Reuters Science News Summary

Following is a summary of current science news briefs.

Skull of smallest-known bird embedded in 99-million-year-old amber

Scientists are marveling over the exquisitely preserved skull of what appears to be the smallest-known bird - tinier than any hummingbird - encased in 99-million-year-old amber and boasting many odd traits including jaws studded with numerous puny teeth. The skull, measuring about half an inch (14.25 mm) long, belongs to a bird called Oculudentavis khaungraae that lived during the Cretaceous Period in what is now northern Myanmar, the researchers said on Wednesday. None of the rest of the body was preserved, but the researchers estimated that Oculudentavis weighed about an ounce (28 grams) and measured 2 inches (5 cm) long including a hypothetical bony tail.

Joint Russian-European Mars mission postponed over coronavirus

A joint Russian-European mission to send a rover to Mars has been postponed by two years because its final phase has been compromised by the coronavirus outbreak in Europe, the European and Russian space agencies said on Thursday. The launch of the second ExoMars mission was initially planned for July or August of this year. But the two space agencies said they were now postponing its launch until a date between August and October 2022.

  • Pelosi: Trump's downplaying of coronavirus has cost American lives
    Yahoo News

    Pelosi: Trump's downplaying of coronavirus has cost American lives

    House Speaker Nancy Pelosi sharpened her criticism of President Trump's early dismissal of the coronavirus, saying the delay cost American lives. His denial at the beginning was deadly,” said Pelosi to open her interview with CNN's Jake Tapper. His delaying of getting equipment — it continues — his delaying of getting equipment to where it is needed is deadly, and now I think the best thing is to prevent more loss of life rather than open things up because we just don't know.

  • Wuhan Residents Dismiss Official Coronavirus Death Toll: ‘The Incinerators Have Been Working Around the Clock’
    National Review

    Wuhan Residents Dismiss Official Coronavirus Death Toll: ‘The Incinerators Have Been Working Around the Clock’

    Wuhan residents are increasingly skeptical of the Chinese Communist Party's reported coronavirus death count of approximately 2,500 deaths in the city to date, with most people believing the actual number is at least 40,000. “Maybe the authorities are gradually releasing the real figures, intentionally or unintentionally, so that people will gradually come to accept the reality,” a Wuhan resident, who gave only his surname Mao, told Radio Free Asia. A city source added that, based on the aggregation of funeral and cremation numbers, authorities likely know the real number and are keeping it under wraps.

  • New York's coronavirus death toll just topped 1,000, but Gov. Cuomo warns that 'thousands' will die
    Business Insider

    New York's coronavirus death toll just topped 1,000, but Gov. Cuomo warns that 'thousands' will die

    New York's coronavirus death toll passed 1,000 on Sunday night, with a total of at least 1,026 people dead, according to Associated Press. New York City reported on Sunday evening that its death toll had risen to 776. Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that "thousands" will die in the state, which he called the "epicenter" of the US's COVID-19 outbreak — the world's largest.

  • Louisiana church defies COVID-19 order, holds Sunday services
    LA Times

    Louisiana church defies COVID-19 order, holds Sunday services

    Pentecostal preacher Tony Spell didn't just stand before his congregation on Sunday in defiance of the governor's order to stay home: He leaped into the pews, paraded, hugged and laid hands on worshipers' foreheads in prayer. Across Louisiana, the coronavirus has infected more than 3,500 people and led to 151 deaths as of Sunday, with one of the highest per-capita death rates in the country down the interstate in New Orleans. To comply, Catholic churches canceled Mass and switched to virtual services.

  • FBI report describes China’s ‘biosecurity risk’
    Yahoo News Video

    FBI report describes China’s ‘biosecurity risk’

    In late November 2018, just over a year before the first coronavirus case was identified in Wuhan, China, U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents at Detroit Metro Airport stopped a Chinese biologist with three vials labeled “Antibodies” in his luggage.

