy and Spain each reporting more than 800 dead in one day, as US President Donald Trump pulled back on putting the hard-hit New York region under quarantine. Up to one-third of the world's population is under lockdown as the virus leaves its devastating imprint on nearly every aspect of society: wiping out millions of jobs, straining health care services and weighing heavily on national treasuries for years to come. Globally, the death toll has surged past 30,000 and officials in some countries say the worst still lies ahead.




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'Help us': Passengers stranded on a coronavirus-stricken cruise ship where 4 people have died say they're 'sitting ducks' and living a 'nightmare'

'Help us': Passengers stranded on a coronavirus-stricken cruise ship where 4 people have died say they're 'sitting ducks' and living a 'nightmare'Business Insider broke the news Friday that four passengers on the MS Zaandam had died, now people on the ship are sharing their stories.




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Iran extends prison furloughs as coronavirus death toll rises

Iran extends prison furloughs as coronavirus death toll risesIran's coronavirus death toll has risen to 2,640, a health ministry official said on Sunday, as the Middle East's worst-hit country grapples with the fast-spreading outbreak. "In the past 24 hours we had 123 deaths and 2,901 people have been infected, bringing the total number of infected people to 38,309," Alireza Vahabzadeh, an adviser to the health minister, said in a tweet. Health ministry spokesman Kianush Jahanpur told state TV that 3,467 of those infected were in "critical condition".




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How the U.S. government is starting to keep tabs on people's movement amid pandemic

How the U.S. government is starting to keep tabs on people's movement amid pandemicThe U.S. government has begun to use cellphone data to get a better sense of people's movement in up to as many as 500 cities amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, The Wall Street Journal reports.The tactic is not meant to track individuals, and names aren't included in the data, but instead is geared toward figuring out where people might be congregating in large numbers as calls for social distancing and lockdowns become the norm across the country. In doing so, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in conjunction with state and local officials, hope to get an idea of how the coronavirus might be spreading so they can further curb its advance.The data, which is coming from the less-regulated mobile advertising industry rather than cell phone carriers, could also provide information on whether people are complying with their area's shelter-in-place or stay-at-home orders.Despite the intentions of the efforts, such projects will undoubtedly raise concerns about government invasion of privacy, and, while even some privacy activists understand the necessity of such efforts, they want stronger safeguards in place. Read more at The Wall Street Journal and read more about coronavirus surveillance here at The Week.More stories from theweek.com Once coronavirus infects a human body, what happens next? Elton John to host 'Living Room Concert for America' with stars performing from home Trump brags about his television ratings as pandemic intensifies




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Plane catches fire at Manila airport, killing all 8 aboard

Plane catches fire at Manila airport, killing all 8 aboardA plane carrying eight people, including an American and a Canadian, burst into flames Sunday while attempting to take off from Manila’s airport on a flight bound for Japan, killing all those on board, officials said. The Westwind 24 plane, which was carrying six Filipino crew members and the American and Canadian passengers, was bound for Tokyo on a medical mission when it caught fire near the end of the main runway, Manila airport general manager Ed Monreal said. The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines said the aircraft apparently encountered an unspecified “problem which resulted in a fire” as it rolled to take off, adding its chief investigator was on the way to the scene.




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Russia Claimed It Created a Coronavirus Cure, but It’s an American Malaria Drug

