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US posts new daily virus case record of 66,528: Johns Hopkins

File photoThe United States, the country hardest hit by the coronavirus, on Saturday posted 66,528 new cases, a record for a 24-hour period, according to a tally from Johns Hopkins University.The country has now recorded a total of 3,242,073 infections, the Baltimore-based university said in its latest data as of 8:30 pm (0030 GMT Sunday).The death toll stood at 134,729 with 760 additional deaths counted.The US has now seen daily new cases top 60,000 in four of the past five days.On Saturday, President Donald Trump donned a face mask in public for the first time, finally yielding to intense pressure to set a public health example.Trump had on a dark mask featuring the presidential seal as he walked through Walter Reed military hospital outside Washington to meet with wounded veterans.News reports this week said aides practically begged the president to relent and wear a mask in public -- and let himself be photographed -- as coronavirus cases soar in some states.They include Florida, where Disney World on Saturday reopened two of its four Orlando theme parks, even as the state reported 10,360 new infections and 95 deaths.Saturdays visitors had reserved their tickets in advance, allowing Disney to control the number of people in the park and accommodate for social distancing.Visitors were required to undergo temperature checks, and hand sanitizer was widely available.Disney said it was enforcing social distancing of six feet (two meters) at attractions and inside shops.

SpaceX delays launch of mini-satellites

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the Crew Dragon spacecraft lifts off from launch complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on May 30, 2020. (File photo: AFP)SpaceX on Saturday delayed the launch of a rocket due to take 57 mini-satellites into space as part of plan to build an orbiting, global broadband internet system.The company tweeted that it was postponing the 10th Starlink mission "to allow more time for checkouts." It said it was working to identify a new launch window.The mission had been postponed before.The Falcon 9 rocket taking the satellites was also due to have carried two satellites from BlackSky, a SpaceX customer.Saturdays aborted flight would have been SpaceXs third Starlink satellite launch in less than two months.Elon Musks California-based company has so far received US authorization to launch 12,000 satellites in several different orbits, and it has applied to launch as many as 30,000 more.SpaceXs goal is to control a huge share of the future internet market from space.Several rivals have the same ambition, including London-based startup OneWeb and giant US retailer Amazon, whose Project Kuiper is far less advanced.

The latest: COVID-19 outbreak worldwide (Updated July 12)

Members of Surya Kirana dance group wearing face shields practice Javanese traditional dance amid the COVID-19 outbreak at Desa Seni in Beautiful Indonesia Miniature Park (TMII), Jakarta, Indonesia, July 11, 2020.(File photo: Xinhua)The total number of deaths from the COVID-19 pandemic worldwide has increased to 563,841 with the global confirmed cases reaching12,679,967as of 9 am BJT on Sunday, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University (JHU).Current situation (data as of 9 am BJT, July 12):Chinese health authority said Sunday that it received reports of seven new confirmed COVID-19 cases on the Chinese mainland Saturday and all of them were imported.The United States, the country hardest hit by the coronavirus, on Saturday posted 66,528 new cases, a record for a 24-hour period, according to a tally from Johns Hopkins University.After the US, the hardest-hit countriy is Brazil with 71,469 deaths from 1,839,850 cases.Chile reported on Saturday that the number of COVID-19 cases in the country has risen to 312,029, with 6,881 deaths.Another 148 COVID-19 patients have died in Britain as of Friday afternoon, bringing the total coronavirus-related death toll in the country to 44,883, the British Department of Health and Social Care said Saturday.South Africa’s confirmed coronavirus cases have doubled in just two weeks to a quarter-million, and India on Saturday saw its biggest daily spike as its infections passed 800,000.The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Iran surpassed 255,000 on Saturday while Saudi Arabias tally of coronavirus infections approached 230,000.

US colleges, universities join lawsuit opposing Trump administration's new visa policy

File photoDENVER, the United States, July 11 (Xinhua) -- Some 180 academic institutions in the United States joined the avalanche of opposition to the Trump administrations controversial visa policy for intl students, according to an amicus brief document filed to the Massachusetts federal district court and released to the public on Friday.The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced a new visa policy for international students and this move prompted Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to launch a legal action against it.The 22-page document issued by the Presidents Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration representing 180 higher education institutions showed a nationwide support for rescinding the guidance."ICEs new policy serves only to severely disrupt international students educational attainment, and our country is worse off for it," said Miriam Feldblum, executive director of the Presidents Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration in a statement posted on the groups official website."This quasi-international student ban represents another unfortunate assault by the administration against immigrants and higher education," she added.The Alliance is composed of over 450 presidents and chancellors of public and private colleges and universities, representing over 5 million students in 41 states, Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico.The extraordinary number of colleges and universities pooling together so quickly is indicative of the serious nature of the opposition to the brash move, academic pundits said.The ICE announced on Monday that students currently in the United States on F-1 and M-1 visas must depart the country or take other measures, such as transferring to a school with in-person instruction to remain in lawful status, if their schools classes are entirely online in the fall semester.The measure also stipulated that those in violation woul...

