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  • Trump just acknowledged downplaying the coronavirus threat: 'I knew it could be horrible'

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    "I knew everything. I knew it could be horrible, I knew it could be maybe good," President Donald Trump said. "I don't want to be a negative person."

    Tue, 31 Mar 2020 21:48:46 -0400
  • Great Recession showed countries can’t fight the coronavirus economic crisis alone

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    Trade represents close to 60% of world GDP, and national economies can't thrive in isolation. We needed a global response in 2008 and we need one now.

    Wed, 01 Apr 2020 10:01:28 -0400
  • China starts to report asymptomatic coronavirus cases

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    Chinese health authorities began on Wednesday reporting on asymptomatic cases of the coronavirus as part of an effort to allay public fears that people could be spreading the virus without knowing they are infected with it. China, where the coronavirus emerged late last year, has managed to bring its outbreak under control and is easing travel restrictions in virus hot spots. Up to now, the number of known asymptomatic cases has been classified, and it is not included in the official data, though the South China Morning Post newspaper, citing unpublished official documents, recently said it was more than 40,000.

    Wed, 01 Apr 2020 00:40:48 -0400
  • One country is refusing to shut down to stop the coronavirus

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    “It is better to die on your feet than live on your knees!” Lukashenko, who hit the ice for a weekend hockey game, said.

    Tue, 31 Mar 2020 12:35:28 -0400
  • Have I already had coronavirus? How would I know and what should I do?

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    Covid-19 symptoms, when they occur, vary widely and undertesting means many people have probably been unwittingly infected * Coronavirus – latest updates * See all our coronavirus coverageCovid-19 symptoms vary widely, and undertesting in many countries means that many people may have already had the coronavirus without having received a positive diagnosis. Is it possible to find out, and how should you behave if you think you may have been infected? Is there any way to know whether someone has had Covid-19 in the past?Dr William Hillmann: At this point, we don’t have a test to tell that. We are developing antibody tests to check for a prior infection, but those aren’t ready for clinical use yet. The only definitive way to know that you’ve had it is to get tested while you have it and to have that test be positive. Could I have had it and been asymptomatic? Hillmann: Coronavirus is actually quite a significant spectrum of symptoms, from people who are entirely asymptomatic and would have no idea that they have it to people with very mild, cold-like symptoms – runny nose, congestion, sore throat – to people with more flu-like symptoms – high fevers, muscle aches, shortness of breath and cough. All the way up to people with severe illness, who we’re seeing in the hospital with respiratory failure, requiring ICU care. (Editor’s note: recent reports suggest that loss of smell and taste are also signs of Covid-19 infection.) What percentage of carriers are asymptomatic?Dr David Buchholz: Right now in New York, we’re only testing the sickest possible people. So we have no idea. However, there was a study in Iceland, which tested [a large segment of its] population, and 50% of the people who tested positive had no symptoms. Are people who are asymptomatic also contagious? Hillmann: A significant proportion of people who are totally asymptomatic are contagious for some portion of time. We just don’t know [for how long] at this point, because we don’t have the kind of testing available to screen for asymptomatic infections.When people are symptomatic, they’re contagious. A day or two before they become symptomatic, they’re likely contagious as well. A virus builds up and starts to shed, and then after symptoms resolve, people can still be contagious for a couple of days. We have some evidence of viral shed even a couple of weeks after symptoms are resolved. It’s hard to know if that’s actual live virus, which is still able to infect somebody, or if that’s just dead virus that the body is shedding. Should someone behave differently if they think, but don’t know for certain, that they have already had it?Buchholz: We all have to be role models. If we’re all in it together, we all should be doing social distancing.Hillmann: Since there’s no real way to know at this point who might have had it, unless you’re symptomatic, you get a swab and are definitively diagnosed with it, I would just act as if you hadn’t had it. Keep doing all of those things that we all should be doing at this point: social distancing and hand hygiene. If I think I may have had it, do I have an ethical obligation to tell people I came in contact with? Even if it may in fact just have been a cold?Buchholz: I would, absolutely. I’m in New York, and it was definitely in the community before we knew it. So, yeah, any family members and close friends, maybe somebody you work next to, I think I would just alert them, especially if it was in the last 14 days. If it’s been more than 14 days, they would have gotten sick by now if they had significant exposure.Hillmann: It’s up to every individual about what they feel is right. If somebody is diagnosed with a case of coronavirus, I might feel a little bit more strongly that they should tell people because if you’re in close contact with a healthcare worker, it could have implications for precautions that healthcare worker needs to take. If I’ve had it, can I get it again?Buchholz: There’s not been any evidence that anyone’s gotten it more than once. Someone with a normal immune system that can react to the virus and get better should have immunity for quite some time, at least a year, if not lifelong.There have been reports out of China suggesting people are testing positive for Covid-19 a second time. Most scientists think it is an issue around the inaccuracy of the testing and not that people are having two separate cases of the disease.ExpertsDr David Buchholz, senior founding medical director, primary care, assistant professor of pediatrics, Columbia University Irving medical centerDr William Hillmann, associate inpatient physician director at Massachusetts general hospital

    Wed, 01 Apr 2020 09:45:11 -0400
  • Europe's trade system with Iran finally makes first deal

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    Tue, 31 Mar 2020 05:10:16 -0400
  • Venezuela prosecutor's office summoned Guaido for 'attempted coup'

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    State prosecutors in Venezuela have summoned opposition leader Juan Guaido for an alleged "attempted coup d'etat" and attempted assassination, Attorney General Tarek William Saab announced Tuesday. In a statement broadcast on state television, Saab said Guaido had been summoned to appear before prosecutors next Thursday following an investigation last week into the seizure of a weapons cache in neighboring Colombia that he said was to be smuggled into Venezuela.

    Tue, 31 Mar 2020 11:16:54 -0400
  • China Concealed Extent of Virus Outbreak, U.S. Intelligence Says

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    (Bloomberg) -- China has concealed the extent of the coronavirus outbreak in its country, under-reporting both total cases and deaths it’s suffered from the disease, the U.S. intelligence community concluded in a classified report to the White House, according to three U.S. officials.The officials asked not to be identified because the report is secret, and they declined to detail its contents. But the thrust, they said, is that China’s public reporting on cases and deaths is intentionally incomplete. Two of the officials said the report concludes that China’s numbers are fake.The report was received by the White House last week, one of the officials said.The outbreak began in China’s Hubei province in late 2019, but the country has publicly reported only about 82,000 cases and 3,300 deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. That compares to more than 189,000 cases and more than 4,000 deaths in the U.S., which has the largest publicly reported outbreak in the world.Communications staff at the White House and the Chinese embassy in Washington didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.“The reality is that we could have been better off if China had been more forthcoming,” Vice President Mike Pence said Wednesday on CNN. “What appears evident now is that long before the world learned in December that China was dealing with this, and maybe as much as a month earlier than that, that the outbreak was real in China.While China eventually imposed a strict lockdown beyond those of less autocratic nations, there has been considerable skepticism toward China’s reported numbers, both outside and within the country. The Chinese government has repeatedly revised its methodology for counting cases, for weeks excluding people without symptoms entirely, and only on Tuesday added more than 1,500 asymptomatic cases to its total.Stacks of thousands of urns outside funeral homes in Hubei province have driven public doubt in Beijing’s reporting.Republican lawmakers in the U.S. have been particularly harsh about China’s role in the outbreak. Enhancing Beijing’s role in the pandemic could be politically helpful to President Donald Trump, who has sought to shift blame for the U.S. outbreak away from his administration’s delays in achieving widespread testing for the virus and mobilizing greater production of supplies such as face masks and hospital ventilators.“The claim that the United States has more coronavirus deaths than China is false,” Senator Ben Sasse, a Nebraska Republican, said in a statement after Bloomberg News published its report. “Without commenting on any classified information, this much is painfully obvious: The Chinese Communist Party has lied, is lying, and will continue to lie about coronavirus to protect the regime.”Deborah Birx, the State Department immunologist advising the White House on its response to the outbreak, said Tuesday that China’s public reporting influenced assumptions elsewhere in the world about the nature of the virus.“The medical community made -- interpreted the Chinese data as: This was serious, but smaller than anyone expected,” she said at a news conference on Tuesday. “Because I think probably we were missing a significant amount of the data, now that what we see happened to Italy and see what happened to Spain.”China isn’t the only country with suspect public reporting. Western officials have pointed to Iran, Russia, Indonesia and especially North Korea, which has not reported a single case of the disease, as probable under-counts. Others including Saudi Arabia and Egypt may also be playing down their numbers.U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo has publicly urged China and other nations to be transparent about their outbreaks. He has repeatedly accused China of covering up the extent of the problem and being slow to share information, especially in the weeks after the virus first emerged, and blocking offers of help from American experts.“This data set matters,” he said at a news conference in Washington on Tuesday. The development of medical therapies and public-health measures to combat the virus “so that we can save lives depends on the ability to have confidence and information about what has actually transpired,” he said.“I would urge every nation: Do your best to collect the data. Do your best to share that information,” he said. “We’re doing that.”(Updates with Pence’s comment in sixth 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.

