World News

Yob dragged from car and strapped to stretcher after spitting on police – video

The incident in Tenerife prompted a full-scale alert, not just once but twice within 48 hours. The 41-year-old man, understood to be Spanish, had only just been released by the courts for screaming at passers-by that he had the coronavirus and would infect them all. He then did exactly the same thing a day later, again spitting at the Civil Guard and local residents.

The man is now facing prison for aggressive behaviour, disturbing public order,  assaulting the police, causing damage and injuries and flouting Spain’s State of Emergency laws.

The police had to call in the special biological and chemical defence team, with full protection gear and masks as a result of the incidents in the town of Buenavista del Norte in the north of Tenerife.

The video shows how the man was pulled from a police car and pinned to the ground whilst medical staff fitted him with a mask. He was then strapped to a stretcher and taken away in an ambulance.

“In both the first and second arrests, this 41-year-old man spat and attacked the civil guards who had to intervene,” said a police spokesman. “The detainee screamed that he had the virus and threatened agents and residents with infecting them. “

After the first arrest, the man underwent a coronavirus test which proved negative.

He has now appeared before the courts for the second time and has been remanded in custody.

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China’s crippling fears Donald Trump will use coronavirus to wreck Beijing economy exposed

On Monday, the World Bank warned that the coronavirus pandemic’s economic fallout could cause China’s growth to come to a standstill while driving 11 million more people in East Asia into poverty. Aaditya Mattoo, World Bank chief economist for East Asia and the Pacific, said that the country was on the brink of “an unprecedented global shock, which could bring growth to a halt and could increase poverty across the region”. Even damning forecasts from two months ago appear to be underestimating the significant consequences of the crisis on China.

The World Bank predicted in January that China’s economy would grow by 5.9 percent this year, which would have been its worst performance since 1990.

But estimates now suggest an even bleaker outcome after record contraction in manufacturing activity in February while industrial production fell for the first time in 30 years.

The East Asia and Pacific region, excluding China, could see growth slow to 1.3 percent in the baseline or contract 2.8 percent in the more pessimistic scenario as compared to 5.8 percent last year, the report said.

The economic downturn has come as a result of strict lockdowns and travel restrictions bringing movement of goods and people to a halt.

And now, economist Professor Iain Begg tells that the country is fearing another form of financial hit – this time dealt by Mr Trump.

He said: “Having been on Chinese television and been asked about this, it is clear the country is worried about this.

“They are even more worried in the shadow of a Trump initiated trade war that he will use it as a further pretext to clamp down on free trade.

“That’s going on in the background anyway, but that may be accelerated by the perception that when you have such integrated supply chains you become dependent.

“That’s going on in the background anyway, but that may be accelerated by the perception that when you have such integrated supply chains you become dependent.

“I don’t think China is unduly worried about it, they recognise the situation as a threat but they will adapt to buying more from countries from the US.”

After criticising China over the coronavirus outbreak, President Trump has reportedly tried to sure up trade links with Beijing.

White House officials say Mr Trump continues to emphasise farm product sales to China, even as he grapples with the most significant crisis of his presidency and a looming presidential campaign, CNN reports.

Americans vote in the US election this year, meaning Mr Trump will be looking for progress with China’s President Xi Jinping to secure a foreign policy boost and maintain voters’ confidence.

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However, the coronavirus crisis has had a negative impact on his hopes of reelection.

Oxford Economics expect the US economy to shrink at an annual rate of 12 percent between April and June, JP Morgan Chase predicts a second-quarter contraction of 14 percent while Goldman Sachs warns of a huge 24 percent slide.

Meanwhile, Analyst Alan Abramowitz warned that such an economic downturn added to the President’s already negative net approval rating could “very likely doom Trump’s chances of winning a second term” based on historical trends over 11 previous elections.

In his reports, Mr Abramowitz adds: “A major recession would likely result in an Electoral College landslide for Trump’s Democratic challenger, especially if it is accompanied by a further decline in the president’s approval rating.”

More worrying for Trump, polling released last week showed that just 37 percent of Americans said they had a good amount or a great deal of trust in what they are hearing from Trump, while 60 percent admitted they had not very much or no trust at all in what he said.

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World War 3 fears: ‘Domino effect’ error could spark major US-Iran conflict in Middle East

Tensions between the US and Iran remain high following the killing of Iranian general Qasem Soleimani earlier this year. Iranian expert of Iran International TV Dr Pupak Mohebali warned one wrong move from Iran on its adherence to current nuclear treaties could spark a major conflict with the US. During an interview with, Dr Mohebali warned attitudes in Iran were changing towards the nuclear treaties the country had previously agreed to.

