President Trump addressed the nation from the White House briefing room on Wednesday evening in an effort to calm anxieties about the rapid proliferation of coronavirus. In a seeming acknowledgement that the White House response has lacked clarity and cohesion, Trump announced he was putting Vice President Mike Pence in charge of the effort to stem the spread of the virus in the U.S. “I don't view Mike as a czar,” Trump said, though he did not explain what, exactly, Pence's duties would be. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar had previously been in charge of the coronavirus response.
They said they were relieved by Bloomberg's improved debate performance in South Carolina on Tuesday night, including his opening attack on Sanders and his handling of a repeat grilling from Elizabeth Warren on his private company's treatment of women. After Warren tore into him in the first debate, he agreed to allow women who have signed nondisclosure agreements related to him to speak freely. There would've been a political price to pay for saying you were not going to debate.
President Andrés Manuel López Obrador suggested Wednesday without offering evidence that most of those who die in Mexico's cartel- and gang-fueled firefights are high on drugs or intoxicated, prompting criticism and questions about whether the claim was accurate. Speaking to journalists in his morning news conference, López Obrador said rising drug consumption rates must be reversed if the country is to guarantee peace and security after years of rising, record-setting homicide statistics. “Just so you have the number, 60% of those who lose their life each day, 60% of those killed in clashes, it is shown that they are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, but primarily drugs,” the president continued.
An Oklahoma man convicted of kidnapping his stepdaughter as a child and holding her in captivity for nearly 20 years has been sentenced to life in prison, prosecutors said Tuesday. Henri Michelle Piette was found guilty in June by a federal jury of kidnapping and traveling with intent to engage in a sexual act with a juvenile following a seven-day trial that detailed the horrific conditions Rosalynn McGinnis endured. Piette repeatedly raped and abused her and fathered her nine children during the nearly two-decade ordeal, which began when Piette kidnapped her in 1997 when she was 12 years old.
An Iranian parliament spokesman on Wednesday announced that anyone found to be “spreading rumors” about the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak will be sentenced to one-to-three years in prison and flogging, Iran state news agency IRNA reported. Norouzi said the prison sentence and flogging is based on “on the Islamic penal code,” and 24 people have been arrested already on suspicion of “spreading rumors” about the illness. Iran has reported 139 cases of coronavirus infections throughout the country, with an epicenter in the city of Qom, a destination for Shi'ite Muslim religious pilgrims.
The Japanese military is considering developing a hypersonic anti-ship missile with a special warhead for penetrating the decks of Chinese aircraft carriers. Japan's defense ministry is developing what it calls a “hypervelocity gliding projectile," or HVGP, for deployment on island bases starting in 2026. In U.S. parlance, a guided missile traveling faster than five times the speed of sound is a “hypersonic” weapon.
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday revealed there was a secret plan to use a double to make public appearances for him, while insisting he vetoed it -- and that he is the real Putin. Putin's comments showed that a conspiracy theory widespread on the internet that the Russian strongman has been impersonated over the years or even replaced by a lookalike is not entirely without basis. TASS state news agency showed Putin a list of popular Russian-language Internet searches including "Putin double proof".
NAIROBI/ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) - Countries in East Africa are racing against time to prevent new swarms of locusts wreaking havoc with crops and livelihoods after the worst infestation in generations. A lack of expertise in controlling the pests is not their only problem: Kenya temporarily ran out of pesticides, Ethiopia needs more planes and Somalia and Yemen, torn by civil war, can't guarantee exterminators' safety. Locust swarms have been recorded in the region since biblical times, but unusual weather patterns exacerbated by climate change have created ideal conditions for insect numbers to surge, scientists say.
The EU asset freezes and travel bans on two employees of Turkish Petroleum Corp. make good on the bloc's months-long vow to counter Turkey's oil and natural-gas exploration in waters that are part of the exclusive economic zone of member country Cyprus. The sanctions also are the first of their kind in response to the actions of a nation seeking to join the EU. “Hanging in the balance is a possible influx of Syrian refugees into Europe,” said Michael Emerson of the CEPS think tank in the Belgian capital.
A Republican super PAC backing Donald Trump's re-election has received a cease-and-desist letter from Barack Obama over a Joe Biden attack ad being aired on TV in South Carolina ahead of the state primary featuring the 44th president's voice without his approval. President Trump has meanwhile received a boost in the 2020 race after a new poll put him ahead of Democratic front-runner Bernie Sanders, who has led the criticism of the administration's response to the spread of the coronavirus, branding Trump “incompetent and inadequate” and ridiculing his appointment of veep Mike Pence to oversee the crisis. Trump followed a press conference on the global epidemic on Wednesday night in which he said Americans faced only a “very low” risk from the virus by tweeting about the FBI spying on his campaign team in 2016, a gesture giving credence to the Vermont senator's rebuke.
Pete Buttigieg called Mike Bloomberg's record of stop-and-frisk policing "racist" at Tuesday night's Democratic presidential debate in South Carolina before reflecting on his own record as mayor. "We let it get out of control," Bloomberg said. "I come to this with some humility because I'm conscious of the fact that there are seven white people on this stage talking about racial justice," Buttigieg said.
Saudi Arabia cut travel to Islam's holiest sites, South Korea toughened penalties for those breaking quarantines and airports across Latin America looked for signs of sick passengers Thursday as the new virus troubled a mushrooming swath of the globe. “Viruses don't know borders and they don't stop at them,” said Roberto Speranza, the health minister in Italy, where northern towns were on army-guarded lockdowns and supermarket shelves were bare. As growing parts of Europe and the Middle East saw infections and a first case was found in South America, air routes were halted and border control toughened.
