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World Monthly Headline News May 2020 Page 1

By Kathryn Watson

President Trump announced Friday that he's "terminating" the United States' relationship with the World Health Organization, claiming China has total control over it. As he listed a litany of grievances with China, the president announced he's suspending the entry of certain Chinese nationals and sanctioning Chinese officials who have eroded Hong Kong's freedom. The president for weeks has expressed frustration with China, blaming the communist country and in part the W.H.O. for the spread of the deadly virus that has left more than 100,000 dead in the U.S. "Our actions will be strong, our actions will be meaningful," Mr. Trump said. But he hasn't always been so harsh on China. In the early days of the pandemic, the president applauded Chinese President Xi Jinping for his handling of the pandemic. "China has been working very hard to contain the Coronavirus," the president tweeted on January 24. "The United States greatly appreciates their efforts and transparency. It will all work out well. In particular, on behalf of the American People, I want to thank President Xi!" But as time went by and the virus' devastation swept the country, his tune changed. In what was billed by the White House as a news conference, the president took no questions Friday, despite the long list of national news stories.

By Associated Press

Transcripts of phone calls that played a pivotal role in the Russia investigation were declassified and released Friday, showing that Michael Flynn, as an adviser toPresident-elect Donald Trump, urged Russia’s ambassador to be “even-keeled” in response to punitive Obama administration measures, and assured him “we can have a better conversation” about relations between the two countries after Trump became president. Democrats said the transcripts showed that Flynn had lied to the FBI when he denied details of the conversation, and that he was undercutting a sitting president while communicating with a country that had just interfered in the 2016 presidential election. But allies of the president who maintain that the FBI had no reason to investigate Flynn in the first place said the transcripts showed he had done nothing wrong. The transcripts were released by Senate Republicans on Friday after being provided by Trump’s new national intelligence director, John Ratcliffe, who waded into one of the most contentious political topics in his first week on the job. Ratcliffe’s extraordinary decision to disclose transcripts of intercepted conversations with a foreign ambassador is part of ongoing efforts by Trump allies to release previously secret information from the Russia investigation in hopes of painting Obama-era officials in a bad light. The transcripts are unlikely to significantly reshape public understanding of the contact between Flynn and then-Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak, a central moment in the Russia investigation. The information released Friday conforms with the rough outlines of the call described in the 2017 guilty plea that Flynn reached with the team of prosecutors working for special counsel Robert S. Mueller III.

Prosecutors unsealed a 50-page indictment alleging North Korea's state-owned bank was used to process illegal payments.
by Chris Strohm • Bloomberg

The Justice Department accused more than two dozen North Korean and Chinese individuals with operating an illegal global financial network to aid Pyongyang's nuclear weapons and missile program in violation of U.S. sanctions. The department unsealed a 50-page indictment on Thursday alleging that the participants used North Korea's state-owned Foreign Trade Bank to process about $2.5 billion in illegal payments. "The charges alleged in this indictment arise from a multiyear scheme to covertly access the U.S. financial system in spite of sanctions which are intended to deal with unusual and extraordinary threats to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States," according to the indictment by the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia. Despite punishing U.S. and international sanctions and several summits with President Donald Trump, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has found ways around the economic restrictions on his country and so far has refused to abandon his nuclear weapons program.

By Simon Denyer

TOKYO ­— North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has vowed to implement "new policies" to boost the country's nuclear deterrent, state media reported Sunday, underlining his decision to turn his back on denuclearization talks with the United States. Kim made the call at a meeting of the ruling Workers’ Party’s Central Military Commission, nearly two years after he met President Trump at a historic summit in Singapore that seemed to offer hope of progress between the two nations. Subsequent talks made little progress before dissolving in acrimony last year, and North Korea has since returned to a harder line in its public posturing. Kim’s attendance at the meeting was his first public appearance in three weeks, with the country still on high alert over coronavirus. A three-week period out of the public eye last month provoked intense speculation about Kim’s health before he reappeared to open a fertilizer factory.

