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Tuesday, March 24, 2020

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

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

Covid-19 Daily Confirmed Cases In March

Posted: 23 Mar 2020 11:00 PM PDT

WNU Editor:The exponential growth of Covid-19 in the U.S. is truly frightening.

Tweets For Today

Posted: 23 Mar 2020 10:30 PM PDT

Picture Of The Day

Posted: 23 Mar 2020 10:00 PM PDT

U.S. President Donald Trump addresses the daily coronavirus briefing with reporters exhibiting social distancing at the White House in Washington, March 17. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

WNU Editor: The above picture is form this photo-gallery .... Social distancing to prevent coronavirus spread (Reuters).

IMF Says Coronavirus Recession Will Be Worse Than The 2008 Financial Crisis

Posted: 23 Mar 2020 09:32 PM PDT

CBC/Reuters: IMF says coronavirus recession will be worse than 2008, as UN appeals for aid for poorest economies

UN chief also calling for worldwide ceasefire and focus on 'true fight of our lives'.

The coronavirus pandemic will cause a global recession in 2020 that could be worse than that seen during the global financial crisis of 2008-2009, but the world's economic output should recover in 2021, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said Monday.

IMF managing director Kristalina Georgieva welcomed extraordinary fiscal actions already taken by many countries to boost health systems and protect affected companies and workers, and steps by central banks to ease monetary policy, adding, "even more will be needed, especially on the fiscal front."

Read more ....

More News On The IMF Saying The Coronavirus Recession Will Be Worse Than The 2008 Financial Crisis

IMF warns that the looming coronavirus recession will be at least as bad as the global financial crisis -- Business Insider
Coronavirus-led recession could be as bad as 2008 crisis, IMF chief warns -- FOX NEWs
IMF warns coronavirus recession could be worse than 2009 -- RTE
IMF Sees a Recession at Least as Bad as Global Financial Crisis -- Bloomberg

WHO Chief: 'Covid-19 Pandemic Is Accelerating'

Posted: 23 Mar 2020 09:10 PM PDT

Reuters: WHO warns of 'accelerating' pandemic, expects Olympics decision soon

GENEVA/LONDON (Reuters) - The COVID-19 pandemic is accelerating, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Monday, with more than 300,000 cases now recorded and infections reported from nearly every country.

Dr. Mike Ryan, the WHO's top emergencies expert, said it had advised Olympic and Japanese officials about public health risks and expected a decision "very soon" on the Tokyo 2020 Games, scheduled to open in July, amid growing calls for postponement.

While it took 67 days from the first reported case to reach the first 100,000 cases of the disease caused by the coronavirus, it took only 11 days for the second 100,000 cases, and just four days for the third 100,000 cases, WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said.

"We're not helpless bystanders. We can change the trajectory of this pandemic," Tedros told an online briefing for more than 300 journalists.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: This disease is now starting to spread into India/Pakistan/Indonesia/Middle East/Africa, and the Americas. The current death toll is over 16,571, and 381,000 are infected as of right now. I expect these numbers will be doubling by the beginning of next week (if not sooner).

More News On The World Health Organization Warning That The 'Covid-19 Pandemic Is Accelerating'

COVID-19 pandemic 'accelerating': WHO chief -- AFP
Coronavirus pandemic is accelerating as cases eclipse 350,000, WHO says -- CNBC
WHO chief: 'Pandemic is accelerating' -- The Hill
WHO chief warns coronavirus pandemic is 'accelerating' -- FOX News
Coronavirus: WHO Head Says Nations Must Attack As 'Pandemic Is Accelerating' -- NPR
Coronavirus pandemic 'accelerating', WHO warns -- Al Jazeera

Washington's Covid-19 Massive Economic Stimulus Bill Stalled In The U.S. Senate

Posted: 23 Mar 2020 08:27 PM PDT

Daily Mail: BREAKING NEWS: Coronavirus bailout stalls AGAIN in deadlocked Senate as Republicans and Democrats collapse into partisan bickering and Nancy Pelosi unveils her own rival House bill

