Friday, April 10, 2020

How will #coronavirus change the US presidential campaign?

As the Democrats settle on a de facto nominee, the pandemic raises questions about primaries, conventions and election day.

Could the November election be delayed due to coronavirus?

The presidential vote is due to take place on 3 November. The date is set by federal law and Donald Trump has no power to delay it alone. That would require legislation enacted by Congress and signed by the president. Such an outcome still remains unthinkable to most. But many unthinkable events have unfolded recently.

Is Joe Biden the Democratic presidential nominee?

This week, the Vermont senator and democratic socialist Bernie Sanders suspended his campaign for president, saying he couldn’t see a path to the nomination. Sanders, who reshaped American politics with his youth-led movement for sweeping social change, was Biden’s last rival in the field, which leaves the former vice-president, under Barack Obama, as the de facto Democratic candidate to challenge Trump.

Will Democratic primary elections still take place?

Despite the pandemic and the fact that the Democrats already have a de facto nominee, many states have not had their chance to cast their ballots. This week, despite widespread criticism and some late efforts by the governor to stop it, Wisconsin still held in-person voting in its primary, but most other states yet to vote have delayed theirs until June.

Why is Sanders staying on the Democratic primary ballot?

When Sanders suspended his campaign this week, he made it clear that he viewed Biden as the party’s de facto nominee. But that doesn’t mean that Biden is automatically the official Democratic candidate – he still has to receive the party’s nomination, which happens at the Democratic national convention (now delayed from July to August). If Biden secures 1,991 pledged delegates at the DNC, which now seems likely, he will be the official nominee. Sanders has said he will stay on the ballot in states that are yet to hold their primaries, to continue to exert the influence of his leftist movement on the 2020 Democratic policy platform.

How will the conventions work?

The Democratic national convention, where Biden, 77, is expected to be officially nominated as the party’s presidential candidate, was due to be held in July in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, which, like most other US cities, is grappling with coronavirus. It has been delayed to August, a week before the Republican national convention, when Trump, then 74 years old, will be officially named his party’s nominee after facing no serious challengers.

Will campaigning continue?

Media coverage that would normally be all about the race for the White House is dominated instead by an extraordinary public health and economic crisis, with the US death toll from the virus expected to be in the tens of thousands. Trump and Biden continue to work on the assumption that, come November, the worst of the pandemic will be over. The US held midterm elections in 1918 even in the grip of the Spanish flu that killed 675,000 people nationwide. Meanwhile, the president controversially uses the daily White House coronavirus taskforce briefings to push his own political agenda, and Biden has been campaigning from home in Delaware, hoping to use a new digital strategy that includes a podcast to reach voters.

Could the election be carried out by vote-by-mail?

“We’re in completely uncharted waters here and I don’t think anybody knows what’s going to happen,” Monika McDermott, a political science professor at Fordham University in New York, recently told the Guardian. “By November the picture might be completely unrecognisable. We don’t even know if the election is going to happen as scheduled. There’s talk out there about postponing it or changing it to a mail-in-only election.”
If the election does go ahead as expected on 3 November, states that already allow early and absentee voting will be well placed. Washington state, for example, has carried out elections by mail for years and its primary last month went ahead as planned. But 17 states require some kind of excuse for requesting an absentee ballot. Many would need to change their rules at huge cost to run a mail-only election.

What happens if a candidate becomes incapacitated?

If the president’s cabinet and Congress agree the president is incapacitated, the 25th amendment to the US constitution states that the vice-president becomes acting president.
No presidential candidate has ever died or become incapacitated between their nomination and the election. The procedures to replace a candidate are guided by federal and state laws and party regulations, but the situation would be unprecedented.

Video Report - #COVID-19 Animation: What Happens If You Get #Coronavirus?

Video Report - #Coronavirus: how do I know if I'm infected and what happens next?

How long does coronavirus live on different surfaces? What are the risks of handling packages and groceries?

Danielle Renwick
Coronavirus RNA was found on a cruise ship 17 days after passengers left. What are the risks of handling packages and groceries?

