RationalWiki:What is going on in the world?/March 2020

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March 2020[edit]

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16Australia Australia approves A$56 billion stimulus bill to support businesses and lend aid to small and medium-sized firms, as well doubling unemployment benefits and allow worst-hit workers to access pension savings earlier as the country goes into lockdown.
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25Hungary Hungarian parliament accepts the government's request to rule by decree during the coronavirus emergency. Dictator Prime Minister Viktor Orbán promises to use these emergency powers proportionally and rationally.
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26United States Internal documents reveal that Monsanto knew crop system would damage US farms
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37Senegal Man plants 152 million mangrove trees in ten years
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34United States Amazon, a company owned by the world's richest man, is soliciting donations to pay sick leave for its workers
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18United States Everything you need to know about the April 1st rent strike
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24United StatesThe Secretary of the Interior announces that the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe's reservation is to disestablished and that the land be taken out of trust. This couldn't possibly be because of Trump holding a grudge, right?
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0United StatesVenezuela Due to US pressure, the IMF rejects Nicolas Maduro's bid for a $5 billion emergency loan
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19United States Civil rights leader Joseph E. LoweryWikipedia, who cofounded the SCLCWikipedia with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and others, has passed away at age 98. He will be missed.
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34United States Increased calls for a general strike as Trump pushes for people to return to work amidst global pandemic
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42United StatesColorado. Colorado abolishes the death penalty
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2United StatesThe EPA suspends its enforcement of environmental laws, telling companies they would not need to meet environmental standards during the coronavirus outbreak.
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20United States Republican-controlled Senate passes $2 trillion stimulus bill. The bill is expected to be approved by the House of Representives when it votes on the bill on Friday.UPDATE: Vague language in the bill means that the bill could become a $4.5 trillion bailout for corporations, with purely cosmetic oversight and the promised basic income only applies to people that filed their 2019 tax returns, which could leave up to 30 million working class Americans out of the program
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24New Zealand Some good news for a change. White supremacist who carried out Christchurch terrorist attacks suddenly pleads guilty to all charges: 51 counts of murder, 40 counts of attempted murder and one count of terrorism.
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19United States The Department of Justice asks Congress to suspend various constitutional rights which would include suspending habeas corpus which would allow the government to detain people indefinitely without trial, suspending the statute of limitations on criminal investigations and deny the right of asylum to immigrants who test positive for Covid-19. This policy is being pursued in spite of the fact that Donald Trump already possesses extreme emergency powers
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32United StatesConservatives are jumping on the bizarre "sacrifice the elderly to the Dow" bandwagon. First Fox News' Brit Hume (76) said - on air - that it's an “entirely reasonable viewpoint” to expect that grandparents would be willing to die to protect the economy, then Glenn Beck boldly claimed "I would rather die than kill the country." We assume they'll lead by example.
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13the WorldSaudi ArabiaRussiaFalling demand due to COVID-19, a supply war between Saudi Arabia and Russia and now capacity problems as storage space gets full means that experts are pointing to oil markets falling as low as $10 per barrel.
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23PolandUkraineThree Polish men have been convicted of arson in a Kraków court on a Hungarian community centre in western Ukraine. The men who had links to Russian-backed far-right groups, were trying to create a false flag operation to cause ethnic strife between noted Hungarian minority and the Ukrainian majority.
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20NetherlandsThe Dutch government is investigating closing all the Netherlands’ coal-fired power stations earlier than the planned date of 2030. This was after being told that it was the most effective way for the country to meet its climate goals.
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13SpainEuropean Union Spanish Prime Minister, Pedro Sánchez, calls on the European Union for a Marshall Plan to revitalize the continent's economy
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17United States Democrat Senators block the Republican stimulus bill and Nancy Pelosi introduces her own stimulus bill that would cost $2.5 trillion which would include a $1,500 basic income for all Americans, billions in zero-interest loans to small business, and hundreds of billions to health centers, hospitals, schools, unemployment insurance, food stamps and early voting for primary elections.
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30United Statesthe District of Columbia. Purported fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls on display at the Museum of the Bible are all clever forgeries.
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13North MacedoniaThis issue affects NATO With the last country Spain voting yes to the the deciding vote in a special parliamentary session, North Macedonia has unofficially become the 30th member of NATO.
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12CroatiaIf things cannot get any worst for Croatia with nationwide lockdown over COVID-19, this morning the capital Zargeb received an 5.3 Richter scale earthquake. Update: a 15-year-old has died.
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21the WorldWorld’s intact tropical forests reached ‘peak carbon uptake’ in 1990s
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36United StatesIn today's episode of "We're all going die, aren't we?"

