On a day when the U.S. death toll from the coronavirus pandemic neared 100,000, President Trump sought to direct the nation's attention back to the 2009 H1N1 swine flu pandemic as a way to smear the reputation of his Democratic rival Joe Biden, who was vice president at the time. Joe Biden's handling of the H1N1 Swine Flu was a complete and total disaster. In the early weeks of the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S., Trump repeatedly sought to show that he was doing a good job dealing with the pandemic compared with how Biden and then-President Barack Obama had responded to the H1N1 pandemic.
In late March, Congress passed the largest stimulus package in American history in an effort to offset the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. One of the most important elements of the massive $2 trillion bill was a provision that boosted unemployment insurance benefits for those who lost work because of stay-at-home orders designed to limit the spread of the virus. Nearly 39 million Americans have filed for unemployment in the past nine weeks.
Brazilian federal police on Tuesday raided the residences of Rio de Janeiro's right-wing Governor Wilson Witzel as part of a COVID-19 corruption probe, targeting one of President Jair Bolsonaro's political foes as the pandemic sweeps the nation. Federal prosecutors alleged Witzel, a former-ally-turned-foe of Bolsonaro, and his wife Helena led a sprawling criminal operation in which her law firm was used to receive payment from a company that won state coronavirus contracts, according to federal court documents seen by Reuters. The spurious services undertaken by the company involved "tent assembly and disassembly services, installation of water tanks, energy generators and flooring for ...
The founder of the Knights of Columbus, the influential U.S.-based lay Catholic organization, is moving a step closer to possible sainthood. Pope Francis has approved a miracle attributed to the intercession of the Rev. Michael McGivney, a Connecticut priest who died at age 38 of pneumonia in 1890 during a pandemic similar to the current coronavirus outbreak. The Vatican said Wednesday that Francis had signed off on the miracle required.
Two missing walkers have been found in the New Zealand wilderness, 19 days after they set off. Jessica O'Connor and Dion Reynolds, both 23, began walking in the Kahurangi National Park on 9 May, and expected to be gone for six or seven days. The Kahurangi, in the north-west of the South Island, is New Zealand's second biggest national park.
A pair of Russian planes restricted a Navy pilot from safely maneuvering over international waters for more than an hour, service officials said on Tuesday. Two Russian Su-35 aircraft on Tuesday simultaneously flew close to each wing of a Navy P-8A Poseidon patrol aircraft over the Mediterranean Sea, according to Navy news release describing the incident. It was the third time in two months that Russian aircraft have intercepted Navy aircraft in the Sixth Fleet of operations, the release states.
SpaceX is readying for a historic launch, and you can watch the whole thing live. NASA's Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken are headed to the International Space Station and will become the first astronauts to launch from the U.S. since 2011, NPR reports. NASA on its website hails the fact that with this launch, a "new era of human spaceflight is set to begin," and NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said this week this is a "unique opportunity to bring all of America together in one moment in time and say, look at how bright the future is."
The Michigan governor who implemented some of the toughest coronavirus lockdown rules in the United States came under heavy criticism Tuesday over allegations that her husband pressured a dock to prepare his boat for an outing. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat who has defended her tough stay-at-home policies against armed protestors and attacks from President Donald Trump, announced last week the lifting of some restrictions ahead of the long Memorial Day weekend. According to a claim posted on Facebook by Northshore Docks owner Tad Dowker, Whitmer's husband Marc Mallory subsequently tried to use her position to get his boat moved ahead of others for launching before the holiday weekend.
Fox News host Tucker Carlson condemned the protests that have broken out in Minneapolis following the killing of George Floyd by police, claiming on Wednesday night that they are a “form of tyranny” and “oppression.” With demonstrations growing violent and chaotic as protesters have clashed with riot gear-clad police—who have cracked down on the protesters with tear gas and rubber bullets—Carlson devoted most of his attention to the actions of the demonstrators, who are protesting the death of a black man who was pinned down by a cop.
Twitter employees are outraged by the company's refusal to stop President Trump from using the platform to promote a conspiracy theory involving a former staffer of Trump critic and media personality Joe Scarborough, according to tech journalist Kara Swisher. Swisher reported Tuesday that the widower of Lori Klausutis, who died suddenly in 2001 while working as a staff member in Scarborough's congressional office in Florida, wrote Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey a heartfelt letter last week asking him to stop Trump from continuing to spread conspiracy theories about his wife's death via the social media platform.
The senior adviser central to the investigation into allegations that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo used an employee to run personal errands is now leading the charge to find support among former staffers against what they describe as a "smear campaign," NBC News has learned. Shortly before he was fired, State Department Inspector General Steve Linick was looking into allegations that Pompeo senior adviser Toni Porter was asked to walk the secretary's dog, pick up his laundry and make dinner reservations for him and his wife, Susan, NBC News reported. The State Department's Foreign Affairs Manual prohibits using the office for personal benefit.
