Thursday, 30 April 2020

Biden Has Ties to Univ. of Delaware Board Members Keeping His Archive Secret amid Reade Allegations

Biden Has Ties to Univ. of Delaware Board Members Keeping His Archive Secret amid Reade AllegationsSome members of the University of Delaware Board of Trustees, which has sole authority over Joe Biden's Senate archive, have close ties to the former vice president, Fox News reported.Calls to make the archive public have grown over the past week as former Biden staffer Tara Reade's allegations of sexual assault, which Reade says occurred in 1993 when Biden was a senator for Delaware, have garnered increasing media coverage. The Biden campaign has denied the allegations.Biden deposited his Senate archive at the University of Delaware in 2012. Initially, the university promised to open the archive two years after Biden's last day in public office. However, in April 2019 hours before Biden announced his presidential campaign, the university decided to keep the archive closed until December 31, 2019 or until Biden retires from public life.The chairman of the university's Board of Trustees is longtime Biden donor John Cochran. In 1996, Cochran bought Biden's home for $1.2 million, shortly after which Biden's son Hunter was hired by MBNA, where Cochran was vice chairman at the time.Board member Terri Kelly, former CEO of W.L. Gore & Associates, donated the maximum legal amount to the Biden presidential campaign in 2019. Carol Ammon, another board member, has given $10,000 to the campaign and related PAC's. Five additional board members have donated upwards of $1,000 to Biden and affiliated PAC's.While the Biden campaign has denied the allegations from Reade, Biden himself has not directly addressed the allegations, including at a virtual town hall on Tuesday on women's issues during which he received the endorsement of Hillary Clinton. Democratic politicians including Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams have up to now backed Biden."I think the [Democratic National Committee] is a sham and their silence around what happened to me as a Democratic staffer is unconscionable," Reade told National Review on Wednesday.




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Most of U.S. House urges more diplomacy at U.N. to renew Iran arms embargo: sources

Most of U.S. House urges more diplomacy at U.N. to renew Iran arms embargo: sourcesNearly 90% of U.S. House of Representatives members have signed a letter urging the Trump administration to increase its diplomatic action at the United Nations to renew an arms embargo on Iran, congressional sources said on Thursday. In a rare show of bipartisanship, at least 382 of the 429 members of the Democratic-controlled House - Democrats and Republicans - have signed the letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urging him to work with U.S. allies and partners to extend the embargo, as well as U.N. travel restrictions on Iranians involved with arms proliferation. "The U.N. arms embargo is set to expire in October, and we are concerned that the ban's expiration will lead to more states buying and selling weapons to and from Iran," said the letter, seen by Reuters and led by Representatives Eliot Engel, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Mike McCaul, the committee's top Republican.




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Top European Union diplomat denies bowing to China pressure

Top European Union diplomat denies bowing to China pressureThe European Union’s top diplomat denied Thursday that his agency bowed to pressure from China and watered down a report that criticized the country's role in promoting disinformation about the coronavirus. In an April 24 article, the New York Times said EU officials had “softened their criticism of China” in a report on the way governments push disinformation during the pandemic because the officials were “worried about the repercussions” of angering one of the bloc’s biggest trading partners. The article, backed by internal email correspondence, caused an uproar at the European Parliament, with EU lawmakers angry that the 27-nation bloc’s reputation was at stake.




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Citing no evidence, Trump says he’s seen information that coronavirus originated in a Wuhan lab

Citing no evidence, Trump says he’s seen information that coronavirus originated in a Wuhan labWithout citing any evidence, President Trump said he’s seen information that the coronavirus originated in a lab in Wuhan, China. When pressed by a reporter to back up his claim, Trump said he wasn’t at liberty to do so.




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Assault allegation puts Joe Biden — and the Democratic Party — in a bind

Assault allegation puts Joe Biden — and the Democratic Party — in a bindJoe Biden has tried to move past an allegation that he assaulted a female staffer decades ago by not talking about it. It isn't working. Some Democrats worry the story line will fester into a much bigger problem for him and the party if he keeps ignoring it.




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Last Israeli farmers leave enclave after Jordan deal ends

Last Israeli farmers leave enclave after Jordan deal endsIsraeli farmers left an agricultural enclave in neighbouring Jordan possibly for the last time Thursday, as the extension of a lease enabling their use of the border land expired. Ghumar, known as Tsofar in Hebrew, is a Jordanian territory south of the Dead Sea that was occupied by Israel during the Six Day War of 1967. Under the 1994 peace deal, Jordan retained sovereignty over the area, along with another territory called Baqura, seized when Israeli forces infiltrated Jordan in 1950.




