Officials in China’s Hubei province, the center of the coronavirus outbreak, have announced another drop in new cases. More than 1800 people were confirmed infected on Saturday, the 3rd consecutive day the number has decreased. The disease has killed more than 1600 people. The Director General of the World Health Organization Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the agency was worried about the way the outbreak was being managed in China. We’re concerned about the severe disruption in the market for personal protective equipment, which is putting frontline health workers and carers at risk. We are concerned about the levels of rumor and misinformation that are hampering the response. Most of all, we are concerned about the potential havoc this virus could drag in countries with weaker health systems.
The Chief Executive of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, has warned that the internet risks losing its ability to spread information freely if it’s subjected to excessive regulation. He told the Munich Security Conference that he was worried about the way authoritarian governments were policing websites. But Mr. Zuckerberg said social media firms shouldn’t be left to decide what counts as free speech. We don’t want private companies making so many decisions about how to balance social equities without a more democratic process. Where the lines, in my opinion, should be drawn is there should be more guidance and regulation from the states on the balance of free expression and some things that people call harmful expression. Where do you draw the line? What kinds of systems should companies have to develop?
The US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has arrived in Senegal, where he’s due to meet president Macky Sall to discuss security ties and economic cooperation. Washington is seeking to reduce its military presence in Africa.
Police in Paris have arrested a Russian performance artist Pyotr Pavlensky who was behind the release of a sex video that brought down an ally of President Emmanuel Macron. Prosecutors said he was being questioned about a separate incident. The video ended Benjamin Griveaux’s election campaign to become the mayor of Paris. Its publication on social media has been widely condemned across the political spectrum in France. Mr. Pavlensky said he posted it online to expose what he called Mr. Griveaux’s hypocrisy. The Russian has previously made headlines for a number of dramatic artistic exploits, notably setting fire to the front door of Russia’s secret police, the FSB in Moscow. His efforts to highlight a lack of freedom of speech in Russia include sewing his lips together, rolling naked in barbed wire and nailing his scrotum to the cobble stones of Red Square.
The Venezuelan government says huge numbers of soldiers and civilians have begun a two-day military drill to prepare for what it describes as the threat of invasion by US-led forces. The Defense Minister said more than two million members of militia were among those deployed in several parts of the country. President Nicolas Maduro alleges that terrorist groups backed by the US have been training in secret camps in Brazil and Colombia.
At least eight Ecuadorian football fans have died when their bus plunged into a ravine in Peru. They were supporters of Barcelona de Guayaquil and they were celebrating their team’s qualification for the next stage of the Copa Libertadores during a match in Lima. The accident happened on a notoriously dangerous stretch of the Pan-American Highway in northern Peru. It’s very dangerous and it’s badly signed. It’s also the geography of the place. It’s a mountainous region. It’s a desert region there. And if the driver loses control, which seems to have happened, you just down a long way. They say it’s about 15 meters that this bus went down, so it had 40 people injured, eight killed, and all that raised any questions about the road problems in Peru.
Tunisia’s Prime Minister-designate Elyes Fakhfakh has presented a new cabinet, but without representatives from Ennahdha, the moderate Islamic party that won the most votes in the October election. Shortly before the lineup was announced, Ennahdha said it was pulling out of the government as it wasn’t inclusive enough. Mr. Fakhfakh acknowledged that the decision put him in a difficult position and said consultations would continue.
And the Swedish pole vaulter Armand Duplantis has set a new world record for the second time in a week. He easily cleared 6.18 meters in Scotland on Saturday.