    Wed, 01 Apr 2020 13:21:34 -0400
  • Border Patrol Stopped a Chinese Biologist Carrying Viable SARS, MERS Viruses at Detroit Airport in 2018

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    U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents at Detroit Metro Airport stopped a Chinese scientist carrying vials believed to contain the MERS and SARS viruses in November 2018 — just over a year before the first reported Wuhan coronavirus case, according to an FBI tactical intelligence report obtained by Yahoo News.“Inspection of the writing on the vials and the stated recipient led inspection personnel to believe the materials contained within the vials may be viable Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) materials,” the report reads. The vials were labeled “Antibodies”, and the unnamed scientist said he was asked to deliver them to a researcher at a U.S. institute.The report also lays out a pattern of Chinese interference, detailing two other cases from May 2018 and September 2019, in which different Chinese nationals tried to enter the U.S. with undeclared flu strains and suspected E. coli, respectively.“The Weapons of Mass Destruction Directorate assesses foreign scientific researchers who transport undeclared and undocumented biological materials into the United States in their personal carry-on and/or checked luggage almost certainly present a US biosecurity risk,” the report states. “The WMDD makes this assessment with high confidence based on liaison reporting with direct access.”The FBI has stepped up its efforts to combat Chinese espionage operations in recent months after admitting failures in preventing the recruitment of U.S. researchers by Beijing’s “Thousand Talents Plan.”“With our present-day knowledge of the threat from Chinese plans, we wish we had taken more rapid and comprehensive action in the past,” John Brown, assistant director of the counterintelligence division at the FBI, told a Senate subcommittee in November. “The time to make up for that is now.”In January, the head of Harvard University’s chemistry department was federally charged with failing to disclose funding from the Chinese government, after he hid his involvement in the talents program, which encourages the stealing of U.S. intellectual property.China has come under fire for its handling of the coronavirus, despite pushing propaganda, which has been parroted by Western media, in an attempt to shift criticism to the U.S. A study released earlier this month detailed how the Chinese Communist Party could have prevented 95 percent of total infections if it had acted sooner to limit the spread and warn others.

    Mon, 30 Mar 2020 15:42:14 -0400
  • 28 Texas spring breakers who just returned from Cabo have tested positive for the coronavirus

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    The spring breakers reportedly got on a chartered plane with 70 people. It shows why spring break is such a problem during the coronavirus pandemic.

    Tue, 31 Mar 2020 17:28:50 -0400
  • Poll: 15% of Sanders supporters will vote for Trump if Biden is nominee; 80% would back Biden

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    The poll also found Biden with a 16-percentage-point advantage (55%-39%) over Sanders among registered Democrats and independents who lean Democratic.

    Mon, 30 Mar 2020 13:51:23 -0400
  • 12 Buildings That Show the Beauty of Deconstructed Architecture

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    Tue, 31 Mar 2020 18:59:05 -0400
  • A Doctor Who Met Putin Just Tested Positive, and Russia’s COVID-19 Crackdowns Could Get Real Ugly.

