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National News

National News

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump is warning that the country would see a lot of death ahead as the U.S. moves into what into what he says is its “toughest” weeks with the coronavirus. At the same time the president is expressing growing impatience with social distancing guidelines and saying he’s eager to get the country reopened and its stalled economy back on track. The number of people infected in the U.S. has exceeded 300,000, with the death toll climbing past 8,400; more than 3,500 of those deaths are in the state of New York.

WASHINGTON (AP) In the decade before the coronavirus outbreak, state and local officials across the United States made steady and sometimes dramatic cuts to their first line of defense against pandemics and other public health emergencies. Funding for public health was slashed at the federal level and for state and local departments after the 2008 recession caused serious budget problems. But as the economy recovered, public health funding did not. A shortfall persisted despite several alarming outbreaks, from H1N1 to Ebola, and experts say that’s left the U.S. more vulnerable now to COVID-19.

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis celebrated Palm Sunday Mass without the public, since the traditional ceremony in St. Peter’s Square was scrapped because of the coronavirus pandemic. Normally, tens of thousands of faithful, clutching olive tree branches or palm fronds, would have attended outdoor Mass. Instead, Francis on Sunday led the ceremony inside St. Peter’s Basilica, which seemed even more cavernous than usual because it was so empty. Aides, a few invited prelates and nuns and altar servers were present. Francis says during the pandemic the “real heroes” are “not famous, rich or successful” but those who serve others.

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Leaders from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints sat 6 feet apart inside an empty room Saturday as the faith carried out its signature conference while adhering to social distancing guidelines. It was a stark reminder of how the global coronavirus pandemic is affecting religious practices. But their livestreamed speeches didn’t dwell heavily on the pandemic as they instead stuck to plans made last year to make the conference a commemoration of the 200th anniversary of events that to the creation of the church by founder Joseph Smith. Church President Russell M. Nelson also unveiled a new church logo

 

National Updates from the Associated Press

Trump fires watchdog who handled Ukraine complaint

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump has fired Michael Atkinson, the inspector general for the intelligence community who handled the whistleblower complaint that triggered his impeachment. Trump informed the Senate intelligence committee Friday of his decision to fire Atkinson, according to a letter obtained by The Associated Press. Trump said in the letter that it is “vital” that he has confidence in the appointees serving as inspectors general, and “that is no longer the case with regard to this inspector general.” Atkinson was the first to inform Congress about an anonymous whistleblower complaint last year that described Trump’s pressure on Ukraine to investigate Democrat Joe Biden and his son.

Military recruiting struggles as enlistment stations close

WASHINGTON (AP) — America’s armed services are finding it harder to bring in new recruits as the worsening coronavirus forces families and communities to hunker down, even as the country turns increasingly to the military for help. Most enlistment stations across the country are closed and recruiters working from home are seeking new prospects almost exclusively on social media sites. In many cases they’re finding people too consumed with their own financial, personal and health care worries to consider committing to a military career right now. As a result, the services could fall thousands short of their enlistment goals if the widespread lockdowns drag on.

Trump admin tries to narrow stockpile’s role for states

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration has abruptly changed its description of the Strategic National Stockpile and put forward a narrower vision of the role the federal government’s repository of life-saving medicines and equipment should play in supplying states’ needs. The change conforms with President Donald Trump’s insistence that it is only a short-term backup for states, not a commitment to ensure supplies get quickly to those who need them most during an emergency. The change was reflected on government websites on Friday. It came a day after Trump son-in-law and senior White House adviser Jared Kushner offered a new argument about the stockpile.

US urges masks as dramatic steps to combat virus roll out

NEW YORK (AP) — The Trump administration is urging Americans to cover their faces in public to reduce the spread of the coronavirus and is limiting exports of medical supplies. Also Friday, New York’s governor vowed to seize unused ventilators from private hospitals and companies. The dramatic steps come amid severe global shortages of equipment needed to fight the pandemic, and concerns from health officials that those without symptoms can spread the virus. The new U.S. guidelines call for everyone to wear makeshift face coverings such as T-shirts and bandannas. Authorities say supply shortages worldwide have caused health care workers to fall sick and forced doctors in Europe to make life-or-death decisions.

‘Recovery’ search for Kennedy Townsend’s daughter, grandson

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Former Maryland Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend says authorities have shifted from a “rescue” search to a “recovery” search as they look for her daughter and a grandson. Maeve Kennedy Townsend McKean and McKean’s 8-year-old son went missing while canoeing in the Chesapeake Bay. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend served two terms as Maryland’s lieutenant governor. She is the eldest daughter of the late U.S. Attorney General and U.S. Sen. Robert F. Kennedy. The search started Thursday afternoon after the authorities responded to a report of two people on a canoe who appeared to be overtaken by strong winds.

National News

WASHINGTON (AP) — The captain of a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier facing a growing coronavirus outbreak has been fired. Navy leaders said Thursday the captain created a panic by sending a memo pleading for help to too many people. Navy Secretary Thomas Modly says Capt. Brett Crozier demonstrated “poor judgment” in a crisis. Modly says the captain copied too many people on the memo, which was leaked to a California newspaper and quickly spread to many news outlets. Crozier raised warnings the ship was facing a growing virus outbreak and asked permission to isolate the bulk of his crew members on shore. He said, “We are not at war. Sailors do not need to die.”

 

MADRID (AP) — Coronavirus deaths are mounting with alarming speed in Spain, Italy and New York, the most lethal hot spot in the United States. Also growing is the pandemic’s economic toll, with 10 million Americans thrown out of work in just two weeks in the swiftest, most stunning collapse the U.S. job market has witnessed. In New York City, which has seen 1,500 virus deaths, one funeral home had 185 bodies stacked up — more than triple normal capacity. French prime minister said he is “fighting hour by hour” to ward off shortages of essential drugs used to keep COVID-19 patients alive in intensive care.

 

The Asian Development Bank forecasts that the coronavirus pandemic will cost the world economy as much as $4.1 trillion, or nearly 5% of all economic activity. The regional lender said Friday that growth in developing Asia would likely fall to 2.2% in 2020 from 5.2% last year. Finance officials in China have promised to ensure that entrepreneurs who are China’s economic engine get the loans they need to recover from the coronavirus pandemic. And in France, one of the largest auto insurers says costs are crashing as drivers stay home in coronavirus shutdowns. Accidents are down by as much as 80% as people keep their cars parked.

 

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have not spoken in five months at a time when the nation is battling its worst health crisis in a century. Thursday’s harrowing headlines about millions more people filing for unemployment benefits have cast a fresh spotlight on the broken relationship some fear could hamper the federal government’s coronavirus response in the months ahead. Last month, as Washington crafted the most expensive stimulus package in U.S. history, the president left it to others to negotiate a $2.2 trillion economic relief package. Trump and Pelosi communicated with each other via Twitter and television or through intermediaries the other side could tolerate.