China to provide EU ‘two million surgical masks’ to help fight COVID-19: EU Commission | AFP

EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announces that China will provide “two million surgical masks and 50,000 testing kits” to help the European Union cope with the coronavirus pandemic. SOUNDBITE

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AP Top Stories March 18 A

Here’s the latest for Wednesday March 18th: Biden sweeps primaries; European Union closing borders due to virus; California putting National Guard on alert; Virus closes Mall of America.

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Von der Leyen proposes 30-day EU travel ban

The president of the European Union’s executive body on Monday proposed a 30-day travel ban on people entering the EU for non-essential reasons, in an effort to curb the spread of the new coronavirus. (March 16)

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EU chief proposes ban on ‘non-essential’ travel into the bloc | AFP

EU Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen proposes that the bloc close its borders to non-essential travel, as Europe scrambles to fight the spread of the coronavirus disease. “We propose to introduce a temporary restriction on non-essential travel to the European Union,” she says. IMAGES

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Coronavirus: Macron takes part in videoconference with European leaders | AFP

Emmanuel Macron speaks with European Union leaders by videoconference about the coronavirus crisis. The meeting, organised by the French President, was attended by European Council President Charles Michel, Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen, ECB President Christine Lagarde and 27 Heads of State and Government. IMAGES

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Greta Thunberg takes part in a demonstration in front of EU institutions | AFP

Young climate activist Greta Thunberg joins dozens of young activists from Fridays For Future to demonstrate in front of the European Commission, calling for more concrete action against climate change from the European Union.

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EU will provide Greece ‘all the support needed’ in migrant crisis: von der Leyen | AFP

The European Union will provide Greece “all the necessary operational support” to help tackle the migration surge from neighbouring Turkey, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen says. The EU dispatched its highest officials to Turkey and Greece amid concern over a fresh migrant crisis and allegations that Ankara was trying to “blackmail” the bloc by opening its borders to thousands of refugees seeking to flee to Europe. IMAGES

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EU raises coronavirus risk level to ‘medium to high’ | AFP

The European Union’s disease control agency says it has increased its risk level for the novel coronavirus COVID-19, while European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen visits the EU Emergency Response Coordination Centre.

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Spanish police uncover underground counterfeit cigarette factory | AFP

Spanish police uncover a counterfeit cigarette factory in a bunker four metres (13 feet) underground. They also rescued six Ukrainian workers who were trapped inside gasping for air. Both Europol and Spanish police said it was the first underground counterfeit cigarette factory discovered in the European Union.

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The European Union | AFP Animé

Videographic illustrating and explaining how the European Union works. EU leaders clashed through the night early Friday as a stormy summit to decide the bloc’s seven-year, trillion euro budget entered a second day.VIDEOGRAPHICS

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Europe’s multinational parliament | AFP Animé

Videographic illustrating and explaining the various key institutions of the European Union. VIDEOGRAPHICS

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US: Mike Pompeo meets with EU’s Josep Borrell at State Department | AFP

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo meets with European Union diplomatic chief Josep Borrell at the State Department in Washington. IMAGES

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Johnson: ‘Naive and juvenile’ anti-Americans should ‘grow up’

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says rebuilding full trade relationships with the United States and other countries outside the EU carries enormous opportunities for post-Brexit Britain. Speaking in Greenwich, London, Johnson said the U.K.wants to have a “thriving trade and economic relationship” with the European Union, and be at the forefront of global free trade.

Brexit Day: Britain has left the EU — but how did it all come about? | AFP

After 47 years, Britain is leaving the European Union. But Britain’s European membership has never been easy. From the accession of the UK to the European common market, to the shock Brexit referendum result and to Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s bitter standoff with parliament, here are the milestones on Britain’s rocky road out of the European Union.

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Johnson pledges not to ‘undermine EU standards’ post-Brexit | AFP

British Prime minister Boris Johnson says that Britain ‘will not engage in any kind of dumping’ and that the country is not ‘leaving the EU to undermine the EU standards’ as he gives a speech on post-Brexit relations with the European Union in Greenwich. SOUNDBITE

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Brexit: UK changes name plate of diplomatic mission in Brussels | AFP

On its first day outside the European Union, Britain changes the name plate of its diplomatic mission in Brussels from ‘UK Representation to the EU Brussels’ to ‘UK Mission to the European Union’. IMAGES

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‘Leave’ supporters count down to Brexit at “Big Brexit Bash” celebration in London | AFP

‘Leave’ supporters count down the seconds before Brexit officially kicks in at a ‘Big Brexit Bash’ celebration in london, attended by ex-MEP and anti-EU populist Nigel Farage, who has spent decades campaigning to leave the European Union. IMAGES

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Clock counts down minutes until Brexit on wall outside 10 Downing Street | AFP

A clock counts down the minutes until Brexit on the walls outside 10 Downing Street in London, as the UK officially leaves the European Union. IMAGES

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