Saturday, April 4, 2020

Editor's Note

Have a few chores to do this morning around the house. Blogging will return later today.

Tweets For Today

Picture Of The Day

Russian President Vladimir Putin holds a video conference with members of the Russian government. © Sputnik / Alexei Druzhinin

WNU Editor: The above picture came from this photo-gallery .... This Week in Pictures: 28 March - 3 April (Sputnik).

Friday, April 3, 2020

Covid-19 Coronavirus Pandemic In Asia -- News Updates April 3-4, 2020

Al Jazeera: Indonesia reports Southeast Asia's highest coronavirus fatalities

Indonesia's death rate due to the deadly infection stood at 9.1 percent compared to 5.2 worldwide as of Friday.

Jakarta, Indonesia - Indonesia reported its first two coronavirus cases on March 2, and has tallied 1,986 confirmed cases and 181 deaths as of April 3, making it the country with the most coronavirus deaths and the highest fatality rate in Southeast Asia.

Indonesia's death rate stood at 9.1 percent compared to 5.2 worldwide as of Friday. In comparison, the Philippines had a 4.5 percent death rate and Malaysia had a 1.6 percent rate during the same period, although both countries have higher number of cases with more than 3,000 each.

Read more ....

Covid-19 Coronavirus Pandemic In Asia -- News Updates April 3-4, 2020

Fearing COVID-19 resurgence, China asks people to stay vigilant -- Al Jazeera
Coronavirus: China to stage day of mourning on Saturday for thousands killed by Covid-19 -- SCMP
Tomb Sweeping Festival: China pays 'virtual' respects to ancestors -- BBC
U.S. sounds alarm on coronavirus in Japan, Tokyo pushes for state of emergency -- Reuters
India COVID-19 lockdown means no food or work for rural poor -- Al Jazeera
Exclusive: Jump in Jakarta funerals raises fears of unreported coronavirus deaths -- Reuters
South Korea reaches 10,000 COVID-19 cases, quarantines foreign arrivals -- UPI
North Korea reveals over 500 people under quarantine -- UPI
Thailand suspends incoming passenger flights to fight coronavirus -- Reuters
Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte warns against violating coronavirus lockdown -- ABC News Online
Coronavirus Singapore: 100 to 1,000 infections in one month. What happened? -- SCMP
Singapore to close workplaces, schools in virus fight -- SCMP
Coronavirus: what’s behind Singapore’s U-turn on wearing masks? -- SCMP
Vietnam's total coronavirus cases rise to 237, no deaths: health ministry -- Reuters

Covid-19 Coronavirus Pandemic In The Europe -- News Updates April 3 - 4, 2020

Reuters: Spain overtakes Italy in coronavirus cases, death rate slows

MADRID (Reuters) - Spain overtook Italy for the first time on Friday for the number of confirmed coronavirus cases, but the overnight death toll fell from the previous day, providing a small glimmer of hope.

With a total 117,710 confirmed cases, Spain is now second in the number of infections only to the United States, which has a population some seven times larger. Spain’s total death toll now stands at 10,935, second only to Italy’s 13,915 fatalities.

On a more hopeful note, Friday marked the first time in more than a week that the number of deaths fell from the previous day, to 932 fatalities from 950.

Read more ....

Covid-19 Coronavirus Pandemic In Italy -- News Updates April 3 - 4, 2020

Italy's daily tally of coronavirus deaths and cases steady, with 766 new deaths -- Reuters
Italy's civil protection chief sees lockdown continuing beyond May 1 -- Reuters

Covid-19 Coronavirus Pandemic In Spain -- News Updates April 3 - 4, 2020

Spain's coronavirus death toll rises by 932 in a day -- France 24
Spain overtakes Italy in virus cases, though death rate slows -- Al Jazeera
"They just sedate them"; coronavirus overwhelms Spain's care homes -- Reuters
"They just sedate them"; coronavirus overwhelms Spain's care homes -- Reuters
The staff battling coronavirus in a Barcelona ICU -- BBC

Covid-19 Coronavirus Pandemic In France -- News Updates April 3 - 4, 2020

French hospitals record deadliest day with 588 coronavirus deaths -- France 24
French coronavirus cases jump above China's after including nursing home tally -- Reuters
The wave of solidarity in coronavirus-hit France -- France 24
As coronavirus creeps into French care homes, a 'tsunami' of deaths go unnumbered -- France 24