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    MOSCOW—Amid a growing uproar in newly locked-down Russia, news broke on Tuesday that a doctor President Vladimir Putin met with just a week ago during a highly publicized visit to a coronavirus treatment facility has now tested positive for the infection himself. Widely disseminated photos of the visit showed Putin donning an orange hazmat suit, but he had also talked to Dr. Denis Protsenko extensively without protection and photographs show them together with very little "social distancing."Putin's spokesman says the Russian president is tested frequently for coronavirus infection and is just fine. But the news is bound to shake a country already racked by uncertainty, fear, and not a little anger.“You should find abandoned cells used to punish prisoners, cold ones with no food in them, lock them up there,” Chechen strongman Ramzan Kadyrov declared as the Russian Federation went into a nationwide lockdown over the weekend. He was telling his security force commanders how to treat those who disobeyed the curfew and quarantine orders. “Throw them in a big hole, bury them, let them die in it."Most Russian officials are not as blunt and brutal as Kadyrov, a Putin protégé and the point man for some of the more ruthless actions carried out in support of the president. But the coronavirus crisis has brought to the fore the grim authoritarian instincts of several leaders in what was once the Soviet Bloc. As their people try to find masks and rubber gloves to protect themselves, dictators are raising their iron fists, not least, to protect their regimes. Others are still trying to pretend there's no problem at the moment. The crackdowns will come later.One of the most stunning moves was taken in Hungary, a member of the European Union, where the parliament passed a bill giving Prime Minister Viktor Orbán—one of Putin’s closest EU soulmates—virtually unlimited powers to rule by decree; suspending parliament; canceling elections; threatening up to five years in prison for those who spread “fake new” and rumors (read, criticism of the regime); and up to eight years in prison for those who break the quarantine. All this for as long as Orbán wants. “And there it is,” tweeted historian and columnist Anne Applebaum, “The European Union's first dictatorship. None of these powers is needed to fight the virus. But they will help distract and deter opposition, especially when it becomes clear that the government has no better plan.”Here in the Russian capital the picture is more mixed, because Putin himself has sent messages to the public almost as confusing and contradictory as those of President Donald J. Trump in the United States.For weeks and months, as thousands began dying from the disease in China—then Italy, France, Spain, around the world and now with a vengeance in the United States—many epidemiologists warned COVID-19 will kill millions if drastic measures are not taken to stop it. But Russia delayed the actions needed to prevent the worst outbreak scenarios.Putin Worries Coronavirus Could Screw Up His Constitutional ‘Coronation’It was obvious, as we reported, that President Vladimir Putin and his supporters did not want anything to interfere with a planned April 22 referendum to ratify his continued rule for at least another 16 years. It was also apparent that Russia did not want to let anything interfere with its May 9 Victory Day celebrations marking 75 years since the defeat of the Nazis. So the official number of infections in this country that borders the Chinese and European epicenters of the spreading plague remained implausibly low.Last week, the numbers caught up with the Kremlin, as cases became too numerous to deny, and Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin said flatly the infection rate was much higher than the government was admitting. The number of officially diagnosed Muscovites now exceeds 1,000, with at least nine people killed by the virus. On Tuesday last week, Russia’s Channel One announced: “Our president is on the front lines of the main war on the planet, the war with coronavirus.” Over the last two decades, Russians have seen Putin as a self-styled man of action mobilizing resources to make Russia stronger, richer, greater. TV channels showed the commander-in-chief in the cockpit of a fighter jet wearing a pilot’s uniform. His shirtless shots became iconic. He even appeared to guide migrant birds as he flew an ultra-light aircraft. And now the country watched Putin in a bright yellow hazmat suit touring Moscow’s new coronavirus hospital, although it appears he did not actually meet any coronavirus patients. Putin was giving the public its cue, once again, to follow the leader. And he did meet with the hospital’s chief physician, Dr. Denis Protsenko, whose positive test for coronavirus was just announced this Tuesday.Protsenko, 44, sounded straightforward when he spoke to the BBC last week. He said he was convinced that Russia should be ready for the “Italian scenario,” and that he personally was prepared to put diapers on and work 12 hours a day in intensive care units, like Chinese doctors did at the peak of the epidemic. “I personally would put Moscow on quarantine,” he declared, adding with tact worthy of Trump advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci, “The question is about the price for closing down.”But in Putin’s address to the nation the next day, he did not use the word “quarantine” at all. To the relief of many, he announced that nobody would have to go to work until April 5, but they would be paid, and nobody would have to go to the polls to vote for constitutional changes on April 22. The referendum would be postponed.“If Putin made Russians go to polling stations next month, that would threaten thousands of lives; he is careful choosing his words now, he tries to secure his reputation,” Ilya Yashin, a Moscow municipal deputy, told The Daily Beast.After coronavirus cases tripled in many Russian regions on Thursday, Putin ordered most public places closed, including city parks.“If Russia’s epidemics develop like the Italian scenario, which is quite possible, there will be no way for him to secure his reputation—the entire responsibility will be on the government,” said Yashin. If that happens, one can expect even Putin himself to show the iron fist. But for the moment in the nation’s capital that has not yet hammered down. And many Russians, a famously fatalistic people, appear unimpressed with the twin threats of tyranny and pandemic.On Sunday, most of the Russian capital’s downtown was still open, and public transport as well. Bars were closed, but young people continued to hang out in hidden corners. Skateboarders focused on their kickflips, as if no epidemic mattered. A group of hipsters outside a still-open bookstore listened to a girl read aloud, her face pink in the light of sunset. The poem was one of Joseph Brodsky’s: “They loved to sit together on a hillside...” Then on Sunday night, Russia slammed its doors a little harder, in a pattern now familiar to countries around the world: governments first try to persuade, and when that fails, as it usually does, they try to enforce the quarantines and distancing. A few hours before midnight Sunday night, authorities finally announced a complete lockdown for the capital and its 11 million residents. Police cars with loudspeakers began to order pedestrians to hurry back home: everyone in the city now had to stay in their apartments, leaving only for the closest grocery or drug store, or to walk a dog no more than 100 meters from home—the kinds of restrictions imposed in much of Western Europe for weeks now, and in Italy for more than a month. Moscow was joining the club of almost three billion self-isolating people around the globe. Moscow Mayor Sobyanin declared that the epidemic was entering “a new phase.”Yet, as of Monday, authorities reported every fifth Muscovite violated the new regime. Even pro-Kremlin Russian experts said the measures came too late—with all the terrifying examples in the West to prove the point. “It was great we closed down Russia’s border with China in January, but Moscow should have given people a week off from work earlier this month, and authorities should have banned all travel by trains and airplanes from Moscow to other regions,” pro-Kremlin political analyst Sergei Markov told The Daily Beast on Monday morning. “That would have protected more than 55 regions, which are now also infected.”  By Monday afternoon, 71 out of 85 Russian regions had reported coronavirus cases—the epidemic is spreading around the world’s largest country like windblown fire through dry grass, affecting its poorest and most vulnerable people even in remote corners of the federation.An infected resident who apparently contracted the disease on a trip to Cuba brought it to the remote town of Apatity, about 1,000 miles north of Moscow, in the Murmansk region. By the weekend, according to television reports, dozens of people in Apatity and nearby Kurskiy were checking into hospitals with coronavirus symptoms, so authorities had to shut down both towns for self-isolation on Monday.The sale of alcohol, wine as well as vodka, has jumped by at least 20 percent compared to March 2019. As for protection from the virus, there was none available. As happened in so many other countries, every pharmacy in town was out of masks and hand sanitizer. Yet many Russians found a kind of perverse courage by comparing what seemed the hypothetical threat of the virus with all too substantive difficulties and dangers of everyday life.A video clip of a song steeped in slavic fatalism mocked the pandemic. Russia is used to nightmares, it proclaimed: “First, our blood is full of alcohol, the whole of life is folded into a black hole; Authorities hypnotize us and sell us out, but we have no infected fellas in our favelas.” Why be worried about COVID-19 if you risk being eaten by a bear or getting killed by a policeman, the authors say. “We lost all our ability to be afraid,” the song concluded: “We don’t give a shit.” The polls reflect that sort of attitude. According to social research by Romir Holding, 54 percent of Russians do not believe in the danger of the COVID-19 pandemic. And, even now, the only man Russians listen to, commander of the coronavirus war Vladimir Putin, still has not given clear instructions about the deadly outbreak, or how to avoid getting infected. Nobody clearly predicted the scale of the epidemic’s storm coming to Russia, nobody talked about the exponential growth of the outbreak in the United States and Europe except to crow as if Russia somehow were exempt.In announcing the week off, Putin did ask Russians not to rely on  traditional “avos,” the typical carelessness and fatalism traditional in the nation’s approach to the dark promise of the future, but the message seems to have been taken with, well, fatalism and carelessness.Moscow is still in the early stages of the inevitable nightmare, when confusion and defiance mingle with fear. So hairdressers are still working, and without masks. Women are going to them without taking the slightest precautions. This, even as thousands of people who suspect they’ve been infected are calling a coronavirus hotline.Russia Claimed It Created a Coronavirus Cure, but It’s an American Malaria DrugEarlier this week Yulia Galyamina, a Moscow politician and scientist lost her sense of smell, developed a fever, and felt weak. Those are all signs of infection. But as in other countries, she found it impossible to get a test unless she could prove she was at death’s door. She called a doctor and the agency supervising tests, but they said they could do nothing for her. “A district [government] doctor said since I was not terribly sick, I could not get tested,” Galyamina told The Daily Beast. “Private labs ask you not to show up if you have had symptoms in the past week.” On Saturday, authorities admitted that 166,000 Russians are on a coronavirus watch list—not confirmed with infection, but suspected of having the contagion or of being at risk. That’s a worrisome number. It suggests the observable cases are vastly higher than those confirmed, and again raises the question of why no clear determination had been made about many of them weeks ago.“Moscow Mayor Sobyanin had guts to tell Putin right into his face on Tuesday that the real situation is much worse than the official reports say,” Vladimir Ryzhkov, professor at the Higher School of Economics, told The Daily Beast. Earlier this month, Putin said that the situation with coronavirus was “under control.” Authorities told Russians not to spread fake news about the pandemic threat. When there were still just a few cases of COVID-19 in Russia, Anastasia Kirilenko, The Insider’s investigative reporter, heard tragic news from Novosibirsk: her 34-year-old cousin died of pneumonia. The Russian health system is in miserable shape in the regions, dozens of district clinics closed in rural remote towns all across the country in the past few years.“Regional paramedics diagnosed my cousin, a young and healthy man, with acute respiratory viral infection but did not do an x-ray to check why he had a high temperature during the last month of his life,” Kirilenko told The Daily Beast. “Now we wonder if my cousin had coronavirus just like thousands of other Russians who are said to have only pneumonia.”  Christopher Dickey also contributed to this article.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.

    Tue, 31 Mar 2020 04:49:57 -0400
  • U.S. is swiftly deporting migrant children at the border

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    "Despite everything I experienced along the way, they deported me the next day," one indigenous teenager from Guatemala told CBS News.

    Tue, 31 Mar 2020 22:05:55 -0400
  • Meet Candy Sterling, a fierce drag queen at night and a corporate professional by day

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    This is Candy Sterling – a fierce drag queen who lights up the New York City nightlife while maintaining a professional day job. Get to know her both in and out of drag on this week's episode of Behind the Drag.

    Tue, 31 Mar 2020 14:26:09 -0400
  • Defense lawyer in death of 7 motorcyclists: Biker at fault

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    One of the motorcyclists in a crash that killed him and six fellow bikers on a north woods highway was drunk and actually was the one who hit a pickup and caused the accident, the lawyer for the truck driver charged with homicide said in a document made public Tuesday. A New Hampshire State Police account of the June 21 crash in the community of Randolph “was deeply flawed," the lawyer for truck driver Volodymyr Zhukovskyy, 24, of West Springfield, Massachusetts, said in a motion filed Friday that seeks a hearing to set him free on bail. State police initially determined that the flatbed trailer he was hauling was 1 1/2 feet over the center line at the time of impact, the motion said.

    Tue, 31 Mar 2020 13:33:50 -0400
  • Masquerade or needed aid? China virus help proves contentious

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    China has stepped in to help the West tackle the coronavirus crisis after managing to quell its own outbreak. As European and American healthcare systems creak under the strain, China has offered millions of face masks and teams of medical experts. As well as seeking to deflect criticism over initial Chinese missteps in handling the epidemic, analysts say, the campaign is a public relations opportunity in China's great power rivalry with the West and especially the United States.

    Wed, 01 Apr 2020 06:12:00 -0400
  • Malaysia Braces for First Recession Since Global Financial Crisis

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    Tue, 31 Mar 2020 02:19:15 -0400
  • Coronavirus stokes tensions between Erdogan and Istanbul's mayor

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    The coronavirus pandemic has rekindled rivalry in Turkey between President Tayyip Erdogan and Istanbul's opposition mayor, with disputes over fundraising and a potential lockdown possibly endangering a coordinated effort to combat the outbreak. The central government in Ankara has said a money-raising campaign launched by the mayor of Istanbul, Ekrem Imamoglu, is illegal and it has threatened to prosecute those involved. Imamoglu, seen as a possible future candidate for the presidency, launched the campaign this week with the slogan "We will succeed together", seeking cash and other donations from wealthier Turks for hundreds of thousands of those in need.

    Wed, 01 Apr 2020 09:32:34 -0400
  • McConnell: Impeachment 'diverted' attention from coronavirus concerns

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    The Senate leader also accused Democrats of wanting to "turn the President’s handling of all this into a political liability for him."

    Tue, 31 Mar 2020 13:11:00 -0400
  • Las Vegas moved hundreds of homeless people to sleep 6 feet from each other in a parking lot after their shelter was hit by the coronavirus

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    Photos of homeless people sleeping six feet apart inside painted white boxes on the ground drew widespread criticism.

