Mar. 13, 2020

REUTERS

President Donald Trump faced one of the gravest threats of his political career as the coronavirus pandemic spread, leaving fellow Republicans to worry that the White House's response and the hit to the economy would harm his re-election prospects.

House Democrats and the Trump administration are close to a deal on a coronavirus economic aid package, U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters Friday morning after speaking with U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

U.S. government surveillance tools fiercely opposed by privacy advocates and defended by intelligence agencies will expire after legislation renewing them stalled in the Senate on Thursday, although passage is expected next week.

Two Republican senators introduced a bill aimed at banning federal employees from using Chinese social media app TikTok on their government-issued phones, amid growing national security concerns around the collection and sharing of data on U.S. users with China's government.

The U.S. Democratic Party on Thursday said it will hold its upcoming debate between presidential contenders Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders in Washington DC rather than in Arizona to reduce cross-country travel as the nation confronts a deadly coronavirus outbreak.

Greece will close all its museums and archaeological sites, including the entire Acropolis that looms over Athens, until the end of the month due to the impact of the coronavirus.

A cardinal on Friday modified his order to close Rome's churches to help contain the spread of coronavirus after Pope Francis cautioned against "drastic measures" and Catholics took to social media to complain.

Saudi Arabia is flooding Europe with oil at prices as low as $25 per barrel, specifically targeting big refiners of Russian oil in an escalation of its fight with Moscow for market share.

The World Health Organization is considering changing the way it classifies and describes international epidemics, amid a protracted public debate over whether to call the outbreak of the new coronavirus a pandemic.

U.S. import prices fell by the most in six months in February as the cost of petroleum products dropped, and economists said they could decline further because of the coronavirus pandemic and an oil price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia.

AP Top Stories

The U.S. military conducted airstrikes in various locations inside Iraq targeting an Iranian-backed militia group it says is responsible for Wednesday's rocket attack that killed two American service members, a British service member and wounded 14 others.

Iran said Thursday it asked the International Monetary Fund for a $5 billion loan to fight the coronavirus, the first time since the 1979 Islamic Revolution that it has sought such assistance, in a staggering admission of how fragile its economy has become amid the epidemic and punishing U.S. sanctions.

A conservative law firm in Wisconsin is pushing the state Supreme Court to overturn an appeals court ruling that stopped the purging of more than 200,000 people from the state's voter rolls.

A retired surgeon accused of sexually abusing as many as 349 young children over decades - primarily his patients, in their hospital rooms - is facing justice at last, in the worst such case to come to light in France.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo expressed his frustration Wednesday with the Trump administration's failure to provide adequate testing for the coronavirus and said his state would begin contracting with private labs.

A Chinese government campaign to cast doubt on the origin of the coronavirus pandemic is fueling a row with the United States, with a Beijing official promoting conspiracy theories and Washington calling it the "Wuhan virus".

A female diplomat from the Philippines mission to the United Nations tested positive for coronavirus on Thursday, according to a note sent to U.N. missions, making the woman the first known case at the world body's New York headquarters.

BBC

A 19-year-old pregnant woman from Guatemala died from injuries suffered after falling from the US-Mexico border wall, US and Guatemalan officials say.

Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, wife of Canadian PM Justin Trudeau, has tested positive for coronavirus after returning from a trip to London, a statement from the PM's office says.

All major sport in the United States has been suspended amid the coronavirus outbreak. The NBA has announced that all matches will be suspended from Thursday until further notice, after a Utah Jazz player Rudy Gobert tested positive. The NHL and MLS later announced the stoppage of its respective seasons, the latter for 30 days. The MLB has delayed the start of its 2020 season by at least two weeks due to the "national emergency". The other major US sports league - the NFL - is currently in its off-season, although the 2020 Draft in Las Vegas is scheduled to start on 23 April.

Ghana has confirmed its first two confirmed cases of coronavirus as Gabon confirmed its first case.

WND

Up to 450 pedophiles are being arrested every month in the UK amid an "explosion" of online offences, a report has revealed. The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) said law enforcement was "struggling to keep up" with evolving methods of child sexual abuse being facilitated by the internet.

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Seattle suspended all public celebration of Mass, effective immediately, becoming the first Catholic archdiocese in the country to do so.

Many school districts are not prepared to move to fully online learning models, prompting an increasing interest on social media in homeschooling.

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