CORONAVIRUS: All eyes are on the coronavirus. In Washington state, the death toll rose to 9 just days after the first confirmed death. And the US is apparently expecting cases to skyrocket as more people are tested. Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve slashed interest rates by half a percentage point to help protect the US economy from the effects of the coronavirus outbreak. That’s the most extreme move the Fed’s made since the 2008 financial crisis. This comes as the World Health Organization says the coronavirus fatality rate is actually 3.4 percent - much higher than initially thought. Now, it looks like the World Bank is pledging $12 billion in emergency aid for developing countries dealing with the spread of the virus.
WORLD: The death toll from the Tennessee tornadoes keeps rising. At least 24 people have now died as a result of the disasters, with dozens of people currently missing. Around 140 buildings have been destroyed. Now, it looks like Tennessee’s governor is declaring a state of emergency and calling the National Guard to help with search and rescue missions. In other news, the US’s peace deal with the Taliban is already falling apart. Case in point: just days after things were made official, the Taliban reportedly carried out 33 attacks, killing 8 militants and 6 civilians. Which goes directly against the peace deal. In response, the US conducted an airstrike against Taliban fighters in Afghanistan. Stay tuned.
POLITICS: Speaking of violating deals, a United Nations nuclear watchdog says Iran has nearly tripled its stockpile of low enriched uranium since November. You read that right. Low enriched uranium is typically used for nuclear power plants, but it can also help lay the foundation for creating nuclear weapons. Oh, and this latest news means Iran’s now gone far over the limit set by the Iran nuclear deal for low enriched uranium. Reassuring. Meanwhile, Russian Prez Vladimir Putin just proposed a constitutional ban on gay marriage. The move is reportedly meant to up voter turnout at an upcoming referendum that could leave Putin with the ability to stay in power past 2024, when he won’t be able to run for reelection.