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Diane A. Wade

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Diane is a perfectionist. She enjoys searching the internet for the hottest events from around the world and writing an article about it. The details matter to her, so she makes sure the information is easy to read and understand. She likes traveling and history, especially ancient history. Being a very sociable person she has a blast having barbeque with family and friends.

The Department of Justice has ordered the IRS to hand over former President Donald Trump’s tax returns to Congress.

The move reverses a 2019 finding that the request from the House Ways and Means Committee was “disingenuous”.

The DoJ decision appears to end a long legal battle over the records, and is seen as a sharp legal blow to Donald Trump.

Although not required by law, every president since 1976 – except Donald Trump – has released their tax returns.

Donald Trump is yet to publicly comment on the latest developments, although he still has ways to try to fight the ruling in court.

Republicans on Capitol Hill denounced the decision, describing it as politically motivated.

When he was president, Donald Trump repeatedly said he was under audit by the IRS and so could not release his tax returns – although the IRS has said an audit would not stop the release of the information.

The House Ways and Means Committee has previously argued that it required Donald Trump’s tax returns for an investigation into whether he complied with tax law.

The Trump-era justice department, however, refused to hand them over. It argued that the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives was seeking them for partisan political gain.

President Trump Has the Right to Keep His Tax Returns Private, Says Lawyer

Donald Trump Tax Returns Leaked: Billionaire Declared $916M Loss in 1995

Donald Trump’s 2005 Tax Returns Leaked

In an opinion released on July 30, the justice department’s Office of Legal Counsel determined that the committee “has invoked sufficient reasons” for requesting the tax information.

“Treasury must furnish the information to the Committee,” the opinion said.

Among those who praised the decision was Democrat House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who said the American people “deserve to know the facts of his troubling conflicts and undermining of our security and democracy as president”.

In February, President Trump was ordered by the Supreme Court to hand over his tax returns and other financial records to prosecutors in New York.

The decision was a blow to Donald Trump, who had been in a legal battle to protect his records from a grand jury.

The former president has continuously denied any wrongdoing and has called the investigation into his tax affairs a “witch hunt”.

Image source: Twitter

The remains of the final victim unaccounted for in the deadly apartment block collapse in Miami have been found and identified, her family announced.

The discovery ends a weeks-long wait for the family of 54-year-old Estelle Hedaya, who had been missing since her building collapsed on 24 June.

Estelle Hedaya’s brother, Ikey, told media that local New York police delivered the news to their family on July 26.

Her discovery brings the death toll in the collapse disaster to 98.

Search teams spent weeks combing the rubble for victims but said on July 23 that their search had finally ended. At that time, Estelle Hedaya was still unaccounted for.

Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said July 26 that police volunteers were continuing to “carefully and meticulously” sift through millions of pounds of debris at a secondary site looking for remains and personal items.

“We have done everything possible to bring closure to the families and I am especially proud that through these tireless efforts we were able at last to bring closure to all those who reported missing loved ones,” the mayor told reporters.

The number of people missing had initially been put as high as 159, but police brought that figure down after weeks of checking reports.

Miami Building Collapse: Standing Portion of Champlain Towers to Be Demolish

Miami Building Collapse Death Toll Rises to Five

Champlain Towers: Miami Building Collapses Killing at Least One Person

Miami Building Collapse: At Least Four Killed and 159 Missing

According to officials, the site where the 12-floor Champlain Towers South building once stood is being treated as a crime scene.

What caused the 40-year-old building to fall to the ground remains unknown, but a 2018 report had found structural problems with the ocean-side block.

All but one of those killed were recovered dead in the rubble, with one victim dying in hospital.

A Jewish funeral is expected to take place for Estelle Hedaya in New York on July 27, the AP reports.

Estelle Hedaya’s family and friends described her as outgoing and fun-loving and said she loved to travel and try new things, like salsa dancing.

Other victims of the disaster include the 7-year-old daughter of a Miami firefighter, a 92-year-old grandmother and the sister of Paraguay’s first lady.

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Image source; AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee

Search efforts for possible survivors in the rubble of a partially collapsed building in the Miami suburb of Surfside have been suspended ahead of the controlled demolition of the rest of the building.

Teams are preparing to bring down the remaining structure using explosives.

The demolition of Champlain Towers South was brought forward over safety fears due to approaching Tropical Storm Elsa.

Part of the 12-story block collapsed on June 24. Twenty-four people are known to have died and 121 are missing.

No survivors have been pulled from the rubble at the site in the Miami suburb of Surfside since the first few hours after the structure’s collapse.

The families of the missing were told in advance of the decision to pause the search effort, Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Cava Levine said.

The decision to bring forward the demolition of the remaining block was made after concerns were raised over the approaching Tropical Storm Elsa, which is expected to reach the west coast of Florida on July 6.

The mayor of Surfside, Charles Burkett, said strong winds in the coming days could bring down additional debris from the unstable structure, endangering the lives of the search teams.

“It was obvious that the building was a problem,” Charles Burkett said on July 3.

He added: “We agreed that the only solution for that problem was to eliminate it.”

Mayor Burkett said the controlled demolition could take place as early as July 4, and should be completed within days.

Miami Building Collapse Death Toll Rises to Five

Champlain Towers: Miami Building Collapses Killing at Least One Person

Miami Building Collapse: At Least Four Killed and 159 Missing

Announcing the temporary pause in the search operation, Mayor Cava Levine said the latest developments “do not signify that we are no longer focused on search and rescue”.

She said preparations for the demolition included “drilling into columns in the unsafe structure” and a pause was needed while the process was under way.

“We will begin the search and rescue once again on any sections of the pile that are safe to access as soon as we’re cleared,” she said.

Drones and 3D imaging equipment are being brought in to help those combing the rubble for signs of life.

The mayor signed a demolition order on July 2. She initially said she expected the demolition would not happen until late July.

There are no details so far about compensating the owners of the apartments. Meanwhile, officials are investigating other tower blocks in the area for structural faults.

What caused the 40-year-old Champlain Towers South to crumble remains unclear. A 2018 inspection, however, warned of “major” design flaws in the original design.

The building association’s board has said it will appoint an “independent receiver… to oversee the legal and claims process”.

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“Donald Trump” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by Gage Skidmore

According to recent reports, Donald Trump’s company, the Trump Organization, and its finance chief have been indicted in an investigation into alleged tax crimes.

