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Bolsonaro urges Brazilians to get back to work, says concern over coronavirus overblown

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As Brazil's largest city went into lockdown, President Jair Bolsonaro on Tuesday took aim at the "hysteria" over the coronavirus and urged that life must continue and jobs be preserved.

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In an address to the nation, Bolsonaro urged mayors and state governors to roll back lockdown measures that have brought Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo to near standstills.

"We must return to normality," he said. "The few states and city halls should abandon their scorched-earth policies."

Bolsonaro has faced increasing criticism for his cavalier attitude toward the virus, which he has dismissed as a "fantasy" and a "small flu" despite its infecting over 300,000 people worldwide and killing tens of thousands.

During his address Tuesday night, people banged pots and pans in a traditional form of protest in Sao Paulo and Brasilia. Opinion polls have shown Bolsonaro's popularity slipping.

He said the terrible situation in Italy would not be repeated in Brazil because of the Latin American country's younger population and warmer climate.

Italy has had more people die of the coronavirus than any other country, with the death toll rising to 6,820 on Tuesday.

Bolivia delays presidential elections, mandates 14-day quarantine against virus

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Bolivia's interim government announced on Saturday it would postpone presidential elections originally slated for May 3 and institute a mandatory countrywide quarantine for 14 days as coronavirus spread across the Andean nation.

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The country's electoral authority said in a statement it would "suspend the elections calendar" for 14 days to match the quarantine, but did not set a new date for the vote.

The tribunal said it would work together with all of the country´s political parties and organizations to determine when to hold the election.

Interim president Jeanine Anez earlier in the day told reporters the quarantine measure would begin Sunday and extend until April 4. Bolivia earlier this week closed its borders and canceled all international flights.

Anez said supermarkets, hospitals, bankRead More – Source

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Amazon to cease shipping non-essential items to France and Italy

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Amazon.com will stop shipping non-essential products to consumers in Italy and France, the company said on Saturday, representing an escalation in the e-commerce giant's response in regions hard hit by the coronavirus outbreak.

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An Amazon spokesman said the company made the decision due to a spike in orders and the need to respect anti-coronavirus safety measures in the workplaces.

"We will temporarily stop taking orders on some non-essential products on Amazon.it and Amazon.fr," Amazon.com said in a statement. "This lets fulfillment center associates focus on receiving and shipping the products customers need most at this time."

Amazon considers baby products; health and household items; beauty and personal care; groceries; and industrial, scientific, and pet supplies as essential products.

The world's largest online retailer said consumers in Italy and France can still order non-essential products from sellers on Amazon who do not use Amazon logistics to fulfill and ship orders, but deliveries could take longer.

More than 274,800 people have been infected with coronavirus across the world and 11,389 have died, according to a Reuters tally. In Italy, the death toll rose by 18.4% on Friday, reaching 4,032. France reported 78 new deaths on Friday, reaching a total of 450.

Both countries have announced lock down orders to slow the spread of the virus.

US extends coronavirus travel ban to UK and Ireland from Tuesday

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Vice President Mike Pence announced Saturday that a travel ban imposed on European nations over the coronavirus pandemic would be extended to the United Kingdom and Ireland starting at 0400 GMT Tuesday.

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Americans in the UK or Ireland can come home. Legal residents can come home,” Pence told a White House news conference, adding that such people would be “funneled through specific airports and processed.”

A 30-day US ban on travel from the EUs Schengen border-free zone took effect on Saturday, but notably excludes Britain and Ireland.

US President Donald Trump had earlier confirmed theRead More – Source

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Georgia, Louisiana postpone US presidential primaries over coronavirus

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Georgias March 24 presidential primaries have been postponed until May because of fears over the new coronavirus, state election officials announced Saturday, a day after Louisiana also pushed back its primaries.

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In-person early voting, which began statewide March 2, will be halted and the election will be moved to May 19, when Georgias other 2020 primary elections are being held, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said in a statement.

In addition to public safety, one big consideration was the risk the virus posed to poll workers, who are often older, election officials said.

“Events are moving rapidly and my highest priority is protecting the health of our poll workers, and the community at large,” Raffensperger said.

The action followed Republican Gov. Brian Kemps signature of an emergency declaration that unlocked sweeping powers to fight COVID-19. In a speech Saturday, the governor renewed a call for places of worship, schools and others to consider canceling large gatherings as cases in the state rise.

On Friday, Louisiana became the first state to postpone its presidential primaries due to the virus.

As of Saturday, the virus had infected more than 150,000 people worldwide and killed over 5,800. The U.S. counted more than 2,100 infections and 60 dead, as President Donald Trump expanded a ban on travel from Europe by adding Britain and Ireland to the list.

Biden, Sanders focus on coronavirus crisis in one-on-one Democratic debate

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Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders blasted President Donald Trump's handling of the coronavirus outbreak during a Democratic debate on Sunday and offered competing visions of leadership during a widening crisis that has upended the daily lives of Americans.

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In their first one-on-one debate, the two Democratic contenders to face Trump in the November election clashed on the proper approach to the pandemic and other pressing issues, with Biden arguing his approach to leadership would get quick results and Sanders pushing for bigger, more fundamental changes.

Biden, the front-runner in the Democratic race, promised for the first time during the debate to pick a woman as his running mate if he is the Democratic nominee.

