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Lives Lost: Brazilian toddler was saying her first words

Lives Lost: Brazilian toddler was saying her first wordsVitoria Gabrielle crawled all the time and was starting to walk this year with a little help, hanging on to her 4-year-old brother's arm while exploring her mother's small apartment on a cobblestone street in Rio de Janeiro's working-class Piety neighborhood. The girl with a constant smile celebrated her first birthday in February, slept and ate well and was enthusiastically saying her first words: “mamãe" and “vovó” (mama and grandma), said her mother, Andréa de Sousa. It was during an April hospital stay that de Sousa suspects her daughter was infected with the coronavirus that was just starting to circulate in Rio and Brazil.



Weibo deletes Indian Prime Minister's social media account

Weibo deletes Indian Prime Minister's social media accountSina Weibo, China's answer to Twitter, said it had deleted Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's account at the request of the Indian embassy, as tensions between the two countries continue to simmer over a border skirmish. Since posting on Sina Weibo the first time in 2015 during a visit to China, Mr Modi has been an infrequent user of the Chinese social media platform. He had more than 200,000 followers and 100 posts before the account was shut. Sina Weibo announced the closure of the account late on Wednesday and the removal comes a few days after India banned dozens of Chinese apps, including Sina Weibo and ByteDance's TikTok, following the border clash between the two nations. The Indian embassy in Beijing did not immediately respond to an e-mailed request for comment. Mr Modi was among a handful of foreign leaders with a Weibo account. Others include Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Justin Trudeau of Canada, and Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela. Notably, Mr Modi revealed the birth dates of both Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang by wishing them "Happy Birthday" on Weibo. The discussion of senior leaders' private lives is extremely rare in China and the exact birth dates of most of them are not revealed publicly. In contrast, Chinese leaders are rarely active on social media. Foreign social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter are blocked in China. READ MORE: China annexes 60sqkm of India in Ladakh as simmering tensions erupt between two superpowers



GOP candidate is latest linked to QAnon conspiracy theory

GOP candidate is latest linked to QAnon conspiracy theoryWhen Lauren Boebert was asked in May about QAnon, she didn't shy away from the far-right conspiracy theory, which advances unproven allegations about a so-called deep state plot against President Donald Trump that involves satanism and child sex trafficking. The GOP-leaning rural western Colorado district will likely support the party's nominee in the November general election. Boebert is part of a small but growing list of Republican candidates who have in some way expressed support for QAnon.



Analysis: Trump fights to keep a job Dems say he isn't doing

Analysis: Trump fights to keep a job Dems say he isn't doingPresident Donald Trump is asking Americans to let him keep his job. The questions have gotten louder in recent days following revelations that Trump didn’t read at least two written intelligence briefings about Russia paying bounties to the Taliban for the deaths of Americans in Afghanistan. “He is not doing his job,” said Michael Hayden, the former director of both the CIA and National Security Agency.



Video: Florida police laugh about shooting rubber bullets

24 shot to death in attack on drug rehab center in Mexico

24 shot to death in attack on drug rehab center in MexicoGunmen burst into an unregistered drug rehabilitation center in central Mexico and opened fire Wednesday, killing 24 people and wounding seven, authorities said. Police in the north-central state of Guanajuato said the attack occurred in the city of Irapuato. Apparently the attackers shot everyone at the rehab center.



Putin headed for victory in reform vote that could keep him in power until 2036

Putin headed for victory in reform vote that could keep him in power until 2036Russian President Vladimir Putin appeared to have secured his political future on Wednesday with 78 percent of votes counted supporting a controversial national referendum that could see the former KGB agent stay in power until 2036. The referendum proposed more than 200 constitutional amendments, one of which will see presidential term limits reset, allowing Putin to run for the job again in 2024 and in 2030 if he chooses. Official results, after 98% of ballots had been counted, showed that the former KGB officer who has ruled Russia for more than two decades as president or prime minister had easily won the right to run for two more six-year terms, Reuters reported.



Putin headed for victory in reform vote that could keep him in power until 2036

Putin headed for victory in reform vote that could keep him in power until 2036A referendum's result gives Putin the opportunity to be Russia’s longest-serving ruler since Peter the Great.



LAPD funding slashed by $150M, reducing number of officers

LAPD funding slashed by $150M, reducing number of officersCity leaders voted Wednesday to slash the Los Angeles Police Department budget by $150 million, reducing the number of officers to a level not seen for more than a decade amid nationwide demands to shift money away from law enforcement agencies during America's reckoning over police brutality and racial injustice. About two-thirds of the funding was earmarked for police overtime and will be used to provide services and programs for communities of color, including a youth summer jobs program. The City Council’s 12-2 vote will drop the number of officers from 9,988 as of last month to 9,757 by next summer, abandoning a goal of 10,000 officers touted by political leaders and only reached in 2013.



Dreams’ PSVR addition is being used to show carbon footprint

Dreams’ PSVR addition is being used to show carbon footprintThe United Nations Environment Programme is behind the project



Hachalu Hundessa: 'Eighty-one killed' in protests over Ethiopian singer's death

Hachalu Hundessa: 'Eighty-one killed' in protests over Ethiopian singer's deathPopular Oromo musician Hachalu Hundessa was shot dead on Monday night, sparking widespread unrest.



