South China Morning Post USA

Joe Biden speech: women make US history as Nancy Pelosi, Kamala Harris flank US president for address to Congress

When US President Joe Biden delivered his debut speech to a joint session of Congress Wednesday, history was made behind him, with two powerful women taking their places on the rostrum for the first time.Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has been in the position before during presidential speeches.But with the addition this time of Kamala Harris, the nation’s first female vice-president, the two people seated behind and on either side of Biden as Americans tuned in on their TV screens for the…

Watch Joe Biden’s first big speech to Congress

US President Joe Biden gave his first address to a joint session of Congress on Wednesday (Thursday morning Hong Kong time), a prime time speech on the eve of his 100th day in office. Biden used the speech to talk about what he’s accomplished in the opening months of his presidency, and laid out his other domestic and foreign policy priorities.The setting for Biden’s maiden address to Congress as president reflected the crisis times in which he took office. Security has been at top level around…

Echoes of George Floyd: Mario Gonzalez, 26, dies after being pinned to ground by police

Police in Alameda, California, are under fire over the death of a Latino man who was pinned to the ground face down for more than five minutes on the same day a jury in Minneapolis began deliberating in the George Floyd case.Autopsy findings have not been released, but the family of 26-year-old Mario Gonzalez accused police on Wednesday of using excessive force and escalating what should have been a minor encounter with the unarmed man.Gonzalez stopped breathing following a video-recorded…

Antony Blinken defends Trump-era moves against Chinese media outlets in the US

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday defended the measures that his predecessor Mike Pompeo took against the American operations of Chinese media outlets, calling them out for “undermining democracy”.The US and China began restricting and expelling each other’s journalists in February 2020, when the State Department declared several mainland Chinese media outlets, including state news agency Xinhua and the state-run English-language newspaper China Daily, to be foreign government…

Apple results soundly beat Wall Street targets as China sales nearly double

Apple Inc on Wednesday posted sales and profits far ahead of Wall Street expectations and announced a US$90 billion share buy-back as customers continued to upgrade to 5G iPhones and snapped up new Mac models with Apple’s house-designed processor chips.Sales to China nearly doubled and results topped analyst targets in every category, led by US$6.5 billion more in iPhone sales than predicted and Mac sales about a third higher than estimates.Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook said the company sees…

Businessman Qin Shuren admits smuggling US marine tech to China

A Chinese businessman pleaded guilty on Wednesday to US charges that he smuggled marine technology out of the United States for the benefit of a Chinese military university involved in developing underwater drones.Qin Shuren, a marine biologist and founder of a company that sells oceanographic instruments, pleaded guilty in Boston federal court to illegally exporting to China devices called hydrophones that can be used to monitor sound under water.He was charged in 2018 amid rising US concerns…

Path remains murky for Meng Wanzhou’s marathon extradition battle, after HSBC evidence triggers delays

The path forward in Meng Wanzhou’s extradition battle remained murky as lawyers continued to grapple with a three-month delay in the final phase of the Huawei Technologies Co. executive’s marathon case in a Vancouver court.Lawyers for Meng and the Canadian government met briefly to discuss how to revamp the schedule of the case in the Supreme Court of British Columbia on Wednesday, but the matter was adjourned until May 7, a court spokesman said.The final stage of the case had been due to start…

World’s glaciers melting faster than ever, with US and Canada hardest hit

Glaciers are melting faster, losing 31 per cent more snow and ice per year than they did 15 years earlier, according to three-dimensional satellite measurements of all the world’s mountain glaciers.Scientists blame human-caused climate change.Using 20 years of recently declassified satellite data, scientists calculated that the world’s 220,000 mountain glaciers are losing more than 328 billion tons (298 billion metric tons) of ice and snow per year since 2015, according to a study in Wednesday…

Michael Collins, the ‘forgotten’ astronaut of Apollo 11, dies at 90

American astronaut Michael Collins, who as pilot of the Apollo 11 command module stayed behind on July 20, 1969, while Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin travelled to the lunar surface to become the first humans to walk on the moon, died on Wednesday at age 90, his family said.A statement released by his family said Collins died of cancer.Often described as the “forgotten” third astronaut on the historic mission, Collins remained alone in the command module for more than 21 hours until his two…

Ex-Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani’s home raided by US investigators

Federal investigators executed a search warrant on Wednesday morning at the Manhattan home of Rudy Giuliani, former US president Donald Trump’s lawyer, a law enforcement official told Associated Press.The former New York mayor has been under investigation for several years over his business dealings in Ukraine.Details of the search were not immediately available, but it comes as the Justice Department continues its investigation into the staunch Trump ally.The official could not discuss the…