She noted, disobeying or withdrawing from these treaties could result in stronger sanctions or military intervention from the US.

She said: “I would not say there is one worst-case scenario but more like a domino effect.

“One problematic decision leads to another and another.

“If Iran was to withdraw from the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) it could bring further diplomatic isolation or it might lead to more international sanctions on the country.

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“It may even cause the US military to start on Iran.

“We could see a heightening of tension between Tehran and Washington, the same as we have the past few years.”

Dr Mohebali explained how attitudes were shifting in the Iranian Parliament on procuring nuclear material.

She said: “This prospect of Iran withdrawing from the NPT is not just discussed among the hardliners in Iran.

“We can see it is being discussed widely among moderates like the Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani and Iran’s foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

“Mohammad Javad Zarif and the Iranian Prime Minister said if security council sanctions are reimposed Iran may exit not only the current nuclear deal but the NPT.

“That has been said and that is not a good scenario at all.

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“Although we do see Iran still saying that they do not seek to develop nuclear bombs the problem is the recent International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report show that Iran has nearly tripled its stockpile of Uranium.”

IAEA director Rafael Grossi has also demanded Tehran cooperate with the body to allow them to inspect suspected nuclear sites.

In early March he argued Iran should cooperate immediately and fully with the agency but so far Iran has refused to give definitive answers on three locations nuclear material may have been used or stored.

The IAEA has insisted without cooperation with Tehran it will be difficult for the agency to declare whether Iran has all of its nuclear material.

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Coronavirus India update: Latest death toll in India as country locks down 1.3bn people

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has banned citizens from leaving their homes completely in light of the increase. Images and videos show chaotic scenes as people rushed to shops for supplies immediately after the announcement.

Prime Minister Modi said: “The entire country will be in lockdown, total lockdown.”

He added: “To save India, to save its every citizen, you, your family… every street, every neighbourhood is being put under lockdown.”

Mr Modi warned if India does not “handle these 21 days well, then our country… will go backwards by 21 years.”

He called on Indians to unite and take responsibility for tackling COVID-19.


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“This is a curfew. We will have to pay the economic cost of this but [it] is the responsibility of everyone.”

The new measures follow a sharp increase in cases in recent days.

There have been 519 confirmed cases across India and 10 reported deaths.

All non-essential businesses will be closed but hospitals and other medical facilities will continue to function as normal.

Schools and universities will remain shut and almost all public gatherings will be banned.

Big cities such as Delhi and Mumbai were already under social distancing restrictions, but now the rules extend to the whole country.

Air and train travel has also been heavily restricted, with all international flights grounded.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has advised against all travel to the region and urged any Brits in India to make arrangements to travel back to the UK.

India has one of the highest populations in the world, standing at 1.3 billion.

Major concerns have been raised about how the country’s health system will be able to cope with the demand coronavirus could bring.

The prime minister has introduced extra funding to help the system cope, although for such a densely packed population it is feared the virus will spread exceptionally quickly.

Health researchers have warned more than a million people in India could be infected with the coronavirus by mid-May.

The Global Health Security index, and joint project developed by the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI) and the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, ranks India 57th out of 195 nations in terms of its pandemic preparation.

The 21 day period, or three weeks, is the recommended time it takes to break the cycle of infection.

The UK is just at the beginning of its initial three-week lockdown.

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Le Pen demands Macron implement ‘national curfew’ in France to curb coronavirus spread

Ms Le Pen told the news channel LCI: “The government must impose a national 8pm curfew.”

She did not specify what time the curfew should be lifted.

Ms Le Pen added: “The confinement will only work if everyone follows the rules.”

The French government, however, has no plans to implement a curfew to enforce the country’s strict lockdown measures aimed at fighting the coronavirus outbreak.

But as the country’s healthcare system comes under severe strain, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said he was in favour of localised curfews, stressing the decision for those lay with local authorities.

Several are already in place, including in the Riviera town of Nice and hard-hit eastern city of Mulhouse.

Mr Philippe said on Monday: “We do not want to put a national curfew in place. But we told prefects to get in touch with mayors who deem (a curfew) necessary.

“And we will not hesitate, where necessary, to take tougher measures, meaning curfew measures.”

France’s draconian measures kicked in last week, with President Emmanuel Macron describing the fight against the flu-like virus as a “war”.