Covid-19 Coronavirus Pandemic In The U.K. -- News Updates April 3 - 4, 2020

UK coronavirus death toll rises to 3,605, up 23% in a day -- Reuters
Britain's coronavirus peak will be in next few weeks, health minister says -- Reuters
UK opens 4,000-bed coronavirus field hospital -- DW
Field hospital opens in London, adding 4,000 beds to coronavirus fight -- France 24
UK PM Johnson stays in isolation as Queen prepares to address the nation -- Reuters

Covid-19 Coronavirus Pandemic In Germany -- News Updates April 3 - 4, 2020

Merkel signals lockdown in Germany could go beyond Easter -- Reuters
Germans will be fined £440 for STANDING too close to each other under strict new coronavirus rules -- AFP
Angela Merkel sees 'bit of hope,' but keeps coronavirus lockdown in place -- DW
German minister plans further tightening of border controls: Spiegel -- Reuters

Covid-19 Coronavirus Pandemic In Russia -- News Updates April 3 - 4, 2020

Russian PM says coronavirus situation could become 'worst case scenario' -- Reuters
Four more coronavirus patients die in Moscow, one aged 34 — headquarters -- TASS
Russia's 'corona-holidays' leave small businesses in freefall -- DW
Russia to halt all flights at midnight on Friday, including for repatriation -- Reuters
Chechnya becomes first Russian region to impose coronavirus curfew -- Reuters

Covid-19 Coronavirus Pandemic In Europe -- News Updates April 3 - 4, 2020

Dutch coronavirus deaths rise to 1,487: health authorities -- Reuters
Denmark prepares to ease coronavirus restrictions -- Al Jazeera
Swiss coronavirus death toll rises to 484, cases jump by more than 1,000 -- Reuters
Sweden's liberal pandemic strategy questioned as Stockholm death toll mounts -- Reuters
Ukraine tightens restrictions to fight coronavirus spread -- Reuters
Latvia reports first death of a COVID-19 patient: health ministry -- Reuters
Animated graph shows how Luxembourg has the world's most coronavirus infections per head, ahead of Spain and Switzerland -- Daily Mail

Covid-19 Coronavirus Pandemic Medical News And Information -- April 3, 2020

Beijing's chief medical advisor Dr Zhong (pictured on February 27) said he worried about what would happen in America, adding 'the problem of the US will be the problem of the world'

Daily Mail: China's top coronavirus expert warns of 'a disaster of the whole world' if the US fails to contain the spread of the bug

* 'The problem of the US will be the problem of the world', said Dr Zhong Nanshan
* He warned of a looming global disaster if the bug continues to spread so quickly
* Comes amid a tit-for-tat row between the two countries over the global outbreak
* More than a million people have contracted the virus and over 53,000 have died

Beijing's chief medical advisor on the novel coronavirus has questioned the US governments' abilities to fight the pandemic amid a tit-for-tat row between the two nations over the global emergency.

Epidemiologist Zhong Nanshan claimed he worried about what would happen in America, adding 'the problem of the US will be the problem of the world', according to reports.

He warned of a looming global disaster if the killer bug continues to spread at the current rate. He urged the US authorities to enforce stricter lockdown measures.

Read more ....

Covid-19 Coronavirus Pandemic Medical News And Information -- April 3, 2020

Coronavirus may spread through normal breathing: US scientists -- AFP
When will a coronavirus vaccine be ready? -- The Guardian
Coronavirus: US death rates v China, Italy and South Korea -- BBC
For some survivors, coronavirus complications can last a ‘lifetime’ -- France 24
Russian scientists retract coronavirus genome sequence that set alarm bells ringing -- SCMP
Doctors around the world say hydroxychloroquine, which was touted by Trump, is the best treatment they've used on coronavirus patients in survey of 6,200 medics -- Daily Mail
Polio immunization drives suspended due to COVID-19 -- UPI
Coronavirus: Google reveals travel habits during the pandemic -- BBC
Coronavirus: Where will be the last place to catch Covid-19? -- Owen Amos, BBC News

