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Friday, February 28, 2020

Latest World News, World News, Current Affairs, Daily Current Affairs

Latest World News, World News, Current Affairs, Daily Current Affairs


Poll: Majority Of Americans Satisfied With The U.S. Position In The World

Posted: 28 Feb 2020 03:00 AM PST

VOA: Survey: Majority of Americans Satisfied With US Position in World

A new Gallup survey released Thursday shows that 53% of respondents, led by those who identified as Republicans, are satisfied with the position of the United States in the world.

That figure is up 8 percentage points from last year and is the highest since 2003.

Gallup reported a sharp partisan divide, but one the agency said is common in the past two decades depending on which party controls the White House.

Read more ....

Update #1: Poll: Americans' satisfaction with U.S. world standing at 17-year high (UPI)
Update #2: American satisfaction with US position in world nears 2-decade high (FOX News)

WNU Editor: Another issue on where Americans are divided. The Republicans are overwhelmingly satisfied. The Democrats are not. The Gallup poll is here .... U.S. Satisfaction With World Standing Hits 13-Year High (Gallup).

The Pentagon Simulated A “Limited” Nuclear Exchange Between U.S. And Russian Forces

Posted: 28 Feb 2020 02:00 AM PST

David Axe, National Interest: The Pentagon Just Simulated a 'Limited' Nuclear War With Russia

Don't be fooled. A 'small' nuclear war would change everything.

The Pentagon in late February simulated a "limited" nuclear exchange between U.S. and Russian forces. In other words, a small atomic war.

The simulation -- more accurately, the Pentagon's revelation of the simulation -- appears to be part of the U.S. Defense Department's effort to secure from Congress billions of dollars in additional funding for new, low-yield nukes.

Some theorists believe low-yield weapons are more useful than high-yield weapons are. But it's important to note that even a "small" nuclear war would kill tens of millions of people and fundamentally alter life on Earth.

The nuke-war simulation occurred during Secretary of Defense Mark Esper's visit to the headquarters of U.S. Strategic Command in Omaha, Nebraska.

"We conducted a -- a mini-exercise, if you will," an unnamed "senior defense official" explained in a press conference at the Pentagon.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Bottom line. Everyone loses.

No One Knows Why The Pentagon Is Refusing To Give Up Their Wireless Spectrum To Companies Who Want To Build A 5G Network

Posted: 28 Feb 2020 01:00 AM PST

5G wireless technology might replace older radios like this one operated by two airmen in 2013 at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Brett Clashman

Politico: The Pentagon Is Sitting on a Chunk of Valuable Airwaves. Why?

Companies say they need the military's wireless spectrum to build a 5G network. The military has other plans—and nobody is sure what they are.

As the Trump administration squares off with China's Huawei over who will dominate the world's next generation of wireless networks, another battle is emerging closer to home. And in this one, the force causing the most concern isn't a shadowy Chinese firm, or even a company at all. It's the Pentagon.

The fast new consumer and business network known as 5G, already being touted in Super Bowl ads, will require large new swaths of the airwaves. And for the companies building it out, the most coveted piece of that invisible real estate is the "mid-band," a set of frequencies that can carry far more data than current cellphone signals.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The Pentagon clearly has its own ideas on what to do with their part of the airwaves.

The Pentagon Does Not Have A 'Light' Footprint In Africa

Posted: 28 Feb 2020 12:00 AM PST

The Intercept: Pentagon's Own Map of U.S. Bases in Africa Contradicts Its Claim of "Light" Footprint

Last month, about a dozen al-Shabab fighters infiltrated the perimeter of a military base in Manda Bay, Kenya. One of them took aim with a rocket-propelled grenade, firing at a U.S. surveillance plane and touching off an hourslong firefight. When it was all over, the two American pilots of that plane and a U.S. soldier were dead, two other U.S. military personnel were wounded, six surveillance aircraft and helicopters were destroyed, and parts of the airfield were in flames.

Where there are U.S. bases, there is the potential for such attacks, because bases are not just launching pads for offensive military operations, but targets for them too. Since 9/11, the U.S. military has built a sprawling network of outposts in more than a dozen African countries. The Intercept has obtained U.S. military documents and a set of accompanying maps that provide the locations of these African bases in 2019, including the one at Manda Bay. These formerly secret documents, created by the Pentagon's Africa Command and obtained via the Freedom of Information Act, offer an exclusive window into the footprint of American military operations in Africa.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: It looks like there will be no change in US policy when it comes to Africa .... Here's what Esper's AFRICOM review has decided so far (Defense News).

The Chinese Have Lent More Money To The World Than The World Bank, The IMF, And All OECD Creditor Governments Combined

Posted: 27 Feb 2020 11:00 PM PST

Harvard Business Review: How Much Money Does the World Owe China?

While China's role in global trade is highly publicized and politically polarizing, its growing influence in international finance has remained more obscure, mostly due to a lack of data and transparency. Over the past two decades, China has become a major global lender, with outstanding claims now exceeding more than 5% of global GDP. Almost all of this lending is official, coming from the government and state-controlled entities.

Our research, based on a comprehensive new data set, shows that China has extended many more loans to developing countries than previously known. This systematic underreporting of Chinese loans has created a "hidden debt" problem – meaning that debtor countries and international institutions alike have an incomplete picture on how much countries around the world owe to China and under which conditions.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The Chinese have lent $1.5 trillion dollars to the world. That is a lot of leverage.

Russian Special Forces Day Celebrated With Action-Packed Video

Posted: 27 Feb 2020 10:00 PM PST



RT: They dive from the sky & gun down panicked enemy: Russian special forces day celebrated with action-packed VIDEO

Russia's highly secretive Special Operations Forces, which get the most demanding and sensitive tasks and may go deep into enemy territory, are marking their professional day. Here is how the commandos look in action.

The SpecOp branch of the Russian military fields highly trained fighters, who know how to infiltrate behind enemy lines and wreak havoc with sabotage, organizing guerilla forces and other forms of clandestine action.

