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New York attorney general recommends reducing mayor's power over police

New York attorney general recommends reducing mayor's power over policeNew York Attorney General Letitia James recommended that New York City’s mayor give up sole control over the city police commissioner’s hiring, in a preliminary report released on Wednesday on her investigation into the policing of recent protests. “There should be an entirely new accountability structure for NYPD,” James said in her report, which also recommended giving more power to the Civilian Complaint Review Board, a city agency that reviews police misconduct.

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Businesses sue Seattle over 'occupied' protest zone

Businesses sue Seattle over 'occupied' protest zoneA collection of Seattle businesses, property owners and residents sued the city Wednesday over its tolerance of an “occupied” protest zone, saying officials have been complicit in depriving them of their rights to their property. The plaintiffs — including a tattoo parlor, auto repair shop and property management firm — emphasized in the lawsuit that they were not trying to undermine the anti-police-brutality or Black Lives Matter messaging of the “Capitol Hill Occupied Protest.” “Rather, this lawsuit is about the constitutional and other legal rights of plaintiffs — businesses, employees, and residents in and around CHOP — which have been overrun by the city of Seattle’s unprecedented decision to abandon and close off an entire city neighborhood, leaving it unchecked by the police, unserved by fire and emergency health services, and inaccessible to the public at large,” the lawsuit said.



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Bolton's book gets OK from judge, but he may have to turn over his profits, national security lawyer predicts

Bolton's book gets OK from judge, but he may have to turn over his profits, national security lawyer predictsFormer national security adviser John Bolton will likely be forced to give all earnings from his controversial new book to the U.S. Treasury, if government lawyers succeed in convincing a federal judge that Bolton violated government rules by moving forward with publication without final sign-off by officials vetting the memoir for classified information, according to a top national security lawyer.



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US to withdraw troops from Iraq over coming months despite Islamic State surge

US to withdraw troops from Iraq over coming months despite Islamic State surgeThe US said it will withdraw troops from Iraq in the coming months, six months after the assassination of an Iranian general in Baghdad threatened to see them expelled from the country. The announcement comes amid a spike of Islamic State activity in the country, and as Baghdad and Washington began long-anticipated talks over the future of the presence of the US in the country. A joint statement read: "In light of significant progress towards eliminating the Isis threat, over the coming months the U.S. would continue reducing forces from Iraq.” Relations between the two plummeted to an all-time low this year after the US killed Iranian spy chief Qassim Soleimani in an airstrike near Baghdad airport in January. Iranian-backed militias have since launched repeated rocket attacks on the US Embassy in Baghdad, and on military bases housing US troops. At the time, Iraqi officials were publicly furious, with President Barham Salih, describing the airstrike as a breach of sovereignty. The Iraqi parliament passed a non-binding resolution to expel American troops immediately. Yet, US officials insisted both publicly and privately that they would leave on their timetable, and only when Iraq was capable of handling its own security affairs. US-led efforts against Isil n Syria are heavily reliant on Washington’s presence in Iraq. The October 2019 raid that killed Isil-chief Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi was conducted by forces flown in from bases in Iraq. The withdrawal announcement comes as attacks by Isil surge in the country. A recent study by the Combatting Terrorism Center at West Point notes that Isil claimed 566 attacks in Iraq in the first quarter of 2020 – a notable increase on previous months. The study described Isil as showing “very significant resilience”, adding that “the movement has undertaken an agile, fluid, and pragmatic shift back to insurgency in every area of Iraq where the group has lost physical control of populations and resources.” At 5,200, the current contingent of US troops in Iraq is already considerably reduced compared to the peak in 2007, when numbers topped 160,000 under President George W. Bush. The Trump administration has attempted to balance its desire to bring as many troops as possible home before the presidential election later this year, and a “maximum pressure” campaign on Iran – Iraq is seen as a key battleground in the rivalry. Though no exact figures were given, western officials believe the reduction will halve the number of US troops remaining in Iraq, with further reductions possible before the end of the year.



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NASA researcher arrested over alleged secret China connections

NASA researcher arrested over alleged secret China connectionsA 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".



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Germany starts to reopen, but arguments rage over pace

Germany starts to reopen, but arguments rage over paceGermany took a further step on the long road back to post-coronavirus normality on Monday, with museums and hairdressers reopening under strict conditions, churches opening their doors for worshippers, and more car factories resuming work. Chancellor Angela Merkel has warned that reopening too swiftly risks triggering a second wave of infections, but many regions are already going alone. The reopening of some border crossings with France, which has scrapped quarantine requirements for EU citizens, lent further impetus to calls for accelerated reopening.



