Japan will compile a fresh stimulus package worth $1.1 trillion that will include a sizable amount of direct spending to cushion the economic blow from the coronavirus pandemic, a draft of the budget obtained by Reuters showed on Wednesday. The stimulus, which will be funded partly by a second extra budget, will be on top of a $1.1 trillion package already rolled out last month, putting the total amount Japan spends to combat the virus fallout at 234 trillion yen - roughly 40% of Japan's gross domestic product. The government's 117 trillion yen ($1.1 trillion) in fresh stimulus, to be compiled on Wednesday, will include 33 trillion yen in direct spending, the draft showed.
When the U.S. recognized Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó as the nation's rightful leader last year it did more than just trigger a bitter feud with socialist leader Nicolás Maduro. The latest came Tuesday, when the Guaidó-appointed board of Citgo, the U.S. subsidiary of Venezuela's state oil company, filed a lawsuit in federal court in Houston against a former contractor seeking to recover millions of dollars in damages. The lawsuit accuses José Manuel González and his Miami-based Petroleum Logistics Service Corp. of providing gifts including cash, jewelry, private artwork, chartered flights and even a handpicked Houston apartment to senior executives at Citgo.
The Michigan governor who implemented some of the toughest coronavirus lockdown rules in the United States came under heavy criticism Tuesday over allegations that her husband pressured a dock to prepare his boat for an outing. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat who has defended her tough stay-at-home policies against armed protestors and attacks from President Donald Trump, announced last week the lifting of some restrictions ahead of the long Memorial Day weekend. According to a claim posted on Facebook by Northshore Docks owner Tad Dowker, Whitmer's husband Marc Mallory subsequently tried to use her position to get his boat moved ahead of others for launching before the holiday weekend.
Former Vice President Joe Biden on Tuesday fired back at President Trump for sharing a tweet that mocked Biden for wearing a mask during a Memorial Day event, calling him an "absolute fool."The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended that people wear masks to slow the spread of coronavirus, but Trump has opted out of publicly wearing a face covering during visits to factories, despite the companies requiring masks for the safety of their employees. This is irresponsible, Biden told CNN's Dana Bash, and Trump's refusal to listen to health experts is "costing people's lives." Presidents, Biden added, "are supposed to lead, not engage in folly and be falsely masculine." > Joe Biden: President Trump is "an absolute fool" to mock wearing face masks.> > He added: "Presidents are supposed to lead, not engage in folly and be falsely masculine" https://t.co/RI5zjN15Jf pic.twitter.com/2VrHaKwVFV> > - CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) May 26, 2020More stories from theweek.com Trump accuses Twitter of 'stifling FREE SPEECH' after company adds fact checks to his tweets America's meat problems are about to get worse Trump shares disturbing meme of Biden's campaign in a coffin
Insider trading investigations into three senators have reportedly been closed by the Justice Department.The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday that investigations into Sens. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), and James Inhofe (R-Okla.), are being closed, although a probe of Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) remains open.The senators came under scrutiny following reports that they sold stock holdings earlier this year after receiving briefings about the coronavirus, shortly before markets took a dive as the pandemic accelerated. Loeffler, Feinstein, and Inhofe said they weren't involved in making the stock trades, though the Journal notes Burr had a "more direct involvement in his trades."Burr, who sold between $628,000 and $1.72 million in stock, has denied allegations of wrongdoing, claiming he "relied solely on public news reports." After the FBI seized his cell phone, Burr stepped down as chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, calling the scandal a "distraction."More stories from theweek.com Trump accuses Twitter of 'stifling FREE SPEECH' after company adds fact checks to his tweets America's meat problems are about to get worse Trump shares disturbing meme of Biden's campaign in a coffin
Searchers used sonar on Tuesday to examine a Tulsa pond for two young children last seen days ago with their noncustodial mother, who was arrested after being questioned about their disappearance. The Oklahoma Highway Patrol and Tulsa firefighters joined Tulsa police in searching a pond near an east Tulsa apartment complex for 3-year-old Miracle Crook and 2-year-old Tony Crook. Tulsa police did not immediately return phone calls Tuesday for further comment.
