teleSUR English ES Fri, 10 Apr 2020 13:23:34 -04:00 teleSUR English <![CDATA[Over 530 Bolivians Reman Stranded at the Border With Chile]]> Fri, 10 Apr 2020 13:22:59 -04:00 Over 530 Bolivian citizens remain stranded at the border between Bolivia and Chile. Given the precarious retention conditions, they are vulnerable to COVID-19 contagious. 


Bolivia: Añez Replaces Health Minister

According to Colchane city Mayor Javier Garcia, Bolivia's coup-born regime led by Jeanine Añez has abandoned migrants during the sanitary emergency. This Chilean local authority her of being discriminatory with her citizens.

Those who entered Bolivian territory in airships were welcomed, but the less solvent ones who attempted an entrance by land routes are being neglected. 

Garcia emitted complaints to the United Nations and human rights institutions because he considers that "Añez acted irresponsibly and the Chilean government has turned a deaf ear to this sad reality. It is a humanitarian tragedy.”

In Chile, Colchane city Mayor Javier Garcia stood in solidarity with Bolivians who want to enter our country and gave them food to ease their situation at the border.​​​​​​

Bolivia's Justice Minister Alvaro Coimbra, however, accused Garcia of being a member of the Movement Towards Socialism (MAS), the party led by former president Evo Morales.​​​​​​​

Among the Bolivian migrants are 14 pregnant women, 18 minors, and 30 older adults. More drifters are expected to arrive at the common borderline zone.

"Given the insensitivity and irresponsibility of the de facto government, I call on international bodies such as the International Human Rights Commission, and UN Human Rights Commission to do everything... to ensure our compatriots's safe return,” Morales tweeted. ​​​​​​​

]]> <![CDATA[Puebla Group to Analyze COVID-19 Crisis in Latin America]]> Fri, 10 Apr 2020 12:13:29 -04:00 The Puebla Group Friday meet virtually to analyze proposals to face the economic and social crisis that Latin America is experiencing due to COVID-19.


Puebla Group Rejects Sentencing of Former President Correa

Several progressive leaders will analyze what the COVID-19 holds for the future of the region, how to get out of the humanitarian siege and what political rectifications should be made.

The meeting will be attended by Argentina's President Alberto Fernandez, Brazil's former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, and Colombia's former President Ernesto Samper.

One of the movement's promoters, Chilean Marco Enriquez, will also speak, along with other Latin American politicians and former ministers.  

"On April 10, the Puebla Group's virtual meeting will be opened by Argentina's President Alberto Fernandez.  The topics will be Coronavirus, economy, and Lawfare against democracy. It is an honor to be part of this political opinion group."

"Latin America was not prepared for a phenomenon of this magnitude," Ernesto Samper said, adding that "after COVID-19, it will never be the same again."

Overcoming the pandemic, however, is possible. Latin American countries just have to think as a region, the organizers of the meeting agreed.

At its new meeting, Puebla Group will also denounce the recurrent political persecution of progressive leaders in the region.

The recent conviction against Ecuador's former President Rafael Correa will be rejected by the 14 members who will participate in the virtual debate. 

]]> <![CDATA[Cuba: Government Implements New Measures to Prevent COVID-19]]> Fri, 10 Apr 2020 10:04:25 -04:00 Cuba's Transport Minister Eduardo Rodriguez decided to suspend public and private passenger transportation within urban and rural areas. However, institutions offering essential services must guarantee the mobility of their workers..


Cuba has Reached Limited Local Transmission Stage of COVID-19

Private carriers would have their operating license suspended and are free from tax payment until the restrictions cease. Means of transportation contracted by the Defense Councils for prioritized services are exempted. 

In vehicles that continue to operate, passengers must use sanitary masks use, wash their hands with chlorine and maintain social distance. In this way, the authorities seek to enforce social isolation and prevent overcrowding.

"Despite the disinfection measures and limited services, there is an increase in mobility and overcrowding in public transport. This is a real risk of contagion," Rodriguez explained.

"The limited local transmission stage is declared. The country reinforces the measures already implemented and takes new ones in battle against the COVID-19 pandemic​​​​​​​."

Internal Trade Minister Betsy Diaz closed large commercial centers to avoid long lines gathering, a paramount action to avoid contagiously.

Another strategy is to increase and promote virtual trading and home deliveries, with a 10 percent discount. 

So far, Cuba registers 515 COVID-19 cases, 15 deaths, and 28 recoveries.​​​​​​​ Havana, a city having over 2 million inhabitants, has the highest number of infected people. ​​​​​​​

]]> <![CDATA[Brazil: Judge Prohibits Bolsonaro From Lifting Quarantines]]> Fri, 10 Apr 2020 10:27:13 -04:00 Brazil’s Supreme Federal Court (STF) judge Alexandre De Moraes ordered President Jair Bolsonaro administration to not overturn decisions of regional or municipal governments that adopted “effective restrictive measures” to reduce the COVID-19 spread.


Bolsonaro Is Good President Only for 33 Percent of Brazilians

"It should be noted that the discretionary nature of the measures taken by the President of the Republic, as well as any eventual omission, is subject to judicial control, since it is linked to the constitutional rule, which requires that the authorities obey the law and, especially, respect the effectiveness of fundamental rights,” De Moraes stated.

The decision makes up a new and forceful legal obstacle to an eventual attempt by the far-right president to disregard the quarantines that most of the Brazilian states and municipalities have imposed on the population.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the former captain Bolsonaro has been despising the gravity of COVID-19.

Besides not accepting the recommendations and warnings given by the World Health Organization (WHO), he believes that only the old and vulnerable people should quarantine because business must continue in operation.

At the moment, Brazil registers 17,857 people infected and 941 deaths, which makes this country the most affected one in South America

]]> <![CDATA[OPEC Reaches Agreement Amid Health and Economic Crisis]]> Fri, 10 Apr 2020 09:36:08 -04:00 The COVID-19 pandemic forced the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies to reduce global oil production to 23 percent in an initial period of two months.


OPEC to Decide Historic Oil Production Cut Due to COVID-19

For May and June, the OPEC agreed to a cut of 10 million barrels per day. While by the end of 2020, the reduction will be 8 million.

From the beginning of 2021 until the end of April, production will be cut to 6 million barrels per day.

To ensure the stability of the energy market, the producing countries also agreed to maintain oil supplies at all levels. ​​​​​​​

The OPEC countries and their partners took the cooperation agreement on Thursday to revive the energy market, which has been severely affected by the pandemic. It was feared that Saudi Arabia and Russia would resist the cut, but both countries joined the agreement.

Even though Mexico initially withdrew from the negotiation, and opposed the cut, the rest of the non-OPEC countries, such as Norway, Brazil, Canada and the U.S., confirmed their willingness to reduce their production.

Saudi Arabia Energy Minister Abdul Aziz Bin Salman chaired the virtual meeting. It was also attended by Argentina, Colombia, Ecuador, Egypt, Indonesia, Norway, Trinidad and Tobago, and the International Energy Forum as observer countries.​​​​​​​

]]> <![CDATA[Bangladesh Orders Lockdown in Rohingya Camps Over COVID-19]]> Thu, 9 Apr 2020 23:58:14 -04:00 Bangladesh authorities announced a complete lockdown on Wednesday after the number of COVID-19 infections in Bangladesh has doubled to more than 200 in the last five days, with 20 dead, with officials warning that containing the disease among more than 1 million tightly packed Rohingya Muslims will be a daunting task.

Mass Protests Spread in India After Citizenship Law Passes

"Entry and exit from Cox's Bazar district are prohibited from now on," ​​​​​​ said in a statement Kamal Hossain, the head of Cox's Bazar district, Cox's Bazar on the border with Myanmar, from where the Rohingya have fled a government crackdown. The official also warned that "stern action" would be taken against those who wouldn't respect the lockdown.

"Only emergency food supply and medical services can continue work in the camps by maintaining extreme caution," Refugee Commissioner Mahbub Alam Talukder said, quoted by AFP news agency.

With about 40,000 people per square kilometer living in plastic shacks side by side, which is more than 40 times the average density of Bangladesh, the refugees are dangerously exposed to the virus.

"We are doing our best to protect them, but if the virus breaks out, it will be a tough job for all of us," Mohammad Shamsuddoza, the additional refugee, relief and repatriation commissioner of Bangladesh, told The Associated Press by phone last week.

He said the 34 camps are a significant challenge despite preparations to provide better health care services.

"It's overcrowded, every family has multiple members," he said. "So, this is practically very difficult to keep them separated."

Rachel Wolff, senior director for the aid group World Vision in Cox's Bazar, said: "social distancing is almost impossible for families."

Hossain said foreigners had been banned from frequent visits to the camps unless they are "absolutely necessary."

"They have been instructed to carry on work in a limited scope," he said.

A 100-bed isolation ward was built inside the camps, and another 200-bed hospital with modern facilities is being deployed in cooperation with the World Health Organization, he said.

The U.N. refugee agency said about 1,200 additional beds were being readied just outside the camps at Ukhiya and Teknaf.

Louise Donovan, UNHCR communications officer in Cox's Bazar, said planning was also underway for 1,700 more beds in cooperation with the International Organization for Migration, UNICEF, and Save the Children International.

Donovan said water and soaps are being widely distributed, and thousands of community health workers, including the refugees themselves, were being trained.

Others working in the camps are told to spread awareness about the virus. Mosque imams and local leaders have also been engaged.

"Communications are ongoing through radio spots, video, posters, leaflets and messages in Rohingya, Burmese and Bengali languages, explaining how the virus spreads, how people can protect themselves and their families, symptoms, and care-seeking," Donovan said.

Fear gripped the camps after a 75-year-old Bangladeshi woman in nearby Cox's Bazar town tested positive for the coronavirus. A Rohingya family of four who returned from India recently also was quarantined for 14 days in a U.N. transit camp.

The message is reaching the refugees.

"The organizations working here told us about cough, cold and sore throat being the symptoms of the coronavirus," Golforaj Begum, a 54-year-old refugee, told the A.P. at Kutupalong camp.

"They also told us how to maintain our safety. Such as not to go to other rooms, maintaining a 5-foot distance from one another, not to mix in a crowd, washing hands properly before cooking and eating. They also told us to keep our backyards clean," she said.

The Rohingya had fled Myanmar since August 2017, when Myanmar's military launched counterinsurgency operations in response to rebel attacks. Security forces have been accused of mass rapes, killings and burning thousands of homes.

Myanmar's government has long considered the Rohingya to be migrants from Bangladesh, even though their families have lived in the Buddhist-majority country for generations. Nearly all have been denied citizenship since 1982, effectively rendering them stateless. They are also denied freedom of movement and other fundamental rights, including education.


]]> <![CDATA[UN Chief Warns About the Impacts of COVID-19 on Women]]> Thu, 9 Apr 2020 23:43:49 -04:00 UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Thursday highlighted the impacts of COVID-19 on women.

UN Chief Calls for Protection of Women from Domestic Violence

"A pandemic amplifies and heightens all existing inequalities. With COVID-19, this is even more so," said Guterres in a policy brief.

The policy brief highlighted the social and economic impacts of the pandemic on women across four areas: economic, health, unpaid care, and gender-based violence.

Across every sphere, from health to the economy, security to social protection, the impacts of COVID-19 are exacerbated for women and girls simply by virtue of their sex, said the policy brief.

He asked for inclusion of women and women's organizations at the heart of the COVID-19 response; the transformation of the inequities of unpaid care work into a new, inclusive care economy that works for everyone; the designing of socio-economic plans with an intentional focus on the lives and futures of women and girls.

"Putting women and girls at the center of economies will fundamentally drive better and more sustainable development outcomes for all, support a more rapid recovery, and place us back on a footing to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals," said the policy brief.

]]> <![CDATA[Chile’s Elite Escaping by Helicopter for Easter Amid Pandemic]]> Thu, 9 Apr 2020 23:26:37 -04:00 After reports emerged of wealthy residents in Chile’s capital, Santiago, fleeing the city​​​​​​ by helicopter and private plane for Easter, amid the coronavirus crisis, Interior Minister Gonzalo Blumel went on state television Thursday to remind them they have a “moral duty” to remain at home.


Chile: Govt Allows Employers Not to Pay Wages During Quarantine

“What is going to be tested this weekend is how responsible, how supportive, we are as Chileans,” Blumel said, adding that “staying at home is not only an obligation, it is a moral and ethical duty."

Chilean health officials said earlier this week they planned to cordon off the city, setting up road checkpoints manned by police and military, to prevent city dwellers from fleeing to second residences in rural areas and coastal enclaves where they could spread the virus.

But Santiago Mayor Felipe Guevara told state television Thursday that the city had received complaints “that people are using their own or leased helicopter or aircraft to leave the metropolitan region for their second home.”


Chile’s Communist Mayor to Import Cuban Meds to Fight COVID-19

The coronavirus pandemic in Santiago first appeared in high-end neighborhoods where residents, who regularly travel to Europe, are believed to have imported the virus. However, the poor who are unable to afford medical care and struggle with informal jobs are those who are currently paying the heaviest price for contracting the disease.

Chile has confirmed about 6,000 coronavirus cases, among the highest tallies in Latin America.

For months, the South American nation has been gripped by protests against high living costs and extreme inequalities in a country where the richest have an income nearly 14 times greater than the poorest. 

Chile is one of the most unequal of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries. The income gap, which is about 65 percent higher than the OECD average, along with the slow disappearance of the middle class are among the country’s major challenges.

]]> <![CDATA[Modi Proposes, Trump Disposes]]> Thu, 9 Apr 2020 19:50:51 -04:00 After Donald Trump threatened India of possible retaliation if it failed to export the anti-malarial medicine to the United States, New Delhi approved the export of Hydroxychloroquine— floated as a plausible COVID-19 treatment drug. 


First COVID-19 Death Reported in Asia's Largest Slum, Dharavi

India— a major exporter of generic medicines, in March, out of apprehensions of the coronavirus outbreak, had restricted the export of 26 drugs including original Paracetamol.

The unblocking of exports initiated after Trump spoke to Modi in a phone call on Sunday. The US president said, "If he doesn't allow it to come out, ...there may be retaliation. Why wouldn't there be?" 

Trump advised coronavirus-infected people to take Hydroxychloroquine in consultation with health professionals. The "game-changer" as Trump called it, is also used to treat rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.

According to a rheumatologist at the Charite University Hospital in Berlin Thomas Dörner, Hydroxychloroquine has been used since the 1940s to treat autoimmune disorders but Douglas Richman, a virologist and infectious disease physician at the University of California, San Diego was skeptical of its use until it gets clinically tested.

"Whether it works in vivo is not proven for any virus," the expert said and fully supported further research to establish whether it is a good option for treating COVID-19. “It's imperative that good RCTs are implemented to get answers one way or another,” he told The Lancet.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the US on Tuesday recorded 374,329 of total cases of coronavirus and 12,000 deaths due to the outbreak. 

Though India said lifting the ban was a "gesture of solidarity," social media users did not spare the chance to "retaliate" against Modi, who flaunted his friendship with Trump and had given him a grand welcome in India in February. 

If India had stockpiled the drugs last month fearing the outbreak, why is it that it succumbed to U.S. pressure now? Ravish Kumar, an NDTV anchor wrote, "Modi should send Trump the expenditure Bill of (Namastey Trump) rally at Ahmedabad." 

It got lousy when 'Modi is a Coward's and 'Ask Trump to Apologise' started trending on Twitter. It posted past videos of Narendra Modi wherein he had said that India's one hundred crore citizens have the strength to pressure the international powers. Thousands of jokes and cartoons filled social media throughout the day.

India would supply "paracetamol and hydroxychloroquine to all its neighboring countries" and to "nations badly affected by the coronavirus."

Though India's foreign ministry said that the country had enough stock of medicines, its newly appointed spokesperson, Anurag Srivastava did not clarify on what could happen to medicines since there is no availability of raw material for drug productions and how would the country cope up with the increased demand within its national boundary in the times to come.

The two countries' annual turnover amounting to no less than US$80 billion could come under question after the threat. Interestingly, since this outbreak started, doctors in India have been asking for PPEs but demands met: zero. A few days back political activists demanded the same with the hashtag— doctors need gear. That also did not run through the ears of the government.

When it came to the threat of retaliation, Indian opposition leaders claimed, the PM succumbed to Trump's pressure. 

The leader of the Indian National Congress (INC) and its former president Rahul Gandhi tweeted, "Friendship isn’t about retaliation…." Sitaram Yechury,  Communist Party of India (Marxist) CPI(M) leader said that Trump’s statement was "unacceptable"... and the Modi government "succumbed to the threat."

]]> <![CDATA[Gaza Running out of Coronavirus Tests: Health Minister]]> Thu, 9 Apr 2020 20:44:56 -04:00 The Gaza Strip has no coronavirus testing kits left, Palestinian health authorities said Wednesday, raising the alarm that the enclave, which is facing severe shortages of equipment, may rapidly be overwhelmed by the outbreak.


High Population Density Challenge for Gazans to Fight COVID-19

"Testing at our central laboratory has stopped, after coronavirus test kits completely ran out," Gaza health ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra said.

The Palestinian territory, which is controlled by the Hamas movement, has so far recorded 13 cases. Infected people have been sent to a hastily erected quarantine site at Rafah on the border with Egypt.

Qidra asked international organizations to provide the Strip with testing tools, 100 ventilators, and 140 ICU beds, as dozens of people are waiting to be examined.

At the Islamic University of Gaza, two engineers have been working to create alternative ventilators.

Most of the factories in the territory have tried to organize and begun producing medical and protective gear. One factory owner told Middle East Eye he was able to produce 10,000 facemasks daily, half of which are being exported to Israel.

In the middle of a global pandemic, Israel has been imposing conditions on the assistance it might offer to people in Gaza. The Jewish state requested the return of two soldiers who went missing during the 2014 war in the enclave.

About two million people are crammed in Gaza, a thin coastal enclave that has been under an Israeli siege for 13 years. The illegal blockade has decimated its economy, deprived its residents of freedom of movement, and prevented the entry of critical necessities.

Since Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip in 2007, Israel not only blocked the territory but has also been waging several deadly conflicts that left the enclave impoverished and with meager services.

]]> <![CDATA[Uganda on Alert, Fight Locusts Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic]]> Thu, 9 Apr 2020 20:21:11 -04:00 Desert locusts swarm into Uganda from neighboring Kenya, threatening food security and livelihoods, while the country also faces another problem, the new coronavirus, COVID-19.


UN Warns Desert Locusts Spreading in East Africa

Farmers in Uganda are bracing for a fresh onslaught of desert locusts after two swarms entered the country from neighboring Kenya last week, threatening to destroy crops and intensify hunger amid the struggle to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.

"This represents an unprecedented threat to food security and livelihoods because it coincides with the beginning of the long rains and the planting season,"  the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said on Wednesday.

According to local authorities, the latest insect invasion came through the eastern border district of Amudat on April 3. 

However, unlike previous swarms of mature, less ravaging insects that crossed into the country in February, the new arrivals comprise insects at a "growth stage" that have the "potential to destroy vegetation wherever they go," said Vincent Ssempijja, Uganda's agriculture minister.

"The nymphs and young locust have a high affinity for food. This may pose an imminent danger to food security and livelihoods," he added.

For her part, the executive director of the Food Rights Alliance, Agnes Kirabo, said, "farmers have no other way of deriving a livelihood except their farms," at the same time "to farmers, it's not a loss of food but a loss of life. This is very tragic and a big threat to an already less resilient agriculture sector and food system."

Farming communities and semi-nomadic herders in the east and the semi-arid northeast Karamoja region often described as Uganda's poorest and most marginalized region are particularly at risk, according to Al Jazeera.

On the other hand, the fight against the ravaging pests has been complicated by flight bans imposed to slow the spread of COVID-19, the highly infectious respiratory disease caused by the new coronavirus.

The restrictions have significantly delayed deliveries of pesticides in countries across the region.

Ssempijja said Uganda had deployed more than 2,000 military troops to carry out control operations. Still, the lack of certain pesticides "hinders the use of aircraft which are much more efficient than ground operations."

"Due to COVID-19 control measures in place in the country right now, there is skeletal staff supporting the field control activities," also said  Loupa Pius, the project officer at Dynamic Agropastoralist Development Organisation in Karamoja.

But, despite the threat posed by the new wave of locust swarms, the government urged farmers to start planting to ensure food security.

"Farming communities in the affected communities are, however, encouraged to take advantage of the recent rains and plant crops to avert a possible food crisis," Ssempijja said.

For his part, Loupa said that "people should be advised to halt the planting of crops to observe the direction and the stage of desert locust outbreak," otherwise the situation would only be worsening.

Meanwhile, the United Nations has warned the locust swarms could increase 500 times by June, posing a significant threat to millions of people in an already vulnerable region.

Countries across East Africa are battling the worst locust outbreak in decades, with the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) warning on Wednesday that the situation remained "extremely alarming" as hopper bands and an increasing number of new swarms form in parts of the region.

]]> <![CDATA[UN Seeks $130 Million To Prevent Hunger Catastrophe in Zimbabwe]]> Thu, 9 Apr 2020 19:32:54 -04:00 The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) said Wednesday it needed US$130 million to fund emergency operations in Zimbabwe until August and prevent a catastrophe in the southern African nation, as climate- and recession-induced food shortages deepened.

Uganda: Unqualified Woman Ran Health Center, 105 Children Died

The WFP added 7.7 million Zimbabweans, half the population, need food aid after a devastating drought and cyclone last year. A lack of predictable rains this year has affected crops, compounding the situation.

The coronavirus pandemic has added to the pressure. Zimbabwe has recorded only three deaths and 11 cases, but economists predict it could face a second successive recession this year as the pandemic shuts down large parts of the global economy.

The country's mining industry, the largest single earner of foreign exchange, has already signaled that exports could fall by a quarter due to the effects of the new coronavirus.

“With most Zimbabweans already struggling to put food on the table, the COVID-19 pandemic risks even wider and deeper desperation,” WFP Director for Zimbabwe Eddie Rowe said in a statement.

“We must all do our utmost to prevent this tragedy from turning into a catastrophe.”

The agency warned that inflation, at 540 percent in February, was pushing prices of staples beyond the means of most Zimbabweans, forcing families to eat less and sell off belongings or go into debt.

