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Thailand Confirms 120 New Coronavirus Cases, Two More Deaths - The ...Thailand confirmed 120 new coronavirus cases and two more deaths on Wednesday, said a spokesman of the government’s Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration. The new figures brought the total number of infections in the Southeast Asian country to 1,771 and 12 fatalities.
The two new deaths included a 79-year-old Thai man from a southern province who attended a wedding in Malaysia in early March and a 58-year-old businessman who returned from England last month, spokesman Taweesin Wisanuyothin said.
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6-8 minutes
 When the Chilean government announced a total quarantine last week for the wealthy eastern areas of capital Santiago where cases of coronavirus were most prevalent, Maria De Leon, a 31-year-old nanny, was presented with an unenviable choice.
“My employer called me and told me that I had three options: one, that I go to live at work for three months with the same salary; two, that I only work 15 days a month for half the salary or three, that I say goodbye,” she said.
When she tried to discuss the options further, her employer made the decision for her.
“She fired me and now I’m home, with nothing in my pockets and in the midst of this quarantine,” she said.
Across Latin America, where income inequality makes domestic workers more common than in more developed regions, the arrival of the coronavirus is forcing difficult decisions on those living most precariously, exposing holes in social safety nets.
In 2016, there were an estimated 18 million domestic workers in Latin America, more than nine out of 10 of them women, according to a report by the International Labour Organization. The vast majority of those workers were in the informal sector, without extensive labor rights, the ILO report found.
Chilean domestic workers unions say the ultimatum given to De Leon was not uncommon, as wealthier households across the country try to insulate themselves from the epidemic.
Luz Vidal, president of the Sintracap union which represents 500 domestic workers, said it had received many calls from colleagues presented with similar options.

“People were being asked to move in with their employer but they also have to look after their own families,” she said.
“These women generally live on the lowest rungs of Chilean society and do not have much education. Their chances of finding new jobs are not high.”

WHAT WOULD WE LIVE OFF?

In Brazil, Cleonice Gonçalves, a 63-year-old housekeeper, became the country’s fifth fatality from coronavirus, which she allegedly contracted from her employer who had recently returned from vacation in Italy.
Her death sparked a public conversation about class and privilege in Brazil, Latin America’s largest nation and its hardest hit so far, with nearly 4,700 confirmed cases and 165 deaths.
People affluent enough to travel abroad helped coronavirus get a foothold in Brazil, according to health officials, who worry it will swamp low-income communities where people do not have the kinds of work that allow them the luxury of staying in quarantine or access to the best healthcare.
In Bogota, Colombia, Duver Marin, who works as a cleaner, said it did not matter to him if authorities fined him for violating a quarantine announced two weeks ago. His priority was making sure his family could eat, he said.
“I would follow the quarantine order but then what will we live off?” the 52-year-old told Reuters as he waited to board his bus last Thursday morning. He said he supports two children, a granddaughter, and his wife on his $200 minimum wage salary.
In Chile, which has had over 2,700 confirmed cases and 12 deaths, the first people confirmed as having the virus were two doctors who traveled to Italy and Southeast Asia. The first deaths, however, were in poor Santiago suburbs.
Middle-class Chileans have broadly observed an appeal for them to work from home by connecting to their jobs via computer but many nannies, housekeepers, gardeners and manual laborers have no option but to continue to show up for work, transiting the city by bus and metro.
There are at least 300,000 women working as “nanas” - as nannies and housekeepers are known in Chile - in private homes, according to Sintracap.
Yanneth, 55, a nanny, said she was relieved to move into her employers’ comfortable home in Santiago’s Lo Barnechea suburb rather than risking their health and those of her three adult daughters with whom she shares a tiny city-center apartment.
But Nancy Medel, 45, has not heard from her employer since last week, when she was told to stay home from her job as a childminder and bakery assistant.
“My employer told me she didn’t want me to bring the virus to infect her or her children,” she said.
“Now she is not answering my calls and I can’t get to work. This isn’t my fault, this is a global issue, but now I can’t pay my bills or for my daughter’s school.”
Vidal said employers had a moral obligation to keep paying domestic workers or at least keep their jobs open, and the government needed to play a stronger part in ensuring people were treated fairly.
The Chilean government has promised bonuses for hard-hit families and negotiated delays on utility bills to avoid people being disconnected. On Tuesday evening, Chile´s Congress approved a law that beefed up unemployment payouts and protections for workers who lose their jobs amid the outbreak. It was unclear, however, if and how domestic workers might benefit given the often informal nature of their employment.
The life of a domestic worker in Latin America was portrayed in Alfonso Cuaron’s Oscar-winning 2018 film “Roma,” set in Mexico City. In recent years, there has been a push across the region to defend and improve their rights.
Katherine Martorell, Chile’s subsecretary for the prevention of crime, said last week that no one could be forced to stay in quarantine at their place of work.
“It’s up to the worker - if she doesn’t live at her workplace she doesn’t have to start, if she lives there and wants to leave and not go into quarantine there she can. The decision is absolutely hers.”
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Andy Bruce The number of deaths from coronavirus in the United Kingdom rose by 27% in the space of a day, according to new figures on Tuesday that a senior cabinet minister described as shocking and disturbing.
The government said 1,789 people have died in hospitals from coronavirus as of 1600 GMT on Monday, an increase of 381 from Sunday, the largest rise in absolute terms yet.
“The increase in the number of deaths is deeply shocking, disturbing (and) moving,” Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove said at a news conference, adding that it was not possible to predict when fatalities would peak.
“It depends on the actions of all of us,” he added. “We can delay that peak, we can flatten the curve through our own particular actions.”
Later on Tuesday, a London hospital announced that a 13-year-old boy had died after contracting coronavirus, Britain’s youngest fatality from the pandemic.
Britain initially took a gradual approach to containing the virus compared with European countries such as Italy.
But Prime Minister Boris Johnson imposed stringent controls after projections showed a quarter of a million people could die. Johnson has since become the first leader of a major power to announce a positive test result for coronavirus.
