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Country profile for United States Of America

Provided Courtesy of Security Exchange 24

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General Information

  • Capital: Washington D. C.
  • Major Languages: English
  • Currency: U.S. Dollar
  • Timezone: GMT -5:00 to -10:00

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Map of United States Of America

The United States continues to experience high levels of gun violence, with more than 300 mass shootings reported across the country in 2018. Latest data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that more than 40,000 people were killed by firearms in the US in 2017. Many of the fatalities are gang-related, suicides, domestic disputes or accidents. However, weapons are often used to commit crimes and in mass-casualty shooting sprees that occur from time to time. In October 2017, nearly 60 people were killed, and more than 500 others were injured, in a shooting at a country music festival in Las Vegas, Nevada. The shooter, identified as 64-year-old Stephen Paddock, opened fire from the 32nd-floor window of the Mandalay Bay Hotel on the Las Vegas’s strip. Paddock shot himself before police officers stormed his room and recovered a powerful arsenal. This has been considered the deadliest mass shooting in US history.

For many years, Congress has failed repeatedly to introduce legislation which sought to tighten the grip on gun ownership and introduce tougher background checks on gun buyers nationwide. The US gun debate was reignited after several school shootings were reported in the country. In October 2018, 17 students and staff members were shot dead when a 19-year-old gunman went on a killing spree at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parklands, Florida. Police identified the shooter as Nikolas Cruz, a former student who was expelled from the school for disciplinary reasons. Reports suggest that Cruz was armed with an AR-15 rifle and sounded the school’s fire alarm before indiscriminately opening fire. In response to the shooting, thousands marched across the US to push for gun control legislation. In March 2018, Florida Governor Rick Scott signed into law the so-called Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act, which is intended to raise the legal age to purchase firearms and allow school staff to carry firearms.

Weapons were recently used in several high-profile anti-Semitic attacks in the US. In October 2018, a shooting in a synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, led to the death of a dozen people. Six months later, a man died when a gunman targeted another synagogue in Poway, California. In recent years, racially motivated incidents involving firearms ignited campaigns, such as the Black Lives Matter movement, against violence against African-Americans. Gun violence also spread throughout 2019. In August, at least 22 people were killed when a gunman raided a department store in El Paso, Texas. Patrick Crucius, a 21-year-old originally from Allen, was detained at the scene. Crucius was carrying an assault rifle and opened fire after entering a Walmart shopping complex near the US-Mexico border. Authorities opened an investigation over potential links to hate-crime after anti-immigration content posted by him was recovered from an online forum. Mexico's foreign minister considered the incident a "terrorist act (...) against Mexicans".

Terrorism continues to pose a threat to the US. Since the 9/11 attacks in Manhattan, several terror-related incidents were reported in the country. In April 2013, two bombs exploded at the Boston Marathon, leaving three people dead and wounding more than 260 others. The perpetrators were two brothers of Chechen descent - Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and Tamerlan Tsarnaev. Tamerlan was killed in a shootout with police following the bombing, while Dzhokhar received the death penalty. Most recently, in October 2017, eight people were killed in a vehicle-ramming attack in New York City. The incident happened when a man drove a van towards cyclists and pedestrians in Lower Manhattan. Guns have also been used in several incidents linked to terrorism. In December 2015, two married assailants killed 14 people and wounded 22 others in San Bernardino, California. The FBI described the pair as self-radicalized jihadists who were committed to martyrdom, while the Islamic State (IS) group claimed responsibility for the attack. In June 2016, a gunman stormed a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, killing 50 people and wounding 53 others. The gunman, Omar Mateen, declared support for the IS but investigators found no direct link between him and international terrorist networks.

US politics has been highly erratic since President Donald Trump was sworn into office in January 2017. During the first months of his presidency, several protests broke out nationwide to reject some of his controversial policies, which included scrapping his predecessor’s Affordable Care Act - ‘Obamacare’ - and the construction of a wall along the Mexican border. Further criticism came when the Supreme Court ruled in favour of a travel ban on refugees and citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries. Since then, several high-level White House officials have been sacked or replaced. The most notorious case was the dismissal of former FBI chief James Comey, who was leading the investigation into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 US Presidential elections. The infamous Russian-meddling probe was later launched by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. After months of deliberation, Attorney General William Barr has said that there was no evidence of Russian interference in the 2016 elections - the announcement was highly contested by Democrats, who demanded the immediate release of the full report.

Due to the current migrant crisis along the southern border with Mexico, President Trump has announced plans to introduce steep tariffs to pressure the Mexican government to tackle Central American migration. Between late-December and January 2019, the US has faced its longest federal government shutdown in history amid a political standoff with Democrats who refused to allocate funds to his border wall. Political tensions between Republicans and Democrats remain high since the Democrats took over the House of Representatives in the mid-terms. However, Republicans still control the Senate. In December, a Democrat-led House committee approved two charges against President Trump amid an impeachment inquiry. President Trump was accused of pressuring his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelenskyi, to investigate Democrat presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son, Hunter. As part of the probe, President Trump was impeached by the House of Representatives. He will now face a trial in the Republican-controlled Senate in 2020.

Many of the southern and mid-west states of the US are affected by tropical weather systems, particularly during the Atlantic Hurricane Season, which usually occurs between early-June and late-November. In 2005, Hurricane Katrina killed more than 1,800 people in New Orleans and the surrounding Gulf Coast area. In 2012, nearly 300 people died when Hurricane Sandy brought widespread flooding to New York City. In 2017, Hurricane Harvey killed over 80 people when it made landfall in Texas, Louisiana and other south-eastern states. A month later, over 36 people died in Georgia and Florida after Hurricane Irma hit the region. Besides affecting mainland US, Hawaii may also be affected by powerful storms in the central Pacific. Visitors should monitor local media and the National Hurricane Centre (NHC) for up-to-date weather information during these months.

In 2017, between October and December, California suffered the largest and deadliest wildfire outbreaks in recent history. In October, thousands of acres of land in northern California were destroyed by fire and more than 75,000 residents were evacuated. Nearly two months later, southern California faced a similar fate, where the so-called Thomas Fire consumed 300,000 acres of land across Ventura, Santa Barbara and neighbouring counties on the outskirts of Los Angeles. As the blazes ravaged the vegetation surrounding those areas, warnings were issued over the increasing risk of landslides. In January 2018, more than 20 people died after heavy rainfall triggered a massive mudflow in Santa Barbara. In multiple occasions, rainfall in the post-wildfire season often becomes a serious issue as the loss of vegetation may leave affected areas vulnerable to mudslides and flash flooding.

There is a risk of earthquakes along much of the western coast with the San Andreas Fault, the tectonic boundary between the Pacific Plate and the North American Plate, running for some 810 miles through California. In July 2019, a powerful 6.2-magnitude earthquake rattled southern California. The event was followed days later by another 7.1-magnitude tremor with an epicentre near the city of Ridgecrest. No casualties were reported. For several days, hundreds of low-magnitude aftershocks were reported in the region. Seismic activity in the Pacific Northwest caused Mount St Helens to erupt in 1980, causing the largest debris avalanche in recorded history and the deaths of 57 people. The most recently recorded volcanic activity at Mount St Helens took place in 2008. Volcanic activity is mainly reported in Hawaii, which houses several active volcanoes, including the Mauna Loa and the Kilauea. For further information on volcanic and seismic activity, travellers are advised to follow updates from the US Geological Survey (USGS).

The USA is among a number of countries worldwide which have been badly hit by the global outbreak of the Covid-19 coronavirus. Around 3.2 million cases have been reported and more than 135,000 people have died across the US as a result of the outbreak, which originated from China. The US currently has the highest number of confirmed covid-19 cases and deaths in the world. Various states across the US have introduced travel restrictions and lockdown measures in a bid to control the spread of the virus - particularly in New York state, where a large proportion of cases have been reported. Globally, more than 12.4 million cases have been reported, along with over 558,000 deaths.

News articles

By Bryan Cohen, Reuters

News helicopter crashes in downtown Seattle, leaving two dead

(Reuters) - A news helicopter crashed and burst into flames in downtown Seattle on Tuesday, killing two people on board and setting cars on fire in a popular tourist area near the Space Needle, police and fire officials said.

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Alerts for United States Of America

Tropical Storm Fay to make landfall in the US Northeast

Heavy rainfall is forecast to batter the US Northeast as Tropical Storm Fay is set to make landfall on Friday afternoon. According to the National Hurricane Center (NHC), Fay is set to move through Delaware, New Jersey, New York and most states across New England. Fay is expected to weaken into a tropical depression as it heads towards Canada on Saturday morning. For further information, people in the are advised to follow NHC and National Weather Service updates.

Supreme Court considers large area in eastern Oklahoma as indigenous land

The US Supreme Court has ruled that a large area of the central state of Oklahoma is indigenous land. The ruling comes amid procedures to prosecute a rape case dating back to 1997. A man named Jimcy McGirt was accused of raping a girl at the time and claimed that the incident happened on indigenous land, where only federal prosecutors have jurisdiction. The areas included in the ruling belong to the Cherokee, Muscogee, Seminole, Chickasaw and Choctaw nations. The ruling could affect the structure of judicial proceedings of crimes reported in eastern Oklahoma

Coronavirus cases in the US hit three million

Coronavirus cases in the US have reached three million as record-high daily increases in the number of cases are being reported nationwide. A number of states have already chosen to delay their economic reopening due to surges being reported in some areas. California, Arizona, Texas, Louisiana, and most states across the Southeast and Northeast are the most affected regions. The US has the highest number of cases in the world. The latest data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), shows that nearly 1,000 new deaths have been reported in less than 24 hours. In total, more than 132,000 people have died after contracting the coronavirus in the US.

President Trump ordered to hand over financial records to prosecutors

President Donald Trump has been ordered to hand over his financial records to prosecutors in New York. In a ruling from the Supreme Court released on Thursday, financial records from President Trump's accountants, Mazars LLP, will be handed over to a grand jury. Meanwhile, the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives was denied access to the documents. Three House committees requested access to the documents as well as financial records linked to two banks. Congressional access to the documents has now been taken to lower courts. "I won the Mueller Witch Hunt, and others, and now I have to keep fighting in a politically corrupt New York," said Trump on Twitter in response to the ruling.

ICE issues new rules for international students taking classes online

The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has issued new rules for international students for whom educational institutions plan to move classes online due to the coronavirus pandemic. Under the new rules, international students holding visas under categories F1 and M1 could be affected. ICE said: "The US Department of State will not issue visas to students enrolled in schools and/or programs that are fully online for the fall semester nor will US Customs and Border Protection permit these students to enter the United States." Students already in the US could also lose their right to remain in the country. Several universities across the US have announced plans to hold classes for the autumn semester online. The NYU has criticised the decision, while Harvard and MIT have filed for a lawsuit at a federal court in Boston, Massachusetts.

Florida hospitals reach ICU capacity

At least 56 intensive care units (ICUs) in Florida have reached capacity and another 35 hospitals in the state are at above 90 percent capacity. The news comes as neighbouring Georgia surpassed 100,000 cases of coronavirus (Covid-19) and a new record of 60,000 daily cases were reported across the country on Tuesday; Texas and California both reported more than 10,000 new daily cases. Despite the increasing number of cases President Donald Trump said the country was "in a good place" regarding the pandemic.

US soldier detained after shooting at military base in California

A US soldier has been arrested after a shooting broke out at a military base in California. Media reports showed that the man was taken to the hospital after injuring himself during an incident at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms. Investigations are still ongoing. The incident happened on Tuesday morning, forcing the base to be temporarily cordoned off.

National Guard deployed after wave of violence in Atlanta

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp has declared a state of emergency after a wave of violence was reported over the weekend in Atlanta. Governor Kemp has authorised the deployment of the National Guard after the death of five people, including an eight-year-old girl. Secoriea Turner was gunned down on Saturday when the car she was riding in was hit by gunshots. Turner was among six children killed across the US over the Fourth of July weekend.

Delaware and New Jersey to hold their primaries

Delaware and New Jersey are set to hold their primaries on Tuesday ahead of the presidential and congressional elections in November. Voters in Delaware, the home state of the potential Democratic presidential nominee, Joe Biden, will head to the polls to back his bid to officially become the adversary of President Donald Trump. The NYT reported that most of the voting in both states is being done by mail due to coronavirus concerns. In New Jersey, one of the most contested races is the Republican nomination for the seat of the second congressional district, currently held by Jeff Van Drew - he left the Democrats and joined the Republicans last year. 

Low pressure system may affect some states in the US Southeast

Inclement weather could affect some areas in Florida as a low-pressure system approaches the south-east of the country. Data from the US National Hurricane Center (NHC) shows that the system is expected to move towards North Carolina and South Carolina, bringing adverse weather to the region. As of Monday morning, the National Weather Service (NWS) has issued no alerts for those states. People in the area are advised to follow recommendations and advice from local NWS offices.

Several killed as two aircraft crash mid-air in Idaho

At least eight people have been killed after two planes collided mid-air in Idaho. The Kootenai County Sheriff's Office said that a total of eight passengers and crew were on board the aircraft which crashed into the Couer d'Alene Lake on Sunday. Local media reported that one of the aircraft involved in the crash was a Cessna 206. The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) are investigating what the cause of the accident is.

Kanye West to run in 2020 presidential elections

US rapper, Kanye West, has announced that he is running for president in the upcoming election in November. Currently, it's unclear if West will be able to run for office, due to deadlines for the Federal Electoral Commission (FEC) in several states. In 2015, West said that he planned to run for president during a televised MTV event but later claimed that his candidacy would be launched for the 2024 run. West has previously supported President Donald Trump. Despite Kanye's intentions to run for office - possibly as an independent - President Trump and the Democratic candidate Joe Biden are expected to be the two main runners. However, in the event that he is cleared to run as an independent candidate, West could still influence the outcome of the election.

Chicago to require quarantine for arrivals from US coronavirus hotspots

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has issued an emergency travel order which will enforce a quarantine on people arriving from other states with a high incidence of coronavirus infections. The measure will be enforced from Monday 06 July, and those who fail to comply could face harsh fines. According to the Chicago Department of Public Health, 53,000 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in the city - around a third of all cases reported in Illinois. More than 2,600 people have died. Several states and cities in the US have started to implement restrictions on domestic travellers. Those measures are based on the high number of cases that some states have been reporting.

Texas governor orders use of face masks due to surge in coronavirus cases

Texas Governor Greg Abbott has ordered the mandatory use of face masks to curb the spread of coronavirus in the state. Some states have seen a sudden spike in the number of cases as some coronavirus restrictions are lifted. The US will face a critical period over the next few weeks, especially over the Fourth of July weekend. In Texas, fines of up to $250 will be imposed on those who fail to wear face masks. Masks are required to be used in some 20 US states. According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, Texas has reported 176,000 cases, including 2,500 deaths. Recent data shows that a significant increase in hospitalisation has been reported since early-June.

Five US airlines to receive federal grant

Five major US airlines have received federal grants as part of a major rescue package to assist the aviation sector. According to the US Department of the Treasury, the package is worth up to $25bn. Initially, the grant will be given to American Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, Sky West Airlines, Spirit Airlines and Frontier Airlines. The grant is part of the two-trillion-dollar Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES), launched to assist businesses and families in economic distress.

FBI detain Jeffrey Epstein's former associate in New Hampshire

A close associate of late-financier Jeffrey Epstein has been detained by the FBI in Bradford, New Hampshire. Ghislaine Maxwell, Epstein's former girlfriend, has been charged with facilitating sex trafficking. Epstein died while awaiting trial and his death was ruled as suicide. Maxwell's indictment said that she "assisted, facilitated, and contributed to Jeffrey Epstein's abuse minor girls by, among other things, helping Epstein to recruit, groom and ultimately abuse victims known to Maxwell and Epstein to be under the age of 18". She dated Epstein between 1994 and 1997.

Police deployed to dismantle 'police-free zone' in Seattle

Police officers in Seattle, Washington, have been deployed to a so-called 'police-free zone' established in the aftermath of protests against police brutality. For several days, demonstrators have set up a perimeter known as the 'Capitol Hill Occupied Protest', CHOP. Protesters took over an area around the Eastern Precinct to demand further investment for the black community and to call for the defunding of police. In recent days there have been two deadly shootings at the site. At least a dozen people were detained when the police raided the area on Wednesday morning.

Harvey Weinstein reaches settlement on sexual misconduct lawsuits

A 19-million-dollar settlement has been reached in two lawsuits against former film producer Harvey Weinstein, who was accused of sexual misconduct by hundreds of women. Weinstein was involved in a high-profile case in 2018, which led to two class-action lawsuits and also sparked calls for changes in the movie industry. The case also sparked protests across the world led by the MeToo movement. The deal still has to be accepted by a federal judge and a bankruptcy court. The settlement was announced by the New York Attorney General Letitia James. Despite the agreement, Weinstein still faces another trial on similar charges in LA.

US purchase massive stock of anti-viral drug remdesivir

The US government has purchased a large portion of the global supply of the anti-viral drug remdesivir. The move came after the medicine was temporarily cleared by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat coronavirus patients. The US Department of Health Services said that it had purchased 500,000 treatment courses of the medicine produced by the California-based Gilead Sciences. It is estimated that the purchased quantity accounts to almost the entire global stock of remdesivir until at least September. Until now, Gilead Sciences has donated a large portion of its vials. The US is the world's worst-hit country with more than 2.6 million coronavirus cases confirmed.

Dozens hospitalised after consuming infected salad mix

At least 23 people have been hospitalised after ingesting a bagged salad mix infected with a microscopic parasite known as cyclospora. According to the US Centers for Disease and Prevention (CDC), cases were reported in eight states in the midwest. People in the US have been advised not to consume supermarket brands of salad mixes, including those sold at Aldi, Walmart Marketside, ShopRite Wholesome Pantry, HY-Vee and Jewel-Osco. The products were sold between 06 and 26 June and have already been recalled by Fresh Express. Cyclospora can cause watery diarrhoea. Other symptoms may include loss of appetite, fatigue, weight loss, nausea, and cramping. The CDC is investigating the outbreak with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Utah, Oklahoma and Colorado hold congressional primaries

Three states across the US will hold their congressional primaries as some highly contested seats will be at stake. Voters in Utah, Oklahoma and Colorado will choose their Democratic and Republican candidates for seats in the Congress. In a highly contested race in Colorado, voters will choose the Democratic senatorial candidate to face incumbent Republican Cory Gardner. In Utah, former Republican Governor Jon Huntsman attempts to return if he defeats Spencer Cox.

Major wildfire breaks out near Las Vegas

Firefighters have been deployed to tackle a massive wildfire which continues to spread near Las Vegas. Strong winds and high temperatures have fueled the blaze in Mount Charleston, where more than 2,000 hectares of land have already been consumed around the Humboldt Toiyabe National Park. The so-called Mohagany Fire ignited on Sunday afternoon. Power outages have also been reported around Mount Charleston. For further information on evacuation orders, people are advised to follow updates on InciWeb and press releases from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police.

Alcohol at bars banned due to hike in coronavirus cases in Florida

The consumption of alcohol at bars across Florida has been banned after a spike in coronavirus cases. Florida's secretary for the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, Halsey Beshears, announced the ban on Friday. Governor Ron DeSantis had also previously raised concerns over businesses not implementing safety measures. On Thursday, Florida reported nearly 9,000 new coronavirus cases, a 62-percent hike when compared with the previous day. CDC data shows that Florida has reported a total of nearly 107,000 cases, including 3,300 deaths.

House passes Democratic-backed police reforms bill

Legislation on the introduction of police reforms in the US has passed in the House of Representatives. A Democrat-proposed bill, named as the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2020, was approved with 236 votes in favour and 181 against - three Republican votes in favour. Both the Republicans and Democrats have announced plans to introduce police reforms. The latest act approved in the House may not pass in the Republican-controlled Senate. Among the proposals include a ban on chokeholds for police officers, creating conditions for federal grants to local and state police forces, and the establishment of a national database on police misconduct. The bill was proposed as mass protests against police brutality continue to be reported across the US.

Appeals court rules in favour of former NSA Michael Flynn

A federal appeals court in Washington DC has ruled in favour of dismissing charges against Michael Flynn, President Donald Trump's former national security adviser. Flynn was charged amid the Russian meddling probe. He was sentenced to serve 40 months in prison for lying to the FBI over a meeting with then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. He twice pleaded guilty to the charges. The court's decision comes a month after the Department of Justice announced plans to drop the case.

Secret Service staff ordered to self-quarantine over coronavirus fears

Dozens of members of the Secret Service have been ordered to self-quarantine over coronavirus fears. US media reported that the concerns emerged after two staff members tested positive for coronavirus. Both had attended President Donald Trump's rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma. It is still unclear how many people have have tested positive. President Trump held his first rally since lockdown measures were imposed in the US. Thousands attended the event at the city's BOK Center.

California braces for busy wildfire season

California is bracing for a busy wildfire season as dry and warm weather persists in the western US. According to the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC), the fire season in the region will be one of the busiest. Further concerns have been drawn towards the coronavirus pandemic where the emergency services are also working to mitigate its spread. California has already reported small wildfires so far. For information on wildfires in California, people are recommended to follow CalFire on social media. InciWeb also provides useful data on active wildfires across the US.

New York to impose quarantine on travellers from other US states

Several states across the US are implementing quarantine measures for travellers from other states in the country. Governors in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut have announced that visitors from coronavirus hotspots in the US will be forced to quarantine for 14 days. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said that the rule will apply to states where 10 percent of their population has been infected. Currently, most states in the US southeast meet this criterion. The measure will come into effect on Thursday. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 2.3m coronavirus cases were confirmed n the US, including 120,000 deaths.

Voters head to the polls in the Kentucky and New York primaries

Voters headed to the polls in Kentucky and New York to cast their ballots in the primaries. Despite coronavirus fears, thousands headed to polling stations to back their presidential candidates. Initial results show that Joe Biden, who is the sole contestant in the Democratic Party, secured strong results in both states. On the congressional side, New York's Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez is expected to win the Democratic nomination for NY's 14th Congressional District against Michelle Caruso-Cabrera. In Kentucky, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell won the Republican nomination. On the Democratic side, Amy McGrath and Charles Booker are in the race to face McConnell. The results of the Democratic senate race for Kentucky will be released later this week.

Demonstrators attempt to topple Andrew Jackson's statue in DC

Demonstrators gathered outside the White House in Washington DC in a bid to topple the statue of former President Andrew Jackson. Police officers were deployed to Lafayette Square to avoid the crowds to remove the statue which was vandalised. Demonstrators claim that they want to remove the statue as Jackson owned slaves at the time. Criticism of the conduct of former presidents towards slavery and treatment of indigenous people also led the American Museum of Natural History in New York to order the removal of the statue of Theodore Roosevelt.

John Bolton to release controversial book on Trump presidency

The White House former National Security Adviser John Bolton is set to release a controversial book which is considered highly critical of President Donald Trump. 'The Room Where It Happened' mainly portrays Bolton's path while serving in the Trump administration and also shows President Trump's position on both domestic and international politics. The government had previously attempted to block the release of the book, but the request was denied by a US district judge. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has criticised Bolton and compared him to NSA's Edward Snowden. He said: "We all saw what's happened when people leak classified information like Edward Snowden. What John Bolton did here is not dissimilar to that." Previously considered a hard-liner Trump ally, Bolton resigned in September over political grievances with the president.

President Trump signs order to cease issuance of some work visas

President Donald Trump has signed an executive order suspending the issuance of some temporary work visas until the end of the year. Several visas which are usually granted to researchers, skilled workers and other specialised workers have been suspended as the US faces a deep economic downturn. With hampering levels of unemployment, the government claims that "(...) under the extraordinary circumstances of the economic contraction resulting from the COVID-19 outbreak, certain non-immigrant visa programs authorizing such employment pose an unusual threat to the employment of American workers." The order is similar to one signed back in April. Recent data shows that some 45 million people have already filed for unemployment claims in the US.

Seattle mayor calls on protesters to leave 'autonomous zone'

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan has called on protesters to leave a so-called autonomous zone established as part of demonstrations in memory of George Floyd. For the last few weeks, protesters have taken over control of the Capitol Hill neighbourhood and claimed it as a police-free zone. Durkan said that the police will not remove protesters by force but instead through negotiations. CNN reported that three people were shot in the area over the weekend, while the local authorities claim that a number of emergency calls have been made in the area since the take over took place.

Protests against police brutality turns violent in LA

Renewed protests against police brutality have broken out in LA after the killing of a Hispanic youngster. Protesters marched towards the police department in Compton after an 18-year-old died in a shooting at West Redondo Beach Boulevard in Gardena. The victim was identified as Andres Guardado, whose family is originally from El Salvador. He was shot by deputies of the LA County Sheriff's Office. Authorities are investigating allegations that Guardado was working as a security guard. In a statement, the police claimed that Guardado was armed and attempted to flee the scene.

NASCAR investigates noose found in garage stall of black driver

NASCAR officials are investigating reports that a noose was found in the garage stall of Bubba Wallace, the only full-time black NASCAR driver. The discovery was made at an Alabama race on Sunday. In a statement, NASCAR said: "We have launched an immediate investigation and will do everything we can to identify the person(s) responsible and eliminate them from the sport." The incident happened at the Talladega Superspeedway. NASCAR has previously banned supporters from waving the Confederate flag during races following protests over the death of George Floyd.

Two killed after shooting in Charlotte, North Carolina

At least two people have been killed and several others have been injured in a shooting in Charlotte, North Carolina. US media reported that several people were hit by a vehicle during a party to celebrate Juneteenth. According to the police, most of those injured were hit by vehicles while running away from the shooting. It is still unclear what the circumstances behind the incident are.

One killed and several injured in Minneapolis shooting

At least one person has died and nearly a dozen others have been injured in a shooting in Minneapolis. NBC reported that the incident happened at Hennepin Avenue in the early hours of Sunday morning. The police opened an investigation to assess if a second shooter was involved in the incident. Local media reported that at least two other shootings happened in Minneapolis hours earlier.

'Into the Wild' bus removed from Alaskan hiking trail

The Alaskan authorities have decided to remove an abandoned bus from a popular hiking trail after a surge in the number of tourists needing to be rescued while trying to reach it. Several such incidents have been reported near the Denali National Park, close to the town of Healy. The state's Natural Resources Commissioner said that the decision to remove the bus came after "dangerous and costly rescue efforts". The hiking trail is famous with fans of the book and film 'Into the Wild', which documented the adventures and subsequent death of Christopher McCandless in 1992.

US Supreme Court blocks end of DACA programme

The US Supreme Court has blocked President Donald Trump's attempt to scrap the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), a programme that protects people that arrived in the US as a child from deportation. Government data shows that some 650,000 people - often referred to as 'dreamers' - benefit from the programme, first introduced back in 2012. In a 5-to-4 decision issued on Thursday, justices rules that the president's plan to end the programme is unlawful. The ruling came after the conservative Chief Justice John Roberts voted in line with four liberal justices - Roberts was nominated to the court in 2005 and has previously voted against Republican policies.

Robert Fuller's relative killed in police shooting in California

A relative of Robert Fuller, a man found hanged in California last week, has been killed in a police shooting in Kern County. CNN reported that Terron Jammal Boone, the half-brother of Fuller, was killed on Thursday. His death was confirmed by his family's attorney. According to the police, Boone opened fire at the police at a checkpoint. The FBI is currently investigating the death of Fuller in San Bernardino County, which has been ruled as suicide. The investigation was opened after mass demonstrations spread across the county.

Officials raise coronavirus concerns ahead of President Trump's rally in Oklahoma

Officials in Oklahoma's Tulsa County have raised concerns over the increasing number of coronavirus cases being reported in the region ahead of a long-awaited rally by President Donald Trump. Republican Mayor GT Bynum has said in a press conference that it will be an honour to host the rally on Saturday but raised concerns as the number of coronavirus cases in Tulsa is on the rise. This will be President Trump's first political rally in three months. CBS reported that the rally is set to take place at the BOK Center despite attempts by state officials to move it to an outdoor venue.

New global media chief launches major agency overhaul

There has been a major overhaul in the leadership of the US Agency for Global Media after the Senate confirmed the nomination of Michael Pack as the agency's new director. Reports show that several senior officials were sidelined and a number of them resigned, including those that oversee foreign audience programmes in Asia, Europe, Cuba and the Middle East. According to the New York Times, a bipartisan advisory board was also dismantled. Pack had previously worked with former President George W Bush and held roles related to the media. He also worked with the former campaign adviser to President Donald Trump, Stephen Bannon, who owns Breitbart.

Restrictions along US-Mexico border extended

The foreign ministry has confirmed a 30-day extension on border restrictions with the US. Currently, non-essential travel between both countries is banned. With the extension, the restrictions will remain in place until 21 July. The initial agreement was reached in March to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Last week, AP reported that the US government was analysing reports of a surge in coronavirus cases in some bordering states that could be related to travel from Mexico. Reports indicate that the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will investigate local outbreaks in Arizona. So far, Mexico has reported more than 18,000 coronavirus deaths.

Four major wildfires trigger evacuations in southern Texas

Four major wildfires have spread across Arizona, forcing residents to evacuate. According to reports, the fires have already spread across 50,000 hectares. The Bush Fire, which is currently ravaging areas north-east of Phoenix, is the largest. Residents around the Tonto and Kaibab national forests have been ordered to evacuate as the fire keeps spreading. Other fires are located near Tucson, the Apache-Sitgreaves National Park and Grand Canyon's North Rim. Data from the National Weather Service (NWS) shows that the Bush Fire is the fifth largest in size ever to be recorded in Arizona. For further information on the Brigham, Bighorn, Bush and Mangum fires, people are advised to follow reports and updates from the National Wildfire Coordinating Group's Incident Information System (InciWeb).

US nominates President Trump's adviser to lead IDB

President Donald Trump has nominated one of his close advisers on Latin America to lead the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). The US government has announced that Mauricio Claver-Carone will be named to replace Luis Alberto Moreno, who has led the IDB since 2005. Reuters reported that the president of the IDB is usually from a Latin American country, while the US often nominates the vice-president. Claver-Carone's nomination may lead to some diplomatic tensions between the US and Latin American members of the IDB. The new president will be chosen at the IDB annual meeting in Colombia that has been postponed to early-September.

PG&E pleads guilty over deaths of 84 people in California's Camp Fire

California's Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) has pleaded guilty over the deaths of 84 people in a major wildfire in 2018. In a court hearing, the company has admitted responsibility for the so-called Camp Fire that ravaged California's northern town of Paradise in Butte County. In total, more than 10,000 residences were destroyed after the fire spread across nearly 62,000 hectares. PG&E reached a plea deal with the government, where the company will be ordered to pay up to $3.5m in fines and cover investigation costs. In addition to the court fines, PG&E had already reached a deal with insurers worth nearly $25bn, with $13.5bn being paid as compensation to the victims.

President Trump to sign executive order on police reforms

President Donald Trump is expected to sign an executive order to introduce police reforms. As protests against police brutality and racially-motivated violence continue in the US, the order will attempt to address the disproportionate treatment of African Americans and other minority groups. In Congress, both parties are also drafting legislation to introduce reforms. Protests calling for the police to be dismantled and defunded have spread after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and the killing of Rayshard Brooks in Atlanta.

US-Canada border closure extended until 21 July

Border restrictions between the US and Canada will remain in place until 21 July. Both governments have agreed to extend a ban on non-essential travel as the coronavirus pandemic continues to be a major concern in both the US and Canada. Some exclusions apply. For further information on travel between Canada and the US, travellers are advised to follow the recommendations from the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

Man shot during protest to remove statue in Albuquerque, New Mexico

A man has been shot as tensions escalated during a protest to remove a statue in Albuquerque, New Mexico. A number of demonstrators gathered around the statue of the Spanish explorer Juan de Onate to remove it when a group of armed men arrived at the scene. Reports suggest that the suspected shooter engaged in an altercation with the protesters and opened fire after being brought to the ground. At least four shots were fired. Several men claiming to be part of a local militia, known as the New Mexico Civil Guard, were also detained. New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan said: "Let me be clear: There is absolutely no space in New Mexico for any violent would-be 'militia' seeking to terrorize New Mexicans". Armed men wearing military outfits have become a common sight at some protests to prevent the removal of Confederate statues in the US.

FDA withdraws emergency use of HCQ to threat coronavirus patients

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has ended the emergency use of the hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) to treat coronavirus patients. HCQ has been used during clinical trials to treat coronavirus patients, but research has concluded that it may cause serious health issues. HCQ is an anti-malarial medicine that was touted as a viable treatment for coronavirus. Last month President Donald Trump claimed that he was taking HCQ. “A lot of good things have come out. You’d be surprised at how many people are taking it, especially the front-line workers. Before you catch it. The front-line workers, many, many are taking it," said Trump.

Protests turn violent after police shoot dead another black man in Atlanta, Georgia

Violent protests have broken out across Atlanta, Georgia, after the death of Rayshard Brooks, a black man who was killed in a police shooting. Police have already released bodycam footage of Brooks's death, which occurred in the parking lot of a fast-food restaurant. The video shows that Brooks was shot in the back while he was fleeing officers. Tensions escalated on Sunday when protesters set the restaurant on fire. A medical examiner has declared his death to be a homicide. Brook's death comes as protests against the killing of George Floyd are still being reported nationwide.

Coronavirus cases in the US hit two million

Coronavirus cases in the US have now reached two million, while the number of deaths continues to rise. According to official data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), most cases in the country are concentrated on the East Coast, with a high number of cases also being reported in Texas, Louisiana, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio and California. CDC data also shows that most of those infected are aged between 18 and 64. Since late-May, all 50 US states have announced plans to reopen and lift most of their coronavirus restrictions. Although other data sources, such as the Johns Hopkins University, reported that the US had already reached two million cases, official data from the CDC was only published over the weekend.

President Trump authorises sanctions against the ICC

President Donald Trump has authorised the introduction of sanctions against officials at the International Criminal Court (ICC). The move came after the ICC authorised the opening of an investigation into alleged war crimes committed by US troops stationed in Afghanistan. The sanctions could include visa bans and economic restrictions on those involved in the investigation of US nationals. The US is not a member of the ICC and does not recognise its authority.

Police detain man carrying explosives into a hospital in New York

Police have arrested a man who was carrying explosive devices into a hospital in Long Island, New York. According to the police, the man was wearing tactical gear and had three explosive devices in his backpack when he walked into the emergency wing of Stone Brook University Hospital. The suspect was identified as a 33-year-old man. AP reported that other explosive devices were recovered from the suspect's residence in Mastic Beach. The FBI and the ATF are assisting the police in the investigation, while the motive behind the incident remains unclear.

