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Regional News • Americas • United States
The US expelled 10 Russian diplomats and issues sanctions over SolarWinds hacking attack

The US has announced sanctions against Russian entities and expelled 10 Russian diplomats in response to a hacking attack and election interference.

President Joe Biden's executive order "sends a signal that the United States will impose costs in a strategic and economically impactful manner on Russia if it continues or escalates its destabilising international action," the White House said.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Biden says US to leave Afghanistan on September 11
Biden says US to leave Afghanistan on September 11
Credit: The U.S. Army, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

President Joe Biden announced Wednesday the withdrawal of all United States troops from Afghanistan by September 11, after two decades of fighting militants. The US would miss a May deadline for a pull-out agreed with the Trump administration's Taliban last year.

"It's time to end this forever war," said Biden.

Arts, Entertainment, Culture • Celebrities & Public Figures
Ponzi scheme architect Bernie Madoff dies in prison aged 82
Ponzi scheme architect Bernie Madoff dies in prison aged 82
Credit: U.S. Department of Justice, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Bernard L. Madoff, the con artist behind the largest private Ponzi scheme in history, has died at the age of 82 in federal prison. Madoff bilked thousands of investors, including Steven Spielberg, Fred Wilpon and Kevin Bacon, out of an estimated $65 billion and was convicted in 2009 to 150 years in prison. He defrauded around 37,000 people in 136 countries.

Regional News • Europe
Johnson & Johnson to delay vaccine rollout in Europe
Johnson & Johnson to delay vaccine rollout in Europe
Credit: Ashles Winkler for Pendect

Johnson & Johnson has announced Tuesday it will "proactively delay the rollout of our vaccine in Europe" after six women in the US developed a rare disorder involving blood clots.

"The safety and well-being of the people who use our products is our number one priority. We are aware of an extremely rare disorder involving people with blood clots in combination with low platelets in a small number of individuals who have received our Covid-19 vaccine. The United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are reviewing data involving six reported US cases out of more than 6.8 million doses administered. Out of an abundance of caution, the CDC and FDA have recommended a pause in the use of our vaccine," the company said. "In addition, we have been reviewing these cases with European health authorities. We have made the decision to proactively delay the rollout of our vaccine in Europe. We have been working closely with medical experts and health authorities, and we strongly support the open communication of this information to healthcare professionals and the public."

Science • Medicine
US health agencies recommend pausing Johnson & Johnson's Covid-19 vaccine after blood clots
US health agencies recommend pausing Johnson & Johnson's Covid-19 vaccine after blood clots
Credit: Illustration: Pendect, Ashley Winkler.

After six women developed a rare disorder involving blood clots after being administered the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine, US health agencies have called for an immediate pause of the vaccine.

“Today FDA and @CDCgov issued a statement regarding the Johnson & Johnson #COVID19 vaccine. We are recommending a pause in the use of this vaccine out of an abundance of caution,” the Food and Drug Administration wrote on Twitter.

Technology • Smartphones, Hardware & Gadgets
Next Apple event apparently on April 20, according to Siri
Next Apple event apparently on April 20, according to Siri
Credit: Apple

The date for this Spring's Apple event will take place on April 20, according to Siri. When asked about the date of the next Apple, Siri responded with "The special event is on Tuesday, April 20, at Apple Park in Cupertino, CA. You can get all the details on Apple.com," MacRumors reported.

Technology • Internet & Web
Facebook tests flagging satire articles because users don't recognize them
Facebook tests flagging satire articles because users don't recognize them
Credit: Courtesy of Facebook via Twitter

To help Facebook users better distinguish satire media from real news in the future, the social medium is now introducing a matching marker. Facebook announced the feature on Wednesday, rolling it out only in the U.S. for now.Satire, officials and fans

Posts that originate from officials, fan pages and satire pages will also be marked as such in the future. Some users seem to fall for contributions from satirical magazines like "The Onion" in particular, as they imitate the tone of real news media. Last year, such markings were already introduced for state-controlled media.

