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Birx warns of coming coronavirus hot spots across the U.S.Louisiana is poised to become the next epicenter of the coronavirus crisis, White House officials said Thursday, citing new data that shows that 26 percent of the tests for COVID-19 in that state in recent days have come back positive.


4/2/2020 7:28:28 PM

Two years before coronavirus, CDC warned of a coming pandemicLong before the coronavirus emerged in Wuhan, China, and then soon spread to nearly every country on Earth, a conference in 2018 offered proof that epidemiologists at the CDC and other institutions were aware that a new pandemic was poised to strike.


4/2/2020 4:01:13 AM

Schumer says he's 'appalled' by Trump blaming coronavirus in New York on impeachmentPresident Trump sent Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) a letter on Thursday so harsh that Schumer's office said he apologized for it before the missive was even delivered.Earlier in the day, Schumer wrote his own letter to Trump regarding shortages of ventilators and personal protection equipment at hospitals treating coronavirus patients. Schumer asked Trump to choose someone with a military background to oversee production of medical equipment under the Defense Production Act, adding: "America cannot rely on a patchwork of uncoordinated voluntary efforts to combat the awful magnitude of this pandemic. The existing federal leadership void has left America with an ugly spectacle in which states and cities are literally fending for themselves, often in conflict and competition with each other."Schumer's office told Politico the senator and Trump spoke twice on Thursday afternoon, and at one point, Trump said he was in the process of sending a "very nasty letter" to Schumer. Trump promised to try to stop it from going out, and said he would apologize if he wasn't successful.The letter wasn't intercepted. In it, Trump wrote that Schumer was to blame for the high number of coronavirus patients in his state, with New York City "unprepared" because of "the impeachment hoax." He told Schumer he "never knew how bad a senator you are for the state of New York," and pushed back at criticism that the federal government has responded too slowly to the pandemic, despite having months to prepare. "As you are aware, the federal government is merely a backup for state governments," he said. "Unfortunately, your state needed far more of a backup than others."Schumer told MSNBC's Chris Hayes that he was "appalled" by the letter, and said it was time for Trump to "stop the pettiness — people are dying." As of Thursday night, at least 5,850 people have died in the United States from coronavirus.More stories from theweek.com Social distancing is going to get darker 5 brutally funny cartoons about Trump's TV ratings boast Jared Kushner suggests voters 'think about who will be a competent manager during the time of crisis'


4/2/2020 9:19:00 PM

Israel locks down ultra-Orthodox city hit hard by coronavirusOne health care expert has told the Israeli Parliament he believed almost 40 percent of Bnei Brak's residents could be infected.