Dozens occupy Seattle city hall to demand mayor's resignation

Dozens of people have occupied the city hall in Seattle as protesters demand the immediate resignation of Mayor Jenny Durkan. As Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests continue to be reported across major cities in the US, demonstrators accuse the Seattle Police Department (SPD) of violating the constitution by using violent tactics to curb protests in memory of George Floyd. Among those that entered the city hall was a city councilwoman. BLM demonstrations have turned violent in some cities, where looting, clashes with the police and vandalism have been reported.

Police officer shot in suspected ambush in Paso Robles, California

A police officer has been shot in the head during a suspected ambush in Paso Robles, California. According to reports, a man opened fire at a police station during the early hours of Wednesday morning. Police believe that the incident is linked to an ambush. US authorities said that the latest incident is not believed to be connected to the death of another officer in Santa Cruz killed last week. The Sheriff's Department of San Luis Obispo County identified the suspect as a 26-year-old man, who, as of Thursday morning, was still at large. Police say that the shooter could also be linked to the murder of a homeless man found near a train station in Paso Robles.

Several states hold their primaries

Several states across the US have held their primaries ahead of the presidential election. Votes were held in Georgia, Nevada, North Dakota, West Virginia and South Carolina. In some states, such as Georgia, the voting was held under extreme coronavirus restrictions, leading to severe delays in the process. Although the presidential candidates for the upcoming vote in November are almost decided for both Democrats and Republicans, voters have also chosen the candidates in other races for the Senate, the House of Representatives and for governor.

Chicago reports deadliest day in the last three decades

Chicago has reported its deadliest day after 18 people were killed in the city. According to reports released this week, Sunday 31 May has been the deadliest day in Chicago in the last three decades. Data from the University of Chicago Crime Lab shows that 85 people were shot and 24 people were killed over that bank holiday weekend. Researchers believe that due to a wave of civil unrest caused by the death of George Floyd, the police had diverted officers from certain areas to contain demonstrations. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot confirmed that on that day, 65,000 emergency calls were made. The surge in crime came after crime drastically fell amid coronavirus restrictions introduced in March.

US coronavirus cases near two million

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has confirmed that more than 1.9m coronavirus cases have already been confirmed in the US. According to the latest data, more than 110,000 deaths have already been confirmed in the country. The latest reports show that in the last 24 hours, nearly 18,000 new cases were confirmed. The coronavirus epicentre in the US has been mainly concentrated in the Northeast, but states in the southeast and the southern US are also reporting a high number of cases. California is the epicentre of the disease on the US West Coast.

Iranian doctor released in prisoner swap with Iran

Majid Taheri, an Iranian-American doctor, has been released from a US jail as part of a prisoner swap with Iran. Taheri, aka Matteo Taerri, is a dermatologist who was based in Florida. He was accused of violating US sanctions by exporting a technical item to Iran and of violating financial reporting requirements by making a series of bank deposits under $10,000. In exchange for Taheri's release and repatriation to Iran, American citizen and Navy veteran Michael White was freed and allowed to fly home to the US. White was detained in 2018 while visiting his girlfriend in Iran and was convicted last year of insulting Iran's supreme leader and posting private information online. The exchange signifies a small thaw in relations between Iran and the US, following a rise in tensions over the past two years.

Minneapolis councillors vote to dismantle city's police department

City councillors in Minneapolis have voted in favour to dismantle the city's police department. As protests over the death of George Floyd persist across the US, lawmakers said that a new model of policing will be introduced in Minneapolis. Mayor Jacob Frey said that he is against the bill, but acknowledged that deep restructuring and reforms are needed in the police. The vote paved the way for debate on introducing a reform plan in the city's police department, although it is still unclear what reforms will be made. A number of protests across the US have emerged, demanding that state funding for the police be withdrawn and reallocated to social policies.

Tropical Depression Cristobal to bring adverse weather to the US Midwest

Tropical Storm Cristobal has been downgraded into a tropical depression as it made landfall in the US. Cristobal is currently moving through Lousiana and is expected to head towards the US Midwest during the week. The National Hurricane Center (NHC) forecasts that intense rainfall could be reported in most states in the region. Flash flooding could also affect cities near major rivers. Cristobal is expected to reach Canada on Wednesday evening and strengthen into a tropical storm.

NYPD officers severely injured during incident in Brooklyn

Three NYPD police officers have been severely injured after getting stabbed and shot in Brooklyn. NBC News reported that one of the officers was stabbed in the neck and the other two were shot at in the Flatbush neighbourhood. Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said that the injuries are not life-threatening. According to reports, the suspect was shot at least eight times. Investigations into the attack are ongoing, while a terror-related cause has not been ruled out. New York City is currently facing a wave of civil unrest, with a night-time curfew being enforced.

Court in Florida sentences Chinese nationals for entering Navy base

A court in Florida has sentenced three Chinese nationals accused of entering a restricted area at the Naval Air Station in Key West. Liao Lyuyou was sentenced to 12 months in prison for taking pictures and filming the area. Two other Chinese nationals were sentenced for the same crimes but for entering the same base on different occasions. Liao's incident happened in December, where he took pictures of several government buildings within the naval airbase. 

USS Theodore Roosevelt returns to the seas after quarantine

The USS Theodore Roosevelt has returned to the sea after spending several months under quarantine in the US-administered Pacific island of Guam. A coronavirus outbreak hit the vessel, leading to political grievances between the US government and Roosevelt's Captain Brett Crozier, who was fired. In total, some 1,000 coronavirus cases were confirmed on board the Roosevelt. According to the Navy, the ship has returned to operations with the US 7th Fleet in the Pacific.

Prosecutors charge three other officers involved in George Floyd's death

US prosecutors have charged three other police officers in the investigation into the death of George Floyd, a black man killed while in police custody in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Initially, the police officer accused of killing Floyd by kneeling on his neck for nine minutes, Derek Chauvin, was charged with third-degree murder, but the charges have since increased to second-degree. In addition to Chauvin, three other police officers at the scene were also charged for aiding. Floyd's death has led to mass demonstrations across the US. For nearly a week now, protests have continued to be reported across major cities. Demonstrations have also spread to other major cities across Europe.

Eight states hold their presidential primaries

Voters across seven states and DC headed to the polls on Tuesday to cast their ballots in the presidential primaries. As the US faces a wave of civil unrest in major cities due to the death of Floyd George in police custody and tensions increasing due to the coronavirus pandemic, the vote went ahead in Indiana, Maryland, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Montana, Rhode Island and South Dakota. Some states held mail voting. On the Democratic side, former Vice-President Joe Biden is expected to become the party's nominee to run against President Donald Trump in the election in November. In order to confirm his nomination, Biden needs to obtain at least 1,991 delegates in all of the primaries.

President Trump threatens to deploy the military to curb civil unrest

President Donald Trump has threatened to deploy the military across the US to curb the wave of civil unrest triggered by the death of George Floyd in police custody. President Trump said: “If a city or state refuses to take the actions that are necessary to defend the life and property of their residents, then I will deploy the United States military and quickly solve the problem for them." The National Guard has already been deployed to some states as looting and clashes with the police continue to be reported in major cities. Reuters reported that at least five police officers were shot and wounded during the protests. Tensions are expected to escalate after a second autopsy on Floyd's body found that his death was caused by mechanical asphyxiation. This second independent autopsy was ordered by his family and was the same result as another from Hennepin County.

President Trump ends US relationship with WHO

President Donald Trump has announced that the US will withdraw from the World Health Organization (WHO). Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, President Trump has threatened to indefinitely cut funds to the WHO and to review its membership status. The US government has accused of the UN-backed organisation of failing to address the coronavirus threat when it first emerged in China, while President Trump accused China of having "total control over the WHO". His announcement came as political tensions with China are increasing and just after the Chinese government imposed a controversial national security law on Hong Kong. It is still unclear when the US will officially leave the organisation and what mechanism will be used.

Beijing clashes with US over Hong Kong security law

Beijing has issued a warning to the US, after President Donald Trump announced the termination of preferential treatment for Hong Kong in trade and travel in response to a new national security law due to be imposed in Hong Kong by China. Critics of the controversial new law claim it is designed to curb the unique freedoms granted to Hong Kong, and could violate the terms of the 1984 agreement under which Britain returned the territory to China. Trump stated that Beijing was replacing the 'One Country, Two Systems' agreement with 'One Country, One System', and that he could therefore no longer consider Hong Kong to be separate from China. In response to Trump's comments, China has reportedly threatened to 'counter-attack' the US.

President Trump to designate Antifa as a terrorist organisation

President Donald Trump has said that the US government will designate the anti-fascist movement Antifa as a domestic terrorist organisation. As protests across the US turn violent and spread across the country, Attorney General William Barr has said that radicals and external agitators are blending in the protests to create chaos and civil unrest. State authorities in Minnesota claimed that a large number of people detained in protests in Minneapolis are not residents in the state. The National Guard has already been deployed across 15 states to assist local law enforcement. Since President Donald Trump took office, Antifa movements have become more active in the US. Those groups are mainly opposed to racism and white supremacy, often clashing with alt-right ideas.

George Floyd protests further spread across major US cities

Protests to demand justice for the death of George Floyd have escalated and further spread across the US. Major cities in the country have faced demonstrations, some of them leading to clashes between the police and demonstrators. Looting and violence have been reported in some cities. Several cities in California, including LA, introduced night-time curfews to curb the protests. Elsewhere in the US, curfews were also imposed on Sunday in Denver, Minneapolis, Cleveland and DC. Floyd died after being detained in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He was last seen on footage widely spread on social media where he was being detained by a police officer kneeling on his neck. The officer, identified as Derek Chauvin, was detained and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter. In addition to clashes with the police, counterprotests are also being reported.

CNN crew briefly detained during protests in Minneapolis

Police officers in Minneapolis have detained a CNN crew which was covering the protests triggered by the death of Floyd George, a black man killed while in police custody. CNN reported that its correspondent Omar Jimenez identified himself and the crew as members of the media. Minnesota State Patrol said that the crew was released just after their credentials were confirmed. The Programme Director in New York for the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said: "It’s difficult to imagine what police needed as ‘confirmation that these individuals were members of the media’ beyond Omar Jimenez showing his press badge while he spoke into a CNN camera surrounded by his producer and crew". 

Police station set on fire as protests continue in Minneapolis

A police station in Minneapolis has been set on fire amid protests to demand justice for the death of George Floyd escalate. For three consecutive days, riots have broken out in Minneapolis and have already spread across the US. Floyd was killed after being detained during a police operation. Footage of his arrest emerged on social media, showing a police officer kneeling on his neck despite Floyd complaining that he couldn't breathe. Four police officers involved in his arrest were suspended, but demonstrators are demanding for them to be charged with murder. Floyd's death has reignited debate over the issue of police brutality against black people in the US.

Texas Supreme Court blocks vote by mail on coronavirus grounds

The Texas Supreme Court has blocked a previous ruling that allowed voting by mail in light of the coronavirus crisis. In a statement, Chief Justice Nathan Hecht said: “We agree with the state that a voter’s lack of immunity to COVID-19, without more, is not a ‘disability’ as defined by the Election Code." Republicans are particularly against voting by mail. President Donald Trump previously said that voting by mail could be more likely to result in irregularities. During the presidential primaries, a number of states allowed a vote by mail due to coronavirus concerns.

US coronavirus deaths hit 100,000

Coronavirus deaths in the US have reached 100,000, the highest overall number in the world. Data from the US Centers for Disease and Prevention (CDC) shows that the highest number of coronavirus cases in the country have been concentrated in the US Northeast, while Texas, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois and Michigan have also recorded a high number of cases. New York continues to lead the number of deaths, followed by New Jersey, Massachusetts, Michigan and Pennsylvania. Despite the rise in numbers, all states have begun to announce the relaxation of some restrictions.

Protests on George Floyd's death spread across the US

Mass demonstrations to protest the death of George Floyd, a black man killed whilst in police custody, have spread across the US. Hundreds of people continue to gather in Minneapolis, while demonstrations have also taken place in major US cities, such as Los Angeles and Memphis. Protesters demand that all four officers accused of involvement in his death face charges. The same calls are being replicated by Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey. Videos of Floyd's detention have been widely shared on social media. It shows a white police officer kneeling on the suspect's neck.

Tropical Storm Bertha to bring adverse weather to South Carolina

Heavy rainfall and strong winds are forecast to hit several states in the US Southeast as Tropical Storm Bertha approaches the US. According to the US National Hurricane Center (NHC), Bertha is expected to make landfall in South Carolina on Wednesday afternoon. It may bring adverse weather to central and eastern areas across the state. Some counties in North Carolina and Virginia may also be affected. The storm is expected to weaken into a tropical depression on Thursday. Bertha is the second named storm ahead of the Atlantic Hurricane Season, which officially kicks off on Monday. For further information, people should follow the advice of the NHC.

Protests erupt after death of black man in Minneapolis

Protests have broken out after a black man died while being taken into police custody in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Clashes between the police and demonstrators broke out on Tuesday after the death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old man who was detained by police earlier this week. A video posted on social media by a witness showed a police officer holding the suspect down by kneeling on his neck. Floyd could be heard in the video repeatedly telling the officer that he couldn't breathe. Police had been dispatched to the scene after receiving complaints of counterfeit currency being used. The FBI is currently investigating the incident, and all four officers involved have since been fired. Incidents of police brutality against often lead to widespread protests in the US.

NYSE reopens trading floor after two months

The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) has reopened its trading floor two months after it was closed when coronavirus cases skyrocketed in the city. New York City has been one of the main coronavirus epicentres in the US, with some 200,000 cases confirmed, including 20,000 deaths. Strict measures will be implemented during trading hours at the NYSE, while visitors will be banned from entering the building. The NYSE resorted to an electronic trading system while closed.

US impose restrictions on travels from Brazil

The US government has announced that travel restrictions will be imposed on travellers who have been to Brazil. WH Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnery said: "Today's action will help ensure foreign nationals who have been in Brazil do not become a source of additional infections in our country". The restrictions will be imposed from 28 May and will be applied to foreign nationals that have been to the country within the last 14 days before travel. Brazil has become a coronavirus epicentre in the Americas, recording more than 376,000 cases, including nearly 24,000 deaths.

US withdraws from Open Skies Treaty

US President Donald Trump has announced the US withdrawal from the Open Skies Treaty over claims that Russia is violating the agreement. The US will leave the agreement in six months. The Open Skies Treaty is an arms control deal signed back in 2002 and includes a number of countries in Europe. In a joint statement, signatory countries said that they regretted the US announcement and said that they are also concerned over the alleged violations from Russia. This is the latest treaty that the US has withdrawn from over increasing diplomatic tensions with Russia. Last year, the US government withdrew from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF).

FBI says that Corpus Christi Naval Air Station shooting was terror-related

The FBI has said that the shooting at the US Naval Air Station in Corpus Christi, Texas, was terror-related. FBI's spokeswoman Leah Greeves told US media that: “We have determined that the incident this morning at the Naval Air Station Corpus Christi is terrorism-related." She added that investigations into the matter are still underway, while a second person of interest is being assessed. The unnamed shooter was gunned down after injuring a sailor. Last week, the FBI concluded that the suspect who attacked Florida's Pensacola Naval Air Station in December had links to al-Qaeda.

Reinforcements sent after surge in coronavirus cases in southern California

Additional staff has been sent to a small hospital in southern California that has seen a massive surge in coronavirus patients. The US Department of Health and Human Services sent additional emergency staff to the Regional Medical Centre in El Centro. Another hospital in the nearby town of Brawley is also under extreme pressure. The situation has caused concern over local spikes in the virus. Imperial County, where El Centro and Brawley are located, has the highest rates of infection in California.

Senate approves bill that allows foreign companies to be delisted from stock markets

The US Senate has passed legislation that will allow foreign companies to be delisted from US Stock exchanges. Among those that may be affected include Chinese companies. There has been increased scrutiny on the public records of companies after investigations revealed the alleged fabrication in the records of the Chinese-based coffee giant Luckin Coffee. Senators approved the bill amid rising diplomatic and political tensions between Washington and Beijing. With the new law, foreign companies will be required to follow US standards for audits and other regulations.

Shooter gunned down at Corpus Christi Naval Air Station in Texas

An active shooter has been gunned down at the Corpus Christi Naval Air Station in Texas. In a statement, the US Navy confirmed that: “Naval Security Forces at Naval Air Station Corpus Christi responded to an active shooter at approximately 6:15 a.m. this morning." Students at the nearby Texas A&M University were ordered to remain indoors on Thursday morning, while the base remains on lockdown. The shooter has not been identified. USA Today reported that one person was injured in the incident. Last year, the Corpus Christi station reported four security incidents.

Supreme Court blocks release of redacted material from Russian meddling probe

The release of redacted material linked to the Russian meddling investigation has been blocked by the US Supreme Court. The House Judiciary Committee had requested the release of grand jury material that was previously redacted by Attorney General William Barr. It is part of the report published by Special Counsel Robert Mueller into the alleged Russian meddling in the US elections in 2016. Last March, the US Court of Appeals in DC ordered the documents to be disclosed to lawmakers. With the new order, the government now has until the beginning of June to appeal March's ruling.

Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden's leaked calls with Poroshenko

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyi has said that the Ukrainian authorities will investigate leaked phone recordings between the Democratic US presidential candidate Joe Biden and the former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko. The Guardian reported that the recordings were initially published by Andrii Derkach, a Ukrainian man linked to Rudy Giuliani - Giuliani is a long-time associate of President Donald Trump. Poroshenko has dismissed the allegations and claimed that they are heavily edited. The content of the tapes mainly implicates the delivery of US aid to Ukraine after Poroshenko fired Viktor Shokin, the country's former attorney general. Shokin is believed to have led investigations against Biden and his son Hunter. The 'Ukrainian affair' brought political repercussions in the US, leading to the impeachment of President Trump in the House. As part of the case, President Trump was accused of pressuring President Zelenskyi to investigate Biden.

Inmate executed by lethal injection in Bonne Terre, Missouri

A 64-year-old inmate sentenced to death has been executed in Missouri. Walter Barton received the lethal injection on Tuesday at the Eastern Reception, Diagnostic and Correction Center in Bonne Terre. He was found guilty back in 2006 for killing an 81-year-old man in the 1990s. This is the first prisoner to be executed in the US during the coronavirus crisis and the first in Bonne Terre since October. According to the Death Penalty Information Center, six inmates were executed in the US in 2020.

State of emergency declared due to dams failure in Midland, Michigan

A state of emergency was declared after two dams breached in Midland County, Michigan. Governor Gretchen Witmer announced the declaration to allocate further resources to local emergency agencies. Both Edenville and Sanford dams failed on Tuesday afternoon. The main threat is posed in areas located along the Tittabawassee River, which heads towards Midland. More than 10,000 people were already forced to evacuate the area due to the risk of flooding.

Oregon holds its congressional primaries

Cliff Bentz has been declared the winner in Oregon's House primaries to replace Republican Congressman Greg Walden in the elections in November. Walden is retiring after serving in the House of Representatives for Oregon's second congressional district for more than two decades. Oregon has five representatives in the House, with the second district being the single Republican seat in the state. Both Republicans and Democrats held the primaries in the state's five congressional districts. All incumbent candidates on the Democratic side - Kurt Schrader, Earl Blumenauer, Suzanne Bonamici and Peter DeFazio - won the vote on their respective districts.

President Trump dimissses US State Department's IG

President Donald Trump has sacked the Inspector General (IG) for the US State Department. Steve Linick is expected to be relieved of his functions within the next 30 days. Linick had previously opened investigations against US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who is accused of abuse of power. US media reported that Linick was investigating complaints that Pompeo was using his staff to run personal errands. President Trump said that Linick's removal comes as he lost his confidence in him. House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats criticised Linick's firing. Linick has been removed just a month after the IG for the Intelligence community was fired.

Tropical Storm Arthur triggers warnings along North Carolina's coast

The US National Hurricane Center (NHC) has issued a tropical storm warning to the entire coast of North Carolina as Tropical Storm Arthur moved eastwards. Latest projections from the NHC show that Arthur has approached the coast of North Carolina and is expected to head towards the Atlantic on Tuesday, where it will weaken into a tropical depression. Coastal flooding and surf conditions may affect the state. Arthur comes two weeks before the US Hurricane Season starts.

FBI concludes that Pensacola base shooter had al-Qaeda links

FBI investigations have concluded that last December's shooting at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Florida, could have al-Qaeda links. Attorney General William Barr has said that the FBI managed to crack the encryption of the phone belonging to the Royal Saudi Air Force trainee, who opened fire and killed three US sailors. Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani was killed after the shooting. Apple has refused to grant the government access to Alshamrani's iPhone. Al-Qaeda's branch in the Arabian Peninsula, AQAP, had previously claimed responsibility for the attack.

Powerful 6.5-magnitude earthquake hits western Nevada

A powerful 6.5-magnitude earthquake has hit the western counties in Nevada. According to the US Geological Survey (USGS), the quake struck in the early hours of Friday morning in a remote area near Tonopah. The quake has been considered the strongest to hit Nevada in decades. Authorities have confirmed that hundreds of low-scale aftershocks were also reported. Earthquakes in western Nevada sporadically occur due to the region's location close to the Walker Lane seismic fault.

Senator steps down as committee chairman amid insider trading probe

Republican Senator Richard Burr has announced that he is stepping down as the head of the Senate intelligence committee whilst he is investigated for insider trading. Earlier this week, Burr had his mobile phone seized by the FBI. According to allegations, Burr and his wife are accused of selling stocks at some companies they owned before the coronavirus crisis bringing an economic downturn in some industries. Although there are reports that three other senators had made similar transactions, Burr as chairman of the committee received daily briefings on US security threats.

Republicans set to win two special elections in Wisconsin and California

Republican candidate Tom Tiffany has been declared the winner of the special congressional election held in Wisconsin. Tiffany defeated Democrat candidate Tricia Zunker in the race for the 7th District, a traditional Republican stronghold. He is replacing Sean Duffy, who retired last year. Wisconsin if a key state for President Donald Trump's re-election aspirations in November. Meanwhile, in California, Republican Mike Garcia is on track to win another special election. With 76 percent of the votes counted, he was ahead of Democratic contender Christy Smith in the race for the 25th District. If Garcia wins, he will replace Democrat Katie Hill, who resigned last year due to an ethics scandal.

US-Canada border to remain shut until 21 June

The US-Canadian border is set to remain closed for non-essential travel until at least 21 June. Current border restrictions will expire next week. The Globe and Mail reported that the Canadian government has requested a 30-day extension and that the proposal is likely to be accepted. The border is closed since late-March. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said earlier this week: “We're going to be very, very careful about reopening any international travel, including in the United States, before we feel that it is time." Currently, the US has the highest number of coronavirus deaths and cases in the world. According to the CDC, nearly 81,000 people have died.

Fauci raises concerns over premature reopening of the US economy

Anthony Fauci, the head of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), has raised concerns over the premature reopening of the US economy. He testified before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on Tuesday. He said: "If some areas, cities, states or what have you jump over those various checkpoints and prematurely open up without having the capability of being able to respond effectively and efficiently, my concern is that we will start to see little spikes that might turn into outbreaks". Fauci is also a member of the White House coronavirus task force, whose approach to the pandemic has been recently "refocused".

Sioux nations defy governor's request to lift roadblocks in South Carolina

Indigenous tribes in South Dakota have rejected government calls to remove roadblocks in some areas across the state. South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem has called on indigenous leaders to remove all the roadblocks that are preventing people from heading to Ogala Sioux and Cheyenne River Sioux nations territory. Governor Noem was criticised for attempting to solve the situation through a lawsuit. Indigenous tribes in the US are particularly vulnerable to the coronavirus.

Vice-President's spokeswoman tests positive for coronavirus

Vice-President Mike Pence's spokeswoman, Katie Miller, has reportedly tested positive for coronavirus. Unnamed sources told Politico that she is currently self-isolating. Miller is the top spokeswoman for Pence and wife to Stephen Miller, who is also a senior White House aide. Miller's coronavirus case raised concerns over the spread of the virus within the White House. President Donald Trump said last week that she had not been in direct contact with him.

Surfer dies in shark attack in Santa Cruz, California

A 26-year-old surfer has died after a shark attack in Santa Cruz County, California. Local authorities have confirmed that the attack happened on Saturday at Sand Dollar Beach. The attack happened close to the shore during the afternoon. Due to the coronavirus outbreak, limited access has been granted to beaches in Santa Cruz, while water sports are allowed until 17:00 local time. Shark attacks in California are relatively rare. Since reports started to be published in the 1800s, more than 120 shark attacks have been confirmed in California - seven of them were in Santa Cruz.

MSF coronavirus teams deployed to Navajo Nation territory

The Doctors Without Borders (MSF) have deployed two teams of medical specialists to Navajo Nation territory in New Mexico to address the coronavirus threat. MSF told the CNN that the team is set to remain in the region until at least June. The head of the MSF's coronavirus response team in the US, Jean Stowell, said: "At the moment, MSF is focusing on providing technical guidance to health care facilities and communities with infection prevention and control". Major concerns have been raised over the coronavirus threat across indigenous areas in the US. The Navajo Nation territory is located near the city of Gallup, where a state of emergency was recently declared.

Migrant man dies while under ICE custody in San Diego, California

A migrant from El Salvador detained at a facility in California has died after testing positive for coronavirus. Health authorities in San Diego County have confirmed that the 57-year-old man died while he was detained by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). He was at the Otay Mesa centre in San Diego, which houses around 2,000 people. The victim has been reported as the first migrant to die while under ICE custody. The deportation of migrants with coronavirus symptoms from the US has raised concerns in some countries in the Caribbean and Central America. The US government has already said that they will monitor the health of deportees.

Hundreds evacuated as fast moving wildfires hit Florida

Hundreds of people have been evacuated after wildfires affected the Florida Panhandle. In Walton County, more than 500 people were forced to evacuate after a major wildfire spread across the area. Meanwhile, in Santa Rosa, another major wildfire also threatened some residential areas south of the Interstate 10. According to the US Forest Service (USFS), the fire has been contained by 20 percent as of Thursday morning. Authorities fear that due to intense winds, the fire may spread further. Florida and other states in the US Southeast have been facing unusually dry seasons. For further information, people should follow the advice from the local authorities.

Michigan governor backs plans to ban guns inside capitol building

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer has said that she is backing a plan to ban guns inside the capitol building in Lansing. Her announcement came after dozens of protesters, some of them armed with assault rifles and tactical gear, raided the capitol building amid an anti-lockdown protest. She said that she is backing changes to the current gun legislation. The coronavirus pandemic in Michigan has taken a political turn. Whitmer, a Democrat, has been sued by Republican state lawmakers over her stringent coronavirus restrictions. Michigan is one of the worst-hit states in the US. According to the CDC, 44,000 cases have been confirmed in the state.

Police shooting of black man in Georgia heads to grand jury

The death of a 25-year-old black man who has been gunned down while jogging near Brunswick, Georgia, will go to a grand jury. CNN reported that the incident happened back in February when a former police officer reportedly chased Ahmaud Arbery around the Satilla Shores neighbourhood. The incident was recorded on video and posted online at the time. The suspect has been identified as Gregory McMichael, an officer with the Glynn County Police. Joe Biden, who is expected to be announced as the Democratic presidential candidate, has demanded justice over the killing. Republican Georgia Governor Brian Kemp has ordered an independent investigation on the case.

NYC subway services shut for disinfection operation

Subway stations across New York City (NYC) will be shut overnight for a massive disinfection operation on Wednesday. According to the Metropolitan Transportation Administration (MTA), all of the city's 472 stations will be shut between 01:00 and 05:00 local time. Severe changes on scheduled services are also expected to be introduced for several days. This has been reported as the first time in history that the NYC metro will shut overnight. NYC is the epicentre of coronavirus in the US.

NYC health officials investigate rare child illness

Health authorities in New York City have raised concerns over a mysterious illness that has led to the hospitalisation of 15 children. Health officials are still investigating the disease, which has also been identified in several countries in Europe. No children in NYC have so far died of the syndrome. Authorities said that the children showed symptoms compatible with the Kawasaki disease, which is a rare illness that mainly leads to the inflammation of blood vessels. Further investigations have been launched to asses a potential connection between the syndrome and the coronavirus.

Three charged for killing guard at a shop in Flint, Michigan

A 43-year-old guard has been shot dead after demanding that a customer wear a mouth covering at a shop in Flint, Michigan. Three people from the same family have been charged over the death of Calvin Munerlyn, who was shot in the head. Michigan has been facing some increasing tensions over the enforcement of coronavirus guidelines. Governor Gretchen Witmer has ordered all residents to wear face coverings while outdoors. She has faced some protests against stringent measures statewide. Last week, armed protesters took over the capitol building in Lansing.

Beaches in California's Orange Beach shut due to coronavirus

Governor Gavin Newsom has ordered all beaches across Orange County to shut after crowds defied social distancing guidelines. Thousands of people headed to beaches across the region, generating health concerns from state agencies. He dismissed allegations that he was planning to close all state parks and beaches statewide. There have been some grievances involving the federal and state governments in the US towards policies to curb the coronavirus and plans to reopen the economy. Within states, some counties have also defied several state guidelines. According to the CDC, more than 46,000 cases were confirmed, including nearly 2,000 deaths.

Major US airlines to require use of face masks

Major US airlines are requiring passengers to wear face masks while on board. JetBlue Airways was the first airline in the US to introduce the measure, which was promptly followed by American Airlines, United Airlines, Frontier and Delta Air Lines. Despite air travel in the US facing a dramatic reduction, some flights are still operating between major hubs. Airlines have also launched other measures to promote social distancing. They include flying with empty middle seats and filing flights far below the aircraft's capacity. The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has said that airlines will follow guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Protesters storm capitol building in Lansing, Michigan

A number of protesters have occupied the state capitol in Lansing, Michigan, to pressure the government to lift the coronavirus lockdown. Demonstrators, some of them carrying assault rifles, stormed the building as protests against Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer persist. Several similar protests have taken place across the US as small groups demand the end of the shutdown. However, the situation in Michigan has been the most serious. Michigan is currently enforcing one of the strictest coronavirus lockdowns in the US. President Donald Trump has already announced plans to reopen the US economy, generating tensions between the state and federal governments.

Four killed as storm overturns horse-drawn carriage in Kentucky

Four children have died and one remains missing after a powerful storm forced a horse-drawn carriage to overturn in Kentucky. NBC reported that the incident happened when the children were crossing a low-level bridge in Bath County. The National Weather Service (NWS) forecasts that heavy rainfall is expected to move towards the mid-Atlantic coast and the Northeast on Friday, triggering flooding in some areas. Coastal and Lakeshore flooding warnings were issued to several states in the region, including Delaware, Maryland, West Virginia, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New York.

Dozens of bodies recovered inside rental lorry in NYC

Dozens of decomposing bodies have been recovered inside a rental lorry parked outside a funeral home in Brooklyn, New York City. Police officers arrived at the scene on Wednesday morning after reports of a strong smell coming from the vehicle. New York City's funeral network has been facing extreme pressure to address the rising number of coronavirus deaths. An unnamed official source told the NYT that the bodies found on Wednesday were taken to the lorry for storage after the funeral home's freezer failed to function. NYC has confirmed nearly 13,000 coronavirus deaths.

Man detained for opening fire at Cuban Embassy in DC

A man has been detained for opening fire at the Cuban Embassy in Washington DC. According to media reports, the suspect was armed with a rifle and fired shots at the embassy during the early hours of Tuesday morning. No injuries were reported, while the circumstances of the incident are still being investigated. The Cuban Embassy in DC reopened in 2015 after diplomatic relations between the US and Cuba were restored after 54 years. It is located in the northern Adams Morgan area.

Joe Biden accused of sexual assault back in 1993

Joe Biden, who is on track to become the Democratic presidential contender, has been accused of sexual assault against a former employee. According to reports, Biden allegedly assaulted Tara Reade, who worked for him nearly 30 years ago when he was a senator for Delaware. The alleged sexual assault happened back in 1993. Reade said that she had told people close to her about the incidents. A criminal complaint was filed earlier this month but Biden was not mentioned on the file. Reade claimed that her late mother called CNN's 'Larry King Live' at the time for advice during a show addressing allegations of misconduct in the corridors of politics in Washington DC.

Democrat Kweisi Mfume wins Maryland's special congressional vote

Democratic candidate Kweisi Mfume has won the special US congressional elections in Maryland's 7th District. Mfume is replacing Elijah Cummings, who died last October. He defeated Republican Kim Klacik. Mfume returns to Congress after leading the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). He previously held the seat between 1987 and 1996. Like the primaries in Ohio, the vote in Maryland was done almost entirely by mail.

Scores die of coronavirus at veterans' shelter in Holyoke, Massachusetts

At least 68 patients at a long-term care facility in Massachusetts have died after a coronavirus outbreak. Residents at the Soldiers' Home in Holyoke died after testing positive for coronavirus. The facility is a state-run shelter for war veterans. In total, at least 163 patients and staff members have tested positive for the virus at the Soldiers' Home. Shelters and retirement homes have posed major concerns amid the coronavirus crisis in the US and across the world. In the US, although those facilities are reporting coronavirus deaths, numbers are not added to the official death toll.

Beijing accuses US of telling lies over coronavirus

China has accused the US of telling lies over the coronavirus, claiming Washington is deflecting blame away from its own 'poor epidemic prevention and control measures'. China's remarks come in response to comments from US President Donald Trump, in which he criticised China's handling of the virus outbreak, saying his administration was conducting "serious investigations" into what happened. So far, China has reported over 82,800 cases of covid-19, including 4,633 deaths, while the US has recorded over a million cases and around 56,900 deaths. Globally, nearly 3.1 million cases have been registered, along with almost 213,000 fatalities.

Ohio holds delayed Democrat primaries

Ohio is set to hold a mail vote in the Democratic primaries after they were postponed last month. People across the state were able to cast their votes until Monday evening, while some people were allowed to vote in person on Tuesday. Ohio was one of the first states in the US to postpone the vote due to coronavirus concerns. Officials said that nearly two million voters requested to vote by mail, with 1.4m votes of those being already cast. Joe Biden is the sole candidate for the Democratic Party, while President Donald Trump is likely to become the Republican nominee.

