European Markets Mostly Higher Thursday 

Europe’s major stock indexes were mostly trading in positive territory Thursday, continuing the upswing enjoyed earlier in the day in Asia. London’s FTSE and the DAX index in Frankfurt were both trading at or above one-half of one percent, while Paris’s CAC-40 was slightly lower in mid-morning trading.  A currency trader walks by the screen showing the Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) at the foreign exchange dealing room in Seoul, South Korea, April 9, 2020.The good news in Europe was a spillover from Asia’s big rally, with Australia, Hong Kong, Seoul, and Shanghai all posting gains at the end of their trading sessions. Japan’s Nikkei index, however, lost a fraction of one percent as the country faces an increasing number of confirmed COVID-19 infections.   In U.S. futures trading, the Dow Jones, S&P and Nasdaq were all trading lower as investors brace for yet another report of huge unemployment claims from the U.S. Labor Department.  Oil markets improved Thursday, with U.S. crude oil gaining 3% to finish over $25 per barrel, while Brent crude oil, the international standard, rose nearly 2%, to settle at over $33 per barrel.  Investors are hopeful that Thursday’s meeting between OPEC members and Russia will lead to a deal to curb production, which has created a glut of supplies as demand has plunged due to the pandemic.     

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US Federal Stocks of Protective Equipment Nearly Depleted

The Strategic National Stockpile is nearly out of the N95 respirators, surgical masks, face, shields, gowns and other medical supplies desperately needed to protect front-line medical workers treating coronavirus patients.The Department of Health and Human Services told The Associated Press Wednesday that the federal stockpile was in the process of deploying all remaining personal protective equipment in its inventory.The HHS statement confirms federal documents released Wednesday by the House Oversight and Reform Committee showing that about 90% of the personal protective equipment in the stockpile has been distributed to state and local governments.HHS spokeswoman Katie McKeogh said the remaining 10% will be kept in reserve to support federal response efforts.House Oversight Chairwoman Carolyn B. Maloney, D-N.Y., said in a statement that the Trump administration is leaving states to scour the open market for scarce supplies, often competing with each other and federal agencies in a chaotic bidding war that drives up prices.”The President failed to bring in FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency) early on, failed to name a national commander for this crisis, and failed to fully utilize the authorities Congress gave him under the Defense Production Act to procure and manage the distribution of critical supplies,” Maloney said. “He must take action now to address these deficiencies.”For the last month, health care workers across the nation have taken to social media to illustrate the shortages by taking selfies wearing home-sewn masks on their faces and trash bags over their scrubs.President Donald Trump has faulted the states for not better preparing for the pandemic and has said they should only being relying on the federal stockpile as a last resort.The AP reported Sunday that the Trump administration squandered nearly two months after the early January warnings that COVID-19 might ignite a global pandemic, waiting until mid-March to place bulk orders of N95 masks and other medical supplies needed to build up the stockpile. By then, hospitals in several states were treating thousands of infected patients without adequate equipment and were pleading for help.Trump spent the first two months of the outbreak playing down the threat from the new virus. He derided warnings of a pandemic as a hoax perpetrated by Democrats and the media, predicting as late as Feb. 26 that the number of U.S. cases would soon drop to zero.The stockpile was created in 1999 to prevent supply-chain disruptions for the predicted Y2K computer problems. It expanded after 9/11 to prepare for chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear attacks. Congress provided money in 2006 to prepare for a potential influenza pandemic, though much of that stock was used during the H1N1 flu outbreak three years later.At the start of the COVID-19 crisis, the federal stockpile had about 13 million N95 respirators, masks which filter out about 95% of all liquid or airborne particles and are critical to prevent health care workers from becoming infected. That’s just a small fraction of what hospitals need to protect their workers, who normally would wear a new mask for each patient, but who now are often issued only one to last for days.Federal contracting records show HHS made an initial bulk order of N95 masks on March 12, followed by larger orders on March 21. But those contracts won’t yield big deliveries to the national stockpile until the end of April, after the White House has projected the pandemic will reach its peak.For nearly a month, Trump rebuffed calls to use his authority under the Defense Production Act to order companies to increase production of respirators and ventilators, before he relented last week.
Asked about the AP report, the president suggested Sunday the states should be thankful for the shipments of supplies they have gotten.”FEMA, the military, what they’ve done is a miracle,” Trump said. “What they’ve done is a miracle in getting all of this stuff. What they have done for states is incredible.”

