To read an article, you are linked to the provider’s site. If you wish to open the link in a new window, hold SHIFT key (Internet Explorer, Opera) or CTRL key (Netscape, Firefox) down and click on the link.
- Spain Deaths Slow; Over 1.2 Million Global Cases: Virus Update
- PALM SUNDAY: Pope celebrates without public in St. Peter's
Pope Francis is celebrating Palm Sunday Mass without the public, since the traditional ceremony in St. Peter’s Square was scrapped because of the coronavirus pandemic. Instead, Francis was leading the ceremony inside St. Peter’s Basilica, which seemed even more cavernous than usual because it was so empty. Looking pensive, Francis blessed braided palms held by the others, then held one himself.
- Coronavirus: Malawi president takes 10% pay cut
- Jared Kushner and his shadow corona unit: what is Trump's son-in-law up to?
Jared Kushner has become a key gatekeeper for help tackling Covid-19 and that’s a big problem, critics say * Coronavirus – latest US updates * Coronavirus – latest global updates * See all our coronavirus coverageThe twist of fate that has cast Jared Kushner as a would-be savior in the greatest public health crisis to confront the United States in a century is a dramatic one.The moment of national peril has been compared to September 11. Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, said coronavirus was her country’s greatest challenge since the second world war.As the leader of the federal government effort to distribute emergency equipment to the states, Kushner, the president’s son-in-law, has mostly shied from the public stage, but he now is working in history’s spotlight.His vast responsibilities include weighing requests from governors for aid and coordinating with private companies to obtain medical equipment, work he carries out from a special post created for him inside the Federal Emergency Management Agency, where his team is called “the Slim Suit crowd” for their distinctive tailoring, the New York Times has reported.Kushner’s team was credited with coordinating a planeload of medical supplies that arrived in the US from China last week.> Kushner has terrible judgment, and I don’t remember a decision he’s been involved with that hasn’t just been bad> > David PepperBut some of those familiar with Kushner’s record at the White House and in his prior professional life question why the government’s response to the coronavirus threat is being run by the president’s 39-year-old son-in-law.“It scares the hell out of me,” said David Pepper, the chair of the Ohio Democratic party, who offered bipartisan words of praise for the crisis response of his state’s Republican governor, Mike DeWine.“Kushner has terrible judgment, and I don’t remember a decision he’s been involved with that hasn’t just been bad – they’ve been horrible. And the idea that everything has to go through the very flawed judgment of Jared Kushner is downright scary, and I believe at this point is costing American lives.”Early this year, Kushner reportedly advised Donald Trump that the coronavirus was not that dangerous – more a threat to public confidence, and the markets, than to public health. Trump stuck with that message for six tragic weeks, between the confirmation of the first US case and a belated federal decision to speed the development of test kits.And it was Kushner who helped write a disastrous Trump Oval Office speech on 12 March announcing a European travel ban that sent markets into a tailspin and travelers crowding into airports. It was Kushner who solicited help from the father of the fashion model Karlie Kloss, his sister-in-law, to ask a Facebook group of doctors what should be done about the virus.Pepper expressed concern that when a governor calls the White House, she has to talk to Kushner, who then decides, apparently unilaterally, what the state really needs. ‘He runs a shadow taskforce’In a rare appearance in the White House briefing room Thursday, Kushner said some governors did not have precise knowledge of their state’s inventory of ventilators and delivered a lecture on the art of management.“The way the federal government is trying to allocate is, they’re trying to make sure you have your data right,” Kushner said. “Don’t ask us for things when you don’t know what you have in your own state, just because you’re scared.“What a lot of the voters are seeing now is that when you elect somebody to be a mayor or governor or president, you’re trying to think about who will be a competent manager during the time of crisis,” he continued. “This is a time of crisis and you’re seeing certain people are better managers than others.”Walter Shaub, a former director of the Office of Government Ethics under Barack Obama, reacted strongly on Twitter, calling Kushner a “feckless nepotist who presumes to criticize governors striving to fill the void left by this previously unimaginable federal failure!”Trump has placed top experts in public health and disaster response on his coronavirus taskforce, including Dr Anthony Fauci, the country’s foremost infectious disease expert, and Dr Deborah Birx, the former head of global health at the state department.But the adviser with the most influence over what Trump says and does appears to be Kushner, the son of a billionaire New Jersey developer, who just two months ago asserted his expertise on the Middle East conflict by saying: “I’ve read 25 books on it.”The precise dimensions of Kushner’s emergency response role are difficult to pin down because his authority, which stems from his marriage, exists outside the mapped structure of government agencies. He seems to be inventing his role on the fly, and to have the power to do so.Asked on Thursday to reply to reports that he runs a “shadow taskforce” on the coronavirus, Kushner smiled and said Mike Pence had asked him to help out.“I can assure that you I’m speaking with Dr Birx, Dr Fauci, the vice-president and the president multiple times a day, to make sure that I’m accomplishing and focusing on the objectives that the vice-president deems a priority,” he said. ‘Kushner urged Trump to open America up by Easter’Kushner, who before his White House stint ran a newspaper into the ground and a real estate company into the red, has already made mistakes in the coronavirus crisis that cannot be recovered, his critics say.It was Kushner who reportedly spread the word that Andrew Cuomo, the governor of New York, was being alarmist when Cuomo asked the federal government for 30,000 emergency ventilators for the state.“I have all this data about ICU capacity,” Kushner was quoted as telling Trump by a White House source speaking to Vanity Fair. “I’m doing my own projections, and I’ve gotten a lot smarter about this. New York doesn’t need all the ventilators.”> It’s a case study for the problem with nepotism> > David PepperIt’s not clear why Kushner thinks that. Cuomo announced on Friday that the national guard would deploy across the state to seize ventilators from hospitals that do not currently need them to deliver to New York City and other areas in need.And it was Kushner who urged Trump to overrule the health experts on staff and declare that America would be “open for business” on Easter with “packed churches all over our country”, in Trump’s words. Easter is one week away. The White House has since pushed the date back.The White House did not reply to a request for comment for this story. Kushner on Thursday asserted that the administration was turning in a strong performance.“We’ve done things that the government has never done before, quicker than they’ve ever done it before,” he said, without specifying what, exactly. A month ago, Trump said the country would perform 4m tests a week. As of Thursday, the total tests conducted in the United States so far was 1.3m, Birx said. ‘He surrounds himself with yes men’Elizabeth Spiers, one of a carousel of editors Kushner appointed during his ill-fated tenure as publisher of the New York Observer newspaper, recently described her horror at the prospect of her former boss as coronavirus czar.“The short version is that Jared Kushner is incurious, not inclined to defer to experts, and surrounds himself with yes men, so he is unaccustomed to being told that his decision-making is bad,” Spiers wrote. “He believes his capabilities far exceed what they are, and his assessment is reinforced by the people around him who are paid to tell him that. In this sense, he is not unlike his father-in-law.”Kushner grew up in New Jersey and matriculated at Harvard after his father, Charles Kushner, gave the school $2.5m. He took over the family’s real estate business when his father went to prison for tax evasion and witness tampering. He married Ivanka Trump in 2009.He has an infamously broad portfolio in the White House. In addition to being in charge of bringing peace to the Middle East, Kushner is or was in charge of Trump’s impeachment strategy; the Trump 2020 campaign budget; diplomacy with Saudi Arabia and Beijing, which both have targeted him as an asset, according to US intelligence assessments; solving the opioid crisis; developing internet infrastructure; running an “Office of American Innovation” building a border wall, and more.“Hopefully my results speak for themselves,” Kushner told Time magazine for a January profile. “I think that I’ve accomplished a lot. I think the president trusts me, and he knows I’ve had his back, and he knows that I’ve been able to execute for him on a lot of different objectives.”Kushner has occasionally delivered for the administration, steering a criminal justice reform bill into law in late 2018.The problem with Kushner is ultimately a problem with Trump, Pepper said.“It’s a case study for the problem with nepotism,” he said. “When [Ohio governor] DeWine is standing up there, even though his own kids are involved in politics – they’re not the ones standing next to him. Who’s leading the Ohio response? Amy Acton, the state health director, who has studied and taught this her whole life.“The biggest difference between DeWine and Trump is, one is relying on experts who have prepared for this for years.“And the other is relying on Jared Kushner.”
