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Aujourd’hui — 28 mars 2020RT - Daily news

World boxing champ Billy Joe Saunders apologizes after video shows him 'teaching men how to hit women during lockdown'

Par RT

British world boxing champion Billy Joe Saunders has apologized after footage emerged appearing to show him teaching men how to hit their female partners if tensions flare in lockdown during the Covid-19 pandemic.

WBO world super-middleweight champ Saunders, 30, is seen in the footage training with a punchbag in his barn. 

Talking to the camera, the boxer begins by saying: "I just want to make a little video for all you dads, husbands, if you've got girlfriends etc.

"Obviously this Covid-19 thing is getting quite serious and we are isolated in tight spaces.

"If your old woman is giving you mouth and you try to be patient, you try to be calm, but after the seventh day or sixth you're about to explode.

"All of a sudden, she's coming at you, spitting a bit of venom in your face... I don't know what you've done but you've upset her.

"As she's coming in at you and you've lost it, just keep it safe with the hands.

"So as she comes in, she's just about to say something and you explode and hit her on the chin," Saunders says, then hammering the punchbag with a right hand.  

Billy Joe Saumders keeping us Educated on Isolation if your argument with your Wife/Partner/GF/Fiance 😂

— Round5Robbie (@Round5R) March 28, 2020

In the footage, also shared by the Mirror, and reportedly obtained from a WhatsApp group, Saunders then goes on to explain how to "finish off" the encounter.  

"At this time she may flash and see white... she's in a state of horror," Saunders continued.

"All of a sudden you dip with that knee and finish her off, that should do the trick," he then adds, landing a vicious left hook on the punchbag.

Saunders in action back in May of 2019. Reuters / Action Images

Numerous groups have warned that domestic violence cases could increase as people find themselves cooped up during social curbs imposed a result of the Covid-19 outbreak. 

And while supposedly tongue-in-cheek, Saunders seems to have preempted the backlash by taking to Twitter to apologize for the clip.

"I would never condone domestic violence and if I saw a man touch a woman I would smash him to pieces myself," the boxer wrote to his 149,000 followers.

"I have a Daughter and if a man laid a finger on her it would be end well . Apologies if I offended any women stay blessed x" 

I would never condone domestic violence and if I saw a man touch a woman I would smash him to pieces myself I have a Daughter and if a man laid a finger on her it would be end well . Apologies if I offended any women stay blessed x

— billyjoesaunders (@bjsaunders_) March 28, 2020

Saunders, a former middleweight world champion, is undefeated in 29 bouts and is tipped to face Mexican megastar Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez in a money-spinning bout in Las Vegas later this year, should the coronavirus pandemic subside. 

The Brit fighter is a controversial figure, however, having only recently been forced to apologize for appearing to make light of the Covid-19 crisis in an incident involving a friend and a call to an airline.

— billyjoesaunders (@bjsaunders_) March 20, 2020

In 2018, Saunders was fined £100,000 by the British Boxing Board of Control (BBBofC) for a video in which he offered a woman drugs in return for performing a sex act.

Also on
Billy Joe Saunders / Peter Cziborra / Reuters
World champ boxer Saunders fined £100,000 for video offering woman crack for sex act (VIDEO)

  • 28 mars 2020 à 20:15

Zombie apocalypse begins? Naked man breaks India’s national virus quarantine to viciously kill woman in savage bite attack

Par RT

Amidst all the anxiety-inducing developments of the coronavirus pandemic comes a grisly report that a man in India broke out of quarantine in order to nakedly chase after a woman and viciously kill her by biting on her throat.

The horrific slaying took place in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu on Friday when the man, who is in his 30s, ran out of his home naked and violently attacked the throat of a 90-year-old woman who was sleeping outside her house, Times of India reports.

The man, a textile trader, had been isolating because he had recently returned from Sri Lanka; the Indian newspaper also reported that he was “mentally disturbed.”

When neighbors heard the fracas they hurried to the aid of the woman and subdued her crazed assailant. The nonagenarian victim was rushed to a local hospital but tragically she died from her injuries. 

The ghastly homicide compounded the fears of some social media users in India who wondered if it was a sign of an impending “zombie apocalypse.”

What. The. Fuck.
34yo TN man in home quarantine runs out naked, bites old woman to death.

Guess where he bit? Her throat!
Zombies are here?

— Muskaan :) (@KameeniChhori) March 28, 2020

Zombie apocalypse is here

— BlueOcean (@thisblueocean) March 28, 2020

This is 4th day.. Ppl becoming crazy.. Imagine what happens by 21 days.. Coming week may see rise of abnormality then slowly by last day.. Ppl will normal, cool and changed.
All across d world.
Greed, lust, aggression will subside as they just escaped from death.

— SHARP SHOOTER (@johnygorkha) March 28, 2020

Kaliyug - this is the end.

— Pinky_Chatterjee (@sharmistha2405) March 28, 2020

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi placed the country’s 1.3 billion people on lockdown on 23 March.

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  • 28 mars 2020 à 19:20

Italy Covid-19 death toll passes 10,000 as 889 die from virus in one day

Par RT

Italian officials have confirmed that at least 10,023 people died in the sweeping coronavirus pandemic, with the number of infected now standing at over 92,000 and the death rate creeping towards 11 percent.

Another night of grim casualty numbers has added 889 deaths in Italy on Saturday, the country’s Civil Protection Agency said. On Friday, Italy recorded its largest daily death toll since the outbreak began, as 919 people died.

The virus-stricken country accounts for more than a quarter of all Covid-19 fatalities worldwide.

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Nearly twice as many people have died in Italy as in Spain, which has the world’s second-highest number of Covid-19 deaths. Worldwide, more than 645,000 people have been infected by the deadly virus, with just under 30,000 dying.

As casualties mount, the Italian government is reportedly considering an extension to the nationwide lockdown measures currently in place. Newspaper Corriere della Sera reported that the government is planning on extending the lockdown for two weeks beyond its original end date of April 3. While the country’s northern regions are the worst-hit, Michele Emiliano, governor of the southern region of Puglia, told Reuters that his region may remain locked down until mid-May.

In the north, Russian military medics have been deployed to assist local authorities in getting the virus under control. A contingent of 100 Russian personnel touched down near Rome last weekend, and were quickly sent north to Bergamo, where they have established field hospitals and disinfection units, as well as mobile testing laboratories.

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  • 28 mars 2020 à 18:36

'F*ck you pr*ck!': Tyson Fury's young son offers cheeky rebuke during dad's quarantine home workout (VIDEO)

Par RT

When you are a 6ft 9in heavyweight champion, exercising at home during a period of self-imposed isolation can be tricky but Tyson Fury isn't letting the coronavirus situation - or indeed his son - get in the way of his routine.

Fury, who defeated Deontay Wilder by seventh-round corner stoppage in Las Vegas last month, has long espoused the benefits of maintaining an active exercise plan and the benefits that it can have to one's own mental health. 

READ MORE: ‘Now you see how hard he hits?’ Incredible ringside footage shows Fury’s punching power as he decks Wilder (VIDEO) 

Restrictions in place by the UK government to tackle the coronavirus pandemic have meant that most gyms across the country have closed their doors which, along with limits being placed on the numbers of people permitted to congregate in groups, has meant that people have been compelled to find alternative means in which to stay fit, active and healthy.