 More people are staying indoors to avoid contact with people potentially infected by Covid-19. But in light of a recent report from the US’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that said RNA from the virus that causes Covid-19 was found in the Diamond Princess ship 17 days after its passengers had left, what are the risks of handling packages, groceries and what scientists call “high-touch” surfaces?

Does the cruise ship report imply that viruses survive up to 17 days on surfaces?

Dr Julia Marcus: A CDC investigation of the cruise ship found evidence of viral RNA in cabins that hadn’t yet been cleaned. But to be clear, that just means the virus was detectable – not that it was viable or that contact with those services would have been able to infect someone. (Editor’s note: RNA, or ribonucleic acid, carries the virus’s genetic information.)
Dr Akiko Iwasaki: It just means that there are parts of the virus that still remain. The virus needs many other components to be intact. If you have bits and pieces of RNA, that’s not going to make a virus, you need an entire intact genome. Just because you had a little piece of RNA doesn’t mean that there’s an infection.

How long can the virus survive on surfaces?

Marcus: The New England Journal of Medicine just published a study that tested how long the virus can remain stable on different kinds of surfaces within a controlled laboratory setting. They found that it was still detectable on copper for up to four hours, on cardboard for up to 24 hours, and on plastic and steel for up to 72 hours.
But it’s important to note that the amount of virus decreased rapidly over time on each of those surfaces. And so the risk of infection from touching them would probably decrease over time as well.

Could you become infected from just a single particle of coronavirus?

Iwasaki: There’s a certain amount of viral particle that you need to be exposed to become infected. If you just had one viral particle on your finger, it’s unlikely that you’re going to be infected. Some viruses are very potent, you only need like 10 particles to get infected, while others you [may] need millions. The fewer viral particles you’re exposed to, the less likely you’re going to get infected. That’s why the amount of virus on a surface is important.

How many people are being contaminated via surfaces as opposed to airborne particles or direct contact with an infected person?

Marcus: As far as we know right now, people are much more likely to be infected by close contact with an infected person than by touching a contaminated surface. That said, it’s still important to be conscious of what we’re touching, especially high-touch surfaces, and be careful about cleaning our hands after touching things. For example, public transit or grocery stores and places where there tend to be a lot of people.
Iwasaki: The virus is pretty stable on [materials] like plastic and steel – they can persist for a few days. So it’s very possible that someone who’s sick will deposit the virus on to the surface and then somebody else will touch it and touch their face.

Is there a risk of being infected by groceries and packages that we have delivered?

Marcus: It’s a low risk, but it’s possible that if someone is delivering a package to your house and they are sick, that may be a route for transmission. I would recommend that any time something new comes into your household, be conscious of washing your hands after handling it.
Iwasaki: The [virus’s] stability is pretty good on the cardboard. Once you get those packages, open them, quickly throw away the cardboard, wash your hands, and try to avoid touching your face. Take any measures that you can to minimize contact from the surface of the package to your face.

Is it possible the contents of a package could have been contaminated by whoever packed it?

Iwasaki: There’s definitely a possibility of contamination, but it’s much more likely that the outer cardboard itself will come into contact with a lot more people than what’s inside. And if it takes days to get to your home, whatever virus that was inside will be deactivated already.

Do you have any tips for cleaning surfaces?

Marcus: It’s good to routinely clean any high-touch surfaces, like door handles and toilets. Regular household cleaners are effective, including bleach solutions and alcohol solutions of at least 70% alcohol. If somebody in your household has been diagnosed with Covid-19, then cleaning and disinfection becomes much more important and should be done more frequently.
Iwasaki: The [Food and Drug Administration] has a list of home cleaning products that are known to kill Covid-19. This virus is an enveloped virus so it doesn’t survive well in soap and alcohol.

