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China’s travel ban a serious blow to tourism in Japan #ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย

Published January 28, 2020 by SoClaimon

#ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

https://www.nationthailand.com/news/30381164?utm_source=category&utm_medium=internal_referral

China’s travel ban a serious blow to tourism in Japan

Jan 28. 2020
By Saki Sakamoto and Minoru Akita
The Japan News/ANN

TOKYO – The Chinese government on Monday banned its citizens from group trips abroad, in a bid to prevent the further spread of a new type of coronavirus.

A halt in the flow of Chinese tourists, who account for 30% of foreign visitors to Japan, will have a significant impact on the tourism industry, to which many other industries are linked. If the ban continues for a prolonged period, it will be difficult for the Japanese government to meet its target number of foreign visitors to Japan this year.

The Japanese government has decided to allow Japanese residents in Wuhan, China, to return home.

Cancellations flow in

Tokyo-based Kamome Tourist Co. in Shinjuku Ward has received cancellations of 480 group tours for about 20,000 tourists that were scheduled to take place as early as Monday.

“I’ve been receiving cancellations constantly since this morning. This situation will hit us hard,” said agency President Sho Yamazoe. Kamome Tourist offers Chinese visitors tours to Mt. Fuji and other places.

“Many of our staff are coming to the office on their days off to cope with the situation, calling restaurants and shops that were included on our tours,” Yamazoe said.

A spokesperson for Prince Hotels Inc., where one-third of the foreign guests are Chinese, said, “We can’t predict the impact yet.”

J. Front Retailing Co., which owns Daimaru Matsuzakaya Department Stores Co. and other stores, is also concerned that “China’s move will have a big impact on duty-free sales,” according to a spokesperson.

Investments threatened

Preliminary figures put 2019 spending in Japan by foreign visitors at about ¥4.81 trillion, with about 36.8% of this, or ¥1.77 trillion, spent by visitors from China. The amount spent per tourist from China was about ¥210,000, more than visitors from other Asian countries.

“The hotel and transportation industries that had prepared to receive visitors for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics are getting a smack in the eye in the stage where they would be recouping their investments,” said Shunsuke Kobayashi, a senior economist at Daiwa Institute of Research Ltd.

According to an estimate by Nomura Securities Co., if the number of foreign visitors to Japan declines by 10%, consumption will decline by ¥480 billion, pushing down the gross domestic product by about 0.1% a year. If Japanese people refrain from going out to avoid the risk of virus infection, domestic consumption may also decline, possibly fueling downward pressure on the Japanese economy.

Hard to reach target

According to the Japan National Tourism Organization, the number of Chinese visitors to Japan in 2019 increased 14.5% compared to the previous year to 9.59 million The online version of Chinese newspaper The Beijing News put the number of travelers on group tours at 55.24% of the total in 2018, and Monday’s ban is expected to have a significant impact on the flow of Chinese travelers.

The Japanese government aims to increase the number of foreign visitors to Japan to 40 million in 2020. A senior Japanese government official said, “It [the ban] was inevitable to prevent the spread of infection, but it’s now become difficult to achieve our goal.”

Banks tell Hong Kong staff to work at home after China Visit #ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย

Published January 28, 2020 by SoClaimon

#ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

https://www.nationthailand.com/news/30381155?utm_source=category&utm_medium=internal_referral

Banks tell Hong Kong staff to work at home after China Visit

Jan 28. 2020
By Syndication Washington Post, Bloomberg · Cathy Chan 

Credit Suisse and UBS Group are among banks telling Hong Kong staff to work from home for two weeks if they’ve just visited mainland China as global banks step up their response to the outbreak of the deadly coronavirus.

Employees should discuss with their division manager and human resources before returning to work after that time, Credit Suisse said in an internal memo obtained by Bloomberg. Anyone with fever or flu-like symptoms is required to work from home until a doctor certifies the person is well enough to return, it said. Both it and UBS are also introducing travel restrictions.

Credit Suisse said the measures were “to safeguard our staff and clients” after Hong Kong’s decision Saturday to raise its response level to “emergency” to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus, which is believed to have an incubation period of around 14 days. The bank’s memo said the International Commerce Center tower, where it has its main offices, would be starting temperature checks as well.

UBS in a memo to staff — confirmed by a spokesman — said its Hong Kong office will be open as normal on Wednesday and asked employees in the city and Singapore to work remotely if they had returned from the mainland within the past 14 days.

Two Hong Kong-based spokeswomen for Credit Suisse didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment on Monday, a public holiday. The Zurich-based bank had more than 45,000 employees worldwide at the end of 2018, according to its website. Hong Kong is a regional hub.

A spokesman for Citibank in Hong Kong also said its employees were being asked to report any personal travel to Wuhan or the surrounding area and to work from home for two weeks after returning. Business travel to the area was restricted earlier, he said.

Deutsche Bank has sent a memo to Hong Kong staff recommending employees work from home for 7 days after any China visit, according to people familiar with the matter. There won’t be any staff in the office on Monday and Tuesday because of China’s New Year holidays, one person said. A spokeswoman declined to comment.

A novel coronavirus began spreading in early December in Wuhan, in central China, and has since spread around the country and abroad. At least 80 people have died.

Investors dump airlines, miners #ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย

Published January 28, 2020 by SoClaimon

#ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

https://www.nationthailand.com/news/30381154?utm_source=category&utm_medium=internal_referral

Investors dump airlines, miners

Jan 28. 2020
By Syndication Washington Post, Bloomberg · Ksenia Galouchko 

After surging to a fresh record high at the end of last week, European equities on Monday became the latest market to get hammered by fears that measures to slow the spread of the coronavirus were failing, sending investors running from risky assets.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index ended the session 2.3% lower, dropping the most since Oct. 2, with miners, airlines, luxury-goods makers and tech stocks taking a serious beating. All industry groups were in the red, signaling just how worried traders were. The U.S. also dropped, with the S&P 500 tumbling as much as 1.9% on Monday morning.

“Fear is the name of the game,” said Stephane Ekolo, an equity strategist at TFS Derivatives in London. “Market participants are taking some risks off the table as they are afraid of the potential economic implication of the virus outbreak.”

Monday’s drop is quite a change from Friday, when the market rallied on optimism that China was moving quickly enough to contain the outbreak. The death toll has now risen to at least 80 people, the infection is spreading around the world, and investors are dumping equities at the start of a week jam-packed with earnings.

“A spike in volatility will add further excuses to sell and to adjust the weight into the end of the month,” said Alberto Tocchio, chief investment officer at Colombo Wealth in Lugano. “We are therefore continuing to buy puts on main European and U.S. indexes in order to protect the portfolios.”

The Euro Stoxx 50 Volatility Index jumped 36%, the most since Feb. 2018, signaling that traders were unsettled by the rising number of victims from the outbreak. The gauge had dropped to a record low earlier this month.

While Monday’s pull-back in stocks was pronounced, all was not lost yet. Technical charts showed the Stoxx 600 remained in an uptrend channel, and trading above its 50-day moving average.

Here are the most affected sectors in Monday’s sell-off:

Luxury-goods makers

– Shares in luxury-goods makers were hurt by worries that Chinese consumers won’t spend as much time shopping during Lunar New Year festivities as they usually do. Kering SA, Swatch Group AG and Burberry Group Plc were among the biggest decliners in the sector.

– “It’s very apparent that the last thing on anyone’s mind right now is purchasing luxury items,” Keith Temperton, a trader at Tavira Securities, said by email.

