Mali junta agrees to 18-month transition government

Mali’s military junta that staged a coup last month agreed Saturday to an 18-month transition government led by a military or civilian leader that would pave the way to elections By BABA AHMED Associated Press September 12, 2020, 9:48 PM • 3 min read BAMAKO, Mali — Mali’s military junta, which staged a coup last month, agreed Saturday to an 18-month transition government led by a military or civilian leader that would pave the way to elections. Three days of consultations with leaders of political and civil society groups laid out a charter for the transition, which will also include a vice president and transitional council that will serve as the National Assembly. The president and vice president will be chosen by a group of people appointed by the junta, according to Moussa Camara, spokesman for the talks. Mali’s opposition coalition, the international communities and the West African regional bloc …

10,000 women march to demand that Belarus president resign

About 10,000 women have marched noisily through the Belarusian capital, beating pots and pans and shouting for the resignation of the country’s authoritarian president in the 35th consecutive day of large protests By YURAS KARMANAU Associated Press September 12, 2020, 7:36 PM • 3 min read KYIV, Ukraine — About 10,000 women marched noisily through the Belarusian capital on Saturday, beating pots and pans and shouting for the resignation of the country’s authoritarian president in the 35th consecutive day of large anti-government protests. Many carried portraits of Maria Kolesnikova, a leader of the opposition Coordination Council that is seeking a new presidential election for the ex-Soviet nation of 9.5 million people. She was jailed this week after police tried to force her out of the country. Her lawyer says Kolesnikova was driven to the border with Ukraine, but tore up her passport and refused to leave Belarus. Others carried placards …

Afghan peace talks open in Doha, 19 years after 9/11 triggered war

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Qatar’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani attend the signing of a US-Taliban agreement in the Qatari capital Doha on February 29, 2020. – Washington and the Taliban are set to sign a landmark deal in Doha that would see them agree to the withdrawal of thousands of US troops from Afghanistan in return for insurgent guarantees. GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP via Getty Images The opening ceremony for talks between the Afghan government and Taliban insurgents began in Qatar’s capital Doha on Saturday, marking the start of negotiations aimed at ending two decades of war that has killed tens of thousands of combatants and civilians. The 19-year conflict is also the United States’ longest overseas military action, vexing three successive presidents. The ceremony began at 9 a.m. (0600 GMT) with a recitation from the Koran, followed by opening comments by …

China’s state media condemns raids on Chinese journalists in Australia

A general view of a Australian flag is seen during a welcome ceremony for Australia’s then Prime Minister Julia Gillard outside the Great Hall of the People on April 9, 2013 in Beijing, China. Feng Li | Getty Images Raids on Chinese journalists living in Australia are “utterly appalling” and damage relations between the two countries, state news agency Xinhua said. China’s state-backed tabloid Global Times reported earlier this week that Australian authorities raided the homes of four Chinese journalists residing in the country in June. “This gross, imperious and unreasonable act was utterly appalling. It fully exposes the Cold-War mentality and political prejudice of some Australian departments and officials,” a Xinhua spokesperson said, according to the agency. “What they have done not only seriously harms the reputation and image of Chinese media, but also seriously interferes with the normal people-to-people exchanges between China and Australia,” added the spokesperson, who was not identified. On Thursday, foreign ministry spokesman …

Kool & the Gang Co-Founder Ronald ‘Khalis’ Bell Dies at 68

(LOS ANGELES) — Ronald “Khalis” Bell, a co-founder, singer and producer of the group Kool & the Gang, has died. He was 68. Bell died at his home in the U.S. Virgin Islands Wednesday morning with his wife by his side, publicist Sujata Murthy said. The cause of death has not been released. Kool & the Gang grew from jazz roots in the 1960s to become one of the major groups of the 1970s, blending jazz, funk, R&B and pop. After a brief downturn, the group enjoyed a return to stardom in the ’80s. Bell started the group with his brother Robert “Kool” Bell along with neighborhood friends Dennis “D.T.” Thomas, Robert “Spike” Mickens, Charles Smith, George Brown and Ricky West. Kool & the Gang won a Grammy in 1978 for their work on the soundtrack for “Saturday Night Fever.” The group was honored with a BET Soul Train Lifetime …

