World News Briefs For Sunday, 23 Feb 2020
Hello Australia!! - Is two weeks not enough for a Coronavirus quarantine? - The Coronavirus meets internet trolls - A big, big bank will pay a high price for ripping off customers - And more in your CareerSpot Global News Briefs:
A man in China's Hubei Province has come down with symptoms of the pneumonia-like disease caused by the Covid-19 coronavirus - but not until 27 days after he was infected. That casts serious doubts on that whole two-week quarantine standard that health officials in Australia and around the world have been using to repatriate citizens from China or that infected cruise ship from Japan. This comes amid concern over new reports of deaths elsewhere in the world: Iran all of a sudden reported six coronavirus deaths, up from two earlier in the week; and Italy has reported its first two deaths, part of a cluster in the Lombardy region. The Italian cases seem to have started with a traveler coming back from China; so far, Iran hasn't found a link with the assumed birthplace of the coronavirus.
But South Korea has raced into the lead among countries that aren't China dealing with a sudden explosion in infection numbers: 430 races centered around an evangelical cult led by an 80-something year-old preacher who thinks he's Jesus. South Korean health officials are hustling to test people in the city of Daegu, population around 2.5 million. About 230 of South Korea's coronavirus infections are associated with the so-called "Shincheonji Church of Jesus", while scores of cases on a mental health ward at Cheongdo hospital may also be related to the sect. Covid-19 has killed more than 2,340 people, mostly in China, and infected more than 76,000.
US officials say they've identified thousands of social media accounts spreading disinformation about the Covid-19 coronavirus, mostly blaming the US and claiming idiotic conspiracy theories about the bug being some form of economic war on China. "Russia's intent is to sow discord and undermine US institutions and alliances from within, including through covert and coercive malign influence campaigns," said Philip Reeker, acting assistant secretary of state for Europe and Eurasia. "By spreading disinformation about coronavirus, Russian malign actors are once again choosing to threaten public safety by distracting from the global health response." The social media accounts are posting "near identical" messages about the coronavirus in English, Spanish, Italian, German, and French from Moscow-run "news" sources like RT and Sputnik.
Police in North Macedonia discovered 47 migrants in an abandoned truck in the country's southeast. The migrants entered North Macedonia from Greece, and authorities plan to deport them back there. Meanwhile, The Finnish government says it has agreed to take in up to 175 asylum-seekers from camps in Cyprus, Greece, Italy and Malta "to alleviate the humanitarian situation" experienced by refugees in the Mediterranean members of the European Union.
Stop me if you've heard this one before: South Sudan's leaders agreed to stop factional violence and form a unity government for about the five billionth time since 2013. President Salva Kiir dissolved the previous government and opposition leader Riek Machar was sworn in as his deputy. These same two guys have done this dance several times, and 400,000 people have been killed in political and ethnic violence over the years.
The UN humanitarian agency is having trouble helping people forced from the homes by violence in Burkina Faso. Officials are describing "killing, raping, pillaging" that is turning 4,000 people into refugees every day, 700,000 in the last twelve months. The UN says militant attacks have increased five-fold in Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger.
Wells Fargo Bank in the US has agreed to to pay a US$3 Billion fine to settle a civil lawsuit and resolve criminal prosecution over its fake accounts scandal. Under pressure from relentless bosses to raise sales numbers, employees opened numerous fake accounts in customers names without their permission. And Well Fargo charges these customers fees for maintaining the accounts they never asked for. "This settlement holds Wells Fargo accountable for tolerating fraudulent conduct that is remarkable both for its duration and scope and for its blatant disregard of customer private information," said Michael Granston of the US Justice Department's Civil Division.