Bombshell Bible verses eerily predicted coronavirus was coming, say Christians

COVID-19 has unleashed an unprecedented deadly assault upon mankind since it first emerged from a Chinese wet market in Wuhan back in December.

The invisible killer has touched every major continent and has killed tens of thousands and laid waste to the global economy.

Its dramatic spread has led millions to turn to faith to find glimmers of hope in – arguably – the greatest challenge faced in peacetime ever.

Some Christians have turned to the Bible in the hope of decoding its passages in a desperate bid to understand what is happening at this historic moment in world history.

Even top celebs have turned to the good book as the unprecedented crisis continues to escalate.

Kourtney Kardashian, Kim’s sister, believes that COVID-19 was unleashed by God to punish evil in the world.

Keeping Up with the Kardashians star Kourtney took to Instagram last week to share a Bible passage, and wrote “pay attention children”, which was written in red.

The passage read: “Whenever I hold back the rain or send locusts to eat up the crops or send an epidemic on my people, if they pray to me and repent and turn away from the evil they have been doing, then I will hear them in heaven, forgive their sins, and make their land prosperous again.”

She is not alone in believing the Bible contains hints that the world would be ravaged by the killer disease.

Here are some of the Bible verses that some Christians believe prove the coronavirus was of God’s making.

Matthew 24:3-8

A popular verse on social media. The passage details Jesus speaking with his disciples on the Mount of Olives about what would signal the end times.

Between verses three and eight, Jesus said: “Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famine and pestilences, and earthquakes in divers places.

“All these are the beginning sorrow.”

A commenter who shared the verses said he believed it was the beginning of the end times as predicted in the Bible.

He added: “Australian wildfires, Coronavirus, earthquakes in odd places. Increased rage/ murders worldwide. Massive hunger increases.

“And there are those that laugh at the Book of Revelation. Jesus is coming.”

Chronicles 7: 13-15

Another gloomy passage often highlighted by fundamentalist Christians who believe the end is nigh.

The verses recently gained traction on Twitter after a youth director at a south eastern Texas church linked the passage to the COVID-19 outbreak, where God tells King Solomon he will spare them, if they surrender themselves to the faith.

It said: “When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people. I will heal the land…if people turn from their wicked ways.”

Revelation 6: 1-6

This Bible verse strikes terror in many who have read it and gave rise to the popular figures that are the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

It reads: “They (the Four Horsemen) were given authority over a quarter of the Earth, to kill with the sword, and with famine, and with death, and by means of Earth’s wild animals.”

In numerous interpretations of the Bible, the first horseman is known as Pestilence – and is associated with disease and plague.

Leviticus 13: 21

A passage that gained traction in some online Christian groups in recent days.

The verse tells how a diseased person is visited by a priest who gives stern advice.

He tells the villagers: “Isolate the affected person for seven days.”

And, he continued if the man continued to be unwell: “Isolate them for another seven days.”

The advice sparked many to compare the advice to current government guidelines with one commenter on BaysideChurch.com.au writing: “Sound familiar? Coronavirus has more to do with Leviticus 13.”

Leviticus 13:46

An indication of how interest in various countries' extreme lockdown measures that have drawn some people to the verse.

It reads: “As long as they have the disease they remain unclean.

“They must live alone; they must live outside the camp.”

The recent mentions of the verse seem to point to people being told to live in isolation away from others in a bid to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

But, many Christians and others outside the faith have rubbished the claims that we are living in the end times.

Many point to a key promise made in the Bible is the holy temple in Jerusalem will be rebuilt before the end days.

This is something that does not appear to be happening anytime soon.

And the secular world is not concerning themselves with the Biblical texts and is, instead, working desperately to end the coronavirus death march.

Instead, scientists are now racing to find a vaccine for the disease and return life back to normal.

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Police spotted breaking up groups and shutting down shops amid UK lockdown

Police have been spotted locking down towns and cities across the UK after the nation was effectively shut down last night over the coronavirus crisis.