"If Im elected president, my Cabinet, my administration, will look like the country, and I commit that I will in fact appoint and pick a woman as vice president," Biden said.

Sanders was less willing to commit to picking a woman, saying that "in all likelihood" he would.

The debate came two days before Tuesday's nominating contests in the big states of Ohio, Illinois, Florida and Arizona, where another string of Biden victories would give him a nearly unassailable lead in delegates over Sanders.

But hopes the debate would be a first step to party unity ahead of the Nov. 3 election against Trump seemed to fade during the showdown, as the two candidates bickered repeatedly over their approach to leadership.

Latin America takes steps to counter coronavirus, Brazil’s Bolsonaro snubs warnings

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Guatemala logged its first fatality from coronavirus on Sunday as nations in South and Central America ramped up measures to contain the infection, with Panama banning entry of non-resident foreigners and Honduras closing its borders to passenger traffic for a week.

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The leaders of Argentina and Peru also announced border closures on Sunday to curb coronavirus. Argentina will close its borders for 15 days to non-residents, President Alberto Fernandez said in a televised press conference.

Public and private school classes would also be suspended until March 31, Fernandez said. National parks would be closed.

Argentina tightens travel restrictions

A day earlier, Argentina published a decree establishing a 30-day ban on entry to non-residents who have traveled to a country highly affected by coronavirus in the last 14 days.

The country has also temporarily stopped issuing visas to travellers from the United States, China, South Korea, Japan, Iran, Britain and many European countries.

Peru suspends air and sea transport

Peruvian President Martin Vizcarra said later on Sunday that Peru would also close its borders, suspending air and sea transport. He called on citizens to self-quarantine for 15 days to help slow the infection.

Violence as Chile marks right-winger Pinera’s two years in power

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Students clashed with riot police in Chile's capital Santiago during protests that marked the second anniversary of conservative President Sebastian Pinera taking office on Wednesday.

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The protests coincided with the 30th anniversary of Chile's return to democracy after Augusto Pinochet's 1973-1990 dictatorship.

During a ceremony in Santiago, Pinera said that 30 years of democratic rule in Chile had been a "fertile" period that dragged eight million Chileans out of poverty.

But he also recognized shortcomings and inequalities that hurt "the soul of our nation."

"We have not sufficiently taken into account the fears and shortcomings of our middle class. We have not progressed strongly enough towards full equality between men and women. We have not fought with sufficient will against the abuses and the privileges of others," said Pinera.

Fueled by outrage at Pinera and the Chilean elite that controls most of the country's wealth, the South American nation has seen since October its worst social unrest since the transition to democracy in 1990.

Thirty people have been killed in the protests, many as a result of a heavy-handed police response condemned as repressive by UN investigators. Thousands have been wounded.

US judge orders WikiLeaks source Chelsea Manning to be released from prison immediately

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A U.S. federal judge on Thursday ordered that former U.S. Army soldier and WikiLeaks source Chelsea Manning should be immediately released from prison, where she was being held for refusing to testify in an ongoing U.S. investigation of WikiLeaks.

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An entry in the U.S. District Court docket in Alexandria, Virginia, signed by Judge Anthony Trenga, also rejected a request by Manning to cancel fines which he had imposed for her refusal to testify and ordered her to pay fines totaling $256,000.

A detention hearing for Manning scheduled for Friday was canceled.

"Needless to say we are relieved and ask that you respect her privacy while she gets on her feet," Manning's defense team said in an emailed statement.

On Wednesday, a spokesman for Manning's defense team said Manning had attempted to commit suicide and had been taken to hospital, where she was recovering.

Spokesman Andy Stepanian said that in spite of her imprisonment and the imposition of financial sanctions, Manning remained "unwavering in her refusal to participate in a secret grand jury process that she sees as highly susceptible to abuse."

Prior to her recent incarceration for refusing to testify, Manning had served seven years in a military prison for leaking hundreds of thousands of U.S. military messages and cables to WikiLeaks, before being Read More – Source

Huge protests in Latin America on International Women’s Day

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Hundreds of thousands of women across Latin America's biggest cities flocked to the streets for International Women's Day on Sunday, with anger over inequality, femicide and strict abortion controls boiling over into sporadic violence.

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As Women's Day events unfolded worldwide, with women donning purple to symbolise feminism, the Latin American marches were set against a backdrop of broader social unrest in the region.

Police said 150,000 protesters gathered in Chile's capital of Santiago, and another 40,000 marched elsewhere in the country. Many carried signs calling for access to abortion and an end to violence against women. Organisers said the number of protesters was much higher.

"We are a generation of women that has woken up. We are not afraid to speak out and struggle," protester Valentina Navarro, 21, told Reuters while marching in Santiago. She and a group of friends accompanying her had green bandanas around their necks, a symbol of support for abortion rights.

Incidents of violence were reported as demonstrators confronted police near government offices. Nineteen police were injured, authorities said, and 16 people arrested in the disturbances. Other Chilean cities saw protests as well, with 1,700 police officers deployed nationwide for crowd control.

Broader protests in Chile against social inequality began last October and at their peak included more than 1 million people.

In Mexico's capital, police and protest groups said up to 80,000 people gathered, including young girls and women in wheelchairs, for a march in which they hoisted signs and shouted chants against femicides, which have more than doubled over the last five years.

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