Today's Intel

Mar. 27, 2020

REUTERS

Leaders of the U.S. House of Representatives are determined to pass a $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief bill on Friday, or at the very latest on Saturday, hoping to provide the quickest help possible as deaths mount and the economy reels.

A raft of programs from the U.S. central bank and a $2 trillion rescue bill nearing approval in Congress are aimed at providing relief during a "self-mandated" recession "so that when the virus is defeated we can walk, we can run, and then we can sprint out of this," Dallas Federal Reserve bank President Robert Kaplan said on Friday.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said on Friday that the coronavirus economic stimulus bill before Congress is not an airline bailout and that taxpayers will be compensated for relief given to companies hobbled by the global pandemic.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Friday he had tested positive for coronavirus and was self-isolating at Downing Street but would still lead the government's response to the accelerating outbreak.

U.S. airlines are preparing to tap the government for up to $25 billion in grants to cover payroll in a sharp travel downturn triggered by the coronavirus, even after the government warned it may take stakes in exchange for bailout funds, people familiar with the matter said.

Global airlines urged the world's major economies to act quickly to prevent irreversible damage to an industry that has seen demand decimated almost overnight by the coronavirus crisis.

European lawmakers overwhelmingly agreed on Thursday to suspend until Oct. 24 a rule requiring airlines to use at least 80% of their flight slots to keep them the following year so as to ease an industry crisis unleashed by the coronavirus pandemic.

Authorities in South Korea pleaded with the public on Friday to stay indoors and avoid large gatherings as new coronavirus cases hovered close to 100 a day, while tighter border checks on people arriving from the United States took effect.

Indonesia has confirmed 153 new coronavirus cases, the biggest daily rise so far and taking the Southeast Asian country's total to 1,046, Health Ministry official Achmad Yurianto said.

Spain's coronavirus death toll rose overnight by 769 cases to 4,858, the health ministry said on Friday, a new record in the number of fatalities recorded in 24 hours.

U.S. consumer spending rose moderately in February and momentum is set to fade rapidly in the coming months, with the coronavirus pandemic upending life for Americans.

A new OPEC+ deal to balance oil markets might be possible if other countries join in, Kirill Dmitriev, head of Russia's sovereign wealth fund said, adding that countries should also cooperate to cushion the economic fallout from coronavirus.

Canada slammed a U.S. proposal to deploy troops along their undefended border to help fight the spread of the coronavirus, saying the idea was unnecessary and would damage relations.

Bank of Canada cut interest rate on Friday in an emergency move, dropping its benchmark rate by 50 basis points to 0.25% to support an economy hit hard by the outbreak of coronavirus. This is the third interest rate cut by the central bank this month.

The United Kingdom will use firefighters to help deliver food, retrieve dead bodies and drive ambulances as it braces for the looming peak of the coronavirus outbreak that has already claimed the lives of more than 22,000 people across the world.

AP Top Stories

The United States hit a grim milestone on Thursday, becoming the country with the highest number of confirmed coronavirus cases worldwide. The U.S. had more than 82,000 reported cases across all 50 states and U.S. territories.

US coronavirus deaths could reach 81,000 by July, even with current social distancing measures in place, according to a new report from researchers at the University of Washington.

A glimmer of hope on the coronavirus front: Experts who have been tracking the virus' spread have concluded that it mutates at a slower rate than other respiratory viruses like the flu. This slow mutation rate has two implications - both positive. It means the virus (whose official name is SARS-CoV-2) is stable in its current form and therefore unlikely to get even more dangerous as it continues to spread. That also means a vaccine could be effective in the long run; it'd act more like a measles or chickenpox vaccine than a seasonal flu shot.

Switzerland's confirmed coronavirus infections jumped to more than 10,000 cases on Thursday, as health officials warned it was too early to lift restrictions on gatherings and border controls aimed at slowing the epidemic.

A U.S. warship passed through the sensitive Taiwan Strait on Wednesday, the U.S. and Taiwan militaries said, following heightened tensions between China and Taiwan that have seen Taiwanese air force jets scramble to intercept Chinese fighters.

The Trump administration unsealed criminal charges Thursday against senior officials of the government of Venezuela, including President Nicolás Maduro, accusing them of taking a leading role in the country's illegal drug trafficking.

BBC

There have been stark warnings from doctors, aid workers and the United Nations that camps for the displaced in North Western Syria could be devastated by an outbreak of coronavirus.

South Africa has announced its first deaths from Coronavirus infection, and said cases there have passed the 1,000 mark.

Shares in Asia have continued a global stock market rally on hopes global authorities will do more to combat the impact of the coronavirus.

WND

United Launch Alliance says its Atlas V rocket is ready to launch on Thursday from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Liftoff is set for 2:57pm (18:57 UTC) for the national security mission, which has a two-hour launch window. This is the first launch under the command of the newly constituted US Space Force.

An Argentine court slammed Dr Leandro Rodriguez Lastra for "ignoring a woman's voice" and "her vital needs" when he provided medical care to her and her unborn baby, rather than an abortion.

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