  • 29 Best Closet Organization Ideas to Maximize Space and Style
    Architectural Digest

    29 Best Closet Organization Ideas to Maximize Space and Style

    How to organize your closet like a pro Originally Appeared on Architectural Digest

  • Indian police fire tear gas at jobless workers defying coronavirus lockdown
    Reuters

    Indian police fire tear gas at jobless workers defying coronavirus lockdown

    Police in India fired tear gas to disperse a stone-pelting crowd of migrant workers defying a three-week lockdown against the coronavirus that has left hundreds of thousands of poor without jobs and hungry, authorities said on Monday. Prime Minister Narendra Modi ordered the country's 1.3 billion people to remain indoors until April 15, declaring such self-isolation was the only hope to stop the viral pandemic. But the vast shutdown has triggered a humanitarian crisis, with hundreds of thousands of poor migrant laborers employed in big cities such as Delhi and Mumbai seeking to head to their homes in the countryside on foot after losing their jobs.

  • Fit, healthy 33-year-old recounts falling ill to coronavirus
    Associated Press

    Fit, healthy 33-year-old recounts falling ill to coronavirus

    Still, Napoli, a lawyer in Rome, developed a cough and fever less than a week after Italy's premier locked down the entire nation, including the capital which had continued life as usual while the virus raged in the north. Until that day, Napoli was following his routine of work, jogging and swimming. He received a positive diagnosis for COVID-19 three days later.

  • US awol from world stage as China tries on global leadership for size
    The Guardian

    US awol from world stage as China tries on global leadership for size

    The US is basically off the map, and China very much is on the map,” Nathalie Tocci, the director of the Italian Institute for International Affairs and a former EU policy adviser, said. Whatever happens in the US elections, what is happening now is going to linger on, simply because what we're going through now is such a traumatic experience … It is going to remain very much in our individual and collective memories. During the Ebola outbreak that began in 2014, the US was a highly visible leading presence on the ground in West Africa, sending emergency medics, troops and supplies.

  • Coronavirus: Americans trust Trump more than Biden to handle Covid-19 pandemic, polls say
    The Independent

    Coronavirus: Americans trust Trump more than Biden to handle Covid-19 pandemic, polls say

    Donald Trump declared seven times during a 56-minute television interview on Monday that he is doing a fantastic job responding to the coronavirus pandemic. After shedding a more statesmanlike tone from a few weeks back, Mr Trump has shifted into campaign mode with a more feisty persona, complete with a boastful message about his administration's response to the pandemic. "We've been doing a great job," Mr Trump said, his voice taking on its elevated, animated tone it does when he gets excited.

  • Kremlin Fights U.S. Sanctions, Backs Maduro in Rosneft Deal
    Bloomberg

    Kremlin Fights U.S. Sanctions, Backs Maduro in Rosneft Deal

    The Kremlin's sudden shift of ownership of multi-billion-dollar oil projects in Venezuela shields oil giant Rosneft PJSC from further U.S. sanctions but keeps Moscow firmly behind embattled President Nicolas Maduro amid a wider stand-off with Washington. Russia is not walking away from Maduro and will seek to thwart U.S. efforts to depose him,” said Vladimir Frolov, a former diplomat and foreign policy analyst in Moscow. Moscow is just shielding Rosneft from sanctions which could result in a blanket embargo on all Rosneft exports.

  • Incredible satellite photos show parked planes sitting on runways at airports in the US and Europe, as COVID-19 puts a near stop to global air travel
    Business Insider

    Incredible satellite photos show parked planes sitting on runways at airports in the US and Europe, as COVID-19 puts a near stop to global air travel

    Nick Oxford/Reuters The spread of COVID-19 has led demand for air travel to plummet around the world. As airlines have canceled flights and grounded planes due to the novel coronavirus, they've increasingly turned to the world's airports in their search for new places to store those planes. New images from satellite technology company Maxar show runways and taxiways, which would normally be busy with active traffic, reduced to parking lots for the world's jets.

