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MANITOU SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV/Gray News) – A dog in Colorado is doing his part to help out during the coronavirus outbreak by delivering groceries to his quarantined neighbor, KKTV reports.

Sunny, a 7-year-old golden retriever, sits with his neighbor’s grocery list in his mouth. (Source: KKTV/Gray News)

Sunny, a 7-year-old golden retriever, lives with his owner, Karen Eveleth, in Manitou Springs, Colorado. They’ve been neighbors with Renee Hellman for over a decade, and when she self-quarantined for her own health, the two thought of a clever way to help her get her groceries.

“She got the list. She gave it to Sunny. Sunny brought it to me,” Eveleth said. “I went to the store, got her her groceries, and he delivered them all to her.”

Sunny has been making trips back and forth from his house to Hellman’s house since the coronavirus outbreak started, weeks ago.

“What a wonderful thing, just a sweet thing,” Hellman said. “So, he started doing the schlepping, back and forth. It’s been fun. It’s been a real treat.”

Hellman has some underlying health issues and relies on oxygen to breathe. She says getting food and visits from the pup makes the days more bearable.

“Little things like Sunny coming over to visit is nice, and it makes you feel good. It’s a way of communicating,” she said.

Sunny also gets mail for Eveleth and even picks up trash when they go for walks. His owner says she hopes sharing this story will make people smile.

“Anybody can do something small that can be so helpful,” Eveleth said.

Copyright 2020 KKTV via Gray Media Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

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TIJUANA/CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico (Reuters) – The world’s busiest land border has fallen quiet as restrictions to contain the coronavirus prevent millions of Mexicans from making daily trips north, including many who work in U.S. businesses.

At least 4 million Mexicans residing in cities along the 1,954-mile (3,144-km) border have been hit hard by the restrictions on non-essential travel. The measures effectively invalidate visas allowing short crossings into U.S. cities to visit family, get medical care or shop.  

While such B1/B2 “border crossing cards” are officially recreational, Reuters spoke to nearly two dozen residents of Tijuana, Nogales and Ciudad Juarez who use their cards to reach jobs or to care for relatives on the U.S. side of the frontier.

All said they could no longer make the crossing, dealing another blow to businesses already suffering from shutdowns on the U.S. side of the border, including vital industries like agriculture.

“I don’t know what I’m going to do without money. I’m just waiting for a miracle,” said 28-year-old Rosario Cruz, a mother of two young children who works for a cleaning company that subcontracts with major retailers in California.

The coronavirus restrictions prohibit all non-essential travel across the border. However, the restrictions have not been widely imposed on U.S. citizens traveling to Mexico.

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency said it did not have an estimate of how many Mexican tourism-related visa holders work without permission in the United States. But U.S. and Mexican immigration experts say the practice is common.

According to the U.S. State Department Report of the Visa Office more than 4 million border cards have been issued since 2015. The cards are valid for 10 years.

Before the coronavirus restrictions, over 950,000 people entered the United States from Mexico on foot or in cars on a typical day, according to 2019 U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency data. 

Andrew Selee, president of the Washington-based Migration Policy Institute, said limiting transport to contain the epidemic was understandable, but in cities such as San Diego or El Paso “businesses that really should be open in the middle of a crisis might find that they don’t have employees.”

“We’re talking about farm work, we’re talking about caregiving, and probably food production like canning and warehousing operations,” he said.

A general view of the Paso del Norte International Border Bridge, where the flow of people has decreased as new travel restrictions aimed at containing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) have stopped millions of Mexicans living close to the U.S. border from crossing back and forth, in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico March 30, 2020. REUTERS/Jose Luis Gonzalez

RIPPLE EFFECT?

Once teaming border crossings used by pedestrians and cars have emptied because of the measures, and people’s fear of catching the virus. In U.S. border cities like El Paso and San Diego, the impact is already being felt.

Cindy Ramos-Davidson, chief executive of the El Paso Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, said the lack of Mexican shoppers was “devastating” for retail businesses downtown. She was also concerned about day labor for nearby farms that grow chiles, tomatoes, hay, and alfalfa.

