Mar. 12, 2020

REUTERS

U.S. stock indexes resumed trading on Thursday after being halted for 15 minutes, as the benchmark S&P 500 index plunged 7% and triggered an automatic cutout shortly after the opening bell, for the second time this week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI was down 2,075.96 points, or 8.81%. Wall Street sank into a bear market as a shock move by President Donald Trump to halt travel from Europe rattled investors already alarmed about a global recession on the back of a coronavirus pandemic. All three main indexes have now fallen over 24% from their intraday record highs hit in February.

Oil prices fell more than 6% on Thursday after U.S. President Donald Trump unexpectedly announced restrictions on travel from Europe in an attempt to halt the spread of coronavirus after the World Health Organization described the outbreak as a pandemic.

Travelers scrambled to rebook flights and markets reeled on Thursday after U.S. President Donald Trump imposed sweeping restrictions on travel from Europe, hitting battered airlines and heightening global alarm over the coronavirus.

The global coronavirus pandemic could be over by June if countries mobilizes to fight it, a senior Chinese medical adviser said on Thursday, as China declared the peak had passed there and new cases in Hubei fell to single digits for the first time.

Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday unveiled a broad package of proposals to help Americans affected by the coronavirus outbreak, while officials suspended public tours through the Capitol building.

U.S. residents will begin receiving census forms in the mail as early as Thursday as the federal government kicks off its once-a-decade count of the population, a gargantuan effort crucial to guiding U.S. political and economic policy but which experts fear will be complicated by the spread of coronavirus.

South Korea on Thursday reported 114 new coronavirus cases and six more deaths, a relative decline in new cases that raised tentative hopes the epidemic was slowing despite the emergence of new clusters.

Argentina has temporarily stopped issuing visas to travelers from countries hardest-hit by coronavirus, including the United States, China and countries in Europe, in a bid to stem the spread of the virus in the South American nation.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday announced a halt on domestic land, sea and air travel to and from Manila, as well as community quarantine measures, in what he called a "lockdown" of the capital to arrest the spread of coronavirus.

The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefit unexpectedly fell last week, but could rise in the coming weeks as the coronavirus pandemic causes companies to lay off workers amid supply chain disruptions and waning demand for some goods and services. Initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped 4,000 to a seasonally adjusted 211,000 for the week ended March 7.

The Tokyo 2020 Olympics torch relay got under way on Thursday when the flame was lit by the rays of the sun in ancient Olympia in a scaled-down ceremony overshadowed by the coronavirus pandemic.

AP Top Stories

President Trump announced Wednesday that he was ordering a suspension of travel to the United States from Europe for a period of 30 days in an effort to stem the spread of coronavirus.

The U.S. State Department warned Americans late Wednesday to avoid traveling abroad, in response to a coronavirus outbreak that's reached pandemic status. Also Wednesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advised U.S. citizens to avoid travel to much of Europe, where the coronavirus has become more widespread than anywhere but China.

The NBA announced on Wednesday that it is suspending its season until further notice after a player tested positive for the coronavirus.

The World Health Organization declared the coronavirus a pandemic and urged aggressive action from all countries to fight it, as U.S. stocks plunged into bear market territory and several American cities joined global counterparts in banning large gatherings.

During his meeting with Senate Republicans on Tuesday, President Trump raised the idea of a 0 percent payroll tax rate for employees and employers that would last until the end of the year, a White House official told CNBC.

Sen. John Thune said on Wednesday he believes the Trump administration is evaluating use of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, and other measures, to help oil producers deal with the plunge in crude prices due to the coronavirus and a price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi is moving swiftly toward House passage of a coronavirus aid package possibly this week as Congress rebuffs President Trump's proposed payroll tax break and focuses instead on sick pay and other resources to more immediately help workers hit by the crisis.

The Justice Department on Wednesday announced more than 750 arrests after a six-month investigation targeting Mexico's violent Jalisco New Generation Cartel, known as CJNG.

A New Jersey 7-Eleven owner has been charged with child endangerment and deceptive business practices after police said she sold makeshift hand sanitizer that burned four children.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Monday that New York will produce up to 100,000 gallons of hand sanitizer in response to the price gouging of store brands during the spread of COVID-19.

Australia's top court has reserved its ruling on whether Cardinal George Pell's bid to quash his sexual abuse convictions has been successful. The ex-Vatican treasurer is serving a six-year jail sentence after a jury found he abused two boys in a Melbourne cathedral in the 1990s.

Beijing on Wednesday ordered people arriving in the city from any country to go into 14-day quarantine as China reported an increase in imported coronavirus cases, threatening its progress against the epidemic.

The Supreme Court said Wednesday that the Trump administration can continue its practice of returning asylum-seekers to Mexico along the entire southern border while immigration authorities process their claims.

Fox News host Sean Hannity took to his radio show Wednesday to once again downplay concerns over the coronavirus outbreak, this time citing a Twitter crank to credulously claim that it might "be true" that the "deep state" is using the pandemic to hurt the economy and push "mandated medicines."

BBC

Air strikes in eastern Syria have killed 26 Iraqis from an Iran-backed Shia paramilitary force after a deadly attack on US-led coalition forces in Iraq, a monitoring group has said.

Germany's domestic intelligence service is putting part of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party under systematic surveillance, judging it a threat to the democratic order.

A company in Benin is harvesting water hyacinths which can be used to soak up oil in an easy, cost-effective way. If left unattended the plant reproduces incredibly fast, so the harvesting also helps maintain a balanced ecosystem.

Schools, colleges and other public facilities in the Republic of Ireland are to close in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

Shares around the world are in free-fall as investors see the spread of coronavirus bringing the world economy to a halt and fear leaders are not responding effectively.

WND

The National Collegiate Athletic Association announced the upcoming men's and women's basketball tournaments will be played with "only essential staff and limited family attendance," NCAA president Mark Emmert said in a statement Wednesday. No public fans will be allowed to attend.

Two years after banning so-called "assault weapons, Dick's Sporting Goods has announced it will now eliminate the hunting section and all firearms from a majority of its stores.

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