Trump wears mask on camera for first time as he visits military hospital

Photo: Ap NewsWASHINGTON, July 11 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Donald Trump was seen wearing a mask while visiting a military hospital near Washington, D.C., on Saturday, the first time he did so on camera since the coronavirus pandemic broke out in the country."Ill probably have a mask," Trump told reporters ahead of his trip to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, where he visited injured soldiers and medical workers tasked with containing the coronavirus."I think when youre in a hospital especially in that particular setting, where you are talking to a lot of soldiers, people that in some cases just got off the operating table," the president said. "I think its a great thing to wear a mask. Ive never been against masks but I do believe they have a time and a place."Trump has been refusing to wear a mask himself since the pandemic broke out, citing his good health and frequent negative tests for the virus. "I have no problem with a mask. I dont think you need one when youre tested all the time, everybody around you is tested, youre quite a distance," he said on Thursday.Even Republican lawmakers have advised him to do so publicly so as to curb the spread of the contagion.Regretting the fact that the "simple lifesaving practice" of wearing a mask has been politicized to showcase whether one supports Trump or not, Republican Senator Lamar Alexander said on June 30 that he had "suggested the president should occasionally wear a mask even though there are not many occasions when it is necessary for him to do so."Trump wore a mask behind the scene in late May during a visit to a Ford factory in Michigan. "I did wear. I had one on before," he told reporters on camera at the plant when asked why he decided not to wear a mask."But I didnt want to give the press the pleasure of seeing it," Trump said, showing the reporters a m...

Two planes collide in Germany, killing both pilots: media

Photo via TwitterBERLIN, July 11 (Xinhua) -- Two planes collided on Saturday in Germanys Münsterland region, North Rhine-Westphalia. Both pilots were killed in the accident, local media Focus Online reported.

Biegun emphasizes US readiness to engage in talks with DPRK

U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun (L) and Japanese Vice Foreign Minister Takeo Akiba walk together prior to their bilateral meeting at Iikura Guest House, July 9, 2020, Tokyo, Japan. /ReutersU.S. Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun has emphasized Washingtons readiness to engage in dialogue with the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea (DPRK), the State Department said Friday.Biegun, who doubles as the top U.S. envoy for the DPRK, delivered the position in meetings with Japanese officials during his visit to Tokyo on Thursday and Friday, the department said in a press release.Biegun expressed a similar position during his trip to Seoul earlier in the week, saying the DPRK will "find us ready at that very moment" that DPRKs leader Kim Jong Un appoints a negotiator empowered to discuss the countrys nuclear weapons program.He also stressed his countrys firm support for inter-Korean cooperation during the trip.Kim Yo Jong, the sister of Kim Jong Un,said another summitwith the United States is "unnecessary" and "useless" at this point, but added that the DPRK had no intention of "threatening the U.S.," according to state media.Biegun also reaffirmed the United States commitment to Japans security in a Thursday night dinner hosted by Japanese Vice Foreign Minister Takeo Akiba.

At least five dead, dozens arrested after church hostage drama in Johannesburg

Photo via TwitterJOHANNESBURG, July 11 (Xinhua) -- At least five people were left dead and more than 40 arrested after a church hostage drama unfolded in early Saturday morning at the International Pentecostal Holiness Church in Zuurbekom, West of Johannesburg, said South Africa Police Service (SAPS)."A group of armed people came to the Modise church and allegedly attacked people who were inside, indicating that they were coming to take over the premises," said National Police Spokesperson Vishnu Naidoo in a statement.Four people were found shot and burnt to death in a car, while a fifth victim, a security guard, was also fatally shot in his car while he was apparently attending to the complaint.Police arrested over 40 suspects and seized 34 firearms, including rifles, shotguns and pistols."These units have also rescued men, women and children who are said to be living in the compound and were being held hostage," Naidoo added.It is believed that the attack may have been motivated by a feud between conflicted parties in the church.In November 2018, a shoot-out between feuding factions of the church left three people wounded outside the church. The factions have been at loggerheads since the church leader and founder Comforter Glayton Modise died in 2016.