When will tourists return to Africa? Continent must guess

Africa’s tourism sector is struggling to cope with the drop in international travel caused by the COVID-19 pandemic By GERALD IMRAY Associated Press September 8, 2020, 9:35 AM • 5 min read CAPE TOWN, South Africa — Raino Bolz quickly diversified when his tourism business in South Africa’s winelands crashed to a halt in March because of the coronavirus pandemic. He sold a minibus — useless without tourists to ferry around — and bought a herd of pregnant cows. He’ll have to wait for the cows to have calves and for the calves to be old enough to sell before he can make money from them. That probably won’t be until early next year, but it’s his insurance policy. Bolz hopes to see a return of some tourists in November, the start of South Africa’s tourism season. If foreign visitors — 80% of his income — don’t arrive for end-of-year …

Dow futures jump 250 points in overnight trading following the worst tech rout since March

The “Fearless Girl” statue stands in front of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) at Wall Street on June 29, 2020 in New York City. Angela Weiss | AFP | Getty Images Stocks futures climbed in overnight trading on Monday after technology shares suffered their worst sell-off in more than five months. Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained about 250 points, while the S&P 500 futures rose 0.5%. The Nasdaq 100 futures also climbed 0.2%. Stocks just snapped a five-week winning streak after a big reversal in major technology stocks last week. Steep losses in Amazon, Apple, Microsoft and Facebook — 2020’s market leaders — drove the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite down 3.3% to suffer its worst week since March 20. The Dow and the S&P 500 fell 1.8% and 2.3% last week, respectively, posting their biggest weekly losses since June.  Many on Wall Street believe the weakness derived from worries that …

India becomes country with second highest number of Covid cases

India has surpassed Brazil to become the country with the second highest number of coronavirus cases, as the virus continues to spread through the country of 1.3 billion at the fastest rate of anywhere in the world. India recorded more than 90,000 cases overnight, bringing the number of infections in the country past 4.2 million and overtaking Brazil, which with 4.1 million cases had been the second worst-affected country for several months. India now only lags behind the United States, which has had 6.2 million cases so far. However, while cases in the US have begun to level off, the rate of infection in India is worsening by the day, with no signs of when it will hit the peak, and experts are predicting the south Asian country will soon tally the most cases in the world. The death toll stands at 71,000, equating to 50 deaths per million, which …

Hall of Fame outfielder, speedster Brock dies at age 81

NEW YORK — Hall of Famer Lou Brock, one of baseball’s signature leadoff hitters and base stealers who helped the St. Louis Cardinals win three pennants and two World Series in the 1960s, has died. He was 81. Dick Zitzmann, Brock’s longtime agent and friend, confirmed Brock’s death Sunday, but he said he couldn’t provide any details. The Cardinals and Cubs also observed a moment of silence in the outfielder’s memory before their game at Wrigley Field. Brock lost a leg from diabetes in recent years and was diagnosed with cancer in 2017. “Lou Brock was one of the most revered members of the St. Louis Cardinals organization and one of the very best to ever wear the Birds on the Bat,” Cardinals chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. said in a release. “He will be deeply missed and forever remembered.” The man later nicknamed the Running Redbird and the Base Burglar …

U.S. considers blacklisting China’s largest chipmaker as tech tensions escalate

Integrated circuits on a circuit board. The semiconductor industry has been in focus during the U.S.-China trade war. filonmar | E+ | Getty Images The Trump administration is considering imposing export restrictions on Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation, China’s largest manufacturer of semiconductors, according to a Defense Department spokesperson.  The Department of Defense is in discussions over whether SMIC should be added to the Commerce Department’s entity list, which essentially restricts those companies from receiving specific goods made in the U.S.  “DoD is currently working with the interagency in assessing available information to determine if SMIC’s actions warrant adding them to the Department of Commerce’s Entity List,” a Defense Department spokesperson said. “Such an action would ensure that all exports to SMIC would undergo a more comprehensive review.”  The administration’s move is part of a continued effort to put pressure on China’s technology firms and would mark a major escalation in the …

