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Saturday, March 21, 2020

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

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

The U.S. Economy Continues To Crash

Posted: 20 Mar 2020 09:51 PM PDT

Washington Post: U.S. economy deteriorating faster than anticipated as 80 million Americans forced to stay at home

The U.S. economy is deteriorating more quickly than was expected just days ago, as extraordinary measures designed to curb the coronavirus keep 84 million Americans penned in their homes and cause the near-total shutdown of most businesses.

In a single 24-hour period, the governors of three of the largest states - California, New York and Illinois - ordered residents to stay home, except to buy food and medicine, while the governor of Pennsylvania ordered the closure of nonessential businesses. Across the globe, health officials are struggling to cope with the growing number of patients, with the World Health Organization noting that while it required three months to reach 100,000 cases, it took only 12 days to hit another 100,000.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: I have just started thinking on what would be the impact on the U.S. economy from this pandemic, and what I am finding out makes me realize that we are all facing a disaster that is truly going to rock the U.S. and global economy. Case in point .... the impact of Covid-19 on U.S. union/municipal/and state pension funds after this market crash has now put these funds in a position where they will not be able meet their obligations and commitments. The prospect of millions of retired Americans having their pensions cut .... I can imagine the backlash. And as for everything else. The collapse of oil markets and OPEC. The destruction of global supply chains. Massive and unprecedented government deficits. A massive cut in global GDP.  I can easily see us entering an era of double digit inflation, double digit unemployment, and the extinction of the American middle class as we know it. In the future, when historians look back on what happened in March of 2020. They will say it was the greatest financial disaster in world history. More global wealth was lost in that month than at any time in human history. Think about that.

The U.S. Intelligence Community Was Not Ready For A Pandemic

Posted: 20 Mar 2020 08:44 PM PDT

The lobby of the CIA Headquarters Building in Langley, Virginia, U.S. on August 14, 2008. Larry Downing/Reuters

Time: Spies Working From Home: How Coronavirus Is Impacting U.S. Intelligence Networks Across the World

In a foreign capital recently, an American spy was facing an unexpected dilemma: how to cancel a clandestine first meeting with a promising new recruit? People were not leaving their homes, so the usually crowded shops, bars, buses, parks, and restaurants were empty, and there was no longer a place to meet without arousing suspicion.

While the coronavirus is exacting a far larger toll on people around the world who are losing income, jobs and even their lives to the pandemic, it also poses an unprecedented problem for intelligence case officers stationed around the world whose job it is to meet the agents they're recruiting or running without being noticed or risking their own, their contacts', and their contacts' families' liberty and lives. The pandemic has slowed the pace of America's adversaries' spy networks, as well, as they too have turned their attention to combating the virus, U.S. officials say.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: As much as the US intel community likes to boast that they were aware of this pandemic in January and were warning top officials .... U.S. Intelligence Community Says They Warned About This Coronavirus Outbreak In January, the fact is that it looks like they were completely unprepared on what impact this would have on their operations. The last sentence of this Time report sums it up perfectly ....

.... "I suppose you could call it ironic," a third U.S. official said with a shrug this week. "But the institutions that are charged with preparing the country for possible threats were poorly prepared for this one."

U.S. Intelligence Community Says They Warned About This Coronavirus Outbreak In January

Posted: 20 Mar 2020 08:36 PM PDT

Washington Post: Intelligence officials' early alarms about possible pandemic went unheeded

WASHINGTON - U.S. intelligence agencies were issuing ominous, classified warnings in January and February about the global danger posed by the coronavirus while President Donald Trump and lawmakers played down the threat and failed to take action that might have slowed the spread of the pathogen, according to U.S. officials familiar with spy agency reporting.

The intelligence reports didn't predict when the virus might land on U.S. shores or recommend particular steps that public health officials should take, issues outside the purview of the intelligence agencies. But they did track the spread of the virus in China, and later in other countries, and warned that Chinese officials appeared to be minimizing the severity of the outbreak.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The US intel community wants to look good, but I am not impressed. Many non-intel sources were raising concerns on what was happening in China in January. This blog's first post on what was happening in China was on January 20 .... Deadly Coronavirus From China Has Global Health Officials On Alert, and was then followed with daily posts for two weeks under the hash-tag Wuhan Coronavirus, that was then followed by the hash-tag Covid-19 when the official name was designated for this pandemic.