* Democrats were able to block the GOP-backed phase three economic stimulus bill for the second time in two days
* Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Monday that after long negotiations, the two sides were able to agree on a coronavirus relief bill
* McConnell and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, however, shared sharp words for the opposing Party during Senate-floor statements
* Nancy Pelosi revealed Monday that she is unveiling her own counter proposal
* McConnell charged Democrats with trying to get their 'wish list' of unrelated measures passed in the phase three economic stimulus bill
* He claims they blocked the bill Sunday night, and now Monday afternoon, because they wanted to get parts of the Green New Deal passed with the bill
* 'Every time we hear the Majority Leader come out it's a partisan screed,' Chuck Schumer shot back at McConnell
* Instead, he insisted that Democrats are 'trying to get things done'
* The bill failed for a second time as some Republican senators cannot show up for the vote as they self-isolate over fears of contracting or spreading coronavirus

Democrats blocked the phase three coronavirus economic stimulus package again on Monday, even though Republicans claimed ahead of the vote that they were proposing a bipartisan bill.

Senators voted 49-46 Monday afternoon on the nearly $2 trillion stimulus bill – with a few 'aye' votes missing as five Republican senators self-quarantine over coronavirus fears.

Although Democrats and Republicans have spent days negotiating this package, talks dissolved on the Senate floor Monday as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer blamed each other for holding up the relief.

As the bipartisan effort in Congress continues to crumble, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is preparing to bring to the House floor her own phase three package.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: This is why Americans hate Washington.

More News On Washington's Covid-19 Massive Economic Stimulus Bill Being Stalled In The U.S. Senate

Tensions rise as $2 trillion virus aid stalls in Washington -- AP
$2 trillion coronavirus aid package stalls in U.S. Senate -- Reuters
Tensions flare on Senate floor as coronavirus bill derailed for second time by Dem objections -- FOX News
No more votes expected Monday after Senate coronavirus stimulus bill fails again -- CNBC
McConnell says no votes tonight as stimulus negotiations continue -- CNN
'We need this to pass TODAY.' Steve Mnuchin pleads with both sides to come up with a deal to get $2 trillion bailout package through Congress -- Daily Mail
Dems seize on 'slush fund' to oppose Republican rescue package -- Politico
Nancy Pelosi Just Released Her Own Coronavirus Bill. It Is Much Bigger Than Trump's. -- Mother Jones

It Is Has Been One Of Those Days

Posted: 23 Mar 2020 09:12 PM PDT

WNU Editor: It has been a hectic six hours. While I am up north in my chalet in the Laurentians of Quebec, the girlfriend is in Kingston, Ontario. She has an important job, and her youngest daughter is also there studying at Queens University. Late this afternoon she went to the corner store to get cream for her coffee, and a few other items. Parked her car. Stepped out. And while walking to the store someone swerved to avoid hitting a car and smashed into the side of her car. And instead of staying and doing a police report, took off right away. Her car is busted and now needs major repairs. Her oldest daughter, who is with us, took my car and just arrived in Kingston. A five hour drive.

I am now truly isolated in the woods.

And I turn 60 tomorrow (Tuesday).

The Current Pandemic Will Change How Americans Handle Money

Posted: 23 Mar 2020 01:58 PM PDT

Kristin Tate, The Hill: Coronavirus reveals financial irresponsibility of Americans

How long could you sustain your household if you were to stop earning income? If you are like most Americans, the answer is not for long. Only 40 percent of Americans can afford an unexpected $1,000 expense with their savings. In fact, nearly 80 percent of workers are living paycheck to paycheck. It is no surprise that the probability of an economic recession brought on by the coronavirus pandemic caused many to worry.

In major cities such as Boston, New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, restaurants and businesses have been ordered to close. For many hourly workers, this means no paychecks in the coming weeks. Almost one in five Americans have already lost their jobs or have reduced hours. At the same time, salaried workers are concerned about job security, as mass layoffs at numerous companies loom. While the situation is understandably stressful for every person affected, it serves as a sobering reminder that Americans must learn to live within their means and regularly save money.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: When this is all over, I predict that there will be a cultural shift for many when it comes to handling finances and money.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Makes A Surprise Visit To Kabul

Posted: 23 Mar 2020 01:35 PM PDT

CNN: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visits Kabul as peace deal faces uncertain future

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made unannounced visits to Kabul, Afghanistan and Doha, Qatar Monday to meet with key officials as efforts to broker a peace deal for Afghanistan are already on the rocks.

