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  • Italy and Russia spar over alleged coronavirus spies

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    Italy was engaged in a war of words with Russia on Friday over allegations Moscow hid spies among doctors it had sent to the country's coronavirus epicentre near Milan. The unusual exchange between the traditionally friendly nations followed the publication of an Italian newspaper story about the purportedly nefarious nature of the Russian mission. It was a chance for Russian President Vladimir Putin to exert "soft power" at a moment of dire weakness for the West.

    Fri, 03 Apr 2020 12:54:49 -0400
  • German virus data offers 'hope' but curbs must stay, says Merkel

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    Latest figures which show the spread of the coronavirus is slowing in Germany are a cause for "hope", Chancellor Angela Merkel said Friday, but warned that it was too early to relax restrictions on public life. Germany has shut schools, banned public gatherings of more than two and imposed requirements for people to keep a distance of at least 1.5 metres (five feet).

    Fri, 03 Apr 2020 12:51:23 -0400
  • Nativist Drive For Polish Ballot During Virus Crisis Is Stalling

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    Fri, 03 Apr 2020 12:38:15 -0400
  • Europe Makes Tentative Gains in Containing Coronavirus Spread

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    (Bloomberg) -- New coronavirus infections slowed in Spain and decreased marginally for the second day in Italy, while intensive-care admissions declined in France, tentative signs that the pandemic may be easing in Europe.Austria could become one of the first countries in the region to loosen restrictions that have shut down much of public life. Over the weekend, Chancellor Sebastian Kurz’s government will review data and consider a plan to gradually restart the economy, the Austrian leader told parliament in Vienna on Friday.“Let’s not jump to conclusions because there are some positive signals,” Kurz told lawmakers. “I can promise you, if the numbers support it, we’ll do what we can to return to normality step by step.”Spain -- the epicenter of the outbreak in Europe alongside Italy -- reported that new fatalities from the virus declined on Friday for the first time in four days.In another positive development, German Chancellor Angela Merkel -- Europe’s longest-serving leader -- left her precautionary quarantine.Despite pockets of improvement, death tolls in Italy, Spain, France and Germany surpassed 31,000, giving governments little leeway to unwind lockdown measures. The four countries account for almost 60% of global fatalities and more than a third of the world’s 1 million confirmed cases.After ending 12 days in voluntary self-isolation in Berlin, Merkel will continue to observe social-distancing standards, government spokesman Steffen Seibert told reporters.The chancellor, who this week prolonged a nationwide lockdown until April 19, addressed the public Friday from the chancellery in Berlin for the first time since the quarantine, making a plea to stay home and avoid social contact through the Easter holiday.Even though a slight slowing of the spread of the disease offers “some hope,” she said it was far too early to set a target date for easing restrictions.Europe’s longest-serving leader took center stage in Germany’s fight against the virus with a rare televised address to the nation on March 18, in which she called the pandemic the country’s gravest challenge since World War II.Merkel’s brush with the virus parallels that of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who has been working from self-isolation at home since March 12 after his wife contracted the illness. European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde also isolated herself temporarily last month following exposure to an infected person. And U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been quarantined for over a week after testing positive for the virus.Lockdown ReviewKurz, who wore a face mask before and after his speech, urged Austrians to persevere with measures to limit contact between people and asked them to refrain from celebrating the Easter holiday with large gatherings of families and friends. His government will review virus statistics with epidemiology experts on Sunday and present its plans on Monday.Growth in new infections in Austria have decreased to less than 5% per day. The number of daily fatalities has fallen for four straight days this week.Spain’s Health Ministry on Friday reported 932 new deaths and 7,472 cases over the latest 24-hour period, both smaller gains than the previous day. The dip in the daily figures could lead to less pressure on overwhelmed hospitals. Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez’s government is looking to extend the current lockdown for another two weeks beyond April 11, Spanish media reported.Italy reported 4,585 new infections, while there were 766 fatalities compared with 760 in the previous 24-hour period, civil protection authorities said at their daily news conference in Rome.The pace of both new deaths and new infections has flattened out over past days, even as the containment measures shuttering all non-essential activities and banning most movement take a heavy toll on the economy. In total, the country had 119,827 cases and 14,681 deaths.In efforts to address the economic fallout of the crisis, Germany is planning to set up an extra 300 billion-euro ($324 billlion) aid program to help small- and medium-sized companies, and Switzerland doubled the amount of state credit guarantees for businesses to 40 billion francs ($41 billion).Despite Merkel returning to work, Germany’s fight against the outbreak suffered a setback. Fatalities and confirmed cases rose by more than the previous day on Friday, with total deaths climbing past 1,000. The mortality rate is probably underestimated because of insufficient testing, according to Lothar Wieler, president of the Robert Koch Institute.The country -- which has 84,794 infections, the third-most in Europe -- may still need additional intensive-care space, even after boosting capacity by more than 40% since the crisis began, the head of Germany’s public health authority said.“My personal appraisal is that it will not be enough,” Wieler said at a press briefing. “I would be happy to be wrong.”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.

    Fri, 03 Apr 2020 12:23:49 -0400
  • UN chief: Cease-fire appeal backed by parties in 11 nations

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    Fri, 03 Apr 2020 12:23:24 -0400
  • Merkel Returns to Work Virus-Free After 12-Day Quarantine

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    (Bloomberg) -- German Chancellor Angela Merkel returned to her office on Friday, ending a 12-day, self-enforced quarantine after at least three tests showed that she was free of the coronavirus.The 65-year-old German leader -- who remains Germany’s most popular politician after almost 15 years in power -- took to her apartment in Berlin on March 22 after being informed that a doctor who had administered a precautionary immunization two days earlier had later tested positive for the virus.Speaking to the public Friday from the chancellery in Berlin for the first time since the quarantine, Merkel made a plea to citizens to stay home and avoid social contact through the Easter holiday.Even though a slight slowing of the spread of the disease offers “some hope,” she said it was far too early to set a target date for easing restrictions.“I would be acting absolutely irresponsibly if I gave you a concrete day for lifting, or at least loosening measures, but then was unable to stand by this promise,” Merkel said in a video podcast. “The number of infections won’t allow it.”Merkel said her government is working “day and night” to both protect citizens’ health and plan how public life could begin moving again, “step by step.”Merkel will continue to observe social distancing standards, government spokesman Steffen Seibert earlier told reporters in Berlin. The chancellor is conducting talks with global and German state leaders by video conference.She took center stage in Germany’s fight against the virus with a rare televised address to the nation on March 18, in which she called the crisis the country’s gravest since World War II. Her quarantine threw her ability to manage the response to the outbreak into question.The German leader’s brush with the virus parallels that of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who has been working from self-isolation at home since March 12 after his wife contracted the illness.Merkel isn’t the only top European official directly impacted by the virus. European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde isolated herself temporarily last month following exposure to an infected person. And U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been quarantined for over a week after testing positive.(Updates with Merkel comments starting in third paragraph)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.

    Fri, 03 Apr 2020 12:11:54 -0400
  • Cuban docs fighting coronavirus around world, defying US

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    For two years the Trump administration has been trying to stamp out one of Cuba’s signature programs __ state-employed medical workers treating patients around the globe in a show of soft power that also earns billions in badly needed hard currency. Labeling the doctors and nurses as both exploited workers and agents of communist indoctrination, the U.S. has notched a series of victories as Brazil, Ecuador and Bolivia sent home thousands after leftist governments allied with Havana were replaced with ones friendlier to Washington. The coronavirus pandemic has brought a reversal of fortune for Cuban medical diplomacy, as doctors have flown off on new missions to battle COVID-19 in at least 14 countries including Italy and the tiny principality of Andorra on the Spanish-French border, burnishing the island's international image in the middle of a global crisis.

    Fri, 03 Apr 2020 10:00:44 -0400
  • UN warns Libya vulnerable as country suffers first virus death

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    The United Nations warned Friday that health services in conflict-plagued Libya were already fragile as the North African country recorded its first death from the novel coronavirus. The UN-recognised, Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA), which controls the west of the country, has officially recorded 10 cases of the virus in Libya. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees warned Friday that the health system in Libya, the scene of a year of fighting for control of Tripoli, was already on the verge of collapse.

    Fri, 03 Apr 2020 09:53:29 -0400
  • Feeding the front lines, one duck confit at a time

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    On a break from the front lines, nurse practitioner Gabe Westhemier tucked into a plate of duck confit, the work of one of the city's celebrity chefs. Meanwhile, at another San Francisco emergency room, nurse Liz Sanderson still savors a sea salt caramel bread pudding from another posh eatery. The best of foods is being sampled in the worst of times by the most besieged of heroes -- all thanks to a group of San Francisco friends who had the idea of helping both local restaurants that need customers, and health care workers who need nourishment during their long, stressful shifts.

