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  • Dominic Raab: Boris Johnson's de facto deputy Mon, 06 Apr 2020 20:25:57 -0400

    Dominic Raab: Boris Johnson's de facto deputyWhen Boris Johnson announced he had tested positive for coronavirus, Downing Street said Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab would deputise if the British prime minister was incapacitated. Raab was one of the most prominent figures in Britain's protracted and divisive process to leave the European Union, serving as Brexit minister under former premier Theresa May.


  • Australian court dismisses cardinal's sex abuse convictions Mon, 06 Apr 2020 20:20:19 -0400

    Australian court dismisses cardinal's sex abuse convictionsAustralia's highest court on Tuesday unanimously dismissed the convictions of the most senior Catholic found guilty of child sex abuse. Cardinal George Pell soon will be released from Barwon Prison outside Melbourne after serving 13 months of a six-year sentence. Pope Francis' former finance minister was convicted by a Victoria state jury in 2018 of sexually abusing two 13-year-old choirboys in a back room of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Melbourne in December 1996 while he was archbishop of Australia’s second-largest city.


  • Japan’s Abe Moves to Declare Emergency, Pass Record Stimulus Mon, 06 Apr 2020 20:14:41 -0400

    Japan’s Abe Moves to Declare Emergency, Pass Record Stimulus(Bloomberg) -- Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe moved to declare a state of emergency in seven prefectures including Tokyo and Osaka, and announced a record economic stimulus package as the country braces for a surge in coronavirus infections.Abe said the official announcement of a month-long emergency could come as soon as Tuesday and also announced a much larger-than-expected stimulus package of 108 trillion yen ($988 billion) to support struggling households and businessesThe emergency declaration, which will also cover Kanagawa, Saitama, Chiba, Hyogo and Fukuoka prefectures, hands powers to local governments to try to contain the spread of the virus that causes Covid-19, including by urging residents to stay at home.“We are not changing Japan’s policy, but strengthening it and asking for full cooperation,” Abe told reporters at his official residence. “I want to make clear once again that even if an emergency is declared, we will not impose a lockdown as has been done overseas. It is the opinion of our experts that that isn’t necessary.”Public transportation will continue to operate and supermarkets will remain open, Abe said, emphasizing that he wanted economic activity to continue as far as possible. Unlike countries like France -- where residents can be fined for leaving their homes -- there is no legal power to enforce limits on people’s movements.The package of economic measures, set to be Japan’s biggest ever, surpassed the 60 trillion yen ($550 billion) recommended by Abe’s ruling party last week. Details of the package are expected to be announced Tuesday. Abe also said he plans to boost virus testing capacity to 20,000 a day as well as increase the number of hospital beds and ventilators. He pledged cash handouts of 200 million yen to small and mid-sized businesses.Abe said on Tuesday morning the package would have 38 trillion yen in fiscal spending and wouldn’t be limited by what has been done in the past. “This will be among the biggest economic packages in the world,” with a total value of 108 trillion yen, he told a meeting of ruling party lawmakers at his official residence.Abe was expected to announce additional details at a 7 p.m. news conference Tuesday.Japan was one of the first countries outside of the original epicenter in neighboring China to confirm a coronavirus infection and it has fared better than most, with about 4,000 reported cases as of Monday -- a jump from less than 500 just a month ago. That’s still the lowest tally of any Group of Seven country.Voluntary CooperationAn emergency declaration enables local officials to take measures such as ordering the cancellation of events, restricting use of facilities such as schools and movie theaters and appropriating land or buildings for temporary medical facilities. The announcement comes after pressure from the public and the medical community.After last week saying the situation didn’t yet call for such a move, Abe changed course as cases in Tokyo surged over the weekend.As with many laws in Japan, there are no penalties associated with breaching instructions, except in the case of concealing supplies after the government orders them to be handed over. Even so, businesses are likely to further cooperate in closing shops and restaurants, while more residents are expected to stay indoors.A state of emergency can stay in place for as long as two years and be extended by as much as one more year, under a law updated in March. The prime minister can make the call when the spread of the infection threatens serious damage to the lives and health of the people, as well as to the economy.The move also enables local governments to take steps such as:Controlling prices of daily essentialsProviding loans through government-related financial institutionsMaking compulsory purchases of food and medicinesThe Tokyo metropolitan area is the world’s most populous, according to United Nations data. The region accounts for about one-third of the country’s gross domestic product, which would make it the world’s 11th largest economy on its own, about the same size as Russia’s. Osaka prefecture, near the ancient capital of Kyoto and home to electronics makers Panasonic Corp. and Sharp Corp., has a population of about 8.8 million, among the top 3 most populated in the country.The measures come as countries across Asia reinforce their defenses against virus. While the infection rate in some nations, including China, had been falling, the virus’s global spread has triggered a new uptick in cases brought in by travelers and citizens returning from abroad.Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan all recently saw record numbers of new cases. China banned foreigners from entering the country amid a rise in so-called imported cases.Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike has already called repeatedly on the capital’s residents to refrain from going out unnecessarily and inadvertently spreading the virus. Even so, the number of confirmed cases in Tokyo surged from about 40 in early March to more than 1,000 in just over a month.Koike, speaking after Abe’s announcement Monday, stressed the importance ofresidents practicing social distancing to contain the virus. She said the emergency declaration will enable Tokyo to work more closely with the central government and surrounding prefectures.While Japan has so far experienced a less severe spread of Covid-19 than many other countries, experts fear the number of infections could shoot up at any time. Abe and other officials have repeatedly expressed reluctance to declare an emergency because of the restrictions on individual rights.(Updates with Abe’s comments on fiscal spending in seventh paragraph)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.


  • Kenyans mourn Catholic Archbishop Ndingi Mwana a'Nzeki Mon, 06 Apr 2020 20:00:23 -0400

    Kenyans mourn Catholic Archbishop Ndingi Mwana a'NzekiOne of Kenya's most controversial clerics is being buried on Tuesday after he died at the age of 89.


  • Boris Johnson’s Stand-In as U.K. Premier Is a Blunt Former Lawyer Mon, 06 Apr 2020 19:41:14 -0400

    Boris Johnson’s Stand-In as U.K. Premier Is a Blunt Former Lawyer(Bloomberg) -- The man at the helm of the British government while Boris Johnson is hospitalized, Dominic Raab, is a former Foreign Office lawyer who has been both an ally and a rival to his boss.During the Brexit campaign in 2016, Raab campaigned alongside Johnson successfully to break away from the European Union. Three years later, the pair stood against each other in the Conservative Party’s leadership contest.Johnson won, and then triumphed again in the general election that followed, but it is Raab who is now in charge of the government as the prime minister receives treatment in intensive care. Raab, 46, has been in Parliament since 2010, but he struggled to rise under former Prime Minister David Cameron. Instead, he became a troublemaker, asking awkward questions of the government and then backing Brexit. That upset voters in his southwest London district, and he came close to losing the usually safe Conservative seat in last year’s election despite a national surge for the Tories.His chance for prominence came in 2018 when then-Brexit Secretary David Davis resigned. The prime minister at the time, Theresa May, needed someone with solid pro-Brexit credentials who was capable of handing negotiations with the European Union. She settled on Raab. But he lasted less than five months in the job before following Davis out of the door in protest at May’s strategy.He ran for the party leadership in 2019, making it to the final six before being eliminated. His endorsement of Johnson at that point probably helped him to his current role of foreign secretary.The kind of clever lawyer who doesn’t mind telling people they’re wrong, he can irritate others. But he’s also been a conciliator, and is probably the only member of Parliament to have both lived on an Israeli kibbutz and studied at Ramallah University. He’s worked for Dominic Grieve, a leading Tory pro-European, and arch-Brexiteer Davis.The son of a Jewish Czech refugee who was raised in the Church of England before marrying a Brazilian Catholic, Raab defies easy categorization: sometimes blunt, sometimes charming.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.


  • Notable Influencers Mobilize Around #HopeFromHome, the World's First Multi-platform Livestream Fundraising Event for COVID-19 Relief Efforts Mon, 06 Apr 2020 19:12:00 -0400

    Notable Influencers Mobilize Around #HopeFromHome, the World's First Multi-platform Livestream Fundraising Event for COVID-19 Relief EffortsNotable Influencers Mobilize Around HopeFromHome, the World's First Multi-platform Livestream Fundraising Event for COVID-19 Relief EffortsPR NewswireALEXANDRIA, Va., April 6, 2020United Way Worldwide, United Nations Foundation and Red Nose Day are teaming up on World Health Day, April 7, to raise funds to combat COVID-19ALEXANDRIA, Va.


  • Coronavirus: Africa will not be testing ground for vaccine, says WHO Mon, 06 Apr 2020 18:52:09 -0400

    Coronavirus: Africa will not be testing ground for vaccine, says WHOTwo doctors sparked outrage after suggesting a vaccine for coronavirus could be tested in Africa.


  • Congress, White House reach high for next virus bill Mon, 06 Apr 2020 18:01:36 -0400

    Congress, White House reach high for next virus billCongressional leaders are jolting ahead with another coronavirus rescue package as President Donald Trump indicated Monday that Americans will need more aid during the stark pandemic and economic shutdown. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said another $1 trillion is needed, beyond the just-passed $2.2 trillion effort. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said in recent days that health care should top the list, signaling his intent to get to work on a new bill.


