A look inside the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill

No Republicans have voted for the new bill in either the House or Senate, which brings total virus relief spending to more than $5 trillion. Most Democrats praised the bill, while Republicans said it contained too much pork, or special interest funding. The legislation also would provi

Philippines raises alert level for volcano over 'increasing unrest'

A flock of birds flies at the Taal Volcano island, a year after the volcano erupted, in Batangas province, Philippines, Jan 12, 2021."This means that there is probable magmatic activity that may or may not lead to an eruption," Renato Solidum, director of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and

Explosive Harry, Meghan interview reverberates across globe

Britain's Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, are interviewed by Oprah Winfrey in this undated handout photo. During the two-hour appearance with Oprah Winfrey, Harry revealed the problems had ruptured relations with his father, Prince Charles, and brother, Prince William, illuminatin

Chile receives 5th shipment of Chinese Sinovac vaccine against COVID-19

Photo: The Ministry of Health of ChileSANTIAGO, March 8 (Xinhua) -- The Chilean government on Monday received a fifth shipment of CoronaVac vaccine from Chinese pharmaceutical firm Sinovac.Chilean Minister of Health Enrique Paris and other officials were at the airport in Santiago to receive the shipment."The population can be sure of the supply and arrival of vaccines," Paris said, highlighting the progress the country has made in its vaccination process.The Sinovac vaccine was approved for emergency use on Jan. 20 by the Public Health Institute of Chile.China-developed vaccines have been the basis of the countrys mass vaccination campaign against COVID-19, which kicked off on Feb. 3, with the goal of immunizing 5 million people in high-risk groups in the first three months of the year, followed by another 15 million people by midyear.To date, the South American country has vaccinated 4,176,094 people, with more than half a million having received their second doses.On Monday, the country reported that 860,533 people have tested positive for COVID-19 and 21,163 people have died from the disease.

100 illegal migrants rescued off Libyan coast in past week

TRIPOLI, March 8 -- The International Organization for Migration (IOM) on Monday said that 100 illegal migrants have been rescued off the Libyan coast over the past week.These migrants were intercepted at sea and returned to Libya on March 2-8, said IOM.The organization also noted that 34 illegal m

Half of Bulgaria's regions report coronavirus variant first detected in Britain


The latest: COVID-19 outbreak worldwide (Updated Mar 9)

Globally, as of 10 am BJT on Tuesday, there have been 116,521,281 confirmed cases of coronavirus, including 2,589,548 deaths, reported the World Health Organization.Ciaran Kavanagh, one of the seventh generation of John Kavanaghs bar, makes preparations as they are preparing to reopen the lounge seven days a week. (Photo: AP)Current status (data as of 10 am BJT, Mar 9):Sources: Johns Hopkins University, national public health agencies.The outbreak has now claimed 533,745 lives in the US, the most of any country, with a total of 29,533,237 infections, according to a tally by the 1Point3Acres virus tracker as of 10 am BJT on Tuesday.India has confirmed a total of 11,229,398 COVID-19 cases, raising the number of deaths to 157,853.Confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Brazil have increased to 11,051,665 with 266,398 deaths, Johns Hopkins reported.Russia has recorded 4,284,408 confirmed cases and 87,985 deaths.The UK has reported 4,235,987 COVID-19 cases and 124,801 deaths from the virus so far.France has confirmed 3,969,609 cases of COVID-19, with the number of deaths at 89,090.A total of 3,160,970 people in Spain have tested positive for COVID-19, with the death toll at 71,436.The coronavirus pandemic has claimed 100,103 lives in Italy, bringing the total number of infections to 3,081,368.It is followed by Turkey with 29,094 deaths from 2,793,632 infections.Germanys confirmed cases have increased to 2,513,784, with the number of deaths at 72,048, according to the JHU virus tracker.

