“Now is the time for Europe”: a proposed recovery plan could displace the EU. closer to the central government.
For decades, even when the 2008 financial crisis threatened to burst the bloc, the wealthiest countries in the European Union resisted the concept of collective debt. But the coronavirus has damaged the European economy so badly that it is now forcing leaders to consider the kind of unified and radical response that was once thought to be unthinkable.
The European Commission, the executive branch of the bloc, proposed on Wednesday to raise 750 billion euros, or 826 billion dollars, on behalf of all members to finance the recovery from the economic collapse, the worst crisis in history of the European Union.
The plan, which still requires the approval of the 27 national leaders and their parliaments, would be the first time the bloc has raised large amounts of joint debt on the capital markets, taking over the EU. one step closer to a shared budget, potentially paid by common taxes.
For these reasons, the proposal had all the characteristics of a historic moment for the EU, conferring greater authority on Brussels so as to bring it closer than ever to a central government.
“It is all of us and it is much bigger than any of us,” Ursula von der Leyen, President of the Commission, told MEPs during a speech in Brussels. “It’s time for Europe. “
At another time – without an imminent calamitous recession – the proposal would likely be dead on arrival, upset populists and nationalists who oppose the accumulation of power in Brussels. But the urgent need for a powerful response to the virus has reduced much of the appeal of their message, at least for now.
Great Britain having left, the calamity forced Germany and France, the two strongest countries in the bloc and often with knives drawn, to intensify in a rare demonstration of joint leadership, paving the way for the commission’s proposal.
France no longer allows hydroxychloroquine as a treatment.
France revoked on Wednesday the authorization authorizing hydroxychloroquine like treatment for the patients of Covid-19, one day after the stop the use of the malaria drug in clinical trials. These two measures come after measures by the World Health Organization to temporarily withdraw the drug from global trials due to safety concerns.
In France, the drug was promoted as a miracle cure by a specialist in non-conformist infectious diseases based in Marseille, Didier Raoult, who has grown in importance by conducting several dubious experiments which, according to him, have proven the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine in the fight against the virus.
France had authorized limited use of the drug on patients in serious condition and had included it in several clinical trials. But now the country has joined the ranks of others who are moving away from drug use, even after several prominent figures, including President Trump, have promoted it.
The President of El Salvador said this week that he was taking the drug in the hope of warding off the coronavirus.
“I use it as prophylaxis, President Trump uses it as prophylaxis, most world leaders use it as prophylaxis”, Reuters quoted on Tuesday Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele. (In fact, few if any other world leaders have said they are taking the drug.)
Bukele told reporters on Tuesday that his government was no longer promoting the drug as a treatment, as advised by the W.H.O., but that patients could still take it as a preventive treatment. El Salvador has just over 2,000 confirmed cases of the virus.
When German Chancellor Angela Merkel closed her country to contain the pandemic in March, she had the strong support of most citizens and all of Germany’s 16 state governors. When it announced a gradual reopening in April, it was more difficult to maintain this unity, but it succeeded.
But a month later, the mood changed. Merkel is still very popular, but there are signs that her grip on the process of reviving public life in Europe’s largest economy is slipping.
On Tuesday, his office negotiated a state-to-state agreement that basic social distancing measures are expected to remain in place until June. A day later, she could barely contain her irritation at one of these governors, Bodo Ramelow of Thuringia, who had said he wanted to move from “state coercion” to “individual responsibility”.
“The messages were a little ambiguous,” said Merkel of Ramelow’s remarks. “In my mind, the minimum distance is an obligation. “
Other governors added their voices to the chorus calling for a rapid reopening. The governor of Baden-Württemberg has announced that he will allow events with up to 100 people from next week. His counterpart in Hamburg has promised that cinemas, gymnasiums and outdoor pools will reopen in a few days.
Part of the political struggle is healthy federalism, stimulating responses adapted to a pandemic which differs considerably from one region to another. But as a patchwork of extremely different rules emerges in the country, contradictions have also accumulated. And that fueled the theories of discontent and conspiracy.
