US was attacked: Donald Trump on coronavirus


US was attacked: Donald Trump on coronavirus

Washington: Struggling to restore normalcy in the US where COVID-19 has claimed the lives of more than 47,000 people and infected over 8,52,000, President Donald Trump has said that the the country was "attacked".

"We were attacked. This was an attack. This wasn't just the flu by the way. Nobody has ever seen anything like this, 1917 was the last time," Trump told reporters at his daily White House news conference on Wednesday.

He was responding to a question about the growing US national debt as a result of the multi-trillion dollars stimulus packages that his administration has come up with to help people and businesses in distress as a direct fallout of the pandemic.

"We have no choice. Do we have a choice? I'm always concerned about everything. We had to fix this problem," he said.

"We had the greatest economy in the history of the world... Better than China, better than any place," he said.

"We built it in the last three years and then one day, they came and they said you have to close it. Now, we're going to open it again and we're going to be just as strong or stronger but you have to spend some money to get it back open," he said.

"We saved our airlines. We saved numerous companies that are great companies that two months ago were having the best year they've ever had. Now all of a sudden, they're totally shut out of markets," he added.

Trump said the number of new positive cases continue to decline nationwide.

"Recent hotspots appear to be stabilising. They are going in the right direction. Cases in the Boston area are now declining. The Chicago curve appears to have flattened, which is terrific... Detroit has passed its peak," he said.

"These trends demonstrate that our aggressive strategy to battle the virus is working and that more states will soon be in a position to gradually and safely reopen. That's very exciting," he asserted.

Trump said that his administration is working closely with governors to ensure that they have the testing infrastructure in place to reduce further spread of the virus if they're so inclined to use the testing apparatus, including strategies for older individuals, low income Americans, minorities, and Native Americans.

"I'll not rest until that prosperity has been fully restored. I really believe that we're going to lift those numbers higher than ever before, and it will be as long as people might think," he said.

"A lot of very smart people are looking at that and they're betting. You just have to look at what's going on with the stock market," he added.

The administration so far has directed more than USD 7 billion in federal funding to support the development of treatments, diagnostics, and therapies.

The FDA, the NIH, and industry leaders are establishing master clinical trial protocols to test multiple promising new drugs at the same time.

More than 1600 locations across the country have signed up to administer convalescent plasma to patients, infusing them with antibodies of those who have recovered, he added.




Dubai government announces to perform Ramadan prayers at home amid coronavirus lockdown


Dubai government announces to perform Ramadan prayers at home amid coronavirus lockdown

Dubai [UAE]: People can perform Taraweeh prayers at home during the holy month of Ramadan to prevent the spread of coronavirus, the Dubai government announced on Friday.

The Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities Department (IACAD) of the Dubai Government said people who pray Taraweeh to finish reading the Holy Quran can hold on to the book in their hands and recite while praying.

Taraweeh is the evening prayers performed after Isha prayers every night during the fasting month of Ramadan.

Dubai is under 24-hour lockdown to stem the spread of the infection. The IACAD had announced on Monday the extension of the closure of Dubai's mosques until further notice.

The China-originated coronavirus has swept the world, including the Middle East and Gulf countries.

UAE has reported over 70000 coronavirus case and 37 people have died due to the infection.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia's Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdulaziz Al al-Sheikh, the highest religious authority in the country, on Friday said that worshippers should offer Taraweeh during Ramadan and subsequent Eid prayers at home.

 
 
 



UK stares at life without boozing amid coronavirus lockdown, pubs unlikely to open before December 2020


UK stares at life without boozing amid coronavirus lockdown, pubs unlikely to open before December 2020

While the UK grapples with issues like an imbecilic PM who insisted on shaking hands with COVID-19 patients, shortage of NHS kits and people not understanding the concept of social distancing (forcing Piers Morgan to be the voice of reason), there’s even more shocking news,

It has been reported that UK’s national pastime – drinking in pubs till one can’t stand – will be on hold till December!