It was created over a decade ago as a distinct command, directly answering to the General Staff, but it only got a professional holiday in 2015. A video showcasing skills and equipment of the Russian commandos was published by the Defense Ministry on Thursday to mark the day.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Impressive video.

Picture Of The Day

Posted: 27 Feb 2020 09:30 PM PST

People wearing masks after the coronavirus outbreak wait in a line to buy masks in front of a department store in Seoul, South Korea, February 28, 2020. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji

WNU Editor: The above picture is from this photo-gallery .... World races to contain coronavirus (Reuters).

US Senator Bernie Sanders Promises To Cut Defense Spending By $1.215 Trillion If Elected President

Posted: 27 Feb 2020 09:00 PM PST

In February 2011, Sen. Bernie Sanders visited the Afghan National Police Academy in Kabul as part of a congressional delegation visiting the NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan supported training site. Photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Ernesto Hernandez Fonte

Counter Punch: Bernie Finally Puts a Number on Cutting Military Spending

Bernie Sanders' campaign has published a fact sheet on how everything he proposes can be paid for. On that fact sheet we find this line in a list of items that collectively will pay for a Green New Deal:

"Reducing defense spending by $1.215 trillion by scaling back military operations on protecting the global oil supply."

Of course there is an obvious problem or mystery about this number, namely, isn't it too damn good to be true? The full cost of military spending including numerous agencies plus debt for past wars, etc., is $1.25 trillion a year. While one might like to hope that Bernie is intent on leaving the military only $0.035 trillion a year, it seems highly unlikely that he means that. It's highly unlikely that he even thinks of military spending costing $1.25 trillion a year rather than the $0.7 trillion a year or so that goes to the one agency misnamed the Department of Defense.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: You would think that such a policy position on the military would result in US Senator Sanders losing support among military members. But apparently not from what he was able to a few months ago (see below):

Turkey Has Opened The Idlib Border And Is Now Allowing Syrian Refugees Free Passage To Europe

Posted: 27 Feb 2020 08:00 PM PST

Internally displaced Syrian holds opposition flag in support of Turkish army and Turkey-backed Syrian rebels at Bab el-Salam border crossing in Syria (Reuters)

Middle East Eye: Turkey opens Idlib border and allows Syrian refugees free passage to Europe

Route out of northwestern Syria opened for 72 hours, officials tell MEE, after 29 Turkish troops killed in attack by pro-Assad forces.

Turkey decided to immediately open its southwestern border with Syria and allow Syrians fleeing the pro-government forces' assault free passage to Europe for the next 72 hours, Turkish official sources told Middle East Eye.

A senior Turkish official said Syrian refugees headed towards Europe won't be stopped either on land or by sea.

The official said Ankara had ordered police, gendarmerie, border guards and sea guards to stand down on Thursday if they detected any Syrian refugees trying to cross into Europe.

The decision came after a security meeting chaired by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan late on Thursday.

Read more ....

Update #1: As more Turkish troops killed, Ankara says it will not stop Syrian refugees reaching Europe (Reuters)
Update #2: Turkey to allow Syrian refugees passage to Europe (The Hill)

WNU Editor: Here is an easy prediction. Expect another refugee-migration crisis on the borders of Europe. But I think the reaction from Europe is going to be different. With the coronavirus outbreak currently spreading throughout Europe, I can easily see governments moving in the coming weeks to implement quarantines and isolating infected patients to contain the disease. They are not going to permit hundreds of thousands of refugees to pour into the continent and break this containment.

U.S. Intelligence Agencies Are Monitoring The Spread Of The Coronavirus

Posted: 27 Feb 2020 07:55 PM PST



Reuters: U.S. spy agencies monitor coronavirus spread, concerns about India: sources

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. intelligence agencies are monitoring the global spread of coronavirus and the ability of governments to respond, sources familiar with the matter said on Thursday, warning that there were concerns about how India would cope with a widespread outbreak.

While there are only a few known cases in India, one source said the country's available countermeasures and the potential for the virus to spread given India's dense population was a focus of serious concern.

U.S. intelligence agencies are also focusing on Iran, where the country's deputy health minister has fallen ill during a worsening outbreak. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Tuesday the United States was "deeply concerned" Tehran may have covered up details about the spread of coronavirus.

A U.S. government source said Iran's response was considered ineffective because the government only has minimal capabilities to respond to the outbreak.

Read more ....

Update #1: Coronavirus: US spy agencies concerned about India and Iran (The National)
Update #2: US intelligence agencies monitoring coronavirus concerns about India (Washington Examiner)

WNU Editor: I am not surprise that the intel community are doing assessments on the geopolitical/economic/security impact of the Covid-19 outbreak. Their concerns on what this outbreak may do to populous countries like India, or on the warzones in the Middle East, are completely justified.

Growing Fears In The U.S. That Coronavirus Cases May Explode Overnight Just Like In Italy

Posted: 27 Feb 2020 07:18 PM PST



Daily Beast: Coronavirus May Explode in U.S. Overnight Just Like in Italy

Get ready for a serious test of broken American health infrastructure.

Sooner or later, it's virtually bound to happen.

Though novel 2019 coronavirus cases in the United States have so far ticked up in fits and starts, experts on deadly diseases say Americans should be prepared to see an overnight boom in cases that mirror the skyrocketing outbreaks in Italy and South Korea.

At last count from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there were 60 confirmed novel 2019 coronavirus cases in the U.S. One of those cases—in northern California—marked the first case of unknown origin, as The Washington Post first reported Wednesday. Fourteen patients came through the American health system after traveling to China or having close contact with someone who had. The rest were either repatriated individuals who fled the vicinity of the virus's origin in China on State Department-chartered planes or else were rescued from the disastrous Diamond Princess cruise ship outbreak.

Nancy Messonnier, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the CDC, acknowledged Tuesday that community spread—when cases are detected in an area but the source of the infection is not known—was very likely to cause more infections in the United States. The case in California, which a CDC statement said was "picked up by astute clinicians," appeared to prove her right, and set the stage for a serious test of American health infrastructure after years of atrophy.