It was the first visit by the top US diplomat to Afghanistan since the signing of the US-Taliban agreement in Doha last month -- a historic agreement that was meant to trigger intra-Afghan negotiations and has already prompted an initial withdrawal of US troops. The future of that agreement has been called into question by continued violence by the Taliban against Afghan security forces and by a high-stakes political dispute in Kabul.

Read more ....

More News On U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Making A Surprise Visit To Kabul

Pompeo leaves Kabul, no word on political power-sharing deal -- AP
Pompeo visits Kabul to try to break political deadlock -- AFP
Pompeo visits Kabul in bid to revive stalled peace process -- NBC
Pompeo in Kabul to hold separate and joint meetings with Abdullah and Ghani -- Khaama Press

China Weaponizes Misinformation About COVID-19

Posted: 23 Mar 2020 01:26 PM PDT

Medical workers pose for photos after seeing cured patients off at the Wuchang temporary hospital in Wuhan, central China's Hubei Province, March 10, 2020. - Xinhua Blaming America: China Weaponizes Misinformation About COVID-19

As of March 23, according to the John Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center, there are 353,692 people infected with the novel coronavirus, officially known as SARS-CoV-2 or COVID-19, worldwide. A total of 15,430 have died, while 100,443 people have recovered.

In the United States, the number of cases has reached 35,345 with 459 deaths.

In addition to the human suffering, the pandemic has produced worldwide economic dislocations that have led to chaotic, and plunging, financial markets' dropping economic output; and burgeoning unemployment. World trade and associated global supply chains have been disrupted. The net result is a deepening sense of fear and anxiety around the world.

The crisis has also given rise to an enormous amount of deliberate misinformation about the crisis, its origins and its eventual consequences. Some of that misinformation is fueled by fear and ignorance -- some by crasser financial motives.

In the case of China, Russia and several other countries, however, misinformation is deliberately being spread by state media to deflect criticisms of their government actions, or lack thereof, and to push the blame onto someone else. Misinformation is also being weaponized as part of a broader foreign policy agenda that seeks to secure national advantage from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read more ....

Update: Iran, China Predict More U.S. Coronavirus Pain and Push Conspiracy Theories (Newsweek)

WNU Editor: The fact that many governments around the world are implementing a misinformation campaign on Covid-19 does not surprise me. These are unprecedented times, and governments like China's are scared on the impact that this crisis will have on their legitimacy to rule. Hence the blaming of this crisis on others (instead of on themselves). But there is a part of the above article that caught my eye, and deserves to be pointed out to put some prospective on what we are all going through right now ....

.... Since 1957, there have been more than a dozen major coronavirus-linked infections that have emerged, almost all of them from East Asia. Several of them have reached pandemic proportions.

The 1957 Asian flu (H2N2) pandemic was responsible for the deaths of approximately 2 million people. Other pandemics were caused by the 1968 Hong Kong Flu, H3N2, (1 million deaths) and the 2009 Swine flu, H1N1, (500,000 deaths).

In addition, there have been three major outbreaks of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) that are linked to coronaviruses: severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in 2002-2004, Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) in 2012-2014 and COVID-19. Only the COVID-19 outbreak rose to the level of a pandemic.

Pandemics have been with us for a long time. And while this coronavirus outbreak is unique and different, I have to wonder if we are maybe over-reacting.I guess we are going to find out soon enough.

China's Ambassador To The United States Disowns Chinese Government Rumors That The Covid-19 Coronavirus Started In A U.S. Army Lab

Posted: 23 Mar 2020 12:27 PM PDT

Axios: Top Chinese official disowns U.S. military lab coronavirus conspiracy

In a rare interview, China's ambassador to the United States, Cui Tiankai, told "Axios on HBO" that he stands by his belief that it's "crazy" to spread rumors about the coronavirus originating from a military laboratory in the United States.

Why it matters: Cui called this exact conspiracy theory "crazy" more than a month ago on CBS' "Face the Nation." But that was before the spokesperson for the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Zhao Lijian, began publicly promoting the conspiracy.