His government has ordered the French to stay at home other than to buy food or medicines, travel to work, go for a short run, walk or bike ride, or for urgent medical care.

France on Tuesday became the fifth country to report more than 1,000 deaths from coronavirus, a grim landmark that shines a harsh spotlight on the speed of the virus’ spread.

The scientific council set up by Mr Macron to help deal with the outbreak, for its part, suggested the lockdown in place since March 17 should last at least six weeks.

The experts insisted the lockdown was the “sole efficient strategy” at the moment and had to be “strictly implemented”.

However, Health Minister Olivier Véran told reporters Tuesday evening that he could not say for sure at this stage when the lockdown would end. If the Macron government were to follow the council’s advice, France would remain at a virtual standstill until April 28.

Mr Véran also said France would strive to follow World Health Organisation (WHO) recommendations to increase coronavirus testing.

The head of the public health service Jérôme Salomon added later that France would soon be able to carry out 10,000 tests a day.

Mr Salomon reported 240 new deaths from the virus for a total of 1,100 – an increase of 28 percent from Monday’s tally.

The total number of infections in France had risen to 22,300, he continued, a 12 percent jump in 24 hours.

Mr Salomon added that 2,516 people were in a serious condition requiring life support, and that some 8,000 hospital beds were now equipped with ventilators.

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Panic as coronavirus erupts across Africa – ‘People will die on the streets’

Europe is currently the epicentre of the pandemic, with well over 60,000 confirmed cases, and health workers ready for the crisis to worsen in the coming months. However, while numbers in Africa have been relatively low, infections are starting to creep up. Cases have now been identified in 25 countries, according to the latest World Health Organisation (WHO) figures, including 62 in South Africa, and 27 in Senegal, with local transmission reported in each instance.

Virologist Christian Drosten, a worldwide authority on infectious diseases who has urged action to combat the risk of a global pandemic such as the one the world now faces, painted a grim picture during an interview with German magazine Stern.

He said: “The peak of infections will also occur in African countries this summer.

“I do not like to imagine which pictures you will see.

The situation will be bad, very bad

Virologist Christian Drosten

“We will see people die from it on the streets in Africa.

“The situation will be bad, very bad.”

Mr Drosten’s concerns echoed those of Dr Amesh Adalja, Senior Scholar, Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, who told last month: “There are definitely concerns about the ability to cope with this virus in resource-limited areas such as in Africa.

“During the last influenza pandemic in 2009 Africa was disproportionately impacted.

“There are hospitals as healthcare facilities in Africa which do not have extensive intensive care capacity, diagnostic testing capacity, or large numbers of medical personnel.

“Ensuring Africa is capable of dealing with the surge of patients they may soon have is a vital task.

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“As such, regional training exercises are important endeavour.

“Creating diagnostic capacity there is also essential.”

Research undertaken last year by the Economist Intelligence United (EUI) as part of a joint project launched by the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI) and the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security (CHS) suggested most countries in Africa were inadequately prepared for the ravages a global pandemic would inflict.

At the time, NTI co-chairman and CEO Ernest J Moniz said: “The results are alarming: all countries – at all income levels – have major gaps in their capabilities, and they aren’t sufficiently investing in biological preparedness.

“The bottom line is that global biological risks are growing – in many cases faster than health systems, security, science, and governments can keep up.

“We need to ensure that all countries are prepared to respond to these risks.”

Unveiling the stringent new measures, South African’s President Cyril Ramaphosa said residents would be restricted to their homes except to collect food, seek medical care and collect social grants.

In addition the Democratic Republic of Congo, already the location of an ongoing Ebola outbreak, has imposed a two-day lockdown in part of its copper and cobalt heartland, while a union official said a Glencore mine in a neighbouring province had repatriated some foreign workers.

The governor of Haut-Katanga province, Jacques Kyabula, issued the lockdown order late on Sunday and said the boundaries of the province would also be closed after two people tested positive for the virus in the provincial capital, Lubumbashi.

(Additional reporting by Monika Pallenberg)

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China shows coronavirus CAN be beaten claims global health chief

Speaking at a virtual news conference in Geneva on Friday WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said: “Yesterday, Wuhan reported no new cases for the first time since the outbreak started. “Wuhan provides hope for the rest of the world that even the most severe situation can be turned around.

“Of course, we must exercise caution: the situation can reverse. But the experience of cities and countries that have pushed back this coronavirus gives hope and courage to the rest of the world.”

