Entries by Diplomat Editor

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Saudi Arabia urges G20 virtual talk on coronavirus

Saudi Arabia plans to convene a virtual summit next week, bringing together the leaders from the Group of 20 major economies (G20) to address the coronavirus pandemic, as it also takes more drastic measures to contain the spread of the illness within the kingdom. Early on Wednesday, the country announced that mosques would no longer […]

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Facing ‘unprecedented’ crisis, airlines urge governments to help

Airlines made unprecedented cuts to flights, costs and staffing on Monday, stepping up calls for emergency aid as coronavirus lockdowns and new travel restrictions hit more important routes. Already battered shares in British Airways parent company International Airlines Group (IAG), easyJet and Air France-KLM plunged again as they scrapped most flights for the coming weeks, […]

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Europe readies for total lock-down over coronavirus

(Paris) – Europe readied itself for a total lock-down over the deadly coronavirus pandemic as the World Health Organization (WHO) called for the “boldest actions”. From France to Germany to Spain, millions were confined to their homes as shops and restaurants closed and borders were sealed, while European leaders edged towards banning non-essential travel to […]

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Iraqi President appoints new PM-designate

Iraqi President Barham Salih has appointed Adnan al-Zurfi as the country’s new prime minister-designate in the latest bid to resolve a months-long political crisis. Al-Zurfi has 30 days to form his cabinet which he must then put to a vote of confidence in Iraq’s fractious Parliament. The 54-year-old former governor of the holy Shia city […]

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Coronavirus is hitting entertainment events

Coronavirus has badly damaged the entertainment industry – with films, concerts, TV shows and theatre performances postponed or cancelled. Disney’s Mulan became the latest major film release to be delayed, following Fast & Furious 9, A Quiet Place 2 and the James Bond film No Time To Die. Broadway shows have shut down, while many […]

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Tokyo Olympics will go ahead, Japan’s PM

Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the Tokyo Olympic Games will go ahead as planned in July, despite coronavirus concerns resulting in the postponement of sporting events. Abe added the International Olympic Committee (IOC) would have the final decision whether Tokyo 2020 goes ahead. “We will overcome the spread of the infection and host the […]

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Australia orders all arrivals to self-isolate

Australia’s prime minister has ordered a 14-day self-isolation for anyone arriving in the country to try to halt the spread of the coronavirus. “This is very important,” Scott Morrison said at a briefing, adding that the measure would take effect from midnight on Sunday (13:00 GMT). The measures mirror those announced by New Zealand on […]

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GCC health ministers review anti-coronavirus measures

(Riyadh) – Gulf Cooperation Council, GCC, health ministers discussed the latest developments of the coronavirus, COVID-19, the current situation in each member country, including the procedures followed in outlets and statistics related to the novel virus. The meeting, which was conducted via a visual communications channel, also addressed the readiness of the health sector, media, […]

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WTO suspends meetings until end of April

(Geneva) – All World Trade Organisation, WTO, meetings are suspended until the end of April and Secretariat staff have been requested to work from home until the end of March. Director-General Roberto Azevedo has informed WTO members and staff that access to the organisation’s premises will be restricted as of 16th March. “In light of […]

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Australian politician Peter Dutton tests positive for coronavirus

(Sydney) – Senior Australian politician Peter Dutton tested positive for the new coronavirus and entered hospital quarantine, days after returning from Washington where he met Ivanka Trump and US Attorney General William Barr. Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton was in the United States last week for a meeting with members of the FiveEyes intelligence alliance […]

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Trump declares coronavirus national emergency

(Washington) – US President Donald Trump announced a national state of emergency, freeing up $50 billion in federal funds for the battle against the fast-spreading coronavirus pandemic. “To unleash the full power of the federal government, I´m officially declaring a national emergency,” Trump said in a statement on the White House lawn. He called on […]