Information round to clock

    • Friday 03 April
    • Italy and Russia spar over alleged coronavirus spies

      France 24 - 18h38

      Italy was engaged in a war of words with Russia on Friday over allegations Moscow hid spies among doctors it had sent to the country’s coronavirus epicentre near Milan.

      The unusual exchange between the traditionally friendly nations followed the publication of an Italian newspaper story about the purportedly nefarious nature of the Russian mission.

      The Russians came last week to help disinfect hospitals and care homes in a northern Italian region that has recorded over half of the country’s 14,681 official COVID-19 deaths.

    • The wave of solidarity in coronavirus-hit France

      France 24 - 18h34

      As France endures its third week of lockdown to fight the spread of COVID-19, solidarity is stepping up a gear. From home-made face masks and protective shields, to the distribution of meals to the most vulnerable, initiatives to help others are springing up throughout the country. In Paris and Normandy, our reporters Clovis Casali and Julie Dungelhoeff went to meet French people who are refusing to sit back and want to help those most affected by this unprecedented crisis.

    • Governor to take ventilators for NYC as hospitals buckle

      AP - 18h32

      With coronavirus deaths surging in New York, the governor announced Friday he will use his authority to seize ventilators and protective gear from private hospitals and companies that aren’t using them, complaining that states are competing against each other for vital equipment in eBay-like bidding wars.

      “If they want to sue me for borrowing their excess ventilators to save lives, let them sue me,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said. He added that he will eventually return the equipment or compensate the owners.

    • Edinburgh comedy club goes online to beat lockdown

      France 24 - 18h29

      When the British government ordered a three-week public lockdown to reduce the spread of coronavirus, Anthony Dorman knew his Edinburgh comedy club was in danger of shutting for good.

      The 160-seater basement venue, The Stand, operates on tight profit margins from ticket sales at the door and drinks from the bar.

      Without customers, the Edinburgh institution faced certain closure. But to stay open, management decided to test out a live-streamed show with an option for the audience to make donations.

    • Government lawyer named as new Grand Canyon park leader

      AP - 18h27

      A veteran lawyer for the U.S. Interior Department has been appointed as the new superintendent of Grand Canyon National Park, a crown jewel of the park system, the National Park Service announced Friday.

      Edward Keable, currently the assistant solicitor of general law for the Office of the Solicitor of the Interior Department, will assume his new post in northern Arizona within 60 days, the park service said in a statement.

    • Pumas in Santiago: Wildlife takes to cities amid coronavirus lockdown

      France 24 - 18h25

      For the second time in a little over a week, a wild puma was spotted roaming the streets of the Chilean capital Santiago on Wednesday night. With the city under lockdown amid the coronavirus pandemic, wildlife experts say the animals are taking advantage of the empty streets to search for food.

    • Passengers from virus-hit ships start leaving Florida

      France 24 - 18h23

      Passengers from a virus-hit cruise ship and its sister vessel, also struck with a handful of cases, started heading home Friday from Florida, after being stranded at sea for days.

      The Zaandam, operated by Holland America Line, began its stranger-than-fiction journey on March 7 in Buenos Aires — before international restrictions to curb the spread of the coronavirus were in full force.

      It was meant to dock two weeks later in Chile, but when passengers aboard fell ill, several countries refused to let the ship dock.

    • German virus data offers ‘hope’ but curbs must stay, says Merkel

      France 24 - 18h20

      Latest figures which show the spread of the coronavirus is slowing in Germany are a cause for “hope”, Chancellor Angela Merkel said Friday, but warned that it was too early to relax restrictions on public life.

      Germany has shut schools, banned public gatherings of more than two and imposed requirements for people to keep a distance of at least 1.5 metres (five feet).

      The measures have helped to slow the spread of the virus, experts said.

    • Judge says no Wisconsin election returns until April 13

      France 24 - 18h18

      A federal judge on Friday ordered that Wisconsin officials withhold reporting any results from Tuesday’s election until extended absentee balloting is complete April 13.

      U.S. District Judge William Conley granted a request from the Wisconsin Elections Commission following his order a day earlier for extended absentee voting. State leaders have been committed to keeping to Tuesday’s election date despite widespread concerns that voters and poll workers are endangered by the coronavirus.

    • Joshua’s heavyweight title defence postponed by coronavirus

      AP - 18h16

      Anthony Joshua’s world heavyweight title defence against mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev has been officially postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak, promoters Matchroom Sport announced Friday.

      The British champion was due to put his WBA (Super), IBF, WBO and IBO belts up for grabs against Bulgarian challenger Pulev at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London on June 20.

      But the global spread of COVID-19 has put paid to a bout on that date.

    • Governor to take ventilators for NYC as hospitals buckle

      AP - 18h14

      With coronavirus deaths climbing rapidly in New York, the governor announced Friday he will use his authority to take ventilators and protective gear from private hospitals and companies that aren’t using them, complaining that states are competing against each other for vital equipment in eBay-like bidding wars.