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Trump backtracks after saying U.S. would "very soon" hit 5 million tests a day

Trump backtracks after saying U.S. would "very soon" hit 5 million tests a dayOn Tuesday, the president, asked whether he was confident the U.S. could reach 5 million COVID-19 tests a day, said the U.S. would be there "very soon."




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The New York Times clarifies it didn't clear Biden of sexual assault allegation despite what campaign suggests

The New York Times clarifies it didn't clear Biden of sexual assault allegation despite what campaign suggestsTalking points from former Vice President Joe Biden's campaign suggest The New York Times found that Tara Reade's sexual assault allegation against him is false, but the Times would like to clarify it did not reach this conclusion.BuzzFeed News on Tuesday reported that Biden's campaign had sent out talking points regarding Reade's allegation that Biden assaulted her in 1993 when she worked for him as an aide. The talking points assert "a thorough review by the New York Times has led to the truth: this incident did not happen."Asked about the allegation against Biden on Tuesday, former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams echoed these talking points, telling CNN, "The New York Times did a deep investigation, and they found that the accusation was not credible."But a spokesperson for the Times on Wednesday said this characterization of their reporting is not accurate."BuzzFeed reported on the existence of talking points being circulated by the Biden campaign that inaccurately suggest a New York Times investigation found that Tara Reade's allegation 'did not happen,'" the Times spokesperson said. "Our investigation made no conclusion either way."Rather, the Times said no former staff members of Biden's corroborated Reade's allegation during their reporting and that "the Times found no pattern of sexual misconduct by Mr. Biden," but it did not determine Reade's allegation didn't happen. The Times spokesperson noted Wednesday that it "spoke to a friend who said Reade told her the details of the allegation at the time" and "another friend and Reade's brother say she told them of a traumatic sexual incident involving Biden."Earlier this week, a former neighbor of Reade's told Insider she told her about the alleged assault in the 1990s. The Biden campaign has denied the allegation, but Biden hasn't commented on it personally.More stories from theweek.com Trump's 'mission accomplished' moment Gun-toting protesters' dramatic stand inside Michigan's statehouse, in 5 photos and videos The Justice Department is apparently working with conservative Christian groups to fight COVID-19 policies




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US intelligence community says it concurs with the 'wide scientific consensus' that the coronavirus was not 'man-made or genetically modified'

US intelligence community says it concurs with the 'wide scientific consensus' that the coronavirus was not 'man-made or genetically modified'The announcement comes after weeks of speculation in the right-wing and far-right media that the coronavirus was created in a Wuhan lab.




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Obama and Holder talk race, challenges for young men of color during pandemic

Obama and Holder talk race, challenges for young men of color during pandemic“Too many of our young men have been historically left behind,” the former president said on a recent conference call hosted by My Brother's Keeper.




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One dead, five missing after Canadian helicopter goes missing during NATO exercise

One dead, five missing after Canadian helicopter goes missing during NATO exerciseCanadian prime Minister Jusin Trudeau has confirmed that one man has died and five others are missing after a Canadian military helicopter went missing during a NATO operation. Debris and the aircraft's black box have been found in the sea between Greece and Italy, a Greek military officer and public television said Thursday. Canada's armed forces said the helicopter had been involved in an accident after taking off from the Canadian frigate Fredericton on Wednesday. "Debris has been found in Italy's zone of control and intervention" in the Ionian Sea, the Greek military officer told AFP, specifying the wreckage belonged to the Canadian helicopter. Six crew were aboard the helicopter when it disappeared, the officer said on condition of anonymity. Greek public television reported that a body had been found amid the wreckage in international waters off the Greek island of Kefalonia. Greek public television ERT said Italian and NATO vessels were also taking part in the search while Turkey said one of its frigates was also involved. Canada said on Twitter that it contacted the family members of those who were on board the missing CH-148 Cyclone helicopter.




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The Next-Gen Air Force One Is Already Over Budget

The Next-Gen Air Force One Is Already Over BudgetThe converted Boeing 747s, designed to carry the POTUS, will fly in 2024.




