From The Alpha and the Omega - Chapter Eight
by Jim A. Cornwell, Copyright © 1995, all rights reserved

    This file is attached to from “Beast That Came Out Of The Sea” - Chapter Eight by Jim A. Cornwell, Copyright © 1995, all rights reserved.
    This link will return you to Astronomical Events To Appear Between 2014 Through 2017 A.D..
    This link will return you to King Of The West 2020 February or continue to King Of The West 2020 April.


3/1/2020 Migrants head to Greece as Turkey opens floodgates by Lefteris Papadimas and Alkis Konstantinidis
Migrants, who crossed from Turkey to Greece, are silhouetted as they walk on a road near the village
of Kastanies, in the region of Evros, Greece, February 29, 2020. REUTERS/Alexandros Avramidis
    KASTANIES/LESBOS Greece (Reuters) – Migrants trickled through permeable borders to Greece from Turkey on Sunday, as thousands more gathered on the Turkish side seeking entry after Ankara relaxed curbs on their movement.
    At least 220 people had arrived by sea on the Greek island of Lesbos on Sunday morning, a Greek defense ministry source said.
    Further north, groups waded across a river at Kastanies on the shared border.
    Turkey said on Thursday it would no longer restrain hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers in its territory from reaching Europe, after an air strike on Idlib in neighboring Syria killed 33 Turkish soldiers.    Its announcement triggered an almost instant rush to the borders it shares with European Union member Greece.
    There was tension at Kastanies on Saturday after riot police used teargas to repel hundreds of migrants on the Turkish side demanding access to Greece.
    “Yesterday there were 9,600 attempts to violate our borders, and all were dealt with successfully,” deputy defense minister Alkiviadis Stefanis told Greece’s Skai TV.
    The International Organization for Migration put the number of people along the Greek-Turkish border at 13,000.    By late Saturday, buses in Turkish cities were still being loaded with people bound for the border area, it said.
    Greece has said there was an orchestrated attempt on its borders, and has accused Turkey of actively guiding migrants.
    “Not only are they not stopping them, but they are helping them,” Stefanis told Skai.
    Greece was a gateway for hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers into Europe in 2015 and 2016.    There are already more than 40,000 migrants on the Aegean islands, living in severely overcrowded camps and filthy conditions.
    Last week, clashes broke out on Lesbos between riot police and locals to create closed detention centers to move the existing migrant population.    Locals say the islands are suffering a disproportionate burden.
    The European Union said it was supporting Greece.
    Greece has vowed to keep a mass influx out.    “We don’t want this influx in our country, this country is not a free-for-all,” Migration Minister Notis Mittarachi told Greece’s Ant1 TV.
    Reuters witnesses saw small groups of people making their way across fields outside the Greek town of Orestiada, close to the frontier.    Four young Afghans, looking exhausted, sat around a small campfire.
    Further along, Najibe Rezayi, 26, also from Afghanistan, cradled her seven-month daughter in her arms.    “We want a place to stay, food, warmth,” she said through an interpreter as they walked through mist in frost-covered fields.
    Police and the army have been arresting people who attempt to cross into the country.
    “They are all Afghans, no Syrians,” one army officer said.    “Are these the Syrians (Turkish President Tayyip) Erdogan was talking about?
(Reporting by Alkis Konstantinidis on Lesbos, Lefteris Papadimas in Kastanies; Writing by Michele Kambas; Editing by Clarence Fernandez/ Kenneth Maxwell/Susan Fenton)

3/1/2020 HHS Secy. Azar confirms new case of coronavirus in Chicago by OAN Newsroom
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar speaks during a briefing about the coronavirus in the press
briefing room at the White House in Washington, Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020.( AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
    Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar has said a new coronavirus case was reported in Chicago overnight.    Azar announced the latest case of the virus on Sunday, which brought the total number of cases in Illinois to at least three.
    Azar also discussed the first coronavirus death in the U.S. He confirmed officials have launched a full-scale probe to figure out how the Washington state patient contracted the virus.
    Although more cases are expected in the future, he emphasized the U.S. healthcare system is well equipped to handle the outbreak.
    “We’ve got the finest public health system in the world here, this is what we do,” he said.    “We cannot make predictions to how many cases we’ll have, but we will have more community cases, it’s simply just a matter of fact.”
    Azar urged citizens not to panic and stressed that the risk for contracting it is still relatively low for Americans.
    Meanwhile, President Trump is set to visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia this Friday.    The trip was scheduled a day after health officials confirmed the first coronavirus death in the U.S on Saturday.
    The White House has since issued international travel restrictions for Iran, as well as travel warnings for Italy and South Korea.
    President Trump will speak to CDC officials about a potential vaccine for the virus.

3/1/2020 Supreme Court to hear La. abortion case this week by OAN Newsroom
FILE – In this Jan. 22, 2020, file photo, Night falls on the Supreme Court in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)
    An abortion case has taken center stage in the nation’s highest court.    The Supreme Court will soon hear a challenge to a Louisiana abortion law, which could put restrictions on doctors who perform the procedure.
    The law requires doctors to have admitting privileges at hospitals within 30 miles of where they’re performing the abortion.    Critics have argued it would leave the state with only one abortion clinic.
    They also worried this case could lead the Supreme Court to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling.
    “What is also unique to this moment is state legislators’ willingness to express upfront why they are pushing these extreme measures,” said Fatima Goss Graves.    “Their goal is to propel a case that presents the Supreme Court an opportunity to overturn or to grossly undermine Roe v. Wade.”
    More than 200 pro-life Congress members have called on the nation’s highest court to reconsider the landmark case, which guaranteed the right to an abortion.
    “The science is clear: life begins at conception,” stated Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.).    “We will continue to stand with President Trump in protecting our pro-life achievements.”
FILE – In this Jan. 18, 2019, file photo, anti-abortion activists protest outside of
the U.S. Supreme Court during the March for Life in Washington. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File)
    In the last decade, states across the board have passed more than 500 abortion restriction measures.    Meanwhile, lawmakers in Republican-led states continue to promote new bills to limit abortions and crack down on those who seek them.
    Alabama made headlines last spring after Governor Kay Ivey signed a bill to make performing an abortion a felony in nearly all cases.
    “(I am) somebody who strongly supports the right to life,” said Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall.    “I very much embrace this fight to be able to show how science has changed, how the knowledge has changed, and to allow the court to eventually reexamine what it was factually they used to base their decision on Roe.”
    The measure was later blocked by a federal judge, who claimed it violated a woman’s right to get the procedure.
    Several Democrat-led states have pushed the limits of abortion laws, allowing the procedure in later stages of pregnancy and even after birth.    New York Governor Andrew Cuomo came under fire after the passage of the Reproductive Health Act, which legalized abortion as late as 24 weeks.
    Virginia echoed the sentiment after embattled Governor Ralph Northam showed support for a proposal that would allow abortion up to childbirth if the mother so desired.
    Despite the divide among states, the president has been a strong proponent for the pro-life movement.
    “We’re standing up to the pro-abortion lobby like never before,” stated President Trump.    “We will never shy away from the battle to protect innocent life.”

3/1/2020 White House responds to Court of Appeals’ ruling regarding Don McGahn testimony by OAN Newsroom
FILE – In this Sept. 27, 2018, file photo, then-White House counsel Don McGahn listens as Supreme court nominee Brett Kavanaugh
testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Saul Loeb/Pool Photo via AP, File)
    The White House has released a statement regarding former White House Counsel Don McGahn.    On Saturday, the administration expressed its happiness with a ruling from the U.S. District Court of Appeals to dismiss the House’s subpoena against McGahn.
    “We are pleased by yesterday’s well-reasoned decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit rejecting a suit by House Democrats seeking to compel the testimony of former White House Counsel Donald F. McGahn II,” wrote Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham.
    In a 2 to 1 vote Friday, federal judges ruled to dismiss the case left over from the Democrat’s impeachment inquiry.
    The ruling cited the Constitution, which forbids federal courts from intervening in disputes between other branches of government.
    “We cannot decide this case without declaring the actions of one or the other (branches of government) unconstitutional.    If federal courts were to swoop in to rescue Congress whenever its constitutional tools failed, it would not just supplement the political process, it would replace that process with one in which unelected judges become the perpetual ‘overseer’ of our elected officials.    That is not the role of judges in our democracy, and that is why Article III compels us to dismiss this case.” – Judge Thomas Griffith, U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.
    House Democrats have been trying to question McGahn since April of last year in hopes his testimony would reveal alleged misconduct by President Trump.
    The statement went on to say the White House is hopeful the decision will put an end to House Democrat’s “desperate, unfounded and unlawful attacks on the president.”
    “We hope and expect that yesterday’s decision will put to rest House Democrats’ desperate, unfounded, and unlawful attacks against President Trump so that Congress can, at long last, turn its attention to joining with the administration to work for the American people,” stated Grisham.
    Moving forward, congressional subpoenas issued to the executive branch could reportedly be unenforceable.

3/1/2020 Italian coronavirus deaths rise to 34, number of cases hits almost 1,700: official
A woman wearing a protective mask and her dog sit on the subway in Milan, Italy March 1, 2020. REUTERS/Yara Nardi
    ROME (Reuters) – The death toll from an outbreak of coronavirus in Italy has risen by five to 34 over the past 24 hours, the Civil Protection Agency said on Sunday, with the accumulative number of cases totaling some 1,694.
    The head of the agency said that of those infected, 83 people had recovered.    The contagion came to light 10 days ago and is focused on a handful of hotspots in the north of Italy with isolated cases reported in many other regions.
(Reporting by Crispian Balmer; Editing by Frances Kerry)

3/1/2020 UK government says 12 new positive tests for coronavirus, total now 35
People wear protective face masks at the London Underground in central London, Britain, February 29, 2020. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls March 1, 2020
    LONDON (Reuters) – British health authorities said on Sunday there had been 12 new cases of coronavirus in Britain, bringing the total to 35.
    Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty said in a statement on Twitter that three of those testing positive were close contacts of a known case.
    Six others had recently traveled from Italy, and two from Iran. One patient had no relevant travel, and authorities were investigating how they had caught the virus.
(Reporting by William James; Editing by Mark Potter)

3/1/2020 UK coronavirus cases jump; PM Johnson says he expects more by William James
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson visits a laboratory at the Public Health England National Infection Service in Colindale, north London, Britain, March 1, 2020. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls
    LONDON (Reuters) – Britain announced a jump in coronavirus cases on Sunday, with 13 new infections taking the total to 36, and Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he expected the number to rise further.
    Johnson will chair a meeting of the government’s emergency response committee on Monday, signaling a step up in attempts to tackle a virus that began in China and has killed almost 3,000 people worldwide.
    “We’ve found about 35 people in this country have, or have had, the illness and clearly there may be more.    That is likely now to spread a bit more,” Johnson said during a visit to a public health facility in London, before another case was reported in Scotland.
    “I am very confident that this country has the capacity to deal with it.”
    The government has announced some details of its “battle-plan” to cope with the virus, and is expected to set out the rest later this week.    Johnson said closures of public events and schools could be considered.
    If the virus becomes more widespread, the government will look at registering retired health workers to work again, and whether encouraging people to work at home could delay the virus’s peak until summer when it can be more easily dealt with.
    Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty said that as of 0900 GMT there had been 12 new positive tests, bringing the total to 35.    The Scottish government later announced another positive test.
    Of those new positive tests, three had been in close contact with an existing known case, seven had recently traveled from Italy and two from Iran.    They were investigating one case with no relevant travel, to find out how the patient had caught the virus.containment” phase despite Sunday’s increase in cases.
    Health Minister Matt Hancock said he did not rule out any measures to contain the spread of the virus but said any further restrictions would be based on scientific evidence, and that for now people should go about their business as usual.
    The government is launching a new public information campaign this week, encouraging people to wash their hands for at least 20 seconds, and to do so more often than normal.
(Reporting by William James; Editing by Andrew Heavens and Ros Russell)

3/2/2020 Several N.C. candidates from both parties look to snag open seats as 3 incumbents don’t seek reelection by OAN Newsroom
FILE – In this Sept. 18, 2019, file photo, Rep. Mark Walker, R-N.C. speaks during a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington.
With three of North Carolina’s 13 U.S. House incumbents not seeking reelection, nearly 30 congressional candidates are scrambling to win
Tuesday, March 4, 2020 primaries in these districts with hopes of soon filling the rare number of open seats (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)
    Several candidates from both sides of the political aisle are staking a claim in North Carolina’s congressional races for soon-to-be vacant seats in the House.
    Incumbent Republican Representatives Mark Walker, George Holding and Mark Meadows bowed out of the upcoming primary elections after a federal court ordered the state to redraw several congressional districts.
    Around 30 candidates are looking to grab the seats in the Tarheel State’s Second, Sixth and 11th Districts.    As the GOP representatives prepare to exit office, many Democrat candidates hope to shake-up representation in the state.
    “North Carolina used to be one of the most progressive states in the’s not been that way for quite a while,” stated congressional candidate Bruce Davis (D).    “With a Democrat in that position, we could see so much economic growth.”
    Late last year, Democrats sued the state’s Republican General Assembly after claiming party members drew districts based on race in an effort to sway the vote in the GOP’s favor.
    A panel of two Democrat judges and one Republican judge sided with the Democrats and ordered the state to redraw congressional districts ahead of the 2020 primaries.    This narrowed the edge of the Republican Party in North Carolina, which caused concern for some GOP candidates over the direction of the country.
Lee Haywood, (R) congressional candidate – N.C. (Photo/Twitter)
    “I am a constitutional conservative and I’m very concerned over the judicial overreach, the judicial activism, from these liberal judges that are putting their liberal mark on this country,” said congressional candidate Lee Haywood (R).
    The congressional map now shows residents are more likely to elect a Democrat representative in Walker and Holding’s districts.
    12 Republicans are looking to succeed GOP congressman Mark Meadows, where the party still holds favorability among constituents.    Analysts are now predicting a runoff election will be required in May for the GOP nomination.
    Meanwhile, early voting for the North Carolina primary is already underway and final voting will take place on Super Tuesday (March 3).

3/2/2020 Republican billionaire buys major stake in Twitter amid concerns of anti-conservative bias by OAN Newsroom
File – The logo for Twitter is displayed above a trading post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)
    A Republican billionaire has bought a significant stake in Twitter with plans to push out the social media giant’s current CEO. According to reports, hedge fund company Elliot Management, which is owned by billionaire Paul Singer, has taken a “sizeable stake” in Twitter.
    Singer reportedly plans to make changes in the company, including a possible ouster of its co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey.    The firm has already nominated four directors to the company’s board.    The billionaire’s goal is apparently to fill all three executive seats, which opened up during Twitter’s annual meeting this year.
    Singer is seen as an ally of President Trump despite having originally been against his nomination in 2016.
    “As you know, Paul was very much involved with the anti-Trump, or as they say ‘Never Trump,’ and Paul just left and he’s given us his total support,” President Trump stated during a 2017 news conference.    “And it’s all about unification.”
File – Paul Singer, president of activist investment fund Elliott Management, is pictured. (Reuters Photo)
    This comes as Twitter has faced a number of issues lately, including slow user growth and stock performance as well as controversy over the censorship of conservative voices on the platform.
    Last year, GOP congressman Devin Nunes sued the website over its supposed practice of shadow-banning conservatives.    This particular practice partially blocks a users content, which means their posts would be less likely to show up on people’s Twitter feeds.    Nunes also claimed the tech giant ignored complaints of abusive behavior from left-wing activists on the platform.
    President Trump has repeatedly called out the website over its bias.    Multiple other Republicans have also come out against the company over its alleged anti-right wing agenda.
    Meanwhile, Twitter’s share prices rose last week following rumors of Singer’s newest investment.
[I brought this article up and as you see above why dated 2/22/2020 Twitter suspends group of pro-Bloomberg accounts over ‘platform manipulation’ by Elizabeth Culliford
FILE PHOTO: Democratic presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg holds a campaign
rally in Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S., February 20, 2020. REUTERS/Ed Kosmicki
    SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Twitter Inc on Friday said it had started suspending and restricting dozens of accounts posting content promoting U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg.
    “We took enforcement action on about 70 accounts, which includes a combination of permanent suspensions and account challenges to verify ownership,” a Twitter spokeswoman said in a statement to Reuters.
    The action was first reported by the Los Angeles Times.
    Twitter said the accounts violated its platform manipulation and spam policy, which prohibits coordination among accounts to amplify or disrupt conversation by using multiple accounts.
    This can refer to creating several accounts to post duplicative content but also includes “coordinating with or compensating others to engage in artificial engagement or amplification, even if the people involved use only one account.”
    “We ask that all of our deputy field organizers identify themselves as working on behalf of the Mike Bloomberg 2020 campaign on their social media accounts,” said Sabrina Singh, a Bloomberg campaign spokeswoman, adding that content “shared by staffers and volunteers to their network of friends and family” was “not intended to mislead anyone.”
    The billionaire candidate’s campaign, which has been pouring unparalleled amounts of money into an online advertising campaign, is also hiring hundreds of digital organizers to support the candidate, including by pushing content to their own social media channels.
    The Wall Street Journal reported that these organizers in California receive $2,500 a month to promote Bloomberg’s candidacy through actions such as posting on social media to their own networks.
    This month, a paid partnership between the former New York mayor’s campaign and popular Instagram meme accounts pushed Facebook Inc to announce it was allowing U.S.-based political candidates to run branded or sponsored content on its social networking platforms. [nL4N2AE3NM]
(Reporting by Elizabeth Culliford; Additional reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt in New York; Editing by Gerry Doyle and Franklin Paul)]

3/2/2020 Bloomberg slams Sanders over stance on AIPAC by OAN Newsroom
Democratic presidential candidate and former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg speaks at the American Israel Public
Affairs Committee (AIPAC) 2020 Conference, Monday, March 2, 2020 in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
    Democrat presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg recently slammed Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) over his stance on the American Israel public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).    During a speech at the group’s conference Monday, he said Sanders was “dead wrong” to call AIPAC a racist platform.
    The former New York City mayor said calling the entity such a thing is an attempt to discredit voices, intimidate people from coming to the conference and weaken the U.S.-Israel relationship.    He also called out the Vermont senator for refusing to attend the event.
    “Unfortunately, not all of my fellow Democrats in this race have attended in a packed conference,” he stated.    “One of them, Sen. (Bernie) Sanders, has spent 30 years boycotting this event and as you’ve heard by now, he called AIPAC a racist platform.”
    Bloomberg also said he will always have Israel’s back and vowed to never impose conditions on military aid to the country.

3/2/2020 Report: Pete Buttigieg dropping out of Democrat primary race by OAN Newsroom
Democratic presidential candidate and former South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg walks to
speaks with members of the media, Sunday, March 1, 2020, in Plains, Ga. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
    Former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg has reportedly suspended his Democrat presidential campaign after a disappointing finish in the South Carolina primary.
    He failed to secure 15 percent viability among Palmetto State voters on Saturday, where he claimed just 11 percent of support.    Buttigieg did manage to secure 26 delegates in the first three races in New Hampshire, Nevada and Iowa.
    According to new reports, Buttigieg will officially deliver news of his campaign’s suspension later Sunday evening during an event in South Bend.    This will leave just six candidates left in the once crowded Democrat presidential field ahead of Super Tuesday.     President Trump reacted to the news on Twitter, where he declared, “Pete Buttigieg is out.”

Democratic presidential candidate Tom Steyer announces the end of his presidential campaign following the results
of the South Carolina primary on Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020, in Columbia, S.C. (AP Photo/Meg Kinnard)
    Buttigieg’s departure followed billionaire philanthropist Tom Steyer’s recent exit from the Democrat nomination process.     “I said if I didn’t see a path to winning, that I’d suspend my campaign,” he said.    “Honestly, I can’t see a path where I can win the presidency.”
    Steyer made the announcement shortly after polls closed for the South Carolina primary this weekend. He came in third with 11.3 percent of the vote.
    Now that he’s out, Steyer has said he vows to back any Democrat nominee who wins the primary.

From left, Democratic presidential candidates, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and former Vice President
Joe Biden, raises their hands as they participate in a Democratic presidential primary debate at the Gaillard Center, Tuesday,
Feb. 25, 2020, in Charleston, S.C., co-hosted by CBS News and the Congressional Black Caucus Institute. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

3/2/2020 N.Y. Gov. Cuomo launches emergency $40M public health initiative to counter coronavirus by OAN Newsroom
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, left, and Mayor Bill de Blasio discuss the state and city’s preparedness
for the spread of the coronavirus, Monday, March 2, 2020, in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
    New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently announced the state is increasing cleaning protocols and launching coronavirus testing sites across the region.    On Monday, the official broke down the state’s plan to counter the novel virus, which recently hit New York with its first confirmed case over the weekend.
    Gov. Cuomo said officials are rolling out increased cleaning procedures in schools and the public transit system.    Additionally, designated testing centers will be opened for anyone feeling ill starting on Friday.
    Above all, the Democrat encouraged all New Yorkers to continue going about their lives.    He pointed out that data shows the virus is not spread through casual contact and is not nearly as dangerous as past outbreaks.
    Moving forward, officials have stressed that the single most important thing one can do is cover their coughs and sneezes.

3/2/2020 British Prime Minister Johnson says NHS working to contain coronavirus by OAN Newsroom
Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson visits a laboratory at the Public Health England National Infection Service, after more than 10
new coronavirus patients were identified in England, in Colindale, north London, Sunday, March 1, 2020. (Henry Nicholls/Pool Photo via AP)
    British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said his cabinet is ramping-up efforts to contain the latest spread of coronavirus.    During a meeting with medical professionals in Northern London on Sunday, he confirmed the U.K. has had 35 cases of the virus so far.
    The prime minister added that it may affect more Britons in the coming days.    However, Johnson stressed the National Health System (NHS) is working to tackle the virus.    He said there is no need to lockdown schools and other public facilities as the risk of catching it remains low.
    “I think the crucial thing for the public to understand is coronavirus is of concern, it’s a novel illness, but it’s something that this country really amply has the resources to deal with,” he stated.    “We have state of the art testing facilities, we have a fantastic NHS, we will have to get through this but, believe me, we are going to beat it.”
    British Prime Minister Johnson said his cabinet will announce new measures to battle the virus in the coming days.
A tourist wears a face mask as she watches the Changing of the Guard, at Buckingham Palace, in London, Monday, March 2, 2020.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson told reporters Sunday at a health center in London that he was “very, very confident
that Britain’s National Health Service can cope with the coronavirus outbreak. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

3/2/2020 U.S. judge gives Russian firm tied to election meddling subpoena deadline by Sarah N. Lynch
FILE PHOTO: Evgeny Prigozhin (L) assists Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin during a dinner with foreign scholars and journalists at
the restaurant Cheval Blanc on the premises of an equestrian complex outside Moscow November 11, 2011. REUTERS/Misha Japaridze/Pool/File Photo
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – During a testy hearing on Monday, a federal judge set a deadline for a Russian company facing criminal charges related to Moscow’s interference in the 2016 U.S. election to explain why it had not handed over documents sought by prosecutors, a step that may lead to it being held in civil contempt.
    Concord Management and Consulting LLC is due to go on trial next month after being charged in 2018 with conspiracy to defraud the United States for its role in election meddling aimed at sowing discord in the United States, helping President Donald Trump and harming his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.
    U.S. District Judge Dabney Friedrich said there is a “strong likelihood” that the St. Petersburg-based company had failed to comply with a prosecution subpoena to hand over corporate documents, meaning it could be held in civil contempt and face fines.
    Prosecutors have accused Concord of funding a so-called troll farm engaged in a propaganda campaign during the 2016 race.    They have said Concord is controlled by a businessman named Evgeny Prigozhin with ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
    During a tense exchange with the company’s attorney Eric Dubelier, Friedrich ordered Concord to submit a sworn statement from a company representative by 5 p.m. (2200 GMT) on Wednesday explaining the steps it took to search for corporate financial records and internet IP addresses sought by prosecutors.
    “I find it implausible that Concord cannot indicate the IP address for a four-year period,” Friedrich said, prompting Dubelier to accuse her of already reaching a conclusion.
    “We just come here and we sit here and you read a pre-determined order,” Dubelier said.
    The case stems from former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation that documented Russian election interference.    Concord’s corporate officers have never set foot in the U.S. courtroom and are not expected to do so.    Russia does not have an extradition treaty with the United States.
    Prior efforts between the prosecution and Concord’s defense lawyers to arrange for its officials to travel to the United States to review the evidence and prepare for the trial have failed, according to prosecutor Adam Jed.
    Dubelier said Concord had complied with the subpoena and produced all the records it possesses.
    “He has no basis to allege that Concord is not participating in the process,” Dubelier said of Jed’s comments.    “It’s bogus.”
    Dubelier said he was authorized to provide more details to the court about Concord’s search for records, but he had to provide it in a way in which the prosecution would not be privy to the disclosure.    Dubelier was unable to name a person from the company, however, who could address how the search was conducted.
    “I want an explanation, and I want it from Concord,” Friedrich said.
    “There’s an assumption in the tone you use with me … that I’m doing something sneaky or wrong,” Dubelier said.    “And I’m not.    I’m not.”
(Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch; Editing by Will Dunham)

3/2/2020 Trump administration to cap number of employees at Chinese media outlets in U.S by Humeyra Pamuk and Steve Holland
U.S. President Donald Trump walks from Marine One as he returns from speaking at the Conservative Political
Action Conference, at the White House in Washington, U.S., U.S., February 29, 2020. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States on Monday said it was slashing the number of Chinese employees permitted to work at the U.S. offices of major Chinese state-owned media outlets to retaliate against Beijing over its “long-standing intimidation and harassment of journalists.”
    Citing a “deepening crackdown” on all forms of independent reporting inside China, administration officials said Beijing’s attack on free speech was worse than it was a decade ago, comparing it to that of the Soviet Union at the height of the Cold War.
    China last month revoked the visas of three Wall Street Journal reporters in Beijing after the newspaper declined to apologize for a column with a headline calling China the “real sick man of Asia.”    Another reporter with the paper had to leave last year after China declined to renew his visa.
    “For years, the government of the People’s Republic of China has imposed increasingly harsh surveillance, harassment, and intimidation against American and other foreign journalists operating in China,” U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement.
    Effective March 13, Washington will be capping the number of U.S. based employees of Xinhua News Agency, China Global Television Network, China Radio International, China Daily Distribution Corp to a total of 100, from 160.
    Monday’s decision was not particularly linked to the Wall Street Journal case, senior state Department officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told reporters.
    “We’ve been imploring the Chinese for years and years now to improve their treatment of journalists in China.    So, this is not linked to any one particular incident,” one U.S. official said, but added that the expulsion of Journal reporters was a “fairly egregious” example.
    The four outlets were among five designated by the United States as foreign embassies earlier this month, as a first step of this move.
    Tensions between the two superpowers have escalated since President Donald Trump came to office three years ago, with disputes over issues ranging from trade to accusations of Chinese spying in the United States and to U.S. support for Taiwan.
    On Monday, the Foreign Correspondents Club of China said in a report that the Chinese government has “weaponized” visas as part of a stepped-up campaign of pressure on foreign journalists.
    “It is our hope that this action will spur Beijing to adopt a more fair and reciprocal approach to U.S. and other foreign press in China,” Pompeo said, while State Department officials said Washington was ready to take further action if Beijing retaliated.
    “If in fact they decide to take this in a further negative direction however of course..all options would be on the table.    I can’t tell you what in particular we would do, but we’d sit down review the circumstances and then consider all of our options,” the official said.
    The personnel caps would be placed on the entities as opposed to people hence it would be up to the media outlets to decide the necessary staffing cuts, the officials said.
    While the United States will not be sending anyone back, the officials acknowledged that the Chinese individuals whose visas are contingent on their ability to work in the United States may be forced to leave the country.
    The United States would also be announcing in near future limits on duration of stay for Chinese citizens, administration officials said.
(Reporting by Humeyra Pamuk and Steve Holland; Editing by Alistair Bell)

3/2/2020 Italy coronavirus deaths jump to 52, cases climb above 2,000 by Gavin Jones and Angelo Amante
A tourist visits Milan's Duomo cathedral, as it reopened to the public for the first time since
the coronavirus outbreak in northern Italy, in Milan, Italy, March 2, 2020. REUTERS/Yara Nardi
    ROME (Reuters) – The death toll from coronavirus in Italy jumped to 52 on Monday from 34 the day before and the total number of confirmed cases in Europe’s worst affected country climbed past the 2,000 mark.
    The increase in deaths was the largest since the outbreak surfaced 10 days ago in the wealthy northern regions of Lombardy and Veneto. Lombardy, around Italy’s financial capital Milan, is by far with hardest hit, with 38 casualties.
    The virus has since spread south but the vast majority of cases remain centered on the original hotspots, with the addition of Emilia Romagna, another affluent region which borders on both Lombardy and Veneto and now has more cases than Veneto.
    In total, 2,036 people have tested positive in Italy, up from 1,694 on Sunday. Of these, 149 have recovered, the civil protection agency said.
    “What is comforting is that 50% of the 258 people who tested positive (in the last 24 hours) have no symptoms or are being looked after at home,” Angelo Borrelli, head of the agency, told reporters.
    In total, Italy has tested 23,345 people for the disease.
    The Lombardy regional government urged people over the age of 65 to remain at home, as data showed they were by far the most vulnerable to the highly contagious illness.
    “All those who have died (in Lombardy) are people over 65 with underlying health conditions, especially cardiovascular problems,” said Giulio Gallera, the region’s councillor responsible for welfare policy.
    In a worrying development, a policeman and a fireman based in Rome have also tested positive, authorities said, raising the risk of the virus spreading in the Italian capital.
    Cases in Rome, Italy’s largest city with 3 million people, had previously been limited to a Chinese couple on holiday and an Italian repatriated from the Chinese city of Wuhan – where the outbreak originated late last year – on a special flight and hospitalized.    All three recovered.
    On Monday the Spallanzani infectious diseases hospital where the policeman was staying announced that his wife, two children and sister-in-law were also infected.
    The school attended by his son, in the nearby town of Pomezia, was closed and lessons were suspended in the university faculty at Rome’s main Sapienza university, attended by his other son.
    The coronavirus is taking a heavy toll on Italy’s economy, which was already teetering on the verge of recession before the outbreak, with sectors from manufacturing to tourism hit by a plunge in orders.
    Several international airlines including Lufthansa Delta Airlines and countries such as the Czech Republic have reduced or suspended flights to Italian cities.
    Milan cathedral reopened to the public on Monday but schools and universities remain closed and many companies told staff to work from home.
    The top of the UniCredit skyscraper in Milan was lit in red, white and green, the colors of the Italian flag, in a sign of solidarity with people hit by the virus.
    National statistics bureau ISTAT reported on Monday that the 2019 budget deficit came in at 1.6% of national output, the smallest fiscal gap for 12 years.
    The much-lower-than-expected reading potentially gives the coalition of the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement and the center-left Democratic Party more leeway to spend and borrow this year – good news with coronavirus costs soaring.
    Economy Minister Roberto Gualtieri announced on Sunday the cabinet would this week approve 3.6 billion euros ($3.5 billion) of measures to help companies.
    An aid package worth 900 million euros was unveiled on Friday for the worst-impacted zones.
(Additional reporting by Elvira Pollina, writing Gavin Jones and Giulia Segreti; Editing by James Mackenzie and Janet Lawrence)

3/2/2020 U.S. Supreme Court conservatives lean toward Trump over rapid deportation by Andrew Chung
FILE PHOTO: The U.S. Supreme Court building is seen in Washington, U.S., January 21, 2020. REUTERS/Will Dunham/File Photo
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Conservative U.S. Supreme Court justices appeared sympathetic on Monday toward a bid by President Donald Trump’s administration to buttress its power to quickly deport illegal immigrants without court interference in a politically charged election-year case concerning one of Trump’s signature issues.
    The justices heard arguments in the administration’s appeal of a lower court ruling that a Sri Lankan asylum seeker – a farmer named Vijayakumar Thuraissigiam – had a right under the U.S. Constitution to have his case reviewed by a federal court.
    Conservative justices signaled support for the administration.    Liberal justices appeared to back Thuraissigiam.    The court has a 5-4 conservative majority including two justices appointed by Trump.
    The San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last year concluded that in Thuraissigiam’s case a federal law that largely stripped the power of courts to review quick deportations – known as expedited removal – violated a provision of the Constitution called the suspension clause.
    Trump’s administration contended the lower court’s ruling would defeat the purpose of quick deportation and “impose a severe burden on the immigration system.” Trump’s hardline policies on immigration and deportation have been a centerpiece of his presidency and his bid for re-election on Nov. 3.
    The American Civil Liberties Union, representing Thuraissigiam, said the administration’s arguments, if accepted by the court, could be used to deport millions of other illegal immigrants without meaningful judicial review.
    Thuraissigiam has said that as a member of Sri Lanka’s Tamil minority he was tortured over his political ties and subjected to beatings and simulated drowning.
    He fled Sri Lanka in 2016 and was arrested in 2017 just north of the U.S. border between San Diego, California, and Tijuana, Mexico.    He was placed on track for expedited removal, a system dating back to 1996 that makes an exception for immigrants who can establish a “credible fear” of persecution or torture in their home country.
    Officials rejected Thuraissigiam’s claim of credible fear, short-circuiting the asylum process.    He sought a federal court’s review of what he contended were procedural errors and an incorrect legal standard used to assess his asylum bid.
    A judge threw out his case. Under immigration law, courts have jurisdiction only to ensure that the government is not deporting the wrong person.    However, the 9th Circuit ruled that under the Constitution’s suspension clause – relating to a person’s ability to challenge confinement by the government – courts must have the power to review Thuraissigiam’s claims.
    Conservative justices suggested that judicial review did not apply to Thuraissigiam’s circumstances.    Chief Justice John Roberts said that “humanitarian release” is not the same as what the Constitution protects.    Justice Samuel Alito called Thuraissigiam’s demands “far reaching.”
    Liberal Justice Stephen Breyer said the purpose of judicial review has always been to ensure that a government officer has acted lawfully.
    The administration has said immigrants seeking admission do not have any constitutional rights and that the Constitution has historically never required access to the type of court review Thuraissigiam seeks.
    Since 2004, the federal government has applied expedited removal to illegal immigrants encountered within 100 miles (160 km) of the border and who had been in the country two weeks or less.    Trump’s administration has sought to greatly expand the program but has been blocked by a federal judge.
    The justices also heard a separate case challenging similar restrictions on federal appeals courts to review deportations of non-citizens who have committed criminal offenses, if their claims that they would be tortured if returned to their home countries have been rejected.
(Reporting by Andrew Chung; Editing by Will Dunham)

3/3/2020 Oil up $2.00 to $47.26, DOW up 1294 to 26,704 which is a record increase in one day.

3/3/2020 Has anyone noticed that most of the states that have coronavirus are states controlled by the Democrats except for Florida and of course also have major airports for international flights in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Seattle, and Miami.

3/3/3/2020 Fed makes rare inter-meeting decision to cut rates to combat economic impact of coronavirus by OAN Newsroom
A trader passes a hand sanitizing station on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Tuesday, March 3, 2020. Federal Reserve
Chairman Jerome Powell noted that the coronavirus “poses evolving risks to economic activity.” (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
    The Federal Reserve made a rare inter-meeting decision to cut interest rates to counter the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak.    The central bank lowered rates by 50 basis points on Tuesday to a range of one to 1.25 percent.
    This decision came ahead of the bank’s next formal meeting, which is set for March 18, 2020. Analysts had expected the Fed to lower rates at that meeting as the coronavirus continues to spread.
    In a recent press conference, Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell spoke about how the spread of the virus is beginning to impact the U.S. economy.
    “We’ve seen it begin to spread a bit here in the United States, but for us what really matters, of course, is not the epidemiology,” he explained.    “…but the risk to the economy, so we saw a risk to the outlook for the economy and chose to act.”
Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell speaks during a news conference, Tuesday, March 3, 2020, to discuss
an announcement from the Federal Open Market Committee, in Washington. Chairman Jerome Powell noted that
the coronavirus “poses evolving risks to economic activity.” (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
    Powell said the Federal Reserve is working with other central banks around the world as they continue to monitor the economic impact of the outbreak.
    In a statement, the Fed noted that “the fundamentals of the U.S. economy remain strong, however, the coronavirus poses evolving risks to economic activity.”

3/3/2020 Sen. Johnson pushes for first subpoena in Biden probe by OAN Newsroom
File- Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., speaks during a Senate Budget Committee oversight
hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. (Jacquelyn Martin/AP Photo)
    A top Republican senator is seeking support to expand the probe into Hunter Biden’s Ukraine associates in hopes of getting a clearer picture of the connection.
    Wisconsin Republican Sen. Ron Johnson sent a letter to the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee on Sunday, which detailed his intentions to issue a subpoena to former Ukraine diplomatic aide Andrii Telizhenko.
    Johnson, who chairs the committee, is one of several Republican senators who want to look into the Biden-Ukraine connection.
    “I know a lot about the Trump family and their dealings in Russia.    I don’t know anything about the Biden connection to the Ukraine, so when House managers tell me this has been looked at debunked…by who?" –– Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.)     Telizhenko worked for Blue Star Strategies, a Washington, D.C. based consulting firm, who was hired by Ukraine gas company Burisma Holdings where Biden was a board member.    Allegations surrounding Blue Star Strategies accuse the company of using Biden’s role at Burisma to gain access to and possibly influence the State Department.
    Hunter Biden admitted holding board membership of Burisma was a mistake based on human error and claimed it has nothing to do with this “ridiculous conspiracy.”
    “You know what?    I’m a human.    And, you know what?    Did I make a mistake?    Well maybe, in the grand scheme of things — yeah.    But, did I make a mistake based on some unethical lapse?    Absolutely not.” –– Hunter Biden
    Telizhenko said he will cooperate with the investigation as best he can, but is constrained by several nondisclosure agreements he signed while employed with Blue Star.    Sen. Johnson confirmed a subpoena has already been drafted and said he will schedule a committee meeting to vote on its issuance.

3/3/2020 Super Tuesday voting underway as Sanders, Biden fight for the Democrat nomination by OAN Newsroom
Democratic presidential candidates, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., left, and former Vice President Joe Biden, right,
participate in a Democratic presidential primary debate at the Gaillard Center, Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020
, in Charleston, S.C., co-hosted by CBS News and the Congressional Black Caucus Institute. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
    With millions of voters officially casting their votes Tuesday, the remaining Democrat primary contenders are all hoping for big wins.    As Super Tuesday gets underway, all eyes are turned toward the two Democrat presidential front-runners: former Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.
    While coming off the heels of the four early states, Sanders has maintained a lead in terms of delegate count with 60 compared to Biden’s 54.    However, the former vice president may have momentum on his side following his big win in South Carolina.
    On top of that, Biden has also gained key endorsements from multiple former Democrat candidates, including former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobachar and former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke.    However, the latest polls have shown Sanders in a good position to take California, which is a state that has 415 pledged delegates.
    “It’s a very liberal state now and it’s very, very hospitable to the Sanders campaign,” said Raphael Sonenshein, Executive Director for the Pat Brown Institute for Public Affairs.    “He has really worked California better than any of the other candidates and to my view, he’s the only candidate who has made a really effective effort to reach out to Latino voters.”
    Billionaire Mike Bloomberg is also hoping to shake things up by appearing on the ballot for the first time Tuesday.    Instead of focusing on the early states, Bloomberg has sunk about $70 million on advertising in delegate-rich Super Tuesday states in hopes of winning a leg-up in terms of name recognition and advertising.
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., speaks to supporters Monday,
March 2, 2020, in the Monterey Park section of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
    Meanwhile, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren is still hanging on to her candidacy despite poor results in early primary states.    Throughout her campaign, she has pitched herself as a progressive alternative to establishment Democrats and to the divisiveness of Bernie Sanders.
    “Voters were worried about beating Donald Trump and they have been told there are only two lanes, only two choices,” she stated.    “And now we find ourselves barreling toward another primary along the same lanes as 2016; one for an insider, one for an outsider.”
    However, Sen. Warren will have to win big if she hopes to stay in the race as she trails the two front-runners by a large margin.

3/3/2020 Sanders takes aim at establishment Democrats ahead of Super Tuesday by OAN Newsroom
FILE – In this Sunday, Feb. 16, 2020, file photo, Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.,
right, poses for a photograph with a supporter after a campaign stop in Denver. Colorado voters
will cast their ballots in the state’s primary election Tuesday, March 3. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)
    Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) recently blasted establishment Democrats, while preparing to go head-to-head with the party’s remaining presidential front-runners.
    While speaking shortly after attending a Utah campaign rally Monday, Sanders took aim at former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg amid rumors of his endorsement of former Vice President Joe Biden.    He also addressed the pair’s newly formed plan to seemingly keep him from taking the nomination, which he said would concern establishment politicians.
    Sanders has made similar comments in previous appearances, including on the debate stage.    His plans for a radical liberal shift, if elected, has fueled his opponent’s rhetoric against a Sanders presidency. Those competitors have claimed Democrat voters are not ready for immediate change.
    This includes Sanders famous calls for the swift implementation of Medicare for All if he defeats the president come November, which is a measure Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) has seized the opportunity to criticize.
    “I continue to work on parts of it and, for me, one of them is the cost,” she stated.    “As you know, Medicare for All estimates vary by trillions and trillions of dollars.”
    Meanwhile, Buttigieg is sounding the alarm about the potential for Sanders’ viability to fail against President Trump in key election states; handing Republicans yet another victory. With this in mind, despite securing more than two dozen delegates himself, Buttigieg ended his campaign to throw his support behind Biden.
    This was also the case for Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), who suspended her bid for the Democrat nomination shortly after the former mayor.    However, this doesn’t seem to be weighing on Sanders’ enthusiasm about his 2020 odds, nor does he appear to be shocked at Buttigieg’s and Klobuchar’s endorsement of the former vice president.    He said it shows the establishment is getting nervous.
    With more than a third of the Democrat delegates at stake on Super Tuesday, the Sanders campaign will have to hold out hope for a major win as Biden revives his attempts to woo voters.

3/3/2020 U.S. Supreme Court gives states latitude to prosecute illegal immigrants by Andrew Chung
FILE PHOTO: The Supreme Court building exterior seen in Washington, U.S., January 21, 2020. REUTERS/Sarah Silbiger
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday widened the ability of states to use criminal laws against illegal immigrants and other people who do not have work authorization in the United States in a ruling involving identity theft prosecutions in Kansas.
    The 5-4 ruling, with the court’s conservative justices in the majority, overturned a 2017 Kansas Supreme Court decision that had voided the convictions of three restaurant workers for fraudulently using other people’s Social Security numbers.
    In the opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito, the high court found that Kansas did not unlawfully encroach on federal authority over immigration policy.
    The court’s four liberal justices disagreed.    While a 1986 federal law called the Immigration Reform and Control Act did not explicitly prevent states from pursuing such prosecutions, they said in a dissent written by Justice Stephen Breyer, the law’s overall purpose hands the policing of work authorization fraud “to the federal government alone.”
    President Donald Trump’s administration backed Kansas in the case.    Trump has made his hardline policies toward immigration a centerpiece of his presidency and 2020 re-election campaign. Kansas is one of several conservative states that have sought to crack down on illegal immigrants.
    In the dissent, Breyer said allowing prosecutions like those pursued by Kansas “opens a colossal loophole” in allowing states to police federal work authorization.
    Though immigration-related employment fraud is a federal matter, Kansas contended that its prosecutions were not immigration-related and did not conflict with federal immigration law.    Kansas had argued that a ruling in favor of the immigrants would undermine its ability to combat the growing problem of identity theft.
    Immigrant rights groups have said that giving states power to prosecute employment fraud would let them take immigration policy into their own hands.
    The three men – Ramiro Garcia, Donaldo Morales and Guadalupe Ochoa-Lara – were not authorized to work in the United States and provided their employers Social Security numbers that were not their own.
    A Social Security number is used to identify people for employment and tax purposes.    People who enter the country illegally do not get assigned Social Security numbers, which are given by the U.S. government to all legal residents.
    The case focused on the employment verification process under federal immigration law requiring employers, on a form known as the I-9, to attest that an employee is authorized to work.    The law also states that the form “may not be used for purposes other than for enforcement of this act.”
    While the federal government has the sole authority to prosecute individuals for providing fraudulent information during the I-9 employment verification process, the state prosecuted the three men for using the same false information on different forms used to withhold wages for tax purposes.
    In Tuesday’s ruling, Alito wrote, “The submission of tax-withholding forms is fundamentally unrelated to the federal employment verification system.”
    The ruling, by giving states some latitude in law enforcement affecting illegal immigrants, could provide ammunition to California in its defense of its so-called sanctuary policies.    These policies limit cooperation with federal immigration authorities to protect certain illegal immigrants from deportation.
    Trump’s administration sued California and is appealing to the Supreme Court after losing in a lower court.    The justices could act in that case as early as next week.    The administration also has sued other states and localities over sanctuary policies.
(Reporting by Andrew Chung; Additional reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Editing by Will Dunham)

3/3/2020 Italy may set up new quarantine zone as coronavirus death toll jumps by Gavin Jones
A woman wearing a protective face mask to prevent contracting the coronavirus exits
from a subway station in Milan, Italy, March 3, 2020. REUTERS/Guglielmo Mangiapane
    ROME (Reuters) – Italy’s health authorities said on Tuesday they may set up a new quarantine red zone to try to contain the coronavirus outbreak in Europe’s worst-hit country, after the death toll and the number of cases jumped.
    Twenty-seven people died of the highly contagious illness in Italy over the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of dead to 79, the Civil Protection Agency said. The increase in deaths was the largest since the outbreak surfaced 12 days ago in the wealthy northern regions of Lombardy and Veneto.
    It remains centered in the north, with Lombardy by far the worst affected, but it has since spread south and infections have now been confirmed in all but one of Italy’s 20 regions.
    The total number of cases rose to 2,502 from 2,036 on Monday.
    One of the dead was aged 55, the youngest patient so far to have succumbed to the illness in Italy.    Another was a 61-year-old doctor who was not known to have underlying health problems, unlike the vast majority of previous victims.
    “None of us can be sure about the future evolution of the disease.    This is an important week to understand what will happen,” Angelo Borrelli, head of the Civil Protection Agency, told a news conference.
    A high concentration of new cases has emerged around the city of Bergamo, northeast of the financial capital Milan, and the head of the national health institute told reporters a new red zone may be imposed there to try to stem the rise.
    Shortly after the contagion first came to light on Feb. 20, the government imposed a quarantine on two areas – one encompassing 10 Lombardy towns southeast of Milan, and another, smaller red zone in the region of Veneto to the east.
    Inhabitants are blocked inside the affected towns and police prevent any outsiders from entering.
    Among the new cases announced on Tuesday were two magistrates who worked in Milan’s courtroom and a newborn baby in Bergamo.    It was not clear how the child contracted the virus.
    The outbreak has heavily disrupted daily life in Italy’s most affluent and productive regions, with schools closed and many public events canceled including fashion shows and top-flight football matches.     Vinitaly, one of the world’s largest wine fairs that is held annually in the northern city of Verona, announced on Tuesday it was postponing the 2020 edition from April to June.     Industry lobby Confindustria forecast on Tuesday that the economy, which was already teetering on the edge of recession before the outbreak, would contract in both the first and second quarters of this year.     National Health Institute chief Silvio Brusaferro urged Italians to wash their hands frequently, remain at least a meter (yard) apart, refrain from hugging each other and avoid crowded places.
    “The most important recommendation is to adopt lifestyles that can help us interrupt transmission channels,” he said.
    The Vatican on Tuesday acted to quell speculation that Pope Francis had contracted the illness after he canceled a Lent retreat for the first time in his papacy.
    The pontiff is suffering only from a cold and is “without symptoms related to other pathologies,” it said in a statement.
    The disruption to the football season has upset millions of fans and sparked quarrelling among the sport’s administrators.
    Inter Milan football club chief Steven Zhang labeled the president of Serie A a “clown” due to last-minute decisions made by league officials about whether matches should be played.    He accused League officials of caring more about fixture lists than public health.
    The head of Italy’s Olympic committee, Giovanni Malago, called for the arguing to stop.
    “This does Italy no honor,” he told La Repubblica newspaper in an interview.    “We have to tackle this in an adult way because we are facing an event that is not just rare, it’s unique.”
(Additional reporting by Giulia Segreti, Philip Pullella and and Emilio Parodi; Editing by Crispian Balmer and Mark Heinrich)

3/4/2020 Oil down $0.26 to $47.00, DOW down 786 to 25,917.

3/4/2020 WHO warns of global shortage of medical equipment to fight coronavirus by Andrea Shalal and Stephanie Nebehay
South Korean soldiers in protective gears sanitize shacks as a luxury high-rise apartment complex is
seen in the background at Guryong village in Seoul, South Korea, March 3, 2020. REUTERS/Heo Ran
    WASHINGTON/GENEVA (Reuters) – The World Health Organization (WHO) on Tuesday warned of a global shortage and price gouging for protective equipment to fight the fast-spreading coronavirus and asked companies and governments to increase production by 40% as the death toll from the respiratory illness mounted.
    Meanwhile, the U.S. Federal Reserve cut interest rates on Tuesday in an emergency move to try to prevent a global recession and the World Bank announced $12 billion to help countries fight the coronavirus, which has taken a heavy toll on air travel, tourism and other industries, threatening global economic growth prospects.
    The virus continued to spread in South Korea, Japan, Europe, Iran and the United States, and several countries reported their first confirmed cases, taking the total to some 80 nations hit with the flu-like illness that can lead to pneumonia.
    Despite the Fed’s attempt to stem the economic fallout from the coronavirus, U.S. stock indexes closed down about 3%, safe-haven gold rose 3% and analysts and investors questioned whether the rate cut will be enough if the virus continues to spread.
    U.S. lawmakers were considering spending as much as $9 billion to contain local spread of the virus.
    In Iran, doctors and nurses lack supplies and 77 people have died, one of the highest numbers outside China.    The United Arab Emirates announced it was closing all schools for four weeks.
    The death toll in Italy, Europe’s hardest-hit country, jumped to 79 on Tuesday and Italian officials are considering expanding the area under quarantine. France reported its fourth coronavirus death, while Indonesia, Ukraine, Argentina and Chile reported their first coronavirus cases.
    About 3.4% of confirmed cases of COVID-19 have died, far above seasonal flu’s fatality rate of under 1%, but the virus can be contained, the WHO chief said on Tuesday.
    “To summarize, COVID-19 spreads less efficiently than flu, transmission does not appear to be driven by people who are not sick, it causes more severe illness than flu, there are not yet any vaccines or therapeutics, and it can be contained,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in Geneva.
    Health officials have said the death rate is 2% to 4% depending on the country and may be much lower if there are thousands of unreported mild cases of the disease.
    Since the coronavirus outbreak, prices of surgical masks have increased sixfold, N95 respirators have tripled in cost and protective gowns cost twice as much, the WHO said.
    It estimates healthcare workers each month will need 89 million masks, 76 million gloves and 1.6 million pairs of goggles.
    The coronavirus, which emerged in the central Chinese city of Wuhan late last year, has spread around the world, with more new cases now appearing outside China than inside.
    There are almost 91,000 cases globally of which more than 80,000 are in China.    China’s death toll was 2,946, with more than 166 fatalities elsewhere.
    In a unanimous decision, the Fed said it was cutting rates by a half percentage point to a target range of 1.00% to 1.25%.
    Finance ministers from the G7 group of rich countries were ready to take action, including fiscal measures where appropriate, Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso said.    Central banks would continue to support price stability and economic growth.
    In the United States, there are now over 100 people in at least a dozen states with the coronavirus and nine deaths, all in the Seattle area.
    Amid criticism of Americans not being able to get tested for coronavirus unless they met certain limited criteria, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said on Tuesday that anyone can now get tested with a doctor’s order under new guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
    New York state reported its second case, a man in his 50s who works in Manhattan and has been hospitalized.
    The public transportation agency in New York, the most densely populated major U.S. city of more than 8 million, said on Twitter it was deploying “enhanced sanitizing procedures” for stations, train cars, buses and certain vehicles.
    China has seen coronavirus cases fall sharply, with 129 in the last 24 hours the lowest reported since Jan. 20.
    With the world’s second largest economy struggling to get back on track, China is increasingly concerned about the virus being brought back into the country by citizens returning from new hotspots elsewhere.
    Travelers entering Beijing from South Korea, Japan, Iran and Italy would have to be quarantined for 14 days, a city official said. Shanghai has introduced a similar order.
    The worst outbreak outside China is in South Korea, where President Moon Jae-in declared war on the virus, ordering additional hospital beds and more masks as cases rose by 600 to nearly 5,000, with 34 deaths.
    WHO officials also expressed concerns about the situation in Iran, saying doctors lacked respirators and ventilators needed for patients with severe cases.
    WHO emergency program head Michael Ryan said the need in Iran was “more acute” than for other countries.
    While the case numbers in Iran appear to be bad, he said, “things tend to look worse before getting better.”
    The International Olympic Committee on Tuesday said the summer games in Tokyo set to begin on July 24 were still expected to happen despite Japan having nearly 1,000 coronavirus cases and 12 deaths.    Health officials said they would continue to monitor the situation in Japan before any final decision on the Olympics is made.
(Reporting by Andrea Shalal in Washington and Tetsushi Kajimoto in Tokyo; Additional reporting by Michael Nienaber in Berlin, Stephanie Nebehay in Geneva, Kate Kelland in London, Takahiko Wada in Tokyo; Writing by Robert Birsel, Nick Macfie and Lisa Shumaker; Editing by Alexander Smith, John Stonestreet and Bill Berkrot)

3/4/2020 Rep. Nunes sues the Washington Post for $250M by OAN Newsroom
File – House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes is pictured. (Susan Walsh/AP Photo)
    California Republican congressman Devin Nunes has launched a defamation suit against the Washington Post.    The ranking GOP House Intelligence Committee member announced the $250 million suit on Monday.
    The suit stems from a February article, which claimed Nunes alerted the president to a classified briefing where concerns were raised over Russia interfering in the 2020 elections.    The article also called that briefing “the catalyst” that led to former Acting National Intelligence Director Joseph Maguire’s ousting and his eventual replacement by Richard Grenell.
    Both WAPO and the author of the article, Shane Harris, are named in the filing.    In a recent interview, Nunus called the article a “manufactured hit piece.”
    The congressman believes the reason Amazon Chief Executive Jeff Bezos bought out the paper in 2013 was “for the purpose of using WAPO’s mighty pen to influence federal elections.”    He went on to claim Bezos “remains desperate to defame the president” after he “heavily pushed” the Russia collusion narrative from 2017 until 2019.
File – Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and CEO, speaks at The Economic Club of Washington’s
Milestone Celebration in Washington. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen, File)
    The Post said it’s standing by the article and vowed to “vigorously defend” its work against the claims made in Rep. Nunes (R-Calif.) lawsuit.
    Through 2019, Nunes has launched several high-profile lawsuits with allegations ranging from defamation to conspiracy.    He has said they are way of holding the mainstream media accountable for falsely attacking conservatives.

3/4/2020 Warren reassessing path forward for campaign, according to aide OAN Newsroom
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., speaks during a primary election
night rally, Tuesday, March 3, 2020, at Eastern Market in Detroit. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
    The road to the White House may be coming to an end for Elizabeth Warren.    According to a campaign aide Wednesday, the senator is taking a day to assess whether she still has a path to the Democrat nomination after a dismal Super Tuesday.
    Her team sent an email to supporters Tuesday night, which stated she will remain in the race with her sights set on next week’s primaries.    Warren had a disappointing showing Tuesday night after coming in third in her home state of Massachusetts.
    An internal campaign memo reportedly laid out plans for a brokered convention stating, “the Wisconsin primary is halftime and the convention in Milwaukee is the final play.”
    Meanwhile, President Trump said it’s “so selfish” that Warren has refused to step out of the 2020 race despite her poor performance.    While taking to Twitter Wednesday, the president stated Sen. Warren has “zero chance of winning” and remarked that she’s hurting the Sanders campaign “badly” by staying in.
    The president went on to say “so much for their wonderful liberal friendship” and questioned if the pair would ever speak again after they were caught fighting on a hot-mic, following the debate in Iowa.

3/4/2020 Biden claims big wins on Super Tuesday, Sanders comes in second by OAN Newsroom
Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at a primary election night campaign rally
Tuesday, March 3, 2020, in Los Angeles with his wife Jill Biden, left, and his sister Valerie. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
    The American people now have a better picture of who may win the Democrat nomination for president, following Super Tuesday’s elections.
    Joe Biden effectively swept Tuesday’s Democrat primaries. The former vice president was named the victor of the night after he won a majority of the 14 states participating in Super Tuesday.
    The Democrat presidential hopeful scored big victories in Virginia, North Carolina and Texas.    This came after he secured a double-digit lead over Sen. Sanders in South Carolina’s’ first-in-the-south primaries.
    Reports attributed the major surge to Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who suspended their presidential campaigns to throw their endorsement behind Biden.    After dropping out of the race, both candidates pushed voters to consolidate their votes behind the moderate candidate.
    Biden is seen as an alternative to self-proclaimed Democrat socialist Bernie Sanders, who came in second Tuesday night.    Despite the loss in a majority of states, Sanders still won California.    This is a key battleground state that holds a whopping 415 delegates.
    “It’s a very liberal state now and it’s very, very hospitable to the Sanders campaign,” explained Raphael Sonenshein, Director of the Pat Brown Institute for Public Affairs.    “He (Sanders) has really worked California better than any of the other candidates and to my view, he’s the only candidate who has made a really effective effort to reach out to Latino voters.
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., arrives at a primary night
election rally in Essex Junction, Vt., Tuesday, March 3, 2020. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
    Shortly after his victory in California, the Vermont senator told his supporters he’s optimistic about winning the Democrat nomination.
    “But we’re going to win because the people understand it is our campaign, our movement, which is (the) best position to defeat Trump,” he stated.    “You cannot beat Trump with the same old, same old kind of politics.”
    Meanwhile, candidates Michael Bloomberg and Elizabeth Warren trailed behind.    The pair only earned about 50 delegates each.    After a disappointing turnout on Super Tuesday, Bloomberg ended his bid for the White House.    He’s now joining Klobuchar and Buttigieg in supporting Biden.
    The next round of primaries is set to take place March 10.

3/4/2020 President Trump, health officials consider using national disaster program to treat uninsured Americans by OAN Newsroom
President Donald Trump, center, points as he prepares to answer question after speaking about the coronavirus in the
press briefing room at the White House, Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
    The federal government is seeking to tackle a new issue stemming from the deadly coronavirus outbreak; how to treat uninsured patients.    On Tuesday, President Trump and top health officials discussed the possibility of funneling federal funds to health care providers.
    While speaking from the White House, the president reassured he is looking into the situation and praised his administration’s response efforts to the coronavirus.
    “The professionals are doing a great job, we’re really happy with the job they’re doing,” he stated.    “…we’re ahead of it by stopping so much earlier…nobody wanted us to cut off access to our country and I did it early; by doing that, that was a big step.”
    At a hearing for the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, Dr. Robert Kadlec from the Department of Health and Human Services discussed the plan.    He said funding could potentially come from a national disaster program to reimburse health care providers 110 percent of the Medicare rates.
    “In declared Disaster Stafford Act we have the opportunity to declare individuals as NDMS patients, National Disaster Medical System patients, where they get reimbursed or the provider gets reimbursed to 110 percent the medicare rates,” he stated.    “And there would be an interesting way to look at how you can evaluate it in a pandemic or something of this sort to use.”
    Hawaii state Department of Health microbiologist Mark Nagata demonstrates the process for testing
a sample for coronavirus at the department’s laboratory in Pearl City, Hawaii on Tuesday, March 3, 2020.
Hawaii officials said Tuesday they are capable of testing 250 samples for the new coronavirus each week. (AP Photo/Audrey McAvoy)
    Top senators plan to draft a bill providing adequate emergency coronavirus funding and will send it to the president’s desk for his signature by the end of the week.    Meanwhile, President Trump said he’s watching the spread closely and is paying attention to hot-spots in countries like Italy, South Korea and Japan.

3/4/2020 Coronavirus death toll jumps to 107 in Italy, all schools shut by Giuseppe Fonte and Gavin Jones
A man wearing a protective face mask to prevent contracting the coronavirus walks past
the Duomo Cathedral in Milan, Italy, March 4, 2020. REUTERS/Guglielmo Mangiapane
    ROME (Reuters) – Italy closed all schools and universities and prepared other emergency measures on Wednesday to try to slow the spread of the coronavirus in Europe’s worst-hit country as the death toll and number of cases jumped.
    The total number of dead in Italy rose to 107 after 28 people died of the highly contagious virus over the past 24 hours, the Civil Protection Agency said.
    Education Minister Lucia Azzolina said schools and universities all over the country would be closed from Thursday until at least March 15.    Only those in the northern regions most heavily affected by the epidemic have been closed so far.
    The number of cases since the outbreak surfaced 13 days ago rose to 3,089 from 2,502 on Tuesday.    Of those who contracted the disease, about 3.5% had died, the head of the agency, Angelo Borrelli, said.
    Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte told reporters the government was preparing a decree to try to slow infections which have been rising by about 500 per day.
    “Our hospitals, despite their efficiency, risk being overwhelmed, we have a problem with intensive-care units,” Conte said, adding he would outline the new measures later on Wednesday.
    A draft of the decree seen by Reuters orders “the suspension of events of any nature … that entail the concentration of people and do not allow for a safety distance of at least one meter (yard) to be respected.”
    It calls for the closure of cinemas and theaters and tells Italians not to shake hands or hug each other and to avoid “direct physical contact with all people.”
    It also orders all major sporting events, including top flight Serie A soccer matches, to be played in empty stadiums.
    The school closures caused jubilation among some children and mixed reactions from parents.
    “I hoped for this decree because I feared an outbreak at school,” said Massimiliano Del Ninno, father of a Rome primary school student.     “Even if we are dealing with an age group that doesn’t seem to be at risk, they could have been carriers.”
    Clarissa Mazzei, a 30-year-old mother of three, called it “tragic … for the students, and also for the parents.”
    Deputy Economy Minister Laura Castelli said the government was aware of the problems it would cause families and was preparing a directive to allow a parent to stay home from work to look after children.
    The virus outbreak remains centered on the wealthy and populous region of Lombardy, around Milan, and the neighboring regions of Veneto and Emilia Romagna, but cases are spreading around the whole of the Italian peninsula and Sicily.
    Rome’s Spallanzani infections diseases hospital said it had 20 coronavirus patients, while others were being treated at home in and around Italy’s capital and largest city.
    Emilia Romagna’s regional government said on Wednesday two of its members had tested positive and Industry Minister Stefano Patuanelli is in self-imposed isolation after coming into contact with a patient, though he himself had tested negative.
    The outbreak has heavily disrupted daily life in the north, with cinemas and museums closed in some regions and many events canceled including fashion shows and trade fairs.
    On Wednesday, the government instructed public sector managers to reorganize offices to help staff work from home.
    Italy’s chronically weak economic growth looks sure to suffer, with the tourist sector taking a huge hit from a wave of cancellations.
    Industry lobby Confindustria said the country was in recession, forecasting a fall in gross domestic product in both the first and second quarters of this year.
    Confturismo, the tourist industry’s confederation, said the sector was “on its knees.”
    It forecast a drop of some 32 million in the number of Italian and foreign tourists in March-to-May, with a loss to the industry of about 7.4 billion euros ($8.23 billion).
    Economy Minister Roberto Gualtieri has promised tax breaks and other measures for the affected sectors worth 3.6 billion euros.    A government source told Reuters on Wednesday this may be raised to 4.5 billion, or 0.25% of GDP.
(Additional reporting by Angelo Amante, Gabriele Pileri and Crispian Balmer; Editing by Janet Lawrence)

3/4/2020 HPE, AMD win deal for U.S. supercomputer to model nuclear weapons by Stephen Nellis
FILE PHOTO: A screen displays the logo for HP Inc. at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE)
in New York, U.S., November 18, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo
    (Reuters) – Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co and Advanced Micro Devices Inc on Wednesday said they had won a $600 million deal to deliver a supercomputer that will be used by the U.S. Department of Energy’s nuclear security arm to support the nation’s nuclear arsenal.
    The computer, dubbed El Capitan after the famous rock face in California’s Sierra Nevada mountains, will be housed at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.    It will also be used by the nation’s other two national nuclear labs, Sandia National Laboratories and Los Alamos National>     The awarding of the chip contract to AMD is a big win for the company.
    All but one of the world’s current top 10 fastest supercomputers use central processor chips from either Intel Corp or International Business Machines Inc, according to supercomputing research group TOP500.    The exception is the third-fastest, which is located in China and uses a domestically developed chip.
    Since the end of live detonation tests, using computers to simulate nuclear blasts has become a core part of weapons design.    The enormous computing power required has also become a source of international competition and tension.
    Of the world’s four fastest supercomputers, two are located in the United States and two are located in China, according to TOP500.
    United States officials have barred U.S. firms from doing business with some Chinese supercomputer groups that U.S. officials say have Chinese military ties.
    The companies and the government said El Capitan is likely to be 30% faster than previously expected thanks to the use of AMD’s forthcoming “Genoa” central processor units, or CPUs.     El Capitan will also use four AMD graphical processing units, or GPUs, for each CPU chip to speed up artificial intelligence tasks, they said.
    HPE said it expects to deliver El Capitan in 2023.    If it works as predicted, the machine will have a speed of 2 exaflops, meaning it will be able to perform 1 quintillion – or 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 – calculations per second and would be faster than the current top 200 supercomputers in the world combined.    Intel and Cray last year announced a supercomputer designed to run at 1 exaflop.
    El Capitan “will ensure the laboratories can continue to excel at their national security missions and make it possible for the U.S. to remain competitive on the global stage in high performance computing for many years to come,” Bill Goldstein, director of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, said in a statement.
    Energy Department officials announced last year they had awarded the El Capitan project to Cray Inc, which is owned by HPE, but did not say who would supply the chips.
(Reporting by Stephen Nellis in San Francisco; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)

3/4/2020 Chief Justice Roberts rebukes Sen. Schumer for threatening comments by OAN Newsroom
In this image from video, presiding officer Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts speaks during the impeachment trial against
President Donald Trump in the Senate at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020. (Senate Television via AP)
    Chief Justice John Roberts has fired back at Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), who appeared to threaten several justices on Wednesday.    Roberts claimed Schumer’s recent comments about Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh were “inappropriate and dangerous.”
    Earlier that day, Schumer rallied a group of supporters outside the Supreme Court during hearings on a major abortion case.    He said the justices will “pay the price” if they rule in favor of pro-life arguments.
    The chief justice reaffirmed the Supreme Court will continue to do their job without fear or favor.
Senate Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer of N.Y. speaks to abortion rights demonstrators at a
rally outside the Supreme Court, in Washington, Wednesday, March 4, 2020. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
    President Trump also weighed in on Schumer’s comments, saying that “if a Republican did this, he or she would be arrested or impeached.”
    He went on to say the senator must “pay a severe price” for these threats.
    During an evening interview, the president stated he was “amazed” by the “unequal justice” of the situation.

3/4/2020 Vice President Pence to visit Wash. state amid rising coronavirus cases by OAN Newsroom
Vice President Mike Pence speaks to reporters in the Brady press briefing room of the
White House, Monday, March 2, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
    Vice President Mike Pence is set to visit Washington this week as the state deals with a growing number of coronavirus cases.    On Wednesday, Pence announced he will be travelling to Olympia on Thursday, where he’s expected to meet with Governor Jay Inslee.
    27 cases were confirmed in the state, including 10 deaths, following reports of a new virus fatality on Wednesday.    The vice president reportedly decided to cancel plans to visit Wisconsin and Minnesota for campaign events amid the outbreak.
    Last week, he was selected by the president to lead the administration’s response to the coronavirus.
    He’s held regular briefings to keep the public updated on the situation.
    “The American people deserve to know that the threat of contracting the coronavirus remains low, according to all our experts,” said Pence.    “At your direction, we are going to continue to bring the full resources of the federal government and we’re going to enlist the full resources of American industry to keep the American people safe.”
Vice President Mike Pence with President Donald Trump and White House coronavirus
response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx, speaks during a coronavirus briefing with Airline CEOs in the Roosevelt Room
of the White House, Wednesday, March 4, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
    Earlier that day, Pence announced the Trump administration is planning to roll out increased standards for all nursing homes.    He met with CEOs of the world’s largest commercial laboratories, which have formed a joint effort to combat the outbreak.
    The officials confirmed their coronavirus test kits will be made available to physicians across the country next week.
    “In cooperation with our administration, with some changes (and) the FDA rules, they are going forward,” said Pence.    “They have formed a consortium in this industry to share information and to speed the availability of tests to the broader American public.”

3/4/2020 Sen. Cotton’s new ad targets rise of socialism in Democrat Party by OAN Newsroom
Photo via Sen. Tom Cotton’s official Facebook page.
    Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) has launched a new ad campaign to expose the similarities between Democrat politicians and well-known socialist leaders.    Using examples from Cuba and Venezuela, the ad showed how socialism leads to economic collapse and takes away citizens’ freedoms.
    It highlighted American politicians like Sen. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.), who have inched toward a socialist agenda.
    “They fought to keep us free, but now socialism has taken over the Democratic Party,” the video explained.    “Make no mistake, socialism will wreck America and take away our freedoms.”
    The new ad will be featured in key swing states around the country, where it will air as a part of Cotton’s reelection campaign.

3/4/2020 First Lady Melania, Secy. Pompeo honor recipients of 2020 Int’l Women of Courage Awards by OAN Newsroom
First lady Melania Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrive for the 2020 International Women of Courage
Awards Ceremony at the State Department in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2020. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
    First Lady Melania Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo presented the International Women of Courage Awards on Wednesday. The pair honored a dozen women from across the world during a ceremony in Washington D.C.
    The first lady praised the recipients for their courage and leadership in the face of adversity. She pointed out these women overcame the most difficult challenges as they publicly fought for their beliefs, including death threats and harassment on social media.
    “It is an honor to be here again to celebrate these inspiring women and the incredible impacts they are doing through the work they have dedicated themselves to all over the world,” she said.    “In my four year attending this ceremony, I continue to be inspired by the personal stories that accompany each of these extraordinary women.”

Claire Ouedraogo, president of the Songmanegre Association for Women’s Development, holds up her award as she
is flanked by first lady Melania Trump, left, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, right, during the 2020 International Women
of Courage Awards Ceremony at the State Department in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2020. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
    The honorees were from many different countries, including Afghanistan, Malaysia and Zimbabwe.
    The event came ahead of International Women’s Day on Sunday, March 8th.

3/4/2020 President Trump hails Latino entrepreneurs, touts economy and border security at Latino Coalition Summit by OAN Newsroom
President Donald Trump speaks at the Latino Coalition Legislative Summit at the JW Marriott,
Wednesday, March 4, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
    President Trump has hailed America’s Latino community as one of the main drivers of the U.S. economy.    While speaking at the Latino Coalition Legislative Summit on Wednesday, the president highlighted his efforts to reduce unemployment and enhance opportunity among Latinos.
    “This afternoon, we’re celebrating phenomenal achievements of Latino business leaders, entrepreneurs, innovators and workers,” he said.
    The president emphasized the White House has been working to improve public schools and reduce violent crime in Hispanic neighborhoods.    He also stressed the importance of border security.
    "More than half of our nation’s border agents are Hispanic Americans, and they do an incredible job,” he said.    “We’re immensely grateful for their amazing work in seizing drugs, stopping human trafficking and ensuring a safe, human and lawful system of immigration.”
    President Trump also reaffirmed America’s support for the Venezuelan people.    He stated the Maduro regime has shown how socialism can destroy entire nations.
President Donald Trump speaks at the Latino Coalition Legislative Summit at the
JW Marriott, Wednesday, March 4, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

3/4/2020 President Trump: Biden made great comeback, has easier path to nomination by OAN Newsroom
President Donald Trump speaks to the Latino Coalition Legislative Summit,
Wednesday, March 4, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
    President Trump has said Joe Biden made a great comeback on Super Tuesday and now has a better chance of winning the Democrat nomination.    While speaking at the White House on Wednesday, the president claimed Biden may have lost some states to Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) if it weren’t for Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) staying in the race.
    He went on to call Warren a “spoiler” and said Sanders would’ve won several states like Texas and Massachusetts if Warren dropped out before Super Tuesday.

Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks
Wednesday, March 4, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
    The president then took aim at Mike Bloomberg, saying his $1 billion did nothing for him.    He added the billionaire’s money won’t do much for Biden either.
    “I think Joe has an easier path right now, believe it or not.    I see Mini Mike just got out.    He’s going to try and save face by putting some money into Biden’s campaign.    We’ll see what happens, I don’t think that’s going to have an impact.    Money has to be spent wisely.    One thing this whole thing has shown is that you can’t buy an election, it’s a beautiful thing.” – Donald Trump, 45th President of the United States
    Biden now has the endorsement of four failed Democrat candidates, including Bloomberg, Pete Buttigieg, Beto O’Rourke and Amy Klobuchar.

3/4/2020 Sen. Johnson: Homeland Security Committee to subpoena Bidens in Ukraine corruption probe by OAN Newsroom
FILE – In this July 30, 2019, file photo, Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs committee Chair Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., speaks
during a committee hearing on conditions at the Southern border, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)
    Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) has unveiled a plan to hold Joe and Hunter Biden accountable for their actions in Ukraine.    On Wednesday, he said he is planning to force a vote in the Homeland Security Committee to subpoena the Bidens in an ongoing corruption probe.
    Johnson confirmed his committee will issue an interim report on its findings.    Senate Republicans also want to subpoena several lobbyists associated with Blue Star Strategies, a U.S.-based company with ties to Burisma Holdings.
    Johnson added he will review all evidence on the matter, including testimonies by Ukrainian officials.
    “The firing of Shokin, his replacement, has a pretty interesting (implication) for the file about how there’s a misinformation campaign perpetrated by U.S. representatives against the prosecutor general’s office,” he said.    “There’s a lot of questions that remain unanswered and the press just wants to wipe this all away, say it’s just Russian disinformation.”
    The senator has said his report will be released within a month or two, after all the evidence is verified.    He noted none of it looks good for Biden’s 2020 campaign.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., is surrounded by reporters after he and Republican
lawmakers met with Attorney General William Barr about expiring provisions of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act
and other government intelligence laws, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
    Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) echoed these claims on Wednesday, saying that ongoing probes into Ukrainian corruption will haunt Joe Biden’s bid for president.    While speaking on Capitol Hill, he stated Hunter Biden sat on the board of the most corrupt company in the entire country.
    Graham pointed out the former vice president was in charge of fighting corruption in Ukraine at the time.    Ukrainian officials have claimed their country lost billions of dollars in money laundering and offshoring funds when Joe Biden was in office.
    The senator emphasized this information will impact Biden’s chances of becoming president.
    “If you’re going to run for president, you were in charge of the Ukrainian anti-corruption campaign as vice president, and your son’s sitting on the most corrupt company in the country while you’re trying to clean up the country, yeah, that’ll come up,” said Graham.

3/4/2020 Los Angeles County declares health emergency after reporting 6 new cases of coronavirus by OAN Newsroom
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti speaks at a news conference that announced that six new cases of the
coronavirus have been confirmed in Los Angeles County, where there was one previously, on the steps
of the county Hall of Administration in downtown Los Angeles Wednesday, March 4, 2020. (AP Photo/Stafanie Dazio)
    Los Angeles County has declared a health emergency following six new cases of coronavirus in the region.    On Wednesday, officials stated the declaration will prevent the virus from spreading further across the city.
    “We’ve been preparing with our local, state and federal partners for the likelihood of this scenario,” said LA Board of Supervisors Chair Kathryn Barger.    “This declaration of a local emergency will facilitate our efforts to coordinate with all our partners and jointly implement effective strategies to protect our residents.”
    Officials have called on residents to remain calm and noted that none of the six new cases of the virus resulted from community spread.    They urged residents to wash their hands as often as possible and avoid unsanitary environments.
    Officials also reaffirmed the county is fully prepared to address all cases of coronavirus.
    “There is extraordinary work being done alongside our partners in county and federal government to keep Angelenos safe, aware and informed,” stated Mayor Eric Garcetti.    “We are making sure the city is well-coordinated to respond to any changes in the situation, and that we (are) doing everything we can to protect our communities.”
    Los Angeles previously had one case of coronavirus, but that patient was discharged from the hospital after making a full recovery.

3/5/2020 Oil down $0.40 to $46.78, DOW up 1173 to 27,091.

3/5/2020 President Trump: Bidens’ dealing with Burisma to be key campaign issue by OAN Newsroom
Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at a primary election
night campaign rally Tuesday, March 3, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
    Joe Biden appears to be feeling confident after winning big this past Super Tuesday.    While speaking on NBC’s “Today Show” Thursday morning, the Democrat presidential hopeful talked about how he fared against Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.).
    Biden cited his support from the African American community as well as from suburban women and the middle class as the reason why Sanders lost the states that were up for grabs.    The former vice president also downplayed Sanders’ accusations of being a corporate establishment candidate by noting that Sanders has more money on his side.
    When asked why President Trump has been talking about Sanders’ White House bid, Biden had this to say:
    Biden won 10 of the 14 states that were up for grabs on Super Tuesday.    He has roughly 577 delegates as of now, while Sanders stands at 510.
President Donald Trump speaks to the media as he leaves the White House, Tuesday, March 3, 2020, in Washington, to visit
the National Institutes of Health’s Vaccine Research Center in Bethesda, Md. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
    Meanwhile, President Trump said the dealings between the former vice president’s son and Ukrainian oil company Burisma will likely be a key issue if Biden wins the Democrat nomination.
    During an interview Wednesday, the president said he sees no way for Biden to answer questions about his family’s ties to Burisma.    Concerns have been raised over claims Biden pushed for the removal of a Ukrainian special prosecutor in order to protect his son, Hunter, who was on Burisma’s board at the time.
    President Trump went on to say the Bidens are “totally corrupt” and slammed the mainstream media for failing to call them out.

3/5/2020 President Trump: Government to withhold funds to sanctuary cities by OAN Newsroom
President Donald Trump speaks to members of the media before leaving the White House, Tuesday, March 3, 2020, in Washington,
to visit the National Institutes of Health’s Vaccine Research Center in Bethesda, Md. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
    During his 2016 campaign, President Trump promised to block funding to sanctuary cities.    He is now following through with his pledge.
    This week, the president announced the federal government will begin withholding funding from sanctuary cities.
    President Trump has long fought against sanctuary jurisdictions, saying they put Americans’ safety at risk.
    “Sanctuary cities release thousands of criminal aliens out of our prisons and jails back into our communities,” he said.
    The Trump administration claimed victory in February after a federal appeals court ruled the Justice Department could block funding from sanctuary cities and states that refuse to cooperate with federal immigration authorities.    The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan ruled unanimously to overturn a district court’s ruling, which stated the DOJ didn’t have the authority to withhold the funding.
Attorney General William Barr waves as he walks on stage to speak at the National Sheriffs’ Association
Winter Legislative and Technology Conference in Washington, Monday, Feb. 10, 2020. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
    According to the head of the DOJ, the department recently began filing lawsuits and issuing subpoenas to help ICE officials get around sanctuary policies.
    “When we’re talking about sanctuary cities, we’re talking about policies that are designed to allow criminal aliens to escape,” stated Attorney General William Barr.
    President Trump has said these cities and states “should change their status, go non-sanctuary, and not protect criminals,” echoing the comments he made during his State of the Union speech.
    “The United States of America should be a sanctuary for law abiding Americans, not criminal aliens,” he said.

3/5/2020 Secy. of Defense Mark Esper disputes New York Times report by OAN Newsroom
Defense Secretary Mark Esper testifies to the Senate Armed Services Committee about the
budget, Wednesday, March 4, 2020, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
    According to the Defense Department, The New York Times misrepresented remarks made by Mark Esper during a recent teleconference on the coronavirus.    On Thursday, Esper stated he did not ask commanders stationed overseas to notify the Pentagon before treating sick troops.
    Earlier this week, the newspaper claimed the defense chief asked for a “heads up” before troops received treatment.
    Esper clarified he had instead asked commanders to notify him of any critical decisions they might make regarding the response to the virus, so that the White House could keep a consistent message on containment efforts.
    “My one request of them, and the chairman will vouch for this, is if you’re going to make a very big, high profile decision, give me a heads up,” he said.    “I want to make sure we’re integrated across the inter-agency: that HHS knows, that State (Department) knows, that indeed the White House knows, and that Congress knows.”
Defense Secretary Mark Esper, left, accompanied by Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley, right, speaks at a
House Armed Services Committee hearing on Capitol Hill, Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
    The secretary went on to say that the priority of the department is to protect service members their families.
    “My number one priority remains to protect our forces and their families,” stated Esper.    “We will continue to take all necessary precautions to ensure that our people are safe and able to continue their very important mission.”

3/5/2020 Veterans confront Biden for enabling Iraq War by OAN Newsroom
Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden gestures while speaking during a campaign
rally Monday, March 2, 2020, at Texas Southern University in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)
    Despite his performance on Super Tuesday, Democrat presidential front-runner Joe Biden has failed to appeal to some veterans.    The former vice president was recently met with backlash over past support of the Iraq War.
    During a stop Tuesday, Michael Thurman, a former member of the U.S. Air Force, confronted Biden alongside fellow veterans over his support for the invasion of Iraq back in 2002.
    “You enabled a war and you also gave a medal to a man that enabled and caused that war,” he stated.    “And they’re blood is on your hands no…my friends are dead because of your policies.”
    The group grilled the 2020 hopeful, questioning why voters would back someone who would support a war that killed thousands of Iraqi civilians.    However, Biden reportedly turned his back on the veteran immediately following the statement, which caused the confrontation to escalate.
    This isn’t the first time that the former vice president has faced backlash for his role in the Iraq War.    He’s also fielded criticism by other Democrats in the race, most notably, Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.).
    “One of the differences that Joe and I have on our record is that Joe voted for that war,” Sanders pointed out on the debate stage.    “I helped lead the opposition to that war, which is a total disaster.”
    Biden has continuously attempted to apologize for his role in the war and reportedly attempted to lessen military presence in the country during his time in the Obama administration.
    The laundry list of scandals confronting Biden has only continued to grow, including claims by women who have accused the Democrat of inappropriately touching them as well as his son Hunter’s questionable overseas business dealings.

3/5/2020 House passes $8.3B coronavirus spending bill by OAN Newsroom
An infection Control Protocol poster sits on a nursing station desk at the Palm Garden of Tampa Health
and Rehabilitation Center Thursday, March 5, 2020, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)
    U.S. efforts against the coronavirus outbreak were given an $8 billion boost from Congress.    On Wednesday, the House passed an emergency coronavirus response package with overwhelming bipartisan support.
    Only two congressmen voted against it after citing concerns about spending amounts.    This came after talks had initially stalled over a measure proposed by Democrats, which would have set a limit on the price of vaccines once they are developed.
    Republicans objected by arguing the Democrats were trying to impose new price control rules and that these might de-incentive pharmaceutical research companies from participating in research on a vaccine.    A compromise was reached omitting the new rule from the bill, but authorizing the secretary of Health and Human Services to take actions to enforce affordability.
    Republicans cited concerns House Democrats would try to include unrelated legislation in the bill and sent a letter asking Speaker Nancy Pelosi to limit any coronavirus bill to dealing with the epidemic.
    The bill would allocate $3 billion towards research, testing and development of vaccines and treatments.    Another $3 billion would go to public health efforts, medical supplies and protective equipment.
    Additionally, $300 million has been set aside for the purchase of vaccines when they are developed in order to make them available to all Americans.    The rest is expected to fund worldwide efforts against the coronavirus and protect the health of Americans living abroad.
Vice President Mike Pence, who is the head of President Donald Trump’s coronavirus task force, leaves after
speaking to the Democratic luncheon, Tuesday, March 3, 2020 in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
    Vice President Mike Pence, who has been designated by President Trump to lead the administration’s efforts against the outbreak, celebrated the bill’s passage as a product of cooperation between Congress and the White House.
    “Well, we’ve been working very closely with members of Congress in both political parties,” he stated.    “…We had a very productive meeting yesterday in the Senate with Republican and Democrat members, but, as the President said so, we’re all in this together.”
    The bill also includes a provision that funds cannot be used for any projects outside the response to the coronavirus, which protects them from mismanagement.