In Italy, officials have not been able to trace the origin of infections, which skyrocketed from just four on Friday to more than 528 by Thursday, killing at least 14 people. While each country faces its own health and containment challenges, experts say, there is little reason to believe the United States won't soon face a similar coronavirus surge, even as President Trump on Wednesday urged calm and put Vice President Mike Pence in charge of the disease's containment.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: For the past few days I have been reading up on the 1919 Spanish Influenza outbreak. This is exactly what happened. One day there were no cases. Next day an explosion of cases and deaths that increased with time.

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- February 27, 2020

Posted: 27 Feb 2020 07:05 PM PST



Hannah Clapham & Alex R Cook, CNA: Three scenarios if the COVID-19 outbreak gets worse

Developments in the rest of the world can seed subsequent waves of outbreak despite Singapore's best efforts at preventing further importations, say Hannah Clapham and Alex R Cook.

SINGAPORE: The COVID-19 outbreak has us all on edge, seeing how badly it is affecting China and not knowing whether or when we'll see similar scenes here.

Singapore's response has been singled out for praise by WHO chief Dr Tedros Adhanom and Harvard don Professor Marc Lipsitch, but can we keep it up if the outbreak gets worse?

Even if Singapore is successful at containing the current wave of infections, developments in the rest of the world may seed subsequent waves of outbreak despite our best efforts at preventing further importations.

The rising numbers of infections in Italy, Iran, South Korea and Japan over the past week suggest this scenario cannot be ruled out.

Read more ....

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- February 27, 2020

What's happening: Virus forges on, as world hunts solutions -- AP

Closed schools and empty stadiums: How countries are trying to stop coronavirus's spread -- Alex Ward, VOX

China's Coronavirus Recession Has Arrived -- Salvatore Babones, National Interest

How Disease X, the epidemic-in-waiting, erupted in China -- SCMP

Iran's Incompetent Response to Coronavirus Threatens the Middle East and the World -- Seth J. Frantzman, NRO

Coronavirus Could Break Iranian Society -- Graeme Wood, The Atlantic

Coronavirus: Are less-developed EU countries more susceptible? -- Rob Mudge, DW

G7 should tackle Covid-19 with massive fiscal stimulus -- David P. Goldman, Asia Times

Coronavirus outbreak creates 'uneasy calm' on Hong Kong's streets as protesters retreat -- Eliza Borrello, DW

Coronavirus: Shares face worst week since global financial crisis -- BBC

Syria war: Brutal endgame in Idlib risks spilling over -- Jonathan Marcus, BBC

Hardliners' victory could help Iran avoid war with US -- Faisal Al Yafai, Asia Times

Libya: Khalifa Haftar's repressive proto-state and the 'myth' of stability -- Tom Allinson, DW

Sanders Nomination Would Make 2020 a Repeat of 1972 -- Steven Petrow, USA Today

Super Tuesday Question: Who Will Be Left Standing to Take on Bernie Sanders? -- Daniel R. DePetris, National Interest

World News Briefs -- February 27, 2020 (Evening Edition)

Posted: 27 Feb 2020 06:43 PM PST



Reuters: World prepares for coronavirus pandemic; global recession forecast

GENEVA/BEIJING (Reuters) - Hopes the coronavirus would be contained to China vanished on Friday as infections spread rapidly around the world, countries started stockpiling medical equipment and investors took flight in expectation of a global recession.

Share prices were on track for the worst week since the global financial crisis in 2008 as virus-related disruptions to international travel and supply chains fueled fears of recession in the United States and the Euro zone.

The U.S. stock market fell into correction territory with the benchmark S&P 500 index down more than 4% on Thursday, extending a market rout that has now sliced more than 10% off of its closing peak on Feb. 19.

"Markets are voting and saying they think the U.S. is on its way to recession," said Chris Rupkey, chief economist at MUFG in New York.

Read more ....

MIDDLE EAST

Turkish army retaliates against 'all known' Syrian government targets.

Attack in Syria's Idlib killed 33 Turkish soldiers: Hatay governor.

Battle rages over strategic Syrian town of Saraqeb as humanitarian catastrophe unfolds.

Syrian humanitarian catastrophe unfolds as fighting rages between Turkey, Syria and Russia.

Senior Hezbollah official killed in Israeli strike in Syria, reports say.

Saudi Arabia halts travel to Mecca, Medina over coronavirus. Amid virus, Saudis close Islam's holiest sites to foreigners.

Iraq parliament postpones confidence vote over quorum.

Lebanon economy: Gov't works towards emergency financial plan.

U.S. lifts sanctions against Israeli general over South Sudan arms.

Days before poll, Israel approves nearly 1,800 new settler homes: ministry.

ASIA

New coronavirus cases in mainland China fall to lowest since January.

South Korea reports 256 new coronavirus cases, total 2,022: KCDC.

Some discharged coronavirus patients in China test positive for second time: report.

Afghan delegation to meet Taliban in Doha: government.

Uncertainty looms ahead of US-Taliban deal signing.

Cheney, House Republicans express 'serious concerns' with US-Taliban deal.

U.S., South Korea diplomats discussed North Korea, report says.

Malaysia's Mahathir says parliament will pick new PM.

AFRICA

N: Rival Libyan politicians meet for peace talks in Geneva.

World Bank restores relations with Somalia.

AU to deploy troops to fight Sahel militants. African Union to deploy 3,000 troops in restive Sahel region.

Rocket fire hits Libyan capital's airport.

South Sudan struggles to unite armed forces under peace deal.

Congo latest victim of locust swarms: experts.

Tunisian parliament gives vote of confidence to coalition government.

G.Bissau candidate swears himself in as president despite vote row.

All you need to know about Guinea's contested polls.

Malawi legalises growing of cannabis.

EUROPE

Virus outbreak spreads in France with 20 new cases.

Italy blasts virus panic as it eyes new testing criteria.

Cancelled events and falling markets as Europe confronts Covid-19.

Russia announces date for referendum that could extend Putin's rule.

Britain says it could walk away from EU talks this summer.

UK to withdraw from European arrest warrant.

World's largest wealth fund, in Norway, earned 'historic' returns in 2019.

