AP News in Brief at 11:04 p.m. EDT | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

Current Conditions

Mainly Sunny
5.2°C

AP News in Brief at 11:04 p.m. EDT

March 18, 2020 - 8:04 PM

Trump taps emergency powers as virus relief plan proceeds

WASHINGTON (AP) — Describing himself as a “wartime president” fighting an invisible enemy, President Donald Trump on Wednesday invoked rarely used emergency powers to marshal critical medical supplies against the coronavirus pandemic. Trump also signed an aid package — which the Senate approved earlier Wednesday — that will guarantee sick leave to workers who fall ill.

Trump tapped his authority under the 70-year-old Defence Production Act to give the government more power to steer production by private companies and try to overcome shortages in masks, ventilators and other supplies.

Yet he seemed to minimize the urgency of the decision, later tweeting that he "only signed the Defence Production Act to combat the Chinese Virus should we need to invoke it in a worst case scenario in the future."

"Hopefully there will be no need," he added, “but we are all in this TOGETHER!”

The mixed messaging came as Trump took a series of other extraordinary steps to steady the nation, its day-to-day life suddenly and fundamentally altered.

___

Stocks tumble, investors dash for cash amid recession fears

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks tumbled more than 5% on Wall Street Wednesday, and the Dow erased virtually all its gains since President Donald Trump's 2017 inauguration. Even prices for investments seen as safe during downturns fell as the coronavirus outbreak chokes the economy and investors rush to raise cash.

Markets have been incredibly volatile for weeks as Wall Street and the White House acknowledge the rising likelihood that the pandemic will cause a recession. The typical day this month has seen the stock market swing up or down by 4.9%. Over the last decade, it was just 0.4%.

It was just a day before that the Dow surged more than 5% after Trump promised massive aid to the economy, but the number of infections keeps climbing, and the Dow erased all but 0.4% of its gain since Trump’s inauguration. The S&P 500, which dictates how 401(k) accounts perform much more than the Dow, is down 29.2% from its record set last month, though it's still up 12.1% since Election Day 2016.

The S&P 500's slide was so sharp that trading was halted for 15 minutes Wednesday. The index ended the day down 5.2% after earlier being down as much as 9.8%.

Delta Air Lines said Wednesday it’s parking at least half its planes to catch up with a plummeting drop in travel. Detroit’s big three automakers have agreed to close their North American factories to protect workers. And at the New York Stock Exchange, all trading will go electronic after the trading floor begins a temporary closure Monday.

___

What's Happening: Trump taps powers, auto factories closing

These are some of the latest developments Wednesday in the world's coronavirus pandemic:

— PRESIDENT TRUMP INVOKES EMERGENCY AUTHORITY

President Donald Trump invoked emergency authority to marshal industry to fight the coronavirus as the economic fallout from the crisis mounted. The entire U.S. auto industry announced it was shutting down its North American factories. Stocks tumbled again on fears of a prolonged recession, falling so fast they triggered another automatic trading halt. The Dow Jones Industrial Average shed more than 1,300 points, or over 6 per cent, and has now lost nearly all of the big gains it had posted since Trump’s inauguration.

— NUMBER OF WORLDWIDE CASES TOPS 200,000

The number of people infected worldwide surpassed the 200,000 mark. Deaths topped 8,700, but the number of people considered recovered reached over 83,000, according to a tally kept by Johns Hopkins University. The countries with the most confirmed cases were China, Italy, Iran, Spain and Germany. The countries with the most confirmed deaths were China, Italy, Iran, Spain and France. The United Nations warned that the pandemic could lead to the loss of nearly 25 million jobs around the world.

___

Coronavirus layoffs spark surge in state jobless claims

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — In Ohio, more than 48,000 people applied for jobless benefits during the first two days of this week. The tally during the same period the prior week: just 1,825.

In neighbouring Pennsylvania, about 70,000 people sought unemployment aid in a single day — six times the total for the entire previous week.

Jobless claims are surging across the U.S. after government officials ordered millions of workers, students and shoppers to stay at home as a precaution against spreading the virus that causes the COVID-19 disease.

“We’ve been getting flooded with calls,” said John Dodds, director of the non-profit Philadelphia Unemployment Project. “It's going to be a big mess, a double mess: illness and unemployment.”

The growing number of people filing for unemployment checks raises fresh questions about whether states have stockpiled enough money since the last recession to tide over idled workers until the crisis ends. Some fear the demand for help could outpace the states' ability to pay claims.

___

Trump dubs COVID-19 'Chinese virus' despite hate crime risks

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump said Wednesday that he doesn’t think calling COVID-19 the "Chinese virus" — or the "kung-flu," as one administration official reportedly called it — puts Asian Americans at risk of retaliation despite growing reports they are facing virus-related discrimination.

Since coronavirus infections started appearing in the United States in January, Asian Americans have shared stories of minor aggression to blatant attacks from people blaming them for the pandemic, which has killed more than 130 people in the United States.

