Each Wednesday, we recap the most important headlines from our global community to keep you up to speed on world news.
Lebanon’s economy, like many others around the world, was brought to a halt by a government-imposed lockdown designed to stop the spread of Covid-19. But the restrictions have further exacerbated the country’s deep and long-running financial crisis.
Since a popular uprising in late in 2019, its currency has dropped and it defaulted on its debt for the first time. Nationwide demonstrations have engulfed Lebanon since October 17 with protesters demanding an end to government corruption. Now, after nearly two months of lockdown, food prices are soaring and the Lebanese lira is in free-fall.
Prior to the Covid-19 outbreak, the World Bank projected that 45% of people in Lebanon would be below the poverty line in 2020. Now, the government believes that up to 75% of people are in need of aid, Social Affairs Minister Ramzi Musharrafieh told CNN.
One demonstrator, Fawaz Fouad al-Samman, died after sustaining gunshot wounds during clashes with the army in the northern city of Tripoli, his sister and a fellow protester said. Protesters dubbed the 26-year-old as “the martyr of hunger.”
According to the International Rescue Committee, 87% of refugees in the country lack food, and a majority fear eviction. Migrant rights activists point to growing unemployment among largely Asian and African female migrant workers, which has forced them out of homes and into crammed tiny apartments which they share with other workers.
To help families celebrate, especially those who’ve lost income due to shutdowns, New York City has announced plans to serve more than 500,000 halal meals to Muslims during Ramadan. A halal meal is one that is prepared in accordance with Islamic law.
“One of Ramadan’s most noble callings is to feed the hungry,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said during a press conference. “It’s a crucial part of how the holiday is celebrated, to remember to be there for those in need.”
With more than 22 percent of American Muslims living in New York City, the public health crisis is upending the annual celebration. During Ramadan, mosques typically open their doors and host dinners to feed the less fortunate. This year, with mosques closed and breadwinners out of work, those very communities are in need of help.
Brazil’s highest court has authorized an investigation into allegations that President Jair Bolsonaro sought to interfere with police investigations. The decision puts more pressure on Bolsonaro, who is under fire over his handling of the coronavirus pandemic and a looming economic crisis. The allegations against Bolsonaro were made by Sergio Moro, a popular anti-corruption crusader when he announced he was stepping down as justice minister.
Brazil’s attorney general asked the supreme court to open an investigation into the allegations which could implicate Bolsonaro in obstruction of justice and Justice Celso de Mello gave the probe the green light. De Mello said the federal police have 60 days to look into the matter.
Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden won the endorsement of Hillary Clinton. Clinton, a former secretary of state, US senator from New York and first lady, suffered an upset defeat in the 2016 presidential election to Republican Donald Trump, despite winning the popular vote.
Biden, who has vowed to pick a woman as his running mate this year, introduced Clinton at the town hall as the person who should now be president.
The number of people around the world confirmed to have the coronavirus has risen to more than three million, and at least 217,000 have died, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Nearly 929,000 people have recovered.
Several European nations are eyeing a gradual end to their coronavirus lockdowns as infection rates slow and death rates decline. Brazil, India and Pakistan reported their largest number of deaths in a single day as regional governments in India prepared to ease lockdown restrictions.
Senegal is being championed for controlling the novel coronavirus. A laboratory has used its experience to develop a $1 COVID-19 testing kit. From early-detection mobile kits to 3D-printed ventilators, the West African nation is demonstrating a possible model in curbing COVID-19, relying on their experience of managing the Ebola outbreak.
The World Health Organization (WHO) says there are 70 vaccines in the works for COVID-19, four of the most promising are already being tested. While there are no drugs to treat COVID-19, enterprising pharmaceutical companies are using existing drugs to help those seriously affected by the pathogen.
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