A report in The Sun quotes pub trade insiders saying that many pubs could actually go under.

Michael Gove, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, recently said that UK’s 48,000-plus pubs would be open and running ‘before winter’.

Mr Gove said: “The other inference that I draw from your question, which is that areas of hospitality will be among the last to exit the lockdown — yes, that is true.”

Frank Maguire, from Truman’s Brewery, told The Sun: “Things are looking pretty dire."

He said he feared that pubs might be hit big by the postponing of Euro 2020.

In Britain, the government of Prime Minister Boris Johnson -- who is himself recovering from the virus -- faced fresh criticism over his early response to the crisis and shortages of protective equipment.

itish Prime Minister Boris Johnson has begun taking charge of the government even as he convalesces at Chequers in south-east England, following his hospitalisation after testing positive for coronavirus.

'The Sunday Telegraph' reports that Johnson began giving directions to his Cabinet, including to his deputy UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, from his prime ministerial countryside retreat as he prepares to resume full charge in the coming days.

The 55-year-old issued some directives to Raab as well as senior aides in a series of calls last week, followed by a three-hour meeting with his deputy and staff on Friday.

"He [Johnson] has had some contact with ministers, but mostly with his private office here at Downing Street," Robert Jenrick, UK Communities Minister, had told reporters at the daily Downing Street briefing on Saturday.

The newspaper quoted sources to say that while the Prime Minister was still recovering from Covid-19, following his discharge from hospital a week ago, he has been getting "more involved", including to set out a "direction".

Raab reportedly visited the UK prime minister at Chequers, along with Johnson's chief adviser Dominic Cummings - also back after his self-isolation following symptoms of coronavirus - and Lee Cain, his communications director, on Friday.

With inputs from agencies

 
 
 



Ancient marine life fossils on pavements add beauty to central China heritage


Ancient marine life fossils on pavements add beauty to central China heritage

CHANGSHA-- Paleontological fossils dating back 470 million years have been found in Zhangjiajie, a World Natural Heritage site, in central China's Hunan Province.

The fossils, in shapes of spirals, arcs, cones and ripples, are visible on public buildings, slate roads or steps, with some of their shells and microstructures discernible.

Similar fossils also appear on the tour path in the Zhangjiajie Huanglong Cave, the Tianzi Mountain and the Jinbian Stream, which are found and described by tourists online.

"Some are like small shrimps, some snails. Big ones stretch across the whole stone step, while some are only thumb-sized," a netizen called Ami said in a travel blog at sina.com.

Xing Lida, an associate professor from the Beijing-based China University of Geosciences, recognized the fossils mostly as Sinoceras fossils, which originated in the Ordovician limestone layer in south China.

"These fossils can easily be found on roads, riverside paving stones in Zhangjiajie," Xing said.

According to the official website of the Ministry of Natural Resources, Sinoceras fossils, also known as "Chinese hornstones," are common in nature. Either straight or coiled, the shells of Sinoceras are usually hard with ripple marks on the surface.

As one of the most important and dominant cephalopods back then, Sinoceras lived in the Middle Ordovician age about 470 million years ago.

"In accordance with relevant regulations for paleontological fossil protection, limestone with common fossils in it can be used to pave the road," said Hu Nengyong, former curator of the Geological Museum of Hunan.

"It adds a kind of artistic beauty to the resort," Hu said.

 
 
 



Egypt receives anti-coronavirus materials from China's Xinjiang


Egypt receives anti-coronavirus materials from China's Xinjiang

CAIRO-- Egyptian Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research received on Sunday a batch of anti-coronavirus materials donated by China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

According to the Chinese Embassy in Egypt, the materials include 100,000 surgical masks, 15,000 N95 masks, 1,000 protective suits and 1,200 testing kits.

When receiving the materials in the Chinese Embassy, Egyptian Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research Khaled Abdel Ghaffar expressed his gratitude, calling China's handling of the coronavirus a great success.