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NHS on alert over new coronavirus-related syndrome putting children in intensive care

NHS on alert over new coronavirus-related syndrome putting children in intensive careChildren are falling ill with a mystery ‘inflammatory syndrome’ thought to be linked to coronavirus, senior doctors have warned. NHS leaders have issued a nationwide alert after a sudden spike in children admitted to intensive care with rashes, kidney failure, and stomach problems. The young patients have been struck down by symptoms similar to toxic shock and Kawasaki syndrome, a rare condition that weakens the blood vessels and usually affects children under five. Some have been admitted to intensive care after their hearts became dangerously inflamed, while others have been put on ventilators, it is understood. On Monday night, Professor Stephen Powis, national medical director of NHS England, said he had asked experts to examine "as a matter of urgency" whether a coronavirus-related syndrome among children may be emerging in the UK. "We have become aware in the last few days of reports of severe illness in children which might be a Kawasaki-like disease," he said. "Both Chris (Whitty) and I are aware of that, and we have asked our experts; I have asked the National Clinical Director for Children and Young People to look into this as a matter of urgency." He said that Public Health England (PHE) was also looking into the reports, adding: "We're not sure at the moment – it is really too early to say whether there is a link."



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As lawmakers battle over who is responsible for testing, Harvard researchers say the US needs to test 20 million people a day to 'fully remobilize the economy'

As lawmakers battle over who is responsible for testing, Harvard researchers say the US needs to test 20 million people a day to 'fully remobilize the economy'The plan emphasized three integral components to reopen the US, including sufficient testing, the ability to trace cases, and supported isolation.



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Zimbabwe president threatens 20 years jail over fake lockdown statement

Zimbabwe president threatens 20 years jail over fake lockdown statementZimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Tuesday threatened 20 years in jail to the author of a statement purporting to bear his signature that said the lockdown to contain the coronavirus outbreak had been extended. Mnangagwa, who was speaking at his farm after touring Gweru city in central Zimbabwe, told state broadcaster ZBC he had not extended the 21-day lockdown. National police spokesman Paul Nyathi said more than 5,000 people had been arrested for venturing outside their homes without permission but denied security forces had abused residents.



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‘The Worst Is Over’: Cuomo Looks at Life After Virus as New York Death Toll Tops 10,000