Covid-19 Coronavirus Pandemic In The U.S. -- News Updates April 3 - 4, 2020

Daily Mail: Coronavirus deaths in the U.S. rise by 929 to over 7,000 with more than 272,000 confirmed cases across the country - but outbreak's peak could still be 13 days away

* The death toll from the coronavirus in the United States is now 7,007
* It rose by 929 new deaths on Friday with 29,570 new cases
* National cases now total 272,168
* Models show that the peak of the outbreak is still to hit in 12 to 13 days
* New hotspots continue to emerge in Michagan, Louisiana and Georgia
* New York remains the epicenter suffering 23 deaths an hour in the past day

The coronavirus death toll in the United States tipped over 7,000 on Friday with 929 new deaths in the last 24 hours.

The national total now stands at 7,007 deaths and 272,168 cases, a jump of 29,570 new cases since Thursday.

New York City remains the epicenter of the outbreak with 51,809 cases, up 3,936 in the past day. The Big Apple's deaths reached 1,562 on Friday, recording 278 new deaths since Thursday.

Read more ....

Covid-19 Coronavirus Pandemic In The U.S. -- News Updates April 3 - 4, 2020

US records 1,169 new coronavirus deaths, the highest one-day toll recorded in any country -- France 24
US suffers worst daily death toll in the world at nearly 1,200 -- Al Jazeera
The rapid rise in US coronavirus cases: America now has DOUBLE the number of infections as Europe epicenter Spain and is reporting five times as many illnesses as China did during its peak -- Daily Mail
New York in 'race against time' as death tolls jump in U.S. virus hot spots -- Reuters
New York's death rate leaps to new high of 562 in a day: Cuomo reveals 23 people died every HOUR over last 24hrs - bringing the total to 2,935 and 102,863 infections - more than the number of those killed in NYC on 9/11 -- Daily Mail
New York state sees highest daily jump in Covid-19 deaths, from total of 2,373 to 2,935 – Governor Cuomo -- RT
Coronavirus death toll in NYC hits 1,867 and infections top 56,000 as mayor De Blasio urges Trump to form national enlistment to create an army of doctors to battle the disease in the city -- Daily Mail
CDC recommends face coverings for people leaving home -- The Hill
Amid new research, US recommends face masks to stop virus spread -- France 24
Coronavirus: Trump to defy 'voluntary' advice for Americans to wear masks -- BBC
Facing Trump's wrath, 3M vows boosted mask production for US -- AFP
As coronavirus surge looms, field hospitals emerge across US -- AFP
Coronavirus: New York forced to redistribute ventilators -- BBC
13 things to know for today about coronavirus -- The Hill
Texas 'fully prepared' for coronavirus, does not see New York situation: governor -- Reuters
Trump administration cut pandemic early warning program in September -- The Guardian
Rural America braces for coronavirus -- The Hill
US says uninsured coronavirus patients will be covered -- France 24
How many coronavirus cases does each US state have? -- Al Jazeera

Covid-19 Coronavirus Pandemic -- Live Updates April 3 - 4, 2020

Covid-19 Coronavirus Pandemic -- Live Updates April 3 - 4, 2020

Coronavirus latest: Over 90 countries request emergency funds -- DW
Latest on the spread of the coronavirus around the world -- Reuters
Coronavirus latest: UN chief calls for global ceasefire amid infection fears; Corona beer maker halts production -- SCMP
Coronavirus update: Germany accuses US of 'wild west' tactics to obtain protective gear -- ABC News Online
Falklands confirms first case of coronavirus – as it happened -- The Guardian
Coronavirus: Travel restrictions, border shutdowns by country -- Al Jazeera
'Major recession' seen amid coronavirus crisis: Live updates -- Al Jazeera
WHO reports jump by 76,000 coronavirus cases in past day -- TASS
Coronavirus: World Health Organisation reverses course, now supports wearing face masks in public -- SCMP
WHO warns more young people dying from coronavirus -- The Hill
Coronavirus: Which countries have confirmed cases? -- Al Jazeera

Tonight's Movie Is 'Depth Charge'

WNU Editor: A rogue Navy officer and his team of mercenaries hijack a nuclear submarine and hold the world hostage. The crew work to stop them before the crazed commander can launch the weapons.