  • Could Coronavirus Shortages Lead To Sec. 232 Tariffs For The Medtech Industry? Mon, 06 Apr 2020 17:14:41 -0400

    Could Coronavirus Shortages Lead To Sec. 232 Tariffs For The Medtech Industry?Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act got a lot of attention in the early Trump years when the president invoked the passage to restrict steel and aluminum imports. The act allows officials to tax foreign products that are considered to be weakening national security.The coronavirus pandemic has inspired recognition of a new national security risk: the outsourced medical supply chain.What's In Short Supply? The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed vulnerabilities in the U.S. medical supply chain.A survey conducted by the U.S. Conference of Mayors found that 85% of mayors lacked enough ventilators for their hospitals, and 90% ran short on test kits, face masks and personal protective equipment used by medical workers and first responders."Despite their best efforts, most cities do not have and cannot obtain adequate equipment and supplies needed to protect their residents," the late March report said."This is a life-threatening crisis that will continue unless the federal government does everything in its power to help us safeguard our first responders and health care workers -- our first line of defense -- and the millions of other public servants in our cities whose work today puts them at risk."Benzinga is covering every angle of how the coronavirus affects the financial world. For daily updates, sign up for our coronavirus newsletter.Where Are The Federal Government's Response Limits? Within weeks of their first cases, states began to call on the federal government to distribute resources from the Strategic National Stockpile.At the beginning of the outbreak, the stockpile had 9,404 ventilators, and the Department of Defense had an additional 1,065, according to The Wall Street Journal.By March 31, the Federal Emergency Management Agency said it had distributed more than 8,000 ventilators.By April 1, the Department of Health and Human Services' Strategic National Stockpile of masks, gloves and PPE was nearly exhausted."The stockpile was designed to respond to a handful of cities. It was never built or designed to fight a 50-state pandemic," a DHS official told The Washington Post.The government has long considered the national stockpile a temporary solution for emergency needs to give the private sector time to increase production."FEMA planning assumptions for COVID-19 pandemic response acknowledged that the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) alone could not fulfill all requirements at the State and tribal level," FEMA spokeswoman Janet Montesi said in a statement."The federal government will exhaust all means to identify and attain medical and other supplies needed to combat the virus."Since U.S. manufacturers have sent sizable shipments to Europe and other foreign purchasers, as trade records show, federal efforts include importing supplies from foreign producers in China, Malaysia and elsewhere."Not only are we buying what they have to sell, we're buying their next batch," a DHS official told Reuters.In the meantime, states risk running out of critical supplies, another official told the Post.How Reliant Is The US On Foreign Production? Prior to the crisis, the U.S. imported nearly half of its PPE from China, according to the Peterson Institute for International Economics.The FDA reports that about 63 medical device manufacturers rely on Chinese factories, 20 U.S. drugs are made or rely on ingredients made solely in China and another 370 essential medicines rely partly on Chinese inputs."If China cuts off our access to key medical ingredients, that would be devastating," a Republican congressional aide told the Financial Times.What Are The Proposed Solutions? Some critics say the U.S. has become too reliant on medical imports -- and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer agrees. "Unfortunately, like others, we are learning in this crisis that over-dependence on other countries as a source of cheap medical products and supplies has created a strategic vulnerability to our economy," Lighthizer said at a G-20 meeting on March 30."For the United States, we are encouraging diversification of supply chains and seeking to promote more manufacturing at home."White House trade adviser Peter Navarro said he is drafting an executive order to extend the federal procurement constraints of the Buy American Act to medical and pharmaceutical products. This would require federal agencies to purchase only U.S.-made goods.A bipartisan Senate bill would force pharmaceutical companies to report active ingredients imports from China to the Pentagon. Congress is also considering issuing government-backed loans and tax breaks to shift supply chains back to the U.S.What About Sec. 232 Tariffs? Sec. 232 tariffs have not yet been mentioned as a lever to reshore pharmaceutical and medtech production, but they may be an option.According to federal experts, pharmaceuticals qualify as a "critical infrastructure sector" -- one necessary to preserve national security. In March, the FDA announced a drug shortage caused by COVID-19 manufacturing disturbances. The national drug shortage has not gotten nearly as much attention as the shortage in medical supplies.In fact, federal policy responses seem to treat the latter commodity almost like critical infrastructure. By late March, more than 100 national security professionals signed a letter urging Trump to use his authority under the Defense Production Act to order private sector actors to produce ventilators. Days later, Trump invoked the emergency rule to commandeer production at General Motors Company (NYSE: GM).Expert consensus is clear that access to medical technology is a matter of national security. Whether the determination will lead to Sec. 232 tariffs is yet to be seen.See more from Benzinga * What Doesn't Kill Twitter During This Coronavirus Crisis Just Makes It Stronger, Goldman Says * Quicken Loans Joins The Fight Against COVID-19 As Michigan Takes Center Stage * How Are Michigan Pot Businesses Doing During COVID-19? It Depends On Who You Ask(C) 2020 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.


  • Trump, Biden spoke by phone about coronavirus outbreak Mon, 06 Apr 2020 17:14:30 -0400

    Trump, Biden spoke by phone about coronavirus outbreakPresident Donald Trump said he had a “really wonderful, warm conversation” with Joe Biden on Monday about the coronavirus outbreak. “He gave me his point of view, and I fully understood that, and we just had a very friendly conversation,” Trump said at his daily press briefing. The president said he and Biden agreed not to share the details of their conversation, but confirmed an earlier statement from the Biden campaign that the Democrat offered “suggestions" on how to address the pandemic.


  • FoA to WHO, UN: Shut down wildlife markets to avoid pandemics Mon, 06 Apr 2020 16:56:00 -0400

    FoA to WHO, UN: Shut down wildlife markets to avoid pandemicsFoA to WHO, UN: Shut down wildlife markets to avoid pandemicsPR NewswireDARIEN, Conn., April 6, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Friends of Animals is calling on the World Health Organization and the United Nations to avoid another pandemic by shuttering world wet markets where millions of wild animals are killed and sold for consumption, often for luxury tastes in exotic species.


  • U.S. Deaths Top 10,000; Possible Plateau in N.Y.: Virus Update Mon, 06 Apr 2020 16:54:32 -0400