‘The Worst Is Over’: Cuomo Looks at Life After Virus as New York Death Toll Tops 10,000More than 10,000 New Yorkers have died due to the coronavirus, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday as he tried to assure his state that “the worst is over” in the epicenter of the outbreak in the United States. “I believe the worst is over if we continue to be smart. I believe we can start on the path to normalcy,” Cuomo said at a press conference in Albany after noting the death toll reflects a “horrific level of pain and grief and sorrow.” “The terrible news is as terrible as it gets, and the worst news I’ve had to deliver to the people of this state as governor of New York, and the worst news I’ve had to live with on a personal level,” he added.On Easter Sunday, 671 more people died from the virus, bringing the total fatalities across the state to 10,056 and the number of infected individuals to 190,288—accounting for almost 35 percent of the total reported cases in the U.S. Cuomo Says Coronavirus Is ‘More Dangerous’ Than We Thought as N.Y. Cases Jump OvernightDespite the devastating new milestone, Cuomo declared that the most horrific phase of the deadly pandemic has passed in New York. Overnight, the daily number of new deaths had dropped, the number of newly hospitalized patients is at the lowest the Empire State has seen in two weeks, and the number of patients on ventilators has also decreased, the governor said. He added that the continued high death toll is a result of patients succumbing to the virus after falling sick weeks ago, and he praised the “heroic efforts of health-care workers, police officers, transportation workers who showed up to drive those trains and buses every day” in helping the state to flatten the curve so quickly. “The curve continues to flatten,” Cuomo said, later warning that “the worst is over, and can be over unless we do something reckless.”“You can turn those numbers in two or three days by being reckless,” he added. “The number is down because we brought the number down… a lot of pain and suffering did that.”Cuomo said officials are already preparing a “gradual phased process” to reopen the state but it will rely on widespread and “aggressive” antibody and diagnostic testing. Comparing re-starting economic activity in the state to “opening a valve,” Cuomo said his administration is determined to “do it carefully, do it slowly, and do it intelligently.”“None of this has been done before,” Cuomo said. “Also, you look around the world, you see warning signs from countries that have reopened.”Cuomo: New York Saw ‘Deadliest Day’ in Coronavirus Pandemic But ‘We’re Flattening the Curve’The Empire State is also pushing for testing that will ultimately allow residents who have already had the virus—or are immune to it—to return to public life sooner. Ideally, Cuomo said every New Yorker would take an antibody or diagnostic test before returning to work, or entering a nursing home or hospital. The New York State Department of Health has developed a COVID-19 antibody test, and state officials are working with the FDA to get it approved; however, New York currently has the capacity to do only 300 tests per day.In addition to requesting “millions” more tests, Cuomo called on the Trump administration to use the Defense Production Act to compel companies to make tests because he doesn’t think the private sector will do it on its own. He added that even with testing, the United States won’t be able to move past the virus until a vaccine is developed in the next year to 18 months. “You’re going to need federal support and you’re going to need legislation that attends to the need,” he said, adding that he plans to speak to governors in neighboring states to develop coordinated reopening plans. “This is a time for smart, competent, effective government… the optimum is a geographically coordinated plan.”Cuomo and five other governors announced their plans for a coordinated effort in a Monday press conference, stating that New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Delaware—also known as the “COVID corridor”—plan to weigh the public health risks together before allowing companies to resume operations. By working with their neighboring states, Cuomo said, they hope to minimize the resurgence of the virus that easily crosses state boundaries. “I think this regional compact is premised on the idea that you’re not going to have a healthy economy if you have an unhealthy population, so we’ve got to do both,” Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf said on Monday. The decision to work together came only hours after President Donald Trump tweeted that only he has the power to “open up” the United States. Despite stressing that he is not “interested in political opinions,” in regard to opening back up for business, Cuomo did comment during his Monday morning press conference on the possibility that Trump may fire Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.New York Has Seen Worst of Coronavirus but Testing Is Major Roadblock to Reopening“As you’re walking through these uncharted waters, I think he’s been extraordinary,” Cuomo said after previously stating he is only “interested in what the experts say” about the outbreak. “As crazy as things get in this world… I can’t imagine that would ever happen.”But before officials can devote their attention to testing, New York still needs to combat the continued surge and relieve hospitals, makeshift morgues, and funeral homes that continue to be overwhelmed by the pandemic’s effects.Cuomo said Thursday that “about 2,000 people per day are walking in [to hospitals] and are being diagnosed with COVID,” putting already overwhelmed and understaffed hospitals in duress. According to one NYU Langone doctor, while New York state officials are now looking for life after the virus, medical workers on the frontlines of this highly infectious virus are still trying to help patients with limited protective equipment. “New York may be seeing a plateau, but hospitals are still seeing crazy numbers of patients,” the doctor told The Daily Beast on Monday after Cuomo’s press conference. “We’re just struggling to keep out heads above water every day, and while the worst may be over for the state—I can’t say health-care workers are anywhere near a reprieve from the madness.” 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.



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Trump escalates battle with World Health Organization over coronavirus response

Trump escalates battle with World Health Organization over coronavirus responseReprising the skeptical tone he has applied to the United Nations and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, President Trump accused the World Health Organization of helping China to conceal the number of its citizens that have been infected by the coronavirus.



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Bernie drops out, as Democrats pick pragmatism over consistency