A gang of 26 suspected people smugglers have been arrested in France and Belgium in an investigation prompted by the deaths of 39 Vietnamese migrants found in the back of a lorry in Essex last year. In Belgium, 11 Vietnamese and two Moroccans were held, while in France, authorities said the suspects were “mostly Vietnamese and French”. The suspects are allegedly part of an organised crime group that smuggles refugees from Asia, particularly from Vietnam, and that likely has transported up to several dozen people every day for several months, Europol said in a statement.
A top executive of Chinese tech giant Huawei is scheduled to learn Wednesday if a U.S extradition case against her can proceed. Canada arrested Meng Wanzhou, the daughter of Huawei's founder, at Vancouver's airport in late 2018. The U.S. wants her extradited to face fraud charges.
A Pakistani villager has urged Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to return his pigeon, currently being held in India on charges of spying. The Pakistani villager, who claims the arrested pigeon is his, says the code is actually his mobile phone number. Pakistan's Dawn newspaper has identified the man as Habibullah and reports that he owns a dozen pigeons.
President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday that Moscow, the epicentre of Russia's coronavirus outbreak, had succeeded in preventing what he called worst-case scenarios as the city announced it would ease tough lockdown measures within days. Speaking to Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin, an ally, by video conference, Putin said it was obvious the situation in the city of 12.7 million people had stabilised thanks to steps taken by the authorities. It was now time for Moscow to provide medical help to regions where the coronavirus remained rampant, said Putin, something Sobyanin said would be organised immediately.
Reuters Chinese President Xi Jinping urged his army to increase its preparedness for "armed combat" as protests in Hong Kong ramp up over a proposed new law that would effectively strip away the city's autonomy. Xi on Tuesday told Chinese military officers on the sidelines of the National People's Congress (NPC) — an annual weeklong gathering of China's top legislative bodies — that the military must "explore ways of training and preparing for war" amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Boeing began making its first round of involuntary layoffs on Wednesday morning, announcing that it will slash the jobs of approximately 6,770 employees across the United States. Boeing's massive commercial business will take the brunt of the cuts, with the company's defense, space and security division only expected to shed less than 100 employees through involuntary layoffs this week. Boeing plans to reduce its total headcount by 10 percent through natural turnover, voluntary layoffs and involuntary cuts — a measure made necessary by the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has shook the travel industry and called into question commercial airlines' ability to pay for Boeing aircraft already on order.
A New York pharmacist bought up $200,000 worth of N95 masks before the coronavirus pandemic grew severe in the US, then sold them at up to a 50% markup, prosecutors allege. The pharmacist, 66-year-old Richard Schirripa, sold more than $2,000 worth of masks to an undercover officer, and said during the transaction he felt "like a drug dealer standing out here." Schirripa has been arrested and charged with violating the Defense Production Act by hoarding and price-gouging.
Sweden's government defended its response to the COVID-19 global pandemic on Tuesday despite the Scandinavian country now reporting one of the highest mortality rates in the world, with 4,125 fatalities, or about 40 deaths per 100,000 people.
Government officials and Minnesota locals alike expressed outrage after a video surfaced showing a white police officer kneeling on the neck of a black man and ignoring his pleas for help until first responders put him, unresponsive, on a stretcher. The man, identified at 46-year-old George Floyd, died at a local hospital, according to police. The four officers involved in the Monday incident were fired Tuesday, and the attorney for Floyd's family, Ben Crump, called for their arrests.
The University of Connecticut student wanted in connection with two deaths has been captured after a nearly weeklong manhunt, officials said Wednesday night. "Peter Manfredonia has been found & is in custody," Connecticut State Police tweeted. Manfredonia, who was captured in Maryland, was not injured, officials said.
Two days after the US recorded its first case of coronavirus, Donald Trump said the situation was "totally under control" and assured the public it was "going to be just fine". Fast forward four months and the virus has spread across all 50 states, leaving a death toll of 100,000 from more than 1.6 million confirmed cases. The death toll in the US became the highest in the world in early April and has risen dramatically since then.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Wednesday pledged to begin charging citizens for gasoline, as the fourth cargo of a five-tanker flotilla bringing fuel from Iran approached the South American nation's exclusive economic zone. Iran is providing the country with up to 1.53 million barrels of gasoline and components to help it ease an acute scarcity that has forced Venezuelans to wait in hours-long lines at service stations or pay steep prices on the black market. With the arrival of the gasoline, Maduro said he would end the policy of providing fuel effectively for free after more than two decades of frozen pump prices.
Congress voted Wednesday to toughen the U.S. response to a brutal Chinese crackdown on ethnic minorities, adding another factor to the increasingly stormy relationship between the two countries. The House passed a bipartisan bill that would impose sanctions on Chinese officials involved in the mass surveillance and detention of Uighurs and other ethnic groups in the western Xinjiang region, a campaign that has drawn muted international response because of China's influence around the world. The measure already passed the Senate and needs a signature from President Donald Trump, who said this week he'll “very strongly” consider it amid U.S. anger over China's handling of the coronavirus outbreak and tension over a Chinese plan to restrict civil liberties in Hong Kong.