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Thursday, May 28, 2020

South Korea begins ‘no mask, no ride’ policy on buses, taxies

Beginning Tuesday, taxi and bus drivers will be allowed to limit or refuse the ride of passengers who do not wear face masks, reports Xinhua news agency.

German government approves $9.8 billion rescue package for Lufthansa

In the statement on Monday, Lufthansa said the WSF would provide up to 5.7 billion euros in the form of "silent participation" in the company's assets, of which nearly 4.7 billion euros would be classified as equity in accordance with related financial rules, Xinhua news agency reported.

WHO suspends HCQ clinical trial on COVID-19 patients

According to the WHO chief, The Lancet medical journal on May 22 had published an observational study on HCQ and chloroquine and its effects on COVID-19 patients that have been hospitalized, reports Xinhua news agency.

China accuses US of spreading COVID-19 ‘conspiracies’

Speaking at an annual news conference during China's parliamentary session on Sunday, Wang said that "some political forces in the US are taking China-US relations hostage", the BBC reported.

Japan’s Abe lifts state of emergency

"We had very stringent criteria for lifting the state of emergency. We have judged that we have met this criteria," the BBC quoted Abe as saying said in a televised address to the nation on Monday.

Seoul kindergarten student tests COVID-19 positive

The development comes just two days ahead of the planned second-phase resumption of South Korean schools, including kindergartens, reports Yonhap News Agency.

Ghani pledges release of up to 2,000 Taliban prisoners

On May 11, the Afghan government suspended the release of insurgent prisoners, saying the Taliban must bring its total number of released security force members to 200, reports TOLO News.

US imposes travel restrictions on Brazil due to COVID-19

"Today, the President has taken decisive action to protect our country by suspending the entry of aliens who have been in Brazil during the 14-day period before seeking admittance to the US," the White House said in a statement on Sunday.

No new COVID-19 cases in China for first time

Since May 11, the new daily confirmed cases in China, where the pandemic originated last December, have remained below 10 but until Saturday they had never managed to reach zero, reports Efe news.

Italy’s Alitalia to restart operations from June 3

The company said on Friday that the social distancing of 1 metre means flights using Airbus aircraft will fly at 33 per cent of full capacity while those on Boeing aircraft will fly at up to 50 per cent capacity, reports Xinhua news agency.

Chinese mainland reports no new confirmed COVID-19 cases

No deaths related to the disease were reported on Friday, according to the National Health Commission, adding that it received reports of two new suspected cases, Xinhua reported.

Global COVID-19 cases over 5.2 million

As of Saturday morning, the total number of cases stood at 5,210,065, while the death toll increased to 338,142, the University's Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) revealed in its latest update.

UK arrivals could face fines for breaking quarantine

Under the plans, health officials would be able to carry out spot checks to check whether people were complying, the BBC reported.

UNICEF warns of dangers for migrant kids forcibly returned

Since early March, at least 1,000 unaccompanied migrant children have been returned from the US to Mexico and El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras despite serious protection risks in their communities of origin aggravated by COVID-19, reports Xinhua news agency.

Senate confirms John Ratcliffe as US intelligence chief

Senators on Thursday voted 49-44 on Ratcliffe's nomination, largely along party lines, reports Xinhua news agency.

China’s Hubei reports no new confirmed COVID-19 case

By Thursday, Hubei had seven confirmed COVID-19 cases, including one in severe condition and one in critical condition, Xinhua reported.

Open Skies Treaty: US to pull out from arms control deal

The Open Skies Treaty came into force in 2002 and is designed to boost confidence and assure against attacks. But senior US officials said the country was withdrawing due to repeated Russian violations of its terms, the BBC reported.

Senate passes law to ban Chinese firms listing on US exchanges

The legislation may also ban Chinese companies from raising funds from American investors.

Cambodia lifts entry ban on travellers from 6 countries

The new order issued on Wednesday by the Health Ministry, however, requires all those travelling to Cambodia to produce a certificate stating that they had tested negative for COVID-19 and issued in the previous 72 hours prior to their arrival as well as health insurance with a minimum cover of $50,000, reports Efe news.

Cyclone Amphan kills 12 in Bangladesh

The cyclone is likely to move further in a north-northeasterly direction and weaken gradually, bdnews24 quoted the Bangladesh Meteorological Department as saying in its latest update.

Greece to resume tourist activities from July 1

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, announced the news during a speech on Wednesday, in which he introduced his administration's plan to re-launch tourism, a major contributor towards the country's economy, reports Efe news.

