Amazon temporarily closes warehouses in France after clash with union workers

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The Amazon logo at the company’s logistics center in Lauwin-Planque, in northern France.Pascal Rossignol / Reuters file

Amazon closed six of its warehouses in France on Thursday in one of the biggest spinoffs to date due to a growing stalemate with workers on safety measures during the coronavirus pandemic.

This comes after a French court ruled on Tuesday that Amazon should conduct a more in-depth assessment of the risk of coronavirus contagion in its warehouses and should in the meantime limit its deliveries or incur a fine. He ordered the company to limit deliveries to essentials, such as food and medical supplies.

Amazon France chief executive Frédéric Duval on Thursday rejected the court order, saying the company had spent “colossal investments” to keep their workers safe in the warehouse. The firm will appeal the decision, he said in a radio interview.

In a statement released Thursday, the union said it would continue to work to recognize the health and safety of workers facing COVID-19.

New jobless claims in the Netherlands skyrocket by 42% during a pandemic

The number of people applying for unemployment benefits in the Netherlands jumped 42% in March, as many companies were shut down to try to contain the spread of the coronavirus in the country.

The Dutch federal employment agency announced on Thursday that it had paid benefits to 37,800 new unemployed people in March, an increase of 11,200 from the previous month.

The largest increases were seen among those who worked in restaurants and bars and among those under 25, the agency said.

On March 15, the Dutch government ordered the closure of all restaurants, bars, museums, sports facilities and other public places in the Netherlands in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

Japan Extends State of Emergency Across Country

Japan will extend its current state of emergency to coronaviruses in place in seven regions, including Tokyo and Osaka, to cover the rest of the country, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Thursday.

“We are going to extend the state of emergency issued on April 7 from the current 7 prefectures to all prefectures. It will be in effect until May 6, as we previously announced, “said Abe in a speech.

Unlike other countries, the state of emergency in Japan remains non-mandatory and is a strong demand from the government for people to stay at home in order to limit the spread of the virus – especially since the country is prepare for its national holidays the golden week from the end of this month.

EU. Commission President apologizes to Italy

The President of the European Commission – the executive branch of the European Union – apologized to Italy on Thursday, saying that the country had not received adequate aid at the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Yes, it is true that no one was really ready for this,” said Ursula von der Leyen in a speech to the European Parliament. “It is also true that too many people were not there in time when Italy needed a helping hand at the very beginning. And yes for that, it is right that Europe as a whole presents sincere apologies. “

To say that even if “no word can do justice to the pain of Europe”, von der Leyen also anticipated his speech. She discussed ways the EU should support and reshape industries, and invest in digital technologies, infrastructure and the European Green Deal.

While European countries have suffered from the virus epidemic, Italy has been hit hardest, especially in the first weeks of the epidemic. More than 21,000 people died in Italy on Thursday, the highest death toll in Europe. The country began easing some foreclosure measures this week.

Trump questions accuracy of coronavirus death toll in China

President Donald Trump has sparked new criticism of China over its management of the coronavirus epidemic, questioning the accuracy of its official record and saying it is studying an unverified theory that the infection came from a Chinese laboratory.

“Do you really believe these numbers in this vast country called China. … does anyone really believe it? Trump said in a request Wednesday at the White House press conference why the United States has the highest number of official coronavirus deaths and cases in the world.

“Some countries are in big trouble, and they don’t report the facts – and it depends on them,” he said.

Read the full story here.

President Trump at the White House Coronavirus Briefing on Wednesday.Mandel Ngan / AFP – Getty Images

What life is like in Berlin

74 million people in the Middle East lack a sink, soap or basic water facilities, says UN

While hand washing with soap and water has been advocated worldwide to keep the coronavirus at bay, some 74 million people in the Middle East do not have access to a sink, soap or basic home water facilities, a United Nations report released Thursday found.

Refugees and those in conflict zones are particularly at risk, the report says, living with inadequate water, sanitation and hygiene services.

In the Gaza Strip, one of the most densely populated areas in the world, only one in 10 households has access to clean water, the UN said. Women and girls in rural and informal settlements, who tend to collect water, are at greater risk.

Gold stores in Bangkok’s Chinatown are experiencing dynamic trade due to COVID-19

99-year-old veterinarian raises $ 16 million to help UK health service fight the virus

A 99-year-old war veteran raised more than £ 13 million (about $ 16 million) for the National Health Service by walking around towers around his garden.

Tom Moore, a former captain who turns 100 at the end of the month, has long since surpassed his original goal of lifting 1,000 pounds by walking the length of his garden in Bedfordshire, England, a hundred times before his 100th birthday.

Health care workers in the UK have expressed concern about the lack of safety equipment to protect them from infection while helping patients with coronavirus.

So far, nearly 13,000 people have died from COVID-19, the virus disease case, in the UK, with a total of 98,476 nationally confirmed cases.

Another five million people filed for unemployment last week, bringing the total to nearly 22 million in one month

About 5 million more people filed for unemployment last week as the labor market in all sectors of the economy continues to be devastated by the coronavirus pandemic.

The staggering weekly total comes as President Donald Trump plans to withdraw social distancing measures that have shut down businesses across the country and reopen part of the economy on May 1.

State-enforced closings have smothered large swathes of the once booming economy, losing another 22 million unemployed and plunging the country into the worst crisis since the Great Depression.

Read the full story here.

NBC News Richard Engel Summarizes Latest Coronavirus Headlines



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