Juan Ordoñez, 40, of North Arlington, N.J., is among the more than 500,000 Americans who have lost their lives to COVID-19 since the onset of the pandemic.This is his story »
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman may have been spared direct punishment after a U.S. intelligence report implicated him in the killing of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi, but he has not emerged unscathed. The declassified report, based on CIA intelligence, concludes that the prince approved an operation to "capture or kill" Khashoggi, who was murdered in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018. President Joe Biden's decision to publish a report that his predecessor Donald Trump had set aside brings with it a broad refocusing of Washington's stance on dealing with the kingdom, on its human rights record, and on its lucrative arms purchases.
As many as 10 death row inmates in Oklahoma, more than one-fifth of the state's prisoners condemned to die, could escape execution because of a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling concerning criminal jurisdiction in Indian Country. The inmates have challenged their convictions in state court following the high court's ruling last year, dubbed the McGirt decision, that determined a large swath of eastern Oklahoma remains an American Indian reservation. The decision means that Oklahoma prosecutors lack the authority to pursue criminal charges in cases in which the defendants, or the victims, are tribal citizens.
Republican congressman Matt Gaetz attacked the way Ted Cruz's short-lived trip to Cancun, Mexico – amid a record-breaking winter storm – was reported by the media last week. The Florida congressman, who was speaking at the four-day Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Orlando on Friday, accused the media of being 'biased' towards Mr Cruz, who was forced to return to Texas amid calls to resign last Thursday. It followed reports Mr Cruz flew to Cancun with his family on Wednesday evening as hundreds of thousands of Texans remained without water or electricity for a fourth day running.
Now, the hotel is open again as a symbol of an impending economic recovery and tourism boom in a country that has suffered the worst economic crisis in modern Latin American history. But the so-called Socialist president's touting of the luxurious, $300 per night hotel in a country where most live in poverty represents something else to others - an abandonment of a political project promising a socialist utopia in favor of an 'anything goes', capitalist kleptocracy. Since the dark days of mid-2019, when inflation hit 10 million per cent and Venezuela's weaved baskets out of useless Bolivar notes, the economy has shown signs of recovery.
Iran on Saturday condemned U.S. air strikes against Iran-backed militias in Syria, and denied responsibility for rocket attacks on U.S. targets in Iraq that prompted Friday's strikes. Washington said its strikes on positions of the Iran-backed Kataib Hezbollah paramilitary group along the Iraq border were in response to the rocket attacks on U.S. targets in Iraq. Western officials and some Iraqi officials have blamed those attacks on Iran-backed groups.
A trio of gunmen shot and killed a religious cleric, his teenage son and a student on the outskirts of Pakistan's capital Islamabad, police said, amid a rise in militant attacks. Police officer Shahzad Khan said the killing took place in the Bhara Kahu neighborhood when Mufti Ikramur Rehman was heading toward his car with his 13-year-old son and a seminary student late Saturday night. The cleric, his son and the student received multiple gunshot wounds and died at a hospital.
Minneapolis city council approved funding to hire social media influencers for Derek Chauvin's trial, WCCO-TV reported. The influencers will be paid to provide the local community with information about the trial. Chauvin was charged in Floyd's death, and his trial is set to begin on March 8.
Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) didn't exactly pull punches in an interview with Politico, going after congressional Republicans, Democrats, former President Donald Trump, and the Biden administration all in one go. Sasse, who is facing imminent censure from the Nebraska GOP for voting to convict Trump in his second impeachment trial, stands by that vote and says he's not bothered by the action his home state's Republican Party is taking against him, though he did say he thinks it's not "healthy." At one point, when asked about Trump loyalist Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), Sasse simply said "that guy is not an adult," and described Congress, generally, as "a bunch of yokels screaming."