* The fact that Cui distanced himself from his colleague's statements sends an important signal from the top Chinese government official in the U.S.
* Top Trump officials, including the president, have expressed their outrage at Chinese officials for trying to spread the theory that the U.S. military brought the coronavirus to China. The State Department even called in Cui to take him to task.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The Chinese ambassador for the U.S. is sending the message that China does not support the narrative that the Covid-19 virus responsible for the current global pandemic started in a US Army lab. Unfortunately that message is not being sent within China itself (as of this weekend).

Does The U.S. Need A Unified Military Command To Respond To Disasters?

Posted: 23 Mar 2020 11:33 AM PDT

The Pentagon, Arlington, Virginia, Sept. 11, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

David Helvarg, New York Times: We Need a Unified Military Command for Disaster Response

The pandemic is only one of many potential disasters that will require unity of action among the armed services.

President Trump has finally called in the military in the nation's war against the coronavirus. But precious time was lost in the weeks since he was warned about the dangers the virus poses. We need to make sure that doesn't happen again.

Creating a disaster response command within the military would provide unity of action among the services to respond to emergencies like the present one; improve strategic planning for an array of other threats, including future pandemics and climate-linked natural disasters; and position resources we will need before we need them — like ventilators and hospital beds that health care providers are scrambling to secure.

It should be activated immediately as the Pentagon's 12th unified combatant command.

We can no longer afford Pentagon sideshows, like the establishment of the Space Force as a sixth military branch or deployment of army troops to the Mexican border just before the 2018 congressional elections. The Trump administration is now following the lead of Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York, who called for the Army Corps of Engineers to be mobilized to quickly build out additional hospital facilities and make use of mobile military field hospitals.

Major disaster declarations were in process on Sunday for New York, California and Washington. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has been activated. We should also consider mobilizing the defense transportation system to shore up any temporary breakdown in our food or other essential supply chain operations.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: I thought the U.S. already had a unified command to respond to disasters via through NorthCom .... USNORTHCOM prepared for any disaster

This Is How The U.S. National Security Agency Will Protect Itself During A Pandemic

Posted: 23 Mar 2020 10:05 AM PDT


BuzzFeed: Here's How The National Security Agency Will Protect Itself During A Pandemic

Secret documents sketch out the worst-case scenario for "a 1918-like pandemic and no effective response."

The Department of Health and Human Services has recommended that intelligence community personnel have at least three months' worth of food on hand in the event of an uncontrolled pandemic.

The recommendation was contained in an unclassified influenza contingency plan drafted in 2009 by the National Security Agency. It details the sweeping steps the spy agency should take to keep its personnel safe and working on critical intelligence matters in the event of such a crisis.

The 50-page document — obtained by BuzzFeed News last July following a six-year Freedom of Information Act battle — tracks closely with steps that have now been widely adopted by Americans facing the current coronavirus outbreak, which the World Health Organization officially declared a global pandemic this week. The contingency plan was drafted in response to a 2006 directive from then-president George W. Bush that called upon federal government agencies to implement a "national strategy" for a potential influenza pandemic.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The 50 page NSA manual on what to do during a pandemic is here.

Global Pandemic Takes Hold As Coronavirus Cases Cross 350,000 And The Toll Toll Passes 15,000

Posted: 23 Mar 2020 07:54 AM PDT

CNBC: Global coronavirus cases cross 350,000, death toll passes 15,000 as pandemic takes hold

* COVID-19 has now infected more than 350,536 people, according to Johns Hopkins University, and killed at least 15,328 people.
* Global cases have more than doubled in the past week, according to the World Health Organization, and worldwide deaths have nearly tripled.
* Outside of China, where the virus emerged in December, Italy has the most confirmed cases with nearly 60,000.

Confirmed infections of the rapidly spreading coronavirus surpassed 350,000 worldwide on Monday and global deaths rose past 15,000, as COVID-19 spreads across Europe and North America.

COVID-19 has now infected more than 350,536 people, according to Johns Hopkins University, and killed at least 15,328 people. More than 100,000 people of that tally have recovered, according to Hopkins.