Weather alerts issued due to strong winds in the US Midwest

Weather alerts have been issued for the US Midwest as powerful winds are forecast to hit the region. According to the US National Weather Service (NWS), strong winds are expected to hit the western areas of North and South Dakota. In addition, hurricane-force winds could impact areas in eastern Oklahoma, Arkansas and Texas. For further updates, people should follow NWS alerts.

Some states start to relax coronavirus restrictions

Some businesses will be allowed to reopen as coronavirus restrictions have been eased across three US states. Georgia, Oklahoma and Alaska have already announced the resumption of some activities to relax the current economic shutdown. Despite some businesses reopening, social distancing measures will still be enforced. More states are expected to ease some restrictions over the week. According to the US Centers for Disease and Prevention (CDC), 928,000 cases were confirmed in the US, including 52,000 deaths.

USS Kidd to return to port due to onboard coronavirus outbreak

A US Navy destroyer has requested to return to port after several sailors tested positive for coronavirus. According to the US Navy, at least 18 people on board the USS Kidd have the coronavirus. The vessel is currently stationed off Central America to take part in joint counter-narcotics tasks force in the Pacific. This is the second Navy vessel to report a case of coronavirus. Last month, the USS Theodore Roosevelt was forced to dock in Guam after an outbreak on board.

CDC adds new symptoms to official coronavirus list

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has added six new symptoms to its official list of coronavirus symptoms. Those newly included on the list include chills; repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, the new loss of taste or smell. The new symptoms are added to the initial list that already contained fever, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing. The CDC added that symptoms may appear between two and 14 days after exposure to the virus. As previously mentioned, people with underlying health conditions, such as diabetes and heart or lung disease are the most vulnerable. Symptoms are mainly developed in more serious cases, while a large number of people are asymptomatic or develop mild symptoms.

Police officer killed in shooting in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

A police officer has been killed during a standoff with a homicide suspect in Baton Rouge, Lousiana. CNN reported that police officers responded to calls of a suspect accused of homicide hiding in a house in a northern residential district. A shooting broke out when police officers approached the area. Another police officer was taken to a local hospital with critical injuries.

US coronavirus death toll reaches 50,000

Coronavirus deaths in the US have surpassed 50,000 after more than 3,000 fatalities were confirmed in the last 24 hours. Data from John Hopkins University revealed that the number of cases has already reached 870,000 - as of Thursday afternoon BST, the US Centers for Disease and Prevention (CDC) had not yet provided the latest numbers. Despite having the highest number of overall cases and deaths in the world, the US death rate is lower than in several EU countries. New York and New Jersey are jointly responsible for over a third of the number of overall cases.

Congress passes 484-billion-dollar coronavirus relief bill

Congress has passed another coronavirus relief bill bringing the total federal spending to nearly three trillion dollars. On Thursday, the new bill passed after both Republicans and Democrats overwhelmingly voted in favour of it. It amounts to $484bn mainly destined to the Paycheck Protection Programme, which involves small businesses. Other funds will be destined for hospitals and testing. So far, more than 26m people have filed unemployment claims in the US.

Texas to resume abortion proceedings after court challenge

Abortions in Texas will resume after a legal battle amid the coronavirus pandemic in the US. Governor Greg Abbott signed an executive order that will allow healthcare facilities to proceed with some medical procedures in exchange for them reserving beds to people infected with the coronavirus. The challenge was filed by abortion providers against abortion restriction laws that would lead to a near-total ban on the practice. Texas has one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the US.

Several killed as inclement weather batters the southern US

At least five people have been killed after inclement weather hit the southern US. As adverse weather conditions affected several states on the region, a tornado ripped through Oklahoma's Marshall County. Another tornado in south-eastern Texas also led to a number of fatalities. Louisiana, Florida, Arkansas and Mississippi were also affected. Increasing risks have been identified in Georgia, in the cities of Atlanta, Birmingham, Montgomery and Mobile as a low-pressure system is forecast to move eastwards the Atlantic. The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued a tornado watch to north-western Florida, southern Alabama and southern Mississippi.

Californian county had first US coronavirus death in early-February

Health officials in California's Santa Clara County have confirmed that the first coronavirus death in the US happened on 06 February, nearly three weeks earlier than previously thought. In a statement, officials said that the victim died at home. The news comes as the patient's autopsy results were released. Initially, the first US death was confirmed in Washington state on 28 February. According to the CDC, the US has already confirmed over 41,000 coronavirus deaths. officially, the first coronavirus case in the US was confirmed on 21 January in Washington.

Some southern governors to lift coronavirus restrictions

Some governors in the southern US have already announced plans to ease the current economic shutdown despite the increasing number of coronavirus cases nationwide. Georgia is among several states that are expected to lift stay-at-home orders later this week. Texas, South Carolina and Tennessee are among those states that may also lift some restrictions. President Donald Trump has already announced a three-phase plan to reopen the US economy. According to the CDC, more than 745,000 cases have already been confirmed in the US, including 39,000 deaths - Georgia and Texas are among the states that have reported the highest number of cases.

President Trump to sign order to suspend immigration

President Donald Trump has announced that he is set to sign an executive order that will suspend immigration to the US. He said on social media: "In light of the attack from the Invisible Enemy, as well as the need to protect the jobs of our GREAT American Citizens, I will be signing an Executive Order to temporarily suspend immigration into the United States." Coronavirus cases in the US have already passed more than 774,000, including more than 42,000 deaths. As the crisis deepens, more than 20m people across the country have already claimed unemployment benefits in March. A number of small to medium-scale protests have emerged in some states to pressure governors to ease lockdown measures and end the current economic shutdown.

Gunman killed after hijacking bus near Dallas, Texas

A gunman has been shot dead after hijacking a public bus near Dallas, Texas. According to the authorities, the gunman entered a Dallas Area Rapid Transit bus and opened fire. A single passenger was on board the vehicle. At least two police officers were injured during the incident, which led to a police pursuit around the Dallas-Fort Worth area. The incident ended at a roadblock on a highway near Rowlett. It is still unclear what the motives behind the incident are.

Anti-lockdown protests reported across the US

Anti-lockdown protests have broken out across the US after President Donald Trump encouraged demonstrators to pressure state governments to ease coronavirus restrictions. Days after protests in Michigan, demonstrators took to the streets of Ohio, Maryland and Texas to demand the end of the economic shutdown. President Trump has already laid out plans to reopen the US economy, but such would be highly dependant on state governors - Democratic governors are the main resistance against the president's plans. Further protests are expected to take place within the next few weeks. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as of Sunday 19 April, the US has so far confirmed more than 720,000 cases, including over 37,000 deaths.

Adverse weather triggers weather alerts across the US Southeast

Adverse weather conditions have left a trail of destruction in some areas in northern Alabama. Heavy rainfall triggered flash flooding warnings in the counties of Bibb, Coosa, Shelby and Chilton, while strong winds also hit the region. This is the second consecutive weekend in which Alabama and the US Southeast face the threat of tornadoes. According to the National Weather Service (NWS), flash flood watches and warnings have been issued across neighbouring Georgia. In Florida, a tornado watch remains in place in the northern counties. NWS forecasts show that the low-pressure system may move northwards to Georgia and the Carolinas before heading out to the Atlantic.

Brazilian tourist rescued on popular trail in central Alaska

A 26-year-old Brazilian tourist has been rescued after getting lost on a trail in central Alaska. State troopers have rescued the hiker in a remote area near Denali National Park. According to the police, Gabriel da Silva got trapped while returning from his campsite. Da Silva was camped on the Stampede Trail, famous to fans of the book and film 'Into the Wild', which documented the adventures and subsequent death of Christopher McCandless. In February, five Italian tourists were rescued on the same trail. The Stampede Trail is located near the town of Healy.

Northeast states extend quarantine measures until mid-May

Several states across the US Northeast have extended quarantine measures until mid-May. As President Donald Trump laid out a three-phase plan to gradually lift the economic shutdown nationwide from early-May, he has faced resistance from some Democrat governors. New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Rhode Island are among the states that extended their stay-at-home guidances until 15 May. States in the US northeast have been the worst affected by the coronavirus pandemic. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the US has so far confirmed more than 31,000 deaths.

Weather system may bring hazardous conditions to southern US

A weather system is forecast to hit the southern US as the region continues to recover from last week's destruction caused by dozens of tornadoes. According to the Storm Prediction Center, the areas under threat include the northern counties in Louisiana, southern Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia. Strong winds and tornadoes are possible to affect major cities. Reports from the National Weather Service (NWS) show that there is also a risk of flash flooding in some areas. At least 30 people were killed last week due to adverse weather conditions across the US southeast.

Police recover bodies in nursing home in New Jersey

At least 17 bodies have been recovered in a nursing home in New Jersey. Police discovery the victims after an anonymous tipoff. According to the New York Times, the bodies had been moved to a small morgue at the Andover Subacute and Rehabilitation Center in Sussex County. New Jersey Rep Josh Gottheimer has said that 26 people at Andover Subacute died of coronavirus. Worldwide, nursing and retirement homes have been a major concern of coronavirus outbreaks. Several governments have already pledged further funding to address the situation on those facilities. Official data shows that over 3,100 coronavirus deaths were confirmed in total in New Jersey.

Thousands gather in Lansing to protest Michigan coronavirus lockdown

Thousands have gathered in Lansing to protest against restrictive coronavirus measures imposed across Michigan. Around 2,000 people gathered near the state Capitol on Wednesday to pressure Governor Gretchen Whitmer. The protest was endorsed by the Michigan Conservative Coalition. Governor Whitmer has imposed one of the strictest lockdown rules in the US, which she had just announced its extension until the end of April. More than 28,000 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Michigan, including nearly 2,000 deaths. Some political tensions have emerged between Democrat governors and President Donald Trump's administration. Whitmer is being flagged as the potential running mate of the Democrat presidential contender Joe Biden.

NYC coronavirus death toll reaches 10,000

Coronavirus deaths in New York City have surpassed 10,000 as the local government adds some uncounted fatalities to official data. According to the latest report, more than 3,700 deaths were added to the official death toll people that have died at home, hospitals and nursing homes and had not initially tested positive for coronavirus. NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio had previously acknowledged that the number of deaths and cases could be much higher than those currently reported. In NYC, most cases have been confirmed in Staten Island, Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn and Manhattan.

Obama formally endorses Biden in presidential race

Former President Barack Obama has formally announced his endorsement for the presidential bid of Joe Biden, who served as his VP during both of his terms. Obama's announcement comes just days after Bernie Sanders withdrew from the Democratic Party race to become the candidate in the upcoming presidential vote in November. Sanders is also endorsing Biden.

US government cuts WHO funding due to coronavirus grievances

President Donald Trump has announced that he is cutting funding to the World Health Organization (WHO) over claims that it mishandled the coronavirus pandemic. President Trump claimed that WHO was unable to initially shut down travel from the coronavirus ground zero, the city of Wuhan in China. WHO Secretary-General Tedros Adhanom has previously urged governments not to use the coronavirus for political gains. Adhanom remarks came after another critic from President Trump. The US the largest single contributor to the WHO budget. President Trump's decision was criticised domestically. So far, the US has confirmed more than 22,000 coronavirus deaths.

Half-a-million Zoom account credentials hacked and sold in the Dark Web

More than 500,000 accounts of the video-conferencing app Zoom have reportedly been compromised after passwords were sold on the Dark Web. Bleeping Computer has claimed that most of those accounts included old passwords, which could users may have used for accounts with other online services. Cyble said that among the stole credential included host keys and meetings URLs. Zoom is among several apps that have been used for remote working and meetings during the worldwide coronavirus lockdown. Due to its exponential growth of users, a number of issues, mainly related to privacy were identified. Earlier this month, Zoom CEO Eric Yuan apologised for several concerns and announced enhanced security features to be introduced on their services.

USS Roosevelt sailor dies after contracting coronavirus

A US Navy sailor who previously tested positive for coronavirus has died after being taken to intensive care. CNN reported that the unnamed sailor was on board the USS Theodore Roosevelt, which is currently docked in the US-administered island of Guam. According to reports, some 600 sailors on board the aircraft carrier have tested positive for coronavirus. The USS Roosevelt is at the centre of a political dispute that led to the resignation of Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly, who sacked Captain Brett Crozier for leaking a memo calling for immediate evacuation.

Dozens of nursing home residents die of coronavirus in Virginia

At least 42 residents of a nursing home in Virginia have died due to a coronavirus outbreak. US media reported that the more than 120 residents of the Canterbury Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center in Henrico County have contracted the disease. Reports indicate that more than 30 staff members also tested positive for coronavirus. Nursing and retirement homes in the world have faced significant challenges to address the coronavirus global pandemic. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 6,000 cases have already been confirmed in Virginia.

Democratic candidate wins Wisconsin Supreme Court contest

Justice Daniel Kelly, a Republican, has been ousted from his post in the Wisconsin Supreme Court after he lost a vote held on Monday. Kelly is being replaced by Democrat Jill Karofsky. Voting in Wisconsin went ahead despite coronavirus concerns and strict measures still being enforced. Karofsky victory could lead to some surprise in the upcoming presidential election in November, where Wisconsin is expected to be a major political battleground. Joe Biden has won the democratic primaries held last week after Bernie Sanders announced his withdrawal from the race.

Scores killed as tornadoes rip through the US southeast

At least 30 people have been killed after several tornadoes ripped through the US southeast over the weekend. NBC News reported that extensive damage happened in Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, Arkansas and the Carolinas. States of emergency were declared in Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama. In total, more than 40 tornadoes were reported in the region in less than 24 hours. Although no alerts were issued, reports of the National Weather Service (NWS) show that adverse weather could still impact some areas in Georgia and Florida until Wednesday. 

Navy Secretary Modly resigns over USS Roosevelt row

Acting Secretary for the Navy Thomas Modly has resigned after being criticised for firing Captain Brett Crozier, the commander of the USS Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier. Crozier had recently requested assistance from the Pentagon after a coronavirus outbreak hit the ship. Crozier was fired after a four-page strongly-worded letter was leaked to the press. Controversy emerged after Modly personally flown to the US-administered island of Guam over the issue - the carrier is currently quarantine on the island. According to officials, his trip cost the taxpayer more than $243k. Nearly 300 people on board the USS Theodore Roosevelt have already tested positive for coronavirus. 

Bernie Sanders withdraws from Democratic race

Bernie Sanders has withdrawn his bid to become the Democratic Party candidate in the upcoming presidential election in November. CNN reported that the news was announced by his campaign. Sanders was the sole adversary of Joe Biden, who will now run against President Donald Trump. This is the second failed bid of Sanders to become the Democratic nominee. In 2016, he also dropped out of the race after then-President Barack Obama reportedly asked the party to back Hillary Clinton. Sanders dropped out before the results of the primaries in Wisconsin are announced.

Highest daily covid-19 death toll recorded

The highest daily covid-19 death toll has been recorded in the US, with more than 1,800 fatalities reported on Tuesday, bringing the national death toll to nearly 13,000. Many of the deaths (731) from Tuesday were reported from the state of New York, which has been somewhat of an epicentre for the coronavirus outbreak in America. The authorities in New York have told people to avoid large gatherings in the lead up to Easter and Passover. Overall, more than 400,000 cases of infection have now been reported across the US - the highest number in the world, with global cases exceeding 1.4 million.

Wisconsin to move ahead with Democratic primaries

Wisconsin is set to hold its Democratic Party primaries despite coronavirus concerns. The vote is moving forward after the state Supreme Court overturned an executive order of Governor Tony Evers to delay the in-person voting until at least early-June. Local and state elections will also take place on Tuesday. The vote in Wisconsin goes ahead despite several other states delaying the process. In total, 84 delegates are at stake in the Wisconsin Democratic primaries. Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden remain the sole candidates for the presidential nomination. According to the US Centers for Disease and Prevention (CDC), more than 2,000 cases were confirmed in Wisconsin

Thousands of vehicles destroyed in massive blaze in Fort Myers, Florida

More than 3,500 vehicles have been destroyed after a fire broke out at a parking lot at Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW) in Fort Myers, Florida. Officials have said that the blaze broke out on Friday in an overflow car park used by rent-a-car companies. The blaze was eventually contained on Saturday morning. The causes behind the fire are still under investigation.

Several US airlines cut operations in New York

Several US airlines have significantly reduced their operations in New York as the state reaches record-high numbers of coronavirus cases. CNN reported that from Tuesday, American Airlines will drastically reduce its flights to and from airports in New York. United Airlines has also made similar changes to its schedule. Airlines are among the main companies that suffered a massive economic hit due to the coronavirus outbreak. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 90,000 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in New York.

DNC postponed due to coronavirus crisis in the US

The nomination of the Democratic presidential candidate will be delayed after officials decided to postpone the Democratic National Convention (DNC) by a month. DNC chairman Tom Perez said that the convention will be postponed to August due to the current coronavirus crisis in the US. Former Vice-President Joe Biden is leading the race against Senator Bernie Sanders. The new date for the DNC has been set for 17 August and will take place in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The Republican party has not announced changes to the date of its national convention - 24 August - where President Donald Trump is expected to be nominated as the party's presidential candidate.

Train engineer deliberately derails locomotive near Port of LA

A train engineer has intentionally driven towards the Port of Los Angeles after the US Navy Hospital Ship (USNS) Mercy docked on Tuesday. According to the US Department of Justice, the suspect deliberately sped up the locomotive off the track. A man named Eduardo Moreno was charged with one count of train wrecking. CBS News reported that Moreno told US officials that he was suspicious of the intentions of the deployment of the USNS Mercy in California. Mercy has docked in LA to assist in coronavirus efforts. It has 1,000 beds and a dozen operating rooms.

USS Theodore Roosevelt sailors to be quarantined in Guam

Dozens of sailors currently stationed at the USS Theodore Roosevelt are set to be quarantined in the US-administered island of Guam. According to the latest reports, 93 sailors of the aircraft carrier have tested positive for coronavirus. The USS Roosevelt is already docked in Guam after Governor Lou Guerrero authorised sailors to be quarantined in hotels. Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly told CNN that 4,800 service members are currently onboard the Roosevelt. Capt Brett Crozier had publicly made a plea to the Pentagon to speed up the process. According to the Pentagon, some 800 members of the US military have already tested positive for coronavirus.

US coronavirus death toll tops 3,000

More than 3,600 people have died after contracting the coronavirus in the US. According to the latest report from the US Centers for Disease and Prevention (CDC), the number of cases has reached more than 186,000 nationwide. In New York, the number of cases is higher than 74,000, while a high incidence of coronavirus cases was already confirmed in New Jersey, California, Michigan, Massachusetts, Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Washington and Pennsylvania. As the number of cases continues to increase, the federal government has launched the '15 Days to Slow the Spread' initiative which intends to curb the spread of the virus within the next two weeks. 

Powerful 6.5-magnitude earthquake strikes central Idaho

A powerful 6.5-magnitude earthquake has been recorded in central Idaho. According to the US Geological Survey (USGS), the quake struck at a depth of 10 kilometres at 18:00 local time on Tuesday. Its epicentre was near the town of Stanley. No damage nor injuries were initially reported.

US authorities considering allowing infected cruise ship to dock in Florida

US authorities are currently exploring options to allow a cruise ship to dock in southern Florida. Reports indicate that the vessel is transporting 200 people believed to be infected with the coronavirus, while four passengers have already died on board. The Zaandam is owned by the Holland America and was originally due to dock in Fort Lauderdale next week. Another vessel, the Rotterdam, has recently left California to assist the Zaandam and is currently transporting all of those that tested negative for the virus. Both vessels have already been rejected at several ports. They had already crossed the Panama Canal. Both vessels are transporting more than 2,500 people.

Idaho governor signs two anti-trans bills into law

Idaho Governor Brad Little has signed two controversial bills into law which would curb the rights of transgender people. Among the clauses on the two pieces of legislation, it includes a restriction on transgender girls playing sports on girl's teams and a ban on transgender people changing their gender on state IDs. A similar bill to the latter, House 509 "Idaho Vital Statistics Act", was previously rejected in 2018 by a federal court. Idaho's American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) condemned both laws and said that they fuel discrimination. Several companies also criticise them.

President Trump extends nationwide shutdown until late-April

President Donald Trump has extended the current nationwide shutdown until at least 30 April. Despite previous economic concerns highlighted by the government, thousands of businesses will be ordered to remain shut to curb the spread of the coronavirus. State and local governments are already enforcing drastic measures against the coronavirus, including 'stay-at-home' practices. The White House has issued a document known as the "15 days to slow the spread", which urges people to work from home where possible, avoid unnecessary travel and refrain from social gatherings. According to the US Centers for Disease and Prevention (CDC), more than 120,000 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in the US, including more than 2,000 deaths.

Scores injured as tornado hits Jonesboro, Arkansas

At least 20 people have been injured after a tornado ripped through the town of Jonesboro, Arkansas. The incident happened on Saturday and caused widespread destruction. No fatalities were initially reported. On the same day, several other tornadoes hit several towns in Iowa. Over the weekend, the National Weather Service (NWS) issued a so-called 'Particularly Dangerous Situation (PGS)' alert to Iowa, Missouri and Illinois.

Coronavirus deaths surpasss 1,000 as Senate approves rescue plan

Coronavirus deaths in the US have surpassed 1,000 as cases continue to increase nationwide. Latest reports show that the number of cases has reached nearly 70,000 as local, state and federal authorities step up efforts to curb the spread of the virus. As part of measures to address the impact that the coronavirus may have on the US economy, the Senate has passed a 2.2-trillion-dollar rescue package. According to the US Centers for Disease and Prevention (CDC), most coronavirus cases in the US have been confirmed in New York, Washington and California.

Local authorities in Miami Beach impose mandatory quarantine

Residents in Miami Beach, Florida, have been ordered to stay indoors as the local authorities introduce a mandatory quarantine. People are requested to remain indoors as most nonessential businesses will be ordered to close and public venues will have their access extremely limited. Several other cities in Florida are also expected to launch similar measures. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has been heavily criticised by his Democrat opposition for not imposing stricter measures. Although he had urged President Donald Trump to declare a major disaster in Florida, no state-wide lockdown has been ordered. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 930 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Florida.

President Trump orders National Guard deployment

President Donald Trump has announced plans to deploy the National Guard to assist in efforts to counter the coronavirus outbreak in the US. Soldiers will initially be deployed to the states of California, Washington and New York, which have confirmed the highest number of cases. According to the US Centers for Disease and Prevention, more than 33,000 cases were so far confirmed in the US, including 400 deaths - 15,000 of those cases were confirmed in New York. Several states have already imposed measures of their own to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

ATC issue may affect flights at Las Vegas McCarran

Operations at Las Vegas McCarran International Airport (LAS) could be disrupted due to issues at the airport's traffic control tower operated by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Flights from LAS have been departing at a significantly lower capacity on Monday, while some arrivals may be diverted. Passengers have been advised to contact their respective airlines for further details.

Japanese nationals urged not to travel to the US

Japan's foreign ministry has issued a travel alert for Japanese nationals to avoid nonessential travel to the US. The measure comes in retaliation to a previous alert issued by the US Department of State that advises US nationals not to travel to Japan due to coronavirus concerns. According to the Centers for Disease and Prevention (CDC), more than 15,000 coronavirus cases were already confirmed in the US, including more than 200 deaths. Official travel warnings often lead to increasing diplomatic tensions as some countries may not agree with the motives behind them.

Several US states to introduce directives to address coronavirus spread

Several US states are expected to introduce new directives to curb the spread of the coronavirus. After New York and California urged their citizens to remain indoors, the same is expected to be requested in New Jersey. Illinois and Connecticut are also among the states that launched their own set of measures. People in the US are advised to follow the recommendations from the local authorities, especially directives published on state government's official websites. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 15,000 cases were already confirmed in the US.

Some flights between the US and Europe still operating

The Spanish Consulate in New York has said that some flights between the US and Spain are still operational. The consulate said on social media that some flights operated by the Spanish-flag carrier Iberia are still operating between New York and Madrid as of Friday, 20 March. Those flights could be discontinued without prior notice. Some American Airlines and British Airways flights between the US and some European destinations may still be operational despite some restrictions. People have been advised to directly contact the airline for further information.

New York governor announces drastic coronavirus measures

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced drastic measures to address the spread of the coronavirus in the state. In a press conference, he ordered all nonessential businesses to send their workforces home, while calling on all residents to remain indoors. He said: “We’re all in quarantine now. We’re all in various levels of quarantine and it’s hard. These provisions will be enforced. These are not helpful hints. This is not if you really want to be a great citizen. These are legal provisions". New York becomes the latest state in the US to unilaterally introduce measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), New York has reported the highest number of confirmed cases in the US, more than 4,500.

US-Mexico border movement to face restrictions due to coronavirus

All nonessential movement at the US-Mexico border will be restricted. As President Donald Trump announced the launch of the White House coronavirus task force, further drastic measures are expected to be launched to address the spread of the virus. US media reported that the decision to restrict border movement came after an agreement between both countries. Mexico's Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard has said that a joint task force will also be launched to combat coronavirus at the border. The US has so far confirmed more than 10,000 coronavirus cases. Besides California, states bordering Mexico - Texas, Arizona and New Mexico - have reported a relatively lower number of cases compared with states located in the US Northeast.

California governor orders statewide lockdown

California Governor Gavin Newson has ordered a state-wide lockdown as coronavirus cases continue to increase. People have been ordered to remain indoors after reports suggest that more than half of all 40 million residents in California could contract the virus within the next eight weeks. The measures implemented in California are similar to those already in place in Spain and Italy. According to the US Centers for Disease and Prevention (CDC), more than 10,000 coronavirus cases have already been confirmed in the US. California is among one of the most affected states with 652 cases confirmed so far. For further information on the measures imposed in California, people are advised to follow guidelines of the California Public Health Department (CPHD).

Tulsi Gabbard officially withdraws from Democratic race

Tulsi Gabbard has officially announced that she is withdrawing from the race to become the Democratic presidential contender. Besides Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders, Gabbard was the only other candidate still remaining in the race despite coming far behind both of them - she had so far only secured two pledged delegates. With further gains last Tuesday in Arizona, Illinois and Florida, Biden widened the gap against Sanders, who is expected to reconsider his bid. Gabbard has announced that she is endorsing Biden to become the Democrat presidential candidate.

President Trump invokes emergency law to direct industrial production

President Donald Trump has invoked an emergency authority as part of new measures amid the coronavirus pandemic. President Trump has invoked the 1950 Defense Production Act, which will allow the government to steer industrial production to curb shortages of certain essentials, such as face masks, ventilators and other medical supplies. The law was passed during the Korean War, which granted the government rights to direct industrial production. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) describes the law as "the primary source of presidential authorities to expedite and expand the supply of resources from the US industrial base to support military, energy, space and homeland security programs." Coronavirus cases have been confirmed in all 50 US states. So far, more than 7,000 cases were confirmed across the country.

US-Canada border to shut due to coronavirus

President Donald Trump and the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau have agreed to close the US-Canadian border to curb the spread of the coronavirus in both countries. All non-essential travel will be banned under the new measures. Travel between the US and Canada has already faced some restrictions after a surge in the number of coronavirus cases in North America. Goods will still continue to be allowed to cross the border, while tourists and shoppers will be denied entry. Trudeau told reporters: "These measures will last in place as long as we feel they need to last."

Powerful 5.7-magnitude earthquake hits Salt Lake City, Utah

A widespread power outage has been reported in Utah after a powerful 5.7-magnitude earthquake hit the US on Wednesday. According to the US Geological Survey (USGS), the quake struck near the town of Magna, located several kilometres west of Salt Lake City. The state Division of Emergency Management has said that aftershocks are likely within the next few hours. The quake has been considered the biggest tremor to hit the state in almost three decades.

All states in the US with coronavirus after case is confirmed in West Virginia

All 50 states in the US have already confirmed at least one case of the coronavirus after the first case was confirmed in West Virginia. Governor Jim Justice has confirmed the case on Tuesday. According to the US Centres for Disease and Prevention (CDC), more than 4,200 cases have already been confirmed in the US - besides all 50 states, cases were also confirmed in Guam, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. Several cities and states across the US are already introducing measures intended to limit movement and travel to avoid the spread of the virus.

Joe Biden makes major gains in Florida and Illinois primaries

Joe Biden has made significant gains in the primaries held in three states on Tuesday. Although the Democratic Party primaries were suspended in Ohio, the votes in Florida, Arizona and Illinois moved forward as planned. According to preliminary reports, Biden won in all three states with a large margin against Bernie Sanders, his sole opponent. Florida and Illinois were the states with most pledged candidates on Tuesday's votes. With the victory on those states, he furthers his advantage towards the number of pledged national delegates that will choose him as the Democratic presidential contender in the party's national conference later this year. On 04 April, the next states to hold their Democratic primaries will be Alaska, Hawaii and Wyoming.

China restricts US journalists over press freedoms row

China has restricted US journalists, effectively expelling them amidst an ongoing tit-for-tat row with the US over press freedoms. Journalists from three American newspapers (the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal) have been asked to return media passes within 10 days, in an apparent retaliation for restrictions on Chinese news outlets in the US. The move comes amid heightened international relations between the two over the coronavirus, which Chinese-state media claims originated in a US military lab and was brought to China from there. 

Ohio primaries cancelled due to coronavirus concerns

The primaries in Ohio have been cancelled as a preventative measure to avoid the spread of the coronavirus. The measure went forward after the Ohio Health Director Amy Acton declared a state of emergency. Despite Ohio cancelling its primaries, the votes in Arizona, Florida and Illinois are still expected to proceed. Despite the risk to workers at polling stations, those states have already recorded a significant increase in postal voting, which reduces the risk. Latest reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), shows that over 3,400 cases of coronavirus were confirmed in the US - Ohio has 37 confirmed cases, Arizona 13, Florida 136 and Illinois 93.

New York and LA shut down public events and schools

New York City and Los Angeles have both announced plans to shut down public events and close schools in response to the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak. Mayor Bill de Blasio said he decided to act because "our city is facing an unprecedented threat, and we must respond with a wartime mentality". Officials in LA said they were closing all bars and restaurants, while school closures are in place in 29 US states. There have been 3,774 confirmed cases in the US, with 69 deaths.

President Trump expected to declare nationwide coronavirus emergency

President Donald Trump is highly expected to declare a nationwide state of emergency to address the spread of the coronavirus in the country. Reports indicate that further details are set to be laid out during a press conference on Friday at 15:00 local time. Additionally, further reports suggest that the state of emergency may be based on the invocation of the Stafford Act, which would facilitate the flow of federal grants to local and state governments nationwide. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has said that 1,215 cases were confirmed in the US across 43 states. Most of them are confirmed in Washington, California, New York and Massachusetts.

Several states impose school closures due to coronavirus fears

Several states and cities across the US have announced enhanced measures to tackle the spread of the coronavirus. Five states across the country, including Kentucky, Maryland, Ohio, Michigan and New Mexico have announced the measure. It will initially be implemented to K-12 schools. Washington Governor Jay Inslee said that schools statewide may follow suit. Several cities, including Seattle, San Francisco, Denver and Atlanta have also announced similar measures. According to the US Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC), more than 1,200 cases of the coronavirus have been confirmed in the US. So far, 36 people have died after contracting it.

Judge orders release of WikiLeaks' Chelsea Manning

Former military intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning has been released from prison. Federal Judge Anthony Trenga has ordered her release and dismissed a grand jury in which she was set to testify on Friday. The court order came just after Manning was taken to the hospital after a reported attempt to commit suicide while in detention in Alexandria, Virginia. Judge Trenga said: “The court finds that Ms Manning’s appearance before the grand jury is no longer needed, in light of which her detention no longer serves any coercive purpose." Manning was jailed on charges related to contempt of court after she refused to testify before another grand jury about the WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange. 

WikiLeaks' Chelsea Manning taken to the hospital after suicide attempt

Chelsea Manning, the former military intelligence analyst involved with WikiLeaks, has been taken to the hospital after a suspected suicide attempt. Officials in Alexandria, Virginia, where Manning is detained, have confirmed the incident. Manning had recently returned to prison after she refused to testify before a grand jury. A judge has previously said that she will remain in prison until she testifies. Despite the incident, she is still set to appear before a judge on Friday. She was initially sentenced to 35 years in prison back in 2013, but then-President Barack Obama commuted a large part of her sentence. She had already served seven years of the initial sentence.

Hundreds detained in nationwide operation against Mexico's CJNG

More than 600 people have been detained in a major nationwide operation against the Mexican-based Cartel Jalisco New Generation (CJNG). AP reported that raids were conducted in California, New Jersey and Texas. The operation came as part of a six-month-long operation against CJNG operations in the US. In recent months, the CJNG has expanded its operations across the US and Mexico. The cartel is one of the most violent in Mexico and is widely engaged in the trafficking of fentanyl and methamphetamines. The US Department of Justice said that the operation came as part of the 'Project Python', which marked "the most comprehensive action to date in the Department of Justice’s campaign to disrupt, dismantle, and ultimately destroy CJNG".

President Trump imposes travel ban on Schengen area countries

US President Donald Trump has announced travel restrictions on countries belonging to the Schengen border-free travel area in Europe. As the UK and the Republic of Ireland do not belong to the agreement, travels to the US from both of those countries will remain unaffected. Some exceptions will be implemented for US nationals returning to the country. The measure is expected to come into effect on Friday at midnight, local time, and will last for at least 30 days. The decision comes amid a rise in the number of coronavirus cases in Europe. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 1,100 cases have been confirmed in the US, including 38 deaths. Passengers with flights to the US are advised to contact their respective airlines for further updates.

Police shooting triggers protests in Raleigh, North Carolina

Dozens of people gathered in Raleigh, North Carolina, after a police officer shot a suspect. Reports suggest that the incident unfolded on Tuesday evening when the police headed to a mall in the city's eastern area. A man identified as Javier Torres fled the scene and was chased by the police. Torres reportedly ran towards a police officer, who shot him in the stomach. His condition has not been confirmed. Police shootings in the US often lead to protests, especially when involving both the black and Hispanic communities. Last year, another suspect was shot and killed at the same mall in Raleigh.

Joe Biden makes significant gains in the Democratic primaries

Joe Biden is expected to make further gains in the Democratic primaries held on Tuesday across six states. In the so-called 'mini-Tuesday', Biden has secured victory in the states of Idaho, Michigan, Missouri and Mississippi. So far, results in North Dakota and Washington are still to be confirmed. As of Wednesday morning, Bernie Sanders led in North Dakota with 49 percent of the votes, while the results in Washington were still too close to call. Biden currently holds 50 percent of the total pledged candidates so far in the Democratic race, while Sanders has 40 percent. Sanders and Biden are the only remaining candidates. With the results, Biden moves closer to becoming the Democratic candidate against President Donald Trump in elections in November.

