European economy devastated by pandemic as COVID-19 cases well pass 500,000

BRUSSELS/BERLIN, April 2 (Xinhua) -- The COVID-19 pandemic, which is sweeping the world, has left in its wake some 900,000 infected and over 45,000 dead by Thursday, according to the lastest World Health Organization (WHO) figures, triggering fears that the world economy could be driven into recession.

Iran's top commander warns U.S. against threatening security

TEHRAN, April 2 (Xinhua) -- Iran will respond severely if the United States does anything to undermine security of Iran, Chief of Staff of Iranian Armed Forces Mohammad Baqeri said on Thursday.

"If (the U.S.) takes the smallest step against the security of our country, they will be faced with the most severe reaction," Baqeri was quoted as saying by Press TV.

Over the recent days, the U.S. military activities across Iraq and the Gulf have increased, he said.

USA: ‘We need help’: Economic, health crises grow as cases top 1M

NEW YORK (AP) — The coronavirus outbreak has thrown 10 million Americans out of work in just two weeks in the swiftest, most stunning collapse the U.S. job market has ever witnessed, and the public health crisis deepened in New York City, where a funeral home in a hard-hit neighborhood had 185 bodies stacked up Thursday — more than triple normal capacity.

The dire news of a record-shattering 6.6 million new unemployment claims, on top of last week’s unprecedented 3.3 million, came as economists warned unemployment could reach levels not seen since the Depression.

Confirmed COVID-19 cases worldwide exceed 1 million -- Johns Hopkins University

WASHINGTON, April 2 (Xinhua) -- The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases worldwide has risen above 1 million, according to the new tally from Johns Hopkins University on Thursday afternoon.

A total of 1,002,159 people have been diagnosed with the novel coronavirus across the world, with a death toll of 51,485, while more than 200,000 patients have recovered, showed the tally updated by the university's Center for Systems Science and Engineering.

Biden wants to talk to Trump about lessons from past crises

WASHINGTON (AP) — Joe Biden said Thursday that he wants to speak with President Donald Trump in the hope that the president can “learn some lessons” from the Obama administration on how to deal with the coronavirus outbreak.

“We’ve been through this in a slightly different way in the past, and I hope they can learn some lessons from what we did right and maybe what we did wrong,” the former vice president said during a virtual press briefing.

USA: Navy fires captain who sought help for virus-stricken ship

WASHINGTON (AP) — The captain of a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier facing a growing outbreak of the coronavirus on his ship was fired Thursday by Navy leaders who said he created a panic by sending his memo pleading for help to too many people.

Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly said the ship’s commander, Capt. Brett Crozier “demonstrated extremely poor judgment” in the middle of a crisis. He said the captain copied too many people on the memo, which was leaked to a California newspaper and quickly spread to many news outlets.

Oil, shares slip as investors doubtful over Saudi-Russia deal

TOKYO/NEW YORK (Reuters) - Oil prices shed some of their massive gains on Friday taking stocks in Asia lower, as doubts grew over an oil price deal between Saudi Arabia and Russia that U.S. President Donald Trump said he had brokered.

With the coronavirus pandemic raising the risk of a prolonged global downturn, investors continued to seek the safety of the U.S. dollar and government bonds, pushing U.S. Treasury yields near their lowest in three weeks.

USA: Mnuchin says small business rescue loans launch Friday, despite lender confusion

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he was pressing ahead with the Friday launch of a $349 billion coronavirus rescue loan program for small businesses, after conceding to bank demands to fix aspects of the program that they said could cause participating lenders legal and financial risks.

Mnuchin told a White House briefing on Thursday that the Treasury and the Small Business Administration had decided to double the interest rate on the loans to 1% from 0.5% previously so that small banks with higher deposit costs don’t lose money.

USA: States demand ventilators as feds ration limited supply

WASHINGTON (AP) — Two weeks ago, the Pentagon promised to make as many as 2,000 military ventilators available as the federal government strains to contend with the coronavirus pandemic. As of Wednesday, less than half had been allocated, despite a desperate need across the country.

At the Federal Emergency Management Agency, tasked with coordinating the federal response to the outbreak, about 9,000 additional ventilators are also on hold as officials seek to determine where they are needed most urgently.

No port in a storm: Australia tells virus-stricken cruise ships to go home

3 April 2020; AFP: Australia insisted Friday it would not let the crew of multiple virus-stricken cruise ships into the country, slapping aside suggestions it was falling short on legal and moral obligations.

More than a dozen ships are believed to be off Australia's coast, carrying around 15,000 crew and some experiencing outbreaks of coronavirus.

"We have issued notices to all of these ships to leave Australian waters," Australian Border Force Commissioner Michael Outram told local media Friday.

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