Zimbabwe is under a 21-day lockdown but some residents have complained about this, exacerbating the situation. More than 80 percent of the working population ekes out a living in the informal sector, leaving them with few protections.

]]> <![CDATA[COVID-19 Could Plunge Half a Billion People Into Poverty: Oxfam]]> Thu, 9 Apr 2020 18:30:04 -04:00 As the coronavirus pandemic wreaks havoc across the world, with over 1.5 million reported cases and over 95,000 deaths, the international organization Oxfam warned Thursday that the economic fallout could push around half a billion people into poverty.

16.8 Million Out of Work in US, 'Uncharted Territory' Economists Warn

“The estimates show that, regardless of the scenario, global poverty could increase for the first time since 1990,” a recent report said, adding that this could throw some countries back to poverty levels last seen some three decades ago.

The report warned that the economic crisis would be “deeper than the 2008 global financial crisis,” calculating the impact of the crisis on global poverty due to shrinking household incomes or consumption.

“Living day to day, the poorest people do not have the ability to take time off work, or to stockpile provisions,” it says, adding that more than two billion informal sector workers worldwide had no access to sick pay.

For the NGO, the worst-case serious scenario would be a 20 percent contraction in income, resulting in a rise of 434 million in the number of people living in extreme poverty to nearly 1.2 billion worldwide. The same scenario would see the number of people living below the US$5.50 a day threshold rise by 548 million people to nearly four billion.

To help mitigate the impact, Oxfam proposed a six-point action plan that would deliver cash grants and bailouts to people and businesses in need and also called for debt cancellation, more IMF support, and increased aid. Taxing wealth, extraordinary profits, and speculative financial products would help raise the funds needed, Oxfam added.

In a similar manner, by mid-March, the executive secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) Alicia Barcena said that COVID-19 would directly impact the already weakened Latin American economy, as poverty could increase for 35 million people.

]]> <![CDATA[COVID-19 Reportedly Fast Spreading Among Saudi Royal Family ]]> Thu, 9 Apr 2020 18:45:25 -04:00 At least 150 members of the ruling Saudi royal family contracted the COVID-19 disease in recent weeks, The New York Times reported Wednesday citing hospital communications, doctors in the kingdom and sources familiar with the family.


Saudi Arabia MBS Aims at the Throne Before Nov. G20 Summit

The governor of the capital Riyadh who is in his 70s, Saudi Prince Faisal bin Bandar bin Abdulaziz Al Saud is in intensive care after being infected by the virus.

King Salman and his son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) have retreated into isolation to avoid being contaminated. The 84-year-old king, quarantined on an island palace near the city of Jeddah, while MBS fled to a remote site on the Red Sea coast.

Health care professionals at an elite hospital reserved for royals are preparing 500 more beds for an expected surge of patients, while any infected staff members will have to be treated at a less elite hospital to save space for royals.

"Directives are to be ready for VIPs from around the country," officials at the elite facility, the King Faisal Specialist Hospital, wrote in a "high alert" sent electronically Tuesday to senior doctors and obtained by the Times.

"We don't know how many cases we will get but high alert," said the message, which instructed "all chronic patients to be moved out ASAP" and only "top urgent cases" will be accepted, according to the newspaper.


OPEC to Decide Historic Oil Production Cut Due to COVID-19

The Saudi royal family has about 15,000 members, many of whom regularly travel to Europe. Some are thought to have contracted the virus there and brought it back to Saudi Arabia, the report said.

Mostly members of lesser branches have been infected so far, a source familiar with the situation told the Times, while the vast majority of cases in the country were registered in poor migrant camps and slums around the cities of Mecca and Medina, among non-Saudis.

On Tuesday, the country’s health minister warned in a rare television address that the outbreak may only be starting.   

"Within the next few weeks, studies predict the number of infections will range from a minimum of 10,000 to a maximum of 200,000," Tawfiq al-Rabiah said, according to the official Saudi Press Agency.

The kingdom of about 34 million people has reported 3,287 cases and 44 deaths as of Thursday.

]]> <![CDATA[IMF Says Global Growth Will Turn "Sharply Negative" in 2020]]> Thu, 9 Apr 2020 18:46:16 -04:00 The International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva Thursday said the global growth will turn sharply negative in 2020, noting that "we anticipate the worst economic fallout since the Great Depression."

RELATED: 16.8 Million Out of Work in US, 'Uncharted Territory' Economists Warn

Countries around the world have taken fiscal actions amounting to about 8 trillion U.S. dollars in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Georgieva, who noted that there has been "significant coordination."

She added that if the COVID-19 pandemic fades in the second half of the year, the multilateral lender's baseline assumption is for a "partial recovery" in 2021.

The multilateral lender now projects that over 170 countries will experience negative per capita income growth this year, Georgieva said, adding that "the bleak outlook applies to advanced and developing economies alike."

]]> <![CDATA[16.8m Out of Work in US, 'Uncharted Territory' Experts Warn]]> Thu, 9 Apr 2020 17:51:21 -04:00 The United States Department of Labor announced Thursday that 6.6 million more people filed unemployment claims last week, bringing the three-week total to roughly 16.8 million, meaning about 10 percent of the nation's workforce has become jobless during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

US Unemployment Rate Could Soon Reach 32%: Fed Economists Warn

"Unprecedented. Unheard of. Uncharted territory. These are phrases I use all the time now but they are deeply inadequate for describing what's going on,"  Economic Policy Institute (EPI) senior economist Heidi Shierholz said.

As one in 10 U.S. workers lost their jobs between March 15 and April 4, the country is now facing the biggest, fastest pileup of job losses since record-keeping began in 1948. Economists warn the U.S. unemployment rate in April could hit 15 percent, a number was last seen at the tail end of the Great Depression.

Yet the real numbers could be even higher because state unemployment offices around the country have been overwhelmed with claims, and some people have been unable to get through by telephone or website. 

Also “claims figures in recent weeks don't include people who aren't eligible for regular unemployment insurance but are nevertheless out of work due to the virus—people like independent contractors, those who had to quit work to care for a child whose school closed, and those who don't have long enough work histories," Shierholz and fellow EPI economist Elise Gould. 

"In other words, coronavirus job losses are greater than what today's numbers show," they added in a joint statement. And still, more job cuts are expected as the U.S. is far from ‘flattening the curve’ of infections, the country reported Thursday over 462,000 cases.

For this reason, both economists agree that the next relief and recovery package should provide aid to state and local governments, extend unemployment insurance benefits, and provide better protection for workers. Also, incentivize employers to keep workers on the payroll in order to minimize job losses. 

Last week U.S. economists at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis warned that if the current rate of job losses continue the country's unemployment rate could reach 32.1 percent, the highest in nearly a century.

As CNBC noted, that number would be "more than three times worse than the peak of the Great Recession," which in 1929 peaked at 25 percent unemployment. 

]]> <![CDATA[Coronavirus: Announced Tragedy in the US]]> Thu, 9 Apr 2020 15:39:12 -04:00 The COVID-19, a disease caused by a novel coronavirus that is reopening the wounds of the capitalist system, much likely as never before, breaks bleak new records in the U.S.: 1,973 deaths on Wednesday, April 8, exceeding the fatalities in the previous day, 1,939. Up to now, the country has reported 435,160 cases of infection of the virus, and 14,797 deaths as of April 9 at 12:20 a.m. GMT time, according to WorldOMeter.


Bachelet Fears Repressive Extension of Measures by COVID-19

Since March 26, the U.S. is the new epicenter of infected with the coronavirus, while masks and respirators are scarce in the "capitalism world center." The U.S. is now the second country of death toll in the world, only behind Italy (17.669). 

The predictions are even worse: Anthony Fauci, leading US government infectious disease expert, told CNN on March 29 that the coronavirus could kill as many as 200,000 Americans, and millions will likely be infected. “I mean, looking at what we’re seeing now, I would say between 100,000 and 200,000 [deaths].”

It is laughable to think that private health care, in any scenario, will work above all for people's needs; in neoliberalism, enterprises act according to their profit. And the U.S. President Donald Trump is well-aware of it. 

Nothing could best illustrate the capitalist system that has brought the world to the current disaster, and Trump's state of mind now - when the humanity too urgently needs cooperation and solidarity - than his own words last February 27, at a press conference at the White House: "I’m the President of the United States.  I’m not the President of other countries. (...) they’re working on their countries and we’re working on our countries."


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In an exclusive talk to Edu Montesanti, Noam Chomsky says that the number of those infected in the U.S. is sure higher than daily officially released. "The U.S. is the only major country that cannot even provide data on the spread of the disease, because of the abysmal lack of testing," points out Chomsky, based in Arizona. 

Asked if he means that the number of those infected with the coronavirus in his country is higher than the publicized, the professor at the University of Arizona in Tucson replies, incisively: "You are right." 

On February 26, Donald Trump predicted that the number of infected Americans would soon go down “close to zero.”  A month before that, in response to a question about how temporarily closed businesses and suspended flights will affect the global economy, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said that coronavirus could bring jobs back to the U.S. from China. 

"I think it will help accelerate the return of jobs to North America, some to the U.S., probably some to Mexico as well,” Ross said.  

"The U.S. response has been shocking. It was known for years that a pandemic was likely," says the American analyst, to this teleSUR report. Actually, since the SARS and MERS epidemic also caused by a coronavirus, scientists have been warning of a pandemic. There was, then, a burst of research, but for a short time. 

“From 2005, it became really difficult to get funding for work on SARS coronavirus,” said to NewScientist German Center for Infection Research's Rolf Hilgenfeld. Later, in 2016 the WHO put coronaviruses among the top eight known viral threats, requiring more research.

According to Chomsky, market interests, again in history, have played a terrifying role against humanity: "Drug companies weren't interested in preparing [any medicines against coronavirus]: no profit." On March 16, on a conference call, Trump told a group of governors: "Respirators, ventilators, all of the equipment - try getting it yourselves." 

The American Historian Peter Kuznick says, in an exclusive interview, too, that Trump, a hysterical champion of the laissez-faire, refuses to efficiently intervene on the issue, "for fear of showing that the government can solve a problem better than the capitalists can."

"The government can't step in: under neoliberal dogma, its role is to subsidize private power, not to interfere with it. Trump made it worse by smashing all the defenses, eliminating the pandemic division, cutting back on medical funding," adds Chomsky, who also points out: 

"China notified the World Health Organization in early January that unexplained pneumonia cases in Wuhan Province were traced to a new coronavirus and shared its genetic sequence for countries to use in developing specific diagnostic kits."


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World Health Organization report released on January 21, says in early January that China had informed the UN agency, in a December 31 document, about "cases of pneumonia unknown etiology (unknown cause) detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province of China.

According to an ABC News report published on April 8, U.S. intelligence officials were warning as far back as late November that the novel coronavirus was spreading across China's Wuhan region, posing a threat to its people. "Analysts concluded it could be a cataclysmic event," warned a U.S. military's National Center for Medical Intelligence (NCMI) intelligence report compiled last November. 

The ABC News source has said that the intelligence report was then briefed "multiple times to the Defense Intelligence Agency, the Pentagon's Joint Staff and the White House."

"The West ignored all this, and Trump most all," says Chomsky. "This is an administration that has been at war with science since the day Trump took office," regrets Kuznick, Director of Nuclear Studies at the American University, in Washington D.C., who adds: 

"Trump continues to downplay the seriousness of the situation. The daily briefings have turned into Trump's reality TV show. They’ve replaced his rallies."

The U.S. president has boasted of what he says, "the U.S. is testing more than other countries," particularly mentioning South Korea, one of the nation's most efficient in combating the new coronavirus. Kuznick disgusts Trump's misleading of numbers:

"In response to the fact that the U.S. was pathetically slow to begin testing, he brags that the U.S. has tested more people than any other country, including South Korea. In so doing, he neglects to mention that the U.S. has more than six times the population of South Korea."

The renowned historian mentions the U.S. website COVID Tracking Project, to precisely contradict Donald Trump: "As of March 25, the U.S had tested 367,710 people compared to South Korea’s 357,896, which means the U.S. had tested one in every 900 residents while South Korea had tested one in every 144."

Over three million people have lost their jobs in the U.S. up to date, amid a disease that is surely going to leave many psychological problems, and so many will undirectly die due to the novel coronavirus. "The long-term economic prospects are dismal indeed," predicts Kuznick. The future is uncertain. The current environment is of desolation and panic in the United States.

"We can no longer allow the global economy to be guided by short-term profitmaking and neoliberal economic policies that leave billions in poverty, and destroy national health care systems and the environment itself," says Kuznick to this teleSUR report. 

"Clearly, a world in which the richest eight people have more wealth than the poorest 3.8 billion people, is neither viable nor tolerable. We must become a global community," warns the renowned U.S. historian.


]]> <![CDATA[Ghebreyesus: 'Africa Will Not Be Testing Ground for Any Vaccine']]> Thu, 9 Apr 2020 15:19:24 -04:00 Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, World Health Organization leader, condemned the suggestion of testing an anti-COVID vaccine on  the African population. These statements, qualified as racism, were made by two doctors who were live on French television.

RELATED: New York Lives Its Deadliest Day With 799 Deaths by COVID-19

The main argument for the hypothetical vaccine testing is Africa does not have the defense and preventive resources as other regions. Jean-Paul Mira and Camille Locht, who are the Intense Care Chief and Director of the National Medical Research Institute in France.

In a clear rejection of the polemic declarations, Ghebreyesus expressed:  "When we needed solidarity this kind of racist remark will not help. It goes against solidarity. Africa cannot and will not be the testing ground for any vaccine. The hangoverfrom such colonial mentality has to stop.”

The international organization's leader also said he is not condoning such racist and colonial comments. Recently, Ghebreyesus received racist attacks by some people over his work at WHO. On his declarations, he said he is not addressing the offenses directed to his persona because he is proud of his ethnic and regional ascendance.


Ghebreyesus said these statements are contrary to the cooperation strategies the world needs to face COVID-19.: “these kinds of racist remarks actually will not help. It goes against solidarity”,  he said. Besides, he announced that WHO "will follow all the rules to test any vaccine or therapeutics all over the world using exactly the same rule."

For  his part, the European Union (EU) High Representative for Foreign Policy Josep Borrell said on Wednesday: "The idea that Africa can be a testing ground or a laboratory for testing a vaccine for the rest of the world is unacceptable."

After harsh criticism on social media and demand requests, both doctors apologized for the disrespectful, insensitive and discriminatory statements. 

]]> <![CDATA[15,000 Professionals Join Fight Against COVID-19 in Argentina]]> Thu, 9 Apr 2020 15:18:17 -04:00 Argentina’s Health Ministry confirmed that over 15,000 professionals will join the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic through a telemedicine system.


Scientists Unveil Coronavirus Genome That Arrived in Argentina

Health Ministry Human Talent director Pedro Silberman explained that those professionals are being trained to complement and accompany the health units that are currently working.

The Argentine authorities reported that 3,000 resident doctors will receive an extension in their jobs.

To strengthen the health system, the Education Ministry will speed up the process of professional certification of almost 5,000 graduates from health careers.

"Besides receiving supplies for their protection, health professionals will access virtual courses to train themselves in the COVID-19 management," Silberman explained.

Argentina's President Alberto Fernandes says, "I toured a field hospital in Lanus, which will provide initial medical care for mild and suspected cases of COVID-19. It will also ensure therapeutic isolation of infected patients."

The Health Ministry implemented a telemedicine device whereby "experts from the Argentine Society of Intensive Care supervise 800 therapies across the country in two shifts to discuss each case with the professionals treating them," local outlet Teleram reported.​​​​​​​

The Argentine government also installed two "rescue systems" specifically tailored for health professionals, which operate through "red buttons" available in each care unit​​​​​​​.

"One system serves to clear medical questions with experts and the other one allows health workers to dialogue with mental health teams, which will attend 24 hours to contain their emotional crises."

]]> <![CDATA[New York Lives Its Deadliest Day With 799 Deaths by COVID-19]]> Thu, 9 Apr 2020 13:54:37 -04:00 New York Governor Andrew Cuomo informed that 799 COVID-19 patients died over the last 24 hours, although his state saw a reduction in the number of new hospitalizations.


US Becomes First Country to Report 200,000 Coronavirus Cases

The total death toll in New York now exceeds 7,000, forcing authorities to bring additional funeral home employees to the area to cope with the volume of bodies.

"If someone had told me that as governor I would have to take these measures, I couldn't have imagined it," Cuomo said.

​Despite the new daily record of deaths, he confirmed that other indicators continue to show that New York is flattening the curve thanks to confinement and social distancing.

In the last 24 hours, the number of new hospitalizations fell to 200, compared to over 1,400 that were registered on some days last week. There were only 84 intensive care admissions.

New York state has now sufficient beds and is moving away from the worst projections for which it was preparing.

"This virus attacked the vulnerable and attacked the weak and it's our job as a society to protect the vulnerable," Cuomo said, as reported by Aljazeera.​​​​​​​

​According to Columbia University, the worst-case scenario implied that 136,000 hospital beds would be necessary in New York City alone.

Up to now, however, there are some 90,000 in the state, including all the additional capacity that authorities have been setting in recent weeks.​​​​​​​

COVID-19-related deaths in New York account for almost half of the total recorded in the U.S., where over 432,000 cases have been confirmed, according to Johns Hopkins University.

As of the Wednesday morning, authorities reported 6,268 people who died of COVID-19 in the New York state. About 63 percent of the victims statewide were 70 years old or older.​​​​​​​

]]> <![CDATA[Boris Johnson Leaves Intensive Care After Recent Improvement]]> Thu, 9 Apr 2020 14:48:32 -04:00 The health of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who was hospitalized four days ago with COVID-19, is reported to be improving, as he has been discharged from the intensive care unit at the St. Thomas Hospital, Foreign Minister Dominic Raab said on Thursday. 


Boris Johnson is in 'Good Spirits' and 'Stable' in ICU

"Johnson had a good night," a government source said of the conservative leader, who has been in hospital since Sunday.

The Prime Minister thanked the hospital unit for the excellent care he is receiving from doctors and staff, official sources reported from Downing Street, Johnson's residence.

From St. Thomas Hospital, Johnson also referred to the five minutes of applause that the United Kingdom dedicates every Thursday at 19:00, local time, to public health service (NHS) workers from their homes.

"These are wonderful unifying moments for the whole country," the Prime Minister said, according to official sources.

"Tonight millions of people will once again pay tribute to our health workers," he added. Dominic Raab now heads the Foreign Office in the absence of the Conservative leader.

The United Kingdom has a new record number of deaths and is experiencing the worst moment of the pandemic, according to official data.

]]> <![CDATA[Bachelet Fears Repressive Extension of Measures by COVID-19]]> Thu, 9 Apr 2020 14:02:19 -04:00 Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner, expressed Thursday her concern about some governments maintaining restrictive measures after COVID-19 global crisis as repressive policies. 


Arab League Welcomes Yemen Ceasefire

"I am deeply concerned about the adoption by some countries of unlimited emergency powers, not subject to review," she said, adding that in some cases "the epidemic is being used to justify repressive changes to conventional legislation, which will remain in place long after the end of this emergency.”

Bachelet also requested leaders unify and cooperate among nations, and to think in a conjunct manner to overcome the  crisis. The UN representative also encouraged the international community to leave behind selfish economic and social  approaches and management.  “We simply cannot return to where we were just a few months ago before #COVID19. This is a colossal test of leadership. It demands decisive, coordinated and innovative action from all, for all. We are physically distant today, but we must stand together” published on her Twitter official profile. 

she also added: “I urge all governments to increase access to accurate information & statistics. Transparency is paramount & can be life-saving in a health crisis. I also urge an end to any blanket Internet & telecommunication shutdowns.”

In her communications, the human rights advocator also requested to run under transparency and not to take misinformed advantages on people during the social tension caused by the coronavirus outbreak. “I urge all Governments to increase access to accurate information and statistics. Transparency is paramount & can be life-saving in a health crisis. I also urge an end to any blanket Internet & telecommunication shutdowns.”

About the UN development program, Bachelet assured it is still a priority for the international organism, despite the exceptional current circumstances. “The 2030 Agenda is fully mapped and universally approved: it remains our strongest tool” posted in her Twitter account. 

]]> <![CDATA[Puebla Group Rejects Sentencing of Former President Correa]]> Thu, 9 Apr 2020 12:23:50 -04:00 The Puebla Group on Wednesday demanded an end to the judicial persecution of political leaders in Latin America after Ecuadorian courts imposed a prison sentence on former President Rafael Correa.


Trial of Ecuador's Ex-President Rafael Correa is Under Way

The Latin American leader was sentenced to eight years in prison on alleged corruption charges. The decision includes the withdrawal of his political rights for 25 years.

"Ecuador's reactionary political sectors have increased their attacks on Correa under the protection of the judicial system," the organization, which is made up of political representatives from around the world, said in a statement.

The former president is a victim of "lawfare," an illegal mechanism used by right-wing politicians to disqualify new candidacies of leftist leaders, according to the Puebla Group.

"Declaration | Puebla Group demands an end to the judicial persecution of political leaders in Latin America: The case against Rafael Correa"


"The decision against Correa seeks to prevent his re-election in Ecuador next 2021." the Group said.

However, the statement stressed that "the unjust decision has not prevented the former president from continuing to lead the polls with a view to next year's elections.

The Correa trial is not isolated. It happened previously with former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in Brazil, and with the former and current Vice President of Argentina, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner.

]]> <![CDATA[U2 Donates Over 10 Million to Ireland's Healthcare Workers ]]> Thu, 9 Apr 2020 12:50:03 -04:00 The rock band U2 donated US$10.9 million to buy Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and other medical supplies to fight COVID-19 in Ireland.


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Bono, The Edge, Larry Mullen, and Adam Clayton thus joined a fundraising project led by the plane rental company Avolon, which works with other public and private companies to import medical supplies from China.

On Tuesday, the first shipment with these supplies arrived in Dublin and included 40 respirators, 60,000 goggles, 200,000 face masks, and over one million disposable gloves.

So far, the Irish government has invested over US$200 million in the purchase of Chinese EPIs, which are being transported on dozens of flights carried out by the airline Aer Lingus.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar indicated that the quantity of medical supplies being imported would serve, in "normal circumstances", to equip health workers for about 13 years.