Several US airlines announce cuts on both domestic and international flights

Several US-based airlines have already announced cuts to their domestic and international scheduled flight due to coronavirus concerns. Similar to international airlines in Europe, American Airlines and Delta are among those that have significantly cut their scheduled flights in the next few weeks. As the current coronavirus outbreak continues to affect airlines worldwide, the industry already expects to suffer major financial loses. Passengers with flights scheduled in the US have been advised to contact their respective airlines for further updates. Most carriers have already waived their flight changing fees.

Grand Princess cruise to dock in Oakland

Passengers on the Grand Princess cruise ship are set to disembark in Oakland after being held for several days off San Francisco. Recent reports suggest that 21 crew members and passengers have tested positive for the coronavirus. More than 3,500 people are on board the vessel. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 420 cases were already confirmed across 35 states in the US. Recent data also shows that 19 people died in the country. Most of the cases have been confirmed in the west coast states of Califonia, Oregon and Washington. Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said that none of the passengers will be quarantined in the city, while reports also indicate that foreign nationals are expected to be repatriated to their home countries. The Grand Princess is operated by the same company that owns the Diamond Princess, which was quarantined last month in Japan.

Mick Mulvaney replaced as White House chief of staff

Mick Mulvaney has been replaced as President Donald Trump's chief of staff. Mulvaney has been reportedly engaged in a political row with the president over remarks that he made before Trump's impeachment inquiry last year. Mark Meadows, a Representative from North Carolina, will replace Mulvaney. He was the third chief of staff of the current administration after Reince Priebus and John Kelly. Mulvaney is set to become the US special aide to Northern Ireland.

Sanders and Biden to wage battle in primaries across six states

Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden remain the only candidates for the Democratic ticket ahead of the presidential elections in November. After Elizabeth Warren announced the end of her campaign, both are now set to face another challenge in Michigan, Idaho, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota and Washington. Biden currently leads the number of pledged delegates against Sanders. He made significant gains in the so-called Super Tuesday held last week. Michigan will be the main battleground for both Democratic contenders as it has most candidates amongst the six states up for grabs - 125 out of 352. Biden has already received the endorsement of Cory Booker, Michael Bloomberg and Kamala Harris.

Elizabeth Warren ends presidential campaign

Senator Elizabeth Warren has announced that she is ending her presidential campaign. Warren took the decision following disappointing results during Democratic primaries on Super Tuesday. Her withdrawal follows former US mayor Mike Bloomberg, who also ended his bid after finishing well behind Bernie Sanders and former vice-president Joe Biden.

California declares state of emergency over coronavirus

California has declared a state of emergency over the outbreak of coronavirus (Covid-19). The state announced its first death from the virus on Wednesday, bringing the national death toll to 11. The other deaths have all been reported in Washington state, although there have been more than 150 confirmed cases across 16 states. The victim in California is believed to have contracted the virus on the Grand Princess cruise.

Joe Biden makes gains on Super Tuesday

Joe Biden won nine of the 14 states available for the Democratic nomination on Super Tuesday. Bernie Sanders is expected to win in California and three other states, while Former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg didn't win a single state despite spending more than $500m on his campaign. The results are a major boost to Biden, who was trailing the frontrunner Sanders before Tuesday's vote. They are competing to be the Democratic nominee in November's presidential election against President Donald Trump.

Tornado death toll rises to 25

At least 25 people have now been confirmed dead after two tornadoes hit central Tennessee. Nashville Mayor John Cooper said around 150 people had been injured and were receiving medical treatment, while 44,000 have been left without power. Search and rescue operations are ongoing in the state, including in Putnam county where most of the deaths have been reported.

Five killed by tornado in Tennessee

Five people have been killed by a tornado in the state of Tennessee. Two people died in East Nashville and three others were killed in Putnam County, according to local officials. Around 40 structures were also damaged and destroyed by the tornado on Tuesday morning. There are more than 50,000 power outages across the state and public schools have been closed around Metro Nashville.

Pete Buttigieg drops out of Democratic race

Pete Buttigieg has announced that he has withdrawn from the race to win the Democratic nomination. The 38-year-old, who was the first openly gay presidential candidate, took the step after campaign lost momentum to rivals. "And so we must recognise that at this point in the race, the best way to keep faith with those goals and ideals is to step aside and help bring our party and our nation together," he said in a statement. Bernie Sanders is the current favourite to win the nomination, ahead of former vice-president Joe Biden.

Massive fire breaks out at fuel refinery in Carson, California

A massive fire has broken out at a refinery in Carson, California. US media reported that several blasts were reported at the Marathon Petroleum Refinery, one of the largest fuel refineries on the West Coast. According to the LA County Fire Department, the fire broke out on Wednesday evening and was put out several hours later. No casualties were initially reported, while the causes of the fire are still under investigation. Officials told ABC News that the refinery's operations will not face any significant disruption. The refinery processes heavy crude oil from the state's San Joaquin Valley and the Los Angeles basin.

Several killed in shooting at a brewery in Milwaukee

Six people have been killed after a gunman opened fire at a brewing company in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. According to the police, the shooter was an employer of the Molson Coors Beverage Co, who opened fire at his co-workers on Wednesday evening. Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales told reporters that no members of the general public were affected and that the situation was brought under control. He said that the shooter's body was also found at the scene. Authorities are still investigating what the possible motives behind the shooting could be. Gun violence in the US has been a highly debated topic ahead of the presidential elections. According to reports, more than 400 mass shootings were reported in the US last year.

San Francisco implements state of emergency amid coronavirus preparations

A local state of emergency has been declared in San Francisco as the government prepares to launch preventative measures over the coronavirus outbreak. No coronavirus cases have been confirmed in the city; however, the local authorities raised concerns over the worldwide increase in cases. In a statement, the San Francisco Department of Public Health has said: "Given the high volume of international travel from San Francisco, there is a growing likelihood that we will see cases eventually". Major companies in the gaming industry have already cancelled their attendance to the 2020 Game Developers Conference.

CDC warns that coronavirus could lead to severe disruption in the US

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has said that they are closely monitoring developments of the coronavirus, which could heavily impact the US. In a press conference, the CDC head for respiratory diseases, Nancy Messonnier, told reporters that due to concerns over the disease spread to several countries in Asia and Europe, the disease may also spread in the US. It is still unclear when this could happen, but Messonnier said that the impact on people's lives could be significant. She said that companies, schools, and families should start preparing for potential disruption. So far, 14 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in the US. Countries worldwide are concerned after sudden outbreaks were reported in Iran, South Korea, and Italy.

Tourists rescued after visiting popular hiking trail near Healy, Alaska

Five Italian tourists have been rescued on a famous hiking trail near Healy, central Alaska. CNN reported that the International Emergency Response Coordination Center received a medical emergency alert on Saturday morning. The tourists were located several kilometres from the Stampede Trail. The trail is famous with fans of the book and film 'Into the Wild', which documented the adventures and subsequent death of Christopher McCandless in 1992. Incidents on the trail are common and in some occasions lead to fatalities. Last year, a Belarusian woman died while attempting to cross the Teklanika River.

TSA staff banned from using Chinese-owned app TikTok

Employees of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) have been banned from using the Chinese-operated app TikTok. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has reiterated that the app still poses risks to federal agencies. Schumer had previously requested an assessment from the intelligence agencies of TikTok and other Chinese apps operating in the US. The Defense Department, State Department and Department of Homeland Security have already banned the app. Senators claimed that "with over 110 million downloads in the US alone, TikTok is a potential counterintelligence threat".

Foreign visitors to American Samoa to face restrictions due to coronavirus fears

Foreign visitors heading to American Samoa will be required to spend 14 days in Hawaii before proceeding with their travel. According to the UK Foreign Commonwealth Office (FCO), enhanced restrictions may also be imposed on travellers coming from areas with high rates of coronavirus infection. American Samoa has already introduced some restrictions on travellers from South Korea. So far, 14 cases of the COVID-19 have been confirmed in the US, including two cases of person-to-person spread. Restrictions have been already imposed on travellers heading from China to the US.

Bernie Sanders wins Nevada caucus

Bernie Sanders achieved a major victory in the Nevada caucus held on Saturday. With nearly all of the results announced, Sanders came in first place after securing nearly 47 percent of the votes. In second place came Joe Biden, followed by Pete Buttigieg. Elizabeth Warren came in fourth place but failed to secure enough support to win a national delegate. With the results, Sanders won 14 delegates, while Biden and Buttigieg got four and two respectively. Although the Democratic Party leadership in Nevada scrapped plans to use an app in the vote, issues emerged during the count. The Nevada caucuses give an important head start to Sanders, who also achieved strong results in the previous votes held in Iowa and the New Hampshire.

Data breach reportedly affects DISA-hosted system

The Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) has reportedly faced a data breach, where personal data of some people may have been compromised. In a letter published by Reuters, it shows that a DISA system was breached. It says that the breach happened between May and July 2019 and that personally identifiable information, including social security numbers, may have been compromised. DISA is based in Maryland and it is mainly in charge of communications of the US president, vice-president, the Secret Services and the chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff. No further details have been revealed.

President Trump's ally Roger Stone sentenced to 40 months in prison

A long-time associate of President Donald Trump, Roger Stone, has been sentenced to 40 months in prison. Stone was convicted in November on a seven-count indictment which included charges of lying to Congress, witness tampering and obstruction of the Russian meddling investigations. Stone's trial generated some political shockwaves in Washington DC, where Attorney General William Barr was pressured over allegations that he mishandled the case. Barr had recently backed down from recommendations that led to the resignation of four prosecutors linked to Stone's case. Stone has denied any wrongdoing and said that the charges are politically motivated.

Flight disruption expected due to adverse weather in North Carolina and Virginia

Flight disruption may affect major airports in North Carolina and Virginia as inclement weather affects the eastern US. Several airlines have already issued travel waivers due to potential cancellations and delays on Thursday. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has said that inclement weather could significantly affect Charlotte-Douglas International Airport (CLT). The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued a winter storm warning to several districts in southern Virginia and the central areas of North Carolina. Special attention should be taken on travels towards the coast and some mountain areas.

US rapper killed during suspected robbery in LA

A US rapper has been killed during a suspected burglary attempt in Los Angeles. LAPD told Radio 1 that a man was shot and killed at his home in West Hollywood. Although the police have not confirmed the victim's identity, a brand associated with him lamented the incident. No arrests were initially made. Pop Smoke was the artistic name for Bashar Barakah Jackson.

Flooding continues to affect several cities across Mississippi

Flooding continues to affect several cities across Mississippi as inclement weather persists. Governor Tate Reeves has already declared a state of emergency after the Pearl River burst its banks over the weekend. More than 1,000 people are reported to have been affected in Jackson, while other areas across the state were also heavily impacted. The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued flash flood watches to several districts located in central Mississippi and Alabama. Frequent weather updates are also published by the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA).

Two killed in avalanche near Vail, Colorado

Two people have been killed when an avalanche hit them in Eagle County, Colorado. According to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC), the emergency services have recovered two bodies near Vail. Reports suggest that the accident happened on Saturday when three people were riding their snowmobile. According to the CAIC, four people have died in Colorado during the current winter season. Alerts remain in place to several areas across central and northern Colorado, including Gunnison, Aspen, Sawatch Range, Vail and Summit County, Front Range, and Steamboat and Flat Tops.

Attorney General Barr pressured to resign over Roger Stone's trial

Attorney General William Barr has been pressured to resign after being accused of mishandling the trial of Roger Stone, a former adviser to President Donald Trump. More than 1,100 former officials of the Department of Justice (DoJ) have signed a letter calling him to step down. In a statement published on Medium, it reads that lawyers within the DoJ "stand for the proposition that political interference in the conduct of a criminal prosecution is anathema to the Department’s core mission and to its sacred obligation to ensure equal justice under the law." It adds that: "President Trump and Attorney General Barr have openly and repeatedly flouted this fundamental principle, most recently in connection with the sentencing of President Trump’s close associate, Roger Stone, who was convicted of serious crimes". Last year, a jury found Roger guilty for lying to Congress, witness tampering and obstruction. He was recommended to serve up to nine years in prison. The recent crisis emerged after all four prosecutors in the case resigned last week when the DoJ chose to change the sentencing. Barr is expected to testify before the Democratic-controlled House Judiciary Committee in March.

Widespread flooding affects Jackson, Mississippi

Widespread flooding has been reported after intense rainfall battered Jackson, Mississippi. Governor Tate Reeves has warned residents and visitors to remain vigilant as flooding may persist for the next few days. Neighbourhoods located around the Pearl River are the most affected. Power outages also impacted hundreds of homes across the city. In addition to Jackson, nearly a dozen counties in Mississippi were also affected. Although weather conditions are expected to improve this week, evacuation orders may be issued with short notice. The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) has issued flood warnings to several locations across the state. For further updates, travellers are advised to follow alerts and recommendations from MEMA.

US citizens from quarantined cruise ship in Japan to be flown back

Some 400 US citizens from the quarantined cruise ship, the Diamon Princess, are being flown out of Japan. Two planes carrying the American nationals have already departed from Tokyo's Haneda Airport, following a two-week quarantine on board the ship, which saw 355 cases of the novel coronavirus, Covid-19, confirmed out of some 3,700 people on board the ship. Overall, an estimated 1,775 people have died and around 71,000 cases have been confirmed worldwide. Those entering the US will undergo a 14-day quarantine, on top of the time they have already spent confined on the ship. The ship's quarantine is due to come to an end on 19 February, and some American nationals have reportedly chosen to decline evacuation in favour of staying on the ship until the quarantine is up.

Body of missing six-year-old found near Columbia, South Carolina

US police have recovered the body of an unidentified man and a missing six-year-old near Columbia, South Carolina. Authorities have confirmed that Faye Swetlik was found dead in a wooded area near Churchill Heights in Cayce. Faye was reported missing last Monday just after returning from school. She was taken while playing outside her house. Lexington Sheriff's Office has said that her death is being treated as a homicide.

Major fire breaks out after train derailment in Draffin, Kentucky

A major fire broke out after a train derailment in eastern Kentucky. AP reported that emergency services rushed to an area around Draffin when a train operated by the company CSX caught on fire. Reports indicate that the train was transporting nearly 100 cars with ethanol, which spilt over the Big Sandy River. The accident happened on Thursday morning. Although two crew members got trapped in the debris, they were promptly rescued.

Government to reallocate $3.8bn from the Pentagon to fund border wall

President Donald Trump's government is expected to reallocate up to $3.8bn from the Pentagon to fund the border wall with Mexico. The notice was given to Congress on Thursday. It argued that the Department of Homeland Security has identified vulnerable areas along the border that are being used by criminal groups. The money, which will come from the Pentagon's 2020 fiscal budget and the Overseas Contingency Operations, will be put in the ministry of defence's counter-narcotics fund. Major cuts are expected to impact the military, such as the purchase of F-35B fighter jets, the modernisation of the National Guard's Humvee fleet, and the replacement of the Navy's amphibious assault ship. Last year, the debate on allocating money to the border wall led to one of the longest government shutdowns in US history. President Trump is expected to deliver the 2021 budget on Monday.

Hundreds of flights affected due to adverse weather in Chicago

Hundreds of flights have been cancelled as inclement weather conditions batters Chicago. Flights from Midway International Airport (MDW) and O'Hare (ORD) International Airport are expected to face severe disruption on Thursday. People have been advised to contact their respective airlines for further flights updates. The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said that heavy snow could also affect flights in Boston, Detroit, New York and Atlanta.

Major fire breaks out at refinery plant in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

No injuries have been reported after a major fire broke out at an oil refinery in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. US media reported that the fire broke out late on Tuesday evening. Baton Rouge Fire Department confirmed that the fire was controlled moments later. The refinery belongs to ExxonMobil and is one of the largest in the US. It is still unclear what caused the fire. ExxonMobil said that air quality around the refinery is currently being monitored.

Bernie Sanders wins Democratic primary race in New Hampshire

Bernie Sanders has come out victorious in the Democratic Party primary race held in New Hampshire. Preliminary results show that Sanders got around 26 percent of the votes against Pete Buttigieg, who got just over 24 percent. In total, both had nine national delegates pledged for the Democratic Party conference later this year. Amy Klobuchar also secured strong results with nearly 20 percent of the votes, which roughly translates to six pledged delegates. Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren both failed to get any pledged delegates. Sanders won in major cities in New Hampshire, including Nashua, Manchester, Concord and Dover. In the Republican race, President Donald Trump secured all of the 20 pledged delegates against Bill Weld. Sanders' victory paves the way for further support ahead of the Nevada Caucus and the South Carolina primaries scheduled for later this month.

Cruise ship forced to return to Florida over gastrointestinal outbreak

A cruise ship was forced to return to a port in Fort Lauderlade after a gastrointestinal outbreak. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 300 passengers and crew members became sick while onboard the vessel operated by the Princess Cruise Lines. The ship was forced to return to Florida after being denied entry into Trinidad and Tobago as a precautionary measure. In total, 4,000 people were on board the vessel.

Four Chinese military officers charged for 2017 Equifax hacking

US Attorney General William Barr has announced that four Chinese military officers have been charged for the 2017 Equifax hacking. The suspects are accused of being part of a military research institute part of the Chinese Army. The NYT identified them as Wu Zhiyong, Wang Qian, Xu Ke and Lui Le. It is estimated that more than 147 million US nationals had their sensitive personal data stolen after the credit-rating giant Equifax was hacked. It is still unknown where the suspects are, while it is extremely unlikely that they will face a trial in the US. FBI Deputy Director David Bowdich said that it is still unclear if the Chinese government has used the stolen data. As part of the probe, Equifax was ordered to pay $700m to the Federal Trade Commission.

New Hampshire prepares to hold the presidential primaries

New Hampshire is set to hold its primaries after turbulent episodes involving the Democrats in the Iowa caucuses last week. Latest results showed that Democrat candidate Pete Buttigieg won most pledged national delegates against Bernie Sanders. They were separated by a narrow 0.1 percent vote margin. Both candidate will now attempt to secure a victory in the second Democratic contest ahead of the elections in November. Although both of them are frontrunners in New Hampshire, Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden and Amy Klobuchar could achieve strong results to remain in the race. Republicans will also hold their primaries on Tuesday. President Donald Trump will be in the ballot paper. He is set to head to Manchester to hold a rally on Monday morning. This will be the first primaries to be held. New Hampshire primaries and the Iowa caucuses are often used as key forecasts for the upcoming races in other states.

Police investigate shooting in Forrest City, Arkansas

Police are currently investigating a shooting at a Walmart in Forrest City, Arkansas. CNN reported that state police was deployed to the scene after reports of shots being fired on Monday afternoon. US media said that two officers were injured. No further details were released. People have been advised to avoid the area. Forrest City is a small town located in eastern Arkansas. It sits on Interstate 40 between Little Rock and Memphis.

Man detained outside the White House over alleged plan to kill President Trump

A 25-year-old man has been detained outside the White House after allegedly threatening to kill US President Donald Trump. CNN reported that a man identified as Roger Hedgpeth was planning to attack the president before he was detained. It is still unclear what the motives behind the plot are, while the main suspect has been taken for psychological evaluation. AP reported that the suspect was carrying a knife when he was arrested.

Five killed in commuter plane crash near Tuntutuliak, Alaska

Five people have been killed after a light aircraft crashed near Tuntutuliak, Alaska. According to state police, a Yute Air commuter aircraft travelling from Bethel to Kipnuk crashed on Thursday afternoon. According to the Rescue Coordination Center, all of those on board were killed. Yute Air offers commuting services from Bethel to several isolated communities in Alaska, including Kasigluk, Akiak, Tuluksak, Atmautluak, Nunapitchuk, Akiachak and Kwethluk.

Sanders and Buttigieg claim victory in Iowa caucus

Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg have both claimed victory in the highly contested Iowa Caucus. With almost all precincts reporting, it was still unclear who won the vote. According to the latest results, Buttigieg sustained a 0.1 percent advantage against Sanders. The results show that Buttigieg secured 564 state delegate equivalents, while Sanders got 562. The Democratic Party chairman, Tom Perez, has already called for a review of the results.

DNC chairman calls for revision of Iowa caucus results

The Democratic Party chairman Tom Perez has called for an immediate revision of the results of the contested Iowa caucus. Members of the party in Iowa were ordered to review the results that have been delayed for several days due to issues related to an app used in the process. The calls for review - widely described on US media as a 'recanvass' - comes after inconsistencies and some errors were found in the results. With 97 percent of the precincts reporting, Pete Buttigieg and Bernie Sanders are divided by just over one percent. The process has been a national embarrassment to the Democratic National Committee (DNC), which is currently preparing to hold the primaries next Tuesday in New Hampshire.

Winter storm triggers alerts across the US Northeast

Winter storm warnings have been issued to several states across the US Northeast. Heavy snowfall is forecast to hit most areas across Maine, New Hampshire and New York. Weather advisories were also issued to other states across the US Midwest and Northeast. Adverse weather could also impact some counties in Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado and Nevada. Additionally, strong winds may significantly impact Florida, while tornadoes are expected to rip through Alabama and Georgia. Road and air travel could be significantly impacted in the next few days. Extreme caution is advised when travelling to those areas. Visitors to the US are advised to check for weather updates provided by regional offices of the National Weather Service (NWS).

Buttigieg holds slight advantage against Bernie Sanders in Iowa Caucus

Latest results of the Democratic Iowa Caucus have shown that Pete Buttigieg currently holds a slight advantage against Bernie Sanders. With nearly 97 percent of the precincts reporting, as of Thursday morning, Buttigieg had 27.22 percent of the votes, while Sanders got 26.07. Currently, they respectively secured 550 and 547 state delegates each. Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden and Amy Klobuchar are among the top five Democratic candidates. The results of the Democratic contest in Iowa were delayed due to inconsistencies in an app used in the voting process. The Iowa caucuses usually set the start of the primary race season for both the Democratic and Republican parties. In the process, candidates would secure an equivalent number of candidates that will support their bid in the upcoming Democratic party conference in July. In the Republican race, President Donald Trump led with more than 97 percent.

President Trump acquitted in Senate impeachment trial

President Donald Trump has been acquitted in his impeachment trial in the Senate. President Trump faced the trial after being impeached in the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives. He was charged with obstruction of Congress and abuse of power for allegedly pressuring his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelenskyi, to investigate Hunter Biden, the son of Democratic presidential contender Joe Biden. After a brief procedure which generated a 28-thousand-page document, President Trump was found not guilty in the first charge of abuse of power. Mitt Romney was the only Republican to vote against party lines. In the second charge, all 53 Republicans in the 101-seat Senate voted for a not guilty verdict. Democrats are sceptical of the trial, where Republicans rejected to accept any witnesses. To be impeached, at least 67 senators - a third of the seats in the Senate - would have to vote in favour of his removal. President Trump's acquittal is claimed to have brought further support to his bid to run for re-election in November.

Winter storm warnings issued to several states in the southern US

Winter storm warnings have been issued to several states across the southern US. The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued warnings to northern counties in Texas, most areas in eastern Oklahoma and parts of Missouri. Weather advisories were also issued to most states across the Northeast. Adverse weather conditions could additionally affect south-eastern states, where strong winds and heavy rainfall may cause flooding. Inclement weather is forecast to continue to affect those regions until the end of the week. Flight delays could impact major airports, while federal and state highways could face widespread disruption. Extreme caution is advised whilst driving. For further updates, travellers are advised to follow daily alerts issued by the NWS.

Preliminary results of Iowa Caucus give narrow advantage to Buttigieg

New results of the Iowa Caucus have been released as vote-counting kicked off late on Tuesday evening. With 71 percent of the precincts reporting, former mayor Pete Buttigieg is leading the race. In a close second place, with a difference of just over 1.5 percent, comes Bernie Sanders. Both are expected to fight until the final vote is processed. Elizabeth Warren and Joe Biden, also two strong Democratic contenders, received poor results. The release of preliminary results of the Iowa Caucus was severely delayed due to glitches on an app used in the voting process. Iowa is among several states in the US that hold caucuses to elect their Democratic candidate. After all the votes are counted, an equivalent number of delegates are pledged to each candidate. They will then support their candidates' bid in the Democratic Party convention in July. Iowa is usually the first US state to hold the contest in the primaries.

No official results released in Democratic Party caucuses in Iowa

No official results have been published as the Democratic caucuses in Iowa suffered some setbacks. According to initial reports, some inconsistencies were identified when reporting data of the vote. It has been claimed that the issue is linked to an app. The Democratic Party's communications director in Iowa, Mandy McClure, said: "This is simply a reporting issue. The app did not go down, and this is not a hack or an intrusion. The underlying data and paper trail is sound and will simply take time to further report the results.” Iowa is one of the US states that hold caucuses. In Iowa, the Democratic caucuses are part of a complex and lengthy voting method that take place across the state. During the process, registered party members usually head to designated venues to support their preferred candidates. The results are then translated in the designation of state delegates that would later nominate a candidate in the Democratic Party convention in July. In total, 11 Democrats are on the race. Frontrunners include Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg. The Iowa caucuses will be key to forecast the Democratic preference ahead of the primaries and caucuses in the remaining US states.

Planes could be diverted over mid-flight suspicion of coronavirus

The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has warned that planes could be diverted if a suspected coronavirus case is reported mid-flight. This is part of enhanced measures to avoid the spread of the novel coronavirus, which originated in Wuhan, China. The measures were announced as the US introduced restrictions to foreign nationals who had recently travelled to China. AP reported that flights could be diverted to eight airports in cities including Washington DC, Chicago, NYC, San Francisco, Seattle, Honolulu, Atlanta and LA. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 11 cases of coronavirus have already been confirmed in the US. Additionally, more than 80 cases are under investigation.

US ban entry of foreign nationals that had recently traveled to China

US President Donald Trump has signed a proclamation that suspends the entry of foreigners that have recently been to China. In fresh measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus, the US government has decided to introduce a ban on the issuance of visas and entry of people who have been in China in the last 14 days. Some people are excluded from the ban, including US nationals and residents. The measure does not affect travellers who were recently in Hong Kong and Macau. So far, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has confirmed 11 cases of the coronavirus in the US.

US expand travel ban to six countries

The US government has expanded an immigration ban to six countries. The issuance of some types of visas will be introduced for nationals from Nigeria, Kyrgyzstan, Eritrea, Tanzania, Myanmar and Sudan. Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf told US media: "These countries, for the most part, want to be helpful but for a variety of different reasons simply failed to meet those minimum requirements that we laid out." Restrictions will vary based on nationality; however, tourist visas and some other entry permissions will continue to be issued as usual. President Donald Trump had previously issued travel bans for seven countries back in 2017. The ban currently includes nationals from Iran, Somalia, Syria, Yemen, Venezuela, North Korea and Libya.

US authorities discover massive cross-border tunnel ending in San Diego, California

US authorities have discovered a massive cross-border tunnel linking the northern Mexican city of Tijuana to San Diego, California. In a press conference, the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has confirmed that the tunnel spans more than one kilometre, the longest ever discovered. The tunnel was found near the Californian town of Otay Mesa. It contained a lift, a rail system and air conditioning. CBP confirmed that the tunnel was first identified in August, but it was only recently uncovered after floodwater was drained. Reports indicate that over 200 tunnels have been uncovered along the Mexican border since 1993.

Royal Caribbean Cruises cancels three tours over coronavirus fears

Royal Caribbean Cruises has announced that three tours scheduled for February have been cancelled over coronavirus fears. The Miami-based company becomes one of the latest businesses in the travel industry to suspend some services due to coronavirus concerns. Several airlines worldwide, including American Airlines, have already announced the suspension of flights to China. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the coronavirus has already spread to 19 countries. In the US, five cases were so far confirmed while more than 90 are currently under investigation.

CDC expand coronavirus monitoring to 20 US airports

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has expanded its monitoring of novel coronavirus to 20 US airports. The measure was initially implemented at airports in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago and Atlanta. In a statement released to the CNN, the US State Department has already ordered its diplomatic team in the disease's ground zero, Wuhan, to be evacuated back to the US. More than 200 US nationals will also be taken to Alaska. According to the CDC, as of Monday, five cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in the US and more than 70 are still under investigation.

Several killed in massive fire at marina in Scottsboro, Alabama

At least eight people have been killed after a fire broke out at a marina in Scottsboro, Alabama. CNN reported that dozens of boats docked at Jackson County Park were destroyed when the flames spread. At least seven people have been reported missing. The emergency services rushed to the scene in the early hours of Monday morning. Investigations into the causes of the fire are still ongoing. Jackson County Park is situated on the bank of the Tennessee River. It is a popular destination for campers and hikers in northern Alabama.

Nine killed in helicopter crash in LA

Nine people have been killed in a helicopter crash in LA. Reports showed that the aircraft crashed into a hill in Calabasas. Among the victims are NBA star Kobe Bryant and her 13-year-old daughter Gianna. US media reported that all of those on board the S-76B aircraft were killed. A team of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) were deployed to investigate the causes of the crash.

CDC confirms second case of coronavirus in the US

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has confirmed that a second case of the novel coronavirus has been confirmed in the US. CDC officials said in a press briefing that the patient is currently in isolation at a hospital in Chicago. CNN reported that the patient is a Chicago resident who had recently returned from the disease's ground zero in Wuhan, China. Reports indicate that she had arrived at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport before screenings started at US airports. Health officials have confirmed that more than 63 people in 22 states are being investigated for the virus. Dr Nancy Messonnier, CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases director, said that "risk to the US public is low at this time".

Police respond to factory explosion in western Houston, Texas

Police officers have been deployed after a powerful explosion at a factory shook several buildings in Houston, Texas. Houston Police has said that a building explosion was reported on Friday morning at Gressner Road, located in north-western Houston. People have been advised to avoid areas around Gessner, Sefani and Clay roads as emergency services rush to the scene. It is still unclear what the circumstances behind the blast are. CNN reported that at least one person was sent to the hospital. People in the area have been advised to follow social media updates from Houston Police.

FedEx issues warning over false text messages and emails

Delivery giant FedEx has issued a warning over false text messages and emails being sent to customers. In the new scam, people have been asked to click a link that would redirect them to a false Amazon online survey. Reports indicate that after filling in the form, people would be asked to provide payment details to claim a reward. FedEx told USA Today: “FedEx does not send unsolicited text messages or emails to customers requesting money or package or personal information". The company said on social media that  "any suspicious text messages or emails should be deleted without being opened, and reported to [email protected]” Local law enforcement agencies across the US also urged people to exercise caution and not to click on links in unsolicited emails.

One killed in shooting in downtown Seattle, Washington

One person has been killed and several others have been injured following a shooting in Seattle, Washington. Seattle PD said that police officers were deployed to the intersection between Third Avenue and Pine Street in downtown after multiple victims sustained gunshot wounds. A manhunt was launched to locate the suspect. Seattle PD Chief Carmen Best said that an investigation has been launched and that security measures in the area have been reinforced until further notice. The Seattle Times reported that at least three shootings happened in downtown Seattle in less than 24 hours.

Senators approve rules of President Trump's impeachment trial

Senators have approved a resolution of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on the rules of the impeachment trial against President Donald Trump. The resolution passed in the Republican-controlled Senate after several Democrat-proposed amendments were rejected, including one proposed by Senate Minority Leader Chuch Schumer. Some of those amendments included the disclosure of documents and the summoning of witnesses mid-trial. House prosecutors will now present their case as to why President Trump should be removed from office based on the charges of obstruction of Congress and abuse of power. They will have 24 hours spread over the course of three days to do so. A similar time frame will be offered to President Trump's legal counsel.

First coronavirus case reported in the US

The first case of the new strain of coronavirus from China has been identified in the US. The patient is a man in his thirties in Washington State who is thought to have been infected with the new respiratory virus. The patient allegedly developed symptoms after returning from a trip to the region around China's Wuhan city, where the outbreak began. So far, around 440 cases have been reported, with the vast majority from China, along with a handful of cases reported in Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Taiwan, and possibly the Philippines. At least 17 people have died from the disease so far and Chinese officials recently confirmed human-to-human transmission. US federal officials plan to expand screenings for the infection across all major airports. In addition to New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco, airports in Atlanta and Chicago will begin examining passengers arriving from Wuhan, China, for signs of illness. 

Teenagers killed as driver deliberately crashes vehicle into a tree near LA

Three teenagers have been killed after a driver intentionally crashed his vehicle into a tree in California. US media reported that 42-year-old Anurag Chandra deliberately crashed the vehicle while transporting six teenagers. The incident happened on Sunday on the Temescal Valley area southeast of Los Angeles. California Highway Patrol has confirmed that a homicide investigation was opened. It is still unclear what the circumstances behind the crash are.

CDC to screen airline passengers in response to Chinese virus outbreak

The US authorities have stepped up efforts to prevent the spreading of a Chinese virus outbreak to the US. CBS News reported that more than 100 officers of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have been deployed to three airports across the US to assist the US Department of Homeland Security in the screening of passengers arriving from the western Chinese city of Wuhan. Authorities estimate that more than 200 cases of coronavirus have been already reported in three Asian countries outside of China. CDC Official Martin Cetron said in a press briefing that up to 5,000 people arriving from Wuhan may be screened. He added that: “Investigations into this novel coronavirus are ongoing and we are monitoring and responding to this evolving situation." In a statement released on Friday, the CDC confirmed that the immediate health risk "to the general American public is deemed to be low at this time". 

Police officers killed as house eviction order turns violent in Honolulu

Two police officers have been killed after a house eviction order turned violent in Honolulu, Hawaii. Police officers rushed to the scene in Waikiki Beach when a woman was stabbed. Reports indicate that as police officers approached the area, the suspect engaged in a shooting spree. A fire also broke out in one of the residences, causing damage to several neighbouring houses. Court reports show that the suspect was previously engaged in other disputes.

Two killed in bar shooting in San Antonio, Texas

At least two people have been killed and five others injured in a shooting at a bar in San Antonio, Texas. AP reported that police officers arrived at the Ventura music venue at River Walk after reports of shots being fired. According to preliminary investigations, the incident happened due to an altercation between a group of individuals. A manhunt was launched after the unnamed suspect fled the scene. As of Monday morning, no arrests were made.

