VIF News Digest: International Developments (US, Europe and Russia), 16-30 April 2020
Trump Attacks Flynn Inquiry Amid New Revelations on F.B.I. 30 April 2020

President Trump revived his attacks on law enforcement on Thursday as a pair of former advisers, Roger J. Stone Jr. and Michael T. Flynn, renewed their fights against their criminal convictions.

Mr. Flynn’s lawyers accused the F.B.I. and the Justice Department of misconduct, citing newly unsealed documents showing that F.B.I. officials were about to close the investigation into their client in early 2017 until new evidence prompted them to keep it open.

Mr. Stone appealed his conviction to the federal court of appeals for the District of Columbia. He was sentenced in February to 40 months in prison for obstructing a congressional investigation, lying to federal investigators and tampering with a witness. Click here to read....

Trump: U.S. considering coronavirus testing on some international flights, 29 April 2020

President Donald Trump said on Tuesday the United States was considering having passengers on international flights from coronavirus hot spots be tested for the virus.

“We’re looking at doing it on the international flights coming out of areas that are heavily infected,” Trump said at a White House event. He said his administration was working with airlines on the plan, which could happen “in the very near future.”

He said Brazil was one of the countries “getting to that category” of being a hot spot.

Earlier this year, passengers from China were screened at U.S. airports after landing in an effort to slow the spread of the new coronavirus. Only a handful of passengers were quarantined.

“I did it with China, I did it with Europe — that’s a very big thing to do. It’s certainly a very big thing to do to Florida, because you have so much business from South America,” Trump said. Click here to read....

To Prepare for COVID-19 Vaccine, Let’s Ensure Manufacturing Capacity Will Meet Demand, 28 April 2020

Pharmaceutical and biotech companies, in collaboration with scientists in academia and government, are working flat-out to develop drugs and vaccines to treat or prevent COVID-19.

Although a vaccine is still months away, policymakers and the public should ask now: If and when their efforts succeed, will there be sufficient manufacturing capacity to meet the likely enormous demand?

Fortunately, thanks to legislation passed by Congress back in 2004, President Donald Trump and his administration already have the authority they need to support and incentivize private companies with the relevant expertise and skills to build out manufacturing capacity as quickly as humanly possible.
Private industry faces significant risks in building manufacturing capacity at this stage. Given the national interest in making a vaccine available, the president should task his administration with acting now to prepare this capacity. Click here to read....

Trump orders meat plants to stay open in pandemic, 29 April 2020

President Trump signed an executive order Tuesday evening compelling meat processors to remain open to head off shortages in the nation’s food supply chains, despite mounting reports of plant worker deaths due to covid-19.

Trump invoked the Defense Production Act to classify meat plants as essential infrastructure that must remain open. Under the order, the government will provide additional protective gear for employees as well as guidance, according to a person familiar with the action who spoke about the order before it was signed by the president. The person was not authorized to disclose details of the order.

Trump’s plan to sign the order was first reported by Bloomberg News.

Trump alluded to the plan Tuesday morning during an Oval Office meeting with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R). “We’re going to sign an executive order today, I believe,” Trump said. “It was a very unique circumstance because of liability.” He did not elaborate. Click here to read....

Texas Oil Port Hit by One-Two Punch: Falling Demand and Overproduction, 28 April 2020.

Ever since this Gulf Coast city’s leaders helped persuade the Obama administration and Congress to lift the export ban on liquid fossil fuels in 2015, the Port of Corpus Christi has been a steady tide of construction, creating nearly 10,000 permanent jobs and bringing in $54 billion in capital investment.
But the coronavirus pandemic, which has slammed the brakes on economic activity across the nation, threatens to halt investment in planned projects and abandon thousands more new jobs.

The expansion of the port in the years leading up to the crisis produced new pipelines and distribution facilities, export terminals, liquefied natural gas plants, storage depots and refineries. Corpus Christi has turned into the largest energy exporter and third-largest port in the United States by tonnage. Last year, it handled 122.2 million metric tons of cargo, 60 percent of it exported oil. Click here to read....