Greek islanders assail riot police in protests over migrant camps. Greek protests: Dozens hurt as island clashes intensify.

Zelensky's approval rating nosediving, poll indicates.

AMERICAS

With first case, Latin America prepares for COVID-19 virus.

Sanders rips Pence: His last response to an epidemic was to 'pray' it away.

Bloomberg releases new heart health information and calls on Sanders to do the same.

Poll: Americans' satisfaction with U.S. world standing at 17-year high.

US economy grew 2.3% in 2019, durable goods solid in January.

Dominican Republic turns back cruise ship amid virus fears.

Protest-hit Chile ponders rewriting Pinochet's constitution.

2019 saw violent crackdown on protesters across Americas: Amnesty.

Gunman kills 5 at Milwaukee brewery before taking own life.

Canada to hold talks with indigenous group in bid to end blockades.

Canada to stop paying Harry and Meghan's security.

TERRORISM/THE LONG WAR

AP Interview: Al-Qaida, IS affiliates team up in West Africa.

Trump administration blacklists Iraqi militia leader.

US warns of attack threat against major hotel in Nairobi.

ISIS loses more than half its fighters from US airstrikes and Taliban ground operations.

ECONOMY/FINANCE/BUSINESS

Pandemic fears send investors running as Wall Street confirms correction.

World stocks slide on signs virus outbreak is spreading.

Global stock markets suffer sixth day of losses.

Coronavirus outbreak hits arts and entertainment industries.

Some American companies are seeking to cut their reliance on China as coronavirus outbreak disrupts production, crimps revenue.

Coronavirus: China, Japan, South Korea supply chains under threat from 'second wave' of disruptions.

DOW Drops 1,190 Points. The Largest One-Day Point Drop In Its History

Posted: 27 Feb 2020 05:45 PM PST



Daily Mail: Dow plunges 10% from peak and enters correction after largest one-day point drop in HISTORY as coronavirus fears fuel the worst week on Wall Street since the Great Recession

* US major stock indexes closed down more than 4% for the day on Thursday
* Markets have now entered correction, or declines from peak of more than 10%
* Dow dropped 1,190.95 points, the index's largest one-day point drop in history
* Follows report of first US community transmission of coronavirus in California
* Netflix and other 'stay at home' companies saw shares rise, however

U.S. stock indexes plunged dramatically yet again on Thursday, as the rapid spread of the coronavirus outside China deepens investor worries about growth and corporate earnings.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average plummeted 1,190.95 points, or 4.42 percent, to 25,766.64, the largest one-day point drop in history. It comes during the quickest market plunge on a percentage basis since the financial crisis of October 2008.

The Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq all closed more than 10 percent below their recent highs. That means the market is officially in a correction, which is a normal phenomenon that analysts have said was long overdue.

Read more ....

Update #1: Virus anxiety triggers biggest 1-day market drop since 2011 -- AP
Update #2: Wall Street tumbles again on virus fears, confirming correction -- Reuters

WNU Editor: The futures markets are revealing more of the same for tomorrow .... Stock futures point to more losses after Thursday's massive tumble amid coronavirus fears (CNBC).

Covid-19 Outbreak In The U.S. -- News Updates February 27, 2020

Posted: 27 Feb 2020 05:22 PM PST



Daily Mail: CDC 'took FOUR DAYS to test coronavirus patient with unknown origin' because she 'didn't fit infection criteria' - as dozens of staff at the California hospital are ordered to isolate and experts fear the disease could explode quickly like it did in Italy

* Health officials confirmed the first case of coronavirus where origin of disease is unknown on Wednesday
* CDC said patient hadn't traveled from foreign country and wasn't in contact with another confirmed case
* Patient is being treated at UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento; origin of patient's infection is not known
* Email from hospital officials said CDC took four days to test patient, despite requests from hospital staff
* Some hospital staffers were also asked to go home, isolate themselves and monitor their temperatures
* President Donald Trump insisted in a press conference on Wednesday that the risk to Americans is 'low'
* Trump also said that the United States would 'spend whatever's appropriate' to deal with the outbreak
* The president announced Vice-President Mike Pence will be in charge of the nation's response to the disease
* There are 60 coronavirus cases in the US, including 42 passengers who were on Diamond Princess cruise ship
* Stocks on Wall Street dropped for the sixth day in a row after a press conference by Trump on Wednesday failed to calm fears amid concerns of a massive coronavirus outbreak
* Pope Francis canceled Thursday morning Mass at St John Lateran basilica Mass in Rome due to illness just a day after he kissed heads and touched faces and said he had solidarity with those suffering from coronavirus

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) took four days to test a woman with the first confirmed case of coronavirus where the origin of the disease is unknown because she hadn't traveled abroad or been exposed to an infected patient as experts warn the deadly virus could spread quickly in the US like it did in Italy.

The woman, who is a resident of Solano County, which is about 35 miles outside of Sacramento, was admitted into UC Davis Medical Center on February 19.

But questions are now being asked over the CDC's handling of the case after an email from medical center officials to employees revealed that the CDC took four days to test the patient for the deadly disease despite requests from staff at the center.

Read more ....

