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Friday, March 20, 2020

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

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

Billions Lack Basic Protection Against The Covid-19 Coronavirus Pandemic

Posted: 19 Mar 2020 10:22 PM PDT

Experts warn that up to 3 billion people lack access to soap and clean water -- vital safeguards against the coronavirus AFP/File

RFI/AFP: No soap, no water: billions lack basic protection against virus

As nations around the world fight the coronavirus pandemic with mass lockdowns and travel bans, UN experts warn that some three billion people lack even the most basic weapons to protect themselves: soap and running water.

The outbreak has infected some 200,000 people and killed 9,000, scorching through populations across the globe after emerging in China late last year.

While Europe has become the centre of the battle against the virus, closing borders and sequestering millions of people in their homes, concerns are rising for developing nations with fragile healthcare systems.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: In the West we wonder if we have enough ventilators, testing kits, masks and gloves to face the Covid-19 pandemic. The rest of the world wonders if they have clean water and enough soap.

Picture Of The Day

Posted: 19 Mar 2020 10:08 PM PDT

Times Square in Manhattan, March 18. REUTERS/Jeenah Moon

WNU Editor: The above picture came from this photo-gallery .... Empty streets of New York City (Reuters).

How Are Russians Coping With The Covid-19 Coronavirus Pandemic?

Posted: 19 Mar 2020 10:02 PM PDT

Alexander Ryumin / TASS

Ilya Klishin, Moscow Times: Buckwheat and the Coronavirus: How Russians Cope With the End of the World

Although Putin stressed in his speech that there was no need to waste money stocking up on food, throngs of anxious Muscovites continued ravaging supermarkets, snatching up astronomical quantities of toilet paper and, inexplicably, buckwheat.

On March 17, President Vladimir Putin addressed the nation for the first time about the coronavirus. In short, he said everything was under control. He added that, "like in a large, friendly family" the Russian people would overcome all difficulties with the aid of discipline.

His words had no effect on shoppers, who stripped Moscow supermarkets of supplies. Official data puts the number of infected people at over 100, while posts are multiplying on social networks that put the figure far higher and report that people with symptoms have been sent home to "drink tea" without ever having been tested for the virus.

Muscovites are growing increasingly frustrated over reports — such as one that appeared in Vedomosti newspaper — that officials will soon impose a curfew, close the metro and ban travel in and out of the city. Meanwhile, Russia's provinces remain calm and unruffled, seemingly immune to social distancing and quarantine. But when grandparents in the countryside invite their grandkids in the capital to wait out the coronavirus with them, the young people refuse, preferring to "tough it out" with all the conveniences.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Russians have seen worse, and in regards to the Covid-19 Coronavirus pandemic, they are expecting rough and difficult times. That is why I am not surprised to hear of panic buying in Russia. Everyone is stockpiling what they can, because they see the storm coming. But I also know that during these times people are banding together, because deep inside every Russian they know that in a crisis being unified is the best way to survive.

Speaking of hard times. Earlier today I had a good talk with my cousins and their kids in Moscow. The kids now run the family business (real estate), and they are nervous on what to do next. My advice to them was simple. The key is to remain calm, keep self control, do not panic, be safe and healthy, stay happy, stay positive, be active, do all the right things, and stay productive. This is just another episode in life where the times are difficult and tough, but in the end this will all pass, and by doing all the right things today will in the future bring rewards and contacts that you never thought was possible.

As to the above Moscow Times focus on buckwheat (its called kasha in Russian), it is true, it is a staple that every Russian must have during rough times. I should now, I have 8 packages of the stuff in my chalet right now (the picture below is my favourite brand).

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- March 19, 2020

Posted: 19 Mar 2020 08:55 PM PDT

Medical staff in protective gear work at a 'drive-thru' testing center for the novel coronavirus disease of COVID-19 in Yeungnam University Medical Center in Daegu, South Korea, March 3, 2020. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

Chad Terhune, Dan Levine, Hyunjoo Jin, Jane Lanhee Lee, Reuters: Special Report: How Korea trounced U.S. in race to test people for coronavirus

SEOUL - In late January, South Korean health officials summoned representatives from more than 20 medical companies from their lunar New Year celebrations to a conference room tucked inside Seoul's busy train station.