Economic Recovery:
Trump Showcases Jobs Preserved by Paycheck Protection Program Amid COVID-19 Shutdown, 28 April 2020

Michael Heup not only got his job back at Bitty & Beau’s Coffee, which was temporarily closed because of the COVID-19 crisis, but he also had the chance to talk about it at the White House on Tuesday.

“I love my job, and I am excited about going back to work,” Heup, a disabled employee, said at the East Room event. “At Bitty & Beau’s, we like to use the phrase called ‘not broken.’ That means me and all my amazing co-workers are not broken, and we have lots to offer. I know the great country of the United States isn’t broken either.”

The Wilmington, North Carolina-based Bitty & Beau’s Coffee had to temporarily close and lay off 120 employees at the company, most with intellectual and developmental disabilities. But it was able to rehire all the employees after getting a federal loan through the Paycheck Protection Program.
The White House had representatives from eight companies at the event sharing their stories of staying afloat after governments’ COVID-19 mitigation efforts forced much of the economy to close. Click here to read....

McConnell dangles aid to states — with a catch, 27 April 2020

Mitch McConnell is open to cutting a deal to provide reeling states and cities with relief during the pandemic-fuelled recession. But it will come at a price.
In an interview on Monday, the Senate majority leader said it’s “highly likely” the next coronavirus response bill will aid local governments whose budgets have been decimated by lockdowns and now face spiraling deficits. But to unlock that money, McConnell said he will "insist" Congress limit the liabilities of health care workers, business owners and employees from lawsuits as they reopen in the coming weeks and months.

“We probably will do another bill. What I’m saying is it won’t just be about money,” McConnell said. “The next pandemic coming will be the lawsuit pandemic in the wake of this one. So we need to prevent that now when we have the opportunity to do it.” Click here to read....

White House-allied conservatives band together to support economic reopening, 27 April 2020

A group of conservatives, some with close ties to the White House, formally announced a new coalition Monday that will push state officials to reopen for business quickly.

Members of the Save Our Country Task Force include economic commentator Stephen Moore, economist Art Laffer and former South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint, all of whom were named earlier this month to President Donald Trump's coronavirus economic council.

Others in the group include former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, a close Trump ally; Tea Party Patriots leader Jenny Beth Martin; Adam Brandon of FreedomWorks; Lisa Nelson, who runs the American Legislative Exchange Council, which crafts model bills for conservative state legislators to advance around the country; and Ginni Thomas, a conservative activist and wife of US Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

The new group debuted just as the White House is turning its attention to highlighting the toll coronavirus closures have taken on the economy. Click here to read....

U.S. states, local governments could need nearly $1 trillion for pandemic: Pelosi, 30 April 2020

U.S. state and local governments could need close to $1 trillion in aid over several years to cope with the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic, House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Thursday.

“We’re not going to be able to cover all of it, but to the extent that we can keep the states and localities sustainable, that’s our goal,” Pelosi told reporters.
Asked if state and local aid would be the largest part of upcoming relief legislation, Pelosi, the country’s top elected Democrat, said: “I’ve talked about almost a trillion dollars right there, I would hope so. But we do have other issues that we want to deal with.”

Later on Thursday, President Donald Trump, a Republican, said he would “think about what’s happening.” Click here to read....

Half of U.S. states easing coronavirus restrictions as jobless numbers grow, 30 April 2020

The White House let its 2-week-old economic reopening guidelines expire on Thursday as half of all U.S. states forged ahead with their own strategies for easing restrictions on restaurants, retail and other businesses shuttered by the coronavirus crisis.

The enormous pressure on states to reopen, despite a lack of wide-scale virus testing and other safeguards urged by health experts, was highlighted in new Labor Department data showing some 30 million Americans have sought unemployment benefits since March 21.

The jobless toll amounts to more than 18.4% of the U.S. working-age population, a level not seen since the Great Depression of the 1930s.
Physical separation of people - by closing schools, businesses and other places of social gatherings - remains the chief weapon against a highly contagious respiratory virus with no vaccine and no cure. Click here to read....

