ON MAY 1, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published a report that outlined how coronavirus spread in the U.S. via European travel to the New York metropolitan area, despite a popular narrative that China was the main conduit for the disease. So why was the U.S. quick to halt flights from China, but slow when it came to Europe?
Experts say that ingrained racism informed policymakers’ and the media’s favorable views toward European countries, and that even when presented with direct evidence to the contrary, those biases impeded important public health measures that would have kept people safe.
“Race and racism disallowed the U.S. from recognizing Europe as a threat,” said Khiara Bridges, an anthropologist and professor of law at University of California, Berkeley. Read more…
Ankara draws a line under issues with foreign countries, with assistance also earmarked for countries such as Serbia and Armenia
The Turkish government has decided to sell medical supplies to Israel this week as part of its policy of humanitarian diplomacy amid the coronavirus outbreak, Turkish officials told Middle East Eye on Friday.
Israeli officials approached Ankara with a list of requests this month and Turkey approved the sale, a sign that both countries intended to maintain their bilateral relations even though they have major regional disagreements, from the Gaza Strip to the status of Jerusalem.
The shipment was expected to include medical masks, protective equipment and hazmat suits. One Turkish official with knowledge of the deal told Middle East Eye that it would take some time to complete the bureaucratic process as there was an export ban on medical material. Read more
In defending his strategy against the deadly coronavirus, President Donald Trump repeatedly has said he slowed its spread into the United States by acting decisively to bar travelers from China on Jan. 31.
“I was criticized by the Democrats when I closed the Country down to China many weeks ahead of what almost everyone recommended. Saved many lives,” he tweeted, for instance, on March 2.
But Reuters has found that the administration took a month from the time it learned of the outbreak in late December to impose the initial travel restrictions amid furious infighting.
During that time, the National Security Council staff, the state department and other federal agencies argued about everything from how best to screen for sick travelers to the economic impact of any restrictions, according to two government officials familiar with the deliberations.
The NSC staff ultimately proposed aggressive travel restrictions to high-level administration officials – but it took at least a week more for the president to adopt them, one of the government officials said.
In meetings, Matthew Pottinger, deputy national security adviser and a China expert, met opposition from Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and National Economic Council director Larry Kudlow, said two former NSC officials and one of the government officials involved in the deliberations. The two top aides were concerned about economic fallout from barring travelers from China, the sources said. Read more
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved emergency use for a portable, fast, swab test for the coronavirus Friday which can provide results in less than 15 minutes.
The IDNOW, from Abbott (ABT), is the first approved portable test and allows for an existing testing instrument used in 18,000 locations around the U.S.,to be used at a point-of-care in doctor’s offices, urgent care and hospitals. This same instrument is already used for flu and strep swabs. It also has the potential to be used at drive-thru tests, according to company officials.
Norman Moore, Abbott’s director of infectious diseases and scientific affairs, told Yahoo Finance that the device can also be used in parking-lot testing facilities currently being used by urgent care facilities.
The device weighs 6.6 pounds and tests a swab taken from the nose or throat, using a cartridge made by Abbott. The time for a positive result is 5 minutes, and a negative result will return in 13 minutes.
Abbott will be able to provide 50,000 tests by April 1 and will be able to provide 1 million per month of this test, Moore said.
‘The more we can test, the better we can isolate those that need to be isolated,” Moore said.
Robert Ford, president and COO of Abbott, said in a statement that the test adds a new way for health-care workers to fight the virus.
“With rapid testing on IDNOW, health care providers can perform molecular point-of-care testing outside the traditional four walls of a hospital in outbreak hotspots,” he said.
The move is a game-changer for frontline health workers, who already got a boost from Abbott’s high-throughput test last week, which can provide results in less than an hour.
Testing thus far has been handled primarily by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) testing kit, as well as by some commercial labs such as Quest Diagnostic (DGX) and Labcorp (LH)— all of which require mailing swabs to labs for testing. Read more
Democrats are obsessed with impeachment, and no wonder — they would rather not draw attention to President Trump’s economic success, nor their plan to upend it.
