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Birx warns of coming coronavirus hot spots across the U.S. Click Here to Open in a New Window

Birx warns of coming coronavirus hot spots across the U.S.Louisiana is poised to become the next epicenter of the coronavirus crisis, White House officials said Thursday, citing new data that shows that 26 percent of the tests for COVID-19 in that state in recent days have come back positive.



Two years before coronavirus, CDC warned of a coming pandemic Click Here to Open in a New Window

Two years before coronavirus, CDC warned of a coming pandemicLong before the coronavirus emerged in Wuhan, China, and then soon spread to nearly every country on Earth, a conference in 2018 offered proof that epidemiologists at the CDC and other institutions were aware that a new pandemic was poised to strike.



Duterte vows to 'shoot dead' lockdown violators as unrest grows in Philippines Click Here to Open in a New Window

Duterte vows to 'shoot dead' lockdown violators as unrest grows in PhilippinesPhilippine President Rodrigo Duterte has told security forces they should shoot dead anyone causing "trouble" in areas locked down due to the coronavirus pandemic. About half the country's roughly 110 million people are currently under quarantine - including millions in deep poverty, left jobless by tough restrictions on movement. Hours before Duterte gave the order in a speech late Wednesday, nearly two dozen people from a slum community in the capital Manila were arrested for holding a protest that accused the government of failing to provide food aid to the poor. "My orders are to the police and military, also village officials, that if there is trouble or the situation arises that people fight and your lives are on the line, shoot them dead," Duterte said. "Instead of causing trouble, I'll send you to the grave," he said, adding that the outbreak is getting worse more than two weeks into the lockdown.



Politics aside, US relies on China supplies to fight virus Click Here to Open in a New Window

Politics aside, US relies on China supplies to fight virusUS politicians have voiced fury over Beijing's handling of the coronavirus crisis but they face a harsh truth -- the United States desperately needs China's supplies. China before the crisis produced nearly half of the face masks imported into the United States -- which in normal times cost less than a dollar but have disappeared from shelves amid growing calls for ordinary Americans wear them when outside. As China appears to have contained its own outbreak of SARS-CoV-1, which has infected more than one million people worldwide since first emerging late last year in Wuhan, it is now the first resort for protective gear sought across the world.



Colombia quarantine brings evictions for Bogota's poorest Click Here to Open in a New Window

Colombia quarantine brings evictions for Bogota's poorestJose Ramirez - whose total belongings fit into a scratched black suitcase and a backpack - is resigned to spending the night in a scruffy park in the depressed center of Colombia's capital, Bogota. Mayor's office officials said it was unclear where he could be housed.



Israel locks down ultra-Orthodox city hit hard by coronavirus Click Here to Open in a New Window

Israel locks down ultra-Orthodox city hit hard by coronavirusOne health care expert has told the Israeli Parliament he believed almost 40 percent of Bnei Brak's residents could be infected.



Gov. Gretchen Whitmer wears 'That Woman from Michigan' T-shirt on 'The Daily Show with Trevor Noah' Click Here to Open in a New Window

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer wears 'That Woman from Michigan' T-shirt on 'The Daily Show with Trevor Noah'During appearance on Comedy Central's "The Daily Show," Gov. Gretchen Whitmer wore a "That Woman from Michigan" T-shirt.



How coronavirus has halted Central American migration to the US Click Here to Open in a New Window