“They depend on farm workers, the day workers,” she said, adding that some of these employees use tourism-related visas to enter the United States.

Farm workers are designated “essential” travelers under the new DHS rules, but only those with the right paperwork. Workers usually able to cross using border cards are now stuck on the Mexican side.   

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security said the measures would not “disrupt critical supply chains.” CBP said in a statement cargo trucking continued and was not seen as a threat.

So far, Paola Avila, vice president of international business affairs at the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, said so-called retail tourism, the second biggest contributor to the city’s economy, had taken the biggest hit from the border closure there.

A manager at a San Diego hotel, who refused to share his name because the company employs Mexicans without legal U.S. work permits, said the measures decimated the establishment’s workforce.

“The impact was so great that we decided to close; the legal workers wouldn’t have been able to cope,” on their own, he said.

Avila is also worried about the effect on U.S. residents cared for by relatives who cross from Mexico, and vice-versa — especially in the midst of a public health crisis. 

“If the hospitals overflow, as we predict, and they start sending people to be cared for at home, who will care for them?” she asked. 

That’s the fear that has already consumed 45-year-old Joel Sosa Moreno, whose elderly parents live in El Paso. He usually visits three times a week to clean house and bring food and medicine for diabetes and his mother’s cancer.

Slideshow (8 Images)

Under the new restrictions, he has been prohibited from crossing at the port of entry.

Asked about such humanitarian cases, a Customs and Border Protection official told Reuters officers had discretion to handle such situations on a case-by-case basis.

“It’s essential that I go there,” Sosa Moreno said, fearful for his parents. “They can’t go out into the street at all because they are more sensitive” to coronavirus.

Editing by Frank Jack Daniel and Tom Brown

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Houseparty

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Houseparty has become one of the most downloaded apps in several countries

The owner of video chat and game app Houseparty is offering a $1m (£810,750) reward for evidence the company was the victim of a commercial smear campaign.

Online rumours alleged that downloading the app led to other services such as Netflix and Spotify being hacked.

The company said there was “no evidence” to back up those claims.

Houseparty has become one of the most downloaded apps in several countries including the UK amid restrictions to stop the spread of coronavirus.

According to Apptopia downloads of the app rose from an average of 130,000 a week mid-February to 2m a week in the middle of March.

Online gaming firm Epic Games, which also makes Fortnite, purchased Houseparty from its creator in 2019.

Epic Games has not said why it believes Houseparty were the victim of a smear attack but promised to pay the first person to provide evidence of this.

How it all started

On Monday the company began fighting rumours on social media that the video chat app was the reason other apps were being hacked.

Several people posted on Twitter screenshots they claimed showed they were locked out of applications like Netflix, Spotify and even bank accounts after they downloaded Houseparty.

Houseparty does not access third-party apps like Netflix or Spotify, though it does ask for access to user’s contacts and connections on Facebook and Snapchat.

Those tweets were followed up by calls to delete Houseparty, and by claims that Epic Games was preventing users from removing Houseparty from their phones.

The company issued a statement denying those allegations.

“We’ve found no evidence to suggest a link between Houseparty and the compromises of other unrelated accounts,” a spokesperson for Epic Games said.

“As a general rule, we suggest all users choose strong passwords when creating online accounts on any platform.”

Houseparty risks

Houseparty, which allows users to have group video chats and play games virtually with friends, is not without its risk, however.

Privacy and parenting experts have warned about “gate crashers” entering conversation on the app.

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Media caption‘You can still enjoy a little bit of nice music’

If a chat is left “unlocked” any user can enter it uninvited – or “gate crash” – as long as they are connected to someone in the chat.

That has led to reports of inappropriate behaviour and even pornographic images being shown to unwitting users.

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NEW YORK — The mounting death toll from the virus outbreak in the United States had it poised Tuesday to overtake China’s grim toll of 3,300 deaths, with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo saying up to 1 million more healthcare workers were needed. “Please come help us,” he urged.