    Fri, 03 Apr 2020 09:39:10 -0400
  • Boris Johnson’s Virus Fight Banks on British Love for Its NHS

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    (Bloomberg) -- Schoolkids 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. Stores have offered discounts to hospital staff, and designated hours.They are hailed as heroes in Italy and Spain as the countries bear the brunt of the coronavirus pandemic, but nowhere does the medical system stir more passion than in Britain. When the government asked for 250,000 volunteers to help, three times that number signed up.The cult of the National Health Service has been key to so many political fortunes over the decades, but no leader has weaponized it more than Boris Johnson after years of austerity measures implemented by his Conservative Party. While peers across Europe come under strain fighting the pandemic, few have more to gain or lose from the ability of the health system to cope than the British prime minister.During the 2016 Brexit campaign, Johnson’s message was that leaving the European Union would save 350 million pounds ($433 million) a week to pump into the NHS, a sum later discredited. His emphatic election victory in December used the slogan “Get Brexit Done” so that the government could focus on areas like “our fantastic NHS.” The mantra for the Covid-19 pandemic is stay at home to “Protect Our NHS.”“The cynic in me says it is easy to clap,” said Martin Lodge, a political scientist at the London School of Economics. “Emotionally the NHS is a uniting symbol. All parties know electorally the NHS is a key thing.”The U.K. is now bracing for the disease to spread rapidly. With 684 fatalities, the country on Friday reported its deadliest day yet, albeit—for now—still behind the daily levels of Spain and Italy.Meanwhile, the government is relying on that regard for the NHS to keep the country united and, crucially, deflect from criticism that the health system has been starved of the money it needs.The last decade has seen the NHS under more pressure than at any time since it was founded in 1948, the vaunted postwar ideal of free medical care for all. Deeper-than-average cuts to hospital beds, seen previously as a sign of efficiency, are drawing scrutiny. The system has about 40,000 unfilled nursing positions and fewer doctors as a percentage of the population than countries such as France, Germany and Italy. “What’s really noticeable in the U.K. is not so much that our funding is out of line, but that our physical capacity is much lower,” said Anita Charlesworth, director of research at the Health Foundation. “We run our system really hot.”Health-care spending has grown just 1.3% a year in real terms since 2009-10. That compares with annual growth of 6% in the preceding 13 years. When it comes to beds, many countries have scaled back as medical care advances, but Britain has cut more than most. That meant more than nine out of 10 beds were occupied before the coronavirus, according to Charlesworth. The number of doctors, nurses and MRI scanners also is below the average of a group of European countries.“The inescapable reality is that insufficient investment in the nursing workforce over the last decade is already making it hard for nursing staff to fight the pandemic,” said Donna Kinnair, chief executive of the Royal College of Nursing, the labor union for nurses. “The government must recognize the added pressure these developments are putting on an already overstretched nursing workforce.”Johnson and Health Secretary Matt Hancock have emphasized that any health system in the world would be unprepared to cope with an uncontained outbreak of the coronavirus, which has so far killed 3,605 people across the U.K.Both have been infected with the disease amid mounting criticism of the government’s response, from failing to protect health care workers by testing them for the virus to giving them enough protective equipment to treat patients.Medical staff have had to isolate with members of their family because they can’t get checked. Only 5,000 out of 1.3 million NHS employees have been tested so far. By the end of April, the government aims to process 100,000 tests a day.The signs from elsewhere in Europe make alarming reading. Italy was forced to call in emergency help from Medecins Sans Frontieres, the group more known for working in Middle East war zones or dealing with Ebola in Africa. Spain has come under fire as hospitals became so overwhelmed that staff were forced to choose who to let die. But in Britain, the impact could have far greater potential political ramifications that go beyond the pandemic. Indeed, one former Conservative chancellor of the exchequer famously quipped that the NHS was the closest thing the English have to a religion.In London, the hardest hit population in the U.K. by coronavirus, medics are already reporting that some emergency departments are struggling.The question is not just whether the NHS can cope, but whether it’s just able to cope enough. In short, whether the coronavirus infects Britain’s most-cherished institution to the point where its future viability is undermined.The tsunami of illness means that there’s no health system, however rich, that would be prepared to deal with it, according to Rosalind Raine, a professor at the UCL Institute of Epidemiology and Health Care in London. “As a direct result of Covid-19, people with other conditions are really going to suffer,” said Raine. She cited the example of one hospital in East London, where at least three people with the virus have died and which could delay chemotherapy appointments due to a surge in patients. For sure, the NHS has fared better than other departments during the spending cuts in the wake of the global financial crisis. The government is also promising to plow tens of billions extra into the service by the middle of the decade. A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Social Care said the chancellor of the exchequer has made it clear the NHS will get “whatever funding it needs” to respond to the pandemic.“There has been a massive cash injection in some much needed equipment to deal with Covid-19 and that is here to stay but do I think that will be sustained once this is over?” said Rosie Kalsi, a consultant intensivist. “No. I think there will be a correction and we will go back to the experience of continued underfunding in hospital buildings, technology and in people.”In the meantime, there’s a national mobilization in preparation for the jump in coronavirus cases. The army helped build a new makeshift hospital with a capacity of as many as 4,000 beds in London with other facilities planned in events centers in Glasgow and other cities.The government called on recently retired doctors to rejoin the medical workforce. Letters were sent to more than 15,000 of them in England and Wales with reportedly more than 500 doctors signing up to return to the NHS in a variety roles in the first 48 hours. Medical students in the final year are also being enabled to practice.Companies have got involved after Johnson called on them to help produce the ventilators needed to treat the worst cases of the disease. Dyson, famous for its high-suction vacuum cleaners, said it plans to contribute, while the Mercedes Formula One motor racing team is working with academics in London to produce hundreds of breathing aids.Grounded staff from airlines EasyJet Plc and Virgin Atlantic have volunteered as part of the effort to bring more personnel into the NHS, while some soccer clubs have made medical staff and facilities available to support the effort.As the virus gets more entrenched in Britain, Annie Evans, a 24-year-old medical student at the University of Sheffield, is getting ready to be deployed in a hospital on the front line.“It very much feels like the calm before the storm,” she said. “It’s a bit scary because nobody knows what’s going to happen.”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.

    Fri, 03 Apr 2020 09:26:50 -0400
  • Coronavirus: Tunisia deploys police robot on lockdown patrol

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    It quizzes people outside suspected of flouting the North African nation's coronavirus restrictions.

    Fri, 03 Apr 2020 09:22:59 -0400
  • What you need to know today about the virus outbreak

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    The coronavirus outbreak finally snapped the United States’ record-breaking hiring streak of nearly 10 years as employers cut 701,000 jobs because of the pandemic that's all but shut down the nation's economy. Meanwhile, U.S. and European medical workers struggling to save ailing patients Friday watched supplies of medicine, protective equipment and breathing machines dwindle by the hour. It seems almost certain after nearly 10 million Americans lost their jobs and applied for unemployment benefits in the past two weeks — a record high that reflects the near-complete shutdown of the U.S. economy.

    Fri, 03 Apr 2020 09:05:00 -0400
  • 3 Risks American Investors Are Facing in China Right Now

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    With lifetime tenure and the absolute power of China’s Communist Party, all trade and investments in China are subject to President Xi Jinping’s whims.The post 3 Risks American Investors Are Facing in China Right Now appeared first on Worth.

    Fri, 03 Apr 2020 09:00:19 -0400
  • Cuomo orders shift in ventilators to overwhelmed hospitals

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    New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Friday he will order ventilators be redeployed to overwhelmed New York City area hospitals from other places amid alarming increases in COVID-19-related deaths and hospitalizations. New York state tallied its biggest daily jump yet in deaths— up 562 to 2,935. With city hospitals facing a shortage of critical breathing machines, Cuomo said he will sign an order allowing the state to take ventilators and protective equipment from institutions within the state to hospitals where they are needed.

    Fri, 03 Apr 2020 08:50:52 -0400
  • South Africa's ruthlessly efficient fight against coronavirus

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    The government seems to have acted faster than many other states to tackle Covid-19, writes Andrew Harding.