How coronavirus has halted Central American migration to the USBorder closures and strict lockdowns have led to a steep decline in the number of migrants coming from Central AmericaWhen Angelica turned 30, she realized there was no future for her in Honduras.Although she had a college degree, she was still living paycheck to paycheck and was stuck in a neighborhood of the capital Tegucigalpa ruled by violent gangs.So, after years contemplating migration to the US where she has relatives, she finally made arrangements to depart.“I didn’t want to stay in a neighborhood where there are massacres or where the people lock themselves in their homes at six at night because the gangs impose a curfew,” she said. “I realized I was more surviving than living.”But by the time she was due to start her journey north, Honduras had closed its borders and declared a state of emergency. She could no longer leave her city – much less take a bus to northern Guatemala, to meet a coyote who would guide her through Mexico.“I had thought that only a hurricane could stop me,” she said. “But I hadn’t thought of a pandemic.”Border closures and strict lockdowns prompted by the Covid-19 crisis have disrupted the migrant trail through Central America and Mexico, forcing some would-be migrants to postpone their journeys – and stopping many others in their tracks.The result has been a deterrent more effective than any wall Donald Trump could build.Activists across the region have reported a steep decline in the number of migrants coming from Central America since the restrictions were implemented. One Mexican shelter near the Guatemalan border said it hadn’t received a new arrival in a week.“The crisis has facilitated Trump’s policies because [Central American] migrants can’t even leave their countries,” said Sister Nyzella Juliana Dondé, coordinator of a Catholic migrant aid organization in Honduras.El Salvador closed its borders on 11 March, and the governments of Guatemala and Honduras quickly followed suit. All three countries in the so-called northern triangle have since announced internal lockdowns of differing strictness.The three nations had recently signed “safe third country agreements” with the US government under which they agreed to increase enforcement on their borders, and receive migrants who had transited their country on the way to the US.Only Guatemala had begun to implement the new measures, but it announced on 17 March that it would suspend the deportations of Hondurans and Salvadorans from the US to its territory.But Guatemala and Honduras continued to receive deportation flights bringing their own citizens from the US – despite concerns that the practice could accelerate the spread of the virus. In the past week, a migrant who was deported from the US to Guatemala was diagnosed with Covid-19 and a group of deportees to Honduras escaped from the shelter where they were to be quarantined. Guatemala has now requested that the US suspend deportation flights.Meanwhile, migrants who were already en route have been left exposed by the closure of shelters and the difficulties facing humanitarian organizations which would normally attend to them.“They are in a vulnerable situation because the guidance is to stay at home – but the migrants don’t have homes,” said Dondé, who mentioned a case of a large group of Haitian and African migrants who were detained after crossing into Guatemala from Honduras amid the lockdown. “Neither Honduras or Guatemala wanted to offer them a place to stay.”Migrants who already had arrived to Mexico have been left in limbo by the US government’s decision to immediately return all migrants from Mexico and Central America who cross into the country irregularly along the south-west border.When restrictions are eventually eased, a fresh surge in migration seems likely: multiple would-be migrants who spoke with the Guardian said it was only a question of when, not if, they would set out for the US.And the economic impact of the crisis may in turn cause others to migrate.. “Before many people migrated because they lacked work and a dignified life,” said Silva de Souza. “Now there will be many more.”Migrants who have come from even farther afield, have no choice but to try to push on. Mohamed left Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone, in 2018, following the well-trodden migrant path via Ecuador, Colombia and the jungles of Panama. He was burning through his savings and racking up debt, but making steady progress north.But he reached Guatemala just before the government announced a state of emergency which has made moving on impossible.“Travel has become very difficult,” he said in a brief exchange via Facebook Messenger. But he was still determined to reach the US – even if he now has to move more carefully – traveling at night and avoiding large caravans. “With God’s will, I’ll get there. I will build a life of opportunity.” * Additional reporting by Joe Parkin Daniels



Philippine leader says coronavirus lockdown violators could be shot Click Here to Open in a New Window

Philippine leader says coronavirus lockdown violators could be shotThe president of the Philippines said Wednesday in a televised address that people who violate coronavirus lockdown rules could be shot.



Coronavirus poses special risk to millions of Americans with diabetes Click Here to Open in a New Window

Coronavirus poses special risk to millions of Americans with diabetesAs the worsening coronavirus pandemic continues to spread across the country, millions of Americans living with diabetes face heightened risks from COVID-19.