- 'Complete collapse of economies' ahead as Africa faces virus
Some of Uganda’s poorest people used to work here, on the streets of Kampala, as fruit sellers sitting on the pavement or as peddlers of everything from handkerchiefs to roasted peanuts. Now they're gone and no one knows when they will return, victims of a global economic crisis linked to the coronavirus that could wipe out jobs for millions across the African continent, many who live hand-to-mouth with zero savings.
- AP PHOTOS: Bustling London life stilled by COVID-19 lockdown
When Associated Press photographer Frank Augstein moved to London in 2015, what struck him most was the crowds. Augstein, who grew up in a small town in western Germany, thought Britain’s capital of almost 9 million people was the busiest place he had ever seen. In years of covering political dramas, moments of celebration and tragedy and major sporting events, Augstein’s photographs have captured the city’s ceaseless movement: Pedestrians swarming over the Millennium footbridge spanning the River Thames.
- US braces for more virus deaths; Europe hopes crisis peaking
The U.S. warned of many more coronavirus deaths in the days ahead as the global pandemic muted traditional observances from family grave-cleaning ceremonies in China to Palm Sunday for many Christians. Italy and Spain, the two hardest-hit European nations, expressed hope that the crisis was peaking in their countries, though Italian officials said the emergency is far from over as infections have plateaued but not started to decline. A chaotic scramble for desperately needed medical equipment and protective gear engulfed the United States, prompting intense squabbling between the states and federal government at a moment the nation is facing one of its gravest emergencies.
- States lack key data on virus cases among medical workers
Experts and health officials who are trying to plan a response to the coronavirus outbreak are missing a critical piece of information — the number of health care workers who have tested positive for the disease. Washington state faced the first major outbreak of COVID-19 in the nation, but health officials have not kept track of how many doctors and nurses have the disease. New York, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, also lacks infection figures for medical staff, according to Jill Montag, spokeswoman with the New York State Department of Health.
- U.N. official warns of "dire" financial crisis due to coronavirus
- Trump says 'toughest' weeks ahead as coronavirus spreads
President Donald Trump is warning that the country could be headed into its “toughest” weeks yet as the coronavirus death toll mounts, but at the same time he expressed growing impatience with social distancing guidelines and said he’s eager to get the country reopened and its stalled economy back on track. “There will be a lot of death, unfortunately,” Trump said Saturday in a somber start to his daily briefing on the pandemic, "There will be death.” Joining Trump were Vice President Mike Pence, virus task force coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx, and Dr. Anthony Fauci, the U.S. government’s foremost infection disease expert.
- The week that was: Stories from the coronavirus saga
This past week, New York got worse — far worse. In New York City, as morgue space ran out, people started wondering where the bodies will go and the funeral industry struggled to keep up. On the streets of a city accustomed to the exact opposite of social distancing, New Yorkers found a new, gentler reality.
- Trump, Dems clash on boosting mail-in voting during pandemic
While Wisconsin struggles to hold its primary on Tuesday, President Donald Trump and Democrats are bickering over how to provide voters with safe and secure access to a ballot as the coronavirus pandemic rages in the U.S. and threatens to extend into the fall, affecting the general election. With another economic rescue package in the works, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she wants money to give more voters the chance to cast their ballot by mail, an option that would allow people to vote without the concern over the safety of polling places. It stands apart from other states that have delayed primaries because of the virus, though Democratic Gov. Tony Evers has issued a statewide stay-at-home order.
- Virus alters Holy Week celebration worldwide, not the spirit
For Pope Francis at the Vatican, and for Christians worldwide from churches large and small, this will be an Easter like none other: The joyous message of Christ’s resurrection will be delivered to empty pews. Worries about the coronavirus outbreak have triggered widespread cancellations of Holy Week processions and in-person services. Many extended families will reunite via Face Time and Zoom rather than around a communal table laden with an Easter feast on April 12.
- New coronavirus limits bring new religious freedom tension
Despite state and local limits on public gatherings, some faith leaders have persisted in holding in-person services -- a matter of religious freedom, they say, as the nation approached its fourth Sunday battling the coronavirus pandemic. The most high-profile clash over in-person worship – and crowd limits designed to stop the virus’ spread -- came in Florida, where Pastor Rodney Howard-Browne was arrested Monday for violating a county order by hosting a large number of congregants at his Tampa church. Howard-Browne said after his release he would move future worship online, but the county later ended its effort to apply limits on large gatherings to religious services after a statewide order described religious gatherings as essential.
- Lives Lost: Detroit woman, mother of 4, loved ballroom dance
When Laneeka Barksdale got so sick from the coronavirus that she had to be hospitalized, she tried to keep family from driving her there so as not to put them in danger. “She didn't even want my other sister to drive her to the hospital,” her brother Omari Barksdale recalled. A known figure in Detroit’s vibrant ballroom dance and social scene, Laneeka was hospitalized around March 14.