  • If you're 'essential' enough to work through a coronavirus pandemic, you're essential enough to be paid living wage
    Los Angeles Times Opinion

    If you're 'essential' enough to work through a coronavirus pandemic, you're essential enough to be paid living wage

    Grocery stores are one of the only places where people are still allowed to congregate. If you're going to be exposed to the coronavirus, it will most likely be there. Aware of this danger, my 15 minutes inside the store were stressful, to say the least.

  • Florida, Illinois Emerge as Potential Coronavirus Hotspots
    National Review

    Florida, Illinois Emerge as Potential Coronavirus Hotspots

    Recent updates to state coronavirus case numbers suggest Florida and Illinois may join New York and Washington as hotspots for the virus, with Governor Ron DeSantis (R., Fla.) announcing a stay-at-home order for southern Florida until May and Illinois seeing its largest single-day increase in cases on Sunday. Former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb on Monday warned that the two states could be “new epicenters of spread.” THREAD: We'll update charts daily for Florida, Louisiana, Illinois, and Michigan as epidemic becomes national in scope; new epicenters of spread emerge.

  • Iran warns of lengthy 'new way of life'  as virus deaths rise
    AFP

    Iran warns of lengthy 'new way of life' as virus deaths rise

    President Hassan Rouhani warned Sunday that "the new way of life" in Iran was likely to be prolonged, as its declared death toll from the novel coronavirus rose to 2,640. Iran announced its first infection cases on February 19, but a senior health official has acknowledged that the virus was likely to have already reached Iran in January. At his daily news briefing, health ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour said 123 more people in Iran had died from the virus in the past 24 hours.

  • Air strikes hit Houthi-held Yemeni capital Sanaa: witnesses
    Reuters

    Air strikes hit Houthi-held Yemeni capital Sanaa: witnesses

    The Saudi-led coalition fighting the Houthi group in Yemen carried out several air strikes on Monday on the capital Sanaa, witnesses and media said, killing dozens of horses at a military school. A number of sensitive sites including the presidential palace compound, the school and an air base close to Sanaa airport were hit, and loud explosions were heard across the city, residents said. The coalition said the operation was aimed at destroying "legitimate military targets including Houthi ballistic batteries which threaten civilian lives".

  • Serial killer dubbed Grim Sleeper dies in California prison
    Associated Press

    Serial killer dubbed Grim Sleeper dies in California prison

    Lonnie Franklin, the convicted serial killer known as the "Grim Sleeper" who preyed on the women of South Los Angeles for more than two decades, has died in prison. California corrections officials said Franklin was found unresponsive in his cell at San Quentin State Prison on Saturday evening. An autopsy will determine the cause of death; however, there were no signs of trauma, corrections spokeswoman Terry Thornton said in a statement.

  • A 90-year-old woman who recovered from the coronavirus said her family's potato soup was partly responsible. Here's the recipe.
    INSIDER

    A 90-year-old woman who recovered from the coronavirus said her family's potato soup was partly responsible. Here's the recipe.

    Geneva Wood, 90, was hospitalized with the coronavirus in early March. Days later, the hospital called in her family to say their goodbyes. While her prognosis looked bleak, Wood survived and credited her family, God, and potato soup for her recovery.

  • Poll: 15% of Sanders supporters will vote for Trump if Biden is nominee; 80% would back Biden
    USA TODAY

    Poll: 15% of Sanders supporters will vote for Trump if Biden is nominee; 80% would back Biden

    If former Vice President Joe Biden secures the Democratic presidential nomination, 15% of Sen. Bernie Sanders' supporters will vote for President Donald Trump's reelection, according to an ABC News/Washington Post poll. If accurate, that would represent a slightly larger defection than occurred after the bitter battle between Sanders and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2016, when 12% of Sanders voters broke for Trump in the general election. The good news for Biden is that in spring 2016, an ABC News poll found 20% of Sanders supporters said they would vote for Trump over Clinton, and far fewer ended up doing so.

