As the novel coronavirus continues to spread beyond China, the U.S. military announced its first confirmed case and commanders across the globe braced for the worst. Shortly afterward, USFK raised its risk level to “high” and restricted U.S. military personnel from attending “non-essential” gatherings at restaurants, bars, clubs and theaters away from their installations. South Korea, where 28,500 U.S. troops are based, had 977 confirmed cases of the virus by Tuesday, with 10 deaths, according to the World Health Organization, making it the second-hardest-hit country after China, where the virus originated.
President Trump addressed the nation from the White House briefing room on Wednesday evening in an effort to calm anxieties about the rapid proliferation of coronavirus. In a seeming acknowledgement that the White House response has lacked clarity and cohesion, Trump announced he was putting Vice President Mike Pence in charge of the effort to stem the spread of the virus in the U.S. “I don't view Mike as a czar,” Trump said, though he did not explain what, exactly, Pence's duties would be. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar had previously been in charge of the coronavirus response.
An Oklahoma man convicted of kidnapping his stepdaughter as a child and holding her in captivity for nearly 20 years has been sentenced to life in prison, prosecutors said Tuesday. Henri Michelle Piette was found guilty in June by a federal jury of kidnapping and traveling with intent to engage in a sexual act with a juvenile following a seven-day trial that detailed the horrific conditions Rosalynn McGinnis endured. Piette repeatedly raped and abused her and fathered her nine children during the nearly two-decade ordeal, which began when Piette kidnapped her in 1997 when she was 12 years old.
President Andrés Manuel López Obrador suggested Wednesday without offering evidence that most of those who die in Mexico's cartel- and gang-fueled firefights are high on drugs or intoxicated, prompting criticism and questions about whether the claim was accurate. Speaking to journalists in his morning news conference, López Obrador said rising drug consumption rates must be reversed if the country is to guarantee peace and security after years of rising, record-setting homicide statistics. “Just so you have the number, 60% of those who lose their life each day, 60% of those killed in clashes, it is shown that they are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, but primarily drugs,” the president continued.
Joe Biden says he isn't worried about the prospect of President Trump refusing to leave his post if he's defeated in November.
Iran's deputy health minister was drenched in sweat at the press conference on Monday where he vehemently denied Tehran was covering up the extent of the coronavirus outbreak. The irony of Deputy Health Minister Iraj Harirchi's case would be funny almost, were Iran's conspicuous bungling of the coronavirus threat not a menace to the whole region and, indeed, to the world. As The Daily Beast's partner publication, IranWire, revealed in an exclusive report Thursday, Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps has tried to address the epidemic by telling doctors to shut up about it, much as Chinese authorities in Wuhan did, disastrously, when the disease was just starting to spread last December.
Michael Bloomberg is reportedly trying to convince entreprenuer and former presidential candidate Andrew Yang to join his campaign as his running mate. According to individuals with knowledge of the discussion, aides working with the former New York City mayor reportedly reached out to Mr Yang to discuss how the businessmen could join forces in Mr Bloomberg's quest for the Democratic nomination. The Wall Street Journal reported that Mr Yang hasn't committed to join forces.
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday revealed there was a secret plan to use a double to make public appearances for him, while insisting he vetoed it -- and that he is the real Putin. Putin's comments showed that a conspiracy theory widespread on the internet that the Russian strongman has been impersonated over the years or even replaced by a lookalike is not entirely without basis. TASS state news agency showed Putin a list of popular Russian-language Internet searches including "Putin double proof".
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) again apologized Wednesday for previously incorrectly claiming tribal heritage and releasing DNA results that claimed to reveal she had Native American ancestry. The most recent apology was in response to a letter from several members of the Cherokee Nation, as well as members of other tribes standing in solidarity, calling on her to go beyond acknowledging her mistakes and do her part to dispel beliefs spread by white people claiming Native heritage. In a response letter, Warren affirmed she understood all three of those points, and thanked the Cherokee Nation for holding her "accountable," while also highlighting actions she has taken as a lawmaker as well as provisions she has included in her presidential campaign plans with tribal interests in mind.
The Japanese military is considering developing a hypersonic anti-ship missile with a special warhead for penetrating the decks of Chinese aircraft carriers. Japan's defense ministry is developing what it calls a “hypervelocity gliding projectile," or HVGP, for deployment on island bases starting in 2026. In U.S. parlance, a guided missile traveling faster than five times the speed of sound is a “hypersonic” weapon.
But during last night's Democratic debate in Charleston, S.C., several of Sanders's rivals tried to blunt his momentum ahead of Saturday's Palmetto State primary by claiming, for the first time in a national setting, that the problem isn't just that the Vermont senator is unelectable himself. It's that nominating him would make dozens of down-ballot Democratic House, Senate and state legislature candidates more vulnerable, too. I'll tell you exactly what [Sanders's agenda] adds up to,” said Pete Buttigieg.
A former New Jersey woman and her son face murder and conspiracy charges in the killings 25 years ago of her husband and sister. Dolores Morgan, 66, and Ted Connors, 47, both of Delray Beach, Florida, were indicted Wednesday for the 1994 and 1995 killings of Ana Mejia and Nicholas Connors, said the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office in New Jersey. Prosecutors allege Ted Connors carried out the murders with his best friend, Jose Carrero, who has admitted to conspiring with the mother and son in the two killings 25 years ago.