However, Tyson Fury has found a workaround to this. The WBC heavyweight champion has begun posting videos of him exercising to his social media channels in which viewers are invited to join along with him as runs through various techniques like jumping jacks, sit-ups and others. 

Judging by viewing numbers, the Fury workout videos are proving popular amongst his fans - but that sentiment doesn't appear to be echoed within the Fury household itself, as shown in the video below.

🤣🤬 Tyson Fury’s son gives him a piece of his mind after being kicked out of their stay-at-home workout this morning…

[🎥 @Tyson_Fury]

— Michael Benson (@MichaelBensonn) March 28, 2020

Fury and Wilder were expected to meet for a third time in July but there are significant fears that the coronavirus pandemic could KO any such date and push it back until at least later in the year. 

Any such delay could impact the touted clash between Fury and fellow Englishman Anthony Joshua which was expected to occur late this year, or early next year, should Fury earn a second successive win against Wilder and Joshua emerge victorious from a mandatory title defence against Kubrat Pulev which is, for now, scheduled to take place in London this July.

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© Instagram @gypsyking101
Tyson Fury shuns coronavirus warnings to head down pub for St. Patrick’s Day pint

  • 28 mars 2020 à 18:28

Primary postponed & quarantine mulled as New York Covid-19 death toll JUMPS by 209 in one day & number of cases blasts past 50,000

Par RT

The death toll from the Covid-19 infection in New York increased by 209 on Saturday, while the number of people infected with the virus rose to 52,318. The state’s presidential primary was also pushed back until June.

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced in a press conference on Saturday that a total of 728 people in New York have now died due to the illness. The number of confirmed cases also surged past the 50,000 milestone as it spiked by 7,683 on Friday’s total of 44,635. The increase represents a 17 percent jump on the previous day’s figure.

US President Donald Trump said earlier in the day that he was considering imposing a quarantine on New York, New Jersey and Connecticut in a bid to clamp down on the disease.

I am giving consideration to a QUARANTINE of developing “hot spots”, New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. A decision will be made, one way or another, shortly.

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 28, 2020

Governor Cuomo said that Trump has approved the construction of four additional temporary hospital sites in New York City, which will boost the state’s supply of hospital beds by 4,000. He also called on pharmacies to start delivering medications to homes free of charge.

New York has accounted for roughly a third of the death toll and half the known cases of Covid-19 in the United States.

Cuomo says New York's death toll has reached 728, up 40% from yesterday. Here's what the state's mortality trend looks like in context.

— Bill Hammond (@NYHammond) March 28, 2020

Cuomo also used the press conference to announce that he was postponing the state's presidential primary from April until June due to the outbreak.

"We have been behind this virus from day one. We are waiting to see what the virus does," Cuomo told the assembled media. "You don't win on defense. You win on offense. You have to get ahead of this."

Saturday also saw UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres announce the donation of 250,000 protective face masks to New York City, where the intergovernmental organization has its headquarters.

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  • 28 mars 2020 à 17:48

‘Inadequate armor’? FETISH supplier donates gear to ‘underfunded’ NHS as Covid-19 deaths pass 1,000 mark

Par RT

With Britain’s National Health Service struggling to contain the Covid-19 pandemic, help has come from the most unlikely source. A company supplying medical equipment to hardcore fetish enthusiasts has donated its stock.

Over 17,000 Britons have contracted the Covid-19 coronavirus, among them Prince Charles and Prime Minister Boris Johnson. More than 1,000 have died. In the country’s hospitals, shortages of vital protective gear have been reported, though Downing Street has blamed a surge in global demand for the shortfall.

Schools have been asked to donate goggles from science classrooms, manufacturing firms have donated respirators, and tattoo studios have given away gloves and masks. Help has also come from one niche firm that makes a living supplying Britain’s fetish community. MedFet announced on Friday that it would donate its entire stock of disposable scrubs to an NHS hospital.

Today we donated our entire stock of disposable scrubs to an NHS hospital. It was just a few sets, because we don't carry large stocks, but they were desperate, so we sent them free of charge.
We don't usually do politics on Twitter, but here's a short thread. [1/5]

— MedFetUK (@MedFet_UK) March 27, 2020

These aren’t the ‘sexy’ Ann Summers nurse costumes you might see on Halloween night. Instead, they’re actual sterilized medical scrubs, usually sold to people whose idea of a quiet night inside involves forceps, catheters, and amateur proctology. The company’s ‘needle play’ range is among its most popular.

In making its announcement, the company lashed out at “chronic underfunding and cuts” to the NHS. It said that these cuts “sent the NHS into this battle with inadequate armour and one hand tied behind its back.” 

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Pitching for ideas? Trump turned to baseball great Rodriguez & girlfriend J-Lo for coronavirus thoughts, say US reports

Health Secretary Matt Hancock — who tested positive for Covid-19 earlier this week — downplayed reports of shortages in British hospitals, but admitted that there had been “challenges” in distributing supplies.  

As the British public came together at 8pm on Thursday to applaud the frontline healthcare workers battling the rampaging Coronavirus, surely there were some keen fetishists among them pleased to know their costumes would be put to use tackling a national crisis, instead of the usual adult activities. 

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  • 28 mars 2020 à 17:45

Rescuer dies as enormous FIRE erupts near Rostov-on-Don 2018 World Cup stadium (VIDEOS, PHOTO)

Par RT

A raging blaze, near a stadium used for the 2018 football World Cup, in Rostov-on-Don has scorched an area covering 25 hectares and claimed the life of one emergency worker.

The fire was fueled by a deadly mixture of dry reeds and a swirling wind, which allowed it to rapidly spread. 

Emergency services are scrambling to battle the blaze with dozens of firefighters training their hoses on the inferno and helicopters dumping tons of water on it from above.

Под Ростовом-на-Дону горят камыши, – огонь может перекинуться на стадион «Ростов Арена». На данный момент пожар разошёлся уже больше, чем на 1000 кв.метров.

К вылету готовят пожарный самолёт МЧС.

— baza (@bazabazon) March 28, 2020

Powerful gusts are complicating the firefighting operation and one rescuer lost their life in the effort, local media report. The blaze came within 500 meters of the Rostov Arena but authorities say the stadium is no longer under threat, the Don-TR broadcasting company said.

Rostov Arena was built on the left bank of the Don River especially for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The 43,000-seat stadium hosted five matches of the tournament, including an epic playoff encounter in which Belgium came from behind to beat Japan 3-2. It’s now the home arena of FC Rostov, who were sitting fourth in the Russian Premier League before it went on break due to the coronavirus.

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  • 28 mars 2020 à 17:08

UFC 249 dealt seemingly fatal blow as Russia TOTALLY locks down borders... appearing to trap Khabib in country

Par RT

The Russian authorities may have put the final nail in the coffin for the UFC's plans to go ahead with the Khabib Nurmagomedov versus Tony Ferguson bout, after locking down all the country's borders.

The Russian government announced on Saturday that all travel into and out of the country - including by rail, boat, car and even pedestrian - would be closed from Monday as the nation bids to stave off the spread of the deadly Covid-19 pandemic.

The state order said that the measure was "temporary," but provided no indication as to when the border traffic will resume.

