The Chinese army deployed medical specialists Saturday to the epicentre of a spiralling viral outbreak that has killed 41 people and spread around the world, as millions spent their normally festive Lunar New Year holiday under lockdown. On Saturday, when they should have been celebrating, citizens of Wuhan stood in line at a pharmacy to buy masks from employees in full-body protective suits and surgical gloves. On the eastern outskirts of Wuhan - Hubei's capital and the source of the previously unknown 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) - police manning a roadblock turned away a handful of vehicles trying to exit the city.
Escalating protest violence is not the way to bring about change, Hong Kong democracy activist Jason Ng has said, urging demonstrators to embrace non-violent means in the struggle to throw off a feared tightening of Beijing's control. With the movement in a less frenetic and ferocious stage after seven months of unrest, Ng, who is also a lawyer, said people in Hong Kong were taking time to process what had happened and reflect on the way forward. Speaking to AFP in an interview in Barcelona, Ng said he hoped the protests would return to the non-violent ethos that had characterised the Umbrella Revolution, the mass pro-democracy demonstrations of 2014.
Johnson and his cabinet ministers discussed using tariffs as "leverage" in an effort to accelerate trade talks at a meeting this week which could result in taxes of 30% on some types of French cheese and 10% on German cars, the newspaper reported. The UK will largely replicate the EU tariff schedule which will be published and lodged at the World Trade Organisation, according to the newspaper.
The bodies of three U.S. firefighters who died in a plane crash earlier this week in Australia's remote bushland while battling a fierce wildfire have been recovered, the police said on Saturday as investigators started probe into the accident. A spokeswoman for Australia's New South Wales state police confirmed the recovery to Reuters in an e-mail. "They have been taken for a post mortem examination to confirm ID," the spokeswoman said.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reportedly cursed and shouted at an NPR reporter after she repeatedly confronted him about his handling of the politically charged ouster of former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch. According to a transcript of the interview between NPR host Mary Louise Kelly and Pompeo, he repeatedly dodged questions on Ukraine and grew increasingly irate after Kelly asked, “Do you owe Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch an apology?” “You know, I agreed to come on your show today to talk about Iran,” Pompeo said before going on to insist, “I just don’t have anything else to say about that this morning.” When Kelly kept grilling him and noted that some within the State Department had criticized his failure to stand up for Yovanovitch after she was fired amid what she described as a smear campaign orchestrated by President Trump, Pompeo sought to dismiss the criticism as being from “unnamed sources.” But Kelly stopped him: “These are not unnamed sources. This is your senior adviser Michael McKinley, a career foreign service officer with four decades experience,” she said, reminding Pompeo that McKinley had testified on the matter under oath. Declining to comment on McKinley, Pompeo insisted, “I have defended every State Department official,” only to end the interview when Kelly asked him to refer her to any comments he’d made in defense of Yovanovitch. According to NPR, things grew even more heated after the interview had concluded, when Pompeo is said to have “silently glared” at Kelly before leaving the room. She was then reportedly asked to follow him without her recorder, but without any agreement that the following conversation would be off the record. At that point, Pompeo reportedly challenged Kelly to find Ukraine on an unmarked map and asked, “Do you think Americans care about Ukraine?” He reportedly wrapped up the meeting by declaring that “people will hear about this.” 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.
Two anti-government protesters were killed in clashes with security forces in the Iraqi capital on Friday, hours after thousands of supporters of Shiite cleric Moqtada Sadr rallied separately to demand the ouster of US troops. Four NGO workers, three of them French nationals, were also reported missing in Baghdad, rocked since October by a youth-dominated protest movement demanding a government overhaul, early elections and more accountability. On Friday, one protester was struck in the neck by a live round while another died after being hit with a military-grade tear gas canister in clashes with security forces, medical and police sources told AFP.
