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This Week in World: Canada, Italy, and More


Canada-US Border To Close By Friday

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that the Canada-US border might close as early as Friday. He also said that he was working with domestic carriers to bring home citizens stranded across borders. Canada originally closed its borders earlier this week but left the US border open to help people home. However, Canada and the US both agreed to close their shared border to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

In total, the country has 772 confirmed cases, with 9 deaths. “These are difficult and extraordinary times in which Canadians are taking difficult and extraordinary measures,” Trudeau said. He recently underwent self-quarantine after his wife tested positive for the virus. He also said that he was considering employing the military to help procure supplies.

Italy Death Toll Overtakes China

Coronavirus has killed more people in Italy than in any other country after the number of deaths rose by 427. In total, Italy’s death count stands at 3,405, more than in China, where the virus originated. Worldwide, there have been over 220,000 cases, with nearly 9,000 deaths. China has also reported no new domestic cases for the first time since the outbreak began.

In Italy, the lockdown has stagnated everyday life. The country shut down most businesses and public gatherings in an attempt to stop the spread of the virus. Bars, restaurants, shops, and most universities and schools have closed. However, even when the lockdown ends, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said that it would not be possible to return to life as before.

Germany Bans Far-Right Group

Germany announced a ban on a far-right group on Thursday. In addition, police conducted a raid on the homes of 21 of its senior members. Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said he had banned the “United German Peoples and Tribes”, a group with strong connections to the Reichsbuerger. This group claims strong allegiance to the pre-war German Reich.

“Right-wing extremism, racism, and anti-Semitism are being fought relentlessly even in times of crisis,” Seehofer said in a statement. He added that the group had engaged in verbal militancy against civil servants and their families.

US Jails Begin Releasing Prisoners

US jails have begun releasing prisoners to help stem the spread of COVID-19. New York City, along with Los Angeles and Cleveland, freed hundreds of vulnerable prisoners throughout the last couple of days. Recently, prison reform advocates have said that those in jail are at a higher risk of contracting the virus.

Iran’s Supreme Leader To Pardon 10,000 Prisoners

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei plans to pardon 10,000 prisoners in honor of the Iranian new year on Friday. This also includes political prisoners. “Those who will be pardoned will not return to jail … almost half of those security-related prisoners will be pardoned as well,” judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili said on Wednesday.