One of the country's top infectious disease officials delivered an urgent message: South Korea needed an effective test immediately to detect the novel coronavirus, then running rampant in China. He promised the companies swift regulatory approval.

Though there were only four known cases in South Korea at that point, "we were very nervous. We believed that it could develop into a pandemic," one attendee, Lee Sang-won, an infectious diseases expert at the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told Reuters.

"We acted like an army," he said.

Read more ....

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- March 19, 2020

Answering Questions About COVID-19 -- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Italy's coronavirus disaster: At first, officials urged people to go out for an aperitif. Now, doctors must choose who dies -- Linton Besser, ABC News Online

As world cowers, China glimpses coronavirus aftermath -- AFP

Coronavirus rocks already strained ties between US and China -- Matthew Lee, AP

The Coronavirus Is Expediting Middle East Outcomes -- Jay Mens, National Interest

Ravaged by war, Middle Eastern countries face a new scourge -- Isabel Debre, AP

What Australia could learn from China's response to coronavirus COVID-19 -- Christina Zhou and Bang Xiao

Coronavirus has reached India, but I feel safer here than I might back home in Australia -- James Oaten in New Delhi, ABC News Online

Hello from Italy. Your future is grimmer than you think -- Ida Garibaldi, The Washington Post

I'm a Doctor in Britain. We're Heading Into the Abyss. -- DNYUZ

How long will Americans be fighting the coronavirus? -- Christina Larsopn and Michelle R. Smith, AP

COVID-19 Affects National Security in Novel Ways -- John McLaughlin, OZY

We Are About to Find Out How Robust Civilization Is -- Matt Ridley, Spectator

In Mexico, a cartel is taking over: Jalisco New Generation -- Mark Stevenson, AP

Who will cave first in Saudi-Russia oil price war? -- Tim Daiss, Asia Times

California's Governor Tells President Trump That 25.5 Million People. Or Half Of Its Population, Are Projected To Get The Covid-19 Coronavirus Over The Next Eight Weeks

Posted: 19 Mar 2020 08:24 PM PDT

CNBC: California governor issues statewide order to 'stay at home' effective Thursday evening

* California Governor Gavin Newsom on Thursday issued a statewide order for all residents to 'stay at home' amid a coronavirus outbreak.

California Governor Gavin Newsom on Thursday issued a statewide order for all residents to 'stay at home' amid a coronavirus outbreak.

"We need to bend the curve in the state of California," Governor Gavin Newsom said, as he announced a statewide order for Californians to stay home. "There's a social contract here, people I think recognize the need to do more. They will adjust and adapt as they have."

Newsom added: "Home isolation is not my preferred choice…but it is a necessary one. This is not a permanent state, it is a moment in time."

The stay home order is in place till further notice.

Read more ....

Update #1: Newsom: More than half of California could contract coronavirus with no mitigation (Politico)
Update #2: Coronavirus: Newsom says 56% of Californians are expected to be infected with COVID-19, ask Trump to send hospital ship (KABC)
Update #3: California projects 56 percent of population will be infected with coronavirus over 8-week period (The Hill)

WNU Editor: This is going to be a rough 8 weeks.

Islamist Militants Kill 29 Malian Soldiers In A Surprise Attack

Posted: 19 Mar 2020 06:48 PM PDT

© AP Photo / Jerome Delay

France 24: Dozens of Malian soldiers killed in suspected jihadist attack

Suspected Islamist militants killed 29 Malian soldiers on Thursday in an attack on a base in the country's northeast, the army said.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack in the town of Tarkint, which is about 125 km (78 miles) north of the city of Gao. Mali's army has repeatedly suffered heavy casualties from jihadist fighters active in the area with links to al Qaeda and Islamic State.