    Tue, 31 Mar 2020 07:58:43 -0400
  • Coronavirus confusion in Russia after Putin announced a nationwide vacation and people took to the streets. Two days later the Kremlin had to clarify people were meant to stay at home.

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    Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters: "It's not days off or holidays in the classical understanding of that word."

    Wed, 01 Apr 2020 00:18:36 -0400
  • 4 items you need in your pantry during the coronavirus pandemic

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    It's important to keep your pantry stocked with staple food and snacks while staying home during the coronavirus outbreak.

    Tue, 31 Mar 2020 20:52:19 -0400
  • Lindsey Graham Calls on IG Horowitz to Testify in Further FISA Hearings after Scathing New Report

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    Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) plans to call DOJ inspector general Michael Horowitz to testify before congress regarding his office’s audit of the FBI’s FISA application process, which was released Tuesday and revealed potentially systematic abuses of the transparency measures required of the Bureau when agents interact with the FISA court.“I have just been briefed on Inspector General Horowitz’s audit of FISA applications involving American citizens. This random audit shows discrepancies regarding verification of the information under the Woods Procedures,” Graham said in a press release. “I intend to have Inspector General Horowitz come to the Committee to explain his findings and receive his recommendations about how to change the program.”Horowitz’s latest report revealed that the FBI included “apparent errors or inadequately supported facts” in all 29 FISA surveillance applications filed between 2014 and 2019 and reviewed as part of the audit.The Woods Procedure dictates that the Justice Department verify the accuracy of and provide evidentiary support for all facts stated in its FISA application. The FBI is required to share with the FISA Court all relevant information compiled in a Woods file when applying for a surveillance warrant.Four of the 29 applications lacked Woods files entirely, while the other 25 had “an average of about 20 issues per application reviewed, with a high of approximately 65 issues in one application and less than 5 issues in another application.”“FBI and NSD officials we interviewed indicated to us that there were no efforts by the FBI to use existing FBI and NSD oversight mechanisms to perform comprehensive, strategic assessments of the efficacy of the Woods Procedures or FISA accuracy, to include identifying the need for enhancements to training and improvements in the process, or increased accountability measures,” the report states.Horowitz recommended that the FBI begin to “systematically and regularly examine” its Woods reviews to uncover abuse, beginning with a “physical inventory to ensure that Woods Files exist for every FISA application submitted to the FISC in all pending investigations.”In a statement after the audit’s release, the DOJ said that it is “committed to putting the Inspector General’s recommendations into practice and to implementing reforms that will ensure all FISA applications are complete and accurate.”> DOJ statement on today’s report from IG Horowitz identifying concerns with the FBI’s handling of procedures related to FISA applications. pic.twitter.com/DAiB61IoSk> > -- KerriKupecDOJ (@KerriKupecDOJ) March 31, 2020The findings are the latest in a growing trail of FBI abuses involving the FISA Court. Horowitz appeared in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee in December after finding “basic and fundamental errors” in the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane investigation of the 2016 Trump campaign, and blamed the FBI chain of command for lacking oversight in the FISA applications used to surveil Trump-campaign adviser Carter Page.“The circumstances reflect a failure, as we outline in the report, not just by those who prepared the applications, but also by the managers and supervisors in the Crossfire Hurricane chain of command, including FBI senior officials who were briefed as the investigation progressed,” Horowitz said in his statement to Graham and the other senators.Later in the hearing, Senator Josh Hawley (R., Mo.) said Horowitz’s findings showed how the “the FBI effectively meddled in an ongoing presidential campaign,” while other Republicans acknowledged that they had not realized FISA abuse was a serious threat.“As a national security hawk, I’ve argued with Mike Lee in the four-and-a-half or five years that I’ve been in the Senate that stuff just like this couldn’t possibly happen at the FBI and at the Department of Justice,” Senator Ben Sasse (R., Neb.) said. “ . . . Mike Lee has warned me for four-and-a-half years the potential for abuse in this space is terrible and I constantly defended the integrity and the professionalism of the bureau and of the department that you couldn’t have something like this happen.”Senator Thom Tillis (R., N.C.) echoed Sasse in recognizing Mike Lee’s past criticisms of FISA.“Because we’ve now seen the abuses we were warned about, you can smirk again, you were right,” Tillis told the Utah Republican.

    Tue, 31 Mar 2020 15:50:22 -0400
  • Coronavirus: 'I don't want a flight voucher, where's my refund?'

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    The airlines' trade body wants to give vouchers for cancelled flights but passengers are unhappy.

    Tue, 31 Mar 2020 10:34:23 -0400
  • Iran warns US after Patriot deployment to Iraq

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    Iran warned the US Wednesday that it was leading the Middle East to disaster in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic after it deployed Patriot air defence missiles to Iraq. Washington had been in talks with Baghdad about the proposed deployment since January but it was not immediately clear whether it had secured its approval or not. Iran, which wields huge influence in its western neighbour, said that it had not.

    Wed, 01 Apr 2020 06:06:46 -0400
  • 29 Best Closet Organization Ideas to Maximize Space and Style

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    Mon, 30 Mar 2020 19:06:00 -0400
  • Poland tightens restrictions further against coronavirus

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    Poland will impose further restrictions on public life, including closing parks and hotels, to curb the spread of coronavirus and avoid the fate of Italy and Spain, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said. The Polish government is preparing for a steep rise in the number of infections. Italy's death toll from the coronavirus now stands at 11,591, making it the worst affected nation in the world, while Spain ranks second, with 8,189 fatalities.

    Tue, 31 Mar 2020 06:48:03 -0400
  • Joe Biden Is Smart to Get the Hell Out of the Way

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    For weeks now, I’ve been worried about Joe Biden. Yes, the deadly coronavirus presents serious political problems for Donald Trump (despite his current glowing approval ratings, this crisis undermines the one thing he had going for him: a good economy), but consider how quickly the pandemic killed the Joe-mentum. It wasn’t that long ago that Joe, not COVID-19, was the talk of the town—and rightly so. After a campaign season when Biden barely managed to tread water, and when we nearly wrote him off on the heels of pathetic performances in Iowa and New Hampshire, suddenly Joe came roaring back with a stunning victory in South Carolina that propelled him to a huge Super Tuesday. How Joe Biden Will Counteract Trump's Virus Media CircusThe world was Joe’s oyster, baby—but that turned out to be a turning point in the news cycle. I know this because Super Tuesday was also the last time that I was invited to appear on cable news as a political commentator (in the Trump era, turns out, I should have become an FBI agent, lawyer... or a virologist).By the time Super Tuesday II (or whatever we’re calling it) came along, Biden’s miraculous turnaround was already headline story number II, taking a backseat to (deservedly) breathless pandemic coverage. By March 10, when Biden crushed Bernie Sanders in Michigan, Missouri, and elsewhere, out of the abundance of caution, he would be delivering his “victory” speeches to empty rooms. Talk about anticlimactic. Biden had waited 22 years to win his first presidential primary on Feb. 29. For the first time in his life, he was a candidate for president who was generating excitement and enthusiasm. And that lasted about 15 minutes. Emergencies change everything. Despite the misinformation Donald Trump regularly spews, he is (by virtue of being president) relevant. So are governors. Every day they hold press conferences and “make” news. They trot out experts and recite stats about the number of N95 respirators or surgical masks they need—or they talk about releasing their needed supplies from some (magical?) place called the “national stockpile.” During an emergency, they don flak jackets, NYPD baseball caps, or crisp polos with embroidered emergency logos. You’ve probably heard the scuttlebutt about Andrew Cuomo replacing Biden on the Democratic ticket. At least half of that is attributable to his outfit.So, while Trump and Cuomo were holding their daily press conferences, Biden was holed up (like the rest of us), wearing a dark suit (unlike any of us), staring warily into a computer camera (like the rest of us), positioned bizarrely behind a podium (unlike... anyone?). And now, while the president and governors are out there being relevant, Joe Biden is (like the rest of us) desperately trying to promote a podcast.  At first glance, this seems a sad, if unfortunate, development for a guy who has been through so much and was seemingly on the verge of parlaying his moment into a movement. But I’m starting to think that it might work out for him. Initially, I thought social distancing would be politically salutary for Biden, and not just for the obvious reason that after the “rally around the flag” effect wears off, presidents are usually blamed for what happens on their watch, especially when their lack of experience or competence leads to a botched response and lots of people die. A quarantine, I suspected, would allow Biden to run a sort of front-porch campaign where he could present a highly “curated” (read more coherent and robust) and choreographed image. That theory lasted a day or so. After that, I started to notice that Biden was becoming an afterthought. I became convinced that he simply had to find ways to be in the news cycle every day. He could run shadow briefings! He could form a shadow government with a shadow Dr. Fauci and a shadow Dr. Birx. He could wear his own “emergency casual” uniform. He (sort of) tried some version of that. But when he floundered, it struck me as just more confirmation that “sleepy Joe” had “lost a step” and wasn’t capitalizing on the moment. And then, it hit me. Joe Biden should social distance even more. He should recede into the background like Homer Simpson backing into the shrubs, only to reemerge tanned and rested after Labor Day. (As Andrew Card said, ''You don't introduce new products in August.”) He should embrace The 4-Hour Work Week. Now, I know that this thought process seems insane. It has become axiomatic you should never pass up a chance to have sex or be on TV. It has become political wisdom that you concede nothing. That you hustle. That (as Al Pacino might yell during a particularly motivational half-time speech), “We can fight our way back into the light. We can climb out of hell. One inch at a time!” There is wisdom in that. But sometimes, like the bamboo, it’s wiser to go with the flow. Yes, this theory of passive resistance goes against our human pretensions, which push us to believe that, by virtue of our efforts—our work—we have some semblance of control over our own fate. Like Boxer in Animal Farm, we want to believe that all our problems will be solved if we just work harder. What is more, it contradicts an assumption, which suggests media personalities and political leaders gain public support (and attention) by virtue of accretion and exposure. Like lifting weights to get stronger, we think that to become popular means you must put in the daily work and gradually gain a fanbase. But is this true? Citing a decades-old observation called the Feiler faster thesis, my former colleague Mickey Kaus recently argued that news cycles have sped up and that humans can process information quicker than most people realize. “Biden can wait until September, or whenever the conventions are, and then, he can gin up a huge publicity ‘Biden for president’ campaign,” Kaus said. “He doesn’t have to be omnipresent in our attention now in order to do that, then.” This reminds me of an old story. Heading into the 1968 Republican primary contest, Richard Nixon announced a six-month moratorium from politics. In 2014, former Nixon aide Pat Buchanan described it to me as an “absence makes the heart grow fonder” approach. Interestingly, it also had the effect of overexposing Nixon’s rival, George Romney. When a skeptical Buchanan questioned Nixon on the wisdom of this disappearing act, Nixon advised: “Let [the media] chew on [Romney] for a little while.” Kaus’s theory suggests that the Nixon example might now work in a general election. And in a world where conventional wisdom and historical precedent all seem so passe, he may well be correct. Certainly, the media aren’t averse to chewing on Trump. To be sure, a primary isn’t a general election—and George Romney ain’t Donald J. Trump. But the absence-makes-the-heart-grow-fonder strategy is probably underrated and, largely, untried. So why not try it?It is, perhaps, ironic, but the Chinese proverb about “crisis” also meaning “opportunity” seems apropos. Laying low may be Joe Biden’s best strategy—and it’s one that wouldn’t be possible were it not for social distancing.My best advice for Joe may be this: Don’t just do something, stand there!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.

