Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., forced the Senate to begin reading the entirety of the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 bill on the Senate floor, further delaying a vote on the legislation.How long it will take »
Myanmar's military says it is ready to withstand sanctions and isolation after its Feb. 1 coup, a top United Nations official said on Wednesday as she urged countries to "take very strong measures" to restore democracy in the Southeast Asian nation. U.N. special envoy on Myanmar, Christine Schraner Burgener, said 38 people died on Wednesday - the most violent day since the coup - as the military quelled protests. Schraner Burgener is due to brief the U.N. Security Council on Friday.
Italy became the first country to impose an EU export ban on coronavirus vaccines on Thursday after blocking a shipment of 250,000 AstraZeneca jabs to Australia. Brussels introduced the export transparency regime during its row over supply shortfalls with the British-Swedish pharmaceutical company at the end of January. Under the new rules, manufacturers in the EU must ask national authorities in the country of production and the European Commission for permission to export vaccines outside the EU.
U.S. President Joe Biden's refusal to offer upfront sanctions relief to Iran may have angered Tehran's clerical rulers but it has won some praise at home despite his failure so far to draw Iran into nuclear talks or deter attacks on U.S. forces in Iraq. "Sensible," said Elliott Abrams, former President Donald Trump's special envoy for Iran, of Biden's unwillingness to give Tehran sanctions relief before any talks on both sides resuming compliance with the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. "Negotiation is always a give and take but we should not pay them just for the pleasure of their company at the negotiating table," Abrams said.
The United States has shown it won't "shy away" from responding to attacks against its personnel when necessary, the Pentagon said on Wednesday, after a rocket attack against Iraq's Ain al-Asad air base, which hosts U.S., coalition and Iraqi forces. "Let's do this the right way. Let's let our Iraqi partners investigate this, see what they learned," Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told a news briefing, calling the attack a "troubling development."
SpaceX's futuristic Starship looked like it aced a touchdown Wednesday, but then exploded on the landing pad with so much force that it was hurled into the air. The failure occurred just minutes after SpaceX declared success. The full-scale prototype of Elon Musk's envisioned Mars ship soared more than 6 miles (10 kilometers) after lifting off from the southern tip of Texas on Wednesday.
The Senate voted by the slimmest of margins Thursday to begin debating a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill, after Democrats made eleventh-hour changes aimed at ensuring they could pull President Joe Biden's top legislative priority through the precariously divided chamber. Democrats were hoping for Senate approval of the package before next week, in time for the House to sign off and get the measure to Biden quickly. Democratic leaders made over a dozen late additions to their package, reflecting their need to cement unanimous support from all their senators — plus Vice President Kamala Harris' tie-breaking vote — to succeed in the 50-50 chamber.
South African police have seized hundreds of fake COVID-19 vaccines and arrested four suspects in connection with the haul, the Interpol global police co-ordination agency said. This comes after Interpol, which is headquartered in France, issued a global alert in December to law enforcement across its 194 member countries, warning them to prepare for organised crime networks targeting COVID-19 vaccines, both physically and online. Some 400 ampoules - equivalent to about 2,400 doses - containing the fake vaccine were found at a warehouse in Germiston, east of Johannesburg, where officers also recovered a large quantity of fake 3M masks, the agency said on Wednesday on its website.
Israel accused Iran on Wednesday of being linked to a recent oil spill off its shores that caused major ecological damage, calling the incident environmental terrorism. The spill was caused by an oil tanker that was carrying pirated cargo from Iran to Syria last month, Israeli Environmental Protection Minister Gila Gamliel said. The vessel sailed through the Gulf and the Red Sea without radio contact, switching its tracking devices back on before passing through Egypt's Suez Canal, Gamliel told reporters.
Rudy Giuliani warned of "the dire consequences of misinformation on social media." Giuliani has long promoted right-wing misinformation on social media. Rudy Giuliani, Donald Trump's former personal attorney, was pilloried on Wednesday after he warned in a podcast of the dangers of online misinformation.
A California serial killer who authorities say strangled and raped at least seven women was fatally choked himself in a state prison, officials said Wednesday.
North Korea may be trying to extract plutonium to make more nuclear weapons at its main atomic complex, recent satellite photos indicated, weeks after leader Kim Jong Un vowed to expand his nuclear arsenal. The 38 North website, which specializes in North Korea studies, cited the imagery as indicating that a coal-fired steam plant at the North's Yongbyon nuclear complex is in operation after about a two-year hiatus. This suggests “preparations for spent fuel reprocessing could be underway to extract plutonium needed for North Korea's nuclear weapon,” the website said Wednesday.
While Texas and Mississippi announced complete rollbacks of their states' COVID-19 mitigation measures this week, several governors of other Republican states have made clear they are not abandoning their mask mandates despite political pressure. The sharp decline of new daily COVID-19 cases and the rollout of vaccines in the United States have prompted state and local governments to ease business restrictions in recent weeks, with movie theaters set to open at limited capacity in New York and indoor dining resuming in San Francisco on Friday. Texas saw a 69% rise in cases in the week ended Feb. 28.
A long-range U.S. bomber flew over the capitals of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia on Wednesday in a show of solidarity with NATO allies, the U.S. Air Force said, amid Western concerns over a more assertive Russia. "This mission sends a clear message that our commitment to our NATO allies is unshakeable," Gen. Jeff Harrigian, U.S. Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa commander said in a statement. Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia were once ruled from Moscow but are now part of both NATO and the European Union.
