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  • Trump threatens to move Republican convention if North Carolina won't allow packed arena news

    President targets Democratic governor days after state’s highest daily increase in coronavirus cases * Coronavirus – latest global updatesDonald Trump has threatened to move the Republican party’s national convention from Charlotte, North Carolina, if the state is unable to commit to “full attendance” at the gathering due to Covid-19 restrictions.In a series of tweets on Monday morning. Trump said the state’s Democratic governor, Roy Cooper, was “still in Shutdown mood & unable to guarantee” that the party would be able to fill the arena with supporters.“I love the Great State of North Carolina so much so that I insisted on having the Republican National Convention in Charlotte at the end of August,” the US president wrote.“We would be spending millions of dollars building the Arena to a very high standard without even knowing if the Democratic Governor would allow the Republican Party to fully occupy the space.”Trump added: “If not, we will be reluctantly forced … to find, with all of the jobs and economic development it brings, another Republican National Convention site.”Trump’s tweets came just two days after North Carolina recorded its largest daily increase in positive cases of the coronavirus so far.On Friday, Cooper permitted some further loosening of restrictions on hair salons, barbers and restaurants. But he said the state must continue to closely watch virus trends and has ordered entertainment venues, gyms and bars to remain closed.Cooper did not immediately respond to the president’s threat.The vice-president, Mike Pence, echoed Trump’s threat. “It’s an issue we’ve been talking about because these national conventions literally take many months to organize and prepare and there are, there are states around the country — we think of Texas, we think of Florida, Georgia – the last two states I visited last week that have made tremendous progress on reopening their communities and reopening their economies,” Pence told Fox News.Trump’s threat built on previous antagonism with Cooper. On 15 May, he accused Cooper of “playing politics” with a cautious reopening of the state and said it would be “bad for them” if the state delayed the convention.“We’ll have a convention. I’m a traditionalist, but we’ll have to see, like everything else, but I think we’ll be in good shape by that time,” he told the Washington Examiner.The Republican national convention, scheduled for 24-27 August, is the centerpiece of Trump’s re-election campaign. Prior to the pandemic, the RNC was expected to bring 50,000 people to the city.But North Carolina is currently in phase two of its coronavirus reopening plan and gatherings are limited to 10 people indoors or 25 outdoors.Cooper, who narrowly won election over an incumbent Republican in 2016, faces a challenge in November’s gubernatorial race from the Republican lieutenant governor, Dan Forest, who has urged a faster reopening of businesses.Trump’s tweets come a day after approximately 4,000 residents bucked Cooper’s restrictions to watch auto racing in Alamance county.Plans to outfit the Spectrum Center, an indoor arena owned by the city of Charlotte and operated by its main tenant, the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets, and arrange accommodations, have been thrown into chaos by the lockdown.The Republican National Committee chair, Ronna McDaniel, has said that the convention would be held at least partly in person and vowed not to hold “a virtual convention”.McDaniel said the RNC had enlisted a medical adviser and that the party was consulting with Charlotte’s mayor, Vi Lyles, and the governor.The US health secretary, Alex Azar, said increasing testing capacity would be important but did not say a traditional convention was a certainty.“There will be a convention in Charlotte. It’s a matter of what it looks like,” the US senator Thom Tillis, a North Carolina Republican who is up for re-election in 2020, told the Charlotte Observer last week.But Cal Cunningham, the Democratic nominee for the Senate seat, countered that the state should adhere to public health experts’ recommendations.“We’re certainly not ready to have large gatherings in North Carolina at this point. We can be hopeful that this virus will burn out and disappear before it’s convention time,” Cunningham told the paper. “But that’s not what the public health experts seem to be suggesting. I strongly urge them to be listening.”Democrats have already delayed their own convention, which is preparing to nominate the former vice-president Joe Biden to face off against Trump. It is planned for Milwaukee, Wisconsin, but there is considerable debate over whether it will be a mostly virtual meeting.

    Mon, 25 May 2020 11:47:05 -0400
  • Arbery family lawyer: Feds looking into how case handled news

    A lawyer for the family of Ahmaud Arbery said Monday that a federal prosecutor told the slain man's mother federal officials are investigating potential misconduct by local officials who handled the case. Lawyer Lee Merritt said U.S. Attorney Bobby Christine, whose jurisdiction includes southern Georgia, met with him and Arbery's mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, on Thursday. Barry Paschal, a spokesman for Christine, declined to confirm or deny whether the meeting happened.

    Mon, 25 May 2020 18:01:24 -0400
  • Kitten born with two faces dies days after internet fame news

    A two-faced kitten that was born with a rare condition has died after capturing the attention of thousands of adoring fans.The kitten, named Biscuits and Gravy by owners Kyla and BJ King, was born on 20 May in Oregon. He lived to be nearly four days old, said the Kings on a Facebook page dedicated to his progress.

    Mon, 25 May 2020 04:46:37 -0400
  • Hong Kong's leader says security laws will not affect city's rights and freedoms news

    Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said on Tuesday that Beijing's proposed national security laws would not trample on the city's rights and freedoms and called on citizens to wait to see the details of the legislation. Lam added her voice to an unprecedented barrage of statements by Beijing and local officials, and former city leaders defending the legislation and seeking to reassure residents, investors and diplomats about Hong Kong freedoms. "There is no need for us to worry," Lam told a regular weekly news conference.

