The United States will have enough COVID-19 vaccine for every American adult by the end of May, President Joe Biden said on Tuesday after Merck & Co agreed to make rival Johnson & Johnson's inoculation. The partnership between drug makers, as well as other steps the government is taking to assist J&J, will allow the company to accelerate delivery of 100 million vaccine doses by around a month, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). "One of the things that I learned when I came into office was that Johnson & Johnson was behind in manufacturing and production," Biden said.
Win Myint was arrested on Feb. 1 along with Myanmar's leader Aung San Suu Kyi just hours before the military seized power in a coup. Win Myint is also facing charges over violating protocols to stop the spread of the coronavirus. Lawyer Khin Maung Zaw said Win Myint's trial date is not known.
Geneva [Switzerland], March 3 (ANI/Xinhua): Researchers in Switzerland have launched a training trial to see if sniffer dogs can find out people infected with COVID-19.
Japanese coast guard personnel were searching Wednesday for five crewmembers missing from a Chinese fishing boat that capsized near disputed waters. A patrol plane that was dispatched after a distress call Tuesday spotted the capsized 105-ton Shen Lian Cheng 707 about 330 kilometers (205 miles) north of Ishigaki Island, a southern island near the Japanese-controlled Senkakus. Five of its 10 crew members were rescued Tuesday by another Chinese boat passing nearby, the Japanese coast guard said, quoting information provided by Chinese maritime authorities.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued the most sweeping rollback of coronavirus restrictions of any U.S. state on Tuesday, lifting a mask mandate and saying most businesses may open at full capacity next week. Abbott's executive order comes as many U.S. states and major cities seeing a sharp decline in coronavirus infections and hospitalizations begin to ease the unprecedented lockdowns put in place a year ago. "It is now time to open Texas 100%," Abbott, a first-term Republican, told a news conference.
Washington DC [US], March 3 (ANI/Sputnik): US Secretary of State Antony Blinken plans to deliver a foreign policy speech on Wednesday, the State Department said in a press release.
Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido spoke with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday, the U.S. State Department said, the highest-level U.S. contact with Guaido since President Joe Biden took office on Jan. 20. Washington and dozens of other countries recognized Guaido as Venezuela's rightful leader in January 2019 after Guaido, the leader of the opposition-held National Assembly, invoked the constitution to assume an interim presidency, arguing President Nicolas Maduro's 2018 re-election was fraudulent.
Washington DC [US], March 3 (ANI): Indian-American Neera Tanden on Tuesday withdrew her nomination as Director of the White House Office of Management and Budget after the Democrats failed to secure enough votes in the Senate to secure her confirmation.
The U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee by a unanimous voice vote on Tuesday backed veteran diplomat William Burns to become President Joe Biden's Central Intelligence Agency director, Senator Mark Warner, the Democratic committee chair, said. "The overwhelmingly bipartisan vote in Ambassador Burns’ favor is a testament to the nominee’s unquestioned qualifications for the role, long experience in matters of national security, and laudable commitment to public service," Warner said in a statement. Warner said he hoped the full Senate "will move to confirm Ambassador Burns without any unnecessary delay."
A summit of Southeast Asian states held on Tuesday to discuss the coup in Myanmar failed to find a breakthrough to get the nation back on the path to democracy after last month's military takeover, sources with knowledge of the meeting said. Speaking after foreign ministers from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) ended their virtual meeting, Indonesia's chief envoy Retno Marsudi urged the junta to allow the bloc to resolve escalating tensions. "ASEAN's good intentions and readiness will be meaningless if Myanmar does not open its door."
Myanmar's ambassador to the United Nations in New York has formally staked his claim as the country's legitimate representative while the junta seeks to replace him in a dispute that will likely have to be settled by the world body's 193 member states. Myanmar state television announced on Saturday that Kyaw Moe Tun had been fired for betraying the country, a day after he urged countries to use "any means necessary" to reverse a Feb. 1 coup that ousted the nation's elected leader, Aung San Suu Kyi. But in letters to the U.N. General Assembly President Volkan Bozkir and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken - seen by Reuters on Tuesday - Kyaw Moe Tun said he remains Myanmar's U.N. ambassador.
