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Useful news items from around the world of particular interest to international Geneva

Curated by Peter Hulm

News in April

Sanitizers dearest at gas stations, masks much the same price all over in Switzerland

Aldi and Lidl cheapest for sanitizers, less than CHF2, Migros CHF3.75-9, filling stations: CHF5.55 - 15!

20min (LINK, in German)

Post COVID-19

Geneva movement for 'new deal' of solidarity post COVID-19

Geneva's chambre de l'économie sociale et solidaire has called for a "new deal" enshrining its principles after COVID-19. The 15-year-old organization says it has more than 650 members, 350 businesses and organizations with thousands of employees in the Geneva region. It puts the Chamber's turnover at CHF430 million a year.

20min (LINK, in Fremch)


Journalists face growing threats in Europe: NGOs

Intimidation, imprisonment or even death are growing threats to journalists in Europe today, new data from 2019 has shown. Over 30 journalists were assaulted in Europe last year, and over 100 are currently behind bars.

dw (LINK)



Slashing US Meat Consumption by Half Could Cut Diet-Related Greenhouse Gas Emissions by 35%

"While a diet shift isn't a silver bullet, it could play an important role in curbing climate change."

commondreams (LINK)

Related GLOBAL-GENEVA piece : Chronic diseases are the real pandemic: join the healthy food movement (LINK)

COVID-19 / U.N. / W.H.O.

World health experts meet to assess COVID-19 pandemic

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus explained that the Emergency Committee meeting will mark three months since members agreed that the new coronavirus disease was an international global health emergency. The Emergency Committee consists of 15 independent experts from across the world brought together under a treaty known as the International Health Regulations (IHR), which guides global health response.

At the time of its last meeting, there were just over 80 cases outside the country, and no deaths. The global caseload has now approached nearly three million, and nearly 205,000 deaths.

The report gives a timeline of WHO's actions in defence against U.S. President Donald Trump's allegations, using Dr Tedros's statements at his daily briefing on 29 April. (LINK)

Related GLOBAL-GENEVA piece : Chronic diseases are the real pandemic: join the healthy food movement (LINK)

Software / Switzerland

Swiss-based Infomaniak offers "free and secure videoconferencing"

"Infomaniak Meet prevents participants from being listed and analysed by tech giants. Your guests join video conferences without having to provide their email address. All they need to do to join a meeting is click on your link. Infomaniak Meet runs without the need to register, without proprietary software and without analysing your data. Organise a multi-party video conference with as many participants as you want."

infomaniak (LINK)


Geneva Disarmament Platform closing down after 3.5 years

"After 30 April, the GDP will continue to exist as an NGO (a non-profit association under Swiss law) but will have no staff or operations. The website will remain available at least until the end of 2020, but it will no longer be updated. We therefore encourage you to seek other sources of information regarding disarmament activities, such as the Reaching Critical Will and UNODA websites."

Unfortunately, like other NGOs in the disarmament field, over the past few months the Platform has faced serious funding challenges. This already difficult situation was compounded by the current global COVID-19 crisis, which made it impossible for the Platform to continue implementing its planned projects. The GDP's governing Committee therefore made the difficult decision to cease operations.

"Over the past year, the GDP has focused its work on developing the concept of weapons governance as a subset of global governance and a means of reinvigorating a sector often plagued by a silos mentality and resistance to change. This resulted in the identification of a great set of ideas with interesting potential for development, that we hope will be carried forward." (LINK)


Full Fact reports on its year of checking

"in 2019, less than half of the papers and politicians we asked for a correction responded to us. This is not good enough."

The UK charity is funded by the Nuffield Foundation and private donations.

fullfact (LINK)

COVID-19 / Aid

Coronavirus 'could undo 30 years of UK's international development work'

Impact of pandemic could be felt by world's poorest for years to come, international development secretary tells MPs.

theguardian (LINK)


Swiss to ease further measures from 11 May

From Monday, 11 May, shops, restaurants markets, museums and libraries will be allowed to reopen, classes can be held again in primary and lower secondary schools, and sports training sessions will be allowed. There will be a significant increase in scheduled public transport services. (LINK)

Swiss Federal Council fleshes out support for airlines

"The liquidity needs of Swiss and Edelweiss are estimated to be around CHF 1.5 billion up to the end of 2020. This liquidity shortfall is to be made up by a consortium of banks with the help of COVID plus credits. 85% of the funds drawn down, but no more than CHF 1.275 billion, should be secured by federal guarantees.

"A holding in Swiss or Edelweiss is not envisaged, as the success of Swiss and Edelweiss is essentially linked to their significant integration into Lufthansa Group. However, the loans will be secured by Swiss and Edelweiss shares."

"easyJet Switzerland should be able to cover its liquidity needs via its parent company. Therefore, the conditions for a subsidiary federal commitment are not met at the moment. As its turnover is less than CHF 500 million, easyJet Switzerland also has the option of applying for a COVID bridging credit."

"The aviation-related businesses required to maintain Switzerland's international links, such as Swissport International, Gategroup and SR Technics, operate worldwide and are majority-owned by Asian investors. The current corporate structures of Swissport and Gategroup do not yet permit financial support from the Confederation under the conditions laid down. The funds needed for possible measures to support the parts of aviation-related businesses which are critical for Switzerland are estimated at around CHF 600 million."

"The Federal Council is petitioning Parliament for guarantee credits totalling CHF 1.875 billion: CHF 1.275 billion to secure the loans to Swiss airlines and CHF 600 million to support aviation-related businesses at the national airports. To enable the Confederation to react quickly if necessary [to provide cash support], the Federal Council is requesting a supplementary credit of CHF 600 million [for aviation-related businesses] at the same time as the guarantee credit."


Just Because I'm 90 Doesn't Mean I'm Ready To Die — Or Disposable

Varda Yoran's life: "I've been a senior citizen for a quarter of a century and I still sculpt, read and write essays. I speak five languages, and I use email and WhatsApp to communicate with family and friends in Finland, China, Norway, England, Israel, Russia, Thailand and throughout the U.S. I run a foundation I created that assists immobile seniors. I attend classes, and I'm organizing a philosophy club via Zoom that discusses ethics, forgiveness, anger, creativity and various other topics."

huffpost (LINK)

Media / Switzerland

Swiss journalist of the year: Mehdi Atmani, for his Crypto AG stories

Atmani, 36, a freelance journalist, is the first to receive the title in the Swiss Press Awards from the Reinhardt von Graffenried foundation. His investigations led to a series on the French-Swiss TV website in November 2019. But it was only in February 2020 that his findings made any waves, when the Swiss-German Rundschau programme took it up, the Foundation notes.

On 22 February Rundschau reported that U.S. intelligence and the German secret service spied on over 100 States for decades through doctored machines from the Swiss firm Crypto AG.

20min (LINK in French)


Theoretical ecologist Robert May dies

"He transformed the science of ecology from a descriptive, observational discipline into a theoretical science with a firm mathematical basis."


May, 84, earned his PhD in theoretical physics from the University of Sydney in 1959 and spent a couple years at Harvard University before returning to his alma matter to become a senior lecturer and then professor. But after reading a book on ecology, May became fascinated with animal populations and communities, according to The Sunday Morning Herald. He joined the faculty of Princeton University in 1973 and began developing models for understanding the basic dynamics of ecological systems.

the-scientist (LINK)


Nearly half of global workforce at risk of losing livelihoods - ILO

According to the "ILO Monitor third edition: COVID-19 and the world of work", the drop in working hours in the current (second) quarter of 2020 is expected to be significantly worse than previously estimated.

Compared to pre-crisis levels (Q4 2019), a 10.5 per cent deterioration is now expected, equivalent to 305 million full-time jobs (assuming a 48-hour working week). The previous estimate was for a 6.7 per cent drop, equivalent to 195 million full-time workers. This is due to the prolongation and extension of lockdown measures.


How coronavirus will change the US, from where we live to the way we connect

  • Life moves online
  • Another urban flight?
  • Not all heroes wear camo
  • Valuing real connection

csmonitor (LINK)


U.S. coronavirus deaths now surpass fatalities in the Vietnam War

"On February 6, COVID-19 claimed its first victim on U.S. soil: a 57-year-old woman in Santa Clara County, California. On Tuesday, less than three months later, the death toll has surpassed the number of U.S. soldiers killed in combat during the nine-year-long Vietnam War (not including those killed outside the theater of war)."

nationalgeographic (LINK)


Why the Head of the UN Pension Fund Resigned

A long summary of the 30 March story and its aftermath.

passblue (LINK)

COVID-19 / U.N.

UNOG reports 17 confirmed victims of coronavirus

These are:

  • 2 cases at the UN Conference for Trade and Development
  • 2 cases at the United Nations Environment Programme
  • 1 case at the Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar
  • 1 case at the Office of Internal Oversight Services
  • 2 cases at the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
  • 1 case at the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research
  • 8 cases at the United Nations Office at Geneva


Military spending around the world: US up 5% in 2019 but 15% down on 2010

While U.S. spending rose 5% last year, it's still down 15% from 2010, when it accounted for 4.9% of GDP (vs. 3.4% now).

Gulf countries like Saudi Arabia (8%) and Oman (8.8%) spent the most on their militaries as a proportion of GDP, while Mexico (0.5%), Indonesia (0.7%), Switzerland (0.7%) and Japan (0.9%) are on the low end.



Record 50.8 million internally displaced, IDMC report says

Over 45 million have been forced to abandon their homes due to violence. A further five million have been displaced by natural disasters such as earthquakes and floods, the IDMC says.

bbc (LINK)

Coronavirus timeline from Deutsche Welle

Experts warn the rate must stay below the new level of 1.0 to slow down the outbreak. Meanwhile, up to 50,000 businesses in Germany could become insolvent due to the pandemic.

Robert Koch Institute (RKI) President Lothar Wieler said the so-called "herd immunity" approach, allowing for the virus to pass through citizens enabling them to develop antibodies, would not be adopted in Germany as it is both dangerous and naive. "For us it is inconceivable… a controlled herd immunity." This approach would mean having to recognize "how many human lives you would be willing to sacrifice for it."

dw (LINK)

JetBlue is first US airline to require travelers to wear face coverings

"Wearing a face covering isn't about protecting yourself it's about protecting those around you," said Joanna Geraghty, president and chief operating officer of JetBlue. "This is the new flying etiquette. Onboard, cabin air is well circulated and cleaned through filters every few minutes but this is a shared space where we have to be considerate of others. We are also asking our customers to follow these CDC guidelines in the airport as well."

abc7chicago (LINK)

How did coronavirus start and where did it come from? Was it really Wuhan's animal market?

Analysis of the first 41 Covid-19 patients in medical journal the Lancet found that 27 of them had direct exposure to the Wuhan market. But the same analysis found that the first known case of the illness did not.