Friday’s stellar jobs report was yet another indication that the country is experiencing something that was missing during eight years of the Barack Obama presidency: an economic boom that has spread wealth beyond shareholders and the super-rich. Read more…
HOLLYWOOD, Fla. — Addressing an audience of Jewish Americans on Saturday, President Donald Trump clearly relished the chants of “four more years” and the peppering of red “Make America Great Again” hats throughout the crowded ballroom.
“The Jewish state has never had a better friend in the White House than your president, Donald J. Trump,” he proudly told thousands gathered at the Israeli-American Council National Summit before lashing Hillary Clinton, Democrats and the previous administration. Read more…
Bangladesh is blocking hundreds of thousands of Rohingya children from accessing meaningful education, Human Rights Watch said on Tuesday, urging authorities to lift restrictions on schooling in refugee camps.
In a report called ‘Are we not human?’, Human Rights Watch accused Bangladesh of violating the rights of 400,000 school age children who have fled Myanmar and are currently living in the Cox’s Bazaar refugee camps.
“Depriving an entire generation of children of education is in no one’s interest,” Bill Van Esveld, associate children’s rights director at Human Rights Watch told Reuters. “The international community needs to act and demand that Bangladesh and Myanmar change course.”
More than 730,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled Myanmar to neighboring Bangladesh since a 2017 crackdown by Myanmar’s military, which followed attacks by Rohingya insurgents.
The Human Rights Watch report said Bangladesh had banned Rohingya refugees from enrolling in schools outside the camps or taking national exams and also barred U.N. agencies and foreign aid groups from giving formal accredited education.
It accused Myanmar of not agreeing to recognize the use of its school curriculum in the camps.
Bangladesh’s Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commission Chief Mahbub Alam Talukder said it was untrue that children in the camps were not being educated and that there were 4,000 learning centers in the camps.
Donald Trump’s Republican congressional allies are throwing up different defenses against impeachment and hoping that something may sell. They say that he didn’t seek a corrupt political bargain with Ukraine, but that if he did, he failed, and the mere attempt is not impeachable. Or that it is not clear that he did it, because the evidence against him is unreliable “hearsay.”
It’s all been very confusing. But the larger story — the crucial constitutional story — is not the incoherence of the president’s defense. It is more that he and his party are exposing limits of impeachment as a response to the presidency of a demagogue.
The founders feared the demagogue, who figures prominently in the Federalist Papers as the politician who, possessing “perverted ambition,” pursues relentless self-aggrandizement “by the confusions of their country.” The last of the papers, Federalist No. 85, linked demagogy to its threat to the constitutional order — to the “despotism” that may be expected from the “victorious demagogue.” This “despotism” is achieved through systematic lying to the public, vilification of the opposition and, as James Fenimore Cooper wrote in an essay on demagogues, a claimed right to disregard “the Constitution and the laws” in pursuing what the demagogue judges to be the “interests of the people.”
Should the demagogue succeed in winning the presidency, impeachment in theory provides the fail-safe protection. And yet the demagogue’s political tool kit, it turns out, may be his most effective defense. It is a constitutional paradox: The very behaviors that necessitate impeachment supply the means for the demagogue to escape it. Read more…
Donald Trump arrives in London next week for a two-day Nato summit which will see him greeted on Tuesday evening by doctors, nurses and other NHS workers leading a protest of tens of thousands outside Buckingham Palace.
The protesters – aiming to highlight potential risks to the NHS in a future US-UK trade deal – will march from Trafalgar Square up the Mall, and gather at Canada Gate when Trump and other Nato leaders meet the Queen at a 6pm drinks reception.
It will mark the formal beginning of a short summit that has been in the diary for 18 months, but has ended up occurring at the closing stages of an election campaign, prompting jitters in No 10 – and making for Labour’s best hope of a comeback. Read more…
WASHINGTON — When Attorney General Jeff Sessions appeared before news cameras at the Justice Department in early September 2017 to announce that President Trump was ending deportation protections for young undocumented immigrants, he knew the administration had left itself more legally vulnerable than it should have.
At a contentious meeting in the White House Roosevelt Room several days earlier, Elaine C. Duke, then the acting secretary of homeland security, had broken with the rest of Mr. Trump’s team and balked at its demand that she issue a memo ending Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, the Obama-era program known as DACA that shields immigrants who were brought to the United States as children. Read more…