WHO head pushes back on Trump; OPEC standoff with Russia; COVID-19 causing economic crisis

The World
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The World Health Organization's Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus pushed back against US President Donald Trump today, calling for unity and an end to the "politicization" of the global health crisis. Trump has been openly critical of the WHO's handling of the coronavirus pandemic and suggested that the US could review its funding for the agency. US contributions to the WHO in 2019 exceeded $400 million, almost double the second-largest country donor.

Also: Trump slammed the WHO over coronavirus. He’s not alone.

OPEC standoff with Russia

OPEC and Russia are set to discuss oil output cuts today as the Kremlin and Saudi Arabia are engaged in a price war that has helped send crude prices crashing to 18-year lows. The demand for fuel around the world has plummeted by as much as 30% as measures to fight the coronavirus have grounded aircraft, reduced vehicle usage and curbed economic activity.

Also: OPEC+ talks face challenges over baseline for cuts and US role

From The World: Oil industry in free fall

COVID-19 causing economic crisis

The sharp economic downturn from the coronavirus crisis is triggering the worst global fallout since the 1930s Great Depression, the head of the International Monetary Fund said today. IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said despite the fiscal stimulus measures taken by countries of $8 trillion globally, more would likely be needed. And, developing countries will be hit the hardest — and they'll soon need hundreds of billions of dollars in foreign aid and massive unemployment.

Also: Emerging markets are in turmoil. The IMF must step in to help. Here’s how

For this year’s Passover Seder, to Zoom or not to Zoom?

To Zoom or not to Zoom? It's an added question for many Jewish families this year as social distancing measures in place the world over are preventing big, in-person gatherings.

Virtual Seder gatherings will probably gain some participants while losing others — both for technological and religious reasons.

For Reform Jews, there’s no religious obstacle to convening online, said Andrew Rehfeld, president of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. But more conservative denominations restrict technology use on holidays.

Spain's street vendors deliver food, medical supplies amid coronavirus crisis

For over three weeks now, Barcelona’s union of African street vendors — many members of whom are undocumented — has been distributing food and other necessary items every day to hundreds of families in vulnerable situations.

And dozens of union members — sitting six feet apart — work every day to make thousands of surgical masks and gowns for Spain's beleaguered health care workers, caretakers and anyone else in need of protective gear.

Tommy the robot nurse helps Italian doctors care for COVID-19 patients

A picture of a robot in a hospital room and a patient laying on the bed sick.

A robot helping medical teams treat patients suffering from COVID-19 is pictured at a patient's room, in the Circolo hospital, in Varese, Italy on April 1, 2020. 


Flavio Lo Scalzo/Reuters

Meet Tommy, a robot nurse.

Tommy is one of six new robots helping flesh-and-blood doctors and nurses care for coronavirus patients at the Circolo Hospital in Varese, a city in the northern Lombardy region that is the epicenter of the outbreak in Italy.

The child-size robots with large blinking eyes are wheeled into rooms and left by a patient's bedside so doctors can look after others who are in more serious conditions.

In case you missed it

Listen: China's coronavirus epicenter of Wuhan emerges from lockdown

A large airport departures area is shown with several passengers walking toward gate agents.

Travelers are seen at the Wuhan Tianhe International Airport after restrictions to leave Wuhan, China's epicenter of the novel coronavirus outbreak, were lifted, April 8, 2020.


Aly Song/Reuters

The central Chinese city of Wuhan, the epicenter of the novel coronavirus pandemic, began allowing people to leave on Wednesday for the first time after being locked down for 76 days. And, the pandemic has brought all sorts of things to a standstill, including elections. Many officials are looking to make online voting available to more people — that makes election security experts particularly nervous. Also, a robot nurse named Tommy has been helping keep human doctors safe in an Italian hospital.

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