On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average plummeted 10% on Thursday in its biggest drop since 1987. Airlines and cruise companies have been particularly hard hit. Major international cruise lines, including Princess Cruises and Viking, have suspended operations. President Trump’s ban on Europeans flying into the United States from 26 European countries goes into effect tonight at midnight.
The stock market losses came despite the Federal Reserve injecting about $1.5 trillion into the financial system in an effort to prop up the markets. Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich tweeted, “Total student loan debt: $1.7 trillion. Total cost of the Fed’s short-term bank funding: $1.5 trillion. America has socialism for the rich, harsh capitalism for everyone else.” Rev. William Barber of the Poor People’s Campaign tweeted, “Overnight they found $1.5 trillion for Wall St, but they can’t find money to provide healthcare & living wages for 140 mil poor & low wealth people in America.”
The press secretary of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has tested positive for COVID-19. The official was photographed last week standing shoulder to shoulder with President Trump — and just a few feet from Vice President Mike Pence — during Bolsonaro’s recent trip to Florida. The official is also seen standing just behind Trump in video taken at the meeting at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort. South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, who was at the Mar-a-Lago meeting, says he will self-quarantine while awaiting the results of a coronavirus test; so will Florida Senator Rick Scott, who met separately with Bolsonaro and the aide on Monday. The White House, however, said President Trump does not plan to get tested.
Meanwhile, Australia’s Home Minister Peter Dutton has tested positive for coronavirus. Last week he met with President Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump and Attorney General William Barr.
In Canada, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, the wife of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, tested positive for COVID-19 Thursday. She reported mild flu-like symptoms after a trip to the U.K. Prime Minister Trudeau says he does not have symptoms but will work from isolation for 14 days.
In Iraq, the United States launched a series of air raids targeting Iran-backed militia groups. The U.S. described the attacks as retaliation for a rocket attack that killed two U.S. soldiers and a British Army medic on Wednesday. Al Jazeera reports Iraq’s military confirmed the U.S. air raids late Thursday night hit four locations, including an airport under construction in the holy city of Karbala. There have been injuries but no fatalities reported so far. No one has claimed responsibility for Wednesday’s rocket attack against British and U.S. troops, but the U.S. blamed the Iranian-backed Kata’ib Hezbollah militia.
In the United States, U.S. Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning will soon be released from jail after one year behind bars on contempt charges for refusing to cooperate in a federal grand jury investigation into WikiLeaks. The order for her immediate release comes one day after Manning was hospitalized in Virginia after she reportedly attempted suicide at a federal prison in Alexandria. On Thursday, Judge Anthony J. Trenga wrote, “The court finds Ms. Manning’s appearance before the grand jury is no longer needed, in light of which her detention no longer serves any coercive purpose.” Judge Trenga, however, rejected a request to cancel the fines imposed against Manning for refusing to testify. Manning will now have to pay $256,000. In 2013, Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison for leaking documents and video to WikiLeaks showing evidence of U.S. war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan. President Obama granted her clemency in 2017.
A vocal supporter of Donald Trump was sentenced Wednesday to a one-year prison term for threatening to assault and murder Minnesota Congressmember Ilhan Omar. Fifty-five-year-old Patrick Carlineo Jr., who told investigators he “loves the president” and “hates radical Muslims in our government,” called Omar’s office in 2018 and delivered the threat in an expletive-laden rant. Congressmember Omar is one of the first two Muslim women elected to Congress and is the only lawmaker to wear a hijab. At a sentencing hearing in federal court in western New York Wednesday, Carlineo received a shortened prison term after Congressmember Omar pleaded for leniency. She wrote in a statement to the judge, “The answer to hate is not more hate; it is compassion. He should understand the consequences of his actions, be given the opportunity to make amends and seek redemption.”
Top United Nations researchers are warning that polar ice caps are melting six times faster than they were in the 1990s, threatening sea level rise that will displace hundreds of millions of people by the end of the century. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says ice loss data from Greenland and Antarctica is in line with some of the most pessimistic predictions of climate change, and that even if global carbon emissions were somehow halted today, Arctic ice would continue to melt for another three decades.
In South Carolina, a 1988 anti-LGBTQ law that prohibited public schools from mentioning same-sex relationships in sex and health education has been declared unconstitutional by a U.S. district judge. The banning of the outdated law comes two weeks after a federal lawsuit was filed by the National Center for Lesbian Rights and Lambda Legal on behalf of a high school LGBTQ student organization and other LGBTQ rights groups. The lawsuit said the 1988 law violated the 14th Amendment by discriminating against LGBTQ students as it prevented them from having access to vital health education.
Colorado state lawmakers have approved a bill to replace Columbus Day with a holiday honoring Frances Xavier Cabrini — the patron saint of immigrants. The Leadership Council of the American Indian Movement of Colorado celebrated passage of the bill, writing, “For decades the holiday officially justified the substitution of fallacy for history in repeating a false narrative about the heroism of Columbus, while ignoring his brutality and crimes against the Indigenous peoples of the Americas.” If the bill is signed by Governor Jared Polis, Colorado will join 12 other states and dozens of local governments that will no longer celebrate Columbus Day. Most of them now celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day in its place.