Covid-19 Outbreak In The U.S. -- News Updates February 27, 2020

New US coronavirus case may be 1st from unknown origin -- AP
California monitoring 8,400 for possible coronavirus but lacks test kits -- Reuters
California is monitoring at least 8,400 for signs of coronavirus as 33 test positive for COVID-19 in the state including a patient with 'unknown origin' who 'took FOUR DAYS' to be screened for the disease as 'they didn't fit the criteria' for infection -- Daily Mail
Coronavirus Precautions: Hundreds In New York Asked To Isolate Themselves, Including 112 On Long Island, 8 In Westchester -- CBS New York
A single coronavirus case exposes a bigger problem: The scope of undetected U.S. spread is unknown -- Stat News
White House GAGS government health experts from speaking about coronavirus saying they must have Mike Pence's approval for EVERYTHING they say about mounting crisis - despite VP having zero medical qualifications -- Daily Mail
Is there a doctor in the house? Mike Pence unveils the White House's coronavirus taskforce amid growing crisis and Wall Street plunge - with just FOUR medical experts out of 15 chiefs (and one of them isn't even there) -- Daily Mail
US reports worrisome new coronavirus case as Trump urges calm -- Al Jazeera
Health workers dealing with Americans in coronavirus quarantine 'did not have proper training or protective gear and moved on and off military bases, interacting with public' -- Daily Mail
U.S. health secretary says at least 40 labs can currently test for coronavirus -- Reuters
Congress eyes billions in funding to fight coronavirus -- AP
Pence says virus poses low-level threat in U.S., working with Congress on spending bill -- Reuters
Pence taps career health official to coordinate White House coronavirus response -- The Hill
White House announces coronavirus 'coordinator' to lead response under Mike Pence -- SCMP/Politico
Trump names VP Pence to lead coronavirus response -- BBC
Exclusive: U.S. mulls using sweeping powers to ramp up production of coronavirus protective gear -- Reuters
Mask mania: US government is stockpiling 300 MILLION coronavirus face masks, stores sell out, eBay sees thousand-dollar listings and celebs cover-up - as experts warn paper masks will not offer protection -- Daily Mail
States ramp up virus preparations, try to reassure public -- AP
CDC declined to test new coronavirus patient for days, California hospital says -- The Hill

Covid-19 Outbreak In The Middle East -- News Updates February 27, 2020

Posted: 27 Feb 2020 05:16 PM PST



CNBC: WHO says coronavirus entered Iran 'undetected,' warns outbreak could be worse than is known

* The new coronavirus that is rapidly spreading around the world entered Iran, world health officials said Thursday, "unseen and undetected."
* The virus could be more widespread in the country than is currently known, said Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of the World Health Organization's emergencies program.
* "I suspect this has more to do with surveillance and detection of cases at this point," Ryan said.

The new coronavirus that is rapidly spreading around the world entered Iran "unseen and undetected," world health officials said.

Iran, which had just two cases a week ago, confirmed 245 infections as of Thursday morning, but the outbreak could be even more widespread in the country than is currently known, said Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of the World Health Organization's emergencies program.

"This disease came unseen and undetected into Iran, so the extent of infection may be broader than what we may be seeing," Ryan told reporters at a news conference at the agency's headquarters in Geneva on Thursday.

Read more ....

Covid-19 Outbreak In The Middle East -- News Updates February 27, 2020

Iran coronavirus death toll reaches 26, many Friday prayers canceled -- Reuters
Iran reports 245 novel coronavirus cases, 26 deaths -- TASS
Iran bans Chinese citizens from entering the country: IRNA -- Reuters
Kuwait has 43 confirmed cases of coronavirus: health ministry -- Reuters
Coronavirus: Saudi Arabia suspends entry for pilgrims visiting holy sites -- BBC
Saudi Arabia closes two holiest shrines to foreigners as coronavirus fears grow -- The Guardian
Saudi Arabia blocks foreign pilgrims as Japan plans school closure amid coronavirus outbreak -- ABC News Online
Saudi Arabia suspends pilgrimage entry visas over coronavirus fears -- France 24
Iraq reports first coronavirus case in Baghdad, sixth overall -- Reuters
Iraq closes public spaces as first coronavirus case hits capital -- AFP
Israel warns its citizens to avoid ALL international travel over coronavirus fears in unprecedented move -- Daily Mail
Virus response in Mideast tainted by political views of Iran -- AP

Covid-19 Outbreak In Asia -- News Updates February 27, 2020

Posted: 27 Feb 2020 05:10 PM PST



CGTN: S. Korea reports record spike of daily new COVID-19 cases, total at 1,766

South Korea on Thursday saw the largest jump of number of the confirmed coronavirus cases in one day since the outbreak began. A total of 505 new cases were reported on Thursday, bringing the total number to 1,766, according to Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

South Korea's total new case count reported Thursday has overtaken China's announcement today of 433 new cases.

A 75-year-old virus patient who is tied to the religious sect in Daegu died of respiratory failure earlier Thursday, bringing the nation's death toll to 13.

Read more ....

Covid-19 Outbreak In Asia -- News Updates February 27, 2020

Coronavirus: South Korea records 13th death; number of cases crosses 1,700 -- SCMP
500 new coronavirus cases in South Korea as total nears 1,800 -- UPI
New cases in South Korea exceed those in China as coronavirus sweeps the globe -- SCMP
Coronavirus: in South Korea, mounting anger, rumours over Shincheonji church as cases rise -- SCMP
South Korea's approach to coronavirus COVID-19 could be putting millions at risk and things could be worse if it spreads to the North -- ACBC News Online
South Korea struggles to contain coronavirus outbreak -- Al Jazeera
North Korea postpones school amid coronavirus outbreak -- UPI
Taiwan raises epidemic response level to highest amid COVID-19 concerns -- CNA
3 new COVID-19 cases in Singapore, including 12-year-old student from Raffles Institution: MOH -- CNA
PM Abe asks all of Japan schools to close over coronavirus -- Reuters
Japan orders nationwide shutdown of schools over coronavirus -- France 24
Tokyo Olympics may not have a plan to tackle coronavirus, man behind five winning bids warns, amid fears Games may have to be cancelled -- Daily Mail
Pakistan screens hundreds of people arriving from Iran for virus -- AFP

Covid-19 Outbreak In Europe -- News Updates February 27, 2020

Posted: 27 Feb 2020 05:00 PM PST



The Guardian: Cancelled events and falling markets as Europe confronts Covid-19

French president says 'we're only at the beginning' as effects of the coronavirus bite across the continent

The French president, Emmanuel Macron, warned on Thursday that France was on the brink of a coronavirus epidemic, as countries across Europe rushed to confront the escalating numbers of cases.

With new evidence of unexplained cases of transmission emerging in Spain, Germany and France, the mounting public health crisis on the continent forced the cancellation of public events from Geneva to Greece, including sporting events, carnivals and trade conventions amid further sharp stock market falls and disruption to European travel.

Read more ....