This Christian Democrat politician thanked the economic donation made by the U2 musicians and stressed that "all help" is welcome at this time.

"When all this is over, we will have a stockpile of material and could help other countries that need it," Varadkar, who is also a physician, said.​​​​​​​

]]> <![CDATA[Bolivia: Añez Replaces Health Minister ]]> Thu, 9 Apr 2020 12:19:35 -04:00 Bolivian de facto President Jeanine Añez announced on Wednesday the Health Minister replacement amid the sanitary crisis in the Andean nation due to COVID-19.


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Former Bolivian Health Minister Aníbal Cruz alleged “personal reasons” for his resignation. In a formal letter addressed to Añez, Cruz affirmed “it was an honor to serve the country and work under the leadership of President Áñez" and added that "as you know, have been times in which we have fought an endless battle against the coronavirus for the health of Bolivians.” Cruz held the health office for 5 months. 

Añez acknowledged Cruz's development and said he did “a job of great risk and great dedication. The country, the government and myself will be eternally grateful for his dedication and effort". On his part, the entering Health Minister  Marcelo Navajas said that his administration would continue Cruz’s work.

According to Añez, the new minister would address Bolivia’s current situation due to COVID-19. The Andean nation is facing the virus spreading under a governmental mismanaging. Hospitals and sanitary facilities lack resources, medical supplies, and trained personnel.

"Áñez buys riot gear instead of attending to coronaviruses. A MAS activist criticizes the de facto government for buying chemical agents to repress protesters, instead of investing in the health sector."

Despite claims from health professionals, Añez invested in anti-riot chemical substances instead of acquiring resources to restrain the disease. Besides, the de facto mandatary refused to ask Cuba and China for medical aid, ignoring people and other political leader’s suggestions. 

Also, there are no economic guarantees for Bolivian workers who lost their regular incomes because of labor ceasing due to the virus. Recently, her administration is under questioning for military confrontation against more than 400 Bolivians who attempted a homeland return. 

So far, Bolivia registers 264 positive cases, 18 deaths, and 2 recoveries.

]]> <![CDATA[Arab League Welcomes Yemen Ceasefire ]]> Thu, 9 Apr 2020 10:49:38 -04:00 Arab League (AL) Secretary General Ahmed Aboul-Gheit welcomed on Thursday the Saudi-led coalition's two-week cease-fire in Yemen.


Saudi-UAE Coalition Declares 2-Week Unilateral Ceasefire in Yemen

He urged the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen to respond to the Saudi initiative that constitutes "a rare opportunity for stopping the bloodshed in the war-torn country."

He stressed "the Yemeni people is the first winner of that important initiative that mirrored feeling of responsibility and realization to the dangers that face all sides now."

"Facing the coronavirus pandemic necessitates collaboration and solidarity," he added.

Extending his thanks to the kingdom for the move, the Arab League chairman reiterated the war has exhausted Yemenis who aspire serious peace process.

On Wednesday, the Saudi-led coalition announced its forces would begin a two-week cease-fire starting on Thursday in response to UN calls for halting hostilities amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The five-year-old conflict in Yemen has killed more than 100,000 people and has pushed millions to the verge of famine and forced thousands to seek shelter in displacement camps.

]]> <![CDATA[OPEC to Decide Historic Oil Production Cut Due to COVID-19]]> Thu, 9 Apr 2020 11:38:15 -04:00 The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) just started an emergency meeting this Thursday to agree on a historic cut in fuel production after COVID-19 crushed global demand.


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The meeting agreed upon by OPEC and non-OPEC partners, known as OPEC+, takes place at 4 P.M. Vienna time, Austria, and will be conducted via video conference.

The G-20 presidency said the meeting will foster dialogue and global cooperation to ensure stable energy markets and enable a stronger global economy. 

The conflicts between Saudi Arabia and Russia will make it difficult to agree on an unprecedented cut in world oil production, analysts say.

However, OPEC+ hopes to persuade non-OPEC producers, such as G-20 members like the US, Canada, Norway, and Brazil, to support cuts in oil production. 

U.S. President Donald Trump has shown no interest in supporting such a policy but recently announced that oil production in his country had already declined.

Energy ministers from the Group of 20 major economies will meet for their own extraordinary video conference on Friday.

]]> <![CDATA[Bolsonaro Is Good President Only for 33 Percent of Brazilians]]> Thu, 9 Apr 2020 11:39:05 -04:00 Amid debates about what needs to be done to contain the COVID-19 pandemic in Brazil, Datafolha published an opinion poll according to which 80 percent of the population says they suspect President Jair Bolsonaro's statements.


Sao Paulo Extends Lockdown, Bolsonaro Defies Health Advice

The investigation was carried out between April 5 and April 6, included 2,948 people in 176 municipalities, and has a margin of error of two percentage points.

According to the data, 39 percent of the people consider Bolsonaro's performance to be bad or terrible, 25 percent consider it to be regular, and 33 percent see it to be good or excellent.

Datafolha also revealed that 43 percent of Brazilians do not trust Bolsonaro at all, 37 percent trust him sometimes, and 19 percent trust him.

"The Sao Paulo state, which voted overwhelmingly for Bolsonaro, must be regretting... 43 percent of those interviewed consider that his management of the pandemic has been bad... 58 percent said that Bolsonaro hurts rather than helps, and 52 percent holds that he lost conditions to govern," local outlet Antagonista detailed​​​​​​​

"Evolution of various epidemics compared to COVID-19! It would be interesting to show this video to Jair Bolsonaro and Osmar Terra so that they can make comparisons to H1N1 and the ''little flu' as well as talk about the classic 'it will kill just a little bit!'."

Datafolha also investigated people's attitudes towards Bolsonaro regarding the position he occupies.

In Brazil, 28 percent say that he never behaves according to what a president should behave, 25 percent say that he sometimes behaves appropriately, 28 percent say that he behaves appropriately at times, and 14 percent affirm his attitudes are suitable on all occasions.

"The most favorable appraisals were made by over-60-years-old citizens whose family income is between five and ten minimum wages," local outlet Folha detailed.​​​​​​​

]]> <![CDATA[Vietnam Records Zero Deaths From COVID in the Last 24 Hours]]> Thu, 9 Apr 2020 10:05:40 -04:00 Vietnam has not reported any deaths from the COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, a new report has revealed. According to the Vietnamese government's official website, the sanitary authorities reported 251 cases, but 126 do not show SARS-Cov-2 symptoms and two other patients were discharged. They will continue to be medically monitored at home for the next 14 days.


France's Coronavirus Daily Hospital Death Toll Slows

Even though Vietnam registered more than 200 cases, the recovery rate is promising. Like China, Vietnam is showing an effective contention strategy to combat the COVID-19 virus. The Health Ministry is recommending to keep the prevention measures, such as frequent handwashing, social isolation and to request medical in case of showing symptoms. 

Vietnam’s Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc convoked a virtual work meeting with his counterparts from China, Japan, and South Korea to plan a collective strategy to restrain the COVID-19 spread in the region. Xuan Phuc will conduct the meeting where leaders will discuss social programs, economic support plans, and benefits for those who were severely affected by the special situation due to the virus.

Vietnam's success is based on several factors: the firm decision of the country's authorities to preserve the health of its people, even if this means a slowdown in the rate of economic growth expected for 2020; the speed of the government in implementing timely measures for each stage, from the beginning of the disease.

Also, international authorities acknowledged the synergic involvement of its state institutions, ministries, and agencies; the indispensable discipline and social cooperation and prior investment in resources and infrastructure, which have been decisive for a country of more than 96 million people to manage to overcome an epidemic of such dimensions. 

]]> <![CDATA[Latin America: 14 Million People Lost Their Jobs to COVID-19]]> Thu, 9 Apr 2020 09:43:58 -04:00 Fourteen million full-time workers lost their jobs in Latin America because of the rise of the COVID-19 pandemic in the region, the International Labour Organization (ILO) revealed in a report.


Ecuador Indigenous Ask IACHR to Investigate State Over COVID-19 Crisis

In the last month, when COVID-19 began to expand rapidly in the region, there has been a huge drop in the number of jobs. The virus has had a catastrophic effect on the working class, the ILO announced.

The organization's new report, released Tuesday in Geneva, Switzerland, also estimates incalculable losses in income in sectors such as hotel and restaurant services, manufacturing, retail, and business and administrative activities.

For ILO Regional Director Vinícius Pinheiro, this reality "poses a challenge of unprecedented magnitude in the labor markets of Latin America and the Caribbean."

"How to protect small and medium enterprises during the COVID-19 crisis?
- Facilitating loans
- Fostering demand
- Social protection for your employees"

"We will only reverse this situation by facing the health emergency and rebuilding, at the same time, our labor markets," Pinheiro said.

This will require "more ambitious measures to preserve jobs, encourage businesses and protect incomes," he added.

The new ILO report also warned that COVID-19 will lead to 195 million full-time jobs disappearing globally between April and June this year alone.

Four out of every five workers worldwide are already suffering the consequences of the partial total confinement of entire cities that many governments have been forced to impose, according to the United Nations.

Analysts say the planet is experiencing the most severe crisis since World War II, which ended in 1945.

]]> <![CDATA[Trinidad & Tobago Rejects Possible US Intervention on Venezuela]]> Thu, 9 Apr 2020 09:52:54 -04:00 Besides stressing that his country’s stance on Venezuela has not changed, Trinidad and Tobago’s Prime Minister Keith Rowley stated that the Caribbean must remain a peace zone and rejected a possible U.S.-led military intervention in the South American country. 


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“Our position remains the same. Trinidad and Tobago remains a part of Caricom and we resolutely defend that position, saying we view the Caribbean as a zone of peace. That has not changed, and we do not expect it to change,” Rowley said.

The Caribbean president emphatically questioned those politicians who request any extraordinary action to resolve political impasses within the countries.

"We continue to reside under the umbrella of the UN, where these matters are not ones of size and strength, but one of compliance with the rules-based principle, where those rules are determined for all," Rowled stressed, as reported by local outlet Newsday.

"We are talking here about non-intervention and absence of military solutions to political problems in this way," he explained.

Venezuela's Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza thanked Trinidad and Tobago for requesting that international law be respected when the Donald Trump administration harasses his country.

"We appreciate that the government of Trinidad and Tobago, through the voice of his Prime Minister Keith Rowley, calls for respect and compliance with the international principles and regulations protected by the United Nations regarding threats of intervention and use of force in Venezuela," Arreaza tweeted.

Meanwhile, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo thanked U.S. regional allies on Wednesday for supporting the project related to imposing a "transitional government" in Venezuela.

Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Uruguay, Bolivia, and Costa Rica are among those countries that support the U.S. intervention plan, which uses military ships in the Caribbean as a mechanism of pressure.

]]> <![CDATA[UN Chief Asks for WHO Support Trump's Threat of Funding Freeze]]> Wed, 8 Apr 2020 23:56:52 -04:00 UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Wednesday called for support for the World Health Organization (WHO) after U.S. President Donald Trump threatened to freeze U.S. funding.

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"It is my belief that the World Health Organization must be supported, as it is absolutely critical to the world's efforts to win the war against COVID-19," said Guterres in a statement.

"This virus is unprecedented in our lifetime and requires an unprecedented response. Obviously, in such conditions, it is possible that the same facts have had different readings by different entities," he said, in an apparent reference to Trump's criticism of the WHO.

Now is the time for unity, for the international community to work together in solidarity to stop this virus and its shattering consequences, said Guterres.

]]> <![CDATA[Solidarity in the Age of Coronavirus: What the Arabs Must Do]]> Wed, 8 Apr 2020 23:43:47 -04:00 While the Coronavirus continues to ravage almost every nation on earth, Arab countries remain unable, or unwilling, to formulate a collective strategy to help the poorest and most vulnerable Arabs survive the deadly virus and its economic fallout.

 Venezuela Receives Humanitarian Aid From UN, WHO, Russia

Worse, amid growing international solidarity, we are yet to see a pan-Arab initiative that aims to provide material support to countries and regions that have been hit hardest by the COVID-19 disease. 

The lack of collective Arab responsiveness is not unique as it mirrors Europe’s own systematic failure, exhibiting ‘solidarity’ when it is financially convenient, and turning its back, sometimes at its own brethren, when there are no economic incentives. 

For example, when Greece defaulted on its debt to international donors in 2015, Germany, and other European Union countries, pounced on the opportunity to dismantle the country’s major financial institutions and to profit from Athens’ mounting miseries. 

All the talk of European solidarity, fraternity and community floundered at the altar of greed and unhindered profits.

That was not the first - nor will it be the last - occasion when the opportunistic EU showed its true colors. In truth, Europe is united, not by common history or unbreakable social bonds, but rather by the shared belief that a united Europe is a stronger economic unit.

The same sordid scenario was recently repeated. As Italy began buckling down under the unbearable burdens of the deadly Coronavirus, it immediately, and naturally, sought the help of its European sister states. To no avail.

Despite its sizable debt, Italy is a major player in the economic arena of Europe and, in fact, the world. Indeed, Italy is the world’s 8th largest economy. But the country’s economy is now experiencing a rare freefall, especially in the poorer regions of the South, where people are literally going hungry.

The first country to come to Italy’s aid was neither France, nor, unsurprisingly, Germany, but China, followed by Russia, then Cuba, and others. 

This palpable lack of solidarity among European countries has further empowered the ethnocentric view already prevailing in Europe, and championed by far-right movements like Italy’s League Party of Matteo Salvini. For years, the latter has advocated against European integration.

It will take months, if not years, for the political fallout of the Coronavirus to be fully assessed. But what is already clear is that international and regional economic hubs are actively hedging their bets to consolidate their geopolitical positions in the post-Coronavirus world. 

Despite bashful American attempts to join the politically-motivated international solidarity, US President Donald Trump’s humble moves arrived too little, too late. In fact, a sign of the times is that Chinese and Russian aid is pouring in to help the United States, which now has the world’s largest number of COVID-19 cases. 

A compelling question, however, is where are the Arabs in all of this?

Italy and Spain, in particular, share historical and cultural bonds, and broad political interests, with many Arab countries, interests that will remain long after the Coronavirus is eradicated. Failing to register on the radar of international solidarity with Italy and Spain will prove a strategic miscalculation.

Israel, on the other hand, is activating its aid agency, IsraAID, which has previously worked in Italy between 2016 and 2019, after a major earthquake killed nearly 300 people and left behind massive infrastructural damage. 

Israel uses ‘humanitarian aid’ as a political and propaganda tool. Israeli missions are often under-funded and short-lasting, but their impact is greatly amplified by a powerful, official media machine that tries to project Israel as a ‘peace-maker’, not a war-monger. 

The truth is, some Arab governments do, in fact, provide badly needed funds and aid to countries that are devastated by wars or natural disasters; alas, these efforts are often disorganized and self-centered - and frankly, not at all motivated by true solidarity. 

That said, the absence of Arab initiatives in the field of international humanitarian solidarity dwarf in comparison to the lack of Arab solidarity within the Arab world itself. 

According to United Nation estimates, there are “101.4 million (people) in the region who already live in poverty, according to official criteria, and around 52 million undernourished.”

A new policy brief issued on April 1 by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), projects that an additional 8.3 million people are set to join the poor and undernourished masses throughout the Arab world.

Aside from empty rhetoric and useless press releases, we are yet to witness a major collective Arab initiative, championed by, for example, the Arab League, to provide an Arab equivalent to the many economic stimulus plans that have been set into motion in many other countries and regions around the world. 

Late March, United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres, issued a ‘global ceasefire appeal’, pleading to the world, especially to warring Middle Eastern nations, to cease fire and to unite all efforts in one single war against the Coronavirus.

Sadly, that call has so far gone unheeded. The war in Libya is escalating, not subsiding; Israeli killing of Palestinians in the occupied West Bank continues unabated; the flood of refugees out of Syria, Turkey, and other Middle Eastern countries is yet to slow down.

Times of crisis, especially the kind that targets all of us regardless of race, religion, or geography, often constitute a wake-up call, present an opportunity for a new beginning, a new social contract so that we may resurrect from the ashes of our collective pain to build a better world. 

Let COVID-19 be that opportunity that will allow all nations, especially in the Middle East, to take a stance against war, hunger and disease, to share their wealth and to extend the hand of solidarity to Africa and our historic allies throughout the world. 


– Ramzy Baroud is a journalist and the Editor of The Palestine Chronicle. He is the author of five books. His latest is “These Chains Will Be Broken: Palestinian Stories of Struggle and Defiance in Israeli Prisons” (Clarity Press, Atlanta). Dr. Baroud is a Non-resident Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA), Istanbul Zaim University (IZU). His website is

Venezuela Receives Humanitarian Aid From UN, WHO, Russia
]]> <![CDATA[Trump Signs Order Allowing Private Companies to Mine the Moon]]> Wed, 8 Apr 2020 23:26:41 -04:00 As the coronavirus is continuing its spread across the planet, claiming tens of thousands of lives and plunging the world into an economic recession, United States President Donald Trump issued Monday an executive order encouraging U.S. companies to mine the Moon and other asteroids. 


NASA Discovers Potentially Earth-Size Habitable Planet

"There is literally nothing valuable enough on the Moon that would justify the expense of mining and transporting it," tweeted writer and game developer Rani Baker. "This is a plan a literal child would come up with."

The economic benefit of extracting resources from the Moon would be at best limited to lunar exploration as the cost of transporting materials back to Earth is not worth it, Gizmodo's Tom McKay explained.

“It is unclear whether the Moon does, in fact, have resources worth the cost of extracting in the foreseeable future,” McKay said.

“It is believed to have large quantities of helium-3 of possible use in fusion reactors, though it is finite and the total amount is unclear. It also has water, which would be worthless to bring back to Earth but would be very valuable in setting up long-term human habitation.”

In addition, Trump's "Executive Order on Encouraging International Support for the Recovery and Use of Space Resources" dishonors the principle that space is a "global commons" for humanity. 

Eighteen nations have ratified the 1979 United Nations Moon Agreement which urges countries to consider the astronomical body as neutral ground. Trump’s new order officializes that his administration does not care about the treaty and pushes private companies to look for extractive opportunities in Outer Space.

"Americans should have the right to engage in commercial exploration, recovery, and use of resources in outer space, consistent with applicable law," the order states. "Outer space is a legally and physically unique domain of human activity, and the United States does not view it as a global commons."

Trump has made Outer Space one of the priorities of his foreign policy and officially signed an order announcing the formation of the Space Force as a branch of the military in December 2019. 

the Russian space agency Roscosmos decried the U.S.’s order as a pretext for future attempts at seizure of other planets. 

"Attempts to expropriate outer space and aggressive plans to actually seize territories of other planets hardly set the countries [on a path] for fruitful cooperation," Roscosmos deputy head Sergey Saveliev said Tuesday.

]]> <![CDATA[Venezuela Receives Humanitarian Aid From UN, WHO, Russia]]> Wed, 8 Apr 2020 23:00:28 -04:00 Venezuela received Wednesday about 90 tons of humanitarian aid from the United Nations, World Health Organization, PanAmerican Health Organization, and Russia. 

Nearly 60 Groups Demand End to Sanctions During COVID-19 Crisis

"On behalf of President Nicolas Maduro, we thank the United Nations, the director of the World Health Organization (WHO), the Russian Federation led by Ambassador Sergey Melik-Bagdasarov, who has strengthened bilateral relations, for this humanitarian aid," Vice President Delcy Rodriguez said during the reception ceremony. 

The aid includes health supplies for water control and education, as well as 28,000 personal protective equipment for health workers, oxygen concentrators, pediatric beds, and hygiene kits. From Russia, the Latin American nation received 20,000 kits to test for COVID-19.

The United Nations delegate in Venezuela Herve Ludovic de Lys mentioned it is the first humanitarian shipment by the international organization to the South American country while thanking the country’s authorities for the joint coordination and work. 

"Humanitarian aid will be distributed to 14 hospitals and 50 outpatient clinics and CDI (...) as the U.N. we are requesting US$61 billion for the prevention and combat of COVID-19 in Venezuela," de Lys added.

The country’s Vice President stressed that despite the illegal economic and commercial blockade imposed by the United States against Venezuela, they continue to effectively combat the global pandemic "the blockade prevents Venezuela from accessing its resources financial ... this humanitarian aid is the largest the country is receiving," she concluded.

As of Wednesday, Venezuela’s authorities announced that there are 167 cases and nine dead. 

]]> <![CDATA[France's Coronavirus Daily Hospital Death Toll Slows]]> Wed, 8 Apr 2020 23:29:16 -04:00 The number of people who died from coronavirus infections in French hospitals climbed by 8 percent in a day to a cumulative total of 7,632, state health agency director Jerome Salomon told a news conference on Wednesday.

France To "Temporarily" Nationalize Companies Hit by COVID-19

But he added the day’s figures were incomplete as authorities were not able to register nursing homes data, which account for more than 30 percent of total fatalities, due to “technical problems.”

The total death toll, including Tuesday’s nursing homes’ figures, is up 5 percent at 10,869.

Currently 30,000 infected people are hospitalized in the country, including 7,131 patients in intensive care, said Salomon at a daily briefing on the outbreak.

On Monday, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire warned that France's growth would likely record its worst post-war downturn after the coronavirus epidemic has taken a toll on the country's economic activities.

Speaking at a hearing of the Senate's economic affairs committee, Le Maire said France was facing its major "economic shock" since the end of the World War II.

"The worst growth figure that has been made by France since 1945 was in 2009 after the financial crisis of 2008: it was at -2.2 percent," the minister said. "We will probably be at more than -2.2 percent this year."

]]> <![CDATA[Ecuador’s Virus-Hit Guayaquil Begins Burials of 1,000 Bodies]]> Wed, 8 Apr 2020 22:24:39 -04:00 In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Ecuador’s Joint Task Force in Guayaquil is working on the burial process for nearly 1,000 bodies that remain in morgues and the strengthening of medical infrastructure with two new hospitals, as authorities announced Tuesday. 

Ecuador's Guayaquil Runs out of Coffins as COVID-19 Deaths Soar

The objective of the Task Force is to bury about 100 bodies a day, which on Tuesday were being held in the small morgues of hospitals and in seven refrigerated containers installed in the city in recent days.

