(AP) – Russia is sending a plane with medical supplies such as masks to help the U.S. fight the coronavirus pandemic. The plane will arrive today after President Trump accepted an offer earlier this week from Russian President Vladimir Putin to send personal protective equipment and other gear.
The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs tweeted a photo of its largest cargo aircraft filled with boxes of masks and equipment to “help save the lives of American citizens.”
Trump Administration officials say the U.S. will immediately put items to use that are approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
(Washington, DC) – Lawmakers are pressing CDC Director Robert Redfield about the growing coronavirus threat.
During a House hearing, Connecticut Democrat Rosa DeLauro stressed that it is a real and growing crisis. She argued that the U.S. is behind the curve on the availability and distribution of coronavirus test kits. Redfield said health officials are working hard to push accurate tests out as quickly as possible. He cited a government “regulatory process” that had to be navigated.
Oklahoma Republican Tom Cole said a “deadly new disease is just a plane ride away.” He noted that there is a long road ahead with many unknowns.
New York Democrat Nita Lowey called the coronavirus crisis an emergency and criticized the Trump administration’s response.
Meantime, California Democrat Barbara Lee noted that store shelves have been stripped of hand sanitizer and said many people need it if they can’t get to a source of hot water and soap. Redfield said he could not address shortages in the consumer supply chain but he vowed to look into it.
The number of deaths in the United States from the coronavirus is topping 100. West Virginia reported its first case of the virus making the total number of cases in the U.S. is just over 58-hundred. A large majority are being reported in New York and Washington state. Cases have now been confirmed in all 50 states and Puerto Rico.
Illinois reported its first death today as a result of the virus, joining 18 total states. Nearly 85-percent of those who have died were older than 60 and about 45-percent were older than 80. Of the first 100 reported fatalities, many people appear to have had underlying health conditions including diabetes and kidney disease.
(Washington, DC-AP) – Democrats are angry that congressional leaders were not briefed before the U.S. airstrike that killed a top Iranian military leader in Iraq.
Lawmakers are expected to get a classified briefing on the incident this week. The briefing will likely be conducted by CIA Director Gina Haspel, Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
Meantime, House Democrats are planning a vote this week on a war powers resolution aimed at limiting President Trump’s military actions on Iran. The House resolution would have little chance of passage in the Republican-led Senate.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the airstrike endangered U.S. service-members and diplomats by “risking a serious escalation of tensions with Iran.” The House resolution would have little chance of passage in the Republican-led Senate.
(Washington, DC-AP) – President Trump is defending his decision to cancel retaliatory airstrikes against Iran. During an interview for NBC’s Meet the Press, Trump said a plan was “ready to go, subject to my approval.”
He noted that he called it off with ten minutes to spare after learning the strike would cause about 150 Iranian deaths. Trump said he didn’t think it was proportionate to Iran’s downing of an unmanned U.S. military drone over the Strait of Hormuz this week.
(Washington, DC-AP) — The U.S. is showing off its military might in a warning towards Iran. National Security Advisor John Bolton said in a statement that the U.S. is deploying a carrier strike group and bombers to the Middle East.
He says the presence of the U.S. military will send a message to the Iranian government that any attack on U.S. interests or allies “will be met with unrelenting force.” He said that while the U.S. doesn’t seek war with Iran, it’s fully prepared to respond to any attack by Iran or its proxies.
The move comes after a series of rocket strikes against Israel by forces in the Gaza Strip that are allied with Iran.
(AP) — Israel is hoping to become one of four nations to land a spacecraft on the surface of the moon. A small Israeli spacecraft is expected to touch down this afternoon in what would be the first privately funded mission to land on the moon.
The Beresheet (In the Beginning) spacecraft is set to land in the lunar plane known as the Sea of Serenity between 3:00 and 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time.
The spacecraft sent back images of the moon’s far side last week. A successful landing will put Israel in the exclusive club that now includes the U.S., Russia, and China.
(Washington, DC-AP) – The McCain family announced Friday that he was stopping medical treatment for an aggressive form of brain cancer. He began chemotherapy treatment in July 2017 and has been absent from Washington since December. He spent the remaining time at his ranch in Arizona. McCain, known as a moderate conservative, was a retired Navy captain and POW during the Vietnam War.
The abuse he suffered while in captivity which included being hung by his arms from he ceiling, was the reason mobility was restricted in his upper limbs.
McCain’s bomber was hit by a surface-to-air missile on Oct. 26, 1967, destroying the aircraft’s right wing. According to McCain, the plane entered an “inverted, almost straight-down spin,” and he ejected.
But the sheer force of the ejection broke his right leg and both arms, knocking him unconscious, the report said. McCain came to as he landed in a lake, but burdened by heavy equipment, he sank straight to the bottom. Able to kick to the surface momentarily for air, he somehow managed to activate his life preserver with his teeth.
Once he reached the surface, he was pulled ashore by some North Vietnamese, the account said.
