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Turkey opens borders for refugees and migrants to travel to Europe – Channel 4 News


Hundreds of refugees and migrants are gathering on Turkey’s border with Greece after Turkey said it would no longer prevent them from crossing towards Europe.

Buses have been seen transporting people from Istanbul as Turkey attempts to put pressure on the EU to provide more support for refugees coming from Syria.

In Syria itself, tensions remain high after 34 Turkish soldiers were killed this week and fierce fighting continues as the Turkish-backed Syrian rebels try to halt the advance of Russian-backed government forces.



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Oregon coronavirus infection becomes third case of unknown origin in U.S.



U.S. lawmakers demanded answers from administration officials Friday about the whistleblower who said workers from the Department of Health and Human Services without proper training or protective gear were sent to receive the first Americans evacuated from Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak. The workers were deployed to March and Travis military bases in California.

The whistleblower’s complaint alleges the workers had face-to-face contact with returning passengers in an airplane hangar and when they helped distribute keys for room assignments and hand out colored ribbons for identification purposes. The workers did not show symptoms of infection and were not tested for the virus, according to lawyers for the whistleblower, a senior HHS official based in Washington who oversees workers at the Administration for Children and Families, a unit within HHS.

The whistleblower is seeking federal protection, alleging she was unfairly and improperly reassigned after raising concerns about the safety of these workers to HHS officials, including those within Secretary Alex Azar’s office. She was told that if she does not accept her new position by March 5, she would be terminated.

After House Democrats had a closed-door briefing Friday morning, they said they were not satisfied by the answers they received and asked for a follow-up briefing from HHS. They were initially told they could expect such a briefing Friday afternoon, but that second briefing never came through.

Rep. Mark Takano (D-Calif.), who represents March Air Reserve Base, told reporters: “The question I asked was, ‘What assurances do we have that proper protocols were followed during the federal quarantine?’ And it was not as responsive as I would have liked.”

Takano said Robert Kadlec, assistant secretary for preparedness and response at HHS, had agreed to meet with him and other California lawmakers to follow up. As of Friday afternoon, that follow-up was not scheduled.

“I think those of us who represent these bases, you know, deserve and merit this extra attention,” Takano said. “But this, the possibility that procedures weren’t followed, proper protocols weren’t followed, and proper training was not in place is really concerning.”

Sen. Ron Wyden (Ore.), the ranking Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, sent a letter to Azar on Friday saying the whistleblower’s complaint showed that “mismanagement on the part of HHS placed these human services staff at risk.”

Wyden has asked Azar to describe in detail why the person was reassigned and details about the department’s protocols for deploying medical and agency personnel to health emergency locations, training and what steps HHS has taken to quarantine, monitor or test the ACF employees after their assignments.

HHS officials have said they take all whistleblower complaints very seriously, are providing the person “all appropriate protections under the Whistleblower Protection Act” and are evaluating the complaint.



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CPAC attendees rip Democrats over reaction to coronavirus: ‘It’s their next game’


Fox News contributor and “Hannity” 2020 correspondent Lawrence Jones spoke Friday with attendees of this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference who are unhappy with Democrats for their politicization of the coronavirus outbreak.

“Do you think that the Democrats are politicizing [the coronavirus]?” Jones asked attendees.

“Oh, 1,000 percent they’re politicizing it because it’s their next game,” one woman told Jones. “You know, we go from one thing to the next. This is after impeachment failed. Russia failed. So now this is what we’re doing.”

CPAC KICKS OFF UNDER THE BANNER OF ‘AMERICA VS. SOCIALISM’ IN A SWIPE AT 2020 DEMS

“They’re doing that only to try to attempt to make the economy tank … to keep President Trump from being reelected,” one man said.

President Trump accused his Democratic critics Friday night of “politicizing” the coronavirus outbreak during a rally in South Carolina on the eve of the state’s Democratic presidential primary. He dismissed the complaints from Democrats about his administration’s handling of the virus as “their new hoax” and insisted “we are totally prepared.”

“There is nothing that they would not do that is not hypocritical or undermining or dishonest to undermine this administration,” another woman told Jones.

CLICK HERE FOR COMPLETE CORONAVIRUS COVERAGE

“You can’t politicize this kind of stuff. This is ridiculous,” another man told Jones. “We got to pull together as a nation. We got to pull together as people.”

Another attendee accused Democrats of attempting to “stir the pot.”

Fox News’ Alex Pappas contributed to this report.



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Coronavirus outbreak ‘getting bigger’: All the latest updates | News


Hopes that the coronavirus would be contained to China have vanished as the first case in sub-Saharan Africa was announced in Nigeria and stock markets took a pounding amid fears of a global recession.

In China – the epicentre of the deadly disease – the National Health Commission reported on Friday at least 44 new coronavirus deaths, bringing to 2,788 the number of fatalities nationwide.

Coronavirus has killed more than 2,800 people and infected more than 83,000 worldwide.

More:

Here are the latest updates:

Friday, February 28

19:00 GMT – Italy coronavirus death toll rises to 21, positive cases 888

A civil protection official in Italy said that four more people have died from coronavirus, bringing the total to 21, while the number of those testing positive for the illness jumped to 888 from 650 the day before. Of those infect, 46 are said to have recovered. 

Northern Italy’s Lombardy region said it will ask the government to maintain for at least another week the containment measures already implemented against the outbreak. 

18:20 GMT – Pakistan re-opens border with Iran 

Pakistan re-opened its border with neighbouring Iran, allowing hundreds of its stranded citizens to return home.

“We have reopened the border to allow our citizens to enter [the country] in batches,” Liaquat Shahwani, a spokesperson for the government of southwestern Balochistan province that borders Iran was quoted as saying by Anadolu Agency.

Those who have touched the virus-hit areas in Iran are being quarantined until they are declared clear.”

18:00 GMT – EU health ministers to hold extraordinary meeting

European Union health ministers will hold an extraordinary meeting on March 6 to discuss the coronavirus outbreak, an EU official said.

EU health ministers held a first extraordinary meeting earlier in February on the epidemic, where they decided to coordinate their response to the outbreak.

17:50 GMT – More US coronavirus cases likely

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said the number of additional coronavirus cases in the US is likely to increase but that does not mean they will “skyrocket” in North America.

Kudlow, in an interview with Fox Business Network, added that while there are not currently US supply chain problems that does not mean they will not surface.

17:40 GMT – Countries not ready to take same measures as China: WHO

The World Health Organization (WHO) said in a report that much of the global community is not yet ready to implement the types of measures that have contained the fast-moving coronavirus outbreak in China.