3/5/2020 Michael Bloomberg ends presidential campaign, joins moderate Democrats in supporting Biden by OAN Newsroom
Former Democratic presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg pauses as he speaks to supporters about the suspension of his campaign,
and his endorsement of former Vice President Joe Biden for president, in New York on Wednesday, March 4, 2020. (AP Photo/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez)
    Former presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg has joined his moderate colleagues to back Joe Biden for president.    He suspended his campaign Wednesday after a disappointing performance on Super Tuesday.
    Bloomberg said the former vice president stands the best chance at taking on the president in the upcoming election.
    “I’ve known Joe for a very long time; I know his decency, his honesty, his commitment to the issues that are so important to our country,” he stated.    “And I’m glad to say I endorse Joe Biden and I hope you will join me in working to make him the next president of the United States of America.”
    The former New York mayor opted to skip campaigning in early states on the notion that a string of Super Tuesday victories would launch him to front-runner status.    However, despite spending more than half a billion dollars on advertising, Bloomberg only claimed a victory in the American Samoa territory.
    Bloomberg’s past as mayor and decision to self-fund his campaign drew controversy.    He faced criticism for his support of the stop-and-frisk policy and his use of non-disclosure agreements on former female employees working for him.
    Bloomberg has joined former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar in backing Biden.    The Democrats hope to gain the support of more moderate voters against self-proclaimed Democrat socialist Bernie Sanders.
    “And I will not be our party’s nominee, but I will not walk away from the most important political fight of my life and I hope you won’t walk away either,” said Bloomberg.    “Today, I am clear-eyed about our overriding objective and that is victory in November.”
    The business man has reportedly pledged to keep spending his own money in an effort to defeat the president.

3/5/2020 Cruise ship linked to first coronavirus death in Calif. delayed from docking in San Francisco until passengers are tested by OAN Newsroom
In this Feb. 11, 2020 photo, the Grand Princess cruise ship passes the Golden Gate Bridge as it arrives
from Hawaii in San Francisco. California’s first coronavirus fatality is an elderly patient who apparently contracted
the illness on a cruise, authorities said Wednesday, March 4. (Scott Strazzante/San Francisco Chronicle via AP)
    The U.S. Coast Guard has sent testing kits to thousands of people on a cruise ship linked to a coronavirus death in California.    The testing is being conducted on about 100 passengers on board the Grand Princess cruise ship who were feeling flu-like symptoms.
    On Wednesday, Golden State Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the ship would be blocked from docking until proper testing is complete.    The ship was heading back to San Francisco from Hawaii and was supposed to arrive Wednesday night.
    The governor’s move comes after he declared a state of emergency, following the first coronavirus death in the state.    The 71-year old man was a passenger on the same cruise ship last month.
    “We’ve had a number of incidences throughout the State of California, no longer north, now in southern California,” Newsom stated.    “We have accordingly, with this new ICU (intensive care unit) patient that passed away, entered in to this next phase that is required of me under the circumstances to advance a proclamation of a state of emergency in the State of California.”
    The coronavirus test kits will be sent to a lab in Richmond.

3/5/2020 President Trump, Macron agree to join efforts in ‘scientific, economic, health’ response to COVID-19 by OAN Newsroom
President Donald Trump speaks to members of the media before leaving the White House, Tuesday, March 3, 2020, in Washington
to visit the National Institutes of Health’s Vaccine Research Center in Bethesda, Md. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
    President Trump and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron have agreed to join efforts in fighting the coronavirus outbreak.
    The two presidents spoke on the phone Wednesday to discuss the latest challenges to public health in the U.S. and France.    President Trump and President Macron said they will coordinate scientific, economic and health responses.
    Earlier this week, Macron issued restrictions on mass gatherings in his country and advised people to avoid close personal contacts in public.    The French president said transparency is key to defeating the virus.
    “During the period we are going through and that we will go through, because we have entered a phase that will last weeks even possibly months, it is paramount to show clarity, resilience, nerves and determination to slow the epidemic,” stated the French leader.    “Which is what we are doing and then fight it.”
    According to the White House, President Trump likes Macron’s proposals and noted the two will work together ahead of the upcoming G7 summit in June.

3/5/2020 Public concern raised over Joe Biden’s mental health by OAN Newsroom
Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks
Wednesday, March 4, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
    Joe Biden’s odds of securing the Democrat Party’s nomination have risen in recent days, but public concern is mounting over the candidate’s fitness for office.    Several in the political spectrum have called Biden’s mental health into question amid the possibility of the 2020 hopeful having dementia.
    Conservative radio talk show host Bob Lonsberry, who has called attention to the matter, claimed it is not about age, but about Biden’s alarming confusion over topics.
    “We hold these truths to be self-evident,” said the former vice president.    “All men and women created by the you know, you know the thing.”
    He also called out the Democrat Party’s “closeted leadership to hand Biden the nomination.”
    According to Lonsberry, it is appropriate to discuss Biden’s brain if it was fair to talk about Bernie Sanders’ recent heart attack or Mike Bloomberg’s stents.
    His concerns came amid the laundry list of gaffes the former vice president has exhibited on the campaign trail.    In one instance, the 2020 hopeful even publicly forgot what race he’s in.
    “Where I come from, you don’t go very far unless you ask,” he said.    “My name’s Joe Biden, I’m a Democratic candidate for the United States Senate.”
    From the campaign trail to the debate stage, the faux pas continue to stack up.
    Just this week, the former vice president apparently forgot the name of his former boss, President Barack Obama.
    Others in the political spectrum have also taken note of Biden’s mishaps, including conservative author Ann Coulter.    She has claimed his senile dementia will only continue to be covered up by the media.
    “The media will protect Biden in a way that no Republican with that level of senile dementia that Biden has could run for president,” stated Coulter.    “But the media is a powerful force, they’ll cover it up, they won’t show us those.”
    The list goes on, but only time will tell if the multiple mishaps and gaffes will be overlooked.

3/6/2020 Oil down $1.38 to $45.82, DOW down 969 to 26,122.

3/6/2020 Chicago mayor criticizes ICE over the arrest of an illegal immigrant felon charged with child sexual assault by OAN Newsroom
34-year old Christopher is pictured. (Photo/handout/Chicago Police Department)
    The mayor of the sanctuary city of Chicago recently blasted U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) over the arrest of an illegal immigrant felon.    Mayor Lori Lightfoot criticized the agency last week regarding the case of 34-year old Christopher Puente.
    The previously deported Mexican national is currently being held without bail after being charged with the sexual assault of a three-year-old girl in a McDonald’s bathroom last month.    However, Lightfoot took issue with how ICE arrested Puente. She has called the agency’s director to question him about the confrontation.
    “Why it was that he decided to arrest this person after he took his daughter to school in front of an entire school community, traumatizing them?” she asked.    “Why did they wait until he left his home with a child?
    Lightfoot also said the Chicago Police Department is a legitimate force capable of its own law enforcement, but claimed it cannot do its job if the city’s cooperating with a “weaponized and politicized ICE.”

3/6/2020 Coronavirus infects more than 100,000 worldwide, wreaking financial havoc by Lawrence White and Dan Whitcomb
A man wearing a face mask stands inside a shop with the roller shutter half closed, in Wuhan, the epicentre
of the novel coronavirus outbreak, Hubei province, China March 6, 2020. REUTERS/Stringer
    LONDON/LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – The number of people infected with coronavirus surpassed 100,000 across the world on Friday as the outbreak reached more countries and intensified economic damage, with business districts beginning to empty and stock markets tumbling.
    An increasing number of people were asked to stay home from work, schools were closed, large gatherings and sports and music events were canceled, stores were cleared of staples like toiletries and water, and face masks became a common sight.
    The outbreak has killed more than 3,400 people and spread across more than 90 nations, with six countries reporting their first cases on Friday.
    The World Health Organization (WHO) said every country should make containing the epidemic its top priority, pointing to Iran’s national action plan to combat one of the worst outbreaks after a slow start.
    Iran’s death toll from the virus jumped to 124, as more than 1,000 new cases were diagnosed over 24 hours.
    In the United States, the world’s economic powerhouse, at least 57 new cases of coronavirus were confirmed as the virus struck for the first time in Colorado, Maryland, Tennessee and Texas, as well as San Francisco in California.    Some 230 people have been infected in total and 12 have died.
    More than 2,000 people were stranded on the Grand Princess cruise ship after it was barred from returning to port in San Francisco because at least 35 people aboard developed flu-like symptoms.    Test kits were delivered at sea.
    U.S. President Donald Trump signed a bill allocating $8.3 billion to bolster testing for the virus and other action.
    Moves by some major economies including the United States to cut interest rates and pledge billions of dollars to fight the epidemic have done little to allay fears about the spread of the disease and the economic fallout.    Supply chains are crippled around the world, especially in China, where the outbreak began.
    “There’s concern that while there has been a response from the Fed, given the nature of the problem, is this something the central bank can really help with?” said John Davies, G10 rates strategist at Standard Chartered Bank in London.
    In New York, JPMorgan divided its team between central locations and a secondary site in New Jersey while Goldman Sachs sent some traders to nearby secondary offices in Greenwich, Connecticut and Jersey City.
    In London, Europe’s financial capital, the Canary Wharf district was unusually quiet. S&P Global’s large office stood empty after the company sent its 1,200 staff home, while HSBC asked around 100 people to work from home after a worker tested positive for the illness.
    Facebook said it was closing its London offices until Monday after a visiting employee from Singapore was diagnosed with the virus.
    European stocks continued their slide after the Japanese market dropped to a six-month low, with 97% of shares on the Tokyo exchange’s main board in the red. [MKTS/GLOB]
    Airline and travel stocks have been among the worst affected as people canceled non-essential travel.    Norwegian Air Shuttle , the hardest-hit stock among European carriers, lost more than quarter of its market value on Friday and has fallen almost 70% since the start of February.
    “If this really ramps up, we could see a lot more kitchen-sinking updates from the travel industry and airlines,” said Chris Beauchamp, chief market analyst at IG.
    Yields on U.S. Treasuries plunged to historic lows on Friday as fears the outbreak will slam the global economy drove investors to snap up risk-adverse assets and dump equities, overshadowing data highlighting a strong U.S. labor market.
    MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe <.MIWD00000PUS> shed 1.87% and emerging market stocks lost 2.43%.
    In Europe, the pan-regional STOXX 600 index <.STOXX> fell 3.35%.    The travel and leisure sub-index <.SXTP> slid 3.9%.
    New York’s Dow Jones Industrial Average <.DJI> fell 1.5%.
    More than 100,300 people have been infected globally, according to a Reuters tally based on statements from health ministries and government officials.
    Mainland China has seen more than 3,000 deaths, but the epidemic is now spreading faster elsewhere.    The death toll in Italy, which has suffered Europe’s worst outbreak, rose to 197.
    About 3.4% of confirmed cases of the new coronavirus – known as COVID-19 – have died, far above seasonal flu’s fatality rate of under 1%, the WHO said this week.
    Singapore reported 13 new infections on Friday, its biggest daily jump, including a Singapore Airlines cabin crew member.
    Google , Facebook, Amazon , and Microsoft advised employees in the Seattle area to work from home, after some caught the virus.    The companies’ work-from-home recommendation will affect more than 100,000 people in the area.
    Starbucks Corp said it had stopped accepting reusable cups and thermos flasks from customers in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, though it will still honor the promised discount for anyone carrying one.
(GRAPHIC: Tracking the novel coronavirus –
(Additonal reporting by Steve Gorman and Cath Turner in Los Angeles, Hideyuki Sano in Tokyo, Pamela Barbaglia, Karin Strohecker, Thyagaraju Adinarayan, Ritvik Carvalho, Kate Kelland and Tommy Wilkes in London, Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru and Stephanie Nebehay in Geneva; Writing by Pravin Char and Nick Macfie; Editing by Mark Heinrich and Andrew Cawthorne)

3/6/2020 Italy coronavirus deaths near 200 after biggest daily jump by Crispian Balmer and Angelo Amante
Mannequins wearing protective masks stand in a shop display window after a government decree to
close schools, cinemas and theatres, and recommending that people do not shake hands or hug each other and
that they maintain a distance of at least one metre, in Rome, Italy, March 6, 2020. REUTERS/Remo Casilli
    ROME (Reuters) – The death toll from an outbreak of coronavirus in Italy has risen by 49 to 197, the Civil Protection Agency said on Friday, the largest daily increase in fatalities since the contagion was uncovered two weeks ago.
    Italy is currently reporting more deaths from the virus than any other country in the world and the government this week ordered the closure of schools, universities, cinemas and theaters around the country to try to stem the infections.
    The cumulative number of cases in the country, which has been the hardest hit in Europe by the epidemic, totaled 4,636 compared with 3,858 on Thursday.    The Vatican, an independent state that sits in the heart of Rome, also registered its first case on Friday.
    The national health institute said the average age of those who had died so far was 81, with the vast majority suffering underlying health problems. Just 28% were women.
    The fatality rate from the illness in Italy, which has one of the oldest populations in the world, is running at 4.25%, higher than in most other countries.
    In a worrying sign for hard-pressed hospitals, the number of patients in intensive care rose more than 30% on Friday to 462.    On a more positive note, some 523 people have fully recovered, authorities said, an increase of 26% on the previous tally.
    Analysts say the crisis will push Italy’s fragile economy into its fourth recession in 12 years.    Credit ratings agency Moody’s on Friday cut its growth forecast for the country to -0.5% in 2020, from a previous +0.5% estimate.
    Underscoring the economic concerns, the Milan stock exchange fell 3.5% on Friday and is now down 17.4% since news of the first case was announced on Feb. 21.
    The tourism sector, which accounts for 13% of national output, has suffered the hardest immediate hit, with visitors shunning the country out of fear of infection.
    The Czech Republic said on Friday that anyone returning from trips to Italy would have to go into quarantine for two weeks or face fines, while neighboring Slovakia said it was banning all flights to and from Italy.
    Rome has previously denounced such moves to isolate the country.    There is also widespread annoyance with France, Germany and other EU allies who have imposed curbs on the export of protective medical gear to avoid shortages at home.
    “So much for the European Union,” said Matteo Salvini, head of the opposition, far-right League party.
    “When Italy needs help, doors are closed and wallets shut.    Once the health emergency is over, it will be necessary to rethink and rebuild everything, starting from Brussels.”
    Italy’s sporting world is also facing unprecedented turmoil.
    The Alpine skiing World Cup finals in Italy’s Cortina d’Ampezzo were canceled on Friday, while a Formula E race scheduled for Rome on April 4 will not now take place, the all-electric series announced on Friday.
    The Milan-Sanremo one-day cycle race set for later this month has also been canceled as well as two other cycling events in Italy.
    Top flight Serie A soccer matches are due to be played this weekend, but behind closed doors.
(Additional reporting by Gavin Jones; editing by Jonathan Oatis)

3/6/2020 Italian coronavirus deaths jump to 197, cases climb to 4,636
FILE PHOTO: A woman wears a mask at the Carlo Alberto square, after the government decree to close cinemas, schools and urge
people to work from home and not stand closer than one metre to each other, in Turin, Italy, March 5, 2020. REUTERS/Massimo Pinca
    ROME (Reuters) – The death toll from an outbreak of coronavirus in Italy has risen by 49 to 197, the Civil Protection Agency said on Friday, the largest daily increase in fatalities since the contagion was uncovered two weeks ago.
    The accumulative number of cases in the country, which has been hardest hit by the virus in Europe, totalled 4,636 against 3,858 on Thursday.
    The head of the agency said that of those originally infected, 523 had fully recovered versus 414 the day before.
    The contagion is focused on a handful of hotspots in the north of Italy, but cases have now been confirmed in each of the country’s 20 regions, with deaths recorded in eight of them.
(Writing by Crispian Balmer, editing by Gavin Jones)

3/6/2020 Total UK coronavirus cases reach 163
A man wears a surgical mask as he sits in Terminal 5 at Heathrow Airport in London, Britain March 6, 2020. REUTERS/Hannah McKay
    LONDON (Reuters) – A total of 163 people have tested positive for coronavirus in the United Kingdom, rising from 115, medical authorities said on Friday.
    The number of people who have died from the virus stands at one, the health ministry and the Public Health England (PHE) agency said.
    Some British media reported earlier on Friday that there had been a second fatality.
(Reporting by Costas Pitas; editing by Stephen Addison)

3/6/2020 Two British Airways staff test positive for virus, have been isolated
FILE PHOTO: British Airways logos are seen on tail fins at Heathrow Airport in
west London, Britain, February 23, 2018. REUTERS/Hannah McKay/File Photo
    LONDON (Reuters) – Two British Airways members of staff have tested positive for coronavirus, have been isolated and are recovering at home, the airline said on Friday.
    “Public Health England (PHE) has confirmed that two members of our staff have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus,” it said in a statement.
(Reporting by Costas Pitas; editing by Stephen Addison)

3/6/2020 France reports two more coronavirus deaths, taking total to nine
FILE PHOTO: A couple wearing masks check their mobile phones near the Louvre Pyramid
in Paris, France, March 5, 2020. REUTERS/Charles Platiau
    PARIS (Reuters) – Two more people have died from coronavirus infection in France, taking the total to nine, while the number of confirmed infections rose by 154 to 577, the Health ministry said on its website on Friday.
    Around the world, the number is nearing 100,000, prompting a new tumble of stock markets.
(Reporting by Benoit Van Overstraeten; Editing by Alex Richardson)

3/6/2020 Peru records first confirmed case of coronavirus, President Vizcarra says
FILE PHOTO: Peru's President Martin Vizcarra addresses the nation, as he announces he was dissolving Congress,
at the government palace in Lima, Peru September 30, 2019. Peruvian Presidency/Handout via REUTERS
    LIMA (Reuters) – Peru recorded its first confirmed case of coronavirus, President Martin Vizcarra said in a televised statement on Friday, as the disease begins to spread around South America.
    The patient is a 25-year-old man who had traveled to Spain, France and the Czech Republic, Vizcarra added.
    South American neighbors Argentina and Chile also announced their first confirmed cases this week, while a number of cases have been confirmed in Brazil.
(Reporting by Marco Aquino; writing by Cassandra Garrison)

3/6/2020 Biden, Sanders gear up for upcoming Mich. primary by OAN Newsroom
From left, Democratic presidential candidates, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., former Vice President Joe Biden, talks before
a Democratic presidential primary debate, Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020, in Charleston, S.C. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
    Super Tuesday belonged to Joe Biden, who gained critical wins in the South, including Texas.    The former vice president is now the leading Democrat in the race.
    “It is a good night and it seems to be getting even better,” he said to a crowd of supporters.    “They don’t call it Super Tuesday for nothing!
    Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.), who once found himself at the head of the pack, is now playing catch-up.    He recently cancelled an upcoming appearance in Mississippi and will instead travel to Michigan to campaign.
    Pundits have claimed the Sanders campaign is cutting its losses in the South to focus on the Midwest.
Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden, accompanied by his wife Jill, gestures as he speaks
during a primary election night rally Tuesday, March 3, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
    Both candidates are gearing up for March 10th, which will be a pivotal date for the Democrat contenders.    Voters will cast ballots in six state primaries.    Michigan is the next big prize, with 125 pledged delegates up for grabs.
    Sanders upset Hillary Clinton by winning the state in the 2016 primary, but he may not be able to repeat this feat while campaigning against Biden.    The former vice president recently landed an endorsement from Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer.
    “I’ve been watching this campaign play out and there’s been sources of inspiration and a variety of candidates,” she said. “But as we go into Michigan’s election on Tuesday, I am going to be voting for Joe Biden.”
    Sanders has some hope in the Great Lakes state, including from Michigan’s growing Arab population.    He landed his own endorsement from the Arab American Political Action Committee this week.

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., accompanied by his wife Jane O’Meara Sanders, arrives for a
primary night election rally as the crowd cheers in Essex Junction, Vt., Tuesday, March 3, 2020. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
    Sanders is also getting some unlikely help from President Trump, who has suggested that Biden is in some ways worse than the senator from Vermont.
    “Well (Biden) he’s left-wing, and he’s got all people that are left-wing.    In many ways, he’s worse than Bernie.    Look what he did with guns, he put Beto in charge of guns.    Beto wants to get rid of guns right?    So that’s a bad stance.” – Donald Trump, 45th President of the United States
    Other states that are set to vote in March include Florida, Illinois, Ohio and Arizona.
    As of Friday, Biden was leading Sanders with 565 delegates while Sanders had secured 506.    A candidate will need 1,991 delegates to secure the Democrat nomination.

3/6/2020 Trump reelection campaign invests millions to flip Minn. Red by OAN Newsroom
Screengrab of Second Lady Karen Pence speaking at the ‘Keep America Great’ rally in St. Paul, Minn., on March 5, 2020.
    President Trump’s reelection campaign is investing time and money to flip Minnesota red this year.    On Thursday, Second Lady Karen Pence stepped in for her husband and spoke to supporters at a ‘Keep America Great’ rally in St. Paul.
    She touted the administration’s economic achievements and highlighted the surge in jobs under the president’s leadership.
    “This president’s strong policies have launched us into the hottest economy in modern history,” she stated.    “Since President Trump was elected, more than 7 million jobs have been created, bringing the national unemployment to a 50-year record low of 3.5 percent.”
    The first lady went on to celebrate Minnesota’s record-breaking turnout on Super Tuesday and encouraged voters to “make history again” in November.
    “Each one of you here plays a very critical role in this election, because we need to win the White House again,” she said.    “We saw this week what Minnesota can do on Super Tuesday, it was pretty impressive.”
President Donald Trump arrives to speak at a campaign rally at Bojangles Coliseum,
Monday, March 2, 2020, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
    The Trump campaign is pouring tens of millions of dollars into a state that hasn’t elected a Republican presidential candidate since 1972.    They also have about 100 fulltime staffers on the ground connecting with voters.
    The gains President Trump has made with rural and working class voters is fueling optimism in 2020.
    “For the next 13 months, we are going to fight with all of our heart and soul,” said the president.    “We are going to win the great state of Minnesota in 2020.”
    He lost the state to Hillary Clinton in 2016 by less than two percentage points.
    His 2020 campaign is confident they can boost voter turnout and replicate the same enthusiasm in states like Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, which previously helped him win the election.

3/6/2020 Trump campaign files libel lawsuit against CNN by OAN Newsroom
President Donald Trump speaks during a FOX News Channel Town Hall, co-moderated by FNC’s chief political anchor Bret Baier of
Special Report and The Story anchor Martha MacCallum, in Scranton, Pa., Thursday, March 5, 2020. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
    The Trump campaign has filed a libel lawsuit against CNN for allegedly publishing “false and defamatory” statements about debunked claims the president colluded with Russia.    On Friday, President Trump’s reelection campaign filed the complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia near CNN’s headquarters.
    “Today, the president’s reelection campaign has filed suit against CNN for false statements, claiming that the campaign ‘assessed the potential risks and benefits of again seeking Russia’s help in 2020 and has decided to leave that option on the table,'” campaign legal adviser Jenna Ellis said in a statement.    “The statements were 100 percent false and defamatory.”
    The president’s team is seeking millions of dollars in damages.    They claimed the news outlet knew their allegations were false at the time of publication and intentionally tried to hurt President Trump’s campaign.
    “The campaign therefore was left with no alternative but to file this lawsuit to: publicly establish the truth, properly inform CNN’s readers and audience of the true facts, and seek appropriate remedies for the harm caused by CNN’s false reporting and (its) failure to retract and apologize for it,” read the complaint.
    Representatives from CNN have yet to comment on the lawsuit.

3/7/2020 Oil down $4.56 to $41.45, DOW down 257 to 25,865 and we should see gasoline below $2 a gallon soon.

at Lexington hospital by Tessa Duvall, Louisville Courier Journal USA TODAY NETWORK     Gov. Andy Beshear announced Kentucky’s first coronavirus case at an unexpected press conference Friday evening.
    The patient is receiving treatment in isolation at a health care facility in Lexington, he said.    The results were finalized at the state laboratory late Friday afternoon.
    A spokesman for the University of Kentucky confirmed Friday evening that the patient is being treated at UK’s Albert B. Chandler Hospital, after testing “presumptive positive for COVID19.”    The patient is not a member of the UK community, spokesman Jay Blanton said.
    Beshear declined to give any further details about the patient, their condition or any travel they may have recently done.    Further details will be provided over the weekend and into next week, he said.
    “To our Kentucky families out there that are nervous, this is what we’ve been preparing for and we are ready,” Beshear said.    “There’s no need to panic.    I get that it’s scary.    I’m a dad of two great young children.    But we will face this; we will face this together.    We have amazing health care providers in Kentucky that are ready to respond.    We will protect each other."
    “We didn’t want to see a confirmation in Kentucky, but we knew it was coming,” he said.
    Beshear said 10 people in Kentucky had been tested for the virus.    The nine others came back negative.
    Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Steven Stack said the state’s epidemiologists need time to do their research, which includes a process called “contact tracing.”
    “The epidemiologists will now go through a really methodical process,” he said.    “They’ll identify more information about the patient who’s currently being treated, they’ll identify where that person was leading up (to) the illness and until the time of being treated, they’ll find and people they were in contact with, any travel history. ... They do a very detailed, very methodical approach.”
    Beshear said he has declared a state of emergency to allow access to greater resources to respond to the virus.
    “About five minutes ago, I filed a state of emergency so that we would have every tool that we could need to address this issue and ultimately to protect our people,” Beshear said.    “We have activated our Emergency Operations Center.    It is currently at level four, which is our lowest level.”
    Beshear said that the emergency declaration connects the powers of all of the state’s cabinets and sets up a central, coordinated response.    It also allows for the activation of the National Guard and its resources, if and when it is needed.
    “Declaring a state of emergency certainly doesn’t mean any family should panic,” Beshear said.    “It just means we’re going to be ready and I want to make sure that every single resource we could need we have right now.”
    Beshear said he’s ready to tap into Kentucky’s share of funding from a federal response package signed by President Donald Trump on Friday.    Beshear said he’d also seek additional funding from the legislature, if necessary.
    The poison control hotline has been repurposed as a coronavirus hotline.    It can be reached at 1-800-222-1222.
    In light of the state’s first case of the coronavirus, Lexington residents should carry on with regular activities as planned, Lexington Mayor Linda Gorton said Friday evening.
    “Right now we are urging people to go about their business,” Gorton said.    “It’s just if you feel sick, stay home. ... I personally have several events for the weekend and I will attending them.”
    Kentucky’s news came just six hours after Indiana announced its first case Friday morning.    Tennessee announced its first case Thursday.
    The virus has now been reported in more than 20 states.    Other states that have seen cases include Washington, California, Texas, Illinois, New York, Florida and North Carolina.
    The Indiana patient is an adult man who lives in Marion County — where Indianapolis is located — and had recently traveled to Boston.
    Officials said the man called the hospital Thursday night, concerned that he had COVID-19 symptoms.    He was taken through a side entrance and did not have any contact with other patients or caregivers.    He is being isolated away from the hospital and is in stable condition with mild symptoms of the virus.
    The worldwide death count surpassed 3,400 this week, and the number of confirmed cases increased to more than 100,000.    There have been more than 250 cases reported in the United States and at least 14 deaths.
    Common signs of infection include fever, cough and breathing difficulties.    If the infection worsens, it can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and death.
    Reach Tessa Duvall at tduvall@courier- and 502-582-4059. Twitter: @TessaDuvall.    Support strong local journalism by subscribing today:
Even before Kentucky announced its first case of the coronavirus, people were wearing face masks as a precaution against
spreading disease. A fan at the Kentucky basketball game wore a mask Tuesday night. MATT STONE/COURIER JOURNAL
This illustration reveals ultrastructural morphology exhibited by the novel

3/7/2020 Coronavirus infects 100,000-plus worldwide, 21 cases found on ship off San Francisco by Lawrence White and Dan Whitcomb
A man wearing a face mask stands inside a shop with the roller shutter half closed, in Wuhan, the epicentre
of the novel coronavirus outbreak, Hubei province, China March 6, 2020. REUTERS/Stringer
    LONDON/LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Twenty-one people aboard a cruise ship that was barred from docking in San Francisco have tested positive for coronavirus, U.S. officials said on Friday, adding to the more than 100,000 cases of the fast-spreading illness across the world.
    Vice President Mike Pence, recently appointed as the U.S. government’s point man on the outbreak, said the cruise ship Grand Princess will be brought to an unspecified non-commercial port where all 2,400 some passengers and 1,100 crew members will now be tested.
    “Those that need to be quarantined, will be quarantined.    Those that require additional medical attention will receive it,” Pence told reporters at the White House.
    The outbreak has killed more than 3,400 people and spread across more than 90 nations, with seven countries reporting their first cases on Friday.    The economic damage has also intensified, with business districts starting to empty and stock markets continuing to tumble.
    President Donald Trump on Friday signed a bill to provide $8.3 billion to bolster the capacity to test for coronavirus and fund other measures in the United States.    Cases have now been reported in more than half of the 50 U.S. states.    Fifteen people have died in the country.
    In many affected countries, people were being asked to stay home from work, schools were closed, large gatherings and sports and music events were canceled, stores were cleared of staples like toiletries and water, and face masks became a common sight.
    The World Health Organization (WHO) said every country should make containing the epidemic its top priority, pointing to Iran’s national action plan to combat one of the worst outbreaks after a slow start.
    Iran’s death toll from the virus jumped to 124, as more than 1,000 new cases were diagnosed over 24 hours.
    The Vatican reported its first case, a patient in its health services, worsening the prospects of the virus having already spread further in the Italian capital, since most employees in the walled city-state live in Rome, and those who live in the Vatican frequently go in and out to the city that surrounds it.
    Italy is the worst-hit European country, with a death toll as of Friday of 197.
    South Korea on Saturday reported 174 additional cases from late Friday, taking the national tally to 6,767.    Mainland China, where the outbreak started, reported 99 new confirmed cases but about a quarter of them came from outside the country, data showed.
    About 3.4% of confirmed cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, have died, far above seasonal flu’s fatality rate of under 1%, the WHO said this week.
    Moves by some major economies, including the United States, to cut interest rates and pledge funds to fight the epidemic have done little to allay fears about the spread of the disease and the economic fallout. Supply chains have been crippled around the world.     “There’s concern that while there has been a response from the Fed, given the nature of the problem, is this something the central bank can really help with?” said John Davies, G10 rates strategist at Standard Chartered Bank in London.
    In New York, JPMorgan divided its team between central locations and a secondary site in New Jersey, while Goldman Sachs sent some traders to nearby secondary offices in Greenwich, Connecticut, and Jersey City.
    Bank of America Corp is splitting its trading force from Monday and sending 100 New York-based staff to nearby Stamford, Connecticut, sources familiar with the matter said.
    In London, Europe’s financial capital, the Canary Wharf district was unusually quiet.    S&P Global’s large office stood empty after the company sent its 1,200 staff home, and HSBC asked around 100 people to work from home after a worker tested positive for the illness.
    France’s prime minister said nurseries and schools would close for 15 days from Monday in the two areas worst hit by coronavirus infections, one north of Paris and the other in the northeastern part of the country.
    The South by Southwest music and tech festival in Austin, Texas, and two music festivals in Florida were canceled over concerns about events that bring crowds of people into close proximity.    The NCAA Division III men’s basketball tournament was scheduled to go ahead at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore this weekend, but without spectators.
    Saudi Arabia will suspend public attendance at all sports events starting Saturday, the ministry of sports said.
    The United Nations said it had canceled some meetings in Bonn, Germany, and elsewhere planned in the run-up to a crucial U.N. climate summit to be held in Scotland in November.
    Yields on U.S. Treasuries plunged to historic lows on fears the outbreak will slam the global economy, and MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe <.MIWD00000PUS> shed 3.10%.    [MKTS/GLOB] U.S. stocks fell but ended well above their session lows. [.N]
    Airline and travel stocks have been among the worst affected as people canceled non-essential travel. Norwegian Air Shuttle , the hardest-hit stock among European carriers, lost more than quarter of its market value on Friday and has fallen almost 70% since the start of February.
    “If this really ramps up, we could see a lot more kitchen-sinking updates from the travel industry and airlines,” said Chris Beauchamp, chief market analyst at IG.
(GRAPHIC – Tracking the novel coronavirus:
(Additonal reporting by Steve Gorman and Cath Turner in Los Angeles, Hideyuki Sano in Tokyo, Pamela Barbaglia, Karin Strohecker, Thyagaraju Adinarayan, Ritvik Carvalho, Kate Kelland and Tommy Wilkes in London, Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru and Stephanie Nebehay in Geneva; Writing by Pravin Char, Nick Macfie and Sonya Hepinstall; Editing by Mark Heinrich, Andrew Cawthorne, Bill Berkrot and Daniel Wallis)

3/6/2020 White House considers tax relief for travel, tourism industries hit by coronavirus by OAN Newsroom
FILE – In this April 24, 2019, photo, American Airlines aircraft are shown parked at
their gates at Miami International Airport in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee, File)
    The Trump administration is considering tax relief for the travel and tourism industries, who are reportedly facing their worst crisis since 2001.    On Friday, White House officials proposed a possible tax deferral for the airlines, cruise lines and travel companies who have been greatly impacted by the coronavirus outbreak.
    The stimulus spending bill is not set in stone just yet, but officials have said they are considering “timely and targeted” federal interventions.
    “There a lot of things we can do for cash flow purposes, possibly deferred tax purposes, and we can set up mechanisms to do that,” stated economic adviser Larry Kudlow.    “We are at the moment not going to do these gigantic packages.”
    At the same time, some officials believe this economic fallout could be temporary and have said a relief package may not be necessary.
Workers wearing protective gears spray disinfectant inside a plane for New York as a precaution against the new coronavirus
at Incheon International Airport in Incheon, South Korea, Wednesday, March 4, 2020. (Suh Myoung-geon/Yonhap via AP)
    Meanwhile, Kudlow has said the February jobs report showed the outbreak has caused no slowdown in the strong job growth seen under the Trump administration.    He admitted the virus will ultimately have an effect on the economy, but claimed the hit will be temporary.
    “I think we are in a healthy economic position,” he said.    “You are right about airline travel and conferences, but I don’t think this is recessionary…it’s going to run out of steam.”
    Kudlow has claimed most healthy Americans are not at risk of any serious complications from the virus.    He expressed that the Trump administration took the necessary steps early to contain the outbreak and limit its spread across the U.S.

3/7/2020 Troops deployed to U.S.-Mexico border in case of refugee rush by OAN Newsroom
FILE – In this Feb. 16, 2016, file photo, pedestrians cross into Juarez, Mexico as U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers
of the Special Response Team unit, patrol the Paso del Norte Port of Entry in El Paso, Texas. (AP Photo/Ivan Pierre Aguirre, File)
    Additional troops are reportedly being sent to the U.S.-Mexico border.    According to new reports, the military has reassigned 160 troops to the ports of entry in El Paso, Texas, and San Ysidro, California.
    U.S. Customs and Border Protection confirmed the troops are scheduled to be there for about two weeks, but said their stay could be extended.
    The move came in response to a federal court’s decision to dismantle the ‘Remain in Mexico’ policy in California and Arizona. The court ruled that the initiative violated U.S. and international law.
    The policy has blocked asylum seekers, particularly those traveling through or from South America, from entering the U.S. until their claims have been heard in court.    Since going into effect over a year ago, about 60,000 asylum seekers have begun taking refuge in Mexico while they await possible entry into the U.S.
    Authorities have expressed concern the new ruling could bring a rush of asylum seekers to the border.
    This week, the administration filed an appeal against the court.    The Justice Department has released a statement, saying “the decision ignores the constitutional authority of Congress and the administration.”
FILE – In this Aug. 30, 2019, file photo, migrants, many who were returned to Mexico under the
Trump administration’s “Remain in Mexico,” program wait in line to get a meal in an encampment near the
Gateway International Bridge in Matamoros. (AP Photo/Veronica G. Cardenas, File)
    Regardless of this, the court has pressed on and some parts of the nation have already felt the effects.    Earlier this month, the same court temporarily ruled to block the policy nationwide.
    Officials walked back the ruling after chaos erupted at a border bridge in El Paso, where more than 100 migrants tried to rush into the U.S.
    “Let us pass,” said one bystander.    “We have been waiting here for almost a year, they take away the MPP (Migrant Protection Protocols) and they do not let us pass.”
    This time, the court will give officials more notice.    Changes to the ruling will not go into effect until March 12th, unless the Supreme Court takes up the appeal.
    Moving forward, plaintiff’s lawyers have vowed to continue on until they overturn the policy nationwide.
    White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham has said the administration “remains committed to using every lawful means necessary to secure the border.”

3/7/2020 Italian coronavirus cases leap, government to take new steps
People wearing protective masks walk through Florence as Italy battles a
coronavirus outbreak, in Florence, Italy, March 7, 2020. REUTERS/Jennifer Lorenzini
    ROME (Reuters) – The number of coronavirus cases in Italy, Europe’s worst-hit country, leapt by more than 1,200 in a 24-hour period, the Civil Protection Agency said on Saturday, the biggest daily rise since the epidemic began two weeks ago.
    Deaths due to the infectious virus were up 36 to 233, the head of the agency, Angelo Borrelli, told a news conference.
    The government will approve a decree later on Saturday authorizing more measures try to contain the virus, Borrelli said, following the draconian steps taken this week including the closure of schools, cinemas and many public events.
    He did not give details of the additional measures.
    The number of cases in the country rose to 5,883 on Saturday from 4,636 announced on Friday, meaning that contagion is showing little sign of slowing down.
    The disease was first confirmed in Italy 15 days ago and is focused on a handful of hotspots in the north but cases have now been confirmed in each of the country’s 20 regions, with deaths recorded in eight of them.
    On Friday, the government approved a plan to employ up to 20,000 new doctors and nurses to respond to the emergency.
    Data showed that the northern regions of Lombardia, Emilia Romagna and Veneto were the hardest hit, representing 85% of national cases overall and 92% of recorded deaths.
    “We will win this battle if our citizens adopt a responsible attitude and change their way of living,” Borrelli said.
    In the worst affected areas, Italy’s hospitals are under growing strain.    The number of patients in intensive care rose to 567, up 23% from the day before, Borrelli said.
    Of those originally infected, 589 have fully recovered.
    National Health Institute chief Silvio Brusaferro said the average age of patients who have died was over 81.    They were prevalently male and more than 80% had more than two underlying health conditions.
    The outbreak has killed more than 3,400 people worldwide and spread across more than 90 nations outside China.
(Reporting by Giulia Segreti; Editing by Gavin Jones and James Drummond)

3/7/2020 Number of UK coronavirus cases rises by 46 to 209
FILE PHOTO: A man wearing a protective mask walks across Westminster Bridge with
an umbrella in London Britain March 5, 2020. REUTERS/Simon Dawson
    LONDON (Reuters) – The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the United Kingdom has risen to 209, up from 163, health officials said on Saturday.
    So far in Britain, two patients who had confirmed positive for the virus have died, the health ministry and the Public Health England agency said.
    The latest figures include three cases in Northern Ireland, which has now reported seven cases of the virus.    England has 184 cases, Wales has two and Scotland 16.
(Reporting by Michael Holden; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

3/7/2020 Coronavirus spreads in French parliament
FILE PHOTO: A general view shows the hemicycle during the questions to the government session before a no-confidence vote against
French government's pension reform bill at the National Assembly in Paris, France, March 3, 2020. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier/File Photo
    PARIS (Reuters) – A second member of France’s National Assembly has been taken to hospital after contracting coronavirus and five other lawmakers are being tested for the illness, the lower house’s presidency said in a statement on Saturday.
    The Assembly did not name the two legislators who have caught the disease but local media in the eastern region of Alsace have reported that the first of the two lawmakers is Jean-Luc Reitzer, who represents one of the departments most affected by the outbreak and is currently under intensive care.
    The second lawmaker is a woman, according to the statement by the parliament.    The Assembly said on Friday that a snack bar worker had also contracted the virus.
    Sessions in the lower house will be interrupted for two weeks from March 9 and March 22 due to municipal elections that are taking place across France, reducing activity and the number of people present in the building, the assembly said.
    France’s health ministry said earlier that two more people had died from the coronavirus, bringing the total death toll to 11 people.
    France now has 716 confirmed cases of coronavirus, an increase of 103 compared with a day earlier.
(Reporting by Elizabeth Pineau; Writing by Mathieu Rosemain; Editing by James Drummond)

3/7/2020 German coronavirus cases jump, economic anxiety rises by Thomas Escritt
FILE PHOTO: Canan Emcan, 31, chief nurse of the infection and virologist ward of the university clinic of Essen closes a sample of
a smear test to be used in case of coronavirus patients during a media event in Essen, Germany, March 5, 2020. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay
    BERLIN (Reuters) – The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany jumped by more than 100 on Saturday, reaching 795 by mid-afternoon amid growing concern at the economic impact of the spreading epidemic on one of the world’s most trade-dependent economies.
    The number recorded by the Robert Koch Institute stood at 684 in the morning, with large clusters in the west and south, where an initial outbreak centered on a car supplier with a unit in Wuhan, where the infection was first detected.
    The total is well over 10 times larger than it was a week ago.    There were 66 cases on Feb. 29.
    Western Europe’s most populous country has the second largest number of registered cases on the continent after Italy.
    So far, no deaths have been reported, though the RND newspaper group reported that a transplant patient with a depressed immune system who had contracted coronavirus was in a critical condition.
    With concern growing at the vulnerability of long international supply chains to such an epidemic, Ola Kallenius, chief executive of Mercedes maker Daimler , warned against a return to economic nationalism.
    “These events show how fragile global supply chains are,” he told Der Spiegel magazine in remarks published on Saturday.    “But a world without global work sharing would be less successful … We should protect (that success) while checking for vulnerabilities where we can bring more security into the supply chain.”
    He said Daimler was “gradually ramping up” production again in China after the Chinese New Year stoppage, which had been lengthened because of the coronavirus.    But the disease would have an impact on company results.
    “We can’t yet say what the impact will be, but it is clear that both production and sales will be affected,” Kallenius added.
    Lufthansa , Europe’s largest airline group by fleet size, on Friday announced that it was slashing by half the number of flights it will operate in coming weeks as a result of the sudden slackening in demand.
    While the government has so far resisted calls for direct economic stimulus to counter the effects of the slowdown, saying only that it has the resources to do so if necessary, more targeted measures are being contemplated.
    Handelsblatt newspaper reported on Saturday that the parties in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition were discussing ways to make it temporarily easier for companies to shorten employees’ working hours by letting them off some of the cost of social security benefits.
    And with panic buying triggering pictures of empty supermarket shelves on social media, transport minister Andreas Scheuer recommended that a ban on deliveries on Germany’s sacrosanct Sunday be lifted to ease restocking.
    At a European health ministers’ summit on Friday, Health Minister Jens Spahn advised against trips to affected regions both abroad and at home, mentioning specifically the German state of North-Rhine Westphalia, where 346 cases have been reported.
(Reporting by Thomas Escritt; Editing by Alison Williams and James Drummond)

3/7/2020 Conn. introduces bill to expand red flag laws by OAN Newsroom
FILE – In this April 5, 2014, file photo, a man open carries a 1911 handgun while at a CCDL gun
rights rally at the Connecticut state capitol in Hartford. (Mike Orazzi/The Bristol Press via AP, File)
    Connecticut lawmakers are looking to strengthen the state’s red flag laws.    House Bill 5448 was introduced in the state’s general assembly on Friday.
    It aims to expand the list of officials who are able to issue a “risk warrant” under what is known as their ‘red flag’ laws.    So far, only police officers and state attorneys have been allowed to request a “risk warrant,” which has enabled authorities to seize firearms from someone deemed to be a danger to themselves or others.
    Under the new bill however, that list would also include medical professionals and concerned family members.    The measure would also prevent “at risk individuals” from procuring a firearm if someone believes they may use it to harm themselves.
    Rep. Steve Stafstrom (D-Conn.), who has sponsored the bill, claimed the existing law has prevented one suicide for every 10 to 20 guns taken.
    Opponents of the bill have said it lacks due process and could be used to deny a person’s right to own a firearm.
    Connecticut was the first state to create a red flag law. In the wake of more recent tragedies, 17 states and the District of Columbia have adopted similar legislation.
    The bill is set to be debated next week.

3/8/2020 Alarmed Italy locks down north to prevent spread of coronavirus by James Mackenzie and Crispian Balmer
People wearing protective masks walk through the street of Florence as Italy battles
a coronavirus outbreak, in Florence, Italy, March 7, 2020. REUTERS/Jennifer Lorenzini
    MILAN (Reuters) – Italy ordered a virtual lockdown across a swathe of its wealthy north on Sunday, including the financial capital Milan, in a drastic new attempt to try to contain a rapidly growing outbreak of coronavirus.
    The unprecedented restrictions, which will impact some 16 million people and stay in force until April 3, were signed into law overnight by Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte.
    The new measures say people should not enter or leave Lombardy, Italy’s richest region, as well as 14 provinces in four other regions, including the cities of Venice, Modena, Parma, Piacenza, Reggio Emilia and Rimini.
    Conte said nobody would be allowed to move in or out of these areas, or within them, unless they had proven, work-related reasons for doing so, or health issues.
    “We are facing a national emergency.    We chose from the beginning to take the line of truth and transparency and now we’re moving with lucidity and courage, with firmness and determination,” Conte told reporters in the middle of the night.
    “We have to limit the spread of the virus and prevent our hospitals from being overwhelmed,” he said.
    Streets in northern cities including Milan were quieter than normal on Sunday morning.    However, it was not immediately clear how stringently the order would be policed, with people caught away from home when the measures came into force allowed to return.
    By early Sunday the measures had still not appeared in the Official Gazette, where legislation must be published to formally take effect.
    Milan airport authorities said services were so far operating normally, pending official notification of the new measures, while trains were running across the north.
    According to the decree, all museums, gyms, cultural centers, ski resorts and swimming pools will be shut in the targeted zones.
    Leave was canceled for health workers as Italy’s hospitals sag under the pressure of the virus.
    Restaurants and bars will be allowed to open from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. (0500-1700 GMT) and only if they can guarantee that customers are at least one meter (yard) apart.
    Church services on Sunday were also canceled in the region, while the Vatican announced that Pope Francis would make his weekly Sunday blessing via a video linkup rather than directly from St Peter’s Square to limit the risk of contagion.
    The government enacted its draft order just hours after officials announced that the number of coronavirus cases had leapt by more than 1,200 in a 24-hour period – the biggest daily rise since the epidemic began in the country two weeks ago.
    Deaths from the virus had also risen, by 36 to 233, while the number of patients in intensive care climbed to 567, up 23% from the day before.
    Of the 5,883 Italians originally infected, 589 have fully recovered, but the hospital system has come under increasing strain.
    “We’re now being forced to set up intensive care treatment in corridors, in operating theaters, in recovery rooms.    We’ve emptied entire hospital sections to make space for seriously sick people,” Antonio Pesenti, head of the Lombardy regional crisis response unit, told the Corriere della Sera newspaper.
    “One of the best health systems in the world, in Lombardy is a step away from collapse,” he said.
    The northern regions of Lombardy, Emilia-Romagna and Veneto represent 85% of all cases and 92% of recorded deaths.
    On Sunday, the head of Piedmont region said he had tested positive for the virus despite having no symptoms — the second regional chief to be infected in 24 hours.
    As the alarm spread, Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis said Italy should ban all its citizens from traveling to Europe.
    On Saturday, health officials expressed alarm at the apparent lack of concern in the general public, as fine weekend weather attracted large crowds to the ski slopes outside Milan.
    But some local Italian politicians have pushed back against the measures, which leaked out before regional governors were consulted.    The president of Lombardy, Attilio Fontana, said the proposals went “in the right direction,” but added they were a “mess.”
    The head of neighboring Veneto, Luca Zaia, complained he had not been properly consulted and was unhappy that three provinces in his region, including Venice, had been included.
    “We do not understand the rationale of a measure that appears scientifically disproportionate to the epidemiological trend,” he wrote on Facebook.
(Reporting by Eliza Anzolin, Francesca Landini and James Mackenzie in Milan, Crispian Balmer, Angelo Amante and Gavin Jones in Rome; Editing by Christopher Cushing and Frances Kerry)

3/8/2020 President Trump meets with Brazilian President Bolsonaro, makes ‘no promises’ regarding tariffs by OAN Newsroom
President Donald Trump shakes hands before a dinner with Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro
at Mar-a-Lago, Saturday, March 7, 2020, in Palm Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
    During a dinner with Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, President Trump praised the strong relationship between the two countries.    On Saturday evening, the president hosted Bolsonaro at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.
    “Brazil is doing very well, and he’s an incredible leader,” he said of Bolsonaro.
    The two leaders were reportedly slated to discuss the ongoing crisis in Venezuela as well as forest conservation.

President Donald Trump is seated before a dinner with Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, left,
at Mar-a-Lago, Saturday, March 7, 2020, in Palm Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
    While the president highlighted the great job the president of Brazil was doing, he did not rule out imposing tariffs on aluminum and steel.
    “We have a very good relationship as to tariffs.    We’ve helped Brazil, and we will always want to help Brazil.    The friendship is probably stronger now than it has ever been, (but) I don’t make any promises.” – Donald Trump, 45th President of the United States
    The president initially brought up the idea of tariffs in December after he accused the country’s government of currency manipulation.

3/8/2020 Pentagon suspends U.S. troops from traveling to & from South Korea amid coronavirus spread by OAN Newsroom
FILE – This March 27, 2008, file photo, shows the Pentagon in Washington. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)
    The Pentagon has suspended all travel for troops between the U.S. and South Korea amid the spread of the coronavirus.    Officials announced Sunday that all U.S. Military personnel, including their family members, will be restricted from travelling to and from South Korea until May 6th.
    According to officials, the move will help contain the spread of virus.
    The U.S. Army has also suspended the rotation of troops in Italy after the first U.S. service member tested positive for the virus in Europe.
    Meanwhile, service members didn’t appear intimidated by the latest coronavirus fears.
    “Everybody here is aware of what is going on and know what is out there,” stated Carter Marcus, HM 2nd Class.    “We’re just doing our part to keep it, maintain or not spread it at all.”
Army soldiers wearing protective suits spray disinfectant as a precaution against the new coronavirus
at a shopping street in Seoul, South Korea, Wednesday, March 4, 2020. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)
    Pentagon officials have said they’re analyzing the latest impacts of the coronavirus on troop preparedness and mobility.
    U.S. Forces South Korea issued a statement, which acknowledged the travel restriction.    They reaffirmed “the health and welfare of our service members and their families continues to be our top priority.”

3/8/2020 Italy locks down millions as its coronavirus deaths jump by James Mackenzie and Crispian Balmer
Empty restaurant tables are seen in St. Mark's Square as the Italian government prepares to adopt new measures
to contain the spread of coronavirus in Venice, Italy, March 8, 2020. REUTERS/Manuel Silvestri
    MILAN (Reuters) – Italy ordered a virtual lockdown across much of its wealthy north, including the financial capital Milan, in a drastic new attempt to try to contain a outbreak of coronavirus that saw the number of deaths leap again sharply on Sunday.
    The unprecedented restrictions, which aim to limit gatherings and curb movement, will impact some 16 million people and stay in force until April 3.    They were signed into law overnight by Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte.
    The new measures say people should not enter or leave Lombardy, Italy’s richest region, as well as 14 provinces in four other regions, including the cities of Venice, Modena, Parma, Piacenza, Reggio Emilia and Rimini.
    Only people with proven, work-related reasons, or health problems will be able to move in and out of the exclusion zones. Leave has been canceled for health workers.
    “We are facing a national emergency.    We chose from the beginning to take the line of truth and transparency and now we’re moving with lucidity and courage, with firmness and determination,” said Conte.
    “We have to limit the spread of the virus and prevent our hospitals from being overwhelmed,” he told a news conference called in the early hours of Sunday.
    Italy has been hit harder by the crisis than anywhere else in Europe so far and Sunday’s latest figures showed that starkly.
    The number of coronavirus cases jumped 25% in a 24-hour period to 7,375, while deaths climbed 57% to 366 deaths.    It was the largest daily increase for both readings since the contagion came to light on Feb. 21.
    Antonio Pesenti, head of the Lombardy regional crisis response unit, told the Corriere della Sera newspaper the health system in Lombardy was “a step away from collapse” as intensive care facilities came under growing strain from the new cases.
    “We’re now being forced to set up intensive care treatment in corridors, in operating theaters, in recovery rooms.    We’ve emptied entire hospital sections to make space for seriously sick people,” he said.
    The Milan stock exchange, whose all-share index has plunged 17% since the crisis broke, was scheduled to open normally on Monday but one trader said he expected “a violent sell-off” as markets digested the lockdown of Italy’s economic heartland.
    The World Health Organization said it fully supported the actions taken by Italy, which were in line with its guidelines for containing the spread of the virus.
    But with the Italian economy already on the edge of recession, some local politicians pushed back against the measures, which leaked out before the regions were consulted.
    The head of Veneto, Luca Zaia, complained he had not been properly consulted and was unhappy that three provinces in his region, including Venice, had been included in the clampdown.
    “We do not understand the rationale of a measure that appears scientifically disproportionate to the epidemiological trend,” he wrote on Facebook.
    On Saturday, health officials had expressed alarm at the apparent lack of concern in the general public, as fine weekend weather attracted large crowds to the ski slopes outside Milan.    But streets were notably quieter than normal as northern cities woke up to the news on Sunday.
    “What is happening in my city is worrying me and it is also saddening, because Milan is a lively city and to see it like this today is almost a defeat for me,” said resident Lucia Navone.    “I never would have thought this would happen.”
    Public transport services were operating and train stations were still running as people caught away from home when the measures came into force were allowed to return.
    But national carrier Alitalia said it would suspend international and domestic services from Milan’s main Malpensa airport from Monday and operate only domestic flights from the smaller Linate airport.
    There was some confusion about what controls there would be from Monday on shops, offices and factories.    Assolombarda, a business association that represents employers in Lombardy, said it understood the measures would not stop businesses from working or block deliveries of supplies of goods provided appropriate protective measures were adopted.
    However, all museums, gyms, cultural centers, ski resorts and swimming pools in the targeted zones will have to close.
    Top flight Serie A soccer matches were played behind closed doors despite a call from the country’s sports minister to stop the championship.    The Italian Soccer Federation said it would meet on Tuesday to discuss the situation.
    Restaurants and bars will be allowed to open from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. (0500-1700 GMT) and only if they can guarantee that customers are at least one meter (yard) apart.
    FIPE, a body representing restaurants and catering businesses, said the sector faced devastation and criticized measures that it called “incoherent and difficult to apply.”
    Church services on Sunday were also canceled in the region.
    Pope Francis delivered his Sunday blessing over the internet from inside the Vatican instead of from a window to stop crowds gathering in St Peter’s Square to see him.
    On Sunday, the head of Piedmont region said he had tested positive for the virus despite having no symptoms — the second regional chief to be infected in 24 hours — while Army Chief of Staff General Salvatore Farina also contracted the illness.
    As the alarm spread, Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis said Italy should ban all its citizens from traveling to Europe.    Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said it was only a matter of time until more European countries adopt the kind of aggressive steps that Italy is taking to combat the spread of the virus.
(Crispian Balmer reported for this story in Rome. Additional reporting by Silvia Aloisi, Eliza Anzolin, Francesca Landini, Valentina Za, Elvira Pollina, Giulio Piovaccari, Emilio Parodi, Gianluca Semeraro in Milan, and Angelo Amante and Gavin Jones in Rome; Editing by Frances Kerry)

3/8/2020 Number of UK coronavirus cases rises by 30% to 273
FILE PHOTO: A woman wears a surgical mask as she sits in Terminal 5 at Heathrow Airport
in London, Britain March 6, 2020. REUTERS/Hannah McKay
    LONDON (Reuters) – The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United Kingdom has risen by 64 to 273, the Department of Health and Social Care said on Sunday, a leap of 30% and the biggest one-day increase so far.
    More than 23,500 people in Britain have been tested for the virus.    So far, two patients have died.    The biggest concentration of cases is in London, which has had 51.
    Finance minister Rishi Sunak said the government would invest whatever was needed to deal with the spread of the virus, including more money for the health service and help for companies suffering short-term cash flow problems.
    After reports of people stockpiling goods such as hand sanitizer, soap, dried pasta and toilet rolls, the government said on Friday that supermarkets had contingency plans in place to prevent shortages.
    Britain’s biggest supermarket, Tesco, said it was restricting bulk buying of several products in stores and online. Customers will be limited to buying five units of items such as anti-bacterial gels and wipes, dried pasta and long-life milk.
    The government said the environment minister would hold a call with the chief executives of Britain’s main supermarkets and industry representatives on Monday to discuss their response to the coronavirus, in particular support for vulnerable groups in isolation. It follows a similar call on Friday.
    The government also set out details of planned emergency legislation, including the possibility of holding more court proceedings via telephone or video link, and steps to protect the jobs of those who volunteer for the health service.
    Prime Minister Boris Johnson is chairing a meeting of the government’s emergency committee on Monday.
(Reporting by Kylie MacLellan; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

3/8/2020 U.S. Surgeon General: We’re helping communities prepare for more coronavirus cases by OAN Newsroom
Surgeon General Jerome Adams arrives to do an on camera interview outside the West Wing on the North Lawn
of the White House, Thursday, March 5, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
    U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams has urged communities to prepare for more cases of coronavirus.    During a recent interview, Adams said the government has shifted toward a “mitigation phase” regarding the outbreak, which means it is helping communities understand they will see more cases.
    When asked whether the president and top Democrat primary candidates should cease travelling for political events, he added “life can’t stop” because of the virus.
    He urged communities not to panic and to consider larger-scale preventative measures, such as cancelling events and school days.
    “Unfortunately, you’re going to see more deaths, but that doesn’t mean we should panic.    It means that we should take the things we know work for individuals to protect themselves and make sure everyone is doing those things…It also means communities need to be thinking about things like, ‘Should we be cancelling large gatherings? What are our telework policies? Should we be closing schools?’” – Jerome Adams, U.S. Surgeon General
    According to Adams, government wants to make sure those at risk are taking extra precautions.
Laboratory Director Jafar H. Razeq, center, gives a tour of the Connecticut State Public Health Laboratory, to U.S. Surgeon
General Vice Admiral Jerome M. Adams, second from right, Gov. Ned Lamont, right, and U.S. Sent Richard Blumenthal
and Public Health Commissioner Renée D. Coleman Mitchell, left, Monday, March 2, 2020, in Rocky Hill, Conn. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
    President Trump has reassured the American public that the White House has a “perfectly coordinated” and “fine-tuned” plan for combating the coronavirus.    On Sunday, the president called moving early to close borders to certain areas “a godsend.”
    He then complimented Vice President Pence’s efforts managing the White House coronavirus task force and said he is doing “a great job.”
    The president also blasted the “fake news media” for doing everything possible to make the his administration’s virus response efforts "bad.”

President Donald Trump, center, speaks about the coronavirus in the press briefing room at the White House,
Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020, in Washington, as Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, National Institute for Allergy
and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci, Vice President Mike Pence, Robert Redfield, director of the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams listen. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
    Meanwhile, mainland China has reported the outbreak appears to be gradually letting up. In a statement, the Chinese National Health Commission said it recorded the fewest number of new coronavirus cases on Sunday since the beginning of the outbreak last year.
    Chart compares new daily cases of the coronavirus inside of China and outside of China; 2c x 3 1/4 inches; 96.3 mm x 82 mm;
    Only 44 new confirmed cases of the virus were recorded in the Hubei province.    Chinese officials added the number of cured patients has surpassed 57,000 out of the total 80,000 confirmed cases.
    3,000 people have succumbed to the illness in China so far.
    “Currently, the epidemic control measures are effective and the situation is continuously going well.    With the development of the international epidemic, cases imported into our country are constantly emerging.    We are still facing big challenges and pressure in the epidemic prevention and control.” – Mi Feng, Chinese National Health Commission spokesperson
    Officials confirmed they’ve managed to contain the coronavirus to just one province and expected the number of affected people to decline in coming weeks.

3/8/2020 Gov. Newsom provides update on coronavirus spread on Grand Princess by OAN Newsroom
In the aftermath of the first California resident to die from the coronavirus, California Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a statewide
emergency to deal with the virus, at a Capitol news conference in Sacramento, Calif., Wednesday, March 4, 2020. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
    California Governor Gavin Newsom has provided an update on the Grand Princess, which is set to dock in Oakland amid an outbreak of coronavirus on board. While speaking during Sunday’s press conference, Newsom informed the public of at least 21 positive cases of the virus among passengers of the cruise ship.
    The vessel has been waiting in Long Beach while officials determined the safest way to allow passengers to disembark.    114 people have tested positive in California, with more than 10,000 individuals under observation following the state’s first death related to the virus.
    “For those passengers that may be watching this, we are not able to tell you exactly when the cruise ship will come in to the port, as we are still working out the enormity and complexity of making sure we prepare the sight and, moreover, prepare for a quick turnaround,” stated Newsom.

A passenger walks along a deck aboard the Grand Princess as it maintains a holding pattern
about 25 miles off the coast of San Francisco on Sunday, March 8, 2020. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)
    He went on to praise Vice President Mike Pence’s handling of the outbreak and said he’s working closely with federal officials to contain the spread.
    In the meantime, 1,000 Californian passengers will be transferred to Travis Air Force Base and Marine Corps Air Station in San Diego to complete mandatory quarantine.

3/9/2020 Oil prices plunge by a third after Saudi Arabia launches output war by Dmitry Zhdannikov
FILE PHOTO: Pump jacks operate at sunset in Midland, Texas, U.S., February 11, 2019. REUTERS/Nick Oxford/File Photo
    LONDON (Reuters) – Oil prices lost as much as a third of their value on Monday in their biggest daily rout since the 1991 Gulf War after Saudi Arabia signalled it would hike output to win market share when the coronavirus has already left the market oversupplied.
    Saudi Arabia slashed its official selling prices and made plans to ramp up crude output next month after Russia balked at making a further steep output cut proposed by the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries to stabilise oil markets. Brent crude futures were down 22% at $37.05 a barrel by 1000 GMT, after early dropping by as much as 31% to $31.02, their lowest since Feb. 12, 2016.
    U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude fell by more than 24%, to $33.20 a barrel, after initially falling 33% to $27.34, also the lowest since Feb. 12, 2016.
    The U.S. benchmark’s biggest decline on record was in 1991 when it also fell by a third.
    “The timing of this lower price environment should be limited to a few months unless this whole virus impact on global market and consumer confidence triggers the next recession,” said Keith Barnett, senior vice president strategic analysis at ARM Energy in Houston.
(Graphic on major oil price milestones:
    The disintegration of the grouping called OPEC+ – made up of OPEC plus Russia and other producers – ends more than three years of cooperation to support the market.
    Saudi Arabia plans to boost its crude output above 10 million barrels per day (bpd) in April after the current deal to curb production expires at the end of March, two sources told Reuters on Sunday.
    The kingdom has been producing around 9.7 million bpd in recent months.
(Graphic: Brent crude oil prices collapse by most since 1991 as ‘OPEC+’ disintegrates
    Saudi Arabia, Russia and other major producers last battled for market share in 2014 as they tried to put a squeeze on production from the United States, which is not participating in any oil limiting pacts and has grown to become the world’s biggest producer of crude.
    “The deal was always destined to fail,” said Matt Stanley, senior broker at Starfuels in Dubai, adding that the main result of the OPEC+ pact “has been that U.S. shale producers have gained market share.”
(Graphic: U.S., Russia, Saudi oil output
    Saudi Arabia over the weekend cut its official selling prices for April for all crude grades to all destinations by between $6 and $8 a barrel.
    “The prognosis for the oil market is even more dire than in November 2014, when such a price war last started, as it comes to a head with the signi?cant collapse in oil demand due to the coronavirus,” Goldman Sachs said.
(Graphic: Saudi Arabia slashes key crude oil selling price
    China’s efforts to curtail the coronavirus outbreak has disrupted the world’s second-largest economy and curtailed shipments to the biggest oil importer.    The virus has also spread to other major economies such as Italy and South Korea.
    The International Energy Agency said on Monday oil demand was set to contract in 2020 for the first time since 2009.    It cut its annual forecast by almost 1 million bpd, signalling a contraction of 90,000 bpd.
    Major banks have cut their demand growth forecasts. Morgan Stanley predicted China would have zero demand growth in 2020, while Goldman Sachs sees a contraction of 150,000 bpd in global demand.
    Goldman Sachs also cut its forecast for Brent to $30 for the second and third quarters of 2020.
    In other markets, the dollar was down sharply against the yen, Asian stock markets sharply lower, and gold rose to its highest since 2013 as investors fled to safe havens. [MKTS/GLOB]
(Additional reporting by Aaron Sheldrick, Scott DiSavino and Shu Zhang; Editing by Edmund Blair)

3/9/2020 EU Parliament to consider calling off session due to coronavirus
FILE PHOTO: European Union flags fly outside the European Commission headquarters
in Brussels, Belgium, February 19, 2020. REUTERS/Yves Herman
    BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Parliament will hold an emergency meeting on Monday to consider calling off this week’s plenary session of the EU assembly due to the coronavirus outbreak, two officials said.
    The parliament had been due to sit in Strasbourg, France, for the plenary but last week it was decided that the members of the assembly should meet in Brussels to avoid unnecessary travel.
    The EU officials said the meeting at 2:30 p.m. (1330 GMT) would consider whether the assembly should have a stripped-down agenda or postpone the entire plenary session.
    “Many of the non-essential agenda items will be dumped, at a minimum,” one official said.
(Reporting by John Chalmers and Marine Strauss; editing by Francesco Guarascio)

3/9/2020 Germany reports more than 200 new coronavirus cases – Robert Koch Institute
FILE PHOTO: Canan Emcan, 31, chief nurse of the infection and virologist ward of the university clinic of Essen closes a sample of a
smear test to be used in case of coronavirus patients during a media event in Essen, Germany, March 5, 2020. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay
    BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany on Monday reported 210 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus, the Robert Koch Institute said.
    The number of cases rose to 1,112, up from 902 reported on Sunday.    The largest number of the cases, 484, were in the western region of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany’s most populous state.
(Reporting by Riham Alkousaa; Editing by Paul Carrel)

3/9/2020 European stocks plunge into bear market as oil crashes by Sruthi Shankar
The German share price index DAX graph is pictured at the stock exchange in Frankfurt, Germany, February March 9, 2020. REUTERS/Staff
    (Reuters) – European shares slumped on Monday, with the benchmark STOXX 600 in bear market territory, as fears of a global recession were amplified by a 25% plunge in oil prices and a lockdown in northern Italy to contain the coronavirus outbreak.
    The pan-European STOXX 600 <.STOXX> fell 7%, meeting the common criteria for a flip into a more negative “bear” environment, implying a 20% drop from all-time highs.    The index was on course for its biggest percentage drop since June 2016, when Britain voted to exit the European Union.
    European firms have now lost nearly $3 trillion in value since the rapid spread of the coronavirus sparked a worldwide selloff in February.
    Europe’s oil & gas index <.SXEP> tumbled 13%, after Saudi Arabia launched an oil price war with Russia by slashing its official selling price and outlining plans for an increase in crude production next month. [O/R]
    London’s commodity-heavy FTSE 100 <.FTSE> was down 6%, with oil majors BP and Royal Dutch Shell both off almost 20% and set for their worst day ever.    A whopping 38% drop sent Tullow Oil to the bottom of the STOXX 600.     “Wild is an understatement,” said Chris Brankin, chief executive at TD Ameritrade.    “I figured maybe we’d see a 5% or 10% drop in the oil market, but 25% down has literally just spooked the rest of the market.”
    All European sub-sectors were deep in the red, with growth-sensitive miners <.SXEP>, automakers <.SXAP>, banks <.SX7P> and insurers <.SXIP> falling between 6% and 8%.
    Defensive sectors, considered safer during times of economic uncertainty, also posted slight losses.
    Italy’s blue-chip index <.FTMIB> shed 9%, the most among regional indexes, after the government ordered a virtual lockdown across much of its wealthy north, including the financial capital Milan, in a drastic new attempt to try to contain the virus.
    The government has pledged about 7.5 billion euros ($8.55 billion) in measures to aid an economy already on the brink of recession.
    In the starkest warning yet of the economic damage from the health crisis, yields on 10-year U.S. Treasuries , the benchmark for global borrowing costs, dropped to a record low of 0.4258%.    German 10-year bond yields fell to a new record at -0.8%. [US/] [GVD/EUR]
    “What we’re seeing is a supply driven shock, it’s not a demand problem,” said senior equity analyst Renata Klita, at asset manager London & Capital.
    “But now with what’s happening with oil, I would say it’s more likely (to become a demand shock) because you have this big sector that’s affected.”
    All eyes are now on the European Central Bank’s policy meeting on Thursday, following interest rate cuts by central banks in the United States, Canada and Australia last week to soften the blow of the outbreak.
(Additional reporting by Tom Westbrook and Sagarika Jaisinghani; Editing by Bernard Orr and Andrew Cawthorne)

3/9/2020 Coronavirus task force members meeting daily, expect more tests to become available within the week by OAN Newsroom
President Donald Trump with Vice President Mike Pence, speaks during a coronavirus briefing with Airline CEOs in
the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Wednesday, March 4, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
    The Trump appointed coronavirus task force has continued to meet on a daily basis, while the country’s top doctors push for best practices when dealing with the virus outbreak.
    On Monday, President Trump praised the task force by saying a “great job” was being done by Vice President Mike Pence and the task force members.    He added that the decision to stop travel to and from certain parts of the world was the toughest choice, but it saved many lives.
    In an interview Monday, the surgeon general said the U.S. will have the capability to test about one million Americans by the end of the week.    He noted that this new capacity comes through partnerships with private industries.
    This came after Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, announced on Sunday that another 640,000 tests are expected to become available.    He credited a partnership with the private sector.    In an interview Monday, the director said those who are currently most vulnerable to infection should be taking precautions right away.
    “Of the people who get infected, the ones who get in trouble at a high rate are people with underlying conditions; heart disease, lung disease, kidney disease, diabetes – particularly the elderly,” he stated.    “Those are the ones that need to be protected because they’re vulnerable.”
Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health Anthony Fauci, right, with
Vice President Mike Pence and White House coronavirus response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx, speaks to reporters during a coronavirus
briefing in the Brady press briefing room of the White House, Friday, March 6, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
    The coronavirus has been detected in at least 25 states with more than 20 deaths blamed on the virus.    Nonetheless, Surgeon General Jerome Adams said he believes the virus is being contained in certain areas and the country is moving in to a “mitigation phase” when it comes to dealing with the outbreak.    He said he didn’t want to see the issue become politicized and assured the public decisions aren’t being made for public relations reasons.
    Housing and Urban Development Secretary Dr. Ben Carson noted that the coronavirus task force meets every day and is communicating with experts around the country to make recommendations based on evidence.

3/9/2020 Donald Trump Jr. challenges Hunter Biden to debate by OAN Newsroom
FILE – In this Feb. 19, 2020 file photo Donald Trump Jr. speaks at a rally before his
dad and President Donald Trump appears in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri,File)
    Donald Trump Jr. has challenged Hunter Biden to a debate over who benefited most from their fathers’ political success.
    During an interview released Sunday, Don Jr. said he would be up for a debate with the former vice president’s son.    He claimed the media likes to draw comparisons between the two sets of children with the notion that they both profit off of the public office their father’s held.
    Don Jr. went on to condemn these criticisms and pointed out that his family stopped engaging in further in international business deals unlike the Bidens.    He made the following comment on the issue:
    “But, I haven’t benefited from my father’s tax payer funded office.    Okay, Hunter Biden — his father becomes VP — and all of a sudden goes over to the Ukraine and he’s making 83 grand a month…we stopped doing any new international business deals when my father won the presidency.”
    President Trump’s son went on to say he will release his tax returns for the debate, ensuring “full transparency” over the matter.    He also said Joe Biden will continue to face questions regarding Hunter’s role in Ukraine as his campaign continues to gain momentum.

3/9/2020 Texas school district approves measure to permit teachers to conceal carry a firearm on campus by OAN Newsroom
FILE – In this May 18, 2018, file photo, Hannah Harrison carries roses during a prayer vigil following a deadly shooting at Santa Fe
High School in Santa Fe, Texas.A teenager accused of fatally shooting 10 people at the Texas high school in 2018 was able to buy
more than 100 rounds of ammunition online because his age was not verified, according to an amended lawsuit. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File)
    Nearly two years after the deadly Santa Fe High School shooting, a Texas school district is set to begin allowing some teachers to be permitted to carry guns on school premises for safety purposes.
    On Friday, the Santa Fe Independent School District announced plans to implement the Guardian Plan, which will allow local school boards to authorize employees to conceal carry on campus at all times.
    The plan comes as an expansion of Republican Gov. Greg Abbott’s 2013 school marshal program.    However, School Board President Rusty Norman said he prefers the Guardian Plan because it allows employees to carry the firearms themselves rather than in a lock-box under the alternative proposed by Abbott.    He made the following comments regarding the initiative:
    “There will be no one forced to participate in this program. Number one, it will be strictly voluntary.    Number two, there will be some guidelines like they will already have to be established within the state of Texas and licensed to carry a concealed hand gun.    There will be background checks above and beyond what they already had and then the additional training that we will require to do that.”
In this Saturday, Oct. 20, 2018 photo, ten crosses honoring the 10 people killed in a shooting at Santa Fe High School were dedicated
during a ceremony at Maranatha Christian Center in Santa Fe, Texas. (Kelsey Walling/The Galveston County Daily News via AP)
    According to reports, the district plans to finance the program with its general funding and will pay for participants training.    Approved applicants will be required to complete a minimum of 40 hours of training and meet the same marksmanship standards as an on-campus officer.    Additionally, applicants will undergo the same psychological testing as police officers.
    Norman said that while he understands many schools will not take such measures, the move is designed to be a last line of defense and provide a sense of safety to teachers.

3/9/2020 Viral gun rights advocate wins N.C. Lt. Gov. GOP primary by OAN Newsroom
In this Nov. 12, 2019 photo, Mark Robinson speaks to the audience urging the board to vote against the short term
suspension policy change at the Guilford County Schools Board meeting in Greensboro, N.C. Robinson, a political
newcomer whose gun rights speech before a city council vaulted him to prominence among conservatives has won
North Carolina’s Republican nomination for lieutenant governor. (Woody Marshall/News & Record via AP)
    A big surprise stunned North Carolina politics when a candidate with little-to-no experience made his way to the 2020 general elections.
    Last week, gun rights advocate Mark Robinson won the GOP nomination for lieutenant governor of North Carolina.
    Analysts appeared to be in shock over Robinson’s victory while comparing his campaign funds of $108,000 to his opponents funds, which exceeded Robinson’s six-fold.
    Robinson came into the national spotlight after a video went viral of him speaking about gun rights to the Greensboro City Council back in 2018.    He criticized council members for discussing the possible cancellation of a gun show in the aftermath of the tragic Parkland High School shooting, which left 17 people dead.
    The council later opted not to postpone the event.    The advocate said the council’s actions were directed at what he called “the majority,” which consisted of law abiding citizens.
    “It seems like every time there is one of these shootings, nobody wants to put the blame where it goes, which is at the shooter’s feet,” he stated.    “You want to put it at my feet, you want to turn around and restrict my right…constitutional right, that’s spelled out in black-and-white.”
    Robinson has yet to see who he may run against in November as Democrat candidates prepare for a runoff election.    If elected, he would become the first black lieutenant governor in North Carolina.

3/9/2020 President Trump warns of ‘trouble ahead,’ following Schumer’s alleged threat to SCOTUS justices by OAN Newsroom
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of N.Y., speaks about the coronavirus during
a media availability, Tuesday, March 3, 2020 in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
    President Trump has warned of “trouble ahead” for Chuck Schumer, following the minority leader’s controversial remarks about two Supreme Court justices.
    In a tweet Monday, the president signaled that Schumer will “pay the price” for his commentary. President Trump said the remarks are “beyond simple rhetoric” and added that it was “a physical threat.”
    Last week, Schumer appeared to threaten Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh as they heard arguments in a high-profile abortion case.
    “I want to tell you Gorsuch, I want to tell you Kavanaugh, you have released the whirlwind and you will pay the price,” stated the minority leader.    “…You won’t know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions.”
    Schumer has since walked back his comments by claiming that he misspoke and was not making a threat. However, he did not apologize for his remark.

3/9/2020 President Trump calls Obama admin. ‘most corrupt’ in U.S. history by OAN Newsroom
File – Former Vice President Joe Biden,left, and former President Barack Obama are pictured. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais )
    President Trump has accused the prior administration of being historically corrupt.    In a tweet Monday, he said the Obama-Biden administration is “the most corrupt administration” in the history of the U.S.
    His comments follow scrutiny surrounding former Vice President Joe Biden and his actions regarding Ukraine while in office.    Most specifically in question is his son Hunter’s work with energy company Burisma.
    Biden has faced allegations that he pushed Ukrainian officials to fire a prosecutor who was considering opening an investigation into the company.
    Meanwhile, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) has reaffirmed he will force a vote on subpoenas in an ongoing probe of the Bidens’ alleged corruption in Ukraine.    In a letter to Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.) Monday, Johnson said concerns of “Russian collusion” are a distraction from the Biden’s wrongdoing.
    Johnson said he will subpoena a Washington lobbyist with ties to Ukrainian gas company and the Obama-era State Department.
    Last week, Peters argued an investigation into the Bidens would benefit Russia and undermine U.S. elections, but Senate Republicans have said their probe has nothing to do with the debunked “Russia narratives.”

3/10/2020 Oil down $10.54 to $31.00, DOW down 2014 to 23,851 as Saudi Arabia and Russia have battle and Russia thinks it wiil hurt the U.S., but it hurt Iran more than any country.

3/10/2020 The virus spreads in the U.S. but nothing like in other countries or like previous viruses.