The ban does not apply to diplomats or members of official delegations departing from the country.

READ MORE: Russia to ban ALL cross-border travel over Covid-19 pandemic

Russia had already banned all regular and charter international flights from Friday, with the only exceptions for flights repatriating its citizens.

The news of the latest stringent measures is yet another apparent blow to UFC boss Dana White's plans to press ahead with the lightweight title match-up between Khabib and Ferguson set for April 18.

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Russian lightweight ruler Khabib is currently believed to be in his homeland, having recently returned from the US after his American Kickboxing Academy base in San Jose, California, was shut down.

Any window of opportunity to leave Russia again, if he hasn't done so already, would now seem to have disappeared with the latest measures imposed. 

UFC boss White has claimed that a new location for Khabib's blockbuster showdown with Ferguson - which was originally planned for the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York - has been "99 percent" agreed.

However, it seems unlikely that White could even get the fighters anywhere near each in the foreseeable future, considering that Khabib could be stuck in Russia.      

  • 28 mars 2020 à 16:28

6 years of economic war toughened Russia to deal with oil market chaos

Par RT

Russia has learned to survive Western sanctions and managed to accumulate enough funds to keep its economy afloat for several years even if oil prices continue to decline.

In a recent report, rating agency Moody’s said the Russian economy is less vulnerable to oil market shocks triggered by the coronavirus outbreak and the row between Moscow and Riyadh.

“Russia is best-prepared of all the oil-producing countries, as our economy has been living in an economic war mode for 6 years,” the president of the Russian-Asian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, Vitaly Mankevich, told RT.

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FILE PHOTO: A Russian rouble coin inside a bulb with crude oil © Reuters / Vasily Fedosenko
Russian economy can survive for a long time with oil at $20 per barrel

Analysts say that flexible exchange rates allow Russian oil companies, which enjoy relatively low production costs (around $15-20 per barrel), to offset the decline in revenue. While analysts believe crude prices are unlikely to break that low threshold, they say that a drop below $40 per barrel is already bad for the Russian economy, while $30 is even worse.

“It will be a disaster [for the Russian economy] if oil companies become unfeasible, that is, when oil prices drop lower than 15 dollars per barrel,” Sergey Suverov, chief analyst with Premier BCS, said in an interview with RT.

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While Russia’s budget spending has not eclipsed revenues since 2017, the fall in oil prices and the fallout of the pandemic will result in a budget deficit of up to two percent or even more if the situation deteriorates, according to Mankevich. Russia’s fiscal breakeven oil price (at which the country can balance the budget) is $42.5 per barrel, but the gap can be filled thanks to its reserves.

Russia’s sovereign wealth fund can support the economy for two to four years depending on the situation, analysts believe. Gold and foreign currency reserves, which currently exceed $580 billion, can hold even longer, according to Mankevich. However, he warned that the holdings can almost be cut in half to $300 billion if there are two or three years of low oil prices.

For more stories on economy & finance visit RT's business section

  • 28 mars 2020 à 15:55

Russia to ban ALL cross-border travel over Covid-19 pandemic

Par RT

Automobile, railway, pedestrian and river checkpoints on the Russian border will go into lockdown on Monday in order to prevent Covid-19 from spreading across the country, the government has announced.

Authorities said that the measure was "temporary," but provided no indication as to when frontiers will re-open.

The ban doesn’t apply to diplomats or members of official delegations departing from the country.

Russian truck drivers serving international routes, as well as the crews of trains and river vessels, will be able to return home. Exceptions are also being made for residents of the Baltic Sea exclave of Kaliningrad, as well as Russian passport holders living in the self-declared People’s Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk in eastern Ukraine. 

Russia has been making a large-scale effort to tackle the highly contagious disease, which included canceling all regular and charter flights in and out of the country.

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The whole of next week has been declared a paid nationwide holiday, for non-essential workers who cannot work from home, with the public advised to stay indoors. Restaurants, parks, cinemas and other establishments where large groups of people can gather will also shut down.

The overall number of infected now stands at 1,264 in Russia, with 228 new cases reported in the last 24 hours. Up to seven Covid-19 patients have died.

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  • 28 mars 2020 à 15:47

Conor McGregor calls for 'full 24-hour patrol' of Irish military to enforce coronavirus lockdown

Par RT

Conor McGregor has called for the Irish military to take to the streets in his latest message designed to galvanize public support in Ireland for measures implemented by the government to mitigate the spread of Covid-19.

The former UFC champion has been fiercely vocal this week in his various messages calling for solidarity amongst the Irish public in observing governmental practices to help fight the virus, and doubled down on that stance following a public address by Irish Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Leo Varadkar.

It was announced on Friday evening that Ireland is entering a two-week 'lockdown' period, in which people are required to stay at home for the majority of the day and only permitted to leave their homes in instances of emergencies, for the retrieval of essential supplies like food and medication and for brief exercise within a 2km (1.2 mile) radius of their homes.

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Further measures announced include expressly forbidding people over the age of 70 from leaving their home under any circumstances (again, unless it is an emergency) - but, as with any guidances such as these, they will only be successful if they are adhered to by the vast majority of the population. 

In a video address released soon afterwards, McGregor expressed his approval of the regulations - and went as far as to call for the Irish military to supplement the work of the Gardai (police). 

"Hello everyone, hello Ireland," McGregor said. "We have now entered a more substantial lockdown and I am pleased to see it. You see, if you do not enter the game you cannot win it. We have now entered this game and with strict adherence to the methods, we will win. To the Irish public: we must abide by the legislations put forth tonight by our leaders: no more than two kilometres from home, no unessential travel and full closure of all non-essential business.

"Now more than ever we must abide by this and I pray for the health and safety of our country that we do. The fate of our lives and the lives of our loved ones depends on it."

"Tonight our defence forces have been mentioned as a possibility in assisting our 15,000 gardai available - but only if necessary. However, it is necessary. I urge our government to utilise our defence forces alongside an garda siochana and for full 24-hour patrol. We can not go by chance here. Any less than full adherence to these newly put forth methods by any members of our society will not only be a mockery of what we are attempting to do here, it will put the rest of our great nation in danger."

McGregor commands a huge following amongst Irish youth and has previously called on his supporters to obey rules regarding social distancing and preventative hygiene measures. He has also announced that he will be making a $1.1 million financial donation to Irish hospitals to help fund the purchase of personal protective equipment designed to safeguard the health of frontline medical staff. 

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Furthermore, he called for people to maintain their physical health with "small-space exercise programmes" and to ensure they are receiving adequate nutrition to boost immune systems. 

The crucial point, though, was for everyone of every age to just stay at home.

"You are doing your country an incredible deed by staying put," he said.

  • 28 mars 2020 à 15:43

'None of this will work in reality': Piers Morgan rips into Gary Neville's plans for resumption of football season

Par RT

With the global sporting calendar currently on pause due to the coronavirus pandemic, former pro footballer Gary Neville and professional provocateur Piers Morgan have very contrasting views on how and when to resume play.

With the English Premier League - and indeed all major football leagues across the globe - currently suspended due to the outbreak, football fans are in a state of uncertainty as to how, or if, the current football season can be completed.

