Donald Trump demands UN holds China accountable for unleashing ‘plague’ onto the world



Donald Trump has demanded that the United Nations holds China accountable for the coronavirus pandemic, blaming Beijing for unleashing a “plague” onto the world.

In his recorded video address to the annual UN general assembly, the US President described Covid-19 as the “invisible enemy” that has claimed “countless lives”.

His remarks as he defended his own handling of Covid-19 in America where the death toll has passed 200,000.


“We have waged a fierce battle against the invisible enemy – the China virus – which has claimed countless lives in 188 countries,” the president said.

“As we pursue this bright future, we must hold accountable the nation which unleashed this plague on to the world: China.”

While he blames Beijing, he has been harshly criticised for his administration’s track record in battling coronavirus, now a top issue in his bid for re-election.

Democratic opponent Joe Biden claims Mr Trump bungled the response to Covid-19 and is responsible for the US having more deaths than any other nation.

The president encouraged the reopening of US society even as the virus was spreading rapidly and holds campaign rallies where few wear face masks or practise social distancing.

But Mr Trump points to the virus’s origins in China and says the Chinese government acted irresponsibly in allowing the virus to spread.

“The United Nations must hold China accountable for their actions,” Mr Trump said. The president also took aim at China’s environmental record and the UN itself.

“Those who attack America’s exceptional environmental record while ignoring China’s rampant pollution are not interested in the environment. They only want to punish America. And I will not stand for it,” he said.

Earlier in his administration, Mr Trump hosted Chinese President Xi Jinping at his Florida club and spoke warmly of their relationship, but the two nations now regularly exchange angry words and take punitive actions against each other.

Mr Xi, in his own speech, later took oblique potshots at the US and its foreign policies, cautioning that the world must “not fall into the trap of a clash of civilisations”.

“Major countries should act like major countries,” he said, casting the fight against the virus as an important exercise in international co-operation, an opportunity to “join hands and be prepared to meet even more global challenges”.

“Covid-19 reminds us that the economic globalisation is an indisputable reality and a historical trend,” Mr Xi said.

“Burying one’s head in the sand like an ostrich in the face of economic globalisation or trying to fight it with Don Quixote’s lance goes against the trend of history. Let this be clear: the world will never return to isolation.”

Mr Trump is not popular at the UN and his speech this year came at a time when members are pushing back against Washington. On Monday, he declared that all US sanctions against Iran have been reimposed, a move that most of the rest of the world rejects as illegal.



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Bishops Rorting Poor Students Must Be Held Accountable: Greens – 16 News


Australian Greens Spokesperson for Education, Senator Mehreen Faruqi, has reacted to the Catholic Schools NSW documents leaked to the ABC that confirm their practice of taking funding meant for disadvantaged schools to subsidise fees in wealthy areas.

Senator Faruqi said:

“Private school rorting of their disadvantaged students like this should be illegal. It’s an indictment on our education system that it’s not.

“This is galling confirmation of the dirty open secret of Australian school funding.

“Liberal and Labor governments have been running a protection racket for private schools for years.

“That this went on was well known, but the major parties have spent years avoiding putting in place transparency requirements that would have confirmed it.

“For too long, private schools have benefited from opaque reporting requirements that mask where public funding is going. Every last public dollar spent in the private system should be reported and justified at a school level.

“It’s clear the NSW Catholic Schools are more concerned with losing enrolments to public schools than they are about giving disadvantaged, First Nations and regional students the funding they are allocated.

“The ethics of this aren’t just between the Bishops and God. The Bishops were fully aware they were ripping off low-SES families to help the wealthy. It’s public money. They must apologise and be held accountable.

“This is the system that successive Labor and Liberal governments have lavished with billions in special deals while they starved hardworking public school teachers and students of basic funding.”



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Italian families want to hold someone accountable


Lawyers have begun advertising their services to mourning families in response to allegations of mistakes committed by healthcare workers in treating coronavirus patients. The president of the main doctors’ association has denounced the marketing campaigns.

A truck equipped with a snow cannon fed with diluted hydrogen peroxide sanitises the streets in Selva di Val Gardena, Northern Italy, on Thursday.Credit:Leither

But many Italians seek to hold authorities accountable for what they call negligence and the lack of timely treatment many said they had witnessed.

Laura Capelli, a 48-year-old office worker, said doctors in a town near Bergamo, the area hit the hardest by the coronavirus, had told her they had decided to sedate her uncle because he kept clawing at the mask on his face. He died soon after.

But when another doctor at the Ponte San Pietro Hospital told her that the choice to sedate her uncle had been motivated by a need to make room for younger patients, Capelli joined NOI Denunceremo.

“I have the impression they are trying to silence everything,” Capelli said. “Now it’s a moment of common pain, but for the future, I want justice.”

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She added that, at this point, she would not know whom to sue.

Diego Federici, 35, said that his mother had the coronavirus and died on March 25 after doctors in a hospital in Treviglio, near Milan, decided not to intubate her. His father, who was never admitted to an intensive care unit, had died four days earlier.

Federici said he had joined the NOI Denunceremo Facebook group, adding that he could not accept that two healthy people had died within four days.

“Nobody is going to give me my parents back,” he said, “but if someone did something wrong, they should pay for it.”

Luca Fusco, the founder of the Facebook group, initially posted his email address for members to send their stories anonymously, but dozens of members soon started directly publishing their testimonies every day. The authors do not directly accuse healthcare workers of malfeasance.

As the painful stories of the epidemic piled up on Facebook, judiciary authorities began searching for someone to blame. Prosecutors started an investigation into what they call an “involuntary epidemic” at a hospital in Alzano, near Bergamo, where the virus spread through the medical wards.

Maria Cristina Rota, Bergamo’s prosecutor, told the news agency Ansa that a pool of prosecutors would “take care of all the investigations about the epidemic in the Bergamo area.”

They are also considering manslaughter charges against directors of retirement homes where hundreds of residents died and where the full death toll may have been hidden.

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Italians are not the only ones seeking some form of accountability for the pandemic. In the United States, the state of Missouri filed a lawsuit against the Chinese government on Wednesday (AEST), saying its response to the outbreak that emerged in the city of Wuhan had led to devastating economic losses in the state.

A ski resort hotel in the Dolomites also presented a subpoena in an Italian court seeking compensation from China’s Health Ministry for loss of business after the outbreak, Marco Vignola, the lawyer for the hotel, told news outlets.

“The early and sudden closure led to disastrous consequences, including the dismissal of all staff and the cancellation of contracts with suppliers,” the lawyer was quoted as saying.

On April 15, legislators from the governing Democratic Party blamed Lombardy’s conservative government for the high number of deaths in the region’s retirement homes. Lia Quartapelle, a lawmaker with the center-left party, accused authorities there of having “worsened the contagion”.

Even as frustration grows, Italy is still mourning its losses and facing an uncertain future. Honouring healthcare workers is still foremost in most Italians’ minds, and not everyone supports the prosecutorial shift.

A 24-year-old nurse wrote a letter in the Repubblica newspaper in response to the criticism heaped on authorities in Lombardy. She said that in the months she spent in a COVID-19 ward, she had learnt the value of sacrifice, waiting and forgiving.

“How can your position toward the future,” she asked, “be summarised by accusations?”

The New York Times

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