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|Pelosi: Trump's downplaying of coronavirus has cost American lives
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi sharpened her criticism of President Trump’s early dismissal of the coronavirus, saying the delay cost American lives. She criticized the president's initial response to the virus during a Sunday morning interview on CNN.
POSTED MARCH 29, 2020 10:20 AM
|Hundreds at Louisiana church flout COVID-19 gatherings ban
Hundreds of worshippers attended services at a Louisiana church on Sunday, flouting a ban on large gatherings, angering neighbors and seemingly turning a deaf ear to their governor, who once again warned that hospitals could soon be overwhelmed with new cases of the coronavirus. Assistant ministers and worshippers who stood outside the front doors and in the parking lot of Life Tabernacle told news reporters to leave, saying cameras would not be allowed on the property and they had been told not to talk to the news media. Across the street, Paul Quinn and other neighbors took pains to stay 6 feet (2 meters) apart from each other as they stood in a driveway and commented on their opposition to the services being held.
POSTED MARCH 29, 2020 1:51 PM
|North Korea hails 'super large' launcher test as virus timing condemned
South Korea's army issued a stern statement saying that testing comes at a "very inappropriate" time.
POSTED MARCH 30, 2020 9:01 AM
|Wuhan Residents Dismiss Official Coronavirus Death Toll: ‘The Incinerators Have Been Working Around the Clock’
Wuhan residents are increasingly skeptical of the Chinese Communist Party’s reported coronavirus death count of approximately 2,500 deaths in the city to date, with most people believing the actual number is at least 40,000."Maybe the authorities are gradually releasing the real figures, intentionally or unintentionally, so that people will gradually come to accept the reality," a Wuhan resident, who gave only his surname Mao, told Radio Free Asia.A city source added that, based on the aggregation of funeral and cremation numbers, authorities likely know the real number and are keeping it under wraps."Every funeral home reports data on cremations directly to the authorities twice daily," the source said. "This means that each funeral home only knows how many cremations it has conducted, but not the situation at the other funeral homes."The city began lifting its lockdown on Saturday after two months of mandatory shutdown, with a complete lift of restrictions set for April 8. Funeral homes in Wuhan have been handing out the cremated remains to families every day, but rumors began circulating after one funeral home received two shipments of 5,000 urns over the course of two days, according to photos reported by Chinese media outlet Caixin, which were later censored.Reports of the funeral’s crematoriums working nonstop also raised questions."It can't be right … because the incinerators have been working round the clock, so how can so few people have died?" a man surnamed Zhang told RFA.Wuhan residents said the government was paying families 3,000 yuan for "funeral allowances" in exchange for silence."There have been a lot of funerals in the past few days, and the authorities are handing out 3,000 yuan in hush money to families who get their loved ones' remains laid to rest ahead of Qing Ming," Wuhan resident Chen Yaohui said, in a reference to the traditional grave tending festival on April 5.“During the epidemic, they transferred cremation workers from around China to Wuhan keep cremate bodies around the clock," he added.China has used state propaganda in an attempt to avoid blame for the spreading of COVID-19, despite reports showing how the government suppressed initial reports of human-to-human transmission and gagged Wuhan labs that discovered the novel virus resembled the deadly SARS virus of 2002-2003.
POSTED MARCH 30, 2020 12:48 PM
|Police commander killed, 2 officers wounded in Phoenix shooting
Commander Greg Carnicle, a 31-year police veteran, died after being shot in the line of duty. Two officers were shot and are expected to recover.
POSTED MARCH 30, 2020 11:07 AM
|Coronavirus deaths fall again in Italy but lockdown extension looms
The number of deaths from coronavirus in Italy fell for the second consecutive day on Sunday but the country still looked almost certain to see an extension of stringent containment measures. The Civil Protection department said 756 people had died in the last day, bringing the total to 10,779 - more than a third of all deaths from the virus worldwide. "The measures that were due to expire on April 3 inevitably will be extended," Regional Affairs Minister Francesco Boccia told Sky TG24 television.
POSTED MARCH 29, 2020 2:11 PM
|Iran warns of lengthy 'new way of life' as virus deaths rise
President Hassan Rouhani warned Sunday that "the new way of life" in Iran was likely to be prolonged, as its declared death toll from the novel coronavirus rose to 2,640. The Islamic republic is one of the countries worst-hit by the virus, which first originated in China. Iran announced its first infection cases on February 19, but a senior health official has acknowledged that the virus was likely to have already reached Iran in January.