3/10/2020 Stocks savaged, Italy on lockdown, Trump seeks to reassure as coronavirus spreads by Giulia Segreti and Elvira Pollina
Passengers wearing face masks and raincoats walk through a nearly empty departure hall at Beijing Capital
International Airport as the country is hit by an outbreak of the novel coronavirus, China, March 9, 2020. REUTERS/Thomas Peter
    ROME (Reuters) – All of Italy under lockdown, reeling financial markets and rioting prisoners made clear on Monday how the global coronavirus epidemic was extending its reach into all aspects of social and economic life.
    Major European stock markets dived more than 7%, Japanese indexes fell over 5% and U.S. markets sank over 7% after Saudi Arabia launched an oil price war with Russia that sent investors already spooked by the coronavirus epidemic running for the exits.
    In Italy, scene of Europe’s worst outbreak with infections and deaths still soaring, the government took its most drastic steps yet to contain the outbreak, affecting some 60 million people.    It ordered everyone across the country not to move around other than for work and emergencies, banned all public gatherings and suspended sporting events, including soccer matches.
    Deaths in Milan’s Lombardy region – which had already been on lockdown with cinemas, theaters and museums closed and restaurant hours restricted – jumped 25% in a day to 333, while the national death toll soared by 97 to 463, the highest in the world after China.
    Over 9,000 people have become infected in Italy in little over two weeks, out of a global total of more than 113,000 in over 100 countries.     Nearly 4,000 people have died across the world, the vast majority in mainland China.
    “Now that the virus has a foothold in so many countries, the threat of a pandemic has become very real,” World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a news conference.
    But he welcomed Italy’s tough measures, noting that just four countries – China, South Korea, Italy and Iran – accounted for 93% of cases worldwide.    Israel ordered anyone entering the country to self-quarantine for 14 days on Monday.
    “It would be the first pandemic that could be controlled,” Tedros added.    “The bottom line is we are not at the mercy of the virus.”
    In the United States, which has reported over 600 cases and 26 deaths, the administration scrambled on Monday to assure Americans it was responding to the outbreak as stock markets plunged and top health officials urged some people to avoid cruise ships, air travel and big public gatherings.
    U.S. President Donald Trump, who continued to play down the threat posed by the flu-like virus, said he would announce economic measures on Tuesday and would discuss a payroll tax cut with Congress to bolster the economy.
    Trump recently spent time with two members of Congress, including one who rode on Air Force One, who are self-quarantining over concerns about exposure to the virus.    Vice President Michael Pence said he did not know if Trump had been tested for coronavirus.
    Around the world, flights have been canceled, communities and cruise liners isolated, and concerts and trade fairs postponed.    While some countries, such as China and Italy, have turned to drastic measures to try to delay the spread of the virus, others remain in a “containment” phase, where individual cases can still be tracked.
    Britain, with five deaths from almost 300 confirmed cases, said it would remain in that phase for now, allowing major gatherings and sporting events to continue, while making extensive preparations to move to the “delay phase.”
    In neighboring Ireland, acting Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said a 3 billion euro ($3.4 billion) coronavirus package had been agreed.
    Funds set aside for a potential sudden rupture in trade ties with Britain, which has left the European Union, were to be diverted to coronavirus mitigation.
    Perhaps just as dramatically, Varadkar announced cancellation of all parades planned for the national St. Patrick’s Day festival on March 17, including one in Dublin that draws more than 500,000 people from all over the world.
    In Spain, schools were closed across the Madrid region and the Basque capital Vitoria for two weeks as cases topped 1,200 nationwide.
    Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said an emergency economic plan had been prepared.
    In the Gulf region, where most cases stem from travel from Iran, the emphasis has been on border control.    Saudi Arabia said it would fine people who did not disclose health information and travel details at entry up to $133,000.
    Iran, with 7,161 cases and 237 deaths, said it was temporarily releasing about 70,000 prisoners because of the coronavirus.
    China and South Korea both reported a slowdown in new infections. Mainland China, outside the outbreak center of Hubei province, recorded no new locally transmitted coronavirus cases for the second day.
    South Korea reported 165 new cases, bringing the national tally to 7,478, while the death toll rose by one to 51.
    With the rate of increase in new infections at its lowest in 11 days, President Moon Jae-in said South Korea could enter the “phase of stability” soon.
    In Italy, that phase still seems far off.
    Authorities said seven prisoners died as riots spread through more than 25 jails across the country over measures imposed to contain the coronavirus.
    Police and fire trucks massed outside the main prison in the northern town of Modena, the site of some of the worst violence.     Barkeepers in Rome and Milan said police had visited them to warn that they risked closure if they let customers huddle together.
    “We went into the cafe together but were told to stand far apart.    It was really odd because we are friends,” said Ilaria Frezza, a 21-year-old student.
    But the bar she was in was, in fact, almost deserted.
    “I wish I was having problems keeping people apart, but that’s the least of my worries,” said Franco Giovinazzo, who runs the Spazio Caffe in Rome.    “The real problem is there’s no-one here.”
(Graphic: Coronavirus spreads in China and beyond,
(Graphic: Tracking the novel coronavirus,
(Online package of coronavirus news,
(Reporting by Giulia Segreti and Elvira Pollina; Additional reporting by Leigh Thomas in Paris, Francesco Guarascio and Philip Blenkinsop in Brussels, Hyonhee Shin and Joyce Lee in Seoul, Babak Dehghanpisheh in Dubai, Crispian Balmer in Rome and Stephanie Ulmer-Nebehay in Geneva; Writing by Nick Macfie, Kevin Liffey and Lisa Shumaker; Editing by Andrew Heavens, Bill Berkrot and Cynthia Osterman)

3/10/2020 Italy wakes up to deserted streets in unprecedented coronavirus lockdown by Giselda Vagnoni
A woman wearing a protective face mask takes a selfie in Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II after a decree orders for the whole of Italy
to be on lockdown in an unprecedented clampdown aimed at beating the coronavirus, in Milan, Italy, March 10, 2020. REUTERS/Flavio Lo Scalzo
    ROME (Reuters) – Italy woke up on to deserted streets in an unprecedented lockdown on Tuesday after the government extended quarantine measures across the entire country in a bid to slow Europe’s worst outbreak of the coronavirus.
    The measures, announced late on Monday by Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, widen steps already taken in the rich northern region of Lombardy and parts of neighboring provinces, clamping down on movement and closing public spaces.
    “The future of Italy is in our hands.    Let us all do our part, by giving up something for our collective good,” Conte said in a tweet, encouraging people to take personal responsibility.
    For at least the next three weeks, people have been told to move around only for reasons of work, for health needs or emergencies or else stay at home.    Anyone traveling will have to fill in a document declaring their reasons and carry it with them.
    Large gatherings and outdoor events, including sports, have been banned, while bars and restaurants will have to close from 6 p.m. Schools and universities will remain closed until April 3.
    “The whole of Italy is closed now,” was the headline in the Corriere della Sera newspaper.
    As day broke, the streets of Rome were eerily much quieter than normal, with cars circulating freely under a clear blue sky in the normally traffic-clogged center, reflecting the atmosphere in the financial capital Milan, already under stricter controls.
    Rome commuters could easily find seats in the usually jam-packed underground system during the morning rush hours.
    People wearing masks in the streets of the capital was more widespread than before.
    Shortly after the measures were announced, shoppers in Rome rushed to late-night supermarkets to stock up on food and basic necessities, promoting the government to declare that supplies would be guaranteed and urging people not to panic buy.
    Shops are allowed to remain open as long as customers maintain a minimum distance of a meter between them.
    The measures came after the latest data showed the coronavirus outbreak continuing to rise, with 9,172 positive cases recorded as of Monday and 463 deaths, the second highest-level in the world after China.
    The World Health Organization has praised Italy’s “aggressive” response to the crisis, since the first cases emerged near Milan almost three weeks ago but the economic cost has been huge.
    On Monday, the Milan stock exchange dropped over 11% and Italy’s borrowing costs shot up, reviving fears that an economy already on the brink of recession and struggling under the euro zone’s second-heaviest debt pile could be plunged into crisis.
    Conte has already promised “massive shock therapy” to help deal with the immediate economic impact of the crisis and on Tuesday, Industry Minister Stefano Patuanelli said the government would approve measures worth around 10 billion euros.
(Writing by James Mackenzie; Editing by Nick Macfie)

3/10/2020 Oil jumps after rout on stimulus hopes but price war weighs by Ahmad Ghaddar
FILE PHOTO: Drilling rigs operate at sunset in Midland, Texas, U.S., February 13, 2019./File Photo
    LONDON (Reuters) – Oil prices jumped by around 4% on Tuesday after the biggest one-day rout in nearly 30 years, as investors eyed the possibility of economic stimulus, although a looming price war weighed on sentiment.
    U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday said he will be taking “major” steps to gird the U.S. economy against the impact of the spreading coronavirus outbreak, while Japan’s government plans to spend more than $4 billion in a second package of steps to cope with the virus.
    Brent crude futures were up $1.44, or around 4%, to $35.80 a barrel by 0903 GMT, after hitting a session high of $37.38 a barrel.     West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude gained $1.52, or around 5%, to $32.65 a barrel, after hitting a high of $33.73.
    Both benchmarks plunged 25% on Monday, dropping to their lowest levels since February 2016 and recording their biggest one-day percentage declines since Jan. 17, 1991, when oil prices fell at the outset of the first Gulf War.
(Graphic: Oil prices bounce back from epic trouncing on stimulus hopes –
    Trading volumes in the front-month for both contracts hit record highs in the previous session after three years of cooperation between Saudi Arabia and Russia and other major oil producers to limit supply fell apart on Friday, triggering a price war for market share.
    Saudi, the world’s biggest oil exporter, plans to supply 12.3 million barrels per day (bpd) in April, well above current production levels of 9.7 million bpd, Saudi Aramco CEO Amin Nasser said on Tuesday.
    April’s crude supply will be “300,000 barrels per day over the company’s maximum sustained capacity of 12 million bpd,” Nasser said in a statement received by Reuters.
    Price pared gains by over a $1 on the news.
    Russian oil minister Alexander Novak said he did not rule out joint measures with OPEC to stabilize the market, adding that the next OPEC+ meeting was planned for May-June.
    “Price wars and pandemics are nothing new to the commodity markets, but both occurring simultaneously is something we have yet to witness in our careers,” RBC analysts said in a note.
    “Such action will test the market’s self-balancing mechanism absent the backstop of OPEC, a mechanism that has not been tested since the U.S. shale boom was in its infancy,” they added.
    Sentiment was also lifted after Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Wuhan, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, for the first time since the epidemic began, and as the spread of the virus in mainland China slows sharply.
    China, the world’s second-largest oil consumer, is trying to get people in hard-hit Hubei province back to work by using a mobile phone-based monitoring system that will allow people to travel within the province.
    Crude was also supported by hopes for a settlement to the price war and potential U.S. output cuts, although analysts warned gains may be temporary as oil demand continues to be hit by the virus outbreak, which has spread beyond China and prompted Italy to implement a nationwide lockdown.
    U.S. shale producers rushed to deepen spending cuts and could reduce production after OPEC’s decision to pump full bore into a global market hit by shrinking demand.
    “When you look at the leverage the industry is in, at prices of around $30, it’s not profitable,” said Jonathan Barratt, chief investment officer Probis Group.
(Additional reporting by Jessica Jaganathan in Singapore; editing by Jason Neely)

3/10/2020 Exclusive: U.S. sanctions have idled a quarter of Iranian oil rigs by Bozorgmehr Sharafedin
FILE PHOTO: A general view of Abadan oil refinery in southwest Iran, is pictured from Iraqi side
of Shatt al-Arab in Al-Faw south of Basra, Iraq September 21, 2019. REUTERS/Essam Al-Sudani
    LONDON (Reuters) – At least a quarter of Iran’s oil rigs are out of action as U.S. sanctions strangle the Islamic Republic’s vital oil industry, according to a Reuters review of financial documents and industry sources, dealing a potentially long-term blow to its oil industry.
    The lack of rig activity could damage the OPEC member’s capacity to produce oil from older fields, which require continuous pumping to maintain pressure and output. That would make it difficult for Iran to raise production back to pre-sanction levels if tensions ease with the United States.
    The U.S. sanctions aim to curtail Tehran’s nuclear ambitions and regional influence.    They have forced Iran to slash its oil output by half since early 2018 to less than 2 million barrels per day (bpd) because refineries worldwide have stopped buying its oil.
    Plummeting production and exports have deepened a recession in the country and choked the government of its main source of income. Reduced activity has forced mass layoffs in Iran’s oil sector.
    The sharp fall in oil prices so far in 2020 – due to the impact of the coronavirus epidemic on global demand – will exacerbate the pain for Iran’s economy, which is also dealing with one of the biggest outbreaks of the disease outside China.
    Some of Iran’s oil rigs are out of action because they can’t be repaired.    Sanctions have also made it more difficult and expensive for Iran to buy and import spare parts.
    Iran relies entirely on imported parts for its rigs, said Mohsen Mihandoust, a director at Iran’s Society of Petroleum Engineers.    In a decade of work in oil and gas drilling in Iran, Mihandoust has never seen a spare part that was not imported, he said, and most came from the United States or Europe.
    “We are still dependent on other countries,” Mihandoust said in an interview.    “It is like learning to work with a TV remote control, but still having no clue how a television is made.”
    Sanctions had driven up the costs of spare parts as much as five-fold, making it not feasible to repair the rigs, he added.
    Iran bought dozens of new and second-hand Chinese rigs in the last decade, but the core parts of those were still American, two industry sources said.
    Chinese oil rigs suited Iranian needs for the years it was under sanctions, but they “lacked the long-lasting quality of U.S. and European rigs,” said Reza Banimahd, a businessman in Tehran who works on energy projects.
    A spokesperson for the office of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani declined to comment on how U.S. sanctions have impacted the nation’s oil industry.
    The White House declined to comment and referred questions to the U.S. State Department, which did not respond to a request.
    At least 40 of about 160 oil rigs in Iran remain idle or under repair, according to a Reuters review of information from two industry sources, drilling companies’ websites and quarterly financial results.
    Just under half of Iranian rigs are operated by the National Iranian Drilling Company, a subsidiary of state energy giant the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC). NIDC has 73 onshore and offshore oil rigs – but 17 of them generate “zero income” and six rigs are only partially active, a source familiar with the company’s operations said.    That compared to five inactive rigs in 2017, and four in 2016.
    Neither NIDC nor NIOC replied to Reuters’ requests for comment.
    The second-largest Iranian driller, private firm North Drilling Company (NDC), owns 12 rigs.    Three of them are inactive.    NDC did not respond to a request for comment.
    The remaining 75 rigs are owned by small drilling operations firms.    Reuters was unable to verify the status of all the privately-owned rigs, but two industry sources said that 20 of those rigs had been idled.
    Iran has more rigs than regional rival Saudi Arabia, which has 125, according to OPEC data.    But about 85 percent of the rigs in Iran’s fleet need maintenance and repair, an oil official said on state news agency IRNA in 2019.    That suggests the number of out-of-service rigs is likely to continue to rise.
    “With this course of events, in the next five years or so, all Iranian oil rigs will be very old and inefficient,” said Reza Mostafavi Tabatabaei.
    Iranian drilling companies have also embarked on massive layoffs.
    The number of employees at NDC has dropped to 2,800 in 2019 from 9,300 in 2017, according to the company’s quarterly report.
    That is a big turnaround from the boom in the industry after Iran’s government came to an agreement with the administration of former President Barack Obama that ended oil and financial sanctions in 2016.    The number of rigs increased to 157 from 130 following the deal.
    U.S. President Donald Trump reimposed sanctions in 2018 to force Iran to accept stricter limits on its nuclear activity, curb its ballistic missile program and end its support for proxy forces in the Middle East.
(Graphic: Iran’s oil rig count –
(Reporting by Bozorgmehr Sharafedin; Editing by Simon Webb and Brian Thevenot)

3/10/2020 President Trump unveils economic plan for coronavirus, includes payroll tax cut & relief for hourly wages by OAN Newsroom
President Donald Trump speaks as Vice President Mike Pence listens in the briefing room of the White House in
Washington, Monday, March 9, 2020, during a briefing about the coronavirus outbreak. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
    The White House is looking into options to help American businesses and workers affected by the coronavirus outbreak.    On Monday, President Trump spoke about a possible economic plan to help airline and cruise ship industries.
    The president said the plan is also going to include a payroll tax cut and prepare loans for small businesses.    He noted that this will help employees who earn hourly wages, so they don’t have to worry about missing a pay check if they are quarantined.
    Others in the administration are optimistic about the plan and the U.S. economy as a whole.
    “In terms of the economy, he and his economic team have the tools to keep this economy going strong,” said Alex Azar, Secretary of Health and Human Services.    “They’ve got tools to deal with that.”
    The meeting became urgent following plummeting stock markets early Monday, which led trading to be suspended for 15 minutes.    Market experts believe this was due to an ongoing oil war between Saudi Arabia and Russia as well as fears about the coronavirus outbreak.
FILE In this file photo taken on Wednesday, April 5, 2006, A view of reservoirs of Russian state-controlled
oil giant OAO Rosneft, at Priobskoye oil field near Nefteyugansk, in western Siberia, Russia. Oil prices are
plunging after Saudi Arabia started a price war against Russia. The Saudis tried to get the Russians to cut
oil production to keep prices from falling even more due to the coronavirus. (AP Photo/Misha Japaridze, File)
    “And that the worst news is coming right now with the combination of the oil price drop and the coronavirus,” explained Susan Schmidt, head of U.S. Equities – Aviva Investors.    “…Coronavirus is gonna be an ongoing shock, I think the worst of that is passed.”
    President Trump will give more details about his economic plan after speaking with Republican lawmakers.

3/10/2020 HHS Secretary Azar unsure about number of Americans tested for coronavirus by OAN Newsroom
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar demonstrates how to greet others with an elbow as he speaks during a television
interview outside the West Wing of the White House in Washington, Monday, March, 9, 2020. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
    According to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, officials do not know how many Americans have been tested for the fast spreading coronavirus.
    During an interview Tuesday, the official stated that hundreds of thousands of coronavirus tests have gone out to private labs and hospitals, which do not report to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).    However, he estimated that the U.S. could be testing up to 10,000 people daily with the potential for that number to jump to 20,000 by the end of this week.
    Azar went on to say, “we’re going to be in this for a while and we need to be very measured in our approaches.”    However, the HHS secretary said it may be time to hold off on large gatherings if you are considered at risk.
    “Consider postponing or adjusting large gathering if you are at risk, if you are in communities where it is spreading, if there is a science and reasons based for doing that and/or if you are a particularly vulnerable person,” he stated.    “The elderly and those who are particularly fragile, we have said you really should think twice before going to a large gathering, taking a long flight or in particular getting on a cruise ship.”
    Azar went on to say he would be working with the CDC this week to set up IT reporting to collect data and track how many people have been tested.

3/10/2020 Pastor of a dead DHS whistleblower: I do not believe he was suicidal by OAN Newsroom
File – U.S. Department of Homeland Security emblem is pictured at the National Cybersecurity & Communications
Integration Center (NCCIC) located just outside Washington in Arlington, Va. (REUTERS Photo/Hyungwon Kang)
    A recent interview has unraveled new details in the mysterious death of a whistleblower that has yet to be discussed by mainstream media.
    Philip Haney, the whistleblower against the Obama administration, was found dead on February 21 with a single gun shot wound near a California highway.    Investigators have said the scene appeared to look like a suicide.
    In an interview on Friday, however, Haney’s pastor suggested his death might have been a murder rather than a suicide.
    “No I do not believe he was suicidal, I do not believe that,” said Pastor Grey Young.    “…You have a man that was planning to get married, a     man who was very devout in his Christian faith, a man who had a lot of incredible projects in the works.”
    Young went on to recount his last conversation with Haney before his death, which led him to believe Haney was excited about his future.
    “Our last message together basically was ‘hey.    I can’t wait to share with you this incredible thing that’s happened’ and he was very excited about it,” he stated.
    Young often referenced Haney’s excitement for his book titled: “See Something, Say Nothing — A Homeland Security Officer Exposes the Government’s Submission to Jihad.”
    The book was set up as an interview about Haney’s experience working for the Department of Homeland Security and allegedly preventing hundreds of potential terrorist threats.
    More importantly, the book details Haney’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee in which he claimed federal law enforcement showed “willful blindness” to Islamic attacks in America.
    Days after Haney’s death, the Amador County Sheriff’s Office announced the case will likely be a lengthy investigation.
    “The individual assessment by the deputies arriving on the scene and their supervisor is the start of the investigation, it is not the end,” stated county Coroner Martin Ryan.    “And we have not made any conclusions as to the cause and manner of death.”
    For now, details about the investigation into Haney’s death are limited, but the FBI is working with local authorities to determine an official cause of death.

3/10/2020 NAFTA protesters storm Biden event in Mich. by OAN Newsroom
A Detroit police officer removes a protester from a campaign rally for Democratic presidential candidate former
Vice President Joe Biden at Renaissance High School in Detroit, Monday, March 9, 2020. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
    Protests erupted at a Joe Biden rally on the eve of a major multi-state primary vote.    In Detroit, Michigan on Monday, multiple demonstrators disrupted the Biden event by yelling and holding signs reading “NAFTA killed our jobs.”
    The protesters were then escorted out of the gymnasium; however, Biden urged his staff to “let them go.”    He then used the situation to take shots at President Trump and his Democrat campaign rival Bernie Sanders.    He called the demonstrators “Bernie Bros” and claimed this is the type of division President Trump has caused for today’s America.
    “Let ’em go…this not a Trump rally…the ‘Bernie Bros’ are here, let em go,” he urged.    “Look, this is what’s wrong with American politics today.”
    This came after President Trump’s renegotiated NAFTA deal, the USMCA, was signed by the president in January.    The new trade agreement is expected to be a boom for farmers and manufacturers across the country.
    Throughout his campaign, Sanders has criticized the former vice president over his trade policies.    This included his support for NAFTA, which resulted in an estimated loss of 168,000 manufacturing jobs in Michigan since its implementation in the mid-90s.
    “When people take a look at my record versus (former) Vice President Biden’s record — I helped lead the fight against NAFTA, he voted for NAFTA,” Sanders stated.    “…I strongly opposed the Trans-Pacific Partnership, he supported it.”
    Back in 2016, Sanders won Michigan against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton by a narrow margin.    Michigan has 125 delegates up for grabs, which means a win for Sanders may help keep his campaign above water.
A protester yells during a campaign rally for Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President
Joe Biden at Renaissance High School in Detroit, Monday, March 9, 2020. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

3/10/2020 N.Y. Gov. Cuomo confirms Port Authority director contracted coronavirus by OAN Newsroom
FILE – In this June 11, 2018 file photo, Port Authority Executive Director Rick Cotton, left, attends a
ribbon-cutting opening ceremony for 3 World Trade Center in New York. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced
Monday, March 9, 2020, that Cotton has tested positive for the coronavirus. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)
    Gov. Andrew Cuomo (N.Y.-D) has confirmed the executive director of New York and New Jersey Port Authority has tested positive for the coronavirus.    While speaking to reporters Monday, he announced that Rick Cotton is under self-quarantine at home and members of his staff are being tested.
    The governor said Cotton may have caught the virus while working at various airports, where travelers were returning from virus hot-spots.    Cuomo also announced the state created its own “prisoner-made” line of hand sanitizer due to shortages of the product.
    “Our current capacity is 100,000 gallons per week and we’re going to be ramping up,” he stated.    “We’ll be providing this to governmental agencies, schools, the MTA (Metropolitan Transportation Authority), prisons, etc. because you can’t get it on the market and when you get it, it’s very, very expensive.”
    Cuomo also called out Purell, Amazon and eBay for price-gouging hand sanitizers. He threatened to introduce what he called “the cheaper and more superior alternative” if they don’t stop the practice.

3/10/2020 Conservative activist says homeless should be priority over illegal immigrants by OAN Newsroom
In this Tuesday, March 3, 2020 photo, homeless people crowd a sidewalk in downtown
Salem, Ore., where they have set up a makeshift camp. (AP Photo/Andrew Selsky)
    According to conservative activist Scott Presler, homeless U.S. citizens should have priority over illegal immigrants in the country.    He made these remarks during an interview Monday, while helping clean up parts of tornado stricken Nashville.
    Presler previously organized a massive clean up effort on the streets of Baltimore and spends time getting to know poverty stricken citizens within homeless communities.
    The conservative activist asked one homeless man how he felt living on the streets, while illegal immigrants are better cared for.
    “He said I’m angry,” Presler explained.    “He said ‘what about us..we should have priority…we were here first right?'
    Presler also poined out that the man had a daughter and was ironically picking up trash for work.
    Meanwhile, illegal immigrant detention centers are being upgraded and expanded in some parts of the U.S. southern border as the homeless crisis continues throughout many parts of the country.

3/10/2020 Venezuelan riot police block opposition march on congress by Brian Ellsworth and Vivian Sequera
A woman waves a Venezuelan flag in front of security forces during a
demonstration in Caracas, Venezuela March 10, 2020. REUTERS/Manaure Quintero
    CARACAS (Reuters) – Venezuelan security forces used teargas on Tuesday to prevent protesters led by opposition leader Juan Guaido from marching on the national legislature, which pro-government lawmakers seized control of in January.
    The march, attended by several hundred opposition supporters, advanced only a few blocks towards the congress in downtown Caracas before a phalanx of riot police barricaded the road and began firing teargas to disperse the crowd, Reuters witnesses said.
    Guaido for weeks had urged Venezuelans to join the march as a way of reviving street protests against the government of President Nicolas Maduro, branded a dictatorship by Washington.    The protests surged in 2019 but have waned as the ruling Socialist Party has clung to power.
    Tuesday’s march was the opposition’s first since Guaido returned on Feb. 11 from a diplomatic tour that included a meeting with U.S.     President Donald Trump at the White House.    It marked another test of Guaido’s capacity to mobilize supporters, who are increasingly weary with his inability to oust Maduro despite a broad U.S. sanctions program and Venezuela’s long-running economic collapse.
    After police dispersed the marchers, Guaido said they would head toward a nearby square where lawmakers would hold a congress session in the street.
    “We are not going to give the dictatorship the pleasure of generating violence, of wanting to ambush us,” Guaido told reporters during the march, which set off from Caracas’ wealthy Chacao district.
    “Today the objective is to reunite in the streets like the powerful majority that we are.”
    The protest had been expected to meet stiff resistance from security forces, which were deployed around the country on Monday as part of military exercises ordered by Maduro.
    “It once again demonstrates the totalitarian nature of this regime,” said Lawmaker Williams Davila, his face and eyes red from the teargas.
    Maduro’s government had called its own separate rallies in downtown Caracas, attended by hundreds of red-shirted supporters.    Socialist Party Vice President Diosdado Cabello said on Monday that the opposition’s march was an attempt to rally its flagging energy.
    “Every time the right-wing is cornered, they look for events that can raise the excitement of people who stopped being excited a long time ago.    They try to create leadership where there is none,” Cabello said.
    In January, a group of legislators backed by the Socialist Party installed themselves as the leaders of congress after troops blocked Guaido from attending a vote at which he was expected to be elected to a second term as assembly head.
    Opposition lawmakers later re-elected Guaido in an extra-mural session, but they have been largely unable to meet at the legislative palace since then.
    More than 50 countries last year recognized Guaido as Venezuela’s legitimate president following Maduro’s disputed 2018 re-election, which was widely dismissed as fraudulent.
    Venezuela this year is slated to hold parliamentary elections, but the opposition has not determined if it will participate due to concerns over free and fair conditions.
(Reporting by Brian Ellsworth and Vivian Sequera; Additional reporting by Deisy Buitrago, Corina Pons, Mayela Armas and Shaylim Valderrama; Writing by Angus Berwick; Editing by Tom Brown)

3/10/2020 Macron urges calm after French minister contracts coronavirus by Marine Pennetier
FILE PHOTO: French President Emmanuel Macron speaks to the media next to French Health and Solidarity
Minister Olivier Veran, after a visit at the SAMU-SMUR call centre at the Necker Hospital, focused on
COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak, in Paris, France, March 10, 2020. Ludovic Marin/Pool via REUTERS
    PARIS (Reuters) – President Emmanuel Macron warned France on Tuesday that it was at just the start of a health epidemic as the coronavirus outbreak crept closer to the heart of French political power.
    Culture Minister Franck Riester said late on Monday he had tested positive for the virus, and Macron’s chief of staff is self-isolating after contact with an infected person, said an official at the Elysee Palace, the presidential residence.
    Measures are in place to protect Macron: meetings are kept to a minimum, video conference calls are being encouraged and non-essential visitors are being turned away.
    “Don’t start thinking we’re creating a bubble,” the Elysee official said, adding that “we’re still in line with the kind of advice we’re giving to the whole French population.”
    Macron’s government had led calls for a fiscal shock in Europe to combat the economic fallout from the coronavirus outbreak.    There has been global disruption to businesses and supply chains, and neighboring Italy is in lockdown.
    Macron visited a pediatric hospital on Tuesday and urged the French people to stay calm after signs of panic buying of staple goods in and around Paris.
    But he cautioned: “We’re only at the beginning of this epidemic.”
    The coronavirus has now infected 1,784 people in France and killed 33, the head of the country’s public health service, Jerome Salomon, said on Tuesday evening.
    Riester became the first French government minister to go down with the coronavirus.    He said he had been tested on Monday afternoon after feeling flu-like symptoms.
    He attended last Wednesday’s cabinet meeting, chaired by Macron, and sessions last week in parliament where five lawmakers have tested positive.
    A policy of no handshakes between ministers was already in place by then.    This week’s cabinet meeting was still due to take place, an official at the prime minister’s Matignon office said.
    Desks are being cleaned twice a day and the distance between seats is being widened, the Matignon official said.
    Macron’s chief-of-staff, Patrick Strzoda, was working from home as a preventative measure and had not shown any symptoms of a coronavirus infection, the Elysee official said.
(Reporting by Marine Pennetier, additional reporting by Dominique Vidalon; writing by Michel Rose; editing by Richard Lough and Timothy Heritage)

3/10/2020 President Trump speaks with Saudi Crown Prince amid oil price war with Russia by OAN Newsroom
FILE – A guard stands in front of Aramco’s oil processing facility in Abqaiq, near
Dammam in the Kingdom’s Eastern Province. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil, File)
    Russia’s energy minister announced plans Tuesday to significantly increase crude oil production amid a reported oil-price war with Saudi Arabia.    While speaking in Moscow, Aleksander Novak said Russia will ratchet up oil output to around 200,000 to 300,000 thousand barrels per day.
    The move came in response to a disagreement among OPEC plus member states who wanted to reduce the organization’s daily oil production levels.    Novak also indicated Russia’s oil production figures could increase to as much as 500,000 barrels per day in the future.
    “If the prices are lower, we always watch the oil demand growing…this is one of the cases that will have impact,” he stated.    “The market is still quite volatile regarding the information that we have, the sentiment.”
    Russia’s increase in oil production follows a recent decline in global oil prices as Saudi Arabia’s state-owned oil company Aramco reduced it’s oil prices by six to 8 percent.
    Meanwhile, President Trump is maintaining communication with the Saudi government amid the oil-price war.    On Tuesday, the White House said the president spoke over the phone with Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman about global energy markets.    The conversation also touched on critical regional and bilateral issues.
President Donald Trump departs after speaking with lawmakers on Capitol Hill, Tuesday, March 10, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
    Markets have experienced volatility over the past several days over the swing in oil prices and concerns about the coronavirus.
    Saudi Arabia, which is the world’s biggest oil exporter, and Russia have been trying to out do each other and flood the markets with cheap oil.    The president has largely blamed this feud for sending Wall Street into a downward spiral on Monday.
    “And that the worst news is coming right now with the combination of the oil price drop and the coronavirusYou know, coronavirus is gonna be an ongoing shock…I think the worst of that is passed.”
    Oil prices dropped by 24 percent on Monday, while the Dow Jones industrial average sank more than 2,000 points, which marked its worst day since 2008.

3/11/2020 Oil up $4.28 to $34.52, DOW up 1167 to 25,018.

3/11/2020 As the coronavirus increases in the U.S. it is not as bad as other countries and nowhere near the deaths of previous viruses such as that occurred in 2008-2009 with the Swine Flu.

3/11/2020 Italy in coronavirus lockdown as deaths soar and economy fades by Angelo Amante and Crispian Balmer
A woman wearing a protective face mask takes a selfie in Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II after a decree orders for the whole of Italy to
be on lockdown in an unprecedented clampdown aimed at beating the coronavirus, in Milan, Italy, March 10, 2020. REUTERS/Flavio Lo Scalzo
    ROME (Reuters) – Shops and restaurants closed, hundreds of flights were canceled and streets emptied across Italy on Tuesday, the first day of an unprecedented, nationwide lockdown imposed to slow Europe’s worst outbreak of coronavirus.
    Just hours after the dramatic new restrictions came into force, health authorities announced the death toll had jumped by 168 to 631, the largest rise in absolute numbers since the contagion came to light on Feb. 21.
    The total number of confirmed cases rose at a much slower rate than recently seen, hitting 10,149 against a previous 9,172, but officials warned that the region at the epicenter, Lombardy, had provided incomplete data.
    The government has told all Italians to stay at home and avoid non-essential travel until April 3, radically widening steps already taken in much of the wealthy north, which is the epicenter of the spreading contagion.
    “Our civic duty is the only thing that can save us,” said Marzio Tonilo, 35, a teacher from the northern town of San Fiorano, which was placed under quarantine last month.
    Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte unexpectedly expanded the so-called red zone to the entire country on Monday night, introducing the most severe controls on a Western nation since World War Two.
    The move shocked many small businesses, which feared for their future.
    “It looks like an apocalypse has struck, there is no one around,” said Mario Monfreda, who runs Larys restaurant in a smart Rome residential area.    Under the government order, all bars and restaurants will now have to close at 6.00 p.m.
    “It is a total disaster.    This will reduce us to nothing … More people are going to die as a result of the economic crisis that this lockdown is going to cause than the virus itself.”
    However, the prosperous northern region of Lombardy, centered on Italy’s financial capital Milan, called on the government to introduce even more stringent measures.
    “I would shut down all the shops.    I would certainly close down public transport and I would seek out all businesses that could be shut without creating excessive damage to the economy,” said Lombardy Governor Attilio Fontana.
    While Lombardy accounts for 74% of all the fatalities, the disease has now touched all of the country and the government is worried that if it worsens, the health system in the less developed south will collapse, causing deaths to spike.
    Rome landmarks including the Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon and the Spanish Steps were largely empty on Tuesday, while the Vatican closed St. Peter’s Square and St. Peter’s Basilica to tourists.    Police told holidaymakers to return to their hotels.
    For at least the next three weeks, anyone traveling in Italy will have to carry a document declaring their reasons.
Outdoor events, including sports fixtures, have been suspended and schools and universities are all shuttered.
    A former Treasury chief economist predicted that the lockdown measures were reducing Italy’s economic output by around 10-15%, with the tourism and transport sectors down about 90% on their normal levels.
    Looking to mitigate the impact on ordinary Italians, the government is considering making banks offer customers a pause in their mortgage repayments.    It also called for the European Union to relax its rules to allow more state spending.
    “We will ask for the rules to be changed, it is a necessary condition, otherwise people will die,” Industry Minister Stefano Patuanelli told Radio Capital.
    The Milan stock exchange fell a further 3.3% on Tuesday, meaning it has now slumped 29% since Feb. 20.    Italy’s borrowing costs are also shooting up, reviving fears that an economy already on the brink of recession and struggling under the euro zone’s second-heaviest debt pile could be plunged into crisis.
    In the wake of the clampdown, neighboring Austria said it would deny entry to people arriving from Italy, Malta and Portugal cut all travel links to the country, while British Airways and Easy Jet canceled their flights to and from Italian airports.    Spain also banned flights from Italy.
    The coronavirus first emerged in China last year and the country’s foreign ministry said on Tuesday its top diplomat, Wang Yi, had called his Italian counterpart, Luigi Di Maio, to offer his condolences for the situation in Italy.
    He said he would increase efforts to send Italy more masks, and medical equipment, and also offered to send a medical team.
(Additional reporting by Giselda Vagnoni, Gavin Jones, Angelo Amante, Cristiano Corvino, Guglielmo Mangiapane, Giulia Segreti, James Mackenzie, Sara Rossi, Valentina Za, Francesca Landini and Dominique Patton; Editing by Gavin Jones, Alison Williams and Giles Elgood)

3/11/2020 Joe Biden solidifies lead in Democrat primaries by OAN Newsroom
Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks to members of the press at the
National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, Tuesday, March 10, 2020. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
    The gap has widened between Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders in the race for the Democrat presidential nomination.    On Tuesday, primaries were held in Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Michigan, Idaho and Washington State.
    With 352 delegates in play, Tuesday’s contests marked a half-way point in the primary race with almost half of total delegates pledged once all results are in.
    Although, mathematically, Sanders cannot be eliminated by the results of Tuesday’s primaries, the gulf has widened between the two candidates as Biden is the clear favorite in the race.    The shift was apparent in the two candidate’s reactions to the results.
    Sanders made no public remarks during the night even though a microphone stand was set up in Vermont, presumably for the senator to deliver a speech in case of a big win.
    Biden’s tone, on the other hand, was one of unity.    He thanked Sanders and his supporters for their spirited campaign.
    “And I want to thank Bernie Sanders and his supporters for their tireless energy and their passion,” stated the former vice president.    “We share a common goal and together we’ll defeat Donald Trump, we’ll defeat him together.”
    The Sanders campaign now faces mounting pressure from establishment Democrats to drop out of the race and clear the way for a Joe Biden nomination, with several prominent Democrats fearing a drawn-out primary and a repeat of 2016.

A woman votes in the presidential primary election at the the Summit View Church of the Nazarene Tuesday, March 10, 2020,
in Kansas City, Mo. The polling place served two precincts as voters who were scheduled to vote at a nearby senior living facility
were directed to vote at the church after the facility backed out due to coronavirus concerns. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
    The results in Michigan are of particular note as the Sanders campaign had staked much of its hopes of a comeback on winning the state.    Its 125 delegates are chosen by a largely blue collar base, which propelled Sanders to a narrow win in the state against Hillary Clinton in 2016.
    “And I understand that Joe Biden has the support of the entire political establishment, I got that, but we have the support of some of the strongest grassroots movements in this country,” said Sanders.    “We have the support of some of the best unions in this country and I would a hundred times over prefer to have grassroots support than establishment support.”
    Tuesday was also the last day for votes to be cast on the Democrats abroad primary in which the 13 delegates party members living outside the U.S. are awarded, but results will not be announced until March 23 due to the high volume of ballots cast abroad.
    The U.S. territory of the Northern Marianas is holding its primary on the March 14, while the next state primaries will be held by Florida, Illinois, Ohio and Arizona on the March 17.    Polls predict a Joe Biden victory in all those contests.

3/11/2020 First U.S. patient who contracted coronavirus from person-to-person transmission describes fear of spreading it to family by OAN Newsroom
    The first known U.S. patient who contracted coronavirus by community spread recently spoke out about his experience.
    In an interview Tuesday, Chicago resident Tom Panocha noted that surprisingly he did not spread the virus to the rest of his family.    The 68-year old, who caught the virus from his wife after she traveled to Wuhan, had spent time with his son and his grandson after contracting it without his knowledge.
    After he tested positive, he was sent to the hospital for quarantine and treatment.    He soon feared the worst when his toddler grandson ran a high fever.    However, his grandson soon tested negative.
    Panocha made a full recovery before both he and his grandson were released from the hospital.
    Panocha noted that the coronavirus was not as bad on his body than the flu had been despite his preexisting respiratory issues.

3/11/2020 U.S. Supreme Court allows Trump’s ‘Remain in Mexico’ asylum policy by Lawrence Hurley
FILE PHOTO: Migrants, most of them asylum seekers sent back to Mexico from the U.S. under the
"Remain in Mexico" program officially named Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), occupy a
makeshift encampment in Matamoros, Tamaulipas, Mexico, October 28, 2019. REUTERS/Loren Elliott/File Photo
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday handed a win to President Donald Trump by leaving in effect a policy that requires thousands of people seeking asylum at the southern border to wait in Mexico while their claims are adjudicated.
    The court granted an emergency request filed by the administration and lifted a partial block on the program imposed by the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The appeals court on Feb. 28 issued a ruling blocking the policy but then immediately put it on hold while the Trump administration asked the Supreme Court to intervene.
    The brief court order noted that one of the nine justices, liberal Sonia Sotomayor, would have denied the application.
    “Asylum seekers face grave danger and irreversible harm every day this depraved policy remains in effect,” said Judy Rabinovitz, a lawyer at the American Civil Liberties Union, which represents those challenging the policy.
    Trump has declared the policy, announced in December 2018, a success in reducing the flow of hundreds of thousands of people from Central America into the United States as he campaigns for a second term in office.
    Challengers, including 11 asylum seekers who were returned to Mexico and several immigration advocacy groups, say the program, called the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), violates U.S. immigration law and international obligations on the treatment of asylum seekers.
    “The Migrant Protection Protocols, implemented pursuant to express authority granted by Congress decades ago, have been critical to restoring the government’s ability to manage the Southwest border and to work cooperatively with the Mexican government to address illegal immigration,” a Justice Department spokesperson said in a statement.
    About 60,000 people have been sent back to Mexico to await the outcome of their cases in often dangerous border towns where they are vulnerable to kidnapping, rape, robbery and other crimes while living in sometimes unsanitary conditions.    The government says 36,000 cases have now been resolved and warned that those with pending claims might have rushed the border if the policy was partially blocked.
    Trump, who has made cracking down on immigration a central theme of his more than three years in the White House, has sought, through a series of new policies and rule changes, to reduce asylum claims.
    The policies on curbing asylum applications have cut the number of illegal crossings and have been more successful than Trump’s efforts to build a physical barrier on the border.
(Reporting by Lawrence Hurley. Additional reporting by Mica Rosenberg and Kristina Cooke; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Tom Brown)

3/11/2020 WHO calls coronavirus a pandemic as Britain, Italy shore up defenses by Emma Farge and William Schomberg
Police officers wear protective face masks at a checkpoint on the second day of an unprecedented lockdown across all of
the country, imposed to slow the outbreak of coronavirus, in Naples, Italy March 11, 2020. REUTERS/Ciro de Luca
    GENEVA/LONDON (Reuters) – The World Health Organization described the coronavirus outbreak as a pandemic
for the first time on Wednesday as Britain and Italy announced multi-billion-dollar war chests to fight the disease.
    The United States also said it was considering new steps to battle the virus that emerged in China in December and has spread around the world, halting industry, grounding flights, closing schools and forcing events to be postponed.
    “We are deeply concerned both by the alarming levels of spread and severity and by the alarming levels of inaction,” Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters in Geneva.
    “We have therefore made the assessment that COVID-19 can be characterized as a pandemic,” he said, using the formal name of the coronavirus.
    There are now more than 118,000 infections in 114 countries and 4,291 people have died of the virus, with the numbers expected to climb, Tedros said.
    Use of the word pandemic does not change the WHO’s response, said Dr Mike Ryan, the head of the Geneva-based agency’s emergencies program.
    WHO officials have signaled for weeks that they may use the word “pandemic” but said it does not carry legal significance.    The WHO classified the outbreak as a “public health emergency of international concern” on Jan. 30, triggering an increase in global response coordination.
    “The use of this term (pandemic) however highlights the importance of countries throughout the world working cooperatively and openly with one another and coming together as a united front in our efforts to bring this situation under control,” said Nathalie MacDermott, an expert at King’s College London.
    Mark Woolhouse, professor of infectious disease epidemiology at Britain’s Edinburgh University, added: “It is now clear that COVID-19 is going to be with us for a considerable length of time and the actions that we take must be actions that we can live with for a prolonged period.”
    Before the WHO’s comments, Italy – the European country worst hit by the virus – and Britain announced they were setting aside large sums to fight the flu-like disease.
    Britain launched a 30-billion-pound ($38.54 billion) economic stimulus plan as new finance minister Rishi Sunak said the economy faced a “significant impact” from the spread of the virus, even if it was likely to be temporary.
    “Up to a fifth of the working-age population could need to be off work at any one time.    And business supply chains are being disrupted around the globe,” Sunak said in an annual budget speech to parliament.
    He announced a package of measures to help companies facing a cash-flow crunch, including a year-long suspension of a property tax paid by smaller firms.    The health system and other public services would receive an extra 5 billion pounds to help counter the spread of the coronavirus.
    Last week, Italy’s cabinet said it would need 7.5 billion euros ($8.46 billion) to fight the virus, but since then the emergency has escalated and the nation, already close to recession, is under lockdown, with the death toll now 827.
    Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte on Wednesday earmarked $28.3 billion to ease the economic impact.    He said that already tough restrictions on movement might be tightened further after the northern region of Lombardy, centered on Italy’s financial capital Milan, asked for all shops to shut and public transport to close.
    The United States, where the S&P 500 stock index was down almost 4%, said its steps could include tax relief that could channel hundreds of billions of dollars into the U.S. economy.
    “Bottom line, it’s going to get worse,” Anthony Fauci, head of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told Congress.
    The WHO’s Ryan said the situation in Iran was “very serious” and the agency would like to see more surveillance and more care for the sick.    Iran has reported 237 deaths from the virus.
    German Chancellor Angela Merkel said up to 70% of the population was likely to be infected as the virus spreads around the world in the absence of a cure.
    A rebound in stocks ran out of steam on Wednesday despite the Bank of England move.    Money markets are fully pricing in a further 10 basis-point cut by the European Central Bank when it meets on Thursday.
    As of Tuesday’s close, $8.1 trillion in value had been erased from global stock markets in the recent rout.
    But not all the news was bad.    Some key industries in Wuhan, the Chinese city at the epicenter of the epidemic and a hub of car manufacturing, were told they could resume work on Wednesday, a day after President Xi Jinping visited the city for the first time since the outbreak began.
(Additional reporting by Kate Kalland, Paul Sandle and David Milliken in London; David Lawder in Washington; Thomas Escritt and Paul Carrel in Berlin; Giuseppe Fonte and Giulia Segreti in Rome; Ryan Woo in Beijing; Writing by Nick Macfie and Timothy Heritage; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

3/11/2020 Italy to ramp up spending on coronavirus as death toll soars to 827 by Giuseppe Fonte and Crispian Balmer
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte speaks during a news conference due to
coronavirus spread, in Rome, Italy March 11, 2020. REUTERS/Remo Casilli
    ROME (Reuters) – Italy will ramp up spending to soften the blow from coronavirus and could restrict movement further to slow its spread, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said on Wednesday, as the death toll jumped by 196 in 24 hours to 827.
    It was the highest daily increase in absolute terms registered anywhere in the world since the virus emerged in China at the end of last year.    Confirmed cases across Italy rose to 12,462 from a previous 10,149.
    Acknowledging the escalating emergency, Conte told reporters the government would allocate 25 billion euros ($28.3 billion) to help mitigate the impact on the fragile economy.    Only a week ago, he estimated it would need just 7.5 billion euros.
    After an initial lockdown in the north failed to prevent the spread, the government on Monday banned all non-essential travel and public gatherings throughout Italy until April 3, halted all sports events and extended a shutdown of schools.
    The measures did not go as far as stopping trains and public transport, as China did in the coronavirus epicenter of Wuhan, but regional chiefs in the north of Italy urged the government to follow the Chinese lead and block most day-to-day activities.
    “I want to see the roads empty, lights off in the bars, the beaches empty, the squares deserted,” said Luca Zaia, governor of the affluent Veneto region.    Only four days ago he had accused Conte of an over-exaggerated response to the epidemic.
    Conte said on Wednesday he was ready to act on requests from the north, but that any fresh measures, such as closing businesses and stores, could not be taken lightly.
    “The main objective is to protect citizens’ health, but we must take into account that there are other interests at stake.    We must be aware that there are civil liberties that are being violated.    We must always proceed carefully.”
    The mayor of the southern city of Messina in Sicily had no such qualms, saying he planned to introduce a curfew and allow only food stores to remain open.    Cateno De Luca said Messina could only count on 10 intensive care beds, meaning it would be unable to cope with mass infections.
    Elderly people are particularly susceptible to the virus and Italy has the oldest population in Europe, with 23% aged 65 or above. Experts say this might be the reason why the fatality rate here is 6.6% – significantly higher than elsewhere.
    Most Italians appear to be respecting the most severe controls placed on a Western nation since World War Two, with traffic much quieter than usual in major cities, many shops and restaurants closed and only a few flights operating.
    Russia and Slovenia became the latest countries to curb travel from Italy, the worst affected country in Europe, which is increasingly isolated from the outside world.
    An opinion poll by the Ixe agency showed 89% of Italians backed their authorities’ draconian measures, with 78% saying they would support even tougher steps, even though 76% thought the existing ones would have a “grave” impact on the economy.
    Highlighting the human cost of the outbreak, the government said the head of the medical association in the northern city of Varese, 67-year-old Roberto Stella, had died of the virus.
    Economy Minister Roberto Gualtieri said that Italy, which has the second highest debt pile in Europe after Greece, might need help from European Union funds to take some of the burden off its public finances.
    The extra spending announced on Wednesday means Italy’s 2020 budget deficit looks certain to climb above 3% of national output, a ceiling set by EU rules.
    Gualtieri, who last week forecast a deficit of 2.5%, declined on Wednesday to give a new target and warned that Italy’s economy could see a “significant contraction” in full-year 2020 GDP growth.
    He reiterated a pledge that nobody should lose their job as a result of the crisis and said the government was looking at measures to free up bank capital to help support hardpressed companies and families.
($1 = 0.8843 euros)
(Reporting by Giuseppe Fonte, Giulia Segreti, Angelo Amante and Francesca Piscioneri; Writing by Crispian Balmer; Editing by Gavin Jones and Mark Heinrich)

3/11/2020 Two-thirds of Germans may get coronavirus, Merkel says by Paul Carrel and Thomas Escritt
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Health Minister Jens Spahn and a head of the Robert Koch Institute Lothar Wieler
address a news conference on coronavirus in Berlin, Germany, March 11, 2020. REUTERS/Michele Tantussi
    BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany will spend what it takes to tackle the coronavirus which is likely to infect up to 70% of the population in Europe’s largest economy, Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Wednesday.
    “We will do what we need to get through this.    And then at the end we will look at what that means for our budget,” she told reporters, seeming to distance herself from Germany’s policy of no new borrowing.
    Though conceding she did not know how the crisis would develop, Merkel said the risk was huge.
    “When the virus is out there, and the population has no immunity and no vaccination or therapy exists, then a high percentage – experts say 60 to 70% of the population – will be infected, so long as this remains the case,” she said.
    That drew swift criticism from the Czech prime minister who said Merkel’s remarks could cause panic.
    Germany has confirmed three deaths related to the coronavirus.    It has reported 1,567 cases, according to the Robert Koch Institute for disease control.
    The first confirmed case among members of the German parliament was also reported on Wednesday.    The liberal Free Democrats said one of its lawmakers had contracted the virus and his staff had been quarantined.
    Merkel addressed the outbreak that the World Health Organization is now calling a pandemic after mass-selling daily Bild berated her for what it called “the corona chaos.”    “No appearances, no speech, no leadership in the crisis,” it wrote.
    Merkel urged Germans to watch their personal hygiene and contacts, recommending they look each other in the eye “for a second longer” rather than shake hands.
    “We will do what is necessary as a country, and that is also together with Europe,” added the chancellor, who spoke to fellow European Union (EU) leaders and the president of the European Central Bank (ECB) on Tuesday evening.
    “We cannot yet gauge the economic consequences… but we will react,” said Merkel, whose government has promised “timely, targeted” stimulus.
    In a radio interview, Health Minister Jens Spahn said sealing borders, as neighbor Austria has done to Italians, would not work.
    At the news conference with Merkel, he urged Germans to stay away from soccer matches, concerts and clubs, but said he was “very reserved” about blanket closures of nurseries and schools as many public service workers rely on them being open.
    The crisis has drawn attention to Germany’s federal system of government, in which power is devolved to the 16 states and regional authorities.    They must decide for themselves whether to follow Spahn’s advice to cancel events with over 1,000 people.
    Spahn said it was “astonishing” that no decision had been taken to call off a football match between Union Berlin and Bayern Munich scheduled in Berlin on Saturday, though the city later said it would take place behind closed doors.
    “The corona crisis shows that, without clear guidance, federalism in the fight against epidemics is reaching its limits,” Bild wrote.
    Merkel said federalism did not mean anyone could evade responsibility, and that she would meet state premiers on Thursday to coordinate the coronavirus response.
    During Merkel’s news conference, Berlin’s city authorities said they had banned events with more than 1,000 participants until the end of Easter holidays in mid-April.
    Germany’s federal system was agreed by its victorious enemies after World War Two and enshrined in its constitution to avoid a repeat of the centralized power wielded by the Nazis.
(Additional reporting by Madeline Chambers, Michael Nienaber, Thomas Seythal and Joseph Nasr in Berlin, Jan Lopatka in Prague; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne and Toby Chopra)

3/11/2020 U.S. says G7 foreign ministers’ meeting in Pittsburgh to be held by video conference
FILE PHOTO: U.S. State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus attends a press briefing by U.S. Secretary of
State Mike Pompeo at the State Department in Washington, U.S., December 11, 2019. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A meeting of G7 nations’ foreign ministers, which was scheduled to take place in Pittsburgh later this month, will be held by video conference as a precaution, the U.S. State Department said on Wednesday amid the growing coronavirus threat.
    “Out of an abundance of caution, the United States has decided to host the upcoming G7 ministerial virtually by video teleconference instead of gathering in Pittsburgh, March 24-25,” State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said in a statement.
    The coronavirus, which emerged in China in December, has spread around the world, halting industry, bringing flights to a standstill, closing schools and forcing the postponement of sporting events and concerts. Even the Tokyo Summer Olympics are in question.
    The West has watched in shock as infections have ballooned in Italy, Iran, France and Spain after more moderate growth elsewhere.
    The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Wednesday reported 987 cases of the coronavirus, an increase of 291 from its previous count, and said that the number of deaths had risen by four to 29.
(Reporting by Humeyra Pamuk and Doina Chiacu; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Jonathan Oatis)

3/11/2020 Wall Street tumbles, Dow confirms bear market
A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, New York, U.S., March 11, 2020. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly
    NEW YORK (Reuters) – Wall Street plunged on Wednesday, with the Dow confirming a bear market for the first time since the 2008 financial crisis as the World Health Organization called the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic.
    The Dow Jones Industrial Average <.DJI> fell 1,464.63 points, or 5.85%, to 23,553.53, the S&P 500 <.SPX> lost 140.84 points, or 4.89%, to 2,741.39 and the Nasdaq Composite <.IXIC> dropped 392.20 points, or 4.7%, to 7,952.05.
(Reporting by Stephen Culp)

3/11/2020 U.S. crude output growth to slow, oil prices to slump by Scott DiSavino and Stephanie Kelly
    NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. oil production is expected to grow more slowly in 2020 and drop outright in 2021, forecasters said this week after U.S. shale producers cut investment plans further when OPEC and Russia refused to steepen output cuts and prices plunged.
    Forecasters and international agencies have warned that demand will grow more slowly due to the global coronavirus outbreak, and the International Energy Agency (IEA) said oil consumption would actually drop in 2020. The disease has been classified as a pandemic, and a Reuters tally showed more than 119,100 people infected around the world, with about 4,300 deaths.
    The price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia caused oil prices to fall more than 20% this week.
    On Monday, the IEA forecast the first decline in annual demand since 2009, saying the virus outbreak led to a massive, 2.5-million-barrel-per-day contraction for the first quarter.    The agency cut its 2020 forecast and said demand would contract by 90,000 bpd from 2019.
(GRAPHIC: Oil demand slumps in first quarter 2020 –
    The sharp downturn in consumption sparked expectations that major oil producers would limit supplies to keep prices afloat and limit fallout from the virus.    But Russia refused to support steeper oil output cuts called for by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, and instead both former allies said they would raise production.
    On Wednesday, OPEC said it believes demand contracted by roughly 1.8 million bpd in the first quarter, mostly due to China, where the coronavirus began.
    The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) projected lower oil prices would reduce drilling activity this year, causing U.S. production to decline to 12.7 million bpd in 2021.
    “This would be the first year-on-year decline in production since 2016,” EIA Administrator Linda Capuano said after the agency released its short-term energy outlook.
    On Monday, investment bank Stifel projected the U.S. onshore oil rig count, an indication of future production, will likely drop by around 250 rigs this year.    Advisory firm Evercore ISI said that the U.S. rig count will decline more than 25% in 2020.
    There were 682 oil rigs active in the United States in the week ended March 6, according to energy services firm Baker Hughes Co . [RIG/U]
    Stifel projected U.S. production could fall to 11.1 million bpd in 2021 from an expected 12.6 million bpd in 2020.
(GRAPHIC: U.S. crude production in the price war era
    Major banks also have cut their demand and price forecasts.    Goldman Sachs predicted a contraction of 150,000 bpd in global demand, and JBC Energy said coronavirus effects could cut global demand by as much as 500,000 bpd in 2020.
    Bank of America reduced its Brent crude price forecast to $45 a barrel in 2020 from $54 a barrel.
(GRAPHIC: Oil price forecasts dim after price war begins –
(Reporting by Stephanie Kelly and Scott Disavino; Editing by David Gregorio)

3/11/2020 Sanders confirms he will stay in Democrat primary by OAN Newsroom
Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks to reporters
on Wednesday, March 11, 2020, in Burlington, Vt. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
    Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) affirmed he plans to stay in the Democrat primary in his first remarks since losing four states on Tuesday and falling further behind front-runner Joe Biden in the delegate count.
    During a press conference in Burlington, Vermont Wednesday, Sanders said he looks forward to debating Biden on Sunday in Arizona.    He also noted that he plans to press the former vice president on issues such as Medicare for All, energy and immigration.
    Sanders also said Tuesday night was not a good one for his campaign and acknowledged he is losing the argument over electability.    He warned the Democrat establishment that they need to win young voters and speak to issues which concern them.
    The co-chair of the Sander’s campaign, Rep. Ro Khannah (D-Calif.), also acknowledged that “polling and momentum” unquestionably belongs to Biden.    In an interview Wednesday, the congressman said that Sanders’ main competitor had a very strong night following Tuesday’s primaries.
    Biden walked away owning the big prize of Michigan, along with four other primary states.    He led by nearly 150 delegates, but Khannah said Sanders will continue to move forward and push issues like climate change as well as tackling student loans.
    Despite the Sanders campaign’s optimism, many sources have said it’s not enough to beat out Biden completely.

3/11/2020 House Rules Committee releases text of proposed FISA deal by OAN Newsroom
FILE – In this Jan. 24, 2019, file photo, the Capitol at sunset in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)
    House officials have reached a deal to resuscitate several expiring provisions under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.    Congress is racing against the clock to roll out a few key reforms, which were unveiled before the House Rules Committee on Tuesday.
    The first provision would rein in Article 215 of the Patriot Act, which has given the government sweeping authority to collect business records from companies or individuals who have been deemed a threat to national security.
    The lower chamber proposed a tweak to the law, which would stop the government from collecting information that otherwise requires a warrant to procure.    It would also prohibit the government from using the article to collect GPS or cellphone data.
    Another new addition to the act would require the attorney general to explicitly sign off on any decision to surveil government officials.    This came after the inspector general outlined 17 separate instances where the FBI manipulated FISA applications to spy on former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.
FILE – In this Nov. 2, 2017, photo, Carter Page, then-foreign policy adviser to Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential
campaign, speaks with reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
    The bill would also require the government to publicly disclose any significant verdicts reached by FISA courts within 180 days.    This same provision would also increase the legal penalties for misrepresenting or leaking evidence.
    During the Rules Committee meeting, House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) claimed the bill is not without its flaws, but cautioned that we “cannot let the perfect be the enemy of the good.”
    In a rare agreement with Nadler, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) said the provisions are “much needed, but don’t go far enough.”
    “If we just go with the clean reauthorization, that would be so dangerous to the country,” stated Jordan.    “That is why you have to have some reform, and this is a good start.”
    Lawmakers have until March 15th to pass the revisions through the Senate before they expire.

3/11/2020 President Trump: Smart action today will prevent spread of coronavirus tomorrow by OAN Newsroom
President Donald Trump speaks in an address to the nation from the Oval Office at the White House about the
coronavirus Wednesday, March, 11, 2020, in Washington. (Doug Mills/The New York Times via AP, Pool)
    The White House is taking extra precautions in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.    During his Wednesday evening address to the nation, President Trump announced all travel from Europe will be suspended for 30 days beginning on Friday.
    The U.K. will be exempt from this travel ban.    The president also emphasized that trade “will in no way be affected by the 30-day restriction on travel from Europe.”
    “The restriction stops people, not goods,” he added.
    The Department of Homeland Security has provided further details about the ban and stated that “protecting the American people from threats to their safety is the most important job.”
    During his speech, President Trump reiterated that the U.S. took early action to prevent the illness from spreading.    He noted that while the risk remains low to young, healthy people, the virus is very dangerous for elderly people.    He urged nursing homes to suspend all visits that aren’t essential or medically related.
    The White House has also taken steps to keep the economy afloat while the pandemic plays out.
    “Effective immediately, the Small Business Administration (SBA) will begin providing economic loans in affected states and territories.    Using emergency authority, I will be instructing the Treasury Department to defer tax payments, without interest or penalties, for certain individuals and business negatively impacted.    Finally, I am calling on Congress to provide Americans with immediate payroll tax relief.” – Donald Trump, 45th President of the United States
    Health insurance companies have also agreed to waive co-payments for coronavirus patients.

3/11/2020 President Trump meets with Wall Street bankers, GOP lawmakers to discuss economy by OAN Newsroom
Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan, left, and CEO of the Independent Community Bankers of America Rebeca Romero Rainey,
right, listen as President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with banking industry executives
about the coronavirus, at the White House, Wednesday, March 11, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
    President Trump has reaffirmed America’s economic strength and his administration’s ability to mitigate the effects of the fast spreading coronavirus.    On Wednesday, he met with Wall Street bankers at the White House to discuss the virus’s impact on the U.S. and global economy.
    They checked the stock market numbers together, which the president has said were great just days ago.    Despite potential challenges, President Trump remains confident the U.S. will be able to pull through this difficult time.
    “We are going to get the problem solved,” he said.    “The country is so strong, the institutions are so strong…and I know they’ll be helping their customers during this short-term period.”
    Earlier in the week, the president met with GOP lawmakers to come up with a game plan to soften the virus’s blows to the American people.    Senate Democrats have also been working on new legislation to protect working families during this time.
President Donald Trump, center, accompanied by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., left,
Vice President Mike Pence, and Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., arrives to speak with lawmakers during their
policy luncheon, on Capitol Hill, Tuesday, March 10, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
    Sen. Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) said the Democrats have shown support for a new bill, which would ensure all employees immediately receive two weeks of paid sick leave.
    “We want paid sick leave and emergency unemployment insurance,” stated Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.).    “Workers should not have to worry about losing their paychecks because of the impact of coronavirus.”
    President Trump has pitched a zero percent payroll tax rate, which he said would last for the remainder of the year.    He claimed this would put extra cash into people’s pockets and boost the economy.    During his meeting with Republican lawmakers, he also discussed relief for industries hit hardest by the outbreak.
    “We want to protect our shipping industry, our cruise industry,” said the president.    “We want to protect our airline industry, very important.”
President Donald Trump, joined by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, right, speaks to reporters after meeting with
Republican senators, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, March 10, 2020. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
    President Trump encouraged Americans to stay calm and said he’s feeling great about the impending stimulus plan.    He also reaffirmed he’s prepared to use the “full power of the federal government” to deal with the coronavirus.
    He has advised citizens to check the CDC’s website for updates on the virus and follow all recommendations that are available.
    “We have the greatest healthcare system, experts, scientists and doctors anywhere in the world,” he added.    “Together, we will prevail!
President Donald Trump, accompanied by Vice President Mike Pence, speaks to members of the media about the
coronavirus outbreak on Tuesday, March 10, 2020, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

3/11/2020 NBA suspends season after player tests positive for coronavirus by OAN Newsroom
Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert, rear, is separated from Toronto Raptors forward OG Anunoby (3) in the
second half of an NBA basketball game, Monday, March 9, 2020, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
    The National Basketball Association has announced it’s suspending the season after Utah Jazz player Rudy Gobert tested positive for the coronavirus.    The test result was reported shortly before Wednesday night’s game between the Jazz and Oklahoma City Thunder in Oklahoma.
    NBA officials instructed both teams to head back to their locker rooms shortly before tipoff.
    The NBA has said it will use this hiatus to “determine next steps for moving forward” in regard to the pandemic.
Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra speaks during a news conference after an NBA basketball game between
the Heat and the Charlotte Hornets, Wednesday, March 11, 2020, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
    “Our locker room is still stunned.    This is a very serious time right now.    I think the league moved appropriately and prudently, and we’ll all just have to monitor the situation and see where it goes from here.” – Erik Spoelstra, head coach for the NBA’s Miami Heat
    It’s unclear when the season will continue.    According to experts, the NBA’s decision may prompt other sports leagues to consider taking similar measures.

3/11/2020 House moves to bar President Trump from military action in Iran by OAN Newsroom
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., returs to her office after meeting with fellow Democrats,
on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, March 10, 2020. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
    On Wednesday, the House of Representatives passed a new resolution to restrict President Trump’s war powers on Iran.    In a 227 to 186 vote, lawmakers approved a motion to prohibit U.S. military aggression against Iran, unless specifically authorized by Congress.
    Only six Republican lawmakers voted in favor of the measure. The Senate passed a similar resolution last month.
    “A bipartisan majority in both the Senate and House has now made clear that we shouldn’t be engaged in hostilities with Iran without a vote of Congress,” stated Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.).    “If President Trump is serious about his promise to stop endless wars, he will sign this resolution into law.”
    President Trump is expected to veto it and keep pressure on Iran.
    The Democrat-led move came just hours after an attack on the Camp Taji base in Iraq, which left two Americans and one British citizen dead.    Military officials confirmed the rocket attack, which targeted the joint American-British base with more than 15 small rockets on Wednesday.
    As of now, there are about 5,000 American troops in Iraq supporting the nation’s security forces.
    No one has claimed responsibility for the attack. Authorities have said an investigation into the incident is ongoing.

3/11/2020 Republican lawmakers urge House Speaker Pelosi to pull travel ban bill amid coronavirus concerns by OAN Newsroom
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., turns for the podium at the conclusion of a news
conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
    Republican lawmakers have called on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to pull a bill that would effectively rescind President Trump’s 2017 travel ban amid efforts to contain the spread of the deadly coronavirus.
    On Tuesday, House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) urged Pelosi to drop the legislation.    He added Democrats are playing politics with their partisan bill, which has been dubbed the ‘No Ban Act.’
    The Democrat-led bill, which the House is expected to vote on this week, aims to rein in the president’s ability to restrict foreign nationals from entering the U.S.    It would also limit the administration from enacting similar bans in the future.
    Scalise has claimed the bill could impede the administration’s power to vet potential terrorists.    He also stated it could contribute to the spread of the coronavirus by providing pathways for individuals from outbreak ridden countries to enter the U.S.
    The lawmaker went on to say the legislation is not only “bad policy,” but it has the potential to put American lives at risk.
    “The No Ban Act would make it more difficult for the president to keep Americans safe.    Iran is one of the countries we currently have a travel ban on, because they don’t allow us to properly vet that terrorists aren’t coming into our country.    While the No Ban Act may be focused on that, which in and of itself would be bad policy, the president ought to be able to keep potential terrorists from coming into our country.    But now with this outbreak of coronavirus, the president also needs to have all the tools available to limit people coming in from countries with a high propensity of coronavirus.” – Steve Scalise, House Minority Whip
    House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) has doubled down on Scalise’s remarks.    He urged Democrat leadership to refrain from holding a vote on the legislation and argued the overall timing of a vote would be inappropriate.
    “This will harm the ability for this country to continue to keep us safe,” said McCarthy.    “It is the wrong time, wrong place and wrong legislation even to be talking about.”

3/11/2020 Sen. Johnson delays vote on subpoenas in Biden-Ukraine probe by OAN Newsroom
FILE – In this Jan. 30, 2010, file photo, then-Vice President Joe Biden, left, with his son Hunter,
right, at the Duke Georgetown NCAA college basketball game in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass, File)
    The Senate Homeland Security chair has postponed his committee’s vote to issue subpoenas in the ongoing probe into Biden family corruption in Ukraine.    On Wednesday, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) stated he delayed the vote due to the intake of material evidence regarding Joe and Hunter Biden’s wrongdoing in Ukraine.
    He added he has yet to hear from Washington-based lobby Blue Star, which had ties to Ukrainian gas firm Burisma.    It also had ties to both Bidens and members of the Obama-era State Department.
    Johnson previously said he would subpoena a top Blue Star adviser.    The senator recently reaffirmed he would get to the heart of the matter.
    “We’re finally getting documents from the State Department that shows a U.S. based lobby firm, staffed by former Clinton administration officials, really put a strong arm in the State Department to defend what I think everybody now has determined is a pretty corrupt oil company: Burisma,” he explained.    “Hunter Biden just happened to be on the board…and Vice President Biden fired the prosecuting general who was investigating that oil firm.”
    The senator also refuted Democrat claims his probe seeks to derail Joe Biden’s presidential bid.    He added he’s following up on an oversight request that dated back to 2017.

3/12/2020 Oil down $2.00 to $32.85, DOW down 1465 to 23,553.

3/12/2020 So they have moved it up to a pandemic now.

3/12/2020 Trump restricts travel from Europe as coronavirus disrupts life in U.S. by Andrea Shalal and Alexandra Alper
People walk through the international terminal at LAX airport in front of a Korean Air plane
in Los Angeles, California, U.S., amid reports of the coronavirus, March 11, 2020. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Travelers scrambled to rebook flights and global markets reeled on Thursday after U.S. President Donald Trump imposed sweeping restrictions on travel from Europe, hitting battered airlines and further straining ties with the continent.
    Trump ordered travel from Europe to the United States restricted for 30 days, responding to mounting pressure to take action against a rapidly spreading coronavirus outbreak disrupting nearly all corners of U.S. daily life.
    “We are marshaling the full power of the federal government and the private sector to protect the American people,” Trump said in a prime-time televised address from the Oval Office on Wednesday.
    “This is the most aggressive and comprehensive effort to confront a foreign virus in modern history.”
    The travel order, which starts at midnight on Friday, does not apply to Britain, or to Americans undergoing “appropriate screenings,” Trump said.
    After triggering confusion by suggesting trade with Europe would also be suspended, Trump clarified that “trade will in no way be affected.”
    “The restriction stops people not goods,” he said on Twitter moments after his speech.
    The surprise restrictions sent financial markets tumbling, with Euro Stoxx 50 futures plunging 8.3% to their lowest levels since mid-2016. U.S. stock futures were down more than 4%.
    “Already we know the economic impact is significant, and with this additional measure on top it’s just going to multiply the impact across businesses,” said Khoon Goh, head of Asia Research at ANZ in Singapore.    “This is something that markets had not factored in … it’s a huge near-term economic cost.”
    Trump said his government had been in frequent contact with U.S. allies about the restriction, but European Union officials were not notified about it ahead of time, said one diplomat.
    “There was no heads-up, no coordination as the president claimed,” said the diplomat, who was not authorized to speak publicly.
    The restrictions will heap more pressure on airlines already reeling from the coronavirus pandemic, hitting European carriers the hardest, analysts said.
    Washington, D.C., resident Michelle Cravez, 30, who is visiting her brother in Prague, quickly rebooked a ticket home.
    “It quickly became apparent that demand was pushing costs up and seats were going fast,” she said in a Twitter conversation with a Reuters reporter.    “Shortly after, we find out that this ruling may not apply to citizens."
    “Still, with everything so fluid – who knows whether flights start getting canceled – we decided to bite the bullet and book a new itinerary that got us home before the deadline.”
    In an effort to lessen the economic impact of the outbreak and the restrictions, Trump instructed the Treasury Department to defer tax payments without interest or penalties for certain business and individuals hit by the health crisis.
    The president also said he would take emergency action to provide financial relief for workers who are ill, quarantined or caring for others due to coronavirus.    And he said he was directing the Small Business Administration to provide capital and liquidity to firms affected coronavirus, including low-interest loans.
    In Australia, the government said it would pump A$17.6 billion ($11.4 billion) into the economy to try to stop the coronavirus outbreak triggering a recession.
    A senior ruling party lawmaker in Japan said it must brainstorm plans for dealing with canceled or postponed Tokyo Olympic Games, even if that is unlikely.
    Trump’s travel order, which applies to 26 European countries, capped a day of mounting upheavals on the domestic front from the highly contagious respiratory illness, also known as COVID-19.
    In the hard-hit Seattle area, the largest public school district in Washington state announced an unprecedented two-week suspension of all classes.
    The greater Seattle area is the epicenter of the deadliest, and one of the largest, clusters of coronavirus infections in the United States, accounting for the bulk of at least 38 U.S. fatalities from the disease.
    Washington state has documented 373 coronavirus cases, including 30 deaths.    There were 1,311 cases in total in the United States, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally.
    The city of San Francisco banned non-essential social events of 1,000 people or more, and major sports competitions were affected.
    The National Basketball Association said it was suspending the season until further notice after a Utah Jazz player tested positive for the coronavirus while the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) said its wildly popular “March Madness” basketball tournament games would be played in arenas without fans.
    Oscar-winning actor Tom Hanks announced on Twitter that he and his wife, Rita Wilson, had tested positive for coronavirus in Australia, where he was on a film shoot.     New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade would be postponed, following several other cities that have likewise scrubbed their March 17 holiday celebrations.
(Additional reporting by Steve Holland, Susan Heavey, David Lawder, and Richard Cowan in Washington, and Maria Caspani and Michael Erman in New York, Brendan O’Brien in Chicago and Dan Whitcomb in Los Angeles; Writing by Lincoln Feast; Editing by Bill Tarrant, Robert Birsel)

3/12/2020 UK to introduce more stringent measures to tackle coronavirus outbreak
A man wearing a protective mask travels on a tube in London, Britain, March 11, 2020. REUTERS/Marika Kochiashvili
    LONDON (Reuters) – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will chair an emergency meeting on Thursday at which he is expected to approve moving to the “delay phase” of the coronavirus response that includes more stringent measures to counter the outbreak.
    U.S. President Donald Trump imposed sweeping restrictions on travel from Europe on Thursday after Britain and Italy unveiled tens of billions of dollars in stimulus in an attempt to stave off a recession.
    Johnson will chair a meeting of Britain’s emergency committee – known as COBR – on Thursday at around 1315 GMT and is expected to decide to move to the so called “delay phase” from the “contain phase,” a spokesman said.
    The British plan for dealing with the outbreak has three main phases – containment, delay and mitigation.
    In the delay phase, so called social distancing measures such as school closures, more home working and reducing large scale gathering will be considered, though will not necessarily be approved immediately.
    The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus across the United Kingdom rose to 456 as of Wednesday, up from 373 a day earlier.    Eight people in the United Kingdom with the virus have died.
(Reporting by Elizabeth Piper, writing by Elizabeth Howcroft, editing by Guy Faulconbridge)

3/12/2020 President Trump: I’m very happy to run against Joe by OAN Newsroom
President Donald Trump speaks in an address to the nation from the Oval Office at the White House about the
coronavirus Wednesday, March, 11, 2020, in Washington. (Doug Mills/The New York Times via AP, Pool)
    President Trump stated he believes Joe Biden will win the DNC nomination this year.    On Thursday, he said Super Tuesday voting turned out to be a disaster for the Democrat Party.
    “But now we have Joe, and I’m very happy to run against Joe,” he said.
    The president noted he was elected back in 2016 partly due to the Democrats’ policy failures during the previous administration.    He added many Democrat voters had high expectations of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.).
    “(Sanders) He would have won every one of those states, or almost every one of those states: Maine, Massachusetts, Texas.    You take a look at the states that were very close, most of her votes would have gone to him. Had (Warren) she left prior to Super Tuesday, with just a few days, he would have right now been declared, virtually, the winner.    It would have been over.” – Donald Trump, 45th President of the United States
    He added the DNC should have rolled out their candidate sooner rather than later.
Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden arrives to speak about
the coronavirus Thursday, March 12, 2020, in Wilmington, Del. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
    In the meantime, the president has maintained a strong lead over his top Democrat challengers.    New results from a Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa poll showed him beating Biden and Sanders in a match-up on Thursday.
    President Trump received 51 percent support from likely voters, compared to Biden’s 41 percent support.
    The president received 53 percent support in a hypothetical face-off against Sanders, who got 41 percent.    The survey also noted his positive approval among Iowans, which stood at 50 percent.

3/12/2020 GOP lawmakers voice frustration over coronavirus test kit availability by OAN Newsroom
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., speaks to media on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, March, 12, 2020,
as he arrives for a briefing on the coronavirus outbreak. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
    Republican senators have pressured the White House to provide at least 10 million coronavirus test kits and make them available to the public as soon as possible.    On Thursday, some GOP lawmakers expressed frustration after attending a private briefing with senior White House administration officials.
    At the meeting, the senators were informed there is a supply chain problem limiting test availability, due to the kits primarily being manufactured overseas.
    “These things are primarily made outside the United States,” stated Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.).    “i>Either those supplies are being disrupted by factory shutdowns, like in China, or the countries who make them are hoarding them, like India or South Korea.”
    Despite this delay, the House minority leader has said the U.S. will have the virus under>     “At the end of the day, we will get a vaccine.    We’re testing right now for the best treatments and therapies.    We’re taking the actions and the precautions ahead of time to make sure this does not spread.    Whatever we see in front of us, we will overcome and we will solve it.” – Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), House Minority Leader
    Several senators, including Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.), have chosen to voluntarily close their office doors and advised their teams to work from home.

3/12/2020 White House says coronavirus testing for President Trump, Pence not needed by OAN Newsroom
In this March 7, 2020 photo provided by Brazil’s presidential press office, Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro, center, stands with
President Donald Trump, second from left, Vice President Mike Pence, right, and Brazil’s Communications Director Fabio
Wajngarten, behind Trump partially covered, during a dinner in Florida. (Alan Santos/Brazil’s Presidential Press Office via AP)
    President Trump has said he’s not worried over reports that a member of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s delegation recently tested positive for the coronavirus.
    “Let’s put it this way: I am not concerned,” he said.
Image via Fábio Wajngarten’s Instagram account. (Instagram via AP)
    According to reports, Bolsonaro’s communication secretary tested positive on Wednesday after showing flu-like symptoms.    The Brazilian president and his secretary recently returned from Florida, where they met with President Trump to discuss a number of issues.
    President Trump has said he wasn’t sure if the aide was at the meeting, but noted he had a great conversation with Bolsonaro.
    “We sat next to each other for a period of time, had a great conversation,” he said.    “He’s doing a terrific job in Brazil.”
    The Brazilian president, along with other members of his delegation, are reportedly being monitored and tested.    White House officials confirmed President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence had almost no interactions with the secretary and do not currently require testing.
    “The White House is aware of public reports that a member of the Brazilian delegation’s visit to Mar-a-Lago last weekend tested positive for COVID-19.    Exposures from the case are being assessed, which will dictate next steps.    Both the president and vice president had almost no interactions with the individual who tested positive and do not require being tested at this time.” – Stephanie Grisham, White House Press Secretary
FILE – In this March 7, 2020, file photo President Donald Trump shakes hands before a dinner with Brazilian President
Jair Bolsonaro at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Fla. Bolsonaro’s communications director, Fábio Wajngarten, tested positive just
days after traveling with Bolsonaro to a meeting with Trump and senior aides in Florida. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, FIle)

3/12/2020 House Democrats to hold vote on coronavirus package by OAN Newsroom
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., in green, walks down the steps with Rep. Peter King, D-N.Y., Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar,
and Rep. Richard Neal, D-Mass., following a lunch on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, March 12, 2020. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
    House Democrats are set to vote on a sweeping coronavirus package without full support from GOP lawmakers or President Trump.    On Thursday, the lower chamber will vote on the multibillion-dollar legislation, which was finalized this week.
    The package will include free virus testing, paid medical leave and expanded unemployment insurance for the duration of the U.S. outbreak.    It’s unlikely to pass in the Senate without the GOP’s support.
    The House minority leader has voiced his disapproval of the package and stressed the necessity for a bipartisan proposal.
    “Let them look at it, let us get together and put the very best ideas together.    I will promise you that you will find a very bipartisan vote for that, and not one that slows it up by any means.    I think we can get this done in the next 48 hours.” – Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), House Minority Leader
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., left, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., right, bump elbows as they attend
a lunch with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, March 12, 2020. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
    Meanwhile, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has stated disagreements over the bill were not significant.    She added Congress needs to act with an “emergency status.”

3/12/2020 Democrats expected to postpone No Ban Act vote by OAN Newsroom
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., is followed by reporters and staff as she walks back to her office following a
meeting with House Democrats on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, March 11, 2020. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
    House Democrats are expected to hold off voting on the No Ban Act.    The House sought to dismantle the president’s original travel ban this week, but new reports suggested they may be reconsidering.
    This came after Republicans voiced concerns about the ban affecting the containment of the coronavirus.    Many are worried that revoking the president’s ability to limit travel to the United States could have severely adverse effects on public health.
    “The president was able to take quick action to limit the number of people coming in from China that had exposure to coronavirus,” stated Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.).    “The No Ban Act would make it more difficult for the president.”
    The head of the Federation for American Immigration Reform has also called out the Democrats’ new legislation.    He claimed their priorities lie in taking political shots at the president instead of putting the American people first.
    “The American people elected President Trump to make difficult decisions in the name of public safety and the national interest,” said Dan Stein.    “For House Democrats to cripple his power to protect Americans from foreign threats, including terrorists and pandemics, is a shocking dereliction of their duty as elected representatives.”
    However, it is likely that President Trump will veto the bill if it passes.

3/12/2020 ‘Project Python’ targets Mexico’s most dangerous drug cartel, more than 600 arrests made by OAN Newsroom
DEA agents and intelligence analysts take information from field operations as Wendy Woolcok, the special agent in charge of the Drug
Enforcement Administration’s special operations division, top left, stands next to a monitor displaying arrests made across the
country as part of “Project Python” at their command center in Chantilly, Va., Wednesday, March 11, 2020. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
    The Trump administration has scored a significant victory against Mexico’s most dangerous drug cartel.    On Wednesday, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Department of Justice announced the conclusion of ‘Project Python.’
    The operation was a six-month multi-agency enforcement campaign against the Jalisco New Generation cartel also known as the CJNG.    It led to more than 600 arrests with 250 of those on Wednesday alone.    Authorities also conducted significant seizures of illicit drugs and weapons.
    “Cartel de Jalisco New Generation, CJNG, is the single criminal organization most responsible for these deaths on both sides of the border,” stated Bill Bodner, DEA Special Agent in Charge.    “Project Python, which culminated today, was a long term, national synchronized enforcement operation with the goal of disrupting, dismantling and destroying elements of CJNG."
    Although the cartel is a relative newcomer, having been founded in 2009, it has quickly become one of the fastest-growing criminal organizations in the world.    It’s believed to have a presence in 24 of Mexico’s 32 states and frequently carries out acts of extreme violence against both government officials as well as rival cartels.
    “CJNG was targeted primarily for two reasons: the rapid expansion of territory they control in Mexico, which they accomplished through extreme use of violence and intimidation, and their proficiency in driving the production of synthetic drugs in Mexico,” Agent Bodner explained.
    CJNG is also a major contributor to cross-border smuggling and violence in the United States.    It’s estimated to control between one-third and two-thirds of the U.S. drug market with hubs in Los Angeles, New York City, Chicago, Houston and Atlanta.
    “CJNG is responsible for much of the methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin and synthetic opioids that we see on our streets,” said Nick Hanna, U.S. attorney for the Central District of California.    “And they use some of that drug money to buy high-powered weapons in the United States.”
    The Department of Justice has also set its sights on CJNG ‘s presumptive leader Nemesio Oseguera, who is also known as ‘El Mencho.’    The alleged crime boss has been placed at the top of the DEA’s’ most wanted list and a multi-million dollar reward has been offered for information resulting in his capture.
    His son, Ruben Oseguera, who allegedly controlled the cartel’s finances was extradited to the U.S. from Mexico last month to face criminal charges related to drug trafficking.
    The alleged drug lords daughter, Jessica Oseguera, was also arrested last month as she sought to visit her brother in court.    The charges against her have not been made public and she was released on bail last week.

3/12/2020 State Dept. revises worldwide travel advisory to Level 3 by OAN Newsroom
People wait to check in to a flight to Chicago at the United Airlines counter in the main terminal
of Brussels International Airport in Brussels, Thursday, March 12, 2020. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)
    The State Department has reevaluated its travel advisory for U.S. citizens amid the coronavirus outbreak.    On Wednesday, the agency revised its global travel order to Level 3 and urged all Americans to reconsider traveling abroad.
    The update was announced shortly after President Trump issued a 30-day travel restriction on all flights from Europe, which will start on Friday at midnight.    The news has some Americans scrambling to get back home, with only a few hours left before it takes effect.
    The White House and the Pentagon have also suspended tours “out of an abundance of caution.”

    Vice President Mike Pence recently confirmed the U.S. can expect to see “thousands more cases.”    The most recent data lists more than 1,300 cases in the country, with nearly 40 deaths.
White House chief economic adviser Larry Kudlow speaks in the briefing room of the White House in Washington, Tuesday,
March, 10, 2020, about the coronavirus outbreak as U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams, Vice President Mike Pence, Coast Guard
Vice Adm. Daniel Abel, and Dr. Deborah Birx, White House coronavirus response coordinator, listen. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
    Chief White House Economic Adviser Economic Adviser Larry Kudlow has said the president is looking to sign a disaster declaration in response to the outbreak.    On Thursday morning, he suggested a declaration could come as soon as Thursday.
    The declaration will be made through the Stafford Act, which is an amendment to the Disaster Relief Act.    It will allow the federal government to unlock emergency assistance through FEMA to respond to the virus.
    The White House has reportedly been mulling over the move for days in the hopes it could provide more resources to help with the virus response.

3/12/2020 Acting ICE director says it would take 140 years to deport all illegal immigrants from border surge by OAN Newsroom
FILE – In this file photo migrants who are applying for asylum in the United States go through a processing area at a new tent
courtroom at the Migration Protection Protocols Immigration Hearing Facility, in Laredo, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)
    Acting Director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Matt Albence, recently predicted that it would take 140 years to remove all illegal immigrants who came to America over the past two years.
    The official made that remark during a hearing before the House Appropriations Committee Wednesday.    During his testimony, Albence discussed the agency’s efforts in curbing illegal immigration as well as the need for a higher budget.
    The acting ICE director said during the recent border surge the total of non-detained cases have increased to nearly 3.5 million.    The official also discussed the need for additional resources to combat the increase.
    “DHS and ICE continue to grabble with the lasting effects of the border surge,” he stated.    “ICE projects that until fundamental changes are made to the immigration enforcement process, including legislation to address legal loopholes that incentivize high levels of illegal immigration, periodic surges at the border with continue as will unforeseen circumstances that will have a profoundly impact our operational landscape.”

    Albence has asked for $10.4 million for the 2021 fiscal year and an increase in the amount of beds at detention centers.

3/12/2020 Vice President Pence says downplaying seriousness of coronavirus is ‘irresponsible rhetoric’ by OAN Newsroom
Vice President Mike Pence, with, White House coronavirus response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx and administrator
of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Seema Verma, right, speaks to reporters during a briefing on coronavirus
in the Brady press briefing room of the White House, Tuesday, March 10, 2020 in Washington. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
    Vice President Mike Pence has accused people downplaying the seriousness of the coronavirus of “irresponsible rhetoric.”
    During an interview Thursday, the vice president said President Trump has no higher priority than the health and well-being of the nation’s citizens.    He assured the administration will focus on communities that have experienced so-called “community spread” of the virus.
    When asked in a separate interview why the number of tests appear to be going down, he said he doesn’t believe they are and noted that the administration is working on a central reporting site to tally the total number of tests.
    “Your viewers should be encouraged that every state laboratory in America can conduct coronavirus tests today,” he stated during an interview with CNN.    “We’ve also cleared out regulatory barriers to university hospitals and laboratories to be able to conduct tests.”
    Pence also warned the coronavirus is more lethal than the flu, particularly to senior citizens with underlying conditions.    He said the U.S. can expect “thousands of more cases.”    The most recent data listed more than 1,300 cases in the U.S. with nearly 40 deaths.