- Wisconsin GOP appeals to Supreme Court on extended voting
Wisconsin Republicans asked the U.S. Supreme Court on Saturday to block extended absentee voting in Tuesday's primary, despite public health fears about in-person voting amid the coronavirus pandemic. Republicans are asking the high court to undo a federal judge's ruling this week that declined to postpone the election but added six days, to April 13, for people to submit absentee ballots. The GOP argued in their brief to Justice Brett Kavanaugh that the absentee extension is “a deeply consequential and disruptive change” that risks confusing voters, comes too close to the election and unfairly creates two different deadlines for voters — one for in-person voting and one for absentees.
- What you need to know today about the virus outbreak
As the number of infections from the new coronavirus has grown to more than 1.1 million worldwide, health care systems are straining under the surge of patients and lack of medical equipment like ventilators, protective masks and gloves. In the U.S., governors are describing in stark terms the dog-eat-dog global marketplace they must navigate for the protective gear doctors, nurses and other front-line medical workers need as they brace for an expected wave of patients afflicted with severe cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus. — President Donald Trump returned to the idea of opening up the country’s economy as soon as possible, even as he said the United States was heading into what could be its “toughest” weeks as coronavirus cases swell nationwide.
- A gentler Gotham? NYers anxiously wait out coronavirus
To a casting director, he might have seemed the perfect impatient New Yorker — broad, bald and with a booming voice, tattoos on his neck and hands visible under his construction jacket. Justin Hunter stood in line outside the Park Slope Food Coop, one of several dozen shoppers spaced 6 feet apart in a queue that stretched around the corner. Hunter's attitude, though, was all wrong for the part.
- Hidden suffering of coronavirus: Stigma, blaming, shaming
No one should have known Bella Lamilla’s name. “Knowing she had it, the old lady didn’t care and went all around,” one person commented on Facebook. “It was ugly,” said Pedro Valenzuela, 22, Lamilla’s great-nephew.
- Hunt for medical supplies creates marketplace of desperation
What sounds like an organized-crime thriller is now the new reality for governors desperately trying to find the medical equipment their states need in the throes of a pandemic. With the federal stockpile dwindling fast, and the Trump administration limiting access to what’s left, state leaders are going to extraordinary measures on their own to secure faces masks, ventilators, gloves and other equipment essential to fighting the outbreak. Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker enlisted NFL owner Robert Kraft to send the Patriots team plane to China to retrieve over a million masks.
- AP FACT CHECK: Trump, 'wartime' pandemic leader or 'backup'?
President Donald Trump seems to go back and forth on that, or both ways at once, in responding to the coronavirus pandemic that takes more lives by the hour. “The federal government,” he told New York's governor, “is merely a back-up for state governments.” Separately, he bragged inaccurately about his Facebook followers.
- 10 things you need to know today: April 4, 2020
- Does Iran's coronavirus crisis raise the risk of war?
- Pet fostering takes off as coronavirus keeps Americans home
The Simeon family was heading home to Omaha from a Smoky Mountains vacation when Kim Simeon spotted a social media post from the Nebraska Humane Society, pleading with people to consider fostering a pet amid concerns about how the coronavirus would affect operations. Nala is one of 35 dogs and cats that have been placed with Omaha-area families as part of an emergency foster care program.
- Global diplomacy under the gun in the time of coronavirus
The coronavirus pandemic has dramatically altered international diplomacy. While the interruptions may seem to many like trivial inconveniences for a well-heeled jet set, they may have significant implications for matters of war and peace, arms control and human rights. As the global crisis threatens to alter the world balance of power, NATO's top diplomats abandoned plans to meet in person this past week, the European Union has scaled back its schedule, a major international conference on climate change in Scotland was called off, and many lower-level U.N. gatherings have been scrapped entirely.
- World Suffers Under the Grip of a Deadly Pandemic: Weekend Reads
(Bloomberg) -- With the U.S. now the clear epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak and poised to enter its most challenging week yet, President Donald Trump’s administration still faces charges from state and local officials that it’s not doing enough to ensure lives aren’t lost unnecessarily.The virus is still ravaging Europe, and talks are under way over how to help the continent’s most vulnerable economies recover.And in China, preparations are being made to re-open Wuhan, the original site of the outbreak, even as a second wave of infections threatens Asian urban centers. Dig deeper into these topics — and check out some others you may have missed — with the latest edition of Weekend Reads.Blue-Collar America Braces for Another Devastating RecessionManufacturing takes more of a beating in downturns than other sectors — and it’s still scarred from the last one. Shawn Donnan, Joe Deaux, Reade Pickert and Keith Naughton take a look at the coming storm.Stay-at-Home Orders Halt State Moves on Sports Bets, Taxing RichA Michigan bid to raise taxes on the rich. An amendment allowing sports betting at Indian casinos in California. An effort to bring light to how political ads are funded in Arizona. Across the U.S., stay-at-home decrees are blocking the most essential part of efforts to get these proposals on ballots in November: gathering signatures in person. Jeffrey Taylor takes a closer look. Good Luck Policing the Massive Virus Relief Fund, TARP Vets SayThe massive $2 trillion U.S stimulus package includes a $500 billion Treasury Department fund to bail out airlines and other large corporations harmed by the pandemic. As Joshua Green explains, the job of policing it won’t be easy.As Rest of World Locks Down, China Tries to Get Shoppers OutIn a bid to jump-start consumption, authorities are distributing vouchers and offering subsidies on larger purchases such as cars, while state media plays up stories of officials venturing out to enjoy local delights like bubble tea and pork buns. But as Dandan Li reports, many Chinese are hesitant to return to their old lives.Johnson’s Virus Fight Banks on British Love for Health ServiceSchoolkids in lockdown put home-made signs in their bedroom windows thanking brave doctors and nurses. Families stepped outside their front doors for a national round of applause. Public buildings lit up blue. Olivia Konotey-Ahulu, James Paton, Suzi Ring and Andrew Atkinson break down how this week’s events demonstrate why few leaders have more to gain or lose from the ability of doctors to cope than the U.K. prime minister.The World’s Hotspots Risk Festering With All Eyes on the VirusWith attention right now is focused on fighting the pandemic, that doesn’t mean the world’s conflict spots have gone silent. Rosalind Mathieson, Samer Al-Atrush, Donna Abu-Nasr and Philip Heijmans take a closer look. Poorest Caracas Neighborhoods Flout Maduro’s Virus LockdownMuch of Caracas is now deserted with hardly anyone in the streets apart from armed officials enforcing the local lockdown. Not so in the Venezuelan capital’s slums, where stocking up and hunkering down isn’t an option, Alex Vasquez reports. Putin’s Economic Isolation Suddenly Doesn’t Look So BadVladimir Putin has the U.S. Treasury Department to thank for helping his country prepare for a global economic crisis. A steady deluge of economic sanctions has pushed Russia’s authorities to boost reserves and strip back debt over the past five years. Now that fortress approach is starting to look like good foresight, Natasha Doff and Anya Andrianova report. Angela Merkel Can’t Isolate Herself From Pressure to Save EuropeAcross the River Spree from the quiet of Berlin’s Museum Island, Angela Merkel spent most of the week a in self-imposed quarantine. The galleries at the UNESCO World Heritage Site now boast more World War II bullet holes than visitors, and, as Alan Crawford writes, history may judge Germany’s enduring leader on what she does to help Europe’s weaker countries through the pandemic. Tell us how we’re doing or what we’re missing at firstname.lastname@example.org.And finally … In January, Shelly Banjo’s 16-month-old son uttered one of his first words: “mask.” Banjo and her family were living in Hong Kong, which had gone on de facto lockdown to limit the virus’s spread as it infected thousands in mainland China. Read her first-hand account of their decision to relocate to the U.S., which taught them you can’t run from a global pandemic. 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.