Southeast Asian foreign ministers urged a halt to violence and the start of talks on a peaceful solution in Myanmar, where the military seized power from an elected government and is escalating its use of mass arrests and deadly force against peaceful protesters. Myanmar's top diplomat briefed other foreign ministers from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations during a video conference Tuesday, according to the meeting's agenda. It was the first meeting of foreign ministers of the 10-member ASEAN since the Feb. 1 coup, when Myanmar's military detained Aung San Suu Kyi and other leaders.
Paris [France], March 3 (ANI/Xinhua): French health authorities on Tuesday reported 22,857 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, sharply up from Monday's 4,703 and higher than the 20,064 daily cases registered a week ago.
Quito [Ecuador], March 3 (ANI/Xinhua): Ecuador on Tuesday reported 358 new cases of infection with the novel coronavirus disease and 17 more deaths from the disease in the last 24 hours, raising the total caseload to 286,725 and the death toll to 11,095.
Health experts in China say their country is lagging in its coronavirus vaccination rollout because it has the disease largely under control, but plans to inoculate 40% of its population by June. Zhong Nanshan, the leader of a group of experts attached to the National Health Commission, said the country has delivered 52.52 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines as of Feb. 28. The target is the first China has offered publicly since it began its mass immunization campaign for key groups in mid-December.
Rio Tinto chairman Simon Thompson said Wednesday he was accountable for the mining giant destroying sacred Indigenous sites in Australia to access iron ore and he will not seek reelection as a board director next year. Thompson’s announcement came after former chief executive Jean-Sebastien Jacques announced his resignation last September over the destruction in May of two rock shelters in Juukan George in Western Australia state that had been inhabited for 46,000 years. The company’s successes in 2020 were “overshadowed by the destruction of the Juukan Gorge shelters ... and, as chairman, I am ultimately accountable for the failings that led to this tragic event,” Thompson said in a statement.
Hong Kong, March 3 (ANI): Hong Kong health authorities on Tuesday night revealed that they are investigating the death of a chronically ill man after he received China's Sinovac vaccine.
The Women’s Rugby World Cup in New Zealand is set to be postponed until 2022 because of continued uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. World Rugby cited the “challenging global COVID-19 landscape” on Tuesday for its recommendation to delay the tournament, scheduled Sept. 18 to Oct. 16. The recommendation will be considered by the Rugby World Cup board and World Rugby executive committee next week.
At least 13 people, 10 of them Mexican nationals, were killed on Tuesday when a tractor-trailer slammed into a Ford Expedition crammed with 25 adults and children in the dusty farming community of Holtville near the U.S.-Mexico border, officials said. Handmade wooden crosses stretched in a line across a patch of dry grass and dirt next to the highway, and a seat covered in what appeared to be blood lay near the SUV, as the desolate highway remained closed Tuesday afternoon. The white tractor trailer cab with yellow trim was still smashed into the wrecked side of the maroon SUV.
Washington [US], March 3 (ANI): The United States would have enough Covid-19 vaccine doses for every adult American by the end of May, said President Joe Biden on Tuesday (local time).
Taipei [Taiwan], March 3 (ANI): Taiwanese students on Tuesday (local time) urged President Tsai Ing-wen's government to take concrete actions to protect Hong Kong political dissidents after 47 pro-democracy figures in the semi-autonomous region were charged last weekend under a new Chinese national security law.
Washington [US], March 3 (ANI): US lawmaker Ilhan Omar on Tuesday introduced a bill to sanction Saudi's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) for his involvement in the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
The Pentagon expressed concern on Tuesday about a U.N. report indicating possible reprocessing of nuclear fuel for bombs by North Korea, and said such activity could raise tensions with Pyongyang. Rear Admiral Michael Studeman, head of intelligence for the U.S. Indo-Pacific command, said North Korean activity highlighted this week by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) could be intended to get the attention of the Biden administration and as a bargaining chip to press for sanctions relief. The administration is currently reviewing U.S.-North Korea policy.
The United States on Tuesday imposed sanctions to punish Russia for what it described as Moscow's attempt to poison opposition leader Alexei Navalny with a nerve agent last year, in President Joe Biden's most direct challenge yet to the Kremlin. The sanctions against seven senior Russian officials, among them the head of its FSB security service, and on 14 entities marked a sharp departure from former President Donald Trump's reluctance to confront Russian President Vladimir Putin.