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Pelosi Suggests Biden Does Not Need to ‘Directly’ Address Reade Allegation: ‘I’m Satisfied with How He Has Responded’

Pelosi Suggests Biden Does Not Need to ‘Directly’ Address Reade Allegation: ‘I’m Satisfied with How He Has Responded’House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) on Thursday dismissed the notion that vice president Joe Biden should “directly, publicly” respond to sexual-assault allegations made by his former Senate staffer, saying in an interview that she was "satisfied with how he has responded."Speaking to CNN, Pelosi defended Biden after she was asked if Biden should answer the allegation “head-on” and by “himself.”“I’m satisfied with how he has responded,” Pelosi said, adding she was “very proud to endorse him.”“It’s a matter that he has to deal with, but I am impressed with the people who worked for him at the time saying that they absolutely never heard one iota of information about this, nobody ever brought forth a claim or had anybody else tell them about such a claim,” she stated.> Nancy Pelosi was asked on @CNN about the Biden sexual assault allegation and she defended him.> > "He’s a person of great values, integrity, authenticity, imagination, and connection to the American people," Pelosi said, adding that she's "satisfied with how he has responded." pic.twitter.com/gaDt8Ki7oR> > -- Mike Brest (@MikeBrestDC) April 30, 2020While Biden’s campaign has strongly denied the allegations of Biden’s accuser, Tara Reade, the former vice president has not said anything publicly about the situation. The New York Times said Wednesday that talking points about the allegation that had been circulated by the campaign "inaccurately suggest" the paper concluded that Reade’s claims were false.Reade has said that she complained about the incident to Biden staffers at the time, who have denied that she ever approached them. But last week, a 1993 clip from CNN’s Larry King Live showed a woman calling in about “problems” her daughter had had with a U.S. senator. Reade, who had previously told The Intercept that such a tape existed, identified the woman as her mother. Earlier this week, one of Reade’s former neighbors came forward and said Reade told her about details of the allegation in the mid-1990s.Biden’s top female surrogates and prospective vice presidential candidates have also defended the former vice president. “I believe women deserve to be heard, and I believe that has happened here,” former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams said on Tuesday, apparently referencing the campaign’s talking points about the Times article.Reade has said that she has been surprised by the dismissals of her claims in the “MeToo” era. News surfaced Wednesday that a letter asking Biden to address Reade's claims was drafted by national women’s advocacy groups, only for the letter to not be publicly released after the Biden campaign learned of it.“I was just hoping to get a fair and equal treatment,” Reade told National Review. “But because it’s Joe Biden I’ve been silenced or smeared.”




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California closes Orange County beaches where crowds defied coronavirus guidelines

California closes Orange County beaches where crowds defied coronavirus guidelinesCalifornia Governor Gavin Newsom on Thursday ordered beaches in Orange County in the southern part of the state to close, after crowds defied public health guidelines to throng the popular shoreline last weekend. The move came after Newsom complained that beachgoers could hasten the spread of the coronavirus in California, delaying the state's ability to ease public health restrictions even as millions of people in the most-populous U.S. state obey the stay-at-home rules imposed in March. Newsom's decision to close the Orange County beaches, announced at his daily coronavirus briefing, stood in contrast to media reports, including by Reuters, that the Democratic governor planned to close all parks and beaches in the state.




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Roger Stone bought more than 200 fake Facebook accounts, which he used to run ads defending Roger Stone

Roger Stone bought more than 200 fake Facebook accounts, which he used to run ads defending Roger StoneStone, a longtime friend to Donald Trump, ran a sprawling network of fake Facebook accounts starting in 2016, according to newly unsealed FBI records.




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Philippines rejects China's territorial label on island

Philippines rejects China's territorial label on islandThe Philippines protested on Thursday China’s designation of a disputed South China Sea reef, which it has turned into a heavily fortified island base, as a Chinese “administrative center.” The Department of Foreign Affairs issued a statement objecting to what it called China’s “illegal designation” of Fiery Cross Reef as a regional administrative center in the hotly contested Spratly archipelago. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accused China last week of taking advantage of widespread distraction over the pandemic to advance its territorial claims.




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Class action suit aims to free all transgender ICE detainees

Class action suit aims to free all transgender ICE detaineesAs hundreds of coronavirus cases are reported at U.S. immigration facilities, the suit calls for the release of dozens of trans migrants from what it calls ICE “death traps.”




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California governor closes Orange County beaches

California governor closes Orange County beachesGovernor Gavin Newsom said the state is issuing a "hard close" of beaches in Orange County during the coronavirus pandemic.




