National News, Monday, Feb. 24 – President Trump Visiting India, Signing $3 Billion Trade Agreement

News from across the nation and stories of interest for readers of

Monday, February 24, 2020

President Donald Trump is in India for a two-day visit putting final touches on a $3-billion dollar trade agreement with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.  

Trump is speaking today at a massive stadium with over 100,000 in attendance, in the western city of Ahmedabad. Trump and Modi with speak to the crowds in 80-degree heat today.  Trump’s visit is meant to reaffirm U.S.-India ties strained by trade disputes of the past. But it is also providing enviable overseas imagery for a president in a re-election year.

Senator Bernie Sanders nearly shocked the democrat party and the news media on Saturday with a decisive win in the Nevada caucuses.   

Sanders won a convincing victory in Nevada to boost his momentum for his Democratic presidential bid ahead of a potentially decisive series of primaries in 15 states over the next two weeks.

His victory in the third nominating contest follows what was for him essentially a first-place tie in Iowa’s caucuses and a narrow win in New Hampshire’s primary.

Mr. Sanders western win is the latest signal the Democratic Party is moving toward the candidate. Michael Bloomberg was not on the ballot in this state. With entrance polls all day, they definitely showed Bernie Sanders garnering strong support from Hispanics, and also enhanced his argument that he can build a diverse coalition of voters.

“In Nevada, we have just put together a multigeneration, multiracial coalition, which is going to not only win in Nevada, it’s going to sweep this country,” Mr. Sanders said at a rally in San Antonio, Texas, after the results came in.

Sanders won support among a broad range of the electorate, including men, women, Hispanics, non-Hispanic whites, those with and without college degrees, union and nonunion household members. He also carried the most liberal and all but the oldest voters.

After next Saturday’s South Carolina primary comes Super Tuesday on March 3, when more than one-third of the total Democratic delegates to the national convention will be at stake.    People like a winner and the establishment Democrats worry that if Mr. Sanders has a strong showing in large Super Tuesday states like California—where polls have him ahead—he may become unstoppable.  

With 60% of precincts reporting early Sunday, former Vice President Joe Biden was in second place in Nevada, followed by Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Ind., and Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.

Mr. Biden was trailing Mr. Sanders by a significant margin, but he told supporters here that his campaign was “alive and we’re coming back and we’re gonna win.”

“I ain’t a socialist. I ain’t a plutocrat. I’m a Democrat—and I’m proud of it,” Mr. Biden said.

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the world’s 12th richest person, didn’t compete in Nevada and is instead focusing hundreds of millions of dollars from his fortune on states that hold contests in March, when about 60% of the delegates to the national convention are in play. He staged a widely panned performance here in Wednesday’s debate, when he was the central focus of attacks and thus allowed Mr. Sanders to avoid the toughest scrutiny.

Contests in 15 states over the coming week and a half—starting in South Carolina on Feb. 29 and then Super Tuesday on March 3—could determine the course of the race for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Worries about the coronavirus has struck Wall Street today, with global stocks and oil prices falling sharply this morning at the opening bell.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average tumbled more than 800 points, or 2.8%, shortly after the U.S. market opened, on track for a third consecutive session of losses. The drop sets the blue-chip index on track for its biggest decline in six months. The S&P 500 also declined 90 points, or 2.7%, with all 11 sectors posting declines. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite fell the furthest, dropping 3.2%.

In the past few weeks it has become increasingly clear that the coronavirus outbreak is beginning to disrupt global supply chains more than originally anticipated. Those concerns worsened over the weekend after a surge of cases were reported in South Korea, Iran and Italy.

Today insiders of the market warned that viral outbreak poses a serious risk to the global economy as new cases flared outside of China, prompting concerns about dangerous new pockets of infection in places as far as Iran and Italy.

The number of Americans confirmed with the coronavirus is now at 34. Dozens more are being investigated.

New cases of coronavirus have risen in the past week outside of China, adding to global health officials’ worries about the spread of the disease in dangerous new pockets of infection.

Authorities in South Korea said Sunday the country has recorded 602 cases, up sharply from 30 last week. That makes it the most virus-hit nation outside China.

In Italy, more than 130 people have now tested positive as of Sunday—up from just three cases a few days ago—prompting the government to quarantine 11 towns in the northern part of the country.

Iran’s health ministry on Sunday confirmed the eighth coronavirus-related death in the country, out of a total of 43 confirmed cases. The ministry said at least 785 people with coronavirus-like symptoms were being examined.

Infections that are now emerging in people who haven’t traveled to China or come into contact with confirmed cases show “it’s not clear how the virus is spreading,” she said.

The emergence of clusters of infection in new countries in recent days is “quite concerning,” said Malik Peiris, chief of virology at the University of Hong Kong, who has studied how the virus spreads.

He said those infected with the coronavirus could be transmitting it from just before they develop symptoms in addition to after they are symptomatic, complicating efforts to contain the disease. “All it takes is for someone to slip through the net,” he said.

As of Saturday, there were more than 75,000 confirmed cases and more than 2,350 deaths globally, most of them in China, according to the latest WHO data. New cases in recent days have been reported in Lebanon and Israel, bringing the total number of countries hit to 28.

In South Korea, President Moon Jae-in on Sunday raised the country’s virus alert system to the highest of four levels, calling it a severe situation that requires an “unprecedented, powerful response.” The government can now put in place policies that curb domestic travel and prohibit public activities.

The city of Seoul linked with the virus. The U.S. increased its travel advisory for South Korea to the second of four levels, warning travelers to take increased caution.

