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South Korea Signals Unprecedented Steps to Contain Virus Surge

Yahoo News - Sun, 02/23/2020 - 02:02

South Korea Signals Unprecedented Steps to Contain Virus Surge(Bloomberg) -- South Korean President Moon Jae-in signaled the potential for unprecedented steps as the country reeled from a surge in coronavirus cases that triggered travel advisories around the world.The government on Sunday raised the infectious-disease alert to “red,” the highest level, after about a 20-fold surge in confirmed cases over five days. The total is now 602, a majority of which have been linked to members of the Shincheonji Church of Jesus. A further 18 were tied to a Catholic group that visited religious sites in Israel.A day after Prime Minister Chung Se-Kyun asked citizens to stop mass religious activities for safety, President Moon said the government could take “powerful measures like never before without being tied to regulations” to contain the outbreak. He emphasized that shutting down Shincheonji facilities was a safety measure, not a suppression of religion.Daegu, the southeast Korean city where the Shincheonji group is located, has deployed some 600 police officers to track down members who have been unreachable, according to the Maeil Business newspaper. There are about 670 people who have been uncontactable, the paper said.Health officials in that city have a list of residents who are members of the sect, and are getting in touch to explain self-quarantine measures. Authorities have stationed a total of about 500 military personnel at two hospitals in Daegu to implement stricter measures for patients confirmed to be infected.Daegu is one of two cities, along with nearby Cheongdo, subject to a U.K. travel advisory on Saturday. Britain’s Foreign Office advised against “all but essential travel” to the two locations. The U.S. separately raised its alert to Level 2 -- “exercise increased caution” -- for the country as a whole.Israel took sterner measures after a group of Catholics visited for a Holy Land Pilgrimage, deciding on Saturday to block the entry of South Korean tourists on Saturday. That was a day after the Middle Eastern country reported its first case of the virus. South Korea’s foreign ministry called the move “regretful,” Yonhap reported.South Korea’s CDC said 18 people out of the 39 who went on the tour were confirmed to have the virus. Authorities are conducting further tests on the remaining 21. The Roman Catholic Diocese of Andong has halted all masses and assemblies until March, the CDC said in the statement.South Korea was last on red alert in 2009, during the H1N1 virus outbreak that resulted in 250 deaths in the country.To contact the reporter on this story: Jihye Lee in Seoul at jlee2352@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Niluksi Koswanage at nkoswanage@bloomberg.net, Christopher AnsteyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.


Eight dead in Turkey as 5.7 earthquake strikes western Iran

Yahoo News - Sun, 02/23/2020 - 01:49

Eight dead in Turkey as 5.7 earthquake strikes western IranEight people were killed in Turkey in a magnitude 5.7 earthquake that struck western Iran early Sunday morning, Turkish Interior Minister Suleiman Soylu said. Soylu told a news conference that three children and four adults were killed in Turkey's Baskule district. No one remained trapped under fallen buildings, Van Governor Mehmet Emin Bilmez said.


Exit polls: Social Democrats win, far-right loses in Hamburg

Yahoo News - Sun, 02/23/2020 - 01:41

 Social Democrats win, far-right loses in HamburgThe center-left Social Democrats won the most votes in the Hamburg state election Sunday, according to exit polls, followed by the environmentalist Green party in a vote that was overshadowed by a racist massacre and political turmoil in Germany. Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats appeared to lose badly, receiving the weakest results in Hamburg, which is Germany's second-biggest city and its own state, in the last seven decades. In what would be a large upset, the far-right Alternative for Germany — which has been especially successful in state elections in eastern Germany where it got up to about a quarter of the vote — appears to not have received the 5% of the vote needed to get into the state assembly.


Moscow targets Chinese with raids amid virus fears

Yahoo News - Sun, 02/23/2020 - 00:28

Moscow targets Chinese with raids amid virus fearsBus drivers in Moscow kept their WhatsApp group chat buzzing with questions this week about what to do if they spotted passengers who might be from China riding with them in the Russian capital. The befuddlement reflected in screenshots of the group exchanges seen by The Associated Press had a common source - instructions from Moscow's public transit operator Wednesday for drivers to call a dispatcher if Chinese nationals boarded their buses, Russian media reported. A leaked email that the media reports said was sent by the state-owned transportation company Mosgortrans told dispatchers who took such calls to notify the police.


Can Mike Bloomberg come back from his Democratic debate debacle?