This comes as the city of Wuhan registered no new cases of Covid-19 in 24 hours for the first time since reporting their initial case in December.

Coronavirus has infected more than 250,000 people around the world – killing about 11,000 of them.

The WHO added that they were now using the term “physical distancing” rather than “social distancing” to describe the importance of maintaining space between people in order to avoid the spread of the virus.

This change of terminology was done to stress that although people may need to go into physical isolation, they do not need to become socially isolated, says WHO.

They highlight the importance of maintaining good mental health during the crisis.

Maria Van Kerkhove, the head of the WHO’s emerging disease unit, said: “We want people to still remain connected.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson ordered all pubs, restaurants, cinemas and gyms to close in a surge of new restrictions to combat the spread of Covid-19.


On Friday Mr Johnson said those venues, including nightclubs, leisure centres and theatres, must close and not reopen until further notice.

He advised people who are considering one last trip out on Friday night not to commenting: “Please don’t.”

“These measures are intended to be temporary. I am confident, in time, the UK economy is going to bounce back, of course, it is.

“We need to now push down further on that curve of transmission between us,” Mr Johnson added.

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“But I must be clear with you, the speed of our eventual recovery depends entirely on our ability to get on top of the virus now.

“That means we need to take the next step on scientific advice and follow our plan.”

Restaurants can continue to serve takeaway food and the prime minister said the situation would be reviewed each month to check if measures can be relaxed.

In Italy the death toll has passed 4,000 as a record 627 new deaths were reported on Friday.

The pandemic gathered pace despite government efforts to stop the spread and the country has the highest number of coronavirus fatalities in the world.

The Italian government is considering even more restrictions on its current locked-down society.

Italy’s minister of regional affairs, Francesco Boccia, said on Friday: “In the next 24 to 48 hours, new restrictions are possible.”

He cited the potential of banning open-air activities.

The presidents of regions in the north of Italy have been urging Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte to press down even harder on the movement of people – calling for the deployment of the army to enforce the measures.

Lombardy’s president, in the northwest of Italy, Attilio Fontana, told a press conference on Friday: “Unfortunately, even today the statistics aren’t going in the right direction, neither in terms of new infections or in terms of deaths.”

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Germany recession: ‘Unprecedented’ coronavirus devastating economy in ‘mind-blowing’ way

Economies across the world are struggling with the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak. Experts in Germany, one of the largest economies in Europe, are now indicating the country’s economy could shrink due to the outbreak of the virus. Such is the situation in Germany, DekaBank economist, Andreas Scheuerle warned the virus was “now in control” of the country.

Thomas Gitzel of VP Bank, also insisted the economy’s recent decline from the coronavirus outbreak is “mind-blowing”.

He added: “Honestly, secretly an even more pronounced crash was to be expected.

“This does not change the fact that the decline compared to the previous month is mind-blowing.

“This gives an idea of how hard the German economy will be hit by the consequences of the coronavirus.

“It should be no consolation that it may hit other economies even harder, which means that at the moment no other country is buying German goods.

“We are currently experiencing an unprecedented standstill of our global economy that has never been there in times of peace.”

Although Germany’s Dax stock market experienced an uptick over the last few days, at the start of the month the market tumbled dramatically.

From March 4, the market dropped from 12,137 points to 8,447 on March 18.

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According to the Institute for Economic Research (IFO), which is based in Munich, the economy could drop by six percent.

The IFO’s President, Clemens Fuest said: “There has never been a stronger decline in unified Germany.

“Both the uncertainty and downside risks are very large.

“Nobody knows exactly how the cancellations and closings will affect the economy.”

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Such is the situation across the continent, the European Central Bank (ECB) has launched an emergency programme.

With Italy one of the worst affected countries in the bloc, the country’s Prime Minister, Giuseppe Conte called for the ECB to use the full force of its economic fund. 

The £700billion package has been created to ease the impact of the virus as the ECB’s boss Christine Lagarde insisted “there are no limits” to its commitment to the Euro.

She said: “Extraordinary times require extraordinary action.

“There are no limits to our commitment to the euro.

“We are determined to use the full potential of our tools, within our mandate.”

Additional reporting by Monika Pallenberg.

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EU split unmasked: How ECB’s coronavirus plan is driving wedge between states

ECB President Christine Lagarde announced a huge bond-buying programme this week worth £680billion as she looked to stimulate the European economy amid the coronavirus crisis. But the move may cause division in the bloc, according to Professor Iain Begg of the London School of Economics. He told “In political terms there has been a strong resistance, especially from Germany and some of the other creditor countries inside the eurozone to this action by the European Central Bank.