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Everyone has to accept that Tesla is worth $150 billion precisely because Elon Musk doesn't behave like any other CEO in the business

Everyone has to accept that Tesla is worth $150 billion precisely because Elon Musk doesn't behave like any other CEO in the businessTesla CEO Elon Musk attacked coronavirus-pandemic shelter-in-place orders, demanding a restoration of "freedom."




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US Navy ship sails through Chinese-claimed waters in South China Sea

US Navy ship sails through Chinese-claimed waters in South China SeaA US Navy guided-missile destroyer sailed through waters near the Paracel islands in the South China Sea challenging China's claim to the area, the Navy said Wednesday. The USS Barry undertook the so-called "freedom of navigation operation" on Tuesday, a week after Beijing upped its claims to the region by designating an official administrative district for the islands. "Unlawful and sweeping maritime claims in the South China Sea pose an unprecedented threat to the freedom of the seas, including the freedoms of navigation and overflight and the right of innocent passage of all ships," it said.




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30 Easy Side Dishes For Lasagna



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Trump praise of 'tormented' Flynn raises pardon speculation

Trump praise of 'tormented' Flynn raises pardon speculationPresident Donald Trump voiced strong support Thursday for his former national security adviser Michael Flynn, raising speculation that a pardon may be coming after Flynn's lawyers disclosed internal FBI documents they claim show the FBI tried to “intentionally frame" him. “It looks to me like Michael Flynn would be exonerated based on everything I see,” Trump told reporters Thursday. Trump has long said he is considering pardoning Flynn, who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his conversations with the Russian ambassador to the United States.




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Gov. Andrew Cuomo showed a mural of donated masks to New York. Then social media weighed in

Gov. Andrew Cuomo showed a mural of donated masks to New York. Then social media weighed inNew York Cov. Andrew Cuomo displayed hundreds of donated masks sent to his office from across the country. It drew mixed reviews.




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Wednesday, 29 April 2020

Footage shows Chicago police shooting unarmed man twice on subway escalator

Footage shows Chicago police shooting unarmed man twice on subway escalatorVideo released by the Civilian Office of Police Accountability have shown the moment Chicago police shot an unarmed man twice at a subway station.The footage from the Chicago Transit Authority and police body-cams demonstrate in detail how the shooting of Ariel Roman took place on 28 February after he was pulled up for violating a city ordinance.




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Miss the Blue Angels and Thunderbirds flyby? Check out the footage people captured of the jets roaring over New York City to honor essential workers.

Miss the Blue Angels and Thunderbirds flyby? Check out the footage people captured of the jets roaring over New York City to honor essential workers.The jets flew a 35-minute path across the Northeastern states as a part of "Operation America Strong" to honor essential workers.




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Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo amends face mask order to match Texas Gov. Abbott's words

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo amends face mask order to match Texas Gov. Abbott's words With the state reopening several businesses on Friday, Judge Lina Hidalgo is set to talk about the area's response to the pandemic.




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New York's Cuomo calls politics 'hammer into the middle' of U.S. during pandemic

New York's Cuomo calls politics 'hammer into the middle' of U.S. during pandemicCuomo's wide-ranging remarks also criticized what he called the "extraordinarily dangerous" politicization of the response to a pandemic that has killed more than 58,000 Americans and left millions jobless. The Democratic governor, who has intermittently traded barbs with U.S. President Donald Trump and other Republican politicians during the crisis, made a thinly veiled reference to the upcoming national election in November. Cuomo, who previously blasted Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's suggestion that states like New York should be able to declare bankruptcy if financially crippled by the crisis, took fresh aim at Florida Senator Rick Scott.




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European doctors warn rare kids' syndrome may have virus tie

European doctors warn rare kids' syndrome may have virus tieDoctors in Britain, Italy, and Spain have been warned to look out for a rare inflammatory condition in children that is possibly linked to the new coronavirus. Earlier this week, Britain’s Paediatric Intensive Care Society issued an alert to doctors noting that, in the past three weeks, there has been an increase in the number of children with “a multi-system inflammatory state requiring intensive care” across the country. The group said there was “growing concern” that either a COVID-19 related syndrome was emerging in children or that a different, unidentified disease might be responsible.




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US panel wants India on religious freedom blacklist

US panel wants India on religious freedom blacklistA US government panel on Tuesday called for India to be put on a religious freedom blacklist over a "drastic" downturn under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, triggering a sharp rebuttal from New Delhi. The US Commission on International Religious Freedom recommends but does not set policy, and there is virtually no chance the State Department will follow its lead on India, an increasingly close US ally. In an annual report, the bipartisan panel narrowly agreed that India should join the ranks of "countries of particular concern" that would be subject to sanctions if they do not improve their records.