As The Covid-19 Pandemic Spreads, The U.S. Military Preparing For 'Worst-Case Scenario' In Europe

Posted: 20 Mar 2020 08:03 PM PDT

Air Force Lt. Col. Carla M. Gleason moderates a VTC press conference with Air Force Gen. Tod D. Wolters, NATO's Supreme Allied Commander Europe, to discuss the command's efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic at the Pentagon, Washington D.C., March 20, 2020. (DoD/Army Staff Sgt. Nicole Mejia)

Washington Times: U.S. military preparing for 'worst-case scenario' in Europe

U.S. troops in Europe are preparing for the "worst-case scenario" as the coronavirus spreads across the continent, military leaders said Friday.

Gen. Tod D. Wolters, commander of U.S. European Command, said there are about 35 reported cases among American military personnel stationed in Europe.

But with the virus spreading quickly across the region and with countries such as Italy, France, Spain and others facing grave situations, the outlook for U.S. forces could deteriorate rapidly.

Read more ....

More News On the U.S. Military Preparing For A 'Worst-Case Scenario' In Europe

EUCOM, NATO Planning for Worst-Case Scenarios amid Outbreak, Commander Says --
Coronavirus forces Pentagon to cut back European military exercises -- Yahoo News
EUCOM Trying to Maintain Readiness Despite Exercise Cancellations -- Air Force Magazine
Coronavirus concerns send 2,600 U.S. military personnel into self-isolation in Europe -- Reuters
US European Command reports 2,600 troops 'of concern' and 35 coronavirus cases -- Washington Examiner

The Growing U.S. Military Role In Responding To The Covid-19 Coronavirus Pandemic

Posted: 20 Mar 2020 07:49 PM PDT

A military health worker at a drive-through coronavirus testing center on Staten Island. Defense officials opened up a range of military capabilities this week. Photo: mike segar/Reuters

Wall Street Journal: Military Role Widens in Pandemic Response

Officials are preparing for engineering, medical, logistics missions, including makeshift hospitals.

WASHINGTON—The U.S. military said Friday it is preparing plans to take over hotels and other buildings if necessary to add to the nation's supply of hospital rooms, part of its response to the coronavirus emergency.

Pentagon officials detailed the plans as they opened up the range of military capabilities and forces this week, with preparations for deploying thousands of National Guard troops, providing hospital ships and ferrying medical equipment.

The head of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers outlined plans for taking over as many as 10,000 hotel rooms, college dormitories and other spaces in New York to provide medical services to accommodate the exponential increase of virus-related hospitalizations.

Based on a request from state officials and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, which is coordinating the crisis response for the White House, the Corps would forge contracts with hotels, colleges and possibly sports arenas—all of which are largely empty anyway—to begin to transform them into medical facilities, Lt. Gen. Todd Semonite said.

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WNU Editor: Of course the U.S. military will not rescue the US from the Covid-19 pandemic .... The Military Alone Can't Rescue the US From Coronavirus (Foreign Policy). But they are a tremendous resource that is going to help a lot of people during this difficult time.

More News On The Growing U.S. Military Role In Responding To The Covid-19 Coronavirus Pandemic

Army Employs All-Out Effort to Combat COVID-19 -- US Department of Defense
The U.S. Military Is on the Frontlines in the Battle Against the Coronavirus -- Popular Mechanics
US military says it is working to convert buildings into hospitals in three or four weeks -- CNN
With coronavirus spreading, the US military is dealing with a social-distancing problem -- Business Insider
How the US Military Should—and Shouldn't—Be Used to Defeat Coronavirus -- Steven Bucci, Daily Signal

Confirmed Cases Of Covid-19 Coronavirus In The U.S. Exploding

Posted: 20 Mar 2020 03:27 PM PDT

Daily Mail: Coronavirus graphs that break down impact of killer disease across America: Death toll climbs past 200 while number of people testing positive increases from 1285 to more than 14,000 in seven days

* Millions of Americans' lives have been upended by measures to curb coronavirus
* Normally bustling cities and towns are left deserted as workers stay home
* Those who do venture out are providing essential services to the United States
* With the death toll and confirmed cases on the rise breaks down the figures and looks at how the virus has spread across our nation

In just a few short weeks millions of Americans have seen their lives upended by measures to curb the spread of coronavirus.

