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.
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.
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.
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.
Senator Bernie Sanders' issues with the Democratic establishment may continue past the nominating races and into the Democratic National Convention, according to a new report. If Mr Sanders arrives at the convention with any less than a majority of delegates pledged to him, he may find himself with a wave of superdelegates voting against his nomination. The New York Times reported Thursday that in interviews with 93 superdelegates, only nine said that Mr Sanders arriving at the convention with a plurality was reason enough to support him as nominee.
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.
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.
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".
A mother arrested in Hawaii in connection with the disappearance of her two Idaho children wants a judge to reconsider her $5 million bail.
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.
WASHINGTON — The forewoman on the jury that convicted Roger Stone said she did not lie in a jury questionnaire in which she was asked whether she had posted publicly about the longtime ally of President Donald Trump. The issue is at the heart of a bid for a new trial by Stone, who was convicted of lying to Congress and obstructing its investigation on Russia's interference in the 2016 presidential race. The 67-year-old GOP operative was sentenced last week to three years and four months in prison, but U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson has allowed Stone to not begin serving his sentence while the motion for a new trial is unresolved.
A measure to grant funding to try to eradicate the invasive rodents called nutria has passed the U.S. House with the help of a large, stuffed specimen. California Rep. Josh Harder brought the taxidermied nutria he calls Nellie to the House floor Wednesday ahead of a vote that approved the bill, The Modesto Bee reported. Louisiana Rep. Garret Graves co-sponsored the legislation with Harder.
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.
Joe Biden holds a sizable lead in South Carolina, backed by strong support among African-American voters, according to a new Monmouth University poll released Thursday. Bernie Sanders, who has overtaken Biden in national polls, is fighting with billionaire Tom Steyer for second place in Saturday's primary vote. Among likely Democratic voters, 36% support Biden, 16% Sanders and 15% Steyer, who has been focusing his money and efforts on the state.
A Texas elementary school art teacher who was placed on administrative leave after showing her students a picture of her fiancée has reached a $100,000 settlement after a judge ruled that her suspension was unconstitutional. "The agreements the district and I made in this settlement are a positive first step in making things better for gay employees, gay students and gay families in Mansfield," the teacher, Stacy Bailey, told NBC Dallas-Fort Worth. Bailey, who began working at Charlotte Anderson Elementary School in the Dallas suburb of Arlington over a decade ago, sued the district and two school administrators in May 2018, claiming that the defendants wrongly discriminated against her because of her sexual orientation.
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."
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.
JUNG YEON-JE/AFP via Getty Images The doomsday church that is at the heart of South Korea's COVID-19 crisis was holding prayer sermons in Wuhan, China, where the illness originated, until December. About 200 members of the Shincheonji Church of Jesus met at the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak and mostly ignored rumors of the illness that began to swirl as early as November, a kindergarten teacher told the South China Morning Post. However, she refused to believe that Wuhan-based members could have played a part in the outbreak in Daegu and the rest of South Korea because "none of our brothers and sisters in Wuhan have been infected," she said.
Concerns about the global spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus "are growing, but fear not!" Stephen Colbert said on Wednesday's Late Show. Trump accused the media for "doing everything possible to make the Caronavirus [sic] look as bad as possible," and Colbert roasted him for the unfortunate typo, plus the attempts at reassurance from his economic adviser Larry Kudrow and acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf. Concerns over the coronavirus have helped tank stock prices but they have also "led many to wear masks in the United States, and the CDC has released this actual graphic detailing which styles of facial hair are best for wearing respirator masks and which ones do not work," he said.
A US government commission on Wednesday faulted India's response to deadly communal riots in New Delhi and urged the government to take swift action to protect the Muslim minority. The US Commission on International Religious Freedom, which advises the US government but does not set policy, voiced "grave concern" about the violence which broke out as President Donald Trump was visiting. "One of the essential duties of any responsible government is to provide protection and physical security for its citizens, regardless of faith," said chairman Tony Perkins, a conservative Christian close to the Trump administration.
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.
Saudi Arabia on Thursday closed off the holiest sites in Islam to foreign pilgrims over the coronavirus, disrupting travel for thousands of Muslims already headed to the kingdom and potentially affecting plans later this year for millions more ahead of the fasting month of Ramadan and the annual hajj pilgrimage. The unprecedented move, which wasn't taken even during the 1918 flu epidemic that killed tens of millions worldwide, showed the growing worry about the virus across the Middle East, which has more than 360 confirmed cases. The region's hardest-hit nation is Iran, which is Saudi Arabia's biggest nearby rival, with the death toll reaching at least 26, the largest behind only China, where the epidemic began.
Former Vice President Joe Biden has an 18 point lead over his Democratic rivals heading into Saturday's South Carolina primary according to a Clemson University poll released on Wednesday. The poll reported that 35 per cent of respondents supported Mr Biden in the upcoming primary. Entrepreneur Tom Steyer, who has focused campaign advertising on the state, is in second place at 17 per cent.
Gambia's government reopened two shut-down radio stations and dropped charges against four journalists for their coverage of last month's violent protests against President Adama Barrow, saying that its response against the demonstrations wasn't “perfect. Protests on Jan. 26 saw the most severe crackdown on dissent since Barrow took office three years ago, with demonstrators calling on the 55-year-old to step down in line with an agreement he made with coalitions partners in 2016. Police arrested 137 activists and banned the 'Three Years is Enough' movement, which the government labeled as “subversive, violent and illegal.
MOSCOW/WARSAW (Reuters) - The Kremlin on Thursday played down the significance of an attack on a Chechen blogger living in Poland who has been highly critical of Chechnya's Kremlin-backed leader Ramzan Kadyrov, the third such incident this month. Tumso Abdurakhmanov, who fled Russia after an altercation in Chechnya, was taken to hospital on Wednesday after a man broke into his home and attacked him with a hammer, a Chechen rights group said. It was the third attack on a Kadyrov critic this month, after the murder of Chechen blogger Imran Aliyev in France and an assault on Russian journalist Yelena Milashina in the Chechen capital Grozny.