Saturday is Leap Day! Here's what you should know about Feb. 29

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  • Suspected SARS virus and flu samples found in luggage: FBI report describes China's 'biosecurity risk'
    Yahoo News

    Suspected SARS virus and flu samples found in luggage: 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. The biologist told the agents that a colleague in China had asked him to deliver the vials to a researcher at a U.S. institute. “Inspection of the writing on the vials and the stated recipient led inspection personnel to believe the materials contained within the vials may be viable Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) materials,” says an unclassified FBI tactical intelligence report obtained by Yahoo News.

  • Trump says Democrats' push for expanded voting threatens Republicans
    Yahoo News

    Trump says Democrats' push for expanded voting threatens Republicans

    President Trump on Monday criticized attempts by Democrats in Congress to expand voting access for the presidential election in the fall, saying increased voter turnout would keep Republicans from getting elected. Trump said that Democrat-proposed voting reforms to the $2.2 trillion rescue package passed last week by Congress — which were largely cut from the deal — would have led to “levels of voting, that if you ever agreed to it you'd never have a Republican elected in this country again.” Democrats have pushed to mandate that states make plans to expand early voting and mail-in balloting for the fall election, in the event that the coronavirus pandemic makes in-person voting unsafe.

  • Border Patrol Stopped a Chinese Biologist Carrying Viable SARS, MERS Viruses at Detroit Airport in 2018
    National Review

    Border Patrol Stopped a Chinese Biologist Carrying Viable SARS, MERS Viruses at Detroit Airport in 2018

    U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents at Detroit Metro Airport stopped a Chinese scientist carrying vials believed to contain the MERS and SARS viruses in November 2018 — just over a year before the first reported Wuhan coronavirus case, according to an FBI tactical intelligence report obtained by Yahoo News. “Inspection of the writing on the vials and the stated recipient led inspection personnel to believe the materials contained within the vials may be viable Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) materials,” the report reads. The report also lays out a pattern of Chinese interference, detailing two other cases from May 2018 and September 2019, in which different Chinese nationals tried to enter the U.S. with undeclared flu strains and suspected E. coli, respectively.

  • COVID-19 deaths climb in NY; Chris Cuomo tests positive
    Associated Press

    COVID-19 deaths climb in NY; Chris Cuomo tests positive

    More than 300 New Yorkers died from the coronavirus in the last 24 hours, a somber-sounding Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday as temporary hospital beds were made available to help relieve the stress on city hospitals inundated with virus patients. City officials announced Tuesday that 250 more ambulances and 500 paramedics and EMTs are headed to New York to help manage record numbers of calls for assistance. The latest coronavirus developments in New York: NUMBERS UP Deaths from the coronavirus continued to climb steeply in New York, topping 1,500 by Tuesday, according to Cuomo.

  • 'Sailors do not need to die': Captain of aircraft carrier hit by coronavirus outbreak begs Navy for more help
    Business Insider

    'Sailors do not need to die': Captain of aircraft carrier hit by coronavirus outbreak begs Navy for more help

    U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Kaylianna Genier The commanding officer of the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt, which was forced into port in Guam due to a coronavirus outbreak, wrote a letter to the Navy on Monday warning that the "the spread of the disease is ongoing and accelerating." "Sailors do not need to die. If we do not act now, we are failing to properly take care of our most trusted asset — our Sailors," Capt. Brett Crozier, the carrier's CO, wrote in the letter exclusively obtained by The San Francisco Chronicle.

  • Boy, 5, found dead near hiking trail after mother said they got lost
    NBC News

    Boy, 5, found dead near hiking trail after mother said they got lost

    The body of a 5-year-old boy was discovered near an Alaskan trail after his mother said they got lost during a hike. A ground search team found the child, Jaxson Brown, around 2:45 p.m. on Saturday, three days after he and his mother went for a hike along Lunch Creek Trail in Ketchikan. The boy's mother, Jennifer Treat, told Alaska State Troopers that she and Jaxson went on a hike Wednesday afternoon.

  • Reuters

    U.S.-backed Kurdish-led group says militants riot in jail in northeast Syria

    Islamic State prisoners on Sunday seized control of the ground floor of a major prison in northeastern Syria run by the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), with some of the militants managing to escape, an SDF spokesman said. The SDF, which is spearheaded by the Kurdish YPG militia, mounted an operation to capture those who fled as security forces sent reinforcements to crush the mutiny in Hasaka prison, spokesman Mustafa Bali said in a tweet. "The situation is tense inside the prison currently and we sent anti-terror forces and additional troops to control the situation," Bali said.

