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Mosque attack: 'We had to stop praying and run away'
Thu, 27 Feb 2020 08:16:41 GMT
• 24 dead, 188 injured in New Delhi clashes
Family creates underground home to escape horror
Thu, 27 Feb 2020 20:52:25 GMT
As airstrikes continue to ravage life in Syria, a family just outside of Turkey's border are living in an underground cave to stay safe.
Saudi officials order arrest of female rapper for 'Mecca Girl' music video
Wed, 26 Feb 2020 23:54:37 GMT
Officials in Saudi Arabia have ordered the arrest of a female rapper and her crew for posting a music video "Mecca Girl" on YouTube.
Japan health expert says cruise ship quarantine flawed
Thu, 27 Feb 2020 07:08:45 GMT
How virus spread through South Korean religious group
Thu, 27 Feb 2020 06:17:55 GMT
Big Tech's honeymoon with India is ending
Wed, 26 Feb 2020 16:21:39 GMT
In the 2010s, India's internet exploded. More than half a billion Indians came online in the 10 years to September 2019, according to the latest government data, and the country now has twice as many internet users as the entire population of the United States.
These startups raised billions and then laid off thousands
Tue, 25 Feb 2020 17:30:29 GMT
Just a few months ago, discount hotel chain OYO seemed unstoppable. The India-based startup touted plans for global expansion and saw its valuation double to $10 billion in October. But in mid-January, the company began sweeping layoffs that have seen thousands lose their jobs.
US companies say virus outbreak could hit China revenues by 50%
Thu, 27 Feb 2020 11:22:09 GMT
Some US companies are bracing for the revenue they make in China to be cut in half if the novel coronavirus outbreak extends into the summer.
Maria Sharapova was one of most successful tennis players ever - on and off the court
Thu, 27 Feb 2020 17:52:20 GMT
There are many ways to measure Maria Sharapova's success: Five grand slam titles, 36 career wins, a former No. 1 ranking in the world. But those impressive achievements don't match up with the success she accumulated in her bank account.
Meet South Africa's first black billionaire
Thu, 05 Dec 2019 16:20:16 GMT
When it comes to business success, few have a story quite like Patrice Motsepe, South Africa's first black billionaire. The founder of African Rainbow Minerals sits down with Eleni Giokos for a candid conversation about the value of hard work and taking risks.
US cities are losing 36 million trees a year. Here's why it matters
Wed, 18 Sep 2019 16:44:32 GMT
If you're looking for a reason to care about tree loss, the nation's latest heat wave might be it. Trees can lower summer daytime temperatures by as much as 10 degrees Fahrenheit, according to a recent study.
Miami's Little Haiti wasn't a target for developers. Until the seas started to rise
Fri, 12 Jul 2019 15:14:00 GMT
How rich people could help save the planet from the climate crisis
Fri, 12 Jul 2019 09:20:40 GMT
Rich people don't just have bigger bank balances and more lavish lifestyles than the rest of us -- they also have bigger carbon footprints.
These popular logos are all hiding a secret
Tue, 13 Mar 2018 02:21:53 GMT
There is an arrow hidden in the FedEx logo. (If you've never noticed, go take a look, and prepare to be blown away.)
Man who helped design NYC subway map dies
Thu, 27 Feb 2020 08:05:08 GMT
Michael Hertz, whose design firm produced the New York City subway map, has died, his son Eugene Hertz confirmed to CNN. He was 87.
Haunting photos of Mexico's forgotten people
Thu, 27 Feb 2020 22:02:41 GMT
Graciela Iturbide's documentary photography captures Mexico's culture through haunting portraits of marginalized communities, portrayed with complexity and compassion.
Inside the world's largest gem show
Wed, 26 Feb 2020 21:40:27 GMT
Far from the jewelry workshops of Paris and the showrooms of the world's most rarefied auction houses, a capital of sparkle has developed in the American southwest.
Ancient buildings that changed 'careers'
Wed, 26 Feb 2020 16:18:39 GMT
With no light but that from a burning torch, French physician Petrus Gyllius discovered why buckets of fresh water drawn from strange wells near the palaces of old Istanbul would sometime return swimming with fish.
The stories behind 12 of India's most famous buildings
Wed, 26 Feb 2020 10:39:24 GMT
If you could boil India's architecture down to a single word or phrase, what would it be? Dynamic? Melting pot? Overwhelming? Complex?