The army said earlier in the day that just two soldiers had died but tweeted later that the death toll had "heavily evolved" to 29 killed and five wounded.

Vast swathes of central and northern Mali are effectively lawless, used by the jihadists as a base for attacks in Mali and into neighbouring Niger and Burkina Faso, where security has deteriorated markedly over the past year.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Central and northern Mali are effectively lawless. This attack has been one of many.

More News On Islamist Militants Kill 29 Malian Soldiers In A Surprise Attack

Militant attack kills 29 Malian soldiers - army -- Reuters
Attack on army camp in Mali leaves 29 dead -- Anadolu Agency
29 soldiers killed in attack on army post in northern Mali -- Washington Post
About 30 Malian Servicemen Killed in Terrorist Attack in Country's Northeast -- Sputnik

Italy's Death Toll From The Covid-19 Coronavirus Pandemic Has Now Passed China's

Posted: 19 Mar 2020 06:16 PM PDT

Italy has now overtaken China as the country with the most coronavirus deaths after suffering 427 more fatalities, taking the total number to 3,405

Daily Mail: Italy overtakes China as the country with the most coronavirus deaths with 3,405 dead after a rise of 427

* Latest figures have squashed hopes that unprecedented national lockdown was slowing spread of pathogen
* The death toll in China, where the coronavirus started in Wuhan, currently stands at 3,249
* It comes after military trucks deployed across nation to transport scores of victims' coffins to be cremated
* Mortuaries are full and crematorium staff have been handling 24 bodies a day, officials in Bergamo have said

Italy has now overtaken China as the country with the most coronavirus deaths after suffering 427 more fatalities, taking the total number to 3,405.

Both the death toll and number of confirmed cases shot up again today and the nation has now recorded 41,035 infections, more than half of the world's positive cases.

Yesterday, Italy recorded the highest one-day official coronavirus death toll of any country with 475 deaths in just 24 hours.

The latest figures have squashed hopes that the unprecedented national lockdown was helping to slow the spread of the pathogen.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: My girlfriend's relatives in Italy are telling her to not trust the government's numbers. They are comparing the obituary pages that have exploded in the past two weeks to government announcements on how many people have died from the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic, and there is no correlation. But what is even more frightening to me is what the above graph is showing .... that the exponential death rate in Italy is not even close to levelling off. And as for those Chinese numbers that everyone likes to quote. Do not trust them. I would not be surprised if years from now we learn that the numbers are 10x the official number, if not worse.

Update: I am not surprised .... 'We're Not Counting Bodies Anymore,' Says Nurse in Italy (Epoch Times).

Update #2: And I am not surprised that they are going to extend the lock-down .... Italy passes China's coronavirus death toll, prepares to extend lockdown (Reuters).

More News On Italy's Death Toll From The Covid-19 Coronavirus Passing China's

Italian death toll overtakes China's as virus spreads -- AP
Rich nations pump aid into battered economy as coronavirus deaths in Italy overtake China -- Reuters
Coronavirus death toll in Italy overtakes China's after rising to 3,405 -- France 24
Coronavirus: Italy's death toll overtakes China's -- BBC
Italy's death toll from the coronavirus overtakes China's -- CNBC
Italy becomes country with most coronavirus deaths -- The Guardian
Italy surpasses China in number of coronavirus deaths -- CNN
Thousands of medical staff infected with coronavirus in Italy -- The Al Jazeera
Scientists say mass tests in Italian town have halted Covid-19 there -- The Guardian
Italy's military deployed to transport bodies of those killed by coronavirus outbreak -- FOX News
'A generation has died': Italian province struggles to bury its coronavirus dead -- The Generation
Southern Italy braces for 'tsunami' of coronavirus cases -- The Guardian

Belgium Becomes The Fourth Country In Europe Under Complete 'Lock-Down'

Posted: 19 Mar 2020 03:17 PM PDT

Euronews: Coronavirus: Which countries are under lockdown, and who's next?