      “If they want to sue me for borrowing their excess ventilators to save lives, let them sue me,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.

    • My own private metro: Virus empties Paris public transport

      France 24 - 18h12

      Passengers never have had more room to spread out on the Paris metro.

      Unlike New York or London, where worried travellers regularly post pictures of crowded carriages and passengers not observing social distancing, coronavirus has emptied the French capital’s transport network.

      People who used to be crammed in like sardines now give each other a wide berth and there are seats aplenty — passengers sometimes even have whole carriages to themselves.

    • Greek hotels to become shelters for asylum-seekers amid virus fears

      France 24 - 16h18

      As Covid-19 claims more lives around the world, NGOs are sounding the alarm over the conditions inside overcrowded migrant camps on Greece’s islands. While the European Union is pledging more funding and the use of empty holiday accommodation to enforce “social distancing” for migrants, questions remain over whether enough is being done to keep both asylum-seekers and local populations safe.

    • France’s COVID-19 crisis washes up in ocean territories

      France 24 - 16h14

      Anxiety is growing over the coronavirus threat for France’s overseas territories, located in the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans thousands of kilometres from the mainland, with distance proving no protection for regions with fragile health infrastructure.

      The “Outre-mer” or overseas departments, largely a legacy of the country’s colonial past, are considered fully integral to the nation, with inhabitants holding French passports, voting in national elections and sending MPs to the Paris parliament.

    • With parks closed, Disney starts furloughs in 2 weeks

      AP - 16h12

      Saying they don’t know when they’ll be able to re-open many of their businesses with the coronavirus spreading, Walt Disney Co. officials announced they will start furloughing some workers in two weeks at its theme parks resorts in Florida and California.

      The statement released late Thursday from The Walt Disney Co. said the first wave of furloughs will start April 19 and involve workers whose jobs aren’t necessary at this time. Anyone who is furloughed will remain a Disney employee, the company said.

    • Migrants under pressure as isolation threatens Lesbos camp

      France 24 - 16h10

      Social distancing is an alien concept in the Moria camp on the Greek island of Lesbos, as thousands of refugees jostle in the queues for toilets and showers.

      International recommendations on how best to avoid contracting or passing on the coronavirus can seem light years away — only a handful of people wear masks but even those are often homemade.

      “What is the point of wearing a mask when I share the same toilet as 100 other people?” asks Hasmad, 36, from Kabul as he lines up to use a tap.

    • Small biz rescue off to spotty start; some banks not ready

      AP - 16h08

      he federal government’s relief program for small businesses is off to a bumpy start Friday, with few businesses able to apply and some big banks saying they’re not ready to process applications.

      Millions of small businesses are expected to apply for these desperately needed rescue loans from the $349 billion Paycheck Protection Program, which was put in place to help them retain workers and pay bills during the coronavirus pandemic.

      The program is being overseen by the Small Business Administration but banks are the ones who handle the application process. Some large lenders like Wells Fargo, Huntington Bank and Bank of America said are ready to go. Others like JPMorgan Chase said they wouldn’t accept applications on Friday, citing lack of guidance from the Treasury Department.

    • Dortmund stadium to be used as medical centre in virus crisis

      France 24 - 16h06

      Germany’s biggest football stadium, Borussia Dortmund’s Signal-Iduna-Park, is to be partially transformed into a medical centre to help treat patients during the coronavirus pandemic, the German Bundesliga club announced Friday.

      “Our stadium is a symbol of the city… its technical, infrastructural and spatial set-up make it the ideal place to help people who are potentially infected,” said club directors Hans-Joachim Watzke and Carsten Cramer in a statement.

    • After ignoring warnings, Israeli ultra-Orthodox hit by virus

      AP - 16h03

      Early this week, the streets of the central Israeli city of Bnei Brak were bustling with shoppers as ultra-Orthodox residents, obeying their religious leaders, ignored pleas to stay home in the face of the coronavirus threat.

      By Friday, Bnei Brak had become the country’s worst hot spot and now resembles a ghost town. The military will soon be sending troops in to assist local authorities. One expert estimated that nearly 40% of the city’s population might already have been infected.

      The city has become a lightning rod for anger and frustration by some secular Israelis who allege insular Haredi communities — with disproportionately high numbers of confirmed cases — are undermining national efforts to contain the virus.

    • UN warns Libya vulnerable as country suffers first virus death

      France 24 - 15h57

      The United Nations warned Friday that health services in conflict-plagued Libya were already fragile as the North African country recorded its first death from the novel coronavirus.

      Health authorities said an 85-year-old woman was confirmed to have had COVID-19 on examination after her death, without giving further details.

      The UN-recognised, Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA), which controls the west of the country, has officially recorded 10 cases of the virus in Libya.