Allen Weisselberg, 73, turned himself in to authorities in New York on July 1, ahead of the expected unsealing of as-yet-unknown charges.

The former president is not expected to be implicated personally in the case.

New York City has already cut business ties with the twice-impeached former president.

The Trump Organization is a family holding company that owns hotels, golf clubs and other properties.

Any criminal charges brought against the company would mark the first in long-running investigations on alleged fraud by both the Manhattan district attorney and the state attorney general.

Charges by District Attorney Cyrus Vance are expected to focus on whether Allen Weisselberg and other company executives received benefits such as apartment rentals or leased cars without reporting them properly on their tax returns.

Allen Weisselberg entered Manhattan’s criminal court building on July 1, the New York Times said. He and at least one other Trump Organization representative are expected to appear in court later in the day.

Donald Trump and his allies have said the investigations are politically motivated.

Ethics Chief Walter Shaub Criticizes Trump Organization Handover Plan

In a statement this week, Allen Weisselberg said the case was looking at “things that are standard practice throughout the US business community, and in no way a crime”.

If the company is found guilty, however, certain business partners might draw a line under their relationship with the Trump Organization and the company could face fines.

New York City has already announced it will terminate contracts with Donald Trump’s company to run skating rinks, a carousel and a golf course, in the aftermath of the Capitol riots.

Daniel Goldman, who was lead lawyer in the House of Representatives for the first impeachment of President Trump in 2019, tweeted that the indictment could spur lenders to call in their loans, driving the Trump Organization to bankruptcy.

The investigations will also take into account eight years of Donald Trump’s personal and corporate tax returns, obtained by prosecutors after a long legal battle, which ended in the Supreme Court in February.

Donald Trump, who inherited money from his father and went on to become a property developer, is the first president since Gerald Ford in the 1970s not to have made his tax returns public.

Despite facing a number of investigations, Donald Trump has denied any wrongdoing personally or in his business.

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Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Ex-police officer Derek Chauvin has been sentenced to 22 years and six months in jail for murdering African-American man George Floyd in Minneapolis in May 2020.

The judge said Derek Chauvin’s sentence was based “on your abuse of a position of trust and authority, and also the particular cruelty shown” to George Floyd.

George Floyd, 48, died after Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for nine minutes.

His murder caused global protests against racism and police brutality.

Derek Chauvin, 45, was convicted of second-degree murder and other charges last month. During his trial, his lawyer described the killing as “an error made in good faith”.

He was also told to register as a predatory offender and was barred from owning firearms for life.

Derek Chauvin and three other former officers are separately charged with violating George Floyd’s civil rights.

The Floyd family and their supporters welcomed the sentence.

Lawyer Ben Crump tweeted: “This historic sentence brings the Floyd family and our nation one step closer to healing by delivering closure and accountability.”

George Floyd’s sister Bridgett said the sentence “shows that matters of police brutality are finally being taken seriously” but there was still “a long way to go”.

President Joe Biden said the sentence “seemed to be appropriate” but admitted that he did not know all the details.

During the sentencing hearing, George Floyd’s brother Terrence Floyd demanded the maximum available, a sentence of 40 years.

“Why? What were you thinking? What was going through your head when you had your knee on my brother’s neck?” he said.

George Floyd’s daughter Gianna, aged seven, appeared in a video recording, saying she missed him and she loved him.

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“I ask about him all the time,” she said.

“My daddy always used to help me brush my teeth.”

The judge said the case had been painful for the community and the country, but above all, for George Floyd’s family.

“What the sentence is not based on is emotion, or sympathy, but at the same time, I want to acknowledge the deep and tremendous pain that all the families are feeling, especially the Floyd family,” said Judge Peter Cahill.

Derek Chauvin told the court he offered his condolences to the Floyd family, saying there would be “some other information in the future” and he hoped “things will give you some peace of mind”.

However, he did not apologize.

In court, Derek Chauvin’s mother said he was a “good man”.

“I have always believed in your innocence and I will never waver from that,” said Carolyn Pawlenty.

Derek Chauvin’s sentence was “one of the longest a former police officer has ever received” for deadly force, said Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison.

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Image source; AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee

At least four have been killed and 159 are still missing after a12-storey residential building north of Miami.

Rescuers are desperately searching for any survivors trapped in the rubble.

As families desperately wait for news, search teams have been working around the clock and have reported hearing people banging beneath the debris.

What caused the 40-year-old building to collapse early on June 24 remains unclear.

At least 102 people have now been accounted for, but it is uncertain how many were in the building when it came down. Dozens of people have been evacuated from what is left of the structure.

President Joe Biden has approved an emergency declaration for Florida, meaning the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will help state agencies with the relief effort.

Overnight hundreds of rescuers used sonar cameras and specially trained dogs as they scoured the rubble for survivors. Teams were tunneling from an underground car park below the building in an effort to reach victims.

Champlain Towers: Miami Building Collapses Killing at Least One Person

The mayor of Surfside, where the disaster happened, Charles Burkett, said at an early-morning news conference that some 15 families had walked out of the building.

Most residents would have been asleep when the collapse happened at about 01:00 AM local time.

Overnight, search teams detected sounds of banging and other noises, but no voices coming from the tonnes of debris. Officials say the efforts are dangerous as further rubble could collapse on them.

Constant rain and storms are further complicating an already difficult task for the search-and-rescue teams.

Authorities have begun taking DNA samples from relatives of those missing in case only remains of their family members are found in the rubble.

Relatives of the missing have been huddled around a community centre a few blocks away, waiting for information and fearing the worst. They have been putting out appeals on social media for information that could help them find their loved ones.

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John McAfee, the founder of anti-virus software maker McAfee, has been arrested in Guatemala, accused of entering the country illegally

Anti-virus creator John McAfee has been found dead in a Barcelona prison cell hours after a Spanish court agreed to extradite him to the US to face tax evasion charges.

The Catalan justice department said medics had tried to resuscitate John McAfee, but were not successful.

It added that “everything indicates” John McAfee had taken his own life.

A controversial figure in the tech world, John McAfee’s company released the first commercial anti-virus software.

McAfee VirusScan helped to spark a multi-billion dollar industry in the computer world, and was eventually sold to technology giant Intel for more than $7.6 billion.