    U.S. Deaths Top 10,000; Possible Plateau in N.Y.: Virus Update(Bloomberg) -- More signs emerged that the crisis may be easing in some areas, sending stocks soaring. Italy, France, Germany and Spain reported lower numbers of new cases. In New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo said deaths were showing indications of hitting a plateau. U.K. deaths slowed for a second day, even as they passed the grim milestone of 5,000. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who was hospitalized Sunday after 10 days in isolation, was moved to an intensive-care unit.JPMorgan Chase & Co. Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon said he expects a major economic downturn and stress similar to the crisis that almost brought down the U.S. financial system in 2008.Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said he’ll propose a state of emergency in some prefectures.Key Developments:Global cases top 1.3 million; deaths exceed 73,000: Johns HopkinsU.S. deaths surpass 10,000: Johns HopkinsTrump, Biden spoke by phone about the outbreakMilken Conference postponed a second time to OctoberDenmark, Austria began to relax measuresNew York state lockdown extended to April 29Denmark Joins Austria in Easing Curbs (4:38 p.m. NY)Denmark joined Austria in announcing a gradual relaxation of measures imposed to slow the coronavirus’s spread. The country will press ahead with a “cautious reopening” starting with kindergartens and primary schools on April 15 if the virus numbers remain stable, Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said. The government will also start talks with business leaders on gradually moving employees back into offices.Austria said earlier that it would take its first steps toward restarting its economy. The two countries were among the first in Europe to shut down public life in response to the outbreak. Wisconsin Governor Delays Tuesday Primary (3:15 p.m. NY)Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers suspended in-person voting just hours before the state’s primary was scheduled to begin, though the order could be subject to a court challenge.Although 15 states and Puerto Rico have already postponed their primaries amid the coronavirus pandemic, Wisconsin’s Republican-controlled legislature has rejected requests by Evers, a Democrat, to delay the state’s in-person voting on Tuesday.Evers’s executive order delays in-person voting until June 9 unless the legislature acts to change it.French Cases Leveling Off (1:50 p.m. NY)France reported a continued leveling-off of cases, signaling that confinement measures are starting to contain the crisis.The country had 3,912 new confirmed cases on Monday, fewer than it reported in five out of the past seven days, according to figures presented by Health Minister Olivier Veran. Deaths from the virus rose by 833 to 8,911, Veran said.“The pressure is still very great on hospitals, enormous -- the confinement has to continue,” Veran said. Still, he said there was some reason for optimism. “We can see that the confinement has a palpable effect in France, we’re starting to feel it.”Read more hereWHO May Announce Move This Week to Accelerate Vaccine (1:30 p.m. NY)A new program to accelerate vaccine development and production may be announced this week, World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a press briefing in Geneva.“The difficulty for governments right now is that lockdowns are proving effective in dampening the flames of the epidemic in those countries, but those lockdowns are also causing great economic hardship,” said Mike Ryan, head of the WHO’s health emergencies program. Still, he said it would probably be “very inadvisable” to lift a lockdown completely all at once.“Once you raise the lockdown, you have to have an alternative method to suppress the virus -- active case finding, testing, isolation, tracking of contacts and strong community education,” Ryan said.N.Y. Deaths May Signal Possible Plateau (1:10 p.m. NY)New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said deaths from the coronavirus pandemic were showing signs of hitting a plateau in the state that has become the epicenter of the U.S. outbreak.The challenge, he cautioned Monday, is to maintain the social distancing that has finally pointed New York toward a possible peak in fatalities. For a second day in a row, the percentage increase in the death toll was less than 10%, a turnabout from numbers about twice as large barely a week ago.The peak of the outbreak could fall on the earlier side of the state’s models showing that it could take anywhere from a week to 30 days for the situation to hit its worse.“I get that people are cooped up,” Cuomo said in his daily press briefing. “But, we get reckless, we change and we’re not compliant on social distancing, you’ll see those numbers go up again.”He doubled the fine for social-distancing violations to $1,000.Italy’s New Virus Infections Lowest in Almost Three Weeks (12:20 p.m. NY)Italy reported the lowest number of new coronavirus infections in nearly three weeks, prompting debate over how and when the country should start emerging from a nationwide lockdown.Civil protection authorities reported 3,599 new cases of the disease on Monday, compared with 4,316 a day earlier. Italy registered 636 new deaths linked to the virus, compared with 525 the day before. That brings the total number of fatalities to 16,523.Italy, once the epicenter for Europe, now has fewer cases than Spain and the U.S.California to Send Ventilators to National Stockpile (12:16 p.m. NY)California, which has yet to see its hospitals overrun by patients, plans to loan 500 state-owned ventilators to the national stockpile.“We’re aggressively preparing for a surge -- but we can’t turn our backs on Americans whose lives depend on having a ventilator now,” Governor Gavin Newsom said in a statement.With the New York area experiencing a supply shortage, other states are stepping in to assist. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said this weekend that Oregon offered to send 140 ventilators to his state.Merkel Says Too Soon to Ease Lockdown (11:43 a.m. NY)It’s too early for Germany to set a date for easing its lockdown, Chancellor Angela Merkel said, holding her first press conference since returning from 12 days of self-confinement after being exposed to Covid-19.She reiterated her support for the use of the European Stability Mechanism and the European Commission’s proposal for job protection, and said the continent will need a plan for reconstruction after the pandemic subsides.At least three tests showed she was free of the virus.Philippines Likely to Extend Lockdown (11:43 a.m. NY)Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said he’s inclined to extend a lockdown of more than half the country’s population on its main island until April 30 to further stem the coronavirus outbreak.Duterte, in an address late Monday, also said he’s considering tweaking this year’s 4.1 trillion-peso ($80.8 billion) budget to allocate more funds to virus response, as some 200 billion pesos set aside for cash grants to poor families won’t be enough.Israel Cuts Rates for First Time Since 2015 (9:33 a.m. NY)The Bank of Israel shifted course by cutting interest rates and adding new market-based tools. After playing down the potential for cheaper borrowing costs, the monetary committee on Monday reduced the key rate back down to the all-time low of 0.1% from 0.25%.Hong Kong Extends Ban on Nonresident Entry (9:22 a.m. NY)The city’s airport will also continue to halt all transit services until further notice, according to a government statement. The original rules were set to expire by April 7.Germany Plans ‘Limitless’ Aid Program for Small Companies (8:44 a.m. NY)German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government announced a new “limitless” aid program for small- and medium-sized companies. The program for loan guarantees is the latest measure introduced by the government, which says Europe’s largest economy might contract even more this year than the 5% drop caused by the global financial crisis in 2008 and 2009.Inovio Begins Phase 1 Human Trial of Vaccine (8:41 a.m. NY)Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc. began a phase 1 human trial of its Covid-19 vaccine, INO-4800. Animal studies show promising immune responses, the company said.Glaxo to Develop Covid-19 Drugs in $250 Million Partnership (8:14 a.m.)U.K. pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline Plc is joining dozens of companies in the hunt for therapies to treat the illness caused by the coronavirus, signing a partnership with Vir Biotechnology Inc. and agreeing to invest $250 million in the U.S. company.South Africa’s Economy May Shrink as Much as 4%, Central Bank Says (8:09 a.m. NY)South Africa’s economy could contract by 2% to 4% this year due to the coronavirus pandemic and measures to curb its spread, according to the Reserve Bank. The monetary policy committee projected in March that the economy will contract by 0.2%.U.K. PM Johnson Had ‘Comfortable Night’ and Is in ‘Good Spirits’ (8:07 a.m. NY)Prime Minister Johnson is in “good spirits” after spending a “comfortable” night in St. Thomas’s hospital in central London, his spokesman, James Slack, said on Monday. Johnson went to the hospital on Sunday as a “precaution,” he said.Mass Layoffs Push Canada’s Consumer Confidence to All-Time Low (8:00 a.m. NY)The Bloomberg Nanos Canadian Confidence Index, a composite gauge based on a telephone survey of households, declined sharply for a third week as extensive lock downs triggered mass layoffs. The aggregate index dropped to 42.7 last week, the lowest reading since polling began in 2008.Romania to Extend State of Emergency Until Mid-May (7:53 a.m. NY)Romanian President Klaus Iohannis said that he plans to extend the state of emergency over the crisis by another month because “we haven’t reached the peak of the epidemic, so it’s not time to relax.”Netherlands Has Slowest Death Growth in Week (7:40 a.m. NY)The Netherlands reported 101 new fatalities, the smallest increase since March 30. Total reported cases rose 5% to 18,803. An additional 260 patients were admitted to hospitals, according to the RIVM National Institute for Public Health and the Environment.China to Strengthen Transport Control Measures Along Borders (7:15 a.m. NY)China will tighten quarantines in border areas, following a meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang. The number of confirmed coronavirus cases found in people who arrived through a land border has surpassed those that came by air.Dimon Sees ‘Bad Recession’ and Echoes of 2008 Crisis Ahead (7:11 a.m. NY)“At a minimum, we assume that it will include a bad recession combined with some kind of financial stress similar to the global financial crisis of 2008,” the CEO said Monday in his annual letter to shareholders. “Our bank cannot be immune to the effects of this kind of stress.”Nigeria to Borrow $6.9 Billion to Offset Virus Impact on Economy (7:03 a.m. NY)The government plans to raise as much as $6.9 billion from multilateral lenders to offset the impact of the pandemic. The state will seek $3.4 billion from the International Monetary Fund, $2.5 billion from the World Bank and a further $1 billion from the African Development Bank, Finance Minister Zainab Ahmed told reporters Monday.French Firms Have Requested Guarantees for EU20 Billion of Loans (6:58 p.m. NY)French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said 100,000 companies requested government loan guarantees for a total of 20 billion euros ($21.6 billion). In addition, more than 500,000 small companies have requested aid from France’s solidarity fund.Redhill Announces First Covid-19 Patient Treated With Opaganib (6:19 a.m. NY)RedHill Biopharma said the first patient with a confirmed coronavirus diagnosis was dosed with opaganib in Israel, and additional patients are expected to be treated in the coming days. Pre-clinical data demonstrated anti-viral effects in other viruses, anti-inflammatory activities and the potential to reduce lung inflammation, the company said.Hungary Announces Virus Stimulus Plan of Up to 20% of GDP (6:17 a.m. NY)Hungary’s government will pay some-private sector wages, offer loan guarantees and boost spending on infrastructure and pensions as part of a major fiscal stimulus plan aimed at averting a recession and mass unemployment as the coronavirus pummels the economy. The package, valued at 18% to 20% of gross domestic product including planned stimulus from the central bank, will also see the 2020 budget deficit rise to 2.7% of GDP from 1%, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on Monday.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.


  • The Last Responder: A day with an NYC funeral director Mon, 06 Apr 2020 16:39:21 -0400

    The Last Responder: A day with an NYC funeral directorTom Cheeseman's phone rang at 3 a.m. Friday, soon after returning home from one of the worst days he's seen in 30 years as a Brooklyn funeral director. Cheeseman has been at this for nearly his entire adult life.


  • Britain's Government Wasn’t Built for a Coronavirus Crisis Mon, 06 Apr 2020 16:00:56 -0400
  • Britain's Government Wasn’t Built for a Coronavirus Crisis Mon, 06 Apr 2020 16:00:56 -0400
  • Israeli leader announces lockdown over Passover holiday Mon, 06 Apr 2020 15:35:36 -0400

    Israeli leader announces lockdown over Passover holidayIsraeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Monday a complete lockdown over the upcoming Passover holiday to control the country's coronavirus outbreak, but offered citizens some hope by saying he expects to lift widespread restrictions after the week-long festival. Netanyahu's announcement came as leaders of the Coptic Orthodox Church in neighboring Egypt said they were suspending Easter celebrations because of the coronavirus. Israel has already greatly restricted movement to help slow the outbreak, allowing people to leave their homes to buy food or other essential activities.


  • Coronavirus Puts Boris Johnson in Intensive Care After Symptoms Worsen Mon, 06 Apr 2020 15:22:08 -0400

