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Preview To help with the Covid-19 coronavirus emergency, US President Donald Trump has signed an executive order authorizing the call-up of up to a million reserve military personnel in the army, navy, air force and coast guard.
Read Full Article at RT.com

To help with the Covid-19 coronavirus emergency, US President Donald Trump has signed an executive order authorizing the call-up of up to a million reserve military personnel in the army, navy, air force and coast guard.

Secretaries of Defense and Homeland Security – which is in charge of the Coast Guard units not subordinated to the Navy – are now authorized to order individual members and units of the Ready Reserve under their jurisdiction, to “active duty not to exceed 24 consecutive months,” Trump noted in the executive order signed Friday evening. 

The number of mobilized reservists is “not to exceed 1,000,000 members on active duty at any one time.” The Pentagon and Homeland Security are supposed to ensure “appropriate consultation is undertaken with relevant state officials” about using National Guard reserves activated under this order.

DETAILS TO FOLLOW

Author: RT
Posted: 27-03-20
Preview The United States has hit a landmark of more than 100,000 coronavirus infections, widening the gap over other afflicted nations as it solidifies its place as the world’s top hot spot for the lethal illness.
Read Full Article at RT.com

The United States has hit a landmark of more than 100,000 coronavirus infections, widening the gap over other afflicted nations as it solidifies its place as the world’s top hot spot for the lethal illness.

With the latest update of Johns Hopkins University’s Covid-19 tracker, the US has tallied 100,717 cases of the virus, surpassing Italy, the next hardest-hit country, by more than 14,000 patients. Both have now overtaken China, where the outbreak originated, as new infections on the mainland continue to flatline.

Also on rt.com
Donald Trump signs a stimulus bill in a ceremony at the White House © Reuters / Jonathan Ernst
Trump invokes Defense Production Act, accusing General Motors of ‘wasting time’ on producing ventilators

DETAILS TO FOLLOW

Author: RT
Posted: 27-03-20
Preview With Ukraine’s borders scheduled to slam shut to cope with Covid-19 contagion, thousands of Ukrainians who had been working in Europe risked infection by crowding at crossings to get back into the country.
Read Full Article at RT.com

With Ukraine’s borders scheduled to slam shut to cope with Covid-19 contagion, thousands of Ukrainians who had been working in Europe risked infection by crowding at crossings to get back into the country.

Endless lines of mostly men, many wearing face masks but some without, waited for hours at border crossings between Ukraine and Poland on Friday, hours before the lockdown was to take effect. RT’s news agency Ruptly captured some of the footage in Lublin Voivodeship, at the Polish side of the crossing in Dorohusk.

Ukrainians scramble to get home before border closes #Poland #Dorohusk pic.twitter.com/ZivUSNeQV5

— Ruptly (@Ruptly) March 27, 2020

Similar scenes unfolded at other border crossings, with photos widely shared on social media showing tightly packed crowds – the exact opposite of “social distancing” advised across the world as the best way to slow the spread of the potentially deadly virus.

Scenes at the #Ukraine-#Poland border.

Ukrainian migrant workers returning home - will they self-quarantine? pic.twitter.com/261VaHqLnA

— from_kherson (@KhersonFrom) March 27, 2020

Ukraine closes its borders tonight. Here were the scenes earlier today on its frontier with Poland, where millions of Ukrainians work. The people pictured will presumably fan out across the country, returning to their home-places.

Images from @epaphotos pic.twitter.com/2mxh1PLhll

— Bryan MacDonald (@27khv) March 27, 2020

Reports from Korczowa, in the Subcarpathian Voivodeship, were just as dire. As of 2 pm local time on Friday, about 3,500 people had queued up at the crossing, on foot. It was estimated that processing them all would take up to 15 hours, clearly implying that some might be stranded there – and with the Ukrainian embassy’s website down, no solution for their plight, Gazeta Wyborcza reported.

However, Ukrainian officials reportedly told their Polish counterparts they would admit their citizens even after the border officially closes, regional spokeswoman Małgorzata Waksmundzka-Szarek is cited by the newspaper as saying.

Around 3,500 Ukrainians queued at the Poland-Ukraine border today to go home before Kiev closes its borders. Large crowds cramped together, waits of up to 10 hours, looks terrible https://t.co/ZQQY6IuZZq

— Ola Cichowlas (@olacicho) March 27, 2020

One European country after another slammed their borders shut as the coronavirus continued to spread. As of Friday, Ukraine had 226 officially confirmed cases, while Poland had over 1,389 – but the authorities have been operating on the assumption that the actual number of people infected must be much higher.

Announcing the border closure, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky thanked those citizens who heeded his call to return two weeks ago, and some 80,000 people who were evacuated by the government by airplane, train and bus.

“But today we have no time to wait,” Zelensky added, saying that Ukraine was “facing a difficult choice between citizens who are still abroad and the safety of the 40 million citizens in the country.”

Millions of Ukrainians emigrated to Poland and further west for work after the 2014 coup in Kiev touched off an economic collapse and civil war in the country’s east. Zelensky was elected in a landslide last April on a promise to end the conflict, but has not been able to overcome extreme nationalist forces to do so.

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Author: RT
Posted: 27-03-20
Preview A 56-year-old Moscow woman is the fourth fatality in Russia diagnosed with Covid-19 who had pre-existing conditions, the authorities confirmed. With only one lung after surviving cancer, she could not cope with the infection.
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A 56-year-old Moscow woman is the fourth fatality in Russia diagnosed with Covid-19 who had pre-existing conditions, the authorities confirmed. With only one lung after surviving cancer, she could not cope with the infection.

The woman, who has not been identified by name, was diagnosed upon admission to hospital with pneumonia in her remaining lung. She passed away on Friday.