As his captors tore at his clothes in the wake of the crash, McCain recalls realizing the extent of his injuries. When he noticed the injuries to his right leg –- which he says had fractured at the knee –- one of his captors slammed a rifle butt into his right shoulder, shattering it, the account said. He was then bayoneted in the abdomen and foot.Over the next few days, he “lapsed from conscious to unconsciousness” while the North Vietnamese interrogated him, he said. “I refused to give them anything except my name, rank, serial number and date of birth,” McCain said in the U.S. News report. “I was in such a bad shape that when they hit me it would knock me unconscious,” he said.
Though initially refusing to give McCain medical treatment, the North Vietnamese, upon discovering that McCain’s father was an admiral in the Navy, decided to give him medical care, according to U.S. News. As word got around of McCain’s imprisonment and his father’s high military rank, several high ranking North Vietnamese officers came to the prison to observe McCain. Vietnamese surgeons operated on McCain’s broken leg, damaging several ligaments in the process. To this day, there is a noticeable limp in McCain’s step.
After receiving less than adequate treatment, McCain says he was moved to a prison camp known as “The Plantation” and locked in a cell with George “Bud” Day and Norris Overly, two Air Force majors. Day, who survived the ordeal, said of McCain: “He was in this great big white case, and his hair was snow white. He just looked like he was absolutely on the verge of death,” the report quoted him as saying.
SOLITARY CONFINEMENT AND TORTURE
When he was moved into solitary confinement in March 1968 and when his father was named commander-in-chief of all US Pacific forces several months later, McCain’s troubles were just beginning. The North Vietnamese hoped to score a propaganda victory by offering McCain an early release. McCain has said he refused the offer on the condition that he would only accept if every man captured before him was released as well. When McCain was brought to the senior North Vietnamese officer -– a man he refers to as “The Cat” –- he refused the offer of an early release yet again.
McCain says his torture began in August of 1968. “For the next four days, I was beaten every two or three hours by different guards. My left arm was broken again and my ribs were cracked,” he said according to U.S. News. The North Vietnamese wanted a confession for crimes committed against the North Vietnamese people. After holding out for four days, McCain, at the point of suicide, agreed to write a confession. Looking back on his decision, McCain reflected “I felt just terrible about it… Every man has his breaking point. I had reached mine,” he said, according to the report.
McCain notes that toward the end of 1969, the treatment which he and his fellow POWs received became more tolerable. He reports of torture ended around October of 1969 and his solitary confinement concluded in March 1970. “Aside from bad situations now and then, 1971 and 1972 was a sort of coasting period,” McCain told U.S. News. After the signing of the Paris Peace Accords on Jan. 27, 1973, putting an end to the Vietnam War, McCain was released on March 14, 1973.
He’s leaving behind a long political legacy. Republican McCain was a conservative icon in the Senate for three decades. He also relished a reputation as a political maverick and was always willing to work with Republicans and Democrats. One of McCain’s top achievements was passage of a bipartisan campaign finance reform bill in 2002. Key provisions of the bill were later struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court. McCain also led bipartisan efforts to reform the U.S. immigration system. The Senate passed a sweeping immigration bill in 2013 but the House refused to take it up.
McCain served two terms in the U.S. House before being elected to the Senate. He ran for president in 2000 but could not get past George W. Bush in the Republican primaries. McCain tried again in 2008 and became the Republican presidential nominee. He lost the general election to Democrat Barack Obama.It was during that campaign that another example of McCain’s character was displayed. During a rally, one of his supporter was asking a question and preceded it by speaking disparagingly about Barack Obama. McCain took the mic and refuted the woman’s claims and clarified that he may not agree with Barack on some of the issues but that he was a good man.
McCain was a frequent traveler to Iraq and Afghanistan and was a harsh critic of Obama’s policies in both war-torn countries. McCain became chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee in 2015.
McCain died Saturday following a battle with aggressive brain cancer. He’ll be given a full funeral at the Washington National Cathedral before his burial in Annapolis, Maryland, at the U.S. Naval Academy. McCain will be the 13th former Senator to lie in state at the national capitol. His office said the official schedule would be released once all the arrangements are finalized. Arizona Governor Doug Ducey has ordered all flags there to be flown at half-staff.
(USA) – The country is heating up as the Fourth of July approaches. A dangerous heat wave is stretching from Arizona to Maine, with heat advisories in effect particularly in the Midwest and Northeast.
The peak of the heatwave is set to be between July 1st and the Fourth of July. Over 50-percent of the lower 48 states will see temperatures above 90-degrees Fahrenheit. Cities like Kansas City, St. Louis, Chicago, Detroit, New York City, Philadelphia, Washington, DC and Nashville could see temperatures reach or exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
(SL) – Chinese investment in the U.S. has dropped 92 percent in the first five months of 2018. Around one-point-eight billion dollars had been invested as of May, the lowest amount in seven years. That’s according to a report out last week by foreign investment research firm Rhodium.
The drop comes as trade tensions have escalated between Beijing and Washington, with billions of dollars worth of tariffs slapped on each side. Donald Trump has complained repeatedly about what he says are unfair trade practices by China, and scrutiny on possible Chinese deals has increased under his administration.