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|U.S. Ambassador to Germany Grenell to step down: dpa
U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell is planning to step down in the coming weeks after little more than two years in the job, German news agency dpa reported on Sunday, without saying where it obtained the information. Robin Quinville, deputy chief of mission at the embassy, is expected to replace Grenell on an interim basis, the report said. The news comes only days after the U.S. Senate confirmed Representative John Ratcliffe, like Grenell a staunch political ally of President Donald Trump, as the permanent director of national intelligence (DNI).
POSTED MAY 24, 2020 7:52 AM
|Declining infection rate provides challenge for Oxford coronavirus vaccine
Just days ago, scientists leading the University of Oxford's coronavirus vaccine development expressed optimism about their progress — more than 1,000 people in the United Kingdom have been inoculated already, and 10,000 more will be given the vaccine in May and June. But there's some cause for concern, The Telegraph reports.Professor Adrian Hill, director of the University's Jenner Institute, said what was formerly an 80 percent chance of developing an effective vaccine by September — possibly in time for a potential second wave of infections — has dwindled to 50 percent. That's not because the team no longer believes in its work, which is reportedly still going well. Instead, the U.K.'s infection rate decline may make it tough to gauge the vaccine's efficacy. "It's a race against the virus disappearing, and against time," Hill said.Hill only expects fewer than 50 of the 10,000 trial volunteers to catch the virus, which has faded since the U.K. and other countries implemented strict lockdowns, and if it turns out that fewer than 20 test positive, the study's results may be useless.The vaccine showed promise when it was tested in six rhesus macaque monkeys earlier this year, but it will obviously need to show that it provides the same protection in humans before it can be distributed.More stories from theweek.com How social conservatives traded causes for clichés How pandemics change society Virgin Orbit's inaugural rocket launch fails
POSTED MAY 24, 2020 10:37 AM
|Russian prosecutors seek 18 years for ex-US marine in spy trial
Russian prosecutors on Monday called for a former US marine charged with spying to be sentenced to 18 years in prison, after a closed-door trial denounced by Washington and his family. Paul Whelan, 50, was detained in Moscow in December 2018 for allegedly receiving state secrets, but he insists he was framed when he took a USB drive from an acquaintance thinking it contained holiday photos. Whelan's lawyer told reporters that prosecutors had requested 18 years for his client in a strict-regime penal colony, just short of the maximum 20-year sentence.
POSTED MAY 25, 2020 11:24 AM
|Baby gorilla injured at Seattle Zoo
A baby gorilla was badly injured at a Seattle zoo on Saturday when he was caught in a skirmish between his family group members, zookeepers said.
POSTED MAY 25, 2020 10:28 AM
|Russia records its highest daily death toll from the coronavirus as its number of new cases appears to decline
Russia denies that it has manipulated coronavirus data and maintains that its mortality rate from the virus is among the lowest in the world.
POSTED MAY 24, 2020 10:31 PM
|Charlamagne Tha God Reacts to Joe Biden’s ‘You Ain’t Black’ Apology
MSNBC’s Joy Reid opened her interview with Charlamagne Tha God on Sunday morning by congratulating him on his interview this past week with former Vice President Joe Biden—even if all anyone wants to talk about are the final few seconds. Biden came under swift fire on Friday when he pushed back against the popular radio host’s suggestion that he might still have “questions” for the candidate before the 2020 election. “You’ve got more questions?” Biden asked. “Well, I tell you what, if you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t black.”Shortly after that interview, Biden apologized for his remarks on a conference call with the Black Chamber of Commerce. Reid played Charlamagne a portion of his apology, in which Biden admonished himself for being “so cavalier” and said, “No one should have to vote for any party based on their race or religion or background.”Asked if there’s a “risk” that Biden and the Democratic Party as a whole take the black vote for granted, Charlamagne said, “I know that's the attitude. That's why I don't ever care about the words and the lip service and the apology is cool, but the best apology is actually a black agenda.”“They’ve got to make some real policy commitments to black people,” he continued. “We’ve got to stop acting like the fact that blacks are overrepresented in America when it comes to welfare, poverty, unemployment, homelessness, drug addiction, crime, coronavirus—that’s no accident. The whole function of systemic racism is to marginalize black people.”‘Wise Guy’ Biden Apologizes for ‘You Ain’t Black’ GaffeOn one side, Charlamagne said he sees “whites telling us to stay in our place” and on the other, “black people saying, ‘Oh, stop, now is not the time, you're going to get Trump re-elected.’” He said, “It has to come to the point where we stop putting the burden on black voters and start putting the burden on Democrats to show up for black voters.” Charlamagne made clear both in his interview with Biden and on MSNBC Sunday morning that Biden picking a progressive black female running mate would go a long way towards demonstrating his commitment to that community. So Reid asked him what he will do if Biden picks someone like Amy Klobuchar instead.“On top of possible Russian interference and voter suppression, they have to worry about voter depression,” he replied. “And that’s people staying home on election day because they aren't enthused by the candidate. You can’t act like this is the most important election ever but run a campaign from your basement and not make some real policy commitments to the black community and not listen to some of the demands that the black community are making. I think people are sitting around hoping that Trump loses instead of going out there and actually beating him.” Joe Biden Shows Trump How to Grieve in Emotional ‘Colbert’ InterviewRead 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.
POSTED MAY 24, 2020 12:29 PM
|Italy to recruit army of 60,000 volunteers to enforce social distancing rules
Italy wants to recruit an army of 60,000 volunteers to help enforce social distancing rules, amid fears that a second wave of infections could be looming. The volunteers would not have any policing powers but would patrol piazzas, parks, playgrounds, markets, bar areas and beaches, asking people not to congregate in large groups. They would be drawn from the ranks of the unemployed, those on income support and those who have been furloughed as a result of the economic crisis caused by the pandemic. The “civic assistants”, as they would be known, would monitor gatherings and pass on information to the police and the Civil Protection Agency. They would not be able to force people to disperse. They would work up to three days a week for a maximum of 16 hours. The scheme will be voluntary – they will not be paid but will be able to continue claiming unemployment and other benefits.
POSTED MAY 25, 2020 9:51 AM
|SpaceX and NASA Are Set for a Historic Crewed Launch This Week. Here's How to Watch
It'll be the first launch of American astronauts from American soil in nearly a decade
POSTED MAY 25, 2020 12:46 PM
|Coronavirus outbreak: Caribbean tourism struggles as visitors stay home
Tourism is vital to the Caribbean but visitors are absent amid the coronavirus pandemic.
POSTED MAY 24, 2020 8:11 PM
|China says opposes all U.S. restrictions on Chinese airlines
China said on Monday it opposes all U.S. restrictions imposed against Chinese airlines, responding to a report that the U.S. Transportation Department has demanded Chinese carriers file their schedules and other flight details by May 27. Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said flight restrictions imposed by Beijing treated all airlines equally and were due to efforts to curb COVID-19 related risks. The U.S. government late on Friday accused the Chinese government of making it impossible for U.S. airlines to resume service to China.
POSTED MAY 25, 2020 3:40 AM