Journalists have been attacked all over the world while on the job covering protests for years, but never like they were this week in the United States during the George Floyd protests.At least half a dozen incidences of arrests and attacks were reported in protests across the United States this weekend. Some were high profile, like the live-on-air arrest of CNN journalist Omar Jimenez and his crew Friday morning. Others got less attention, like Los Angeles Times reporter Molly Hennessy-Fiske getting pelted with rubber bullets and tear gas or the two Los Angeles Times photographers who were briefly taken into custody. To All Black Journalists: We See You, We Support YouWAVE-TV reporter Kaitlin Rust, who was covering protests in Louisville Saturday night, was shot with pepper bullets while live on air. Video showed a police officer aiming directly at her and her crew. “I’ve been shot! I’ve been shot!” Rust, who was wearing a fluorescent vest, carrying a microphone, and standing in front of a camera, can be heard screaming. Police later apologized for the incident. The next day, MSNBC reporter Garrett Haake also appeared to be hit by a police projectile while reporting live from Washington D.C. “We're gonna make some moves here,” he told the anchor, just moments before he was apparently hit. “We’re gonna end up in a place we don’t wanna be here if we’re not careful.” A crew in Denver tweeted after they were targeted by police there with paintballs and tear gas. “Luckily, I ducked,” one of the journalists wrote. The video journalist who was shooting the protests wasn’t so lucky and was struck.Andrea May Sahouri, a breaking news reporter for The Des Moines Register, said she was arrested Sunday while reporting on protests at a local mall. In a video posted to Twitter from the back of a police car, Sahouri said she was in a crowd of people running from police when she stopped to help her boyfriend, who was hit with tear gas. She said officers approached her, pepper sprayed her, and zip-tied her hands, even as she told them she was a reporter. “I’m just doing my job as a journalist, I’m just out here reporting,” she said.Wall St. Journal reporter Tyler Blint-Welsh reported his ankle was in “searing pain” after NYPD officers allegedly hit him in the face with riot shields and pushed him to the ground. “I was backing away as request, with my hands up,” he tweeted. “My NYPD-issued press badge was clearly visible. I’m just sitting here crying.” Anti-Trump protesters in front of the White House turned their anger to Fox News journalist Leland Vittert who told the Associated Press, “We took a good thumping. The protesters stopped protesting whatever it was they were protesting and turned on us and that was a very different feeling.”Briana Whitney, a reporter in Phoenix, was attacked on air and tweeted, “THIS IS NOT OKAY. This is the moment I was intentionally tackled by this man while I was on air trying to report what was happening during the protest at Phoenix PD headquarters. I feel violated, and this was terrifying. Let us do our jobs. We are trying our very best.”In Chicago, freelance reporter and Daily Beast contributor Jonathan Ballew said he was pepper-sprayed even as he brandished his press credentials.KDKA TV journalist Ian Smith said he was attacked while covering protests in Pittsburgh. “They stomped and kicked me,” he wrote under a photo of him in the back of an ambulance. “I’m bruised and bloody but alive. My camera was destroyed. Another group of protesters pulled me out and saved my life. Thank you!”Journalists have been attacked in the U.S. before, but not nearly as often or as brutal as this weekend. Speaking to The Washington Post, Suzanne Nossel, chief executive of PEN America, blamed animosity towards the press on Trump. “By denigrating journalists so often, he has degraded respect for what journalists do and the crucial role they play in a democracy,” she said. “He’s been remarkably effective in contributing to this topsy-turvy sense that journalists are the opposition.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet 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.
The Supreme Court on Monday upheld the oversight board established by Congress to help Puerto Rico out of a devastating financial crisis that has been exacerbated by the coronavirus outbreak, recent earthquakes and damage from Hurricane Maria in 2017. In a unanimous holding, the court will allow the oversight board’s work to pull the island out of the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history to proceed. At one point, Puerto Rico faced more than $ 100 billion in debt and unfunded pension obligations.
His record was terrible before coronavirus, but his abysmal handling of the crisis should get him thrown out of officeAndrew Cuomo may be the most popular politician in the country. His approval ratings have hit all-time highs thanks to his Covid-19 response. Some Democrats have discussed him as a possible replacement for Joe Biden, due to Biden’s perceived weakness as a nominee. And there have even been some unfortunate tributes to Cuomo’s alleged sex appeal.All of which is bizarre, because Cuomo should be one of the most loathed officials in America right now. ProPublica recently released a report outlining catastrophic missteps by Cuomo and the New York City mayor, Bill de Blasio, which probably resulted in many thousands of needless coronavirus cases. ProPublica offers some appalling numbers contrasting what happened in New York with the outbreak in California. By mid-May, New York City alone had almost 20,000 deaths, while in San Francisco there had been only 35, and New York state as a whole suffered 10 times as many deaths as California.Federal failures played a role, of course, but this tragedy was absolutely due, in part, to decisions by the governor. Cuomo initially “reacted to De Blasio’s idea for closing down New York City with derision”, saying it “was dangerous” and “served only to scare people”. He said the “seasonal flu was a graver worry”. A spokesperson for Cuomo “refused to say if the governor had ever read the state’s pandemic plan”. Later, Cuomo would blame the press, including the New York Times for failing to say “Be careful, there’s a virus in China that may be in the United States?” even though the Times wrote nearly 500 stories on the virus before the state acted. Experts told ProPublica that “had New York imposed its extreme social distancing measures a week or two earlier, the death toll might have been cut by half or more”.But delay was not the only screw-up. Elderly prisoners have died of coronavirus because New York has failed to act on their medical parole requests. As Business Insider documented:“Testing was slow. Nonprofit social-service agencies that serve the most vulnerable couldn’t get answers either. And medical experts like the former CDC director Tom Frieden said ‘so many deaths could have been prevented’ had New York issued its stay-at-home order just ‘days earlier’ than it did. On March 19, when New York’s schools had already been closed, Cuomo said ‘in many ways, the fear is more dangerous than the virus.’”The governor has failed to take responsibility for the obvious failures, consistently blaming others and at one point even saying “governors don’t do pandemics”. (Actually, some governors just don’t read their state’s pandemic plans.) But much of the press has ignored this, focusing instead on Cuomo’s aesthetic presentation: his poise during press conferences, his dramatic statements about “taking responsibility” (even when he obviously hasn’t), and his invisible good looks.