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World news today: Super Cyclone Amphan, biggest storm to hit Bay of Bengal

19:24 | 19/05/2020

World news today May 19: Millions of people in India and Bangladesh are in the path of a super cyclone which is due to make landfall in less than 36 hours, bringing damaging winds and heavy rain to a region already struggling with the coronavirus pandemic.

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world news today super cyclone amphan biggest storm to hit bay of bengal
(Photo: The Weather Channel)

India and Bangladesh brace for the strongest storm ever recorded in the Bay of Bengal

Super Cyclone Amphan became the strongest storm ever recorded in the Bay of Bengal on Monday night, after intensifying with sustained wind speeds of up to 270 kilometers per hour (165 miles per hour), according to data from the U.S. Joint Typhoon Warning Center.

Amphan has weakened slightly since, but the storm is still the equivalent of a strong Category 4 Atlantic hurricane or a super typhoon in the West Pacific, with winds speeds up to 240 kph (150 mph), CTV News reported.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi reviewed the country's emergency response measures on Monday night, ahead of the storm's landfall in India.

Accordingly, 25 NDRF teams have been deployed to the region, with 12 others ready in reserve, and 24 other teams are also on standby in different parts of India. 25 NDRF teams have been deployed to the region, with 12 others ready in reserve, and 24 other teams are also on standby in different parts of India.

The storm comes as both India and Bangladesh struggle to bring local coronavirus outbreaks under control.

Tackling both disasters at once will be challenging for the two governments, especially if they attempt to maintain social distancing in packed evacuation centers and emergency shelters, CTV News commented.

Trump: U.S. funding freeze to WHO could be permanent

President Donald Trump threatened to permanently end funding to the World Health Organization and reconsider the country's membership in the global health body in a Monday letter criticizing the organization for its coronavirus response, saying the WHO “is so clearly not serving America’s interests.”

The letter, which Trump publicly revealed in a tweet Monday evening and pinned to his Twitter account, listed a number of criticisms directed at the WHO concerning its initial response to the novel coronavirus in the early days of the outbreak in China.

The letter claimed the WHO "ignored credible reports of the virus" and accused the organization of acting in an obsequious manner toward the People's Republic of China, including shunting Taiwanese health assessments and caving into pressure from Chinese President Xi Jinping, Politico reported.

world news today super cyclone amphan biggest storm to hit bay of bengal
(Photo: Political Europe)

The letter, addressed to Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, went on to say that the WHO neglected to declare an emergency and acted with delayed urgency due to pressure from the Chinese government. It continued that if the WHO "does not commit to major substantive improvements within the next 30 days, I will make my temporary freeze of United States funding to the World Health Organization permanent and reconsider our membership in the organization."

"I cannot allow American taxpayer dollars to continue to finance an organization that, in its present state, is so clearly not serving America's interests," Trump's letter read.

The WHO did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Over 100 million in China’s Northeast face renewed lockdown

world news today super cyclone amphan biggest storm to hit bay of bengal
A medical worker collects a throat swab at a residential community in Shulan, north-east China’s Jilin Province, where an outbreak has been reported. Photograph: Xinhua/REX/Shutterstock

Some 108 million people in China’s northeast region are being plunged back under lockdown conditions as a new and growing cluster of infections causes a backslide in the nation’s return to normal.

In an abrupt reversal of the re-opening taking place across the nation, cities in Jilin province have cut off trains and buses, shut schools and quarantined tens of thousands of people. The strict measures have dismayed many residents who had thought the worst of the nation’s epidemic was over.

People “are feeling more cautious again,” said Fan Pai, who works at a trading company in Shenyang, a city in nearby Liaoning province that’s also facing renewed restrictions. “Children playing outside are wearing masks again” and health care workers are walking around in protective gear, she said. “It’s frustrating because you don’t know when it will end.”

While the cluster of 34 infections isn’t growing as quickly the outbreak in Wuhan which started the global pandemic last December, China’s swift and powerful reaction reflects its fear of a second wave after it curbed the virus’s spread at a great economic and social cost. It’s also a sign of how fragile the re-opening process will be in China and elsewhere as even the slightest hint of a resurgence of infections could prompt a return to strict lockdown.

