Tribune News Service

International Budget for Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Updated at 0000 UTC (8 p.m. U.S. EDT).

Additional news stories, including full U.S. coverage, appear on the MCT-NEWS-BJT and MCT-NEWSFEATURES-BJT.


^WHO warns 'pandemic is accelerating' as number of coronavirus cases soars past 300,000<

CORONAVIRUS-WORLD-CASES:NY — The world's top health authority warned Monday that the coronavirus pandemic is picking up pace and will continue to spread further as the number of new cases being reported each day vastly exceeds the daily figures from weeks ago, when the illness hadn't spread to nearly every country on earth.

"The pandemic is accelerating," Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus, the World Health Organization's director general, said in a daily news briefing in Geneva.

300 by Nelson Oliveira. MOVED



^Senate partisanship boils over as stimulus talks stall<

CORONAVIRUS-STIMULUS:LA — Senate Republicans and Democrats grew visibly angry and emotional on the Senate floor Monday morning as negotiations over a financial rescue package appeared to stall, even as Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., said he and Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin were close to a final agreement.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., bitterly accused Democrats of fiddling with politics by trying to add to the deal unrelated environmental policies. Schumer similarly blamed Republicans for issuing "partisan screeds" instead of engaging in serious negotiation.

1150 by Jennifer Haberkorn in Washington. MOVED


^Trump shows impatience with public health experts on coronavirus<

CORONAVIRUS-TRUMP-STAYATHOME:LA — With the nation's economy shuddering to a stop, millions of Americans out of work and another cliff dive in the stock market Monday, President Donald Trump and his allies began showing public and private impatience with the extreme restrictions federal and state officials have ordered to deal with the exploding coronavirus crisis.

Even as U.S. infections and deaths jumped again, and additional cities and states issued stay-at-home orders, Trump said he will reassess his administration's call to close schools and offices, encourage people to work from home and avoid gatherings after a 15-day period that ends March 30.

1350 by Noah Bierman, Chris Megerian and Eli Stokols in Washington. MOVED


^Governors clamp down even as Trump considers easing virus rules<

CORONAVIRUS-CLOSURES:BLO — Governors and mayors across the U.S. issued orders to shut down normal human contact and commercial life even as the Trump administration debates dialing back guidances that officials fear is smothering the economy.

On Monday, Indiana, West Virginia and Massachusetts ordered residents to stay at home while Virginia and Maryland placed restrictions on nonessential movement. The actions by the governors — Democrats and Republicans alike —show that even if President Donald Trump relaxes the recommendations, states won't necessarily follow.

900 by Shruti Date Singh and Jordan Fabian. MOVED


^NY Gov. Cuomo reports more than 20,000 coronavirus cases, orders hospitals to increase capacity<

CORONAVIRUS-NY-1ST-LEDE:NY — More than 20,000 New Yorkers have been infected by the coronavirus, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Monday, meaning the Empire State now accounts for 5% of all cases worldwide.

In a press conference from Albany, the governor said 20,875 cases had been confirmed in New York as of the latest count — an increase by 5,707 since Sunday.

"You can see that New York, far and away, has the bulk of the problem," Cuomo said.

550 by Chris Sommerfeldt in New York. MOVED


^California congresswoman sold stock in travel companies<

CORONAVIRUS-CONGRESS-STOCKS:WA — Rep. Susan Davis of California and her husband sold stocks related to travel and tourism less than two weeks after members of the House of Representatives received a closed-door briefing on the outbreak of the novel coronavirus.

The revelation comes on the back of news reports of Sens. Richard Burr, R-N.C., Kelly Loeffler, R-Ga., and others selling stocks after receiving classified briefings by administration officials on the coronavirus threat.

600 by Shirsho Dasgupta and Kate Irby in Washington. MOVED


^Boris Johnson sends UK into lockdown amid coronavirus pandemic<

CORONAVIRUS-BRITAIN:NY — The United Kingdom is going into lockdown for at least three weeks, as Prime Minister Boris Johnson enacted strict limits Monday that govern where people can go and when they can leave their homes. These rules are meant to fight the ongoing spread of coronavirus, which has killed 335 people in the country so far.

"You should not be meeting friends. If your friends ask you to meet, you should say 'No.' You should not be meeting family members who do not live in your home," Johnson said in a televised address.

300 by Lauren Theisen. MOVED


^Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issues 'stay-at-home' order for Michigan<

CORONAVIRUS-MICH-1ST-LEDE:DE — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Monday issued a "stay-at-home" order to try to slow the spread of the coronavirus, ordering Michigan residents to stay home except for essential purposes and telling non-essential businesses to stop asking employees to report to work.