Peter Alexander: “What do you say to Americans who are watching you right now who are scared?”

Trump: "I say that you are a terrible reporter, that’s what I say. It’s a very nasty question."
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34United StatesRepublican Senators Richard Burr (Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman), James Inhofe and Kelly Loeffler, as well the Democrats' Dianne Feinstein sold off millions of dollars' worth of stocks, after receiving confidential briefings on the coronavirus epidemic, and whilst telling constituents to have faith in the Trump administration’s efforts to prepare the nation.
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6United States Republican Senators unveil a massive stimulus bill to aid the economy and workers slammed by the crisis. The bill provides a minimum of $1,200 basic income per individual, as well hundreds of billions in loans to small business and large scale industries.
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31United StatesWisconsin. Republican Senator Ron Johnson says it's not worth shutting down the economy over the risk of 11 million Americans dying.
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17the WorldFlag of Mars.svg Organic compounds discovered on Mars by the Curiosity rover consistent with the presence of early life on Mars.
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14the WorldLife may very well be common in the universe - just not in our neighborhood, new study says.
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25FranceItalyUnited States In the United States, Amazon is hiring a 100,000 new employees and raising pay by a groundbreaking amount of two dollars to keep up with demand. In Italy, workers go on strike against Amazon for the company failing to implement proper hygiene and social distancing measures. In France, workers go on strike to protest the company endangering workers by refusing to close its warehouses
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16France As the economy slides towards a recession, the French government rejects its own austerity measures and promises billions of euros in economic aid and even nationalization to save its largest companies from the market turmoil
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55United StatesTrump 28 Feb 2020: "The coronavirus is the Democrats' new hoax."

Trump 17 Mar 2020: "I felt it was a pandemic long before it was called a pandemic."