“These are the only measures that are currently proven to interrupt or minimize transmission chains in humans,” the report said.

“Fundamental to these measures is extremely proactive surveillance to immediately detect cases, very rapid diagnosis and immediate case isolation, rigorous tracking and quarantine of close contacts, and an exceptionally high degree of population understanding and acceptance of these measures.”

17:30 GMT – Corona virus unlikely to vanish next year: US health official 

Anthony Fauci, head of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious diseases, said the coronavirus is unlikely to disappear next year and that many more cases should be expected in the US.

Fauci told lawmakers in a closed-door meeting that the US currently does not have enough coronavirus testing resources. 




Coronavirus: Scientists in the US race to find a vaccine (2:04)

16:55 GMT – Coronavirus risk is at very high global level: WHO chief 

World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the risk of spread and impact of the coronavirus is now ‘very high’ at a global level. 

Ghebreyesus told reporters in Geneva the 329 cases reported in China over the past 24 hours made it the lowest there in more than a month. 

16:50 GMT – Coronavirus increases economic risks: Swiss National Bank 

The Swiss National Bank said in a statement that the widening coronavirus outbreak has increased economic risks which would have negative consequences for Switzerland and increase the attraction of the safe-haven franc. 

“The coronavirus has increased the economic risks. If the international environment were to deteriorate, this would have consequences for Switzerland as a small, open economy,” the central bank said in a statement. 

16:30 GMT – Pompeo says US ready to help Iran with coronavirus 

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said his country offered to help Iran in its efforts to combat the coronavirus outbreak which has killed 34 people and raised questions about Tehran’s willingness to share information. 

Pompeo told a House Foreign Affairs Committee said authorities in the Islamic Republic were poorly equipped to deal with the health crisis. 

Heavy economic sanctions imposed by President Donald Trump have made it difficult for the country’s health sector to import vital medical equipment and pharmaceutical products.

16:15 GMT – British man on board Diamond Princess dies 

Japan’s Kyodo news agency said a British man who was on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship has passed away after being infected by the coronavirus. 

The British national’s death, the first of a foreign passenger, brought the death toll aboard the ship to six. 

16:00 GMT – Two more cases confirmed in Romania 

Nelu Tataru, Romania’s deputy health ministry, said two more cases of coronavirus have been confirmed, raising the total number of patients to three. 

“They are a 45-year-old man from the county of Maramures and a 38-year-old woman from (the western city of) Timisoara,” Tataru told reporters, adding that they had both recently returned from Italy. 

15:40 GMT – France: Companies can declare ‘force majeure’

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire announced that companies can declare ‘force majeure’ when dealing with small-to-medium sized enterprises. 

“We are going to consider the coronavirus as a case of force majeure,” Le Maire told reporters, referring to instances where parties to a contract are unable to meet their obligations due to external circumstances. 




Coronavirus in Latin America: Health officials on alert (2:36)

15:30 GMT – Kenya High Court orders flights from China suspended 

Kenya’s High Court has ordered flights from China temporarily suspended, following a petition by the Law Society of Kenya. 

“I find that unless conservatory orders sought are granted Kenyans will continue to be exposed to the deadly disease coronavirus,” Judge James Makau said. 

15:20 GMT – Almost 60 confirmed cases in Germany 

A spokesperson for the German health ministry said nearly 60 people had tested positive for the coronavirus, adding that the number included those who recovered. 

“At the moment in Germany, we have almost 60 but it’s a very dynamic situation, as we keep saying.” 

14:50 GMT – Coronavirus outbreak ‘getting bigger’ after Nigeria case: WHO 

The World Health Organization (WHO) warned that the coronavirus outbreak is getting bigger after Nigeria diagnosed the first case in sub-Saharan Africa, reiterating that the virus could reach “most, if not, all countries”. 

Christian Lindmeier, a spokesperson for WHO, told a new conference in Geneva that the agency was investigating the possibility of patients getting re-infected. 

“But in general a person who had coronavirus infection would be immune for at least a while,” he added. 

14:30 GMT – Brussels Airlines to reduce flights to northern Italy by 30 percent 

Brussels Airlines, a Lufthansa subsidiary, said it was cutting flights to northern Italy, including routes to Milan, Venice and Rome, by 30 percent for 12 days starting March 2. 

“Because of the rapidly declining demand in air travel within Europe, Brussels Airlines has taken the decision to reduce flight frequencies on a number of routes in order to limit the negative economic impact on its business,” it said in a statement.

14:20 GMT – Prefecture in northern Japan declares state of emergency over coronavirus 

Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost prefecture, declared a state of emergency over the coronavirus outbreak, asking that residents avoid going outdoors during the weekend. 

“Hokkaido has been doing everything it can to contain the virus but the crisis is deepening,” said Governor Naomichi Suzuki in a televised news conference, adding that the state of emergency would go on until March 19.

13:50 GMT – Israel confirms fourth case of coronavirus

Israel’s health ministry confirmed its fourth case of coronavirus in a person which it said had been in close contact with a man who tested positive after returning from a trip to Italy. 

“Another coronavirus patient who was in close personal contact with the patient who returned from Italy was diagnosed with a positive result and transferred to isolation,” the health ministry said in a statement. 

Two Israeli passengers had last week tested positive and were put in quarantine after traveling on the Diamond Princess, a virus-stricken cruise ship. 

13:40 GMT – First case in France’s Nice

Authorities in the southern French city of Nice have confirmed a first case of the deadly coronavirus in a woman who had recently returned from Milan. 

“I have been informed of a first case of coronavirus diagnosed this morning at the Nice hospital,” wrote Mayor Christian Estrosi on Twitter. 


This is Ramy Allahoum in Doha taking over from Usaid Siddiqui

Here’s a quick summary of the latest developments:

Thirty-four people have been confirmed dead in Iran with a total of 388 people infected.

Wales identified its first case and two new cases were found in England, taking the total tally  in the UK to 19.

12:40 GMT – Two Abu Dhabi hotels under quarantine after guests diagnosed

Guests at two hotels in the United Arab Emirates’ capital Abu Dhabi have been placed under quarantine after interacting with two Italians diagnosed with coronavirus, state news agency WAM reported.

Other people who also interacted with the two Italians on Yas island have been isolated at home, the agency said, citing the health department of Abu Dhabi.

The Italians individuals were diagnosed with the disease on Thursday.

11:50 GMT – More guests leave Canary Islands hotel

Three small groups of guests left a Tenerife hotel in minibuses on its fourth day of quarantine over the coronavirus.