Whitmer said her husband made a ‘failed attempt at humor’ in asking if boat could be put in the water by Memorial Day weekend * Coronavirus – live US updates * Live global updatesMichigan’s governor, Gretchen Whitmer, has come under fire this weekend as allegations have arisen that her own husband has been trying to flout her strict shutdown rules – in what she says was a “failed attempt at humor”.Affectionately nicknamed “Big Gretch”, Whitmer was thrust into the spotlight this year as her state battled one of the highest Covid-19 rates with one of the strictest lockdown policies in the country.But while Whitmer’s strict stay-at-home order has been effective at flattening the curve in Michigan, it has also drawn strong criticism from conservatives and progressives.Whitmer began to lift some of the restrictions over Memorial Day weekend, but she reminded Michiganders to take their personal responsibility seriously – and in particular, not to descend on to the waterfront in crowds over the weekend.“If you don’t live in these regions … think long and hard before you take a trip into them. A small spike could put the hospital system in dire straits pretty quickly. That’s precisely why we’re asking everyone to continue doing their part,” said Whitmer before she eased restrictions last Monday.But Whitmer’s husband, Marc Mallory, might have missed that message. According to a local marina owner, Mallory called asking if the facility could put his boat in the water by Memorial Day weekend.When Tad Dowker, the owner, said it would not be possible to dock his boat in time, Mallory identified himself as the governor’s husband and asked whether that might help him.In a Facebook post that has since been removed, Dowker said: “This morning, I was out working when the office called me, there was a gentleman on hold who wanted his boat in the water before the weekend. Being Memorial weekend and the fact that we started working three weeks late means there is no chance this is going to happen … Well our office personnel had explained this to the man and he replied, ‘I am the husband to the governor, will this make a difference?’”A spokesperson for Whitmer initially warned against rumors and misinformation when asked about the claims – although the representative did not deny them outright.But today Whitmer accepted that her husband had made the call, calling it “a failed attempt at humor”.“Knowing it wouldn’t make a difference, he jokingly asked if being married to me might move him up. He regrets it. I wish it wouldn’t have happened. And that’s really all we have to say about it,” Whitmer said during a press conference.
A Texas doctor who moved to New York temporarily to assist in the fight against coronavirus has had $11,000 worth of personal items stolen from her hotel room, according to a report.Police sources told The New York Post that a woman who was believed to be in her 20’s reportedly broke into the unidentified doctor’s room at the Brooklyn Hotel on Atlantic Avenue at around 9am on Saturday.
At a House Oversight Committee briefing on the Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus, Rep. Gerry Connolly asked Department of Health and Human Services Principal Deputy Inspector General Christi Grimm if she will be looking into a report that a former White House aide, Zach Fuentes, won a contract to provide respirator masks to the Navajo Nation only 11 days after his company was formed.
Sweden’s government defended its response to the COVID-19 global pandemic on Tuesday despite the Scandinavian country now reporting one of the highest mortality rates in the world, with 4,125 fatalities, or about 40 deaths per 100,000 people.
As Brazil's daily COVID-19 death rate climbs to the highest in the world, a University of Washington study is warning its total death toll could climb five-fold to 125,000 by early August, adding to fears it has become a new hot spot in the pandemic. The forecast from the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), released as Brazil's daily death toll climbed past that of the United States on Monday, came with a call for lockdowns that Brazil's president has resisted.
Angola's billionaire former first-daughter Isabel dos Santos and her husband are seeking to revoke a court order that froze their assets last year as part of a massive corruption probe, their lawyer said Tuesday. Dos Santos and her Congolese husband Sindika Dokolo are accused of diverting billions of dollars from Angolan state companies during ex-president Jose Eduardo dos Santos' 38-year rule. A court froze their bank accounts last December in the context of a crackdown on graft lead by President Joao Lourenco, hand-picked to succeed dos Santos in 2017.