Cops were pictured today patrolling streets, breaking up groups and shutting down shops after Prime Minister Boris Johnson declared a nationwide lockdown.

Officers were – for example – seen closing a store in Hackney, North East London as its employees packed up and left the mobile phone kiosk.

In another incident in the capital, police officers mounted on horses were seen asking a customer to wait outside a bakery while another was being served to comply with social distancing orders.

Meanwhile, in Manchester city centre cops could be seen speaking to several large groups that had gathered in its popular Piccadilly Gardens.

And in the West Midlands this afternoon stunned police shared a picture of a BBQ that was being held by locals defying the UK lockdown in an area of Coventry.

They wrote on Twitter: "Unbelievably, we’ve just had to deal with 20+ people having a BBQ!! Please listen to government advice else this will get worse and will last longer!"

Mr Johnson had announced last night he was putting the UK on lockdown with immediate effect in a new desperate bid to battle the Covid-19 pandemic.

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He said Brits are no longer allowed to leave their homes unless for shopping, one form of exercise, for medical or care needs, or to travel to and from work.

In a special broadcast on all main TV channels, the PM branded coronavirus “the biggest threat this country has faced for decades”.

He said: “Without a huge national effort to halt the growth of this virus, there will come a moment when no health service in the world could possibly cope.

“Because there won’t be enough ventilators, enough intensive care beds, enough doctors and nurses.

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“If you don’t follow the rules the police will have the powers to enforce them, including through fines and dispersing gatherings.

“We will look again in three weeks, and relax them if the evidence shows we are able to.

“But at present there are just no easy options. The way ahead is hard, and it is still true that many lives will sadly be lost.”

As part of the measures, all non-essential shops have also been ordered to close, except from food shops, pharmacies, corner shops, hardware stores, petrol stations, pet shops, post offices, banks, newsagents and shops inside hospitals.

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Parks will remain open, but gyms including outdoor gyms, play-parks, all places of worship except for funerals will shut too.

Emergency laws are also being pushed through to give police powers to issue on-the-spot fines of £30 to people flouting the new crackdown.

And the Met Police today confirmed: "Police will be out as usual patrolling the streets of London and will use today to speak to people about the new restrictions to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.

"While we fully anticipate the public and business in London will want to adhere to the new restrictions, if we suspect anyone to be in breach of the restrictions we will speak to them, explain what the restrictions require them to do and ask them to comply in order to help prevent the spread of the virus and ultimately save lives."

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Halifax Regional Municipality to provide update on COVID-19 response

The Halifax Regional Municipality has shut down its parks, beaches, playgrounds, sports fields and trails as the provincial government declared a state of emergency on Sunday.

Premier Stephen McNeil said the declaration was made after large groups of people continued to gather in large numbers at beaches and parks without following proper social distance.

The new measures are “consistent” with Nova Scotia’s decision to close provincial parks and outdoor amenities, the HRM said in a Sunday afternoon press statement.

“Municipal staff are currently determining service level adjustments related to a provincial state of emergency, including Halifax Transit, and will issue announcements as decisions are confirmed,” it said.

On Tuesday, HRM announced it will provide an update regarding the municipality’s response to COVID-19 at 2:00 p.m. AT.

Remarks will be delivered by Mayor Mike Savage and CAO Jacques Dubé.

As of Monday, there are now 41 positive cases of the novel coronavirus in Nova Scotia.

-With files from Graeme Benjamin and Alexa MacLean

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Investors eye cracks in $4.4 trillion U.S. ETF market as sell-off rages

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Wild swings in asset prices have thrown a spotlight on liquidity in corners of the $4.4 trillion market for U.S. exchange-traded funds, which have played a key role for investors in Wall Street’s coronavirus-fueled sell-off.

So far, ETFs – baskets of securities that are traded like stocks – have mostly functioned as intended, allowing investors to trade or hedge against further declines even during market gyrations.