- Knifeman in France kills 2 in attack, terror inquiry opened
A man wielding a knife attacked residents of a French town while they ventured out to shop amid a nationwide coronavirus lockdown Saturday, killing two people and wounding five others in an act that led authorities to open a terrorism inquiry. France's counter-terrorism prosecutor’s office said the assailant was arrested near the scene of the attack in the town of Romans-sur-Isere, south of Lyon, as he was kneeling on the sidewalk praying in Arabic. Prosecutors did not identify the suspect.
- A Lame-Duck Regulator Who Became the Face of Shale in Oil Wars
- U.K. Labour Picks ‘Safe’ Keir Starmer as a Life-Raft in a Storm
(Bloomberg) -- After a decade in the political wasteland, members of Britain’s main opposition Labour Party have chosen a moderate, un-flashy lawyer as their new leader. Their hope is that turning the page on the socialist radical Jeremy Corbyn, who was resoundingly rejected by voters last year, will see them re-take power.Keir Starmer, 57, offers dry competence and seriousness after a turbulent five years under the firebrand Corbyn. At a time when the U.K. is grappling with the global coronavirus crisis and its own exit from the European Union, a steady hand could prove popular.“Maybe being boringly competent is a magical thing -- because we haven’t got many boringly competent politicians at the moment, particularly in government,” said Steven Fielding, a professor at Nottingham University and historian of the Labour party. “People just flock to him like a safety raft from a sinking ship.”Starmer faces one urgent decision before he embarks on his long-term mission. First he must decide how far he should support Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s strategy for countering the pandemic and how stridently he should speak out against the government’s mistakes. There has been speculation that he could even join a government of national unity to see the country through the crisis, as happened in World War II.Battered In the years ahead, Starmer’s defining task will be to revive a battered opposition party, broken by its worst election defeat in 80 years, and then persuade Britain’s 47 million voters that he is the prime minister the country needs to put itself back together.Starmer was born in 1962 in south London to a nurse and a toolmaker. He was the first member of his family to go to an academically selective grammar school. After studying at the universities of Leeds and Oxford he began the 30-year campaigning career in human rights law that would set him up for front-line politics.He represented peace activists and environmental campaigners, and led a legal challenge against the sinking of an oil rig.Gavin Millar, a top lawyer who interviewed the young Starmer for a junior position in the late 80s, remembers him as “very radical” with strong views about the law. In a legal world of high intellects, Starmer’s first-rate brain stood out, but so too did his commitment to the protesters and activists fighting the powerful during Margaret Thatcher’s decade of Tory rule.The two shared an office, where Starmer, who loved indie-pop bands such as The Smiths, was known for working long hours. “I got a lot of two-in-the-morning emails from him,” Millar said.PassionDuring the course of Starmer’s legal career, Millar saw him become more measured and less “strident” in his outlook. But, fundamentally, his commitment to social justice remains as strong as ever, Millar said. “I don’t think the passion has changed at all – that is a constant in Keir.”In 2008, Starmer took on one of the biggest jobs in the justice system, director of public prosecutions and head of the Crown Prosecution Service. Perhaps his biggest case was overseeing the highly controversial and ultimately successful retrial of two men for the murder of black teenager Stephen Lawrence in 1993.After being given a knighthood -- he now prefers not to use the title “Sir” -- he was elected as Labour member of Parliament for a London district in 2015. Brexit gave Starmer his big chance in politics.As Labour’s Brexit spokesman, he was constantly appearing in the House of Commons, picking apart Theresa May’s ill-fated attempt to negotiate a divorce deal with the European Union, and working with like minded opponents of a no-deal split across party lines.Yet in the 2019 election campaign the Brexit policy he helped Labour to devise was partly responsible for the party’s dire result. He wanted a second referendum that would give the electorate the chance to vote to stay in the EU, but Corbyn declared that Labour would remain “neutral” and would not back either the leave or remain side. Voters wanted to move on and Johnson won with his pledge to “get Brexit done.”Sea Change Labour’s 2019 defeat was also a rejection of Corbyn, whose unpopular leadership turned voters off.Starmer was the favorite to succeed Corbyn from the start, as Labour members apparently decided they needed to put their hopes of winning ahead of any emotioal attachment to the former leader’s old fashioned leftwing ideals.“It feels to me like a real sea change in the party, a new seriousness,” said Labour MP Stephen Timms, who hosted a phone canvassing event for Starmer in his constituency. “I think Keir is going to be a serious contender for the leadership of the country.”While the face is different, many of Starmer’s policy pledges were first adopted under Corbyn. They include putting up income tax on top earners and bringing rail, mail, energy and water into common ownership. Starmer has promised to oppose austerity and introduce a compassionate migration system with free movment across the EU.Labour has now lost four elections in a row and with Johnson sitting on a comfortable 80-seat majority in Parliament, the odds favor a fifth defeat in 2024. Yet the coronavirus pandemic seems certain to reshape the country and shake up politics across the world. There is a chance that when the crisis eventually ends and the next election comes, the country will want new leadership.“We can only win if we are united and relentlessly focused on the future,” Starmer said in his first rally of the leadership election campaign on Feb. 16. He made it sound easy. In reality, the task he faces is still huge.The Labour Party remains dysfunctional and unpopular and that must change if it is to defeat Johnson’s Tories, said Tim Bale, a professor of politics at Queen Mary University in London. “There’s clearly a case for some pretty brutal surgery, to the point of actual amputation,” said Bale. “It’s whether he’s prepared to actually wield not only the scalpel but the bone saw.”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.