The total official number of Covid-19 cases in Russia stood at 1,036 on Friday, rising from 840 the day before. Of those, 703 cases were registered in Moscow alone.

Also on rt.com
A doctor works at the infectious ward of the Murmansk regional hospital in Murmansk, Russia. © Sputnik / Pavel Lvov
Russia records third coronavirus patient death as number infected surpasses 1,000

To deal with the contagion, the Russian government has ordered a shutdown of all restaurants, cafes, and shops – except grocery stores and pharmacies – across the country between March 28 and April 5. Carryout and delivery remains allowed, however.

All public parks are to stay closed, and the government has urged believers to refrain from going to church as well. President Vladimir Putin proclaimed the following week a holiday, with citizens getting paid time off.

The restrictions were “absolutely essential to slow down the spread of the coronavirus infection and decrease the number of those sick,” said Sergey Sobyanin, the mayor of Moscow and head of the Russian anti-coronavirus task force.

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Author: RT
Posted: 27-03-20
Preview As the entire world has become the frontline of the fight against the Covid-19 coronavirus, the US State Department is headhunting foreign doctors to assist the US, promising they can skip to the front of the immigration queue.
Read Full Article at RT.com

As the entire world has become the frontline of the fight against the Covid-19 coronavirus, the US State Department is headhunting foreign doctors to assist the US, promising they can skip to the front of the immigration queue.

In a message posted on its website on Thursday night, Foggy Bottom encouraged medical professionals who have already applied for US visas – “particularly those working to treat or mitigate the effects of Covid-19” – to contact their nearest US embassy or consulate for an appointment. Those already in the US have been offered visa extensions.

We encourage medical professionals seeking work in the U.S. on a work or exchange visitor visa (H or J), particularly those working on #COVID19 issues, to contact the nearest U.S. Embassy/ Consulate for a visa appointment. Please see more information here: https://t.co/oD9De7EIoW pic.twitter.com/thqAt73gCx

— Travel - State Dept (@TravelGov) March 27, 2020

Foreign doctors in the US on J-1 residency visas were urged to consult their sponsor to extend their programs, which can be done for a year at a time up to seven years.

It is unclear whether the new rules for recruiting medics and physicians will enable nationals from any of the countries implicated in any of President Donald Trump’s controversial travel bans to circumvent them. Trump has suspended immigrant and diversity lottery visas from a dozen countries so far, including Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Nigeria. 

While trying to attract foreign doctors to the US, the State Department has been busy blasting Cuba for sending their physicians to assist other countries. Its bureau of Democracy, Human Rights & Labor is running a social media campaign accusing the Cuban government of “abusive” labor practices.

#Cuba makes many who serve in its international medical missions work under exploitative conditions which the UN says could amount to forced labor. Host countries seeking Cuba’s help for #COVIDー19 should scrutinize agreements and end labor abuses.

— U.S. State Dept | Democracy, Human Rights, & Labor (@StateDRL) March 26, 2020

The State Department’s appeal for foreign doctors came just hours before the US overtook China and Italy as the country with the highest number of officially confirmed Covid-19 cases. 

Close to 100,000 Americans have caught the illness, and almost 1,500 have died, as of Friday evening. New York City and the eponymous state have been hit particularly hard, accounting for around half of the total US infections.

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Author: RT
Posted: 27-03-20
Preview President Donald Trump has invoked wartime powers, ordering General Motors to produce ventilators to treat Covid-19 patients. The move comes after Trump unloaded on the automaker for delaying production.
Read Full Article at RT.com

President Donald Trump has invoked wartime powers, ordering General Motors to produce ventilators to treat Covid-19 patients. The move comes after Trump unloaded on the automaker for delaying production.

Trump’s order, signed on Friday, requires General Motors to “accept, perform, and prioritize Federal contracts for ventilators,” per a White House statement. Previously, Trump had touted GM’s commitment to producing 40,000 ventilators in partnership with Ventec Life Systems, but after GM supposedly revised that number down to 6,000, Trump accused them on Friday of “wasting time.”

“Our negotiations with GM regarding its ability to supply ventilators have been productive,” Trump’s statement read. “But our fight against the virus is too urgent to allow the give-and-take of the contracting process to continue to run its normal course. GM was wasting time.”

Several hours earlier, Trump exploded at GM, demanding on Twitter that the automaker open its “stupidly abandoned Lordstown plant in Ohio” and “START MAKING VENTILATORS, NOW!”

Also on rt.com
GM CEO Mary Barra and President Donald Trump © Reuters / Rebecca Cook and Yuri Gripas
‘Open your STUPIDLY abandoned plant’: Trump lashes out at GM & Ford over ventilator delay

Trump also complained that the $1 billion price tag set by GM was too high, and reportedly approached other manufacturers this week to try and negotiate a better deal.

After Trump’s order, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar will now dictate how many ventilators GM will manufacture.

Dating back to the outset of the Korean War, the Defense Production Act gives the White House power to order private industry to manufacture essential supplies for the federal government. Trump activated the law last week, but so far has been reluctant to use it, telling reporters as recently as Thursday that “we don’t need it.”

With cases of Covid-19 climbing almost to 100,000 in the US on Friday, governors have been pleading with Washington to provide ventilators – essential in keeping the most critical patients alive. New York’s Andrew Cuomo has called for more than 30,000 of the devices, as his state accounts for around half of all Covid-19 cases in the country. Louisiana’s John Edwards has also pleaded for more of the devices, after his state saw a tenfold increase in cases this week.

After signing off on the production order, Trump signed a $2.2 trillion stimulus bill. While the bill allocates funding for hospitals and a once-off payment of $1,200 to most Americans, it also sets aside $500 billion for corporations, making it the biggest corporate bailout in American history.