But trading in certain bond ETFs has begun to reflect evaporating liquidity in recent weeks. Because some bonds trade less frequently than the ETFs that hold them, the ETFs have at times traded at a markedly different price than the value of their underlying assets.

On one hand, the price reflected in the ETF often helps investors gauge the real-time value of underlying assets that trade infrequently or have halted trading, analysts said.

But sparse liquidity could force investors to sell at deep discounts if an extended stock market plunge pushed investors to liquidate ETFs to raise cash – a phenomenon that has been seen in everything from gold to Treasury markets during the selloff.

“I still believe ETFs will work properly,” said Spencer Mindlin, capital markets industry analyst at Aite Group in New York. “But they haven’t been tested in the environment like the one we’re about to enter into.”

The Federal Reserve has pledged to purchase vast sums of debt, including ETFs that offer broad exposure to investment-grade corporate bonds. That could boost liquidity in the short term, analysts said, but persistent economic concerns may still hinder fixed-income markets.

Trading in ETFs has comprised some 37% of daily volume on U.S. exchanges since Feb. 21, compared with an average of 26% in the year prior to that date, according to State Street Global Advisors, which issues the popular SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (SPY.P). Both equity and fixed-income ETFs have traded three times their typical volume over the same period, reflecting the turbulent, high-volume trading during the recent declines.

Yet liquidity issues in some assets have been reflected in their corresponding ETFs.

Earlier this month, several bond ETFs, including the iShares iBoxx Investment Grade Corporate Bond ETF (LQD.P) and the Vanguard Total Bond Market Index Fund ETF (BND.O), traded at significant discounts to their net asset values.

The price dislocation has persisted in the VanEck Vectors High-Yield Municipal Index ETF (HYD.Z), which on Monday was trading at a 19.5% discount to its net asset value, according to Refinitiv data.

At the same time, ETF issuers have introduced cash redemption fees or raised existing ones in order to offset rising costs for trading certain bonds.

Last week, BlackRock Inc (BLK.N) raised the fees it charges market makers to redeem shares of its iShares Short Maturity Bond ETF (NEAR.Z) for cash. In a similar move last week, Vanguard Group Inc introduced cash redemption fees for the Vanguard Mortgage-Backed Securities ETF (VMBS.O) and the Vanguard Total International Bond ETF (BNDX.O).

Those moves could place a further strain on liquidity, making these ETFs more difficult to trade, said Mohit Bajaj, director of ETF trading solutions at WallachBeth Capital, in emailed comments.

Concerns over expenses for cash redemptions contributed to a steep drop in the iShares Short Maturity Bond ETF last week, Bajaj said. The ETF fell 6.2% on Thursday, though it has risen 2.6% over the last two sessions.

Also, borrow fees for several fixed-income ETFs have climbed for investors seeking to sell them short, according to research from market analytics firm S3 Partners, in a potential sign of diminishing supply, which could also contribute to liquidity concerns.

According to Refinitiv’s Lipper, bond ETFs registered record weekly outflows last week. In the week ended Wednesday, taxable bond ETFs had $13.2 billion in net outflows, while municipal bond ETFs had $669 million. However, equity ETFs drew $1.9 billion in inflows.

Overall, massive exits from ETFs have not materialized, said Todd Rosenbluth, director of ETF and mutual fund research at CFRA in New York. Recent outflows have been modest compared to the total assets those funds hold, he said.

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Labour’s Ian Lavery slammed for calling coronavirus crisis ‘great opportunity’ for party

A recording of Mr Lavery’s controversial remarks about COVID-19 was published by the Guidio Fawkes website. Shortly afterwards, Mr Lavery was hit with a backlash on Twitter, with some critics accusing him of making “sick” comments about the epidemic. Mr Lavery said to Labour activists on a call: “’By the way, when something like this happens, we’re going to see lots of our own people dying as a consequence.