"These materials will relieve pressure on the hospitals affiliated to Egyptian universities that are under the supervision of the ministry and will help cure more coronavirus cases in Egypt," said Ghaffar.

Chinese Ambassador Liao Liqiang expressed appreciation for the help the ministry provided for the Chinese students in Egypt, adding that Egyptian students in China are safe and sound.

"The donation of the materials reflects the deep relations between the two countries and there are solid reasons that the bilateral relations will go deeper after COVID-19," said Liao.

On the same day, the Chinese Embassy in Egypt held the seventh online press conference on COVID-19, in which Liao briefed the anti-coronavirus situation in China and cooperation between the countries in this regard.

Another batch of anti-coronavirus materials is scheduled to arrive in Egypt next Tuesday, and a third batch is under coordination between the two sides, Liao said.

"The impacts of the coronavirus on the major bilateral cooperation projects in Egypt are limited and there will be no change in the investments policy by the Chinese side in the future," Liao added.

 
 
 



Have to be really creative to entertain viewers: American Idol judge Katy Perry


Have to be really creative to entertain viewers: American Idol judge Katy Perry

Los Angeles -- With showbiz experimenting ways to keep shows on air while adhering to quarantine measures amid the coronavirus pandemic, pop singer and "American Idol" judge Katy Perry has said the singing reality series will have to be "really creative" to entertain the viewers.

She judges the show on ABC with veteran singer Lionel Richie and country artiste Luke Bryan.

Perry dressed for the occasion in an Easter Bunny costume and did a Facebook Live before Sunday night's episode.

"We're gonna all have to be really creative I know we are going to be really creative," said Perry sitting in a car.

The "Roar" hitmaker added the audience will have tune in to see what her and the rest of the American Idol crew do from their individual homes.

"We'll see how this goes," she added.

Since the pandemic, the network has shifted scheduling for "American Idol", spreading its Hawaii-set episodes on March 29 and April 5.

The live shows were set to air on April 6 but instead was be replaced by two repeats of "Celebrity Family Feud", followed by a primetime special, "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? Secrets & Surprises".

The first part of "American Idol: This is Me" aired Sunday while part two will air April 19. The special will look at the lives of the Top 20 contestants with unseen footage and performance highlights.

 
 
 



Signs that shows Trump's slow response to coronavirus pandemic


Signs that shows Trump's slow response to coronavirus pandemic

Washington --- By the time US President Donald Trump first spoke publicly about the coronavirus, it may already have been too late.

Interviewed at Davos, a gathering of global elites in the Swiss Alps, the president on January 22 played down the threat posed by the respiratory virus from China, which had just reached American shores in the form of a solitary patient in Washington state.

In the 11 weeks since that interview, the coronavirus has reached every corner of the globe. It has infected more than 500,000 Americans and killed at least 20,000. It has rewritten the rules of society, isolated people in their homes, closed schools, devastated the economy and put millions out of work.

When Trump spoke in Switzerland, weeks' worth of warning signs already had been raised. In the ensuing month, before the president first addressed the crisis from the White House, key steps to prepare the nation for the coming pandemic were not taken.

Life-saving medical equipment was not stockpiled. Travel largely continued unabated. Vital public health data from China was not provided or was deemed untrustworthy. A White House riven by rivalries and turnover was slow to act.

Urgent warnings were ignored by a president consumed by his impeachment trial and intent on protecting a robust economy that he viewed as central to his reelection chances.

The Pentagon first learned about the new coronavirus in December from open source reports emanating from China. By early January, warnings about the virus had made their way into intelligence reports circulating around the government.

On January 3, the head of the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, Robert Redfield, received a call from his Chinese counterpart with an official warning. Anthony Fauci, the government's top infectious disease expert, was alerted to the virus around the same time.

On January 11, China shared the virus' genetic sequence. That same day, the National Institutes of Health started working on a vaccine.

