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Why Are So Many Countries Better Than the US at Handling COVID-19?

Why Are So Many Countries Better Than the US at Handling COVID-19?
On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Dr. Jason Kindrachuk, an assistant professor of viral pathogenesis at the University of Manitoba and Canada Research Chair in molecular pathogenesis of emerging and reemerging viruses.

The National Basketball Association has suspended the remainder of the season, the NCAA has banned fans from attending the national tournament for the first time ever, a government coronavirus conference in New York was cancelled, and even actors Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson, his wife, announced that they have tested positive for coronavirus. The US response to the outbreak so far has been one of confusion and ad hoc actions. How does that compare to Italy, China, or Canada?

President Trump last night gave a nationally-televised speech on the US response to the coronavirus that did little to quell public fear over the malady’s rapid spread. The President announced that all international travel to the United States from many European countries would be banned for 30 days beginning tomorrow. But he exempted the UK. And we don’t really know why. Neil Clark, a journalist and broadcaster whose work has appeared in The Guardian, The Week, and Morning Star, joins the show.

Whistleblower Chelsea Manning is in a hospital in suburban Virginia today following a suicide attempt. Manning was due to appear before a federal grand jury tomorrow in the Julian Assange case, although she has steadfastly refused to testify against the Wikileaks cofounder. Manning’s attorneys again called on a federal judge to release her from prison, where she has been held in contempt of court since last May. Brian and John speak with Joe Lauria, the editor-in-chief of Consortium News, founded by the late Robert Parry, and the author of the book "How I Lost, By Hillary Clinton."

The House of Representatives last night passed a bipartisan bill preserving key FBI surveillance capabilities while instituting limited protections. The measure, which passed by a vote of 278-136, allows the FBI broad access to the private electronic records of American citizens, while denying that access to NSA analysts. It was opposed by civil libertarians of both parties, but supporters said President Trump will sign it into law when it reaches his desk. Coleen Rowley, a former FBI special agent who in 2002 was named Time Magazine person of the year along with two other whistleblowers, joins the show.

Two Americans and one British national were killed yesterday and 12 were injured in a rocket attack on a US base in Iraq, which the US quickly blamed on Iran. The United States retaliated by striking an Iran-backed militia in eastern Syria, killing at least 25 people. Medea Benjamin, a well-known peace activist and the cofounder of the peace group Code Pink, joins Brian and John.

Thursday’s weekly series “Criminal Injustice” is about the most egregious conduct of our courts and prosecutors and how justice is denied to so many people in this country. Paul Wright, the founder and executive director of the Human Rights Defense Center and editor of Prison Legal News (PLN), and Kevin Gosztola, a writer for and co-host of the podcast Unauthorized Disclosure, join the show.

A regular Thursday segment deals with the ongoing militarization of space. As the US continues to withdraw from international arms treaties, will the weaponization and militarization of space bring the world closer to catastrophe? Brian and John speak with Prof. Karl Grossman, a full professor of journalism at the State University of New York, College at Old Westbury and the host of a nationally aired television program focused on environmental, energy, and space issues, and with Bruce Gagnon, coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space and a contributor to Foreign Policy In Focus.

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