- UN chief praises positive response to global ceasefire
- 'We're gonna die': migrants in US jail beg for deportation due to Covid-19 exposure
Ice detainees isolated after one had Covid-19 symptoms tell the Guardian that cries for help and protection have gone ignored * Coronavirus – latest US updates * Coronavirus – latest global updates * See all our coronavirus coverageDetainees in a US immigration jail are begging to be released after potential Covid-19 exposure, saying the conditions are so brutal that they would rather suffer deportation than remain locked up.Three men incarcerated at the Winn correctional center in a remote part of Louisiana told the Guardian that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (Ice) has isolated 44 of them together after they were possibly exposed to coronavirus. Some of the detainees are so desperate to leave that they are seeking voluntary deportation. They say their cries for masks, hand sanitizer, gloves and cleaning supplies have gone ignored, including for elderly detainees and those with asthma.In a series of phone calls, the men described a nightmare ordeal over the last two weeks, citing rampant mistreatment and a terrifying lack of information from Ice after they learned they were under some kind of quarantine. They also said that seven of their fellow detainees were deported on a flight to Colombia this week, four days into a 14-day quarantine period, which would appear to violate basic standards of coronavirus containment.Their firsthand accounts escalate concerns that human rights lawyers have been raising for weeks, that Ice jails could become death traps during the pandemic and that the only way to save lives and slow the spread is to release people en masse.“People are writing to the judge that they want to be deported as soon as possible. They don’t want to continue fighting,” said a detainee from El Salvador in his 30s, who declined to give his name. He said he was trying to self-deport and was also helping an asylum seeker seek deportation. “He told me, ‘I’d prefer to go home instead of being in this jail.’ … Ice has to release all the people, immediately.”One of the detainees speaking out and advocating for the release of immigrant prisoners is Dr Sirous Asgari, an Iranian scientist who was exonerated in a US trial last year but continues to face detention. The 59-year-old professor shared his story with the Guardian last week, prompting Iran’s foreign minister to call for his release.The men were first detained at the Alexandria staging facility (ASF) in Louisiana, where Asgari said Ice was continuing to bring in new detainees from around the country in cramped quarters where they were denied masks and basic supplies to protect themselves.Then on 26 March, ASF staff put up a sign outside the pod where they slept, which said the room was under “medical observation” due to the possibility of exposure, saying the risk was “high”, Asgari recounted this week. He heard that a detainee had a fever. But Ice, he alleged, gave the detainees no information and declined to tell them whether it was Covid-19.“Everybody got panicked,” he said, describing a chaotic scene of the detainees yelling for help and information. “We had two elderly people in their 70s, younger people with respiratory problems. One guy is crying, saying, ‘My life is in danger, we have been exposed.’ People were screaming, ‘Give us masks!’ … ‘We’re gonna die!’”One officer suggested there was nothing to worry about, but then staff kept the pod completely isolated from other detainees, suggesting they were under quarantine, Asgari said. Despite what seemed to be a strict quarantine, seven of them were deported to Colombia a few days later, he said.Roughly 30 men who remained behind were then taken to Winn, but were still given no information, the detainees said. But once they had medical visits, he said they confirmed their fears after asking the nurse to look at their records, which all said “possible exposure to Covid-19” and listed as 8 April as a “release date” which would be the end of a 14-day quarantine period. The men joined a dozen other detainees in that facility who were also suspected of having exposure, Asgari said.Bryan Cox, an Ice spokesman, declined to respond to many of their specific claims, but said no detainee has tested positive for Covid-19 at ASF. He did not answer questions about whether the men were given tests or whether there was a direct exposure or quarantine. He said Ice groups detainees in “medical cohorts”, meaning separating potential Covid-19 patients from others, but said that a “cohort for potential exposure does not mean a person has been exposed”.He said the men were spreading “unsubstantiated rumor and false allegations”, but did not offer specifics.“We are just a number to them. They don’t care,” said a detainee in his 30s who is facing deportation to Guatemala, and was also moved from ASF to Winn alongside Asgari. “I’m really afraid … They put you in jail with all these people and you don’t know where they’ve come from. It doesn’t make any sense.”This detainee said he had lived in the US for more than a decade and that he was arrested in New York in mid-March as Ice continued its raids and arrests amid the worsening pandemic. He said he has little information about his case and is fighting to get out: “I’m trying to do something, but I can’t. I haven’t seen a judge, nothing. They are just moving me around.” ‘Disgusting’ conditions and silence from IceThe men said the conditions at Winn were appalling. The detainees are responsible for all cleaning, and there is a single shower and only two toilets for all 44 of them to share. They are also sleeping on beds roughly two feet apart from each other, and the humidity when they first arrived left the sheets wet and beds rusted, they alleged.“When we got inside, everyone was absolutely shocked at the living conditions,” said Asgari, who has a history of respiratory problems and is at risk of death. “It’s frustrating, disgusting and humiliating. We get outside for one hour a day. That’s the only good thing.”By Friday, a majority of the detainees were suffering from some kind of cold, according to Asgari, who said he now has a bad cough and fears it will infect his lungs. They don’t have fevers, and he said he hopes it’s not coronavirus.The man from El Salvador said the staff at Winn were taking their temperatures daily, but otherwise doing little else related to Covid-19 prevention. He said Ice should consider releasing them in the US for their own safety, noting that he didn’t know the status of the outbreak in El Salvador and whether it would be dangerous to return. But ultimately, he said he was desperate to get out, fearing staff could bring the virus to the facility or that he could be moved again and exposed to hundreds more detainees in other jails.One Ice officer told him he could submit a formal request and get a reply in seven or eight days, he said: “I want to know what is happening with us. They don’t answer, nothing.”On Friday, the man from El Salvador was deported, according to Asgari.> People are seeking asylum and they are saying, ‘Just send me back.’ That speaks to the horrific conditions> > Mehrnoush YazdanyarAsgari has also been trying to self-deport to Iran, where there is a massive Covid-19 outbreak.“They are asking to be sent anywhere but there,” said Mehrnoush Yazdanyar, an attorney who has talked to multiple Winn detainees and is helping Asgari’s family. “People are seeking asylum and they are saying, ‘Just send me back.’ That speaks to the horrific conditions.”Cox, the Ice spokesman, said all detainees are screened upon arrival to facilities and that Ice conducts Covid-19 testing in accordance with US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines. He said Ice provides soap and “other appropriate cleaning supplies” and “necessary and appropriate medical care” to detainees.Advocates have raised similar complaints about Ice conditions across the country. Karlyn Kurichety, an attorney with immigrant rights group Al Otro Lado, said that at California’s largest Ice jail, detainees lack basic sanitation supplies and that Ice has placed some detainees in quarantine without telling them why.“We’re concerned there’s going to be a massive outbreak in one of these facilities, and literally thousands of people could die,” she said.