Trump considers convening G7 Summit at Camp David

"Now that our country is 'transitioning back to greatness', I am considering rescheduling the G-7, on the same or similar date, in Washington, D.C., at the legendary Camp David," Xinhua news agency quoted Trump as saying in a tweet on Wednesday.

Canada officially recommends wearing face masks

"If you can't predict whether you can maintain that two-meter distance, then it's recommended that you wear the non-medical mask or facial covering," Canada's Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam said at a press conference here on Wednesday.

WHO says will increase funding and improve funding quality

"As part of the transformation agenda, we have developed the first investment case, and we have developed a strategic plan to mobilize resources... we have also developed a strategy to build a foundation which we hope would be established soon and looking for new sources of funding and also expand our donor base," WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said here at a press conference on Wednesday, stressing that transformation "has nothing to do with the current situation", Xinhua reported.

World Bank names Harvard professor as chief economist

"I am very pleased to welcome Carmen to the World Bank Group, as we boost our efforts to restore growth and meet the urgent debt and recession crises facing many of our client countries," Malpass said in a statement on Wednesday.

Over 100,000 new COVID cases recorded in last 24 hours, says...

Revealing the alarming numbers at his daily briefing, WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that two-thirds of those cases came from just four countries, the BBC reported.

J&J stops selling baby talcum powder in US, Canada

The announcement comes after years of litigation where J& J has been asked to pay billions of dollars in damages. It faces over 16,000 consumer lawsuits alleging talc products were contaminated with asbestos, a known carcinogen.

Chinese mainland reports 5 new confirmed COVID-19 cases

The other four cases were domestically transmitted in Jilin Province, the National Health Commission said in its daily report, Xinhua reported.

COVID19: UN calls for international help in Africa

"These are still early days for the pandemic in Africa, and disruption could escalate quickly. Global solidarity with Africa is an imperative -- now and for recovering better," said Guterres in a video message for the launch of a policy brief on the impact of COVID-19 on Africa, according to Xinhua news agency.

Global COVID-19 deaths surpass 323,000

As of Wednesday morning, the total number of cases stood at 4,897,492, while the death toll increased to 323,285, the University's Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) revealed in its latest update.

Russian PM resumes work after COVID-19 recovery

Mishustin held several meetings via video-conference while he was in the hospital, while earlier reports said he was recovering and would be soon discharged reports TASS News Agency.

Trump threatens to pull out of WHO over subservience to China

In a four-page letter addressed to WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus that he posted Monday night on Twitter, Trump said: "The repeated missteps by you and your organisation in responding to the pandemic have been extremely costly to the world. The only way forward for the World Health Organization is only if it can demonstrate its independence from China."

Trump taking hydroxychloroquine as COVID-19 preventive despite US controversy

"A couple of weeks ago, I started taking it. I've heard a lot of good stories," he told reporters on Monday in Washington.

Merkel urges world to work together to overcome COVID crisis

"No country can solve this crisis alone, we must act together," said Merkel during her video message at the World Health Organization's (WHO) meeting on Monday, Xinhua news agency reported.

WHO chief warns of long road to travel as COVID-19 risk...

"This is a dangerous enemy, with a dangerous combination of features: this virus is efficient, fast, and fatal," WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at the opening of the 73rd World Health Assembly on Monday, Xinhua news agency reported.

Taliban suicide blast kills 9 in Afghanistan

"Taliban terrorists today morning, in a series of their crimes in this holy month of Ramadan, carried out a truck bombing against the Islamic Cultural Centre in Ghazni city (situated next to the military base), in which nine persons were killed," Interior Ministry spokesperson Tariq Arian said in a statement.

Thai Airways to file for bankruptcy

A spokeswoman for Thai Airways International Pcl said flag carrier would declare bankruptcy in the coming days instead of going ahead with a rescue plan it had drafted following the most recent round of losses as a result of the pandemic.

New Israeli govt sworn in after 508 days of impasse

On Sunday night, the Knesset voted 73-46 in favour of the new coalition government agreed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his former rival, Benny Gantz, reports The Times of Israel.

Australia: 12 McDonald’s shut after delivery driver tests COVID-19 positive

The driver interacted with a small number of restaurant staff while asymptomatic, according to McDonald's, and no other employees had tested positive as of Monday morning, reports Xinhua news agency.

Nepal extends lockdown till June 2

The current lockdown, imposed on March 24, is expiring on Monday. "The cabinet on Sunday decided to extend the lockdown till June 2," Nepali Finance and Communication Minister Yubaraj Khatiwada told a press conference on Sunday, Xinhua news agency reported.

UK COVID19 deaths rise to 34,636

The figures include deaths in all settings, including hospitals, care homes and the wider community, Xinhua news agency reported on Sunday.

