Germany Shuts Down As New Virus Curbs Spur Anger And Frustration

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Despite sporadic popular protests, Germany on Monday led a tightening of coronavirus curbs in many parts of Europe while the Covid-19 crisis deepened in the United States on election eve.

The virus has infected over 46 million people worldwide, with more than 1.2 million deaths, and the acute outbreaks in Europe and America are sparking further alarm about the state of the already devastated global economy.





The coronavirus has infected tens of millions of people worldwide, with close to 1.2 million deaths
 AFP / Luka GONZALES

To curb the spike in Germany, Europe’s biggest economy, Chancellor Angela Merkel appealed to citizens to help achieve a “turnaround” by respecting a new round of shutdowns from Monday until the end of the month.

Germans will not be confined to their homes, but bars, cafes and restaurants must close, as well as theatres, operas and cinemas.



Graphic highlighting the countries with the largest number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in the past week.


Graphic highlighting the countries with the largest number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in the past week.
 AFP / John SAEKI

Looking ahead to the festive season, Merkel ruled out any “lavish New Year’s Eve parties”, but held out hope that families would be allowed to celebrate Christmas together.

The frustration over the economic and social cost

Campaigning At Hectic Pace, Trump Vows To Disprove Polls

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Donald Trump vowed to again defy the polls as he sprinted through five swing states Sunday in a blitz of campaigning against Joe Biden with just two days left before a US presidential election that has already mobilized a record number of early voters.

The last-minute scramble came as polls showed Biden maintaining his overall lead but with some slight tightening in key states including Pennsylvania, where he leads by four points, and Florida, now a tossup, according to a RealClearPolitics average of polls.





US battleground states
 AFP / Sophie RAMIS

“We’re now leading,” Trump insisted before a raucous rally of supporters in Washington Township, Michigan. “Look, we’re leading in Florida. We’re leading in Georgia… They say it’s a very close race in Texas. I don’t think so. They did that four years ago and I won in a landslide.”

Snow flurries fell on Trump and the crowd as he shivered and joked repeatedly about the brisk winds and freezing conditions.



President Donald Trump -- pictured at a rally in Tampa, Florida -- has stuck to his strategy of downplaying the danger of the coronavirus and calling for businesses to reopen


President Donald Trump — pictured at a rally in Tampa, Florida — has stuck to his strategy of downplaying the danger of the coronavirus and calling for businesses to reopen
 AFP / Brendan Smialowski

He warned, in a state

Johnson Announces Month-long Virus Lockdown For England

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Saturday announced a new four-week coronavirus lockdown across England, a dramatic shift in strategy following warnings hospitals would become overwhelmed within weeks under his current system of localised restrictions.

Under the stringent new rules set to come into force from Thursday, people must stay at home except in cases where exemptions apply, such as for work, education or exercise, while all but essential shops will close.

In contrast to the months-long UK-wide lockdown earlier this year, schools, colleges and universities will remain open.

But pubs and restaurants will shut unless serving takeaway food, while all leisure and entertainment venues and non-essential shops will close.

The restrictions are planned to end on December 2.

“Now is the time to take action because there’s no alternative,” Johnson said at a Downing Street news conference after convening his Cabinet earlier in the day to sign off on the plan.

“We have got to be humble in the face of nature. In this country, alas, as in much of Europe, the virus is spreading even faster than the reasonable worst-case scenario of our scientific advisers,” he added.





Other parts of the UK have already imposed more restrictions to slow

US Salutes Greece, Turkey Earthquake Diplomacy

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The United States on Friday hailed diplomacy between uneasy neighbors Greece and Turkey following a major earthquake and said it was ready to assist the NATO allies.

“It’s great to see both countries putting their differences aside to help each other during a time of need. The United States also stands ready to assist,” said Robert O’Brien, the national security advisor.

At least 14 people died in the 7.0-magnitude quake near the Greek island of Samos, with much of the damage in the coastal Turkish city of Izmir.

State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus offered US condolences for the loss of life and said the United States was “heartened” by cooperation between the Turkish and Greek foreign ministers.





Rescuers search for survivors in a collapsed building in the Turkish city of Izmir after a powerful earthquake
 AFP / Berkcan ZENGIN

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis placed a rare call to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan after the earthquake.

“Whatever our differences, these are times when our people need to stand together,” Mitsotakis said on Twitter.

Erdogan aide Fahrettin Altun tweeted that the disaster “reminds us once again how close we are despite our differences over policy.”

Tensions have soared in recent

Netflix Shares Rise As It Lifts Prices On US Subscriptions

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Shares of Netflix jumped Thursday after the streaming service raised prices in the US for two of its subscription offerings.

The new prices, listed on the company’s website, increase the monthly price for its “standard” service by $1 to $13.99, and raised the “premium” service $2 to $17.99.

The products allow subscribers to view or download shows on more than one screen at the same time and provide high definition broadcast.

These features are not available on the “basic” streaming service, for which the price remained unchanged at $8.99 a month.

Netflix did not immediately respond to a request for comment.





Netflix increased prices on two of its US subscriptions, boosting shares
 AFP / Olivier DOULIERY

The streaming service, which has been seen as a big winner during the coronavirus pandemic with more consumers at home, hinted that higher prices could be coming during an earnings conference call earlier this month.

Company officials said at the time that Netflix had resumed production for hit shows including “Stranger Things” and “The Witcher,” as well as on an action film starring Gal Gadot, Dwayne Johnson, and Ryan Reynolds.

On Tuesday, Netflix announced a deal with video game company Ubisoft to create shows

Philadelphia Imposes Curfew Amid Unrest Over Police Killing Of Black Man

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Officials in the US city of Philadelphia announced a curfew Wednesday following two nights of unrest over the latest police killing of a Black man.

The citywide order will last from 9:00 pm to 06:00 am (0100 to 1000 GMT Thursday), according to a statement on the city government’s website.





A demonstrator, wearing a protective face mask, holds a placard reading “WALTER WALLACE JR.” during a protest near the location where Walter Wallace, Jr. was killed by two police officers on October 27, 2020 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
 GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Mark Makela

Thousands of people have taken to Philadelphia’s streets, with looting and violence breaking out, after police on Monday shot dead 27-year-old Walter Wallace, who was carrying a knife.

His family said he suffered from mental health issues and asked why officers did not taser him instead.

Wallace’s death and the subsequent demonstrations have also revived a political clash between Republicans and Democrats less than a week before the election.



Protesters march, clash with police and set fires in West Philadelphia during a second night of demonstrations following the police killing of Walter Wallace, a 27-year-old Black man.


Protesters march, clash with police and set fires in West Philadelphia during a second night of demonstrations following the police killing of Walter Wallace, a 27-year-old Black man.
 AFPTV / Eleonore SENS

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