One of the world's most underrated skiing destinations
Mon, 24 Feb 2020 11:20:10 GMT
When travelers think of Georgia, its ancient winemaking tradition, epic cheesy breads and trendy nightclub scene usually come to mind.
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CDC to Test More People; Stocks Continue Slide: Virus Update
Thu, 27 Feb 2020 18:14:33 -0500
CDC to Test More People; Stocks Continue Slide: Virus Update(Bloomberg) -- The coronavirus has the potential to become a pandemic and is at a “decisive” stage, the head of the World Health Organization told reporters in Geneva.U.S. health authorities moved to greatly expand the number of people who will be tested, adding travelers from several new countries and people with unexplained, severe respiratory illnesses. California is monitoring 8,400 people for signs of the virus after they traveled to Asia. Stocks tumbled.In Asia, attention continues to focus on countries outside China as new cases slow at the epicenter of the outbreak. Japan will close all schools, while South Korean infections now top 1,700. The virus also is also spreading in Europe and the Middle East, with countries including Italy, Iran and Kuwait reporting more infections.Key DevelopmentsGlobal deaths surpass 2,800, with more than 82,400 casesChina death toll at 2,744, up 29; cases climb to 78,497, up 433Japan to close all schools from MondayClick VRUS on the terminal for news and data on the coronavirus and here for maps and charts. For analysis of the impact from Bloomberg Economics, click here.U.S. Workers Didn’t Get Protective Gear: Report (5:05 p.m. NY)Federal employees who helped evacuate people from the center of the coronavirus outbreak in China didn’t get protective gear or training, the Washington Post said, citing a whistleblower’s complaint.Trump administration officials disputed the report.“Every precaution has been taken,” said William Walters, a health official with the U.S. State Department. “I can say unequivocally that everyone involved with those evacuations was appropriately equipped and trained.”One member of Congress called the situation deeply concerning. “Finding out that the U.S. government might have put its own personnel in harm’s way is deeply concerning to me,” said Representative Abigail Spanberger, a Democrat from Virginia.Mask Prices and Interest Spike on Amazon (4:52 p.m. NY)Prices for face masks spiked on Amazon.com Inc. in early February, with many items sold out, according to a firm that tracks traffic on the website.Searches over the past 30 days for N95 masks, which are tighter fitting and filter out smaller particles than surgical masks, surged to 1.3 million on Feb. 10, up from 23,000 on Jan. 10, according to Helium 10, the monitoring company.Daily sales of a 20-pack of popular N95 masks from 3M jumped to more than 1,000 in February, from roughly 25 in December, according to Helium. Prices for the product, which typically sells for $29.99, climbed as high as $99.“Many third-party sellers appear to be outright price-gouging, likely due to low stock and high demand,” Lee said. “Even Amazon, which has kept pricing mostly stable across products, has had to increase prices on some products.”Amazon’s pricing policies suggest the company monitors for gouging and can punish merchants with irregular prices, but the policies lack specifics. “Setting a price on a product or service that is significantly higher than recent prices offered on or off Amazon” is a potential violation, the company says on its policy page.“Sellers set their own product prices in our store and we have policies to help ensure sellers are pricing products competitively,” Amazon said in an emailed statement. “We actively monitor our store and remove offers that violate our policies.”CDC Expands Coronavirus Testing to More Patients (4:38 p.m. NY)U.S. health authorities moved to greatly expand the number of people who will be tested for the coronavirus, adding travelers from several new countries with outbreaks as well as people with unexplained, severe respiratory illnesses.People showing respiratory symptoms and who have been in China, Iran, Italy, Japan or South Korea within the past 14 days will be screened for the virus under the new guidelines released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.The CDC is also calling for testing of patients who have unexplained, severe lower-respiratory illnesses that require hospitalization, but no other history of potential exposure to coronavirus. The expansion comes after a patient in California, who had no known ties to an infected area, was confirmed to have the virus after a long delay to get tested.Pence Says He’s In Charge, Not Azar (3:36 p.m. NY)U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said he’s now leading the government’s coronavirus task force instead of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar.“I’m leading the task force,” Pence said Thursday at a meeting on the virus at HHS headquarters. “We’ll continue to rely on the secretary’s role as chairman of the task force.”Trump initially appointed Azar to lead the government’s response to the coronavirus outbreak, but on Wednesday, he named Pence to the role at a news conference. The Washington Post reported that Azar was blindsided by the decision, though Azar told lawmakers that he thought Pence’s appointment was “genius.”NYC Says Testing Kits Are Unavailable (3:15 p.m. NY)Testing kits for the new coronavirus aren’t yet available in the U.S.’s most populous city.Stephanie Buhle, a spokeswoman for the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, said the kits from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention aren’t reliable enough to use.“The kits that were sent to us have demonstrated performance issues and cannot be relied upon to provide an accurate result,” she said.U.S. health officials are letting state and local health labs modify a test for the coronavirus that has been plagued by weeks of delays and problems with validation of the results.Trump Mulls Special Powers on Mask Production: Reuters (1:58 p.m. NY)President Trump’s administration is considering invoking special powers through the 1950 Defense Production Act to quickly boost domestic manufacturing of protective masks and outfits in the U.S., Reuters reports, citing two officials it doesn’t name.California Monitoring 8,400 Travelers and Contacts (2:16 p.m.)California is monitoring 8,400 people who flew into its airports from Asia and their close contacts for possible infection from the novel coronavirus, Governor Gavin Newsom said Thursday. Thousands of people around the U.S. have been asked to self-isolate or check themselves for symptoms since the U.S. put new limits on travel earlier this month.Those people are scattered across 49 local jurisdictions, he said. There have been 33 people confirmed to be infected with the virus in California.Earlier, health officials said a woman from Northern California has the virus and hadn’t traveled to China. She also didn’t have any close contact with anyone who did and appears to be the first case of community transmission in the U.S.Azar Says U.S.-Funded Drug, Vaccine Must Be Accessible (12:30 p.m. NY)Any drug or vaccine developed by companies with help from the government must be financially accessible for people, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar told Congress Thursday.“I have directed my teams that if we do any joint venture with a private enterprise that we’re cofunding the research and development program that we would ensure there’s access to the fruits of that, whether vaccine or therapeutics,” Azar said at a congressional hearing. The U.S. government is collaborating with pharmaceutical and biotechnology firms to develop vaccines and drugs for the coronavirus.Azar’s comments are a shift from remarks Wednesday, when he said, “we would want to ensure that we work to make it affordable, but we can’t control that price, because we need the private sector to invest. Price controls won’t get us there.”Azar’s new comments came after he was criticized Wednesday evening by Senator Bernie Sanders, a contender for the Democratic presidential nomination. On Twitter, Sanders called Azar’s remarks “outrageous.”Lagarde: ECB Response Not Required Yet (11:30 a.m. NY)European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde said the coronavirus outbreak carefully isn’t yet at the stage that would require a monetary-policy response, the Financial Times reported on Thursday.Lagarde said the ECB would have to determine whether the coronavirus could become a “long-lasting shock” that would affect inflation. “But we are certainly not at that point yet,” Lagarde told the FT.Outbreak Is At Decisive Stage, WHO Says (10:10 a.m. NY)The novel coronavirus has the potential to become a pandemic and is at a decisive stage, the head of the World Health Organization said Thursday.“The outbreak can go in any direction based on how we handle it,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said during the group’s daily briefing in Geneva.China’s efforts show that containment can work, while clusters of infections in Iran, Italy and South Korea are cause for concern, he said. For a second day, there were fewer new cases in China than in the rest of the world.Several countries that have reported cases previously -- including India, Russia and Vietnam -- haven’t had any new infections in two weeks, Tedros said. However, Finland and Sweden, which had gone without infections for a prolonged period, reported cases Wednesday.Goldman Sees Zero Profit Growth for U.S. Companies (9:45 a.m. NY)The rapid spread of the coronavirus has made equity strategists at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. slash their outlook for U.S. companies’ profit growth to zero this year, as the epidemic erodes revenue and slows global economic growth.