Hard-hit Italy and Spain have already overtaken China and now account for more than half of the nearly 38,000 COVID-19 deaths worldwide, according to figures from Johns Hopkins University.

But the World Health Organization warned Tuesday that while attention has shifted to epicenters in Western Europe and North America, the coronavirus pandemic was far from over in Asia.

“This is going to be a long-term battle and we cannot let down our guard,” said Dr Takeshi Kasai, the WHO Regional Director for the Western Pacific. “We need every country to keep responding according to their local situation.”

In Japan, the countdown clocks were reset and ticking again for the Tokyo Olympics after organizers announced new dates following the postponement from this summer. The clocks read 479 days to go, with the games now scheduled to kick off on July 23, 2021.

In New York City, Cuomo and health officials warned Monday that the crisis unfolding there is just a preview of what other U.S. communities could soon face. New York State’s death toll climbed by more than 250 people in a day Monday to more than 1,200, most of them in the city.

“We’ve lost over one thousand New Yorkers,” Cuomo said. “To me, we’re beyond staggering already.”

Even before the governor’s appeal, close to 80,000 former nurses, doctors and other professionals were stepping up to volunteer, and a Navy hospital ship had arrived with 1,000 beds to relieve pressure on overwhelmed hospitals.

News also came of the first U.S. service member to die from the disease. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said the death of the New Jersey Army National Guardsman strengthened their resolve to work more closely with partners to stop the spread of COVID-19.

“This is a stinging loss for our military community,” Esper said in a release.

More than 235 million people — about two of every three Americans — live in the 33 states where governors have declared statewide orders or recommendations to stay home.

In California, officials put out a similar call for medical volunteers as coronavirus hospitalizations doubled over the last four days and the number of patients in intensive care tripled.

“Challenging times are ahead for the next 30 days, and this is a very vital 30 days,” President Donald Trump told reporters Monday. “The more we dedicate ourselves today, the more quickly we will emerge on the other side of the crisis.”

In contrast, the crisis is continuing to ease in China. On Tuesday, officials in the world’s most populous nation reported just 48 new COVID-19 cases, all of them brought from overseas.

In Wuhan, people were ready to jump, cry and “revenge shop” as the Chinese city once at the center of the global virus outbreak reopened.

“I’m so excited, I want to cry,” said one woman at the Chuhe Hanjie pedestrian mall, where about 75% of the shops had reopened. Shopkeepers were limiting the number of people they were letting in, dispensing hand sanitizer and checking customers for signs of fever.

More than three-quarters of a million people worldwide have become infected and over 37,000 have died, according to Johns Hopkins.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. But for others, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, the virus can cause severe symptoms like pneumonia. More than 160,000 people have recovered, according to Johns Hopkins.

Italy and Spain saw their death tolls climb by more than 800 each on Monday, but the WHO’s emergency chief said cases there were “potentially stabilizing.” At the same time, he warned against letting up on tough containment measures.

“We have to now push the virus down, and that will not happen by itself,” Dr. Michael Ryan said.

Italy’s death toll climbed to nearly 11,600. But in a bit of positive news, the numbers showed a continued slowdown in the rate of new confirmed cases and a record number of people recovered.

“We are saving lives by staying at home, by maintaining social distance, by traveling less and by closing schools,” said Dr. Luca Richeldi, a lung specialist.

At least six of Spain’s 17 regions were at their limit of intensive care unit beds, and three more were close to it, authorities said. Crews of workers were frantically building more field hospitals.

Nearly 15% of all those infected in Spain, almost 13,000 people, are health care workers, hurting hospitals’ efforts to help the tsunami of people gasping for breath.

Tenor Placido Domingo said Monday he is resting at home after catching the new coronavirus.

“I feel fine,” Domingo said in a statement.

The 79-year-old was reportedly hospitalized in Mexico after publicly acknowledging on March 22 that he had tested positive for COVID-19 and said he was going into isolation. He’d suffered from a fever and a cough.