– While it’s too early to draw any firm conclusions on the potential impact on the industry from the virus, disruptive events – especially those affecting consumer sentiment and people traveling – have in the past been “historically good times” to buy into the sector, a team of Exane BNP Paribas analysts wrote in a note.

Airlines and Airports

– The spread of the virus and China’s order to suspend sales of package tours in an attempt to contain the outbreak are weighing on travel and leisure shares including airlines.

– Deutsche Lufthansa AG and Air France-KLM shares tumbled as the two airlines are the most exposed to China among European peers, with about 7% of capacity, according to a UBS note; IAG SA also underperformed even as its exposure is more limited. Finnair also sank; the carrier has 10% of its seat capacity exposed to China and a further 38% to other Asian countries, according to Goodbody.

– “This is of growing concern for global long-haul airlines,” Sanford C. Bernstein Ltd. analyst Daniel Roeska said in an email. “While low-cost airlines in Europe don’t have any exposure, the majors’ links to their Chinese partners will make Asia traffic a difficult region in their 1Q,” “However, we have also seen that travel can resume very quickly after events like this and I would expect top-line challenges for AF, LHA, IAG only as long as the tragic situation persists.”

– Among airport managers, Fraport AG has the highest exposure to Asia, which represents about 10% of the airport’s capacity, according to UBS, followed by Aeroports de Paris and Flughafen Zurich AG.

Autos

– Shares of European carmakers and suppliers dropped on fears of further weakening in demand in China, the world’s biggest automotive market. Car sales in the country fell for a second straight year in 2019 and, while the head of its main automotive industry association is predicting some growth in the market this year, Beijing Automotive Group Co. has said competition is “brutal.”

– Wuhan, the virus outbreak’s epicenter, is the base of Dongfeng Motor Corp., one of the three main shareholders in French carmaker PSA Group, the maker of Peugeot, Citroen and Opel models. In addition to that partnership, Dongfeng is also working on electric vehicles with PSA’s main domestic rival, Renault SA.

– Parts producers with multiple sites in China include German tire and powering-systems manufacturer Continental AG and French peers Valeo SA and Faurecia SE.

Technology

– Tech stocks, which touched their highest levels since May 2001 on Friday, also pulled back, weighed by losses for almost every member of the Stoxx Tech Index apart from Ericsson. Prosus NV, Micro Focus International Plc, Dialog Semiconductor Plc and AMS AG were among the biggest decliners.

– Trade-war concerns for the tech sector have dissipated, Fahad Hassan, a fund manager at Atlantic House Fund Management, said by phone, still “this is just a different sort of macro concern that obviously affects all stocks, but given tech has been the strongest group so far this year, I think it was going to get hit on any pull-back,” Fahad added, referring to the coronavirus.

Mining and Steel

– Mining shares slid as much as 4.6%, their biggest drop on since August. Large diversified miners such as Anglo American Plc, BHP Group Plc, Glencore Plc and Rio Tinto Plc paced the retreat, alongside steelmakers ArcelorMittal SA and Evraz Plc, as base metals tumbled on concerns that the spread of the coronavirus will weigh on demand, with China being the world’s largest consumer of commodities.

– “The sharp fall of virtually anything related to industrial metals this morning is more than a knee-jerk reaction to the latest coronavirus developments. It more reflects in our view the rise in the global level of uncertainty, which will remain high in the next three weeks; at the very least. Keep your distances,” said Stephane Barbier de la Serre of Makor Capital.

Embassy offers aid to Thai student isolated in Wuhan #ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย

Published January 28, 2020 by SoClaimon

#ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

https://www.nationthailand.com/news/30381135?utm_source=category&utm_medium=internal_referral

Embassy offers aid to Thai student isolated in Wuhan

Jan 27. 2020
By THE NATION

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Monday (January 27) acknowledged a social media posting by a Thai student in Wuhan city of China’s Hubei province, which has been in lock down to contain the spread of coronavirus.

Pasnicha Krutdamrongchai raised the issue of food shortage in the city on her Facebook page on Sunday (January 26), said Busdee Santipitak, the ministry’s spokesperson and director general of the Department of Information.

“We instructed the Embassy of Thailand in Beijing to contact her and solve her problem with food supply” she said.

Pasnicha was living in Wuhan when the city was cordoned off by the Chinese government.

The Thai embassy, Busdee said, has asked other Thai students in China to offer their assistance, and assured that all 64 Thais living in Wuhan were unaffected by the virus.

“The embassy is collaborating with related Chinese agencies to ensure the well-being of Thai nationals in the city,” he said

Meanwhile, the foreign office in Hubei province, said canteens and shops in Wuhan University remain open.

“The Thai embassy in Beijing is in regular contact with Thais in Wuhan and other cities in Hubei province” she added.

S. Korea reports 3rd confirmed case of Wuhan coronavirus #ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย

Published January 27, 2020 by SoClaimon

#ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

https://www.nationthailand.com/news/30381112?utm_source=category&utm_medium=internal_referral

S. Korea reports 3rd confirmed case of Wuhan coronavirus

Jan 27. 2020
A patient with infected with the new strain of coronavirus is under treatment at a hospital in China. Yonhap

A patient with infected with the new strain of coronavirus is under treatment at a hospital in China. Yonhap
By Yonhap/The Korea Herald/ANN

South Korea on Sunday reported its third confirmed case of the Wuhan coronavirus amid mounting fears over the spread of the pneumonia-like illness throughout China and other parts of the world.

According to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC), a 54-year-old South Korean resident of Wuhan who arrived back home on Monday tested positive for the new strain of the virus that has killed 56 people so far.

“Upon arrival at the airport he showed no symptoms but he started suffering from fever, chills and muscle cramps on Wednesday. His condition seems to have improved for a few days before getting worse again, at which time he contacted health authorities and was placed in isolation on Saturday for tests and treatment,” the KCDC said.

It said more information about the third case will be made available in due course.

Besides the latest confirmed case, the KCDC said it has checked 47 people who have showed symptoms so far, with all testing negative for the illness. The tally was 32 on Saturday.

The country reported two confirmed cases of the new coronavirus strain on Monday and Friday and is keeping close tabs on those that may have come in contact with such people.

To counter the health threat posed by the virus, the health authorities here said Saturday that they have designated mainland China a “coronavirus watch” zone as part of their ongoing efforts to prevent the spread of the Wuhan coronavirus here.

Later in the day, South Korea’s foreign ministry raised the travel advisory level for Wuhan and the Hubei region to “red alert” and recommended its citizens to evacuate the region.

The “red alert” is the third highest in the country’s four-tier travel warning system.

Reflecting the concerns raised by the coronavirus, airports across South Korea have set up checkpoints to screen passengers from China and other countries for signs of illness, with local authorities accelerating quarantine efforts to contain the virus as people visit relatives at home or travel abroad.

Health workers stressed citizens should follow strict personal hygiene rules whether they are in the country or traveling abroad, especially since large numbers of Chinese tourists are visiting South Korea during the holiday period. The start of the Lunar New Year is celebrated by both Korean and Chinese people.

They said people feeling ill should immediately contact its emergency call center by dialing “1339.”

It also asked people to wash their hands frequently, cover their mouths when coughing and, if they have respiratory problems, wear a mask.

Common symptoms of the coronavirus, thought to have originated in Wuhan, central China, include fever, sore throat and breathing difficulties, with more acute cases bringing chills and muscle pain. Health experts said that elderly people and those with underlying disorders should be more careful.