New Yorkers Are Right to Be Skeptical of Evangelical-Run Coronavirus Ward in Central Park Click Here to Open in a New Window

New Yorkers Are Right to Be Skeptical of Evangelical-Run Coronavirus Ward in Central ParkIf New York City wasn’t under a strict stay-at-home order right now, protesters might be marching along Central Park. That’s where an evangelical Christian organization called Samaritan’s Purse is preparing to open a makeshift COVID-19 ward. The 60-bed emergency field hospital is composed largely of tarp-wrapped tents and will function as a respiratory unit servicing overflow patients from Mount Sinai Hospital.Some New York residents have criticized Samaritan’s Purse’s presence, citing their spotty record in the field and expressing fears that the conservative religious group’s beliefs could even open the door to substandard care or discrimination. City Mayor Bill de Blasio admitted he was “very concerned” about the operation and was sending people from his office to monitor Samaritan’s Purse.As a result, conservative Christians exploded on social media, citing the controversy as further proof that their faith is under attack by intolerant liberals and coastal elites who care little about human life.Andrew Walker, a professor at Southern Baptist Seminary, tweeted, “Cultural decadence is allowing intersectionality to determine the acceptability of emergency response.” And Peter Hasson, a Catholic editor for conservative news site The Daily Caller, tweeted, “If you’re getting mad at the people taking care of the sick during a pandemic, maybe consider the fact that you’re not the good guy in this story.”As my therapist often reminds me, the human brain is capable of understanding that two things can be true at the same time. In this case, a person can believe that the brave doctors and nurses currently deploying to Central Park to help combat this terrible virus are brave and necessary and also believe that the organization chosen to manage the work of these doctors and nurses is deeply problematic. Holding both of these ideas in your mind at the same time doesn’t make you a bad person; it demonstrates that you’re a thinking person. We’re in the midst of a public-health crisis and must take an all-hands-on-deck approach to caring for the sick.And upon closer inspection, New Yorkers have plenty of good reasons to feel uncomfortable about this new coronavirus hospital.Of chief concern is the person overseeing the Central Park ward: Samaritan’s Purse’s president and CEO Franklin Graham. He is the son of famed evangelist Billy Graham and a spiritual adviser to President Donald Trump who has a surprisingly long history of controversial comments and hate speech.Graham seems to harbor a special level of disdain for followers of Islam, which he characterizes as a “wicked and evil religion” that encourages adherents to beat their wives and murder their disobedient children. In 2015, he recommended banning all Muslims from immigrating to America and suggested our government treat them like the Japanese and German during World War II. As rationale, he argued that Muslims have “the potential to be radicalized” and participate in “killing to honor their religion and Muhammed.”That’s the man running Samaritan’s Purse’s coronavirus hospital, so yes, Muslim New Yorkers are right to be skeptical.Graham’s hate speech is also often aimed at LGBTQ people. He has called same-sex marriages “detestable” and has drummed up fear toward gays and lesbians—whom he believes should burn in hell—by claiming they want to “drag an immoral agenda into our communities.” In an article that has mysteriously disappeared from the Decision Magazine website, Graham wrote that the architect of the LGBTQ rights movement was “none other than Satan himself.” And when Vladimir Putin initiated a violent crackdown on LGBTQ rights in Russia, it sparked a wave of beatings, abduction, public humiliation and other forms of violence against sexual minorities there. Graham responded by praising Putin’s policy, lauding the authoritarian leader for “[protecting] his nation’s children from the damaging effects of any gay and lesbian agenda.”Given such history, it makes complete sense that Mount Sinai Hospital asked Samaritan’s Purse to “sign a written pledge to treat all patients equally.”Some conservative Christians have dismissed this as harassment, claiming that a scenario in which evangelicals discriminated against gays and lesbians is ridiculous to imagine. But our fair city has a long memory. We remember all the gay men who fled communities across America where evangelicals