Also on rt.com
FILE PHOTO © REUTERS/Tom Brenner
US Congress approves $2.2 trillion stimulus bill, sends to White House

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Author: RT
Posted: 27-03-20
Preview As the US recorded more cases of Covid-19 than any other country in the world, Hillary Clinton used the opportunity to crack jokes about President Trump. The failed presidential candidate was savaged online for her insensitivity.
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As the US recorded more cases of Covid-19 than any other country in the world, Hillary Clinton used the opportunity to crack jokes about President Trump. The failed presidential candidate was savaged online for her insensitivity.

As of Friday, the United States has recorded more than 94,000 cases of the Covid-19 coronavirus, passing out China and Italy. More than 1,400 Americans have died, hospitals are approaching capacity, and a record 3.3 million workers have filed for unemployment.

As the US passed this grim milestone, former secretary of state and 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton took the opportunity not to send Americans a message of hope or solidarity, but to mock President Trump.

“He did promise ‘America First,’” Clinton quipped on Twitter, referring to one of Trump’s campaign slogans.

He did promise "America First." https://t.co/bzks3hqCUE

— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) March 27, 2020

Clinton was immediately set upon for her lowbrow shot. “Not the first time you’ve laughed as Americans died,” Conservative pundit Jack Posobiec replied, referring to the time Clinton – then secretary of state chuckled during congressional testimony, as Republicans grilled her on her actions while a US embassy in Benghazi, Libya, was attacked by jihadists. Four Americans died in the attack.

Not the first time you've laughed as Americans died

— Jack Posobiec (@JackPosobiec) March 27, 2020

“This is some low bullsh*t...even for you,” comedian and author Tim Young tweeted. The hate flowed in on Twitter, with a mostly conservative group of commentators ripping Clinton apart for her “horrible,” “despicable” and “cruel” jibe.

Wow. Gleefully boasting thousands dead, families broken, millions of unemployed claims, and widespread suffering just to own Drumpf.

My god. This is despicable.

— Kyle Kashuv (@KyleKashuv) March 27, 2020

WTF did the virus pay you $400k for a speech or something?

— Raheem Kassam 😷 (@RaheemKassam) March 27, 2020

And to think, people thought you were cold, cruel and only cared about your craven political ambitions.

But here... here you show some real, genuine empathy at a time when your own state is in the grip of a deadly pandemic.

Good for you.

— Larry O'Connor (@LarryOConnor) March 27, 2020

Clinton is not the only commentator accusing Trump of mishandling the Covid-19 pandemic. However, speculating on how things might have been under a different administration is largely guesswork. That didn’t stop the Washington Post from publishing an op-ed earlier this week claiming “this wouldn’t have happened if Hillary had won.”

New York State – Clinton’s adopted home – is the hardest-hit in America by the Covid-19 outbreak. Still, for the presidential also-ran, and for some of her ilk in the media, a national crisis is seemingly still an opportunity to take cheap shots at Trump.

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Author: RT
Posted: 27-03-20
Preview The US Justice Department has warned – with scant evidence – that coronavirus is encouraging terrorists to attack. But Covid-19 is actually deadlier than terrorism, and experts warn against criminalizing its transmission.
Read Full Article at RT.com

The US Justice Department has warned – with scant evidence – that coronavirus is encouraging terrorists to attack. But Covid-19 is actually deadlier than terrorism, and experts warn against criminalizing its transmission.

The pandemic is accelerating the dastardly plots of terrorists, according to John Demers, the assistant attorney general for national security at the Justice Department, who shared his fears – and he has a lot of them – with Politico on Friday. Demers warned that terrorists would “take advantage of” certain “windows of opportunities,” though he acknowledged that there was no overarching trend.

Some people are putting off plans, and other people are saying, ‘Well I’ve got to accelerate this because maybe all the borders will be shut down soon,’” Demers explained, covering his bases.

Also on rt.com
Coronavirus checkpoint in New Rochelle, NY © Reuters / Andrew Kelly
Never let a crisis go to waste: US lawmakers bask in coronavirus panic while quietly building the police state of their dreams

The outlet pointed to two cases as proof that coronavirus was driving the terrorists kill-crazy. A Missouri man, who was (as is mostly typical for “homegrown radicals”) encouraged and surveilled by the FBI for months as he worked toward his grisly goal, was moved by the coronavirus to target a hospital rather than a church or synagogue, while a Pakistani doctor living in the US saw his alleged efforts to fight with Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) in Syria thwarted by border closures.

But Demers warned there were more on the horizon, contemplating “How can I try to weaponize this virus?” and seeking “windows of opportunity” in the only remaining crowded places left in the US – hospitals. His words echoed a bizarre-sounding warning from the FBI earlier this week that “white supremacist” groups were urging their members to spread the virus “through bodily fluids and personal interactions” to cops and Jews. Notably, no proof was presented for the warning, as the hype doesn’t seem to go beyond trolling posts on 4chan. 

Also on rt.com
New York Supreme Court building stands (nearly) deserted amid coronavirus shutdown © Reuters / Eduardo Munoz
Justice Dept reassures Americans only judges can suspend their constitutional rights during coronavirus epidemic

For all that coronavirus + terrorism sounds like a perfect storm of fear, those following the numbers might note that the pandemic has far outstripped terrorism in its body count – and that isn’t much of a challenge, statistically speaking. Three months of coronavirus epidemic have already surpassed 15 years of terrorism in the US with regard to death toll. In fact, if one excludes the September 11 attacks – by far the deadliest terrorist event ever to take place on US soil, and a huge outlier statistically speaking – there are 388 Americans who died from terrorism between 1995 and 2016.

That’s less than a quarter of the 1,438 who have died since the epidemic appeared in the US, as of Friday.
The Justice Department’s controversial initiative just days before to charge people spreading the coronavirus with terrorism has been met with significant backlash, including from medical authorities, who warn that attempts to criminalize the transmission of the virus itself would discourage people from seeking testing and treatment.