China announced that besides the deaths, 1,975 people are confirmed infected amid concerns that the virus is spreading quickly and widely. It said that of those infected, 324 were in critical condition.

Outside China, Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, Macao, Hong Kong, France, Australia and the United States have reported confirmed cases of the new coronavirus strain, and there are media reports of a new case in Canada. (Yonhap)

5th case confirmed in U.S., 1,000 more expected in China #ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย

Published January 27, 2020 by SoClaimon

#ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

https://www.nationthailand.com/news/30381111?utm_source=category&utm_medium=internal_referral

5th case confirmed in U.S., 1,000 more expected in China

Jan 27. 2020
By The Washington Post
Gerry Shih, David J. Lynch, Simon Denyer, Brittany Shammas
BEIJING – The Chinese government struggled Sunday to cope with a worsening coronavirus epidemic as its official number of infections soared and the death toll rose to 80, while additional cases appeared in the United States.

The government in Beijing broadened an extraordinary quarantine to more than 50 million people – roughly equal to the population of Spain – enforcing a travel ban on 16 cities in central Hubei province, where the lethal virus first appeared.

In the United States, health officials confirmed three new cases – one in Arizona and two in California – bringing the total to five. The patients – in Southern California, Chicago, Arizona and Washington state – had traveled from Wuhan, officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. All are hospitalized.

As of midafternoon Sunday, the CDC has been investigating 100 people in 26 states, including the five who were confirmed infected. Of those, 25 people have been tested and are not infected with the virus.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/video/c/embed/57d569c4-b016-4f48-94c1-9c53dde48efe

Health officials expect more American cases, Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, told reporters. But the virus is not believed to be spreading from person to person in the United States, she said.

“For this reason, we continue to believe that the immediate health risks from the 2019 coronavirus to the general American public is low at this time,” Messonnier said. “But the threat is serious, and our public health response is aggressive, with the aim of helping protect Americans.”

Chinese officials, however, say the worst is yet to come. Health Minister Ma Xiaowei said Sunday that the virus is developing the ability to spread more easily, while the vice minister of industry, Wang Jiangping, said demand for medical supplies is overwhelming China’s ability to produce them.

The mayor of Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak, said he expects at least 1,000 more infections to surface. Workers are racing to build at least three pop-up 1,000-bed hospitals in the city to cope with the anticipated surge.

China’s national health commission reported that 2,744 people across 30 provinces had been infected as of Sunday. Eighty deaths have been reported, including in major metropolitan areas such as Shanghai. Several doctors in Beijing, the capital, also reported being infected.

Patients also have been confirmed in France, South Korea, Japan, Nepal, Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam, Taiwan and Australia.

After a slow start, Chinese authorities have moved aggressively to combat the novel ailment. Officials indefinitely extended the annual Lunar New Year holiday beyond its scheduled Jan. 30 end and deployed more than 1,000 doctors and military personnel to Wuhan.

The State Department, meanwhile, plans to evacuate diplomats posted at the U.S. Consulate in Wuhan on a charter flight on Tuesday, according to a statement posted on the website of the U.S. Embassy in Beijing. The consulate is about two miles from the Huanan Seafood Market, where the virus is believed to have first jumped from animals to humans.

A “limited” number of seats on the aircraft will be available for other Americans seeking to flee the city, with priority being given to those most at risk of succumbing to the fatal illness, the statement said.

Chinese authorities have banned the sale of wild animals for the duration of the crisis.

The economic fallout from the epidemic also is likely to be significant. Even before the outbreak, China’s economy was slowing, hampered by the trade war with the United States and government efforts to slow widespread borrowing. The galloping virus, which has crimped travel, shuttered movie theaters and idled factories, will further depress growth.

That will put pressure on Chinese officials to pause their debt-reduction campaign and goose the economy with more spending. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell may address the implications for the global economy at Wednesday’s scheduled meeting of the central bank’s rate-setting committee, said Diane Swonk, chief economist for Grant Thornton in Chicago.

The virus will also imperil China’s ability to meet the targets for additional purchases of U.S. goods contained in the trade deal President Donald Trump signed this month.

That “phase one” accord calls for China over the next two years to buy $200 billion worth of American goods and services beyond previous levels, a goal many analysts regarded as ambitious even before the outbreak of disease.

“All of a sudden phase one looks pretty hard to reach,” said Swonk.

Ma, the health minister, told reporters Sunday that the virus is infectious during its incubation period, meaning that a person could spread it to others before experiencing symptoms. That’s a significant difference from the SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) coronavirus, which began in China in 2002 and spread globally, killing 774 people.

The Chinese announcement about the new coronavirus’s transmissibility could explain the soaring rate of infection in China, which registered a 50% jump in cases on Sunday. Local authorities expect a similar leap on Monday.

But the CDC does not have “any clear evidence of patients being infectious before symptom onset,” Messonnier said during the Sunday news conference, adding that health officials are “actively investigating” that possibility.

Scientists say the virus is adapting to humans much faster than SARS. It took the SARS virus three months to mutate into a form that spread easily among humans, but the related Wuhan coronavirus took one month, George Fu, a top Chinese epidemiologist, told reporters.

“Why is it transmitting so fast?” he said. “The two species are like the cartoon Tom and Jerry: Viruses are continually adapting to humans, but human also adapt, and the virus’s ability to make people ill also goes down.”

The director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO) said he was en route to Beijing for meetings with Chinese government officials. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, named to the post in 2017, said on Twitter that the agency was “working 24/7 to support” Chinese efforts to battle the disease.

The Wuhan coronavirus has caused mild to severe respiratory illness, fever, coughing and shortness of breath. The CDC believes symptoms can manifest two to 14 days after exposure. No drugs or vaccines have been recommended specifically to treat the virus.

At the heart of the outbreak, in central China’s Hubei province, a travel ban extended to a total of 16 cities and covered about 51 million people. Video distributed by state media showed local officials in adjacent regions taking extreme measures, including using excavators to destroy and block roads, to discourage residents from traveling to infected areas of Hubei to visit stranded relatives inside the quarantine zone.

China’s Center for Disease Control on Sunday found large amounts of the coronavirus from samples taken from Wuhan’s South China seafood market, where wild animals, including deer and bats, were being sold.

“It is highly suspected that the epidemic is related to wildlife trade,” state broadcaster CCTV reported. Researchers say the related SARS coronavirus in 2002 probably originated in bats and spread to humans through civet cat, which was sold in wildlife markets and eaten as a delicacy in southern China.

The spread of the virus – and travel bans extending to several major hubs in China – threatened to paralyze the country for an indefinite period. Officials in Beijing said Sunday that they “have not and will not close the city because of the epidemic” in response to online rumors suggesting an imminent lockdown of the capital, which has a population of 22 million, with a significant fraction traveling this week to visit family.

Two teams of British epidemiologists released studies over the weekend estimating that each infected person was spreading the disease to two or three people. A team from Lancaster University projected that infections in Wuhan could explode to 190,000 cases by as early as next week.

The Chinese central government said it is mustering manufacturers to send 100,000 hazardous-materials suits and millions of face masks to Wuhan, where hospitals reported overfilled beds and doctors collapsing from exhaustion. Videos on social media from Wuhan hospitals showed patient queues stretching around the block and nurses worrying the true number of cases – based on what they were witnessing – far exceeded what was being officially reported.