The search for a missing Tennessee toddler has shifted to the northwest corner of North Carolina as authorities grow increasingly frustrated in their desperate bid to find the little girl, officials said Wednesday. The mother and grandmother of 15-month-old Evelyn Mae Boswell have both been arrested — and put in the same jail — as deputies in two states continue looking for her, Tennessee's Sullivan County Sheriff Jeff Cassidy said. "They are actively looking in an area in Wilkes County North Carolina" for the girl, Sullivan told reporters.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has admitted she feels unsafe in Washington D.C. over her home in the Bronx, New York — which is fueled, in part, by the threats she's received after President Trump tweeted against her.
Iran has the highest reported number of deaths from the coronavirus outside China, raising questions about how the government is handling the public health crisis and whether the often secretive regime has been fully transparent about the extent of the outbreak. Iran's health ministry spokesman said on Thursday that 26 Iranians have died out of a total of 245 positive cases. Apart from China, where it was first detected in December, Iran has recorded the most deaths from the new form of coronavirus.
The killer's anti-immigrant rampage has shocked a nation that set a model in the late 20th century in how to deal with a racist past. Citizens should “show what Germany actually stands for ... what our democracy and our freedom are here,” one German student of Afghan origin told a reporter for Deutsche Welle. In addition, the rise of an anti-immigrant party, the Alternative for Germany, or AfD, has roiled politics and weakened the country's traditional parties.
Islamist militant groups in Nigeria have begun targeting Christians in an attempt to provoke a religious war, the information minister said on Thursday. Islamist insurgents in Nigeria have killed around 35,000 people and displaced at least two million in the past decade, driven first by Boko Haram and more recently by its offshoot, the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP). Information Minister Lai Mohammed said jihadist groups in the northeast of the country have now adopted a "deliberate policy of attacking Christians."
Sanders, who is seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, plans to introduce a bill in the Senate Thursday that would stop company leaders and other highly-paid executives from delaying taxes on stock options and deferred compensation that aren't available to average employees. The bill, co-sponsored by Maryland Democrat Chris Van Hollen, has almost no chance of getting traction in the Republican-controlled Senate this year, but it reflects one of the central arguments Sanders is making in his presidential campaign: that the tax code favors the wealthy at the expense of workers.
Dr. Nancy Messonnier, the award-winning director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, has worked in the public health sector since 1995. Messonnier reportedly angered President Trump on Tuesday when she said it's not a question of if, but when and how fiercely, the coronavirus will hit the United States. Limbaugh, who has said the coronavirus is nothing more than the common cold and a scare tactic meant to hurt Trump by tanking the stock market, doubled down on his conspiracy theory Wednesday by tying Messonnier to her brother, who is, to put it gently, not viewed favorably by Trump and his allies, thanks to his role overseeing former Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into 2016 Russian election interference.
A trans woman who threatened shop staff with a claw hammer escaped prison after a court heard there was no way to confirm her gender. Leila Le Fey, 40, admitted entering a Budgens store in Brighton last year in a bid to steal alcohol, and brandished the “terrifying” weapon at Enoch Adetayo, the shop's manager, before assaulting him. Lewes Crown Court heard that Le Fey had completed gender-reassignment but had not yet obtained a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC) to that effect.
White supremacist mass murderer Dylann Roof staged a hunger strike this month while on federal death row, alleging in letters to The Associated Press that he's been “targeted by staff,” “verbally harassed and abused without cause” and “treated disproportionately harsh. The 25-year-old Roof, who killed nine black church members during a Bible study in Charleston, South Carolina, in 2015, told the AP in a letter dated Feb. 13 that the staff at the federal prison in Terre Haute, Indiana, feel justified in their conduct “since I am hated by the general public. A person familiar with the matter said Roof had been on a hunger strike but was no longer on one, as of this week.
The death toll from four days of sectarian violence in India's capital has risen to 38, making it the worst religious rioting Delhi has seen in more than three decades. Over 200 people have been injured, dozens of them shot, as mostly-Hindu supporters of a controversial new citizenship law seen as discriminatory against the country's minority Muslim population clash with opponents. Despite assurances from government and police officials Wednesday that the situation was under control, new clashes were reported Thursday morning, and the death toll continued to rise sharply.
The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday formally dismissed a case in which Lee Boyd Malvo, who was 17 when he took part in the deadly 2002 "D.C. Sniper" shooting spree in the Washington area, was challenging his life without parole sentence.
Vice President of the Islamic Republic of Iran Masoumeh Ebtekar delivers a speech during the opening session of the World Climate Change Conference 2015 (COP21) at Le Bourget, near Paris, France, November 30, 2015. Masoumeh Ebtekar, one of Iran's vice presidents, has coronavirus. Ebtekar is perhaps best known outside of Iran for her role as a spokesperson for Iranian students who took dozens of hostages at the US Embassy in Tehran in the 1979 Iranian hostage crisis.
Key point: Ukraine doesn't have nuclear weapons and probably won't ever be as strong as Russia. But Kyiv has become much, much more formidable than Moscow ever anticipated or wanted. You May Also Like: 5 Best Submarines of All Time, 5 Best Aircraft Carriers of All Time, 5 Best Battleships of All Time and Worst Submarine of All Time.