Category: Opinion

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CBS MESSY


The South Carolina presidential Democratic debate quickly devolved into a scrappy schoolyard screaming match on Tuesday night — all of the candidates furiously talking over each other as the CBS moderators seemed helpless to do anything about it.

CBS News moderators Gayle King and Norah O’Donnell struggled to keep the unruly seven candidates in line as they rushed to attack Bernie Sanders who they now realize is on an unstoppable march to the nomination.

At one point, all of the candidates were wildly flapping their hands and yelling over each other before former veep Joe Biden chastised their on-stage decorum.

“I guess the only way to do this is jump in and speak twice as long as you should,” Biden said as ex South Bend-mayor Pete Buttigieg went on a long sermon about how Sanders would cost Democrats the House majority, a statistic based on polling conducted by Bloomberg’s campaign.

Showing more fire than he has in many debates, Biden shot back when Buttigieg and other candidates tried to cut him off after King has specifically called on him to speak.

“You spoke over your time so I’m going to talk,” the former veep bellowed at the rest of the crowded field to huge cheers from the crowd.

Biden is in a fight for his life in South Carolina ahead of Saturday’s primary, with Sanders and billionaire Tom Steyer swallowing his lead with black voters.



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**DRUDGE POLL** WHO WON DEM DEBATE IN CHARLESTON…



**DRUDGE POLL** WHO WON DEM DEBATE IN CHARLESTON...

(Top headline, 6th story, link)


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RESULTS…





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L I V E


Seven Democratic candidates for president will meet on the debate stage in Charleston, South Carolina, in a debate hosted by CBS News. It’s the last time the candidates will face off before Saturday’s critical South Carolina primary — and the last one before voters in 16 states and territories go to the polls on Super Tuesday, March 3.

“CBS Evening News” anchor and managing editor Norah O’Donnell and “CBS This Morning” co-host Gayle King will moderate the debate, joined in questioning by “Face the Nation” moderator and senior foreign affairs correspondent Margaret Brennan, chief Washington correspondent Major Garrett and “60 Minutes” correspondent Bill Whitaker.

Bernie Sanders is the frontrunner after his resounding victory in Nevada, which came after a win in New Hampshire and a popular vote lead in Iowa. 

It’s a must-win state for Joe Biden, who came in fourth in Iowa and fifth in New Hampshire before coming in second in Nevada. Biden had a 28-point lead in South Carolina the fall, but has narrowed down to a slim single-digit lead. 

According to the CBS News Battleground Tracker on February 23, Tom Steyer rocketed to third place in the state with 18%, followed by Elizabeth Warren with 12%. 

Pete Buttigieg, who finished with the most delegates in Iowa and second in New Hampshire, also needs a win after finishing third in Nevada. But he was polling fifth in the state with just 10% of the vote. 



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Next-generation Bush runs headlong into Trump's GOP…


Top party strategists believe his profile as the CEO of the largest Big Brothers Big Sisters affiliate in the country, and his family’s long-standing cachet in Texas, is precisely what they need to hold on to the state’s rapidly diversifying suburbs.

But first he has to make it through two rounds of GOP primaries in Donald Trump’s Republican Party, a test of the public’s appetite for a Bush — even in Texas — at a time when his family name has been disparaged by the president.

His predicament is an extreme version of the conundrum plaguing the party in swing districts: The candidate who’s perhaps best positioned to win sometimes struggles to gain traction in a system that rewards blind fealty to the president.

The open-seat race in Texas’ 22nd District, which spans the southern suburbs of Houston, has drawn a massive field of 15 Republicans. Most private polling indicates a fierce three-way battle to advance to a runoff from the March 3 primary, and a very real chance Bush gets boxed out.

His biggest competition: Kathaleen Wall, a Republican megadonor who has dumped millions of her own money on TV ads that heavily feature Trump and her slogan that “This Wall Will Build the Wall,” and Troy Nehls, sheriff of the largest county in the district, who made national news over a Facebook post in which he appeared to threaten disorderly conduct charges against the driver of a car with a profane anti-Trump bumper sticker.