> Cuomo’s record was shameful long before coronavirus beganThe mask mural is yet another publicity stunt mistaken by the press as a sign of leadership. On 29 April, Cuomo unveiled a wall of handmade cloth masks that had been sent to his office by concerned citizens all over America. He called it “a self-portrait of America. You know what that spells? It spells love.” Since the arrangement of masks doesn’t form words, the mural doesn’t actually spell anything, but it is a perfect symbol of Cuomo’s leadership failures. Handmade cloth face coverings are not as effective as N95 masks, of course, but if unsuitable for healthcare workers they would still have been perfectly appropriate to distribute to New Yorkers (some of whom have been brutally arrested for not wearing masks). But Cuomo, rather than putting the needs of New Yorkers first, chose to tack hundreds of cloth masks on a wall as a monument to himself.Cuomo’s record was shameful long before coronavirus began. He enabled the IDC (Independent Democratic Conference), a group of conservative Democratic state lawmakers, in allying with the Republican minority to block progressive legislation. (Cuomo denies any role in the IDC, but that stretches credulity.) Before the pandemic, he pushed through Medicaid cuts which shut down necessary hospital space in the name of “efficiency” despite the warnings of medical professionals. And on 3 April, as 3,000 New Yorkers already lay dead from the virus and hospitals like Elmhurst in Queens were overwhelmed with cases, Cuomo forced through further Medicaid cuts, slashing $ 400m from hospital budgets.As the state now staggers to its feet, Cuomo has partnered with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to “reimagine education” (which almost certainly means privatization), and with the ex-Google chief Eric Schmidt to – as Naomi Klein puts it – “permanently integrat[e] technology into every aspect of civic life”. All of this has happened without the democratic input of New Yorkers, who would likely prefer that the progressive legislators they elected could govern without interference, that their hospitals have enough money to function and that billionaires don’t infiltrate and control every element of civic life.There’s something disturbing about Cuomo being hailed as the hero of the pandemic when he should rightly be one of the villains. As Business Insider notes, he is now only able to attain praise for his actions because his earlier failures made those actions necessary. He’s lauded for addressing a problem that he himself partly caused. Of course, part of this is because Donald Trump has bungled the coronavirus response even more badly, so that Cuomo – by not being a complete buffoon – looks like a capable statesman by contrast. But this is the problem: for too long, Democrats have measured their politicians by “whether they are better than Republicans”. This sets the bar very low indeed, and means that Democrats end up settling for incompetent and amoral leaders who betray progressive values again and again. * Lyta Gold is the managing editor and amusements editor of Current Affairs. Nathan Robinson is the editor of Current Affairs and a Guardian US columnist
The Federal Aviation Administration outlined steps to change how it approves new passenger planes, but lawmakers said they will push ahead with legislation to change the current system that lets aircraft makers including Boeing play a key role in the certification process. The FAA has been under pressure to change its certification process after failing to catch problems with new flight-control technology on the Boeing 737 Max. Design problems have been blamed for two crashes that killed 346 people. For decades, the FAA has relied on employees of aircraft makers to vouch for the safe design of components on planes.
A powerful cyclone pounded eastern India and Bangladesh on Wednesday, killing at least 14 people and destroying thousands of homes, officials said, leaving authorities struggling to mount relief efforts amid a surging coronavirus outbreak. The populous Indian state of West Bengal took the brunt of Cyclone Amphan, which barrelled out of the Bay of Bengal with gusting winds of up to 185 km per hour (115 mph) and a storm surge of around five metres. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said at least 10 people had died in the state, and two districts been completely battered by one of the strongest storms to hit the region in several years.
New Zealand’s foreign minister on Tuesday said the country has to stand up for itself after China warned its backing of Taiwan’s participation at the World Health Organization (WHO) could damage bilateral ties. Taiwan, with the strong support of the United States, has stepped up its lobbying to be allowed to take part as an observer at next week’s World Health Assembly (WHA), the WHO’s decision-making body – a move which has angered China. Taiwan is excluded from the WHO due to the objections of China, which views the island as one of its provinces.
Chinese hackers are trying to steal COVID-19 vaccine research, US authorities said Wednesday, ratcheting up tensions between the superpowers as markets slumped on warnings from the US Federal Reserve that prolonged shutdowns could cause “lasting damage”. Europe, meanwhile, pushed ahead with plans to gradually reopen for summer tourism, even as fears persist of a second wave of infections in the pandemic that has forced more than half of humanity behind closed doors in recent months. With some countries scrambling after a fresh surge in cases and the global death toll exceeding 294,000, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned Wednesday that the virus “may never go away.”
A university professor funded by NASA has been arrested for allegedly keeping connections to the Chinese communist government a secret from US authorities.The FBI arrested University of Arkansas professor Simon Saw-Teong Ang, 63, for allegedly defrauding NASA and the university "by failing to disclose that he held other positions at a Chinese university and Chinese companies".
Angela Merkel threatened Russia with consequences yesterday on Wednesday as she accused Vladimir Putin’s intelligence services of hacking her emails. “We always reserve the right to take measures, including against Russia,” Mrs Merkel told the German parliament. Germany has “hard evidence” Russian intelligence was behind a 2015 hacking attack in which her emails were compromised, she said. It was the first official confirmation of claims that have been extensively reported by the German press in recent days. “I can honestly say that it pains me,” Mrs Merkel said, voicing her frustration at what she called Russia’s “outrageous” behaviour. “Every day I try to build a better relationship with Russia, and on the other hand there is hard evidence that Russian forces are doing this.” The allegations centre on a 2015 hacking attack on the German parliament’s internal computer system in which several MPs’ email accounts were compromised. It emerged last week in a report in Spiegel magazine that one of Mrs Merkel’s email accounts was among those affected.
The CIA reportedly believes that China attempted to prevent the World Health Organization from declaring a global health emergency during the beginning stages of the coronavirus pandemic in January.In a report titled "U.N.-China: WHO Mindful But Not Beholden to China," the CIA detailed that China threatened to cease cooperating with the WHO's coronavirus investigation if the agency declared a global health emergency, Newsweek reported on Tuesday. The threats came at the same time that China reportedly "intentionally concealed the severity" of the outbreak in order to hoard medical supplies.U.S. officials told Newsweek that they could not say whether Chinese premier Xi Jinping was personally involved in the effort to pressure the WHO. A German intelligence report published by Der Spiegel last week concluded that Xi was indeed involved in the effort.The WHO declared a global health emergency on January 30, about one month after China confirmed the emergence of the then-unidentified pathogen in the city of Wuhan."Let me be clear: This declaration is not a vote of no confidence in China. On the contrary, WHO continues to have confidence in China's capacity to control the outbreak," WHO Director-General Tedros Anhanom told reporters at the time. The coronavirus outbreak has since become a pandemic, causing over 4,000,000 confirmed infections and killing almost 300,000 worldwide as of Tuesday.Accusing the WHO of mishandling the crisis and kowtowing to China, President Trump in April announced he would suspend U.S. funding for the organization."I’m instructing my administration to halt funding of the WHO while a review is conducted to assess the WHO’s role in severely mismanaging and covering up the spread of the coronavirus,” Trump said at a White House press conference. “The WHO failed in this basic duty and must be held accountable.”
