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.

Senate Minority Leader

Mich McConnell backs away from warning businesses to stay out of politics

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Wednesday backed off his stern warning that major companies such as Major League Baseball, Delta and Coca-Cola should stay out of high-profile political fights after they criticized Georgia’s new election law.

Zach Avery

US actor in low-budget films accused of running $690m Ponzi scheme

On the surface Zachary Horwitz, 34, appeared to be the stereotypical wannabe actor, attempting to build his career in Hollywood by taking a series of low-impact roles. But while playing small parts in predominantly low-budget films, Horwitz was also running a $690m Ponzi scheme.

Voters Rights

How Republicans are trying to prevent people from voting after ‘stop the steal’

At campaign rallies, Donald Trump specialized in crafting political slogans whose catchiness obscured the lack of actual policy behind them: lock her up, America First, build the wall, drain the swamp. But there was one Trump slogan that turned out to have a shocking amount of policy behind it – hundreds of pieces of legislation nationwide in just the last three months, in fact, constituting the most coordinated, organized and determined Republican push on any political issue in recent memory.

Police

Tiger Woods driving at 87mph in 45mph zone at time of car crash

Tiger Woods was driving at speeds up to 87mph (140km/h) in a 45mph zone when he was involved in a serious car crash earlier this year, Los Angeles police revealed during a press conference on Wednesday.

Election Fraud

Rudy Giuliani asks court to throw out Dominion's $1.3 billion defamation suit

Rudy Giuliani is asking a federal court to throw out Dominion Voting Systems's $1.3 billion defamation lawsuit against him over his attacks on the company as part of an effort to undermine the credibility of the 2020 election. Giuliani's lawyers on Wednesday filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit. The 10-page motion did not specifically address the merits of Dominion's claims, but instead argued Dominion failed to satisfy procedural requirements for such cases. Dominion did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment.

Sex Scandal

Matt Gaetz reported to have sought a ‘blanket’ pardon from Donald Trump

Rep. Matt Gaetz allegedly sought a “blanket” presidential pardon from Donald Trump in the closing weeks of his administration — a request which was ultimately not fulfilled, according to news reports. The request for a blanket preemptive pardon for the Florida Republican and unidentified congressional allies, first reported on Tuesday night by The New York Times, came as the Justice Department was opening an investigation into whether Gaetz had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old and paid for her to travel across state lines.

Matt Gaetz Scandal

Showed lawmakers nude photos of women he claimed to have slept with

Rep. Matt Gaetz, the Florida Republican being investigated by the Justice Department over sex trafficking allegations, made a name for himself when he arrived on Capitol Hill as a conservative firebrand on TV and staunch defender of then-President Donald Trump. Behind the scenes, Gaetz gained a reputation in Congress over his relationships with women and bragging about his sexual escapades to his colleagues, multiple sources told CNN. Gaetz allegedly showed off to other lawmakers photos and videos of nude women he said he had slept with, the sources told CNN.

Debra Haaland

Secretary create unit to investigate missing and murdered Native Americans

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, the U.S.’ first Indigenous cabinet secretary, will create a unit within the Bureau of Indian Affairs to investigate missing and murdered Native Americans, the department announced Thursday evening. There are some 1,500 American Indian and Alaska natives in the National Crime Information Center’s database of missing persons, while about 2,700 murders and nonnegligent homicides have been reported to the federal Uniform Crime Reporting program.

George Floyd

Chauvin's supervisor says there was no justification to keep knee on neck

Derek Chauvin’s police supervisor has told his murder trial that there was no justification for the officer to keep his knee on George Floyd’s neck for nine minutes. Sgt David Pleoger, who arrived at the scene shortly after Floyd was taken away by ambulance, said that Chauvin and other officers holding down the 46-year-old Black man should have stopped using force once Floyd stopped resisting. “When Mr Floyd was no longer offering up any resistance to the officers they could have ended their restraint,” he said.

