Mar. 16, 2020

REUTERS

President Donald Trump said on Sunday he is considering a full pardon for his former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, who had pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about dealings with Russia's ambassador before Trump took office.

S&P 500 companies lost more than $2 trillion in value in the first few minutes of trading on Monday as investors panicked about the mounting damage from the coronavirus pandemic on the global economy. Trading on the three main U.S. stock indexes was halted for 15 minutes at the open, the third such pause in six days, as the benchmark index .SPX plunged 8% and triggered an automatic cutout. At 10:14 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI was down 2,326.15 points, or 10.03%, at 20,859.47.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, a key part of the federal response to the fast-spreading coronavirus outbreak, was hit by a cyberattack on Sunday night, prompting a response from the National Security Council, Bloomberg said on Monday.

Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders faced off on Sunday in what was possibly the final debate of the 2020 Democratic presidential nominating contest, with their ideological differences laid bare amidst the national crisis over the coronavirus pandemic.

The next Democratic presidential primaries are set for Tuesday, despite growing worries about a coronavirus outbreak that has forced candidates Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders off the campaign trail and led two states to delay voting.

Democratic presidential contender Joe Biden, who had hinted he might choose a woman as his vice presidential running mate if he is picked as the party's nominee, committed to doing so during his debate with rival Bernie Sanders on Sunday.

Russia's Constitutional Court on Monday ruled that President Vladimir Putin's proposed changes to the constitution that could allow him to remain in power until 2036 were in line with Russian law.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Sunday officials will have a better idea this week of the total cost of a coronavirus aid package, but predicted it will likely be "significant but not huge."

Turkey suspended mass prayers in mosques until the risk of coronavirus outbreak passes, the head of Turkey's religious directorate, Ali Erbas said on Monday.

Egypt will halt all air traffic at its airports from Thursday until March 31 to prevent the spread of coronavirus, Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly said on Monday.

Bahrain reported the Arab Gulf's first death from the coronavirus on Monday and Saudi Arabia urged its citizens to stay at home as the region broadened measures to shield populations and economies from the outbreak.

Israeli opposition leader Benny Gantz received an official mandate on Monday to try to form Israel's next government, and called on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to join him in a unity administration.

Airlines made unprecedented cuts to flights, costs and staffing on Monday, stepping up calls for emergency aid as coronavirus lockdowns and new travel restrictions hit more major routes.

German airline Lufthansa said in a statement that it would cut long-haul capacity by up to 90% from Tuesday, and would only operate 20% of intra-Europe flights it had planned to operate.

Chinese airlines including Air China, China Southern Airlines and China Eastern Airlines are planning to reduce international flights in response to the coronavirus pandemic, the Global Times reported on Monday, citing unidentified sources.

Brent and U.S. crude fell below $30 on Monday as emergency rate cuts by the U.S. Federal Reserve and its global counterparts failed to tame markets and China's factory output plunged at the sharpest pace in 30 years amid the spread of coronavirus.

AP Top Stories

A new coronavirus cluster linked to a South Korean religious group emerged on Monday, with 46 cases at a church near Seoul that defied calls to suspend services.

The Philippines has detected an outbreak of avian flu in a northern province after tests showed presence of the highly infectious H5N6 subtype of the influenza A virus in a quail farm, the country's farm minister said on Monday.

Saudi Arabia on Sunday announced the detention of hundreds of government officials, including military and security officers, on charges involving bribery and exploiting public office, and said investigators would bring charges against them.

New York City is one of the few large school districts left in the country that has yet to cancel classes due to the coronavirus outbreak and the teachers that run the classroom say they're "furious," according to Facebook posts and statements from the teachers themselves.

In a memo to employees late Sunday, Kirby and United CEO Oscar Munoz said the airline will cut flights by 50 percent in April and May and extend cuts into the peak summer travel season. Even with a severely reduced number of flights, the airline said it still expects planes to be less than a third full.

Civil rights advocates are reminding Spanish-speaking voters living in 32 Florida counties that they have the right to access election materials and assistance in their native language before the state's primary on March 17.

Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma has sent the first shipment of surgical masks and coronavirus test kits to the US.

Customs officers seized six bags full of suspected counterfeit coronavirus testing kits, the Customs and Border Protection agency said Saturday.

BBC

The first trial in people of a vaccine to protect against pandemic coronavirus is starting in the US later on Monday, according to reports. A group of 45 healthy volunteers will have the jab, at the Kaiser Permanente research facility, in Seattle.

A French priest has been jailed for five years for sexually abusing dozens of children in the 1970s, 1980s and early 1990s. Bernard Preynat, 74, admitted abusing boy scouts while a scout leader in Lyon.

France's competition authority has imposed a record $1.2bn fine on US tech giant Apple for what it sees as anti-competitive practices. It is the biggest fine ever imposed by the French regulator.

The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games flame handover in Athens next week will be done behind closed doors next week because of coronavirus concerns. The recent torch-lighting ceremony in ancient Olympia was held without spectators, before the rest of the relay in Greece was suspended.

WND

Four in 10 respondents to a new poll taken in states believed to be deciding factors in the 2020 election believe bread lines "could happen" in the United States in the next 10 years if a socialist is elected president.

Italians admitted to hospital for coronavirus are getting younger, a health official has claimed. "The type of patient is changing. They are a bit younger, between 40 to 45 years old and the cases are more complicated."

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) recently released a new assessment of the cost of the federal government's income-driven repayment (IDR) plan for student loans. The numbers are depressing. The federal government expects to write off $207 billion in student loan debt in the next decade.

Parents have forced a North Carolina school district to withdraw a series of sex-related questions in a survey for sixth-grade students. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools planned to ask the young students to choose their gender identity, giving them the options of "male," "female," "non-binary" and "gender fluid." Christian Today reported the students also were told to define whether they are "pansexual," "asexual" or "questioning my sexual orientation."

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