South China Morning Post USA

Coronavirus: WHO gives emergency approval to China’s Sinopharm vaccine

The World Health Organization (WHO) has approved the first Chinese-made Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use worldwide, as many countries struggle for access in the face of export curbs and production shortfalls.The WHO on Friday said a Covid-19 vaccine by state-owned Sinopharm met the criteria for emergency use, giving it a globally recognised stamp of approval that will enable it be included in the UN body’s global vaccine distribution programme.“The addition of this vaccine has the potential…

‘We’re not bringing you the virus’: Asian-American medical workers’ battle with Covid-19 and racism

Medical student Natty Jumreornvong has a vaccine and protective gear to shield her from the coronavirus. But she couldn’t avoid exposure to the anti-Asian bigotry that pulsed to the surface after the pathogen was first identified in China.Psychiatry patients have called her by a racist slur for the disease, she said. A bystander spat at the Thai-born student to “go back to China” as she left a New York City hospital where she’s training.And as she walked there in scrubs on February 15, a man…

American man in Thailand charged with murdering pregnant wife

Police in Thailand said on Friday they have charged a US citizen from the state of Colorado with murdering his pregnant Thai wife.Jason Matthew Balzer, 32, was interrogated on Friday in the northern city of Nan where he had lived with Pitchaporn Kidchob, said police Lieutenant Colonel Somkiat Ruam-ngern. The murder charge carries a maximum penalty of death.Balzer was arrested on Thursday in the northern city of Chiang Mai and confessed to killing his 32-year-old wife, said Major General…

Could US-Germany rift derail coronavirus vaccine patent waiver?

A bold US bid to waive patents on much-needed coronavirus vaccines was strongly opposed by Germany, threatening to derail the proposal that requires the consensus of World Trade Organization members to pass.Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla meanwhile said his company was “not at all” in favour of the measure, insisting intellectual property was not the main roadblock to more production and that building new plants would be counterproductive.Rich nations have faced accusations of hoarding shots while…

Patrick Thompson charged with attempted murder after knife attack on two elderly Asian women at San Francisco bus stop

A man who allegedly stabbed two elderly women without warning at a San Francisco bus stop was charged with attempted murder in an attack that follows a number of others against Asian-Americans nationwide.Patrick Thompson, 54, of San Francisco also was charged with assault with a deadly weapon and elder abuse for Tuesday’s attack, with sentencing enhancements for great bodily injury, great bodily injury on elders and personal use of a deadly weapon, the district attorney’s office said on…

US schoolgirl shoots three before teacher disarms her

A sixth-grade girl brought a gun to her Idaho middle school, shot and wounded two students and a custodian and then was disarmed by a teacher on Thursday, authorities said.The three were shot in their extremities and were expected to survive, officials said at a news conference. Jefferson County Sheriff Steve Anderson says the girl pulled a handgun from her backpack and fired multiple rounds inside and outside Rigby Middle School in the small city of Rigby, about 145km (95 miles) southwest of…

Kamala Harris’ family in India grapples with coronavirus

G. Balachandran turned 80 this spring – a milestone of a birthday in India, where he lives. If not for the coronavirus pandemic, he would have been surrounded by family members who gathered to celebrate with him.But with the virus ravaging his homeland, Balachandran had to settle for congratulatory phone calls. Including one from his rather famous niece: US Vice-President Kamala Harris.“Unfortunately, because of the Covid[-19], I cannot have such an elaborate function,” the retired academic…

Twitter shuts down accounts for attempting to evade Donald Trump ban

Twitter suspended several accounts this week that were set up to share statements from a new part of former US President Donald Trump’s website, saying they broke its rules against evading an account ban.Trump was banned from Twitter, where he had more than 88 million followers, and multiple other social media platforms following the deadly January 6 siege of the US Capitol by his supporters.On Tuesday, a page was added to Trump’s site, dubbed “From the Desk of Donald J. Trump”, where he posts…

Joe Biden’s team likely to proceed with Donald Trump’s China investment ban

The Biden administration is likely to maintain pressure on China by preserving limits on US investments in certain Chinese companies imposed under former president Donald Trump, six people familiar with the matter said, bucking entreaties from Wall Street to ease the restrictions.Biden officials are still in preliminary discussions about Trump’s investment bans on companies linked to China’s military, which included three of the country’s biggest telecommunications firms, the people said. No…

Senators warn US Justice Department not to give amnesty to academics who didn’t disclose foreign funding

A group of US Republican senators has called on the Department of Justice not to proceed with a plan to offer amnesty to researchers who come forward about previously undisclosed foreign funding, saying it would undercut efforts to protect “long-term national interests”.First reported in January by The Wall Street Journal, the Justice Department’s programme would enable US academics to declare prior foreign financial assistance without fear of punishment as part of an effort to assess the scale…