    Tue, 31 Mar 2020 04:45:27 -0400
  • G-20 Pivots as Emergency Aid Focus Turns to Developing World

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    Tue, 31 Mar 2020 11:42:19 -0400
  • Wuhan's death toll could be astronomically higher than the Chinese government has reported, some residents say

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    Officials in Wuhan, China, reported that 2,535 people in the city have died from COVID-19. Some residents suspect that's a severe undercount.

    Mon, 30 Mar 2020 16:45:33 -0400
  • A man hid his coronavirus symptoms to join his wife in a New York hospital maternity ward. She ended up infected also.

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    The man revealed his condition only after his wife gave birth and also began to display coronavirus symptoms.

    Tue, 31 Mar 2020 21:15:21 -0400
  • The US-China coronavirus blame game is undermining diplomacy

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    Tensions are rising, but US and Chinese governments must work together to stem the tide of the pandemicAs the world grapples with the human and economic devastation being wrought by the Covid-19 pandemic, not even the relationship between the United States and China is being spared. However, the US and China cannot allow their global competition and rising tensions to impede efforts to fight the pandemic.There will be time enough when this global emergency is over to figure out the ways in which the Chinese Communist party’s (CCP) actions endangered the world by covering up the initial outbreak. But we are where we are, and China, the United States, and the rest of the world must focus on fighting the pandemic.Unfortunately, neither the US nor CCP leadership seems willing to resist throwing mud at one another. Donald Trump, the House minority leader, Kevin McCarthy, and other elected officials have called Covid-19 the “Chinese virus” and one White House official reportedly called it the “Kung Flu”. The Republican senator Tom Cotton hinted (without evidence) that the virus could be a bioweapon created by the CCP.In China, a spokesman for the PRC ministry of foreign affairs lied in suggesting that the US military could be to blame for the virus. Chinese government officials have echoed that sentiment while the CCP’s propaganda machine is busy promoting these conspiracy theories.This blame game is undermining diplomacy between the countries. Instead of calling his counterpart to coordinate responses to the global pandemic, the US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, called China’s senior foreign policy official, Yang Jiechi, instead to object to “PRC efforts to shift blame for Covid-19 to the United States”. And the Trump administration has reportedly attempted to stop the UN security council and the G7 from taking action against the pandemic unless the groups singled out China for blame.It’s important to get the facts right. The virus started in China. In the early days, doctors tried to sound the alarm, but were not allowed to do their jobs. As the virus spread, the CCP censored many of those attempting to raise alarm bells. The CCP’s botched initial response to the virus probably made this pandemic far worse.But the priority for every nation right now must be the pandemic, and tensions between the world’s two biggest economies cannot get in the way. Toning down aspects of the US-China competition temporarily in no way means that the United States should ignore the CCP’s dangerous initial response to the virus, nor does it mean that the United States should stop blunting dangerous Chinese behavior elsewhere. What it means is taking concrete steps to ensure that the competition does not inhibit the fight against the pandemic.First, the United States must stop scapegoating China. Leaders need to stop referring to Covid-19 as the “Chinese virus”, trying to blame China for the outbreak and feeding conspiracy theories about China launching the disease on purpose. Halting this kind of rhetoric can help reduce some of the discrimination against Asian Americans that has been sparked by racist comments surrounding the virus. And while China will continue trying to spin this crisis to its advantage to win headlines, at the very least the United States can play the role of responsible leader rather than infantile finger-pointer.> We must ensure all the doors to cooperation on the pandemic are open right nowSecond, the United States must ensure that no policy that is intended to blunt nefarious Chinese behavior will negatively affect the fight against the pandemic. In order to address genuine concerns, the United States has increasingly scrutinized Chinese investment and private sector cooperation in education, scientific collaborations and the technology sector. Sometimes, those actions can have unintended consequences: for instance, ProPublica reported that one scientist – who had lived in the United States for decades and left the country after being investigated for ties to China – is now developing a rapid coronavirus test in China. Whether it’s scientists sharing research to find a vaccine or companies partnering to produce necessary equipment, we must ensure all the doors to cooperation on the pandemic are open right now. The Trump administration’s move to lift tariffs on Chinese medical products like masks and sanitization products is a good step.Third, the US and Chinese governments must work together to stem the tide of the pandemic. As tensions have risen in recent years there are fewer and fewer areas on which the two countries have pursued robust cooperation. But combating the pandemic is exactly the kind of challenge that requires the two nations to come together, from sharing lessons learned in their respective responses to searching for medical treatments to working together in multilateral organizations like the World Health Organization and the G20. And it means being open to support from one another: while China initially refused US help, reports now suggest the United States is declining China’s offers of sending personal protective equipment.Fourth, don’t worry for the moment about China’s attempts to win public relations victories by sending aid to US allies. The United States must focus on actually helping US allies – such as coordinating travel restrictions to avoid the disaster when the Europe travel ban was announced – and being supportive of allies getting desperately needed help from anywhere it can, whether the United States, China or anyone else. Even if the United States has relatively little to offer and China is sending small amounts of aid as a public relations move, responding by trying to remind everyone that China is the cause of the outbreak will only make America look petty (and some countries are already finding out on their own that part of China’s aid is faulty).If the United States and China are successful in fighting this pandemic – and doing so together – perhaps, at the end of all of this, the two countries just might end up building bridges that could be useful in tempering the more dangerous aspects of their competition.