A small but noisy minority protests against the rules in German cities every weekend. The protests have included members of Alternative for Germany and other far-right groups trying to take advantage of the dissatisfaction as the country’s economic outlook gloomed.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson again came to the table on Wednesday for his besieged adviser, Dominic Cummings, signaling to lawmakers that he had no plans to fire Mr. Cummings for breaking the rules in drive 260 miles to his parents’ house during the country’s coronavirus lockout.
But Mr. Johnson deflected the most telling question in a closely watched and often controversial hearing: why was he clinging to aid that is clearly damaged?
“You have a choice between protecting Dominic Cummings and putting the national interest first,” said Yvette Cooper, a Labor Party lawmaker, in a particularly heated exchange. “Which one will it be, Prime Minister? “
“My choice is the choice of the British people,” replied Mr. Johnson, puzzled, before accusing Mrs. Cooper of trying to score political points when Britain had to pass a dispute that ignited the public opinion, divided its Conservative Party, and eroded the popularity of Mr. Johnson.
“What they want now is that we focus on them and their needs rather than a political ding-dong on what an advisor may or may not have done,” Johnson told a committee. parliamentary.
Eager to change the subject, Johnson announced plans for a large-scale tracking and tracing system to avoid a second spike in infections. Anyone with symptoms will be tested and, if positive, will be asked to list everyone they have recently had close contact with for at least 15 minutes. These people, in turn, will be contacted and asked to isolate themselves for 14 days.
But the fallout from the Cummings affair threatened to overshadow this news, as legislator after legislator challenged Johnson on how the government planned to force people to release their contacts or quarantine them.
Mr. Khanna is a Michelin-starred chef, born in India and arrived in New York as a budding chef 20 years ago, initially working as a dishwasher and delivery man. As the pandemic hit his home country, he watched the news and became discouraged.
“We have totally failed our people,” he said in an interview last week, referring to the millions of people in India who are unemployed and desperately hungry. “I wanted to show that solidarity still exists.”
Khanna posted an emotional appeal on Twitter in early April, asking people to send him details of those in desperate need of food. In a few hours, he was inundated with answers.
But it was not as easy to reach the hungry. His first attempt to deliver food to a nursing home in southern India collapsed when the delivery boy disappeared with more than 2,000 pounds of rice and nearly 900 pounds of lentils.
The first confirmed coronavirus infections in Europe and the United States, discovered in January, did not trigger the epidemics that followed, according to in-depth analysis of hundreds of viral genomes.
These epidemics started a few weeks later, the study concluded. the a revised schedule could clarify lingering ambiguities regarding the arrival of the pandemic.
For example, while President Trump has often claimed that a ban on travelers from China in the United States prevented the epidemic from getting worse, new data suggests that the virus that started the epidemic in Washington State arrived about two weeks after the February ban. 2.
And the authors argue that the relatively late emergence of the epidemic means that more lives could have been saved by early action, such as testing and contact tracing.
The new analysis is not the last word. The scientific understanding of coronavirus evolves almost daily, and this type of research yields a range of possible results, not complete certainty.
But a number of virus experts have said the new report convincingly rules out a link between the first confirmed cases and subsequent epidemics.
“This document clearly shows that this was not the case,” said Kristian Andersen, a computer biologist at the Scripps Research Institute in San Diego, who was not involved in the research.
A preliminary version of the study was published online on Saturday. It has not yet been published in a scientific journal.
As the Peace Tower’s 53 bells chime sounded songs celebrating the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Holland by Canadian troops this month, an audience of just two people listened, with people in Ottawa, Canada’s capital, listening to the crowds to avoid the coronavirus crisis.
But the symbolic import of these bells into Ottawa and Canada should not be judged by the low turnout.
With the Canadian Parliament anxious to ring the bell during the outbreak – for moral reasons and to bring a touch of normality – the performances became the only music events sanctioned for a live audience in Canada’s capital during the closure.
And for the bells to ring, someone has to play them. This person is Dr. Andrea McCrady, who has an official title: the Dominion Carillonneur of Canada.
As many musicians turn to the online scene during the pandemic, they are exploring for the first time how to connect with an audience watching on a screen rather than in person.