  • Venezuela prosecutor's office summoned Guaido for 'attempted coup'
    AFP

    Venezuela prosecutor's office summoned Guaido for 'attempted coup'

    State prosecutors in Venezuela have summoned opposition leader Juan Guaido for an alleged "attempted coup d'etat" and attempted assassination, Attorney General Tarek William Saab announced Tuesday. In a statement broadcast on state television, Saab said Guaido had been summoned to appear before prosecutors next Thursday following an investigation last week into the seizure of a weapons cache in neighboring Colombia that he said was to be smuggled into Venezuela. The subpoena was delivered to his head of security on Monday night, Saab said.

  • Egypt Could Deepen Rate Cuts to Combat Virus, Central Bank Governor Says
    Bloomberg

    Egypt Could Deepen Rate Cuts to Combat Virus, Central Bank Governor Says

    Egypt has scope to further cut interest rates to combat the impact of the coronavirus on an economy that's in good shape after sweeping reforms, the central bank governor said. Tarek Amer's comments came after the central bank on Sunday introduced temporary cash withdrawal restrictions, a step he said was necessary after customers took 30 billion pounds ($1.9 billion) from banks in the past three weeks. The measure, which could be revisited soon, seeks to encourage people to use bank transfers and e-payments.

  • 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.

  • Trump now says if 100,000 Americans die from coronavirus he will have done 'a very good job'
    Yahoo News

    Trump now says if 100,000 Americans die from coronavirus he will have done 'a very good job'

    At the first formal press briefing with his coronavirus task force on Feb. 26, President Trump said he didn't agree with the assessment of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that an outbreak was “inevitable” in the United States, noting that the country had just 15 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and no deaths attributed to the virus. “When you have 15 people, and the 15 within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero, that's a pretty good job we've done,” Trump said at the time. Ever since, Trump has been moving the goalposts on the pandemic, and on Sunday, with coronavirus cases and deaths mounting, Trump said that keeping the U.S. death toll between 100,000 and 200,000 would be “a very good job.”

  • 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

  • Associated Press

    Syria: Air defenses down missiles from Israeli warplanes

    Syrian air defenses opened fire Tuesday night on missiles launched from Israeli warplanes on the central province of Homs, shooting down some of them, state media said. State TV said the warplanes fired the missiles while flying in Lebanese airspace. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition war monitor, said Israeli warplanes fired eight missiles at the Shayrat air base in Homs province.

  • 3 mild symptoms could predict which coronavirus patients develop severe lung disease, research suggests — including body aches
    Business Insider

    3 mild symptoms could predict which coronavirus patients develop severe lung disease, research suggests — including body aches

    Getty Images Related Video: What COVID-19 Symptoms Look Like, Day by Day The coronavirus pandemic has forced doctors to make difficult decisions about which patients get immediate medical care. In New York City, where more than 38,000 cases have been reported, hospitals are reserving tests for patients with severe illness, while patients with mild cases — which can still be painful and long-lasting — have been told to stay home. But doctors still know very little about the symptoms that serve as warning signs in the lead-up to a severe case of COVID-19.

  • One country is refusing to shut down to stop the coronavirus
    NBC News

    One country is refusing to shut down to stop the coronavirus

    While officials from Montreal to Moscow have placed populations under some form of lockdown designed to slow the spread of the coronavirus, one man continues to hold firm to the notion that the rest of the world has lost its mind: Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko. “It is better to die on your feet than live on your knees!” Lukashenko told a Belarusian television reporter Saturday when asked whether the coronavirus could stop him from hitting the rink for a propaganda-filled hockey game. Lukashenko, one of the longest-serving leaders in the former Soviet Union, has been in power for over 25 years.

  • Outrage in India as migrants sprayed with disinfectant to fight coronavirus
    Reuters

    Outrage in India as migrants sprayed with disinfectant to fight coronavirus

    Indian health workers caused outrage on Monday by spraying a group of migrants with disinfectant, amid fears that a large scale movement of people from cities to the countryside risked spreading the coronavirus. Footage showed a group of migrant workers sitting on a street in Bareilly, a district in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, as health officials in protective suits used hose pipes to douse them in disinfectant, prompting anger on social media. Nitish Kumar, the top government official in the district, said health workers had been ordered to disinfect buses being used by the local authorities but in their zeal had also turned their hoses on migrant workers.