Yahoo News - Sun, 02/23/2020 - 00:00

Can Mike Bloomberg come back from his Democratic debate debacle?The billionaire former New York mayor had surged in the polls on the back of lavish spending on ads – then came his moment onstage in Las Vegas and a rapid revision of his prospectsAfter spending nearly half a billion dollars on advertising that portrays him as a pioneering leader, a man who would be a unifying, inspirational presence in the White House, Michael Bloomberg finally got the chance this week to sell himself, live, to a nationwide audience.It didn’t go well. Instead of Wednesday’s Democratic debate showing Bloomberg to be a master statesman, the billionaire former New York City mayor crumpled in the face of an onslaught from his rivals. He came across, at turns, as angry, bewildered and contemptuous as he was taken to task over his troubling record on race and gender rights.One post-debate poll showed Bloomberg’s favorability down a startling 20 points among likely Democratic primary voters.With Bloomberg’s hopes of becoming president now pinned on an-all-or-nothing vote in a flood of states on Super Tuesday in just over a week’s time, some are now wondering whether his hapless showing might have blown his chance altogether.“He can certainly remain in the game and spend his millions of dollars on ad buys criticizing Trump, which may not be such a bad thing for the Democratic party, but I don’t see him coming back. I just don’t,” said Robin Andersen, a professor of communication and media studies at Fordham University in New York.“Just visually, maybe a billionaire doesn’t have what’s needed in a campaign to be able to field answers and not look like you are hating life, or that you’re bored or that you’re getting grumpy. Bloomberg didn’t seem to realize that even if you’re not speaking, the camera is on you.”Bloomberg, who made his $64bn fortune through his eponymous financial services company, had glided through his presidential campaign largely unimpeded until Wednesday.While other leading candidates, including the current frontrunner Bernie Sanders, spent the summer and autumn of 2019 engaged in bruising debates and town halls, Bloomberg only entered the race in November, avoiding scrutiny and remaining above the fray.He dodged much of the legwork of campaigning too. Bloomberg shunned Iowa and New Hampshire, two states where a candidate traditionally must woo voters to have a shot at the presidency, instead splashing vast amounts of cash on TV ads and a gigantic social media campaign.Those highly polished commercials have been unavoidable for people across America for the past two months. In them, Bloomberg is shown alongside Barack Obama, still the most popular Democratic politician in the country, or criticizing Trump with a combination of humor and vitriol.Bloomberg has spent a fortune hiring some of the best political operatives in the country, and it shows. In a remarkably short space of time, Bloomberg has rocketed to third or even second place in national polls. He also leads in some key states, such as Florida and Oklahoma.Yet all that money can’t protect Bloomberg from his controversial words and deeds during a long career in business and 12 years as New York’s mayor. The debate, held in Las Vegas, proved that, as Bloomberg was immediately lambasted by Elizabeth Warren, the left-leaning Massachusetts senator.“I’d like to talk about who we’re running against – a billionaire who calls women ‘fat broads’ and ‘horse-faced lesbians’,” Warren said. “And no, I’m not talking about Donald Trump. I’m talking about Michael Bloomberg.”For many of the watching 19.3 million people – a record for a Democratic primary debate – this was probably their first introduction to Bloomberg, and it wasn’t a good start. It didn’t get any better. The next two hours saw Bloomberg’s five co-debaters tear into him again and again.His tenure as mayor was repeatedly brought into question. Bloomberg oversaw a huge increase in stop-and-frisk policing, a practice that disproportionately targeted African Americans and Latinos, people who make up a key Democratic constituency. Allegations of sexual harassment and discrimination at his Blooomberg financial information and news company were brought up, and Warren, in particular, criticized the non-disclosure agreements the company struck with former employees, preventing them from speaking publicly.Bloomberg is said to have prepared for the debate, but struggled to defend himself against aspects of his record that were ripe for attack.“In some instances [Bloomberg was] sort of halting, and stumbling to deliver a response to attacks that had been telegraphed, previewed on the stump by several of these candidates,” said Mitchell McKinney, professor of political communication at the University of Missouri.“We are going to now see the [debate] image of Michael Bloomberg, his performance and compare that to his ad messages that are just saturating airwaves of a very resolute decision maker, a strong leader and also presidential.”McKinney went on: “The Michael Bloomberg we saw on Wednesday is very different from that designed and controlled image and message. The question then is will he be able to survive with his ad messages and then somehow stumble through.”Given not every voter will have been watching the debate, which finished at 11pm on the east coast, it raises the question of how much Bloomberg’s limp performance will matter. McKinney said the “pass-along effect’’ is important, however – the way that key clips from the debate will be disseminated through news channels and social media.Bloomberg’s slick team is already fighting that, however. In the hours after the debate, his campaign released its own, highly edited version of what happened in the debate, an alternate universe cut where Bloomberg flummoxed his rivals by pointing out none of them had started a business.That video was pushed out on Facebook on Thursday, a platform where Bloomberg has already spent $45m on advertising – dwarfing even Trump, who has made Facebook reach a cornerstone of his campaign. The pass-along effect could ultimately mean people are being handed Bloomberg’s bilge rather than seeing him humiliated on stage.The make-or-break date for Bloomberg is Tuesday 3 March, when voters in 14 states go to the polls in a defining primary contest. Fail then, and the prospect of President Bloomberg becomes extremely unlikely.That apparently doesn’t bother him; he has suggested he’s in the race for the long haul. That isn’t good news for former vice-president Joe Biden, former South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg, Senator Amy Klobuchar and fellow billionaire Tom Steyer, who make up a quintet of major candidates scrapping for the centrist lane of their party.Together, this group’s supporters account for more than half of Democratic voters, but Bloomberg’s extravagant spending has pulled voters away from each of his rivals, leaving all five weakened and a long way from the lead.The beneficiary of this has been none other than than the socialist Bernie Sanders, with his diehard supporters helping him to a double-digit lead over the centrists.Ultimately, the impact of Bloomberg’s flashy ads and hundreds of millions of dollars could be the election of the most progressive, resolutely anti-wealth candidate of them all.


