World

29th March

Condom shortage looms after coronavirus lockdown shuts world’s top producer

  KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) – A global shortage of condoms is looming, the world’s biggest producer said, after a coronavirus lockdown forced it to shut down production. Malaysia’s Karex Bhd (KARE.KL) makes one in every...

Trump tells GM: Stop ‘wasting time’, build ventilators to address coronavirus

WASHINGTON/DETROIT (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday invoked emergency powers to require General Motors Co (GM.N) to build much-needed ventilators for coronavirus patients after he accused the largest U.S. automaker of “wasting time” during negotiations. Trump, who has been on the defensive for not moving faster to compel the production of medical equipment,...

28th March

Airbnb suspends marketing to save $800 million, top executives take pay cut: source

(Reuters) – Airbnb Inc has suspended all its marketing activities to save $800 million this year, and its founders will take no salary for the next six months while top executives will take a 50% cut, according to a person familiar with the matter. The home rental start-up has also paused hiring, with the exception...

New Yorkers irked to feel unwelcome in states fearing coronavirus spread

(Reuters) – Many New Yorkers say they are miffed at being treated as the poster children of the U.S. coronavirus outbreak, unwelcome in some states even if they are symptom-free. This week, Rhode Island, Florida and West Virginia appeared to roll up the welcome mats to residents of the Empire State. Rhode Island went as...

Global oil refiners shut down as coronavirus destroys demand

SINGAPORE/NEW DELHI/SEOUL/LONDON (Reuters) – The first oil refinery shutdowns in India and Europe were announced on Friday while global refinery runs drop like a stone in response to plunging demand as countries worldwide implement lockdowns. Italy’s API said it would close operations temporarily at its Ancona refinery, which has capacity of 85,000 barrels per day...

Apple works with White House to release ‘COVID-19’ app, website

(Reuters) – Apple Inc and the White House said on Friday that the iPhone maker worked with the Trump administration and federal agencies to release an app and website that will direct users to guidance from the Centers for Disease Control on the disease caused by the coronavirus. The app, which will be available in...

Apple’s factories are running, but suppliers wary about iPhone demand

(Reuters) – As China reopens its economy after months of lockdown, Apple Inc’s (AAPL.O) iPhone factories are largely up and running. But with the coronavirus pandemic spreading across the world, the urgent question for the company is how many buyers there will be both for current models and the new slate of phones expected in...

A U.S. recession? Probably. Depression? Only if the virus is untamed

WASHINGTON – A U.S. recession may already be underway. Could it be worse? The Great Depression that began with a stock market crash in 1929 and lasted until 1933 scarred a generation with massive unemployment and plummeting economic output. It reshaped America, shifting migration patterns, and spawning new styles of music, art and literature. Under...

Brazil government ad rejects coronavirus lockdowns, saying #BrazilCannotStop

BRASILIA (Reuters) – Brazil’s federal government launched an advertising campaign against social distancing measures to fight the coronavirus outbreak, the latest flashpoint in a battle between President Jair Bolsonaro and state governors trying to stop the virus’ spread. The “#BrazilCannotStop” television ad – featuring a slogan similar to a campaign in Milan before deaths in...

Wall Street tumbles as U.S. virus cases pass 100,000

(Reuters) – Wall Street stocks tumbled on Friday, ending a massive three-day surge after doubts about the fate of the U.S. economy resurfaced and the number of coronavirus cases in the country climbed. U.S. stocks deepened their losses late in the session, even after the House of Representatives approved a $2.2 trillion aid package –...

New York to build eight temporary hospitals, braces for surge in patients, Cuomo says

(Reuters) – New York plans to build eight temporary hospitals to meet an expected surge in coronavirus patients, Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Friday, and the state estimates that demand for hospital capacity will peak in three weeks. Cuomo also took an apparent swipe at U.S. President Donald Trump’s claim that New York was exaggerating...

In trenches of New York’s coronavirus crisis, nurses beg, borrow and steal precious masks

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Amid growing shortages of vital protective equipment in New York hospitals, healthcare workers are desperately scrounging to find facemasks, hiding supplies from colleagues in other departments, and sometimes even pilfering for themselves. The novel coronavirus has infected nearly 45,000 across New York, and more than 550,000 globally. Nurses in New York...

Historic $2.2 trillion coronavirus bill passes U.S. House, becomes law

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. House of Representatives on Friday approved a $2.2 trillion aid package – the largest in history – to help cope with the economic downturn inflicted by the intensifying coronavirus pandemic, and President Donald Trump quickly signed it into law. The massive bill passed the Senate and House of Representatives nearly...

Cheap antibody test sent for validation in coronavirus fight

LONDON (Reuters) – A British company behind a 10-minute coronavirus antibody test, which will cost about a $1, has begun sending prototypes to laboratories for validation, which could be a game-changer in the fight against the pandemic. Health technology firm Mologic, which created one of the first at-home pregnancy tests, is aiming for the test...

Malpass says World Bank finalising $160 billion coronavirus relief package

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The World Bank’s board is finalising a package of coronavirus relief valued at up to $160 billion over the next 15 months, the development lender’s president, David Malpass said on Thursday. “The goals are to shorten the time to recovery, create conditions for growth, support small and medium enterprises, and help protect...

