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  • President Trump announced that he was putting Vice President Mike Pence in charge of the U.S. response to coronavirus.


  • President Andrés Manuel López Obrador suggested Wednesday without offering evidence that most of those who die in Mexico's cartel- and gang-fueled firefights are high on drugs or intoxicated, prompting criticism and questions about whether the claim was accurate. Speaking to journalists in his morning news conference, López Obrador said rising drug consumption rates must be reversed if the country is to guarantee peace and security after years of rising, record-setting homicide statistics. “Just so you have the number, 60% of those who lose their life each day, 60% of those killed in clashes, it is shown that they are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, but primarily drugs,” the president continued.


  • Authorities quickly found the missing woman's vehicle at a church near her home, but she was nowhere to be found.


  • He stole $10 million-worth of "currency stored value," like online gift cards, and resold them online in exchange for bitcoin, a court ruled.


  • Michael Bloomberg is reportedly trying to convince entreprenuer and former presidential candidate Andrew Yang to join his campaign as his running mate.According to individuals with knowledge of the discussion, aides working with the former New York City mayor reportedly reached out to Mr Yang to discuss how the businessmen could join forces in Mr Bloomberg’s quest for the Democratic nomination.


  • Joe Biden says he isn't worried about the prospect of President Trump refusing to leave his post if he’s defeated in November.


  • Iran’s deputy health minister was drenched in sweat at the press conference on Monday where he vehemently denied Tehran was covering up the extent of the coronavirus outbreak. He kept wiping his brow with his handkerchief and was in visible distress as he said quarantines were a “Stone Age” way to address the problem, and Iran doesn’t need them. Then, sure enough, that night he tested positive for the virus himself and put himself in quarantine. The irony of Deputy Health Minister Iraj Harirchi’s case would be funny almost, were Iran’s conspicuous bungling of the coronavirus threat not a menace to the whole region and, indeed, to the world. As The Daily Beast’s partner publication, IranWire, revealed in an exclusive report Thursday, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps has tried to address the epidemic by telling doctors to shut up about it, much as Chinese authorities in Wuhan did, disastrously, when the disease was just starting to spread last December.The “official figures” from Iran give the game away. At last count, 16 people have died from COVID-19, but only 95 cases had been confirmed. As Wired UK points out, that would be a death rate of about 17 percent, when the data available from China, where there are huge numbers to work with, suggests the death rate is closer to 2 percent. The statistics don’t add up. Canadian researchers cited by Wired suggest the Iran outbreak probably involves more than 18,000 people, and counting.* * *SILENCING THE DOCTORS* * *Following is the full IranWire article written by Aida Ghajar:IranWire can exclusively report that Iran’s Revolutionary Guards have threatened Iranian medical specialists with reprisals if any of them were to disclose information regarding the spread of coronavirus in Iran.A group of specialist doctors met with Deputy Health Minister Iraj Harirchi on Feb. 22, during which they reported on the latest findings regarding the spread of coronavirus in Tehran and other Iranian cities. But soon after the meeting, the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) approached the doctors through the health ministry’s security office and warned the doctors not to leak any information from their discussions. The doctors were told that, if any details did leak, they would be held responsible and would suffer the consequences.Despite these threats, the information received by IranWire shows the seriousness of the coronavirus outbreak, especially in Tehran. The doctors who were present at the meeting offered Harirchi their assessment of the official news and figures and told him that the figures published by the government do not match the reality of the situation.As one of these doctors—whose name is withheld because of the threats from the Revolutionary Guards—told IranWire: “The statistics published by the government have nothing to do with reality of the situation and the number of infections is much higher than what the media reports. If things go on like this and if the Islamic Republic does not cooperate with the World Health Organization, we must expect a great disaster in the coming months and, only in Tehran, tens of thousands will be infected by coronavirus. This scientific estimate does not even include other epicenters like Qom. If we cannot come up with a framework to cooperate with the World Health Organization, our situation will become many times worse than in China.”This doctor pointed out that, right now, a number of clinics in Tehran have been quarantined and the government’s attempts to keep the reality of the situation a secret is a “crime” in the legal sense of the word.“Refusing to divulge real information to Iranians and to the international community is officially a crime because it endangers the lives of people not only in Iran but in other countries as well.”Donald Trump Takes Coronavirus So Seriously He Just Put Mike Pence in ChargeIn many countries, including the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Canada, Iraq, Turkey, and Lebanon, the first cases of coronavirus infections were brought in by Iranian citizens or by travelers who had visited Iran. This has led many countries to close their borders with Iran, in the air and on the ground.According to this doctor, the outbreak of coronavirus in Iran occurred just after the outbreak in China. “But the problem started when we did not recognize that this virus is the same as China’s coronavirus,” the doctor said. “We made a mistake when we identified it as a variant of influenza viruses.… But, after it became known that it had been a mistake, [officials] continued as before and did not disclose the facts.”* * *THE GOVERNMENT IS CLUELESS* * *The doctor said Iran’s government has no plans for containing the crisis. Officials have “no other choice except secrecy,” he added. “This will disgrace the Islamic Republic, if it becomes known that its government is clueless. But this can lead to a humanitarian disaster.”According to this doctor, after the meeting with the health minister was over, the Revolutionary Guards contacted each doctor who had been at the meeting. “They told us that we will be held responsible for even the smallest leak. But I could not keep silent anymore,” he said.On Monday, two days after the meeting and after the doctors were threatened, Gen. Hossein Salami, the top commander of the Revolutionary Guards, called Health Minister Saeed Namaki and announced that the Guards were ready to provide any and all assistance in fighting coronavirus and preventing its spread.On Feb. 25, in a televised speech, President Hassan Rouhani asked people to trust only statements by the health ministry for information about coronavirus.The Iranian Cyber Police have meanwhile reported that they have arrested a number of “rumor-mongers” about coronavirus since Feb. 21. Gen. Hossein Rahimi, commander of Tehran’s Cyber Police, announced the arrests.“Persons who want to create trouble for the people by spreading rumors and lying in cyberspace must know that the police surveils their behavior and will act against them decisively,” he said.Earlier on Feb. 21, Gholamreza Jalali, commander of Iran’s Civil Defense Organization, accused foreign media of “creating panic” by publishing inaccurate or misleading figures about coronavirus infections. He emphasized that coronavirus must not be turned into a “political crisis.”Jalali is the same official who, after floods had inundated many parts of Iran in early 2019, made strange statements about extreme weather, accusing Israel of “cloud stealing.” He claimed that “joint committees of Turkey and Israel” had stolen moisture and snow from the clouds over Iran.With the Islamic Republic and the Revolutionary Guards turning the coronavirus outbreak into a security issue, by treating infection figures as state secrets, by arresting people for “rumor mongering” and, now by threatening doctors whose duty is to tell the truth about infectious diseases, it seems the experts may be proved right about the likelihood of a humanitarian disaster. If the Islamic Republic continues in this way, we must expect a much bigger disaster than what is happening in China—not only for Iranians but for the world.The Russian Models Instagramming From China's Coronavirus CapitalRead more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.