Chicago saw its deadliest Memorial Day weekend for gun violence since 2015, a jarring reminder that even a coronavirus pandemic and a statewide stay-at-home order cannot halt shootings in the city. "The violence throughout the city on Memorial Day weekend was nothing short of alarming,” Chicago police Superintendent David Brown told the media Tuesday after the first major test of his tenure as the city's top officer ended with 49 people being shot, 10 of them fatally. According to Chicago police crime statistics posted online, between Jan. 1 and May 24, the nation's third-largest city had 200 homicides, compared with 176 during the same period last year.
Fifty billion years of evolutionary history is under threat from human activity, according to a new study which suggests some of the most threatened areas contain the most unique animals. Branches of the tree of life will be cut by the loss of animals such as the Mary River turtle, native to Queensland, Australia, recognisable by its punk-like algae ‘hair’, whose evolution stretches back 40 million years. The turtle, which breathes out of its genitals underwater and doesn’t reach sexual maturity for 25 years, is threatened by the pet trade. Other highly evolutionarily distinct species include the Aye-aye lemur, which are found only on the island of Madagascar, where in 1990 Gerald Durrell embarked on a rescue mission to save dwindling numbers of the long-finger and bushy-tailed primate from the effects of deforestation.
Donald Trump continued Tuesday morning to push a conspiracy theory that former Republican congressman Joe Scarborough was involved in the murder of a former staffer as he lobbed new insults at the cable morning show how and his co-host wife.The president for weeks has taken to Twitter to suggest the former Florida House member was responsible for the death of Lori Klausutis, who worked in his Florida office while he was a congressman. The conspiracy theory was first pushed by left-wing opponents of Mr Scarborough, but has been picked up by Mr Trump and many on the right because the MSNBC morning show host is a leading critic of the president.
Brazilian federal police on Tuesday raided the residences of Rio de Janeiro's right-wing Governor Wilson Witzel as part of a COVID-19 corruption probe, targeting one of President Jair Bolsonaro's political foes as the pandemic sweeps the nation. Federal prosecutors alleged Witzel, a former-ally-turned-foe of Bolsonaro, and his wife Helena led a sprawling criminal operation in which her law firm was used to receive payment from a company that won state coronavirus contracts, according to federal court documents seen by Reuters. In a statement, Witzel said he was innocent, and accused Bolsonaro of "interference" in the probe.
An intrepid Pakistani ‘spy’ pigeon is facing a life behind bars in India. The allegation was made after Geeta Devi, a resident of the Kathua district of Indian-administered Kashmir, reported a bird - painted pink and carrying a coded ring tagged to its foot - flew into her home on Sunday night. The Indian Border Security Force passed the pigeon on to the police, who launched an investigation and logged the animal as a ‘Pak Suspected Spy.’ Officials in Kathua said the bird had flown across the border and they would try to decipher the message. “The pigeon, suspected to have been trained in Pakistan for spying, has a ring with alphabets and numbers written on it,” a police source told the Times of India. “Though birds have no boundaries and many fly across international borders during migration, a coded ring tagged to the captured pigeon’s body is a cause for concern as migratory birds don’t have such rings.”
India on Tuesday recorded a total of 145,380 coronavirus infections and a death toll of 4,167, comparatively low figures for the world's second-most populous country. Health ministry officials said that India's death rate stood at 0.3 deaths per 100,000 people, compared to what they said was a world average of 4.4. "We have surprisingly found a low fatality rate in India, which is very good," said Balram Bhargava, director general of the Indian Council of Medical Research, in New Delhi.
Pakistan announced Tuesday that Airbus experts have opened a probe into last week’s plane crash that killed 97 people when an Airbus A320 went down in a crowded neighborhood near the airport in the port city of Karachi. Initial reports have said the Pakistan International Airlines jet crashed after an apparent engine failure. The Airbus experts and engineers are also to visit the crash site, according to Abdul Hafeez, a spokesman for PIA.