Turkey imposes 2-day curfew in 31 provinces to curb coronavirus spread

Turkey's Interior Ministry imposed Friday a two-day curfew in 30 metropolitan provinces and northern Zonguldak province starting as of midnight to curb the spread of coronavirus.
The curfew covers the provinces of Adana, Ankara, Antalya, Aydın, Balıkesir, Bursa, Denizli, Diyarbakır, Erzurum, Eskişehir, Gaziantep, Hatay, İstanbul, İzmir, Kahramanmaraş, Kayseri, Kocaeli, Konya, Malatya, Manisa, Mardin, Mersin, Muğla, Ordu, Sakarya, Samsun, Şanlıurfa, Tekirdağ, Trabzon and Van. Aforementioned provinces were already placed under quarantine-like measures last week on April 3, with travel heavily restricted and subjected to approval, except for movement of goods and public personnel on official duty.
The latest move comes as the country's health minister reported 4,747 new COVID-19 cases earlier in the day, with total number of cases reaching 47,029, including 1,006 deaths since the outbreak began. Warm and sunny weather forecast for almost two-thirds of the country, mainly western and central provinces, raised fears that people could ignore calls for social isolation.
The curfew means some 64 million people, or 78% of the entire population, will spend the weekend in their homes. Bakeries, all healthcare product manufacturers, public and private hospitals, pharmacies, nursing homes and shelters, emergency call centers, designated gas stations and veterinary clinics (one for each 50,000 population), energy companies, postal and cargo delivery companies and animal shelters will remain operational.
Employees of relevant businesses and public servants charged with security are exempt from the curfew, in addition to people with funerals of first degree relatives and scheduled blood and blood plasma donations with the Turkish Red Crescent. Those who do not comply with the curfew will be fined or detained.
However, as the curfew was made public, images and footage from all provinces showed many people queuing in front of bakeries, ATMs and open shops, often ignoring social distancing rules.
In a video conference call with police chiefs of 81 provinces, Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said that the ministry regards this weekend as a critical threshold in the fight against coronavirus. "All our personnel should pressure everyone outside within the limits of courtesy. Please warn everyone in a way that you see strolling around, sitting on a bench or outside in their cars. (Our personnel) should ask why they are outside and try to direct them home," Soylu reportedly said.
Following the news that people rushed to markets for food stocking, Soylu called for calm and urged against panic buying, reminding that the curfew will end on Sunday midnight.
Turkey has so far avoided a total lockdown but has ordered anyone above the age of 65 or below the age of 20 to remain home. Although schools and businesses such as cafes and hairdressers were shut down, many businesses and offices remain open and workers continue to go to work.

Pashto Music Video - Nan Pah De Hujra Ke Khushali

Pashto Music - Larsha Pekhawar Ta Kamiz Tor Mala Rawra, Taza Taza Guloona Dre Salor Mala Rawra ~

بیا کډې باریګي په نوي سټائیل| - Pashto Music

Pashto Music Video - NAGHMA - SITAMGAR

Music Video - #Afghani Rabab "S_E_E_K"

Video - Ariana News 6pm News 10 Apr 2020 | آریانانیوز: خبرهای پشتو ۲۲ حمل ۱۳۹۹

Video - Imran Khan Has Lost Establishment's Favor

Analysis | Pakistan’s Imran Khan loses control of #coronavirus fight to military, amid corruption scandal - Army not PM in control amid lockdown

  • The military, which helped bring Khan to power, intervened after the prime minister downplayed the Covid-19 threat and opposed a lockdown
  • Khan is under pressure to improve his government’s performance, and a massive sugar price-fixing scandal has further weakened his administration.