US Navy Seals to shift focus from counterterrorism to global threats

Ten years after they found and killed Osama bin Laden, US Navy Seals are undergoing a major transition to improve leadership and expand their commando capabilities to better battle threats from global powers like China and Russia.The new plan cuts the number of US Navy Seal platoons by as much as 30 per cent and increases their size to make the teams more lethal and able to counter sophisticated maritime and undersea adversaries.And there will be a new, intensive screening process for the US…

What to watch for during Joe Biden’s first big speech to Congress

US President Joe Biden will give his first address to a joint session of Congress, a prime time speech on Wednesday night on the eve of his 100th day in office. Biden will use the speech before lawmakers and a broader viewing audience to talk about what he’s accomplished in the opening months of his presidency, and lay out his other domestic and foreign policy priorities.When and where can I watch or listen to Biden?The speech is set for 9pm EDT (Thursday, 9am Hong Kong time) and will be…

Coronavirus: US private school bans vaccinated teachers from student contact

A private school in Florida is barring teachers who have been vaccinated against Covid-19 from coming into contact with students, arguing against all evidence that the educators pose a health risk.The school also said it would not employ anyone who has received the shot.Critics have held up the move by the Centner Academy as a particularly glaring example of the dangers of misinformation as the US works to get its population inoculated.In an email to parents on Monday, co-founder Leila Centner…

No ‘designated survivor’ for Joe Biden’s first joint address to Congress

This story is published in a content partnership with POLITICO. It was originally reported by Ben Leonard on politico.com on April 27, 2021.There won’t be a designated survivor for President Joe Biden’s first joint address to Congress Wednesday night, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said.Typically, presidents designate a top official to camp out in a secure location in the case of a disaster that kills the president and cabinet officials. But this time, amid the coronavirus pandemic,…

Joe Biden 100 days in: Little difference from Trump in attitude towards China, analysts say

Joe Biden’s China strategy nearly 100 days into his tenure differs little from the administration of his predecessor, who erected multiple economic barriers and portrayed Beijing as a human rights pariah, amid bipartisan consensus that the country is a threat.But analysts also see Biden narrowing the scope of these restrictions in the next 100 days and beyond in order to avoid a full decoupling with Beijing, moves that will likely add fuel to an already combative relationship with Congress’s…

Coronavirus: US vows to help India tackle pandemic, is considering IP waiver for vaccines

President Joe Biden says the US is sending “a whole series of help” to India to combat the coronavirus, including life-saving therapeutics.Biden says the US is sending “mechanical parts” India needs to domestically produce Covid-19 vaccines. The president adds the administration is engaging in discussions about when the US could send vaccine doses to India.“I think we’ll be in a position to be able to share vaccines as well as know-how with other countries who are in real need. That is the hope…

Citing ‘stunning’ coronavirus progress, Joe Biden lifts US outdoor mask guidelines

Fully vaccinated people can safely engage in outdoor activities like walking and hiking without wearing masks but should continue to use face-coverings in public spaces where they are required, US health regulators and President Joe Biden said on Tuesday.The updated health advice comes as more than half of all adults in the United States have now received at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccine, according to the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).Biden said the new advice was a…

US man in New York arrested over attack on Chinese-American man that left him in a coma

A US man was arrested on Tuesday over an assault on a Chinese-American man who was kicked repeatedly in the head in New York, police said.Jarrod Powell was charged with two counts of felony assault in Friday’s attack on 61-year-old Yao Pan Ma, police said. It was not clear if Powell, 49, had a lawyer who could comment on the charges.Ma, a former restaurant worker who lost his job because of the pandemic, was collecting cans when he was attacked from behind, knocked to the ground and kicked in…

Saudi Arabia says it destroyed boat with bombs in port near Red Sea

Saudi forces on Tuesday destroyed an explosive-laden boat off the coast of the Red Sea port of Yanbu, the defence ministry said.“A bomb-laden unmanned (vessel) was intercepted and destroyed this morning,” the ministry said in a statement, published by the official Saudi Press Agency. “Naval units were able to detect and monitor the activity of the bomb-laden (boat) in the Red Sea waters off the shores of Yanbu.”No group has so far claimed responsibility for the incident, which the ministry said…

Joe Biden’s first speech to Congress will be unlike any other

US President Joe Biden will deliver a prime time address to a joint session of Congress on Wednesday – the eve of his first 100 days mark.But will US lawmakers all listen to the president – even for one night?Recent history is not assuring. Republican Congressman Joe Wilson shouted “you lie!” at President Barack Obama when he was giving a joint speech to Congress in 2009. Eleven years later, Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ripped up a copy of President Donald Trump’s State of the Union…

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