Covid-19 Outbreak In Europe -- News Updates February 27, 2020

Coronavirus cases surge to 400 in Italy -- BBC
Italian regional governor goes into isolation over coronavirus -- Al Jazeera
Italy plays down coronavirus risk as death toll rises, cases jump -- Reuters
Pope Francis cancels visit with Rome priests over 'slight' illness amid Italy coronavirus outbreak -- SCMP
Vatican closes Italy's catacombs due to coronavirus -- Reuters
Number of cases of coronavirus double in France, tally at 38 -- Reuters
France faces coronavirus 'epidemic', Macron warns -- France 24
Coronavirus: France braces for 'epidemic' as Switzerland, UK record new cases -- SCMP/Reuters
German states report total of 20 new coronavirus cases -- Reuters
First Dutch coronavirus infection confirmed: health authorities -- Reuters
First Northern Ireland coronavirus case brings UK total to 16 -- Reuters
As coronavirus takes hold, Greece worries about migrant camps -- Reuters
Swiss coronavirus cases rise to nine as children placed in precautionary quarantine -- Reuters
Russia to suspend train service between Moscow, Nice amid coronavirus outbreak -- TASS
Russia to suspend air service with Iran except Aeroflot flights -- TASS
Astonishing moment coronavirus patient who had been given the all-clear is dragged back into hospital by panicked health workers while being interviewed by local TV -- Daily Mail
Coronavirus lockdown on Canary Islands hotel leaves guests scared or bored -- ABC News Online
Coronavirus: UK schools and offices could close for up to two months -- The Guardian
Big European companies ban business travel as coronavirus outbreak escalates -- CNN
European Parliament considering virtual meetings, plenary due to virus -- Reuters
Coronavirus in Europe: epidemic or 'infodemic'? -- BBC
Europe's coronavirus outbreak is exposing -- and fueling -- its rifts -- Luke McGee, CNN

Covid-19 Outbreak In China -- News Updates February 27, 2020

Posted: 27 Feb 2020 04:45 PM PST



SCMP: China's coronavirus epidemic shows strengths, flaws of one country, one system

* The system allows Beijing to mobilise vast resources and take steps that would be unthinkable in the West
* But a critics say the top-down system encourages cover-ups and repeated missteps in the face of a crisis

Beijing has long said that the Chinese system of one-party rule and top-down decision-making has brought hundreds of millions of people out of poverty and is the most effective form of governance for the world's most populous country.

When faced with the brewing public health crisis brought on by the Covid-19 epidemic in the central Chinese city of Wuhan
at the end of 2019 that same system acted in ways unheard of under democratic forms of government.

They included the shutdown of a city of 11 million people, almost three times the population of Los Angeles, spread over an area five times the size of London. And that was just for starters.

Read more ....

Covid-19 Outbreak In China -- News Updates February 27, 2020

China Reports Rise in New Coronavirus Cases, Warns of Risk of Rebound -- US News and World Report
China city offers $1,400 reward for virus patients who report to authorities -- Reuters
China no longer world's 'greatest concern' amid coronavirus crisis, WHO says -- NYPost
14 PER CENT of coronavirus patients tested positive a SECOND time in one Chinese region, health official admits -- Daily Mail
Some discharged coronavirus patients in China test positive for second time: report -- FOX News
Former CCTV host says China should apologise to world for coronavirus 'mess' -- SCMP
Starbucks' CEO says 85% of stores in China are open -- Reuters
Tim Cook says he's 'optimistic China is getting coronavirus under control' and claims iPhone production is almost 'back to normal' as Apple reopens factories -- Daily Mail
US companies say the coronavirus outbreak could cut China revenues by 50% -- CNN

Covid-19 Outbreak Live Updates And Today's Report From The World Health Organization -- News Updates February 27, 2020

Posted: 27 Feb 2020 04:35 PM PST



Daily Mail: WHO director says countries must 'act aggressively now to contain coronavirus' and warns epidemics in Italy and Iran 'demonstrate what this virus is capable of'

* Dr Ghebreyesus told reporters of COVID-19's 'pandemic potential' in Geneva
* Comments come as global cases appear to overtake rate of Chinese infections
* President Emmanuel Macron said France, the world's most visited country, was preparing for a jump in coronavirus cases

The head of the World Health Organisation today told governments to 'act aggressively' to contain the global coronavirus crisis.

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the major virus outbreaks in Iran and Italy in recent days 'demonstrate what this virus is capable of'.

The global health chief warned that it would be a 'fatal mistake, quite literally' for other nations to assume they will not be affected by the outbreak.

Pointing to a decline in new cases in China, Tedros said: 'It's what's happening in the rest of the world that's now our greatest concern'.

Read more ....

LIVE UPDATES

Coronavirus live updates: China reports 44 additional deaths, Moody's warns about global recession -- CNBC
Today's coronavirus news at a glance -- The Guardian
Coronavirus: first case in Northern Ireland takes UK total to 16: LIVE -- The Guardian
Coronavirus updates: Cases in Italy jump 50% in one day -- DW
Iran VP infected; Saudi halts pilgrimage: All the latest updates -- Al Jazeera
Coronavirus: Which countries have confirmed cases? -- Al Jazeera

WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION

Coronavirus: Outbreak at 'decisive point' as WHO urges action -- BBC
WHO warns failure to prepare for coronavirus now 'could be a fatal mistake' -- CNBC
WHO warns no country will be spared, as fight against COVID-19 ramps up -- CNA/AFP
Fears of pandemic stoked as more countries confirm COVID-19 cases -- UPI
"Fatal mistake" for countries to assume they won't get coronavirus -WHO chief -- Reuters
Countries take harsh steps as they struggle to contain virus -- AP
Virus enigma: Experts ask why Africa seems to have few cases -- AFP
WHO chief: what rest of world can learn from China's fight against coronavirus -- SCMP

Russian State TV: Turkish Military Specialists Are Firing on Russian Planes in Syria's Idlib

Posted: 27 Feb 2020 03:37 PM PST


Haaretz/Reuters: Russian State TV: Turkish Army Is Firing on Russian Planes in Syria's Idlib

The assertion, aired during a report from Idlib on the Rossiya 24 channel, came as Turkish-backed rebels continue to make advances against the Syrian army

Russian state television said on Thursday Turkish military specialists in Syria's Idlib region were using shoulder-fired missiles to try to shoot down Russian and Syrian military aircraft.