UK PM Boris Johnson to tell firms to order staff back to workplaces

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will tell employers next week to start ordering staff back into their places of work, as long as it is safe to do so, in order to stem the coronavirus hit to the economy, the Daily Mail said on Saturday.Johnson has told top civil servants to set an example by starting to return staff to their desks and has also asked companies including Goldman Sachs to get more employees to start shifting away from homeworking, the newspaper said.The prime minister will announce the change in an update on the novel coronavirus next week, it said.Johnson was said to be shocked at the town center shops and restaurants empty offices and concerned that widespread working from home would undermine Britains productivity.During a public question-and-answer (Q&A) session with members of the public on Friday, Johnson hinted that the government may adopt stricter guidance on face masks in public places such as shops, pubs and restaurants, as part of the efforts to manage the spread of the coronavirus and to help return the state of normality."Its very important that people should be going back to work if they can, now. I think everybodys taken the stay at home if you can (advice). I think now we should say go back to work if you can," Johnson said."I want people to go back to work as carefully as possible," he added.Britains economy shrank by 25 percent over March and April as COVID-19 escalated and the government ordered entire sectors to shut down.On Wednesday, Britains finance minister Rishi Sunak said the government would pay bonuses to employers who bring temporarily laid-off staff back to work among other measures aimed at slowing an expected surge in unemployment.A passenger is seen wearing a face mask on the London Underground. /AFPBritains government recently recommended that measures such as wearing face coverings should be taken if people cannot keep to social distan...

Lebanese PM denies reports of gov't resignation

BEIRUT, July 11 -- Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab on Saturday denied reports that his government will resign, saying he is working at reducing burdens on citizens, a local media outlet reported."We are working hard at supporting the most vulnerable families," Diab was quoted by Elnashra, an on

Russian FM: Worried about US continuous accusations against China

Russia is worried about Washingtons increasing accusations against Beijing, said Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Friday in an online conference. We hope the U.S. will not pass the line, Lavrov said.Worrying signs indicate that some of the American authorities have attacked Chinese officials on a personal level, he said.The Russian Foreign Minister hopes the two biggest economies can find a diplomatic way to solve their differences.Russias Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov attends a news conference in Moscow, Russia, June 16, 2020. /ReutersMentioning the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) - the only arms control pact between Russia and the U.S.- Lavrov said his country is able to ensure its own security."We know, and we strongly believe that we are guaranteed to ensure our security for the long term even in the absence of this agreement," TASS news agency quoted Lavrov as saying at the conference.He said that Russia is ready for any developments, so if the United States refuses to renew the treaty, "options may be different."But the overall focus will be on continuing dialogue with the United States on strategic issues, on new weapons control instruments, in the context of all factors affecting strategic stability, he added.According to Lavrov, Russia does not need an extension of the treaty more than the United States does.If the United States categorically refuses to extend it, Russia will not persuade it, Lavrov said.Moscow and Washington signed the New START Treaty in 2010. The agreement sets the limits to the numbers of various strategic weapons possessed by both countries.The agreement due to expire in February 2021 can be extended for another five years by mutual consent.(With input from Xinhua)

Bangladesh's COVID-19 cases rise to 181,129, with 2,686 new infections

File photoBangkok (Peoples Daily) - Bangladesh on Saturday confirmed 2,686 new cases of the COVID-19 coronavirus, bringing the total to 181,129 since the virus first arrived in the country in March.A total of 88,034 patients have recovered and returned home, and 2,305 have died from complications related to the disease, according to Bangladesh’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.The Bangladesh government issued a notice on June 15 to re-block the severely hit areas of the country, and the army was successively deployed to the severely hit areas to strengthen the implementation of epidemic prevention measures.Bangladesh first reported confirmed cases of COVID-19 on March 8, and the number of new cases in a single day has continued to rise since then.