Data from Gallup's Americans Trust Governors Most Among Economic Players, 23 April 2020

More than two in three Americans (68%) say they have "a great deal" or a "fair amount" of confidence in their state's governor to make the right economic recommendations -- a higher level of confidence than they have for federal leaders, including President Donald Trump (47%) as well as Republican annual Economy and Finance survey, conducted April 1-14 -- come as U.S. markets struggle to rebound amid the COVID-19 outbreak, and as the number of people applying for unemployment insurance has skyrocketed. President Trump has sparred with numerous governors across the country and the political spectrum over their policies surrounding the response to the coronavirus outbreak, as well as their decisions on when to "reopen" the economy.

The current level of confidence in state governors to handle the economy is higher than the previous 58% and 51% ratings that governors received in 2011 and 2014, respectively -- though governors ranked much higher than federal leaders in each of those polls as well. Click here to read....

Millions who had risen out of poverty are pulled back in by the pandemic, 30 April 2020

The gains the world was making in fighting poverty are at grave risk as the coronavirus brings countries to a grinding halt, forcing workers out of jobs they desperately need.

The World Bank says that for the first time since 1998, global poverty rates will rise. By the end of the year, 8 percent of the world’s population — half a billion people — could be pushed into destitution, largely because of the wave of unemployment brought by virus lockdowns, the United Nations estimates.
The developing world will be hardest hit. The World Bank estimates that sub-Saharan Africa will see its first recession in 25 years, with nearly half of all jobs lost across the continent. South Asia will probably experience its worst economic performance in 40 years.

Most at risk are people working in the informal sector, which employs two billion people who have no access to benefits like unemployment assistance or health care. In Bangladesh, one million garment workers — who make up 7 percent of the country’s work force — lost their jobs because of the global lockdowns. Click here to read....

South Asia
US calls on Afghan leaders to set aside disputes, focus on virus , 27 April 2020

The US peace envoy to Afghanistan on Sunday called on the country’s feuding leaders to set their differences aside to combat the coronavirus pandemic and advance a stalled peace agreement signed with the Taliban earlier this year.

The well-being of the Afghan people and the country depends on all parties devoting their full energies to fighting the Covid-19 pandemic, the shared enemy of all, Zalmay Khalilzad tweeted early on Sunday.

He said Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and his rival Abdullah Abdullah, who each declared himself the victor in September’s election, should put the interest of the country ahead of their own during Ramazan. Click here to read....

Afghan violence increased after US-Taliban deal: UN , 28 April 2020

Violence surged in Afghanistan in the weeks after the United States and the Taliban signed a deal supposed to pave the way for a peace process, a UN agency said on Monday.

In all, fighting in the first three months caused 1,293 civilian casualties, of which 760 were injuries and the rest deaths, including 152 children and 60 women, the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said in a quarterly report.

Afghans had enjoyed a period of relative calm ahead of the Feb 29 accord, but the conflict resumed almost as soon as the deal was signed, and the militant group has since rejected multiple calls for a ceasefire during the holy month of Ramazan.

“The report tracks a disturbing increase in violence during March at a time when it was hoped that the government of Afghanistan and the Taliban would commence peace negotiations, as well as seek ways to defuse the conflict and prioritise efforts to protect all Afghans from the impact of Covid-19,” UNAMA said. Click here to read....

Trump tells advisers U.S. should pull troops as Afghanistan COVID-19 outbreak looms, 27 April 2020

President Donald Trump has pushed his military and national security advisers in recent days to pull all U.S. troops out of Afghanistan amid concerns about a major coronavirus outbreak in the war-torn country, according to two current and one former senior U.S. officials.

Trump complains almost daily that U.S. troops are still in Afghanistan and are now vulnerable to the pandemic, the officials said. His renewed push to withdraw all of them has been spurred by the convergence of his concern that coronavirus poses a force protection issue for thousands of U.S. troops in Afghanistan and his impatience with the halting progress of his peace deal with the Taliban, the officials said. Click here to read....