    • French orchestra plays on through virus confinement

      France 24 - 15h56

      A French orchestra has found a way around the coronavirus lockdown to record a 51-instrument rendition of Ravel’s Bolero. One by one.

      Alone in their kitchens, lounges or dining rooms, individual Orchestre national de France (ONF) musicians played as their mobile phones recorded their parts in Maurice Ravel’s thrilling orchestral score.

      Then the magic: a technician jigsawed the bits together into a video mosaic to create a near flawless, combined performance of woodwinds, brass, percussion and strings.

    • Field hospital opens in London, adding 4,000 beds to coronavirus fight

      France 24 - 15h54

      Prince Charles opened a new 4,000-bed temporary hospital in a conference centre in east London on Friday, the first of several being built in Britain to deal with the coronavirus outbreak.

      Prince Charles opened a new 4,000-bed temporary hospital in a conference centre in east London on Friday, the first of several being built in Britain to deal with the coronavirus outbreak.

      The new state-run National Health Service (NHS) Hospital is named after the trailblazing 19th-century nurse Florence Nightingale and has been built in just nine days.

    • Thursday 02 April
    • Oil prices skyrocket as Trump claims Russia, Saudis plan to slash output

      France 24 - 19h35

      Oil prices rocketed Thursday after US President Donald Trump said Russia and Saudi Arabia planned to end their price war by slashing output.

      But gains for Brent North Sea crude of nearly 46 percent cooled to around 20 percent as Russia denied it had spoken with Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest exporter of crude.

      After Trump tweeted that Saudi and Russia could slash production by up to 15 million barrels, Brent hit $36.29 per barrel, up almost 46 percent.

    • Empty skies: How coronavirus has crippled air travel

      France 24 - 19h29

      From Europe to Asia and North America, the skies have been unusually empty of commercial aircraft in recent weeks as countries close borders and enforce travel restrictions amid the coronavirus pandemic, forcing airlines worldwide to ground most of their fleets.

    • Google boosts support for checking coronavirus facts

      France 24 - 15h23

      Google on Thursday said it is pumping $6.5 million into fact-checkers and nonprofits as it ramps up its the battle against coronavirus misinformation.

      Fact-checking organizations, which often operate on relatively small budgets, are seeing a surge in demand for their work as mistaken or maliciously false information about the pandemic spreads, according to Alexios Mantzarlis of the Google News Lab.

    • NFL Patriots plane brings 1.2 mil masks from China to USA

      France 24 - 15h19

      New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft has used the NFL team’s airplane to deliver 1.2 million protective masks from China to the United States for coronavirus medical workers needing them.

      The effort came after Massachusetts governor Charlie Baker ordered 1.7 million masks from China but had no way to get them from Shenzen back to the Boston area.

    • Belgian league agrees to declare season finished due to coronavirus pandemic

      France 24 - 15h17

      The Belgian football league has recommended that the current season be declared finished early due to the coronavirus pandemic with the present table accepted as final, it said on Thursday, becoming the first European league to take such a measure.

      The decision is set to be formally validated at a General Assembly on April 15, meaning that Club Brugge would be declared champions as they currently sit 15 points clear of Gent at the top of the table.

      In a statement, the league said it was “very unlikely” to be able to hold matches in front of crowds before June 30 and that it had “unanimously decided that it was not desirable…to continue the competition” after that date.

    • Thailand imposes nationwide curfew to curb virus spread

      France 24 - 15h16

      Thailand will introduce a six-hour night curfew in a bid to control the spread of coronavirus, authorities said Thursday, warning anyone who breached the order faced a two-year jail term.

      The curfew from 10 pm to 4 am (1500 to 2100 GMT) will begin on Friday and bars everyone in the country from leaving their homes.

      Exemptions will be made for essential staff, including medical workers, food and fuel transport staff, and postal services.

    • UN envoy in talks for Yemen ceasefire over coronavirus

      France 24 - 15h14

      The UN envoy to Yemen said Thursday he was engaged in talks with the country’s warring parties to secure a nationwide ceasefire to help counter the threat of the coronavirus.

      Martin Griffiths’ office said he is discussing “concrete steps” with the warring sides despite a recent escalation in the long conflict.

      Yemen has so far not recorded any case of COVID-19, but aid groups are concerned that when or if it does hit, the impact will be catastrophic for a country already facing what the UN calls the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

    • Stocks shake off an early stumble and turn slightly higher

      AP - 15h12

      Stocks are opening modestly higher on Wall Street Thursday, a day after dropping 4.4%. Stocks had been headed for an even higher open until the Labor Department reported that more than 6.6 million people applied for unemployment benefits last week, double the record high set just one week earlier. It was the latest sign that large numbers of Americans are losing their jobs as the economic damage from the coronavirus accelerates. The U.S. and other large economies are widely believed to have sunk into severe recessions as businesses shut down the world. The price of crude oil jumped 8% to about $22 a barrel.

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