Education

COVID-19

Walmart to stop requiring masks for vaccinated workers and shoppers

American companies began to rethink their requirements for face masks after federal health regulators relaxed their guidelines this week, and on Friday Walmart made the first big move to bend to the new view. The U.S.’s largest private employer said it would no longer require vaccinated workers and shoppers to wear masks in stores and warehouses outside of municipalities that require it. Walmart’s new policy for its 1.6 million U.S. workers goes into effect May 18, the company said, while vaccinated customers could shop maskless immediately.

Matt Gaetz Scandal

Matt Gaetz scandal deepens as associate admits paying 17-year-old for sex

The scandal engulfing Matt Gaetz, one of Donald Trump’s brashest supporters in Congress, deepened on Friday after an associate admitted sex trafficking involving a minor and agreed to cooperate with investigators. Joel Greenberg, a former tax collector in Florida, said he and unidentified others paid a 17-year-old girl for sex and he provided the girl with drugs, according to court papers cited by multiple media outlets. Greenberg, 37, is expected to plead guilty to six federal charges, including financial crimes, in court in Orlando on Monday.

Hypocrites

Kerry faces calls to step down over leaked Iran tapes

John Kerry, the U.S. special envoy for climate change, is facing calls for his resignation from Republican lawmakers and pundits for reportedly discussing Israeli military operations with Iran’s foreign minister when he served as then-President Obama’s secretary of State.

RAGA

GOP attorneys general group in turmoil after Jan. 6 Trump rally

The chairman of the top outside group dedicated to electing Republican attorneys general has resigned his position in the wake of a show of force by rivals from other states, months after it supported a rally with then-President Trump that turned into an insurrectionist attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Trump Administration

Trump delayed $20bn in aid to Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria, report finds

The Trump administration delayed more than $20bn in hurricane relief aid for Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria, according to a report by the housing department’s office of the inspector General. The efforts to deliver recovery funding to the island were “unnecessarily delayed by bureaucratic obstacles”, according to the 46-page report. The hurricane, which hit the island in 2017, killed thousands of people and left thousands more without electricity or water for months.

Election 2020: Arizona

Republicans to begin auditing 2020 ballots in effort to undermine election results

Nearly five months after Joe Biden was declared the official winner of the presidential race in Arizona, state Republicans are set to begin their own audit of millions of ballots, an unprecedented move many see as a thinly-veiled effort to continue to undermine confidence in the 2020 election results.

George Floyd trial

Cicil rights: Will the Derek Chauvin guilty verdict change policing in America?

The jury’s guilty verdict on the former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin for killing George Floyd signaled the conclusion of a historic police brutality trial and a key moment for policing and for the battle for racial equality in America. Observers have talked about this case being so significant that it will stand as a watershed between the way law enforcement was held to account in the US before George Floyd was pinned by the neck under Chauvin’s knee, and after.

Derek Chauvin trial

Murder, manslaughter: Jury has found Derek Chauvin guilty on all the counts

The jury has found former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin guilty on all the counts he faced over the death of George Floyd. The trial has been one of the most closely watched cases in recent memory, setting off a national reckoning on police violence and systemic racism even before the trial commenced. Chauvin has been found guilty of unintentional second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter. Chauvin, only his eyes visible as the rest of his face was hidden behind a surgical mask, watched as the verdict was returned.

Brian Sicknick

Capitol Officer died of strokes after the insurrection, D.C. medical examiner rules

US Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick suffered strokes and died of natural causes one day after responding to the January 6 insurrection at the US Capitol, Washington DC's chief medical examiner has determined. The medical examiner, Francisco Diaz, didn't note any evidence that Sicknick had an allergic reaction to chemical spray or list any internal or external injuries, according to The Washington Post, which first reported the ruling. Still, Diaz told the newspaper that "all that transpired" on January 6 "played a role in his condition."

George Floyd trial

Derek Chauvin case goes to the jury as the nation braces for the verdict

The city of Minneapolis and the nation at large began a tense waiting game Monday after closing arguments were heard in the trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin, who’s charged with the murder of George Floyd. Prosecutor Steve Schleicher told the jury that Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes was murder, not policing.
“George Floyd was not a threat to anyone. He wasn't trying to hurt anyone. He wasn't trying to do anything to anyone,” Schleicher said.