U.S. stock futures slip as Wall Street braces for more tech losses

U.S. stock futures fell on Thursday night, building on the downside momentum from the regular trading session as Big Tech was primed for another steep decline.  Dow Jones Industrial Average futures dropped 109 points. S&P 500 futures and Nasdaq 100 futures also traded in negative territory. Shares of major tech companies fell broadly in after-hours trading. Apple slid 3%. Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, Alphabet and Microsoft all dropped at least 1%.  The Dow slid more than 800 points, or 2.8%, during the cash session for its biggest one-day decline since June. The S&P 500 plunged 3.5% and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 5%. Thursday’s declines also wiped out the major averages’ gains for the week and knocked both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq off record levels. As a sector, tech had its worst day since March, falling 5.83%. Apple contributed a big portion of those losses, falling 8%. Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, Alphabet …

Kirk Cousins Taking ‘Survival Of The Fittest’ Approach To Coronavirus

Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins may have just qualified for the Covidiots’ Hall of Fame. In a podcast posted by The Ringer on Wednesday, the NFL player suggested that masks were useless, shrugged off the danger of the coronavirus by saying “If I die, I die,” and proclaimed he was taking a “survival of the fittest” approach in the pandemic. Podcast host Kyle Brandt asked Cousins: “If 1 is the person who says, ‘Masks are stupid, you’re all a bunch of lemmings,’ and 10 is, ‘I’m not leaving my master bathroom for the next 10 years,’ where do you land?” The ninth-year pro replied, per USA Today: “I’m not gonna call anybody stupid, for the trouble it would get me in, but I’m about a .000001.” (See that portion of the interview at the 12:50 mark.) The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and major infectious disease experts urge mask-wearing to …

Children Across Europe Are Going Back to School. Here’s How 3 Countries Are Managing It

Around the world, students are returning to school as countries experiment with new educational models and social distancing protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19. While preliminary research suggests children are less vulnerable to COVID-19 than adults, there remain concerns that schools will become breeding grounds for infection. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has cautioned that “full sized, in-person classes, activities and events” will likely lead to the spread of COVID-19 in schools. Opening schools in some countries has already proven to be hazardous. In Israel, for instance, schools were the second-highest places for infection for the month of June, after 2,026 students, teachers and staff tested positive for COVID-19. But as the pandemic enters its sixth month, governments are grappling with how to provide a quality education to children in the midst of an ongoing, long-term crisis. The COVID-19 pandemic has created “the largest disruption of …

Probe into waste spilled into Paris river from cement plant

Paris authorities have opened an investigation into the spilling of pollutants into the Seine River from a plant run by the world’s biggest cement maker, LafargeHolcim September 2, 2020, 12:45 PM • 1 min read PARIS — Paris authorities are investigating the spilling of pollutants into the Seine River from a plant run by one of the world’s biggest cement makers, LafargeHolcim, officials said Wednesday. The company blamed a “malicious act” by someone who deliberately damaged a protective panel, allowing waste water from plant activities to leak into the Seine, which flows through the French capital. The pollutants were not identified. The Paris prosecutor’s office said Wednesday an investigation has been opened into the dumping of dangerous substances. The regional health service and Paris police said administrative investigations are also under way, and that the dumped substances have not affected the city’s drinking water supply. LafargeHolcim, based in Switzerland, said …

Dow futures rise nearly 100 points after Wall Street’s strong start to September

A woman rides past the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on July 13, 2020 at Wall Street in New York City.   U.S. stock futures rose early morning Wednesday following a strong start to September for the market. Dow Jones Industrial Average futures rose about 96 points. S&P 500 and Nasdaq futures also traded in positive territory. The major U.S. indexes all rose during Tuesday’s regular session, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Nasdaq Composite closing at record highs. The S&P 500 rose 0.75%, which was its best first trading day of September since 2010, according to Bespoke Investment Group. Tuesday’s rally came after a banner month for the markets, with the Dow and S&P 500 both rising at least 7% to notch their best August in more than 30 years. The Nasdaq outperformed both of them, gaining 9.59% for the month. Morgan Stanley Chief U.S. Equity Strategist Mike …

