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.
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.
Anti-Semitic crimes in Germany last year reached their highest level since the country started keeping statistics, amid an overall strong increase in right-extremist criminality that is a cause for “great concern,” Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said Wednesday. Overall, politically-motivated crimes were up 14.2% in 2019 over the previous year, which is the second highest level since authorities began tracking such crimes in 2001, Seehofer told reporters in Berlin. Crimes by the extreme left rose the most, increasing 23.7% to 9,849, but the majority of politically motivated crimes were from the extreme right, with 22,342 cases and an increase of 9.4%.
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.
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.
Nasa has postponed its first launch of astronauts from US soil in nine years due to bad weather, just minutes before lift-off. Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley were due to travel to the International Space Station (ISS) on a rocket and capsule system built by billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk's firm SpaceX. An estimated 1.7 million people from around the world tuned in to the launch from The Kennedy Space Centre in Florida.
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.
The UN said Wednesday it was "following with great concern" claims that Russia recently sent fighter jets to Libya to support Russian mercenaries fighting for strongman Khalifa Haftar in the long-running conflict. On Tuesday, the US military command for Africa (Africom) accused Moscow of deploying several MiG-29 Fulcrum jets and Su-35 Flankers in support of Haftar, who has been fighting to seize Tripoli from the UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) since April 2019. Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said the Russians had sent a mix of "approximately 14 military fighters."
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.
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.
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.
President Trump took to his favorite social media platform to attack social media platforms on Wednesday morning, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo certainly didn't do anything to help his boss' case. Shortly after Trump claimed on Twitter he would "strongly regulate" or "close down" social media platforms that are allegedly silencing "conservative voices," Pompeo sent out a tweet saying the U.S. "will not tolerate" government-imposed censorship or shutdowns. Pompeo's tweet isn't in response to Trump, exactly — it references the Freedom Online Coalition, a partnership of 31 governments seeking to improve Internet freedom.
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.
President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday that Moscow, the epicentre of Russia's coronavirus outbreak, had succeeded in preventing what he called worst-case scenarios as the city announced it would ease tough lockdown measures within days. Speaking to Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin, an ally, by video conference, Putin said it was obvious the situation in the city of 12.7 million people had stabilised thanks to steps taken by the authorities. It was now time for Moscow to provide medical help to regions where the coronavirus remained rampant, said Putin, something Sobyanin said would be organised immediately.
The TikTok video shows a woman blocking a car from taking an open parking spot. A viral video from TikTok user @savsoares shows a woman physically blocking a car from moving in a parking lot while directing another car to take an open parking spot. The video has amassed over 4 million likes and 18 million views in the four days since it was posted, with both @savsoares and people in the comments calling the woman a "Karen."
A huge disparity When white Americans who live in a "stand your ground" state make self-defense claims in situations involving a black person's death, 36 percent are ruled justifiable homicides, Robert Spitzer, a professor of political science at the State University of New York, Cortland, said. When the situation is reversed and black Americans make self-defense claims in cases involving dead white people in these same states, just 3 percent see those deaths ruled justifiable homicides. That's the pattern in more than a decade of data.
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.
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.
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 video of a woman in Central Park calling New York police on a black man who says he asked her to leash her dog has gone viral, and the woman has been fired from her job with Franklin Templeton. The incident occurred Monday in the Ramble, a wooded area of Central Park where dogs are required to be on leashes. Christian Cooper, who is black, said he was bird-watching in the area when he saw Amy Cooper, who is white, with her dog.
Legislation extending surveillance authorities that the FBI sees as vital in fighting terrorism was thrown into doubt as President Donald Trump threatened a veto and Republican leaders and top liberal Democrats said they would oppose it. House Democratic leaders abruptly adjourned without considering the bill, hours after saying there would be a vote Wednesday evening. In between, Trump said explicitly for the first time that he would veto the measure.
JONATHAN NACKSTRAND/AFP via Getty Images Swedish officials praised the success of the country's lockdown-free coronavirus strategy on Tuesday, saying the relaxed policies had helped slow the transmission of COVID-19. "Transmission is slowing down, the treatment of COVID-19 patients in intensive care is decreasing significantly, and the rising death toll curve has been flattened," Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde said at a press briefing. But the wider picture of the country's coronavirus response is a bit more complicated.
The United States said on Wednesday it will terminate sanctions waivers that had allowed Russian, Chinese and European companies to carry out work originally designed to make it harder for Iranian nuclear sites to be used for weapons development. The waivers, which officials said expire on July 27, covered the conversion of Iran's Arak heavy water research reactor, the provision of enriched uranium for its Tehran Research Reactor and the transfer of spent and scrap reactor fuel abroad. In a statement, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo gave no precise justification for the move, which will halt some work originally designed to make it more difficult for Iran to potentially develop fissile material for nuclear bombs.