    Mon, 25 May 2020 22:24:07 -0400
  • Desperate rats are brazenly searching for food during the coronavirus pandemic, CDC warns news

    The CDC is warning that rodent populations – which can no longer rely on a banquet of scraps in restaurant dumpsters – are spiking in certain areas.

    Mon, 25 May 2020 15:29:00 -0400
  • Biden makes first in-person appearance in over 2 months news

    Joe Biden made his first in-person appearance in over two months on Monday as he commemorated Memorial Day by laying a wreath at a veterans’ park near his Delaware home.

    Mon, 25 May 2020 16:04:27 -0400
  • Palestinian government ends coronavirus lockdown news

    The Palestinian government is ending its two-month coronavirus lockdown in the occupied West Bank, prime minister Mohammed Shtayyeh announced Monday after a steady decline in new cases. Shops and businesses will operate as normal from Tuesday, while government employees will return to work after the Eid holiday on Wednesday, Shtayyeh told a press conference. Mosques, churches and public parks will also reopen, though with social distancing measures.

    Sun, 24 May 2020 20:09:10 -0400
  • Coronavirus in South Africa: President Ramaphosa says outbreak will get worse news

    Cyril Ramaphosa nevertheless announces an easing of the lockdown, and that alcohol sales can resume.

    Mon, 25 May 2020 04:25:04 -0400
  • Italy to recruit army of 60,000 volunteers to enforce social distancing rules news

    Italy wants to recruit an army of 60,000 volunteers to help enforce social distancing rules, amid fears that a second wave of infections could be looming. The volunteers would not have any policing powers but would patrol piazzas, parks, playgrounds, markets, bar areas and beaches, asking people not to congregate in large groups. They would be drawn from the ranks of the unemployed, those on income support and those who have been furloughed as a result of the economic crisis caused by the pandemic. The “civic assistants”, as they would be known, would monitor gatherings and pass on information to the police and the Civil Protection Agency. They would not be able to force people to disperse. They would work up to three days a week for a maximum of 16 hours. The scheme will be voluntary – they will not be paid but will be able to continue claiming unemployment and other benefits.

    Mon, 25 May 2020 09:51:42 -0400
  • Trump administration promises 100 million coronavirus testing swabs by the end of 2020 news

    The Trump administration sent Congress a national coronavirus testing strategy in time to meet a Sunday deadline, The Washington Post reports, citing a copy of the 80-page "COVID-19 Strategic Testing Plan" it obtained.The report delivered to Congress promises that the federal government will buy 100 million swabs by the end of 2020 and distribute them to states to help them expand testing. The document did not outline federal testing goals for each state; instead it listed testing targets states reported to federal officials for May. Public health officials say broader testing to determine who has been infected with the novel coronavirus and who might have immunity are key to curbing the spread of the outbreak and allowing the economy to fully reopen.The administration plan calls for every state to try to test at least 2 percent of its population in May and June. Read more at The Washington Post.More stories from Brazil's Bolsonaro accepts little blame for his country's COVID-19 disaster, but he wears a face mask Trump denies wanting to move the Republican National Convention to his Doral resort, citing ballroom size Trump insults Marine veteran Rep. Conor Lamb, calls him an 'American fraud'

    Mon, 25 May 2020 10:57:00 -0400
  • FBI investigating Ahmaud Arbery shooting as possible hate crime, lawyer says news

    Attorney for family of black jogger shot by white men says federal authorities are looking into prosecutors and police in caseThe FBI is investigating the shooting of Ahmaud Arbery, a black jogger, by two white men as a possible hate crime, the Arbery family’s attorney said Monday, claiming that federal authorities had launched a criminal inquiry into two district attorneys and the police department involved in the case.Lee Martin, who represents the family of Arbery, 25, whose 23 February killing in Brunswick, Georgia, was captured on a graphic video recording that sparked national outrage, said he met with officials from the Department of Justice last Thursday.Martin said they told him federal investigators were looking into potential “criminal and civil” violations by two officials who later recused themselves from the case. They are George Barnhill of the Waycross judicial district, who recommended no arrests, and Jackie Johnson of Glynn county, who has denied accusations she ordered police to make no arrests on the day the unarmed Arbery was shot.The Georgia chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) has called on both Barnhill and Johnson to resign and face charges of obstruction of justice.Martin said the FBI was also looking into the actions of the Glynn county police department.The suspects Gregory McMichael, 64, and his son Travis, 34, were finally arrested by the Georgia bureau of investigation (GBI) and charged with Arbery’s murder on 8 May, three days after the video received national publicity, and 74 days after the shooting.The case took a further step forward last Thursday, when the GBI arrested the man who recorded the video, William Bryan Jr, and charged him with felony murder.“This is a vast conspiracy at this point,” Martin said in a four-and-a-half-minute video posted on Monday on TMZ. “They’re spreading the net here. They said the GBI doesn’t anticipate making any additional arrests, but the FBI very well may.”Martin has been highly critical of the pace of the investigation into the shooting. He said he was told a further part of the FBI probe was whether the actions of anybody involved in the case breached Arbery’s rights of equal protection under the US constitution and civil rights law.“All citizens are entitled to the same protection under the law,” he said. “This case makes it clear that all black citizens in south Georgia aren’t getting the same protection because if you shoot anybody in the street in broad daylight, just in general you expect at least an arrest. There were no arrests made.”Neither the Department of Justice nor the US attorney’s office for the southern district of Georgia responded to the Guardian’s request for comment on Monday, a federal holiday.But in an 11 May statement, a DOJ representative, Kerri Kupec, confirmed investigators were assessing evidence “to determine if federal hate crime charges are appropriate”.Gregory McMichael, a former law enforcement officer, told detectives he suspected Arbery of burglary, and that Arbery had attacked his son before being shot. Police initially treated the shooting as a case of self-defense and allowed the McMichaels to go free, despite the video of the shooting suggesting a different story.