 

“But, you know apart from that, it’s going to give the fantastic battalion of Labour Party members, community champions out there, a great opportunity of showing how Labour, and why Labour, is best when it gets on the front foot and best when it brings people together.

“We need to make sure that we do that and community organising – what a great opportunity it’s going to give us.

“Every one of us, every one of our families… relations, friends, organising the communities, because there is going to be lots of people out there that really need our help.”

Conservative MP Andrew Bridgen hit out at Mr Lavery’s words.

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Mr Bridgen said: “Ian Lavery literally salivating at the thought of possibly tens of thousands of our vulnerable citizens perishing because he hopes it might breathe life into the dead corpse which is the current Labour Party.

“I am disgusted.

“Labour must denounce his remarks immediately.”

Earlier this month Mr Bridgen began self-isolating after he had come into contact with fellow Tory MP Nadine Dorries, who tested positive for COVID-19.

Pro-Brexit campaigner Darren Grimes also took to Twitter to voice his disapproval for Mr Lavery’s choice of words.

He said: “To attempt to use this global crisis that risks the total collapse of our health and social care system as an ‘opportunity’ for partisan point scoring shows the moral vacuum at the heart of the Opposition.

“What an awful thing to say.”

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And another person tweeted: “This comment by Ian Lavery is pretty high up on the ‘sick list’!”

But Mr Lavery hit back at the report, claiming it was misleading.

He said: “Intentionally misleading reporting is really disappointing at a time like this.

“I’ve spoken about the opportunity for people to get out there and help their local communities and those in need.

“Nonsense to suggest otherwise. We all need to do our bit to get through this crisis.”

He later shared another tweet showing a screenshot of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn talking to a group on a video conference.

Mr Lavery said: “Despite what completely misleading articles say, I was extremely proud to rally over 2,000 Labour Party members to go out and help those most in need across all communities.

“We have a battalion of over 580,000 members and we need them to help in this crisis.”

A total of 337 people in Britain have died from the virus and 6,735 have been infected.

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A million Brits will have Covid-19 by next week as we follow Italy’s footsteps

Around one million of us could have contracted the coronavirus next week, but without testing we won't know who.

Former Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt says the UK is on an inevitable path toward becoming just like Italy and around 300,000 of us could already be carrying the virus.

He is now urging for more testing to be done to contain its spread before it is too late.

Mr Hunt noted that if that figure is set to double every five days as experts suggest we are on a path to one million of us being carriers before too long, report The Sun.

It comes as Prime Minister Boris Johnson told his Cabinet the coronavirus pandemic is a "war" that must be won as he set out plans for a team to tackle the outbreak and economic chaos.

Speaking during a debate on emergency legislation in the Commons, Mr Hunt told MPs: "All our public focus has on social distancing.

"But testing and contact tracing to break the chain of transmission is every bit as important if not more important.

"South Korea avoided national lockdown despite having a worse outbreak initially than us.

"Taiwan introduced temperature scanning in malls and office buildings but kept shops and restaurants open, they’ve had just two deaths.

"In Singapore restaurants remain open and schools reopening.

"But ten days ago in this country we went in the opposite direction and stopped testing in the community."

Mr Hunt added: "How can we possibly suppress the virus if we don’t know where it is?"

The number of people to test positive for coronavirus in the UK as of 9am on Tuesday is 1,950, up from 1,543 on Monday, the Department of Health said.

On Tuesday, Mr Johnson told his Cabinet: "We are engaged in a war against the disease which we have to win."

He stressed that ministers must rise to the challenge of supporting businesses through the "hugely challenging times", according to Downing Street.

Earlier, scientists advising the Government said the UK had "no time to lose" in changing tactics on Monday in order to prevent thousands of deaths and the NHS being overwhelmed.

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The Imperial College Covid-19 response team – one of several scientific teams advising ministers – published a paper showing that 250,000 people could die if efforts were focused only on delaying and slowing down the spread of Covid-19.

