US President George W. Bush and Democratic front-runner Senator John Kerry sparred over the president's economic leadership, while Kerry's rivals sought to slow his brisk pace toward the Democratic nomination in three states with upcoming primaries. \nSenator John Edwards of North Carolina and former NATO commander Wesley Clark searched for wins in two Southern states and Howard Dean urged Wisconsin voters "to keep this debate alive." \nBut Dean, the former Vermont governor, said that, despite earlier statements that he viewed the Feb. 17 primary as a do-or-die contest, he would stay in the race regardless of the outcome. "I've just changed my mind," he said. \nAs Edwards and Clark concentrated on Virginia and Tennessee, which were to hold primaries yesterday, Kerry ignored his rivals and criticized Bush's stewardship of the economy. \nKerry accused Bush of having the worst jobs record of the past 11 presidents. Bush defended his economic priorities, especially his tax cuts, in a campaign-style speech in Missouri, expected to be a key battleground in November. The president denounced efforts by "some in Washington" against making his tax cuts permanent. "When you hear people say, `We're not going to make this permanent,' that means tax increase," Bush said at a factory in Springfield, Missouri. \n"They're going to raise the taxes and increase the size of the federal government, which would be bad for the United States economy," Bush said, his voice rising to a shout. \nSpeaking six days after Kerry won the Missouri primary, Bush appeared more engaged in his own re-election campaign than in past public appearances, directly responding to criticism by Kerry and other Democratic candidates. \nThe Democrats running for president say they would repeal all or portions of Bush's tax cuts. Stephanie Cutter, a spokeswoman for Kerry, said the Massachusetts senator would make permanent tax cuts for the middle class, including the child tax credit and the repeal of the marriage penalty. \nBefore an audience in Roanoke, Virginia, Kerry scorned a White House economic report released earlier in the day that predicted the economy would grow by 4 percent and create 2.6 million new jobs this year. \n"I've got a feeling this report was prepared by the same people who brought us the intelligence on Iraq," Kerry said, citing job losses of more than 2 million since Bush took office. Kerry also faulted Bush for policy failures on North Korea, AIDS, global warming and the Middle East peace process. \nEdwards and Clark hoped strong showings in Tennessee and Virginia would eliminate the other and turn the race into a two-man contest with Kerry, but polls showed Kerry well ahead in both states. \nDean, the one-time Democratic front-runner, urged Wisconsin voters to prove the polls and the media wrong and use their "power to choose the strongest candidate to beat George W. Bush." \n"The media claims this contest is over. They say your voice and your vote don't count. They expect you to rubber stamp the choice of others. But you don't have to listen to them," Dean told about 300 people at a downtown Madison hotel. \nDean began a two-day tour and an aggressive advertising campaign in Wisconsin, a state he told supporters last week he must win to keep his candidacy alive. \nBut on Monday, he said his backers had persuaded him to stay in the race regardless of the results. He dismissed his own "obvious contradiction." \nKerry's winning streak -- he handily won contests over the weekend in Michigan, Washington state and Maine -- was clearly taking a toll on his competitors. Aides to both Clark and Edwards said they expect their candidates to lose Virginia and Tennessee, even though both had earlier been optimistic about winning in their home region. A total of 151 pledged delegates are at stake in the two states. \nEdwards and Clark have one win apiece, while Kerry has won 10 of the 12 contests. Kerry has more than twice as many delegates as Dean, his closest pursuer.
WARNINGS OVER COMPLACENCY: The curves of new infections in numerous countries is climbing, while others see the the first new infections in months Spikes in COVID-19 infections in Asia have dispelled any notion that the region might be over the worst, with Australia and India yesterday reporting record daily infections, Vietnam fretting over a new surge and North Korea urging vigilance. Asian nations had largely prided themselves on rapidly containing initial outbreaks after the coronavirus emerged in central China late last year, but flare-ups this month have shown the danger of complacency. “We’ve got to be careful not to slip into some idea that there’s some golden immunity that Australia has in relation to this virus,” Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison told reporters. Australia recorded its
EVOLVING SITUATION: Of the latest cases, 23 percent were found to be asymptomatic, but the coronavirus strain in Da Nang is more contagious, authorities said A COVID-19 outbreak that began in the Vietnamese city of Da Nang more than a week ago has spread to at least four city factories with a combined workforce of about 3,700, state media reported yesterday. Four cases were found at the plants in different industrial parks in the central city that collectively employ 77,000 people, the Lao Dong newspaper said. Vietnam, praised widely for its decisive measures to combat the novel coronavirus since it first appeared in late January, is battling new clusters of infection having gone for more than three months without detecting any domestic transmissions. Authorities yesterday reported one new
‘COVIDIOTS’: Politicians condemned the protest that came amid surging infections in the country, while a marcher said government-induced fear weakened the body Loudly chanting their opposition to masks and vaccines, thousands of people on Saturday gathered in Berlin to protest against COVID-19 restrictions before being dispersed by police. Police put turnout at about 20,000 — well below the 500,000 organizers had announced as they urged a “day of freedom” from months of virus curbs. Despite Germany’s comparatively low toll, authorities are concerned at a rise in infections over the past few weeks and politicians took to social media to criticize the rally as irresponsible. “We are the second wave,” shouted the crowd, a mixture of hard left and right and conspiracy theorists, as they converged
The Australian government yesterday said that it plans to give Google and Facebook three months to negotiate with media businesses fair pay for news content. In releasing a draft of a mandatory code of conduct, Canberra aims to succeed where other nations have failed in making tech firms pay for news siphoned from commercial media companies. Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said that Google and Facebook would be the first platforms targeted by the proposed legislation, but others could follow. “It’s about a fair go for Australian news media businesses, it’s about ensuring that we have increased competition, increased consumer protection and a sustainable