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Female aid accuses Cuomo of groping
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo Credit: Metropolitan Transportation Authority of the State of New York (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

An unidentified woman has accused New York governor Andrew Cuomo of groping her, the newspaper Times Union of Albany reports. Cuomo allegedly "reached under her blouse and began to fondle her". She is the sixth woman who came forward.

"As I said yesterday, I have never done anything like this. The details of this report are gut-wrenching. I am not going to speak to the specifics of this or any other allegation given the ongoing review, but I am confident in the result of the attorney general’s report," Cuomo responded. He has denied all allegations so far.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Merrick Garland confirmed as US Attorney General by Senate
Garland with Biden and Obama in 2016
Garland with Biden and Obama in 2016 Credit: Chuck Kennedy for The White House, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

The United States Senate confirmed President Joe Biden’s nominee US Appeals Court Judge Merrick Garland as Attorney General with a 70-30 vote. Garland, who was previously nominated for the Supreme Court by former President Barack Obama, will oversee the US Department of Justice.

Regional News • Americas • United States
US to order 100m additional Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine doses
US to order 100m additional Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine doses
Credit: The White House, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

The United States Department of Health and Human Services is going to purchase 100 million additional doses of the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine, so President Joe Biden on Wednesday. It's yet unclear when those doses will be available.

"There is light at the end of this dark tunnel of this past year, but we cannot let our guard down now or assume victory is inevitable. Together we're going to get through this pandemic and usher in a healthier and more hopeful future," Biden said.

Regional News • Americas • United States
US House passes $1.9tn Covid relief bill, Biden to sign it on Thursday
US House passes $1.9tn Covid relief bill, Biden to sign it on Thursday
Credit: unsplash.com/Bermix Studio

The US House of Representatives voted 220 to 211 to pass the $1.9tn Covid relief bill on Wednesday and, according to press secretary Jen Psaki, President Joe Biden is expected to sign the bill on Thursday.

Kyle Griffin from MSNBC tweeted that "President Biden will sign the American Rescue Plan in the Oval Office TODAY. The Vice President will attend."

Regional News • Americas • United States
Charges against Breonna Taylor's boyfriend permanently dropped

The charges of assault and attempted murder of a police officer against Kenneth Walker, Breonna Taylor's boyfriend, were permanently dropped on Monday. On March 13, three policemen entered Taylor's apartment on a search warrant and Walker fired a shot, injuring one police officer's leg thinking they were intruders.

"After the worst year of [Walker's] life, prosecutors have finally acknowledged that he did nothing wrong and acted in self-defence," so Walker's lawyer Steve Romines. "He looks forward to continuing the fight to hold the real wrongdoers accountable for the harm that they've caused. Both he, individually, and our community, as a whole, cannot begin the process of healing until that happens."

Regional News • Americas • United States
Arkansas passes new law, banning nearly all abortions
Arkansas passes new law, banning nearly all abortions
Credit: HAL333 / via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

The state of Arkansas has passed a legislation, banning almost all abortions in the state. Republican Governor Asa Hutchinson said he signed the law due to "overwhelming legislative support and my sincere and long-held pro-life convictions" after voicing concerns over the bill not including certain exceptions for certain cases. The new law only allows abortion if a mother's life is at risk.

“(The ban) is in contradiction of binding precedents of the US supreme court, but it is the intent of the legislation to set the stage for the supreme court overturning current case law,“ Hutchinson said. “I would have preferred the legislation to include the exceptions for rape and incest, which has been my consistent view, and such exceptions would increase the chances for a review by the US supreme court.”

Regional News • Americas • United States
CDC releases first set of guidelines for Covid-19 vaccinated Americans
CDC releases first set of guidelines for Covid-19 vaccinated Americans
Credit: Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from Washington D.C, United States, via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Monday released its first guidelines for fully Covid-19 vaccinated Americans, recommending adhering to face coverings and social distancing rules in public spaces while relaxing safety measures indoors with other vaccinated people.

“We know that people want to get vaccinated so they can get back to doing the things they enjoy with the people they love,” said CDC Director Rochelle P. Walensky, MD, MPH. “There are some activities that fully vaccinated people can begin to resume now in their own homes. Everyone – even those who are vaccinated – should continue with all mitigation strategies when in public settings. As the science evolves and more people get vaccinated, we will continue to provide more guidance to help fully vaccinated people safely resume more activities.”

Regional News • Americas • United States
US Senate passes $1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief bill, House Democrats plan final approval Tuesday
The US Capitol building
The US Capitol building Credit: Mark Fischer (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

The US Senate has voted, 50 to 49, to approve the $1.9 trillion relief bill on Saturday, and will now head to the House of Representatives. The Democratic-held House aims to pass the bill on Tuesday and send it to President Joe Biden for his signature before a March 14 deadline to renew unemployment aid programs.

