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.
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.
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.
Israel's environmental protection minister on Thursday stood by her allegation that a crude oil spill in the eastern Mediterranean last month was an intentional attack by Iran but provided no evidence for her claim. Defense officials remained silent about the charge by Gila Gamliel, a junior minister in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party, who on Wednesday announced that she had concluded the Iranian government deliberately spilled tons of crude oil into the sea in an attempt to damage Israel's marine ecosystem. Asked in an interview on Army Radio on Thursday whether she could prove the spill was an intentional attack, Gamliel doubled down.
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.
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.
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.
Pakistan's prime minister said Thursday he will seek a vote of confidence from the National Assembly this weekend to prove that he still has the support of majority lawmakers in the house despite the surprising and politically embarrassing defeat of his ruling party's key candidate in Senate elections. Prime Minister Imran Khan made the announcement in a televised address to the nation, alleging that some lawmakers from his ruling Tehreek-e-Insaf party had been bribed by the opposition to vote for former Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani in the Senate elections on Wednesday. Gilani defeated Hafeez Sheikh, the finance minister in Khan's Cabinet, in the vote, which was seen as a test for Khan who came to power in the 2018 parliamentary elections.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Transportation Department's watchdog asked the Justice Department to criminally investigate Elaine Chao late last year over concerns that she misused her office when she was transportation secretary under President Donald Trump but was rebuffed, according to a report released Wednesday. The report said the department's inspector general found that Chao used her staff and office for personal tasks and to promote a shipping business owned by Chao's father and sisters, in an apparent violation of federal ethics rules.
The end of Texas' mask mandate is giving Lucy Alanis second thoughts about one of her occasional indulgences during the coronavirus pandemic: dining in at restaurants. Republican Gov. Greg Abbott's repeal of most COVID-19 restrictions — saying it was “time to open Texas 100%" — reverberated across the state and to the White House on Wednesday, a day after one of the country's most dramatic rollbacks of rules intended to slow the spread of the virus. Businesses in Texas shed rules, city leaders plotted new safeguards and the state's 5 million schoolchildren largely remained under orders to keep wearing masks, at least for now.
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.
Guyana said on Wednesday night that two Venezuelan fighter jets entered its airspace, circling a community on the countries' shared border before returning to their own territory, though Venezuela's government disputed the claim. The incident is the latest in a long-running border conflict between the two South American nations. Caracas says much of eastern Guyana is its own territory, a claim rejected by Georgetown.
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 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.
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 following is a roundup of some of the latest scientific studies on the novel coronavirus and efforts to find treatments and vaccines for COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus. While worrisome coronavirus variants identified in Brazil, South Africa, and California have mutations that might help them resist antibody treatments and vaccines, the immune system's T cell responses to the variants are unaffected in recovered patients and in people who have received the Moderna Inc or Pfizer Inc/BioMTech SE vaccines, new data show. "We think this is really good news," said Alessandro Sette of the La Jolla Institute for Immunology, whose team reported the findings on Monday on bioRxiv ahead of peer review.
Israel suspects Iran intentionally dispatched a ship to dump hundreds of tons of crude oil onto its beaches, the area's worst ecological disaster in decades, in revenge for the November assassination of the country's top nuclear scientist, according to Israeli officials and media. But Israeli officials tell Insider the statement from the environmental minister directly blaming Iran released Wednesday was premature as the military and intelligence services have yet to make a final determination on both Iranian culpability and the appropriate level of response to what would be the most brazen act of environmental terrorism in recent history.
“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.”