Category: Opinion


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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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.


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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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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10-Year-Old Android and Her 'Daddy'…

Sandra Wollner’s drama about a 10-year-old android and her “Daddy” could prove to be one of the festival’s most divisive.

Landing under the auspices of the Berlinale’s newly introduced Encounters strand aimed at fostering “aesthetically and structurally daring works,” The Trouble With Being Born, having its world premiere Thursday, could well end up being the most daring – not to mention divisive – film in a festival not known for holding back on provocation.

The second feature from Austrian director Sandra Wollner, the drama – which already landed on a list of the Berlinale’s weirdest films based on the synopsis alone – begins gently enough, with a young girl lazing by a pool under the summer sun, discussing memories of her mother with her loving father. But as the scenes unravel it becomes clear that all is not as innocent as it first seemed.

Despite a remarkably lifelike appearance, the child – Elli – is actually an android, her memories programmed. And it doesn’t take long to realise that there’s something else to her relationship with this very human, very middle-aged man she calls “Daddy.”

Much of the nocturnal activity is only implied (perhaps leading many to question the depths of their own imagination), but there are moments where there’s absolutely no doubt as to the rather envelope-pushing direction the film is taking. 

Wollner says the story was aimed at being an “antithesis to Pinocchio” (funnily enough, also showing at the festival, although without so many nods towards paedophilia), or Stanley Kubrick’s A.I., where the central character dreams of becoming human.

“What I found interesting about it is that we have an android whose only desires are the ones you program it to have,” she says. “I found it fascinating to show the perspective of the world through this machine that does not judge and does not care, and doesn’t need the meanings that we do.”

Making such a film didn’t come with its difficulties, not least around the central role, played by the 10-year-old Lena Watson (a stage name inspired by her idol Emma Watson). Wollner admits she was initially “scared” about choosing a child for the part (she had originally planned to cast a 20-year-old but then changed her mind, rewriting the script and removing several more explicit elements).

Looking for Watson was – perhaps obviously – slightly removed from your average casting call, the filmmakers not merely wanting someone who suited the part but also a child Wollner says, “Came from a healthy environment,” with the sort of open-minded family who would understand the story they wanted to tell and also allow them to do it. In the end, she says it was “pure luck” in finding their android Elli, who was known by a friend of a friend.

“We had really honest talks with the family, who were there during the shoot. It was very open, very transparent. And of course we talked to [Watson] about the film in a very child-appropriate way.”

Understandably, the few nude scenes were all created via VFX with Watson in a bikini and covered in dots (“Of course we didn’t have a minor running around naked,” says Wollner). The young actress also wore a silicone mask and wig everyday, which served a dual purpose, not just hiding her real identity but also helping her resemble another actress who appears later in the film.

“She actually had a lot of fun, I think – we actually had a really good time, although one might not think that!”

Wollner says she’s curious to see how audiences respond to The Trouble With Being Born, and admits a pre-festival test screening already resulted in several walkouts.

“But with my last film [The Impossible Picture] a lot of people walked out as well,” she laughs. “I mean, we were very lucky and it was quite successful [Wollner received the German Film Critics’ Award in 2019]. But still, people walked out so I cannot imagine it’s not going to happen now.”

That said, one elderly guest at an early screening did have some words of encouragement that could keep people from heading for the exit.

Says Wollner: “She was a bit confused and found it a bit provocative, but then she said, ‘at least I can say it’s not boring.'”

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The 10-year Treasury yield fell to a record low as coronavirus fears raised concerns about global economic growth and sent investors scrambling into the safety of U.S. government bonds.

The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note, which moves inversely to price, fell about more than 5 basis points to 1.32%, below its previous record low of 1.325% set on July 6, 2016 in the aftermath of Brexit.

The yield on the 30-year Treasury bond tumbled more than 3 basis points to a new all-time low of 1.798%. The long-duration rate has plunged about 40 basis points this year.

A sharp rise in cases of the new coronavirus in Italy, South Korea and the Middle East sparked fears of a global pandemic that will slow the world economy, sending investors running for cover.

Total confirmed cases globally have surged to more than 80,200 and at least 2,704 people have died of the coronavirus. Overnight, South Korea reported 60 new cases to bring the country’s total to 893 infected, while China’s National Health Commission reported 508 new confirmed cases and 71 new deaths.

Stocks were falling sharply along with the tumbling yields on Tuesday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 250 points after suffering its worst day of losses in two years in the previous session.

“Price action in assets generally over the last two days suggest that finally the market is pricing in a growth impact from Coronavirus,” Priya Misra, head of global rates strategy at TD Securities, said in an email to CNBC. “If the virus continues to spread, risk assets can come under a lot of pressure and Treasury rates have room to decline more. I think the Fed will come into play with a significant shock to growth and risk assets.”

