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.
Former President Donald Trump intensified his war with the Republican establishment on Thursday by attacking Karl Rove, a longtime Republican strategist who criticized Trump's first speech since leaving office for being long on grievances but short on vision. "He's a pompous fool with bad advice and always has an agenda," Trump complained in a statement issued by his office in Palm Beach, Florida. Rove, the architect of Republican George W. Bush's presidential victories in 2000 and 2004, wrote in an opinion article in the Wall Street Journal on Thursday that Trump's speech last Sunday to the Conservative Political Action Conference was wanting.
The 13 people killed in a Southern California highway crash were part of a group of nearly four dozen migrants suspected of slipping through a hole cut by human smugglers through a steel fence along the U.S.-Mexico border, federal officials said on Wednesday. Besides the dead and injured among 25 people crammed into the sport utility vehicle that collided on Tuesday with a tractor-trailer, 19 others were found huddled near a second SUV that caught fire in the same area just north of the border, the officials said. The 19 were detained by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents, CBP spokesman Macario Mora said.
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.
The U.S. Pacific Tsunami Warning Center cancelled a tsunami watch Thursday for Hawaii that was issued after a huge earthquake occurred in a remote area between New Zealand and Tonga. The agency previously cancelled a tsunami warning it had issued for American Samoa. The magnitude 8.1 quake struck the Kermadec Islands region.
Former President Donald Trump has released a new post-presidency statement, and Democrats might just be glad he did. The former president, who remains permanently banned from Twitter, released a statement Thursday once again raging against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), blasting him as the "most unpopular politician in the country" while blaming him for Republicans' Senate losses in Georgia — losses for which Trump himself has been blamed by other Republicans. One of the reasons Republicans lost the two Georgia Senate runoffs in January, Trump argues, was "Mitch McConnell's refusal to go above $600 per person on the stimulus check payments when the two Democrat opponents were touting $2,000 per person in ad after ad."
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
Iran has agreed to sit down with international technical experts investigating the discovery of uranium particles at three former undeclared sites in the country, the head of the U.N. atomic watchdog said Thursday, after months of frustration at Tehran's lack of a credible explanation. The agreement came as three of the remaining signatories to the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran — France, Germany and Britain — backed off the idea of a resolution criticizing Iran for its decision to start limiting access by International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors to current facilities. IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi told reporters in Vienna it was not up to him to say whether Iran's move to hold talks with his technical experts was linked to the decision of the so-called E3 group, but suggested it was difficult to separate the political side of Iran's nuclear program from the technical side.
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.
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.
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.
A U.S. program created after the 2003 anthrax attacks to help detect biological weapons provided protection in less than half the states and couldn't detect many of the known threats, according to a report released Thursday. The program known as BioWatch, which described itself in a mission statement as a nationwide early warning system, was capable of detecting only six of 14 biological agents known to be potential threats. It also left detection equipment exposed and unguarded, the Office of Inspector General for the Department of Homeland Security found.
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.
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.
Israel, Denmark and Austria agreed on Thursday to join forces in the fight against COVID-19 with an investment in research and roll-out of vaccines to protect people against new surges and mutations of the coronavirus. The leaders of the three countries said their alliance will set up a foundation and vaccine distribution plants in Europe and Israel, based on Israel's world-leading inoculation drive. “We think that by joining the resources of three small but very able and gifted countries, we can better meet these challenges,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.”