  • Islamist militant groups in Nigeria have begun targeting Christians in an attempt to provoke a religious war, the information minister said on Thursday. Islamist insurgents in Nigeria have killed around 35,000 people and displaced at least two million in the past decade, driven first by Boko Haram and more recently by its offshoot, the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP). "They have started targeting Christians and Christian villages for a specific reason, which is to trigger a religious war and throw the nation into chaos," he told reporters.


  • California is monitoring 8,400 people who arrived in the state on domestic commercial flights for the Wuhan coronavirus, Governor Gavin Newsom announced on Thursday.33 individuals have already tested positive for the virus, five of whom have been moved out of the state."We knew this was inevitable," Newsom said at a press conference. State officials remain in "constant contact with federal agencies," the governor stressed, adding that the state's top priority was obtaining more testing kits since current supplies are "inadequate.""We’re not just preparing — we’ve been actively participating in addressing this issue for many months, aggressively," Newsom said.The announcement came after other locales in the U.S. have announced similar monitoring efforts, though none as extensive as in California. 608 people were being monitored under self-quarantine in Massachusetts, with 377 of those released without symptoms. Meanwhile, a Seattle high school announced it would close until Friday after a staffer self-quarantined following an international trip.The CDC on Wednesday confirmed a coronavirus case in central California with unknown origins, days after the agency initially refused to test the patient because they "did not fit the existing CDC criteria.""At this time, the patient’s exposure is unknown," the CDC said in a statement. "It’s possible this could be an instance of community spread of COVID-19, which would be the first time this has happened in the United States."


  • Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh is telling his listeners that the coronavirus is a plot to bring down President Trump and attacked the CDC official who warned on Tuesday that the virus will spread in the U.S.


  • More new coronavirus cases were reported outside of China than inside the country on Wednesday — the first time since global health officials began tracking the virus.


  • Henri Michelle Piette kidnapped his victim in 1997, when she was 12, and subjected her to nearly 20 years of physical and sexual abuse before she escaped.


  • Salvatore Anello had lifted his granddaughter up to a railing behind an open window, believing there was glass there, before she fell to her death.


  • Sources close to Bloomberg's campaign acknowledge his polls are not looking good.


  • The president of Belarus said Thursday that his country is "being forced into integration” with Russia and insisted that real integration of the two countries' economies implied “sovereignty and independence” for Belarus. “We remain committed, as always, to real integration without being forced into integration,” President Alexander Lukashenko said at a meeting with Mikhail Myasnikovich, chair of the Eurasian Economic Commission.


  • An estimated 38,000 Americans have died in gun related deaths since the House passed a bill on gun reform. Why won't the Senate act?