Bernie drops out, as Democrats pick pragmatism over consistencyIn many ways, Bernie Sanders is the anti-Trump. And, in important ways, he ran his campaign as the anti-Biden.Sanders bowed out of the Democratic nomination race on April 8, repeating his runner-up status from four years earlier. His two runs at the White House have cemented his legacy as a consistent standard-bearer for progressive policies. The veteran democratic socialist possessed a rare quality for a political candidate in this age of Trumpian fickleness. He is a politician whose actions and beliefs have remained steadfast over time and across campaigns. But in the current political moment, it appears the Democratic electorate longs less for a politician who is consistent from day to day than one who can provide pragmatic leadership to unseat the vacillating Trump. Same ol’ SandersSanders ran his campaign as the antithesis of a political showman, who says one thing today and another tomorrow with little regard for facts and consistency. He has exhibited throughout his career what anthropologist Alessandro Duranti calls “existential coherence” – he is a political figure “whose past, present, and future actions, beliefs, and evaluations follow some clear basic principles, none of which contradicts another.” As a linguistic anthropologist who studies language and politics, I know that traditionally, candidates have worried about how to project a consistent political persona, and they have often gone to great pains to do so. But Trump shattered that expectation, excelling in self-contradictions and inconsistencies – often within a single sitting.Sanders, instead, has put forth a consistent vision that has remained more or less the same since his early days in politics as mayor of Burlington, Vermont. Rather than moving toward the electorate and shifting positions based on perceptions of what the electorate desired, the electorate has moved toward Sanders to join his vision for universal health care and other progressive causes. A CNBC survey in 2019 found that a majority of Americans supported progressive policies, including a higher minimum wage and Medicare for All – key issues that Sanders has been advocating throughout his decades-long political career. In an episode of Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” last year, host Trevor Noah unearthed footage from 1987 of Sanders discussing politics on a local public access channel in his hometown of Burlington. The Bernie Sanders of 1987 talked of the unfair tax system that placed a large burden on working people and the need for universal health care. “We are one of two nations in the industrialized world that does not have a national health care system,” declared Sanders in 1987. Three decades later, in both his 2016 and 2020 presidential campaigns, Sanders continued with that theme. In 2016, he released his Medicare for All plan by declaring, “It is time for our country to join every other major industrialized nation on Earth and guarantee health care to all citizens as a right, not a privilege.” His 2020 campaign website further echoed this sentiment, stating that “the United States will join every other major country on Earth and guarantee health care to all people as a right.” A consistent candidate often comes across as a more authentic candidate – someone who is staying true to his core self rather than pandering to the latest polling data or saying whatever will attract the most dramatic news coverage. Sanders’ authenticity as a candidate who has fought for working people and progressive ideals his entire life made him appealing to many liberals. He attracted an unshakable following of core supporters because of it. ‘Results, not revolution’Biden’s pragmatic approach, however, trumped Sanders’ often dogmatic consistency. In their debates, Sanders hammered Biden over what he saw as shifting stances on Social Security, Medicare and veterans’ programs. And then there was Biden’s 2003 vote for the Iraq war before he turned against it.But this is not the 2004 presidential election, where accusations of flip-flopping can sink a candidate, like it did John Kerry in his race against George W. Bush. Perhaps Donald Trump’s fickleness has changed what voters look for in a candidate. Maybe it’s simply that nobody cares about Biden’s apparent lack of judgment in 2003, which occurred well before he spent eight years as vice president in arguably one of the most popular Democratic administrations in U.S. history.Biden easily parried Sanders’ accusations of inconsistency by pointing to an underlying consistency of principles that have guided his varying positions over time. Voters ultimately decided to support someone who exhibits a practical sense of how to govern in a way that gets things done. As Biden said in his last debate with Sanders, “People are looking for results, not revolution.”On health care, one might have expected Sanders to have an advantage with his Medicare for All proposal, a consistent theme across his time as mayor, congressman, senator and presidential candidate. Polling done by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that for the first time a majority of Americans began to support a single government plan for health care in 2016, corresponding to the Sanders campaign push for Medicare for All.But in the same Kaiser poll, more Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents said they would prefer a candidate who would build on the Affordable Care Act rather than replace it. Biden’s campaign argued precisely for this more pragmatic approach, and he positioned himself as the right person to get the job done in a contentious political environment. An overtureAfter sweeping the primaries in Florida, Illinois and Arizona in March – putting the wheels in motion for the eventual withdrawal of Sanders from the race – Biden then struck the right chord in his speech after the Florida primary by making an appeal to Sanders voters. “I hear you,” he said. “I know what’s at stake. I know what we have to do. Our goal as a campaign and my goal as a candidate for president is to unify this party and then to unify the nation.” Biden’s appeal to Sanders voters suggests he may be willing to absorb some of the best ideas from Sanders – and other candidates. It’s a pragmatic approach, rather than a dogmatic consistency, that may bring along their supporters, too. That may be exactly what he will need to do to beat Trump in November.[You’re smart and curious about the world. So are The Conversation’s authors and editors. You can read us daily by subscribing to The Conversation’s newsletter.]This article is republished from The Conversation, a nonprofit news site dedicated to sharing ideas from academic experts.Read more: * Biden’s big night with moderates, African Americans and baby boomers * Biden’s resurrection was unprecedented – and well-timedAdam Hodges does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.