Normally bustling cities and towns have been left deserted as workers stay home and schools are closed, perhaps for the rest of the academic year.

Those who do venture out are providing essential services to the rest of the country.

Restaurants and bars sit empty as more and more convert to delivery-only options as the strain of the virus continues to send shockwaves through the economy.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: According to John Hopkins, there are currently 18,563 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the U.S. right now.

China Is Claiming That They Have Had No New Covid-19 Coronavirus Cases For A Second Day In A Row. Are They Lying?

Posted: 20 Mar 2020 02:30 PM PDT

Image: Medical workers from outside Wuhan pose for pictures with a Chinese Communist Party flag at the Wuhan Railway Station before leaving the epicentre of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Hubei province, China March 17, 2020. Picture taken March 17, 2020. REUTERS/Stringer CHINA OUT.

National Interest: Are China's Coronavirus Numbers Totally Bogus?

Over four months since the coronavirus began in China, the National Health Commission has announced for the second time that there are no new local cases in the country.

The pandemic of the coronavirus that has been pushing healthcare systems in the western world to their breaking point originated in the Wuhan province of China last fall. The medical consensus is that the virus was created in the bushmeat markets, where exotic animals are kept in filthy conditions and bacteria come into regular contact with people.

Over four months since the coronavirus began in China, the National Health Commission has announced for the second time that there are no new local cases in the country. Thirty-nine cases were added to the national total, although these were labeled "new imported confirmed cases." The perception remains that the East has come through the worst of the pandemic, and the epicenter of the disease is now Europe.

Read more ....

Update #1: China's new imported coronavirus cases at record; no domestic transfers for second day (Reuters)
Update #2: China reports no new coronavirus cases for second day in a row (The Hill)

WNU Editor: All that I can say is that all of my contacts in China are always skeptical on what the Beijing is saying, and some of them are former and current officials of that government. If they do not believe in what their government is saying, why should we?

China's Chief Medical Advisor Conitnues To Deny That The Covid-19 Coronavirus Originated In His Country

Posted: 20 Mar 2020 02:03 PM PDT

Epidemiologist Zhong Nanshan, 83, said at a press conference yesterday that no evidence suggested the virus originated in Wuhan. 'The epidemic of the novel coronavirus pneumonia indeed took place in China, in Wuhan… but it does not mean its source is in Wuhan,' he said

Daily Mail: China's chief medical advisor DENIES the coronavirus originates in Wuhan as he blasts the claim as 'irresponsible'

* Epidemiologist Dr Zhong Nanshan rebuked the widely held belief yesterday
* 'It is irresponsible to conclude lightly before [the matter] is clarified,' he said
* His statement came as cases are falling rapidly in China but soaring globally
* A Beijing's spokesperson suggested the virus was brought to Wuhan by the US

Beijing's top coronavirus expert has denied that the bug originated in Wuhan and slammed such claim as 'irresponsible'.

'The epidemic of the novel coronavirus pneumonia indeed took place in China, in Wuhan… but it does not mean its source is in Wuhan,' said Dr Zhong Nanshan, the leader of a team of experts appointed by China to tackle the health crisis.

With cases falling rapidly in China and soaring abroad, Beijing is now rejecting the widely held assessment that the city of Wuhan is the birthplace of the outbreak.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The Chinese government's medical experts are still pushing the narrative that the virus was developed elsewhere and brought to China, while the Chinese foreign office is pushing the narrative that it was deliberately brought into the country by the U.S. .... China Accuses The U.S. For Starting The Covid-19 Coronavirus Pandemic (March 12, 2020). To say that pushing these claims are destructive is an understatement. These claims are also infuriating in view of the Chinese government's rush to punish the doctors who first warned about this outbreak at the end of December, 2019, followed by deliberately keeping out WHO and US experts and doctors on infectious diseases until February to assess and examine the origin of the disease in Wuhan.