Bush, 33, is facing questions about his level of commitment to Trump and the party’s agenda, fueled in part by his family’s fraught history with the president. He has made clear he is supportive of the president, though his political foes are quick to question the depth of that loyalty.

“It’s an honorable family, this and that,” Nehls said at a campaign fundraiser this month. “But again to try to come into a district that you haven’t lived and to try and convince people that you’re the one that’s going to go up and help Donald Trump accomplish his goals and objectives — I don’t think the people are buying it.”

Bush, who recently moved into the suburban district, has a carefully calibrated message about using conservative ideals to expand opportunity, fight socialism and find a way to ensure the GOP appeals to the changing demographics of the state and the district.

“When my uncle George ran for governor of Texas, nobody thought he could win. And he won by outreaching to all corners of the state,” Bush said in an interview, noting that in his uncle’s 1998 reelection campaign, he garnered nearly 50 percent of the Hispanic vote in the state.

“The guy embodied what it meant to be a compassionate leader, and someone who is really conclusive and understood that we have to be a big-tent party,” he said. “And, I don’t know — I just fundamentally believe that we have to embody that same strategy again.”

Bush is adamant his political worldview — and Texas’ lurch to the middle since 2016 — is not a rejection of Trump. He is quick to heap praise on the president’s economic record and job creation and predicts he will be handily reelected in November.

But looming over his campaign is the question of the staying power of the Bush brand, even in Texas. And his grandfather’s and uncles’ open distaste for Trump puts him in somewhat of a bind.

While canvassing one weekend this month in Pearland with his wife, Sarahbeth, and their Instagram-famous dog, Winston Moose, it took only a few minutes for Bush to run into a voter who called his grandfather “a good man.” But, he said, he would not be supporting any Republican for Congress.

“He was a good man, but why can’t you vote for us?” Bush asked.

The reply: “Because I don’t support the individual at the top.”

Bush takes family comments in stride and has a polite and friendly campaign-style. (He apologized for asking people to talk politics on a recent Saturday, gives his cell phone number to voters and leaves notes on campaign literature at houses where no one is home.)

Later, in another neighborhood, Bush knocked on the door of Jason Franco, a veteran who said he was “full Trump” and alluded to the Bush family’s skepticism of the current president. “Every family, though, has their own opinions,” Bush told him, prompting agreement from Franco.

Bush’s Republican opponents suggest his support for Trump is disingenuous. Some have highlighted a Facebook photo he posted in January 2017 that shows Bush and his sister at a New York march protesting Trump’s immigration policies.

Knowing that Trump would handily win Texas and out of concern about the tone of the 2016 race, Bush did not cast a vote in the presidential election but voted straight Republican down the ballot. He has since been very impressed with Trump, he said, particularly his economic achievements. He called Trump the right president for the current political climate — just as Ronald Reagan was the “perfect president” to bring down the Soviet Union, and his grandfather was “the perfect person” to end the Cold War.

“I think we needed a disrupter,” he said.

As for immigration, Bush said at a forum earlier this month he was against religious litmus tests when Trump first unveiled the “Muslim ban” but noted the policy had been reformed several times since it was first implemented. He defended Trump, citing his access to classified intelligence about the threats facing the country. “I’ve been honored to be close to some presidents during some really tough times, and the people that are in those rooms needed to be trusted,” he said.

But voters in this former GOP bastion are more skeptical of Trump, and Democrats see an opportunity to pad their House majority and inch closer to potentially putting Texas in play statewide. While Mitt Romney won the district by 25 points in 2012, Trump carried it by just 8 four years later. In 2018, Sen. Ted Cruz won by less than a point, and Rep. Pete Olson, the incumbent, is retiring this year after watching his victory margin fall from 19 points in 2016 to just 5 points last cycle.

Sri Kulkarni, a former foreign-service officer, is running again after a narrow loss and is redoubling his efforts to turn out new Democratic voters. Only 41 percent of the district’s residents are white, and Kulkarni has taken a particular focus on reaching out to new immigrants. In an interview after a meet-and-greet event, he suggested Bush was straddling an impossible line.

