North America

US economy to recover only when people feel ‘safe’ from virus: Powell

  WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — The US economy will only recover from the coronavirus downturn when people feel safe to resume their normal activities, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said in remarks released Monday ahead of congressional testimony. The central bank chief is set for three days of testimony before House and Senate committees starting Tuesday on the response to the coronavirus downturn, which has caused tens of millions of job losses and a […]

Trump vows to block any TikTok deal that allows Chinese control

by Rob Lever WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — A deal to restructure ownership of the popular video app TikTok was thrown into doubt Monday when President Donald Trump vowed to block any deal that allows its Chinese parent firm to retain any control. The comments raised fresh concerns over a weekend deal that appeared to avert a US-ordered ban of TikTok, which the Trump administration has called a national security risk and has threatened to […]

US closes in on 200,000 virus deaths, weeks before election

  by Ivan Couronne and Issam Ahmed Agence France Presse WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — The United States edged close to registering 200,000 Covid-19 deaths on Monday, the latest grim milestone for the country just weeks before voters decide if President Donald Trump stays in office. According to a rolling tally by Johns Hopkins University, 199,531 Americans have died and 6.8 million have been confirmed infected. The US has had the world’s highest official death […]

Trump and new Japan PM Suga discuss ‘free and open Indo-Pacific’: US

  WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — US President Donald Trump on Sunday spoke to Japan’s new prime minister, Yoshihide Suga, to congratulate him on taking office and to discuss a “free and open Indo-Pacific” region, which is increasingly dominated by China. Beijing’s expanding military presence in the region has worried several of its neighbors, and Washington has vowed to stand up against its territorial claims. China is locked in disputes with neighbors including Japan and […]

Canadian province announces new Covid-19 restrictions on gatherings

TORONTO, Canada (AFP )– The Quebec government on Sunday announced new restrictions on gatherings in order to prevent a second wave of Covid-19 infections. The number of people allowed in “rented halls, places of worship, festive events weddings” will drop from 250 to 50 from Monday, said Health Minister Christian Dube. In three of the regions in the province — including the cities of Montreal and Quebec City, which have increased to an “orange” alert […]

China launches sanctions regime after US moves on TikTok, WeChat

by Dan Martin Agence France Presse China on Saturday launched a mechanism that would allow it to sanction foreign companies, upping the ante in a tech war with the United States a day after Washington moved to curb popular Chinese apps TikTok and WeChat. China’s long-expected “unreliable entities list” is seen as a weapon for Beijing to retaliate against the United States, which has used its own “entity list” to shut Chinese telecom giant Huawei […]

Two killed, 14 wounded in shooting at US party: police

  WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — Two people were killed and 14 wounded early Saturday in a shooting at a backyard party in Rochester, New York state, police said. Officers responding to reports of gunfire in the area found a “chaotic scene” with about 100 people running in various directions, interim police chief Mark Simmons told reporters. “In total we have 16 confirmed victims of shooting. And I’m sad to announce that two of the […]

Trump expects enough Covid-19 vaccines for every American by April

  WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — US President Donald Trump said Friday he expects enough Covid-19 vaccines “for every American” will be produced by next April, and that the first doses will be distributed immediately after approval later this year. Claiming “historic progress” with three vaccines in the final stages of development and trials, Trump said at least 100 million doses would be manufactured by the end of the year — perhaps more. “Hundreds of […]

Canada opposition leaders test positive for Covid-19

  OTTAWA, Canada (AFP) — Canada’s conservative opposition leader Erin O’Toole tested positive for the new coronavirus on Friday, his office announced, one day after another federal party leader did, too. Both O’Toole and Bloc Quebecois leader Yves-Francois Blanchet were “feeling well” and were self-isolating, according to statements. Each had had close contact with staffers who tested positive for the Covid-19 illness. O’Toole said he is “very relieved that his wife and children have tested […]

Sally leaves trail of destruction across Gulf Coast

by Gianrigo Marletta, with Leila Macor in Miami PENSACOLA, United States (AFP) — Shellshocked residents were cleaning up on Thursday after Hurricane Sally left a trail of destruction in US coastal towns stretching from Alabama to the top of the Florida panhandle. Sally, which made landfall Wednesday as a Category 2 hurricane, turned streets into rivers, toppled trees and downed power lines. “Our house had windows blow out,” Matt Wilson of Orange Beach, Alabama, one […]

Moderna shares Covid-19 vaccine trial blueprints, Pfizer follows

by Ivan Couronne WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — US biotech firm Moderna, one of nine companies in the late stages of clinical trials for a Covid-19 vaccine, became the first to publish the complete blueprints of its study following calls for greater transparency. Pfizer, the other American company currently carrying out Phase 3 trials in the US, followed suit a short time later and there is now added pressure for the remainder to do the […]

Trump doubles down on vaccine timeline, contradicts top expert

by Michael Mathes, with Elodie Cuzin in Wilmington Agence France Presse US President Donald Trump expressed renewed confidence Wednesday that a viable Covid-19 vaccine would be ready by October, directly contradicting a top administration health expert and facing fierce criticism from his Democratic election rival Joe Biden. Trump sowed confusion about the issue with an extraordinary public rebuke of one of his top health experts who said masks were a leading weapon for fighting the […]