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.
Right now in Iran we are facing a coronavirus epidemic,” said a senior medical doctor at the Masih Daneshvari hospital in Tehran, the country's top pulmonary public hospital and the main facility overseeing coronavirus patients. Public officials have not confirmed how the disease arrived in Iran, but it appears to be the locus for the regional outbreak. So far, Afghanistan, Georgia, Bahrain, Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, and Oman reported their first cases of coronavirus, all linked to passengers traveling from Iran.
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.
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.
SHANGHAI/BEIJING (Reuters) - China reported 433 new cases of coronavirus infections on Feb. 26, the National Health Commission said on Thursday, up from 406 a day earlier, with a cluster of new cases in Beijing raising concerns about the management of employees returning to work. The total number of confirmed cases on mainland China has now reached 78,497, the Commission said, though the number of new deaths on Wednesday stood at 29, the lowest daily rate since Jan. 28. The outbreak has now killed a total of 2,744 people in China.
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".
French President Emmanuel Macron and Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte staged a show of friendship with a summit designed to turn the page on a postwar low in bilateral relations, even as coronavirus concerns overshadowed the meeting's agenda. Conte hosted Macron in Naples, with the two sides seeking to boost cooperation in fields ranging from reviewing European Union governance to the naval and technology sectors, according to Italian and French officials. The leaders are keen to ensure warmer ties after Macron recalled the French ambassador to Rome for a week in February 2019.
Top officials in the Trump administration struggled on Tuesday morning to justify their response to the growing threat of the coronavirus, which has sickened at least 80,423 people around the world and killed at least 2,712. Although there have been no recorded fatalities in the United States yet, skeptical members of the U.S. Senate made clear to administration officials that they did not have confidence in their response. At one point during their back-and-forth, which promptly went viral on social media, Kennedy insisted that Wolf tell him the number of coronavirus cases that the United States could expect.
But during last night's Democratic debate in Charleston, S.C., several of Sanders's rivals tried to blunt his momentum ahead of Saturday's Palmetto State primary by claiming, for the first time in a national setting, that the problem isn't just that the Vermont senator is unelectable himself. It's that nominating him would make dozens of down-ballot Democratic House, Senate and state legislature candidates more vulnerable, too. I'll tell you exactly what [Sanders's agenda] adds up to,” said Pete Buttigieg.
Iran's deputy health minister was drenched in sweat at the press conference on Monday where he vehemently denied Tehran was covering up the extent of the coronavirus outbreak. The irony of Deputy Health Minister Iraj Harirchi's case would be funny almost, were Iran's conspicuous bungling of the coronavirus threat not a menace to the whole region and, indeed, to the world. As The Daily Beast's partner publication, IranWire, revealed in an exclusive report Thursday, Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps has tried to address the epidemic by telling doctors to shut up about it, much as Chinese authorities in Wuhan did, disastrously, when the disease was just starting to spread last December.
Crews scrubbed everything from money to buses, military bases were on high alert and quarantines were enforced Wednesday from a beachfront resort in the Atlantic to a remote island in the Pacific, as the world worked to halt the fast-spreading virus that for the first time counted more new cases outside China than inside the country, where the epidemic originated. “We don't expect a miracle in the short term,” said Kianoush Jahanpour of the health ministry in Iran, where an official tally of infections of 139 was doubted by some who thought the problem was far bigger. The World Health Organization, meanwhile, reported that the number of new cases outside China on Tuesday exceeded the number of new infections inside the country for the first time.
Joe Biden says he isn't worried about the prospect of President Trump refusing to leave his post if he's defeated in November.
Israel on Wednesday became the first country to officially warn its citizens to avoid any international travel amid fears over the coronavirus outbreak. Several airlines have canceled flights to China, where the respiratory virus originated, and governments have issued warnings about travel to certain countries, but no country has actively urged their citizens avoid traveling abroad at large until now. "If you don't genuinely have to fly — don't do so," Israel's health ministry said in a statement.
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."
A New Jersey bus driver who pleaded guilty in the 2018 deaths of a middle school teacher and student who were killed in a crash after he made an illegal u-turn across a highway was sentenced Wednesday to 10 years in prison. Hudy Muldrow, 79, of Woodland Park, was taking a group of fifth-grade students and teachers from East Brook Middle School in Paramus to Waterloo Village, a museum in Byram Township, for a field trip on May 17, 2018, when the fatal accident occurred. Muldrow pleaded guilty to reckless vehicular homicide, assault by auto and child endangerment this past December, according to NBC New York.
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 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.
The Stefanik campaign's YouTube page — which features the campaign logo — also contains several videos from the impeachment inquiry. The clips have titles like “Adam Schiff Refuses to yield to Stefanik at Impeachment Hearing Day 2. A complaint regarding Stefanik's use of impeachment footage was filed by Susan Delehanty, a Stefanik constituent who lives in the Adirondack Mountains region of New York, and sent to Omar Ashmawy, chief counsel of the Office of Congressional Ethics, on Dec. 9.
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.
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.
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.
Following a pattern set by the MS Westerdam, a cruise ship in the Caribbean has been turned away from two ports over fears of the coronavirus. The ship, with more than 4,500 passengers and 1,600 crew members, was not allowed to dock in Jamaica and the Cayman Islands after it was discovered a crew member onboard was unwell. The ship left Ocho Rios for its next port of call, Georgetown, Cayman Islands, after waiting to be cleared for nearly four hours.
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.