South China Morning Post USA

Why this ‘woke’ CIA recruitment video angered US conservatives

A 36-year-old CIA employee also wants you to know how else she sees herself – that she is proudly a “woman of colour,” is “intersectional” and is a “cisgender millennial”.But a video featuring the young Latina woman to promote diversity at the US spy agency has conservatives fuming that it has gone overboard with “wokeness” – a broad term for acute awareness of contemporary issues of race and gender, sometimes used with derision.The backlash was sparked after the Central Intelligence Agency…

Top US diplomat Antony Blinken to join China UN event on global cooperation

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will take part in a high-level UN Security Council meeting on Friday chaired by China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi on strengthening global cooperation and the key role of the United Nations in harnessing international action to tackle the world’s many conflicts and crises, China’s UN ambassador said on Monday.China’s UN envoy Zhang Jun told a news conference that Friday’s meeting is “the first priority” of China’s Security Council presidency this month, and…

Trump’s acting Pentagon chief urges Biden to tackle directed-energy attacks: ‘It’s an act of war’

This story is published in a content partnership with POLITICO. It was originally reported by Lara Seligman and Andrew Desiderio on politico.com on May 3, 2021.The suspected directed-energy attacks on US government personnel worldwide are “an act of war”, said former acting defence secretary Christopher Miller, who launched an initiative to investigate the incidents during his time at the Pentagon last year and is urging the new administration to stay on the issue.“If this plays out and…

Bill Gates and Melinda Gates are ending their marriage

Billionaire Bill Gates and Melinda Gates said in a joint statement on Monday that they have made the decision to end their marriage.“After a great deal of thought and a lot of work on our relationship, we have made the decision to end our marriage,” the two said in a statement posted by Bill Gates’ Twitter account.“We no longer believe we can grow together as a couple in the next phase of our lives. We ask for space and privacy for our family as we begin to navigate this new life,” their…

Asian-American business leaders launch US$250 million effort to combat anti-Asian hate

A new foundation formed by prominent Asian-American business leaders announced on Monday a US$250 million initiative to fund work on a range of problems affecting the community including a rise in violence and harassment tied to the coronavirus pandemic.The Asian American Foundation (TAAF), founded recently to address a “long-standing lack of investment and resources” for Asian-American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities, will channel its initial funding of US$125 million to anti-hate…

With ‘big lie’ rebuke of Donald Trump, Liz Cheney stokes Republican rift

This story is published in a content partnership with POLITICO. It was originally reported by Nick Niedzwiadek on politico.com on May 3, 2021.US congresswoman Liz Cheney on Monday escalated her feud with Donald Trump and his supporters in Congress, issuing a less-than-subtle swipe at the former president’s latest attempt to claim the 2020 election was stolen from him.On Monday morning, Trump issued a statement from his Save America PAC proclaiming that the presidential election “will be, from…

Asian woman bashed in head with hammer in New York after being told to take off mask

An Asian woman walking in Midtown Manhattan was bashed in the head with a hammer by a stranger demanding the victim remove her mask, police said on Monday.The NYPD is investigating the attack as a possible hate crime, the latest in a string of bias-fuelled attacks against Asian victims in New York.The 31-year-old victim was walking on West 42nd Street she was accosted by a woman near Ninth Avenue at about 8.45pm on Sunday.“Take off your mask,” the assailant, who appeared to be in her 50s,…

A more accessible Arctic becomes proving ground for US-China military jockeying

Over the next two weeks, US armed forces will crawl through, drive over, fly above and shovel into Alaska’s thawing tundra, training to defend this sparsely populated state from a power whose ambitions increasingly defy geography.Some 10,000 uniformed service members from the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines will participate in the Northern Edge training exercise aimed at countering China, Russia and other potential adversaries that threaten the Arctic frontier and broader Indo-Pacific region…

Governor McConaughey? Celebrities test US voter interest in post-Trump era

From Ronald Reagan and Arnold Schwarzenegger to Al Franken and Donald Trump, there’s a rich history of celebrities trying out new careers in politics.The list could soon grow.In California, former Olympian Caitlyn Jenner is running for governor. In Texas, Oscar-winning actor Matthew McConaughey has said he is considering a run for governor. In New York City, Andrew Yang, a businessman who gained fame during his quixotic 2020 presidential run, is a leading contender for the Democratic mayoral…

China acting ‘more aggressively abroad’: Antony Blinken

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in an interview that was broadcast on Sunday that China had recently acted “more aggressively abroad” and was behaving “increasingly in adversarial ways”.Asked by CBS News’ 60 Minutes if Washington was heading toward a military confrontation with Beijing, Blinken said: “It’s profoundly against the interests of both China and the United States to get to that point, or even to head in that direction”.He added: “What we’ve witnessed over the last several…