The FBI has accidentally revealed the name of a Saudi diplomat who is suspected of directing support to two of the September 11, 2001, plane hijackers.In a federal court filing by Jill Sanborn, the assistant director of the FBI's counterterrorism division, the diplomat's name was redacted in all instances except one. In that instance, Sanborn's document refers to a diplomat formerly stationed at the Saudi embassy in the U.S. as "Jarrah," Yahoo News reported on Tuesday.The name refers to Mussaed Ahmed al-Jarrah, who served at the Saudi embassy from 1999 to 2000. Al-Jarrah "was responsible for the placement of Ministry of Islamic Affairs employees known as guides and propagators posted to the United States, including Fahad Al Thumairy," according to a declaration by former FBI agent Catherine Hunt, who has assisted some of the families of 9/11 victims.Al-Thumairy is a Saudi cleric who served as imam of a Los Angeles mosque. FBI reports released in 2012 revealed that Al-Thumairy and another individual were suspected of being "tasked" with aiding two 9/11 hijackers, although agents could not prove the suspicion conclusively.Some families of 9/11 victims have seized on the disclosure as hard evidence that the Saudi government had some level of involvement in the attacks."This shows there is a complete government cover-up of the Saudi involvement," Brett Eagleson, a spokesman for the families, told Yahoo. Eagleson noted that the Justice Department had informed families of al-Jarrah's identity in September 2019, it had done so while forbidding the reporting of al-Jarrah's name to the public.The U.S. maintains an alliance with Saudi Arabia that has deepened in recent years as the two countries have placed pressure on Iranian forces throughout the Middle East. The Saudi government has repeatedly denied that any of its representatives were involved in the 9/11 hijackings.
The Senate majority leader criticized the former president on a Trump campaign live stream despite the presence of a “Playbook for Early Response to High-Consequence Emerging Infectious Disease Threats and Biological Incidents.”
China has enforced a lockdown on a city bordering North Korea, raising suspicions about a coronavirus outbreak in the isolated country. Residential compounds have been closed and transportation shut down in Shulan, a city of 700,000 in the north-eastern province of Jilin, state broadcaster China Central Television reported on Sunday. Students who already had returned to school, were sent back home again to study, and the city’s threat level has been raised from medium to high risk. As of Saturday, Jilin province had reported a total of 105 locally transmitted Covid-19 cases and 19 imported ones. There were 11 new coronavirus cases in Shulan on Saturday, local health authorities said. North Korea closed its borders in January when Covid-19 first began to take hold in China, and has consistently stated that nobody inside the country has been infected.
When the Kalispel Tribe of Indians closed its casino as the coronavirus took hold in Washington state, it essentially shut down its economy. “We can’t fund any programs without the casino” — no health care, education, law enforcement or fire protection, said Phil Haugen, chief operating officer of the Kalispel Tribal Economic Authority. Its Northern Quest Casino near Spokane closed for nearly two months, costing the tribe millions of dollars.
New Zealand will phase out its coronavirus lockdown over the next 10 days after successfully containing the virus, although some restrictions will remain, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced Monday. Ardern said that from Thursday shopping malls, restaurants, cinemas and playgrounds will reopen — with the country moving to Level Two on its four-tier system. The 39-year-old leader warned “none of us can assume COVID is not with us” but said New Zealand currently had only 90 active cases after a seven-week lockdown.
The Senate’s top Democrat on Sunday called on the Department of Veterans Affairs to explain why it allowed the use of an unproven drug on veterans for the coronavirus, saying patients may have been put at unnecessary risk. Sen. Charles Schumer of New York said the VA needs to provide Congress more information about a recent bulk order for $ 208,000 worth of hydroxychloroquine. President Donald Trump has heavily promoted the malaria drug, without evidence, as a treatment for COVID-19.
The gutted carcass of a freshwater dolphin has been found in a river sanctuary in Bangladesh, officials said Sunday, sparking fears fishermen are taking advantage of the virus lockdown to poach the endangered creatures. Locals in the southeastern town of Raojan found the remains of the 62-inch (157-centimetre) long Ganges river dolphin on the banks of the Halda River, fishery department official Abdullah al Mamun told AFP. The dolphin is the second to be found dead in the same sanctuary since Bangladesh imposed its lockdown to tackle the coronavirus, said Manzoorul Kibria, coordinator of the Halda River Research Laboratory (HRRL).
While high-profile Democrats voice support for the presumptive presidential nominee, some progressives call for a closer look at Tara Reade’s allegationsThe allegations of sexual misconduct by Tara Reade against the former vice-president Joe Biden have caused new fault lines within the Democratic party, especially between its left wing and the establishment.Reade is a former Biden Senate staffer who has accused the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee of sexually assaulting her while she worked in his office in the 1990s. Biden and his campaign have flatly denied the allegations and major news outlets have continued to investigate.Meanwhile, liberal grassroots activists have clashed with centrist Democrats and senior party figures over how to respond to the allegations. The arguments often point to how Democrats approached previous high-profile sexual assault allegations, such as the accusations by Christine Blasey Ford against Brett Kavanaugh during the now supreme court justice’s contentious confirmation hearings.Peter Daou, a Democratic strategist who has argued that the “Democratic establishment” has moved to undercut Reade’s allegations, said three basic factions had emerged.“You have Biden’s opponents on the Republican side and they’re going to seize on this,” Daou said, adding that there was also “the left – progressives and leftists” who want to see Reade’s allegations taken more seriously, and then the Democratic party establishment figures who are trying to undermine Reade. The latter group, Daou said, is “just absolutely wedded to Biden right now, will not let go, so they’ll defend him at all costs – even if that means completely destroying the MeToo movement”.Daou pointed out that other women have accused Biden of unwanted touching. In response to those accusations, Biden has said he would work to better respect other people’s personal spaces.Republicans have been eager to confront as many rank-and-file Democratic politicians as possible with the allegations. The National Republican Congressional Committee has been blasting out emails targeting specific Democratic House candidates over Reade’s claims.The subject line of a Friday email from the NRCC read: “Why does McBath not believe Tara Reade?” It asked why the Georgia congresswoman Lucy McBath was “yet to say whether she’ll stand by her endorsement of Biden amidst allegations of sexual assault, although she was quick to support Dr Ford during the Kavanaugh hearings”.Similar questions are being asked by progressives and some more moderate Democratic party leaders. David Sirota, a former speechwriter and senior strategist for Bernie Sanders, has argued that Democrats have been too eager to discount Reade’s allegations.A small group of insurgent Democratic congressional candidates have begun to raise concerns that Reade’s allegations are not being taken seriously enough. Rebecca Parson, a liberal Democrat challenging the Washington state congressman Derek Kilmer, said in an interview on Friday that Biden should step down over Reade’s allegations. Parson said she believes Reade and thinks the charges create too much of a vulnerability for Biden in the 2020 presidential election.