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The world this week

Coronavirus, Super Tuesday, Syria-Turkey conflict, Greece migrants

THE WORLD THIS WEEK
THE WORLD THIS WEEK © FRANCE 24

France's newest coronavirus outbreak hotspot is around the eastern city of Mulhouse, near the borders with Germany and Switzerland. The 81 positive cases are perhaps traceable to an Evangelical Christian retreat a few weeks back. Measures here in France include the requisitioning of face masks and the regulation of sanitizing hand gel prices at two euros for 50 mililitres. That has got pharmacists accusing unscrupulous wholesalers of squeezing them. 

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Airline travel is already plummeted with companies like Emirates and Cathay Pacific giving staff one month of unpaid leave. For others, it's worse. UK regional budget carrier Flybe was already struggling. On Thursday, the coronavirus outbreak forced it into bankruptcy.

By March 1, South Korea had run 100,000 coronavirus tests. The US, whose first case dates back to January 23, has run fewer than 500 with kits from the Center for Disease Control that proved faulty.

Coronavirus couldn't keep voters away on Super Tuesday. In Texas, they sometimes waited seven hours to cast ballots in the Democratic primaries, with a result that capped an incredible comeback for Joe Biden. To think that at this time last week, we were wondering whether Biden could win enough votes in South Carolina to kick-start his campaign. Barack Obama's former vice-president proved so convincing that moderate rivals dropped out one by one and he ran the board with ten wins in 14 states, leapfrogging Bernie Sanders as the favourite. 

After Super Tuesday, it was the turn of progressive Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren to call it quits. She says she's going to take her time before committing to one of the two men still standing, who were quick to court supporters of the onetime frontrunner.

No fighter jets in the skies over Syria's Idlib province this Friday. A tense truce has gone into effect since Turkey's president visited the Kremlin on Thursday and agreed to deescalate hostilities between Turkish troops inside Syria and the Moscow-backed forces of Bashar al-Assad.

While the temperature stabilises between Turkey and Syria, it is still plenty high between Turkey and Greece, with Ankara playing and replaying images of the Greek coastguard firing warning shots to ward off migrants in rubber dinghies trying to approach the shores of the isle of Lesbos. The rest of the EU has denounced blackmail and rushed to Greece's defense, pledging €700 million to shore up border protection. But the UN has been blunt in pointing out that under international law, nations can't push back asylum seekers without first considering their request.

Maybe it won't be third time lucky after all. Israel's longest-ever serving prime minister gave a victory speech after a third snap general election in under a year. But Benjamin Netanyahu is still shy of a 61-seat majority in parliament and his corruption trial starts in eleven days. The good news for Netanyahu: his main rival from the Blue and White coalition, Benny Gantz, slipped in the polls and doesn't have any path to 61 seats.

Produced by Alessandro Xenos, Juliette Laurain and Laura Burloux.

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