President Trump said in a series of tweets Monday morning that unless North Carolina can immediately "guarantee" that the Republican Party can hold its convention in Charlotte in late August with "full attendance" in a "fully occupied" Spectrum Center arena, the GOP "will be reluctantly forced to find" another Republican National Convention site. Where would the party find another large venue willing to host thousands of people during a pandemic, as well housing for the delegates, catering, sound, and other ancillary services?If you guessed the Trump property where the president already pushed to host this summer's G-7 summit, Trump denied it. "I have zero interest in moving the Republican National Convention to Doral in Miami," he tweeted. "Ballroom is not nearly big enough." Incidentally, The New York Times does not appear to have reported any such rumor about Trump and Doral.> Actually no one reported that, sir. As always appreciate you checking to see what was what before you tweeted. https://t.co/Q6z64qBIJj> > — Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) May 25, 2020Times reporters Maggie Haberman and Annie Karni did report last week that as Republicans look "at possible contingency plans, including limiting the number of people who descend on Charlotte to only delegates," Trump has "shown a new openness to participating in a scaled-down event" and "has mused aloud to several aides about why the convention can't simply be held in a hotel ballroom in Florida, given all of the health concerns and the fact that Florida is further along in reopening portions of the state."North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D)'s three Memorial Day tweets included two remembering U.S. service members who gave their life for their country and a brief statement responding to Trump.> Statement from Gov. Cooper’s spokesperson on today’s comments about the Republican National Convention: pic.twitter.com/xDuNWstqjQ> > — Governor Roy Cooper (@NC_Governor) May 25, 2020GOP chairwoman Ronna McDaniel and other Republicans involved in planning the convention "have said that they have hired a medical expert and that they are consulting with the governor of North Carolina and the mayor of Charlotte," the Times reported last week. "Local politicians in North Carolina, including Republicans, have expressed skepticism that the convention will be able to go forward as planned."More stories from theweek.com Trump accuses Twitter of 'stifling FREE SPEECH' after company adds fact checks to his tweets America's meat problems are about to get worse Trump shares disturbing meme of Biden's campaign in a coffin
Saudi Arabia will begin easing restrictions on movement and travel this week, more than two months after stringent measures were introduced to help curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. Restrictions will be lifted in three phases, culminating in the curfew completely ending - with the exception of the holy city of Mecca - from June 21, the state news agency reported in a statement early on Tuesday. Free movement between regions and some retail and wholesale activities, including malls, will be allowed to resume.
Brazil daily coronavirus deaths were higher than fatalities in the United States for the first time over the last 24 hours, according to the country's Health Ministry. Brazil registered 807 deaths over the last 24 hours, whereas 620 died in the United States. Brazil has the second worst outbreak in the world, with 374,898 cases, behind the U.S. with 1.637 million cases.
Talina Galloway, 53, of Wagoner, Oklahoma, was last heard from by her boss on March 27, 2020. Her last Facebook post was dated April 7. In the post, the posted stated she believed she had coronavirus but did not want to go to the hospital. Her purse and wallet were left at home. Her car was still in the driveway. She has a distinct tattoo of a sun symbol on her right wrist. The Wagoner County Sheriff’s Office is investigating.
China on Monday threatened counter measures against the United States if it is punished for plans to impose on Hong Kong a sedition law, which the business hub's security chief hailed as a new tool to defeat "terrorism". Beijing plans to pass the new security law for Hong Kong that bans treason, subversion and sedition after months of massive, often-violent pro-democracy protests last year. As police dispersed the crowds with tear gas and water cannon, Washington's national security advisor Robert O'Brien warned the new law could cost the city its preferential US trading status.
The Chinese virology institute at the centre of US allegations it may have been the source of the COVID-19 pandemic has three live strains of bat coronavirus on-site, but none match the new global contagion, its director has said.
