Daily News Briefing: Ramadan starts amid unprecedented times

Friday 24 April


Friday 24 April 2020 News Briefing – Today’s headlines are dominated by the global Coronavirus Pandemic. As of 6:30 am (GMT), these are the global active numbers.

Friday’s leading story: Ramadan starts amid unprecedented times. #Ramadan2020


Coronavirus Cases: 2,715,189

Deaths: 191,074

Recovered: 749,661

  • Coronavirus: global numbers top 2.7 million. 
  • The limits to Japan’s shutdown request revealed.
  • Virus tests available for millions of key workers in England.
  • A UK doctor’s pleas for PPE just before his death. 
  • Saudi G20 presidency calls for increased contributions to Covid-19 global fight.
  • Ramadam starts amid unprecedented lockdown restrictions including Mecca and Medina mosques closings.

Coronavirus: Live updates

CNN says Covid-19 has infected more than 2.7 million people and killed at least 190,000 worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University. More than 49,000 people have died in the US. 

A $480 billion package to help small businesses and hospitals and to expand testing was approved by The House. The package comes as 4.4 million Americans filed for unemployment last week bringing the total to 26.5 million unemployed.

Read the full story on CNN 


Defiant pachinko show limits of Japan’s shutdown request

Japan Times says there are still lines outside Tokyo’s parlours, showing the limits of the country’s ability to enforce social distancing, just as the country heads into a series of holidays that could be key to its attempts to control the spread of coronavirus.

Pachinko – a Y20.7 trillion industry, has come under scrutiny since prime minister Shinzo Abe declared a state of emergency in Tokyo and six other prefectures on April 7. As virus cases continued to climb in the country, topping 12,000 the emergency was extended nationwide.

Read the full story on Japan Times


Virus tests now available to millions of workers

BBC News says up to 10 million key workers and their households can now book a coronavirus test online or through their employer. The move allows all essential workers in England to register for tests on the government’s website if they or a family member have virus symptoms. 

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the expanded testing programme was “part of getting Britain back on her feet.” But the government remains short of its target of 100,000 tests a day by the end of the month.

Read the full story on BBC News


Emails reveal Doctor’s plea for PPE before Covid-19 death

The Guardian says an NHS doctor who died of Covid-19 had pleaded in vain for his hospital to provide protective equipment in the days before he caught the virus, emails shared with the Guardian by his family show. 

Dr Peter Tun, from Reading, died on 13 April. Three weeks before his death, he warned Royal Berkshire hospital that unless they supplied the vital kit he and his colleagues needed to avoid becoming infected, “it will be too little and too late.”

Read the full story on The Guardian 


Saudi G20 presidency calls for increased contributions to Covid-19 global fight

Arab News says the Saudi presidency of the Group of 20 major economies on Thursday called for more urgent donations to fund the emergency response to the Covid-19 pandemic and to develop needed vaccines. 

In a press statement, the G20 presidency urged countries, international organisations, the private sector, philanthropic institutions, and individuals to contribute and close the funding gap.

Read the full story on Arab News


Ramadam starts amid unprecedented lockdown restrictions including Mecca and Medina mosques closings

France24 says Saudi Arabia, home to Islam’s holiest shrines, has announced that the holy fasting month of Ramadan will start Friday, as Muslims worldwide face unprecedented restrictions to counter coronavirus. 

“Based on the sighting of the new month’s moon … it has been decided that Friday is the start of the month of Ramadan,” the royal court said Thursday in a statement cited by the SPA news agency.

Read the full story on France24

  • Images of enormous ‘face mask wearing’ asteroid heading our way! 
  • Iran military chief warns its forces will destroy US warships if threatened in the Gulf. 
  • UN, EU warns Israel against West Bank annexation.

Astronomers snap fresh IMAGES of enormous ‘face mask wearing’ asteroid that’s heading our way

RT News says a mountain-sized asteroid that’s currently zooming in Earth’s direction has been photographed in unprecedented quality by astronomers who quipped that it appears to be wearing a face mask. 

The gigantic space rock – called 1998 OR2 – is set to have its closest flyby of our planet in at least a century when it safely whizzes past Earth at a distance of 6.3 million kilometres on April 29.

Read the full story on RT News


Iran military chief warns its forces will destroy US warships if threatened in the Gulf

Fox News says the leader of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps vowed that his troops will “destroy any American terrorist force” that threatens the country’s ships in the Persian Gulf. 

The inflammatory comments from Major General Hossein Salami on Iranian state TV come a day after President Trump warned the Islamic Republic in a tweet that he has “instructed the United States Navy to shoot down and destroy any and all Iranian gunboats if they harass our ships at sea.”

Read the full story on Fox News


UN, EU warns Israel against West Bank annexation

Aljazeera says the United Nations and the European Union have warned Israel not to annex parts of the occupied West Bank. 

The UN’s special Middle East envoy Nickolay Mladenov on Thursday said such a move would be a “devastating blow” to the internationally-backed-two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as the EU said annexing Palestinian territory “would constitute a serious violation of international law.”

Read the full story on Aljazeera



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