At least two people could be seen leaving in an ambulance, but around 700 holidaymakers remained in the compound. It was not clear where they were being taken or whether those in the ambulance had any symptoms of the virus.

The regional government of Canary Islands cleared 130 guests on Thursday to leave the hotel, after it was  placed on lockdown when four cases of the coronavirus were detected there.




Coronavirus in Pakistan: Panic buying of masks leading to shortages

11:17 GMT – Second case confirmed in Georgia

Georgia confirmed its second case of the coronavirus, according to the director of National Center for Disease Control and Public Health.

Amiran Gamkrelidze said the new case arrived from Italy. The first case reported in Georgia was on February 26.

10:56 GMT – One more confirmed case in Thailand, total now 41

Thailand recorded one new case bringing the total in the South East Asian country to 41.

According to the health ministry, the case is of a 25-year-old Thai national and tour guide who recently returned from South Korea.

10:45 GMT – Death toll in Iran rises to 34 – health ministry

Thirty-four people have been confirmed dead in Iran because of the coronavirus, a health ministry spokesman said.

The number of people diagnosed with the disease now stands at 388, 143 more than Thursday – from different parts of the country had tested positive for the virus, Kianush Jahanpur told reporters.

10:15 GMT – Second case confirmed in Netherlands – health authorities

A second case of COVID-19 has been confirmed in the Netherlands, health officials said

This latest case was reported in Amsterdam, the Dutch capital, while the first case, identified on Thursday, was confirmed in the southern city of Tilburg.

Both individuals had recently travelled in Northern Italy.




Coronavirus outbreak: Death toll rises to 17 in northern Italy

10:10 GMT – Nigeria’s first case travelled through Lagos before detection – minister

Nigeria’s first confirmed case was not detected at airport, and travelled through Lagos before he became ill and went to a hospital, the country’s health minister said.

The Italian man, who authorities said arrived in Nigeria from Milan on the evening of February 24, did not have symptoms when the plane landed.

Authorities are now working to “meet and observe” all those who were on the flight with him, and are also identifying all the people he met and places he visited in Lagos, a city of some 20 million people.

09:50 GMT – First case in Wales reported, UK tally now 19

The United Kingdom is now reporting 19 confirmed cases of the coronavirus after Wales identified its first case and two new cases were found in England, health authorities said on Friday.

“The total number of UK cases is 19,” the health ministry said.

09:45 GMT – Pope cancels more official appointments over cold

Pope Francis was working from home, and cancelled postponed his official appointments, the Vatican said, a day after cancelling a scheduled appearance at mass because of “a mild ailment”.

Francis had appeared earlier in the week to be suffering from a cold, seen blowing his nose and coughing during the Ash Wednesday service.

While the Pope, 83, celebrated morning mass, and greeted participants at the end, he cleared his schedule of everything apart from meetings at the Saint Martha’s guest house at the Vatican where he resides, chief press officer Matteo Bruni said in a statement.

Pope Francis speaks at a conference hosted by the Vatican on economic solidarity, at the Vatican

 Francis had appeared to be suffering from a cold earlier in the week [File: Remo Casilli/Reuters]

09.40 GMT – Switzerland suspends all major events to combat virus

The Swiss government has suspended all events in the country involving more than 1,000 participants until mid-March in a bid to stop the novel virus

“Large-scale events involving more than 1,000 people are to be banned. The ban comes into immediate effect and will apply at least until 15 March,” the government said in a statement after the country registered 15 cases.

“In the case of public or private events at which fewer than 1,000 people would gather, event organisers must carry out a risk assessment in conjunction with the competent cantonal authorities to decide whether or not the event can be held”, the statement read.

09:16 GMT – Online virus game in China removed: developer

A popular game that allows players to create a virus and spread it worldwide has been pulled from Apple’s App Store in China, its developer said, as the country battles a real-life epidemic.

Users based in China could not download “Plague Inc” on Friday after the cyberspace watchdog ordered its removal over “illegal” content, UK-based Ndemic Creations said.

Ndemic said it was not clear if the decision was linked to the deadly new coronavirus outbreak, which began in central China in December. “We have a huge amount of respect for our Chinese players and are devastated that they are no longer able to access and play Plague Inc,” Ndemic said.

08:43 GMT – Russia restricts Iran, South Korea travellers over virus

Moscow has announced new restrictions on people travelling to Russia from Iran and South Korea, two countries hit hardest by the outbreak of the new coronavirus.

Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin in statement announced a temporary suspension of visas for Iranians travelling to Russia for employment, tourism, education and transit purposes.

A separate decree imposed restrictions on travel to Russia from South Korea, with exceptions including members of official delegations.




Is the spread of coronavirus out of control?

08:26 GMT – Recovered patients found not to be infectious – official

Recovered coronavirus patients who were discharged from hospitalization but later tested positive again have been found not to be infectious, an official at China’s National Health Commission (NHC) said.

A hospital administration official, Guo Yanhong, told reporters at a daily press conference that there is a need to deepen the understanding of the new coronavirus, while improving health tracking and management of patients who recovered.

08:00 GMT – Two South Africans test positive on cruise ship

A pair of South Africans working on the Diamond Princess cruise ship have tested positive for COVID-19, the South African health ministry said.

“On 25 February 2020, we were informed by the Japanese authorities that two of these South Africans tested positive for COVID-19,” the ministry said in a statement.

“They are currently being treated in Japan and the latest reports indicate that they are currently asymptomatic,” the statement said.

07:40 GMT – Mongolian President under quarantine: state media

Mongolia President Khaltmaagiin Battulga and his accompanying staff who travelled to China on Thursday have been placed under quarantine, according to Mongolian state media outlet Montsame. 

Battulga was the first foreign leader to visit China amid the Coronavirus outbreak.

In January, Mongolia shut its borders with China, to prevent the spread of the virus. So far no cases of coronavirus have been reported in Mongolia.

mongolia president and Xi

Mongolia’s President Khaltmaagiin Battulga, left, poses with Chinese President Xi Jinping for a photo during a meeting on Thursday at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing [Liu Bin/Xinhua/AP]

07:30 GMT – Qatar evacuates citizens from Iran

All Qatari citizens have been evacuated from Iran and arrived in Doha, the Government Communications Office (GCO) confirmed in a press release.

All individuals will be quarantined in a hotel facility for 14 days, where they will be provided with all necessities and taken care of, the GCO said.

07:20 GMT – Belarus announces first case of coronavirus – TASS

Belarus has reported the first case of coronavirus infection in the country, according to Russian news agency TASS,

“We would like to inform you that February 27 tests conducted at the Republican Scientific and Practical Center of epidemiology and microbiology showed the presence of coronavirus 2019-nCoV in one of the students from Iran,” TASS quoted the Belarussian Ministry of Healthcare.