Wang, the vice minister of industry, said Sunday that the country was facing a significant shortage of medical supplies, including protective suits for medical workers. Hubei province alone required 100,000 suits a day, he said, but Chinese manufacturers could only produce 30,000 a day.

Michael Einhorn, president of Dealmed, an independent medical supply distributor in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania, said prices of masks jumped as soon as news of the virus spread, while sales volumes tripled through retailers such as Amazon.

Dealmed typically carries at least 90 days’ supply but currently has only about two weeks’ worth left.

If demand continues, the availability of masks will be “very limited” within 10 days, Einhorn said in a statement, and if the virus continues to spread, there will be “extreme shortages” in as early as three weeks’ time.

Meanwhile, Chinese citizens stranded inside the vast quarantine zone, locked down by paramilitary police checkpoints for the fourth day, took to social media to describe a sense of surreal desperation during a week when families should be celebrating the new year with dumplings, fireworks and presents.

One Wuhan resident described sharing the dwindling groceries she had purchased to last for three days with an elderly couple whose food supplies were exhausted.

“I don’t know how to solve this food problem,” wrote the user, Guapidawushi. “Right now I really, really don’t know what to do. I’m completely helpless.”

Some users shared videos of once-buzzing streets in Wuhan’s historic, European-style riverside district lying empty. Others posted more lighthearted pictures of women playing Mah-jongg with masks and transparent grocery bags over their heads.

The situation appeared to be more dire in the vast Hubei countryside.

The Chinese magazine Caijing reported that some smaller village clinics were rationed six masks, and large hospitals were within one or two days of running out of supplies. In Jingzhou city, a short distance up the Yangtze River from Wuhan, doctors told reporters that they were wearing rain ponchos because they lacked protective suits.

In Hong Kong, where a sixth case of the virus was confirmed Sunday, pressure is mounting on the government to tighten border controls with China. One hospital workers’ union threatened a five-day strike if more measures weren’t taken.

Protesters in the evening attacked a building that has been set aside for quarantine and set its lobby alight with molotov cocktails, police reported.

“We are all nervous here and everyone has begun curtailing their social lives,” said Andrew Collier, managing director at Orient Capital Research. “I was planning a trip to China but will delay that until there is more information.”

– – –

Denyer reported from Tokyo. Lynch and Shammas reported from Washington. Min Joo Kim in Seoul, Shibani Mahtani in Hong Kong, Lyric Li in Beijing, Paul Schemm in Dubai contributed to this report.

Kobe Bryant, a tireless competitor who became a global sports icon, dies at 41 #ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย

Published January 27, 2020 by SoClaimon

#ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

https://www.nationthailand.com/news/30381110?utm_source=category&utm_medium=internal_referral

Kobe Bryant, a tireless competitor who became a global sports icon, dies at 41

Jan 27. 2020
By The Washington Post
Kent Babb

Kobe Bryant, a five-time National Basketball Association champion and global sports icon who retired in 2016 before adding an Academy Award to his considerable trophy case two years later, died Sunday in a helicopter crash northwest of Los Angeles. He was 41.

The aircraft, which also carried Bryant’s 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, and seven others, crashed and burst into flames near Calabasas, California, late Sunday morning. There were no survivors. Bryant, whose home and post-NBA film and publishing offices were in the Orange County suburbs of southern Los Angeles, traveled frequently via helicopter.

Bryant’s wife, Vanessa, and three other daughters were not aboard the aircraft, which was reportedly on the way to a youth basketball tournament in which Gianna, known as Gigi, would be playing.

The incident sent shock waves throughout the sports and pop culture worlds, and several NBA teams took 24- and eight-second violations during Sunday’s games to commemorate Bryant’s jersey numbers with the Los Angeles Lakers.

“Words can’t describe the pain I’m feeling,” former NBA superstar Michael Jordan said in a statement Sunday afternoon. “I loved Kobe – he was like a little brother to me. We used to talk often, and I will miss those conversations very much. He was a fierce competitor, one of the greats of the game and a creative force.”

“Kobe was a legend on the court and just getting started in what would have been just as meaningful a second act,” said former president Barack Obama, who along with former first lady Michelle Obama, Bryant referred to as friends in 2018. “To lose Gianna is even more heartbreaking to us as parents.”

In sports and in life, Bryant was an individual whose tirelessness and competitive drive were as notable as his versatility and ambition.

Known late in his career by the nickname “Black Mamba,” Bryant was one of the smoothest and most dangerous shooters in a league previously dominated by Jordan, Earvin “Magic” Johnson and Larry Bird. When those players retired or their talents faded, Bryant took up their mantle. The 6-f00t-6 shooting guard was named to the NBA’s all-star team in 18 of his 20 seasons, all with the Lakers, and he twice led the league in scoring. He scored 81 points during a game in 2006, the second-highest total in a game in league history.

He and Shaquille O’Neal led the Lakers to three consecutive championships, from 2000 to 2002, though perhaps more impressive was Bryant’s ability to push the Lakers back into the league’s championship ranks after the departures of O’Neal and Coach Phil Jackson, who had guided Jordan’s Chicago Bulls to six championships during the 1990s.

Bryant, who was one of the first players to skip college basketball and declare himself eligible for the NBA draft in 1996, modeled his game after Jordan and saw himself as the heir apparent – and occasional rival – to the former Bulls superstar.

“I was thinking in my mind: I didn’t care,” Bryant said in 2017 during a podcast hosted by Geno Auriemma, the 11-time national championship coach of the University of Connecticut women’s basketball team. “I’m going to destroy this guy. I don’t care if I’m 18; I’m coming for blood.”

Indeed, Bryant’s voracious competitiveness could strike some as aloofness, and his reputation as a teammate and sports role model were matters of controversy. He famously clashed with O’Neal, orchestrating the fun-loving center’s trade from Los Angeles in 2004 because Bryant occasionally viewed him as lazy.

Bryant’s image had already changed a year earlier, when an employee of a Colorado resort accused him of sexually assaulting her. Although charges were eventually dropped, a civil settlement was reached, and Bryant’s image as a clean-cut cultural darling was tarnished.

He would spend the next decade rebuilding his image not just as a detail-oriented perfectionist but as a person obsessed with greatness and achievement overall. He became a mentor of famous young NBA players and anonymous youngsters interested in basketball’s finer points. He coached Gianna’s teams and would occasionally lose himself in extolling her prowess on the court, where she showed instincts and devotion that reminded him of himself.

Gianna will “be standing next to me,” Bryant said during a 2018 appearance on “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” “and it’ll be like: ‘And you gotta have a boy. You and [Vanessa] gotta have a boy; have somebody carry on the tradition, the legacy.’ She’s like, ‘I got this.’ ”

There was no doubt Bryant seemed fascinated with the concept of greatness and mastering basketball’s finer points. He attended Women’s National Basketball Association games and frequently commented on the highly successful women’s college teams at Connecticut and Notre Dame. In one of his final public appearances, Bryant and Gianna were courtside at a Lakers game in December, with Bryant appearing to intensely break down a play to his daughter.

If his commitment to fulfilling potential sometimes rubbed peers the wrong way, it also could be infectious. After the U.S. men’s basketball team’s disappointing bronze-medal performance in the 2004 Athens Olympics, Bryant was added to the team and quickly became a veteran leader. A noted early riser who, even as he passed his 40th birthday, would often be up by 5 a.m. for an intense workout or shooting session, he challenged Olympic teammates to join the “Breakfast Club.” Bryant’s group met each morning at 7 for weight training or basketball drills, and alongside fellow team leader and NBA superstar LeBron James, Team USA returned to its past dominance with gold medals in 2008 and 2012.

