Mar. 20, 2020

REUTERS

President Donald Trump on Thursday said he would get involved in the oil price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia at the appropriate time, saying low gasoline prices were good for U.S. consumers even as they were hurting the industry.

President Donald Trump on Thursday opened the door to a radical shift in the U.S. government's relationship to private industry as the coronavirus outbreak upends the nation's economy, saying he would back the government taking stakes in certain companies.

President Trump will cancel an in-person meeting of G7 leaders at Camp David in June because of the coronavirus and will hold a video-conference instead, the White House said on Thursday.

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell introduced emergency legislation on Thursday to stem the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, and Republicans and Democrats agreed to meet on Friday to seek an agreement.

A Republican proposal introduced in the U.S. Senate on Thursday would grant up to $58 billion in secured loans to help passenger and cargo airlines hit by the coronavirus crisis, but bar cash grants and could result in the government getting equity stakes.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Thursday urged Congress to move quickly to pass a $1 trillion economic relief measure by early next week, saying he expects bipartisan support for the bill to get cash payments to Americans during the coronavirus crisis.

France is only at the beginning of the coronavirus crisis and is in a race to curb its progress, President Emmanuel Macron said on Friday.

Austria will extend its coronavirus restrictions until April 13 in efforts to curb the pandemic, Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said on Friday, and tighter controls on movement were imposed after many people flocked outdoors to enjoy warm early spring weather.

The coronavirus outbreak is landing in Brazil as the hot summer days in the southern hemisphere draw to a close and winter approaches, potentially worsening the spread of the virus, medical experts told Reuters.

More than 1.5 million applications for unemployment benefits could be filed this week, economists said, as people who work for restaurants, bars, hotels and other businesses suddenly find themselves out of work because of the coronavirus.

California issued an unprecedented statewide "stay at home" order on Thursday for its 40 million residents and Washington warned Americans to return home or stay abroad indefinitely, as the number of coronavirus deaths in the country hit 200.

U.S. home sales surged to a 13-year high in February, but the housing market recovery is likely to be derailed by the coronavirus pandemic, which has unleashed a wave of layoffs and left the economy teetering on the brink of a recession.

The U.S. electric industry may ask essential staff to live on site at power plants and control centers to keep operations running if the coronavirus outbreak worsens, and has been stockpiling beds, blankets, and food for them, according to industry trade groups and electric cooperatives.

AP Top Stories

The number of Mexicans crossing illegally into the United States has risen over the past week, migrant shelters said, in part driven by rumors the United States will seal the border as it seeks to fight the coronavirus spread.

Italy on Thursday overtook China's coronavirus death total and braced for an extended lockdown that could see the economy suffer its biggest shock since World War II.

Religious leaders of Cyprus said on Friday they were joined in prayer to fight coronavirus in a rare display of unity on the war-divided island. Leaders of the main religious groups, including the head of the Christian Greek Orthodox Church of Cyprus, the Mufti of Cyprus, the Armenian and the Maronite Churches, said they had "joined their voices and prayers" to fight the pandemic. "They call on all other religious and faith community leaders in Cyprus and all sisters and brothers of faith to join them in prayer and action to fight this pandemic together," an interfaith peacebuilding group said in a statement.

Four men found guilty of the gang-rape and murder of a 23-year-old woman on a bus in the Indian capital, Delhi, seven years ago have been hanged. The hangings were the last step in the brutal December 2012 rape case that stunned India, brought thousands of protesters out on the streets and made global headlines for weeks.

Nearly 30% of confirmed US coronavirus cases have been among people between 20-44, according to the CDC. Additionally, that age group accounted for 20% of hospitalizations and 12% of ICU admissions among US cases.

Six Arab countries are urging the U.N. Security Council to exercise "maximum efforts" to persuade Yemen's Houthi Shiite rebels to allow the United Nations to inspect a tanker moored in the Red Sea while loaded with over a million barrels of oil to prevent "widespread environmental damage, a humanitarian disaster and the disruption of maritime commerce."

A 19-year-old Detroit man has been convicted of gunning down two gay men and a transgender woman who authorities believe were targeted because of their sexual orientation last year following a house party.

BBC

Conservationists are hailing the tentative recovery of Africa's critically endangered black rhinos. The latest figures show there's been a modest annual increase in the black rhino population over the last six years.

Malaysia's army has been drafted in to help police enforce a nationwide lockdown as the country battles south-east Asia's largest outbreak.

The Bank of England has cut interest rates again in an emergency move as it tries to support the UK economy in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. It is the second cut in interest rates in just over a week, bringing them down to 0.1% from 0.25%. Interest rates are now at the lowest ever in the Bank's 325-year history.

Supermarkets and their supply chains are beginning to buckle under the strain of customer behavior in the face of coronavirus. Several chains are "drastically cutting" the product ranges in store. They also said they were telling their manufacturers to ignore making some products to focus on those for which there is greatest demand. Meanwhile, competition laws are being relaxed so shops can discuss stock levels and pool staff and resources.

Three abortionists admit they have symptoms of the disease caused by the virus that burst out of control in Wuhan, China. The pro-life organization Operation Rescue noted the abortionists are Jen Villacicencio, a Planned Parenthood abortionist in Ann Arbor, Michigan; Sara Pentlicky, an abortionist at the Seattle Planned Parenthood; and Texas abortionist Joe Nelson.

WND

Twenty-five percent of voters are willing to delay the November presidential elections as a precautionary measure against coronavirus, a Rasmussen Reports study found.

On Thursday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called on President Trump to invoke the Defense Production Act and assume dictatorial powers in the United States.

Nearly 6.3 million noncitizens were granted admission to the United States in the last two and a half months by air, land, and sea at ports of entry along the northern border before Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau issued a national lockdown.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced Thursday the Trump administration is supporting a $1 trillion coronavirus response package that includes up to $2,000 being sent to American adults and $1,000 per child. Mnuchin explained the cash would go out in two phases, with $1,000 per adult and $500 per child being sent out in a matter of weeks.

Walmart announced it would be giving out nearly $550 million in early bonuses to its hourly employees amid the coronavirus outbreak.

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