Journalists in Pakistan fear lack of protective equipment

Growing protests in US call for lifting state lockdowns

President Trump seems to be encouraging the protesters, despite having said previously state governors would decide.

The vexing question of when to ease coronavirus lockdown restrictions is dividing the epicentre of the pandemic.

US President Donald Trump keeps pushing a positive message, saying there are signs COVID-19 has passed its peak as pressure mounts to get the world’s biggest economy rolling again.

 

Al Jazeera’s Andy Gallacher reports from the US state of Florida.

If Canada’s coronavirus lockdown eases, could sewage act as an early warning system?

Sooner or later, governments across Canada will have to decide whether to ease lockdowns caused by the novel coronavirus.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau managed expectations Wednesday, saying that it will be “weeks more” before any relaxation is possible and warning that doing it too early could lead to dangerous new outbreaks.

Oman reduces state budget by $1.3 bln after cuts – ONA

DUBAI, April 19 (Reuters) – Oman has reduced its state budget by 500 million Omani riyals ($1.3 billion) as a result of recent cuts and will take new measures to stabilize the economy, state news agency ONA reported on Sunday.

Oman’s finance ministry this week directed all ministries to reduce development budgets by 10% and operating budgets by 10%.

Last month, the government cut the budget allocated to government agencies for 2020 by 5%. (Reporting by Dahlia Nehme; Writing by Lisa Barrington; Editing by Alexander Smith)

Empty streets are new normal in New York

The shutdown of New York has turned one of the most vibrant cities in the world into a ghost town.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced last week, April 17, that the shutdown of New York would continue until at least May 15. New York City, the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak with more than 100,000 cases and nine thousand deaths (as of April 17), is entering its fourth week of being closed for business with stay-at-home orders.

Al Jazeera’s Gabriel Elizondo explored the city to get a sense of what it is like from sunrise, to sunset in the US’s largest city.

Germany to Order 45 Fighter Jets From Boeing, Report Says

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Germany will order 45 fighter aircraft fromBoeing Co. to replace the Luftwaffe’s aging Tornado jets, Der Spiegel magazine reported Sunday.

Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer emailed her U.S. counterpart Mark Esper on Thursday to inform him of the decision, the magazine said, without identifying the source of its information. Germany will order 30 F/A-18 Super Hornets and 15 EA-18G Growlers, the report added.

The German ministry couldn’t immediately be reached outside regular business hours. The Pentagon in Washington declined to comment.

Kramp-Karrenbauer’s actions may upset the Social Democrats, the junior partners in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s ruling coalition, as she didn’t inform them before making her decision, Der Spiegel said.

Kramp-Karrenbauer’s predecessor, Ursula von der Leyen, had offered a compromise to the SPD under which Germany would buy a combination of U.S. fighters and the Eurofighter Typhoon manufactured byAirbus SE, according to Der Spiegel.

— With assistance by Daniel Flatley

FTC approves PepsiCo acquisition of Rockstar Energy for $3.85B: sources

The Federal Trade Commission has paved the way for PepsiCo to buy drink company Rockstar Energy for $3.85 billion, The Post has learned.

The regulator approved the deal — announced last month during the coronavirus pandemic — on Friday and the company is expected to close on it in the coming days, sources said.

Regulators had been reviewing the acquisition to be sure it wouldn’t reduce competition. PepsiCo owns Mountain Dew Kickstart and is also a partner in Starbucks energy drinks.

But Rockstar’s market share has fallen in recent years from almost 20 percent to less than 10 percent, which helped alleviate the FTC’s concerns, a source said. Rivals include Red Bull and Monster, which are part-owned by Coca-Cola.

Rockstar founder Russell Weiner, son of conservative talk show host Michael Savage, is not expected to play a big role under the new ownership, the source added.

The deal also opens the door to Pepsi introducing new energy drinks, sources said. As Rockstar’s distributor, PepsiCo had been barred from developing competing brands.

Mountain Dew’s Kickstart, while often is considered an energy drink, is advertised as a breakfast beverage and has less caffeine than products like Red Bull.

The FTC did not return calls.

Coronavirus: Kelowna considering borrowing up to $150M to cover late taxes

Kelowna city council will be considering a plan this week to borrow up to $150 million in the short-term to cover the late payment of taxes during the coronavirus pandemic.

Journalists in Pakistan fear lack of protective equipment

Many media workers have been infected with COVID-19 while working in the field, without any safety measures.

Pakistan is one of several countries where journalists are risking their lives to report on the pandemic, with little or no protective equipment. Journalists working in newsrooms, sitting side by side close to each other without any social distancing

The Pakistani government is the sole provider of personal safety equipment and says it will soon start providing it to journalists nationwide.

Al Jazeera’s Sara Khairat reports.