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World Europe, Middle East face COVID-19 surge

19:45  18 september  2020
19:45  18 september  2020 Source:   pri.org

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a crowd of people walking down a street: People wearing protective face masks walk in a busy street in Paris as France reinforces mask-wearing in public places as part of efforts to curb a resurgence of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) across Europe, Sept. 18, 2020. © Gonzalo Fuentes/Reuters

People wearing protective face masks walk in a busy street in Paris as France reinforces mask-wearing in public places as part of efforts to curb a resurgence of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) across Europe, Sept. 18, 2020.

Across much of Europe, the Middle East and beyond, the coronavirus appears to be making a resurgence, and countries are making tough choices that challenge officials to do what’s best for public health. Many leaders are loath to pay a political and economic price for renewed lockdowns. But such tightened restrictions appear to be the logical next step at a time when growing clusters of COVID-19 cases have returned with no mercy.

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In the UK, authorities are turning to new measures in large swaths of central and northern England that will prevent households from mixing and force dining establishments to close early in the evening. Public transport will only be available in certain cities for essential purposes. Health Secretary Matt Hancock told the BBC hospitals are seeing coronavirus patients double about every eight days.

With France fighting to contain the spread, President Emmanuel Macron said Friday that the country’s response needs to be “demanding but at the same time proportionate.” Spain is contending with a massive explosion in cases, particularly among younger people, that rivals the staggering number of infections seen in the spring. And Greek PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis said greater Athens would see gradually reimposed bans, including mandatory mask use in all enclosed public and private places.

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In the Middle East, Israel is marking the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, with a second lockdown set to last three weeks that will confine people to within a half-mile of their homes. Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan admitted that Ankara needed to quickly curb a steep rise in infections. And an Iranian senior health official declared a coronavirus red alert covering the whole nation, with a huge jump in new cases and fatalities.

What The World is following

Taiwan scrambled fighter jets and deployed an air defense missile system Friday to counter 18 Chinese aircraft that had crossed a sensitive line over the Taiwan Strait, as a top US envoy visited the disputed island. With tensions escalating, Beijing said it was just conducting military exercises to “protect its sovereignty.”

Meanwhile, the Trump administration has issued new rules to cripple the TikTok and WeChat apps. The tech bans will take effect Sunday on services used by over 100 million people in the US alone, in a sweeping action “to protect Americans from the threats of the Chinese Communist Party,” accodring to a statement by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. While previously installed TikTok apps will still be usable, new downloads or updates will be prohibited. The restrictions on WeChat starting Sunday will ban transferring funds or processing payments while using the app within the US. Similar restrictions are to go into effect for TikTok starting Nov. 12.

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How would Team Biden handle a showdown with North Korea?

a man standing in front of a building: In this file photo from Dec. 7, 2013, US Vice President Joe Biden listens to Colonel James Minnich, Secretary of the United Nations Command, Military Armistice Commission, at the border village of Panmunjom, in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), the military border separating the two Koreas. Lee Jin-man/Pool/Reuters © Lee Jin-man/Pool/Reuters In this file photo from Dec. 7, 2013, US Vice President Joe Biden listens to Colonel James Minnich, Secretary of the United Nations Command, Military Armistice Commission, at the border village of Panmunjom, in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), the military border separating the two Koreas. Lee Jin-man/Pool/Reuters

North Korea has called Joe Biden an idiot. Yet Biden, pending the outcome of the US presidential election, could very well direct North Korea’s fate in the years to come. For decades running, every American president has tried to stop the Kim dynasty from wielding the most powerful weapon known to man.

The World asked two Northeast Asia experts what to expect if Biden wins the US presidential election.

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A recent wave of deadly clashes in Colombia’s capital between uniformed officers and protesters denouncing police brutality is consistent with a long-standing pattern of state abuse, according to an upcoming report looking at complaints against the national police.

Bright spot

When graduate student Dipo Oyeleye heard the song "We Go Win (Corona)" by Cobhams Asuquo, a Nigerian singer-songwriter, he knew what his next research project would be: a study of the myriad coronavirus songs that flourished in Africa at pandemic's onset in March.

Unlike in the US, where very few artists have taken on COVID-19 as the main subject in their songs, African musicians quickly turned to their songwriting as a form of communication to disseminate crucial public health information: social distancing, washing hands and staying home during lockdowns.

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Listen: Why Spain is experiencing a second coronavirus wave

a group of people walking on a city street: Pedestrians wearing face masks to prevent the spread of coronavirus walk in downtown Madrid, Sept. 17, 2020. With a COVID-19 caseload above 600,000 and more than 30,000 confirmed deaths, Spain has been the hardest-hit European country in the second wave of the pandemic. Bernat Armangue/AP © Bernat Armangue/AP Pedestrians wearing face masks to prevent the spread of coronavirus walk in downtown Madrid, Sept. 17, 2020. With a COVID-19 caseload above 600,000 and more than 30,000 confirmed deaths, Spain has been the hardest-hit European country in the second wave of the pandemic. Bernat Armangue/AP

Spain’s capital, Madrid, is experiencing one of Europe’s worst, second-wave outbreaks of the coronavirus. And, officials across the world are anxiously awaiting the outcome of the US presidential race — and that may be especially true for North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Also, Wednesday marked 400 years since the Mayflower ship originally set sail for what would later become the United States. To commemorate the event, the US and UK launched a new autonomous, solar-powered vessel that will take part in a research mission on climate change, pollution and conservation.

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Louisiana AG investigates school for suspending 4th grader after teacher noticed BB gun during online class .
The state’s attorney general, Jeff Landry, announced an investigation into the matter, arguing that the school violated his “constitutional rights.”“I am alarmed by what appears to not only be multiple violations of both the state and federal Constitutions, but also blatant government overreach by the school system,” Attorney General Jeff Landry said in a statement. “For anyone to conclude that a student’s home is now school property because of connectivity through video conferencing is absurd.

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