North America

Downtown shooting in Austin, Texas injures 14

HOUSTON, United States (AFP) — Gunfire erupted in a busy entertainment district in the Texas city of Austin early Saturday, injuring 14 people, according to authorities who were still searching for a suspect. Police said they responded to multiple shots fired just before 1:30 am in bustling downtown Austin, where a large crowd began to disperse. “Our officers responded very quickly,” Austin’s interim police chief Joseph Chacon told a news conference. “They were able to […]

Biden hopes to advance more open Indo-Pacific region as he sends greetings on PHL Independence

Stresses importance of both nations working together to defeat pandemic and ensure freedom of navigation in disputed seas   (Eagle News) – US President Joe Biden sent his greetings to all Filipinos on the occasion of the 123rd independence day of the Philippines, and hoped for a stronger and more vigorous relations between the two nations. Biden, in his video message, also said that it is important for both nations to look into working on […]

Pres. Biden: US to donate 500M Pfizer doses to “100 low and lower-middle income countries”

Donation aside from 80M US vaccines to be “supplied to the world” by end of June in efforts to end COVID pandemic worldwide   (Eagle News) — US President Joe Biden said that the United States will be purchasing 500 million or half a billion doses of Pfizer vaccines which the US government will be donating to 100 low and lower-middle-income countries to defeat the COVID-19 pandemic. This will be aside from the 80 million […]

Biden drops plan to ban Chinese-owned apps TikTok, WeChat

  by Rob Lever Agence France Presse WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) President Joe Biden has revoked executive orders from his predecessor Donald Trump seeking to ban Chinese-owned apps TikTok and WeChat from US markets on national security concerns, a move receiving a cautious welcome from Beijing. Trump had claimed the apps posed national security risks and sought to force a sale to US investors of TikTok, which is owned by China-based ByteDance and remains one […]

Two Covid cases on one of first N.American cruises since virus hit: company

MIAMI, United States (AFP) — Two guests on one of the first cruise ships to sail from North America since the Covid-19 pandemic hit tested positive Thursday, the cruise company said, adding all passengers and crew had been vaccinated. The Celebrity Millennium, carrying about 600 passengers and 650 crew, set sail from the Caribbean island of St. Maarten on Saturday for a seven-day tour including stops in Barbados, Aruba and Curacao. “Two guests sharing a […]

Two killed, including child, in Florida shooting

MIAMI, United States (AFP) — Two people including a child were shot dead in a grocery store in Florida on Thursday, the latest in a series of shootings in the southern US state. The shooting — in which the gunman also killed himself — occurred in a Publix grocery store in Royal Palm Beach, 80 miles (130 kilometers) north of Miami, police said. “Upon arrival deputies located three individuals deceased from gunshot wounds, one adult […]

US approves shelf-life extension for J&J Covid vaccine: company

WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — Johnson & Johnson said Thursday the US Food and Drug Administration had authorized an extension for the shelf life of its Covid-19 vaccine from three months to four-and-a-half months. The news comes as millions of doses of the single-shot vaccine, which is stored at refrigerator temperatures, were in danger of expiring and being tossed. “The decision is based on data from ongoing stability assessment studies,” the company said in a […]

Meatpacking giant JBS pays $11 million to ransomware hackers

WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — JBS, one of the world’s biggest meat processors, has paid bitcoin worth $11 million in ransom to hackers to prevent any further disruption after a paralyzing cyberattack believed to have originated in Russia. Hackers targeted the computer systems of Brazil-based JBS last week, impacting production and operations in the United States, Australia and Canada, and issued a ransom demand to the global meatpacking giant. The company’s US subsidiary said Wednesday […]

US ‘to buy 500 million doses for world’ as curbs ease in Europe

by Anouk Riondet, with AFP bureaus PARIS, France (AFP) — The United States is set to buy 500 million Covid-19 vaccine doses to distribute around the world, media reported Wednesday, as France and Belgium relaxed virus restrictions to allow restaurants and cafes to serve indoors. The Washington Post and New York Times, citing people familiar with the matter, said President Joe Biden was due to formally announce the huge donation of Pfizer-BioNTech doses at a […]

France, Belgium ease virus curbs as US decision boosts travel hopes

  by AFP Bureaus France and Belgium further relaxed their Covid-19 restrictions Wednesday, allowing restaurants and cafes to serve indoors, while the United States eased travel warnings for dozens of countries as vaccinations boost hopes of a return to normal life. The pandemic’s impact on life around the planet was also illustrated Wednesday with a shake-up of the list of the world’s most liveable cities, with Auckland rocketing to the top on the back of […]

New York plans huge August concert to celebrate post-Covid ‘rebirth’

NEW YORK, United States (AFP) — New York is planning to host a major concert in Central Park in August as a way to celebrate the city’s “rebirth” following the Covid-19 pandemic, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Monday. No program details were revealed, but De Blasio has asked veteran music producer Clive Davis — who often draws A-listers to his events — to organize the line-up. “You can see the comeback happening,” De Blasio told […]

Biden invites Ukraine’s president to White House

WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — President Joe Biden reaffirmed US support for Ukraine’s territorial integrity Monday after Russian troop movements on its border, and invited President Volodymyr Zelensky to the White House. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan told reporters that Biden talked by phone with Zelensky, telling him “he will stand up firmly for Ukraine’s sovereignty” and “looks forward to welcoming him to the White House this summer.” The invitation to visit in July marked […]