  • IG Horowitz Found ‘Apparent Errors or Inadequately Supported Facts’ in Every Single FBI FISA Application He Reviewed
    National Review

    IG Horowitz Found ‘Apparent Errors or Inadequately Supported Facts’ in Every Single FBI FISA Application He Reviewed

    The Justice Department inspector general said it does “not have confidence” in the FBI's FISA application process following an audit that found the Bureau was not sufficiently transparent with the court in 29 applications from 2014 to 2019, all of which included “apparent errors or inadequately supported facts.” Inspector General Michael Horowitz released a report in December which found that the FBI included “at least 17 significant errors or omissions in the Carter Page FISA applications and many errors in the Woods Procedures” during its Crossfire Hurricane investigation of the 2016 Trump campaign.

  • Bloomberg

    China Clashes at Virus Epicenter Show Risks Facing Xi Jinping

    China's leaders normally spend a lot of time and money on keeping the country's 1.4 billion people in line -- and that was before a global pandemic ravaging the world economy threatened to put millions out of work. A rare street clash over the weekend on the border of virus-stricken Hubei province shows the challenges President Xi Jinping faces as China looks to get its economy moving again after appearing to gets its Covid-19 outbreak under control. Hubei is only now emerging from a two-month lockdown that helped limit the virus's spread to other parts of China.

  • Bernie Sanders remains hopeful about 'narrow path' to Democratic nomination
    The Week

    Bernie Sanders remains hopeful about 'narrow path' to Democratic nomination

    Sanders, who remains about 300 delegates behind former Vice President Joe Biden in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, was Late Night with Seth Meyers' first remote guest of the COVID-19 pandemic Monday night. Meyers asked Sanders if he still saw a path to the nomination, "and if not, why are you remaining in the race?" Sanders had an answer for both questions. Acknowledging the delegate count, Sanders said "we have a path," but "it is, admittedly, a narrow path."

  • Politico

    McConnell and Pelosi draw coronavirus battle lines

    Mitch McConnell and Nancy Pelosi are on another coronavirus collision course. As Speaker Pelosi prepares the House to pass sweeping “Phase 4” economic legislation this spring, Senate Majority Leader McConnell is throwing cold water on Democrats' hopes to address the crisis by boosting infrastructure spending and social programs. "I'm not going to allow this to be an opportunity for the Democrats to achieve unrelated policy items they wouldn't otherwise be able to pass,” McConnell said on Hugh Hewitt's radio program on Tuesday morning.

  • Cuomo Says Coronavirus Is ‘More Dangerous’ Than We Thought as N.Y. Cases Jump Overnight
    The Daily Beast

    Cuomo Says Coronavirus Is ‘More Dangerous’ Than We Thought as N.Y. Cases Jump Overnight

    New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday acknowledged that the coronavirus is “more dangerous” than officials initially thought after more than 300 died across the state overnight. More than 1,500 people have died and 75,795 more have been infected with the virus in New York State, accounting for a 14 percent increase in the last 24 hours, Cuomo said. About 43,139 of those cases are in New York City, where the daily number of newly infected patients has fortunately dipped below 6,000 across the five boroughs over the last 24 hours.

  • US outlines plan for Venezuela transition, sanctions relief
    Associated Press

    US outlines plan for Venezuela transition, sanctions relief

    The Trump administration is prepared to lift crippling sanctions on Venezuela in support of a new proposal to form a transitional government requiring both Nicolas Maduro and opposition leader Juan Guaidó to step aside in favor of a five-person governing council, U.S. officials said. The one-page “Democratic Transition Framework for Venezuela” was presented Tuesday by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. It echoes a proposal made over the weekend by Guaidó that shows how growing concerns about the coronavirus, which threatens to overwhelm the South American country's already collapsed health system and economy, are reviving U.S. attempts to pull the military apart from Maduro.

  • After more than 10,000 coronavirus deaths — the worst in the world — Italy is showing signs that its 3-week lockdown is working
    Business Insider

    After more than 10,000 coronavirus deaths — the worst in the world — Italy is showing signs that its 3-week lockdown is working

    Remo Casilli/Reuters Italy is showing very early signs that it's turning a corner with the coronavirus outbreak as the numbers of new reported deaths and cases have slowed, according to multiple reports. The country's strict three-week lockdown is due to be lifted on Friday, but officials have said it's likely to be extended. It's a sign that those under lockdown "save lives" by staying home, Luca Richeldi, a government health adviser, said on Sunday.

  • 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.

  • 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."