The opera singer’s illness comes after his own glittering career had recently been marred by sexual misconduct revelations.

Israel said 70-year-old Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is quarantining himself after an aide tested positive for the virus. And In Britain, Prince Charles, the heir to the throne who tested positive, ended his period of isolation and is in good health, his office said.

Moscow, meanwhile, locked down its 12 million people as Russia braced for sweeping nationwide restrictions.

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Perry reported from Wellington, New Zealand. Associated Press writers around the world contributed to this report.

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Follow AP news coverage of the coronavirus pandemic at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

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SEOUL, South Korea — Shin Dong-yun, ​a scientist from the North Korean Institute of Virology, ​rushed to the northwestern border with China in early February. There, he conducted 300 tests, skipping meals to assess ​a stream of people ​so that “the country is protected from the invasion of the novel coronavirus.”

Stories like this, carried in the state-run newspaper Rodong Sinmun, only deepen ​one of the biggest mysteries surrounding the Covid-19​ pandemic​: How could North Korea claim to not have a single coronavirus case while countries ​around the world stagger under the exploding epidemic?

​North Korea has taken some of the most drastic actions against the virus and did so sooner than most other nations. It sealed its borders in late January, shutting off business with neighboring China, which accounts for nine-tenths of its external trade. It clamped down on the smugglers who keep its thriving unofficial markets functioning. It quarantined all diplomats in Pyongyang for a month. ​The totalitarian state’s singular ability to control the movement of people​ also bolsters its disease-control efforts.

But decades of isolation and international sanctions have ravaged​ North Korea’s public health system, raising fears that ​it lacks the medical supplies to fight an outbreak, which many fear has already occurred.

“You can see immediately what’s going to happen if you get a surge of Covid-19 patients streaming in,” said Dr. Kee B. Park, ​a ​lecturer at Harvard Medical School who has worked alongside North Korean doctors to help improve the country’s health system. “It will overwhelm the system very quickly.”

Many observers of North Korea doubt its claims of not having any coronavirus cases. But a lack of testing ​equipment ​​may mean it literally has not detected a single case​, Dr. Park said​.

​”​It’s because they may have cases but they just don’t know how to detect it,” he said. “So they can say, ‘We have not confirmed it​.’”

Some accuse North Korea of hiding an outbreak​ to preserve order.

“It’s a blatant lie when they say they have no cases,” said Seo Jae-pyoung, secretary-general of the Seoul-based Association of North Korean Defectors, who said he heard from his North Korean contact that a family of three and an elderly couple died of the virus in the east coast city of Chongjin in mid-March. “The last thing ​the North wants is ​a ​social chaos ​that may erupt ​when North Koreans realize that people are ​dying of an epidemic with no cure​.”

The North’s leader, Kim Jong-un, is clearly aware of the threat the virus poses to his country​’s decrepit health system. Around when Washington announced on Feb. 13 that it would allow coronavirus-related ​humanitarian shipments​, North Korea made a rare request for urgent help from relief groups, including diagnostic kits, according to people familiar with the matter.

​In recent weeks, the North’s official media outlets have ​carried alarming reports detailing the coronavirus’s toll around the world: a snowballing caseload in South Korea; bodies piling up in Italy; “panicked citizens” hoarding “guns and ammunition”​ in the United States.

They contrast such reports with pictures of North Korean disease-control officials in full protective gear spraying disinfectant in buses, trams, playgrounds and hotel gyms in Pyongyang, the showcase capital city. Garment factories are shown making masks instead of clothes. There is a national drive to send eggs, meat and fish to those under quarantine.

By its own account, North Korea has quarantined 10,000 people. International disease-control officials “have all been amazed” how North Korea could have done it, the Rodong Sinmun said this month.

But video clips shot in Hyesan, a town on the North’s central border with China, in February and early March depict a far less flattering picture of the North’s disease-control efforts.

