SEATTLE (AP) _ Two women were struck by a car whose driver sped through a protest-related closure on a freeway in Seattle, authorities said early Saturday.
A 24-year-old woman from Seattle suffered critical, life-threatening injuries and a 32-year-old woman from Bellingham had serious injuries, Washington State Patrol Capt. Ron Mead said.
The driver, a 27-year-old man from Seattle, was in custody, Mead said, adding that impairment was not considered a factor. Charges remain under investigation, as does the motive and point of entry onto the interstate, but Mead said the unnamed man faced multiple felony charges and was suspected to have come on the wrong way on a ramp.
Mead said troopers did not know whether it was a targeted attack.
Video on social media showed a white car traveling at a high rate of speed navigate around two vehicles positioned across the lanes as a barrier. The car careened toward a small crowd of protesters on the freeway, striking two people who flew into the air before landing on the ground.
A nearly two-hour-long Facebook livestream captioned “Black Femme March takes I-5” from Diaz Love ended abruptly; with about 15 seconds left, shouts of “Car!” can be heard as the camera starts to shake before screeching tires and the sound of impact are heard. The Associated Press could not immediately reach her.
Seattle has been the site of prolonged unrest following the May 25 police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, which sparked nationwide protests. Dozens of people were arrested this past week in connection with protests as demonstrations continue after authorities cleared the “Capitol Hill Occupied Protest” zone Wednesday morning.
Mead said at the press conference that protesters had shut down the interstate for 19 days in a row. He emphasized that the freeway is “simply not a safe place” for pedestrians, and said he hoped protesters would cease what he termed “unlawful behavior” in blocking the interstate.
“My hope is, as a result of this tragedy, protesters will reconsider their desire to be on the interstate because I cannot guarantee their safety, plain and simple,” Mead said.
Protesters were on the freeway for more than an hour before the car drove around the blockade around 1:36 a.m., Mead said.
The state patrol tweeted out two pictures of the driver’s car, a white Jaguar with significant damage to its bumper and windshield.
Seattle police tweeted that they were assisting with the scene, as southbound lanes of the freeway remained closed for investigation.
Up to half of the populations in countries including the United States, Germany and the Czech Republic say they may not get any new coronavirus vaccine that is developed.
A vaccine against the deadly virus that has swept the globe over the last six months is seen as possibly the only way for the world to return to normal after the pandemic, and scientists in hundreds of different countries are working as fast as they can to try to produce one.
However, experts have estimated that at least 70 per cent of people will have to get the vaccine in order for it to stop coronavirus, a figure that appears to be some way off based on the latest numbers.
Professor Heidi Larson, anthropologist and director of the Vaccine Confidence Project at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said: “It’s going to be a challenge, particularly because in general, populations are more anxious about new vaccines and that’s understandable.
“But the good news is we do have time before we, hopefully, get a vaccine, so I think that we have to use that.”
In the United States, a number of polls have shown that only around 50 per cent are committed to getting a coronavirus vaccine.
This week, the country’s leading public health expert Dr Anthony Fauci told CNN he believed that the US was “unlikely” to reach herd immunity as a result of this, inspired by the “general anti-science, anti-authority, anti-vaccine feeling”.
In Germany, a poll this week by YouGov found that only one in two Germans would definitely get vaccinated if there was a jab available, and one in five said they definitely would not. A protest was held in Ukraine on Friday over the potential for compulsory coronavirus vaccinations.
The picture is similar in many different nations, and has been linked in part to the growing influence of the so-called anti-vaxxer movements, whose efforts persuading parents not to immunise their children against diseases like measles have caused major outbreaks in the last two years in countries including the the United States, the United Kingdom and the Czech Republic, where the illness was thought to have been eliminated.
Dr. Jiří Černý, a leading virologist at the Faculty of Tropical AgriSciences at the Czech University of Life Sciences in Prague, the Czech Republic – where recent research found that only 49 per cent of people would take a coronavirus vaccine – said mandatory vaccination should be considered.
“It is probable that even if a high quality vaccine is available, the number of people who get voluntarily vaccinated in Czechia will be rather low, which is not sufficient to develop herd immunity,” he warned.