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Вибухівки в Олександрівській лікарні не знайшли, на час перевірки евакуювали 100 людей – поліція

У Нацполіції повідомили, що після отримання ввечері середи повідомлення про буцімто замінування одного з корпусів, де розташоване кардіологічне відділення лікарні на Печерську в Києві, фахівці профільних служб та слідчо-оперативна група виїхали для перевірки, але у підсумку жодних небезпечних предметів не виявили.

«Під час перевірки будівлі та прилеглої території вибухонебезпечних речовин і предметів не виявлено. На момент обстеження закладу було евакуйовано понад 100 осіб, серед яких пацієнти та медперсонал», – йдеться в повідомленні.

У поліції кажуть, що встановлюють чоловіка, який повідомив про закладення вибухівки, відкрите провадження за статтею про «завідомо неправдиве повідомлення про загрозу безпеці громадян».

Напередодні ввечері у ЗМІ повідомляли, що 10-й корпус Олександрівської лікарні у Києві перевіряють на предмет можливого закладення там вибухівки. Олександрівська лікарня – одна з семи базових для лікування хворих із коронавірусом.

 

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У Києво-Печерській лаврі зафіксовано 26 випадків захворювання на COVID-19 – Кличко

Міський голова Києва Віталій Кличко на онлайн-брифінгу у четвер повідомив, що у Києво-Печерській лаврі зафіксовано 26 випадків захворювання на COVID-19 за минулу добу.

«За минулу добу кількість киян, що захворіли на коронаврус збільшилася майже втричі у порівнянні з попередніми днями, на 41 людину, з них двоє медиків. За добу, що минула, ще один випадок, на жаль, летальний. Загалом у Києві вже 335 підтверджених випадків захворювання на COVID-19. Серед тих, хто захворіли (за минулу добу – ред.), 11 жінок віком від 26 до 71 року, дівчинка, якій пів року, та 29 чоловіків від 36 до 70 років. До лікарень столиці госпіталізували 6 пацієнтів, інші лікуються вдома, на самоізоляції, під контролем лікарів. Зазначу, що з випадків, зареєстрованих за минулу добу, 26 – у Києво-Печерській лаврі. Складно уявити, яким може бути подальший лвнцюг передачі інфекції», – сказав Кличко.

Він заявив, що кілька разів зустрічався з керівниками всіх конфесій і говорив про дотримання обмежень. Мер Києва заявив, що переговори стосувалися того, аби служби проходили онлайн, під церквами не було масових зібрань, а також, щоб люди не збирадися великими групами не лише на найближчі пасхальні свята, а й на поминальні дні.

«Ще раз звертаюся до киян, залишайтеся на свята вдома, звернувся Кличко», – сказав Кличко.

Новина доповнюється…

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Ecuador’s president calls for inquiry into handling of virus victims’ bodies

Ecuadorean President Lenin Moreno is calling for an investigation into the handling of the bodies of coronavirus victims, especially in Guayaquil, the epicenter of the country’s outbreak.Moreno is seeking the probe amid an avalanche of complaints from relatives of victims, who accuse local authorities of mishandling the bodies of their loved ones.The sight of bodies in the street has fueled the anguish of some residents.  The virus is claiming victims so quickly that the backlog has led to bodies being stored in homes of relatives or in refrigerated shipping containers.Ecuador has 242 confirmed deaths and just as many more are suspected of dying from the coronavirus.Moreno said in a tweet that each person deserves a proper burial and that no one will be buried without being identified.Meanwhile, Health Minister Juan Carlos Zevallos said he fired one official who asked for money in exchange for handing over the remains of a victim in a Guayaquil public hospital.So far, there are more than 4,400 cases of the coronavirus in Ecuador, one of the hightest totals in Latin America.

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China President Pledges Help to South Africa in Coronavirus Fight  

Chinese President Xi Jinping is offering support and resources to African countries, especially South Africa, in their fight to control the COVID-19 epidemic.  China state media said Xi recounted during a Wednesday phone call with South African President Cyril Ramaphosa how South Africa reached out to Beijing to offer support in the early stages of China’s coronavirus battle. Xi said China will share its experience in trying to prevent and control the coronavirus and strengthen the cooperation with South Africa in healthcare.  Xi is also urging Chinese nationals in South Africa to lend their support to the country’s anti-epidemic initiatives. South Africa has more than 1,800 coronavirus cases, the most of any country on the continent.  So far, the deaths of 18 people have been linked to the virus.  