  • The Iranian government has covered up an outbreak of coronavirus that now threatens the Middle East and has led to border closures and hospitalizations in five countries. Over the weekend of February 21, president Hassan Rouhani and other Iranian officials downplayed the growing crises as Iran’s death toll from the virus climbed. It is now apparent that the regime, which has threatened the region with ballistic missiles, drones, naval mines, and militias over the last few years, has become a health threat as well, as it incubates a potential pandemic. The coronavirus has likely traveled from China to Iran’s city of Qom along the same route that pilgrims and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps uses to travel, illustrating the regime’s disregard for its own citizens and neighbors.It all began with Iran’s wanting to show the world it had higher turnout at recent elections. Iranian member of parliament Mahmoud Sadeghi called on officials to take the coronavirus seriously during elections, and alleged that the government was hiding the outbreak of the contagious virus last week. Instead, Iran’s regime kept the extent of the spread of the virus under wraps, keeping it off the homepages of major local media. Turkish officials also warned last week that there were 750 coronavirus cases in Iran, and that it had spread from the religious city of Qom to other regions. Yet Iran’s deputy health minister Iraj Harirchi downplayed fears on Monday, claiming rumors of 50 deaths were false. Now Haririchi and Sadeghi are both sick, and Iran’s death toll is the second-worst for the virus, after China itself.Iran’s failure to confront the health crises is not just due to the regime’s authoritarianism. China has fought the virus with authoritarian quarantining of Wuhan. Instead, it is the regime’s preexisting arrogance, conspiracy-minded behavior, and siege mentality that led to its discounting an emerging crisis and enabled Shi’ite pilgrims traveling to Qom from all over the world to continue praying together and traveling without checks, becoming incubators of the virus. People returning from Iran have spread the virus across the Gulf to Kuwait, Bahrain, and Oman. They have returned to Najaf, a holy city in Iraq, where dozens are now under observation.Iran couldn’t have chosen a worse time in the Middle East to do this. Countries such as Iraq are beset by protests and uncertainty, with Iraq specifically lacking a new government and threatened by ISIS resurgence. The Gulf already has one crisis between Saudi Arabia and Qatar and is economically on edge due to serving as a transport hub linked to global trade amid all this. China’s coronavirus has spooked markets, and Iran is adding to the disaster.The Iranian regime has mocked coronavirus as similar to the flu in recent comments. And it has weaponized the tragedy to use it against U.S. sanctions by claiming that, like the sanctions, it is overrated. Iran’s government is using the Iranian people as a human shield, and their alleged lack of suffering from the virus as a propaganda tool. Yet ultimately, the virus may be more of a threat to Rouhani’s government than he realizes. With officials sick, schools closed, and the military, police, and IRGC mobilized, the regime may find that propaganda won’t cure this crisis. Iran’s regime has survived using brutality, killing protesters last year, shooting down an airline this year, and blaming others for its problems while it seeks to attack Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the U.S. But Iran was unprepared for an epidemic, and its normal arsenal won’t save it.Unfortunately for the Gulf, Iraq, and other countries, Iran’s incubation is a threat to the world now. Its airlines, such as Mahan Air, have likely spread the virus to Lebanon and brought it from China. Mahan Air and other Iranian IRGC-linked firms have transported arms and operatives throughout the region. It wouldn’t be a surprise if a similar route enabled the virus to spread unchecked. The regime’s toxic blend of religion, militancy, and authoritarianism have come together in the worst possible way at the worst time in a fragile region.


  • Banning hydraulic fracturing and halting new drilling on federal land would cost the U.S. economy $7 trillion in the next decade and kill millions of jobs, the U.S. oil industry’s main lobby group said on Thursday in a report targeting the climate plans of top Democratic presidential candidates. The report from the American Petroleum Institute underscores mounting concern in the U.S. drilling industry over the possibility a candidate in favor of rapidly ending the fossil fuel economy to fight global warming will win the Democratic Party's nomination to face Republican President Donald Trump in the November election.


  • The list of countries hit by the coronavirus grows. Mecca suspends entry for pilgrims. Several countries close their schools, stock exchanges plunge.


  • The girl, Evelyn Mae Boswell, remains missing. The sheriff has said that the mother gave information that was not thought to be accurate.


  • How this woman in her 40s contracted the virus again is not yet known. Experts say it is possible that humans can get sick from it more than once.


  • Salvatore Anello, Chloe Wiegand's grandfather, will change his plea in a deal to avoid jail time, a family attorney told NBC News.


  • Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has admitted she feels unsafe in Washington D.C. over her home in the Bronx, New York — which is fueled, in part, by the threats she's received after President Trump tweeted against her.


  • Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg may be looking for a bump from the Yang Gang.The Bloomberg campaign has been seeking an endorsement from entrepreneur and former 2020 candidate Andrew Yang and even floated him as a potential running made, The Wall Street Journal reports. "Aides to the former New York City mayor reached out to discuss ways the two entrepreneurs-turned-politicians could work together as Mr. Bloomberg seeks the Democratic nomination," the Journal writes, although Yang reportedly "didn't commit to join forces."The Bloomberg campaign told the Journal that Yang isn't being seriously considered to be his running mate, and a senior Bloomberg aide denied to NBC's Josh Lederman that he never was. Since dropping out of the race, Yang has been a contributor for CNN. He recently took part in a CNN discussion about Bloomberg's debate debut, during which he said the former mayor came across as "lethargic and uninterested" and was not "properly prepared." Yang also theorized Bloomberg has no one on his team "who could be like, 'That was terrible. This is going to potentially damage your campaign to a very, very high degree.'" Meanwhile, Bloomberg in an interview with MSNBC on Thursday said he'd "consider everybody" to be his running mate should he win the Democratic nomination, but when asked who he's talked to, he shot back, "Why would I tell you?" More stories from theweek.com Harvard scientist predicts coronavirus will infect up to 70 percent of humanity What it's like to be in Venice during coronavirus lockdown Turkish official: Airstrike in Syria kills 29 Turkish soldiers


  • More than 200 Cherokees and other Native Americans sent a letter to Senator Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) urging her to issue a public apology after “vague and inadequate” past steps to apologize for her claims of Cherokee ancestry.“Your history of false claims to American Indian identity and the defense of these claims with a highly publicized DNA test continue to dog your political career,” the letter reads. “For Native Americans, this moment is more than an annoyance; it represents the most public debate about our identity in a generation.”The letter cites reporting detailing how white people have scammed more than $800 million in no-bid federal contracts intended to support minority business owners by falsely claiming Native American and other minority heritages. The scammers routinely cite family legacy and the results of commerical DNA tests to substantiate their claims, as Warren did throughout her career. In light of those similarities, the letter asks for Warren to publicly denounce her family story of Native ancestry.“When you still defend yourself by stating you believed what you heard growing up, you set a harmful example for these white people stealing Native identity and resources with stories very similar to your own,” the letter states.Warren claimed to have Cherokee heritage for many years, which critics have charged allowed her to rise in academia before she entered politics. After withering criticism from President Trump, Warren released an infamous DNA test — which she quietly deleted evidence of a year later — showing that she was between 1/64th and 1/1024th Native American.The Massachusetts Democrat took widespread criticism from Native Americans in the aftermath of her DNA test, and last February she apologized to the Cherokee Nation for publicizing her results.“I am sorry for harm I have caused. I have listened and I have learned a lot, and I am grateful for the many conversations that we have had together,” Warren told the Native American Issues Forum in Sioux City, Iowa, in August.Warren responded to the letter on Tuesday night by reiterating her apologies for promoting herself as Native American, but distanced herself from the letter’s main criticism by saying “my situation differs from these cases because I never benefited financially or professionally” from her claims.In response, three of the authors of the original letter told the Los Angeles Times that they were disappointed Warren did not directly address her family story.“We hope that after further dialogue with the campaign, Warren will bravely and publicly tell the truth about her family,” they said in an email.


  • The CDC on Wednesday confirmed an infection in California that would represent the first U.S. person to contract the virus from an "unknown" origin.


  • Military students from Saudi Arabia have resumed flight training at U.S. bases, nearly three months after a Saudi trainee shot and killed three U.S. Navy sailors at Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida. The U.S. Navy said in a statement that flight training for the Saudi students resumed Tuesday. Operational training, such as flying and other non-classroom instruction, was allowed to restart once additional safety restrictions were put in place.


  • A New Jersey woman faces murder charges after allegedly enlisting her son and his friend to brutally kill her daughter and husband 25 years ago by promising them a cut of his life-insurance policy. Dolores Morgan, 66, and her 47-year-old son, Ted Connors, were indicted by a grand jury Wednesday evening on seven counts, including murder and conspiracy, in relation to the 1994 stabbing death of Ana Mejia and the fatal shooting of Nicholas Connors in May 1995, the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office told The Daily Beast.Prosecutors allege that while Connors murdered his father and sister with his best friend, Jose Carrero, Morgan was the true mastermind behind the scheme. After her husband was killed, Morgan allegedly collected a $200,000 life-insurance policy and moved to Florida with her son.Suspect in New Jersey Family’s Torching Is Brother and Business Partner to Victim“Killing for money and drugs, the state’s position, you cannot get more violent,” prosecutor Meghan Doyle said at the pair’s detention hearing after their original arrest in January. “[Morgan] has done nothing but hide her involvement and manipulate the system to ensure she was protected.”Last week, Carrero, 48, pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy to commit murder, admitting that both murder plots were hatched on Morgan’s New Jersey kitchen table and that he had witnessed both of the slayings. He is expected to be sentenced to up to 20 years in state prison for his role in the gruesome schemes and has agreed to testify against his former accomplices.Carrero told Superior Court Judge Ellen Torregrossa-O’Connor in February that Morgan offered him up to $3,000 to kill her daughter, Meija, because she believed the 24-year-old had alerted police about her drug dealing, according to the Asbury Park Press. The 48-year-old admitted he held Mejia down and covered her face with his hand, while Connors stabbed his sister to death. Her two children, ages 3 and 1 at the time, were present at the apartment but were left unharmed.Mejia, 24, was found dead inside her Long Branch apartment on Dec. 8, 1994, where she had been stabbed 23 times, authorities said. A white substance was found smeared across her mouth and nose—which was eventually determined to be baby formula, prosecutors said.Estranged Husband, Girlfriend of Missing NYC Teacher Charged With MurderFive months later, Carrero said Morgan asked for his help again: to help her son murder her husband so they collect his life-insurance policy. Prosecutors said that Nicolas Connors, 51, was found dead on a sofa in his Long Branch home with “multiple gunshot wounds to the head” on May 14, 1995. According to Carrero, Conners retrieved a gun and cut a hole through the screen door to make the crime look like a robbery gone wrong. “Dolores Connors wanted him killed for insurance purposes,”' Carrero said.After the murder, Morgan allegedly cashed the $200,000 insurance policy—which Carrero said she originally believed was worth $1 million—and moved with her son to Florida. Morgan, Connors, and his then-girlfriend traveled to the Dominican Republic after the second murder, prosecutors said. During the trip, Connors’ ex-girlfriend told authorities that Morgan said, “We already have two deaths on our hands. We can’t afford another. We can’t afford the police snooping around our house again.”Morgan’s attorney, Jason Seidman, told The Daily Beast on Thursday his client has been cooperative with police “to help capture the killer or killers who took her husband and daughter” and maintains “her innocence as she has for over 25 years.”“She has waited for 25 years to have those responsible brought to justice,” he said, noting that while he normally does not comment on ongoing cases, the state’s decision to put “every moment of this case before the media thus far” has compelled him to speak out. Seidman insisted that Carrero’s “completely inconsistent” confession does not accurately state the chain of events.“They have chosen to run with his story, and turn a blind eye to facts and reason,” he said. “There are no less than 8 people who had either greater motive or better opportunity to commit these murders, including several drug dealers who were out large amounts of money or drugs, based upon the actions of the victim and her boyfriend one week prior to her murder.” Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.