Fans likely to be barred from Olympic torch relay start: report

File photo: AgenciesThe starting ceremony for this months Olympic torch relay will likely be held without spectators, a Japanese newspaper reported Tuesday, but fans will still be able to line the route.The Yomiuri Shimbun daily reported that organisers fear crowding at the March 25 event in Fukushima, and will probably bar the 3,000 spectators initially planned.Tokyo 2020 organisers did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the report, which cited an unnamed source.The organisers have already laid out strict rules for the virus-delayed, nationwide relay, which was called off in 2020 after the historic decision to postpone the Games by a year.Cheering along the relay route will be strictly banned, and people are asked to only attend sections near their homes and avoid crowding.Mask-wearing will be mandatory, and spectators are asked to offer "support with applause and by using distributed goods rather than shouting or cheering".Portions of the relay could also be suspended if there is overcrowding.Organisers are battling persistent doubts about whether the Games can be held safely this summer and have unveiled a rulebook with various virus countermeasures.They are set to decide this month on whether foreign fans will be able to attend, with limits on overall spectator numbers to be set next month.

Schools reopen in England 10 Photos

Schools reopen in England

People are seen outside the Old Building of LSE (The London School of Economics and Political Science) in London, Britain, on March 8, 2021. Amid a mixed sense of nervousness and excitement, millions of children returned to schools across England on Monday under phase one of the British government's

Airline industry pushes US to standardize health papers

Leading airline and business groups are asking the Biden administration to develop temporary credentials that would let travelers show they have been tested and vaccinated for COVID-19, a step that the airline industry believes will help revive travel.In this Feb. 18, 2021 file photo, a passenger wears a face mask to help prevent against the spread of the coronavirus as he waits for a Delta Airlines flight at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta. (File photo AP)Various groups and countries are working on developing so-called vaccine passports aimed at allowing more travel. But airlines fear that a smattering of regional credentials will cause confusion and none will be widely accepted.“It is crucial to establish uniform guidance" and “the U.S. must be a leader in this development,” more than two dozen groups said in a letter Monday to White House coronavirus-response coordinator Jeff Zients. However, the groups said that vaccination should not be a requirement for domestic or international travel.The groups include the main U.S. and international airline trade organizations, airline labor unions and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The White House did not immediately comment.The World Health Organization and the United Nations aviation arm are working on the type of information to include in a credential. The airline industry groups are particularly interested in having the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention take a leading role, believing that would increase certainty that information in the credentials is legitimate.The CDC issued new guidelines Monday for fully vaccinated people, saying they can — without face masks — meet other vaccinated people and visit unvaccinated people in a single household who are at low risk for severe disease. However, the health agency still recommends against travel.“Every time that there is a surge in travel, we have a surge in cases in this country,” said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky.Walensky ...

Brazilian judge overturns convictions against ex-president Lula

Brazils former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva gestures to his supporters in Porto Alegre, Brazil, on Jan. 23, 2018. (File photo: Xinhua)BRASILIA, March 8 (Xinhua) -- A Brazilian Supreme Court judge overturned on Monday the graft convictions against former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, clearing the way for him to run in the 2022 presidential election.Justice Edson Fachin said a court in the southern city of Curitiba had lacked the authority to try Lula on corruption charges and that he must be retried in federal courts in capital Brasilia.The ruling came in response to a request filed by the former presidents legal team in November. The team said in a note that Mondays decision was recognition that the former president was innocent.Lula, 75, is a left-wing politician who governed Brazil from 2003 to 2011. He was convicted of taking bribes from engineering firms in return for public contracts in 2018 and spent more than 18 months behind bars.The prosecutor generals office said it would appeal.

PM of Equatorial Guinea hails Chinese medical mission for saving lives in Bata explosions 3 Photos

PM of Equatorial Guinea hails Chinese medical mission for saving lives in Bata explosions

Members of a branch of the Chinese medical mission provide first aid to a resident injured in an explosion in Bata, Equatorial Guinea, March 7, 2021. Prime Minister of Equatorial Guinea Francisco Pascual Obama Asue on Monday praised the Chinese medical mission's contribution to saving victims in the

Biden signs executive orders on gender equity to mark Intl Women's Day

US President Joe Biden delivers remarks on International Women's Day at the White House in Washington, US, March 8, 2021. [Photo/Agencies] WASHINGTON - Marking the International Women's Day, US President Joe Biden signed two executive orders aimed to promote gender equity on Monday, vowing "t