The lack of tests also raises some questions. Namely, how do you start charging people with intentionally spreading #coronavirus if you can’t even tell people that they *have* coronavirus?

— Caroline Orr (@RVAwonk) March 25, 2020

There are laws to deal with them already. No need to conflate coronavirus transmission with terrorism. It will suppress testing efforts, directly harm the most marginal, and broadly harm the public health.

— Dr. Steven W. Thrasher (@thrasherxy) March 25, 2020

So far, terrorists deliberately inflicting coronavirus on large numbers of people to achieve a political aim appear to exist in the mythical realm only. While isolated cases of mischief-makers coughing on hapless victims and informing them they, too, are now sick, there have been no reported incidents of organized “coronavirus terrorism.”

With rising concern that the coronavirus pandemic is being used to push through draconian “emergency measures” that have a tendency to stick around long after the emergency is over, the Justice Department’s latest coronavirus-terrorism provisions have gotten mixed reviews, building on the unease triggered by their leaked request to suspend habeas corpus and the statute of limitations last week. Raising the specter of coronavirus-motivated terrorists is a great way to manufacture consent, some pointed out.

This is exactly what we all need to be very worried about once the pandemic is over. The Patriot Act is with us still 19 years after 9-11.

— Lady Jade 🦊 (@Summer_Plums) March 25, 2020

This will be used to deport people. This is the embodiment of "they are vermin, they spread pestilence" rhetoric.

Any other point in my lifetime I'd sound like a tinfoil hat wearing nut saying that. But, with this administration? Highly plausible.

— William Eyelash (@misanthropemime) March 25, 2020

Others were made uneasy by the continued lack of testing. How would authorities determine who was a deliberate spreader, outside of the pranksters licking toilet seats and coughing on people on social media?

The lack of tests also raises some questions. Namely, how do you start charging people with intentionally spreading #coronavirus if you can’t even tell people that they *have* coronavirus?

— Caroline Orr (@RVAwonk) March 25, 2020

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Author: RT
Posted: 27-03-20
Preview After a former Swedish prime minister accused Serbia of hyping coronavirus aid that it received from China but ignoring ‘far more substantial’ help from the European Union, Serbian PM Ana Brnabic moved to set the record straight.
Read Full Article at RT.com

After a former Swedish prime minister accused Serbia of hyping coronavirus aid that it received from China but ignoring ‘far more substantial’ help from the European Union, Serbian PM Ana Brnabic moved to set the record straight.

“When China sent an aircraft with help to Serbia President [Aleksandar] Vucic made a great show of it,” Carl Bildt tweeted on Friday morning, “But when far more substantial [EU] aid arrives there is no fanfare and no President in sight.”

When China 🇨🇳 sent an aircraft with help to Serbia 🇷🇸 President Vucic made a great show of it. But when far more substantial 🇪🇺 aid arrives there is no fanfare and no President in sight. https://t.co/Tlc9VCFLsI

— Carl Bildt (@carlbildt) March 27, 2020

Bildt quote-tweeted Sem Fabrizi, EU’s ambassador to Serbia, who posted photos of a cargo plane with aid at Belgrade airport on Thursday night. One of the photos clearly shows a masked-up Brnabic, who was on site to receive the flight. 

“Let's assume that spreading fake news to send strong political messages is due to lack of info and not bad intention,” she tweeted back at Bildt. “That aircraft was also carrying help from China and medical supplies purchased by Serbia. Our EU partners paid for the transport and we greatly appreciate it!”

Let's assume that spreading fake news to send strong political messages @carlbildt is due to lack of info and not bad intention. That aircraft was also carrying help from 🇨🇳 + medical supplies purchased by 🇷🇸. Our 🇪🇺 partners paid for the transport and we greatly appreciate it!

— Ana Brnabic (@anabrnabic) March 27, 2020

Indeed, as Fabrizi himself noted in the post Bildt was retweeting, the EU paid for the delivery of the supplies, not the supplies themselves. While Brussels did just earmark 93 million euros for coronavirus aid to Serbia, it’s difficult to imagine the cost of a 747 chartered from the Dutch low-cost carrier Transavia Cargo being “far more substantial” than the supplies Beijing has sent to Belgrade so far.

It is understandable that the EU is anxious to show itself as Serbia’s benefactor, after President Vucic angrily denounced European solidarity as nonexistent last week, following the ban on export of medical supplies – including protective masks and ventilators – to non-members. 

“Only China can help us,” Vucic said, adding he sent a personal plea for medical aid to his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping.

Also on rt.com
FILE PHOTO. Medical personnel in protective suits wave hands to a patient who is discharged from the Leishenshan Hospital in Wuhan. ©China Daily via REUTERS
European solidarity doesn’t exist, only China can help us: Serbia goes full emergency over coronavirus

Serbia has subordinated much of its domestic, foreign and economic policy to Brussels in an effort to eventually be considered for admission to the bloc, but the decades-long pro-EU narrative took a massive hit from the Covid-19 crisis. Consequently, Thursday’s delivery was heavily hyped on social media by the EU mission in Belgrade, as a way to repair the damage.

For example, EU flags were affixed to the plane and the gantries, while a big 'EU for Serbia' sign was beamed onto the plane's fuselage by a field projector.

While Fabrizi is trying to salvage the EU’s image in Serbia, however, his own country of Italy is dealing with the worst death toll of Covid-19 worldwide, and so little help from Brussels that PM Giuseppe Conte rejected it on Thursday as “too timid.” 

Former Foreign Minister Franco Frattini told RT that Italy was left “practically alone” to deal with the outbreak, so Rome turned to China, Russia and Cuba for help.

