“I can't breathe” were some of the last words that a handcuffed George Floyd said as he was pinned on the ground, while a white Minneapolis police officer held a knee to his neck for several minutes on Monday. Floyd, a black man, is now dead. Now the four officers from the Minneapolis Police Department involved in the incident have been fired.
In late March, Congress passed the largest stimulus package in American history in an effort to offset the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. One of the most important elements of the massive $2 trillion bill was a provision that boosted unemployment insurance benefits for those who lost work because of stay-at-home orders designed to limit the spread of the virus. Nearly 39 million Americans have filed for unemployment in the past nine weeks.
Twitter employees are outraged by the company's refusal to stop President Trump from using the platform to promote a conspiracy theory involving a former staffer of Trump critic and media personality Joe Scarborough, according to tech journalist Kara Swisher. Swisher reported Tuesday that the widower of Lori Klausutis, who died suddenly in 2001 while working as a staff member in Scarborough's congressional office in Florida, wrote Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey a heartfelt letter last week asking him to stop Trump from continuing to spread conspiracy theories about his wife's death via the social media platform.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declared Wednesday that Hong Kong is no longer autonomous from China – a landmark decision that is likely to escalate already strained U.S.-Chinese relations and that could have serious economic consequences for the global financial hub. "No reasonable person can assert today that Hong Kong maintains a high degree of autonomy from China, given facts on the ground," Pompeo said in a statement. The White House will determine the next step, which could involve new sanctions on China, visa restrictions on government officials or nixing Hong Kong's special trade status.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Wednesday pledged to begin charging citizens for gasoline, as the fourth cargo of a five-tanker flotilla bringing fuel from Iran approached the South American nation's exclusive economic zone. Iran is providing the country with up to 1.53 million barrels of gasoline and components to help it ease an acute scarcity that has forced Venezuelans to wait in hours-long lines at service stations or pay steep prices on the black market. With the arrival of the gasoline, Maduro said he would end the policy of providing fuel effectively for free after more than two decades of frozen pump prices.
The founder of the Knights of Columbus, the influential U.S.-based lay Catholic organization, is moving a step closer to possible sainthood. Pope Francis has approved a miracle attributed to the intercession of the Rev. Michael McGivney, a Connecticut priest who died at age 38 of pneumonia in 1890 during a pandemic similar to the current coronavirus outbreak. The Vatican said Wednesday that Francis had signed off on the miracle required.
A Pakistani villager has urged Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to return his pigeon, currently being held in India on charges of spying. The Pakistani villager, who claims the arrested pigeon is his, says the code is actually his mobile phone number. Pakistan's Dawn newspaper has identified the man as Habibullah and reports that he owns a dozen pigeons.
A pair of Russian planes restricted a Navy pilot from safely maneuvering over international waters for more than an hour, service officials said on Tuesday. Two Russian Su-35 aircraft on Tuesday simultaneously flew close to each wing of a Navy P-8A Poseidon patrol aircraft over the Mediterranean Sea, according to Navy news release describing the incident. It was the third time in two months that Russian aircraft have intercepted Navy aircraft in the Sixth Fleet of operations, the release states.
REUTERS/Bruno Kelly Brazil is predicted to surpass 125,000 COVID-19 deaths by August 4, according to new estimates from the University of Washington. By comparison, the US is expected to reach 131,967 deaths by August 4. Earlier this week, Brazil surpassed the US in the daily death toll from the virus.
Britain has closed its embassy in the North Korean capital of Pyongyang and ordered its staff to leave the country. The surprise closure is linked to coronavirus-related restrictions in place since earlier this year, which the Foreign Office said had left it unable to "rotate our staff and sustain the operation of the Embassy". It follows a similar evacuation of a number of other diplomats and foreign residents from the North Korean capital in March.
On a day when the U.S. death toll from the coronavirus pandemic neared 100,000, President Trump sought to direct the nation's attention back to the 2009 H1N1 swine flu pandemic as a way to smear the reputation of his Democratic rival Joe Biden, who was vice president at the time. Joe Biden's handling of the H1N1 Swine Flu was a complete and total disaster. In the early weeks of the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S., Trump repeatedly sought to show that he was doing a good job dealing with the pandemic compared with how Biden and then-President Barack Obama had responded to the H1N1 pandemic.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Wednesday that Hong Kong was no longer sufficiently autonomous from mainland China, following Beijing's announcement that it plans to implement a national security law for the territory. It bypasses Hong Kong's own legislature, which has not met its obligation to pass such a law since the territory was retroceded to China in 1997 after 156 years as a British colony. “No reasonable person can assert today that Hong Kong maintains a high degree of autonomy from China, given facts on the ground,” Pompeo said in a statement.