3/12/2020 Trump authorizes military to respond after deadly attack blamed on Iran-backed militia by Phil Stewart and Idrees Ali
FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump listens to questions from the news media while meeting with Ireland's Prime Minister,
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, U.S., March 12, 2020. REUTERS/Leah Millis
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump has authorized the U.S. military to respond to Wednesday’s rocket attack in Iraq that killed two American troops and a British service member, the Pentagon said on Thursday, blaming Iran-backed militia.
    Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Army General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, stopped short of blaming Iran-backed Kataib Hezbollah or naming any specific militia.
    But they were clear that they believe Iran backed the fighters who carried out the attack, and warned that all options were on the table – language suggesting the United States, Iran and the forces Tehran backs were again on a path toward renewed confrontation inside of Iraq.
    “I have spoken with the president.    He’s given me the authority to do what we need to do, consistent with his guidance,” Esper told reporters at the Pentagon.
    Asked if a U.S. response could include strikes inside Iran, Esper hinted that strikes against the militia itself were the priority.
    “I’m not going to take any option off the table right now, but we are focused on the group – groups – that we believe perpetrated this in Iraq, as the immediate (focus),” he said.
    Trump told reporters at the White House it was not “fully determined it was Iran” and declined to say what the United States might do.
    “We’ll see what the response is,” he said.
    No one has claimed responsibility for the attack and Iran has not commented.
    The United States has repeatedly and publicly warned that killing Americans overseas constituted a red line that would trigger a U.S. response.
    “We gotta hold the perpetrators accountable.    You don’t get to shoot at our bases and kill and wound Americans and get away with it,” Esper said.
    Washington blamed Kataib Hezbollah for a strike in Iraq in December that killed a U.S. contractor, leading to a cycle of tit-for-tat confrontations that culminated in January’s U.S. killing of top Iranian General Qassem Soleimani and a retaliatory Iranian missile attack that left more than 100 U.S. troops with brain injuries.
    Wednesday would have been Soleimani’s 63rd birthday.
    In the latest attack, some 14 U.S.-led coalition personnel were wounded, including American, British, Polish and others.    Private industry contractors were among the wounded.    Milley said five of the wounded were categorized as “urgent,” suggesting serious injuries that could require rapid medical evacuation.
    Britain named its fallen service member as Lance Corporal Brodie Gillon, a 26-year-old with the Irish Guards Battle Group.
    The United States has not yet identified the U.S. service members killed.
    Earlier on Thursday, U.S. Marine General Kenneth McKenzie, head of the military’s Central Command, noted that only Iran-backed Kataib Hezbollah had been known to wage such an attack in the past.
    “While we are still investigating the attack, I will note that the Iranian proxy group Kataib Hezbollah is the only group known to have previously conducted an indirect fire attack of this scale against U.S. and coalition forces in Iraq,” McKenzie told a U.S. Senate hearing.
    The U.S.-led military coalition in Iraq says 18 107 mm Katyusha rockets struck Iraq’s Taji military camp.
    A U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said a total of 30 of the rockets were fired from a nearby truck and that only 18 of them landed at the Iraqi base.
    Milley said the truck yielded evidence about those responsible.
    “We have good indication based on forensics of where (the attack) was fired from, who did the firing and so on and so forth,” Milley said, adding that “we have pretty good confidence we know who did this.”
    In a sign of concern that tensions between the United States and Iran could be headed toward open conflict, the Democratic-led U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation on Wednesday to limit Trump’s ability to wage war against Iran.
    The Republican president has been engaged in a maximum-pressure campaign of renewed sanctions and near-constant rhetoric against Iran, after pulling the United States out of the international nuclear deal reached during the administration of his Democratic predecessor, Barack Obama.
    Tensions between Washington and Tehran have mostly played out on Iraqi soil in recent months.
    Iran-backed paramilitary groups have regularly been rocketing and shelling bases in Iraq that host U.S. forces and the area around the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.
(Reporting by Phil Stewart and Idrees Ali: Additional reporting by Steve Holland, Editing by David Gregorio and Peter Cooney)

3/12/2020 Special Report: Italy and South Korea virus outbreaks reveal disparity in deaths and tactics by Emilio Parodi, Stephen Jewkes, Sangmi Cha and Ju-min Park
FILE PHOTO: A 'no entry' sign advising that the emergency room is closed is seen on the main entrance of the Codogno
hospital amid a coronavirus outbreak in northern Italy, February 22, 2020. REUTERS/Flavio Lo Scalzo/File Photo
    MILAN/SEOUL (Reuters) – In Italy, millions are locked down and more than 1,000 people have died from the coronavirus.    In South Korea, hit by the disease at about the same time, only a few thousand are quarantined and 67 people have died.    As the virus courses through the world, the story of two outbreaks illustrates a coming problem for countries now grappling with an explosion in cases.
    It’s impractical to test every potential patient, but unless the authorities can find a way to see how widespread infection is, their best answer is lockdown.
    Italy started out testing widely, then narrowed the focus so that now, the authorities don’t have to process hundreds of thousands of tests.    But there’s a trade-off: They can’t see what’s coming and are trying to curb the movements of the country’s entire population of 60 million people to contain the disease.    Even Pope Francis, who has a cold and delivered his Sunday blessing over the internet from inside the Vatican, said he felt “caged in the library.”
    Thousands of miles away in South Korea, authorities have a different response to a similar-sized outbreak.    They are testing hundreds of thousands of people for infections and tracking potential carriers like detectives, using cell phone and satellite technology.
    Both countries saw their first cases of the disease called COVID-19 in late January. South Korea has since reported 67 deaths out of nearly 8,000 confirmed cases, after testing more than 222,000 people.    In contrast, Italy has had 1,016 deaths and identified more than 15,000 cases after carrying out more than 73,000 tests on an unspecified number of people.
    Epidemiologists say it is not possible to compare the numbers directly.    But some say the dramatically different outcomes point to an important insight: Aggressive and sustained testing is a powerful tool for fighting the virus.
    Jeremy Konyndyk, a senior policy fellow at the Center for Global Development in Washington, said extensive testing can give countries a better picture of the extent of an outbreak.    When testing in a country is limited, he said, the authorities have to take bolder actions to limit movement of people.
    “I’m uncomfortable with enforced lockdown-type movement restrictions,” he said.    “China did that, but China is able to do that.    China has a population that will comply with that.”
    The democracies of Italy and South Korea are useful case studies for countries such as America, which have had problems setting up testing systems and are weeks behind on the infection curve.    So far, in Japan and the United States particularly, the full scale of the problem is not yet visible.    Germany has not experienced significant testing constraints, but Chancellor Angela Merkel warned her people on Wednesday that since 60% to 70% of the populace is likely to be infected, the only option is containment.
    South Korea, which has a slightly smaller population than Italy at about 50 million people, has around 29,000 people in self-quarantine.    It has imposed lockdowns on some facilities and at least one apartment complex hit hardest by outbreaks.    But so far no entire regions have been cut off.
    Seoul says it is building on lessons learned from an outbreak of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) in 2015 and working to make as much information available as possible to the public. It has embarked on a massive testing program, including people who have very mild illness, or perhaps don’t even have symptoms, but who may be able to infect others.
    This includes enforcing a law that grants the government wide authority to access data: CCTV footage, GPS tracking data from phones and cars, credit card transactions, immigration entry information, and other personal details of people confirmed to have an infectious disease.    The authorities can then make some of this public, so anyone who may have been exposed can get themselves – or their friends and family members – tested.
    In addition to helping work out who to test, South Korea’s data-driven system helps hospitals manage their pipeline of cases.    People found positive are placed in self-quarantine and monitored remotely through a smartphone app, or checked regularly in telephone calls, until a hospital bed becomes available.    When a bed is available, an ambulance picks the person up and takes the patient to a hospital with air-sealed isolation rooms.    All of this, including hospitalization, is free of charge.
    South Korea’s response is not perfect.    While more than 209,000 people have tested negative there, results are still pending on about 18,000 others – an information gap that means there are likely more cases in the pipeline.    The rate of newly confirmed cases has dropped since a peak in mid-February, but the system’s greatest test may still be ahead as authorities try to track and contain new clusters.    South Korea does not have enough protective masks – it has started rationing them – and it is trying to hire more trained staff to process tests and map cases.
    And the approach comes at the cost of some privacy.    South Korea’s system is an intrusive mandatory measure that depends on people surrendering what, for many in Europe and America, would be a fundamental right of privacy.    Unlike China and the island-state of Singapore, which have used similar methods, South Korea is a large democracy with a population that is quick to protest policies it does not like.
    “Disclosing information about patients always comes with privacy infringement issues,” said Choi Jaewook, a preventive medicine professor at Korea University and a senior official at the Korean Medical Association.    Disclosures “should be strictly limited” to patients’ movements, and “it shouldn’t be about their age, their sex, or their employers.”
    Traditional responses such as locking down affected areas and isolating patients can be only modestly effective, and may cause problems in open societies, says South Korea’s Deputy Minister for Health and Welfare Kim Gang-lip. In South Korea’s experience, he told reporters on Monday, lockdowns mean people participate less in tracing contacts they may have had.    “Such an approach,” he said, “is close-minded, coercive, and inflexible.”
    Italy and South Korea are more than 5,000 miles apart, but there are several similarities when it comes to coronavirus.    Both countries’ main outbreaks were initially clustered in smaller cities or towns, rather than in a major metropolis – which meant the disease quickly threatened local health services.    And both involved doctors who decided to ignore testing guidelines.
    Italy’s epidemic kicked off last month.    A local man with flu symptoms was diagnosed after he had told medical staff he had not been to China and discharged himself, said Massimo Lombardo, head of local hospital services in Lodi.
    The diagnosis was only made after the 38-year-old, whose name has only been given as Mattia, returned to the hospital.    Testing guidelines at the time said it was not necessary to test people who had no link to China or other affected areas.    But an anaesthetist pushed the protocols and decided to go ahead and test for COVID-19 anyway, Lombardo said.    Now, some experts in Italy believe Mattia may have been infected through Germany, rather than China.
    Decisions about testing hinge partly on what can be done with people who test positive, at a time when the healthcare system is already under stress.    In Italy at first, regional authorities tested widely and counted all positive results in the published total, even if people did not have symptoms.
    Then, a few days after the patient known as Mattia was found to have COVID-19, Italy changed tack, only testing and announcing cases of people with symptoms.    The authorities said this was the most effective use of resources: The risk of contagion seemed lower from patients with no symptoms, and limited tests help produce reliable results more quickly.    The approach carried risks: People with no symptoms still can be infected and spread the virus.
    On the other hand, the more you test the more you find, so testing in large numbers can put hospital systems under strain, said Massimo Antonelli, director of intensive care at the Fondazione Policlinico Universitario Agostino Gemelli IRCCS in Rome.
    Testing involves elaborate medical processes and follow-up.    “The problem is actively searching for cases,” he said. “It means simply the numbers are big.”
    Italy has a generally efficient health system, according to international studies.    Its universal healthcare receives funding below the European Union average but is comparable with South Korea’s, at 8.9% of GDP against 7.3% in South Korea, according to the World Health Organization.
    Now, that system has been knocked off balance.    Staff are being brought into accident and emergency departments, holidays have been canceled and doctors say they are delaying non-urgent operations to free up intensive care beds.
    Pier Luigi Viale, head of the infectious disease unit at Sant’ Orsola-Malpighi hospital in Bologna, is working around the clock – in three jobs.    His hospital is handling multiple coronavirus cases.    His doctors are shuttling to other hospitals and clinics in the area to lend their expertise and help out with cases.    In addition, his doctors also have to deal with patients with other contagious diseases who are struggling to survive.
    “If it drags on for weeks or months we’ll need more reinforcements,” he told Reuters.
    Last week, the mayor of Castiglione d’Adda, a town of about 5,000 people in Lombardy’s “red zone” which was the first to be locked down, made an urgent online appeal for help.    He said his small town had had to close its hospital and was left with one doctor to treat more than 100 coronavirus patients.    Three of the town’s four doctors were sick or in self quarantine.
    “Doctors and nurses are at the limit,” said a nurse from the hospital where Mattia was taken in.    “If you have to manage people under artificial respiration you have to be watching them constantly, you can’t look after the new cases that come in.”
    Studies so far suggest that every positive case of coronavirus can infect two other people, so local authorities in Lombardy have warned that the region’s hospitals face a serious crisis if the spread continues – not just for COVID-19 patients but also for others whose treatment has been delayed or disrupted.    As the crisis spreads into Italy’s less prosperous south, the problems will be magnified.
    Intensive care facilities face the most intense pressure.    They require specialist staff and expensive equipment and are not set up for mass epidemics.    In total, Italy has around 5,000 intensive care beds.    In the winter months, some of these are already occupied by patients with respiratory problems.    Lombardy and Veneto have just over 1,800 intensive care beds between public and private systems, only some of which can be set aside for COVID-19 patients.
    The government has asked regional authorities to increase the number of intensive care places by 50% and to double the number of beds for respiratory and contagious diseases, while reorganizing staff rosters to ensure adequate staffing.    Some 5,000 respirators have been acquired for intensive care stations, the first of which are due to arrive on Friday, deputy Economy Minister Laura Castelli said.
    The region has already asked nursing institutes to allow students to bring forward their graduation to get more nurses into the system early.    Pools of intensive care specialists and anaesthetists are to be set up, including staff from outside the worst affected regions.
    To add to the burden, hospitals in Italy depend on medical personnel to try to trace the contacts that people who test positive have had with others.    One doctor in Bologna, who asked not to be named, said he had spent a 12-hour day tracing people who had been in contact with just one positive patient, to ensure those who next need testing are found.
    “You can do that if the number of cases remains two to three,” the doctor said.    “But if they grow, something has to give.    The system will implode if we continue to test everyone actively and then have to do all this.”
    In South Korea as in Italy, an early case of COVID-19 was identified when a medical officer followed their intuition, rather than the official guidelines, on testing.
    The country’s first case was a 35-year-old Chinese woman who tested positive on Jan. 20. But the largest outbreak was detected after the 31st patient, a 61-year-old woman from South Korea’s southeastern city of Daegu, was diagnosed on Feb. 18.
    Like the patient named Mattia in Italy, the woman had no known links to Wuhan, the Chinese province where the disease was first identified.    And as in Italy, the doctors’ decision to recommend a test went against guidelines at the time to test people who had been to China or been in contact with a confirmed case, said Korea Medical Association’s Choi Jaewook.
    “Patient 31,” as she became known, was a member of a secretive church which Deputy Minister for Health and Welfare Kim Gang-lip said has since linked to 61% of cases.    Infections spread beyond the congregation after the funeral of a relative of the church’s founder was held at a nearby hospital, and there were several other smaller clusters around the country.
    Once the church cluster was identified, South Korea opened around 50 drive-through testing facilities around the country.
    In empty parking lots, medical staff in protective clothing lean into cars to check their passengers for fever or breathing difficulties, and if needed, collect samples.    The process usually takes about 10 minutes, and people usually receive the results in a text reminding them to wash their hands regularly and wear face masks.
    A total of 117 institutions in South Korea have equipment to conduct the tests, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC).    The numbers fluctuate daily, but an average of 12,000 is possible, and maximum capacity is 20,000 tests a day.    The government pays for tests of people with symptoms, if referred by a doctor.    Otherwise, people who want to be tested can pay up to 170,000 won ($140), said an official at a company called Seegene Inc, which supplies 80% of the country’s kits and says it can test 96 samples at once.
    There are also 130 quarantine officers like Kim Jeong-hwan, who focus on minute details to track potential patients.    The 28-year-old public health doctor spends his whole working days remotely checking up on people who have tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus.
    Kim, who is doing military service, is one of a small army of quarantine officers who track the movements of any potential carriers of the disease by phone, app or the signals sent by cell phones or the black boxes in automobiles.    Their goal: To trace all the contacts people may have had, so they too can be tested.
    “I haven’t seen anyone telling bad lies,” Kim said.    “But lots of people generally don’t remember exactly what they did.”
    Underlining their determination, quarantine officers told Reuters they located five cases after a worker in a small town caught the virus and went to work in a “coin karaoke,” a bar where a machine lets people sing a few songs for a dollar.    At first, the woman, who was showing symptoms, did not tell the officers where she worked, local officials told Reuters.    But they put the puzzle together after questioning her acquaintances and obtaining GPS locations on her mobile device.
    “Now, quarantine officers have maximum power and authority,” said Kim Jun-geun, an official at Changnyeong County who collects information from quarantine officers.
    South Korea’s government also uses location data to customize mass messages sent to cellphones, notifying every resident when and where a nearby case is confirmed.
    Lee Hee-young, a preventative medicine expert who is also running the coronavirus response team in South Korea’s Gyeonggi province, said South Korea has gone some of the way after MERS to increase its infrastructure to respond to infectious diseases.    But she said only 30% of the changes the country needs have happened.    For instance, she said, maintaining a trained workforce and up-to-date infrastructure at smaller hospitals isn’t easy.
    “Until we fix this,” Lee said, “explosions like this can keep blowing up anywhere.”
(Reporting by Emilio Parodi, Stephen Jewkes, Angelo Amante, Sangmi Cha and Ju-min Park; Additional reporting by James Mackenzie in Milan and Josh Smith in Seoul, Julie Steenhuysen in New York; Edited by Sara Ledwith and Jason Szep)

3/12/2020 Italy death toll jumps past 1,000 as Milan bourse nosedives by Crispian Balmer and Francesca Piscioneri
People stand besides a street, on the third day of an unprecedented lockdown across of all Italy imposed
to slow the outbreak of coronavirus, in Naples, Italy March 12, 2020. REUTERS/Ciro de Luca
    ROME (Reuters) – Italy’s death toll from the coronavirus epidemic shot past 1,000 on Thursday as the economic impact worsened, with much of the country at a standstill and the Milan bourse posting its largest ever one-day fall.     Most Italians were stoical in the face of the unprecedented disruption.    “The government is doing its best, we’re in a war against an invisible enemy,” said Rome delicatessen shop owner Roberto Castroni.
    Highlighting the challenge facing Italy, the worst-affected country in Europe, the daily death toll jumped by 189 to 1,016.
    Confirmed cases rose to 15,113 from a previous 12,462, the biggest daily rise in absolute terms since the contagion came to light on Feb. 21 in the wealthy northern region of Lombardy
    In an ever-escalating series of measures to halt the spread, Rome’s Catholic churches were ordered closed on Thursday — an unprecedented move in modern times that will apply to more than 900 parochial and historic churches in the Italian capital.
    History was also made in the Milan bourse, which fell 17% for its worst single-day loss ever, underperforming a generally disastrous global market, as investors fretted over the huge, long-term cost of the coronavirus lockdown.
    The outbreak has turned Italy into a pariah state, with many countries severing transport links, leading to the cancellation of thousands of flights and the closure of some airports.
    Rome demanded that Austria lift “unjustified” controls at their shared border by Thursday evening after spot health checks on truck drivers caused huge tailbacks at the Brenner Pass — a vital Alpine road link.
    “The block on Italian goods vehicles to northern Europe is causing incalculable damage to our exports and to European trade,” business lobby Confindustria said in a statement.
    The streets of major Italian cities were largely empty on Thursday with most people heeding a plea by Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte to stay at home.
    Under the government’s emergency decree all non-essential travel is banned and people have to carry around forms that justify their reason for being on the streets.
    The interior ministry said police had booked some 2,162 people during the day for violating the order.    Seven foreigners were arrested in Rome after being caught playing cards around a table in the open air, Ansa news agency said.
    Those found guilty of infringing the rules face up to three months in prison and a fine of up to 206 euros ($231).    Anyone who has coronavirus and is caught breaking the obligatory 2-week quarantine order faces between one and 12 years in jail.
    So far, Italians has been supportive of the clampdown, with one poll showing more than 80% in favor of the government’s decision.
    “I am convinced these measures are right and will reduce the length of this epidemic,” said Federica Bravi, out shopping for essentials in Rome.    “So at this time, the more sacrifices we make the more likely it will be that we contain this problem.”
(1 = 0.8921 euros)
(Additional reporting by Angelo Amante, Giuseppe Fonte and Gavin Jones in Rome. Elisa Anzolin and James Mackenzie in Milan and Francois Murphy in Vienna; Editing by Mark Heinrich and Toby Chopra)

3/12/2020 Confirmed Dutch coronavirus infections rise 22% to 614: health authorities
Travelers wait to be informed in the departure hall at the KLM Service Desk, as the travel ban for European
countries announced by U.S. President Donald Trump has major consequences for the world of travel and travelers
that have just arrived from U.S., in Schiphol, Netherlands March 12, 2020. REUTERS/Piroschka van de Wouw
    AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – The number of new coronavirus infections in the Netherlands rose 22% to 614 on Thursday, health officials said.
    The bulk of the infections, 273, are in the southern province of Noord-Brabant, the Dutch National Institute for Public Health (RIVM) said in a statement.
(Reporting by Anthony Deutsch; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

3/12/2020 President Trump authorizes military strike on Iranian terror proxy over Camp Taji attack by OAN Newsroom
President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar in the
Oval Office of the White House, Thursday, March 12, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
    President Trump has authorized a U.S. military strike in retaliation for an Iranian-backed attack on American troops in Iraq.    According to the Pentagon, the president has signed off on the use of lethal force against the Shia militia, who was allegedly behind the latest attack on Camp Taji.
    “I have spoken with the president,” stated Defense Secretary Mark Esper.    “He’s given me the authority to do what we need to do, consistent with his guidance.”
    The move came in defiance of the House’s resolution to protect Iran, which passed on Wednesday.    President Trump has declined to specify what the U.S. response would be.
    “We’ll see what the response is,” he said.
    Shortly after the president’s announcement, the U.S. Air Force launched a retaliatory attack against the Iranian-backed terror group in Iraq.    According to news reports, U.S. and coalition jets hit multiple targets in four of the country’s provinces.
    The Defense Department has yet to provide information on the latest aerial operation and its targets.
Defense Secretary Mark Esper speaks during a briefing at the Pentagon in Washington, Monday, March 2, 2020. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
    Two Americans and one British citizen were killed in Wednesday’s attack.    More than two dozen rockets were launched at the facility from a nearby truck, 18 of which reportedly hit the base.    According to the defense secretary, the strike was carried out by an Iranian-backed Shia militia, which targeted coalition troops in the region.
    The two U.S. service members who were killed in the attack have not been publicly identified.    Officials are working to inform their families.
    Earlier in the day, Esper said the U.S. would not tolerate this incident and promised to bring the perpetrators to justice.

3/12/2020 CDC director agrees to pay for COVID-19 testing for all Americans by OAN Newsroom
Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, testifies before
a House Oversight Committee hearing on preparedness for and response to the coronavirus outbreak on
Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, March 11, 2020. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
    Following a heated exchange on Capitol Hill, the head of the CDC agreed that the agency will pay for coronavirus testing for all Americans, even if they don’t have insurance.
    While questioning Director Robert Redfield on Thursday, Rep. Katie Porter (D-Calif.) asked him how much it costs to get someone tested.     She drew out the math in front of him, which came out to more than $1,300 per person in out-of-pocket costs.
    Symptoms for COVID-19 include fever, coughing and shortness of breath.    If you feel like you need to be tested, you’ll need to get a recommendation from a doctor or heath care provider first.
    In the meantime, President Trump has released a series of tips to keep Americans and their families safe from the coronavirus.    In a series of tweets, the president urged everyone to wash their hands upon coming home and continue washing on a regular basis afterwards.
    He noted younger people should avoid unnecessary contact with vulnerable seniors.    He also urged citizens to regularly clean all surfaces and utensils.
    Intensive basic hygiene and avoidance of cash payments will help, while larger gatherings of people should be avoided.
    According to the president, increased ventilation in cars and homes is also a good practice.

3/13/2020 Oil down $2.18 to $30.91, DOW down 2353 to 21,201 and they suspended SEC Tournament?

    NCAA TOURNAMENT ACC TOURNAMENT SEC TOURNAMENT BIG TEN TOURNAMENT KHSAA SWEET 16 MLB SPRING TRAINING NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS, on Thursday, the sports world as we knew it changed as the coronavirus pandemic grew.

3/13/2020 EU to give states spending leeway to tackle virus fallout on economy
FILE PHOTO: European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen holds a news conference
in Brussels, Belgium, March 9, 2020. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir
    BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Commission is set to formally announce on Friday measures that would let EU governments spend more freely to prop up economic sectors battered by the coronavirus crisis, officials said.
    The move would give a green light to deficit spending already announced by Italy, the European Union country worst hit so far by the outbreak.
    It would also offer states traditionally reticent to spend, like Germany, a new argument to unlock financial resources in what could be a coordinated fiscal boost at EU level.
    Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and the vice-president for economic affairs, Valdis Dombrovskis, are set to unveil the widely anticipated measures at a news conference at 1 p.m. (1200 GMT).
    Following an emergency video-conference with EU leaders on Tuesday, von der Leyen has already announced some of the key proposals, which include the use of existing EU funds to help ailing sectors and more flexibility on fiscal rules and state aid regulations for governments.
    Von der Leyen is also expected to propose a plan to provide cheap loans to firms at risk of collapse because of the coronavirus crisis.
    Under EU fiscal rules, the bloc’s governments are required to keep their budget deficit below 3% of gross domestic product (GDP) and have to reduce their debt if it is above 60% of GDP.
    The rules already allow states to spend more in emergency circumstances.    The commission is expected to restate this principle, clearly saying the coronavirus outbreak warrants exceptional spending.
    EU state aid rules limit governments to pour public money into failing companies, but they also allow emergency support under certain circumstances.
    The commission is set to confirm that these subsidy rules will be temporarily relaxed to fight the downturn caused by the virus, after EU antitrust commission Margrethe Vestager said on Tuesday that Brussels was open to compensation for ailing firms.
    During the 2008/09 global financial crisis, a similar softening of fiscal and state subsidy rules allowed governments to spend hundreds of billions of euros to bail out banks and revive the economy.
    For these measures to be effective it is however crucial that governments with larger financial power, like Germany, are willing to spend more and in a coordinated fashion.
(Reporting by Francesco Guarascio @fraguarascio; Editing by John Chalmers)

3/13/2020 Judge orders Chelsea Manning released from jail by Kevin Johnson, USA TODAY
    ALEXANDRIA, Va. – A federal judge Thursday ordered Chelsea Manning released from jail after the former Army intelligence analyst’s yearlong refusal to cooperate with a grand jury investigating WikiLeaks.
    The ruling by U.S. District Judge Anthony Trenga comes as the grand jury’s term expired and a day after Manning attempted suicide at the Alexandria Detention Center, where she has been held since May.    Trenga, however, ordered Manning to pay $256,000 in fines for her refusal to provide testimony in the case.    “Needless to say we are relieved and ask that you respect her privacy while she gets on her feet,” Manning’s legal team said in a statement.
    Manning had been slated to appear for a Friday hearing where attorneys were preparing to argue for her release from civil contempt sanctions.
    Shortly after noon on Wednesday, however, authorities rushed to Manning’s aid after she attempted to take her own life.
    “It was handled appropriately by our professional staff and Ms. Manning is safe,” said Alexandria Sheriff Dana Lawhorne, who oversees the detention center.
    Manning’s attorneys said that throughout her incarceration, she was “unwavering in her refusal to participate in a secret grand jury process that she sees as highly susceptible to abuse.”
    Trenga had said that Manning refused to testify because of a philosophical objection to the use of grand juries and that Manning has persisted in her refusal.
    Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison in 2013 for her role in leaking a cache of classified government material to WikiLeaks.
    At the time, she was known as Bradley Manning.    President Barack Obama commuted her sentence in 2017.

3/13/2020 Trump’s war powers for Iran limited by the House by Deirdre Shesgreen, USA TODAY
    WASHINGTON – The House approved a resolution Wednesday that would bar President Donald Trump from launching a military attack against Iran without explicit congressional authorization.
    The measure now goes to the White House, where Trump is expected to veto it.    The president has said it would undermine U.S. security and “show weakness.”
    Supporters concede they do not have the two-thirds supermajority needed to override a veto.
    But Wednesday’s 227-to-186 vote still marked a rare bipartisan effort to curb Trump’s war powers and underscored lawmakers’ lingering concerns that U.S. tensions with Iran could escalate into a full-fledged war.    Six Republicans joined 220 Democrats in supporting the war powers resolution.    The measure cleared the Senate last month with eight Republicans and all Democrats voting yes.
    “The American people don’t want war with Iran.    The Congress has not authorized war with Iran.    That should be crystal clear,” Rep. Eliot Engel, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said during the House debate.
    Engel, D-N.Y., and other Democrats said Trump brought the United States to the brink of war with Iran when he green-lighted a deadly strike targeting Tehran’s most powerful military leader, Gen. Qasem Soleimani, on Jan. 2.    Iran responded by launching ballistic missiles at an Iraqi air base housing American troops, which left more than 100 service members with traumatic brain injuries.
    “This isn’t deterrence,” Engel said, noting that Iran has also increased its uranium enrichment stockpile.    “We’re now closer to a war with a country that’s closer to possessing a nuclear weapon.”

3/13/2020 Update on the deaths in the U.S.

3/13/2020 U.S. wages retaliatory strikes against Iran-backed militia in Iraq by Phil Stewart and Idrees Ali
FILE PHOTO: The Pentagon logo is seen behind the podium in the briefing room
at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, U.S., January 8, 2020. REUTERS/Al Drago
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States waged a series of precision air strikes on Thursday against an Iran-backed militia in Iraq that it blamed for a major rocket attack a day earlier that killed two American troops and a 26-year-old British soldier.
    The U.S. strikes appeared limited in scope and narrowly tailored, targeting five weapons storage facilities used by Kataib Hezbollah militants, including stores of weaponry for past attacks on U.S.-led coalition troops, the Pentagon said.
    In a statement, Iraq’s military said the U.S. air strikes hit four locations in Iraq that housed formal Iraqi police and military units, in addition to the paramilitary groups.
    Three Iraqi army soldiers were killed and four wounded, police in Babel province said in a statement.    Five paramilitary fighters and one policeman were also injured, they said, adding that the fate of two more policemen was unknown.
    One strike hit an Iraqi civilian airport under construction in the holy Shi’ite Muslim city of Kerbala and killed a worker, Iraqi religious authorities said on Friday.
    The U.S. military did not estimate how many people in Iraq may have been killed in the strikes, which officials said were carried out by piloted aircraft.
    But there was no sign of the kind of high-profile killing that President Donald Trump authorized in January, when the United States targeted a top Iranian general, Qassem Soleimani.
    U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper, in a Pentagon statement detailing the strikes, cautioned that the United States was prepared to respond again, if needed.
    “We will take any action necessary to protect our forces in Iraq and the region,” Esper said.
    Trump had been quick to authorize the U.S. military to respond following Wednesday’s attack in Iraq, in which militants fired dozens of 107 mm Katyusha rockets from a truck, striking Iraq’s Taji military camp north of Baghdad.
    About 18 of the roughly 30 rockets fired hit the base.    No one has claimed responsibility for the attack.
    It was the third time in recent months the U.S. military lashed out against Kataib Hezbollah.    It killed more than two dozen militants in December in response to an attack on an Iraqi base that killed a U.S. contractor.
    The U.S. military drone strike in January that targeted Soleimani also killed Kataib Hezbollah founder Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.
    It was unclear if the latest strikes would deter further militant action.    The Taji rocket attack took place on what would have been Soleimani’s 63rd birthday, suggesting the militants still sought revenge.
    Dennis Ross, a former U.S. ambassador now at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy think tank, cast doubt on the Pentagon’s ability to deter Kataib Hezbollah.
    “Regrettably, these attacks on our forces will continue as Iran has no problem fighting to the last of the Shia militias and believe they can force us out of Iraq,” he said on Twitter.
    Iran retaliated for the U.S. drone strike that killed Soleimani by launching missiles from its territory at an Iraq base hosting U.S. troops, causing brain injuries to more than 100.
    In the latest attack, 14 U.S.-led coalition personnel were wounded, including American, British, Polish and other nationals. Private-industry contractors were among the wounded.
    U.S. Army General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told Pentagon reporters that five of the wounded were categorized as “urgent,” suggesting serious injuries that could require rapid medical evacuation.
    Britain identified its fallen service member as Lance Corporal Brodie Gillon.    The United States has not yet identified its service members killed.
    In a sign of concern that tension between the United States and Iran could be headed toward open conflict, the Democratic-led U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation on Wednesday to limit Trump’s ability to wage war against Iran.
    The Republican president has been engaged in a maximum-pressure campaign of renewed sanctions and near-constant rhetoric against Iran, after pulling the United States out of the international nuclear deal struck under his Democratic predecessor, Barack Obama.
    Tensions between Washington and Tehran have mostly played out on Iraqi soil in recent months.
    Iran-backed paramilitary groups have regularly been rocketing and shelling bases in Iraq that host U.S. forces and the area around the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.
(Reporting by Phil Stewart and Idrees Ali; Additional reporting by Ahmed Rasheed and Ulf Laessing in Baghdad, Ali Rubei in Babel; Editing by Leslie Adler and Peter Cooney)

3/13/2020 President Trump may veto House surveillance bill by OAN Newsroom
President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar in the
Oval Office of the White House, Thursday, March 12, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
    President Trump suggested he may veto a House surveillance bill over concerns it doesn’t do enough to tackle problems with FISA courts.
    According to reports Thursday, the president told Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) he may kill the legislation if it comes to his desk.    His comments came as the bill is set to temporarily expire on Sunday.
    The Trump administration has fought in recent months to change the FISA process.    Officials have said the court does not do enough to protect the privacy rights of the people targeted by its warrants. The Senate now hopes to pass the legislation sometime early next week.
    Senior Republican officials have given their blessing to the proposed FISA reform deal.    On Wednesday, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) released a joint statement in which they called the legislation needed and balanced.
    The legislation, if enacted., would revise three key provisions in the current FISA deal that will expire at the beginning of next week.
    During a speech on the House floor, congressman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) acknowledged the deal could go further, but said the new proposals “address the abuses of 2016 without jeopardizing resources that keep Americans safe.”
File – Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) asks questions to former special counsel Robert Mueller, as he testifies
before the House Judiciary Committee hearing on his report on Russian election interference,
on Capitol Hill, in Washington, Wednesday, July 24, 2019. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
    In a tweet Thursday, however, President Trump indicated he’s not so keen on signing off.
    He was referring to the 2019 Inspector General report, where the Michael Horowitz exposed FBI officials for manipulating FISA applications multiple times in order to illegally surveil Trump campaign officials.
    The president’s remarks came one day after reports emerged suggesting Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) were urging him against signing the legislation.
[I do not think we should pass the bill until all the individuals who abused the FISA warrants are brought to justice to let them know that they have violated the trust of the Americans to do the right thing not the items the Globalist want them to do whether it is their actions or themselves but to bring out the persons who caused it to happen.].

3/13/2020 NIH official praises travel bans as ‘smart move’ by OAN Newsroom
Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health
Dr. Anthony Fauci talks to reporters on the North Lawn outside the West Wing at the White House,
Thursday, March 12, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
    A top U.S. health officials has said the country is “ahead of the curve” thanks to President Trump’s recent travel bans amid the coronavirus outbreak.
    In an interview Friday, Dr. Anthony Fauci noted that Italy is seeing a high number of cases because it didn’t prevent an influx of infected individuals.    He said if a country takes aggressive measures while the number of cases are still low then the nation will still see sick and dying people, but far fewer than in other countries.
    The Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIH) also said the early travel ban on people from China, followed by the European ban, was a “very smart move.”
    “Today, the new China is Europe because Europe now is the major element, the major geographic component that is now seeding other countries throughout the world,” he stated.    “That’s the reason we made the very difficult, but appropriate, decision to have a travel ban on the European countries.”
    Dr. Fauci added that at this point the U.S. should focus on internal mitigation efforts like separating from large crowds or working from home.    In a separate interview, he warned the disruptions to everyday life in the U.S. could last up to eight weeks.

3/13/2020 White House considers changing all-male draft to include women by OAN Newsroom
File – U.S. Army Pfc. Amy Alexanders dresses in her Marine Standard battle gear
before taking part in a physical demands study in Ft. Stewart, Ga. (AP Photo)
    While the U.S. stopped drafting men into the military in 1973, the issue of whether men and women should be subjected to it is still alive.
    According to reports Thursday, the Trump administration has considered ending the nation’s all-male draft system by opening it up to include women.
    The move by the White House comes as the administration has been looking for new ways to get Americans excited about military careers.    According to military officials, recruiting has been a challenge with the robust economy as the unemployment rate is under 4 percent.
    In 1981, the Supreme Court had ruled the male-only draft was constitutional.    Despite the draft not currently being implemented, millions of men are required to fill out their selective service card when they reach the age of 18.
    At the same time, the National Coalition for Men is currently challenging the constitutionality of male-only registration in the selective service system in federal court.    The coalition has argued the 1981 ruling is unconstitutional and discriminatory.    They have claimed women should be part of the draft.
    A number of other officials believe drafting women into service would give the U.S. significant advantage.
    “Think about it, women comprise 51 percent of the U.S. population and yet for so long we have limited the talent pool to just men,” stated Lt. Col. Kate Germano (RET. Marine).    “Opening up the doors to women in all of these new jobs and all of these capacities really opens the U.S. up to greater talent.”
    Meanwhile, others have recommended women should be allowed to volunteer, but not be subject to the draft.    The discussion over the controversial topic is likely to continue until the National Commission on Military releases its final report and recommendations for the draft later this month.

3/13/2020 Wall Street surges after a week of losses amid coronavirus by OAN Newsroom
Traders work at the New York Stock Exchange, Friday, March 13, 2020. Stocks are opening
sharply higher on Wall Street a day after the worst drop since 1987.(AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
    Wall Street surged, following the worst single day drop since 1987’s Black Friday.    All three major indexes surged more than 6 percent at Friday’s open.
    This rise was sparked by optimism President Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi may have reached a deal to combat the coronavirus.    This followed a dramatic fall on Wall Street Thursday amid continued uncertainty surrounding the outbreak.
    In an interview Friday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the Trump administration is doing everything it can to quell investors’ fears.
    The yield on the 10 year treasury note also bounced back more than eight points to nearly 1 percent, which is the highest level since March 5, 2020.

3/13/2020 President Trump declares nat’l emergency over coronavirus, announces $50B in federal funds to combat outbreak by OAN Newsroom
President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference about the coronavirus in the
Rose Garden of the White House, Friday, March 13, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
    President Trump has declared a national emergency as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.    During Friday’s press conference at the White House, the president invoked the Stafford Act, which will free up funding to combat the virus.
    “To unleash the full power of the federal government in this effort, today I am officially declaring a national emergency,” he said.    “The action I am taking will open up access to up to $50 billion for states, territories and localities in our shared fight against this disease.”
    The president has asked hospitals to activate emergency preparedness plans to better handle the outbreak.    He also announced a partnership with the private sector to increase the availability of testing for COVID-19 nationwide.
    There will also be drive-thru tests implemented in critical areas.    In addition to this, the coronavirus task force is looking to achieve test results within 24 hours.    Up to half a million additional tests are expected to be available as early as next week.
    “This will pass through, and we will be even stronger for it,” reiterated the president.
LHC Group’s Bruce Greenstein elbow bumps with President Donald Trump during a news conference about the coronavirus
in the Rose Garden at the White House, Friday, March 13, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
    President Trump has also pushed for a payroll tax cut, which could stave off the economic impacts of the coronavirus.    Earlier in the day, the president said this is the most meaningful way to get money into the hands of Americans quickly and efficiently.
    He added American workers should get the full money they deserve.    During his address to the nation earlier this week, he called on lawmakers to help make this happen.
    “I’m calling on Congress to provide Americans with immediate payroll tax relief,” stated President Trump.    “Hopefully, they will consider this very strongly.”
    He added the payroll tax cut should last until the end of the year.
President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference about the coronavirus in the
Rose Garden at the White House, Friday, March 13, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

3/13/2020 Irish contingency plans include coronavirus patients in hotel beds
Empty shelves are pictured at a store in Lurgan, Northern Ireland, March 12, 2020 in
this picture obtained by Reuters from social media. @staticjay_ni via REUTERS
    DUBLIN (Reuters) – Ireland’s contingency plans to fight the coronavirus if the outbreak becomes significantly worse includes seeking additional bed capacity in hotels, the country’s health service provision chief said on Friday.
    Ireland shut schools, universities and childcare facilities until at least March 29 on Friday and restricted mass gathering to slow the spread of the virus.    The number of confirmed cases rose to 90 from 70 on Thursday.
    The kissing of the Blarney Stone, one of Ireland’s oldest tourist traditions, was also suspended for the first time in its more than 200-year history on Friday due to the outbreak.
    Ireland’s Health Service Executive (HSE) said it had spoken to hotel operators about its potential need for beds, even though it did not envisage having go to such lengths to boost its capacity. The hospitality sector is operating below capacity since the collapse of travel as a result of the global pandemic.
    “We have very significant offers from the hotel sector and that gives us great contingency,” HSE Chief Executive Paul Reid told a news conference.
    On Monday, Ireland canceled all St. Patrick’s Day parades which draw hundreds of thousands of revelers each March and the tradition of being lowered down to kiss County Cork’s Blarney Stone was the latest tourist attraction to be closed on Friday.
    “This is a necessary step in the current climate and for the first time in its history no one will be kissing the Blarney Stone,” owner Charles Colthurst said on the Facebook page of Blarney Castle, which remains open to visitors.
    The new curbs in Ireland sent shoppers rushing to supermarkets for the second straight day despite government pleas not to panic buy and left large parts of Dublin deserted.    Daily trips on public transport across the country were down 15-20% in recent days, the National Transport Authority said.
    Health officials also urged parents to avoid organizing play dates for groups of young children while they are off school, saying the impact of the new restrictions will not be as effective as they need to be if children continue to mix.
(Reporting by Padraic Halpin; Editing by Frances Kerry and Chizu Nomiyama)

3/13/2020 Spain declares emergency as coronavirus shuts down parades, schools, shops by Belén Carreño and Jesús Aguado
A couple wear protective face masks as they walk in unusually quiet Postas street
in central Madrid, Spain, March 13, 2020. REUTERS/Sergio Perez
    MADRID (Reuters) – Spain said it would declare a 15-day state of emergency from Saturday, signaling a sharp escalation in its fight against the coronavirus, as some regions shut shops, car plants ground to a halt and church authorities canceled some Easter parades.
    Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said the number of cases could top 10,000 by next week – more than double the current level – and asked citizens to play their part.
    “Heroism is also washing your hands and staying home,” Sanchez said in a televised address to the nation on Friday.    “Victory depends on every one of us, in our home, our family, our work, our neighborhood.”
    Spain has the second-highest number of coronavirus cases in Europe after Italy.    The current Spanish tally stands at 4,231, up about 1,000 cases from Thursday and seven times as many as on Sunday.    About 120 people have died.
    Sanchez did not spell out what emergency powers he would use, or what help shut-down businesses would get.    The order allows the government to confine people, ration supplies and requisition factories and buildings, apart from private homes.
    Madrid’s regional government said in a statement that starting at midnight (2300 GMT) and until at least March 26, bars, restaurants and shops, except for food shops, petrol stations and others selling essential items, would be closed to the public.
    Bars and restaurants would still be able to provide home delivery services or have food picked up at the premises.
    Earlier on Friday, Catalonia, Spain’s second-richest region, ordered the closure of gyms, nightclubs and shopping centers, apart from ones selling food.
    Meanwhile, the region of Murcia in the southeast announced a 14-day lockdown of seven coastal tourist towns.    Regional chief Fernando Lopez     Miras pinned the blame for the “drastic” measure on the irresponsibility of people who had “treated quarantine as a holiday” and come to the coast from other regions.
    The move would affect some 376,000 people, local media said.
    The restrictions have also reached deep into Spanish culture.    Church authorities canceled Holy Week processions in Spain’s largest northwestern city, Valladolid, and on the island of Mallorca.    The events, which this year are due to start in early April, usually draw crowds of believers and tourists.
    Madrid, which accounts for half of Spain’s coronavirus cases, was unusually quiet on Friday, with shops, streets and cafes largely deserted.
    The decision by regional authorities to close bars and shops – apart from supermarkets and pharmacies – in the capital and the surrounding region from Saturday was met with dismay and confusion by some workers in the sector.
    “It is a disaster for employers and workers,” 39-year old Mustafa Elkeneski, a waiter in a cafe in the center of the city.
    “We don’t know how it will work out.    The issue of pay is up in the air.”
    Schools have already closed across Spain, as have cinemas, theaters and playgrounds.    Several regions have suspended trials.
    Supply problems due to the outbreak prompted some Spanish plants of the Renault-Nissan alliance and Volkswagen’s Spanish division Seat to announce temporary stoppages on Friday that could last for days or weeks. [L8N2B66L1]
    Catalan authorities on Thursday locked down four towns around the village of Igualada – 49 km (30 miles) north of Barcelona – after an outbreak in the area, the first large-scale action of its kind in Spain.
    The government and regional authorities started ramping up measures on Monday, including banning flights from Italy and giving small and medium businesses a moratorium on paying taxes.
(Reporting by Belen Carreno, Emma Pinedo, Clara-Laeila Laudette, Joan Faus, Andrei Khalip and Jessica Jones; Writing by Ingrid Melander; Editing by Catherine Evans, Andrew Heavens and Daniel Wallis)

3/13/2020 Germany to shut most schools to slow coronavirus spread
Bavarian State Premier Markus Soeder and Bavarian state minister for health and nursing Melanie Huml address a news conference
to update on coronavirus COVID 19 measures for Bavaria in Munich, Germany, March 13, 2020. REUTERS/Andreas Gebert
    BERLIN (Reuters) – Schools and kindergartens will be shut in most German states until after the Easter holiday in April, a measure designed to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
    “The challenge is immense,” Bavarian state premier Markus Soeder told a news conference.
    “As of next Monday the schools and children’s day-care centers will be closed – this will apply provisionally until the end of the Easter holidays, that is until April 20,” he said, adding the authorities would then take stock of the situation.
    Ten other states, including North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany’s most populous region, have taken similar measures as the number of confirmed cases across the nation jumped by 671 to 3,062.
    In Berlin, schools and day-care centers will gradually shut down starting on Monday and public transport will be reduced to a minimum, Mayor Michael Mueller said.
    Calls have been growing for Germany to follow the bulk of its European neighbors in shuttering schools to help slow the spread of the virus.     The country’s highly devolved system means only regional governments can make that call.
    Health Minister Jens Spahn urged hospitals in a letter to recall retired medical staff and retrain them in case medical facilities become overwhelmed by a large number of patients needing hospitalization, Bild newspaper reported.
    He also urged hospitals to be ready to prepare medical students for a possible role in caring for coronavirus patients.
    Germany’s states have agreed that public gatherings of more than 100 people should not go ahead.    Municipal elections on Sunday in the southern state of Bavaria would go ahead.
(Reporting by Thomas Escritt and Paul Carrel; Writing by Joseph Nasr; Editing by Alison Williams and Edmund Blair)

3/13/2020 Sen. Bernie Sanders’ campaign significantly impacted by virus by OAN Newsroom
Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks to reporters about
coronavirus Thursday March 12, 2020, in Burlington, Vt. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
    Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (D-Vt.) presidential campaign has been affected by the coronavirus outbreak.    On Friday, the 2020 hopeful addressed the virus’s impact, which included the cancellation of rallies and communication difficulties within his campaign.
    “We are in the process of thinking this through, but this coronavirus has obviously impacted our ability to communicate with people in the traditional way that we do, and that’s hurting,” he said.
    Sanders has called the virus a “red flag in the nation’s healthcare system” and took the opportunity to push his ‘Medicare for All’ policy.
    His campaign recently cancelled large events and asked staffers to work from home because of the virus.
    “Out of concern for public health and safety, we are canceling tonight’s rally in Cleveland.    We are heeding the public warnings from Ohio state officials, who have communicated concern about holding large, indoor events during the coronavirus outbreak.    Sen. Sanders would like to express his regret to the thousands of Ohioans who had planned to attend the event tonight.    All future Bernie 2020 events will be evaluated on a case by case basis.” – Mike Casca, Sanders campaign spokesperson
    Sanders is set to return to the Senate next week.
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., greets supporters as he walks off stage after
speaking during a campaign rally Monday, March 9, 2020, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

3/13/2020 Acting ICE director slams Chicago mayor over sanctuary city policies by OAN Newsroom
Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Matt Albence speaks in the Briefing Room
at the White House in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
    The head of ICE slammed Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot over her continued support for the city’s sanctuary policy, which he has said allowed an illegal alien to sexually assault a toddler.    During an interview this week, Director Matthew Albence called out Lightfoot for demonizing ICE officials and refusing to cooperate with its procedures.
    The Democrat mayor recently blamed the agency for politicizing the sexual assault of a 3-year-old girl by convicted felon Christopher Puente just last month.    Puente was arrested for theft in June of 2019, but instead of being turned over to ICE officials, he was released due to Chicago’s sanctuary city policy.
    Albence called light foot’s remarks the height of hypocrisy.    He has constantly condemned sanctuary cities for hurting Americans that he and the agency are trying to protect.
    “As a law enforcement officer, we work every day to ensure the safety of those in the communities we serve,” he said.    “There’s no worse feeling than when those innocent citizens you’ve sworn to protect are needlessly harmed.”
    Under sanctuary city policies, local law enforcement have ignored detainers from ICE, which request that they be notified when illegal aliens are released from custody.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot provides an update on the city’s response to the coronavirus, including the cancellation
of the St.Patrick’s Day Parade, during a a news conference in Chicago, Wednesday, March 11, 2020.
Chicago’s parade had been scheduled for Saturday, ahead of St. Patrick’s Day. (AP Photo/Teresa Crawford)
    Meanwhile, the mayor has remained adamant that the city of Chicago will not cooperate with the agency.
    “They’re critical because we have said very clearly we are a welcoming city, we are a sanctuary city,” stated Lightfoot.    “Chicago Police Department will not cooperate with ICE on any immigration related business.”
    She has received immense criticism from officials within her own city.
    “If the city of Chicago would honor immigration detainers, that sexual assault would have never occurred,” said Chicago ICE Director Robert Guadian.
    Despite growing concern, a number of cities and states across the nation have implemented sanctuary policies.    Proponents have claimed it encourages illegal immigrants who are victims or witnesses of crimes to promote safety.
    However, Albence has stated the city’s inability to cooperate only allows criminals like Puente to strike again.

3/13/2020 Los Angeles activists sue city for negligence towards homeless population by OAN Newsroom
Elizabeth Mitchell, an attorney for the Los Angeles Alliance for Human Rights, announces the filing of a federal lawsuit at the Midnight
Mission in Los Angeles Tuesday, March 10, 2020, that seeks to force Los Angeles officials to provide thousands of shelter beds in an
effort to stem what it described as the unfolding “human tragedy” of people living in squalor on the streets. (AP Photo/Christopher Weber)
    California activists have sued the city of Los Angeles to provide more beds and services for thousands of homeless people.    The Los Angeles Alliance for Human Rights filed the lawsuit this week, which accused the city of negligence towards the homeless population.
    The group cited unsanitary conditions on streets as well as untreated diseases and mental illnesses.
    Nearly 60,000 homeless people reside in Los Angeles.    The suit alleged that about 75 percent of them remain unsheltered.
Anthony Colebar of Decatur, Ill., who is homeless and was shot in the face with a shotgun, shows his scar in a rainstorm
outside his camp overlooking downtown Los Angeles, Thursday, March 12, 2020. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
    According to attorney Elizabeth Mitchell, city officials have invested in expensive programs that are outpaced by the rising death toll of homeless people.
    “The solutions produced by our civic leaders are too few, too expensive, and they take too long,” she said.
    The lawsuit recommended a number of measures to help combat the problem, such as shared housing complexes and 3D printed homes.
People try to stay warm as they face the elements inside a homeless encampment flooded under a rainstorm
across the Echo Park Lake in Los Angeles, Thursday, March 12, 2020. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
    Mitchell suggested that the group’s decision to turn to the courts could offer more accountability, rather than fighting with lawmakers.
    “We have current and formerly homeless folks standing together with residents, small businesses and community leaders to really stand up and tell the city, the county this needs to change,” stated the attorney.
    The mayor confirmed the city attorney will review the lawsuit, but has insisted officials are responding to the problem as quickly as possible.
FILE – In this Sept. 19, 2017, file photo, people line up for free food being given out
in an area of downtown Los Angeles known as Skid Row. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

3/13/2020 K-12 schools across 6 states close amid outbreak by OAN Newsroom
Childern board a school bus after school was adjourned at the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary School
for Science and Technology in New Orleans, Friday, March 13, 2020. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
    K-12 schools across six states have been temporarily closed as the nation works to stop the spread of the coronavirus.    As of Friday, schools in Ohio, Maryland, Oregon, New Mexico, Michigan, West Virginia and Washington D.C. announced they will close for the next few weeks.
    The news came on the same day San Diego and Los Angeles announced they would also shutter schools at the start of next week.
    The superintendent for the Los Angeles Unified School District spoke out on the decision during a recent press conference.
    “What we have to do is look at the balance between mitigating and reducing the spread in the community.    This is the balance for us, we can control our school environment.    As others have referred, this is a collaborative effort with the city and the county in the state.    It is our judgment this is the best thing we can do to keep our school community safe.” – Austin Beutner Superintendent of L.A. Unified School District
School buses begin arriving to pick up meals on Thursday, March 12, 2020 in Bothell, Wash. (Olivia Vanni /The Herald via AP)
    A Thursday report by Education Week Magazine found that over 10,000 schools in the U.S. have closed or are scheduled to close in the coming days.
    This was estimated to impact around 4.9 million students across the country.
School Resource Officer Donald Lee locks the gates of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary School for Science
and Technology, after all the students left, in New Orleans, Friday, March 13, 2020. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

3/14/2020 Oil up $0.89 to $31.88, DOW up 1985 to 23,186 after Trump announces National Emergency to combat COVID19.

3/14/2020 As coronavirus chaos spreads globally, Trump declares U.S. emergency by Jeff Mason and Stephanie Nebehay
A woman wears a protective mask as she waits to pay at a supermarket during an outbreak
of the coronavirus (COVID-19), in Mexico City, Mexico March 12, 2020. REUTERS/Gustavo Graf
    WASHINGTON/GENEVA (Reuters) – President Donald Trump declared a U.S. national emergency over the quickly spreading coronavirus on Friday, opening the door to more government aid to combat a pathogen that has infected more than 138,000 people worldwide and left over 5,000 dead.
    The impact of the coronavirus on everyday life deepened around the world.    It was detected for the first time in several countries, with the World Health Organization (WHO) calling Europe the pandemic’s current epicenter.    More schools and businesses closed, the global sporting calendar was left in tatters, and people faced greater restrictions on where they could go.
    “To unleash the full power of the federal government to this effort today, I am officially declaring a national emergency – two very big words,” Trump said in remarks at the White House Rose Garden, adding that the U.S. situation could worsen and “the next eight weeks are critical.”
    Trump, whose action makes available $50 billion in federal aid to states and localities, had faced criticism from some experts for being slow and ineffective in his response to the crisis and playing down the threat.
    The latest steps came two days after Trump announced travel restrictions blocking U.S. entry for most people from continental Europe.    While     Britain was among the countries exempted, Trump said on Friday that might change because infections there had risen “precipitously.”
    The president, who was photographed last Saturday at his private Florida club with a Brazilian official who has tested positive for the coronavirus, said he himself likely would be tested “fairly soon,” a reversal of his previous stance.    But Trump, 73, said he did not plan to isolate himself, noting he was suffering no symptoms.
    Travel bans have hammered airlines and travel companies worldwide, while financial markets have been hit by panic selling this week.
    The three major U.S. stock indexes rallied more than 9% on Friday, rebounding from Wall Street’s biggest daily drop since 1987.    But the indexes were still about 20% below record highs hit in mid-February.
    WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Europe now had more reported cases and deaths than the rest of world combined, apart from China, where the coronavirus originated but where new cases have slowed to a trickle.    The WHO called the death toll reaching 5,000 globally “a tragic milestone.”
    The WHO’s top emergency expert, Mike Ryan, said social distancing was a “tried and tested method” to slow the spread of a virus but “not a panacea” that would stop transmission.
    “Blanket travel measures in their own right will do nothing to protect an individual state,” Ryan said.
    More cultural landmarks were shuttered to try to stop the spread of the virus.    In Paris, the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre museum and the Moulin Rouge cabaret closed their doors.    The Smithsonian museums in Washington were preparing to do so on Saturday and Broadway theaters in New York went dark.
    The kissing of the Blarney Stone, one of Ireland’s oldest tourist traditions, was suspended.
    Central banks worldwide acted to shore up money markets after cratering share prices drove a rush for cash, hitting many regional currencies and threatening a surge in short-term borrowing costs.
    In China, which bore the brunt of the economic fallout from the coronavirus in the first few months of 2020, authorities late on Friday cut banks’ reserve requirements for the second time this year.
    The U.S. Federal Reserve followed suit with $37 billion of Treasury bond purchases, accelerating the enhanced market liquidity measures announced on Thursday.
    Japan’s central bank pledged to buy 200 billion yen ($1.90 billion) of five- to 10-year Japanese government bonds and also inject an additional 1.5 trillion yen in two-week loans.
    The European Union proposed a 37 billion euro ($41 billion)investment initiative as part of a package to cushion the bloc’s economies from the coronavirus impact.
    In Italy, which after China has been hardest hit by the respiratory illness, the death toll jumped by 250 to 1,266 in the last 24 hours, authorities said.    The total number of cases also rose to 17,660 from a previous 15,113, despite draconian measures to restrict the movement of people.
    In the northern region of Lombardy, at the heart of Italy’s coronavirus epidemic, authorities asked for even stricter steps.
    In hard-hit Iran, security forces will empty the streets in cities across the country, state television reported.
    The virus continued its persistent march across the globe.    Kenya, Ethiopia, Sudan and Guinea all confirmed their first cases, giving the disease a foothold in 18 countries on the African continent.
    Kosovo, Venezuela and Kazakhstan also confirmed their first cases, and Spain declared a state of emergency.
    World leaders, sports stars and actors were among the tens of thousands of people hit by the virus.    Golf’s crown jewel, The Masters, England’s top-flight soccer Premier League, and the Boston and London marathons joined the long list of elite sporting events to be canceled or postponed.
    But sport’s biggest showpiece, the Olympics, will proceed as planned, according to Tokyo organizers.
(For interactive graphic tracking global spread of coronavirus:
(Reporting by Jeff Mason in Washington and Stephanie Nebehay in Geneva; Additional reporting by Steve Holland in Washington, Mily Chow and Wang Jing in Beijing, Daniel Leussink and Kaori Kaneko in Tokyo, Tom Westbrook in Singapore, Duncan Miriri and Omar Mohammed in Nairobi, Elizabeth Howcroft in London; Fatos Bytyci in Pristina, and Francesco Guarascio and Philip Blenkinsop in Brussels.; Writing by Will Dunham, Lincoln Feast and Mike Collett-White; Editing by Bill Berkrot and Rosalba O’Brien)

3/14/2020 World closes borders, restricts travel to contain coronavirus spread
FILE PHOTO: People wear protective face masks at a residential community following an outbreak
of coronavirus (COVID-19), in downtown Shanghai, China March 13, 2020. REUTERS/Aly Song
    (Reuters) – Countries around the world on Saturday continued to close borders, impose strict entry and quarantine requirements and restrict large gatherings in efforts to contain the spread of the new coronavirus.
    Apple Inc said it will close all its retail stores worldwide, outside Greater China, until March 27.    Apple reopened all 42 of its branded stores in China on Friday as the spread of the virus on mainland China slowed dramatically.
    Countries have shuttered museums, tourist attractions and sporting events to minimize the risk of coronavirus transmission, with more than 138,000 people worldwide infected and more than 5,000 dead.
    Colombia said it will close its borders with Venezuela and stop visitors who have been in Europe or Asia, while a U.S. ban on entry for most people from continental Europe was due to start midnight Friday.
    The World Health Organization (WHO) says Europe has become the pandemic’s current epicenter after reporting more cases and deaths than the rest of world combined, apart from China where the coronavirus originated last December.
    Saudi Arabia will suspend all international flights for two weeks, starting Sunday, state news agency SPA said, Taiwan will require travelers from mainland Europe, Britain and Ireland to self-isolate for 14 days, while New Zealand implemented a similar measure for all those entering the country.
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern also called on cruise ships, a major source of infections in some countries, not to come to New Zealand until June 30.
    “Alongside Israel, and a small number of Pacific Islands who have effectively closed their border, this decision will mean New Zealand will have the widest ranging and toughest border restrictions of any country in the world,” she said.
    The country has just six confirmed cases and has had no deaths, but Ardern said that number inevitably would rise.
    “That is why ultimately, we must go hard and we must go early,” she told reporters.
    Chilean President Sebastian Pinera announced a ban on public events with more than 500 people on Friday, joining countries such as Australia where the ban will come into force on Monday.
    Britain will introduce emergency laws next week to ban mass gatherings, said a government source, an escalation of its crisis plan which critics had said was too relaxed.
    The Philippines capital Manila, home to 12 million people, announced nighttime curfews on Saturday and urged shopping malls to close for one>     “To limit the spread of the virus, we need to limit the movement of people.    We are slowing down the movement of people in Metro Manila,” said Jose Arturo Garcia, general manager of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority.
    While infections continue to climb around the world, in mainland China the number of new cases is falling.
    The number of new coronavirus cases imported into mainland China from overseas surpassed the number of locally transmitted new infections for the first time on Friday, data released by the National Health Commission showed on Saturday.
    Mainland China had 11 new confirmed cases on Friday, up from eight cases a day earlier, but only four of those – all in the virus epicenter of Hubei province – were locally transmitted.
    Hubei has now seen new infections fall for nine straight days.    All four of the new cases on Friday, down from five a day earlier, were in provincial capital Wuhan.
    The flu-like virus has infected 80,824 people in mainland China, the commission said.
    In a bid to limit the economic damage from a pandemic that has infected the U.S. House of Representatives passed an aid package that would provide free testing and paid sick leave.
    The U.S. military said it will halt most domestic travel, extending earlier restrictions on international travel for its more than a million active-duty troops around the world.
    Travel bans have hammered airlines and travel companies worldwide, while financial markets have been hit by panic selling this week.
    The impact of the coronavirus on everyday life is also deepening.
    The Czech government will shut most shops and restaurants from early Saturday, with exceptions including food stores, pharmacies and gas stations.
    In Paris, the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre museum and the Moulin Rouge cabaret closed their doors.    The Smithsonian museums in Washington were preparing to do so on Saturday and Broadway theaters in New York went dark.
    The kissing of the Blarney Stone, one of Ireland’s oldest tourist traditions, was suspended.
    The global sporting calendar has also been left in tatters with major tournaments canceled, postponed or forced to continue without spectators.
    But sport’s biggest showpiece, the Olympics, will still proceed as planned, according to Tokyo organizers.
(Reporting by Praveen Menon in Wellington; Sonali Paul in Melbourne; Tom Daly and Muyu Xu in Beijing; Samar Hassan in Cairo; Oliver Griffin in Bogota; Sarah Kinosian in Caracas; Idrees Ali, David Morgan and Andy Sullivan in Washington; Writing by Michael Perry; Editing by Richard Pullin)

3/14/2020 Venezuela confirms coronavirus cases amid public health concerns by Angus Berwick, Mariela Nava and Sarah Kinosian
A man walks with a cloth around his face as Venezuela confirms its first cases of
the coronavirus (COVID-19), in Caracas, Venezuela March 13, 2020. REUTERS/Carlos Jasso
    CARACAS/MARACAIBO (Reuters) – Venezuela on Friday confirmed its first two cases of coronavirus amid concerns that the economically struggling South American nation is unprepared to confront a pandemic that is spreading rapidly around the globe.
    “We are declaring a state of alarm,” President Nicolas Maduro said in a televised appearance Friday night, urging Venezuelans to take precautionary measures and asking those over 65 to stay inside.
    Speaking with a blue mask covering his mouth, he encouraged people to wear face masks – even if it means making their own – and said no one would be allowed to board the metro or take trains without one.
    Hospitals in Venezuela have lost huge numbers of medical professionals and are so dilapidated that, in some, staff use paint buckets as improvised toilets and reuse surgical gloves. Maduro insisted Venezuela is prepared for a COVID-19 outbreak, but health workers have expressed concern that the country’s health system will be quickly overwhelmed.
    Maduro said that all restaurants in the country would be permitted to make orders to-go, but would no longer be allowed to serve patrons on-site, along with bars, clubs and movie theaters.    He added that he was evaluating whether or not to suspend work.
    Earlier in the week, he suspended flights from Europe and Colombia and said public gatherings would be canceled.
    Vice President Delcy Rodriguez said earlier Friday that schools will be closed as of Monday.
    Rodriguez said the two people with confirmed cases of COVID-19 had arrived from Spain and had been placed in quarantine.    Maduro added that those who had come on the flight were also in quarentine.
    Earlier in the day shoppers flocked to pharmacies in search of hygiene products such as alcohol to sanitize hands, which is a struggle due to lack of running water that has resulted from the decay of public services.
    “People in Venezuela are accustomed to crisis situations, we move quickly in reaction to anything that happens,” said Juan Silva, 23, a chef who shopping at a Caracas pharmacy for soap and hand gel.
    He said he wasn’t overly worried about the disease due to the low mortality rate, but added “I don’t trust the government as a source of information.”
    Maduro says his government has been hindered in fighting the virus because U.S. sanctions, meant to force him from office, have led banks and foreign businesses to refuse services.
    The Pan American Health Organization said last week it would be prioritizing Haiti, Venezuela and a handful of other Central and South American countries who have “challenges to their health systems.”
    Hania Salazar, head of the nurses’ association for the western state of Zulia, said hospitals are not even guaranteeing that employees will have access to face masks.
    Interior Ministry Nestor Reverol on Friday said the government would provide border control authorities with face masks, gloves and thermometers, without mentioning supplies to for citizens and hospitals.
    On the street, citizens were already figuring improvised ways to handle the situation.
    Neima Arocha, 46, managed to buy the last bottle of cough suppressant at a Caracas pharmacy but got there too late to buy alcohol for hand sanitation.
    As a substitute she planned to buy cocuy, an artesanal cactus liquor similar to tequila.
    “There’s no (rubbing) alcohol," said Arocha.    "But in the liquor stores they still have all kinds of things.”
(Reporting by Brian Ellsworth, Angus Berwick, and Corina Pons in Caracas; Editing by Angus Berwick and Richard Pullin)

3/14/2020 Google, Walmart join U.S. effort to speed up coronavirus testing
Ambassador Debbie Birx, the White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator, displays the new testing protocols being deployed
for coronavirus after U.S. President Donald Trump declared the coronavirus pandemic a national emergency during
a news conference in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, U.S., March 13, 2020. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
    (Reuters) – Corporate America joined the fight against the spread of coronavirus on Friday, as President Donald Trump and executives announced that Google would offer a website to help people determine whether they needed tests and retailers would set up drive-through testing in parking lots.
    Shares of Google parent Alphabet Inc , Walmart Inc , Target Corp and drugstore owner CVS Health Corp all closed up more than 9%, in line with the broad stock market, though Alphabet dropped 2% after hours.
    Pressure has been rising on U.S. officials to increase and improve testing for the fast-spreading virus, which has reached almost every U.S. state and infected more than 1,660 people in the country.
    “I want to thank Google.    Google is helping to develop a website, it’s gonna be very quickly done, unlike websites of the past, to determine whether a test is warranted and to facilitate testing at a nearby convenient location,” Trump said.
    “Google has 1,700 engineers working on this right now, made tremendous progress.”
    An administration presentation showed a potential user would be asked several questions on the website and then given a recommendation as to whether they should get a coronavirus test.
    Those requiring a test would be referred to a store that can provide assistance, potentially including a drive-through test, according to the administration’s presentation.    Results would be available online in 24 to 36 hours.
    U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said the website’s launch date would be known by Sunday night.
    Verily, a healthcare tech company also owned by Alphabet, said it was leading the effort to develop the web tool, with the help of an undisclosed number of Google employees.
    “We are in the early stages of development, and planning to roll testing out in the (San Francisco) Bay Area, with the hope of expanding more broadly over time,” Verily spokeswoman Kathleen Parkes said.
    About 1,700 Google workers have volunteered to help with coronavirus-related efforts, according to a person familiar with the matter, but it is unclear whether all of them are involved with developing the new website.
    Carolyn Wang, another Verily spokeswoman, said it initially aimed to assess testing needs for people more prone to catching the virus, such as healthcare workers.    But she said Verily now plans to trial the system more broadly at several sites around the San Francisco region.
    Wang added that Verily was “collaborating closely with organizations like Quest Diagnostics and LabCorp who are also working on additional approaches to making testing more accessible and expedient in other areas.”
    Quest Diagnostics Inc and Laboratory Corp of America Holdings did not respond to after-hours requests for comment.
    The Verily spokeswomen did not respond to questions on how data submitted by website visitors would be protected and used.
    Leading U.S. retailers will work with the government to assist with drive-through coronavirus testing, the Retail Industry Leaders Association said.    Senior leaders of Walmart, Target, Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc and CVS stood with Trump at the announcement.
    The tests will be conducted in retail store parking lots and sent to labs to complete testing in partnership with local health departments and diagnostic labs.    The testing sites will not be run by the companies.
    The cooperation with the Trump administration comes as Alphabet faces several antitrust investigations from state and federal agencies over its search and digital advertising businesses.
    Trump has accused Google of skewing its search results to portray him negatively.    The company has also attracted the administration’s ire for not renewing a contract to provide its artificial intelligence technologies for a military drone program.     “Google cozying up to the government doesn’t hurt,” said Andre Barlow, an antitrust expert with the law firm Doyle, Barlow and Mazard.    “Obviously there are a lot of factors that are weighed in the antitrust investigation, which could go either way.”
    Trump also is eager to increase testing after efforts were hampered by flawed kits distributed by the federal government in February, which gave some false results.
(Reporting by Chris Sanders, Makini Brice and Diane Bartz in Washington and Paresh Dave and Peter Henderson in San Francisco; Additional reporting by Munsif Vengattil; Editing by Richard Chang and Rosalba O’Brien)

3/14/2020 President Trump, Vice President Pence deliver updates on COVID-19 by OAN Newsroom
President Donald Trump speaks during briefing on coronavirus in the Brady press briefing room
at the White House, Saturday, March 14, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
    On Saturday, President Trump and the coronavirus task force provided updates on the administration’s efforts against the illness.    While speaking at the White House, the president praised the bipartisan funding package passed earlier in the day.
    “We also reached an agreement yesterday on a new legislative package that will provide strong support for American families and communities in dealing with the coronavirus,” he said.    “It was done very, very bipartisan, it was very nice to see it.”
    Vice President Mike Pence has confirmed the package will head to the Senate next week and will include free testing for uninsured Americans.
Vice President Mike Pence speaks during a briefing on coronavirus in the Brady press briefing room
at the White House, Saturday, March 14, 2020, in Washington.(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
    According to President Trump, the federal government has good relationships with New York and California, where there are several cases of the virus.    The president also said he took the COVID-19 test late Friday night and is awaiting results.     “I had my temperature taken coming into the room,” he said.    “I also took the test last night.”
    During the briefing, Pence also announced that the European travel ban will be extended to Ireland and the U.K.    This will go into effect on Monday at midnight.
    However, the vice president has reiterated that legal American residents will be able to come home.

3/14/2020 Hillary Clinton attempts to reverse order to appear at deposition by OAN Newsroom
Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton attends the premiere of the Hulu documentary “Hillary” at the
DGA New York Theater on Wednesday, March 4, 2020, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)
    The deposition of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been put on hold as her legal team pursues an appeal.    Attorneys for Clinton filed the appeal Friday in an attempt to evade the sworn testimony to conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch.
    A judge filed the order earlier this month, ordering her to testify over her use of a private email server during the attacks in Benghazi, Libya.    As part of the 83-page appeal, Clinton’s lawyers called the impending deposition inappropriate, unnecessary and a clear abuse of discretion.
    The head of Judicial Watch has said the move was interesting.    He pointed out that the federal judge previously said there were more questions that needed to be answered beyond the original statements provided.
    “I have to say I was surprised Mrs. Clinton sought this desperate review of the upper court,” stated Tom Fitton.    “I say it’s desperate, I don’t believe it’s going to go anywhere, but who knows how the courts are going to rule.”
    The conservative group attempted to get the former presidential candidate to testify in 2012 using a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit.    Both parties were given 75 days to gather evidence and prepare depositions.
    However, the date is now up in the air and it remains unclear when the appellate court will announce a verdict.
[3/4/2020 Judge to Judicial Watch: It’s time to hear from Hillary Clinton by OAN Newsroom
    In a major victory for Judicial Watch, a U.S. district judge ruled Hillary Clinton can be deposed over her emails.    One America’s John Hines sat down with the watchdog group’s president, Tom Fitton, for more on the decision.

3/14/2020 FDA fears nationwide shortage of blood by OAN Newsroom
Photo via U.S. FDA Twitter.
    The Food and Drug Administration has advised people to donate blood, fearing a potential shortage due to the coronavirus.
    “Last week, the blood supply and the number of donors coming in just hit rock bottom,” stated Blood Services President Vicki Finson.    “So, we got very active, reminding people about the fact that the need was still there.”
    On Thursday, officials announced a significant decline in donations over the last week, which has limited the nation’s blood supply.
    “At most times, we have about a four-day supply,” Finson explained.    “Last week, we dipped down to less than a one-day supply.”
    According to the American Red Cross, approximately 600 blood drives across the country have been canceled.    Blood banks are now lacking nearly 18,000 donations, which could lead to future surgery cancellations.
    “We have to do this or, truly, patients will go without,” emphasized Finson.    “Someone who needs a blood transfusion critically and doesn’t get it might die.”
    The FDA reiterated there have been “no reported cases of transfusion-transmitted coronavirus.”    They urged anyone who’s healthy to donate.

3/14/2020 House passes ‘Families First Coronavirus Response Act’ by OAN Newsroom
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., pauses as she makes a statement ahead of a planned late-night vote on the
coronavirus aid package deal at the Capitol in Washington, Friday, March 13, 2020. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
    The House has passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.    The legislation cleared the lower chamber in a 363 to 40 vote on Friday night.
    The measure includes increased funds for Medicaid to support local governments, two weeks of paid sick leave, and up to three months of paid family and medical leave.    It will also allow for exceptions for school meal programs.
    Earlier in the day, President Trump announced he had reached an agreement with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and tweeted his support for the bill.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., left, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., right, bump elbows as they attend
a lunch with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, March 12, 2020. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

3/14/2020 Italy tightens workplace rules in coronavirus crisis
A woman wearing a protective face mask crosses a street, as the Italian government continues restrictive movement
measures to combat the coronavirus outbreak, in Milan, Italy March 14, 2020. REUTERS/Daniele Mascolo
    MILAN (Reuters) – Italy agreed a series of measures on Saturday to improve health controls in factories, offices and other workplaces that have been allowed to stay open during the country’s coronavirus lockdown.
    The measures agreed after all-night talks with companies and trade union leaders include tighter controls on workplace practices and cleaning protocols, as well as steps to encourage more home-working, Economy Ministry undersecretary Pier Paolo Baretta said.
    In addition, help will be offered to workers who have lost income during the lockdown announced across the country last week to try to contain the crisis.
    “For the good of the country, for the protection of workers.    Italy will not come to a stop,” Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said on Twitter.
    Italy is at the epicenter of a coronavirus outbreak that is spreading rapidly across Europe, threatening both public health and the economy.
    As of Friday, authorities had recorded at least 17,660 cases and 1,266 deaths, the most for any country outside China, where the virus first emerged.
    Deputy Health Minister Pierpaolo Sileri announced on Saturday that he had tested positive for the virus.
    Underlining the international dimension of the crisis, a group of Chinese specialists arrived in Italy with medical equipment and advice.
    Under the unprecedented lockdown, the government has forbidden all non-essential travel, telling people to stay at home.    Airlines have slashed services to Italy and the Transport Ministry said on Saturday that night train services would be suspended.
    Schools, restaurants and most shops have been closed but so far, factories, offices and other workplaces have been allowed to remain open.
    Supermarkets and bakeries have also been open but entry is controlled to limit the number of people inside at any one time and long queues of shoppers waiting outside have become a feature of daily life.    Online delivery services are booked out.
    Business lobby Confindustria said the measures would allow factories to stay open and key sectors including food and pharmaceuticals to keep working and “prepare for economic recovery as soon as we get through this.”
    Italy’s economy, already on the brink of recession, is expected to be heavily impacted by the crisis with sectors from tourism to fashion or manufacturing seeing orders collapse since the virus first appeared in the country in a small town close to Milan last month.
(Reporting by James Mackenzie; Editing by Helen Popper)

3/14/2020 France closes shops, restaurants, tells people to stay home by John Irish
FILE PHOTO: French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe chairs a video meeting with French regions prefects on the coronavirus
in the "crisis room" of the French Interior ministry in Paris, France March 13, 2020. Ludovic Marin/Pool via REUTERS
    PARIS (Reuters) – France will shut most shops, restaurants and entertainment facilities from midnight on Saturday and people should stay home as much as possible as the spread of coronavirus is accelerating, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe announced.
    He was speaking at a news conference after the public health authority said 91 people had died in France and almost 4,500 were now infected.
    “I have decided to close all non-indispensable locations, notably cafes, restaurants, cinemas, nightclubs and shops,” he said.    “We must absolutely limit our movements.”
    Exceptions to the shop ban will include food stores, pharmacies and petrol stations.
    Philippe said the government had been left with no choice because too many people were still out in the streets and not sufficiently applying recently announced measures, including keeping a safe distance from each other.
    That, he said, was helping accelerate the spread of the virus.
    France has already ordered the closure of schools from Monday and had advised people over the age of 70 to stay home.
    Philippe said public transport would remain open, but that the government expected companies to put into place systems for people to work from home beginning on Monday.
    However, he said local elections on Sunday would go ahead under strict sanitary conditions.
    President Emmanuel Macron decided last week to go ahead with the elections, saying it was vital the democratic system continue to function, despite some criticism and concern over the possibility of people being infected at polling stations.
    Jerome Salomon, the head of the French public health authority, said there had been a rapid increase in serious cases, including 300 people in intensive care, half of whom were below 60 years of age.
    “To date, there has not been enough awareness by French women and men of the importance of their role in the face of the virus.    It is urgent.    Now is the time to change our behavior,” he said.
    “We must now do everything to delay, to slow down, to clip the curve of this epidemic.”
    The government wants to avoid a situation where hospitals are overwhelmed by the number of serious cases.    Neighboring Italy’s health system has been severely strained by the coronavirus outbreak there.
    “I am conscious of the efforts and sacrifices that we are asking, but I have faith that the French people will have the capacity to understand the seriousness of this moment,” Philippe said.
(Reporting by John Irish; Editing by Catherine Evans, William Maclean and Frances Kerry)

3/14/2020 Berlin joins Cologne in closing bars, clubs as Germany toughens coronavirus response
FILE PHOTO: A man carries shoppingbags outside a supermarket in Berlin, Germany, March 14, 2020. REUTERS/Annegret Hilse
    BERLIN (Reuters) – Berlin and Cologne are to close all bars, clubs, cinemas, theaters and concert halls with immediate effect as Germany ramps up its efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
    “The Berlin Senate decided today that from now on all public and non-public events in Berlin with 50 or more participants are forbidden,” the capital’s city state government said in a statement.
    Museums, brothels, swimming pools and gyms would also close in the capital, which – like other German states – is shutting schools next week until the end of the Easter vacation.    The tiny state of Saarland in the west did the same.     Germany’s highly devolved system means it is up to regional governments to decide on closures.
    Health Minister Jens Spahn earlier on Saturday asked people returning from Italy, Switzerland and Austria to self-isolate for up to two weeks to help slow the spread of coronavirus.
    “Especially travelers and skiers returning from Switzerland, Italy and Austria should stay at home as far as possible for up to two weeks, even without symptoms,” Spahn tweeted.
    As of Saturday, there were 3,795 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Germany, with eight deaths, the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases said.    That was a rise from 3,062 confirmed cases, with five deaths, a day earlier.
    Cologne, in western Germany, which has a population of more than 1 million people, said nightclubs, bars, theaters, cinemas and amusement arcades would close until April 10.    Church and religious services are also banned. Restaurants and pubs that serve food could remain open, as in Berlin.
    Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer told Bild am Sonntag newspaper that the military could be deployed to keep supermarkets supplied and open if, for example, there was a shortage of truck drivers.
    “Of course we are also discussing the possibility of deploying the Bundeswehr in the worst-case scenario,” Scheuer said.
    Chancellor Angela Merkel has urged people to reduce social contact, including children stopping visiting their grandparents.
    “Everyone can contribute with his or her personal behavior … so that the speed at which people become infected slows down so that our health care system is not overburdened,” she said in her weekly podcast.
(Writing by Paul Carrel; Editing by Kirsten Donovan, Catherine Evans and Mike Harrison)

3/14/2020 Canada’s hardest hit province limits virus testing as demand grows for swabs by Steve Scherer and Allison Martell
FILE PHOTO: Medical staff prepare to receive patients for coronavirus screening at a temporary assessment
center at the Brewer hockey arena in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada March 13, 2020. REUTERS/Patrick Doyle
    OTTAWA/TORONTO (Reuters) – Canada’s most populous province of Ontario, which has reported more than 100 new coronavirus cases, on Saturday said it would limit testing for the respiratory illness until it can guarantee a more steady supply of swabs.
    “There is in an increased global demand for viral nasopharyngeal swabs due to COVID-19,” Public Health Ontario said on its Web site.    “In an effort to ensure swabs are available where most needed, the Public Health Laboratory is limiting the volume of swabs supplied.”
    On Friday, Canada ramped up its fight against the coronavirus outbreak, with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau urging Canadians against all foreign travel during a news conference held outside his home, where he is in quarantine after his wife, Sophie, tested positive for the disease.
    Canada also said those who return from abroad should isolate themselves for two weeks.    The foreign ministry urged Canadians to return home on commercial flights “while they remain available.”
    Travis Kann, spokesman for Ontario’s minister of health, said the province is prioritizing tests for people who do not have any history of travel since everyone who has been outside the country is expected to self-isolate upon return.
    “We expect to expand the testing once we’re confident in stable supply, and so we’re working, obviously, with our manufacturing and supply chain partners,” he said.    “It’s our hope that we procure them as quickly as possible.”
    Ontario has seen about half of the more than 220 cases recorded nationally.    With a case on Prince Edward Island confirmed on Saturday, eight of Canada’s 10 provinces have reported cases. Canada has had one death.
    British Columbia’s chief medical officer Bonnie Henry also said on Saturday testing would be more limited, also because of the new self-isolation guidelines for international travelers.
    “We don’t need to test everyone who’s been outside of the country even if they’re mildly ill,” Henry said in an televised news conference.    She said there was no supply problem, but the limits would make sure “those who need those tests get it.”
    Both Ontario and British Columbia, after widespread reports of stockpiling, told people that they did not need to horde food because there are no supply problems.
    U.S. President Donald Trump said he had a “nice conversation” with Trudeau on Saturday and “to coordinate closely together on COVID-19.”
    “Great to hear that his wonderful wife Sophie is doing very well,” he added.
(Reporting by Steve Scherer and Allison Martell; Editing by David Gregorio)

3/14/2020 Spain will impose partial coronavirus lockdown: PM by Belén Carreño and Ingrid Melander
People wearing protective masks walk out of a supermarket, amidst concerns over
Spain's coronavirus outbreak in central Madrid, Spain, March 14, 2020. REUTERS/Javier Barbancho
    MADRID (Reuters) – Spain will put its 47 million inhabitants under partial lockdown as part of a 15-day state of emergency to combat the coronavirus epidemic, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said on Saturday in a televised address to the nation.
    All Spaniards will have to stay home except to buy food, medicines, go to the hospital or to work or for other emergencies, with some limits on the freedom of movement starting already on Saturday, he said.
    Sanchez said he was aware the measures will have a major impact on citizens and businesses but promised the government would do all it can to mitigate the impact.
    “I want to tell the workers, the self-employed, and businesses that the government of Spain is going to do everything in its power to cushion the effects of this crisis,” he said.
    Bars, restaurants, shops selling anything but food and other basic staples, conference centers and all leisure and sports activities – including cinemas, theaters, swimming pools or soccer grounds – will be shut down.
    Public transport will be curtailed, with medium-distance rail operators ordered to reduce their services.
    The decree does not, however, foresee closing the country’s borders.
    Spain’s Interior Ministry will control all police forces, including local and regional ones, under the 15-day emergency, and the armed forces would be on stand-by to help if needed.
    The health and transport ministries would also have nationwide reach, taking over some local or regional powers, according to the plan, which Catalan and Basque leaders immediately criticized after it was leaked as a draft.
    Spain is the second hardest-hit country in Europe after Italy, with 193 deaths and 6,250 cases so far, public broadcaster TVE said, well up from 120 deaths reported on Friday.
    With schools shut across Spain and a first package of economic steps announced on Thursday, the government had also been expected to announce economic and social measures on Saturday to mitigate the impact of the fight against the coronavirus.
    But ministers failed to agree in a seven-hour cabinet meeting on Saturday on what these should be, a source close to the negotiations told Reuters.
    Sanchez said the government would adopt these measures at its next cabinet meeting.    Adding that there will be a big economic impact from the fight against the coronavirus, he said the government would do all it can to mitigate this.
(Reporting by Belen Carreno and Jessica Jones; Additional reporting by Jesus Aguado and Guillermo Martinez; Writing by Ingrid Melander and Andrei Khalip; Editing by Frances Kerry, William Maclean)

3/14/2020 UK to ban mass gatherings from next week to curb coronavirus by William Schomberg
A man wears a protective mask as he walks into Oxford Circus underground
station in London, Britain March 13, 2020. REUTERS/Simon Dawson
    LONDON (Reuters) – The British government will ban mass gatherings from next week in an attempt to curb the coronavirus outbreak, an escalation of its crisis plan that critics had said was too relaxed.
    Health authorities in England announced on Saturday a further 10 deaths caused by coronavirus, almost doubling the number of fatalities in Britain since Friday.
    Prime Minister Boris Johnson has so far resisted pressure to take some of the stringent measures adopted by other European countries to slow the spread of the virus.
    “Ministers are working with the chief scientific adviser and chief medical officer on our plan to stop various types of public events, including mass gatherings, beginning next week,” a government source said.
    Legislation would be published next week to give the government powers to deal with the outbreak, including to stop mass gatherings and compensate organizations, the source said.
    Some organizations have moved ahead of the government in terms of limiting public gatherings.    On Friday, England’s soccer Premier League suspended all matches until April 4 and the London Marathon was postponed by its organizers.
    Queen Elizabeth, who is 93, canceled some public engagements for next week due to the coronavirus outbreak, Buckingham Palace said on Friday.
Johnson postponed for a year local and mayoral elections in England that had been due to take place in May.
    As of Saturday, 21 people had died after testing positive for COVID-19 in Britain.
    “All 10 individuals were in the at-risk groups,” Chris Whitty, chief medical officer for England, said in a statement.
    “I understand this increase in the number of deaths linked to COVID-19 will be a cause for concern for many.    The public should know every measure we are taking is seeking to save lives and protect the most vulnerable.”
    By comparison, on Friday Italy said its death toll from COVID-19 rose to 1,266 and France reported an increase to 79.
    Britain’s health ministry said the number of confirmed positive tests for coronavirus in the country rose to 1,140 on Saturday, a 43% increase from the figure of 798 given on Friday.
    U.S. President Donald Trump said on Friday that the United States might include Britain in a coronavirus travel ban that it has imposed on other European countries.
    British media said the new ban on mass gatherings could affect events such as the Glastonbury music festival, the Wimbledon tennis championships and the Grand National horse race.
    Scotland’s devolved government said on Thursday all large gatherings above 500 people should be canceled to help emergency services focus on the coronavirus outbreak.
(Reporting by William Schomberg; Editing by Frances Kerry and Edmund Blair)

3/14/2020 Ten more people die in England from coronavirus – health service
FILE PHOTO: A woman wears a protective mask as she walks on Oxford Street in London, Britain March 13, 2020. REUTERS/Simon Dawson
    LONDON (Reuters) – Health authorities in England announced on Saturday a further 10 deaths caused by coronavirus, almost doubling the number of fatalities in Britain since Friday.
    “I am sorry to confirm 10 further patients who have tested positive for COVID-19 in England have died,” Chris Whitty, chief medical officer for England, said in a statement.    “All 10 individuals were in the at-risk groups.”
(Writing by William Schomberg; Editing by Edmund Blair)

3/15/2020 Central American countries up fight against coronavirus by Nelson Renteria, Gustavo Palencia and Elida Moreno
A worker sprays sanitizer at the Salvadoran Institute of Comprehensive Rehabilitation (ISRI) as
El Salvador's government has taken steadily stricter measures to prevent a possible spread of the
coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in San Salvador, El Salvador March 14, 2020. REUTERS/Jose Cabezas
    SAN SALVADOR/TEGUCIGALPA/PANAMA CITY (Reuters) – Central American countries took further and tougher steps to contain the fast-spreading coronavirus on Saturday with measures ranging from bans on large gatherings to travel restrictions.
    El Salvador’s Congress approved a series of emergency measures sought by President Nayib Bukele to prevent the spread of the virus and to fend off the risk of a public health crisis.
    The measures include restrictions on entry to and exit from El Salvador, as well as curbs on public gatherings.    El Salvador has so far not reported any cases of coronavirus.
    Earlier, Honduras and Guatemala banned public gatherings to prevent the virus from spreading as quickly as it has in Asian and European countries.    Panama had already banned large gatherings.
    Meanwhile, authorities in Panama said flights arriving from Europe and Asia would be temporarily suspended, with the exception of flights that transport doctors, medical equipment or other humanitarian aid.
    So far, more than 150,000 people have been infected by the coronavirus across the world and over 5,500 have died, according to a Reuters tally.
(Reporting by Gustavo Palencia in Honduras, Elida Moreno in Panama, Nelson Renteria in El Salvador and Sofia Menchu in Guatemala; Editing by Stefanie Eschenbacher, Alistair Bell, Daniel Wallis and Himani Sarkar)

3/15/2020 President Trump addresses panic buying, airport screenings amid COVID-19 outbreak by OAN Newsroom
Shoppers walk by near empty shelves at a grocery store in North Vancouver,
British Columbia, Saturday, March 14, 2020. (Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press via AP)
    President Trump has reached out to grocery executives in response to recent panic buying across the United States.    On Sunday, the president spoke with them over the phone to discuss supply shortages and possible aid strategies.
    Supermarkets across the nation have seen an influx of customers and a demand for certain goods, including food, water, cleaning supplies and toilet paper.
    Some grocery stores have even ramped up private security on site as an extra precaution.
    Representatives from Walmart, CVS, Walgreens and others have been working closely with the White House in recent weeks.    The president has reassured Americans that the government will “unleash every authority, resource and tool at its disposal to safeguard the lives and health of our people.”