“It was very much seen in the days of Mario Draghi (former President of the ECB) as something he was doing as it suited Italy, and was against German ethos of having monetary stability.

“So you might see that kind of objection resurfacing not immediately, but a few months down the line you could see opposition to what Christine Lagarde did from German sources.”

Professor Begg highlights that relations in Europe on the economic front are still not completely healed after the 2008 financial crash and the subsequent crisis in the euro.

The Greek financial crisis, for example, erupted in 2009 when the worldwide recession of 2008 triggered further weakness in the Athens economy.

Despite austerity measures, Greece required huge bailout loans in 2010, 2012, and 2015 from the International Monetary Fund, Eurogroup, and European Central Bank.

Portugal, Ireland, Spain and Cyprus were also unable to repay debts without the assistance of other countries, the European Central Bank, or the International Monetary Fund.

As a result, Professor Begg tells some in the central banking sphere are not in favour of more drastic quantitative easing.

He said: “There are two things going on here. One is for several months now the central bankers have been saying ‘we’ve done our bit!’

“Not just in relation to the health crisis, but also dealing with the slowing down of the economy after 2008.

“But the fiscal authorities – state governments – have been deficient in what they have done, they haven’t stimulated the economy appropriately.

“You had calls from Draghi when he left office last year saying ‘we must do more on fiscal policy’ and Lagarde has continued that theme.”

The economics expert from Chatham House also claims that there is disagreement in the EU as to whether the bloc should respond as one or on a national level to the coronavirus economic crisis.

Professor Begg continued: “There is also a debate on the fiscal side on whether it should be at the member state level or the Europe collectively needs more of a federal budget to be used for stabilisation processes.

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“Say that expression to anyone in Germany and they just roll their eyes and say: ‘No way are we going to allow a macroeconomic budget at European level because it will just be exploited by the feckless Southern Europeans.’

“There is a clear sentiment in Europe that they need to pull together on this.

On the other hand, the other problem is you will see a resurfacing of concerns by those who think European actions have gone too far.

“But it may also be the case that petty squabbles will be be put aside, leaders will say ‘why are we arguing about this, we are in a crisis.'”

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More than 100 Britons stranded on cruise off Brazil airlifted home on rescue flight

British Ambassador to Brazil Vijay Rangarajan has confirmed Chilean airline LATAM will be running a flight tonight to bring them back to the UK. The Silver Shadow was held at the port of Recife in Brazil’s north-eastern state of Pernambuco last Friday after a 78-year-old Canadian holidaymaker on board fell ill with coronavirus. He was removed from the ship, operated by Silversea, and the remaining 318 passengers and 291 crew were ordered to isolate in their cabins.

Confirmation a solution had been found after diplomatic talks came late last night.

If all goes to plan, the Brits on board Silver Shadow will be landing at London’s Heathrow Airport at 9am tomorrow.

Mr Rangarajan said yesterday: “I’m delighted we have had confirmation that LATAM is running a flight (LA9542) for British and European Silver Shadow passengers tomorrow at 9.30pm, landing at Heathrow at 9am. 

“The logistics plan is ready, as is the final passenger list.”

He added: “I’m delighted we have space to also bring passengers from Austria Belarus, Bulgaria, Croatia, France, Germany, Italy, Ireland, Luxembourg, Norway, Poland, Romania, Russia, Spain and Switzerland to London, on their way to their final destinations.”

Promising to send written details to the Brits affected through the ship’s captain, he added: “Thank you to the passengers for your patience and resilience.”

Mr Rangarajan had previously hinted a flight chartered by Royal Caribbean was going to be able to help bring stranded Brits on the ship home and offered help for those running out of medication.

He described securing a plane as “complicated.”

Alan and Gwen Cohen, from Hampstead, London, are among those due to be repatriated.

The couple, aged 89 and 86, were celebrating their 66th wedding anniversary when they were caught up in the coronavirus drama.

They told local paper Ham and High yesterday how they celebrated their big day by toasting with two cups of tea because there was no champagne. 

Alan, a former magistrate and councillor for the London boroughs of Finchley and Barnet who ran a furniture-making factory in east London, was quoted as saying: “We may get some refunds and insurance pay-outs but that is not even something on my mind.

“All we can think of is how nice it would be to be home.”

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