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".
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.
President Trump held a news conference on Wednesday evening where he discussed his administration's response to the ongoing coronavirus epidemic. Elements of the response outlined by Trump mirror things he specifically criticized President Barack Obama for during the ebola outbreak in 2014. Trump sent nearly 50 tweets and made multiple media appearances criticizing Obama's handling of the ebola outbreak in 2014.
A mother arrested in Hawaii in connection with the disappearance of her two Idaho children wants a judge to reconsider her $5 million bail.
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.
Vice President of the Islamic Republic of Iran Masoumeh Ebtekar delivers a speech during the opening session of the World Climate Change Conference 2015 (COP21) at Le Bourget, near Paris, France, November 30, 2015. Masoumeh Ebtekar, one of Iran's vice presidents, has coronavirus. Ebtekar is perhaps best known outside of Iran for her role as a spokesperson for Iranian students who took dozens of hostages at the US Embassy in Tehran in the 1979 Iranian hostage crisis.
MSNBC host Chris Matthews, fresh off his apology to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) for comparing his Nevada primary victory to a Nazi invasion, sparked more controversy Tuesday night when he aggressively pressed Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) to explain why she believed one of Michael Bloomberg's accusers over Bloomberg himself. During Tuesday evening's chaotic Democratic primary debate, Warren directly confronted the former New York City mayor over his treatment of women over the years. Notably, she brought up a lawsuit in which a female employee alleged Bloomberg had told her to “kill it” when he found out she was pregnant.
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."
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.
The EU asset freezes and travel bans on two employees of Turkish Petroleum Corp. make good on the bloc's months-long vow to counter Turkey's oil and natural-gas exploration in waters that are part of the exclusive economic zone of member country Cyprus. The sanctions also are the first of their kind in response to the actions of a nation seeking to join the EU. “Hanging in the balance is a possible influx of Syrian refugees into Europe,” said Michael Emerson of the CEPS think tank in the Belgian capital.
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.
The search for a missing Tennessee toddler has shifted to the northwest corner of North Carolina as authorities grow increasingly frustrated in their desperate bid to find the little girl, officials said Wednesday. The mother and grandmother of 15-month-old Evelyn Mae Boswell have both been arrested — and put in the same jail — as deputies in two states continue looking for her, Tennessee's Sullivan County Sheriff Jeff Cassidy said. "They are actively looking in an area in Wilkes County North Carolina" for the girl, Sullivan told reporters.
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.
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.
SHANGHAI/SEOUL (Reuters) - Asia reported hundreds of new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, including the first U.S. soldier to be infected, as the United States warned of an inevitable pandemic, and outbreaks in Italy and Iran spread to more countries. Asian shares fell on Wednesday as the U.S. warning to Americans to prepare for a likely coronavirus pandemic jolted Wall Street again and pushed yields on safe-haven Treasuries to record lows. The disease is believed to have originated in a market selling wildlife in the Chinese city of Wuhan late last year and has infected about 80,000 people and killed more than 2,700, the vast majority in China.