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Paris, Feb 17 : French President Emmanuel Macron has condemned anti-Semitic abuse directed at a prominent intellectual by a group of “yellow vest” protesters in Paris.

The incident took place as a total of 41,500 people participated in anti-government protests across the country for the 14th consecutive weekend on Saturday and police officers protected philosopher Alain Finkielkraut by forming a barrier around him after protesters targeted him by verbally insulting him.

“The antisemitic insults he has been subjected to are the absolute negation of what we are and what makes us a great nation. We will not tolerate it,” Macron tweeted.

“The son of Polish immigrants who became a French academician, Alain Finkielkraut is not only a prominent man of letters but the symbol of what the Republic allows everyone,” the president added in another tweet.

The 69-year-old Jewish academic said that he heard people shouting “dirty Zionist” and “throw yourself in the canal”.

He told that he felt an “absolute hate” directed at him, and would have been afraid for his safety if the police were not there, although he stressed that not all of the protesters were aggressive.

Finkielkraut, the son of Polish immigrants, has previously expressed sympathy for the protesters, but also voiced criticism of the movement.


CoronaVirus: US COVID-19 deaths surpass 8,000

Globally, the death toll is more than 59,100, according to Johns Hopkins University.



Donald Trump

The total deaths of COVID-19 in the US topped 8,000 as of 2.30 p.m. on Saturday (local time), according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University.

President Donald Trump said at the daily White House coronavirus press briefing on Saturday, “This will be the toughest week” in the U.S. fight against the pandemic.

“There will be a lot of death, unfortunately,” he said.

The president’s comments came as the total number of coronavirus cases in the U.S. rose to over 300,000, with the number of deaths at more than 8,000, according to NBC News’ tally.

Globally, the death toll is more than 59,100, according to Johns Hopkins University.

The CDC is recommending now that Americans wear cloth masks when out in public. And, New York, by far the hardest-hit state, is gearing up for the pandemic to peak there in an expected in four to 10 days. China is donating 1,000 ventilators to the state, and another 140 are coming from Oregon.

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COVID-19 claims over 15,000 lives in Italy, ICUs see first drop of patients

The death toll on Saturday was 681, bringing the total to 15,362 fatalities since the pandemic first broke out in northern Italy on Feb. 21.




Coronavirus Treatment

Rome, April 5 : The COVID-19 pandemic has claimed over 15,000 lives in locked-down Italy, as the total number of infections, fatalities and recoveries has risen to 124,632, according to the fresh data released by the country’s Civil Protection Department on Saturday.

Speaking during a televised press conference, Civil Protection Department Chief Angelo Borrelli confirmed that there were 2,886 new active coronavirus infections compared to Friday, bringing the nationwide total to 88,274 cases, Xinhua reported.

Of those infected, 29,010 are hospitalized, including 3,994 in intensive care, and the rest are quarantined at home, Borrelli said.

“Today for the first time we have a very significant element to report, which is that the number of patients in intensive care has decreased by 74 individuals,” Borrelli said.

“This is important news because it gives our hospitals some breathing room, and it is the first negative number since we began managing the emergency,” he said.

Borrelli added that there were 1,238 additional recoveries compared to Friday, bringing that total to 20,996.

The death toll on Saturday was 681, bringing the total to 15,362 fatalities since the pandemic first broke out in northern Italy on Feb. 21.

“The number of daily fatalities has been constantly decreasing” from a high of 969 deaths on March 27, Borrelli pointed out.

Among the latest coronavirus victims was a state police officer who served on Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte’s security detail.

“Today Giorgio Guastamacchia…aged just 51, passed away,” the prime minister wrote on Facebook on Saturday. “He had been recently hospitalized in Rome after contracting the COVID-19. This is a time of great sorrow for all of us who knew him.”

In an interview with RAI News 24 public broadcaster earlier in the day, Health Minister Roberto Speranza said that “we are still in the thick of battle, so we must not underestimate (the situation).”

“Right now the path of social distancing is the true weapon we have at our disposal,” Speranza said.

The minister also underlined the importance of scientific research in terms of vaccine and therapy.

“But at the moment, the truth is that there is no vaccine and there is no proven therapy, so the true path, the true solution right now is social distancing, which is still the only weapon that all the governments in the world are using to reduce the contagion,” Speranza emphasized.

About the life after the pandemic, the health minister said: “The premise for the economic recovery of our country is victory in this ongoing health care battle — the two elements cannot be placed in contradiction to each other.”

“Without this health care victory, there can be no economic and social recovery,” Speranza stressed.

He was echoed by Extraordinary Commissioner for the Coronavirus Emergency Domenico Arcuri, who warned citizens in a press conference “to abstain from thinking that the time has already come to… go back to normal behavior.”

“For now, nothing has changed,” he emphasized.

Arcuri, who is also the CEO of Invitalia, a national business incentives agency owned by the Ministry of Economy, is in charge of ramping up production and distribution of medical supplies, bolstering the national health care system, and managing economic support for families, workers, and businesses affected by the coronavirus emergency.

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7 lakh jobs gone in 14 days, worst yet to come in US




Unemployment rate of US

Washington, April 4 The worst stage of coronavirus pandemic became visible in the US when the Donald Trump government reported that employers cut over 7 lakh jobs in the first two weeks of March — close to the May 2009 financial crisis peak of 800,000 job losses.

Most of the job losses were reported from restaurants and bars, followed by retailers. It was the first decline in payrolls since September 2010, CNBC reported.

The unemployment rate rose to 4.4 per cent – from 3.5 per cent — the first job decline in a decade, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on Friday.

The Labor report, however, doesn’t capture “the nearly 10 million laid-off and furloughed Americans who filed initial jobless claims in the past two weeks as much of the nation’s economy was shut down to contain the spread of the virus”.

According to a USA Today report, that’s because Labor’s survey was conducted the week ending March 14, before most states ordered residents to stay at home and nonessential businesses — such as restaurants, movie theaters and most stores — to close.

It means the job loss numbers for March will actually be way high.

The US Labor Department on Thursday revealed that another 6.6 million workers filed jobless claims last week.

“The report does capture the first stumble in the economy’s historic free fall. The number of workers filing initial jobless claims rose by 70,000 — the most since 2013 — to 282,000 in the week of Labor’s survey”.

The April jobs report, which won’t be released until May 8, could include the nearly 10 million Americans who filed for first-time unemployment benefits as the pandemic forced businesses to close and people to stay at home, CNN reported.

Job losses over the next few weeks will come from a wider range of sectors, according to Daniel Zhao, senior economist at careers website Glassdoor.

“White collar jobs are not safe from this,” Zhao was quoted as saying.

“If this is an indication of what was happening before the full force of the crisis hit, then it will be hard to come up with the words to describe the numbers in future months,” added Nick Bunker, economic research director at job search site Indeed.

By comparison, it took about two years for the US economy to lose nearly nine million jobs during the Great Recession.

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