"Due to this irresponsible, selfish behavior, 200 people are at risk despite having done the right thing while traveling," Argentina's top immigration official said.His test came back positive »
Prominent pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong was sentenced to more jail time Thursday for participating in an unauthorized vigil to commemorate the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown, as Hong Kong authorities exert more control over dissent in the city. For years, Hong Kong was the only place in China where people were allowed to mark the anniversary of Beijing's crushing of the Chinese democracy movement. Despite the commemoration being banned for the first time last year, thousands of protesters defied authorities and proceeded to Victoria Park to light candles and sing songs.
The United States will advocate for waiving COVID-19 vaccine patent protections in discussions with the World Trade Organization, U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai announced Wednesday. The Biden administration "believes strongly in intellectual property protections," Tai said in a statement, but the White House will back the waiver given the "extraordinary circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic." The administration has faced pressure to support the measure, which is aimed at increasing vaccinations around the world — especially in countries experiencing a surge in infections, like India — without having to rely solely on exports.
The resumption of student visa applications at U.S. missions in China got off to an acrimonious start this week when netizens took exception to an American embassy social media post they interpreted as likening Chinese students to dogs. Former U.S. President Donald Trump, whose time in office was marked by tense relations in Beijing, had in January last year barred nearly all non-U.S. citizens who were in China from entering the United States after the coronavirus outbreak. On the Twitter-like Weibo service on Wednesday, the visa section of the U.S. embassy in China asked students what they were waiting for after the Biden administration eased restrictions.
A former top financial officer in Venezuela's state-owned oil company was sentenced to two years and four months in prison Wednesday after admitting that he played a supporting role in allowing wealthy Venezuelan “kleptocrats” to make loans to the government entity that yielded fortunes for them. Abraham Edgardo Ortega, the former executive director of financial planning at Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PDVSA), admitted he accepted more than $12 million in bribes that were secretly wired to U.S. and other financial institutions. Ortega, who was facing about five years in prison, was given a significant sentence reduction by U.S. District Judge Kathleen Williams because he was the first Venezuelan official to cooperate with federal authorities in a massive $1.2 billion money-laundering conspiracy case.
At a White House press briefing on Wednesday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki responded to a question about Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's claim that the Republican Party is united against President Biden's administration.
Every Republican in Congress voted against the sweeping pandemic relief bill that President Joe Biden signed into law three months ago. But since the early spring votes, Republicans from New York and Indiana to Texas and Washington state have promoted elements of the legislation they fought to defeat. The Republicans' favorite provisions represent a tiny sliver of the massive law, which sent $1,400 checks to millions of Americans, extended unemployment benefits until September, increased the child tax credit, offered housing assistance for millions of low-income Americans and expanded health care coverage.
Britain and America's navy chiefs said they were "operating in lockstep to preserve the freedom of the seas" as they met in Washington on Tuesday before a massive joint deployment to the Indo-Pacific region. The UK's First Sea Lord, Admiral Tony Radakin, said the deployment of the new Carrier Strike Group (CSG) was a testament to the strength of the special relationship "in an increasingly contested world", as well as a recognition of the economic advantages of the region. The programme represents the UK's biggest deployment of maritime and air power since the Falklands war.
BERLIN (Reuters) -German Chancellor Angela Merkel told Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday that the withdrawal of foreign troops from Libya would be an "important signal" as both leaders vowed to support the new interim government there, a German government spokesman said. Libya's new unity government was sworn in on March 15 from two warring administrations that had ruled eastern and western regions, completing a relatively smooth transition of power after a decade of violent chaos. Turkey had backed the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord against the eastern-based Libyan National Army, which was supported by Russia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and France.
The US has thrown its support behind a move at the World Trade Organization (WTO) to temporarily lift patent protection for coronavirus vaccines. India and South Africa proposed the plan, which they said would increase vaccine production around the world. US Trade Representative Katherine Tai said that "extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures".
Reporters in Georgetown, Kentucky, asked Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Wednesday about House Republicans rushing to oust Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) from her leadership position due to her clashes with former President Donald Trump about the validity of the 2020 election. McConnell sidestepped the question. "One hundred percent of my focus is on stopping this new administration," he said, referring to President Biden's policies as "socialist."
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Infections in India hit another grim daily record on Thursday as demand for medical oxygen jumped seven-fold and the government denied reports that it was slow in distributing life-saving supplies from abroad. The number of new confirmed cases breached 400,000 for the second time since the devastating surge began last month. The 412,262 cases pushed India's tally to more than 21 million.
Lebanese President Michel Aoun said on Tuesday there should be no preconditions for talks with Israel over their Mediterranean border dispute, key to Lebanon's hopes to find gas reserves amid its worst economic crisis since its 1975-1990 civil war. A statement by the Lebanese presidency issued after the resumption of talks on Tuesday said the U.S. mediator had asked for negotiations to be on the basis of Israeli and Lebanese border lines already submitted and registered with the United Nations. "President Aoun has given his instructions to the negotiating team that talks should not be tied to any preconditions and should rely on international law that will remain the basis for reaching a fair solution."