One statistical study looked at a characteristic of the virus that evolved to enable it to latch on to human cells. Pangolins were able to develop this characteristic, but so were cats, buffalo, cattle, goats, sheep and pigeons.

Another study claimed to have ruled out pangolins as an intermediary altogether, because samples of similar viruses taken from pangolins lacked a chain of amino acids seen in the virus now circulating in humans.

theguardian (LINK)

Related GLOBAL-GENEVA piece: Pangolins and pandemics: digging for the roots of COVID-19 (LINK)

COVID-19 / Economy

These countries effectively contained the coronavirus, and their currencies are surging in response

i.e. Australia, New Zealand and South Korea

"There is also a notion that Asia has controlled the virus more effectively than the US and Europe,"" said Tapas Strickland, director of economics and markets at the National Australia Bank.

cnbc (LINK)


Coronavirus immunity: Can you catch it twice?

Studies showed some patients could be re-infected within a year. Studies suggest it takes around 10 days to start making antibodies that can target the coronavirus and the sickest patients develop the strongest immune response.

bbc (LINK)


Umair Haque: The Age of Ignorance

"What kind of people do we call those who need grandiose fairy tales of their omnipotence to feel secure? Children."

eand (LINK)


Ten-point plan to bolster global transport, ease trade during COVID-19

  1. Ensure uninterrupted shipping
  2. Keep ports open
  3. Protect international trade of critical goods and speed up customs clearance and trade facilitation
  4. Facilitate cross-border transport
  5. Ensure the right of transit
  6. Safeguard transparency and up-to-date information
  7. Promote paperless systems
  8. Address early-on legal implications for commercial parties
  9. Protect shippers and transport service providers alike
  10. Prioritize technical assistance

It echoes an earlier call by UNCTAD Secretary-General Mukhisa Kituyi on 25 March to keep ships moving, ports open and cross-border trade flowing during this crisis period.

The policy brief calls on governments to ensure health measures are implemented in ports and border crossings in ways that minimize interference with international traffic and trade.

unctad (LINK)

The wisdom of adding a resilience strategy to sustainability programmes

"While sustainability continues to become mainstream in supply chains, small farmers are often left behind. A fundamental basis of any functional strategy is to address the resilience of these smallholders."

thecosa (LINK)

Only 35% of European banks' strategies are aligned with the goals of the Paris Agreement

According to new research by investment organisation ShareAction, the European banking sector has made sluggish progress on tackling the climate crisis in the last three years.

climateaction (LINK)


Douglas Rushkoff: Restoring the Economy Is the Last Thing We Should Want

"Yes, it may be true that every 1% rise in unemployment leads to a corresponding 1% rise in suicides. And it's true that an extended freeze of the economy could shorten the lifespan of 6.4 million Americans entering the job market by an average of about two years. But such metrics say less about the human cost of the downturn than they do about the dangerously absolute dependence of workers on traditional employment for basic sustenance — an artifact of an economy that has been intentionally rigged to favor big banks and passive shareholders over small and local businesses that actually provide goods and services in a sustainable way."

medium (LINK)

Three Things Lockdowns Have Exposed About Working and Parentin

"For one thing, with children popping up in Zoom meetings, it's impossible to hide that raising children is a round-the-clock responsibility."

  • Parenting happens at all hours
  • Raising children is not just a personal choice
  • Working parents can't do it alone

nytimes (LINK)

How many jobs can really be done at home?

For Pakistan, the share of such jobs comes in at a miniscule 13.47 per cent — ahead of only 11 countries, including Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Mozambique (with the lowest value of 5.2pc). On the other hand, developed nations have a proportion as high as 53.4pc in Luxembourg, 41.6pc in the United States and 36.7pc in Germany.

dawn (LINK)

UK economy 'will take three years to recover from coronavirus'

Report warns that half of all UK consumer spending in 2020 will be delayed or lost completely.

theguardian (LINK)

UK coronavirus response utterly hypocritical, says UN poverty expert

Philip Alston says worst aspects of austerity policies 'cannot and will not be undone'

theguardian (LINK)

Working From Home

An ergonomic zero gravity chair that works for both WFH and your Netflix binge

The Zero Gravity Balans chair's unique form makes sure that no matter how you are seated, your body is constantly close to its balancing point, allowing the slightest shift of weight to bring you from one position to the next.

...and the rival Swiss zero-gravity recliner from the Valais


— chairbert from hefemeubles (LINK)

yankodesign (LINK)


Robert Reich: COVID-19 pandemic shines a light on a new kind of U.S. class divide and its inequalities

A disproportionate number of Americans fall into the three groups who aren't getting what they need to survive this crisis

  • The Essentials
  • The Unpaid
  • The Forgotten

theguardian (LINK)

Social distancing in 100 square feet: Hong Kong's cage homes

Cage homes are usually smaller than 100 square feet, only 25 square feet larger than most of the city's prison cells. Bathrooms are mostly communal and often there are no kitchens — just plug-in hot plates. Units are mostly divided by makeshift or removable walls.

cnn (LINK)

Children unlikely to transmit coronavirus, says study cited in Australian PM's push to reopen schools

NSW report held up as Morrison government seeks return to classrooms across Australia despite warnings from teacher unions.

Examining the spread 18 of coronavirus cases (nine students and nine staff) from 15 schools, the report's preliminary findings were that only one primary school student and one high school student "may have contracted Covid-19 from the initial cases at their schools".

"No teacher or staff member contracted Covid-19 from any of the initial school cases,"" the report added. The low transmission rate was despite 735 students and 128 staff being "close contacts" of the initial 18 cases.

theguardian (LINK)

Thailand reports 15 new coronavirus cases, no new deaths

Of the new cases, four were linked to previous cases, another four had no known links, while five new patients are arrivals from overseas who have been under state quarantine. Two other new cases were reported from the southern province of Yala, where the authorities are aggressively testing the population because of high infection rates there.

reuters (LINK)

Saudi Arabia partially relaxes lockdown for Ramadan but keeps 24-hour curfew in Mecca

news wires / france24 (LINK)

Saudi Arabia abolishes flogging as punishment

Saudi Supreme Court says decision is part of reforms pushed by King Salman and his son Crown Prince Mohammed.

aljazeera (LINK)

Saudi Arabia abolishes the dealth penalty for crimes committed by minors

newswires / france24 (LINK)

'No evidence' that recovering from Covid-19 gives immunity, WHO says

news wires / france24 (LINK)

U.N. / Economy

UNCTAD warns of 'devastating' impact of COVID-19 on tourism-dependent small island developing states (SIDS)

Recent data on global daily air traffic indicate a drop of almost 80% since January 2020.

On average, the tourism sector accounts for almost 30% of the gross domestic product (GDP) of the SIDS, according to WTTC data. This share is over 50% for the Maldives, Seychelles, St. Kitts and Nevis and Grenada.

Overall, travel and tourism in the SIDS generates approximately $30 billion per year. A decline in tourism receipts by 25% will result in a $7.4 billion or 7.3% fall in GDP. The drop could be significantly greater in some of the SIDS, reaching 16% in the Maldives and Seychelles.

According to the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), in previous viral epidemics the average recovery time for visitors to a destination was about 19 months.

SIDS governments will have a hard time getting loans to tide them over. The external debt of the SIDS as a group accounts for 72.4% of their GDP on average, reaching up to 200% in the Seychelles and the Bahamas. Foreign reserves are also generally low, with many of the SIDS possessing only the reserves sufficient for a few months of imports.

"Given these statistics, it is evident that without international assistance, the economic consequences of the pandemic will be devastating for many of the SIDS." — Pamela Coke-Hamilton, Director, Division on International Trade and Commodities, UNCTAD

"Currently, the SIDS would need about $5.5 billion to counteract the adverse effects of the pandemic on their economies. The Maldives stands out with a need of $1.2 billion due to its reliance on tourism revenues, followed by the Bahamas and Jamaica. Many of the SIDS, like Jamaica and the Bahamas, also face high external debt burdens which require complementary external debt suspension or relief programmes."

unctad (LINK)


Time runs out on 2006 World Cup affair trial

On 27 April, the statute of limitations expired on a Swiss court case in which former German FA (DFB) Presidents Theo Zwanziger and Wolfgang Niersbach, as well as former DFB Secretary-General Horst R. Schmidt and former FIFA Secretary-General Urs Linsi had been facing allegations of fraud. This brought the trial in Bellinzona to an end with no verdict on any of the charges.

dw (LINK)

Related GLOBAL-GENEVA piece: Fifa's Shame : Kidnapping the Game (LINK)

FactChecking Trump's Attack on the WHO

The president said the WHO "took China's assurances" about the coronavirus "at face value ... even praising China for its so-called transparency". But early on Trump also thanked China for "their efforts and transparency", and said he trusted that China would provide the U.S. with all of the necessary information.

factcheck (LINK)

U.S. CDC adds six new symptoms for coronavirus

The CDC listed getting chills, or repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat or a new loss of taste or smell as new symptoms of the coronavirus. — newsy (LINK)

ajc (LINK)

Bill Gates explains how the world can use science to tackle the crisis

"We need a treatment that is 95 percent effective in order for people to feel safe in big public gatherings."

"Unfortunately, the typical development time for a vaccine against a new disease is over five years."

"The number of tests alone doesn't show whether they are being used effectively. You also have to make sure you are prioritizing the testing on the right people. For example, health care workers should be able to get an immediate indication of whether they are infected so they know whether to keep working. People without symptoms should not be tested until we have enough tests for everyone with symptoms."

Opening up:

"Restaurants can keep diners six feet apart, but will they have a working supply chain for their ingredients? Will they be profitable with this reduced capacity? The manufacturing industry will need to change factories to keep workers farther apart. Most factories will be able to adapt to new rules without a large productivity loss. But how do the people employed in these restaurants and factories get to work? Are they taking a bus or train? What about the suppliers who provide and ship parts to the factory? And when should companies start insisting their employees show up at work?"

weforum (LINK)

The solution to food insecurity is food sovereignty

"We need to stop depending on corporations and big agribusiness for our food. The pandemic has made it clear why."

aljazeera (LINK)

COVID-19 reinforces an economist's warnings about inequality

Delivery workers on bicycles around Paris, Thomas Piketty notes, are risking their lives because they need money. Millions of migrant workers in India have been left homeless as that nation's businesses have shuttered.

"A central question for Piketty is whether the crisis will prove to be a catalyst that drives policy changes — from paid sick leave to government-provided health care to a reordering of the tax code — that might narrow the wealth gap. Or not."

apnews (LINK)

COVID-19 / China

COVID-19 and China's soft power efforts

A full analysis of how China's contributions to global development and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):

"Much of this Chinese South-South Cooperation (SSC) has flown under the radar of Western media and traditional aid discourse. Chinese aid, including its humanitarian assistance, is political and a core element of the country's foreign policy. In fact, much of Chinese assistance is not traditional aid, but a mix of aid, concessional loans, and other mechanisms to provide needed infrastructure and assistance to countries of interest to China."

devpolicy (LINK)

Tackling coronavirus (COVID-19): an OECD project: the Country Policy Tracker

The message is: An Inclusive, Green Recovery is Possible

"Governments have a unique chance for a green and inclusive recovery that they must seize — a recovery that not only provides income and jobs, but also has broader goals, integrates strong climate and biodiversity action, and builds resilience."