The order, which was highly anticipated and is effective starting at midnight EDT tonight, draws on Whitmer's broad executive powers under a state of emergency.

1600 (with trims) by Paul Egan and Kathleen Gray in Lansing, Mich. MOVED


^Florida coronavirus cases top more than 1,100 statewide<

CORONAVIRUS-FLA:OS — Coronavirus cases in Florida soared past 1,100 and one new death has been reported as U.S. and global death tolls continued to mount Monday morning.

As of 11 a.m. local time Monday, Florida had 14 deaths as it tracked 1,171 cases. That includes 1,096 Florida residents and 75 non-Florida residents in the state, with 860 cases pending.

650 in Orlando, Fla. MOVED


^Nursing home may face penalty as federal agency gives industry flexibility<

CORONAVIRUS-NURSINGHOMES:CON — The Trump administration on Monday announced the results of its investigation of a Washington nursing home seen as ground zero of the United States' COVID-19 crisis, while previewing upcoming pandemic-related policy changes.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced that the Kirkland, Wash.-based nursing home — Life Care Center of Kirkland — would be classified as in immediate jeopardy, meaning it could be penalized for putting the health and safety of its residents in immediate danger.

700 by Sandhya Raman in Washington. MOVED


^Pennsylvania Supreme Court denies legal challenge to governor's coronavirus clampdown order<

CORONAVIRUS-PA:PH — A divided Pennsylvania Supreme Court dismissed gun rights advocates' legal challenge to Gov. Tom Wolf's statewide order closing all "non-life-sustaining" businesses, clearing the way for enforcement of the mandate to begin Monday.

In an order issued late Sunday, the justices denied a petition brought by a Bucks County gun buyer and a Lancaster County gun store owner, who argued that the coronavirus clampdown violated their Second Amendment right to bear arms.

500 by Jeremy Roebuck in Philadelphia. MOVED


^Sen. Amy Klobuchar's husband diagnosed with coronavirus, hospitalized<

CORONAVIRUS-KLOBUCHAR-HUSBAND:MS — U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar announced Monday that her husband, John Bessler, has been diagnosed with coronavirus.

"While I cannot see him and he is of course cut off from all visitors, our daughter Abigail and I are constantly calling and texting and e-mailing," Klobuchar said in a statement. "We love him very much and pray for his recovery. He is exhausted and sick but a very strong and resilient person."

300 by Torey Van Oot in Minneapolis. MOVED


^Dr. Anthony Fauci suggests growing coronavirus rift with Trump as White House signals discomfort with his independence<

^CORONAVIRUS-TRUMP-FAUCI:NY—<Dr. Anthony Fauci is losing patience with President Donald Trump — and the feeling may be mutual.

The nation's top pandemic doctor expressed growing frustration with Trump's handling of the crisis, which has included equal doses of false claims and unfounded rosy predictions.

"I can't jump in front of the microphone and push him down," Fauci told Science Magazine on Sunday.

300 by Dave Goldiner. MOVED


^Chicago plans to rent thousands of hotel rooms for coronavirus isolation in move to preserve space in hospitals<

CORONAVIRUS-CHICAGO-HOTELROOMS:TB — Chicago plans to rent thousands of hotel rooms to be used for people diagnosed with the new coronavirus or those who believe they've been exposed, in an effort to stop the spread of the virus and relieve the burden on hospitals.

By Tuesday the city will have more than 1,000 rooms in a combined five Chicago hotels available to isolate people who are mildly ill with COVID-19, who fear they've been exposed, and for those who are awaiting test results.

1050 (with trims) by Ryan Ori and Lori Rackl in Chicago. MOVED


^Coronavirus concerns trigger lawsuit aimed at freeing migrant families from detention centers<

CORONAVIRUS-MIGRANTS-DETENTION:PH — The federal government is recklessly confining thousands of immigrant families in the Berks County, Pa., detention center and two other Texas facilities where conditions are ripe for a coronavirus outbreak, a new lawsuit asserts.

300 by Jeff Gammage in Philadelphia. MOVED


^'There's a lot we don't know': UW researchers look at how coronavirus turns body against itself and kills<

CORONAVIRUS-UNKNOWN:SE — Last Tuesday, a scientist working in a secure upper-floor laboratory in the University of Washington Medical Center's South Lake Union campus cracked open a vial containing one of the first samples of live SARS-CoV-2 virus, with a goal of better understanding how and why it kills.

The disease caused by the virus, COVID-19, has proved particularly lethal to the elderly and those with underlying health conditions, and the scientists at the school's Center for Innate Immunity and Immune Disease have been tasked with trying to understand why in these cases the new virus overwhelms the body's natural defenses, while in most people it causes only moderate or even mild illness.

