G20 Summit defines the ‘unified’ worldwide effort to confront coronavirus

Trump said that he did not favor the option of lifting tariffs. (Reuters)
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Updated 27 March 2020

G20 Summit defines the ‘unified’ worldwide effort to confront coronavirus

  • Trump praised the virtual summit
  • The G20 leaders said they hope to raise $5 trillion to fight the pandemic

US President Donald Trump praised the G20 Emergency Summit that was hosted by Saudi Arabia’s King Salman on Thursday and carried out by teleconference.

During his daily coronavirus update at the White House, Trump said he was encouraged by the meeting and declared “we will vanquish this virus.”

He praised the virtual summit — organized by Saudi Arabia, which holds the presidency of the G20 this year — saying: “We had a great meeting. We have had a lot of different ideas. We’re working together…to discuss the problem that 151 nations have got…hopefully (coronavirus) won’t be a problem for much longer.

“We are working to stop the spread of the virus and coordinate our efforts…sharing data…it was a terrific meeting. Tremendous spirit among all of those countries.”

On Wednesday, before the teleconference, Trump said that he did not favor the option of lifting tariffs, as has been demanded by China, and that he would continue to push for “strong borders.”

“I’m very strong on borders and I don’t want people coming in here,” Trump said when asked about the G20, tariffs and borders.

Earlier, Trump said that in joining the G20 discussion he was not planning a “coordinated” strategy with other nations. “I’m not going to do anything rash or hastily. I don’t do that,” he said.

Trump’s comments contrasted his message at the G20 in June last year when he was promoting “Worldwide economic growth and prosperity” through a series of policies. He advised the attendees at the time that countries should focus on implementing pro-growth policies that will help spur their economies, such as reforming tax laws, cutting regulations and promoting currency stability. He also put great emphasis on what he called “unfair trade practices” by some countries, such as China.

During Thursday’s summit, the G20 leaders said they hope to raise $5 trillion to fight the pandemic, will share more health data and address potential trade-war disruptions.

Partisan and often angry political debate has mired the US response to the rapid spread of the coronavirus and caused some delays, including passage of an economic stimulus package to help the economy.
 


Bangladeshi courts freeing child suspects due to virus risk

Updated 43 min 24 sec ago

Bangladeshi courts freeing child suspects due to virus risk

  • On Friday, the total number of COVID-19 infections in Bangladesh stood at 60,391, with 811 deaths
  • About 400 children have been granted bail in recent weeks and more than 300 of them have already been reunited with their families

DHAKA: Authorities in Bangladesh have been releasing hundreds of children suspected of committing mostly petty crimes as they try to keep the coronavirus from spreading in overcrowded detention centers, officials said Friday.
The orders for their release on bail came from virtual courts set up by the country’s Supreme Court with the help of UNICEF, officials said.
About 400 children have been granted bail in recent weeks and more than 300 of them have already been reunited with their families, said Natalie McCauley, chief of child protection at UNICEF in Bangladesh.
She said the decision came as public health experts said children living in the country’s detention centers face a higher risk of getting infected, mainly because of overcrowding and poor conditions.
Bangladesh has a protracted system of delivering justice, with some cases for petty crimes taking years to conclude. According to UNICEF, some 23,000 cases involving children under 18 are currently pending with courts across the country.
Saifur Rahman, a special officer of the Supreme Court and additional district judge who is involved with the release program, said the program was crucial as with inadequate staff and utilities in detention centers, it was extremely difficult to minimize the risk of infection from COVID-19.
“In all fairness, maintaining social and physical distancing is next to impossible in such a situation,” he said.
Mohammed Rakib, 15, was accused of beating a man in Dhaka nearly two months ago. A judge from a regular court denied him bail and he was eventually sent to an overcrowded detention center just outside Dhaka that UNICEF says houses nearly 700 children even though it has the capacity for about 300.
Late last month he was finally granted bail through the new virtual court.
“It feels great to be freed and get united with my parents,” Rakib told The Associated Press on Friday. “I am very happy. I have suffered in the jail a lot. That’s a bad place.”
The reunion was special for Rakib and his family as they were able to celebrate the end of Ramadan together.
“His mother burst into tears after seeing our youngest son,” said his father Mohammed Abdul Hakim. “It was a moment of joy. We love him a lot.”
On Friday, the total number of COVID-19 infections in Bangladesh stood at 60,391, with 811 deaths. Public health experts say the actual number of the infected people is likely much higher.