Gilbert Chagoury

Foreign billionaire conspired to violate election law in straw donor scheme

A Lebanese-Nigerian billionaire agreed to pay the U.S. government $1.8 million to resolve allegations that he conspired to violate federal election laws in a “straw donor” scheme to route illegal foreign contributions to U.S. presidential and congressional candidates, the Justice Department announced Wednesday.

Apple

Tim Cook joins chorus in denouncing Georgia’s voting law

Apple chief executive Tim Cook joined the chorus of business leaders who have come out in support of voting rights in light of voting restrictions Georgia’s governor signed into law last week.

Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian

Delta CEO and Georgia governor get heated in voter law square-off

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp launched a counterattack on Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian Wednesday afternoon, just hours after Bastian said the voting bill Kemp signed last week was "unacceptable," "wrong" and "based on a lie." The clash was an unusual one for two of the state's most powerful executives. But it showed the pressure that both were under because of the controversial voting measure.

$2.25 trillion

Joe Biden's infrastructure proposal prioritizes funds for emerging technologies

President Biden’s newly unveiled infrastructure proposal includes billions of dollars in proposed funding to invest in “technologies of the future,” with a particular focus on ensuring the U.S. can compete on the global stage against countries such as China. The proposed investment package, which totals around $2.25 trillion, proposes that over $180 billion be set aside for enhancing research and development of new and emerging technologies, along with addressing racial and gender inequalities in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math.

Tiger Woods

Police have determined cause of crash but won't release details

The Los Angeles county sheriff says detectives have determined what caused Tiger Woods to crash his SUV last month in Southern California but would not release details Wednesday, citing unspecified privacy concerns for the golf star. Woods suffered serious injuries in the Feb. 23 crash when he struck a raised median around 7am in Rolling Hills Estates, just outside Los Angeles. The Genesis SUV he was driving crossed through two oncoming lanes and uprooted a tree on a downhill stretch that police said is known for wrecks. Woods is in Florida recovering from multiple surgeries.

Republicans

Matt Gaetz, on the ropes, finds few friends in GOP

In four years on Capitol Hill Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) has experienced a meteoric rise to national prominence — one fueled by a close alliance with former President Trump, a penchant for political theatrics and a no-apologies brand of conservatism that’s made him a darling of the right-wing cable outlets.

George Floyd

Defense takes aim at bystanders in murder case

To the prosecution, the witnesses who watched George Floyd’s body go still were regular people — a firefighter, a mixed martial arts fighter, a high school student and her 9-year-old cousin in a T-shirt emblazoned with the word “Love” — going about their daily lives when they happened upon the ghastly scene of an officer kneeling on a man’s neck.

Kevin McCarthy

GOP leader says Gaetz would lose committee seat if charges true

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said Wednesday that GOP leaders will remove Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) from his committee assignments if he's found to be guilty of sex trafficking, a case currently under investigation by the Justice Department. But McCarthy suggested Gaetz would remain on those panels, which include the powerful Judiciary Committee, during the course of the DOJ's investigation.

Russia

Alexei Navalny on hunger strike in prison

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has started a hunger strike in prison to protest officials’ failure to provide proper treatment for his back and leg pains. In a statement posted Wednesday on Instagram, Navalny complained about prison authorities’ refusal to give him the right medicines and to allow his doctor to visit him behind bars.

Matt Gaetz

Investigation: Republican allegedly having sex with a 17-year-old 'woman"

On Tuesday night The New York Times reported that Congressman Matt Gaetz is currently under investigation by the Department of Justice concerning the possibility that he had sex with a 17-year-old and paid for her to travel with him, which would be a violation of federal sex trafficking laws, among other things. The investigation was opened last year under attorney general William Barr. This is extremely bad news for the Florida representative, considering that  “a variety of federal statutes make it illegal to induce someone under 18 to travel over state lines to engage in sex in exchange for money".

Capitol Riots

Police officers sue Donald Trump for injuries resulting from Capitol riot

Two US Capitol Police officers have filed a lawsuit against Donald Trump, accusing him of inciting the deadly 6 January insurrection and saying he was responsible for physical and emotional injuries they suffered as a result.

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.