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World news today: New Zealand free of coronavirus, lifting restrictions from midnight

15:19 | 08/06/2020

World news today:  As there are no more novel coronavirus cases detected in New Zealand, the government will lift all COVID-19 restrictions except stringent border controls almost immediately. Meanwhile, Trump orders national guard to pull out of Washington, North Korea's Kim stresses self-sufficient economy, British man rescued after six days trapped in well, and gold price also make headlines today (June 8). 

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world news today new zealand free of coronavirus lifting restrictions from midnight
(Photo: ABC)

New Zealand free of coronavirus, lifting restrictions from midnight

As there are no known novel coronavirus cases in New Zealand for the first time since COVID-19 arrived in the country on Feb. 28, the government will lift all COVID-19 restrictions except stringent border controls almost immediately.

“We are ready,” said Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern at a news conference in Wellington, adding that New Zealanders had “united in unprecedented ways to crush the virus.”

From midnight on Monday, Ardern said New Zealanders would live in a country “where life feels as normal as we can in the time of a global pandemic”. Physical distancing rules and limits on gathering sizes would be jettisoned, she said, allowing any parts of the economy still stalled to reopen, according to The Guardian.

Ardern emphasizes that new cases may still emerge, so contract tracing will continue to be important.

The only restrictions that will remain will be international border controls. The PM said her government's focus on containing the virus will be on the country's borders, where isolation and quarantine measures will continue.

world news today new zealand free of coronavirus lifting restrictions from midnight
(Photo: BBC)

Despite much discussion about a trans-Tasman 'travel bubble' between Australia and New Zealand, Ms Ardern said she would be "very, very careful" about opening the borders.

She noted that Pacific Island nations had also expressed interest in resuming two-way travel, abc net reported.

Ardern has drawn global headlines and praise from the World Health Organization for her government’s approach to the virus, with a strict and cautious approach that appears to have paid off. On 25 March she locked down the country for four weeks – requiring that most New Zealanders remained at home most of the time – before gradually easing restrictions.

COVID-19 appears in 212 countries and territories, with more than 7 million infections and more than 400,000 deaths. New Zealand recorded less than 1,500 cases of COVID-19, 22 deaths.

Trump orders National Guard to pull out of Washington

President Trump on Sunday ordered National Guard troops to start withdrawing from Washington, where the protests over the killing of George Floyd have been peaceful in recent days.

In a telephone briefing with reporters, Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy said guardsmen from 11 states, who came to assist the D.C. National Guard, will be returning home over the next two or three days.

Altogether, the National Guard force from D.C. and the states totaled more than 5,000 this past week, though only about one-third were on the streets at any given time, he said.

The D.C. National Guard will, if needed, continue to support Washington police and federal law enforcement in the city, he added.

In addition, McCarthy expressed relief that active duty troops, who were brought to bases in Virginia and Maryland, just outside Washington, were not needed.

world news today new zealand free of coronavirus lifting restrictions from midnight
(Photo: Reuters)

Trump said last week he might call on active duty forces to put down unrest in cities across the country. But he appears to have pulled back from that position as the violence has subsided.

On May 31, the worst day of unrest and looting in Washington, five guardsmen were injured, including one who suffered a severe concussion when he was hit by a brick in the head, McCarthy said.

The possibility of using active duty forces was "heavily discussed" at this point because it was not clear if National Guard troops could be called in quickly enough.

"We didn't know if we could put enough support into this city quickly by marshaling National Guardsmen from surrounding areas," he said.

But he said the military was very reluctant to use active duty forces.

McCarthy also confirmed that he authorized the use of a medevac helicopter to "observe and report" on the demonstrations. However, he said tactical decisions were left to the National Guard.

Protesters have complained a medevac helicopter hovered over them Monday at a low altitude, creating a strong rotor wash that snapped tree branches and led demonstrators to flee for their safety. McCarthy said that incident is under investigation.

In recent days, the protests have been peaceful. McCarthy estimated that more than 45,000 people took part in demonstrations Saturday that lasted from noon to midnight. Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser said no arrests were made, NPR said.

