The Trump administration expanded on Wednesday its list of Cuban entities that Americans are banned from doing business with to include the financial corporation that handles U.S. remittances to the Communist-run country. Military-owned Fincimex is the main Cuban partner of foreign credit card companies and money transfer firm Western Union, which Cubans in the United States have used for two decades to send money back to their loved ones on the Caribbean island. A U.S. State Department spokesman said the move was designed to stop the flow of remittances through military-controlled financial institutions and the flow of hard currency to the government.
Abeer al-Howayan despaired of ever working after spending eight years trying to find a job that would put her chemistry degree to use in the Saudi Arabian town of Al Ula. The 31-year-old learned how to make artisanal soap from French experts flown in by Saudi authorities, and in late December started selling her creations at a booth near the rock-hewn tombs of Madain Saleh, site of an ancient civilisation. Then the coronavirus struck.
Drugmaker Roche has received emergency use authorisation from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for its Elecsys IL-6 test to help identify severe inflammatory response in patients with confirmed COVID-19, it said on Thursday. The test can be used to help identify coronavirus patients who could be at high risk of intubation with mechanical ventilation, helping doctors decide early on if ventilation could be required, Roche said. Roche is testing its arthritis drug Actemra in patients with coronavirus-linked pneumonia, joining other pharmaceutical companies seeking to re-purpose existing medicines to fight the epidemic.
The country's first black president also struck a note of optimism, even as he acknowledged the despair and anger powering the protests since George Floyd, an unarmed black man, died as a white police officer pressed a knee into his neck nine days ago. "In some ways, as tragic as these last few weeks have been, as difficult and scary and uncertain as they've been, they've also been an incredible opportunity for people to be awakened to some of these underlying trends," Obama, a Democrat, said via livestream from his home in Washington, D.C. Obama's speech offered a contrast in tone to the way his successor, Republican President Donald Trump, has responded to the protests, some of which have devolved into violence.
Brazil and Mexico reported record daily coronavirus death tolls as governments in Latin America battled to fortify defenses against the accelerating pandemic with fresh lockdown orders and curfews. European nations are emerging from months of devastation with some borders re-opening, but South and Central America have become the new hotspots in a crisis that has claimed at least 385,000 lives worldwide. Mexico on Wednesday announced more than 1,000 coronavirus deaths in a day for the first time, while Brazil reported a record 1,349 daily deaths.
Taiwan called on China to officially acknowledge the 1989 Tiananmen crackdown on Thursday, as the island marked the anniversary of the day student-led protests were violently crushed by tanks. Hundreds of people were killed during the Communist Party's suppression of demonstrations calling for democratic reforms. Tsai said Beijing needed to confront the legacy of the incident, just as Taiwan had been forced to reckon with its own authoritarian past before its transition to democracy in the 1990s.
The United States said Wednesday it was waiting to build an "empowered" UN mission for Libya, frustrating France and Germany which say the delay in approving an envoy is jeopardizing momentum to end the conflict. The position of UN envoy for Libya has been vacant for three months, even with calls intensifying for a return to negotiations as the UN-recognized government beats back a rebel offensive. Hanna Serwaa Tetteh, Ghana's former foreign minister, was proposed for the role weeks ago by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres but has not been confirmed, with diplomats pointing to US opposition.
As oil and gas companies began shutting offshore production before the first tropical storm of the season in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, experts said restarting wells and refineries will take longer and prove more costly this year because of COVID-19. Well shut-ins typically last a few days or weeks at most, but oil companies have adopted stringent virus precautions for refinery and offshore staff, including frequent health checks, travel restrictions, onsite protective gear, and longer work stints with pre-departure quarantines. More time-consuming evacuations and slower restarts could lengthen post-storm recoveries, and potentially deliver a knockout blow to small offshore facilities, said William Turner, a vice president at research and consultancy Welligence Energy Analytics.
Daniela Chavez, a doctor, took up cycling to work after she felt discriminated against by a taxi driver. Chavez said that as soon as she climbed inside the cab after a hard day in a public hospital, the driver asked if she was a doctor and where she worked. As coronavirus spread in Mexico, health care workers faced physical aggression on top of suspicion by people who viewed them as sources of infection.
Pakistani aviation authorities have told Pakistan International Airlines that the pilot of a passenger plane that crashed into a residential district of Karachi last month had ignored air traffic control's instructions for landing, a PIA spokesman said on Wednesday. Initial reports suggested the plane scraped its engines along the runway on a first attempt to land following what appeared to be an unstable approach, arriving steep and fast. In a letter sent to PIA, the Civil Aviation Authority said an approach controller twice told the pilot to discontinue its approach as he came into land but he did not comply.
Mexico overtook the United States in daily reported deaths from the novel coronavirus for the first time on Wednesday, with the health ministry registering a record 1,092 fatalities it attributed to improved documenting of the pandemic. Brazil, where the virus has hit hardest in the region, also reported a record number of deaths on Wednesday. The Mexican government had previously predicted the pandemic would peak in early May and under U.S. pressure has begun reopening its vast auto industry, which underpins billions of dollars of business through cross-border supply chains.
