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.
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.
MINNEAPOLIS—Flames and black smoke poured into the sky over Minneapolis late Wednesday as the second day of protests over the death of George Floyd took a violent turn, with a local business near police headquarters set ablaze and at least one person fatally shot in the area. Minneapolis Police spokesman John Elder confirmed the shooting shortly before midnight local time, but he did not say if it was connected to the protests, according to the Star Tribune. The shooting came amid reports of widespread looting and a major fire at an AutoZone near the police headquarters.
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.
Brazilian federal police on Tuesday raided the residences of Rio de Janeiro's right-wing Governor Wilson Witzel as part of a COVID-19 corruption probe, targeting one of President Jair Bolsonaro's political foes as the pandemic sweeps the nation. Federal prosecutors alleged Witzel, a former-ally-turned-foe of Bolsonaro, and his wife Helena led a sprawling criminal operation in which her law firm was used to receive payment from a company that won state coronavirus contracts, according to federal court documents seen by Reuters. The spurious services undertaken by the company involved "tent assembly and disassembly services, installation of water tanks, energy generators and flooring for ...
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.
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.
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.
SpaceX is readying for a historic launch, and you can watch the whole thing live. NASA's Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken are headed to the International Space Station and will become the first astronauts to launch from the U.S. since 2011, NPR reports. NASA on its website hails the fact that with this launch, a "new era of human spaceflight is set to begin," and NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said this week this is a "unique opportunity to bring all of America together in one moment in time and say, look at how bright the future is."
Bash will be tasked with looking at instances of unmasking that occurred before and after the 2016 presidential election, the frequency, and who made the unmasking requests, DOJ spokesperson Kerry Kupec said. The inquiry "can shed light on and give us a better understanding of what happened with respect to President Trump, his campaign," and "what happened after he was elected as well," Kupec added. Barr's decision comes after President Trump and his allies have doubled down on allegations that Obama administration officials illegally "unmasked" the identity of former national security adviser Michael Flynn in intelligence reports.
The Michigan governor who implemented some of the toughest coronavirus lockdown rules in the United States came under heavy criticism Tuesday over allegations that her husband pressured a dock to prepare his boat for an outing. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat who has defended her tough stay-at-home policies against armed protestors and attacks from President Donald Trump, announced last week the lifting of some restrictions ahead of the long Memorial Day weekend. According to a claim posted on Facebook by Northshore Docks owner Tad Dowker, Whitmer's husband Marc Mallory subsequently tried to use her position to get his boat moved ahead of others for launching before the holiday weekend.
Boeing began making its first round of involuntary layoffs on Wednesday morning, announcing that it will slash the jobs of approximately 6,770 employees across the United States. Boeing's massive commercial business will take the brunt of the cuts, with the company's defense, space and security division only expected to shed less than 100 employees through involuntary layoffs this week. Boeing plans to reduce its total headcount by 10 percent through natural turnover, voluntary layoffs and involuntary cuts — a measure made necessary by the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has shook the travel industry and called into question commercial airlines' ability to pay for Boeing aircraft already on order.
The senior adviser central to the investigation into allegations that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo used an employee to run personal errands is now leading the charge to find support among former staffers against what they describe as a "smear campaign," NBC News has learned. Shortly before he was fired, State Department Inspector General Steve Linick was looking into allegations that Pompeo senior adviser Toni Porter was asked to walk the secretary's dog, pick up his laundry and make dinner reservations for him and his wife, Susan, NBC News reported. The State Department's Foreign Affairs Manual prohibits using the office for personal benefit.
Hong Kong's legislature is moving forward on a controversial bill that would criminalise abuse of China's national anthem. A second reading of the bill is being held in the legislature on Wednesday. Protests outside the legislature are expected.
A gang of 26 suspected people smugglers have been arrested in France and Belgium in an investigation prompted by the deaths of 39 Vietnamese migrants found in the back of a lorry in Essex last year. In Belgium, 11 Vietnamese and two Moroccans were held, while in France, authorities said the suspects were “mostly Vietnamese and French”. The suspects are allegedly part of an organised crime group that smuggles refugees from Asia, particularly from Vietnam, and that likely has transported up to several dozen people every day for several months, Europol said in a statement.
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 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 New York pharmacist bought up $200,000 worth of N95 masks before the coronavirus pandemic grew severe in the US, then sold them at up to a 50% markup, prosecutors allege. The pharmacist, 66-year-old Richard Schirripa, sold more than $2,000 worth of masks to an undercover officer, and said during the transaction he felt "like a drug dealer standing out here." Schirripa has been arrested and charged with violating the Defense Production Act by hoarding and price-gouging.
The next launch attempts are on Saturday at 3:22 p.m. ET and Sunday at 3 p.m. ET.
The US military withdrawal from Afghanistan is considerably ahead of schedule, an official told AFP on Wednesday, as President Donald Trump reiterated calls for the Pentagon to bring troops home. The developments came as questions loomed over the next phase of Afghanistan's long war following a historic, three-day ceasefire that led to a major drop in civilian casualties. The truce, which the Taliban called to mark the Muslim celebration of Eid al-Fitr, ended Tuesday night, leaving Afghans anxious about whether it would be extended, or when the war might come raging back.
In February, I wrote about Asian families in California clashing with schools over whether their children should be allowed to wear masks in class. At that time, Asian people wearing masks were targets for verbal and physical abuse. Attackers saw masks on Asian faces as signs of disease and invasion; people were punched and kicked, harassed on public transit, bullied at school and worse.
A video showing a white woman calling New York City police alleging that a black man was threatening her in Central Park after he asked her to put her dog on a leash has gone viral. Christian Cooper told NBC New York that he was bird watching in the park on Monday when he noticed a dog running free. The woman refused and Cooper began filming their interaction, which his sister later posted on Twitter.
China must respect Hong Kong's autonomy, the European Union said on Tuesday, amid controversy over Chinese plans to adopt a national security law for the city. "We attach great importance to the preservation of Hong Kong's high degree of autonomy in line with the Basic Law and international commitments," European Council President Charles Michel, who represents European governments, said. Speaking after a video conference with Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, he said Europe and Japan "share the same ideas" on China.
A man has died after a Minneapolis police officer detained him by putting his knee on his neck, in an arrest captured on camera by a member of the public. The clip, filmed on Monday, showed a black man lying on the ground, motionless, and a white police officer, resting his knee on top of the man's neck. In the video, the man groaned and asked police to get off him, while members of the public attempted to convince the officer that he was hurting him.