POSTED MARCH 29, 2020 7:20 AM
|US awol from world stage as China tries on global leadership for size
Mike Pompeo labelling the virus ‘Chinese’ has added to lack of international cooperation * Coronavirus – latest updates * See all our coronavirus coverageWhen the UN security council and the G7 group sought to agree a global response to the coronavirus pandemic, the efforts stumbled on the US insistence on describing the threat as distinctively Chinese.There are other reasons for the lack of collaboration in the face of a global crisis, but the focus on labelling the virus Chinese and blaming China pursued by the US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, helped ensure there would be no meaningful collective response from the world’s most powerful nations.For some US allies, the fixation on words at a time when the international order was arguably facing its greatest challenge since the second world war encapsulated the glaring absence of US leadership.And that absence was illustrated just as vividly by news coverage of planes full of medical supplies from China arriving in Italy, at a time when the US was quietly flying in half a million Italian-made diagnostic swabs for use in its own under-equipped health system and Donald Trump was on the phone to the South Korean president pressing him to send test kits.“To me what is so striking is the complete absence of the US from public debates. The US is basically off the map, and China very much is on the map,” Nathalie Tocci, the director of the Italian Institute for International Affairs and a former EU policy adviser, said.“Whatever happens in the US elections, what is happening now is going to linger on, simply because what we’re going through now is such a traumatic experience … It is going to remain very much in our individual and collective memories.”During the Ebola outbreak that began in 2014, the US was a highly visible leading presence on the ground in West Africa, sending emergency medics, troops and supplies. In sharp contrast, this week’s $2tn stimulus bill contained scarcely more than $1bn (about 0.06%) for spending outside the US.The state department pointed out that the US was separately spending $274m in emergency health and humanitarian assistance to help countries in need, on top of the funding to international organisations like the WHO.However, at a time when the scale of the damage is being measured in trillions, the additional aid has done little to soften the image of an administration that has employed xenophobic rhetoric and breaking with its closest partners in its efforts to intensify economic pressure on its enemies, Iran and Venezuela, whose populations are at high risk from the coronavirus.Despite its responsibility for allowing the virus to run rampant in the first place, China has had notable success in reshaping its image as a leader by its later efforts to contain the disease and its outreach to Italy and other vulnerable countries.“US global leadership won’t just end because they bungled their response to the coronavirus, but I think we will come to find that this was a pivotal point,” said Elisabeth Braw, the director of the Modern Deterrence Project at the Royal United Service Institute in London.Braw argued that the coronavirus crisis will inflict more lasting damage on the US’s standing than the 2003 Iraq invasion.“China wasn’t in the wings in 2003,” she said. “It wasn’t ready to take over that global role. Well, it’s now in a position where it can take over global leadership, and it’s just waiting for the US to misstep or to lose support among its allies … And the past couple of years have really been beneficial to China from that perspective.”From the debacle over testing to Trump’s months-long denial about the scale of the threat and his constant political point-scoring, the US has showed itself to be anything but a model for the rest of the world to emulate.Stephen Walt, a Harvard University professor of international relations, has argued that worldwide faith in US competence has been one of the pillars of its global standing, and is currently crumbling.“Far from making ‘America great again,’ this epic policy failure will further tarnish the United States’ reputation as a country that knows how to do things effectively,” Walt wrote in Foreign Policy, in a commentary titled “the death of American competence”.Not all global analysts look at the coronavirus as being so irreversibly negative for US standing in the world, pointing to more long-term trends, like US self-sufficiency in energy and its enduring economic, military and democratic advantages, as well China’s many shortcomings as a credible alternative global leader.“Geopolitics are not episodic. You cannot talk about geopolitics in two-week timescales,” Parag Khanna, a former adviser to US forces who now runs a Singapore-based consulting company, FutureMap. “The power dynamics are what are fundamental, not whether or not China is sending lots of face masks to Africa.”Khanna pointed out that China’s neighbours in Asia are well aware that Beijing’s censorship during the initial outbreak in Wuhan resulted in a missed opportunity to contain the virus, and that its diplomats have been spreading conspiracy theories about the origins of the disease.“China is filling a public goods vacuum, not a leadership vacuum,” Khanna said. “People here are not idiots. They know exactly where this came from, so you don’t need to worry about China winning any global narrative campaign in the world.”Tocci argued that the extent to which China succeeds in exploiting the crisis to pursue global primacy would be dependent on whether Beijing can be successfully challenged, for example from a change to a more outward leadership in Washington, or a Europe that can transcend its divisions.“It basically depends on how everyone else reacts more than how China itself acts,” Tocci said.
POSTED MARCH 29, 2020 3:00 AM
|White House task force official says 'no state, no metro area' will be spared from coronavirus
The United States is preparing for a novel coronavirus epidemic that is national in scope."No state, no metro area will be spared," Dr. Deborah Birx, the coronavirus response coordinator for the White House Coronavirus Task Force, told NBC's Chuck Todd on Sunday's edition of Meet the Press.Birx was clear that no area of the country will evade the effects of the virus, but said the sooner places react and instill mitigation measures, the easier it will be to "move forward."> WATCH: Dr. Deborah Birx says "no metro area will be spared" of the coronavirus outbreak. MTP IfItsSunday> > Dr. Birx: "The sooner we react and the sooner the states and the metro areas react and ensure that they have put in full mitigation ... then we'll be able to move forward." pic.twitter.com/B9Fo3lUVHA> > -- Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) March 29, 2020Dr. Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, also provided a sense of scale Sunday, but he said he doesn't want to be held to any prediction. Fauci told CNN's Jake Tapper that he's never seen an outbreak match the worst-case scenario of its models, and he believes that remains unlikely for the coronavirus, as well. Nevertheless, he thinks it's possible the U.S. could be looking at somewhere between 100,000 and 200,000 deaths. > Dr. Anthony Fauci says there could potentially be between 100,000 to 200,000 deaths related to the coronavirus and millions of cases. "I just don't think that we really need to make a projection when it's such a moving target, that you could so easily be wrong," he adds. CNNSOTU pic.twitter.com/F2MOHY3xl4> > -- State of the Union (@CNNSotu) March 29, 2020More stories from theweek.com Fox News reportedly fears its early downplaying of COVID-19 leaves it open to lawsuits Trump's message to blue states battling coronavirus: Drop dead Fed economists estimate unemployment rate could hit 32 percent
POSTED MARCH 29, 2020 1:29 PM
|Coronavirus: Trump takes credit for Cuomo’s high approval on pandemic response
Donald Trump claimed he is responsible for New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's high approval ratings over his response to the coronavirus outbreak in the Empire State."One of the reasons why he's successful is because we've helped make him successful," the president said during a 56-minute telephone interview with Fox News. "He's gotten good marks, but I've gotten great marks."
POSTED MARCH 30, 2020 8:29 AM