Regional News • Americas • United States
B.1.1.7 Covid-19 variant now dominant strain in the US
B.1.1.7 Covid-19 variant now dominant strain in the US
Credit: unsplash.com/Markus Spiske

Dr. Rochelle Walensky, Director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Wednesday that the B.1.1.7 Covid-19 variant is now the most common strain in the United States.

"Based on our most recent estimates from CDC surveillance, the B.1.1.7 variant is now the most common lineage circulating in the United States," Walensky said

Regional News • Americas • United States
Biden announces Covid-19 vaccine eligibility for all US adults by April 19
Joe Biden  stopped by a vaccination clinic at the Virginia Theological Seminary, April 6, 2021
Joe Biden stopped by a vaccination clinic at the Virginia Theological Seminary, April 6, 2021 Credit: The White House, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

President Joe Biden announced Thursday that all US adults will be eligible to receive a Covid-19 vaccine by April 19, two weeks earlier than the initial May 1 date.

"Let me be deadly earnest with you: We aren’t at the finish line. We still have a lot of work to do. We’re still in a life and death race against this virus," Biden cautioned, adding that as "new variants of the virus are spreading and they’re moving quickly, cases are going back up, hospitalizations are no longer declining."

Regional News • Americas • United States
McConnell tells CEOs to "stay out of politics"
Senator Mitch McConnell
Senator Mitch McConnell Credit: Gage Skidmore (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said Monday that CEOs should "stay out of politics" after several companies issued statements regarding the new election law in Georgia.

"My advice to the corporate CEOs of America is to stay out of politics. Don’t pick sides in these big fights," so McConnell. "Corporations will invite serious consequences if they become a vehicle for far-left mobs to hijack our country from outside the constitutional order."

Arts, Entertainment, Culture • Celebrities & Public Figures
Rapper DMX has heart attack
Rapper DMX has heart attack
Credit: Mika-photography, via Wikimedia Commons (cropped) (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0)

The actor and US rapper, DMX is in hospital following a heart attack.

The artists' lawyer says he is unaware of the cause of the heart attack at the time of writing.

Business • Jobs & Careers
Amazon has apologized after the company had denied that its couriers urinate in bottles on the road
Amazon has apologized after the company had denied that its couriers urinate in bottles on the road
Credit: Courtesy of Twitter

The retail company Amazon has apologised for misrepresentations about the working conditions of its couriers. A statement on Twitter, according to which Amazon employees do not have to pee in drink bottles during their delivery rounds, has turned out to be an "own goal", the company explained in a statement and apologised.

Previously, US Congressman Mark Pocan, a representative of the Democratic Party in the House of Representatives, had expressed his outrage on Twitter about Amazon couriers being forced to urinate in bottles, among other things. Amazon responded in a supposedly glib manner: "You don't really believe the thing about peeing in bottles, do you? If that were true, no one would work for us," it said in a reply to the tweet.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Over 161m Covid-19 vaccine doses administered in the US
Over 161m Covid-19 vaccine doses administered in the US
Credit: Ashley Winkler for Pendect

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said that 161,688,422 doses of Covid-19 vaccines have been administered in the United States as of Saturday, April 2.

104,213,478 people have received at least the first dose, and 59,858,146 people have been fully vaccinated.

Regional News • Americas • United States
US economy added 916,00 jobs in March
US economy added 916,00 jobs in March
Credit: Ed Brown, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

The U.S. economy added approx. 916,000 jobs in March, with the unemployment rate dropping to 6 percent compared to 6.2% in February, the Labor Department reported Friday. The March job increase was the best since August 2020.

Law
Brother of Honduras president to serve life in prison for drug trafficking
Brother of Honduras president to serve life in prison for drug trafficking

Juan Antonio Hernández, known as "Tony," has been sentenced in the United States to life in prison plus 30 years for cocaine smuggling, among other charges. The 42-year-old is the brother of the president of Honduras, Juan Orlando Hernández.