“I want to defeat Donald Trump in November and yes, I’m a progressive and I’m in the left-wing of the party, but something that really unites the people in the centrist wing and the progressive wing is we all want to defeat Trump,” Parson said. “I don’t think we do that with somebody who has all these allegations against him, especially because Donald Trump has assault allegations against him and unfortunately with Donald Trump, Trump doesn’t care about being a hypocrite.”Parson added: “I think that Biden should withdraw and any one or more of the candidates who aren’t running should restart their campaign because the Democratic primary isn’t over yet.”Those arguments aren’t shared by many of the most high-profile figures in the Democratic party. The New York senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a leading advocate against sexual harassment and sexual assault, told reporters on Tuesday that she supported Biden amid the allegations.“So when we say believe women, it’s for this explicit intention of making sure there’s space for all women to come forward to speak their truth, to be heard. And in this allegation, that is what Tara Reade has done,” Gillibrand said, according to CNN. “She has come forward, she has spoken, and they have done an investigation in several outlets. Those investigations Vice-President Biden has called for himself. Vice-President Biden has vehemently denied these allegations and I support Vice-President Biden.”The former Georgia state house minority leader Democrat Stacey Abrams also said she believed Biden.“The New York Times did a deep investigation and they found that the accusation was not credible. I believe Joe Biden,” Abrams said in late April.Others, including the Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren and Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer, have also said they support Biden in response to Reade’s allegations.But Parson is not alone in arguing that at this point Biden should drop out of the race. A Politico/Morning Consult poll found that over a third of Democratic voters surveyed say the party should switch out Biden as their presumptive nominee because of the allegations.Other Democrats argued that Biden can both adequately address Reade’s allegations and still be a viable opponent against Trump. The Massachusetts congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, a progressive favorite, wrote a Medium post arguing that the allegations can be examined without undercutting Biden’s chances of beating Trump.“I reject the false choice that my party and our nominee can’t address the allegations at hand and defeat the occupant of the White House,” Pressley wrote.
Germany’s coronavirus reproduction rate – the crucial measure shows how widely the virus is spreading in the community – has risen to 1.1, giving rise to fears that a second wave of infections may be imminent. The findings come just days after the country begun the first phase of relaxing its coronavirus lockdown measures, while anti-lockdown protests have been building across the country. Germany has been lauded internationally for its coordinated response to the virus and its corresponding low death rate, with 7,549 having fallen victim to the disease there until Saturday, compared with 31,587 in the UK, which has a much smaller population. But the rise in infections suggests that the lockdown relaxations may have been premature, and is a headache for Chancellor Angela Merkel who has limits on her powers in Germany's decentralised system. Britain will be watching the developments closely as it begins to move towards easing lockdown. When she announced a relaxation of lockdown measures on Wednesday, Germany’s reproduction rate was at 0.65, before rising to 0.81 on Friday and 1.1 on Saturday. A rate of 1 or more means that each carrier of the virus infects at least one more person, ensuring it continues to spread. Germany’s Robert Koch Institute which compiled the figures, said it that while the rate has been increasing rapidly since Wednesday, at this stage it cannot be determined whether the relaxed lockdowns were responsible. It said: “The increase in the estimated (reproduction) value makes it necessary to watch the development very carefully over the next few days.|" The findings come from data compiled on Saturday, and show that the infection rate has now effectively doubled in the three days since the relaxation of lockdown restrictions. On Saturday, outbreaks at several meatpacking plants in North Rhine-Westphalia – the country’s most populous state – prompted the state leadership to promise to test each of the estimated 18-20,000 meatworkers in the state. In the western town of Coesfeld, where 151 of 200 slaughterhouse workers tested positive for the virus, authorities decided to suspend lockdown relaxations. Despite the outbreaks, Armin Laschet, Prime Minister of North Rhine-Westphalia, called for the country’s border with France to be reopened in order to foster European solidarity. Merkel struck a different tone when announcing the first phase of relaxations midweek, reminding the German public “we still have a long fight against the virus ahead of us”. It was a rare example of contradicting sentiments between the German leader and the man favoured to succeed her as leader of the Christian Democrats when she steps down next year. Despite the continued danger posed by Covid-19, protesters took to the streets across Germany at the weekend to criticise the lockdown measures. Thousands gathered in Berlin, Frankfurt, Stuttgart and other German cities, saying their rights were being infringed and complaining that the government and medical workers were spreading panic. In Munich, more than 3,000 people – many without masks and not respecting social distancing rules – gathered in the city’s central Marienplatz, with signs critical of “health fascism” and proclaiming: “We want our lives back”. Although there have been consistent protests against the measures since they were first put in place in March, the weekend’s demonstrations were the biggest seen so far since the outbreak of the virus. The German Press Agency reports that although the group was well over the maximum of 50 people allowed to attend demonstrations under the government’s coronavirus restrictions, police decided not to break up the largely peaceful demonstration in the interests of “proportionality”. Munich Mayor Dieter Reiter was heavily critical of the protesters on Sunday. Despite saying he empathised with their desire “to return to a certain normality”, Reiter told German media "I have absolutely no understanding of actions or demonstrations that, due to the lack of distance and mouth / nose protection, counteract any positive developments in the infection and more likely to jeopardise further loosening than to enable it." Reiter also said he found it “absolutely unbearable” that the protests had a heavy presence from known far-right groups.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called Saturday for caution and expressed concern about loosening lockdown measures in Montreal, the epicenter of Canada’s coronavirus outbreak. While several Canadian provinces, including Quebec, are preparing reopening measures and a gradual revival of their economies, Trudeau stressed prudence and said that the country is not yet out of danger. Quebec is the worst-hit province in Canada, with more than half of both the country’s 67,000 cases of coronavirus and 4,700 deaths.
