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Trump will not impose quarantine on New York, New Jersey, Connecticut



US President Donald Trump speaks to press as he departs the White House in Washington, DC, on March 28, 2020.

Jim Watson | AFP | Getty Images

President Donald Trump said Saturday he will not seek to impose a quarantine on New York, New Jersey and certain parts of Connecticut, after floating the idea earlier in the day as way to contain the coronavirus from spreading out of hot spots where the disease has taken a particularly heavy toll. 

Trump said he decided a quarantine wasn’t necessary after consulting with the White House task force and the governors of the three states. He has asked the Centers for Disease Control to issue a strong travel advisory, which will be administered by the governors in consultation with the federal government. 

The CDC is urging residents of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut to refrain from nonessential domestic travel for the next 14 days effective immediately. The advisory does not apply to critical industries such as trucking, health professionals, financial services and food supply. The governors of the three states have full discretion to implement the travel advisory, the CDC said.  

Earlier Saturday, Trump said he was considering a two-week quarantine on the three neighboring states and would make a decision later on Saturday, though his authority to impose such a measure was disputed from the beginning. 

“I’m thinking about that right now. We might not have to do it but there’s a possibility that sometime today we’ll do a quarantine,” Trump told reporters at the White House Saturday. “Short-term, two week on New York, probably New Jersey and certain parts of Connecticut.” 

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, in an interview with CNN, said that preventing people from moving in and out of the tri-state would amount to a federally imposed lockdown, which he believes is illegal. 

“A lockdown is what they did in Wuhan, China,” Cuomo said. “We’re not in China, and we’re not in Wuhan. I don’t believe it would be legal. I believe it would be illegal.”

Cuomo said he did not believe that Trump intended to impose a sweeping quarantine on the region but suggested he could sue if the administration did follow through.

“I’ve sued the federal government a number of times over the years. I do not believe it’s going to come to that on this,” Cuomo said. “This would be a declaration of war on states, a federal declaration of war.”

The federal government does have the authority to detain and medically examine individuals who are believed to have a communicable disease, but the law is less clear on imposing a quarantine for an entire region. 

The governors in the tri-state region said they were in the dark about Trump’s possible quarantine. Cuomo said that while he spoke with the president Saturday morning, a quarantine didn’t come up during their discussions.  New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy told reporters on Saturday that Trump did not bring up a possible quarantine when they spoke on Friday.

“Nothing like quarantine came up,” Murphy said. “I literally saw the story as I was walking into this room. I’ve got no more color on it.”

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont has said the tri-state governors were already implementing certain quarantine measures. Lamont said he wanted to speak “to the president directly about his comments and any further enforcement actions, because confusion leads to panic.”

When NBC News asked White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows what legal authority the administration has to order a quarantine, Meadows replied, “We’re evaluating all the options right now.”

Talk of a possible quarantine comes as New York and the surrounding states have borne the brunt of the infected cases in the U.S. More than 121,000 people have been diagnosed with coronavirus in the United States, and at least 2,000 people have died, according to Johns Hopkins University. New York, New Jersey and Connecticut have become the center of the outbreak in the U.S. New York has more than 52,000 cases and at least 728 deaths; New Jersey has reported more than 11,000 cases and 140 deaths; and Connecticut has confirmed 1,291 cases and 27 deaths.

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Huawei CFO loses major battle in extradition fight



Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Huawei Technologies Co., leaves the Supreme Court in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, on Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2019.

Trevor Hagan | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Huawei’s chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou lost a major legal battle in her fight against extradition to the U.S. to stand trial on fraud charges.

In the Wednesday ruling, the Supreme Court of British Columbia found that the case against Meng meets a standard called “double criminality,” where the acts the U.S has accused her of are also illegal in Canada. The next phase of proceedings will begin next month. 

Diplomatic tensions are rising as Meng, who is the daughter of Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei, will have to remain in Vancouver on bail during a lengthy extradition process. 

Shortly after the court’s decision, the Chinese Foreign Ministry urged Canada to release Meng immediately and ensure her return to China. The Global Times, which is aligned with the Communist Party of China, blamed the U.S. for the ruling, saying Canada’s judicial and diplomatic independence has fallen to “U.S. bullying.” 

Huawei, the world’s largest telecommunication supplier, has been a flashpoint for the Trump administration’s trade battles with China. Shortly after Meng was arrested in December 2018, President Trump weighed in on the extradition case, telling Reuters he might consider “intervening” in the case if it would help the U.S.- China trade war. On Wednesday afternoon, legislation calling for sanctions against China passed both houses of Congress; President Trump has not said whether he intends to sign it into law.