In October 2020, John McAfee was arrested in Spain when he was about to board a plane to Turkey, and accused of failing to file tax returns for four years, despite earning millions from consulting work, speaking engagements, crypto-currencies and selling the rights to his life story.

The US justice department alleged that McAfee evaded tax liability by having his income paid into bank accounts and cryptocurrency exchange accounts in the names of nominees.

John McAfee was also accused of concealing assets, including a yacht and real estate property, also in other people’s names.

Spain’s National Court authorized McAfee’s extradition to the US to face the charges on June 23.

John McAfee arrested in Guatemala accused of entering the country illegally

John McAfee 2016: Anti-Virus Mogul Confirms He Is Running for President

In recent years, John McAfee had repeatedly claimed that there was a plot to get him – however the court said there was “no revealing evidence” that he was being prosecuted for political or ideological reasons, Spanish newspaper El Pais reported.

He had argued in a hearing earlier this month that the charges against him were politically motivated and that he would spend the rest of his life in prison if returned to the US.

Nishay Sanan, McAfee’s lawyer, said he had intended to fight all the charges.

The entrepreneur, who was born in Gloucestershire, England first came to prominence in the 1980s when he founded his tech company and released McAfee VirusScan.

He also launched unsuccessful bids to become the Libertarian Party’s candidate for the presidential elections in 2016 and 2020.

In 2019 McAfee expressed his disdain for taxes, tweeting that he had not filed tax returns for eight years because “taxation is illegal.”

In the same year John McAfee was briefly detained in the Dominican Republic for allegedly bringing weapons into the country.

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Image source The Blue Diamond Gallery

Catholic bishops face clash with President Joe Biden after voting to commission a document that may call for him to be barred from Holy Communion.

The US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) clashed online over whether to draw up a teaching document on politicians who support abortion.

Holy Communion is the most important ritual in the Catholic Christian faith.

The Catholic president regularly attends Mass.

Responding to news of the bishops’ vote, President Biden said: “That’s a private matter and I don’t think that’s gonna happen.”

The Vatican has already indicated its opposition to the bishops’ move.

After the debate on June 17, the Most Reverend Allen H. Vigneron, vice-president of the USCCB, announced the move had passed by 168 to 55, with six abstentions.

The US clergy is deeply divided on the issue. The Most Rev Robert McElroy, bishop of San Diego, warned such a document would lead to the “weaponization” of the Eucharist (the more formal name for Holy Communion).

However, the Most Rev Liam Cary, the bishop of Baker, Oregon, said the Church was in an “unprecedented situation”, with “a Catholic president who is opposed to the teaching” of the Church.

The document will now be drafted by the doctrine committee of US bishops.

However, although it will be a form of national policy, it will not be binding. Each individual bishop has the right to decide who should be blocked from the Mass in his diocese.

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The document will return for debate at the next bi-annual US Catholic Bishops Conference in November.

The controversial issue of whether politicians who support abortion should receive Mass has become more prominent with the election of Joe Biden as president.

Cardinal Blase Cupich, archbishop of Chicago, warned most priests would be “puzzled to hear that bishops now want to talk about excluding people at a time when the real challenge before them is welcoming people back to the regular practice of the faith and rebuilding their communities”.

However, proposing the motion, Bishop Kevin Roades, of Fort Wayne-South Bend, said: “We weren’t targeting particular individuals or limited to one issue, but I think we need to accept the [Church’s] discipline that those who obstinately persist in grave sin are not to be admitted to Holy Communion.”

Cardinal Luis Ladaria – the prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican’s theological watchdog – urged the US Catholic Bishops Conference to delay the debate.

He wrote to the conference saying it would be “misleading” to suggest abortion and euthanasia were “the only grave matters of Catholic moral and social teaching that demand the fullest level of accountability on the part of Catholics”.

Catholics for Choice, an abortion rights group, said it was profoundly saddened by the move.

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Image source Wikimedia

Political organizations linked to Alexei Navalny have been banned by a court in Moscow after classifying them as “extremist”.

Activists will risk prison sentences if they continue their work and anyone who publicly supports Alexei Navalny’s political network can now be barred from running for public office.

Writing on social media, Alexei Navalny promised he would “not retreat”.

However, the Kremlin critic said his supporters would now have to change how they work.

Alexei Navalny is now jailed for violating the terms of parole in an embezzlement case – charges he says are politically motivated.

Russian parliamentary elections are due to take place in September and opinion polls show the ruling party losing support. Some of Alexei Navalny’s supporters have been planning to run in the elections.

Following June 9 ruling, a court statement said Alexei Navalny’s regional network offices and his Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK) had been banned with immediate effect.

Alexei Navalny’s lawyers said they would appeal against the ruling.

A message later posted on Navalny’s Instagram account said: “We’re not going anywhere. We’ll digest this, sort things out, change, and evolve. We’ll adapt. We won’t step back from our aims and ideas. This is our country and we do not have another one.”

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Russia: Alexei Navalny In Coma After Allegedly Being Poisoned

Alexei Navalny – President Vladimir Putin’s foremost critic – was detained in January as soon as he returned to Russia from Germany. He had received treatment in Berlin for a nerve agent attack in Siberia last August that left him in a coma and fighting for his life.

He blamed President Putin directly for the attack which nearly killed him. The Kremlin denied any involvement.

The pro-Putin United Russia party, which dominates parliament, has been described by the opposition leader as “the party of crooks and thieves”, and millions of Russians have watched his videos alleging corruption in President Putin’s elite circle.

Alexei Navalny is expected to be a topic on the agenda of talks between Vladimir Putin and President Joe Biden at their first summit on June 16.

Vladimir Putin, who has been in power as either president or prime minister since 1999, recently said he hoped the Geneva meeting would improve the “extremely low level of relations” between the two countries but expected no breakthroughs.

According to new reports, the US and Denmark worked together to spy on top European politicians, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Danish broadcaster DR said Denmark’s Defense Intelligence Service (FE) collaborated with the US National Security Agency (NSA) to gather information from 2012 to 2014.

Both FE and the NSA are yet to comment.

Denmark’s Defense Minister, Trine Bramsen, did not confirm or deny the report but told AFP that “systemic eavesdropping of close allies is unacceptable”. She was not in charge of the ministry during the alleged spying.

