The number of new coronavirus cases per week has nearly doubled globally over the past two months, approaching the highest rate seen so far during the pandemic.'Situation is extremely challenging' »
The White House Thursday morning accused the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service, or SVR, of orchestrating the recent massive breach that affected private sector networks and U.S. government agencies through the popular IT monitoring software made by SolarWinds. The statement linking the SVR's hacking group, also known as “Cozy Bear,” to the “broad-scope cyber espionage campaign” is the most concrete connection the Biden administration has made between the hack and Russia. “The SVR's compromise of the SolarWinds software supply chain gave it the ability to spy on or potentially disrupt more than 16,000 computer systems worldwide,” according to the White House statement, which also included a number of measures directed against the Russian government for a range of malign activities in addition to the SolarWinds breach.
A Spanish court has provoked outrage by acquitting a man of sexually abusing his 14-year-old stepdaughter despite the fact she gave birth to his child. The Pamplona court accepted the defendant's claim that the teenager had sat astride him while he was asleep on the sofa and engaged in penetrative sex. The girl's mother reported the father for alleged sexual abuse of her daughter, who initially said she had been raped in the street before changing her story to corroborate her stepfather's claim that he had not been conscious when they had sex.
Pakistan briefly blocked access to all social media on Friday after days of violent anti-French protests across the country by radical Islamists opposed to cartoons they consider blasphemous. Sites including Twitter and Facebook were blocked for four hours on orders from the country's interior ministry, said Khurram Mehran, a spokesman for Pakistan's media regulatory agency. The move comes as police officials prepare to clear a large demonstration in the eastern city of Lahore, and just hours after the government said the now-detained leader of the outlawed Islamist political party at the forefront of the protests had urged his supporters to stand down.
Scientists at Johnson & Johnson on Friday refuted an assertion in a major medical journal that the adenovirus-based design of their COVID-19 vaccine, which is similar AstraZeneca's, may explain why both have been linked to very rare brain blood clots in some vaccine recipients. The United States earlier this week paused distribution of the J&J vaccine to investigate six cases of a rare brain blood clot known as cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST), accompanied by a low blood platelet count, in U.S. women under age 50, out of about 7 million people who got the shot. The blood clots in patients who received the J&J vaccine bear close resemblance to 169 cases in Europe reported with the AstraZeneca vaccine, out of 34 million doses administered there.
On Thursday, Katie Wright, the mother of Daunte Wright, the 20-year-old Black man shot and killed by police in Brooklyn Center, Minn. expressed her grief and called for accountability for her son's death.
Opponents of Myanmar's ruling junta went on the political offensive Friday, declaring they have formed an interim national unity government with members of Aung San Suu Kyi's ousted cabinet and major ethnic minority groups. The move comes on the eve of a diplomatic initiative to solve Myanmar's crisis by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, which is expected to hold a summit next week. A violent crackdown by the junta has failed to stem opposition to the coup, and as the army has spread the fight to ethnic minorities in border areas, some ASEAN members believe the crisis threatens regional stability.
A Cook County prosecutor who said in court the boy was armed when Chicago cops shot him is now backtracking. A prosecutor who said in court that 13-year-old Adam Toledo had a gun when he was shot by Chicago Police is now backtracking on his statement. Toledo was shot and killed in the early morning hours of March 29 while police were detaining a man, Ruben Roman, responding to a call of shots fired around 2:30 a.m.
Danish anti-immigration activists are being sharply criticised after they put up mock travel adverts in Copenhagen telling Syrian refugees the "good news" that they can "now return to sunny Syria". The poster campaign, by the Danish wing of the far-Right Generation Identity group, came after Denmark became the first country in Europe to rule it safe for refugees to return to Syria, despite the human rights violations of the brutal Assad regime. Michala Bendixen from the rights group Refugees Welcome Denmark called the group's posters "cynical and prejudiced", adding that they exemplified a trend of immigrant-bashing in Denmark she witnessed "every day" on social media.
A 2-year-old Georgia girl died Thursday, almost a week after she was found unresponsive in the swimming pool of the Florida Keys vacation rental home in which she and her family were staying. Leland Rudeen's family released a statement on Facebook Thursday saying that she had died a day after undergoing an MRI at Nicklaus Children's Hospital near South Miami. “Shortly after the devastating MRI results, as we were trying to wrap our head around some hard decisions ahead of us, Leland took the choice out of our hands and started her painless decline,” the statement reads.
U.S. housing construction rebounded strongly in March to the fastest pace since 2006 as home builders recovered from an unusually frigid February that shut down projects. Builders began construction on new homes and apartments at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.74 million units in March, the Commerce Department reported Friday, a 19.4% increase over February when housing construction fell by 11.3%. According to the report, applications for building permits, a good sign of future activity, increased by 2.7% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.77 million units.
A police officer wounded during a shooting incident inside a high school in Knoxville, Tennessee, was struck by a bullet that was not fired by the gun of the student who police shot and killed, according to a preliminary investigation. A 17-year-old high school student, who opened fire at an Austin-East Magnet High School, was fatally shot on Monday during a confrontation with the police. The officers, who were responding to the scene, tracked the gunman to a bathroom where shots were fired.