U.S. announces reward up to $15 million for Venezuela’s Maduro

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. State Department on Thursday announced rewards for information leading to the arrest or conviction of various Venezuelan nationals, including President Nicolas Maduro who Washington aims to push out of power. “The Department is offering a reward of up to $15 million for information related to Nicolas Maduro Moros,” the State Department said...

Italian scientists investigate possible earlier emergence of coronavirus

MILAN (Reuters) – Italian researchers are looking at whether a higher than usual number of cases of severe pneumonia and flu in Lombardy in the last quarter of 2019 may be a signal that the new coronavirus might have spread beyond China earlier than previously thought. Adriano Decarli, an epidemiologist and medical statistics professor at...

Kazakhstan orders residents of major cities to stay home after first death from coronavirus

ALMATY (Reuters) – Kazakhstan will bar residents of its two biggest cities, Almaty and Nur-Sultan, from leaving their homes except for work or to buy food or medicines, the government said on Thursday as it reported the first death from coronavirus. Information Minister Dauren Abayev said in a brief statement on state television that the...

Indonesia capital sets up disinfectant-spraying booths to fight virus

JAKARTA (Reuters) – Indonesia’s capital is installing hand-washing stations and disinfectant-spraying booths across the city of 10 million people to try to curb an accelerating spread of coronavirus infections. Indonesia, the world’s fourth-most populous country, has reported 893 cases of the virus and 78 deaths, the majority clustered in and around the capital. The governor...

UK navy shadows Russian warships after ‘high levels of activity’

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s navy said on Thursday it had shadowed seven Russian warships after detecting high levels of activity by Russian vessels off its coastline. “The Navy has completed a concentrated operation to shadow the Russian warships after unusually high levels of activity in the English Channel and North Sea,” the Royal Navy said.

Beware second waves of COVID-19 if lockdowns eased early: study

LONDON (Reuters) – Extending school and work closures at the coronavirus’ ground zero in China may delay a second wave of infections, researchers said on Thursday, urging the rest of the world to take note. With containment measures largely successful and the epidemic’s epicenter now in Europe, China has loosened a two-month lockdown in the...

Lebanon to impose overnight shutdown to confront coronavirus – minister

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Lebanon will begin an overnight shutdown from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m., with some exceptions to be announced later, as it steps up measures to combat coronavirus, Information Minister Manal Abdel Samad said on Thursday. Earlier, Finance Minister Ghazi Wazni issued a circular asking all public institutions to suspend application of an...

27th March

Anyone coughing at UK police, shop workers faces two years in jail

LONDON (Reuters) – Anyone claiming to have coronavirus who deliberately coughs at emergency workers faces being jailed for two years, Britain’s Director of Public Prosecutions said on Thursday. Max Hill said there had been reports in recent days of people coughing in the faces of police, other emergency workers and shop staff. Those responsible could...

U.S. coronavirus death toll tops 1,000 as unemployment widens

WASHINGTON/NEW YORK (Reuters) – The U.S. coronavirus death toll topped the 1,000 milestone as the pandemic’s mounting economic burden was illustrated by government data on Thursday showing a record number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits and hospitals struggled to treat a surge of infected patients. Roughly half the United States was under “stay at home”...

Coronavirus fuels cybersex trafficking fears for children in Southeast Asia

BANGKOK/PHNOM PENH (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Cybersex traffickers are likely to exploit the coronavirus pandemic to target more children across Southeast Asia for online sexual abuse, child rights activists said on Thursday. The global spread of cheap, high-speed internet and the rise in mobile phone ownership has fuelled cybersex trafficking in recent years, with children...

Israeli leaders open up nuclear bunker in war on coronavirus

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – The Israeli government has opened up a war bunker in the Jerusalem hills to help coordinate its campaign against the spread of the coronavirus, Israeli officials said on Thursday. The bunker, called the “National Management Centre”, was built more than a decade ago because of concern about Iran’s nuclear programme and missile...

Cases in Italy’s Lombardy rise by some 2,500 on Thursday, data ‘not good’: official

MILAN (Reuters) – The number of coronavirus cases in the in the northern region of Lombardy, which includes Italy’s financial capital Milan, increased by some 2,500 on Thursday, regional governor Attilio Fontana said. “Today’s numbers are not good, unfortunately. There has been a steeper increase compared with previous days,” Fontana told reporters, adding that preliminary...

Fearing coronavirus, African city dwellers flee to the countryside

NAIROBI/JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – Each morning at a crowded bus station east of Nairobi, Kenyans load their bags on to minibuses emblazoned with the faces of pop stars and Jesus, heading to their villages in the hope of escaping the coronavirus. “I am going back home because of corona,” said Amina Barasa, her yellow headscarf standing...

Saudi Arabia releases 250 immigration offenders amid coronavirus outbreak – statement

RIYADH (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia has released 250 foreign detainees held on non-violent immigration and residency offences as part of efforts to contain the spread of coronavirus, the state-backed Human Rights Commission (HRC) said on Thursday. “Releasing them for eventual repatriation will help decrease the threat for inmates of the detention centres without compromising public...

British firm says antibody test is being validated

LONDON (Reuters) – Prototypes of a coronavirus antibody test which could be a game-changer in the fight against the pandemic are being assessed and are ready to be optimised, the developer of the technology said on Thursday. Antibody tests are designed to establish whether people have previously been infected, as opposed to antigen tests which...

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