On April 10, Tony Thompson, the sheriff for Black Hawk County in Iowa, visited the giant Tyson Foods pork plant in Waterloo. What he saw, he said, "shook me to the core."Workers, many of them immigrants, were crowded elbow to elbow as they broke down hog carcasses zipping by on a conveyor belt. The few who had face coverings wore a motley assortment of bandannas, painters' masks or even sleep masks stretched around their mouths. Some had masks hanging around their necks.Thompson and other local officials, including from the county health department, lobbied Tyson to close the plant, worried about a coronavirus outbreak. But Tyson was "less than cooperative," said the sheriff, who supervises the county's coronavirus response, and Iowa's governor declined to shut the facility."Waterloo Tyson is running," the company said in a text message to employees April 17. "Thank you team members! WE ARE PROUD OF YOU!"Five days later, the plant was closed. Tyson said the reason was "worker absenteeism." As of Thursday, the county health department had recorded 1,031 coronavirus infections among Tyson employees — more than one-third of the workforce. Some are on ventilators. Three have died, according to Tyson.The plant didn't stay closed for long. As meat shortages hit grocery stores and fast-food restaurants, political pressure built to get the dozens of plants across the country that had shut down because of virus outbreaks up and running again. After an executive order by President Donald Trump declared the meat supply "critical infrastructure" and shielded the companies from certain liability, Tyson reopened its Waterloo facility Thursday.New safety precautions have been added, like plexiglass barriers along the production line, infrared temperature scanners to detect fevers, and face shields and masks for the workers.Now the question is: Will America's appetite for meat be sated without sickening armies of low-wage workers, and their communities, in new waves of infection?Workers and their advocates say Tyson's actions — and recent federal safety guidelines — have come far too late. They point to lapses that Tyson made in the first three weeks of April as the virus tore largely unimpeded through the Waterloo plant.As high-level executives lobbied the White House to help protect Tyson from lawsuits, the company was failing to provide adequate safety equipment to Waterloo workers and refusing the requests of local officials to close the plant, according to more than two dozen interviews with plant employees, immigrant-rights advocates, doctors, lawyers and government officials.While Tyson began changing its policies on short-term disability benefits in late March to encourage sick workers to stay home, many employees were not certain of the rules, and some went to work sick to avoid losing pay. Rumors and misinformation spread among workers, many of whom are not native English speakers. As the workforce dwindled, fear gripped the plant.Steve Stouffer, head of Tyson's beef and pork operations, said in an interview that the company had made the best safety decisions it could in a rapidly evolving situation. But he acknowledged that the company might have done more."Looking at it in the rearview mirror, you can always be better," he said.Thompson said that he was thankful for the new safety precautions but that Tyson had been too slow to act."Which is more important?" he asked. "Your pork chops or the people that are contracting COVID, the people that are dying from it?"'A Time of Fear and Panic'A squat gray building branded with the slogan "A Cut Above the Rest," the Waterloo plant is Tyson's largest pork operation in the United States, responsible for almost 4% of the nation's pork supply. Before the pandemic, it operated around the clock, breaking down up to 19,500 hogs a day into cuts of meat that traveled on a fleet of trucks across the country.It is tough, demanding work, usually performed by workers standing close together.During a conference call March 9, union leaders in the meat industry discussed how to spread out workers in plants and take other precautions to prevent an outbreak. But at the time, the problem seemed a long way away from eastern Iowa, said Bob Waters, president of the local union for the Waterloo plant."We thought it might come, but we hoped it didn't," he said. Iowa, like several other Midwestern states, never issued a statewide stay-at-home order.By early April, however, the Black Hawk County emergency operation center had started getting complaints about dangerous conditions at the plant.Workers and their relatives reported a lack of protective gear and insufficient safety protocols and said employees were starting to test positive for the virus.Tyson had put some precautions in place. In March, it began checking workers for fevers as they entered the plant and relaxed its policies so workers who tested positive or were feeling unwell would be paid a portion of their salary even if they stayed home.But workers were still crowded together on the factory floor, in the cafeteria and in the locker room, and most did not wear masks. Tyson said it offered cloth bandannas to workers who asked, but by the time it tried to buy protective gear, supplies were scarce.At least one employee vomited while working on the production line, and several left the facility with soaring temperatures, according to a worker, who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of losing his job, and local advocates who have spoken with workers at the plant.Because of patient privacy laws, Tyson and the union had difficulty obtaining information from state officials about which workers had tested positive — hampering their efforts to isolate colleagues in close contact with them.Older employees, as well as those with asthma or diabetes, became increasingly afraid of entering the plant."It was really a time of fear and panic," said state Rep. Timi Brown-Powers, who works at a coronavirus clinic in Waterloo. "They had not slowed the line down. They were not practicing any sort of social distancing."On the night of April 12, she said, nearly two dozen Tyson employees were admitted to the emergency room at a hospital, MercyOne.Tyson employed interpreters to communicate with its diverse workforce, which includes immigrants from Bosnia, Mexico, Myanmar and the Republic of Congo. But misinformation and distrust spread.One worker who died had taken Tylenol before entering the plant to lower her temperature enough to pass the screening, afraid that missing work would mean forgoing a bonus, said a person who knows the worker's family and who spoke on the condition of anonymity to protect their privacy.Workers at the plant were confused about why so many colleagues seemed to be getting sick and missing work. Supervisors told them that it was the flu, some said, or warned them not to talk about the virus at work.In an emailed statement, Tyson said it had "worked with the information available to us at the time to help keep our team members safe." The company said earlier information from the Black Hawk County Health Department would have helped its decision-making.Dr. Nafissa Cisse Egbuonye, director of the Black Hawk County Health Department, said that before the state changed the rules on April 14 to help speed public health investigations, she was legally prevented from sharing the names of employees who had tested positive with the company. But she said that she had been in constant communication with the plant and shared her concerns."I think they had enough information," she said, "to take the necessary measures."A Vulnerable WorkforceIowa, an overwhelmingly white state, has long had a complicated relationship with meatpacking plants. While the industry is an engine of the state's economy and the country's food supply, it also employs many immigrants, who have faced periodic raids to enforce immigration laws.Even with union representation, immigrants at the plant say they are afraid to raise concerns about working conditions."The narrative is shifting the blame to the workers instead of focusing on the true incompetence, in my opinion, of the government — not just the governor, but also leaders here at Tyson," said Nilvia Reyes Rodriguez, president of the Waterloo chapter of the League of United Latin American Citizens. "It was their responsibility to protect their workers."She added, "Because of the population in those industries, I think there is a disregard for those communities."Tyson said in a statement that it took pride in its diversity and that its immigrant workers have advanced to management positions, including at the Waterloo plant. But some of those tensions simmered as local politicians became locked in a struggle with the state and then the federal government over closing the plant.After Thompson's visit, he and other local politicians began lobbying Tyson and Gov. Kim Reynolds for a shutdown. The governor sided with Tyson. She issued an executive order April 16 stating that only the state government, not local governments, had the authority to close businesses in northeast Iowa, including the Waterloo plant."We're making sure that the workforce is protected and, most importantly, that we're keeping that food supply chain moving," Reynolds said.But the number of infections continued to increase. After Tyson closed the plant, the company invited workers back for coronavirus testing. But that process may