Soccer

How will the new European Super League work?

On Sunday night 12 European football clubs announced the formation of a new competition, the Super League, to widespread criticism from governments, their own domestic leagues, football federations as well as Uefa and supporters around the world.

Capitol Riots

Judge orders two Proud Boys leaders held in custody

A federal judge has ordered two leaders of the far-right Proud Boys group to be detained in jail pending trial for their involvement in the 6 January attack on the Capitol in Washington DC. Both were indicted in one of many Proud Boys conspiracy cases to stem from the investigation into the assault on the building that followed a pro-Donald Trump rally.

Duke of Edinburgh

The Queen wipes away a tear as she sits alone at Prince Philip's funeral

Queen Elizabeth II, wearing a black face mask and seated alone, said goodbye to her husband of more than 73 years, Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, at his funeral on Saturday at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle. The ceremony for Prince Philip, who died last week at age 99, was highly unusual — in part because coronavirus restrictions meant that it had to be scaled back, but also because it followed a very public airing of a family rift. Members of the royal family — Philip’s four children and some of his grandchildren — walked in a somber procession behind his coffin.

Paul Manafort

There was Trump-Russia collusion — and Trump pardoned the colluder

It’s official: The Trump campaign colluded with Russia. In an explosive development, the Biden administration confirmed that a Russian government agent with close connections to Donald Trump’s top 2016 campaign official “provided the Russian Intelligence Services with sensitive information on polling and [Trump] campaign strategy.”

Matt Gaetz Scandal

Ex-girlfriend feared alleged sex-trafficking victim taped call for feds

Matt Gaetz’s former girlfriend has told friends she’s worried that the woman who is key to the federal government’s sex-crimes investigation tried to get her to incriminate the Florida lawmaker on a recorded call. The revelation raises the possibility that federal prosecutors have two top cooperating witnesses: the woman who was an alleged sex-trafficking victim when she was a minor and the Gaetz associate already indicted for that crime, former Seminole County Tax Collector Joel Greenberg.

Roger Stone

Justice Department sues Trump ally, alleging millions in unpaid taxes

The Justice Department on Friday sued Roger Stone, a longtime ally of former President Donald Trump, accusing Stone and his wife of owing nearly $2 million in unpaid income taxes. The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, says the couple underpaid their income taxes by $1,590,361 from 2007 to 2011. It further says Stone did not pay his full tax bill in 2018, coming up $407,036 short.

GiveSendGo

US police and public officials donated to Kyle Rittenhouse, data breach reveals

A data breach at a Christian crowdfunding website has revealed that serving police officers and public officials have donated money to fundraisers for accused vigilante murderers, far-right activists, and fellow officers accused of shooting black Americans. In many of these cases, the donations were attached to their official email addresses, raising questions about the use of public resources in supporting such campaigns.

Marjorie Taylor Greene

Pro-Trump lawmakers form caucus promoting 'Anglo-Saxon political traditions'

A policy platform for the group, which calls itself the America First Caucus, declares that "a certain intellectual boldness is needed" in order to "follow in President Trump’s footsteps, and potentially step on some toes and sacrifice sacred cows for the good of the American nation." The seven-page document, first obtained by Punchbowl News, is explicit in its nativist rhetoric and describes American culture as dominated by "Anglo-Saxon" and European influences.

UFOs

Pentagon confirms leaked photos and video of are legitimate

Furthering the growing interest in unidentified flying objects, or what the US government refers to as unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP), the Department of Defense confirmed on Thursday that recently leaked photos and videos of UFOs were legitimate and taken by navy personnel.

FedEx Indianapolis

Cops took away Indy shooter’s gun a year before massacre at the FedEx facility

More than a year before he killed eight people at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis, the FBI seized a shotgun from Brandon Scott Hole’s home after his mom had called authorities, warning them he might try to commit “suicide by cop”. On Thursday night, the 19-year-old — who worked at the FedEx Ground-Plainfield Operation until 2020 — got out of his car in the parking lot around 11 p.m. local time and “pretty quickly started some random shooting” in the parking lot with a rifle, gunning down four people before going inside the warehouse, where he fatally shot four more, police said.