West Asia
US-Led Coalition Conducts 28 Strikes in Iraq, Syria in March, 30 April 2020

The US-Led coalition has carried out 28 airstrikes against Daesh in March, Combined Joint Task Force - Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF-OIR) said in a release on Thursday.

"Between March 1 and March 31, 2020, CJTF-OIR conducted a total of 28 strikes consisting of 44 engagements in Iraq and Syria," the release said.
The coalition said it launched 20 strikes in Iraq that killed ten terrorists, destroyed one cave and suppressed three locations.

"In Syria, CJTF-OIR conducted eight strikes against Daesh [Islamic State] targets consisting of 16 engagements. This resulted in eight terrain denial operations," the release said.

The US-led coalition of more than 60 nations has been carrying out airstrikes and other operations against Daesh in Iraq since August 2014 and in Syria since September 2014. Click here to read....

Donald Trump tells Saudi Arabia to cut oil supply or lose US military support: Sources, 1 May 2020

As the United States pressed Saudi Arabia to end its oil price war with Russia, President Donald Trump gave Saudi leaders an ultimatum.

In an April 2 phone call, Trump told Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman that unless the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) started cutting oil production, he would be powerless to stop lawmakers from passing legislation to withdraw U.S. troops from the kingdom, four sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

The threat to upend a 75-year strategic alliance, which has not been previously reported, was central to the US pressure campaign that led to a landmark global deal to slash oil supply as demand collapsed in the coronavirus pandemic - scoring a diplomatic victory for the White House.

Donald Trump delivered the message to the crown prince 10 days before the announcement of production cuts. The kingdom's de facto leader was so taken aback by the threat that he ordered his aides out of the room so he could continue the discussion in private, according to a US source who was briefed on the discussion by senior administration officials. Click here to read....

East Asia
Exclusive: Trump says China wants him to lose his re-election bid, 30 April 2020

U.S. President Donald Trump said he believes China’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic is proof that Beijing “will do anything they can” to make him lose his re-election bid in November.

In an interview with Reuters in the Oval Office on Wednesday, Trump talked tough on China and said he was looking at different options in terms of consequences for Beijing over the virus. “I can do a lot,” he said.

Trump has been heaping blame on China for a global pandemic that has killed at least 60,000 people in the United States, according to a Reuters tally, and thrown the U.S. economy into a deep recession, putting in jeopardy his hopes for another four-year term.

The Republican president, often accused of not acting early enough to prepare the United States for the spread of the novel coronavirus, said he believed China should have been more active in letting the world know about the virus much sooner. Click here to read....

USS Bunker Hill Conducts 2nd South China Sea Freedom of Navigation Operation This Week, 29 April 2020

Guided-missile cruiser USS Bunker Hill (CG-52) conducted a freedom of navigation operation through the Spratly Island chain in the South China Sea, U.S. 7th Fleet announced on Wednesday.

According to a statement from the Navy, the cruiser tested excessive maritime claims of China, Vietnam and Taiwan. All three countries have overlapping claims in the contested island chain.

Bunker Hill, without prior notification, conducted an innocent passage past an unspecified feature in the Spratly chain. Under international maritime law, a warship can move through a country’s territorial sea without notification as long as it doesn’t conduct any military operations.

“Unlawful and sweeping maritime claims in the South China Sea pose a serious threat to the freedom of the seas, including the freedoms of navigation and overflight and the right of innocent passage of all ships,” reads the statement from 7th Fleet.

“This freedom of navigation operation upheld the rights, freedoms, and lawful uses of the sea recognized in international law by challenging the restrictions on innocent passage imposed by China, Vietnam and Taiwan.” Click here to read....

Politics and Society
President Ursula Von der Leyen outlines a path to European recovery, apologies to Italy for EU’s inaction, 16 April 2020

“The coronavirus crisis will likely redefine our politics, our geopolitics and possibly globalisation itself. And in this new world Europe will need to stick together through thick and thin”, President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen said at the European Parliament session that on 16 April discussed EU's coordinated response to the coronavirus and its consequences. She also extended a 'heartfelt apology' to Italy on behalf of Europe for not being by Italy’s side since the beginning of the crisis. Click here to read....