have infected more workers, said Christine Kemp, chief executive of a local health clinic. Employees bunched together outside the plant and crowded the stairwells. Some left without being tested, afraid they would catch the virus in line.The virus had already spread through the community, including to a nursing home where several workers are married to Tyson employees. The Tyson employees who have died included a Bosnian refugee, survived by a grieving husband, and a man with three daughters. The mother died from cancer last year, and the oldest daughter, 19, will take guardianship of her sisters.A maintenance worker at the plant, Jose Ayala, 44, is lying unresponsive on a ventilator. Zach Medhaug, 39, a fellow worker, has been calling him to talk to him and play his favorite music.Medhaug also caught the coronavirus but has recovered and said he was ready to return to work. "But I'm also in a different position than some other people are," he said. "I'm over COVID. For other people, it's very scary."Reopening the PlantThe political stakes of the reopening in Waterloo are high.With meat supplies disrupted nationwide, the White House has pushed Tyson and other meat companies to continue operating. And Tyson officials have had plenty of chances to air concerns, dining at the White House and participating in several calls with the president and vice president in recent months.Since he issued the executive order April 28, Trump has been quick to declare that the supply chain is back on track.Asked Wednesday about a hamburger shortage at Wendy's, he turned to the secretary of agriculture, Sonny Perdue. "Basically, you're saying, in a week and a half, you think everything is going to be good, or sooner?" the president asked."Yes. These plants are opening as we speak," Perdue said."You're going to have to push them," the president replied. "Push them more."But the reopening may have to proceed in fits and starts. Tyson executives cautioned that it would take time to return to normal. The Waterloo plant reopened Thursday at about 50% capacity. And ramping back up could take weeks as workers return from quarantine.Stouffer, the Tyson executive, said he hoped the worst was over. But health officials warn that a rush to full production could cause a second wave of infections."History will be the judge, eventually," Stouffer said. "But we have attempted very hard — our entire team, our entire organization, from the chairman of the board on down — to do the right thing."This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2020 The New York Times Company
An Iranian warship was accidentally hit by a missile during exercises in the Gulf of Oman, killing at least one, state television said Monday, amid tensions with the US in the waterway. One report said the vessel had sunk after being hit by a missile fired by another Iranian warship. “The vessel was hit after moving a practice target to its destination and not creating enough distance between itself and the target,” state television said on its website.
There has been some confusion that COVID-19 is the 19th coronavirus disease, but the 19 refers to the year the new virus jumped to humans, 2019. In fact, "of the millions, perhaps billions, of coronaviruses, six were previously known to infect humans," The Washington Post reports.> Four cause colds that spread easily each winter, barely noticed. Another was responsible for the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome that killed 774 people in 2003. Yet another sparked the outbreak of Middle East respiratory syndrome in 2012, which kills 34 percent of the people who contract it. But few do. SARS-CoV-2, the bad seed of the coronavirus family, is the seventh. It has managed to combine the infectiousness of its cold-causing cousins with some of the lethality of SARS and MERS. [The Washington Post]"This is a virus that literally did not exist in humans six months ago," Geoffrey Barnes, an assistant professor at the University of Michigan, told the Post. "We had to rapidly learn how this virus impacts the human body and identify ways to treat it literally in a time-scale of weeks." But scientists do know that coronaviruses invade the body by breaking into ACE2 receptors, which regulate blood pressure and are plentiful in the lungs, intestines, and kidneys. And they suspect the "corona" — or spikes on the outside of the virus — in the COVID-19 virus are more effective at attaching to the receptors, making it easier for them to infiltrate the cells to replicate, as the Post explains in this video.The coronavirus hijacking your cells "would be as if somebody walked into a car factory and snapped his fingers and said suddenly, 'You're making Twinkies!'" David Leib, chair of microbiology and immunology at Dartmouth College, told WGBH. "It takes the virus roughly 10 minutes to get inside that cell and then to begin its replication cycle," and within days "you are a walking bottle of virus."The coronavirus had infected at least 4.1 million people around the world by early Monday, including 1.3 million in the U.S., and officially killed 282,727 people, including 79,528 in the U.S., according to Johns Hopkins University's tally.More stories from theweek.com The dark decade ahead White House reportedly rejected 'ludicrous' coronavirus relief plan that would have curbed retirement benefits 5 brutally funny cartoons about Trump's coronavirus strategy
A white sheriff’s deputy in North Carolina is facing criminal charges after allegedly leading an armed mob to the home of a black teenager and trying to force their way inside as part of a botched vigilante mission.New Hanover & Pender County District Attorney Ben David on Friday announced the charges against Jordan Kita, a New Hanover Sheriff’s Office detention officer accused of wearing his uniform while leading the group of people—one of whom was allegedly packing an AR-15—to confront a high school student at his home. Kita has since been fired from the sheriff's office. The teenager, Dameon Shepard, was playing video games late one evening when the group of men arrived at his door, demanding to know the whereabouts of a 15-year-old girl named Lekayda Kempisty who had been reported missing. Three in the group were said to be armed, carrying a shotgun, a semi-automatic rifle, and a handgun. Kita wore his New Hanover County Sheriff’s deputy uniform and gun, though he had not come to Shepard’s house on official business. The group said they were going to enter the house and question him, the Port City Daily reports. But in addition to having no legal authority to question or detain Shepard, they also had the wrong guy. The mob was in search of a man whose first name was Josiah. Josiah had reportedly previously lived in the neighborhood, but the only thing he apparently had in common with Shepard was being African-American in the predominantly white neighborhood. The armed group reportedly did not believe Shepard when he told them he wasn't who they were looking for. “There’s one in a police uniform, and he speaks to me first,” Shepard told the Port City Daily. “He says, ‘We’re looking for a missing girl. We were given this address, we were given your name, and we were told that she’s here. So we’re going to enter,’” Shepard was quoted as saying. He said he told the group they could not come inside and tried to shut the door, but Kita planted his foot so the door could not close. According to a letter from the Shepards’ attorney, James Lea, “Dameon became very frightened and hysterical, and kept repeating that his name was Dameon and that he attended Laney High School.”Shepard’s mother, awoken by the confrontation, then came to the front door. “The crowd was angry, and I still did not know what was going on,” Monica Shepard told the Port City Daily. “[Kita] kept saying, ‘I’m going to step inside, close the door, and talk to you,’ and I said, ‘No, you’re not.’”She told the vigilantes that her son was not named Josiah. Kita is said to have insisted he be allowed inside, but the mob eventually left. The missing girl, who had run away from home, was located later that evening.“The whole time, I was worried the worst would happen,” said Monica Shepard. “I’m still in shock. I don’t sleep well.” When Pender County sheriff’s deputies arrived later that night to investigate, they made no arrests and, according to Lea, took no names. Monica Shepard said, “Coming to the door like that with a mob of people with guns, what do we expect? What were their intentions? What if he was the person they were looking for or what if I was not home? What would’ve happened? I don’t want to have that conversation. I don’t want him to be a statistic. It’s scary.”Dameon and his mother Monica plan to file a civil lawsuit, according to their attorney. Lea called the sheriff’s department’s conduct an “outrageous and egregious violation.” “We obviously cannot have armed groups of citizens patrolling the streets of Pender County or New Hanover County terrorizing innocent families,” the lawyer wrote.Kita has been fired from the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office, and the office is conducting an internal affairs investigation, The News & Observer reports. He’s charged with breaking and entering, forcible trespassing, and failure to discharge duties. A second man, Austin Wood, is charged with “going armed to the terror of the public.”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.