    Fri, 03 Apr 2020 08:28:30 -0400
  • Prince Charles opens new London hospital for virus patients

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    Prince Charles remotely opened a vast temporary hospital for COVID-19 patients at London’s main exhibition center Friday, as the number of coronavirus-related deaths reported in the U.K. surpassed China’s official total. While confirmed virus cases and deaths continued to rise steeply, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he remained in isolation with a fever eight days after testing positive for the new virus. Charles, who on Monday completed a week of self-isolating as he recovered from COVID-19, said via video link that he was “enormously touched” to be asked to open the new Nightingale Hospital, which was built in just nine days at the vast ExCel conference center in east London, with corridors stretching a full kilometer (just over half a mile).

    Fri, 03 Apr 2020 08:07:28 -0400
  • Amid tensions with Iran, congressional Dems issue warning to Trump

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    They urged Trump in a March 27 letter to consult Congress before ordering strikes on Iran or taking other actions that could lead to war.

    Fri, 03 Apr 2020 08:06:16 -0400
  • The daily business briefing: April 3, 2020

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    Fri, 03 Apr 2020 07:26:00 -0400
  • Israel to help Christians share 'holy fire' amid outbreak

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    Israel is working with foreign governments and Orthodox Christian leaders in the Holy Land to make sure that one of their most ancient and mysterious rituals — the Holy Fire ceremony — is not extinguished by the coronavirus outbreak, officials said Friday. Each year, thousands of worshippers flock to Jerusalem's Old City and pack into the Church of the Holy Sepulcher — built on the site where Christian tradition holds that Jesus was crucified, buried and resurrected — for the pre-Easter ceremony. Top Eastern Orthodox clerics enter the Edicule, the small chamber marking the site of Jesus’ tomb, and exit with candles said to be miraculously lit with “holy fire” as a message to the faithful.

    Fri, 03 Apr 2020 06:50:29 -0400
  • Global Hotspots Go Quiet But Don't Go Away

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    (Bloomberg) -- Aside from the pandemic raging around us, the world feels pretty quiet.It’s not just the lack of planes flying overhead, or people on the streets. Suddenly, the noise around Iran, the South China Sea, and Libya seems smaller, somehow. Even North Korea appears relatively well behaved, constraining itself to firing the kind of short-range missiles that won’t provoke a response from U.S. President Donald Trump.The adage that “only the dead have seen the end of war” holds some truth. Because even as we collectively grapple with a virus that has infected more than a million people, the divides and egos and insecurities that have pulled us apart for centuries are still there.Some leaders may even take advantage of the relative distraction to cause mischief. To advance their cause in a fight, or to grab more power at home.How that all plays out is difficult to predict. But one thing is clear. The world will change because of the virus. Some hot spots may be worsened by it – Yemen and Syria among them, given the parlous state of their economies and health systems, and with many people already homeless.The global jostling between China and the U.S. will also evolve, and perhaps the virus will see Beijing come out even stronger. That could affect us long after Covid-19 itself has passed.Global HeadlinesThe day after | European officials are starting to talk about rebuilding their economy, but the acrimonious and inconclusive talks so far show how hard it will be to craft a plan that member states can agree upon. And as Viktoria Dendrinou reports, a trickier question altogether will be what to do about Italy, which had the most perilous public finances before the virus struck, but has also suffered the highest death toll and the longest disruption.Crisis bounce | Trump’s daily coronavirus briefings are delivering the highest approval ratings of his presidency. But, as Mario Parker and Gregory Korte write, that bump could fade before the November election — especially as deaths mount and scrutiny of the government response intensifies.Click here for how the pandemic is reshaping the battle for control of the Senate. Increased testing suggests next virus “hot spots” could include Michigan, Connecticut, Indiana, Georgia and Illinois.Slippery prospect | With one tweet, Trump conjured up the possibility of a global oil alliance to rescue the industry from its worst price shock in history. Traders are frantically assessing whether Saudi Arabia, Russia and possibly even the U.S. — the world’s three biggest producers — could strike a grand bargain to cut daily supplies. It’s unclear whether such a deal is feasible — or even legal.Trump will meet today with titans of the oil industry who are battling among themselves over whether he should slap tariffs on Saudi crude to get the kingdom to reduce its output.Strict measures | Facing a second wave of coronavirus infections, Singapore will shutter its schools and most workplaces by Wednesday. The city-state — which has been widely praised for its handling of the pandemic — is experiencing a rise in locally transmitted cases following a surge of Singaporeans coming back carrying Covid-19.Shadow economy | How do governments manage an economy they never really controlled in the first place? That’s the question being asked of leaders in the $35 trillion developing world as the coronavirus takes hold. From the slums of Manila to remote villages in Colombia, two billion people work in a barely regulated, informal economy. Now the effort to contain Covid-19 may hinge on places hamstrung by weak institutions, limited resources, and corruption.What to WatchThe Trump administration’s $349 billion small-business rescue program starts today amid concerns about its ability to deliver enough aid to mom-and-pop firms hit hardest by the pandemic. Poland’s ruling party vowed to push on with holding next month’s election by mail and to “consolidate power” despite concerns that nationalists are using the coronavirus to undermine democracy. The Democratic National Committee postponed its presidential nominating convention from July to Aug. 17.Pop quiz, readers (no cheating!). Which country became the first in Africa to suspend a national election due to the pandemic? Send us your answers and tell us how we’re doing or what we’re missing at balancepower@bloomberg.net.And finally ... China’s efforts to get the economy moving again after weathering the worst of the coronavirus outbreak is clashing with reality on the ground. Migrant workers looking to finally travel back to their jobs in major cities must cope with constantly changing quarantine policies that can leave them unable to access their own homes. And the move to end the lockdown in Wuhan next week could spur even more problems, as fears grow over a second wave of infections. 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.

    Fri, 03 Apr 2020 05:45:31 -0400
  • AP PHOTOS: Greek capital's streets deserted during lockdown

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    Deserted squares, padlocked parks, empty avenues where lines of cars once idled bumper-to-bumper in traffic as motorbikes and scooters zoomed through the narrow gaps between. The Greek capital, Athens, like so many cities across the world, has seen its streets empty under a lockdown designed to stem the spread of the new coronavirus. On March 23, a full lockdown was implemented, allowing people to leave home only for specific reasons.

    Fri, 03 Apr 2020 05:31:02 -0400
  • Mosques stay open in Pakistan even as virus death toll rises

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    Mosques were allowed to remain open in Pakistan on Friday, when Muslims gather for weekly prayers, even as the coronavirus pandemic spread and much of the country had shut down. Prime Minister Imran Khan is relying on restricting the size of congregations attending mosques and advice to stay at home from religious groups like the country's Islamic Ideology Council. In eastern Punjab province, where 60% of Pakistan's 220 million people live, checkpoints have been set up in major cities stopping people from congregating.

    Fri, 03 Apr 2020 04:50:03 -0400
  • The daily terrors: Improvising in a makeshift ICU in Spain

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    The tension is palpable. An orchestra of medical monitors marks the tempo with an endless series of soft, distinct beeps. Never have so many people been inside the library of the Germans Trias i Pujol hospital in northeastern Spain.

    Fri, 03 Apr 2020 04:30:13 -0400
  • Trump Campaign Bets on Approval Rating Boost at Mercy of Virus