    Mon, 25 May 2020 18:19:57 -0400
  • Venezuela celebrates docking of tanker with Iran gasoline news

    Venezuelan authorities celebrated Monday as the first of five Iranian tankers loaded with gasoline docked in the South American country, delivering badly needed fuel to the crisis-stricken nation that sits atop the world’s largest oil reserves. The gasoline shipments are arriving in defiance of stiff sanctions by the Trump administration against both nations, and they mark a new era in the burgeoning relationship between Venezuela and Iran, which is expanding its footprint in the Western Hemisphere. “We keep moving forward and winning,” Venezuela’s Minister of Energy Tareck El Aissami tweeted.

    Mon, 25 May 2020 11:44:49 -0400
  • Brazil surpasses U.S. in daily coronavirus death toll news

    Brazil daily coronavirus deaths were higher than fatalities in the United States for the first time over the last 24 hours, according to the country's Health Ministry. Brazil registered 807 deaths over the last 24 hours, whereas 620 died in the United States. Brazil has the second worst outbreak in the world, with 374,898 cases, behind the U.S. with 1.637 million cases.

    Mon, 25 May 2020 18:55:32 -0400
  • Beijing says it will unilaterally impose national laws in Hong Kong 'without delay' as thousands take to the streets in protest news

    Critics worry that the new laws could hurt Hong Kong's independence and the city's position as a financial center.

    Mon, 25 May 2020 10:41:33 -0400
  • Letters to the Editor: Why is the Trump administration working so hard to deport immigrant children? news

    There's nothing that can justify preventing a 16-year-old immigrant from seeing her lawyer and suddenly deporting her by herself.

    Sun, 24 May 2020 06:00:31 -0400
  • Singapore warns of worst economic contraction since independence news

    Singapore's embattled economy could shrink by as much as seven percent this year, which would be the worst reading since independence, with the government saying Tuesday the coronavirus pandemic had throttled the key export sector. The city-state is seen as a bellwether of the global economy and the historic contraction highlights the extreme pain being wrought on countries by the killer disease. The warning also came hours before Singapore's deputy prime minister is expected to unveil another stimulus package for the troubled city, which has been crippled by months of lockdowns around the world.

    Tue, 26 May 2020 01:10:29 -0400
  • Oklahoma woman missing since April following Facebook post that indicated she believed she had coronavirus news

    Talina Galloway, 53, of Wagoner, Oklahoma, was last heard from by her boss on March 27, 2020. Her last Facebook post was dated April 7. In the post, the posted stated she believed she had coronavirus but did not want to go to the hospital. Her purse and wallet were left at home. Her car was still in the driveway. She has a distinct tattoo of a sun symbol on her right wrist. The Wagoner County Sheriff’s Office is investigating.

    Mon, 25 May 2020 17:38:00 -0400
  • Coronavirus outbreak: Caribbean tourism struggles as visitors stay home news

    Tourism is vital to the Caribbean but visitors are absent amid the coronavirus pandemic.

    Sun, 24 May 2020 20:11:35 -0400
  • Judge rules against Florida Republican-backed law blocking felons from voting until they pay legal fees news

    A federal judge in Tallahassee ruled on Sunday night that Florida law can't stop felons from voting because they can't pay back any legal fees and restitution they owe.The judge's decision could have deep ramifications as the state’s estimated 774,000 disenfranchised felons represent a significant voting bloc.

    Mon, 25 May 2020 12:05:44 -0400
  • Serial Rapist Who Was Released Early Arrested on New Rape Charge on Resort Island in Greece news

    He had been convicted in 2012 of raping three female tourists in the same area

    Tue, 26 May 2020 02:25:10 -0400
  • Joe Biden forced to make his fundraisers fully virtual – bar the price tag news

