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.
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.
During a meeting of the House Coronavirus Crisis Subcommittee on Thursday, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) had to intervene in a shouting match between Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) and Dr. Anthony Fauci by telling Jordan to “shut your mouth.” Jordan ranted at Fauci for several minutes, demanding the doc provide definite answers on when the pandemic will end, when public health mandates will be lifted, and when Americans will have their “liberties” back.
After a video of Army Lieutenant Caron Nazario being pepper-sprayed by Windsor, Virginia cops during a traffic stop went viral last week, Police Chief Rodney D. Riddle said he didn’t feel Nazario was owed an official apology. “My guys missed opportunities to verbally de-escalate,” Riddle admitted of the incident late last year that saw two officers with guns drawn barking at Nazario to get out of his car for allegedly not having a rear license tag.
Right-wing provocateur James O’Keefe, best-known for his undercover “sting” operations and deceptively edited videos, was permanently suspended from Twitter on Thursday for what the social-media site said were violations of the its policy on manipulation and spam.
The Capitol Police’s internal watchdog on Thursday described in harrowing detail how officers were woefully underprepared for the Jan. 6 insurrection after leaders failed to communicate intelligence warnings and decided against providing more effective weapons to fight back the violent mob. In testimony before a House committee, Capitol Police inspector general Michael Bolton highlighted two recent reports listing numerous failures by the top brass and called for a major overhaul of training and operations on the force.
The former Minnesota police officer charged with manslaughter in the fatal shooting of Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old Black motorist, during a traffic stop made her first court appearance on Thursday as the Wright family called for “full accountability” for his death. Kim Potter, wearing a plaid shirt, confirmed her presence during a brief online hearing and waved to the judge from a table in her lawyer’s office. Potter, 48, was not asked about the shooting or her intended plea. The next court date is set for 17 May.
The Dukes of Cambridge and Sussex will walk apart for their grandfather’s funeral, which is likely to see the Queen sitting alone, details released by Buckingham Palace reveal. Prince William and Prince Harry, whose troubled relationship was further strained after the Sussexes’ controversial interview with Oprah Winfrey, will be separated by their cousin Peter Phillips as they walk behind the coffin of the Duke of Edinburgh on Saturday.
Kellyanne Conway, who served as campaign manager and counselor to former President Donald Trump, has been named a senior adviser to Ohio Senate hopeful Bernie Moreno, taking sides in a race that has become a fight over which GOP candidate is closest to the former president.
Prosecutors and the defense questioned the final witnesses Thursday in the murder trial of Derek Chauvin, who exercised his Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate himself before a jury begins deliberating his guilt in the death of George Floyd. Speaking for the first time in the trial, Mr. Chauvin was interviewed by his attorney, Eric Nelson, outside the presence of the jury, saying that it was an understatement that the two had discussed extensively whether he should testify, including a discussion Wednesday evening. “I will invoke my Fifth Amendment privilege today,” he said.
As new details emerge about Rep. Matt Gaetz’s role in an alleged sex ring, The Daily Beast has obtained several documents showing that the suspected ringleader of the group, Joel Greenberg, made more than 150 Venmo payments to dozens of young women, and a girl who was 17 at the time. The payment from Greenberg, an accused sex trafficker, to the 17-year-old took place in June 2017. It was for $300 for “Food.” Greenberg’s relationship with Gaetz, and the money Greenberg paid to women, is a focal point for the Justice Department investigation into Gaetz.
Former police officer Kimberly Potter was charged with second-degree manslaughter on Wednesday after fatally shooting the 20-year-old Black motorist Daunte Wright, officials said. The white former suburban Minneapolis police officer was arrested earlier in the day in relation to the shooting dead of Wright during a traffic stop on Sunday in Brooklyn Center, a suburb of Minneapolis. The killing of Wright ignited days of unrest and clashes between protesters and police. The charge against Potter was filed on Wednesday, three days after Wright was killed.
Fox News host Tucker Carlson seized on Tuesday’s news about the pause on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to casually suggest to his viewers that the American government knows that the COVID-19 vaccines don’t work but are purposely “not telling you that.”
Infamous fraudster Bernie Madoff has died at age 82. Madoff masterminded the biggest investment fraud in U.S. history, a Ponzi scheme that ripped off tens of thousands of people of as much as $65 billion. Madoff was serving a 150-year sentence at the federal prison care center in Butner, North Carolina, where he was being treated for what his attorney called terminal kidney disease.
The defense in the Derek Chauvin murder trial opened its case on Tuesday by attempting to show George Floyd had a history of failing to cooperate with the police while under the influence of drugs. Scott Creighton, a former Minneapolis police officer, testified that he stopped a vehicle in May 2019 in which Floyd was a passenger and found him incoherent and unable to obey orders.
The Brooklyn Center police chief and the white cop who fatally shot Daunte Wright during a traffic stop on Sunday after apparently mistaking her handgun for a Taser have both resigned. “I have loved every minute of being a police officer and serving this community to the best of my ability, but I believe it is the best interest of the community, the department, and my fellow officers if I resign immediately,” Potter said in a letter announcing her resignation to Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliot and other city officials. Police Chief Tim Gannon has resigned from the department.
Former President Trump is showing no signs of wanting to unify the GOP even as party leaders scramble to smooth out divisions that they fear will be damaging in the 2022 midterm elections. In a Saturday night speech to attendees at a donor retreat in Florida, Trump railed against his perceived enemies in both parties and offered little, if any, reassurance that he would try to rally together a GOP riddled with internal divisions and desperate to regain governing power in Washington.
The chief executive of the Anti-Defamation League told Fox CEO Lachlan Murdoch on Monday an award it gave his father a decade ago “does not absolve you, him, the network, or its board from the moral failure of not taking action” against the Fox News host Tucker Carlson. Jonathan Greenblatt has called for Carlson to be fired for advocating “white replacement” theory, a racist trope which holds that the Democratic party favors unlimited immigration in order to boost its vote.
Facebook allowed the president of Honduras to artificially inflate the appearance of popularity on his posts for nearly a year after the company was first alerted to the activity. The astroturfing – the digital equivalent of a bussed-in crowd – was just one facet of a broader online disinformation effort that the administration has used to attack critics and undermine social movements, Honduran activists and scholars say. Facebook posts by Juan Orlando Hernández, an authoritarian rightwinger whose 2017 re-election is widely viewed as fraudulent.
Donald Trump and his Republican faithful faced ridicule on Monday after Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) posted an image of himself presenting the former president with the so-called “Champion for Freedom” award over the weekend. “President Trump fought for American workers, secured the border, and protected our constitutional rights,” Scott tweeted, alongside the image of himself with Trump holding a ceremonial dish.
The value of the cryptocurrency bitcoin has surged to a record high, reaching $63,000. The cryptocurrency, which has risen in value by 450% in the last six months, continued to climb by a further 5% during trading on Tuesday. Bitcoin’s price has more than doubled since the start of 2021. The digital currency has been on a rollercoaster ride in the last year, and was trading at about only $7,000 in April 2020.
The Biden administration has struck an agreement with Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras to temporarily increase border security in an effort to stop migrants from reaching the US border. The agreement comes as the US saw a record number of unaccompanied children attempting to cross the border in March, and the largest number of Border Patrol encounters overall with migrants on the southern border – just under 170,000 – since March 2001.
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.
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.
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.
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".
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.