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    (Bloomberg) -- President Donald Trump’s daily coronavirus briefings are delivering the highest approval ratings of his presidency, but that bump is at risk of fading before the November election — especially as deaths mount and scrutiny of the government response intensifies.Trump’s average job approval rating hit an all-time high on Wednesday at 47.7%, according to RealClearPolitics. That’s a 3.6-point jump from 10 days ago and surpasses the previous record set in his first week in office.But as the pandemic progresses along with the economic fallout that accompanies it, Trump is facing the greatest crisis of his presidency just seven months before the general election.The White House has positioned Trump as a “wartime” president fighting an invisible enemy he said was introduced by China. He was made visible daily at the podium in lieu of the rallies that have sustained him politically.In addition to canceling his rallies, Trump’s campaign has had to reconsider practically every strategy it was pursuing, including switching to a digital and advertising focus and not opening, at least for now, planned campaign offices in key states.The briefings have emerged as a sober replacement for the rallies, putting Trump on the television screens of millions of households every day, with the presidential seal behind him.Early in the coronavirus outbreak, polling showed that Trump’s decision to make Vice President Mike Pence the public face of the government’s response was a mistake, because it gave the appearance that the president had delegated the weighty responsibility to a subordinate, one Republican strategist said.Voters perceived Trump as annoyed that he had to deal with the crisis, the adviser said. In response to open-ended questions from pollsters, they wondered how much the president really cared about the pandemic.Trump has long defied the political odds, succeeding where other politicians might have failed, so even weeks of grim news on the virus might not derail him, especially as his opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden, is having trouble breaking into the news cycle as the nation worries about the pandemic.Trump’s handling of the crisis reached its lowest level the week of March 9, after a week of no briefings and mounting deaths. The White House decided Trump needed to speak every day, and he’s appeared at a briefing 18 out of 20 days since.Unimpressive BumpPollsters and political scientists have observed a “rally around the leader” effect for decades, with popular approval of a president going up in times of crisis. But Trump’s isn’t as impressive as some of his predecessors.“Every president gets a bump in a crisis. The bump he’s getting is not that big,” said B. Dan Wood, a political science professor at Texas A&M University.Just as important as the size of the bump is the duration, because crisis-driven job approval numbers fade over time.“The longer this goes on, the more his approval rating remains relatively high for him, the more likely that will help him on Election Day,” said Neil Newhouse, a Republican pollster.But he said it’s impossible to know how long the higher numbers will last: “The thing is we can’t predict the future. It’s totally unprecedented.”President Jimmy Carter saw a 16-week spike in the early days of the 1979 Iran hostage crisis, and President George H.W. Bush’s lasted 41 weeks during and after the 1991 Gulf War. Both went on to lose re-election over economic issues.​​Trump risks the same fate, with the American economy faltering as non-essential businesses close and unemployment spikes.For now, the polling numbers are driving Trump’s response to the outbreak, with press briefings lasting as long as two hours nearly every day. White House officials see a direct link between the two.“I attribute it to the fact that he gets out there every day and tells people here’s what happened today,” said Kellyanne Conway, a former Republican pollster who’s now counselor to the president. “I’ve had this conversation directly with the president.”The virus has also forced Trump to adapt his messaging. He’s taken to referring to himself as a “wartime” president, calling Covid-19 an “invisible enemy.”And though Trump still takes jabs at political enemies like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Biden, he’s increasingly tried to highlight bipartisan efforts to combat the coronavirus — something his internal polling shows resonates with voters.Airing GrudgesAnd now, the briefings themselves have become a partisan flashpoint. Trump has used them at times to attack journalists, nurse grudges with governors and spread misinformation, leading some cable networks to break away from live coverage.“The radical left-wing MOB is calling for the Lamestream media to STOP airing President Trump’s daily press conferences which provide an update on the invisible enemy threatening our nation,” a fund-raising email from the Trump campaign charged on Wednesday. “Their reasoning is that the president’s approval ratings have skyrocketed to an all-time high and they are worried about the magnitude of his reach to the American people. It’s madness.”The rallies Trump enjoys were more than just a way to excite his core supporters. They were a reservoir of voter data, which campaign manager Brad Parscale typically outlined on Twitter: race, political party, location and voting history.“The Trump campaign has a significant advantage because of our early and ongoing investment in data and technological infrastructure that began in 2015,” said Ali Pardo, a campaign spokeswoman.Without that data, Trump and Republicans have to rely even more on social media like Facebook Inc., the Republican adviser said.On March 21, dubbed its National Day of Action, the campaign’s supporters made 1.5 million calls from their homes, Pardo said. On those calls they directed people to the government’s coronavirus website, she said.But physical outreach and courting of voter blocs has been hampered. Trump planned to aggressively court African-American voters in battleground states, with plans to open storefront offices in Miami, Orlando, and Philadelphia, among other cities. Those openings have been postponed, according to senior campaign officials.Instead, the campaign is scheduling conference calls with minority voters, particularly in states like Pennsylvania, Florida and Arizona.And it will take advantage of people being at home to see advertising on television and online.America First Action Super PAC, Trump’s official super political action committee, said Wednesday that it planned to spend $10 million on advertisements in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin, focused on Biden.One Republican strategist, David Winston, pointed out that whatever efforts are going on now, voters will make their decisions in seven months.It’s not certain that the current approval ratings, amid the coronavirus pandemic, will translate into November votes, Winston said, adding that in times of crisis, Americans tend to coalesce behind national leaders. Judgments on the handling of the crisis -- and whether it warrants another term -- come later.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.

    Fri, 03 Apr 2020 04:00:00 -0400
  • Africa's week in pictures: 27 March-2 April 2020

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    A selection of the best photos from across the continent this week.

    Fri, 03 Apr 2020 03:21:03 -0400
  • Israel arrests Palestinian official in east Jerusalem

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    Fri, 03 Apr 2020 03:03:05 -0400
  • 'We love you NHS': UK health service gears up for virus peak

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    Dr. Nishant Joshi is on the front line of the coronavirus pandemic — and he's angry. The emergency medicine specialist says he risks his life every time he walks into a British hospital because doctors and nurses haven't been equipped with the personal protection equipment they need to prevent them from being infected with COVID-19. “The government has to take square responsibility for this, because you should never be putting your health care workers in a situation where we are scared for our lives."

    Fri, 03 Apr 2020 02:47:08 -0400
  • After ignoring warnings, Israeli ultra-Orthodox hit by virus

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    Early this week, the streets of the central Israeli city of Bnei Brak were bustling with shoppers as ultra-Orthodox residents, obeying their religious leaders, ignored pleas to stay home in the face of the coronavirus threat. The military will soon be sending troops in to assist local authorities. The city has become a lightning rod for anger and frustration by some secular Israelis who allege insular Haredi communities — with disproportionately high numbers of confirmed cases — are undermining national efforts to contain the virus.

    Fri, 03 Apr 2020 02:43:04 -0400
  • Brussels Edition: Orban’s Move

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    (Bloomberg) -- Welcome to the Brussels Edition, Bloomberg’s daily briefing on what matters most in the heart of the European Union. What to do about Hungary? The EU is still figuring that one out, but there are a few signs that criticism of the country’s alleged descent into authoritarianism could be having an impact. After a rebuke by a group of member states, Prime Minister Viktor Orban is now scrambling to respond to the backlash, amid a pandemic bound to hit the country’s economy. For many in Berlin and Brussels, though, the whole matter is an unwelcome distraction at a time when the viral outbreak is ravaging Europe. And even those who feel they’ve had enough, know that there’s little they can really do other than applying public pressure. The question is whether it will be enough. What’s HappeningWhat’s Next? | As the coronavirus rages across the continent, EU officials are starting to draw up plans for the day after. With the death toll still spiraling upwards and no end in sight to the restrictions that have brought the bloc's economy shuddering to a halt, various proposals are being floated ahead of a finance ministers meeting on Tuesday. At the top of the agenda will be having to make a decision about helping Italy.Homecoming Hopes | EU foreign ministers today will hold their second video conference in as many weeks as they seek to repatriate more than 200,000 European citizens still stranded abroad as result of the coronavirus pandemic, as well as weigh assistance for the world's weakest nations.Johnson’s NHS | The cult of Britain's National Health Service has been key to so many political fortunes over the decades, but no other leader has weaponized it more than Boris Johnson after years of austerity measures implemented by his Conservative Party. While peers across Europe come under strain fighting the pandemic, few have more to gain or lose from the ability of the health system to cope than the British prime minister.Back to Work? | As global infections cross 1 million, companies and governments are trying to strike a balance between confinement and productivity. But, as Bloomberg’s Tara Patel writes, workers remain wary as countries impose strict lockdowns to prevent the spread of Covid-19, while at the same time urging some to return to work to avert a total collapse of the economy.In Case You Missed ItWhere’s Brexit? | Prime Minister Johnson says he won’t delay the U.K.’s final parting with the EU by extending the transition period beyond the end of the year. But empty meeting rooms suggest delay is all but inevitable. Business lobbyists say government officials have canceled most Brexit meetings as civil servants deal with the coronavirus pandemic.Diesel Claims | Volkswagen AG could face compensation claims over the diesel emissions scandal wherever car owners live, according to an adviser at the bloc’s top court. In an opinion that could pave the way for VW lawsuits across the EU, Advocate General Manuel Campos Sanchez-Bordona of the EU Court of Justice said customers claiming their vehicles lost value shouldn’t have to sue the German carmaker in its own backyard.Wanting More | Some of Europe’s biggest companies like Iberdrola SA and Volkswagen are urging the European Central Bank to speed up short-term debt purchases to shore up industry liquidity and funding of their daily operations. The ECB last week said it would extend its corporate bond purchases to include non-financial firms’ commercial paper, helping to ensure companies don’t lose access to a vital source of short-term cash for things like payrolls and inventory.Refugee Ruling | The EU won backing for its refugee policy after the bloc’s top court said Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic failed to comply with a decision requiring them to resettle refugees in line with national quotas. The European Commission took the three nations to court in 2017 for failing to comply with directives two years earlier requiring EU nations to help relocate migrants who had fled to countries such as Italy and Greece during the biggest influx of asylum seekers to Europe since World War II.Horror Hospitals | Romania is the one EU member state where hospitals might be as dangerous as the the virus itself. Take a tour of a healthcare system where cancer sufferers with internal bleeding can be accidentally set on fire by an electric scalpel during an operation (true story).Chart of the DayDenmark just conducted its biggest currency interventions in over a decade to support the krone, after a wave of market panic caused by the spread of Covid-19 put pressure on the country’s exchange-rate regime. In March, the central bank in Copenhagen bought 64.7 billion kroner, equivalent to $9.4 billion, it said yesterday. The interventions culminated in an interest rate hike on March 19, as Denmark fought to defend the krone’s peg to the euroToday’s AgendaAll times CET.11 a.m. Informal video conference of EU foreign affairs ministers 2:15 p.m. European Commission Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis participates in a Facebook live event Eurostat to release retail trade reading for February  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.