Also on rt.com
A Serbian army soldier patrols in front of the Parliament building in Belgrade© Reuters / MARKO DJURICA
Goodbye, globalism? Coronavirus sobers up Serbia to EU hypocrisy

Bildt holds no official position in the Brussels bureaucracy, but it’s not a surprise he sought to meddle in Serbian affairs yet again. He is one of the leading Euro-Atlantic boosters on the continent, currently co-chairing the European Council on Foreign Relations. During the Yugoslav Wars, he was one of the EU negotiators and a UN special envoy for the Balkans, the de facto viceroy of Bosnia-Herzegovina for a while, and the first foreign minister to visit Serbia’s breakaway province of Kosovo after it unilaterally declared independence.

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Author: RT
Posted: 27-03-20
Preview The death toll from the Covid-19 outbreak has reached 1,996 in France after the country’s health authorities confirmed that 299 more people have died there in a 24-hour period.
Read Full Article at RT.com

The death toll from the Covid-19 outbreak has reached 1,996 in France after the country’s health authorities confirmed that 299 more people have died there in a 24-hour period.

Announcing the latest fatalities on Friday evening, France’s director-general of health also said that there have been a total of 32,964 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in the state, up from 29,155 a day prior.

Earlier Friday, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe warned of “very difficult” days ahead as the country sees a rise in cases, and said the government would extend a raft of nationwide restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of the deadly virus by at least a fortnight, to April 15. 

Also on rt.com
© Reuters / Gonzalo Fuentes
French PM says ‘very difficult days ahead’ as Covid-19 ‘sweeps over’ country

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Author: RT
Posted: 27-03-20

Ankara has sent some 6,000 migrants waiting at the Turkish-Greek border to cross into the European Union to cities inside the country, Reuters reported on Friday, citing the Interior Ministry. The move was part of measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Migrants waiting at the border crossing in Edirne province were transported in buses to state guest houses where they would be quarantined, Anadolu news agency reported. They would be moved to other regions in Turkey at the end of the quarantine, it added.

Thousands of migrants had massed at a border crossing with European Union-member Greece after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced last month that his country would no longer prevent refugees and other migrants wanting to travel to EU countries. Violent clashes erupted between the migrants and Greek border authorities trying to push them back.

Turkey has so far reported 75 deaths related to the new coronavirus and 3,629 infections, AP said. It was not clear if any of the migrants at the border had contracted the virus.

Author: RT
Posted: 27-03-20
Preview World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) President Witold Banka has warned that the coronavirus pandemic should not be used as an excuse for violating doping rules, vowing that all cheaters will be caught.
Read Full Article at RT.com

World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) President Witold Banka has warned that the coronavirus pandemic should not be used as an excuse for violating doping rules, vowing that all cheaters will be caught.

The Polish official underlined that integrity of the world anti-doping system will be maintained despite the coronavirus outbreak which has caused many countries to suspend their testing activities.

READ MORE: Tokyo 2020 Olympics: IOC chief promises to complete 'a beautiful jigsaw puzzle and wonderful Olympic Games'

"Anti-doping never sleeps, that is my message to the athletes,” Banka said.

"Inevitably testing program in some countries will be suspended and canceled or limited in others, but we will do our best to maintain the integrity of the anti-doping system.

"If some cheats are thinking this is space for them, I can ensure we will do everything to catch them and eliminate them from the sports environment," he added.

Also on rt.com
RT
Tokyo 2020 Olympics POSTPONED: IOC officially announces Games to be rescheduled 'beyond 2020 but not later than summer 2021'

The WADA chief also noted that due to the postponement of the 2020 Tokyo Games those whose doping bans expire this year will be allowed to compete in the Olympics in 2021.

"A ban is about the length of time, it is not dedicated to concrete sports events and if they happen or not," Banka said.

The 2020 Summer Games were rescheduled to 2021 due to the unprecedented coronavirus pandemic which has paralyzed global sport.

Author: RT
Posted: 27-03-20
Preview The home of two-time former US Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III was completely destroyed in a terrifying blaze which ripped through the property in the affluent Sea Islands area of Georgia on Friday morning.
Read Full Article at RT.com

The home of two-time former US Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III was completely destroyed in a terrifying blaze which ripped through the property in the affluent Sea Islands area of Georgia on Friday morning.

The cause of the inferno is unknown but its effects were evident for all to see as the fire tore through the entire mansion, as seen in footage shown on US networks.

Video of fire that destroyed Davis Love III’s home earlier today. 🎥: Glynn County Fire Rescue pic.twitter.com/ExFgbth48r

— Golf Central (@GolfCentral) March 27, 2020

Firefighters arrived at the scene within minutes but a crew of 16 were unable to extinguish the flames.  

No one from Love's family was injured in the blaze, as he and wife Robin were the only people inside the property but managed to flee at the time the fire broke out.

The 55-year-old former PGA Champion later issued a statement expressing gratitude that no one had been harmed. 

“While everyone in our family is saddened at the loss of our home that was filled with so much laughter and incredible memories, we're very blessed that everyone is safe and unharmed,” he said.

© USA TODAY Sports Reuters Picture Supplied by Action Images

According to US media reports the property was worth around $4.5 million and had been on the market since 2013. 

Hall of Fame golfer Love has won around $45 million in career prize money, putting him 14th on the all-time earnings list, and has twice captained the US Ryder Cup team.   

Author: RT
Posted: 27-03-20
Preview The most anticipated fight in UFC history is currently searching for a home but as the nomadic trek to find a stage for the greatest show on earth continues one contender seems to be ever more realistic - Chechnya.
Read Full Article at RT.com

The most anticipated fight in UFC history is currently searching for a home but as the nomadic trek to find a stage for the greatest show on earth continues one contender seems to be ever more realistic - Chechnya.

