Lockdown tamps down Easter, Passover celebrations

Paris (AFP) Churches will be empty this Easter and Passover festivities will also take place behind closed doors owing to the COVID-19 lockdown. Christians will be obliged to turn to services broadcast on television or over social media this year owing to the coronavirus and Jews will mark the Passover holiday in their own homes … Continue reading Lockdown tamps down Easter, Passover celebrations

Why African Americans are dying at higher rates from COVID-19

Washington (AFP) The new coronavirus isn't picky about who it infects -- so why does data emerging from some states suggest that African Americans are bearing the brunt? Experts say the community is disproportionately impacted by underlying conditions linked to poverty, and often faces challenges in accessing testing and health care. "We know that blacks … Continue reading Why African Americans are dying at higher rates from COVID-19

Qatar, Russia deny buying World Cup rights

Doha (AFP) Qatar and Russia hit back at allegations of bribery on Tuesday after US prosecutors accused them of paying millions in bribes for the rights to host the 2018 and 2022 tournaments. According to US Justice Department documents released Monday, FIFA officials received bribes to vote in favour of awarding the 2018 World Cup … Continue reading Qatar, Russia deny buying World Cup rights

Dead, ill, cured: celebrities hit by the coronavirus

Paris (AFP) From world leaders and royalty to musicians, sports stars and actors, the coronavirus has hit millions around the world, including the rich and famous. Here is a roundup of high-profile figures who have died, been infected by or cured of COVID-19. Jazz great Ellis Marsalis (pictured 2009) died on April 1, 2020, aged … Continue reading Dead, ill, cured: celebrities hit by the coronavirus

US, Iraq to hold talks on troop future

Washington (AFP) The United States will hold talks with Iraq in June on the future of its troop presence in the country, whose parliament has voted to expel them, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Tuesday. With Iraq increasingly becoming a proxy battleground between Iran and the United States, President Donald Trump has refused to … Continue reading US, Iraq to hold talks on troop future

Germany caught up in mask fraud scheme

Berlin (AFP) Authorities in Germany have fallen victim to a multi-million-euro fraud involving masks much needed in the coronavirus pandemic, prosecutors said Tuesday. North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany's most populous state and one of the hardest hit, paid 14.7 million euros for some 10 million masks in March only to discover they did not exist, according to … Continue reading Germany caught up in mask fraud scheme

New York records deadliest day in coronavirus crisis

NEW YORK (REUTERS) - New York has suffered its deadliest day in the novel coronavirus pandemic, with 731 fatalities in the last 24 hours, although Governor Andrew Cuomo said hospitalisations were reaching a plateau in a promising sign for the hardest-hit state. Even as the total number of deaths reached 5,489 across New York, Cuomo … Continue reading New York records deadliest day in coronavirus crisis

Coronavirus: Trump administration to keep critical medical supplies in US, says Mike Pompeo

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday (April 7) announced an additional US$225 million (S$320 million) in US aid for global efforts to fight the coronavirus pandemic, but said the Trump administration will keep critical medical supplies in the United States, given the domestic need. "Right now, given the great need for … Continue reading Coronavirus: Trump administration to keep critical medical supplies in US, says Mike Pompeo

Trump press secretary Stephanie Grisham steps down

WASHINGTON (AFP) President Donald Trump's chief spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham, who never held a single press briefing in a White House where Trump runs much of the communications himself, stepped down on Tuesday (April 7). The White House said Grisham would now work solely for Trump's wife Melania. President Donald Trump's chief spokesman, Ms Stephanie Grisham, … Continue reading Trump press secretary Stephanie Grisham steps down

Saudi Arabia expects virus cases to spike to up to 200,000: Minister

RIYADH (AFP) Saudi Arabia's health minister on Tuesday (April 7) warned of a huge spike in coronavirus cases of up to 200,000 within weeks, state media reported. The warning comes a day after the kingdom extended the duration of daily curfews in multiple cities, including the capital Riyadh, to 24 hours in a bid to limit the spread of … Continue reading Saudi Arabia expects virus cases to spike to up to 200,000: Minister

Millions of aviation jobs at risk, airlines can’t afford refunds amid coronavirus outbreak: Iata

LONDON (REUTERS) Global airlines warned that 25 million jobs across the world could be at risk from the coronavirus travel downturn and the industry's representative body said airline finances were so fragile they could not afford to refund customers. The International Air Transport Association (Iata) has held a series of weekly news conferences, issuing increasingly desperate messages … Continue reading Millions of aviation jobs at risk, airlines can’t afford refunds amid coronavirus outbreak: Iata

Israel makes masks in public compulsory

JERUSALEM (Reuters) The Israeli government issued orders on Tuesday making the wearing of masks in public compulsory to try to stem the spread of the coronavirus. It also approved a timeline for tightened travel restrictions for the Passover holiday, which begins on Wednesday when Jewish families gather for the festive "seder" meal commemorating the Biblical … Continue reading Israel makes masks in public compulsory