1550 (with trims) by Mike Carter in Seattle. MOVED


^Why we hoard: Fear at root of panic-buying, psychologists say<

CORONAVIRUS-HOARDING-PSYCHOLOGY:SD — Selfish. Stupid. They've been called all sorts of things, the people who are descending on stores in a coronavirus-fueled panic to empty the shelves of pasta, beans, rice, meat, chicken, toilet paper, soap and other items. Greedy. Heartless.

Psychologists and behavioral scientists have another word for them: Human.

"When people feel uncertain, they tend to focus on things that bring them certainty," said Uma Karmarkar, a neuroeconomist at the University of California, San Diego. "Most of us don't have the ability to make new vaccines or enact new policies, but the one action that we can control, that feels like we are doing something, is to stock up on supplies."

1250 (with trims) by John Wilkens in San Diego. MOVED


^Harvey Weinstein has tested positive for coronavirus infection, source says<

CORONAVIRUS-WEINSTEIN-1ST-LEDE:LA — Harvey Weinstein has tested positive for the coronavirus inside a New York state prison, according to a state source with knowledge of the matter.

The positive test came back Sunday at the Wende Correctional Facility, where Weinstein is being held, roughly 30 miles outside of Niagara Falls, N.Y., according to the source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity in order to discuss Weinstein's medical status.

600 by James Queally. MOVED


^Wuhan still finding symptom-free virus cases, Caixin reports<

^CORONAVIRUS-WUHAN-NOSYMPTOMS:BLO—<People are still testing positive for the new coronavirus in Wuhan four days after China said there have been no new cases at the epicenter of its outbreak, a local magazine reported, raising concerns that the virus could still be spreading in the city.

"There are still a few or a dozen asymptomatic people every day," an unidentified official at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention said in a Monday article by Caixin, referring to those who have the virus but don't display any symptoms. "It can't be determined whether transmission has been completely cut off in Wuhan," the official said.

400 by Bloomberg News. MOVED


^With Iran ravaged by virus, US is pressured to ease sanctions<

^CORONAVIRUS-USIRAN:BLO—<The devastation of the coronavirus outbreak in Iran is raising pressure on the U.S. to ease sanctions on the Islamic Republic. So far, the Trump administration isn't budging.

Iran has reported more than 1,650 deaths from the coronavirus pandemic and its leaders and some aid groups say America's crushing "maximum pressure" campaign against it is worsening a humanitarian disaster. The U.S. says it stands ready to help Iran with the virus while simultaneously blaming the growing crisis on the regime's mismanagement.

1050 (with trims) by David Wainer, Golnar Motevalli and Nick Wadhams. MOVED


^Cuba confirms 40 cases of coronavirus as doctors monitor thousands of Cubans at home<

CORONAVIRUS-CUBA:MI — Cuban doctors are closely watching more than 37,000 people across the island with symptoms similar to those caused by the coronavirus, as the number of confirmed cases rose to 40, the Ministry of Public Health said Monday.

As of Sunday, the Ministry had confirmed 35 cases of people with COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. According to Monday's statement, the five new patients are a Russian citizen, a French citizen and three Cubans.

550 by Nora Gamez Torres. MOVED



^Biden makes tricky adaptation to the coronavirus campaign trail<

BIDEN-:BLO — Joe Biden's campaign rushed to build a sophisticated television studio in his home to better communicate to the American people how he believes a president should deal with the coronavirus epidemic. But when he made his first live appearance there Monday, none of the major cable channels took it live.

The moment illustrated the challenges the Democratic presidential front-runner faces during a crisis that has changed American life. While he's beginning to prepare for the general election campaign against President Donald Trump, Biden still hasn't yet secured the Democratic nomination.

1250 (with trims) by Jennifer Epstein and Bill Allison in Washington. MOVED


^US to slash Afghan aid after failure to form unity government<

USAFGHAN:BLO — The U.S. said it will cut assistance to Afghanistan by $1 billion this year and threatened more cuts could come as a breakdown in talks to form a unity government threatened to derail a U.S.-engineered peace deal.

200 by Bill Faries in Washington. MOVED


^Michael Bloomberg's campaign sued by former staffers alleging fraud<

^BLOOMBERG:LA—<Four field organizers for billionaire Michael R. Bloomberg's aborted presidential bid sued his campaign on Monday, arguing that they were fraudulently promised employment and health care through the November election.

