Feds seek halt to civil lawsuit against Ghislaine Maxwell

To continue “would adversely affect” the criminal prosecution, they argued. September 10, 2020, 8:47 PM • 8 min read Federal prosecutors pursuing the criminal case against Ghislaine Maxwell in New York are asking a judge to temporarily halt proceedings in a civil lawsuit filed by an alleged child sex-abuse victim against Maxwell and the estate of the late sex-offender Jeffrey Epstein, arguing that there is a “significant risk” that proceeding with the case “would adversely affect the ongoing criminal prosecution against Maxwell.” In a letter posted to the court docket of the civil case this week, prosecutors from the Southern District of New York asserted that there is a “factual overlap between the civil and criminal cases” that could result in premature disclosure of evidence and testimony from witnesses who may be called upon in both cases. “Such witnesses may be forced to testify about any efforts to assist the …

China accuses Australia of raiding its journalists’ homes amid reports Canberra cancelled academics’ visas

Australia has cancelled the visas of two Chinese scholars because of security concerns, according to reports, adding a new element to the spiralling diplomatic dispute over the treatment of journalists. Chinese diplomats have also aired claims that Australian intelligence agents have questioned several journalists from Chinese media organisations and searched their devices “in violation of legitimate rights”. The ABC reported on Wednesday evening that Australia’s Department of Home Affairs had cancelled the visas of two Chinese scholars in line with advice from intelligence agency Asio about security concerns – although it is unclear exactly when the authorities took that step. Prof Chen Hong, director of the Australian studies centre at East China Normal University in Shanghai, told the ABC he was “shocked to receive an email notifying me of visa cancellation on security grounds”. The step is reportedly linked to the joint investigation by Asio and the Australian federal police …

Pennsylvania voting access suit could have national repercussions

The Donald Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee have intervened in a closely watched election lawsuit over voting access in Pennsylvania that could reverberate nationally ahead of voting in November, especially for voters of color. Hearings kicked off Tuesday in the lawsuit filed by the Pennsylvania NAACP against the commonwealth over what it argued were inadequate provisions for voting during the coronavirus outbreak. The complaint argues that during Pennsylvania’s June primaries, numerous polling locations were closed or consolidated due to coronavirus concerns and poll worker unavailability, and information about where to vote was not clear. Because Black and Latino groups have fallen ill from coronavirus at greater rates, many in those communities, as well as the elderly and those with pre-existing conditions, were uncertain about how and whether it was safe to vote, Kenneth Huston, president of NAACP Pennsylvania, testified. Let our news meet your inbox. The news and …

Ships, aircraft fight new fire on oil tanker off Sri Lanka

Ships and aircraft from Sri Lanka and India intensified efforts to extinguish a new fire on an oil tanker off Sri Lanka’s coast two days after the previous blaze was doused By BHARATHA MALLAWARACHI Associated Press September 8, 2020, 7:54 AM • 2 min read COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — Ships and aircraft from Sri Lanka and India intensified efforts to extinguish a new fire on an oil tanker off Sri Lanka’s coast on Tuesday, two days after the previous three-day blaze was doused, the navy said. The MT New Diamond is carrying nearly 2 million barrels of crude oil and Sri Lankan officials have warned of possible massive environmental damage to Sri Lanka’s coast if the ship leaks or explodes. The navy had said the initial fire began in an engine room boiler but did not spread to the tanker’s oil storage area and no leak had been reported. Navy …

Asia stocks set to trade higher; Japan’s revised second-quarter GDP data expected

Stocks in Asia Pacific were set to open higher on Tuesday as investors await the release of Japan’s revised second-quarter gross domestic product data. Futures pointed to a higher open for Japanese stocks, with the Nikkei futures contract in Chicago at 23,225 while its counterpart in Osaka was at 23,220. That compared against the Nikkei 225’s last close at 23,089.95. Shares in Australia were also poised to see a positive start to their trading day. The SPI futures contract was at 5,949.0, as compared to the S&P/ASX 200’s last close at 5,944.80. On the economic data front, Japan’s revised GDP figures for the second quarter are set to be out at around 7:50 a.m. HK/SIN. Preliminary estimates released in mid-August had shown the country’s GDP shrinking 27.8% on an annualized basis in April-June. Investors will likely continue to monitor geopolitical developments. China’s Foreign Ministry on Monday accused Washington of “blatant …