4/3/2020 7:18:00 AM

How coronavirus has halted Central American migration to the USBorder closures and strict lockdowns have led to a steep decline in the number of migrants coming from Central AmericaWhen Angelica turned 30, she realized there was no future for her in Honduras.Although she had a college degree, she was still living paycheck to paycheck and was stuck in a neighborhood of the capital Tegucigalpa ruled by violent gangs.So, after years contemplating migration to the US where she has relatives, she finally made arrangements to depart.“I didn’t want to stay in a neighborhood where there are massacres or where the people lock themselves in their homes at six at night because the gangs impose a curfew,” she said. “I realized I was more surviving than living.”But by the time she was due to start her journey north, Honduras had closed its borders and declared a state of emergency. She could no longer leave her city – much less take a bus to northern Guatemala, to meet a coyote who would guide her through Mexico.“I had thought that only a hurricane could stop me,” she said. “But I hadn’t thought of a pandemic.”Border closures and strict lockdowns prompted by the Covid-19 crisis have disrupted the migrant trail through Central America and Mexico, forcing some would-be migrants to postpone their journeys – and stopping many others in their tracks.The result has been a deterrent more effective than any wall Donald Trump could build.Activists across the region have reported a steep decline in the number of migrants coming from Central America since the restrictions were implemented. One Mexican shelter near the Guatemalan border said it hadn’t received a new arrival in a week.“The crisis has facilitated Trump’s policies because [Central American] migrants can’t even leave their countries,” said Sister Nyzella Juliana Dondé, coordinator of a Catholic migrant aid organization in Honduras.El Salvador closed its borders on 11 March, and the governments of Guatemala and Honduras quickly followed suit. All three countries in the so-called northern triangle have since announced internal lockdowns of differing strictness.The three nations had recently signed “safe third country agreements” with the US government under which they agreed to increase enforcement on their borders, and receive migrants who had transited their country on the way to the US.Only Guatemala had begun to implement the new measures, but it announced on 17 March that it would suspend the deportations of Hondurans and Salvadorans from the US to its territory.But Guatemala and Honduras continued to receive deportation flights bringing their own citizens from the US – despite concerns that the practice could accelerate the spread of the virus. In the past week, a migrant who was deported from the US to Guatemala was diagnosed with Covid-19 and a group of deportees to Honduras escaped from the shelter where they were to be quarantined. Guatemala has now requested that the US suspend deportation flights.Meanwhile, migrants who were already en route have been left exposed by the closure of shelters and the difficulties facing humanitarian organizations which would normally attend to them.“They are in a vulnerable situation because the guidance is to stay at home – but the migrants don’t have homes,” said Dondé, who mentioned a case of a large group of Haitian and African migrants who were detained after crossing into Guatemala from Honduras amid the lockdown. “Neither Honduras or Guatemala wanted to offer them a place to stay.”Migrants who already had arrived to Mexico have been left in limbo by the US government’s decision to immediately return all migrants from Mexico and Central America who cross into the country irregularly along the south-west border.When restrictions are eventually eased, a fresh surge in migration seems likely: multiple would-be migrants who spoke with the Guardian said it was only a question of when, not if, they would set out for the US.And the economic impact of the crisis may in turn cause others to migrate.. “Before many people migrated because they lacked work and a dignified life,” said Silva de Souza. “Now there will be many more.”Migrants who have come from even farther afield, have no choice but to try to push on. Mohamed left Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone, in 2018, following the well-trodden migrant path via Ecuador, Colombia and the jungles of Panama. He was burning through his savings and racking up debt, but making steady progress north.But he reached Guatemala just before the government announced a state of emergency which has made moving on impossible.“Travel has become very difficult,” he said in a brief exchange via Facebook Messenger. But he was still determined to reach the US – even if he now has to move more carefully – traveling at night and avoiding large caravans. “With God’s will, I’ll get there. I will build a life of opportunity.” * Additional reporting by Joe Parkin Daniels


4/2/2020 5:32:48 AM

Putin says Russia ready to cooperate on cutting oil productionRussia is ready to cooperate with Saudi Arabia and the United States to cut oil production, President Vladimir Putin said Friday. Putin said Russia was willing to make agreements within the framework of the OPEC+ group and that "we are ready for cooperation with the United States of America on this issue," according to a statement published by the Kremlin. Oil prices have tumbled in recent weeks in the face of a drop in demand and global economic uncertainty over the new coronavirus pandemic.