    Coronavirus Puts Boris Johnson in Intensive Care After Symptoms WorsenLONDON—The British prime minister Boris Johnson was admitted to intensive care Monday in a shock development that followed days of Downing Street playing down the severity of his illness.Fewer than 24 hours after the queen reassured the nation that Britain would overcome the threat of the coronavirus pandemic, the country’s leader was taken into the ICU.It’s the first time in more than a half a century that a British prime minister has been incapacitated while in office. Downing Street tried to keep up the appearance that Johnson was well enough to lead the country over the last 24 hours, but it has become increasingly clear that the 55-year-old is seriously ill.Reports emerged in the media over the weekend that Johnson was suffering quite severely, coughing and spluttering during cabinet Zoom meetings, but officials continued to insist that he was only feeling mild symptoms.U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson Admitted to Hospital After Testing Positive for COVID-19That changed dramatically Monday evening London time when No.10 was forced to admit that the prime minister’s “routine” stay in the hospital had now progressed to the intensive care ward when Johnson’s persistent coronavirus symptoms had significantly deteriorated.“Since Sunday evening, the prime minister has been under the care of doctors at St Thomas’ Hospital, in London, after being admitted with persistent symptoms of coronavirus,” a Downing Street statement read.“Over the course of this afternoon, the condition of the prime minister has worsened and, on the advice of his medical team, he has been moved to the intensive care unit at the hospital.”The British prime minister became the first major world leader to catch the coronavirus and confirmed his positive test for the disease on March 27. On Sunday night, Downing Street said Johnson had been taken to a London hospital after his symptoms worsened and it was reported, though not officially confirmed, that he had been given oxygen treatment on arrival. Officials maintained that he was only undergoing routine tests despite staying overnight.Queen Delivers Coronavirus Rallying Cry: ‘If We Remain Strong, We Will Overcome...We Will Meet Again’Britain has no formal vice-prime ministerial role and there is no constitutional process to ensure a temporary successor assumes the powers of the state in the event that the prime minister is unable to continue his duties. Since 1953, when Winston Churchill reportedly suffered a stroke, there has been no need to call on a deputy.BBC News reported that Johnson personally asked Dominic Raab, the foreign secretary, to take over before he was moved into the ICU. Although Johnson had officially maintained authority until Monday night, he had already handed off many of his duties. Raab is a divisive figure who came up on the right of the party and was rewarded for his hardline stance on Brexit by being promoted to foreign secretary last summer at the age of 45. He has already taken control of the regular COBRA meetings to oversee Britain’s handling of the crisis.Speaking to reporters late Monday night, Raab said: “The prime minister is in safe hands ... and the focus of the government will continue to be on making sure that the prime minister's direction, all the plans for making sure that we can defeat coronavirus and can pull the country through this challenge, will be taken forward.”The prime minister was reported to be conscious and the move to ICU came when doctors decided he could potentially require the use of a ventilator.While Johnson is not known to have any serious underlying health conditions, he has struggled with his weight throughout his political career. In December 2018, he said he was 16 and a half stone, which, at 5ft 9in, would have made him obese—a known coronavirus risk factor. However, he lost a noticeable amount of weight during his campaign to become leader of the Conservative party and prime minister in June last year.Johnson’s pregnant fiancee, Carrie Symonds, revealed on Saturday that she was in recovery after becoming bedridden from coronavirus symptoms—though she hasn’t been tested for the disease. The couple are expecting their first baby together in the early summer.Hours before his move into the ICU was confirmed, Johnson tweeted to say he was in “good spirits” and thanked the National Health Service staff who were looking after him and other people suffering from the coronavirus throughout the country.The United Kingdom has reported over 52,000 cases of the coronavirus, and over 5,300 people in the country have died.Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.


  • UN report: Syria or allies likely behind 5 civilian attacks Mon, 06 Apr 2020 15:14:21 -0400
  • A New COVID-19 Crisis: Domestic Abuse Rises Worldwide Mon, 06 Apr 2020 15:05:27 -0400

    A New COVID-19 Crisis: Domestic Abuse Rises WorldwideAdd another public health crisis to the toll of the new coronavirus: Mounting data suggests that domestic abuse is acting like an opportunistic infection, flourishing in the conditions created by the pandemic.There was every reason to believe that the restrictions imposed to keep the virus from spreading would have such an effect, said Marianne Hester, a Bristol University sociologist who studies abusive relationships. Domestic violence goes up whenever families spend more time together, such as Christmas and summer vacations, she said.Now, with families in lockdown worldwide, hotlines are lighting up with abuse reports, leaving governments trying to address a crisis that experts say they should have seen coming.The United Nations called Sunday for urgent action to combat the worldwide surge in domestic violence."I urge all governments to put women's safety first as they respond to the pandemic," Secretary-General Antonio Guterres wrote on Twitter.But governments largely failed to prepare for the way the new public health measures would create opportunities for abusers to terrorize their victims. Now, many are scrambling to offer services to those at risk.But, as with the response to the virus itself, the delays mean that irreparable harm may already have occurred.Lockdown and 'Intimate Terrorism'As cities and towns across China locked down, a 26-year-old woman named Lele found herself entangled in more and more arguments with her husband, with whom she now had to spend every hour in their home in Anhui province, in eastern China.On March 1, while Lele was holding her 11-month-old daughter, her husband began to beat her with a high chair. She is not sure how many times he hit her. Eventually, she said, one of her legs lost feeling and she fell to the ground, still holding the baby in her arms.A photograph she took after the incident shows the high chair lying on the floor in pieces, two of its metal legs snapped off -- evidence of the force with which her husband wielded it against her. Another image documents Lele's injuries: Nearly every inch of her lower legs was covered in bruises, a huge hematoma blooming on her left calf.Lele -- her full name is not being used for her safety -- said that her husband had abused her throughout their six-year relationship, but that the COVID-19 outbreak made things far worse."During the epidemic, we were unable to go outside, and our conflicts just grew bigger and bigger and more and more frequent," she said. "Everything was exposed."As quarantines take effect around the world, that kind of "intimate terrorism" -- a term many experts prefer for domestic violence -- is flourishing.In China, a Beijing-based NGO dedicated to combating violence against women, Equality, has seen a surge in calls to its help line since early February, when the government locked down cities in Hubei province, then the outbreak's epicenter.In Spain, the emergency number for domestic violence received 18% more calls in the first two weeks of lockdown than in the same period a month earlier."We've been getting some very distressing calls, showing us clearly just how intense psychological as well as physical mistreatment can get when people are kept 24 hours a day together within a reduced space," said Ana Bella, who set up a foundation to help other women after herself surviving domestic violence.On Thursday, French police reported a nationwide spike of about 30% in domestic violence. Christophe Castaner, the French interior minister, said he had asked officers to be on the lookout for abuse."The risk increases due to confinement," he said in an interview on French television.No EscapeIn Spain, with the help of women's associations, The New York Times contacted women stuck at home with an abusive husband or partner and conducted interviews over WhatsApp.One of them, Ana -- who asked that her full name be withheld -- shares an apartment with her partner and says he has been regularly abusing her. He insists on total surveillance at all times. If she tries to lock herself in a room, he kicks the door until she opens it."I can't even have privacy in the bathroom -- and now I have to endure this in a lockdown," she wrote in a message sent late at night, to hide the communication from her husband.Judith Lewis Herman, a renowned trauma expert at Harvard University Medical School, has found that the coercive methods that domestic abusers use to control their partners and children "bear an uncanny resemblance" to those that kidnappers use to control hostages and that repressive regimes use to break the will of political prisoners."The methods which enable one human being to control another are remarkably consistent," she wrote in a widely cited 1992 journal article. "While perpetrators of organized political or sexual exploitation may instruct each other in coercive methods, perpetrators of domestic abuse appear to reinvent them."In addition to physical violence, which is not present in every abusive relationship, common tools of abuse include isolation from friends, family and employment; constant surveillance; strict, detailed rules for behavior; and restrictions on access to such basic necessities as food, clothing and sanitary facilities.Home isolation, however vital to the fight against the pandemic, is giving still more power to the abuser, Hester said."If suddenly people have got to be at home," she said, "that gives him an opportunity, suddenly, to call the shots around that. To say what she should be doing or shouldn't."The isolation has also shattered support networks, making it far more difficult for victims to get help or escape.Fragile Resources, OverwhelmedAfter her husband attacked her with the high chair, Lele limped to the next room and called police. When they arrived, however, they only documented the attack, then took no further action.Next, she hired a lawyer and filed for divorce -- only to find that the epidemic had cut off that avenue of escape, too. Her divorce proceeding was postponed until April. She is still waiting for the court's decision.And finding a new home amid the outbreak proved difficult, forcing Lele and her daughter to continue to live with their abuser for weeks.It is a pattern playing out around the world.Institutions that are supposed to protect women from domestic violence, many weak and underfunded to begin with, are now straining to respond to the increased demand.Feng Yuan, a co-founder of Equality, the Chinese advocacy group, said she had one client who called an emergency line only to be told the police were too overstretched to help her."We can come to your place after the crisis," she recounted the operator saying.In Europe, one country after another seems to have followed the same grim path: First, governments impose lockdowns without making sufficient provisions for domestic abuse victims. About 10 days later, distress calls spike, setting off a public outcry. Only then do the governments scramble to improvise solutions.Italy was first.Its lockdown began in early March. Soon after that, domestic violence reports began to rise, but there was nowhere for newly desperate women to go. Shelters could not take them because the risk of infection was too great.So the government said local authorities could requisition hotel rooms to serve as makeshift shelters where victims could quarantine safely.Spain announced its lockdown March 14; France's began three days later. About two weeks later, with abuse reports soaring, officials there announced that they, too, planned to turn vacant hotel rooms into shelters, among other emergency efforts.In Britain, authorities waited longer before imposing a lockdown.Ten days before it began March 23, The New York Times contacted the Home Office about what it planned to do about domestic violence. The response: Only "existing sources of advice and support" would be available. The government later published a list of hotlines and apps that victims could use to call for help, but only one was specifically tailored for the COVID-19 crisis.By a week into lockdown, Avon and Somerset, in the southwest of the country, said domestic abuse reports were already up by 20%, and local forces elsewhere were bracing for the same.Last week, after dozens of civic groups signed an open letter to the government calling for action, officials pledged to respond, without offering specifics."Supporting victims of domestic abuse is a priority for the home secretary, and she is fully aware of the distress and anxiety this period may cause to those suffering or at risk of domestic abuse," the Home Office said in a statement. "We are working with the police, domestic abuse charities, help lines and front-line workers to support and protect people."It also said victims could "disregard orders to stay at home if they need to seek immediate refuge."Eventually, the lockdowns will end. But as the confinement drags on, the danger seems likely to intensify. Studies show that abusers are more likely to murder their partners and others in the wake of personal crises, including lost jobs or major financial setbacks.With COVID-19 ravaging the economy, such crises are set to become much more frequent.This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2020 The New York Times Company


  • Navy leader calls fired carrier captain 'naive' or 'stupid' Mon, 06 Apr 2020 14:58:42 -0400

    Navy leader calls fired carrier captain 'naive' or 'stupid'In an extraordinary broadside punctuated with profanity, the Navy’s top leader accused the fired commander of the coronavirus-stricken USS Theodore Roosevelt of being “too naive or too stupid” to be in charge of an aircraft carrier. Hours after the remark was widely reported in the news media, Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly issued a written public apology, saying he does not believe Capt. Brett E. Crozier is stupid or naive. “I apologize for any confusion this choice of words may have caused,” Modly wrote late Monday evening, referring to his speech aboard the Roosevelt on Sunday.


