The president plans to host a White House ceremony later this year for the unveiling of former President Barack Obama’s official portrait, according to sources.History of presidential portraits »
Rumours abounded on Friday night that China's top spycatcher had defected to the US, amid a growing focus in Washington on the theory that Covid-19 escaped from a Wuhan laboratory. Dong Jingwei, vice minister of state security, was reported to have flown from Hong Kong to the US in February with his daughter. There was no confirmation of the rumoured development from either the US or China.
Afghanistan's is racing to ramp up supplies of oxygen as a deadly third surge of COVID-19 worsens, a senior health official told The Associated Press in an interview Saturday. The government is installing oxygen supply plants in 10 provinces where up to 65% of those tested in some areas are COVID positive, health ministry spokesman Ghulam Dastigir Nazari said. Afghanistan's 24-hour infection count has also continued its upward climb from 1,500 at the end of May when the health ministry was already calling the surge “a crisis,” to more than 2,300 this week.
On Friday, as authorities held a press conference to highlight the growing problem of fraud against the elderly, prosecutors revealed they had charged three people suspected of swiping the property. Otis Lathen Powell, Shantel Vennissa Chang and Jason Webley Sr. were charged with a host of felonies, including money laundering, grand theft, organized scheme to defraud and theft from a person 65 years or older.
Activists widely expected Joe Biden to take swift action against the death penalty as the first sitting president to oppose capital punishment, especially since an unprecedented spate of executions by his predecessor ended just days before Biden took office. That has not happened.
Joe Biden returned from his sojourn to the UK and Europe to face a growing list of domestic headaches as his big-spending policies stalled and were also blamed for rising inflation. While Mr Biden was meeting Vladimir Putin in Geneva a bipartisan group of 21 senators - 11 Republicans and 10 Democrats - came up with a compromise that would almost halve the amount to $1.2 trillion over eight years. The resulting gridlock explains why a Monmouth University poll this week made worrying reading for Mr Biden after Air Force One landed back in the US.
Australia will file a formal complaint with the World Trade Organization (WTO) after China imposed up to 218% tariffs on its wine last year. China says the tariffs were increased because of trading malpractice, which Australia denies. Australia says it remains open to engaging directly with China to resolve the issue.
Garner police are investigating the fatal shooting of a 17-year-old at a graduation party early Saturday morning. The Garner Police Department said that Messiah Pitt was shot and killed some time after midnight as a graduation party on Claymore Drive in Garner was ending. Pitt is the only known injury, according to Capt. Lorie Smith.
Yogi Adityanath, the Hindu priest tipped as successor to India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has said hospitals lied about shortages of oxygen during the height of the Covid crisis, in an exclusive interview with the Telegraph. Mr Adityanath, the chief minister of India's most populous state Uttar Pradesh, is seen as the third most powerful man in India behind his colleagues in the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Mr Modi and home minister Amit Shah. The controversial politician attracts fervent support among many of India's 966 million Hindus, who admire his Trump-like forthrightness on domestic issues - but, until now, Mr Adityanath had never spoken to the international media.
Catholic Bishops advanced a document that could bar Biden from Communion over his support for abortion rights. Rep. Ted Lieu, a Catholic, called the Bishops "hypocrites" and "nakedly partisan" for the move. Democratic Rep. Ted Lieu of California lashed out at US Catholic Bishops on Friday after they voted in favor of advancing a document that could block President Joe Biden from receiving Communion due to his stance on abortion.
Democrats have had what any sane political party would consider a remarkable stroke of luck: Donald Trump, the leader of their opposition has (allegedly) committed many, many crimes, both while serving as president and before, and Democrats now control the federal law enforcement apparatus. As Barbara McQuade and Joyce White Vance write in The Washington Post, Trump is almost certainly guilty of obstruction of justice during the Mueller investigation, of attempting to solicit bribes from Ukraine, and of multiple campaign finance violations (and likely much, much more).
A 16-year-old girl was attacked by a bear in the Great Smoky Mountains early Friday, prompting the National Park Service to close a back country section to visitors. The attack happened at 12:30 a.m., as the teen was sleeping in a hammock in the the Crosby section of the park, officials said. “The family was able to drive the bear off from the area immediately after the attack and quickly notified the park's emergency communications center,” the National Park Service said.
Brussels has signalled it could back down and avert a trade war with the UK as on Friday it welcomed the Government's request for a three-month extension for British sausages to be sold in Northern Ireland. Maros Sefcovic, the European Commission vice president, told an audience in Bruges that he was "convinced there is still a window for productive political dialogue" before the ban on chilled meats comes into effect in July. His comments came 24 hours after it was confirmed that Lord Frost, the Brexit minister, had formally requested that the EU agree to extend the grace period to allow the trade to continue until Sept 30.
A spokesperson for House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said while it wasn't "crystal clear," the congressman meant to say during a Fox News interview on Friday that former President Donald Trump wants him to be House speaker if Republicans take the lower chamber back in 2022. In the clip, it appears McCarthy says Trump himself wants to be speaker, but McCarthy's camp is clarifying what would have been a surprising admission for someone who has his own eyes on the gavel. CNN's Chris Cilizza predicted McCarthy would backtrack, and argues it's "virtually impossible" to take him at his word because of what he described as "rampant dishonesty in the GOP over the last five years."
