North America

100 million cases worldwide, as US seeks to reset its Covid fight

By Ben Sheppard and AFP Bureaus WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — More than 100 million Covid-19 cases have now been recorded worldwide, according to an AFP tally on Tuesday, as newly-inaugurated President Joe Biden pledged to ramp up the United States’s struggling vaccine program. The number of cases, compiled from data provided by national health agencies, represents just a fraction of the real infections as the coronavirus has spread around the globe. The United States, […]

Senator presiding over Trump impeachment trial taken to hospital

  WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — The 80-year-old senator presiding over the impeachment trial of Donald Trump was hospitalized on Tuesday after sounding hoarse and unwell while swearing in lawmakers as jurors. Patrick Leahy, who was elected in 1974, is presiding over the trial as he is the senior senator of the party with the majority in the Senate, currently the Democrats. “This evening, Senator Leahy was in his Capitol office and was not feeling […]

House sends Trump impeachment article to Senate, triggering trial

by Chris Lefkow and Elodie Cuzin Agence France Presse WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — The US House of Representatives presented a single article of impeachment to the Senate on Monday accusing Donald Trump of inciting the storming of the Capitol, setting in motion the first-ever impeachment trial of a former president. In a solemn procession, the nine House impeachment managers silently walked the article through the same ornate halls of Congress overrun by Trump supporters […]

More than 150 charged over US Capitol rampage

  WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — More than 150 people have been charged with federal crimes so far over the January 6 rampage at the US Capitol by supporters of then president Donald Trump, the Justice Department said Tuesday. Investigators have opened probes into more than 400 people who participated in the violent attack on the US legislature, said Michael Sherwin, the acting federal prosecutor for Washington. Making use of copious video footage and social […]

Tornado leaves one dead, several injured in Alabama

WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — A tornado killed one person and left several people critically injured in Alabama, US media said Tuesday. The storm, which hit the town of Fultondale in Jefferson County late Monday, caused “significant damage,” the National Weather Service (NWS) tweeted. One person has died and at least five people have been hospitalized with critical injuries, Fultondale Police Chief D.P. Smith told local news media AL.com. “It looks like a bomb went […]

Tornado leaves several injured in Alabama

WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — A tornado has left several people critically injured and serious damage in Alabama, US media said Tuesday. The storm, which hit the town of Fultondale late Monday night, caused “significant damage,” the National Weather Service (NWS) tweeted. At least five people have been hospitalized with critical injuries, Fultondale Police Chief D.P. Smith told local news media AL.com. “It looks like a bomb went off,” local pastor’s son Sam Moerbe, 18, […]

US detects first case of Brazil coronavirus variant

WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — The first case of a coronavirus variant that recently emerged in Brazil has been confirmed in the United States, health authorities in the state of Minnesota said Monday. The Minnesota Department of Health said in a statement that the “Public Health Laboratory has found the variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus known as the Brazil P.1 variant in a specimen from a Minnesota resident with recent travel history to Brazil.” The […]

Gorilla treated with antibodies recovering from Covid, says US zoo

WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — An elderly gorilla was recovering from a serious case of Covid-19 after he was treated with cutting-edge synthetic antibodies, the San Diego Zoo said Monday. Veterinarians are now identifying which animals to inject with the zoo’s limited supply of vaccines. Winston, 48, was one of several gorillas among the San Diego Zoo Safari Park’s troop who were confirmed positive for the virus on January 11, based on fecal samples. It […]

Moderna says Covid vaccine effective against UK, S.Africa variants

by Issam AHMED WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — US biotechnology firm Moderna on Monday said lab studies showed its Covid-19 vaccine remains effective against variants of the coronavirus first identified in the United Kingdom and South Africa. But the positive news was tempered by the finding that there was a sixfold reduction in the level of highly-potent neutralizing antibodies produced against the South African variant, B.1.351. Out of caution, the company will test adding a […]

California ends wide lockdown as Covid hospital strain eases

LOS ANGELES, United States (AFP) — California lifted blanket “stay-at-home” orders across the US state Monday, paving the way for activities such as outdoor dining to return even in worst-hit regions as the pandemic’s strain on hospitals begins to ease. The western state has suffered one of the nation’s worst winter Covid spikes, with hospital intensive care units overwhelmed, ambulances backed up for hours at a time, and cases more than doubling since December to […]

US warships conduct exercises in South China Sea

WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — A US aircraft carrier group sailed into the South China Sea on a so-called “freedom of navigation” exercise, the first routine operation in the region under new President Joe Biden. Led by the USS Theodore Roosevelt, the carrier strike group entered the area Saturday, the US Indo-Pacific Command said, the same day Taiwan reported multiple Chinese jets and bombers had flown into its air defense zone. “It’s great to be […]

Biden to reinstate Covid travel bans: White House official

WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) –President Joe Biden will re-impose a Covid-19 travel ban on most non-US citizens who have been in Britain, Brazil, Ireland and much of Europe, a White House official said Sunday, as the new administration ramps up its pandemic response. Biden will also on Monday extend the ban to travelers who have recently been to South Africa amid warnings that new, more transmissible coronavirus variants are already establishing themselves in the United […]