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- April 3, 2020

Linton Besser, ABC News Online: Coronavirus might be giving some European governments an excuse to tighten grip on power

On the evening of Sunday, March 15, Blaz Zgaga was at home watching television when he received a Twitter notification.

He opened his phone to check it and felt his blood run cold.

Slovenia's new COVID-19 authority had just republished a message which named him and three others, suggesting they were on the run: "Psychiatrists are looking for four patients who escaped quarantine."

"I was shocked," he told the ABC. "And I was scared."

Read more ....

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- April 3, 2020

Exclusive - 'Things under control': how Europe sleepwalked into the coronavirus crisis -- Francesco Guarascio, Reuters

Coronavirus could be final straw for EU, European experts warn -- Jennifer Rankin, The Guardian

As the coronavirus triggers a global economic crisis, just how bad could it get? -- Arthur Sullivan, DW

As world battles virus, governments under fire -- France 24

'We are only at the beginning of the coronavirus crisis,' says economic historian -- Nicolas Martin, DW

China’s Coming Upheaval -- Minxin Pei, Foreign Affairs

The Coronavirus Won’t Kill the Islamic Republic -- Kenneth M. Pollack, Foreign Policy

Will coronavirus reverse globalisation? -- Jonty Bloom, BBC

Should NATO be doing more to tackle the coronavirus? -- Teri Schultz, DW

Coronavirus: What could the West learn from Asia? -- Helier Cheung, BBC

Can Iran’s President Turn Around Its Economy? -- Bijan Khajehpour, Al Monitor

Lebanese Armed Forces must act against Hezbollah to retain America’s military aid -- Bradley Bowman, Defense News

Greece exploits coronavirus in refugee dispute with Turkey -- Robert Schwartz, DW

World News Briefs - April 3, 2020 (Evening Edition)

Daily Mail: Germany accuses the US of 'modern day piracy' for seizing a shipment of medical equipment - as French officials claim they were forced to fight with American buyers for millions of masks on a Chinese tarmac

* The United States allegedly 'confiscated' 200,000 3M masks that Germany had ordered for their medical workers
* Berlin officials blasted the US, with one claiming President Trump is showing 'a lack of solidarity' with other countries caught up in the coronavirus pandemic
* It comes after two French officials alleged that they were outbid by Americans on millions of medical masks in China; the US has denied that allegation
* Trump has been desperately trying to secure medical equipment for American healthcare workers as COVID-19 cases surpassed 250,000 in the US
* However, Germany and France have also been hit hard by the outbreak, with tens of thousands of their citizens also sickened by the contagious virus

The United States has angered Germany and France after allegedly seizing millions of masks set to be shipped to the European nations amid the coronavirus crisis.

On Friday, German officials hit out at America for 'intercepting' 200,000 masks they had ordered from a 3M factory in China.

As 3M is an American-owned company, the US was able to 'confiscate' the shipment of special FFP2 and FFP3 masks which were on their way to healthcare workers battling the COVID-19 outbreak in Berlin.

'We consider that an act of modern piracy,' Berlin's interior minister Andreas Geisel blasted.

Read more ....


WHO warns Middle East must act quickly to contain coronavirus.

Iran parliament speaker, Israeli health minister have virus.

Coronavirus fuels domestic violence in the Middle East.

U.N. worried about Iran prisoners amid coronavirus outbreak.

Tumbling oil prices leave Iraq facing a perfect storm.

Iraq on the brink of civil war as oil revenues evaporate.

Turkish forces bombard Syrian government positions in Manbij, north Syria - report.

Holiest cities in Islam under 24-hour curfew.


Chinese ship hits and sinks Vietnamese fishing boat in South China Sea, detains crew.

China urges foreign diplomats to stay away.

Coronavirus: China to stage day of mourning on Saturday for thousands killed by Covid-19.

Coronavirus: China’s unemployment crisis mounts, but nobody knows true number of jobless.

China scrambles to plug border gaps as thousands flood home.

North Korea sanctions need to be eased, South group says.

Pakistan worshippers clash with police trying to enforce coronavirus lockdown.

Afghan leader Ashraf Ghani urges chief rival to lead talks with Taliban.