06:50 GMT – WHO: ‘Pandemic potential’ as infections spread globablly

World Health Organization (WHO) Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said all nations should prepare themselves for potential pandemic, as nations aside from China now accout for three-quarters of new infections.

“This virus has pandemic potential,” Tedros revealed in Geneva. About 12 countries reported their first virus cases in past 24 hours.

According to WHO, outside China the virus has spread to a further 46 countries, where about 3,700 cases and 57 deaths have been reported so far.

WHO news conference on the novel coronavirus (COVID-2019)

The WHO director said this was “not a time of fear” but time to take action to save lives [ File: Denis Balibouse/Reuters]

 


 

I’ll be handing over this page shortly to my colleague Usaid Siddiqui in Doha.

Here’s a quick summary of the latest developments:

Nigeria becomes the first sub-Saharan country to confirm a coronavirus case, while several Asian and European countries, as well as New Zealand, also confirm their first infections.

Meanwhile,it’s becoming increasingly clear the virus will take a large toll on the global economy, as the markets have their worst week since 2008.

06:15 GMT – Kyrgyzstan resident in Japan tested positive for virus

A Kyrgyz citizen staying in Japan has tested positive for coronavirus and will be hospitalised there until full recovery, Kyrgyz deputy foreign minister Nurlan Abdrakhmanov said.

The man was one of the crew of the Diamond Princess cruise ship berthed in Japan’s port of Yokohama. Kyrgyzstan has reported no coronavuris cases on its own territory.

06:05 GMT – New Zealand reports first virus patient; case linked to Iran

New Zealand health officials said the country had its first coronavirus case, a person in their 60s who recently returned from Iran.

The person was being treated at the Auckland City Hospital and members of their household had also been isolated as a precaution.

Authorities said the patient arrived on an Emirates flight that landed in Auckland on Wednesday. They said anybody on the flight who had any concerns should contact health experts.

05:35 GMT – Stock markets take a pounding worldwide

Stock markets around the world have plummeted as it has become increasingly clear the virus will take a huge toll on the global economy.

Stock markets in Asia plunged again in opening trade on Friday morning, tracking huge losses in the United States and Europe.The Dow shed nearly 1,200 points, or 4.4 percent, on Thursday, taking its losses for the week to more than 11 percent.

“There was more coronavirus carnage on the markets,” Spreadex analyst Connor Campbell said.”One of the worst weeks in recent memory and terrifyingly, it’s not over yet. Friday is a tricky proposition.”

Share prices were on track for the worst week since the global financial crisis in 2008.




California reports first ‘unknown’ coronavirus case

05:15 GMT – Coronavirus fear touches off a global run on face masks

Fear of the spreading coronavirus has led to a global run on sales of face masks despite medical experts’ advice that most people who aren’t sick don’t need to wear them.

Many businesses are sold out, while others are limiting how many a customer can buy. Amazon is policing its site, trying to make sure sellers don’t gouge panicked buyers.

Ordinary people trying to protect themselves from the outbreak are not the only ones encountering shortages. Some health care professionals are seeing them as well.

05:10 GMT – Virus detected in sub-Saharan Africa, global stocks tank

Nigeria reported the first new coronavirus case in sub-Saharan Africa on Friday, as global stock markets tanked on deepening fears of a pandemic and the World Health Organization warned against the “fatal mistake” of complacency.

On Friday, Nigeria reported its first case: an Italian man who returned to densely populated Lagos early this week. Cases had previously been reported in Egypt and Algeria, but not in the sub-Saharan region.

The low number of cases across Africa, which has close economic ties with China, has puzzled health specialists and raised questions about authorities’ capabilities to detect the virus.

Commissioner Akin Abayomi said the man was transferred to Lagos State Biosecurity Facilities for isolation and testing. The patient was clinically stable with no serious symptoms and was being managed at the Infectious Disease Hospital in Yaba, Lagos.

03:58 GMT – Lithuania confirms first case of coronavirus

Lithuania’s government reported the country’s first confirmed case of coronavirus in a woman who returned this week from a visit to Italy’s northern city of Verona.

Italy is the European nation worst hit by the virus, with its death toll at 17, while the numbers of those testing positive for the illness increased by more than 200, to 350.

In a statement, the Lithuanian government said the stricken woman had been isolated in hospital in the northern town of Siauliai.She has been under observation since and is showing only slight symptoms.

The woman, aged 39, was attending a conference with colleagues in Italy before flying to the southern city of Kaunas, Health Minister Aurelijus Veryga said.

03:40 GMT – K-pop group BTS cancel concerts over coronavirus scare

K-pop megastars BTS on Friday cancelled four Seoul concerts due in April as the number of novel coronavirus cases in South Korea passed 2,000.

The seven-piece boy band – currently one of the biggest acts in the world – had scheduled four gigs at the capital’s Olympic Stadium to promote their new album, Map of the Soul: 7.

More than 200,000 fans were expected to attend, their agency Big Hit Entertainment said in a statement, with “a number of global production companies and a large group of expert international crew” also involved.

03:30 GMT – New Zealand limits entry of travellers from Iran

New Zealand said on Friday that it was placing temporary restrictions on incoming travellers from Iran as a precautionary measure to protect against the coronavirus outbreak.

“This means people will not be able to travel from Iran to New Zealand and anyone who has been in Iran in the last 14 days will need to self-isolate,” Health Minister David Clark said in a statement.

The death toll in Iran from coronavirus had risen to 26, by far the highest number outside China.

01:56 GMT – Tokyo Disneyland to close through mid-March on coronavirus concerns

Tokyo Disneyland will be closed starting on Saturday through to March 15 amid an outbreak of coronavirus infections in Japan, operator Oriental Land Co Ltd said on Friday.

Both Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea will be affected, the company said.




Is the spread of coronavirus out of control?

The move comes after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called for all schools to close to stop the coronavirus from spreading. The government has also urged that big gatherings and sports events be scrapped or curtailed for two weeks.

01:01 GMT – South Korea reports 256 new coronavirus cases, total 2,022 – KCDC

South Korea reported 256 new coronavirus cases on Friday, bringing the total number of infected in the country to 2,022, the Korea Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention said.

Of the new cases, 182 were in the southeastern city of Daegu, the location of a church at the centre of South Korea’s outbreak, the KCDC said in a statement.

The death toll from the virus stood at 13, unchanged from the day earlier.

The coronavirus, which originated in China, has rapidly spread to more than 40 other countries and territories.