The U.S. Commerce Department has also targeted Huawei. It blocked shipments of semiconductors to the company from chip-makers. That followed the administration’s move to keep Huawei on the U.S. Entity List, a blacklist that restricts American firms doing business with the company. The ban is hitting Huawei’s bottom line. The company reported it saw slowing revenue growth in 2019

Huawei said it was “disappointed” in the ruling and maintained Meng’s innocence.

Meng is due back in court June 15.

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Dow futures point to modest gains after index pops back above 25,000



A trader walks by the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on the first day that traders are allowed back onto the historic floor of the exchange on May 26, 2020 in New York City.

Spencer Platt | Getty Images

Futures contracts tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 ticked higher Wednesday evening as investors looked to add to Wall Street’s robust gains so far this week.

Dow Jones Industrial Average futures rose 57 points, indicating an opening gain of about 92 points when regular trading resumes on Thursday. S&P 500 futures also pointed to a 0.2% advance on Thursday; Nasdaq-100 futures dipped into negative territory.

The overnight moves Wednesday evening promised to add to sharp rallies in the major stock indexes so far this week.

The Nasdaq Composite, S&P 500 and Dow all extended week-to-date gains during Wednesday’s regular trading session and finished the day up 0.77%, 1.48% and 2.2% respectively. The broad S&P 500 closed at its highest level since March, above 3,000; the Dow jumped 553 points to finish Wednesday’s session north of 25,000, its own highest close since March.

The S&P 500, Nasdaq Composite and Dow are up 2.7%, 0.9% and 4.4% since the start of the holiday-shortened week. The Dow is on track for its best week since the week ended April 8.

Traders say this week’s rally is in large part thanks to optimism about the reopening of the U.S. economy.

Equity of companies that stand to benefit the most under reopenings, such as the airlines and retailers, led the major indexes higher Tuesday and Wednesday. Kohl’s, Nordstrom and Gap all rose at least 14% on Wednesday while airlines Delta, American, Alaska and United rose 2.6%, 7.5%, 2% and 3.8%, respectively.

Meanwhile, those stocks that outperformed as stay-at-home orders went into effect in March have lagged in recent sessions. Zoom Video dropped 1.2%; Shopify, Amazon and Teladoc Health fell 2.3%, 0.6% and 1.1%, respectively. 

Thursday’s forthcoming update to the U.S. unemployment claims threatened to keep the week’s optimism in check.

The Department of Labor is scheduled to release the latest update to initial jobless claims at 8:30 a.m. ET Thursday morning. Though economists polled by Dow Jones expect the government to announce yet another deceleration in the pace of claims, the consensus estimate predicts another 2.05 million Americans filed for insurance during the week ended May 23.

Last week, the Labor Department reported another 2.44 million Americans had filed claims in the week ended May 16, which brought the coronavirus crisis total to some 38.6 million, by far the largest loss in U.S. history.

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U.S. death toll rises above 100,000 in world’s deadliest outbreak



Chicago Firefighters carry the remains of Firefighter Edward Singleton, a 33 year veteran of the Chicago Fire Department who died last week from complications from coronavirus disease (COVID-19), to a hearse following his funeral service in Chicago, Illinois, April 22, 2020.

Shannon Stapleton | Reuters

The U.S. has surpassed the grim milestone of 100,000 deaths as a result of the coronavirus, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, significantly more than any other country in the world.

A tally from Johns Hopkins University showed 100,047 deaths as of Wednesday evening.

More than 5.6 million people have contracted the coronavirus across the globe, with the U.S. accounting for roughly 30% of total cases. 

The U.K. has recorded the second-highest number of coronavirus fatalities, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. As of Wednesday, it had reported at least 37,542 deaths due to Covid-19. 

Brazil and Russia are second and third, respectively, when it comes to the number of Covid-19 infections confirmed to date. South America’s largest country has reported 391,222 cases of the virus, while Russia has recorded 370,680 infections. 

President Donald Trump, who is running for re-election later this year, has encouraged state governors to reopen businesses in order to boost the pandemic-stricken economy. 

In the first three months of the year, U.S. GDP (growth domestic product) fell by 4.8%. It marked the biggest quarterly economic contraction since the global financial crisis in 2008.

Meanwhile, the latest figures from the U.S. Department of Labour showed that some 38.6 million people in the world’s largest economy had lost their jobs in just nine weeks.

The rate of job losses has slowed sharply in recent weeks, but it remains at a level unseen since the Great Depression

Almost all states in the country have started to ease lockdown restrictions in recent days.

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