The assertion, aired during a report from Idlib on the Rossiya 24 channel, came as Turkish and rebel officials said Syrian rebels, backed by the Turkish military, had seized the town of Nairab in Idlib.

"Their own and Russian planes are saving the lives of Syrian troops in a literal sense," said the Rossiya 24 report. "Syrian and Russian planes are stopping the rebels again and again. But the sky above Idlib is also dangerous. The rebels and Turkish specialists are actively using portable air defence systems."

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Turkey is denying these reports .... Media reports saying Turkey fired on Russian warplanes 'unreal' (TRT World).

Update: Russia has just sent a message to Turkey .... 22 Turkish soldiers confirmed killed in Idlib airstrike as Erdogan chairs emergency meeting on Syria (RT).

Update #2: Reports are now coming in that Turkey has launched artillery and air strikes against Syrian targets.



More News On Growing Russia - Turkey Tensions In Syria

Russia accuses Turkey of illegally sending strike drones into Syria's Idlib -- Reuters
Russia, Turkey on the verge of full scale war as both Putin and Erdogan refuse to budge -- Eurasian Times
Russia and Turkey's Conflict in Syria Escalates Amid New Troop Deaths -- Newsweek
Russian-Turkish meeting ends with no agreement, Syrian Army to resume southern Idlib offensive -- AMN
President Erdogan's options narrow as Russia presses Syrian crisis to Turkey's doorstep -- Reuters

Heavy Fighting Reported In Syria's Idlib Province

Posted: 27 Feb 2020 03:15 PM PST



Al Jazeera: Three Turkish soldiers killed as Syrian rebels regain key town

President Erdogan says developments in Idlib now in Ankara's favour as opposition regains northwestern town of Saraqeb.

Three Turkish soldiers have been killed in Syria's northwestern province of Idlib, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said, as Turkey-backed Syrian opposition fighters regained a key town during heavy fighting on Thursday.

Erdogan said developments were turning in Ankara's favour, three weeks after the armed opposition lost Saraqeb, a northwestern town at the crossroads of two main highways, to the Russian-backed Syrian government forces.

Hours after the seizure of Saraqeb, Syrian government forces launched a major counterattack.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Reports are now saying that dozens of Turkish soldiers were killed in an air strike today .... At least 34 Turkish soldiers killed in air strikes in Syria's Idlib: Syrian Observatory (Reuters).

More News On Today's Fighting In Syria's Idlib Province

Battle rages over strategic Syrian town of Saraqeb as humanitarian catastrophe unfolds -- Reuters
Syrian rebels retake key town in Idlib from Assad forces -- The Guardian
Syria rebels fight back but army makes more gains -- AFP
Syrian opposition fighters retake key town, cut highway -- AP
Syria rebels reenter key Idlib crossroads town: AFP -- AFP
Nine Turkish soldiers killed in air strike in Syria's Idlib: governor -- Reuters
Erdogan says three Turkish troops killed in Syria's Idlib -- TASS
Syrian rebels fight to hold onto key northern town -- Al Jazeera
Erdogan holds emergency Turkish meeting over Syria's Idlib: sources -- Reuters
U.N. hears plea from women in northwest Syria: 'We want the right to live' -- Reuters
Syrians trapped between fighting and closed border -- Al Jazeera
Syria's Idlib: A humanitarian disaster (Photo-Gallery) -- DW

Death Toll Rises To 38 In Religious Violence In India's Capital

Posted: 27 Feb 2020 03:16 PM PST



Reuters: Death toll rises to 32 in religious violence in India's capital

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - At least 32 people have been killed in the deadliest violence to engulf India's capital New Delhi for decades as a heavy deployment of security forces brought an uneasy calm on Thursday, a police official said.

The violence began over a disputed new citizenship law on Monday but led to clashes between Muslims and Hindus in which hundreds were injured. Many suffered gunshot wounds, while arson, looting and stone-throwing has also taken place.

"The death count is now at 32," Delhi police spokesman Anil Mittal said, adding the "entire area is peaceful now."

Read more ....

More News On the Growing Death Toll From Religious Violence In India's Capital

Indian capital hit by violence: All the latest updates -- Al Jazeera
Death toll from Delhi's worst riots in decades rises to 38 -- The Guardian
Tensions high in Delhi as death toll from riots rises to 38 -- AFP
Sporadic violence in Delhi as rioting death toll climbs -- France 24
At least 30 killed, 250+ wounded in Delhi riots over citizenship law as UN chief urges 'maximum restraint' -- RT
Delhi riots: Anger as judge critical of violence removed -- BBC
Indian Muslims fear for their lives after sectarian riots grip New Delhi -- DW
Deadly riots expose India's Hindu-Muslim divide -- AFP
New Delhi hit by worst violence in decades: What you need to know -- Al Jazeera

World News Briefs -- February 27, 2020

Posted: 27 Feb 2020 05:48 PM PST

Employees from a disinfection service company sanitize a shopping district in Seoul, South Korea, February 27, 2020. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji

Reuters: No country will be spared, warn experts, as fight against coronavirus ramps up

GENEVA/DUBAI (Reuters) - No country should make the "fatal mistake" of assuming it will be spared the coronavirus, the World Health Organization said on Thursday, as governments from Iran to Australia raced to contain the epidemic's rapid global spread.

With new infections reported around the world now surpassing those in mainland China, WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said even rich nations should prepare for surprises.

"No country should assume it won't get cases, that would be a fatal mistake, quite literally," Tedros said, pointing to Italy, where authorities said three more people had died, bringing the toll from Europe's worst outbreak of the illness to 17. Confirmed cases there rose to 650.

Read more ....

MIDDLE EAST

Syrian humanitarian catastrophe unfolds as fighting rages between Turkey, Syria and Russia.

Senior Hezbollah official killed in Israeli strike in Syria, reports say.

Saudi Arabia halts travel to Mecca, Medina over coronavirus. Amid virus, Saudis close Islam's holiest sites to foreigners.