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Singapore Was a Coronavirus Success Story—Until an Outbreak Showed How Vulnerable Workers Can Fall Through the Cracks

Singapore Was a Coronavirus Success Story—Until an Outbreak Showed How Vulnerable Workers Can Fall Through the Cracks"This will continue to fuel our epidemic."




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Satellite images reveal Kim Jong-un may be at luxury family villa

Satellite images reveal Kim Jong-un may be at luxury family villaNew satellite images showing the recent movements of luxury boats by Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader, have provided further indications that he may be ensconced in his seaside villa in Wonsan, on the country’s east coast. The location of the reclusive leader has been a mystery since his unprecedented no-show at April 15 events to mark the birthday of his late grandfather and North Korea’s founder, Kim Il Sung. His absence, for the first time since he took power in 2011, unleashed a torrent of speculation about his health conditions, with unverified and conflicting reports claiming he was both recuperating from cardiovascular surgery and in “grave danger.” On Tuesday, commercial satellite imagery obtained by North Korea-monitoring website NK PRO showed boats often used by Kim had made movements in patterns that suggested he or his entourage may be in the Wonsan area. “Extensive analysis shows that similar leisure boat movements at an exclusive villa in Wonsan and a nearby island near the Kalma peninsula have aligned with Kim’s public appearances in the area in every one of a half-dozen instances since last summer, and many more dating back to 2013,” it said. The imagery adds to earlier satellite pictures studied by the Washington-based North Korea monitoring project 38 North, which appeared to show that a train similar to Kim’s was parked in the resort’s so-called “leadership station” reserved for the use of the Kim family a week ago.




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In a Philippine lockdown, priests bring church to the community

In a Philippine lockdown, priests bring church to the communityCatholic priest Eduardo "Ponpon" Vasquez has worn a hazmat suit more than a vestment this past month. The Philippines has recorded over 8,200 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, of which more than 550 have died.




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Kentucky's governor apologized to a man named Tupac Shakur after he accused him of using a fake name to file for unemployment

Kentucky's governor apologized to a man named Tupac Shakur after he accused him of using a fake name to file for unemploymentGov. Andy Beshear called out a man named Tupac Shakur as using a fake name to reap state benefits, but Shakur is a real person living in Kentucky.




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Navy Orders Deeper Investigation into Crozier Firing Over 'Unanswered Questions'

Navy Orders Deeper Investigation into Crozier Firing Over 'Unanswered Questions'Gilday last week recommended that Crozier be reinstated as commanding officer of the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt.




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'Crazy beast' lived among last of dinosaurs

'Crazy beast' lived among last of dinosaursThe discovery that the badger-like animal lived alongside dinosaurs challenges ideas about mammals.




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Satellite images of luxury boats further suggest North Korea's Kim at favoured villa: experts

Satellite images of luxury boats further suggest North Korea's Kim at favoured villa: expertsSatellite imagery showing recent movements of luxury boats often used by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and his entourage near Wonsan provide further indications he has been at the coastal resort, according to experts who monitor the reclusive regime. Speculation about Kim's health and location erupted after his unprecedented absence from April 15 celebrations to mark the birthday of his late grandfather and North Korea's founder, Kim Il Sung. On Tuesday, North Korea-monitoring website NK PRO reported commercial satellite imagery showed boats often used by Kim had made movements in patterns that suggested he or his entourage may be in the Wonsan area.




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Trump orders meat processing plants to remain open

Trump orders meat processing plants to remain openPresident Donald Trump took executive action Tuesday to order meat processing plants to stay open amid concerns over growing coronavirus cases and the impact on the nation's food supply. The order uses the Defense Production Act to classify meat processing as critical infrastructure to try to prevent a shortage of chicken, pork and other meat on supermarket shelves. Unions fired back, saying the White House was jeopardizing lives and prioritizing cold cuts over workers' health.




