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Pandemic puts up to 86 million children at risk of poverty: study

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The economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic could push as many as 86 million more children into poverty by the end of 2020, a joint study by Save the Children and UNICEF showed Wednesday.

That would bring the total number of children affected by poverty worldwide to 672 million, an increase of 15 percent over last year, the two aid agencies said in a statement.

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Nearly two-thirds of those children overall live in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.

But the pandemic-driven increase is expected to occur mainly in Europe and Central Asia, according to the study, which is based on World Bank and International Monetary Fund projections and population data from some 100 countries.

“The scale and depth of financial hardship among families threatens to roll back years of progress in reducing child poverty and to leave children deprived of essential services,” UNICEF executive director Henrietta Fore is quoted as saying in the statement.

With immediate and decisive action, “we can prevent and contain the pandemic threat facing the poorest countries and some of the most vulnerable children,” added Save the Children head Inger Ashing.

They are “highly vulnerable to even short periods of hunger and malnutrition — potentially affecting them for their whole life,” she warns in the statement.

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The two organizations call on governments to rapidly expand their social security systems and school feeding to limit the effects of the pandemic.


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Facebook, Twitter take aim at Trump ‘misinformation’

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Facebook and Twitter took aim at US President Donald Trump and his campaign Wednesday over a video post in which he contended that children are "almost immune" to the coronavirus, a claim they said amounted to "misinformation."

In an extraordinary move, Facebook removed the clip from the president's account -- the first time it has taken down one of his posts for violating its content rules.

The video -- an excerpt from a Fox News interview -- "includes false claims that a group of people is immune from COVID-19 which is a violation of our policies around harmful COVID misinformation," a Facebook spokesperson told AFP.

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COVID-19

Coronavirus pandemic leaves Amazon more vulnerable than ever

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The indigenous peoples of the Amazon have already seen their homelands ravaged by illegal deforestation, industrial farming, mining, oil exploration and unlawful occupation of their ancestral territories.

Now, the coronavirus pandemic has magnified their plight, just as the forest fires are raging once more.

The Amazon, the world's largest tropical rainforest, is a vital resource in the race to curb climate change -- it spans over 7.4 million square kilometers (2.85 million square miles).

It covers 40 percent of the surface area of South America, stretching across nine countries and territories: Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Peru, Suriname and Venezuela.

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COVID-19

Nearly half of inmates at Arizona prison test positive for virus

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More than 500 inmates -- nearly half the population -- of a prison in the US state of Arizona have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, officials said, while at a California prison the virus death toll hit 22.

The Arizona Department of Corrections said Tuesday that 517 inmates at the ASPC-Tucson Whetstone prison "have tested positive for COVID-19."

Those inmates "are currently being housed as a cohort together in separate areas and are receiving appropriate medical care. They will not be allowed back into the general population until they have been medically cleared," its statement read.

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