“You’ve got to choose whether you agree with the direction the Republican Party has gone, or not,” Kulkarni said. “You can’t just say, ‘Well, I 100 percent support Trump, and I’m inclusive.’ Those two things are not mutually compatible.”

Bush leans heavily on his non-profit background to set him apart in a crowded race. He joined Big Brothers Big Sisters Lone Star as a volunteer before rising through the ranks, and the Houston Chronicle touted his leadership of the group as part of the reasoning behind their recent endorsement.

Yet some prominent Houston Democrats who knew him through nonprofit circles said they were taken aback by his strong praise for Trump and his TV-ad pledge to “deport criminal illegals.”

“I’ve met him on more than one occasion — and, frankly, it’s been a surprise to me to hear his views on some stands knowing his Big Brothers Big Sisters sort-of philanthropic side,” said Rep. Sylvia Garcia (D-Texas), a long-time Houston politician who endorsed Kulkarni. “He has said some things that are concerning. It appears to be, like, out of character.”

Still, Bush clearly has a rapport with many of the immigrant communities in the district and appears to conduct more outreach than his leading rivals. He spent a recent Sunday bouncing between events hosted by two different minority groups.

Privately, some Republicans worry neither Nehls nor Wall will be able to gain traction in such a diverse district. Democrats plan to exploit both as immigration hard-liners. Nehls, the Fort Bend County sheriff, boasted in an interview of his record “of locking over 2,500 criminal illegal aliens in our jail and holding them for ICE.” Wall is attempting to position herself to Nehl’s right on the issue.

But both have perhaps a clearer shot to the runoff than Bush, who didn’t enter the race until just before the mid-December filing deadline. Wall has substantial name ID after a failed 2018 run in a neighboring district, and Nehls has a formidable base in Fort Bend.

Advocates for all of the top candidates have pitched people in the president’s political orbit on an endorsement, according to a source familiar with those conversations, though Trump has stayed out of the race thus far.

Bush’s path to victory is likely to raise the turnout in the March 3 race beyond the GOP activist class, and an early-vote analysis conducted by the Bush campaign found that 20 percent of Republicans who have voted early so far are participating in a Texas GOP primary for the first time. He also benefits from a super PAC advertising on his behalf.

Throughout the campaign he has deployed Uncle George W. Bush’s refrain that he gained half of his father’s friends when he entered politics as the son of a president — but all of his enemies.

The question now is how many friends remain in the Trump era.

At a recent crawfish boil fundraiser for Nehls, Mike Richards, a former state senator and radio host, said he was a longtime supporter of both Bush presidents, but that he could not endorse “the progeny” after the 2016 election.

Richards said he could no longer even bear to display a photo of him and his wife with George H.W. Bush.

“When he said that he voted for Hillary Clinton,” Richards said, “I took that picture down.”



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Down Syndrome no obstacle for aspiring French politician…


Arras (France) (AFP) – When the mayor of Arras, a town in northern France, asked her to stand as a candidate in upcoming municipal elections, Eleonore Laloux, who has Down Syndrome, did not hesitate.

“I would like Arras to change, for there to be improvements… mainly with regard to cleanliness and respect, but also accessibility” for disabled people, the 34-year-old administrative agent and activist told AFP.

“I am ready to make this change happen,” Laloux said at her apartment in the city centre, its walls dotted with photos of her posing with TV personalities.

If her campaign succeeds, she will become the country’s first serving municipal councillor with Down Syndrome.

Laloux, who lives alone, is fond of fashion and movies, and loves strumming her electric guitar.

She speaks with some difficulty but moves around with seeming ease. Big rings adorn her well-manicured hands, and trendy, multicoloured glasses frame her face.

For years, Laloux has fought for people with Down Syndrome and other disabilities to be able to live happier and more productive lives as fully integrated members of society.

“If I were to see Emmanuel Macron, I would tell him: ‘I have something to say to you — I would like us to talk a bit more about people with disabilities and above all about their inclusion’,” she said of the French president.

This month, Sophie Cluzel, deputy minister in charge of disabilities, urged political parties “to make place for handicapped people” on their candidates’ lists for local elections starting March 15.