  • Prime Minister Imran Khan has virtually lost control of Pakistan’s bureaucracy after the powerful military swept aside his objections to a nationwide lockdown and assumed control of efforts to curb the rapid spread of the coronavirus, officials said. Khan’s 18-month-old administration has been further weakened by a massive corruption scandal, after his office on Sunday released the results of a federal investigation into sugar price-fixing.It found that three of his close political aides – all mill owners – earned tens of millions of US dollars following a federal cabinet decision last July to allow the export of sugar. They had already benefited from a sizeable subsidy on domestic rates from the Punjab provincial government, which is also controlled by Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) party.
Khan conceded that he had chaired the cabinet meeting and approved the proposal because he thought it would benefit millions of farmers. Instead, the export of sugar, along with wheat flour, triggered nationwide shortages which practically doubled retail prices by January, and fuelled double-digit consumer price inflation rates in the midst of an economic slowdown. Since then, Khan has been under increasing pressure from the military to improve the performance of his government, said Abbas Nasir, a London-based analyst and former Asia-Pacific executive editor for the BBC World Service.
The military has ruled Pakistan directly for half its 73-year history, and is considered the ultimate arbiter of political power.
“There has been constant nudging from the army chief [of staff, General Qamar Javed Bajwa] and his intel chief for better governance,” said Nasir.
After the first confirmed coronavirus infection cluster in Pakistan was identified on March 12, Khan was reluctant to take drastic measures and downplayed the threat. In his first televised speech on the unfurling crisis on March 17, Khan said a shutdown would exacerbate Pakistan’s grinding poverty.
Behind the scenes, however, Bajwa was alarmed, according to civil servants who spoke to This Week In Asia on condition of anonymity, citing the threat of official disciplinary action. They claimed that Bajwa contacted Azam Suleman, the chief secretary of Punjab and a retired army officer who reportedly trained with him at Pakistan’s premier military academy. Acting on Bajwa’s advice, Suleman apparently ignored instructions from Chief Minister Usman Buzdar to follow Khan’s policy of few restrictions on public movement, and made a formal request for assistance from the armed forces.
Taking their lead from Punjab, the top bureaucrats of Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provincial administrations led by the PTI followed suit, the officials said, while the opposition-led government of Sindh was already on board. Pakistan is divided into four provinces, each with a separate elected assembly and chief minister.The federal interior ministry had no choice but to approve the requests because provincial governments enjoy administrative autonomy under Pakistan’s constitution.The deployments were announced on March 23, Pakistan’s national day.
Khan, however, continued to oppose the partial shutdowns that troops were deployed to enforce until April 1, when Bajwa summoned a meeting of senior generals and cabinet ministers. Afterwards, Planning Minister Asad Umar announced that the military would oversee coordination of the state’s campaign to prevent the spread of Covid-19. “The army is now firmly in charge of the administrative machinery, and will retain control for at least two months,” an Islamabad-based civil servant said. An increase in testing led to a surge in Covid-19 infections in Pakistan, with over 4,000 cases and 61 deaths. The health services ministry has forecast the number of infections will exceed 50,000 by April 25, with 5,000-7,000 deaths.
A political analyst said the military was forced to intervene because Khan’s inept response to the pandemic amplified accusations that it colluded with partisan civil servants and judges to rig the 2018 elections in Khan’s favour. “Imran Khan has proved to be a big disappointment for those who brought him to power and even those who supported him. His mishandling of the coronavirus crisis has been particularly jarring,” said Husain Haqqani, a former Pakistan ambassador to the US, currently a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, a Washington think tank. “Given that the army backed him openly, Khan’s failures are reflecting poorly on the military leadership and they do not like that,” he said.

#Pakistan #PPP - Constitution is the soul of a state: Bilawal Bhutto

Pakistan People’s Party chief Bilawal Bhutto Zardari yesterday said the constitution is the soul of a state and tearing it means tearing apart the state itself and ridiculing it means ridiculing the people.
In a message to mark the day when the Constitution was unanimously adopted by the National Assembly in 1973.
He said that Constitution was a sacrosanct social contract between the state and citizen on the one hand and the glue that bound the federating units together on the other.
Abrogating it means dismembering the federation and alienating the citizen from the state, he added.Bilawal also called for punishing those “treasonous elements who abrogated and subverted this foundational document of the state for personal power and ambitions.” It is a national disgrace that a dictator abrogated the Constitution in 1977 later ridiculing it as ‘a mere 15-page document’ that he boasted could be torn at will, he said.“Those who tear and ridicule the Constitution are the traitors of the nation. Dictators and usurpers must be punished; they will be in the fullness of time, he said. A dictator who tore up the Constitution and is on the run must be brought back to face the law,” Bilawal said.
This day reminds us of the importance of jealously safeguarding the Constitution and relentlessly pursuing those who have subverted it.
The Chairman PPP also paid tributes to Zulfikar Ali Bhutto for “forging historic consensus among all provinces, political parties and shades of opinion” in making the Constitution.
He also lauded Benazir Bhutto as the icon of democracy and constitutionalism and countless political leaders and workers belonging to different political parties who rendered huge sacrifices in the cause of safeguarding democracy and the Constitution.