France launches AI phone line to help keep track of COVID-19 spread, 27April 2020

French researchers have launched a national phone line staffed by so-called "digital assistants" who will help check whether callers have symptoms of COVID-19. Callers to the free AlloCovid service will be put through to one of 1,000 "intelligent virtual agents" which will listen to symptoms and assess whether they are likely to have been infected. Click here to read....

Poland set to hold elections in midst of pandemic, 28 April 2020

Despite the coronavirus pandemic, a negative Supreme Court opinion, and criticism from the OSCE, Poland’s ruling Law and Justice (PiS) seems determined to hold the presidential elections by postal voting in May. The tentative date is 10 May and opinion polls show incumbent president Andrzej Duda, a PiS ally and long-time frontrunner, rising in popularity with some showing him taking more than 50 percent of the vote, enough to win without having to compete in a second round on 24 May. Click here to read....

EEAS Special report update: short assessment of narratives and disinformation around the covid-19/coronavirus pandemic, 24 April 2020

TheEuropean External Action Service(EEAS) report provides an overview of the current trends and insights into ‘disinformation’ activities related to COVID-19/Coronavirus. The report claims that “despite their potentially grave impact on public health, official and state-backed sources from various governments, including Russia and – to a lesser extent – China, have continued to widely target conspiracy narratives and disinformation both at public audiences in the EU and the wider neighbourhood. Click here to read....

Borrell: China ‘expressed their concerns’ over disinformation leak, 30 April 2020

Chinese officials have “expressed their concerns” over the leakof a draft Commission publication on disinformation, the EU’s diplomatic chief Josep Borrell confirmed on 30 April. His comments came days after the EEAS, which he heads, released the special report (mentioned above). The EU report was released after Politico had already leaked an earlier draft of the same.Click here to read....

There were media reports following allegations made by Politico that the EU had toned down its narrative against China following pressure from Beijing. Click here to read....

European Commissionannounces exceptional measures to support the agri-food sector, 22 April 2020

The EChas proposed additional measures to further support agricultural and food markets most affected. The latest package includes measures for private storage aid (PSA) in the dairy and meat sectors, the authorisation of self-organisation market measures by operators in hard hit sectors and flexibility in fruits and vegetables, wine and some other market support programmes. Click here to read....

The EU and 21 other WTO Members pledge to ensure well-functioning global food supply chains, 23 April 2020

The European Union, together with 21 other Members of the World Trade Organization, committed to open and predictable trade in agricultural and food products during the current global health crisis. Co-signatories of a joint statement shared today with all 164 WTO Members pledge to ensure well-functioning global agriculture and agri-food supply chains and avoid measures with potential negative impact on food security, nutrition and health of other Members of the organisation and their populations. Click here to read....

The European Union's €1 trillion coronavirus question, 28 April 2020

In recent weeks, EU leaders have been arguing over the size and nature of a "recovery fund" which will aid the battered economies of Europe, bereft after several weeks of shutdowns that has led to some of the worst economic data seen since the post-World-War-II recovery 70 years ago. The leaders have agreed to task the European Commission with creating the fund but beyond that, little else. The €1 trillion figure comes directly from von der Leyen's remarks and is not an official number. Click here to read....

GDP down by 3.8 percent in the euro area and by 3.5 percent in the EU, 30 April 2020

Seasonally adjusted GDP decreased by 3.8 percent in the euro area and by 3.5 percent in the EU during the first quarter of 2020, compared with the previous quarter, according to a preliminary flash estimate published by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. These were the sharpest declines observed since time series started in 1995. In March 2020, the final month of the period covered, COVID-19 containment measures began to be widelyintroduced by Member States. In the fourth quarter of 2019, GDP had grown by 0.1% in the euro area and by 0.2% in the EU. Click here to read....