  • Virus is mostly mild and rarely fatal for US kids, data show Mon, 06 Apr 2020 14:26:42 -0400

    Virus is mostly mild and rarely fatal for US kids, data showThe first national data on COVID-19 in U.S. children suggest that while the illness usually isn’t severe in kids, some do get sick enough to require hospital treatment. The findings mostly echo reports from China about how the new coronavirus affects children. The report included nearly 150,000 laboratory-confirmed U.S. cases in adults and children from Feb. 12 through April 2.


  • 'Old school' technique helps expert ID remains from 1969 Mon, 06 Apr 2020 14:15:53 -0400

    'Old school' technique helps expert ID remains from 1969Thanks to an old-fashioned fingerprint-matching technique, the remains of a shooting victim found alongside a New Hampshire highway 50 years ago have been identified as a Vermont man who had been released from prison three months earlier, authorities said Monday. The body of Winston “Skip” Morris was discovered by a work crew in a water-filled pit off Interstate 93 in Salem on Aug. 7, 1969. Morris, 30, of Barre, Vermont, had been shot at least six times in the head.


  • California lends 500 ventilators to 4 states, 2 territories Mon, 06 Apr 2020 13:45:20 -0400

    California lends 500 ventilators to 4 states, 2 territoriesThe White House said Monday that 500 ventilators on loan from California will be shipped to Nevada, Maryland, Delaware, the District of Columbia, the Northern Mariana Islands and Guam as the nation faces a crush of coronavirus-related hospitalizations. California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced earlier the nation's most populous state would share some of its ventilators, a necessary tool to keep struggling patients breathing, with the national stockpile even as it hunts for more of its own supplies. Newsom suggested that New York may be one of the states to receive the ventilators, but he said the federal government was best poised to decide where they were needed most.


  • Catch this week's supermoon, biggest and brightest of year Mon, 06 Apr 2020 13:37:16 -0400

    Catch this week's supermoon, biggest and brightest of yearNot only will the moon be closer to Earth than usual, it will also be a full moon. Scientists call this cosmic combo a supermoon. NASA is encouraging everyone to look skyward, whether it’s outside or through a living room window.


  • Poland Moves to Hold Europe’s Only National Election in Lockdown Mon, 06 Apr 2020 13:25:08 -0400
  • Rate of deaths, illness among black residents alarms cities Mon, 06 Apr 2020 12:54:24 -0400
  • Mosque converted into mask factory in virus-hit Iran Mon, 06 Apr 2020 12:48:37 -0400

    Mosque converted into mask factory in virus-hit IranAt a Tehran mosque converted into a factory, women volunteers who would normally attend to visitors to the old battlefields of the Iran-Iraq war have joined the fight against coronavirus. Lined up like factory workers, around 15 women have taken up positions in front of table-top sewing machines to produce face masks. "Our group used to go to the battlefields of the Iran-Iraq war every year to serve visitors," Fatemeh Saidi, a 27-year-old woman involved in the Basij with her husband, told AFP.


  • Coronavirus: Ivory Coast protesters target testing centre Mon, 06 Apr 2020 12:33:29 -0400

    Coronavirus: Ivory Coast protesters target testing centreProtesters said it was being built in a crowded residential area, too close to their homes.


  • AP PHOTOS: A week of images from the coronavirus pandemic Mon, 06 Apr 2020 12:05:35 -0400

    AP PHOTOS: A week of images from the coronavirus pandemicCemetery workers wore protective clothing as they conducted a burial in Brazil, a field of freshly dug graves awaiting more corpses. In Spain, a stockpile of caskets stood ready for burials or cremations. A funeral home in Brooklyn, New York, that is normally equipped for 40 to 60 cases at a time was handling more than 180.


  • Hugs and kisses, deferred: Pandemic cuts physical contact Mon, 06 Apr 2020 11:56:10 -0400

    Hugs and kisses, deferred: Pandemic cuts physical contactJust when many feel they need it the most, the comfort of physical closeness is being denied. Dr. Loren Olson, 77, a psychiatrist in Urbandale, Iowa, misses the hugs and kisses from friends who gathered for potlucks and dominoes and movies, before they all holed up only to emerge for grocery runs. “I didn’t know how important that was to me until now that I don’t have it,” Olson says of those lost touches.


  • Millions going to Holocaust survivors for coronavirus help Mon, 06 Apr 2020 10:58:06 -0400
  • Wisconsin moves forward with election despite virus concerns Mon, 06 Apr 2020 10:43:47 -0400

    Wisconsin moves forward with election despite virus concernsVoters in Wisconsin will face a choice Tuesday of participating in a presidential primary election or heeding warnings from public health officials to stay away from large crowds during the coronavirus pandemic. Hours after Democratic Gov. Tony Evers issued an order postponing the election for two months, the conservative-controlled Wisconsin Supreme Court on Monday sided with Republicans who said he didn't have the authority to reschedule the race on his own. Conservative justices on the U.S. Supreme Court quickly followed with a ruling blocking Democratic efforts to extend absentee voting.


  • With small businesses suffering, Putin faces criticism over shutdown Mon, 06 Apr 2020 10:30:33 -0400
  • White House pushes unproven drug for virus, but doctors wary Mon, 06 Apr 2020 10:30:04 -0400

    White House pushes unproven drug for virus, but doctors waryPresident Donald Trump and his administration kept up their out-sized promotion Monday of an anti-malaria drug not yet officially approved for fighting the new coronavirus, even though scientists say more testing is needed before it’s proven safe and effective against COVID-19. Trump trade adviser Peter Navarro championed hydroxychloroquine in television interviews a day after the president publicly put his faith in the medication to lessen the toll of the coronavirus pandemic. “What do I know, I’m not a doctor," Trump said Sunday.


  • Coronavirus: South African bride and groom arrested over lockdown wedding Mon, 06 Apr 2020 10:04:01 -0400

    Coronavirus: South African bride and groom arrested over lockdown weddingPolice vans, not wedding cars, greet newlyweds who ignored South Africa's ban on public gatherings.


  • Hopeful birdsong, foreboding sirens: A pandemic in sound Mon, 06 Apr 2020 09:53:58 -0400

    Hopeful birdsong, foreboding sirens: A pandemic in soundIn New York, at 7 p.m. for the duration, the city ignites for a few moments in whoops and claps as the home bound lean out their windows making noise together. In another hard-hit city, San Francisco, 58-year-old Markus Hawkins is a visually impaired musician and massage therapist who lives alone in the Tenderloin district above a bakery, still open, and next to a restaurant, ordered shut.


  • Iran says virus infections show 'gradual' decline Mon, 06 Apr 2020 09:53:22 -0400

    Iran says virus infections show 'gradual' declineThe trajectory of coronavirus infections in Iran appears to have started a "gradual" downward trend, the government said Monday, but it warned the disease is far from being under control. The COVID-19 outbreak claimed 136 lives in the past 24 hours, bringing Iran's overall death toll to 3,739, health ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour told a televised news conference. Iran registered 2,274 new cases of infection over the same period, he said, putting the total number at 60,500 across the country.


  • Dancing alone: A senior center keeps clients up and moving Mon, 06 Apr 2020 09:44:00 -0400

    Dancing alone: A senior center keeps clients up and movingDance instructor Lola Jaramillo switches the radio to an uplifting salsa song. “My students love this one,” says Jaramillo, dancing to the rhythm of “Life is a Carnival” and encouraging her class to follow her steps. Instead, a video camera records her in an empty room.


  • Spencon: Inside the collapse of an African construction giant Mon, 06 Apr 2020 09:27:57 -0400

    Spencon: Inside the collapse of an African construction giantAn Africa Eye investigation uncovers the chaotic final months of a once-great construction firm.


  • Pandemic, border crackdown hamper Catholics' aid to migrants Mon, 06 Apr 2020 09:16:14 -0400

    Pandemic, border crackdown hamper Catholics' aid to migrantsFor years, Catholic-led, U-S.-based nonprofits have been at the forefront of efforts to support migrants and asylum seekers along the Mexican border. Tough new border policies, coupled with the COVID-19 pandemic, have drastically changed their work, much of which now takes place in Mexico. The once heavy flow of undocumented border-crossers has dwindled as the Trump administration enforces a new virus-related ban on top of its Migration Protection Protocols that already had forced thousands of asylum seekers to wait in Mexico.


  • What you need to know today about the virus outbreak Mon, 06 Apr 2020 08:59:07 -0400

    What you need to know today about the virus outbreakBritish Prime Minister Boris Johnson was moved to the intensive care unit of a London hospital after his coronavirus symptoms worsened Monday. In New York, there are faint glimmers of hope as deaths from the new coronavirus appear to be leveling off. New York City remains the epicenter of the pandemic in the U.S., and New Orleans and Detroit still face worrying days ahead.


