Fauci clashes with senator
Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, on Tuesday angrily responded to Senator Rand Paul in testimony on Capitol Hill, rejecting insinuation that Washington helped fund research at a Chinese lab that could have sparked the COVID-19 outbreak. Paul suggested that Fauci had lied before Congress when in May he denied that the National Institutes of Health funded so-called “gain of function” research at a Wuhan virology lab. “They took animal viruses that only occur in animals, and they increased their transmissibility to humans,” Paul said. “You’re dancing around this because you’re trying to obscure responsibility for 4 million people dying around the world from a pandemic,” Paul said. “Senator Paul, you do not know what you’re talking about, quite frankly,” Fauci said. “And I want to say that officially. You do not know what you’re talking about. If anybody is lying here, senator, it is you.”
California race hits courts
Several court scuffles are under way as California moves toward finalizing the list of candidates for the September recall election that could oust California Governor Gavin Newsom from office during his first term. Talk radio host Larry Elder on Monday filed a lawsuit challenging a decision by California election officials that blocked him from the contest, saying that he is the target of political “shenanigans” by Democrats who fear he is a threat to Newsom. Former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer is expected in court to seek permission to identify himself as the “retired” San Diego mayor on the ballot, a label the state rejected. He qualified as a candidate, but wants to use his title of choice. In another dispute over ballot language, YouTube creator and candidate Kevin Paffrath has sued to get his nickname “Meet Kevin” on the ballot.
Kidnapped villagers freed
One hundred kidnapped villagers were freed on Tuesday following negotiations with their abductors who had held them hostage for 42 days, police said. On July 8, gunmen stormed Manawa village and seized 100 residents, including women and children, and took them to a forest hideout, a spokesman for the Zamfara State police said in a statement. The release was “unconditional” and had been secured “without giving any financial or material gain” to the gang, a source said.
Taliban in ‘defense status’
The Taliban yesterday said that it would fight only to defend itself over the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, but stopped short of declaring a formal ceasefire. “I can confirm we are in defense status during Eid,” a spokesman for the Taliban told reporters, without offering further details. Eid al-Adha started on Monday and end on Friday.
US and S Korea recommit
Tokyo, Washington and Seoul yesterday reaffirmed their commitment to work together on North Korea’s denuclearization and other regional threats. US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, who held talks in Tokyo with her counterparts, Japanese Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Takeo Mori and South Korean Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Choi Jong-kun, said that their alliance remains a “lynchpin of peace, security and prosperity.” The officials reaffirmed the importance of respecting international law and opposed any unilateral attempts to change the “status quo” in the East China Sea and in the Taiwan Strait.
Twice a day Hong Kong’s virtually deserted airport fills with the sound of tearful goodbyes as residents fearful for their future under China’s increasingly authoritarian rule start a new life overseas, mostly in Britain. London flights tend to leave in the afternoon and late evening, and for a few hours it briefly feels like the COVID-19 pandemic no longer exists as the airport comes to life. Check-in desks fill up with crowds of passengers wheeling as much luggage as their tickets will permit. Accompanied by the loved ones they leave behind, the scenes are emotionally charged and shadowed by a palpable pall of
Ethiopia’s Afar region on Friday called on civilians to take up arms against rebels from neighboring Tigray, signaling a potential escalation in fighting that has already displaced tens of thousands this week. “Every Afar should protect their land with any means available, whether by guns, sticks or stones,” regional President Awol Arba said in an interview aired by regional state media. “No weapons can make us kneel down. We will win this war with our strong determination.” Tigrayan rebels launched operations in Afar last weekend, saying they were targeting pro-government troops massing along the two regions’ shared border. A government official said on
A man has confessed to defrauding Chinese-Canadian pop singer Kris Wu (吳亦凡) over a teenager’s accusation that he had sex with her when she was drunk, Beijing police said on Thursday. The announcement added a bizarre twist to a scandal that cost Wu endorsement contracts with brands including Porsche and Bulgari. The former member of South Korean boy band EXO has denied the accusation, which drew an outpouring of online support for the woman and criticism of Wu. On Friday, Louis Vuitton became the latest brand to end its contract with Wu. A man who saw rumors about the incident online contacted the woman
Buried in a long US indictment accusing China of a global cyberespionage campaign was a curious detail: Among the governments targeted by Chinese hackers was Cambodia, one of Beijing’s most loyal Asian allies. The target of the hack, which two sources with knowledge of the indictment said was the Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, was also revealing: discussions between China and Cambodia over the use of the Mekong River, a new battleground for US and Chinese influence in Southeast Asia. Four Chinese — three security officials and a contract hacker — have been charged for attacks aimed at dozens