Jon Ryan Schaffer

Oath Keeper becomes first Capitol insurrectionist to rat out fellow rioters

A heavy metal guitarist and self-described “founding” member of the Oath Keepers who stormed the U.S. Capitol armed with bear spray has become the first Jan. 6 insurrectionist to plead guilty and cooperate with the feds, prosecutors said Friday. Jon Ryan Schaffer, a 53-year-old from Indiana, pleaded guilty to obstruction of an official proceeding and entering a restricted building with a deadly or dangerous weapon during a Friday hearing. During the hearing, Judge Amit Mehta also revealed that Schaffer will be sponsored for witness protection.

Gun Violence

Indianapolis shooting: eight killed at FedEx facility

At least eight people have been shot dead at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis and the suspected gunman has killed himself, police say. Multiple other people were injured and went to local hospitals, a police spokesperson, Genae Cook, said at an early morning news conference on Friday.

Shortnews

mifepristone

Supreme Court reinstates restrictions on abortion pill

The Supreme Court on Tuesday night granted the Trump administration’s request to reinstate federal rules requiring people seeking medication abortions to obtain the pills in-person from a medical provider. The court’s 6-3 decision along ideological lines halted a lower court ruling that waived Food and Drug Administration rules to allow abortion pills to be distributed by mail during the Covid-19 pandemic.

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mifepristone

Supreme Court reinstates restrictions on abortion pill

The Supreme Court on Tuesday night granted the Trump administration’s request to reinstate federal rules requiring people seeking medication abortions to obtain the pills in-person from a medical provider. The court’s 6-3 decision along ideological lines halted a lower court ruling that waived Food and Drug Administration rules to allow abortion pills to be distributed by mail during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The ruling was the court’s first major action on abortion since Justice Amy Coney Barrett was confirmed to the seat left vacant by the death of liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. In a brief opinion, Chief Justice John Roberts asserted that the case wasn’t about abortion, but rather whether courts could substitute judgment of federal officials at the FDA.

The court’s three liberal justices said they would have denied the Trump administration’s request for a stay. In a dissenting opinion, Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan said federal government rules restricting dispensation of the abortion pill, mifepristone, are medically unnecessary and present “an unnecessary, unjustifiable, irrational, and undue burden” on women.

A short-handed Supreme Court in October had declined to intervene in the same case. That allowed abortion clinics to continue dispensing the pills via telemedicine and through the mail, which they say has kept patients and staff safer during the pandemic.

The Trump administration asked the Supreme Court to reconsider its request after Barrett joined the bench. The administration said continuing to enforce longstanding FDA rules on mifepristone, which was approved 20 years ago, “does not create a substantial burden on abortion access.”

The American Civil Liberties Union, which represented abortion clinics challenging the FDA rules, said no evidence has emerged during the pandemic showing it is riskier for patients to receive the pills at home rather than at a clinic. In a December filing with the Supreme Court, the group argued that with the virus surging nationwide, reinstating the rules would “subject patients to needless and grave health risks.”

Dr. Anthony Fauci

Vaccine is ‘unlikely’ by U.S. election

White House coronavirus advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said Tuesday a coronavirus vaccine probably won’t be ready by the U.S. presidential election even as the Centers for Disease and Prevention asks states to ready distribution facilities by Nov. 1. At a health conference, Fauci said it’s more likely a vaccine will be ready by “the end of the year” as drug companies Moderna and Pfizer race to complete patient enrollment for their late-stage vaccine trials by the end of September.

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Dr. Anthony Fauci

Vaccine is ‘unlikely’ by U.S. election

White House coronavirus advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said Tuesday a coronavirus vaccine probably won’t be ready by the U.S. presidential election even as the Centers for Disease and Prevention asks states to ready distribution facilities by Nov. 1.