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Trump Confirms US ‘Holding Back’ Funding for WHO

The United States is “holding back” funding to the World Health Organization, according to U.S. President Donald Trump, who said the WHO “got it wrong” about the advance of COVID-19.Trump and members of his administration accuse the international agency of having a bias in favor of China, where the coronavirus was first reported.“It hasn’t accomplished what it was intended to deliver,” said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo alongside Trump at the Wednesday briefing by the White House coronavirus task force. “We’re reevaluating our funding” with respect to the WHO.Trump said the government would conduct a study about the organization before deciding on future funding for it, which from Washington totals hundreds of millions of dollars per year.It was the second consecutive day the president attacked the WHO and threatened its funding from the United States, which is the largest contributor to the specialized agency of the United Nations.Officials at the U.N. and WHO pushed back on Trump’s threat.“It is possible that the same facts have had different readings by different entities,” said U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. “Once we have finally turned the page on this epidemic, there must be a time to look back fully to understand how such a disease emerged and spread its devastation so quickly across the globe, and how all those involved reacted to the crisis.”“The lessons learned will be essential to effectively address similar challenges, as they may arise in the future. But now is not that time,” added Guterres in a statement Wednesday. “Now is the time for unity, for the international community to work together in solidarity to stop this virus and its shattering consequences.””Please don’t politicize this virus,” World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said during an emotional briefing in Geneva when he was asked about Trump’s remark. “If you don’t want many more body bags, then you refrain from politicizing it.”Some U.S. cable networks have stopped airing the full daily White House coronavirus task force briefings, cutting in and out of live coverage, having made that decision because of the frequent political nature of some of the president’s comments.Earlier Wednesday, Trump criticized that approach to the briefings in a tweet, saying “Radical Left Democrats” had tried to shame “the Fake News Media into not covering them, but that effort failed because the ratings are through the roof.…”  The Radical Left Democrats have gone absolutely crazy that I am doing daily Presidential News Conferences. They actually want me to STOP! They used to complain that I am not doing enough of them, now they complain that I “shouldn’t be allowed to do them.” They tried to shame…..— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 8, 2020The president, a former host of a reality television program, described viewership as on the level of “Monday Night Football” and the finale of “The Bachelor.”…the Fake News Media into not covering them, but that effort failed because the ratings are through the roof according to, of all sources, the Failing New York Times, “Monday Night Football, Bachelor Finale” type numbers (& sadly, they get it $FREE). Trump Derangement Syndrome!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 8, 2020That comparison generated criticism.“It takes a certain twisted mind to take pleasure in the fact that more people are watching him because more people are dying,” tweeted a Clinton-era White House press secretary, Joe Lockhart. “It doesn’t even matter that most people who are watching are throwing things at the TV and his ratings for handling the crisis are plummeting.”4. It takes a certain twisted mind to take pleasure in the fact that more people are watching him because more people are dying. It doesn’t even matter that most people who are watching are throwing things at the TV and his ratings for handling the crisis are plummeting. Like— Joe Lockhart (@joelockhart) April 8, 2020The number of U.S. deaths from the virus has topped 14,000 — more than 4,500 of them in New York City. Across the country, 430,000 people have been diagnosed with COVID-19, by far the most of any nation.Government officials have said they expect the pandemic to possibly peak this week in the United States.“We are in the midst of a week of heartache,” Vice President Mike Pence, who heads the coronavirus task force, said at the close of Wednesday’s briefing.

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How Trump Amassed Power in Battling the Coronavirus Pandemic    