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FDA reportedly plans to authorize emergency use of largely untested drug to treat coronavirus

FDA reportedly plans to authorize emergency use of largely untested drug to treat coronavirusThe Food and Drug Administration will authorize the emergency use of the antiviral remdesivir on COVID-19 patients as soon as Wednesday, a senior administration official told The New York Times. Pharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences revealed promising study results involving remdesivir on Wednesday, but the FDA's reported move would still sidestep the usual testing required to authorize a drug's usage.Gilead said Wednesday that its own trial, as well one overseen by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, met its goals. Of the study's 397 severe COVID-19 patients, at least 50 percent of patients treated with a 5-day dosage of remdesivir improved and more than half were discharged from the hospital within two weeks. The overall mortality rate of the study was 7 percent, and relatively few patients developed bad side effects. But the study wasn't evaluated against a control group, and it's unclear if those recoveries were natural or if remdesivir actually had something to do with them. Hard data from the study also hasn't been released yet.Anecdotal reports, including two published in The New England Journal of Medicine, provided more credibility for remdesivir in the coronavirus fight. But they also didn't compared the drug against a placebo. A study published in The Lancet concluded remdesivir was "safe and adequately tolerated" but "did not provide significant benefits over placebo."More stories from theweek.com How Tara Reade's allegations could bring down Joe Biden The perils of Hooverism Florida's health department reportedly told medical examiners to remove causes of death from mortality data




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New York City Mayor de Blasio singles out the city's Jewish community for flouting coronavirus rules and said cops will start arresting people gathered in large groups

New York City Mayor de Blasio singles out the city's Jewish community for flouting coronavirus rules and said cops will start arresting people gathered in large groupsThough some members of the Hasidic community have disregarded lockdown rules, New York's large Jewish population has followed coronavirus measures.




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Pelosi says "guaranteed income" is worth considering

Pelosi says "guaranteed income" is worth consideringThe House speaker said Congress might have think of "different ways to put money in people's pockets"




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New Zealand health official claims 'elimination' of coronavirus as new cases hit single digits

New Zealand health official claims 'elimination' of coronavirus as new cases hit single digitsNew Zealand's top health official said that the country has "achieved our goal of elimination" of coronavirus as the country eased its lockdown.




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Inmate who gave birth on ventilator dies of Covid-19

Inmate who gave birth on ventilator dies of Covid-19The 30-year-old appears to be the the first US federal female prisoner to die from coronavirus.




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Company says drug was effective against COVID-19 in U.S. study

Company says drug was effective against COVID-19 in U.S. studyA biotech company says its experimental drug has proven effective against the new coronavirus in a major U.S. government study that put it to a strict test.




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Ignorance, fear, whispers: North Korean defectors say contacts in the dark about Kim

Ignorance, fear, whispers: North Korean defectors say contacts in the dark about KimDefectors from North Korea say many of their relatives and contacts were unaware of the international speculation over leader Kim Jong Un's health or were unwilling to discuss the issue in clandestine calls made from the South. Two defectors told Reuters their relatives in North Korea did not know that Kim has been missing from public view for almost two weeks, said they didn't want to discuss the issue, or abruptly hung up when the supreme leader was mentioned. Kim's health is a state secret in insular North Korea and speculation about him or his family can invite swift retribution.




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Shipping tycoon defends Venezuela gas delivery amid shortage

Shipping tycoon defends Venezuela gas delivery amid shortageA controversial shipping magnate supplying gasoline to his native Venezuela said he will do whatever it takes to prevent worsening fuel shortages from igniting a social explosion that he warns could be worse than anything caused by the coronavirus pandemic in the South American country. Wilmer Ruperti gave his first interview in years after The Associated Press reported earlier this month that his company, Maroil Trading Inc., was buying gasoline that most companies are refusing to sell to the bankrupt, heavily sanctioned socialist country. “This isn't about my business,” Ruperti told AP at his modernist hilltop mansion overlooking Caracas.




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How Tara Reade's allegations could bring down Joe Biden