Global cases have more than doubled in the past week, according to the World Health Organization, and worldwide deaths have nearly tripled. Earlier this month, the WHO declared Europe the new epicenter of the outbreak as new cases in China stalled.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: At the current rate of exponential growth the world will be seeing a  million cases by next week. A complete Covid-19 roundup will be posted later today.

Russia's Tu-160 Bomber Has A New Lease On Life

Posted: 23 Mar 2020 07:33 AM PDT

National Interest: Russia's Tu-160: The Biggest, Fastest and Heaviest Bomber Ever to Fly

Fastest bomber ever built. The largest bomber ever built. Heaviest bomber ever built. All of these monikers refer to the Tupelov Tu-160 "White Swan" (NATO reporting name "Blackjack"), a legacy Soviet airframe that has of late gotten a new lease on life.

The Tu-160 is outwardly somewhat similar to the American Rockwell B-1 Lancer which spurred its development. Both have variable-sweep wings, both are supersonic. However, that is where the similarities end.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Like the U.S. Air Force's B-52, Russia's Tu-160 is going to be around for a while.

New Documentary Reveals How Vladamir Putin Became President of Russia

Posted: 23 Mar 2020 06:47 AM PDT

Daily Mail: New Channel 4 documentary reveals troubling story of how Vladimir Putin rose to become Russia's mobster in chief

* Documentary reveals how ex-spy Vladamir Putin became President of Russia
* Putin was posted to Dresden in East Germany in 1985 with his wife and daughter
* He was offered job in President Yeltsin's legal department when his ascent began

Short of stature and with a strangely expressionless face, Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin seemed the image of a boring bureaucrat when he was elected Russia's third president 20 years ago.

Yet today Putin has become the Godfather of a vast Mafia state – and to do that he has combined the dirty skills of a former spy with a close knowledge of Russia's violent underworld, according to a new three-part documentary that starts tomorrow night on Channel 4.

Putin: A Russian Spy Story shows how much of the Russian's political career was informed by his time as a KGB officer in the late 1980s – and, later, as a fixer at the heart of corrupt local politics and the criminal underworld of St Petersburg.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: What caught my attention in the above report was this sentence ....

.... He has established and enjoys the support of a network of some 1,000 very wealthy individuals who rely on him for their riches and status.

I would also add the support of the Russian Orthodox church playing a part in keeping Putin in power. this support base also reminds me of China. I have said it a few times in this blog, but a China is structured in the same way where about 800 affluent families provide the support base for President Xi and the Communist Party.

Will The U.S. Bring Back The Draft?

Posted: 23 Mar 2020 06:28 AM PDT

Gen. Gus Perna, commander of Army Materiel Command, administers the oath of enlistment to 27 future Soldiers during the 2019 AUSA Global Force Symposium and Exposition ROTC/Future Soldiers luncheon, March 28. (U.S. Army/Richard Bumgardner, USASAC Public Affairs) Bringing Back the Draft: 5 Possibilities for the Future of Military Conscription

Late in the evening on Jan. 2, as Americans contemplated a return to work after the New Year holiday, shocking news began to ricochet across the internet: The United States had conducted a deadly drone strike on Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani, one of that country's most esteemed military officers. Suddenly, the U.S. appeared to be on a war footing with a sovereign nation, one with nuclear aspirations.

As whispers of a possible World War III gained viral speed, something unexpected happened: The nation's attention turned to a small federal institution that has been little more than a historical footnote since the end of the Vietnam War. Google search traffic for "the draft" reached its highest levels since at least 2004; the U.S. Selective Service System's website, which officials say was undergoing maintenance at the time, slowed nearly to a halt as panicked visitors flooded in. In the days that followed, the U.S. Army was forced to issue an announcement combating a malicious hoax. No, officials said: We will not conscript you and order you off to basic training via text message.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: I do not think bringing back the draft is the priority of the U.S. government right now. But when this pandemic is over I do foresee severe economic times and a geopolitical situation that will be extremely tense. In this environment some countries will be testing what they can get away with, and the usual response will be to show a sign of military force to dissuade an aggressor nation. Will the U.S. have the means to project this force, for now I will say yes. But I would still keep all options, including the draft, on the table.

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