Fed rate cut?

Amid the escalated coronavirus fears, traders are now pricing in a more than 50% chance of an interest rate cut at the Federal Reserve’s April meeting, according to the CME. The market also assigns a 40% of three cuts before the end of 2020.

“The futures market is currently pricing in a Fed rate cut this summer as our Treasury market chases the global fixed income market to zero,” Andrew Thrasher, founder of Thrasher Analytics, said in a note Tuesday. “I’m not one who believes we’ll see negative rates in the U.S., but with global investors chasing after U.S. assets, specifically fixed income, there’s significant pressure on rates to stay low.”

Yields also retreated Tuesday after data showed consumer confidence rose less than expected in February as people’s assessment of current conditions wavered, fueling concerns about an economic slowdown.

With the conoravirus disrupting the global supply chain, Goldman Sachs slashed its U.S. GDP forecast for the first quarter to just 1.2%, drastically slower than the 2.1% increase in the fourth quarter and 2.3% for the full year 2019. The bank also cut its economic outlook for China.

Many investors have blamed global central banks’ persistent monetary easing measures for the falling yields. Global policy makers have been slashing interest rates at the fastest pace since the financial crisis, with more than 25 cuts since the start of 2019, according to Deutsche Bank. About $15 trillion of government bonds worldwide now trade at negative yields, the bank said.

— CNBC’s Thomas Franck and Elliott Smith contributed reporting.

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Extreme Panic Could Soon Hit USA…

U.S. government officials are doing their best to keep the general population calm, but everyone can see what is happening in the rest of the world.  There are now empty store shelves in Italy just like there are in China.  People are waiting in extremely long lines to buy masks in South Korea just like we saw in Hong Kong.  And victims are literally collapsing in public in Iran just like we witnessed in Wuhan.  This coronavirus outbreak is rapidly becoming a true global pandemic, and the panic that this has caused on Wall Street resulted in a 1,031 point drop for the Dow Jones Industrial Average on Monday.  Fear is rising all over the planet, and many believe that it is just a matter of time before the same things that are happening elsewhere start happening here.


Originally, 99 percent of the confirmed cases were in China, but now the rest of the globe is starting to catch up.

In fact, the number of confirmed cases outside of China has gotten more than 10 times larger over the last three weeks.

If we continue to see that sort of exponential growth we will soon be facing a nightmare of epic proportions.

In Italy, the number of confirmed cases went from a handful to 229 in just a matter of days.  Authorities are desperate to stop this sudden outbreak, and so at this point much of northern Italy is being shut down…

Checkpoints block entry to a dozen towns across northern Italy. Milan’s landmark cathedral and opera house lie empty. Venice’s Carnival was ordered closed two days early. Schools are shuttered, soccer matches called off.

Realizing that they may have to stay home for an extended period of time, many in northern Italy have been “panic buying” food…

People in several regions of Italy have reacted to coronavirus spreading throughout the country by panic buying, leaving some store shelves empty.

With 165 people infected, Italy has the most coronavirus victims out of any country in Europe. Five people have died.

Footage out of Milan shot yesterday shows some products almost or entirely out of stock.

Once this virus starts spreading rapidly inside the United States, the same thing will start happening here.

So you might want to take this opportunity to stock up on the things you will need while you still can.

In South Korea, the number of confirmed cases has now risen to 833, and the national government has raised the alert level to the highest possible level…

Meanwhile, South Korea reported another spike in new coronavirus cases on Monday, bringing its total to 833 cases with seven deaths. South Korean President Moon Jae-in has raised the national alert level for the virus to “highest,” the first time the country has done so in 11 years.

Just like we have seen elsewhere in Asia, demand for face masks is off the charts.  In fact, at one South Korean store there were literally “hundreds of people” lined up around the block to buy masks…

Aerial footage shows hundreds of people lining up around the block to buy face masks in Daegu as most of the new South Korean cases of coronavirus were traced to the city.

Here in the U.S., there will come a point where masks are not available for the general public at all if this outbreak gets bad enough.

So if you think that you may need masks, you should grab them now while you still can.

The other day my wife checked our local Home Depot, and there were only a few left on the shelves.  They are still available in most areas, but supplies are definitely getting tighter.

In Iran, it is being claimed that infected people are literally collapsing in the streets, and one Iranian politician is saying that the true death toll is far higher than the government is reporting…

CORONAVIRUS has claimed the lives of “50 people” in just one single Iranian city, a politician has claimed, accusing the government of covering up the true seriousness of the outbreak.