Protesters clashed with riot police firing tear gas for a second night in Minneapolis on Wednesday in an outpouring of rage over the death of a black man seen in a widely circulated video gasping for breath as a white officer knelt on his neck. The video, taken by an onlooker to Monday night's fatal encounter between police and George Floyd, 46, showed him lying face down and handcuffed, groaning for help and repeatedly saying, "please, I can't breathe," before growing motionless. The second day of demonstrations, accompanied by looting and vandalism, began hours after Mayor Jacob Frey urged prosecutors to file criminal charges against the white policeman shown pinning Floyd to the street.
South Korea reported its biggest jump in coronavirus infections in seven weeks on Wednesday, driven by a fresh cluster at an e-commerce warehouse on Seoul's outskirts, as millions more pupils went back to school. The country has been held up as a global model in how to curb the virus and has rushed to contain new infections as life returns to normal. But officials announced 40 new cases Wednesday -- taking its total to 11,265 -- with most new infections from the densely populated Seoul metropolitan area.
Two missing walkers have been found in the New Zealand wilderness, 19 days after they set off. Jessica O'Connor and Dion Reynolds, both 23, began walking in the Kahurangi National Park on 9 May, and expected to be gone for six or seven days. The Kahurangi, in the north-west of the South Island, is New Zealand's second biggest national park.
"Life-threatening" flash flooding is expected across parts of Virginia, and South and North Carolina, after Tropical Storm Bertha made landfall sooner than expected. NASA satellites are closely watching the storm as it prepares to send two astronauts to space in a historic launch aboard SpaceX on Wednesday afternoon. The National Weather Service, meanwhile, warned that the second named storm of the season would cause ongoing river flooding across the region.
A top executive of Chinese tech giant Huawei is scheduled to learn Wednesday if a U.S extradition case against her can proceed. Canada arrested Meng Wanzhou, the daughter of Huawei's founder, at Vancouver's airport in late 2018. The U.S. wants her extradited to face fraud charges.
A Eurowings flight from Düsseldorf, Germany, to Sardinia, Italy, was forced to turn around at the last minute because the destination airport was closed due to coronavirus lockdowns in Italy. The plane made it all the way to Sardinian airspace on Saturday when they were told that the airport was closed to commercial traffic. An aviation blog theorized that the mistake was made because the airport was ordered to reopen earlier this month, but that decision was immediately overruled by the local government.
Six British citizens including two former Royal Marine commandos have been accused of taking part in a botched mercenary mission to Libya to fight on behalf of renegade general Khalifa Haftar. The five men and one woman are named in a confidential report by the United Nations panel of experts on Libya into a botched mission that ended with the mercenaries making a remarkable sea-borne escape after falling out with their hosts. The men, including former Royal Marines Sean Callaghan Louw and Andrew Scott Ritchie, were among around 20 mercenaries who travelled to Benghazi in eastern Libya in June 2019 in a contract organised by a UAE based company called Opus, according to the report seen by the Daily Telegraph.
Brazil's Federal Police on Wednesday executed more than two dozen searches and seizure warrants in six states as part of an investigation into a network that allegedly spread defamatory fake news and threats against Supreme Court justices. The judicial orders targeted allies and supporters of President Jair Bolsonaro, and the president's son Carlos Bolsonaro criticized the operations on his official Twitter account, calling the investigation “unconstitutional, political and ideological. A lawmaker closely allied with Bolsonaro, Carla Zambelli, also denounced the searches.
Riot police flooded central Hong Kong as people of all ages took to the streets to protest the territory's legislators preparing to debate another bill, one that would make it illegal to insult or abuse the Chinese national anthem. Pro-democracy protesters and politicians say the bill, which carries penalties of up to three years in jail and fines of up to $50,000 Hong Kong dollars ($6,450), is yet another sign of increasing interference from Beijing. Hong Kong Police said they have arrested more than 300 people on a number of charges, including possession of weapons and illegal assembly in the city center, Mong Kok, the Causeway Bay area and Wan Chai area.
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden released a video message on Wednesday marking the grim milestone of 100,000 American lives lost to the coronavirus pandemic, telling the bereaved: "The nation grieves with you." Biden spoke after various tallies of COVID-19 deaths, including one compiled by Reuters, showed that the novel coronavirus has killed over 100,000 people in the United States, even as the slowdown in deaths encouraged businesses to reopen and Americans to emerge from more than two months of lockdowns. Biden, speaking from his home in Delaware, drew on his own family loss when making his remarks.
When the U.S. government first rolled out forgivable loans to small businesses in April under the Paycheck Protection Program, loan officers at Bank of the West in Grapevine, Texas, worked nights and weekends to process a tsunami of applications.
Two days after the US recorded its first case of coronavirus, Donald Trump said the situation was "totally under control" and assured the public it was "going to be just fine". Fast forward four months and the virus has spread across all 50 states, leaving a death toll of 100,000 from more than 1.6 million confirmed cases. The death toll in the US became the highest in the world in early April and has risen dramatically since then.