OECD estimates show that "the lockdown will directly affect sectors amounting to up to one third of GDP in the major economies. For each month of containment, there will be a loss of 2 percentage points in annual GDP growth. The tourism sector alone faces an output decrease as high as 70%. Many economies will fall into recession."

OECD estimate

oecd (LINK)

COVID-19 / Economy

A matter of life and debt: UN agency proposes global debt deal to prevent health pandemic spreading economic disaster across the developing world

"Calls for international solidarity have so far delivered little tangible support.

"An international body is needed to oversee developing country debt relief programmes."

On 30 March UNCTAD called for a $2.5 trillion aid package for developing countries, 1000 times more than the UN's emergency aid appeal five days before.

FYI the World Trade Organization's assessment of global trade is $42.6 trillion. So it is just under 6% that the world needs to save and about 1.5 times as much as the U.K.'s annual foreign trade in goods and services.

UNCTAD's proposals:

  • $1 trillion should be made available through the expanded use of special drawing rights
  • $1 trillion of debts owed by developing countries should be cancelled this year
  • $500 billion needed to fund a Marshall Plan for health recovery and dispersed as grants

UNCTAD's updated Trade and Development Report: From the Great Lockdown to the Great Meltdown, (PDF)

unctad (LINK)

Suddenly, Singapore's Coronavirus Cases Skyrocketed: Here's Why

Three generous Unity, Resilience and Solidarity budgets of $59.9 billion were rolled out to families, low-income households, small businesses and the self-employed, employers and their businesses, to support the vulnerable and enable the socioeconomic conditions to bounce back after this unprecedented crisis.

There was a large group of migrants workers, mostly construction workers from South Asia, forgotten, housed in tightly packed dormitories.

passblue (LINK)

YouTube playlist of "Pocket Lectures" on coronavirus from Heidi.News, Graduated Institute and the promised Geneva Solutions platform

Particularly from Professor Richard Baldwin, Director of the Graduate Institute.

youtube (LINK)

Why the U.S. and China are fighting over the coronavirus and COVID-19 origins story

Its headline: Murky origins: why China will never welcome a global inquiry into the source of COVID-19.

theconversation (LINK)

Some OECD papers on COVID-19, Environmental and Economic Issues

And several more.

oecd (LINK)


Zero-Day Warning: It's Possible to Hack iPhones Just by Sending Emails

At the time of writing, only the beta 13.4.5 version of iOS, released just last week, contains security patches for both zero-day vulnerabilities. For millions of iPhone and iPad users, a public software patch will soon be available with the release of the upcoming iOS update.

Meanwhile, Apple users are strongly advised to do not to use their smartphones' built-in mail application; instead, temporarily switch to Outlook or Gmail apps.

thehackernews (LINK)

Chinese Hackers Using New iPhone Hack to Spy On Uyghur Muslims

Volexity said the attacks were carried out by a state-sponsored hacking group it calls Evil Eye, the same threat actor that it said was behind a series of attacks against the Uyghurs last September following a bombshell disclosure by Google's Project Zero team.

thehackernews (LINK)


Is There an Ethical Way to Buy Books Online?

"My quest to find one underscores how Amazon's power could grow during the pandemic." (LINK)

Related GLOBAL-GENEVA piece : Running an English bookstore in the time of the pandemic (LINK)

What future do airlines have? Three experts give their views

Some quotes:

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) estimates that the global industry will lose US$252 billion in 2020. Many airlines are cutting up to 90% of their flight capacity.

1. "Few major airlines have gone out of business because they failed. Even Swissair, which was famously bankrupt and defunct in late 2001, soon reappeared as Swiss International Airlines."

2. "After 9/11, the airline industry completely shut down in the US. People witnessing the horrifying scenes of the Twin Towers' collapse were hardly eager to board a plane. So, the government chose to step in to restore confidence. And it did so, successfully, by offering aid including loans and used warrants, which involves investing in airlines when the stock is at a reduced or rock bottom price and waiting for it to go up again."

"Airline norms suggest that 25% of revenues should be kept in case of any emergency, but this has tended not to happen recently."

3. "Most flights are taken by a relatively well-off minority, often for leisure reasons, and of questionable necessity. We might wonder whether it is wise to devote so much of our remaining carbon 'allowance' to aviation over sectors like energy or food which — as we are now being reminded — are fundamental to human life."

theconversation (LINK)

Post COVID-19

All the things COVID-19 will change forever, according to 30 top experts

For example:

  • Working from home becomes the new normal
  • The digital migration accelerates
  • Education goes virtual
  • Healthcare confronts some old problems
  • Venture capital hunkers down
  • Transportation rebounds, and evolves
  • Manufacturing gets a wake-up call
  • New thinking changes old businesses

Some favourites:

"I believe that this could signal the death of open space work environments."

"Organizations will ditch the notion of having a big office and revert back to a small-town model of working in cluster offices with more remote work."

"I don’t think we’re going back to a world of working mostly from offices anytime soon, and as such, there are new business norms that work for home and work.

"People who have been considering a move, to tap into the sector expertise (healthcare, food and agriculture, etc.) that exists in many parts of the country, or for a lifestyle change, or to be near family and friends, may choose this moment to relocate, accelerating a talent boomerang, and helping emerging startup cities rise."

"Remote hiring of technical talent will become the norm, accelerated by the normalization of remote work."

"For employee-friendly companies, evening hours will ultimately revert to family or personal time, as they should."

"Loved ones who hadn't seen each other in years are now seeing each other daily, people are getting creative with virtual happy hours."

"What organizations resisted for a decade is now core to survival and innovation. It is exciting, because this digital mindset will persist, and it is highly unlikely companies will try to return to what worked prior to the pandemic."

fastcompany (LINK)

It's time for billionaires to stop worrying about their fortunes and start worrying about the world

From the new co-chair of International Crisis Group, Canadian businessman Frank Giustra: "The coronavirus crisis makes crystal clear that capitalism is failing the vast majority of the world's population. The world's richest people must intervene, using their own wealth to put human lives above profit.""

businessinsider (LINK)

COVID-19 lessons for the 50th anniversary of Earth Day

"Just as the virus has hit some communities harder than others, equity concerns in the climate change context should steer us to pay attention to the communities, industries and individuals whose circumstances will be most jarred by the energy transformation required to combat it." — Daniel C. Esty.

thehill (LINK)

Education / Environment

Free environmental education online over six weeks from Earth Day

"UNEP, TED-Ed and dozens of collaborators have joined forces to offer #EarthSchool — a new platform offering the best online environmental education material out there." — David Jensen, Head of Environmental Peacebuilding, United Nations Environment Programme.

"Join us to learn something amazing every weekday between Earth Day (April 22nd) and World Environment Day (June 5th)." — TED-Ed. (LINK)

COVID-19 / Environment

Fall in COVID-linked carbon emissions won't halt climate change – UN weather agency chief

Once the global economy begins to recover from the new coronavirus, WMO expects emissions to return to normal. "There might even be a boost in emissions because some of the industries have been stopped," the WMO head cautioned. (LINK)


8 “Sustainable” Habits Aren't as Green as You Might Think

Simple, everyday activities we thought were helping the planet may actually be costing it, due to incorrect labeling, presumed benefits, and shortcomings in scientific research and/or its public availability.

1. Tote bags: Denmark's Ministry of Health and Food found in 2018 that a natural cotton bag must be used more than 20,000 times — or for about 55 years — before it has the same environmental impact as a lightweight single-use plastic grocery bag. Much of the impact comes from cotton's high demand for water and the use of an ozone-depleting chemical to treat the plant. The result is a highly resource-costly product.

realsimple (LINK)

Coronavirus: It's The Math, Stupid.

The real pandemic will start the day we start lifting the lockdown. Every country or state has announced a date at which lockdown will be lifted. They should instead declare that they will lift the lockdown the day the number of new cases has been zero for the past two weeks. Period.

centerforinquiry (LINK)


UNCTAD eCommerce Week 2020 goes DIGITAL

UNCTAD's eCommerce Week is the leading forum for Ministers, senior government officials, CEOs and other business representatives, international organizations, development banks, academics and civil society to discuss the development opportunities and challenges associated with the digital economy.

Throughout the scheduled eCommerce Week (27 April- 01 May), a selected number of online events (dialogues, webinars, meetings) open to all will take place. They include 3 High Level Sessions and a set of Webinars to explore how the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting lives and economies and what policy solutions will be needed to sustain structural changes in the long-run. (LINK)


Occupations with the highest COVID-19 risk

jobs graph
Click for full page view

Medical assistants of all kinds are low paid but at high risk. CEOs are high paid but at low risk but not as low as janitors or computer programmers.

weforum (LINK)


Reporters Without Borders restates calls to release Julian Assange as UK drops to 35th in 2020 World Press Freedom Index

"The UK has dropped two places to 35th out of 180 countries in Reporters Without Borders' (RSF's) 2020 World Press Freedom Index, published today. Although the UK government played a key role in promoting media freedom globally, its efforts were undermined by domestic developments, including the murder of Lyra McKee and active threats to the safety of journalists in Northern Ireland, and the detention of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, who faces possible extradition to the US." (LINK)


US crude price collapses, turns negative for first time ever

U.S. crude oil futures turned negative Monday for the first time in history as storage space was filling up, discouraging buyers as weak economic data from Germany and Japan cast doubt on when fuel consumption will recover.

reuters / msn (LINK)


Oil Price Apocalpyse Will Bankrupt Nigeria, Africa's Richest Nation

Put simply, Nigeria produces crude oil which it sells to the United States, China, and the European Union, only to re-import gasoline at a higher price, subsidize that gasoline, and sell it to consumers at a massive loss.

According to Bloomberg, Nigeria spent four times as much money subsidizing fuel as it spent building schools, health centers, and science labs in 2019. This has led to mass emigration and widespread poverty in the country. Now, with oil prices at unprecedented lows, the country is about to collapse in a Venezuela-like catastrophe.

ccn (LINK)


19 answers on COVID-19 from wired

Updated info for those who want it. You should know all this already.

wired (LINK)

With COVID-19 'under control', Germany begins opening up

From florists to fashion stores, the majority of shops smaller than 800 sq m will be allowed to welcome customers again, in a first wave of relaxations to strict curbs on public life introduced last month.

channelnewsasia (LINK)

OCHA reveals 25 March appeal for $2bn has brought in only one quarter: $350m more urgently needed.