Four European Union member states have imposed lockdowns to combat the spread of the potentially deadly COVID-19 virus while travellers hoping to get into the bloc are being turned away.

Belgium became the latest EU country to introduce a lockdown on Wednesday, joining France, Italy and Spain.

At least 3,426 people across the EU and the UK have died from the disease and the continent has now been dubbed the "epicentre of the epidemic" by the World Health Organisation.

Italy has been particularly affected, accounting for more than 70% of the bloc's fatalities, and is now on track to surpass China's own deadly toll.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Belgium joins France, Italy and Spain. Here are two easy predictions. Other EU countries are going to join this lock-down, and the existing four will be extending their"lock-downs". The first country that will be extending its lock-down will be France .... France may extend lockdown as 'idiots' flout rules (AFP).

Expect A Major Crisis In Drug Shortages In The Coming Months

Posted: 19 Mar 2020 11:56 AM PDT

Jacob Heilbrunn, National Interest: The Next Coronavirus Nightmare: There's a Drug Shortage on the Horizon

Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, weighs in on how to tackle the coronavirus pandemic and what the future holds for those Americans who haven't been infected by the virus.

Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. He is a contributor to CNBC and serves on the board of a number of health technology and biotech companies.

Heilbrunn: Are there any existing drugs that you think could help address this crisis in the near term?

Gottlieb: When it comes to therapeutics, it's a three-pronged strategy. The first is to develop a vaccine. That's probably two years away. I think we have to be realistic and understand that it's probably two years until we can get a vaccine. Maybe longer. We've never developed a vaccine to a coronavirus, there are certain things we don't fully understand. There is a certain complexity involved in the kinds of vaccine platforms that we are trying to use now. It's a very novel technology.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The supply chains are completely crippled. It will take months before they are properly restored, if not longer. What that means is that in the coming months expect major shortages to arise, and many people are going to suffer because of it. This should make everyone furious. The politicians and business leaders who permitted a situation that resulted in China being the critical manufacturer for most of our drugs and vitamins, a country that is also now threatening us, should be punished .... China Warns It Could Impose Pharmaceutical Export Controls To The U.S. (March 14, 2020). I am fortunate that I am not on any medication. I have stocked up on vitamins and Tylenol/flu medication/etc., and it should last for a long time. But if I or my loved ones find ourselves with a medical issue that may require medication, the prospect that such care may be unavailable is beyond maddening.

Global Recession In 2020 Now Seen As Guaranteed

Posted: 19 Mar 2020 11:36 AM PDT

A customer pushes her trolley next to empty shelves at a Sainsbury's store in Harpenden as the spread of the coronavirus disease continues, in Harpenden, Britain. REUTERS/Peter Cziborra

SCMP: Coronavirus: global recession in 2020 now seen as guaranteed as outbreak ravages Europe, US

* Hope for rapid global economic recovery has faded, with some analysts predicting the downturn may last until next year
* Escalation of containment measures in Europe and the US, along with weak Chinese economic data, are seen as tipping points in the outlook for the economy

A global economic recession is now all but guaranteed in 2020, with analysts worldwide continuing to slash their already grim forecasts as the rapid spread of the coronavirus pandemic outside China results in unprecedented containment measures and a rising number of businesses in danger of bankruptcy.

The moves by central banks around the world to cut their interest rates to record lows and by governments to pump huge amounts of money into their economies – including the new proposal in the United States to spend around US$1 trillion to bail out troubled businesses and provide a cash handout to every American – have come too late, according to analysts.

The question now becomes how deep the downturn will be, and how long it will last, with worst-case scenarios seeing weak growth continuing into 2021.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: It all comes down to how long will this pandemic last, and its impact on those who are most vulnerable to it. With almost every infectious disease expert now saying that this will probably last 18 months, I shudder to see how most businesses will survive. We are not facing a recession. We are facing the possibility of a 2 -3 year depression where many people will not be able to work because of the risks of being infected.