Northeastern University Dismisses 11 Students, Without Returning Their $36,500 Tuition Fees, for Violating COVID-19 Rules

Northeastern University dismissed 11 first-year students for violating social distancing rules, but held on to their tuition payments. The Boston university dismissed the students after two staff members from their program caught them gathering at the Westin Hotel, which is being used as university housing during the pandemic, the school said on Friday. The Boston Globe reported the university will not return a $36,500 fee the students each pre-paid to take part in the semester-long N.U.in Program, an international study experience that now has a location in Boston due to COVID-19. However, the students will still be permitted to officially enroll as freshmen this January, the university told TIME. “The students have been informed that they are no longer part of the Northeastern community for the fall semester. They have the right to contest their dismissal at an expedited hearing,” the university said in a statement. The students were told …

Fire on oil tanker off Sri Lanka extinguished after 3 days

A team of experts is joining efforts to salvage a large oil tanker that has been burning for the fourth day Sunday off Sri Lanka By BHARATHA MALLAWARACHI Associated Press September 6, 2020, 3:34 AM • 2 min read COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — A team of experts is joining efforts to salvage a large oil tanker that has been burning for the fourth day Sunday off Sri Lanka, the country’s navy said. Four tug boats, three Sri Lankan navy ships and six Indian ships have been battling the fire on the MT New Diamond since Thursday. An additional five Sri Lankan coast guard ships and gun boats are supplying the others vessels. Navy spokesman Indika de Silva said the fire on the ship has been brought under control but is still not extinguished. There was no leak. A team led by an expert is already on one of the tug …

Drugmakers seek to reassure public on coronavirus vaccine as concerns grow about political pressure

Lisa Taylor receives a COVID-19 vaccination from RN Jose Muniz as she takes part in a vaccine study at Research Centers of America on August 07, 2020 in Hollywood, Florida. Joe Raedle | Getty Images A group of drugmakers competing to bring a coronavirus vaccine to market plan to issue a public statement as soon as next week that says they will not seek government approval until enough data has been collected to ensure the drugs are safe and effective, CNBC confirmed Saturday. An early draft of the joint statement promises to prioritize the safety of vaccinated people, according to The Wall Street Journal, which first reported the plans to issue a statement. Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson and Moderna are expected to participate in the pledge, the Journal reported. CNBC has confirmed that Sanofi also plans to participate. The pledge comes as scientists and public health specialists express concern that the Trump …

UN experts raise concerns over Hong Kong security law

Seven human rights experts affiliated with the U.N. are raising concerns over Hong Kong’s new national security law in a letter addressed to Chinese authorities, saying the legislation limits certain fundamental freedoms By ZEN SOO and JAMEY KEATEN Associated Press September 4, 2020, 9:45 AM • 4 min read HONG KONG — Seven human rights experts affiliated with the U.N. raised concerns over Hong Kong’s new national security law in a letter addressed to Chinese authorities, saying the legislation limits certain fundamental freedoms. The letter, released Friday, said the law raises a “serious risk” that rights such as freedom of expression and peaceful assembly may be infringed upon. It also highlighted the undermining of the independence of judges and lawyers in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory. “We underscore that general assertions of conduct that threatens ‘national security’ without proper definitions and limitations may severely curtail civic space, the right to participate …

COVID exacerbates an already fractured opioid addiction treatment framework: ANALYSIS

In the post-pandemic world, how can addiction treatments work? September 3, 2020, 9:00 AM • 10 min read Opioid overdoses in the United States have spiked by about 18% during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Overdose Detection Mapping Application Program at the University of Baltimore. This, after the CDC reported 2019 opioid overdose deaths topped over 71,000, a record high at the time. My sister Denise was one of those lost in 2019. She was found dead in July from an apparent opioid overdose. Denise’s death occurred after years of interventions and being in and out of various treatment facilities, many of which my parents, wife Valerie and I participated in. In a pre-COVID world, addiction treatments were varied and begged efficacy questions. In the world of COVID, effective treatment options for opioids or any addiction is a major concern. Why is this spike occurring? The White House Office …

