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HeadlinesMarch 06, 2020

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3,500 Cruise Ship Passengers Quarantined Off California Coast over Coronavirus Fears

Mar 06, 2020

In California, a Coast Guard helicopter airlifted coronavirus test kits to the Grand Princess cruise ship Thursday as it remained quarantined off the coast of San Francisco with thousands of people on board. The ship was denied a port after some passengers and crew became ill. San Francisco Emergency Management Director Mary Ellen Carroll said the quarantine would remain in effect at least until test results are completed Friday morning.

Mary Ellen Carroll: “There are 2,383 passengers on board the ship and 1,100 crew members. Of that, a total of 35 have shown flu-like symptoms during the course of this 15-day cruise.”

Health officials are tracking down some 2,500 people who disembarked from an earlier cruise on the Grand Princess, after some passengers tested positive for coronavirus, including a 71-year-old man who died earlier this week.

Seattle Area Residents Urged to Work from Home as Coronavirus Spreads Across U.S.

Mar 06, 2020

Across the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed at least 227 novel coronavirus cases — though health officials say the true number is likely far higher due to a severe shortage of test kits in the U.S. Maryland declared a state of emergency Thursday after three Montgomery County residents became infected. There are also states of emergency in effect in California and Washington, where a 12th U.S. death was reported in King County on Thursday. Public health officials have recommended more than 2 million people in and around Seattle work from home, if possible.

The advice came despite President Trump’s remarks on Fox News Wednesday night, when he seemed to dismiss the idea that people who are feeling ill should stay out of the workplace.

President Donald Trump: “If, you know, we have thousands or hundreds of thousands of people that get better just by, you know, sitting around and even going to work — some of them go to work, but they get better.”

After the president’s comments sparked alarm among public health officials, Trump lashed out on Twitter, writing, “I NEVER said people that are feeling sick should go to work. This is just more Fake News and disinformation put out by the Democrats.”

This morning the White House canceled Trump’s planned trip to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. No reason for the cancellation was given. Trump is expected to sign an $8.3 billion coronavirus spending bill approved by the Senate yesterday.

World Health Organization’s Coronavirus Warning: “This Is Not a Drill”

Mar 06, 2020

In Geneva, the director of the World Health Organization said there’s a “long list of countries not doing enough” to combat the virus.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus: “We’re concerned that some countries have either not taken this seriously enough or have decided there is nothing they can do. … This is not a drill. This is not the time to give up. This is not a time for excuses. This is a time for pulling out all the stops.”

In a positive sign, Chinese officials reported a drop-off in new coronavirus cases in the central province of Hubei, where the outbreak began. But the virus continues to spread elsewhere in China and in other parts of the world.

In Egypt, health authorities reported 12 new coronavirus cases on a Nile cruise ship.

In the Middle East, both Israel and the Palestinian Authority ordered the closure of Bethlehem Thursday following the diagnosis of the first seven coronavirus cases seen in the West Bank.

Iran ordered nearly 60,000 mosques closed ahead of Friday prayers, as the coronavirus death toll rose to 124. Among the dead was a top Iranian diplomat. Meanwhile, 8% of Iran’s parliament has tested positive for coronavirus.

In France, a member of Parliament was sent to an intensive care unit after testing positive.

And Japan ordered a two-week quarantine for anyone hoping to enter the country from China or South Korea, sparking a diplomatic row.

Stocks Tumble as Coronavirus Rattles Global Economy

Mar 06, 2020

Stock markets around the world continued to tumble Thursday as fears grew of a global recession sparked by the coronavirus outbreak. On Wall Street, the Dow Jones dropped nearly 1,000 points, building on similar heavy losses in recent days. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note sank to a new record low in another sign of a looming recession.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren Suspends 2020 Presidential Bid

Mar 06, 2020

Senator Elizabeth Warren has suspended her bid for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, leaving the race down to two older white men: former Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Bernie Sanders. Warren broke the news in a call with her campaign staff Thursday before speaking to reporters outside her home in Cambridge.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren: “I was told at the beginning of this whole undertaking that there are two lanes — a progressive lane that Bernie Sanders is the incumbent for and a moderate lane that Joe Biden is the incumbent for — and there’s no room for anyone else in this. I thought that wasn’t right. But evidently I was wrong.”

Reporter: “Will you be making an endorsement today? We know that you spoke with both Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders yesterday.”

Sen. Elizabeth Warren: “Not today. Not today. I need some space around this and want to take a little time to think a little more.”

Supporters of Senator Bernie Sanders hope Warren will throw her support behind their candidate in order to form a united “progressive front” to take on former Vice President Joe Biden. Hawaii Congressmember Tulsi Gabbard remains in the race. We’ll have more on Senator Warren’s exit from the race after headlines.

Bernie Sanders Campaign Rally Disrupted by Protester with Nazi Flag

Mar 06, 2020

In more campaign news, there are increased concerns over Senator Sanders’s safety, after a man unfurled a Nazi flag Thursday night at a Sanders event in Phoenix, Arizona. Bystanders ripped the swastika from the man before security guards escorted him from the arena. Sanders is vying to become the country’s first Jewish president. Later in the evening, protesters waving flags bearing Trump’s name were also escorted from the Sanders rally after trying to disrupt the event.

Russia and Turkey Agree to a Ceasefire in Syria’s War-Torn Idlib

Mar 06, 2020

In Moscow, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced a ceasefire in Syria’s Idlib province Thursday, following six-hour talks at the Kremlin. A Russian-backed Syrian offensive against Turkish-backed rebels that began in December has killed more than 300 civilians and displaced nearly 1 million people. Under terms of the ceasefire, Turkey and Russia will create a secure corridor for Idlib residents to return to their homes.