Britain lags Italy, Spain and France in terms of the number of deaths, but they are still doubling around every 3.5 days.
While that is similar to the trajectory of Italy - the world’s worst-hit country - when it was reporting similar numbers of deaths just over two weeks ago, British officials said on Tuesday they saw tentative reasons for optimism.
Official figures showed confirmed cases rose 14% between Monday and Tuesday to 25,150 as of Tuesday at 0800 GMT, the third day of increases around that rate - slowing from around 22-24% last Thursday and Friday.
“We’re not out of the woods, we’re very much in the woods, and it’s really important that we keep complying with those instructions,” said Stephen Powis, director of the National Health Service in England.
“But as you can see, the number of infections is not rising as rapidly as it was. So, green shoots, but only green shoots, and we must not be complacent and we must not take our foot off the pedal.”
The government also announced the first medical ventilators which Britain has recently ordered from businesses will be ready this weekend and available to the health service next week.
The Daily Mail reported that the first batch would be 30 units.
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Wuhan Reports No New Coronavirus Cases for First Time | Voice of ...China reported on Wednesday a fall in new confirmed coronavirus cases, with almost all cases imported from overseas. China had 36 new cases on Tuesday, the National Health Commission said on Wednesday, down from 48 a day earlier.
All but one of the cases were imported, bringing the total number of imported cases to 806.
Another 130 asymptomatic cases were reported, with a total of 1,367 such cases under observation as of March 31.
There was one reported new case of a local infection, in Guangdong province.
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Arshad Mohammed U.S Secretary of State Mike Pompeo held out the possibility on Tuesday that the United States may consider easing sanctions on Iran and other nations to help fight the coronavirus epidemic but gave no concrete sign it plans to do so.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo attends a news conference at the State Department, in Washington, U.S., March 31, 2020. Andrew Harnik/ Pool via REUTERS
The comments reflected a shift in tone by the U.S. State Department, which has come under withering criticism for its hard line toward sanctions relief even in the face of a call by the U.N. secretary-general to ease U.S. economic penalties.
Pompeo stressed that humanitarian supplies are exempt from sanctions Washington reimposed on Tehran after President Donald Trump abandoned Iran’s 2015 multilateral deal to limit its nuclear program.
However, broader U.S. sanctions deter many firms from humanitarian trade with Iran, one of the nations hardest hit by the coronavirus epidemic.
Asked if there might come a point at which Washington might reevaluate its stance on easing sanctions, Pompeo told reporters: “We evaluate all of our policies constantly, so the answer is - would we ever rethink? - Of course.”
Asked about such relief on March 20, Pompeo simply said U.S. sanctions do not apply to medical and other humanitarian goods.
Washington is pursuing a “maximum pressure” policy to try to force Tehran to curb its nuclear, missile and regional activities.
Iran has accused the United States of “medical terror,” prompting Pompeo’s spokeswoman, Morgan Ortagus, on Monday to tweet: “Stop lying. ... It’s not the sanctions. It’s the regime.”
France, Germany and Britain have exported medical goods to Iran in the first transaction under a trade mechanism set up to barter humanitarian goods and food, Germany said.
Jon Alterman, a Middle East analyst at Washington’s CSIS think tank, said Pompeo’s shift in tone might be a response to the European move.
“There is an Iranian effort to peel off Europe ... Holding open the possibility of reconsidering is an effort to keep Europe on side,” he added, though he saw little chance of a U.S. policy shift. “In the current environment, the chances are very low, but the environment keeps changing.”
Pompeo has been sharply criticized for the administration’s stance on Iran sanctions. In recent weeks, the United States has repeatedly tightened sanctions on Iran, notably seeking to make it harder for it to export oil.
“Pompeo appears to view the epidemic as a handy means to compound ‘maximum pressure,’” Washington Post columnist Jackson Diehl wrote on Sunday. “To what end?”
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Robert Redfield and the White House coronavirus task force
By DAVID LIM
Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, speaks at the daily White House coronavirus briefing. | Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images
The CDC said Americans don’t need masks — but now they might. The agency said the virus spread through “droplets” from coughs and sneezes — but then warned about catching it from people with no symptoms, or even from surfaces, like subway turnstiles or metal shopping carts.
It said young people are at low risk — but the hospital beds and morgues of New York called that into question.
America’s best scientists and its vaunted public health agency are still learning on the job about the coronavirus. For a terrified American public, the kaleidoscope of changing messages has created more fear, confusion and distrust.
Scientists are used to gaining knowledge one step at a time — and they’ve learned a lot in a hurry about a virus none of them had ever seen before, allowing the search for treatments and vaccines to begin. But the virus always seems one step ahead of them.
And they aren’t moving at the velocity the public craves in a crisis of this magnitude. It only gets worse when the voices of science must compete with the voices of politics.
And while Americans may be used to elected officials’ spin for political gain, the inconsistencies from trusted public health officials have left the public with an understanding that’s muddled at best.
“The COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented threat,” said former CDC Director Tom Frieden via email. “I think that people understand that we’re learning more every day, though gaps in understanding come partly from the mixed messaging being delivered by different individuals, agencies and media outlets.”
When the CDC has tried to be blunt — most notably when epidemic expert Nancy Messonnier told reporters in February that Americans should prepare for community spread of the illness and “severe disruption” to their lives — the White House quickly put out a competing, more reassuring message.
The CDC has since played only a minor role in communicating with the public about the pandemic — and their statements don’t always perfectly match up with what the White House task force says.
“Let’s be frank,“ said Frieden. “What Dr. Nancy Messonnier has said was exactly right, and at exactly the right time.” He said he wished the CDC had been briefing the public “every single day.” Instead, the leading public health agency has been shunted to the communication sidelines.
John Auerbach, who leads the nonpartisan organization Trust for America’s Health, said the public health officials generally were clear about what they knew and what they didn’t. But that wasn’t always the case with elected officials who “sometimes made definitive statements that turn out to not be the case.”