Thailand extends ban on international flights until June end

"No passenger flights originating outside the country may land at Thai airports until June 30," Xinhua news agency quoted the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand as saying on Saturday night.

Guterres welcomes arrest of Rwandan genocide suspect

Guterres' spokesperson said the UN chief welcomed the arrest of Felicien Kabuga on Saturday in Paris, adding his capture "sends a powerful message that those who are alleged to have committed such crimes cannot evade justice and will eventually be held accountable, even more than a quarter of a century later", reports Efe news.

Trump says US reopening, ‘vaccine or no vaccine’

He likened the vaccine project, dubbed "Operation Warp Speed", to the World War Two effort to produce the world's first nuclear weapons.

China threatens retaliation at ‘unreasonable suppression’ of Huawei in US

Describing the move as the destruction of "global manufacturing, supply and value chains", the Chinese foreign ministry said that Beijing would "firmly uphold Chinese firms' legitimate and legal rights and interests".

France no longer exempt from UK’s 14-day quarantine period

On Sunday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson had announced that anyone flying into the UK will have to spend 14 days in isolation before being able to move freely around the country, the Metro newspaper reported.

Italy to lift travel restrictions from June 3

The decree was signed by Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte on Friday and published early on Saturday, the BBC reported.

‘US working with India on COVID-19 vaccine, sending ventilators’

Unveiling 'Operation Warp Speed' to ready a vaccine by the end of the year, Trump said on Friday that "many of the great scientists, researchers" from the US Indian community were working on the project.

US House passes $3 trillion COVID-19 relief package

The rescue plan was approved on Friday night by a tight 208-199 margin amid opposition by Republicans as well as some moderate and progressive Democrats, reports Efe news.

No approved treatments yet for COVID19, says WHO

"There are hundreds of clinical trials that are underway, and the reason we need to wait for the results of these studies is because they are evaluating how these medicines, how these drugs work, in terms of either preventing infection, preventing someone from progressing to severe disease, preventing death and how safe they are, do they have any side effects," Maria Van Kerkhove, technical lead for the WHO's Health Emergencies Program, said on Friday in a press conference in Geneva, Xinhua news agency reported.

We could cut off whole relationship with China, says Trump

The Trump administration has been mulling avenues to possibly punish or seek financial compensation from China for what it sees as withholding information about the virus, which originated in the city of Wuhan, capital of Hubei province, last December.

Russia reports over 10,000 new COVID-19 cases in 24 hours

The death toll grew by 113 to 2,418, while 58,226 people have recovered, including 4,696 over the last 24 hours, Xinhua news agency quoted the centre as saying.

Places of worship in Malaysia reopens after nearly 2 months

The capital Kuala Lumpur along with some other states such as Selangor, Perak and Johor, has eased a ban on mass prayers in mosques and other religious places starting Friday with congregations limited to 30 people or less and physical distancing measures to prevent the spread of the infection, reports Efe news.

US begins clinical trial of hydroxychloroquine, azithromycin

Hydroxychloroquine is approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to prevent and treat malaria, as well as to treat the autoimmune diseases rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, while azithromycin is an FDA-approved antibiotic, reports Xinhua news agency.

Spike in Sri Lanka wildlife poaching during COVID 19 lockdown

The nationwide lockdown has triggered food crisis and unemployment, with the environmentalists warning that wildlife poaching may have spiked in rural parts of the island nation.

New York Stock Exchange to partially reopen on May 26

"The NYSE trading floor will begin a phased reopening on May 26 and look forward to welcoming home members of our Trading Floor community," Xinhua news agency quoted Stacey Cunningham, president of the exchange, as saying in a tweet on Thursday.

Mankind so unprepared for COVID-19, world lacks solidarity, says UN Chief

Guterres earlier on Thursday brought together the principals of 31 UN system entities in a virtual meeting of the UN System Chief Executives Board for Coordination (CEB), the longest-standing and highest-level coordination forum of the UN system, Xinhua news agency said.

Vijay Mallya can now be extradited in 28 days

The former parliamentarian, who ran India's largest spirits company, United Spirits, and founded the now defunct Kingfisher Airlines, faces charges of fraud and money laundering worth $1.3 billion. He left India in March 2016 under the pretext of personal reasons.

Japan lifts COVID-19 emergency for 39 of 47 prefectures

"Japan will lift a state of emergency for 39 of the country's 47 prefectures ahead of its planned expiration at the end of the month, as the spread of the novel coronavirus in these areas has been kept in check," Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced.

Bangladesh plans to extend COVID-19 lockdown to May 30

Speaking to bdnews24 about the plans on Wednesday, State Minister for Public Administration Farhad Hossain said citizens would to be ordered to spend the Eid-ul-Fitr days in their own areas.