Donald Trump’s allies in conservative media have a new villain in the coronavirus fight: contact tracing, the rigorous efforts to track the virus’s spread that public health experts say is essential to safely restarting society. Fox News host Laura Ingraham devoted much of her show Thursday night to raising questions about contact tracing, the process where interviewers try to figure out who has been exposed to the virus by literally figuring out whom the infected had contact with. As a Fox News chyron warned that contact tracing should “concern all Americans,” Ingraham claimed that calls for more contact tracers were just an “excuse” to keep businesses closed, and compared being interviewed by a contact tracer to being groped by a Transportation Security Administration agent.“Instead of rummaging through your luggage, these contact tracers will be prying through the most intimate details of your life,” Ingraham said. A wide range of public health officials and experts have insisted that the country needs to vastly expand contact tracing, with one Johns Hopkins study calling for the hiring of at least 100,000 additional contact tracers. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said earlier this month that coronavirus deaths will “of course” increase without additional tracing and testing. Workplace contact tracing is included in the White House’s own reopening plan. But Ingraham isn’t alone on the right in sowing doubts about contact tracing. Conservative columnists Andy and John Schlafly—best known as the sons of late right-wing activist Phyllis Schlafly—co-authored a column at Townhall.com criticizing Gov. Greg Abbott (R-TX) for budgeting nearly $300 million for contact tracing. The Schlaflys laid out a dystopian vision of contact tracing, comparing it to a “dark episode in the history of the communist Soviet Union” and claiming that contact tracing could be used to separate children from infected parents. They even imagined contact tracing details being used to embarrass Republican candidates. “The real goal of the contact tracing is to use COVID-19 as a pretext to monitor the whereabouts of every American, perhaps through our smartphones, and take away our liberties,” the Schlaflys wrote. “Republican political candidates will be tracked and leaks of their private information to the media would be inevitable under this scheme, while Democrats such as Joe Biden are given a pass on their far greater misconduct.” Instead, the Schlaflys called for Abbott to flood the state with hydroxychloroquine, the anti-malarial drug that’s become a darling of Trump supporters as a potential coronavirus treatment—even as clinical studies suggest it has no effect on the virus and actually increases mortality.“The $295 million that Abbott is spending on contact tracing could have purchased HCQ treatments for half of the entire State of Texas, to reopen the state without the need for oppressive monitoring,” the Schlaflys wrote. Emerald Robinson, the White House correspondent for conservative Newsmax TV, which is run by a close Trump confidant, compared contact tracing to “mandatory vaccination” and 5G towers, which conspiracy theorists have claimed spread coronavirus. Pro-Trump activist Tom Fitton, the head of conservative activist group Judicial Watch, put contact tracing on a list of his coronavirus grievances, declaring: “I’m done with it.”Other concerns on the fringe right about contact tracing have been driven by outright hoaxes about H.R. 6666, legislation from Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL) that would put $100 billion into coronavirus testing and contact tracing. The bill’s number alone puts it perilously close to the supposedly Satanic number “666,” right as conspiracy theorists have become convinced that any coronavirus vaccine would be the “Mark of the Beast.” Prominent conspiracy theory outlet InfoWars declared that the bill was the “Bill of the Beast,” while rumors spread on social media claiming that the bill would authorize contact tracers to abduct children.Privacy watchdogs have raised legitimate concerns about how contact tracing data could be used, especially when the data is collected through apps. On Monday, the ACLU called for additional safeguards to protect contact tracing data. A report on a North Dakota contact tracing app found several privacy flaws. But much of the fearmongering about contact tracing seems to be driven by ignorance of what it actually is. Failed Republican congressional candidate and QAnon conspiracy theorist DeAnna Lorraine Tesoriero, whose call to “FireFauci” Trump retweeted in April, has urged her fans to not get tested for COVID-19. She also appears to misunderstand contact tracing, claiming that contact tracers go through phone “contact” lists, rather than in-person contacts. “I don’t want people to get tested, because I don’t want to be in their phone, in their contact list, and if you guys are all following me on Twitter and following me on YouTube, then I’m probably going to be in your contact list,” Tesoriero told her fans in a video. “So I would prefer not to be there. They specifically said if they find one person, then they’re going to make sure they call all of that person’s contacts, whether they have 5,000 contacts or 5 contacts. And I really don’t feel like being called, I want to get off the grid of this system.”On her Thursday night show, Ingraham positioned herself as perhaps conservative media’s leading contact tracing skeptic. But her guests went even further than her, with Claremont Institute senior fellow John Eastman adopting what was meant to be a German or Russian accent to imitate a contact tracing interviewer. Ingraham guest Wesley J. Smith, a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute's Center on Human Exceptionalism, claimed that contact tracing meant that the “French revolution is attacking the American revolution.” Ingraham agreed, comparing contact tracers to radical French revolutionaries. “The Jacobins, they’re back,” she said.Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.