Tuesday morning news, February 25, 2020

COVID-19 shakes markets worldwide » Markets slumped on Wall Street and around the world on Monday over fears of a global slowdown. Fueling those fears are new outbreaks of the COVID-19 coronavirus outside of China. 

World Health Organization director general Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus told reporters…

GHEBREYESUS: What we see are epidemics in different parts of the world affecting countries in different ways and requiring a tailored response. The sudden increase in new cases is certainly very concerning. 

He said COVID-19 is not a global pandemic yet, but it does have that potential. 

In Italy, authorities set up roadblocks, called off soccer matches, and shuttered public buildings—including the famed La Scala opera house. There are 219 confirmed cases of the virus in Italy. 

In Iran, the government said 12 people had died nationwide, while five neighboring countries—Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman and Afghanistan—reported their first cases of the virus. All those infected have links to Iran. 

And South Korea is on high alert with more than 800 cases now, and seven deaths. 

Appeals court upholds Title X rules » A U.S. appeals court on Monday upheld rules that bar organizations that get Title X funds from referring women for abortions.

In the 7-4 ruling, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned decisions issued by judges in several states. The court had already allowed the administration’s changes to start taking effect while the government appealed those rulings.

Beginning March 4th, the rules will also bar clinics that receive federal money from sharing office space with abortion providers.

Planned Parenthood has already left the program in protest, giving up about $60 million dollars a year in federal funding.

Public charge rule takes effect » The new public charge rule is now in effect. The guidelines aim to determine whether those immigrating to the United States are likely to become a burden on taxpayers. WORLD Radio’s Kristen Flavin has more. 

KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: The rule took effect yesterday after months of legal challenges and delays. On Friday, the Supreme Court removed the last legal roadblock, at least for now. That clears the way for the Trump administration to move forward while the court battle plays out. 

Federal law already requires those seeking permanent legal status to prove they will not be a burden—or a “public charge”—to taxpayers. But the new rules include a wider range of programs that could disqualify them, including using Medicaid, food stamps, and housing vouchers.

Acting deputy Homeland Security secretary Ken Cuccinelli says the rule is long overdue. He said “By requiring those seeking to come or stay in the United States to rely on their own resources, families and communities, we will encourage self-sufficiency, promote immigrant success, and protect American taxpayers.”

But critics argue the guidelines amount to a “wealth test” that violates due process under the Constitution. And they say the rule will lead to more poverty in the United States. 

Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Kristen Flavin. 

Weinstein found guilty on multiple charges » A jury has found Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein guilty of charges stemming from a 2006 sexual assault and a 2013 rape. He was immediately handcuffed in a Manhattan courtroom on Monday and led off to jail. 

The jury of seven men and five women took five days to reach a verdict. The most damaging conviction, for the sexual assault of a production assistant carries up to 25 years behind bars. The rape charge is punishable by up to four years. 

The jury found him not guilty, however, on the most serious charges, two counts of predatory sexual assault, each carrying a sentence of up to life in prison.

Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Jr. said he hopes the verdict sends a message. 

VANCE: I hope that survivors will see that in this justice system, prosecutors, judges and juries will believe them, even when the facts are not simple. 

Sentencing for Weinstein is set for March 11th. But that’s not the end of it.  

He now faces additional charges in Los Angeles where prosecutors say he raped one woman and sexually assaulted another in 2013.

African American NASA pioneer dies » A pioneering African American woman who worked on NASA’s early space missions has died at the age of 101. 

Katherine Johnson was one of the mathematicians who calculated rocket trajectories and earth orbits by hand for the space agency. She worked on top missions, including the Apollo 11’s moon landing in 1969.

In a 2011 interview with WHRO, Johnson said astronaut John Glenn trusted her calculations more than those of NASA computers. 

JOHNSON: When he got ready to go up he said “call her, and she says the computer’s right, I’ll take it.”

Until 1958, Johnson worked with other black women in a racially segregated computing unit in Hampton, Virginia. Their work became the focus of the Oscar-nominated 2016 film, Hidden Figures.

20,000 fans honor Kobe Bryant and public memorial » AUDIO: [Singing]

Singer Beyonce heard there performing at a public ceremony Monday for the late Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna. 

Friends, family, and 20,000 Lakers fans gathered Monday at the Staples Center in LA for the memorial. 

BRYANT: I’d like to thank everyone for coming today. The outpouring of love and support that my family has felt from around the world has been so uplifting. 

Kobe Bryant’s wife of 18 years, Vanessa, heard there. She remembered him as a devoted father and husband who arrived early for school pickups and wrote heartfelt cards and letters.

Michael Jordan called Bryant “a little brother” and said when he died, “a piece of me died.”

Bryant was among nine people who died in a helicopter crash near LA last month.

(Claudio Furlan/Lapresse via AP) A woman wearing a sanitary mask looks at her phone in Milan, Italy, Monday, Feb. 24, 2020. 

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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