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Trump to suspend evictions, authorizes Defense Production Act to mobilize businesses to aid coronavirus response

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WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump said Wednesday he is invoking the Defense Production Act to mobilize U.S. private production capacity to combat the coronavirus outbreak.

Trump also said his administration is “suspending all foreclosures and evictions until the end of April” to help those affected by the virus.

The Defense Production Act, enacted in 1950, allows the president to force American businesses to produce materials in the national defense, such as ventilators and medical supplies for health care workers.

Trump said the act allows him to do “a lot of good things, if we need it.”

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., had earlier called on Trump to use those authorities to address a shortage of medical supplies.

“It’s used in times of war, but we must mobilize as if it were a time of war when it comes to hospital beds, supplies and equipment,” Schumer said Wednesday morning on the Senate floor.

At Wednesday’s press briefing, Trump said he considers himself a “wartime president” and called the coronavirus the “enemy.”

The president also referred to the coronavirus as “the Chinese Virus” during his briefing, as he had in a tweet Wednesday morning and other times in recent days. When asked at the press conference about his use of the phrase amid reports of backlash against Asian Americans because of the coronavirus, the president said it’s “not racist at all.”

“It comes from China, that’s why,” he said.

Many officials, including the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, have condemned the phrase, saying it’s inaccurate and potentially harmful because it promotes racist associations between the coronavirus and people from China.

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Trump said at the briefing that he is activating the Federal Emergency Management Agency in all regions of the country to aid in the coronavirus response. The president also said he is deploying two Navy hospital ships to California and New York as coronavirus cases rise in those two states.

Administration officials also mentioned developments at the Food and Drug Administration that they would announce at a later time.

Earlier Wednesday, Trump announced that the United States and Canada had agreed to close their border to all “nonessential traffic” because of the spread of the coronavirus.



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Britons furious as Barnier offers Remainers two-year Brexit delay – ‘Get us out!’

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BRITONS have reacted with fury after Michel Barnier suggested a two-year Brexit delay in a letter to opposition leaders.

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Senators sound alarm over coronavirus in juvenile detention facilities

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A group of senators is pressing the Department of Justice to explain what it’s doing to protect youth in juvenile detention facilities from COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

In a letter sent Tuesday, the senators raised concerns that parents of incarcerated youth in several states are not receiving information about their child’s health, or being told about the spread of the coronavirus in these facilities. The senators requested that the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, part of the Justice Department, publicly disclose the measures it has taken to ensure the health and safety of youth in detention during the coronavirus pandemic.

“COVID-19 thrives in juvenile detention facilities, where communal living arrangements make it difficult or impossible to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommended public health measures such as maintaining social distance, self-isolating, and using personal protective equipment,” the senators state, later adding: “Because the majority of youth in detention are black or Hispanic, the spread of COVID-19 within juvenile detention may further perpetuate the disparate impact of the virus along racial and ethnic lines.”

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The letter, organized by Sens. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Kamala Harris, D-Calif., asks for a response by June 12 to a list of detailed questions. The group includes 11 other Democrats and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.

Physicians, epidemiologists, defense attorneys, advocates for youth and parents nationwide have issued multiple calls for the release of children held in juvenile detention facilities in recent months.

While children are generally less likely to have severe reactions to the coronavirus, the disease poses a higher risk for people with underlying health issues, and youth in detention are more likely to have those conditions. Additionally, experts warn, children can spread the virus to the adult staff who then might take it home.

As of May 26, there are at least 488 youth and 580 staff in juvenile detention facilities who have tested positive for the coronavirus, according to the Sentencing Project, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit. However, this is an incomplete accounting and is highly dependent on what state and local officials decide to release.

Juvenile detention facilities are controlled at the local level — either by city, county or state governments — and releases can be subject to approval by a judge.

The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention is set up to help local governments improve their juvenile justice systems and provides grants to states. The group of senators wants the office to disclose how many COVID-19 cases there are among the youth and staff of these grantees.

The office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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Brexiteers fear 'Frost is next!' Conspiracy claims over Cummings sack demands

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DEMANDS for Dominic Cummings to be sacked have sparked concern of a Remainer plot among Brexiteers – with some even worried the UK’s Brexit negotiator David Frost could be targeted next.

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