United States Congress

Regional News • Americas • United States
Trump halts Covid-19 budget stimulus relief talks, reverses course shortly after and urges Congress to approve relief measures
Trump halts Covid-19 budget stimulus relief talks, reverses course shortly after and urges Congress to approve relief measures
Credit: @realDonaldTrump via Twitter

President Donald Trump has halted negotiations with Democratic lawmakers over a Covid-19 relief bill until after the election.

"I have instructed my representatives to stop negotiating until after the election when, immediately after I win, we will pass a major Stimulus Bill that focuses on hardworking Americans and Small Business," Trump announced on Twitter. The US stocks fell by more than 2% after the announcement.

Shortly after, Trump tweeted he "was ready to sign right now" if "sent a Stand Alone Bill for Stimulus Checks ($1,200), they will go out to our great people IMMEDIATELY."

Regional News • Europe • United Kingdom
The UK admits bill to change Brexit agreement would "break international law"
European Flag at Downing Street
European Flag at Downing Street Credit: Frederick Tubiermont

The United Kingdom minister for Northern Ireland, Brandon Lewis, announced to the Parliament Tuesday that the government would be willing to "break international law in a very specific and limited way" by ignoring terms of the Brexit agreement with the European Union.

Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Union Commission, said tweeted: "Very concerned about announcements from the British government on its intentions to breach the Withdrawal Agreement. This would break international law and undermines trust. Pacta sunt servanda = the foundation of prosperous future relations."

US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi stated: "If the U.K. violates that international treaty and Brexit undermines the Good Friday accord, there will be absolutely no chance of a U.S.-U.K. trade agreement passing the Congress."

Regional News • Americas • United States
Michael Cohen paints Trump as a "master manipulator" in tell-all memoir, White House calls it "fan fiction"
Cover of "Disloyal: A Memoir: The True Story of the Former Personal Attorney to President Donald J. Trump"
Cover of "Disloyal: A Memoir: The True Story of the Former Personal Attorney to President Donald J. Trump" Credit: Skyhorse Publishing, via Amazon

Michael Cohen's tell-all book "Disloyal: A Memoir: The True Story of the Former Personal Attorney to President Donald J. Trump" paints President Donald Trump as a "master manipulator" and someone who has "low opinions on Black folks" but an admiration for "President Vladimir V. Putin’s willingness to treat Russia like a personal business."

The White House has since called the book "fan fiction" and White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said in a statement that "Michael Cohen is a disgraced felon and disbarred lawyer who lied to Congress [...] and it’s unsurprising to see his latest attempt to profit off of lies."

Cohen's book will be released on September 8.

"He shows Trump’s relentless willingness to lie, exaggerate, mislead, or manipulate. Trump emerges as a man without a soul—a man who courts evangelicals and then trashes them, panders to the common man, but then rips off small business owners, a con man who will do or say absolutely anything to win, regardless of the cost to his family, his associates, or his country," so the book's summary.

Health
AstraZeneca to distribute 2 billion doses of Covid-19 vaccine at no profit
AstraZeneca Manufacturing
AstraZeneca Manufacturing Credit: AstraZeneca

AstraZeneca, which will produce the promising Covid-19 vaccine developed by the University of Oxford, announced Tuesday that it will distribute 2 billion doses at cost.

The announcement was made by Menelas Pangalos, executive vice president of the company, in a virtual meeting before an investigative subcommittee of the Energy and Commerce Committee of the US Congress.

Regional News • Americas
Members of Congress write open letter to Canada calling for re-opening of border
Members of Congress write open letter to Canada calling for re-opening of border
Credit: Twitter via Brian Higgins

The Canadian Public Safety Minister Bill Blair has been addressed by 29 bipartisan members of the United States Congress in a call to plan the re-opening of the US-Canadian border.

In the letter, the members of Congress ask "that the United States and Canada immediately craft a comprehensive framework for phased reopening of the border based on objective metrics and accounting for the varied circumstances across border regions" stating that they "understand the importance of prioritizing the safety of our communities as we all navigate the complex calculation of minimizing public health risks and resuming economic activity. However, the social and economic partnership between our two nations necessitates a clear pathway forward".

Canada’s Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland has responded with a statement that the "absolute priority" is the health and safety of Canadians adding that "Decisions about Canada's border are made by Canadians, for Canadians".

The current closure and measures are set to expire on July 21st.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Roger Stone commuted by Trump, no prison time
Roger Stone
Roger Stone Credit: Victoria Pickering (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

The president of the United States Donald Trump has commuted his long time ally Roger Stone days before he was scheduled to go to prison.