Netanyahu announces success in forming new government

In a letter to President Rivlin on Wednesday, Netanyahu informed them that he has "succeeded in forming a government", which he will present to Parliament on Thursday, reports Xinhua news agency.

Mallya pleads Indian govt to accept loan repayment, close case

In a tweet, the embattled liquor baron alleged that his offer of 100 per cent payback to a consortium of public sector banks is being constantly ignored.

New York: 102 kids diagnosed with rare syndrome possibly linked to...

A five-year-old in New York City, a seven-year-old in Westchester County and a teenager in Suffolk County have died of the syndrome, which displays various symptoms including persistent fever, severe abdominal pain, bloodshot eyes and skin rash, Cuomo was quoted as saying on Wednesday by Xinhua news agency.

Australian health authorities probe McDonald’s COVID-19 cluster

So far half of the confirmed cases were employees of the restaurant and the other half household contacts of the workers, reports Xinhua news agency.

Washington, DC extends stay-at-home order to June 8

"We're not there yet and not quite ready to begin that phased new opening," Bowser said at a news briefing, Xinhua reported.

Restrictions on all-cargo flights at Beijing airports lifted

All airlines can now operate all-cargo flights at both airports, the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) told Xinhua on Wednesday.

South Korea registers largest drop in employment since 1999

The number of people in employment in April stood at 26.56 million, which is 476,000 fewer than in the same month the previous year and the biggest drop since February 1999, when the country was absorbing the effects of the so-called Asian financial crisis, Efe news reported.

Musk reopens Tesla factory in California, Trump supports him

On Monday, defying the stay-at-home order in place, Musk reopened Tesla factory in Fremont, California, challenging the authorities to arrest him if he has defied the rules.

Vietnam kids return to school as COVID 19 restrictions eased

With schools opening in the two biggest urban areas, capital Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, as well as many other provinces, a long period of children missing classes finally came to an end on Monday, reports Efe news.

UAE denies plans to raise VAT rate

VAT was introduced in the UAE in 2018 at 5 per cent on several goods and services, reports Xinhua news agency.

Trudeau announces aid program for large companies

The program called the Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility (LEEFF), is designed to allow big companies to access additional liquidity to keep their operations going, retain workers on the payroll, and avoid bankruptcy, though the financing comes with a series of terms and conditions, reports Xinhua news agency.

Economic activities resume in Colombo

Police said although a curfew would continue in Colombo and on the outskirt of Gampaha, the public could re-start work in order to get the economy back on track, reports Xinhua news agency.

Protests resume in Iraq despite formation of new government

On Sunday, hundreds of protesters gathered in Baghdad's Tahrir Square, the epicentre of the anti-government protests that first erupted in October 2019 and were interrupted over the past few months amid coronavirus restrictions, reports Efe news.

European Commission proposes to extend entry ban to EU until mid-June

The Commission first invited the heads of state or government on March 16 to introduce the entry ban, which doesn't apply to doctors, nurses, healthcare workers, researchers or experts helping to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as persons carrying goods, frontier workers and seasonal agricultural workers, reports Xinhua news agency.

Gyms, restaurants, salons, bars reopen in HK

With the local transmission of the virus levelling off over the past two weeks, city officials have allowed a partial reopening of eight types of business, but with conditions, reports the South China Morning Post (SCMP) newspaper.

Germany passes law banning ‘gay conversion therapy’

The legislation, passed on Thursday evening, is intended to stop groups offering the service - which claims to be able to change a person's sexual orientation - to under-18s, the BBC reported.

Bank of England warns of deepest recession on record

In a statement, the bank said the economy was on course to shrink 14 per cent this year, the biggest annual decline on record, based on the lockdown being relaxed in June, reports the BBC.

Iraqi Parliament approves new PM after 5 months of caretaker government

Lawmakers approved Al-Kadhimi and 15 of his candidates for ministerial posts, including the key defence and interior portfolios, while rejecting four others and postponing a vote on nominees to head the oil and foreign ministries, reports Efe news.

Trump vetoes resolution to limit war power against Iran

"This was a very insulting resolution, introduced by Democrats as part of a strategy to win an election on Nov. 3 by dividing the Republican Party," Trump said in a statement regarding the veto on Wednesday, adding that "the few Republicans who voted for it played right into their hands," Xinhua news agency reported.

Scribe shot dead in Philippines, 16th since Duterte took office

Cornelio Pepino, 48, worked for community radio station dyMD Energy in the city of Dumaguete, where another two journalists have been killed since 2018, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) said.