"Around $550 million has generously been made available to implement the Plan so far, with significant additional resources being mobilized and pledged."

The Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) has also released $95 million to kick-start the COVID-19 response, help contain the spread of the virus, maintain supply chains, and provide assistance and protection to the most vulnerable people, including women and girls, refugees and internally displaced persons.

"We, humanitarian organizations from across the world, call upon you to urgently support [a] global emergency supply system with an initial $350 million to enable a rapid scale-up of logistics common services."

medium (LINK)

Antibody study suggests coronavirus is far more widespread than previously thought

Non-peer reviewed study from Stanford found rate of virus may be 50 to 85 times higher than official figures.

theguardian (LINK)

COVID-19 / W.H.O.

The inside story of the WHO's response to coronavirus

"Trump has accused [W.H.O.] of withholding critical information about the danger of Covid-19, and being under the control of China. None of the accusations are supported by the facts."

theguardian (LINK)


Legendary UN Troubleshooter Gets His Own Hollywood Biopic

The much-anticipated biopic among United Nations watchers, "Sergio", a drama relating the tale of Sergio Vieira de Mello, opened today on Netflix.

Sergio died on Aug. 19, 2003, with 21 colleagues in a terrorist attack on UN headquarters in Baghdad. He was, at the time, the UN special representative to Iraq, on temporary leave from his post as the UN's human-rights chief, based in Geneva. He was 55 years old. Since 2009, Aug. 19 is observed annually as World Humanitarian Day in honor of humanitarians killed on duty.

"Sergio was an inspiration to so many of us – and still is," says Michael Keating, a former UN special representative to Somalia who now leads the European Institute of Peace in Brussels.

passblue (LINK)

Related GLOBAL-GENEVA piece : The Sergio Vieira de Mello Academic Consortium: Good practice for refugee integration (LINK)


U.S. leading indicator points to deep economic slump, the largest fall 60 years

The Conference Board said its index of leading economic indicators (LEI) tumbled 6.7% last month, the largest decrease in the series' 60-year history. Data for February was revised down to show the index falling 0.2% instead of gaining 0.1% as previously reported. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast the index dropping 7.0% in March.

reuters (LINK)

COVID-19 / Health

25 rules for living with coronavirus

In case you haven't seen this:

The Rules:

1. Basically, you can't leave the house for any reason, but if you have to, then you can.

2. Masks are useless, but maybe you have to wear one, it can save you, it is useless, but maybe it is mandatory as well, maybe you should buy one, make one, or just stay in.

3. Stores are closed, except those that are open.

4. You should not go to hospitals unless you have to go there. Same applies to doctors, you should only go there in case of emergency, provided you are not too sick.

5. This virus is deadly but still not too scary, except that sometimes it actually leads to a global disaster.

6. You should get tested if you feel sick or if you think you were near someone is is sick or if they thoight they were sick or if you want to know if you were sick but don't have any symptoms, never mind you can't get a test.

6. Gloves won't help, but they can still help.

7. Everyone needs to stay HOME, but it's important to GO OUT.

8. There is no shortage of groceries in the supermarket, but there are many things missing when you go there in the evening, but not in the morning. Sometimes.

9. The virus has no effect on children except those it affects.

10. Animals are not affected, but there is still a cat that tested positive in Belgium in February when no one had been tested, plus a few tigers here and there…

11. You will have many symptoms when you are sick, but you can also get sick without symptoms, have symptoms without being sick, or be contagious without having symptoms. Oh, my..

12. In order not to get sick, you have to eat well and exercise, but eat whatever you have on hand and it's better not to go out, well, but no…

13. It's better to get some fresh air, but you get looked at very wrong when you get some fresh air, and most importantly, you don't go to parks or walk. But don't sit down, except that you can do that now if you are old, but not for too long or if you are pregnant (but not too old).

14. You can't go to retirement homes, but you have to take care of the elderly and bring food and medication.

15. If you are sick, you can't go out, but you can go to the pharmacy.

16. You can get restaurant food delivered to the house, which may have been prepared by people who didn't wear masks or gloves. But you have to have your groceries decontaminated outside for 3 hours. Pizza too?

17. Every disturbing article or disturbing interview starts with " I don't want to trigger panic, but…"

18. You can't see your older mother or grandmother, but you can take a taxi and meet an older taxi driver.

19. You can walk around with a friend but not with your family if they don't live under the same roof.

20. You are safe if you maintain the appropriate social distance, but you can't go out with friends or strangers at the safe social distance.

21. The virus remains active on different surfaces for two hours, no, four, no, six, no, we didn't say hours, maybe days? But it takes a damp environment. Oh no, not necessarily.

22. The virus stays in the air - well no, or yes, maybe, especially in a closed room, in one hour a sick person can infect ten, so if it falls, all our children were already infected at school before it was closed. But remember, if you stay at the recommended social distance, however in certain circumstances you should maintain a greater distance, which, studies show, the virus can travel further, maybe.

23. We count the number of deaths but we don't know how many people are infected as we have only tested so far those who were "almost dead" to find out if that's what they will die of…

24. We have no treatment, except that there may be one that apparently is not dangerous unless you take too much (which is the case with all medications).

25. We should stay locked up until the virus disappears, but it will only disappear if we achieve collective immunity, so when it circulates… but we must no longer be locked up for that.

As a separate page (LINK)

COVID-19 / Switzerland

Matterhorn in Swiss Alps lit up with American flag in show of solidarity during coronavirus

thehill (LINK)

COVID-19 / Economy

China GDP shrank 6.8% in Q1, first contraction in decades

China's economy contracted for the first time in decades last quarter.

afp / timesofindia (LINK)

COVID-19 / Rights

UN report: Pandemic turning into a 'child-rights crisis'

Children have so far largely escaped the most severe symptoms of COVID-19 but the social and economic impact "is potentially catastrophic for millions of children", according to a U.N. report.

ap / ksl (LINK)

Switzerland leads neighbours on coronavirus testing

By 16 April 2020, close to 2.4% of the population had been tested. Rates in Germany (2.1%), Italy (2.0%) and Austria (1.9%) were similarly high. Among neighbouring countries, France stands out. There, only 0.7% of the population had been tested by 14 April 2020. Rates in the US (1.0%) and UK (0.5%) were also comparatively low. (LINK)

COVID-19 / Switerland

Swiss Federal Council to gradually ease measures against the new coronavirus

"On 27 April, hospitals will be able to resume all medical procedures, including non-urgent procedures, and outpatient medical practices, hairdressing salons, massage practices and cosmetic studios will be allowed to reopen. DIY stores, garden centres and florists will also be allowed to reopen." Ah, garden centres!

Second and third phase: 11 May and 8 June. (LINK)

COVID-19 / Software

A 17-year-old creates coronavirus-tracking website; has over 40 million views

The website provides the latest data on the number of confirmed cases, serious cases, deaths and people who have recovered, both worldwide and in individual countries. The site also includes an interactive Google map, travel advisories and information on the disease and its prevention.

Its creator, who also competes in ski races and hackathons, is a self-taught coder. "Everything I know is from watching YouTube videos and reading things online," he said.

newsela (LINK: requires sign-up)


A bizarre new coronavirus symptom may have been discovered

Doctors in Europe have found small lesions on the feet of coronavirus patients, possibly indicating a new symptom. The lesions can be present even in coronavirus patients without any other symptoms.

bgr (LINK)

Covidiots: 35 Times People Spotted Others Acting Like Morons During This Outbreak And Shared Pics Online

boredpanda (LINK)

COVID-19 / U.N. / W.H.O.

'We Alerted The World' To Coronavirus On Jan. 5, WHO Says In Response To U.S.

Responding to a question, Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of the WHO's Health Emergencies Programme, said, "In the first weeks of January, the WHO was very, very clear. We alerted the world on January the 5th. "Systems around the world, including the U.S., began to activate their incident management systems on January the 6th."

npr (LINK)

'Crime against humanity': Trump condemned for WHO funding freeze

Timing of move during Covid-19 crisis is deplored by UN chief and experts who say it will cost lives

theguardian (LINK)

COVID-19 / aid

Just how helpful is the IMF's debt relief?

Jürgen Kaiser, political coordinator of the association, a group supporting debt relief for developing nations, notes that the money in question will be taken away from resources originally meant to support development projects. "It would be better if the IMF resorted to its own resources such as gold reserves that it still has a lot of," Kaiser suggested.

dw (LINK)


Free course 'Investigative Reporting in the Digital Age' is now available online

A total 3,877 students from 147 countries and territories registered for the instructor-led version of the Knight Center course, “Investigative Reporting in the Digital Age,” which ran from Feb. 3 to March 1, 2020. The self-directed version of the MOOC (massive open online course) is now available online. (LINK)

COVID-19 / Economy

Airbnb was meant to IPO in 2020, but coronavirus has it borrowing billions

Airbnb just borrowed its second billion dollars in less than a week

thenextweb (LINK)


Why some democracies – but not all – are better at fighting pandemics

"China, we are told, has beaten the disease. Western Europe and North America have not. Perhaps because they are preoccupied with their own disaster, the rich countries of the North no longer lead efforts to help others fight the virus: that role has shifted to non-democracies or countries whose democratic credentials are questioned such as China, Cuba and Turkey.

"But the evidence thus far might point in the opposite direction: that countries with stronger democracies do best at dealing with the pandemic."

"The accolade for handling the epidemic the best must go to South Korea: in Daegu, the epicentre of the virus, on April 10, for the first time since the virus appeared, no new cases were reported. But its greatest success so far is that, at the time of writing, just over 200 people have died of the disease, a spectacular achievement compared with most other countries. And South Korea is, of course, a democracy.

"South Korea is not the only democracy to have made headway against it. Portugal has lost only 535 people in a population of 10 million at the time of writing.

New Zealand, whose prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, is seen by many as a democratic role model, has lost one person out of a population of almost 5 million. Mexico may be next to the US geographically, but is nowhere near it in COVID-19 deaths: only 332 in a population of 129 million. In Greece, only 99 people out of 10 million have lost their lives."

"So, why are some doing better than others? A clear reason is that some countries are run by right-wing nationalists to whom protecting people does not come naturally. A clear lesson we can draw already is that the nationalist right is terrible at dealing with pandemics."

theconversation (LINK)


The pandemic is ravaging the world's poor, even if they're untouched by the virus

washingtonpost (LINK)

Chernobyl / Health

Chernobyl: Ukraine crews extinguish forest fires in exclusion zone after 10 days

Firefighters worked for 10 days to extinguish fires that broke out in the forest around the Chernobyl nuclear plant. Ukrainian officials say they've tracked down two men who are believed to be behind the blazes.