The CDC’s own missteps on testing hurt its standing within President Donald Trump’s circle. And the testing delays also hampered the public health response, as the experts did not have a handle on how far or how fast the virus was spreading.
The CDC also was not always on message.
For instance when the White House two weeks ago announced its social distancing campaign and urged people not to gather in groups greater than 10, the CDC still had on its website the prior day's recommendation to avoid groups under 50.
Just this week, CDC Director Robert Redfield granted a rare local radio interview stressing how people with no symptoms could still infect someone else. Earlier in the epidemic, scientists didn’t have conclusive evidence of asymptomatic transmission and they didn’t stress it as a risk.
That lack of visibility — the public's inability to hear directly from the agency about what it's learning — undermines the trust that's essential in a crisis, said former CDC acting Director Richard Besser, who now runs the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
“Trust is the critical factor,” Besser said. “You develop trust by being transparent, by explaining on a daily basis what you do know, don’t know and what you are doing to get more information.”
Officials are still all over the place on whether the public should wear masks. And if they do change the recommendations and urge people to wear them, they’ll have to first, explain to the public that it’s more about preventing people from spreading the virus than catching it; second, that it doesn’t replace social distancing; and third — contrary to what’s appearing on social media — the earlier advice was based on the best science available then, not because the masks were in short supply.
Redfield in the radio interview said the recommendations are being reassessed, now that there’s more conclusive evidence about asymptomatic spread.
“We’re always critically looking at the new data,” Redfield said. “Is the mask something that protects me? ... Or if I wear a mask, is it something that protects others from me?”
But U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams said Tuesday on "Fox & Friends" that masks may do more harm than good. In addition, it might create a “false sense of security" that makes people ignore the advice about staying at least 6 feet away from others, he said.
The message about young people not being vulnerable to serious disease also backfired, as the spring break and Mardi Gras revelers showed. Some of them got infected and brought the virus back home with them.
There are two bright spots as scientists learn more. The mortality rate is probably going to be lower than initially estimated — although the death toll may be high because so many people are infected. And so far, it hasn’t mutated in a way that makes it more dangerous — or harder to attack with a vaccine.
“Everyone has a hunger for what’s going on,“ said former Harvard Medical School Dean Jeffrey Flier. “If you aren’t going to trust the CDC, FDA or the president — and in many cases you shouldn’t — you are kind of in a bind.”
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Ana Isabel Martinez As the outlook for Mexico’s economy gets gloomier during the coronavirus crisis, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has driven home the message that his government is ready to help the poor to weather the storm - but that the rich can forget it.
FILE PHOTO: Mexico's President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador holds a news conference at the National Palace in Mexico City, Mexico, March 17, 2020. REUTERS/Henry Romero/File Photo
Private sector economists believe the economy will contract by up to 7% this year and business lobbies have urged the leftist leader to pledge more money to protect jobs and cushion the impact of the slump.
Lopez Obrador says the government will make additional savings where necessary, but insists that no money will be cut from the welfare programs he has put at the heart of his agenda since taking office in December 2018.
Speaking at his regular morning news conference, he said in previous crises “those on top were protected”, and attacked bailouts orchestrated by Mexico in its 1994-95 economic crash and by then-U.S. President Barack Obama following the 2008 financial crisis.
“We’re going to save the people,” Lopez Obrador said on Tuesday. “Because there are some who may be thinking we’re going to save those on top, with this idea, this sophistry, that if those on top are doing well, those at the bottom will do well.”
“No, that doesn’t apply any more, wealth isn’t contagious, it’s not permeable, we need to ensure there’s better distribution of income,” he said.
Twice defeated in bids for the presidency before his resounding 2018 triumph, Lopez Obrador has publicly admitted to polarizing Mexico from his news conferences, which he has used to pillory critics and extol the virtues of his base.
He has kept his base fired up with rhetoric that Mexico’s social malaises and chronic inequality are the result of years of domination by corrupt political and business elites who are now desperately trying to thwart his presidency.
Last week, Lopez Obrador said there will be no “neo-liberal” tax breaks for banks and big business to soften the economic blow, using a term he applies to capture all that was wrong with Mexican governments before his election.
Instead, he has promised help for the lower end of the economic spectrum, including one million small business loans worth about $1.1 billion and advance payment of pensions to some eight million senior citizens worth some $1.8 billion.
    Lopez Obrador’s flouting of government recommendations to avoid physical contact to contain coronavirus has alarmed even some supporters and his once sky-high approval rating slipped below 50% for the first time in an opinion poll last week.
On Sunday he caused more outrage by greeting the mother of incarcerated drug lord, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, a rags-to-riches figure who, like the president, holds strong anti-establishment appeal among supporters.
Political analysts say the president’s rhetoric suggests he is already looking to the 2021 mid-term legislative elections.
“The idea is obviously to maintain the electoral base,” said Federico Berrueto, director general of polling firm Gabinete de Comunicacion Estrategica. “But if there are serious problems due to the pandemic, that base could be undermined.”
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2 minutes

Davido’s billionaire father, Adedeji Adeleke has dropped the sum of 500 million naira to fight the coronavirus in the country.
The business mogul and philanthropist has joined other billionaires in the country to release funds to fight against the deadly coronavirus which continues to spread. The news was disclosed by Davido who took to his Instagram page to share details about the donation.
According to the report, the Adeleke Dynasty would not only be giving out the sum of N500 million naira to the government but would be releasing bags of rice worth 250 million to the residents of Osun state. It was also stated that the rice would be distributed to all wards and religious parties in the state.
The “Risky” singer whose fiancee, Chioma tested positive for the coronavirus also disclosed that he and his family are doing well. He wrote:
 “Trust me, together we will beat this virus ! Thanks again for all the love y’all! The whole family still doing perfectly fine. You guys stay home and stay safe! ?? ya’ll! ?? you Papa ! #COVID19 #AdelekeDynasty”View image on Twitter

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3-4 minutes
The House of Representatives had announced that its 360 members have agreed to donate their salaries for the next two months towards the fight against the dreaded COVID- 19.
Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila, who made the announcement in a message to Nigerians, said the contribution by the lawmakers will support provisions for welfare of frontline medical professionals and health workers during this trying times.
The Speaker said the Clerk to the National Assembly has been directed to see to it that “all members salaries are transfered to the National Relief Fund for this month and next month”.
He said the donation was independent of ongoing individual efforts by members to assist in alleviating the suffering occasioned by the virus and to improve the living condition not citizens in their constituencies.
According to a statement issued by his media office on Tuesday, which accompanied his video message to Nigerians, the Speaker said starting from March salary, the lawmakers’ donation would be transferred directly to the National Relief Fund account for the fight against the pandemic.
He said, “We have in the House of Representatives jointly committed to contributing 100 per cent of our salaries for the next two months to the fight against COVID-19 in Nigeria. Our contribution will support provisions for the welfare of frontline medical professionals and health workers and other interventions, to provide for the wellbeing of all Nigerians through these trying times.
“Accordingly, I have directed the Clerk to the National Assembly to see to it that all members’ salaries are transferred to the National Relief Fund for this month and the next. This is independent of ongoing individual efforts by members to alleviate the suffering brought on by this virus and to improve the living conditions of citizens in their various constituencies.
The Speaker added that the House would exercise its oversight power to ensure faithful administration of all emergency funds and contributions made so far, to ensure they serve the purpose for which they were intended.
He said consequently, the House had already mandated the Committees on Health and Disaster Preparedness to “diligently oversee the distribution of items donated by local and foreign donors to ensure proper management.”
Gbajabiamila also said the House has urged the Central Bank of Nigeria to make cash grants to the 774 local government areas of the country to alleviate the suffering by the masses.
He said, “The House also calls on the CBN, as part of its policy measures in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, to immediately direct cash grants to the 774 LGA administrations in the country to provide food and other essentials to at-risk individuals and communities.”
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1-2 minutes
The Republic of Congo’s former president has died of coronavirus in France, local media reported on Tuesday.
Jacques Joachim Yhombi Opango died Monday at the age of 81, according to local daily Journal de Brazza.
Opango had been ill before he contracted the virus that has claimed over 37,000 lives worldwide.
He was an army officer who became the Central African nation’s first general and served as its head of state from 1977 to 1979.

Opango also served as prime minister from 1993 to 1996. He remained in exile between 1997 and 2007.
After first appearing in Wuhan, China last December, the virus, officially known as COVID-19, has spread to at least 178 countries and territories, according to data compiled by the U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University.
More than 786,000 cases have been confirmed worldwide, with more than 166,000 recoveries.
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Mediaworks employees have been asked to take a 15 percent wage cut or face widespread redundancies.
The MediaWorks property on Flower Street in Auckland central.
The MediaWorks property on Flower Street in Auckland central. Photo: Google Maps
Mediaworks chief executive Michael Anderson has today told workers that the company is in a fight for its survival.
He said Covid-19 has led to a drastic decline in advertising revenue, and a dramatic shortfall in cash flow.
Anderson has asked the company's television, radio and digital workers to take a voluntary pay cut of 15 percent.
He said the executive team was taking a 20 percent pay cut, he would be taking a 25 percent pay cut, and the Board will take a 50 percent pay cut.
Anderson said the pay cut would be for three months, with a likelihood it would be extended for a further three months.
He said if not enough people opt for the pay cut the company would immediately start planning for widespread redundancies.
  • If you have symptoms of the coronavirus, call the NZ Covid-19 Healthline on 0800 358 5453 (+64 9 358 5453 for international SIMs) or call your GP - don't show up at a medical centre
In an email to staff Anderson says he was acutely aware of how much he was asking from people.
"It is in no way reflective of the hard work and passion that has gone into our business over the years. This is a critical move for our company if we intend to stay operational in the coming months and actively try to avoid large-scale redundancies in the short-term."
He said the company had applied for the government wage subsidy and expected it to be accepted.
Mediaworks brands include TV3, Newshub and radio stations such as The Rock and MoreFM.
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2 minutes
GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP/File / CLIVE BRUNSKILL Former US Davis Cup captain Patrick McEnroe said Tuesday he has tested positive for coronavirus
Davis Cup-winning former US captain Patrick McEnroe said Tuesday he has tested positive for coronavirus but is feeling well and no longer has symptoms.
The 53-year-old younger brother of seven-time Grand Slam singles champion John McEnroe said in a video posting on Twitter that he was tested at a drive-up facility in Westchester County, the New York suburb where a major outbreak took place.
"I got some minor symptoms 10 or 11 days ago," McEnroe said. "My test just came back positive. I just got it this morning.
"That's the bad news. The good news is I feel fine. My symptoms have passed and I feel really 100%."
McEnroe, speaking from the basement of his home, said he and his family had been self-quarantined for more than two weeks and advised others to do the same as a safety measure.
"Let's nail this thing," McEnroe said. "I'm an example of someone that has been able to fight through it and I'm doing absolutely fine."
McEnroe thanked well wishers later, tweeting, "So So touched by ALL the messages of support."
McEnroe won his only ATP singles title in 1995 at Sydney. He captured a Grand Slam doubles crown at the 1989 French Open alongside compatriot Jim Grabb.
He was captain of the 2007 US Davis Cup squad that beat Russia 4-1 in the final at Portland, Oregon.
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3-4 minutes
To accommodate homeless people during the lockdown, 38 self-contained units have been created in central Wellington.
The private accommodation is being operated by the City Mission, in partnership with the City Council, the Ministry for Social Development, and Housing and Urban Development.
Wellington Night Shelter
Photo: Supplied
Currently 18 people are taking up residence in the accommodation. 16 of those were moved from Wellington's Night Shelter, while the other two have come through the Council, all in need of a wrap-around support service alongside accommodation.
It joins the Night Shelter in providing the city's homeless with permanent accommodation for the next few weeks. The shelter has space for around 20 people.