Football authorities in England had initially outlined an April 3 date to return to action but that has since been extended to April 30. However, with the pandemic worsening and further measures being implemented across swathes of society to mitigate the spread of Covid-19 many are suggesting that it looks increasingly unlikely that the reason can be resumed with enough time to complete the unplayed fixtures in advance of next season.

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Coronavirus crisis offers football a glimpse of a brighter, more egalitarian future

The one-year postponement of this summer's European Championships leaves open a potential window in which games might - in theory - be able to be played (if the situation is deemed safe) and has led to something of a civil war among England's football analysts. Some maintain that the unplayed games must be played, and others say that the best course of action would be to declare the season null and void and start anew next season.

This contrast in thinking was apparent in a social media spat between former Manchester United defender Gary Neville and television host Piers Morgan on Saturday, with the former declaring the fixtures must be completed and the latter calling for The FA to effectively cancel the 2019-20 season.

Piers it will work and is likely to happen when and only when it is safe to do so.

— Gary Neville (@GNev2) March 28, 2020

Writing on Twitter, Neville proposed that the current Premier League season could be completed within a brief period of consistent games (so long as it is safe to do so) and to condense next season into a shorter timeframe.

He also advocated for the transfer window to remain open for the entirety of next season to provide teams with financial agility, as well as extending the contracts of players to fulfil any summer fixtures, as well as financial packages being arranged for clubs whose very existence may be threatened by a loss of income.

Morgan, though, doesn't agree. Replying to Neville on Twitter, he said that playing numerous games in a short timespan would increase the risk of injury and that the only viable option is to effectively cancel the season.

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He said that this would be "a shame" for Premier League champions-elect Liverpool, as well as Leeds United who appeared assured of promotion to England's top flight, but that is "irrelevant given the crisis".

Football authorities across Europe have yet to announce any measures to this regard but with time ticking ever closer to the summer months, it is clear that a definitive decision must be made - and made soon.

  • 28 mars 2020 à 15:08

Three patients with Covid-19 die in Russia as country registers 228 new cases, total now 1,264

Par RT

Three people in Russia have died after being infected with coronavirus. The precise cause of death in some of the cases is being determined, but they could potentially bring the country's Covid-19 death toll to seven.

One case involved a 57-year-old man from the town of Buzuluk, in the south-western Orenburg region. The local authorities said that the victim had caught the virus after traveling around Europe by car.

He was hospitalized, along with six family members, after it was discovered that he’d contracted Covid-19. The autopsy confirmed the coronavirus infection and bilateral viral pneumonia, with the late patient also suffering from chronic diseases like diabetes and bronchitis.

Hours later, St. Petersburg disclosed that it had registered its first fatality, involving a coronavirus patient, who just recently arrived in the city. Governor Alexander Beglov said that an autopsy was being performed to determine the precise cause of death.

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Then another death was reported in Moscow, which has the most coronavirus cases in Russia – 817. A 65-year-old epidemiologist succumbed to the disease in one of the capital’s hospitals. The woman was a university professor and did not work with Covid-19 patients. She’d arrived to the hospital with bilateral pneumonia and was placed in intensive care, but couldn’t be saved due to several pre-existing conditions.

Russia registered its fourth coronavirus-related fatality on Friday, after a 56-year-old cancer survivor with one lung succumbed to illness in the capital.

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Russian military experts check equipment to fight against the COVID-19 coronavirus infection in Bergamo. © Sputnik / Russia's Defense Ministry
Russian military support ‘much needed’ in Italy's 'critical' battle against Covid-19 – Lombardy VP

Officials announced 228 new infections on Saturday, bringing the country's total to 1,264.

The Russian government has ordered a shutdown of all restaurants, cafes, and shops – except essential businesses such as grocery stores and pharmacies – across the country between March 28 and April 5.

Cases worldwide have reached more than 615,500, according to a tally maintained by Johns Hopkins University, with deaths totaling more than 28,700.

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  • 28 mars 2020 à 14:52

‘Least deserving’ Branson roasted as Virgin Atlantic seeks massive state-sponsored bailout despite not paying staff

Par RT

Billionaire Richard Branson is coming under fire from politicians and regular citizens alike as the tycoon sought hundreds of millions of pounds in state aid for his Virgin Atlantic airline due to the Covid-19 crunch.

The airline, which does not boast the cash reserves of some of its larger competitors, has been hard-hit by the coronavirus crisis, which has left the aviation sector reeling.

It quickly put its staff on unpaid leave and has led the calls for a state-sponsored bailout of the industry. However, it plans to use the funds to cover fixed costs, rather than to pay its staff, who won’t be getting a paycheck from the company for at least eight weeks.

The news that Branson’s airline applied for hundreds of millions of pounds worth of state money, despite not paying its workers, sparked an avalanche of criticism of the billionaire on Saturday and he quickly trended on Twitter in the UK. 

Hi #RichardBranson, can you send me a full list of all your businesses please? Because I'm going to


— Mike (@artmichapp) March 28, 2020

Green Party peer Natalie Bennett led the criticism, branding Branson the “least deserving” candidate for a bailout. “Richard Branson is already the UK’s largest benefit recipient, and least deserving… No bailout for [the] man who I’m sure just lives in a tax haven for weather,” she wrote

Once upon a time my old headteacher gave a school assembly on Richard Branson being a brilliant role model. Hopefully one positive change from this era will be that no-one has to endure an assembly like that again.

— Matt Haig (@matthaig1) March 28, 2020

Broadcaster India Willoughby added: 

Trying to figure out why a billionaire who sued the NHS, lives in a hammock, pays no UK tax and builds spaceships wants you and me to bail him out.

The billionaire island-dweller has surely developed a thick skin over the years but the level of scrutiny on him has ratcheted up significantly during the pandemic. Less than two weeks ago, shadow transport secretary Andy McDonald said it was a “disgrace” that a company owned by a billionaire asked its employees to “live without wages for two months in the middle of a crisis.”

If your company isn't registered in the UK, you should get no bailouts. #RichardBranson
If your business model does not allow for contingencies/lacks insurance, you should get no bailouts.

If normal people "save for a rainy day", so should corporations.

— Legion (@VenousRising) March 28, 2020

#RichardBranson is all that is bad about the UK. He owns a bloody Island and is asking for a hand out from the UK Govt when there are people who currently don't have any money to buy food for their family! Sell your Island Richard and pay your staff and stop being a dick.

— Maggie Georgeson (@GeorgesonMaggie) March 28, 2020

He even attracted the ire of Richard Fuller, a sitting member of parliament for the business-friendly Conservative Party. Fuller urged the mogul to give up the interest on his wealth for eight weeks in order to pay his staff.

“When it comes to looking at the protection of your workers, the time is now, and we will judge you all by your actions,” he said to Branson during a speech in the House of Commons.

Branson has yet to take the MP for North East Bedfordshire up on the suggestion.

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  • 28 mars 2020 à 14:50

No reason to relax: Merkel warns Germans that lockdown WON'T be lifted as Covid-19 infections soar

Par RT

Angela Merkel has urged Germans to continue to cooperate with a nationwide shutdown aimed at halting the coronavirus pandemic, arguing that the large number of daily infections means that the measures must remain in place.

In a weekly podcast, the German chancellor thanked the nation for complying with a comprehensive shutdown of non-essential activities, as well as for following social distancing guidelines, but said that the country was still a long way from returning to normal.