  • "Weapons-grade lasers could potentially cause serious harm to aircrew and mariners," US Pacific Fleet said.


  • Inmates at the Mississippi State Penitentiary in Parchman "live a miserable and hopeless existence confronted daily by imminent risk of substantial harm," the suit said.


  • Moscow authorities are rounding up stray animals and exterminating rats as a precaution against the new coronavirus, actions that animal rights campaigners decried as cruel and scientifically groundless. Russia has imposed an array of measures to stop the virus gaining a foothold in Russia, ranging from restrictions on flights to China and South Korea to visa curbs for Iranian and Chinese citizens. "We are currently carrying out a large-scale complex (of measures) for the total deratization of the city, catching wild animals, strays," Elena Andreeva, the Moscow head of the Rospotrepnadzor consumer health watchdog, was quoted as saying by the RIA news agency.


  • This Sunday former Vice President and current Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden have scheduled an exclusive interview with Fox News host Chris Wallace. This will be Biden’s first interview with Wallace since 2007.


  • The United States on Thursday demanded that China immediately free Hong Kong-based bookseller Gui Minhai, a Swedish citizen who was sentenced to 10 years in prison. Gui, who was known for publishing salacious titles about China's political leaders, was snatched while on a train to Beijing in February 2018 and this week sentenced on charges of illegally providing intelligence abroad. "We call on the (Chinese) government to release him immediately and unconditionally," State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said in a statement that "strongly" condemned the sentence.


  • After working out kinks related to the Hellfire missile replacement's lethality in a maritime environment, the Army and Marine Corps are heading into more tests of the Joint Air-to-Ground Missile against targets at sea.


  • Donald Trump’s White House is facing criticism for its “insane and depressing” decision to hire 23-year-old college James Bacon for a post in its powerful Presidential Personnel Office under new director John McEntee.The president has just returned from his two-day visit to India where he set in place a lucrative arms deal with Narendra Modi and toured the country’s beauty spots while being shielded from the outbreak of anti-Muslim riots, which left at least 20 people dead in New Dehli.


  • The CDC has asked Americans to be prepared for the COVID-19 illness to spread in the United States.


  • Leah Freeman's shoes were the only clue police had in her murder — and the only evidence that her high school boyfriend Nick McGuffin wasn't her killer.