The paper analysed the most up-to-date data from Italy and the UK and concluded that the only "viable strategy" was a Chinese-style policy of "suppression" of the virus.

Sir Patrick Vallance said it was a "semantic difference" to argue whether the UK had shifted from a process of delaying and mitigating the spread of Covid-19 to an attempt to suppress it.

He told MPs the approach had always been to "save lives and protect the vulnerable" by delaying and suppressing the peak of the outbreak, and shielding those most likely to be badly hit.

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U.S. could become next coronavirus epicenter, WHO says

GENEVA/TOKYO (Reuters) – The World Health Organization said on Tuesday that the United States could become the global epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, which finally forced reluctant organizers to postpone the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics.

Britain joined the ranks of countries in lockdown to try to hold back the virus, and data showed business activity collapsing from Australia and Japan and Western Europe at a record pace in March, with the United States showing expected to be just as dire.

“The coronavirus outbreak represents a major external shock to the macro outlook, akin to a large-scale natural disaster,” analysts at BlackRock Investment Institute said.

But amid the gathering gloom, the Chinese province of Hubei, where the virus was first identified in December, said it would lift travel restrictions on people leaving the region as the epidemic eases there.

Confirmed coronavirus cases around the world exceeded 377,000 across 194 countries and territories as of early Tuesday, according to a Reuters tally, more than 16,500 of them fatal.

In Geneva, WHO spokeswoman Margaret Harris told reporters there had been a “very large acceleration” in infections in the United States.

Over the previous 24 hours, 85 percent of new cases were in Europe and the United States, and of those, 40 percent were in the United States.

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As of Monday, the virus had infected more than 42,000 people there, killing at least 559.

Asked whether the United States could become the new epicenter, Harris said: “We are now seeing a very large acceleration in cases in the U.S. So it does have that potential.”

Some U.S. state and local officials have decried a lack of coordinated federal action, saying that having localities act on their own has put them in competition for supplies.

President Donald Trump acknowledged the difficulty.

“The World market for face masks and ventilators is Crazy. We are helping the states to get equipment, but it is not easy,” he tweeted.

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Olympic Games organizers and the Japanese government had clung to the hope that the world’s biggest sporting event could go ahead, but finally bowed to the inevitable to make Tokyo 2020 the latest and biggest victim of a ravaged sporting calendar.

After a call with International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach, Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the July 24-Aug. 9 event would be rescheduled for the summer of 2021 at the latest – as proof of victory over the coronavirus.

“President Bach said he is in agreement, 100%.”

It was the first time in the Olympics’ 124-year history that they had been postponed, though they were canceled outright three times during the two 20th-century world wars.

Of the top 10 countries by case numbers, Italy has reported the highest fatality rate, at around 10%, which at least partly reflects its older population. The fatality rate globally – the ratio of deaths to confirmed infections – is around 4.3%, though national figures can vary widely according to how much testing is done.

Britain, believed by experts to be about two weeks behind Italy in the outbreak cycle, on Tuesday began curbs on movement without precedent in peacetime after Prime Minister Boris Johnson ordered the country to stay at home.

The streets of the capital were eerily quiet as all but essential shops closed and people only went to work if it was unavoidable.

Johnson had resisted pressure to impose a full lockdown even as other European countries had done so, but was forced to change tack as projections showed the health system could become overwhelmed.

Meanwhile China’s Hubei province, the original center of the outbreak, will lift curbs on people leaving the area, but other regions will tighten controls as new cases double due to imported infections.

The provincial capital Wuhan, which has been in total lockdown since Jan. 23, will lift its travel restrictions on April 8.

However, the risk from overseas infections appears to be on the rise, prompting tougher screening and quarantine measures in major cities such as the capital Beijing.

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Coronavirus: Government texts the nation with COVID-19 lockdown orders

The government has hammered home its coronavirus lockdown message by texting the nation. 

An SMS message has been sent out to every active UK phone number telling people to stay at home to “protect the NHS” and “save lives”.