London Breed, San Francisco’s first black female mayor, joins campaign following support from Stockton and San Jose mayorsThere’s nothing surprising about a billionaire winning the support of the mayor of San Francisco, a city flush with tech wealth and new money.But when the billionaire is Mike Bloomberg – and the endorsement is the latest from a string of California mayors he mentored and supported – the vow of support raises some eyebrows.Bloomberg announced on Thursday that London Breed, San Francisco’s first black female mayor, would serve as his campaign’s chair of African Americans.“Voters re-elected London Breed by a wide margin because she is taking on the biggest and toughest issues – and she puts progress over politics,” the former New York mayor said in a statement. “I’m honored to have her support and look forward to working with her not only to win this election, but to help make San Francisco and all of California stronger, fairer, and greener – with more affordable housing, more good jobs, and healthcare for all.”Breed, who previously supported the California Senator Kamala Harris in the Democratic race for the presidential nomination, said on Facebook that she is backing Bloomberg because he “is the only candidate for president with a real plan for African Americans”, touting his Greenwood Initiative to increase black home ownership and the number of black-owned businesses.She acknowledged his harmful legacy of stop-and-frisk, the policing strategy that led to widescale racial profiling in New York City when Bloomberg was mayor, saying Bloomberg “owned up” to his “mistake” when he apologized for the 12 years he allowed the policy to flourish.“Of course I was a bit surprised to see the mayor endorsed Bloomberg,” said Lateefah Simon, president of the Bay Area Rapid Transit board and longtime friend of Breed. “But herein lies the power of the individual. It’s not San Francisco endorsing Mayor Bloomberg. It’s Mayor Breed.”For some in San Francisco, that’s the problem. “I haven’t met many Bloomberg supporters in San Francisco,” local lawmaker Matt Haney told the Guardian. “In fact, I don’t think I’ve met any. It doesn’t seem reflective of where the residents of San Francisco are. I don’t think her endorsement is reflective of how residents feel.”A recent UC Berkeley poll found that 85% of Californians have either a negative opinion of Bloomberg or no opinion at all. Yet since entering the race late in November, Bloomberg has secured the endorsements of the mayors of three major cities in the state – San Francisco, Stockton and San Jose. “I haven’t met any Bloomberg supporters who were not elected officials, period,” Haney said.Bloomberg, one of the richest people in the United States, has for years invested in developing political and support network for local leaders, providing them access to both money and expertise. All three California mayors who recently announced endorsements went through Bloomberg’s Harvard City Leadership Initiative, a training program for city mayors – Stockton mayor Michael Tubbs and San Jose mayor Sam Liccardo in 2018, and Breed in 2019. Tubbs attended the CityLab Summit in Paris in 2017, another Bloomberg-sponsored conference.In San Francisco, Bloomberg’s support included a $275,000 donation to support a soda tax and $7.1m to defeat an initiative to reverse a ban on e-cigarette sales – both measures supported by Breed. In 2018, San Jose received up to $2.5m from Bloomberg Philanthropies to tackle climate change. In June, Bloomberg Philanthropies donated $500,000 to a Stockton-based education reform group.“Mike has made significant investments in San Francisco, in cities throughout California, and indeed across the nation,” Breed said on Facebook.It’s significant that Bloomberg has been able to win the endorsements of black trailblazing mayors like Tubbs and Breed.At his first campaign stop in Stockton, California, in December 2019 Bloomberg stood next to Tubbs and apologized again for stop-and-frisk, but never acknowledged why the policy was harmful, or who it harmed.“There isn’t a politician alive who hasn’t made a mistake,” Breed said of stop-and-frisk. “The difference with Mike Bloomberg is he owned up to his.”“I think there is a long track record of people reaching out to black leaders and black communities in transactional ways,” Alicia Garza, founder of the Black Lives Matter movement, told the Guardian. “It really represents a lot of what’s wrong with politics in this country and I think it’s hard to believe that change will happen when these same kinds of dynamics are at play.“With that being said,” she continued, “there are decisions that leaders are having to make and they’re doing the calculus. Every leader has a right to do that.”Garza’s group, Black to the Future Action Fund, will be announcing its endorsement in February. While she demurred on her thoughts on Bloomberg and stop-and-frisk, she made a point to say that the group will consider “not just [the candidates’] future plans, but interrogating their records since they’ve been in power”.