ABC to Air ‘Black Panther’ as Tribute to Chadwick Boseman

NEW YORK — ABC will air “Black Panther” commercial-free Sunday as a prime-time tribute to Chadwick Boseman. The film will be followed by an ABC News Special, “Chadwick Bosmeman: A Tribute for a King.” Disney said the special “will celebrate Boseman’s storied life, legacy and career” and “shine a light on the medical condition he privately battled.” Boseman died Friday after a four-year battle with colon cancer. He was 43. Walt Disney Co., which owns ABC, released “Black Panther” as well as the other three Marvel movies Boseman appeared in. The film will be broadcast at 8 p.m. EDT, with the special following at 10:20 p.m. EDT. “Black Panther” won three Oscars, was nominated for best picture and grossed more than $1.3 billion worldwide. Sunday’s airing will make the film widely watchable at the same time in several regions and could a collective place to celebrate and grieve Boseman. He …

China Restaurant Collapses During Birthday Party, Killing 29 People

BEIJING — Rescue efforts ended at a two-story restaurant in a northern Chinese village that collapsed during a local resident’s 80th birthday celebration, leaving 29 people dead, authorities said Sunday. The Ministry of Emergency Management said another 28 people were injured, seven of them seriously, when the building suddenly crumbled on Saturday. There was no immediate word on what caused the collapse or on the fate of the birthday guest and other celebrants. Hundreds of rescue workers using sniffer dogs, cranes and high-tech sensors had searched the rubble, lifting slabs of concrete in hopes of freeing survivors. The official China Daily newspaper said the building collapsed at 9:40 a.m. Saturday. It said the Cabinet’s Work Safety Commission would oversee the investigation into the accident’s cause. While China has seen major improvements in industrial safety, building standards are sometimes ignored, particularly in rural areas such as Shanxi province’s Xiangfen county, about …

Elon Musk demonstrates brain-computer tech Neuralink in live pigs

A pig with a Neuralink implant. Screengrab of live demo Elon Musk’s brain-machine interface company, Neuralink, conducted a live demo of its technology on Friday, showing a coin-sized device without wires. The Tesla and SpaceX CEO brought along three pigs, who had varying levels of interest in cooperating. Eventually, the audience was shown real-time neural signals from one of the pigs, which Musk named Gertrude. According to Musk, Gertrude has had the implant for about two months.  The start-up, which launched in 2016 and is funded primarily by Musk, said it is designing tiny flexible ‘threads’ that are 10 times thinner than a human hair with the goal of treating brain injuries and trauma, along with someday enabling symbiosis between humans and artificial intelligence. The design has been tested on at least 19 different animals with robots with around an 87% success rate, according to the venture’s presentation last year.  Musk …

Coronavirus updates: CDC warns vaccine supply could be limited at first; Dow recovers 2020 losses

Abbott Labs is doing trials of its rapid coronavirus test on people without symptoms Abbott Laboratories CEO Robert Ford told CNBC that the company is conducting trials of its rapid coronavirus test to determine its efficacy for people without symptoms.  Earlier this week, the Illinois-based firm announced it had received emergency approval from the Food and Drug Administration to use the test on people within seven days of symptom onset. The antigen test, which sells for $5 and can produce results in 15 minutes, is a notable development in the United States’ efforts to broaden its screening capabilities for Covid-19.  “We are working on developing data for asymptomatic claims so we are running our clinical trial and we’ll eventually have data to be able to support that,” Ford said in an interview with CNBC’s Meg Tirrell on “Power Lunch.” – Kevin Stankiewicz  CDC director says vaccine supply will be constrained at first Once a …

Abe says ‘gut wrenching’ resignation leaves goals unfinished

TOKYO — Japan’s longest-serving prime minister, Shinzo Abe, said he is stepping down because a chronic health problem has resurfaced. He told reporters Friday that it was “gut wrenching” to leave many of his goals unfinished. Abe has had ulcerative colitis since he was a teenager and has said the condition was controlled with treatment. Concerns about his health began this summer and grew this month when he visited a Tokyo hospital two weeks in a row for unspecified health checkups. He is now on a new treatment that requires IV injections, he said. While there is some improvement, there is no guarantee that it will cure his condition and so he decided to step down after treatment Monday, he said. “It is gut wrenching to have to leave my job before accomplishing my goals,” Abe said Friday, mentioning his failure to resolve the issue of Japanese abducted years ago …