Coronavirus downturn: France and Italy in recession as Spain sees record GDP decline, 30 April 2020

France and Italy entered a recession in the first three months of this year while Spain's GDP plunged sharply, new data on COVID-19's impact on European economies indicates. French GDP fell by 5.8 per cent in the first quarter, "the biggest drop" since 1949 the country's INSEE statistics agency as it unveiled its first estimate. Italy also entered into a recession in the first quarter with GDP decreasing by 4.7 per cent compared to the previous quarter, the ISTAT statistics agency announced on Thursday. If the estimate is confirmed, it would be the worst reading since 1995, when Eurostat began its monitoring. Click here to read....

Health and Environment
Europe's COVID-19 death toll over 100,000, but worst-affected countries show signs of 'improvement', 19 April 2020

The continent has had more than 1 million confirmed cases of coronavirus, according to The European Center for Disease Control. Italy, Spain, France and the United Kingdom are by far the countries that have reported most deaths. However, signs of relative improvement came from Italy and Spain today, after they both recorded the lowest daily death toll in about a month. Click here to read....

Malaria could soon return to Europe because of climate change, 23 April 2020

The World Health Organisation has warned that climate change will see a devastating increase in malaria deaths. And countries that have eradicated the disease could see a deadly return, including parts of Europe which are witnessing warmer temperatures owing to climate change. Click here to read....

Merkel reaffirms support for raising EU’s 2030 climate target to 50-55percent, 30 April 2020

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has insisted that the European Green Deal must be the driving force behind Europe’s economic recovery plan. In her speech at the 11th session of the Petersberg Dialogue, Chancellor Merkel reaffirmed her support for raising the EU’s emissions reduction target for 2030 from 40% to 50% or even 55%. Click here to read....

The Pandemic and the Toll of Transatlantic Discord, 18 April 2020

After years of mutual grievanceover defence spending, trade, and much more, divergent national responses to this latest crisis have brought new sources of tension and complaint. In the face of medical-supply shortages, both the United States and Europe have turned inward. Click here to read....

The European Union will Survive Covid-19, 30 April 2020

The EU is not on the frontline of the epidemiological fight against COVID-19. The provision of an adequate health infrastructure and decisions on school closures or lockdowns are all national competencies. Still, for member states, the EU underpins their capacity to act. Not even Germany is self-sufficient in pharmaceuticals or food. To function properly, all nations are reliant on the single market operating, crisis or not. Click here to read....

Politics and Society
Vladimir Putin had a telephone conversation with his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, 16 April 202

During the conversation, Putin praised “the consistent and effective actions of Russia’s Chinese partners, which helped stabilise the epidemiological situation in the country.” He stressed that it was counterproductive to accuse China of releasing information to the global community on this dangerous infection in an untimely manner. The two leaders expressed confidence that the countries would be able to successfully overcome pandemic-related challenges if they continue to cooperate closely with each other. Click here to read....

Russia Passes Dual Citizenship Law, Hoping to Add 10M Citizens, 17 April 2020

Russian lawmakers from both houses of parliament have passed legislation allowing dual Russian citizenship for foreigners. Lawmakers have described the amendments to Russia’s citizenship law, which among other steps strike down a requirement to renounce one's existing citizenship, as “revolutionary.” Their authors expect up to 10 million people, primarily from Russian-speaking populations in the former Soviet republics, to obtain Russian passports as the country tries to fix its demographic crisis. Click here to read....

New Russian governors oppose controversial Shiyes landfill in their backyard, 18 April 2020

Two newly appointed leaders in northern Russia have opposed a controversial landfill whose construction set off nationwide protests against shipping Moscow’s waste to poorer regions over a year ago. Opposition to construction of the Shiyes landfill in the Arkhangelsk region as a destination for Moscow’s trash grew from a local issue in 2018 to a mass movement a year later. A court ruled to demolish Shiyes in January 2020, though the landfill’s investor has since appealed the decision. Click here to read....

Several hundred people violate self-isolation to attend protest in Russia's Vladikavkaz, 20 April 2020

On April 20, between 500 and 1,500 residents gathered outside the city's regional administration building to protest the loss of their jobs and incomplete information public officials on Covid-19.It was later reported that the demonstration was inspired in part by Vadim Cheldiyev, a local activist who had published a video message on April 17 calling onVladikavkaz residents to stage a “people’s gathering” on April 20. Click here to read....

