Today's Intel

Mar. 23, 2020

REUTERS Republicans and Democrats in the U.S. Senate were pushing toward agreement on a far-reaching $1 trillion-plus coronavirus stimulus package on Monday after weekend talks ended with no deal.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Monday called on the Senate to quickly pass a massive economic relief bill saying it was urgently needed to support small businesses, workers and industries such as U.S. airlines amid the coronavirus outbreak.

The U.S. Federal Reserve on Monday mounted an extraordinary new array of programs to offset the "severe disruptions" to the economy caused by the coronarvirus outbreak, backstopping an unprecedented range of credit for households, small businesses and major employers. The new programs mean the Fed will lend against student loans, credit card loans, and U.S. government backed-loans to small businesses, and buy bonds of larger employers and make loans to them in what amounts to four years of bridge financing. A new "Main Street Business Lending Program" that will extend credit to small- and-medium sized businesses will also be announced "soon," the Fed said.

Democratic presidential front-runner Joe Biden said on Sunday he needed to start vetting possible running mates "in a matter of weeks" and that he discussed the pick with former President Barack Obama.

Team Canada became the first country to pull out of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics on Sunday (March 22), joining several other big names this weekend in calling for the postponement of the Games and putting increased pressure on host country Japan to act. Gloria Tso reports.

Australians began living under strict new lockdown rules on Monday as coronavirus cases topped 1,600 and authorities denied entry to a cruise ship carrying hundreds on board complaining of respiratory illnesses.

Streets were deserted in the Indian capital on Monday and office buildings shuttered as a lockdown to halt the spread of the coronavirus began and Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged people to stay at home and save themselves.

New Zealand said on Monday it will move to its highest alert level imposing self-isolation, with all-non-essential services, schools and offices to be shut over the next 48 hours as the number of coronavirus cases more than double.

Indonesia's capital Jakarta shut cinemas and other public entertainment on Monday at the start of a two-week emergency period to try to slow the accelerating spread of the coronavirus in Southeast Asia's biggest city.

Malaysia's prime minister said on Monday the government may consider extending movement restrictions by up to two weeks, and will announce more economic stimulus to soften the blow from the coronavirus outbreak and weak oil prices.

The Philippine Congress held a special session over the internet on Monday to debate a push by the country's strongman leader to adopt sweeping emergency powers, in a bid to avert chaos from a rapid spread of coronavirus.

Britain sent in the army to deliver protective equipment to hospitals on Monday and told people to stay at home and heed warnings over social distancing or the government would bring in more extreme measures to stop the coronavirus spread.

Saudi Arabia will impose a nationwide curfew starting on Monday after reporting a jump of almost a quarter in coronavirus cases, while the United Arab Emirates will suspend all passenger flights as of Wednesday, state media reported.

Denmark will extend until April 13 a nationwide lockdown that has closed schools and restaurants and kept most public sector workers at home in an effort to curb the spread of coronavirus, the country's prime minister said on Monday.

Hungary's government is weighing the option of a national lockdown to combat the coronavirus, Prime Minister Viktor Orban told lawmakers on Monday as his cabinet sought to raise emergency powers it says are needed to tackle the outbreak.

Streets were deserted in the Indian capital on Monday and office buildings shuttered as a lockdown to halt the spread of the coronavirus began and Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged people to stay at home and save themselves.

Widening travel curbs to contain the spread of the coronavirus led to further flight cancellations on Monday, with new restrictions spanning India, Australia, New Zealand, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan.

Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin on Monday gave the authorities five days to develop a system to track people who have come into contact with anyone with coronavirus by using mobile phone geolocation data.

AP Top Stories

President Donald Trump announced Sunday that he would activate the National Guard to assist Washington, California and New York, three of the states hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic.

The U.S. State Department has chartered two flights Monday to begin evacuating hundreds of Americans who are stranded in Guatemala.

The coronavirus outbreak in New York will get worse, with damage accelerated by shortages of key medical supplies, the city's mayor has said. "We're about 10 days away from seeing widespread shortages," Bill de Blasio said on Sunday. "If we don't get more ventilators people will die."

The Trump administration on Sunday harshly criticized France for releasing an Iranian man wanted for prosecution by the United States in an apparent prisoner swap with Iran.

The chief executives of the largest US airline companies asked Congress Saturday for urgent help avoiding widespread layoffs among the industry's 750,000 employees. "Unless worker payroll protection grants are passed immediately, many of us will be forced to take draconian measures such as furloughs," the CEOs said in a letter to leaders of both houses of Congress distributed by the Airlines for America trade group. "The breadth and immediacy of the need to act cannot be overstated," it said. "It is urgent and unprecedented." Airlines for America represents American Airlines, United Airlines, Delta Air Lines and Southwest Airlines as well as shippers FedEx and UPS.

The Trump administration is considering the release of some federal prisoners in an attempt to reduce the risk of a larger outbreak of the coronavirus in the nation's largest prison system.

Italy has set a record for the number of coronavirus-related deaths in a single day, with 793 deaths in 24 hours. The number of deaths in Italy since the start of the outbreak has reached nearly 5,000, and the number of reported cases have passed 50,000.

BBC

A 5.3-magnitude earthquake has rocked Croatia's capital Zagreb, damaging buildings and leaving cars crushed by falling chunks of masonry.

The number of heart and lung transplants could quadruple thanks to a "reanimation" machine used in a pioneering operation, a hospital says. The device, developed at Royal Papworth Hospital in Cambridge, managed to pump oxygenated blood into both organs in a world-first procedure. The machine can revitalize deteriorating organs allowing "donation after circulatory death" (DCD).

At least 23 people have died in one of Bogotá's largest jails after what the authorities are calling a mass breakout attempt amid rising tensions over coronavirus.

Public transport has been suspended in Morocco to curb the spread of coronavirus.

North Korea on Saturday fired two projectiles into the sea, according to South Korea's military. It said the projectiles appeared to be short-range ballistic missiles.

WND

The Electronic Frontier Foundation warns a bill in Congress would violate privacy and security by requiring "every message sent" to be read by government-approved scanning software.

Washington state officials and clinicians have discussed the possibility of rationing health care across the state for coronavirus patients. Medical leaders in the state with the highest number of coronavirus deaths in the country have begun preparing a bleak strategy to determine which patients will be denied medical care if the health system becomes overwhelmed.

Ethics experts are blasting a new study by Scottish scholars advocating assisted suicide as a money-saver.

We're pleased to report that Playboy's print edition has officially been offed by the coronavirus.

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