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French Leader Laments NATO’s ‘Brain Death’ Due To US

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French Leader Laments NATO's 'Brain Death' Due To US

French President Emmanuel Macron says a lack of U.S. leadership is causing the “brain death” of the NATO military alliance.  In an interview published on Thursday, Macron said the European Union must step up and start acting as a strategic world power.

Macron told The Economist magazine, the United States, under President Donald Trump, appears to be turning its back on Europe, notably by pulling troops out of northeast Syria without notice.

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Macron says the European members of the 29-nation alliance “should reassess the reality of what NATO is, in the light of the commitment of the United States.”

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More broadly, Trump’s trade tariffs against the EU also have drawn the ire of European members of NATO. And his decision to pull the United States out of the Paris Climate Agreement particularly annoyed Macron.

In the interview, Macron said that Trump, quote, “doesn’t share our idea of the European project,” end quote.

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The United States is the biggest and most influential member of NATO. It spends more on its defense budget than all the others combined.

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World Bank Lends Philippines $500m To Counter Virus Impact

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World Bank Lends Philippines $500m To Counter Virus Impact

The World Bank Group has said on Friday it has approved a $500m loan for the Philippines to help it cope with the economic impact of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

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The country’s Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez said in a statement the loan will support efforts to provide immediate relief to poor Filipinos and small business workers who have lost their jobs during the lockdown.

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In one of the world’s toughest and longest lockdowns for residents which started since mid-March, the Philippine government will begin easing restrictions from June 1 in the capital and other key cities, restoring much-needed activity to an economy facing its deepest contraction in nearly three decades.

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George Floyd: Protesters Set Minneapolis Police Station Ablaze

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George Floyd: Protesters Set Minneapolis Police Station Ablaze

In the United States, a police precinct in Minneapolis, Minnesota has been set on fire on Thursday night during a protests which erupted across the United States over the death of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, intensified.

Demonstrators vented their rage over the death of Floyd who appeared in a viral video gasping for breath while a white police officer knelt on his neck to the ground for several minutes.

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Floyd died on Monday. Hundreds of protesters marched in downtown Minneapolis for a third night on Thursday, demanding justice and an end to police violence.

The four officers involved were swiftly fired, but Floyd’s family, community leaders and residents are calling for arrests to be made.

Earlier, police officers fired tear gas and rubber bullets in an attempt to disperse a crowd outside the 3rd Precinct, the epicentre of the unrest.

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But the cordon around the police station was eventually breached by protesters, who set fire to it and two other nearby buildings, as officers withdrew.

The Minneapolis Police Department said in a statement that the 3rd Precinct had been evacuated shortly after 22:00 “in the interest of the safety of our personnel”.

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On Thursday, Floyd’s brother, Philonise Floyd, told CNN he hoped the officers involved got the death penalty, he added that the officers who “executed my brother in broad daylight” must be arrested and that he was “tired of seeing black men die”.

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Covid-19: Britain Launches New Test And Trace Service

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Covid-19: Britain Launches New Test And Trace Service

Before now, anyone in the United Kingdom, who developed symptoms of coronavirus, for example persistent cough, fever or sudden loss of taste or sense of smell, had to isolate for seven, the rest of their household for 14 days.

But from now on, everyone with symptoms could call 119 for an online test.

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This is a new approach to gradually take the United Kingdown out of lockdown restrictions, and reduce the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. It is called a test and trace service operated by the National Health Service (NHS).

UK government says the new service will help identify, contain, control and reduce the spread of the deadly virus that has claimed more than 37,000 lives.

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Under the new system, anyone who tests positive for coronavirus will be contacted by NHS test and trace, and will need to share information about those with whom he recently interacted.

Executive chair of NHS test and trace, Dido Harding says the system has already employed more than 40,000 persons.

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Thousands of contact tracers are already making their first phone calls

Northern Ireland has its own version of the test and trace programme already, and Wales’ scheme is due to start in early June.

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