A notice limiting only 3 packages of toilet paper per customer is displayed on picked bare shelves after shoppers cleaned out the
stock of paper and cleaning products at a local grocery store in Burbank, Calif. on Saturday, March 14, 2020. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel)
    On Sunday, President Trump also highlighted his latest effort to stop the coronavirus outbreak with an increase in health screenings at airports.    The president took to Twitter, saying recent delays and interruptions in several airports have happened due to medical screenings.
    According to him, the inconvenience is necessary to ensure safety of all passengers.    President Trump reassured travelers that transportation officials are moving as quickly as possible to reduce bottlenecks at airports.    He added that everyone must be vigilant and careful to reduce the risks posed by the virus.

FILE – In this Saturday, March 14, 2020 file photo, a Transportation Security Administration agent hands a passport back to a traveler as
she screens travelers, at a checkpoint inside an airline terminal at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens, File)
    International tourists in the U.S. have also questioned how they will return to their home countries as the White House limits flights.
    President Trump has reassured citizens and travelers that his administration is working hard to “get the job done properly.”

A gate area at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport is crowded with travelers
awaiting Delta flight 1420 to Atlanta Saturday, March 14, 2020. (AP Photo/John Scalzi)

3/15/2020 Secy. Mnuchin working with Speaker Pelosi on economic stimulus package by OAN Newsroom
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, March 11, 2020,
before a House Appropriations subcommittee hearing on the FY’21 budget. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
    Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has discussed a possible coronavirus relief package for U.S. businesses with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.     On Sunday, Mnuchin said he and Pelosi have been collaborating on ways to help airlines, cruise line companies and the hospitality industry during the outbreak.
    The Treasury secretary stated that virus-related fears have crippled travel across the U.S. He added the affected industries may require some type of stimulus, in the form of either low interest rescue loans or direct government investments.
    The House has already passed a limited relief package, but it may take additional action.
    “More (Small Business Administration) SBA lending, more liquidity, some type of stimulus,” explained Mnuchin.    “As I’ve been saying, I think we’re in the second inning of nine innings, and we will use whatever tools we need to make sure the economy and hardworking Americans get through this.”
    The secretary pointed out that President Trump has instructed his cabinet to use all tools possible and seek bipartisan action in Congress to safeguard the U.S. economy.
FILE – In this Nov. 2, 2017, photo, a recruiter in the shale gas industry, left,
speaks with an attendee of a job fair in Cheswick, Pa. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic, File)
    Meanwhile, landmarks and tourist attractions around the nation have closed amid the spread of COVID-19.    According to officials, both the Smithsonian Institutions in D.C. and New York have been closed to the public, along with the National Zoo.
    Ski resorts, tourist attractions, and theme parks nationwide, including Disneyland, have temporarily shut down in response to the outbreak.
    Schools and universities have shuttered or are transitioning students online to avoid meeting in the classroom.
    International tourists in the U.S. have also questioned how they will return to their home countries as the White House limits flights.
A gate area at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport is crowded with travelers
awaiting Delta flight 1420 to Atlanta Saturday, March 14, 2020. (AP Photo/John Scalzi)

3/15/2020 Ohio, Ill. governors order all ‘non-essential’ businesses to close by OAN Newsroom
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine speaks at a news conference at the statehouse in Columbus, Ohio, Tuesday, March 3, 2020,
to announce impacts on the Arnold Sports Festival of the coronavirus. (AP Photo/Julie Carr Smyth)
    The governors of Ohio and Illinois have ordered the closure of bars and restaurants in their states to keep people safe from the coronavirus.
    Earlier on Sunday, Governors J.B. Pritzker (D-Ill.) and Mike DeWine (R-Ohio) revealed they were considering the closure of non-essential businesses during an interview on “Meet the Press.”
    “If we do not act and get some distance between people, our healthcare system in Ohio will not hold up,” stated Governor DeWine.    “The loss won’t only be those impacted by COVID-19, but the danger is also to everyone else who needs hospital care for other issues.”
    Their decision came after many states were forced to react to the quick spread of the virus.
    “Let me just compliment Governor DeWine and the other governors, we’re the ones who’ve had to provide leadership because the federal government has fallen down on this,” stated Governor Pritzker.    “They didn’t advise us to shut down major events, sporting events, parades…we made those decisions on our own.”
FILE – In this June 5, 2019, file photo, Gov. J.B. Pritzker speaks in downtown Chicago. Pritzker announced Monday, March 9, 2020,
four new cases of COVID-19 in Illinois, and he issued a disaster proclamation giving the state access to state money and
possibly federal reimbursement for the costs of fighting the potentially deadly illness. (AP Photo/Amr Alfiky, File)
    Ohio has already closed down all schools and Illinois cancelled the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Chicago.
    Both governors have declared a state of emergency and are urging residents to limit social interaction as much as possible.

3/15/2020 President Trump endorses Claudia Tenney for Congress by OAN Newsroom
Photo of Claudia Tenney via Facebook.
    The president has named his choice to represent New York’s 22nd District: former Rep. Claudia Tenney.    President Trump endorsed Tenney on Twitter and commended her on her past in Congress.
    He has said she is strong on crime, borders, tax cuts and the Second Amendment.    He added that she loves the military and veterans.
    The president finished by giving Tenney his complete and total endorsement.
    The Republican congressional candidate quickly responded by saying she was honored to have the president’s support and that Upstate New York is excited to join him in the “great American comeback.”
    Tenney got her political start in 2002 by representing New York State Assemblyman David Townsend as his legal counsel and chief of staff. She went on to win the 2016 election and served in Congress until she was unseated in 2018.
    As a small business owner and military mother, Tenney is running on a conservative platform opposing unnecessary taxation and supporting active and retired military.
    “Republicans and Democrats from the Southern Tier to the Mohawk Valley, all across Central New York,…get up and fight for their families, for their jobs,” she said.    “That’s who I’ll fight for in Congress.”
    Tenney is a vocal advocate for the Second Amendment and was the first to introduce a bill to repeal Governor Andrew Cuomo’s restrictive Safe Act.    If she wins the Republican primary, she will face off in a rematch with Rep. Anthony Brindisi (D-N.Y.) who edged her out by less than two percent.

3/15/2020 Kudlow: U.S. supply lines, workforce to be largely unaffected during outbreak by OAN Newsroom
White House chief economic adviser Larry Kudlow speaks in the briefing room of the White House in Washington,
Tuesday, March, 10, 2020, about the coronavirus outbreak as U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams, Vice President Mike Pence,
Coast Guard Vice Adm. Daniel Abel, and Dr. Deborah Birx, White House coronavirus response coordinator, listen. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
    White House National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow is confident U.S. supply lines will be mostly unaffected during the coronavirus outbreak.    On Sunday, Kudlow said he knows of situations where there have been difficulties, but added most domestic supply lines are “working pretty well.”
    He acknowledged there is a “huge economic challenge,” but pointed out most of America is still working.    Kudlow also noted factories around the country have not shut down just yet.
    “The employment story, which may become more tenuous in the weeks ahead, I understand that,” he said.    “Nonetheless, a lot of CEOs I talked to, they’re doing everything they can.”
    Reports last week revealed nearly 75 percent of companies have seen disruptions in their supply chains due to virus-related transportation restrictions.
Steve Moody, director of nursing at Central Maine Medical Center, enters a tent outside the emergency entrance to the hospital
to test patients who have symptoms of the coronavirus, Friday, March 13, 2020, in Lewiston, Maine. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
    According to one of the nation’s top health officials, the federal government is doing everything that needs to be done to contain the virus.
    During a recent interview, Dr. Anthony Fauci said the “kinds of things” the government is doing, such as banning travel from Europe, will keep the country away from a “worst case” scenario.
    However, he noted it’s going to be a matter of “several weeks to a few months” until life gets back to normal.    The official affirmed the Trump administration is not seriously considering domestic travel restrictions at the moment.
    “When we sit around with the (coronavirus) task force, we talk about every possibility.    Travel restrictions within the country have not been seriously discussed.    …I don’t see that right now and in the immediate future, but remember, we are very open minded about whatever it takes to preserve the health of the American public.” – Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of
Health Dr. Anthony Fauci talks to reporters on the North Lawn outside the West Wing at the White House,
Thursday, March 12, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

3/15/2020 Worries grow over northern hospitals as Italy’s coronavirus toll grows by James Mackenzie
A banner reads "The longer you stay at home, the sooner we hug", on the sixth day of an unprecedented lockdown across of
all Italy imposed to slow the outbreak of coronavirus, in Turin, Italy, March 15, 2020. REUTERS/Massimo Pinca
    MILAN (Reuters) – Italian authorities voiced growing concern on Sunday over how much longer strained health systems could cope with the coronavirus outbreak, as thousands of new cases were recorded over the past 24 hours and several hundred more people died.
    While the virus has begun spreading rapidly across Europe, Italy remains the second most heavily affected country after China, where the illness first emerged, and the outbreak has shown no signs of slowing.
    The government is working urgently on procuring more protective equipment, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said, adding there was maximum attention on helping Lombardy, the northern region where the virus emerged three weeks ago.
    “Our priority is to keep doctors, nurses and all our health personnel safe,” Conte said in a statement.
    A week ago, his government, which is expected to confirm a 25 billion euro ($27.68 billion) package of measures to support businesses and workers hit by the crisis, imposed a virtual lockdown across the country.
    With 24,747 cases and 1,809 deaths by Sunday – a rise of 368 in the death toll in just 24 hours – Italy’s experience has offered an alarming example for other European countries which have begun seeing sharp rises in cases over recent days.
    Lombardy, the heavily populated area around the financial capital Milan, has been the worst-affected region with 1,218 deaths.    Of those, 252 were recorded in the last 24 hours
    Italy has the most elderly population in Europe, with almost a quarter of the population aged 65 and over, rendering it especially vulnerable to a disease that has predominantly killed older people.
    The head of the civil protection authority, Angelo Borelli, said that Lombardy had been able to transfer some patients to other regions.    He also said he was so far unaware of any cases of patients dying because of a lack of intensive care facilities.
    But the health systems in Lombardy and in other regions like Emilia Romagna and Veneto at the epicenter of the Italian outbreak have been pushed to their limits.
    “The numbers have continued to grow.    We’re close to the moment where we will have no more intensive care beds,” Lombardy governor Attilio Fontana told SkyTG24 television.
    Italy was the first government in Europe to impose country-wide restrictions to try to control the spread of the virus, closing schools, shops and sporting events and ordering people to stay in their homes for all but essential travel.
    Most cases in Lombardy have been in small towns in areas like Bergamo and Brescia, but there have been fears of a major spread into Milan itself, which could overwhelm hospitals.
    “The big challenge will be to see how far we can succeed in keeping Milan, the metropolitan area, away from a mass phenomenon with the disease,” said Massimo Galli, head of the infectious diseases unit at the city’s Sacco hospital.
    Authorities have been working to set up hundreds of intensive care beds in a specially created facility in the Fiera Milano exhibition center but are still waiting for sufficient respirators and qualified personnel.
    Behind the concern for the north, where intensive care and assisted breathing units were at saturation point, there was also a looming worry over the much less well-equipped south, where tens of thousands of people have arrived from the affected regions.
    Nello Musumeci, president of the Sicily region, said at least 31,000 people had arrived from northern and central areas in the past 10 to 12 days and registered with authorities but the real number was much higher.
    “How many other thousands have entered without showing the same sense of responsibility?” he told RAI state television, adding that the army might have to be deployed to oversee points of arrival.
(Reporting by James Mackenzie; Editing by Jan Harvey and Frances Kerry)

3/15/2020 French voters shun elections, enjoy sunshine despite coronavirus restrictions by John Irish and Sybille de La Hamaide
An official wearing latex gloves holds an electoral card at a polling station during the first round of mayoral elections in Strasbourg
as France grapples with an outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Strasbourg, France March 15, 2020. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann
    PARIS (Reuters) – Voters turned out in low numbers in France’s mayoral elections on Sunday after the government imposed stringent restrictions on public life to curb the spread of the coronavirus, though many headed outdoors to enjoy the warm spring sunshine.
    Many expressed bemusement after Prime Minister Edouard Philippe’s announcement on Saturday that the vote would go ahead even as he declared all cafes, bars, cinemas and non-essential shops would close until further notice.
    In the race for Paris City Hall, an exit poll showed President Emmanuel Macron’s candidate, former health minister Agnes Buzyn, coming third behind the socialist incumbent Anne Hidalgo and a conservative challenger.
    Even after Macron pressed ahead with the first round, saying it was critical that democracy followed its course, some opponents questioned how a second round could be held in a week as the number of deaths and infections spirals higher.
    “I find the government position hypocritical.    Keeping the local election going is pure nonsense,” said Laurence Koch, 38, who works at a city planning consulting firm.
    Fewer than 40 percent of registered voters had cast a ballot at 1600 GMT, when only an hour’s voting remained outside the big cities, confirming concerns that abstentions could eclipse the previous lowest turnout in 1971.
    Yet people appeared to ignore the health warnings when it came to their social life.
    In the gardens of the Louvre Museum and along the banks of the River Seine in the capital, hundreds of people strolled, picnicked and drank in the spring sunshine.
    Marseille’s old port was packed with people determined to enjoy the warm temperatures.
    “We’re worried like everybody, but it’s sunny.    We’re not close to people and we’re not touching them,” said writer Marc Roger, 62.
    The Public Health Authority reported that the virus had now killed 127 people in France, up more than a third on the previous day, and that more than 5,423 were infected.
    “Respect the strict social measures,” Health Minister Olivier Veran said.
    Macron said his government had been forced to toughen its steps because people were being too lax in how they protected themselves from the virus.
    Far-right leader Marine Le Pen called for the government to order a nationwide lockdown, similar to those imposed in Spain and Italy and controlled by security forces.
    Philippe’s office declined to comment on whether France was heading toward taking similar steps.
    In polling stations across the country, people were visibly cautious, trying with difficulty to keep a safe distance from each other.
    One voter, Pascale, 59, who gave only her first name and who was wearing a mask and gloves after voting in Paris’ 7th district, said it seemed irresponsible to hold the vote.
    “I’ve got a lot of friends and family that will not go even if they usually carry out their civic duty,” she said.
    Poll clerks wore latex gloves, offered disinfectant and marked out lanes with arrows on the floor showing where people should stand while waiting for their turn. Some voters wore gloves and brought their own pens to sign off their vote.
    “I am going to vote and keep living my life no matter what.    I am not scared of the virus,” said another voter, a 60-year-old woman who asked to be identified only as Martine as she entered a polling station in Paris’ 16th district.
    Philippe suggested on Saturday the election’s second round on March 22 could be pushed back. If the second round does not go ahead, the first round is likely to be annulled.
    The elections are an important test for Macron, whose presidency has been roiled by public unrest, first from the “yellow vest” protesters angered over the cost of living and more recently over his pension reform plans.
    His party is not expected to do well in the vote for France’s 35,000 city, town and village halls, and which is critical for anchoring power at a local level.
(Additional reporting by Marine Pennetier, Matthias Blamont and Michel Rose; Editing by Frances Kerry and Daniel Wallis)

3/15/2020 Last orders… Ireland closes all pubs on eve of St Patrick’s Day by Conor Humphries
FILE PHOTO: Ireland's Prime Minister (Taoiseach) Leo Varadkar arrives for the second day of the European Union leaders summit,
held to discuss the EU's long-term budget for 2021-2027, in Brussels, Belgium, February 21, 2020. Ludovic Marin/Pool via REUTERS
    DUBLIN (Reuters) – Ireland on Sunday said all bars in the country should close until at least the end of the month to curb the spread of coronavirus after videos of groups singing in packed Dublin venues sparked anger on social media.
    The government’s move comes just two days before Ireland’s national day, St Patrick’s Day, which traditionally sees bars across the country packed from early in the day.    The annual parade celebrating the day had already been canceled.
    Ireland, known around the world for its traditional pubs, on Sunday said the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases had increased to 169 from 129.    It closed schools and universities last week and advised people to cancel all indoor gatherings of 100 people or more.
    But it stopped short of closing cafes, bars and restaurants, as some European countries have done, citing the potential impact on workers and small businesses and saying owners should ensure customers are kept at a safe distance from each other.
    But showing packed bars with sing-alongs and crowded streets in Temple Bar, Dublin’s busiest nightlife district, went viral on social media on Saturday under the #CloseThePubs hashtag.
    One stag party, usually involving a group of men celebrating shortly before one their number gets married, was shown walking down the street in medical overalls and face masks.
    Ireland’s Health Minister Simon Harris, described the images of packed pubs as an insult to medical workers.
    A number of pubs had announced voluntary closures, but on Sunday afternoon the government moved after a meeting with pub owners, and called on “all public houses and bars (including hotel bars) to close from this evening until at least March 29.”
    Publicans reported “real difficulty in implementing … guidelines on social distancing … as pubs are specifically designed to promote social interaction in a situation where alcohol reduces personal inhibitions,” the statement said.
    Publican group the Licensed Vintners Association said 7,000 pubs would close, with 50,000 jobs affected.
    The government called on people not to organize private parties for the same reason.
    Twitter users praised the pubs that had closed voluntarily, with the bar guide offering a list of responsible pubs “to go on the lash in when this is all over.”
(Reporting by Conor Humphries; Editing by Edmund Blair and Alexander Smith)

3/15/2020 Army disinfects train stations as Spain’s coronavirus death toll doubles by Jessica Jones and Sonya Dowsett
Members of the Military Emergency Unit (UME) wearing protective suits disinfect corridors and hand rails
at Santa Justa train station following a partial lockdown as part of a 15-day state of
emergency to combat the coronavirus outbreak in Seville, Spain March 15, 2020. REUTERS/Stringer
    MADRID (Reuters) – Army specialists in protective suits sprayed disinfectant in train stations and police fined recreational cyclists on Sunday after Spain imposed severe limits on public life and the coronavirus death toll more than doubled overnight.
    Spaniards, house-bound by law since Saturday, emerged onto balconies and stood at windows on Sunday evening to whoop, cheer and beep horns to salute emergency services dealing with Europe’s second-worst outbreak after Italy.
    The government’s official coronavirus death toll rose by 152 overnight to 288.    The number infected rose by 2,000 new cases to 7,753.
    Ford said it would close its factory in Valencia for one week starting on Monday after three employees tested positive for the virus.    The plant, one of Ford’s largest outside the U.S., employs 7,000 to make vehicles including the Mondeo.
    Public places from city streets to beaches across Spain were deserted while police wearing face masks told casual strollers to go home, even using a drone to blare out the message over a popular Sunday leisure spot in Madrid.
    Britain on Sunday advised against all but essential travel to Spain.    Thousands of inbound flights have been canceled while the country’s renowned Easter processions have been called off in one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations.
    Spain and Portugal will agree to restrict tourism between the two countries from Monday to curb the infection’s spread, Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa said.
    Spaniards, ordered to stay at home after the country declared a state of emergency, fretted about the economic consequences of a nationwide lockdown which has shuttered bars, restaurants and shops selling non-essential items.
    “I hope it ends soon so I can go back to work,” said 22-year-old airport worker Fabricio, who declined to give his surname, waiting to make a money transfer in central Madrid.
    The sudden Spanish lockdown, along with similarly abrupt moves to curtail public life in France, have astonished Western Europe this weekend, as countries follow Italy in imposing restrictions unseen in peacetime.
    Among the high-profile figures to test positive are the prime minister’s wife, two cabinet ministers and five players of top-flight soccer club Valencia.
    Social gatherings are banned while children’s playgrounds are blocked off with police tape.    Housebound Spaniards on Sunday played video games, watched TV and sat out on balconies.
    Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said on Saturday the emergency measures would have a major impact on citizens and businesses, but promised the government would work to lessen the blow. [L8N2B70F5]
    Spain, where more than half of jobs are dependent on small or medium-sized companies, already has one of the developed world’s highest unemployment rates.
    “This city depends on tourism – what with all the bars and restaurants and shops – this is really going to economically damage many businesses,” said 52-year-old Leonel Sanchez, out to buy food on Madrid’s main thoroughfare, Gran Via.
(Additional reporting by Julien Hennequin in Madrid and Richard Martin and Joan Faus in Barcelona; Writing by Sonya Dowsett; Editing by Frances Kerry, Peter Graff, Alexandra Hudson, William Maclean)

3/15/2020 Britain set to isolate over-70s as coronavirus deaths rise to 35 by Paul Sandlebr>
FILE PHOTO: Pedestrians cross the road as a woman wears a protective mask, as the number of coronavirus
cases grow around the world, in London, Britain March 13, 2020. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez
    LONDON (Reuters) – Britain will isolate older people “within weeks” and force into quarantine anyone diagnosed with coronavirus, the government said as it stepped up measures that have so far been less stringent than elsewhere in Europe.
    The British Heath Secretary Matt Hancock said people aged over 70 would be shielded from the virus by self-isolating for up to four months, with an announcement “in the coming weeks.”
    Britain has taken a distinctly different approach to tackling coronavirus from European countries such as Italy, Spain and France which have imposed stringent lockdowns to try to slow the spread of the disease.
    The number of deaths of Britons with coronavirus jumped by 14 in the last 24 hours to 35, while the total diagnosed rose by 20% to 1,372, health authorities said on Sunday.
    Hancock said the rise in Britain had been slower than in other parts of Europe, in part due to measures taken by authorities to trace people who had contact with those affected.
    The government said last week that in terms of the scale of the outbreak Britain was four weeks behind Italy, where 1,809 have died and 24,747 have been diagnosed.
    He said isolating old people was in Britain’s action plan, but it was a “very big ask” and people could tire of complying.
    “We will be setting it out with more detail when it’s the right time to do so because we absolutely appreciate that that is a very big ask of the elderly and the vulnerable and it’s for their own self-protection,” he told Sky News on Sunday.
    The government will legislate this week to force people into quarantine if they are diagnosed with the virus, he said, and was also ready to ban mass gatherings.
    “We are going to take the powers to make sure that we can quarantine people if they are a risk to public health,” Hancock said.    “I doubt we will need to use it much because people are being very responsible and people need to be responsible.”
    Britain is aiming to delay the peak of infection to prevent health services from being overwhelmed when they are less able to cope.
    Hancock said Britain’s approach was underpinned by scientific evidence, which it would publish in the coming days, and it was aimed solely at protecting life.
    “We will stop at nothing to fight this virus and I think people have got the impression otherwise,” he told the BBC.
    The concept of herd immunity – where the virus spreads through the population to increase overall resistance – was not part of the government’s strategy, he added.
    Britain has called for a national effort to tackle coronavirus similar to the one which helped it survive the Second World War.
    “Our generation has never been tested like this,” Hancock wrote in the Sunday Telegraph.    “Our grandparents were, during the Second World War, when our cities were bombed during the Blitz."
    “Today our generation is facing its own test, fighting a very real and new disease.    We must fight the disease to protect life.”
    The government is asking manufacturers to retool production lines to start producing more ventilators, and could turn some hotels into hospitals to take coronavirus patients who cannot be treated in overstretched public hospitals.
(Editing William Schomberg, Kirsten Donovan and Alexander Smith)

3/15/2020 EU executive chief urges open borders as crisis increases
FILE PHOTO: EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen presents the EU executive's economic
response to the coronavirus epidemic, in Brussels, Belgium March 13, 2020. REUTERS/Johanna Geron
    BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Commission on Monday will present guidelines on border measures to prevent controls designed to stem the spread of coronavirus from blocking the supply of essential goods and medical staff.
    The head of the EU executive, Ursula von der Leyen, said on Sunday that the 27-member European Union needed to keep goods flowing across Europe without obstacles.
    “Tomorrow we will present guidelines to national governments on border measures.    Protecting people’s health should not block goods and essential staff from reaching patients, health systems, factories and shops,” she said in a video address.
    Countries such as Poland have banned foreigners entering the country and Austria has closed its borders to most arrivals from neighboring Switzerland and Italy.
    Von der Leyen said the EU executive was urging industry to ramp up production of protective equipment and that exports of these products outside the bloc would only be allowed with explicit authorization of EU governments.
    The EU will on Monday also launch joint procurement with EU countries of testing kits and respiratory ventilators.
    She said EU countries needed to share such equipment, with Italy in greatest need now but other countries likely to need it later.    It was of utmost importance, she said, that the EU single market continued to function, allowing goods to flow without obstacles.
    “Just imagine, as we increase production of medical equipment, factories cannot get the components they need in time, thousands of bus and truck drivers are stranded at internal borders on parking lots, creating more health risk and disrupting our supply chains,” Von der Leyen said.
(Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop, Editing by William Maclean)

3/15/2020 Netherlands to close schools, restaurants in coronavirus fight by Anthony Deutsch and Stephanie van den Berg
FILE PHOTO: Empty shelves are seen at a supermarket in Amsterdam as people hoard food because
of the coronavirus outbreak, Netherlands March 13, 2020. REUTERS/Piroschka van de Wouw
    AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – All Dutch schools, cafes, restaurants and sport clubs were ordered to be closed on Sunday as the government sought to prevent the further spread of coronavirus in the Netherlands.
    The step came as the number of confirmed coronavirus infections in the country rose by 176 to 1,135, with 20 deaths, the National Institute for Public Health (RIVM) said.
    The restrictions will remain in place until at least April 6, Education Minister Arie Slob said in a press conference.
    “It has become clear that it was impossible for many schools to remain open, as many teachers were already sick at home and because of safety risks,” he said.    “Therefore we have decided to close all schools and daycare centers.”
    The government asked the country’s 17 million residents to keep their distance when leaving the house.    “Do not hoard, it’s not necessary there is enough to go around,” Slob said.
    All saunas, sex clubs, sport schools and marijuana coffee shops were also ordered to close at 1800 (1700GMT) Sunday evening.
    Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s Cabinet had initially resisted closing schools, but changed course after coming under pressure from educators and medical specialists.
    A letter sent to parents in Amsterdam said Dutch medical professionals had recommended schools be closed and plans were being drawn up in the event the closures would last longer.
    Healthcare Minister Bruno Bruins said additional measures were likely.
    “I am certain these will not be our last measures, the situation keeps developing very rapidly and we will keep deciding on further measures based on the knowledge of experts.    I cannot speculate on what measures these will be, but it is clear that more will follow.”
    Rutte was scheduled to address the nation on Monday evening to explain the unprecedented measures.
(Reporting by Stephanie van den Berg and Bart Meijer; Writing by Anthony Deutsch; Editing by Kirsten Donovan, Edmund Blair, Alexandra Hudson and Alexander Smith)

3/15/2020 Defense Dept. to suspend domestic travel for U.S. troops, Fed slashes interest rates amid outbreak by OAN Newsroom
FILE – In this Jan. 10, 2020 file photo, a commercial plane flies into a windy, cloudy sky at the
Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson, File)
    The Department of Defense has announced the suspension of all domestic travel for military personnel and their families.    In a statement this week, officials confirmed they would be imposing travel restrictions for U.S. troops within the country to help contain the coronavirus.
    “My priorities are to protect our service members and their families, safeguard our mission and capabilities, and support the interagency,” stated Defense Secretary Mark Esper.    “We will continue to take all necessary precautions to ensure that our people are safe and able to continue their mission.”
    The memo outlined guidelines for authorized trips, which included exemptions for so-called “compelling cases.”
    The new restrictions are set to go into effect this week and will last through May 11th.
Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell speaks during a news conference, Tuesday, March 3, 2020, to discuss
an announcement from the Federal Open Market Committee, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
    Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve has slashed its base interest rates closer to zero and ramped up bond purchases to offset the virus’s risk to the economy.    In an emergency move Sunday, the Fed announced it will reduce the benchmark interest rate to a range of zero to 1/4 percent.
    Additionally, the Central Bank has agreed to buy another half trillion worth of Treasury bonds and $200 billion of mortgage-backed securities.    This is the biggest monetary stimulus package since the 2007 mortgage meltdown.
    President Trump celebrated the news during Sunday’s press briefing at the White House.     “It makes me very happy, and I want to congratulate the Federal Reserve,” he said.    “We got it down to potentially zero, so that’s a big step and I’m very happy they did it.”


3/16/2020 The coronavirus death toll up in the United States:

3/16/2020 Beshear threatens to close public gatherings by Joe Sonka and Morgan Watkins, Louisville Courier Journal USA TODAY NETWORK
    Gov. Andy Beshear threatened Sunday to close down public gatherings, including bars and restaurants, if Kentuckians do not stop congregating as the number of positive coronavirus cases continues to rise in the commonwealth.
    The governor revealed that he also had been tested over the weekend after he found out he attended a fundraising ball for the Speed Art Museum where two attendees were later diagnosed with COVID-19.
    Beshear said at his Sunday press conference he tested negative for COVID- 19, though two prominent Louisville women, philanthropist Christy Brown and Kentucky Author Forum leader Mary Moss Greenebaum, tested positive.
    The fundraising event took place on contained a host of dignitaries who are now being tested or who are in self-quarantine, including Mayor Greg Fischer and University of Louisville President Neeli Bendapudi.
    Beshear announced more positive cases at his press conference Sunday, bringing the state’s total cases to 21, with 254 people tested so far.
    Those positive cases are in Bourbon, Clark, Fayette, Harrison, Jefferson, Montgomery, and Nelson counties.
    To reduce the further community spread of the coronavirus, the governor urged Kentuckians to cancel or postpone “all community gatherings.”I’m not going to be the governor who acted two weeks too late.”
Speed Ball feels coronavirus pinch
    News of the diagnosis of Brown — one of the city’s most prolific philanthropists and political donors — broke Sunday afternoon and was followed closely by Greenebaum’s announcement.
    Brown, who is in her early 70s, began feeling ill March 8, the day after she attended the fundraiser, and she went to the doctor Wednesday after her symptoms lingered.    She was tested for the virus at University of Louisville Hospital on Thursday and received the positive results the next day, according to her attorney, Turney Berry. Brown is resting at her home and has been isolated since Sunday.    It doesn’t appear that the virus has had any progression, Berry said, and she’s in stable condition.
    Greenebaum — the producer and founder of the popular roundtable conversation with newsmakers, authors and influencers — said her initial test at University of Louisville Hospital on Thursday came back negative for the coronavirus, but her follow-up test was positive.
    U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, who attended the Speed Ball, indicated in a statement he was staying home for the rest of the week after learning     Saturday that he had been in the presence of someone who later tested positive.    The congressman has been tested and is awaiting the results.
    Fischer told reporters Sunday that he feels great and has no symptoms as he also awaits the results of his test taken Saturday.    He said he will work in quarantine until he receives the results of the test.
Schools may close for longer period
    Meanwhile, Kentucky’s schools are on the verge of closing for weeks, and Beshear did not rule out making those closures last even longer.
    Many public school districts begin a two-week closure Monday to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, with a handful starting on Tuesday.    Some of those closures encompass preplanned spring breaks, stretching the time away into April.
    And while Beshear said those closures may need to be even longer, he said ending the school year early isn’t on his radar yet.
    “We’re not ready to recommend that,” Beshear said when asked about closing schools through the end of the academic year.
    One of Kentucky’s neighbors, though, is considering a lengthy closure.    Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said that “it would not surprise” him if schools didn’t open again this year.
    Meanwhile, parents across Kentucky are scrambling to solidify emergency child care plans.
    While parents have experience finding quick child care when schools close for snow days, weather events often don’t bring widespread, long-term closures and come with warnings against interacting with people, especially the elderly.
    Plans described by parents range from leaving kids with a parent who works from home to sending them to their grandparents, who are more vulnerable to the coronavirus but who may be the only option for parents who aren’t able to work remotely.
    “Ideal?    Nope.    Best decision we can make at the moment with so much still being unknown?    We think so,” Mary Beth Schindler, a Jefferson County parent, told The Courier Journal.
Few local churches gather Sunday
    Despite Beshear’s request that Kentuckians halt all community gatherings for now to slow the spread of the coronavirus, a few churches in the Louisville area held worship services Sunday.
One of those churches was Christ’s Church For Our Community, which was open for its 20th anniversary but may cancel the next few weeks of services.
    The Archdiocese of Louisville also chose not to cancel daily or weekly Mass.    Though archbishops in other parts of the country with active COVID- 19 cases, including Baltimore and New York City, have canceled masses, Archbishop Joseph Kurtz has not.
    Many places of worship did cancel services and events at Beshear’s urging, though.
    And the governor praised people who opted not to attend church, writing on Twitter that “as a person of deep faith,” he knows it’s tough not to go in person.
    “We are doing what is needed to help protect ourselves and those around us,” he wrote.    “Thank you for coming together to help keep our communities safe.”
Derby City Gaming suspends ops
    Derby City Gaming and Churchill Downs Racetrack simulcasting have suspended operations for two weeks due to the coronavirus, according to a release sent Sunday.
    The release said the closure will last 14 days and that there have been no reported cases of COVID-19 at either place.
    According to the release, there will be “normal payroll operations” for its team members until both reopen on March 30.
    Reporters Sarah Ladd, Kelly Ward, Olivia Krauth and Darcy Costello contributed to this report. Reach reporter Joe Sonka at or 502-582-4472 and follow him on Twitter at @joesonka.    Reach Morgan Watkins at 502-582-4502 or and follow her on Twitter: @morganwatkins26.
    To reduce the further community spread of the coronavirus, the governor urged Kentuckians to cancel or postpone “all community gatherings.”
Gov. Andy Beshear speaks at a news conference on the coronavirus and Kentucky’s steps to combat the outbreak on
March 9 at the Capitol in Frankfort. Beshear announced more positive cases Sunday. MICHAEL CLEVENGER/COURIER JOURNAL

3/16/2020 Trump considers full pardon for Flynn - Former adviser pleaded guilty to lying to FBI by David Jackson, USA TODAY
    WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump confirmed Sunday he is considering a “Full Pardon” for former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who pleaded guilty to charges of lying to the FBI about contacts with a Russia diplomat.
    Claiming the FBI and Justice Department “lost” some of Flynn’s records after “destroying his life & the life of his wonderful family,” Trump tweeted: “How convenient.    I am strongly considering a Full Pardon!
    Attorney General William Barr has appointed an outside prosecutor to review the case against Flynn, who is still awaiting sentencing in federal court after pleading guilty to lying to the FBI.
    Trump sent the Flynn tweet just minutes before his scheduled phone conference with grocery executives to discuss the coronavirus threat.    Flynn is in the process of trying to withdraw his guilty plea, claiming prosecutors engaged in misconduct.
    Trump has long suggested he is considering a pardon for Flynn as well as other aides ensnared in investigations of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.    That group includes aides like Paul Manafort and Roger Stone.
    Trump, who is in the middle of fighting a coronavirus pandemic, claims the FBI and other investigative agencies treated him and his aides unfairly.
    Flynn pleaded guilty in late 2017 to lying to the FBI about his communication with Sergey Kislyak, then the Russian ambassador to the U.S., in the weeks before Trump took office.
    Prosecutors said Flynn lied to FBI agents when he told them he did not discuss election-related sanctions against Russia with Kislyak.
    Former federal prosecutor Barb McQuade, now a law professor at the University of Michigan, said that “Flynn admitted in open court that he lied to the FBI,” and “that alone is a crime” that should not be undone with a presidential pardon.
    “I have seen no reports of lost records,” McQuade added, “but even if it were so, that would not undo Flynn’s serious crime.”
[This article failed to state that Flynn lied to protect his son after he was illegally questioned without a lawyer by the FBI specically Peter Stryk who has turned out to be quite a liar himself and a character even as part of the FBI FISA abuse cabal.].

3/16/2020 Italy ready to offer further measures to combat coronavirus, PM tells paper
FILE PHOTO: Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte speaks during a news conference due to
coronavirus spread, in Rome, Italy March 11, 2020. REUTERS/Remo Casilli
    ROME (Reuters) – Italy’s government is ready to intervene again, if needed, as measures approved so far are not enough to support businesses and households hit by a coronavirus outbreak, the prime minister said on Monday.
    Italy is the second worst hit country in the world after China, where the illness first emerged late last year, and the outbreak has shown no signs of slowing, with 24,747 cases and 1,809 deaths by Sunday.
    “The approved measures are not sufficient. Damage (from the coronavirus) will be serious and widespread.    A true ‘reconstruction plan’ will be needed,” Giuseppe Conte told daily Corriere della Sera in an interview.
    “After the coronavirus nothing will be as before, we will have to sit down and rewrite the rules of trade and the free market.”
    The government has said planned economic support would total some 25 billion euros ($27.94 billion), with a cabinet meeting on Monday expected to approve new measures to support businesses and families.
    “We are responding with rules that will allow our economy to face the costs of the emergency.    We are ready, if necessary, to intervene again to relaunch the country,” the premier added.
    Conte said no further bans were needed but it was important to “scrupulously” respect existing ones.
    Last week the government imposed nationwide restrictions to curb the virus spread, closing schools, shops and sporting events and ordering people to stay home, except for essential travel.
    “Scientists are telling us that the outbreak has not reached it peak, these weeks will be the most risky, and the maximum precaution is needed,” Conte said, explaining that the lockdown’s results will be seen in a few weeks.
    The government is working urgently to get medical equipment as doubts grow over the ability of a strained health system to cope with the persistent rise in new cases, particularly in the northern region of Lombardy, where the virus emerged almost a month ago.
(Reporting by Giulia Segreti; Editing by Shri Navaratnam and Clarence Fernandez)

3/16/2020 France struggling to curb rate of coronavirus pandemic, health official says
FILE PHOTO: France's Director General of Health Jerome Salomon leaves after attending a visit with
French President Emmanuel Macron at the SAMU-SMUR call centre at the Necker Hospital, focused on
COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak, in Paris, France, March 10, 2020. Ludovic Marin/Pool via REUTERS
    PARIS (Reuters) – France is struggling to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic in the country, its top health official Jerome Salomon said on Monday, as authorities consider whether to implement a partial lockdown.
    Salomon expressed his regret that many Parisians had ventured out in large numbers on Sunday despite official advice to stay at home and a government shutdown on bars and restaurants around the country.
    “A lot of people have not understood that they need to stay at home, and this low level at which people have adhered means that we are not succeeding in curbing the outbreak of the epidemic,” Salomon told France Inter radio.
    He added it would be “catastrophic” if France were to reach a stage on deciding whether to save the lives of certain patients over that of others.
    “This morning, I appeal to all French people to mobilize in the fight,” he said.
    The number of deaths in France from the coronavirus increased by more than a third on Sunday to 127 and over 5,400 have been infected.
    Sources told Reuters on Sunday that France is preparing an order that would put its inhabitants under partial lockdown to combat the pandemic, a move that would tighten further restrictions on public life.
(Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta and Dominique Vidalon; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

3/16/2020 UK to announce further coronavirus measures on Monday, PM’s adviser says
FILE PHOTO: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson holds a news conference addressing the government's response
to the coronavirus outbreak, at Downing Street in London, Britain March 12, 2020. REUTERS/Simon Dawson/Pool
    LONDON (Reuters) – Britain will make further announcements on Monday about the measures it is taking to tackle coronavirus, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s senior adviser Dominic Cummings told Reuters.
    “The government will be making further announcements today,” Dominic Cummings said when asked about the UK response to the outbreak.    When asked why the UK government had not implemented the stringent measures taken by other European governments, he declined to comment.
(Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge; editing by Michael Holden)

3/16/2020 Spain plans extension of coronavirus state of emergency, mulls border shutdown by Emma Pinedo and Nathan Allen
Commuters walk at an almost empty Atocha train station at rush hour during partial lockdown as part of a 15-day state
of emergency to combat the coronavirus disease outbreak in Madrid, Spain March 16, 2020. REUTERS/Sergio Perez
    MADRID (Reuters) – Spanish ministers said on Monday that a state of emergency over the coronavirus which has shut down much of the country will have to be extended beyond an initial 15-day period, and the government was also considering closing borders.
    “Obviously we will have to extend this situation…in 15 days I do not think that we will be in a position to win this battle,” Transport Minister Jose Luis Abalos told RNE radio.
    Spain is suffering Europe’s second-worst outbreak after Italy.
    Its 47 million people have been under partial lockdown since Saturday night as the country tries to stem the coronavirus outbreak.    People are only allowed to leave their home to go work, to the pharmacy or a hospital.
    The government has taken widespread measures including using drones to send public messages telling people to go home, but it has not closed its borders so far, with tourism suspended at its border with Portugal but workers allowed through.
    Abalos said it remained to be seen which measures would be prolonged.
    Meanwhile, Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska told Cadena Ser radio that closing Spain’s borders was among the options under consideration.
    Grande-Marlaska said he would discuss the potential border closure alongside other measures with fellow EU ministers on Monday.
    Asked if closing Spain’s borders was a possibility, he said: “It’s a possibility, of course, it’s a real option to fight against the spread of the virus.”
    Over the weekend, several countries worldwide imposed bans on mass gathering, shuttered sporting, cultural and religious events, while medical experts urged people to practice “social distancing” to curb the spread.
    Spain has the fifth-highest number of coronavirus cases in the world behind China, Italy, Iran and South Korea.
    The government’s official coronavirus death toll rose to 288 on Sunday, with 7,753 confirmed cases of infection.
    Schools across the country are closed, keeping millions of children at home, while army specialists in protective suits spray disinfectant in train stations and a growing number of car plants close, either because of supply problems or coronavirus cases.
(Additional reporting by Jesus Aguado,; Writing by Ingrid Melander, Editing by Angus MacSwan)

3/16/2020 U.S. crude falls below $30 as Fed move fails to calm markets by Bozorgmehr Sharafedin
FILE PHOTO: An oil pump is seen just after sunset outside Saint-Fiacre, near Paris, France September 17, 2019. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann
    LONDON (Reuters) – U.S. crude fell below $30 on Monday as emergency rate cuts by the U.S. Federal Reserve and its global counterparts failed to tame markets and China’s factory output plunged at the sharpest pace in 30 years amid the spread of coronavirus.
    Brent crude was down $2.89, or 8.5%, to $30.96 a barrel by 1012 GMT.    The front-month price had risen $1 earlier in the session.
    U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude was at $29.94, down $1.79 or 5.6%.
    To combat the economic fallout of the pandemic, the Fed on Sunday cut its key rate to near zero, triggering an unscheduled easing by the Reserve Bank of New Zealand to a record low as markets in Asia opened for trading this week
    The Bank of Japan later stepped in by easing monetary policy further in an emergency meeting. However, the measures failed to calm the investors, and stock markets weakened again.
    “It’s becoming evident that the major central banks across the globe are using all their available tools to prevent a crisis, but it seems the fear of the pandemic is taking control of investors,” said Hussein Sayed, chief market strategist at FXTM.
    Meanwhile, China’s industrial output fell by a much larger than expected 13.5% in January-February from the same period a year earlier, the weakest reading since January 1990 when Reuters records began.
    Brent’s premium to WTI is close to its narrowest since 2016, making U.S. crude oil uncompetitive in international markets.
(Graphic: Brent’s premium to WTI png,
    “The relative weakness in Brent shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise, given the severity of the breakout across Europe,” said ING analyst Warren Patterson.
    “Another factor offering relatively more support to WTI is news that President Trump has ordered Strategic Petroleum Reserves to be filled up at these lower price levels.”
    U.S. President Donald Trump said on Friday that the United States would take advantage of low oil prices and fill the nation’s emergency crude oil reserve, in a move aimed to help energy producers struggling from the price plunge.
    Oil prices have also been under intense pressure on the supply side, as top exporter Saudi Arabia ramped up output and slashed prices to increase sales to Asia and Europe.
    This month, the Organization of the Petroleum Countries (OPEC) and Russia failed to extend production cuts that began in January 2017 aimed at supporting prices and lowering stockpiles.
    Despite the massive drop in both oil and natural gas prices last week, the U.S. oil drilling rig count rose for a second week in a row to its highest since December, energy services firm Baker Hughes Co said on Friday.
    The number of rigs is expected to fall, however, as producers deepen spending cuts.
(Reporting by Bozorgmehr Sharafedin in London; additional reporting by Florence Tan in Singapore; Editing by Jason Neely and Peter Graff)

3/16/2020 Surgeon General: We are at a critical inflection point by OAN Newsroom
U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams speaks during a briefing on coronavirus in the Brady press briefing room at the
White House, Saturday, March 14, 2020, in Washington, as Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin listens. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
    According to Surgeon General Jerome Adams, the country is at a critical inflection point regarding the coronavirus outbreak.
    During an interview Monday, Adams stressed the country could go in the direction of South Korea and be really aggressive to lower mortality rates or go in the direction of Italy.
    The Surgeon General also said the number one way to protect yourself from the virus is by washing your hands properly for 20 seconds and the second best way is to stay away from people who are sick.
    In a separate interview, Adams highlighted efforts to ensure hospitals have enough capacity to handle those affected.
    “We got thousands of ventilators available right now…we have enough surge capacity, but what you’ve been hearing a lot of people talk about is the need to flatten the curve,” he stated.    “…Not to get that high peak, but to really spread out the number of cases we have, so that we don’t over become our capacity.”
    Adams also emphasized the demand for resources to treat those infected could be decreased through “mitigation measures” such as social distancing to prevent spreading the outbreak.

3/16/2020 White House officials say unidentified foreign group stirring fear, panic over coronavirus spread by OAN Newsroom
A woman wears a medical mask holds a smartphone standing inside a metro
train in Moscow, Russia, Monday, March 16, 2020. (AP Photo/Victor Berezkin)
    The White House has warned of a so-called “foreign disinformation campaign” that may be fueling panic over the coronavirus.
    In a statement Monday, Trump administration officials said an unidentified foreign group is spreading rumors of a “nationwide quarantine” in the U.S. Officials have said such allegations are fake and there is no national lockdown.
    Additionally, the New York Times released an article Monday in which it blamed Russia for the panic over the coronavirus.    The article has since triggered backlash on social media.    The White House said it’s extremely hard to determine the origin of such rumors.
    Meanwhile, officials have also refuted a CNN report that claimed the Trump administration is considering “encouraging” a national curfew amid the coronavirus outbreak.
    On Twitter Monday, Vice President Mike Pence’s spokeswoman, Katie Miller, said CNN’s’ reporting was not correct.    White House Deputy Press Secretary Judd Deere also refuted the claim.
    This came after the mainstream media outlet claimed there are active discussions taking place about pushing for a curfew across the country.
    In further addressing the report, Miller told the press their are no talks of domestic travel restrictions and stressed that she doesn’t want bad information out there to scare people.

3/16/2020 Lawmakers urge passage of law to bring pharmaceutical manufacturing back to U.S. by OAN Newsroom
Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) joins GOP House leaders during a news
conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
    Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle are teaming together in order to revitalize the U.S. drug manufacturing sector.     Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) recently introduced the Securing America’s Medicine Cabinet (SAMC) Act to ramp up U.S. production of active pharmaceutical ingredients, or API’s.    The pair believes the U.S. relies too heavily on foreign manufacturing of critical API’s, particularly in China.
    “But right now, we depend heavily on Chinese and foreign companies to manufacture active pharmaceutical ingredients,” said Sen. Blackburn.    “When this happens, we lose control of out supply.”
    Urgency for passage of such a law follows the FDA’s announcement of a shortage of drugs to treat the coronavirus.    The agency blamed difficulties in getting API’s from a Chinese manufacturing site.
    Blackburn and Menendez cited that just 28 percent of facilities are currently manufacturing the drug domestically, while China has more than doubled that number since 2010.
    “We need something like the SAMC Act to enable us to have access to these drugs and these compounds that they are identifying we need,” Sen. Blackburn explained.
    If passed, the SAMC Act would expand the FDA’s emergency technology program to tackle issues relating to national security and drug shortages.    A $100 million grant would be provided to establish facilities to develop these pharmaceuticals and effectively train the industry’s workforce.
    Blackburn and Menendez are optimistic their colleagues will adopt SAMC.    The lawmakers noted that the Senate has been looking for a solution to the problem for years.

3/16/2020 U.S. officials urging citizens to stay home
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks during a briefing about the
coronavirus in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House, Sunday, March 15, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
    As the U.S. continues to fight against the spread of coronavirus, officials have urged Americans to comply with public health warnings.
    During an interview Sunday, the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Dr. Anthony Fauci, told the public to practice social distancing and avoid unnecessary public gathering to help curb the spread of the virus.
    “You should really think twice before putting yourself in a situation where you’re in a crowded place for an extended period of time,” he stated.
    Over the weekend, lawmakers came together to warn Americans against going to bars, restaurants and public spaces.    They encouraged residents to stay at home if possible.
    People across the nation have been gathering in bars for St. Patrick’s Day celebrations despite the many warnings to remain at home.    In response, some states, including Illinois and Ohio, are closing all restaurants and bars beginning this week.
Revelers celebrate St. Patrick’s Day Saturday, March 14, 2020, during an unofficial gathering
at Tracey’s Original Irish Channel Bar in New Orleans. (Scott Threlkeld/The Advocate via AP)
    “Please please do the right thing for your community, for your friends and for your family,” said Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D-Ill.)    “So, once again, no matter how healthy you feel, if you can stay home.”
    Students across the nation are also staying home as thousands of K-12 schools have shut down.    Meanwhile, the federal government remains on high alert as lawmakers continue to evaluate the best way to deal with the global pandemic.

3/16/2020 Special Report: ‘All is well’. In Italy, triage and lies for virus patients by Emilio Parodi, Silvia Aloisi and Pamela Barbaglia
FILE PHOTO: Cemetery workers and funeral agency workers in protective masks transport a coffin of a person who died
from coronavirus disease (COVID-19), into a cemetery in Bergamo, Italy March 16, 2020. REUTERS/Flavio Lo Scalzo.
    MILAN (Reuters) – The fight against death pauses every day at 1 p.m.
    At that time, doctors in the intensive care unit of Policlinico San Donato phone relatives of the unit’s 25 critically-ill coronavirus patients, all of whom are sedated and have tubes down their throats to breathe, to update the families.    Lunchtime used to be for visiting hours at this Milan hospital.    But now, as the country grapples with a coronavirus outbreak that has killed more than 2,000 people, no visitors are allowed in. And no one in Italy leaves their homes anymore.
    When the doctors make the calls, they try not to give false hope: They know that one out of two patients in intensive care with the disease caused by the virus is likely to die.
    As the COVID-19 epidemic expands and the disease progresses, these beds are in increasing demand, especially because of the breathing problems the illness can bring.    Every time a bed comes free, two anaesthesiologists consult with a specialist in resuscitation and an internal medicine physician to decide who will occupy it.
    Age and pre-existing medical conditions are important factors.    So is having a family.
    “We have to take into account whether older patients have families who can take care of them once they leave the ICU, because they will need help,” says Marco Resta, deputy head of Policlinico San Donato’s Intensive Care Unit.
    Even if there is no chance, he says, you have to “look a patient in the face and say, ‘All is well.’    And this lie destroys you.”
    The most devastating medical crisis in Italy since World War Two is forcing doctors, patients and their families to make decisions that Resta, a former military doctor, said he has not experienced even in war.    As of Monday, 2,158 people had died and 27,980 been infected by coronavirus in Italy – the second highest number of reported cases and deaths in the world behind China.
    Resta says that 50% of those with COVID-19 who are accepted into intensive care units in Italy are dying, compared with a usual mortality rate of 12% to 16% in such units nationwide.
    Doctors have warned that northern Italy – where the universal healthcare system is ranked among the world’s most efficient – is a forerunner of crises that the disease is bringing around the world. The outbreak, which hit the northern regions of Lombardy and Veneto first, has crippled the local network of hospitals, putting their intensive care units under colossal strain.
    Over three weeks, 1,135 people have needed intensive care in Lombardy, but the region has only 800 intensive care beds, according to Giacomo Grasselli, head of the intensive care unit at Milan’s Policlinico hospital, which is separate from San Donato. Grasselli coordinates all the state-run intensive care units across Lombardy.
    Such dilemmas are not new in the medical profession.    When treating patients with breathing difficulties, intensive care doctors always evaluate their chance of recovery before intubation – an invasive procedure that involves inserting a tube into the mouth and down the throat and airway.
    But these high numbers mean doctors must choose more often, and more quickly, who deserves a greater chance of survival – a triage that is particularly wrenching in a Catholic country that does not allow assisted dying, and where the population is, according to statistics agency Eurostat, the oldest in Europe with nearly one person in four aged 65 or older.
    “We are not used to such drastic decisions,” says Resta, a 48-year-old anaesthesiologist.
    Italian doctors say that so many elderly COVID-19 patients are showing up with breathing problems, they can’t take a chance on those who have a slim hope of recovery.
    Alfredo Visioli was one such patient.    When he was diagnosed, the 83-year old from Cremona was living a busy, active life, at home with a German shepherd, Holaf, that the family had given him. He cared for his 79-year-old wife, Ileana Scarpanti, who had suffered a stroke two years ago, said his granddaughter Marta Manfredi.
    At first, he only had intermittent fever, but two weeks after he was diagnosed with COVID-19, he developed pulmonary fibrosis – a disease resulting from lung tissue becoming damaged and scarred, which makes it harder and harder to breathe.
    Doctors in the hospital at Cremona, a town of about 73,000 in the Lombardy region, had to decide whether to intubate him to help him breathe.
    “They said there was no point,” said Manfredi.
    She would have liked to hold her grandfather’s hand, she said, while he was in a morphine-induced sleep before he died.
    Now Manfredi is worried about her grandmother.    Ileana also caught COVID-19 and is now in the hospital, though she is responding well to a mouth respirator that is helping her breathe.    No-one has told Ileana her husband is dead.
    Lombardy intensive care coordinator Grasselli said he believed that, so far, all patients with a reasonable chance of recovering and living an acceptable quality of life had been treated.
    But he added that this approach is under strain.    “Previously, for some people we would have said, ‘let’s give them a chance for a few days.’    Now we have to be more stringent.”
REORGANIZED HOSPITALS     This triage is happening outside of hospitals, too.
    On Friday, the mayor of Fidenza, a city just outside the Lombardy region, shut access to the local hospital for 19 hours.    It was overcrowded with COVID-19 patients and hospital staff had worked 21 days without a break.    While the closure was aimed at keeping the hospital going, it meant some people “died at home,” said the mayor, Andrea Massari.
    The new coronavirus first appeared in Italy in January, but the outbreak took off in February in the small town of Codogno, around 60 km (40 miles) southeast of Milan.    Some medical experts believe it may have been introduced by someone who traveled to Italy from Germany.
    Rome moved quickly to isolate the north of the country, at first locking down 10 towns in Lombardy and one in Veneto.    But that didn’t stop the virus.    Within a week, 888 people had tested positive for the disease and 21 had died.    Cases grew exponentially.    Small towns were hit first, putting an immediate strain on small hospitals.
    Since last week, Italy has entered complete self-isolation.    It has closed all schools, offices and services and ordered everyone without a compelling and authorized reason to stay home.    The measures, which are being followed by other European countries, are aimed at stopping the spread of the virus.
    Italy’s authorities are particularly anxious to slow its onset in southern Italy, which has a far less well-funded system than the north.
    Private hospitals are usually reserved for paying patients. But the government has ordered them to offer free medical care to COVID-19 sufferers.    Policlinico San Donato, which is privately held but licensed to work with public sector clients, dispatched teams of anaesthesiologists and other specialists to the worst-affected towns.    Fourth and fifth-year medical students were called into hospitals to help.    Cardiologists were enlisted to help in emergency rooms and COVID-19 wards.     Now, nearly all operating rooms in the Lombardy region have been converted into intensive care units, said Grasselli, the intensive-care coordinator.    Hospital staff work overtime.    Some are substituting for infected colleagues.    Patients are being transferred across regions.
    According to Grasselli, the ratio of nurses to patients in the region’s intensive care units is normally one to two.    Now, it’s one nurse for every four or five patients.    “We have totally reorganized our hospital system,” he says.
    All infected people who arrive at a hospital struggling to breathe receive oxygen, Grasselli says.    The issue is to what extent – and for how long – to keep them artificially respirated.
    Those with lighter breathing problems are connected to an external machine with a mask or, if the patient doesn’t respond, a face-covering helmet.    If their condition deteriorates, doctors must decide whether to admit them to intensive care, where they would be intubated.
    But there’s a problem: Intubating can be taxing on the body, especially for older patients, says Grasselli.    Even if elderly people survive, many can develop other problems, like trouble walking or cognitive difficulties.    Even so in the past, doctors tended to try intubating even older patients, generally because they had the resources to do so, he said – adding that he would never intubate his 84-year old father.
    Before the coronavirus broke, “we more often had the luxury to try to intubate patients who were at the limit,” said Mario Riccio, head of anaesthesiology at the Oglio Po hospital near Cremona.
    Now that’s changed. Italy’s Association of Anaesthesia, Analgesia, Resuscitation and Intensive Care published new guidelines on March 7.     Because it expects a “huge imbalance” between the clinical needs of the population and intensive care resources over the next few weeks, it told those on the front lines: Give priority to those with “greater life expectancy.”
    Italy’s mass quarantining of its population adds emotional stresses to the suffering.    Family members are not allowed to travel in ambulances with relatives, and coronavirus units are closed off to anyone who is not a doctor or a patient.
    Some patients who are not at the point of needing intensive care feel imprisoned in overrun wards.
    “Take me away from here.    Let me die at home.    I want to see you one more time,” Stefano Bollani, a 55-year-old warehouse worker texted his homemaker wife, Tiziana Salvi, from the pre-intensive care unit of Policlinico San Donato, where he is being treated for pneumonia after contracting the virus.
    The couple have not seen each other since she dropped him off in their car outside the Milan hospital nearly two weeks ago.    All she knows, she says, is that his condition seems to have improved in recent days.    “These are things a husband shouldn’t (have to) write to a wife who is outside, who can’t see him,” she adds.
    And some older patients have resisted going to hospital.    Carlo Bertolini, a 76-year-old agronomist in Cremona who had made a name for himself locally with a detailed history of the town’s past vineyards and taverns, was initially very reluctant to seek help, his daughter said.     Bertolini, who lived alone, started feeling sick at the beginning of March.    Eventually, his best friend called an ambulance which took him to the town hospital.    When he spoke to his daughter on the phone from the hospital, he described the huge numbers of patients and the cacophony of the ward.    “I feel like I’m in a war,” he said, according to his daughter, Mara Bertolini.
    Carlo was then transferred to the intensive care unit of a bigger hospital in Milan. Mara and her sister were able to visit dressed in hazmat gear – masks, gloves, white coat – to look at him through the window of the intensive care unit.    “They told us he was the one with the most serious condition in the ICU,” she said.
    The former military doctor Resta says the situation in Lombardy feels worse than the 1999 war in Kosovo, where he served in the air rescue team flying patients from Albania to Italy.     Whenever a patient with coronavirus is accepted into his hospital, he says, the staff write an email to their relatives assuring them that their loved ones will be treated “like family.”    He says the hospital is trying to activate a system of video-conferencing, so that patients can see their relatives during the 1 p.m. call.
    A doctor, not a relative, is often inevitably the last person a dying COVID-19 patient will see.    Loved ones can’t even approach coffins for fear of catching the virus.
    The last Mara Bertolini heard of her father Carlo, the wine historian, was when someone from the morgue called another family member to say they had his body.
    She holds no grudge against the hard-worked doctors, she said.
    What struck her most about her father’s last week of anguish was the look on the doctor’s face when she met him.
    “I couldn’t tell whether it was worry or sadness,” she said.
    “All he said to us was, ‘Stay home.'
(Reporting by Emilio Parodi, Silvia Aloisi and Pamela Barbaglia; Additional reporting by Giselda Vagnoni in Rome; Writing by Alessandra Galloni; Edited by Sara Ledwith and Jason Szep)

3/16/2020 In bid to slow coronavirus, Canada shuts borders to foreign nationals by Kelsey Johnson and David Ljunggren
A man checks his cellphone in the financial district as the number of novel coronavirus cases
continues to grow in Toronto, Ontario, Canada March 16, 2020. REUTERS/Carlos Osorio?
    OTTAWA (Reuters) – Canada closed its borders to all foreign nationals except U.S. citizens and permanent residents on Monday, with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau urging people to limit social contact to help stem the spread of the new coronavirus.
    Several other countries have already taken the same step.    The 27-nation European Union proposed shutting its external borders to foreigners for 30 days on Monday.
    “We will be denying entry into Canada to people who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents … it is a significant step that we take in exceptional circumstances,” Trudeau told reporters outside his home, where he is under quarantine after his wife, Sophie, tested positive for the respiratory virus.
    As the spread of the virus accelerates in Canada, Trudeau also urged people to stay in their homes and restrict contact with others as much as possible.
    “Staying home is an important step to protect the community and each other.    We all have to do it,” he said.
    Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, said the country was “in a fairly critical period,” and that the next two weeks were crucial in trying to stem the outbreak.
    The death toll in Canada rose to four on Monday from one on Sunday.    The number of infected jumped to 407 from the 341 reported at 9 a.m. (1300 GMT) earlier in the day, medical officials said.
    The new deaths occurred in the Pacific province of British Columbia, which is directly north of Washington, one of the worst-hit U.S. states.
    Trade will not be affected by the border closing. Canada shares a long unguarded frontier with the United States, which takes 75% percent of Canadian goods exports.
    Asked why U.S. citizens were exempt, Trudeau said the close bilateral integration meant the United States was in a different category from other nations.    But he added that more measures could be announced soon.
    “Both countries rely on each other to provide essential goods … so it’s very important we do this with a degree of precision and in the spirit of a strong relationship,” Health Minister Patty Hajdu later told reporters.
    British Columbia said, however, it was concerned that U.S. citizens would be allowed in.
    “Our strong message (is) that visitors from the United States not come to British Columbia,” said provincial Health Minister Adrian Dix.
    The border closure helped drive down Air Canada’s stock by as much as 38%.
    Canada will reroute all international flight arrivals to four airports – Toronto, Calgary, Montreal and Vancouver – and has imposed tougher screening requirements.
    Ontario, the most-populous province, and one which accounts for nearly half of the confirmed cases, said it would delay a March 25 budget and instead deliver an economic and fiscal update.
    Trudeau, who has promised to unveil a major stimulus package soon, said that “in the medium term and then into the long term, we will need to invest significant amounts to restore people’s confidence in the economy.”
(Reporting by Kelsey Johnson and David Ljunggren; Additional reporting by Steve Scherer in Ottawa, Rod Nickel in Winnipeg, Allison Lambert in Montreal and Amran Abocar, Allison Martell and Moira Warburton in Toronto; Editing by Rosalba O’Brien and Peter Cooney)

3/16/2020 UK closes down social life as coronavirus outbreak accelerates by Elizabeth Piper and Kylie MacLellan
A man is seen wearing a protective mask as he descends a staircase
in Pontoon Dock DLR Station, Silvertown, London, Britain March 16, 2020 REUTERS/Steven Watt
    LONDON (Reuters) – Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday shut down social life in Britain and ordered the most vulnerable to isolate for 12 weeks, ramping up the battle against a coronavirus outbreak just as it accelerates towards it peak.
    Johnson had faced a backlash after his government took a less stringent approach to tackling the virus than countries such as Italy, France and Spain which have effectively locked down much of Europe.
    In a toughening of Britain’s approach to the outbreak, Johnson closed down any remaining social life in the world’s fifth largest economy and ordered those over 70 with underlying health problems to isolate for 12 weeks from this weekend.
    “What we are announcing today is a very substantial change in the way that we want people to live their lives and I can’t remember anything like it in my life time,” Johnson, 55, said at a news conference in Number 10 Downing Street, flanked by the government’s top scientist and top doctor.
    “I don’t think there’s really been anything like it in peacetime and we have to accept that it’s a very considerable psychological, behavioral change that we’re asking you, the public, the nation to do,” he said.
    People should avoid pubs, clubs, restaurants, cinemas and theaters, the government said, though Johnson stopped short of ordering them to close.    He said he hoped the venues would take a responsible approach.    People should also avoid unnecessary travel and work from home where possible, he said.
    He said this was particularly important in London as it appears to be “a few weeks ahead” of the rest of the country.
    The hospitality industry criticized the move, saying that since they were not being compelled to close, businesses would not be able to claim on their insurance.
    “This announcement will lead to thousands of businesses closing their doors for good, and hundreds of thousands of job losses,” UKHospitality Chief Executive Kate Nicholls said.
    The Society of London Theaters said its member venues, which include London’s major West End theaters, would close from Monday night until further notice.
    The limits on social contact could last for months or at least weeks, England’s Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty said, adding that the next few weeks and months would be “extraordinarily difficult” for the health service.
    Health minister Matt Hancock told parliament that non-time sensitive, elective surgery would be canceled or postponed.
    Johnson said anyone with symptoms of the coronavirus should isolate along with their entire household for 14 days.
    Sterling fell to its lowest against the U.S. dollar since October while Johnson was speaking, down two thirds of a cent on the day.    This economic and financial crisis, though, is not like the 2008 financial crisis, Johnson said.
    “This is unlike 2008, there isn’t a systemic problem within the economy,” Johnson said.    “If we can get the disease under control… then there is absolutely no reason why economies worldwide should not come roaring back.”
    The British government has faced criticism for no longer testing all suspected cases of coronavirus, and Whitty said testing was critical and Britain would scale it up. Earlier on Monday the World Health Organization called on all countries to ramp up their testing program.
    The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the United Kingdom has risen to 1,543, up from 1,372 the day before, the health ministry said on Monday.    The UK death toll rose to 55.
    “It looks as though we are now approaching the fast growth part of the upward curve and without drastic action cases could double every 5 or 6 days,” Johnson said.
    He said it was essential to ensure “those with the most serious health conditions are largely shielded from social contact for around 12 weeks.”
    When asked about the need for a globally coordinated response, Johnson said there was widespread agreement in the G7 that measures would be needed.
    “We are going to need to make sure everybody has access to liquidity,,” he said.    “If we do things jointly then I think that the global markets will understand that we’re all operating in the same sort of fiscal framework and I think we’ll be much more successful that way.”
    Johnson faced a backlash on Monday over his decision to keep schools open, with angry parents keeping their children at home and complaining that other countries were doing more to stop the spread of coronavirus.
    Britain may need to close schools to slow the spread of coronavirus but now is not the time for this, the government’s chief scientific advisor, Patrick Vallance, said.
    “At some point, as we’ve said, it may be necessary to think about things like school closures.    But those things, again, need to be done at the right time in the right way, at the right stage of the outbreak,” he said.
(Reporting by Kylie MacLellan, Elizabeth Howcroft, Elizabeth Piper, David Milliken, William Schomberg, Paul Sandle, Andrew MacAskill and Estelle Shirbon; editing by Kate Holton/Guy Faulconbridge, William Maclean)

3/16/2020 Italy pumps cash into coronavirus-hit economy as death toll passes 2,000 by Giuseppe Fonte and Crispian Balmer
A woman places an Italian flag that reads "everything will be alright" on her apartment balcony as part of a flashmob
organised to raise morale during Italy's coronavirus crisis, in Milan, Italy, March 16, 2020. REUTERS/Daniele Mascolo
    ROME (Reuters) – Italy approved 25 billion euros ($28 billion) of spending measures on Monday to help the fragile economy survive the onslaught of coronavirus as the death toll in Europe’s worst-affected country jumped above 2,000.
    The decree throws a financial lifeline to families and firms who face hardship after the government last week ordered a draconian lockdown on the entire country to stem the contagion.
    “This is a weighty economic package.    We never thought we could face this flood with mops and buckets,” Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte told a news conference.
    Underscoring the challenge confronting Italy, the Civil Protection agency said the death toll had jumped 349 in the last 24 hours to 2,158, a rise of 19%.
    However, offering a ray of possible hope, the number of new cases increased just 13% to 27,980 – the slowest rate of growth since the contagion first came to light on Feb. 21.
    “Let’s hope it is the start of a trend reversal.    I am saying it in a whisper, this could be the start of a trend reversal,” said Attilio Fontana, the governor of the wealthy northern Lombardy region which has been by the hardest hit in Italy.
    Local authorities in one of the worst-affected cities, Bergamo, were struggling to deal with the surging number of fatalities.    Hearses entered the local cemetery through the day, while the local crematorium was operating around the clock.
    The hospital and cemetery morgues were full, meaning coffins were now being laid out in a city church.
    “In the All Saints Church there aren’t any more pews, just coffins,” Giacomo Angeloni, in charge of Bergamo’s graveyards, told Reuters.    “The situation is dramatic … (but) we are trying to maintain decorum.”
    In an effort to slow the spread of the virus, the government has closed restaurants, sporting events and most shops across the country and told Italians to stay at home.
    Looking to prevent people from heading to the island of Sicily, which accounts for less than 1% of the total number of national virus cases, the local government severed almost all travel links with the mainland.
    “We cannot joke around with the coronavirus,” said regional chief Nello Musumeci.
    Analysts say the crisis will plunge Italy into its fourth recession in just 12 years and batter company balance sheets.    The Milan bourse lost a further 6% on Monday, meaning it has now fallen 40% in barely three weeks.
    The government said it would freeze any attempts by companies to sack staff from Feb. 23 and it increased funds to help firms pay workers temporarily idled due to the lockdown.
    Monday’s decree also suspended loan and mortgage repayments and offered state guarantees for banks.    It extended parental leave and offered funds to families to pay for babysitters, with schools closed until April 3.
    The government also prepared to re-nationalize the perennially troubled airline Alitalia, according to a draft decree seen by Reuters.
    “We can speak about an Italian model not only due to our strategy to curb contagion, but we can also start to talk about it regarding our political and economic strategy to tackle this great political and social emergency,” the prime minister said.
(Additional reporting by Gavin Jones and Angelo Amante in Rome and Elisa Anzolin in Milan, Editing by William Maclean)

3/16/2020 Irish PM expects 15,000 coronavirus cases by end of March by Padraic Halpin
FILE PHOTO: ourists with face masks walk around Temple Bar area, as bars across Ireland close voluntarily to
curb the spread of coronavirus, in Dublin, Ireland, March 15, 2020. REUTERS/Lorraine O'Sullivan
    DUBLIN (Reuters) – Ireland expects its number of coronavirus cases to increase to around 15,000 by the end of the month from 223 currently, Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said on Monday, as the government advised against all non-essential travel overseas until then.
    Ireland has so far closed all schools, universities, bars and childcare facilities until March 29 and limited mass gatherings in a bid to curb the spread of the virus that has so far led to two deaths.
    Publishing a plan covering everything from energy security to policing aimed at reducing the economic and social disruption as best the government can, Varadkar said he expected Monday’s 30% daily rise to continue for the time being and pleaded with the public to help slow the surge.
    “We would expect that by the end of the month there would be maybe 15,000 people who would have tested positive for COVID-19.    Most of those will not need treatment but a proportion will need to be hospitalized and we need to make sure that it doesn’t happen at the same time,” Varadkar told a news conference.
    “It’s not about locking down the country tomorrow and stopping the virus spreading.    That’s not possible. … Nobody can predict it, but I definitely think we’re going to be dealing with this for many months, not weeks.”
    Ireland upgraded its travel advice, urging those not involved in essential services like haulage to stay at home.
    Deputy Prime Minister Simon Coveney said that included travel to neighboring Britain, but not the British region of Northern Ireland, which shares an open border with the Irish Republic.
    Varadkar added that 100,000 or more workers could find themselves unemployed because of the economic fallout over the next couple of weeks and that he was confident banks would be able to offer forbearance to mortgage holders who lose their>     Ireland’s economy was the fastest growing in the European Union before the outbreak, bringing the unemployment rate down to 4.8% and its workforce up to a record 2.36 million people.
    Some 20,000 alone presented at unemployment offices on Friday to apply for jobless benefits, the government said.
    After struggling to implement “social distancing” measures, many pubs announced voluntary closures before the shutdown, and restaurants around the country continued to follow suit on Monday as the industry’s main lobby group called for the government to shut the entire industry down.
    Industry body Retail Excellence Ireland also reported on Monday that many of its members had temporarily shut their doors, calling it the “hardest and most challenging day in Irish retail history.”
    Varadkar said his public health team’s advice, however, was that restaurants should not close and that they had an important function.
    Ireland’s chief medical officer, Tony Holohan, said the next seven days were vital in the battle to slow the spread, urging citizens to reduce social contacts to only a handful of people and keep 2 meters away (6.6 feet) from anyone else in shops and supermarkets.
    As the government prepared to source additional beds for recovering patients in facilities such as hotels, Health Minister Simon Harris said a massive recruitment drive would begin on Tuesday aimed at retired doctors, part-time healthcare workers and university students with sufficient skills to help.
    “We will hire everybody that we can to work in the Irish health service for this pandemic. We need you, we want you, your country needs you,” Harris said.
(Reporting by Padraic Halpin; Editing by Alex Richardson, Peter Graff and Peter Cooney)

3/16/2020 ‘We are at war’: France imposes lockdown to combat virus by Michel Rose and Richard Lough
French President Emmanuel Macron is seen addresses the nation about the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak,
on a mobile screen in this illustration picture taken March 16, 2020. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard/Illustration
    PARIS (Reuters) – French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday ordered stringent restrictions on people’s movement to slow the spread of the coronavirus, and said the army would be drafted in to help move the sick to hospitals.
    France had already shut down restaurants and bars, closed schools and put ski resorts off limits, but Macron said measures unprecedented in peacetime were needed as the number of infected people doubled every three days and deaths spiraled higher.
    In a somber address to the nation, the president said that from Tuesday midday (1100 GMT) people should stay at home unless it was to buy groceries, travel to work, exercise or for medical care.
    Anyone flouting the restrictions, in place for at least the next two weeks, would be punished.
    “I know what I am asking of you is unprecedented but circumstances demand it,” Macron said.
    “We’re not up against another army or another nation.    But the enemy is right there: invisible, elusive, but it is making progress.”
    Some 100,000 police will be deployed to enforce the lockdown, Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said.    Checkpoints will be set up nationwide and those on the move will have to be able to justify their journey on a printed ministry document, pedestrians included, he said.
    Macron said tougher action was needed after too many people ignored earlier warnings and mingled in parks and on street corners over the weekend, risking their own health and the wellbeing of others.
    In France the coronavirus has killed 148 people and infected more than 6,600.
    Under the new measures, soldiers would help transport the sick to hospitals with spare capacity and a military hospital with 30 intensive-care beds would be set up in the eastern region of Alsace, where one of the largest infection clusters has broken out.
    Macron said he was postponing the second round of local elections on Sunday. Because the government’s sole focus needed to be fighting the pandemic, he said he was suspending his reform agenda, starting with his overhaul of the pension system.
    The government would, when necessary, legislate by decree to fight the coronavirus, he said.
    Coronavirus infections and fatalities in France and Spain have been surging at a pace just days behind that of Italy, the epicenter of the outbreak in Europe where hospitals in the worst-hit northern regions are stretched to breaking point.
    Seeking to offer further reassurance to businesses, Macron said the government would guarantee 300 billion euros worth of loans.    The loan guarantee plan would be submitted to parliament in coming weeks and would be retroactive, a finance ministry source said.
    Rent and utility bills owed by small companies would also be suspended to help them weather the economic storm, he added.
    “No French company, whatever its size, will be exposed to the risk of collapse,” Macron said.
(Reporting by Michel Rose and Benoit Van Overstraten; Writing by Richard Lough; Editing by Christian Lowe)

3/16/2020 Make us ventilators to fight coronavirus, UK asks Ford and Rolls Royce by Guy Faulconbridge, Kate Holton and Costas Pitas
FILE PHOTO: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson holds a news conference addressing the government's response to
the coronavirus outbreak, at Downing Street in London, Britain March 12, 2020. REUTERS/Simon Dawson/Pool
    LONDON (Reuters) – Britain has asked manufacturers including Ford , Honda <7267.T> and Rolls Royce to help make health equipment including ventilators to cope with the coronavirus outbreak and will look at using hotels as hospitals.
    Britain, which has reported 55 coronavirus deaths and 1,543 cases, on Monday announced it was ramping up its battle against the coronavirus outbreak, shutting down social life and ordering the most vulnerable to isolate themselves for 12 weeks.
    Prime Minister Boris Johnson spoke to more than 60 manufacturing businesses and organizations to ask them to help step up the production of “vital medical equipment” such as ventilators for the National Health Service, a spokeswoman for his Downing Street office said.
    “The Prime Minister made clear that responding to coronavirus and reducing the spread of the peak requires a national effort,” the spokeswoman said.
    “He asked manufacturers to rise to this immediate challenge by offering skills and expertise as well as manufacturing the components themselves.    Businesses can get involved in any part of the process: design, procurement, assembly, testing, and shipping.”
    Hotels will be used as emergency hospitals; retired doctors are being asked to come back to work and some elective surgery is being canceled.
    Many countries are trying to buy ventilators, used to keep people with coronavirus alive if they struggle to breathe.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said there had been an enthusiastic response to the call for ventilator production.
    “We will buy as many ventilators as are made,” he later told parliament. “It is not a question of putting a target on it, we are just going after as many as we possibly can.”
    It was, though, not immediately clear how a manufacturer of jet engines or cars could turn to producing specialist medical equipment, which international parts would be needed or what certification would be required.
    One option could be to adopt defense industry rules which can be used to order certain factories to follow a design to produce a required product quickly.    British industry has the capability to do that but is unlikely to make the electronic components that would also be required.
    Rolls Royce, a British engineering company that makes the jet engines for the biggest Boeing and Airbus planes, said it was ready to help in any way it could.
    Honda, which built just under 110,000 cars at its facility in Swindon in England last year, said it had been asked by the government to explore the feasibility of making additional ventilators.
    Ford operates two engine factories in Britain, which made just under 1.1 million engines in 2019.    A spokesman said it was assessing the situation.    One of the two sites, in Bridgend in Wales, is due to close this year.
    Peugeot-owned Vauxhall has also been asked to help.
    With a steep increase in cases expected, Hancock said on Sunday many hotels were empty and could provided ready-built facilities for looking after people, but an oxygen supply and ventilation equipment would be needed.
(Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge and Kate Holton; editing by Michael Holden and Timothy Heritage)

3/16/2020 U.S. Senate votes to extend surveillance tools for 77 days by Patricia Zengerle
FILE PHOTO: The U.S. Capitol building exterior is seen at sunset as members of the Senate participate in the first day
of the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump in Washington, U.S., January 21, 2020. REUTERS/Sarah Silbiger.
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Senate agreed on Monday to extend a set of government surveillance tools for 77 days, to allow lawmakers time to consider broader changes to the divisive domestic eavesdropping program.
    The Senate had been due to begin voting on Monday evening on a bill passed in the House of Representatives last week that would have reauthorized and reformed the program.
    Instead, senators agreed unanimously on the temporary extension to allow consideration of amendments to the House bill.
    In a rare bipartisan vote, the Democratic-led House had backed the “USA FREEDOM Reauthorization Act of 2020” on Wednesday.    But the measure, which renews and updates domestic surveillance rules under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), must pass the Senate and be signed by President Donald Trump to become law.
    FISA faces stiff opposition from privacy advocates, including liberal Democrats and libertarian-leaning Republicans
    Trump, who is convinced that surveillance tools covered by the legislation were improperly used against his 2016 campaign, has demanded tighter controls on authorities allowed under the law.
    Backers of the program consider it an essential tool for intelligence agencies’ efforts to fight terrorism.
    The bill passed in the House was written with Attorney General William Barr, considered one of Trump’s strongest defenders.    But it still faced too much opposition to pass the Senate without votes on amendments.
    It was not immediately clear how the House would handle the temporary extension, which was retroactive to Saturday.    House members are out of Washington on a week-long recess and are not due to return before March 24.
    A senior Democratic House leadership aide said House leaders were discussing how to proceed.
    Three provisions of the FISA program expired on Sunday.
    Some senators also backed the compromise that led to the temporary extension because it allowed them to immediately consider legislation, also passed by the House last week, to assist Americans as they grapple with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Peter Cooney)

3/17/2020 Oil down $4.09 to $28.84, DOW down 2997 to 20,189.