Last week in Guayaquil, the capital of the Ecuadorean province most affected by COVID-19, more than 1,300 bodies were collected between homes and hospitals, and some were collected by private funeral homes.

This province alone has recorded 2,706 cases, 67.7 percent of the total cases in the country (3,995, according to the latest report), and deaths amounted to 138, 62.7 percent of the entire country (220). Although there are another 182 deaths for which the causes are unconfirmed, they look to be caused by the virus.

Health Minister Juan Carlos Zevallos predicted that in the next few days the curve of coronavirus cases in Guayaquil would “flatten,” he told EFE, although he warned that “hard days” still lie ahead.

According to different health spokespersons, “417” to “more than 1,600” hospital staff have suffered or are affected with symptoms of the coronavirus in Ecuador, some confirmed and others not.

In the face of a seemingly out of control death toll (the authorities have come to speak of between 2,500 and 3,500), the Guayaquil Mayor’s Office has announced that two new cemeteries will be built.

“There will be 12 hectares in total and there will be around 12,000 graves between the two. Both will be free of charge and will become graveyards in honor of those who passed away during this tragedy so that all their loved ones can honor them,” said the mayor.

The first graves will be available from next week in Suburbio cemetery, according to Maria Lorena Apolo, municipal adviser.

“This cemetery already had the structural plans and have been adapted to proceed with the construction system,” said the official.

]]> <![CDATA[Ecuador Indigenous Ask IACHR to Investigate State Over COVID-19]]> Wed, 8 Apr 2020 22:36:20 -04:00 The Ecuadorean Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities (Conaie) presented Tuesday to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) a request for several precautionary measures against the Ecuadorean state for affecting the rights to life, health, and harm to Indigenous peoples.

Brazil, Chile, Ecuador Report Highest Number of COVID-19 Cases

Given the crisis that the country is going through due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Conaie has denounced that both the Ecuadorean government, as well as the Ministry of Economy and Finance, have acted with some negligence regarding the country's health system, but they also hide information about how the state finances it. 

According to Conaie, in mid-Dec. 2019, the impact of the COVID-19 was already known from the warnings given by the World Health Organization (WHO). However, the Ecuadorean authorities omitted their responsibility as a state, minimizing the impact and, above all, assigned valuable resources to others issues as the loans, of which the IMF and World Bank indicated that they should not be paid.

These deliberate omissions have led to deaths, especially in the city of Guayaquil, where the deceased do not even have a dignified burial place, only those who can, which shows rampant social inequality, the group pointed out.

If this situation is catastrophic in urban sectors, in Indigenous territories and jurisdictions, they warned that a lack of water, hospitals and also a high rate of malnutrition make the communities even more vulnerable. 

In this scenario, it is seen that the payment of the external debt was privileged over the budgets of Health, Education, and Justice, as evidenced in the month of March 2020, when about US$325 million dollars were paid to the holders of the country's 2020 Global Bonds, leaving aside the urgency of those resources to satisfy hospital needs, medical supplies, among others.

Under the pretext of "austerity and optimization", the government also in 2018 and 2019 annulled occasional contracts and provisional appointments of doctors, especially family or first-level care, when the logic should be to strengthen this sector.

The Indigenous organization also said that it is almost a state secret to know how the government economically manages the health system. It is not clear how permanent income (taxes) and non-permanent income (natural resources) are regulated when it is assumed that the values ​​destined for the health sector are constitutionally guaranteed and are equivalent to 40 percent of the total budget value.

For those reasons, Conaie asked for the intervention of the Washington-based body to clarify the irregularities carried out by the current government, which have become more evident in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic crisis.


]]> <![CDATA[Latinos, Blacks Disproportionately Hit by COVID-19 in NYC ]]> Wed, 8 Apr 2020 22:21:23 -04:00 The Latino community represents the ethnic group that is hit harder by the COVID-19 in New York City, the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States, Mayor Bill de Blasio revealed Wednesday.


COVID-19 Disastrous for US-Detained Migrants Amnesty Int. Warns

Citing data from New York City's health department, de Blasio said Latinos - who comprise about 29 percent of the city's population - represent nearly 34 percent of the patients who died of COVID-19 as of Monday, while almost 28 percent of the known deaths were among black people, who represent about 24 percent of New York population.

Meanwhile, the figures reflected a disproportionately lower impact among White and Asian people.

The mayor pointed to the persistence of economic disparities in explaining why there are far more victims among Latino and Blacks than among other racial and ethnic groups.

"There's still a reality that folks with more resources get more health care," he said. "There are a lot of people - particularly seniors in communities of color - that were more vulnerable because their conditions had not been treated the way they could have and should have if the resources had been given to them that they deserved."

De Blasio added that information about the virus from city authorities did not reach some people because of language barriers.


US Black People More Likely To Die From COVID-19: Study

The commissioner of the city's health department Oxiris Barbot also noted that certain people in the Latinx community were afraid to seek care out of concerns about their migration status, or that of their family members.

"Even though we have made lots of efforts to reassure people that all of our public hospitals see individuals independent of their immigration status," she said, "the overlay of the anti-immigrant rhetoric across this country, I think, has real implications in the health of our community."

Yet, New York is not the only city in the United States to witness such racial and ethnic disparities.

In Chicago, data analyzed by member station WBEZ showed that as of Saturday, Black people made up 70 percent of the city's registered deaths, while they make up less than 30 percent of its population. Black citizens in Louisiana also represented "slightly more than 70 percent of deaths" across the state, its governor, John Bel Edwards, said Monday.

The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics released last fall data showing that a significantly smaller percentage of Latino and Black workers reported enjoying the flexibility to work remotely than their White and Asian counterparts in 2017-18, which can be one of the reasons explaining these disparities.

"There are more public workers, Latino and African-American, who don't have a choice, frankly, but to go out there every day and drive the bus and drive the train and show up for work - and wind up subjecting themselves to, in this case, the virus," New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo acknowledged.

]]> <![CDATA[Iran's COVID-19 Cases Near 65,000 as Downward Trend Continues]]> Wed, 8 Apr 2020 21:12:28 -04:00 The COVID-19 pandemic in Iran continued its week-long downward trend on Wednesday as less than 2,000 new cases were reported. Meanwhile, Turkey's tally of infections with the novel coronavirus was poised to pass 40,000.

Iran reported 1,997 new COVID-19 cases and 121 more deaths from the infectious disease, bringing the tally of infections to 64,586 and the death toll to 3,993.

 Scientists Unveil Coronavirus Genome That Arrived in Argentina

Kianush Jahanpur, head of Public Relations and Information Center of the Ministry of Health and Medical Education, expressed the hope that Iran would be able to control the pace of the virus spread in the following days.

Mohammad Nahavandian, Iranian vice president for economic affairs, said the United States cannot block Iran's request for a loan of 5 billion U.S. dollars from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for fighting the novel coronavirus.

"The IMF policy should be fair in assessing and approving loan requests" for its members, Nahavandian said.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif welcomed a recent proposal by Russian President Vladimir Putin to lift global sanctions and create green trade corridors as the world grapples with COVID-19 pandemic.

The Saudi Social Development Bank announced the launch of a health care fund with a budget of 2 billion Saudi Riyals (533 million U.S. dollars) to support 12 health specialties and establishments that are licensed by the Health Ministry.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) announced 300 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total confirmed cases to 2,659. The tally of the recoveries in the UAE rose to 239 after 53 more patients made full recovery from the virus.

Qatar confirmed 153 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total number of infections to 2,210, of whom 178 have recovered after 28 more recoveries were added on Wednesday.

In Iraq, the Health Ministry confirmed 80 new COVID-19 cases, raising the total cases to 1,202, of whom 69 have died and 425 have recovered.

Egypt reported 110 new COVID-19 cases and nine more deaths, raising the total number of cases in the country to 1,560, including 103 fatalities.

Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly announced extending the nationwide nighttime curfew that started on March 25 for another two weeks until April 23.

Morocco reported 91 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 1,275, while the death toll reached 93.   

Oman's Ministry of Health announced 48 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total number of infections to 419, including 72 recoveries.

In Lebanon, the total number of COVID-19 cases increased by 27 to 575, while the death toll remained unchanged at 19.

Algeria reported 12 new deaths from COVID-19 and 104 more confirmed cases, raising the death toll to 205 and the tally of infections to 1,572.

In Jordan, Health Minister Saad Jaber confirmed five new coronavirus cases, raising the tally of COVID-19 infections to 358.

Jordan's Minister of State for Media Affairs Amjad Adaileh said a two-day full curfew will be imposed on the upcoming weekend lasting from Thursday night until Saturday midnight, in a bid to curb the coronavirus spread.

The minister also voiced appreciation to China's world-renowned billionaire and Alibaba founder Jack Ma for donating much-needed medical equipment to Jordan.

]]> <![CDATA[US Stock Market Soars After Sanders Announces End of Campaign]]> Wed, 8 Apr 2020 20:35:49 -04:00 The stock market in the United States jumped higher Wednesday after Democratic Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders suspended his presidential campaign. This reaction confirmed the threat posed by his bold proposals and egalitarian program to Wall Street.


COVID-19 Reminds Us We Need a Gov't Working for All: Sanders

The Dow Jones average climbed almost 800 points following the Vermont senator's announcement.

The possibility of Sanders at the White House was never welcomed by the financial markets as the 78-year-old democratic socialist is an outspoken critic of "corporate America," and his agenda, including proposals like Medicare-for-all, tuition-free public college, and a wealth tax, terrified the capital owners.

Former Vice President Joe Biden, who is now the presumptive nominee, is seen as a candidate who is much more friendly to the markets, chief investment officer for Independent Advisor Alliance, Chris Zaccarelli, told The Post.

In a moment when the markets' reactions are primarily determined by the Coronavirus pandemic, Zaccarelli added that what happened "is a reminder that this is an election year." In four to five months, Wall Street will be focusing on the 2020 Presidential Election "and the implications it will have for next year and the three years beyond that."

The news that Sanders was ending his campaign was met with sadness from progressives, who mourned the end of a campaign that defied corporate power, the domination of the financial markets, and galvanized a broad working-class coalition into a movement while creating among young people a new interest in politics.

Sanders, in a live-streamed speech to supporters Wednesday, vowed to continue the fight.

"We have taken on Wall Street, the insurance companies, the drug companies, the fossil fuel companies, the military-industrial complex, the prison industrial complex and the greed of the entire corporate elite," said Sanders. "That struggle continues."

]]> <![CDATA[Saudi-UAE Coalition Declares Unilateral Ceasefire in Yemen]]> Wed, 8 Apr 2020 18:53:06 -04:00 The Saudi-UAE coalition fighting the Houthis in Yemen has declared Wednesday a two-week unilateral ceasefire expected to go into effect at 12:00 pm local time (09:00 GMT) on Thursday.

Saudi-UAE Coalition Carries out Airstrikes on Yemen's Sanaa

The ceasefire is intended to help prevent a coronavirus outbreak in Yemen, while also allowing for a reduction in fighting, the Saudi state news agency SPA said, adding it comes after the United Nation’s call for global fighting to de-escalate amidst theCOVID-19 pandemic. 

Although there was no immediate comment by the Houthis, the group’s spokesman Mohammed Abdulsalam said on Wednesday that they sent to the U.N. a comprehensive vision which includes an end to the five-year war and to "the blockade" imposed on Yemen.

"[Our proposal] will lay the foundations for political dialogue and a transitional period," Abdulsalam said in a Twitter post.

On March 29, U.N. Yemen Envoy Martin Griffiths reiterated a call for an immediate cessation of hostilities to build momentum for a nationwide ceasefire. The proposal called for a nationwide ceasefire and for both warring sides to ensure compliance by forces on frontlines. 

"Yemen needs its leaders to focus every minute of their time on averting and mitigating the potentially disastrous consequences of a COVID-19 outbreak," Griffiths said in a statement.

The seemingly endless Yemeni civil war started on March 26, 2015, when Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates led a coalition in a military campaign against the Houthis, to restore the Saudi-backed government of ousted Abd-Rabu Mansour Hadi. 

The conflict has killed more than 100,000 people, as well as an estimated 85,000 people who died as a result of famine. The UN said the country is facing the worst humanitarian crisis in the world.

]]> <![CDATA[Bolivia: Military Represses Citizens at the Border]]> Wed, 8 Apr 2020 15:59:53 -04:00 A group of returning Bolivian citizens confronted the Bolivian forces at the border with Chile this week. The Bolivian  nationals attempted to go into their homeland after a departure from Chilean territory due to the COVID-19 outbreak. 


Bolivian Authorities Request Protection for Vulnerable Group

About 300 Bolivian citizens were waiting for permission to enter on Monday in the region of Pisiga. On April 4, however, Jeanine Añez's government allowed only 480 citizens to enter.

The new migrant group, stranded atthe border, requested governmental entry clearance, but due to the late response, attempted enter.  The Bolivian forces repelled the group with chemical anti-riot substances and shot intp the air to disperse them.

"Today we have lived a sad day. More than 500 Bolivian citizens stranded at the Cerrito Prieto landmark tried to cross the border into Bolivia. They confronted the Bolivian military force, and as a result, there were people injured," reports Javier García, mayor of the Chilean town of Colchane.

Garcia requested Añez to be held accountable for her co-nationals, who need assistance during the exceptional situation due to the virus. According to the administrative: "the Bolivian people who are crowded together are very desperate and are trying to get into their country.”

The conditions of stay for these people pose a risk to their health. While waiting to enter their country, they lack safe facilities, water, basic sanitary conditions and are exposed to different viruses.

The Bolivian de facto government's handling of the situation has been severely criticized, due to the poor investment of resources and questionable decision-making in the face of the magnitude of the situation.


]]> <![CDATA[US 'Calexit' Would Consider a Different Approach to Iran]]> Wed, 8 Apr 2020 14:59:46 -04:00 California’s breakaway movement leader Marcus Ruiz Evans declared the current state and “country-to-be” does not agree with hostile U.S politics towards Iran.


Bernie Sanders Suspends Campaign for 2020 Presidency

In a post on social media, Ruiz affirmed that a future Californian nation would take a different path from the current North American approach to Iran.  "There is no need to mention that when California becomes an independent country, the Republic of California will adopt a different foreign policy than the United States," Evans said.  Also, he stated: “Californians are peace-loving people who oppose the war-like, imperialist policies of the U.S.”

According to Evans' declarations, Iran and a possible independent California could discuss the armed crisis in Syria, the recognition of Palestine, and the right of Iran to develop nuclear technology. These statements are an alternative to the constant attacks from Washington against the Iranian nation. 

The separatist movement, also named “Calexit” because of its similarities with Brexit in the UK, started in 2016 after the “Sovereign California” campaign. The movement started the secessionist advocation under economic arguments but the special situation due to COVID-19 in the southern state increased the support to the breakaway drive.

The “Sunshine State” is one of the most affected by the virus, because of sanitary insufficiencies and undocumented migrants, who lack medical assistance.  Californians are in great discontent with Donald Trump´s management of the special situation the state faces. 

Other states, such as Texas, joined the Calexit principles campaign because of the economic recession.  Recently, Marcus Ruiz Evans Twitter official Profile was censored.


]]> <![CDATA[Scientists Unveil Coronavirus Genome That Arrived in Argentina]]> Wed, 8 Apr 2020 14:08:26 -04:00 Scientists from the National Administration of Laboratories and Health Institutes Carlos Malbran (ANLIS-Malbran) announced that they sequenced the complete genomes of three patients with the SARS-COV-2.


Argentina: Fernandez Criticizes Bank Opening Amid Quarantine

“We established the origin of the viruses: one of them is from the U.S., another from Europe, and another from Asia. This is a first step to start to see what the autochthonous circulation strains are like,” the ANLIS-Malbran director Claudia Perandones told local outlet Pagina12.

The coronavirus circulating in Argentina is not the same one that began circulating in December 2019 in Wuhan, China. Since then, the SARS-COV-2 virus has not stopped mutating as it spread through different countries.

Until now, however, scientists did not know the specific characteristics or geographic origins of the strains circulating in Argentine territory.​​​​​​​

"We are going to sequence the virus with as many patients as possible ... the important thing is to collect many samples to determine what association genome mutations have with the behavior of the virus in people," Perandones mentioned.

"If we can do it, we could establish the mortality level of each strain, the severity with which each strain attacks, symptoms, and modes of transmission. We will surely find mutations produced within the country," she explained.

On Wednesday, Argentina's President Alberto Fernandez visited the professionals who work at ANLIS-Malbran to congratulate them and thank them for their dedication.

"I admire the work that our scientists do at the Malbran Institute, at the same place where two Argentine Nobel Laureates worked: Bernardo Houssay and Cesar Milstein," Fernandez said.​​​​​​​





]]> <![CDATA[Colombia Partakes in US-Led Military Operation in the Caribbean]]> Wed, 8 Apr 2020 15:33:28 -04:00 Colombia's President Ivan Duque Tuesday confirmed that his country partakes in the International Naval Campaign Orion V, an operation which easily could become the prelude to a military aggression against Venezuelan people and its President Nicolas Maduro.


Intellectuals, Artists Issue Letter in Defense of Venezuela

“It is the world’s biggest strategy against drug trafficking, with which we've dismantled criminal structures, increased naval interdiction operations, and seizure records,” Duque tweeted.

Previously, in its preliminary stage, the Orion 5 Operation incorporated intelligence agencies and armed forces from countries such as Belgium, Brazil, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Spain, France, Guatemala, Honduras, Jamaica, Panama, and the Dominican Republic.

The deployment of U.S. Navy destroyers, combat ships, and surveillance aircraft is planned to support a multinational operation that is supposedly aimed at combating drug trafficking.

With the presence of the Colombian forces in these military exercises, "Duque is supporting pressure from the U.S. to remove Maduro from power," local outlet Pulzo commented.

On Wednesday, as part of this new bullying episode, President Donald Trump announced that the U.S. Southern Command (Southcom) will increase its activities in the Caribbean sea.

To justify this interference, he argued that the drug cartels "are trying to take advantage of the pandemic" to boost their business.

]]> <![CDATA[Bernie Sanders Suspends Campaign for 2020 Presidency]]> Wed, 8 Apr 2020 11:58:22 -04:00 U.S. Senator Bernie Sander of Vermont announced on Wednesday that he was suspending his campaign for the 2020 presidential elections, marking the second time in eight years that he has done so. 


COVID-19 Reminds Us We Need a Gov't Working for All: Sanders

In an announcement via livestream, the U.S. politician informed his supporters of his decision to suspend his campaign for the Democratic ticket to the 2020 presidential elections against Republic candidate and current U.S. President Donald Trump.

With Bernie Sander's decision to suspend his campaign on Wednesday, this now leaves former U.S. Vice President as the frontrunner for the Democratic candidacy.

The Vermont Senator's campaign took a turn for the worse after several Democratic candidates dropped out of the race and pledged support to former Vice President Joe Biden. 

Sander's decision to suspend his campaign came just a day after the 2020 Wisconsin Democratic Primary, where Biden is expected to win, according to the latest polls.

The long-time Senator had won nine of the primaries before Joe Biden surged in the polls, winning 19 of the primaries, including Michigan, South Carolina, Texas, and California. 

]]> <![CDATA[Mexico: Violence Increases During COVID-19 Crisis]]> Wed, 8 Apr 2020 12:42:02 -04:00 Residents of the Mexican rural region of Las Sabinas, in Nuevo Leon, set fire to a hospital to prevent it from accepting COVID-19 positive case-patients.


Mexico: Chiapas Natives Vulnerable to COVID-19

Daniel González Garza, Las Sabinas’ mayor, declared, “ these were acts of vandalism that we condemn.” The functionary added: "They happened because of the news brought there by people on social networks, who don't want the sick to come here, they're afraid they'll come here.”

Gonzalez Garza explained that the incendiaries sprayed flammable substances in the installations, specifically doors and halls. Despite the destructive actions, the facility did not suffer major damages. The sanitary installation was recently constructed and it is not yet completely equipped. 

According to Las Sabinas’s administration, these events are under investigations and the perpetrators are not identified. 

"According to the mayor of Sabinas Hidalgo, Daniel González Garza, residents of the municipality vandalized and set fire to a hospital under construction that would be used to treat patients with COVID19."

This is not the first sample of fear and discrimination among the Mexican people due to COVID-19 spreading. Several social network users reported several attacks against medical personnel, fearing the contagious. This marginalization of sanitary workers is a consequence of misinformation and the prevalence of fake news.

The Mexican population is facing the COVID-19 spreading under no economic guarantees and for citizenship majority, the illness implies an incoming cease and familiar poverty. This situation, associated with the lack of preventive measures, generates fear among the people. 

Not only are vandal acts increasing in Mexico, but also systemic social issues such as feminicide and gender violence. In Mexico, 10 women are killed every day and according to the Child Rights Network, at least three children are victims of violence every day. These figures could increase due to confinement and social isolation due to the virus.

So far, Mexico registers 2785 positive cases and 141 deceases. 

]]> <![CDATA[The African Union Defends WHO Against President Trump's Attacks]]> Wed, 8 Apr 2020 12:40:09 -04:00 The African Union Commission (AUC) Chairman Moussa Faki Mahamat defended the World Health Organization (WHO) after President Donald Trump attacked this international agency.


Africa to Face the COVID-19 Pandemic Amid a Food Crisis

Mahamat said he was surprised by the campaign that the U.S. is implementing against WHO and its Director-General, the Ethiopian microbiologist, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

"The African Union fully supports WHO and Dr. Tedros. The focus should continue to be on fighting collectively against COVID-19 as a united global community. The time for accountability will come," the UAC chairman tweeted.

"I agree with you," Namibia's President Hage G. Geingob replied, adding that "the WHO has proven to be a true champion of multilateralism when global solidarity has become crucial... let's focus on what matters, saving lives."

On Tuesday, Trump accused the WHO of being an organization "biased" in favor of China and having been "wrong" in not warning about COVID-19 in time.

He also recalled that the United States is the main donor to the WHO and announced that Washington is considering freezing the funds it sends to that multilateral organization.

As of Wednesday morning, there were 1,455,519 COVID-19 cases and 83,664 deaths from this disease worldwide.

