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EU Proposes €750bn Virus Recovery Package

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EU Proposes €750bn Virus Recovery Package

The European Union’s executive Commission has proposed a major recovery fund worth €750bn ($825bn) to help the bloc tackle an “unprecedented crisis”.

European Central Bank chief Christine Lagarde said in Frankfurt on Wednesday that the eurozone GDP is likely to fall by between 8% and 12% in 2020, adding that the matter of issuing grants to EU countries struggling from the COVID-19 outbreak is a contentious one, as it pits member states against each other.

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Commission president Ursula von der Leyen will officially present the recovery plan to the European Parliament. She will also put forward a proposal for the EU’s next budget covering 2021-2027, reportedly of around €1tn.

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Ursula von der Leyen said “this is Europe’s moment”.

The Commission has dubbed the plan Next Generation EU. Without the backing of all 27 EU member states, it cannot go ahead. But Germany and France have backed plans for the money to be raised on the capital markets.

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Global Covid-19 Cases Cross 12 Million As US Reaches Grim Milestone Of 3 Million Infections

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Global Covid-19 Cases Cross 12 Million As US Reaches Grim Milestone Of 3 Million Infections

The U.S. coronavirus outbreak has crossed a grim milestone of more than three million confirmed cases on Tuesday. More states have reported high numbers of cases while Florida faces shortage of hospital beds at its intensive care units.

Authorities say at least 24 states, including California, Hawaii, Idaho, Missouri, Montana, Oklahoma and Texas have reported disturbingly high infection rates as a percentage of diagnostic tests conducted over the past two weeks.

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In Texas alone, the number of hospitalized patients more than doubled in just two weeks.

The U.S. department of health and human services says there would be an additional short-term “surge” testing sites in three metropolitan areas in Florida, Louisiana and Texas.

More than four dozen hospitals across 25 of 67 Florida counties have reported their intensive care units are full.

A widely cited mortality model from the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) projected on Tuesday U.S. deaths would reach two hundred eight thousand by November.

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In Arizona, another hot spot, the rate of coronavirus tests coming back positive rose more than a quarter as of last weekend.

The surge has forced authorities to rethink reopening businesses.

Texas state fair, which had been scheduled to open in late September, has been canceled for the first time since world war two.

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One hundred, thirty-one thousand Americans have died as a result of the pandemic.

According to Johns Hopkins University, more than 12 million persons around the world have been diagnosed with coronavirus and more than 550,000 have died. Nearly 6.7 million have recovered from the virus.

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Hunger Could Kill Millions More Than Covid-19, Warns Oxfam

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Hunger Could Kill Millions More Than Covid-19, Warns Oxfam

Oxfam, an international charity organization, says more people could die from hunger as a result of the coronavirus pandemic than from the disease itself.

Oxfam warned covid-19 crisis has disrupted harvests, food supplies and remittances in the poorest countries.

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It says middle-income countries such as South Africa, India and Brazil, have also been badly hit, with many people losing their jobs during lockdowns imposed to curb the spread of coronavirus.

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Official figures show there have been more than half a million deaths worldwide relating to covid-19. At least 12 million persons have been infected so far globally.

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US Strike On Iran General Was Unlawful, UN Expert Says

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US Strike On Iran General Was Unlawful, UN Expert Says

A United Nations expert on extrajudicial killings has said in a report on Tuesday that the United State drone strike that killed Iran’s top general Qassem Soleimani was “unlawful”.

In a January 3 attack in Iraq, near Baghdad international airport, the US President Donald Trump ordered the killing of Soleimani.

Agnes Callamard, the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, in her report said “In light of the evidence that the US has provided to date, the targeting of General Soleimani, and the deaths of those accompanying him, constitute an arbitrary killing for which, under IHRL [international human rights law] the US is responsible.”

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Soleimani was seen as the most powerful figure in Iran after its supreme leader, however Trump sees him as “the world’s top terrorist” and “should have been terminated long ago”.

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As commander of the Revolutionary Guards’ overseas operations arm, the Quds Force, Soleimani was an architect of Iranian policy across the Middle East.

Callamard said the US had provided no evidence “an imminent attack” against American interests was being planned.

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Washington had accused Soleimani of masterminding attacks by Iranian-aligned militias on US forces in the region.

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