In China, where health officials believe the outbreak originated late last year, prisons have become a new concern. Three Chinese provinces reported outbreaks at penitentiaries in recent days, stoking concerns about the disease spreading in fresh pockets.

The number of Americans who have become infected has risen to 34 and is expected to continue to rise, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Friday. Most cases are among the hundreds of people evacuated by the U.S. State Department from Wuhan and from the cruise ship docked off Japan.

The CDC says there are 168 possible cases are under investigation in the US, 21 of which are in Illinois.

A doctor in Hong Kong yesterday said: “With this disease it is almost certain that we have this iceberg” of people who may have been exposed and could be contagious, said Mr. Peiris of the University of Hong Kong. “What we don’t know is how big this iceberg is.”

A bus rolled over and down an embankment on a Southern California freeway, killing three people and injuring 18 on Saturday, south of Temecula, CA.

North County Fire tweeted that multiple patients on the charter bus were extricated. It happened just before 10:30 a.m. local time on southbound 15, near Highway 76 in Fallbrook, near San Diego.

The fire agency said, “We are heartbroken to report we have three deceased on scene.”

In a tweet just after 10:30 a.m., the North County Fire Protection District said the crash happened just south of Highway 76, ejecting multiple passengers from the vehicle. Firefighters rescued several others who were trapped and injured inside the bus.

Justin Bieber

Justin Bieber showed up at a church that Kanye West is beginning to make famous.  Bieber sang a soulful rendition of Marvin Sapp’s “Never Would Have Made It” at Kanye West’s Sunday Service over the weekend.

Kim Kardashian called the Christian worship service “sooo good!” on Twitter and shared footage of the 25-year-old pop star on her Instagram story as he joined the Sunday Service Choir for the first time.

Justin Bieber did some preaching, praying and singing at an L. A. church on Sunday, saying “I never would have made it without you. I would have lost it all, but now I see how you were there for me,” Bieber sang as those in attendance cheered, “I can say, ‘I’m stronger, and wiser. I’m better, much better.'” Bieber has become a regular at the church where Kanye is often leading worship.

Most Americans don’t know when they’re taxes are do.  

Do you when the tax deadline is? According to new research, less than a third of Americans know when taxes are due this year. The survey found 27 percent of Americans were able to correctly identify April 15 as the official day taxes are due.

… When the refund comes, 44 percent plan to pay off their credit card bills while 36 percent want to make their money grow by investing it.

Are you busy or pretending to be busy?

Have you ever lied about making it to the gym? If so, you’re not alone since one in five have lied about working out. According to a survey, 19 percent of adults have lied about working out — and 37 percent admit doing so in order to convince someone else they were busy.

… 35 percent lie about going to the gym to impress someone.

The New York Public Library has been loaning books for 125 years this year.

To celebrate, the library dug into its records and calculated a list of the 10 books that have been checked out the most in its history.

… The most-wanted book? The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats. The award-winning tale of a young boy’s encounter with snow has been checked out 485,583 times from the NYPL since it was published in 1962.

… Next is The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss: 469,650 checkouts; then 1984 by George Orwell: 441,770 checkouts; Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak: 436,016 checkouts; and To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee: 422,912 checkouts.

… The bottom five: Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White: 337,948 checkouts; Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury: 316,404 checkouts; How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie: 284,524 checkouts; Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling: 231,022 checkouts; The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle: 189,550 checkouts.

A selfie every day for twenty years.

Before photo-a-day selfie timelapses were a popular project, photographer Noah Kalina helped the idea explode into mainstream awareness with his viral 2006 video titled “everyday.” Kalina hasn’t stopped since, and his latest video features 20 years of his life passing in 8 minutes. Kalina has faithfully photographed his face once a day starting from January 11, 2000. The video includes over 7,260 photos, and the project continues to be a work in progress.

… Kalina’s YouTube channel now features three videos: the original 6-year video, the 12-year video released in 2012, and the latest 20-year timelapse.

Vermont is one of the smallest U.S. states, but it could have the honor of being the first to allow emoji on license plates.

A bill introduced in the Vermont House of Representatives would allow drivers to add their choice of six emoji to their license plates. Democrat Rebecca White introduced the bill, which doesn’t specify which six emoji will be allowed. Legislators will have plenty of options, though. According to Emojipedia, there are currently over 3,000 emoji.

… The bill specifies that any emoji would be “in addition to the 10 distinctive number assigned by the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles or the numerals and letters selected by the registered owner of a vehicle as a vanity plate.”

Americans are often thought of as excessive and wasteful in their eating habits. A recent study is lending some credence to that belief.

According to research (Penn State University), the average American household wastes nearly a third of its food.

… The value of that waste is estimated at $240 billion annually. When divided among the 128.6 million American households, that’s an average of $1,866 being wasted per household on a yearly basis.

The perception that children seem to grow taller overnight is likely true.

Scientists (University of Wisconsin) placed sensors on the leg bones of lambs to monitor bone growth in the animals. Ninety percent of bone growth occurred when the animals were sleeping or otherwise at rest. The study suggested that growth plates consisting of soft cartilage at the ends of bones become compressed when walking or standing, preventing growth. When lying down, the pressure on the growth plates is off and the bones elongate.

The names are in.  Students across the U.S. submitted more than 28,000 potential names for NASA’s Mars 2020 Rover. A panel of 4,700 volunteer judges whittled that list down to 155 semifinalists. That list was whittle down to nine. So far the finalists are:

• Endurance
• Tenacity
• Promise
• Perseverance
• Vision
• Clarity
• Ingenuity
• Fortitude
• Courage

… The winning name will be announced on March 15. The student will also get the chance to watch the rover launch in July from Cape Canaveral.

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