Republicans senators opposed another major spending plan, contending the state of the economy does not warrant it.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Disneyland and baseball stadiums to reopen in California
Tomorrowland at Disneyland
Tomorrowland at Disneyland Credit: Justin Brown (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0)

The California Department of Health gave Walt Disney’s Disneyland and other theme parks the go-ahead to reopen, limited to 15% and 35%, from April 1, after a closure of almost a year coronavirus pandemic. Masks and other safety measures will be required, and the parks initially will be open only to state residents.

Authorities also announced that outdoor stadiums and ballparks would also be allowed to reopen at reduced capacity on the same date.

Regional News • Americas • United States
YouTube to lift Trump's suspension when risk of violence has receded
YouTube to lift Trump's suspension when risk of violence has receded
Credit: Illustration: Pendect, Ashley Winkler – Logo via YouTube (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Susan Wojcicki, YouTube's CEO, has said Thursday that Donald Trump's account could see its supsension lifted once the risk of violence has receded.

“The channel remains suspended due to the risk of incitement to violence,” Wojcicki said. “We will turn the account back on. But it will be when we see the reduced law enforcement in capitals in the U.S, if we don’t see different warnings coming out of government agencies, those would all be signals to us that it would be safe to turn the channel back on.”

Regional News • Americas • United States
US Police prepare for possible renewed attacks by militias on the Capitol in Washington
US Police prepare for possible renewed attacks by militias on the Capitol in Washington
Credit: unsplash.com / Quick PS

US authorities have revealed possible plans by extremists for another attack on the Capitol this Thursday. "We have received intelligence showing possible plans by an identified militia to infiltrate the Capitol on Thursday, 4 March," Capitol Police in Washington wrote in a statement. Police were prepared for possible threats against members of Congress or the Capitol complex, it said. The Capitol Police did not say who exactly had planned the attack.

On Wednesday evening, the US House of Representatives brought forward a vote scheduled for this Thursday. A House spokeswoman confirmed that there would be no more votes this session week after Wednesday night. The Washington Post reported that the Senate - the other chamber in Congress - still planned to meet at the Capitol on Thursday.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Biden slammed governors for lifting mask mandates, calling it 'Neanderthal thinking'
President Joe Biden talks on the phone with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott
President Joe Biden talks on the phone with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott Credit: The White House (Public Domain)

After the Republican Governors of Texas, Greg Abbott, and Mississippi, Tate Reeves, announced Tuesday they would allow businesses to reopen at 100% capacity and lift mask mandates, President Joe Biden slammed states that repealed Covid-19 restrictions on businesses and rescinded mask mandates for residents, calling the moves a "big mistake."

On Monday, before the two governors announced it, Dr Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, warned state officials against lifting public health restrictions too quickly.

"The last thing, the last thing we need is Neanderthal thinking, that, ‘In the meantime, everything’s fine. Take off your mask. Forget it.’ It still matters," Biden said.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Govenor Greg Abbott lifts mask mandate in Texas, despite warnings from health officials
Greg Abbott, Governor of Texas
Greg Abbott, Governor of Texas Credit: World Travel & Tourism Council (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

Texas state leader Greg Abbott announced today that he was rolling back a previous mandate which required masks to be worn in all public businesses. This decision has been met with widespread criticism and controversy, as Texas is well below the target vaccinated percentage of its populace.

Abbott cited the damages to small businesses as the primary reason for the roll-back of the mask mandate. The mandate repeal will be removed next week, on Wednesday.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Biden says Covid-19 vaccines will be available for every American adult by the end of May
President Joe Biden
President Joe Biden Credit: The White House (Public Domain)

President Joe Biden said in a brief speech at the White House on Tuesday, that the United States is "on track" to offer a Covid-19 vaccine to "every adult in America by the end of May", two months earlier than previously expected.

Regional News • Americas • United States
CDC warns of fourth Covid-19 wave as variants spread
CDC warns of fourth Covid-19 wave as variants spread
Credit: Anthony Quintano, via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has warned of a fourth Covid-19 wave as more contagious and potent variants of the novel Coronavirus are spreading across the country and Americans are getting lax with safety measures.

"Please hear me clearly: At this level of cases with variants spreading, we stand to completely lose the hard-earned ground we have gained," so Dr Rochelle Walensky, director of the CDC. "Similarly, the most recent seven-day average of deaths has also increased more than 2% ... to nearly 2,000 deaths per day."