COVID-19 / Software

Passwords and email addresses for hundreds of thousands of Zoom accounts are for sale on the dark web

Zoom users who reuse the same passwords from other accounts can face an ugly unintended consequence — having their login information sold on the dark web. One dataset for sale on a dark web marketplace, discovered by an independent security firm and verified by NBC News, includes about 530,000 accounts.

nbcnews (LINK)


OHCHR, IOM, UNHCR and WHO joint press release:  Free refugees and migrants held in detention

"The situation for refugees and migrants held in formal and informal places of detention, in cramped and unsanitary conditions, is particularly worrying. Considering the lethal consequences a COVID-19 outbreak would have, they should be released without delay. Migrant children and their families and those detained without a sufficient legal basis should be immediately released."

"Three-quarters of the world's refugees and many migrants are hosted in developing regions where health systems are already overwhelmed and under-capacitated. To ensure refugees and migrants have adequate access to national health services, States may need additional financial support. the world's financial institutions can play a leading role in making funds available" (LINK)

'Such a simple thing to do': Why positioning Covid-19 patients on their stomachs can save lives

Doctors are finding that placing the sickest coronavirus patients on their stomachs — called prone positioning — helps increase the amount of oxygen that's getting to their lungs. "We're saving lives with this, one hundred percent," said Narasimhan, the regional director for critical care at Northwell Health, which owns 23 hospitals in New York. "It's such a simple thing to do, and we've seen remarkable improvement. We can see it for every single patient."

cnn (LINK)

Nature's comeback? No, the coronavirus pandemic threatens the world's wildlife

Most of the world's biodiversity is found in the low-income countries and emerging economies of the Global South, and in such places the economic impacts of the pandemic are likely to be devastating for the natural world.

theconversation (LINK)

This is the end of the office as we know it

Upon entering your building, the doors may open automatically so you don't have to touch the handles. Before you board your elevator, you might tell the elevator where you'd like to go, rather than pressing the many buttons within the elevator. When you reach your floor, you could walk into a room full of dividers and well-spaced desks instead of the crowded open floor plan you're used to. In common areas like meeting rooms and kitchens, expect to see fewer chairs and posted documentation of the last time they were cleaned.

These are just the changes you can see. And this is all assuming you go back to your old office at all.

vox (LINK)

COVID-19 / Media

Chris Cuomo after coronavirus: My CNN Job Is Pointless and I Can't Stand It

"I don't like what I do professionally… I don't think it's worth my time." He said he doesn't want to spend his life "trafficking in things that I think are ridiculous," like "talking to Democrats about things that I don't really believe they mean,” and “talking to Republicans about them parroting things they feel they have to say."

thedailybeast (LINK)


7 ways you can help the coronavirus response

Message No 1. is Stay at Home.

theconversation (LINK)


Means TV: inside the leftist, worker-owned streaming service of the U.S.

The entertainment media cooperative considers itself a 'post-capitalist' streaming service — and a critical counterweight to rightwing media. As of 7 April, it has 3,700 subscribers, most of whom pay the full fee of $10 a month, though the organizers note that they “always offer discounted subscriptions to anyone who can’t afford it”.

Worth watching: Economic Update: ballooning debt forces 13% cuts in social spending.

theguardian (LINK)

Deep Analysis Of Global Pandemic Data Reveals Important Insights

The analysis revealed that some countries proved very effective at combating COVID-19 early on. These countries focused on early prevention by deploying quarantine measures before the number of confirmed cases surpassed 50,000, and using efficient methods for treating hospitalized patients. For example, China and Germany rapidly mobilizing emergency efforts early on to contain the virus and increase hospital capacity. They utilized technologies including AI, robotics, and big data analysis, in combination with medical treatment and healthcare management techniques structured in a sophisticated way.

The analytics are fact-based and unbiased and can be accessed free of charge.

forbes (LINK)

WHO officials say it's unclear whether recovered coronavirus patients are immune to second infection

World Health Organization officials said Monday not all people who recover from the coronavirus have the antibodies to fight a second infection, raising concern that patients may not develop immunity after surviving Covid-19. "With regards to recovery and then reinfection, I believe we do not have the answers to that. That is an unknown," Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of WHO's emergencies program, said at a press conference at the organization's Geneva headquarters.

cnbc (LINK)

More Recovered South Korean Coronavirus Patients Are Testing Positive Again

South Korean officials say that more than 116 people have tested positive for COVID-19 —after having been cleared of it previously, Reuters reports.

reuters / futurism (LINK)

How Long Does It Take To Recover From COVID-19?

Answer: it varies.

npr (LINK)

Thai scientists Have Reported The First Case Of The Coronavirus Spreading From A Dead Body

"The disinfection procedure used in operation rooms might be applied in pathology/forensic units too," write the authors.

buzzfeednews (LINK)

The Effects of Physical Isolation on the Pandemic Quantified

Social distancing measures are based on limited data. As much of the world remains stuck in lockdown, researchers are trying to measure the benefits. A study written up three years afer the event in an obscure Australian government journal called Communicable Disease Intelligence is one of the few proven examples of the benefits that social and physical distancing measures can have against a contagious virus.

With COVID-19, the question of how much does social distancing reduce transmission is harder to answer with real data. That's because there's typically a three-week lag between infection and people dying, which, without comprehensive testing, remains the most reliable indicator of disease spread.

Marco Ajelli, an infectious-disease expert at the Bruno Kessler Foundation in Trento, Italy, who was a member of the team that carried out surveys in Shanghai and Wuhan, says his team's model shows that "the social distancing measures adopted in China were sufficient to control the epidemic."" The results of other models, including one from researchers in Germany published in Science this week, support that conclusion. Strict lockdown measures are also credited with helping Australia and New Zealand to suppress the spread of the virus so far, aided by both countries shutting their borders to international visitors early on.

the-scientist (LINK)

'In South Korea, patients cured of Covid-19 have tested positive later,' FM tells FRANCE 24

france24 (LINK)

Coronavirus spread study points to your shoes

A study set for “Early Release” in the CDC's Emerging Infectious Diseases journal suggests that a mere 6 feet in distancing from others is not far enough. This study suggests instead that "maximum transmission distance of SARS-CoV-2 aerosol" could be up to 4 metres (13 feet.)

Hospital areas designated "semicontaminated area" and "dressing room" had 0% positivity testing for SARS-CoV-2, except one. The floor of the dressing room showed 37.5% positivity. This combined with the shoe sole results and the floor of the pharmacy suggest that spread happens on the soles of shoes — in a big way. Per the study, "the soles of medical staff shoes might function as carriers. We highly recommend that persons disinfect shoe soles before walking out of wards containing COVID-19 patients.

slashgear (LINK)

How did coronavirus start and where did it come from? Was it really Wuhan's animal market?

Don't expect the answer.


theguardian (LINK)

Debunking 9 popular myths doing the rounds in Africa about the coronavirus

Among them: SARS-CoV-2 cannot survive in Africa's warm climate, having had malaria makes one immune, and the flu injection will protect you.

theconversation (LINK)

UK finance minister says GDP may fall by up to 30% amid virus crisis

Britain's gross domestic product (GDP) could fall by up to 30% between April and June, Finance Minister Rishi Sunak told his colleagues as members of the cabinet call for easing lockdown restrictions amid the coronavirus outbreak, the Times reported. Sunak discussed the possibility of a 25% to 30% fall in GDP in the second quarter, the newspaper reported, adding that ten ministers were pressing for the lockdown to be eased next month.

reuters (LINK)

IMF cancels debt payments for six months for 25 impoverished nations

The IMF executive board approved the immediate debt service relief for 19 African countries, Afghanistan, Haiti, Nepal, Solomon Islands, Tajikistan and Yemen.

ap / ctvnewsx (LINK)

India coronavirus: World's largest postal service turns lifesaver

bbc (LINK)

Nazi death camp Buchenwald marks 75 years since liberation amid coronavirus

In the wake of the coronavirus lock down, authorities in the state of Thuringia cancelled commemoration events marking the the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Buchenwald death camp on 11 April 1945.

In addition to the marking of the liberation, authorities in the state also published its "Thuringian Declaration" condemning the rise of far-right nationalism and neo-Nazism in the country.

jpost (LINK)


Oil nations agree to unprecedented global production cut

OPEC, Russia and other oil-producing nations on Sunday finalized an unprecedented production cut of nearly 10 million barrels, or a tenth of global supply, in hopes of boosting crashing prices amid the coronavirus pandemic and a price war.

csmonitor (LINK)


Understanding the COVID-19 pandemic through data

The data are drawn from the World Bank's data catalog and other authoritative sources.

Datasets from the World Bank

  • Coronavirus (COVID-19) Related Datasets
  • Map of World Bank's Operational Response to the Coronavirus
  • Database on Coronavirus Trade Flows and Policies
  • Social Protection Responses to Coronavirus
  • Education and Coronavirus (LINK)

It was the saltshaker: How Germany meticulously traced its coronavirus outbreak

The country's methodical search for transmission chains has so far resulted in some of the lowest death rates in Europe.

comparison chart

weforum (LINK)


Mutant enzyme could break down plastic bottles for recycling in hours, scientists say

Scientists say they've “engineered” a mutant bacterial enzyme that can easily break down plastic bottles for recycling in a matter of hours. Originally discovered in a compost heap by researchers in 2012, the enzyme reduces the bottles to their initial chemical building blocks which are then recycled to make brand new bottles. The new and improved enzyme was unveiled in a research paper published on 8 April in the journal Nature (link to PDF).

globalnews (LINK)

U.N. / War

UN condemns water cutoff to Libyan capital Tripoli

Supply has been cut to more than two million people in Tripoli and nearby towns following an attack.

aljazeera (LINK)


Cyclone Harold batters Pacific Island nations already impacted by COVID-19 (LINK)


The pandemic strengthens the case for universal basic income

Spain is moving to establish permanent basic income in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic — Business Insider, 6 April 2020.

washingtonpost (LINK)

Related GLOBAL-GENEVA piece: COVID-19: The need for global solidarity and cooperation (LINK)

Germany's coronavirus cases rise by 5,323, deaths by 266

The number of confirmed coronavirus infections in Germany rose by 5,323 in the past 24 hours to 113,525 on Friday, climbing for a fourth straight day after four previous days of declines.

reuters (LINK)

Thailand reports 50 new coronavirus cases, 1 new death

27 are linked to previous cases and eight who are waiting for investigation into how they caught the disease. Three of the new cases were imported.

reuters (LINK)

Software / Education

Singapore stops teachers using Zoom app after 'very serious incidents'

One of the incidents involved obscene images appearing on screens and strange men making lewd comments during the streaming of a geography lesson with teenage girls, according to local media reports.

reuters (LINK)

COVID-19 / Economy

ITC launches dashboard of COVID-19 temporary trade measures, offers free access to Market Analysis Tools

interactive map
The web map is interactive

ITC announced that it would offer free access to its trade statistics and company data to support companies during the crisis. Both initiatives will help micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) and policymakers make well-informed decisions during the coronavirus emergency.