“This is not acceptable between allies, and even less between allies and European partners,” said French President Emmanuel Macron, after speaking with Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Angela Merkel said she agreed with President Macron’s comments, but that she was also reassured by the Danish defense minister’s condemnation.

Intelligence was allegedly collected on other officials from Germany, France, Sweden and Norway. Those nations have also called for explanations.

Norwegian PM Erna Solberg told public broadcaster NRK: “It’s unacceptable if countries which have close allied co-operation feel the need to spy on one another.”

The NSA is said to have accessed text messages and the phone conversations of a number of prominent individuals by tapping into Danish internet cables in co-operation with the FE.

The alleged set-up, said in the report to have been codenamed “Operation Dunhammer”, allowed the NSA to obtain data using the telephone numbers of politicians as search parameters, according to DR.

DR interviewed nine sources, all of whom are said to have had access to classified information held by the FE.

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Along with Chancellor Merkel, then-German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and the opposition leader at the time, Peer Steinbrück, are also said to have been targeted.

Similar allegations emerged in 2013.

Then, secrets leaked by American whistleblower Edward Snowden alleged tapping of Angela Merkel’s phone by the NSA.

When those allegations were made, the White House gave no outright denial but said Angela Merkel’s phone was not being bugged at the time and would not be in future.

Following the new report, Edward Snowden accused President Joe Biden of being “deeply involved in this scandal the first time around”. Joe Biden was vice-president at the time the reported surveillance took place.

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Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Black Lives Matter’s co-founder Patrisse Cullors has announced she is resigning from its foundation, but not because of what she called right-wing attempts to discredit her.

Patrisse Cullors, 37, said May 28 would be her last day at the foundation, which she has led for nearly six years.

Her finances came under scrutiny last month after it was reported she owned four homes.

Black Lives Matter started as a hashtag in 2013 and has since become a global movement.

Patrisse Cullors said she would step down from the Black Lives Matter Global Network to focus on her forthcoming second book, An Abolitionist’s Handbook, and a TV development deal with Warner Bros highlighting black stories.

She said in a statement: “With smart, experienced and committed people supporting the organization during this transition, I know that BLMGNF is in good hands.

“The foundation’s agenda remains the same – eradicate white supremacy and build life-affirming institutions.”

Patrisse Cullors told the AP her resignation had been planned for more than a year and was not related to claims that she had misused donations to acquire her property portfolio. There is no evidence to suggest that she had done so.

“Those were right-wing attacks that tried to discredit my character, and I don’t operate off of what the right thinks about me,” she said.

The BLM Foundation told AP in February that it had raised $90 million amid last year’s racial justice protests following the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The foundation said it ended 2020 with a balance of more than $60 million, after operating expenses, grants to black-led organizations and other expenses.

Last month, the New York Post reported that Patrisse Cullors – a self-described Marxist – had bought a $1.4 million luxury home in Topanga Canyon, near Malibu, and owned three other homes, including a custom ranch in Georgia.

Facebook banned users from sharing the story, citing privacy concerns, and a black journalist said he was locked out of his Twitter account after he posted the article.

Conservative critics – but also some black activists – called for an investigation into whether Patrisse Cullors had used the organization’s funds to enrich herself.

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In April, the BLM Foundation said that Patrisse Cullors had received $120,000 between 2013 and 2019 for her work.

It said in a statement: “As a registered 501c3 non-profit organization, [the foundation] cannot and did not commit any organizational resources toward the purchase of personal property by any employee or volunteer.

“Any insinuation or assertion to the contrary is categorically false.”

Patrisse Cullors appeared to hold back tears as she told the Black News Channel last month that suggestions of financial impropriety against her were “categorically untrue and incredibly dangerous”.

The grieving parents of Michael Brown and Breonna Taylor – two African Americans whose deaths at the hands of white police officers were often cited by Black Lives Matter – last month reportedly complained the foundation had done nothing to help them.

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President Joe Biden has ordered intelligence officials to “redouble” efforts to investigate the origins of Covid-19, including the theory that it came from a laboratory in China.

The president said the US intelligence community was split on whether it came from a lab accident or emerged from human contact with an infected animal.

He asked the groups to report back to him within 90 days.

China has rejected the laboratory theory.

“Smear campaigns and blame shifting are making a comeback, and the conspiracy theory of ‘lab leak’ is resurfacing,” its embassy in the US said in a statement on May 27.

Since it was first detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan in late 2019, more than 168 million cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed worldwide and at least 3.5 million deaths reported.

Authorities linked early Covid cases to a seafood market in Wuhan, leading scientists to theorize the virus first passed to humans from animals.

However, recent media reports have suggested growing evidence the virus could instead have emerged from a laboratory in China, perhaps through an accidental leak.

In a statement on May 26, President Biden said he had asked for a report on the origins of Covid-19 after taking office, “including whether it emerged from human contact with an infected animal or from a laboratory accident”.

On receiving it this month, he asked for “additional follow-up”.

President Biden said the majority of the intelligence community had “coalesced” around those two scenarios, but “do not believe there is sufficient information to assess one to be more likely than the other”.

He has now asked agencies to “redouble their efforts to collect and analyze information that could bring us closer to a definitive conclusion”.

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President Biden concluded by saying the US would “keep working with like-minded partners around the world to press China to participate in a full, transparent, evidence-based international investigation”.

Beijing has previously suggested Covid-19 could have come from a US laboratory instead.

In its statement, the Chinese embassy said it supported a full investigation into “some secretive bases and biological laboratories all over the world”.

On May 27, on spokesman for China’s foreign ministry hit out at the “dark history” of the US intelligence community, and said the Biden administration’s “motive and purposes” were clear.

President Biden’s statement came as CNN reported that the president’s administration this spring shut down a state department investigation into whether the virus could have leaked from a Wuhan lab, deeming the probe an ineffective use of resources.

Speculation about the Wuhan Institute of Virology – one of China’s top virus research labs – began in 2020 and was propagated by President Donald Trump.

In April 2020, State Department cables came to light that showed embassy officials were worried about biosecurity at the lab.

The leak allegations were widely dismissed as a fringe conspiracy theory.

Earlier this year, the WHO issued a report written jointly with Chinese scientists on the origins of Covid-19 which said the chances of it having started in a lab were “extremely unlikely”.