"I must ask you to be patient. Unfortunately, the daily numbers of new infections still give us no reason to relax the rules," she said, without specifying when the shutdown might end.

Her chief of staff, Helge Braun, told media on Saturday that the measures will not be eased before at least April 20.

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Merkel, who is still in quarantine after coming into contact with a doctor infected with Covid-19, noted that the number of new cases in Germany has roughly doubled every 5.5 days. Although the number of new infections has slowed since the start of the outbreak, she stressed that the country's health system was still at risk of being dangerously overburdened.

Germany has registered 6,294 new cases, according to the latest figures published by the Robert Koch Institute, bringing the nationwide total to 48,582. The respiratory illness has killed 325 people in Germany since the pandemic began more than two months ago in Wuhan, China.

The country has shuttered schools, shops, restaurants and public places in an effort to stop the spread of the disease.

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The number of confirmed cases in the country is among the highest in Europe, with only Italy and Spain reporting more. Germany has been seen as an anomaly, however, due to its surprisingly low death rate when compared to other nations.

Infections worldwide surpassed 600,000 on Saturday, according to Johns Hopkins University, with deaths exceeding 28,000.

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  • 28 mars 2020 à 14:39

Pitching for ideas? Trump turned to baseball great Rodriguez & girlfriend J-Lo for coronavirus thoughts, say US reports

Par RT

US President Donald Trump has cast his net far and wide in seeking input on how to tackle the mounting Covid-19 crisis in the country, including seeking the thoughts of baseball great Alex Rodriguez, according to some reports.

Coronavirus casualties are rising rapidly by the day in America, which has become the new epicenter for the pandemic.

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A New York City Fire Department Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) wearing protective gear responds to a call for a sick patient during the outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Queens, New York, U.S., March 27, 2020. © REUTERS/Stefan Jeremiah
US passes 100,000 CASES of Covid-19 after becoming world epicenter for virus – Johns Hopkins University

In economic terms, US leader Trump has formally signed a $2.2 trillion stimulus package as the nation bids to stave off even more disaster.

And in seeking thoughts from various quarters on how to handle the crisis, Trump has apparently turned to New York Yankees legend Alex Rodriguez and his partner, pop princess Jennifer Lopez.

Reports from ABC News' John Santucci and Katherine Faulders state that Trump called the man known as A-Rod for his "thoughts" on the pandemic amid a "marathon" of meetings last week.

During marathon day of meetings earlier this week, President Trump continued outreach across the country regarding coronavirus & phoned former Yankees baseball player Alex Rodriguez. Multiple sources tell ABC, the president spoke to ARod from the Oval Office via me & @KFaulders

— John Santucci (@Santucci) March 28, 2020

A source close to Rodriguez told @ABC the call with Trump was “pleasant” adding that Trump was seeking thoughts from ARod about the coronavirus response. Sources say there was no discussion of AROD or his fiancé Jennifer Lopez taking on any official effort.

— John Santucci (@Santucci) March 28, 2020

The supposedly unconventional approach provided ample ammunition for Trump-bashers, who questioned what exactly the 44-year-old former slugger and his popstress partner could bring to the table regarding the battle against the raging outbreak.

If I was president in the middle of a biblical pandemic the first person I’d reach out to for advice is a former all-star baseball player. Who wouldn’t?

— Marc Shkolnick (@mshkolnick) March 28, 2020

I just hope that @JLo was home when he called. I’m sure her medical, public health and economic insights would be invaluable to handling a global pandemic.

— Leslie McCarthy (@LeslieM3355) March 28, 2020

Others though felt that the baseball star was a logical choice for pharmaceutical advice, considering the 14-time All-Star was once banned for an entire season for violating MLB's performance-enhancing drugs policy. 

Well he does know his way around pharmaceuticals.

— Aaron (@roneman90) March 28, 2020

Does ... does Trump think Covid-19 is a steroid?

— Attorney@Law (@TheGlare_TM) March 28, 2020

And this being Trump-era America, some presidential fans dismissed the claims outright as being fake news...

— Loved & Imperfec†🇺🇸 (@RayneNGrace) March 28, 2020

With or without A-Rod and J-Lo's help, Trump and the US continue to battle a deadly outbreak which on Friday hit the 100,000 cases mark, putting it out in front of even the likes of China - where the outbreak began - and Italy, which had previously been the epicenter of the pandemic.

  • 28 mars 2020 à 14:29

Covid-19 SPIKE in Netherlands as 93 new deaths and over 1,100 new cases recorded

Par RT

The Netherlands’ surge in coronavirus cases continues, with 1,159 people confirmed as having caught the disease in 24 hours. The European country has also reported 93 new deaths from the virus.

A total of 9,762 people have now contracted the illness in the country, with Saturday’s spike accounting for almost 14 percent of all confirmed cases. The death toll now stands at 639, up from 546 on Friday.

The Netherlands introduced social distancing and other measures in mid-March, in a bid to try and control the spread of the virus. Its National Institute for Health (RIVM) said it hopes to see the fruits of these efforts "within several days."

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  • 28 mars 2020 à 14:24

US faces DEFICIT of GOLD amid coronavirus market rout – media

Par RT

As the deadly infection spreads across the US, the demand for gold, the all-time safe-haven metal, has skyrocketed, but there is not enough of it in local coffers to satisfy buyers’ appetites, according to The Wall Street Journal.

While dealers are reportedly out of the coveted commodity, and some were even forced to shut down. Swiss bank Credit Suisse, which has been minting gold bullions since the middle if the nineteenth century, has asked customers not to ask for them. 

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Earlier this week, the US Mint, which sells bullion coins to official distributors, was reported as saying that the virus may delay sales and delivery of its products, with its director David Rider asking clients to be patient. 

The shortages have forced gold-hungry bankers and brokers in the US to look at neighboring Canada as a possible source, bombarding the Royal Canadian Mint with requests to boost production, according to the WSJ. The Canadian company said that the demand had reached “unprecedented levels,” but it seems that it is unlikely to meet it, as the mint is currently understaffed due to the Covid-19 prevention measures.

“It’s absolutely crazy what’s going on,” Ludwig Karl, a board member of Swiss Gold Safe, a company that stores precious metals among other prized assets, told Bloomberg. “Right now, if somebody wants to buy gold, I wish them all the best in finding it. Most of the bullion dealers are closed.”

Gold futures enjoyed their largest daily dollar gain on Monday, rising over $80 an ounce, according to MarketWatch, and rose beyond $1,692 per ounce on Tuesday. However, the precious metal gave up the gains later in the week, ending slightly above $1,630 an ounce; analysts expect the prices to rise further.

For more stories on economy & finance visit RT's business section

  • 28 mars 2020 à 14:05

Russia presents Covid-19 TREATMENT based on existing anti-malaria drug

Par RT

Russian specialists said they've come up with an effective way to treat Covid-19 using an anti-malarial drug. This type of medication is now widely researched around the globe as a possible remedy from the pandemic.

While experts around the world have been trying to create a specific vaccine against the virus behind the global outbreak, there have also been active attempts to re-purpose existing medicines to help the scores of patients that badly need treatment.

After anti-malarial drugs were used in China, which managed to curb the coronavirus outbreak on its soil, they became the subject of research in many countries, including the US, Canada, France and others.

