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Coronavirus scare will wipe out more than $4 Trillion from global economy - Asian Development Bank

Masked people in Shanghai
© Reuters / Aly Song
People wearing protective face masks in Shanghai, China March 10, 2020
The global economy will see a much bigger hit from the coronavirus pandemic than previously expected, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) has warned in its annual report.

According to the gloomiest scenario presented by the bank, the impact of the "worst pandemic in a century" will be as high as $4.1 trillion, or 4.8 percent of global gross domestic product (GDP). However, even this forecast could turn out worse given the impact of the outbreak on global supply chains and how long it will take to contain the virus.

"The estimated impact could be an underestimate, as additional channels such as supply disruptions, interrupted remittances, possible social and financial crises, and long-term effects on health care and education are excluded from the analysis," reads the Asian Development Outlook (ADO) 2020, the ADB's annual economic report.

Nationwide lockdown could cost Indian economy over $4 BILLION A DAY

The 21-day complete shutdown across India which was triggered by the rapid spread of the coronavirus outbreak will result in a gross domestic product (GDP) loss of almost $98 billion, according to Acuite Ratings & Research.

"While the countrywide shutdown is scheduled to be lifted from April 15, 2020, the risks of prolonged disruption in economic activities exist depending on the intensity of the outbreak," the credit rating agency said, adding that the ongoing disruption will have significant economic consequences across the world as well as in India.

Acuite Ratings has warned there is a risk of a contraction of April-June (2020-21 fiscal) GDP to the extent of between five and six percent, with Q2 (July-September) likely to post modest growth in a best-case scenario.

According to the agency's estimates, "every single day of the nationwide lockdown will cost the Indian economy almost $4.64 billion," said Sankar Chakraborti, CEO of Acuite Ratings & Research.

Transport, hotel, restaurant, and real estate activities were named among the most severely impacted sectors. "In our opinion, there would be at around 50 percent GVA (gross value added) loss in these sectors, which account for around 22 percent in overall GVA, in Q1 of FY21," the rating agency said.

On the other hand, communications, broadcasting, and healthcare are expected to see boosted activities during the crisis. However, with a 3.5 percent share, their contribution to the overall GVA will be small. The impact of the lockdown is projected to be severe on some industrial activities, while the agricultural sector - which accounts for 15 percent of GVA - is "nonetheless expected to see continuing activity even in the lockdown period."
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Eye 1

London's Met police to buy military-style vehicles for riot control

Armoured police
© AFP via Getty Images
Armoured police personnel carriers
Scotland Yard wants to buy a new fleet of military-style armoured vehicles to help tackle public disorder, firearms incidents and riots in London.

Last week the force put out a notice stating it was looking for suppliers for armoured personnel carriers, armoured military vehicles, armoured combat vehicles and weapon carriers.

It also wants security, fire-fighting and defence equipment and armour plating.

It wishes to buy "tactical intervention and public order and firearm patrol vehicles" that can carry up to eight personnel and have a gross vehicle weight over 10 tonnes, according to the notice.

Comment: Quality of life in the West has been deteriorating for well over a decade - life expectancy figures in the UK prove as much - and in turn there has been an upsurge in protest movements - the Yellow Vests began protesting in the hundreds of thousands in December 2018 - so it's clear to anyone paying attention that more serious unrest would be up ahead. And now, with the manufactured coronavirus crisis, a financial depression, the laws rushed through Parliament limiting citizens rights while giving unprecedented power to the authorities, mass unemployment, much of the planet on lock down, as well as the looming threat of food shortages, it's no surprise the establishment are arming themselves: Political Ponerology: A Science on The Nature of Evil adjusted for Political Purposes

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BBC licence fee could be replaced with internet tax

BBC sign
© Reuters / Andrew Winning
The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) said that it is considering scrapping its court-enforced licence fee funding mechanism, in favour of attaching a tax on citizens' broadband connections.

The United Kingdom's TV tax-funded news outlet said that although it still favours the licence fee, it will consider having its funding "linked directly to an existing common household bill" like broadband, council tax, or other utility bills.

"This would be a significant change for the UK and we are not, at this stage, advocating it," the corporation said in its submission, the BBC said per The Guardian.

"It does, however, raise an interesting question as to whether the current system could be made much simpler, more efficient, and more automated. We are open to exploring this further," the broadcaster added.

Currently, the BBC receives the majority of its funding from a mandatory £154.50 licence fee on anyone who watches colour television or live programming in the UK, regardless of whether or not they consume media from the broadcaster. Those who refuse to pay the fee face fines and possible jail time.


Some people may not get stimulus checks until August

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin
© AP
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin
The federal government expects to begin making payments to millions of Americans under the new stimulus law in mid-April, but some people without direct deposit information may not get checks until mid-August or later, according to a memo obtained Thursday by The Associated Press.

The document from the House Ways and Means Committee says the IRS will make about 60 million payments to Americans through direct deposit in mid-April, likely the week of April 13. The IRS has direct deposit information for these individuals from their 2018 or 2019 tax returns.

Then, starting the week of May 4, the IRS will begin issuing paper checks to individuals, the memo says. The paper checks will be issued at a rate of about 5 million per week, which means it could take up to 20 weeks to get all the checks out. That timeline would delay some checks until the week of Aug. 17.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Thursday that while he initially pledged to get payments started within three weeks of the law's adoption, "I'm now committing to two weeks. We're delivering on our commitments."

The IRS, which he oversees, will ensure that "within two weeks the first money will be in people's accounts," Mnuchin said during a White House briefing.