The U.S. reported 404,056 COVID-19 cases, 369,253 active cases, 12,988 patients deceased, and 21,815 recovered. In the last 24 hours, the number of cases increased by 3,721.

]]> <![CDATA[Iran Says US Cannot Veto IMF Loan Request]]> Wed, 8 Apr 2020 10:05:22 -04:00 An Iranian vice president said the United States cannot block Iran's request for a 5 billion U.S. dollars' loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for fighting the novel coronavirus, state TV reported Wednesday.


Iran Demands US End Their Oil Sanctions

Mohammad Nahavandian, Iran's vice president for economic affairs, said that "no country in the IMF has the right to veto" the loan requests.

"The IMF policy should be fair in assessing and approving loan requests" for its members, Nahavandian was quoted as saying.

Many countries support Iran's loan request, he said, adding that "when we face the outbreak of disease worldwide, it is important to understand each other."

On March 12, it was announced that the Central Bank of Iran had asked the IMF for the 5 billion U.S. dollars' loan to combat the outbreak of COVID-19 in the country.

On Sunday, Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani said that the recent U.S. block of the loan by the IMF to Iran amounts to "crimes against humanity."

]]> <![CDATA[Cuba has Reached Limited Local Transmission Stage of COVID-19]]> Wed, 8 Apr 2020 10:42:20 -04:00 Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermudez informed the island that they have entered the limited local transmission stage of the COVID-19. 


Cuba Receives Medical Aid From China

According to the Cuban Health Minister, this stage report states "when cases are confirmed in which no link could be established with travelers from affected areas and are limited to small clusters in localities or institutions in the country."

Currently, different municipalities spared in the country are under these circumstances: Consolación del Sur located in Pinar del Río; Florencia in  Ciego de Ávila province; Florida in Camagüey, and  Gibara in  Holguín; with a total amount of 33 positive cases. These localities are in the east, center and west regions of the country.

Diaz-Canel stressed Cuba’s has taken several measures at this stage, a precaution that allowed authorities to face it with more force.​​​​​​. The Cuban leader pointed out "the willingness of our Government to continue working together with all our institutions, mass organizations and, of course, together with our people, to continue to reduce the risk of mass transmission of this disease.”

The Cuban Chief-of-State also criticized the irresponsible attitude of some nationals who do not pledge to the enforced measures.  He called for patience and prevention and requested the Cuban people to receive information only in the official sources and not misinformation about the virus. Diaz Canel also requested cooperation in the survey process, which requires all possible veracity. 

"Faced with a new epidemiological stage, Cuba reinforces its battle against COVID-19. We must be vaccinated with the only thing we have so far: discipline, cooperation and solidarity."

Cuban Prime Minister Manuel Marrero Cruz also explained a new governmental strategy due to the new epidemic period. The measures will facilitate social isolation through several workers' guarantees to stay home. 

Marrero mentioned other dispositions, such as the suspension of the sale of alcoholic beverages for consumption in gastronomic centers, although takeaway sales will continue. These centers will close the lounge service and produce food only to be consumed outside the premises to avoid crowding.

Urban passenger transportation will also be reorganized, limiting the number of people per bus, to maintain an adequate distance. Similarly, Marrero Cruz said, an analysis will be made of the country's working activities that are not essential to determine their cessation,  maintaining those with the greatest impact on the national economy, such as food production.

The Prime Minister added that at the same time, there will be more rigorous action to combat illegal activities and conduct that put people's lives at risk amid the pandemic.

So far, Cuba has registered 396 COVID-19 positive cases, 11 of which resulted in death and 27 recoveries.

Cuban Prime Minister Manuel Marrero Cruz also explained a new governmental strategy due to the new epidemic period. The measures will facilitate social isolation, through several workers' guarantees to stay home.   Marrero mentioned other dispositions, such as the suspension of the sale of alcoholic beverages for consumption in gastronomic centers, although takeaway sales will continue. These centers will close the lounge service and produce food only to be consumed outside the premises to avoid crowding. Urban passenger transportation will also be reorganized, limiting the number of people per bus, to maintain an adequate distance. Similarly, Marrero Cruz said, an analysis will be made of the country's working activities that are not essential to determine their cessation,  maintaining those with the greatest impact on the national economy, such as food production.


]]> <![CDATA[7 out of 10 Dead Patients Are Men in the European Countries]]> Wed, 8 Apr 2020 09:31:45 -04:00 The World Health Organization (WHO) Wednesday reported that 75 percent of some 52,000 deaths from COVID-19 in Europe are male and a 95 percent were over 65 years of age.


Italy Reached the Peak of COVID-19 Infections

Many of the deceased had previous health problems that were complicated by contracting the coronavirus. Over 60 percent suffered from cardiovascular disease, 29 percent diabetes, and 21 percent kidney disease, the WHO regional director Hans Kluge said.

While the COVID-19 has more serious consequences for older people, the recent death of a five-year-old British minor and another 12-year-old Belgian boy show that, in certain cases, the coronavirus can also be fatal to children.

In Europe, 40 percent of confirmed COVID-19 cases required hospitalization and 5 percent required intensive care.

This continent concentrates about half of the cases and 75 percent of the deaths reported globally.

The situation is still worrying in countries such as Spain, Italy, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Turkey, and Switzerland.​​​​​​​

Although the number of new daily cases is decreasing in Spain, Italy and Germany, Kluge warned of the "dramatic rise" in cases in Turkey and the growth of the pandemic in Norway, Ukraine, Belgium, and Sweden.

"This is not the time to relax the measures, but to double or triple the efforts, with the full support of society," the WHO regional director said.

"The data clearly shows that there is still a long way to go in this war. The progress made is extremely fragile... Thinking we are near the end would be dangerous," he added.​​​​​​​

]]> <![CDATA[New Outbreak Might Happen in the Fall, Chinese Expert Says]]> Wed, 8 Apr 2020 10:32:47 -04:00 Shanghai's COVID-19 Clinical Expert Team director Zhang Wenhong warned of the high probability of a second international wave of infections occurring next fall.


China To Keep Supporting US in Fighting Epidemic: Spokesperson

"Europe and the U.S. have not been effectively controlled for the time being. In Africa, South America and India, where the economy is less developed and medical resources are insufficient, new cases have increased exponentially, which brings great uncertainty to the global fight against the epidemic" he said as reported by local outlet Caixin.

The Chinese physician added that it is "unlikely" that the COVID-19 pandemic will end this summer and predicts that it will last "until next year."

Asked about China's defenses against a new outbreak of the pandemic abroad, Zhang, who is also the Huashan Hospital's Infectious Diseases Department director, said his country should not relax prevention.

“Once the system shows laxness, there may be missed cases. What is needed now is to maintain the existing prevention and control system and make it a new norm.”​​​​​​​

China will also have to face the resumption of economic activities while the actions to avoid a rebound are put in place.​​​​​​​ However, the Chinese restrictions cannot eliminate the risk of importing new cases because of the existence of asymptomatic people.

"The disease control system should track every person with close contact to COVID-19 patients with no blind spots," Zhang demanded.

Regarding the fatality rates in different countries, he explained that the differences depend on how governments define priorities for testing and treating patients.

“The fatality rate is the ratio of the number of deaths to the number of all cases reported. If a country prioritizes severe patients in testing and treatment, its fatality rate will be high. In a country where testing is more common and a lot of mild patients are tested and quarantined at home, the overall fatality rate will be reduced," Zhang said.

He added that the death toll is also related to the burden on medical resources caused by numerous severe cases in each country.​​​​​​​

]]> <![CDATA[COVID-19 Disastrous for US-Detained Migrants Amnesty Int. Warns]]> Tue, 7 Apr 2020 23:31:17 -04:00 The risk that the new coronavirus poses to the people detained in the United States' large migration centers will have disastrous consequences if not addressed without delay, Amnesty International warned in a report released Tuesday.


Portugal Grants Citizens' Rights to Migrants During Pandemic

"The United States has confirmed more cases of COVID-19 than any other country in the world, yet ICE continues to fail to adopt effective measures to prevent the pandemic in immigration centers across the country, putting everyone's safety in peril," Americas director at Amnesty International, Erika Guevara-Rosas said in a press statement.

Amnesty's report titled "'We Are Adrift, About to Sink': The looming COVID-19 disaster in U.S. immigration detention facilities" came a week after ICE said there were confirmed cases of COVID-19 at six of its detention installations.

The report recalls that even before the pandemic, ICE had "a well-documented history of gross medical negligence in its facilities,” urging the agency to parole detainees and immediately release all children from custody. 

Among the problems pointed in the report are the failure of the agency to provide migrants and refugees adequate sanitation, hygiene, and the possibility of social distancing. It also rebukes the agency for the transfer of detainees without quarantine time.

Fear and despair are taking hold of the people detained in ICE centers across the U.S. as the coronavirus is continuing to spread. 


Outcry as Migrants in India Are Sprayed With Disinfectant

"We are adrift, about to sink, because if there is one person to be infected, in our unit we would all perish," said a migration detainee on hunger strike at the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, Washington. "We see how guards don't have the most minimum idea of what safety or medical care means. Here, all of us are going to pay the consequences," the detainee said.

Another detainee with chronic respiratory and heart problems told Vice that if “It (the COVID-19) hit here, a lot of people with underlying situations like me; we won’t make it.” 

“There isn’t any type of medical care in this prison,” another detainee said. “If that sickness lands here, this will be a graveyard."

Thousands of health professionals, lawyers, and activists urged the ICE to release migrants starting with those who could be subject to complications from COVID-19.

In some cases, ICE has freed small groups of detainees in response to orders from federal courts. But the vast majority of the more than 35,000 people in ICE detention are still imprisoned in facilities identical to prisons.

"ICE's unnecessary detention of tens of thousands of people poses a massive threat to public health," said Guevara-Rosas who added that the agency "must urgently provide alternatives to detention and grant humanitarian parole to immigration detainees except in the most extraordinary of circumstances requiring ongoing detention."

]]> <![CDATA[China To Keep Supporting US in Fighting Epidemic: Spokesperson]]> Tue, 7 Apr 2020 23:14:59 -04:00 A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson said on Tuesday that China is ready to continue to provide support within its capability for the United States in fighting COVID-19.

China Refutes US Accusations of Hiding Extent of Virus Deaths

Spokesperson Zhao Lijian told a routine press briefing that China "understands the current difficult situation the United States is facing."

In his recent phone conversation with U.S. President Donald Trump, Chinese President Xi Jinping pointed out that the two sides should unite against the COVID-19 pandemic, said Zhao.

China is closely following and concerned about the epidemic situation in the United States and sincerely hopes that the United States will contain the spread of the disease as soon as possible to reduce the losses inflicted by the disease upon U.S. citizens, he said.

Some Chinese local governments, non-governmental organizations, institutions, and enterprises have been providing the United States with assistance in medical supplies, according to Zhao.

The spokesperson said China noticed media reports about New York Governor Andrew Cuomo thanking the Chinese government for helping facilitate a donation of 1,000 ventilators to his state.

"I thank the Chinese government, Jack Ma, Joe Tsai, the Jack Ma Foundation, the Tsai Foundation, and Consul General Huang," Cuomo tweeted Saturday.

"This is a big deal, and it's going to make a significant difference for us," Cuomo told a daily briefing.


]]> <![CDATA[Wisconsin Citizens Compelled to Vote in the Middle of Pandemic]]> Tue, 7 Apr 2020 20:59:59 -04:00 Wisconsin presidential primary, including the Democratic and Republican presidential primaries, was held Tuesday in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, forcing voters to take risks and face long lines at limited polling sites.


COVID-19 Reminds Us We Need a Gov't Working for All: Sanders

Although Wisconsin, like the majority of the states in the United States, has imposed a stay-at-home order on its residents in the face of the health crisis, the elections have not been postponed.

Most of the states with an election scheduled for April delayed their contest or opted for the by-mail voting only. But Republicans who have insisted on keeping the election on schedule in Wisconsin won two legal battles Monday.

The state Supreme Court blocked Democratic Governor Tony Evers's attempt to delay the election until June, and the U.S. Supreme Court reversed a federal judge's decision extending absentee voting, ruling that ballots must be postmarked by Tuesday to be counted.

The Wisconsin Elections Commission said Monday night that no results of Tuesday's voting would be released until April 13, the deadline for absentee ballots postmarked by Tuesday to be received.

Before the ballot, thousands of poll workers quit, leading Wisconsin's central city Milwaukee to reduce its planned number of polling places from 180 to just five. More than 2,500 National Guard troops were dispatched to staff the polls.

The legal move tarnished the Democratic presidential primary in Wisconsin, and the outbreak pushed former Vice President Joe Biden and rival Senator Bernie Sanders off the campaign trail.

Biden is leading over Sanders in the number of delegates who will choose the nominee at the national convention scheduled to be held in Milwaukee in August and not in July as originally planned, because of the pandemic.

Sanders called Tuesday's election "dangerous" and said his campaign would not engage in any traditional get-out-the-vote efforts.

]]> <![CDATA[Venezuela Registers a Single New Case for COVID-19 in 24 Hours]]> Tue, 7 Apr 2020 20:53:42 -04:00 In Venezuela, only a single positive case of COVID-19 was registered in the last 24 hours to increase the number of infections to 166.

The announcement was made by the Executive Vice President of the Republic, Delcy Rodríguez, during an expanded meeting of the Presidential Commission for the Control and Prevention of the coronavirus, where she met with the President Nicolás Maduro.

 Intellectuals, Artists Issue Letter in Defense of Venezuela

Rodríguez explained that the case detected in the last 24 hours through an extended and personalized investigation allowed finding a 32-year-old lady, residing in the Baruta municipality, department Miranda, who was infected by her brother who was in home isolation. 

She further specified that of the 166 positive cases to date, a total of 65 of them had recovered satisfactorily. Of the positive cases, 40 patients are in home isolation, 24 are confined in Comprehensive Diagnostic Centers (CDI) in Barrio Adentro, another 15 in Hospitals, 13 in private clinics, 2 in hotels, 6 cases are in intensive care and the number of deceased remains at 7.

President Maduro, following this information, instructed the hospitalization of all the confirmed cases of COVID-19 that are in home isolation to reduce the risk of contagion and contain the spread of community cases in the country."

"It is an order that I give; we have to advance to the hospitalization of 100% of the cases,"

"We have managed to contain the pandemic. In the situation we are in, we can hospitalize all cases and isolate them in hospitalization. It is not the same to be at home with the possibility of infecting the husband, wife, brother, sister with a child than to be in a hospital or a clinic isolated and with 24-hour medical attention." he said.

He recalled that Venezuela has 23,500 beds, and only 166 cases have been found in the country, of which 65 of them have recovered.

]]> <![CDATA[Tripoli Hospital Shelled for 2nd Day, UN Condemns Attacks]]> Tue, 7 Apr 2020 19:41:41 -04:00 The United Nations condemned Tuesday the shelling of a hospital in Tripoli for the second day, calling it a "clear violation of international law" as eastern forces continue their final push to take over the Libyan capital amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Libya: Haftar's Army Suspends Fight for Tripoli Due to Covid-19

"At a moment when people in Libya needed nothing more than a safe home and functioning medical facilities, we received the news of yet another attack on a hospital," the statement by Humanitarian Coordinator for Libya Yacoub El Hillo read.

Rockets rained down on Libya’s capital on the second day of heavy bombardment by alleged eastern-based forces led by General Khalifa Haftar. The barrage of Grad rockets hit Al-Khadra GeneralHospital, where over 300 patients were being treated, including two for COVID-19 and many for shrapnel wounds and burns from bombs.

Patients suffering from chronic illnesses continued to be evacuated Tuesday. The attack on Al-Khadra was the third such strike on a Tripoli medical facility over the past month, according to local authorities.

On Monday, shells also struck the grounds of the same hospital located in an area held by the internationally recognized government near a front line, injuring at least six health workers.

"This is a clear violation of international humanitarian law ... It is unacceptable at a time when healthcare and health workers are vital in our fight against a global pandemic," Jens Laerke, spokesman for the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said.

"A deplorable strike like this, resulting in senseless damage of a most needed medical facility, cannot be justified," the official added.

As the situation worsens in the war-torn nation, the Great Man-Made River company, a pipe network supplying groundwater from the Sahara, said Tuesday that an armed group had stormed its pumping station and cut off water supplies to most western Libya. 

Health experts worry the lack of water would be detrimental in the fight against the novel coronavirus. Libya has confirmed 20 cases of the virus, all in the country’s west except for one in the eastern city of Benghazi.

]]> <![CDATA[Spain Hires Migrants in Agriculture To Maintain Supply Chain]]> Tue, 7 Apr 2020 21:09:47 -04:00 The Spanish government approved Tuesday a decree to protect fruit and vegetable harvesting during the coronavirus crisis to avoid economic losses and disruption to the supply chain as food consumption jumped by over 17 percent under lockdown.

Spain's Sanchez Calls for New 'Marshall Plan' in Europe

Agriculture Minister Luis Planas aid the unemployed, people in receipt of farming subsidies, migrants with permission to work and young migrants between 18-21 without paperwork would be able to take up jobs in the countryside from the second half of March until the end of September.

He said there was a need for between 75,000 to 80,000 workers to carry out tasks such as fruit and vegetable picking and processing.

The agriculture minister told the press conference the population had boosted its consumption of food by 17.6 percent under lockdown compared to the same week last year, especially in meat and fresh vegetables.

The workers would still be subject to the restrictions of movement currently in place in Spain and would have to take up work in their province or the adjoining one.

The spokesperson for the Socialist Party-led coalition Maria Jesus Montero doubled down on calls for a national pact to rebuild the country once the COVID-19 health crisis has passed.

She said that although the pact would first deal with the economic damage from the health crisis, the government hoped the new pact would expand to a variety of societal sectors.

“We have a need for talent and competition from all political, economic and social sectors to decide how we will continue to build the country we love,” she said.

An accumulation of data over the weekend saw Spain’s daily coronavirus fatalities jump on Tuesday after four days of decline although health authorities said there was an overall downward trend in figures.

The Spanish health ministry registered 743 deaths in the last 24 hours, more than the 637 reported between Sunday and Monday, which brings the total number of fatalities to 13,798 since the outbreak began.

 Around 7,069 people were in ICU across Spain, a jump of 138 overnight, which reflects a doubling of the previous day’s number.

At least 100 people had been arrested for breaching the lockdown rules in the last 24 hours, authorities said. Spain’s prime minister Pedro Sanchez extended the national lockdown until at least 26 April.

]]> <![CDATA[Sao Paulo Extends Lockdown, Bolsonaro Defies Health Advice]]> Tue, 7 Apr 2020 19:19:09 -04:00 The Brazilian state of Sao Paulo extended the quarantine for two more weeks Tuesday while President Jair Bolsonaro still defies the recommendations issued by health authorities including his Health Minister, who was almost dismissed from his functions on Monday.

Brazil Still Hampered by Coronavirus as Death Toll Reaches 486

Brazilian Health Minister Luiz Henrique Mandetta said on Monday he will continue in his post after overcoming a disagreement with Bolsonaro over the need for social distancing to stop the spread of coronavirus.

“A doctor does not abandon his patient. We will continue,” he said at a news conference at the end of a day of speculation over whether Bolsonaro would fire him in the midst of an escalating public health crisis.

“The government is taking a new position and it will be more focused” on the epidemic, Mandetta added, confirming he had won an arm-wrestle with the president over the need for isolation.

The minister, a doctor by training, has openly contradicted the far-right president who has minimized the danger of the epidemic and opposed lockdowns that are stalling the economy.

The minister’s stance, however, received widespread support, which irked Bolsonaro and led him to say last week: “Nobody should forget that I’m the president.”

Bolsonaro’s denial of the need to reinforce social distancing led to a split in his cabinet, with top military officers in the government opposing him and siding with Mandetta, including his Presidential Chief of Staff Walter Braga, an active-duty Army general.

Bots Made 55 % of Pro-Bolsonaro Tweets About COVID-19

Mandetta told reporters he was not able to get much work done on Monday, with uncertainty over his future reaching the point where he emptied out his desk.

The minister said he was just a spokesman for Brazil’s health system whose workers are battling to cope with the advance of coronavirus in Brazil, where confirmed cases have doubled in the last six days to 12,056, with 553 related deaths.

“We are not ready for the escalation of cases in our biggest cities,” he warned, saying that Brazil must nail down purchases of medical supplies from China and then send for them by plane.

Mandetta said social interaction will inevitably spread the virus to the most vulnerable sectors of Brazil’s population of 211 million people, such as the teeming slums or favelas of its big cities.

Sao Paulo's Governor Joao Doria said on Tuesday in his daily press conference along with a group of doctors that the lockdown will be maintained until April 22.

Sao Paulo is the epicenter of the pandemic in the South American nation with 304 deaths out of the 553 recorded in Brazil from COVID-19, and 4,861 cases out of 12,000 recorded so far.

]]> <![CDATA[Intellectuals, Artists Issue Letter in Defense of Venezuela]]> Tue, 7 Apr 2020 19:45:33 -04:00 The Network in Defense of Humanity – US Chapter issued Tuesday a letter expressing  their “heartfelt solidarity with the people of Venezuela and its only legitimate President Nicolas Maduro Moros in this hour of danger.”


US Weaponizing COVID-19 Against Venezuela, Iran: Oliver Stone

The text came as a response to Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s open letter to the people of the U.S., in which he denounced U.S. President Donald Trump’s threats of war against the South American country. 

Intellectuals and artists signed the document condemning the ever-increasing aggressions suffered by the Venezuelan people at the hands of Trump’s administration, at a time when the world is trying to partner in the fight against a fast-spreading and deadly virus.

In a politically motivated move, the Trump administration filed criminal charges against President Maduro and other officials in Venezuela, it deployed naval vessels and other military assets off the coast of the South American nation and increased its illegal economic sanctions while the people continue to pay a heavy price and the country’s economy is strangled.

“It is outrageous that the U.S. Administration is sending resources against Venezuela for war while being disorganized and inept at getting lifesaving equipment such as ventilators, beds, and even facemasks to its own population and medical workers on the frontlines,” the signatories wrote.


