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El Salvador Supreme Court orders state of emergency suspended | El Salvador News


El Salvador’s Supreme Court said on Monday that it had ordered the immediate suspension of the state of emergency declared by President Nayib Bukele over the coronavirus.

Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele on Saturday night declared a state of emergency to extend coronavirus measures without approval by congress, touching off a torrent of criticism that the move had been unconstitutional.

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Salvadoran legislators and prosecutors said Bukele’s Saturday announcement had overstepped his powers.

Less than a year into his administration, Bukele, a brash 38-year-old leader, has repeatedly angered rights groups, who say he has shown authoritarian tendencies. In February, Bukele and a group of soldiers armed with automatic weapons briefly occupied congress. Last month, he released startling photos of hundreds of jailed gang members stripped to underwear and pressed together in formation, horrifying advocates.

El Salvador prison

Inmates lined up during a security operation under the watch of police at the Izalco prison in San Salvador, El Salvador [Handout/El Salvador President Press Office/AP Photo] 

Congress approved an emergency declaration in March to respond to the coronavirus pandemic, but after an extension in April, the measure was due to expire on Sunday. Legislators planned to discuss an extension when they reconvened on Monday.

Shortly after Bukele issued his decree on Saturday, the Salvadoran attorney general said in a statement that it would file a suit alleging that the move was unconstitutional with the country’s top court. But Bukele, who swept to the presidency last year with an outsider candidacy, maintained he was well within his rights.

“All presidents in the democratic history of our country have had the power to declare a state of emergency and have exercised it, without legislative approval,” he wrote in a post on Twitter on Sunday. “Will a president be prevented for the first time from exercising that vital power?”

Bukele’s administration maintains that a civil protection law authorises the president to declare a state of emergency if congress cannot hold a session.

They contend that the risk of the coronavirus spreading further in El Salvador justifies the measures. The country has 1,413 confirmed cases of the virus and 30 deaths. Health experts say the country’s health system is not equipped to handle a surge in cases.

‘Serious setback’

Legislators and civil society groups urged an investigation to determine whether Bukele had exceeded his powers.

“What would an autocrat do if Congress did not pass a law on his behalf? I would issue a decree. This has just been done by the young Salvadoran leader (Nayib Bukele) with the state of emergency. Another serious setback,” Jose Vivanco, executive director for the Americas for US-based Human Rights Watch, wrote on Twitter.

In recent days, Salvadorans in the capital have protested measures taken during the quarantine, which they say have led to job losses and hunger. To avoid breaking social distancing rules, they voice their discontent by banging pots, honking the horns of their vehicles and playing loud music.

Fabricio Benitez, a 26-year-old musician who lives with his parents and sister on the outskirts of San Salvador, said that his father, a soil engineer, lost his job a month ago after his company’s operations were affected by the pandemic.

“We are subsisting on fairly scarce funds, and we have not benefitted in any way from government programmes,” Benitez said on Friday as he played the Salvadoran national anthem on his viola.


SOURCE:
Reuters news agency



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Netanyahu, Gantz sign coalition deal to form emergency government



Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his rival Benny Gantz have announced that they have forged a deal to form an emergency coalition government, aimed to tackle the coronavirus pandemic. The announcement comes after months of political paralysis in the country.

“I promised the state of Israel a national emergency government that will work to save the lives and livelihoods of the citizens of Israel,” Netanyahu tweeted.

Under the three-year deal, both leaders will switch positions, with Netanyahu serving as prime minister for the first half, and Gantz taking the job for the second half. Gantz’s Blue and White party will take control of a number of senior government ministries, including foreign affairs and defence, while Netanyahu’s Likud party will gain influence over judicial appointments.

“We have prevented a fourth election. We will protect democracy. We will fight coronavirus and care for all Israel’s citizens”, Gantz said.

The deal comes after Gantz and Netanyahu missed the deadline to form a government, and president Reuven Rivlin asked the parliament to choose a new prime minister, giving it three weeks to agree upon a leader or push the country into a fourth election in about a year.

According to the deal, no laws are to be introduced that have nothing to do with the coronavirus. However, Netanyahu will be allowed to annex Jewish settlements and other land in the occupied West Bank. The settlements are widely considered illegal under international law, though Israel disputes this.