City Missioner Murray Eldridge said they were anticipating a lockdown and started thinking about options a couple of weeks ago, but it all came together over the weekend.
"Often these things are very hard to do quickly, as you get through the bureaucracy that exists," Mr Eldridge said.
"But in a time of real need, people come together.
"What we've seen here is the ability to do something that would normally take many, many weeks, and in fact it's been able to be set up and achieved and running, and delivering effective service to people within a matter of days."
The accommodation, named Te Paapori - meaning community - will provide wrap-around support as well as a daily meal service.
Those in need of a self-contained unit to isolate in are currently being allocated spaces by the City Council. For the more high-functioning, Mr Eldridge said they were being given alternative locations, while those in need of a food service and more support, would be directed towards Te Paapori.
Mr Eldridge said he was conscious they needed to be able to look after their residents many of whom may have mental health problems or addictions.
"Some of these residents present with a range of challenges.
"We're seeking to work with them as best we can. It's a limited contact environment of course, because we're living by all the protocols we're required to under the Covid-19 planning.
"But [we won't] leave people without support, particularly when they may not have access to some of the things they may traditionally would.
"There's some withdrawal processes to manage, [and] people's anxiety is heightened, because of the strange circumstances we're all living in."
The cost of renting the facility is being covered by the Ministry of Social Development, with the City Mission managing the facility as a Kaupapa Māori service.
While the contract has currently been leased for two months, there is an option to extend further, dependent on the Covid-19 lockdown.

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3-4 minutes
GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP/File / RONALD MARTINEZ US star Megan Rapinoe wears her jersey inside-out to hide the US Soccer Federation logo during the national anthem before a SheBelieves Cup match against Japan in Frisco, Texas
Women players suing US Soccer say in court documents filed Tuesday that the federation has acknowledged the jobs of men and women footballers require equal skill.
The language seemed to signal a decrease in tension between the parties after language in documents filed by federation lawyers earlier in March provoked widespread outrage in saying that playing on the men's national team required a higher level of skill based on speed and strength and carried greater responsibility.
The fierce backlash, not only from the women players but from sponsors such as Coca-Cola, ultimately forced Carlos Cordeiro to resign as president of the federation, to be replaced by vice president Cindy Parlow Cone -- a former US international.
US Soccer brought in new legal counsel, which has focused in court filings on refuting the plaintiffs' claims that the federation violated the US Equal Pay Act and other anti-discrimination legislation.
"The parties have significantly narrowed the issues to be tried by way of discovery and briefing," Tuesday's filing from the players' lawyers said.
"USSF no longer disputes that the jobs of the WNT and MNT players require equal skill, effort and responsibility -- and therefore have necessarily conceded that they perform equal work."
The documents filed by the federation outlining the case they plan to make said the women players had not identified comparable male counterparts under the law -- which requires equal payment for men and women working "in the same establishment."
"The undisputed facts show that the WNT and MNT are both geographically and operationally distinct," the US Soccer filing said.
"The WNT and MNT play in different venues in different cities (and often different countries), and participate in separate competitions against completely different pools of opponents."
The federation again stated that apparent pay discrepancies are due to a different pay structure negotiated by the women's union.
The case is set to go to trial May 5.
Parlow Cone told reporters in a conference call last week that she would like to settle the case sooner.
"I don't think a trial is good for either party or for soccer, both in this country or internationally," she said. "Obviously our women's team is the best team in the world, and I am hopeful that we can find a resolution before this goes to trial."
Tuesday's filings also included potential witnesses for both sides. The lists included all four class representatives in the lawsuit: Carli Lloyd, Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe and Becky Sauerbrunn.
Former US coach Jill Ellis, Cordeiro and another former federation chief, Sunil Gulati, could also appear.
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2-3 minutes
GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP/File / JUSTIN SULLIVAN California-based HP had rejected the last Xerox bid as too low and contended that the takeover campaign was being driven by corporate raider Carl Icahn, who has a stake in Xerox
Xerox on Tuesday dropped its unwelcomed bid to buy computer and printer maker HP for about $36 billion, blaming market turmoil caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
The end of the hostile takeover campaign came less than two months after the imaging and copying giant upped by about 10 percent a bid rejected by the HP board of directors last year.
"The current global health crisis and resulting macroeconomic and market turmoil caused by COVID-19 have created an environment that is not conducive to Xerox continuing to pursue an acquisition of HP," Xerox said in a statement.
"While it is disappointing to take this step, we are prioritizing the health, safety and well-being of our employees, customers, partners and other stakeholders, and our broader response to the pandemic."
California-based HP had rejected the last Xerox bid as too low and contended that the takeover campaign was being driven by corporate raider Carl Icahn, who has a stake in Xerox.
"His large ownership position in Xerox means that his interests are not aligned with those of other HP shareholders," an HP statement said in January.
"Due to Mr Icahn's ownership position, he would disproportionately benefit from an acquisition of HP by Xerox at a price that undervalues HP."
Xerox on Tuesday said it was also dropping its effort to elect a new slate of HP board members who had been expected to support the takeover deal.
The current HP was created by the 2016 breakup of Hewlett-Packard, leaving the HP consumer division making printers and PCs, spinning off HP Enterprise for cloud computing and servers.
"There remain compelling long-term financial and strategic benefits from combining Xerox and HP," Connecticut-based Xerox said in its statement on Tuesday.
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2-3 minutes
GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP/File / Mike LAWRIE Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant is the top seed in the 'NBA 2K Players Only' tournament that will air on ESPN as the real-world NBA remains on hiatus because of the COVID-19 pandemic
NBA fans starved for action amid the shut-down forced by the coronavirus pandemic will get a taste of competition in an NBA 2K Players Tournament starting on Friday.
Kevin Durant may have been sidelined all season as he recovers from a torn Achilles tendon, but the Brooklyn Nets star is the top seed in the 16-man field of current NBA players taking on the virtual challenge.