US travel bans on countries including China do not make sense, says former FDA chief

The travel bans imposed by the US on countries including India, China and the UK lack a clear sense of purpose and do not make sense, said former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb.“I’m not sure what we are hoping to accomplish. If the goal is to try to prevent the introduction of virus into the US, there’s plenty of virus here,” Gottlieb said on CBS’ Face the Nation on Sunday.Responding to the US ban on most travel from India, scheduled to go into effect on Tuesday, he said, “If the goal is to…

Two dead and 23 injured after boat capsizes off western US coast

Two people were killed and nearly two dozen others were hospitalised after a wooden boat capsized on Sunday during a possible human smuggling operation just off the San Diego coast, authorities said.Local lifeguards, the US Coast Guard and other agencies responded following reports of an overturned vessel near the peninsula of Point Loma, according to the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department.Two patients died at the scene and 23 people were transported to hospitals with “varying degrees of injuries…

Vax Live concert in Los Angeles celebrates coronavirus campaign in US and abroad

A star-studded concert at SoFi Stadium on Sunday in Inglewood will be one of the first major in-person events in Los Angeles County since the Covid-19 pandemic forced a pause on such large gatherings.Vax Live kicks off at 6pm pacific time and will be hosted by Selena Gomez, chaired by Prince Harry and Meghan, and features performances by Jennifer Lopez, Eddie Vedder, Foo Fighters, J Balvin, and H.E.R., according to event organiser Global Citizen, an anti-poverty non-profit organisation.The…

United States to launch talks with World Trade Organization on Covid-19 vaccine distribution

The US top trade negotiator will begin talks with the World Trade Organization on ways to overcome intellectual property issues that are keeping critically needed Covid-19 vaccines from being more widely distributed worldwide, two White House officials said on Sunday.The White House has been under pressure from politicians at home and governments abroad to join an effort to waive patent rules for the vaccines so that poorer countries can begin to produce their own generic versions of the shots…

Washington denies reports Iran to free four Americans in exchange for US$7 billion frozen funds

Iranian state television said on Sunday that Tehran would free four Americans accused of spying in exchange for four Iranians held in the United States and the release of US$7 billion in frozen Iranian funds.The US State Department immediately denied the report.“Reports that a prisoner swap deal has been reached are not true,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said. “As we have said, we always raise the cases of Americans detained or missing in Iran. We will not stop until we are able to…

Shandong aircraft carrier group concludes South China Sea Exercise

The Chinese aircraft carrier Shandong and its naval support group have concluded an exercise in the South China Sea, the defence ministry said on Sunday.Gao Xiucheng, a spokesman for the Chinese navy, said the exercises were “legitimate and can enhance Chinese capabilities to protect national sovereignty, security, and development interests,” adding they could also help protect regional peace and stability.Gao said he hoped the outside world would view this exercise objectively and rationally. …

Four astronauts leave International Space Station on SpaceX craft after six-month mission

Four astronauts left the International Space Station on Saturday aboard a SpaceX vessel, after more than 160 days in space which will culminate in a splash landing off the Florida coast in the United States.The Crew Dragon capsule undocked from the ISS as scheduled at 8.35pm. With the flight back to Earth expected to take 6.5 hours, the crew was scheduled to splash down in the dark off Panama City, Florida, in the Gulf of Mexico at 2.57am.“Dragon separation visually confirmed,” a Nasa…

Fortnite maker set for epic court fight with Apple over its App Store control

In a court clash with potentially huge repercussions for the world of mobile tech, Fortnite maker Epic Games will on Monday take on Apple to break its grip on its online marketplace.The case opening in federal court comes with Apple feeling pressure from a wide range of app makers over its tight control of the App Store, which critics say represents monopolistic behaviour.The two firms will be debating whether Apple has the right to set ground rules, control payment systems and kick out apps…

Coronavirus: US states mull ways to boost vaccine take-up as demand slows

It is official: the United States’ Covid-19 immunisation campaign is stalling.While vaccination programmes are lagging badly in many countries – if they have begun at all – mass vaccine sites across the US are closing due to dwindling demand, leaving the authorities exploring new ways to reach people who have not yet received a shot.The national vaccination rate peaked around April 11, according to official data, and although 55 per cent of US adults now have had one or more doses, there is…

North Korea says Biden policy shows US is intent on being hostile – and vows to respond

Recent comments from US President Joe Biden and members of his administration show he is intent on maintaining a hostile policy toward North Korea that will require a corresponding response from Pyongyang, North Korean officials said on Sunday.The officials’ comments came in a series of statements carried on state news agency KCNA, after the White House on Friday said US officials had completed a months-long review of North Korean policy.In one statement, a Foreign Ministry spokesman accused…

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