And one expert in infectious diseases has suggested the country could become a “hotspot” for “seeding” countries outside Iran with the virus, officially known as Covid-19. The Iranian Government this morning put the total number of deaths for the entire country at 12 – but Ahmad Amirabadi Farhani, a Parliamentary representative for the city of Qom, insisted the true figure was many times higher. The semi-official ILNA news agency reported Mr Farhani as saying: “Up until last night, around 50 people died from coronavirus. The health minister is to blame.”

Is that true?

Have approximately 50 people already died in Iran?

If that is accurate, that is an extremely ominous sign.

This certainly has the potential to become a truly horrifying global pandemic, and the World Health Organization is warning that the world is “not ready for a major outbreak”…

As new cases of the coronavirus spiked on two continents, the World Health Organization warned on Monday that the world was not ready for a major outbreak, even as it praised China’s aggressive efforts to wrest the epidemic under control.

After two weeks on the ground in China, a team sent by the W.H.O. concluded that the draconian measures China imposed a month ago may have saved hundreds of thousands of people from infection. Such measures — sealing off cities, shutting down businesses and schools, ordering people to remain indoors — have provoked anger in China and could be difficult to replicate in democratic countries with a greater emphasis on protecting civil liberties.

Despite all of the measures that have been taken to control the spread of this virus, it just continues to pop up in more areas around the globe.

So how bad could this outbreak eventually become?

Well, Harvard epidemiology professor Marc Lipsitch believes that “40 to 70 percent of people around the world will be infected” by the time this crisis is over…

In an article entitled You’re Likely to Get the Coronavirus, the Atlantic explains how the coronavirus is particularly dangerous because it may cause cause no symptoms at all in many carriers of the infection.

According to Harvard epidemiology professor Marc Lipsitch, this contributes to his prediction that coronavirus “will ultimately not be containable.”

“Lipsitch predicts that, within the coming year, some 40 to 70 percent of people around the world will be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19,” reports the Atlantic.

If that projection ends up being accurate, the death toll will be in the millions.

We should truly hope that Lipsitch and the other experts that are warning of imminent doom are dead wrong.

But we would also be exceedingly foolish to completely ignore their warnings.

These scientists have been studying infectious diseases throughout their entire careers, and now they are telling us that the next great global pandemic has arrived.

If that is true, all of our lives are about to change in a major way.

Personally, I am still hoping for the best, but I am also checking the latest numbers coming in from all over the globe multiple times per day.

About the Author: I am a voice crying out for change in a society that generally seems content to stay asleep. My name is Michael Snyder and I am the publisher of The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News, and the articles that I publish on those sites are republished on dozens of other prominent websites all over the globe. I have written four books that are available on including The Beginning Of The End, Get Prepared Now, and Living A Life That Really Matters. (#CommissionsEarned) By purchasing those books you help to support my work. I always freely and happily allow others to republish my articles on their own websites, but due to government regulations I need those that republish my articles to include this “About the Author” section with each article. In order to comply with those government regulations, I need to tell you that the controversial opinions in this article are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the websites where my work is republished. This article may contain opinions on political matters, but it is not intended to promote the candidacy of any particular political candidate. The material contained in this article is for general information purposes only, and readers should consult licensed professionals before making any legal, business, financial or health decisions. Those responding to this article by making comments are solely responsible for their viewpoints, and those viewpoints do not necessarily represent the viewpoints of Michael Snyder or the operators of the websites where my work is republished. I encourage you to follow me on social media on Facebook and Twitter, and any way that you can share these articles with others is a great help.


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EL-ERIAN warns: 'This is different'…

Economist Mohamed El-Erian told CNBC on Tuesday that investors should hold off on buying equities that were hit hard in the latest coronavirus-driven plunge.

“I stress, this is different,” the Allianz chief economic advisor said in a “Squawk Box” interview, a day after the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged over 1,000 points or 3.5%, in its worst single-session in more than two years.

Just because buying market dips has worked in the past does not mean it’s going to work this time, he said. “I would continue to resist, as hard as it is, to simply buy the dip.”

Disruptions to corporate earnings and economic growth from “shock” events such as the coronavirus tend to stick around longer than more fundamental downturns, said El-Erian.

“We’re going to have a lot of risk-aversion on the part of economic actors. It’s going to take time,” he said. “Economic sudden stops are hard to restart.”

The World Health Organization on Tuesday warned countries around the world to ready for the coronavirus to come “knocking at the door.”

On Feb. 3, El-Erian first warned investors not to buy market drops as they might have in the past. He said at the time that the coronavirus is going to “paralyze China,” adding that it will “cascade throughout the global economy.”

That’s exactly what’s happening.

The spike of coronavirus cases beyond China, specifically in South Korea and Italy, sparked concerns about a prolonged global slowdown due to the outbreak and erased $1.7 trillion in global stock market values Monday.

U.S. stock futures were pointing to about a 100-point higher Tuesday open on Wall Street for the Dow.

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