On Saturday, James passed Bryant on the NBA’s career scoring list, and Bryant’s final post to his 15 million Twitter followers was a congratulations to the 35-year-old James, who has spent the past two seasons with the Lakers.

“Continuing to move the game forward @KingJames. Much respect my brother,” Mr. Bryant’s tweet read, with a hashtag of James’s points total when he passed Bryant: 33,644.

Between games and workouts, Bryant was an insatiable learner on and off the court. Early in his career, he picked the brains of Jordan and Hakeem Olajuwon to learn and mimic their signature basketball moves. Although Bryant had never attended college, he was nonetheless captivated by the pursuit of knowledge and lifelong improvement. He took summer school courses at UCLA after his rookie season in the NBA, and years later he invited entertainers and visionaries – Oprah Winfrey, J.K. Rowling and George R.R. Martin among them – for in-depth discussions about their crafts.

“It can seem a little obtuse, maybe, but he seemed to be interested in all of this,” John Williams, the legendary film-score composer and five-time Oscar winner, said of Bryant in a 2018 interview with The Washington Post.

Although Bryant accomplished almost everything possible on the basketball court, a traditional retirement never held much appeal. A lifelong film buff who filled idle time by quoting “Star Wars,” “The Big Lebowski” or a Harry Potter movie, Bryant began imagining his next career before stepping away from his first. His basketball career had made him a millionaire a few hundred times over, but his investments in the sports drink company BodyArmor and other companies that included grooming products and artificial intelligence were positioning Bryant to again follow Jordan, this time into an exclusive club of billionaires who began their careers as athletes.

Unlike Jordan, Bryant had no intention of spending his decades after basketball earning passive income. It was during a ride aboard “The Mamba Chopper,” or what he called the Sikorsky S-76 helicopter he took to Lakers games, that in 2016 he conceived of an alternate world in which his stories and characters would exist. He would call that world “Granity” and would name his fledgling film studio the same.

“There are infinite possibilities,” he told The Post in September 2018, and it was precisely that concept that drew him in.

During Bryant’s final season with the Lakers, he wrote a poem called “Dear Basketball,” or what amounted to a farewell to the game that made him a household name. He later adapted the poem into a nearly four-minute animated film, complete with a rousing score by Williams. It was one of five nominees for best animated short before the 2018 Academy Awards, and Bryant took to the stage in his victory and, in one of the four languages Bryant claimed fluency in, thanked Vanessa and his three daughters. (His fourth, Capri, was born in 2019.)

“You are my inspiration,” he said first in Italian and then English before walking away with his Oscar statuette.

Kobe Bean Bryant was born in Philadelphia on Aug. 23, 1978, before spending many of his formative years in Italy. His mother, the former Pamela Cox, was a homemaker and the sister of former NBA player Chubby Cox; his father, Joe “Jellybean” Bryant, was a professional basketball player who spent most of his playing and coaching career in Europe. Both parents survived him, in addition to his wife of 18 years; three daughters, Bianka, Natalia and Capri; and two sisters.

Bryant first attracted national attention as a high school player at Lower Merion High in suburban Philadelphia, and he combined generational talent with looks and flair – his date to senior prom was R&B singer Brandy – perfectly suited for Hollywood.

Although his first name, at least according to Bryant mythology, was inspired by a visit to a high-end steak house, Yahoo Sports reported in 2016 that more than 14,000 boys had been named Kobe during Bryant’s NBA career.

As a 17-year-old, he was the No. 13 pick in the 1996 NBA draft by the Charlotte Hornets, but he threatened to follow in his father’s footsteps and begin his career in Italy if the Hornets retained his rights. The team traded him to the Lakers, with whom he would spend his entire career and become an immediate fan favorite by winning the 1997 slam dunk contest, beginning a sensational career and fulfilling Bryant’s ambition for suiting up for an NBA team most famous for glitz, glamour and an era of glory known as “Showtime.”

The journey had begun on his family’s driveway in Philadelphia, where on snowy days Bryant’s mother would ask him to clear the driveway. He would do so just enough to shoot hoops, sometimes putting up hundreds of shots per day as he perfected a form that would become internationally famous.

“As a six-year-old boy deeply in love with you,” Mr. Bryant would write nearly two decades later in his poem “Dear Basketball,” “I never saw the end of the tunnel. I only saw myself running out of one.”

Strengthening coronavirus surges across China as authorities mobilize response; third case confirmed in U.S. #ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย

Published January 27, 2020 by SoClaimon

#ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

https://www.nationthailand.com/news/30381097?utm_source=category&utm_medium=internal_referral

Strengthening coronavirus surges across China as authorities mobilize response; third case confirmed in U.S.

Jan 26. 2020
Photo Credit :China Daily/Peng Zhiyong (C), head of the department of critical care medicine of Zhongnan Hospital, performs diagnosis on a patient with his colleagues in Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University in Wuhan, Central China's Hubei province, Jan 24, 2020. [Photo/Xinhua]

Photo Credit :China Daily/Peng Zhiyong (C), head of the department of critical care medicine of Zhongnan Hospital, performs diagnosis on a patient with his colleagues in Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University in Wuhan, Central China’s Hubei province, Jan 24, 2020. [Photo/Xinhua]
By The Washington Post · Gerry Shih, Simon Denyer

BEIJING – Chinese health authorities are extending the holidays and deploying more than a thousand doctors and military personnel to the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak as the number of infections skyrocket and desperation grips the quarantined province of Hubei, where more than 50 million people are stranded with a severe shortage of medical supplies.

The United States, meanwhile, announced a third case of the coronavirus – a Chinese traveler from Wuhan who took ill in Orange County, California. Authorities say he is under care in isolation and the “risk of local transmission is low.”

China’s national health commission said early Sunday that the number of confirmed infections had soared 50 percent over the prior 24 hours to 1,975 people across 30 provinces. Fifty-six deaths have been reported, including in major metropolitan areas such as Shanghai. Several doctors in Beijing, the capital, also reported being infected.

“Transmissibility is increasing,” Chinese Health Minister Ma Xiaowei told reporters Sunday. “The outbreak has come to a severe and complicated situation.”

He added that there could “still be new developments” as the virus mutates. “We still don’t know the risks of transformation,” he said.

Scientists have already noticed that the virus is adapting to humans much faster than its predecessor, the SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) outbreak, which killed more than 750 people in 2002-2003.

It took SARS three months to mutate into a form that spread easily between humans, but the related Wuhan coronavirus took only one month, George Fu, a top Chinese epidemiologist told reporters.

“Why is it transmitting so fast?” he said. “The two species are like the cartoon Tom and Jerry: viruses are continually adapting to humans, but human also adapt, and the virus’ ability to make people ill also goes down.”

A government group led by Premier Li Keqiang handling the epidemic response on Sunday proposed a “reasonable extension” of the New Year holiday in order to weather a “vital phase in epidemic prevention and control.” Cities are already rolling out such measures: Beijing’s education officials said schools will resume classes in mid-February, while the manufacturing hub of Suzhou prohibited large businesses from reopening earlier than Feb. 8.

At the heart of the outbreak, in central China’s Hubei Province, a travel ban extended to a total of 16 cities and covered approximately 51 million people. Video distributed by state media showed local officials in adjacent regions taking extreme measures, including using excavators to destroy and block roads, to discourage residents from traveling to infected areas of Hubei to visit stranded relatives – as per Chinese tradition – inside the quarantine zone.

