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.
As the novel coronavirus continues to spread beyond China, the U.S. military announced its first confirmed case and commanders across the globe braced for the worst. Shortly afterward, USFK raised its risk level to “high” and restricted U.S. military personnel from attending “non-essential” gatherings at restaurants, bars, clubs and theaters away from their installations. South Korea, where 28,500 U.S. troops are based, had 977 confirmed cases of the virus by Tuesday, with 10 deaths, according to the World Health Organization, making it the second-hardest-hit country after China, where the virus originated.
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.
A Kansas man who spent over two decades in prison for a double murder he didn't commit will be awarded $1.5 million for his wrongful conviction, according to the Kansas State Attorney General's office. Lamonte McIntyre was convicted and sentenced to two terms of life in prison for the murders of Donald Ewing and Doniel Quinn back in 1994. According to the Associated Press, documents made public during the 8-year fight to free McIntyre allege that the prosecutor in the case intimidated witnesses who told her that McIntyre did not look like the shooter after they saw him in person.
Billionaire and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg twice compared Social Security to a Ponzi scheme when he was in office, CNN reports, which is a far cry from his current stance as a Democratic presidential candidate. Nowadays, Bloomberg has vowed to to strengthen entitlement programs, but he used to see them as a major hurdle in the effort to shrink the United States' deficit. During appearances on his old radio program "Live from City Hall," which were reviewed by CNN's KFile, Bloomberg made the Ponzi scheme comparison once in 2006 and again in 2009.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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".
GREENVILLE, S.C. – Results of a poll released Thursday morning show former Vice President Joe Biden holds a commanding lead in the South Carolina Democratic presidential primary, with U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders and businessman Tom Steyer in a close battle for second. The Monmouth University Poll showed Biden's support in South Carolina stands at 36%, with Sanders receiving 16% and Steyer at 15%. U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren was at 8% and Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, had 6%.
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.
A Hawaii judge refused Wednesday to reduce the $5 million bail set for the Idaho mother of two children missing since September. Lori Vallow, 46, was arrested last week and is facing two counts of desertion and nonsupport of dependent children. Police have said Vallow failed to comply with a court order to produce her children to authorities by Jan. 30.
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.
China's embassy in Russia has demanded authorities in Moscow end what it said are discriminatory anti-coronavirus measures against Chinese nationals, saying they are damaging relations and alarming Chinese residents of the Russian capital. The complaint, detailed in an embassy letter to the city's authorities and published by Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta late on Tuesday, deplored what it called "ubiquitous monitoring" of Chinese nationals, including on public transport in Moscow. Russia, which enjoys strong political and military ties with Beijing, does not currently have any confirmed cases of coronavirus, but has temporarily barred many categories of Chinese nationals from entering the country.
Local health officials in Cozumel, Mexico, are poised to board the Meraviglia cruise ship Thursday to conduct a review after the vessel was turned away by two Caribbean ports on coronavirus concerns. In a statement Thursday, MSC Cruises said the ship had berthed in Cozumel and was waiting for “customary checks” to be conducted. Late Wednesday, the company said it had received “formal and final authorization” to get to Cozumel.
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.
Salvatore Laporta/KONTROLAB/LightRocket via Getty Images The coronavirus has now infected every continent except Antarctica after Brazil confirmed a case on Tuesday. A 61-year-old man who had just returned home from a 12-day trip to Lombardy, Italy, tested positive in São Paulo. Italy is the worst-hit nation in Europe.
Add surface-to-air missiles to the growing list of advanced weapons—such as cruise missiles, ballistic missiles, and armed drones—that Iran is smuggling to its proxy, the Houthi rebels, in Yemen. Clearly, Iran has no interest in ending the nearly 5-year-old Yemeni civil war, stopping its proxy conflict with the Saudi-led coalition—or shortening its long list of malign, destabilizing behaviors in the Middle East. The latest revelation of Iranian arms running is based on recently released reports from the U.S. Central Command of the U.S. Navy's and U.S. Coast Guard's successful intercept of weapons shipments in the Arabian Sea bound for Yemen.
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.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Two men who don't want to see independent Sen. Bernie Sanders win the Democratic presidential nomination sued to try to nullify votes he'll get in Florida's primary March 17. Frank Bach, a retired letter carrier, and George Brown, a retired social worker, filed a lawsuit this week in Leon County Circuit Court, asking a judge to disqualify Sanders from the ballot and block Florida from certifying his votes. “The plaintiffs have the right to cast their March 17 Democratic presidential preference primary votes for those who are really Democrats, not independents, and are entitled to this court's protection of their right to vote for a Democrat, with the results not diluted by Defendant Sanders' unlawful participation as an independent interloping improperly in the (primary),” the complaint says.
Gov. John Bel Edwards called Wednesday on a Louisiana judge to step down after she admitted to using racial slurs in angry text messages. LeBlanc, who is white, now admits sending the text messages after previously denying she sent them.
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.