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[VOA] VOA 2020-04-30

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[Homework]VOA 2020-04-30

1. The United Stateseconomy shrank during the first quarter of 2020, the country's biggest downturnin more than a decade. The Commerce Department said the economy plunged at anannual rate of four point eight percent as wide swath of businesses shut downto prevent the spread of coronavirus. The decline for the January to Marchperiod happened entirely in the last three weeks of March, as the effect of thepandemic swept through the world's biggest economy. Economists are predictingthe second quarter drop could reach even further.

2. Germany could seea six point three percent drop in its gross domestic product as a result of thepandemic. The country's economy minister said in Wednesday the government isalso predicting a sharp recovery in 2021. Peter Altmaier tells reporters thatby the end of the second quarter of 2020, Germany is likely to see acontraction of about eleven percent of GDP before signs of any improvement.

3. A grim milestone as the USpasses one million confirmed coronavirus cases. The number comes as severalstates begin taking small steps to reopen for business. Some US healthofficials say they believe the actual number of US cases might be higher thanreported because of a lack of testing and reporting.

4. A biotech company says a newexperimental drug has proven it can treat COVID-19. In a major US governmentstudy, Gilead Sciences' Remdesivir is potentially the first treatment to passsuch a test against the virus. Having a treatment could have a profound effecton the global pandemic, that's because health officials say any vaccine islikely a year or more away.

5. The number of COVID-19 cases rose pastthe twenty thousand mark in Sweden on Wednesday, with one hundred and seven newdeaths in the Northern country. There have been more than twenty-four hundreddeaths since the outbreak began. Sweden has taken a less strict approach tocurbing the disease as compared to other European nations. Most schools andbusinesses have made open even as mortality rate have run higher than neighboringcountries.

6. A public health expert saysSouth Sudan should expect to see a spike in COVID-19 cases in the coming days.This comes as twenty-eight new cases were confirmed Tuesday by the country'shighest level task force on COVID-19, bringing the total to thirty-four. Theexpert out of the University of Juba calls the one-day increase in the numberof confirmed cases is worrying and said it indicates the virus has beentransmitted locally.

7. The president of Ghana saysrigorous testing for coronavirus and tracing the contacts of those foundpositive has helped Ghana avoid an explosion in cases. President NanaAkufo-Addo said Wednesday around one hundred and ten thousand people had beentested and the share of positive tests has remained consistent around one pointfive percent. Eighteen people in Ghana have died from the virus since themiddle of March.

8. Spanish prime minister PedroSanchez faced parliament Wednesday, one day after announcing his plan to openthe country backup. Measures of the de-escalation plan after Spain shut downdue to the spread of the coronavirus, include allowing individual outdoorexercise from Saturday as well as haircuts and other personalized services withan appointment. In most places, some shops will open on May eleventh andsocializing will be permitted in outdoor cafes, bars, as well as services inchurches and mosques at one third of their capacity. Opposition lawmakersquestioned the government's ability to open up safely as many have complainedthe lack of testing.

9. European aviation firm Airbussays the airline industry is in a grave crisis. The company says the crisis iscaused by the current pandemic. It will take time to restore people'sconfidence in air travel.

10. A senior US trade officialsaid Wednesday China remains very very committed to remaining on track withphase one of its trade deal with US. US officials are said to be in concernedcommunication about implementing the trade deal, to make sure China fulfillsits extensive agreements to buy US goods and services.
                                                   
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