  • Coronavirus: New York bar owner becomes first to be arrested for ignoring lockdown
    The Independent

    Coronavirus: New York bar owner becomes first to be arrested for ignoring lockdown

    The owner of a bar in New York City has been arrested for operating in contravention of the city's coronavirus lockdown measures. New York police confirmed on Monday that 56-year-old Vasil Pando had been arrested on Saturday night at an address in Brooklyn. Around a dozen people were found drinking, gambling, and flouting guidelines on social distancing when NYPD officers arrived.

  • Fact check: will Covid-19 fade in the summer – then return later like the flu?
    The Guardian

    Fact check: will Covid-19 fade in the summer – then return later like the flu?

    Dr Marc Lipsitch: What makes seasonal viruses seasonal is a combination of opportunities for transmission – whether school is in term, which facilitates transmission – and what proportion of the population is immune, combined with weather. Humidity is lower in the winter, which is good for transmission. Low humidity makes [virus-carrying] droplets settle more slowly because they shrink to smaller sizes and then friction keeps them in the air, whereas high humidity doesn't do that.

  • Dr. Birx predicts up to 200,000 coronavirus deaths 'if we do things almost perfectly'
    NBC News

    Dr. Birx predicts up to 200,000 coronavirus deaths 'if we do things almost perfectly'

    The White House coronavirus response coordinator said Monday that she is "very worried about every city in the United States" and projects 100,000 to 200,000 American deaths as a best case scenario. In an interview on "TODAY," Dr. Deborah Birx painted a grim message about the expected fatalities, echoing that they could hit more than 2 million without any measures, as coronavirus cases continue to climb throughout the country. "I think everyone understands now that you can go from five to 50 to 500 to 5,000 cases very quickly," Birx said.

  • Marine Corps Closes Parris Island Boot Camp to New Recruits as COVID-19 Cases Spread
    Military.com

    Marine Corps Closes Parris Island Boot Camp to New Recruits as COVID-19 Cases Spread

    The Marine Corps is halting new shipments of recruits to its fabled East Coast boot camp base after more than 20 people there tested positive for the highly contagious virus that has altered life around the globe. Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island in South Carolina will not accept new trainees until at least mid-April, Capt. Bryan McDonnell, a spokesman there, said. There are more than 20 positive cases of COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus, at the training depot.

  • Venezuelan ex-general surrenders to US on drug trafficking charges
    AFP

    Venezuelan ex-general surrenders to US on drug trafficking charges

    A retired Venezuelan general who was charged by the United States with "narco-terrorism" along with President Nicolas Maduro and other officials has surrendered in Colombia to US authorities, prosecutors said Saturday. "The national Attorney General learned that Mr Cliver Alcala surrendered to US authorities," the Colombian prosecutor said in a statement, adding there was no arrest warrant when he gave himself up. Alcala turned himself in on Friday to the Colombians, who in turn handed him over to US authorities, the El Tiempo de Bogota newspaper said.

  • No scandal here: Mexico president defends meeting mother of drug lord 'El Chapo'
    Reuters

    No scandal here: Mexico president defends meeting mother of drug lord 'El Chapo'

    MEXICO CITY/BADIRAGUATO, Mexico (Reuters) - Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on Monday defended his weekend handshake with the mother of drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, calling her a "respectable old lady" and seeking to cast his critics as the principal menace to the country. In a 30-second video posted on Twitter on Sunday, Lopez Obrador could be seen approaching Maria Consuelo Loera's car, parked on a dirt road on the outskirts of Badiraguato, a mountainous municipality in the northwestern state of Sinaloa. Surrounded by onlookers, Lopez Obrador told Loera she need not get out of the car, they shook hands and after a brief exchange he told her he had "received her letter."