- Trump Tightens Pressure on Maduro as Virus Threatens Disaster
- Can Keir Starmer Persuade Britain to Dump Its Wartime Prime Minister Like Churchill?
It’s one of history’s greatest illustrations of ingratitude. In July 1945, fresh from his near-superhuman triumph in World War II, Winston Churchill led Britain’s Conservative party to one of its worst ever defeats. Voters decided that a wartime prime minister was no longer needed, thanks, and they tossed him aside for a man they believed would do a better job of rebuilding a country that had been left smouldering from Nazi bombs and with an almost unfathomable amount of debt owed to the United States.Seven and a half decades on, Churchill’s proudest fanboy is prime minister and finds himself in his hero’s shoes—leading the country through a crisis so terrifying and so all-consuming its only real comparison is that war. Who knows what fresh hell the next months will bring, but right now Boris Johnson’s popularity is surging as he drags Britain through the coronavirus pandemic after having already delivered on his promise to “Get Brexit Done.” Johnson has been handed the kind of historic crisis he’s spent his lifetime studying but, fancying himself as something of a Churchill scholar, he’ll know that steering a nation through its darkest hour comes with no guarantee of gratitude when voters return to the ballot box.The next U.K. election, scheduled quite unthinkably far in the future in 2024, started to take shape Saturday morning when the opposition Labour party named former top prosecutor Sir Keir Starmer as its new leader. Like in 1945, when Labour’s since-deified leader Clement Attlee pushed Churchill out of Downing Street, Starmer will be tasked with defeating a virtual wartime PM by persuading the country that he’s more able to pick up the pieces of a country ravaged by death and debt than the man who made the big calls during the crisis.Blasé Boris Laughed Off the Risks Before Catching COVID-19Starmer’s résumé is probably as stacked as it can be for a man who’s spent his relatively short political career in a party which has now been wading through the thick misery of opposition for a decade. Before entering parliament in 2015, he was a high-profile human rights lawyer who battled against the death penalty in the Caribbean and Africa and was part of a legal team which took on McDonald’s in a notorious libel case brought by the fast food company against two environmental activists who handed out a factsheet accusing it of electrocuting animals and destroying forests.Later, in 2008, he became the British Establishment’s most senior prosecutor when he was named head of the Crown Prosecution Service and Director of Public Prosecutions. During that time, he brought the prosecution of two men for the murder of black teenager Stephen Lawrence—a watershed case which exposed widespread institutional racism in the police force. In 2014, he was knighted by the Queen.(As a side note, during this part of his career, he was widely rumored to have been the real-life inspiration for the character of Mark Darcy—the handsome human rights barrister in the original Bridget Jones’s Diary novel who was later played by Colin Firth in the movies. Author Helen Fielding has reportedly denied that origin story, but it hasn’t stopped Starmer from grinning in a particularly handsome manner when questioned about it on the campaign trail.)But, in 2015, he made the still quite mystifying decision to give up his legal perch to become a politician. Shortly after he won a seat in parliament that year, the veteran far-left campaigner Jeremy Corbyn was unexpectedly voted in as Labour leader and went on to drive the party through what were arguably the five most pointless years of its existence, which finally ended Saturday. Although Corbyn still has a lot of support among the tenaciously left-wing party membership—many of whom signed up specifically to vote Corbyn into his position—it was impossible for him to go on after the December election saw Labour suffer its worst defeat since the 1930s.‘Marxist, Joke, Disgrace’: How Corbyn United Britain Against HimBecause Starmer’s five years in parliament have been spent while his party wasn’t particularly important to what was going on there, it’s hard to know exactly what kind of prime minister he’d be. He’s mostly known to the public for his time as shadow Brexit secretary, when his role was to scrutinize what his opposite member in government was doing as Britain readied to leave the European Union. As that disastrous process lurched from one catastrophe to the next, Starmer was identified as one of the few members of the Labour shadow cabinet who was actually quite good at using his legally trained brain to dismantle the government’s frippery.It seems a long time ago that anything but the coronavirus pandemic mattered, but Brexit and Britain’s relationship with Europe will become important again in healthier times. Starmer campaigned to remain in the EU ahead of the referendum in 2016, so Britain’s relationship with Europe will be interesting to watch if he becomes prime minister. Before the December election, Starmer talked about his hope of holding another E.U. referendum and made clear that, if it happened, he’d campaign to stay. He was key to Labour's change in position ahead of that election when it promised a second referendum if Corbyn became prime minister.However, most voters absolutely hated that idea and clearly preferred the blunt simplicity of Johnson’s message to “Get Brexit Done.” Some Corbyn supporters blamed Starmer for the party’s huge defeat, accusing him of creating a policy which was so convoluted and vague that both Leave voters and Remain voters—or, in other words, the entire electorate—despised it. Despite that, under recent questioning from reporters during the leadership campaign, Starmer seemed quite open to the idea of rejoining the E.U. at some point in the future.Europe aside, and accepting his stated beliefs in fighting against “poverty, inequality and injustice” as laudable but obvious for a lifelong human rights activist, it’s been hard to nail down exactly what Starmer believes or what he intends to do with his time as leader. It has been reported that, when he was much younger, Starmer was a proud Marxist. A journal he helped set up in the mid-1980s attacked the Labour party for not being sufficiently radical, railed against “the authoritarian onslaught of Thatcherism,” and urged workers to take nationwide direct action in a campaign to reduce the number of working hours in a week to 32.How Britain’s Insanely Risky Coronavirus Experiment Will Affect the U.S.But his subsequent career inside the belly of the Establishment appears to have softened some of the hard lines of his beliefs as a young man. The 10 campaign pledges posted on his leadership campaign website could largely have been written by any vaguely leftish leader over the past few decades, including the one he just replaced after a dreadful election defeat, so his appointment isn’t going to immediately herald radically different policies from before.Instead, Starmer has run a wise but boring balancing act. Even before the coronavirus pandemic pushed the leadership contest out of news bulletins, he ran a bland campaign designed to avoid trashing the former leader and upsetting the Corbyn supporters who made up a huge part of the electorate in the party leadership vote.In simply not being Corbyn, there is at least some hope he can win over voters who are naturally inclined to vote for leftish policies, but who hate Corbyn so much that they couldn’t bring themselves to do it in December. On top of Corbyn’s shiftiness on Brexit, his historic links to terror groups and failure to squash an anti-Semitism problem among his left-wing supporters made him too toxic to too many people.Far from abandoning Corbyn’s losing manifesto, it looks like Starmer will actually keep the vast majority of it and hope it sounds better coming from him. He will certainly start with more goodwill—Corbyn’s reputation was absolutely savaged by British