  • (Bloomberg) -- The Iowa Democratic Party said Thursday that a partial recount of the Feb. 3 caucuses confirmed Pete Buttigieg’s lead with 14 delegates and Bernie Sanders in second place with 12.The Buttigieg and Sanders campaigns had asked for the recount of 23 precincts after the reporting of the results was marred from the beginning by problems with a smartphone app that didn’t work and a backup telephone hotline that was jammed by calls from supporters of President Donald Trump.The Iowa Democratic Party’s state central committee is expected to certify the results Saturday. The Associated Press, which hasn’t called the race, said it would update its tally of the national delegates won after that vote.Biden Says He’d Pick Michelle Obama (8:55 p.m.)Michelle Obama has made clear she has no plans to run for office but Joe Biden said Thursday he would ask her to be his running mate “in a heartbeat” if he thought she’d agree to the job.The former vice president to Barack Obama made the comment in response to a voter’s question about whether he’d choose the former first lady as his vice president. He pointed out that the Obamas have found being out of the White House “somewhat liberating,” suggesting they wouldn’t want to be back in the political spotlight.Last year, the former first lady said there was “zero chance” she’d run for president, yet commentators and activists often say that her presence on the Democratic ticket in November could guarantee President Donald Trump’s defeat.An article in the New York Times on Thursday cited a Democratic National Committee member suggesting that Michelle Obama should be the vice-presidential pick to give the party someone to rally around regardless of who the nominee ends up being. -- Jennifer EpsteinButtigieg Meets With Black Lawmakers (7:02 p.m.)Pete Buttigieg met with about 10 members of the Congressional Black Caucus Thursday, as polls show the candidate struggling to win African-American support and to expand his coalition in southern states like South Carolina, which holds its party primary Saturday.Representative Anthony Brown, a Maryland Democrat who has endorsed the former South Bend, Indiana, mayor and hosted the get-together, said Buttigieg was “well received and will continue to engage and listen.” Only about a fifth of the caucus participated.“This morning, Mayor Pete Buttigieg had a candid, two-way conversation with members of the Congressional Black Caucus,” Brown said in a statement. “Pete leaned into his record and experience, outlined his vision to uplift communities of color, and shared his strategy to build a broad coalition not only to beat Donald Trump but to govern effectively from day one.”Buttigieg also met members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, arranged by the group’s political action committee, BOLD PAC. He was the sixth Democratic presidential candidate to sit down with the group.“The pathway to win the White House runs through the Latino community and the eventual Democratic Presidential nominee will need to make it a priority to engage and message to Latino voters,” the PAC said in a statement after the meeting. -- Billy HouseWarren Promises Change to Presidential Clemency (3:13)Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren said Thursday that she would seek to give more power to the president to grant clemency and pardons.Warren said that her administration would remove the process from the Department of Justice and instead create a clemency board that would work directly with the White House to prioritize cases of older individuals who were incarcerated for “unduly long sentences.” If the board decides that those individuals don’t pose a danger to public safety, they’d be granted a presumption of release.“The president has significant powers to grant clemency and pardons, and historically presidents have used that power broadly,” Warren wrote on Twitter on Thursday. “But today’s hierarchical process at DOJ results in relatively few and conservative clemency recommendations.”Warren said prison conditions in the U.S. make long sentences “inhumane.” The proposal, which was adopted from a plan offered by former 2020 candidate Cory Booker, comes two days before the primary in South Carolina, where more than half of the Democratic electorate is African American.SEIU Targets Infrequent Minority Voters (1:35 p.m.)The Service Employees International Union said it will spend an unprecedented $150 million trying to turn out infrequent minority voters in battleground states on behalf of Democratic candidates.The union, which has so far held off on endorsing a candidate in the Democratic primary, is looking to boost the eventual presidential nominee with a massive canvassing project in Colorado, Florida, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin.Targets include Filipinos in Las Vegas, Puerto Ricans in Florida and black voters in Detroit and Milwaukee.Canvassers will attempt to individually contact more than 6 million individual voters, in as many as five different languages. The goal is to reach registered voters who haven’t voted regularly in the past few elections and follow-up regularly until Election Day.It will build on a similar effort involving tens of millions of dollars that the SEIU mounted in the 2018 midterm elections. -- Josh Eidelson and Ryan Teague BeckwithCOMING UPSouth Carolina will hold its primary on Saturday, Feb. 29. Fourteen states and one U.S. territory will vote on Super Tuesday, March 3.(Disclaimer: Michael Bloomberg is seeking the Democratic presidential nomination. He is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News.)\--With assistance from Josh Eidelson, Misyrlena Egkolfopoulou, Billy House and Jennifer Epstein.To contact the reporters on this story: Ryan Teague Beckwith in Washington, D.C. at rbeckwith3@bloomberg.net;Max Berley in Washington at mberley@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Wendy Benjaminson at wbenjaminson@bloomberg.net, Steve Geimann, John HarneyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.


  • Ebtekar, one of Iran's vice presidents, was the English-language spokesperson known to the media as "Mary" during the 1979 Iranian hostage crisis.


  • Betsy DeVos has launched an Education Department investigation after a USA TODAY report showed a college apparently had no faculty or students.


  • The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday formally dismissed a case in which Lee Boyd Malvo, who was 17 when he took part in the deadly 2002 "D.C. Sniper" shooting spree in the Washington area, was challenging his life without parole sentence.