Powerful blizzard to bring hazardous travel conditions to the US midwest

A powerful winter storm is expected to bring hazardous travel conditions across the US midwest. The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued blizzard warnings to the eastern areas of South and North Dakota and the western parts of Minnesota. Some areas across north-western Iowa could also be affected. Winter storm warnings were also issued for several states across the region. Severe travel disruption is expected over the weekend, with flights being significantly affected. Passengers are advised to check for flight status updates with their respective airlines. For further updates, visitors should follow reports from the NWS.

Governor Northam to issue ban on firearms ahead of rally in Richmond, Virginia

Virginia Democrat Governor Ralph Northam is expected to declare a temporary state of emergency ahead of a major gun-rights rally in Richmond. The demonstration is expected to take place on Monday around Capitol Square. According to an unnamed government official, the measure is expected to be introduced due to the potential risk of extremism and violence. Several other items, including helmets and shields, will also be banned from the rally. Governor Northam has recently introduced a ban on guns inside the Capitol. Caution is advised around grounds of Capitol Square, where counter-protests may occur. Since taking over the state legislature in the mid-terms, Democrats are expected to pass a number of pieces of gun-control legislation in the state. 

US Senate approves US-Mexico-Canada Agreeement

Senators have overwhelmingly approved the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). In a vote held on Thursday, 89 senators voted in favour of the USMCA and 10 that voted against. In December, the US House of Representatives passed the legislation. The USMCA will replace the North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which was heavily criticised by President Donald Trump during his campaign. Both parties have vowed to support the bill, which now needs to be signed by President Trump. Mexico has already approved the USMCA, while Canada still has to vote on it.

Trade deal signed with China

A trade deal has been signed between the US and China which should bring about an ease in the ever-escalating trade war which has been ongoing for several years. The two countries announced that their leaders signed an agreement on Wednesday, aimed at easing the pressure the trade war has placed on markets and the global economy. Trump said the pact would be "transformative" for the US economy, while Chinese leaders called it a "win-win" deal which would help foster better relations between the two countries. The US has agreed to halve some of the recently introduced tariffs on Chinese products, while China will boost US imports by $200bn above 2017 levels and strengthen intellectual property rules. The majority of the border taxes remain in places, prompting businesses to call for further talks.

Teenager killed in school shooting in Houston, Texas

A 16-year-old has been killed after a shooting at a high school in Houston, Texas. AP reported that the incident happened on Tuesday evening at Bellaire High School. At least two people were detained hours after the shooting. No further information has been released, while it is still unclear what the motivations behind the incident are. According to the police, the suspected shooter is also a student at Bellaire.

House speaker nominates managers ahead of impeachment trial

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has nominated the lawmakers that will take part in the impeachment case against President Donald Trump. In a news conference on Wednesday, Pelosi said that the Adam Schiff will lead the group of seven managers on the case. They also include Jason Crow, Hakeem Jeffries, Zoe Lofgren, Val Demings and Sylvia Garcia. The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Jerrold Nadler, is also included in the group. The House will vote on Wednesday to send President Trump's impeachment to trial in the Republican-controlled Senate. Managers will have a similar role as prosecutors during the Senate trial. They are mainly tasked with presenting in the upper house of Congress on the case against President Trump.

Scores receive medical assistance after aircraft dumped fuel in LA

At least 40 people received medical assistance after a Delta Airlines aircraft dumped fuel during an emergency landing at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). Minor skin injuries were reported in several children and adults after the incident happened on Tuesday afternoon. US officials have confirmed that none of those injured was taken to the hospital. Fuel was dumped over several areas across Los Angeles County after a flight bound to China was forced to make an emergency landing due to an engine issue. In a statement, the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said: “There are special fuel-dumping procedures for aircraft operating into and out of any major US airport. These procedures call for fuel to be dumped over designated unpopulated areas."

States of emergency declared as deadly storms hit the US

Nearly a dozen people have been killed after adverse weather battered the US earlier this week. A state of emergency was declared in Arkansas and Mississippi after powerful storms ravaged the southern US. Power outages were reported in several states across the US midwest, while reports have indicated that multiple tornadoes ripped through the country. Severe travel disruption was reported in Chicago, where more than 1,000 flights were cancelled. According to the National Weather Service (NWS), low-pressure areas have been identified in the country's midwest and north-east. Weather systems in the mid-Atlantic Coast could also bring hazardous conditions to some coastal areas, while intense snow could mainly impact the US Northwest.

Four killed in light aircraft crash near Billings, Montana

Four people have been killed after a light aircraft crashed near Billings, Montana. The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said that the Cessna 182 aircraft came down on Saturday evening. The aircraft's debris was recovered near Dunn Mountain on the following day. Initial reports indicate that the aircraft hit a massive antenna installed on the mountain. The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) are investigating the accident.

Severe disruption expected as storm system approaches the US Northwest

Winter weather advisories have been issued to several states across the US Northwest as a storm system approaches the region. Reports from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) show that the system is expected to move eastwards throughout the week. Heavy snow may affect some mountain areas, while strong winds and heavy rainfall are forecast across the region. Inclement weather could also bring hazardous travel conditions and flights could also be impacted. For further information, travellers should follow reports of the National Weather Service (NWS).

Powerful storm could impact several regions across the US

A powerful storm could impact several regions across the US over the weekend. The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued weather warnings for several states across the south, east and midwest. Strong winds and heavy rainfall could impact several areas, causing severe flooding. Severe travel disruption could also be reported. For further updates, travellers are advised to monitor alerts from the NWS and local weather agencies.

Authorities investigate suspect coyote attack in Chicago

Authorities in Chicago are investigating at least two incidents of suspect coyote attacks. TIME reported that in the past week, a five-year-old was bitten in the head after being approached by an animal believed to be a coyote. Investigations are still ongoing to assess if the attack in fact involved a coyote or a large dog. On the same day, another man headed to the hospital with minor injuries after another suspected attack. Coyote sightings have been reported in recent years in several parks across the city, including Lincoln Park. Coyote attacks are relatively rare in the US, but some minor incidents are reported from time to time. The Chicago-based Urban Coyote Research Project offers some useful guidelines to avoid conflict in the event of an encounter.

Rescuers recover third body at avalanche site in Kellogg, Idaho

Police have confirmed that a third body has been recovered as rescue efforts continue in the aftermath of an avalanche in Idaho. CNN reported that rescuers recovered another body from the Silver Mountain Resort in Kellogg, which was hit by an avalanche earlier this week. Recovery efforts in the area have been hindered by adverse weather conditions. Reports from the Idaho Panhandle Avalanche Center (IPAC) still puts the area around Kellogg on high avalanche alert. Other areas on the highest danger scale include Kootenai and Selkirks/Cabinets in the northern parts of the state.

House Speaker Pelosi pressured to send impeachment trial to the Senate

Democrat House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has been pressured by her allies in the Senate to move forward with the impeachment articles against President Donald Trump. Last year, President Trump became the third president in US history to be impeached in the House of Representatives. The Democrat-controlled lower chamber of Congress passed two impeachment articles against him, including abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. The case is linked to military aid to Ukraine and pressure to investigate Democrat presidential contender Joe Biden. Democrat Senator Dianne Feinstein told US media: "The longer it goes on the less urgent it becomes. So if it's serious and urgent, send them over. If it isn't, don't send it over." Her concerns were followed by several of her Democrat colleagues in the Senate. Pelosi has decided to delay the process to send the trial over to the Senate, where President Trump's Republican Party has a majority. In order to President Trump be impeached, at least 67 senators would be necessary to vote in favour of the articles.

Prosecutors recommend prison sentence for WH former advisor

Federal prosecutors have recommended that the White House's former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, be sentenced to six months in prison. Flynn is accused of lying to the FBI over his contact with then Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. The new recommendation is contrary to the previous one that advised Flynn not to serve any time in prison. His sentence is expected to be announced in late-January. Flynn is among several former aides of President Donald Trump to be implicated in the investigations led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Shishaldin Volcano activity affect some regional flights in Alaska

A major activity of the Shishaldin Volcano in Alaska has affected regional commercial flights in the region. The Alaska Volcano Observatory temporarily raised to 'Code Red' the alert for airlines after the volcano's intense activity on Tuesday morning. According to the latest reports, the Shishaldin expelled ash up to eight kilometres into the atmosphere. Reuters reported that ashfall affected the local village of Cold Bay. Shinshaldin is located in the Aleutian Islands and is one of the most active volcanoes in Alaska. Due to its sustained activity, a 'Code Orange' alert to airlines has been in place for several weeks.

One killed after avalanche hits ski resort in Kellogg, Idaho

At least one person has been killed after an avalanche hit a ski resort in Kellogg, Idaho. US media reported that the incident happened on Tuesday morning at the Wardner Peak area of the Silver Mountain ski resort. Five people have been rescued. Recent reports from the Idaho Panhandle Avalanche Center (IPAC) put several areas across the state on the highest alert for avalanche, including St Regis and Silver Valley region, where Kellogg is located.

Winter weather could impact flights in Washington DC

Some flights across the US Northeast may be affected as heavy snow is forecast to hit the region on Tuesday. Dulles International Airport (IAD) and Baltimore-Washington Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI) could be affected. Road traffic and public transports could also face some disruption. Some flights in Philadelphia and New York are also expected to be affected. Travellers are advised to check for flight status updates with their respective airlines.

Several killed in massive vehicle pile-up near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

At least five people have been killed and nearly 60 others injured in a massive vehicle pile-up near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. According to the authorities, the accident happened in the early hours of Sunday morning when a tour bus crashed into an embankment. The crash later involved several lorries and another vehicle. Pennsylvania State Police has confirmed that the bus was heading towards Cincinnati. The accident happened on Interstate 76 near Mount Pleasant.

Security measures beefed up in NYC after US airstrike in Iraq

Security measures across New York City have been enhanced after a US airstrike killed a top Iranian general based in Iraq. Mayor Bill de Blasio said on social media that he had already discussed with police officials the procedures that the "NYPD will take to protect key NYC locations from any attempt by Iran or its terrorist allies to retaliate against America". He added: "We will have to be vigilant against this threat for a long time to come". Although no credible threats have been issued against the US, other police forces - including the LAPD - are on alert while they monitor developments in Iraq and Iran.

Five fishermen feared dead in Alaska

Five fishermen are feared dead after a crabbing vessel sank in the Gulf of Alaska. According to the US Coast Guard, the accidents happened on New Year's Eve. Reports indicate that the vessel was last located nearly 200 miles south-west of Kodiak. Two crew members were rescued and taken to the hospital in stable condition. Reuters reported that after nearly 20 hours of searching, rescue efforts were called off. The accident has been reported as the deadliest to involve a commercial ship in the last three years. In 2017, six people died after another crabbing vessel sank in the Bering Sea.

US Army bans use of Chinese-owned TikTok on work mobile phones

The US Army has banned the use of the Chinese-owned video-sharing app TikTok on work mobile phones. In a statement, the US Army spokeswoman, Lt Col Robin Ochoa, has said that the ban comes as the app poses a cyber threat. In October, US senators requested an intelligence probe on the app, which is run by a company named ByteDance. At the time, they claimed that "with over 110 million downloads in the US alone, TikTok is a potential counterintelligence threat we cannot ignore." TikTok has said that data from US users are not stored in China and not subject to Chinese legislation.

Two killed in church shooting, Texas

Two people have been killed in a shooting at a church in Texas. A gunman opened fire on the congregation at the West Freeway Church of Christ in the White Settlement suburb of Fort Worth. An armed member of the crowd then shot the assailant, who died at the scene. "Places of worship are meant to be sacred, and I am grateful for the church members who acted quickly to take down the shooter and help prevent further loss of life," said Texas Governor Greg Abbott.

Five wounded in stabbing at rabbi's house, New York

Five people have been wounded in a stabbing at the house of a rabbi in New York. Police arrested a suspect - identified as Grafton E Thomas - following the attack in Monsey on Saturday night. The state's governor said the incident was an act of domestic terrorism. "Let's call it what it is. These people are domestic terrorists and the law should reflect that and they should be punished as if it was an act of terrorism," governor Andrew Cuomo said on Sunday.

Several injured in shooting at apartment complex in Westerly, Rhode Island

At least three people have been injured after a shooting broke out at an apartment complex in Westerly, Rhode Island. Local officials told CNN that the incident happened at the Babcock Village apartments, which has been described as a social housing complex to elderly and disabled people. Local public schools were put on lockdown until further notice. Westerly is located in the state's south-western coast close to the border with Connecticut.

Four people injured in shooting at a mall in San Antonio, Texas

At least four people have been shot after gunmen opened fire at a mall in San Antonio, Texas. NBC News reported that the incident happened outside the South Park Mall on Wednesday evening. No arrests have been made. Police said that they are searching for five suspects. Of those injured, at least two of them suffered life-threatening wounds. San Antonio Police Department is still investigating the circumstances behind the incident.

Donald Trump impeached by House of Representatives

US President Donald Trump has been impeached by the House of Representatives amid the Trump impeachment inquiry. Becoming the third US president to be impeached after Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton, Trump will now face trial in the Senate, where a vote will be held which will decide whether or not Trump will remain in office. Trump was charged on two accounts, of abusing power and obstructing Congress. Unlike in the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives, it's expected the Republican-controlled Senate won't vote to impeach.

Several killed as adverse weather batters the US

At least a dozen people have been confirmed dead after a number of weather incidents across the US. Local media has reported that casualties happened in Nebraska, Missouri, Indiana and Kansas after heavy snow battered the central US. In Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi, at least three people died after dozens of powerful tornadoes ripped through the country's south-east. According to the latest forecast from the National Weather Service (NWS), a low pressure that was affecting the country's eastern shores is already moving away from land. However, due to an arctic front approaching, snow could affect some eastern states across New England. Meanwhile in southern Texas, the NWS has issued a freeze warning to several districts.

US House to vote on two impeachment articles against President Trump

The US House of Representatives is set to vote on two impeachment charges against President Donald Trump. After being approved at the House Judiciary Committee, the impeachment articles of obstruction of Congress and abuse of power are set to face a full House vote on Wednesday evening. The vote is highly expected to pass in the Democrat-controlled House. However, the removal of President Trump may not materialise after a trial in the Republican-dominated Senate. In order to be impeached, at least two-thirds of senators must vote in favour. The Democrat-led effort to oust President Trump comes after allegations of pressuring Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyi to investigate Democrat presidential contender Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden.

Boeing suspends 737 MAX production after FAA remarks

Boeing is temporarily suspending the production of its 737 MAX aircraft in response to two deadly accidents involving the plane earlier this year. The decision came after a recent update from the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regarding the approval of the aircraft to return to operation. In a statement, the FAA has said that Boeing's 737 MAX aircraft will not resume operations before 2020. Since March, Boeing's 737 MAX have been grounded across the world, generating severe challenges to US and international airlines. The suspension of the aircraft came after more than 350 people were killed in two accidents involving the 737 MAX.

Chinese Foreign Ministry condemns US expulsions

The Chinese Foreign Ministry has condemned the US' decision to expel Chinese officials, calling it a 'mistake'. Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang claimed that accusations made against the officials were inaccurate. It's alleged that the US secretly expelled two Chinese officials after they drove onto a military base in Virginia in late September. According to reports, two Chinese officials and their wives were told at a base checkpoint to go through the gate so they could turn around and exit; however, they instead continued further into the base and were stopped only when they reached a road blocked by fire trucks. The Chinese officials, one of whom was an intelligence officer, reportedly claimed they had misunderstood the instructions to turn around and had become lost. US officials apparently dismissed the explanation and believed the Chinese officials had been testing the base's security.

Judiciary Committee to send impeachment articles to full House vote

Members of the US House Judiciary Committee have approved two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump. After a lengthy debate on Thursday, lawmakers held a vote on the following day to send the articles for a full House vote. According to reports, the vote could be held as soon as next week. Thursday's session lasted for more than 14 hours and was suddenly suspended by the committee's Democrat chairman Jerrold Nadler. If the vote passes in the House, the articles will be sent for a trial in the Senate, which is currently controlled by President Trump's Republican Party.

Washington state plans to introduce tougher gun control policies to curb mass shootings

Washington Governor Jay Inslee has laid out plans to introduce tougher gun control policies to curb mass shootings in the state. Governor Inslee said: “We should be making it harder for those who want to inflict mass violence and destruction upon innocent people. By limiting magazine capacity and banning assault weapons, we can work toward a day where no one in Washington state loses a friend or family members to senseless gun violence." If approved, Washington would join a small group of states that already ban the selling of assault rifles and limit the purchase of large-capacity magazines. The gun debate in the US has reemerged after a number of high-profile shootings. The issue is expected to be a contentious topic in the 2020 presidential election.

Man sentenced for 2003 murder killed by lethal injection in Texas

A man sentenced for killing a supervisor at a state prison has been executed by lethal injection in Texas. Travis Runnels was convicted for killing an employee at a prison shoe factory in Amarillo back in 2003. Runnels becomes the 22nd inmate to be executed in the US so far this year. According to the Death Penalty Information Center (DPIC), Runnels is the ninth inmate to be executed in Texas and the last execution scheduled in the state for 2019.

College student stabbed to death at NYC park

Police are investigating the murder of an 18-year-old college student in New York City. CBS New York reported that Tessa Majors died after she was stabbed at Morningside Park. Majors was a first-year student at Barnard College. The NYPD was questioning a person of interest, while investigations are also addressing a possible robbery attempt. NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio condemned the incident and said that police reinforcements have been sent to the area. Reports indicate that Majors was attacked on Wednesday afternoon near 116th St in Morningside Heights.

Senate majority leader says that USMCA will not be ratified by the end of 2019

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said that the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) will not be ratified this year. McConnell said on Tuesday that: “We will not be doing USMCA in the Senate. They will have to come up in all likelihood after a trial is finished in the Senate.” His announcement comes a day after Democrats in the US House Justice Committee submitted two articles to impeach President Donald Trump. The delay on the ratification of the deal comes as the US, Canada and Mexico signed the revised version of the USMCA on Tuesday following two years of negotiation. The USMCA also has to be ratified in Canada and Mexico. It will replace the North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) signed back in 1994.

FAA chief says that Boeing 737 MAX will not resume operations until 2020

The head of the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Steve Dickson has confirmed that Boeing 737 MAX aircraft will not resume operations until later in 2020. Dickson told CNBC that there are still important steps to be taken in order to clear 737 MAX operations in the US. His remarks come ahead of a hearing at the US House Transportation Committee that will question the FAA's procedures on the certification of Boeing's aircraft. Since March, Boeing's 737 MAX have been grounded across the world, generating severe challenges to US and international airlines. The suspension of the aircraft came after more than 350 people were killed in two accidents involving the 737 MAX in 2018. Boeing is currently battling to restore 737 MAX operations by January 2020.

Defense Department to suspend military training to Saudi students in the US

The US Defense Department has suspended military training programmes for Saudi students in the US after the deadly shooting in the Pensacola Naval Air Station in Florida. Deputy Secretary of Defense David Norquist has ordered a review on the screening process of foreign students detached to the US for military training. Last week, Mohammed Alshamrani opened fire at the Pensacola base, killing three US sailors and wounding several others. Although the circumstances behind the shooting are still unclear, the FBI is investigating a presumed terrorist motivation. Alshamrani was a second lieutenant in the Saudi Air Force and a visiting student at Pensacola.

Six killed in New Jersey gun battle

A police officer and five other people have been killed in a series of gun battles in New Jersey. Gunmen barricaded themselves inside a deli following a shooting at a cemetery on Tuesday afternoon. Two of the deceased are reportedly gunmen, while three others were innocent bystanders. Officials have identified the slain officer as Joseph Seals, a 13-year veteran of the force. The motive for the shooting has not yet been established.

Democrat-controlled committee publishes charges against President Trump

The Democrat-controlled House Judiciary Committee has officially published two charges against President Donald Trump. After the latest hearing on Monday, where evidence against the president was presented, the committee chairman, Jerry Nadler, announced two articles of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. The charges come as part of weeks of hearings on impeachment procedures against President Trump. He is accused of pressuring his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelesnkyi, to investigate Democratic presidential contender Joe Biden and his son. The committee will now vote on both articles before they are presented for a full vote in the Democratic-controlled US House of Representatives.

City of Pensacola hit by cyberattack moments after naval station shooting

Federal authorities are currently investigating a suspected cyberattack against local government servers of the city of Pensacola, Florida. Pensacola City's Spokeswoman Kaycee Lagarde told US media: "I can confirm the city of Pensacola has experienced a cyberattack and we've disconnected much of our city's network until the issue can be resolved." The attack was first reported on the early hours of Saturday morning, moments after a shooting in the Pensacola Naval Air Station, which is currently being investigated as a terrorist act. No further information about the cyberattack has been released. Servers hosting websites and services from local city governments have been previously targeted in the US. Criminals often exploit systems' vulnerabilities in order to demand ransom in cryptocurrency. Local government agencies are mainly vulnerable to such attacks for having outdated tech systems.

Boston bomber's lawyers file appeal to overturn death sentence

Lawyers for the 2013 Boston Marathon bomber, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, have filed a request to a Boston Court of Appeals to overturn his death sentence. Tsarnaev was sentenced to death in 2015 for killing three people in a bomb attack. He was accompanied by his brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who was killed during a large-scale manhunt. Tsarnaev's lawyers claim that the jury that sentenced him to death was biased and that they were influenced by the events that led to Tsarnaev's capture. Boston was put on lockdown for several days after the incident. The US Justice Department claims that it was a fair trial.

FBI probing Pensacola shooting as a presumed terrorist act

The FBI is currently conducting investigations over presumed terrorist links in last week's shooting at a Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Florida. The incident happened on Friday when a Saudi suspect opened fire, killing three sailors and injuring eight other people. The shooter has been identified as Mohammed Alshamrani, a second lieutenant in the Saudi Air Force. Alsharmrani was a visiting student in Pensacola. After reports emerged over his social media trail and posts, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said: "This guy was somebody who just had a deep-seated hatred for the United States and that was pretty clear from that". The incident generated calls for a future review of the vetting process on foreign military personnel studying in the US.

House committee to hear evidence on president's wrongdoing over Ukraine dealings

The Democratic-led House Judiciary Committee will formally hear evidence of wrongdoing by President Donald Trump regarding dealings with Ukraine. This is the latest phase in the attempt to open impeachment proceedings against the president; Democratic Chairman Jerrold Nadler will preside the hearing on Monday. It comes after a 300-page report was released from a previous investigation by the House Intelligence Committee. Monday's hearing may pave the way for a full House impeachment vote. Among the main claims from Democrats are charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. If the vote passes, President  Trump will face an investigation in the Republican-controlled Senate. For two months, President Trump has been the target of a probe into his alleged pressure on Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to investigate Democrat presidential contender Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden.

US authorities investigate murder of police officer in Fayetteville, Arkansas

US authorities are investigating the assassination of a police officer at a station's parking lot in Fayetteville, Arkansas. In a press release, the Fayetteville Police Department (FPD) has confirmed that shooting broke out after Stephen Carr was found dead inside his patrol vehicle on Saturday evening. A man identified as London Philipps engaged in a shooting with police officers before succumbing to his wounds. An independent investigation is expected to be conducted by the FBI. FPD said that "evidence shows that Officer Carr was ambushed and executed while sitting in his patrol vehicle".

Chinese-American national released in prisoner swap with US

A Chinese-American researcher has been released as part of a prisoner exchange with the US. An Iranian scientist was also freed as part of the deal, which was announced on Saturday. Xiyue Wang was detained in Iran after he was accused of "collaborating with foreign governments" in 2016. "Glad that Professor Massoud Soleimani and Mr Xiyue Wang will be joining their families shortly," said Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

Saudi student kills three at Florida naval base

A Saudi student killed three people and wounded eight others at the Naval Air Station in Florida on Friday. The suspect, identified as Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani, was shot dead at the scene. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said the Saudi government was "going to owe a debt" to the victims, while President Trump said Saudi Arabia's King Salman condemned the attack and offered his "sincere condolences." The FBI said they are investigating if the attack was linked to terrorism.

Naval Air Station on lockdown after shooting

The Naval Air Station in Florida is on lockdown following a shooting on Friday morning. Jason Bortz, a spokesman for NAS Pensacola, said the incident was reported at 07:00 local time. A spokesperson for the Escambia County Sheriff's Office confirmed that authorities are working to "take down" an active shooter and the public have been urged to avoid the area.

Four killed in truck hijacking, Florida

Four people have been killed after a UPS truck was hijacked during an armed robbery in South Florida. Two assailants exchanged fire with the owner of a jewellery store on the Miracle Mile on Thursday afternoon before they hijacked a UPS truck and abducted its driver. The incident sparked a police chase which ended in Miramar in Broward County. The two suspects, the UPS driver and a motorist died in the incident, said the FBI.

House Speaker orders articles of impeachment against Trump

US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she has instructed the chairman to proceed with articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump. "Our democracy is what is at stake, the president leaves us no choice but to act," said Pelosi in a statement. In response, Trump took to Twitter and said: "Therefore I say, if you are going to impeach me, do it now, fast, so we can have a fair trial in the Senate, and so that our Country can get back to business." White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said that the Democrats "should be ashamed". On Wednesday three constitutional law experts testified to the House Judiciary Committee that Trump's actions amounted to an impeachable offence, while a fourth said his actions were wrong but not impeachable.

US sailor shoots dead two workers at Pearl Harbor

A US sailor has shot dead two workers before taking his own life at the Pearl Harbour military base in Hawaii. The shooting, which took place at 14:30 on Wednesday, prompted a lockdown at the site on Oahu island. Rear Admiral Robb Chadwick said it is not yet clear if the victims were chosen at random or if they had been targeted. "Obviously our thoughts are with the families of the victims and everyone involved," Rear Adm Chadwick added.

US House report accuses Trump of abuse of power

The Democratic-led House of Representatives Intelligence Committee has accused President Donald Trump of abusing power in a bid to win re-election in 2020. "President Trump's scheme subverted US foreign policy toward Ukraine and undermined our national security in favor of two politically motivated investigations that would help his presidential reelection campaign," the report said. The findings will be the basis for any formal impeachment charges against the president. White House spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham said Democrats had carried out a "one-sided sham process" which failed to produce any evidence against Trump.

Student and staff member wounded in school shooting, Wisconsin

A student has been shot by a school resource officer during an incident at a high school in Wisconsin. The 16-year-old student stabbed the staff member, who responded by shooting him with a 9mm pistol. The Oshkosh West High School was briefly placed on lockdown and classes were cancelled. The incident comes a day after another officer shot an armed 17-year-old student at a high school in Waukesha.

Nine killed in South Dakota plane crash

At least nine people have been killed and three others wounded after a plane crashed in South Dakota. The Pilatus PC-12 turboprop plane came down during a winter storm shortly after take-off from Chamberlain airport. The wounded were transported to a hospital in Sioux Falls, while the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said it was investigating the crash.

China suspends US army visits to Hong Kong

The Chinese government has suspended the US army's Hong Kong visits in response to the US President, Donald Trump, signing the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democratic Act into law. Specifically, Beijing has suspended US warship visits and sanctioned several American NGOs as a form of retaliation for Trump's new law,which backs pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong. "In response to the unreasonable behaviour of the US side, the Chinese government has decided to suspend reviewing the applications for US warships to go to Hong Kong for [rest and] recuperation as of today," said foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying on Monday. The new law was passed last week and means Hong Kong's favourable trade status will now be subject to an annual review by the US president, based on the level of its democratic freedom.

Eleven wounded in New Orleans shooting

At least 11 people have been shot near the French Quarter of New Orleans. Two of the victims are in a critical condition following the incident, which took place on Canal Street early on Sunday morning. One person has been arrested in connection with the attack, although no motive has been established. "The shootings on Canal Street early this morning were an ugly disruption of an otherwise beautiful holiday weekend," Mayor Cantrell said in a tweet Sunday.

Trump says Taliban talks resumed

US President Donald Trump has said that Taliban talks have been resumed, making the announcement during a surprise trip to Afghanistan. The unannounced trip is Trump's first to the country since becoming president and was apparently arranged for him to visit the US troops on Thanksgiving. The visit comes a week after a prisoner swap between Washington and Kabul, which had raised hopes that peace talks might be revived. "The Taliban wants to make a deal and we are meeting with them and we are saying it has to be a ceasefire and they didn't want to do a ceasefire and now they do want to do a ceasefire, I believe. It will probably work out that way," said Trump on Friday. Talks stalled earlier this year amid rumours both sides were close to a deal, with Trump describing the talks as 'dead' in September after a US soldier was killed in a Taliban attack.

President Trump signs bill supporting Hong Kong protests

President Donald Trump has signed into law a bill supporting pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong. The Human Rights and Democracy Act means Hong Kong's special status with the US will be subject to an annual review checking if the territory has enough autonomy. Trump said he signed the law "out of respect for President Xi, China, and the people of Hong Kong". The bill has not been well met by the Chinese government, with the foreign ministry threatening retaliation if the US continued "down the wrong path". The US ambassador was also summoned by the Chinese foreign ministry to demand Washington stops meddling in domestic affairs.

Two storms threaten travel chaos across US

Two major storms are threatening to cause serious travel disruption across the US as millions of people try to head home for the Thanksgiving holiday. Around 30cm of snow has fallen in the Denver metro area of Colorado, with around 80cm recorded in the Estes Park area. "This intense storm will go on to produce widespread disruptions and potentially dangerous travel conditions across the Rockies and Great Plains through Saturday, before moving across the Great Lakes into the Northeast Sunday and Monday," said the National Weather Service. Heavy snowfall is expected around the Minneapolis-St Paul airport, while another storm is heading towards California and Nevada.

Former New York Mayor joins presidential race

The former mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg, has officially entered the race to be the Democratic Party's presidential candidate. The 77-year-old billionaire said he wanted to "defeat Donald Trump and rebuild America." He joins a list of 17 other candidates, including former Vice-President Joe Biden and Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. Earlier this month President Trump said there was "nobody I'd rather run against than little Michael."

Dozens of schools closed due to suspect norovirus outbreak in Colorado

An entire school district in western Colorado has been shut due to a suspect norovirus outbreak. Schools across Mesa County's District 51 were inspected and cleaned up after hundreds of students and teachers have fallen ill. US media reported that the outbreak could have started last week and quickly spread across the region. All of the district's 46 schools were preventatively closed. Norovirus is a contagious disease contracted through the ingestion of contaminated food and surface. Symptoms may include vomiting, diarrhoea and stomach pain.

Rangers found body believed to be of missing teenager at Utah's Zion National Park

A teenage woman reported missing earlier this week has been found dead at Zion National Park in Utah. CNN reported that rangers have recovered the body of a woman believed to be of a 19-year-old from the US Northeast. According to the National Park Service, the teenager is believed to have fallen to her death near Angels Landing. The incident is still under investigation. Reports indicate that sporadic fatal accidents occur on Angels Landing. NPS has said that several areas at Zion National Park are closed due to rockfall, including the Weeping Rock Trail, Hidden Canyon Trail, and Observation Point Trail.

Suspect shot after assaulting police officers at Las Vegas's McCarran

Police have shot a man after he attacked officers in a security area at Las Vegas's McCarran International Airport. According to the police, the incident happened in the early hours of Thursday morning when police officers were deployed to attend a suspicious incident. CNN reported that the suspect triggered a door alarm in one of the airport's terminals. It is still unclear what the motives behind the incident are, while the identity of the suspect was not released.

Police officer killed while responding burglary in Detroit

A police officer has been killed and another injured while responding to an incident in Detroit, Michigan. According to the police, officers rushed to the city's West Side after reports of a home invasion. NBC News reported that they were then attacked by the suspect that was armed with a high-powered rifle. The wounded officer was taken to the hospital in serious condition. Police Chief James Craig confirmed that the suspect was recently released from parole.

US Ambassador to the EU testifies before House committee

US Ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland has testified before the US House Intelligence Committee amid the impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump. Sondland has claimed that pressuring Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyi to open an investigation against Democratic candidate Joe Biden was part of favour exchange ahead of a future visit of Zelenskyi to Washington. He claimed that he had "followed the directions of the President". Sondland added that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was aware of the efforts in Ukraine. This is the latest testimony of a key witness regarding President Trump's affair with Ukraine. It mainly focuses on a phone call made back in late-July between President Trump and his Ukranian counterpart. Among Democrat Party claims, they accuse President Trump of pressuring Zelenskyi by freezing hundreds of millions of dollars in aid.

Weather alerts due to risk of flash flooding across Hawaii

Weather alerts have been issued to the entire state of Hawaii as thunderstorms could trigger widespread flooding. A flash flood watch has been issued to all islands and is expected to remain active until the end of Tuesday. Special attention should be paid to coastal areas and locations near the mountains due to the risk of landslides. According to the National Weather Service (NHC), strong winds are expected to persist until at least Wednesday.

Several killed in shooting outside a supermarket in Duncan, Oklahoma

At least three people have been killed during a shooting outside a supermarket in Duncan, Oklahoma. AP reported that two men and a woman are among the victims. The shooting was reported on Monday afternoon in the parking lot of a Walmart store located just off US Route 81. Duncan Police Department said on social media that they are investigating the motives behind the incident and that further information will be released soon.

Disney+ subscribers may have been hacked

Thousands of subscribers of the new streaming service Disney+ have been hacked just after signing up. ZDNet reported that customers' accounts have been put on sale on the dark web. Disney+ was already being criticised for experiencing a number of technical issues on its first day. Reports suggest that the hack may have been caused due to user's password reuse, where users would employ the same password used in another online platform or service.

Democrat Governor John Bel Edwards wins re-election

Republicans suffered a new loss in the southern state of Lousiana after Democrat Governor John Bel Edwards secured re-election. In a vote held over the weekend, results show that Bel Edwards defeated Eddie Rispone after getting 51 percent of the votes. This is the latest Republican defeat in gubernatorial races held in recent months. Louisiana is the only state in the so-called Deep South to have Democrat leadership. The latest gubernatorial race in Lousiana was another test to President Donald Trump and his capacity to attract supporters ahead of the 2020 presidential election.

Four killed in Fresno shooting

At least four people were killed and six others wounded in a shooting in Fresno, California on Sunday night. Police said armed suspects opened fire at the backyard of a property in the south-east of the city as people gathered to watch a football game. An investigation is underway to track down the assailants and police said no arrests have been made so far. "Officers and detectives are canvassing the area searching for witnesses and anyone with surveillance cameras that may have captured the suspect(s)," said Fresno Police Lieutenant Bill Dooley.