The original plan for an April 18 bout at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center fell victim to the coronavirus outbreak due to New York’s ban on gatherings of 500-plus people, and other states following suit has forced the UFC to find an alternative.

The fight itself, now on its fifth installment of negotiations, has been so far immune to the worldwide blanket cancellation of sports thanks to the sheer bloodymindedness of headstrong UFC head honcho Dana White.

Also on rt.com
RT
'It's going to be a closed event': UFC president Dana White says Khabib vs. Ferguson WILL go ahead – at a mystery location

The odds on a Las Vegas date are increasingly slim and the sun is just about setting on California and Florida as viable and tenable backup options, meaning all signs lead to an alternative abroad.

White claims he knows where the fight will be but was coy about verifying the venue and teased fans currently going through the torture of not knowing if they will have their main hope of respite from the Covid-19 pandemic.

But there is one location that might fix the whole thing - Chechnya. Here we explore why the Chechen Republic might be the perfect antidote to Khabib and Tony's location crisis.

Also on rt.com
Getty / Jeff Bottari
‘This is only the beginning': Khabib hints worst yet to come in UFC 249 saga with cryptic message

Location, location, location

Khabib is currently holed up in Russia having this week returned to his homeland from the San Jose, California headquarters of his regular training camp of The American Kickboxing Academy, and thus thrusting a 14-day quarantine on himself strictly imposed by Russian law on all nationals returning from abroad.

Russia recently suspended all international flights from Friday in new measures by President Vladimir Putin that will also see all restaurants cafes and shops - aside from those selling food and medicine - closed in the capital Moscow, as the official total of Covid-19 cases rose to 840 in the country.

An internal flight to Chechnya or a 170km ride from Khabib’s Makhachkala hometown in Dagestan to the Chechen capital of Gronzny would be a sound alternative to get around unnecessary and uncomfortable transit.

Weight-cut worries

Khabib’s most vicious fight has always been with the pre-fight weight cut which will be seriously hampered by another geographical change as the Dagestani could hardly afford boiling his body down from a reputed 190 lbs walk-around weight to make the 155 lbs lightweight limit.

Even a day would throw Khabib’s rigorous weight cut, something which the fighter himself noted recently in an Instagram post.

“We can’t understand what is happening. Where we’re fighting or if we’re fighting at all, and what about the weight cut,” Khabib posted this week after news that AKA had shut to the public.

The proximity to Khabib’s Dagestan hometown would tax the least amount of time from Khabib’s strict regime of cutting kilos from his thick frame, which was the cause of cancellation for the fourth of the previous quartet of times the fight has been scrapped and would eliminate at least one of the many current logistical problems.

Kadyrov’s coronavirus crackdown 

Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov is notoriously no-nonsense, and his approach to battling the coronavirus spread in Chechnya has been characteristically strict, making New York governor Andrew Cuomo’s measures look like a stroll in Central Park (in a crowd of less than 500 of course).

Reuters / CHRISTOPHER PIKE

“If you ask me, anyone who creates this problem for himself should be killed. Not only does he get sick, [but he also infects] his family, his sisters, brothers, neighbors,” the regional Caucasian Knot news agency quoted Kadyrov as saying recently.

Although his comments may be tongue-in-cheek, such measures would mean there’d be zero risk of coronavirus measures not being adhered to in the Chechen Republic around fight night and the all-important empty stadium-‘closed event’ criteria would be a given.

Muslim majority

Russia’s majority Muslim Republic will be a hotbed of support for Khabib, who is hailed as a hero in the North Caucasus region. The Chechen capital Grozny is situated a mere 2 hours 30 minute drive from his Makhachkala hometown where his supporters would be oddly simultaneously granted and denied a Khabib homecoming.

Nevertheless, that very fact would mean Chechnya will certainly be willing to accept what would be the biggest sporting event ever held in the country, starring one of their own local heroes.

On top of that, Kadyrov is a huge fan of a range of sports, particularly football and combat sports, having hosted Mike Tyson and Ronaldinho to sporting events in the country.

The 43-year-old is a loyal supporter of Khabib and traveled to support the Dagestani Eagle in his most recent fight against Dustin Poirier in Abu Dhabi, in which he defended his lightweight title in 3 rounds back in September.

Khabib will observe the Muslim holy month of Ramadan from April 23, just one week after the fight’s orignal planned date, meaning the Russian will not fight for an entire month, meaning the fight might be shunted further down the currently bare sporting calendar.

That will give extra incentive for the UFC to find an alternative or face rescheduling the fight for an end-of-year date, something they will likely not be keen to forego.

Khabib and Tony’s will-they-won’t-they, seesaw back-and-forth drama has been one of the most intriguing UFC tales before either have ever even set foot in the same cage. In times of extreme uncertainty worldwide, a rescheduling to Chechnya may provide some light at the end of a very dark tunnel and fend off the almost certainty that Khabib versus Tony will, just as it has been four times before, be canceled.

Author: RT
Posted: 27-03-20
Preview The US House has approved the mammoth $2.2 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill passed earlier this week by the Senate, sending the long-awaited relief package to President Donald Trump’s desk for signing.
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The US House has approved the mammoth $2.2 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill passed earlier this week by the Senate, sending the long-awaited relief package to President Donald Trump’s desk for signing.

The bill sailed through the House with a voice vote despite an attempt by Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Kentucky) to force a roll-call poll. The pressing need to distribute immediate aid to individual Americans and small businesses starved for cash by coronavirus-related shutdowns appeared to override legislators’ objections to various controversial provisions included in the massive legislative package.

Trump is expected to approve the bill, which will give $1,200 each to Americans making under $75,000 in annual income, expand unemployment benefits, and provide $377 billion in aid to small businesses. Its more controversial provisions include a $500 billion corporate fund, which progressive Democrats have slammed as a no-strings-attached bailout.