3/17/2020 More on deaths in the U.S. and noticed that no virus wanted to go into West Virginia so we need to find out why

3/17/2020 LONGER-TERM CONSIDERATIONS - Plan to stay in longer by Michael Collins, David Jackson, John Fritze and Courtney Subramanian, USA TODAY
    Americans could be social distancing through August; officials tell people to avoid gatherings of 10 or more US officials ‘toughen’ guidelines for next 15 days to curb infection.
    WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump said Monday that Americans could be hunkered down and practicing social distancing at least until July or August to confront the coronavirus pandemic.
    During a White House briefing, Trump was asked whether the administration had any estimate of how quickly the country would “turn this corner.”    Many Americans have been working from home, and states are increasingly closing schools, businesses and prohibiting large gatherings of people.
    “People are talking about July, August – or something like that,” Trump told reporters, who were spaced in every other seat in the White House briefing room to practice distancing.
    The president did not discuss specific practices that would have to be implemented for that long, but the question was posed in terms of the steps that the country is currently taking.
    Trump’s remarks came as his administration issued new guidelines for Americans to follow over the next 15 days to help avoid spread of the coronavirus.    The administration did not take drastic actions, such as restricting domestic travel or imposing a national quarantine or curfew.
    The new guidelines call on Americans to avoid social gatherings involving groups of 10 or more.    Health officials had previously suggested avoiding groups of 50 or more people.
    “We’ve made the decision to further toughen the guidelines and blunt the infection now,” Trump said.    “We’d much rather be ahead of the curve than behind it.”
    The guidelines also call for governors in states with evidence of community transmission to close schools in affected and surrounding areas.    Bars, restaurants, food courts, gyms and other venues where groups of people congregate should also be closed in states with evidence of community transmission, the guidelines say.
    Dr. Deborah Birx, a member of Trump’s task force, emphasized health officials “really want people to be separated right now.”    Among the other guidelines:
  • If someone in your house has testified positive, keep the entire household at home. Do not go to work or school.
  • If you are elderly, stay home and away from other people.
  • If you have a serious underlying health condition, stay home and away from others.
  • Avoid discretionary travel, shopping trips and social visits.
  • Avoid eating or drinking in restaurants, bars and food courts. Use drivethrough, pickup and delivery options.
  • Do not visit nursing homes or retirement or long-term care facilities unless to provide critical assistance.
  • Practice good hygiene such as washing your hands, especially after touching frequently used items or surfaces. Avoid touching your face.
    “If everyone makes these critical changes and sacrifices now, we will rally together as one nation and we will defeat the virus,” Trump said.
    Earlier Monday, the White House pushed back on news reports that it is considering imposing curfews and a national quarantine in the wake of the spread of the coronavirus epidemic.
    “This is not correct,” tweeted Katie Miller, a spokeswoman for Vice President Mike Pence, who is heading up the coronavirus task force.
    Trump appeared to suggest foreign groups could be behind a disinformation campaign that circulated rumors the government was close to placing the U.S. on lockdown.    When asked by USA TODAY whether he agreed with U.S. officials who warned that foreign entities are behind a disinformation campaign to stoke fears of a nationwide quarantine, Trump said, “it could be that you have some foreign groups that are playing games.”
    But the president emphasized that the administration had not made the decision to take such a step.    He also said U.S. officials may look at restrictions for specific areas where there’s an outbreak of coronavirus, or “certain hot spots as they call them.”
    “If everyone makes these critical changes and sacrifices now, we will rally together as one nation and we will defeat the virus.” President Donald Trump
The White House on Monday rejected reports that it is considering imposing curfews because of the virus. EVAN VUCCI/AP
Alexus Benvenutti, a cook at Columbus South High School in Columbus, Ohio, hands lunch – pepperoni pizza,
salad, an apple and milk – to fifth grader Amata Combs-Fuller in a meal pickup for children. School
districts across Ohio and at least 29 other states have been ordered closed. JOSHUA A. BICKEL/USA TODAY NETWORK
A medical team prepares to test people for COVID-19 at a drive-through station set up in the parking
lot of FoundCare, a health center in West Palm Beach, Fla. GREG LOVETT/THE PALM BEACH POST

3/17/2020 Parisians flee to the countryside ahead of coronavirus lockdown by Elizabeth Pineau
A man carrying his belongings walks on the Pont des Arts in Paris after French President ordered stringent restrictions on
people's movement to slow the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), France, March 17, 2020. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann
    PARIS (Reuters) – Parisians thronged the city’s rail stations and took to the highway early on Tuesday to escape the French capital before a lockdown imposed to slow the rate of coronavirus contagion kicked in at midday.
    The Paris exodus drew dismay from provincial France, where many fear that city-dwellers will bring the virus with them and accelerate its spread.
    Health Minister Olivier Veran said the government had no intention of preventing people traveling to secondary residences but said the stringent restrictions on public life would apply on the coast as they would in the city.
    At Paris’ Gare du Nord, passengers, many wearing masks, stared up at departure boards.
    “We’d rather be in a more open environment, in a bigger house with a garden, than in a Parisian apartment,” said education journalist Camille, who was traveling to her mother’s home in northern France with her partner. Both plan to work remotely.
    France’s death toll from the coronavirus has reached 148 and a total of 6,600 people have been confirmed infected.
    President Emmanuel Macron late on Monday said the country “was at war” with coronavirus and announced restrictions unprecedented in post-war France.
    He ordered people to stay at home from Tuesday lunchtime. He said they should leave only to buy groceries, travel to work if essential, exercise or for medical care. The army will be mobilized to help move the sick to hospitals, he said.
    Junior transport minister Jean-Baptiste Djebbari said services of the high-speed intercity TGV trains would be reduced under the lockdown to help curb infections.
    But many in the provinces remained incredulous.
    “Parisians are fleeing the city and will infect the provinces, just to be confined in the open air.    This exodus is unthinkable, selfish and a ticking time-bomb,” one Twitter user wrote.
(Writing by Richard Lough; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)

3/17/2020 Senate votes on 77 day extension to surveillance bill by OAN Newsroom
Police officers stand outside the U.S. Senate steps on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday,
March 16, 2020. Congress has shut the Capitol and all Senate and House office buildings to the public
until April in reaction to the spread of the coronavirus outbreak. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
    The Senate voted on a temporary extension of recently lapsed intelligence programs to provide time for discussion on major provisions in the renewal process. The extension was passed Monday, just minutes before a scheduled procedural vote on the matter. The move came as a way to give lawmakers more time to consider the bill, which would reauthorize the controversial Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).    However, the extension for the Senate was unanimously agreed to in order to give members more time to debate on the House’s revisions.
    Specifically, there is bipartisan push-back to FISA, which senators on both sides of the aisle fear violates people’s privacy rights.    Two of the most vocal opponents to the act are Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah).
    “The secret FISA court should be forbidden from allowing spying on political campaigns ever again, period,” said Sen. Paul.    “…History has proven just how dangerous it can be when we sacrifice our rights to create a temporary and ultimately false sense of security.”
FILE – Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., pauses during a Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor,
and Pensions hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, FIle)
    President Trump has also expressed concerns over FISA after the court issued the FBI a warrant in 2016 to surveil the Trump campaign based off of what was later determined to be faulty evidence.
    The House’s bill attempted to address those problems and was passed through with broad bipartisan support.    However, the president suggested in a tweet last week that he may veto the legislation if it comes to his desk.
    The Senate limited the extended discussion to three amendments, including the lone wolf program, roving wiretaps and a section allowing intelligence agencies to collect suspect’s phone records.    The extension still needs to be passed through the House, which is out of town until next week.

3/17/2020 Senate passes changes to coronavirus relief bill by OAN Newsroombr>
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, second from left, speaks with members of the media as he departs
a meeting with Senate Republicans on an economic lifeline for Americans affected by the coronavirus
outbreak on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, March 16, 2020. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
    The Senate passed several changes to the coronavirus relief bill.    Lawmakers approved the alterations Monday night, which puts them on track to pass the legislation as early as this week.
    The bill, known as the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, was first passed by the House over the weekend.    It aims to provide aid to those impacted most by the outbreak, including business owners, senior citizens, students and workers facing quarantine.
    What we did, what we said we were going to do, put families first with paid sick, sick leave, paid sick days, a family medical leave, unemployment insurance for the children. “Over 20 million children get their meals at school, they have food insecurity, and this bill addresses that as well as food for our seniors and others who depend on that” stated House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
    If passed by the Senate, it will head to the president’s desk.    He has signaled plans to sign measure.
    The bill would allocate $500 million to a special supplemental nutrition program for women, infants and children.    It would also provide an additional $400 to the emergency food assistance program.
    Additionally, the legislation would provide free COVID-19 testing regardless of insurance status.
    “And within a short period of time, and even now, we’re testing tremendous numbers of people,” said President Trump during a coronavirus briefing at the White House.
President Donald Trump listens during a meeting with tourism industry executives about the coronavirus,
in the Cabinet Room of the White House, Tuesday, March 17, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
    The bill will also set aside $5 million for the emergency paid sick leave program for people who have been diagnosed with the ailment, those who are in quarantine and those who must miss work to care for their children who’s schools have been closed down.
    Officials have said the federal government will pay businesses back for these expenses by writing the costs off of its federal tax returns.

3/17/2020 Coronavirus death toll at least 100 in the U.S. by OAN Newsroom
Medical personnel complete administrative work after testing a patient up at a drive-through coronavirus testing station
for University of Washington Medicine patients Tuesday, March 17, 2020, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
    As the world grapples with the coronavirus, mathematical models are giving some insight into the global pandemic.    It has been three months since the first COVID-19 cases emerged from Central China and since then numbers of confirmed cases worldwide have steadily risen.
    Data compiled from different countries now gives scientists the chance to crunch the numbers and predict what could happen under certain circumstances.    Specifically, a study by Imperial College in London revealed 2.2 million people in the U.S. could die without immediate action by both the government and individuals.
    During a press briefing this week, officials were asked about what led to the White House enacting stricter guidelines for public gatherings.    They urged Americans to avoid gatherings of more than 10 people, which is far less than the CDC‘s recommendation of 50 people.
    One of the task force leaders cited the Imperial College model.
    “We have been working on models day and night around the globe to really predict because some countries are in a very early stage, like the United States,” stated Dr. Deborah Brix.    “We’ve been working with groups in the United Kingdom, so we had new information coming out from the model.”
A police officer controls a car in Paris, Tuesday, March 17, 2020. French President Emmanuel Macron said that starting on Tuesday,
people would be allowed to leave the place they live only for necessary activities such as shopping for food, going to work or taking a walk.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms. For some it can cause more severe illness. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
    The study also highlighted the major difference between the coronavirus and SARS outbreak.    Although the death ratio is significantly lower than SARS, the spread of COVID-19 has been much greater.    This has made it more difficult to contain.
    More models are expected as researchers continue to use worldwide data to paint a clearer picture of its spread and risk.

3/17/2020 Seattle woman becomes first person injected with experimental coronavirus vaccine in clinical study by OAN Newsroom
A pharmacist gives Jennifer Haller, left, the first shot in the first-stage safety study
clinical trial of a potential vaccine for COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus,
Monday, March 16, 2020, at the Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
    A Seattle woman recently became the first person to receive a coronavirus vaccine.    A pharmacist injected 43-year-old Jennifer Haller with the experimental dose of the vaccine at the Kaiser Permanente Washington Research Institute on Monday.
    “I was the first, it’s unbelievable.    I’m really excited about that.    It was easy.    It was just like a flu shot.    I had a flu shot couple of months ago, it was very similar to that process.    It didn’t hurt.    I was very happy about that.” — Jennifer Haller, resident – Seattle Washington
    There are 45 total participants in the study.    According to the lead investigator, the volunteers can not become infected with the virus because it contains “a harmless genetic code, copied from the virus, that causes the disease.”
    “There’s no chance of getting coronavirus from the vaccine., the vaccine is not made from the virus,” explained Dr. Lisa Jackson.    “…It includes a genetic code that instructs the cells in the body to make a protein that the virus has in order to induce an immune response against that protein, which would hopefully allow an immune response to be built more quickly should a person later become infected with the actual virus.”
    The clinical trial will give each volunteer two doses of the vaccine with each dose being one month apart.
    “Going from not even knowing that this virus was out there, which we then identified it as being a cause of infection in China in January, to have any vaccine that we can actually initiate a clinical trial in about two months is unprecedented,” Dr. Jackson continued.
Dr. Lisa Jackson, right, a senior investigator at the Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute, confers with Pharmacist
Michael Witte, left, Monday, March 16, 2020, in Seattle. Jackson is leading the first-stage safety study clinical trial of a potential
coronavirus vaccine, which began Monday with the first volunteers receiving shots of the vaccine. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
    However, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, an approved vaccine for widespread public use is still a while away.
    “So, although this is the fastest we have ever gone from a sequence of a virus to a trial, it still will not be any applicable to the epidemic unless we’d really wait about a year to a year and a half,” he stated.
    Monday’s clinical trial is just the first step to developing a vaccine.    In the meantime, the Trump administration has continued to assure the American people the president is doing everything in his power to keep Americans safe.

3/17/2020 White House announces stricter guidelines to curb COVID-19, increases standards on social distancing by OAN Newsroom
President Donald Trump speaks during a press briefing with the coronavirus task force, in the Brady press
briefing room at the White House, Monday, March 16, 2020, in Washington, as Administrator of the Centers for Medicare
and Medicaid Services Seema Verma, U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams, Dr. Deborah Birx, White House
coronavirus response coordinator, and Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, listen. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
    The Trump administration has called on Americans to follow new federal guidelines, which aim to halt the spread of the coronavirus.
    President Trump introduced his 15 day campaign at a press conference Monday, where he encouraged Americans to adopt the new standards over that time frame.
    The measures look to tighten the current definition of social distancing by asking young, healthy people to work remotely and complete school assignments at home.
    “It’s important for the young and healthy people to understand that while they may experience milder symptoms, they can easily spread this virus and they will spread it, indeed, putting countless others in harm’s way,” stated President Trump.    “We especially worry about our senior citizens.”
    The campaign largely targeted eating in public and limited exposure to bars, restaurants and food courts.    Officials have also requested that people refrain from gathering in groups with more than 10 people.
    Additionally, entire households are encouraged to isolate themselves if at least one member tests positive for coronavirus.
    “If everyone makes this change or these critical changes and sacrifices now, we will rally together as one nation and we will defeat the virus,” said the president.    “And we’re going to have a big celebration all together.”
    Other White House officials are sounding off a similar tune by encouraging all Americans to take part in stopping the spread of the virus.
A sign posted in a restaurant window in the Chinatown-International District advises of only take out orders
Monday, March 16, 2020, in Seattle. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee on Monday ordered all bars, restaurants, entertainment and
recreation facilities to temporarily close to fight the spread of the new coronavirus in the state with by far the most
deaths in the U.S. from the COVID-19 disease. Take out and delivery food orders are still allowed. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
    The administration specifically singled out millennials by praising their ability to communicate through advancements in technology without having to be in large social gatherings.
    “To be able to address this virus comprehensively that we cannot see, for which we don’t have a vaccine or a therapeutic, the only thing we have right now is the amazing ingenuity and compassion of the American people,” Dr. Deborah Birx, White House coronavirus coordinator.    “We’re appealing to all Americans to take these steps to protect each other and to ensure that the virus doesn’t spread.”
    President Trump confirmed testing described as a “phase one” clinical trial for a coronavirus vaccine is already underway.    He also assured the government is racing to develop anti-viral therapies and treatments.
    Despite this, the president predicted the effects of the coronavirus outbreak may last until July or August.

3/17/2020 President Trump: Recession ‘may be’ possible, rebound certain by OAN Newsroom
President Donald Trump speaks during a press briefing with the coronavirus task force, in the Brady
press briefing room at the White House, Monday, March 16, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
    President Trump recently acknowledged the rising risk of a recession due to the coronavirus outbreak.    During a news conference at the White House Monday, the president admitted recent closures of businesses across the U.S. may trigger a decline in economic activity.
    However, he said the main goal right now is to defeat the virus.    “We’re not thinking in terms of recession, we’re thinking in terms of the virus,” he told reporters.
    Once this health emergency is over, the president said he expects a major rebound in GDP growth and stock market value.
    “I think there’s a tremendous pent up demand, both in terms of the stock market and in terms of the economy, and once this goes away, once it goes through and we’re done with it, I think you’re going to see a tremendous, a tremendous surge,” he stated.    “Once this virus is gone, I think you’re going to have a stock market like nobody’s ever seen before.”
    President Trump also noted that his cabinet will provide a fiscal stimulus to industries affected by the virus and another round of tax cuts maybe on the way as well.

3/17/2020 Italy records hundreds of new COVID-19 deaths by OAN Newsroom
A blood donor has her temperature checked inside a Red Cross mobile center, in Rome Tuesday, March 17, 2020. After the initial scare due to
the coronavirus outbreak, many donors responded to the Red Cross appeal to continue giving their blood. (Cecilia Fabiano/LaPresse via AP)
    Italy has recorded hundreds of new deaths due to the coronavirus.    The country’s total has risen to more than 2,000 people.    The number of positive diagnoses also rose to nearly 30,000 cases.
    Italy’s Special Commissioner for the Coronavirus, Angelo Borrelli, said cases have slowed in the hardest hit regions as health officials work to get masks and other supplies.
    “As I’ve already said recently, in many countries where our supplies come from, there have been blocks and interruptions of supplies due to government decisions to interrupt exports in order to guarantee the self-sufficiency of those countries,” explained the official.
Medical staff wearing protective suits carry the coffin containing the body of Assunta Pastore, 87, after
she passed away in her room at the Garden hotel in Laigueglia, northwest Italy, Liguria region, Sunday March 1, 2020.
The woman, part of a group of elderly tourist from the Lombardia region, tested positive of the COVID-19. (AP Photo)
    Italy has remained the epicenter of the virus outbreak in Europe. Deaths have severely affected morgues in the country.    Coffins are lining up because funerals are now considered illegal in an effort to stop big groups of people from gathering together.

3/17/2020 Italy rushes new doctors into service as coronavirus deaths rise above 2,500 by Angelo Amante and Crispian Balmer
Rome's Town Hall is lit up with the colours of the Italian flag to show solidarity with the country
as it continues to battle coronavirus, in Rome, Italy, March 17, 2020. REUTERS/Alberto Lingria
    ROME (Reuters) – Italy will rush 10,000 student doctors into service, scrapping their final exams, in an effort to help the struggling health service cope with the coronavirus which claimed another 345 lives.
    The death toll rose to 2,503 over the past 24 hours, the Civil Protection Agency said, while the total number of confirmed cases increased to 31,506 from a previous 27,980 – the largest number outside China.
    The crisis has pushed hospitals to breaking point at the epicenter of the contagion in northern Italy and left other regions scrambling to strengthen their own health systems as the number of infected rises nationwide.
    “Lombardy is on the point of collapse.    All the intensive care beds and respirators are being used,” said Matteo Salvini, head of the League party which governs the wealthy region.
    A potentially dangerous development is the rise in cases in the province of Milan, up by 343 in the last 24 hours to 2,326.
    The 17% rise compares with a much smaller increase of 11% in Lombardy as a whole.
    The epidemic has so far taken a relatively light toll on Italy’s main cities, but there are now 964 confirmed cases in the densely populated financial capital which numbers 1.4 million residents.
    Lombardy’s health chief said it was vital that the Milanese strictly observe all the curbs on movement laid down by the government “to prevent the contagion growing much more strongly in a very populous area like Milan.”
    University Minister Gaetano Manfredi said the government would let this year’s medicine graduates start work some eight or nine months ahead of schedule and waive the mandatory exams they normally sit before qualifying.
    “This means immediately releasing into the National Health System the energy of about 10,000 doctors, which is fundamental to dealing with the shortage that our country is suffering,” he said in a statement.
    The graduates will be sent to work in general practitioners’ clinics and at old peoples’ homes, freeing up more experienced colleagues who will be sent to the rapidly filling hospitals.
    Over three weeks, 1,135 people have needed intensive care in Lombardy, the northern region hardest hit.    The region has only 800 intensive care beds, according to Giacomo Grasselli, head of the intensive care unit at Milan’s Policlinico hospital.
    Authorities have been working to set up hundreds of intensive care beds in a specially created facility in the Fiera Milano exhibition center, but are still waiting for sufficient respirators and qualified personnel.
    Former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi said on Tuesday he would donate 10 million euros ($11 million) to help equip the new center, joining a growing list of wealthy Italians offering funds.
    In Rome, oil major ENI has paid for the multi-million euro conversion of the small, private Columbus hospital into a center for treating coronavirus patients, with the first sufferers being stretchered into the unit on Monday.
    In Genoa, authorities are transforming a ferry into a hospital boat that they hope will be ready by Thursday.
    Looking to map the spread of the illness, the head of the northern Veneto region announced that he would ramp up the number of tests done daily to some 11,300 from 3,000 at>     “Even if we find just one positive case, it means we will have 10 less infections,” said Luca Zaia.    “I don’t really care about the budget.    It is less important than the lives of our citizens.”
    The government last week ordered the blanket, nationwide closure of restaurants, bars and almost all shops except for food stores and chemists, telling Italians to stay home except for emergencies.
    Looking to enforce the order, the police have increased their checks, with some 172,720 people stopped on Monday and questioned about why they were outside – a jump of 50% on Sunday. Of those 7,890 were booked for breaking the law.
    An SWG poll showed just 3% of people thought the lockdown was excessive, while 50% thought more could be done to stop the contagion.    There was also anxiety for the future, with just over 50% of people fearing they would lose their jobs.
($1 = 0.9069 euros)
(Additional reporting by Gavin Jones in Rome and Elvira Pollina in Milan; Writing by Crispian Balmer; Editing by Gavin Jones, Peter Graff and Nick Macfie)

3/17/2020 Europe grapples with ‘socio-economic tsunami’ of coronavirus crisis by Gabriela Baczynska and John Chalmers
Border police officers wait to check vehicles at the last toll gate entering Spain from France, following an order from the Spanish
government to set up controls at its land borders over coronavirus, in La Jonquera, Spain March 17, 2020. REUTERS/Nacho Doce
    BRUSSELS/ROME (Reuters) – Italy’s prime minister on Tuesday declared coronavirus was causing a “socio-economic tsunami” as European leaders agreed to seal off external borders, but many countries thwarted solidarity by imposing frontier curbs of their own.
    “The enemy is the virus and now we have to do our utmost to protect our people and to protect our economies,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said after the second videoconference in a week of the European Union’s 27 leaders.
    “We are ready to do everything that is required.    We will not hesitate to take additional measures as the situation evolves.”
    Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, whose country has been hardest hit by a global health crisis now centered in Europe, said no nation would be left untouched by the “tsunami.”
    He called for special “coronavirus bonds,” or a European guarantee fund, to help member states finance urgent health and economic policies, an Italian government source said.
    Rome has issued similar calls for joint EU funding during previous crises, usually running into opposition from the bloc’s most powerful economy and paymaster, Germany.
    Asked about Conte’s proposal, Chancellor Angela Merkel said euro zone finance ministers would continue discussing ways to help their economies cushion the impact, but no decision has been made.
    “These are initial discussions and there have been no decisions by the finance ministers,” said Merkel.    “I will talk to (Finance Minister) Olaf Scholz so that Germany continues to take part (in the discussions).    But there are no results regarding this.”
    The EU has scrambled to find a coherent response to the outbreak, with countries imposing their own border checks in what is normally a zone of control-free travel, limiting exports of medical equipment or failing to share key data swiftly.
    The national leaders agreed on Tuesday to close the external borders of most European countries for 30 days and establish fast-track lanes at their countries’ frontiers to keep medicines and food moving.
    Ireland will not join the travel ban on Europe’s borders, von der Leyen said, because the United Kingdom – which left the EU in January – was not either.    Despite Brexit, the two have an obligation to preserve an open border on the island of Ireland.
    Should Ireland go with the majority of European countries while the UK stays away, it would mean erecting controls on the sensitive border with Northern Ireland, something sides sought to avoid at all cost in three years of tortuous Brexit divorce talks.
    France went into lockdown on Tuesday to contain the spread of the highly contagious new coronavirus and Belgium announced it would follow suit, as the death toll in Italy jumped above 2,000, European banks warned of falling incomes and pummeled airlines pleaded for government aid.
    The EU’s executive European Commission warned member states that this was just the beginning of the crisis and Germany said it would run for “months rather than weeks,” diplomats said.
    Alarmed by the unilateral border restrictions being imposed in a bloc that prizes the free movement of people, French President Emmanuel     Macron had pressed for the decision to close Europe’s external borders to foreigners.
    “That was meant to convince European countries to drop internal and unilateral border moves.    But it’s hard to see anyone doing it,” an EU diplomat said, adding the move was largely symbolic as the virus was already within.
    Indeed, tensions over borders still abounded across the EU, with three Baltic countries – Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia – criticizing Poland for blocking their citizens in transit from returning home.
    Portugal and Spain on Tuesday notified Brussels that they have introduced controls on Europe’s internal borders, bringing the total taking such measures to at least 12 countries.
    Slovakia, Slovenia and Hungary have not formally informed the EU about such moves despite pursuing them, meaning the real number is likely higher.
    The EU has also moved to repatriate Europeans stranded abroad as airlines cut flights.    Von der Leyen said nearly 300 Austrian and other European nationals were flown back from Morocco to Vienna on Tuesday.
    Their border control steps aside, the EU leaders have come together on a “whatever it takes” approach to cushioning the economic blow from the pandemic, including by relaxing limitations on state aid.
    The bloc’s antitrust chief proposed allowing governments to offer grants or tax advantages of up to 500,000 euros ($550,000) to ailing companies, though some EU countries want Brussels to go further.
(GRAPHIC-Tracking the spread of the novel coronavirus link:
(Reporting by Marine Strauss, Jan Strupczewski, Foo Yun Chee, Michel Rose, Crispian Balmer and Joseph Nasr; Writing by Gabriela Baczynska and John Chalmers; Editing by Bill Berkrot and Grant McCool)

3/17/2020 British shoppers step up panic buying: industry sources by James Davey
Empty shelves inside a Tesco supermarket in Hemel Hempstead as the number of coronavirus cases
grow around the world, in Hemel Hempstead, Britain, March 17, 2020. REUTERS/Matthew Childs
    LONDON (Reuters) – Panic buying by British shoppers over coronavirus is getting worse despite appeals for calm, and supermarket bosses are concerned the government is yet to get to grips with the magnitude of the crisis, industry sources told Reuters.     On Sunday the food industry appealed to shoppers to stop panic buying, placing adverts in national newspapers.    But it hasn’t worked.
    Shelves were on Tuesday stripped bare of items such as eggs and chicken, while freezer chests were emptied.
    “It’s getting worse,” said a source at one of Britain’s major supermarket groups.
    Britain’s big grocers, including market leader Tesco , Sainsbury’s , Asda , and Morrisons , along with discounters Aldi and Lidl, have struggled for over a week to keep shelves stocked.
    Britons have been stockpiling cupboard items such as dried pasta, flour, canned food, toilet rolls and hand sanitizer.
    Store trading levels have been close to those only seen at Christmas, the busiest time of the year, while online grocery operations have been struggling to meet vast demand.
    Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday shut down social life in Britain and advised the most vulnerable to isolate for 12 weeks, prompting another step-up in grocery trade on Tuesday.
    “The level of panic buying is definitely not getting any better,” said a second source at another major UK supermarket group.
    Aldi on Monday became the first grocer to introduce rationing, limiting customers to buying four items of any one product during each visit.
    The supermarket industry says it is working closely with suppliers to keep food moving through the system and is making more deliveries to stores to get shelves re-stocked.
    It says supplies are still coming in from Europe, despite lock-downs in Italy, Spain and France.
    The government says it is speaking to supermarket CEOs about their response to coronavirus.    Prime Minister Johnson said there was no reason to stockpile as food supplies were safe.
    However, the first source said the government was only just starting to understand the enormity of the crisis for the supermarket industry.
    “They’re in asking questions mode, they’re certainly not in telling us anything mode.    They’re trying to understand what we’re seeing rather than telling us to do anything specific.”
    The second source added: “Government are asking questions, listening and planning, but we’d appreciate a bit more help to get things moving.”
    The source said the government could help by lifting restrictions on driver hours and relaxing Groceries Supply Code of Practice (GSCOP) regulations which slow the industry down.
    Reuters reported on Monday that supermarket groups are working on plans to streamline their operations by cutting cafes, counters and other services to enable a depleted workforce to maintain basic provisions.
    In-store cafes will start to close in the next few days. Supermarkets are also rationalizing ranges, reducing the number of pack sizes and different product options.
(Reporting by James Davey; Editing by Kate Holton, Guy Faulconbridge and Jan Harvey)

3/17/2020 Canada vows income support, mulls emergency measures to slow coronavirus by Steve Scherer and David Ljunggren
Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attends a news conference at
Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada March 17, 2020. REUTERS/Blair Gable
    OTTAWA (Reuters) – Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday pledged financial support for people affected by the coronavirus outbreak and said he was considering invoking a rarely-used emergency act to restrict the movement of people and goods.
    The death toll in Canada doubled to eight with three more deaths in British Columbia (B.C.) and the first in Ontario.    There have been nearly 600 infections nationwide, including 83 new cases in B.C.
    “We’re going to be flowing income supports to millions of Canadians,” Trudeau said in an interview with 680 News radio. Details will be outlined on Wednesday, he said.
    Direct support for people who do not qualify for unemployment benefits and money for businesses that keep people on the payroll even if they stay home are among possible measures, Trudeau said.
    In the meantime, “everyone who can stay home should stay home,” Trudeau said, “to prevent our medical system from getting overloaded” during a crisis that could last months.
    As the prime minister spoke, LNG Canada, which is building a liquefied natural gas export terminal in British Columbia, said it was reducing staffing at the site by half.
    Trudeau later told reporters he was examining whether to invoke the rarely-used 1988 Emergencies Act, which would allow Ottawa to override provinces and restrict the movement of people and goods.
    He spoke after Ontario declared a state of emergency, banned gatherings of more than 50 people and ordered the closure of bars and restaurants.    Ontario Premier Doug Ford committed C$300 million to boost the province’s healthcare system.
    British Columbia and Alberta were among the provinces that declared states of emergency.    Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said the declaration allows health authorities to ensure adequate staffing levels, for example, by cancelling scheduled vacations.
    Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said using the Emergencies Act was “a measure of last resort … We would never introduce it without careful consultation with the provinces.”
    Ottawa announced on Monday the closure of borders to foreign citizens, excluding U.S. citizens.    The province of British Columbia wants the ban imposed on Americans as well.
    “We’ll work very closely with B.C. and I understand their concerns,” Public Safety Minister Bill Blair told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
    Trudeau spoke to reporters in front of his home, where he has been in quarantine since his wife tested positive for the new coronavirus last week.
    Other measures to help Canadians could include greater access to credit for businesses, help for those struggling with mortgages, an increase in child-care benefits, and more support for low-income families.    People will be given more time to file tax returns, he said.
    Kenney said Alberta would announce its own economic measures soon, focusing on liquidity for households and businesses.
    British Columbia, which less than one month ago forecast a fiscal surplus, is now likely to run a deficit, said provincial finance minister Carole James.
(Reporting by Steve Scherer and David Ljunggren, additional reporting by Amran Abocar and Moira Warburton in Toronto, Rod Nickel in Winnipeg; Editing by Dan Grebler, Tom Brown and Grant McCool)

3/17/2020 ‘A St. Patrick’s Day like no other,’ Irish PM speaks to nation by Padraic Halpin
General view in Dublin on St. Patrick's Day as public events were cancelled as the number of
coronavirus cases grow around the world, in Dublin, Ireland, March 17, 2020. REUTERS/Jason Cairnduff
    DUBLIN (Reuters) – Ireland’s government will at some point advise the elderly and those with long-term illnesses to stay at home for weeks to try to save lives from the coronavirus, Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said on a St. Patrick’s Day he described as being like no other.
    Varadkar delivered his first televised address to the nation since the arrival of the coronavirus on Feb. 29, using the national holiday to call for sustained action to slow the spread and to say that solidarity was needed at a time of national sacrifice.
    Ireland has 292 confirmed cases so far but Varadkar has said the government expects that to rise to at least 15,000 by the end of the month.
    “This is the calm before the storm, before the surge and when it comes and it will come, never will so many ask so much of so few,” Varadkar said in the 11-minute address.
    “Many of you will want to know when this will be over.    The truth is we just don’t know yet.    It could go on for months until the summer, so we need to be sensible in the approaches we take.    I know this is causing huge stress to you and your families.”
    Ireland has closed schools, universities, bars and childcare facilities, and the main new policy flagged on Tuesday was the eventual “cocooning” of older people.    Varadkar assured them that systems were being put in place to ensure they would have food, supplies and were checked on.
    He added that the damage to the economy, the fastest-growing in the European Union before the outbreak, would be significant and lasting, the bill enormous and that it may take years to pay.
    The government will go beyond the 3 billion euro package put in place for health, social welfare and businesses as needed and the state has the capacity and credit rating to borrow billions of euros on financial markets if necessary, he said.
    Varadkar is serving in a caretaker role while the country tries to form a new government following a Feb. 8 election.    His Fine Gael party came third but is in the early stages of on-off talks to be part of the next administration.
    Expressing his pride in his partner, two sisters and both their husbands who work in the health service, Varadkar, who is also a trained doctor, called on young people to ask their parents at least once a day what they can do to help them, to keep up on school work and phone their grandparents.
    “This is a St. Patrick’s Day like no other, a day that none of us will ever forget.    Today’s children will tell their own children and grandchildren about the national holiday in 2020 that had no parties, no parades and instead saw everyone stay at home to protect each other,” he said.
    “In years to come, let them say of us, when things were at their worst, we were at our best.”
(Reporting by Padraic Halpin; Editing by Chris Reese and Peter Cooney)

3/17/2020 Brazil records first coronavirus death, Bolsonaro awaits new test result by Anthony Boadle and Alusio Alves
A man rides a bicycle at a street market in the Ceilandia neighbourhood after authorities announced measures due
to the outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Brasilia, Brazil March 17, 2020. REUTERS/Adriano Machado
    BRASILIA/SAO PAULO (Reuters) – Brazil on Tuesday reported its first confirmed death from the coronavirus outbreak and tests were underway on four other possible COVID-19 fatalities, as Congress canceled a joint session due to mounting fears about the fast-moving disease.
    A 62-year-old man with a history of diabetes and hypertension died from the virus on Monday, after checking into a private hospital in Sao Paulo on Saturday, state health officials told a news conference.
    The man had no recent history of international travel.    Four other deaths in the same unidentified hospital were under investigation to see if the deceased had succumbed to the virus, officials said.
    Brazil also announced it would partially close its border with Venezuela as of Wednesday to slow the spread of the new coronavirus, stopping the influx of Venezuelan refugees while allowing trucks with merchandise to continue crossing.
    Brazil’s health minister urged the closure because he said Venezuela was no longer able to provide healthcare.
    President Jair Bolsonaro underwent his second coronavirus test, and the results may be released later on Tuesday, the president’s office said.    The president said on Friday his initial test result was negative.
    Separately, Congress canceled a joint session of the upper and lower houses as lawmakers stayed away over concerns related to the virus, a Senate staffer said.
    The session had been scheduled to debate presidential vetoes and budget issues.    If lawmakers continue to stay away, the government’s agenda of privatizations, tax reforms and public payroll cuts could quickly grind to a halt.
    Congressional committees canceled public hearings and Senate and lower chamber leaders were discussing whether to suspend all sessions due to the epidemic.    Brazil’s Supreme Court has limited its work to rulings made by justices online.
    Nonetheless, Rodrigo Maia, the head of the lower house, on Tuesday said the legislative body would not close.    He added that he and other lawmakers would fully support any coronavirus aid package brought by the government, adding he hoped to see measures in the next days and weeks.
    Maia also criticized the government for not having shut down Brazil’s borders, restricted international flights and curtailed movements in hotspots like Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro states.
    Sao Paulo was the first state to register a coronavirus case and still is the epicenter of the outbreak in Brazil with 152 cases, according to official figures.    Brazil had 291 confirmed coronavirus cases on Tuesday, up from 234 confirmed on Monday.
    Bolsonaro was first tested last Thursday after his communications secretary Fabio Wajngarten, who was part of a presidential party that visited Florida and met with U.S. President Donald Trump last week, tested positive.
    So far, a dozen members of the president’s entourage in Florida and four others who participated in meetings with Bolsonaro during the trip have tested positive.
(Reporting by Aluísio Alves, Lisandra Paraguassu and Maria Carolina Marcello and Pedro Fonseca; Writing by Jamie McGeever and Anthony Boadle; Editing by Brad Haynes, Alistair Bell and Tom Brown)

3/18/2020 Oil down $1.81 to $26.85, DOW up 1049 to 21,238 finally back upward as seen below for now.

3/18/2020 Canada, U.S. to close border to non-essential travel: Globe and Mail
A traveller wearing a mask reads a health pamphlet about novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) as he
arrives at Billy Bishop Airport in Toronto, Ontario, Canada March 17, 2020. REUTERS/Chris Helgren
    (Reuters) – Canada and the United States will announce a deal to partially close their borders on Wednesday, which will allow trade and commerce to go on, the Globe and Mail reported, citing sources.
    Two countries are finalizing a deal to close the borders to non-essential travel in order to control the spread of coronavirus, the report said on>     The partial shutdown will allow cross-border transfer of medical supplies, food and other goods, the report said, citing an unnamed official.
    Both countries want to keep trade and commerce going, including the movement of auto parts, the official told Globe and Mail.
    Canada closed its borders to all foreign nationals except U.S. citizens and permanent residents on Monday.
    As the SARS-CoV-2 spread accelerates in Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who is under quarantine after his wife, Sophie, tested positive for the respiratory virus, earlier urged people to stay home and restrict contact with others.
    As of Tuesday, Canada had reported 441 coronavirus cases with 4 deaths, while U.S. recorded 4,744 cases and 87 deaths.
(Reporting by Maria Ponnezhath in Bengaluru; Editing by Shri Navaratnam and Gerry Doyle)

3/18/2020 Panic buying forces British supermarkets to impose limits by James Davey and Dylan Martinez
Shoppers queue at a supermarket, as the number of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases
grow around the world, in London, Britain March 18, 2020. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez
    LONDON (Reuters) – Panic buying by British shoppers escalated on Wednesday with shelves stripped bare by alarmed customers hoarding for the coronavirus isolation, prompting Tesco and Sainsbury’s to restrict purchases.
    Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who has faced criticism for acting too slowly and too cautiously to tackle the coronavirus outbreak, said on Tuesday that there was no reason to stockpile and that food supplies were safe.
    In supermarkets across the land, though, shoppers were spooked.    Aisle after aisle were left empty with just ice cream and chocolate Easter eggs remaining at many major stores.    Huge queues snaked around some supermarkets on Wednesday, Reuters reporters said.
    “It’s getting worse,” said a source at one of Britain’s major supermarket groups.
    Sainsbury’s is to restrict customer purchases to combat panic buying.    Tesco is allowing shoppers to purchase just two packs of certain items such as dried pasta, toilet roll and long life milk.
    Britain’s big grocers, including market leader Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda, and Morrisons, along with discounters Aldi and Lidl, have struggled for over a week to keep shelves stocked.
    “We have enough food coming into the system, but are limiting sales so that it stays on shelves for longer and can be bought by a larger numbers of customers,” Sainsbury’s Chief Executive Mike Coupe said in a letter to customers.
    Aldi on Monday became the first UK grocer to introduce rationing, limiting customers to buying four items of any one product during each visit.
    Morrisons cautioned it was facing extraordinary times.
    “We are currently facing unprecedented challenges and uncertainty dealing with COVID-19,” the company’s chairman Andrew Higginson, and its CEO David Potts said.
    The supermarket industry says it is working closely with suppliers to keep food moving through the system and is making more deliveries to stores to get shelves re-stocked.
    It says supplies are still coming in from Europe, despite lock-downs in Italy, Spain and France.
    One executive said the government was only just starting to understand the enormity of the crisis for the industry.
    “They’re in asking questions mode, they’re certainly not in telling us anything mode.    They’re trying to understand what we’re seeing rather than telling us to do anything specific.”
    The second source added: “Government are asking questions, listening and planning, but we’d appreciate a bit more help to get things moving.”
    The source said the government could help by lifting restrictions on driver hours and relaxing Groceries Supply Code of Practice (GSCOP) regulations which slow the industry down.
    Reuters reported on Monday that supermarket groups are working on plans to streamline their operations by cutting cafes, counters and other services to enable a depleted workforce to maintain basic provisions.
(Writing by Guy Faulconbridge; editing by Kate Holton)

3/18/2020 U.S. crude hits 17-year low as lockdowns, restrictions spread by Ahmad Ghaddar
FILE PHOTO: Pump jacks operate at sunset in Midland, Texas, U.S., February 11, 2019. REUTERS/Nick Oxford
    LONDON (Reuters) – Oil prices fell for a third session on Wednesday with U.S. crude futures tumbling to a 17-year low as travel and social lockdowns sparked by the coronavirus epidemic knocked the outlook for demand.
    U.S. crude was down $1.15 cents, or 4.27%, at $25.80 per barrel by 0938 GMT, having earlier fallen to $25.68, its lowest since May 2003.
    Brent crude was trading down 78 cents, or 2.71%, at $27.95 a barrel, after dropping to $27.86, its lowest since early 2016
    “The oil demand collapse from the spreading coronavirus looks increasingly sharp,” Goldman Sachs said in a note forecasting a fall in the price of Brent to as low as $20 in the second quarter, a level not seen since early 2002.
    The bank expects a demand contraction of 8 million barrels per day (bpd) by late March and an annual decline in 2020 of 1.1 million bpd, which it said would be the most on record.
    In efforts to support economies, the world’s richest nations prepared to unleash trillions of dollars of spending to lessen the fallout from the coronavirus outbreak, as well as imposing social restrictions not seen since World War Two.
    Rystad Energy projects a year-on-year decrease of 2.8% or a fall of 2.8 million bpd in global oil demand this year.    “To put the number into context, last week we projected a decrease of just 600,000 barrels,” Rystad said.
    The consultants expect demand in April to fall by 11 million bpd compared with 2019.
    The impact on demand is starting to show in official statistics with Japan’s trade bureau saying on Wednesday that crude imports into the world’s third-biggest economy in February were down 9% from a year earlier.
    Virgin Australia became the latest airline to shut down its international network with the suspension of all overseas flights, while Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison warned that the situation could last six months or more.
    Elsewhere, Iraq’s oil minister pleaded for an emergency meeting between members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and non-OPEC producers to discuss immediate action to support the market.
    A price war between OPEC leader Saudi Arabia and Russia after talks on coordinated output cuts collapsed this month is adding pressure to the market.
    Iraqi oil minister, Thamer al-Ghadhban, asked OPEC to help “urgently achieve” extraordinary meetings of the OPEC+ group – OPEC plus partners including Russia – to “discuss all possible ways” to rebalance the oil market.
    “With the Saudis and Russians in a fierce battle for market share, it is difficult to see any quick resolution on this front,” ING said referring to the Iraqi request for a meeting.
    “That said, the only thing that will likely bring them back to the discussion table is even lower prices,” the bank said.
(Additional reporting by Aaron Sheldrick in TOKYO)

3/18/2020 Report: Former DOJ officials ‘appalled’ by FBI’s treatment of Michael Flynn by OAN Newsroom
FILE – In this Monday, June 24, 2019, file photo, Michael Flynn, President Donald Trump’s
former national security adviser, departs a federal courthouse after a hearing, in Washington. Trump said
Sunday, March 15, 2020, that he is considering a full pardon for Flynn, who had pleaded guilty to lying to the
FBI about dealings with Russia’s ambassador before Trump took office. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)
    Former Obama-era FBI officials reportedly said they were worried by former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn’s treatment during the FBI’s investigation.
    According to the outlet Just the News Tuesday, letters from multiple Department of Justice officials expressed those concerns, including former acting Attorney General Sally Yates.
    The memos reportedly noted that multiple officials believed Flynn simply misremembered his conversations with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak while Robert Mueller’s team was running with Flynn’s guilty plea at the time.
    Yates and company also took issue with the fact the FBI in 2017 brought Flynn in for an interview without letting him know he was being investigated at the time.    This gave him the impression he was not in any legal trouble, which caused him not to seek out a lawyer for the conversation.
    Meanwhile, Flynn’s lawyer has called for his guilty plea to be withdrawn and said he was coerced by investigators into making a false confession in 2018.
    Last month, a former aide to Flynn, K.T. McFarland, made similar accusations by saying she felt FBI officials were attempting to force a confession out of her.
    This all came after President Trump over the weekend said he’s strongly considering a pardon for Flynn due to details surfacing of the FBI’s mishandling of his investigation.

3/18/2020 DOJ drops election interference charges against Russian companies by OAN Newsroom
FILE – In this April 18, 2019, file photo, special counsel Robert Mueller’s redacted report on Russian
interference in the 2016 presidential election is photographed in Washington. (AP Photo/Jon Elswick, File)
    The Department of Justice has quietly scrapped one of the most prominent indictments that came as a result of the Mueller probe.
    On Monday, the department confirmed they will no longer seek prosecution against Concord Management and Consulting and Concord Catering, which were both included in a suit against 13 Russian nationals accused of conspiring to interfere in the 2016 elections.
    The decision came just two weeks before jury selection was slated to begin.    Officials familiar with the move have said going forward with the case could have presented security issues for the intelligence sector.
    Prosecutors filed a motion Monday, which said both companies plotted to use the “discovery phase” of the case as leverage to obtain information regarding how intelligence officials “detect and investigate” foreign election interference.    Letting the case move forward could have exposed the tactics intelligence officials use to obtain that information.
FILE – In this July 4, 2017 file photo, Russian businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin is shown prior to a meeting of
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia. The Justice
Department is moving to drop charges against some Russian companies that were accused of funding a social media campaign
to sway American public opinion during the 2016 U.S. presidential election. (Sergei Ilnitsky/Pool Photo via AP, File)
    Officials also said the case would likely have not resulted in any real punishment for either company.
    Despite the decision, the charges against the 13 Russian nationals and another company mentioned in the indictment are expected to remain in place.
[The Deep State and the Globalist are probably gnashing their teeth and throwing dirt on themselves over that ruling as it just shoots down more on the phony Russian Collusion that they pushed on the U.S. and hopefully it will lead back to who really did it.]

3/18/2020 President Trump invokes Defense Production Act to fight COVID-19 by OAN Newsroom
President Donald Trump speaks during press briefing with the Coronavirus Task Force,
at the White House, Wednesday, March 18, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
    President Trump has invoked the Defense Production Act to combat the coronavirus.    He made the announcement alongside the coronavirus task force during Wednesday’s press briefing.
    The move will allow the White House to order increased production and distribution of medical supplies like masks, ventilators and respirators.    It will also expand hospital capacity to combat the pandemic.
    The president also announced the Level 1 activation of FEMA in all 50 states and described himself as a “wartime president.”
    “Now it is our time.    We must sacrifice together, because we are all in this together.    We’ll come through together.    It’s always the toughest enemy, the invisible enemy, but we’re going to defeat the invisible enemy.    I think we’re going to do it even faster than we thought, and it will be a complete victory.” – Donald Trump, 45th President of the United States
    He is planning to meet with nurses on the front lines and will host a conference call with the nation’s governors on Thursday to discuss nationwide access to FEMA moving forward.    According to the president, vaccine development is moving along faster than any in history.
    “Thanks to the unprecedented partnership between the FDA, NIH and the private sector, we’ve reached human trials for the vaccine just eight weeks later,” he said.    “That’s a record by many, many months,…that’s the fastest development in history.”
Pharmacist Michael Witte opens a package taken from a freezer that contains the potential vaccine for COVID-19, the disease
caused by the new coronavirus, on the first day of a first-stage safety study clinical trial of the vaccine,
Monday, March 16, 2020, at the Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
    A Southern California laboratory has been working around the clock on a potential vaccine.    San Diego-based biotech company Arcturus Therapeutics has reportedly been developing a vaccine, which requires a low-dose, single injection of antigen.
    According to the CEO, antigen inside a patient’s body continues to develop for a few weeks, eventually creating an immune response.
    “Those little tiny spikes that you see on the coronavirus, that’s what we want to build inside the body.    In order to do that, we inject RNA.    Once it gets inside the cell, it makes and creates the antigen…those little spikes.    Once the body sees the spikes, it builds up an immune response and protects us from the real thing, the coronavirus.” – Joe Payne, CEO of Arcturus Therapeutics
    The vaccine would be manufactured in the U.S. and clinical trials would take place in Singapore.

3/18/2020 N.Y. Gov. praises President Trump for virus response by OAN Newsroom
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo speaks during a news conference at a COVID-19 coronavirus infection testing
facility at Glen Island Park, Friday, March 13, 2020, in New Rochelle, N.Y. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
    This followed a call between the governor and the president in which Cuomo petitioned for federal assistance in handling the spike in coronavirus cases in New York.    The New York governor called the president “100 percent sincere” and praised his team’s ability to deal with the threat.
    “His team is on it, they’ve been responsive late at night, early in the morning, and they’ve thus far been doing everything that they can do,” he stated.    “And I want to say thank you.”
    Cuomo also contradicted claims that plans exist to quarantine New York City.    He noted that such a move would require state approval.

3/19/2020 Oil down $656 to $20.37, DOW down 1335 to 19,903.

3/19/2020 The death toll in the U.S.

3/19/2020 Trump invokes wartime powers in fight by Courtney Subramanian and David Jackson, USA TODAY
    WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump said Wednesday that he was invoking a 1950 law known as the Defense Production Act to speed the production of masks, ventilators and other equipment vital to helping doctors treat coronavirus patients.    He also said the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development would suspend foreclosures and evictions as families grapple with income losses stemming from shutdowns of workplaces such as department stores, restaurants and bars.
    Trump told reporters at a White House news conference he planned to sign the Korean War-era Defense Production Act to allow him to address a shortage of medical supplies by directing private companies to expedite the production of medical equipment.
    “There’s never been an instance like this where no matter what you have it’s not enough,” he said.    “If we need to use it, we will be using it at full speed ahead.”    The announcement came as the administration scrambles to negotiate a roughly trillion dollar deal with Congress to provide cash relief for Americans and possible bailouts for major industries affected by the outbreak.
President Donald Trump said he will sign the Korean War-era Defense Production Act to allow him to address a shortage of medical supplies. AP
    Health care workers across the country have expressed concern about hospital shortages of protective equipment including masks and gloves that are critical to the doctors and nurses who are on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as ventilators to help treat the influx of patients who have tested positive for the virus.
    “The Defense Production Act permits the president to push national security items to the front of the line,” said Loren Thompson, a defense industry consultant and military expert at the Lexington Institute.    “It exists to speed up urgently needed items.”
    The president also announced that HUD would provide “immediate relief to renters and homeowners by suspending all foreclosures and evictions” through the end of April.
    The suspension applies only to homeowners with mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration, a HUD agency that offers affordable loans to homeowners through private firms.    HUD Secretary Ben Carson said the move will provide homeowners with “some peace of mind during these trying times.”
    The White House also took action on those entering the U.S. In a joint decision with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the two countries are shuttering nonessential travel between the two countries to help limit contact with those who may be sick.    Trump said trade would not be affected by the move.
.     Trump said the U.S. would not close the border with Mexico, but would invoke a provision giving the U.S. ‘great lattitude.’
    Trump also said he plans to invoke a provision that would allow him to prohibit certain people from entering the country, including asylum seekers and those entering the country illegally at the southern border.
    When asked again whether he was closing the U.S.-Mexico border, Trump said, “No we’re not going to close it.”
    “But we’re invoking a certain provision that will allow us great latitude,” he added.
    On Wednesday, the Senate approved a multibillion-dollar emergency aid package that provides paid sick and family leave for many Americans, bolsters unemployment insurance and provides free coronavirus testing.
    Despite Washington’s promise of economic aid, U.S. stocks fell sharply Wednesday.    The Dow Jones industrial average fell almost 8%, and Standard & Poor’s 500 also sank.    The U.S. death toll hit 115 with over 7,300 confirmed cases across the country as of Wednesday afternoon, according to a Johns Hopkins University coronavirus data dashboard.
Contributing: Tom Vanden Brook, Jessica Menton

3/19/2020 Nat’l Guard prepares to deploy ‘tens of thousands’ of troops to states by OAN Newsroom
National Guard personnel march in formation as they leave duty after working Thursday, March 19, 2020, at a
state-managed coronavirus drive-through testing site that just opened on Staten Island in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
    The National Guard is mobilizing to fight the spread of COVID-19 in the United States.    On Thursday, the head of the National Guard announced that “tens of thousands of troops” could be activated in various states in the coming weeks.

    Governors in 27 states have activated over 2,000 troops so far in the wake of the worsening outbreak.

Journalist William J. Ford of The Washington Informer has his temperature read by Sgt. Jason Grant, right, of the Maryland National Guard
as PFC Theophilus Foinmbam looks on Thursday, March 19, 2020 at the State House in Annapolis. (Amy Davis./The Baltimore Sun via AP)
    General Joseph Lengyel has said this new deployment will be similar to a hurricane response, but with one key difference.
    “With COVID-19, it’s like we have 54 separate hurricanes in every state, territory and the District of Columbia.    Unlike a hurricane, we don’t know when this thing is going to dissipate or move out to sea.    But an historic event demands an historic response, and that’s what the National Guard is prepared to do as America’s principal domestic military response force.” – General Joseph Lengyel, Chief of the National Guard Bureau
    The guard is currently providing medical testing and ground transportation to the areas most affected by the outbreak.    The general also confirmed six guardsmen are being monitored after testing positive for coronavirus.

3/19/2020 President Trump: We are going to win sooner rather than later by OAN Newsroom
    President Trump recently expressed optimism amid the COVID-19 pandemic. He took to Twitter to state:
    The president’s remarks come after the administration outlined a $1 trillion economic stimulus plan.    The proposal included cash payments to individual Americans and financial support toward helping small businesses.
    The unprecedented plan surpasses the $800 billion stimulus law passed during the Obama administration.
President Donald Trump speaks during press briefing with the coronavirus task force,
at the White House, Thursday, March 19, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
    Meanwhile, the president reminded Americans to do their part to curb the epidemic by posting a message from the task force:
    On Thursday, the president will head to FEMA headquarters and will also hold a video teleconference with governors about the COVID-19 response.

3/19/2020 Gun sales IN U.S. skyrocket amid pandemic by OAN Newsroom
People wait in line to enter gun seller Tanner’s Sports Center in Jamison, Pa., Tuesday, March 17, 2020.
Pennsylvania’s state-run background check system for gun purchases processed about three times its typical daily
rate on Tuesday, as guns and ammunition have been flying off store shelves nationwide. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
    Public health concerns are spurring a rise in firearm and ammunition sales across the nation.    Americans appear to be bracing for the worst as gun stores in several states report anywhere from a 30 to 400 percent increase in sales over the last few weeks.
    Additionally, the FBI’s background check system reported a 36 percent jump in February compared to last year.
    Many shops are limiting the amount of ammunition per customer because of the influx in business. Customers have reported a shortage in some items because people are panic-buying.
    “It’s a little bit of ‘maybe I won’t be able to get it tomorrow,’ little bit of uncertainty, and you know when you feel uncertainty about your security you want to do something about it,” said gun customer Eric Seufert.
People wait in a line to enter a gun store in Culver City, Calif., March 15, 2020. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)
    According to‘s marketing manager, economic and political instability often results in increased firearm purchases.
    Though increased buying has been seen nationwide, states hit the hardest by the virus have seen the largest spike in sales.

3/19/2020 Fresno, Calif. orders residents to ‘shelter in place’ by OAN Newsroom
Ambulances park in front of Saint Francis Memorial Hospital on Wednesday, March 18, 2020, in San Francisco.
Officials in seven San Francisco Bay Area counties have issued a shelter-in-place mandate
affecting about 7 million people, including the city of San Francisco itself. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
    The city of Fresno, California has ordered its residents to "shelter in place,” but have offered exceptions.    On Wednesday, city joined several Bay Area cities, including San Francisco, with a call to ‘shelter in place‘ to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
    According to City Council officials, Fresno will be shut down through the end of this month.    They also noted the order could be extended.
    Residents are still allowed to leave their homes for “essential services” like buying food, seeing a doctor or going to work.    Fresno residents are also advised to keep six feet apart from each other while in public.
    “I know what we are asking you to do is a burden and not something that I ever expected to be doing; this virus is too serious to do anything else,” stated Fresno Mayor Lee Brand (R) during a special City Council meeting.    “Please join us in beating the coronavirus, stopping its spread, starting at midnight tonight.”
    Fresno officials added, they will not punish residents for violating the ‘shelter in place’ order.

3/19/2020 Sens. Rubio, Collins unveil plan to help small businesses offset negative impacts of coronavirus shutdowns by OAN Newsroom
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., walks through a crowd of reporters after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., announced he had
canceled the Senate recess next week, at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, March 12, 2020. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
    Senators Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) recently unveiled a bipartisan package to relieve small businesses from crippling effects of coronavirus shutdowns.
    While speaking on Capitol Hill Wednesday, Rubio said the plan will provide cheap loans to businesses.    He explained that the money would allow them to pay salaries to workers and cover operational costs in the coming six to eight weeks.
    Sen. Rubio also noted the plan will prevent an increase in unemployment in the services sector and other affected industries.
    “But the goal is to keep employees connected to their employers, so that people aren’t just having to stay home,” he stated.    “And not just feeling the stress of being laid off, but the uncertainty of whether they even have a job to go back to when this is finished.”
    For her part, Sen. Collins said the coronavirus could decimate employment in the services sector unless the federal government steps-in to help.

3/19/2020 ‘There are no funerals:’ Death in quarantine leaves nowhere to grieve by Angelo Amante, Parisa Hafezi and Hayoung Choi
FILE PHOTO: Cemetery workers and funeral agency workers in protective masks transport a coffin of a person who died from
coronavirus disease (COVID-19), into a cemetery in Bergamo, Italy March 16, 2020. REUTERS/Flavio Lo Scalzo/File Photo
    (Reuters) – Struck down by coronavirus at the age of 83, the long life of Alfredo Visioli ended with a short ceremony at a graveyard near Cremona, his hometown in northern Italy.
    “They buried him like that, without a funeral, without his loved ones, with just a blessing from the priest,” said his granddaughter Marta Manfredi who couldn’t attend. Like most of the old man’s family – like most of Italy – she was confined to her home.
    “When all this is over,” she vows, “we will give him a real funeral.”
    Everywhere the coronavirus has struck, regardless of culture or religion, ancient rituals to honor the dead and comfort the bereaved have been cut short or abandoned for fear of spreading it further.
    The virus, which has killed nearly 9,000 people worldwide, is reshaping many aspects of death, from the practicalities of handling infected bodies to meeting the spiritual and emotional needs of those left behind.
    In Ireland, the health authority is advising mortuary workers to put face masks on dead bodies to reduce even the minor risk of infection.    In Italy, a funeral company is using video links to allow quarantined families to watch a priest bless the deceased.    And in South Korea, fear of the virus has caused such a drop in the number of mourners that funeral caterers are struggling for business.
    There is little time for ceremony in hard-hit cities such as Bergamo, northeast of Milan, where the mortuaries are full and the crematorium is working around the clock, said Giacomo Angeloni, a local official in charge of cemeteries.
    Bergamo, home to about 120,000 people, has been dealing with 5-6 times the number of dead it would in normal times, he said.
    Italy has now reported nearly 3,000 deaths from COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus – the highest outside China where the virus first emerged.    The Italian army sent 50 troops and 15 trucks to Bergamo on Wednesday to take bodies to less overwhelmed provinces.
    A ban on gatherings has shattered the vital rituals that help us grieve, said Andy Langford, the chief operating officer of Cruse Bereavement Care, a British charity providing free care and counseling to those in grief.
    “Funerals allow a community to come together, express emotion, talk about that person and formally say goodbye,” he said.
    “When you feel you have no control over how you can grieve, and over how you can experience those last moments with someone, that can complicate how you grieve and make you feel worse,” he said.
    In Iran as in northern Italy, hospital and funeral workers are overwhelmed with bodies, as the virus has torn across the country, killing 1,284 people and infecting thousands, according to state TV.
    The authorities have hired new people to dig graves, said a manager at Tehran’s Behesht-e Zahra cemetery.    “We work day and night,” he said.    “I have never seen such a sad situation.    There are no funerals.”
    Most corpses arrive by truck and are buried without the ritual washing that Islam dictates, he said.
    Some Iranians suspect that the official haste to bury them has more to do with obscuring the spiraling death toll than halting the spread of the virus.
    Deaths from COVID-19 have been recorded as heart attacks or lung infections, a hospital worker in Kashan, a city about a three-hour drive from Tehran, told Reuters.
    “The officials are lying about the death toll,” the worker said.    “I have seen dozens of corpses in the past few days, but they have told us not to talk about it.”    Two nurses at Iranian hospitals also told Reuters they thought the death toll was higher than the official tally.
    Iranian authorities have rejected allegations of a cover-up, and President Hassan Rouhani, in a televised speech on Mar. 18, said his government had been “honest and straightforward with the nation.”
    In several countries, clusters of infection have followed funerals.    In South Korea, where more than 90 people have died, the government has urged the families of COVID-19 victims to cremate their loved ones first, and hold the funeral later.
    Korean funerals usually take place in hospitals, and involve three days of prayers and feasting.    Most of the country’s early cases were linked to a church in Daegu city and a hospital in a nearby county.    In February, several members of the Shincheonji Church of Jesus attended a funeral at the hospital for the brother of the church’s founder.
    Since the outbreak, the number of mourners at funerals has plunged by 90%, regardless of whether the deceased had the virus, said Choi Min-ho, secretary general of the Korea Funeral Association.
    “The culture of funerals has changed significantly,” he said.    “A handful of mourners quickly offer condolences and leave the place without dining together out of infection worries.”
    Condolence money, traditionally handed over in cash, is now sent via bank transfer, he added.
    Authorities in Wuhan, the epicenter of China’s outbreak and location of the majority of its deaths, quickly identified the funeral business as a potential source of transmission.
    The local civil affairs bureau in late January ordered all funerals for confirmed COVID-19 victims to be handled at a single funeral home in the city’s Hankou district.    Mourning ceremonies, usually boisterous social events in China, were curtailed along with all other public gatherings.
    Those restrictions are still in place, even though the number of new cases has dwindled in recent weeks.    Bereaved families are not even allowed to see the bodies of their loved ones, a worker at the funeral home told Reuters.
    In China, the ashes of the deceased tend to be kept in funeral homes until they are taken to a family plot on public holidays such as the Tomb Sweeping Festival in April.    That’s also canceled this year.
    In Spain, too, a large cluster of cases has been traced to a funeral in the northern town of Vitoria in late February.    At least 60 people who attended tested positive after the event, said local media reports.
    With over 600 deaths, Spain is the second-worst hit country in Europe after Italy, and most people are now confined to their homes.
    Referring to these restrictions, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has called coronavirus a “cruel” disease that paralyses the human need to socialize.
    In Ireland, up to 100 guests are still allowed at all funerals – for now.    But most families are opting for small private ceremonies and encouraging others to express their condolences online through websites such as, where death notices and funeral invitations are usually posted.
    Open casket funerals are out for any victim of coronavirus, and “the family should be advised not to kiss the deceased,” according to new guidelines from Ireland’s Health and Safety Executive to its funeral directors.
    The risk of catching coronavirus from a dead body is slim, public health officials say, but some countries are recommending extra measures.
    Israel has reported no coronavirus deaths, but its health ministry says the deceased should be double-wrapped in impermeable plastic.    Ritual washing and rites will be performed in full protective gear and the corpse re-wrapped in plastic for burial.    Normally Israel’s Jewish dead are laid to rest in a cloth smock and shroud.
    Ireland’s guidelines advise workers in funeral parlors to put face masks on dead bodies before moving them, in case they “expel a very small amount of air and viral droplets from the lungs” and infect the living.
    In Britain, where the pandemic is still gathering pace, there is widespread anxiety about the likely death toll.
    Britain has been slower in implementing the strict measures seen elsewhere in Europe, and expert estimates of how many will die from COVID-19 have ranged wildly from the tens to the hundreds of thousands.
    An emergency bill to tackle the virus, which has killed 104 people in Britain, includes a number of measures the government says will “streamline the death management process.”    The measures include allowing funeral directors to register a death on behalf of a self-isolating family.
    Deborah Smith, a spokesperson for the National Association of Funeral Directors, said the bill will help the profession “preserve the dignity of those who die and care for their bereaved families with compassion – even if they are not able to have the kind of funeral they would have wanted.”
    Smith would not be drawn on the expected numbers, but said “funeral directors are preparing for a variety of scenarios.”
    One scenario is already playing out in Wuhan.
    Last month, a worker at the funeral home in Hankou district, identifying himself only as Huang, wrote an essay that was circulated on social media.    He said funeral workers were as overwhelmed as the city’s medics but had received less recognition.
    He said staff had worked without a break since the start of the epidemic.    “Some of our employees don’t even drink water because they need to go to the toilet and it’s difficult to take off the protective clothing,” he wrote.
    Half a world away, in the virus-stricken Italian town of Bergamo, funeral workers wage a near-identical struggle.
    “It’s like being in a war with an invisible enemy,” said Roberta Caprini, a partner in Centro Funerario Bergamasco, a funeral service in Bergamo.    “We’ve been working without interruption for two weeks and sleeping 3-4 hours a night when we manage it.    Everyone in our area, us included, has lost someone or have someone sick in their home.”
    Bergamo’s Church of All Saints has become a makeshift mortuary, its pews pushed aside to accommodate the dead.    Caprini said she had counted at least 60 coffins when she visited on Tuesday.
    She spoke of the “real torture” felt by families who watched sick relatives taken away to hospital and never saw them again.    Her company has arranged video links to burials, to allow families to watch the priest bless the deceased.
    Sometimes, she said, they drive the hearses past the bereaved family’s home, so mourners “can at least come down at the moment and offer a quick prayer.”
(This story has been refiled to fix the bylines)
(Reporting by Elisa Anzolin and Emilio Parodi in Milan; Angelo Amante in Rome; Parisa Hafezi in Dubai; David Stanway in Shanghai; Joan Faus in Barcelona; Hayoung Choi in Seoul, Padraic Halpin in Dublin; Emma Farge in Zurich; Kate Kelland in London and Dan Williams in Jerusalem; Writing and additional reporting by Andrew RC Marshall; Edited by Sara Ledwith and Jason Szep)

3/19/2020 Spain to help nursing homes, most vulnerable as coronavirus deaths climb by Emma Pinedo and Nathan Allen
A patient arrives by ambulance at a hotel that has been set up to treat non-critical coronavirus patients during
the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) health emergency in Madrid, Spain, March 19, 2020. REUTERS/Susana Vera
    MADRID (Reuters) – Spanish authorities promised to take special measures to prevent more deaths from coronavirus in nursing homes after cases of mass contagion there swelled the country’s death toll to 767 on Thursday, 209 more than the previous day.
    The government also promised that no one in a “difficult situation” would have home utility services cut for nonpayment.
    With 17,149 total cases, up by a quarter from Wednesday, Spain is the second worst-hit country in Europe after Italy, and the government has imposed a state of emergency that largely bars people from all but essential outings.
    Authorities said 49 people had been arrested for flouting the bans in the past few hours.
    “The toughest moments are still to come, those moments when we will continue to see an increase in the number of cases,” Health Minister Salvador Illa said.
    Deputy Prime Minister Pablo Iglesias said that nursing homes had to be urgently equipped with proper medical facilities and staff, calling it “an absolute priority.”
    Prosecutors in Madrid, the epicenter of the country’s epidemic, opened an investigation on Wednesday into more than 17 coronavirus-related deaths at a nursing home where patients had been locked down without access to hospital care.
    Other similar cases were reported elsewhere and the prosecutor general’s office said on Thursday it was also looking into the issue.    The technical nurses union said that staff at nursing homes do not have enough gloves and masks.
    The authorities did not say how many people had died in nursing homes in total.
    Fernando Simon, the head of the health emergency center, said Spain was “probably slowly approaching the peak of cases.”
    The epidemic continued to hammer the labor market with IAG’s Iberia airlines proposing temporarily laying off up to 90% of its flying staff for three months, and carmaker Nissan saying it would indefinitely send home up to 3,000 workers.
    In downtown Madrid, the Ayre Gran Hotel Colon that had offered to host patients with mild symptoms from an overcrowded hospital nearby, opened its doors on Thursday after fitting its rooms with medical equipment.    Hotels in Madrid have offered 60,000 beds to the health service, authorities said.
    Several thousand troops have been deployed in dozens of cities across Spain to help with decontamination efforts, triage and policing.
    Army units were deployed for the first time on Thursday in the independence-minded region of Catalonia, for disinfection tasks at Barcelona’s airport and port.
    Travel restrictions imposed on Saturday were giving “very good results,” Transport Minister Jose Luis Abalos told reporters, adding that there were no plans to fully shut down air traffic.
    Road traffic has fallen to one-tenth from the same period in 2019, air traffic by more than a half, while medium- and long- distance trains had only a 2% occupancy, he said.
    In an interview with Antena 3 TV, Economy Minister Nadia Calvino called for an EU-wide fiscal response, after praising the latest European Central Bank’s bond purchase scheme to help blunt the impact of the disease.
    Spain’s main stock index Ibex 35 closed 1.55% higher after days of volatile swings, and Spanish 10-year bond yield fell from Wednesday’s 13-month highs to below 1%.
    Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez on Wednesday predicted an economic slump this year in Spain, although he said a 200 billion euro ($220 billion) package of measures to help companies and protect workers and other vulnerable groups could bolster a swift recovery.
(Additional reporting by Inti Landauro, Jesus Aguado, Clara-Laeila Laudette, Marco Trujillo, Belen Carreno and Joan Faus; Writing by Andrei Khalip and Joan Faus; Editing by Frances Kerry)

3/19/2020 Watching patients die alone breaks doctors’ hearts in provincial Italy hospital by Flavio Lo Scalzo
A medical worker wearing a protective mask and suit walks in an intensive care unit at the Oglio Po hospital, where patients
suffering from coronavirus disease (COVID-19) are treated, in Cremona, Italy March 19, 2020. REUTERS/Flavio Lo Scalzo
    CREMONA, Italy (Reuters) – Doctor Romano Paolucci, who came out of retirement to help at a hospital in Italy’s coronavirus epicenter, says one of the hardest things for him is not so much seeing people die – he is used to that.
    It is seeing them die alone, without a loved one by their side, often having to say their final farewell over a scratchy cell phone line.
    Paolucci is one of 70 doctors working long and exhausting shifts at the small Oglio Po Hospital, which until only a month ago was a normal provincial institution treating everything from tonsils to tumors.
    Now, it has been totally converted to treat coronavirus as Cremona province became the fourth-worst impacted province in Italy.
    “I would say that we are at the end of our strength.    This is a small hospital and we are taking in a lot of people … capacity is filled,” he said in a hallway amid the sounds of ventilators pumping oxygen, equipment beeping, and colleagues bustling.
    More of that type of noise would be music to his ears.
    “We do not have sufficient resources and especially staff because apart from everything else, now the staff are beginning to get sick,” he said.
    While medical staff work exhausting shifts of 12 hour or more and struggle to keep the patients alive, they also have to deal with the heartbreak of people dying without a loved one by their side, a measure necessary to contain the virus.
    “We have started a service in which we contact relatives on the phone to explain to them what is happening.    So there is at least some contact,” he said.
    “Patients who are able to call themselves use their cell phones but the older patients aren’t able to because they are just not used to it.    So we try and keep in contact with the family.”
    Nearly every inch of the hospital has been turned over to the coronavirus emergency, said Doctor Daniela Ferrari.    There is no longer a paediatric ward or a cardiology ward and only three beds have been kept aside for emergency surgery.
    Six of the nine surgeons tested positive and had to go home, she said, adding that the hospital had a rate of about 20 percent of staff infected.
    Daniela Confalonieri, a nurse at the an San Raffaele hospital in the Lombardy regional capital of Milan, is also worried about sick medical staff.
    “We too are working in a situation of total emergency.    The problem is that so many of our staff are at home as they are (have tested) positive. So that leaves a handful of us to run everything,” she said on a video posted on the internet.
    “Psychological tension has gone through the roof.    Unfortunately we can’t contain the situation in Lombardy, there’s a high level of contagion and we’re not even counting the dead any more,” she said.
    Officials in Rome are counting the dead, however, and every evening at 6 p.m. the grim news is read to a weary public that has been in a national lockdown for more than a week.
    The toll rose on Thursday to 2,168 in Lombardy, the most affected area, and 3,405 nationwide, overtaking the total number of deaths so far registered in China.
    Back at the Cremona hospital, nurse Luca Dall’ Asta, spoke for many medical staff on the front lines.
    “We have the right spirit even if we are very tired but we try and keep ourselves going amongst ourselves and give it everything we’ve got because now isn’t the time for polemics.    We just have to work and move forward,” he said.
(Writing by Philip Pullella; additional reporting by Crispian Balmer and Elly Biles in Rome and Yann Tessier in London)

3/19/2020 Sen. McConnell says ‘Phase 3’ bills in the works by OAN Newsroom
In this image from video, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., speaks on the Senate floor at the
U.S. Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, March 18, 2020, after the Senate passed a coronavirus response bill, sending it to
President Donald Trump to sign. McConnell also told Senators that the Senate will remain in session. (Senate Television via AP)
    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has unveiled a new proposal to deliver some much needed relief to the American people amid the coronavirus pandemic.    On Thursday, McConnell went into detail about the ‘Phase Three’ relief measures being drafted in Congress.
    The bill will include four key points: small business loans, checks for struggling families, lending to big industries and additional resources to hospitals.
    According to McConnell, Republican senators and the White House are actively working to hash out a deal, which will be taken up for a vote as soon as possible.
    “Senate Republicans want to put cash in the hands of the American people. Chairman Grassley and a number of our colleagues are finalizing a structure that will get assistance to individuals and families as rapidly as possible.    No tangled Washington process with a thousand cooks in the kitchen, no piles of forms for laid off workers or busy families to fill out.    Money for people, from the middle class on down, period.” – Mitch McConnell, U.S. Senator (R-Ky.)

President Donald Trump, second from right, listens as Vice President Mike Pence speaks during a teleconference with governors
at the Federal Emergency Management Agency headquarters, Thursday, March 19, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, Pool)
    The latest relief package came after President Trump declared a national emergency, which freed up billions in federal aid to combat the virus.    Congress recently passed ‘Phase Two,’ which included a bundle of bills to guarantee paid sick and family leave.
    Overall, more than $1 trillion is expected to be injected into the U.S. economy to curb the effects of the virus.

3/19/2020 Calif. Gov. Newsom issues statewide ‘Stay At Home’ order by OAN Newsroom
FILE — In this March 12, 2020 file photo, California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks to reporters about the state’s
response to the coronavirus during a news conference in Sacramento, Calif. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)
    California Governor Gavin Newsom has issued a statewide ‘Stay At Home’ order to help combat the spread of the coronavirus.    The order, which was set to go into effect on Thursday night, asked residents to only leave their homes “when necessary.”
    “Everyone is required to stay home except to get food, care for a relative or friend, get necessary health care or go to an essential job,” stated Newsom.
    The governor urged all Californians to stay at home “as much as possible,” except for trips to essential businesses like grocery stores, pharmacies and banks.    Those employed in critical sectors were encouraged to go to work.
In this March 17, 2020, photo, Liam Elkind, 20, leaves the Associated Supermarket with a bag of groceries
including salad ingredients and fresh produce for 83-year-old Carol Sterling, who is self-quarantined
in her apartment in New York due to the coronavirus outbreak. (AP Photo/Jessie Wardarski)
    California is allegedly the first state in the U.S. to enforce such an order.
    The declaration came after state health officials reportedly predicted that 56 percent of local residents would contract COVID-19.    Newsom mentioned the number during his evening address to the state.
    “The virus will impact about 56 percent of us,” he said.    “You do the math and in the state of California, that’s a particularly large number.”

3/20/2020 Oil up $4.25 to $25.82, DOW up 188 to 20,087.

3/20/2020 President Trump holds video conference with nation’s governors alongside coronavirus task force by OAN Newsroom
President Donald Trump, left, and Vice President Mike Pence listen as Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf speaks during a teleconference
with governors at the Federal Emergency Management Agency headquarters, Thursday, March 19, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, Pool)
    President Trump recently held a video conference with our nation’s governors at the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, in Washington, D.C.
    On Thursday, the president was joined alongside Vice President Mike Pence and leaders of the coronavirus task force at FEMA’s National Response Coordination Center.    The meeting was held in a continued effort to further operations between federal and state partners in combating the coronavirus outbreak.
    Nearly 50 governors from across the U.S. joined the conference to discuss difficulties they are faced with in their states before calling for federal assistance and more medical supplies. This included increased access to testing kits, ventilators, masks and other protective gear for medical professionals.
    In response, the vice president went on to urge the governors to assess their supply chains first before turning to the federal government.
    “We want to encourage every governor on this call to convene your leading health care providers today to to take inventory of your medical supply needs and we urge you to remind them that they need to look to their supply chains first,” said Pence.    “We’ll prioritize accordingly and any states that are in the middle of critical response, know that we will work with you to get you what you need.”
White House coronavirus response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx speaks during press briefing with the
coronavirus task force, at the White House, Thursday, March 19, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
    Deborah Birx, who is coordinating the White House’s response, stressed that communities across every state need to work together to curb the outbreak.
    “It’s important that we’re tracking the data on a county by county as well as grindingly as we can, because we can look at whether mitigation is working in those, we’ll get feedback from your community,” she explained.    “This will only be solved if every single person in every single community takes responsibility to ensure that following the presidential guidelines that were put out several days ago for the two weeks of stopping this virus.”
    The coronavirus task force coordinator went on to claim that roughly 50 percent of virus cases are in Washington, California and New York.

3/20/2020 Relationship between Sens. McConnell, Schumer could be major hurdle for next coronavirus relief measure by OAN Newsroom
From left, Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin,
Senate Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer of N.Y., and White House chief economic adviser Larry Kudlow attend a a meeting
to discuss the coronavirus relief bill on Capitol Hill, Friday, March 20, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
    A sour relationship between the Republican and Democrat heads of the Senate is threatening to tank the third virus stimulus bill.    Majority Leader Mitch McConnell highlighted some of the hallmarks of the Republican-led proposal during a speech on the Senate floor Thursday.
    According to The Hill, that plan focuses on four main areas of interest: financial help for small businesses, direct payments to affected Americans, bailouts for affected industries and increasing the public health response to the virus.
    Sen. McConnell also assured all loan money given to small businesses that is used on core expenses will be converted to grants and will not need to be paid back.    He said the move is not just about financial help, but also about removing the “barriers to care” for those affected.
    “We have to beat back this virus; that’s why our proposal will go even further to remove barriers to care, speed innovation, fund the hospitals and health centers that will treat patients and expand health care workers’ access to the tools they need,” he stated.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., walks to the chamber as lawmakers negotiate on the emergency coronavirus
response legislation, at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, March 18, 2020. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
    Negotiations with Democrats over the legislation began this week and Republicans are reportedly antsy they may try to politicize the process.
    Democrats are calling for the plan to include expanding health care and unemployment benefits as well as freezing student debt.    Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said the protections must be included to sweeten-the-pot for Democrats.
    “If there’s going to be a bailout of any sort of industry, worker priorities and worker protections must be included,” he stated.    “Corporations should not get a bailout and then be allowed to fire employees or cut their salaries, cut their benefits.”
    Pundits also worry McConnell and Schumer’s time butting heads during the Mueller probe could set an uneasy stage for negotiations.
    However, dissent from Democrats is not the only issue threatening to hamstring the process.    Some conservatives worry they will need Democrats’ help to avoid a filibuster after eight Republican senators moved to block the phase two deal.
    Insiders have said negotiations will likely stretch into late next week as senators work to find common ground to address the financial impacts of the coronavirus outbreak.