US president Joe Biden has announced sanctions against a number of Russian officials and ordered the immediate expulsion of ten diplomats from the country, following allegations of election interference and hacking. The US government said for the first time on Thursday that that the hack, which affected at least 100 private-sector businesses and nine federal agencies, was carried out by Russia. The US has also alleged that Russian president Vladimir Putin authorised attempts to swing the 2020 US presidential election in favour of Donald Trump.
It will probably be necessary for fully vaccinated people to head in for a third COVID-19 vaccine shot within a year, according to the head of Pfizer. Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla says people will "likely" need to get a COVID-19 vaccine booster dose within 12 months after they've been fully vaccinated, CNBC reported on Thursday. Previously, Pfizer said that an analysis of a phase 3 study found that its COVID-19 vaccine remained highly effective at least six months after the second dose.
The ex-officer accused of killing George Floyd says he will not testify on his own behalf as the defence rests their case and court is adjourned. Derek Chauvin denies killing Mr Floyd. Video of Mr Chauvin kneeling on the neck of Mr Floyd led to worldwide protests against racism and policing.
Amidst growing calls to lift the historically low yearly cap on refugee admissions into the United States, President Joe Biden on Friday signed an emergency order intended to speed the admissions process for those fleeing war, natural disaster or persecution abroad—but did not lift the cap itself, setting up a potential conflict with Democratic allies on Capitol Hill. Less than a month into his administration, Biden pledged to raise the cap to 125,000 people in order to “rebuild what has been so badly damaged” in the immigration system. “I'm directing the State Department to consult with Congress about making a down payment on that commitment as soon as possible,” Biden said in a speech at the State Department on February 4.
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Ted Cruz was among six Republicans who voted against a bill on Wednesday that would strengthen federal efforts to end rampant anti-Asian hate crimes in America. An overwhelming majority of senators voted to advance the legislation directing the Justice Department to "facilitate the expedited review" of hate crimes against Asian communities. But six Republicans — Texas senator Mr Cruz, Tom Cotton of Arkansas, Josh Hawley from Missouri, Rand Paul from Kentucky, Tommy Tuberville from Alabama, and Roger Marshall from Kansas — voted against it.
Lawmakers who criticized Trump or voted to impeach him spent thousands to improve personal security after the Capitol attack. Republicans including Mitt Romney and Liz Cheney beefed up their security, per Punchbowl News. Prominent lawmakers spent tens of thousands of dollars on private security guards and other protection following the Capitol riots, a Punchbowl News analysis of campaign finance records shows.
Nearly six years after William Evans was found shot and cold in a Durham parking lot, his grandson pleaded guilty to shooting the 65-year-old man with his own gun. Under a plea agreement, Dominick Jackson pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and was sentenced to up to nearly 10 years in prison, with credit for the more than five years he spent in jail awaiting trial. Under North Carolina sentencing laws, courts must consider mitigating and aggravating factors that could decrease or increase the sentence.
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House and Senate Democrats are planning to introduce a legislation on Thursday that seeks to expand the number of Supreme Court justices from nine to 13. The bill, bound to draw fierce opposition from Republican lawmakers, is led by senator Ed Markey and representatives Jerrold Nadler, Hank Johnson and Mondaire Jones who will introduce it in both the chambers. The legislation comes days after president Joe Biden announced the formation of a bipartisan commission to study potential Supreme Court reforms including the expansion and limiting terms of the justices.
Raul Castro is set to step down as the head of the Communist Party of Cuba. This will mark an end to over 60 years of Castro rule over Cuba. President Miguel Diaz-Canel, Castro's protege, is set to become the new leader.
Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin confirmed on Thursday that he will not testify in his murder trial. Mr Chauvin is currently standing trial for the murder of unarmed Black man George Floyd, who died in the former Minneapolis police officer's custody last May. Meanwhile, Former Brooklyn Center police officer Kim Potter's first court hearing on second-degree manslaughter charges is scheduled for today.
Peaky Blinders and Harry Potter actress Helen McCrory has died at 52 after a battle with cancer, her husband, actor Damian Lewis, has announced. Lewis on Friday said that McCrory, whom he married in 2007, died "peacefully at home, surrounded by a wave of love from friends and family," following a "heroic" cancer battle. McCrory was known best for her roles as Polly Gray on Peaky Blinders and as Narcissa Malfoy in the Harry Potter movies.
Republican lawmakers responded to Biden's decision to withdraw all US troops from Afghanistan. Hawkish lawmakers' positions on a US pullout were similar to when Trump proposed it, though their protestations this time around were much more voluble. Lindsey Graham called the move "dumber than dirt," saying Biden was "paving the way for another 9/11."
“There’s no ‘both sides of the debate’ when it comes to active voter suppression.”
“Companies that do this ooze contempt for their own customers and employees who are not in the leftmost quarter of opinion.”
“The truth is that Fortune 500 companies were never taking moral stances from the goodness of their corporate hearts.”
“The truth is, the companies hold the cards…If companies stick to their guns, Georgia is likely to back down as well.”
“When a company folds to the unfounded outrage of a few misinformed nuts, they are forever at the mob’s beck-and-call.”