According to the prosecutor's office in New York, the convicted man's drug trafficking proceeds of at least $138.5 million (about 118 million euros) will be confiscated.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Biden administration unveils $2 trillion American Jobs Plan
Biden administration unveils $2 trillion American Jobs Plan
Credit: The White House, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

President Joe Biden introduced The American Jobs Plan – a roughly $2 trillion infrastructure package – on Wednesday in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The plan included spendings for the modernisation of infrastructure such as roads, bridges and rail systems, affordable housing, manufacturing, community-based care for the elderly as well as clean energy.

"It's not a plan that tinkers around the edges," Biden said in a speech in Pittsburgh. "It's a once-in-a-generation investment in America, unlike anything we've seen or done since we built the interstate highway system and the space race decades ago. In fact, it's the largest American jobs investment since World War II."

Regional News • Americas • United States
15 million Covid-19 vaccine doses rendered unusable after mishap during Johnson & Johnson vaccine production
15 million Covid-19 vaccine doses rendered unusable after mishap during Johnson & Johnson vaccine production
Credit: New York National Guard, Flickr, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Due to a manufacturing error, a batch of Johnson & Johnson's (J&J) Covid 19 vaccine is unusable. There was a problem with a drug substance for its vaccine that did not meet quality standards at Emergent Biosolutions' manufacturing facility, the US pharmaceutical company said on Wednesday.

The error had been reported to the FDA and more staff were now assigned to monitor production.

Transportation • Cars & Automobiles
VW admits to "Voltswagen" rebranding was a stunt, issues apology
VW admits to "Voltswagen" rebranding was a stunt, issues apology
Credit: Volkswagen, via Twitter

Volkswagen (VW) has issued a statement saying "Volkswagen of America will not be changing its name to Voltswagen" after announcing the rebranding on March 30.

"The renaming was designed to be an announcement in the spirit of April Fool's Day, highlighting the launch of the all-electric ID.4 SUV and signaling our commitment to bringing electric mobility to all," a spokesperson of the company told NPR.

The stunt had not been taken well by both consumers and investors.

“Volkswagen of America developed and implemented a marketing campaign to draw attention — with a wink — to Volkswagen’s e-offensive and the market launch of ID.4 in the USA,” the company further said in a statement. “The intention was to generate awareness of an important corporate and industry issue in the country. We regret that the announcement rollout may have upset some people.”

Transportation • Cars & Automobiles
Volkswagen is rebranding as "Voltswagen" in the US
Volkswagen is rebranding as "Voltswagen" in the US
Credit: VW

Automotive manufacturing Volkswagen has announced Tuesday that it is rebranding its US branch to Voltswagen.

"We know, 66 is an unusual age to change your name, but we’ve always been young at heart. Introducing Voltswagen. Similar to Volkswagen, but with a renewed focus on electric driving. Starting with our all-new, all-electric SUV the ID.4 - available today. #Voltswagen #ID4," the company wrote on Twitter.

The automotive company has since announced that they won't rebrand Volkswagen to Voltswagen.

Regional News • Americas • United States
US CDC director warns of potential fourth Covid-19 wave
US CDC director warns of potential fourth Covid-19 wave
Credit: The White House, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

The head of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Dr. Rochelle Walensky issued a warning of a potential fourth Covid-19 wave, as the country sees a rise in infections, hospitalizations and deaths.

"I’m going to lose the script and I’m going to reflect on the recurring feeling I have of impending doom. Right now I’m scared," Walensky said during a press conference. "We do not have the luxury of inaction. For the health of our country, we must work together now to prevent a fourth surge."

Dr. Anthony Fauci urged Americans to "hang in there", adding it "will be a race between the vaccine and what’s going on with the dynamics of the outbreak, and we can win this by just hanging in there a bit longer."