COVID-19 cases surpass 800,000-mark in India, total deaths at 22,123

A health worker in personal protective equipment collects a sample using a swab from a person to conduct tests for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), amid the spread of the disease, in New Delhi, India July 10, 2020.NEW DELHI — The total number of COVID-19 cases surpassed the 800,000-mark in India

California to release up to 8,000 inmates to curb COVID-19 outbreak in prisons

A California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation officer wears a protective mask as he stands guard at the front gate of San Quentin State Prison on June 29, 2020 in San Quentin, California.LOS ANGELES -- The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation announced Friday that as

US exit from WHO jeopardizes its health, safety: The Lancet

Director-General of the World Health Organization Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus speaks during a news conference after a meeting of the Emergency Committee on the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in Geneva, Switzerland, Jan 30, 2020.US President Donald Trump announced in May that his country would sever t

Latvia toughens COVID-19 restrictions amid virus uptick 3 Photos

Latvia toughens COVID-19 restrictions amid virus uptick

Diners are seen at an outdoor cafe in Riga, Latvia, on July 10, 2020. At an extraordinary meeting on Friday, the Latvian government decided to toughen COVID-19 containment rules for cafes, bars and restaurants amid an increase in new coronavirus cases in the Baltic country, local media reported. (Ph

Indonesian high-speed railway project on track despite COVID-19

The development of the China-built Jakarta-Bandung high-speed railway project is continuing to advance amid the COVID-19 pandemic in Indonesia following changes in safety and health procedures at the construction sites.At all the HSR's project sites, everybody, particularly workers, must go through

More info expected from Kazakhstan after 'unknown pneumonia' sparks speculation

Passengers wearing masks sit in a bus in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan, on May 12, 2020. Photo:Xinhua Kazakh authorities refuted Chinese media reports on an "unknown pneumonia" on Friday, even if local media had reported that the unknown disease was more deadly than COVID-19. Some medical experts in

WHO struggles with its stance as mounting evidence suggests coronavirus is airborne

The WHO acknowledged this week that the novel coronavirus can spread through tiny droplets floating in the air. (Photo: CFP)The coronavirus pandemic has exposed a clash among medical experts over diseasetransmission that stretches back nearly a century to the very origins of germ theory.The Geneva-based World Health Organization (WHO) acknowledged this week that the novel coronavirus can spread through tiny droplets floating in the air, saying they will issue new guidelines about transmission in settings with close contact and poor ventilation.The move came after more than 200 experts in aerosol science urged the medical community and public-health authorities to acknowledge the potential for airborne transmission.Yet the WHO still insists on more definitive proof.Previous stance on transmissionThe WHO has long maintained that COVID-19 is spread via larger respiratory droplets, most often when people cough or sneeze.It has dismissed the possibility of airborne transmission, except for certain high-risk medical procedures, like when patients are first put on breathing machines."Its part of the culture of medicine from the early 20th century. To accept something was airborne requires this very high level of proof," said Dr. Donald Milton, a University of Maryland aerobiologist and a lead author of the open letter.Passengers are required to take temperature check at airport, Los Angeles International Airport, US, June 24, 2020. (Photo: CFP)Such proof could involve studies in which laboratory animals become sickened by exposure to the virus in the air, or studies showing viable virus particles in air samples – a level of proof not required for other modes of transmission such as contact with contaminated surfaces, the letters signatories said.For the WHO, such proof is necessary as it advises countries of every income and resource level to take more drastic measures against a pandemic that has killed more than 550,000 people globally, with more...

US again breaks COVID-19 daily record, reopening schools under pressure

New cases of COVID-19 rose by nearly 69,000 across the United States on Friday, setting a record for the third consecutive day as Walt Disney Co. stuck to its plans to reopen its flagship theme park in hard-hit Florida. Daily deaths are also on the rise.This week, Texas, Arizona, Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, South Dakota and Tennessee all set single-day death records. The surges in Georgia, Louisiana, Montana, Ohio, Utah and Wisconsin also helped to put the US on a pace to set a new national record.Health experts say it is still too early to predict a trend in the national data but that the rising pace of deaths across several states likely signals an end to the countrys overall downward trend in COVID-19 deaths.Florida recorded 11,433 new coronavirus cases on Friday, the state health department said, just short of the states record high and more evidence that it was at the center of the US pandemic. Experts attribute the surge in new cases to states in the South and West that were among the first to ease COVID-19 restrictions.Infections are also rising in the US military, with cases more than doubling in one month. Friday, the Pentagon reported a total of 16,637 positive cases across all branches of the military since the pandemic began. Thats up from 7,408 cases reported as of June 10.The US recorded another record increase in daily COVID-19 cases on July 10. /AFPSchool reopening under pressureGroups representing the nations doctors, teachers and top school officials on Friday pushed back against pressure from President Donald Trump to fully reopen US schools despite a surge in coronavirus cases, saying science must guide the decisions.Trump is demanding the CDC amend its guidelines, which include social distancing measures, calling them "tough & expensive."Dr. Robert Redfield, the head of the CDC, says no changes are planned, but the agency will issue "additional reference documents.""Public hea...

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