The NBA, the NBA Players Association and game maker 2K announced the tournament, which will be aired in the United States on ESPN over 10 days.
"The winner will be crowned the ultimate NBA 2K20 champion and select a charity beneficiary to receive a $100,000 donation from 2K, the NBA and the NBPA in support of ongoing coronavirus relief efforts," the league said.
Rising Atlanta Hawks star Trae Young is the second seed in a field that also features Portland's Hassan Whiteside, Utah's Donovan Mitchell and Washington Wizards rookie Rui Hachimura of Japan.
The seedings are determined by a player's NBA 2K rating -- Durant is a 96 -- and by tenure in the league.
After single-elimination first and second rounds the semi-finals and final will be best-of-three series.
As shelter-in-place orders and quarantines in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic have brought actual sports to a standstill, the popular NASCAR stock car series showed that eSports can help fill the void for sports broadcasters and fans.
Over the past two weeks NASCAR drivers have competed in iRacing events that were aired on Fox Sports, drawing hundreds of thousands of viewers.
The NBA put its season on indefinite hold on March 11 after Utah Jazz big man Rudy Gobert tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
Teammate Mitchell is also among the NBA players who have tested positive, as is Durant.
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2 minutes
The National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) has suspended monthly clearance for Corps members in keeping with the rules of social distancing as well as avoidance of crowd.
It was gathered that management of the NYSC made this known in a statement on Tuesday, stressing that Corps members would however be paid ‘allowee’ without recourse to the clearance, which was hitherto prerequisite for payments.
According to the NYSC, in the statement, suspension of the monthly clearance is for two months.
The statement reads: “The Management of the National Youth Service Corps hereby conveys to all Corps Members that the monthly clearance stands suspended for two months, in keeping with the rules of social distancing, as well as avoidance of crowd which are effective in stemming the spread of COVID-19.

“In this connection, Corps Members are assured that the payment of their monthly stipends shall be effected without recourse to the clearance letters.
“Area Directors, State/FCT Coordinators had since been notified of this directive and must ensure strict compliance.
“Corps Members are once again admonished to ensure good personal hygiene, social distancing, avoidance of crowd, use of hand sanitizers and facial masks; and above all staying at home in order to guard against falling prey to the virus.
“They are advised to always stay tuned to the NYSC traditional and social media platforms for information. With correct and responsible behaviour, we shall defeat the virus. Stay safe”.
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1 minute
Alfa Sa’adu, a doctor of Nigerian origin who lives in the United Kingdom, has died of the coronavirus.
Sa’adu, 68, who is also the galadima of Pategi in Kwara state, died of complications from the disease on Tuesday.
Aisha Ahman-Pategi, Kwara state commissioner for chieftaincy affairs, confirmed his demise to TheCable.
Until his demise, Sa’adu worked at Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust.
He is the second reported Nigerian to die of the virus on foreign soil.
Bassey Offiong, a student of Western Michigan University in the US, died of COVID-19 on Saturday in the US.
As of Tuesday, Nigeria has 135 confirmed coronavirus cases.
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2 minutes
AFP/File / MANDEL NGAN The US Federal Trade Commission said it has seen rising levels of fraud schemes linked to the coronavirus pandemic
Coronavirus-related fraud schemes are rising fast and have cost US consumers some $4.77 million so far, a government watchdog said Tuesday.
The Federal Trade Commission said it had more than 7,800 coronavirus-related reports from consumers as of Monday, double the number from a week earlier.
The consumer protection agency said the fraud complaints include emails about travel and vacation cancellations and refunds, online shopping scams and government and business imposter schemes.
Many of the schemes were also being perpetrated by mobile text or robo-calls, the FTC said.
The median loss for consumers was $598.
The potential for fraud could rise further, notably as a result of the $2 trillion stimulus approved by Congress this month.
The FTC warned consumers earlier in March to expect scammers to ask for a social security number, which could be used for identity theft, or to pay an upfront fee to qualify for stimulus payments.
"The government will not ask you to pay anything up front to get this money," the FTC said in a statement.
"No fees. No charges. No nothing."
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4-6 minutes
Navy Office of Information/AFP / Nicholas V. HUYNH Coronavirus is spreading uncontrollably through the crew of the USS Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier, its captain said
The captain of the US nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt told the Pentagon that new coronavirus is spreading uncontrollably through his ship and called for immediate help to quarantine its crew.
But Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Tuesday ruled out evacuating the ship, whose plight bears similarities to that on civilian cruise ships where the COVID-19 illness spread.
Captain Brett Crozier wrote in a four-page letter that they had not been able to stem the spread of COVID-19 through the 4,000 crewmembers, describing a dire situation aboard the vessel now docked at Guam, a US territory in the Pacific.
"We are not at war. Sailors do not need to die," Crozier wrote, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, which published a copy of the letter on Tuesday.
"The spread of the disease is ongoing and accelerating," Crozier wrote, referring to the ship's "inherent limitations of space."
He asked to be able to quarantine nearly the entire crew onshore at Guam, saying keeping them all on board the ship was an "unnecessary risk."
There is little opportunity for "social distancing", which US civilians have been told to practice, among the cramped passageways and sleeping quarters of an aircraft carrier.
"Removing the majority of personnel from a deployed US nuclear aircraft carrier and isolating them for two weeks may seem like an extraordinary measure," he said. "This is a necessary risk."
Asked on the CBS Evening News whether it was time for an evacuation, Esper said: I don't think we're at that point."
He added that supplies and medical assistance are being moved out to the Roosevelt.
"We're providing additional medical medical personnel as they need it."
He added that "none of them are seriously ill" and the Navy is "trying to make sure that we contain the virus, that we deploy testing kits. We get a good assessment of how much of the crew is infected."
- Over 100 cases on board -
The Chronicle said that more than 100 aboard the warship had been confirmed infected with the new coronavirus, around four times the figures given last Friday.
Crozier asked in the letter for quarantine facilities for the entire crew on Guam.