Authorities have also announced the banning of the sale of wild animals after evidence emerged that the disease was transmitted to humans through a market in the city of Wuhan that traded in game meat.

The spread of the virus – and travel bans extending to several major hubs around China – threatened to paralyze the country for an indefinite period, with uncertain implications around the world. Officials in Beijing said Sunday they “have not and will not close the city because of the epidemic” in response to online rumors suggesting an imminent lockdown of the capital, which has a population of 22 million, with a significant fraction traveling this week to visit family.

On Saturday – China’s New Year’s Day – numerous Chinese government agencies said they had summoned workers back to their posts as President Xi Jinping warned of a “grave” situation as the virus “accelerated its spread.”

Two teams of British epidemiologists released studies over the weekend estimating that each infected person was spreading the disease to two or three other people. A team from Lancaster University projected that infections in Wuhan could explode to 190,000 cases by as early as next week.

The Chinese central government said it is mustering manufacturers to send 100,000 hazardous materials suits and millions of face masks to Wuhan, where hospitals reported overfilled beds and doctors collapsing from exhaustion. Videos on social media from Wuhan hospitals showed patient queues stretching around the block and nurses surmising that the true number of cases – based on what they were witnessing – far exceeded what was being officially reported.

The vice minister of industry, Wang Jiangping, said Sunday the country was facing a significant shortage of medical supplies including protective suits for medical workers. Hubei Province alone required 100,000 suits a day but Chinese manufacturers could only produce 30,000 a day, he said. “There’s a prominent gap in supply and demand,” he said, adding that China was hoping to purchase supplies on the international market.

Masks in particular have been in short supply, with shortages now being reported abroad as well. In Japan, Chinese tourists have been emptying the shelves of face masks, according to local news reports, while supplies are also running out globally.

Michael Einhorn, president of Dealmed, an independent medical supply distributor in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania, said prices of masks jumped as soon as news of the virus spread, while sales volumes tripled through retailers such as Amazon.

Dealmed typically carries at least 90-days’ supply, and but said the company currently only has about two weeks’ worth left.

If demand continues, the availability of masks will be “very limited” within the next 10 days, and of the virus continues to spread there will be “extreme shortages” as early as three weeks’ time, Einhorn said in a statement.

Authorities in Wuhan and another hard-hit Hubei city, Huanggang, have announced the construction of three pop-up hospitals with thousands of beds to be built within the next few days. Ma, the health minister, said 5,000 new beds should be available by midweek while hundreds of medical professionals are preparing to deploy to the region.

Days after ordering the departure of all non-emergency U.S. personnel, the U.S. Embassy said Sunday it would charter a single flight on Jan. 26 out of Wuhan for remaining consulate staff and American citizens.

Japan has also said it is readying flights to bring home more than 700 Japanese stranded in Wuhan.

Meanwhile, Chinese citizens stranded inside the vast quarantine zone, locked down by paramilitary police checkpoints for the fourth day, took to social media to describe a sense of surreal desperation during a week when families should otherwise be celebrating the new year with dumplings, fireworks and presents.

One Wuhan resident described sharing her dwindling groceries that she had purchased to last for three days with an elderly couple whose food supplies were down to nothing. She said she worried about her food lasting one more day and the population of stray animals abandoned throughout the city.

“I don’t know how to solve this food problem,” wrote the user “Guapidawushi. “Right now I really, really don’t know what to do. I’m completely helpless.”

Some users shared videos of once-buzzing streets in Wuhan’s historic, European-style riverside district lying empty. Others posted more lighthearted pictures of women playing Mah-jongg with masks and transparent grocery bags over their heads.

The situation appeared to be more dire in the vast Hubei countryside outside of Wuhan, where rural authorities were struggling to cope.

The Chinese magazine Caijing reported that some smaller village clinics were only rationed six masks, and large hospitals were within one or two days of running out of supplies. In Jingzhou city, a short distance up the Yangtze River from Wuhan, doctors told reporters they were wearing rain ponchos because they lacked protective suits.

Deng Anqing, a Beijing-based writer who was visiting family in rural Hubei for the New Year holiday, said the hidden crisis was in the countryside.

“The media is focused on Wuhan but we know absolutely nothing about the current situation in the countryside,” Deng wrote in a post. “Large numbers of workers are returning here from Wuhan, but the capabilities of village hospitals are awful. Villages don’t have masks, and it’s hard to convince the elderly to wear them.”

Infections have been confirmed in France, Australia and the United States, but countries in Asia have been especially concerned as millions of Chinese people fan out across the region for the Lunar New Year.

An online petition asking South Korean President Moon Jae-in to ban Chinese nationals from entering the country has drawn more than 280,000 signatures over four days. South Korea confirmed a third case of coronavirus infection on Sunday, a 54-year old man who returned from Wuhan.

North Korea’s official party daily Rodong Sinmun posted prevention advice on Sunday and called for stronger border controls in a piece headlined “We should thoroughly contain the new coronavirus.” Earlier this week, North Korea banned all foreign tourists, most of whom come from its biggest neighbor and ally China. Flights between Beijing and Pyongyang have also been canceled, the Russian Embassy in North Korea said in a statement on Friday.

Japan confirmed it’s fourth case of the virus, a middle aged man from Wuhan who arrived on Wednesday for vacation.

In Hong Kong, where a sixth case of the virus was confirmed Sunday, pressure is mounting on the government to tighten border controls with China over fear of contagion. One hospital workers’ union threatened a five-day strike if more measures weren’t taken.

Protesters in the evening attacked a building that has been set aside for quarantine and set its lobby alight with molotov cocktails, police reported.

Trump’s lawyers begin their defense in impeachment trial as Republicans rally around the president #ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย

Published January 27, 2020 by SoClaimon

#ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

https://www.nationthailand.com/news/30381078?utm_source=category&utm_medium=internal_referral

Trump’s lawyers begin their defense in impeachment trial as Republicans rally around the president

Jan 26. 2020
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., speaks to reporters after the fifth day of the Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump on Saturday, Jan. 25, 2020. MUST CREDIT: Photo for The Washington Post by Astrid Riecken

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., speaks to reporters after the fifth day of the Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump on Saturday, Jan. 25, 2020. MUST CREDIT: Photo for The Washington Post by Astrid Riecken
By The Washington Post · Elise Viebeck, Mike DeBonis, Rachael Bade

WASHINGTON – Lawyers for President Donald Trump argued Saturday that he had valid reasons for withholding military aid to Ukraine and that House prosecutors overlooked facts that are more favorable to his case, giving a short preview of the aggressive defense they are expected to mount next week in the Senate impeachment trial.

In a two-hour presentation that reserved their most provocative attacks for Monday, members of Trump’s legal team echoed the president’s justifications for his actions toward Ukraine and sought to plant doubts about both the prosecutors’ case and its lead advocate, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., speaks during a news conference about the Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump on Saturday, Jan. 25, 2020. MUST CREDIT: Photo for The Washington Post by Astrid Riecken

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., speaks during a news conference about the Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump on Saturday, Jan. 25, 2020. MUST CREDIT: Photo for The Washington Post by Astrid Riecken

Yet in arguing that the case for Trump’s removal was partisan and misleading, lawyers for the president omitted facts, presented claims that lacked context or downplayed evidence gathered by House investigators. Their most sweeping arguments did not specifically defend Trump, but instead framed impeachment as no more than a politically motivated effort to remove him from the ballot in November.