US-Led Coalition In Iraq Repositioning Forces Amid Covid-19 Coronavirus Pandemic And Iran Threat

Posted: 20 Mar 2020 01:34 PM PDT

A U.S. Marine with 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines, assigned to the Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force-Crisis Response-Central Command (SPMAGTF-CR-CC) 19.2, stands post during the reinforcement of the Baghdad Embassy Compound in Iraq, Jan. 4, 2020. (Sgt. Kyle C. Talbot/Marine Corps)

The National: Coronavirus: US-led coalition forces in Iraq reposition amid pandemic and Iran threat

To prevent potential spread of Covid-19, the Iraqi Security Forces have suspended all training

The US-led coalition forces in Iraq have repositioned, following an increase in attacks on their air bases in the country this year and the rapid spread of the coronavirus.

In a statement on Friday, Operation Inherent Resolve - the coalition military intervention in Iraq and Syria against ISIS - said that the measures were being taken in co-ordination with Iraq's government.

In December 2017, ISIS lost 95 per cent of its territory in Iraq and coalition forces and Baghdad declared victory over the terror group in the Middle Eastern country.

The US also claimed victory over ISIS in Syria in March last year in the village of Baghouz near the Iraq border, leading to the Qaim crossing opening with Iraq in September.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: For coalition forces in Iraq, this must be an incredibly dangerous period of time.

More News On The US-Led Coalition In Iraq Repositioning Forces Amid Covid-19 Coronavirus Pandemic And Iran Threat

Training in Iraq halted, smaller bases consolidating some coalition troops homeward bound over COVID-19 concerns -- Military Times
US-led coalition troops pull out of base in western Iraq -- Military Times/AP
US coalition suspends Iraq training over coronavirus -- Arab News/AP
US-led coalition in Iraq drawing down over coronavirus concerns -- The Hill
Why US Troops are Pulling Back All Over Iraq -- Defense One
Coronavirus sends British forces home from Iraq -- RT

WHO Officials Are Warning That Global Health Systems Are ‘Collapsing’ Under The Covid-19 Coronavirus Pandemic

Posted: 20 Mar 2020 11:49 AM PDT

CNBC: WHO officials warn health systems are 'collapsing' under coronavirus: 'This isn't just a bad flu season'

* WHO officials warned Friday against downplaying the total number of infections and deaths caused by the coronavirus as it overwhelms health systems around the world.
* Last week, the WHO declared that Europe had become the new epicenter of the outbreak, which began in Wuhan, China in December.

World Health Organization officials warned Friday against dismissing the coronavirus that's swept across the globe as just a bad outbreak of the flu, saying it has overwhelmed health systems around the world in just a few weeks.

"Take one look at what's happening in some health systems around the world. Look at the intensive care units completely overwhelmed. Doctors and nurses utterly exhausted," Mike Ryan, executive director of the World Health Organization's emergencies program, said at a press briefing from the organization's Geneva headquarters. "This is not normal. This isn't just a bad flu season."

The virus has now infected more than 254,000 people and killed at least 10,444 people across the world, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Where I live (the island of Montreal) the hospitals have less patients than usual. But we all know that this is going to dramatically change in the next few weeks.

U.S. Military ‘Successfully’ Test-Launches A New Hypersonic Warhead In The Pacific

Posted: 20 Mar 2020 11:32 AM PDT

Warzone/The Drive: The Army And Navy Have Conducted The First Joint Test Of Their New Hypersonic Weapon

The Missile Defense Agency also observed the test to gather data that could be useful in developing anti-hypersonic defenses.

The U.S. Army and the U.S. Navy, in cooperation with the Missile Defense Agency, have conducted their first joint test launch of a new hypersonic warhead in the Pacific. The two services plan to eventually deploy this common hypersonic boost-glide vehicle on top of land-based and submarine-launched missiles, respectively.