Pandemic devastates growth prospects in West African states Coronavirus hurts economic growth in Sahel states.

Guinea constitutional court ratifies referendum result.

Libyan forces kill 20 militants loyal to opposition leader.

Lesotho PM says rivals plotting to oust him, orders probe.

Mali: Abducted Soumaila Cisse 'doing well', release talks on.

Senegal postpones Independence Day celebrations.

Alarm as coronavirus curbs disrupt East Africa fight on locusts.

Guinea-Bissau convicts 12 for smuggling record 1.8 tonnes of cocaine.


Coronavirus deaths reach more than 30,000 in Europe.

Coronavirus: Europe's care homes struggle as deaths rise.

EU to fly home another 250,000 nationals stranded by coronavirus.

Putin discussed global energy market situation with Security Council. Russia stays in close contact with Saudi Arabia on oil market issues, says Putin.

International flights evacuating Russians from abroad to be suspended from April 4.

Spat over presidential election tests Poland's ruling coalition.

Coronavirus: UK among economies risking record slump.

Queen Elizabeth to record rare televised address on COVID-19.


Trump, Macron weigh U.N. leaders' meeting on coronavirus: White House.

White House: Anyone 'in close proximity' to Trump or Pence will be tested for coronavirus.

Coronavirus: US 'wants 3M to end mask exports to Canada and Latin America'.

Coronavirus: Justin Trudeau hints at retaliation after White House orders 3M to halt ‘critical’ N95 mask exports to Canada health workers.

US employment plunges in March amid worsening coronavirus damage.

UN predicts 'deep recession' in LatAm due to virus.

Canada: Ontario warned to expect 15,000 deaths from coronavirus.

Argentina's lockdown: More people out of work and food.

Venezuelan Navy boat rams German cruise ship and sinks.

EU backs US plan for Venezuela transitional government.

Mexico murder rate reaches new high as violence rages amid Covid-19 spread .


Exclusive: Pakistani Taliban down but not out, says ex-spokesman.

Pakistan prevents release of 4 cleared in 2002 death of Daniel Pearl.

Weakened ISIL's sectarian agenda exacts heavy toll in Afghanistan.


Wall Street falls as coronavirus shreds U.S. payrolls.

Coronavirus upends global food supply chains in latest economic shock.

Coronavirus could cost the global economy $4.1 trillion – five per cent of worldwide output – Asian Development Bank warns.

Global economy will suffer for years to come, says OECD.

Pandemic-led recession 'way worse' than 2008 crisis, IMF says.

Oil price barrels ahead as OPEC flags meeting.

Mexican brewer ceases production of Corona beer.

Oil giants meet at White House amid talk of buying strategic reserves.

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- April 3, 2020

Daily Mail: 'Loose lips sink ships': Navy chief Thomas Modly says sacked Theodore Roosevelt captain put his crew 'at risk' with leaked coronavirus letter because 'our adversaries in the region think that one of our warships might be crippled'

* Acting US Navy Secretary Thomas Modly said on Friday Capt. Brett Crozier went outside chain of command
* Modly on Thursday fired Crozier, relieving him of command of the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt
* Sailors from the Roosevelt posted video on social media showing massive salute to ousted commander
* Crozier was fired days after he penned letter to Navy leaders calling for immediate evacuation of Roosevelt
* Modly said decision was driven by fact he shared letter with at least 20 others before it was leaked to press
* The secretary insisted that he was not accusing Crozier of leaking the letter to the press himself
* However, US officials told Reuters that the Navy did believe he was responsible for the leak
* The USS Roosevelt was docked in Guam last week after 25 crew members tested positive for COVID-19
* 'About 140' sailors on the nuclear aircraft carrier have since tested positive, according to Modly
* Modly said 95 have 'mild to moderate flu-like symptoms' while 42 are asymptomatic. Zero are hospitalized
* Navy is in the process of evacuating 2,700 sailors from the ship in addition to the 1,000 already evacuated
* Locals in Guam have expressed anger over hosting infected sailors at their hotels

The acting secretary of the United States Navy has defended his decision to fire the commander of the USS Theodore Roosevelt saying he put the crew 'at risk' by sending a letter demanding they be quarantined after an outbreak of coronavirus.