A red wooden marker on a sidewalk covered with a dirty slush of ice said “disinfection station,” according to a clip, which was ​smuggled to the Rev. Kim Seung-eun, a human-rights activist in South Korea and viewed by The New York Times. A lone official in a green plastic suit with a tank of disinfecting liquid on his back stood idly. A sliver van raced through the town blaring the importance of wearing masks. In another clip, the sign “Quarantined” was stuck on the door of what looked like a tenement house where Reverend Kim said people with possible ​symptoms were kept.

Reverend Kim said ​one of his North Korean contacts ​had been unable to return home for a month after visiting ​another town because the government​ controlled internal movement. Such restrictions were needed for disease control because of North Korea’s crowded public transportation network.

The country’s information blackout and the inability of outside health experts to get into the country leaves the rest of the world largely in the dark about how North Korea is coping with the virus.

Last month, Daily NK, a Seoul-based website ​that ​hires anonymous informants inside ​the ​​North, reported the deaths of 200 soldiers, as well as 23 others, who were suspected of contracting the coronavirus. B​ut ​Kang Mi-jin, a North Korean defector-turned journalist in Seoul, said that no matter how hard they searched, her contacts in ​the ​North could not find a death officially ascribed to the coronavirus.

In the past, the country has hushed or played down epidemics, military rebellions, man-made disasters or anything else that could ​undermine the people’s faith in the government.

​But this time, the North’s unusually aggressive moves​, as well as its unique ability to detain people, may have prevented a devastating outbreak​, said Jung Gwang-il, a North Korean defector who leads No Chain, a North Korean human rights activist group in Seoul​. As soon as an outbreak was ​reported in China, North Korea rounded up ​all ​Chinese visitors in its northeastern town of Rason ​and quarantine​d​ them ​on an island for a month, Mr. Jung said.

“It’s safe to say that there are cases in North Korea but I don’t think the outbreak there is as large as the ones we have seen in South Korea, Italy and the U.S.,” said Ahn Kyung-su, the head of the Seoul-based Research Center of DPRK Health and Welfare, which monitors the North’s health system. “North Koreans are trained to obey government orders in a shipshape way during crises. But there is the risk of the virus running out of control if it starts spreading among its malnourished people.”

Mr. Ahn said testing kits from China were available in big cities like Pyongyang. Telltale evidence came when Kim Jong-un inspected a missile test this month and military officers surrounding him did not wear masks, which Mr. Ahn said would not have happened had they not tested negative.

But the coronavirus has put Mr. Kim between a rock and a hard place, analysts say.

On March 17, ​he broke ground on a modern ​“Pyongyang General Hospital​” to be completed by October. But such projects in the North rely​ on mass mobilization​s​ of soldiers who ​sleep and eat together for months at a stretch​, and raise the risk of mass infections during an epidemic.

​By this month, some help began reaching North Korea in its efforts to confront the virus. Russia donated 1,500 test kits​​. China is also believed to have sent diagnostic tools​. The United Nations has ​​​​begun waiving sanctions for aid groups like​ the Red Cross to ship testing machines and diagnostic kits, as well as ventilators and protective equipment. But the shipments have been slow.

​“Given the global shortage of supplies and items being available in different locations, we are still in the process of procuring the items,” said Ellie Van Baaren, a Red Cross spokeswoman.

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A firefighter battles a forest blaze in Xichang in China's southwestern Sichuan provinceImage copyright
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The victims were caught by a sudden change in wind direction

Eighteen firefighters and their guide have died while battling a forest fire in China’s Sichuan province, state media has reported.

The Xinhua news agency said a sudden change in wind direction led to the group becoming trapped early on Tuesday morning.

The fire in Liangshan prefecture has now spread across 1,000 hectares.

More than 2,000 firefighters and rescue workers have been sent to the area and 1,200 people have been evacuated.

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Around 1,200 residents have been evacuated from the area

The fire started on Monday at a local farm. Strong winds meant that the flames quickly spread to nearby mountains.

The dead firefighters were among a group of 22 – including one farm worker acting as their guide – who went missing. Three survivors have been found and were taken to hospital.

