The president plans to host a White House ceremony later this year for the unveiling of former President Barack Obama’s official portrait, according to sources.History of presidential portraits »
Rumours abounded on Friday night that China's top spycatcher had defected to the US, amid a growing focus in Washington on the theory that Covid-19 escaped from a Wuhan laboratory. Dong Jingwei, vice minister of state security, was reported to have flown from Hong Kong to the US in February with his daughter. There was no confirmation of the rumoured development from either the US or China.
Afghanistan's is racing to ramp up supplies of oxygen as a deadly third surge of COVID-19 worsens, a senior health official told The Associated Press in an interview Saturday. The government is installing oxygen supply plants in 10 provinces where up to 65% of those tested in some areas are COVID positive, health ministry spokesman Ghulam Dastigir Nazari said. Afghanistan's 24-hour infection count has also continued its upward climb from 1,500 at the end of May when the health ministry was already calling the surge “a crisis,” to more than 2,300 this week.
On Friday, as authorities held a press conference to highlight the growing problem of fraud against the elderly, prosecutors revealed they had charged three people suspected of swiping the property. Otis Lathen Powell, Shantel Vennissa Chang and Jason Webley Sr. were charged with a host of felonies, including money laundering, grand theft, organized scheme to defraud and theft from a person 65 years or older.
Joe Biden returned from his sojourn to the UK and Europe to face a growing list of domestic headaches as his big-spending policies stalled and were also blamed for rising inflation. While Mr Biden was meeting Vladimir Putin in Geneva a bipartisan group of 21 senators - 11 Republicans and 10 Democrats - came up with a compromise that would almost halve the amount to $1.2 trillion over eight years. The resulting gridlock explains why a Monmouth University poll this week made worrying reading for Mr Biden after Air Force One landed back in the US.
Australia will file a formal complaint with the World Trade Organization (WTO) after China imposed up to 218% tariffs on its wine last year. China says the tariffs were increased because of trading malpractice, which Australia denies. Australia says it remains open to engaging directly with China to resolve the issue.
Democrats have had what any sane political party would consider a remarkable stroke of luck: Donald Trump, the leader of their opposition has (allegedly) committed many, many crimes, both while serving as president and before, and Democrats now control the federal law enforcement apparatus. As Barbara McQuade and Joyce White Vance write in The Washington Post, Trump is almost certainly guilty of obstruction of justice during the Mueller investigation, of attempting to solicit bribes from Ukraine, and of multiple campaign finance violations (and likely much, much more).
Garner police are investigating the fatal shooting of a 17-year-old at a graduation party early Saturday morning. The Garner Police Department said that Messiah Pitt was shot and killed some time after midnight as a graduation party on Claymore Drive in Garner was ending. Pitt is the only known injury, according to Capt. Lorie Smith.
Activists widely expected Joe Biden to take swift action against the death penalty as the first sitting president to oppose capital punishment, especially since an unprecedented spate of executions by his predecessor ended just days before Biden took office. That has not happened.
A federal judge threw out U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention safety rules for cruise companies operating in Florida during the COVID-19 pandemic Friday, handing a victory to Gov. Ron DeSantis. In a 124-page ruling, U.S. District Judge Steven Merryday of the Middle District of Florida said the agency's “conditional sail order” — a framework of regulations dictating how cruises can restart in the U.S. during the COVID-19 pandemic — can remain in place for Florida cruises only until July 18, granting DeSantis' request for a preliminary injunction while the full case moves forward. After July 18, the rules will become non-binding recommendations for cruise companies as they are for other industries.
Catholic Bishops advanced a document that could bar Biden from Communion over his support for abortion rights. Rep. Ted Lieu, a Catholic, called the Bishops "hypocrites" and "nakedly partisan" for the move. Democratic Rep. Ted Lieu of California lashed out at US Catholic Bishops on Friday after they voted in favor of advancing a document that could block President Joe Biden from receiving Communion due to his stance on abortion.
A spokesperson for House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said while it wasn't "crystal clear," the congressman meant to say during a Fox News interview on Friday that former President Donald Trump wants him to be House speaker if Republicans take the lower chamber back in 2022. In the clip, it appears McCarthy says Trump himself wants to be speaker, but McCarthy's camp is clarifying what would have been a surprising admission for someone who has his own eyes on the gavel. CNN's Chris Cilizza predicted McCarthy would backtrack, and argues it's "virtually impossible" to take him at his word because of what he described as "rampant dishonesty in the GOP over the last five years."
The prolonged dryness means low water levels are endangering fish species in Oregon and Colorado, 30% of California's population is in a drought emergency, and the nation's two biggest reservoirs on the Colorado River — Lake Powell and Lake Mead — are two-thirds empty. "What we see in our major reservoirs on the Colorado River really give us a good indication of water and drought in the West, and whether we're in a good or a tough spot," said John Berggren, a water policy analyst at Western Resource Advocates, a nonprofit organization. And right now, we're definitely in the latter category.