U.N. human rights chief Michelle Bachelet urged Saudi Arabia on Thursday to uphold freedoms of expression and peaceful assembly and review convictions of activists, religious leaders and journalists as it prepares to host a G20 summit this year. Bachelet, in a speech to the U.N. Human Rights Council, called on Riyadh to release several Saudi women activists jailed for demanding "reforms of discriminatory policies". "I also call for full transparency in the ongoing judicial proceedings, and comprehensive accountability, regarding the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi," she added, referring to the U.S.-based journalist killed by Saudi agents at its Istanbul consulate in October 2018.
Researchers have discovered the only known animal that does not need oxygen to survive, a common parasite that largely preys on salmon. The study, published Tuesday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that the parasite Henneguya salminicola does not require aerobic respiration in order to survive — a revelation that may change how we understand life on Earth and beyond. The multicellular organism, which is part of a group of animals closely related to jellyfish known as the Myxozoa, does not breathe at all and does not have mitochondrial DNA.
Right now in Iran we are facing a coronavirus epidemic,” said a senior medical doctor at the Masih Daneshvari hospital in Tehran, the country's top pulmonary public hospital and the main facility overseeing coronavirus patients. Public officials have not confirmed how the disease arrived in Iran, but it appears to be the locus for the regional outbreak. So far, Afghanistan, Georgia, Bahrain, Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, and Oman reported their first cases of coronavirus, all linked to passengers traveling from Iran.
California is monitoring 8,400 people who arrived in the state on domestic commercial flights for the Wuhan coronavirus, Governor Gavin Newsom announced on Thursday. 33 individuals have already tested positive for the virus, five of whom have been moved out of the state. “We knew this was inevitable,” Newsom said at a press conference.
A trans woman who threatened shop staff with a claw hammer escaped prison after a court heard there was no way to confirm her gender. Leila Le Fey, 40, admitted entering a Budgens store in Brighton last year in a bid to steal alcohol, and brandished the “terrifying” weapon at Enoch Adetayo, the shop's manager, before assaulting him. Lewes Crown Court heard that Le Fey had completed gender-reassignment but had not yet obtained a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC) to that effect.
Some Democrats are reportedly growing interested in grabbing someone not currently running for president to be the party's out-of-left-field 2020 nominee. For an article published Thursday, The New York Times interviewed 93 Democratic superdelegates, finding that Democratic establishment leaders are "not just worried about Mr. Sanders' candidacy, but are also willing to risk intraparty damage to stop his nomination at the national convention in July if they get the chance." Amid these fears, Democrats have reportedly "placed a steady stream of calls" to Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) suggesting he could "emerge as a white knight nominee at a brokered convention."
On Wednesday, more new cases were reported outside of China than inside the country for the first time since global health officials began tracking the virus. The spike in cases outside of China has caused investigators and researchers to fear that the infection is on the verge of becoming a pandemic. At a Monday press conference, officials from the World Health Organization stopped short of calling the outbreak a pandemic — but they cautioned that it had the potential to become one, if the outbreaks outside of China continue to grow.
Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh, who told his listeners that alarmism about the coronavirus was a plot to bring down President Trump, has attacked the CDC official who warned Americans that the virus will inevitably spread in the U.S. “Dr. Nancy Messonnier of the Centers for Disease Control — which today warned it could be bad, it might be bad, don't go to school and don't go to work, stay at home and teleconference — is the sister of the former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein,” Limbaugh said on Tuesday's program. Rosenstein, who resigned from the Justice Department last May, oversaw the investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller that President Trump sought to stop.
The body of a Mennonite woman who disappeared from her New Mexico home at the end of January was found last week in Arizona, more than 250 miles away, and authorities said Tuesday they believe she was kidnapped and murdered. Sasha Marie Krause, 27, was last seen leaving her Crouch Mesa home at 8 p.m. on Jan. 18, according to the San Juan County Sheriff's Office in New Mexico. Deputies responded to Lamp & Light Publishers, a Mennonite bookstore across the street from Farmington Mennonite Church, at 3 a.m. on Jan. 19, at which point Krause was reported missing.
Pete Buttigieg called Mike Bloomberg's record of stop-and-frisk policing "racist" at Tuesday night's Democratic presidential debate in South Carolina before reflecting on his own record as mayor. "We let it get out of control," Bloomberg said. "I come to this with some humility because I'm conscious of the fact that there are seven white people on this stage talking about racial justice," Buttigieg said.
Islamist militant groups in Nigeria have begun targeting Christians in an attempt to provoke a religious war, the information minister said on Thursday. Islamist insurgents in Nigeria have killed around 35,000 people and displaced at least two million in the past decade, driven first by Boko Haram and more recently by its offshoot, the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP). Information Minister Lai Mohammed said jihadist groups in the northeast of the country have now adopted a "deliberate policy of attacking Christians."
A woman in Japan who contracted the new coronavirus and was released from hospital after recovering has tested positive again, officials said Thursday. The case is the first time a patient apparently cleared of the virus has subsequently tested positive for it, a local official in Osaka said. The woman in her 40s was first confirmed as infected with the coronavirus on January 29.
An Iranian parliament spokesman on Wednesday announced that anyone found to be “spreading rumors” about the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak will be sentenced to one-to-three years in prison and flogging, Iran state news agency IRNA reported. Norouzi said the prison sentence and flogging is based on “on the Islamic penal code,” and 24 people have been arrested already on suspicion of “spreading rumors” about the illness. Iran has reported 139 cases of coronavirus infections throughout the country, with an epicenter in the city of Qom, a destination for Shi'ite Muslim religious pilgrims.