Ultimately, the US was able to get China's consent to send two people on the WHO team that travelled to China later in the month. But by then precious weeks had been lost and the virus had raced across Asia and had begun to escape the continent.

For much of January, administration officials were doing a delicate balancing act.

But while word of the virus was included in several of the president's intelligence briefings, Trump wasn't fully briefed on the threat until Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar called with an update on January 18.

Trump spent much of the conversation wanting to talk about vaping; he was considering a new policy restricting its use.

Moreover, the president was in the middle of his Senate impeachment trial and focused on little else. Trump also had little desire to pressure Beijing or criticize its president, Xi Jinping, with whom he wanted to secure cooperation on ending a yearlong trade war before the reelection campaign kicked into high gear.

By late January, acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney held the post in name only as rumours swirled of his impending, post-impeachment departure. He was on the initial coronavirus task force, which was plagued with infighting. At the same time, the White House Office of Management and Budget was clashing with Azar's HHS over money to combat the virus.

HHS wanted to send a special coronavirus funding request to Congress but the White House budget office resisted for weeks, insisting that HHS should instead repurpose $250 million of its existing budget to bolster the national stockpile by buying protective equipment.

HHS, however, claimed that without congressional authorization it could not buy the needed quantities of masks, gowns and ventilators to rapidly bolster the national stockpile. Eventually, an initial request went to Congress for $2.5 billion in virus aid. The bill that Congress quickly passed and Trump signed - the first of three so far - was for $8 billion.

A January 29 memo from senior White House aide Peter Navarro accurately predicted some of the challenges faced by the US from what would become a pandemic, though he was hardly the first to sound the alarm. But he, like Pottinger, was viewed by others in the White House as a "China hawk".

On January 30, the WHO declared the virus a global health emergency while Trump held a packed campaign rally in Iowa. The next day, the US administration banned admittance to the US by foreign nationals who had travelled to China in the past 14 days, excluding the immediate family members of American citizens or permanent residents.

Trump styled it as bold action, but continued to talk down the severity of the threat. Despite the ban, nearly 40,000 people have arrived in the US on direct flights from China since that date, according to an analysis by The New York Times.

The White House denied that it was slow to act.

Federal officials put the CDC solely in charge of developing a test for the virus and left out private interests, a choice that cost precious time when the resulting CDC test proved faulty.

Even as the virus spread across the globe, prevailing voices in the White House urged Trump to avoid big steps that could roil financial markets.

The president had firmly linked his fate to Wall Street, and it took a tumble by the markets for Trump to ratchet up his response. In late February, while Trump was on a trip to India, the Dow Jones plummeted 1,000 points amid rising fears about the coronavirus.

When Trump first took the lectern in the White House briefing room to speak about the virus, the US had 15 coronavirus patients.




Pakistan reports 334 new coronavirus cases, death toll reaches 93


Pakistan reports 334 new coronavirus cases, death toll reaches 93

Islamabad-- Pakistan's coronavirus cases have reached 5,374 with 334 new infections reported, while seven more people have died due to the disease, taking the death toll in the country to 93, health officials said on Monday.

The Ministry of National Health Services reported that 1,095 people had recovered fully, but 44 are still in critical condition.

The number of coronavirus cases on Monday reached 5,374 with 334 new patients added during the last 24 hours, it said.

Seven more people died during this period, taking the total toll in Pakistan to 93, it added.

According to the ministry data, Punjab has 2,594 cases, Sindh 1,411, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa 744, Balochistan 230, Gilgit-Baltistan 224, Islamabad 131 and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir 40 patients.

So far, 65,114 tests have been carried out, including 3,233 during the last 24 hours, the data showed.

A steady rise in the new cases has been registered despite more than three-week lockdown in the country which is going to end on Tuesday.

Prime Minister Imran Khan is chairing a high-level meeting to decide if the nationwide lockdown should be extended.

