Mar. 18, 2020

President Donald Trump announced a plan on Tuesday to send money to Americans immediately to ease the economic shock from the coronavirus crisis and said military-style hospitals will likely be deployed to virus hot zones to care for patients.

Former Vice President Joe Biden extended his lead in the delegate race for the Democratic presidential nomination on Tuesday, sweeping the day's contests with wins in Arizona, Florida and Illinois as the country grappled with the coronavirus.

A 5.7-magnitude earthquake shook Salt Lake City and its suburbs early Wednesday, sending spooked residents fleeing their homes, knocking out power for tens of thousands and closing the city’s airport.

The northern region of Lombardy, on the frontline of Italy's battle against the coronavirus, appealed to recently retired doctors and nurses on Wednesday to return to work and help colleagues overwhelmed by the crisis.

Russian media have deployed a "significant disinformation campaign" against the West to worsen the impact of the coronavirus, generate panic and sow distrust, according to a European Union document seen by Reuters.

Oil prices fell for a third session on Wednesday, with U.S. crude futures tumbling to an 18-year low and Brent hitting a more than 16-year low as travel and social lockdowns to counter the coronavirus raised prospect of the steepest ever annual fall in oil demand.

Australia and Taiwan joined governments offering financial aid to airlines, while authorities in Europe rushed on Wednesday to agree steps to rescue carriers which have had to park planes and cut jobs as the coronavirus puts the brake on travel.

AP Top Stories

Donald Trump's department of justice is seeking to drop charges against two Russian firms indicted by Robert Mueller, amid concerns they are seeking to exploit the process to obtain sensitive information, it has been reported.

On Tuesday, a sordid chapter of California political history came to a close, with the sentencing of former U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter to 11 months in federal prison. Hunter, that upstanding pillar of Congress who was reelected in 2018 despite being under indictment for stealing about $250,000 in campaign funds, will report to prison on May 29.

Mexico's fastest-rising cartel, the Jalisco New Generation gang, has a reputation for ruthlessness and violence unlike any since the fall of the old Zetas cartel. In parts of the country it is fighting medieval-style battles, complete with fortified redoubts, to expand nationwide, from the outskirts of Mexico City, into the tourist resorts around Cancun, and along the northern border. Jalisco so likes violence and heavy armament that U.S. prosecutors said its operatives tried to buy belt-fed M-60 machine guns in the United States, and once brought down a Mexican military helicopter with a rocket-propelled grenade.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un acknowledged that his country lacks modern medical facilities and called for urgent improvements, state media said Wednesday, in a rare assessment of the North's health care system that comes amid worries about the coronavirus in the impoverished country.

NASA's administrator, Jim Bridenstine, announced Tuesday that all staff were under a mandatory order to work from home "until further notice" amid the spread of the novel coronavirus in the US.

Taiwan's air force has again scrambled aircraft to warn off approaching Chinese jets, in the latest rise in military tensions during the coronavirus crisis between Beijing and the island it claims as its sacred territory.

People in the US are stockpiling guns and ammunition amid the coronavirus crisis. Some say they are afraid that as businesses are forced to close, looters will start emerging. Some retailers are also seeing an uptick of Asian-American customers, who are reporting that they are buying guns out of fear that they will be attacked.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) are calling on Senate and House leaders to "prioritize" student loan cancellation as part of the next coronavirus emergency funding package.

The Army has selected Bell and Sikorsky to enter into a competitive demonstration and risk reduction effort ahead of the start of the Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft, or FLRAA, program of record.

A Texas death row inmate has had his execution postponed for 60 days by an appeals court that found that simply carrying out his sentence could itself risk spreading the coronavirus.

Iraqi security officials said at least three rockets hit near the American Embassy in Baghdad on Tuesday night.

BBC

With bursts of panic buying in Australia, some more vulnerable groups have found it difficult to buy supplies for themselves. The supermarket chain Woolworths has now created a special "elderly hour", where all outlets open an hour earlier on weekdays so that older shoppers and those with disabilities have a chance to shop in peace.

Zambia has confirmed its first two cases of Covid-19, involving a couple who had travelled to France, the health minister has told the BBC.

Nigeria has placed a travel ban on people coming from 13 countries worst affected by the coronavirus outbreak as five new cases were recorded in Africa's most-populous nation.

Doctors in Nigeria's capital, Abuja, have gone on an "indefinite strike" over delayed pay and unsafe working conditions. The announcement came just after Nigeria, Africa's most populous nation, confirmed a third case of Covid-19.

WND

A biological engineer with four degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology believes the coronavirus pandemic is being used by "Deep State" bureaucrats to further their agenda. Shiva Ayyadurai, a candidate for a U.S. Senate seat from Massachusetts, warned on Twitter that the crisis is being manipulated, the Western Journal reported.

The coronavirus is being blamed for a loss of religious freedom in nations such as China and Iran, and even the US, where churches services are canceled due to restrictions on public gatherings.

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