“Our reduced forecasts reflect the severe decline in Chinese economic activity in the first quarter, lower end-demand for U.S. exporters, supply chain disruption, a slowdown in U.S. economic activity, and elevated uncertainty,” the strategists led by David Kostin wrote in a note Thursday.Iran VP for Women and Family Affairs Tests Positive (9:15 a.m. NY)Iran’s vice president of women and family affairs has tested positive for the new coronavirus, state-run IRNA reported.Masoumeh Ebetakar is the first female cabinet member in the Islamic Republic. She rose to public prominence as a spokesperson for the hostage takers during the 1979 crisis with the U.S.IMF, World Bank Weigh Fate of Spring Meetings Amid Outbreak (8:39 a.m. NY)The International Monetary Fund and World Bank signaled they may reconsider meetings scheduled for mid-April in Washington amid the coronavirus’s spread.Germany Considering Stimulus to Limit Impact: HB (7:37 a.m. NY)Germany’s government is looking at stimulus measures that would mitigate any major economic impact of the outbreak on the economy, with tax cuts and help to individual companies being examined, Handelsblatt reported, citing unidentified government sources.Middle East Cases Rise (7:30 a.m. NY)Iran reported 87 new cases on Thursday, bringing the total to 245 including 26 deaths. The number of patients in Kuwait almost doubled to 43, with all the cases linked to Iran. The United Arab Emirates, which has 13 cases and hasn’t given an update since Saturday, said it’s setting up a medical facility to quarantine patients.Greece to Increase Controls at Borders as Anti-Virus Measure (7:14 a.m. NY)As part of measures to protect public health, Greece is increasing controls at all its land and sea borders with immediate effect, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said. The country earlier said that the child of the 38-year-old woman hospitalized on Wednesday, who tested positive for coronavirus, also has been infected. Authorities closed the child’s school for 14 days as a precaution. A third person in an unrelated case, who had recently returned from Italy, also tested positive.Italy Coronavirus Cases Rise to 528, With 14 Possible Deaths (7:09 a.m. NY)Total cases increased from the 400 reported late Wednesday, civil protection head and emergency chief Angelo Borrelli said. Forty people have recovered. The number of possible virus-linked deaths reached 14.UN Human Rights Commissioner Warns of Virus-Related Prejudice (7 a.m. NY)“The coronavirus epidemic has set off a disturbing wave of prejudice against people of Chinese and east Asian ethnicity,” Michelle Bachelet, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, said in Geneva. “I call on member states to do their most to combat this and other forms of discrimination.”China to Extend School Closure, Premier Li Says: CCTV (6:37 a.m. NY)Premier Li Keqiang said China will extend its closure of schools because of the epidemic, state broadcaster China Central Television reported.Emirates to Limit Access to Its Biggest Mideast Market (6:17 p.m. HK)Emirates, which gets 60% of its Middle East revenue from Saudi Arabia, will stop flying tourists from more than 20 countries to the kingdom to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.Japan’s Abe Tells All Schools to Shut (5:39 p.m.)Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called for all elementary, middle and high schools in the country to close from Monday though to the end of the spring holidays as part of measures to combat the spread of coronavirus.Malaysia Unveils Stimulus Package (5:20 p.m. HK)Malaysia announced a package of measures valued at 20 billion ringgit ($4.8 billion) to boost an economy battered by the coronavirus outbreak. The government will support businesses affected by the virus, particularly in the tourism industry.China Plans to Suspend Retail Govt Bond Sales (5:16 p.m. HK)China plans to suspend selling government bonds to retail customers via bank branches next month, according to people with knowledge of the matter, who asked not to be identified for discussing a private matter. The halt is partly due to concerns over public gatherings during the outbreak.AB InBev, Aston Martin Warn (5:01 p.m. HK)Anheuser-Busch InBev NV, the world’s largest brewer, slumped after forecasting the steepest decline in quarterly profit in at least a decade due to the coronavirus. Aston Martin said revenue will continue to slide as it marks time until an anticipated boost from its new DBX SUV and braces for the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on Chinese demand.Earlier, Microsoft became joined Apple and HP in cutting outlook, while Standard Chartered said it may take longer to hit a key target.South Korea Reports 505 More Cases, 1 Death (4:52 p.m. HK)South Korea’s health ministry announced an additional 171 cases of the novel coronavirus have been confirmed as of 4pm local time on top of the 334 additional cases reported earlier in the day. The country’s daily tally of 505 