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Two US aircraft carriers were conducting exercises in the disputed South China Sea on Saturday, the US navy said, as China also carried out military drills that have been criticised by the Pentagon and neighbouring states.
China and the United States have accused each other of stoking tension in the strategic waterway at a time of strained relations over everything from coronavirus to trade to Hong Kong.
The USS Nimitz and USS Ronald Reagan were carrying out operations and exercises in the South China Sea “to support a free and open Indo-Pacific”, the navy said in a statement.
It did not say exactly where the exercises were being conducted in the South China Sea, which extends for some 1,500km (900 miles) and 90 per cent of which is claimed by China despite the protests of its neighbours.
“The purpose is to show an unambiguous signal to our partners and allies that we are committed to regional security and stability,” Rear Admiral George M. Wikoff was quoted as saying by the Wall Street Journal, which first reported the exercises.
Rear Admiral Wikoff, commander of the strike group led by the Ronald Reagan, said the exercises were not a response to those being conducted by China, which the Pentagon criticised this week as “counter-productive to efforts at easing tensions and maintaining stability”.
China dismissed the US criticism of its drills on Friday and suggested the United States was to blame for increasing tensions.
US carriers have long carried out exercises in the Western Pacific, including in the South China Sea, according to the US navy. At one point recently, the United States had three carriers in the region.
China announced last week that it had scheduled five days of drills starting on July 1 near the Paracel Islands, which are claimed by both Vietnam and China.
Vietnam and the Philippines have also criticised the planned Chinese drills, warning they could create tension in the region and impact Beijing’s relationship with its neighbours.
The United States accuses China of trying to intimidate Asian neighbours who might want to exploit its extensive oil and gas reserves. Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam also lay claim to parts of the South China Sea, through which about $3 trillion of trade passes each year.
The US statement said the naval exercises gave commanders the flexibility and capabilities “that only the US Navy can command”.
Speaking to a largely maskless crowd at Mt Rushmore, President Donald Trump said on Saturday that protesters have waged “a merciless campaign to wipe out our history” amid demonstrations against racial injustice and police brutality.
The sharp rebuke in a holiday address on Friday (local time) to mark the nation’s independence follows weeks of protests across the nation, sparked by the Memorial Day killing of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis.
Some demonstrators have also destroyed or damaged Confederate monuments and statues honouring those who have benefited from slavery.
“This movement is openly attacking the legacies of every person on Mt Rushmore,” Mr Trump said, adding that some on the political left hope to “defame our heroes, erase our values, and indoctrinate our children”.
Mr Trump said he would establish a national garden of American heroes, which he described as “a vast outdoor park that will feature the statues of the greatest Americans who ever lived”.
Mr Trump led into the announcement by paying tribute to a litany of American icons, from political figures like Ulysses S. Grant and Frederick Douglass to entertainers like Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra.
The executive order released on Friday by the White House said the garden would feature statues of several presidents as well as other historic notables, including Davy Crockett, Amelia Earhart, Billy Graham, Harriet Tubman and Orville and Wilbur Wright.
Mr Trump’s speech, intended to rev up his conservative base, comes as Mr Trump has seen his standing slump over his handling of the coronavirus pandemic and response to protests and unrest around the country.
UK hit by backlash from ‘excluded’ Portugal as it unveils 74 quarantine-free destinations for holidaymakers
Britain faced a backlash last night from Portugal, one of our most popular tourist destinations, after ditching it from a list of 74 countries and territories that English holidaymakers can visit without quarantine.
Canada, the USA, China and Thailand were also excluded from the “amber” and “green” lists of countries to which English holidaymakers can fly and avoid quarantine on their return to the UK from Friday July 10.
Among those included on the lists were short-haul destinations such as Spain, France, Italy, Turkey, Greece, Croatia and Cyprus, as well as long-haul locations including Australia, Barbados, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand and Vietnam.
However, Portugal, where the Algarve is rated the third most popular European holiday spot for Britons, was left off because of a recent spike in Coronavirus cases in and around Lisbon.
Portugal’s foreign ministry said in a tweet it was “absurd” that Britain imposed quarantine on travellers coming from Portugal despite having 28 times more deaths from the coronavirus.