President Trump's former political advisor found guilty

A former political adviser to President Donald Trump, Roger Stone, has been found guilty on seven charges. A jury in Washington DC found Stone guilty of five counts of lying to Congress, one of witness tempering and another of obstruction. Stone's charges emerged amid the Russian inference investigations led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. He is accused of colluding with Julian Assange's Wikileaks regarding the release of damaging emails implicating former Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton. Investigations later concluded that the emails were stolen by Russian hackers. Stone's conviction is one of the highest-profile cases in the Russian investigation. Stone is a long-time political operator that has been close to the Republican party.

Police confirm that two students were killed in Santa Clarita school shooting

Police have confirmed that two teenage students have been killed during a school shooting in Santa Clarita, California. The incident happened on Thursday morning when a 16-year-old opened fire at the Saugus High School. LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva has said that police officers arrived at the scene two minutes after reports of shots being fired. According to officials, the suspect used a semi-automatic pistol that was hidden in his backpack. The suspect has shot himself in the head and was taken to the hospital in critical condition. At least three teenagers were injured in the attack, the motive of which remains unknown. Gun safety organisations claim that at least 30 school shootings leading to casualties have been reported in the US so far in 2019.

Several injured in high school shooting in Santa Clarita, California

At least seven people have been injured during a shooting at a high school in Santa Clarita, California. NBC Los Angeles reported that the shooting happened on Thursday morning at the Saugus High School, located north of LA. Sgt Bob Boese of the LA County Sheriff's Department confirmed multiple casualties. He confirmed that the suspect was still at large as of Thursday morning. No further details have been released. People in the area have been advised to stay indoors and follow the recommendation from the local authorities. The Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station said: "This is still a very active situation. Reports of approximately 5 victims being treated". Further updates are being provided by the SCV Sheriff's Station on social media.

Public hearings for congressional impeachment kicks off

The Democrat-led congressional impeachment enquiry into President Donald Trump entered its public phase on Wednesday. The House of Representatives Intelligence Committee has summoned three US diplomats to testify over the president's alleged attempts to pressure the Ukranian government to investigate Democratic candidate Joe Biden and his son, Hunter. They include William Taylor, George Kent and Marie Yovanovitch, all US high-level ranking officials. Democrat Representative Adam Schiff said: “The questions presented by this impeachment inquiry are whether President Trump sought to exploit that ally’s vulnerability and invite Ukraine’s interference in our elections." One key piece of evidence used in the inquiry is a transcript of talks between President Trump and his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelenskyi. President Trump claims that they were doctored. Another hearing is scheduled for Friday. Next week, three more days of the hearing will question EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland, US Ambassador to NATO Kurt Volker, director for European Affairs at the National Security Council (NSC) Lt Col Alexander Vindman and Fiona Hill, SNC's Europe and Russia senior director.

Man sentenced for killing store clerk in 1994 executed by lethal injection

A man sentenced to death for the 1994 killing of a store clerk in Georgia is set to be executed by lethal injection on Wednesday. Reuters reported that Ray Cromartie's execution will take place at the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison in Jackson. Cromartie was sentenced for killing Richard Slysz during a robbery at a convenience store in Thomasville. According to the Death Penalty Information Center (DPIC), Cromartie will be the third inmate executed in Georgia in 2019 - DPIC data shows that the two previous executions in Georgia happened back in May and June.

Winter weather still impacting operations at Chicago airports

Flight disruption is still being reported at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport (ORD) due to adverse weather conditions on Tuesday. As record-breaking snowfall is hitting the US Midwest and several other north-eastern states, flight delays and cancellations could impact operations in major airports in those regions. On Monday, more than 1,000 flights were cancelled at ORD. Delays and some cancellations are also being reported at Midway International Airport (MDW). Winter storm warnings are still in place across areas along the Canadian border in the US Northeast. Winter weather could also impact the states of Indiana, Kentucky, West Virginia and Ohio. Passengers have been recommended to check for flight status updates with their respective airlines.

Missing hiker found dead at Sequoia National Park, California

A 40-year-old man reported missing last week has been found dead at the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park in California. CNN reported that a man identified as Alan Stringer was reported missing last Monday after going for a hike. According to the police, his body was recovered last Thursday at the top of the Darwin Glacier. Accidents at US National Parks are frequent. Travellers should follow safety guidelines provided by the US National Parks Service.

Alerts issued due to extreme weather across the US Northeast

Weather alerts have been issued due to adverse conditions in most states located across the US Northeast. The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued a Winter Storm Warning to most districts located along the Canadian border, especially in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and upstate New York. Adverse weather may also impact most of the US midwest in the next few days. The NWS forecast record-low temperatures in several regions along the East Coast and parts of southern US until at least Wednesday. Flight disruption is expected in major airports across the region, including at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport (ORD). Additionally, freezing rain and intense snowfall may bring hazardous road travel conditions to some areas.

Republican candidate holds seat in Mississippi gubernatorial race

Republican candidate Tate Reeves has won the gubernatorial election in Mississippi. Preliminary results show that Reeves received 52.3 percent of the votes against Democrat Jim Hood, who got 46.5 percent. Hood lost despite securing strong results in Hinds County - where the state capital Jackson is located - where he defeated Reeves with 77.5 percent of the votes. However, Reeves won in counties that house other major cities, such as Harrison, DeSoto and Forrest/Lamar. For 16 years, Mississippi has been a Republican stronghold. Reeves's victory in Mississippi came after Democrats won the governor race in Kentucky. Reeves is replacing Phil Bryant, who did not run for re-election due to term limits. Reeves previously served as Mississippi's lieutenant governor.

Democrats regain control of state legislature after more than two decades

After more than two decades, Democrats have regained control of the General Assembly in Virginia. Democrats recorded strong results in the state's most populous regions, securing a majority in both the state Senate and the House of Delegates. Gun control has been a major debating point after a discussion on the issue emerged following a violent incident in Virginia Beach back in May. With the latest victory, Democrats in Virginia now hold control of the state's three powers - the state Senate, the House of Delegates and both seats in the US Senate. Since 2017, Democrats have made significant gains in Virginia after flipping 15 seats in the House of Delegates and re-electing Ralph Northan as the state's governor.

Democrat candidate claims victory in Kentucky governor election

The Democrat candidate in Kentucky's gubernatorial race has claimed victory despite results being too close to call. According to the latest results, Andy Beshear has garnered 49.2 percent of the votes against Republican Governor Matt Bevin, who got 48.8 percent. Bevin was up for re-election in the largely conservative-leaning state, where President Donald Trump made significant gains back in the 2016 presidential election. Bevin has refused to concede victory. The race has been considered one of the main tests to President Trump and the Republican Party ahead of the 2020 presidential election. Republican Daniel Cameron has been elected the state's attorney general.

Hundreds of inmates released as part of major prison reforms in Oklahoma

Hundreds of inmates jailed in Oklahoma have been released in the largest mass commutation in US history. CNN reported that more than 460 non-violent inmates were released on Monday from a total of 527 that had their sentence commuted. The move came as part of a bipartisan effort to reform the state's prison system and tackle overcrowding. The reforms started to be worked on back in 2016 when lawmakers passed legislation on the punishment of low-level felonies. Similar legislation is also being worked on in New York, where 900 inmates are expected to benefit from a controversial bail reform law. The bill, criticised by President Donald Trump, prompted the resignation of NYPD Commissioner James O'Neil, who claimed to be concerned over the initiative.

President Trump's personal pastor to join White House staff

President Donald Trump's personal pastor, Paula White, has officially joined the White House's Office of Public Liaison. White is known as a controversial figure in Florida, where she was famous for hosting a television programme. According to the New York Times, she has been known to the president for nearly two decades. US media reported that she will closely work to advise the government's Faith and Opportunity Initiative, which was established last year to approach the administration to religious groups. White's hiring has been largely seen as a move to secure his Christian conservative support.

One killed amid salmonella outbreak likely linked to ground beef

One person has died and eight others were taken to the hospital after a suspect salmonella outbreak. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), preliminary investigations indicate that the outbreak may be linked to ground beef, where a"single, common supplier of ground beef has not been identified." Cases were reported across six states. The CDC added that: "Illnesses in this outbreak are more severe than expected for Salmonella. Eight ill people have been hospitalized, including one death." It also said that it "is not advising that consumers stop eating thoroughly cooked ground beef, or that retailers stop selling ground beef." CDC recommends people to not eat raw or undercooked ground beef and keep them separate from other food. Salmonella's symptoms may include diarrhoea, fever and stomach cramps. They may take at least 12 hours to develop and may last for up to a week.

Convicted murder executed by lethal injection in South Dakota

A man convicted of killing a co-worker during a burglary back in 1992 has been executed by lethal injection in South Dakota. Charles Rhines killed a 22-year-old man at a doughnut shop just weeks after being fired. CBS News reported that Rhines refused to take the victim to the hospital to be treated. Rhines was executed at the Sioux Falls State Penitentiary after losing three US Supreme Court appeals. South Dakota is among the 25 states in the US that still has the death penalty. Data from the Death Penalty Information Center (DPIC) shows that this is the first execution in South Dakota since Rodney Berget received the lethal injection nearly a year ago. Overall, DPIC data indicates that 17 people have been executed across six US states so far this year.

Businessman kidnapped in Arizona taken into Mexico

A businessman based in New York has been released after being kidnapped in Arizona and taken cross border into Mexico. Mexican prosecutors in the northern state of Sonora said that the victim was abducted last week near Tucson and taken to the bordering town of Nogales. Reports indicate that the victim was put in the trunk of a car. AP reported that the victim's brother was contacted to pay a ransom of $500k. The victim was found on Sunday in the Mexican town of Hermosillo. He has not been identified, but authorities have confirmed that he was originally from the Dominican Republic.

US Army Corps of Engineers increase risk status of Mojave River Dam, Califonia

A recent risk assessment led by the US Army Corps of Engineers has reclassified the risk status of the Mojave River Dam in California from "low to high urgency of action". In a statement, the US Army Corps of Engineers said that "during an extreme flood event, water could exceed the design capacity of the dam" and over spill, which could potentially result in dam failure. Communities on alert include Hesperia, Apple Valley, Victorville and Barstow. The Corps' LA District commander, Col Aaron Barta, has said: “The dam has never experienced spillway flow or a flood event that has loaded the dam significantly. This is a storm that is unlikely to occur, but it is nonetheless a real possibility and one we must be prepared for." The Mojave River Dam is located north of the San Bernardino Mountains. The latest risk report comes as the US Army Corps of Engineers are re-assessing the risk of all its dams across the US.

Massive oil spill reported at Keystone pipeline near Edinburg, North Dakota

A massive oil spill in the Keystone pipeline has been recorded near Edinburg, North Dakota. The New York Times has reported that the pipeline has leaked up to 338,000 gallons of crude oil in a wetland area. According to North Dakota's Environmental Quality Department, the leak in Walsh County has already been contained. Officials said that the area affected does not impact any sources of drinking water. The pipeline is operated by TC Energy that told the NYT: “We are establishing air quality, water and wildlife monitoring and will continue monitoring throughout the response." The Keystone pipeline is at the centre of major environmental protests over plans to expand it through its Keystone XL project, which will add 1,179 miles to the existing structure. 

Several killed in Halloween party shooting in Orinda, California

At least four people have been killed and several others have been injured after a shooting broke out at a Halloween party in northern California. According to the police, the incident happened in the town of Orinda in the county of Costa Contra. It is still unclear what the circumstances behind the incident are. Authorities have confirmed that the shooting happened at a short-term rental place on Orinda Hills. 

Seven-year-old girl shot on Halloween night in Chicago

A seven-year-old girl has been shot while trick-or-treating in Chicago's Little Village neighbourhood. US media reported that the victim was taken to the hospital in critical condition. Preliminary police reports suggest that the girl was collaterally hit when a group of people opened fire on a man. Investigations are still ongoing. In recent years, the city has recorded the highest number of homicides in the US. However, rates of gun crime in the city, which is the third-largest in the US, have been falling. Police have earlier announced that Chicago's shooting rates this October were the lowest since the past four years.

Fast-moving wildfire breaks out near Santa Paula, California

A fast-moving wildfire has broken out in southern California threatening several residential areas across Ventura County. LA Times reported that several buildings have been destroyed after the Maria fire broke out on Thursday. Reports indicate that the fire ignited in a mountain area south of Santa Paula. Several homes were ordered to evacuate. According to the Ventura County Fire Department (VCFD), the fire has already spread across 3,000 hectares. Authorities have said that the fire is still to be contained. Strong winds are fuelling wildfires across California, where red flag warnings are still active. For further information on evacuation orders and current incidents, travellers are recommended to follow updates from the Ventura County Emergency.

US interior department grounds Chinese-made drones over national security concerns

The US Department of the Interior (DOI) has said that almost its entire fleet of Chinese-made unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) has been grounded due to national security concerns. The decision comes a month after the US Senate introduced the American Security Drone Act 2019, which would prevent federal departments from using Chinese drones. Most UAVs operated by the DOI are used to monitor risks of natural hazards and inspect infrastructure. In a statement, the DOI said: “Until this review is completed, the Secretary has directed that drones manufactured in China or made from Chinese components be grounded unless they are currently being utilized for emergency purposes, such as fighting wildfires, search and rescue, and dealing with natural disasters that may threaten life or property." The move comes after the US government targeted other Chinese companies accused of close links to the Chinese government. As well as putting pressure on phone maker Huawei, US senators recently opened a probe on the Chinese-owned app TikTok.

Democrat-controlled House approves rules of presidential impeachment inquiry

Lawmakers in the US House of Representatives have approved the rules to guide the impeachment inquiry on President Donald Trump. The resolution passed in the Democrat-controlled house after receiving 232 votes against 196. The resolution will allow the start of formal public hearings by the House intelligence and judiciary committees on allegations of abuse of power of President Trump's office. The focus of the inquiry is to assess if the president used his powers for own personal and political gain after pressuring Ukraine to investigate Democrat candidate Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.

Extreme cold temperatures trigger warnings in western and central US

Extreme cold temperatures are expected to affect most states across western and central US. According to the National Weather Service (NWS), heavy rainfall continues to intensify across several areas around the Mississippi and Ohio Valleys due to the approach of a cold front. Freeze warnings have been issued to several states. Due to adverse weather, travel could be significantly impacted, especially on some roads that could experience hazardous driving conditions. Parts of the American Midwest and regions around the Great Lakes could also be affected. People in the region should follow updates from the NWS.

Wildfires continue to pose a risk due to strong winds in southern California

Wildfires continue to pose a risk to southern California, where weather warnings have been issued due to strong winds. According to the National Weather Service (NWS), powerful winds and relatively low humidity in southern California could further fuel wildfires around Los Angeles and the surrounding counties. While multiple wildfires remain active across the state, several have recently ignited near LA. The most recent started on Wednesday evening in San Bernardino, which already forced the evacuation of thousands of residents. Power cuts are also being reported across California as the so-called Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) is being enforced in several areas prone to wildfires. In northern California, CalFire has confirmed that the Kincade Fire has already been 45 percent contained. People in California have been advised to follow recommendations and updates from the local authorities. 

Several killed in shootout at Long Beach, California

At least three people have been killed and several others injured when a shooting broke out at a party in Long Beach, California. According to the Long Beach Fire Department (LBFD), the shooting broke out at 22:44 local time at a house hosting a Halloween celebration. It is still unclear what the circumstances behind the shooting are. LBFD confirmed that those that were fatally shot were adults. The incident happened in the Rose Park area.

Mandatory evacuation orders issued due to wildfire in Ventura County, California

Evacuation orders were issued to several locations across California's Ventura County after a major wildfire ignited near the Simi Valley and the Moorpark areas. According to Ventura County Emergency, the fire started near Freeway 118. Mandatory evacuation orders were issued to several areas in Oak Park and Tierra Rajada Park. Traffic along Highway 23 is also being heavily conditioned due to the blazes of the so-called Easy Fire. Authorities have also stated that several areas across Ventura County are facing Public Safety Power Shutoffs or could be affected in the next few days. The Easy Fire is one of the latest wildfires to hit California, which is currently under a state of emergency as major fires continue to burn in the state's northern and southern parts.

US government to extend special protected status to El Salvador

The US government has extended the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) that could prevent the deportation of more than 260,000 El Salvadorans. US Ambassador in San Salvador Ronald Douglas Johnson announced the decision in a video alongside El Salvador's President Nayib Bukele. El Salvador was included in the TPS after a major earthquake ravaged the country in 2001. In total, it is estimated that 426,000 people benefit from the programme, with most of them being from El Salvador. In early-2018, President Donald Trump announced the suspension of the programme for several nations but the move was blocked in court on multiple occasions. 

Democrat congresswoman resigns over sexual scandal

Congresswoman Katie Hill has resigned after being linked to a sexual scandal. Hill represents California's 25th district in the US House of Representatives and has been known as one of the first openly bisexual members of Congress. She resigned after intimate photos of her and her close aide Morgan Desjardins were leaked on the media. Her ex-husband also accused her of having a relationship with her campaign finance manager, Graham Kelly. The leaks prompted the House Ethics Committee to open a probe on the matter. In her resignation letter, she said: “Having private photos of personal moments weaponized against me has been an appalling invasion of my privacy. It’s also illegal, and we are currently pursuing all of our available legal options." She said in a video: "I made this decision so that my supporters, my family and my staff in our community will no longer be subjected to the pain inflicted by my abusive husband and the brutality of hateful political operatives".

Further emergency power cuts to be ordered across California

Due to increased risks of wildfires in northern and southern California, energy provider Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) has announced a new round of Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) across several counties. US media reported that up to two million people could be affected by the third PSPS ordered in less than a month. The PSPS is expected to start on Tuesday morning and gradually expand throughout Wednesday. Emergency power shutoffs often last for several days. For further information on the areas that could be affected, travellers are advised to check PG&E's address lookup tool.

Risk of dangerous wildfires persist across southern and northern California

The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued red flag warnings across most counties across southern and northern California as the risk of dangerous wildfires persists. In northern California, additional evacuation orders were issued to several areas around Geyserville, located west of Sacramento. CalFire has confirmed that the Kincade Fire has already spread across nearly 30,000 hectares of land across Sonoma County and has been contained in around 15 percent. Meanwhile in Los Angeles, the Getty Fire has destroyed several homes after the blazes approached the Getty Center. The fire has burned along the Highway 405, which leads to affluent neighbourhoods north of Los Angeles. According to the Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD), the fire has spread across 200 hectares of land, forcing several neighbourhoods west of Highway 405 to be put under mandatory evacuation.  NWS has said that the threat of wildfires is expected to persist for the next few days. Extreme caution is advised for people travelling across southern and northern California.

Mass evacuation ordered to evacuate as major wildfire spreads in Sonoma County, California

More than 200,000 people have been forced to evacuate as the so-called Kincade Fire continues to spread across Sonoma County, California. Governor Gavin Newsom has declared a state of emergency across California as several wildfires remain active across the state. According to Cal Fire, the Kincade Fire has already spread across more than 21,000 hectares of land. CalFire has also confirmed that as of Monday morning, nearly five percent of the fire has been contained. Evacuation orders remain in place to several areas across Sonoma County, while several highways and major roads remain closed. As a result of Public Safety Power Shutoffs (PSPS) more than a million people are currently facing power outages across the San Francisco Bay Area.

US senators request intelligence probe on Chinese-owned TikTok

US senators have requested intelligence officials to investigate the collection of users' data by the Chinese-owned video-sharing app TikTok. In a joint letter, Republican Senator Tom Cotton and the US Senate Minority Leader Church Schumer called on Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire to "conduct an assessment of the national security risks posed by TikTok and other China-owned content platforms in the US". They added that "with over 110 million downloads in the US alone, TikTok is a potential counterintelligence threat we cannot ignore." TikTok has long denied allegations of censorship, links to the Chinese government and issues concerning data collection. A company's spokeswoman told Reuters that its servers to US users are based in the US. However, Republican Senator Marco Rubio also requested an investigation on the company ByteDance, which stores TikTok's US user data. 

US Justice Department to open criminal probe on Mueller inquiry

The US Department of Justice has launched a criminal probe into the infamous Mueller inquiry, which investigated alleged Russian collusion in the US 2016 presidential election. The 448-page report led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller concluded that no evidence of Russian collusion have been found, but it added that President Donald Trump has not been cleared from wrongdoing. Just after the report was released, Attorney General William Barr opened an administrative review to the report. It is still unclear what crimes are being addressed in the new criminal investigation, but officials are expected to probe how evidence to build the report was collected. President Trump has long claimed that the Mueller inquiry was a politically-motivated witch hunt.

Evacuation orders remain in place due to wildfire in Sonoma County, California

Evacuation orders remain in place as the Kincade Fire continues to spread across Sonoma County, California. CalFire has said that several roads - especially Highway 128 - leading to Geyserville have been blocked, while additional evacuation orders were issued. Kincade has already spread across 6,000 hectares of land and has been contained in nearly five percent as of Friday morning. Emergency power shutoffs are currently in place in several counties across California due to the increasing risks of wildfire. Governor Gavin Newsom has said that assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has already been granted to fight the Kincade Fire. A smoke health advisory has been issued to several areas in northern Sonoma County. For further updates, people in the area are advised to follow social media updates from Sonoma County, CalFire and reliable media sources.

Evacuation orders issued due to major brush fire near Santa Clarita, California

Evacuation orders have been issued after a major brush fire broke out near Santa Clarita, California. Several neighbourhoods have been issued with evacuation orders after the Tick Fire quickly spread across more than 1,500 hectares of land. Latest reports from CalFire show that the fire has already been contained by five percent. Los Angeles County has said that evacuation orders are still in place in several areas, while a large stretch of Highway 14 remains closed as of Friday morning. The fire is being fanned by powerful Santa Ana winds which are currently affecting both Los Angeles and Ventura counties. Air quality in the region has also been affected in parts of San Fernando Valley, Santa Clarita Valley, San Gabriel Mountains and the north-western coastal areas of the county. People in the area are advised to follow news from reliable sources and social media updates from Los Angeles County.

Protest may cause disruption at Philadelphia International Airport

Disruption may be reported at Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) due to a scheduled demonstration. PHL has announced that the protest is expected to occur between 16:00 and 19:00 local time. Passengers have been advised to allow extra time before their flights due to potential delays.

Renewed power shutoffs ordered due to wildfire risks across California

More than a dozen counties across central and northern California have faced fresh power cuts due to wildfire risks. CNN reported that around 180,000 people are expected to be affected after energy provider PG&E ordered a Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS). Both businesses and domestic customers will be affected. PSPS or de-energization is part of the government's strategy to avoid wildfires to spread across the state. Earlier this month, hundreds of thousands faced power cuts for several days after another PSPS was ordered. Power is expected to be cut for at least 48 hours. Besides PG&E, other power providers also announced that due to weather conditions power cuts could also impact southern California, affecting more than 870,000 customers.

Hundreds evacuated as fast moving wildfire breaks out near Geyserville, California

Hundreds of people were ordered to evacuate after the so-called Kincade Fire spread across a mountainous area in Sonoma County, California. Reports show that the fire ignited on Wednesday evening and has already spread across 4,000 hectares of land. Intense winds are currently fuelling the fire, which comes while thousands are facing emergency power shutoffs. CalFire has said on Thursday morning that the Kincade Fire is zero percent contained and that evacuation orders remain in place in several areas across Geyserville. Extreme caution is advised when driving along Highway 128 towards Napa. The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued red flag warnings to several counties across northern California. People in the area have been advised to check social media updates from CalFire.

Several homes evacuated after major fire breaks out in West Maui, Hawaii

Several homes have been evacuated after a major brush fire broke out near the Kapalua Airport (JHM) in West Maui, Hawaii. According to the Maui Fire Department, dozens of firefighters were deployed to the scene to tackle the blaze. CNN reported that parts of the airport were evacuated as were residences in Kahana Ridge and Ala Hoku areas. The latest reports from the County of Maui show that the blaze has already been partially contained. All roads around the area have been reopened, with a few exceptions. JHM mainly receives Hawaiian Airlines flights connecting at Honolulu Airport (HNL). Although all Hawaiian Airlines flights scheduled for Wednesday are expected to arrive on time, some of them may be affected if conditions worsen.

Body of missing three-year-old found in a landfill in Birmingham, Alabama

Police have said that the body of a missing three-year-old girl has been found in a landfill in Birmingham, Alabama. Kamille McKinney went missing last week. CNN reported that two people have already been detained for alleged involvement in the crime. According to reports, McKinney went missing after attending a birthday party at her family home. Police believe that the incident was premeditated. Police chief Patrick Smith told CBS: "I can tell you what we believe at this point. We believe that this was something that they thought about, and acted upon, and they saw an opportunity to take a young child, which they did. Our further investigations will reveal what happened after that", said Alabama Governor Kay Ivey regarding the incident.

Several schools on lockdown after shooting in Santa Rosa, California

At least one person has been shot after a shooting at the Ridgway High School in Santa Rosa, California. NBC reported that the incident happened on Tuesday morning and that the suspect fled the scene. Santa Rosa Police Department has said that several nearby schools are on lockdown, while officers "are actively searching for the lone shooter". People have been advised to avoid the areas around Ridgway High School, Santa Rosa High School and Santa Rosa Junior College. Police have said that there are no further reports of violence on the school campus. Travellers in the area are advised to stay indoors and to follow updates from the Santa Rosa Police Department on social media.

Thousands to be affected by emergency power cuts in California

More than 200,000 customers could be affected as part of a Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) in central and northern California. Energy provider Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) has confirmed that due to extreme weather and the high risk of wildfires, more than a dozen counties could be affected. Earlier this month, the company issued another PSPS across central California, leaving thousands without power for several days. PSPS or de-energization  was introduced after major wildfires ripped through California last year, leading to a high number of casualties and extensive damage. The measure is often employed after the National Weather Service (NWS) issues red flag warnings. For more information, people are advised to use PG&E's address-lookup tool.

Thousands of teachers to continue strike in Chicago

More than 25,000 teachers in Chicago are expected to launch a second consecutive week of striking to demand better working conditions. For several days, hundreds of thousands of students are without classes in the country's third-largest school district. Teachers demand more funding for education in order to increase the number of school staff and improve conditions in some socially-vulnerable areas. Protesters accused Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who was elected in April, of failing to fulfil her campaign promises. Over the weekend, thousands gathered in downtown Chicago to protest.

Power outage hit Dallas after powerful tornado rips through Texas

A powerful tornado has ripped through Dallas overnight on Sunday leaving widespread damage and power cuts. US media reported that no fatalities were initially confirmed but several houses and buildings were severely damaged. The National Weather Service (NWS) has confirmed that the tornado touched down at 21:30 local time. The NWS issued temporary tornado warnings to several counties in northern Texas and Louisiana. Alerts also remain in place in Arkansas, where one person died after being hit by a falling tree. According to reports, more than 100,000 people suffered power outages across Texas. Energy-provider Oncor said: "This evening severe storms entered the western portion of our Dallas-Fort Worth service territory bringing winds up to 70mph, heavy rain, lightning, hail and a confirmed tornado. Damage is significant in areas where the tornado touched down". It added: "Crews are working as quickly and as safely as possible to restore power to those impacted by the storm. Please stay safe and stay away from downed power lines".

Adverse weather forecast to hit the US Southeast over the weekend

Potential Tropical Storm Sixteen is expected to become Tropical Storm Nestor as it moves northward through the Gulf of Mexico. According to the National Hurricane Center (NHC), the low-pressure system is expected to make landfall in north-western Florida on Saturday morning and quickly move across the US Southeast over the weekend. The system may bring adverse weather conditions to southern Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and parts of Virginia. The National Weather Service (NWS) forecasts that the storm may bring heavy rainfall and strong winds to the entire region and coastal areas.

PenAir flight veers off runway while attempting to land in Dutch Harbor, Alaska

A place carrying more than 40 people has veered off a runway after a landing attempt in Dutch Harbor, Alaska. CNN reported that PenAir Flight 3296 was heading from Anchorage to Unalaska-Dutch Harbor Airport. According to Alaska Airlines - PenAir operates the route on behalf of Alaska Airlines - the accident happened on Thursday at 17:40 local time and involved a Saab 2000 aircraft. It is still unclear if there are any casualties, while the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) sent a team to the scene to investigate the accident. Some reports show that at least two were critically injured and that more than a dozen received medical treatment. Weather conditions were relatively unfavourable at the time of the crash.

Low pressure system triggers weather warning across Gulf states

A tropical storm warning has been issued to a large area in the Gulf of Mexico as a low-pressure system is forecast to head towards north-western Florida. According to the National Hurricane Center (NHC), Potential Tropical Cyclone Sixteen could strengthen into a tropical storm as early as Friday morning. The warning is in place to north-western Florida, the entire coast of Alabama and the south-eastern coast of Lousiana - which includes New Orleans. Heavy rainfall and widespread coastal flooding are expected to affect the region. Travellers are advised to follow updates and recommendations from the NHC.

Democrat congressman Elijah Cummings dies aged 68

Elijah Cummings, a senior Democrat congressman in the House of Representatives, has died aged 68. According to his office, Cummings died after a long-standing health complication. He represented the seventh district of Maryland, which mainly comprises the city of Baltimore, for more than two decades. Currently, he was the chairman of the House Oversight Committee, which is one of the committees investigating President Donald Trump's alleged pressure on Ukrainian prosecutors to investigate former VP Joe Biden. Cummings was praised in both Democratic and Republican political circles.

Third mortality confirmed amid suspect legionnaires' disease outbreak in North Carolina

At least three people have died as health authorities investigate a suspected legionnaires' disease outbreak in North Carolina. State health officials have confirmed that a third fatal case has been confirmed. Earlier this month, North Carolina's Division of Public Health launched investigations on a suspect legionnaires' disease outbreak with potential links to a state fair in Fletcher, south of Asheville. Legionnaire's disease is a serious lung infection that may cause a fever, chills and a cough. It is mainly found in freshwater, but it may also be found in the plumbing system in large buildings.

Strong earthquake recorded near San Francisco, California

A strong 4.5-magnitude earthquake has been recorded near San Francisco, California. According to the US Geological Survey (USGS), the tremor hit Pleasant Hill on Monday at 22:33 local time. Contra Costa Sheriff said that no major damage or injuries have been reported so far. San Francisco's BART has said that some train services in the region may face disruption throughout Tuesday as engineers inspect the tracks. Earthquakes in western California are common due to the state's location near the notorious San Andreas Fault, a tectonic boundary between the Pacific and the North American plates.

Subtropical Storm Melissa to bring inclement weather to New England

Subtropical Storm Melissa may bring adverse weather conditions to some coastal areas in New England. Powerful winds are expected to impact the coastal districts of Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts over the weekend. According to the National Hurricane Center (NHC), Melissa is forecast to move away from the US Northeast coast from Friday evening and head eastwards the North Atlantic, where it is expected to strengthen into a tropical depression. The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued a high surf advisory to the country's entire north-eastern Atlantic coast.

Flash flooding warning issued for island of Oahu, Hawaii

The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued a flash flooding warning for the entire island of Oahu in Hawaii. The alert is expected to remain in place until at least 07:30 local time on Friday, but disruption may persist over the weekend. People have been advised to move to higher ground and to avoid driving or walking through floodwaters. Latest reports from the NWS suggest that heavy rainfall will hit the region. Beside Oahu, a flash flooding watch remains in place in Kauai and Niihau. People in the area are advised to follow updates from the local authorities and NWS updates.

President Trump's lawyer Giuliani investigated over Ukraine scheme

Federal authorities are investigating President Donald Trump's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, after two of his associates were detained just before leaving the US. In an indictment that was just recently made public, Igor Fruman and Ukrainian-born Lev Parnas are accused of violating campaign finance laws. Investigations are also focusing on their relationship with Giuliani regarding the alleged pressure on Ukrainian prosecutors to investigate Joe Biden's son, Hunter. Investigations come as House Democrats are currently dealing with an impeachment inquiry in an attempt to flush Presiden Trump out of office.

Mobile homes destroyed after fire breaks out in Riverside County, California

Dozens of homes at a mobile residential park have been destroyed after a major fire broke out in Riverside County, southern California. According to the local fire department, a garbage-collection lorry deposed what has been described as a "hot load" - when the content of the lorry suddenly ignites and the driver is forced to offload it to avoid damage to the vehicle - in terrain near Villa Calimesa park, where more than 70 mobile homes were destroyed. The fire got out of control after Santa Ana winds spread the flames. Power shutdowns are currently in place across several regions in central and northern California after the National Weather Service (NWS) issued red flag warnings. California Governor Gavin Newsom heavily criticised the decision made by energy provider PG&E to shut down power to hundreds of thousands across the state. Some areas in southern California are also being affected.

Weather alerts issued as winter storm approaches central US

Extreme cold temperatures are forecast in western and central US as a powerful winter storm approaches the country on Friday. According to the National Weather Service (NWS), a powerful cold front will move into central US on Thursday, bringing intense snowfall to south-western Montana. North Dakota is also expected to be affected over the weekend. A winter storm warning has been issued to North Dakota, South Dakota and the eastern counties of Wyoming. The NWS has also issued a freeze warning to Kansas, Nebraska and eastern Colorado. Additionally, the warning remains in place in northern Arizona and along the US north-west coast in Washington and Oregon. Travel disruption is likely to impact major airports and interstate highways. Meanwhile, in the US Northeast coast, a large coastal storm is expected to bring hazardous sea conditions and adverse weather across New England.

US-China talks to resume amid tensions

The US and China are due to resume trade talks amid heightened diplomatic tensions. Talks are set to resume in Washington today, just days after the US decided to blacklist 28 Chinese organisations it claimed were linked to human rights abuses against Uyghur Muslims in China's Xinjiang territory. The US also recently enforced additional visa restrictions for Chinese government officials. The talks are expected to focus on finding a solution to the ever escalating trade war which has exploded between the two countries. It's feared the recent diplomatic issues could complicate the talks, and if they fail to reach an agreement, the US will increase tariffs on $250bn worth of Chinese goods from 25 percent to 30 percent next Tuesday.

Widespread power outages reported across California over wildfire risk

PG&E, one of the main energy providers in California, has announced that they have implemented the first phase of the so-called Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) due to wildfire-prone weather in central and northern California. In a statement released on Wednesday, the company confirmed that the PSPS will be comprised of three phases that will begin in the early hours of Wednesday morning and continue throughout the day. According to PG&E, the measure comes due to "forecasts of dry, hot and windy weather including potential fire risk". Red Flag Warnings - when weather conditions are favourable for wildfires - have been issued to most counties in south-western and northern California. The National Weather Service (NWS) has also issued the same alert to parts of south-western Nevada and the quadripoint area between New Mexico, Arizona, Utah and Colorado. De-energization or PSPS were introduced after major wildfires ripped through California last year, leading to a high number of casualties and extensive damage.