Laloux is standing for the centrist “Arras pour Vous” (Arras for You) party of Mayor Frederic Leturque, who said “her courage and her perspective” would make a big difference to how the town is run.

“She will be a councillor like no other, but she will be a councillor in her own right,” he wrote on Facebook recently.

– ‘I know what I want’ –

“I am neither on the right nor the left, I am in the centre,” Laloux told AFP of her political leanings.

Her priorities are not ideological as much as personal: Laloux says she wants to “make perspectives change” about disabled people, and “improve accessibility” for them.

“This is a project close to my heart,” the candidate told AFP of her foray into the cutthroat world of electoral politics.

“The mayor trusts me because he knows I am a determined young woman who loves life. I know what I want, I have a crazy temperament but I am happy that Frederic accepts me as I am,” she said

Laloux already has an impressive resume, having worked for 14 years as an administrative agent at a private hospital.

On top of her day job, she is involved with the Down Up association in her home town, as well as the “Amis d’Eleonore” (The Friends of Eleonore) collective created by her parents, dedicated to helping people with mental disabilities.

In 2014, she published a book entitled “Triso et allors!” (Down Syndrome and So What!) about the obstacles she has had to overcome.

Laloux has fought long and hard to live a “normal” life, refusing to be defined by her handicap.

She went to a regular school, and left her parents’ home eight years ago to live on her own.

“I do a bit of cooking, I check my mails… I like to feel resourceful,” she said.

In her free time she likes putting on a DVD or listening to Bob Dylan, Blur and Radiohead.

– ‘Born different’ –

“We have always wanted for Eleonore, who was born different, to be able to live like anyone else,” her father Emmanuel Laloux, 66, told AFP.

“When you view a person through the prism of their inabilities… they will behave like a disabled person. But if you view them for their abilities, they can grow,” he said.

Emmanuel Laloux said he backed his daughter’s political ambitions on the proviso that her colleagues “truly take into account her needs in terms of intellectual accessibility”.

Leturque said special provisions would be made for Laloux, who he said would be “accompanied” in her duties by Sylvie Noclercq, Arras’ councillor for health and disability issues.

Macron hosted a national conference on disabilities this month, announcing that 15,000 assistants would be hired in the next two years to help handicapped children go to school.

According to government statistics, some 2.7 million people — out of a French population of almost 67 million — suffer a disability that results in some form of physical limitation.



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STOCKS: Worst two-day drop since '08…



STOCKS: Worst two-day drop since '08...

(Second column, 5th story, link)


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Man Accused of Trying to Blow Up Car in Pentagon Parking Lot…


(Updated at 1:50 p.m.) A 19-year-old man from Arkansas has been charged with trying to blow up a car in the Pentagon parking lot Monday morning.

The charges, announced Tuesday afternoon, follow a multi-hour search yesterday involving numerous law enforcement agencies, including Arlington County Police, that resulted in the man being arrested in Arlington National Cemetery.

More from a Justice Department press release:

An Arkansas man will make his initial appearance in federal court at 2 p.m. today on charges relating to his alleged attempt at blowing up a vehicle at the Pentagon yesterday.

According to court documents, Matthew Dmitri Richardson, 19, of Fayetteville, was discovered in the Pentagon North Parking lot yesterday morning by a Pentagon Police Officer on patrol. The officer allegedly observed Richardson standing next to a vehicle striking a cigarette lighter to a piece of fabric that was inserted into the vehicle’s gas tank.

After the officer approached Richardson, the defendant allegedly told the officer he was going to “blow this vehicle up” and “himself”. When the officer attempted to detain Richardson, Richardson pulled away and ran across the parking lot towards Virginia State Route 110 and onto Virginia State Route 27. A subsequent review of surveillance camera footage showed that Richardson jumped over a fence into Arlington National Cemetery. Richardson was later found by the Pentagon Force Protection Agency Police Emergency Response Team near Arlington House.

According to court documents, after a search of Richardson, officers allegedly discovered a cigarette lighter, gloves, and court documents related to Richardson’s arrest on or about February 22 for two counts of felony assault on a law enforcement officer in Arlington County.