Caribbean Movement for Peace and Integration Blasts US Moves

In his letter to the people of the U.S. issued on April 5, Maduro said that Venezuelan people do not want an armed conflict and will not accept war threats. He urged citizens in the North American country not to believe in the false and unfounded reasons, including the counter-narcotics operation, that Trump is using to attack Venezuela.

The head of state stated that the country cannot accept blockades either, nor the intention to install an international guardianship that violates the sovereignty and sabotages the advances of last year in the political dialogue between the government and a large part of the Venezuelan opposition.

After showing solidarity with the U.S. people that are suffering from the COVID-19 pandemic, he called on the people of the country to hold their leaders accountable and compel them to focus their attention and resources on the necessary and urgent fight against the pandemic instead of trying to intimidate Venezuela.

"I ask you, with your heart in your hands, not to allow your country to be drawn, once again, to another endless conflict, another Vietnam or another Iraq, but this time closer to home," President Maduro concluded.

]]> <![CDATA[Nearly Three-Quarters of US Citizens Incomes Hit by Pandemic]]> Tue, 7 Apr 2020 19:07:29 -04:00 Nearly three-quarters of Americans said their family incomes have been reduced during the coronavirus outbreak, according to a survey released by the Financial Times and the Peter G. Peterson Foundation on Tuesday.

 53% of Florida Voters Disapprove of Trump's COVID-19 Response

The survey, conducted between March 24 and March 29, showed that 73 percent of Americans said the outbreak has reduced their family incomes, with 24 percent saying their household incomes have been cut "very significantly."

The survey also found that 71 percent of Americans said the outbreak has affected their personal or business decisions, while 92 percent agreed that the virus will impact America's economy "a lot" in the short or long term.

"The coronavirus outbreak is an unprecedented national emergency, and we need to respond aggressively to address both the public health crisis and the economic risk," Michael Peterson, CEO of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, said in a recent statement.

"By acting quickly and strategically, we can improve the response and reduce suffering, especially among vulnerable populations," he said.

The survey came as a record 10 million Americans had filed new claims for unemployment benefits in the two weeks ending March 28 due to the outbreak.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to ripple across the country, experts believe that the labor market is going to see a double-digit unemployment rate in the coming months.

The coronavirus outbreak could cost 47 million American jobs in the second quarter, bringing the unemployment rate to 32 percent, according to a recent study by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.

]]> <![CDATA[53% of Florida Voters Disapprove of Trump's COVID-19 Response]]> Tue, 7 Apr 2020 17:37:36 -04:00 More than half of polled voters in the sunshine state of Florida said they disapprove of United States Donald Trump's response to the coronavirus pandemic, according to the results released Monday by the University of North Florida.

Puerto Rico: The Number of COVID-19 Confirmed Cases Reaches 573

“Floridians are clear in their stance on who they trust, and it’s not their political representatives,” the Director of the Public Opinion Research Lab from UNF Michael Binder, adding that “health organizations have the spotlight and authority to make suggestions to officials, and it would behoove politicians to follow their advice, especially as election season creeps closer.”

The statewide poll, which was from March 31 through April 4 to 3,244 registered voters, also found out that almost 60 percent do not trust Trump to give reliable information on the crisis, while 41 percent said they trust the president. 

Although Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, one of Trump's biggest allies, has received backlash in his state and across the country for his handling of the pandemic; numbers show that they continue to muster up a lot of support from the Republican base. 

“Among Republicans’ approval numbers, DeSantis (76%) and Trump (85%) are doing very well despite the national criticism about their response,” Binder added. 

As of Tuesday, Florida is one of the worst-hit states with over 14,500 cases, and many experts fear that it could become the next epicenter within the U.S. The recent poll found that 79 percent of Florida voters said they were concerned about "personally contracting the virus." 

]]> <![CDATA[Paraguay: Government Still Not Providing Enough Aid ]]> Tue, 7 Apr 2020 15:38:56 -04:00 Paraguay's government provided less than 15 percent of the foreseen economic help announced as a palliative due to the COVID-19 crisis.


COVID-19: First Death and New Case Confirmed in Latin America

According to National Emergency Secretariat (SEN), 41,662 Paraguayan families received economical help under the Ñandereko Food Security Programme. Also, it stated 35,775 families received food coupons and 5,877 food kits in Alto Paraguay. Even when the figures seemed promising, the help coverage is only for 12.6% of the 330 000 families waiting for help and benefits.

Given the proportion of 12.6%, it will take 198 days to cover all the ones in need. This time-lapse, 6 months, would extend the waiting period until November. Many of the less solvent families need help in the short term because labor downturn due to enforced social isolation to prevent COVID-19.

Joaquin Roa, SEN’s Minister, affirmed that the institution handed the beneficiaries list to the National Anti-Corruption Secretariat, with more than 27,000 identifications.  As Roa explained, more than 35,500 beneficiaries were noticed and included in the welfare program, but the information keeps updating until it reaches all families.

He said that the list will be updated as the list of 1,000,000 applicants to date is analyzed, verified and refined until it reaches 330,000 beneficiaries so that the transfers can adequately reach the vulnerable families that were affected by the COVID-19 health crisis.

]]> <![CDATA[Boris Johnson is in 'Good Spirits' and 'Stable' in ICU]]> Tue, 7 Apr 2020 14:42:19 -04:00 U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is "in a good spirits" after spending the night in intensive care, a Downing Street spokesman revealed Tuesday.


UK PM Moved to Intensive Care As COVID-19 Symptoms Worsen

Johnson has been "stable" after spending the night in St. Thomas Hospital's intensive care unit and continues to be "in good spirits," said the spokesman for the official residence of the British Government.

Other government sources said the 55-year-old president has received a certain amount of oxygen and remains under observation, but is not connected to a ventilater, Cabinet Minister Michael Gove, second in line, told LBC radio.

Earlier today The Queen sent a message to Carrie Symonds and to the Johnson family. She said they were in her thoughts and that she wished the Prime Minister a full and speedy recovery.

Downing Street said Johnson asked Foreign Minister Dominic Raab to replace him when necessary.

Raab is a 46-year-old lawyer and was the one who was in charge of negotiating with Britain the exit of the United Kingdom from the European Union (EU).

Johnson was admitted to the London hospital on Sunday, after suffering for more 10+ days of symptoms related to the coronavirus, including high fever and cough, and on Monday he was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

The British head of government "has not required mechanical ventilation or non-invasive respiratory assistance," the spokesperson said in a statement, adding that Johnson does not have pneumonia.

A ventilator takes over the body's breathing process when the disease has caused the lungs to fail.

]]> <![CDATA[Ecuador: Ex President Correa Sentenced to 8 Years in Prison]]> Tue, 7 Apr 2020 13:55:18 -04:00 Ecuador’s former President President Rafael Correa and former Vice President Jorge Glas have been sentenced to 8 years in prison for bribery charges.


Trial Against Former Ecuadorean President Correa Resumes

According to the National Court of Justice (NCJ), the accusers  proved that those left-wing politicians would have taken part in a payment scheme in the "2012-2016 Bribery" case.

"Before reading the sentence, Judge Ivan Leon revealed that the Court considers that the crime is proven, that the Prosecutor's Office demonstrated the existence of a corruption structure and that the victim of the crime is the State," local outlet El Comercio reported.

During the process, the State Attorney General Diana Salazar argued that Correa, Glas, and other high officials received money from businessmen and used it to finance the activities of their political party, Alianza Pais (AP).

“The sentenced were part of a network that received illegal contributions from state contractors to finance AP campaigns and other political events... the money was delivered in cash or through the crossing of bills,” said Salazar said, as reported by local media.

"The negligent and criminal government uses political persecution to divert attention from the catastrophe in Guayaquil. Meanwhile, it condemns Rafael Correa without evidence. They want to prevent his participation in 2021."

Former President rejected the sentence and stressed that it is part of a political persecution which the Ecuadorian elites have long been devising.

Previously, on Monday night, alternative journalists leaked the prefabricated texts of the sentence to be read on Tuesday, which revealed the political nature of the judicial process.

"Everything was a show that was already set up. After yesterday's leak, they only replaced the 'organizational dominance' charge with the 'breach of duty' charge. And they added aggravating reasons because they are furious with the leak," Correa tweeted.

As a result of the NCJ sentence, Rafael Correa, who maintains a very high degree of popular support in Ecuador, loses his political rights for 25 years, that is, he will not be allowed to be a candidate for any elected office.

Currently the former Ecuadorian president is residing in Brussels, Belgium, with his family.

]]> <![CDATA[Puerto Rico: The Number of COVID-19 Confirmed Cases Reaches 573]]> Tue, 7 Apr 2020 13:38:20 -04:00 Puerto Rico’s Health Department Tuesday announced that the number of positive cases for COVID-19 has reached 573 so far, 23 of which have died.


Puerto Rico: Pro-Independence Fighter Cancel Miranda Dies at 8

One of the deceased was a 79-year-old woman who died in a hospital in the Mayagüez region. A 40-year-old man also died and became the Caribbean island's youngest victim.

"Every death confronts us with the unfortunate reality of the lethality of the enemy we are battling with... cases will increase," the Health Secretary Lorenzo Gonzalez warned.

"The advice must be consistently reiterated: stay home and keep your distance social, wash your hands, avoid touching your face, and clean surfaces," he stressed.

In recent days, Puerto Rico's health authorities significantly increased the number of COVID-19 tests to the population. 

So far, 5,513 tests have been carried out, of which 3,966 were negative and 968 await definitive confirmation.

"It is not an easy task to stay home, but it is a life-saving gesture. This Easter we invite you to use technology to connect with loved ones," the coordinator of the working group against COVID-19, Segundo Rodriguez, said.

"If we let our guard down even for a single day, the virus spread could increase, which would be unfortunate ... We need to prevent COVID-19 from testing our hospital system," he added.

On Monday, the College of Surgeons revealed that, despite the precautions taken, the coronavirus has infected 10 Puerto Rican doctors.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​


]]> <![CDATA[Bolivian Authorities Request Protection for Vulnerable Group]]> Tue, 7 Apr 2020 12:29:32 -04:00 Bolivia’s Ombudsman Office requested the de facto government provide benefits to the population during COVID-19 outbreak that has affected most of the world. 


Bolivians Unable to Quarantine, Protest All Over the Country

The administrative body, who overlooks people’s rights, asked the government to extend the “Family Coupon” program and a pension for the familiar basket. According to the people’s defendant institution, these actions should benefit vulnerable and fewer solvent groups, as students in the special and secondary level, disabled and retired persons and others with the lowest incomes.

Also, the Ombudsman pursues the inclusion of artisans, drivers and street artists, who must not be marginalized from this program and are affected by the economic prejudice due to the virus.

Former Bolivian President, Evo Morales, also expressed his concern about the protection of those in need. In several tweets on his official Twitter account, the mandatary requested inclusive social policies to provide the less solvent sectors with resources, supplies, and guarantees.

"The Bolivian state and the private sector must put themselves in the place of the families who live from their work and in this coronavirus crisis establish as a rule that water, electricity, gas, telephone and internet rates are not paid for at least three months."

The managerial agency expressed concern about pregnant woman, the prison famines and native women who could not register to receive the social welfare. In the case of native people’s protection, as ayoreo, esse ejja and yuqui’s communities, the Office is appealing to bill 45. The norm gives legal safeguards to indigenous groups during exceptional situations and emergencies.

Nadia Cruz, the people’s defendant, recommended the adoption of measures such as home delivery of vouchers or the inclusion of bank mobile phones, especially for municipalities in rural areas and intermediate cities, given the difficulties involved in the collection through banks, such as the risk of contagion and limitations on mobility.

"It should be considered data from the INE to February 2020, the monthly family basket reaches 1,600Bs, and the results of the last National Census of 2012, q indicates that in Bolivia families have an average of 3.5 members and the agio to date we all know."

Cruz added that LGBTQI people, those who live with HIV AIDS and other severe diseases should also be considered under social programs. So far, Bolivia registers 194 positive COVID-19 cases, 14 deaths, and 2 recoveries.

]]> <![CDATA[Iran Demands US End Their Oil Sanctions ]]> Tue, 7 Apr 2020 11:27:22 -04:00 Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Tuesday called on the U.S. government to stop sanctions on Iran's oil exports.


Nearly 60 Groups Demand End to Sanctions During COVID-19 Crisis

"Iran is rich in human & natural resources. We don't need charity from (U.S. President) Donald Trump," Zarif tweeted.

The remarks of Zarif was an allusion to the recent help offer by Trump amid the surge of the novel coronavirus in Iran.

"What we want is for him to stop preventing Iran from selling oil & other products, buying its needs & making & receiving payments," said Zarif.

Iran has asked the world to oppose U.S. sanctions on Iran amid the surge of COVID-19 pandemic.

Iran is the worst-hit country by the pandemic in the Middle East, with 62,589 confirmed cases and 3,872 deaths so far.

]]> <![CDATA[Iran to Test Asymptomatic People to Contain COVID-19]]> Tue, 7 Apr 2020 12:22:05 -04:00 Iran’s Health Minister Said Namaki announced that the number of new infections has been reduced for the eighth consecutive day. However, his country would increase the number of diagnostic tests to detect asymptomatic patients and control the COVID-19.


Iran Nearly 60 Groups Demand End to Sanctions During COVID-19 Crisis

So far, the Iranian authorities have conducted 211,136 tests via phone or virtual media; they have monitored the health of 70 million of the 83 million inhabitants.

"This project allowed us to isolate people with mild symptoms and avoid new hospital admissions," Namaki said, assuring that the current goal is to detect patients who do not have symptoms but are an infection source.

Within the second phase of the fight against the COVID-19, it is necessary to carry out extensive tests to detect asymptomatic people.

"Today we are in the disease management stage but we have not yet reached control. We should not be under any illusions," Namakí explained.

He also noted that the pandemic will be contained in some provinces in the coming days. Nevertheless, Iran will have to wait more than a month to achieve full containment.

Namaki mentioned that social distancing protocols will be maintained but economic activity will gradually resume because Iran needs to continue as normally as possible despite strong U.S. sanctions.

"We live in a country with strong economic limitations. We need income to pay subsidies" to the most vulnerable population, the health minister said and warned that the U.S. blockade prevents his country from solving all the economic damage that the pandemic generates.

Starting on April 11, low risk economic activities will resume throughout the country except Tehran, the capital city.

"All areas of the capital are infected," the National Headquarters for the Management and Fight against the COVID-19 director Alireza Zali said.

In the last 24 hours, the Iranian authorities have reported 2,089 infections, 133 deaths, and 62,589 infected people.

Since the start of the outbreak, 3,872 people have died, 3,987 are in serious condition, and 27,039 have overcome the disease.

]]> <![CDATA[Cuba Receives Medical Aid From China]]> Tue, 7 Apr 2020 11:03:16 -04:00 Cuba received a large donation from China, as they delivered medical aid and supplies amid the COVID-19's outbreak on the island. 


Italy: 1 in 3 Patients Are Discharged Thanks to Cuban Doctors

This batch contained 2,000 sanitary masks, 10,000 surgical masks. Also, as bio-safe equipment, China sent two thousand disposable protective suits, 500 infrared thermometers, two thousand protective goggles, two thousand pairs of surgical gloves and two thousand pairs of insulating shoes.  The Yutong company (a bus manufacturer) also delivered 10,000 protective suits and 10,000 masks. 

Several Cuban representatives received the donation at the headquarters of the Cuban Ministry of Public Health.


"Chinese Embassy in Cuba delivered to the Ministry of Health of Cuba a governmental and business donation to contribute to the confrontation and control of COVID19, expression of the unbreakable friendship and solidarity existing between both countries."


About the donation, Chen Xi, China’s Ambassador in Cuba, expressed the donation is a demonstration of both nations' fraternity. The Chinese diplomat also said solidarity would continue despite the difficult time the world is confronting.

For their part, Cuban sanitary authorities received the aid and showed their gratitude to China. Luis Fernando Navarro, Deputy Minister of Public Health in Cuba, said this gesture ratifies Cuba and China collaboration and friendship. Navarro also said he received the donative on Cuba’s people's behalf. 

Chen also recognized the personal honor for the delivery of the donation. The Chinese representative announced the arrival of other medical contributions if international air transportation doesn´t cease due to the virus.

Cuba and China maintain close cooperation in paramount topics and fields, like health, transportation, and science. The bilateral diplomatic relationships and solidarity improved during the exceptional situation due to the virus and despite the U.S.'s blockade. 


]]> <![CDATA[China: No COVID-19 Patient Died in the Last 24 Hours]]> Tue, 7 Apr 2020 11:14:05 -04:00 China's National Health Commission (NHC) Tuesday reported that no new deaths from COVID-19 were reported on Monday, when the number of critically ill patients fell to 211, the lowest figure since January.


China Refutes US Accusations of Hiding Extent of Virus Deaths

"Today is the first day without coronavirus-related deaths in China since the outbreak broke out last January," the China teleSUR correspondent Iramsy Peraza informed.

"The NHC reported data on 81,740 confirmed cases in 31 provinces. There are 1,242 active patients, 211 people in serious condition, and 77,167 discharged patients," she added.

Starting Wednesday, Wuhan will end almost 11 weeks of quarantine, which does not mean that control policies will be relaxed.

"Measures to control and prevent the epidemic are a priority and people must remain alert," local official Hu Shuguang explained and recalled that his city has only reported two COVID-19 cases since March 18.​​​​​​​

"Just because there are no new cases does not mean there are zero risks in Wuhan. Prevention and control tasks they are still critical," he said.​​​​​​​

Over 80 trains are now ready to leave Wuhan for destinations throughout the country. This service, however, can only be used by citizens who certify a good state of health.

Controls on 75 roads regulating Wuhan's inbound and outbound traffic will also be lifted on Wednesday. Authorities predict that there will be a traffic spike that will last until April 15.

Meanwhile, inside the city, giant yellow fences that prevent access to residential complexes and other buildings remain, which can only be accessed if a health certificate is presented.​​​​​​​

]]> <![CDATA[Italian Communists Send a Fraternal Hug to the People of Cuba]]> Tue, 7 Apr 2020 10:00:01 -04:00 On Monday, the Italian Communist Party (PCI) issued a public thanks to the cooperation of the Cuban Health workers in this European country.


Cuban Medical Team Arrives in Barbados to Help Fight COVID-19

"For 60 years, you have been an example and an invaluable resource for all the peoples of the world... A nation that is giving a great lesson in solidarity and humanity. Its doctors, who have cured the sick in 64 countries, testify to the value of a socialist society."

The Italian Communists sent a fraternal hug to the people of Cuba and all those who have worked to maintain socialism despite the U.S. blockade.

The PCI also stressed that Cubans in Italy show that "capitalism supplies the superfluous, while socialism gives what is necessary."

"After years of cutting public health spending, our health system is experiencing great difficulties. However, the incessant work of Cuban doctors and health workers is with us today in the trench against the coronavirus,” the PCI explained.​​​​

Since their arrival, Caribbean physicians have provided 428 assists in various specialties in Crema, a community in Lombardy that has been one of the most affected by the pandemic.

In this region there are 52 Cuban doctors and nurses who attended a collaborative mission to expedite the recovery of COVID-19 patients with complications.

The head of the Cuban health team Carlos Perez-Diaz reported that one out of every three Italian patients seen by Cuban doctors has been discharged so far.

​​​​​​​As of Tuesday morning, Italy had reported 132,547 COVID-19 cases, of which 93,187 remain active. There have been 16,523 deaths and 22,837 patients discharged.​​​​​​​

]]> <![CDATA[Colombia: Civil Society Speaks out on COVID-19 Outbreak]]> Tue, 7 Apr 2020 10:29:43 -04:00 Colombia's National Council for Peace, Reconciliation, and Coexistence (CNPRC) asked President Ivan Duque for a bilateral ceasefire across the South Amerian nation this week.


Colombia: Floods Affect 150 Families in the Choco Region

The Colombian civil society organization made this request after the unilateral declaration of a ceasefire by the National Liberation Army, as a humanitarian measure due to the situation caused by COVID-19.

El CNPRC, that groups 36 social sectors, encouraged Duque’s government to find a different approach to the conflict with ELN after their hostilities ceased in March.  Monsignor Hector Fabio Henao, CNPRC’s spokesperson, expressed: “As an advisory body to the National Government, we recommend that the President of the Republic work towards a bilateral ceasefire and cessation of hostilities. Colombia requires gestures of peace and reconciliation. We welcome the ELN's announcement of a unilateral ceasefire for one month, which we hope will be extended for a longer period.”

The organization's representative also referred to the current crisis due to COVID-19 spreading. Monsignor Henao advocated for preventing domestic violence during the enforced quarantine and other social isolation measures implemented to stop virus. 

"The National Council for Peace, Reconciliation and Coexistence (CNPRC) welcomes the unilateral ceasefire by the guerrilla group National Liberation Army (ELN)."

"The new social and family dynamics resulting from compulsory preventive isolation may exacerbate problems of coexistence, produce an increase in domestic and gender-based violence, as well as a further deterioration in the quality of life in large sectors of Colombian society. For this reason, the institutions must adopt measures to guarantee coexistence," affirmed the Monsignor.

Henao seized the occasion to advocate for kidnapped release in Arauca and Cauca regions and children's withdrawal from armed groups. He also expressed his gratitude to health workers who labor during the pandemic. 

]]> <![CDATA['Wild West Tactics': Canada Rejects US Move To Block Face Masks]]> Mon, 6 Apr 2020 23:48:00 -04:00 Ontario, the most populous province in Canada, complained Monday that the United States had blocked the export of more than three million face masks it bought to fight the coronavirus outbreak, while Ottawa said it was pressuring Washington to release the gear.

The US Hinders Exports of Medical Supplies to Other Countries

The province bought two orders of almost four million medical masks from manufacturer 3M Co’s plant in South Dakota, and one batch of nearly three million was halted, Premier Doug Ford told reporters. Speaking to Global News, he called the incident “absolutely unacceptable.”

Ford, a conservative, said that after the Ontario and Canadian governments complained, he had been assured 500,000 of the masks would soon be released.

U.S. President Donald Trump signed an order last week to stop personal protective equipment from being exported, and Ford said it was “absolutely critical” that Canada be exempted.

Ford said he would be calling U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to press home the point.