China

A worker disinfects journalists visiting the Mengniu dairy factory in Beijing on Thursday [Ng Han Guan/AP]

00:02 GMT – Coronavirus risk to Americans low, but can change: US health secretary

The risk to American people from coronavirus is low, but that could change, US Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said on Thursday.

“We have really been able to keep the risk to the Americans low right now so that everyday Americans don’t need to be worried, but that can change and that’s why it’s important for all of us to prepare,” Azar said at a White House event with President Donald Trump.

23:48 GMT – Thursday – US grants sanctions waiver for humanitarian trade to Iran

The US on Thursday granted a licence to allow for certain humanitarian trade transactions with Iran’s sanctioned central bank, a move it said was in step with the formalisation of a Swiss humanitarian trade channel.

The newly created channel, which the US Treasury Department said became fully operational on Thursday as it granted the licence, would allow for companies to send food, medicine and other critical supplies to Iran.

This comes as Iran is grappling with a rapidly increasing number of coronavirus cases which have already killed at least two dozen people.


Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the coronavirus from our bureau in Kuala Lumpur – Ted Regencia

Click here to read updates from Thursday, February 27.





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At least 29 Turkish soldiers killed in an air attack by Syrian regime, Turkish governor says



Thirty-six soldiers injured in the attack have been evacuated to hospitals in Turkey, Dogan said.

A security meeting is being held at the presidential palace after the “nefarious attack against heroic soldiers in Idlib who were there to ensure our national security,” according to a statement from Turkish director of communications Fahrettin Altun.

Turkey has retaliated in an effort to “revenge our martyred heroic soldiers,” the statement said.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu spoke to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg following the Syrian attack, according to a statement released by the ministry. There were no further details about the content of the call.

The Syrian government has not commented on the Turkish claim.

Turkish soldiers are in the last rebel-held area of Syria as part of a 2018 de-escalation agreement between Ankara and Moscow. The Syrian government, backed by Russia, has mounted an aggressive air campaign against rebels in Idlib in recent weeks.

Hundreds of thousands of people have fled the last opposition-held territory in Syria in the last two months, per UN figures, in the wake of an air campaign and swift ground offensive by the Syrian regime and its Russian backers.

Tens of thousands are still on the move, and nearly 700,000 of the displaced are women and children, the UN said.

A spokesperson for the State Department said the United States is “very concerned.”

“We are in contact with Turkish authorities to confirm these developments and to have more clarity on the current situation on the ground,” the spokesperson said.

“We stand by our NATO Ally Turkey and continue to call for an immediate end to this despicable offensive by the Assad regime, Russia and Iranian-backed forces.”



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How a man convicted of his high school girlfriend’s killing was freed by decades-old DNA evidence


Before Leah Freeman’s body was found outside of her hometown of Coquille, Oregon, in 2000, her gym shoes, one of them bloody, were virtually the only physical clues police had to figure out what had happened to the missing 15-year-old.

Nearly 20 years later, one of those same shoes has played a key role in freeing from prison the only person who has ever been convicted of killing her: Freeman’s high school boyfriend Nick McGuffin.

To this day, no other arrests have been made in Freeman’s case.

“That’s the reason why I’m here…to keep Leah’s name in the light. To bring her name forward, to get somebody to come forward with the truth of what happened. To get resolution for myself, for her family,” said McGuffin, who is now 37.

“I’m an innocent person,” he added. “They found…vindicating DNA evidence that finally shows what I’ve been saying for nearly 20 years.”

Watch the full story on “20/20” Friday, Feb. 28, at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.

McGuffin was a high school senior when he and Freeman, a freshman, were dating.

“I asked Leah if she’d go to the prom with me,” he said. “She had a gorgeous white dress, she had her hair done perfectly… I’m glad we went and got the pictures that we did together.”

But Freeman’s mother, Cory Courtright, had concerns about their relationship. In a 2010 interview with “20/20,” she said she thought McGuffin “seemed like an OK kind of guy,” but she said their age difference bothered her.

“I found out that they were being sexually active, and that was disturbing to me,” Courtright said at the time. “It caused some conflict between Leah and I…because she wanted him to be her boyfriend and I didn’t.”

On the night of June 28, 2000, McGuffin dropped off Freeman at her friend Cherie Mitchell’s house with plans to pick her up a couple of hours later for a double date.

Mitchell said she and Freeman got into an argument about how much time Freeman was spending with McGuffin. She said that Freeman, who was upset, took off on foot after storming out of the house.

“I followed her out to the road and that’s when I told her, ‘It’s just, it’s not about you,’” Mitchell told “20/20” in a 2010 interview. “He was trying to take her away and take her away to do things that I wasn’t really welcome [to join].”

When McGuffin came to pick up Freeman at around 9 p.m., Mitchell told him that Freeman had already left. Freeman was last seen walking alone near her high school in downtown Coquille, according to witness testimony, but she never made it home.

McGuffin said he drove around for hours looking for her.

“I went back to Fast Mart probably five or six times,” he said. “There was different people there every time… They didn’t see Leah. I didn’t see Leah.”

McGuffin said he spoke to police officers on two separate occasions that night as he drove around in his 1967 Ford Mustang. The officers had pulled him over for having a broken headlight.

After the second time, McGuffin said he asked his friend at the time, Kristen Steinhoff whom he said he had run into earlier, to help him look for Freeman. He said he and Steinhoff drove around for about an hour or so in her car.

“I dropped Kristen off. … I think it was around 2:00 [in the morning], probably. I decided to go by Leah’s house one more time,” McGuffin said. “I saw a glare on her window, thought it was her TV. … It was 2000. It’s not like she could send me a text. She couldn’t call me on a cellphone. So I thought she was home, and I went home after that.”

The next day, when Freeman hadn’t turned up, her mother and McGuffin went to the police, who initially treated the 15-year-old’s disappearance as a runaway teen case.

“I knew something was wrong,” Courtright told “20/20” in 2010. “Again, this girl had no reason to run away.”

The night she went missing, a mechanic found and picked up one of her gym shoes by a cemetery near the high school. He believed it may have belonged to one of his kids – but days later, realized it may be connected to the missing girl and turned it into police. Her other shoe was found about a week later, outside of town – with blood on it.

About five weeks after she disappeared, on August 3, 2000, Freeman’s decomposing body was found on a steep wooded embankment, eight miles away through back roads from where the first shoe was found.

When he heard the news, McGuffin said, “It was like my world was over.”

“I broke down,” he continued. “That’s the saddest moment that I’ve ever gone through.”

McGuffin said he voluntarily went to the police to be interviewed and turned over his Mustang in hopes it would help with the investigation.