    Fri, 03 Apr 2020 01:16:05 -0400
  • Coronavirus survivor: 'In my blood, there may be answers'

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    Tiffany Pinckney remembers the fear when COVID-19 stole her breath. “It is definitely overwhelming to know that in my blood, there may be answers,” Pinckney told The Associated Press. Doctors around the world are dusting off a century-old treatment for infections: Infusions of blood plasma teeming with immune molecules that helped survivors beat the new coronavirus.

    Fri, 03 Apr 2020 01:05:30 -0400
  • In time of crisis, Trump-Pelosi relationship remains broken

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    President Donald Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi last talked Oct. 16, when Pelosi pointed her finger at the seated president during a heated exchange in a White House meeting that was captured in a widely shared photograph. Pelosi stormed out, and the two leaders’ frayed relationship was soon severed by the House's impeachment of Trump months later. Now, there are worries the broken relationship could hinder the federal government's ability to respond to the growing coronavirus crisis, the extent of the damage reflected in Thursday's report that a record 6.6 million people filed for unemployment, adding to more than 3 million from two weeks earlier.

    Fri, 03 Apr 2020 00:37:44 -0400
  • Virus Lockdowns Confront Billions Working in the Shadow Economy

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    (Bloomberg) -- How do governments control activity in an economy they never really controlled in the first place? That’s an urgent question being asked for those who run the $35 trillion developing world as the coronavirus takes hold.From the slums of Manila to remote villages in Colombia, some 2 billion people ply their trades in a barely-regulated and untaxed informal economy. The effort to contain the spread of a disease that’s so far infected around a million people may soon hinge on places hamstrung by weak institutions, constrained resources, and corruption.“How can I make a living if everything stops?” asked Caetano Sousa do Nascimento, 50, who makes about $11 on a good day selling home-made coconut candies on the outskirts of Brasilia, eking out a living in the informal economy like some 40 million other Brazilians. “People need to go back to their lives. Shutting down everything is not the solution.”Emerging nations, home to more than 90% of the world’s informal employment, are increasingly shutting the lights on a vital hive of activity that’s disproportionately vulnerable to the disease, least prepared to survive a long cutoff and, crucially, for the most part out of reach of government support programs. An International Monetary Fund working paper estimated the average size of the shadow economy for 158 countries during 1991-2015 at 31.9% of official output. If this ratio held up in 2019, it would mean informal sectors accounted for nearly $30 trillion.Emerging ThreatAcross the developing world, the plight of informal workers is made worse by a combination of crowded slums, large families living together in small dwellings, and an absence of testing.New hotspots for the coronavirus are appearing in places like Guayaquil, a tropical city in Ecuador that was taken over by the army last week. The intensifying economic emergency that portends prompted the Group of 20 nations this week to switch to the need to assist developing nations. During a virtual meeting Tuesday, G-20 finance ministers and central bankers said they’d look to address debt vulnerabilities in emerging economies, allowing them to focus their efforts on coping with the threat.Lacking a financial safety net and with little access to health care, the quandary facing India’s informal workforce of 450 million people is one of the starkest examples of how social inequality threatens to undermine global efforts to contain the virus.Most of these men and women work for, on average, as little as $2 a day. They don’t have the option to work from home, take time off or avoid public transportation to practice social distancing.Yet India’s informal sector -- from roadside food vendors and migrant workers on construction sites to landless laborers working in agriculture or running small shops in the countryside -- contributes half of its almost $3 trillion gross domestic product. It employs more than 90% of the total workforce, according to a government estimate.With train and bus services largely suspended, migrant workers have begun walking hundreds of kilometers to get back to their villages, while police and vigilantes at roadblocks have been beating people who venture out in violation of the curfew.Small traders in Nigeria were bracing this week for a lockdown on its two biggest cities, Lagos and Abuja. Africa’s most populous nation surpassed India as the country with the largest number of people living in extreme poverty in 2018, and the size of its informal sector is estimated at as high as 65% of the economy.Usman Saleh, a trader at Abuja’s Wuse market, had just taken delivery of two truckloads of fresh strawberries worth $5,100 when he heard the government would close all businesses. The fruit will probably go to waste, he said, and losing the money could end up ruining his business.“What am I going to do now?” he asked. “I can’t store this much in my freezer, I simply don’t have the capacity.”Seeking ReliefOrganizations representing millions of informal workers have begun to advocate for a share of the massive stimulus packages being rolled out.A collection of 10 organizations in South Africa, representing nearly 5 million workers, have called on the government to establish a “living cash grant” that would allow informal workers to be able to self-isolate without suffering economic hardship. The groups also called for the mass provisioning of masks and gloves, as well as soap and hand sanitizer in public places with lots of informal work.Much of the Indonesian government’s early initiatives to deal with the pandemic have been targeted to relieve the stress on the informal sector. It provides for 56% of people with jobs -- about 70 million -- with little or no safety net, leaving them severely exposed in an economic crisis.Hard to TargetBut unlike more advanced economies that are better able to target and compensate workers for lost wages, developing countries will struggle to throw informal workers a lifeline, according to Priyanka Kishore, head of India and Southeast Asia at Oxford Economics in Singapore.“If it’s a large informal sector, I’m very concerned about a prolonged lockdown,” Kishore said.“Clearly, the challenge is targeted measures -- because you need to target the most vulnerable now,” she said. “The larger the share of that part in your economy, the more social pain you’ll see in terms of malnutrition -- or deaths.”Nowhere is the challenge greater than in Africa, where the informal economy accounts for more than 85% of employment, according to an International Labor Organization report. The president of Benin, which depends almost entirely on smuggling goods to and from neighboring Nigeria, said this weekend that it can’t even afford a lockdown.Getting PushbackBenin is an exception. Most governments are moving to tighten the screws -- even though locking down parts of the economy usually hidden from view may trigger defiance and backfire.South Africa, the country with the highest inequality in the world, last week deployed the army to enforce a national 21-day lockdown. Aid for the informal sector has been slow to come, with the government rolling out a stimulus package that largely ignored the hundreds of thousands of people who earn their incomes as hair dressers, street hawkers or food sellers.“Many African governments have taken a copy-and-paste model from Spain and Italy and applied it here, but if you carry on with a lockdown for more than 21 days the impact will be too severe and people will end up ignoring it,” said GG Alcock, a South African who’s written several books about the informal sector.“The relief measures that are being considered are ignoring a whole part of our economy,” he said.Violence, TensionsHundreds of Moroccans protested the enforcement of emergency measures, marching and belting out religious chants a day after a lockdown was implemented in Fes, Tetouan and Tangier.The North African kingdom, where 60% of the workforce has no health insurance, is enforcing tight restrictions on movements in public areas that emptied out the traditionally bustling souks and streets. Anger erupted even after authorities promised small stipends to informal breadwinners in a country where the shadow economy is estimated at over a third of GDP.“The lockdown creates a tough situation for the whole North Africa region because occupying the street is the main feature of a heavy informal economy,” said Rachid Aourraz, an economist at Rabat-based MIPA think tank.Hard to AffordAcross the world in Colombia, the government is trying to enforce a lockdown until mid-April, but it’s meeting resistance from workers who live hand-to-mouth.The nation’s vast informal labor force has been swollen in recent years by nearly 2 million migrants fleeing Venezuela’s economic collapse. Most are undocumented, and the mass shutting of restaurants, hair salons and other businesses leaves many of them penniless and facing eviction.In some parts of rural Colombia the state barely exists, and the rules are set by private armies financed by cocaine.“In countries with large informal economies, a complete lockdown may just force you into closer proximity with someone who could infect you,” said Kishore of Oxford Economics. “And if cases are not coming under control despite these lockdowns, then the lockdown will continue, compounding the economic and social pain.”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.