pastors condemned them as “abominations” and found safe harbor in New York. We remember that when masses of them contracted HIV/AIDS and filled our hospital beds, evangelical preachers on TV called it God’s judgment. We remember Jerry Falwell and the religious right lobbying against HIV research and relief in the '90s, leading to untold deaths.All this occurred in my lifetime, and I am only 37. So please pardon New Yorkers if they feel uneasy, given American evangelicals’ often-unacknowledged track record coupled with Graham’s comments, and want to take some minor precautions to ensure all citizens are protected. Gay, lesbian, and transgender New Yorkers are right to be skeptical.Even some conservative Christians who’ve acknowledged the disturbing nature of Graham’s comments have attacked Samaritan’s Purse’s critics for intolerance. Anyone should be able to help anyone in this time, the argument goes. It’s wrong to prevent people from serving the sick. I totally agree; but Samaritan’s Purse does not. The organization is requiring that all personnel serving in its pop-up hospital be Christians who agree to Samaritan’s Purse’s 11-point “Statement of Faith,” which includes the beliefs that non-Christians will burn in hell and that same-sex relationships are sinful.It’s unsurprising, if lamentable, that a Christian aid group would turn away a Buddhist doctor looking to help its efforts. But if a lung doctor shows up in Central Park with the knowledge and experience to save lives, she could be sent home if she happens to be a liberal Episcopalian who voted for Hillary Clinton and supports marriage equality.If it is wrong to quibble over who is fit to help save lives in the middle of a crisis, then we must admit that Samaritan’s Purse is no better than its critics. The group’s defenders are correct, however, that the organization has laudably worked to meet emergency needs in crisis regions since its founding. They have accomplished much good in places like Kosovo, Sudan, Somalia, and Darfur. But their record is not unblemished, and many in the humanitarian world have questioned the quality of some of Samaritan’s Purse’s work.After USAID gave Samaritan’s Purse a large grant to help victims of the earthquake in El Salvador, they were disturbed to learn that the Christian group “blurred the lines between church and state” by using funds to evangelize victims instead of just help them. An official with Samaritan’s Purse dismissed the criticism by claiming, “We are first a Christian organization and second an aid organization.”That wasn’t the first time such blurring occurred, however. During the first Gulf War, respected U.S. General Norman Schwarzkopf publicly criticized the group for trying to coerce American troops serving in Saudi Arabia to covertly distribute Arab-language Bibles under the guise of humanitarian work. And Samaritan’s Purse’s popular “Operation Christmas Child” has recently been drawn fire when people learned that the holiday shoeboxes given to poor children in non-Christian families around the world were stuffed with Christian evangelism materials.The vast majority of New Yorkers are not Christian, and if they find themselves wheezing for air due to COVID-19, they don’t want to be proselytized while receiving treatment. They too have reason to be skeptical of the organization’s makeshift hospital.“This is what Samaritan’s Purse does—we respond in the middle of crises to help people in Jesus’ Name. Please pray for our teams and for everyone around the world affected by the virus,” Graham declared in a press release announcing the ward.None of Samaritan’s Purse’s detractors have argued that the Central Park ward should be shuttered or that the organization be barred from offering care. And no one is casting aspersions on the many courageous health-care professionals who will put their lives at risk when this hospital opens. Most agree with the letter from Mount Sinai staff and doctors—at least one of whom is LGBTQ—that concerns about Samaritan’s Purse, while valid, must be set aside at the moment because “the higher mission at present is to preserve human life.”To this, I say “yes and.” New Yorkers can admit that Samaritan’s Purse should have a role to play in this vital work, and they can also acknowledge the many valid reasons that might make vulnerable and marginalized residents a little more than nervous.—Jonathan Merritt is a contributing writer for The Atlantic and author of Learning to Speak God from Scratch: Why Sacred Words are Vanishing—And How We Can Revive Them.Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.