  • He Led a Top Navy Ship. Now He Sits in Quarantine, Fired and Infected. Mon, 06 Apr 2020 08:09:25 -0400

    He Led a Top Navy Ship. Now He Sits in Quarantine, Fired and Infected.WASHINGTON -- For days, he fended off fears that the contagion would spread unchecked through his crew. Then last week, the captain of the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt, who had appealed to his superiors for help, was fired.By Sunday, friends said, he had come down with the coronavirus himself.The military has long adhered to a rigid chain of command and tolerated no dissent expressed outside official channels. Capt. Brett Crozier, the skipper of the aircraft carrier, knew he was up against those imperatives when he asked for help for nearly 5,000 crew members trapped in a petri dish of a warship in the middle of a pandemic.But colleagues say the mistake that could cost Crozier his career was charging headlong into the Trump administration's narrative that it had everything under control.Pentagon officials said that although President Donald Trump never ordered Crozier dismissed, he was displeased with the captain's actions and let the Navy know -- a sentiment Trump made very public Saturday when he lashed out at the captain.Even so, the Navy's top brass clashed about what to do.Adm. Michael M. Gilday, the chief of naval operations, privately urged against dismissal and argued that, per usual Navy procedures, an investigation into what went wrong on the Roosevelt should be allowed to play out. But the acting Navy secretary, Thomas B. Modly, overruled the Navy's top admiral, saying Crozier had cracked under pressure.Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper said Sunday that he supported Modly's decision. The Washington Post first reported the differing opinions among Navy officials.Navy officials acknowledged Sunday that tensions between Crozier and his immediate boss, Rear Adm. Stuart P. Baker, commander of a multiship task force including the Roosevelt, most likely complicated the Navy's response to the viral outbreak and prompted the captain to send a four-page letter pleading for help. Officials said the letter, sent as an unclassified email, went only to other Navy personnel, but it leaked to the news media last week.Indeed, the Navy hinted at such tensions in a statement Sunday that the findings of the investigation into what happened aboard the Roosevelt and the chain of command in the Pacific, including its "command climate," would be submitted to Gilday on Monday.According to those who have known Crozier for more than three decades, the picture Modly paints of their friend and classmate is not one they recognize.Jeff Craig, who recently retired from the Navy after serving as a captain, including a tour as second-in-command of the Roosevelt, worked extensively with Crozier after attending the Naval Academy with him. Crozier became a helicopter pilot, Craig said, earning a nickname that he retained even after he transitioned to flying jets and ultimately to commanding a carrier: Chopper."Chopper is one of the best people I have ever known, both professionally and personally," Craig, who now works with Amazon's air cargo division, said in an interview Sunday.On Sunday, Crozier was in quarantine in Guam, the American territory in the Pacific, dealing with a dry, raspy cough, say people who know him. At least 400 sailors from the Roosevelt who have tested negative for the virus are expected to be sent from the ship to hotels, joining 625 other sailors who have already tested negative.It is not known when Crozier's diagnosis was made, or whether the Navy was aware of his infection when he was removed from command, if the medical results came before his punishment.Friends and colleagues say Crozier, 50, is at peace with a decision that most likely ended a career that vaulted him from the U.S. Naval Academy to the prestigious job as captain of one of the Navy's 11 aircraft carriers.Crozier, a native of Santa Rosa, California, started his career flying helicopters. He was then accepted for an exceptionally rare transfer to fly fixed-wing jet aircraft, eventually rising to command an F/A-18 Hornet fighter squadron. From there, he began climbing the nearly decadelong pipeline to command an aircraft carrier.Crozier entered the Navy's academically daunting nuclear power school to learn how to run the twin nuclear plants at the heart of a Nimitz-class carrier like the Theodore Roosevelt. Then, he served as the second-in-command of the carrier USS Ronald Reagan, and later as the top officer of the USS Blue Ridge, an amphibious command ship, in Yokosuka, Japan.But little had prepared the captain, who assumed command of the Roosevelt in November, and his crew for what happened in March.The carrier was steaming in the western Pacific, ready to respond to any emergency involving North Korea, an emboldened Chinese navy in the South China Sea or another emerging crisis. On March 24, two weeks after pulling out of a port call in Da Nang, Vietnam, two sailors aboard the Roosevelt tested positive for the coronavirus and were flown to Guam for treatment. Two days later, fearing the scourge of a fast-spreading virus aboard the aircraft carrier, with its cramped quarters for nearly 5,000 sailors, the ship steamed into a previously scheduled stop in Guam, which has a major Navy base and hospital.Crozier appealed to his superiors for help and Navy officials began responding, but that apparently was not enough.The tipping point was a four-page letter dated March 30, first reported by The San Francisco Chronicle on Tuesday, in which Crozier laid out the dire situation unfolding aboard the warship. He described what he said were the Navy's failures to provide him with the proper resources to combat the virus by moving sailors off the vessel."We are not at war," Crozier wrote. "Sailors do not need to die. If we do not act now, we are failing to properly take care of our most trusted asset -- our sailors."Back at the Pentagon was a furious Modly, who had moved up from the Navy's No. 2 job in November after Esper demanded the resignation of his boss over his handling of the case of a Navy SEAL commando who Trump had championed. The acting secretary told reporters last week that the Navy was rushing badly needed supplies to the Roosevelt well before the captain sent his letter to several officers in his chain of command over unclassified email.Modly said the captain had become "overwhelmed" by the crisis, and said he removed him over a loss of confidence -- and not retribution for the letter. Navy officials say they do not know who leaked the letter.But in removing from command a captain who complained that the Navy was not doing enough to stop the spread of the coronavirus, the Navy opened itself to criticism that it was insufficiently concerned about the health of its sailors. Even though Modly stressed that he welcomed blunt assessments from subordinate officers, the removal of Crozier could have a chilling effect, several senior officers said.Online, members of Crozier's Naval Academy class of 1992 have rallied behind their classmate. Members of the class, most of whom have long since left the military, say their private Facebook group is overflowing with posts and comments in support of the captain. "The volume of posts was almost exponential," one classmate, Mark Roppolo, said in a telephone interview.Craig, who served with Crozier, said he sent his friend an email when the coronavirus started spreading in Asia this winter, wishing him well. He said he received a reply saying thank you, but had not spoken to him since he was relieved of command.The two men were picked for the Navy's demanding nuclear power school together in 2012, and Crozier clearly excelled."Nuclear power school is a crucible," Craig said. "It's not for the faint of heart. Chopper would stay late, study on weekends, until he could not only pass the tests but had a deep understanding of the concepts behind them."Craig said during his time aboard the Roosevelt in 2015, the command regularly drilled to react to battle damage, fire and other catastrophes, but never practiced what they would do if infectious disease ravaged the tight quarters of the ship."Chopper always had the best interests of his crew forefront. I'm sure that was the case here," Craig said. "Chopper's character is not prone to hasty or uneducated decision making. Anything he did was well thought out."Dan Goldenberg, another Naval Academy classmate of Crozier's, said that "Modly is wrong no matter what.""He either made the wrong call in firing Crozier, or if he made the right call, he did a terrible job of explaining it -- it's just illogical," said Goldenberg, a retired Navy captain and special assistant to four secretaries of the Navy.On Sunday, friends say, Crozier found himself sitting alone in the "distinguished visitors quarters" on Naval Base Guam, battling a coronavirus infection, with an unknown next step in a nearly 30-year military career.The evacuation Crozier sought for his crew is now in motion -- one following the rousing send-off they gave him as he left the ship last week.Hundreds of sailors who tested negative have been evacuated from the ship, which is being disinfected with a skeleton crew aboard to operate the nuclear reactors and other critical functions.Quarantined sailors are not allowed to leave their rooms. Their meals are placed on the floor outside their hotel doors three times a day, and alcohol and outside food are not allowed in.These sailors have not even been given keys to their rooms. If they try sneaking out, the doors will lock behind them and they will need a military police officer -- one of whom is keeping watch on every floor -- to let them back in. They do have access to Wi-Fi and cable television, and are allowed to smoke on their balconies, if their room has one.Twice a day, hospital corpsmen -- the Navy's medics -- visit each room and take the sailors' temperatures, to watch for potential fevers.It is not an ending any of Crozier's friends and academy classmates envisioned."Can you imagine devoting your whole life to the Navy as Crozier has, and you make the right call to help your crew, and this happens?" Goldenberg said. "I'm floored."This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2020 The New York Times Company


  • Official Counts Understate the U.S. Coronavirus Death Toll Mon, 06 Apr 2020 08:09:14 -0400