According to court documents, the owner of the vehicle is an active duty servicemember and does not know Richardson.

Richardson was arrested yesterday and is charged with maliciously attempting to damage and destroy by means of fire, a vehicle used in and affecting interstate and foreign commerce. If convicted, he faces a mandatory minimum of five years in prison and a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Woodrow G. Kusse, Chief of Pentagon Police, made the announcement. Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul Embroski and Assistant U.S. Attorney Marc J. Birnbaum are prosecuting the case.

Arlington County Police assisted federal police agencies in the search for the man on Monday.

Arlington officers were dispatched to the area around Arlington National Cemetery around 11 a.m. to look for a man who, according to initial reports, might have intended to light himself on fire. They were joined by Pentagon police, Fort Myer police and U.S. Park Police in searching for the man.

According to ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage, Arlington police assisted with maintaining a perimeter around the search area and brought a K-9 officer to help with the search.

The U.S. Park Police Eagle 1 helicopter also hovered overhead during the manhunt, looking for the individual throughout the sprawling cemetery grounds and amid throngs of visitors.

The man was seen behaving strangely in the Pentagon parking lot, before fleeing across Washington Blvd and into the cemetery, according to various news reports on Monday. A Dept. of Defense spokeswoman said he was apprehended around 1 p.m. and was subsequently questioned by Pentagon police and the FBI.

Savage said Pentagon Force Protection officers made the arrest and directed further questions to the military.

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf



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CDC OUTLINES PLANS


People wait in a line to buy face masks at a retail store in the southeastern city of Daegu, South Korea on February 25, 2020.

JUNG YEON-JE | AFP via Getty Images

This is a live blog. Please check back for updates.

All times below are in Eastern time.

  • Total confirmed cases: More than 80,200
  • Total deaths: At least 2,704

1:09 pm: Economic fallout from coronavirus appears ‘much worse’ than SARS

The economic drag from the new coronavirus will turn out to be larger than SARS, according to Gene Seroka, executive director of the Port of Los Angeles. Seroka was working in Shanghai during the 2002-2003 SARS outbreak. “At that time, we were all grounded,” he told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Tuesday. “This appears to be much worse because of the number of folks who were infected and the lack of productivity.” While estimates vary, economists believe SARS cost the global economy about $40 billion. — Belvedere

12:54 pm: Romania confirms first case as Italy reports more deaths

Romania confirmed its first case — a man who returned three weeks ago from Italy, television station Realitatea Plus said, quoting medical sector sources. In Italy, three more people infected with the coronavirus have died, bringing the death toll there to 10, the chief of the Civil Protection agency said. The number of cases in Italy more than doubled in the last day, topping 322 as of Tuesday morning, according to Italian health officials. The contagion was particularly strong in the northern regions of Lombardy and Veneto, the country’s industrial and financial heartland. Italy’s neighboring countries have committed not to close their borders, Health Minister Roberto Speranza said, as Rome’s government struggles to contain the biggest coronavirus outbreak in Europe. —Reuters with CNBC

A health worker screens the temperature of an airline passenger arriving from Italy at Debrecen International Airport in Debrecen, Hungary, on Monday, Feb. 24, 2020.

Bloomberg

12:34 pm: US health secretary Azar says more cases likely, seeks more funding

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said there will likely be more cases of coronavirus in the United States as he asked a Senate subcommittee to approve $2.5 billion in funding to fight the outbreak after proposing cuts to the department’s budget. Azar said the funding would help the U.S. expand surveillance systems for the fast-spreading virus, support state and local governments, help development of vaccines and therapies and expand stockpiles of protective equipment like surgical masks. He said the U.S. currently has a stockpile of 30 million surgical masks, but HHS estimates suggest the country needs 300 million masks. —Reuters

12:28 pm: Macy’s is planning for a coronavirus hit

Macy’s warned investors that the coronavirus outbreak, which has shuttered commerce across China and sent markets spiraling, could hit the department store chain, too. The virus could disrupt Macy’s operations in three ways, CEO and Chairman Jeff Gennette said on the company’s fourth-quarter earnings call, if it affects employees, international tourism and supply chain. “While still too early to estimate, we anticipate that there could be a small impact on first-quarter sales from international tourism,” he said. “With respect to the supply chain, we are working with our vendor partners to minimize any possible disruption.” —Feuer