#Coronavirus: Why #Pakistan's doctors are so angry

By M Ilyas Khan
It was supposed to be just a picture of Pakistan's president taking precautions during an official meeting.
But instead the image of President Dr Arif Alvi wearing the high-end N-95 medical mask - tweeted out on social media - has further inflamed tensions between Pakistan's government and those on the front line of the fight against coronavirus.
The Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) noted that while "politicians and bureaucrats are often seen wearing N-95 masks during meetings and visits… health professionals are facing a dire shortage of (these masks) and PPE (personal protective equipment)".
Indeed, while many countries around the world regularly take to the streets to applaud their health workers during the crisis, doctors in one city - where almost 25 medical officials have already tested positive - were beaten by the police, for daring to protest over the lack of PPE.
Dr Alvi has since explained that he was given this mask in China during a recent visit and had been re-using it until its straps broke. He is now using a common face mask.
But doctors are still not happy.
PPE shortages have been in the headlines ever since the coronavirus pandemic struck early last month, mainly because it was an unprecedented situation and the magnitude of demand could not have been foreseen.
For the 200,000 or so practising doctors in Pakistan, the outbreak came just six months after they were stunned by a controversial government decision to close the country's top health professionals' regulatory body, the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC).
That decision left 15,000 fresh medical graduates without certification, while around 30,000 doctors still await their routine five-year registration renewal which is necessary for them to continue to practise medicine in Pakistan and abroad, a source in the PMDC said.The near absence of protective gear triggered unrest among this already strained community, with doctors all over the country resorting to brief protests and strikes.
But nowhere were these protests as violent as in Quetta - and there are some good reasons for this.
Balochistan province is already under-resourced, with only two tertiary-care hospitals, both in Quetta, the capital. The region has often been politcally neglected. A low-intensity separatist insurgency has been going on for two decades.The province was also the first recipient of coronavirus, which arrived with the thousands of pilgrims who crossed over from Iran during February and March.
Soon after the virus was detected, the government set up a quarantine camp at the Taftan crossing, but the arrangement was "grossly inadequate and unprofessional", says Dr Yasir Khan, president of the Balochistan chapter of the Young Doctors' Association (YDA).
"People were crowded together in tents so that those who had no infection also got infected," he says.
Concerns were further raised when 40 out of the 96 people who tested positive in Quetta some two weeks ago were found to have no travel history, indicating community transmission.
As doctors demanded protection, supplies were arranged by the federal government, and the hospitals were made to sign receipts for N-95 masks.
But they turned out to be K-95 masks, mostly used by barbers and beauticians in haircutting salons, Dr Shah says.
At least 17 doctors and five paramedics in Quetta have so far tested positive for Covid-19. Even more worryingly, none of Quetta's infected health workers were involved in directly handling coronavirus patients, Dr Khan said.
It is not the only affected province: according to the YDA, 16 medics are infected in KP, and there are reports that two doctors have died in Gilgit-Baltistan region and Karachi. The federal health ministry was repeatedly approached by the BBC to confirm country-wide infections among health professionals, but it did not respond.By Wednesday, tensions had reached boiling point. Hundreds of doctors and paramedics went on strike, gathering at Quetta's Civil Hospital, from where they started a protest march towards the chief minister's residence. Police stopped them halfway to the venue, and when they tried to break through the cordon, they were pounced upon and beaten with sticks and fists.
Many were injured, and more than two dozen were arrested.
They have since been released and have decided to call off their strike. But their protest continues as PPE supplies, which the government claims to have dispatched, have yet to reach them.