North Korea's Kim stresses self-sufficient economy as tensions with South Korea rise

According to Reuters, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un focused on domestic economic issues at a meeting of the politburo of the country's ruling Workers Party, state media said on Monday, as the North ramped up pressure on South Korea over defector activities.

The two-day politburo meeting comes at a time of economic uncertainty amid the global COVID-19 pandemic that is putting additional pressure on the North's economy, already battered by international sanctions aimed at stopping its nuclear program.

The meeting discussed "crucial issues arising in further developing the self-sufficient economy of the country and improving the standard of people's living," state news agency KCNA said.

Kim did not mention the North's increased criticism of South Korea or of the North Korean defectors who call it home.

For several days, North Korea has lashed out at South Korea, threatening to close an inter-Korean liaison office and other projects if the South does not stop defectors from sending leaflets and other material into the North.

world news today new zealand free of coronavirus lifting restrictions from midnight
(Photo: The Straight Times)

On Monday, North Korea did not answer a routine daily liaison phone call from South Korean officials for the first time in since 2018, South Korea's Unification Ministry said.

The ministry has said South Korea remains committed to following inter-Korean agreements, and it is considering proposing legislation to ban groups from sending material into North Korea.

KCNA's report on the 13th political bureau meeting focused on domestic economic issues, including the chemical industry and fertilizer production as "a major thrust front of the national economy."

The meeting also emphasized construction of residential houses as a way to better North Korean's standard of living.

Kim has made an unusually small number of outings in recent months, with his absence from a major holiday prompting speculation about his condition, as Pyongyang has stepped up measures against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Although North Korea says it has no confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, South Korea's main intelligence agency has said an outbreak there cannot be ruled out.

British man in Bali rescued after six days trapped in well with broken leg

Jacob Roberts, 29, fell four metres into the pit after being chased by a dog, but was rescued when a farmer heard his cries for help

A British man who spent six days trapped in a well after being chased by a dog has been rescued on the Indonesian island of Bali, authorities said on Sunday.

A rescue team lifted 29-year-old Jacob Roberts from the four-metre-deep concrete pit after a farmer in Pecatu village raised the alarm.

world news today new zealand free of coronavirus lifting restrictions from midnight
(Photo: The Guardian)

“Jacob’s calls for help were heard by a local who was going to feed his cows,” local search and rescue chief Gede Darmada told AFP.

Roberts broke his leg when he stumbled into the near-empty reservoir. He told authorities he had been trying to evade a dog that chased him through the village.

“He looked thin and injured,” South Kuta police chief Yusak Agustinus Sooai said after the Briton’s rescue on Saturday.

Police took Roberts to a nearby hospital for treatment, as reported by The Guardian.

Gold price today: Rs 46,210 per 10 gm; silver at Rs 47,410 per kg

Gold price today jumped from Rs 46,200 to Rs 46,210 to per 10 gram, while silver slipped from Rs 47,400 to Rs 47,410 per kilogram, according to Good Returns.

The gold jewellery prices vary across India — the second-largest consumer of the metal — due to excise duty, state taxes and making charges.

On MCX, August gold futures fell 2.1 per cent to Rs 45,698 per 10 gram, falling by Rs 998, media reports said.

The price of 22-carat gold in New Delhi is about Rs 45,010 per 10 gram, while in Chennai the price is at Rs 44,270. In Mumbai, it is Rs 44,620.

Meanwhile, the rates of silver per kilogram also fell. According to goodreturns.in, the price of silver was recorded at Rs 48,480 per kilogram across the country.

world news today new zealand free of coronavirus lifting restrictions from midnight
(Photo: Business Standard)

Last week, the price of silver jumped by 3.33 per cent in Mumbai's spot Zaveri Bazaar to hit the highest in six-and-a-half years as investors booked the white precious metal as an alternative to gold.

Globally, the gold-silver ratio hit a historical high of 117 last week. Silver offers a good opportunity to earn high returns.

On Friday, gold prices dipped more than 2 per cent as investors' hopes of a rebound in the global economy got a boost from stronger-than-expected US non-farm payrolls data, reducing demand for safe havens.

The fall in gold and silver prices is being attributed ti the surprisingly better US job numbers hinting at a pace in the global economy. After hitting a seven-year high in April, gold prices globally have corrected as more economies reopen, Business Standard said.

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