Lead House impeachment manager Adam Schiff, D-Calif., and other impeachment officials hold a news conference at the end of the fifth day of the Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump on Saturday, Jan. 25, 2020. MUST CREDIT: Photo for The Washington Post by Astrid Riecken

Lead House impeachment manager Adam Schiff, D-Calif., and other impeachment officials hold a news conference at the end of the fifth day of the Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump on Saturday, Jan. 25, 2020. MUST CREDIT: Photo for The Washington Post by Astrid Riecken

“They’re here to perpetrate the most massive interference in an election in American history,” said White House counsel Pat Cipollone, who said Trump did “absolutely nothing wrong.”

“We can’t allow that to happen. It would violate our constitution. It would violate our history. It would violate our obligations to the future,” Cipollone told the Senate. “And most importantly, it would violate the sacred trust that the American people have placed in you.”

Jay Sekulow, a personal attorney for President Donald Trump, goes through a security check point to enter the U.S. Capitol on Saturday, Jan. 25, 2020. MUST CREDIT: Photo for The Washington Post by Astrid Riecken

Jay Sekulow, a personal attorney for President Donald Trump, goes through a security check point to enter the U.S. Capitol on Saturday, Jan. 25, 2020. MUST CREDIT: Photo for The Washington Post by Astrid Riecken

After three days of arguments in favor of Trump’s removal from House Democrats, most Senate Republicans rallied behind the president’s defense, predicting acquittal. But a small group of closely watched Republicans largely reserved judgment or declined to comment, leaving open the question of whether the trial will include witnesses. Democrats need four Republicans to join them to secure further testimony or evidence.

Trump faces the third presidential impeachment trial in U.S. history amid accusations that he withheld military aid and an Oval Office meeting to pressure Ukraine’s leaders into announcing investigations of his political rivals, including former vice president Joe Biden, now a presidential candidate. Trump was impeached by the House in December on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress related to these allegations and his directive that his administration not cooperate with the House’s investigation.

His team’s opening argument came on a day when more evidence emerged outside the Senate: A video was released showing Trump ordering the firing of Marie Yovanovitch, the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, at a 2018 donor dinner. His order came minutes after Ukrainian American business executive Lev Parnas criticized her as an impediment.

Yovanovitch was removed more than a year later. Parnas is now under indictment on campaign-finance charges, and the video was released by Parnas’ attorney.

At the end of a marathon week of presentations before the Senate, Trump’s lawyers began speaking at 10 a.m. and ended by noon, allowing senators to return home for a short period before the trial resumes at 1 p.m. on Monday. The next session is expected to include full-throated attacks on Biden and his son Hunter, who served on the board of Ukrainian gas company Burisma while his father was in office and has become a target for criticism by Republicans. The intent is to argue that Trump was justified in seeking investigations into the Bidens despite the Ukrainian government never accusing them of any wrongdoing.

On Tuesday, Chief Justice John Roberts Jr., chastised both the House managers and the president’s defense team for using overheated rhetoric as they debated ground rules for the trial. But when Trump’s lawyers took the podium on Saturday to begin rebutting the managers’ case, their tone was largely subdued.

“We are going to be very respectful of your time,” Cipollones said in his opening remarks. “You heard the House managers speak for nearly 24 hours over three days. We don’t anticipate using that much time.”

The lawyers painted Trump as having sincere concerns about corruption in Ukraine, despite evidence to the contrary, and suggested he was justified in doubting the intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia, not Ukraine, interfered in the 2016 presidential election.

In taking this approach, the lawyers landed repeatedly on themes that matter to Trump, including what he has described as his “perfect” July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, special counsel Robert Mueller III’s report and omissions and errors by the FBI in documents submitted to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court during the 2016 investigation of the Trump campaign and Russian interference in the election.

Because of that case, Trump attorney Jay Sekulow argued, the president had reason not to “blindly trust some of the advice he was being given” by intelligence officials.

Taken together, the lawyers’ remarks laid the foundation for a defense of Trump’s unconventional foreign policy toward Ukraine, led by his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani; and an attempt to shore up Trump’s claim that by seeking investigations of the Bidens, he was working to fight corruption, not undermine a political opponent who he might face in November.

Focusing on the July 25 call, deputy White House counsel Michael Purpura suggested that witnesses who expressed concerns about it were politically motivated and said Trump’s conversation with Zelensky reflected the administration’s “legitimate concerns about corruption” in Ukraine.

A rough transcript released by the White House shows the president did not mention “corruption” or a general concern about the issue – only a theory about Ukrainian influence in the 2016 election that has been discredited and his request that Kyiv scrutinize the Bidens.

Purpura also spent considerable time claiming that Ukraine did not learn about the hold on military aid until late August.

“There can’t be a threat without the person knowing he’s being threatened,” he said.

While two Trump administration officials – Pentagon official Laura Cooper and State Department official Catherine Croft – testified that they believed that Ukrainians knew about the hold before that time, Purpura argued that others’ testimony was more credible.

The second part of the defense’s presentation sought to raise doubts about the legal and constitutional validity of the impeachment inquiry. Deputy White House counsel Patrick Philbin also mentioned the anonymous whistleblower, whose report helped launch the impeachment probe, and the House’s decision not to investigate them.

“Motivations, bias, reasons for wanting to bring this complaint could be relevant,” Philbin said. “But there wasn’t any inquiry into that.”

The details of the whistleblower’s memo were confirmed by the rough transcript of the July 25 call released by the White House and by the evidence gathered during the House investigation.

In several moments, Trump’s lawyers attacked Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee who has helped to lead the impeachment inquiry.

Philbin noted that Schiff had once mischaracterized his staff’s dealings with the whistleblower. Purpura also showed a video clip of Schiff parodying dialogue from the July 25 call during a House hearing, a dramatic embellishment that Trump and his allies say obliterates Schiff’s credibility.

“We can shrug it off and say we were making light or a joke. But that was in a hearing in the United States House of Representatives discussing the removal of the president of the United States from office,” Purpura said. “There are very few things, if any, that can be as grave and as serious.”

Senators already allied with Trump declared the presentation a slam-dunk.

“In two hours, the White House counsel entirely shredded the case by the House managers,” Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, told reporters, echoing several other Republicans who used a form of the word shred to characterize the effect of the lawyers’ arguments.

But moderate Republican senators – whose votes will determine whether additional evidence is sought in the trial – did not share detailed opinions on the presentation or the possible need for witnesses.

“I think it’s very likely I’ll be in favor of witnesses, but I haven’t made a decision finally yet and I won’t until both side’s opening arguments are done,” Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, told reporters on Capitol Hill.

“I thought for the most part, the House managers were effective, and I thought the president’s attorneys this morning were very effective,” Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., told CBS News.

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, declined to comment when approached by The Washington Post.

A handful of moderate Democratic senators – who could prove pivotal if they choose to side with Republicans – declared witnesses necessary to the process.

“I thought they did a good job in presenting the defense for the president,” Sen. Joe Manchin III, D-W.Va., said. “[But] the most important thing I took away from today was they made very clear that there’s not one witness that we’ve heard from . . . that had direct contact with the president.”

Sen. Doug Jones, D-Ala., said he was “stunned” that Trump’s lawyers argued at one point that cross examination is essential to due process, even as the White House bars witnesses from testifying on Trump’s dealings with Ukraine.

“They American people deserve the truth. They deserve the whole truth,” Jones said. “We’re not getting it.”