Examples: Switzerland eliminates tariffs on personal protective equipment (08/04/2020). Turkey subjects lemons to export control (07/04/2020). Cambodia suspends exports of rice and some fish products (05/04/2020),

macmap (LINK)

Thomas Modly's Trip To Aircraft Carrier To Call Capt. Brett Crozier 'Stupid' Cost $243,000

More than 400 sailors on the Theodore Roosevelt have tested positive for coronavirus after Crozier raised an alarm. Modly is now in quarantine.

huffpost (LINK)

COVID-19 / War

Saudi coalition to cease military operations in Yemen amid fears of COVID-19 outbreak

Saudi Arabia and its coalition backing the Yemeni government against a rebel group announced they will halt their military operations for two weeks, possibly providing a small window for negotiations again.

abc / msn (LINK)

BRN in Thailand announce ceasefire because of COVID-19

Southern Thailand's most powerful armed group, the Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN), has announced a ceasefire to enable humanitarian and medical access into areas affected by COVID-19 outbreak in the province. In a statement, dated Friday, April 3, the shadowy armed group said it is taking measures “to cease all activities" effective that day, for as long as "BRN is not attacked by Thai Government personnel".

bernama (LINK)

Emerging Priorities and Principles for Managing the Global Economic Impact of COVID-19: The Forum's second edition of the Chief Economists Outlook

The report is the outcome of consultations with leading chief economists from both the public and private sectors and leaders from the Stewardship Board of the World Economic Forum's Platform for Shaping the Future of the New Economy and Society.

"While the climate change and green transition agenda was already a key item on the global agenda before the pandemic, the present crisis has starkly highlighted inadequacies in healthcare, wages, job quality and social safety net systems, as well as societal concerns about inequality. Given the urgency of addressing the immediate fallout of COVID-19, some argue that the priority at this moment should be only to safeguard as many businesses and jobs as possible.

"However, a shift towards fairer outcomes and green investments could be made by governments as they implement measures to overcome the current crisis, including new types of institutions and public-private partnerships, coordinating R&D activities towards solving public health challenges, enhancing job quality and training, and rewiring industries to reduce carbon emissions. Proactively shaping this 'new normal' now will pay off for economies and societies in the long run." (Report downloadable in PDF)

weforum (LINK)

COVID-19 / Health

Air pollution drops 30% in Northeast US as coronavirus lockdown slows travel: NASA

cnbc (LINK)


Syrian Air Force Launched Chemical Attacks On Civilians, Watchdog Says

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons said Syria used the chemical weapons sarin and chlorine in a series of attacks in 2017.

ap / huffpost (LINK)


What the Pandemic Means for UN Peacekeeping Work

On April 7, the UN announced that it was suspending rotations of uniformed personnel at all 13 missions until June 30, 2020. This puts a temporary stop to rotations (replacing one unit with another of the same type), repatriations (withdrawal without replacement) and new deployments. The suspension has major implications for host countries and their populations — and for the missions and deployed personnel — from understaffing to prolonged deployments. However, new opportunities also emerge, including finally being able to make progress on more gender-equitable deployments of women.

passblue (LINK)

Can the United Nations Survive the Coronavirus?

In the absence of U.S. leadership, the U.N. is struggling to carve out a role in the face of what may be the greatest threat since its founding. Each effort to address the health crisis has met stiff resistance or indifference, raising questions about the ability of the U.N. to function effectively with a declining American superpower unwilling, and seemingly unable, to guide the world through the health calamity, and the capacity of a rising China to forge a concerted international response to a pandemic that started on its soil.

Foreign Policy tends to overestimate the dependence of the U.N. politically and intellectually on the U.S. But look at the nationality of peacekeepers or humanitarian workers to see a larger truth.

foreignpolicy (LINK)

China's investigative journalists offer a fraught glimpse behind Beijing's coronavirus propaganda

Long profile of journalists and their situation.

washingtonpost (LINK)


Taiwan condemns claim it was source of attacks on WHO chief

Taiwan's Foreign Ministry on Thursday condemned as "groundless" accusations from the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) that racist slurs against him had come from the island, as Taipei escalated its feud with the body. Taiwan's lack of membership of the WHO, due to pressure from Beijing, has infuriated the Taipei government during the coronavirus outbreak, which says it has been unable to get timely information and that Taiwanese lives have become political pawns. The WHO denies the criticisms. On 8 April WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus rejected "racist slurs" against him, which he said had originated in Taiwan. (LINK)

Swiss Federal Council extends measures by a week to 26 April but decides on gradual easing

"The measures introduced to combat the coronavirus epidemic are being followed well and are having the desired effect. They will be extended by a week until Sunday, 26 April, but should then gradually begin to be eased before the end of the month." (LINK)


Coronavirus putting world on track for new Great Depression, says WTO

International trade body predicts commerce could shrink up to 32% and warns against 30s-style protectionism.

theguardian (LINK)


'Overwhelmed' health systems have little room for sick refugees, migrants, UN agencies warn

In a joint statement released on 3 April 2020, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the UN human rights office (OHCHR) and the World Health Organization (WHO) stressed that refugees, migrants and displaced persons are at heightened risk of contracting the new coronavirus disease. (LINK)


How Europe failed the coronavirus test

The contagion's spread is a story of complacency, overconfidence and lack of preparation.

politico (LINK)

'Lost faith': EU's top scientist Mauro Ferrari quits over coronavirus response

European Research Council's Mauro Ferrari had proposed a special programme to combat COVID-19, but was rejected. "I have seen enough of both the governance of science, and the political operations at the European Union," he says. "I have lost faith in the system itself."

Ministers from the 19 nations that use the euro currency have failed to get a breakthrough on how and to what extent to use its financial clout to improve solidarity between the richer and poorer member states.

ap / scmp (LINK)

ERC members claim proposals didn't align with the mission of the council

Christian Ehler, Member of the European Parliament who serves on the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy, says in a statement that Ferrari's ideas failed to align with the legal mandate of the ERC. “Mr Ferrari's recent proposal to deviate from the ERC's researcher-driven approach was seen more as a window-dressing public relations stand on the coronavirus crisis,” he writes, “and it was a contradiction to the legal basis of the ERC, which can and does in many ways contribute to the fight against COVID-19.”

the-scientist (LINK)

New York's virus toll tops 9/11, while Wuhan ends lockdown

As New York City faced one of its darkest days with the death toll from the coronavirus surging past 4,000 — more than the number killed on 9/11 — the Chinese city where the global pandemic began lifted its final restrictions on movement Wednesday as deaths there plummeted.

The virus toll in New York City is now more than 1,000 deaths higher than that of the deadliest terro attack on U.S. soil, which killed 2,753 people in the city and 2,977 overall.

apnews (LINK)


Trump threatens to freeze WHO funding, then backtracks, amid search for scapegoat

Trump accused the World Health Organization (WHO) of having "called it wrong" and being "China-centric". The US president contradicted himself within minutes, first vowing to put "a very powerful hold" on his government's funding of the WHO, then insisting such a freeze was only under consideration.

theguardian (LINK)

Face masks cannot stop healthy people getting COVID-19, says WHO

Organisation's evidence review shows wearing mask outside does not prevent infection.

theguardian (LINK)

Acting Navy Secretary resigns over coronavirus ship flap

nbcnews (LINK)

Critic who called Xi a 'clown' over COVID-19 crisis investigated for 'serious violations'

Ren Zhiqiang went missing last month after writing an essay criticising the Chinese Communist party's handling of the outbreak. An influential critic of the Chinese Communist party, he suggested president Xi Jinping was a "clown" over his handling of the coronavirus outbreak

theguardian (LINK)

North Korea testing, quarantining for COVID-19, still says no cases – WHO representative

North Korea, one of only a handful of countries not to have reported confirmed cases of COVID-19, has said that it continues testing and has more than 500 people in quarantine, the World Health Organization (WHO) told Reuters.

“As of 2 April, 709 people — 11 foreigners and 698 nationals — have been tested for COVID-19. There is no report of a COVID-19 case. There are 509 people in quarantine — two foreigners and 507 nationals,” Dr. Edwin Salvador, the WHO Representative to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), said in an email.

reuters (LINK)

Twitter boss pledges $1bn for coronavirus relief effort

He says the donation represents approximately 28% of his wealth.

bbc (LINK)

Jakarta to start shutdown as burials, and fears, rise amid coronavirus outbreak

President Joko Widodo had resisted lockdown measures, but an increase in burials has sparked concerns about undetected cases.

theguardian (LINK)

Wisconsin holds primary election despite coronavirus pandemic

At a Milwaukee polling station, staff set up lanes where some people could vote from their cars. The city of 600,000 normally has some 180 polling locations open, but that number reportedly shrank to just five, creating brutally long lines in an era of social distancing.

news wires / france24 (LINK)

COVID-19 to wipe out equivalent of 195m jobs, says UN agency

UN Labour body expects 6.7% of working hours to be wiped out globally in second quarter.

theguardian (LINK)

UK coronavirus: Raab hints at lockdown extension as Boris Johnson remains 'stable' in intensive care

theguardian (LINK)

Celebrated singer-songwriter John Prine dies from complications of COVID-19

theglobeandmail (LINK)

COVID-19 May Be Twice As Contagious As We Thought

A single person with COVID-19 may be more likely to infect up to 5 or 6 other people, rather than 2 or 3, suggests a new study of Chinese data from the CDC. It's not clear if this higher number applies only to the cases in China or if it will be similar in other countries.

forbes (LINK)

COVID-19 / Economy

Oversight of $4.5 Trillion Corporate Bailout in 'Grave Jeopardy' as Trump Fires Independent Watchdog

The president signed the CARES Act into law late last month amid criticism that the package did not contain nearly enough oversight for trillions of dollars in corporate bailout money, which progressives characterized as a "slush fund".

commondreams (LINK)

Wells Fargo forced to close loan applications due to asset cap

Wells Fargo has stopped accepting loan applications from small businesses under the Small Business Administration's (SBA) $350 billion Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), less than two days after it opened its portal, per CBS News. The bank said in a statement that it is limited to distributing a maximum of $10 billion in loans to small businesses due to its asset cap imposed by the Federal Reserve in 2018 — the volume of loan applications Wells Fargo received between April 4 and April 5 was high enough that it would certainly hit that capacity, and it closed applications as a result.

businessinsider (LINK)

Wells Fargo Advisors Named in Crypto Fraud Case

Three cryptocurrency traders allegedly scammed over 100 investors through a Ponzi scheme that generated over $35 million, according to victims who formed an entity to represent them. Interestingly, the trio worked for reputable banks and institutional firms, including Wells Fargo Advisors and NYSE.

bitcoinist (LINK)

COVID-19 / Sport

Want feedback from Federer? Tweet him your volleying video

Roger Federer offered stuck-at-home amateurs the ultimate online fantasy camp of sorts, a chance to get tennis tips from a guy many consider the greatest of all time.

apnews (LINK)


Geneva, Lausanne, Neuchatel maintain first-year university exams

But failing scores will not count.