US President, Donald Trump, has been actively promoting hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine as "biggest game-changers" in the fight against the highly contagious disease, which already killed more than 1,900 in America and almost 30,000 worldwide.

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The Russian pharmacists also believe in the effectiveness of malaria medication against the virus, but suggested that another drug — Mefloquine — should be employed. They said their treatment was developed taking Chinese and French experience into account.

The drug, which has been around since the 1970s, blocks the degenerative effect Covid-19 has on cells and doesn’t allow the virus to replicate further, the Russian Federal Medical-Biological Agency (FMBA) said in a statement. They added that Mefloquine’s immuno-suppressive effect prevents the inflammatory response caused by the disease.

The Russian medics have been working on “an effective and safe scheme to prevent coronavirus infection on the basis of mefloquine, which not only would overcome the peak of incidence but would also effectively control it in the future,” the FMBA said.

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There have been 228 new coronavirus cases registered in Russia in the last 24 hours, bringing the overall number of infected to 1,264. Up to seven people, who had tested positive for Covid-19, have died.

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  • 28 mars 2020 à 14:02

Kazakh bodybuilder's 'marriage' to sex doll girlfriend on hold because of coronavirus

Par RT

Kazakh bodybuilder Yuri Tolochko has revealed his planned nuptials with sex-doll fiancee Margo have fallen victim to the coronavirus pandemic. Yes, you read that right.

Muscleman Tolochko recently sent social media into a spin when he announced his plans to wed plastic lover Margo, having first shared news of their relationship back in May of 2019.

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Silicone sex doll Margo has her own Instagram page run by Tolochko, where the details of their intense preparations for the big day have been shared.

But the Kazakh hulk has now revealed that the wedding is on hold due to Covid-19 curbs.

“Friends, the wedding has been postponed because of the quarantine,” Tolochko announced to his 36,000 Instagram followers.  

The couple apparently remain determined to tie the knot however.

“As soon as they remove the quarantine, within a few days we’ll have the wedding,” Tolochko added.

“In general, we are determined and our mood is good.

“The quarantine has been announced until mid-April.

“P.S. So that you are not sad, I offer a beautiful video, shot while riding a tuk-tuk on the island of Ko Samet [in Thailand]. Enjoy it!”

Tolochko and his plastic partner have become social media stars and have also appeared on TV shows, including in Russia.

The bodybuilder claims to have become inseparable from Margo since their first encounter, even saying he had learnt to cook khinkali – apparently his girlfriend’s favorite dish.

Tolochko claims that after appearing on TV Margo was body-shamed by some on social media, causing her to develop a complex and undergo plastic surgery.

Happier days await as the couple continue their plans to take the plunge, although it remains unclear exactly how their wedding vows would be officially registered.

  • 28 mars 2020 à 12:26

Rouhani says Iran's healthcare system ready for Covid-19 peak as it sees more than 3,000 new infections

Par RT

President Hassan Rouhani has said that Iran’s medical infrastructure was prepared to overcome the zenith of the coronavirus pandemic, as the country recorded more than 3,000 new cases and nearly 140 new deaths.

The Iranian leader expressed confidence in his country’s ability to cope with a possible peak in Covid-19 cases during televised remarks on Saturday. He described Iran’s medical facilities and personnel as “strong,” and predicted that the crisis could come to an end in a few weeks.

Rouhani’s remarks came as Iran’s health ministry confirmed 3,076 new infections, bringing the national total to 35,408. The Islamic Republic also saw 139 new deaths in the past 24 hours, raising the toll to 2,517.

Iran announced on Friday the creation of a makeshift hospital in the nation’s capital. The country’s military reportedly converted an exhibition center into a 2,000-bed medical facility in just 48 hours. The hospital will be used to treat patients recovering from coronavirus pandemic.

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Although Iran has been one of the hardest-hit countries in the region, its total number of infections remains relatively modest compared to the situation unfolding in Europe and the United States. The US now has the most confirmed cases (nearly 105,000), followed by Italy (around 86,500), according to a tally kept by Johns Hopkins University. Worldwide cases surpassed 600,000 on Saturday, with the global death count closing in on 28,000.

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  • 28 mars 2020 à 12:24

WATCH Russian biodefense troops disinfect nursing home in coronavirus-hit Italy

Par RT

Experts from Moscow's biodefense unit have been deployed at the epicenter of the deadly Covid-19 outbreak in Italy, tasked with disinfecting a nursing home where patients died amid the coronavirus pandemic.

A Russian military biological and chemical protection team was dispatched to the Martino Zanchi nursing home in the city of Bergamo in Italy's northern Lombardy region on Friday.

Going from room to room, anti-epidemic specialists in hazmat suits and respirators sprayed disinfectant on all furniture, including beds and mattresses. They also thoroughly disinfected floors, walls and ceilings because traces of Covid-19 are known to have been found on many types of surfaces.

Last month, 20 people died in the nursing home as authorities struggled to contain the coronavirus in Bergamo.

The disease has been raging across Italy since February, with Lombardy being the hardest hit region, where local health systems were completely overwhelmed.

Russia has airlifted vital medical supplies and disease control experts to Italy as part of an effort to help the country slow down the spread of the coronavirus.

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Russian military experts visit hospital facilities for elderly people to fight against the COVID-19 coronavirus infection in Bergamo. © Sputnik / Russia's Defense Ministry
Surveying the virus battlefield: Russian military medics inspect Covid-19 health facilities in Bergamo, Italy (VIDEO)

Italy currently has the second-highest number of confirmed Covid-19 cases, with nearly 86,500 people testing positive for the virus. More than 9,130 people have died, with 919 new deaths recorded on Friday.

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  • 28 mars 2020 à 12:04

Spain suffers another record day for Covid-19 deaths as 832 perish

Par RT

Spain has recorded another record breaking day for Covid-19 deaths as 832 people died from the disease in 24 hours and the number of cases surged by over 8,000.

Spanish health officials announced on Saturday morning that 5,690 people have now died from the coronavirus in the Mediterranean country and a total of 72,248 people have contracted the illness. 

The figure represents an increase of 8,189 confirmed cases on Friday’s total.

While the shocking statistics are a further reminder of the threat the virus poses they offer evidence that the rate of infection has slowed in Spain.

The jump in cases is a 12.7 percent increase on the previous day, which compares favorably to a 14 percent increase announced on Friday, Thursday’s 18 percent spike and Wednesday’s 20 percent surge.

Spain has the world's second-highest death toll after Italy. It implemented a strict nationwide lockdown on 14 March which will remain in place until at least 12 April.

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  • 28 mars 2020 à 11:44

'I got stir crazy': Police body-cam footage sheds new light on arrest of UFC star Jon Jones (VIDEO)

Par RT

Police footage from the recent arrest of UFC star Jon Jones shows the longtime light heavyweight champion fail a series of roadside sobriety tests after being pulled over in Albuquerque, New Mexico on Thursday.

Jones, 32, was arrested on four charges, including DWI and negligent use of a firearm, in what is the latest run-in with law enforcement after his black SUV was pulled over after police officers adjudged him to be driving erratically in the late-night incident. 

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Police body-cam footage from one of the arresting officers, Brian Johnson, shows the 13-minute exchange in full in which an apparently intoxicated Jones first explains that he had a single vodka drink earlier in the evening before being asked to exit his vehicle where the visibly confused UFC superstar appears to have significant trouble in performing various sobriety tests.