Villagers contract COVID-19 after opening casket in burial rite

According to the Jakarta Post, at least 15 people have contracted COVID-19 after they opened the coffin of a resident who had died of the virus to perform a traditional bathing ritual, ignoring health protocols and warnings from local authorities.

The deceased victim had tested positive for COVID-19 died two weeks ago in a hospital. The death body, wrapped in plastic sheeting and placed in a wooden coffin, was sent home at the request of relatives.

world news today super cyclone amphan biggest storm to hit bay of bengal
A resident walks through the Sasanalaya Girilayu public cemetery in West Ungaran, Semarang regency, Central Java on April 11. At least 15 people have contracted COVID-19 after they opened the coffin of a resident who had died of the virus to perform a traditional bathing ritual. (Photo: The Jakarta Post)

The relatives and neighbors performed a normal funeral procession for the deceased body, without COVID-19 protocols.

The incident prompted the Sidoarjo COVID-19 task force to conduct contact tracing in the village. The task force confirmed 15 cases of the virus and listed dozens of other people as patients under surveillance (PDP).

The Jati village had later been partially closed to contain the spread of the virus.

JoJo Siwa breaks social media by letting her hair down

The Nickelodeon star celebrates her 17th birthday eve with a "wipe" TikTok video where she sheds her classic look for a more relaxed and natural style and Twitter simply cannot handle it, many fans speculating that the kid star is teasing a less technicolor future, according to Toofab.

Many are saying this is an indication that perhaps JoJo's time with Nickelodeon may be coming to an end.

In this new short clip, which has been viewed nearly 14 million times on her TikTok page, JoJo is seen cleaning a mirror in her signature look before wiping the glass and transforming into a more typical looking teenage girl, with her hair down in a casual t-shirt.

world news today super cyclone amphan biggest storm to hit bay of bengal
(Photo: Toofab)

The video is part of a "wipe" trend on the social media platform where people experience instant and dramatic transformations, but JoJo's caption emphasizing that tomorrow is her birthday has many speculating that this is indicative of the direction she's going with her career once she turns 17.

If so, it's a challenging road well trod by many who've come before her, including Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Miley Cyrus, Demi Lovato, Ariana Grande and Selena Gomez. While all can arguably be said to have come out well, it was definitely a rocky road for several to get to adulthood.

Gold price today: Yellow metal rises on US-China tensions; Rs 47,000 eyed

Precious metals have come off from their respective highs, but experts feel that volatility is likely to remain and the next big resistance for India Gold is placed at Rs 47000.

India Gold June Futures rose on May 19 tracking positive trend in the international spot prices supported by strained Sino-US relations and a dismal global economic outlook.

Positive news from an early-stage trial for a coronavirus vaccine spurred some risk appetite and capped the yellow metal's gains. On Monday, Gold future tested the crucial resistance of $1,772 per troy ounce, and silver also breached $17.80 per troy ounce at Comex division.

“Gold has risen about 14% this year as central banks rolled out a wave of rate cuts and another stimulus to limit the economic damage from the pandemic. Lower interest rates reduce the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion,” said a Reuters report.

world news today super cyclone amphan biggest storm to hit bay of bengal
(Photo: The Economics Times)

On the Multi Commodity Exchange (MCX), June gold contracts were trading higher by 0.40 percent at Rs 46,840 per 10 gram at 09:20 hours. Silver futures were trading 0.10 percent higher at Rs 47,746 per kg.

Precious metals have come off from their respective highs, but experts feel that volatility is likely to remain and the next big resistance for India Gold is placed at Rs 47000.

International bullion gave up gains on Monday after touching 2011 highs as investors booked profits from the recent gains.

Optimism about a resumption in economic activity and news of positive results on a potential coronavirus vaccine also weighed on prices.

Prices have started with gains on Tuesday as additional stimulus hopes from Eurozone and rising tensions between U.S. and China. LBMA GOLD Spot could trade in a range of $1725-1760 for the session.

MCX Gold June contract close gave up all the gains made on Friday and closed below Friday’s low. Support now is at 46450-46400 levels. 47000-47100 levels should hold resistance for the session, as reported by Money Control.

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