Putin signs law to simplify procedure to obtain Russian citizenship, 24 April 2020

Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a law allowing foreigners to apply for Russian citizenship without renouncing their current one, the document was published on the official Internet portal for legal information on Friday. Click here to read....

Joint Statement to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the meeting on the Elbe, 25 March 2020

President Vladimir Putin and President D. Trump released a joint statement on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the historic meeting of Soviet and American soldiers who shook hands on a damaged bridge over the Elbe River. This event was a harbinger of a decisive defeat for the Nazi regime. Click here to read....

Absolute majority of Russians back government measures to fight coronavirus – pollster, 27April 2020

The absolute majority of the respondents (75 percent) backed measures of local authorities to prevent the spread of coronavirus in a nationwide poll via phone interview. Of the 1,600 respondents aged over 18, only 13 percent of the respondents said they did not support the measures taken, while 11 percent couldn’t answer the question.It is important to note that the lowest levels of support was registered among respondents aged between 25 and 44. Click here to read....

Russia’s sovereign wealth fund will total nearly $95 bln by late 2020, 19 April 2020

Russia’s National Wealth Fund will amount to nearly 7 trillion rubles ($94.6 bln) by the end of 2020 with all planned spending and these reserves will be enough until 2024 under the current oil prices, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov noted. Click here to read....

Current crisis could be worse than 2008-2009, Medvedev says, 28 April 2020

The crisis amidst the coronavirus pandemic may be worse than the global financial crisis of 2008-2009, the state needs to quickly respond to the changing situation, said United Russia Chairman, Deputy Chairman of the Russian Security Council Dmitry Medvedev at a meeting of the presidium of the party’s general council on Tuesday. Click here to read....

Russian Manufacturing PMI Falls to Record Low, 30 April 2020

The outlook in the Russian manufacturing industry is at its worst in more than two decades, the influential purchasing managers' index (PMI) reading has shown. The manufacturing PMI index fell to 31.3 on a reading where scores below 50 indicate the sector is in contraction. Levels of both production and sales dropped at the fastest rate since records began in 1997 between March and April, in yet another sign of the unprecedented economic slump Russia is facing as a result of the coronavirus. Click here to read....

Health and Environment
Nearly 900 coronavirus cases confirmed in Russian army, 27 April 2020

Nearly 900 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in the Russian armed forces since March, the Russian defense ministry said on Sunday. Click here to read....

Russia’s COVID-19 cases surpass 100,000, 30 April 2020

The number of COVID-19 cases in Russia has risen by 7,099 over the past day to 106,498 in all regions, the anti-coronavirus crisis center reported. Click here to read....

Russian prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin tests positive for Covid-19, 30 April 2020

During a video conversation with President Putin, the Russian PM, Mikhail Mishustin revealed that he had tested positive for the coronavirus. Deputy prime Minister, Andrey Belousov was selected for the post of Acting Prime Minister. Click here to read....

Arctic Likely to See Ice-Free Summers Despite Climate Action, Study Says, 22 April 2020

The Arctic will likely lose its summertime ice cover by 2050 even if current levels of CO2 emissions are significantly cut, a new study published in the American Geophysical Union’s journal has warned.Climate change has reduced sea ice coverage in the Arctic Ocean in recent decades, with 2019 tying with 2012 for having the second-lowest ice cover in recorded history. Click here to read....

EAEU demonstrates solidarity amid pandemic, unlike EU

The Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) has set an example of solidarity and team spirit amid the coronavirus pandemic, unlike the European Union, TimofeiBorodachev, program director of the Valdai international discussion club. "The economic and pandemic crisis has revealed a quite high level of trust between the EAEU nations. Unlike the European Union countries, which have left each other to their own devices, neither of the EAEU nations has given any ground to be accused of pursuing a selfish policy," he noted. Click here to read....

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