At one point in the video, Jones attempts to explain his poor performance on the tests by admitting that he suffers from attention deficit disorder - and also saying that "not a lot of people know" that he experiences short-term memory loss. 

When asked by the officer what he was doing driving late at night, Jones explained that he was "stir crazy" because of instructions to stay at home during the coronavirus pandemic and that he went for a drive. He also detailed to police how he had been speaking to some homeless people.

"I got stir crazy. I got pulled over just being nice, being nice to the homeless people," Jones told Officer Johnson.

"I literally just got stir crazy. I just wanted to have a drive. This is my first drive in two weeks. And I saw these homeless guys, I was being nice to them, having conversation with them, treating them like humans."

After performing poorly in further roadside tests, Jones is informed that he is under arrest and is placed in handcuffs. A visibly emotional Jones expresses to the police that he suffers from anxiety and asks the officers if they would allow him to roll the window down inside the police car.

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The incident is Jones' latest tangle with the law. In 2012, Jones avoided jail after crashing his Bentley into a utility pole in New York. Three years later he was involved in a hit and run in which his car struck a vehicle being driven by a pregnant lady. Jones fled the scene on foot and was subsequently stripped of his UFC championship.

It remains to be seen if Jones will see a similar sanction from the UFC in what seems to be an increasingly alarming trend for the promotion's most historically dominant fighter - once again proving that the only man who can stop Jon Jones appears to be Jones himself. 

  • 28 mars 2020 à 11:35

Russia says OPEC+ deal revival possible if other countries join in

Par RT

A new agreement to stabilize oil markets is possible if more nations support the initiative, according to the head of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), Kirill Dmitriev.

In an interview to Reuters, the sovereign wealth fund chief said that coronavirus epidemic has become a "perfect storm" to trigger a new global financial crisis that will result in recession. To offset the economic fallout of the outbreak, countries should unite, including in imposing new output curbs to end the oil market turbulence.

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Russia, which is not a member of the the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), was one of the key supporters of the production cut pact with the alliance, Dmitriev stressed, adding that the deal brought more than 10 trillion rubles (nearly $127 billion) to the country's budget. Earlier this month Moscow and the OPEC kingpin, Riyadh, failed to agree on a new deal, sending oil prices to multi-year lows.

"It was not Russia that made decision to boost output and withdraw from the OPEC+, but we [the RDIF] believe that we can back to the deal," Dmitriev said, adding that Russia maintains dialogue with Saudi Arabia, as well as with some other nations.

"We see that if the number of OPEC+ members will increase and other countries will join there is a possibility of a joint agreement to balance oil markets," he added without elaborating which countries could join the deal.

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Meanwhile Saudi Arabia said it had no contact over the possibility of a new agreement on oil production caps, as well as enlargement of the deal, at least at the energy ministers level.

Oil prices have been tumbling since the beginning of the month as the failure of Vienna talks was taken as the beginning of a full-scale oil price war — the claim that was later denied by Moscow. Both benchmark brands, WTI and Brent, were trading lower on Friday, ending the week at $21.51 per barrel and $27.95 per barrel respectively.

For more stories on economy & finance visit RT's business section

  • 28 mars 2020 à 11:34

‘What if Khabib has the corona?’ Joe Rogan rules himself out of 'cursed' UFC 249 superfight

Par RT

Commentator Joe Rogan is a UFC mainstay but even he isn’t taking any chances during the Covid-19 pandemic, ruling himself out of duties at the UFC 249 showdown between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson.

UFC boss Dana White is desperately scrambling to find a location for the April 18 card after the original venue of the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, was ruled out along with multiple other options as the world went into a coronavirus-induced lockdown.

White remains adamant that the fight – which has been cancelled four times previously – will go ahead, claiming that he is 99 percent certain of a venue, although without revealing exactly where he has in mind.

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Khabib, meanwhile, has returned to his native Dagestan from the US and in recent days has hinted at his doubts that the fight will happen on the stated date.

There is also the issue of Ramadan starting on April 23, and during which the devout Muslim UFC lightweight champ would not contemplate fighting.  

‘This is only the beginning': Khabib hints worst yet to come in UFC 249 saga with cryptic message 

Now UFC commentator Rogan has said again that the Khabib versus Ferguson fight is “cursed” and that whoever is on commentary duties for the bout, it won’t be him.

“The UFC is talking about putting on a fight on April 18. I don’t know how they’re going to do that. I don’t know if they’re going be able to do that in the United States,” Rogan said on his popular Joe Rogan Experience podcast.

“They’re talking about doing it in a place with less than 10 people, just in an open arena.

“I guess someone’s going to commentate it, it’s not going to be me…

“It doesn’t have to be a big place, it could be like a film studio somewhere,” he added.  

“The thing is, how are they going to make sure nobody has it?

“You’re going to have to test everybody. And if someone has it, do you let them fight?

“What if they have it, and they’re like [actor] Idris Elba, and they have no symptoms, but they’ve got the corona?

“What if Khabib has the corona? Or what if Tony has the corona? Does Khabib even fight him?”

“This fight is so cursed,” Rogan said.

“This is how Dana feels. This is why Dana’s trying so hard to make it happen, even if there’s only 10 people in the room.”

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In recent days other alternatives have been suggested for the bout, which pits unbeaten lightweight champ Khabib against Ferguson – a man undefeated in seven years and on a 12-fight win streak.

Russia’s Chechnaya is one such location doing the rumor rounds, which would at least involve a short travel distance for the champ himself but slightly more of a trek for Ferguson and other UFC fighters, should the card be held in its entirety.

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If Dana White does manage to pull off the increasingly improbable feat of staging the fight on the stated date then one thing’s for sure, we won’t be hearing the distinctive tones of Joe Rogan behind the microphone.

  • 28 mars 2020 à 11:00

In 2009 UK government experts wildly over-hyped dangers of swine flu — is history repeating with Covid-19?

Par RT

Amidst the coronavirus lockdown, some of the claims of governments and media have been shown to be exaggerated. Ten years ago, they tried the same thing with swine flu. They haven’t learned their lessons — has the public?

On Wednesday, RT picked apart the sensationalist mortality rates that media and governments have been using to terrify the public. These figures are the product of some transparently weak statistics, and cast the true threat from Covid-19 into doubt. There is a saying among statisticians who generate the projections of how pandemics will spread that goes: ‘’All models are wrong.’’ How true that may soon be proven. Now, in the heat of the coronavirus crisis, epidemiologists and computer modelers are being yanked in front of governments and parliaments to give their worst case scenario predictions … and some are already emerging with egg on their face.

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One such expert is Professor Neil Ferguson of Imperial College London, who has been testifying before the British parliament on how many people he thinks will ultimately fall prey to Covid-19. Professor Ferguson was giving evidence as part of a parliamentary select committee on science and technology. His initial projection was that Covid-19 would claim the lives of 500,000 people in the UK — but he has revised that projection. Ferguson now believes that at most 20,000 people will die — and it could be much lower.

