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.
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.
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.
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.
China is increasing its defense spending by 6.8% in 2021 as it works to maintain a robust upgrading of the armed forces despite high government debt and the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. A national budget report issued Friday said China would spend 1.355 trillion yuan ($210 billion) on 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.
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."
A man who plowed a rented van into dozens of people in Toronto in 2018 is guilty of murdering 10 people and attempting to murder 16, a judge ruled on Wednesday, dismissing a defense argument that a mental disorder left the driver unaware of how horrific his actions were. Alek Minassian, 28, told police he was motivated by a desire to punish society for his perceived status as an "incel" - short for involuntary celibate - because he believed women would not have sex with him. Minassian had pleaded that he was not criminally responsible.
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.
Nepal's government signed a peace agreement Thursday with a small communist rebel group widely feared because they were known for violent attacks, extortion and bombings. The government agreed to lift a ban on the group, release all their party members and supporters in jail and drop all legal cases against them, while the group agreed to give up all violence and resolve any issues through peaceful dialogue, the government said in a statement after peace talks. Details of the agreement would be made public at a joint ceremony Friday with Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Oli and the leader of the rebel group Netra Bikram Chand, who is better known by his guerrilla name, Biplav.
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 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.
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.
The president changed his plans for an airstrike against Iran-backed militias at the last minute. Battlefield intelligence indicated the presence of a woman and children at one of two strike areas. With fighters in the air, Biden chose to strike only one target, bypassing the one with civilians.
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.
Slovak Prime Minister Igor Matovic apologised on Thursday after jokingly suggesting that Russia take a part of western Ukraine as payment for delivering doses of its Sputnik V vaccine to Slovakia. Matovic bypassed his cabinet partners to order the Russian vaccine even though it has not yet been approved for use in the European Union, of which Slovakia is a member. Asked in a radio interview what he had promised Russia in exchange for the vaccine, Matovic jokingly said he had offered "Transcarpathian Ukraine", referring to the western Ukrainian region bordering Slovakia.
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.
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.
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.
Cuba has begun late stage trials of its most advanced experimental COVID-19 vaccine, edging closer to a potential home-grown inoculation that could help the Caribbean island nation contain infections and ease its economic crisis. The country started this week recruiting around 44,000 volunteers in Havana between the ages of 19 and 80 for its randomized, placebo-controlled trial of the two-shot vaccine in which some will receive a third booster shot with another Cuban vaccine candidate. If the vaccine proves successful, Cuba has said it would inoculate its entire population of 11 million with what would be the first COVID-19 vaccine developed and produced in Latin America.
Protesters in Lebanon burned tires and closed several major roads on Thursday as the severe economic crisis gripping the country continued to spiral out of control with no progress on the formation of a new Cabinet. In a new low, a fistfight broke out inside a supermarket in Beirut, apparently over the purchase of subsidized powdered milk. The Beirut supermarket issued a statement later saying the fistfight broke out when a shopper attacked a branch manager who told him he cannot buy large amounts of subsidized milk and oil without considering the restrictions.
The Biden administration did not sanction Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed over the 2018 murder of Jamal Khashoggi. Saudi critics Omar Abdulaziz and Iyad el-Baghdadi said this emboldens MBS to continue his crackdown. "I am actually less safe now than I was before," el-Baghdadi told The Guardian.
“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.”