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Israel sends army to ultra-Orthodox city over coronavirus

Israel sends army to ultra-Orthodox city over coronavirusPrime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday gave the green light for soldiers to be deployed in a mostly ultra-Orthodox Jewish city considered the centre of Israel’s novel coronavirus outbreak. “In light of the special situation in Bnei Brak following the restrictions due to the coronavirus, the IDF (army) will immediately present the necessary civil assistance to Bnei Brak municipality in fulfilling its responsibilities,” Netanyahu’s office said after talks with security and health officials. Authorities have enforced restrictions on access to Bnei Brak, a majority ultra-Orthodox city near Tel Aviv that is home to around 200,000 people.



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Divisions among Hong Kong expats over virus response

Divisions among Hong Kong expats over virus responseAs Hong Kong suffers a new spike in coronavirus infections, anger and recrimination have broken out among the city’s expatriates over whether enough of their well-heeled community is taking the outbreak seriously enough. Ahead of the city’s decision on Monday to ban non-residents from entering for two weeks, officials had reported the number of cases had more than doubled to 318 infections after locals and foreign residents flooded back once the pandemic spread to Europe and North America. The vast majority of new infections have been among Hong Kongers, many students fleeing schools and universities overseas.



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China, US spar over origin of coronavirus

China, US spar over origin of coronavirusA Chinese government campaign to cast doubt on the origin of the coronavirus pandemic is fuelling a row with the United States, with a Beijing official promoting conspiracy theories and Washington calling it the “Wuhan virus”. The spat comes as China tries to deflect blame for the contagion and reframe itself as a country that took decisive steps to buy the world time by placing huge swathes of its population under quarantine. With cases falling in China and soaring abroad, Beijing is now rejecting the widely held assessment that the city of Wuhan is the birthplace of the outbreak.



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Republicans face backlash over racist labeling of coronavirus

Republicans face backlash over racist labeling of coronavirusChina says US politicians are stigmatizing the country with ‘despicable’ practice of calling the virus ‘Wuhan coronavirus’ and ‘China coronavirus’ * Follow live updates on the coronavirusSenior Republican figures are facing backlash over an apparent effort to label Covid-19 as “Chinese coronavirus” – as China accused some US politicians of “disrespecting science” in order to “stigmatize” the country.Kevin McCarthy, the House minority leader, and Mike Pompeo, the secretary of state, are among those to add a geographical marker to the coronavirus in recent days.Pompeo called the virus the “Wuhan coronavirus” on Friday, referring to the Chinese city where the outbreak started, and McCarthy used the term “Chinese coronavirus” on Monday, when he tweeted out a link to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the federal agency that has led the US effort to fight the virus.The CDC website specifically avoids the phrase when talking about Covid-19, the novel strain of coronavirus at the heart of the global outbreak.Other Republicans, including Senator Tom Cotton and Representative Paul Gosar – who is in self-quarantine – have used similar terms.China reacted furiously on Monday, with a spokesman for the foreign ministry criticizing US elected officials.“Despite the fact that the WHO [World Health Organization] has officially named this novel type of coronavirus, certain American politician[s], disrespecting science and the WHO decision, jumped at the first chance to stigmatize China and Wuhan with it. We condemn this despicable practice,” said Geng Shuang.Republicans’ attempts to associate Covid-19 overtly with China repeats a common theme of associating epidemics with certain countries, such as 1918 influenza pandemic being branded “Spanish flu”.Academics have warned the practice leads to stigma and racism, and the World Health Organization sent a memo to governments and media organizations at the end of February, urging people not to use the terms “Wuhan Virus”, “Chinese Virus” or “Asian Virus”.“Governments, citizens, media, key influencers and communities have an important role to play in preventing and stopping stigma surrounding people from China and Asia in general,” the WHO said.The branding fits neatly with Donald Trump’s anti-China rhetoric and ongoing trade war, however – as Democratic congressman Ted Lieu pointed out in a tweet, referring to Trump as Potus, the president of the United States.“One reason @POTUS & his enablers failed to contain COVID2019 is due to the myopic focus on China. The virus was also carried into the US from other countries & US travelers. Calling it Chinese coronavirus is scientifically wrong & as stupid as calling it the Italian coronavirus.”



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