United States

Law
John McAfee and a consultant indicted on crypto fraud charges
John McAfee and a consultant indicted on crypto fraud charges
Credit: Gage Skidmore from Surprise, AZ, United States of America / via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0)

Software developer and antivirus pioneer John McAfee is to stand trial in the U.S. on charges of cryptocurrency fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering. The Justice Department published the indictment on Friday, and McAfee faces years in prison and heavy fines if convicted.

The 75-year-old was arrested in Spain in October at the behest of U.S. law enforcement officials, who had already filed charges against him for tax evasion and unfairly promoting cryptocurrencies. A statement from McAfee was not initially available. According to U.S. authorities, he remains in custody in Spain.

Science • Animals
Study: low doses of the insecticide, Imidacloprid, cause blindness in insects
Study: low doses of the insecticide, Imidacloprid, cause blindness in insects
Credit: unsplash.com / Damien TUPINIER

New research has identified a mechanism by which low levels of insecticides such as, the neonicotinoid Imidacloprid, could harm the nervous, metabolic and immune system of insects, including those that are not pests, such as our leading pollinators, bees. A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, led by researchers at the University of Melbourne and Baylor College of Medicine, shows that low doses of Imidacloprid trigger neurodegeneration and disrupt vital body-wide functions, including energy production, vision, movement and the immune system, in the vinegar fly, Drosophila melanogaster. "That's an indication of the impact of the insecticide on the function of the brain," said Dr Felipe Martelli, whose PhD work conducted at the University of Melbourne and the Baylor College of Medicine in the laboratory of Professor Hugo Bellen led to the current research paper.

Business • Markets
Square acquires the majority stake of TIDAL in a $297 million deal
Square Logo
Square Logo Credit: Square Inc.

Square, Jack Dorsey’s digital payments company, is acquiring a majority ownership stake in the music streaming service TIDAL. Jay-Z, who bought Tidal in 2015 for $56 million, will join Square’s board of directors.

Jack Dorsey tweeted: "Square is acquiring a majority ownership stake in TIDAL through a new joint venture, with the original artists becoming the second largest group of shareholders, and JAY-Z joining the Square board. Why would a music streaming company and a financial services company join forces?!"

"I said from the beginning that TIDAL was about more than just streaming music, and six years later, it has remained a platform that supports artists at every point in their careers," said Jay-Z.

Science • Space
SpaceX lands Starship for the first time - then it explodes
SpaceX lands Starship for the first time - then it explodes
Credit: Courtesy of YouTube / SpaceX

SpaceX dared another test flight with a Starship on Tuesday (Texas time). The launch and flight of the SN10 were successful. The landing also looked successful at first, but then the rocket exploded. The cause could be methane leaking from the tanks of the brake engines.

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 • Middle East
Missile attack on Iraq airbase used by US forces

The Ain al-Assad airbase in Iraq has become the target of a missile attack. At least ten projectiles hit the military base. Iraqi security forces are investigating the missile attack, a US military spokesperson said.

The base hosts Iraqi forces and troops of the US-led coalition in the fight against the terrorist militia "Islamic State" (IS). The USA did not give any details on possible casualties. Iraqi security forces spoke of "no significant casualties".

The Norwegian army also said there were no casualties among the 30 or so Norwegian soldiers stationed there. All of them were safe, a spokeswoman said, according to the Norwegian news agency NTB.

Business • Health Care
Merck to help produce Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine
Merck to help produce Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine
Credit: Montgomery County Planning Commission, via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

Merck, an American multinational pharmaceutical company and one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world, will help produce Johnson & Johnson's one-shot Covid-19 vaccine, the company announced in a statement.

"Merck [...] announced today it has entered into multiple agreements to support efforts to expand manufacturing capacity and supply of SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 medicines and vaccines," and will "support the manufacturing and supply of Johnson & Johnson’s SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 vaccine," the statement reads.

“We are steadfast in our commitment to contribute to the global response to the pandemic as part of the remarkable efforts of the entire medical and scientific community,” said Mike Nally, executive vice president, Human Health at Merck. “This funding from BARDA will allow us to accelerate our efforts to scale up our manufacturing capacity to enable timely delivery of much-needed medicines and vaccines for the pandemic.”

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.

Business • Consumer & Service
Nike North America chief loses her job - over her son's sneaker resale business
Nike North America chief loses her job - over her son's sneaker resale business
Credit: unsplash.com / Thomas Serer

The son of Ann Hebert, now-former vice president and general manager of its North America division, has according to a Bloomberg report used a credit card in his mother's name to purchase sneakers for his resale business. Hebert has resigned from her post with immediate effect after being with the company for over 25 years.

Further reasons are still unknown at this point.

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 • Europe • Russia
Washington and Brussels have imposed sanctions against Russian officials over Navalny poisoning
Washington and Brussels have imposed sanctions against Russian officials over Navalny poisoning
Credit: Courtesy of Twitter / Christo Grozev

After the US intelligence officials concluded that the Russian government was behind the attack on Navalny, the Biden administration slapped sanctions on Russian individuals and entities

Tuesday's sanctions mark the first of several steps by the Biden administration to "respond to a number of destabilizing actions,'' said one of the White House officials.

Brussels imposed bans on travel and froze the assets in Europe of Alexander Bastrykin, head of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation, Igor Krasnov, the prosecutor general, Viktor Zolotov, head of the National Guard, and Alexander Kalashnikov, head of the Federal Prison Service

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).