newspapers which gleefully exposed the murkier associations from his past the instant he became leader. Starmer, who came from a fairly humble background to become a leading human rights lawyer and a goddamn actual knight, and has only been mudlarking in the swamps of politics for a few years, appears to have far less fodder for the British press to get too excited about.What Do the U.K. Election Results Mean for Democrats? Nothing Very Good.So here he is: a handsome but quite dull man who has already proven he has the ability to excel and has spent his entire career standing up against real social injustices. If he largely sticks by the Corbyn manifesto, then Britain could have a credible potential leader with very little baggage who puts forward genuinely radical policies. In December’s vote, Labour proposed nationalizing huge sections of British industry such as rail, energy, and broadband, fighting the climate crisis with a Green New Deal, and slapping big tax rises on the wealthiest.When Attlee defeated Churchill and inherited a devastated country in 1945, he went on to preside over what became the most significant reforming government of the 20th century. It’s remembered for introducing the now-more-hallowed-than-ever universal health-care system the National Health Service, nationalizing vast swaths of industry, and granting independence to India which marked the beginning of the end of the anachronistic British Empire.In just over four years—after Britain has, with any hope, long seen off the coronavirus pandemic—the U.K. will hold another election, scheduled for May 2, 2024. Unless the current crisis sees Johnson make some kind of outrageous and colossal fuck-up—which, admittedly, is not impossible—he is likely to be riding a wave of goodwill during his re-election campaign, just as Churchill did in his campaign ahead of his historic shitcanning.If Starmer is to make history repeat itself and do an Attlee, it’s now his job to spend the next four and a bit years proving to Britain that, when it finally wakes up from this nightmare, he’s the right man to help it heal and move on.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.
- Trump Decided a Global Pandemic Was a Good Time to Be a Neighborhood Bully
POPAYÁN, Colombia—The ravages of the pandemic have begun here now, and as it worsens millions of Venezuelan migrants pose a tremendous challenge to fragile infrastructure throughout Central and South America, where poor living conditions and a lack of resources mean they are largely defenseless against the novel coronavirus. That would be bad enough. But recent moves by the Trump administration could make the situation incalculably worse.In the middle of the enormous health crisis sweeping the United States and devastating the world economy, President Donald Trump has decided to double down on his efforts to drive Venezuelan head of state Nicolás Maduro from power. On Wednesday Trump announced plans to deploy warships and aircraft near Venezuelan waters, allegedly to intercept cocaine shipments but clearly intended to further isolate and intimidate Maduro’s “socialist” regime. Just last week the U.S. Justice Department charged Maduro with drug trafficking and put a $15 million dollar price on his head, a move apparently aimed at fomenting dissent among the nation’s officer corps. Trump’s State Department also has imposed new sanctions that are more crippling than ever, despite the pandemic, further weakening Venezuela’s already frail health-care system. The net result is less likely to be a change of regime in Venezuela than a complete COVID-19 meltdown. Experts warn that the fallout could trigger a rampant exodus of the infected and desperate, destabilizing the entire region. “The Trump administration has signaled that it will continue to institute collective punishment on everyday Venezuelans, a punishment that will grow even more deadly as the virus spreads,” Cavan Kharriazan, a Venezuela specialist with the Center for Economic Policy and Research [CEPR] in Washington, tells The Daily Beast. “This will inevitably lead to Venezuelans seeking treatment and relief in already strained neighboring countries, risking further spread across borders.”Feds Charge Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro With Drug TraffickingConditions in Colombia already are dire. The number of confirmed cases is, as of this writing, 1,267 with 25 deaths. But a lack of available test kits means the true number is likely much higher, and the fearsome exponential spread of the disease in many countries suggests a doubling of infections approximately every three days. One prominent epidemiologist has predicted the total collapse of the national health system in Colombia—a close U.S. ally—by early April. Panic already has resulted in widespread looting and prison riots that left 23 dead and more than 80 inmates wounded. The looming shortages of food, hospital beds, and medical supplies mean expatriated Venezuelans will be among the hardest hit. The Norwegian Refugee Council has warned that the vulnerable, largely impoverished population of migrants represent a potential powder keg: Colombia as well as other countries like Colombia could be faced with “carnage” if—or when—COVID-19 sweeps through the camps and barrios where they have taken refuge.How Cuba Helped Make Venezuela a Mafia StateAbout 90 percent of Venezuelan immigrants in Colombia work in the informal economy, meaning the ongoing and strictly enforced quarantine has rendered them instantly jobless and with nothing to fall back on. According to the news site Colombia Reports, hundreds of refugee families in Bogotá already have been displaced all over again—evicted because they couldn’t pay the rent.Due to the pandemic “refugees and migrants from Venezuela face specific risks,” says Olga Sarrado, a spokesperson for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), in an email to The Daily Beast. “Many depend on daily wages to pay their rent, buy food, and purchase needed medicine,” Sarrado says. “Others are living in the streets without a shelter,” making it impossible “to follow the quarantine and self-isolation measures.”Those factors could facilitate an even faster rate of transmission for the novel coronavirus.“Migrants, especially those without stable housing, will be stuck in limbo and forced into dangerous living conditions, such as over-crowded facilities,” says Kharriazan of CEPR. The barrio called Sindical, on the outskirts of the provincial capital of Popayán in southern Colombia, is home to a large contingent of at-risk Venezuelan exiles. These streets, once full of despecho music and empanada vendors, have fallen eerily silent. At night the residents light votive candles in their windows, on their stoops. Kindled pleas that the families inside might be spared from viral outbreak and economic backlash alike. “I don’t know what we’re going to do now. We’ve nothing left for rent or food,” says Kenny Oramas, 45, as he gazes out over the barrio’s shuttered park, the padlocked soccer pitch. “I get paid by the day,” says Oramas, a father of two who paints cars at a nearby body shop that’s now closed for the national lockdown, which could extend through June or beyond. “If I can’t work nobody will give us anything. It’s very hard to see our kids go hungry. To see my wife worry we’ll be tossed out in the street.”Like many refugees, Oramas is an undocumented immigrant who left his homeland in 2018 due to rising scarcity, inflation, unemployment, and to give his family “a more dignified kind of life.” The novel coronavirus has left Oramas and many of the 4.5 million other Venezuelan refugees scattered throughout Latin America with nowhere left to run. And the strictly enforced quarantine means aid workers in high-risk zones like Sindical are faced with limited mobility and resources. “Now, with the virus here, we’re worse off than we were in Venezuela,” Oramas says, but with legal border crossings closed there’s no going back.“All we can do is trust in God,” he says.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.