Donald Trump has been served a civil rights lawsuit accusing him of inciting the Capitol riot along with Rudy Giuliani, the Proud Boys and other far-right groups, according to reports. Mr Trump was given the documents, filed by Democrat congressman Bennie Thompson and civil rights group the NAACP in mid-February, at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. It is unclear who will represent the former president in the case: it was merely signed for by a “Ricky”, according to The Daily Beast.
One moment, Hadiza was weeping and flinging her arms around her father for the first time since her abduction; the next - gunfire and tear gas filled the air and people ran for cover. It was supposed to be a joyous reunion to end the five-day ordeal of 279 girls kidnapped last week from the Jangebe Government Girls Science Secondary School in a remote corner of northwest Nigeria. Cheering children had lined the street as buses brought the girls, grinning and waving, back to their school from the Zamfara state capital Gusau, where they had been cared for since their release on Tuesday.
Drastic measures taken by North Korea to contain coronavirus have exacerbated human rights abuses and economic hardship for its citizens, including reports of starvation, a United Nations investigator says. North Korea, which has yet to report any confirmed COVID-19 cases despite sharing a border with China, has imposed border closings, banned most international travel and severely restricted movement domestically in the past year. "The further isolation of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea with the outside world during the COVID-19 pandemic appears to exacerbate entrenched human rights violations," Tomas Ojea Quintana, U.N. special rapporteur on human rights in the country, said in a report seen by Reuters on Wednesday.
Turkey is not necessarily aiming to return to the U.S. F-35 fighter jet programme from which it was removed over its purchase of Russian defence systems, the Turkish defence industry chief said on Wednesday. He said the primary goal was for Turkey to get compensated for its losses. Ankara had ordered more than 100 F-35s and has been making parts for it but was removed from the programme in 2019 after it acquired Russian S-400 missile defence systems, which Washington says threaten the jets.
House Democrats passed sweeping voting and ethics legislation over unanimous Republican opposition, advancing to the Senate what would be the largest overhaul of the U.S. election law in at least a generation. House Resolution 1, which touches on virtually every aspect of the electoral process, was approved Wednesday night on a near party-line 220-210 vote. It would restrict partisan gerrymandering of congressional districts, strike down hurdles to voting and bring transparency to a murky campaign finance system that allows wealthy donors to anonymously bankroll political causes.
Wall Street ended sharply lower on Thursday, leaving the Nasdaq down nearly 10% from its February record high, after remarks from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell disappointed investors worried about rising longer-term U.S. bond yields. A decline of 10% from its February record high would confirm the Nasdaq is in a correction. The benchmark 10-year Treasury yield spiked to 1.533% after Powell's comments, which did not point to changes in the Fed's asset purchases to tackle the recent jump in yields.
Analysts say the report is unlikely to change investor sentiment towards Saudi Arabia in the absence of U.S. action against the prince. They had expected sort of a bigger push back from the (Biden) administration but if this is it then the signal is fairly weak, said Neil Quilliam, managing director at Azure Strategy, a Middle East-focused consultancy So I don't see this as being a major impediment to most companies seeking opportunities in the kingdom. L5N2L06I7] Quilliam said there was some skepticism about so-called 'giga projects', citing the King Abdullah Economic City project in the early 2000s, that never really took off.
A Trump may be on the ballot next year — but not Donald Trump. The former president's daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, is eyeing the North Carolina Senate seat being vacated by Republican Richard Burr. While many in the state are skeptical she will move forward, an entrance into the race would set up a crucial test of whether Donald Trump's popularity among Republicans, which remains massive more than a month after leaving office, can translate to others.
Israel, Austria and Denmark said on Thursday they would set up a joint research and development fund and possibly production facilities for COVID-19 vaccines to ensure they had long-term supplies for booster shots or to contend with virus mutations. European Union members Austria and Denmark have been chafing at delays in ordering, approving and distributing vaccines within https://www.reuters.com/article/health-coronaviurs-vaccine-europe-int-idUSKBN2AU11Vthe 27-member bloc that have left it trailing far behind Israel's world-beating vaccination campaign. After hosting his Austrian and Danish counterparts for talks and a tour of an Israeli gym open to those documented as having been vaccinated or recovered from COVID-19 with presumed immunity, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced the pact.
The bill still has to be passed in the House of Representatives. The new bill, which will go to the House of Representatives for consideration, would force death row inmates to choose one of three ways to die: lethal injection, electrocution, or firing squad, The Washington Post reported.
China will resolutely deter any separatist activity seeking Taiwan's independence but is committed to promoting the peaceful growth of relations across the Taiwan Strait and China's "reunification", Premier Li Keqiang said on Friday. China, which claims democratic Taiwan as its own territory, has increased its military activity near the island in recent months, responding to what it calls "collusion" between Taipei and Washington, Taiwan's main international backer and arms supplier. Speaking at the opening of the annual meeting of China's parliament, Li said Beijing stands by the "one China" principle, which states that Taiwan is part of China.
“Taking humans to Mars would require an investment astronomically out of kilter with the possible benefits.”
“Can a Mars settlement be a freer society than we enjoy on Earth? Maybe.”
“What we learn...may spark the next revolution that will make life in 2071 beyond anything we can imagine right now.”
“Our presence on Mars could jeopardize one of our main reasons for being there — the search for life.”
“The future of geologic investigation of other worlds lies with highly improved versions of our Mars rovers.”