Russia Claimed It Created a Coronavirus Cure, but It’s an American Malaria DrugThe headline of the Russian state media outlet RIA Novosti read, “Russia Created the Treatment for Coronavirus.” The article went on to boast about the remedy based on the drug mefloquine, an antimalarial drug created in fact at the U.S. Army’s Walter Reed Medical Center shortly after the Vietnam War and widely known as Lariam. Fiona Hill: Trump’s Coronavirus Talk Sounds a Lot Like Russia’sMefloquine was created to replace chloroquine, another anti-malarial, which was President Donald Trump’s recent drug of choice in his dubious battle against COVID-19. It is still prescribed in many countries to prevent and treat malaria, but it is known to have severe and sometimes shocking side effects. A study conducted from 2001-2003 “confirmed mefloquine's potential for causing psychological illness.”Facing a wave of ridicule in social media, Russian state media changed the headline, which now reads: “Russia Offered a Drug for Treating the Coronavirus.”It should be noted that there is no known cure or approved treatment for the coronavirus. Multiple clinical trials for potential medical treatments are still underway.The purpose of all this is less pharmacological than propagandistic. While Kremlin-controlled media outlets propagate conspiracy theories blaming the United States (and even Ukraine) for creating and spreading the coronavirus, Russia is presented as the potential savior of all of humanity. At a time when the Kremlin’s cynical effort to hide the extent of the pandemic in Russia is becoming ever more apparent, state media are criticizing American and European tactics for containing the pandemic. Virologist Mikhail Shchelkanov, head of the Laboratory of Ecology of Microorganisms, FEFU School of Biomedicine, described the Western approach as “18th-century tactics.” In contrast, he claimed that, “Russia, since the days of the Soviet Union, has had the world's best biological safety system.”After Putin’s Big Fail, Russia Braces for COVID-19 OnslaughtRussian coronavirus measures recommended by the government agency to the general public indeed seem more stringent than those offered in the United States. For example, everyday use of face masks in public is recommended for all individuals. Single-use masks are to be replaced every 2-3 hours. The risk to younger individuals is not being downplayed. To the contrary, parents are being advised to keep their children at home or in the yard of their own home. When in public, children are to be prevented from touching any surfaces or interacting with others. There is public guidance with respect to the disinfection of store-bought food and merchandise.During his state TV show, The Evening with Vladimir Soloviev, the host described Russia’s approach to the pandemic as superior to that of Europe and the United States. “They’re behaving in an uncivilized manner,” Soloviev said, “They are being amoral. Our people unite and want to help others. Americans are just buying up guns.”    Speaking to RIA Novosti, Shchelkanov praised China’s response to the pandemic and condemned the United States and Western Europe for their lack of coordinated actions, predicting that coronavirus “can easily spread like fire—and is spreading to neighboring countries.” He claimed that “the Russian Federation continues to be a bulwark of European stability.”In reality, the true numbers of coronavirus infections in Russia are grossly understated due to the lack of testing and creative approach to recording the number of deaths. Some quarantined Russians report receiving negative test results, in spite of not being tested. The cause of death for coronavirus patients in Russia is being determined posthumously through an autopsy, and sometimes attributed to other causes, such as pulmonary thromboembolism—therefore being excluded from the official statistics.The aid supplied to Western countries by China and Russia has been criticized as largely defective and mainly useless. But Russian state media claim such support as the manifestation of “soft power.” Appearing on Soloviev's show, political scientist Dmitry Evstafiev noted, “Every country is using the coronavirus pandemic as cover, trying to achieve their own goals.”One of the Kremlin’s most pressing aims is the removal of U.S. and European sanctions against Russia and its informal allies: Iran, Venezuela, and North Korea. Experts on Russian state television repeatedly suggest that the Kremlin should bring up the removal of sanctions at every opportunity, especially while offering coronavirus aid to Western countries.During his state TV show, Soloviev expressed frustration that Trump “didn’t understand anything” and ignored President Vladimir Putin's proposal at the recent G-20 summit calling for the immediate removal of all sanctions.Soloviev opined that the first country that is able to create the coronavirus vaccine would acquire an instrument of enormous political pressure. Russia is actively seeking to develop such a lever of global influence, but the unproven panacea it is currently touting was made in the USA.Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.




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Saturday, 28 March 2020

‘It's a steep road ahead’: Sanders admits it's going to be tough to beat Biden but he won't stop trying

‘It's a steep road ahead’: Sanders admits it's going to be tough to beat Biden but he won't stop tryingBernie Sanders is continuing to assess the future of his presidential campaign as he lags behind Joe Biden in delegate count and has to face up to the challenge of running for office during the coronavirus pandemic.Speaking to NPR’s Noel King on Morning Edition, Senator Sanders acknowledged that the path ahead would be challenging: “it's going to be a very steep road.”




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In reversal, Trump uses Defense Production Act to force GM to make ventilators

In reversal, Trump uses Defense Production Act to force GM to make ventilatorsTrump ends vacillating and uses government powers to force GM to make ventilators




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'Extraordinary' recovery: 101-year-old Italian man with COVID-19 was released from the hospital

'Extraordinary' recovery: 101-year-old Italian man with COVID-19 was released from the hospital"Mr. P." was born during the Spanish flu pandemic. His recovery from COVID-19 gives Italy "hope for the future," Rimini's deputy mayor said.




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Trump drops idea of New York lockdown as U.S. death count crosses 2,000

Trump drops idea of New York lockdown as U.S. death count crosses 2,000President Donald Trump said on Saturday that he would issue a travel warning for the hard-hit New York area to limit the spread of the coronavirus, backing off from an earlier suggestion that he might try to cut off the region entirely. Trump's announcement came as the U.S. death count crossed 2,100, more than double the level from two days ago. The United States has now recorded more than 122,000 cases of the respiratory virus, the most of any country in the world.




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The mystery behind Germany's low coronavirus death rate

The mystery behind Germany's low coronavirus death rateExperts see a number of possible reasons why Germany has fared better than Italy in the pandemic so far.




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Coronavirus lockdowns: These states are ordering residents to stay home or shelter in place

Coronavirus lockdowns: These states are ordering residents to stay home or shelter in placeCalifornia, Illinois, New York and New Jersey are among the states cracking down on residents' movements amid continued spread of novel coronavirus.




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Pope faces coronavirus 'tempest' alone in St Peter's Square

Pope faces coronavirus 'tempest' alone in St Peter's SquarePope Francis stood alone in vast Saint Peter's Square Friday to bless Catholics around the world suffering under the coronavirus pandemic, urging people to ease their fears through faith. In a historic first, the Argentine performed the rarely recited "Urbi et Orbi" blessing from the steps of the basilica to an empty square, addressing those in lockdown across the globe via television, radio and social media.




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