South Korea’s first feminist party holds out hope of election miracle

Formation of the Women’s party comes after campaigns to end spy cam porn and rebellions against strict beauty standards in the conservative nation

Two years year after South Korea became the centre of Asia’s #MeToo movement, the country’s first feminist party is hoping to keep women’s issues on the political agenda by winning seats in Wednesday’s national assembly elections.

In a campaign dominated by the government’s response to the coronavirus epidemic, the newly formed Women’s party has warned that South Korea’s poor record on sexual discrimination and violence risked being overlooked.

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Global Covid-19 cases near 2 million as Putin warns Russia faces ‘extraordinary’ crisis

Russian president suggests army could be drafted in as China also sounds alarm at cross-border cases

The number of Covid-19 cases recorded worldwide is nearing 2 million, as Vladimir Putin warned warned officials to brace for “complex and extraordinary” scenarios in Russia as a result of the outbreak.

The country reported 2,558 new cases on Monday, its highest daily figure yet, as officials tightened lockdown restrictions in Moscow. The overall nationwide tally stood at 18,328 and the death toll was 148.

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New Zealand jobless rate could hit 13% even if lockdown ends next week, modelling suggests

Treasury modelling shows unemployment could ease to 8.5% with a larger fiscal stimulus

New modelling from the Treasury has painted a dire picture of New Zealand’s economic prospects for the next year, with a surge in unemployment to as much as 13% even if Covid-19 infections are contained and lockdown rules eased after the initial four weeks.

A jobless rate of up to 26% – and a fall in GDP of 23% – is predicted if the country is forced to remain in its strictest level of shutdown for a total of six months before moving to marginally lighter measures.

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Coronavirus live news: cases worldwide near 2 million as Trump repeats WHO funding threat

UK daily deaths likely to rise this week; France to ease lockdown starting 11 May; Russia told to prepare for ‘extraordinary’ crisis. Follow the latest updates

The French government’s budget deficit is set to hit a post-war record of 9% of economic output this year, the budget minister has said in the second revision in less than a week.

Budget minister Gerald Darmanin said that financial shortfall would exceed the 7.6% prediction announced last week after President Emmanuel Macron extended a nationwide lockdown until 11 May.

We are going from a deficit -7.6% (of GDP) to a deficit of -9%. Our country has never seen such a deficit since World War Two.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative Christian Democrats (CDU) will likely delay the election of a new leader until December due to the coronavirus, current leader Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer has said.

The new leader will be in pole position to run as chancellor in the next federal election as Merkel has said she will not seek a fifth term at the head of Europe’s biggest economy.

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Cyclone Harold: relief for Vanuatu delayed by coronavirus contamination fears

Humanitarian supplies flown in by Australian government can’t be touched for three days due to strict quarantine rules

The distribution of urgent cyclone relief supplies brought into Vanuatu by the Australian government has been delayed due to coronavirus, potentially endangering lives.

Last week Cyclone Harold hit the northern islands of the Pacific nation of Vanuatu, flattening buildings and killing three people – raising the international total to 30.

Following Vanuatu’s request for international assistance, the Australian government sent an RAAF plane carrying humanitarian relief supplies, such as blankets, lanterns, shelter kits and hygiene kits to the country over the Easter weekend.

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