Ontario, which has the second-highest number of coronavirus cases among the 10 provinces, would run out of personal protective equipment in a week, Ford added. About 14 million people live in Ontario, representing over a third of Canada’s population.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke to Canadian Foreign Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne on Monday and “reiterated the U.S. desire” to work with Canada to ensure the viability of international supply chains for medical supplies and personnel, a Pompeo spokeswoman said.

Canadian Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland told reporters that “we are working intensely with the United States to ensure that all the masks that have been bought can be exported to Canada.”

Canada’s death toll from COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus, had climbed to 340 by 5 p.m. (2100 GMT) on Monday, from 258 on Sunday, according to a tally of provincial announcements compiled by the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. The number of cases rose to 16,568 from 14,426.

In a sign of the economic challenge, officials said a total of 3.18 million people in Canada had filed unemployment claims since March 16, including for an emergency benefit that launched on Monday.

Industry groups and tenants said landlords should brace for rent strikes in May unless the government steps in with rental subsidies for occupants as the outbreak decimates wages.

]]> <![CDATA[Trump Considering New Aid Package Favoring Big Business: Report]]> Mon, 6 Apr 2020 23:42:13 -04:00 United States President Donald Trump’s administration is reportedly contemplating another slate of coronavirus aid measures, the Washington Post reported Sunday.


COVID-19 Reminds Us We Need a Gov't Working for All: Sanders

Citing two anonymous officials familiar with the White House deliberations, the Post reported that the Trump administration is weighing "a payroll-tax cut, a capital-gains tax cut, creating 50-year Treasury bonds to lock in low-interest rates, and a waiver that would clear businesses of liability from employees who contract the coronavirus on the job."

The fresh plan would unequally benefit the wealthy while providing little assistance to those most in need, according to critics.

"A capital gains tax cut would be smash-and-grab economics with no value to the economic and medical calamity facing us," HuffPost senior reporter Zach Carter tweeted.

Critics also pointed the other proposals understudy inside the White House, including the waiver relieving companies of responsibility for employees who contract the deadly virus while working.

Journalist Jon Walker called the Trump administration's reported plans "the worst possible set of ideas for dealing with a pandemic."

White House discussions over the potential new aid package come as the multi-trillion-dollar coronavirus package Trump signed into law late last month is failing to get much-needed relief to workers, newly unemployed, and small businesses.

The Trump administration launched Friday the US$350 billion small business relief program allowed under the first stimulus package. But the rollout was disastrous as small businesses struggled to apply for loans and some of the biggest banks in the country ignored the process entirely as the Treasury Department failed to supervise it.

"The estimate is there are 30 million small businesses out there," wrote the executive editor of The American Prospect David Dayen.

"About 4.5 percent of all of them will have a chance to get relief. Half of the small businesses haven't paid rent in April, which if I'm doing the math correctly is more than 4.5 percent. And millions of them will have no federal help, no customers, and really no hope."

Workers and the unemployed, meanwhile, are still waiting for the one-time US$1,200 cash payments and expanded unemployment benefits to which they are now entitled under the law.

"The law's provision to boost unemployment benefits has become tangled in dated and overwhelmed state bureaucracies, as an unprecedented avalanche of jobless Americans seeks aid," the Post reported.

]]> <![CDATA[US Black People More Likely To Die From COVID-19: Study]]> Mon, 6 Apr 2020 23:14:35 -04:00 Early data from U.S. states shows black people are more likely to die from COVID-19, highlighting longstanding disparities in health and inequalities in access to medical care, experts said Monday.

Hate Crimes Against Asians Surge in US Amid COVID-19: FBI

In Illinois, black people make up about 30 percent of the state’s cases and about 40 percent of its coronavirus-related deaths, according to statistics provided by the state’s public health agency. However, they just make up 14.6 percent of the state’s population.

In Michigan, black people account for 40 percent of the state’s reported deaths, according to data released by the state, but its population is only 14 percent.

Many U.S. states, including hardest-hit New York, have not released demographic data showing the virus’ toll on different racial groups.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also has not publicly reported data on the race and ethnicities of patients tested for COVID-19, the sometimes deadly respiratory illness caused by the new coronavirus.

“Because we don’t have broad access to testing, we don’t actually know how many people are infected in the U.S.,” said Dr. Jeffrey Levi, a professor of public health at The George Washington University. “We only have accurate data on who is actually getting hospitalized.”

In a letter sent late last month, a group of Democratic lawmakers including Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Sen. Kamala Harris urged Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar to ensure such data is collected and published.

The World Health Organization has said people with pre-existing conditions like asthma and other chronic lung disorders, diabetes and heart disease appear to develop serious illness more often than others.

That makes the virus particularly dangerous for black people, who because of environmental and economic factors have higher rates of those illnesses, said Dr. Summer Johnson McGee, dean of the School of Health Sciences at the University of New Haven.

McGee said she was not surprised the U.S. black population is experiencing a worse outcome during the pandemic. Racism has led to a lack of investment in black communities and worse health care for the population in general, McGee said.

“A pandemic just magnifies the disparities in healthcare that many communities of color face,” she said.

Confirmed U.S. coronavirus cases neared 350,000, with more than 10,000 deaths, on Monday, according to a Reuters tally.

]]> <![CDATA[Cuban Medical Team Arrives in Barbados to Help Fight COVID-19]]> Mon, 6 Apr 2020 21:40:14 -04:00 A team of Cuban medical professionals including 100 intensive care specialists arrived Sunday in Barbados to join the Caribbean nation in its fight against the rapid spread of the new coronavirus.


Nearly 60 Groups Demand End to Sanctions During COVID-19 Crisis

Barbados Health Minister Jeffrey Bostic held a virtual press conference Sunday in which he said the Cuban professionals will provide much-needed support to strained local medical teams that have been working grueling hours in demanding circumstances.

“We thank the people and government of Cuba for their support in this time of great demand for their medical services,” Bostic said expressing gratitude to Cuban authorities for helping the country.

The health minister also praised local physicians for their work and urged Barbadians to respect the measures in place to curb the spread of infections and reduce pressure on the health system.

Bostic reported the first coronavirus death in the country; an 81-year-old man who had recently traveled to the United Kingdom. 

Barbados has so far 60 confirmed cases, the majority of which have been imported. The second death due to COVID-19 was registered Monday.

As part of the efforts to control and contain the spread of the virus on the island, the government imposed a 24-hour curfew until April 14.

Elsewhere in the Caribbean region, Belize also recorded Sunday its first coronavirus death, a 55-year-old man with pre-existing health conditions.

In Saint Maarten, a 24-hour curfew has been imposed for 15 days. The country has reported 25 cases and four deaths.

Trinidad and Tobago has recorded seven COVID-19 deaths. It has 105 confirmed cases of which 49 can be traced back to individuals who recently returned from a cruise.

As of Monday, Jamaica had 58 confirmed cases, while three people died.

]]> <![CDATA[Ecuador's Guayaquil Runs out of Coffins as COVID-19 Deaths Soar]]> Mon, 6 Apr 2020 19:48:11 -04:00 Ecuador’s Guayaquil has run out of wooden coffins due to the high rise of deaths mainly caused by the novel coronavirus pandemic, its authorities announced Saturday that they will be delivering cardboard caskets in order to meet the demand. 

Ecuador: Guayaquil Faces Drama Due to Non-Buried COVID-19 Dead

“It’s so they can meet demand,” a city hall spokesman told AFP, adding that “there are either no coffins in the city or they are extremely expensive.”

Around 2,000 units will be delivered by local providers to the city’s authorities, which comes as the coastal city of more than two million people has become a regional hotspot of the virus with over 2,500 cases from the total 3,700 reported as of Monday in Ecuador. 

This has resulted in a spike in prices ranging from US$400 to over US$1,500 for a simple wooden coffin. A Twitter user described her ordeal as her father was admitted on March 27 with respiratory problems, by April 3 he had died from the virus. "That's when my nightmare began," Sofia writes

She explains that after the hospital misplaced her father's body and various bureaucratic processes two days later she finally could register his death.

 "I went to most of the city's funeral homes and coffins were sold out...they wanted to sell one from US$1,300 plus US$300 more to do the paperwork I just had done for free." But it wasn’t until April 3 she finally found her father’s decomposed body finally to bury him. 

Cases such as this recently made international headlines for the same reason as dozens of images of dead bodies left in the streets showed the grim reality of the port city’s poorest.

The province’s Prefect Carlos Luis Morales told CNN Spanish that officials had been instructed not to divulge statistics about the death toll in Guayas. “Just to give you an idea, 480 death certificates have been issued since yesterday; 150 bodies are being collected each day.”

Even Ecuador’s President Lenin Moreno announced they are planning a “special” burial ground to bury the 3,500 he fears could die in the pandemic. The city is just now getting refrigerated trailers to help store the dead currently overwhelming city hospitals.

“It looks like a war zone hospital. The things we have seen are straight out of a horror film,” a doctor at the Teodoro Maldonado Carbo hospital, one of the city’s biggest facilities, told the Guardian. “My wife doesn’t want me to go to work. But if I don’t, more patients will die.”

Meanwhile, the official figures continue to register 191 deaths as of Monday, yet the images and testimonies make many question this count. 

]]> <![CDATA[Peru: Indigenous People in Lockdown Without Electricity, Sewage]]> Mon, 6 Apr 2020 22:13:28 -04:00 Less than two kilometers from the government Palace in Lima, the Indigenous Shipibo-Conibo tribe is an example of millions of Peruvians in coronavirus quarantine without basic necessities.

Brazil Confirms First COVID-19 Case in Isolated Tribe

Around five minutes by car from the capital’s Plaza Mayor is the Cantagallo shantytown which is home to 250 families from the Shipibo-Conibo group.

The Amazonian tribe arrived in Lima around 20 years ago and settled on the shores of the polluted Rimac River.

Despite being so close to the seat of political power in the historic center of the Peruvian capital, Cantagallo’s 1,000 inhabitants live without electricity.

The water supply comes from two pipes that emerge from the ground and there is no drainage system.

“It is a struggling community. The group came in search of opportunities in education, health, and work and has self-managed socially and economically without support from the government,” the President of the Association of Shipibos Resident Artisans in Lima Karina Pacaya told EFE.

The arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic and consequent quarantine has reminded the group of the constant unfulfilled promises from the state over more than six years to provide them with suitable housing.

A fire swept through the crowded community in 2016 and they rebuilt their houses with whatever materials were on hand.

Wilson Valle, president of the Association of the Urban Community of Shipibo-Konibo in Metropolitan Lima, told EFE that authorities have repeatedly tried to force the group to leave.

“They have done a study saying that the soil has a lot of lead and arsenic contamination, a pretext to get us out,” he added.

“In 20 years nobody has died here because of that. They are not going to cheat us anymore. We no longer trust the government.”

Valle said members of the community would be happy with a title deed for the land and a drainage system.

“We will do the rest brick by brick. We do not want to be beggars from the state. We are an Indigenous and fighting people.”

Families in Cantagallo have been confined in tiny houses, many no more than four wooden walls and a piece of corrugated material for the roof.

“We know that, in order not to get infected, we have to wash ourselves and that requires a lot of water, but the contamination continues because we do not have a drain,” Pacaya said.

“There is no place to dispose of the used water.”

Residents are forced to use the streets as an open sewer, throwing basins of dirty water onto the ground.

“With this epidemic we are in a very critical situation, more than any upper or middle class citizen who is in their pool and with all their basic services fully guaranteed,” Pacaya added.

None of the houses have toilets, with the nearest one around 300 meters away that cannot be used during the night because of a nationwide curfew.

Those living in Cantagallo have better conditions than many of the rest of Peru’s indigenous people.

In the Amazon, only 13 percent of the 2,703 registered native communities have access to the public drinking water network and only seven percent have a sewage system.

Most drink water from rivers, which may contain heavy metals as a result of illegal mining.

]]> <![CDATA[Netanyahu, Gantz Agree on Plan to Annex Parts of the West Bank ]]> Mon, 6 Apr 2020 19:17:31 -04:00 Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his main rival, Blue and White party chief Benny Gantz agreed Monday on a proposal that would allow Israel to annex portions of the West Bank under a unity government led by their two parties, Haaretz reported.


Israeli Forces Detain Palestinian Governor of Jerusalem

The Israeli leaders, until now political rivals, agreed that Netanyahu would bring the proposal to be voted this summer, provided that it is accepted by the United States (U.S.) and other international players.

The U.S. under the administration of President Donald Trump has already demonstrated its promptness to back any plan that could pave the way for the annexation of Israel’s illegal settlements and the Jordan Valley in the West Bank.

Trump had unveiled in January his plan dubbed “deal of the century” for the decades-long conflict in the Middle East. The proposal - overwhelmingly rejected by the Palestinians - gives Israel the green light to annex large sections of the West Bank.

Monday's agreement came after months of a political deadlock resulting from three elections that did not produce a clear winner.

After the March 2 election, Gantz nominated himself speaker of the Knesset (parliament) in a surprise move that suggested a soon to be formed unity government between his party and Netanyahu’s Likud.


Israeli Settlements are 'Loophole' in COVID-19 Fight: Palestine

Meanwhile, law experts say annexing Palestinian territories would be illegal under international law.

Israel annexed East Jerusalem in the 1967 war, declared the entire Jerusalem city as its “eternal indivisible” capital in 1980 and annexed the Golan Heights one year later. But these moves have never been recognized by most of the international community, including Washington. 

Yet, after he came into power, Trump declared Jerusalem the capital of Israel, and last year, he recognized Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights. 

"For 70 years, the entire international order has been built on the principle that you cannot acquire someone else's land by force and annex it," Human rights lawyer Jonathan Kuttab told the Middle East Eye following Trump’s announcement of his “deal of the century.”

"Until the Israelis came and said, 'We can do it'. Nobody agreed with them until Trump came."

"Under international law, it is clear as daylight that annexation is illegal. It is not something that's open to interpretation."

]]> <![CDATA[UK PM Moved to Intensive Care As COVID-19 Symptoms Worsen]]> Mon, 6 Apr 2020 17:01:47 -04:00 British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was moved to an intensive care unit Monday after his COVID-19 symptoms worsened.


UK PM Admitted to Hospital Over COVID-19 Symptoms

“Over the course of this afternoon, the condition of the Prime Minister has worsened and, on the advice of his medical team, he has been moved to the Intensive Care Unit at the hospital,” a Downing Street spokesman said, adding Johnson had received oxygen.

The British premier tested positive on March 27 becoming the first leader of a major power to announce that he contracted the novel coronavirus. Following guidelines, Johson stayed home and went into self-isolation but on Sunday he was admitted to the hospital as his condition worsened.

Britain has no formal succession plan should the prime minister become incapacitated, but Johnson asked First Secretary of State Dominic Raab to deputize for him.

“The PM has asked Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, who is the First Secretary of State, to deputize for him where necessary,” Downing Street said. “The PM remains conscious at this time.”

Johnson has faced criticism for initially approving a much more modest response to the new coronavirus outbreak than other European leaders, saying on March 3 that he had been shaking hands with coronavirus patients.

He changed his approach when scientific projections showed a quarter of a million people could die in the United Kingdom. On Monday, health officials said Britain’s death toll stood at 5,373 with over 51,000 cases.

]]> <![CDATA[UN Chief Calls for Protection of Women from Domestic Violence]]> Mon, 6 Apr 2020 15:36:41 -04:00 United Nations General  Secretary Antonio Guterres called on governments to protect girls and women from the increase in domestic violence during the COVID-19 quarantine period.


Israeli Forces Detain Palestinian Governor of Jerusalem

"Violence is not limited to the battlefield. Violence is not limited to the battlefield. For many women and girls, the threat is greatest precisely where they should be safest. For many women and girls, the threat is greatest where they should be safest. So today I call again for peace in homes around the world," UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Sunday, referring to his recent call for a ceasefire in all conflict zones to better combat the disease.

Given the health emergency caused by the virus, many governments have implemented social isolation and the cessation of social or public activities. For this reason, many girls and women spend all their time in home confinement with their aggressors.

In Latin America, where feminicide and crimes associated with gender discrimination are a frequent social problem, this phenomenon is also suffered. According to several Special Force to Fight Violence (Felcv), two cases of femicide occurred in Bolivia, one in Santa Cruz and one in the city of El Alto.

"In this time of quarantine, it is important to be aware of the problems of the people around us."

The National Human Rights Commission in Mexico warned of the increase in domestic violence as a result of the exceptional situation caused by the virus. "This organization is concerned that the COVID-19 quarantine will hinder victims of violence from accessing assistance and aid services to report their aggressors," it said in a statement.

In El Salvador, where 35 to 40 complaints were received per month, 100 were recorded in the first 28 days of quarantine.

For its part, the National Commission for Women, in the United States, assures that several cities have reported an increase in cases of domestic violence. In India, the number of cases doubled during the first week of restrictions on movement.

Given these facts, Guterres insisted on the need to implement "emergency alert systems in pharmacies and supermarkets," which are the only shops open in many countries, and insisted that women must be able to ask for help safely. 

]]> <![CDATA[Sweden: PM Announces Thousands of Deaths Due to COVID]]> Mon, 6 Apr 2020 14:51:29 -04:00 Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven warned citizens to prepare for thousands of deaths.  Despite the forecast, the Swedish government does not enforce restrictive measures to face  COVID-19.


U.S. Seizes Ventilators Destined for Barbados

In prior statements, Lofven dismissed the COVID-19 threat naming it a “little flu.” Currently, the Swedish government is facing strong criticism for the lack of preventive measures taken to prevent the virus from spreading.  

The authorities of the Scandanavian country have not implemented quarantine or social isolation on the basis that they rely on the common sense of their citizens.Other government actions include recommendations such as handwashing, but do not enforce any concrete activities to stop the spread of the virus.

 In public and shared spaces, where there is still full access and movement, common spaces have not been closed, such as cafeterias or restaurants. The country's top epidemiologist, Anders Tegnell, explained that the goal in his country is to lower the infection curve to prevent hospitals from collapsing.

Some nations bordering Sweden show different progress, thanks to certain measures such as social isolation. Currently, Finland has just over 1,900 infected and eight dead, Denmark has over 4,000 confirmed cases and 161 dead, while Norway has over 5,000 infected and 58 dead. Sweden has already recorded more than 7,000 positive cases and more than 400 deaths from the virus. 

Regarding the Swedish government approach on public health, Claudia Hanson, a Stockholm-based senior lecturer in global public health affirmed: "They are used to making evidence-based decisions, but that doesn’t work for a pandemic like this, where key coordinates are unknown.”

]]> <![CDATA[Nearly 60 Groups Demand End to Sanctions During COVID-19 Crisis]]> Mon, 6 Apr 2020 12:19:51 -04:00 Approximately 60 organizations in Spain on Monday demanded the suspension of sanctions and blockades against Venezuela, Cuba, Iran and Palestine so that they can face the COVID-19 outbreak with full force. 


US Weaponizing COVID-19 Against Venezuela, Iran: Oliver Stone

In a joint statement, the political groups indicated that these coercive measures are preventing various international organizations from supplying food and medicine to the population of these countries. 

The entities sent their complaint to the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, to the President and Vice President of the Government of Spain and to the respective embassies. 

In the document, they said that in the midst of a global emergency due to the pandemic caused by the coronavirus, the U.S. has 'inhumanely' increased the economic siege against Venezuela, Cuba and Iran, and Israel against the Gaza Strip.

The severe restrictions imposed on these nations impede the flow of food and medicine to these four countries and others, for fear of threats and retaliation from the United States, they indicated. 

In addition, the Venezuelan government is unable to rescue Venezuelan citizens who are being held in other countries due to the sanctions imposed against the Venezuelan airline CONVIASA, they said. 

In their appeal, they demanded urgent action in the face of this inhumanity and breach of the most elementary human rights because, after all, "it is the citizens of these peoples who suffer such atrocious consequences."

The almost 60 groups request that the Spanish government and the United Nations organization send a request to the U.S. administration to suspend said blockades and sanctions immediately.

Lifting the coercive measures would allow these nations to attend to the needs of their respective peoples, in moments of extreme need, as they are being solidary in the rest of the world.

]]> <![CDATA[Honduran Doctors Need More Medical Supplies to Fight COVID-19 ]]> Mon, 6 Apr 2020 13:34:48 -04:00 Doctors in Honduras gave an ultimatum to the government because of the lack of medical supplies to combar the COVID-19 outbreak inside the country..

RELATED: New Caravan of Honduran Migrants Advances to the United States

Doctors, residents and social workers announced their withdrawal from the hospitals if the biosecurity equipment and resources necessary to avoid further contamination by the virus are not provided.

Reniery Lazo, the chief resident of internal medicine, said that if there is no government response they will take the necessary measures. Among the actions proposed by the Honduran doctors' organization is the abandonment of hospital wards and other medical facilities. According to Lazo, medical personnel do not have the equipment to prevent contagion while providing care to patients affected by the virus.

According to the representative of internal medicine residents, he added that the delivery of masks, medical gowns, gloves, boots, and hydro-alcoholic gel should be a priority. Due to working conditions, at least 6 health workers in Honduras are positive to Covid-19.

"Doctors give 48-hour ultimatum to the regime for biosecurity" 

On the other hand, the Freedom and Refoundation Party of Honduras (Libre) denounced how 70 percent of citizens do not have access to health care services and nine out of ten people are not covered by any type of health insurance, making the situation even more delicate. In these circumstances, the doctors' withdrawal would cause a sanitary crisis. 

According to local media, some of the requested supplies are arriving at hospitals; even so, the amount is not enough. ​​​​​​​

These statements by Honduran medical personnel occur during the health crisis in the Central American country caused by the virus, where 298 positive cases and 22 deaths have been recorded so far.

]]> <![CDATA[Brazil Still Hampered by Coronavirus as Death Toll Reaches 486]]> Mon, 6 Apr 2020 10:58:10 -04:00 Brazil's Health Ministry said on Sunday the country's death toll from COVID-19 has climbed to 486 as 11,130 people tested positive to the coronavirus disease.

Brazil, Chile, Ecuador Report Highest Number of COVID-19 Cases

In the past 24 hours, 54 patients died, up 12.5 percent compared with the day before, and 852 new infections were detected, placing the mortality rate at 4.4 percent, said the authorities.