    Fri, 03 Apr 2020 00:00:00 -0400
  • UN in cash crisis from unpaid dues, secretary-general says

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    Thu, 02 Apr 2020 21:52:58 -0400
  • Crowded in camps, Rohingya refugees vulnerable to virus

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    Aid workers are bracing for a possible outbreak of the coronavirus in one of the world's largest refugee camps in Bangladesh, with officials warning that containing the disease among more than 1 million tightly packed Rohingya Muslims will be a daunting task. With about 40,000 people per square kilometer (103,600 per square mile) living in plastic shacks side by side, which is more than 40 times the average density of Bangladesh, the refugees are dangerously exposed to the virus. There have been no reported cases of infection in the camps yet, but officials remain concerned.

    Thu, 02 Apr 2020 21:26:27 -0400
  • UN adopts resolution urging global cooperation on COVID-19

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    Thu, 02 Apr 2020 20:43:05 -0400
  • Coronavirus: US buys 60 tons of medical supplies from Russia to fight Covid-19

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    The US has purchased 60 tons of ventilators, masks, and respirators in a shipment from the Russian government in a public relations coup for Vladimir Putin.The delivery, which is believed to have arrived at JFK airport on Wednesday, comes following a phone call between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin on Monday, after which the US President claimed the leaders discussed the virus at length.

    Thu, 02 Apr 2020 18:33:31 -0400
  • Judge Rejects Delay of Wisconsin Primary: Campaign Update

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    Thu, 02 Apr 2020 17:51:10 -0400
  • Navy fires captain who sought help for virus-stricken ship

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    The captain of a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier facing a growing outbreak of the coronavirus on his ship was fired by Navy leaders who said he created a panic by sending his memo pleading for help to too many people. Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly said the ship's commander, Capt. Brett Crozier, “demonstrated extremely poor judgment” in the middle of a crisis. Modly's decision to remove Crozier as ship commander was immediately condemned by members of the House Armed Services Committee, who called it a “destabilizing move” that will “likely put our service members at greater risk and jeopardize our fleet’s readiness."

    Thu, 02 Apr 2020 17:49:28 -0400
  • You've just lost your job? Here's what you need to know

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    Nearly 10 million Americans have lost their jobs and applied for unemployment benefits in the past two weeks — a stunning record high that reflects the near-complete shutdown of the U.S. economy. Job losses related to the coronavirus are sure to rise further in coming weeks, with economists saying the U.S. unemployment rate could reach as high as 15%, well above the 10% peak during the Great Recession. As recently as February, the unemployment rate was just 3.5%, a 50-year low.

    Thu, 02 Apr 2020 17:35:18 -0400
  • Trump is risking conflict with Iran and hammering it with sanctions as the country is devastated by coronavirus

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    Not even a pandemic can stop the ongoing hostilities between the US and Iran, and the risk of conflict is still very real.

    Thu, 02 Apr 2020 17:22:57 -0400
  • Central Park houses hospital ward as NY races to add beds

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    There is a coronavirus ward in tents in Central Park. A makeshift hospital has been set up in a Manhattan convention center. Over the next few weeks, spaces including pro tennis courts, college dorms and a cruise ship terminal are supposed to start housing patients as New York state races to roughly triple its hospital capacity.

    Thu, 02 Apr 2020 17:22:32 -0400
  • Grim Global Mark for Infections; N.Y. Cases Rise: Virus Update