The WHO report said the virus had probably jumped from bats to humans via another intermediary animal, but more research was needed.

However, questions have persisted and recent reports attributed to US intelligence sources say three members of the Wuhan Institute of Virology were admitted to hospital in November 2019, several weeks before China acknowledged the first case of the new disease in the community.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Biden’s chief medical adviser, has maintained he believes the virus was passed from animals to humans, though he conceded this month he was no longer confident Covid-19 had developed naturally.

President Biden’s statement came the day after Xavier Becerra, US secretary for health and human services, urged the WHO to ensure a “transparent” investigation into the virus’s origins.

Image source Wikimedia

A Ryanair plane from Greece to Lithuania was diverted to Belarus for several hours on May 23, with activists saying it was done to arrest dissident journalist Roman Protasevich on board.

European nations reacted with outrage, accusing Belarus of “state terrorism”.

Ex-editor of the Nexta group Roman Protasevich was detained before the plane was allowed to resume its flight.

Belarus media said a MiG-29 escorted the jet to Minsk because of a bomb scare but no explosives were found.

The plane finally landed in the Lithuanian capital, Vilnius, its original destination, at 21:25 local time, more than seven hours after its scheduled arrival.

Arriving passengers said the situation in Minsk had been calm but that they were given no information. One said Roman Protasevich looked “super scared. I looked directly to his eyes and it was very sad”.

There have already been calls for the EU and NATO to intervene.

Belarus opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, who was beaten by Alexander Lukashenko in last year’s presidential polls widely denounced as rigged, was among those demanding Roman Protasevich’s release.

Since last year’s election, President Lukashenko, who has ruled the country since 1994, has cracked down on dissenting voices. Many opposition figures have been arrested or, like Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, fled into exile.

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Flight FR4978 was en route from Athens to Vilnius when it turned east to Minsk shortly before it reached the Lithuanian border. Greece and Lithuania put the number of passengers on board at 171.

In a statement, Ryanair said that the crew were “notified by Belarus (Air Traffic Control) of a potential security threat on board and were instructed to divert to the nearest airport, Minsk”.

The flight path, visible on the Flightradar24 website, suggests the plane was actually nearer to Vilnius than Minsk when it turned.

Ryanair said checks in Minsk found “nothing untoward” and the aircraft was cleared to depart, leaving Minsk at 20:50 local time.

“Ryanair has notified the relevant national and European safety and security agencies and we apologise sincerely to all affected passengers for this regrettable delay which was outside Ryanair’s control,” the statement added.

The Ryanair statement made no mention of Roman Protasevich.

Nexta was the first to break the news of his arrest.

Editor-in-chief Tadeusz Giczan tweeted a quote from a passenger on the plane who said that Roman Protasevich had told them who he was once they were on the ground at Minsk, with him adding “they’ll execute me here”.

Belta, the state-owned news agency in Belarus, said President Lukashenko had personally given the order for the plane to land in Minsk following the bomb alert, and approved despatching the MiG-29 fighter jet.

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Image source: Twitter SDFD

Three people have been killed and some two dozen injured after a boat got into trouble off the coast of San Diego in a suspected smuggling operation.

The overcrowded 40-foot cabin cruiser broke up on a reef near Point Loma on May 2, tipping some 30 people into the water, officials said.

A major rescue operation was launched to help the injured on shore and retrieve seven people from the sea.

Officials said the boat captain was in custody on suspicion of smuggling.

Jeff Stephenson, Supervisory Border Patrol Agent, said: “Every indication from our perspective is that this was a smuggling vessel used to smuggle migrants into the United States illegally.

“We haven’t confirmed the nationality of the people involved, but our agents are with many of them at the hospital and the man who we believe was the operator… The investigation’s still unfolding.”

Rescuers were alerted to the incident near the Cabrillo National Monument, at about 10:30 local time.

Rick Romero, of the San Diego Fire Rescue Lifeguard, said first reports indicated three or four people needed help but they quickly realized it was “going to be a bigger situation with more people”.

“Once we arrived on scene, the boat had basically been broken apart,” he said.

“Conditions were pretty rough: five to six feet of surf, windy, cold.”

He said people were in the water being taken out to sea by the rip current, while people on shore were needing CPR and treatment for hypothermia and other injuries.

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Footage from the scene showed large pieces of debris washing up on the beach. Jet skis, three more rescue boats and cliff-top equipment were brought in to help with the rescue.

At the same news conference, Jeff Stephenson said it was not yet known where the boat had come from but many smuggling boats come from Mexico’s Baja coastline.

“The smugglers, they don’t care about the people they’re exploiting. All they care about is profit to them,” he said.

“These people are just commodities. So you can see that in the way they treat them, inadequate safety equipment, really poorly equipped vessels and giving them minimal.”

Jeff Stephenson said there had been a 92% increase in the number of apprehensions linked to smuggling by sea in 2020, compared with the previous year.

US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) had announced on April 30 that it was beefing up its patrols of the coastline over the weekend to try and deter smugglers.

Border patrol agents detained 21 people – 15 men and six women – found on a small open boat, a panga, off the coast of San Diego on April 29. They were Mexican nationals with no legal status to enter the US, the CBP said. Two suspected smugglers who were on board the boat will face federal charges.

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Image source Wikimedia

Russian detained opposition leader Alexei Navalny has announced he is ending his hunger strike after 24 days of refusing food in jail.

Hours earlier Navalny’s private doctors had appealed to him to take food to preserve his life and health.

Alexei Navalny began refusing food on March 31 to demand better medical care.

He said he had twice been seen by civilian doctors and “given the progress and circumstances, I am ending my hunger strike”.

The process would be gradual, Navalny added in an Instagram post.

His doctors had warned at the weekend he could die “at any minute”. On April 22, they warned him that “further starvation” could significantly harm him and lead to his death.

Alexei Navalny was detained as soon as he returned to Russia in January, after receiving treatment in Berlin for a nerve-gas attack in Siberia that left him in coma and fighting for his life. Russian authorities denied being behind the attack, but last December Navalny tricked an FSB agent into revealing that a Novichok agent had been placed in his underpants.

He was sent to a penal colony in February for over two and a half years, after a court ruled he had broken the terms of a suspended jail term, even though he had been in a coma. Russia rejected a ruling from the European Court of Human Rights that he should be freed because his life was at risk.