Thomas Modly said America's enemies might think the aircraft carrier was 'crippled' after a letter written by its captain Brett Crozier was leaked.

It came as videos emerged of Captain Crozier being given a rowdy farewell by his crew who were chanting his name as he left the warship.

Read more ....

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- April 3, 2020

Lawmakers call for investigation into aircraft carrier captain's firing -- The Hill

A Navy Captain’s Brave Fight Against Coronavirus -- James Stavridis, Bloomberg

The US Navy’s hospital ships in the COVID-19 fight badly need replacing -- Defense News

US military preparing to deploy additional forces to support coronavirus response -- CNN

Top general: Pentagon has brought 3.5M test swabs from Italy to US -- The Hill

COVID-19 NEWS: Air Force Weapon Programs on Track Despite Pandemic -- National Defense

COVID-19 NEWS: Navy to Accelerate Contract Awards -- National Defense

Navy accelerating large contracts to mitigate effects of COVID-19 -- UPI

The Military and the Pandemic: An Explainer of the National Guard’s Role in the COVID-19 Response -- Dennis Bittle, Modern War Institute

US Army Predicted Worst Case Scenario of 150,000 COVID-19-Related Deaths in Early February – Report -- Sputnik

Army Wants To Train Soldiers in Coronavirus 'Safety Bubbles' -- Katie Bo Williams, Defense One

China Concealed Extent of Virus Outbreak, U.S. Intelligence Says -- Bloomberg

The military must balance national security risks with the health of its troops -- Meghann Myers, Military Times

Marines Won’t Cut Planned F-35 Buy Totals for Now, But External Review Could Change That -- USNI News

The Pentagon Just Bought a Bunch of F-35s -- Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics

Will Commandant Berger’s New Marine Corps Be a High-Tech Forlorn Hope? -- Dan Gouré, RCD

Marine Corps to Undergo ‘Radical’ Overhaul -- Ben Wolfgang, The Washington Times

Top Marine says Light Armored Reconnaissance is outmoded on future battlefield -- Marine Times

Pentagon Will Make Firms Compete for Ground-Based Midcourse Defense Contracts -- Sputnik

Five Reasons Raytheon Technologies Is Destined To Dominate Aerospace & Defense -- Loren Thompson, Forbes

Boeing nabs $84.7M to build 3 more MQ-25s for Navy -- UPI

Military Leaders Worry About Health of Commercial Airlines -- Defense One

U.S. Deploys Patriot Missiles in Iraq As Tensions With Iran Rise -- Stars and Stripes

Lockheed Martin Awarded $512 Million Contract to Build Eight F-16 Aircraft for Bulgaria -- Sputnik

Game Over? Foreign Military Forces Pull Out of Major Drills in Sweden Amid COVID-19 Pandemic -- Sputnik

Canada pulls military trainers out of Iraq as pandemic spreads -- CBC News

Russian Navy to Get First Borei-A Class Nuclear-Powered Submarine in April - Shipbuilder -- Sputnik

Russia is behind in military space capabilities, but that only drives its appetite -- Defense News

Russian Military Holding Drills to Defend Crimea From Air Attack -- Sputnik

Russia develops one of world’s most powerful 9mm pistol rounds -- TASS

China's Domestically Developed High-End Missile Sees First Export Delivery Despite Pandemic -- Sputnik

Chinese air force’s drill ‘aimed at signalling deterrent around Taiwan’ -- SCMP

Is Taiwan Really Buying the 'Wrong' Weapons? -- Corey Lee Bell, The Diplomat

U.S. Navy Hospital Ship USNS Comfort Deployed To NYC With 1,000 Bed Capacity Is Only Treating A Handful Of Patients

CNN: Navy hospital ship deployed to NYC with 1,000 bed capacity is only treating 22 patients

A US Navy hospital ship currently docked in New York City harbor is treating only 22 patients as of Friday afternoon, despite having a 1,000 bed capacity to treat non-coronavirus patients, according to a US Navy official.

Navy officials told CNN that they expect the number of patients being treated to increase significantly in the coming days as the process of referring patients to the ship is refined.

The USNS Comfort was deployed to New York City, the epicenter of the virus outbreak in the United States, to free up capacity in the city's civilian hospitals so that they can focus on treating coronavirus patients.