today exceeded that of China’s 433 from yesterday.China Expert Sees Epidemic Contained by End of April (12:02 p.m. HK)Zhong Nanshan, a respiratory disease expert advising the Chinese government, is confident the coronavirus outbreak will be largely contained by the end of April, Nanfang Daily reported, citing a briefing on Thursday.Zhong, who led the research into a treatment for SARS, earlier expected the virus outbreak to peak by mid- to late February.BOK Puts Micro Response to Virus Before Rate Move (11:34 a.m. HK)Bank of Korea Governor Lee Ju-yeol provided loan support for coronavirus-hit companies rather than a wider-reaching interest rate move on Thursday, saying it was still too early to gauge the overall economic impact of the outbreak. The central bank left interest rates unchanged, holding off from a repetition of the rate cut response it took during a virus outbreak in 2015.Trump Says CDC Budget Cuts Won’t Hurt Virus Response (9:45 a.m. HK)Trump said his proposed cuts to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention -- the agency leading the government’s response to the coronavirus -- wouldn’t affect preparations for an outbreak.“We can get money and we can increase staff. We know all the good people. Some of the people we’ve cut they haven’t been used in many many years,” Trump said during a news conference at the White House. “I don’t like having thousands of people around when you don’t need them. When you need them you can get them back very quickly. We can build up very very quickly. We already have done that.”China Reports 433 New Coronavirus Cases (9:30 a.m. HK)China reported 433 additional coronavirus cases, bringing the total case count to 78,497, according to a statement from the National Health Commission.China’s death toll increase by 29 to 2,744, as Hubei province, where the outbreak originated, reported 26 additional fatalities. Hubei had 409 new confirmed cases. Discharged patients in mainland China rose by 2,750 to 32,495.The number of cases in China is declining as those elsewhere are climbing. The World Health Organization said Wednesday that more coronavirus cases were reported in countries other than China for the first time since the initial patient was identified on Dec. 8.Saudi Arabia Bans Religious Visits (8:27 a.m. HK)Saudi Arabia temporarily halted religious visits that include stops in Mecca and Medina, which draw millions of people a year as the Islamic world’s holiest cities, to help prevent the spread of coronavirus into the country.Tourism visa-holders from countries with reported coronavirus infections will also be denied entry, the Saudi embassy in Washington said in an emailed statement, without naming any countries. The steps are temporary and subject to continuous evaluation, according to the statement.The government is acting to block the deadly virus as neighboring countries including Kuwait, Bahrain, Iraq and the United Arab Emirates have flagged dozens of cases. No infections had been reported by Saudi Arabian authorities as of Wednesday.\--With assistance from John Harney, Jonathan Levin, Glen Carey, Mario Parker, Jordan Fabian, Sarah McGregor, Zaid Sabah, Karen Leigh, Dandan Li, Stephen Tan, Sam Kim, Miao Han, Lulu Shen, Ross Larsen, Alisa Odenheimer, Thomas Mulier, Yasna Haghdoost, Hugo Miller, Corinne Gretler, Katerina Petroff, Shira Stein, Ryan Beene and Henry Goldman.To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Adveith Nair in London at anair29@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Stuart Wallace at swallace6@bloomberg.net, ;Drew Armstrong at darmstrong17@bloomberg.net, Tom Redmond, Jeff SutherlandFor 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.
Officials scramble to retrace steps of California coronavirus case
Thu, 27 Feb 2020 18:06:01 -0500
Officials scramble to retrace steps of California coronavirus caseA northern California woman is believed to be the first to contract the virus with no connection to travel or other casesCalifornia and federal officials were in the midst of an intense effort Thursday to retrace the movements of a northern California woman believed to be the first person in the US to contract the highly contagious coronavirus with no known connection to travel abroad or other known causes.Health officials confronted tough questions about why there was a four-day delay in screening the woman woman despite her doctors’ early calls to do so, and have since expanded their criteria for who should get tested.The woman lives in Solano county, home to Travis air force base, where dozens of people infected in China or on cruise ships have been treated. But Sonia Angell, director of the California Department of Public Health, said there was no evidence the woman had any connection to the base.The woman, who was not identified, first sought medical care at NorthBay VacaValley Hospital, in Vacaville, a city of more than 100,000 people about 55 miles (88 kilometers) north-east of San