How Tara Reade's allegations could bring down Joe BidenEarlier this month, I wrote a column asking what Democrats should do about sexual assault allegations against Joe Biden, the party's presumptive nominee for president. My answer? Not much. The accusation made by Tara Reade, a former Biden staffer from his days in the Senate during the early 1990s, didn't strike me as especially convincing, so Democrats, I suggested, could move forward without much concern. Though toward the end of the column I included two caveats: If Reade offered further corroboration of her claims or if evidence emerged of a larger pattern of abusive actions toward women on Biden's part, that could well change my views of the matter.Just two weeks later, both of my conditions have been met.Last week we learned that Reade's mother called into the Larry King Show in 1993 to talk about how her daughter had quit working for a "prominent senator" after unspecified "problems" as a staffer. Then earlier this week Business Insider reported that a former neighbor of Reade's (a self-described "strong Democrat") recalls a conversation with her in 1995 or 1996 in which Reade tearfully described being sexually assaulted by Biden. Together, those two stories help to corroborate Reade's specific claim about herself.Finally, on Tuesday, a 2008 essay by the late Alexander Cockburn surfaced in which the journalist reported that Biden had made "unwelcome and unwanted" sexual advances against a woman in 1972 or 1973. That establishes a possible longstanding pattern of Biden's behavior that further validates Reade's accusation (and potentially opens the door to others).In light of these revelations, the time has come for a two new questions: Can Biden survive the gathering storm around Tara Reade's allegations? And if so, will that fact be good or bad for the Democratic Party in November?The first question is the easier one to answer: Biden's presumptive nomination is quite likely to survive the corroboration of Reade's claims. That's because members of Biden's electoral base in the Democratic Party — older, culturally moderate white working-class voters in the Midwest and older, culturally moderate African Americans — are unlikely to be turned against him by one corroborated allegation of sexual assault from nearly three decades in the past. If anything, rank-and-file Democrats have expressed regret that some MeToo allegations have taken down popular members of the party (former Minnesota Sen. Al Franken is the example cited most frequently) — and they're also irritated that Democrats are expected to adhere to standards their opponents openly flout.The factions of the party most likely to turn on Biden because of a sexual-assault scandal are those who've been least wedded to his candidacy from the start — those firmly on the left, who supported Sen. Bernie Sanders; and white urban progressives, who tended to favor Sen. Elizabeth Warren's candidacy. Neither group possesses the numbers or influence in the party to get it to overrule the preferences of the other two electorally crucial factions — and obviously their opinions will also carry little weight with the candidate himself. This means that, so long as no additional corroborated accusations materialize, Biden will most likely get to hold onto the nomination if he wants to.That might turn out to be a very bad thing for the party come November.But how could this be? How could a sexual assault allegation place Biden at a disadvantage in the general election against President Trump, a man who has openly bragged on tape of sexual assault and has himself been accused of rape on multiple occasions?On substance, Trump will have zero moral ground to stand on. But he won't be taking a stand in the name of treating women with respect. Neither will he be accusing Biden of being a sexual predator. Instead, he and the entire Republican noise machine will constantly, relentlessly hammer Biden, leading Democrats, and the media for flagrant hypocrisy and double standards. The moral content of the issue won't matter one bit. What will matter is that Biden has set himself up as a moral arbiter on issues of sexual harassment and violence, insisting we must "believe all women," and that in the fall of 2018 he and many other members of his party sought to destroy the reputation of Trump's Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh for allegations of sexual assault that were less convincingly corroborated than those Reade has lodged against Biden.The Democratic nominee for president and his party are ruthless political operators who seek above all else to destroy their enemies and help themselves, all the while setting themselves up as impartial moral authorities. This will be the message, driven home over and over again: that claims of purity and impartiality are pretense, transparent fakes. Democrats might posture like they're better than Republicans, including the president, but they aren't. They're every bit as bad. They're just more dishonest about it.The Biden campaign's effort to portray itself as a moral reset from the debasement of the Trump years will run into this counter-message like a power sander. The Trump campaign will strip it away with a barrage of paid ads, prime-time cable news diatribes, and a hailstorm of tweets — all of it repeating the message (illustrated with clips from and about the Kavanaugh hearings) that Biden and his fellow Democrats are every bit the BS artists that Trump is, only they won't admit it. They'll lie about it, right to your face.To Democrats this prediction may sound implausible. There's no way that Trump, a man whose mendaciousness is well established and total, can possibly succeed in portraying Biden as more dishonest than he is. But he won't have to show that Biden is worse, just that he's no better.That's Trump's (perhaps only) winning move — to bring the playing field down to his level, to lower Biden's favorability rating, to make him seem less admirable, less likable, less morally upstanding, less … superior than Trump. He did the same thing against Hillary Clinton in 2016, using the FBI investigation of her email practices while secretary of state as a cudgel. Last summer, the strategy was to impugn Biden's son, making them both look like corrupt wheeler dealers in Ukraine. That didn't work out, but now Reade's allegations have made it possible for Trump and his party to do what they love most of all, which is to accuse Democrats and the media of smarmy double standards instead.Of course this won't work with most Democratic voters, but that won't be its aim. The aim will be to ensure maximal turnout and Trump loyalty among Republicans — and the destruction of Biden's reputation among independents in crucial swing states.Will it succeed? Trump will be facing re-election while presiding over a deadly pandemic and the early stages of an economic depression, so who knows. What I do know is that the behavior Tara Reade has plausibly alleged about the presumptive Democratic nominee is going to be a major liability for him as we head toward Election Day.Editor's note: A previous version of this article mischaracterized a quote by Alexander Cockburn. It has been corrected. We regret the error.Want more essential commentary and analysis like this delivered straight to your inbox? Sign up for The Week's "Today's best articles" newsletter here.More stories from theweek.com The perils of Hooverism Florida's health department reportedly told medical examiners to remove causes of death from mortality data Elon Musk, who predicted 'close to zero' new coronavirus cases by the end of April, demands we 'free America'