US to boost security assistance to Ukraine amid ‘reckless’ Russian actions, Blinken says

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Thursday Washington could increase security assistance for Ukraine after what he called Russia’s “reckless and aggressive” actions in massing troops near its border.During a visit to Kiev intended to show support for Ukraine, Blinken said Russia had left behind significant numbers of troops and equipment despite announcing a withdrawal of its forces from close to the border after a stand-off that alarmed the West.Blinken also said President Joe Biden…

Harvard University requires coronavirus vaccination for students

Students at Harvard University in the United States will be required to be vaccinated against Covid-19 at the start of the new term in the autumn.“To reach the high levels of vaccination needed to protect our community, Harvard will require Covid vaccination for all students who will be on campus this fall,” the elite university in Cambridge, Massachusetts, announced on Wednesday.According to the statement, exceptions would only be granted for medical or religious reasons.Previously, a number…

Coronavirus: Americans offered free beer and doughnuts to get vaccinated

Free beer, free doughnuts, free baseball tickets and savings bonds – US government officials and businesses are teaming up to encourage Americans to get vaccinated against Covid-19.President Joe Biden wants 70 per cent of adults to have received at least one shot by Independence Day on July 4, and overcoming vaccine hesitancy is key to reaching the goal.“We know there are millions of Americans who need a little bit of encouragement to get the shot,” Biden told reporters at the White House on…

Facebook’s US political nightmare deepens

This story is published in a content partnership with POLITICO. It was originally reported by Cristiano Lima on politico.com on May 5, 2021.Facebook may have hoped that life in Washington would get easier after its appointed oversight board ruled on former US president Donald Trump’s fate on the social network.Instead, it is facing a whole new round of censure, especially from the right – months after the company suspended Trump over his remarks during the deadly January 6 attack on the Capitol…

Joe Biden’s push for near 21 per cent global minimum corporate tax ‘ possible’, top official says

US President Joe Biden’s proposal to set a minimum global corporation tax at 21 per cent is gaining momentum, with the official running international talks on the matter saying that an agreement could settle near that rate.The Biden administration’s plan has turbocharged negotiations at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) on how to overhaul rules on how much tax companies pay, and where.The US suggestion, while subject to negotiations in the US Congress, would be…

Liz Cheney’s grip on Republican post weakens as Donald Trump endorses replacement

Congresswoman Liz Cheney’s grip on the No 3 House Republican job all but vanished as former US president Donald Trump endorsed replacing her with New York congresswoman Elise Stefanik, who also has the backing of the chamber’s second-ranking Republican leader.The former president’s intervention shows how he is determined to keep his hold on the party heading into the 2022 elections and beyond, and how willing the Republican leadership is to give him that control.Cheney, a daughter of former…

SpaceX successfully lands Starship rocket on fifth try

SpaceX successfully landed its prototype Starship rocket at its Texas base on its fifth attempt, a live stream showed Wednesday.The test flight represented a big win for Elon Musk’s hard-charging space company after the last four tries ended in explosions.“Starship landing nominal!” tweeted Musk.“Nominal” means normal in the context of space flight.Live feed of Starship SN15 flight test → https://t.co/Hs5C53qBxb https://t.co/chZjdVAute— SpaceX (@SpaceX) May 5, 2021The execution wasn’t quite…

Tiger King star Carole Baskin launches cat-themed cryptocurrency: $CAT

Carole Baskin has a purr-fect idea to continue cashing in on the Tiger King craze.The animal rights activist and zoo owner, who gained notoriety as a sensational subject of Netflix’s wildly popular 2020 documentary Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness, has launched her own cryptocurrency.I'm purring like a bobcat rolling in catnip because we just launched $cat on https://t.co/pH2gCNtQGf Rocketing up to #35 out of 117 & thinking of ways to reward those who join our "pride" of big cat lovers!…

US says it supports coronavirus vaccine patent waiver

The US will support a proposal to waive intellectual-property protections for Covid-19 vaccines, joining an effort to increase global supply and access to the life-saving shots as the gap between rich and poor nations widens.“We are for the waiver at the WTO, we are for what the proponents of the waiver are trying to accomplish, which is better access, more manufacturing capability, more shots in arms,” US Trade Representative Katherine Tai said in an interview on Wednesday.The Biden…

Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin targets July launch for first space tourism flight

Blue Origin, billionaire Jeff Bezos’ rocket company, said on Wednesday it is targeting July 20 for its first suborbital sightseeing trip on its New Shepard spacecraft, a landmark moment in a competition to usher in a new era of private commercial space travel.Blue Origin also said it will offer one seat on the first flight to the winning bidder of a five-week online auction, the proceeds of which will be donated to the space firm’s foundation.Blue Origin’s Director of Astronaut Sales, Ariane…

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