The eminent epidemiologist’s U-turn has not been widely reported to the public, but reportage from inside the hearing says that Professor Ferguson is now calling a figure 25 times smaller than his original prediction the absolute maximum. One wonders what has happened to change his mind — it seems that the lower than expected mortality rates are causing experts to re-evaluate their more apocalyptic predictions. Professor Ferguson actually has Covid-19 himself —perhaps it is not as bad as he thought.

Moreover, Professor Ferguson told the British parliament that he believes the UK’s national health system (NHS) has enough intensive care beds and equipment to handle the pandemic. And although the peak not having hit just yet, he believes that the UK will come through the worst relatively smoothly. Much ado about nothing, then?

Year of the pig

The coronavirus is the third global pandemic in the last 20 years. The first was Sars, and the second, many readers will remember better, was swine flu, or the A/H1N1 virus, which struck just over 10 years ago. It emerged in Mexico in the spring of 2009, and went on to infect hundreds of thousands of people across the world, with the virus being spread far and wide by international air travel.

Eventually it was declared a global pandemic by the WHO. Regarding its impact on the media, it had roughly the effect that a bucket of fish guts dumped into coastal waters has on the nearby sharks. They smelled blood and spilled ink, falling over each other in their attempts to generate headlines and unearth frightening statistics. (The Guardian of all places published an opinion piece on the media’s failings during the outbreak.) Does any of this sound familiar?

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Professor Sir Liam Donaldson was the chief medical officer for England at the time. He announced that the worst case scenario would see almost 19 million people infected by the virus, and a mortality rate of around 0.35% resulting in about 65,000 deaths. Based largely on Sir Liam’s worst case scenario (after all, one must prepare for the worst) the British government got an enormous vaccination program underway, which was to prioritize those particularly at risk (the elderly, pregnant women and children) before a general roll-out to the rest of the population. They bought 90 million doses in total from pharmaceutical companies GlaxoSmithKline and Baxter.

Needless to say, that did not happen. By the spring of 2010, it was clear that A/H1N1 was far less deadly than previous flu epidemics. But remember that 65,000 deaths was Sir Liam’s worst case scenario; what was his best case scenario? At a minimum, he predicted, swine flu would infect around 3 million Brits and kill only 3,100. Much less frightening. So how did the final tallies stand?

In the end, fewer than 500 British people died from swine flu, almost all people with underlying health conditions. This represented less than one-sixth of the chief medical officer’s best case scenario. The government were overjoyed, of course, that so many of its citizens had been spared death, but were left holding a bag containing tens of millions of leftover doses of A/H1N1 vaccine, and no one left to immunize. Rather awkward.

Nevertheless, there was no great backlash against the British government for their own vaccine panic buying, probably because the public were never that worked up about swine flu in the first place. Despite the media’s best efforts, the ‘pandemic’ just never lived up to its name — basically it was just another strain of flu. Michael Summers was the vice-chair of the Patient's Association back then, and he admitted that when it came to handing huge vaccine contracts to pharmaceutical companies, there were certainly ‘’lessons to be learnt". That was about as far as any major criticism of the affair went.

A new media landscape

But a decade on, the lessons of history appear to have been forgotten. The coronavirus origin story, which is like something from a Hollywood movie, and the fact that it is somewhat more dangerous than swine flu, along with social media information saturation have combined to make a perfect storm of overreaction that will plunge the world into a second Great Depression.

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Worst of all is a social climate that labels those questioning established narratives and conventional wisdom as pariahs. And if you do question those narratives, as ancient wisdom teaches us to, you are as likely to be shouted down by Joe Public as you are by a blue-checked journalist. All you can do, as an open minded individual, is to think for yourself, take nothing for granted and stay safe. Not only from the virus, but from the reckless media hype as well.

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  • 28 mars 2020 à 10:29

'I could hardly breathe': Paulo Dybala details coronavirus struggle after Juve ace and girlfriend Oriana Sabatini infected

Par RT

Juventus and Argentina forward Paulo Dybala has discussed his struggle with the coronavirus after suffering “strong” symptoms after he became one of the highest-profile footballers to be infected with the deadly disease.

Dybala, 26, became the third Juventus player to test positive for Covid-19 last weekend, after Italian defender Daniele Rugani and French midfielder Blaise Matuidi were also confirmed to have the illness.

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Dybala’s girlfriend, Argentine singer Oriana Sabatini, also contracted Covid-19 and while the pair initially showed mild symptoms Dybala has now revealed just how severe his illness became, despite not being deemed among the groups at highest risk of danger.

“I developed strong symptoms,” Dybala told the Juventus TV channel.  

“Now I can move better, walking and trying to train. [But] I could hardly breathe, I couldn’t do anything after five minutes. My muscles ached.

“Fortunately, Oriana and I are better now,” he added.

Italy remains among the nations hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic, with more than 85,000 cases and over 9,000 deaths.  

Friday was the country’s deadliest day in its battle with the virus as 919 deaths from the illness were recorded.

World health chiefs have warned that while Covid-19 takes the most toll on the elderly, those young and healthy should not consider themselves “invincible” – with Dybala’s strong symptoms illustrative of the strain it can place on even the fittest of athletes.

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© Reuters
Remaining Juventus team including Cristiano Ronaldo test NEGATIVE for coronavirus despite fears after three infections – report

The Italian Serie A – like leagues around Europe – remains suspended with no return date in sight as the pandemic rages on. 

  • 28 mars 2020 à 10:12

Worldwide number of Covid-19 cases exceeds 615,500 — Johns Hopkins University

Par RT

The number of coronavirus cases around the world has reached 615,519, according to a tally kept by Johns Hopkins University, which also puts the global death toll at close to 29,000.

Cases in the United States have skyrocketed in recent days, as the country's 105,000 infections now make it the new epicenter of the pandemic. Although originating in Wuhan, Hubei province, China has managed to halt the spread of the disease, with no new locally transmitted infections recorded on Friday.

The number of cases in Italy, the hardest-hit country in Europe, recently surpassed those in China.

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A train bound for Duisburg leaves Wuhan, China. March 28, 2020. © China Daily / Reuters
First train with medical supplies for Europe leaves Wuhan as China eases Covid-19 lockdown

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  • 28 mars 2020 à 09:57

Covid-19 cases in Germany surge 6,294 in one day as death toll hits 325

Par RT

The number of coronavirus cases in Germany has surged by 6,294 in one day to nearly 50,000, while the death toll has jumped by 72 to 325.

The Robert Koch Institute released a fresh round of alarming statistics on Saturday morning, showing that a total of 48,582 people in Germany are confirmed carriers of the virus. 

The federal agency, which is responsible for disease control and prevention in Germany, said that 325 people have died after testing positive for the illness. The figure represents an increase of 72 from Friday’s tally and it is based on data collected up until midnight on Friday.

The spike in cases is the largest single day increase the European nation has experienced to date, but it comes following a week where thousands of additional diagnoses were recorded each day.

Despite having one of the highest confirmed levels of infection in Europe, Germany’s fatality rate is significantly lower than most countries on the continent.

The head of the Institute of Virology at Berlin’s Charite University Hospital, Christian Drosten, said during the week that he believes this is because the country carries out so many diagnostic tests. Germany is now testing 500,000 people a week for the virus.

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© Reuters / Pool
How lethal is Covid-19 REALLY? Why massive fatality rates from Italy are MISLEADING

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  • 28 mars 2020 à 09:51