12:22 pm: Goldman steps up staff travel restrictions as coronavirus spreads

Goldman Sachs has restricted all business travel to, from and within South Korea and the Northern Italian regions of Lombardy and Veneto in the wake of the coronavirus spread, a staff memo seen by Reuters shows. The Wall Street lender has also advised staff to postpone all non-essential travel to, from and within the rest of Italy, as well as other parts of Asia, excluding Australia, New Zealand and India, the memo said. Staff who have visited South Korea or the impacted regions of Italy have been asked to ‘self-isolate’ and stay away from the office for a minimum of 14 days. —Reuters

12:01 pm: CDC outlines what closing schools, businesses would look like in US pandemic

The CDC outlined what schools and businesses will likely need to do if the COVID-19 virus becomes an epidemic outbreak in the U.S. Schools should consider dividing students into smaller groups or close and use “internet-based tele-schooling,” Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, told reporters on a conference call. “For adults, businesses can replace in-person meetings with video or telephone conferences and increase teleworking options,” Messonnier said. She said local communities and cities may need to “modify, postpone or cancel mass gatherings.” Hospitals may need to triage patients differently, add more tele-health services and delay elective surgery, she said. “We are asking the American public to work with us to prepare for the expectation that this is going to be bad,” she said. —Lovelace, Feuer

11:37 am: Bahrain reports 6 new cases of coronavirus coming from Iran

Bahrain has identified six more new cases of coronavirus all coming from Iran, taking the total number in the Gulf kingdom to 23, the state news agency BNA reported, citing the health ministry.In a precautionary measure to limit the spread of the virus, the education ministry said all public and private schools, including kindergartens, would be closed for two weeks from Wednesday, BNA added.

11:30 am: CDC confirms 53 US cases

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed 53 cases in the U.S., a majority of which came from passengers repatriated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship that was quarantined off the coast of Japan. The CDC updated its case count on its website late Monday. The data shows that 36 of the cases are attributed to the cruise ship, three patients were infected in Wuhan and later evacuated to the U.S. and the rest were largely infected while traveling overseas. Just two cases were contracted through person-to-person contact in the U.S., the CDC said. —Kopecki

11:23 am: Trump sows confusion in discussing vaccine

President Donald Trump told reporters that “we’re very close to a vaccine” while answering questions about the COVID-19 outbreak during a state visit to India, prompting outlets from the Jerusalem Post to the New York Post to write that Trump said the U.S. was close to finding a vaccine for the deadly new coronavirus. The White House later said Trump was referring to the Ebola vaccine— not the coronavirus. —Breuninger

10:17 am: Switzerland confirms first case of coronavirus as franc climbs

Switzerland has confirmed its first case of coronavirus, the Federal Office of Public Health said. Further details will be provided at 11 a.m. ET, the health department said. The Swiss franc, meanwhile, climbed to its highest level since July 2015 against a struggling euro on Monday as concerns about the spread of the coronavirus drove investors into safe-haven assets. The franc, traditionally sought in times of uncertainty, rose to 1.0604 versus the euro, a 4-1/2 year peak and a higher value than it reached after Britain’s shock vote to leave the European Union in June 2016. — Reuters

9:53 am: WHO holds press conference on outbreak

World Health Organization officials are holding a press conference at 10 a.m. ET to update the public on the coronavirus outbreak. WHO officials declared the virus a global health emergency last month, while urging the public against over-reacting to the virus. In the past week, the virus has spread substantially beyond China. The localized outbreaks in places such as Italy and Iran are fueling concerns among infectious disease experts and scientists that the virus is spreading too quickly and may be past the point of containment. Health officials are warning the public to prepare for a potential global pandemic. Watch the live press conference here.