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Tuesday, 28 April 2020

Tara Reade: What are the sex attack allegations against Joe Biden?

Tara Reade: What are the sex attack allegations against Joe Biden?A former aide to the presidential candidate finds support for her sexual assault claim against him.




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Officials: 9 inmates dead in Peru coronavirus prison riot

Officials: 9 inmates dead in Peru coronavirus prison riotPrisoners in Peru staged a riot to protest their precarious living conditions following the deaths of several fellow inmates from the new coronavirus, but the revolt in itself proved fatal, with nine prisoners winding up dead, authorities said. Authorities said Tuesday the inmates were shot to death during a clash with authorities at the Miguel Castro Castro prison in Lima a day earlier. Images taken by The Associated Press show one of the deceased prisoners was surrounded by candles and placed next to a cross and an illustration of Jesus Christ that is venerated in Peru.




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Here's how to apply to be a contact tracer in New York City and make $57,000 with benefits

Here's how to apply to be a contact tracer in New York City and make $57,000 with benefitsThe CDC describes contact tracing, which tracks who infected people have had contact with, "part of a multipronged approach" to tackle COVID-19.




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Asia virus latest: Olympics face pandemic threat; China decries 'lies'

Asia virus latest: Olympics face pandemic threat; China decries 'lies'The postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympics will be cancelled if the coronavirus pandemic isn't brought under control by next year, the organising committee's president said. The pandemic has already forced a year-long delay of the Games -- which are now scheduled to open on July 23, 2021 -- but Tokyo 2020 president Yoshiro Mori said no further postponement was possible. In an interview with Japan's Nikkan Sports daily, Mori was categorical when asked if the Olympics could be delayed until 2022 if the pandemic remains a threat next year, replying: "No."




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Mitch McConnell's state bankruptcy idea may be 'dumb' but it isn't stupid

Mitch McConnell's state bankruptcy idea may be 'dumb' but it isn't stupidIf Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) manages to block aid to state and local governments in the next coronavirus relief bill, one result would be longer and deeper financial pain for the U.S., The Washington Post reports. And McConnell's idea that states should be allowed to declare bankruptcy makes no sense and would hurt everyone, Josh Barro explains at New York. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) described McConnell's bankruptcy idea as "one of the really dumb ideas of all time."State and local governments employ 13 percent of the U.S. workforce. "Without emergency relief as their revenues crater, state and local governments will not be able to run key programs like unemployment insurance, social services, housing assistance, and small business outreach needed to protect people and businesses in this crisis," tweeted Amy Liu, director of the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program. An unidentified local government budget expert told the Post: "If you want to send the country into an extended depression, sending state and local governments into bankruptcy is a great way to do it."But "state bankruptcy is not some passing fancy," writes David Frum at The Atlantic. "Republicans have been advancing the idea for more than a decade." And McConnell is trying to use this fiscal crisis — states are projected to lose at least 25 percent of their revenue even as health care, welfare, and unemployment costs shoot up — to make it a reality while he still can.McConnell doesn't represent Kentucky so much as "the richest people in bigger, richer blue states who find it more economical to invest in less expensive small-state races," Frum writes. These wealthy donors want to gut pension funds and enact other fiscal policies anathema to voters in their states. "A federal bankruptcy process for state finances could thus enable wealthy individuals and interest groups in rich states to leverage their clout in the anti-majoritarian federal system to reverse political defeats in the more majoritarian political systems of big, rich states like California, New York, and Illinois," Frum explains. "McConnell gets it. Now you do, too." If not, read more at The Atlantic.More stories from theweek.com Scientists are perplexed by the low rate of coronavirus hospitalizations among smokers. Nicotine may hold the answer. Elizabeth Warren and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez partner to block major mergers during coronavirus pandemic The House of Representatives' plan to return on May 4 has been scrapped




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