  • Democratic socialists are in the middle of a hostile takeover of the Democratic Party. Led by the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign and the “squad” of newly elected congresswomen, the hard-left coalition has laid out an ambitious agenda to transform the United States into a democratic socialist nation. While many commentators have dismissed the rhetoric around the Green New Deal, Housing for All, and End Cash Bail as pie-in-the-sky abstraction, in Seattle, the socialist coalition is quickly translating this agenda into a political reality.After the socialist Left’s stunning victory over business-backed moderates in last year’s municipal elections, Seattle has effectively become the nation’s laboratory for socialist policies. Since the beginning of the year, the socialist faction on the Seattle City Council has proposed a range of policies on taxes, housing, homelessness, and criminal justice that put into practice the national democratic-socialist agenda. In the most recent session, socialist councilwoman Kshama Sawant and her allies have proposed massive new taxes on corporations, unprecedented regulations on landlords (including rent control and a ban on “winter evictions”), the mandated construction of homeless encampments, and the gradual dismantling of the criminal justice system, beginning with the end of cash bail.Seattle’s socialists have established a narrative that provides the rhetorical basis for their policies. They argue that the corporate-technological elite, led by companies such as Amazon, has hoarded the rewards of the digital economy and created widespread misery for workers, renters, and people of color. As Seattle-based commentator and Marxist theoretician Charles Mudede has written: “We are in the 21st century. We are in one of the richest cities on earth. And yet, the old war between those who employ labor and those who sell their labor is still very much with us.”In the socialist vision, the “new class war” is now entering a more direct phase of conflict. They have launched a political campaign to dramatically curtail the power of corporations, landlords, and traditional neighborhood interests, and to build a coalition of socialists, progressives, unions, and the dispossessed that is capable of achieving power. In short, the solution to the class war is to win the class war.While conservatives and moderates have typically dismissed the socialist movement as a “big-city problem,” the new socialist agenda is no longer confined to the municipal boundaries of places such as Seattle, San Francisco, and New York. Increasingly, the hard-left coalition has turned these cities into “laboratories for socialism,” with the goal of eventually commercializing their policies through the national Democratic Party. Already, Bernie Sanders, the current front-runner in the Democratic primary, has proposed a nationalized version of the Seattle agenda: Tax Amazon, enact national rent control, construct public housing, and end cash bail.But Seattle’s socialists have gone one step further. In order to consolidate their newfound power, the progressive-socialists have begun to manipulate the democratic process in their own favor: first, by providing all Seattle voters with $100 in taxpayer-funded “democracy vouchers,” which are easily collected by unions, activists, and socialist groups; and second, by implementing a ban on corporate spending in local elections by companies like Amazon. At the same time, black-bloc activists and Antifa militants intimidate any potential opposition by disrupting events, vandalizing homes, and even orchestrating death threats against political adversaries.What can opponents of socialism do? First, recognize that it must be fought on all fronts. While the socialists form a small minority of the national electorate, they have demonstrated the capability of seizing power in America’s major cities, which are home to much of the digital “means of production” in tech, media, advertising, entertainment, and research. The business sector in cities such as Seattle must recognize that the progressive-socialists are no longer interested in gaining reasonable concessions; they intend to overthrow capitalism itself.Over the past decade, the dominant corporate strategy has been to quietly advocate for neoliberal economic policies, while pandering to the cultural mandates of “diversity and inclusion.” That era is now over. As the experience in Seattle reveals, the socialist Left cannot be appeased on cultural issues — they are fighting a war against capital and they intend to win it.If the business sector wants to protect its own interests, it must rapidly adapt to this new reality. It’s no longer enough for local Chambers of Commerce to drop leaflets before local elections; they must build a permanent counterbalance to the progressive-socialists. They must begin by commissioning original policy research, funding local neighborhood groups, and building a political alliance of conservatives, moderates, and old-line liberals. In other words, they must reestablish a balance of power in America’s cities.If nothing is done, the laboratories of socialism in America’s cities will become a national problem. It’s time to shut them down.


  • Or is that just silly?


  • Despite steady warnings from health organizations worldwide, right-wing media are clogging airwaves with conspiracy theories and inaccurate reporting.


  • "This despicable ad is straight out of the Republican disinformation playbook," Obama spokeswoman Katie Hill told NBC News.


  • Police in Milwaukee on Thursday identified the five brewery employees shot and killed by a co-worker who later took his own life in the latest spasm of gun violence plaguing U.S. workplaces and schools. The motive for the carnage was unclear a day after the shooting at the landmark Molson Coors Beverage Co complex shook Wisconsin's largest city. "Reasons for this are still under investigation," Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales said.


