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Here are today’s picks from our editors.
Global COVID-19 deaths surpass 20,000
The total deaths linked to COVID-19 around the world topped 20,000 as of 2pm US Eastern Time on Wednesday, according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University.
A total of 20,499 people have died of the pandemic among 451,355 confirmed cases around the globe, the CSSE said.
Italy topped the chart with 7,503 deaths. Other countries with over 1,000 fatalities include Spain, China, Iran and France, according to the CSSE. (Xinhua)
China to implement 2.5-day weekend to boost consumption after COVID-19
A 2.5-day weekend will finally happen in China as three provinces and cities announced plans to implement a more flexible working schedule to stimulate consumption after the COVID-19 outbreak.
The move came amid an economic downturn triggered by the nationwide outbreak.
Authorities in east China's Jiangxi Province took the lead and planned to implement a 2.5-day weekend starting April to encourage more employees to go on vacations during the weekends and holidays.
Other new incentives include giving half-price tickets to tourists in some local scenic spots and offering travel vouchers to employees, according to the official document released by local authorities. (China Daily)
White House, Congress agree on $2 trillion virus rescue bill
The White House and Senate leaders of both parties announced agreement early Wednesday on an unprecedented $2 trillion emergency bill to rush sweeping aid to businesses, workers and a healthcare system slammed by the coronavirus pandemic.
The urgently needed measure is the largest economic rescue bill in history.
The economic rescue package would give direct payments to most Americans, expand unemployment benefits and provide a $367 billion program for small businesses to keep making payroll while workers are forced to stay home. Hospitals would get significant help as well. (AP)
Putin announces paid leave for all Russians next week
Russian President Vladimir Putin declared on Wednesday that all Russians would receive paid leave next week as part of measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
All necessary institutions and establishments, including hospitals, pharmacies, shops, banks, transport and government bodies at all levels, will continue their work, Putin said in a televised address to the nation.
He proposed to postpone the referendum on constitutional amendments on April 22 and the new date will be set after consulting experts. (Xinhua)
Canada imposes mandatory self-isolation for those returning
Canada announced Wednesday it is imposing mandatory self-isolation for those returning to Canada under the Quarantine Act.
Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said it will begin at midnight Wednesday and the requirement will be for 14 days.
“It will be a legal obligation for people entering Canada from outside Canada,” Freeland said. “Essential workers are excluded.” (AP)
UK's Prince Charles tests positive for COVID-19
Prince Charles, the heir to the British throne, has tested positive for the new coronavirus, COVID-19, his office said on Wednesday.
The 71-year-old is showing mild symptoms of the virus and is self-isolating at a royal estate in Scotland, his Clarence House office said. It added that his wife Camilla, 72, has tested negative.
"It is not possible to ascertain from whom the prince caught the virus, owing to the high number of engagements he carried out in his public role during recent weeks," said the office. (AP)
Terracotta warriors meet visitors again two months after coronavirus outbreak
Two world-renown cultural sites, the Mausoleum of Qinshihuang and Pingyao ancient city, reopened on Wednesday after a two-month closure due to the novel coronavirus outbreak.
The Mausoleum of Qinshihuang, the first emperor of a united China in the Qin dynasty (221-206 BC), is known for the army of terracotta warriors in northwest China's Shaanxi Province.
Tourists can now visit the UNESCO world cultural heritage site after making a reservation, but only automated tours are available. (CGTN)
Thanks for listening and be sure to catch us tomorrow.
And now for the Question of the Day:
Where did Orville and Wilbur Wright build their first flying airplane?
(Answer: Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, the United States.)
Today’s quote is from American author Frederick Douglass (1818-1895).
"It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men."
(Produced by Nancy Yan Xu, Ryan Yaoran Yu, Brian Lowe, and Elaine Yue Lin. Music by Eugene Loner.)