    The pandemic has led the presumptive Democratic nominee, like other politicians to take his high-dollar events onlineThe coronavirus pandemic may have driven Joe Biden into his basement and forced his campaign online, but one crucial factor is still the same: his run for the White House still needs to raise giant amounts of money.But, in these days of lockdowns and stay-at-home orders, campaign fundraisers do not include the usual finger food and wine or fancy parked cars outside a posh home right out of the pages of Architectural Digest.Instead it has become normal to host a high-dollar fundraiser via online video conferencing services. The thing that hasn’t changed? The hefty price tags of what can be tens of thousands of dollars that donors are charged for glorified Zoom meet-ups, or even one-on-one video chats with the candidate himself or his powerful surrogates.“You don’t get to go drink wine and eat cheap cheese, but the campaigns are still able to provide access to the candidate,” said Democratic strategist Connor Farrell, a veteran Democratic fundraising consultant. “The campaigns are still able to provide access to the candidate in a different format. You can’t pull someone aside and mention your favorite bill, but you still get face time with the candidates and that’s ultimately the attraction of in-person events.“So I think a lot of the draw is still there.”According to a set of fundraising invitations for Biden’s campaign, obtained by the Guardian, upcoming fundraisers featuring him or high-profile surrogates still include the fundraising levels one would expect for physical high-dollar gatherings.A Biden campaign event featuring the presumptive Democratic party nominee himself and moderated by the Sacramento mayor, Darrell Steinberg, and former California treasurer Phil Angelides starts out at the guest level of $500 and goes all the way up to a co-chair level at $41,100. A virtual reception on 27 May featuring the former South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg starts out at $1,000 to be an “advocate”, and goes up to $50,000 to be a co-chair.Events are still spotted with celebrities too. A “Rock out on a night in with Joe Biden” virtual fundraising event on 28 May includes performances by Sheryl Crow, Rufus Wainwright, David Crosby and Joe Walsh. Donations for that event start at $250 and go all the way to $100,000.The events are lucrative. Hillary Clinton is scheduled to headline at least two events between mid-May and June for Biden and the Democratic National Committee. The first event on Tuesday raised $2m.It’s not just the Biden campaign and Democrats, though, or even just presidential candidates. In Iowa, an invitation for a fundraiser for the Republican senator Joni Ernst on 3 June has fundraising levels ranging from $500 to $5,000. The invitation, reported by Politico, is not contingent on being in person or virtual.“If it is not possible to gather in person for this event, we will host a virtual meeting and plan an in-person gathering at a later date,” the invitation read.A fundraising invite for a 14 May event for the New Hampshire Republican congressional candidate Matt Mowers featuring the former New Jersey governor Chris Christie starts at $250 for the “individual” level and goes all the way to $1,000 for the chair level.“A web link for this exclusive video conference will be emailed prior to the event,” the invitation read.

    Mon, 25 May 2020 06:00:49 -0400
  • China says opposes all U.S. restrictions on Chinese airlines news

    China said on Monday it opposes all U.S. restrictions imposed against Chinese airlines, responding to a report that the U.S. Transportation Department has demanded Chinese carriers file their schedules and other flight details by May 27. Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said flight restrictions imposed by Beijing treated all airlines equally and were due to efforts to curb COVID-19 related risks. The U.S. government late on Friday accused the Chinese government of making it impossible for U.S. airlines to resume service to China.

    Mon, 25 May 2020 03:40:31 -0400
  • Boris Johnson the 'people’s politician' risks squandering his common touch in standing by Dominic Cummings news

    Say what you like about Boris Johnson, he is not what you would call a “misfit” or a “weirdo”. Unlike his non-conformist chief adviser Dominic Cummings, who once touted for such ‘oddballs’ to join No 10, the Prime Minister is as conventional as any of the 20 Old Etonians who have ended up in Downing Street. A little eccentric, perhaps, with his love of the Iliad and aversion to Mason Pearson products, but as his old Balliol philosophy don Jonathan Barnes put it: “Definitely a good egg.” Indeed chief among the reasons the Oxford graduate turned Telegraph journalist proved so successful in his predictable pivot to politics was his inherent likeability. While you might not agree with Mr Johnson’s views on Brexit or even the burka, he has always been the kind of public figure people can imagine having a pint with. Unlike his predecessor, Theresa the Maybot, a large part of his appeal is that he is human. He has made so many mistakes in his personal life most people stopped counting long ago. As his hero Winston Churchill put it, his success has been his ability to go from failure to failure, without a loss of enthusiasm. He’s been fired, twice divorced, fathered illegitimate children, suspended from a zip wire, knifed by Michael Gove - the list is endless, yet still he was elected to the highest office in the land.

    Mon, 25 May 2020 11:27:29 -0400
  • Netanyahu becomes the first Israeli prime minister to stand trial over corruption and fraud cases news

    Last year, Netanyahu was indicted on bribery, fraud, and breach of trust charges as part of three separate corruption cases.

    Mon, 25 May 2020 03:15:40 -0400
  • Six women prisoners murdered by inmates in Honduras news

    Six women were killed by alleged gang members at a women's prison near the Honduran capital Tegucigalpa, the National Penitentiary Institute said on Sunday. The killers broke through gates and the roof of a building at the women's prison in Tamara, 10 kilometers to the north of Tegucigalpa, "to go to the gymnasium where six prisoners were staying and murdered them," said the INP. One prisoner had earlier caused a diversion by starting a fire in a dormitory where two inmates quarantined over the coronavirus pandemic were sleeping, in a building housing 1,300 prisoners.

    Sun, 24 May 2020 17:12:06 -0400
  • Navajo Nation imposes 57-hour lockdown as virus death toll rises news

    Even essential businesses must remain closed as the entire tribe enters a strict lockdown for Memorial Day weekend.

