Oil rig closures rising as prices hit 18-year lows

Global producers running out of storage for surplus due to coronavirus crisis

Global oil producers have begun shutting down their oil rigs on the largest scale in 35 years as the coronavirus continues to drive market prices to their lowest level since 2002.

Related: More than 4,000 North Sea oil rig jobs cut amid Covid-19 crisis

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Eldred Jones obituary

My mentor and friend Eldred Jones, who has died aged 95, was principal and pro-vice-chancellor of Fourah Bay College in Freetown, Sierra Leone, the oldest university institution in sub-Saharan Africa. A literary scholar and critic, he was one of the pioneers of the study of modern African literature and introduced unique perspectives in Shakespearean studies.

Eldred was an outstanding lecturer and his students learned how to think about literature by emulating his example. His 1965 book, Othello’s Countrymen: The African in English Renaissance Drama, won the criticism prize in the first World Festival of Negro Arts (now World Festival of Black Arts) held in Dakar in 1966; however, as Eldred was then Commonwealth fellow at the University of Leeds, he was unaware of the fact until his landlord gave him a copy of the Guardian report.

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Will sky-high unemployment lead to authoritarianism or progress? | Barry Eichengreen

The fallout from coronavirus could help undermine Reagan-era principles and renew a sense of national interdependence

Does the huge surge in US unemployment claims announced on Thursday mean that we are doomed to endure the 30% unemployment of which the Federal Reserve Bank of St Louis has warned?

The answer is no. How high unemployment rises will depend on how quickly we ramp up testing and the provision of protective equipment, enabling us to determine when and where it is safe to return to work.

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Campaigners attack Japan’s ‘shameful’ climate plans release

Proposals criticised amid fears countries may use coronavirus crisis to rein in commitments

Japan has laid out new plans on greenhouse gas emissions under the Paris agreement ahead of vital UN climate talks later this year, becoming the world’s first major economy to do so.

But its proposals were criticised by campaigners as grossly inadequate, amid fears the Covid-19 crisis could prompt countries to try to water down their climate commitments.

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Chinese citizens fear catching coronavirus from ‘silent’ carriers

Asymptomatic people may be infecting others despite officials saying risk of this is low

Two weekends ago, Wang, a 59-year old cleaner who works at a library in Henan province, accompanied her former classmate Zhang home for China’s tomb-sweeping holiday, when families tend to the graves of their ancestors. She met Zhang, a local doctor, at a bus stop and the two drove out to the countryside. They shared three meals together.

On Tuesday last week, Wang developed a cough and two days later, a fever. Her son took her to hospital where she was tested for Covid-19. On Saturday, she became not only the first person in her province in 30 days to catch coronavirus via local transmission, but one of the country’s few new infections.

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Coronavirus upends US election cycle as officials scramble to protect voters

Primaries have been delayed and conventions are in question as calls for voting by mail raise concerns of their own

When Spelman College announced this month it was suspending in-person classes and closing residence halls in response to coronavirus, Ashee Groce, a junior, had a question: how would she vote?

Groce, who serves as president of Young Democrats of America at Spelman, had registered herself and a number of fellow students in the Atlanta area. But they had now lost their housing and would have to return home before Georgia’s presidential primary.

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Great hyphen debate splits Czechoslovak MPs – archive, 30 March 1990

30 March 1990: Compromise over what to call Czechoslovakia after the fall of the communist government

When the Czecho-Slovak Republic was established in 1918 it was spelled with the hyphen, but in 1921 the government renamed the country Czechoslovakia. After the collapse of Communist rule at the end of 1989, the Slovaks demanded that the hyphen be reinstated. On 1 January 1993, the country separated into two new states, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

The Czechoslovak parliament, unable to agree on a new official name for the country, compromised yesterday by choosing two.

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From tight purse strings to massive fiscal firepower: the Coalition’s staggering transformation | Katharine Murphy

The RBA begged the government for stimulus to kickstart the economy – to no avail. But coronavirus has seen a radical change in thinking

On 12 March Scott Morrison came to his courtyard with $17.6bn. A week later the Reserve Bank of Australia cut the cash rate to 0.25% and pumped more than $100bn into the financial system in an effort to keep struggling businesses afloat and stave off substantial job losses.

On 22 March Morrison returned to his courtyard with another $66bn. Then on 30 March, Monday, the prime minister came back with $130bn for wage subsidies. Monday’s $130bn will be spent not over the four-year forward estimates, which is the budgetary convention. It will be spent over the next six months.

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Islamic State prisoners escape from Syrian jail after militants riot

Unconfirmed reports of deaths as inmates overwhelm SDF guards in city of Hasakah

Several members of Islamic State have escaped from prison after militants sparked a riot and seized control of part of a large jail in north-east Syria, Kurdish and US military sources have said.

Prisoners broke down walls and tore off internal doors during the unrest on Sunday night at Ghouiran prison in the city of Hasakah, overwhelming guards from the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), Washington’s Kurdish-led ground partner in the fight against Isis.

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Investigation into death in custody after Indigenous man’s ‘condition deteriorated’

Aboriginal man was arrested and detained in regional Victoria on Thursday and was taken to hospital later that day

An Aboriginal man has died in custody after his “condition deteriorated” in a regional Victoria police station last week.

Police said the man, aged 30, was arrested on Thursday in Horsham, about 300km northwest of Melbourne, for allegedly breaching a court order.

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