    Tue, 31 Mar 2020 05:00:48 -0400
  • Coronavirus lockdowns are working, according to data from digital thermometer app

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    Three-quarters of Americans have been urged or ordered to stay at home, to the extent possible, to stop the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, and those measures appear to be working, The New York Times reports, citing data from internet-connected thermometer company Kinsa. The thermometers and their app upload temperature readings to a centralized database, allowing Kinsa to track fevers across the country. It started mapping fevers to catch flu outbreaks in 2018, and it modified its software to look for "atypical" COVID-19 fevers earlier in March.Kinsa's million-plus thermometers have been recording up to 162,000 readings from around the U.S. each day since the coronavirus started spreading, the Times reports. Only strict social-distancing measures — closing bars and restaurants, asking people to shelter in place — led to a significant drop in fever readings, while declaring a state of emergency or limiting the size of public gatherings had little effect. Data from New York and Washington State's health departments have buttressed Kinsa's findings, showing drops in hospitalizations a few days after Kinsa spotted the falloff in fevers.The Kinsa readings certainly look "like a way to prove that social distancing works," Dr. William Schaffner at Vanderbilt University tells the Times. "But it does shows that it takes the most restrictive measures to make a real difference." Kinsa data appears to show that social distancing is also reducing transmission of the seasonal flu."People need to know their sacrifices are helping," Kinsa founder Inder Singh tells the Times. "I've had friends text or call and say: 'Inder, this seems overblown. I'm sitting at home by myself, I don't know anyone who's sick, why am I doing this?'" Read more about the fever mapping at The New York Times.More stories from theweek.com Washington Gov. Jay Inslee is what real coronavirus leadership looks like Trump rejects reopening ObamaCare enrollment as millions lose jobs during pandemic Trump shifted on COVID-19 after seeing New York morgue trucks on cable news, listening to Dr. Fauci

    Tue, 31 Mar 2020 00:36:16 -0400
  • Hezbollah shifts attention from Syria fight to battle virus

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    In the streets of Beirut's southern suburbs, Hezbollah paramedics and volunteers on trucks and on foot sprayed disinfectants on shops and buildings. Hezbollah says it is turning the organizational might it once deployed to fight Israel or in the civil war in neighboring Syria to battle the spread of the virus pandemic in Lebanon. It wants to send a clear message to its supporters in Lebanon's Shiite community that it is a force to rely on in a crisis.

    Wed, 01 Apr 2020 10:41:41 -0400
  • 'The floor was moving': 6.5 earthquake strikes in Idaho, largest in the state since 1983

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    The temblor was centered 73 miles northeast of Meridian, a city on the outskirts of Boise, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

    Wed, 01 Apr 2020 00:24:34 -0400
  • Doctor recommended no action for U.S.' Pelosi after coronavirus contact

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    The U.S. Congress' attending physician recommended U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi take no particular action after she was in contact with Representative Nydia Velazquez, who has been diagnosed with coronavirus infection, Pelosi's spokesman Drew Hammill said on Monday. The physician found Pelosi's contact with Velazquez to have been of "low risk," Hammill said. Velazquez, a Democrat from New York, announced in a statement earlier on Monday that she had been diagnosed with a presumed case of coronavirus, although she had not been tested, after developing symptoms of the ailment on Sunday.

    Mon, 30 Mar 2020 17:39:17 -0400
  • Stabbing of Asian-American 2-Year-Old and Her Family Was a Virus-Fueled Hate Crime: Feds

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    The vicious stabbing of an Asian-American family, including a 2-year-old girl, at a Sam’s Club in Texas earlier this month has been deemed a hate crime by the feds, as authorities continue to raise alarm bells about a potential surge in racially motivated crimes amid the coronavirus outbreak.Jose L. Gomez, 19, confessed to authorities that he attempted to murder three Asian-American family members, including the toddler and a 6-year-old, on March 14 at the Midland, Texas store, according to the Midland Police Department. Gomez, who stabbed the individuals and a Sam’s Club employee, is now facing several charges, including three counts of attempted capital murder and one count of aggravated assault. He is being held on several bonds totaling $1 million.“The suspect indicated that he stabbed the family because he thought the family was Chinese, and infecting people with coronavirus,” according to an FBI analysis report obtained by ABC News.Inside the Ugly Uber and Lyft Driver Freakout Over CoronavirusThe Texas incident was used in the report as one example of a recent surge in hate crimes and racially fueled violence targeting Asian-Americans as the coronavirus pandemic continues to sweep the United States. According to an arrest affidavit obtained by the Midland Reporter-Telegram, Gomez attempted to kill the Asian-American family of four inside the wholesale store at about 7:30 p.m. When a Sam’s Club employee and another patron intervened, Gomez allegedly stabbed the patron in the leg and fingers with a knife. At one point, the customer was able to knock the knife away from Gomez during the struggle before the teenager was finally subdued by Border Patrol Agent Bernie Ramiez, who was off-duty and just leaving the store after shopping for groceries, the affidavit states.Ramirez later told CBS7 that during the altercation, he saw the store employee had managed to put Gomez in a chokehold after he had stabbed multiple people.“My initial thought was it was just the shortage of items that they were fighting over,” Ramirez told the local outlet. “So I just started making my way over there to break it up.”The agent added, “I’ve got close to 19 years in law enforcement. It’s crazy and it’s sad the way certain individuals think, their mindset. It’s a sad deal.”When authorities arrived at the Sam’s Club, investigators immediately began to question Gomez. The teenager then admitted to trying to kill the family and assaulting the patron with a knife, the affidavit states. Ramirez did not immediately respond to The Daily Beast’s request for comment and a spokesperson for Midland Mayor Patrick Payton’s office declined to comment, stating that the case has now been turned over to the FBI. According to the intelligence report that was compiled by the FBI’s Houston office and distributed to local law enforcement agencies across the nation, federal officials believe hate crimes will only increase as COVID-19 continues to spread.‘We’re Scared’: Doctors in New Coronavirus Hotspots Brace for ‘Tsunami’ of Patients“The FBI assesses hate crime incidents against Asian Americans likely will surge across the United States, due to the spread of coronavirus disease... endangering Asian American communities,” the report states. “The FBI makes this assessment based on the assumption that a portion of the US public will associate COVID-19 with China and Asian American populations.”To date, more than 3,416 people have died and 174,467 individuals have been infected with the virus nationwide—a death toll that has eclipsed China’s official count and put much of the United States on lockdown.Since then, several political and media commentators, including President Donald Trump, have adopted the practice of calling the pandemic the “China virus” or the “Wuhan virus.”“It did come from China,” Trump said at a March 19 White House briefing. “It is a very accurate term.”Many experts and political figures believe that officials using racial terms for the virus has contributed to discrimination against members of the Asian-American community. “This is a global emergency that should be met with both urgency and also cultural awareness that COVID-19 is not isolated to a single ethnic population,” Jeffrey Caballero, executive director of the Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations, said in a statement to The Daily Beast. “Xenophobic attacks and discrimination towards Asian American communities are unacceptable and will not make our families safer or healthier.”California Gov. Gavin Newsom reiterated the FBI’s report findings, stating he has seen a “huge increase” in assaults targeting the Asian-American community in his state. In New York, Attorney General Leticia James launched a hotline for victims of coronavirus-related bias crimes. Since the surge, even Trump tried to backtrack on his language, tweeting on March 23, “It is very important that we totally protect our Asian American community in the United States, and all around the world. They are amazing people, and the spreading of the Virus is NOT their fault in any way, shape, or form. They are working closely with us to get rid of it. WE WILL PREVAIL TOGETHER!”‘This Is a War’: Cuomo Pleads for Help From Doctors Across U.S. as Coronavirus Death Toll SurgesAccording to one New York City medical social worker, racism is also rampant in the health-care system as Asian-American doctors and nurses struggle to care for patients who don’t want to be touched. “I get yelled at down the street coming into work from people in their cars saying all these really nasty things and telling me I should be punished for bringing the virus here,” the social worker told The Daily Beast last week. “Inside the hospital, I have heard from several Asian-American doctors and nurses that some patients don’t want to be treated by them because they think they already have the virus. It’s like we are the virus or something.”“It’s scary and it’s dangerous. We’re already putting ourselves on the line to help others. Don’t make it harder for us than it is,” she added. Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet 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.