South Korea said 18,489 people received their first doses of AstraZeneca PLC's vaccine by midnight on Friday as it launched an ambitious COVID-19 inoculation campaign, and will begin using Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines on Saturday. The first to receive the shots are healthcare workers, staffers at assisted care facilities and other high-risk people, with a goal of vaccinating 32 million to 36 million people - some 60% to 70% of the population - by September. The first AstraZeneca vaccines are to be administered to 289,000 people, while about 55,000 healthcare workers in coronavirus treatment facilities will receive first batch of the vaccine developed by Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE supplied through the COVAX global vaccine-sharing programme.
A U.N. humanitarian agency on Sunday warned that more than 16 million people in Yemen would go hungry this year, with already some half a million people in the war-torn country living in famine-like conditions. The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, or OCHA, said the risk of large-scale famine in the Arab world's poorest country “has never been more acute,” adding that the years-long conflict, economic decline, and institutional collapse created enormous humanitarian needs in all sectors. The stark warning comes a day before a pledging conference co-hosted by Sweden and Switzerland.
Over 300 schoolgirls have been kidnapped from a boarding school in Northern Nigeria. Gunmen attacked the school and a nearby military checkpoint, according to Associated Press. A joint rescue operation between the military and police is now said to be underway.
Mike Pompeo, the former US Secretary of State, touted the Trump administration's America-first foreign policy and attacked Joe Biden's agenda in a pitch to conservative voters on Saturday. Mr Pompeo said that while working under Donald Trump, "I sent messages repeatedly to bad guys around the world that if you touch an American, you'll pay dearly", in a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Orlando, Florida. Mr Pompeo's speech at CPAC, the annual conservative jamboree, has heightened speculation that the former top US diplomat is considering a 2024 presidential run.
The Philippines received its initial batch of COVID-19 vaccine doses on Sunday in a shipment donated by China, a day before its inoculation drive is due to begin, but President Rodrigo Duterte will not be among the first to be vaccinated. Duterte attended a ceremony to mark the arrival of the initial 600,000 doses of Sinovac Biotech's CoronaVac, which were delivered by a Chinese military aircraft ahead of a further 25 million CoronaVac doses due to be delivered in batches this year. But Duterte, who turns 77 next month, told a news briefing that, though he wants to be vaccinated, his doctor wants a different Chinese brand of vaccine for him.
At least 15 Africans drowned when their boat capsized Sunday off Libya, a U.N. spokeswoman said, the second shipwreck involving migrants seeking a better life in Europe in just over a week. Safa Msehli, a spokesman for the International Organization for Migration, said the dead were on a rubber boat carrying at least 110 migrants, who embarked from the Libyan coastal town of Zawiya on Friday. The boat started to sink early Sunday and the Libyan coast guard managed to rescue at least 95 migrants, including six women and two children, she said.
Israeli defence minister Benny Gantz said on Saturday his "initial assessment" was that Iran was responsible for an explosion on an Israeli-owned ship in the Gulf of Oman. The ship, a vehicle-carrier named MV Helios Ray, suffered an explosion between Thursday and Friday morning. A U.S. defence official in Washington said the blast left holes above the waterline in both sides of the hull.
Gunmen in Nigeria on Saturday released 27 teenage boys who were kidnapped from their school earlier this month. Their release was met by tearful loved ones. On February 17 - 42 people including 27 students were abducted by an armed gang that stormed a secondary school in Niger state.
A man was killed by a rooster with a blade tied to its leg during an illegal cockfight in southern India, police said, bringing focus on a practice that continues in some Indian states despite a decades-old ban. The rooster, with a 3-inch knife tied to its leg, fluttered in panic and slashed its owner, 45-year-old Thangulla Satish, in his groin last week, police inspector B. Jeevan said Sunday. Jeevan said police filed a case and were looking for over a dozen people involved in organizing the cockfight.