Israel Accused of Collective Punishment After Demolishing Palestinian Homes

Mar 06, 2020

In the occupied West Bank, Israeli troops on Thursday bulldozed the homes of two Palestinian families whose relatives are blamed for an attack last year that killed an Israeli citizen. The home demolitions sparked a protest by Palestinians who threw stones at Israeli soldiers. The soldiers responded with tear gas and stun grenades. Israel’s military called the demolitions a “deterrence” aimed at preventing terrorism. Human rights groups condemned them as collective punishment and part of Israel’s campaign to illegally annex Palestinian land for Israeli settlements.

Israeli Opposition Parties Bidding to Unseat Netanyahu After Inconclusive Elections

Mar 06, 2020

In Israel, opposition groups are uniting in a bid to end Benjamin Netanyahu’s long-running career as prime minister, after Israel’s third election in less than a year failed to produce a clear winner. With officials still counting the last of the votes from Monday’s election, Netanyahu’s coalition remains three seats shy of the majority needed to form a government. In a televised address this week, Netanyahu accused his main opponent, Benny Gantz, of “linking up with terror supporters,” after Gantz’s Blue and White alliance partnered with a coalition of Arab-majority parties. Gantz could soon become prime minister, after Israel’s former Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said his far-right ultra-nationalist party would join Gantz’s coalition. Gantz is a former Israeli general whose campaign ads have boasted about Palestinian body counts and bombing Gaza back to the “stone ages.” Both Gantz and Netanyahu support Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian land, which are illegal under international law. This is Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat reacting to Monday’s election.

Saeb Erekat: “From the exit polls we have just seen, it’s obvious that annexation, settlements, apartheid won the elections. The whole election campaign was about annexation of the Jordan Valley, the Dead Sea, the settlements, Jerusalem, subjecting the Palestinian people to — further and deeper to the Israeli occupation, denying them the rights of determination.”

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Netanyahu is set to face trial March 17 on charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust.

Secretary of State Pompeo Condemns Probe of U.S. War Crimes in Afghanistan

Mar 06, 2020

In Washington, D.C., Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday condemned a decision by the International Criminal Court to probe alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Afghanistan by U.S. troops and the CIA. Speaking from the State Department, Pompeo said the United States would take steps to prevent its citizens from standing trial at The Hague.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo: “This is a truly breathtaking action by an unaccountable political institution masquerading as a legal body. It is all the more reckless for this ruling to come just days after the United States signed a historic peace deal on Afghanistan, which is the best chance for peace in a generation. … The United States is not a party to the ICC, and we will take all necessary measures to protect our citizens from this renegade, unlawful so-called court.”

ICC prosecutors say they have ample evidence that U.S. forces in Afghanistan “committed acts of torture, cruel treatment, outrages upon personal dignity, rape and sexual violence.” The ICC is also probing war crimes committed by U.S.-backed Afghan forces and the Taliban.

Human Rights Watch welcomed the ICC’s ruling, writing in a statement, “The ICC Appeals Chamber’s decision to greenlight an investigation of brutal crimes in Afghanistan despite extreme pressure reaffirms the court’s essential role for victims when all other doors to justice are closed.”

Cameroonian Asylum Seekers Transferred After Protesting Conditions in ICE Custody

Mar 06, 2020

In immigration news, 150 women from Cameroon who have been imprisoned for months in a for-profit ICE detention center in Texas have been transferred to other remote immigration jails, in apparent retaliation for their protests over indefinite detention and dangerous conditions.

In a letter sent to the advocacy group Grassroots Leadership last month headlined “A Cry for Help,” the Cameroonian women complained of medical neglect at the T. Don Hutto immigration jail, writing, “Some of our sisters are sick and not being well treated. Others are running mad due to trauma and stress. … The medical department is very rude to us, they tell us we’re pretending to be sick even when someone is in serious pain.”

The Cameroonian asylum seekers also say they’re being discriminated against, writing, “Almost all the white women we came in with and even others who came after us have been released on parole and bond but we’ve been denied both parole and bond.” Advocates fear the women now face possible deportation in retaliation for speaking out against the conditions in T. Don Hutto. The facility has for years been plagued by allegations of abuse.

Alabama Executes Prisoner Who Professed Innocence, After Supreme Court Denies Stay

Mar 06, 2020

In Alabama, condemned prisoner Nathaniel Woods offered no final words Thursday night as prison officials strapped him to a gurney and injected a lethal cocktail of drugs into his body. Witnesses say Woods showed labored breathing and jerked against his restraints before he fell still and was declared dead at 9 p.m. local time. Woods was convicted in the 2004 murder of three Birmingham police officers and went to the death chamber professing his innocence. His claims were backed by Kerry Spencer, another death row prisoner convicted in the case who says Woods was in the wrong place at the wrong time and had nothing to do with the crime.

Republican Governor Kay Ivey ordered Woods’s execution even though more than 100,000 people signed a petition demanding she stop it. The U.S. Supreme Court briefly stayed the execution Thursday evening but lifted the order without comment after two-and-a-half hours. Martin Luther King III responded on Twitter, writing, “In the case of Nathaniel Woods, the actions of the U.S. Supreme Court and the Governor of the State of Alabama are reprehensible, and have potentially contributed to an irreversible injustice. It makes a mockery of justice and constitutional guarantees to a fair trial.” Later in the broadcast, we’ll speak with Adam Cohen, author of “Supreme Inequality: The Supreme Court’s Fifty-Year Battle for a More Unjust America.”

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