Francisco.She stayed there for three days, but doctors did not test her for the virus because she did not meet federal testing criteria, NorthBay Healthcare Group president Aimee Brewer said in a statement. She was then transferred to a Sacramento hospital where she later tested positive for the virus.The Vacaville hospital is still open and operating normally but has identified employees who treated the woman and have asked some of them to stay home and monitor themselves for symptoms, Brewer said.The California governor Gavin Newsom declined to comment when asked by reporters to name the community in Solano county where the woman was from but urged people to take precautions while emphasizing that the risks to public health were low. He said there was no need to declare a public health emergency.“Everybody in this country is rightfully anxious about this moment,” Newsom said. “I think they should know we are meeting this moment with the kind of urgency that is necessary and I don’t want to over extend the anxiety.”Newsom said the state only has only received about 200 testing kits for the virus, an amount he called “simply inadequate”. But he said federal officials have promised him the state will get many more soon.Meanwhile, California Health and Human Services Agency director Mark Ghaly said health officials would change the way they test for the virus by “shifting from order and community containment to one where we acknowledge that community spread is possible”. He did not elaborate.The woman from Solano county was transferred from the Vacaville hospital to UC Davis Medical Center on 19 February but it took four days for the Center for Disease Control and Prevention to approve a request to test the patient for Covid-19, according to a memo posted to the hospital’s website from interim CEO Brad Simmons and David Lubarsky, vice chancellor of human health sciences.The patient arrived on a ventilator and special protection orders were issued “because of an undiagnosed and suspected viral condition”, according to the memo.The hospital asked the CDC to test for the coronavirus but testing was delayed until Sunday “since the patient did not fit the existing CDC criteria for Covid-19”, the memo said.Part of the problem is that the number of people being tested in the US has been limited to those who, in addition to showing symptoms, have a history of travel to countries affected by the disease or contact with those who have done so, said Lauren Sauer, director of operations at Johns Hopkins University’s Office of Critical Event Preparedness and Response.“In the US, people are sticking pretty closely to that definition,” Sauer said. But the increasing cases on other continents “are demonstrating we need to do a better job than just where the outbreak originated”.On Thursday, the CDC updated its testing criteria on its website, a move that had been in the works for days, according to a federal official familiar with the change.The CDC will continue to advise testing people who have traveled to certain outbreak areas and have fever and certain other symptoms. But now testing is also appropriate if such symptoms exist and flu and other respiratory illnesses have been ruled out and no source of exposure has been identified. As part of that, the CDC has expanded the list of countries that are red flags for testing to include not only China but Iran, Italy, South Korea and Japan.UC Davis Medical Center, which has treated other coronavirus patients, has been taking infection prevention precautions since the patient arrived. Officials believe there was a small chance that others at the facility were exposed to the virus and they were asked to stay home and monitor their temperatures, the memo said.All of the 59 other cases in the US have been for people who had traveled abroad or had close contact with others who traveled. Health officials have been on high alert for so-called community spread.Earlier US cases included 14 in people who returned from outbreak areas in China, or their spouses; three people who were evacuated from the central China city of Wuhan; and 42 American passengers on the Diamond Princess cruise ship who were evacuated by the federal government to the US from where the ship was docked in Japan.The global count of those sickened by the virus hovered Thursday around 82,000, with 433 new cases reported in China and an additional 505 in South Korea.The new virus is a member of the coronavirus family that can cause colds or more serious illnesses such as Sars and Mers.The virus can cause fever, coughing, wheezing and pneumonia. Health officials think it spreads mainly from droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes, similar to how the flu spreads.Officials are advising people to take steps to avoid infection with coronavirus or other respiratory infections like colds or the flu, including washing hands with soap and water and avoiding close contact with people who are sick.