“[I] tried to give them any information that I knew that may be helpful,” he said.

After his initial meeting with police, McGuffin said he was called in again for questioning. He allowed officers to take photos of him, and later learned that they were checking for defensive wounds.

As time passed, the case went cold. McGuffin said he tried to move on with his life, but that he wasn’t able to grieve for Freeman while people suspected he was responsible. With public perception turned against him, he also said it was “hard to go out in public.”

“You’re basically looking over your shoulder to try to figure out who’s gonna come around the corner, who’s gonna start yelling at you,” he said.

Within two years after her death, McGuffin said he was hospitalized for anxiety and tried to end his life.

“It was just a buildup… It’s like when a tea kettle boils and it starts to make that hum, that’s what it was like, you just get an overload,” he said.

Eventually, McGuffin found a passion for cooking and graduated from culinary school, later becoming head banquet chef at The Mill Casino in North Bend, Oregon. After starting a new relationship, he had a daughter in 2007. He said she brought a sense of renewal into his life.

“I was very excited that I was gonna be a father,” he said. “My daughter helped me through a lot.”

As the years dragged on, police could not make any arrests in Freeman’s case, and the small community of Coquille — a town of about 4,000 residents — became more furious that her killer hadn’t been caught. Freeman’s mother, especially, was upset the case remained unsolved.

In 2008, the town got a new police chief, Mark Dannels, who pushed to have the case re-examined.

“When I arrived in Coquille…everybody was talking about the Leah Freeman case. And one of the expectations as a new police chief was, ‘What are you going to do about it, chief?’” Dannels said. “That’s pretty uncommon, number one, to have a 15-year-old teenager killed in a small community town like that. So you can see where the people were upset. Why hadn’t this been solved? And the more I looked into it, the more I felt I had to do something on this case.”

Dannels assembled a team from across the state to organize and consolidate all the old files and re-examine the case with fresh eyes.

They were surprised to discover how scattered the evidence was, with some of it even as far away as Scotland Yard in London, where it had been sent years ago for testing. Police also discovered rolls of undeveloped film from the original investigation, and spent months working overnight just to figure out what evidence they had to start to reinvestigate the case.

Coquille Police went back through the evidence, interviewing hundreds of witnesses, combing through old witness statements — including McGuffin’s — and retesting old evidence to re-examine it with assistance from the new team of forensic experts.

“When they reopened the investigation…I just figured the truth will come out and the real person or persons would be found. And so, yeah. I mean, I didn’t see any of this coming,” McGuffin said, referring to his eventual arrest.

During this round of investigating, police questioned Steinhoff, the friend who helped McGuffin look for Freeman on the night she disappeared.

Steinhoff told authorities that McGuffin had stopped by her house around midnight, they had done drugs, and when he then tried to have sex with her she says she told him to stop.

McGuffin admitted that he did smoke marijuana and kissed Steinhoff that night, but he said everything else she claimed wasn’t true.

“The things Kristen and I did that night, when we were kissing, was wrong. I accept that,” McGuffin told “20/20.” “It doesn’t mean just because I did that…that I didn’t care about [Leah]. It’s not an easy thing to deal with.”

After hearing from more than 100 witnesses, a grand jury returned an indictment against McGuffin. He was arrested on Aug. 23, 2010, and charged with murder.

At McGuffin’s trial in July 2011, a witness said he had seen McGuffin and Freeman together some time after she left Mitchell’s home. The prosecution argued that the couple quarreled and when it turned physically violent, McGuffin killed her.

McGuffin claims he never saw Freeman after he dropped her off at Mitchell’s home at 7 p.m. that night.

Ten of the 12 jurors voted to convict McGuffin on the lesser charge of manslaughter instead of murder. At the time, Oregon was only one of two states that allowed non-unanimous jury verdicts in criminal felony cases.

“My trial came down to people’s words,” McGuffin said. “My story has really never changed.”

McGuffin was sentenced to 10 years in prison, which he first spent at Snake River Correctional Institution before being sent to a labor camp in Oregon’s Tillamook State Forest due to good behavior.

Steinhoff died five years after McGuffin’s conviction.

In 2014, after McGuffin had been incarcerated for four years, attorney Janis Puracal decided to take up McGuffin’s case.

During her review, Puracal said bombshell evidence was revealed — an unidentified man’s DNA on Leah Freeman’s shoes — that eventually led to McGuffin’s conviction being overturned.

When Freeman’s shoes were first tested in 2000, the Oregon State Police crime lab discovered something that DNA technology 20 years ago could not conclusively characterize. They did not mention it in the official report.

“At the time, we used interpretation guidelines that didn’t necessarily discern or distinguish really low levels of DNA,” Chrystal Bell, Forensic Services Division director for the Oregon State Police, told ABC News. “As a result of that, the analysts at the time chose to be very conservative and chose not to actually call out that potential male DNA because she couldn’t decide what it was. So she made no conclusions or statements about that DNA because it was at a very, very low level.”

At the time, Bell said, it was entirely up to the analyst’s “discretion over what they were going to report.”

When McGuffin went to trial in 2011, the DNA technology had advanced enough that the sample could have been re-analyzed to determine that it was a man’s DNA. But no one connected to the case had asked for retesting because they had no idea the sample existed.

“Had they asked us to re-examine that evidence, we would have done so,” said Bell of the Oregon State Police crime lab. “We don’t always have an automatic trigger to go back and do re-examination every time we get additional evidence, whether it’s two years later or five years later or 10 years later.”

In 2017, however, Puracal made that request.

“Finding that exculpatory DNA on the shoes, that was a huge moment for our case,” Puracal told “20/20.” “That was a game-changer for us. We were looking for DNA that would tell us who actually committed this crime. And here, there was DNA of some other man on the victim’s bloodstained shoe … and never reported. That changed everything for us.”

“I was overly excited to find the DNA,” McGuffin added. “It didn’t match me. … I told my attorneys, I told Janis, ‘Let’s go find out what happened… Let’s solve this case once and for all. I mean, that was my push.”

Judge Patricia Sullivan agreed with Puracal that the revelation of this DNA was a game-changer. In December 2019, she ruled that there is a “reasonable probability” that McGuffin’s guilty verdict would have been different had the presence of the unidentified man’s DNA been disclosed to law enforcement, prosecutors and the defense.

“However, without the DNA evidence, Trial Counsel was reduced to showing that (Nick McGuffin) could not have committed the crime and was not able to produce any evidence of an alternative theory,” wrote Judge Sullivan.

The judge set aside McGuffin’s conviction and remanded it back to the trial court.