US Ambassador forbidden from testifying before House committees

The US Ambassador to the EU, Gordon Sondland, has been forbidden from testifying before three House committees that are investigating President Donald Trump's dealings with his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelenskyi. Sondland was barred from attending the hearings after a directive from the US State Department. His attorney said: “He is a sitting ambassador and employee of State and is required to follow their direction". Sondland was considered to be a key witness in the Democratic-led attempt to impeach President Trump. Democrats have already announced plans to subpoena Sondland for a deposition. In a joint statement, Democratic chairmen said: "We consider this interference to be obstruction of the impeachment inquiry." President Trump is accused of pressuring Ukraine's Zelenskyi into opening a corruption investigation against Democratic presidential contender Joe Biden and his son, Hunter. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has admitted to having been present in a phone call between Trump and Zelenskyi in July, where President Trump allegedly requested the investigations.

Hundreds of thousands could face power cuts due to adverse weather in California

Energy provider PG&E has said that more than 600,000 customers across northern and central California could be impacted in a Public Safety Power Shutoff. The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued a fire weather watch to central and northern counties around the San Francisco Bay Area. According to the NWS, "this has the potential to be the strongest offshore wind event of the year". Several counties across the region could be affected by power cuts on Wednesday and Thursday. In some areas, safety power shutoffs may last for up to five days or longer. States of emergency were already declared in some counties to allow local authorities to better respond to incidents during the power shutdown. San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo said: "We would encourage residents and businesses to prepare for being without power for potentially as long as seven days". In the event of an emergency power shutoff, people in those areas are advised to stay indoors as road traffic lights will not be operational. Travells should follow updates from the NWS.

Four homeless men beaten to death in New York City

Four homeless men have been beaten to death while sleeping on the streets of New York City. A 24-year-old man was charged after attacking five men in the Chinatown area. The attack happened on Saturday morning when Randy Rodrigue Santos targeted the victims with a metal pipe. A fifth victim was taken in a serious condition to the hospital. Authorities are still investigating the motive behind the attack. The suspect had previously been in custody on other charges.

Several killed in bar shooting in Kansas City, Missouri

At least four people have been killed and five others have been injured after two suspects opened fire at a bar in Kansas City, Missouri. CNN reported that the shooting happened in the early hours of Sunday morning. Reports indicate that one of the main suspects was kicked out of the Taquila KC Bar in the Riverview neighbourhood and returned accompanied by another armed subject. Reports incident that nearly 200 people were inside the venue during the shooting. According to the police, the incident happened due to a previous altercation. Police have already detained a 23-year-old suspect.

New York's EWR Airtrain service to be temporarily suspended on Saturday

Newark Liberty Airport (EWR) has said that AirTrain services to Rail Link station will be suspended for several hours from Saturday evening. EWR has announced that services will be suspended from 22:00 local time until noon on the following day. Replacement buses will be provided from daily parking lot P4 to Newark Penn Station. Passengers with flights scheduled for Sunday morning and afternoon should expect a lengthier journey towards EWR.

Authorities investigate legionnaires' disease outbreak in Fletcher, North Carolina

Dozens of cases have been confirmed amid a suspect legionnaires' disease outbreak in North Carolina. State health authorities have confirmed that the outbreak was first identified in late-September in Buncombe and Henderson counties. North Carolina's Division of Public Health is currently investigating the outbreak's potential link to a state fair that was being held in early-September in Fletcher, south of Asheville. In a statement, it said: "As a precaution, anyone who attended the NC Mountain State Fair and is experiencing coughing, fever or shortness of breath, is advised to call their health care provider right away and talk to them about Legionnaire's disease." Legionnaire's disease is a serious lung infection that may cause symptoms such as fever, chills and cough. It is mainly found in fresh water, but it may also be found in the plumbing system in large buildings, including hospitals.

FAA orders inspections of Boeing 737 NG aircraft

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has ordered inspections to Boeing 737 NG aircraft after structural cracks were discovered. Nearly 2,000 US-registered planes could be affected by the mandate, with immediate inspections due to be carried out on more than 160 of them. AFP reported that the Boeing has notified the FAA over an issue reported in China during modification work on an aircraft. It is still unclear what the impact on flight schedules may be. The FAA said that inspections may take up to an hour to be completed. Boeing is already facing issues over its 737 MAX aircraft, which are currently grounded until further review.

Seven killed in crash involving vintage military aircraft in Connecticut

Seven people have been killed after a WWII-era military aircraft crashed while attempting to land at Bradley International Airport (BDL) near Hartford, Connecticut. In total, 13 people were on board the civilian-owned B-17 bomber, which was expected to land at BDL on Wednesday morning. Operations at BDL were suspended for several hours, but have since returned to normal on Thursday. The aircraft was heading to BDL to attend an event.

WTO allows the US to impose tariffs on EU imports over Airbus case

The World Trade Organizations (WTO) has ruled in favour of the US over a long-standing dispute involving illegal subsidies granted by the EU to French-based Airbus and the US-based Boeing. The WTO has allowed the US to impose up to $7.5bn in tariffs on EU imports. The ruling released on 02 October is related to the “European Communities and Certain Member States - Measures Affecting Trade in Large Civil Aircraft”. It said that "the United States may request authorization from the DSB to take countermeasures with respect to the European Union and certain member States (...) at a level not exceeding, in total, USD  7,496.623 million annually". In a statement, the European Commission said: "The mutual imposition of countermeasures, however, would only inflict damage on businesses and citizens on both sides of the Atlantic, and harm global trade and the broader aviation industry at a sensitive time". 

Operations at Connecticut's Bradley Airport suspended after crash involving vintage aircraft

Operations at Connecticut's Bradley International Airport (BDL) have been suspended after an accident involving a vintage World War Two-era aircraft. The accident happened on Thursday morning. The airport said on social media: "We can confirm that there was an accident involving a Collings Foundation World War II aircraft this morning at Bradley Airport. We have an active fire and rescue operation underway. The airport is closed. We will issue further updates as information becomes available". According to the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the civilian-registered Boeing B-17 bomber crashed at the end of Runway 6 while attempting to land at BDL. It added that the "FAA has put in a ground stop for flights that are destined for the airport".

Large-scale protest to take place in Honolulu, Hawaii

A large-scale demonstration is scheduled to take place in Honolulu, Hawaii. Demonstrators will take to the streets of the state capital on Saturday in another event known as the 'Aloha Aina', which is intended to protest against the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) project. The project was launched to build a massive telescope on Mauna Kea, which is considered sacred land to native Hawaiians. The TMT is claimed to be a key advance on astronomic studies. Demonstrators are expected to march from Kalakaua Avenue towards the intersection between Ala Moana Boulevard and Kamakee Street. This is the second protest of the sort. The first was launched in mid-July just as the TMT's construction was set to start. Saturday's protest is expected to be peaceful.

Netflix users targeted in phishing scam

PandaLabs, part of the anti-malware company Panda Security, has detected a series of cyberattacks against users of the online streaming service Netflix. PandaLabs has said that hackers are targeting Netflix users through phishing, which is a common technique used by hackers where they send false emails posing as legitimate businesses or individuals to steal financial and personal data. According to PandaLabs, the emails are sent to people to update their payment details. After clicking a link to reactive their subscription, users are redirected to a fake Netflix website, where people are requested to fill up a form with their personal and bank details. The email claims that the update of payment details are necessary due to an error occurred in the previous month's billing. The UK Police's National Fraud & Cyber Crime Reporting Centre offers useful guidelines to avoid being a victim to scam and fake emails.

Sheriff's deputy shot dead during traffic stop in Houston, Texas

A Harris County Sheriff's Office deputy has been shot dead during a traffic stop in Houston, Texas. Sandeep Dhaliwal was shot twice after ordering a vehicle to stop for a traffic violation near the north-western area of Cypress. It is still unclear what the motives behind the shooting were. Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez has said that the main suspect, identified as 47-year-old Robert Solis, has had an active parole violation warrant. Solis was being searched for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon back in 2017. Dhaliwal was well-known in the Sikh community in Houston.

Several counties in Florida to allow teachers and staff to carry firearms

Several counties across Florida will allow teachers and school staff to carry firearms. In the first phase of the Guardian programme, teachers will be enrolled in training courses and undertake psychological and drug tests before being allowed to carry weapons. The programme will kick off on Tuesday in 11 counties, while 25 others are expected to adopt the measure on a later date. Guardians have been described as "armed personnel who aid in the prevention or abatement of active assailant incidents on school premises". The Guardian programme comes in the aftermath of the 2018 Parkland shooting, where 17 people died when a gunman raided the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The programme is part of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act, approved in the Florida Senate and later signed by Governor Rick Scott in March 2018. In addition to the programme, the law also bans bump stocks - which enable semi-automatic guns to turn into automatic weapons - and increases the age to purchase firearms.

Major winter storm to hit the US Northwest

Weather warnings have been issued to states in the US Northwest as a major winter storm is forecast to hit the region over the weekend. According to the National Weather Service (NWS), inclement weather is forecast to hit several counties across Washington, Montana, Idaho and Wyoming. Heavy snowfall and strong winds may bring hazardous travel conditions, mainly in northern Montana. Power outages and severe travel disruption are possible.

Food delivery company DoorDash hit in massive data breach

Food delivery company DoorDash has confirmed that nearly five million customers and businesses have been affected in a massive data breach. According to the San Francisco-based company, the breach was first identified earlier this month after an unauthorised third-party service provider got access to data back in May. DoorDash has said that those affected have joined the service before 05 April 2018 - those who joined it later were not affected. In a statement, the company said that user data accessed could include "profile information including names, email addresses, delivery addresses, order history, phone numbers, as well as hashed, salted passwords." It added that full bank or credit card details were not accessed. Those believed to have been affected are advised to change their passwords and directly contact DoorDash through the company's dedicated support call centre.

House speaker launches impeachment inquiry into President Trump

Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has announced the opening of an impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump. Earlier this week, President Trump was accused of asking Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyi to open an investigation into Democratic presidential contender Joe Biden and his son, Hunter. The case is linked to alleged corruption from when Biden was President Barack Obama's VP and Hunter was appointed as a board member to the Ukrainian oil and gas company Burisma. Pelosi said: "This week the president has admitted to asking the president of Ukraine to take action that would benefit him politically. The president must be held accountable. No-one is above the law". President Trump has denied any improprieties and claimed it to be a witch hunt. He said that the transcript of a call between him and Zelenskyi would be made public on Wednesday. In the eventuality that the inquiry moves forward for a vote in the Democratic-led House of Representatives, the procedure could be later blocked in the Republican-controlled Senate.

Severe weather may impact flights across the US

Severe weather conditions may impact flights across several states across the central US and the midwest. According to the National Weather Service (NWS), severe weather conditions are expected as a cold front approaches Iowa, Nebraska, Minnesota and Wisconsin. Besides the possibility of tornadoes, there is also chances of strong winds and severe hail that could affect the region. Some areas in Oklahoma and Arkansas may also be affected.

Chinese tourists killed in bus accident in Utah

At least four Chinese tourists have been killed and scores injured in a bus accident near Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah. According to Garfield County Sheriff's Office, the crash happened along the State Highway 12 on Friday. In total, a dozen people were taken to the hospital, while several others were treated at the scene. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is launching an investigation. According to the NTSB, this was the driver's first tour with the California-based company. Highway 12 is very popular with tourists due to its scenic drive across several state and national parks.

President Trump accused of pressuring Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden

Political tensions between Democrats and Republicans have dominated discussion in Washington DC after a whistleblower complaint was filed earlier this month. President Donald Trump is being investigated by three Democrat-led committees for allegations that he and his lawyer, Rudolph Giuliani, pressured the Ukrainian government into opening investigations against Democratic presidential contender, Joe Biden, and his son Hunter. The WSJ reported that the request was made eight times. Ukraine's Foreign Minister Vadyum Prystaiko has denied the allegations and any wrongdoing in the talks between both governments. Hunter is the youngest son of Joe Biden, who is the front runner for the Democratic ticket ahead of the 2020 presidential elections. Hunter was nominated back in 2014 - when Joe Biden was President Barack Obama's VP - to be part of the board of directors of the Ukrainian private oil and gas company Burisma. Both Hunter and his father are accused of pushing for the firing of the Ukrainian head prosecutor at the time, Viktor Shokin.

Weather risks still active in some areas in Texas and Lousiana

The risk of flash flooding and heavy rainfall remains across south-eastern Texas despite Tropical Depression Imelda dissipating. Several areas across southern Arkansas, Lousiana and Texas may still be affected until at least Saturday morning. The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued alerts to several districts in eastern Texas and to state border areas with Lousiana. Initial reports show that Imelda has affected thousands across the region, with severe travel disruption affecting hundreds of flights and major roads. Reports indicate that at least two people have been killed. Both Houston's Bush and Hobby airports are operating normally. However, due to some flights being diverted on Thursday, some flights may still be affected on Friday.

Scores charged for involvement in cartel-linked drug network in San Diego

The US Attorney's Office Southern District of California has charged 85 people for involvement in a drug-trafficking network linked to the Sinaloa Cartel. According to an official press release, investigations counted with the involvement of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). It took around a year to be completed. The group is accused of money laundering and drug distribution - including fentanyl, heroin and meth - to suppliers across San Diego County. In total, 47 people are currently detained, while the remaining others are still being searched for. According to the DEA's 2018 Drug Threat Assessment, the US Southwest border near San Diego continues to be one of the main drug entry points in the US.

Man killed in shooting at apartment complex in DC

A person has been killed and six others injured in a shooting in Washington DC. NBC News reported that the incident happened on Thursday evening at an apartment complex on Columbia Road Northwest, Columbia Heights area. DC Police Department confirmed that two suspects carrying what is believed to be an assault rifle fled the scene. Investigations are still ongoing over the motives behind the shooting. A second shooting on a nearby location happened nearly an hour later, but there is no indication that they are connected.

Pakistani activist flees to US

Prominent Pakistani human rights activist, Gulalai Ismail, has reportedly fled from Pakistan to the US. Ismail has allegedly fled the country after spending months in hiding from the Pakistani authorities, who had purportedly filed six cases against her - all relating to anti-state and anti-military or incitement charges. Ismail was under a travel ban which prevented her leaving the country, and although she gave no precise details of her time in hiding or how she exited the country, she did say that she didn't fly out and that she arrived in the US via Sri Lanka, where Pakistani citizens can travel visa-free. Reports indicate the 33-year-old is now in New York with her sister, and has requested political asylum.

Operations at Houston Bush Airport heavily affected due to severe weather

Operations at Houston Bush Airport (IAH) have been severely affected due to adverse weather conditions. Intense rainfall is battering Texas on Thursday as Tropical Depression Imelda slowly heads westwards. Inclement weather is forecast to mainly affect the Houston area. Austin, Dallas and most of the state's eastern regions may also be affected. According to the US National Weather Service (NWS), rainfall is forecast to continue in eastern Texas and south-western Louisiana until at least Thursday evening. Flash flooding warnings remain in effect in some coastal areas on the state border.

Prosecutors claim that AA mechanic accused of sabotaging aircraft may have IS links

Assistant US Attorney Maria Medetis has claimed that a 60-year-old mechanic accused of sabotaging an American Airlines (AA) aircraft may have links to the Islamic State (IS). In court documents, prosecutors claimed that Abdul-Majeed Marouf Ahmed Alani's brother is an IS militant and that the mechanic's mobile phone stored some IS-linked propaganda. No evidence to support either claim has been made public. Reports suggest that Alani is a US-naturalised national and has been a mechanic for 30 years. He claimed that the sabotage to the aircraft's navigation system was not intended to cause any harm, but was motivated by a labour dispute. In mid-July, an AA flight transporting 150 passengers from Miami to the Bahamas was aborted after pilots received an error message.

Three teenager robbers shot dead in Georgia

Three teenagers suspected of robbery have been shot dead in Georgia. A man opened fire on the trio outside his home in Conyers on Tuesday. Police said one of the suspects "brandished a handgun and fired shots at the residents before one of the intended robbery victims returned fire". Rockdale County Sheriff Eric Levett said the incident could be a 'stand your ground' case.

Tropical Depression Imelda heading to Texas

Tropical Depression Imelda will make landfall in northern Texas on Wednesday night, according to forecasters. There are weather warnings for the Houston and Galveston areas, with NOAA's Weather Prediction Center stating that the storm will result in extremely heavy rainfall which could cause flash flooding. "Imelda is expected to produce total rainfall accumulations of 6 to 12 inches with isolated maximum amounts of 18 inches across the upper coastal region of Texas, including the Houston and Galveston areas," said NOAA in a statement. Warnings are also in place for parts of south-western Louisiana.

Climate change protests to be held in New York City

A climate change protest is due to be held in New York City (NYC) on Friday 20 September. The protest has been organised by the 'Fridays for Future NYC' faction protest group as part of activist Greta Thunberg's Fridays for Future global youth strike movement. According to reports, the group stages strikes every Friday; however, the planned strike for this Friday is part of the Global Climate Strike and is expected to attracted hundreds of thousands of participants, with Thunberg herself leading the demonstration at Foley Square in NYC at noon on Friday. The protest will be followed by a rally and a march to Battery Park, with 1.1 million students in NYC public schools excused to participate in the event. This week's worldwide strike will see similar strikes pop up in major towns and cities (Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, Washington DC, LA, San Francisco, Seattle, Portland) across the US, with some 2,500 scheduled events to take place across 150 countries. The strikes come just days before the UN Summit which is also being hosted in New York.

Police find bodies of missing mother and children last seen weeks ago in Florida

Police have found the bodies of four missing children and their mother after weeks of searching in Florida. Marion County Sheriff's Office has confirmed that the remains of Casei Jones were found in the boot of her husband's car. Michael Jones was detained after he crashed his vehicle in Brantley County, Georgia. After being questioned, Michael led the police to the location of the other bodies, which according to CNN were hidden in an undisclosed location in Chalton County. Casei and her children were last seen six weeks ago in the town of Ocala, Florida. It is still unclear what the motive behind the murders is.

Weather warnings issued to south-eastern coastal areas

Weather warnings have been issued to large parts of the US Southeast as Hurricane Humberto moves eastwards the Atlantic. According to the National Weather Service (NWS), Florida and the Carolinas are expected to experience heavy rip currents and heavy surfs as Humberto continues to affect the region. Another low-pressure system forming in the Gulf of Mexico may bring additional rainfall and thunderstorms to most coastal areas in Texas and Lousiana. Adverse weather may persist for several days. Travellers are advised to follow updates from the NWS and the National Hurricane Center (NHC).

Deadly explosion rocks building in Farmington, Maine

A firefighter has died while responding to an explosion that affected a building in Farmington, Maine. Governor Janet Mills confirmed that the authorities are currently investigating the explosion that happened on Monday morning. According to Franklin County Sheriff's Office, the blast occurred at a building run by a non-profit organisation on Farmington Falls Road. People have been urged to avoid the area. US media reported that six people were hospitalised.

Authorities rule out hate crime in Minnesota synagogue fire

Authorities have confirmed that initial investigations do not indicate that the fire at a historic synagogue in Minnesota is linked to hate crime. A 36-year-old man has been detained on Friday for links to suspected arson at the Adas Israel Congregation in Duluth. Although investigations are ongoing, the main suspect has been charged with first-degree arson. US media reported that the fire started in a nearby shed and later spread towards the synagogue.

GM workers launch massive strike over long-standing pay dispute

Around 46,000 hourly employees have launched a strike on Sunday over a long-standing pay dispute involving giant car manufacturer General Motors (GM). Members of the influential United Auto Workers (UAW) have taken part in one of the largest strikes in over a decade. The strike comes as the UAW and GM are renegotiating salaries, benefits and other guarantees. GM said that they have already offered some compromise, but UAW had refused the least offer. Similar to other companies, GM is struggling to push for massive investment needed to prepare for future electric and self-driving vehicles.

Authorities monitor low pressure that may affect Gulf states

The US authorities are monitoring a low-pressure system which may affect Florida, Alabama and other Gulf states over the weekend. According to the US National Hurricane Center (NHC), the system is currently located off southern Cuba and is forecast to reach the US later in the week. Although the exact path of the system is still unclear, it's expected to bring heavy rainfall and strong winds to some regions and is on track to develop into a tropical storm. No alerts have been issued as of Thursday morning. For further information, travellers are recommended to follow reliable media reports and updates from the NHC.

Chinese trespasser at President Trump's Florida resort found guilty

A Chinese woman accused of trespassing at President Donald Trump's Florida resort has been found guilty. A woman identified as Yujing Zhang has been given a combined sentence of up six years for trespassing and lying to a federal agent. Security concerns were raised back in March when Zhang got access to the Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach. The court has not addressed the motives behind Zhang's intentions on entering a restricted area, while concerns were initially raised that she could be a spy. The Chinese foreign ministry claimed that Zhang is not linked to the Chinese government.

Democrat-led House committee approves bills on gun control

A Democrat-led House committee has voted in favour of pushing for controversial gun control legislation in the light of two recent mass shootings. The House of Representatives Judiciary Committee has passed three measures that will now be voted in the House. They include the so-called 'red-flag bill', which will provide assistance to courts and law enforcement agencies to remove weapons from people that may pose a risk to society. The other two address debate on the future ban on high-capacity ammunition magazines and the prohibition of those with violent hate crime convictions from possessing firearms. Democrats are pressuring Republicans to pass substantial gun-control legislation, which is often considered a hot-topic in American politics.

British national dies in skydiving accident in northern Arizona

A 55-year-old British national has been killed in a skydiving accident in northern Arizona. Local officials confirmed that the victim was skydiving with another man when they were found unconscious on the grounds of the Grand Canyon National Park. One of the victims, identified as Christopher Swales, died after being taken to the hospital. Coconino County Sheriff's Office confirmed that the victim was taking part in a tandem jump from the Grand Canyon Airport. Both the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) are investigating the accident.

Hospital evacuated after tornado rips through Sioux Falls, South Dakota

A hospital has been evacuated after a powerful tornado ripped through Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Sioux Falls Mayor Paul TenHaken told CNN that the most affected areas are located in the city's south and south-east. Patients at the Avera Behavioral Health Center were preventatively evacuated, while more than 18,000 people suffered power cuts. No casualties have been reported. Tornadoes in South Dakota are relatively rare and mainly occur in June.

John Bolton replaced as White House national secuirty adviser

The White House National Security Adviser John Bolton has been replaced. It is still up for debate whether Bolton resigned or was fired. Bolton claimed that he had resigned, while President Trump said on social media: "I informed John Bolton last night that his services are no longer needed at the White House. I disagreed strongly with many of his suggestions, as did others in the Administration, and therefore (...) I asked John for his resignation, which was given to me this morning.” Besides differences on foreign policy with President Trump, he was also engaged in grievances with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, especially regarding the peace talks with the Taliban and issues concerning Russia, Iran and North Korea. Additionally, Bolton has been known for his strong stance in Latin America, mainly towards Cuba and Venezuela. Charles Kupperman, Bolton's deputy, will be the acting national security adviser.

Patient dies after contracting EEE in Rhode Island

A patient has died after contracting the mosquito-borne eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) in Rhode Island. According to state officials, the victim was in critical condition and succumbed to the disease on Sunday, nearly a week after contracting it. This is the first death linked to EEE in Rhode Island in over a decade. EEE outbreaks have been reported across New England. Earlier this month, authorities in Massachusetts issued a health alert over EEE risks across the state. It was issued after a number of cases were confirmed during the summer months. EEE infections in the US are relatively rare - in 2018, only six cases were reported. However, they can be serious if untreated. Symptoms may include fever, headache, drowsiness, diarrhoea and vomiting.

Several missing after cargo ship overturns off Georgia

At least four people have been reported missing when a cargo ship overturned off the Port of Brunswick in Georgia. US media reported that the Marshall Islands-flagged Golden Ray overturned just before approaching St Simons Sound on the early hours of Sunday morning. Costa Guard confirmed that 20 people were rescued. According to vessel-tracker MarineTraffic, the vehicle-carrier was heading towards Baltimore, Maryland. Authorities are still investigating the cause of the accident. Reports indicate that vessel traffic on the Port of Brunswick was temporarily suspended shortly after the accident.

Governor Abbott issues executive orders after two mass shootings in Texas

Republican Texas Governor Greg Abbott has issued eight executive orders after increasing pressure over two mass shootings were reported in the state last month. Although none of the orders includes hard-line approaches to gun control, the main points address police reporting to incidents and awareness campaigns over the Suspicious Activity Report (SAR). Most orders are addressed at the Texas Department of Public Safety that is tasked with ensuring that the general public and law-enforcement agencies are familiar with SAR procedures. Last month, at least 22 people were killed when a gunman raided a Walmart in El Paso. The incident happened weeks before a gunman engaged in a shooting spree and killed at least seven people across Odessa.

Hundreds evacuated due to wildfire near Murrieta, California

Hundreds of people have been preventatively evacuated after a wildfire broke out near Murrieta, Southern California. According to the Riverside Fire Department, the so-called Tenaja fire has already consumed more than 800 hectares of land. As of Thursday afternoon, the fire was 10 percent contained. Some schools were closed after health authorities issued a warning over risks associated with smoke and ash. No casualties have been so far reported. A spokesman to the Riverside County Fire Department told TIME that more than 400 houses and 1,200 residents were already evacuated.

San Francisco lawmakers approve resolution that labels the NRAs as a domestic terrorist organisation

Lawmakers in San Francisco have unanimously approved a motion that brands the influential National Rifle Association (NRA) as a domestic terrorist organisation. Members of the Democrat-controlled San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed the resolution in response to the deadly shooting in July, in which three people were killed when a gunman opened fire at the Gilroy Garlic Festival. Lawmakers claimed that the NRA uses "its considerable wealth and organisation strength to promote gun ownership and incite gun owners to acts of violence". In response, the NRA has condemned the decision and said in a statement: “This is a reckless assault on a law-abiding organization, its members, and the freedoms they all stand for. We remain undeterred – guided by our values and belief in those who want to find real solutions to violence.” It added that this is a stunt to divert attention from other social issues and crime in the city. With around five million members, the NRA is arguably one of the most powerful and influential gun-ownership advocacy lobbies in the country.

Hurricane Dorian triggers power outages in South Carolina

Power outages have been reported across South Carolina as Hurricane Dorian travels along the US Atlantic coast. According to reports, over 65,000 people faced power cuts across the state. Power outages were also reported in neighbouring Georgia. Energy suppliers in South Carolina are advising people to stay away from downed power lines and other damaged infrastructure. Hurricane warnings remain in place for the coast of South Carolina and North Carolina as strong winds, heavy rainfall and flooding may affect those regions. People have been advised to prepare ahead of Dorian's arrival on Friday. South-east Virginia may also be affected. After crossing the coast of North Carolina, Dorian is forecast to shift north towards the Atlantic. According to the National Hurricane Center (NHC), adverse weather is forecast to persist for the next few days. People are advised to follow updates from the NHC.

NYC mayor declares end of measles public health emergency

New York City's Mayor Bill de Blasio has announced the end of the public health emergency declared after a series of measles outbreaks were reported in the city. Mayor de Blasio said that the emergency ceases after the 42-day incubation period for measles has passed since the last infection was confirmed. NYC Health Commissioner Dr Demetre Daskalakis warned: “There may no longer be local transmission of measles in NYC, but the threat remains given other outbreaks in the US and around the world". The emergency declaration was initially declared in early-April for parts of Brooklyn. Cases were mainly diagnosed in members of an Orthodox Jewish community in the Williamsburg and Borough Park neighbourhood. Mayor de Blasio said that the end of the emergency came after close cooperation with the Jewish community in NYC. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 1,200 cases of measles have already been confirmed in the US during 2019 - this is the highest number of cases in almost three decades.

Weather warnings remain in place as Hurricane Dorian travels along the US Atlantic coast

Weather warnings remain in place for most coastal counties in Florida as Hurricane Dorina approaches the US Southeast on Wednesday. According to the National Hurricane Center (NHC), Dorian is expected to cruise along the US Atlantic coast as a powerful hurricane. Strong winds, life-threatening storm surge and heavy rainfall are forecast to hit the coast of Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia. Flash flooding is also likely to affect those areas. Adverse weather may persist until at least Thursday when Dorian is forecast to head northwards. Flights to and from the US Southeast may be impacted, with cancellations and delays still being reported. From Friday, further disruption may impact some coastal areas in Delaware, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine. Travellers are advised to follow updates from the NHC and the National Weather Service (NWS).

Teenager kills five members of his family in Elkmont, Alabama

Five members of the same family have been killed after a 14-year-old opened fire on a residence in Elkmont, Alabama. Limestone County Sheriff's Office confirmed that the teenager fired a handgun at his own family in the early hours of Tuesday morning. It added that two other people were taken to the hospital in critical condition. It is still unclear what motivated the shooting. Alabama has one of the loosest gun control laws in the US. According to the Annual Gun Law Scorecard of the Giffords Law Center, last year Alabama recorded the second-highest gun death rates per capita in the US.

New tariffs imposed on Chinese imports

The US has imposed a new set of tariffs on Chines imports amid an ever escalating trade war. The new tariffs will be imposed on $112bn (£92bn) of Chinese products, including shoes, nappies and food. According to reports, it's been estimated that the latest tariffs could cost the average American household an additional $800 a year. President Donald Trump plans to impose a 15 percent import tax on $300bn of Chinese goods by the end of 2019. Beijing has impose their own tariffs in retaliation, applying to some $75bn worth of US imports.

Scores killed as boat catches on fire off Santa Cruz Island, California

At least 25 people have been killed after a diving boat caught on fire off Santa Cruz Island in southern California. The fire broke out in the early hours of Monday morning on the Conception, which is operated by a diving company called Truth Aquatics. The vessel is based in Santa Barbara Harbour. Nearly 40 people were on board the boat. US Coast Guard said that five people have been rescued and nine others are still missing. Authorities are still investigating what the circumstances behind the fire are. Officials said that the Conception was in full compliance with safety regulations.

Iranian oil tanker blacklisted

The US has reportedly blacklisted the Adrian Drya 1 (formerly known as the Grace 1), claiming the tanker is being used to ship oil to Syria. The vessel had been detained by the British authorities in Gibraltar in July but was released last month despite a last-minute attempt by the US to block the ship's release, which was granted on the condition that Iran gave assurances it would not discharge its cargo in Syria. It was last reported that the ship was bound for Turkey; however, US Secretary of State Mile Pompeo recently Tweeted that the US had "reliable information" that the ship was on course for the Syrian port city of Tartus.

Several killed in shooting spree near Odessa, Texas

At least seven people have been killed and 20 others injured after a gunman engaged in a shooting spree near Odessa, Texas. The incident happened on Saturday afternoon just after public safety officers stopped a vehicle on Interstate 20 between Odessa and Midland. Reports suggest that as officers approached the vehicle, the shooter opened fire on them before fleeing the scene. The suspect then started randomly shooting at pedestrians and drivers before being gunned down at a cinema. It is still unclear what the motives behind the shooting are. This is the second mass shooting to be reported in Texas in less than a month.

Evacuation orders issued to coastal areas ahead of Hurricane Dorian's arrival

Evacuation orders have been issued to several states across the US Southeast ahead of the arrival of category-five Hurricane Dorian. A state of emergency has already been declared in Florida, while mandatory evacuation orders have been issued to most coastal counties, including Brevard, Flagler, Glades, Martin, Palm Beach and St Lucie. In Georgia, Governor Brian Kemp ordered mandatory evacuation to the counties of Bryan, Camden, Chatham, Glynn, Liberty and McIntosh. A state of emergency was already declared last week in most counties in the state's south-east. In South Carolina, Governor Henry McMaster also issued evacuation orders to most coastal areas around Charleston, Colleton and Beaufort. According to the National Hurricane Center (NHC), Dorian's exact path is still uncertain. Although the latest models show that Dorian may not make landfall, the storm is forecast to travel close to coastal areas, bringing life-threatening storm surge, heavy rainfall and powerful winds. Dorian is expected to weaken in the next few days and is forecast to travel further north along the US east coast as a hurricane until at least Friday evening. Further updates are available on the NHC website. Road travel disruption is highly expected due to flash flooding. Major airports may also be impacted. Passengers are advised to contact their airlines for flight updates.

Massachusetts health department issues alert over EEE risk

Massachusetts Health Department has issued an alert to more than 200 communities over risks linked to the mosquito-borne Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE). Among them, 28 are at critical risk, with most of them being located in the state's south-east. Most communities with moderate risk level are in central Massachusetts. A public health official stressed in a press release that "the peak time for transmission of mosquito-borne illness extends through September". People have been advised to use mosquito repellent when doing outdoor activities. EEE infections in the US are relatively rare - in 2018, only six cases were reported. However, they can be serious if untreated. Symptoms may include fever, headache, drowsiness, diarrhoea and vomiting.

Google researchers find malicious software linked to iPhone hacking

Google's Project Zero has said that they have uncovered malicious software which targeted iPhone users. Researchers of the company's Threat Analysis Group (TAG) have found that hackers would gain deep access to users' data by infecting their phones after they accessed specific websites - the list has not been revealed - active since 2017. Data included photos, passwords, live location and, in some cases, access to messages on end-to-end encryption apps. In total, more than a dozen security flaws were uncovered during the research. It mainly affected iOS - Apple's iPhone operating system - 10 through 12 software version. Project Zero's researcher, Ian Beer, told TechCrunch: "Simply visiting the hacked site was enough for the exploit server to attack your device, and if it was successful, install a monitoring implant." Google said that Apple has been informed of the vulnerability in early-February and that the issue was solved a week later. The patch released was 12.4.1. iPhone users are advised to ensure that they have the latest iOS software version installed.

State of emergency declared as Hurricane Dorian approaches the US Southeast

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has declared a state of emergency in several counties as Hurricane Dorian approaches the US Southeast. According to the forecast of the National Hurricane Center (NHC), Dorian is expected to make landfall in Florida on Monday evening as a potential category four hurricane. Due to eventual trajectory shifts, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp has also declared a state of emergency across 12 counties near the coast. Widespread power outages may impact the region alongside life-threatening storm surge, hurricane-force winds, heavy rainfall and flash flooding. Major airlines have already offered passengers travel waivers, while cruise ship companies began to reroute their vessels. The NHC said that "regardless of the exact track of Dorian, heavy rains are expected to occur over portions of the Bahamas, Florida, and elsewhere in the southeastern United States this weekend and into the middle of next week". For further information, travellers are advised to follow updates from the NHC and the National Weather Service (NWS).