A Missouri man pleaded guilty Thursday to charges that he had threatened to lynch a Black congressman the day after the Jan. 6 siege at the U.S. Capitol and a Jewish congressman in 2019, court records show. The man, Kenneth Hubert, 63, of Marionville, Missouri, was arrested in March after, prosecutors said, he had directed the threats at U.S. Reps. Emanuel Cleaver II, D-Mo., and Steve Cohen, D-Tenn. According to a plea agreement filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri, Hubert pleaded guilty to two counts of threatening to assault a U.S. official.
Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried on Friday said her office has filed a formal complaint against a charity run by Sidney Powell, a former attorney who joined President Donald Trump's legal team and spewed false voter fraud claims about the 2020 election. In the complaint, Fried alleges the organization — Defending the Republic — has not registered with the state and is deceptively asking for contributions by telling consumers that it is, in fact, registered. Fried, a Democrat challenging Trump ally Gov. Ron DeSantis for governor in 2022, denied that the complaint is politically motivated.
GOP Rep. Ralph Norman of South Carolina, one of 14 Republicans who voted against the legislation, took to Fox News Radio on Thursday to explain his opposition, saying that the vote "was an easy no vote" and questioned if a holiday would now have to be established for Native Americans as well. During the program "Fox Across America with Jimmy Failla," Norman also cited the number of existing holidays in detailing his rejection of a federal holiday for Juneteenth, while alleging that supporters were using "race" as an issue. "There's one Fourth of July.
Abandoned by her father and bullied by other children for being chubby, life was not too rosy for Giorgia Meloni when she was growing up in a scruffy working-class district of Rome. The leader of the hard-Right Brothers of Italy party could, conceivably, become Italy's first ever woman prime minister, which would have been unthinkable just a few years ago. Brothers of Italy, which is the modern-day heir to Italy's fascist movement, was then a fringe party commanding less than four per cent of the national vote.
Former President Donald Trump has briefly entertained the idea of making a bid to become House speaker, and others have suggested the strategy may make sense for him, regardless of whether he also wants to take another shot at the White House in 2024. There's no hard evidence that Trump is considering that route, but on Friday House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) appeared to tell Fox News' Brian Kilmeade amid laughter that Trump has indeed told him he "wants to be speaker." The congressman, who is determined to take over the role himself should Republicans take back the House in 2022, said he's responded to Trump by telling him that he'd rather him become president again instead.
Fort Bliss soldier Christian Alvarado has been found guilty of multiple counts of sexual assault and abuse. Alvarado will face an 18-year military prison sentence, a court-martial determined on Friday. A new study found that female soldiers at Texas' Fort Bliss face some of the highest risks of sexual assault than at other Army posts.
Champ, President Joe Biden's 13-year-old German Shepherd, has died. "He was our constant, cherished companion during the last 13 years and was adored by the entire Biden family," the Bidens said on Twitter. The Bidens also have a 3-year-old rescue dog named Major.
More than six decades after Marion Hood was rejected by Emory University School of Medicine, he received another letter from the school. “Your rejection letter serves as a somber reminder that generations of talented young men and women were denied educational opportunities because of their race, and our society was denied their full potential,” said the letter, which was sent in March and signed by Vikas Sukhatme, dean of Emory University School of Medicine. “This one individual and this one letter vividly shows the systematic injustice of that time and the legacy Emory is still reckoning with.”
In the spring of 2006, top Justice Department officials were considering an extraordinary next step in a bribery investigation of a sitting House member. Then-Attorney General Alberto Gonzales had huddled at least twice with senior FBI officials, Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty and Steven Bradbury, who led Justice's Office of Legal Counsel, before signing off on a raid of then-Louisiana Rep. William Jefferson's congressional office — an unprecedented action that would shake the political establishment to its core. Inherent in the criminal investigation were the raw political implications of a Republican administration taking on a Democratic lawmaker.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy passed legislation that bars landlords from asking prospective tenants about their criminal history. Landlords can only inquire about criminal history if an applicant has met certain parameters, like registration as a sex offender. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy on Friday signed an executive order that broadly prohibits landlords from inquiring about a tenant's criminal history.
On Friday, a federal judge denied a Capitol riot suspect's request to go to a car show. Richard Barnett was photographed putting his feet on Nancy Pelosi's desk during the insurrection. A federal judge ruled Friday that the accused Capitol rioter who was photographed with his feet up on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's desk is not allowed to go to a car show, The Associated Press reported.
Miami Herald reporter David Ovalle has been using his Twitter to keep track of the unusual sights in Miami's virtual courtrooms. Now that Miami-Dade courthouses are set to reopen on June 28, Zoom court hearings will become less frequent. Let's look back at some of the wackiest “Oh, Florida” and “Oh, Miami” Zoom court moments that happened during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott defunded the state legislature while signing the state budget on Friday. Abbott made the decision after Democrats staged a walkout in May to prevent restrictive voting legislation from passing. Texas legislator pay is written into the state constitution, so legislative staffers will be most affected.
“It may seem desperate at this point, but I can’t be mad at any and all efforts to get people vaccinated.”
“I won’t get rich, but I will get to live my life. That seems like reward enough.”
“Offering incentives may encourage people who are not actively opposed to vaccination but may have put it off.”
“At some point, the government is simply rewarding irresponsible behavior.”
“Sure, people should do it without needing an incentive. But what’s the alternative? Not enough people get vaccinated.”