Trump’s judicial nominees are his legacy — and why we cannot elect Joe Biden

For the sake of the judiciary — and of our nation — we cannot risk having Joe Biden pick our nation’s federal judges for the next four years. The federal judiciary was designed by our Founding Fathers to render impartial decisions on what the Constitution allows the state and federal governments to do; it was designed as a check against encroachments on individual freedom and abuses of power by the legislative and executive branches of government. But, as we have increasingly seen over the last few decades, impartiality and deference to the Constitution among federal judges is ignored when Democrat presidents make appointments. Joe Biden would stack the federal bench with activist judges who find reasons to rule in favor of their own dangerous vision for remaking our country, and those judges hand-picked by Joe Biden and his radical Democrat allies would threaten our fundamental American freedoms. They would abandon …

WHO warns that ‘no country can just pretend the pandemic is over’

The World Health Organization urged countries Monday to continue implementing safety measures to control the spread of the coronavirus, such as limiting public gatherings and protecting vulnerable groups as they try to reopen businesses and services.  “The more control countries have over the virus, the more they can open up. Opening up without having control is a recipe for disaster,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a virtual news briefing from the United Nations health agency’s Geneva headquarters. “No country can just pretend the pandemic is over.” Tedros outlined “four essential things that all countries, communities and individuals must focus on to take control.” He said countries should “prevent amplifying events,” which he said many countries have linked to large gatherings at stadiums, nightclubs and places of worship. He added that countries and people can find “creative ways” to be social.  He added that countries should prevent deaths by protecting vulnerable …

Australian citizen detained in China amid increasing tensions between Canberra and Beijing

An Australian citizen who works as a TV anchor for a Chinese state-controlled broadcaster has been detained as tensions between Canberra and Beijing escalate. The Australian government was notified on 14 August that Cheng Lei, an anchor for a business show on the China Global Television Network, had been detained in Beijing. In a statement released on Monday night, Australia’s foreign minister, Marise Payne, acknowledged the detention and said a consular visit had been conducted via video link. “Australian officials had an initial consular visit with Ms Cheng at a detention facility via video link on 27 August and will continue to provide assistance and support to her and her family,” Payne said. The foreign minister said “further comment will not be provided owing to the government’s privacy obligations”. It is highly unusual for foreign journalists to be detained in China. Cheng was born in China but later became an …

University of Alabama Reports More Than 1,000 COVID-19 Cases Since Classes Started Less Than 2 Weeks Ago

More than 1,000 students have tested positive at the University of Alabama’s Tuscaloosa campus in less than two weeks, stoking fears that colleges reopening for in-person classes could contribute to a surge in COVID-19 cases. Since in-person classes started on Aug. 19, a total of 1,043 students have tested positive for coronavirus at the campus, the university system reported Friday, although no students were hospitalized for the virus at that time. University President Stuart R. Bell called the rise in cases “unacceptable” in a statement on Aug. 23. On Aug. 21, before the recent numbers were reported, he said that he was “deeply disappointed” that many students disregarded guidelines set by the university to keep the school safe. On Aug. 26, Bell urged the campus to come together to limit the spread of the virus. “At this critical time, we must be united and fully committed in our fight against …

Singapore battles record dengue outbreak with more mosquitoes

Female and male Wolbachia-carrying mosquitoes are seen mating in an enclosure at the newly opened National Environmental Agency (NEA) mosquitoes production facility in Singapore, December 2, 2019. Singapore is exploring the use of Wolbachia-carrying Aedes males to help suppress the Aedes mosquito population in Singapore, for further reduction of the risk of dengue. Roslan RAHMAN | AFP | Getty Images From the high balcony of a Singapore public housing block, an environment official steadies his mosquito launcher, the latest contraption authorities have devised to combat a record outbreak of the tropical disease dengue. With the click of a button and a whirr of a fan, a hatch opens and 150 lab-reared male mosquitoes are sent flying, off in search of a female companion with whom they can mate but not reproduce. The dengue virus, which in rare cases can be fatal, is carried and spread to humans by infected mosquitoes. …