The House managers were not permitted to speak during Saturday’s session – though they drew some attention around 9:50 a.m. as part of a procession transferring their 28,578-page trial record across the Capitol to the Senate.

“They don’t contest the basic architecture of the scheme,” Schiff said at a news conference after the presentation by Trump’s lawyers. “They do not contest that the president solicited a foreign nation to interfere in our election, to help him cheat. I think they acknowledged by not even contesting this that the facts are overwhelming.”

In his closing, Cipollone shifted the charges facing the president onto Democrats – a strategy often employed by Trump himself.

“It would be a completely irresponsible abuse of power to do what they’re asking you do – to stop an election, to interfere in an election, and to remove the president of the United States from the ballot,” he said. “Let the people decide for themselves.”

Biden, Sanders handily top field in national poll as Iowa nears #ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย

Published January 27, 2020 by SoClaimon

#ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

https://www.nationthailand.com/news/30381076?utm_source=category&utm_medium=internal_referral

Biden, Sanders handily top field in national poll as Iowa nears

Jan 26. 2020
Note: Candidates mentioned by an average of 2 percent or less across attributes,

Note: Candidates mentioned by an average of 2 percent or less across attributes, “No opinion” and other volunteered options not shown.
By The Washington Post · Dan Balz, Emily Guskin 

Former vice president Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., whose candidacies embody competing wings of the Democratic Party, have emerged as the leaders in the contest for their party’s presidential nomination, according to a Washington Post-ABC News national poll.

The findings come little more than a week before the first votes of the 2020 campaign will be cast in Iowa’s precinct caucuses, where there has been a spirited contest involving not only Biden and Sanders but also Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and former South Bend, Indiana, mayor Pete Buttigieg. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and entrepreneur Andrew Yang both hope to spring a surprise on the others on caucus night.

Biden leads in national support for Democratic nomination, followed by Sanders and Warren Photo by: The Washington Post — The Washington Post

Biden leads in national support for Democratic nomination, followed by Sanders and Warren Photo by: The Washington Post — The Washington Post

Based on past campaigns, the Iowa results will have an immediate impact on the overall shape of the race and on public attitudes, nationally and in individual states that immediately follow the Feb. 3 caucuses: New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina. A Post average of recent New Hampshire polls shows Sanders and Biden virtually tied, with Warren and Buttigieg not far behind.

Nationally, however, the competition has moved in the direction of Biden and Sanders, with Warren, Buttigieg and others now clearly behind. Among Democrats and Democratic-leaning registered voters, Biden is favored by 32 percent with Sanders at 23 percent, according to the new Post-ABC poll. In both cases, those percentages are slightly better than what each received in an October Post-ABC national poll.

Warren is currently running third but has seen a significant drop in her support nationally, falling from 23 percent in October to 12 percent in the new poll. Still, she is the only other candidate for the Democratic nomination in double digits.

The fourth- and fifth-place candidates represent a shift in the Democratic hierarchy. Former New York mayor Mike Bloomberg, who was not a candidate when the last Post-ABC survey was conducted but who has spent several hundred million dollars since then, runs fourth at 8 percent. Yang, whose debate performances have drawn favorable reviews and whose candidacy projects a non-politician’s flair, is at 7 percent.

Buttigieg, whose rise in Iowa and New Hampshire earlier this year caught others in the field by surprise, is at 5 percent, reflecting modest slippage since October. Klobuchar is at 3 percent, Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., is at 2 percent, and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, and former Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick are at 1 percent.

The poll shows that Democrats are clearly motivated in this election, with 73 percent of Democratic leaners saying they are certain to vote in their state’s primary or caucus. That’s little changed since last July but significantly higher than the 59 percent who said in January 2016 they were certainly going to vote. Similarly, Democratic leaners are slightly more satisfied with their choices of candidates this year than they were four years ago.

Although 9 in 10 Democrats who named a candidate when asked whom they are supporting say they are enthusiastic about their choice, 53 percent overall say they still would consider another candidate. That is a reflection of the fluidity that has marked the Democratic campaign for most of the past year, as voters have tried to assess a record-large field and weigh who might be best against President Donald Trump.

Biden’s candidacy has been buoyed by perceptions that he is the candidate who could lead the party back to the White House, and the current poll again gives him the highest marks on that question. At this moment, 38 percent of Democratic leaners name Biden as having the best chance to beat Trump, with 18 percent naming Sanders and 10 percent naming Warren.

Biden also leads his rivals on two other questions that are central to the debate inside the party about the best path to victory, motivating the Democratic base or attracting independent or moderate voters. Many Democratic strategists say it will take a combination of both to overcome some of the advantages that Trump, as an incumbent during a time of low unemployment, currently enjoys.

On the question of who can best motivate the Democratic base, Biden is named by 32 percent while Sanders is named by 21 percent. Asked who can attract those independent and moderate voters, 29 percent name Biden and 17 percent name Sanders. No one else hits double digits on that question.

Biden and Sanders – one running as a more moderate establishment figure and the other as a revolutionary democratic socialist – are about even on the question of “who comes closest to you on the issues,” with the senator from Vermont at 24 percent and Biden at 22 percent. Warren, whose liberal platform is closer to Sanders’ than to Biden’s, is third at 15 percent.

Biden’s candidacy is also strengthened by the demographic pillars of support he has maintained throughout the year. As in many polls, he is the leading candidate among African-Americans, with about half the support of black adults. He is also ahead among those Democrats who identify themselves as moderate or conservative and leads among voters 50 and older, where he holds a roughly a 3-to-1 advantage over Sanders.

The Post-ABC poll finds Sanders scores slightly better than Biden among voters under age 50, although his margin among this group is not as large as is Biden’s among those over 50. The younger the voter, the more support Sanders gains, with the caveat that these younger voters historically have been more difficult to turn out in primaries or caucuses.

Sanders also is favored by Democrats who identify themselves as liberal and shows signs of building support among some nonwhite voters.

Warren suffered slippage among many groups of voters since October, but particularly among women, where her support fell from 26 percent to 12 percent. She also dropped 15 points among self-identified liberals.

But while she trails Biden and Sanders as the first choice among Democratic voters, she does well when people are asked who represents their second choice.

Overall, nearly a quarter (23 percent) name Warren as their second choice, slightly higher than either Sanders or Biden. When first and second choices are combined, Biden leads at 48 percent, followed by Sanders at 41 percent and Warren at 35 percent. All the other candidates trail by at least 20 points in this combination.

At the Democratic debate in Iowa earlier this month, Warren and Sanders tangled over whether he had told her privately that a woman could not win the presidency. He denied saying it, and she said he had. Warren used the opportunity to make a forceful case to answer questions about whether a woman is at a disadvantage in a presidential election.

The Post-ABC poll finds that fewer than 3 in 10 (28 percent) of Democratic-leaning adults say a man is more likely than a woman to defeat Trump, with 63 percent saying it doesn’t matter and 7 percent saying a woman would have the advantage against this president. Women are no more or less likely than men to say a woman has a better chance of winning.

Support for Warren is significantly higher among voters who say either that it doesn’t matter or who believe a woman has a better chance of winning, but she nonetheless trails Biden and Sanders among that group. Men overall are more likely than women to say either it doesn’t matter or a woman has a better chance of beating Trump. Women are more likely than men to say a man has a better chance of beating Trump.

The Post-ABC poll was conducted by telephone from Monday through Thursday among a random national sample of 388 Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents, including 349 who are registered voters. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus six percentage points for both groups.

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