    Official Counts Understate the U.S. Coronavirus Death TollWASHINGTON -- A coroner in Indiana wanted to know if the coronavirus had killed a man in early March but said that her health department denied a test. Paramedics in New York City say that many patients who died at home were never tested for the coronavirus, even if they showed telltale signs of infection.In Virginia, a funeral director prepared the remains of three people after health workers cautioned her that they each had tested positive for the coronavirus. But only one of the three had the virus noted on the death certificate.Across the United States, even as coronavirus deaths are being recorded in terrifying numbers -- many hundreds each day -- the true death toll is likely much higher.More than 9,400 people with the coronavirus have been reported to have died in this country as of this weekend, but hospital officials, doctors, public health experts and medical examiners say that official counts have failed to capture the true number of Americans dying in this pandemic. The undercount is a result of inconsistent protocols, limited resources and a patchwork of decision-making from one state or county to the next.In many rural areas, coroners say they don't have the tests they need to detect the disease. Doctors now believe that some deaths in February and early March, before the coronavirus reached epidemic levels in the United States, were likely misidentified as influenza or only described as pneumonia.With no uniform system for reporting coronavirus-related deaths in the United States and a continued shortage of tests, some states and counties have improvised, obfuscated and at times backtracked in counting the dead."We definitely think there are deaths that we have not accounted for," said Jennifer Nuzzo, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins University Center for Health Security, which studies global health threats and is closely tracking the coronavirus pandemic.Late last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new guidance for how to certify coronavirus deaths, underscoring the need for uniformity and reinforcing the sense by health care workers and others that deaths have not been consistently tracked. In its guidance, the CDC instructed officials to report deaths where the patient has tested positive or, in an absence of testing, "if the circumstances are compelling within a reasonable degree of certainty."In infectious outbreaks, public health experts say that under typical circumstances it takes months or years to compile data that is as accurate as possible on deaths. The reporting system during an epidemic of this scale is particularly strained. And while experts say they believe that virus-related deaths have been missed, the extent of the problem is not clear.But as mayors and governors hold daily news conferences reporting the latest figures of infections and deaths related to COVID-19, Americans have paid close attention to the locations and numbers of the sick and dead -- one of the few metrics available for understanding the new and mysterious disease threatening their communities.Public health experts say that an accurate count of deaths is an essential tool to understand a disease outbreak as it unfolds: The more deadly a disease, the more aggressively authorities are willing to disrupt normal life. Precise death counts can also inform the federal government on how to target resources, like ventilators from the national stockpile, to the areas of the country with the most desperate need.For families who have lost a loved one in the midst of this epidemic, there is an urge simply to know: Was it the coronavirus?Lingering QuestionsAs the coronavirus outbreak began sweeping across the country last month, Julio Ramirez, a 43-year-old salesman in San Gabriel, California, came home from a business trip and began feeling unwell, suffering from a fever, cough and body aches. By the next day, he had lost his sense of taste and smell.His wife, Julie Murillo, took him to an urgent care clinic several days later, where he was so weak he had to be pushed in a wheelchair. Doctors prescribed antibiotics, a cough syrup and gave him a chest X-ray, but they did not test for the coronavirus, she said. Just over a week after he returned from his trip, Murillo found him dead in his bed."I kept trying to get him tested from the beginning," Murillo said. "They told me no."Frustrated, Murillo enlisted friends to call the CDC on her behalf, urging a post-mortem test. Then she hired a private company to conduct an autopsy; the owner pleaded for a coronavirus test from local and federal authorities.On Saturday afternoon, 19 days after the death, Murillo received a call from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, she said. The Health Department had gone to the funeral home where her husband's body was resting and taken a sample for a coronavirus test. He tested positive.In a statement, the health department said that post-mortem testing has been conducted on "a number of cases" but did not provide specifics or comment on Ramirez's case.The work of counting deaths related to the virus falls to an assortment of health care providers, medical examiners, coroners, funeral homes and local health departments that fill out America's death certificates. The documents typically include information on the immediate cause of death, such as a heart attack or pneumonia, as well as on any underlying disease. In coronavirus cases, that would be COVID-19.The federal government does not expect to produce a final tally of coronavirus deaths until 2021, when it publishes an annual compilation of the country's leading causes of death.A New York Times tally of known COVID-related deaths, based on reports from state and local officials, showed 9,470 deaths as of Sunday. On Friday, the National Center for Health Statistics, part of the CDC, began publishing preliminary estimates of coronavirus deaths, although a spokesman said that information would have a "lag of 1-2 weeks." Its first estimate noted 1,150 deaths, based on the number of death certificates that included COVID-19 as an underlying disease."It is not a 'real time' count of COVID deaths, like what the states are currently reporting," Jeff Lancashire, a spokesman for the National Center for Health Statistics, said.But those who work with death certificates say they worry that relying only on those documents may leave out a significant number of cases in which the coronavirus was confirmed by testing but not written down in the section where doctors and coroners are asked to note relevant underlying diseases. Generally, certificates require an immediate cause and encourage -- but do not require -- officials to take note of an underlying disease.Then there are the many suspected cases.Susan Perry, the funeral director from Virginia, said that she was informed by health workers and families that three recently deceased people had tested positive for the virus so that she and her staff could take necessary precautions with the bodies. Only one death certificate mentioned the virus."This probably happens all the time with different diseases, but this is the first time I'm paying attention to it," Perry said. "If we don't know the numbers, how are we going to be able to prepare ourselves and protect ourselves?""Now We're Having the 'Aha!' Moment"Early in the U.S. outbreak, virus-linked deaths may have been overlooked, hospital officials said. A late start to coronavirus testing hampered hospitals' ability to detect the infection among patients with flulike symptoms in February and early March. Doctors at several hospitals reported treating pneumonia patients who eventually died before testing was available."When I was working before we had testing, we had a ton of patients with pneumonia," said Geraldine Menard, chief of general internal medicine at Tulane Medical Center in New Orleans. "I remember thinking it was weird. I'm sure some of those patients did have it. But no one knew back then."An emergency department physician in San Francisco recalled two deaths that were probably caused by the coronavirus but not identified as such. One patient died at home; a relative in the same home later tested positive for the virus. Another patient was an older man who came to the hospital with typical coronavirus symptoms and who had been in contact with someone recently traveling to China but arrived at the hospital before testing was available.In New York City, emergency medical workers say that infection and death rates are probably far higher than reported. Given a record number of calls, many ambulance crews have encouraged anyone not critically ill to stay home. The result, medics say, is that many presumed coronavirus patients may never know for sure if they had the virus, so any who later die at home may never be categorized as having had it.Across the country, coroners are going through a process of reevaluation, reconsidering deaths that occurred before testing was widely available. Coroners and medical examiners generally investigate deaths that are considered unusual, result from accidents or suicides, or occur at home.Joani Shields, the coroner in Monroe County, Indiana, said she wondered about a man diagnosed with pneumonia who died in early March.A coronavirus test was requested at the time, but the local health department denied it, Shields said, on the grounds that the supply of tests was too limited."I wish we could have tested him," she said.In Shelby County, Alabama, Lina Evans, the coroner, said she was now suspicious of a surge in deaths in her county earlier this year, many of which involved severe pneumonia."We had a lot of hospice deaths this year, and now it makes me go back and think, wow, did they have COVID? Did that accelerate their death?" she said.Evans, who is also a nurse, is frustrated that she will never know."When we go back to those deaths that occurred earlier this year -- people who were negative for flu -- now we're having the 'aha!' moment," she said. "They should have been tested for the coronavirus. As far as underreporting, I would say definitely."Disparate Reporting, More WaitingEven now, as testing is more widely available, there is a patchwork of standards about information being reported by state and local health officials on deaths in the United States.Around the world, keeping an accurate death toll has been a challenge for governments. Availability of testing and other resources have affected the official counts in some places, and significant questions have emerged about official government tallies in places such as China and Iran.In the U.S., uncertainties and inconsistencies have emerged, and health departments have had to backtrack on cases of previously reported deaths. Florida officials rescinded an announcement of a COVID death in Pasco County. In Hawaii, the state's first announced coronavirus death was later recategorized as unrelated after officials admitted misreading test results. LA County officials announced that a child had died from the virus, then said they were unsure whether the virus caused the death, then declined to explain the confusion.Adding to the complications, different jurisdictions are using distinct standards for attributing a death to the coronavirus and, in some cases, relying on techniques that would lower the overall count of fatalities.In Blaine County, Idaho, the local health authority requires a positive test to certify a death the result of the coronavirus. But in Alabama, the state Health Department requires a physician to review a person's medical records to determine whether the virus was actually the root cause of death."This is in the interest of having the most accurate and most transparent data that we can provide," said Karen Landers, a district medical officer with the Alabama Department of Public Health. "We recognize that different sites might do it differently."So far, the state has received reports of 45 people with the coronavirus dying but has only certified 31 of those deaths as a result of the virus.Experts who study mortality statistics caution that it may take months for scientists to calculate a fatality rate for the coronavirus in the United States that is as accurate as possible.Some researchers say there may never be a truly accurate, complete count of deaths. It has happened before. Experts believe that widespread news coverage in 1976 of a potential swine flu epidemic -- one that never materialized -- led to a rash of deaths recorded as influenza that, in years prior, would have been categorized as pneumonia."We're still debating the death toll of the Spanish flu" of 1918-19, said Stephane Helleringer, associate professor at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health. "It might take a long time. It's not just that the data is messy, but because the effects of a pandemic disease are very complex."This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2020 The New York Times Company


  • AP-NORC poll: Americans increasing effort to avoid infection Mon, 06 Apr 2020 08:00:53 -0400

    AP-NORC poll: Americans increasing effort to avoid infectionAmericans in overwhelming numbers are actively avoiding others as much as possible and taking additional steps to protect themselves from the coronavirus, according to a survey from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research that shows how concerns about infection have grown sharply in the past six weeks. The survey finds Americans are increasingly isolating, washing their hands and avoiding touching their face. The spike in concern comes as the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, has grown to about 1.3 million worldwide and about 340,000 in the U.S., according to Johns Hopkins University.