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    (Bloomberg) -- In four months, the new coronavirus infected more than 1 million people and killed more than 51,000. The U.S. accounts for a quarter of the cases. Italy and Spain represent almost half the deaths.British Airways furloughed 30,000 staff and cut pay. Portugal closed airports during Easter. New York City reported a rise in new cases.The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits more than doubled to a record 6.65 million. In Britain, almost 1 million people claimed welfare payments in two weeks. Stocks gained as oil surged.Key Developments:Global cases top 1 million; deaths exceed 51,000: Johns HopkinsNations with mandatory TB vaccines show fewer coronavirus deathsLA urges city to mask up; NY, NJ deaths double in three daysLocked up, beaten and shamed: virus laws lead to abusePalantir’s new ‘driving thrust’: predicting virus outbreaksLife-or-death hospital decisions come with threat of lawsuitsTrump Issues Order on Supplies (4:40 p.m. NY)President Donald Trump issued an order under the Defense Production Act to speed production of ventilators after state officials raised alarm that supplies are inadequate.Trump directed the Department of Health and Human Services to ensure that General Electric Co., Hill-Rom Holdings Inc., Medtronic Plc, ResMed Inc., Royal Philips NV and Vyaire Medical Inc. obtain needed supplies. The order doesn’t name the suppliers to companies manufacturing ventilators.Trump has expressed reluctance to use the law, comparing it to nationalizing industries. He has said he prefers to use threats to invoke the act as leverage to force companies to comply.Tennessee Issues Stay-at-Home Order (4:25 p.m. NY)Tennessee is requiring citizens to remain at home, ending one of the last holdouts by U.S. states. Governor Bill Lee, who had previously only urged residents to stay home, said he made the decision after seeing traffic data showing people were traveling more.Ohio Extends Stay-Home Order (4:15 p.m. NY)Ohio Governor Mike DeWine extended a stay-at-home order that closes non-essential businesses through May 1. The order was set to expire April 6 but is still needed with models showing the peak of the outbreak expected by mid-May, the governor said. Stores will be asked to set, post, and enforce limits on number of customers inside at at any one time.Germany’s Deaths Top 1,000 (3:15 p.m. NY)Deaths in Germany climbed to 1,074 Thursday, a day after the government extended a nationwide lockdown beyond Easter. The toll was 931 the previous day, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Confirmed cases increased to 84,264 -- the third-highest in Europe -- from 77,981.The head of Germany’s public health authority said this week he expects the nation’s relatively low death rate of 0.8% to rise in the next few weeks.NYC Ambulance Response Slows (3 p.m. NY)New York City ambulances are taking almost three minutes longer than usual to respond to the most critical distress calls as administrative bottlenecks in emergency rooms cause delays, even as streets are uncharacteristically clear.Response times in March averaged 10 minutes and 7 seconds, according to New York City Fire Department records, compared with an average 7 minutes, 15 seconds in the same period a year earlier. Ambulances sometimes wait as long as an hour to deliver patients to an ER, said Anthony Almojera, an EMS technician and vice president of the fire department’s EMS Officers Union Local 3621.Sressed-out drivers and paramedics will get some help from 250 more ambulances and 500 specialists that the Federal Emergency Management Agency sent to the city this week.Portugal Shuts Airports (2:40 p.m. NY)Portugal’s airports will be closed April 9-13 as the nation deals with the outbreak during the Easter holiday period. The government also is limiting the number of passengers on flights to put distance between travelers, Prime Minister Antonio Costa said in Lisbon on Thursday.President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa earlier extended the state of emergency for two weeks through April 17. The number of confirmed cases in Portugal rose 9.5% to 9,034, slower than the two previous daily increases.U.S. Layoffs Lead to Lost Insurance (1:10 p.m. NY)Some 3.5 million American workers probably lost their employer-provided health insurance policies in the past two weeks as the epidemic triggered an unprecedented wave of layoffs, according to research published Thursday by the Economic Policy Institute.The “very rough estimate” is based on industry-specific unemployment claims filed in Washington state, which had the earliest U.S. outbreak.It’s hard to be precise because some laid-off workers will be able to get insurance via Obamacare exchanges or a family member who still has a job, or will qualify for government coverage under Medicaid, the EPI said. On the other hand, the 3.5 million doesn’t include spouses or children of the newly unemployed who may now be without coverage.N.Y. New Cases Rise Almost 9,000 (1 p.m. NY)New York’s coronavirus outbreak shows no signs of abating, with almost 8,700 new infections, 1,200 new hospitalizations, 400 new ICU admissions and more than 400 new deaths, Governor Andrew Cuomo said.Cuomo said at the current infection rate, the state is six days away from exhausting its stockpile of breathing machines. About 350 new patients per night need ventilation, and the state has about 2,200 stockpiled.Unlike other states that claim to have received faulty ventilators from the U.S. stockpile, Cuomo says all those received by New York appear to be in working order.British Airways Staff Furloughed (12:45 p.m. NY)British Airways, which grounded most of its fleet as travel demand slumped, will furlough about 28,000 employees and pay them 80% of their usual pay, the Unite union said Thursday after labor talks. The U.K. government will cover up to 2,500 pounds ($3,095) a month under a national plan, with the airline picking up wages beyond that level.The airline is following other carriers in furloughing workers as the virus wipes out global travel demand. Among U.K. rivals, EasyJet Plc laid off cabin crew for two months Monday after grounding its entire fleet, while staff at Virgin Atlantic Airways Ltd. have signed up for eight-week breaks, extended sabbaticals or voluntary severance.Netherlands Urges Quarantine for U.S. Travelers (12:40 p.m. NY)Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte called on citizens returning to the Netherlands from the U.S. to self-quarantine for 14 days, press agency ANP reports.The same is being asked for all citizens who are being repatriated. Rutte also called on residents in neighboring Germany and Belgium to stay away in the long Easter weekend.Pence Says 100,000 Get Tested (12:34 p.m. NY)Vice President Mike Pence said more than 100,000 Americans are now being tested daily for coronavirus, as the government tries to ramp up its lagging response to tracking the outbreak.A weekend breakthrough on point-of-care testing by Abbott Laboratories will make an additional 50,000 tests available each day, Pence said Thursday in an interview with Bloomberg Television.There have been about 1.2 million coronavirus tests performed in the U.S. as of noon Thursday, according to the Covid 19 Tracking Project, which examines data supplied by states.Italy Infections Slow (12:20 p.m. NY)Italy reported 4,668 new cases of the coronavirus on Thursday compared with 4,782 a day earlier, as growth in infections slowed.The nation had 760 deaths as the number of fatalities rose again after three weeks of nationwide lockdown.The toll over the past 24 hours compared with 727 on Wednesday, according to figures from the civil protection agency.Remy Cointreau Takes Hit on China Sales (12:20 p.m. NY)Remy Cointreau SA, one of the world’s largest sellers of Cognac, cut its forecast for the fiscal year and said it expects profit to be down between 25% and 30%. Producers of the spirit are enduring a collapse in sales from China as a result of the coronavirus. The country had previously grown to become one of the most important sales markets for Cognac and other European luxury goods. Just under a third of Remy Cointreau’s revenue comes from Asia, with China being the largest market in the region.Democrats Postpone Convention (12:05 p.m. NY)The Democratic National Committee on Thursday postponed the presidential nominating convention from July to Aug. 17 due to concerns about the coronavirus, according to two people familiar with the decision. The delay comes after likely presidential nominee Joe Biden said it should be pushed back for safety reasons.Pelosi Forming Panel to Oversee Stimulus (11:35 a.m. NY)U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will create a select committee with subpoena power to oversee the government’s response to the outbreak, including how the $2.2 trillion from last week’s stimulus plan is spent.Pelosi on Thursday compared the committee to the panel chaired by then-Senator Harry Truman in the 1940s to investigate defense spending as the country mobilized for World War II.“We want to make sure there are not exploiters out there,” she told reporters. “Where there is money, there is mischief.”Putin Extends Lockdown Through April 30 (10:36 a.m. NY)President Vladimir Putin extended his order keeping Russians at home until April 30, warning that the spread of coronavirus has yet to reach its peak.The Russian leader said certain parts of Russia, including Moscow, haven’t managed to get the situation under control. He said he would give additional authority to regional leaders to determine the level of response locally. He noted that the stay-at-home period could be shortened if the situation improves.Russia has more than 3,500 confirmed cases of coronavirus after a 28% increase overnight.NYC Business Activity Falls (10:30 a.m. NY)A measure of business activity in the New York City area sank to the lowest level on record in March. The Institute for Supply Management-New York’s current business conditions index fell 39 points last month to 12.9, the lowest in data back to 1993 and well below its 27.1 reading duriing the global financial crisis. Levels below 50 signal contracting activity.Kenya to Hire Health Workers (10:15 a.m. NY)Kenya is set to hire 6,000 health workers to help fight the coronavirus outbreak, with 5,000 deployed to counties and 1,000 will remain at the national hospitals, Health Secretary Mutahi Kagwe said.Kenya has confirmed 110 Covid-19 cases and three deaths.Walgreens Flags Sales Downturn (9:43 a.m. NY)Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. executives said sales have started to decline at its drugstores as a result of the pandemic, though the full impact on its business won’t be known for months.U.S. consumers had raced early last month to stock up on drugs, cleaning supplies and toilet paper as they prepared to stay at home to avoid getting or spreading Covid-19. Now, that rush appears to be ebbing.Amazon Hires 80,000, Steps Up Warehouse Safety (9:24 a.m. NY)Amazon.com Inc. said it has hired 80,000 people to help meet demand for online orders and has stepped up safety precautions at its U.S warehouses.Dave Clark, Amazon’s logistics chief, said in a blog on Thursday that Amazon would probably go “well beyond” its previous estimate of an additional $350 million in costs to support a growing workforce.Germany Backs Use of Bailout Fund (9:15 a.m. NY)The government in Berlin says it’s ready to send an “unambiguous signal” to markets by letting countries tap the European Stability Mechanism, the euro area’s rescue fund, to help them deal with the fallout of the pandemic.That’s according to a position paper seen by Bloomberg, which also advocates setting up a 50 billion-euro fund to guarantee loans to small and medium-sized companies, especially in countries that don’t have their own development banks. Germany also said it would welcome a European unemployment reinsurance.U.S. Jobless Claims Doubled to Record Last Week: (8:38 a.m. NY)The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits more than doubled to a second straight record as the coronavirus widened its reach and closed more businesses.A total of 6.65 million people filed jobless claims in the week ended March 28, according to Labor Department figures released Thursday, as many stores and restaurants were forced to close across the nation to mitigate the outbreak.U.K.’s Johnson Still Has Mild Symptoms (8:24 a.m. NY)U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson continues to show mild symptoms after contracting Covid-19, his spokesman, James Slack, said at a briefing with reporters.New Cases in Italy’s Lombardy Region Remain Flat (8:21 a.m. NY)Lombardy’s trend of new virus cases remains flat, with no increases in the last 24 hours, the region’s governor, Attilio Fontana, said at a press conference on Thursday.“It seems what our experts have predicted is happening, and that in a few days we might see a blessed decline in the pandemic trend,” Fontana said.Germany Sees Economy Contracting 5% in 2020 (7:43 a.m. NY)The national output is expected to contract more than 5% in 2020, Economy Minister Peter Altmaier said. Germany’s economy could be in position for “reasonable growth” next year, he added. Angela Merkel’s government was widely anticipated to slash its forecast from the pre-crisis prediction of 1.1% growth.Amgen Joins Hunt for Coronavirus Drug, DJ Says (7:35 a.m. NY)Amgen Inc. and Adaptive Biotechnologies Corp. are partnering to develop a drug to treat the coronavirus, Dow Jones reported on Thursday, citing an interview with David Reese, Amgen’s executive vice president of research and development.No Decisions on Domestic Travel Ban, Fauci Says (7:32 a.m. NY)“It’s on the table,” National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci says about whether the U.S. has any plans to restrict domestic travel. “We look at that literally every day,” he said. President Donald Trump said on Wednesday he’s looking at domestic travel limits for virus hot spots.HK Orders Bars, Pubs to Close (7:28 a.m. NY)Hong Kong has ordered bars and pubs to close for 14 days from April 3. The city earlier reported 37 new cases, taking its total to 802.Boeing Offers Voluntary Buyouts (7:24 a.m. NY)Boeing Co. offered voluntary buyouts to eligible employees, in a bid to quickly shed costs and adjust its work force of 161,000 to a coronavirus crisis that’s quickly undermined the outlook for aircraft sales. The move will preserve much-needed cash at Boeing, which is facing a sharp contraction in demand along with its European rival Airbus SE.Airline customers around the world have slashed schedules, with some parking their entire fleets as the coronavirus pandemic guts travel. About 44% of aircraft across the globe are in storage.ECB Delays Strategic Review (7:21 a.m. NY)The big policy rethink, which was supposed to become the hallmark of President Christine Lagarde’s presidency, will be completed by the middle of next year, or six months later than initially planned, the ECB said on Thursday.EU Says It Should Have Acted Faster to Help Italy (7:05 a.m. NY)In a letter to Italian newspaper la Repubblica, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen admitted the bloc was late in understanding the scale of the outbreak in Italy and slow to act. She said Brussels has done far better recently.The unusual admission comes amid fear that Italy’s debt market is still vulnerable to a mass exodus by investors, even with the European Central Bank offering support through its 750 billion-euro ($820 billion) bond-buying program. The country’s yield spread over Germany, a key gauge of risk in the country remains elevated after last month’s virus-induced rout.Biden Says Sees Democratic Convention Delayed to August (7 a.m. NY)“I think it’s going to have to move into August,” Biden said in an interview on “The Tonight Show.” “I doubt whether the Democratic convention is going to be able to be held in mid-July.”Norway’s Wealth Fund Lost a Record $113 Billion in 1Q (6:41 a.m. NY)Norway’s sovereign wealth fund lost a record 1.17 trillion kroner in the first quarter as the coronavirus pandemic roiled stock markets. The loss comes as the fund for the first time faces forced asset sales to cover emergency spending by the government to weather the impact on the richest Nordic economy.Stanchart CEO Says U.K., U.S. Acted Too Late (6:35 a.m. NY)Standard Chartered Plc Chief Executive Officer Bill Winters said authorities in London and Washington have been too slow in ordering the type of lockdown that China used to control the outbreak. Speaking on Bloomberg Television, Winters became one of the highest-profile CEOs to criticize the Western response to the pandemic, saying the U.S. and U.K. had acted “too late.”“I find it interesting to listen to the debate now that we in the West, or in the U.K., or in the U.S., couldn’t have done what the Chinese did because we don’t have that kind of society,” Winters said. “Well, we are doing what the Chinese did; we’re just doing it too late.”EU’s Borrell Warns of Pandemic ‘Spiraling Out of Control’ (6:30 a.m. NY)European Union foreign-policy chief Josep Borrell said the bloc must mobilize help for poor countries. “Globally, it is to be feared that the worst is yet to come,” Borrell said in a letter to foreign ministers as they prepare to hold a video conference Friday. “Countries already affected by conflicts or mismanagement are particularly vulnerable.”Jobless Claims Soar As Lockdowns Bite (6:20 a.m. NY)Earlier on Thursday, Spain said claims rose by a record 302,265 in March. Spain, one of the countries at the center of Europe’s outbreak, already has an unemployment rate that’s among the highest in the developed world.Almost a million people have claimed welfare payments in Britain over the past two weeks and even Finland, one of the world’s best-funded welfare states, is starting to crack. In Ireland, more than 300,000 people are on government support and 200,000 are classed as unemployed -- that’s a total of about half a million people in a country where around 2.3 million were in work before the crisis.And one-third of Thailand’s population has registered for government cash handouts designed to soften the blow of the novel coronavirus outbreak, far exceeding the funds available for the policy.Brexit Delay May Be Inevitable (6 a.m. NY)Prime Minister Boris Johnson says he won’t delay Britain’s final parting with the European Union at the end of the year. Empty meeting rooms across Whitehall suggest delay is all but inevitable.Business lobbyists say government officials have canceled most meetings to prepare for Brexit as civil servants are pulled away to deal with the growing coronavirus pandemic. It’s now only a question of how Johnson will sell a delay to the British public, rather than whether or not one will happen, they say.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.