9:33 am: Oman identifies two more cases of new coronavirus

Oman has identified two more cases of the new coronavirus, bringing the total number to four, its ministry of health said in a tweet on Tuesday. The two new cases are “linked to travel to Iran”, the ministry said. —Reuters

8:47 am: US plans trial of Gilead drug remdesivir

The U.S. is planning a clinical trial of Gilead’s experimental drug for the novel coronavirus, according to a posting on a government clinical trials database. The trial, run by the University of Nebraska Medical Center along with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, will be conducted at up to 50 sites globally and will test the medicine, called remdesivir, against placebo, according to the protocol, which was posted Friday. —Tirrell

8:18 am: Austria confirms first two cases

Austria has confirmed its first two cases of coronavirus, health officials in Tyrol province said. The patients are two Italians who live in Tyrol and were probably infected on a trip to Italy’s Lombardy region, Tyrol Gov. Guenther Platter was quoted as saying by local media. Tyrol and Carinthia are the two Austrian provinces that border northern Italy. TV station ORF said the two 24-year-olds had reported themselves to the authorities. They had a slight fever and were under isolation in an Innsbruck hospital. —Reuters

7:43 am: US airlines waive cancellation fees for South Korea flights after CDC issues travel warning

U.S. airlines said they would waive cancellation and change fees for travelers booked to South Korea as the coronavirus spreads beyond China, prompting a warning from government officials about travel there. Earlier on Monday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned travelers to avoid nonessential travel to South Korea, where the disease has sickened close to 1,000 people. Delta Air Lines’ travelers who booked tickets to Seoul through April 30 can change flights until May 31 or cancel their trips without paying a fee, the airline said. American Airlines’ customers booked to Seoul through April 24 can change their flights without paying a date-change fee, or they can cancel the trip altogether. Those travelers can also change the origin or destination of their trips to Tokyo, and take another plane to or from South Korea. United Airlines issued a similar waiver for Seoul. —Josephs

6:45 am: Iran’s deputy health minister tests positive for coronavirus

Iran’s deputy health minister has tested positive for the coronavirus, according to a report from the semi-official ILNA news agency. It comes shortly after a spokesperson for the Islamic Republic’s health ministry said 95 people had been infected with the coronavirus, with 16 deaths nationwide. Iran has recorded the highest number of deaths from the coronavirus outside of China. —Meredith

6:30 am: Chinese city announces 14-day quarantine in free hotels for travelers from Japan, South Korea

The eastern city of Weihai has announced that all travelers returning from Japan and South Korea will need to stay in hotels for a 14-day quarantine. Accommodations will be free. The move comes amid intensifying concerns on China’s social media platform Weibo over a growing number of coronavirus cases in South Korea. The measures, effective Tuesday, are meant “to minimize the chance of cross-infection,” according to a CNBC translation of the Chinese-language announcement. Weihai, in Shandong province, is about a two-hour flight from Seoul. —Wu

5:55 am: WHO says countries must be prepared for coronavirus ‘literally knocking at the door’

The World Health Organization warned countries around the world they must be ready for the fast-spreading coronavirus to be “literally knocking at the door.” Speaking in Geneva, WHO spokesperson Christian Lindmeier said that while many countries had “pandemic plans” on standby, the United Nations health agency does not plan to make a “big announcement.” It comes amid intensifying concern about the coronavirus outbreak, with the deadly virus spreading to more than two dozen countries in recent weeks. As of Tuesday, China’s National Health Commission reported 77,658 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 2,663 deaths nationwide.

5:35 am: Iran urges people to stay at home as coronavirus death toll climbs to 16

Iran’s health ministry reportedly urged citizens to stay at home on Tuesday, following a sharp uptick of confirmed coronavirus cases nationwide. Kianoush Jahanpour, a spokesperson for the Islamic Republic’s health ministry, said via state television that 95 people had been infected with the coronavirus, with 16 deaths nationwide. Iran has recorded the highest number of deaths from coronavirus outside China. Several countries have suspended flights to Iran in a bid to prevent the outbreak, while some neighboring countries have closed their borders. —Meredith

A man wears a protective mask while riding a bus in the Iranian capital Tehran on February 24, 2020.