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World economy has entered a recession 'as bad or worse' than the global financial crisis – IMF chief

After stalling in the Senate over the weekend due to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s objections, the bill ballooned in size to over a thousand pages, forcing both parties back to the negotiating table.

While the end result has been held up as a victory for working people by the leaders of both parties, others have derided the one-time payment to individuals as a pittance compared to the massive sums being routed into the pockets of corporate executives.

The measure passed unanimously in the Senate Wednesday night, however, and Massie’s efforts to re-examine it in the House were excoriated by both parties, including Trump himself.

Millions have been laid off in the US as government-mandated shutdowns force service economy businesses to close their doors, and with over two-thirds of Americans having less than $600 in savings put aside for an emergency, a critical segment of the population needs cash now.

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US unemployment shatters record, surpassing 3 MILLION claims

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Author: RT
Posted: 27-03-20
Preview The number of people infected with the coronavirus in the United States has surged to nearly 93,000, as the country reclaims its position of having the most cases of Covid-19 in the world.
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The number of people infected with the coronavirus in the United States has surged to nearly 93,000, as the country reclaims its position of having the most cases of Covid-19 in the world.

The tally from Johns Hopkins University indicates that the number of cases in the US hit 92,932 on Friday, a dramatic one-day surge of 7,576 cases on its previous figure.

The increase saw it overtake Italy, which briefly had the most confirmed cases of any country in the world when its official count of infections reached 86,498 on Friday.

Friday was the Mediterranean country’s worst day yet, as it recorded 919 deaths in just 24 hours. The figure is by far the highest single-day death toll in any country in the world since the pandemic began.

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© Reuters / Flavio Lo Scalzo
Italy’s WORST day: Coronavirus death rate highest since start of outbreak with 900+ fatalities

The most recent figures released by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that 1,246 people have died from Covid-19 in the US. That statistic places the US as having the sixth highest death toll from the virus in the world behind Italy, Spain, China, Iran and France. However, that figure is expected to rise later on Friday.

New York is the worst-hit state in the country, recording 365 deaths. Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Friday that the state estimates that demand for hospital capacity won’t peak for another three weeks. Cuomo announced plans to build eight temporary hospitals in a bid to cope with the expected surge in patients.

The worldwide death toll from Covid-19 passed the grim milestone of 25,000 earlier on Friday. Europe is the worst-hit continent with over 18,000 falling victim to the disease. The Johns Hopkins tally shows that there are over 565,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus around the world. It says that over 127,500 people have recovered from the illness across the globe.

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Mortuary employees carrying the coffin of a person who died from Covid-19 in Madrid, Spain, on Friday. © REUTERS/Juan Medina
Europe coronavirus cases dramatically SURGE as worldwide death toll surpasses 25,000

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Author: RT
Posted: 27-03-20
Preview In the aftermath of British PM Boris Johnson revealing that he has coronavirus, #PrayForBoris started to trend online, infuriating many who claim less high-profile figures such as NHS workers deserve just as much attention.
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In the aftermath of British PM Boris Johnson revealing that he has coronavirus, #PrayForBoris started to trend online, infuriating many who claim less high-profile figures such as NHS workers deserve just as much attention.

Johnson tweeted a video on Friday morning saying that he had “developed mild symptoms” over the last 24 hours and had “tested positive for coronavirus.” He is self-isolating in Downing Street, but insists he’ll continue to lead the UK government.

News that the deadly virus had hit at the very heart of government with Johnson falling victim saw the hashtag #PrayForBoris trend on Twitter, with many quick to send messages of support to the PM and wish him a speedy recovery.

Boris Johnson is tough as old boots... He will survive! #prayforboris pic.twitter.com/m2Lz9yeWwU

— Steve Delahunty (@DelahuntySteve) March 27, 2020

The hashtag prompted strong views on the appropriateness of expressing such empathy for high-profile figures like the UK PM, who ostensibly have easy access to testing. Many highlighted those working on the frontline in the National Health Service (NHS) who are not afforded such fortune, despite putting their lives at risk on a daily basis.

Cool to know that BJ was tested for "mild symptoms" after one day, while my Mum and I are on day 15 of mild to moderate symptoms and won't be tested 💯👍 love this government and all they have done for the NHS #prayforboris pic.twitter.com/c42eYhLfA9

— Danielle Howarth (@howarthdk) March 27, 2020

Others on Twitter insisted they couldn’t muster much sympathy for Johnson due to his government’s earlier ‘herd immunity’ Covid-19 strategy that relied on 60 percent of the UK population to get infected – a plan that soon got ditched.

People also took a swipe at Tory voters who took part in Thursday’s nationwide #ClapForCarers – a public tribute to all the NHS workers helping to battle the disease – given the delight Conservative MPs had shown just three years ago when voting to block a pay rise for nurses.

those who voted tory in 2019 and then clapped for NHS workers last night are now tweeting #prayforboris pic.twitter.com/6iSo5rkBwK

— ؜ (@clarknarvas) March 27, 2020

Just minutes after Johnson’s Covid-19 declaration, Health Secretary Matt Hancock revealed on social media that he had been working from home in recent days because he too had been displaying “mild symptoms” of the coronavirus infection. He said he was tested on his doctors’ advice and the result came back positive, so is now self-isolating until Thursday.

The latest UK government figures on coronavirus show a steep increase in the number of deaths, up 181 in one day to a new total of 759 by Thursday evening. As of 9am GMT Friday, the UK’s Department of Health and Social Care said 113,777 people had been tested for the novel coronavirus. Of those, over 14,500 were positive.