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Thousands of Navalny supporters took to the streets of Russian cities on April 21 and more than 1,700 were arrested.

Alexei Navalny has complained of numbness and back pain and said he had not been given proper treatment by prison doctors.

In his message from the penal colony in Vladimir, east of Moscow, Alexei Navalny said he was still determined to be seen by a doctor of his choice.

“I am losing feeling in areas of my arms and legs, and I want to understand what it is and how to treat it,” he said.

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Americans are advised to avoid 80% of countries worldwide because of the coronavirus pandemic.

In a note to the media about the US state department’s updated travel guidance, it said the pandemic continued to “pose unprecedented risks to travelers”.

The current US “Do Not Travel” advisory covers 34 out of 200 countries.

Covid-19 has now claimed more than three million lives worldwide – more than half a million of them in the US.

The WHO warned the world was “approaching the highest rate of infection” so far, despite the global rollout of vaccination programs.

The state department said its decision to update its travel advisories was to bring it more in line with those from the CDC and “does not imply a reassessment of the current health situation in a given country”.

However, it said the move would “result in a significant increase in the number of countries at Level 4: Do Not Travel, to approximately 80% of countries worldwide”. Anyone planning to travel to a country in the remaining 20% is advised to reconsider before proceeding.

The state department has not revealed which countries will be added to Level 4 – the highest of its four risk levels. Guidance will be issued individually for each country in the next few days.

Currently, only three places in the world are assessed at the lowest tier – Level 1, which advises “Exercise normal precautions”. They are Macau, Taiwan and New Zealand.

Even Antarctica is at Level 2 – “Exercise increased caution”, an extra warning to exercise caution because of the risk of terrorism.

The UK is at Level 3: “Reconsider travel”.

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The CDC currently recommends all Americans refrain from travelling domestically until they have been fully vaccinated and warns that international travel “poses additional risks” even for those vaccinated.

In addition, all air passengers coming to the US, including US citizens, must have a negative Covid test result or documentation of recovery from the virus before they board a flight.

While more than 860 million doses of coronavirus vaccine have been administered in 165 countries worldwide, many countries are still struggling to contain the virus.

Brazil has recorded the third-highest number of cases and, at 368,749, the second-highest number of deaths in the world.

Canada has also reported a recent rise in cases and Papua New Guinea has been highlighted as a cause for concern.

While some countries – such as Israel and the UK – have secured and delivered doses to a large proportion of their population, many more countries are still waiting for their first shipments to arrive.

Eight people have been killed and seven injured in a shooting at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis, police say.

According to police, the gunman began shooting “randomly” almost immediately after exiting his car.

The gunman apparently killed himself minutes before police arrived, officials say. They have not confirmed the identities of the victims or the gunman.

This is the latest incident in a recent uptick of mass shootings across the US.

The attack began around 23:00 local time on April 15 in Indianapolis, Indiana – the state capital and its largest city.

In a news conference on April 16, city officials said no motive had been established yet, and noted that one may never be determined.

“We’ll never really know all the ins and outs of why this occurred, but we’ll try our best,” said police chief Randal Taylor.

Craig McCartt, the deputy chief of criminal investigations, said that the gunman began firing as soon as he arrived at the building.

“This suspect came to the facility and when he came there, he got out of his car and pretty quickly started some random shooting outside the facility,” he said.

“No confrontation or argument, he just appeared to randomly start shooting,” he added.

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Four people were found dead outside the building, and another four inside.

The attacker, who appeared to have shot himself “minutes” before police arrived, was also found inside the facility.

“When officers arrived they found a very chaotic and active crime scene,” Craig McCartt said, adding that they believe the gunman used a rifle during the attack.

Mayor Joe Hogsett paid condolences to the victims and called for Americans to tackle the “scourge of gun violence that has killed far too many in our community and in our country”.

He also called for people to fight against “the assumption that this is how it must be and we might as well get used to it”.

The FBI, which is assisting in the investigation, has been searching a residence in the area, officials said, but they refused to answer whether it was the suspect’s home.

A FedEx statement said the company was aware of the shooting and co-operating with the authorities.

“Safety is our top priority, and our thoughts are with all those who are affected,” the statement said.

This is the third mass shooting in Indianapolis this year. Five were killed, including a pregnant woman, in a shooting in January. In March, three adults and one child were killed after an argument broke out over a coronavirus stimulus cheque.

Last week, President Joe Biden announced his first steps since taking office to tighten gun controls following a series of mass shootings.

It includes efforts to set rules for certain guns, bolster background checks and support local violence prevention.

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Image source: Wright Family

Former officer Kim Potter who shot dead 20-year-old Daunte Wright in Minnesota has been charged with second-degree manslaughter, prosecutors say.

Kim Potter, a 26-year veteran of the Brooklyn Center Police Department, was taken into custody about 11:30 AM at the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) in St. Paul, officials said.

She says she shot Daunte Wright accidentally, having mistakenly drawn her gun instead of her Taser.

Daunte Wright, who is African-American, died of a gunshot wound to the chest, according to the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office, which classified the manner of death as a homicide.

Responding to the charges, the Wright family’s lawyer Ben Crump said the killing was an “intentional, deliberate, and unlawful use of force”.

Both Kim Potter and Police Chief Tim Gannon have quit the Brooklyn Center force. The killing has sparked three nights of clashes between police and protesters.

It happened in a suburb of Minneapolis, a city already on edge amid the trial of a white ex-police officer accused of murdering African American George Floyd.

Minnesota’s BCA said Kim Potter had been arrested on April 14 at the BCA in St Paul and would be booked into Hennepin County Jail on probable cause second-degree manslaughter.

The charge carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine. Prosecutors must show that Kim Potter was “culpably negligent” and took an “unreasonable risk” in her actions, Reuters reported.

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In a statement, Ben Crump said “no conviction can give the Wright family their loved one back”.

“A 26-year veteran of the force knows the difference between a Taser and a firearm. Kim Potter executed Daunte for what amounts to no more than a minor traffic infraction and a misdemeanor warrant,” he said.

After the charge against Kim Potter was announced, Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliott tweeted: “Daunte Wright like many other black and brown members of our community should be alive and at home with his family today.”

Derrick Johnson, president of civil rights group the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), said “justice must prevail” after Mr. Wright’s death.