Navy Office of Information/AFP / Kaylianna GENIER Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Ernesto Santa Ana loads a sample for complex surveillance testing of COVID-19 in a mobile laboratory aboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71)
The US Navy did not confirm the contents of the letter, which were also reported by The New York Times.
In a statement, a Navy official under condition of anonymity said that Crozier had alerted his Pacific fleet leaders on Sunday of the problems aboard the carrier.
"The ship's commanding officer advocated for housing more members of the crew in facilities that allow for better isolation," the official said.
"Navy leadership is moving quickly to take all necessary measures to ensure the health and safety of the crew of USS Theodore Roosevelt, and is pursuing options to address the concerns raised by the commanding officer."
- Vietnam port stop -
Some speculated that the infection could have begun with a port stop in Vietnam by the Roosevelt.
The carrier put in to Da Nang port for five days in early March, when the virus was raging in China and more than a dozen cases had been detected in Vietnam.
Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly told CNN Tuesday that he agreed with Crozier on the seriousness of the situation, and that they had been working over the past few days to move people off of the Roosevelt.
However, he said, facilities to sequester the afflicted sailors in Guam, which hosts a major US naval base, are limited.
"We are having to talk to the government there to see if we can get some hotel space, create some tent-type facilities there," Modly said.
In his letter published by the Chronicle, Crozier referred to a study about the Diamond Princess cruise ship which was quarantined off Japan earlier this year.
The study concluded that early evacuation of passengers and crew would have prevented many more infections. Ten passengers died and more than 700 people who were on board contracted the virus.
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2 minutes

Thailand’s government issued a warning Tuesday that April Fool’s Day jokes about the novel coronavirus are punishable by a law which carries a sentence of up to five years in prison.
The government’s Public Relations Department posted an infographic on its Twitter account on Tuesday saying “it’s against the law to fake having Covid-19 this April Fools’ Day.”
“People around the world are suffering from #Covid19 outbreak, and that’s reason enough why people should be more considerate and not use this as a prank or a joke,” the post’s accompanying text said.
Thailand’s government had declared a state of emergency that became effective Thursday and will remain in place until at least April 30 as the country tries to halt the spread of the virus.

One of the measures under the emergency decree states “scaremongers are warned not to spread false news or rumours concerning the Covid-19 pandemic through any media channels,” the Public Relations Department said in another Twitter post on Tuesday.
It said violators would be prosecuted under computer crime laws which punishes those who input information deemed false into computer systems. It carries penalties of up to five years in prison or an up-to-100,000-baht (3,055-dollar) fine.
Thailand reported 127 new coronavirus cases and one new death on Tuesday, bringing the total number of cases to 1,651, with 10 deaths.

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6-8 minutes
AFP / Hector RETAMAL The coronavirus crisis is hammering the global economy and transforming the daily existence of some 3.6 billion people
Americans were told Tuesday to brace for "very painful" weeks ahead in a worsening coronavirus pandemic projected to claim up to a quarter million US lives, as fatalities spiked in European hotspots Spain, France and Britain.
With more than 42,100 already killed by the disease barrelling around the globe, the United States registered a record 865 deaths in 24 hours -- taking its death toll to 3,873.
As field hospitals sprouted in the US outbreak's epicenter New York City, Trump said he was extending social distancing and stay-at-home orders for another 30 days.
"This is going to be a very painful -- a very, very painful -- two weeks," the president said at the White House as he described the pandemic as "a plague."
"I want every American to be prepared for the hard days that lie ahead."
In a matter of months, the virus has infected more than 857,000 people in a crisis hammering the global economy and transforming the daily existence of some 3.6 billion people told to stay home under lockdowns.
Deaths shot up again across Europe. While there are hopeful signs that the spread of infections is slowing in hardest-hit Italy and Spain, more than 800 died overnight in both countries.
France recorded a one-day record of 499 dead while Britain reported 381 coronavirus deaths.
But members of Trump's coronavirus task force offered a grim forecast of between 100,000 and 240,000 US deaths in coming months, taking into account current mitigation efforts.
"As sobering a number as that is, we should be prepared for it," Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, said with Trump at his side when asked about the lower figure of 100,000.
But Fauci said mitigation was "actually working" and that authorities are doing everything they can to get the death toll "significantly below that."
AFP / Bryan R. Smith Volunteers set up an emergency field hospital in New York's Central Park
With hospitals direly overstretched, lockdowns have been extended despite their crushing economic impact.
In Belgium a 12-year-old girl died in another worrying case of a youth succumbing to the disease.
France joined the US with a surge to 3,525 deaths, an official toll that includes only those who died in hospital and not those who perished at home or in seniors' homes.
- 'We need help now' -
The inundation of patients has sent health facilities worldwide into overdrive.
Emergency hospitals are popping up in event spaces while distressed medical staff make grim decisions about how to distribute limited protective gear, beds and life-saving respirators.
AFP / STR While the crisis deepens in much of the world, some in China are returning to a normalcy of sorts
In scenes previously unimaginable in peacetime, around a dozen white tents were erected to serve as a field hospital in New York's Central Park.
While many companies and schools around the globe have shifted to teleworking and teaching over video platforms, huge swaths of the world's workforce cannot perform their jobs online and are now lacking pay and face a deeply uncertain future.
Food banks in New York City have seen a huge rise in newcomers struggling to feed their families.
AFP / Alain BOMMENEL Epidemic treatment and protection through the ages
"It is my first time," Lina Alba, a cleaner at a Manhattan hotel that closed two weeks ago, said from a food distribution center.
"We need the help now. This is crazy," said Alba, a 40-year-old single mother of five.
Three quarters of Americans are now under some form of lockdown, while off the Florida coast a coronavirus-stricken cruise ship and its sister vessel are pleading for somewhere to dock after four passengers died on board.
- Virus breeds divisions -
The extraordinary economic and political upheaval spurred by the virus is opening new fronts for cooperation and conflict.