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany has stated that "Roger Stone is now a free man" adding that there allegedly was "never any collusion between the Trump Campaign, or the Trump Administration, with Russia". Stone was sentenced to prison as a part of the investigation of Russia's interference in the 2016 election and possible collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign over lying to Congress, witness tampering and obstruction.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Senator announces that United States have officially withdrawn from World Health Organization

The United States Senator Bob Menendez has announced via his Twitter account that the United States Congress has been informed that the President of the United States Donald Trump has officially withdrawn the United States from the World Health Organization.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Anthony Fauci warns of severe rise in Covid-19 cases if country doesn't take action
Anthony Fauci warns of severe rise in Covid-19 cases if country doesn't take action
Credit: The White House from Washington, DC (Public Domain)

Dr Anthony Fauci warned Congress on Tuesday that, if the country doesn't take any action quickly against the current rise of Covid-19, the situation in the United States "could get very bad."

"We're going in the wrong direction," so Fauci. "We are now having 40-plus thousand new cases a day. I would not be surprised if we go up to 100,000 a day if this does not turn around."

Fauci attributes the surge in new cases to people not following guidelines as well as lifting restrictions too soon and too quickly. He further urges younger people to not think that they are "invulnerable" to the disease.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Nancy Pelosi demands answers for "congress and the country" on Russian bounty operation
Nancy Pelosi at #ProtectOurCare, 2019
Nancy Pelosi at #ProtectOurCare, 2019 Credit: Senate Democrats / CC BY (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

On Monday, Nancy Pelosi has asked the Trump administration to brief all members of the House on recent reports that Russia offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants to kill U.S. troops in Afghanistan. Trump has denied he had any knowledge of the Russian bounty operation.

In her letter, Pelosi wrote that both "Congress and the country need answers now" and that "Congress needs to know what the intelligence community knows about this significant threat to American troops and our allies and what options are available to hold Russia accountable."

According to Kayleigh McEnany, White House press secretary, members of the congress will be briefed on Monda,y but it's uncertain whether the brief would be open to all members.

Regional News • Americas • United States
United States congressman launches investigation on why Nigel Farage was at Trump rally despite Covid-19 travel ban
Screenshot of Nigel Farage's Tweet, announcing his arrival in the United States
Screenshot of Nigel Farage's Tweet, announcing his arrival in the United States Credit: @nigel_farage via Twitter

The former member of the European Parliament and former leader of the UK Independence Party Nigel Farage has attended the Donald Trump Rally in Tulsa. United States congressman Bennie G Thompson who chairs the committee on homeland security has now requested all documents and information on why the politician has been allowed to travel to the United States despite the ban on all travel from the United Kingdom due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Farage had gotten an exception under the "national interest" clause.

Technology • Internet & Web
IBM announces that it will stop working on facial recognition technology

The IBM CEO Arvind Krishna has announced in a letter to the US Congress that IBM will no longer offer software for general-purpose facial recognition and analysis. In addition to not selling the software, IBM will stop developing or researching such technology. In the letter, Krishna stated that "IBM firmly opposes and will not condone uses of any technology, including facial recognition technology offered by other vendors, for mass surveillance, racial profiling, violations of basic human rights and freedoms, or any purpose which is not consistent with our values and Principles of Trust and Transparency"

Regional News • Americas • United States
Fires near White House in third night of D.C. protests
George Floyd protests in Washington DC, Lafayette Square on May 30
George Floyd protests in Washington DC, Lafayette Square on May 30 Credit: Rosa Pineda / CC BY-SA (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

As the protests in Washington, D.C. entered into the third night, multiple fires were set near the White House. A fire was started in the lobby of the AFL-CIO, American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations, and on two locations at Lafayette Square. Police have also responded to further fires across the city. Earlier D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser has announced a citywide curfew. Protestors have also damaged buildings and cars. 

In response to the ongoing nearby protests, the White House turned off its external lights. 

Regional News • Americas • United States
Rick Bright to testify before Congress, warning of "darkest winter" in modern US history
Joint Session of Congress, 2009
Joint Session of Congress, 2009 Credit: whitehouse.gov via wikimedia / Lawrence Jackson (Public Domain) (Creative Commons CC0 Waiver)

Doctor Rick Bright – immunologist, public health official former director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority – is about to testify before Congress, stating the US government and the Trump administration were ill-prepared for the Covid-19 pandemic. Bright stated in his written testimony that the US “missed early warning signals” and that he "faced hostility and marginalization from HHS officials" when warning the administration about shortages of medical supplies.

Bright also stated that "without clear planning and implementation of the steps that I and other experts have outlined, 2020 will be darkest winter in modern history".

Bright filed a whistleblower complaint after being removed from his position for criticising Trump's promotion of the drug chloroquine.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Members of Congress got briefed by US intelligence that Russia was trying to interfere in 2020 elections

The members of the US Congress reportedly have been warned by US intelligence officials that Russia was trying to interfere in the 2020 election campaign. The interference was directed to favor Republican President Donald Trump.