“A badge should never be a shield to accountability,” he tweeted.

On April 13, bottles and other projectiles were thrown at the Brooklyn Center police headquarters and officers responded by firing tear gas, stun grenades and rubber bullets.

On April 12, Police Chief Gannon said the shooting of Daunte Wright – who had a one-year-old son – appeared to be an “accidental discharge” after Kim Potter mistook her service pistol for a stun gun.

But the families have rejected the explanation.

Daunte Wright’s aunt Naisha said: “I watched that video like everybody else watched that video. That woman held that gun in front of her a long damn time.”

Daunte Wright was pulled over for an expired tag on his car license plate. Family members and advocates say he was racially profiled.

Badycam footage showed Daunte Wright fleeing from officers after they told him he was being arrested for an outstanding warrant.

As Daunte Wright re-enters his car, Officer Potter is heard shouting “Taser” several times before firing a shot.

Daunte Wright’s mother Katie told reporters her son had called her after he was pulled over and that she had offered to give insurance details to police over the phone.

She said she heard police order him to get out of the vehicle. There was a scuffling sound and an officer told him to hang up the phone.

When she was eventually able to call back, Daunte Wright’s girlfriend answered and told her he had been shot.

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Image source France24

France has imposed a third national lockdown as the country battles a surge in cases of Covid-19 that threatens to overwhelm its hospitals.

All schools and non-essential shops will shut for four weeks, and a curfew will be in place from 19:00 to 06:00.

On April 2, the number of seriously ill Covid-19 patients in ICU increased by 145 – the biggest jump in five months.

President Emmanuel Macron has promised more hospital beds for Covid patients.

France is currently battling a peak of about 5,000 Covid patients in ICUs. On April 2, the country recorded 46,677 new cases and 304 deaths.

As well as the restrictions that came into force on April 3, from April 6 people will also need a valid reason to travel more than 6 miles from their homes.

President Macron had hoped to keep France’s coronavirus cases under control without having to impose another lockdown.

However, France has struggled with an EU-wide delay in the vaccine rollout, as well as several new strains of the virus.

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In Germany, President Frank-Walter Steinmeier called on people to play their part and get vaccinated.

Speaking in a TV address to the nation on April 3, he said Germany was in the middle of a third wave and that it faced more restrictions.

The German also admitted that mistakes had been made – specifically in testing and in the vaccine rollout – and talked about there being a “crisis of trust” in the state.

Last month, German officials announced that the country would be placed in a strict Easter lockdown – only to reverse the decision just days later.

Chancellor Angela Merkel called the plan for a lockdown from April 1 to 5 a “mistake”, and said she took “ultimate responsibility” for the U-turn.

Italy also entered a strict three-day lockdown on April 3 in order to try to prevent a surge in Covid-19 cases over the Easter weekend.

All regions are now in the “red zone” – the highest tier of restrictions – as the country records about 20,000 new cases a day.

Non-essential movement is banned, but people are allowed to have an Easter meal in their homes with two others. Churches are also open, but worshippers are being told to attend services within their regions.

On April 4, for the second year, Pope Francis will deliver his Easter message to an empty St Peter’s Square.

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Image by tammon from Pixabay

The city of Miami has declared a state of emergency over concerns large crowds gathering for spring break pose a coronavirus risk.

A 20:00-06:00 curfew has been announced in Miami Beach and will remain in effect for at least 72 hours.

Traffic restrictions are in place during the curfew, while businesses in the busy South Beach area must close.

Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber said thousands of tourists had brought “chaos and disorder” to the city.

Mayor Gelber told CNN: “It feels like a rock concert, wall-to-wall people over blocks and blocks.

“If you’re coming here to go crazy, go somewhere else.”

Spring break is a holiday period for schools and universities that attracts thousands of students to Florida and other warm weather destinations around the country.

Officials warned tourists to “vacation responsibly or be arrested” prior to the holiday period, and a county-wide midnight coronavirus curfew was already in place due to the pandemic.

However, the Miami Beach area was thronged with revelers over the weekend, and many did not appear to be wearing masks or socially distancing.

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One city official described South Beach, which includes the world famous Ocean Drive, as being “overwhelmed” by crowds over the weekend.

“You couldn’t see pavement and you couldn’t see grass,” city manager Raul Aguila said.

He added that the emergency measures were “necessary not only to protect our residents but our visitors, including our spring breakers who we want to keep safe”.

On March 21, Miami Beach police told CNN they had arrested at least a dozen people after the curfew had come into force.

https://platform.twitter.com/embed/Tweet.html?creatorScreenName=BBCWorld&dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-0&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1373448655189942273&lang=en-gb&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.bbc.com%2Fnews%2Fworld-us-canada-56476904&siteScreenName=BBCWorld&theme=light&widgetsVersion=e1ffbdb%3A1614796141937&width=550px Until the measures are lifted, police will prevent pedestrians or vehicles entering the South Beach area’s main party strips.

Raul Aguila told the Miami Herald that he has recommended keeping the emergency measures in place until April 12.

However, the emergency orders will expire on March 23 unless they are extended by local authorities.

Florida continues to be a coronavirus hotspot in the US. The state has recorded nearly two million of the country’s 29 million infections since the pandemic began.

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Image source: Wikimedia Commons

According to new reports, Donald Trump’s main residence, Mar-a-Lago, has been partially closed after some staff members tested positive for Covid-19.

The Florida resort has served as President Trump’s official residence since he left office in January.

The club said in a statement that the Beach Club and a la carte dining room were closed, but did not specify how many people had tested positive.

Donald Trump had coronavirus last October, and was vaccinated in January.

At the time of his diagnosis, he was hospitalized for several days and treated with the low-dose steroid treatment dexamethasone.

His wife Melania Trump and son Barron also tested positive for the virus, as did several White House officials close to the then-president.

In an email to members obtained by the Washington Post, Mar-a-Lago said it was following “all appropriate response measures” and its banquet and event services would remain open.

In January, images surfaced from a New Year’s Eve party at Mar-a-Lago that showed a number of guests not wearing masks. The resort was handed a formal warning by Palm Beach County which said the event had violated coronavirus regulations.

The New York Times reports that the club is planning to host events during the RNC spring retreat next month.

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Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Tanzania’s President John Magufuli has died aged 61, the country’s Vice-President Samia Suluhu Hassan has announced.