Britons were warned new rules are “in force now” with a link to the latest COVID-19 advice, which says no-one should leave their house unless absolutely necessary or they will face a fine.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the historic lockdown in an address to the nation on Monday night.

He told members of the public they should only go outside for four reasons: work (if they can’t do so from home), shopping for food or medicines, exercise once a day, to help someone vulnerable, or for any medical need.

A former Met Police chief superintendent, Dal Babu, said the aim was likely to make people understand there is now a “much clearer message” from Downing Street.

He told Sky News’ Kay [email protected]: “Unfortunately the government has been a little bit behind the curve here, because it’s entirely predictable that emergency services – not just in the NHS, but in the police and fire brigade – will become unwell.

“So we need to ensure that we’ve got capacity and ensure people have that clear message about staying in.

“This is about saving lives, this is about people not being selfish, not playing Russian roulette with other people’s health.

“This is about them following the advice – the clear advice we got from the prime minister last night – and staying inside.”

Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove did not help criticism that the government has been sending mixed messages when he admitted he gave the wrong advice about travel for children of separated parents.

He initially said kids should stay in the house they are currently in and not move between residences, but later apologised for not being “clear enough”.

“To confirm – while children should not normally be moving between households, we recognise that this may be necessary when children who are under 18 move between separated parents,” he tweeted. “This is permissible & has been made clear in the guidance.”

Labour leadership hopeful Rebecca Long-Bailey said the government had “created a little bit of confusion over the last 24 hours” with its latest coronavirus advice – particularly on which shops should stay open.

Hitting out at Sports Direct for trying to avoid closure, she told Sky News “it shouldn’t be up to bad bosses to decide if they bring their workforces in or not today, the government must make clear direction today for the sake of public safety”.

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Coronavirus: Elderly people found ‘dead and abandoned’ at care homes in Spain

Spanish troops brought in to help tackle the spread of the coronavirus outbreak have discovered elderly people “dead and abandoned” at their retirement homes, according to the country’s defence minister.

Some elderly residents were “completely left to fend for themselves, or even dead, in their beds”, Margarita Robles told Spanish TV channel Telecinco when discussing the COVID-19 crisis.

She did not say what had caused the deaths, how many people the soldiers found or where they were discovered, but she said authorities would use the full force of the law to punish those responsible.

The Defensor del Paciente, a privately-funded patients’ ombudsman group, said it has filed complaints of negligence with the public prosecutor and asked for in-depth investigations into the management of three homes nationwide.

The number of coronavirus-related deaths in Spain has risen by 514 to 2,696, with more than 6,000 new cases reported.

There have now been 39,673 confirmed coronavirus cases in the country, up from 33,089 on Monday.

There are about 5,500 care homes across Spain and all of them – of which two-thirds are privately run – are locked down, with their almost 400,000 elderly residents cut off from their families.

Many homes are being asked by the country’s overwhelmed hospitals to look after the seriously ill, but they lack ventilators and must compete with hospitals for scarce medical equipment and virus testing kits, according to industry representatives.

Nurses, doctors and other health workers have echoed the complaints of their fellow colleagues in other countries, saying they do not have enough equipment, like masks.

Spain’s national health service is “demonstrating a great capacity to respond in an exceptional situation”, said the country’s health minister Salvador Illa, who warned the next week would be difficult, and that the epidemic could reach its peak in Spain in the coming days.

In some homes, staff said they were rationing masks or making their own out of cloth, or wearing disposable gowns for many of their shifts.

Some workers have reportedly said they are too scared to go to work, while others had fallen sick, leaving homes short-staffed during a time of unprecedented need.

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House Speaker Pelosi sees 'real optimism' for coronavirus deal in next few hours: CNBC

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Democratic U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that later on Tuesday Congress could soon reach a deal to pass an economic relief package for the fallout from the coronavirus crisis.

“I think there is a real optimism that we could get something done in the next few hours,” she said in an interview with CNBC.

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