Dozens of Turkish soldiers killed in strike in Idlib in Syria, reports say
Thu, 27 Feb 2020 17:44:13 -0500
Dozens of Turkish soldiers killed in strike in Idlib in Syria, reports saySources put attack death toll at between 22 and 70, in Ankara’s worst day of the conflict so farDozens of Turkish soldiers are reported to have been killed in an airstrike in Syria’s Idlib province, in a dramatic escalation in the battle for control of the country’s last opposition stronghold.Military sources among moderate and jihadist rebel factions fighting in the northwestern province bordering Turkey said up to 70 Turkish soldiers died on Thursday night after a precision strike hit a two-storey building in the village of Balioun.A Turkish convoy, part of reinforcements sent to the area to aid rebel groups earlier this month, was subjected to heavy shelling on Thursday morning. The soldiers had taken cover in Balioun, basing themselves in the local council building.The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based war monitor, put the initial death toll at 34. Rahmi Dogan, governor of Hatay province on the border with Idlib, confirmed at least 22 Turkish military personnel had died as ambulances streamed from a Syrian border crossing to a hospital in the nearby town of Reyhanli on Thursday night.Turkish sources have blamed the Syrian regime for the attack, but several sources in Idlib and unverified footage off the nighttime strike suggested it had been carried out by the Russian air force, which has helped Damascus conduct a ferocious three-month-old offensive on Idlib.Although Ankara and Moscow share important trade, energy and defence links, the relationship has already been sorely tested by the recent violence in Syria, where they back opposing sides.Turkey responded with airstrikes on “all known” Syrian government targets, said the country’s communications director Fahrettin Altun early on Friday, according to state-run Anadolu news agency. Altun said authorities had decided to “respond in kind” to the attack.At the same time Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan chaired an emergency security meeting overnight, Turkish officials briefed reporters that Ankara had decided it would no longer stop Syrian refugees from reaching Europe by land and sea - a move calibrated to win EU and Nato support for its operation in Idlib.Turkish police, coastguard and border security officials have already been ordered to stand down, Turkish officials added.“All known targets of the regime have come and will continue to come under fire from the air and ground,” Altun, said in a statement.“We urge the international community to fulfil its responsibilities” to stop the regime’s “crimes against humanity”, he said. “We cannot stand by and watch as past events in Rwanda, and Bosnia and Herzegovina are repeated today in Idlib.”Turkey’s activities on the ground in Syria would continue, he added.Almost one million people are camped out in desperate conditions on Idlib’s border with Turkey in winter weather as they flee the swift advance of Bashar al-Assad’s army and allied militias backed by Russian airpower.Turkey has until now expressed extreme unwillingness to take in any more Syrians on top of the 3.6m refugees it already hosts. In an effort to stem the largest humanitarian crisis of Syria’s nine-year-old war to date and secure its border, Ankara took the unprecedented step of sending thousands of troops and convoys of equipment to Idlib in the past three weeks, where they have clashed directly with regime forces for the first time.While Idlib province and the surrounding countryside are technically protected by a de-escalation deal brokered in 2018, the agreement broke down last year after control of most of the area was wrested from more moderate rebel groups by Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), formerly al-Qaida’s Syrian affiliate.Despite warnings from the UN and aid agencies that fighting in Idlib would put 3 million civilians at risk, Damascus launched an attritional and then full-scale campaign on the province, arguing that HTS was not covered by the de-escalation deal.Turkey has helped rebels to retake one town but had already lost 17 military personnel in the campaign before a strike on Thursday morning killed three, and the evening strike killed at least 22, marking the biggest single day of losses for the country’s forces.Turkish attempts to broker a ceasefire, and growing international calls for a halt to the violence, have so far been met with indifference from the Kremlin. Erdoğan has vowed Ankara will not take the “smallest step back” in the standoff with Damascus and Moscow over Idlib, giving the regime until the end of the month to pull back.US senator Lindsey Graham called on Thursday for the establishment of a no-fly zone over Idlib and called on Donald Trump to help stop the violence against civilians there.“The world is sitting on its hands and watching the destruction of Idlib by Assad, Iran, and the Russians,” Graham, a Republican and an ally of Trump, said in a statement.“I am confident if the world, led by the US, pushed back against Iran, Russia, and Assad that they would stand down, paving the way for political negotiations to end this war in Syria.”Kay Bailey Hutchison, the US ambassador to Nato, said Thursday’s events should show Turkey “who is their reliable partner and who isn’t” and drop its purchase of a major Russian missile defence system, which Washington says threatens the western alliance.
U.S. spy agencies monitor coronavirus spread, concerns about India -sources
Thu, 27 Feb 2020 17:06:54 -0500
Why is Iran's reported mortality rate for coronavirus higher than in other countries?
Thu, 27 Feb 2020 17:04:41 -0500
Why is Iran's reported mortality rate for coronavirus higher than in other countries?Four doctors in Iran said that the total number of those infected is likely substantially higher than the number released by Iranian health authorities.
Do liberals want Trump to spark a panic?