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday announced a gradual easing of coronavirus lockdown measures despite a new surge in infections which took Russia’s tally past Italy’s, making it the fourth highest in the world. Putin, in a televised nationwide address, said that from Tuesday he would start lifting restrictions that had forced many people to work from home and businesses to temporarily close. The Russian leader emphasised the lifting of restrictions would be gradual and that individual regions in the world’s largest country would need to tailor their approach to varying local conditions.
Former director of national intelligence James Clapper in 2018 said that he hadn't seen evidence that the Trump presidential campaign colluded with Russia to win the 2016 general election.Clapper was responding to a query from then-representative Tom Rooney, a Florida Republican, during an interview before the House Intelligence Committee. The transcript of the interview was released on Thursday."I never saw any direct empirical evidence that the Trump campaign or someone in it was plotting [or] conspiring with the Russians to meddle with the election," Clapper said."That's not to say that there weren't concerns about the evidence we were seeing, anecdotal evidence…[redacted]," Clapper added. "But I do not recall any instance when I had direct evidence of the content of these meetings. It's just the frequency and prevalence of them was of concern."Rooney then asked Clapper, "At what time is collusion collusion, and at what time is it just people that may have an affiliation with the campaign meeting or talking with… the Russian ambassador or somebody that's of Russian origin, and when should that be taken as something that rises to the level of an Intelligence Community concern?""I really can't answer it other than the sort of visceral reaction to why all these meetings with the Russians," Clapper responded. Clapper admitted that it would be "legitimate" for incoming Trump administration officials to meet with representatives of Russia, "but I think there is a line…between that and violating the principle that in this country we traditionally have one President and one administration at a time."The interview was part of a set of 53 transcripts of interviews held by the House Intelligence Committee as part of the Russia investigation. Current committee chairman Adam Schiff had called for the release of the transcripts in 2018.However, after 43 transcripts had been reviewed and redacted by intelligence agencies as of June 2019, Schiff refused to relase the completed transcripts to the public. Current acting DNI head Richard Grenell informed Schiff on Wednesday that all the transcripts were ready for publication.
The president’s son-in-law and top aide, Jared Kushner, suggested having Trump’s future national security adviser use secure communications at the Russian embassy to communicate with Russian generals, according to newly released transcripts from the House Intelligence Committee. The suggestion, made during a December 2016 meeting with Michael Flynn and then-Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak, was ultimately nixed by the Russian ambassador, according to Kushner. Kushner’s proposed back-channel with the Kremlin has been widely reported, but this is the first detailed, on-the-record account by him of the incident. The Washington Post reported in May 2017 that Kislyak relayed the proposal to his superiors in Moscow at the time. Kushner framed the proposal as an innocuous way to develop closer cooperation with Russia in Syria, saying the Russian ambassador had lamented to him shortly after Trump’s 2016 electoral win that the Russians believed “America’s strategy in Syria was a little bit misguided.”During a meeting with Flynn and Kislyak, Kushner said, the ambassador “suggested that—that—that there—that they would like to give us, you know, their military's perspective on it, asked if there was a secure way to do so.” Knowing there was no secure line in the transition office in New York, he said, “I said, look, can we use your communication? … He said, no, we shouldn't do that.” “Then we moved on and decided that if there was not a way that they were comfortable relaying to us that information, then we'd wait until after we were—after inauguration and do it through the normal course,” Kushner said. “He had information he wanted to give us. They couldn't find a way to get that information. I suggested an idea, which we all then concluded was not a good idea. There's nothing wrong with giving an idea that is wrong, because, you know, if you do something that's wrong, then that's something that you have to look at,” he said. Kushner claimed there was nothing nefarious about his proposal. He was merely being a “business guy,” he told investigators. “I wasn't proposing it one way or the other. I was — we were — you know, what you do in meetings when you're trying to solve a problem is you brainstorm situations, so people throw out different ideas.” Asked who the Trump team wanted to prevent from hearing the communications, he shrugged off a suggestion that it could have been the U.S. administration. “It could have been to keep it from the Chinese. It could have been to keep it from anyone else who listens to the calls,” he said. Kushner added he had no evidence to support such a supposition.He denied that the proposal was intended to allow “nefarious hidden conversations” and claimed he’d only suggested using a Russian facility for the communications because he knew of no other way. “I assume that, if we had a way—if we had something that was available to us that General Flynn knew of, he would have said: Well, I have this suggestion for something that’s available to us that I know of to be able to get the information. Since he didn't have a way to get the information that he knew of, I wasn't going to ask the Russian Ambassador if he knew of anything in our government that was appropriate for him to transmit the information to.”A 2015 agreement between Moscow and Washington did establish a communication channel —the so-called “deconfliction channel”—between the two sides on the ground in Syria, however, a fact which it seems Flynn should have been aware of at the time. Kushner’s outreach to Russian officials also apparently did not end with his proposed back-channel. According to the transcripts, he also met with the chairman of a U.S.-sanctioned Russian bank at Kislyak’s initiative in December 2016. “I mean, it's funny, people asked me after, they said, did you know his bank was under sanctions?” Kushner told investigators of his meeting with Sergey Gorkov of Vnesheconombank. Kislyak had promised that Gorkov could provide “much more insight into what Putin's thoughts were on a potential new relationship,” Kushner said. He said the topic of U.S. sanctions never came up, and that after talking to Gorkov, “you would have thought his bank was the best bank in the world.”“So he was clearly selling what a great job they were doing. And I think he mentioned that they financed the Olympics, and that was really the extent of it.”Flynn, who President Trump on Thursday praised as a “warrior,” baffled some Pentagon officials during his brief reign as national security adviser with his push to expand military communications with Russia in Syria. As The Daily Beast previously reported, Flynn raised eyebrows among some officials with a proposal to team up with Russia in Syria in a way that would actually likely violate defense provisions that bar such close cooperation. The transcripts detailing Kusher’s own admissions on the proposed backchannel were released on the same day the Department of Justice sparked outrage by moving to drop the case against FlynnWhile both Kushner and the White House have downplayed the significance of the 2016 back-channel proposal with Russia, it was not the only time that Team Trump tried to bypass traditional communication channels for interactions with Russian officials. Trumpworld insider and Blackwater founder Erik Prince similarly tried to set up an alternate channel during an early 2017 meeting with the head of Russia’s sovereign wealth fund. Prince claimed that the two just happened to meet, one of several patently untrue statements about the get-together. The House Intelligence Committee referred Prince to the Justice Department for potential criminal prosecution last year. Kushner, for his part, told the committee he had “no knowledge” of any such meetings.\– Noah Shachtman contributed reportingRead 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.