Israeli PM could face more than a decade in prison if convicted in three separate cases
By Oliver Holmes in Jerusalem

Defiantly railing against attempts to “overthrow” him before donning a face mask to enter court, Benjamin Netanyahu sat for the first day of his high-profile corruption trial, which threatens to put Israel’s longest-serving leader behind bars and open deep divisions within the country. Speaking in the corridors of the courthouse ahead of the hearing, Netanyahu decried police and prosecutors he accused of attempting to topple him. “When there is a strong rightwing leader like me, everything is permitted to bring him down,” he said, flanked by loyal ministers. “This is an attempt to overthrow us.” At the start of the hour-long proceedings, one of the judges – also in face masks and behind clear plastic screens – asked Netanyahu if he had read and understood the charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust. He responded: “Yes, your Honour.” His lawyer argued for the court to grant a three-month delay to deal with the huge caseload of evidence. The case, with hundreds of witnesses, could last months if not years. Public interest in the trial is so intense that police closed off streets around the court in Jerusalem to prevent crowds from gathering too close.

"Taken at the meeting were crucial measures for considerably increasing the firepower strike ability of the artillery pieces," KCNA reported.
By Reuters

North Korean leader hosted a military meeting to discuss new policies to bolster the country's nuclear capabilities amid stalled denuclearization talks with the United States, state media reported Sunday. The meeting of the ruling Workers' Party's powerful Central Military Commission marked Kim's first public appearance in three weeks, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported. He has made an unusually small number of outings in the past two months amid coronavirus concerns. North Korea has imposed strict anti-coronavirus measures although it says it has no confirmed cases. This follows intense speculation about Kim's health last month after he missed a key anniversary. U.S.-led negotiations aimed at dismantling North Korea's nuclear and missile programs have made little progress since late last year, especially after a global battle on the coronavirus began. The meeting discussed measures to bolster armed forces and "reliably contain the persistent big or small military threats from the hostile forces," KCNA said.


Now that Trump reportedly is toying with a resumption of nuclear testing, the Kremlin intends to take full advantage.
By Julia Davis

President Donald J. Trump has announced the U.S. intends to exit the “Open Skies” treaty. The 34-nation agreement allows the United States, Russia and other countries to conduct observation flights over each other’s territories in the interests of transparency and international security.

“An infectious disease specialist for the Russian Health Ministry said Trump must really be taking hydroxychloroquine, since it’s known to cause psychotic side effects. ”

Speaking to reporters, Trump said: “We’re going to pull out, and they’re going to come back and want to make a deal. We’ve had a very good relationship lately with Russia.” While the Trump administration is citing Russia’s various violations of the agreement as the main reason for the U.S. withdrawal, Russian experts and government officials believe that the abrupt decision is rooted in Trump’s desire to throw all international treaties out the window in pursuit of a bigger, better deal which he can claim to pursue during his election campaign even if it comes to nothing. Such flippant methods may work for reality television, but tend to backfire in real life. Case in point, Trump's gambit with Iran, where U.S withdrawal from the nuclear deal led to the expansion of Tehran’s nuclear stockpile. Now that Trump reportedly is toying with the idea of resuming nuclear testing as well, the Kremlin intends to take full advantage of that harebrained idea. Washington’s approach reportedly is rooted in the flawed assumption that renewed nuclear testing would prompt the Kremlin to pressure the Chinese into joining a trilateral agreement with the United States and Russia. This concept was dismissed out of hand by Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov. During an online forum conducted by the Gorchakov Fund, a Russian think tank, Ryabkov asserted that the Kremlin didn’t intend to apply any pressure to China to please Washington.  