20min (LINK) in French, requires disabling adblocker

EPFL-invented 'SmartBra' can detect cancer

20min (LINK), in French, requires disabling adblocker

Swiss dies of COVID-19 in Thai luxury residence

82-year-old in Hua-Hin had been in bad health for months previously. The restaurant is serving only takeout meals.

20min (LINK) in French, requires deactivating adblockers


Trump order encourages US to mine the moon

Executive order says US will oppose any international effort to bar it from removing chunks of moon, Mars or elsewhere in space

theguardian (LINK)

2020 Great Barrier Reef Bleaching Event Is Most Widespread to Date

The Great Barrier Reef's third mass bleaching event in five years is also its most widespread, according to new data released Tuesday. Professor Terry Hughes, director of the Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University, spent nine days in a plane surveying 1,036 reefs from the air, The Guardian reported. He found that 25 percent of the overall reef was severely bleached. What's more, he observed bleaching in the north, center and south of the reef for the first time.

ecowatch (LINK) Also AP (LINK)


Cardinal Pell welcomes court's dismissal of abuse conviction

But Pell's record on managing clergy abuse could come under further public scrutiny with Australian Attorney General Christian Porter responding to the verdict by announcing he will consider releasing a redacted section of a report on institutional responses to child molesting.

apnews (LINK)


Switzerland's COVID-19 aid package 'should help the country avoid a massive wave of joblessness'

Switzerland's largest ever aid package launched to counter the economic impact of the new coronavirus epidemic should help the country avoid a massive wave of joblessness, the head of the government's labour department said. Companies employing 1.45 million workers — or nearly 29% of the entire workforce — have applied so far for short-time work compensation. Under the so-called “Kurzarbeit” scheme — part of Switzerland's 62 billion Swiss franc ($63.7 billion) aid package — employees get 80% of their wages from the government. The aim was to remove the burden of paying wages from companies, so they could ramp up employment again after the crisis.

reuters (LINK)

The Ultimate Small Business Work From Home Guide

Long article.

forbes (LINK)

Open Culture promotes itself as the best free cultural and educational media on the web

1300 free online courses, 1150 free movies, 800 free books, 700 free audio books, 200 free ebooks, 300 free language lessons

openculture (LINK)

Small Nonprofits Struggle to Get Payroll Loans in New U.S. Federal Program

It is reported that some banks were not allowing small nonprofits to apply until later dates. There's a legitimate fear the $350 billion loan program could run out of money quickly before those dates arrive, as banks reported a rush of applications seeking billions of dollars in paycheck loans on the first day of the program. (LINK)

UNCTAD: COVID-10 News, Analysis, Resources online

UNCTAD is monitoring the effects of the global pandemic on manufacturing, trade, foreign direct investment and economic growth.

unctad (LINK)


Former Fox executives indicted in Fifa bribery scheme

Multimillion dollar scheme involved kickbacks to Fifa officials for broadcast rights to the 2018 and 2022 World Cup

theguardian (LINK)


Oil prices could plunge below $20 a barrel this quarter as demand craters: CNBC survey

Some analysts believe crude oil prices could fall to as low as $10 a barrel as the coronavirus outbreak has severely dented demand.

cnbc (LINK)


Lady Gaga Raises $35 Million To Fight Coronavirus, Plans All-Star Virtual Concert

The singer has partnered with Global Citizen and the World Health Organization to launch a virtual concert benefitting health-care workers.

huffpost (LINK)

Ban wildlife markets to avert pandemics, says UN biodiversity chief

Using the examples of Ebola in west-central Africa and the Nipah virus in east Asia, she said there were clear links between the destruction of nature and new human illnesses, but cautioned against a reactionary approach to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.


The COVID-19 Coronavirus May Travel further than expected

Even air collectors more than six feet away from patients detected the COVID-19 RNA, calling into question whether current social distancing guidelines are sufficient to prevent the spread of the disease.

the-scientist (LINK)

New Zealand sees 'positive' signs amid strict coronavirus lockdown

Jacinda Ardern won't rule out pay cuts for ministers when recovery starts as stay-at-home measures deliver some success.

theguardian (LINK)


26 years after, Rwanda locates genocide grave that could contain up to 30,000 bodies

The discovery is being called the most significant in years, and 50 bodies have been exhumed so far in efforts that are challenged by the East African nation's coronavirus-related lockdown.

globalnews (LINK)

Fake news

Fact Check: 'Viral lockdown phases' for India to control COVID-19 have not been endorsed by WHO

At a time Indians are anxious about the government's next move on the coronavirus lockdown, a message attributed to World Health Organization (WHO) is doing the rounds on social media.

indiatoday (LINK)


Italy, Spain, and France report slight declines in daily coronavirus death tolls. Their governments don't plan to lift national lockdowns and social distancing rules anytime soon.

Italy has the highest death toll of any country impacted by the coronavirus. At least 15,889 people are dead as of Sunday, up from 15,364 on Saturday — an increase of 525 deaths, which is the country's smallest increase in daily deaths since March 19.

businessinsider (LINK)

COVID-19 / Bahamas

As dozens of ships hover offshore, Bahamas says no sick cruise passengers, crew allowed

A new U.S. Coast Guard memo asks the dozens of cruise ships hovering just off Florida's coast to first ask the countries where their vessels are flagged for help with critically ill passengers and crew, before straining U.S. medical resources. But the Bahamas, where many of those ships are flagged, said it can't take sick people either.

miamiherald (LINK)

COVID-19 / U.N.

U.N. official warns of "dire" financial crisis due to coronavirus in leaked documents

The memo said the U.N. will temporarily suspend all hiring for regular budget vacancies and "postpone all discretionary spending unless it is directly and immediately linked to ongoing mandated activities, which are not impacted by the restrictions caused by the pandemic. There is not room for payments to troop and police contributing countries for the March and June quarterly cycles, which will require nearly $1.1 billion."

cbsnews (LINK)

In Georgia, Shelter-in-Place Order Closes Businesses and Reopens Beaches

The order supersedes actions taken by some coastal communities, and it reflects the tensions between state and local officials across the country in responding to the coronavirus.

nytimes (LINK)

Trump Organization has laid off about 1,500 employees as pandemic hits business

The coronavirus pandemic has forced borrowers and lenders across the globe to discuss ways to pay debts.

marketwatch (LINK)


Sweden Girds for Thousands of Deaths Amid Laxer Virus Policy

There are signs that the death rate in Sweden is growing faster than elsewhere in Scandinavia, raising pressure on the government to abandon its controversial hands-off approach in tackling COVID-19.

The Swedish experiment has drawn international bewilderment as schools, restaurants and cafes have remained open. And while other countries passed laws restricting movement, Sweden's Prime Minister Stefan Lofven relied on the common sense of his fellow citizens to carry his country through the pandemic.

bloomberg (LINK)

No Lockdowns In Sweden As Stockholm Remains Open—Parks And Open-Air Museums Operating

forbes (LINK)


How the coronavirus lockdown is hitting Mexico's drug cartels

The global coronavirus lockdown is making it hard for Mexican drug cartels to operate. With borders shut and limited air traffic, cartels are turning on each other.

dw (LINK)


Coronavirus: World Health Organisation now supports wearing face masks in public

'There may be situations where the wearing of masks may reduce the rate at which infected individuals may infect others.''

scmp (LINK)


Trump fires watchdog who triggered his impeachment

Michael Atkinson was the first to inform Congress about anonymous Ukraine complaint that led to Trump's impeachment.

aljazeera (LINK)


Tunisia deploys 'robocop' to enforce coronavirus lockdown

A police robot is patrolling the streets of the capital calling out suspected violators of the lockdown.

theguardian (LINK)

Thailand reports 89 new coronavirus cases, one more death

The latest numbers from the government's Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration took the total in the southeast Asian nation to 2,067. Twenty people have died. Homeless people are shown at a train station, after a curfew was imposed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Bangkok. (Short report)

reuters (LINK)

Thailand suspends incoming passenger flights to fight coronavirus

The ban on incoming flights will come into effect on Saturday morning and run until the end of Monday, the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand said in an order published late on Friday. Anyone arriving on a flight that took off before the order came into effect will need to be quarantined for 14 days upon arrival in Thailand, the order said.

reuters (LINK)


12k+ Android apps contain master passwords, secret access keys, secret commands

Comprehensive academic study finds hidden backdoor-like behavior in 6,800 Play Store apps, 1,000 apps from third-party app stores, and almost 4,800 apps pre-installed on user devices.

zdnet (LINK)

A Must For Millions, Zoom Has A Dark Side — And An FBI Warning

"The FBI has received multiple reports of conferences being disrupted by pornographic and/or hate images and threatening language," the bureau's Boston office said.

npr (LINK)


UN chief praises positive response to global ceasefire

U.N. Secretary-General Ant&oanio Guterres announced over a dozen countries have said they will begin or continue ceasefires, in response to his appeal for warring parties to stop fighting amid the COVID-19 pandemic that is having devastating effects worldwide. Fighters in Afghanistan, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Colombia, Libya, Myanmar, the Philippines, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Ukraine and Yemen have all "expressed their acceptance for the call," Guterres said.

cbsnews (LINK)


Confirmed global COVID-19 cases pass one million

Nearly 53,000 people have died and more than 210,000 have recovered, according to the John Hopkins US university's figures. The US has the most cases, and more than 1,000 died there in the past day. Though the tally kept by Johns Hopkins records one million confirmed cases, the actual number is thought to be much higher.

bbc (LINK)

Do face masks work against coronavirus? WHO and UK advice on how effective they are, and how to wear them

Viruses like coronavirus can only be transmitted within droplets of liquid, such as from coughs or sneezes. A panel of advisers at the World Health Organisation (WHO) are set to weigh up the research to reassess whether more of us should be wearing masks to help slow the spread of the virus, and this could lead to a shift in the advice given to the public. The World Health Organisation (WHO) is currently only advising those who are sick and showing symptoms of coronavirus to wear a mask, such as coughing or sneezing. (LINK)


Zoom will enable meeting passwords and virtual waiting rooms by default to help stop 'Zoombombing' incidents

Starting April 5, Zoom will require passwords if a user tries to enter a meeting using just the meeting ID instead of the meeting invite link. It will also make virtual waiting rooms on by default, so the meeting host had to manually allow others to join the meeting. These two changes will apply to free users and people who have personally upgraded their account to the first level of a paid plan.

businessinsider (LINK)


U.N.'s COP26 climate summit postponed due to coronavirus

"In light of the ongoing, worldwide effects of COVID-19, holding an ambitious, inclusive COP26 in November 2020 is no longer possible,"" the government said in a statement, adding that dates for a rescheduled conference in 2021 would be announced later.

japantimes (LINK)


Poll: Majority of Americans now disapprove of Trump's coronavirus response

The president's latest rating in the survey shows Trump's support backsliding from the levels he achieved in mid-March.

politico (LINK)


There probably isn't as much fake news in the media as we think

Researchers found that, on average, in 2016 people consumed fake news for 0.15 per cent of the total time they spent watching TV and movies or gaming, using social media and enjoying other such entertainment. They suggest that conventional news sources, or people avoiding the news altogether, may be greater contributors to the polarisation of opinions and creating a misinformed public than fake news.

newscientist (LINK)

Professors, Journalists Call Out Fox News' Coronavirus Misinformation In Scathing Letter

The conservative network's coverage of the pandemic is 'a danger to public health', reads the letter with over 70 signatures.

huffpost (LINK)


Coronavirus: How Are Countries Responding to the Economic Crisis?