UPDATE Trump 18 Mar 2020: "The coronavirus snuck up on us."
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27United StatesArizona. Arizona pastor claims his flock are willing to "lick the floor" to prove coronavirus a hoax.
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32United StatesCalifornia. Megachurch cancels faith healing service... because of the coronavirus.
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13European UnionSpain In order to stop the coronavirus outbreak, the European Union will close its borders to all non-essential travel. Spain has also closed its frontiers.
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11United States To ease market fears, the Fed cuts interest rates to zero and launches a $700 billion quantitative easing program but the stock market continues to plunge. In response, the Fed decided to offer a $500 billion repurchase of financial assets
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28Australia Fraser Anning, an Australian MP who blamed the Christchurch fascist terror attack on the murdered victims, declares bankrupcy
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17IsraelDidn't they get the memo? While everybody preaches social distancing. thousands of Jewish believers will gather at the Western Wall to pray the coronavirus away.
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18United KingdomEpidemiologist on the UK's "herd immunity" plan to battle Covid-19: "I thought it was satire."
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13GhanaKenyaDemocratic Republic of the CongoSouth AfricaSenegalEven though they have the fewest reported cases worldwide, African nations such as Kenya, Senegal, the DRC, South Africa and Ghana have enacted drastic measures to fight the spread of Covid-19, including school closures; increased quarantine measures for new arrivals; travel bans to and from Europe, China, Iran and the US; deportations;closure of borders and restrictions on non-essential travel and gatherings.
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16United States Amazon is banning the sale of most editions of Mein Kampf and some other Nazi and antisemitic texts, although some scholarly editions are still on sale.
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19United States Not one to let a crisis go to waste, the US Congress is trying to pass a bill to end encrypted messages online
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7United States The House of Representatives passes a bipartisan relief bill which includes a limited paid leave, but this bill exempts big business leaving out millions of workers
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34United Kingdom Second patient cured of HIV, having remained free of the virus for more than thirty months after stopping treatment
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25the WorldBrazilSpainPortugal Coronavirus Update: Death toll surpasses 5,000. Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro tested positive for coronavirus(though Jair claims it's fake news). Meanwhile the Portuguese and Spanish governments declare a state of alert.
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27United States Federal judge orders Chelsea Manning's release from jail
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15United Statesthe District of Columbia. Due to the coronavirus the U.S capitol building is closing.
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12United States The Federal Reserve injects US$1.5 trillion of cash into markets to quell growing uncertainty over the coronavirus pandemic. UPDATE:A second market crash called Black Thursday (2020)Wikipedia causes the US to officially enter a bear market (warning: adblock complaint from Forbes)
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18the World Amidst coronavirus outbreak, the super-rich jet off to disaster bunkers
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28United StatesSouth Carolina. Good news: Judge strikes down South Carolina law prohibiting discussion of LGBTQ+ issues in sex ed. Better news: the state's Republican superintendent of education didn't even try to defend it, but agreed it should go.
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27United StatesThe GOP Senate blocks emergency paid sick leave, because fuck you, your employer needs you to work during a pandemic.
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26the WorldUnited StatesTrump shuts down all Europe-US travel..... except to UK, 'cos it's not part of Europe any more and its coronavirus isn't dangerous....???
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24the WorldThe World Health Organization (WHO)Wikipedia has officially declared the new coronavirus strain a pandemic.
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19ItalyNOBODY PANIC! Italy has effectively shut down due to coronavirus fears.
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40United StatesHarvey Weinstein sentenced to 23 years after sexual assault conviction.
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18United KingdomUnfortunately, a court of appeal rules that it's still legal to require all those applying for a British passport to choose either M or F as their gender and deny them the third option of choosing X. The judges did, however, say that refusing to issue gender neutral passports might be considered a breach of human rights one day.
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10United States In response to Black Monday (2020)Wikipedia President Trump proposes cuts to the payroll tax that funds Social Security and a bailout to the heavily indebted fracking industry
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13United Kingdom UK Health Minister Nadine Dorries has been diagnosed with Coronavirus. At present, 382 in the UK have tested positive for the illness.
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17United States The NAIJ, the union representing US immigration judges, has revealed that CDC-issued posters in English and Spanish regarding limiting the spread of COVID-19 were ordered to be removed on sight from immigration courts. After backlash, the DoJ has backpedaled, stating, "the signs shouldn’t have been removed. It’s now being rectified."
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8Saudi ArabiaRussiathe World After failing to negotiate production cuts to increase oil prices in the face of Covid-19, Russia and Saudi Arabia engage in a price war that flooded the market with oil and led to the largest drop in prices since the 1991 Gulf War. As of March 9, WTI Crude was trading close to $30 compared to $60 at the start of the year.
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39China Quarantined Wuhan kids hacked their way out of an app assigning them homework by spamming it with 1-star reviews until it got removed from the app store
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20ItalyUnited StatesMissouri. In an attempt to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in Italy, the worst hit European country, the government essentially puts the entire country on lockdown. Meanwhile, in the US, people break quarantine to attend a school dance.
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23United StatesSouth Carolina. Tom Turnipseed, perhaps South Carolina's most prominent progressive activist, passed away at the age of 83, after fifty years fighting the good fight.
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25ChinaA 36-year old coronavirus patient died of respiratory failure five days after being discharged from hospital, as China continues to report repeat cases of COVID-19 from people thought to have recovered.
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40United KingdomAfter the publication of yet another transphobic article published by The Guardian, written by TERF writer Suzanne Moore, over two hundred British feminists have signed a letter calling out institutional transphobia within the publication, specifically rejecting the transphobic narrative that trans rights infringe on women's rights. Signatories include Guardian staff, as well as politicians, including Green Party co-leader Sian Berry.
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21United StatesWashington. California. the World Coronavirus: Sixth US death recognized in Washington state while the global casualities surpass 3,000. UPDATE: California declares a state of emergency
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41South Korea The religious cult known as ShincheonjiWikipedia, at the heart of the South Korean 2019-20 COVID-19 outbreak required that members come to Sunday services even if they were sick, or to make up time the following week if they were too sick to come in. Church rituals include sitting on the "floor during hours-long services 'packed together like sardines.'" Reportedly, the initial South Korean government official in charge of dealing with the virus was a Shincheonji member who tried to quell the view that the church was responsible; church members have been doxxed en masse and have faced job firings and threats.
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23United Kingdom In conditions reminiscent of ICE detention centers in America, a Jamaican man with a broken ankle was left in "excruciating agony" in a deportation cell for four days, forced to wet himself as he could not move. He will not be able to walk properly for over a year.
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25Israel Israeli Supreme Court rules in favor of prisoners' rights to unlimited time phone calls.
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37Luxembourg All standard-class public transport (trains, buses and the tram) throughout the 2 586km² Grand Duchy of Luxembourg is now completely free. So you can literately hop-on and hop-off to your heart's content.