- AP PHOTOS: Meals for Paris' marginalized amid coronavirus
Amid the coronavirus lockdown in France, charity workers are preparing more than a thousand meals a day for migrants and the homeless on the half-abandoned grounds of a former Paris hospital whose patron saint was devoted to the poor. France’s Aurore association, a charity dating back to the 19th century, has been serving meals at the former Saint Vincent de Paul hospital since March 24, a week into the nationwide confinement to stem the spread of the virus. Part of the complex was converted in 2015 to host non-profits and artisans, a day center for asylum-seekers and three transitional housing centers.
- Medics at Egypt's main cancer center test positive for virus
At least 17 medics in Egypt’s main cancer hospital have been quarantined after testing positive for the coronavirus, officials said Saturday, raising fears the pandemic could prey on health facilities in the Arab world's most populous country. Egypt has reported 1,070 confirmed cases and 71 fatalities from the global pandemic. Authorities have closed schools and mosques, banned public gatherings and imposed a nighttime curfew to prevent the virus from spreading among the population of 100 million, a fifth of whom live in the densely populated capital, Cairo.
- African elite who once sought treatment abroad are grounded
The coronavirus pandemic could narrow one gaping inequality in Africa, where some heads of state and other elite jet off to Europe or Asia for health care unavailable in their nations. As countries including their own impose dramatic travel restrictions, they might have to take their chances at home. For years, leaders from Benin to Zimbabwe have received medical care abroad while their own poorly funded health systems limp from crisis to crisis.
- UN to decide in a month on holding world leaders' meeting
- New York gets Chinese ventilators; Trump wants more thanks
The New York governor said Saturday the Chinese government was facilitating a shipment of 1,000 donated ventilators to his state, highlighting the extreme measures leaders are taking in what has become a cutthroat scramble to independently secure enough lifesaving devices during the coronavirus pandemic. In a sign of the disorganized response to the global crisis, Gov. Andrew Cuomo praised the Chinese government for its help in securing the shipment of the breathing machines that was scheduled to arrive at Kennedy Airport on Saturday, while acknowledging that the U.S. government’s stockpile of medical supplies would fall drastically short.
- Military recruiting struggles as enlistment stations close
Marine Gunnery Sgt. Kevin Meyer does his best recruiting face-to-face. “They usually won’t run away if you’re talking to them in person,” said Meyer, noting that if they are online or on the phone, they can just hang up. Recruiters scrounging for recruits online are often finding people too consumed with their own financial and health care worries to consider a military commitment right now.
- Some states receive masks with dry rot, broken ventilators
Some states and cities that have been shipped masks, gloves, ventilators and other essential equipment from the nation's medical stockpile to fight the coronavirus have gotten an unwelcome surprise: the material is unusable. Nearly 6,000 medical masks sent to Alabama had dry rot and a 2010 expiration date. More than 150 ventilators sent to Los Angeles were broken and had to be repaired.
- Pandemic hurts ability of nations to face natural disasters
Before New Zealand began its four-week lockdown to fight the coronavirus, a reporter asked Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern what would happen if an earthquake struck while everybody was sequestered in their homes. “Why on earth would your mind go there?” Ardern quipped back. Every year, the world contends with devastating typhoons, wildfires, tsunamis and earthquakes.
- Trump suggests firing watchdog was payback for impeachment
President Donald Trump suggested that he fired the inspector general for the intelligence community in retaliation for impeachment, saying the official was wrong to provide an anonymous whistleblower complaint to Congress as the law requires. Trump called Michael Atkinson a “disgrace” after informing Congress late Friday night that he intended to fire him. In letters to the House and Senate intelligence committees, Trump wrote that he had lost confidence in Atkinson but gave little detail.
- China honors virus victims with 3 minutes of reflection
With air raid sirens wailing and flags at half-staff, China held a three-minute nationwide moment of reflection on Saturday to honor those who have died in the coronavirus outbreak, especially “martyrs” who fell while fighting what has become a global pandemic. Commemorations took place at 10 a.m. in all major cities, but were particularly poignant in Wuhan, the industrial city where the virus was first detected in December. Wuhan was placed under complete lockdown on Jan. 23 in an effort to stem the spread of the virus and has been lauded as a “heroic city” by the nation’s communist leadership for the sacrifices made by its 11 million citizens.
- Some states receive masks with dry rot, broken ventilators
- U.K.’s Labour Set to Name Starmer Leader as Party Trails Tories
- WHO and UNICEF to partner on pandemic response through COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund
- State unemployment systems tested by surge of applicants
Americans are seeking unemployment benefits at unprecedented levels due to the coronavirus, but many are finding more frustration than relief. State websites and phone lines across the country have been overwhelmed with applicants — causing sites to crash, phone lines to ring busy and much-needed payments to be delayed. About 10 million people applied for unemployment benefits in the two weeks ended March 27.
- NOT REAL NEWS: False coronavirus claims and phony remedies
None of these are legit, even though they were shared widely on social media. CLAIM: Eating alkaline foods will stave off the novel coronavirus, which has a pH level of 5.5 to 8.5. THE FACTS: A false post circulating on social media claims that COVID-19 has a pH level between 5.5 to 8.5, and in order to fend off the virus people must consume alkaline foods.
- AP Sources: Shipping tycoon helps Venezuela in quest for gas
With gas lines across Venezuela growing, a controversial shipping magnate has stepped in to prevent the country from running out of fuel amid the coronavirus pandemic, The Associated Press has learned. The fuel shortage, in the nation that sits atop the world largest crude reserves, is the latest threat to Nicolas Maduro's rule at a time he is under intense U.S. pressure to resign. Wilmer Ruperti’s Maroil Trading Inc. billed state-owned oil monopoly PDVSA 12 million euros last month for the purchase of up to 250,000 barrels of 95-octane gasoline, according to a copy of the invoice obtained by AP.