Local media reports that heavy clouds of smoke have been drifting into the nearby city of Xichang.

The incident comes almost exactly a year after a forest fire in another part of Liangshan prefecture which killed 30 firefighters.

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“I wish I could make this up,” Axtman told CNN. “I’ve been a trooper for almost 12 years and wow, I’ve never heard this excuse. I’ve been in a lot of high-speed chases, I’ve stopped a lot of cars, and never have I gotten an excuse that they were teaching their dog how to drive.”

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(WJW) — ESPN is moving up the release of its highly-anticipated Michael Jordan documentary from June to April, Andrew Marchand of the New York Post reported.

The 10-part documentary called “The Last Dance” will now debut on Sunday, April 19, Marchand reported.

The official announcement was expected to be made Tuesday morning on ABC. ABC and ESPN are owned by Disney.

Fans have been calling on ESPN to move up the release of the documentary since the coronavirus outbreak halted all sports.

The documentary focuses on Michael Jordan’s last season with the Chicago Bulls back in 1997-98.

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LONDON — British Airways has suspended all its flights at Gatwick Airport amid a collapse in demand because of the COVID-19 outbreak. The carrier says that “restrictions and challenging market environment,” led to the decision. The aviation industry has …

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A pumpjack near the Yamashinskoye rural settlement in the Almetyevsk District.

Yegor Aleyev | TASS via Getty Images

Oil prices are on pace to register their worst quarterly performance on record, as the coronavirus pandemic continues to crush global demand for crude.

A public health crisis has meant countries around the world have effectively had to shut down, with many governments imposing draconian measures on the daily lives of hundreds of millions of people.

The restrictions have created an unprecedented demand shock in energy markets, ramping up the pressure on companies and governments reliant on crude sales.

To date, more than 787,000 people have contracted COVID-19 worldwide, with 37,829 deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

International benchmark Brent crude traded at $23.36 a barrel Tuesday morning, up more than 2.6%, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) stood at $21.26, more than 5.8% higher.

Brent futures fell to their lowest level in 18 years on Monday and WTI ended the previous session below $20, before both benchmarks pared some of their losses on the final trading day of the first quarter.

To date, Brent futures have fallen more than 65% through the first three months of 2020, putting the benchmark on track to register its worst quarter through our history to 1990, according to data compiled by CNBC. 

Brent is also on pace to record its worst-ever monthly performance, down over 54% in March alone.

Meanwhile, WTI futures slumped more than 67% for the first quarter, putting it on track for its worst-ever quarterly performance back to when the contract began trading in 1983.

WTI is also down over 55% month-to-date, on pace for its worst-ever monthly performance, too.

Storage capacity likely to ‘hit its limit by midyear’

Oil consumption has collapsed by at least 25% compared to 2019 levels of 100 million barrels per day (b/d), according to analysts at Eurasia Group, with severe restrictions on global movement and most retail in lockdown.

“With demand collapsing but supply rising after OPEC and non-affiliated Russia failed to reach a production cut agreement in early March, global inventories could reach their maximum capacity within weeks,” Eurasia Group analysts said in a research note published Monday.

“Even if OPEC and other producers start restricting their output again soon, the supply overhang from the global lockdown is so big that storage capacity will likely hit its limit by midyear,” they added.

Earlier this month, oil producer group OPEC and its allied partners, sometimes referred to as OPEC+, failed to agree on extending production cuts beyond March 31.

It has led to concerns of a supply surge from April 1, with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates both pledging to ramp up production.

Industry experts have warned that plans to ramp up production could prompt a wave of bankruptcies and investment cuts in the U.S. which, in turn, would have a noticeable impact on shale production.

On Monday, U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin held talks to discuss Moscow’s ongoing oil price war with OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia.

The Kremlin said Trump and Putin had agreed to have their top energy officials discuss stabilizing oil markets.

Trump had initially welcomed the declaration of a price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia, hailing lower oil prices as good news for U.S. consumers.

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