    Mon, 25 May 2020 14:52:09 -0400
  • Russia’s Pushing a Quack COVID Cure All Over Africa news

    ABUJA, Nigeria—U.S. President Donald Trump is not the only figure threatening the World Health Organization while endorsing dubious coronavirus treatments. In Africa, news outlets and social media posts notorious for spreading Russian-created disinformation and conspiracy theories are leveling all sorts of allegations against the WHO, ranging from incompetence to fraud.At the center of the attacks is what appears to be a coordinated campaign promoting an herbal concoction the Moscow-backed government of Madagascar claims will cure COVID-19. The attacks on the WHO intensified when the agency released a statement on May 4 warning Africans against using untested remedies for treatment of the coronavirus after the Malagasy government began to extoll—and export in large quantities—an untested herbal infusion sometimes bottled like soda that’s called Covid-Organics. The main component for the tonic is artemisia annua, known as sweet wormwood, which has been shown to have some therapeutic value against malaria (PDF).Russians Are Using African Troll Factories—and Encrypted Messaging—to Attack the U.S.The WHO announced its support for traditional medicines if they are “scientifically proven” to be effective, but warned pointedly that "the use of products to treat COVID-19, which have not been robustly investigated can put people in danger, giving a false sense of security and distracting them from hand washing and physical distancing which are cardinal in COVID-19 prevention."The herbal remedy’s biggest booster is Malagasy President Andry Rajoelina, a 45-year-old media entrepreneur elected in 2018 with help from Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose meddling, as detailed by the New York Times, was blatant even by Kremlin standards. (Rajoelina denies getting any assistance.)Covid-Organics has not gone through clinical trials. An aide to Rajoelina told the BBC the tonic was “tried out” on fewer than 20 people over three weeks before it was launched in April—a “test” that does not even begin to meet scientific or medical standards.Rajoelina’s response? He accused the West of condescending behavior toward traditional African therapy, telling French media that the product would have been globally accepted "if it was a European country that had actually discovered this remedy.""[Madagascar] has come up with this formula to save the world," said Rajoelina, who claims the herbal tonic cures COVID-19 patients within 10 days. "No country or organization will keep us from going forward."Rajoelina has gained lots of support in East Africa, especially in Tanzania (another country that has established deep ties with the Kremlin in recent years). Its controversial leader, President John Pombe Magufuli, has openly endorsed Covid-Organics and also insinuated recently that the WHO artificially inflated the number of COVID-19 cases in his country.All this parallels, however weirdly, the kinds of assertions and statements made by the U.S. president about miracle cures—ranging in his case from hydroxychloroquine to household bleach, thought not yet Covid-Organics—as well as the failings of a World Health Organization he says is under China’s thumb. And the similarities in the narrative are not entirely coincidental. Many of the African sites spreading these stories also are enthusiastic supporters of Trump. A number of Tanzanian newspapers have criticized the WHO for its refusal to approve Covid-Organics. A pro-government publication, Tanzania Perspective, particularly, reported that Rajoelina accused the WHO of offering him a $20 million bribe to poison the herbal tonic. A spokesperson for the Malagasy president later denied that wild claim, but not until it had gone viral on social media across the continent, including broadcasts on WhatsApp by such groups as One Africa, One Success (OAOS), a platform for African students studying in Russia that has been used to spread disinformation and conspiracy theories targeting the U.S. and defending Trump.Members of the OAOS have also claimed in their messages that Bill Gates has prevented the WHO from approving coronavirus therapies—including hydroxychloroquine—that supposedly have proven to be effective in Africa, a narrative that has been picked up by high-profile politicians in the continent and extended to Covid-Organics."Madagascar claims to have a herbal-based cure for Covid 19," tweeted Femi Fani-Kayode, a former Nigeria aviation minister and a die-hard Trump supporter. "Why is it that the @BillGates-controlled @WHO refuses to take Africans seriously even where some of these ‘cures’ have yielded appreciable positive results?"Back in Madagascar, numerous media outlets, some of which were used by Russia to publish fawning articles about Rajoelina to help him win the 2018 presidential election, have accused the WHO of ineffectiveness, claiming that the agency is being manipulated by certain high powers to undermine Madagascar's coronavirus treatment discovery."What you see mostly in the papers is that the WHO doesn't care about finding a coronavirus cure," Thierry Pam, a French freelance journalist living in Madagascar, told The Daily Beast. "No one says anything good about the WHO."One social media post that went viral across Africa in late April claimed that Putin actually ordered a million doses of Covid-Organics and called on Africans not to listen to the WHO. Agence France Presse (AFP) reported the story was totally bogus. There was never such an order, Madagascar’s authorities denied it, and, officially at least, Russia usually supports WHO efforts to address the pandemic. But disinformation campaigns often are at odds with officially stated policies because their objectives are different. The focus of Russia’s activities has been to drive a wedge between Africa and other international players, whether the U.S., European nations, or China. The Covid-Organics controversy is potentially just another tool to create resentment, as reflected in President Rajoelina’s assertions that his country’s “cure” for the pandemic is being ignored by the West because it is from Africa.Much of the news that people in Madagascar see or listen to is content created by media outlets set up by the operations of Yevgeny Prigozhin, a close ally of  Putin who was indicted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller for allegedly financing the Internet Research Agency that worked to influence the U.S. 2016 presidential election.A leaked document viewed last year by The Guardian revealed that Russia “produced and distributed the island’s biggest newspaper, with 2 million copies a month.” The Russians also run a French-language news service, Afrique Panorama, based in Madagascar’s capital Antananarivo, according to The Guardian's report.Madagascar is one of Africa’s poorest nations, with about 80 percent of its 25 million people living on less than $2 per day, but it has managed to ship tens of thousands of doses of Covid-Organics to several countries, including Nigeria, Tanzania, Comoros, Senegal, Guinea Bissau, Chad and Equatorial Guinea. Many of these reportedly have been sent for free, leading to suggestions that Madagascar may have gotten Russia's help to produce large amounts of the drug. Since his election, Rajoelina has promoted closer ties with Moscow. Most notably, he has strengthened his military cooperation and allowed a company owned by Prigozhin, which had acquired a major stake in a government-run firm that mines chromium under Rajoelina's predecessor, to keep control of the operation. This despite protests by workers complaining of canceled benefits and unpaid wages.Meanwhile, in a country where tests have been very limited, and some of those marred by controversy,  hundreds of people are now known to be infected with the virus, and the numbers are rising rapidly. The first two confirmed COVID-19 deaths were reported just this week.Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.