In virtual talks Tuesday, finance ministers and central bankers from the world's 20 major economies pledged to address the debt burden of low-income countries and deliver aid to emerging markets.
Last week G20 leaders said they were injecting $5 trillion into the global economy to head off a feared deep recession.
AFP / ANTHONY WALLACE The virus has claimed more than 40,000 lives worldwide
In the European Union, however, battle lines have been drawn over the terms of a rescue plan.
Worst-hit Italy and Spain are leading a push for a shared debt instrument -- dubbed "coronabonds."
But talk of shared debt is a red line for Germany and other northern countries, threatening to divide the bloc.
European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen also warned against using emergency measures as a pretext for power grabs -- after a new law gave Hungary's nationalist leader Viktor Orban authority to rule by decree until his government deems the crisis over.
AFP / The global spread of the novel coronavirus
- 'Nothing to eat' -
The economic pain of lockdowns is especially acute in the developing world.
In Tunisia several hundred protested a week-old lockdown that has disproportionately impacted the poor.
"Nevermind coronavirus, we're going to die anyway! Let us work!" shouted one protester in the demonstration on the outskirts of the capital Tunis.
Africa's biggest city Lagos entered its first full day of a two-week shutdown -- containment will be especially tough in the megacity's packed slums, where many rely on daily wages to survive.
"There is no money for the citizens," engineer Ogun Nubi Victor, 60.
"People are just sitting at home, with nothing to eat."
While much of the world shuts down, the ground-zero Chinese city of Wuhan has begun reawakening in recent days, giving the bereaved the first chance in months to bury their dead.
burs-mlm/ec/bgs/dw
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2 minutes

Apostle Johnson Suleman of Omega Fire Ministries, on Tuesday, called on China to cancel all debts owed it over the Coronavirus pandemic.
Suleman explained that such action would suffice for the outbreak of COVID-19.
In a series of tweets, the clergyman said that though debt cancellation won’t alienate the pain caused the world, it was the right step to take.
He also called on China to reveal to the world how they managed the virus.
According to Suleman: “I have said this over and over, China should cancel all debts owed them. Even though that won’t alienate them from the pains/pangs they have caused the world.
“They are suddenly dumb. They have handled the virus in ther country, tell others how you did it.
“China allowed people who contracted the virus leave their country..now they ban entry.
“Wuhan got but Beijing is free..how?..same country..yet the world is affected..and someone says its conspiracy theory? Asides precautions, we should all pray. God will frustrate their agenda.”
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Maggie Fitzgerald


U.S. stock futures moved lower in overnight trading and pointed to declines at the open on Wednesday, following the end of the worst first quarter on record for the Dow and S&P 500 spurred by the coronavirus sell-off.
Dow Jones Industrial Average futures fell more than 1.2%, indicating a loss of about 220 points. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq were also set to open lower, with losses of 25 points and 55 points, respectively.
President Donald Trump said Tuesday evening the U.S. should prepare for a “very, very painful two weeks” from the rampant coronavirus.  White House officials are projecting between 100,000 and 240,000 virus deaths in the U.S.
“This is going to be a rough two-week period,” Trump said at a White House press conference. “When you look at night the kind of death that has been caused by this invisible enemy, it’s incredible.”
On Tuesday, the Dow fell 410 points or 1.8% to 21,917.16, weighed down by American Express, which dropped more than 5%. The S&P 500 fell 1.6% to 2,584.59 and Nasdaq Composite dropped nearly 1% to 7,700.10. At its session high, the Dow was up more than 150 points. 
The Dow secured its worst first-quarter performance ever, losing more than 23% of its value in the first three months of 2020. The 30-stock benchmark had its worst quarter since 1987. The S&P 500 fell 20% in the first quarter, its worst first quarter ever and its biggest quarterly loss since 2008. The Nasdaq fell more than 14% in the first quarter.
DoubleLine Capital CEO Jeffrey Gundlach said that the coronavirus driven market rout will worsen again in April, taking out the March low.
“The low we hit in the middle of March … I would bet that low will get taken out,” Gundlach said in an investor webcast on Tuesday. “The market has really made it back to a resistance zone. ... Take out the low of march and then we’ll get a more enduring low.”
The coronavirus pandemic has caused a nationwide shutdown of the economy, halting business production and leaving millions of American workers unemployed. The unprecedented societal disruption has caused financial distress and volatility never seen before, ultimately causing the wort first quarter in history for both the Dow and the S&P 500. 
“The quarter will be remembered as the fastest and greatest drop in the stock Market for the start of any post-war bear market,” said Jim Paulsen, chief investment strategist at the Leuthold Group. “This reflects the fact that this Bear is the only one cause by a recession which was simply ‘proclaimed’ as leaders announced they were essential shutting down the economy. Since a recession was ensured, the Bear skipped all its normal foreplay and simply went right to the end fully reflecting a recession almost immediately.”
U.S. oil experienced its worst month and quarter in history, losing more than 66% of its value in the first three months of the year. Demand has evaporated due to the coronavirus outbreak and a price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told CNN that he is starting to see “glimmers” that social distancing is helping to lessen the spread of the coronavirus. Meanwhile, U.S. cases of the fast-spreading virus have topped 177,000, according to Johns Hopkins University. The death roll from the virus in America has surpassed 3,400.
Wall Street also posted sharp losses for the month. The Dow and S&P 500 fell 13.7% and 12.5%, respectively, in March for their worst one-month declines since the 2008 financial crisis. 
However, stocks have managed to rally towards the end of month. Investors are hoping the market has bottomed, with many strategists expecting a “V” shaped recovery, a sharp drop in GDP in the second quarter and a swift snapback in the third quarter. The so-called bond king Gundlach called those estimates “highly, highly optimistic.”
On Wednesday, private payroll data is expected to show an evaporation in job creation. Moody’s ADP Employment data for March will be released, with economists expecting a fall of 125,000 jobs, compared to April’s addition of 183,000 non-government jobs. Markit Manufacturing PMI and ISM manufacturing index for March will also be released on Wednesday.
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