Iran's leader says fears of new virus used to stifle voting

Yahoo News - Sat, 02/22/2020 - 23:58

Iran's leader says fears of new virus used to stifle votingOfficials in Iran haven't announced the full results from parliamentary elections two days ago, but on Sunday the country's supreme leader accused enemy “propaganda” of trying to disuade people from voting by amplifying the threat of the coronavirus. A low turnout could signal widespread dissatisfaction with Iran's clerical rulers and the system they preside over. A range of crises has beset Iran in the past year, including widespread anti-government protests in November and U.S. sanctions piling pressure on the plunging economy.


Nine-Year-Old Boy Asks Buttigieg Advice on Coming Out as Gay

Yahoo News - Sat, 02/22/2020 - 23:36

Nine-Year-Old Boy Asks Buttigieg Advice on Coming Out as Gay(Bloomberg) -- Pete Buttigieg welcomed a nine-year-old boy on stage at a rally in Denver, Colorado, on Saturday night after the young boy asked the Democratic presidential candidate for help coming out as gay.“Would you help me tell the world I’m gay too,” the boy wrote in a pre-submitted question that was read to Buttigieg. “I want to be brave like you.”Buttigieg, who is the first major openly gay presidential candidate, was momentarily speechless. The crowd, numbering in the thousands, started to cheer “love is love,” as the young boy, Zachary, was brought onto the stage.“Well, I don’t think you need a lot of advice from me,” Buttigieg told Zachary. “You seem pretty strong to me. It took me a long time to figure out how to tell even my best friend that I was gay.”Buttigieg, who was then joined on stage by his husband, Chasten, didn’t come out as gay until his 30s, during his first term as mayor of South Bend, Indiana.Praising Courage“It won’t always be easy, but that’s OK because you know who you are,” Buttigieg told Zachary. “And that’s really important because when you know who you are, you have a center of gravity that can hold you together when all kinds of chaos is happening around you.”Buttigieg also lauded Zachary’s courage, telling him others might decide “they can be a little braver because you have been brave.”He added: “And the last thing I want you to know is even if I can’t promise it’ll always be easy, I can promise you that I’m going to be rooting for you.”The rally was Buttigieg’s first stop after Nevada’s caucuses on Saturday. With 43% of precincts reporting in that contest, he was in third place, at 14.5%, behind Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden.(Disclaimer: Michael Bloomberg is seeking the Democratic presidential nomination. He is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News.)To contact the reporter on this story: Tyler Pager in Denver, Colorado at tpager1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Wendy Benjaminson at wbenjaminson@bloomberg.net, Max Berley, Christopher AnsteyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.


DNC announces qualifications for South Carolina debate

Yahoo News - Sat, 02/22/2020 - 23:17

DNC announces qualifications for South Carolina debateCandidates seeking to participate will need to meet either a polling or delegate threshold to take part in the event.


Vietnamese dissident monk who was a Nobel Prize nominee dies at 93

Yahoo News - Sat, 02/22/2020 - 22:50

Vietnamese dissident monk who was a Nobel Prize nominee dies at 93Thich Quang Do, a dissident Buddhist monk who has effectively been under house arrest since 2003 and was nominated multiple times for the Nobel Peace Prize, has died aged 93. Head of the banned Unified Buddist Church of Vietnam (UBCV), the vocal patriarch was born on November 27, 1928 in northern Thai Binh province and spent most of his life advocating for religious freedom and human rights in communist-run Vietnam.


Daredevil 'Mad' Mike Hughes dies in homemade rocket launch

Yahoo News - Sat, 02/22/2020 - 22:10

Daredevil 'Mad' Mike Hughes dies in homemade rocket launchHe was working on a TV show, "Homemade Astronauts," when his craft crashed in the California desert.