    Mon, 25 May 2020 04:40:10 -0400
  • Republican groups sue California over expanded mail-in voting news

    A GOP official called the state's effort "radical" and a "recipe for disaster that would create more opportunities for fraud."

    Sun, 24 May 2020 23:20:00 -0400
  • Baby gorilla injured at Seattle Zoo news

    A baby gorilla was badly injured at a Seattle zoo on Saturday when he was caught in a skirmish between his family group members, zookeepers said.

    Mon, 25 May 2020 10:28:34 -0400
  • Hundreds take part in parade to mark first birthday of boy who lost both parents in El Paso shooting news

    A boy who lost both of his parents in a mass shooting at an El Paso, Texas, Walmart last year has celebrated his first birthday – and he did not celebrate it alone.Paul Gilbert Anchondo was only two months old when his parents were killed while protecting him from a mass shooter.

    Mon, 25 May 2020 11:11:18 -0400
  • Americans spend holiday at beaches and parks as virus death toll nears 100,000 news

    This year it has also become a time to mourn the loss of more than 97,000 people due to the coronavirus pandemic in the United States. The New York Times filled its entire front page with the names and selected details of 1,000 victims on Sunday seeking to illustrate the humanity of the lives lost.

    Sun, 24 May 2020 11:43:14 -0400
  • Taiwan offers people of Hong Kong 'necessary assistance' after protests over new security laws news

    Taiwan will provide the people of Hong Kong with "necessary assistance", President Tsai Ing-wen said, after thousands in the Chinese ruled territory protested against Beijing's plans to impose new national security laws. Taiwan has become a refuge for a small but growing number of pro-democracy protesters fleeing Hong Kong, which has been convulsed since last year by anti-Beijing and anti-Hong Kong government protests. Hong Kong police fired tear gas and water cannon to disperse thousands of people who rallied on Sunday to protest against Beijing's move to introduce new national security laws. Writing on her Facebook page late on Sunday, Ms Tsai said the proposed legislation was a serious threat to Hong Kong's freedoms and judicial independence. Bullets and repression are not the way to deal with the aspirations of Hong Kong's people for freedom and democracy, she added. "In face of the changing situation, the international community has proactively stretched out a helping hand to Hong Kong's people," Ms Tsai wrote.

    Mon, 25 May 2020 00:27:29 -0400
  • Warren reportedly turning back to wealthy donors in effort to boost Biden news

    Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) is reportedly reaching back into her old toolbox in an attempt to help former Vice President Joe Biden.Warren has agreed to host a gathering of big money donors for the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, The New York Times reports. The event, which will take place online because of the coronavirus pandemic, is scheduled for June 15, three people with knowledge of the plans told the Times on condition of anonymity.During Warren's own presidential campaign, which ended shortly after Super Tuesday in March, the progressive Democratic senator vowed not to attend private events or call wealthy potential donors for contributions. She subsequently relied heavily on grassroots donations for the rest of her run.But Warren, considered a possible vice presidential candidate who has shown a willingness of late to move a little closer to some of Biden's more centrist policy ideas, built a network of high-dollar donors during her Senate campaigns, so she's no stranger to that world. Now, she'll reportedly turn back to that group to aid Biden in his battle against President Trump.A spokeswoman for Warren declined to comment, and Biden's campaign did not respond to the Times' request. Read more at The New York Times.More stories from Brazil's Bolsonaro accepts little blame for his country's COVID-19 disaster, but he wears a face mask Trump denies wanting to move the Republican National Convention to his Doral resort, citing ballroom size Trump insults Marine veteran Rep. Conor Lamb, calls him an 'American fraud'

    Sun, 24 May 2020 07:48:00 -0400
  • Russian prosecutors seek 18 years for ex-US marine in spy trial news

    Russian prosecutors on Monday called for a former US marine charged with spying to be sentenced to 18 years in prison, after a closed-door trial denounced by Washington and his family. Paul Whelan, 50, was detained in Moscow in December 2018 for allegedly receiving state secrets, but he insists he was framed when he took a USB drive from an acquaintance thinking it contained holiday photos. Whelan's lawyer told reporters that prosecutors had requested 18 years for his client in a strict-regime penal colony, just short of the maximum 20-year sentence.