U.S. Goverment Is Anticipating The Covid-19 Coronavirus Pandemic Will Last 18 Months Or More

Posted: 19 Mar 2020 11:07 AM PDT

A 100-page document, issued Friday as Donald Trump (pictured) announced a state of emergency, says Washington should close schools and cancel public events to curb the spread of the virus

New York Times: U.S. Virus Plan Anticipates 18-Month Pandemic and Widespread Shortages

WASHINGTON — A federal government plan to combat the coronavirus warned policymakers last week that a pandemic "will last 18 months or longer" and could include "multiple waves," resulting in widespread shortages that would strain consumers and the nation's health care system.

The 100-page plan, dated Friday, the same day President Trump declared a national emergency, laid out a grim prognosis for the spread of the virus and outlined a response that would activate agencies across the government and potentially employ special presidential powers to mobilize the private sector.

Read more ....

Update: Coronavirus pandemic will last 18 months or more, could come in several waves and cause a critical shortage of medical supplies, 100-page federal plan warns (Daily Mail).

WNU Editor: This 100-page plan, and it is a very sober read on what the US government is expecting, is here .... U.S.Government COVID-19 Response Plan (US Department of Health and Human Services).

Update #2: I disagree with the title of this story .... Secret recording captures GOP Sen. Burr issuing a dire warning about coronavirus to a private club, while publicly conservatives and Trump downplayed the threat (Business Insider). President Trump was one of the first to impose travel and border restrictions in February much to the opposition of many in Washington, foreign governments, and the media. If that is not taking this crisis seriously, I do not know what is. But I do agree with this Business Insider's analysis that until last week the message and efforts from the White House on trying to reassure US citizens that the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic can be properly handled was a disaster. Fortunately, the White House has made up for it since then. There is no illusion on what we are all facing now.

Hat tip to Robert for the Business Insider story.

Videos For Today

Posted: 19 Mar 2020 08:36 AM PDT

Tweets For Today

Posted: 19 Mar 2020 07:30 AM PDT

World ‘Must Never Forget The Deadly Coronavirus Cover-Up’ By China's Communist Government

Posted: 19 Mar 2020 07:19 AM PDT

WNU Editor: The Chinese are trying very hard to change the narrative, even blaming the US Army for this disaster .... China Accuses The U.S. For Starting The Covid-19 Coronavirus Pandemic (March 12, 2020). My prediction. The Chinese government is going to fail, especially as the human and economic costs of this pandemic mount.

China Hits Back On U.S. Moves To Bring The Medical Supply Chain Back To The U.S.

Posted: 19 Mar 2020 06:54 AM PDT

WNU Editor: My brother works with a number of pharmaceutical companies, and he told me last week that even if the Chinese offer to make the basic ingredients for much of our drugs/supplments/and vitamins for free, all the major US and European pharmaceutical companies are going to diversify out of China to other countries as well returning to the US. As he told me bluntly. They are done with China.

Picture Of The Day

Posted: 19 Mar 2020 06:42 AM PDT

A pedestrian walks on Wall St., as concerns about coronavirus disease keep more people at home, in front of the New York Stock Exchange. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

WNU Editor: The above picture is form this photo-gallery .... Top Photos of the Day (Reuters).

It's Been An Interesting Few Days

Posted: 19 Mar 2020 06:18 AM PDT

WNU Editor: I would think that by hiding out in my chalet since Monday that I would be left alone. That has not happened. People that I have not talked to for a very long time are calling me. And as for family. My brother and I talk every day for an hour or two. That also includes my cousins in Russia and Ukraine, as well as some of their kids who now run the family business who want my advice .... correction .... need my advice and direction. And then there are all of my contacts and friends around the world, who now have the time to talk and socialize. Needless to say that this has been counter-productive on posting news and commentary for this blog, but personally it has been a great and healthy experience. Then there are all of you who read and follow this blog. Your personal messages are appreciated, and I hope and pray that all of you are OK and staying healthy.

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