Southeast Brazil, the country's most populous region, registered 60 percent of the cases (6,678) and 72.2 percent of the deaths (351).

The state with the largest caseload is Sao Paulo, the most populous and wealthiest in the country, with 4,620 cases and 275 deaths.

It is followed by Rio de Janeiro, also in southeast Brazil, with 1,394 cases and 64 deaths.

In Latin America, Brazil is hardest hit by the coronavirus, with authorities acknowledging that the actual number of infections could be much higher, since only seriously ill patients receive tests.

]]> <![CDATA[Cuban Medical Aid in Italy Shows Positive Results]]> Mon, 6 Apr 2020 10:24:51 -04:00 One out of three patients with COVID-19 that were treated by Cuban doctors in Lombardy have already recovered and been discharged. 


Cuba Suspends International Passenger Flights

According to Dr. Carlos Pérez Díaz, head of the Cuban medical brigade in Italian territory, 12 of the 36 affected by the virus in Lombardy have already recovered.

Perez Diaz explained that the Cuban medical team received 16 cases on the first day of work. These patients came from the Intensive Care Unit of the Crema Hospital in the Lombardy region.

According to his statement to the Cuban press, the medical brigade, as of April 3, had served 428 people. Of those infected with COVID-19, 5 were transferred to intensive care at the hospital. Only one of those infected died.

"One out of three patients treated by Cubans in Lombardy has already been discharged"

Among other information, Perez Diaz explained the order of work of the doctors and the establishment of shifts that the team carries out.  Rendering to his statements, the Cuban medical mission intends to fulfill the task of saving lives, a mission that the Cuban doctors demonstrated to "the high degree of morale, firm, and willing." 

On the other hand, he stressed that the rigorous biosecurity measures are taken to "all return and return well" to Cuba.

The Cuban medical brigade, composed of 52 doctors, arrived in Lombardy, Italy, on March 26. This brigade is part of the Cuban Health Contingent "Henry Reeve" for the attention of disasters and serious epidemics. The contingent currently has brigades deployed in 15 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean and Europe that have requested Cuban assistance to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, with a total of 600 health professionals.


]]> <![CDATA[Israeli Forces Detain Palestinian Governor of Jerusalem]]> Sun, 5 Apr 2020 21:05:41 -04:00 Israel has detained Sunday the Palestinian Authority (PA) Governor of Jerusalem Adnan Ghaith over "illegal" activities and imprisoned him for the seventh time in the previous 18 months period.


High Population Density Challenge for Gazans to Fight COVID-19

"Adnan Ghaith was detained this morning for Palestinian activity in Jerusalem, which is illegal," police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told AFP.

Ghaith’s lawyer, Rami Othman, said his client, who was taken for questioning, was arrested primarily due to Palestinian activity related to the coronavirus outbreak.

The PA has a minister for Jerusalem affairs and a Jerusalem governor located in al-Ram, on the other side of an Israeli wall that separates the city and the occupied West Bank.

Ghaith’s arrest comes two days after Israeli forces arrested Friday Palestine’s Jerusalem Affairs Minister Fadi Al-Hadami for allegedly violating an Israeli ban on Palestinian activities in the occupied East Jerusalem. 

The Jerusalem Affairs Ministry said in a statement that Israeli police raided the minister’s house in the Silwan neighborhood of Jerusalem and took him into custody.

Israel occupied East Jerusalem in the 1967 Six-Day War and later annexed it in an illegal move never recognized by the international community.

It considers the entire city its capital, while the Palestinians see the eastern sector as the capital of their future state. The Jewish state bans all PA activities in the city.

]]> <![CDATA[US Seizes Ventilators Destined for Barbados]]> Sun, 5 Apr 2020 19:38:38 -04:00 The United States government seized 20 ventilators destined for Barbados, the island’s Minister of Health and Wellness Jeffrey Bostic informed Sunday. 

The US Hinders Exports of Medical Supplies to Other Countries

“They were seized in the United States. Paid for, but seized, so we are trying to see exactly what is going to transpire there,” Bostic said, explaining that the ventilators donated to the Barbados government were barred from exportation.

“Ventilators are one of the most in-demand items in the world today and Barbados is merely wrestling with the other 203 countries and territories around the world seeking to secure as many of these pieces of equipment as possible,” the official added.

The Health Minister did not disclose the U.S. city or state where the seizure took place. 

The government reassured that the 48 ventilators that are currently available “appear to be more than enough with only three of the country’s 56 COVID-19 patients in need of ventilators.”

However, Bostic informed that over 150 ventilators had been ordered and paid for from more than five different sources and stressed that Prime Minister Mia Mottley had made an “open cheque” available for the purchase of such critical supplies. While five devices donated from Barbados-born international pop star Rihanna would reach the island soon. 

On Friday, U.S. President Donald Trump  enacted the Defense Production Act (DPA) to block exports of surgical masks manufactured by the 3M company to Canada.

By implementing this Korean War-era national security law, the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency are able of applying measures that allow the Trump administration to secure the medical supplies it deems necessary.

The DPA may also compel a private company to prioritize serving requests from the U.S. federal government.

Described by analysts as a modern form of piracy, the hoarding of medical supplies by the United States is also affecting other countries' capabilities to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

]]> <![CDATA[US Weaponizing COVID-19 Against Venezuela, Iran: Oliver Stone]]> Sun, 5 Apr 2020 20:58:24 -04:00 “As a number of religious scholars have warned, ‘plagues expose the foundations of injustice’ in our societies,” film director Oliver Stone wrote in an op-ed Saturday exposing the United States (U.S.) government “profound lack of human decency” amid the new coronavirus pandemic.


‘The US Has Become a Force of Evil’: Oliver Stone

In the piece published by the New York Daily News, Stone denounces the U.S. government for refusing to remove murderous sanctions on Iran and Venezuela in the context of a global health crisis. He urged for a “serious moral self-reflection,” and warned that countless lives were at risk unless there is an “immediate change in course.”

The award-winning filmmaker highlighted the differences between the government of the U.S. and those of Cuba or China which have sent doctors and medical supplies to a number of countries around the world to help fight the pandemic.

“These actions represent the type of international solidarity and show of humanity that the world needs right now,” he said.

“Sadly, the federal government in Washington is demonstrating the very opposite at this time (...) It is accurate to say that the U.S. is weaponizing the virus against these countries.”

Due to the illegal U.S. sanctions, Iran has been paying a heavy price because of the pandemic. The Islamic Republic is “reportedly the only country in the world that cannot buy medicines needed to fight the pandemic." 


Trudeau Must Rescind Its Sanctions Against Venezuela

According to reports from Iran, one person is dying every 10 minutes, while Iranians along with international health experts fear that millions could die. “If this happens, the U.S. government will bear a great deal of moral and legal responsibility, for it is knowingly contributing to the spread of the pandemic in Iran,” Stone said.

Likewise, the outspoken Hollywood director condemned U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to maintain, and in some cases, to increase economic pressure on countries like Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua as the virus is straining healthcare systems across the planet.

In the case of Venezuela, U.S. “coercion” led the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to refuse the South American country a US$5 billion loan to help fight the pandemic, Stone recalled. 

Moreover, the U.S. has taken up its pressure on Caracas amid the global health crisis, accusing the government of drug trafficking and calling for a “transition government” to replace President Nicolas Maduro.

Iran has registered nearly 3,500 COVID-19 deaths, with 19,700 confirmed cases, according to a tally from Johns Hopkins University, while Venezuela has so far 159 confirmed cases and seven deaths.

]]> <![CDATA[First Person Killed in the Philippines for Violating Quarantine]]> Sun, 5 Apr 2020 18:54:30 -04:00 A 63-year-old man was shot dead Thursday in the Philippines after threatening village officials and police, becoming the first reported case of a police shooting a civilian for refusing to follow quarantine amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Philippines President Tells Police to Kill Quarantine Violators

"The suspect was cautioned by a village health worker ... for not wearing a face mask," the police report informed on Saturday, adding that "the suspect got angry, uttering provoking words and eventually attacked the personnel using a scythe." 

The man was allegedly drunk when he threatened village officials and police manning the checkpoint in the town of Nasipit in the southern province of Agusan del Norte, the officers then shot him. 

On Wednesday Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte ordered that law enforcement officials shoot those who violate the strict quarantine imposed to mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic.

"I will not hesitate. My orders are to the police and military […] that if there is trouble or the situation arises that people fight and your lives are on the line, shoot them dead. Do you understand?" Duterte said during a press conference in Manila.

For their part, the human rights defenders and civil groups denounced the president's words Thursday, which were quickly spread by social networks, where the hashtag #OustDuterte has been trending since Wednesday night.

"We are seriously alarmed that the President's words will translate to worse and more brutal forms of human rights violations, repression, and State violence in the days to come," human rights organization Karapatan said.

As of Sunday, there are 3,246 cases in the Philippines and over 150 deaths. 

]]> <![CDATA[Greece: Migrant Camp Quarantined After COVID-19 Case Confirmed ]]> Sun, 5 Apr 2020 18:34:24 -04:00 Greece has quarantined a migrant installation about 40 km northeast the capital Athens after a 53-year-old Afghan asylum seeker tested positive for COVID-19, the ministry of migration announced Sunday.


First Case of COVID-19 in a Refugee Camp in Greece

The man lives with his family in the Malakasa camp where hundreds of asylum seekers are housed. He was transported to a hospital in Athens and tests on people who were in contact with him are being held as the authorities are trying to trace the route of the virus.

The camp in Malakasa will be sealed off for 15 days and the police guarding the site will be reinforced to ensure the restrictions are implemented, the ministry said.

It added that a separate facility started operating last month for migrants who arrived after March 1.

More than 110,000 people live in migrant facilities in Greece, including in cramped camps on five islands.

“The number (of migrants and refugees) is very large, therefore it is a given, mathematically, that there will be confirmed cases,” Migration Minister Notis Mitarachi said. “We have an emergency plan in place ... But it is more difficult to implement it on the islands.”

Last week, the Ritsona camp in the center of the country was quarantined after 20 people tested positive for the new coronavirus. 


EU to Offer Migrants in Greece US$2,225 to Voluntarily Go Home

For years now, Greece has been the main crossing point to the European Union (EU) for people fleeing conflict and poverty in the Middle East and beyond.

Aid groups have urged the country to evacuate the camps, warning that containing the spread of the virus with the squalid conditions in which people live in these camps is “impossible.”

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis' conservative government wants to replace all the camps on the islands in detention centers, but the plan was met with resistance from local authorities and residents who want all facilities shut.

To control the rapid spread of the virus the government also wants new arrivals isolated but most islands have not designated areas of accommodation, ministry officials said. About 120 people who recently arrived on Lesbos have not yet found a shelter, according to sources.

Since the outbreak, Greece has imposed a nationwide lockdown and banned arrivals from non-EU countries as well as Germany, Britain, Italy and Spain. 

The country has reported Sunday 62 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total in the country to 1,735. Seventy-three people have died.

]]> <![CDATA[UK PM Admitted to Hospital Over COVID-19 Symptoms]]> Sun, 5 Apr 2020 16:25:28 -04:00 The United Kingdom's Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been admitted Sunday to the hospital for further tests and as a  "precautionary step," 10 days after testing positive for COVID-19, the British government announced.


British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is Covid-19 Positive

"On the advice of his doctor, the prime minister has tonight been admitted to hospital for tests," a Downing Street spokeswoman said, adding that "this is a precautionary step, as the prime minister continues to have persistent symptoms of coronavirus ten days after testing positive for the virus," including a high fever.

The British premier tested positive on March 27 becoming the first leader of a major power to announce that he contracted the novel coronavirus. Following guidelines, Johson stayed home and went into self-isolation. 

Johnson remains in charge of the government and in contact with ministers and officials. The first Secretary of State Dominic Raab is expected to chair the government’s Monday morning meeting.

As of Sunday, the U.K. has reported over 47,800 cases and more than 4,900 deaths. 

]]> <![CDATA[Spain's Sanchez Calls for New 'Marshall Plan' in Europe]]> Sun, 5 Apr 2020 15:22:41 -04:00 Spanish President Pedro Sánchez, told  the nations of the European Union (EU) that they will fail as a community if forceful measures are not taken to face the coronavirus pandemic.


Spain: Bio-Engineers Find Drug That Blocks Effects of COVID-19

In an article published on Sunday in more than a dozen European newspapers, in different languages, Sánchez appealed for solidarity between EU countries to get ahead in the face of the health emergency that is hitting the continent.

"Solidarity between Europeans is a key principle of the Union treaties. And it is demonstrated in times like this. Without solidarity there will be no cohesion, without cohesion there will be disaffection and then the credibility of the European project will be seriously damaged," he said.

In the text, entitled "Europe is at stake", the Spanish President calls on the EU to develop a "new Marshall plan", which is capable of injecting liquidity into European economies, after the pandemic has forced numerous countries in the world to close productive activities. 

"Europe was born from the ashes of destruction and conflict. It learned the lessons of history and understood something very simple: if we do not all win, in the end, we will all lose," said the head of government.

In his article, Sánchez recalled that "Europe is experiencing its greatest crisis since World War II. Our citizens are dying or struggling in hospitals saturated by a pandemic that represents the greatest public health threat since the 1918 flu."

Sánchez calls on the EU authorities "to build up a war economy and promote resistance, reconstruction and European recovery", both now and after the pandemic is overcome.

The European Commission predicts an economic recession in 2020 in the European Union (EU) due to the coronavirus, confirmed the European Commissioner for the Internal Market, Thierry Breton.

The global coronavirus crisis will have a negative "impact" on growth of between 2 percent and 2.5 percent, compared to the latest forecasts that "hovered around 1.4 percent," Breton told the BFM Business chain.

The new coronavirus pandemic particularly affects the nations of Europe, including Spain and Italy, while the United States has become the focus of the disease by registering more cases diagnosed and with the highest death toll.

]]> <![CDATA[Venezuelan Leader Pens Open Letter to US Public ]]> Sun, 5 Apr 2020 13:18:54 -04:00 In a letter issued on Sunday, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro warned the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump against making any unwise military decisions against the Bolivarian Republic. 


Nearly 600 Venezuelans Return to Their Country From Colombia

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza read a letter on Sunday that Venezuelan President Maduro sent to the people of the United States, following Washington's recent threats toward the Bolivarian Republic. 

In the letter, the head of state indicated that "in Venezuela we do not want an armed conflict in our nation, we cannot accept war threats," and urged the American people not to believe in the reasons that Trump indicates for attacking Venezuela.

President Maduro urged the people in the United States to not believe Trump's statements about "fighting drug trafficking", calling these claims by the U.S. leader false and unfounded.

In the text, President Nicolás Maduro rejected the threats of the Trump administration against Venezuela that seek to lead the region to an expensive, bloody and indefinite armed conflict.

"We in Venezuela do not want an armed conflict in our region. We want fraternal relationships, cooperation, exchange and respect, "he said.

He stated that the country cannot accept war threats, or blockades, nor the intention to install an international guardianship that violates sovereignty and ignores the advances of the last year in the political dialogue between the government and a large part of the Venezuelan opposition.

After showing solidarity with the U.S. people that are suffering from the COVID-19 pandemic, he called on the people of the country to hold their leaders accountable and compel them to focus their attention and resources on the necessary and urgent fight against the pandemic.

Furthermore, he requested the cessation of military threats, the end of illegal sanctions and the blockade that restricts access to humanitarian supplies, which are so necessary today in the country to combat this virus.

"I ask you, with your heart in your hands, not to allow your country to be drawn, once again, to another endless conflict, another Vietnam or another Iraq, but this time closer to home," the letter highlights.

]]> <![CDATA[Brazil, Chile, Ecuador Report Highest Number of COVID-19 Cases]]> Sun, 5 Apr 2020 11:05:04 -04:00 Brazil, Chile and Ecuador are currently reporting the highest number of COVID-19 (coronavirus) cases in the entire  Latin America region, the latest reports revealed on Sunday morning.


Bots Made 55 % of Pro-Bolsonaro Tweets About COVID-19

According to data from the Brazilian Ministry of Health, the death toll from coronavirus increased to 432, with 73 deaths reported in the last 24 hours.

The figure of 73 deaths is the highest for a single day since the first case of COVID-19 was reported in Brazil. According to the report of the Brazilian Government, the number of infected passed from 9,056 to 10,278 in a single day.

The Brazilian region most affected by the pandemic is the state of Sao Paulo, the richest and most populated in the country, with 4,466 cases and 260 deaths.

In Chile, the number increased this Saturday to 4,161 confirmed cases, with 27 deaths from the pandemic across the country, according to the Ministry of Health.

The Chilean undersecretary of Health, Paula Daza, reported that until 21:00 local time on Friday, 424 new cases of coronavirus and five deaths were registered.

In Ecuador, the Ministry of Public Health raised the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 to 3,465 this Saturday and 172 deaths.

The deputy minister of Health of the South American country, Ernesto Carrasco, noted that in the last 24 hours 97 new cases and 27 new deaths were reported, as well as 4,475 suspected cases.

Carrasco affirmed that of the total of confirmed cases in Ecuador, 2,402, are concentrated in the province of Guayas (southwest), the area most affected by the virus in Ecuador.

The authorities in Argentina confirmed 1,451 positive cases and 43 deaths from Covid-19 this Saturday.

The Ministry of Health confirmed on Saturday night 98 new cases of the disease, and the death of a 73-year-old man residing in the province of Buenos Aires.

]]> <![CDATA[Peru Announces Economic Plan for People Affected by COVID-19]]> Sun, 5 Apr 2020 09:08:25 -04:00 Peruvian President Martin Vizcarra announced on Friday an economic plan to aid companies that have been affected by the state of emergency, currently in place to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in the country, where 1,595 infections and 55 deaths have been reported.


Peru: Congress Approves Police Protection Law

The legislative decree "Reactiva Peru," or "Reactivate Peru," approved under the exceptional powers granted by Congress to the president, seeks to provide liquidity to companies that have been affected by the quarantine.

"What we want, on the one hand, is to minimize the damage that social isolation has been causing to the economy," he stressed, adding that it is important to aid companies because "behind them, there are a significant number of workers who have to continue, as far as possible, with their work."

He explained that the decree grants "a credit guarantee of up to 30 billion soles (about 8.7 billion U.S. dollars)."

"It will (benefit) 350,000 companies, of which 314,000 are companies with fewer than 10 workers. We want to help the vast majority of companies that have been affected and that have lost liquidity," he added.

The government has been carrying out thousands of tests for the virus nationwide, and although only 9 percent of those tested so far have returned a positive, the president said there is still room to improve.

"Of the 17,334 tests carried out, there were 15,739 negative and 1,595 positive cases ... Regarding the information from yesterday (Thursday), there are 181 new cases," said the president.

Peru is currently under a quarantine and a curfew that will continue until April 12 to help stop the spread of the virus.

"Surely (the new 181 cases) were spread in the market, at home, on public roads, in a pharmacy, or perhaps even in a bank. That is why we have to try to mobilize as little as possible," he stated, urging citizens to stay in their homes and to comply with the compulsory use of masks.

]]> <![CDATA[Nearly 600 Venezuelans Return to Their Country From Colombia]]> Sat, 4 Apr 2020 23:49:12 -04:00 The Venezuelans, who voluntarily decided to leave the national territory of Colombia for Venezuela, arrived in the city of Cúcuta in more than 20 buses in two different groups.

The first of them made up of 50 people, including six minors, who arrived in the city of Cúcuta late last night from the town of Soacha.

The second group arrived in the morning of today from the city of Bucaramanga. This group included 337 men, 167 women, and 35 children and adolescents.


From the border crossing in San Antonio del Táchira, the Bolivarian Government of Venezuela is deployed to comply with established health and migration protocols, with the thousands of Venezuelans who are returning from Colombia today, after denying them decent medical care.

Given the intention by these Venezuelans to leave the Colombian national territory, Migración Colombia set up a humanitarian corridor on the Simón Bolívar International Bridge, so that these people, many of them minors, did not put their lives at risk when trying to cross by unauthorized steps.


The massive return of Venezuelans across the Colombian border, we congratulate the tireless work of our doctors, military, and public servants who provide legal and medical assistance at the Simón Bolívar International Bridge, welcome to your homeland.

The nearly 600 Venezuelan citizens, whose health status had been reviewed by the Cúcuta Health Secretariat, were received in the middle of the Simón Bolívar International Bridge by personnel from the Administrative Service of Identification, Migration, and foreigner - Saime, from Venezuela.

President Nicolas Maduro had previously warned that xenophobia against Venezuelan citizens had reached a new height in Colombia due to tensions brought up by the Covid-19 pandemic.




]]> <![CDATA[Bots Made 55 % of Pro-Bolsonaro Tweets About COVID-19]]> Sat, 4 Apr 2020 23:56:49 -04:00 Bots sent half of the posts by President Jair Bolsonaro's supporters on Twitter during the COVID-19 pandemic in the country and the pro-government demonstration and against the National Congress and the Judiciary.

Facebook Removes Bolsonaro Videos for ‘Misinformation’

A study by the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) and the Foundation of the School of Sociology and Politics of Sao Paulo (FespSP) shows that 55 percent of the 1.2 million publications that used the hashtag #BolsonaroDay were made by bots, automatic accounts.

Researchers collected data on the hashtags most used by the president's support groups on Twitter between Jan.1 and March 15. The group identified 22,000 hashtags that were classified in a list of the most used. According to the study, 66,000 accounts were identified as responsible for approximately 1.2 million tweets.

The bots who used the hashtag #BolsonaroDay posted about 700 tweets on Sunday, March 15, when the pro-government events took place. The most active profiles even posted an average of 1,200 tweets per day. The study also found that real users have an average of three to ten tweets per day. The most active among them reach up to 50 tweets per day.

The study was carried out by 12 researchers and coordinated by professors Rose Marie Santini of the UFRJ and Isabela Kalil of the FespSP.

The Brazilian president is not living his best moments since the approval rate of Bolsonaro has fallen to its lowest level since he took office last year.

Brazilians overwhelmingly disapprove of Bolsonaro's minimization of the COVID-19 pandemic and support governors and health authorities who have been attacked by the president for advocating social distancing measures or quarantine, showed two polls on Friday.