Thu, 27 Feb 2020 16:45:00 -0500
Do liberals want Trump to spark a panic?I am old enough to remember a time when President Trump's response to coronavirus was decried as heavy handed and authoritarian by observers who thought that restricting air travel to and from China and the imposition of a quarantine were over-the-top responses to a disease that posed less of a threat to the health of the average American than seasonal influenza. These impressions were preceded by sweeping assurances that the assassination of Qassem Soleimani was about to spark war with Iran and that the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada agreement quietly approved by Democratic leaders in the middle of the failed impeachment process would actually worsen our trade relations, to name only a handful of the alas so-far unrealized crises into which L’Éminence orange was confidently assumed to have plunged us in the first month and a half or so of the new year. Perhaps a national moment of silence in acknowledgement of the various dooms to which we have managed not to succumb individually or collectively in the ensuing days would be in order. We are certainly lucky.As of this writing, roughly 60 Americans have been diagnosed with coronavirus, which is about the same as the number who own copies of Out of the Bachs, an obscure 1968 garage rock album often considered among the rarest and most valuable in the world. A whopping one of them appears to have contracted the disease on these shores. This seems to me about the best one could hope for given the reality of globalized commerce and the unwillingness of millions around the world to forego travel or subject themselves to inconvenient screening processes. (I for one would be happy to see far more stringent restrictions in place.)You would not know this from reading the headlines or watching television news. On Thursday morning our paper of record greeted us with the following invitation: "Let's Call It Trumpvirus." Let's not, maybe? I am reliably informed that Gail Collins' readers consider her something of a humorist. (Given her audience, one wonders why she did not suggest "covfefevirus," which, no pun intended, would really have knocked them dead.) Her column was painfully unfunny, not because this president never lends himself to mockery but because it assumed that a plague of well-nigh biblical proportions has been visited upon the American people while their feckless commander-in-chief conducts a propaganda campaign meant to distract us from the wagon loads of corpses being carried through the streets.This item is of a piece with hundreds of articles and late-night comedy rants now accusing Trump in some vague manner of downplaying the significance of coronavirus. The impression one gets is that instead of what he is doing now (i.e., taking advice from relevant officials; declaring a public health emergency; instituting the first Centers for Disease Control quarantine in half a century; coordinating a response among an almost uncountable number of federal, state, and local bodies charged with everything from screening travelers and contacting Americans abroad to educating doctors and the general public) he should spend hours a day on television engaged in an omnidirectional attempt to induce panic in as many people as possible.What else would these people prefer to Trump's calm, decisive action here? If he had taken more sweeping measures — restricting business travel by executive order, for example, rather than with the tacit cooperation of Apple and hundreds of other firms — he would have been called a fascist. If he had gone to the airwaves (or his favorite social media platform) to warn everyone of an imminent outbreak, he would be dismissed as an uninformed crank whose scare-mongering posed a more serious threat to global peace and health than the disease itself. Fact-checkers are handing him Pinocchios for saying that the situation is "very much under control." What would have been more accurate? Him declaring that coronavirus is on the verge of destroying civilization as we know it and suggesting the average American family stock up on masks, food, and gasoline and pray that the end, when it comes, be swift and painless? The mind reels.The cynicism of the president's critics here is boundless. There are thousands of valid grounds upon which Trump can be criticized. His administration's sober response to coronavirus is not one of them. To quote The New York Times again: "If you're feeling awful, you know who to blame."I have no trouble believing that millions of my fellow citizens really do feel this way. But their bizarre emotional needs are their own problem, not Trump’s.More stories from theweek.com What it's like to be in Venice during coronavirus lockdown Trump freaks out about all the wrong things California monitors more than 8,000 people for coronavirus
Russian Firm Dodging U.S. Questions on ‘Putin’s Chef’ Ties
Thu, 27 Feb 2020 16:21:56 -0500
WHO says virus at 'decisive point' as world battles spread
Thu, 27 Feb 2020 16:06:19 -0500
WHO says virus at 'decisive point' as world battles spreadThe World Health Organization declared Thursday that the new coronavirus epidemic was at a "decisive point" as countries across the globe battled to contain the deadly outbreak. Saudi Arabia banned pilgrims from visiting Islam's holiest sites as the number of deaths jumped in neighbouring Iran, while Japan and Iraq ordered the closure of schools. Alarm is growing as China is no longer the only breeding ground for COVID-19, with other countries including South Korea and Italy becoming hotbeds of infection, raising fears of a pandemic.
Feds cite new evidence against former Mexico security chief
Thu, 27 Feb 2020 15:01:28 -0500
Democrats focus on Super Tuesday even as S. Carolina looms
Thu, 27 Feb 2020 14:55:41 -0500
Democrats focus on Super Tuesday even as S. Carolina loomsBernie Sanders will swing through North Carolina, Virginia and Massachusetts in the coming days. Elizabeth Warren will make stops in Texas and Arkansas. Amy Klobuchar will be in Tennessee and Virginia.
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