"Thousands of people relied on that promise. They moved to other cities. They gave up school, jobs, and job opportunities. They uprooted their lives," attorneys for three of the plaintiffs wrote in one of two class-action lawsuits filed in federal court in New York. "But the promise was false."

650 by Seema Mehta. MOVED


^Judge says St. Louis County man accused of war crime can be extradited to Bosnia<

WARCRIME-EXTRADITION-BOSNIA:SL — A federal judge has approved a request to extradite a St. Louis County man to Bosnia to face a war crime charge.

The government of Bosnia and Herzegovina says that Adem Kostjerevac raped a pregnant Serbian prisoner in 1992. He was indicted there in 2015, court documents here say, and a prosecutor sought an order to arrest him in April 2017.

350 by Robert Patrick in St. Louis. MOVED



^IMF sees a recession at least as bad as global financial crisis<

^RECESSION-IMF:BLO—<The International Monetary Fund said it expects a global recession this year that will be at least as bad as the downturn during the financial crisis more than a decade ago, followed by a recovery in 2021.

Nearly 80 countries have asked the Washington-based IMF for emergency finance, Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said in a statement Monday following a conference call of Group of 20 finance ministers and central bankers. Georgieva said the fund strongly supports extraordinary fiscal actions already taken by many countries and welcomes the moves of major central banks to ease monetary policy.

300 by Eric Martin. (Moved as a business story.) MOVED



^How Netflix's 'Love is Blind' and 'The Circle' set the stage for isolated socializing during the coronavirus pandemic<

^VID-CORONAVIRUS-CIRCLE-LOVE-BLIND:SE—<There's no doubt social media has changed the way we communicate and interact with others. And the spread of the novel coronavirus has resulted in the cancellation of major events, the closing of public spaces and the rise of social distancing.

With more of our interpersonal interactions being pushed online in this time of quarantine, uncertainties loom around the lasting social impacts.

A team of University of Washington psychologists is already studying the impacts of social distancing on adults in King County. The stress that comes from isolation can affect immune-system functions and increase anxiety; human connection is more crucial than ever.

Uncannily, as we look for ways to navigate our new state of social isolation, two of streaming behemoth Netflix's biggest shows of 2020 have portrayed similar socializing scenarios — and they offer some things for all of us to keep in mind.

1050 (with trims) by Amy Wong in Seattle. MOVED


^The 10 best Kenny Rogers songs<

^MUS-ROGERS-SONGS:LA—<Kenny Rogers may be best remembered for introducing a global pop audience to the homespun charms of country music. But his work as an ambassador didn't open just his listeners' ears: Perhaps more than any other Nashville act of his generation, Rogers, who died Friday at age 81, dabbled freely in other sounds and styles; his long and varied catalog, with its many collaborations, is a testament to both his musical curiosity and his keen commercial sense. Looked back upon now, it also indicates clearly how country music, in many ways a hidebound genre before Rogers emerged, would evolve in his wake.

Yet it was his music in the '70s and '80s that made Rogers a crucial bridge between country's origins and its arrival as a true pop force in the '90s. Here are 10 of Rogers' most enduring songs, listed in chronological order.

700 by Mikael Wood. MOVED



^Commentary: Peace Corps evacuated all 7,300 of its volunteers due to coronavirus. They need immediate help<

^CORONAVIRUS-PEACECORPS-COMMENTARY:TB—<Imagine, if you can, a scenario in which the Department of Defense saw the need to recall for emergency security purposes the entirety of its service corps in one fell swoop. That's essentially what happened over the past week, when the U.S. Peace Corps agency made the difficult and unprecedented decision to suspend its programs indefinitely, evacuating all 7,300 volunteers serving in more than 60 countries due to the coronavirus outbreak and informing them their service has ended.

As the virus spread rapidly worldwide and travel restrictions quickly tightened, risks to the personal health of volunteers rose rapidly and the window to bring America's "grassroots diplomats" home was closing swiftly. Understandably, the top priority of the agency was ensuring the safety and security of volunteers overseas. But today many returning volunteers feel like they have been fired and left with no benefits and little support as they arrive home.

950 by Glenn Blumhorst. MOVED


^Editorial: Climate change is just as real as COVID-19. Now's the last, best chance for our government to treat it that way<

^CLIMATECHANGE-EDITORIAL:LA—<There is no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic is the crisis of the moment, and a terribly serious one at that, threatening not only human lives but also the global economy.

But it's not the only crisis the world is facing, and we ought not, while confronting the immediate menace, disregard the other immense threat looming over us: global warming. Rather, somewhat counterintuitively, we should use the current pandemic to learn some lessons and glean some insights about the other perils we will soon be facing.

800 by The Times Editorial Board. MOVED




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