    Tue, 31 Mar 2020 15:03:24 -0400
  • Saudis Start to Unleash Oil Wave Despite U.S. Pressure

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    (Bloomberg) -- Saudi Arabia has made good on its pledge to ramp up oil exports in April, with a first wave of crude already on its way toward Europe and the U.S., a clear sign the price war remains in full swing.The kingdom has loaded several of the supertankers it hired earlier this month to boost its ability to increase exports, according to ship-tracking data. In addition, Riyadh has used the last few weeks to shuttle large amounts of crude into storage in Egypt, a stepping stone to the European market.The movements suggest that Riyadh is ramping up its oil production toward its target of supplying a record 12.3 million barrels a day in April, up from about 9.7 million in February, despite American pressure to end the price war.Saudi Arabia earlier this month slashed its official selling prices and announced the output hike after Russia refused to join other nations inside the OPEC+ alliance to cut output. The announcement, interpreted in the market as an oil price war, sent Brent and West Texas Intermediate crudes tumbling. Since then, the collapse in oil demand due to lockdowns to stop the spread of the coronavirus has depressed prices even more.In a sign that Riyadh is opening the valves, oil shipments have already surged in late March. For the first three weeks of March, Saudi Arabia was exporting at a rate of around 7 million barrels a day, but that jumped to more than 9 million barrels a day in the fourth week of the month.With oil prices at the lowest in nearly two decades, U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo last week directly asked the kingdom to “rise to the occasion and reassure” the energy market, diplomatic language for ending the oil price war.American President Donald Trump and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, agreed in a phone call Monday that “current oil prices aren’t in the interests of our countries,” according to a Kremlin spokesman, though he declined to say what might be done to change the situation.Trump earlier indicated that he was concerned about the impact of low oil prices on the American petroleum industry. In an interview on “Fox & Friends,” he said Russia and Saudi Arabia “both went crazy” and started an oil price war.Despite the diplomatic pressure, Saudi Arabia is preparing to export more in the next few days. At least 16 very large crude carriers, collectively able to carry about 32 million barrels, are stationed near the Saudi oil terminals of Ras Tanura and Yanbu, according to shipping data tracked by Bloomberg.“Regardless of the recent headlines about the U.S. pressuring Saudi Arabia, we do not see any change in Saudi or Russian policy for now,” said Amrita Sen, chief oil analyst at Energy Aspects Ltd., a London-based consultant.Riyadh has already loaded three supertankers that are likely to head to the U.S., and it’s loading a fourth right now, according to oil market intelligence firm Vortexa Inc. The tankers, all hired by the Saudi national tanker company in the past few weeks to boost its shipping capacity, include the Dalian, the Agios Sostis I, the Maran Canopus, and the Hong Kong Spirit.Shipments to EgyptAlready through March, Saudi Arabia has exported about 1.3 million barrels a day into Egypt -- the highest level in at least three years -- to pre-position crude for re-export into Europe, according to shipping tracking data compiled by Bloomberg and people familiar with the operation.The surge in shipments to Egypt was so large that the African nation may become the largest destination for Saudi crude in March, displacing China and Japan, which traditionally top the ranking every month.The cargoes have gone to a terminal at the south end of the Suez Canal before getting pumped via pipeline across the country to a storage and export facility called Sidi Kerir on the Mediterranean Sea. From there, the crude will then get re-exported as part of Saudi Arabia’s plan to supply as much as it can, at deep discounts, into a market that doesn’t need the supply. The world’s largest oil tankers, known as VLCCs, cannot sail the Suez Canal fully loaded due to draft limitations.The next sign of whether the oil price war continues will come around April 5, when state-owned Saudi Aramco is expected to release its monthly official selling prices for May. Oil refiners and traders believe that Riyadh will have to deepen its discounts to sell all the oil the kingdom wants. If Aramco does indeed deepen the discounts, it will trigger a fresh round of tit-for-tat actions with other oil producing nations, piling further pressure on prices.(Updates with statement from Kremlin in seventh 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.

    Tue, 31 Mar 2020 09:47:56 -0400
  • Boris Johnson's government failed to impose mass coronavirus testing after being told that COVID-19 was only a 'moderate' risk to the UK

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    The UK is currently testing less than 10,000 people a day for the coronavirus compared to 500,000 people a week in Germany.

    Wed, 01 Apr 2020 07:02:59 -0400
  • An influencer, her husband, and their 5 kids broke quarantine to flee NYC in an RV. A wave of backlash followed.

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    Naomi Davis is a parenting blogger with nearly half a million Instagram followers. She has since explained more about her decision to leave New York.

    Tue, 31 Mar 2020 17:26:13 -0400
  • India’s coronavirus emergency just beginning as lockdown threatens to turn into human tragedy

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    A week after Narendra Modi ordered the largest national lockdown the planet has ever seen and Delhi's Bhogal market is little quieter than usual. Rather than being confined to home to stop the spread of Covid-19, large groups of residents instead huddle together in the shade, drinking tea and playing cards. Street vendors continue to hawk fresh fruit and vegetables and the police watch as daily life in the capital's backstreets continues, apparently content to enforce movement restrictions only on the capital's major thoroughfares. The failure to abide by the prime minister's decree is due to necessity, rather than defiance, said Muhammad Asif, 21, a cycle-rickshaw driver scanning the crowd for customers. The three-week-long social distancing precautions ordered by Mr Modi are an unaffordable luxury for tens of millions of daily-wage labourers.

    Tue, 31 Mar 2020 15:08:51 -0400
  • Women who left N.Y. for China amid U.S. coronavirus outbreak document their journey

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    “Because we're kind of in between these two cultures, we also understand both. So it feels like our experience could speak to both of the audiences.”

    Tue, 31 Mar 2020 14:20:17 -0400
  • U.S. will add 500 troops at Mexico border during coronavirus pandemic: officials

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    The Pentagon will send roughly 500 troops to the U.S.-Mexico border to assist federal border agents amid the coronavirus pandemic, three U.S. officials told Reuters. The sources said the Pentagon approved a request by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The United States already maintains an average of 5,000 troops at the southwest border to support Border Patrol by performing non-law enforcement duties.

    Tue, 31 Mar 2020 16:14:52 -0400
  • Why I'll keep running, so long as it's legal, during the coronavirus pandemic

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    Running feels like an essential act during the coronavirus pandemic, at a time when it's being prohibited in many communities. Why do we crave it so?

    Tue, 31 Mar 2020 19:46:40 -0400
  • No, America’s Response to Coronavirus Isn’t the Worst in the World

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    The coronavirus pandemic is already a catastrophe. How we fare in comparison to the rest of the world is hardly of paramount importance. Once the Chinese government hid the outbreak, failed to contain it, and then misled the world, there remained little possibility that any nation, much less an enormous and open society like the United States, was going to be spared its devastation.Yet, when the political media isn’t preoccupied with a gotcha du jour, pundits, partisans, and journalists have seemed downright giddy to let their minions know that the United States now has the most coronavirus cases in the world. It took a six-siren-emoji tweet from MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough to tell us that fact.Here is how the New York Times’ Paul Krugman framed the number:> America's response to the coronavirus is the worst in the world, which is shocking and has a lot to do with a leader who is completely unfit, temperamentally and intellectually, for the job 1/ pic.twitter.com/sGZuFUukgr> > -- Paul Krugman (@paulkrugman) March 29, 2020A Nobel Prize–winning economist surely understands that we don’t have enough data to definitively declare the United States the world leader in cases. Even if we did, it doesn’t necessarily follow that this is the fault of public policy. There are plenty of unexplained coronavirus disparities around the world.The Financial Times chart that that is circulated by Krugman and his fellow pundits, and sometimes cynically deployed as a means of attacking the administration’s response, is largely useless as a point of comparison. For one thing, a graph illustrating per capita cases in all the nations that the Financial Times chart includes looks different. A chart that combined all the cases in European nations — the continent has approximately the same population as the United States — would also look dramatically different. The known cases in Spain and Italy alone are nearly twice as many as the United States right now.Cross-country comparisons at a given point in time fail to account for many things, including density and time. Iceland is not like Italy, and New York is not like Alaska. And simply because nations such as Italy and Spain experienced outbreaks earlier and more deadly than nations such as Germany and Sweden does not mean the disparities are destined to last.Moreover, testing in the United States began slowly before being ratcheted up quickly (and criticism of that delay is a fair one). Thus, the curve reflects the reality of expanded testing as much as it reflects reality of the disease. And though I’m not a statistician, I do know that nations have varied criteria for testing, varied standards of testing, and varying effectiveness in the testing they do perform. Hundreds of thousands of Chinese coronavirus tests sent to European nations, for example, have turned out to faulty. The data are incomplete. Krugman’s claim lacks vital context.Speaking of China, accepting the veracity of numbers offered by the ChiCom government without any skepticism might be good enough for The New York Times and other outlets, but it shouldn’t be enough for anyone who values facts.It’s also worth mentioning that the timeline of these charts are also uncertain. It’s unlikely we know when the tenth or hundredth case was actually transmitted in China or Iran or even here -- and it’s possible that some people had died and some others had recovered before most people understood the magnitude of the future pandemic.All of this is worth keeping in mind when as we see journalists harping on the overall case number without context. If you want to continue to utilize this once-in-a-century pandemic as a cudgel against your political adversaries, have fun. But the most important gauges of success right now are flattening the curve so that hospitals aren’t overwhelmed with new patients, ramping up our testing capacity to get a better handle on the virus’s properties, and measuring the number of recoveries from coronavirus. Not owning Donald Trump.The United States has already dealt with coronavirus far better than the Chinese government. The fatality rate in the U.S., so far, is nowhere near that of Italy. Our dynamism is one of the reasons why an early high case count is a not a measure of either national success or failure. It’s not our nature to allow the state to close down borders, travel, or trade, or to stop interactions with the world — or with each other, for that matter. And yet, many of same people who incessantly and cynically warned of the coming Fourth Reich are now blaming the administration for not acting like a dictatorship. It’s difficult to keep up.