A launch took place at the Pacific Missile Range Facility in Kauai, Hawaii at approximately 10:30 PM local time on Mar. 19. A ground-launched rocket booster propelled the Common Hypersonic Glide Body vehicle, or C-HGB, to the desired speed and altitude, after which it "flew at hypersonic speed to a designated impact point," according to a Pentagon statement. The announcement did not say how fast the vehicle flew or how far, but hypersonic speed is defined as being above Mach 5 and the Pentagon said that the new weapons could enable the Army and the Navy to quickly "strike targets hundreds and even thousands of miles away."

Read more ....

More News On The U.S. Military 'Successfully' Test-Launching A New Hypersonic Warhead

Pentagon's major hypersonic glide body flight test deemed success -- Defense News
Pentagon successfully tests hypersonic missile -- AFP
Hypersonics: Army, Navy Test Common Glide Body -- Breaking Defense
The US military just took a big step forward in the hypersonic arms race with Russia and China -- Business Insider
U.S. Tests First Hypersonic Glide Body, Challenging Russia's Advanced Nuclear Weapons Lead -- Newsweek
US military 'successfully' test-launches hypersonic glide body – Pentagon (VIDEO) -- RT

Tweets For Today

Posted: 20 Mar 2020 09:32 AM PDT

The Best-Case And Worst-Case Outcome For The Covid-19 Coronavirus Pandemic

Posted: 20 Mar 2020 09:10 AM PDT

DNYUZ: The Best-Case Outcome for the Coronavirus, and the Worst

Here's the grimmest version of life a year from now: More than two million Americans have died from the new coronavirus, almost all mourned without funerals. Countless others have died because hospitals are too overwhelmed to deal adequately with heart attacks, asthma and diabetic crises. The economy has cratered into a depression, for fiscal and monetary policy are ineffective when people fear going out, businesses are closed and tens of millions of people are unemployed. A vaccine still seems far off, immunity among those who have recovered proves fleeting and the coronavirus has joined the seasonal flu as a recurring peril.

Yet here's an alternative scenario for March 2021: Life largely returned to normal by the late summer of 2020, and the economy has rebounded strongly. The United States used a sharp, short shock in the spring of 2020 to break the cycle of transmission; warm weather then reduced new infections and provided a summer respite for the Northern Hemisphere. By the second wave in the fall, mutations had attenuated the coronavirus, many people were immune and drugs were shown effective in treating it and even in reducing infection. Thousands of Americans died, mostly octogenarians and nonagenarians and some with respiratory conditions, but by February 2021, vaccinations were introduced worldwide and the virus was conquered.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: If history is the guideline that I use to make a guess on what will be the eventual outcome, I would put my money on the worst case scenario. When pandemics spread globally, they will only end when the outbreak has burned itself out. And while we are all hoping that the Covid-19 pandemic will disappear during the summer months, this virus has proven itself to be very resilient, and it is now making its presence felt in the southern hemisphere.

There Is A Lot Of Fear, Panic, And Anger Out There

Posted: 20 Mar 2020 08:43 AM PDT

It has been a rough 12 hours. While I am in my little world of peace and tranquility hidden in the woods of the Laurentians in Quebec, there is panic, fear, anger, and worry among many people that I know out there in the real world. My girlfriend's youngest daughter works part time at a pharmacy to help her earn extra money while going to university, and is afraid to go to work today because she knows that it it is only a question of time before those who are really sick start showing up to buy pain killers and flu medicine (I told her to go to work to assess the situation, and if it is bad, walk out). A business partner and close friend was told that he was laid off this morning from a job that he has had for 25 years. A friend who runs a family store that has been in business for 60 years does not know how he can make ends meet by May. A couple who run a gym and who I have known for 20 years (it is where I also go to train), cannot last more than two months. My brother who works in the biotech and pharmaceutical field in the Bay area in California is filled with anger and hatred at Trump, and is blaming him for the pandemic?!?!?!? I can list 3 more calls from others who are voicing the same fear/panic/anger/and despair in their voice.

Since yesterday my message to everyone has been the same .... 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.

Sghhh .... aside from the readers of this blog (and again a super thanks to all of you for the messages that you are sending to me), I realized this morning that no one is listening to me.

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