Palestinians condemned the formation of an “Israeli “annexation” government, saying the agreement would wreck hopes of peace.



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Coronavirus: China death toll reaches 212 after WHO declares global emergency – live news | World news






Coronavirus has been declared notifiable disease in Queensland, Australia

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I’d like to say a big thanks to everyone who sent in information, it’s been extremely helpful.

Here’s a summary of some key updates before I hand over to the Australia team, who’ll continue the coverage from Sydney:

  • The virus has spread to at least 9,320 people around the world, surpassing that of the SARS epidemic over a year long period (2002-2003).
  • 212 people have died, all in China.
  • There are 98 confirmed cases of infection outside mainland China in at least 18 countries.
  • The United States reported its first case of person-to-person transmission, joining Germany, Vietnam and Japan in recording similar incidents.
  • BA has suspended all flights to and from mainstream China until the end of February. Other countries have also implemented a flight ban, most recently Italy.
  • Almost 200 US citizens have been evacuated and have arrived at a military base in California. They will be isolated for a minimum of 72 hours. The US is said to be planning another airlift in the coming days.
  • France have evacuated 200 citizens who are currently flying back to southern France where there’ll be quarantined for 14 days. The European Commission has said it is planning a flight to evacuate more European nationals.
  • The Chinese Football Association has postponed its domestic games in 2020, and the World Athletics Indoors Championships, due to take place in the Chinese city of Nanjing in March, have been moved to 2021.
  • Google and IKEA became the latest franchises to shut their Chinese shops and offices.

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In Australia, confirmed cases of the virus have climbed to 9, but two people have been released and are “post-viral” according to the country’s health minister, Greg Hunt.

Authorities have been tracking down passengers that were on a plane with a Chinese tourist who flew from Melbourne to the Gold Coast on 27 January.

The 44-year-old man, from Wuhan, was diagnosed with coronavirus and was being treated in isolation in hospital on the Gold Coast.

The Guardian understands that at least one passenger who was on that plane to the Gold Coast has been asked to stay home from work. The passenger is not believed to be at high risk but as a precaution has been asked to remain at home for the time being.

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The Foreign and Commonwealth Office have confirmed that following a last-minute decision from China, dependents of British nationals and dual nationals will be allowed on to the evacuation flight.

Previously, restrictions imposed by China meant those with Chinese passports were not permitted to leave the country, and China does not recognise dual nationality.

The U-turn meant that Matt Raw and his 75-year-old mother Hazel were given permission to fly along with Raw’s wife Ying, who holds a Chinese passport.

It’s uncertain whether other families in similar situations have been given the go-ahead to board the plane, or whether they have been able to make it to the airport in time.

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Coronavirus live updates: WHO considers global emergency declaration as death toll hits 170


The World Health Organization is set to meet Thursday, for the third time in a week, to determine if the deadly coronavirus outbreak should be declared a global emergency.

Such a declaration would trigger tighter containment and information-sharing guidelines, but may disappoint Beijing, which had expressed confidence in defeating the “devil” virus.

Some 6,000 people are being kept on board an Italian cruise ship as tests are carried out on two Chinese passengers suspected of having caught coronavirus, a spokesman for the Costa Crociere cruise company said on Thursday.

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The couple arrived in Italy on Jan. 25 and boarded the ship, the Costa Smeralda, in the port of Savona that same day. They subsequently came down with a fever and are suffering breathing difficulties

The liner has visited Marseilles in France, and the Spanish ports of Barcelona and Palma de Mallorca this week before docking on Thursday at Civitavecchia, north of Rome.

No one was being allowed off the ship while medical checks were carried out to see if the pair had the potentially deadly coronavirus, the company spokesman said.

He said it might take “a few hours” before the situation became clearer.

On Thursday countries began isolating hundreds of citizens evacuated from the Chinese city of Wuhan to stop the spread of the coronavirus, which has killed 170 people.

Follow along below for live updates on the coronavirus outbreak from around the world and Canada:

Read more about the Wuhan coronavirus:

Why a mask won’t protect you from the Wuhan coronavirus

There is a website that tracks and displays the spread of the coronavirus in real time

Coronavirus conspiracy theories: Sorting fact from fiction as speculation reaches fever pitch

Coronavirus outbreak active and spreading, WHO says: ‘Why wouldn’t people be concerned?’



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