By Nicole Gaouette, Ryan Browne and Vivian Salama, CNN

Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump confirmed the US will be exiting the Open Skies Treaty, a pact designed to reduce the risk of military miscalculations that could lead to war, and said Russia's actions had prompted him to take the decision. "Russia didn't adhere to the treaty, so until they adhere, we will pull out," Trump told reporters outside the White House Thursday. The President predicted that the US withdrawal would force Moscow back to the table. "There's a chance we may make a new agreement or do something to put that agreement back together," Trump said. "I think what's going to happen is we're going to pull out and they're going to come back and want to make a deal." Trump also denied that the withdrawal would increase tensions with Russia. "No, I think that we're going to have (a) very good relationship with Russia," the President said. The 1992 treaty allows member countries to conduct short-notice, unarmed, reconnaissance flights over the other countries to collect data on their military forces and activities. It is the latest major arms control treaty that the US will abandon under the Trump administration. Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said the Trump administration is "committed to our treaty obligations, but in this era of great power competition we are looking to advocate for agreements that benefit all sides and that include partners who comply responsibly with their obligations." The Open Skies Treaty is part of a broad web of arms control agreements meant to ensure stability and predictability on the European continent and reduce the risk of misunderstandings that could spiral into conflict by ensuring transparency. Bipartisan groups of former national security officials reacted with dismay to the news the US will withdraw, saying that will reduce US leadership in the world, hand Russia a victory and undermine US and global security.

'This is insane'
"This is insane," tweeted Gen. Michael Hayden, the retired four-star general who served as former National Security Agency director, a former principal deputy director of national intelligence and was President George W. Bush's director of the CIA. The New York Times was first to report a final decision has been reached. European allies, who have lobbied for the US to remain in the treaty, see it as a central part of their security infrastructure and the US decision to withdraw will likely add to the strain in transatlantic relations, analysts say. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a nearly 1,000-word statement explaining the decision that the US understands Europeans still value the treaty.

By Jason Lemon

President Donald Trump suggested on Thursday that the U.S. could "cut off the whole relationship" with China, claiming that doing so would save the country $500 billion. "There are many things we could do," Trump told Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo on Thursday morning. "We could cut off the whole relationship." The U.S. and many other nations have become increasingly critical of China amid the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic, which first arose in the Chinese city of Wuhan. China has been accused of covering up the extent of the outbreak and failing to be transparent about the seriousness of the virus. China has attempted to dismiss these criticisms and claimed that the Trump administration is trying to deflect criticism of its own response to the crisis. The president suggested on Thursday that cutting ties with China would save the U.S. money. "Now, if you did, what would happen?" he asked. "You'd save $500 billion if you cut off the whole relationship."

Caracas — Venezuela will try two Americans allegedly captured during a failed bid by mercenaries to invade the country, President Nicolas Maduro said Wednesday, as the U.S. vowed to "use every tool available" to bring them home. Venezuela announced Monday that it had arrested the two former U.S. special forces soldiers on suspicion of trying to topple Maduro in an operation supported by the U.S.-backed opposition. "They are convicts, confessed, caught red-handed and are being judged by the republic's attorney general, by Venezuela's civil courts, and the process will be full of guarantees and fair," said Maduro. The leader of the crisis-wracked South American country insisted the Americans, identified as Luke Denman and Airan Berry, were being "well treated, with respect." Maduro showed the passports of Denman, 34, and Berry, 41, on state television. The U.S. Army has confirmed they were former members of the Green Berets who were deployed to Iraq. In Washington, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the government would "use every tool that we have available to try to get them back." U.S. President Donald Trump had denied any involvement by his administration with the mission, and Washington accused Maduro of launching a "disinformation campaign."

CBS News

Acting on a hunch, two specialists in the Paris region decided to take another look at a number of patients who were treated in intensive care for pneumonia back in December and January. One patient, a man from a Paris suburb, tested positive for having COVID-19. Elaine Cobbe reports.

Interior Minister Nestor Reverol says 'mercenary terrorists' launched attack from Colombia.

Venezuela's government has said it foiled a marine incursion by "terrorist mercenaries" who attempted to enter the country on speedboats from neighbouring Colombia, adding security forces killed eight of the fighters. The group landed early on Sunday on a beach in the port city of La Guaira, about 20 miles (32km) from the capital Caracas, Interior Minister Nestor Reverol said in a televised address. "They tried to carry out an invasion by sea, a group of terrorist mercenaries from Colombia, in order to commit terrorist acts in the country, murdering leaders of the revolutionary government," he said. Socialist Party leader Diosdado Cabello said eight people were killed and two were detained. "We have deactivated an attempted incursion of our territory, thanks to intelligence efforts," Cabello told reporters. President Nicolas Maduro frequently accuses political adversaries of attempting to overthrow his administration with the support of the United States, which has promised to force him from office through sanctions that have crippled the OPEC nations' oil exports. Critics of the governing Socialist Party often dismiss such accusations as stunts used as an excuse to detain opponents of the government.