In a matter of weeks, U.S. President Donald Trump has assumed extraordinary power and influence at a time of national crisis. In the fight against COVID-19, Trump has declared a national emergency that has enabled him to deploy military hospital ships to New York and Los Angeles, force carmakers to manufacture ventilators and relax vaccination and treatment regulations. These and other steps have been hailed as critical public health measures, but they have come with a cost to civil liberties and democratic governance.   After years of frustration in blocking illegal immigration from Mexico and Central America, the administration now has the power to arrest and immediately deport undocumented immigrants based on the need to protect public health.  And in a signal that his administration can spend trillions of dollars as it sees fit to respond to the coronavirus crisis with diminished oversight from Congress or government watchdogs, Trump is waging an assault on a network of federal inspectors general to weaken their investigative clout and mandate. From left, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Vice President Mike Pence and Rep. Kevin Brady applaud President Trump during the signing of the CARES Act, March 27, 2020.Kimberly Wehle, a visiting professor of law at American University in Washington, D.C., said Trump’s recent firings of two inspectors general appear to be an attempt to “consolidate power” during a national emergency.  “This is a serious affront to the rule of law and an accountable government,” Wehle said. “The IGs exist to protect the public from fraud, waste and abuse.” Conservative constitutional scholars say Trump has carefully avoided invoking any inherent constitutional authority in confronting the pandemic.    Saikrishna Prakash, a constitutional law professor at the University of Virginia School of Law, said Trump has taken “a very traditional conception” of executive power, relying largely on powers given to him by Congress. “He’s not stretching and straining, as far as I can tell, to read the Constitution as if it granted him a whole host of authorities,” Prakash said. To be sure, as extraordinary as they are, the Trump administration’s actions pale by comparison to the draconian steps taken by some governments around the world. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban replies during a question-and-answer session of the Parliament in Budapest, Hungary, March 30, 2020.In Hungary, nominally a European democracy, the prime minister now rules by decree, thanks to a recent act of Parliament passed recently in the name of combating the lethal virus.  In Britain, the government has been given the power to shut down the borders and detain people suspected of being infected with the virus.   While Trump has thus far resisted calls for a national lockdown and other extreme measures, he has invoked virtually every emergency tool provided by Congress. Among them, the National Emergencies Act of 1976, which allows the president to declare a national emergency and make use of an additional 136 laws.    While these actions, along with measures taken by states, amount to a major expansion of executive power and have raised concerns about civil liberties, they have hardly been met with any resistance.   During a time of war or national peril, Americans traditionally have rallied round their president and allowed him to invoke extraordinary powers, such as President Abraham Lincoln suspending habeas corpus during the Civil War, and President Franklin D. Roosevelt sending Japanese Americans to internment camps during World War II. Still, some warn that the president is using a moment of crisis to expand his power and advance controversial policies.  “COVID-19 is a significant threat to public health, but it should not be a significant threat to civil liberties or democratic government,” said Nick Robinson, a researcher with the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law, which tracks civil liberties violations around the world.  Fear that the new powers might outlast the crisis are not unfounded.  After the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States, the George W. Bush administration assumed sweeping surveillance and other national security powers. It took Congress and the courts more than a decade to roll them back.  Digital signs signal closed at an international bridge checkpoint at the U.S-Mexico border that joins Ciudad Juarez and El Paso, March 21, 2020.ImmigrationNowhere has the effect of the administration’s newly assumed emergency powers revealed itself more directly than immigration.  Last month, the administration restricted all nonessential traffic across the border with Mexico and Canada in the name of public health safety.    “Our nation’s top health care officials are extremely concerned about the grave public health consequences of mass uncontrolled cross-border movement,” Trump said. FILE – Personnel at the the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention work at the Emergency Operations Center in response to the 2019 novel coronavirus, Feb. 13, 2020, in Atlanta.While Congress rejected an administration proposal to end protections for asylum-seekers, the administration found another way to restrict asylum applications: a designation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that unauthorized immigrants pose a “public health threat.” The designation has enabled the administration to abandon a long-standing policy of not returning asylum-seekers to countries where they might face persecution, according to Sarah Pierce of the Migration Policy Institute. Now, virtually all Central American immigrants caught at the U.S. border are quickly “expelled” from the country without seeing an immigration officer, while growing numbers of unaccompanied children are turned away, where once they were handed over to a guardian or family member. Pierce said the COVID-related border restrictions will be hard to roll back, even after the crisis is over. “This is something that the administration has been working toward for so long,” Pierce said.  “I don’t expect them to walk it back willingly.” 
John Malcolm of the conservative Heritage Foundation dismissed the notion that Trump’s actions are politically motivated. “I think there’s no question that the president and every governor are trying to react to a very, very difficult circumstance,” he said. FILE – In this March 16, 2011, file photo, a security fence surrounds inmate housing on the Rikers Island correctional facility in New York.Indefinite detention power 
 
