By Robert A. Vella
Here’s a news roundup for this Sunday concerning the COVID-19 pandemic, some important court rulings, and relevant political stories:
From: Live updates: Spain reports 2,000 new coronavirus cases in 24 hours; travelers face hours-long delays at U.S. airports
The coronavirus pandemic continues to impact public life around the world, with more travel restrictions, more closures and rapidly growing caseloads in Europe, the new hotspot of the global outbreak.
The death toll in Spain, which is on a nationwide lockdown, doubled overnight, officials said Sunday. Other countries moved to close all nonessential businesses, introduce mandatory 14-day quarantines for inbound travelers and institute curfews.
In the United States, airports have been thrown into chaos as travelers from European countries included in President Trump’s travel ban were forced to wait for hours in congested lines for health screenings.
From: Spain will impose partial coronavirus lockdown – PM
MADRID, March 14 (Reuters) – Spain will put its 47 million inhabitants under partial lockdown as part of a 15-day state of emergency to combat the coronavirus epidemic, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said on Saturday in a televised address to the nation.
All Spaniards will have to stay home except to buy food, medicines, go to the hospital or to work or for other emergencies, with some limits on the freedom of movement starting already on Saturday, he said.
From: France closes shops, restaurants, tells people to stay home
PARIS (Reuters) – France will shut shops, restaurants and entertainment facilities from Sunday with its 67 million people told to stay home to help fight the rapid acceleration of the coronavirus in a country where the number of cases has doubled in 72 hours.
The government had no other option, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe told a news conference after the public health authority said 91 people had died in France and almost 4,500 were now infected.
From: Britain strikes out on its own, resists nationwide coronavirus lockdown
Experts in the government have revealed that as many as 10,000 might already be infected in the country, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson warning Thursday, “I must level with you, the British public: Many more families are going to lose their loved ones before their time.”
And yet the U.K. is becoming increasingly isolated in its response to the pandemic. It is one of the only major countries of Western Europe to impose few, if any, restrictions on daily life.
The U.K.’s tactics, which are backed by its top team of epidemiologists and behavioral psychologists, have left many here asking: Why do our experts disagree with those in most other countries?
Trump takes coronavirus test, extends travel ban to Britain, Ireland
Google says it’s not publishing a national-scale coronavirus site anytime soon after Trump announcement
From: Iowa Supreme Court postpones criminal, civil jury trials over coronavirus concerns
Criminal jury trials will be postponed until April 20 and civil jury trials until May 4 —unless the jury already has been sworn in — the Iowa Judicial Branch said in a news release.
“We are very concerned about balancing the need to keep our courthouses open with the safety of our jurors and everyone who uses Iowa courthouses,” Chief Justice Susan Christensen said in the release. “We have heard concerns from judges, attorneys, and jurors about court procedures that require large groups of people to gather in the courthouse or a courtroom so we completed a comprehensive review of what other states have done in response to coronavirus/COVID-19.
From: Georgia delays primary election
Georgia has delayed its presidential primary due to coronavirus. The primary, which was originally scheduled for March 24, will now be held on May 19.
From: Walmart cuts hours at 24-hour stores and other locations nationwide starting Sunday due to coronavirus
Walmart is cutting store hours starting Sunday at its locations across the U.S. due to COVID-19.
Stores normally open 24 hours will be open from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. until further notice, the company said late Saturday. Other stores, which are typically open until midnight, will also have reduced hours.
From: Full appeals court to hear McGahn, border wall cases
The full bench of the powerful D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed to weigh in on two legal fights critical to President Donald Trump: whether the House can use the courts to enforce a subpoena for testimony from former White House counsel Don McGahn, and whether the House can sue to block Trump’s effort to fund border wall construction over Congressional objections.
The Friday afternoon announcement wiped out a major victory Trump scored last month when a smaller panel of the same court ruled, 2-1, that the courts should not wade into subpoena fights between Congress and the White House.
The appeals court said it will hear arguments, en banc, April 28 in both the McGahn and border wall disputes. There seems to be little chance that the Supreme Court will resolve the issues definitively before the November election, but rulings in the House’s favor could lead the justices to intervene with a stay in the coming months.
From: Trump ordered to expand document search in suit alleging he endorsed pyramid scam
NEW YORK —President Trump and three of his adult children have been ordered by a federal judge to search through 15 years of business records for materials that could inform a lawsuit alleging they profited by promoting a marketing scam targeting vulnerable investors.
The order on Friday by U.S. District Court Judge Lorna Schofield allows the plaintiffs to look further into the Trump Organization’s history — to 2005 — for others who may have been involved in the president’s deal with ACN.
The suit, filed in Manhattan federal court, dates to October 2018. Racketeering claims were dismissed but state-level fraud charges were allowed to proceed and the document-production process known as discovery is well underway. That could turn up names of people at the president’s family-run real estate company and other entities under its control whom the plaintiffs could seek to depose.
From: The RNC Gave Big Contracts to Companies Linked to Its Chairwoman’s Husband and Political Backers
The Republican National Committee has paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to contractors closely connected to the organization’s chairwoman, Ronna McDaniel.
One contract went to her husband’s insurance company. Two others went to businesses whose executives recently donated to Ronna for Chair, a largely inactive political action committee that McDaniel controls. She had set it up in 2015, when she successfully ran for chair of the Republican Party in Michigan, her home state.
The companies won the contracts soon after McDaniel became the party’s top official. She was picked for the position by President Donald Trump after the 2016 election.
This pandemic is scary.
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It’s a wake-up call for humanity.
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It sure is.
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Spain reports 2,000 new cases within a 24-hour period! Given our government’s inaction these past two months, I estimate that the numbers will be greater in the USA when Americans start showing up in emergency rooms nationwide.
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Yes, medical science is making such projections. Only the numbers vary.
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