Coos County District Attorney Paul Frasier told “20/20” he decided not to seek a retrial for McGuffin for several reasons, including the lab’s report, the fact that key witnesses had died and the jury had been split on the verdict, and Courtright’s wishes.

“She just flat told me, ‘I cannot take the strain of another trial. I can’t do it,’ and she asked me not to try the case again,” Frasier said of Courtright. “That was probably the biggest factor.”

“Nick’s already served, 97 percent of his sentence,” Dannels said. “So we go back, put this all back together, retry it. You put the family back through this again. For what? To say we were right?”

Nine years after he was convicted for a crime that he has always maintained he never committed, McGuffin was able to walk out of prison a free man.

“I just knew that we had to fight and we had to fight for what’s right,” McGuffin said.

However, Judge Sullivan also said in her ruling overturning the conviction this did not demonstrate his innocence.

“There have been cases in the United States where the evidence clearly shows, beyond any doubt, that the person in jail or prison didn’t do it, and that person needs to get out. That’s an exoneration, in my book,” Frasier said. “What happened here was [McGuffin] was ordered to [get] a new trial. I made the decision not to go forward for a new trial. I still stand behind the investigation of this case… There’s evidence in this record to find this defendant guilty. But we have decided, for a variety of reasons, not to go forward at this time. It’s not that I believe he’s not guilty or innocent, it’s I believe it is not appropriate to proceed.”

Puracal said it was “disappointing” that police and prosecution “continue to say that Nick is guilty in this case.”

“The Department of Justice could have appealed the post-conviction court’s ruling and they chose not to,” she said. “It’s important to recognize where the DNA was found. The DNA was found inside Leah’s shoe as well as outside Leah’s shoe. And it’s found in and around bloodstains on her left shoe. That’s important to know.”

In the weeks since his release, McGuffin has tried to piece his life back together.

“After my exoneration…I had an idea of what it was going to be like, and I was wrong. It’s not easy. It’s actually really hard,” he said.

“[The] D.A., law enforcement, a crime lab…should have some accountability for what they did,” he added. “All I’m asking is for accountability and for them to do their jobs properly.”

“There are not enough markers to put it into the database to see if we can identify somebody that way,” Frasier explained. “If we have a suspect, we can get a DNA sample from them send it in and have them compare it. And that’s what we did with the other potential suspects in the case. And they all came back as not being the donor of that DNA.”

The central problem is that even though authorities now definitively have a sample of male DNA, the sample is so small that it can only exclude matches, but it cannot be used to confirm there is a match with a suspect.

“[The sample] is not suitable to put into the FBI’s database for forensic samples and convicted offenders,” Bell added, “The quality of the DNA was not good enough in 2000, it was not good enough in 2010, and it is still not good enough.”

Today, McGuffin is doing his best to reclaim his life, getting accustomed to keyless cars and talk-to-text on a smartphone. He’s also working on re-establishing his relationship with his daughter, who is now 12.

“I look at her with the strength that she has at her age, I think that helps me,” McGuffin said.

Even though his conviction was overturned, McGuffin said finding a new job has been difficult, which has been hard on him because he said he was looking forward to resuming his career as a chef once he was released.

“It’s not an easy feat. The stigma, even now, trying to get a job. … I want to work. I’m passionate about my career,” McGuffin said. “I remain an innocent man. That’s not going to change.”

McGuffin said he still thinks about Freeman and the life she could have had.

“She should be, what, 35 now? … She would have had a family,” he said.

Now that he’s out, McGuffin said he is determined to fight for the truth for Freeman and get answers as to who killed her.

“I want people to come forward with the truth. I just want the truth. I want to know what happened,” he said. “[We] have a chance right now to clean the slate to make it right. I mean, I’m pretty sure a lot of people would want that. I know Leah would. I know her family wants that. I want the truth for them. What more can I ask for?”



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Pete Buttigieg is taunted by jeering protesters who chase the Democrat away during campaign stop gone wrong – The Sun


DEMOCRATIC presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg was met by jeering protestors as a recent campaign stop appeared to go horribly wrong.

Buttigieg was initially welcomed by $15 minimum wage activists – but things soon went south for the former South Bend, Indiana mayor, according to footage taken at an event on Monday.

 Pete Buttigieg was heckled as he left a campaign event in Charleston, South Carolina, on Monday

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Pete Buttigieg was heckled as he left a campaign event in Charleston, South Carolina, on MondayCredit: EPA
 As he left, Buttigieg was pressed by protesters, who had chanted that he could not be their president and pressed him on his policy record

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As he left, Buttigieg was pressed by protesters, who had chanted that he could not be their president and pressed him on his policy recordCredit: AP:Associated Press

In the video, posted by TIME, Buttigieg can be seen making a stop to join McDonald’s workers and activists taking part in a Fight For $15 march, in Charleston, South Carolina.

The 38-year-old was initially welcomed by the group, and after hugging one protestor, the former attempted to give a speech to the crowd.

Within a minute of Buttigieg taking the mic, however, the heckles had begun.

One person could be heard calling the former mayor a “flip-flopper,” while another said he was “co-opting the movement.”

“PETE CAN’T BE OUR PRESIDENT”

Soon, minimum wage marchers had begun chanting over Buttigieg’s speech itself, repeating their slogan, “We work, we sweat, put $15 on our check.”

Also present at the march were members of the Poor People’s Campaign and activists from Black Youth Project 100, an African American youth social justice organization.

Members of the latter then began to heckle Buttigieg over his political record.

As the former mayor then walked away from the minimum wage march, flanked by campaign staff, BYP100 activists began chanting: “Pete can’t be our President. Where was $15 in South Bend?”

 Buttigieg has initially been marching with a minimum wage advocacy group, Fight For $15, before the heckles began

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Buttigieg has initially been marching with a minimum wage advocacy group, Fight For $15, before the heckles beganCredit: EPA
 The former South Bend, Indiana, mayor was then heckled by another group of protestors, who chanted he couldn't be their president

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The former South Bend, Indiana, mayor was then heckled by another group of protestors, who chanted he couldn’t be their presidentCredit: 2020

The TIME footage shows Buttigieg leaving the scene and being followed by BYP100 activists.

As he then moved to enter his SUV, the presidential candidate could be heard referencing a plan for disabled workers to those who had followed him.

According to reports, Buttigieg was the only president candidate to appear at the March – though representative from other candidates’ campaign teams were present.

In the latest Winthrop Poll, Buttigieg only had 1% support from African Americans.

The minimum wage in Indiana currently stands at $7.25.