  • The questions keep piling up.There was the revelation late Wednesday that federal officials initially declined to test the first U.S. 2019 novel coronavirus case of “unknown origin.” Plus word of hundreds of people under monitoring for infection in Massachusetts and thousands more in California.Taken in tandem, the developments underscored festering concerns about testing for the deadly disease in a country with a questionable health infrastructure.The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) at first declined to test a since-confirmed case of novel 2019 coronavirus at UC Davis Medical Center, Dr. David Lubarsky, CEO of University of California Davis Health, announced Wednesday.“We requested COVID-19 testing by the CDC, since neither Sacramento County nor CDPH is doing testing for coronavirus at this time,” he said in a press release. “Since the patient did not fit the existing CDC criteria for COVID-19, a test was not immediately administered. UC Davis Health does not control the testing process.” On Sunday, the CDC changed its mind and ordered testing of the patient, along with airborne precautions and strict contact precautions, Lubarsky added. By Wednesday, the agency confirmed the individual’s diagnosis—the first case of community transmission from an unknown origin in the United States and the 60th case on American soil.  Coronavirus May Explode in U.S. Overnight Just Like in ItalyAll other cases that have come through the American health system center on patients who had traveled to the epicenter of the virus’s outbreak in China or had close contact with someone who had. Another group of confirmed patients were either repatriated individuals who fled the vicinity of the virus’ origin in China on State Department-chartered planes or were rescued from the disastrous Diamond Princess cruise ship outbreak. South Korea has tested more than 35,000 people for the 2019 novel coronavirus, and in Italy, officials have carried out thousands of tests, confirming at least 650 cases by Thursday—and 17 deaths. By contrast, tests in the U.S. have encountered serious problems, which CDC officials have called “frustrating.” Roughly 500 people were known to have been tested as of Wednesday, not including those who were on the State Department flights and cruise. Outside of the CDC, only 12 states and localities can conduct their own tests, officials have said.Some public health labs have gone so far in recent days as to ask the CDC for permission to develop their own tests, Hawaiian officials asked for the OK to use Japanese tests, and at least one doctor in Boston was working on their own, The Washington Post reported on Tuesday.One expert who has been sounding the alarm about the U.S.’s lackluster testing infrastructure said the dearth of diagnostic materials, which comes into sharper focus almost daily, was alarming.“It isn’t under control,” said Irwin Redlener, director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University and an expert on U.S. readiness for pandemics. “We do not have anything close to a sufficient quantity of test kits. There’s definitely a problem in the supply chain for accurate, reliable testing materials. I don’t know that we really know what’s happening in California or anywhere else right now for that matter. It’s a very, very confusing time.”The CDC did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Daily Beast on Thursday. But a representative for the CDC who was not authorized to speak publicly told The Daily Beast that it would take the agency “days” to get back to reporters’ requests. When asked how reporters were supposed to properly cover the outbreak, the official said they did not see the lag time changing in the near future.The California case was that of a woman who went to a hospital for flu-like symptoms on Feb. 15 and wasn’t tested for coronavirus until more than a week later, when her health continued to decline. It triggered symptom-monitoring for scores of staff members who may have come in contact with the patient, some of whom have now been tested for the virus, The Post reported Thursday.Hours later, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that officials were monitoring about 8,400 people in California for possible infections.Dr. Jeffrey Klausner, an adjunct professor of epidemiology at the University of California Los Angeles who previously worked for the CDC, said community transmission, as in California, was to be expected. “The lack of identified exposure just means that we don’t have the knowledge to determine that exposure,” said Klausner. “Exposure had to occur, spread[ing] the virus does not happen without that. I expect to continue to see new cases arising sporadically as lab test become more available.”A representative from the NorthBay Healthcare Group, where the California patient first sought treatment, said she was brought into the VacaValley hospital by her family. The center is a community hospital with 50 beds and 2 isolation rooms. The patient presented with flu-like symptoms but it was not until days later that physicians thought her condition had worsened enough for a transfer to UC Davis Medical Center, where she is currently. At that point, the patient had severe respiratory and pulmonary symptoms, the source said.UC Davis administrators and physicians alerted NorthBay of the female’s positive coronavirus test, according to the hospital representative, and it wasn’t until after those results came through that the CDC reached out. Since then, the hospital has been in the process of screening individuals who may have come into contact with the patient in the hospital. The representative said there could be thousands of people in the hospital on any given day.California health officials are screening individuals the patient may have come into contact with before she entered the hospital, Gov. Newsom said in a press conference Thursday. He added that several of the coronavirus patients had been transferred out of the state.A representative for the University of Nebraska Medical Center said the hospital was treating patients from the Diamond Princess cruise ship and that 11 of the first 13 individuals tested positive. The source said the latest patient the hospital took in came from Travis Air Force Base, in Fairfield, California, and was the spouse of someone already in the hospital.Meanwhile, public health officials in Massachusetts revealed Wednesday that more than 600 state residents who recently traveled to China voluntarily quarantined themselves at home and were actively monitored for the disease. Approximately 377 of those people completed the quarantine without falling ill, while 231 were still being monitored, according to the state’s public health commissioner, Monica Bharel. Only one person—a student in Boston—contracted the illness, according to The Boston Globe. He was recovering in isolation at home, Bharel has said.“The risk of COVID-19 remains low in Massachusetts,” Bharel said. “People should live their lives normally and go about their normal activities.”But Redlener said there was understandable concern over the lack of consistency from public health officials and politicians about how dire the outbreak in the U.S. could really get. Discrepancies in testing capacity across cities and states, and even the appearance of discord between the feds and local authorities, may serve to feed those anxieties. “Every level of government—local, state, and federal—is trying to find the right balance of information to be giving out to the public,” he added. “There’s a fine line between sort of nonsensical, non-credible reassurance and creating a panic situation. There’s confusion, and a lack of information, and a level of uncertainty for everybody, including the experts and the politicians.”“You don’t have to create hysteria, but you do have to treat the public as adults and let them know what’s happening,” Redlener added.Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.


  • Sandberg said Facebook has to worry about TikTok's explosive growth, and users have reason to worry about their data because it's a Chinese company.


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