Walensky said she was worried "bout reports that more states are rolling back the exact public health measures we have recommended to protect people from Covid-19" and urges people to continue "wearing your well-fitting mask and taking the other public health prevention actions."

Regional News • Americas • United States
Donald and Melania Trump received Covid vaccine at the White House in January
Donald and Melania Trump
Donald and Melania Trump Credit: Trump White House Archived (Public Domain)

CNN reports that Donald Trump and his wife Melania Trump were vaccinated against the coronavirus back in January. Further details about their vaccination were not available.

According to The New York Times, both received at least the first dose of the vaccine before leaving the White House before President Joe Biden's inauguration.

The news came a day after Trump spoke at the CPAC political conference and said, "Everyone should go get your shot," encouraging everyone to receive the Covid-19 vaccine.

Regional News • Americas • United States
US set to impose sanctions on Russia over Navalny poisoning on Tuesday
Oppositionist Alexei Navalny, February 2020
Oppositionist Alexei Navalny, February 2020 Credit: Michał Siergiejevicz, via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

The United States is set to impose sanctions on Russia over the poisoning of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny as early as Tuesday, two people familiar with the matter told Reuters. The sources declined to provide details on specific targets and or authorities involved.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Andrew Cuomo addresses allegations of sexual harassment, says he's "truly sorry" for "unwanted flirtation"
Cuomo in 2019
Cuomo in 2019 Credit: Delta News Hub, via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo addressed the two allegations of sexual harassment against him for the first time on Sunday, saying he was "truly sorry" to those who might have "misinterpreted" his remarks "as an unwanted flirtation."

"I now understand that my interactions may have been insensitive or too personal and that some of my comments, given my position, made others feel in ways I never intended. I acknowledge some of the things I have said have been misinterpreted as an unwanted flirtation. To the extent anyone felt that way, I am truly sorry about that," so Cuomo.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Fauci says not to compare Covid-19 vaccines, urges American to take any of three vaccines available
Fauci says not to compare Covid-19 vaccines, urges American to take any of three vaccines available
Credit: unsplash.com/Daniel Schludi

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and chief medical advisor to President Joe Biden, is urging Americans to take any of the three Covid-19 vaccines currently available as all of them are "safe and efficacious."

“We’ve got to get away from that chain of thought. The only way you really know the difference between vaccines is by comparing them head to head,” so Fauci. “We have three highly efficacious vaccines that are safe and efficacious. That’s the bottom line.”

Regional News • Americas • United States
Trump teases 2024 presidential run at rightwing CPAC summit
Trump at CPAC 2020
Trump at CPAC 2020 Credit: The White House from Washington, DC, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Donald Trump spoke on Sunday at the rightwing Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Orlando, saying it "is far from being over" and teases a potential run for re-election in 2024.

"I may even decide to beat them for a third time," Trump told the crowd, after falsely claiming he won the November election and that the US has a "very sick and corrupt electoral process".

Trump also heavily criticised President Joe Biden for "the most disastrous first month of any president in modern history".

"We all knew that the Biden administration was going to be bad – but none of us imagined just how bad they would be, and how far left they would go... Joe Biden has had the most disastrous first month of any president in modern history," Trump claimed. "Biden’s radical immigration policies aren’t just illegal – they are immoral, they are heartless, and they are a betrayal of our nation’s core values."

Regional News • Americas • United States
Second former aide accuses New York Governor Andrew Cuomo of sexual harassment
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo Credit: Shinya Suzuki (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0)

The ex-aide, Charlotte Bennett, told The New York Times that she was repeatedly made to feel uncomfortable by Andrew Cuomo after she was hired in 2019 in the governor's office. Bennett said the governor had asked her numerous questions about her personal life, including whether she believed that age made a difference in romantic relationships.

"I understood that the governor wanted to sleep with me, and felt horribly uncomfortable and scared and was wondering how I was going to get out of it and assumed it was the end of my job," Bennett said.

Regional News • Americas • United States
FDA grants emergency approval for Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine
FDA grants emergency approval for Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine
Credit: Illustration: Pendect, Ashley Winkler.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted emergency approval for the preparation on Saturday (local time). US President Joe Biden spoke of "inspiring news for all Americans and an encouraging development in our efforts to end the crisis". There is "light at the end of the tunnel", but no reason to sound the all-clear, he warned on Saturday evening (local time).

Regional News • Americas • United States
McConnell says he'd support Trump if he got 2024 Republican nomination
Trump and McConnell in 2019
Trump and McConnell in 2019 Credit: The White House from Washington, DC, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told Fox News' Bret Baier on Thursday that he would "absolutely" support Donald Trump if he became the "nominee of the party" in 2024. McConnell recently criticised the former President, saying his actions around the Capitol insurgence were "a disgraceful, disgraceful dereliction of duty." Trump responded by calling McConnell "a dour, sullen, and unsmiling political hack."