US rolls out free app for alerts on vehicle recalls

The U.S. government’s road safety agency is offering a smartphone app that will alert drivers if their vehicles are recalled August 27, 2020, 2:52 PM • 2 min read DETROIT — The U.S. government’s road safety agency is offering a smartphone app that will alert drivers if their vehicles are recalled. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration was scheduled to roll out the free app for both Android and Apple phones Thursday. Owners key in or scan their 17-digit vehicle identification number, and the app will search the agency’s database for recalls. If there is one, the app will send an alert, the agency says. People also can add child seats, trailers and tires, and the app will check those for recalls. Private services such as Carfax already offer similar apps for vehicle recalls, but this is a first for NHTSA, which is part of the U.S. Department of Transportation. …

Trump administration wants limits reimposed on medication abortion

The Trump administration urged the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday to reimpose a rule governing a pill commonly used in medication abortions. Since 2000, the Food and Drug Administration has established rules for Mifeprex, a drug used during the first 10 weeks of pregnancy. The regulations say it must be administered by a health care professional in a clinic, hospital or doctor’s office and the patient must sign a form acknowledging that she has been counseled about the drug’s possible risks. But a group of doctors, led by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, filed a lawsuit seeking to have the restrictions relaxed during the coronavirus pandemic. Medical offices and clinics have either closed their doors or restricted appointments, they said, and requiring pregnant women to make in-person visits exposed them to the risk of infection. Let our news meet your inbox. The news and stories that matters, delivered …

Truck technology that could help manage traffic gets funding boost

ChrisHepburn | E+ | Getty Images Amey has been awarded extra funding to develop technology that could change the way traffic management on roads is carried out, boosting safety in the process. In an announcement on Tuesday the firm, which is owned by Spanish infrastructure giant Ferrovial, said it had received £759,000 ($998,259) from Highways England. According to Amey, the money will be used to design an impact protection vehicle, or IPV, to keep roadworkers safe when laying out traffic management measures on “live carriageways.” The first phase of the project received funding back in 2018.  The vehicle is set to incorporate technology that will allow it to, among other things, automatically deploy advanced warning signs and impact protection systems. At the moment, workers need to manually lay out traffic management measures, a task that is not without risk. “While we are doing all we can to change driver behavior …

UK coronavirus live: Department for Education’s most senior civil servant to step down in wake of exams row

11.29am EDT 11:29 More on the most senior civil servant in the Department for Education stepping down from his post in the wake of the exams crisis. The general secretary of the senior public servants’ union FDA, has had it was clear that the government would “throw civil service leaders under a bus without a moment’s hesitation to shield ministers from any kind of accountability. Jonathan Slater, permanent secretary at the Department for Education. A government announcement said that Slater will be leaving his post at the start of September after the prime minister concluded that there is a need for fresh official leadership at the Department for Education. Photograph: House of Commons/PA He added: Those who have dedicated their lives to public service are being discarded without hesitation to keep scrutiny from the Government’s door. “Whilst the origins of the exams fiasco may be complex, the solutions for this …

Costa Rica is allowing U.S. travelers again — but only if they come from the right states

After the summer surge in Covid-19 cases in the United States, countries have taken one of two positions toward American travelers: welcome them or — more likely — ban them all. A new plan by Costa Rica takes a nuanced approach. On Aug. 19, the Central American country announced it is welcoming the residents of six U.S. states.   Which states were chosen?   Residents of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont will be able to fly into Costa Rica from Sept. 1. That opens the possibility of travel to Costa Rica to approximately 35 million Americans, or almost 11% of the U.S. population. Multiple reports cited a Costa Rica tourism official as saying the country chose U.S. states that have outbreak conditions that are similar to or better than those in Costa Rica. Costa Rica closed its borders to international travelers on March 18 and reopened them on Aug. …