New York Times staff members criticized the opinion department for running Republican Sen. Tom Cotton's essay calling for military force against protesters.
The sister of North Korea's leader has warned South Korea to stop defectors from sending leaflets into the demilitarized zone separating the countries, saying it may cancel a recent bilateral military agreement if the activity persists. Kim Yo Jong, who serves unofficially as Kim Jong Un's chief of staff, issued the warning in a statement carried by state news agency KCNA on Thursday.
People across almost all the world's leading rich economies have turned more sceptical about their governments' handling of the coronavirus pandemic with confidence slumping the most in Britain, a survey showed on Thursday. Britain's COVID-19 death toll has surpassed 50,000, according to a Reuters tally, making the country one of the worst hit in the world by the pandemic. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has also struggled to contain the fallout from a decision by his top advisor Dominic Cummings to undertake a long road trip to get family help at the height of the coronavirus lockdown when COVID-19 hit his household.
Both were injured near Church and Flatbush avenues in Brooklyn when a suspect walked up to an officer and attacked. The New York Post said the suspect was also shot. A police spokesman told Reuters the officers were taken to Kings County Hospital.
As coronavirus closed businesses around the world and forced billions to stay home, Nigerian director Obi Emelonye came up with an innovative way to keep filming. "I wanted to show young people that despite the countless difficulties of our profession, despite the coronavirus, you can make a film without funding, without even a real camera." Inventiveness has always been a hallmark of Nigeria's Nollywood -- the second most prolific film industry on the planet -- as it has risen from shaky homemade movies to slickly-produced blockbusters.
A man kneels in front of barriers blocking entry to Victoria Park where Hong Kongers gather in large numbers annually on June 4 to mark the anniversary of China's deadly Tiananmen crackdown. This year's vigil is forbidden on public health grounds with restrictions placed on more than eight people gathering in public, to combat the coronavirus.
Swedish police use pepper spray to push back some protesters near the royal palace in central Stockholm after thousands of people attended a Black Lives Matter demonstration in the capital. Demonstrators gathered in the city centre in the early evening, chanting in memory of George Floyd and against racism, with many marching through streets before dispersing on their own.
Days after outbursts of arson and vandalism struck downtown Washington following peaceful protests against police brutality, the largely deserted heart of the U.S. capital resembles a city girding for a hurricane. For block after block, office buildings and windows of upscale restaurants that cater to lobbyists, lawyers and business executives are being sheathed in plywood. Near the White House, a row of scorched umbrellas, their fire-blackened ribs resembling huge fish skeletons, sit outside the shuttered Sofitel hotel, blocks from where thousands of demonstrators gather daily.
After long refusing to explicitly criticize a sitting president, former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis accused President Donald Trump on Wednesday of trying to divide America and roundly denounced a militarization of the U.S. response to civil unrest. The remarks by Mattis, an influential retired Marine general who resigned over policy differences in 2018, are the strongest to date by a former Pentagon leader over Trump's response to the killing of George Floyd, an African-American, while in Minneapolis police custody.
Hong Kong marked China's deadly Tiananmen crackdown on Thursday, with candle-light ceremonies set for the evening across the city after authorities banned a mass vigil at a time of seething anger over a planned new security law. Open discussion of the brutal suppression is forbidden in mainland China, where hundreds -- by some estimates more than a thousand -- died when the Communist Party sent tanks on June 4, 1989 to crush a student-led demonstration in Beijing calling for democratic reforms.
What looks like a corporate video conference is in fact a Turkish television soap opera shot in isolation during the coronavirus pandemic. Turkey is known for its obsession with TV dramas -- also a massive export success -- and not even virus restrictions could stop the cast of "Tutunamayanlar" from keeping the show going. Dogu Demirkol, who plays jobless man Tarik who keeps failing in life, said actors are adapting even though the virus upended how they perform.
Tens of thousands of people in the Philippines may have been killed in the war on drugs since mid-2016, amid "near impunity" for police and incitement to violence by top officials, the United Nations said on Thursday. The drugs crackdown, launched by President Rodrigo Duterte after winning election on a platform of crushing crime, has been marked by police orders and high-level rhetoric that may have been interpreted as "permission to kill," it said. Police, who do not need search or arrest warrants to conduct house raids, systematically force suspects to make self-incriminating statements or risk facing lethal force, the U.N. human rights office said in a report.
Prosecutors on Wednesday leveled new criminal charges against four Minneapolis policemen implicated in the death of a black man pinned by his neck to the street during an arrest that sparked more than a week of nationwide protest and civil strife. The added murder charge filed against one officer already in custody and the arrest of three more accused of playing a role in the killing of George Floyd, 46, came as several nights of escalating unrest gave way to mostly peaceful protests. Thousands of demonstrators massed near the White House lit up their cellphone flashlights and sang along to the 1970s soul tune "Lean on Me," before resuming a chorus of anti-police chants.