British business confidence up following successful jab rollout

Positive sentiment expected to continue as nation emerges from deep lockdown.The British economy is set to rebound as consumer and business confidence hit a 12-month high thanks to the country's COVID-19 vaccination program, according to two new surveys.The BDO optimism index, which measures how man

COVID-19 vaccines from COVAX transported at Afghan airport 5 Photos

COVID-19 vaccines from COVAX transported at Afghan airport

Photo taken on March 8, 2021 shows COVID-19 vaccines from COVAX, an international program devised to help low and middle-income countries to have more access to COVID-19 vaccines, arriving at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, capital of Afghanistan. (Photo by Sayed Mominzadah/Xinhua) .Air

WHO says it did sound 'highest level of alarm' for novel coronavirus in January 2020

Almost one year since the coronavirus outbreak was declared a global "pandemic", the World Health Organization clarified on Monday that it did use the "highest level of alarm" to urge actions from all countries in early 2020.Being asked on Monday's press conference whether the organization should h

Less than 10 pct of US population fully vaccinated against COVID-19: CDC

population has been fully vaccinated with a COVID-19 vaccine, the U.Over 116 million vaccine doses have been distributed across the United States as of Monday, and more than 92 million doses have been administered, according to the latest CDC data.There are three COVID-19 vaccines currently authoriz

98 dead, 615 injured in explosions in Equatorial Guinea's largest city

YAOUNDE, March 8 (Xinhua) -- Ninety-eight people were killed and 615 others injured in explosions caused by accidents in Equatorial Guineans largest city of Bata, tweeted the countrys health ministry on Monday, quoting Vice President Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue.Volunteers searched the rubble for bodies on Monday. (Photo: Agencies)Of those injured, 316 were discharged, while 299 remain under medical care in three local hospitals, the ministry said.Explosive warehouses at the Nkoantoma military camp in Bata caught fire following a nearby farm fire, causing successive explosions on Sunday afternoon, according to a statement from the presidency of Equatorial Guinea published on Sunday evening.Following the accident, health authorities called on people to donate blood and encouraged volunteer health workers to help. The Chinese medical mission in Equatorial Guinea, a branch of which is based in Bata, helped rescue the victims and donated medical equipment, Chinese embassy tweeted on Monday evening.As of Monday, the explosion sites are out of danger, and the explosives neutralized, according to the local news site on the mainland part of Equatorial Guinea, Bata is the countrys most populous city.

PM of Equatorial Guinea hails Chinese medical mission for saving lives in Bata explosions

This video grab obtained by AFPTV from TVGE on March 7, 2021 shows an injured man being assisted by soldiers in Bata, Equatorial Guinea. (Photo: AFP)YAOUNDE, March 8 (Xinhua) -- Prime Minister of Equatorial Guinea Francisco Pascual Obama Asue on Monday praised the Chinese medical missions contribution to saving victims in the blasts in the countrys largest city of Bata.In a telephone conversation with Chinese medical mission on Monday, the prime minister thanked Chinese doctors who provided care for those injured in the explosions and donated urgently needed medical supplies.Explosive warehouses at the Nkoantoma military camp in Bata caught fire following a nearby farm fire, causing explosions on Sunday afternoon, according to a statement from the presidency of Equatorial Guinea published on Sunday evening.The latest casualty count showed 98 people were killed and 615 others injured, of which 299 remain under medical care, Vice President Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue said on Monday.The Chinese medical mission, which has a branch in Bata, has been in Equatorial Guinea for 50 years.

Stay-at-home order lifted in Toronto, Peel Region and North Bay 6 Photos

Stay-at-home order lifted in Toronto, Peel Region and North Bay

People wearing face masks line up to enter a store in Toronto, Canada, on March 8, 2021. A stay-at-home order in Toronto, Peel Region, and North Bay was lifted Monday as the province loosens pandemic restrictions. The three regions were the last ones still under the order, and are transitioning back


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