GOP candidate is latest linked to QAnon conspiracy theory

GOP candidate is latest linked to QAnon conspiracy theoryWhen Lauren Boebert was asked in May about QAnon, she didn't shy away from the far-right conspiracy theory, which advances unproven allegations about a so-called deep state plot against President Donald Trump that involves satanism and child sex trafficking. The GOP-leaning rural western Colorado district will likely support the party's nominee in the November general election. Boebert is part of a small but growing list of Republican candidates who have in some way expressed support for QAnon.



State-backed COVID-19 disinfo spreads faster and farther than local news outlets in 4 languages

State-backed COVID-19 disinfo spreads faster and farther than local news outlets in 4 languagesQuestionable stories on COVID-19 from state-backed outlets in Russia, China, Turkey and Iran are being shared more widely than reporting by major news organizations around the world, according to Oxford analysts. French, German, Spanish and English news sites see far less social engagement than these foreign-originated ones in their languages. The study is part of ongoing monitoring of COVID-19 disinformation campaigns by the Computational Propaganda Project.



CIA official chose not to tell Trump of Russia bounty report, top adviser claims

CIA official chose not to tell Trump of Russia bounty report, top adviser claims* Robert O’Brien condemned for deflecting blame on to briefer * Trump under pressure to explain why he did not act on reportThe US national security adviser said a CIA official tasked with briefing the president decided not to tell him about reports that Russia paid bounties to the Taliban for killing American soldiers because it was “unverified intelligence”.The claim from Robert O’Brien came as top members of the administration gave differing accounts on the status of intelligence reports on Russian bounty payments, and why Trump had not taken action in response, but had repeatedly pressed to re-admit Russia to the G7 club of nations.Trump himself continued to suggest that the allegations of Russia paying Taliban fighters to kill Americans were a “hoax”.It has been reported that the intelligence was included in the written presidential daily brief (PDB) given by the CIA. O’Brien appeared to suggest it had not been included in verbal briefings given to Trump.“The president’s career CIA briefer decided not to brief him because it was unverified intelligence,” O’Brien told Fox News, adding: “She made that call and, you know what, I think she made the right call, so I’m not going to criticize her. And knowing the facts that I know now, I stand behind that call.”O’Brien was severely criticised for putting the blame for a major policy issue on a relatively junior CIA official.“This is the same scapegoating play that the White House ran in the coronavirus context – blaming Trump’s intelligence briefer for something that is chiefly and fundamentally a failing of the White House staff,” said Ned Price, a former CIA analyst and national security spokesman.He added: “We now know that the information was included in Trump’s written PDB, which is how the intelligence community regularly flags items that the President needs to know. Nothing in the PDB is discretionary; everything in that short document is in there because – in the estimation of the intelligence community – the president needs to know it to fulfill his charge.”Intelligence experts have also pointed out that intelligence routinely briefed to the president is rarely “verified”, but presented with varying degrees of confidence.Trump continued to insist he had not been told, and questioned the veracity of the reports.“From what I hear, and I hear pretty good, the intelligence people – many of them – didn’t believe it happened at all,” the president told Fox News. “I think it’s a hoax. I think it’s a hoax by the newspapers and the Democrats.”Meanwhile, Mike Pompeo, the secretary of state, insisted that the Russian threat in Afghanistan was real and had been properly addressed, implying the president had been kept informed.“We took this seriously; we handle it appropriately,” Pompeo, a former CIA director, told reporters. “The president has been consistently aware of the challenges that Russia presents to us and he is aware of the risk in Afghanistan.“It’s why we have spent so much time over this past year at the president’s direction to reduce risk to our forces in Afghanistan in a way no previous administration has done.”Pompeo said it was up to the president whether to invite Russia to meetings of the G7 group of major industrialised democracies, but added: “I think it is wholly important and appropriate for the United States to continue to have dialogue with the Russians to convince them to change some of the activities that are inconsistent with what it is the United States needs to do to preserve security and freedom for its own people.”A former senior US official confirmed to the Guardian that reports of Russian bounties were circulating inside the White House before the summer of 2019, and raised concern, but at that point had not been fully corroborated.The official said that more detailed information had surfaced since then, but added it was likely that president had ignored the news as it conflicted with his desire to cultivate good relations with Vladimir Putin.“He doesn’t like hearing bad news about all kinds of things, unless he’s forced to,” the former senior official said.CNN cited former officials on Wednesday as saying Trump’s resistance to intelligence warnings about Russia led his national security team, including those who delivered the PDB to brief him verbally less often on Russia-related threats to the US.A former Taliban spokesman, Mullah Manan Niazi, told the Daily Beast: “The Taliban have been paid by Russian intelligence for attacks on US forces - and on Isis forces - in Afghanistan from 2014 up to the present.”



Florida felons seeking voting rights back face court setback

Florida felons seeking voting rights back face court setbackA federal appellate court has stayed a lower court ruling that gave impoverished Florida felons the right to vote. The order issued Wednesday disappointed voting rights activists and could have national implications in November's presidential election. In May, a federal judge in Tallahassee ruled that Florida law can’t stop an estimated 774,000 disenfranchised felons from voting because they can’t pay back any legal fees and restitution they owe.




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