John Magufuli died on March 17 from heart complications at a hospital in Dar es Salaam, the vice-president said in an address on state TV.

He had not been seen in public for more than two weeks, and rumors had been circulating about his health.

Opposition politicians said last week that John Magufuli had contracted Covid-19, but this has not been confirmed.

President Magufuli was one of Africa’s most prominent coronavirus skeptics, and called for prayers and herbal-infused steam therapy to counter the virus.

“It is with deep regret that I inform you that today… we lost our brave leader, the president of the Republic of Tanzania, John Pombe Magufuli,” Vice-President Hassan said in the announcement.

She said there would be 14 days of national mourning and flags would fly at half mast.

According to Tanzania’s constitution, VP Hassan will be sworn in as the new president within 24 hours and should serve the remainder of John Magufuli’s five-year term which he began last year.

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John Magufuli was last seen in public on February 27, but PM Kassim Majaliwa insisted last week that the president was “healthy and working hard”.

The prime-minister blamed the rumors of the president’s ill-health on “hateful” Tanzanians living abroad.

When Covid-19 arrived in Tanzania, President Magufuli called on people to go to churches and mosques to pray.

“Coronavirus, which is a devil, cannot survive in the body of Christ… It will burn instantly,” the president said.

John Magufuli declared Tanzania “Covid-19 free” in June 2020, saying the virus had been eradicated by three days of national prayer.

He also mocked the efficacy of masks, expressed doubts about testing, and teased neighboring countries which imposed health measures to curb the virus.

“Countries in Africa will be coming here to buy food in the years to come… they will be suffering because of shutting down their economy,” President Magufuli said, according to the Associated Press.

Tanzania has not published details of its coronavirus cases since May 2020, and the government has refused to purchase vaccines.

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Image source Wikipedia

Donald Trump has urged his Republican supporters to be vaccinated against Covid-19, saying he would recommend it.

In a TV interview, the former president said the vaccine was “safe” and “something that works”.

Donald Trump’s conservative fan base has been one of the main groups resistant to the vaccine program.

The former president himself was criticized during his time in office for playing down the seriousness of the pandemic.

As the vaccination program has been rolled out across the United States, all other living ex-presidents have spoken out, urging Americans to get the jab.

However, Donald Trump has remained largely quiet on the subject.

The former president and his wife, Melania, were vaccinated at the White House in secret in January.

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Donald Trump said during an interview on Fox News Primetime on March 16: “I would recommend it.

“I would recommend it to a lot of people that don’t want to get it and a lot of those people voted for me, frankly.”

He added: “It’s a great vaccine, it’s a safe vaccine and it’s something that works.”

A recent poll by CBS News suggested that a third of Republican supporters would not have the vaccine when it was available to them, compared to 10% of Democrats.

Donald Trump’s comments came a day after his successor, President Joe Biden, expressed frustration at the reluctance among some conservatives to get the shot.

White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said on March 15: “If former President Trump woke up tomorrow and wanted to be more vocal about the safety and efficacy of the vaccine, certainly we’d support that.”

She added: “Every other living president… has participated in public campaigns. They did not need an engraved invitation to do so.”

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Italy will close shops, restaurants and schools across most of the country on March 15, with PM Mario Draghi warning of a “new wave” of the coronavirus outbreak.

For three days over Easter, April 3-5, there will be a total lockdown.

Italy, which one year ago imposed one of the first national lockdowns, is once again struggling to contain the rapid spread of infections.

The country has reported more than 100,000 Covid-related deaths, Europe’s second-highest tally after the UK.

Its vaccination campaign has been hit by delays, as has been seen elsewhere in the EU.

AstraZeneca has announced a further shortfall in the amount of its vaccine it can supply to the EU, blaming export restrictions imposed by some countries. It did not elaborate.

In January, the pharmaceutical company announced a large cut in the 100 million doses it had originally expected to deliver to the EU by March, sparking a public spat with European Commission.

Last week, the Italian government blocked the export of 250,000 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to Australia to address shortfalls of vaccines.

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Elsewhere, Bulgaria, Denmark and Norway have all halted the use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine over fears it causes blood clots.

On March 12, the WHO said there was no indication this was true, stressing that countries should not stop using the vaccine.

From March 15, schools, shops and restaurants will shut in more than half of Italy, including the two most populous regions containing Rome and Milan.

Residents will be required to stay at home except for work, health or other essential reasons.

The extra restrictions would last until Easter, PM Draghi’s office said, and over the Easter weekend the whole country would be turned into the high-risk “red zone”.

Cases have been rising across Italy for the past six weeks, exceeding 25,000 a day.

In a majority of Italy’s regions “hospitals and above all intensive care units are already overloaded”, the GIMBE health think-tank warned this week, the AFP reported.

The island of Sardinia is the only region where infection rates are low.

Italy has had nearly 3.2 million confirmed infections since the outbreak began last year.

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Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Bolivia’s former interim president Jeanine Áñez and several ex-ministers have been arrested over a 2019 coup.

Prosecutors say Jeanine Áñez and the ministers took part in a coup against the then President Evo Morales in 2019.

Evo Morales resigned and fled Bolivia after protests and allegations of electoral fraud.

Jeanine Áñez has said she is the victim of a political vendetta by Evo Morales’s Mas Socialist party, which has since returned to power.

The party won a landslide victory in presidential and congressional elections in October 2020, paving the way for Evo Morales to return to Bolivia from Argentina and take over the leadership of the Mas party.

His colleague Luis Arce was elected president.

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As the most senior senator, Jeanine Áñez became caretaker president after Evo Morales fled. But members of the Mas party accused her, in cahoots with police and military figures, of engineering his overthrow.

Jeanine Áñez was detained in the early hours of March 13 in the city of Trinidad, government minister, Eduardo Del Castillo Del Carpio, announced on Facebook. She was then taken by plane to the city of La Paz.

She earlier tweeted “the political persecution has begun” and said an arrest document listed charges of terrorism, sedition and conspiracy.

Bolivian TV also aired images of former energy minister Rodrigo Guzman and former justice minister Alvaro Coimbra being detained.

Evo Morales fled Bolivia in November 2019 after weeks of violent protests and after losing the backing of the military over his controversial re-election to a fourth term in office.

Several of his allies in senior posts also left the country.