Given the extraordinary nature of the pandemic-induced crisis, fiscal and monetary policymakers are working without a playbook. Many are already taking stunning actions, and the price tag of these bailout measures could top $10 trillion, analysts say.

cfr (LINK)

COVID-19 / Rights

Gender Equality in Times of Coronavirus

According to the World Health Organization, a survey of 104 countries across the globe showed that women make up the majority of health care workers, almost 70%. In China's Hubei Province, where the coronavirus outbreak first originated, it was reported that about 90% of health care workers were women. (LINK)


This new blood test accurately predicts 50 types of cancer

The research — published in the Annals of Oncology — involved administering a blood test to about 15,000 participants and zeroing in on the DNA of cancer. When tumor cells die, they are flushed into the bloodstream. Knowing this, the researchers designed the test to look specifically for the DNA of those dead cells. Chemical changes to the structure of that DNA revealed — to a high degree of accuracy — the type and location of cancer.

mnn (LINK)


F.D.A. Approves First Coronavirus Antibody Test in U.S.

Such a test may help scientists learn how widespread the infection is, and how long people remain immune after recovering.

nytimes (LINK)

Coronavirus: US Navy removes Captain Brett Crozier who raised alarm

The commander of the USS Theodore Roosevelt has been removed after saying the US Navy was not doing enough to halt a coronavirus outbreak on board the aircraft carrier.

In a letter, Capt Brett Crozier had urged his superiors to act to prevent US troops dying outside of wartime. But acting US Navy Secretary Thomas Modly said the commander "exercised extremely poor judgement". At least 100 people aboard the vessel have been infected, reports say.

bbc (LINK)

Crime / Media

Pakistan re-arrests four men acquitted in Daniel Pearl murder case

Pakistani authorities ordered on Friday four men, including a British militant, convicted of the 2002 murder of U.S. journalist Daniel Pearl, to be detained for three months despite a lower court's ruling to overturn their convictions.

An official cited concern that the released men may act "against the interest of the country". The law to keep them in detention is one that the government has often used to keep high-profile suspects, particularly militants, in custody after being unable to successfully prosecute them in court.

reuters (LINK)

Daniel Pearl murder: Pakistan commutes death sentence of key accused

British-born militant Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh was convicted for the 2002 killing of American journalist Daniel Pearl. His lawyer says his sentence has been reduced to seven years in jail. An investigative report by Pearl's colleagues claimed the reporter was murdered by Khalid Sheikh Mohammad, the alleged mastermind of the September 11, 2001, attacks, not Sheikh.

dw (LINK)


Twitter deletes 20,000 fake accounts linked to Saudi, Serbian and Egyptian governments

Accounts also linked to Honduras and Indonesia violated policy and were 'targeted attempt to undermine the public conversation'.

theguardian (LINK)


IoBit Free-Software Update Installs Remote Working Software

Skype, TeamView, Zoom, GoToMeeting

iobit (LINK)


Zoom boss apologises for security issues and promises fixes

In a blog, the chief executive of the video conferencing app apologised for "falling short" on security issues and promised to address concerns. He said that the use of Zoom had soared in ways he could never have foreseen prior to the coronavirus pandemic.

bbc (LINK)

Zoom Video Conferencing Hit With Lawsuit Over Facebook Data Sharing

A class action lawsuit gets Zoom to admit they give your data to Facebook, as the FBI warns that hackers are having a field day on the video conferencing platform.

sfist (LINK)


Over 95% of People Who Died of Coronavirus in Europe Were Over 60, Says WHO

The head of the World Health Organization's office in Europe says figures show that more than 95% of people who have died of coronavirus on the continent have been aged over 60. But Dr. Hans Kluge said age is not the only risk factor for severe disease, adding: "The very notion that COVID-19 only affects older people is factually wrong."

time / ap (LINK)

Coronavirus: US unemployment surges by 6.6 million in one week

The latest figures doubled the previous week's record of 3.3 million — bringing the two-week total to nearly 10 million.

dw (LINK)

ITC launches with site for aid to small businesses during COVID-19

"We are providing insights and guidance to small businesses searching for ways to cope with the operational stress generated by COVID-19. This will also be a useful resource for business support organizations and policymakers assisting MSMEs in these efforts."

intracen (LINK)

'Shoot them dead,' Philippine's Duterte says of coronavirus lockdown violators

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday warned violators of coronavirus lockdown measures they could be shot for causing trouble and said abuse of medical workers was a serious crime that would not be tolerated. The Philippines has recorded 96 coronavirus deaths and 2,311 confirmed cases, all but three in the past three weeks, with infections now being reported in the hundreds every day.

france24 (LINK)

Swiss hotel selling luxury quarantine with $500 coronavirus test

Stay in apartment ranges from $800-$2000 per night.

cnbc (LINK)

UN System Staff College announces course on UN Leadership in Times of Uncertainty

As a response to the COVID-19 situation, this free online learning path is designed to support the most valuable resource of the UN system: our people. This is a self-paced modular programme available to all UN staff during April and May 2020.

unssc (LINK)


Coronavirus: Pandemic is biggest crisis for world since WW2, says UN chief

Antonio Guterres spoke as the UN launched a report on the social and economic damage caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), five to 25 million jobs will be eradicated, and the world will lose $860 billion to $3.4 trillion in labor income. The UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) projected a 30 to 40 per cent downward pressure on global foreign direct investment flows while the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) saw a 20–30 per cent decline in international arrivals.

euronews / AP / afp (LINK)

UN General Assembly to decide on rival COVID-19 resolutions

One resolution, which has more than 135 co-sponsors, calls for "intensified international cooperation to contain, mitigate and defeat the pandemic, including by exchanging information, scientific knowledge and best practices and by applying the relevant guidelines recommended by the World Health Organization.""

The other, sponsored by Russia with support from Central African Republic, Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela, also recognizes the leading role of WHO in combating the pandemic, but it calls for abandoning trade wars and implementing protectionist measures, and not applying unilateral sanctions without U.N. Security Council approval.

apnews (LINK)

World Economic Situation And Prospects: April 2020 Briefing, No. 136

The briefing shows that the global economy could shrink by almost one percent in 2020, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Although the prospects for economic growth were not very favorable at the beginning of the year, this update shows a much bleaker picture, and that the recovery will very much depend on the steps that governments will take to address the crisis. (LINK)

World Economic Forum and business leaders call for adoption of "Stakeholder Principles in the COVID Era"

The principles:

  • To employees, our principle is to keep you safe
  • To our ecosystem of suppliers and customers, our principle is to secure our shared business continuity
  • To our end consumers, our principle is to maintain fair prices and commercial terms for essential supplies
  • To governments and society, our principle is to offer our full support
  • To our shareholders, our principle remains the long-term viability of the company

weforum (LINK)

Fact-checking Trump's marathon coronavirus briefing

"Trump's marathon coronavirus press conference included the usual barrage of specific false claims. But it was more notable for the dishonesty of the broad story he was telling — an audacious attempt to erase the memory of his relentless efforts to suggest the coronavirus was not a crisis."

cnn (LINK)


Infomaniak offers 3-month free trial of its collaboration software

infomaniak (LINK)


Diabetes, lung and heart disease common in U.S. coronavirus patients: CDC

Diabetes, heart disease and long-term lung problems are the most common underlying conditions among Americans hospitalized with the illness caused by the new coronavirus, but more than one in five people requiring intensive care had no such health issues, according to a CDC report.

reuters (LINK)

Rights / COVID-19

Teargas, beatings and bleach: the most extreme COVID-19 lockdown controls around the world

Violence and humiliation used to police coronavirus curfews around globe, often affecting the poorest and more vulnerable.

theguardian (LINK)

Security forces use violent tactics to enforce Africa's coronavirus shutdowns

Amnesty International's Shenilla Mohamed, executive director for South Africa, said abuse been reported from South Africa, Zimbabwe, Kenya and Nigeria. More than 1,100 people have been arrested for lockdown violations in South Africa, while Ivory Coast has detained 450 for failing to respect curfew.

france24 / afp (LINK)


China starts to report asymptomatic coronavirus cases

reuters (LINK)

Ruby Princess mistake caused infection cases to explode

The "disastrous" choice allowed 2700 people to disembark from the Ruby Princess cruise ship in Sydney on March 19, despite a number of cases confirmed on board. It was the "disastrous" decision that has now caused a total of 440 people to catch the deadly COVID-19 virus. The Ruby Princess cruise ship coronavirus cluster is still incubating in the community.

nzherald (LINK)


Mother of invention: the new gadgets dreamt up to fight coronavirus

From furniture makers to AI software developers, companies around the world are adapting existing products or inventing new ones to help fight the pandemic or just make life easier for those working from home, in hospitals or stuck in quarantine.

reuters (LINK)

Tariff pain turns to gain: U.S. computer, toy stockpiles help meet virus rush

China 15% tariff plans have since been canceled as part of a "phase one" trade deal, the build is letting companies meet a surge in demand from U.S. students and workers stuck at home due to lockdowns, even as customers in Japan, India and Britain face weeks-long delays and "out of stock" signs.

reuters (LINK)

China factories bounced back in March, but activity remains weak

The Caixin/Markit Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) rose to 50.1 last month, from February's record low of 40.3, and just a notch above the 50-mark that separates growth from contraction.

aljazeera (LINK)

German retail sales boom as shoppers stockpile for coronavirus

On the year, retail sales jumped 6.4% on an adjusted basis, far outstripping the expectations of analysts, who had forecast an increase of just 1.5%. On the month, sales rose by 1.2%.

reuters (LINK)

Media / Economy

U.K. newspapers to lose £50m in online ads as firms use coronavirus 'blacklist'

Publishers struggle to make advertising revenue despite record digital readership. UK newspapers face losing £50m in digital revenues as advertisers use “blacklist” technology to block ads from appearing next to all stories that mention the coronavirus pandemic.

theguardian (LINK)

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