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Most Coronavirus Deaths in US Projected to Occur in Next Few Weeks

April 1, 2020 by · Comments Off on Most Coronavirus Deaths in US Projected to Occur in Next Few Weeks 

VOA – WHITE HOUSE – The United States should be prepared to endure 100,000 to 240,000 deaths from the #COVID-19 coronavirus over the next two months even if Americans continue to keep their distance from each other.  The peak number of deaths will come over the next two to three weeks, according to the White House coronavirus task force. “Our country is in the midst of a great national trial unlike any we have faced before,” said U.S. President Donald Trump as the White House on Tuesday formally introduced its extended ۳۰-day social-distancing guidelines based on statistical models.   “This is going to be one of the roughest two or three weeks we’ve ever had in our country,” Trump predicted.   For the most part, the two physicians on the podium with the president and Vice President Mike Pence administered the bitter medicine to the American public.

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US Increases ‘Maximum Pressure’ on Iran

March 28, 2020 by · Comments Off on US Increases ‘Maximum Pressure’ on Iran 

VOA- The United States is turning up its “maximum pressure” campaign on Iran, slapping fresh sanctions on 20 companies and individuals for bolstering Iranian-backed militias in Iraq and elsewhere. The U.S. Treasury Department unveiled the latest round of sanctions Thursday, accusing the companies and individuals of acting as part of a front for Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force.Officials said the network has helped transfer “lethal aid” to two Iranian-backed militias in Iraq, Kataib Hezbollah and Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq, while also smuggling weapons to Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen. The companies and individuals also are alleged to have engaged in money laundering, illicit oil sales to Syria and a widespread intimidation campaign designed to bully Iraqi politicians into supporting policies favorable to Iran.

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Iran Leader Refuses US Help, Citing Virus Conspiracy Theory

March 26, 2020 by · Comments Off on Iran Leader Refuses US Help, Citing Virus Conspiracy Theory 

VOA – DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – Iran’s supreme leader refused U.S. assistance Sunday to fight the new coronavirus, citing an unfounded conspiracy theory claiming the virus could be man-made by America.  Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s comments come as Iran faces crushing U.S. sanctions blocking the country from selling its crude oil and accessing international financial markets.  But while Iranian civilian officials in recent days have increasingly criticized those sanctions, 80-year-old Khamenei instead chose to traffic in the same conspiracy theory increasingly used by Chinese officials about the new virus to deflect blame for the pandemic.

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Businesses Post-COVID-19

March 24, 2020 by · Comments Off on Businesses Post-COVID-19 

VOA – NEW YORK – New York’s governor said Monday that he is beginning to explore how the state will restart its economy, once the worst of the coronavirus pandemic has passed.    “I am very proud of the measures we have taken to address this public health crisis,” Andrew Cuomo told reporters in the state capital, Albany. “But I am also very aware that it is unsustainable to run this state – or run this country – with the economy closed down.”    In 2017, New York had a GDP of more than $1.5 trillion, accounting for 8% of the national total, according to the New York State Comptroller’s website.

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South Korea’s Coronavirus Plan Is Working, Can the World Copy It?

March 23, 2020 by · Comments Off on South Korea’s Coronavirus Plan Is Working, Can the World Copy It? 

VOA – SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA – It was Thursday morning, and my phone buzzed with a text message from South Korea’s emergency alert system, as it has hundreds of times during the coronavirus outbreak.   Someone in my Seoul neighborhood — a 35-year-old Polish male — had tested positive. Clicking a link to a government website revealed an astonishing level of detail about the man’s activities over the previous two days.   After arriving at Seoul’s Incheon airport at about 9:00 a.m., the man took an express train to my local metro station, where, wearing a mask, he shopped at a nearby E-Mart grocery store. He then returned home, before getting dinner five hours later at an Italian restaurant in Seoul’s Itaewon neighborhood popular with foreigners. He was still wearing a mask, but took it off while eating, the message adds.

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Italy Reports Hundreds of new Coronavirus Deaths

March 22, 2020 by · Comments Off on Italy Reports Hundreds of new Coronavirus Deaths 

VAO – Europe has become the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak, with the hardest hit nation, Italy reporting hundreds of new deaths on Sunday. The total number of deaths in the country has now surpassed 5,400. All nonessential businesses in hard-hit Italy have been ordered to close as the country battles the coronavirus pandemic.  “It is the most difficult crisis in our postwar period,” Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said. There are 53,578 confirmed cases of the virus in Italy, according to Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.   Cuba has deployed a group of doctors and nurses to help Italy combat the virus.

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NY Mayor Urges President to Deploy Military to City

March 20, 2020 by · Comments Off on NY Mayor Urges President to Deploy Military to City 

VOA – NEW YORK – New York’s mayor called on U.S. President Donald Trump to deploy military personnel to his city, which he said is the front line in the country’s war against the coronavirus.  “The great irony [is] the fate of New York City rests in the hands of one man and he is a New Yorker, and right now he is betraying the city he comes from — we are the front line,” an angry Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a news conference Thursday evening.  “How on Earth is the president sitting idly by and not activating the forces that could help us?”

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Iranian Man Faces US Charges in Weapons Part Scheme

March 18, 2020 by · Comments Off on Iranian Man Faces US Charges in Weapons Part Scheme 

VOA – The U.S. Justice Department announced Tuesday that an Iranian man will face federal charges in connection with an alleged scheme to obtain military parts that could be used in nuclear and other weapons systems.  The law enforcement agency said Merdad Ansari was extradited from the U.S. state of Georgia to San Antonio in the U.S. state of Texas to face the charges.   “As alleged, the defendant helped Iran to develop its weapons programs by obtaining military parts in violation of the Iranian trade embargo,” said John Demers, assistant attorney general for national security.

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Top US Disease Expert Backs Nationwide Lockdown

March 16, 2020 by · Comments Off on Top US Disease Expert Backs Nationwide Lockdown 

WASHINGTON – The United States’ top infectious disease expert says he would favor a national lockdown to stop further spread of the coronavirus — the same kind of drastic step some hard-hit countries have taken.  Chief of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Dr. Anthony Fauci, told CNN Sunday he would like to see a “dramatic diminution of the personal interaction that we see” in such places as restaurants and bars, encouraging people to stay home. “We need to be very serious about this, for a while. Life is not going to be the way it used to be in the United States. We just have to accept that if we want to do what’s best for the American public,” Fauci said. Fauci later said at the White House that the “worst is ahead” even after U.S. President Donald Trump said moments earlier that his government has “total control” over the virus. Many U.S. states have shut down schools, banned large gatherings, and closed theaters. College and major league sports have come to a complete halt and theme parks, including Disneyland and Disney Worldare turning away visitors. 

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US Fears Iran Facilitating Spread of Coronavirus

March 14, 2020 by · Comments Off on US Fears Iran Facilitating Spread of Coronavirus 

VOA – WASHINGTON – Iran’s struggle to contain its coronavirus pandemic could have a ripple effect across the Middle East, with some U.S. officials suggesting it could further destabilize an already volatile region. In particular, military officials worry that the regime’s slow response has quietly turned Iran into a launching pad for the virus, helping it to spread far beyond what officials in Tehran have been willing to acknowledge. “Iran sits in the middle of the [Middle East] theater, so their ability to pass that infection to other states is very worrisome,” Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, the commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East and South Asia, said while briefing lawmakers this past week, noting the “permeability and porousness of the borders.” Making matters worse, U.S. officials believe the extent of the coronavirus’ grip on Iran has been vastly underreported, reaching well into the upper echelons of Iran’s leadership.

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