ATTA KENARE | AFP via Getty Images

4:40 am: Canary Islands hotel reportedly under lockdown after tourist tests positive

Hundreds of staff and tourists staying at a hotel in Spain’s Canary Islands were put under lockdown on Tuesday, El Pais newspaper reported. One person who had stayed at the establishment was later found to have tested positive for the coronavirus. A spokesperson for the Canary Island’s health department told Reuters on Tuesday that health checks were underway for those who had contact with the patient — thought to be Spain’s third case of COVID-19. As of Monday, the World Health Organization had identified two cases of the coronavirus in Spain. —Meredith

Read CNBC’s coverage from CNBC’s Asia-Pacific and Europe teams overnight here: Iran’s deputy health minister reportedly tests positive for virus

Reuters and CNBC’s Noah Higgins-Dunn, Kevin Breuninger, Meg Tirrell, Leslie Josephs, Sam Meredith and Weizhen Tan contributed to this report.



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John Oliver show criticizing Modi blocked by DISNEY…


HBO’s “Last Week Tonight” was blocked from appearing this week in India by a local streaming provider run by Disney after host John Oliver criticized Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the episode.

Bloomberg reported Tuesday that Indian users of Hotstar, Disney’s streaming platform for the country, were unable to find the latest episode of “Last Week Tonight” as it aired on HBO in the U.S. and other countries Sunday evening.

A request for comment to Hotstar representatives from Bloomberg was not returned, but Indian government officials contended that no pressure had been put on the company to not air the episode.

In the episode, Oliver addressed President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump suggests Sotomayor, Ginsburg should have to recuse themselves on ‘Trump related’ cases Sanders says idea he can’t work with Republicans is ‘total nonsense’ Sanders releases list of how to pay for his proposals MORE‘s two-day visit to the country this week as well as criticism of Modi’s government, telling viewers that “the only glimmer of hope here” in Trump’s visit was “that for perhaps the first time in Modi’s whole career, his actions are creating a massive and sustained backlash.”

News of the episode being pulled from the air in India comes after an episode of Hasan Minhaj’s “Patriot Act” was pulled from Netflix streaming services in Saudi Arabia due to Minhaj’s criticism of Mohammed bin Salman, the country’s crown prince.

Trump visited India this week as Modi’s guest. The visit was marked with violent demonstrations in New Delhi as protesters clashed with supporters of a new Indian citizenship law that favors non-Muslims.



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RAHM EMANUEL ISSUES DIRE WARNING…


CHICAGO (CBS) – Former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel had a clear warning for Democrats: A primary victory for Bernie Sanders puts the whole future of the party at risk.

“His candidacy is built on a false premise, strategically and policy-wise,” Emanuel, who served in both Clinton and Obama administrations, said of the far left candidate on CBS This Morning.

Sanders, he said, is playing with political fire by dismissing moderate Democrats.

“Bernie Sanders view is, I don’t want these moderate and fickle voters. We just have to turn out our base,” Emanuel said. “His view is, forget the center, we just want to be left. And that’s never been tried.”

Emanuel pointed to six elections—the four presidential wins by Clinton and Obama and the two midterms in 2006 and 2018—in which a center left strategy and “big urban and suburban turnout” were the keys to victory.

Sanders, who has emerged as the front runner after early primaries, is “an ideological risk policy-wise. I don’t think there are 70 million waiting socialists to be woken, who don’t know they are socialists yet.”

He cited Illinois House districts, which are traditionally conservative but were flipped blue in 2018. None of those candidates has rushed to back Sanders. Similar seats nationwide are in jeopardy without a plan to reach moderate voters at the top of the ticket, he said.

“It’s survival. That means you are not only risking the presidency, the Senate and the House, the governorships and all the statehouses for redistricting.”

Emanuel also had a harsh critique for billionaire Mike Bloomberg, who surged in the polls with big ad spends, but had a disastrous first debate last week.

The former New York mayor, Emanuel said, “was not ready for what was happening on the debate stage.”

He questioned why Bloomberg rushed onto that platform, when spending money on ads was working so well for him. “It exposed the fact that he wasn’t ready for prime time.”



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