    Mon, 25 May 2020 11:24:08 -0400
  • Alabama's Easing of Restrictions Has Given 'A False Sense of Security,' Says Montgomery Mayor Steven Reed news

    Cases of coronavirus are on the rise in Alabama, where Gov. Kay Ivey has allowed summer camps, movie theaters, casinos and more to reopen as…

    Mon, 25 May 2020 15:45:19 -0400
  • Chinese media says Wuhan had live virus news

    The Chinese virology institute at the centre of US allegations it may have been the source of the COVID-19 pandemic has three live strains of bat coronavirus on-site, but none match the new global contagion, its director has said.

    Mon, 25 May 2020 10:21:44 -0400
  • A 'new Cold War?' China blames U.S. for growing tensions news

    The ratcheting up of tensions comes as Beijing is hounded by questions over alleged missteps in its initial response to contain the virus.

    Mon, 25 May 2020 09:33:00 -0400
  • The private jet version of the Boeing 787 can cost more than $200 million and fly over 18 hours. Take a look at some its most luxurious designs. news

    The BBJ 787 Dreamliner is like the hybrid of private jets costing over $200 million. The jet can fly over 18 hours with a bedroom and shower onboard.

    Mon, 25 May 2020 08:43:00 -0400
  • The Statue of Liberty as you've never seen her before news

    With the monument currently closed due to COVID-19, this is the perfect time to experience a new virtual tour, featuring every nook-and-cranny of the statue's interior, including areas traditionally off-limits to visitors

    Sun, 24 May 2020 09:43:20 -0400
  • Germany wants to end travel warning for 31 European countries: report news

    The German government wants to end a travel warning for tourist trips to 31 European countries from June 15 if the coronavirus situation allows, magazine Focus on Tuesday cited dpa news agency as reporting. It said a paper on European tourism that may be agreed by the cabinet on Wednesday showed the government wanted to allow travel to the 26 other European Union nations and Britain as well as the four non-EU countries in the Schengen passport-free zone - Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. On May 18, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said Germany was hoping to ease a travel warning on all tourist trips abroad that is in place until June 15.

    Tue, 26 May 2020 00:40:19 -0400
  • Latino workers face discrimination over spread of coronavirus in meat plants news

    Reports of Latinos being refused service after more than 10,000 meatpacking workers, many Latino, contract Covid-19 in the USEthnic minorities have been the hardest-hit by the coronavirus in the US, and now Latino workers are facing fresh difficulty, as they and their communities suffer discrimination after contracting coronavirus in meat processing plants and warehouses.More than 10,000 meatpacking workers, many of them Latino, have contracted coronavirus in the US, according to the United Food and Commercial Workers union, and dozens have died.Latino advocates say workers are also now experiencing racism due to fears they have contracted the virus in the workplace.“We’ve received reports that some workers at a plant were turned away from grocery stores and not allowed in, because they were presumed to have the coronavirus because they worked at the local meatpacking plant,” said Domingo Garcia, national president of the League of United Latin American Citizens (Lulac).“We’ve also heard in Marshalltown [Iowa] people were being refused service because they thought they were positive for Covid-19 – just because they were Latino,” Garcia added.Latino workers have been particularly hard-hit in some areas by their reliance on jobs in meat processing plants or large warehouses which have been kept open during the pandemic, despite reports of poor health and safety standards and a lack of protective equipment.“Four out of every five Latinos are considered essential workers,” Garcia said. “They’re in construction, food processing, grocery stores, they’re farm workers. So they don’t have the luxury of being able to work from home, and therefore they’re being exposed to Covid-19 in ways that many American workers are not.Compounding that, Garcia said, is the lack of health insurance among some Latino workers. Garcia said Lulac is investigating “multiple cases” of Latino employees complaining about workplace conditions “and then being fired”.The outbreaks in meat plants have been shocking.In April an outbreak at the JBS meat processing plant in Colorado killed three workers, while many of Iowa’s more than 8,000 coronavirus cases have been linked to plants including Tyson Foods, in Waterloo. Tyson Foods was forced to suspend operations at the end of April after 180 coronavirus infections were linked to the plant.There was a similar story in Hazleton, Pennsylvania, which became one of the worst-hit areas early on in the crisis. Health officials identified Cargill, a meat-processing plant, as one of the sources of the virus.“The Cargill plant is upwards of 90% Latinx,” said Jamie Longazel, an associate professor at John Jay College and author of Undocumented Fears: Immigration and the Politics of Divide and Conquer in Hazleton, Pennsylvania.With the Latino meat plant workers, some of whom are undocumented, frequently living paycheck to paycheck, they could not afford to not go to work – particularly as large plants tend not to offer sick pay.“They were demonized because the workers were then spreading it to their family members, so it became that the Latinx community was more affected,” Longazel said. Elsewhere in the US anti-Latino sentiment has come from officials. In Wisconsin, the supreme court chief justice, Patience Roggensack, was criticized in early May after she seemed to downplay a coronavirus outbreak among workers at a meatpacking facility in Brown county, where a large proportion of the workers are minorities and immigrants.“[The surge in coronavirus cases] was due to the meatpacking – that’s where Brown county got the flare,” Roggensack said. “It wasn’t just the regular folks in Brown county.”Christine Neumann-Ortiz, executive director of the Wisconsin-based Voces de la Frontera immigrant-rights group, criticized Roggensack’s remarks as “elitist” and “racist”, and told the Guardian that Latinos had been subjected to “legalized discrimination” through their work.“Without a question they have been discriminated against, because they are disproportionately more vulnerable to exposure and to having them or their families or their community impacted by the Covid-19,” Neumann-Ortiz said.If there is one positive, Neumann-Ortiz said, it’s that the backlash could trigger a greater effort to change workplace conditions.“It’s forcing workplace organizing to happen, in a way that wasn’t there before because the stakes are so high,” Neumann-Ortiz said. In some cases workers have refused to go to work due to unsafe conditions, which has forced companies to temporarily close down facilities to deep-clean plants, or provide better PPE.“There is a new struggle on the frontline and it’s going to be here for a while to come,” she said.