New York City's hospitals have been overwhelmed with coronavirus cases and are struggling to respond to patients constantly streaming in. A shortage of personal protective equipment has also placed medical workers at risk of contracting the virus. On Thursday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that the temporary hospital facility at the Javits Convention Center, which holds 2,500 beds, will now treat Covid-19 patients.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The mayor is right. I am sure this ship will be treating a lot of patients soon .... Coronavirus in NY: De Blasio says USNS Comfort will fill up with patients (NYPost).

More News On The U.S. Navy Hospital Ship USNS Comfort Deployed To NYC

'It's a joke': NYC health execs express fury that 1,000 bed USNS Comfort has only 20 patients on board because of red tape, while cornavirus crisis rages in NYC with 51,809 cases and 1,562 deaths -- Daily Mail
Pentagon adjusts coronavirus screening process for care on hospital ship in New York -- CNBC
NYC Hospital Chief Calls U.S. Navy Ship's Coronavirus Relief Efforts 'a Joke' as Hundreds of Beds Lay Empty Amid Crisis -- Newsweek
USNS Comfort Hospital Ship Was Supposed to Aid New York. It Has 3 Patients. -- New York Times
Navy hospital ship in New York changes patient screening process -- The Hill
The hospital ship USNS Comfort is treating only a small number of patients, but the military is scrambling to fix that -- Business Insider

Reuters Loses Its License To Operate In Iraq After Reporting That There Are Thousands Of More Covid-19 Cases Than What Is Reported

An Iraqi soldier wearing a protective suit sprays disinfectant to sanitize a street, during a curfew imposed to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Baghdad, Iraq March 31, 2020.REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani

Reuters: Iraq has confirmed thousands more COVID-19 cases than reported, medics say

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraq has thousands of confirmed COVID-19 cases, many times more than the 772 it is has publicly reported, according to three doctors closely involved in the testing process, a health ministry official and a senior political official.

The sources all spoke on condition of anonymity. Iraqi authorities have instructed medical staff not to speak to the media.

Iraq’s health ministry, the only official outlet for information on the coronavirus, dismissed the sources’ reading of the spread of the disease.

“It’s incorrect information,” said Saif al-Badr, the health ministry spokesman, in a text message sent to Reuters without elaborating.

The ministry said in its latest daily statement on Thursday that the total recorded confirmed cases for Iraq were 772, with 54 deaths.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The Iraqi government is denying reports that they are under-counting the number of Covid-19 cases in their country (see below):

Iraq denies coronavirus news report; suspends Reuters' licence (Al Jazeera)
Coronavirus: Iraq suspends Reuters' licence after report on infection numbers (Middle East Eye)
Iraq bans Reuters over coronavirus reports (Middle East Monitor)

Will The Afghan Army Fall Apart When The U.S. Leaves?


National Interest: Will the Afghan Army Disintegrate After U.S. Withdrawal?

If the Afghans don’t demonstrate political maturity and foresightedness, then their actions will lead to the disintegration of the Afghan army for a third time in a century.

As the United States starts to pull out its troops from Afghanistan, its Afghan allies—primarily the Afghan army—are left to fend for themselves. While for the time being the Afghans are reassured of continued U.S. assistance, there’s little reason to believe the U.S. will keep its word. Once U.S. troops pull out completely—which is expected to happen by June 2021—the Afghan army’s fate will hang in the balance.

Since 1880, Afghanistan has tried three times to build a national army from scratch. All three attempts have been made with assistance from a major foreign power. When Amir Abdur Rahman Khan came to power in 1880, he needed a strong army to crush his opponents and restore order. Since Abdur Rahman Khan lacked the resources and funds to raise and maintain an army, the British came to his rescue. With British annual subsidies and arms supplies, Abdur Rahman Khan built a hundred thousand strong army.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: A good historical review of the Afghan Army, and I agree with the three possible scenarios that the above author lists. My prediction. Afghanistan is a deeply divided country, and there will be no unity government in the future. With no money the Afghan Army will break down, probably within a few months.

White House Orders 3M To Stop Exporting N95 Masks To Canada And Elsewhere

Reuters: Trump says 3M 'will have a big price to pay' over face masks

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump slammed 3M Co (MMM.N) in a tweet late on Thursday after earlier announcing he was invoking the Defense Production Act to get the company to produce face masks.

