China announced on Monday retaliatory sanctions against three senior Republican lawmakers and a US envoy in a deepening row over Beijing’s treatment of Uighurs in the western Xinjiang region.
Some of the most outspoken critics of China – Senators Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz along with Congressman Chris Smith – were targeted by the action, as well as the US ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom, Sam Brownback.
The unspecified “corresponding sanctions” were announced days after the US imposed visa bans and asset freezes on several Chinese officials, including the Communist Party chief in Xinjiang, Chen Quanguo, over rights abuses in the region.
The move was “in response to the US’s wrong actions”, foreign ministry spokesman Hua Chunying said at a regular briefing.
“We urge the US to immediately withdraw its wrong decision, and stop words and actions that interfere in China’s internal affairs and harm China’s interests,” she said.
“China will make a further response depending on the development of the situation.”
Sanctions will also be applied on the US Congressional-Executive Commission on China, an agency that monitors human rights in the Asian country.
Mexico on Sunday became the country with the fourth highest death toll from Covid-19, ahead of Italy, according Mexican health officials and AFP’s global tallies.
“There are 299,750 confirmed cases of infection and 35,006 deaths in Mexico,” health officials said on the presidency’s Twitter account. Italy currently has 34,954 fatalities from the coronavirus.
Spanish court suspends lockdown of virus-hit Catalonia area
A local court on Monday suspended a home confinement order imposed on over 200,000 people in the Spanish region of Catalonia after an upsurge in virus cases.
“The Lerida district court has decided not to ratify the measures of the 12 July resolution,” the Catalan supreme court said on its Twitter account. The decision, which suspends the stay-at-home order, can be appealed.
Wall Street’s dramatic recovery in April and May has run out of steam. You don’t have to look far for why that might be.
The resurgence of Covid-19 infections, to the extent that the US now accounts for a quarter of all cases, would be reason enough to worry that the market’s rally has gone too far, too fast. But there’s something else preying on investors’ minds as we pass the mid-year point – November’s presidential election.
Six months ago, the conventional wisdom made Donald Trump a shoo-in for a second term. A historically low unemployment rate and the stock market hitting new records is the traditional recipe for an incumbent’s re-election.
But as Bill Clinton’s election strategist James Carville said, when instructing campaign workers what to focus on in 1992, “it’s the economy, stupid”. He was right. George Bush senior soon found out that a sky-high post-Gulf-War approval rating was no defence against rising unemployment on election day.
Firefighters were battling a massive blaze on a US navy amphibious assault ship in San Diego, California, on Sunday night.
The fire erupted after an explosion on the USS Bonhomme Richard shortly before 9am local time.
Ariel photographs showed giant plumes of smoke billowing out from the ship, which was docked in its home port.
The reasons for the blaze, which was caused by fuel catching fire, remained unclear. There was no suggestion of terrorism being involved.
Emergency services cleared the area as firefighters moved in to try to bring the fire under control.
According to the San Diego Fire Department, 17 sailors and four civilians required hospital treatment for minor injuries, including one for smoke inhalation.
Krishna Jackson, the base’s public information officer, said none of the injuries was life-threatening.
Roger Stone, whose jail term was commuted by Donald Trump, remains a “convicted felon and rightly so” according to former special counsel Robert Mueller.
Mr Mueller, whose investigation into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election triggered the attempted impeachment of the president, broke his nearly year-long silence to round on Stone, 67, one of Mr Trump’s most controversial associates.
The Muller investigation led to 34 indictments with several key Trump allies serving jail time, including Paul Manafort the former chairman of his presidential campaign.
Mr Trump has repeatedly railed against the Mueller investigation and his decision to intervene on behalf of Stone, who was sentenced to 40 months in prison for lying to Congress and witness tampering, had been expected.
Writing on Twitter on Saturday, Mr Trump said that Stone was the victim of an “illegal Witch Hunt that never should have taken place.”
Mr Mueller fought back in Washington Post op-ed in which he defended his investigation and Stone’s conviction.
Donald Trump finally bowed to mourning public pressure over the weekend and wore a face mask for the first time in public as coronavirus continued to cut a swathe across the US.
The US President at last gave in to pleas from Anthony Fauci, his increasingly marginalised top health advisor, although their last conversation is reported to have been several weeks ago.
After Mr Trump’s move, the US Surgeon General Jerome Adams said the country could reverse the Covid surge in two to three weeks if people followed basic hygiene guidelines.
According to the latest statistics, collated by Johns Hopkins University, nearly 3.27 million coronavirus cases have been confirmed in the US, with the disease claiming 137,904 lives, the highest death toll anywhere in the world.
The split between Mr Trump and Mr Fauci has played out across the country with governors and mayors increasingly at odds as to how to counter the spread of the virus.
A group of about 50 Blue Lives Matter supporters gathered in front of Trump Tower in New York on Saturday to protest the Black Lives Matter mural.
They had shouting matches with supporters of BLM as they waved blue-stripe American Flags emblazoned with President Trump’s name.
Earlier this month the US President appeared to encourage New York police to turn against the city’s mayor over plans to paint a giant Black Lives Matter mural in front of Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue.
LaDonna Brave Bull Allard grins broadly as she contemplates the significance of the victory she and other members of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe have just secured.
The tribe began a bitter battle against an oil company and the federal government in 2016, when the Dakota Access pipeline was built on their doorstep, threatening their water supply.
Four years on, a US court has ruled in favour of the tribe and ordered the pipeline to close within 30 days.
Ms Allard is aware of how momentous an occasion this is. It is not often that a Native American tribe with scant resources defeats a major oil company, not least one that has the backing of the US president.
For the tribal elder, the court ruling is recognition of her people’s sovereignty over land that was stolen from them centuries ago.
“People had forgotten that Indigenous people live on this land,” she says. “We became invisible. But we’ve always been here – and I’m not invisible any more.”
It is a sentiment shared by Native American activists across the US at the moment, in a week in which they have witnessed some of their biggest legislative victories in decades.
US President Donald Trump wore a face mask in public for the first time on Saturday, finally yielding to intense pressure to set a public health example as coronavirus rampages across America.
Mr Trump wore a black mask as he walked through the corridors of Walter Reed military hospital outside Washington to meet with wounded veterans.
He walked past reporters and did not stop to speak to them about what had become a hotly anticipated moment – his possible change of heart on a practice recommended by the government’s own medical experts, even as he resisted.
“I think it’s a great thing to wear a mask. I’ve never been against masks but I do believe they have a time and a place,” Mr Trump said as he left the White House.
News reports this week said aides practically begged the President to relent and wear a mask in public – and let himself be photographed wearing it – as coronavirus cases soar in some states and as Mr Trump trails Democrat Joe Biden badly in polls ahead of the November election.
Flamboyant Republican political consultant Roger Stone has thanked Donald Trump for saving his life, after the president commuted his prison sentence days just before it was due to begin.
Mr Stone, 67, was scheduled to report by Tuesday to a federal prison in Jesup, Georgia, to begin serving a sentence of three years and four months for lying under oath to US officials investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election.
While White House aides including Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law, and chief of staff Mark Meadows warned against the commutation, Mr Trump dangled the idea for many weeks.
William Barr, the attorney general, also advised Mr Trump not to grant clemency for Mr Stone, NBC reported on Saturday.
Mr Trump telephoned Mr Stone at his Fort Lauderdale home on Friday to deliver the good news.
“He said we’ve known each other for 40 years,” said Mr Stone.
“In his opinion, he did not believe I committed a crime.”