By Jason Slotkin

Israel's top court is deciding if corruption charges should bar Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from forming a government. Wearing face masks and separated by dividers, the 11 justices convened Sunday to discuss the fate of Netanyahu. The long-serving prime minister had recently reached an agreement with his election rival, Benny Gantz, to end a government deadlock. Opponents of Netanyahu, however, are claiming criminal charges — including bribery, fraud and breach of trust — should prevent him from leading the unity government. The justices are expected to reach a decision this week. A ruling against Netanyahu would be a serious blow to Israeli governance.Three elections — the most recent in March — have failed to conclusively decide the country's leadership. Last month, however, the COVID-19 pandemic forced a deal between Netanyahu and Gantz to form an emergency government. The deal allows Netanyahu — already Israel's longest-serving prime minister — to remain in his role through October of next year before handing over leadership to Gantz. The deal had been supported by Israel's parliament. But opposition parties and watchdogs petitioned Israel's supreme court to block Netanyahu's leadership as he faced a series of corruption charges.

By Mary Ilyushina

Moscow (CNN) Russia reported 10,633 new coronavirus cases on Sunday, its fourth record single-day increase in a row, in what is becoming a major headache for President Vladimir Putin. The country's total number of cases is now 134,687, the seventh-highest number in the world, in a dramatic turnaround from the situation back in March. A total of 1,280 deaths has now been recorded, the country's coronavirus response headquarters said in a statement, adding that around 50% of the cases were asymptomatic. Moscow, the country's worst-hit city, accounts for more than a half of total cases. Last week, Russia extended its isolation period through May 11. "The daily increase in cases has relatively stabilized but this mustn't calm us down, the situation is still very serious," Putin said. "The peak is not behind us, we are about to face a new and grueling phase of the pandemic... the deadly threat of the virus remains." Anger is rising among the country's health workers after two dozen hospitals had to shut down for quarantines, with many doctors falling sick. Russian independent media and non-governmental organizations have reported anonymous pleas from outraged medical workers who said they had been ordered to the frontlines without adequate protection, and that bureaucratic foot-dragging was costing lives. On Thursday, as the number of cases passed 100,000, Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin appeared on state television informing Putin by video conference that he'd tested positive for the virus. That came a day after Mishustin said it was "impossible to give an exact date" for lifting Covid-19 restrictions in Russia, including reopening the country's borders.

By Yoonjung Seo, CNN

Seoul (CNN) North Korea fired gunshots at the wall of a South Korean guard post in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), a buffer area which separates the two countries, on Sunday, and the South fired back, according to its military. The North Korean gunfire did not injure anyone or cause any discernible damage to the guard post or its equipment, said South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS). Several bullets from the North were fired into the DMZ at 7:41 a.m. local time Sunday, the JCS said in a text message to press. The South Korean military responded by broadcasting a verbal warning and returning fire twice, according to protocol outlined in the response manual and on the judgment of the field commander, according to the JCS statement.


North Korea claims that Kim Jong Un made a public appearance at a ribbon-cutting ceremony. CNN's Will Ripley reports.


Kim Jong-un has appeared in public for the first time in 20 days, North Korean state media says. KCNA news agency reports that the North Korean leader cut the ribbon at the opening of a fertiliser factory. It adds that people at the factory "broke into thunderous cheers of hurrah" when he appeared. The reported appearance - his first since an event on state media on 12 April - comes amid global speculation over his health. The latest reports from North Korean media could not be independently confirmed and no pictures were provided. Asked about Mr Kim's reported reappearance, US President Donald Trump told reporters that he didn't want to comment yet. What does the state media report say? According to Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), Mr Kim was accompanied by several senior North Korean officials, including his sister Kim Yo Jong. The North Korean leader cut a ribbon at a ceremony at the plant, in a region north of Pyongyang, and people who were attending the event "burst into thunderous cheers of 'hurrah!' for the Supreme Leader who is commanding the all-people general march for accomplishing the great cause of prosperity", KCNA says.