3/20/2020 College students forced out of dorms due to pandemic, demand refund for room and board fees by OAN Newsroom
FILE – In this May 5, 2018, file photo, students attend the University of Toledo commencement ceremony in Toledo, Ohio. Colleges across the U.S.
have begun cancelling and curtailing spring graduation events amid fears that the new coronavirus will not have subsided before the stretch
of April and May when schools typically invite thousands of visitors to campus to honor graduating seniors. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File)
    College students and their families are pressing the question of whether they will receive a refund after schools shutdown amid the coronavirus pandemic.     According to the reports, several schools are partially reimbursing room and board fees.    For example, Stanford University will reportedly eliminate housing and dining charges for the spring quarter, but will not be reducing tuition.
    Schools are forcing students out of their dorms and making classes available online.    Some students have said they are disappointed about paying for an education they aren’t fully receiving.    However, school officials stressed the top priority is ensuring safety.
The Bowdoin College campus is nearly empty during spring break, Wednesday, March 11, 2020, in Brunswick, Maine.
The school has announced that it’s asking students not to return to campus following spring break and will hold
classes online due to concerns about the coronavirus. Maine still has no confirmed cases of coronavirus. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
    “The most important part is the health and safety of our students and faculty.    They will communicate this with the students.    They aren’t going to leave that portion hanging, they know that’s very important to the students,” — Von Stange, Association of College and University Housing Officers International
    In some states, students have already begun petitions demanding a refund. However, other schools, such as Boston University, have already announced plans to reimburse students.

3/20/2020 President Trump: Defense Production Act invoked by OAN Newsroom
President Donald Trump speaks during a coronavirus task force briefing at the
White House, Friday, March 20, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
    President Trump has said the federal government is working to allocate additional ventilators and face masks to states.    During Friday’s coronavirus task force briefing, the president announced he put the Defense Production Act “into gear” on Thursday night.
    The act will require businesses to manufacture medical supplies for the government, which will in turn be distributed to hospitals across the U.S.
    “We have millions of masks, which are coming and which will be distributed to the states,” stated President Trump.    “The states are having a hard time getting them, so we are using the act.”
    He claimed the measure will be helpful in getting the states what they desperately need right now.
    “The act is very good for things like this, we have millions of masks that we’ve ordered,” added the president.    “They will be here soon, we’re having them shipped directly to states.”
    Following this announcement, Vice President Mike Pence confirmed the administration is looking to free up ventilators from other sources as well.    One of those sources included tens of thousands of existing devices across the U.S., which could be converted to help those infected by coronavirus.
President Donald Trump listens as Vice President Mike Pence speaks during a coronavirus task force
briefing at the White House, Friday, March 20, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
    As of Friday, there were more than 18,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the U.S. and at least 233 reported deaths.    The data was sourced from multiple health organizations, including the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization.
    The number of cases around the world has reportedly reached over 270,000 with the death toll at over 11,000.    While over 90,000 people have recovered globally, U.S. health officials have warned that the nation’s coronavirus cases are expected to rise before leveling off.
    China reported there have been no new domestic coronavirus infections for the second day in a row since the beginning of the outbreak.
    President Trump has since emphasized the “very low incidence of death” from the coronavirus.    During the news briefing, the president noted that if a person contracts the virus, the risk of death is much lower than originally reported.
    He also praised Americans for heeding guidelines of social distancing and working from home if possible.
    “My message to the American people is, number one, you’ve done an incredible job.    Incredible what you’ve gone through.    (This) wasn’t their fault, wasn’t the fault of 140 other countries where this has happened.    There is tremendous hope.    I think we’re going to come out stronger, better, bigger in every way.    I think we’re going to be a better country than we were before.” – Donald Trump, 45th President of the United States

3/20/2020 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers working to convert buildings into makeshift hospitals by OAN Newsroom
Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy, center, accompanied by Col. Darrin Cox, left, Sgt. Maj. Michael Grinston,
second from left, and Gen. James McConville, Chief of Staff of the Army, speaks at a news conference at U.S.
Army Medical Research and Development Command at Fort Detrick in Frederick, Md., Thursday, March 19, 2020, where
scientists are working to help develop solutions to prevent, detect and treat the coronavirus. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
    The U.S. Army has been working to turn existing buildings into makeshift hospitals.    On Friday, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers head Lieutenant General Todd Semonite said converting New York hotel rooms and dorms into ICU-like facilities may take three to four weeks.
    Semonite added he’s been working with local officials to identify 12 buildings, in hopes of providing more than 10,000 new hospital beds.
    The lieutenant general stressed that increasing hospital capacity nationwide needs to be done with urgency.
    “The bottom line is, we’ve got to do something very, very quick,” he said.    “Most of the governors are saying that their peak is somewhere around the middle of April.”
    Semonite went on to say he hopes their work in New York will set the standard for further application.
    This came as the Army sought to expand efforts in all 50 states.    Their immediate focus is currently on hot spot states like New York, New Jersey and California.
A tent stands at the emergency entrance to Seattle Children’s hospital Wednesday, March 18, 2020, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

3/20/2020 Staffer for Vice President Pence tests positive for COVID-19 by OAN Newsroom
Vice President Mike Pence speaks during a press briefing with the coronavirus task force, at the White
House, Tuesday, March 17, 2020, in Washington, as President Donald Trump looks on. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
    One of Vice President Mike Pence’s staffers has tested positive for the coronavirus.    On Friday, Press Secretary Katie Miller announced Pence’s office was notified that evening that a member of the team had tested positive.
    She added neither President Trump nor the vice president had close contact with the individual.
    The press secretary went on to say further contact tracing is being conducted in accordance with CDC guidelines.
    The vice president recently stated he had not yet been tested.
    “I’ve not been tested yet.    I’m in regular consultation with the White House physician and he said I’ve not been exposed to anyone for any period of time who has the coronavirus.    My wife and I have no symptoms, but we’re checking our temperature regularly and will continue to follow guidance.” – Mike Pence, Vice President of the United States
FILE – This Nov. 21, 2016, file photo, shows the Mar-a-Lago resort owned
by President Donald Trump in Palm Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File)
    Meanwhile, President Trump’s family business has cut back its hotel operations following a decrease in guests due to the coronavirus outbreak.
    According to a new report, the Trump Organization cut staff from hotels in New York and D.C.    They also closed golf courses in Los Angeles and Miami.
    The president’s Florida estate, Mar-a-Lago, has reportedly been closed.
    Eric Trump stated they were following federal state and local direction “very carefully.”

3/20/2020 Report: Automakers asking for USMCA regulations to be delayed until 2021 by OAN Newsroom
The Honda Marysville Auto Plant is shown, Wednesday, March 18, 2020, in Marysville, Ohio. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
    U.S. automakers are reportedly pleading with the Trump administration to delay the newly ratified USMCA trade deal.
    According to a new report, automakers have asked for the new regulations to be delayed until next year.    They cited the coronavirus outbreak as the reason for this request.
    Automakers are reportedly afraid they won’t be able to comply with the June 1st deadline, which would force them to pay tariffs on parts crossing the Canadian and Mexican border.
    Earlier this week, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) also voiced his concern. He claimed it would put undue pressure on automakers.
    “I urge the administration to take very seriously the concerns expressed by the highest levels of the auto industry, to ensure a reasonable timeline for entering into force of the U.S.-Mexico-Canadian Agreement auto regulations,” stated Sen. Grassley.

A semi-truck carrying Honda cars leaves the Honda Marysville Auto Plant, Wednesday, March 18, 2020,
in Marysville, Ohio. Honda, which has 15,000 Ohio employees and is the state’s largest manufacturer,
said it will suspend all North American production beginning next week. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
    These concerns came after several major auto manufacturers announced they’re planning to close all of their plants in North America through at least the end of the month.

3/20/2020 President Trump calls out NBC for sensationalizing coronavirus coverage by OAN Newsroom
President Donald Trump speaks during a coronavirus task force briefing at the
White House, Friday, March 20, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
    The president blasted an NBC reporter as a “terrible journalist” during Friday’s coronavirus briefing.    At the White House, President Trump issued some sharp words to Peter Alexander, as well as NBC and its parent company Comcast.
    The exchange occurred after Alexander asked him to issue a statement to Americans who are scared during this time.    The president rejected his question, claiming that it contributed to the panic and sensationalism the mainstream media has already made of the virus.
    The American people are looking for answers and they’re looking for hope.    You’re doing sensationalism, and the same with NBC and ‘Concast’ – I don’t call it Comcast, I call it ‘Concast.’    That’s really bad reporting, and you ought to get back to reporting instead of sensationalism.    Let’s see if it works.” – Donald Trump, 45th President of the United States
    He went on to commend the efforts made by businesses and citizens in order to stay safe.    He added that “coming together is much harder when there are dishonest journalists.”

3/20/2020 Trump, Pompeo walk to brink of blaming Iran for rocket attack by Steve Holland
U.S. President Donald Trump attends the coronavirus response daily briefing with Secretary of
State Mike Pompeo at the White House in Washington, U.S., March 20, 2020. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday came close to blaming Iran for a rocket attack in Iraq last week in which two American troops and a British service member were killed.
    “Maybe we shouldn’t say yet,” said Trump when the question was posed to Pompeo at a White House news conference. Said Pompeo: “Let me just get back to you on the answer to that.”
    The Pentagon said last week that Trump had authorized the U.S. military to respond to the March 11 rocket attack in Iraq.    Trump has been preoccupied with addressing the coronavirus pandemic.
    The United States has blamed Iran-backed militia for the attack but has not yet said whether it was linked to the Iranian leadership in Tehran.
    Tensions have been running high between the two longtime adversaries since Trump ordered a U.S. drone strike that killed Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani on Jan. 3.
    When Pompeo was asked about whether Iran was responsible, Trump interjected: “We know plenty.”
    Pompeo added: “We’ve made clear that the Iraqi Shi’a militias are funded, trained and equipped by the Iranians.    We’ve urged the Iranians not to do that.    We’ve told the Iranians that they will be held responsible for those attacks when they threaten American lives.”
    Despite the tensions, the United States has offered humanitarian assistance to Iran while it struggles with the coronavirus outbreak.    Iran is one of the countries outside China that has been most affected by the pandemic.    On Friday, Iran said its death toll from the outbreak rose to 1,433.
    Pompeo suggested that tough U.S. sanctions on Iran would continue over its nuclear and ballistic missile programs despite some appeals for them to be relaxed due to the virus.
    “The whole world should know that humanitarian assistance into Iran is wide open.    It’s not sanctioned,” he said.
    “There is no sanction on medicines going to Iran, there’s no sanctions on humanitarian assistance going into that country.    They’ve got a terrible problem there and we want that humanitarian medical health-care assistance to get to the people of Iran,” he said.
    Trump said in a message to Iran to mark the Nowruz holiday that “the people of Iran have made it clear that they want leadership that represents them, not the interests of its corrupt regime.”
    “The Iranian people deserve leaders who listen to, respect, and invest in them, not leaders who target and persecute them while wasting money to advance their nuclear ambitions and test more missiles,” he said.
(Reporting by Steve Holland; editing by Jonathan Oatis and Leslie Adler)

3/21/2020 Oil down $1.23 to $23.78, DOW down 914 to 19,173.

3/21/2020 More on the coronavirus deaths in the U.S.

3/21/2020 Italy’s coronavirus deaths surge by 627 in a day, elderly at high risk
A man wearing a protective face mask checks men's temperature in front of the docked 'Splendid' ship which will be used as a
hospital for patients suffering with the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Genoa, Italy, March 20, 2020. REUTERS/Massimo Pinca
    ROME (Reuters) – The death toll from an outbreak of coronavirus in Italy has leapt by 627 to 4,032, officials said on Friday, an increase of 18.4% – by far the largest daily rise in absolute terms since the contagion emerged a month ago.
    On Thursday, Italy overtook China as the country to register most deaths from the highly contagious respiratory disease.
    The total number of cases in Italy rose to 47,021 from a previous 41,035, a rise of 14.6%, the Civil Protection Agency said.
    In its most complete analysis of the outbreak yet published, the national health institute (ISS) said the average age of those who died was 78.5 years, with the youngest victim aged 31 and the oldest 103.    The median age was 80.
    Some 41% of all those who died were aged between 80-89, with the 70-79 age group accounting for a further 35%.
    Italy has the oldest population in the world after Japan, with some 23% of people aged over age 65.    Medical experts say these demographics could explain why the death toll here is so much higher than anywhere else in the world.
    The ISS report, based on a survey of 3,200 of the dead, said men accounted for 70.6% of the deaths and women 29.4%.    The median age for the women who died was 82 against 79 for men.
    By comparison, the median age of those who tested positive for the illness was 63.
    A deeper analysis of 481 of the deceased showed that almost 99% of them were suffering from one or more medical condition before catching the virus.    Some 48.6% had three or more previous pathologies.
    A total 73.8% had had high blood pressure, 34% had diabetes and 30.1% had heart disease.
    On being admitted to hospital, 76% had a fever, 73% had breathing difficulties, 40% had a cough and 8% had diarrhea.
    The median time between the onset of the first symptoms and subsequent death was eight days, with the median time spent in hospital just four days.
    Of the 3,200 deaths reviewed in the survey, only nine were aged less than 40, all but one of them men
(Reporting by Crispian Balmer; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

3/21/2020 Trump admin. issues state of disaster declaration for N.Y by OAN Newsroom
A screen displaying messages concerning COVID-19 is seen in a sparsely populated
Times Square, Friday, March 20, 2020, in New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
    New York is officially under a disaster declaration.    The Trump administration approved the move Friday, which allowed FEMA officials to begin funneling money directly to the state’s coronavirus relief efforts.
    New York’s health facilities continue to be overloaded with patients, to the point state officials have said they expect to run out of ventilators and may soon run out of ICU beds.
    This was the government’s first major disaster declaration issued as a result of the coronavirus.    According to state and local officials, the federal funding will provide much needed supplies and relief.
    “I hate to say this, but it’s true. We are now the epicenter of this crisis, right here in the nation’s largest city.    It’s going to be a new reality in this city, and we have to understand that this is something that is absolutely necessary.    I want to say to my fellow New Yorkers, none of us asked for the coronavirus, to say the least, none of us expected the coronavirus.” – Bill de Blasio, Mayor of New York City
    As of Saturday, the state of New York had more than 5,100 confirmed cases of the virus.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo speaks during a news conference at a COVID-19 coronavirus infection testing facility
at Glen Island Park, Friday, March 13, 2020, in New Rochelle, N.Y. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
    Meanwhile, state Governor Andrew Cuomo has said he’s working on every level necessary to combat this pandemic.    On Saturday, Cuomo confirmed the state will soon conduct trials for a new drug therapy, which will involve 10,000 doses of the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine.
    According to new reports, hospitals across the country have been stockpiling the drug, which was recently touted by President Trump.
    Cuomo also announced there will be a reconfiguration of space
hospital space, somewhere between 50,000 and 75,000 beds, and the addition of new staff.
    New York has also been working to purchase more medical ventilators, along with 1 million N95 masks.

    Men in protective gear arrive to disinfect a construction site
on 42nd St., Friday, March 20, 2020, in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

3/21/2020 Senate extends deadline for third virus relief package by OAN Newsroom
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., walks to the chamber as lawmakers negotiate on the emergency coronavirus
response legislation, at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, March 18, 2020. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
    The Senate has extended its timeline to pass a third virus relief package.    According to White House Legislative Affairs Director Eric Ueland, a new deadline has reportedly been set for Saturday afternoon.
    This came after senators were unable to come to a consensus on a stimulus package Friday night, missing their midnight deadline.    The package aims to offer tax relief help and funding for small businesses, impacted industries and healthcare.
    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said the upper chamber is moving at “warp speed” on the legislation.
    “Senate Republicans want to put cash in the hands of the American people.    Chairman Grassley and a number of our colleagues are finalizing a structure that will get assistance to individuals and families as rapidly as possible.    No tangled Washington process with a thousand cooks in the kitchen, no piles of forms for laid off workers or busy families to fill out.    Money for people, from the middle class on down, period.” – Mitch McConnell, U.S. Senator (R-Ky.)
From left, Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell
of Ky., Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Senate Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer of N.Y., White House chief
economic adviser Larry Kudlow, Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., and others, attend a a meeting to discuss the
coronavirus relief bill on Capitol Hill, Friday, March 20, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
    The notion of sending direct checks to Americans was one of the major sticking points that held up the package.    On Friday, a number of senators argued onetime payments will not be effective for those hit hardest by the economic downturn.
    Others have said they believe the package should expand long-term unemployment benefits instead.    Some senators have also pushed back against direct payments, which they have argued are unequal. They claimed those who make less will not receive enough funding.
    One senator stated he believes in direct payments, but sought much higher figures.
    “One of the parts of my proposal is to say, ‘Make sure that we get cash payments to Americans, $2,000 to begin with to everybody, adults and children.’    Every quarter, should this economy should stay down, we put more money and resources in.    My plan would give us, through the end of the year, up to $18,000 for a family of four.” – Cory Booker, U.S. Senator (D-N.J.)
    Talks over the issue will continue into Saturday as the Senate looks to reach an agreement.

3/21/2020 Italy coronavirus deaths surge by 793 in a day, lifting total death toll to 4,825
Italian soldiers wearing protective masks work at a roadblock after Italy reinforced the lockdown measures to
combat the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Catania, Italy March 21, 2020. REUTERS/Antonio Parrinello
    ROME (Reuters) – The death toll from an outbreak of coronavirus in Italy has leapt by 793 to 4,825, officials said on Saturday, an increase of 19.6% — by far the largest daily rise in absolute terms since the contagion emerged a month ago.
    On Thursday, Italy overtook China as the country to register most deaths from the highly contagious virus.
    The total number of cases in Italy rose to 53,578 from a previous 47,021, an increase of 13.9%, the Civil Protection Agency said.
    The hardest-hit northern region of Lombardy remains in a critical situation, with 3,095 deaths and 25,515 cases.
    Of those originally infected nationwide, 6,072 had fully recovered on Saturday compared to 5,129 the day before. There were 2,857 people in intensive care against a previous 2,655.
(Reporting by Giselda Vagnoni, editing by Gavin Jones)

3/21/2020 German coronavirus cases rise by 2,705 to 16,662
People wait in a queue at the weekly market in Berlin, Germany, March 21, 2020,
as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues. REUTERS/Annegret Hilse
    FRANKFURT (Reuters) – The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany has risen by 2,705 within a day to reach 16,662, the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases said on>     It said a total of 47 people had died after testing positive, an increase of 16 from a tally of 31 published on Friday.
(Reporting by Ludwig Burger; Editing by Alexander Smith)

3/21/2020 Britain’s NHS secures private hospital capacity ‘en bloc’ to fight coronavirus by James Davey and Guy Faulconbridge
FILE PHOTO: Britain's Health Secretary Matt Hancock gestures as he talks about coronavirus at the annual conference
of the British Chambers of Commerce in London, Britain, March 5, 2020. REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo
    LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) will have more ventilators and thousands of extra beds and healthcare staff on hand from next week to fight coronavirus after it struck a deal with the independent hospital sector.
    NHS England said on Saturday that nearly 20,000 fully qualified staff from the private sector will be joining the health service’s response to the pandemic, helping manage an expected surge in cases.
    So far, 177 patients have died in the United Kingdom after testing positive for coronavirus.
    On Friday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson ordered pubs, restaurants, theaters, cinemas and gyms to shut their doors in a bid to slow down the accelerating spread of the virus.
    “Under the agreement, the independent sector will reallocate practically its entire national hospital capacity en bloc to the NHS,” said health minister Matt Hancock.    “It will be reimbursed, at cost, meaning no profit will be made for doing so.”
    The deal includes the provision of 8,000 hospital beds across England, nearly 1,200 more ventilators, more than 10,000 nurses, over 700 doctors and more than 8,000 other clinical staff.
    In London, it includes more than 2,000 hospital beds and over 250 operating theaters and critical beds.
    “We’re dealing with an unprecedented global health threat and are taking immediate and exceptional action to gear up,” said NHS chief executive Simon Stevens.
    On Tuesday, NHS England said NHS hospitals across the country were taking a range of additional actions to prepare for the spread of the virus, including freeing up 30,000 of the overall 100,000 beds available by postponing non-urgent operations and providing care in the community for those who are fit to be discharged.
    It also said it was sourcing up to 10,000 beds in independent and community hospitals, which Saturday’s deal largely delivers.
    The extra resources secured by the NHS will not only be available to treat coronavirus patients, but will also help the health service deliver other urgent operations and cancer treatments.
(Reporting by James Davey and Guy Faulconbridge; Editing by Alexander Smith, David Holmes and Helen Popper)

3/21/2020 Army joins the production line as ventilator makers scramble to meet demand by John Miller and and Elvira Pollina
FILE PHOTO: Ventilators of Hamilton Medical AG are seen at a plant in
Domat/Ems, Switzerland March 18, 2020. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann/File Photo
    ZURICH (Reuters) – On March 6, Gianluca Preziosa, the head of an Italian ventilator maker, received an urgent request.    The Italian authorities wanted his help for an all-out effort to meet a desperate need for ventilators.
    Now, his Bologna-based company, Siare Engineering International Group s.r.l., has 25 army technicians working with its production supervisors to manage the expanded production and help assemble machines.    The army also has made personnel available to the company’s suppliers, Preziosa said.
    “Usually we produce 160 machines a month.    The goal is to produce 2,000 in four months, so more than triple our monthly production,” Preziosa told Reuters in an interview.    The executive added that companies involved in the supply chain of producing ventilators “cannot respond to the enormous demand because this is a niche industry.”
    Siare belongs to a normally quiet corner of the medical equipment market that has found itself on the front line of the century’s biggest health crisis caused by the rapid spread of the new flu-like virus, which can lead to breathing difficulties and pneumonia in severe cases.
    Ventilator makers are under pressure to sharply increase production even as the pandemic has disrupted the transport and supply of crucial parts, such as hoses, valves, motors and electronics – some of which come from China, the original epicenter of the outbreak that has killed more than 10,000 people across the globe.
    Amid shortages, governments are turning to help from the military, enlisting other manufacturers and even looking to 3D printing in the hopes of ramping up production of the potentially life-saving breathing machines.    In Italy, a team of doctors has developed a way to provide oxygen to two people from one ventilator, therefore doubling capacity, according to the Italian region of Emilia Romagna’s commissioner for coronavirus.
    Ventilators, which cost tens of thousands of dollars, are mechanical breathing devices that can blow air and oxygen into the lungs.    They are crucial for the care of people with lung failure, which can be one of the complications suffered by patients with severe COVID-19, the disease coronavirus causes.    But they don’t necessarily save people.
    “The mortality amongst the intensive care population is being estimated as 50 to 60%,” said Rahuldeb Sarkar, a consultant physician in respiratory medicine and critical care in Britain.    If a critically ill patient doesn’t get a ventilator, “he dies within a few hours.”
    One of the world’s largest makers of ventilators, Swiss-based Hamilton Medical AG, expects to increase production to about 21,000 ventilators this year, up from 15,000 last year by deploying marketing staff on the production line, among other measures.    But with many more orders than it can fulfill, the company faces difficult decisions on where to send them.
    Hamilton Medical’s chief executive, Andreas Wieland, said the company is prioritizing those countries where the need is most dire, notably Italy.    Hamilton Medical sent 400 ventilators to Italy last week and expects to send another shipment soon.    But, he said, that also means turning some governments down, which has resulted in one country reacting aggressively by threatening to blacklist his company.
    “We’re trying not to deliver into a country that is merely stocking up reserves, where there is practically no virus, so they can prepare.    We’re trying to serve those where the emergency is most extreme.”
    The global ventilators market is worth more than $1 billion annually, according to Hamilton Medical, which says it has roughly a quarter share of revenue. Other ventilator makers include U.S.-based ResMed Inc, Getinge AB of Sweden, Germany’s Draegerwerk AG, and China’s Beijing Aeonmed Co, Ltd.
    Companies say demand has topped out in China but is surging, from Italy, elsewhere in Europe and the United States as the virus continues to spread.    More than quarter of a million cases of coronavirus have been reported.
    In Italy, where more than 4,000 people have died from the virus, hospitals are suffering severe shortages of ventilation and other equipment, as well as medical staff.    The first products resulting from the army technicians’ work at Siare should start coming out from Saturday, a spokesman for Italy’s defense ministry said.
    The Italian government has also purchased nearly 4,000 of the 5,000 units of ventilating and other equipment it tendered for earlier this month.    In Germany, where hospitals had about 20,000 ventilators before the outbreak, the government has placed an order for 10,000 machines from Draegerwerk – the equivalent to a year’s normal production at the company.    Demand in France, which is usually for about 1,000 to 1,500 ventilators annually, has increased to hundreds per week, said Christophe Hentze, director-general of the French unit of Löwenstein Medical Innovation GmbH, a German medical equipment maker, speaking on France Info radio.
    Britain’s health minister has said the country needs “as many ventilators as we can get our hands on.”
    But getting the parts can be difficult at a time when some countries are shutting borders or taking steps to safeguard stocks of medical supplies.
    Hamilton Medical’s Wieland said Romanian authorities had in recent weeks halted a shipment of ventilator hoses that his company makes in a factory there on the ground that it could be important medical equipment.    Wieland said he needed the intervention of the Swiss consulate in Romania before custom officials allowed it out.
    “We had to use political channels to let them know that these products, by themselves, aren’t valuable to them,” Wieland said.
    A spokesman for Switzerland’s foreign ministry said: "Our ambassador in Bucharest was in contact with the Romanian authorities to contribute to the resolution of the situation.”    Romanian officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
    Sweden’s Getinge has had experiences of “bottlenecks” at suppliers that it has so far managed to solve, partly with the help of politicians, said chief executive, Mattias Perjos.    Getinge says it plans to increase output by 60%, from about 10,000 ventilators last year.
    In China, medical device manufacturer Beijing Aeonmed relies on imports from countries including Switzerland, the United States and     Netherlands for key components such as valves and turbines to make ventilators, said purchasing director Wang Xue. But the company’s international suppliers have experienced difficulties during the global outbreak in sourcing some basic parts to produce the components it needs.
    “If the imported materials cannot be supplied in time, the production capacity of some [ventilator] models will be severely affected,” she said.    “We are calling our foreign suppliers every day.”    Beijing Aeonmed says it has tried to help its international suppliers to replace those previously foreign-made supportive components with China-made alternatives.    The company said it has capacity to produce about 1,500 ventilators for overseas orders this month and hopes to increase that to 4,000 in April.
    Some countries, including Italy, Britain and the United States, are drafting automakers and aerospace manufacturers to ramp up ventilator production.    Authorities hope big manufacturers can repurpose some factories and use digital design expertise, including 3D printing, to make up the expected shortfall in vital medical hardware.
    In Britain, the government has turned to other manufacturers.    McLaren Group Ltd., a conglomerate that includes a sports-car maker, is looking at how to design a simple version of a ventilator.    Nissan Motor Co, is working with others to support existing ventilator producers.
    On Friday, Britain said engineering companies had come up with an emergency ventilator prototype that could be approved next week.    “We need as many as you can possibly make and we will buy them,” said Britain’s health minister Matt Hancock.
    The British government has said it has increased its stocks to about 8,000 ventilators.    The head of Britain’s National Health Service told a parliamentary panel he expects that to increase to just under 12,000 over the next several weeks.
    U.S. ventilator maker ResMed has reallocated resources away from producing other devices to meet demand that is more than four times normal levels, said its chief executive, Mick Farrell.
    One issue has been restrictions on travel intended to stem the spread of coronavirus, which has affected ResMed’s Singapore factory which employs many workers from neighboring Malaysia.    He said ResMed has appealed to the Malaysian government for an exemption so its workers can travel to Singapore.
    In the United States, hospitals are considering re-deploying older ventilators, which still work but had been abandoned because they don’t connect to modern electronic records systems, while the U.S. Department of Defense has donated 2,000 ventilators, said Nancy Foster, vice president of the American Hospital Association.    “Hospitals are also looking into re-purposing the machines that administer anesthesia to be used as ventilators.”
    The United States had equipment to provide ventilation to about 160,000 people, according to research compiled by the Johns Hopkins Center for Health and Security.    The hardest hit states now are urgently seeking more.    That includes New York state, which is looking to add to the roughly 5,000 to 6,000 it already has, a figure that Governor Andrew Cuomo has said meets only a fifth of the potential demand.
    “No one really knows what the national need is.    It really depends on how bad COVID-19 gets,” said Chris Kiple, head of portable ventilator maker Ventec Life Systems Inc, in Bothell, Washington.    “If it truly turns into a significant pandemic, we’re really going to have to focus on ventilator supply until we can get a vaccine to really help save lives.”
(Reporting by Reporting by John Miller in Zurich and Elvira Pollina in Milan.; Additional reporting by Andrew McAskill, Josephine Mason, Costas Pitas and Stephen Grey in London, Roxanne Liu in Beijing, Carl O’Donnell in New York, Deborah Bloom in Bothell, Washington, Matthias Blamont and Geert De Clercq in Paris, Ludwig Burger in Frankfurt, Andreas Rinke in Berlin, Anna Ringstrom in Stockholm, Catarina Demony in Lisbon and Emma Pinedo Gonzales in Madrid, Angelo Amante in Rome; Editing by Cassell Bryan-Low)

3/21/2020 Officials warn of scams, fraud, disinformation amid COVID-19 outbreak by OAN Newsroom
President Donald Trump listens as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks during a coronavirus task force
briefing at the White House, Friday, March 20, 2020, in Washington. From left, Trump, Vice
President Mike Pence, Pompeo and White House coronavirus response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
    Federal prosecutors and government officials across America have increased their efforts to stop the growing number of coronavirus scams and the spread of false information.
    Secretary of State Mike Pompeo recently spoke out against the increasing spread of disinformation.    In a video released by the White House Friday, he said false information is not only coming from random actors around the world, but also from nations like China and Iran.
    This came amid reported efforts by Iran and China to blame the U.S. for the outbreak.    Pompeo accused both nations of wanting to undermine the U.S.’s handling of the outbreak, but noted the American people have responded to what President Trump is saying.
    “Nations that want to undermine what we are doing here – our democracy, our freedom, the way that we’re responding to this risk to the Wuhan virus – they want to undermine our activities.    We’re doing great work.    The American people have responded to things the president has asked them to do to keep themselves, their families and their communities safe.    We need to make sure that we don’t permit this information to undermine our activity.” – Mike Pompeo, Secretary of State
    He also noted there is false information being disseminated about the government imposing lockdowns.
    Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf recently dispelled rumors about a nationwide quarantine.    During an interview, Wolf stated rumors claiming the Department of Homeland Security is planning a widespread lockdown are completely false.    He added reports that the National Guard is going to impose martial law are also false.
    Wolf has advised Americans to be wary of disinformation campaigns about the coronavirus.    He has suggested consulting local and government sources for the most accurate and up-to-date information.
The National Guard sets up tents to be used for coronavirus testing, Saturday, March 21, 2020, in
a parking lot for FedEx Field in Landover, Md., outside of Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
    Officials from multiple attorney general offices also issued statements this week, which warned residents about scamming methods and fraud.    Scams have included selling fake treatments for COVID-19, phishing emails posing as officials from organizations like the World Health Organization and CDC, and apps inserting malware into mobile phones while pretending to track the spread of the virus.
    “If somebody calls them, who they did not reach out to, and starts…asking for personal information and financial information, do not provide them that information,” stated Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel.
    This came just days after Attorney General William Barr sent a memo to federal prosecutors, urging them to “prioritize the detection, investigation and prosecution of all criminal conduct related to the current pandemic.”
    Barr claimed the crackdown is critical in keeping the Justice Department functioning during the ongoing pandemic.    He added that scamming and fraudulent behavior “cannot be tolerated.”
    “They’ll say, ‘Click on this attachment to order your COVID-19 test.’    Well, a lot of times what that ends up being is that attachment is really malware.    It’s a virus, it gets into your device and can steal all your information.” – Dana Nessel, Attorney General of Michigan
Steve Moody, director of nursing at Central Maine Medical Center, enters a tent outside the emergency entrance to the hospital
to test patients who have symptoms of the coronavirus, Friday, March 13, 2020, in Lewiston, Maine. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
    In the meantime, several state attorneys general are working around the clock with the agency, as well as state and local authorities, to effectively combat these efforts.    Some have already issued consumer alerts and implemented hotlines for residents.
    Officials have also warned Americans to not click on unknown links and avoid donating to sites that asked for money through cash gift cards and wire transfers.

3/21/2020 President Trump enacts Stafford Act in response to coronavirus pandemic by OAN Newsroom
President Donald Trump speaks during a coronavirus task force briefing at the
White House, Saturday, March 21, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
    President Trump has enacted the Stafford Act in response to the coronavirus pandemic in the United States.    During Saturday’s press briefing with the virus task force, the president went over his decision to invoke the act and noted it’s the first time it has been used to declare a major disaster to a public health crisis.
    The Stafford Act, which was passed in 1988, is designed to deliver assistance to state and local governments during a time of disaster.
    In an example of how the private sector is stepping up, President Trump explained how one clothing manufacturer has been helping craft medical supplies.
    “By way of example, Hanes, great consumer cotton products company, is retrofitting its manufacturing capabilities and large sections of their plants to produce masks,” he said.
    Both Vice President Mike Pence and top health official Dr. Anthony Fauci have also encouraged citizens who don’t show symptoms not to get tested, as it consumes resources needed by those fighting the virus.
    Dr. Ben Carson also announced the cessation of foreclosures and evictions, a move which will cover millions of homeowners nationwide.
FILE – In this Monday, March 16, 2020 file photo, a patient receives a shot in the first-stage
study of a potential vaccine for COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, at the
Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
    Meanwhile, President Trump has urged the FDA to fast track a potential cure for COVID-19.    On Twitter, the president highlighted two drugs, hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin, that when taken together may help ease symptoms of the illness.
    Hydroxychloroquine is currently being used to prevent malaria, while azithromycin serves as an antibiotic.
    He noted they could be “one of the biggest game changers in the history of medicine.”    The president went on to thank the FDA for “moving mountains” after they approved the anti-malarial for “compassionate use” on patients in dire need of treatment.

3/21/2020 U.S. Air Force confirms two cases of COVID-19 inside Pentagon by OAN Newsroom
FILE – This March 27, 2008, aerial file photo, shows the Pentagon in Washington. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)
    U.S. Air Force officials have confirmed the first two cases of coronavirus inside the Pentagon.    On Friday, officials reported an active-duty airman and an Air Force contractor tested positive for the virus.
    The airman was in the Pentagon for less than an hour on Monday and is now self-quarantining.    The contractor tested positive for the virus after attending a symposium in the building earlier this month.
    Officials have said the risk of outbreak remains low, but they have asked personnel to take precautions to protect themselves.
    “We continue to ask our personnel to take actions to protect themselves and those around them by employing protective measures, including practicing good hygiene, social distancing, and taking appropriate actions if experiencing symptoms of an illness,” read a statement from the Air Force.    “These measures can dramatically decrease the risk of infection and slow COVID-19’s spread.”
    The Pentagon is currently monitoring hundreds of American military personnel in Europe over coronavirus concerns.
    While speaking to reporters this week, the commander of the U.S. European Command stated not all 2,600 people are in isolation.    The Pentagon later clarified that personnel are taking such action as a precaution over concerns they may have been exposed to the virus.
    The group consists of people that may have been tested, but are not necessarily infected. 35 of the total 72,000 U.S. Forces stationed in Europe have tested positive for COVID-19.

3/21/2020 Sen. Thune: General agreement has been reached on stimulus package by OAN Newsroom
Senate Majority Whip John Thune, R-S.D., speaks with reporters at the door to his
office on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, March 16, 2020. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
    According to Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), lawmakers have reached a general agreement on the new coronavirus stimulus package.    Following a closed-door policy lunch on Saturday, Thune said they know what the outline will be, but they’re still figuring out the policy details.
    His comments are the latest sign that lawmakers are closing in on a massive $1 trillion spending package.
    The senator went on to say that lawmakers are working diligently to ensure that American needs are met.
    “This is a very time sensitive issue.    It’s an extraordinary circumstance, which requires an extraordinary response from our elected leaders.    We need to do what we can, both on the healthcare side and economic side, to try and deal with all the impacts resulting from this crisis.” – John Thune, U.S. Senator
    The Senate is expected to hold a procedural vote on Sunday.    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said he wants to pass the package on Monday.
    This came after senators were unable to come to a consensus on Friday night, missing their midnight deadline.    The package aims to offer tax relief help and funding for small businesses, impacted industries and healthcare.
    Sen. McConnell has said the upper chamber is moving at “warp speed” on the legislation.
    “Senate Republicans want to put cash in the hands of the American people.    Chairman Grassley and a number of our colleagues are finalizing a structure that will get assistance to individuals and families as rapidly as possible.    No tangled Washington process with a thousand cooks in the kitchen, no piles of forms for laid off workers or busy families to fill out.    Money for people, from the middle class on down, period.” – Mitch McConnell, U.S. Senator (R-Ky.)
From left, Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky.,
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Senate Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer of N.Y., White House
chief economic adviser Larry Kudlow, Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., and others, attend a a meeting to discuss
the coronavirus relief bill on Capitol Hill, Friday, March 20, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
    Democrat lawmakers have said they want increased benefits in the third phase stimulus package, which aims to help seniors, veterans and people with disabilities.    The added benefits would last through 2021 and would provide these individuals with around $4,000 over two years.
    These additional benefits are expected to push the package to around $1.4 trillion.
    White House Economic Adviser Larry Kudlow previously said the stimulus package could cost more than expected, even doubling the initial estimate.    Earlier on Saturday, Kudlow told reporters the plan could cost $2 trillion, equaling around 10 percent of U.S. GDP.
    He added the “very large package” could include giving small businesses a small payroll tax holiday.

3/21/2020 German coronavirus cases rise by 2,705 to 16,662
People wait in a queue at the weekly market in Berlin, Germany, March 21, 2020, as
the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues. REUTERS/Annegret Hilse
    FRANKFURT (Reuters) – The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany has risen by 2,705 within a day to reach 16,662, the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases said on Saturday.
    It said a total of 47 people had died after testing positive, an increase of 16 from a tally of 31 published on Friday.
(Reporting by Ludwig Burger; Editing by Alexander Smith)

3/22/2020 More on deaths from coronavirus in the U.S.

3/22/2020 Italy coronavirus deaths jump by almost 800, government shuts most workplaces by Giselda Vagnoni
A deserted street is pictured, after Italy reinforced the lockdown measures to combat the
coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Catania, Italy March 21, 2020. REUTERS/Antonio Parrinello
    ROME (Reuters) – Italy recorded a jump in deaths from coronavirus of almost 800 on Saturday, taking the toll in the world’s hardest-hit country to almost 5,000.
    In its latest desperate effort to halt the epidemic Rome ordered that all businesses must close until April 3, with the exception of those essential to maintaining the country’s supply chain.
    “It is the most difficult crisis in our post-war period,” Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said in a video posted on Facebook, adding “only production activities deemed vital for national production will be allowed.”
    Conte did not specify which factories and businesses will be considered crucial to keep the country going.    The government is expected to publish an emergency decree on Sunday to make the new crackdown immediately effective.
    Supermarkets, pharmacies, postal and banking services will remain open and essential public services including transport will be ensured.
    “We are slowing down the country’s production engine but we are not stopping it,” Conte said.
    Italy on Thursday overtook China as the country worst hit by the highly contagious virus.
    On Saturday fatalities jumped by 793 to 4,825 in the largest one-day rise since the contagion emerged a month ago.
    Reported infections rose to 53,578 from 47,021, the Civil Protection Agency said.    There were 2,857 people in intensive care, up from 2,655
    Lombardy, the northern Italian region around Milan which is the worst-affected by coronavirus, remains in a critical situation, with 3,095 deaths and 25,515 cases.
    “What we all understand is that no member state can face this threat alone.    The virus has no borders and the European Union is stronger when we show full solidarity,” EU Commission head Ursula von der Leyen told Italy’s Corriere della Sera newspaper.
    Late on Friday the EU Commission moved to formalize a deal reached by EU finance ministers on March 5 to suspend EU budget rules that limit borrowing, giving Italy and other governments a free hand to fight the disease.
    Italy’s failure to reduce its huge debt of 134% of gross domestic product would normally have drawn a rebuke from the EU executive, but von der Leyen said there were now other priorities.
    “The Italian government will be able to put as much money into the economy as needed.    Normal budget rules, debt rules for example, will not be applied at this stage,” she said.
    Brussels is expected next week to unveil a plan for using the euro zone’s bailout fund, known as the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), which could unlock unlimited sovereign bond purchases by the European Central Bank.
    “This work is ongoing,” Commission Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis said in an interview with Reuters.
    The lockdown measures imposed in Italy and emulated by several other countries in Europe are likely to trigger a recession and heavy job losses.
    Dombrovskis said the Commission is accelerating work on an EU-wide scheme to help the unemployed, scheduled for presentation in the fourth quarter.
(Reporting by Giselda Vagnoni; additional reporting by Gavin Jones and Angelo Amante, editing by Jason Neely and Chris Reese)

3/22/2020 Britain’s NHS could be overwhelmed by coronavirus like Italy, PM Johnson warns
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson attends a news conference on the ongoing situation with the
coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in London, Britain March 20, 2020. Julian Simmonds/Pool via REUTERS
    LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) could be “overwhelmed” by the coronavirus like the Italian health system in just two weeks, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has warned in the face of rising numbers of deaths.
    The death toll in Italy – the world’s worst-hit – reached almost 5,000 on Saturday, while in Britain it hit 233.
    In comments carried in the Sunday Telegraph and other Sunday newspapers, Johnson again urged Britons to stay at home to stop the spread of the virus.
    “The numbers are very stark, and they are accelerating.    We are only a matter of weeks – two or three – behind Italy,” he said.
    “Unless we act together, unless we make the heroic and collective national effort to slow the spread – then it is all too likely that our own NHS will be similarly overwhelmed,” he said.
    Italy overtook China as the country worst affected by the highly contagious virus on Thursday.    The Italian government has ordered that all businesses must close until April 3 in its latest desperate effort to halt the epidemic.
    The last week has seen Johnson’s government quickly step-up warnings over the virus.    It has closed schools for most pupils, told pubs and restaurants to shut and asked people to avoid unnecessary social interactions so that intensive care units in the country’s state health care system can handle the epidemic.
    On Saturday Britain’s NHS struck a deal with the independent hospital sector, giving the institution more ventilators and thousands of extra beds and healthcare staff on hand from next week.
    Britain also urged 1.5 million people identified by the NHS as being at higher risk of severe illness if they contract coronavirus to not leave their homes, to protect themselves.
    But Johnson cautioned that from the Italian experience, even the best hospitals could be overwhelmed by COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.
    “The Italians have a superb health-care system.    And yet their doctors and nurses have been completely overwhelmed by the demand,” Johnson noted.
    He advised people to keep away from elderly parents on Sunday, which is Mothering Sunday in Britain.     “The single best present that we can give … is to spare them the risk of catching a very dangerous disease,” he said.
(Reporting by Alistair Smout and James Davey; Editing by Frances Kerry)

3/22/2020 Ecuador coronavirus cases increase by over 400 in less than a week, health minister quits
Elderly stand in line to collect their monthly pension before the 4:00 pm - 8:00 am curfew imposed by the government to
prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Guayaquil, Ecuador March 20, 2020. REUTERS/Santiago Arcos
    QUITO (Reuters) – Ecuador’s health and labor ministers resigned on Saturday, just hours after officials announced the number of confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus had shot up to over 500 in the country.    The government declared a state of emergency on Monday, prohibiting travelers from entering and imposing a night-time curfew along with other measures to restrict internal movement in a bid to stop the spread of the virus.
    Officials reported 532 cases and seven recorded deaths during a virtual press conference on Saturday.    On Tuesday, Vice President Otto Sonnenholzner had reported two deaths from the virus and 111 cases, double the previous day’s count of 58.
    Hours after the announcement, officials confirmed the resignation of Health Minister Catalina Andramuno, without providing details, and appointed Juan Carlos Zevallos, a doctor who has worked in several universities, as her replacement.    The labor minister also resigned, a presidential announcement said.After health professionals complained on social networks they lacked adequate protection to tend to those infected, Andramuno toured public hospitals on Friday, assuring staff they would be provided with sufficient medical supplies and devices.    Some Ecuadorians have defied internal circulation restrictions, while there have been crowds in markets and shopping centers, according to Reuters witnesses.    Seniors flocked to banks on Friday to withdraw their pensions.
    President Lenin Moreno said on Friday night the government would be offering economic aid to the country’s most vulnerable, including directly giving $60 for two months to families earning less than $400 a month.    The government would also partner with the private sector to pride relief, while banks would offering lines of credit to small businesses. (Reporting by Alexandra Valencia; Writing by Sarah Kinosian; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishna)

3/22/2020 Spain warns the ‘worst is yet to come’ as coronavirus deaths surpass 1,300 by Joan Faus
People wearing protective face masks are seen in an almost empty Puerta del Sol during a partial lockdown, which is a part of a 15-day
state of emergency to combat the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Madrid, Spain, March 21, 2020. REUTERS/Sergio Perez
    MADRID (Reuters) – The Spanish government said on Saturday it would do whatever was needed to combat the coronavirus pandemic and warned that “the worst is yet to come” after the national toll surpassed 1,300 deaths and reached close to 25,000 cases.
    The second-worst outbreak in Europe showed no sign of slowing as the death toll jumped by more than 300 from the previous day. Intensive care units are filling up in some hospitals.
    “We have yet to receive the impact of the strongest, most damaging wave, which will test our material and moral capacities to the limit, as well as our spirit as a society,” Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez told a news briefing.
    Sanchez said Spain had not lived through such a dramatic situation since its 1936-39 civil war, in which around half a million people died.    Drawing parallels to a war economy, he said his government was working on plans to produce in Spain the equipment needed to battle coronavirus, such as masks.     His leftist government a week ago declared a 15-day state of emergency nationwide barring people from all but essential outings.    Sanchez praised the “exemplary” response and said he had no plans to strengthen the restrictions, which he called the toughest in Europe.
    The prime minister also made no mention of extending the state of emergency, though he warned of tough weeks ahead.
    Spain’s death toll jumped to 1,326 from 1,002 the day before, according to Health Ministry data released on Saturday.    The number of cases rose to 24,926 from 19,980.
    The death rate from the current data is around 5%, Maria Jose Sierra, a top official at Spain’s health emergency committee, said at an earlier briefing.    But she suggested the real rate is lower as testing has mostly been conducted on people in hospital, meaning there are likely far more cases.
    Testing is set to increase – the government announced on Saturday it had acquired more than 640,000 testing devices and said that number could quickly reach a million.    Six million more devices could also be on the way, Sanchez said.
    Raquel Yotti, director of Carlos III Public Health Institute, earlier said the first devices were being distributed on Saturday and added the government was working on acquiring four robots that could bring the number of daily tests to 80,000.    That would be up from 15,000-20,000 a day at the moment.
    Robots are helpful as they can conduct automated testing, she said.
    Authorities also said they were acquiring more medical equipment, including 700 ventilators.    Around 1.3 million protective masks were distributed on Saturday across Spain for healthcare staff and patients.
    There is growing concern about overcrowding at hospitals and complaints that facilities could be running short of equipment, such as masks.    Some 1,612 patients are currently in intensive care units.
    Ricard Ferrer, chairman of Spain’s intensive medicine society, told public television channel TVE that he expected than in eight to 10 weeks around 10,000 patients would be in intensive care units.
    Ferrer said Spain had the capacity to deal with that number, but added that he hoped that from Monday the confinement measures would start having an impact on the number of cases.
    On Friday evening military personnel moved patients from hospitals in Madrid to others with more space.
    The military is also building a giant makeshift hospital at a conference centre in the Spanish capital and will disinfect nursing homes in Madrid, which have seen large numbers of deaths, Prime Minister Sanchez said.
    Of the 17 Spanish regions, Madrid has been the worst hit, with 60% of the country’s deaths.
(Reporting by Joan Faus; Editing by Frances Kerry and Sonya Hepinstall)

3/22/2020 Supporters say they trust President Trump’s response to coronavirus pandemic by OAN Newsroom
President Donald Trump and Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci, right, listen
during a coronavirus task force briefing at the White House, Saturday, March 21, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
    Support for President Trump and his handling of the coronavirus pandemic is rising.
    Dual Harris polls released Friday revealed between March 14th and 18th, the president’s approval rating jumped 4 percent. Additionally, the approval rating for his handling of the coronavirus also jumped from 51 to 56 percent.
    According to the data, 61 percent of Americans trust the White House to provide accurate information regarding the outbreak.    The polls were conducted just two days apart, showing a rapid boost of positivity among voters.
President Donald Trump shakes hands with supporters upon arrival at the Orlando Sanford
International Airport, Monday, March 9, 2020 in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
    Meanwhile, a small Trump themed coffee shop in Florida offered a closer look into how his supporters are feeling.    Shop owner Cliff Gephart, who described his mission as pioneering against the “scourge of liberalism,” has said it’s difficult to know how serious the virus is in the U.S. at this point, as the number of cases continues to rise.
    However, he believes the administration and his local government will see the country through.
    “I’m not sure that I believe it’s overblown,” he said.    “I just know that I’m going to do what I can, and we’re going to just live our lives based on what we’re allowed to do.”
    During a recent coronavirus task force briefing, the president outlined his administration’s path forward against the virus.    He listed an FDA approved anti-malaria drug, announced naval ship deployment to states with high outbreaks and explained several ways the country is planning to expand its stockpile of medical supplies.
Supporters line the road as the motorcade for President Donald Trump goes to a
fundraiser, Monday, March 9, 2020 in Longwood, Fla. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
    However, doubts remain that the U.S. is not prepared and that President Trump has not handled the virus to the best of his abilities.
    The coffee shop’s owner has dismissed these criticisms, noting that there is still partisan prejudice against the president at the end of the day.
    “It seems like it’s every decision the president makes, whether it’s about coronavirus, about the economy or taxation,” stated Gephart.
    “It seems like coronavirus is just another partisan, down party lines (issue): some people support him, some people don’t.”
    In the meantime, the Trump administration and Democrat lawmakers alike have stressed the importance of sticking together during this time.    They have urged Americans to do everything they can to bring about the end of the coronavirus sooner rather than later.

3/22/2020 Sen. Rand Paul tests positive for coronavirus by OAN Newsroom
In this image from video, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., speaks on the Senate floor at the
U.S. Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, March 18, 2020. (Senate Television via AP)
    Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has tested positive for the coronavirus.    According to a statement posted on his Twitter account Sunday, Paul is doing fine and remains in quarantine due to the illness.
    The statement added that he was only tested for COVID-19 out of an abundance of caution, due to his travel itinerary.    He is apparently asymptomatic.
    Sen. Paul stated none of his staff members have had any contact with him since he started working remotely 10 days ago.    The 57-year-old senator will be back in the Senate after his quarantine ends to continue his work.
    He was reportedly the third member of Congress to test positive for the virus.    As of Sunday, there were nearly 40,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 400 reported deaths in the United States.

3/22/2020 Sen. McConnell on virus relief package: The bill is already thoroughly bipartisan by OAN Newsroom
Photo via Leader McConnell official Twitter account.
    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has provided the nation with an update on the pending coronavirus relief package.    During Sunday’s press briefing, he stated he didn’t want Americans to “get the wrong idea” and added the legislation is already “a thoroughly bipartisan proposal.”
    Though the Senate has been in negotiations for a while, McConnell noted senators understand the “wheel has to stop at some time.”    According to the senator, when it does, “that will be the bill senators vote on.”
    “The past two days of intense bipartisan talks are very close to a resolution,” he said in a statement.    “I believe we are poised to deliver the significant relief that Americans need with the speed that this crisis demands.”
    Before the briefing ended, McConnell reassured the nation that the Senate will be voting on Monday.
    “I have one message: the Senate stands with you,” stated the senator.
A man wearing a mask walks by the New York Stock Exchange, Tuesday, March 17, 2020. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
    The bill would provide over $1 trillion worth of emergency aid to those in need during the coronavirus pandemic.    The legislation, which has been negotiated tirelessly in Congress, was broken down into three parts to detail where the money will go.
    The first category was individuals and families.
    Lawmakers have said they plan to enact new paid family and medical leave programs.    Direct checks would also be sent to all middle and low-income workers.
    There was also a bipartisan agreement to increase unemployment benefits and expand the eligibility for unemployment.
    “To go on existing unemployment insurance won’t work,” stated Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.).    “It’s hard to access, it doesn’t cover a whole lot of people and, furthermore, it doesn’t pay back workers’ full wages they were earning.”
    The next category was small businesses.
    Lawmakers have said they will initiate a lending program for small businesses.    As part of the program, loans will be forgiven if they are spent on maintaining payroll to employees.
    Congress members, in conjunction with the Treasury and the Fed, have also outlined the creation of a large credit facility, which will ensure financial markets can carry on and that businesses can get temporary credit.
    According to lawmakers, “it’s essential people have a job to go back to when we get through” the virus outbreak “as soon as we possibly can.”
Nurses at a drive-up coronavirus testing station set up by the University of Washington Medical Center talk to a
person arriving to be tested as they sit in a car Friday, March 13, 2020, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
    The final group Congress will be offering financial assistance to are healthcare providers and hospitals.    The government is planning to send resources directly to these facilities, in order to help their ability to research therapies, treatments and vaccines for COVID-19.
    “Every single American who has opened a newspaper or turned on the television in the last week has heard from our brave nurses, doctors, first responders and public health experts,” said Sen. McConnell.    “If our nation is going to punch back and beat this virus, the people on the medical front lines need our help and need it now.”
    The Senate majority leader has said the Senate will not leave Washington until a deal for the aid is passed.

3/22/2020 U.S. Chamber of Commerce calls on Congress to pass bridge loan program by OAN Newsroom
Light illuminates the U.S. Capitol dome on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, March 16, 2020. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
    The federal government and American businesses are trying to figure out how to stay afloat, retain employees, and hire on more help amid the coronavirus pandemic.
    The U.S. Chamber of Commerce issued a statement this week, which encouraged Congress to adopt a bridge loan program into their economic stimulus plan. Officials believe these loans will keep employees paid and businesses functioning.
    “The idea behind the proposal we are finalizing now is the idea of how can we transfer money as quickly as possible to help small businesses, meet payroll and operating obligations for a period roughly equivalent to six weeks,” explained Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.).
    The bridge loan program would include federally guaranteed loans to businesses with more than 500 workers, which would cover three months of payroll expenses.    The loan would then be paid off over a five-year period.
FILE – In this Feb. 5, 2018, file photo, the seal of the Board of Governors of the U.S, Federal Reserve System lies embedded
in the floor at the Marriner S. Eccles Federal Reserve Board Building in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)
    An employee retention incentive would be attached to the loan, enabling loan forgiveness up to 10 percent for employers who hold onto 90 percent of their workforce.    Loans would also be backed by the U.S. Federal Reserve.
    “I also think, in this political climate, we’re going to get into a very interesting conversation.    Not just about how we deal with employees and whether there’s unemployment, insurance and the like.    If we do get into bailing out an airline, for example, are we going to have a conversation about corporate socialism?” – Andrew Ross Sorkin, journalist
    In the meantime, companies like Pepsi and Target have looked into to enhancing employee benefits, including 100 percent pay during a two week quarantine and increased wages.    Amazon, Walmart and 7-Eleven have pledged to hire tens of thousands of employees.

3/22/2020 World Bank moving forward on first $1.7 billion in pandemic aid projects
FILE PHOTO: World Bank President David Malpass attends the "1+6" Roundtable meeting at the
Diaoyutai state guesthouse in Beijing, China November 21, 2019. REUTERS/Florence Lo
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The World Bank’s executive board is expected to consider later this week the first fast-track funds to help Afghanistan and Ethiopia respond to the coronavirus pandemic, the Bank’s president said on Sunday.
    In a blog posted on LinkedIn on Sunday, David Malpass said funding for the projects could come out of a $14 billion Fast Track Facility (FTF) approved last week to help countries deal with the health and economic impact of the coronavirus.
    The respiratory disease has infected more than 305,000 people around the world, and killed more than 13,000, according to the latest Reuters tally.
    In the blog, Malpass said World Bank teams were preparing projects in 40 countries for up to $1.7 billion under the FTF.
    Projects in Afghanistan and Ethiopia were the most advanced and would be presented to the board this week, he said, teeing them up for formal approval.    Work was also advancing on projects in 14 other countries, he said, without naming them.
    These projects could then be quickly replicated in other parts of the same country, through funding from other multilateral development banks, or in other countries.
    In addition, the Bank and the International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the Bank, were working to free up $1.5 billion in COVID-19 funding in 24 countries by restructuring existing projects, he said, without naming them.
    The IFC was also working to start extending trade finance and working capital lines to clients, with regular board action expected on those efforts in the next two to four weeks.
    Malpass said Bank officials were in close touch with finance ministers and central bankers from around the world to discuss their needs and responses to the crisis.
    Bank officials had also identified ways to support countries as they race to procure much-needed medical equipment and upgrade medical facilities.
(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Peter Cooney)

3/22/2020 Italy bans internal travel as a further 651 die from coronavirus by Crispian Balmer and Angelo Amante
An emergency contingent of Cuban doctors and nurses arrive at Italy's Malpensa airport after travelling from Cuba to help
Italy battle the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), near Milan, Italy, March 22, 2020. REUTERS/Daniele Mascolo
    ROME (Reuters) – Italy banned travel within the country on Sunday in yet another attempt to slow the spread of the coronavirus, as data showed a further 651 people had died from the disease, lifting the number of fatalities to 5,476.
    A month after the first death from the highly infectious virus was registered in Italy, the government also issued an order freezing all business activity deemed non-essential in an effort to keep ever more people at home and off the streets.
    Amongst the sectors targeted were the car, clothing and furniture industries.    They have until Wednesday to wind down operations and will have to remain shuttered until April 3.
    The interior and health ministries issued a separate statement, telling people they had to stay where they were, unless urgent business or health reasons forced them to move to another town or region.
    Italy has registered more deaths than any other country in the world, while the number of confirmed cases is second only to China, with the tally rising by 5,560 to 59,138 on Sunday, the Civil Protection Agency said.
    However, offering a ray of hope, the latest figures represented an improvement on Saturday, when the death toll rose by 793 and new cases increased by 6,557
    “We don’t want to get over enthusiastic or overestimate a trend, but compared to yesterday there is a slight drop in the figures,” said Franco Locatelli, the head of Italy’s top health council, which advises the government.
    “We must not lower our guard, we must continue with the measures taken and respect the government’s instructions,” he told a news conference.
    Regional leaders having been pushing Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte for days to tighten the screws as infections have spiralled, but some business leaders and financiers expressed alarm at his decision to shutter more companies.
    “The closure of production activity is devastating.    Our companies will lose market share and won’t be able to reopen for lack of liquidity,” Alberto Forchielli, head of Mandarin Capital Partners private equity fund, wrote on Twitter on Sunday.
    “This is the end of Italy’s industrial system.”
    Amongst the companies that said they were halting production in Italy were the world’s largest eyewear company, Luxottica.
    However, union leaders accused Conte of not going far enough with his closure order, noting that dozens of sectors had won exemptions.    They threatened to call a general strike if they thought too many workers were exposed to health risks.
    In a video posted late Saturday night on Facebook, Conte said Italy was facing its most serious crisis since World War Two, with the health system in the wealthy north at breaking point and almost every intensive care bed now filled.
    China has already sent medical equipment and doctors to help Italy, while more than 50 Cuban doctors arrived in Milan on Sunday to provide assistance to the stretched hospitals.
    The Russian military said it would also start sending aid to Italy on the orders of President Vladimir Putin.
    Domenico Arcuri, head of the government’s coronavirus relief effort, told state broadcaster RAI that Italy was “at war
    “All wars are won in two ways, with one’s own army and with the help of ones’ own allies,” he said.
(Additional reporting by Giuseppe Fonte, Giselda Vagnoni and Gavin Jones in Rome, and Elvira Pollina in Milan; Editing by Andrew Heavens)

3/22/2020 Dr. Fauci: Researchers closely examining coronavirus in younger Americans by OAN Newsroom
Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci speaks during a coronavirus
task force briefing at the White House, Saturday, March 21, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
    A top U.S. health official has said researchers are looking closely at the rate of hospitalizations for young people during the pandemic.    On Sunday, Dr. Anthony Fauci confirmed experts are looking closely at the difference between the populations who got sick in China and those who are getting sick in Europe.
    According to the CDC, around 40 percent of those hospitalized for the virus as of last week were between the ages of 20 and 44.
    Fauci has said researchers must be sure the unexpectedly high number of younger people being hospitalized isn’t due to “underlying conditions.”
    “Because we know that underlying conditions, all bets are off,” he said.    “No matter how young you are, if you have an underlying serious medical condition, you’re going to potentially get into trouble.”

Medical staff assist a patient in the Intensive Care Unit of the Bergamo Papa Giovanni XXIII
hospital, Italy, Tuesday, March 17, 2020. (ASST Papa Giovanni XXIII via AP)
    The doctor added he doesn’t expect the outbreak experience in the U.S. to be the same as what’s being seen in Italy. Hospitals in Italy have said they’re seeing people in their 20s and 30s being admitted with severe cases of coronavirus.

3/23/2020 More information on deaths in the U.S..

3/23/2020 Brent crude extends fall as coronavirus shutdowns sap demand by Shadia Nasralla
FILE PHOTO: The sun is seen behind a crude oil pump jack in the Permian Basin in Loving County,
Texas, U.S., November 22, 2019. Picture taken November 22, 2019. REUTERS/Angus Mordant/File Photo
    LONDON (Reuters) – Brent crude prices extended falls on Monday with demand sliding as travel and industrial activity contracted across the globe in a bid to stem the spread of coronavirus.
    Brent crude futures had fallen $1.54, or 5.7%, to $25.44 a barrel by 1004 GMT. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were down 36 cents, or 1.6%, at $22.27 a barrel, having fallen 2 percentage points more than Brent this year.
    The demand destruction caused by the coronavirus pandemic comes as the oil market contends with the unexpected price war that erupted between producers Russia and Saudi Arabia, effectively ending an OPEC+ alliance and flooding the market with barrels.
    The six-month spread of Brent futures hit its steepest since 2009 at a discount of more than $9, a contango structure which reflects the current oversupply.
(GRAPHIC: Brent six-month contango –
    Oil prices have posted four straight weeks of losses and dropped more than 60% since the start of the year.    Prices of everything from coal to copper have also been hit by the coronavirus crisis, while bond and stock markets are in rarely charted territory. [MKTS/GLOB]
    The Tokyo Olympics became the latest potential casualty of the pandemic as Japan and the games organizers’ raised the prospect of a delay from the summer, while Canada and Australia announced they would not send athletes to the event.
    The coronavirus, which has infected more than 325,000 and killed more then 14,000 worldwide, has disrupted business, travel and daily life.
    Many oil companies have rushed to cut spending and shareholder payouts while refiners worldwide are slashing production or considering cuts as demand for fuel evaporates.
    Almost a third of Americans are now under orders to stay at home as states take extra measures to stem the rising numbers of cases in the world’s biggest economy, while in New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Adern said all non-essential services and business are to be shut down.
    Demand is expected to fall by more than 10 million barrels per day (bpd), or about 10% of daily global crude consumption, said Giovanni Serio, head of research at Vitol, the world’s biggest oil trader.
    Goldman Sachs estimated the demand loss could total 8 million bpd.    UBS forecast an annual fall in global demand of 5-10 million barrels per day in March.
    “With OPEC+ currently unwilling to get back together and demand losses becoming visible, oil prices likely need to trade lower into the cash cost curve to trigger production shut-ins,” UBS said.
(Additional reporting by Aaron Sheldrick in Tokyo; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)

3/23/2020 Britain brings in emergency measures to prop up rail network
A woman wears a mask at Clapham Junction during rush hour as the spread of the coronavirus
disease (COVID-19) continues, in London, Britain, March 23, 2020. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez
    LONDON (Reuters) – Britain said on Monday it was taking emergency measures to
help its rail network survive a 70% drop in passenger numbers as coronavirus stops many people from traveling.
    The Department for Transport said it was temporarily suspending rail franchise contracts for at least six months, taking on all the cost and revenue risk itself, and instead paying train companies a small fee to keep operating some services.
    Separately on Monday, UK-based transport companies Go-Ahead, FirstGroup and Stagecoach said that they could not forecast their profits this year as people stopped traveling on trains and buses.
    The measures mean Britain’s trains will keep running a reduced service, helping key workers get to work during the crisis, and minimizing disruption to the economy.
    The government warned that if it had not stepped in there would have been severe consequences.
    “Allowing operators to enter insolvency would cause significantly more disruption to passengers and higher costs to the taxpayer,” the DfT’s statement said on Monday.
    Britain had already said last week that its rail network would run fewer trains during the crisis.
    UK-listed transport companies Go-Ahead, FirstGroup and Stagecoach said they would try to cut costs to survive this period of lower travel.
    Go-Ahead, which operates the GTR rail network in London and southeast England, said it would suspend its dividend, while FirstGroup, which warned of lower passenger volumes both in the UK and in its U.S. school bus and contract bus business, said capital expenditure was on hold.
    Stagecoach warned it would no longer meet its profit forecast and said it did not expect to pay any further dividends in its current financial year.
(Reporting by Sarah Young; editing by Kate Holton)

3/23/2020 Canada coronavirus death toll jumps, officials could punish those ignoring precautions by David Ljunggren
FILE PHOTO: An empty U.S.-Canada border crossing is seen in Lacolle, Quebec, Canada March 19, 2020. REUTERS/Christinne Muschi?/File Photo
    OTTAWA (Reuters) – The Canadian death toll from the coronavirus outbreak jumped by more than 50% on Sunday, and impatient officials threatened to punish people refusing to take precautions to fight the spread of the highly contagious illness.
    The number of deaths from the respiratory disease rose to 20 by 6 p.m. (2200 GMT) on Sunday from 13 the previous day, Ottawa said, while the number of confirmed cases jumped to 1,430 from 1,099.    There are coronavirus cases in all 10 Canadian provinces.
    Canada has already closed its borders to all but essential travel and announced a C$27 billion ($19 billion) aid package for people and businesses most affected by the crisis.    Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said more measures would be needed.
    “We’re looking now at what those next steps are to ensure that our economy is able to pick up again once we’re through this.    It is likely to take months,” he told reporters on Sunday, but did not give details.
    The House of Commons will return on Tuesday to approve the stimulus package.    A handful of legislators will be present, since only 20 parliamentarians are needed to conduct business.
    Ottawa says people who have returned from abroad must isolate themselves for 14 days and Health Minister Patty Hajdu said she could use the federal Quarantine Act to sanction those ignoring that requirement.
    “We will use every measure … to ensure compliance,” she told a briefing.    “(This) could include monetary penalties up to, and including, criminal penalties.”
    Nova Scotia on Sunday became the last of Canada’s provinces to declare a state of emergency, closing borders to non-residents and threatening to arrest those who do not practice self-distancing.
    Premier Stephen McNeil told a news conference that despite warnings to avoid meeting in large groups, people were flocking to provincial parks and other common areas.
    “We are dealing with a deadly virus and this behavior is unacceptable,” he said.    His Atlantic province is banning gatherings of more than five people, a much stricter limit than other jurisdictions.
    In Quebec, the second most populous province, Premier Francois Legault tightened existing restrictions to force the closure of all shopping malls.    Only food and liquor stores and pharmacies can stay open.
    “Right now there are still too many people in shopping malls,” he told a briefing, saying restaurants would only be able to offer takeout service.    All schools will be shut until May 1.
(Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Bill Berkrot and Peter Cooney)

3/23/2020 President Trump to deploy military hospital ships to Calif., N.Y. amid surge of COVID-19 cases by OAN Newsroom
In this image released by the U.S. Navy, supplies are prepared to be lifted aboard the USNS Mercy, Friday, March 20, 2020, at Naval
Base San Diego, in preparation to support the nation’s COVID-19 response efforts. The hospital ship will treat non-COVID-19 patients
which will allow local health professionals to further focus on treating COVID-19 patients. (Sarah Burford/U.S. Navy via AP)
    President Trump has approved the governor of California’s request to deploy a U.S. Navy hospital ship to Los Angeles.
    On Sunday, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the plan to send the USNS Mercy to the state’s most populous city.    He also thanked the president for his quick response.    The vessel will provide extra support amid the surge of coronavirus patients.
    Meanwhile, the USNS Comfort is being sent to the New York City area.    Both states have seen increased numbers of virus cases and have issued shelter-in-place orders to stop the spread of the virus.
    Gov. Newsom recently sent a harsh message to his state’s youth.    During a COVID-19 response update the California official made the following remarks:
    “Just assume that you potentially are contagious and act accordingly.    Socially distance yourself from others, just use common sense.    Be a good neighbor, be a good citizen.    To the young people who are still out there on the beaches thinking this is a party — it’s time to grow up, it’s time to wake up.”
Beachgoers are seen at Venice Beach, Saturday, March 21, 2020, in Los Angeles. Traffic would normally be bumper-to-bumper during this time
of day on a Friday. California Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered the state’s 40 million residents to stay at home indefinitely. His order restricts
non-essential movements to control the spread of the coronavirus that threatens to overwhelm the state’s medical system. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
    His comments comes after massive crowds reportedly continued to flock to beaches and parks despite an ongoing shelter-in-place order.    Beachgoers in Huntington Beach eventually went home as National Guard troops arrived.
    Meanwhile, the mayor of San Diego has now closed its beaches and has threatened a $1,000 for anyone who continues to violate the emergency order.

3/23/2020 Researchers: Loss of smell could indicate COVID-19 infection as virus brings world to standstill by OAN Newsroom
People wait their turn for a blood sample in a hallway of a hospital in Barcelona, Spain, March 18, 2020. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)
    As COVID-19 continues to bring the world to a standstill, new research is shedding light on some of the more uncommon symptoms in patients.
    Some of the most tall tale signs of the infection are a high fever, dry cough and difficulty breathing.    However, some experts have warned if you suddenly lose your sense of smell then you may want to self-quarantine immediately.
    According to their findings, roughly a third of patients diagnosed with COVID-19 in South Korea, Italy and China all reported losing their sense of smell even if they didn’t have any other symptoms.
    Officials have said young people are especially prone to showing unlikely symptoms, including a loss of smell and taste.    This means they could be quietly carrying the infection.
Nurse Jany Guedes, right, takes a sample for testing from Maria Laso at a drive-through testing site for COVID-19, the disease
caused by the new coronavirus, at the Doris Ison Health Center, on Friday, March 20, 2020, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
    A more common way to know if you may have been infected is digestive issues.    That’s according to Chinese researchers.    They have said diarrhea, a loss of appetite, vomiting and abdominal pain were experienced by nearly half of coronavirus patients in the Hubei Province.
    Not only that, those who did experience digestive issues had a longer window of time before being admitted to the hospital.    The incubation period for the virus, or how soon you start showing signs of the infection, can be anywhere from five to 14 days.
    Experts are advising anyone experiencing these symptoms to self-isolate right away to avoid potentially spreading the illness.

3/23/2020 Labor shortages pose problem for food supply chain by OAN Newsroom
A worker loads canned goods at the Associated Foods Stores distribution warehouse, Friday, March 20, 2020, in Farr West, Utah.
Associated Foods Stores supplies grocery retailers in Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado and Nevada. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
    While the U.S. food supply remains strong, a number of industries are struggling to stock its shelves and get food to grocery stores.    This comes as retailers, warehouses and farmers currently face major labor shortages amid the coronavirus pandemic, while the demand for food industries increases.
    The current food service workforce is struggling to keep up with the growing dependency on their services as Americans continue to buy-in-bulk.
    “We’ve already increased our trucks from 950 a day to 1,350 a day, so we’re getting product on the shelves as fast as possible,” stated Lisa Helfman, Public Affairs – H.E.B Houston.    “We have product, it’s just getting it on the shelves, getting it to you, and if you spread out the buying then the stores stay stocked.”
    Several protective policies are making it tough for certain industries to effectively produce and transport food to grocery stores and markets.    For example, American farmers and ranchers are being hit hard by the State Department’s policy to delay issuing H-2A visas to Mexican workers as they rely on roughly 250,000 H-2A workers each year.
    Additionally, the trucking industry is being hurt by restrictions imposed on receiving and docking food supplies from truckers as well as shutting down rest stops.
Jennifer Lickteig, CEO of TBS Factoring Service, hands two grab-and-go” a sack lunches featuring a sub
sandwich, water and chips. to a trucker on the Hefner Road exit of I-35 in Oklahoma City, Friday, March 20, 2020.
Nationwide as rest stops and restaurants close, truck drivers are finding it difficult to locate prepared food items
and face challenges including parking and access to drive through only locations. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
    Food service workers are also shying away from work because of the high risk of exposure due to working in close quarters with people for several hours.
    “Because of anxiety, I can’t even sleep and President Trump says to stay away from people, and it’s just full of people,” said Veronica Duran, a worker at a Food 4 Less grocery store.
    Meanwhile, states like Minnesota, Vermont and Michigan are categorizing food workers as “essential workers.”    The states are rewarding their services by giving them the same benefits as health care workers and first responders.    Employers are also trying to adequately supply food workers with face masks and gloves amid shrinking supplies.
    Analysts are speculating an overhaul in developing industrial robots to harvest and transport food to solve the labor shortage problem, but have said the technology is not yet ready to fully deal with the issues at hand.

3/23/2020 Florida Keys closed to tourists over coronavirus fears by OAN Newsroom
In this photo provided by the Florida Keys News Bureau, Becky Lawrence sanitizes a point of sale system at Sloppy Joe’s Bar,
Tuesday, March 17, 2020, in Key West, Fla. Bars around Florida have closed under a state declaration signed
by Gov. Ron DeSantis to help curb the spread of the new coronavirus. (Carol Tedesco/Florida Keys News Bureau via AP)
    One of Florida’s most popular tourist destinations has officially closed to visitors as a precaution to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.    Officials from Monroe County announced in a statement Sunday that the Florida Keys will temporarily not be welcoming tourists.
    The new restrictions prohibit tourists and leisure visitors, while also calling for all hotels and lodging establishments in the area to be closed until further notice.    However, rentals used by the military, first responders and health care workers are exempt from the ban.
    Monroe County Mayor Heather Carruthers said she believes people are starting to get the message of just how serious the pandemic is.
    “I rode my bike around the island today and saw very little traffic, very few people out, and you see single player or maybe two people together,” explained the mayor.    “…I think the message is out now; we’ve closed our bars, our restaurants.”
    This move came after authorities confirmed at least one case of coronavirus has been identified in the county.

3/23/2020 N.Y. officials plead White House to nationalize effort for medical supplies by OAN Newsroom
A sign displaying messages on how to reduce the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, is displayed at
the mouth of the Manhattan Bridge, Monday, March 23, 2020, in the Brooklyn borough of New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
    New York officials are calling for the White House to nationalize the effort to acquire more medical supplies amid the coronavirus outbreak.
    On Sunday, Mayor Bill De Blasio said the outbreak will get worse with damage accelerated by a lack of medical supplies.
    Additionally, Gov. Andrew Cuomo suggested the government order factories to manufacture masks and other essential equipment.
    This came after hospitals reported declining stockpiles needed to treat patients.    Mayor De Blasio said New York City is just days away from seeing widespread shortages.
    “It’s only getting worse and, in fact, April and May are going to be a lot worse,” he stated.    “Right now, we are a third of the cases in the country; that’s going to get worse.”
    The state of New York now accounts for about 5 percent of COVID-19 cases worldwide.