“Recognize that there are going to be social distancing practices at the airport. So there’s no running to the gate at the last minute,” said Sara Nelson, the international president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA in an interview with Yahoo News.
The number of people apprehended for illegally crossing from Canada into the United States along its northern border has nearly tripled over the past three years, and a growing portion are Mexican citizens, according to federal data. One Mexican man who crossed illegally to work on a Vermont dairy farm said it was easier than trying the southern border. U.S. Customs and Border Protection statistics obtained by The Associated Press after a public records request provide new detail on what was apparent anecdotally: Along the border from Maine to Washington, 446 of the 1,586 illegal crossers apprehended in the 2019 fiscal year were Mexican, or 28%.
More than 700 detainees including convicted criminals have been released by the Home Office from immigration detention centres because the coronavirus pandemic means they cannot be deported. The Home Office was forced to release at least 50 of them by judicial tribunals despite warning that they could pose a risk to the public. The Government has had to free them because by law they can only detain them if they can remove them from the UK “within a reasonable time.” More than 40 countries to which the Home Office planned to remove them have either closed their borders or imposed travel restrictions, making deportation impossible and requiring the detainees to be released. A further 370 – described as largely convicted foreign offenders by the Home Office – are still being held in immigration detention centres The release follows legal action begun in March by Detention Action, which claimed a “significant proportion” of the 1,500 held in immigration detention centres had serious underlying health conditions which left them facing a “significant risk of serious harm or death” from coronavirus. It warned their continued detention was unlawful given the lack of flights in which to remove them within a “reasonable period of time.” The Government challenged the release of 58 of the immigrants who had appealed their detention, saying it was reasonable “in light of their particular situation, the likelihood of their absconding if released, and the level of risk they pose to the public.” The 700 include those who have overstayed their visas, asylum seekers, illegal migrants and people with convictions. Detention Action is now considering further legal action to force the release of the remaining 370 to protect them from the deadly coronavirus. Bella Sankey, director of Detention Action, said any foreign offenders released would have served their time and be subject to the same conditions as British offenders including probation and licence restrictions. “We are thinking about options that I think will involve some future litigation because we don’t think the response so far is adequate,” she said. Meanwhile, Priti Patel, the Home Secretary, said a spike in migrant boats making the dangerous crossing of the English Channel is linked to lockdown restrictions on road and train crossings.
North Korea condemned the South Friday for holding military drills, saying the situation was returning to before the diplomatic rapprochement of 2018, as leader Kim Jong Un — whose health was the subject of intense speculation in recent weeks — reached out to traditional ally Beijing. Kim sent Chinese leader Xi Jinping a diplomatic communication congratulating him for China’s “success” in controlling the novel coronavirus epidemic, the state news agency KCNA reported. Kim told Xi he was as pleased with China’s successes as his own, KCNA reported, adding he “sent militant greetings to every member of the Communist Party of China”.
Three months after 15-month-old Evelyn Boswell was first reported missing, Tennessee investigators say they’ve identified a “person of interest” in her widely-watched case.The Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office said Wednesday they have identified a person of interest in Evelyn’s case but refused to name the suspected individual due to the ongoing investigation. To date, no one has been charged with Evelyn’s death. The infant was reported missing on Feb. 18 but “was last seen by certain family members near the end of November 2019 and the first of December 2019,” authorities said.After an extensive, multi-agency search, the toddler’s remains were found in March on a property belonging to a “family member of Evelyn’s mother,” according to Sullivan County Sheriff Jeff Cassidy. An autopsy report is still pending. Detectives Find Remains of Missing Tennessee Baby Evelyn Boswell“We will never ever forget Evelyn Boswell,” Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office Captain Joey Strickler told News Channel 11 on Wednesday, stating that several officers are still working diligently on the case. Amid the investigation, Boswell’s mother, 18-year-old Megan Boswell, was charged on Feb. 25 with making false reports for allegedly giving authorities “conflicting, inaccurate statements” that “impeded” the investigation. “Every time we’ve talked to her, her story changed. Every single time,” Cassidy said after the arrest, calling Boswell’s actions “frustrating.”Authorities say Evelyn was first reported missing by her grandfather on Feb. 18 after he hadn’t seen the baby in several months. According to court documents obtained by WCYB, Boswell initially told authorities that Evelyn’s father, Ethan Perry, had the baby and she was supposed to meet him at a store in Colonial Heights. But Perry, an active-duty military officer stationed in Louisiana, did not have the child.Boswell then allegedly claimed the girl’s grandmother had taken Evelyn camping “in a silver camper,” and promised, “I’m going to go find her myself.” The 18-year-old also told authorities that she was newly pregnant and could not take a polygraph test—which investigators later determined was false. Minnesota Man Killed Wife, Buried Her Under Home Then Faked Her Disappearance: Court DocsMegan Boswell’s mother, Angela Boswell, and her boyfriend, 33-year-old William McCloud, were separately arrested in February in North Carolina after investigators found them riding in a stolen gray BMW. They have since been released on bond. Despite the challenges the coronavirus pandemic has presented amid the investigation, Strickler said the sheriff’s office is glad to be working through the evidence slowly to ensure they do not make a mistake. Boswell, who has not spoken to authorities about her daughter’s case since her arrest, is currently in the Sullivan County Jail and is scheduled to appear in court on Friday morning.Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet 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.
The unfavorable comparison between the current president and his predecessor is one of the clearest signs to date of an emerging dynamic that will define the remainder of Trump’s term and the presidential election.