For Dr. McCrady, a physical disconnection from his audience has long been part of the job.
“In the world of chimes, you never know who is on the ground,” she said. “And most people don’t know that he’s a living person up there. “
In the tower, Dr. McCrady plays with a keyboard consisting of a vertical panel of levers called manuals and a pedal board connected by cables to the tap dancing on the bells. In his office, a music library contains almost a century of music adapted to the carillon.
Between the pandemic and construction work around Parliament, Dr. McCrady will not be giving her usual 200 or so performances this year, and the calendar remains constantly changing.
Just over four months after the government confirmed the first known case, more than 100,000 people with coronavirus died in the United States, according to a New York Times count. The death toll is much higher than in any other country in the world – and experts say it is likely an undercoverage.
Pandemic is on track to be the country’s deadliest public health disaster since the 1918 flu pandemic, in which about 675,000 Americans died.
As temperatures rise, sun-hungry Europeans desperately want to go to the beach, and several tourism-hungry Mediterranean countries desperately want them.
But it is Italy, which has suffered one of the worst epidemics in Europe, which relies the most on the powers of economic restoration of its beaches and seas. Tourism represents 13% of Italy’s gross domestic product, 40% of which comes from seaside activity. Beach club officials and owners have expressed the hope that foreign tourists will spend time and money in their country when the borders reopen on June 3.
In the meantime, it is the Italians who must resume the sunbathing, with sometimes futile attempts at social distancing.
On May 18, the national government, invoking the infection curve, authorized Italian regions to reopen their beach clubs. Different regions reacted with more or less caution. Tuscany allowed them to reopen on May 18, Campania on May 23, Lazio on May 29 and Sicily on June 6.
The national government also said that any sharp increase in new infections would cause another lockdown, and the mayor of a small town in southern Puglia closed the beaches this week after seeing a “swarm” of swimmers, many said. he said, “Wearing their masks like necklaces. “
Other countries are also signaling bathers. In Greece, the government is trying to negotiate an “airlift” with Great Britain, with promises of 40 bathers per 1,000 square meters and disinfected chairs. The Spanish are trying to convince Germany to send tourists, while the seaside resorts, which have experienced a much less severe epidemic than Spain, are trying to poach them.
At the height of the coronavirus epidemic in China, authorities quickly used sophisticated tracking devices in everyone’s pocket – their smartphones – to identify and isolate those who may spread the disease.
Months later, official statistics from China suggest that the worst of the epidemic has passed there, but the government’s surveillance apps hardly fade. Instead, they are tiptoeing to become a permanent feature of everyday life, which could be used in a disturbing and invasive manner.
Zhou Jiangyong, secretary of the Communist Party at the Hangzhou Oriental Technology Center, said this month that the city app should be a “private health guardian” for residents, an app often used and “so loved that you cannot bear to part with “, according to an official announcement.
While the technology has undoubtedly helped many workers and employers to get their lives back on track, it has also raised concerns in China, where people are increasingly protecting their digital privacy. Businesses and government agencies in China have had mixed results on protecting personal information from hackers and leaks. Authorities have also taken a broad view of usage advanced monitoring tools in the name of public welfare.
Government virus detection software collects information, including location data, from people in hundreds of cities across China. But the authorities have set few limits on how this data can be used. And now officials in some places are loading their apps with new features, hoping that the software will remain more than just an emergency measure.
For much of the past two months, Paris is empty – its shops and cafes closed, its deserted streets, its millions of tourists gone.
Freed from the crowds, the urban landscape evoked an older Paris. In particular, he mentioned the unique Paris of Eugène Atget, a father of modern photography at the start of the 20th century, in his non-sentimental concentration on detail.
In thousands of photos, Atget filmed an empty city, waking up early each morning and dragging its primitive equipment through the streets. His images reduce Paris to its architectural essence.
Times photographer Mauricio Lima followed Inget’s footsteps, filming images of the same scenes captured by his famous predecessor. But these streets are now deserted because of the coronavirus pandemic. Mr. Lima’s hobbies offer a new glimpse of Atget’s work – and the sense of a city unique in its beauty but also in its coldness.