In the lead-up to the enactment of a $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief package last month, the Justice Department asked Congress for emergency powers that alarmed many rights advocates.One proposal would allow judges to halt court proceedings during an emergency.  Another would allow the Bureau of Prisons to hold detainees indefinitely during an emergency.  Robinson said what made the proposed measure to hold detainees “dangerous” was its potential use in the future. “That’s extreme. It’s dangerous. It’s unnecessary,” he said.  A Justice Department spokesperson said the proposed measure was part of “draft suggestions” made in response to a congressional request and that it did not “confer new powers upon the executive branch.”  Challenging inspectors general Long a critic of government watchdogs, Trump has used the crisis to exert authority over independent inspectors general appointed to ensure government transparency.    Last month, Trump vowed that his administration would not cooperate with a key transparency provision of a $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief package he signed into law. “I do not understand, and my administration will not treat this provision, as permitting the (new coronavirus inspector general) to issue reports to Congress without the presidential supervision required by the Take Care Clause,” Trump wrote in a signing document.   The U.S. Constitution’s Take Care Clause states that the president “shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed.” Then in the span of four days, Trump ousted two inspectors general and publicly berated a third. FILE – In this Oct. 4, 2019, photo, Michael Atkinson, the inspector general of the intelligence community, arrives at the Capitol in Washington for closed-door questioning about a whistleblower complaint.The first casualty was Michael Atkinson, the intelligence community watchdog who notified Congress about a whistleblower complaint that led to Trump’s impeachment last year. Trump fired him last week.     This week, Trump sidelined Glenn Fine, the acting Pentagon inspector general tapped to chair a new coronavirus pandemic accountability committee.  Trump twice criticized the Department of Health and Human Services watchdog over a report that disclosed testing delays and shortages at many hospitals. He called the report a “fake dossier” and questioned the inspector general’s impartiality. 

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Brazil Turns to Local Industry to Build Ventilators as China Orders Fall Through

Brazil’s health minister said on Wednesday that the country’s attempts to purchase thousands of ventilators from China to fight a growing coronavirus epidemic had fallen through and the government is now looking to Brazilian companies to build the devices.“Practically all our purchases of equipment in China are not being confirmed,” Minister Luiz Henrique Mandetta said at a news conference.An attempt to buy 15,000 ventilators in China did not go through and Brazil was making a new bid, he said, but the outcome is uncertain in the intense competition for medical supplies in the global pandemic.In one positive sign for Brazil’s supply crunch, a private company managed to buy 40 metric tons of protective masks from China, with the shipment arriving by cargo plane in Brasilia on Wednesday.Young women boxes with donations of food distributed by an NGO to people suffering during the COVID-19 outbreak at the Cidade de Deus (City of God) favela in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on April 7, 2020.The purchase of 6 million masks worth 160 million reais ($30 million) was undertaken by pharmaceutical and hospital equipment company Nutriex, based in Goiania, 220 kilometers east of Brasilia. The firm plans to donate part of the order.Health authorities began to sound the alarm this week over supply shortages as hospitals faced growing numbers of patients with COVID-19.Confirmed cases of coronavirus in the country soared to 15,927 on Wednesday, with the death toll rising by 133 in just 24 hours to 800, the ministry said.Rio de Janeiro reported the first six deaths in four of the city’s hillside slums, called favelas, alarming authorities who fear rapid contagion in crowded communities that have limited access to medical care and often lack running water for hygiene.Two of the deaths occurred in Rocinha, one the largest slums in South America where more than 100,000 people live.Mandetta reported the first case of coronavirus among the Yanomami people on the country’s largest reservation and said the government plans to build a field hospital for indigenous tribes that are vulnerable to contagion.“We are extremely concerned about the indigenous communities,” Mandetta said.Anthropologists and health experts warn that the epidemic can have a devastating impact on Brazil’s 850,000 indigenous people whose lifestyle in tribal villages rules out social distancing.President Jair Bolsonaro said in an address to the nation that the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine was saving lives of coronavirus patients and should be used in the initial stages of COVID-19. Due to the absence of scientific evidence on its effectiveness and safety, Brazil’s health authorities limit its use to seriously ill patients who are in hospital.Mandetta said Brazil has hired local unlisted medical equipment maker Magnamed to make 6,000 ventilators in 90 days.Pulp and paper companies Suzano SA and Klabin SA, planemaker Embraer SA, information technology provider Positivo Tecnologia SA and automaker Fiat Chrysler have also offered to help build ventilators, he said. 

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