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 »
The International Criminal Court prosecutor said on Wednesday her office will formally investigate war crimes in the Palestinian Territories, a move welcomed by the Palestinian Authority and denounced by Israel. The decision follows a ruling by the court on Feb. 5 that it has jurisdiction in the case, prompting swift rejections by Washington and Jerusalem. "The decision to open an investigation followed a painstaking preliminary examination undertaken by my office that lasted close to five years," Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said in a statement.
Jill Biden, the teacher in the White House, along with new Education Secretary Miguel Cardona went back to school Wednesday in a public push to show districts that have yet to transition back to in-person learning that it can be done safely during the pandemic. Teachers want to be back," the first lady said after she and Cardona spent about an hour visiting classrooms and other areas at Benjamin Franklin Elementary School in Meriden, Connecticut. We want to be back.
The Kremlin on Thursday urged France and Germany to use their influence with the Ukrainian government to make sure that events in the part of eastern Ukraine controlled by Russian-backed rebels did not "cross a dangerous line". Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that Moscow was seriously concerned by a rise in violence on the contact line between the rebels and Ukrainian government forces. Ukraine pushed back against the remarks, saying Russia should instead order the forces it controls in Donbass to observe the ceasefire, and blamed Moscow for obstructing progress in new prisoner swaps and troop withdrawals.
China is increasing its defense spending by 6.8%, a slight uptick from last year, amid high government debt and the impact of the coronavirus pandemic impact. A national budget report issued Friday said China would spend 1.355 trillion yuan ($210 billion) on national defense in the coming year. The military budget has dipped during periods of slower economic growth, but has also been dropping steadily from the double-digit percentage increases over years as the increasingly powerful military matures and rapid expansion of what is already the world's second largest defense budget is no longer required.
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.
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.
Security has been ramped up at the US Capitol in Washington in response to "a possible plot to breach" the building. The move was prompted by intelligence that a militia group planned the attack for 4 March - the day conspiracy theorist group QAnon believes Donald Trump will return for a second term. The House of Representatives cancelled Thursday's session, but the Senate will continue with its agenda.
Police in India's northeastern Mizoram state have detained at least seven Myanmar policemen who entered India seeking refuge a month after the country's powerful military ousted the elected government in a coup, officials said Thursday. Magistrate Maria Zuali said four policemen arrived in the state's Champai area on Feb. 28, and local villagers handed them over to state authorities on March 1. Police officer Lalnunzira, who uses one name, said three other policemen crossed into Indian territory near Lungkawlh village on Wednesday afternoon.
Northern Irish loyalist paramilitary groups have told British Prime Minister Boris Johnson they are temporarily withdrawing support for the 1998 peace agreement due to concerns over the Brexit deal. While the groups pledged "peaceful and democratic" opposition to the deal, such a stark warning increases the pressure on Johnson, his Irish counterpart Micheál Martin and the European Union over Brexit. Northern Ireland's 1998 peace deal, known as the Belfast or Good Friday Agreement, ended three decades of violence between mostly Catholic nationalists fighting for a united Ireland and mostly Protestant unionists, or loyalists, who want Northern Ireland to stay part of the United Kingdom.
On the campaign trail, Joe Biden made sweeping promises to reform US immigration, vowing to "take urgent action" and undo the policies of Donald Trump. "We're not saying 'don't come,'" Mr Biden's top homeland security official Alejandro Mayorkas said this week. Here's a look at what Mr Biden has - and hasn't - done so far, and how it differs from Mr Trump.
The European Commission and Italy have blocked a shipment of AstraZeneca's coronavirus vaccine destined for Australia after the drug manufacturer failed to meet its EU contract commitments, two sources said on Thursday. The sources said AstraZeneca had requested permission from the Italian government to export some 250,000 doses from its Anagni plant, near Rome. The Italian government refused and the European Commission supported its decision, the sources said.
About 300 refugees from a Christian minority community from Myanmar held a demonstration in India's capital on Wednesday against last month's military takeover in their country and demanded the immediate release of Aung San Suu Kyi and other Myanmar leaders. They chanted “Restore democracy in Burma” and Shame on you dictator” and carried placards as they burned a coffin with photographs of Myanmar's coup leaders and Chinese President Xi Jinping, accusing him of supporting the military rulers. They also stomped their feet on the Chinese national flag.
The Republican National Committee and the party's congressional campaign arms are eager to cash in on former President Donald Trump's lure with small donors ahead of next year's midterm elections, when the GOP hopes to regain control of at least one chamber of Congress.
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.
Details emerging from investigations into hundreds of Capitol rioters have cast an unsettling light on the toxic roles that fringe religious beliefs and QAnon conspiracy theories have played in shaking big and small churches across the nation. Trump's false insistence that he won the 2020 election may have incited the mob, but it also pointed to a dangerous intersection of God and politics. A Kentucky man who the FBI charged as the first to enter the Capitol through a broken window saw himself as fighting a holy war on behalf of his president and, in a booking photo, wore a T-shirt that quoted Ephesians 6:11: “Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil's ...
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.
Starship is a rocket and spacecraft combination that could ferry more than 100 people a time to the Red Planet. The system is designed to be fully reusable, meaning the principal hardware elements are not discarded in the sea or allowed to burn up, as happens with some other launch systems, but are instead recovered from space. They can then be refurbished and flown again, reducing the cost of the whole enterprise.
South Korean authorities are investigating the deaths of two people, both with pre-existing conditions, who died within days of receiving AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine. AstraZeneca said it was aware of the investigation by the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA), but the safety of the vaccine has been extensively studied in clinical trials with data confirming it is generally well tolerated. "KDCA is conducting epidemiological surveys with relevant local authorities...to confirm any link with inoculation," KDCA Director Jeong Eun-kyeong told a briefing.
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.
The United States on Wednesday hailed plans by NATO ally Germany to sail a warship across the contested South China Sea, calling it welcome support for a "rules-based international order" in the region, something Washington says is threatened by China. German government officials said on Tuesday a German frigate would set sail for Asia in August and, on its return journey, become the first German warship to cross the South China Sea since 2002. "The United States has a national interest in the maintenance of peace and stability, respect for international law, lawful unimpeded commerce, and freedom of navigation and other lawful uses of the sea," a spokeswoman for the U.S. State Department said.
Government ministers and officials were following Prime Minister Narendra Modi lead by opting on Tuesday for an Indian-made COVID-19 vaccine approved without late-stage efficacy data, instead of the AstraZeneca one. India's health, foreign and law ministers, and state governors, all flocked to Twitter to express support for the much-criticised Bharat Biotech's COVAXIN vaccine, after it was administered to Modi on Monday. "Made-in-India vaccines are 100% safe," Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said after being inoculated with COVAXIN.
House Democrats passed sweeping voting and ethics legislation Wednesday 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 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.
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.
Indian doctors and politicians on Thursday welcomed efficacy data for a state-backed coronavirus vaccine that was given emergency approval in January without the completion of a late-stage trial, making people reluctant to receive the shot. Government data shows (https://dashboard.cowin.gov.in) that only 10% of about 13.3 million people immunised in India have taken the COVAXIN shot, which was found to be 81% effective in an interim analysis of the late-stage trial, its developer Bharat Biotech said on Wednesday. Any boost to the vaccine's acceptance in India, which on Thursday reported the highest number of new COVID-19 cases in five weeks, could also brighten its export prospects.
“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.”