    Mon, 25 May 2020 05:00:47 -0400
  • Jeffrey Epstein: Up to 130 people claim they could be child of dead financier with £470m fortune news

    More than 100 people claim they could be the offspring of the deceased financier Jeffrey Epstein, who is thought to have had a personal fortune of around £470 million.A DNA company, which set up a website called, said as many as 130 people had come forward – including a number of Britons – since the site’s launch.

    Mon, 25 May 2020 07:15:00 -0400
  • Top Brazil media end coverage of presidential doorstop news

    Brasília (AFP) - Two of Brazil's top media groups said Monday they were suspending coverage of President Jair Bolsonaro's informal news conferences outside the presidential palace because of harassment by his supporters and a lack of security. Media conglomerate Globo and newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo said the presidential security detail was failing to provide adequate protection for journalists covering Bolsonaro. The far-right president, who regularly rails against the mainstream media, often stops outside the Alvorada Palace in Brasilia in the morning to greet supporters and occasionally speak to the press.

    Mon, 25 May 2020 22:36:33 -0400
  • Several high school students in Georgia tested positive for COVID-19 after attending a drive-through graduation parade news

    The Lovett School in Atlanta did not disclose how many students had tested positive for COVID-19, but described the number as "several."

    Mon, 25 May 2020 17:51:58 -0400
  • Declining infection rate provides challenge for Oxford coronavirus vaccine news

    Just days ago, scientists leading the University of Oxford's coronavirus vaccine development expressed optimism about their progress — more than 1,000 people in the United Kingdom have been inoculated already, and 10,000 more will be given the vaccine in May and June. But there's some cause for concern, The Telegraph reports.Professor Adrian Hill, director of the University's Jenner Institute, said what was formerly an 80 percent chance of developing an effective vaccine by September — possibly in time for a potential second wave of infections — has dwindled to 50 percent. That's not because the team no longer believes in its work, which is reportedly still going well. Instead, the U.K.'s infection rate decline may make it tough to gauge the vaccine's efficacy. "It's a race against the virus disappearing, and against time," Hill said.Hill only expects fewer than 50 of the 10,000 trial volunteers to catch the virus, which has faded since the U.K. and other countries implemented strict lockdowns, and if it turns out that fewer than 20 test positive, the study's results may be useless.The vaccine showed promise when it was tested in six rhesus macaque monkeys earlier this year, but it will obviously need to show that it provides the same protection in humans before it can be distributed.More stories from Brazil's Bolsonaro accepts little blame for his country's COVID-19 disaster, but he wears a face mask Trump denies wanting to move the Republican National Convention to his Doral resort, citing ballroom size Trump insults Marine veteran Rep. Conor Lamb, calls him an 'American fraud'

    Sun, 24 May 2020 10:37:00 -0400
  • Joe Biden makes first public appearance since March news

    The apparent Democratic presidential nominee and his wife laid a wreath Monday to honor Delaware war dead, his first public foray since mid-March.

    Mon, 25 May 2020 12:57:00 -0400
  • Russia records its highest daily death toll from the coronavirus as its number of new cases appears to decline news

    Russia denies that it has manipulated coronavirus data and maintains that its mortality rate from the virus is among the lowest in the world.

    Sun, 24 May 2020 22:31:22 -0400
  • Trump adviser compares China's handling of coronavirus to Chernobyl news

    “We’ll see an HBO special about 10 or 15 years from now,” Robert O’Brien said

    Sun, 24 May 2020 11:51:25 -0400
  • Italy reports 92 coronavirus deaths on Monday, just 300 new infections news

    Deaths from the COVID-19 epidemic in Italy climbed by 92 on Monday, against 50 the day before, the Civil Protection Agency said, while the daily tally of new cases dropped to just 300 from 531 on Sunday. Sunday's daily death toll did not include fatalities from the worst-affected Lombardy region, due to technical problems. It was not immediately clear if Lombardy's deaths from Sunday had been added on Monday, when the region reported 34 new fatalities.

    Mon, 25 May 2020 12:03:10 -0400
  • Second immigrant dies of COVID-19 while in ICE custody news

    Santiago Baten-Oxlag, of Guatemala, is the second known immigrant to die of coronavirus complications while detained by U.S. immigration authorities.

    Mon, 25 May 2020 15:32:31 -0400
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