At a health conference, Fauci said it’s more likely a vaccine will be ready by “the end of the year” as drug companies Moderna and Pfizer race to complete patient enrollment for their late-stage vaccine trials by the end of September.

“It’s unlikely we’ll have a definitive answer” by the Nov. 3 election, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said at the Research! America 2020 National Health Research Forum.

The comments are also at odds with President Donald Trump, who suggested at a press conference Monday that a vaccine could be ready for distribution by Election Day.

UFO Investigation

Pentagon forms new task force

The Pentagon is forming a new task force to investigate UFO sightings that have been observed on several occasions by U.S. military aircraft. The creation of the Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force, or UAPTF, continues an effort begun in recent years to investigate unexplained aerial incidents encountered by the U.S. military. “The Department of Defense established the UAPTF to improve its understanding of, and gain insight into, the nature and origins of UAPs. The mission of the task force is to detect, analyze and catalog UAPs that could potentially pose a threat to U.S. national security,” the Pentagon wrote in a statement late Friday.

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UFO Investigation

Pentagon forms new task force

The Pentagon is forming a new task force to investigate UFO sightings that have been observed on several occasions by U.S. military aircraft. The creation of the Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force, or UAPTF, continues an effort begun in recent years to investigate unexplained aerial incidents encountered by the U.S. military.

“The Department of Defense established the UAPTF to improve its understanding of, and gain insight into, the nature and origins of UAPs. The mission of the task force is to detect, analyze and catalog UAPs that could potentially pose a threat to U.S. national security,” the Pentagon wrote in a statement late Friday.

“The Department of Defense and the military departments take any incursions by unauthorized aircraft into our training ranges or designated airspace very seriously and examine each report. This includes examinations of incursions that are initially reported as UAP when the observer cannot immediately identify what he or she is observing,” the statement added.

The new task force will be overseen by the Department of the Navy and will report to the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence and Security. The U.S. Navy has previously led efforts to look into unidentified aerial phenomena since the service branch has reported several encounters involving their aircraft.

In April, the Pentagon declassified three videos captured by U.S. Navy pilots that appear to show unidentified flying objects. Two of the videos contain U.S. service members commenting on how quickly the object moves while another speculates that the unidentifiable object could be a drone.

“Dude, this is a f--king drone, bro,” one pilot is heard saying. Another says “there’s a whole fleet of them.”

“They’re all going against the wind. The wind’s 120 knots to the west. Look at that thing, dude!” the first person says. “It’s rotating!”

President Donald Trump has previously described the U.S. Navy footage as “a hell of a video” and told Reuters that he wonders “if it’s real.”

In June, the Senate Intelligence Committee voted that the Pentagon as well as intelligence community leaders should provide a public analysis of the encounters.

England

Jürgen Klopp zum Fußball-Manager des Jahres gewählt

Jürgen Klopp ist nach dem Gewinn der Meisterschaft mit dem FC Liverpool von seinen Trainerkollegen zum Fußball-Manager des Jahres in England gewählt worden. Der Coach erhielt die Sir Alex Ferguson Trophy für seine herausragenden Leistungen. Klopp hatte Liverpool in der abgelaufenen Saison zum ersten Meistertitel seit 30 Jahren geführt. "Das ist sehr besonders für mich, weil ich von meinen Kollegen gewählt worden bin", sagte Klopp. Ferguson, der einst Manchester United zur Weltmarke formte, hob die "außerordentliche" Leistung von Klopps Team hervor. "Du hast es absolut verdient".

Fussball England

Lovren und Lallana verlassen Liverpool

Der kroatische Nationalspieler Dejan Lovren und Adam Lallana verlassen den von Jürgen Klopp trainierten englischen Fußballmeister FC Liverpool. Nach sechs Jahren bei den Reds wechselt der 31 Jahre alte Innenverteidiger Lovren in die russische Premjer-Liga zu Zenit St. Petersburg. Das gaben beide Clubs bekannt. Beim russischen Meister unterschrieb Lovren einen Dreijahresvertrag bis 2023. Lallana zieht es indes zu Brighton and Hove Albion. Beim Premier-League-15. erhält der 32-Jährige einen Dreijahresvertrag.