People 2

Panama is quarantining women and men on different days during its coronavirus lockdown

panama lockdown
As of Wednesday, women and men in Panama are under different quarantine schedules.

Women are allowed to leave their homes for necessities on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Men can leave their homes for the same on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.

"On Sundays, everyone will have to stay at home," President Laurentino Cortizo announced.

The restrictions, which are in effect for at least 15 days, come on top of a nationwide lockdown that went into effect March 25. Panama currently has 1,317 cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, and 32 deaths from it.

The move could make it easier for Panamanian officials to ensure social distancing, Cortizo said on social media. The first quarantine measure required all Panamanians to remain in their homes except to get food or in case of an emergency, but apparently the rule was not enough. More than 2,000 people were arrested last week for breaking the rules, according to Agence France-Presse.

Comment: So what's next? Start shooting people for being out? Oh wait, looks like Duterte beat them to it.


The Covid-19 debate: Economies really are made up of real people

unemployment lines
The headline of this piece is admittedly very, very dumb. It's dumb because everyone knows that real people work in economies. As such, it's on a par with news that paper is made from wood pulp, apples grow on trees and fire is hot.

But the reason it needs to be stated is that the past couple of weeks has convinced me that many people actually don't seem to know this at all. Judging by comments I have seen in numerous articles, and the pushback I and many others have received from questioning the proportionality of the measures put in place to deal with the outbreak of Covid-19, there seem to be many people who think that economies are all about money and commerce and wealth. Well, there is that, but principally they are about people.

It works like this: I or A.N. Other state that we believe shutting down most of the economy for an indefinite period is an astonishingly disproportionate and dangerous way of tackling the threat from Covid-19, and we are immediately assailed with responses that run along the following lines:
  • How can you equate money with people's lives?
  • I can't believe you're bringing the economy into it when we're talking about saving lives.
  • What a callous person you must be to put wealth and profit before people.
For what it's worth, I work for a company that deals with labour market data. On the systems we use, such data looks like a bunch of numbers. Yet we are aware, for example, that when we look at the numbers of jobs in the Restaurant and Pub sectors (approximately 1.6m in the UK), each of the single digits that go to make up that number is actually a person. A real, live person. A person with thoughts and feelings. A person with a heart and soul. A person who works to earn money to put food on the table, to pay the rent, to keep the lights on. Some of them have families, and therefore have dependants to feed, clothe, shelter etc as well as themselves.

Comment: See also:


Carrier captain fired over coronavirus letter cheered by his crew as he leaves ship, becomes latest hero of #Resistance

Captain Brett Crozier
© US Navy/Specialist 3rd Class Nicholas Huynh
Captain Brett Crozier
Videos of the crew of USS Theodore Roosevelt cheering their captain, relieved of command by the Navy amid a Covid-19 controversy, have become a surprise hit among the critics of President Donald Trump, who is getting the blame.

Hundreds of sailors gathered on the deck of the Roosevelt on Thursday night to bid farewell to Captain Brett Crozier, cheering him and chanting his name as he walked off the ship. They showed no sign of concern that doing so might expose them to the coronavirus - which started the entire drama to begin with.

"I've never seen anything quite like it," said Erik Slavin, writer for the military newspaper Stars and Stripes, sharing a Facebook video of Crozier's sendoff from inside the Roosevelt's hangar bay.

Arrow Up

Two million guns sold during March as sales skyrocket to second highest level ever in US

gun shop
The pandemic is leading people to buy way, way more guns as some fear there will soon be civil unrest.

According to a new report from the New York Times, Americans bought nearly two million guns last month as the country slowly went into lockdown.

This was the second-highest sales numbers ever seen in the U.S. for firearms, surpassed only by the January after then U.S. President Barack Obama's re-election, which was also when the Sandy Hook shooting occurred. And while more guns were sold in January 2013, the numbers are actually extremely close — with roughly two million guns sold during each time period.


Barcelona converts car park into a temporary coronavirus morgue

© unknown
Coffins in car park in Barcelona, Spain
As Spanish health sector workers fight the Covid-19 pandemic, the funeral services are overrun and Madrid and Barcelona are having to enact emergency measures.

The coronavirus pandemic in Spain shows little sign of abating and as the country's hard-pressed health services battle valiantly to attend to the needs of the over 70,000 active cases nationwide the situation is worsening in terms of places to store those people who have lost their lives due to the ongoing crisis. There have now been more than 10,000 deaths directly related to the Covid-19 outbreak in Spain and funeral service sector workers are inundated, leading to the use of places other than morgues to try and alleviate the situation.

The main ice rink in Madrid, the Palacio de Hielo, has been turned into a temporary morgue during the pandemic and the IFEMA conference centre in the capital has been repurposed as a emergency isolation centre for coronavirus patients, in addition to military hospitals being set up on the outskirts of the city. In Barcelona, the situation has become so untenable that a three-storey car park attached to the Collserola de Barcelona funeral home has been converted into a temporary resting place for Covid-19 victims.

Eye 1

Virus vigilantes: 'My neighbour isn't self-isolating'

An Ottawa woman was outraged when she spotted social media posts from a neighbour who was supposed to be self-isolating but was out and about in the community. "I'm about to lose it on her!" she posted on Facebook.

The woman called the police to report her neighbour. The neighbour and other "ignorant assh**** who can't follow the rules are killing people," she posted.

Others chimed in on Facebook, harshly criticizing those who violate rules that public health authorities have put in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19.