POLITICAL RECORD QUESTIONED

Last year, when Buttigieg was the city’s mayor, the South Bend Tribune called for the minimum wage to be increased to $12 per hour.

In 2016, Buttigieg had been able to get minimum wage for city employees raised to $10.10 an hour – but state law prevented local municipalities from instituting a higher mandated minimum wage for all businesses.

South Carolina primary is the forth nominating contest for the Democratic Party in 2020 and will take place on February 29.

Candidates have already stressed the importance of succeeding in the state, which awards 63 delegates, of which 54 are pledged delegates allocated on the basis of the results of the primary.

Success in South Carolina can also bolster candidates going into Super Tuesday, which will see fourteen state primaries take place, as well as the American Samoa caucuses.

This day of voting will amount to 1344 pledged delegates – 33.8 percent of the nationwide total.

According to a recent poll by Clemson University, Joe Biden holds an 18 point lead going into South Carolina, where he hopes to close the gap on frontrunner Bernie Sanders.

 Polls show Joe Biden is currently the favorite to win South Carolina, whose primary takes place on February 29

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Polls show Joe Biden is currently the favorite to win South Carolina, whose primary takes place on February 29Credit: Getty Images – Getty
 Bernie Sanders is currently the frontrunner in the race for the Democratic Party's presidential nominee

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Bernie Sanders is currently the frontrunner in the race for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomineeCredit: AP:Associated Press


Do you have a story for The US Sun team?

Email us at [email protected] or call 212 416 4552.






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Harry Styles breaks silence over Valentine’s Day mugging



Harry Styles has assured fans that he is “OK” after recently being mugged in north London.

he One Direction singer, 26, is reported to have handed over cash when he was confronted by a mugger with a knife during a night out in Hampstead on Valentine’s Day.

Styles addressed the incident for the first time on Wednesday during an appearance on US morning programme Today.

Asked by host Carson Daly how he was following the reports of him being mugged, Styles said: “I’m OK, thanks for asking.”

Scotland Yard confirmed last week that the force is investigating a knifepoint robbery in the area.

A statement said: “Officers were contacted on Saturday February 15 regarding the incident which happened at 11.50pm on Friday February 14.

“It was reported that a man in his 20s was approached by another man and threatened him with a knife.

“The victim was not injured however, cash was taken from him.

“No arrests and inquiries are ongoing.”

Styles’ appearance on the US show saw him perform a number of his songs live to crowds in New York, including Kiwi, Adore You and Watermelon Sugar.

He also discussed a potential collaboration with US singer-songwriter Lizzo.

Styles said: “I just thinks she’s amazing, she’s such a great artist, as a fan what you want artists to be is themselves and I think she’s someone who is just herself and she makes amazing music and it’s really feel good and I think it’s what a lot of people need right now.”

He said “maybe” when asked if he would release music with the Juice hitmaker in the future.

PA Media



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Democrats needed a good debate, but got a bad one



This comparatively coherent competition of philosophies, however, occurred well past the halfway point of the debate, aired by CBS News and co-hosted by Twitter.

The first half of the debate was a more blurred affair. All candidates were taking shots at Sanders, so at first blush one might suppose that six-against-one math worked against him. In fact, much of the time it worked for him, since his rivals were each making differently nuanced cases against him and several seemed more animated by taking on other people.

Elizabeth Warren, for instance, said she agrees with much of Sanders’ program and agrees with him that it is more popular than more centrist candidates claim. But she argued, “I would make a better president than Bernie.”

“And the reason for that,” she continued, “is that getting a progressive agenda enacted is going to be really hard, and it’s going to take someone who digs into the details to make it happen.”

This was far from the rhetorical hot oil that former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg threw in Sanders’ face: “Vladimir Putin thinks that Donald Trump should be president of the United States. And that’s why Russia is helping you get elected, so you will lose to him.”

Biden, likewise, questioned Sanders’ loyalty to Barack Obama, whose legacy looms large among the heavily African-American electorate here. “He said we should primary Barack Obama,” during his 2012 re-election, “and [that] the president was weak and our administration was in fact not up to it.”

Biden also clashed with billionaire and liberal activist Tom Steyer, who returned to the stage after failing to qualify for a recent debate in Nevada. Some polls suggest that Steyer’s advertising is succeeding in winning him a significant share of South Carolina Democrats. If Biden does not win the state on Saturday and show convincingly that he can command the support of minority voters who are the Democrats’ most loyal constituency, his candidacy is functionally over. Weakness among these same constituencies is also leaving the candidacies of Warren, Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar gasping for air.

Klobuchar has said she worked cooperatively with Sanders in the Senate but that he is too impractical and too radical in his spending to be a good presidential nominee. “The math does not add up,” said Klobuchar, who did not repeat the tense exchanges with Buttigieg that marked recent debates. “In fact, just on ‘60 Minutes’ this weekend, he said he wasn’t going to rattle through the nickels and the dimes. Well, let me tell you how many nickels and dimes we’re talking about: nearly $60 trillion.”

For his part, Steyer said, “Sanders’ analysis is right” about the defects of an untrammeled private sector but not his proposed remedies. “We all know, unchecked capitalism has failed,” Steyer said. “The answer is not for the government to take over the private sector, though. The answer is for us to break the corporate stranglehold on our government and have the government work for the people again.”

Unlike his first debate appearance a week ago, Bloomberg did not obviously lay a rotten egg this time. But with testy responses to Warren about his record on women, an awkward attempt at self-deprecating humor over his first debate performance, and no crisp or sustained argument, he demonstrated abundantly that this is not his natural setting. If he keeps momentum going in the race—he entered too late to be on the ballot in South Carolina—it will be on the strength of his self-financed advertising alone.

Of course, there was no evidence that this particular debate stage was any candidate’s natural setting. Nor was it a win for Democrats wondering about the party’s future. There were plenty of legitimate things to argue about, and for stretches this actually occurred. But for longer stretches it didn’t. This was mostly a wasted couple hours for a party and for candidates who don’t have time to waste.



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Cancun flight bound for Calgary flight diverted to Memphis after smoke reported on board


CALGARY —
A  737 bound for Calgary from Cancun was diverted to Memphis early Tuesday evening, where it landed safely.

Sunwing flight WG596 declared a Mayday for smoke in the aircraft, which was possibly from a passenger’s personal item, which was extinguished prior to landing.

According to a tweet by a passenger on the flight, the cause of the smoke was someone vaping on the plane.

The flight landed safely in Memphis and taxied to the gate.

The flight departed Cancun at 4:51 Cancun time and was scheduled to arrive in Calgary at 7:45.

There was no word on when it would resume the flight to Calgary.

This is a developing story…



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