3/23/2020 UK PM Johnson orders Britons: you must stay at home by William James and Andy Bruce
A pedestrian walks near St. Paul's Cathedral, as the spread of the coronavirus disease
(COVID-19) continues, in London, Britain, March 23, 2020. REUTERS/Toby Melville
    LONDON (Reuters) – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday ordered people to stay at home, escalating an already unprecedented clampdown on daily life to try and halt the spread of coronavirus.
    Deaths from the virus in Britain jumped by 54 to 335 on Monday as the government said the military would help ship millions of items of personal protective equipment (PPE) including masks to healthcare workers who have complained of shortages.
    “From this evening I must give the British people a very simple instruction – you must stay at home,” Johnson said in a televised address to the nation, replacing his usual daily news conference.
    Johnson said people would only be allowed to leave their homes for basic necessities: exercise, for a medical need, to provide care or travelling to and from work where absolutely necessary.
    “That’s all – these are the only reasons you should leave your home,” he said, adding that people should not meet friends or family members who do not live in their home.
    “If you don’t follow the rules the police will have the powers to enforce them, including through fines and dispersing gatherings.”
    The government will close all shops selling non-essential goods, Johnson said, including clothing stores, as well as other premises including libraries, playgrounds and outdoor gyms, and places of worship.
    Advice to stay at home and avoid social gatherings went unheeded by millions at the weekend who took advantage of sunny weather to flock to parks and beauty spots, ignoring instructions to stay 2 metres (6 feet) apart.
(Reporting by Kate Holton, Sarah Young, Costas Pitas, David Milliken, Elizabeth Howcroft, Alistair Smout and Andrew MacAskill; Writing by Michael Holden and Kylie MacLellan; Editing by Stephen Addison)

3/23/2020 Italy’s coronavirus deaths slow, offering glimmer of hope by Angelo Amante and Gavin Jones
A woman and volunteers wearing protective face masks and gloves attend the food distribution organized by
the Sant'Egidio Community at the San Gaudenzio parish during the lockdown to prevent the spread
of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Rome, Italy, March 23, 2020. REUTERS/Yara Nardi
    ROME (Reuters) – The death toll from an outbreak of coronavirus in Italy rose by 602 on Monday, the smallest increase for four days, while the number of new cases also slowed, raising hope that the most aggressive phase of the epidemic may be passing.
    The Civil Protection Agency said the number of fatalities from the month-old contagion stood at 6,077, while confirmed cases totaled 63,927, an increase of 4,789 over the past 24 hours — the smallest rise for five days.
    “Today is perhaps the first positive day we have had in this hard, very tough month,” said Giulio Gallera, the top health official in the northern region of Lombardy, which has been hardest hit by the outbreak.
    “It is not the time to sing victory, but we are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel,” he told reporters.
    However, there was also a significant fall in the number of tests carried out, and the head of Italy’s national health institute, Silvio Brusaferro, said it was too soon to say if the recent decline in daily deaths and new cases would continue.
    Unions in Lombardy earlier announced they would strike on Wednesday to protect the health of their workers, saying a government decree temporarily shutting businesses due to the coronavirus emergency contained too many loopholes.
    Italy has suffered the world’s deadliest outbreak of the respiratory pandemic, with 62% of the fatalities registered in Lombardy, the country’s most populous and wealthy region.
    A government decree signed on Sunday said all but “essential” businesses must close until April 3 and set out a long list of exceptions deemed vital to keep Italy’s supply chain running.
    The Lombardy branches of the three main metalworkers unions, FIOM, FIM and UILM, said the list “has been excessively extended, covering areas of dubious importance” and allowing firms “excessive discretion” to apply for exemptions.
    In a joint statement, they trio of unions said workers in all factories not directly linked to the beleaguered health sector would down tools.    Lombardy’s chemical workers said they would also stay home on March 25.
    “The decree allows a lot of firms to remain open, many without the proper guarantees and safety norms, creating conditions not agreed with us and fanning a lot of concern among workers,” said Paolo Pirani, national head of the UILTEC chemical and textile workers’ union.
    Bank workers threatened a nationwide walkout, saying they were forced to work in unsafe conditions without masks, gloves and sufficient amounts of antiseptic gels.    Several banks have already temporarily closed branches to sanitize them.
    Many of the country’s most prominent companies have already suspended their output in Italy, including eyeware manufacturer Luxottica, luxury carmaker Ferrari and tyre maker Pirelli.    The Italian-American automaker Fiat Chrysler told employees on Monday it would halt production in all European and North American plants and help with the production of masks during the coronavirus emergency, a union representative said.
    The head of employers’ lobby Confindustria warned about the economic impact of the factory closures.
    By shutting 70% of the country’s output, Italy will lose 100 billion euros ($107.63 billion) a month, he told Sky Italia in a television interview.
    Italy’s northern regions have borne the overwhelming brunt of the crisis but there is concern the virus could spread into the poorer south where health systems are less well-equipped.
    The first death was recorded on Monday in the southern region of Basilicata, meaning all Italy’s 20 regions have now registered fatalities.
    Sebastiano Musumeci, the regional president of Sicily, protested on Monday that many non-residents were arriving on the southern island on car ferries.
    “The national government must intervene because we Sicilians are not willing to be slaughtered like cattle,” he said.
(Additional reporting by Elvira Pollina, Stephen Jewkes, Valentina Za and Giulia Segreti; Writing by Gavin Jones and Crispian Balmer; Editing by Mark Heinrich, William Maclean)

3/23/2020 Macron against total French lockdown, Easter likely canceled, source says
FILE PHOTO: French President Emmanuel Macron takes part in a videoconference of the "economic task force,"
at the Elysee Palace, with French economic leaders and members of the governement amid
coronavirus disease (COVID-19) fears, in Paris, France March 19, 2020. Ludovic Marin/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo
    PARIS (Reuters) – President Emmanuel Macron told religious authorities on Monday he was against the idea of imposing a total lockdown in France to combat the coronavirus outbreak, a source close to one of the participants said.
    Macron has ordered the French to stay at home other than to buy groceries, travel to work, exercise or for medical care.    However, some medical professionals have called for stricter measures.
    “There will be no total lockdown,” a source close to France’s Chief Rabbi Haim Korsia, who took part in the meeting at the Elysee palace, told Reuters.    “(Macron) said (this) in essence, because that would cause more pain than healing.”
    Macron’s meeting with religious leaders also concluded that celebrations of the Christian holiday of Easter and the Jewish holiday of Passover would probably not be held this year, the source said.
    “If the lockdown is maintained, which should be the case, places of worship will be inaccessible and family reunions won’t be possible,” the source added.
(Reporting by Michel Rose; Editing by Gareth Jones and Mike Colett-White)

3/23/2020 Tempers flare in Italy as coronavirus toll keeps climbing
Coffins of people who have died from coronavirus disease (COVID-19) are seen in a crematorium in the town of
Serravalle Scrivia, which like many places in northern Italy is struggling to cope with the number of deaths from
the virus that is growing every day, in Alessandria, Italy, March 23, 2020. REUTERS/Flavio Lo Scalzo
    MILAN (Reuters) – From insults for dog walkers to furious local officials telling residents to stay home and people from other regions to stay out, Italians’ forbearance is fraying as their coronavirus epidemic enters its second month.
    As Italy’s death toll has climbed past 5,000 and overtaken even China’s, early scenes of communal singing from balconies are giving way to muttered asides and resentment against those seen to be flouting bans on public gatherings.
    “I’m getting word that someone is having a graduation party,” Vincenzo De Luca, governor of the southern Campania region around Naples, raged on Facebook.    “We’ll send in the carabinieri (paramilitary police), we’ll send them in with a flamethrower!
    A video compilation of furious and often foul-mouthed rants from mayors exasperated at undisciplined locals playing table tennis in the open or going for walks outside has been shared tens of thousands of times.
    There has also been bitterness at people trying to leave the worst-affected regions of northern Italy for the south, which has so far had fewer cases, but has health services that are much weaker than those in rich regions such as Lombardy, where the crisis erupted a month ago.
    Nello Musumeci, governor of the island of Sicily, at Italy’s southern tip, said on Monday that too many people were crossing from the mainland and Sicilians were not willing to be “slaughtered.”
    Opinion polls show widespread support for Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte’s government, which has imposed ever tighter travel restrictions and stepped up calls for people to stay at home.
    But at the same time, some officials worry about the fraying tempers.
    The mayor of Turin, Chiara Appendino, said she received reports every day of people being insulted from nearby balconies or photographed and put on social media, including in one case, a supermarket employee going to work.
    “We can’t allow ourselves to be infected by the virus of rage," she told the daily La Repubblica.
    The term “untori” (“plague spreaders”), a reference to sinister figures blamed for spreading disease in “I promessi sposi” (“The Betrothed”), a literary classic taught to generations of Italian school children, has made a return as the search for scapegoats has flared.
    Nathalie Sitzia, mayor of the town of Casaletto, near where the virus first appeared in a small town outside Milan, said the climate of general suspicion was being fed by fear.
    “Today people are afraid of everything, people report their neighbours when they take the dog for a walk,” she said.
    “We were used to hearing bells for the dead ring once a month from our church.    Hearing them every day is terrible, psychologically.”
(Reporting by Emilio Parodi, Gianluca Semeraro, Elisa Anzolin, James Mackenzie; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

3/23/2020 Julian Assange’s lawyers to apply for bail, citing virus risk
A supporter of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange posts a sign on the Woolwich Crown Court fence, ahead of a hearing to decide
whether Assange should be extradited to the United States, in London, Britain February 25, 2020. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls
    LONDON (Reuters) – Julian Assange’s lawyers will apply for his release on bail because of the risk of contracting coronavirus while in prison, Wikileaks said on Monday.
    The Wikileaks founder is being held at a prison in London on an extradition warrant for publishing classified information about the Iraq and Afghan wars.
    “On Wednesday, 25th of March, Julian Assange’s lawyers will make a bail application at Westminster Magistrates Court,” Wikileaks said in a statement.
(Reporting by Andy Bruce. Editing by Andrew MacAskill)

3/23/2020 Exclusive: Elite hackers target WHO as coronavirus cyberattacks spike by Raphael Satter, Jack Stubbs and Christopher Bing
Traffic passes the Regional Office for the Americas of the World Health Organization (WHO) during the
coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Washington, D.C., U.S. March 22, 2020. REUTERS/Raphael Satter
    WASHINGTON/LONDON (Reuters) – Elite hackers tried to break into the World Health Organization earlier this month, sources told Reuters, part of what a senior agency official said was a more than two-fold increase in cyberattacks.
    WHO Chief Information Security Officer Flavio Aggio said the identity of the hackers was unclear, but the effort was unsuccessful.    He warned that hacking attempts against the agency and its partners have soared as they battle to contain the coronavirus, which has killed more than 15,000 worldwide.
    The attempted break-in at the WHO was first flagged to Reuters by Alexander Urbelis, a cybersecurity expert and attorney with the New York-based Blackstone Law Group, which tracks suspicious internet domain registration activity.
    Urbelis said he picked up on the activity around March 13, when a group of hackers he’d been following activated a malicious site mimicking the WHO’s internal email system.
    “I realized quite quickly that this was a live attack on the World Health Organization in the midst of a pandemic,” he said.
    Urbelis said he didn’t know who was responsible, but two other sources briefed on the matter said they suspected an advanced group of hackers known as DarkHotel, which has been conducting cyber-espionage operations since at least 2007.
    Messages sent to email addresses maintained by the hackers went unreturned.
    When asked by Reuters about the incident, the WHO’s Aggio confirmed that the site spotted by Urbelis had been used in an attempt to steal passwords from multiple agency staffers.
    “There has been a big increase in targeting of the WHO and other cybersecurity incidents,” Aggio said in a telephone interview.    “There are no hard numbers, but such compromise attempts against us and the use of (WHO) impersonations to target others have more than doubled.”
    The WHO published an alert last month – available here – warning that hackers are posing as the agency to steal money and sensitive information from the public.
    The motives in the case identified by Reuters aren’t clear. United Nations agencies, the WHO among them, are regularly targeted by digital espionage campaigns and Aggio declined to say who precisely at the organization the hackers had in their sights.
    Cybersecurity firms including Romania’s Bitdefender and Moscow-based Kaspersky said they have traced many of DarkHotel’s operations to East Asia – an area that has been particularly affected by the coronavirus.    Specific targets have included government employees and business executives in places such as China, North Korea, Japan, and the United States.
    Costin Raiu, head of global research and analysis at Kaspersky, could not confirm that DarkHotel was responsible for the WHO attack but said the same malicious web infrastructure had also been used to target other healthcare and humanitarian organizations in recent weeks.
    “At times like this, any information about cures or tests or vaccines relating to coronavirus would be priceless and the priority of any intelligence organization of an affected country,” he said.
    Officials and cybersecurity experts have warned that hackers of all stripes are seeking to capitalize on international concern over the spread of the coronavirus.
    Urbelis said he has tracked thousands of coronavirus-themed web sites being set up daily, many of them obviously malicious.
    “It’s still around 2,000 a day,” he said.    “I have never seen anything like this.”
(Additional reporting by Hyonhee Shin in Seoul; Editing by Chris Sanders and Edward Tobin)

3/23/2020 Spain lauds the medics on the front line of coronavirus crisis
FILE PHOTO: A medical worker in a protective suit walks past police officers patrolling a deserted street
during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Madrid, Spain March 22, 2020. REUTERS/Susana Vera
    MADRID (Reuters) – Spain paid tribute on Monday to front-line staff battling a worsening coronavirus outbreak that has infected nearly 4,000 health workers, who make up more than a tenth of known cases in the country.
    The virus killed a further 462 people overnight in Spain, Europe’s second hardest hit country after Italy, bringing the death toll to 2,182.
    Nurses, doctors and other health workers have echoed the complaints of their counterparts in other countries, saying they lack protective equipment like masks.     The national health service is “demonstrating a great capacity to respond in an exceptional situation”, Health Minister Salvador Illa told a news conference.    He warned the next week would be difficult, and that the epidemic could reach its peak in Spain in the coming days.     Health workers account for nearly 12% of Spain’s total 33,089 registered cases which rose from 28,572 on Sunday.
    Military personnel have been visiting the nursing homes that have come under increasing pressure as the disease spreads, Defence Minister Margarita Robles told broadcaster Telecinco.
    “On some of its visits, the army has seen some old people, the elderly, absolutely abandoned if they were not dead in their beds,” Robles said.    She did not say what had caused those deaths.
    Soldiers were also deployed to Barcelona to help build a temporary homeless shelter at the city’s Fira event centre.
    The shelter, to be managed by the Red Cross, will allow up to 1,000 homeless people to isolate themselves in hygienic conditions, Barcelona’s Mayor Ada Colau said.
    In Madrid, struggling with the highest number of cases, the municipal funeral home said it would stop collecting bodies from Tuesday due to a shortage of equipment.    Private funeral homes are still operating in the capital.
    City authorities decided to use an Olympic-sized ice rink as a morgue, near a conference centre which has been kitted out with hospital beds and already received 126 of the 1,300 patients it expects in the coming week.
    Deputy Prime Minister Carmen Calvo was hospitalized on Sunday with a respiratory infection, the government said on Monday, adding that the minister, who has born in 1957, is awaiting coronavirus test results.
    Two other ministers and the wife of Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez have tested positive for the virus over the past weeks.
    The official in charge of the health emergency, Fernando Simon, said 87% of those who had died were aged 70 or older.
    Economy Minister Nadia Calvino said a nationwide lockdown, which has kept most Spaniards confined to their homes, was beginning to take a heavy toll on the economy.
    “Economic activity, which was dynamic until February slowed significantly last week,” she said, adding that the food, electricity and telecoms industries had continued to function normally.
    Supermarket group Corte Ingles said it had set up a phone number and email address for health workers to do their shopping, with free delivery to their homes.
(Reporting by Nathan Allen, Jessica Jones, Ingrid Melander, Emma Pinedo, Inti Landauro, Clara-Laeila Laudette; Writing by Ingrid Melander, Nathan Allen and Isla Binnie; Editing by Janet Lawrence and Pravin Char)

3/23/2020 France reports 186 more coronavirus deaths, raising total to 860
The gate of a closed garden are seen near the Place du Marechal Juin in Paris as a lockdown is imposed to slow
the rate of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) spread in France, March 23, 2020. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier
    PARIS (Reuters) – French health authorities reported 186 new deaths from coronavirus on Monday, taking the total to 860 or an increase of 28%, with the toll rising more sharply than the last three days as the country is about to enter its second week of lockdown.
    During a press conference, Health Minister Olivier Veran added the number of cases had risen to 19,856, which is a rise of about 20% in 24 hours.
    Veran said 2,082 people were in a serious condition needing life support, up 19% compared to Sunday, another increase compared to the last three official tallies

3/24/2020 Oil down $0.28 to $23.50, DOW down 582 to 18,592.    And gasoline is at $1.74 per gallon.

3/24/2020 More info on the coronavirus issues in the U.S.

    World cases 395,647 with 20,189 in the last 24 hours, Total deaths 17,241 with 830 in the last 24 hours.

    Some good news about vaccines that may work in the future.


3/24/2020 Britain wakes up to coronavirus lockdown, confusion continues by Alistair Smout and Michael Holden
People jog in Battersea Park, as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19)
continues, in London, Britain, March 24, 2020. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez
    LONDON (Reuters) – Britain awoke to a virtual lockdown on Tuesday after Prime Minister Boris Johnson ordered people to stay at home, shops to close and an end to all social gatherings to halt the spread of coronavirus.
    The unprecedented peacetime restrictions, which will last for at least three weeks, were brought in to prevent the state-run National Health Service (NHS) from being overwhelmed as the number of deaths in Britain rose to 335. [nL8N2BG8XV]
    However, social media images showed London Underground trains were still packed with commuters and one large retail chain suggested it wanted to stay open.
    There were complaints that the advice was confusing or did not go far enough.
    “It is absolutely critical for making sure our NHS is in the strongest position possible to restrict the spread,” Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove told BBC TV.
    “That means restricting social contact and following the advice the government has put forward.    People must stay at home to protect themselves, to protect the NHS and to save lives.”
    The curbs on movement, under which people should only leave their homes for very limited reasons such as going to supermarkets or once a day for exercise, were announced in a national address by Johnson late on Monday.
    He had resisted bringing in lockdowns which other European countries have introduced, but earlier advice for Britons to avoid gatherings was being widely ignored with people flocking to parks and beauty spots.
    All but essential shops must close immediately and people should no longer meet family or friends.    Police will break up gatherings of more than two people and social events such as weddings, although not funerals, will be stopped.
    Gove said stronger measures than 30-pound ($35) fines for people who flouted the new restrictions could be introduced.
    “The police have a range of enforcement tools, and of course fixed-penalty notices and fines are just one of them.    If people do persist in behaving in an antisocial way, there are stronger measures that we have,” he told ITV’s Good Morning Britain.
    Police said they were working with government to see how the rules could be effectively enforced.
    Not everyone though was abiding by the tough measures.    Sports Direct, a sports clothing chain owned by Frasers Group, initially indicated it would defy the order to close but later said it had asked the government for permission to open stores.[L8N2BH22Y]
    Gove said Sports Direct was not an essential shop and should close.
    However, there was confusion about who should be allowed to continue going to work and what powers the police had to enforce the new guidance.    Gove himself had to correct a mistaken message he gave in an earlier interview that children of divorced or separated children could not move between parents.
    Pictures showed the capital’s Underground trains were still crammed with passengers far closer than the 2 meters (6 foot) recommended distance apart and London Mayor Sadiq Khan said he disagreed with the current definition of an essential worker     “There has been a difference of opinion, I’ve got to be frank, between myself and the government on this issue,” he told BBC TV.    “But I am quite clear – only if you really have to go to work must you be going to work.”
    Finance minister Rishi Sunak was expected to announce new measures later on Tuesday to help the self-employed so that they would not have to go to work, after critics said the billions of pounds of measures to help businesses announced so far did not protect them.
($1 = 0.8582 pounds)
(Additional reporting by Sarah Young, Paul Sandle and James Davey; Writing by Michael Holden and Giles Elgood)

3/24/2020 German coronavirus cases rise by 4,764 cases to 27,436: Robert Koch Institute
A woman walks past love locks on the Eiserner Steg bridge during a partial lockdown in Frankfurt, Germany,
March 23, 2020, as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach
    BERLIN (Reuters) – The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany has risen by 4,764 within a day to reach to 27,436, the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases said on Tuesday.
    It said a total of 114 people had died, an increase of 28 from 86 published on Monday.
(Reporting by Riham Alkousaa; editing was Scot W. Stevenson)

3/24/2020 Italian coronavirus cases likely “10 times higher than reported
FILE PHOTO: A person walks in a nearly empty Venice after Italy tightened the lockdown measures to combat the
coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Venice, Italy, March 22, 2020. REUTERS/Manuel Silvestri
    ROME (Reuters) – The number of cases of coronavirus in Italy is probably 10 times higher than the official tally of almost 64,000, the head of the agency that is collating the data said on Tuesday.
    Latest figures show 6,077 people have died from the infection in barely a month, making Italy the worst-affected country in the world, with close to double the number of fatalities in China, where the virus emerged last year.
    However, testing for the disease has often been limited to people seeking hospital care, meaning that thousands of cases have certainly gone undetected.
    “A ratio of one certified case out of every 10 is credible,” Angelo Borrelli, the head of the Civil Protection Agency, told La Repubblica newspaper, indicating he believed as many as 640,000 people could have been infected in the country.
    He said the biggest difficulty facing Italy was a shortage of masks and ventilators – a problem that has dogged the health system since the contagion first surfaced in the wealthy northern region of Lombardy on Feb. 21.
    Italy is trying to import stocks from abroad, but Borrelli said nations like India, Romania, Russia and Turkey had halted such sales.    “We are contacting the embassies, but I fear no more masks will be arriving from abroad,” he said.
    The epidemic looks certain to leave Italy’s already fragile economy in tatters, with most businesses shuttered.
    The government wants a bailout fund for member states of the shared euro currency to be deployed without restrictions – a demand that puts Rome at loggerheads with richer northern nations.
    Currently, the so-called European Stability Mechanism (ESM) can help euro zone countries only on condition they adjust their economic policies to overcome the problems that led them to seek financial assistance.
    But Deputy Economy Minister Antonio Misiani told Reuters the coronavirus emergency made such restrictions redundant.
    “The only acceptable conditionality is that of using the ESM resources to manage the health and economic emergency,” he said, setting up a possible battle with Brussels over how best to emerge from the crisis.
(Reporting by Crispian Balmer and Giuseppe Fonte; Editing by Alex Richardson)

3/24/2020 Fla. man claims to have been cured of coronavirus after receiving hydroxychloroquine treatment by OAN Newsroom
Gopesh Patel, RPh, with VLS Pharmacy in Brooklyn, has filled physician prescriptions for more than 70
COVID-19 patients, supplying a compounded formulation with hydroxychloroquine. (Photo/Business Wire via AP)
    A Florida resident has claimed to have been cured of coronavirus by the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine.    52-year-old Rio Giardinieri reportedly received his first dose Saturday after having been told by his doctors there was nothing more they could do to ease his suffering from COVID-19 symptoms.
    Giardinieri said was in agony for nine days from serious coronavirus symptoms and was ready to deliver his final goodbyes to his family when a friend sent him an article recommending the treatment.    With nothing left to lose, he convinced his doctor to give him the experimental drug.
    The Florida man said he suffered from unknown complications following his initial dosage.    However, after receiving benadryl and another form of medication, he fell asleep and woke up four hours later with none of the symptoms which hospitalized him.
    Giardinieri has claimed the drug saved his life, although his doctors believe it was his body fighting off the virus and worked it’s way out of his system.
    Last week, President Trump said the FDA was making great strides in allowing doctors to prescribe the medication.
    “We’re going to be able to make that drug available almost immediately and that’s where the FDA has been so great,” he stated.    “They’ve gone through the approval process, it’s been approved….so we’re going to be able to make that drug available by prescription.”
    In a tweet Monday, the president touted the reported success of Giardinieri’s recovery.
    Meanwhile, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) confirmed Sunday that drug trials for the treatment would begin this week.
    “The president ordered the FDA to move and the FDA moved,” he stated.    “We’re going to get this supply and the trial will start this     Tuesday…the president is optimistic about these drugs and we are all optimistic.”
    Although the doctors have said hydroxychloroquine is still in initial trials stages to combat COVID-19 and Giardinieri’s recovery was nothing short of a miracle, they are hopeful it can eventually be used on a wider basis to help others fend off the disease.
    Doctors are now waiting to see if COVID-19 has completely run it’s course through Giardinieri’s system, who is hoping to go back home in the coming days.

3/24/2020 Vice President Pence urges Congress to pass relief package, proposed bill would keep businesses afloat by OAN Newsroom
Vice President Mike Pence speaks about the coronavirus in the James Brady
Briefing Room, Monday, March 23, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
    Vice President Mike Pence has urged lawmakers to put partisan differences aside and pass the coronavirus relief package proposed by the White House.
    “The Senate and the House must act to pass the CARE Act and pass the CARE Act this week,” he stated.
    Pence noted that the package would give up to $3,000 in direct payments to American households.    It would also help small and medium sized businesses offset revenue losses and prevent layoffs.
    “They have payroll support for businesses for several months that have been impacted by this,” explained the vice president.    “There will be unemployment insurance as we see the unemployment swell around the country.”
    Pence added that the public’s response to the coronavirus outbreak shows unity among the American people and it’s time for Congress to show the same.    President Trump has echoed these sentiments.
    Several Republican lawmakers have also expressed regret over a failed Senate vote, including Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.).
    “I think the American people, right now, are thinking that this country was founded by geniuses and it’s being run by a bunch of idiots,” he stated.
File – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) is pictured. (Gerald Herbert/AP Photo)
    On Monday, the Louisiana senator said Democrat leaders Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi took a political decision to block a vote on the bipartisan bill for the second time.
    “People who have lost their jobs, they’ve lost their money, they’ve lost their retirement and we can’t seem to come together on a bipartisan bill,” he stated.    “Sen. Schumer and Speaker Pelosi show up and they think they can renounce that last ounce of partition preference.”
    Sen. Kennedy stressed that Democrats must be thinking of how to win the next election even if it comes at a price of total obliteration of the U.S. economy.

3/24/2020 Report: Biden megadonor attempts to stop Sanders by OAN Newsroom
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., right, walks to the back of the stage during a commercial break as he participates in a Democratic presidential
primary debate with former Vice President Joe Biden, left, at CNN Studios, Sunday, March 15, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
    A wealthy megadonor appears to be backing presidential candidate Joe Biden with a hidden agenda.    That’s according to The National File, which claimed Democrat donor and chairman of BLS Investments Bernard Schwartz chose to support Biden as part of an overarching plan to keep Bernie Sanders out of office.
    Schwartz has reportedly donated $100,000 to a pro-Biden super PAC in addition to a near $1 million donation to Biden’s ex-foundation before he ran for president.
    The National File suggested the move was expected as Schwartz funded former President Bill Clinton’s campaign back in the 90s, which allegedly helped him sell his satellite technology to China.
    Schwartz allegedly pressured House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to follow his lead.    He allegedly hopes that by getting more lawmakers to back Biden, it will prevent Sanders from winning the Democrat nomination.
    However, Pelosi said she’s comfortable with Sanders winning the bid and stated that she will support anyone who wins the nomination “enthusiastically.”
File – Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D) walk side by side in Washington, D.C. (Andrew Harnik/AP Photo)
    Schumer has also stayed neutral.    When reporters asked him last month about Sanders’ campaign he said, “we have a lot of strong nominees, I’m not supporting one over the other, but I think every one of them will beat President Trump.”
    As Schwartz has proven to be a major contributor to congressional Democrats, it’s possible the megadonor could potentially convince lawmakers to back Biden over Sanders.

3/24/2020 Va. to shutdown all non-essential businesses, close all schools for rest of academic year by OAN Newsroom
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam speaks a press conference in Richmond, Va. on Monday, March 23, 2020. The governor said Monday he is
closing Virginia schools for the rest of the school year. (Dean Hoffmeyer/Richmond Times-Dispatch via AP)/Richmond Times-Dispatch via AP)
    Virginia has become the latest state to announce a sweeping wave of restrictions in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.    State Gov. Ralph Northam (D) unveiled the new restrictions on Monday, which call for all schools in the state to close for the rest of the academic school year.
    The measure also requires all dine-in restaurants, bowling alleys, movie theaters and other entertainment venues to close their doors until further notice.    Northam noted that his main priority is keeping Virginians healthy.
    “Social distancing is the only path forward, that’s why I’m directing these business closures today,” he stated.    “That is why I’m closing our schools; our priority is to save lives.”
    This decision came after officials confirmed more than 250 people have tested positive for the virus in the state.
Sara Black, a teacher at Glen Lea Elementary School in Henrico County near Richmond, Va., hugs a student goodbye on Friday,
March 13, 2020. Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam on Friday ordered all schools in Virginia to close for at least two weeks as the coronavirus
spreads, a move that follows similar orders in several other states. (Joe Mahoney/Richmond Times-Dispatch via AP)

Alice Cooper - School's Out

3/24/2020 Americans responds to Ind. hospital’s plea for face masks by OAN Newsroom
Employees of Eli Lilly prepare to start drive-through testing for COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, to
Indianapolis area healthcare workers at the company headquarters in Indianapolis, Monday, March 23, 2020. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
    Thousands of people are pulling out their sewing kits and volunteering to create face masks to donate to hospital staff.    The outpour of support came after the Deaconess Health System in Evansville, Indiana posted a plea on Facebook this week asking the public for help.
    According to reports, the hospital recently assessed its supplies and discovered it would have a shortage of masks if the coronavirus continued to spread.    That’s when a spokesperson for Deaconess created a “how to” video advising volunteers to use “tightly woven 100 percent cotton fabric” and “elastic straps.”
    Deaconess — How to Make a Face Mask
    So far, the video has been shared by more than 11,000 people, including 57-year-old Bill Purdue whose daughter works at the hospital.
In this Sunday, March 22, 2020 photo, Bill Purdue, left, cuts pieces of fabric while Mike Rice sews them into
face masks in Rice’s autobody and upholstery shop in Washington, Ind. They will deliver the masks this week
to Deaconess Health System in Evansville, Indiana, which asked community members to sew cloth masks for health
care workers who may face a shortage amid the coronavirus pandemic. (Photo courtesy of Robin Rice via AP)
    Meanwhile, volunteer Briana Danyele has also turned her living room into a mini sewing factory.    She has been embroidering her masks with positive bilingual slogans such as “we got this” and “I’m ready.”
Danyele said she believes “whatever your talent, whatever your gift” everyone can contribute in some way during this trying time.

3/24/2020 Canada heightens pandemic response restrictions by OAN Newsroom
People wait in line to get into a walk-in test clinic for COVID-19, the disease caused by the new
coronavirus, in Montreal on Monday, March 23, 2020. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press via AP)
    Canada has increased restrictions on citizen movement in response to the coronavirus outbreak.    On Monday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced heightened measures at a press conference outside Rideau Cottage, where he has been isolating ever since his wife tested positive earlier this month.
    During the conference, Trudeau took a harsh tone by noting no measures are currently off the table in the enforcement of orders barring citizens leaving their homes for non-essential reasons.    He also hinted at the possibility of using police forces to enforce those restrictions.
    The Canadian prime minister made the following remarks regarding those who are ignoring calls to stay at home:
    “We’ve all seen the pictures online of people who seem to think they are invincible.    Well you are not.    Enough is enough.    Go home and stay home.    This is what we all need to be doing and we’re going to make sure this happens, whether by educating people more on the risks or by enforcing the rules if that’s needed.    Nothing that could help is off the table.”
    Trudeau has refused to use federal level emergency powers after citing concerns it would overstep the authority of the provinces.

3/24/2020 Kudlow: Good public health also requires a good economy by OAN Newsroom
White House chief economic adviser Larry Kudlow talks with reporters about economic impacts of the
coronavirus, at the White House, Tuesday, March 24, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
    According to White House Economic Adviser Larry Kudlow, “good public health also requires a good economy.”    While speaking outside the White House Tuesday, he stated that it’s not a case of having either a good economy or good public health.
    The National Council of Economic Advisors director said the stimulus package negotiated in Congress could prime the country for an economic rebound in the second half of the year.
    Kudlow also noted the administration will consider advice from health care professionals regarding any potential moves.
    “The president has put this out there, talked to a bunch of us…if we can target zones where the virus is less prevalent, things are safe, we’re not abandoning the health professionals advice,” he stated.    “But there is a clamor to try to reopen the economy and perhaps I’ll call it less of a shut-in and so, that’s one piece, that’s yet to be determined.”
    Kudlow also said the economic stimulus package will provide support for workers, families and small businesses.

3/24/2020 Ireland tightens coronavirus restrictions, boosts rescue package by Padraic Halpin and Graham Fahy
Ireland's Prime Minister Taoiseach Leo Varadkar speaks during a news conference on the ongoing situation with the
coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at Government Buildings in Dublin, Ireland March 24, 2020. Steve Humphreys/Pool via REUTERS
    DUBLIN (Reuters) – Ireland banned all non-essential travel within the country and shut non-essential retail on Tuesday to battle coronavirus as it significantly increased income support for those already left unemployed and workers at risk of joining them.
    The additional financial measures will cost an initial 3.7 billion euros over the next 12 weeks, on top of the 3 billion euros already committed to boost sick pay, fund the health service and offer assistance to businesses.
    After the number of cases in Ireland rose to 1125 with six deaths, Prime Minister Leo Varadkar asked people to stay at home “if at all possible” and only leave home to go to work, if they cannot work from home and attendance is essential.
    “You should only go to the shops for essential supplies, out for medical or dental appointments, or to care for others, or to take physical exercise,” Varadkar told a news conference.
    “I wouldn’t use the term lockdown and that’s for very good reasons.    I think it’s a term that actually causes more confusion rather than clarity and is one I wouldn’t use and don’t intend to use in future.”
    Ireland was among the first European countries to close schools, universities and childcare facilities almost two weeks ago but has resisted the kind of stricter measures neighbouring Britain announced on Monday, hoping it can get on top of the virus through social distancing and a ramping up of testing.
    With school closures extended to April 19, theatres, clubs, gyms and hairdressers were told to close, organised social events banned and all gatherings outdoors limited to no more than 4 people, unless all are from the same household.
    While most restaurants have voluntarily shut their doors after the shutdown of pubs 10 days ago, Varadkar said cafes and restaurants can stay open, provided they limit their service to take away food.
    While the government has said most people are adhering to the advice to keep their distance from one another – as seen in deserted streets in major cities – the gathering of crowds in parks and beaches at the weekend means there will be an increased police presence in public parks.
    The financial package increased the weekly unemployment emergency payment announced two weeks ago to 350 euros from 203 euros.    The state will also pay 70% of workers’ wages – up to a maximum of 410 euros per week – for firms who can show their income has fallen by 25% and can try pay the rest of the salary.
    Employment Affairs Minister Regina Doherty said her estimate offered just last week that 400,000 people could lose their jobs “might have been conservative” while Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe said the projected budget surplus of 0.7% of gross domestic product achieved in 2019 had already been used up.
    Donohoe added that with strong cash balances, Ireland was well placed to significantly increase borrowing activity in the coming months and years to pay for the measures.
    Davy Stockbrokers chief economist Conall MacCoille estimated that unemployment could rocket to 10% from 4.8% currently but that Ireland could afford to run a budget deficit of between 4 and 7% without impacting its credit rating.    The key issue, he said, was how long the squeeze on resources will last.
    The recently departed head of Ireland’s independent fiscal watchdog said the exchequer implications would be “massive
    “We’re going to have a massive deficit blow up in a very, very short period of time and government debt is going to increase significantly,” Economics lecturer Seamus Coffey, whose term ended in December, told national broadcaster RTE.
(Editing by Gareth Jones and Alexandra Hudson)

3/24/2020 Ford joins GE, 3M in speeding up ventilator, respirator production by Manas Mishra and Ben Klayman
FILE PHOTO: Ford logo is pictured at the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show (IAA) in Frankfurt, Germany September 10, 2019. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay
    (Reuters) – Carmaker Ford Motor Co on Tuesday jumped into the emergency push by major U.S. manufacturers to produce thousands of ventilators and respirators needed to help combat the spread of the coronavirus under a partnership code-named “Project Apollo.”
    By joining forces with General Electric’s healthcare unit and 3M Co , Ford is taking heed of U.S. President Donald Trump’s call for U.S. automakers to work across sectors in producing equipment needed for the pandemic.
    The rapid outbreak, which has killed more than 16,500 people globally, has strained healthcare systems around the world and led to a shortage of ventilators needed to treat patients suffering from the flu-like illness, which can lead to breathing difficulties and pneumonia in severe cases.
    “We’ve been in regular dialogue with federal, state and local officials to understand the areas of greatest needs,” Ford Chief Executive Jim Hackett said.
    Ford said its partnerships were code-named “Project Apollo” after the Apollo 13 launch in 1970 when a lunar landing was aborted after an oxygen tank failed two days into the mission, forcing the astronauts to improvise a fix.
    Ford and GE Healthcare will expand the production of GE’s ventilator design to support patients with respiratory failure or difficulty breathing caused by the pathogen.    In addition, they are developing a simplified design that Ford could begin making at one of its plants.
    The plan is to get the new design approved quickly by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Tom Westrick, vice president and chief quality officer at GE Healthcare, said on a conference call.
    Ford also is evaluating a separate effort not involving GE with the British government to make additional ventilators.
    Hackett told CNN he believes the industry can produce “hundreds of thousands” of ventilators by early to mid-May.    “There’s no higher sense of urgency.”
    Ford on Tuesday extended the shutdown of its North American plants beyond March 30 as originally planned, but a spokesman said the healthcare-related efforts are separate and continuing.
    Separately, Ford will work with 3M to increase manufacturing capacity of its air-purifying respirators by up to a factor of 10 to meet a surge in demand for first responders and healthcare workers, while also similarly developing a simplified design that Ford could build at one of its Michigan plants.
    Under the simplified design, Ford is looking at using fans from its Ford F-150 pickup’s cooled seats to make parts of the respirators.
    Additionally, Ford said its U.S. design team, working with the United Auto Workers union, was starting to test transparent full-face shields for first responders, which when paired with N95 respirator masks, could be an effective way of limiting exposure to the coronavirus.    The company is targeting making more than 100,000 a week at non-vehicle manufacturing facilities in Michigan, including using 3D printers to help.
    Ultimately, Ford officials want to create an open-sourced design that others can adopt and use to make their own shields.
    “The teams are just getting scrappy. How do we use what we’ve got to get to something that’s capable and would meet regulatory requirements,” Jim Baumbick, the Ford vice president in charge of the automaker’s efforts, told Reuters.
    On Monday, No. 1 U.S. automaker General Motors Co said it was partnering with medical equipment maker Ventec to build ventilators at GM’s parts plant in Indiana.
    Meanwhile, Fiat Chrysler Automobile NV told employees in an email that the Italian-American automaker would start converting one of its China plants to ultimately make over 1 million masks a month to help combat the coronavirus outbreak.
(Reporting by Manas Mishra in Bengaluru and Ben Klayman in Detroit; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)

3/24/2020 Factbox: What’s in the nearly $2 trillion U.S. Senate coronavirus stimulus?
U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin walks to a meeting during negotiations on a coronavirus
disease (COVID-19) relief package on Capitol in Washington, U.S., March 24, 2020. REUTERS/Al Drago
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Senate on Tuesday was negotiating a nearly $2 trillion emergency bill that aims to counter some of the economic toll of the coronavirus pandemic.
    The talks were still in flux after Democrats pushed back against initial Republican drafts of the bill, and officials in both parties said final numbers would be known only after disputes are resolved.
    Below are some details under negotiation, which would need to be passed by the Republican-controlled Senate and the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives before going to President Donald Trump for his signature:
– About $500 billion in direct payments to people, in two waves of checks of up to $1,200 for an individual earning up to $75,000 a year.    Additional payments for families with children could push the total to $3,000 for a family of four, according to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who has played a key role in the negotiations.
– Up to $500 billion in “liquidity assistance” for distressed industries.    The amount allocates up to $61 billion for passenger and cargo airlines and contractors, including $32 billion in grants and $29 billion in loans, people briefed on the matter said.
    A senior administration official said there was agreement the $500 billion fund should have an inspector general as well as an oversight board, with lawmakers selecting members of the board.
    Also, the Treasury secretary would have to provide testimony to the board on transactions, and there would be restrictions on things like stock buybacks and chief executive pay at companies that received help.
– Some $350 billion in loans to small businesses, according to Republican Senator Marco Rubio, chairman of the Senate Small Business Committee.
– Up to $130 billion for hospitals.    Republicans said on Monday they have agreed to $75 billion.    Hospitals sought $100 billion, and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said on a conference call Tuesday he believed Democrats had secured $130 billion, according to a person familiar with the call.
– Some $250 billion for expanding unemployment insurance. Republicans say they agreed to that in response to Democratic demands.
– Over $10 billion for drug development, and $4 billion for masks, gloves, gowns and ventilators, Republican Senator Steve Daines said.
– Schumer expressed confidence that Democrats had secured $150 billion for state and local governments, the person familiar with the call said.
– The White House has proposed $45.8 billion for federal agencies; both Democrats and Republicans want more.
– House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, unveiled her own lengthy, $2.5 trillion proposal on Monday.    It included billions to help states conduct elections by mail.
    Pelosi’s bill also would make coronavirus treatment free for patients, and raise the direct cash payments to individuals to $1,500 each instead of $1,200 as in the Senate plan.
    Pelosi’s proposal has $500 billion in grants and loans for small businesses, $200 billion for state governments, $15 billion for local governments, $150 billion for hospitals, and $60 billion for schools and universities, a Democratic summary said.    It has $61 billion in grants and loans for airlines, but requires air carriers receiving aid to cut their carbon emissions in half by 2050, the summary said.
(Reporting by Susan Cornwell, David Morgan and David Shepardson; Additional reporting by Tracy Rucinski in Chicago; Editing by Scott Malone, Peter Cooney and Bernadette Baum)

3/24/2020 Dow soars over 11% in strongest one-day performance since 1933 by Noel Randewich
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., March 20, 2020. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
    (Reuters) – The Dow soared on Tuesday to its biggest one-day percentage gain since 1933, after U.S. lawmakers said they were close to a deal for an economic rescue package in response to the coronavirus outbreak, injecting optimism following the biggest selloff since the financial crisis.
    All three main U.S. stock indexes rebounded strongly from Monday’s brutal selloff as the coronavirus outbreak forced entire nations to shut down.
    Senior Democrats and Republicans said they were close to a deal on a $2 trillion stimulus bill, aimed at providing financial aid to Americans out of work and help for distressed industries.
    The expected legislation adds to aggressive action announced by the Federal Reserve in recent days, including purchase of corporate bonds and announcing that the U.S. central bank will make direct loans to companies.
    King Lip, chief investment strategist at Baker Avenue Asset Management in San Francisco, said expectations on the stimulus bill were driving optimism on Wall Street, but said his firm was still waiting to buy back into the market.
    “With all of this stimulus, we just need a catalyst to spark the fire,” Lip said.    “That spark will be a peaking of the cases, and when it starts to come down, I think that’s when everything gets lit up.”
    Investors were also pleased after President Donald Trump said on Monday he was considering how to restart parts of business life when a 15-day shutdown ends next week, even as the highly contagious virus spreads rapidly and poorly equipped hospitals struggle with a wave of deadly cases.
    A separate proposal in the U.S. House of Representatives to grant airlines and contractors a $40 billion bailout lifted the S&P 1500 airlines index <.SPCOMAIR> by 15%.
    The severity of the spread of COVID-19 and expectations of aggressive stimulus measures have whipsawed financial markets and ended Wall Street’s 11-year bull run.
    Boeing Co powered the Dow’s gains, jumping nearly 21% after Chief Executive Dave Calhoun said the planemaker expected the 737 MAX jet to return to service by mid-year.    Its shares have lost nearly two-thirds of their value so far in 2020.
    Data on Monday showed U.S. business activity hit a record low in March, bolstering expert views that the economy was already in a recession.
    Traders were still weighing the uncertainty of the path of the coronavirus outbreak.
    “We don’t know how long it’s going to take to peak.    We don’t know how to treat it.    We don’t have a vaccine.    So all of those uncertainties are causing a myriad of aftershocks,” said Nancy Perez, senior portfolio manager at Boston Private Wealth in Miami.
    The Dow Jones Industrial Average <.DJI> soared 11.37% to end at 20,704.91 points, while the S&P 500 <.SPX> jumped 9.38% to 2,447.33. The Nasdaq Composite <.IXIC> rallied 8.12% to 7,417.86.
    The S&P energy index <.SPNY> jumped 16.3%. The big banks index <.SPXBK> jumped about 13%, tracking an increase in U.S. government bond yields. [US/]
    Just 11 S&P 500 stocks ended lower.
    Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 8.53-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 6.22-to-1 ratio favored advancers.
    The S&P 500 posted no new 52-week highs and four new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded four new highs and 85 new lows.
    Volume on U.S. exchanges was 15.3 billion shares, compared to the 15.9 billion-share average for the full session over the last 20 trading days.
(Reporting by Noel Randewich in San Francisco; Additional reporting by Uday Sampath and Medha Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Leslie Adler and David Gregorio)

3/25/2020 Oil up $0.65 to $24.01, DOW up 2113 to 20,705 which is a record rise in a day.

3/25/2020 Update on virus deaths in the U.S..
U.S. Total cases 51,542 with 674 deaths and the World Total cases 414,277 with 18,557 deaths.

3/25/2020 UK parliament set to close for at least four weeks on Wednesday
FILE PHOTO: The Houses of Parliament can be seen as people wearing protective face masks walk across Westminster Bridge,
as the number of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases around the world continues to grow, in London, Britain, March 11, 2020. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls
    LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s parliament is set to suspend sitting for at least four weeks from Wednesday as part of the government’s efforts to slow the spread of coronavirus.
    Parliament was due to close for a three-week Easter break from March 31, but a motion on Wednesday’s order paper proposes that it starts a week early, as fears grow that politicians and staff are being put at risk by continuing to work there.
    It had already closed to visitors and reduced the number of lawmakers allowed in the House of Commons chamber to allow them to sit more spaced out in accordance with guidance on social distancing.
    House of Commons speaker Lindsay Hoyle also said on Monday that any votes which took place would be adapted to avoid the usual process which can see hundreds of lawmakers crammed into a narrow room together as they are counted through.
    The motion, put forward by House of Commons leader Jacob Rees-Mogg, states: “That this House, at its rising today, do adjourn until Tuesday 21 April 2020.”
    Housing minister Robert Jenrick said that while most lawmakers wanted parliament to continue sitting to scrutinise the government, it was also important to protect the staff who work there.
    “I am certain that parliament will return after the Easter holidays and I think it is really important, however deep and serious this crisis is, that parliament in some form continues to operate,” he told BBC TV.
    The upper chamber, the House of Lords, is expected to approve emergency legislation on Wednesday giving authorities sweeping powers to tackle the growing coronavirus outbreak.
(Reporting by Kylie MacLellan; editing by Michael Holden)

3/25/2020 French coronavirus death tally much higher than official data: hospitals chief
A security guard stands by beds installed inside the Festival palace as Cannes Mayor David Lisnard
decided to open a part of the palace to welcome needy and homeless as a lockdown is imposed to slow
the rate of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in France, March 24, 2020. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard
    PARIS (Reuters) – The number of people in France who have died from coronavirus is much higher than the official daily government tally, which only accounts for those dying in hospitals and does not include those dying at home or in retirement homes, the head of the hospitals federation said.
    “We only know the data provided by hospitals… The increase in the official data is already major, but the absolute numbers would no doubt be effectively much higher if we aggregated what is happening in retirement homes as well as the people who die at home,” Frederic Valletoux, president of the French hospitals federation, said on France Info radio.
(Reporting by Geert de Clercq; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

3/25/2020 Senate leaders reach deal on $2T coronavirus relief package meant to bolster the economy by OAN Newsroom
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, left, accompanied by White House Legislative Affairs Director Eric Ueland and
acting White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, speaks with reporters as he walks to the offices of Senate Majority
Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky. on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, March 24, 2020. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
    The White House and leaders of the Senate have struck a deal on a third major coronavirus stimulus initiative.    On Wednesday morning, the Senate agreed on a $2 trillion package meant to bolster the economy during the ongoing pandemic.
    The terms of the legislation include a $1,200 check for Americans who earn less than $75,000 a year.    It also includes over $350 billion in loans for small businesses and would provide significant aid to hospitals across the country.
    “It (stimulus package) will rush financial assistance to Americans through direct checks to households from the middle class on down, and through a significant and creative expansion of unemployment insurance during this emergency,” stated Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).    “It (stimulus package) will deliver historic relief to Main Street America through hundreds of billions of dollars in emergency loans, so more small businesses can survive this and keep paying their workers.”
    The specifics of the legislation are set to be released sometime Wednesday.
    “And of course, it will push major relief to hospitals and health care providers, invest in new medicines and vaccines, so we can beat this virus faster,” McConnell continued.    “And help get more equipment en masse to the front-line heroes who put themselves at risk to care for patients.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., walks out of the Senate chamber on Capitol Hill in Washington,
Tuesday, March 24, 2020, as the Senate works to pass a coronavirus relief bill. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
    Meanwhile, over 54,000 active cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in the U.S. and there are at least 804 reported deaths.    That’s according to the latest data sourced from multiple health organizations, including the CDC and the World Health Organization.
The number of active cases around the world has risen above 301,000 with the global death toll surpassing 19,000.    U.S. health officials have warned the nation’s coronavirus cases are expected to rise before leveling off.

3/25/2020 Sen. Schumer: President Trump wants direct checks for individuals, families sent out by April 6 by OAN Newsroom
Senate Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer of N.Y., arrives for a meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington,
Friday, March 20, 2020, to work on an economic relief package regarding the coronavirus. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
    According to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D), President Trump wants direct checks for Americans most affected by the coronavirus sent out in less than two weeks.
    During an interview Wednesday, the Democrat lawmaker said the new coronavirus stimulus package will be implemented as soon as possible.    This came after the White House and the Senate struck a bipartisan deal hours earlier on the $2 trillion legislation.
    Sen. Schumer noted that part of the new bill will increase unemployment insurance, so that citizens are financially aided after their direct checks.
    “That first check is nice, but how are you going to pay the rent, buy the food and do things in the months after if you’re still unemployed?” he asked.    “…it’s more money because it pays you…for most workers, their full salaries.”
    Schumer said Democrats are satisfied with holding out on the initial legislation that was introduced by the Senate last Friday.    He added that there is now greater accountability and transparency over corporations receiving aid from the package.

3/25/2020 Miss. suspends abortions during coronavirus pandemic by OAN Newsroom
Mississippi Republican Gov. Tate Reeves, standing at the podium and members of the state’s COVID-19 response team, speaks with
reporters outside the Governor’s Mansion to give an update on the current situation of COVID-19 and coronavirus in the state
and discuss Mississippi’s ongoing response to slow the spread, Tuesday, March 24, 2020 in Jackson, Miss. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
    The governor of Mississippi has demanded abortion procedures cease during the coronavirus crisis.
    During a recent press conference, Republican Governor Tate Reeves turned to the issue of abortion.    He emphasized the procedure is elective, making it subject to the restrictions put in place to preserve medical supplies for the treatment of COVID-19 patients.
    Mississippi only has one abortion provider in the entire state.    The facility is run by the Jackson Women’s Health Organization and is colloquially known as ‘The Pink House’ because of its color.
    The governor claimed to be unaware of whether abortions were still being carried out at The Pink House during the pandemic.    However, he has said he would be willing to consider all measures available to the state to stop the facility from flouting emergency restrictions.
    “We’re doing everything in our power, and have for many years, to make Mississippi the safest place in America for unborn children.    It is without question that the lone clinic in Jackson does in fact operate, doing procedures that are elective and not required.    Therefore, they should be following the guidelines offered by the State Department of Health.    If they are not, I would be prepared to try to take additional actions to make sure that they do so.” – Tate Reeves, Governor of Mississippi
Coleman Boyd, an anti-abortion activist calls out prayers, interspersed with a plea to hold off having an abortion, to women
entering the Women’s Health Organization clinic, Wednesday, March 25, 2020, in Jackson, Miss. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
    Ohio and Texas have also included abortions under the umbrella of elective surgeries.    Ohio’s ban will extend until April 6th, but does not set out any specific penalties for clinics that fail to comply with the rule. Texas has instituted a month-long hiatus on elective abortions and implemented penalties of up to $1,000, or 180 days in jail, for transgressors.
    The argument made for these restrictions has been that elective medical procedures take away resources, particularly Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), from healthcare providers, who are focused on fighting the spread of COVID-19, and thus endanger public safety.
    “The reason those elective procedures are shut down is…we need to protect our PPEs, our masks, etc., and other supplies for anyone who gets infected by this virus,” emphasized Reeves.
    Pro-abortion groups have already protested these new decisions, both in Mississippi and in the other states enforcing restrictions.    They claimed abortions are essential and time sensitive procedures.
    Analysts believe it unlikely the decisions will be reversed, as many courts across the country have suspended proceedings during the pandemic.    This would make a legal challenge unlikely to succeed.
A family of anti-abortion activists stand outside the “Pink House” as the Women’s Health Organization clinic, is sometimes
called, as they call on patients being dropped off at the facility, to hold off having an abortion, while a clinic escort,
signals the driver into their parking lot, Wednesday, March 25, 2020, in Jackson, Miss. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

3/25/2020 Pompeo: China spreading misinformation of origins, scale of COVID-19 outbreak by OAN Newsroom
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks during a news conference at the State Department on Wednesday, March 25, 2020, in Washington.
Pompeo said Wednesday that the Group of Seven members were all aware of China’s “disinformation campaign” regarding the
coronavirus outbreak, as the two countries dispute the origins of the disease. (Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/Pool Photo via AP)
    Secretary of State Mike Pompeo recently slammed Mainland China for attempting to avoid responsibility for the coronavirus outbreak. While speaking at the State Department Wednesday, he noted that the Group of Seven is fully aware of China’s failure to prevent spread of the virus.
    Pompeo added that Beijing has tried to cover-up the outbreak.    The secretary stressed China was fully aware of risks posed by the virus, but did not inform the international community until it was too late.
    “We still need good information from the Chinese Communist Party about what has taken place there and the level of the virus that continues inside of that country,” he stated.    “We need accurate, transparent information just like we’re demanding from every country around the world.”
    Pompeo stressed the international community will have to investigate the origins of this latest outbreak after the virus is defeated.

3/25/2020 St. Louis Fed president predicts economy will bounce back strong following sharp downturn by OAN Newsroom
James Bullard, President of the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank, is pictured. (Steve Helber/AP Photo)
    According to St. Louis Fed President James Bullard, the U.S. economy will bounce back strong after falling sharply due to the coronavirus.    In an interview Wednesday, he said the Central Bank is expecting the unemployment rate to skyrocket as high as 30 percent after months of hovering at a record low.
    Bullard noted that short-term hit to the economy will be “unparalleled,” but emphasized this is not a traditional recession as the downturn is being implemented intentionally to stop the spread of COVID-19.
    “The whole idea is to hunker down, lie low, let the virus go away, but I guess my point on talking about this is that the numbers will be unparalleled,” he stated.    “But don’t get discouraged because this isn’t at all comparable to past events in U.S. macroeconomic history; this is a special quarter and once the virus goes away, if we play our cards right and keep everything intact, then everyone will go back to work everything will be fine.”
Visitors to the Department of Labor are turned away at the door by personnel due to closures over coronavirus
concerns, Wednesday, March 18, 2020, in New York. Applications for jobless benefits are surging
in some states as coronavirus concerns shake the U.S. economy. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
    Former Fed chair Ben Bernanke reiterated that message in an interview Wednesday, when he said he expects a quick rebound after the sharp downturn.
    “If there’s not too much damage done to the workforce, to the businesses during the shutdown period, however long that may be, then we could see a fairly quick rebound,” he explained.
    Bernanke said it’s incorrect to compare the coronavirus induced downturn to the Great Depression and said a more accurate comparison is a large snowstorm or natural disaster. He said the Central Bank has made the right moves to sustain the underlying fundamentals of the economy amid this outbreak.

3/25/2020 Vice President Pence praises private sector for response to pandemic by OAN Newsroom
Vice President Mike Pence speaks in the FEMA National Response Command Center
about the coronavirus, Monday, March 23, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
    Vice President Mike Pence recently praised the private sector for how it’s handling the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.    While speaking at the White House Tuesday, he acknowledged several businesses, including automaker Ford Motors, Tech Giant Apple and fast food company McDonalds.
    The vice president specifically thanked McDonalds for stepping up and introducing a new curbside service at its franchises across the country.    That feature helps support the American trucking industry as it provides meals to drivers who had trouble getting access to food while on the road amid widespread closures of restaurants.
    “We see industries stepping up, president (Trump) mentioned Ford Motor company working with 3M and GE Health to expand production of medical supplies,” said Pence.    “We heard that McDonalds is now offering curbside delivery to truckers who are unable to use the drive thru to pick up a Big Mac.”
    The vice president went on to say the level of generosity coming from the private sector is truly inspiring to all Americans.
A view of the McDonald’s Logo on the road leading to the restaurant, at Telford Wrekin
Retail Park, in Telford, England, Monday, March 23, 2020. (Nick Potts/PA via AP)

3/25/2020 President Trump approves major disaster declaration in La. by OAN Newsroom
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards talks about the state’s response to the coronavirus outbreak, Tuesday,
March 24, 2020, in Baton Rouge, La. The Democratic governor requested a federal disaster declaration for his
state, which has one of the nation’s highest per-capita rates of virus infection. (AP Photo/Melinda Deslatte)
    Louisiana is set to get much needed federal aid after President Trump approved a major disaster declaration for the state.
    Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) requested the declaration as the number of deaths from the coronavirus has risen to 46 and the number of cases jumped to over 1,700.
    Additionally, the state is also under a ‘stay-at-home’ order and the National Guard is assisting with covid-19 testing. The governor noted that protecting the people is his number one priority and the declaration will provide additional support for state and local agencies.     “It is critical that we do our part immediately, you can’t fix what you didn’t do yesterday or the day before, but starting right now and going forward everyone has to do their part to reduce the spread of this particular virus," he urged.    “Everyone has a role to play.”
    Gov. Bel Edwards thanked first responders and health care workers for their efforts in fighting the spread of the virus.    He also said he appreciates the federal government’s approval of his request and for their ongoing support.

3/25/2020 UN unveils $2B global initiative to advance relief efforts in poor countries, refugee camps by OAN Newsroom
FILE – In this Feb. 24, 2020, file photo, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres speaks during an update on the situation regarding
the COVID-19 at the World Health Organization (WHO) headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. (Salvatore Di Nolfi/Keystone via AP)
    The UN’s secretary general has unveiled a $2 billion plan to help the victims of COVID-19.
    In a statement, Antonio Guterres emphasized the virus has had devastating effects on the poorest countries, refugee camps and starving communities.    According to Guterres, the plan will bring humanitarian help to virus victims and will encourage relief efforts by those willing to help.     “We need to act now to stem the impact of COVID-19 in already vulnerable humanitarian contexts,” he said.
    The UN chief also noted the spread of the coronavirus has highlighted existing problems in the world.
    “I’ve asked the United Nations coordinators and UN country teams to support countries around the world in addressing the socioeconomic implications of this pandemic, and will require an adequate funding mechanism,” stated Guterres.    “Now we ask you to support this humanitarian response plan that is a necessity for global health security.”
    He added that the largest economies need to contribute more money to international organizations in order to help global post-virus recovery.

3/25/2020 Spain’s coronavirus death toll overtakes China’s by Sonya Dowsett and Belén Carreño
FILE PHOTO: Members of the Military Emergency Unit (UME) leave an elderly home after carrying out disinfection
procedures during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Madrid, Spain March 23, 2020. REUTERS/Susana Vera
    MADRID (Reuters) – Spain’s coronavirus death toll jumped by 738 overnight to exceed that of China, where the disease originated, as the country struggled to cope with an accelerating health crisis and another senior government minister was diagnosed with the virus.
    With 3,434 fatalities, Spain now has the second highest number of deaths globally after Italy’s 6,820.    Nursing homes across the country have been overwhelmed by cases and a skating rink in Madrid has been turned into a makeshift morgue.
    Police stood guard on Wednesday outside the rink, normally a popular venue for children’s birthday parties, as hearses arrived at the building.
    The government said Deputy Prime Minister Carmen Calvo had tested positive for coronavirus – the third cabinet member to be infected – but was doing well.
    Broad avenues in Madrid and Barcelona were virtually deserted, as were towns and villages across Spain, while fire engines and tractors sprayed disinfectant to clean streets.
    Authorities began to carry out mass testing for public workers in a requisitioned fairground in Madrid, one of the worst-hit regions.
    Spanish medical staff, who themselves account for thousands of infected cases, have taken out lawsuits against the government, complaining of the lack of basic protective equipment like masks, scrubs and gloves.
    The Spanish army has asked NATO for ventilators, protective gear and testing kits, Armed Forces Chief Miguel Villarroya said on Wednesday.
    The government had ordered 432 million euros ($467 million) worth of masks, gloves, testing kits and ventilators to be delivered over the next eight weeks, with the first large batch expected this week, Health Minister Salvador Illa said.
    In an example of how companies are changing assembly lines to produce medical products, a shoe factory in northern Spain has switched to making simple protective masks – first for its own personnel and then for distribution.
    “Now we are working hard to … make something a little more sophisticated for it to reach medical use,” Basilio Garcia, chief executive of the Callaghan shoe factory, told Reuters.
    Spain is on Day 11 of a 15-day nationwide lockdown which is likely to be extended to 30 days.    Schools, bars, restaurants and most shops are shuttered.    Social gatherings are banned.    People are confined to their homes.
    “We have achieved a near total reduction in social contact,” health emergency chief Fernando Simon told a news conference, adding that Spain was nearing the peak of the epidemic.
    The number of coronavirus cases increased by a fifth overnight to 47,610 on Wednesday.    The total number could be much higher as the government reported 130,000 sick leaves associated with the virus, encompassing workers who are either infected or in preventive isolation.    The number does not include retirees.
    Aside from the devastating health impact, the lockdown has dealt a punishing blow to the Spanish economy, with tens of thousands of workers temporarily laid off as sectors like retail, tourism and manufacturing grind to a halt.    One of Spain’s biggest employers, El Corte Ingles, said it would temporarily lay off 22,000 workers at its department stores.
    At Malaga airport in southern Spain, a gateway to the Costa del Sol tourist region, thousands of travellers waited for flights home, many sleeping on seats or on the floor.
    The Bank of Spain said on Wednesday that there had been severe disruption on the economy since early March and a sharp contraction in consumer spending.
(Reporting By Clara-Laeila Laudette, Inti Landauro, Jesus Aguado and Belen Carreno; Writing by Sonya Dowsett and Andrei Khalip; editing by Philippa Fletcher, Kirsten Donovan)

3/25/2020 Italy coronavirus deaths pass 7,500 amid fears of spread to south by Gavin Jones and Giuseppe Fonte
A local police officer checks on people at the Highway exit for Molfetta, southern Italy, March 25, 2020. REUTERS/Alessandro Garofalo
    ROME (Reuters) – More than 680 people have died from coronavirus in Italy in the last 24 hours, the Civil Protection Agency said on Wednesday, as concerns grew that the disease was spreading more towards the south of the country.
    The death toll increased by 683 on Wednesday.    That was lower than a spike of 743 on Tuesday but more than the totals of the previous two days and the third highest daily tally since the outbreak emerged in northern regions on Feb. 21.
    Italy has seen more fatalities than any other country, with latest figures showing that 7,503 people have died from the infection in barely a month.
    The northern region of Lombardy, by far the hardest-hit, showed a steep decline in the number of deaths and new infections on Wednesday, raising hopes that the epidemic may be slowing at its original epicentre.
    However, optimism was tempered by warnings from the south, where contagion and deaths are far less widespread but are rising steadily, and could overwhelm a health service which is much less well equipped than in the rich north.
    “At this point there is the real prospect that Lombardy’s tragedy is about to become the south’s tragedy,” Vincenzo De Luca, president of the Campania region around Naples, wrote in an open letter to Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte.
    “We are on the eve of a major expansion of infections which may not be sustainable,” he said, complaining that the central government had failed to provide Campania with promised ventilators and other life-saving equipment.
    So far there have been 74 deaths in Campania, the worst affected southern region.    The central region of Lazio, around the capital Rome, has registered 95 fatalities.
    The total number of confirmed cases in Italy rose to 74,386 from a previous 69,176, the Civil Protection Agency said.
    The rise of 7.5% was the lowest since the outbreak began, but only severely ill people are being tested and the head of the agency, Angelo Borrelli, said this week that the true number of infections was probably 10 times those officially recorded.
    Borrelli was not present at the customary news conference to illustrate the latest figures because he came down with a fever on Wednesday and was himself being tested for coronavirus.
    With Italy in lockdown for the last two weeks and its economy on its knees, Conte on Wednesday promised a second stimulus package in April worth at least as much as the 25 billion euro ($27.17 billion) one he adopted in March.
    With his approval ratings at record highs, the prime minister appealed to the opposition to get behind the government’s efforts and halt its attacks on his handling of the crisis until it is over.
    “There will be a time for everything, but now is the time for action and responsibility,” he told the Chamber of Deputies.
    One source of potential conflict for Conte was defused on Wednesday when the government reached an agreement with trade unions who had threatened strikes because they wanted more companies shuttered to protect workers’ health.
    Conte agreed to extend the production sectors that will be temporarily closed because they are not deemed essential to the country’s supply chain.
(Additional reporting by Stephen Jewkes, James Mackenzie and Angelo Amante, Editing by William Maclean)

3/25/2020 Coronavirus cases in Ireland top 1,500, two more deaths
People walk along Sandymount strand practicing social distancing as the spread of coronavirus
disease (COVID-19) continues, in Dublin, Ireland, March 20, 2020. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne

3/25/2020 France’s Macron pledges massive investment in health system after virus crisis
French President Emmanuel Macron delivers a speech after his visit to the military field hospital outside
the Emile Muller Hospital in Mulhouse, eastern France March 25, 2020, during a strict lockdown in
France to stop the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Cugnot Mathieu/Pool via REUTERS
    PARIS (Reuters) – French President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday pledged “massive investments” in the country’s public hospital health system, close to a breaking point as it copes with the coronavirus outbreak which has already caused 1,331 deaths in the country.
    “Once this crisis is over, a massive investment plan and an upgrade of the career paths will be put in place for our hospital system," Macron told a news conference in eastern France, where the disease outbreak is raging.
    He also said he had decided to launch an army operation to help the population with health and logistics.
(Reporting by Benoit Van Overstraeten and Geert de Clercq; Editing by Sandra Maler)

3/25/2020 Canada doubles value of coronavirus stimulus package, promises cash, loan delays by David Ljunggren
Canada's Minister of Finance Bill Morneau speaks in the House of Commons as legislators convene to give the government
power to inject billions of dollars in emergency cash to help individuals and businesses through the economic crunch caused
by the novel coronavirus outbreak, on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada March 25, 2020. REUTERS/Blair Gable
    OTTAWA (Reuters) – Canada has almost doubled the value of an aid package to help people and businesses deal with losses from the coronavirus outbreak, with Ottawa handing out more money than forecast, Finance Minister Bill Morneau said on Wednesday.
    The package is now worth C$52 billion ($36.62 billion), up from an initial C$27 billion outlined last week, he told reporters.
    “That is a significant change because of the scale and the significance for people of these benefits,” Morneau told a news conference.
    More than a million people have signed up for unemployment benefits in the last week as the crisis deepened.
    The package, which Parliament approved earlier in the day, also includes an additional C$55 billion in the form of tax deferrals.
    “Canada is taking a very … appropriate but also significant approach to how we’re responding to the incredible challenge that we’re facing,” said Morneau.
    A total of 3,290 Canadians have been diagnosed with the coronavirus and 30 have died.
    Morneau said additional measures would be unveiled “in coming days,” with expectations for aid to the struggling airline and energy sectors.
    The aid package will give people affected by the outbreak C$2,000 a month and delay student loan repayments, among other measures to boost the economy, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Wednesday.
    A new portal will be set up by April 6, for people who have lost jobs or are unable to work, to apply for the monthly payments, which will run for four months.
    “We are hopeful that the system will be up and running by April 6 and the checks and direct deposits will be flowing days after that,” Trudeau told reporters outside his house.
    The plan also delays student loan payments for three months.
    Trudeau said Canada was testing 10,000 people a day for COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the new coronavirus, and Canada was ramping up production of emergency medical equipment and medication.
    Officials ordered returning travelers to obey a mandatory 14-day quarantine or face fines and criminal charges.
    Parliament passed the bill after almost a day of political wrangling.    Legislators backed the measures after the Liberal government agreed to remove proposals that would have given Ottawa emergency spending powers without parliamentary approval until the end of 2021.
    The modified bill caps Ottawa’s emergency spending power at six months.    It also says the House of Commons finance committee – which is controlled by opposition legislators – can probe government spending and force Parliament back in 48 hours if it thinks abuses are occurring.
    Trudeau’s Liberals only have a minority in the House of Commons and rely on other parties to govern.
(With additional reporting by Kelsey Johnson in Ottawa and Amran Abocar in Toronto; Editing by Bernadette Baum, Steve Orlofsky and Diane Craft)

3/25/2020 Wikileaks founder Julian Assange denied bail by London court by Michael Holden
FILE PHOTO: WikiLeaks' founder Julian Assange leaves Westminster Magistrates Court
in London, Britain January 13, 2020. REUTERS/Simon Dawson
    LONDON (Reuters) – WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who is fighting extradition from Britain to the United States, was denied bail on Wednesday after his lawyers said he should be released because he was highly vulnerable to the coronavirus.
    The 48-year-old, who is at Belmarsh Prison in London, is wanted by the United States on 18 criminal counts of conspiring to hack government computers and violating an espionage law.    He says he could spend decades in prison if convicted.
    His lawyer, Edward Fitzgerald, told Westminster Magistrates Court that Assange had suffered from four respiratory tract infections during the years he spent living in the Ecuadorean embassy in London.    Fitzgerald also said Assange had heart problems which put him at increased risk.
    “The emphasis is not on flight but survival,” Fitzgerald said, adding that there was no serious risk of Assange absconding.    He said that if Assange fell ill with the virus in prison, “the risk could be fatal.”
    But Judge Vanessa Baraitser rejected the arguments, noting that Assange himself was on record saying that he would rather commit suicide than face extradition to the United States.
    “As matters stand today, this global pandemic does not as of itself provide grounds for Mr Assange’s release,” she said.
    Assange’s past conduct showed how far he was prepared to go to avoid extradition proceedings, she added, and there were substantial grounds to believe that if released he would abscond again.
    She was referring to the fact that Assange skipped bail and fled to the Ecuadorean embassy in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he was wanted at the time to answer questions on alleged sex crimes. The allegations have since been dropped.
    Assange remained holed up in the embassy for seven years. He was eventually dragged out after Ecuador revoked his asylum.
    Fitzgerald told the court that Assange had a partner who had lived in Britain for more than 20 years and that if he were granted bail he would live with her. He added that the couple had children, though he did not give their ages.
    WikiLeaks enraged the U.S. government a decade ago by publishing thousands of secret U.S. documents.    Assange’s supporters see him as a champion of free speech exposing abuses of power and hypocrisy by Washington.
    The U.S. authorities counter that he is not wanted because he embarrassed them but rather because he endangered informants, dissidents and rights activists in countries including Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan.
    Fitzgerald said that with Belmarsh on lockdown, it was impossible for lawyers to speak to Assange to prepare his case for the second part of the extradition hearing, due to resume on May 18.
    But Clair Dobbin, a lawyer representing the U.S. authorities, argued that the risk that Assange would once again abscond to avoid extradition was so high that it was insurmountable.
    “Mr Assange judges himself above the law,” Dobbin said.    “He has already demonstrated he is capable of going to any lengths to avoid that possibility (extradition to the United States).”
    She also said the evidence suggested that the virus would not be critical for most patients.    “i>He is not one of the people to whom the virus presents a particular risk,” she said of Assange.
    With Britain under near lockdown because of the coronavirus outbreak, the hearing unfolded in unusual circumstances.    Only the judge, Fitzgerald and a small number of reporters were present in person.    Other lawyers listened in on a tele-conference call.
(Editing by Estelle Shirbon and Stephen Addison)

3/25/2020 Italy coronavirus deaths rise by 683 in a day, lifting total death toll to 7,503
Citizens wearing protective masks in the streets of Venice during the current emergency of the
coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Venice, Italy, March 25, 2020. REUTERS/Manuel Silvestri
    ROME (Reuters) – The death toll from an outbreak of coronavirus in Italy has grown by 683 to 7,503, the Civil Protection Agency said on Wednesday, a decline in the daily tally of fatalities following a spike the day before.
    On Tuesday 743 people died.    That followed 602 deaths on Monday, 650 on Sunday and a record of 793 on Saturday — the highest daily figure since the contagion came to light on Feb. 21.
    The total number of confirmed cases in Italy rose to 74,386 from a previous 69,176, the Civil Protection Agency said.
    The head of the agency, Angelo Borrelli, was not present at the customary news conference to illustrate the data because he came down with a fever on Wednesday and was himself being tested for coronavirus.
    Of those originally infected nationwide, 9,362 had fully recovered on Wednesday compared to 8,326 the day before.    There were 3,489 people in intensive care against a previous 3,396.
    The hardest-hit northern region of Lombardy reported a sharp fall in the number of deaths compared with the day before, but remained in a critical situation, with a total of 4,474 deaths and 32,346 cases.
    That compared with 4,178 deaths and 30,703 cases reported up to Tuesday.
(Reporting By Gavin Jones)

3/25/2020 President Trump: I’ll sign relief package immediately by OAN Newsroom
President Donald Trump takes questions from reporters during a briefing about the coronavirus in the
James Brady Briefing Room, Wednesday, March 25, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
    President Trump has confirmed he will sign the coronavirus relief package immediately if it gets to his desk.    The president encouraged lawmakers to pass that $2 trillion bill on Wednesday, which would assist American workers, small businesses, hospitals and corporations during the pandemic.
    He also urged Americans to continue following social distancing guidelines, so the country can beat the virus and the economy can be reopened.
    “Social distancing, such an important phrase,” stated President Trump.    “We do it right now, the more lives we can save, the sooner we can eventually get people back to work, back to school and back to normal.”
    The president emphasized he wants the country to get back to work by Easter, but admitted some heavily affected sections may have to wait.    He has also rejected criticisms of his plan to reopen the economy soon and prevent a financial crisis.
President Donald Trump speaks about the coronavirus in the James Brady Briefing Room, Wednesday,
March 25, 2020, in Washington, as Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin listens. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
    While speaking at the White House on Wednesday, President Trump claimed the media and some officials would welcome an economic collapse to take down his administration. He suggested they’re hoping for a poor economy in order to keep him from being reelected.
    “The media would like to see me do poorly in the election,” he said.    “They think that would be very good, as far as defeating me at the polls.”
    Earlier that day, President Trump also criticized CNN for running fake stories about him.    The president slammed the network for suggesting he’s been sitting all alone at the White House complaining about lockdowns of the economy.
    He has said such nonsense couldn’t have even been leaked and that it was completely made up.    The president went on to say he’s been packed with meetings every day and is fighting to protect Americans from the outbreak.
    The president also highlighted how federal officials have done a tremendous job to contain the virus and reduce the number of victims.
[Good job Trump, let the Globalists, DEEP DTATE, Fake News people and all Trump haters specifically the House Democrats have your opinion to let the nation know that what is important to the people in this country.].

3/25/2020 Pentagon halting troop movement for 60 days by OAN Newsroom
FILE – This March 27, 2008, aerial file photo, shows the Pentagon in Washington. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)
    The U.S. Military has come to a halt due to the coronavirus pandemic.    Defense Secretary Mark Esper has ordered all troops to remain where they are for the next 60 days.
This means there will be no deployments, while troops scheduled to return home will have to stay where they are.
    “This measure is taken to aid in further prevention of the spread of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), to protect U.S. personnel and preserve the operational readiness of our global force,” read a statement from the Defense Department.
    Meanwhile, troops will continue to be pulled out of Afghanistan.    The Pentagon has said it hopes this will curb the spread of the virus.

    Hundreds of service members have tested positive for the virus so far.

3/25/2020 Mass unemployment in the U.S. worries working class by OAN Newsroom
In this Tuesday, March 24, 2020, photo, Keisha Henry poses for a portrait
inside her lounge and catering business in New Orleans. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
    Unemployment benefit claims in the U.S. have risen to historic levels as fear of the coronavirus continues to consume the country.
    According to reports, these claims were on track to spike to 3.4 million in the third week of March. This would far surpass the highest level of weekly initial claims on record.
    This analysis was just one glimpse of the severe economic downturn the nation is facing as a result of the pandemic and the measures being used to contain it.    Many of these strict measures have shuttered businesses and prevented people from gathering in large crowds.
    “I think we are putting a lot of hope that the system will return to business as usual in the coming weeks, and I just don’t believe that to be true,” stated unemployed worker Ian Smith.
    U.S. Unemployment Insurance Weekly Claims Report seasonally adjusted.;
    However, Congress has been furiously negotiating a package to help businesses keep people on their payrolls and expand unemployment benefits for the American people.    While the government has agreed to the $2 trillion fiscal stimulus package, many believe it is not enough and will come too late to prevent the damage done to the U.S. labor market.
    “If banks are going to be able to be bailed out at a whim, if airlines and cruise ships are able to be bailed out on a whim, but the working class folks who are making this country run, who are literally on the front lines every day during this crisis, aren’t able to get even a substantial living wage through this bailout, then that’s really disappointing and upsetting,” reiterated Smith.
    The rapid spread of the virus has led to massive business disruptions in the U.S. over the past several weeks.    A growing number of cities across the country have ordered residents to self-quarantine, while non-essential businesses, such as sit-down restaurants and retail stores, have been forced to shut their doors.
Visitors to the Department of Labor are turned away at the door by personnel due to closures
over coronavirus concerns, Wednesday, March 18, 2020, in New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

3/25/2020 President Trump issues disaster declarations for Texas, Fla. by OAN Newsroom
Sinclair Manley, a volunteer with the Circle of Brotherhood, left, passes out fresh fruit to local
residents impacted by the new coronavirus at a food distribution site run by Farm Share in partnership with
Ark of the City, Wednesday, March 25, 2020, in Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
    Federal funding is headed to Texas and Florida after President Trump approved disaster declarations for both states on Wednesday.
    The money will be available for state and local governments, whose economies have been hit hard by the pandemic.    It will also make funding available to those who wish to take part in crisis counseling.
    There are more than 1,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in each state.
    President Trump approved the federal disaster declaration for Florida at the request of Governor Ron DeSantis.    DeSantis recently sent the president a letter, which stated that the coronavirus crisis has had a “drastic effect” on the state’s economy and medical providers.
    According to the Republican governor, the state’s hospitals and first responders are overwhelmed and are facing challenges rarely experienced.    The declaration will give Florida access to federal funding and several FEMA programs.
A sign is posted in a park reminding people to practice social distancing
Wednesday, March 25, 2020, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
    The World Health Organization has said the U.S. still has time to avoid becoming the new epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic.    On Thursday, WHO spokesperson Margaret Harris encouraged the U.S. to change its course, with the help of health experts.
    Harris praised the U.S. health system and its workers for coming up with innovative, out-of-the-box ideas.    She added the formula for success will include testing people, finding and identifying infection, and isolating those who are infected.
    “The potential is there, but you’ve still got time to turn it around,” she said.    “You’ve got the best public health brains in the world,…you’ve got people who can really think out of the box.”

3/25/2020 Canada to pay $1.4K per month to each worker out of job due to COVID-19 by OAN Newsroom
Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addresses Canadians on the coronavirus situation from Rideau Cottage
in Ottawa, Ontario, on Wednesday, March 25, 2020. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press via AP)
    Canada will pay around $1,400 per month to each worker who has lost their job due to the coronavirus outbreak.    On Wednesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau confirmed new benefits will be paid for the next four months to support the nation’s economy.
    “If you’ve lost your job because of COVID-19, whether you’re full time, contract or self-employed, this new benefit will be there for you,” stated Trudeau.

People wait in line to get into a walk-in test clinic for COVID-19, the disease caused by the
new coronavirus, in Montreal on Monday, March 23, 2020. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press via AP)
    The prime minister also said he’s taking additional measures to prevent a rise in unemployment and poverty in Canada.
    “If you’re sick or quarantined, looking after someone sick, or at home taking care of your kids, it’s there for you.     Even if you’re still employed, but not receiving income because of this crisis, the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) is there for you.    An application portal will launch as quickly as possible, and people should start receiving money within 10 days of applying.” – Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada
    According to Trudeau, up to 1 million citizens have applied for employment insurance, showing the disastrous effects of virus-related shutdowns.

3/25/2020 White House: Travelers from N.Y. should self-quarantine for 14 days by OAN Newsroom
A subway rider wears a glove while holding a pole as several riders wear face masks during the coronavirus outbreak
on the D train in the Brooklyn borough of New York on Wednesday, March 25, 2020. (AP Photo/David Boe)
    The White House has boosted its efforts to contain the ongoing pandemic with a new focus on travelers from the Big Apple.    Top health officials on the coronavirus task force have called on those who are traveling out of New York to take initiative in an effort to slow the spread of the outbreak.
    To everyone who has left New York over the last few days, because of the rate of the number of cases, you may have been exposed before you left,” said Dr. Deborah Birx.
    More than half of all COVID-19 cases in the U.S. have come out of New York, while 30 percent of the fatalities can be traced to the state’s metro area.
    According to health experts, it is vital that individuals from the area monitor their well-being and be sensitive to any potential symptoms they may develop.    They added that following these presidential guidelines, such as non-essential travel, are critical.
    Officials have also warned travelers from New York to quarantine themselves, due to the high risks these individuals might pose to the public.
    “We are asking anyone who has traveled out of the NYC metropolitan area to anywhere else in the country to self-isolate for 14 days,” stated Vice President Mike Pence.    “We have to deal with the NYC metropolitan area as a high-risk area.”
Patients wear personal protective equipment while maintaining social distancing as they wait in line for a
COVID-19 test at Elmhurst Hospital Center, Wednesday, March 25, 2020, in New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
    Health officials went on to express deep concerns over an apparent rise in the number of people fleeing the region.
    This trend was likely sparked by the region’s large coronavirus caseload and could potentially spread the illness further.
    “What we’re seeing now is that, understandably, people want to get out of New York. They’re going to Florida, they’re going to Long Island… If you look at the statistics, it’s disturbing.” – Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
    The grim statistic has prompted other states, including Florida, to request those who arrive to self-quarantine for at least 14-days.
    Meanwhile, the president continues to work closely with New York officials to mitigate and combat the ongoing pandemic.

3/25/2020 Los Angeles mayor threatens to cut utilities to non-essential businesses by OAN Newsroom
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, discusses the meeting concerning the state’s homeless situation
he and other mayors of some of California’s largest cities had with Gov. Gavin Newsom at the
Capitol in Sacramento, Calif., Monday, March 9, 2020. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
    The mayor of Los Angeles has let non-essential businesses that haven’t closed know what lengths he’s willing to go to in order to stop the pandemic.
    Mayor Eric Garcetti held a press briefing on Tuesday to update the city on the ongoing spread of the coronavirus.    He reiterated the importance of only traveling when necessary and warned youth they aren’t immune to the virus.
    The mayor also delivered a strict warning to businesses, like hair salons, gyms and clubs, who have remained open despite being designated as non-essential.
    “If we see continued non-compliance, they’ll wind up facing misdemeanor charge, DWP will step in and shut off their water and power.    You know who you are, you need to stop it.    This is your chance to step up and shut it down, because if you don’t, we will shut you down.” – Eric Garcetti, Mayor of Los Angeles
    Last week, Garcetti issued an emergency order to shut down all non-essential operations.    The region has reported at least 660 cases of the virus and 11 deaths.
A bulletin on the ticket window to the Vista Theatre informs customers that the movie theater
will be temporarily closed, Monday, March 16, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

3/25/2020 Biden: We’ve had enough debates, my focus is on coronavirus crisis by OAN Newsroom
In this image from video provided by the Biden for President campaign, Democratic presidential candidate former Vice
President Joe Biden speaks during a virtual press briefing Wednesday, March 25, 2020. (Biden for President via AP)
    Former Vice President Joe Biden has said he’s had enough debates with Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.).    The two candidates have not been active on the campaign trail due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has postponed primary elections in several states.
    Biden’s comments came after the Sanders campaign announced the Vermont senator is ready for a 12th debate.
    “If there is a debate in April, he plans to be there,” stated spokesman Mike Casca.
    As of Wednesday, the former vice president was leading the Democrat primary with more than 1,200 delegates.    He has said he’s focused on addressing the coronavirus pandemic.
    “My focus is just dealing with this crisis right now, I haven’t thought about any more debates,” said Biden.    “I think we’ve had enough debates, I think we should get on with this.”
    His supporters have called on Sanders to drop out of the race, but Biden has said that decision is up to the senator.

3/26/2020 Oil up $0.48 to $24.49, DOW up 496 to 21,201, and gas was at $1.64 a gallon.

3/26/2020 Update on the virus in the U.S.
    Cases nearly at 200 as 5th Kentuckian dies from COVID-19


3/26/2020 Two more weeks of lockdown as Spain’s coronavirus crisis worsens by Nathan Allen and Inti Landauro
Ambulance workers wearing protective gear arrive with a patient at La Princesa hospital during the
coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Madrid, Spain March 25, 2020. REUTERS/Susana Vera
    MADRID (Reuters) – Spain’s coronavirus lockdown was extended on Thursday to last until at least April 12 as Europe’s second-worst hit country struggled to tackle a fast increase in the death toll.
    Parliament voted in the early hours of Thursday to extend emergency measures – including the state of lockdown that has seen people confined to their homes except for essential trips for food, medicine and work.
    Confirmed cases in Spain have jumped 10-fold since the state of emergency was imposed on March 14, while its death toll exceeded China’s on Wednesday, with 738 lives lost in a single day.
    “It is not easy to extend the state of emergency,” Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said in Parliament.    “I am convinced the only efficient option against the virus is social isolation.”
    A majority of 321 lawmakers voted in favor of the extension, while 28 abstained.    The largest opposition party, the conservative People’s Party, supported the measure.    However, its leader Pablo Casado chastized Sanchez for what he described as a late and inadequate response to the crisis.
    Casado blasted the decision not to cancel the International Women’s Day marches on March 8, which drew hundreds of thousands of people to the streets, and criticized the government’s failure to provide medical professionals with vital equipment.
    “Governments don’t send their soldiers to the front without helmets, flak jackets and ammunition.    But our health workers don’t have any protection,” Casado told parliament.
    Nursing homes, whose elderly residents are highly vulnerable to the disease, have been particularly hard hit.
    An analysis by radio network Cadena Ser found at least 397 residents of such homes had died from coronavirus, more than 10% of the country’s 3,434 death toll.    The health ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the findings.
    In Madrid, Spain’s worst affected region, hearses continued to arrive at the city’s ice rink, which was converted into a makeshift morgue after authorities said existing facilities lacked resources.
    Procuring equipment like masks, scrubs and gloves has become difficult as the government fights to contain the virus.
    Foreign Minister Arancha Gonzalez complained that market speculation was driving up prices for some items.
    “We must favor long-term purchases from a group of more stable and more established companies so that we don’t depend on these crooks,” she told Basque radio station Radio Euskadi.
    Government spokeswoman Maria Jesus Montero said separately that some suppliers were not meeting delivery deadlines.
    Spain has ordered 432 million euros ($471.4 million) of masks, gloves and testing kits from China, and has turned to NATO partners for protective gear and ventilators.
(Reporting by Jessica Jones, Inti Landauro, Clara-Laeila Laudette and Emma Pinedo; Writing by Inti Landauro and Nathan Allen; Editing by Ingrid Melander and Angus MacSwan)

3/26/2020 Spain’s coronavirus death toll surpasses 4,000
A homeless man asks for alms at Las Ramblas, during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19)
outbreak, in Barcelona, Spain March 24, 2020. REUTERS/Nacho Doce
    MADRID (Reuters) – Spain registered 655 fatalities from the coronavirus over the past 24 hours – down from over 700 on Wednesday, the health ministry reported on Thursday as the total death toll from the epidemic in the country rose to over 4,000.
    The overall number of coronavirus cases soared to 56,188 from 47,610 on Wednesday.    The number of reported deaths from the virus rose to 4,089 from 3,434 on Wednesday, the ministry said.
(Reporting by Nathan Allen and Inti Landauro)

3/26/2020 Number of coronavirus cases in Germany rises to 36,508: RKI
An ambulance car carries an Italian patient infected with coronavirus arrives at the Helios hospital in Leipzig, Germany,
March 25, 2020, as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues. Hendrik Schmidt/Pool via REUTERS
    BERLIN (Reuters) – The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in Germany has risen to 36,508 and 198 people have died of the disease, statistics from the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases showed on Thursday.
    Cases rose by 4,995 compared with the previous day while the death toll climbed by 50, the tally showed.
(Reporting by Scot W. Stevenson; Editing by Michelle Martin)

3/26/2020 Senate unanimously passes historic CARES Act by OAN Newsroom
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky. gives a thumbs up as he arrives on
Capitol Hill, Wednesday, March 25, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
    The Senate has unanimously approved the largest relief bill in American history.    Worth more than $2 trillion, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security, or CARES Act, passed the upper chamber of Congress in a unanimous 96-to-zero vote on Wednesday.
    “I’m proud to announce tonight not a single senator voted against this $2 trillion rescue bill to save American individuals, small businesses, larger businesses and to provide considerable funding for the health care workers and the scientists and the doctors and others who are trying to solve this pandemic,” stated Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
    The bill came on the heels of several days of around-the-clock negotiations between Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Senate leaders of both parties.    Once an agreement was reached, the bill was put to a vote in only 20-hours.
    The CARES Act mobilizes an unprecedented amount of funds, estimated at $2.2 trillion, to the purpose of revitalizing the economy and shoring up the financial stability of American individuals and businesses.    By contrast, the stimulus plan deployed against the 2008 recession cost $700 billion.
    It includes a one-time payment to most Americans. Individuals earning less than $75,000 a year are set to receive $1,200 and couples earning less than $150,000 a year will receive $2,400 plus $500 added on per child.    The payments gradually decrease for individuals above those income level and phase out to zero for individuals earning more than $99,000 a year or $198,000 for couples.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, left, and acting White House chief of staff Mark Meadows walk to the offices of Senate
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky. on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, March 24, 2020. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
    The bill also creates a pool of $350 billion for loans to small businesses to cover employee salaries, benefits and prevent lay-offs.    It increases unemployment benefits by $600 a week for up to four months, which will be added on top of current benefits granted by individual states.
    The measure also provides an extra $117 billion in funding for hospitals and veterans’ health care.    The bill has been celebrated almost universally among major elements of government in both parties.
    Sen. McConnell, for his part, touted the level of investment the bill represents by drawing an analogy to previous war efforts and sounding a note of resolve in the fight against the pandemic.
    “In effect, this is a wartime level of investment into our nation,” he stated.    “The men and women of the greatest country on Earth are going to defeat this coronavirus and reclaim our future.”
    President Trump also rejoiced over news of the bill’s passage.    He has promised to sign it immediately once it reaches his desk.