  • Spain’s New Virus Infections Fall as Austria Eases Lockdown Mon, 06 Apr 2020 07:20:02 -0400

    Spain’s New Virus Infections Fall as Austria Eases Lockdown(Bloomberg) -- Spain reported the lowest number of new coronavirus cases in more than two weeks and German infections were the fewest in six days, tentative signs that the spread of the deadly disease is slowing in Europe’s worst-hit countries.The most recent figures from Spain, Italy, Germany and France suggest containment measures that have idled millions of workers are having an effect. While most leaders pleaded for patience, Austria became the first country in Europe to ease restrictions and Denmark may follow later.After weeks of measures designed to limit contact between people, European governments are seeing growing evidence that shutting down much of the economy is containing the disease. Italy, Spain, France and the U.K. have suffered the most deaths worldwide, accounting for nearly 60% of all fatalities.New infections in Spain were 4,273, the lowest since March 22, according to Health Ministry data on Monday. The death toll in Europe’s biggest outbreak rose by 637, the lowest number of daily fatalities since March 24.German infections rose by 4,031 to surpass 100,000, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. With 140 fatalities, it was the lowest daily increase in nearly a week. The coming days will show if the trend holds. New cases and deaths in Germany have consistently dropped over weekends as regional health authorities have been slower to report figures.Chancellor Angela Merkel’s chief of staff said it’s critical to reduce the number of infections before taking decisions on easing social-distancing rules. The concern is that patients require ventilation for a longer period of time than initially anticipated “because more and more older people get infected,” Helge Braun told Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung on Sunday.Reports on Covid-19 related outbreaks in nursing homes and hospitals are increasing, and the number of deaths is relatively high in some of these outbreaks, Germany’s health authority said. Europe’s largest economy continues to have the third-highest number of confirmed cases in Europe.Spain and Italy -- the epicenters of the pandemic in region -- have the highest death tolls worldwide. That means officials have to weigh any attempts to restart parts of the economy against the risk of reigniting the outbreak.In Spain, public opinion of the government’s management of the crisis has consistently deteriorated. Just 27.7% of voters approve of the efforts by Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez’s administration, compared with 35.1% three weeks ago, according to a GAD3 poll published Monday by Spanish newspaper ABC.“It’s the lockdown measures that are helping us,” Silvio Brusaferro, head of Italy’s public health institute, said in Rome on Sunday. Rules designed to limit contact between people have led to a “significant slowdown in the spread,” he said.Italy reported 525 new deaths on Sunday, the lowest daily number in more than two weeks, and new confirmed cases also declined. France reported an additional 518 deaths, the fewest since last Tuesday.Crisis ExitIn Austria, small retailers, hardware stores and gardening shops will reopen next week after national lockdown measures succeeded in slowing the spread. The number of active coronavirus patients has declined, with recoveries outnumbering new positive tests for three consecutive days.Despite easing restrictions, Chancellor Sebastian Kurz called on Austrians to sacrifice traditional Easter holiday celebrations with friends and family this weekend and stick to social-distancing rules at least until the end of April. Should Covid-19’s spread be contained, more shops could reopen in May and schools in mid-May.“We have reacted faster and more restrictive than other countries,” Kurz said in Vienna. “We’ll also get out of the crisis faster if everybody continues to stick to the measures.”Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen may also announce initial steps toward a return to normal life as early as Monday. Still, she’s made clear that any slight uptick in the number of cases would be followed by an instant return to tight restrictions.Italy is heading into its fifth week under lockdown, and Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday that he can’t say when it will be lifted.He is expected to announce revised rules and timelines by the end of next week, Il Messaggero newspaper reported. Italy’s measures have been extended through at least April 13, and Spain’s will now be in force at least until April 25.Italy’s new confirmed cases totaled 4,316 on Sunday, lower than the day before. Total infections rose to 128,948 cases, slightly fewer than Spain.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.


  • British Prime Minister Boris Johnson moved to intensive care Mon, 06 Apr 2020 07:12:28 -0400

    British Prime Minister Boris Johnson moved to intensive careBritish Prime Minister Boris Johnson was moved to the intensive care unit of a London hospital after his coronavirus symptoms dramatically worsened Monday, just a day after he was admitted for what were said to be routine tests. The 55-year-old Conservative was conscious and did not require ventilation, but he was moved into intensive care in case he needs it later, his office said in a statement. Britain has no official post of deputy prime minister, but Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has been designated to take over should Johnson become incapacitated.


  • Domestic abuse calls up 25% in U.K. since start of coronavirus lockdown Mon, 06 Apr 2020 06:28:24 -0400

    Domestic abuse calls up 25% in U.K. since start of coronavirus lockdown"We know lockdowns and quarantines are essential to suppressing COVID-19, but they can trap women with abusive partners," U.N. Secretary General says.


  • Lawsuit raises questions about source of Jeff Bezos's affair revelation Mon, 06 Apr 2020 06:00:54 -0400

    Lawsuit raises questions about source of Jeff Bezos's affair revelationIn lawsuit, Michael Sanchez has accused AMI of plot to ‘scapegoat’ him, and has cast doubt on claim that he was the ‘sole source’ A top executive at the tabloid publisher behind the National Enquirer said in a private email that he was “saving for my tombstone” the untold story of how the tabloid uncovered a 2019 exclusive about Jeff Bezos’s extramarital relationship, according to a lawsuit against the publisher.The claim raises new questions about how American Media Inc (AMI) discovered the Amazon CEO’s relationship, and how it obtained knowledge of explicit sexual photographs that Bezos, one of the world’s richest men, has alleged were used against him by the publisher for “extortion and blackmail”.The claim by Bezos that he was being blackmailed by AMI is the subject of an FBI investigation.AMI has publicly insisted that it relied on only one source for its salacious scoop about the Bezos affair: Michael Sanchez, who is the brother of Lauren Sanchez, Bezos’s girlfriend.Michael Sanchez was reportedly paid $200,000 by the tabloid for intimate texts and other information about the secret affair, which ultimately led to Bezos’s multi-billion dollar divorce from wife MacKenzie Bezos.But in a new lawsuit filed in March against AMI, the Enquirer, and top AMI executives, Michael Sanchez has accused the company of an elaborate plot to “scapegoat” him, and has cast doubt on the claim that he was the “sole source” of all the information and materials the tabloid obtained before it published its stories about the extramarital relationship.Instead, Sanchez has claimed in court documents that the Enquirer publisher relied on multiple sources, including the use of “high-tech spyware” to secretly hack Bezos’s phone and extract “his most private and confidential information”.Sanchez’s allegations echo claims that have been levelled against AMI by Bezos’s own security team. In a Daily Beast op-ed last year, Gavin De Becker, Bezos’s top security consultant, said he believed that Michael Sanchez had played a relatively minor role in the Enquirer’s story, and compared him to a “low-level Watergate burglar”.“Reality is complicated, and can’t always be boiled down to a simple narrative like “the brother did it,” even when that brother is a person who certainly supplied some information to a supermarket tabloid,” De Becker wrote.It is still far from clear how the supermarket tabloid landed its scoop, and how it obtained information about some “below the belt” photographs Bezos sent to Lauren Sanchez while their relationship was still secret.The Guardian reported in January that Bezos, the owner of the Washington Post, had his mobile phone “hacked” in 2018 after receiving a WhatsApp message that had apparently been sent from the personal account of the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman.The matter is under investigation by experts at the United Nations. Saudi Arabia has denied it hacked Bezos.In his lawsuit, Michael Sanchez admits having played a role in the Enquirer story, and claims to have done so “strategically” to minimise fallout for his sister and control the “narrative” of the story. While he has not denied supplying the tabloid with some of the couple’s private texts , he has denied the allegation that he ever gave AMI sexually explicit photographs.Those photographs have never been published, but Bezos referred to them in an extraordinary blog post statement on the matter in February 2019, a few weeks after the Enquirer story was published. Bezos claimed in the post that he was the victim of an extortion attempt by AMI.The billionaire executive also published emails from AMI executives which he claimed showed the company threatening to publish sexually explicit photographs – which it described in detail – if Bezos did not publicly state that he had “no knowledge or basis for suggesting that AMI’s coverage was politically motivated or influenced by political forces.”At the time Bezos said he had decided to publish the AMI emails “despite the personal cost and embarrassment they threaten”.In his lawsuit, Michael Sanchez described himself as his sister’s “primary confidant and advisor” when he learned about her relationships with Bezos in March 2018. He said he was introduced to Bezos a month later over dinner, and said he had immediately “hit it off” with the billionaire.A preliminary investigation that was commissioned by the Amazon CEO found that it was “highly probable” that an intrusion into Bezos’s mobile phone was triggered after an infected video file was sent to him over WhatsApp from the account of Mohammed bin Salman on 1 May 2018.In his lawsuit, Sanchez has alleged that he was first contacted by the Enquirer about his sister’s affair with Bezos in July 2018, and has claimed “on information and belief” that AMI was “already in possession of raunchy text messages and nude selfies exchanged” between Lauren Sanchez and Bezos.Sanchez also referred in his lawsuit to a cryptic email he said was sent by Dylan Howard, AMI’s vice-president, dated 22 January 2019. A person close to the matter said it was a response to a previous email from Sanchez about the Bezos story, which had been published a few weeks earlier.“The untold story – if you will – has not been told as to how we uncovered the story. I’m saving it for my tombstone,” Howard wrote in the email, according to Sanchez’s legal filing.In a statement, AMI denied Sanchez’s allegations. “The fact, as we have maintained throughout, is that Mr Sanchez sold the National Enquirer the story about his sister’s secret affair and was the sole source for its reporting. His frivolous lawsuit underscores what his true motivation is, his own greed,” the company said.AMI did not respond to multiple requests for comment about Howard’s email or what the executive was referring to.An attorney representing Bezos did not respond to a request for comment.


  • Trump slams watchdog report on hospitals engulfed by virus Mon, 06 Apr 2020 06:00:10 -0400

    Trump slams watchdog report on hospitals engulfed by virusPresident Donald Trump on Monday disputed the veracity of a federal survey that found hospitals faced severe shortages of coronavirus test supplies, questioning whether its conclusions were skewed by politics. With coronavirus cases rocketing toward their expected peak, the nonpartisan Health and Human Services inspector general's office reported Monday morning that a shortage of tests and long waits for results were at the root of mounting problems faced by hospitals. “Hospitals reported that severe shortages of testing supplies and extended waits for test results limited (their) ability to monitor the health of patients and staff,” the report said.


  • South Africa's TB, HIV history prepares it for virus testing Mon, 06 Apr 2020 04:36:45 -0400

    South Africa's TB, HIV history prepares it for virus testingSouth Africa, one of the world's most unequal countries with a large population vulnerable to the new coronavirus, may have an advantage in the outbreak, honed during years battling HIV and tuberculosis: the know-how and infrastructure to conduct mass testing. “We have a simple message for all countries: test, test, test,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization and a former Ethiopian health minister, said recently. Clad in protective gear, medical workers operate a mobile testing unit in Johannesburg’s poor Yeoville area.


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