"I'm pretty sure he will win the nomination," Utah Sen. Mitt Romney told The New York TimesTuesday. "I look at the polls and the polls show that, among the names being floated as potential contenders in 2024, if you put President Trump in there among Republicans, he wins in a landslide."

Regional News • Americas • United States
Biden's $1.9T Covid-19 relief package passed in House
Biden's $1.9T Covid-19 relief package passed in House
Credit: Nancy Pelosi, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

The United States House of Representatives has passed Biden's $1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief package in a 219 to 212 vote on Saturday. The legislation is now sent to the US Senate and Democrats are trying to finish before federal unemployment assistance is expiring on March 14.

“The numbers speak volumes. 18 million Americans on unemployment. 24 million people are going hungry,” so Speaker Nancy Pelosi. “The time for decisive action is long overdue.”

Regional News • Americas • United States
Saudi Crown Prince responsible for approving Khashoggi operation says US Intelligence report
Saudi Crown Prince responsible for approving Khashoggi operation says US Intelligence report
Credit: POMED (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

A US intelligence declassified version of a top-secret assessment found Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman approved the 2018 killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

"We assess that Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman approved an operation in Istanbul, Turkey to capture or kill Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi," the report's executive summary states.

Recognition of the prince's involvement could cast a huge shadow over relations between the US and its most significant ally in the Arab world, Saudi Arabia. Relations between the two had flourished under Biden's predecessor, Donald Trump.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Former USA gymnastics coach John Geddert dead after sex assault charges
Former USA gymnastics coach John Geddert dead after sex assault charges
Credit: Twitter Reproduction

The gymnastics coach John Geddert died by suicide Thursday after human trafficking and sexual assault charges were announced against him. Geddert, who led the 2012 U.S. Olympic women's gymnastics team to win gold, was charged with 24 felonies Thursday in Eaton County, Michigan.

"My office has been notified that the body of John Geddert was found late this afternoon after taking his own life," Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel later said in a statement.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Trump Jr deposed in D.C. Attorney General probe of 2017 inauguration funds
Donald Trump Jr
Donald Trump Jr Credit: Gage Skidmore (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

On February 11, Donald Trump Jr. was deposed as part of a lawsuit alleging the misuse of inaugural funds for former President Donald Trump, two months after former White House advisor Ivanka Trump was deposed in the same case. Washington, D.C., Attorney General Karl Racine sued the Trump Inaugural Committee and the Trump Organization in January 2020 for abusing over $1 million nonprofit funds to enrich the Trump family.

Court filings show that AG Racine's office, that Trump Jr.'s testimony "raised further questions about the nature of" an invoice related to the inauguration and "revealed evidence that Defendants had not yet produced to the District."

Regional News • Americas • United States
US government to release the declassified report on the murder of Jamal Khashoggi
US government to release the declassified report on the murder of Jamal Khashoggi
Credit: POMED (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

The report, expected to be released later on Thursday, will say that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman approved "and likely ordered" Khashoggi's killing, four US officials told Reuters news agency.

White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said on Wednesday that Mr Biden would communicate with King Salman, and not directly with the crown prince, who is his son and is considered the de facto ruler in Saudi Arabia. Also, Psaki said, "We've made clear from the beginning that we are going to recalibrate our relationship with Saudi Arabia."

Regional News • Americas • United States
ERCOT board members resign, following disasters power outages in the State of Texas
ERCOT logo
ERCOT logo Credit: ERCOT

Following heavy criticism and public outrage over last week's mass power outage in Texas, six board members of ERCOT (Electric Reliability Council of Texas) will hand in their resignations after receiving relentless harassment and criticisms from victims of the outage.

The outrage was made worse when last week, it was reported that a portion of the board of directors for ERCOT lived outside of the state of Texas.

ERCOT officials have since removed personal information about the directors who did not live in Texas due to the growing harassment.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Johnson & Johnson's single-dose Covid-19 vaccine provides protection against severe infections
Johnson & Johnson's single-dose Covid-19 vaccine provides protection against severe infections

The United States Food and Drug Administration could grant emergency use authorization to Johnson & Johnson's single-dose Covid-19 vaccine as early as Saturday, bringing a third vaccine manufacturer to the United States. J&J submitted Covid vaccine data shows a 66% effectiveness overall (72% in the United States and 64% in South Africa) and prevents 100% of hospitalizations and deaths.