Attempts for Middle East ceasefires amid the coronavirus crisis have not stopped the fighting Click Here to Open in a New Window

Attempts for Middle East ceasefires amid the coronavirus crisis have not stopped the fightingCalls for coronavirus ceasefires have not halted Middle East battles



Athletes Village for Olympics Could House Coronavirus Patients Click Here to Open in a New Window

TOKYO - The under-construction Athletes Village for the Tokyo Olympics could be used as a temporary hospital for coronavirus patients.

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike has been talking about the p


Olympic torch relay to start from earthquake-hit Fukushima next year Click Here to Open in a New Window
Tokyo [Japan], April 3 (ANI): The Summer Olympics in Tokyo, postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, is likely to open on July 23, 2021. The Olympic flame has already arrived at Fukushima prefecture
These radical artworks force you to look in new ways Click Here to Open in a New Window

Time in isolation doesn't have to mean time alone. Delving into art books, researching art online and even making art can reaffirm human connections and

Coronavirus is growing exponentially - here's what that really means Click Here to Open in a New Window

You may have seen a version of the infographic (below) that explains the potential impact of social distancing. It nicely illustrates that reducing the total number of disease-spreading contacts ea


SA Rugby boss: Returning to play 'critical' for industry Click Here to Open in a New Window

SA Rugby CEO Jurie Roux says that returning to the playing field as soon as possible is "critical" for the game in South Africa.

This comes after a meeting on Friday where the South African r


Farah has no qualms over Tokyo Olympics delay Click Here to Open in a New Window

British distance great Mo Farah has insisted he still intends to compete at the Tokyo Olympics even though they have been delayed a year by the coronavirus.


Sony first in private sector to respond to UNHCR's COVID-19 appeal Click Here to Open in a New Window

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, welcomes Sony Corporation's announcement of establishing

Sensex falls by 674 points, banking stocks plunge Click Here to Open in a New Window
Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], April 3 (ANI): Equity benchmark indices slipped further on Friday as banks and financial stocks dragged with investors expecting a deterioration in their asset qualities
Most Asian Markets Closed Slightly Down Friday Click Here to Open in a New Window

Most Asian markets closed slightly down on Friday's trading session, while Nikkei 225 in Japan closed just 0.01 percent in green.

As investors continue to be worried by the


IOC sets new deadline for Tokyo Olympics qualification period Click Here to Open in a New Window
Lausanne [Switzerland], April 3 (ANI): The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has issued the new deadline for the qualification period which is June 29, 2021 after the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games were
Equities edge lower amid rising number of COVID-19 cases Click Here to Open in a New Window
Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], April 3 (ANI): Equity benchmark indices traded lower during early hours on Friday with investors remaining focused on the possible impact of rising coronavirus infections
Olympic Delay Adds Workload, Costs and Cash Flow Uncertainty Click Here to Open in a New Window

GENEVA - Postponing the Tokyo Olympics to 2021 will make the event more costly for all parties, the International Olympic Committee acknowledged on Thursday, although it offered few details on what




Japan Timeline and Information
Japan at Wikipedia Click Here to Open in a New Window
Japan at CIA FactBook Click Here to Open in a New Window


910 AD Fujiwara no Asatada, a Japanese poet, designated one of the 36 Immortals was born.

1596 AD there was an earthquake in Japan; several cities made ruins, and thousands perished.

1792 AD - in Kyushu Island, Japan: collapse of old lava dome during eruption of Unzen volcano caused avalanche and tsunami that killed an estimated 14,300 people. (Most were killed by the tsunami.) Japan's greatest volcano disaster.

1896 AD - an earthquake and tidal wave killed 27,000 in Sanriku, Japan

1923 AD - in Japan: magnitude 8.3 earthquake destroyed one-third of Tokyo and most of Yokohama. More than 140,000 killed.

1995 AD - a magnitude: 6.9 earthquake hit Osaka, Kyoto, and Kobe, Japan


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