A Missouri man pleaded guilty Thursday to charges that he had threatened to lynch a Black congressman the day after the Jan. 6 siege at the U.S. Capitol and a Jewish congressman in 2019, court records show. The man, Kenneth Hubert, 63, of Marionville, Missouri, was arrested in March after, prosecutors said, he had directed the threats at U.S. Reps. Emanuel Cleaver II, D-Mo., and Steve Cohen, D-Tenn. According to a plea agreement filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri, Hubert pleaded guilty to two counts of threatening to assault a U.S. official.
The prolonged dryness means low water levels are endangering fish species in Oregon and Colorado, 30% of California's population is in a drought emergency, and the nation's two biggest reservoirs on the Colorado River — Lake Powell and Lake Mead — are two-thirds empty. "What we see in our major reservoirs on the Colorado River really give us a good indication of water and drought in the West, and whether we're in a good or a tough spot," said John Berggren, a water policy analyst at Western Resource Advocates, a nonprofit organization. And right now, we're definitely in the latter category.
An all-time low percentage of people said they're very concerned about COVID spreading to them or their family, according to a recent poll. The survey, done by the Associated Press and the National Opinion Research Center for Public Affairs Research, found 21% of respondents said they're “very worried” or “extremely worried” about the virus reaching them or their family — a record low since the pandemic began. Americans also said they're more likely to resume pre-pandemic activities, including visiting friends and family, shopping in-person, going to a restaurant or bar, traveling, exercising at a gym, attending a sports event and going to a movie, theater or concert compared to when they were asked the same question in May 2020.
Former President Donald Trump has briefly entertained the idea of making a bid to become House speaker, and others have suggested the strategy may make sense for him, regardless of whether he also wants to take another shot at the White House in 2024. There's no hard evidence that Trump is considering that route, but on Friday House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) appeared to tell Fox News' Brian Kilmeade amid laughter that Trump has indeed told him he "wants to be speaker." The congressman, who is determined to take over the role himself should Republicans take back the House in 2022, said he's responded to Trump by telling him that he'd rather him become president again instead.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy passed legislation that bars landlords from asking prospective tenants about their criminal history. Landlords can only inquire about criminal history if an applicant has met certain parameters, like registration as a sex offender. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy on Friday signed an executive order that broadly prohibits landlords from inquiring about a tenant's criminal history.
Abandoned by her father and bullied by other children for being chubby, life was not too rosy for Giorgia Meloni when she was growing up in a scruffy working-class district of Rome. The leader of the hard-Right Brothers of Italy party could, conceivably, become Italy's first ever woman prime minister, which would have been unthinkable just a few years ago. Brothers of Italy, which is the modern-day heir to Italy's fascist movement, was then a fringe party commanding less than four per cent of the national vote.
Alberto Sánchez Gómez will serve 15 years in jail for murdering his 68-year-old mother. Sánchez ate her remains "bit by bit" with his pet dog, according to police officers. An unemployed Spanish waiter has been sentenced to jail for killing his mother, cutting her into thousands of pieces, and eating her remains, the Independent reported.
Ebrahim Raisi, a hardline legal official sanctioned by the U.S. government, won Iran's presidential election after his main rivals conceded defeat Saturday, state media reported. Raisi is the chief of Iran's judiciary and was the runner-up in Iran's last presidential election in 2017. Incumbent Hassan Rouhani, a moderate, is stepping down because he has reached his term limit.
GOP Rep. Ralph Norman of South Carolina, one of 14 Republicans who voted against the legislation, took to Fox News Radio on Thursday to explain his opposition, saying that the vote "was an easy no vote" and questioned if a holiday would now have to be established for Native Americans as well. During the program "Fox Across America with Jimmy Failla," Norman also cited the number of existing holidays in detailing his rejection of a federal holiday for Juneteenth, while alleging that supporters were using "race" as an issue. "There's one Fourth of July.
Champ, President Joe Biden's 13-year-old German Shepherd, has died. "He was our constant, cherished companion during the last 13 years and was adored by the entire Biden family," the Bidens said on Twitter. The Bidens also have a 3-year-old rescue dog named Major.
Fort Bliss soldier Christian Alvarado has been found guilty of multiple counts of sexual assault and abuse. Alvarado will face an 18-year military prison sentence, a court-martial determined on Friday. A new study found that female soldiers at Texas' Fort Bliss face some of the highest risks of sexual assault than at other Army posts.
Across Georgia, members of at least 10 county election boards have been removed, had their position eliminated or are likely to be kicked off through local ordinances or new laws passed by the state Legislature. At least five are people of color, and most are Democrats — though some are Republicans — and they will most likely all be replaced by Republicans. Hollis and local officials like her have been some of the earliest casualties as Republican-led legislatures mount an expansive takeover of election administration in a raft of new voting bills this year.
“It may seem desperate at this point, but I can’t be mad at any and all efforts to get people vaccinated.”
“I won’t get rich, but I will get to live my life. That seems like reward enough.”
“Offering incentives may encourage people who are not actively opposed to vaccination but may have put it off.”
“At some point, the government is simply rewarding irresponsible behavior.”
“Sure, people should do it without needing an incentive. But what’s the alternative? Not enough people get vaccinated.”