Iraq parliament postpones confidence vote over quorum.

Lebanon economy: Gov't works towards emergency financial plan.

U.S. lifts sanctions against Israeli general over South Sudan arms.

Days before poll, Israel approves nearly 1,800 new settler homes: ministry.

ASIA

Hardest-hit China, South Korea count 938 new virus cases.

Some discharged coronavirus patients in China test positive for second time: report.

Afghan delegation to meet Taliban in Doha: government.

Uncertainty looms ahead of US-Taliban deal signing.

Cheney, House Republicans express 'serious concerns' with US-Taliban deal.

U.S., South Korea diplomats discussed North Korea, report says.

Malaysia's Mahathir says parliament will pick new PM.

AFRICA

AU to deploy troops to fight Sahel militants. African Union to deploy 3,000 troops in restive Sahel region.

Rocket fire hits Libyan capital's airport.

South Sudan struggles to unite armed forces under peace deal.

Congo latest victim of locust swarms: experts.

Tunisian parliament gives vote of confidence to coalition government.

G.Bissau candidate swears himself in as president despite vote row.

All you need to know about Guinea's contested polls.

Malawi legalises growing of cannabis.

EUROPE

Cancelled events and falling markets as Europe confronts Covid-19.

Russia announces date for referendum that could extend Putin's rule.

Britain says it could walk away from EU talks this summer.

UK to withdraw from European arrest warrant.

World's largest wealth fund, in Norway, earned 'historic' returns in 2019.

Greek islanders assail riot police in protests over migrant camps. Greek protests: Dozens hurt as island clashes intensify.

Zelensky's approval rating nosediving, poll indicates.

AMERICAS

Sanders rips Pence: His last response to an epidemic was to 'pray' it away.

Bloomberg releases new heart health information and calls on Sanders to do the same.

Poll: Americans' satisfaction with U.S. world standing at 17-year high.

US economy grew 2.3% in 2019, durable goods solid in January.

Dominican Republic turns back cruise ship amid virus fears.

Protest-hit Chile ponders rewriting Pinochet's constitution.

2019 saw violent crackdown on protesters across Americas: Amnesty.

Gunman kills 5 at Milwaukee brewery before taking own life.

Canada to stop paying Harry and Meghan's security.

TERRORISM/THE LONG WAR

Trump administration blacklists Iraqi militia leader.

US warns of attack threat against major hotel in Nairobi.

ISIS loses more than half its fighters from US airstrikes and Taliban ground operations.

ECONOMY/FINANCE/BUSINESS

Global stock markets suffer sixth day of losses.

Coronavirus outbreak hits arts and entertainment industries.

Some American companies are seeking to cut their reliance on China as coronavirus outbreak disrupts production, crimps revenue.

Coronavirus: China, Japan, South Korea supply chains under threat from 'second wave' of disruptions.

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- February 27, 2020

Posted: 27 Feb 2020 11:17 AM PST



Reuters: South Korea and U.S. indefinitely postpone joint military drills over coronavirus

SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korea and the United States will postpone joint military drills until further notice, defense officials in Seoul said on Thursday, amid a growing coronavirus outbreak in South Korea that has now infected soldiers from both countries.

The U.S. military reported its first case of the coronavirus on Wednesday, in a 23-year-old soldier based in Camp Carroll, about 20 km (12 miles) from Daegu, where most of the country's 1,595 cases have been reported.

The South Korean military has also reported a number of infections, and has confined most troops to their bases.

Read more ....

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- February 27, 2020

South Korea, US postpone annual military drills due to virus -- Military Times/AP

US-South Korean combined military drill postponed over coronavirus outbreak -- CNN

Here is what the US military is doing to defend troops from the coronavirus In Korea and elsewhere -- Business Insider

Coronavirus threat hangs over Europe's military exercises -- Euractiv

Pentagon dismisses Syria re-engagement amid Idlib showdown -- Al-Monitor

Raytheon nets $15M to support small diameter bomb II -- UPI

Active protection fielding for Bradley vehicle uncertain after tech problems, budget cuts -- Defense News

Top US commander in Europe says Russia's subs are getting busier, as Trump cuts sub-hunting planes from the Pentagon budget -- Business Insider

US Navy resumes training Saudis after base attack -- AFP

Top Marine Orders Confederate Paraphernalia to Be Removed from All Bases -- Military.com

1,000 Army recruits made history by taking an oath of enlistment from an astronaut in space -- CNN

Pentagon policy chief's firing was part of White House purge -- Politico

Navy head: Cutting shipbuilding for nukes, Trump border wall 'not helpful' -- The Hill

Despite Reducing Appetites US Navy Can't Get Its Growth Plans Signed by Esper – Report -- Sputnik

Surveillance fight emerges as intelligence flashpoint -- The Hill

Trump shakes up Justice Department, intelligence community -- The Hill

Storm clouds brewing over Pentagon use of Guard, shipbuilding and F-35 funds to pay for more border wall -- Washington Examiner

Esper pitches $705B budget to go toe-to-toe with China, Russia amid possible clash with Congress over border wall -- Stars & Stripes

Sinai mission, crisis response forces and numerous outdated tasks potentially on chopping block -- Military Times

State department approves $325.5M arms deal with Tunisia -- UPI

Pentagon to Hold Top-Secret Talks Next Week on 'Sino-Russian Alignment' -- Sputnik

Here's what Esper's AFRICOM review has decided so far -- Defense News

"All hell breaking loose": How the Pentagon is planning for climate change -- VOX

Watchdog rebukes MoD over £3bn military budget overspend -- The Guardian

British prime minister sets deadline for defense, foreign policy review -- Defense News

Russia's Military Rolls Out New 'Cruise Missile Killer' Weapons System -- Newsweek

Russia successfully test fires Tsirkon hypersonic cruise missile -- UPI

China to Present Modified Version of Y-20 Aircraft Soon - Senior Military Official -- Sputnik

Duterte says Philippines can survive without American military help -- Military Times/AP

Israeli firm sells over 150 drones to European country -- Defense News

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