Among the hate crimes reported in major cities with Chinese communities: An Asian man in a Brooklyn subway car who was yelled at and sprayed with Febreze air freshener. In Los Angeles, a 16-year-old boy of Asian descent said other students had bullied him and accused him of carrying the virus. Even before cities began shutting down all restaurants to stop the spread of the virus, Chinese restaurant owners were already experiencing steep declines in business because of racial stigma.

Asked why he keeps calling the coronavirus the “Chinese virus” when scientists say the disease doesn't respect borders and is not caused by ethnicity, Trump told reporters at the White House that he doesn't consider it a racist remark.

“It’s not racist at all," Trump said, adding that he calls it the “Chinese virus” because he wants to be accurate. He indicated his terminology was a warranted pushback to Chinese officials who have been suggesting the U.S. military might have introduced the virus to Wuhan, the Chinese city where it was first reported in late 2019.

___

Endangered gray wolf population on the rise in southwest US

THE EDGE OF THE GILA WILDERNESS, N.M. (AP) — A voice interrupted the crackle of the radio at basecamp: “Starting pursuit.”

The rest of the team on the ground was anxious to hear those words after the low-flying helicopter crew had been working all morning to get close to one of the Mexican gray wolves that had been targeted as part of an annual survey of the endangered predators.

For months, crews combed the rugged mountains of the southwestern United States, tracking collared wolves and looking for evidence of new packs to build the most accurate picture possible of just how many wolves are roaming the wild in New Mexico and Arizona.

The results of the painstaking effort were finally released Wednesday, revealing there are more wolves in the wild than at any time since federal wildlife managers initiated efforts to conserve the animals decades ago.

Since the first wolves were released in 1998, the program aimed at re-establishing the species across its historic range has had its share of fits and starts due to illegal shootings, courtroom battles and politics. The challenges are mounting as ranchers and rural residents say the situation for them has become untenable as 2019 marked a record year for livestock kills.

___

Weinstein moved to state prison day before 68th birthday

NEW YORK (AP) — Harvey Weinstein was transferred to a state prison in New York on Wednesday as he begins to serve a 23-year sentence for rape and sexual assault in his landmark #MeToo case.

The disgraced film mogul, who will turn 68 on Thursday, is locked up at the maximum security Wende Correctional Facility near Buffalo, according to state prison officials. He is known behind bars as inmate No. 20B0584.

The prison, six hours by car from Manhattan, is likely just a temporary stop for Weinstein. While he's there, he'll be evaluated to determine which state prison facility meets his security, medical, mental health and other needs.

Weinstein's spokesman called the move “harsh.”

Weinstein, convicted Feb. 24 and sentenced last week, had been splitting time between New York City's notorious Rikers Island jail complex and a Manhattan hospital.

___

Q&A: What does 90-day tax payment delay mean for filers?

The Trump administration has announced that most individuals and businesses will be allowed to delay paying their federal tax bills for 90 days as part of an emergency relief plan amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Some questions and answers about the delay and its potential impact on the U.S. economy.

___

DO I STILL NEED TO FILE?

Yes.

___

The show will go on. Just from their living rooms.

NEW YORK (AP) — The spreading coronavirus cancelled several touring performances from A-list musical artists, but those acts have found a new venue to sing: their living rooms.

John Legend, Bono, Coldplay’s Chris Martin, Pink, John Mayer, Keith Urban and more have held virtual concerts from their homes as the world continues to practice social distancing to slow the spread of the virus.

“I mean, we don't normally do concerts live from our house in a robe,” Legend told The Associated Press late Tuesday, hours after performing a nearly hour-long concert which streamed on Facebook and Instagram Live. “This is a cool way to connect with people and make them feel some kind of love and intimacy and connection, even though they have to be stuck at home.”

“So many people are dealing with a lot of stress right now, trauma, anxiety, all those things. And they don't know what to do. And a lot of musicians and artists and entertainers are unable to go out and do the thing that we do best, which is perform live at venues with lots of people,” he added. “So we're trying to find ways to stay in touch with people and give them some love.”

The piano-playing superstar took requests from fans as he crooned from his living room like he does at one of his typical live concerts. Legend’s performance was in support of the World Health Organization’s newly-launched online concert series “Together at Home,” created in efforts to fight the coronavirus, which causes only mild or moderate symptoms such as fever and cough for most people but can be severe in some cases, especially older adults and people with existing health problems. People with mild illness recover in about two weeks, while those with more severe illness may need six weeks to recover.

___

Brady deal could make Bucs relevant; ticket demand spikes

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — The Tampa Bay Buccaneers enter free agency with expectations of signing Tom Brady and bolstering a defence that will be one of the keys to helping the six-time Super Bowl champion quarterback be successful with his new team.

There’s been no official announcement on Brady joining the Bucs after 20 seasons with the New England Patriots. However, there’s already an increased demand for tickets.

Tampa Bay ranked 30th among 32 teams in home attendance, averaging 51,898 per game last season.

Within hours of reports of the team closing in on a deal with Brady, the website selling season passes for 2020 showed more than 2,400 people in a queue waiting for an opportunity to make purchases.

Brady ended his historic run in New England, announcing on social media Tuesday that he would become a free agent for the first time in his career.

News from © The Associated Press, 2020
The Associated Press

  • Popular kamloops News
View Site in: Desktop | Mobile