By Paula Newton, CNN

(CNN) Assault-style weapons are banned in Canada effective immediately, the country's prime minister said Friday. The move comes less than two weeks after Canada's deadliest rampage in modern history, when a gunman in Nova Scotia killed 22 people after a 12-hour reign of terror. "You don't need an AR-15 to bring down a deer," Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said at a news conference in Ottawa. "So, effective immediately, it is no longer permitted to buy, sell, transport, import or use military-grade assault weapons in this country." Police said the gunman had several semi-automatic handguns and at least two semi-automatic rifles, one of which was described by witnesses as a military-style assault weapon. "These weapons were designed for one purpose, and one purpose only, to kill the largest number of people in the shortest amount of time. There is no use and no place for such weapons in Canada," Trudeau said. The ban is effective immediately but disposal of the weapons will be subject to a two-year amnesty period. Trudeau said some form of compensation would also be put in place but the firearms can also be exported and sold after a proper export license is obtained. Trudeau said that "thoughts and prayers" for mass shooting victims were no longer enough and that's why his government acted.

By Scott Neuman

Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin says he's infected with the coronavirus, joining nearly 106,500 others in the country who have been similarly diagnosed. Speaking during a videoconference with President Vladimir Putin that was broadcast Thursday on state-run Rossiya 24 television, Mishustin — who took over as prime minister from Dmitry Medvedev in January — told Putin that he had tested positive for the virus. "It has just now became known that the coronavirus test I gave came back positive," Mishustin told Putin. "I have to observe self-isolation and follow orders of doctors," he said. "This is necessary to protect my colleagues." Mishustin, whose role as head of government is considerably less powerful than Putin's, nominated his deputy, Andrey Belousov, to take over as acting prime minister, a recommendation that Putin approved by decree.

By Ryan Browne, CNN

(CNN) In the month following the signing of the Trump administration's peace deal with the Taliban, the insurgent group increased its attacks on America's Afghan allies to higher than usual levels, according to data provided to the Pentagon's Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction. "The signing of the U.S.-Taliban agreement followed a successful week-long 'reduction in violence' by U.S., Coalition, Afghan government, and Taliban forces. However, immediately afterwards, the Taliban increased its attacks on Afghan security forces," John Sopko, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, wrote in his introduction to the SIGAR quarterly report. The US-led international military operation in Afghanistan told the inspector general that from March 1 -- 31, "the Taliban refrained from attacks against Coalition Forces; however they increased attacks against (Afghan National Defense and Security Forces) to levels above seasonal norms." "Although not all such attacks are expressly prohibited by the text, U.S. officials had said they expected the level of violence to remain low after the agreement came into effect," Sopko said. The coalition is no longer releasing data on the number of Taliban initiated attacks, citing the sensitivity of the ongoing negotiations with the Taliban. Resolute Support told the inspector general that the data "are now a critical part of deliberative interagency discussions regarding ongoing political negotiations between the U.S. and the Taliban." The Department of Defense said in a statement Friday that it "has not classified the data," saying "it will be releasable to the public when no longer integral to these deliberations, or the deliberations are concluded." "The U.S., NATO and our international partners have been clear that the Taliban's level of violence against the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces is unacceptably high," Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Thomas Campbell told CNN. Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said Friday that the Pentagon and State Department are pushing diplomatic solutions to lessen the attacks.

By Steve Hendrix

Israel’s largest bank will pay more than $900 million after admitting it helped U.S. customers evade taxes in illegal offshore accounts and, separately, that it laundered money as part of a bribery scheme in the ranks of international soccer, U.S. prosecutors said Thursday. Bank Hapoalim and its Swiss subsidiary pleaded guilty to aiding U.S. customers in setting up accounts under false names and avoiding U.S. reporting requirements for more than a decade, prosecutors said in a release, helping them evade taxes on more than $7.6 billion in deposits. The banks have agreed to pay $874 million in penalties, tax arrears and forfeited assets. The payment represents the second-largest penalty in an ongoing crackdown of offshore tax evasion by the U.S. Department of Justice. Hapoalim’s activities involved at least four senior executives, including two former members of the bank’s board of directors, prosecutors said. “Israel’s largest bank, Bank Hapoalim, and its Swiss subsidiary have admitted not only to failing to prevent but actively assisting U.S. customers to set up secret accounts, to shelter assets and income, and to evade taxes,” said U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman of the Southern District of New York. “The combined payment approaching $1 billion reflects the magnitude of the tax evasion by the Bank’s U.S. customers, the size of the fees the Bank collected to provide this illegal service, and the gravity of the illegal conduct.” A spokeswoman for Bank Hapoalim said the company had no comment on either investigation. The bank filed a required report on an event “outside the normal business of the corporation” with the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange Thursday, acknowledging the plea agreements and the amounts, totaling $904 million, to be paid. In the money laundering case, prosecutors said Bank Hapoalim and its Swiss affiliate had agreed to pay more than $30 million in forfeited assets and fines after admitting that some employees helped launder millions in bribes and kickbacks paid to officials in FIFA, the international soccer body.

Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — An Israeli bank and its Swiss subsidiary agreed to pay over $30 million for their role in conspiring to launder more than $20 million in kickbacks to soccer officials, becoming the first financial institutions implicated in the FIFA scandal to reach a resolution with U.S. prosecutors. Bank Hapoalim BM in Israel and its wholly owned Swiss company Hapoalim Ltd. agreed to forfeit $20.73 million and pay a fine of $9.33 million as part of a non-prosecution agreement, the U.S. attorney’s office in Brooklyn said Thursday. The scheme took place through the banks’ Miami branch from 2010-15, with many of the payments tied to marketing rights for the Copa America. Eugenio Figueredo, a former president of the South American governing body CONMEBOL and Uruguay’s federation, was among those accused of receiving the bribes, along with Luis Bedoya, a former president of Colombia’s federation and like Figueredo a onetime member of FIFA’s executive committee. Former federation presidents Sergio Jadue of Chile and Rafael Esquivel of Venezuela also were implicated by the U.S. Justice Department, along with Luis Chiriboga, former whose father, Luis, was president of Ecuador’s federation. Bank Hapoalim (BHMB) and Hapoalim Ltd. (BHS) reached a deal with the Justice Department and the U.S. attorney’s office in which they and BHMB subsidiary Hapoalim (Latin America) SA will not be subject to prosecution for any of the crimes admitted in the deal, except for criminal tax violations. No bank employees involved in the illegal activities were identified by name.

US president escalates attack on Beijing’s handling of coronavirus pandemic
By Richard Partington

Donald Trump’s threats to reignite the US-China trade war over coronavirus has triggered another sell-off in global financial markets, as the economic costs of the pandemic continue to mount. Against a backdrop of rising tension between the world’s two economic superpowers, share prices resumed a downward slide on Friday with the FTSE 100 falling by 144 points, or 2.5%, in London. Selling pressure resumed on Wall Street after recording gradual gains in recent weeks amid rising hopes a turning point had been reached for the coronavirus crisis. As fears over the economic costs from the disease mount and as the White House ramped up the threat of a renewed trade conflict with Beijing, the Dow Jones industrial average fell by more than 2% in afternoon trading in New York. Stock prices fell sharply in Japan, with the Nikkei index of leading Japanese company shares sliding by more than 500 points, or 2.8%. Markets in China, Hong Kong and South Korea were closed for public holidays. Despite world leaders starting to outline plans to lift lockdown measures more than a month on from the depths of the crisis, the economic fallout from tight controls on social and business activity during the Covid-19 outbreak are now becoming increasingly clear. Faced with a deep recession in an election year, Trump escalated his attack on Beijing by claiming he had seen evidence showing the virus originated in a Chinese laboratory. The US president is increasingly making China’s handling of the pandemic a major issue as his ratings sag ahead of his November re-election campaign. Reports suggested the White House is crafting renewed import tariffs that would be applied to Chinese imports in retaliation, in a major escalation of the trade standoff. The US and China had signed the first phase of a trade deal earlier this year to de-escalate trade tensions between Washington and Beijing that had damaged global growth last year and sapped business investment around the world. However, progress has been derailed at the onset of a blame game over Covid-19 as the number of infections around the world climbs, with the US recording the highest official death toll of any country so far. Analysts warned a renewed US-China trade conflict, as the world heads for the worst recession since the Great Depression in the 1930s, could inflict additional damage for jobs and growth.

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