Pressure on Prince Andrew grows as Epstein victim claims she was introduced to him in paedophile’s home
The Duke of York was under mounting pressure on Friday night after an alleged victim of Jeffrey Epstein claimed in a new lawsuit that the prince was introduced to her in the paedophile financier’s house before she was raped there in 2010.
The civil claim was filed on Thursday, the same day that Ghislaine Maxwell, the Duke’s close friend, was arrested by the FBI and charged with grooming under-age girls sexually abused by Epstein.
US prosecutors want to interview Prince Andrew over his friendship with Epstein and Ms Maxwell and have applied for official assistance from the Home Office to do so. The Telegraph understands that the prince could face humiliating questions over whether he was ever aware that Epstein “possessed sex toys or devices”.
Palace insiders accept that any hope the Duke had of reviving his Royal duties, curtailed after a disastrous interview with the BBC’s Newsnight last year, now lie in tatters.
Ms Maxwell is charged with two counts of perjury relating to testimony given under oath in a civil lawsuit brought against her by Virginia Roberts Giuffre, who was photographed with the Duke at Ms Maxwell’s home in central London in 2001.
A deadly rabbit virus nicknamed “bunny ebola” is spreading across the southwest US, killing thousands of wild and pet rabbits.
Outbreaks of the rare and highly contagious virus have been reported in seven states across America’s Sun Belt, including Arizona, California and Texas.
The disease, RHDV2, has been referred to as “bunny ebola” by veterinarians because it replicates the severe bleeding and organ failure the ebola virus causes in humans.
In many cases the virus is only detected after an animal dies and its nose leaks blood.
The US Department of Agriculture confirmed cases of the RHDV2 in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Texas beginning in April.
A mutation of coronavirus able to spread more easily may have emerged, America’s top infectious disease expert has warned as Texas made mask-wearing in public mandatory.
Dr Anthony Fauci, who sits on the White House coronavirus task force, said there is data to suggest the existence of a new mutation of Covid-19 which is more “transmissible”.
He cautioned that scientists are still trying to confirm its existence and it does not appear to be more damaging for people who catch that version.
However the potential existence of a mutation which spreads more easily is a cause for concern as the United States grapples with record highs of new daily coronavirus cases.
Texas, one of the states seeing a surge in both case numbers and hospitalisations, announced new restrictions ordering the use of face masks in certain situations.
Texans in counties with 20 or more Covid-19 cases – the vast majority of the state – must have their nose and mouth covered in outdoor public spaces or a building open to the public.
Herman Cain, a 2012 Republican presidential candidate, has been diagnosed with CVOID-19 and admitted to an Atlanta-area hospital, according to a statement on Thursday on his Twitter feed.
Cain attended last month’s Tulsa, Oklahoma, rally for President Donald Trump, supporting his fellow Republican at an event where many attendees crowded close together without wearing face masks to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
“Trump Tulsa Rally – I was there! The atmosphere was exciting and inspiring!” Cain wrote on Twitter after the June 20 rally. He also tweeted a maskless photograph of himself at the rally surrounded by fellow Trump supporters also not wearing masks.
Cain was informed on Monday that he had tested positive for the coronavirus. By Wednesday, he had developed symptoms serious enough to require hospitalization. At 74, he is part of the age group most at risk for severe COVID-19.
Prince Andrew named in new lawsuit filed by woman claiming she met Duke before being raped by Jeffrey Epstein aged 17
Prince Andrew has been named in a lawsuit filed in the US on Thursday by a woman claiming she was introduced to the Duke shortly before being raped by Jeffrey Epstein.
Caroline Kaufman alleges that she was sexually abused by Epstein in 2010 when she was 17 at the late financier’s New York mansion while the Duke of York was visiting, in a civil suit filed on the same day as charges were brought against Epstein’s associate Ghislaine Maxwell.
Ms Kaufman, now 26, said she was invited to the house for a “modelling interview”, according to a suit seen by The Telegraph that was filed at the Manhattan Federal Court against Epstein’s $630 million estate.
The allegations would suggest Prince Andrew had contact with Epstein after he was convicted in 2008 by a Florida state court of procuring an underage girl for prostitution and add to mounting pressure on the Duke to address allegations centering on his contact with Epstein and his former girlfriend Ms Maxwell.