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UK’s coronavirus deaths up almost ONE THIRD in one day, new figures show

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Author: RT
Posted: 27-03-20
Preview President Donald Trump has lost his patience with automakers who promised to produce ventilators to treat Covid-19 patients, threatening to invoke his emergency powers to force General Motors and Ford to live up to their pledge.
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President Donald Trump has lost his patience with automakers who promised to produce ventilators to treat Covid-19 patients, threatening to invoke his emergency powers to force General Motors and Ford to live up to their pledge.

“They said they were going to give us 40,000 much needed Ventilators, ‘very quickly,’” Trump tweeted on Friday. “Now they are saying it will only be 6000, in late April, and they want top dollar.”

He added that it’s “always a mess” with GM CEO Mary Barra, and that he will invoke the Defense Production Act, a piece of wartime legislation giving the president the power to order manufacturers to produce essential supplies.

As usual with “this” General Motors, things just never seem to work out. They said they were going to give us 40,000 much needed Ventilators, “very quickly”. Now they are saying it will only be 6000, in late April, and they want top dollar. Always a mess with Mary B. Invoke “P”.

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 27, 2020

“General Motors MUST immediately open their stupidly abandoned Lordstown plant in Ohio,” the president’s rant continued – referring to the plant GM shuttered after promising him to keep jobs in the US – “or some other plant, and START MAKING VENTILATORS, NOW!!!!!!” Ford should do the same, he added, also in capital letters.

General Motors MUST immediately open their stupidly abandoned Lordstown plant in Ohio, or some other plant, and START MAKING VENTILATORS, NOW!!!!!! FORD, GET GOING ON VENTILATORS, FAST!!!!!! @GeneralMotors @Ford

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 27, 2020

GM promised last Friday that it would partner with Ventec Life Systems to “scale up” production of ventilators, vital medical devices used to keep the worst-affected Covid-19 patients alive. Ford also announced that it had entered “preliminary discussions” with the federal government to build the devices. Automakers’ apparent foot-dragging seems to have struck a nerve with the president.

Trump’s own administration has been reluctant to sign a deal with GM, claiming that the $1 billion price tag requested by GM was too steep. According to a report in the New York Times, Trump backed away so he could talk to other potential suppliers.

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A train guard and passenger both wear face masks as they ride the Yamanote Line on March 27, 2020 in Tokyo, Japan
Why East beats West in the war against coronavirus

The president has until now insisted that America’s private sector is willing and able to produce all the supplies that the country needs to stave off the Covid-19 pandemic. 

“We are literally being besieged in a beautiful way by companies that want to do the work and help our country,” he said at a press conference last week, specifically citing GM as one of these companies.

However, the apparent limits of the free market mean that Trump may soon be forced to invoke the Defense Production Act. Activated by the president last week as a fallback measure, the act would allow the federal government to compel manufacturers to produce vital equipment. As recently as Thursday, however, he insisted that “we don’t need it.”

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have called on Trump to enforce the act. Though he has resisted thus far, circumstances may yet force his hand.

General Motors is still likely to profit from the crisis. While the automaker has suspended production and cut paychecks, it will probably be able to draw from the $500 billion rescue fund allocated by the government’s $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill. GM dodged failure before, and along with Ford and Chrysler received an $80 billion bailout in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis.

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Author: RT
Posted: 27-03-20
Preview England’s Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty has gone into self-isolation in his home after experiencing symptoms that are compatible with Covid-19.
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England’s Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty has gone into self-isolation in his home after experiencing symptoms that are compatible with Covid-19.

Professor Whitty, who is the top medical adviser to the UK government, said on Friday that he began experiencing symptoms on Thursday night and he would be in isolation for seven days.

The health official’s announcement caps a remarkable day in the UK in which the prime minister and the health secretary both revealed that they have contracted the disease. 

Whitty has worked closely with Prime Minister Boris Johnson in recent days. The professor said he will continue to advise the government on the medical response to Covid-19, supported by his deputies.

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Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson has tested positive for coronavirus. © REUTERS/Hannah Mckay
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson tests POSITIVE for Covid-19 infection

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Author: RT
Posted: 27-03-20
Preview Italy has experienced its worst day yet in the country’s devastating coronavirus epidemic, with 919 deaths recorded in the last 24 hours – the highest single-day total since the pandemic began.
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Italy has experienced its worst day yet in the country’s devastating coronavirus epidemic, with 919 deaths recorded in the last 24 hours – the highest single-day total since the pandemic began.

The highest-ever single-day spike in fatalities brought Italy’s death toll to 9,134, a number that has long since surpassed the outbreak’s original epicenter in China. Italy had 86,498 confirmed cases as of Friday, also exceeding China’s numbers as Beijing has seen new infections all but flatline.

While single-day deaths in the country had been on the decline for several days, Friday’s numbers show Italy is not yet on the mend with regard to the devastating epidemic that has overwhelmed hospitals, triggered nationwide quarantines, and exhausted national resources.

Italy is now second only to the US in terms of total number of coronavirus cases, though it has far outstripped it in terms of fatalities. Not all is bleak – 10,950 Italian coronavirus patients had fully recovered as of Friday – but the strain on the nation’s health system continues to take its toll.

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Carabinieri military police officer stands guard as military trucks wait to take away coffins in Seriate, Italy, March 25, 2020.
Italy yet to reach coronavirus contagion peak, national health chief warns, as 712 die in one day

Italy’s outbreak began in the northern region of Lombardy, which remains the hardest-hit by the epidemic and had experienced 5,402 deaths as of Friday. The nation’s difficulties have been compounded by a slow response from the EU, forcing the Italian government to look further afield for aid as even its fellow European nations closed their borders and kept their resources for themselves.

While the fatality rate in Italy has outstripped that of any other country, hovering around a terrifying 10 percent, researchers have tried to mitigate panic by pointing to the fact that nearly all of the deaths from the coronavirus had underlying pathologies.

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Author: RT
Posted: 27-03-20