There is high possibility that it would be extended. Advisor on Health Zafar Mirza said on Sunday that the low number of cases could spike if lockdown was lifted completely.

The US on Sunday overtook Italy as the country with the highest number of deaths due to COVID-19 pandemic with the fatalities crossing 20,000.

The novel coronavirus which originated from China in December has killed 114,185 people and infected over 1.8 million people globally. The US has the highest number of infections (556,044) and deaths (over 20,000), according to Johns Hopkins University data.

 
 
 



Facebook spent USD 23.4 million on Mark Zuckerberg's security, air travel in 2019


Facebook spent USD 23.4 million on Mark Zuckerberg's security, air travel in 2019
 



US marks record over 2,100 coronavirus deaths in one day: Johns Hopkins data


US marks record over 2,100 coronavirus deaths in one day: Johns Hopkins data

Washington: The US has become the world's first country to have registered more than 2,000 COVID-19 deaths in a single day with 2,108 fatalities reported in the past 24 hours, while the number of infections in America has crossed 500,000, the highest in the world, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

China, where the deadly coronavirus disease started in December last year before spreading across Europe and America killing more than 100,000, has so far recorded 81,000 cases of positive infections and 3,339 deaths.

In terms of fatalities, the US might soon overtake Italy where 18,848 COVID-19 deaths have happened so far. By Friday night, the US had 1,8679 recorded deaths, closely behind Italy. More than 16,000 people have died in Spain and over 13,000 in Germany, the university data said.

By Friday night more than 2,108 Americans had died due to the novel coronavirus and 500,399 people had tested positive with the dreaded disease, it said.

The COVID-19 positive cases in the United States are now more than the other top countries taken together: Spain (158,000), Italy (147,000), Germany (122,000) and France (112,000).

New York, which has emerged as the epicenter of COVID-19 deaths, has registered over 1.7 lakh positive cases, which is more than any other country.

 
 

More than 7,800 people in New York have died due to coronavirus. New Jersey has has nearly 2,000 deaths and more than 54,000 confirmed cases.

Before the start of the week, members of the White House Task Force on Coronavirus had projected between 100,000 and 200,000 deaths in the US.

While President Donald Trump had said that this was going to be a "terrible, terrible" week in terms of death, US Surgeon General Jerome Adams said the week was going to be 9/11 and Pearl Harbour moment for the country.

On Friday, Trump told reporters that as per the new projections the death toll was expected to be below 60,000.

"Hard to believe that if you had 60,000 (deaths), you could never be happy, but that's a lot fewer than we were originally told and thinking. So they said between 100 and 220,000 lives on the minimum side, and then up to 2.2 million lives if we didn't do anything. But it showed a just tremendous resolve by the people," he said.

Trump has declared a national emergency, has notified major disaster declaration for almost all of the 50 States and more than 95 per cent of the 330 million population are under stay-at-home order.

The American economy is headed for a recession, experts say.

New York, the epicenter, he said is showing signs of a "downward curve," Trump said.

"A lot of that has to do with the aggressive strategy in saving so many lives. We're saving so many lives compared to what it could have been," he said.

"In New York, we're seeing hospital admissions declining very substantially. And nationwide, the number of new cases per day is flattening substantially, suggesting that we are near the peak and our comprehensive strategy is working," Trump said.

Over time, the guidelines to slow the spread are decreasing the rate of new cases very substantially and will result in fewer hospital admissions, he added.

According to Dr Deborah Brix, a member of the White House Task Force on Coronavirus, the mortality rate in the United States is significantly less than many other countries.

"That is really solely the work of our frontline healthcare providers," she said, but cautioned that the country has still not reached the peak.

"But as encouraging as they are, we have not reached the peak. And so, every day, we need to continue to do what we did yesterday and the week before and the week before that, because that's what, in the end, is going to take us up across the peak and down the other side," Brix said.

Globally, 102,669 people have died due to coronavirus and over 1.6 million people have been infected, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

 
 
 



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