“We hit 3M hard today after seeing what they were doing with their Masks. ‘P Act’ all the way.’ Big surprise to many in government as to what they were doing - will have a big price to pay!” Trump said on Twitter.

At a White House briefing on the coronavirus pandemic earlier on Thursday, Trump announced he had signed a Defense Production Act order for 3M to produce face masks. “Hopefully they’ll be able to do what they are supposed to do,” he said, without elaborating.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Here is the order from the White House telling 3M to prioritize American orders for medical-grade protective face masks .... Memorandum on Order Under the Defense Production Act Regarding 3M Company (White House). The reaction has been predictable .... 3M warns Trump: Halting exports under Defense Production Act would reduce number of masks available to US (CNBC). More here .... Trudeau warns U.S. against denying exports of medical supplies to Canada (Politico).

More News On The White House Ordering 3M To Stop Exporting N95 Masks To Canada And Elsewhere

Trump says administration "hit 3M hard" over face masks -- CBS
3M says Trump officials have told it to stop sending face masks to Canada. Trudeau responds -- National Post
Coronavirus: Trump asks medical supply firm 3M to stop selling N95 respirators to Canada -- Global News

Trump blasts 3M as company says mask demand far exceeds ability to produce them -- USA Today

The Covid-19 Coronavirus Pandemic Is Forcing the U.S. Intelligence Community To Change How It Works

Charles Clancy, The Hill: COVID-19 is forcing the intelligence community to think outside the SCIF

The COVID-19 outbreak is forcing all federal agencies to contemplate teleworking at scale. This creates unique challenges for the secretive intelligence community (IC), whose culture is anchored in security clearances, windowless buildings, classified computer networks, and in-person meetings with trusted colleagues. This cultural identity is not conducive to accomplishing missions during a prolonged pandemic, and its workforce must be effective outside Sensitive Compartmented Information Facilities (SCIFs).

This comes while intelligence tradecraft is radically shifting. New technology is altering notions of connectivity and privacy. Open-source data is king. Commercial intelligence companies are blossoming. From satellite imagery to cell phone tracking data, intelligence is mainstream and being monetized by everyone from Wall Street to Silicon Valley.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The intelligence community and its workforce cannot operate from home with current existing technologies. The above analysis is correct that how federal agencies operated in the past is not feasible in the current environment.

Venezuelan Warship Sinks After Deliberately Ramming A Cruise Ship Multiple Times In International Waters

(Top) The RCGS 'Ice Class' RCGS Resolute, (Bottom) The Guaicamacuto-class Naiguatá | One Ocean Expeditions, Instagram, Luis García Curado, Cádiz

DW: Venezuelan Navy boat rams German cruise ship and sinks

The German vessel was heading to a Venezuelan island for repairs when it was shot at and rammed by the Navy patrol boat. The cruise firm says its ship suffered minor damage but the smaller boat sank.

A Venezuelan Navy patrol boat purposefully collided with a German cruise ship in international waters off the South American country, German media reported on Friday.

The Resolute cruise ship had a crew of 32 but no passengers on board at the time of the incident, just after midnight on March 30.

The Hamburg-based Colombia Cruise Services said the vessel was the target of "an act of aggression" by the Venezuelan Navy as it was traveling to Isla de Tortuga for routine maintenance.

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WNU Editor: There are some things that you just cannot make up.

More News On A Venezuelan Warship Sinking After Deliberately Ramming A Cruise Ship Multiple Times In International Waters

Venezuela navy vessel sinks after 'ramming cruise ship' -- BBC
Venezuelan naval boat rams passenger cruise liner, damages itself, sinks -- CNN
Venezuelan naval vessel goes down after confrontation with Portuguese cruise ship -- The Telegraph
Cruise ship sunk Venezuelan Navy ship after being fired at and rammed. Don’t mess with RESOLUTE. -- Maritime Bulletin
Venezuela coast guard ship tries to ram German cruise liner, sinks -- The Week
This Venezuelan Patrol Ship Sunk Itself After Ramming A Cruise Liner With A Reinforced Hull -- Warzone/The Drive