Saudi Arabia said Saturday it intercepted a missile attack over its capital and bomb-laden drones targeting a southern province, the latest in a series of airborne assaults it has blamed on Yemen's rebel Houthis. The Saudi-led military coalition fighting in Yemen's yearslong war announced the Iran-allied Houthis had launched a ballistic missile toward Riyadh and three booby-trapped drones toward the province of Jizan, with a fourth toward another southwestern city and other drones being monitored. No casualties or damage were initially reported.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has extended partial coronavirus curbs in the capital until the end of March, as the country awaits the arrival of vaccines, the presidential spokesman said on Saturday. With southeast Asia's second-highest tally of infections and deaths, the Philippines has suffered lengthy, strict lockdowns in Manila and provinces, hitting an economy that was among Asia's fastest growing before the pandemic. Curbs will stay for another month in Manila, which accounts for 40% of national economic output, the spokesman, Harry Roque, said in a statement.
President Joe Biden's administration is in “no rush” to lift U.S. sanctions on Venezuela but would consider easing them if President Nicolas Maduro takes confidence-building steps showing he is ready to negotiate seriously with the opposition, a White House official told Reuters. Signaling that the new U.S. president may be unlikely to loosen the screws on Venezuela anytime soon, the official emphasized that existing sanctions have enough special provisions to allow for humanitarian aid shipments to help Venezuelans cope with economic hardships and the COVID-19 pandemic. This suggests that for now Biden is prepared to stick with the specific sanctions, including crippling oil-sector penalties, imposed by former President Donald Trump on the OPEC nation, despite the failure to force Maduro from power.
A Russian military helicopter made an emergency landing for technical reasons in northeast Syria on Sunday, Russia's Defense Ministry said. Syria's state media said there were casualties among the crew. Russia joined Syria's war in September 2015 and has since helped tip the balance of power in favor of President Bashar Assad's forces.
High in the Indian Himalayas, a remote lake nestled in a snowy valley is strewn with hundreds of human skeletons. Roopkund Lake is located 5,029 metres (16,500ft) above sea level at the bottom of a steep slope on Trisul, one of India's highest mountains, in the state of Uttarakhand. The remains are strewn around and beneath the ice at the "lake of skeletons", discovered by a patrolling British forest ranger in 1942.
Militant attacks are on the rise in Pakistan amid a growing religiosity that has brought greater intolerance, prompting one expert to voice concern the country could be overwhelmed by religious extremism. Pakistani authorities are embracing strengthening religious belief among the population to bring the country closer together. But it's doing just the opposite, creating intolerance and opening up space for a creeping resurgence in militancy, said Mohammad Amir Rana, executive director of the independent Pakistan Institute for Peace Studies.
Eight years after carving the heart out of a landmark voting rights law, the Supreme Court is looking at putting new limits on efforts to combat racial discrimination in voting. The justices are taking up a case about Arizona restrictions on ballot collection and another policy that penalizes voters who cast ballots in the wrong precinct. The high court's consideration comes as Republican officials in the state and around the country have proposed more than 150 measures, following last year's elections, to restrict voting access that civil rights groups say would disproportionately affect Black and Hispanic voters.
An Ohio woman ordered held in jail pending trial on charges in the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol told a federal judge late Friday that she has disbanded her armed group in Ohio and plans to cancel her membership in the Oath Keepers. Jessica Watkins, 38, of Champaign County, told U.S. District Judge Amit P. Mehta in the District of Columbus that she was appalled and humiliated by the events of Jan. 6. "As soon as I'm out, whether acquittal or release, I'm canceling my Oath Keepers membership," she said.
“How about we skip ‘he won’t win’ cycle and not do 2016 all over again. Trump can absolutely win another presidential election.”
“With independents deserting him, there is simply no path for Trump to get back into the White House — except as a tourist.”
“They might as well cancel the 2024 primaries...because there is no way he can lose.”
“The next Republican presidential primary will be heavily shaped by Trump — whether or not he decides to run again.”
“Donald Trump will not be running for president again. He will, however, continue to tease the possibility of a 2024 run.”