The Pentagon said Wednesday it's tracking the uncontrolled descent of the Long March-5B Y2 rocket that carried a Chinese Space Station module to orbit last week. Details: Defense Department spokesperson John Kirby told reporters the rocket's debris was expected to return to Earth "somewhere around" May 8 and that the U.S. Space Command has said "almost the entire body of the rocket" remains intact. Space watchers also played a waiting game as China's Tiangong-1 space station came back through the atmosphere in 2018, eventually burning up above the Pacific Ocean.
On the frontlines of the battle against Russia-backed separatists and in the halls of government in Kyiv, Ukrainians hold strong hopes for Thursday's visit of the U.S. secretary of state — increased military aid and strong support for NATO membership among them. Blinken said Monday in London that he would use the visit to show “our unwavering support for the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.” “Ukraine needs a clear signal about the European and Euro-Atlantic prospect,” Zelenskyy said Monday on Twitter, referring to Ukraine's aspirations to join NATO and the European Union.
Thailand confirmed on Thursday that it plans to include 3 million foreigners living in the country in its mass vaccination programme to protect the entire population, amid concerns over the scope of vaccine access. "Anybody living in Thailand, whether they be Thai or foreign, if they want they vaccine, they can get it," head of the disease control department, Opas Kankawinpong told a briefing. The government has repeatedly said foreigners would be offered vaccines.
SpaceX managed to land its prototype Starship rocket at its Texas base without blowing it up on Wednesday, the first time it has succeeded in doing so in five attempts. The test flight represents a major win for the hard-charging company, which eventually wants to carry crew inside Starship for missions to Mars. "Starship landing nominal!" tweeted founder Elon Musk triumphantly, after the last four tries ended in big explosions.
Tursunjan Mamat, a practicing Muslim in western China's Xinjiang region, said he's fasting for Ramadan but his daughters, ages 8 and 10, are not. Religious activity including fasting is not permitted for minors, he explained. It seemed he was giving a matter-of-fact description of how religion is practiced under rules set by China's Communist Party.
El Salvador's President Nayib Bukele has a 90 percent popularity rate in his country, perhaps the highest one in the region. On May 1, Bukele's New Ideas Party's congressional majority fired five key members of the Supreme Court and the country's attorney general, in what most legal scholars agree was an unconstitutional move. The Supreme Court had ruled several times that Bukele, 39, had overstepped his executive powers, and the ousted attorney general was investigating Bukele's ministers for alleged corruption.
Going door-to-door in a Manila suburb, Philippines health workers administered COVID-19 vaccinations on Wednesday to those unable to visit clinics due to illness or old age as part of efforts to protect more vulnerable groups in the area. The Philippines is battling one of the worst coronavirus outbreaks in Southeast Asia, with the capital region, an urban sprawl of 16 cities that is home to at least 13 million people, the epicentre for the latest wave of infections. In Marikina City, east of central Manila, residents unable to make it to inoculation centres can register for vaccinations.
Nearly two decades after an Australian woman was convicted of killing her four children, dozens of scientists are backing the claim that they may have died of natural causes. Australian law says Kathleen Folbigg is one of the nation's worst female serial killers who smothered her four children over a decade. The petition lodged in March carries the signatures of 90 scientists, medical practitioners and related professionals including two Nobel laureates.
The top U.S general for Africa is warning that a growing threat from China may come not just from the waters of the Pacific, but from the Atlantic as well. U.S. Gen. Stephen Townsend, in an interview with The Associated Press, said Beijing is looking to establish a large navy port capable of hosting submarines or aircraft carriers on Africa's western coast. Townsend said China has approached countries stretching from Mauritania to south of Namibia, intent on establishing a naval facility.
A study in Denmark and Norway has found slightly increased rates of vein blood clots among people who have had a first dose of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine, including clots in the brain, compared with expected rates in the general population. "The absolute risks of venous thromboembolic events described in this study are small, and the findings should be interpreted in the context of the benefits of COVID-19 vaccination at both the societal and the individual level," they wrote in a summary of their findings published in the BMJ medical journal on Thursday. Norway suspended its rollout of the AstraZeneca vaccine on March 11 after a small number of cases of blood clots combined with bleeding and low platelet counts.
Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos is now ready to take people into space. The US entrepreneur's Blue Origin company says it will launch a crew aboard its New Shepard rocket and capsule system on 20 July. The astronauts are likely to include company personnel, but one seat is being auctioned online.
“Every college has a public health responsibility to require its students to be vaccinated.”
“While the vast majority of students will likely get the vaccine, schools should honor the decisions of the few who object.”
“A vaccinated campus could be the step toward normality that college leaders are seeking.”
“College students are mobile and spread COVID-19 with them whenever they travel.”
“There almost certainly are going to be legal challenges because the anti-vaccine movement is already preparing for them.”