Flat-Earther Daredevil Killed in California Desert Rocket Crash

Yahoo News - Sat, 02/22/2020 - 21:25

Flat-Earther Daredevil Killed in California Desert Rocket CrashA daredevil and “flat earther” was killed Saturday while trying to launch himself 5,000 into the air on steam-powered, homemade rocket in the California desert. The San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department confirmed that a man had died in Barstow after a “rocket crashed in the open desert during a rocket launch event” but but did not identify the victim. But the Science Channel, which was filming the launch for its new series Homemade Astronauts confirmed that well-known amateur rocket-maker “Mad” Mike Hughes had been killed.Our thoughts & prayers go out to his family & friends during this difficult time. It was always his dream to do this launch & Science Channel was there to chronicle his journey,” the channel said in a tweet.Video of the launch posted online showed the flight going awry from the start, with parachutes meant to carry Hughes safely back to the ground ripping away right after blast-off.Logan Paul Sued Over Flat Earth Mockumentary by Guy Trying to Launch Himself Into Space on Homemade RocketThe limo driver had been vowing since 2017 to ride his rocket into the air, in part to get high enough to confirm his totally incorrect belief that the earth is flat.He had two failed launch dates but in March 2018 managed to get 1,800 feet in the air above the Mojave Desert before parachuting back down in the nose cone, making a hard landing, according to Space.com.“I'm tired of people saying I chickened out and didn't build a rocket. I'm tired of that stuff. I manned up and did it,” he said at the time.In August 2019, he tried again—hoping to reach 5,000 feet, but the boiler he bought on Craigslist reportedly conked out and the mission was aborted.As The Daily Beast reported last year, Hughes sued YouTube megastar Logan Paul for including him in a mockumentary about the flat-earth movement, claiming he was filmed at a conference under false pretenses.Inside the Flat Earth Conference, Where the World’s Oldest Conspiracy Theory Is Hot Again“He came in using fraud and deception,” Hughes told The Daily Beast. “I’m not one to screw with when I get pissed off. I know how to shut you down.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.


Nevada caucuses live updates: Bernie Sanders wins Nevada Democratic caucuses

Yahoo News - Sat, 02/22/2020 - 21:20

 Bernie Sanders wins Nevada Democratic caucusesThe candidates — not including Mike Bloomberg, who is not on the ballot — competed for the state's 36 pledged delegates.


Ladder to safety: Syrians eye escape over Turkey border

Yahoo News - Sat, 02/22/2020 - 21:19

 Syrians eye escape over Turkey borderAbu Jabber has a plan to escape the Syrian regime's advance: he has built a ladder from rusty metal for him and his 11 children to climb over the Turkish border wall. Six months ago, the family fled deadly fighting in Idlib province of northwest Syria, seeking shelter near the border village of Kafr Lusin, where dozens of families live in an informal camp for the displaced. Newcomers live in tents while others, like Abu Jabber, his children and his parents, have built makeshift homes at the foot of a cement wall that separates Turkey from Idlib province.


Biden claims comeback despite distant second finish to Sanders

Yahoo News - Sat, 02/22/2020 - 20:51

Biden claims comeback despite distant second finish to SandersNext week's South Carolina primary looks like do or die for him.


China reports fewer coronavirus cases outside epicenter, cases surge in South Korea

Yahoo News - Sat, 02/22/2020 - 20:49

China reports fewer coronavirus cases outside epicenter, cases surge in South KoreaSHANGHAI/SEOUL (Reuters) - China reported another fall in the new coronavirus infections outside of its epicenter on Sunday, but world health officials warned it was too early to make predictions about the outbreak as new infections and fears of contagion increased elsewhere. China's health commission confirmed 648 new infections on Sunday - higher than a day earlier - but only 18 were outside of Hubei province, the lowest number outside of the epicenter since authorities started publishing data a month ago.


Grave of slain Iraq commander, a new anti-US magnet

Yahoo News - Sat, 02/22/2020 - 20:44

Grave of slain Iraq commander, a new anti-US magnetClad in black, they joined wailing women and men beating their chests in grief at Wadi al-Salam (valley of peace), an ever expanding cemetery. All eyes were on the grave of Iraqi paramilitary commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis. Killed alongside top Iranian general Qasem Soleimani in a US drone strike in Baghdad on January 3, Muhandis is now revered as a martyred icon of anti-American resistance.


Feds' plan to relocate coronavirus patients puts region at risk, California city says

Yahoo News - Sat, 02/22/2020 - 20:31

Feds' plan to relocate coronavirus patients puts region at risk, California city saysOfficials in Costa Mesa, California, and Anniston, Alabama, said they were kept in the dark about plans to transfer patients to their communities.


Bernie Sanders scores a commanding victory and other takeaways from the Nevada caucuses

Yahoo News - Sat, 02/22/2020 - 20:25

Bernie Sanders scores a commanding victory and other takeaways from the Nevada caucusesBernie Sanders' win in Nevada and his strength across voting groups put him in a formidable position heading into South Carolina and Super Tuesday.


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