Critic and philosopher Walter Benjamin spoke of crime scenes when referring to the photographs of Atget. He showed their emptiness, their clinical attention to the details of the urban landscape, their absolute rejection of the sentimental and the grand.
As Benjamin observed, Atget established a “beneficial distance between man and his environment.” And Mr. Lima’s haunting recreations confirm the disturbing insight of the long-dead photographer: Paris doesn’t care about your presence. It doesn’t matter, and it will certainly continue without you.
Absent from the public for more than a week amid rumors that he had been rushed to Moscow for emergency treatment against coronaviruses, Ramzan Kadyrov, the strong leader in Chechnya, reappeared in the capital of his Caucasus region – alive but apparently sick.
But with Mr. Kadyrov pale, acting much quieter than usual and carrying what looked like a cannula, a medical tube that can be used to administer intravenous fluids, on his right hand, the video only add to the uncertainty about the state of his health.
The video, filmed and published on Instagram by the official Chechen TV channel, was then deleted. A separate video of the same meeting, interspersed with images of Mr. Kadyrov’s right hand, appeared on an unofficial Instagram account used by the Chechen leader on Wednesday.
Kadyrov, who has repeatedly threatened journalists and acquired a formidable reputation for brutality, was kicked out of Instagram this month by Facebook, who said he had blocked his accounts in order to comply with the sanctions American. But he remained active on social networks under various false names.
Putin’s spokesman Dmitri Peskov, who returned to work at the Kremlin after recovering from the coronavirus himself, said on Wednesday that he could not say anything about Mr. Kadyrov or his condition. Last week, two Kremlin-controlled news agencies reported that Mr. Kadyrov had flown from Grozny to Moscow for treatment at the hospital.
But officials in Chechnya denied that Mr. Kadyrov was ill and undergoing treatment in Moscow, one suggesting that the Chechen leader had been discreet simply because he “thought”.
Mr. Kadyrov imposed a severe lockdown on his region at the start of the pandemic, denouncing residents who violated health orders as “worse than terrorists” who should be “buried in a hole in the ground”.
The region, according to official figures compiled by the Moscow authorities, has reported 698 cases of coronavirus and 13 deaths, against 4,161 infections and 130 deaths in the neighboring region of Dagestan.
Ten days of national mourning for victims of the coronavirus began Wednesday in Spain, the longest period of official mourning in the country’s modern history.
The government and the royal family conducted a minute of silence nationwide at noon, and flags were lowered to half the staff on all public buildings. Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said the time has come for the country to show its collective sadness and to honor the tens of thousands of people who have died from the virus.
The big cities of Madrid and Barcelona caught up with the rest of the country on Monday by easing the lockdowns that have been gradually rolled out for weeks, and Sánchez said he had waited until the official mourning period had started until that the whole country has entered the first phase of return to public life.
The prolonged foreclosure has exacerbated political tensions over government management of the epidemic. Military police have launched an investigation into the government’s decision to allow some 120,000 people to gather in Madrid for International Women’s Day on March 8, just a week before Spain declares a state of emergency .
Fernando Grande-Marlaska, Spain’s interior minister, dismissed Madrid’s military police on Monday for failing to inform the government of the investigation. To protest the government’s decision, another senior police official resigned on Tuesday. Speaking at Congress on Wednesday, the leader of the main opposition party called on Grande-Marlaska to resign for mistreating the Spanish police.
The reports were provided by Carl Zimmer, Mark Landler, Stephen Castle, Jason Horowitz, Andrew Higgins, Katrin Bennhold, Mihir Zaveri, Karen Zraick, Adam Nossiter, Raphael Minder, Li Yuan, Constant Méheut, Shalini Venugopal Bhagat, Russell Goldman, Matina Stevis-Gridneff, Elaine Yu, Choe Sang-Hun, Raymond Zhong, Richard C. Paddock, Dera Menra Sijabat, Ben Dooley, Makiko Inoue, Mike Ives, Jenny Gross, Catherine Porter, Somini Sengupta, Alexandra Stevenson and Keith Bradsher.