    Thu, 02 Apr 2020 16:49:19 -0400
  • States demand ventilators as feds ration limited supply

    Golocal247.com news

    Two weeks ago, the Pentagon promised to make as many as 2,000 military ventilators available as the federal government strains to contend with the coronavirus pandemic. At the Federal Emergency Management Agency, tasked with coordinating the federal response to the outbreak, about 9,000 additional ventilators are also on hold as officials seek to determine where they are needed most urgently. The combination of scarce supply and high need has sent many states onto the open market, where they are bidding for ventilators from private manufacturers.

    Thu, 02 Apr 2020 16:23:07 -0400
  • White House moves toward promoting face masks to fight virus

    Golocal247.com news

    The Trump administration is formalizing new guidance to recommend that many Americans wear face coverings in an effort to slow the spread of the new coronavirus as the president defends his response to the crisis. Dr. Deborah Birx, the task force's coordinator, told reporters that the White House was concerned the mask guidance would lead to a “false sense of security” for Americans.

    Thu, 02 Apr 2020 16:09:04 -0400
  • In Ecuador, families wait with their dead as bodies pile up

    Golocal247.com news

    Daniel Larrea died Monday after a week of high fever, struggling to breathe and steadily turning blue. Then a new nightmare began for his family. No one in their city on Ecuador's Pacific coast would pick up his body.

    Thu, 02 Apr 2020 15:59:14 -0400
  • Spanish hospital personnel must improvise in a makeshift ICU

    Golocal247.com news

    The tension is palpable. An orchestra of medical monitors marks the tempo with an endless series of soft, distinct beeps. Never have so many people been inside the library of the Germans Trias i Pujol hospital in northeastern Spain.

    Thu, 02 Apr 2020 15:19:11 -0400
  • Putin prolongs virus work shutdown as cases spike

    Golocal247.com news

    President Vladimir Putin announced on Thursday the extension of a non-working period in Russia to slow the spread of the coronavirus until April 30 as cases spike. "I've taken a decision to extend the period of non-working days until April 30," Putin said in an address broadcast on state television, saying that Russians will still receive their salaries. The president first announced a week-long break from work in a rare televised address last week as part of a series of escalating measures to help slow the spread of coronavirus in Russia.

    Thu, 02 Apr 2020 14:12:03 -0400
  • Agonizing decisions being made in Spain's virus hot spots

    Golocal247.com news

    Raquel Fernández watched as cemetery workers lowered her grandmother's casket into the grave and placed it on top of the coffin of her grandfather, buried just three days earlier. Eusebio Fernández and Rosalía Mascaraque, both 86, are two of Spain’s more than 10,000 fatalities from the coronavirus pandemic. Like thousands of other elderly victims in Spain, their deaths this week illustrate one of the darkest realities of the crisis: Doctors at overburdened hospitals in need of more resources are having to make increasingly tough decisions on who gets the best care, and age appears to matter more than ever.

    Thu, 02 Apr 2020 13:57:57 -0400
  • Twitter deletes 20,000 fake accounts linked to Saudi, Serbian and Egyptian governments

    Golocal247.com news

    Accounts also linked to Honduras and Indonesia violated policy and were ‘targeted attempt to undermine the public conversation’Twitter has deleted 20,000 fake accounts linked to the governments of Serbia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Honduras and Indonesia, saying they violated company policy and were a “targeted attempt to undermine the public conversation”.Yoel Roth, the head of site integrity, said the removal of the accounts was part of the company’s ongoing “work to detect and investigate state-backed information operations”.Of the accounts removed on Thursday, 8,558 were linked to the Serbian Progressive party (SNS) of Aleksandar Vučić, the president. The accounts had posted more than 43m tweets amplifying positive news coverage of Vučić’s government and attacking his political opponents.Twitter also removed a network of 5,350 accounts linked to the Saudi monarchy operating out of Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates. Together they had tweeted 36.5m times praising the Saudi leadership or criticising Qatar and Turkish activity in Yemen.The takedown of the accounts followed a tip from the Stanford Internet Observatory, which said that network had also generated tweets supportive of the Libyan warlord Khalifa Haftar.“Prominent narratives included discrediting recent Libyan peace talks, criticizing the Syrian government, criticizing Iranian influence in Iraq, praising the Mauritanian government, and criticism of Houthi rebels in Yemen,” the observatory said in a blogpost.A separate Egyptian network of 2,541 accounts linked to the pro-government El Fagr newspaper, was also removed. Twitter said that the fake accounts had been used to “amplify messaging critical of Iran, Qatar and Turkey”.The social media company deleted more than 3,000 accounts which it said had been traced to a staffer working for the Honduran president, Juan Orlando Hernández.“Much of the tweet behavior seems targeted at drowning out negative news about the Honduran president by promoting presidential initiatives and heavily retweeting the president and news outlets favorable to his administration,” the Stanford Internet Observatory said.Following up reporting by investigative journalists at Bellingcat, the company said it had removed 795 fake accounts promoting the Indonesian government and targeting the West Papuan independence movement.Twitter has purged networks of state-backed fake accounts since coming under criticism for being used as a vehicle for disinformation. Last month Twitter took joint action with Facebook and to disable a Moscow-linked operation aimed at inflaming racial tensions in the US, as the social media companies sought to respond to pressure to block attempted Russian interference in the 2020 presidential elections.“Transparency is fundamental to the work we do at Twitter,” a company statement said. “These behaviors are in violation of our policies and are a targeted attempt to undermine the public conversation.”Niam Yaraghi, a fellow with the Brookings Institution’s Center for Technology Innovation, said that the removal of the accounts would have a largely symbolic importance, arguing that it was very easy for well-resourced state actors to replace them.“When you look at these numbers of accounts, in terms of their quantity, they’re just a drop in the ocean,” Yaraghi said. “They’ll have some psychological impact, probably, but I’m very doubtful they will have any real tangible impact on anything important.”

    Thu, 02 Apr 2020 13:56:46 -0400
  • Trump’s 10 Million Barrel Tweet Is Performance Art

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    Thu, 02 Apr 2020 13:56:27 -0400
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