4/3/2020 7:03:11 PM

France Has Deadliest Virus Day as Infection Rate Slows in Spain(Bloomberg) -- France reported its deadliest day from the coronavirus amid tentative signs that the pandemic may be easing in Spain and Italy.The health ministry in Paris reported 588 hospital deaths, the most yet, bringing the figure to 5,091 since the beginning of the outbreak. In contrast, new infections slowed and fatalities declined in Spain for the first time in four days, as infections stabilized in Italy. Together, the three countries account for more than half the deaths worldwide in the pandemic.Austria could become one of the first in the region to loosen restrictions that have shut down much of public life. Chancellor Sebastian Kurz’s government will review data and consider a plan in coming days to gradually restart the economy, the Austrian leader told parliament in Vienna on Friday.“Let’s not jump to conclusions because there are some positive signals,” Kurz said. “I can promise you, if the numbers support it, we’ll do what we can to return to normality step by step.”Despite the pockets of improvement, governments have little leeway to unwind lockdowns that have devasted the region’s economy. IHS Markit said its monthly measure of services and manufacturing in the euro area points to an annualized contraction of about 10%. With new business, confidence and employment all down, there is “worse inevitably to come in the near future,” it said.Signs emerged that squabbling national leaders are coalescing around an aid package. Euro-area finance ministers are set to agree on a coronavirus aid package of 500 billion euros ($540 billion) next week, the group’s leader, Portugal’s Mario Centeno told Sueddeutsche Zeitung.Germany is planning to set up an extra 300 billion-euro aid program to help small- and medium-sized companies, and Switzerland doubled the amount of state credit guarantees for businesses to 40 billion francs ($41 billion).In another positive development, German Chancellor Angela Merkel left her precautionary quarantine. After ending 12 days in voluntary self-isolation in Berlin, Merkel will continue to observe social-distancing standards, government spokesman Steffen Seibert told reporters.The chancellor, who this week prolonged a nationwide lockdown until April 19, addressed the public Friday from the chancellery for the first time since the quarantine, making a plea to stay home and avoid social contact through the Easter holiday.Even though a slight slowing of the spread of the disease offers “some hope,” she said it was far too early to set a target date for easing restrictions.Europe’s longest-serving leader took center stage in Germany’s fight against the virus with a rare televised address to the nation on March 18, in which she called the pandemic the country’s gravest challenge since World War II.Lockdown ReviewKurz, who wore a face mask before and after his speech, urged Austrians to persevere with measures to limit contact between people and asked them to refrain from celebrating the Easter holiday with large gatherings of families and friends. His government will review virus statistics with epidemiology experts on Sunday and present its plans on Monday.Growth in new infections in Austria has decreased to less than 5% per day. The number of daily fatalities has fallen for four straight days this week.Spain’s Health Ministry on Friday reported 932 new deaths and 7,472 cases over the latest 24-hour period, both smaller gains than the previous day. The dip in the daily figures could lead to less pressure on overwhelmed hospitals. Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez’s government is looking to extend the current lockdown for another two weeks beyond April 11, Spanish media reported.Italy reported 4,585 new infections, while there were 766 fatalities compared with 760 in the previous 24-hour period, civil protection authorities said at their daily news conference in Rome.The pace of both new deaths and new infections has flattened out over past days, even as the containment measures shuttering all non-essential activities and banning most movement take a heavy toll on the economy. In total, the country had 119,827 cases and 14,681 deaths.In France, daily intensive-care admissions fell for a fourth day, adding to signs that lockdown measures across Europe may be helping to bring the outbreak under control. The total number of fatalities is 6,507, including 1,416 deaths from nursing homes -- data that was partially included for the first time on Thursday.Despite Merkel returning to work, Germany’s fight against the outbreak suffered a setback. Fatalities and confirmed cases rose by more than the previous day on Friday, with total deaths climbing past 1,000. The mortality rate is probably underestimated because of insufficient testing, according to Lothar Wieler, president of the Robert Koch Institute.The country -- which has 84,794 infections, the third-most in Europe -- may still need additional intensive-care space, even after boosting capacity by more than 40% since the crisis began, the head of Germany’s public health authority said.“My personal appraisal is that it will not be enough,” Wieler said at a press briefing. “I would be happy to be wrong.”For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.


4/3/2020 1:41:49 PM

Pakistan worshippers clash with police trying to enforce coronavirus lockdownPakistani Muslims at a Karachi mosque clashed with baton-wielding police trying to enforce new curbs on gatherings to prevent Friday prayers and contain coronavirus infections, officials said. After failing to persuade worshippers to pray at home last week, the government in Pakistan's southern province of Sindh, home to the financial hub of Karachi, enforced a lockdown for three hours beginning at noon on Friday, officials said. Pakistan has so far reported 2,458 coronavirus infections, fuelled by a jump in cases related to members of the Tablighi Jamaat, an orthodox Muslim proselytising group.


4/3/2020 2:26:03 AM

Justice Department will send seized medical supplies to New York, New JerseyThe FBI located the supplies on March 30, as part of its work under the department’s Covid-19 hoarding and price gouging task force.


4/2/2020 11:22:49 AM

Coronavirus poses special risk to millions of Americans with diabetesAs the worsening coronavirus pandemic continues to spread across the country, millions of Americans living with diabetes face heightened risks from COVID-19.


4/2/2020 2:39:43 PM