    Mon, 30 Mar 2020 16:02:37 -0400
  • Trump: There Would Be ‘Death All Over’ If We’d Decided to Just ‘Ride It Out’

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    After spending weeks downplaying the threat of the novel coronavirus, President Trump on Tuesday admitted that at least 100,000 Americans will likely die but said it would have been worse if he had listened to some people he claimed had great “common sense” who wanted to “just ride it out.”It was not immediately clear who he was referring to, but the president himself had been pushing to loosen restrictions over the virus until just days ago, having suggested as recently as last week that, despite fatalities from the coronavirus health crisis growing, Americans could start to get back to normal by Easter since “we never turn the country off” for the flu.By Tuesday night, however, after being shown potential death toll predictions by health officials, Trump abruptly took on a grave tone to warn of a “very, very painful” next few weeks.“I want every American to be prepared for the hard days that lie ahead," Trump said. “We're going to go through a very tough two weeks. And then hopefully, as the experts are predicting, as I think a lot of us are predicting after having studied it so hard, you're going to start seeing some real light at the end of the tunnel. But this is going to be a very painful, very, very painful two weeks,” he said, before going on to take credit for saving millions of lives with measures that he had frequently come out against. Just over a week ago, Trump began calling for re-opening the country in time for Easter, repeatedly comparing the deadly coronavirus to the seasonal flu and suggesting that Americans could return to work and practice social distancing there. He went on to dismiss desperate pleas for medical equipment from local authorities, suggesting they did not really “need” all the life-saving machines they were asking for. His comments and his suggested April 12 time-frame immediately sparked criticism, and governors dealing with the virus in their respective states pushed back on his plans. By Sunday, after a surge of deaths across the nation, the president had backed away from that vision. And at Tuesday’s briefing, he appeared to pat himself on the back for following the protective measures, suggesting that some unnamed group of people had recommended doing nothing but he hadn't listened to them. “What would have happened if we did nothing? Because there was a group that said, ‘Let’s just ride it out,’” he said, noting that even some people with “common sense” had offered such a recommendation. If that had been the case, he said, 2.2 million people would have died in a short span. Trump: I’m Doing a Great Job Fighting the Coronavirus, and 100,000 of You Will Die“Now, I don't think that would have been possible because you would have had people dying all over the place,” Trump said. “This would not have been a normal life. How many people have even seen anybody die? You would have seen people dying on airplanes. You would have been seeing people dying in hotel lobbies. You would have seen death all over.” Trump also emphasized that the virus is “not the flu,” despite his own constant comparisons to the flu when discussing the pandemic a little over a week ago.  “We lose thousands and thousands of people a year to the flu,” Trump said during a virtual Fox News town hall on March 24. “We don’t turn the country off. Every year.”“But it's not the flu,” Trump said Tuesday. “It's vicious.” Before the briefing was over, Trump’s warning about the next two weeks had grown to three weeks. “This could be a hell of a bad two weeks," Trump said. “This is going to be a very bad two, and maybe even three weeks. This is going to be three weeks like we haven't seen before.” 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.

    Tue, 31 Mar 2020 19:37:03 -0400
  • Spain Suffers Deadliest Day as Europe Considers Longer Lockdowns

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    (Bloomberg) -- Spain suffered its deadliest day of the coronavirus pandemic, as European governments doubled down on efforts to maintain rigid lockdowns amid tentative signs that the infection rate is slowing.Italy and the Netherlands are discussing prolonging measures to limit personal contact, and German officials warned that it’s too soon to ease restrictions as things could still get worse.Alongside the battle for public health, wider implications of the crisis are starting to emerge. Concerns are growing about European unity as the financial cost of the shutdown risks deepening divisions between member nations.In a letter to euro-area finance ministers, Eurogroup President Mario Centeno warned that the bloc will emerge from the crisis with much higher debt levels, and government policy must take care to prevent this from fragmenting the currency union.Total Spanish virus deaths rose by 849 to 8,189 in the past 24 hours, according to the latest Health Ministry data. The number of new cases increased by 9,222 -- the most in a single day -- to bring total confirmed infections in the country to 94,417.The Spanish government is betting that severe restrictions on public life at least through the Easter weekend will help curtail the spread of the disease, which has killed more people in Spain than in China where the pandemic started.On Europe’s eastern fringe, Romania is suffering a surge in fatalities after tens of thousands of its citizens returned from Italy and Spain, making it the worst-hit nation in central and eastern Europe. The death toll surged to 69 in the past 24 hours, with more than 2,100 people infected. That’s almost the combined number of deaths in Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic.The grim figures come after the World Health Organization called on governments to maintain containment measures, saying Europe’s curbs on movement are starting to have an effect.Mike Ryan, head of health emergencies at the WHO, said Monday that “our fervent hope” is that Italy and Spain -- the epicenters of the pandemic in Europe -- are approaching a peak. He urged countries to step up efforts to find and isolate patients.Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte’s government may extend restrictions through the May 1 holiday weekend, with a gradual opening of the country from May 4, local media reported.New infections in Italy, which has the most cases after the U.S., totaled 4,050, compared with 5,217 the previous day, civil protection authorities said late Monday. This was the lowest increase since March 17. Fatalities from the disease rose by 812 compared with 756 on Sunday, bringing the total to 11,591.Even as Italy reported the smallest number of new coronavirus cases in almost two weeks, the country will extend current containment measures until at least Easter, Health Minister Roberto Speranza confirmed on Monday.Conte is also trying to stave off the risk of social unrest and his administration is preparing an emergency handout for workers trapped in Italy’s underground economy.The prime minister is expected to host a cabinet meeting on Wednesday or Thursday to approve a new request to parliament for a wider budget deficit, paving the way for a second stimulus package worth at least 30 billion euros ($33 billion), according to officials who asked not to be named discussing administration strategy. Italy’s initial package was worth 25 billion euros.Austria faces economic costs of 0.53% of annual output for every week of full lockdown measures, according to the country’s central bank. In a “moderate” scenario -- some measures will be relaxed as soon as mid-April and gradually expire by the end of May -- the crisis will lead to a contraction of 3.2% this year.In the Netherlands, Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s government is expected to extend measures including school and restaurant closures beyond April 6, according to local media. On Monday, the rate of new confirmed cases rose by 8% to 11,750, the lowest daily increase since the first case was reported at the end of February.The premier of the southern German state of Bavaria said earlier Tuesday it’s too early to consider easing containment measures as the situation remains “very, very serious.”“We are detecting a very, very slight flattening of this exponential curve, the infection numbers are declining somewhat,” Markus Soeder, whose state has the most confirmed cases in the country, told ARD TV. “But whether that’s a lasting trend remains to be seen.”The impact on Europe’s largest economy is becoming more evident. German companies filed almost half a million applications for financial aid under a government support program in March, the Federal Labor Agency said.The head of Germany’s public health authority said he expects the pandemic to continue for several more months and the nation’s death rate -- a relatively low 0.8% -- to rise. Carmakers Volkswagen AG and Daimler AG and sports-apparel maker Puma SE are among those planning to idle tens of thousands of staff.(Updates with Romanian figures, German aid)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.

    Tue, 31 Mar 2020 11:00:24 -0400
  • The US is running low on more than a dozen drugs that hospitals need to treat critically ill coronavirus patients

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    Hospitals are at risk of running out of drugs used when patients are on ventilators, which could hinder their ability to care for patients

    Wed, 01 Apr 2020 10:45:00 -0400
  • India cracks down on Muslim groups emerging as coronavirus clusters

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    India is in a state of national lockdown and authorities are now clamping down on religious gatherings, some of which have continued despite the strict health warnings. The headquarters of a Muslim missionary group were the latest to be sealed off on Tuesday (March 31) after the country’s health minister revealed at least 24 people who took part one such gathering at a mosque New Delhi tested positive for the coronavirus. As many as 1,500 Muslims from India and other countries had attended a congregation of Islamic preachers amid the nationwide lockdown, out of which several developed coronavirus-like symptoms. Authorities evacuated over 1,000 people from the area where the congregation was held, health authorities said. The area was later cordoned off by police. Prior to the health crisis, Muslims in India were already facing tense times, due to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s controversial citizenship bill which critics have described as anti-Muslim. Last week, Modi ordered the country's 1.3 billion people to remain indoors until at least April 15, saying the lockdown would hopefully stop the coronavirus pandemic. However, tens of thousands of out-of-work migrants are apparently undermining the restrictions by fleeing cities and heading to the countryside.

    Tue, 31 Mar 2020 11:04:28 -0400
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