Surfer injured in shark attack in Florida

A 40-year-old surfer has been injured after being bitten by a shark in Florida. AP reported that Donald Walsh was surfing at New Smyrna Beach - south of Daytona Beach - when he landed on a shark. Authorities confirmed that Walsh was rushed to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. According to the latest data from the Florida Museum's International Shark Attack File (ISAF), Florida records the highest number of unprovoked shark attacks in the US. New Smyrna Beach is situated in Volusia County which, together with neighbouring Brevard County, records the highest number of shark attacks in Florida.

US to keep 8,600 troops in Afghanistan

US President Donald Trump has reportedly stated that 8,600 US troops will remain in Afghanistan. According to Reuters, Trump said while the number of US troops in Afghanistan had been reduced to 8,600, the US would maintain a force in the country even if a deal was reached with the Taliban to end the 18-year war. The Taliban have repeatedly called for the US to withdraw completely from the country.

Tropical Storm Dorian becomes a hurricane as it heads towards Florida

Tropical Storm Dorian has become a category-one Hurricane as it heads towards the northern Bahamas and the US Southeast. According to the National Hurricane Center (NHC), Dorian is forecast to approach the Florida peninsula on Sunday evening as a major hurricane. Preliminary reports indicate that Dorian may hit Florida as a category three hurricane. Storm surge, flash flooding and strong winds are expected to affect the region, but the NHC said on Wednesday that "it is too soon to determine where these hazards will occur". Depending on Dorian's trajectory, it may shift towards Georgia. For further information, travellers are advised to follow updates from the NHC, the National Weather Service and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Authorities investigate deaths at veterans hospital in Clarksburg, West Virginia

The US Veteran Affairs department is currently investigating suspicious deaths at a veterans hospital in West Virginia. Senator Joe Manchin said that up to 11 deaths are under investigation at the Louis A Johnson VA Medical Center in Clarksburg. VA Inspector General Michael Missal said: “The Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General has been working with our federal law enforcement partners to investigate the allegations of potential wrongdoing resulting in patient deaths." A person of interest has already been suspended. Allegations of wrongdoing emerged after the autopsy of an 82-year-old. According to USA Today, Felix McDermott died after being injected with insulin into his abdomen. The incident is being investigated as a homicide.

Johnson & Johnson slapped with massive fine over opioid addiction crisis in Oklahoma

Drugmaker-giant Johnson & Johnson has been slapped with a massive 572-million-dollar fine for links to an opioid addiction crisis in Oklahoma. The company is accused of fuelling opioid addiction in the state after it marketed drugs through promoting its benefits. State prosecutors claim that through minimizing the risks associated with the consumption of painkillers, people were encouraged to request medical prescriptions. Judge Thad Balkman said: "Those actions compromised the health and safety of thousands of OklahomansThe opioid crisis is an imminent danger and menace to Oklahomans". Johnson & Johnson claimed that "The decision in this case is flawed. The State failed to present evidence that the company's products or actions caused a public nuisance in Oklahoma. This judgement is a misapplication of public nuisance law that has already been rejected by judges in other states." The company said that they will appeal the ruling. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 17,000 drug overdose deaths involving prescription opioids were reported in the US in 2017 - numbers have continuously risen since 1999, where over 3,000 deaths were confirmed.

US authorities monitor developments on Tropical Storm Dorian

US authorities are currently monitoring the potential impact that Tropical Storm Dorian may bring to Florida and the US Southeast. The National Weather Service (NWS) in Miami has said on Wednesday that it is still early to predict the impact that Dorian may cause in the US mainland. According to the latest forecast of the National Hurricane Center (NHC), Dorian may approach Florida as a hurricane on Sunday evening. People in Florida have been advised to monitor local media and recommendations from the authorities, including the NHC, the NWS and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Trade talks with China to resume

Trade talks between the US and China are reportedly set to resume following escalated tensions between Washington and Beijing. US President Donald Trump has allegedly stated that talks will resume "very shortly" with both countries expecting to return to the negotiating table to discuss the recently escalated US-China trade war, which has seen both sides enforce harsh tariffs on each other imports. The news comes after Trump was reportedly pressured on the topic at the recent G7 summit this weekend, with allies saying the trade war is at a high risk of threatening the global economy.

Trump open to meeting Iran President

US President Donald Trump has stated that he apparently open to meeting Iranian President Hassan Rouhani given the right circumstances. As the G7 summit came to a close, Trump said that the US isn't looking for a change in leadership in Iran and that he would be willing to meet Rouhani. Relations between the two countries have deteriorated since last, after the US withdrew from a 2015 deal to limit Iran's nuclear activities. Trump expressed hope for the prospect of a new nuclear deal being struck with Iran, implying Iran would have to cooperate before he would agree to meeting though. Rouhani stated that he was prepared to meet with anyone if he felt it would benefit Iran.

Billionaire industrialist David Koch dies aged 79

Billionaire industrialist David Koch has died aged 79 after a protracted battle with prostate cancer. He was diagnosed with the disease nearly 27 years ago and had just recently stepped away from the political and business arena. David and his brother, Charles Koch, were at the centre of Koch Industries. Besides being a prominent businessman, he was primarily known for donating millions of dollars to the Republican Party and other conservative causes.

US to sanction Iran tanker

The US has announced that it will sanction the Iranian oil tanker which was recently released from being held by the British authorities in Gibraltar. The Adrian Darya, formerly called Grace 1, was released earlier this month despite efforts from the US to keep it detained. The ship is now said to be heading towards Greece in the Mediterranean, although Greek PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis claimed it was not heading to his country. The sanctions enforced by the US aim to prevent the private sector from assisting the Adrian Darya. According to Reuters, a US officials stated that the US will act against anyone directly or indirectly helping the tanker. The ship was originally detained in Gibraltar on suspicion of violating international sanctions prohibiting trade with Syria, where it was thought to be transporting the oil to.

Scores injured in train derailment in Sacramento, California

At least 27 people have been injured after a train derailed in Sacramento, California. US authorities confirmed that most people were lightly injured but more than a dozen people were taken to the hospital for treatment. CNN reported that the accident happened on the Winter Street light rail station. Authorities are still investigating what caused the accident. Preliminary reports suggest that the passenger train crashed into a maintenance train before derailing.

US conduct its first missile test since INF withdrawal

The US Department of Defense (DoD) has confirmed that it has launched "a conventionally-configured ground-launched cruise missile" flight test on Sunday. In a press release, the DoD claimed that the ground-launched cruise missile launched from California's San Nicolas Island successfully hit its intended target located over 500km away. This is the first test conducted in the US after the country's withdrawal from the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty. The test generated criticism from both China and Russia, which accused the US of attempting to engage in a new arms race. The INF was signed back in 1987. It banned ground-launched nuclear and conventional ground-launched ballistic missiles. It also banned cruise missiles with ranges between 500 and 5,500km. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has previously raised concerns over the increasing threat of ballistic missiles.

Woman injured in shark attack in Kealakekua Bay, Hawaii

A 27-year-old woman has been taken to the hospital after suffering a shark attack in Kealakekua Bay on Hawaii's Big Island. US media reported that the victim is expected to be discharged after having injuries on her lower back and hip area treated. Hawaii Fire Department Chief Willian Begen told CBS that the victim was swimming several yards from the shore. He said that local fishermen claim that due to the abundance of fish during this time of the year, sharks are attracted to the bay area. Hawaii's Ocean Safety Division has issued alerts of high surfs on both Kahalu'u Beach Park and White Sand Beach Park, which may affect water visibility and make difficult to spot sharks. The State of Hawaii's Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) offers useful safety advice and recommendations to prevent shark attacks. According to DLNR, at least eight shark attacks were reported in Hawaii in 2019.

Ban on Huawei delayed 90 more days

The US has delayed a trade ban on Chinese technology giant Huawei has been delayed for another 90 days. US Commerce Secretary, Wilbur Ross, confirmed that the ban on Huawei will not come into effect for another 90 days, having blacklisted the Chinese company back in May over national security concerns. Huawei had been granted a temporary permit to ease the transition, which expired on Monday; however, the transition period has now been extended with an additional 46 Huawei affiliated now added to the US blacklist of firms it won't trade with. The extension is allegedly designed to allow companies such as Google to continue to trade with Huawei while adjusting to new restrictions. Huawei has responded by expressing opposition to the addition of 46 affiliates to the US blacklist, claiming the move was politically motivated.

Oregon records fresh measles outbreak in Clackamas and Multnomah

Oregon Health Authority (OHA) has confirmed that nine people have contracted measles in a fresh outbreak in the state. In a statement, OHA confirmed that the cases were recorded in the counties of Clackamas and Multnomah since early-July. Health authorities said that so far this year 23 cases of measles were confirmed state-wide. Most cases affected unvaccinated school-age children. This has been considered the highest number of cases in Oregon since 1991. Measles outbreaks have been widely reported across the US. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), so far this year, over 1,200 cases of measles have been confirmed across 30 states - the highest since 1992. In comparison, 372 cases were confirmed in 2018. Measles is a highly contagious disease and preventable by the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccination. Symptoms include high fever, coughing and red eyes.

State government agencies in Texas targeted in cyberattack

Several local government agencies in Texas have been hit in a cyberattack. In a statement released by the Texas Department of Information Resources (DIR), it confirmed that the attack happened on Wednesday morning. Preliminary investigations suggest that 23 entities were targeted in a ransomware attack. DIR believes that the attack was perpetrated by a single-threat actor. None of the agencies has been named, but the DIR confirmed that the State of Texas systems and networks were not affected. Local governments in the US have recently been targeted in a series of cyberattacks. Criminals often exploit systems' vulnerabilities in order to demand ransom in cryptocurrency. Local government agencies are mainly vulnerable for having outdated tech systems.

Brief evacuation ordered over suspicious objects at NYC subway station

An area around a New York City subway station has been briefly evacuated after the police found two suspicious objects. NYPD said that an area around Fulton Street and William Street was cordoned off on Friday morning while emergency services investigated the case. Police counter-terrorism unit said that two pressure cookers were found in the subway station in Lower Manhattan and that the situation has been already cleared. NYPD said that no explosives were found and that nearby stations were also searched as a precaution. Services to Fulton Street are expected to resume later on Friday.

Australian national dies after going overboard from a cruise ship off US coast

An Australian national has died after he fell overboard a cruise ship off the US coast. In a statement, Royal Caribbean said: “Upon the initial report that an Australian adult male had gone overboard, our ship immediately turned, launched a rescue boat, and conducted a full-scale search." The Symphony of Seas cruise ship left Miami on Wednesday and was heading towards St Thomas, US Virgin Islands.

Far-right rallies and counter-protests to take place in Portland, Oregon

Police reinforcement will be deployed ahead of planned far-right right rallies in Portland, Oregon. US media reported that several far-right groups are planning to launch a large-scale demonstration on Saturday and that counter-protesters by anti-fascist organisations will also be held. Additional police presence will be visible in several areas across the city centre. Like other rallies and counter-protests in the US, clashes and violence may suddenly break out. Local media has reported that disruption is expected to affect businesses and some scheduled events in Oregon's downtown area.

Several officers injured in armed standoff in northern Philadelphia

At least six police officers have been injured during a long standoff in northern Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. CBS reported that police officers headed to the Nicetown-Tioga neighbourhood to serve a drugs warrant on Wednesday afternoon. A shooting broke out just after the police arrived at the scene. A SWAT team was deployed to free two police officers that were trapped into a house. A man was detained when the standoff ended several hours later.

Police officer gunned down in Riverside, California

A 34-year-old police officer has been killed during a shooting in Riverside, Southern California. Police confirmed that a California Highway Patrol officer, Andre Moye, exchanged fire with the shooter during a police stop near Interstate 125. In a press conference, the shooter was identified as Aaron Luther, who had been previously convicted of attempted murder. Moye was rushed to the hospital but succumbed to his wounds. Two other officers were injured.

Weather alerts issued due to excessive heat across southern US

Weather alerts have been issued to the southern and southeast US due to excessive heat. The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued excessive heat warnings to a large portion across western Arizona and central California. Heat advisories were issued to south-eastern Texas and western Louisiana. Southern districts in Alabama and Georgia, and northern areas in Florida are also on alert. People should exercise caution in the sun to avoid heat exhaustion and heatstroke. Additionally, people are recommended to wear appropriate clothing, eat lightly and drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration. Outdoor activities should also be avoided. For further information, travellers are advised to follow updates from the NWS and recommendations from the Red Cross.

FAA to ban some Macbook Pro models over battery recall

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has banned some Apple MacBook Pro laptops from being transported as cargo or being carried on board planes. Bloomberg reported that the situation concerns a previous Apple recall, applying to the faulty batteries of a select number of laptops. According to reports, some airlines have already banned the devices both onboard and in dispatched luggage. Any 15-inch MacBook Pro models purchased between September 2015 and February 17 may be among those affected. Apple has already offered to replace batteries for eligible devices. For further information, the parts concerned should contact Apple support. The FAA has previously warned about the recall as has the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). Based on previous recommendations, the EASA advised airlines to "inform crews, passengers and staff about any restrictions and limitations on carrying such devices on board. If such a device is taken on board, the passenger is required to keep it switched off and not use or charge the device. Passengers should also be reminded to inform cabin crew immediately when a device is damaged, hot, produces smoke, is lost or falls into the seat structure".

Teenager dies after rockfall hits family car at Glacier National Park, Montana

A 14-year-old has died after a rockfall hit her family car at the Glacier National Park in Montana. CNN reported that three others were also injured. The family was driving towards the so-called Going-to-the-Sun Road when rocks hit the vehicle near the East Tunnel area. In a statement, the park said: "The two adults suffered significant bruises and were transported to area hospitals. The two other children in the vehicle had minor injuries and also went by ambulance to the hospital". According to the park, rockfalls on the Going-to-the-Sun Road are relatively rare, with the last happening back in 1996.

CBP investigate shooting against immigration patrol boat near Fronton, Texas

US Customs and Border Patrol (CPB) is currently investigating an incident in which a CBP boat patrolling the Rio Grande was shot at. In a statement released on Friday, the CBP said that the unit based in the town of Fronton, Texas, was targeted by individuals from the Mexican riverbank. CBP confirmed that "agents saw four subjects with automatic weapons who shot over 50 rounds at them". No injuries were reported. CBP has enhanced patrolling along the Rio Grande Valley as the region has been considered one of the main migrant-smuggling, drug-trafficking and illegal migration routes into the US.

Five children killed in fire at kindergarten in Erie, Pennsylvania

Five young children have died after a fire broke out at a kindergarten in Erie, Pennsylvania. US media reported that the fire started in the early hours of Sunday morning. The daycare centre's owner was injured and taken to the hospital. Reports suggest that the Harris Family Daycare operated 24 hours a day. Authorities are still investigating the causes of the fire. Initial fire department reports indicate that the fire started in the building's living room.

Authorities investigate death of jailed financier Jeffrey Epstein

Authorities are investigating the circumstances behind the death of financier Jeffrey Epstein, who was detained for human trafficking and conspiracy charges. Epstein was found dead on Friday in his prison cell in New York. Initial reports suggest that he killed himself, but further FBI investigations have been launched. The Department of Justice is also investigating the case. Attorney General William Barr said: "I was appalled to learn that Jeffrey Epstein was found dead early this morning from an apparent suicide while in federal custody. Mr Epstein’s death raises serious questions that must be answered". Epstein was detained last month and denied bail after he pleaded not guilty. He was previously charged with soliciting prostitution, but he reached a controversial plea bargain deal - the deal has recently caused the resignation of Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta. Epstein is known for previous links to President Donald Trump and Bill Clinton, but both denied any strong connection to him or knowledge of any of the crimes.

Man armed with rifle detained at a supermarket in Springfield, Missouri

A 20-year-old man has been detained after carrying an assault rifle into a supermarket in Springfield, Missouri. Springfield PD Lt Mike Lucas confirmed that the suspect was arrested on Thursday afternoon. US media reported that an off-duty firefighter held the suspect at gunpoint until the police arrived at the scene. Lucas said that the police is still investigating the circumstances behind the incident. According to the police, the suspect was wearing a bullet-proof vest and carrying 100 rounds of ammunition. Since the deadly mass shootings in Texas and Ohio, people are on high-alert over renewed shootings. False alarms have been widely reported across the US. In New York City's Time Square, people panicked after they mistook a motorcycle backfire for gunshots.

CDC report confirms increase of WNV cases in 2018

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has confirmed a moderate increase in the number of West Nile Virus (WNV) in the US during 2018. In a report released on Wednesday, the CDC said that comparing with the average number of cases in the last decade, WNV neuroinvasive disease (including meningitis and encephalitis) suffered a 25 percent increase. In total, 2,600 cases were confirmed across 49 states, with a significant increase across the US Northeast. At least 167 people died after contracting WNV. CDC acknowledged that the number of cases may be much higher due to the limitations of monitoring tools. WNV is a disease carried by mosquitoes. Most cases present mild symptoms, such as fever and headaches. However, a small percentage may develop severe neurological infections. According to the CDC, 128 cases have been confirmed across the US so far in 2019.

Western hemisphere assistant secretary of state resigns

Kimberly Breier, the Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, has resigned from her post. Reports suggest that Breier stepped down due to personal and family reasons. However, according to The Washington Post, Breier had been previously engaged in grievances with other Department of State officials over the US government's approach on the migration deal with Guatemala - the so-called safe third country agreement signed last month. Further reports also indicate that she and a member of the National Security Council were feuding over government's policies towards Venezuela. The US Western Hemisphere post becomes the latest to lose its leadership. Overseas posts in Europe and South and Central Asia are still held by acting officials.

Four killed during stabbing rampage near LA

Four people have been killed and two others have been injured after a man went on a stabbing rampage near LA. AP reported that a 33-year-old man was detained for involvement in several stabbings and robberies which occurred in a period of two hours across the Orange County. The suspect targeted several businesses in Santa Ana and Garden Grove and stabbed several people in and nearby the premises. Police located the suspect at a convenience store in Santa Ana and detained him after he surrendered both of his weapons. The suspect was armed with a knife and gun, which he had stolen from a security guard. 

Hundreds detained in large-scale immigration raids across Mississippi

Nearly 680 undocumented migrants have been detained during a large-scale operation across Mississippi. Hundreds of officers of the Immigrant and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raided food processing plants across six rural areas state-wide. AP reported that several food processing companies have been targeted in Bay Springs, Canton, Sebastopol, Palahatchie, Carthage and Morton. ICE said that the operation comes as part of the execution of "federal search warrants and seizing business records pertaining to the ongoing federal criminal investigation". This has been considered one of the largest-ever migration raids. Last month, President Donald Trump announced plans to launch nationwide raids to detain hundreds of illegal migrants.

US ambassador to Russia to step down

US Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman is set to step down after spending nearly two years in the post. Huntsman was nominated as US ambassador to Russia just after President Donald Trump was elected. He held office during turbulent diplomatic relations between both countries amid alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 US presidential elections. Huntsman is the former governor of Utah. The Hill reported that one of the reasons he is stepping down may be related to his plans to run for governor in 2020. He will resign in early-October, while it is still unclear who will be his replacement.

Three killed in cliff collapse at a beach in Encinitas, California

Three people have died after a cliff collapsed at a beach in Encinitas, California. Local authorities said that five people in total were rescued from the rubble in the Grandview Beach. One of the victims died at the scene, while two others succumbed to their wounds after being taken to the hospital. Emergency services warned people to avoid sun-bathing or doing activities near unstable trails and bluffs. Most beaches along the Californian coast suffer from the phenomenon. Travellers are urged to be aware of high-risk zones and to watch for warning signs that are usually placed next to active landslide areas.

US ends visa waiver programme to travellers who have visited North Korea

Citizens of countries included in the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) that have recently visited North Korea will no longer be eligible to travel to the US under the VWP. In the website of the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP), it states that travellers will no longer be eligible under the VWP if they "have travelled to or been present in Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Sudan, Syria, Libya, Somalia and Yemen on or after March 1, 2011" The VWP gives nationals from 38 countries visa-free entry in the US for up to 90 days on tourism or business reasons. If travellers have visited any of those countries, they will need to apply for a visa before heading to the US. The measure came in effect on Monday. North Korea was added to the State Sponsors of Terrorism list in 2017.

Mexico to open terrorism investigation against El Paso shooter

Mexico's Foreign Minister Marco Ebrard has said that Mexican authorities will get involved in the probe against Patrick Crusius, a US national who killed 22 people at a department store in the bordering city of El Paso, Texas. In a press conference held at the Mexico Consulate General in El Paso, Ebrard said: “We consider this an act of terrorism, in this case, carried out in U.S. territory, but an act of terrorism against Mexicans. It will be the first investigative case of this importance in the history of Mexico regarding terrorism in the United States territory." US authorities are currently investigating a hate-crime motivation behind the shooting.  At least eight Mexican nationals died in the incident, which occurred last Saturday at a Walmart shopping complex.

Venezuela issues travel warning over US shootings and hate-crime

Venezuela's foreign ministry has issued a travel alert to Venezuelan tourists heading to the US. The foreign ministry urged Venezuelans to postpone travels to the US after the shootings in Ohio and Texas. It highlighted that some of the crimes are also linked to hate and deliberately targeted against the migrant population. Additionally, the alert also advises against travel to Cleveland, Detroit, Baltimore, St Louis, Oakland, Birmingham, Atlanta and Buffalo, due to crime. The warning came on the same day that President Donald Trump imposed an embargo against Venezuela. Some countries often issue travel warnings to their citizens as a response to increasing diplomatic tensions. Gun-crime in the US has been highlighted in several travel alerts issued by a number of foreign ministries worldwide. In June, the Chinese ministry of culture and tourism issued a travel warning over shootings in major US cities. It also warned citizens of harassment from law enforcement. The alert coincidently came amid the escalation of a trade war between both countries.

Tropical Depression Flossie may bring adverse weather to Hawaii

Strong winds and heavy rainfall may still affect some parts across eastern Hawaii as Tropical Depression Flossie approaches. According to the National Weather Service (NWS), adverse weather area is forecast to hit most Hawaiian islands. High surf warnings were issued to the entirety of Big Island and Maui. Latest reports from the National Hurricane Center (NHC) forecast that Flossie will weaken later on Monday. Inclement weather may still affect some areas in the state until at least Tuesday morning. Travellers are recommended to follow social media updates and reports from the NWS office in Honolulu.

Scores killed as gunman raids department store in El Paso, Texas

At least 20 people have been killed and dozens more injured after a gunman raided a department store in El Paso, Texas. The shooting broke out on Saturday morning when a 21-year-old man carrying an assault rifle targeted shoppers at a Walmart and a nearby parking lot. Police confirmed that the gunman was identified as Patrick Crusius, who is originally from Allen, near Dallas. Prosecutors said that they will demand the death penalty over charges of domestic terrorism. Hate crime charges are also being considered as the authorities investigate anti-immigration content which Crusius posted online just after the shooting. El Paso is situated across the border from the Mexican city of Ciudad Juarez and mostly home to residents with a Latino background.

Several killed in mass shooting outside a bar in Dayton, Ohio

At least 10 people have been killed after a gunman opened fire outside a bar in Dayton, Ohio. US media reported that the shooter arrived at the scene with his sister. Police identified the suspect as 24-year-old Connor Betts, who was shot down just before attempting to enter the Ned Peppers bar in Oregon district. According to reports, Betts was wearing a bulletproof vest, a mask and carrying extra ammunition for his .223-calibre assault rifle with high-capacity magazines. It is still unclear what the motives behind the shooting are. The incident happened just hours after 20 people were killed in a mass shooting at a Walmart centre in El Paso, Texas.

One killed in gas pipeline blast near Junction City, Kentucky

At least one person has been killed and several others have been injured after a gas pipeline exploded near Junction City, Kentucky. Dozens of people staying at a nearby trailer park were evacuated after a massive blaze broke out in the area. Lincoln County officials confirmed that at least five homes were destroyed and that the flames expanded to a nearby forest area. Canadian-based Enbridge said that the blast hit their Texas Eastern Transmission pipeline. A local railway road was also destroyed, causing disruption to train services in the area. The pipeline spans thousands of kilometres from Mexico to New York.

US withdraws from Cold War-era INF treaty

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has announced America's withdrawal from the Cold War-era Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF). After decades of accusations from both the US and Russia over each other's violations to the INF, both countries are currently putting an end to the treaty. Pompeo said: "With the full support of our Nato allies, the United States has determined Russia to be in material breach of the treaty, and has subsequently suspended our obligations under the treaty". The INF was signed back in 1987. It banned ground-launched nuclear and conventional ground-launched ballistic. It also banned cruise missiles with ranges between 500 and 5,500 km. Just after the announcement, concerns were raised over the funding of the US future missile programmes, which are expected to face fierce resistance in the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres raised concerns over the INF withdrawal and claimed that "this will likely heighten, not reduce, the threat posed by ballistic missiles."

Trump escalates trade war with China

The ongoing trade war between the US and China has recently escalated after US President Donald Trump announced plans to impose new 10 percent tariffs on another $300bn (£247bn) of Chinese goods. The announcement has come after a recent round of bilateral talks with China showed little sign of progress. The new tariffs will come into effect on 01 September, and are widely being seen as a tax on all Chinese imports to the US, as the new tariffs are expected to apply to a wide range of goods, including smartphones and clothing. Chinese officials have criticised the move, warning that counter-measures will be taken against the US.

Flight disruption reported due to adverse weather in southern Florida

Dozens of flights have been delayed and several have been cancelled due to adverse weather in southern Florida. According to the National Weather Service (NWS), the system's potential for further development remains low. It stated: "Regardless of any further development, the approach and passage of this system will allow for deep tropical moisture to move into South Florida starting on Thursday with lingering effects through Sunday." Travellers are recommended to check for flight status updates with their respective airlines and further alerts from the National Hurricane Center and NWS.

Dozens medically assisted over fire at oil refinery in Baytown, Texas

Dozens of people have received medical assistance after a blast triggered a fire at an oil refinery in Baytown, Texas. NBC News reported that the blaze broke out at an ExxonMobil plant on Wednesday morning. Baytown city authorities issued a temporary shelter-in-place order, which was lifted hours later. No injuries have been reported. Baytown is located several kilometres east of Houston. The plant processes light hydrocarbons, including propane and propylene.

German tourists found dead in Valdez Glacier Lake, Alaska

Three German tourists have been found dead in a lake in the city of Valdez, Alaska. US media reported that the victim's bodies were recovered from the Valdez Glacier Lake on Wednesday morning. Preliminary investigations suggest that the tourists were kayaking when an ice boulder detached and caused their inflatable vessel to capsize. A city official told Anchorage Daily News: “It’s dangerous getting near the face of glaciers like that. If they were knocked out of the boat due to a wake or a calving piece of ice, the water is very cold". Valdez Glacier Lake is located 200 km east of Anchorage.

Police investigate shooting that killed two Chicago mothers

Police are investigating the death of two women who were killed while campaigning against gun violence in Chicago. Chantel Grant and Andrea Stoudemire were members of the Mothers Against Senseless Killings (MASK). They were gathered on Friday evening at their usual gathering place in the southern Auburn Gresham neighbourhood when they were shot from a moving vehicle. It is still unclear if both victims or their group were specifically targeted. Both victims died as Chicago faced another weekend of violence, where at least eight people were killed and nearly 50 were shot. 

Hurricane Erick may bring adverse weather to some regions in Hawaii

Hurricane Erick has become a category-one storm on Tuesday evening and is forecast to strengthen in the next few days. According to the National Hurricane Center (NHC), Erick is currently located well offshore south-eastern Hawaii and is expected to approach the southern parts of the state on Thursday. Although Erick is not expected to make landfall, the National Weather Service (NWS) forecast that high surfs may affect some of the archipelago's southern shores. Heavy rainfall is forecast in the eastern regions, while strong winds could mainly impact the Big Island. Meanwhile, Hurricane Flossie is forecast to follow the same path as Erick, but the NWS said that it is still early to predict a potential impact on Hawaii. Travellers are advised to monitor updates and official reports on social media provided by the NWS Honolulu and the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency (EMA).

Planned power cut scheduled to take place at Las Vegas's McCarran terminal

Las Vegas's McCarran International Airport (LAS) has said that a planned power cut will take place due to electrical maintenance works at Terminal 1. LAS said that the planned power outage is scheduled between 01:00 and 04:00 local time. Emergency lights will remain on during this period. Flights are not expected to be affected.

Health authorities investigate leggionella outbreak at a hotel in Atlanta, Georgia

Georgia's Department of Public Health (DPH) is currently investigating a suspected legionella outbreak which may have originated from a hotel in downtown Atlanta. In a statement, the DPH said the Sheraton Atlanta Hotel has "voluntarily decided to close until the source of the legionella is located and remediation is complete". At least 55 cases are being investigated. Legionnaire's disease is a serious lung infection that may cause symptoms such as fever, chills and cough. It is mainly found in fresh water, but it may also be found in the plumbing system in large buildings, including hospitals.

JFK AirTrain services temporarily suspended

AirTrain services at New York City's JFK airport have been suspended. JFK has said on Tuesday morning that services to all terminals are currently being replaced by shuttle buses. Travellers have been recommended to allow for extra travel times. AirTrain is a 24-hour service that connects JFK terminals to parking lots, rental car centres, hotel shuttle pick-up areas and other public transports services operating from Jamaica and Howard Beach stations.

Former tech engineer detained for Capital One data theft

A 33-year-old former tech engineer has been detained for stealing data from servers of the credit card-giant Capital One. The US Attorney's Office in Western District of Washington said that Paige Thompson was detained after she posted about the incident at an online sharing site. In a statement, it added: "The intrusion occurred through a misconfigured web application firewall that enabled access to the data". Reports suggest that Thompson may have stolen data from over 100m credit card applications in the US and around six million in Canada. Capital One said that "the largest category of information accessed was information on consumers and small businesses as of the time they applied for one of our credit card products from 2005 through early 2019". Capital One confirmed that compromised information may include "names, addresses, zip codes/postal codes, phone numbers, email addresses, dates of birth, and self-reported income". The breach is believed to have started on 12 July but was only identified a week later.

White House intelligence chief to step down in mid-August

President Donald Trump has announced that Dan Coats is being removed as the Director of National Intelligence (DNI). After more than two years of holding the post, former Senator Coats has been known for having a complicated relationship with President Trump. He was known to openly contradict some of the president's claims and disagreed with him on multiple foreign policy stances, including on Iran, North Korea and Russia. Coats is stepping down in mid-August and is being replaced by Republican Representative John Ratcliffe - a close ally of President Trump. Ratcliffe has recently been involved in the congressional grilling of former Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who faced two congressional committee sessions over his Russian collusion report.

Florida health department issues advisory over mosquito-borne diseases

Health officials in Florida have issued an advisory over the increasing risks of contracting mosquito-borne diseases. The Florida Department of Health in Orange County has urged people to take necessary precautions to avoid mosquito bites. The advisory comes after several sentinel chickens were tested positive for the Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE), a potentially deadly virus that may be transmitted to humans. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), EEE cases in the US are rare. In 2018, six cases of EEE were confirmed in the country. Gulf Coast states, such as Florida, are especially vulnerable. EEE symptoms may take up to 10 days to be developed and can include headache, chills, vomiting and high fever.

One killed in shooting at a Brooklyn music festival, NYC

One person has been killed and 11 others have been injured after a shooting broke out in eastern Brooklyn, New York City. CNN reported that the shooting happened on Saturday evening in the Brownsville neighbourhood, where thousands were leaving a popular music festival known as the 'Old Timers Event'. No arrests have initially been made, while investigations are still ongoing. NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio and New York Senator Roxxane Persaud condemned the incident.

Authorities monitor potential threat of Tropical Storm Erick to Hawaii

The Hawaiian authorities are currently monitoring the developments of Tropical Storm Erick, which is expected to strengthen into a hurricane later in the week. According to the National Hurricane Center (NHC), Erick is currently located in the Eastern North Pacific and is forecast to move northwards. It is still unclear if Erick will pose a direct threat to Hawaii as it is highly expected to weaken from Thursday morning. Erick may also suddenly change its trajectory. Travellers are recommended to follow updates from the NHC, the National Weather Service (NWS) and the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency.

Several killed in shooting at a food festival in Gilroy, California

At least three people have been killed and more than a dozen others were injured when a gunman opened fire at a food festival in California. US media reported that the shooting broke out at 17:30 local time on Sunday. The incident happened on the last day of the Gilroy Garlic Festival, which attracted thousands of people to the city's Christmas Hill Park. Police officers killed the suspect, while the motives behind the shooting are still unclear.

NYC mayor announces new bike-safety plan after cyclists' deaths

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a new plan to enhance cyclists' safety in NYC on Thursday. In a press conference, he announced a new $58m plan to build protected bike lanes across critical areas in the city. The announcement came after several deadly accidents involving cyclists have been reported in New York, where it is estimated that 17 people have died this year in bike-involved collisions - in 2018, 10 cyclists died. Safety efforts will be first delivered in Brooklyn, where most casualties were reported this year. Additionally, enhanced traffic monitoring will also be enforced.

Man detained after engaging in deadly shooting spree across LA

A 26-year-old man has been detained after engaging in a 12-hour-long shooting spree across LA. Gerry Dean Zaragoza is accused of killing at least four people and injuring two others across the San Fernando Valley. US media reported that the suspect initially killed his brother and father. He then headed to a petrol station in North Hollywood, where he killed a woman and her co-worker. NBC LA reported that Zaragoza later attempted to rob a pedestrian and randomly killed a man after boarding a bus. He was detained on Thursday in the Canoga Park area. It is still unclear the motives behind the shootings.

Attorney General Barr announces resumption of federal executions

Attorney General William Barr has announced that the federal government will resume capital punishment after nearly 20 years. An official statement from the US Department of Justice released on Thursday, confirmed that the Barr has ordered the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) to schedule the execution of five death-row inmates. Barr said: "Congress has expressly authorized the death penalty through legislation adopted by the people’s representatives in both houses of Congress and signed by the President". According to the BOP, no federal executions have taken place since 2003. A report recently published by the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) concluded that, for 17 consecutive years, the number of prisoners held under sentence of death has declined.

Southwest Airlines to further extend Boeing 737 MAX ban

Southwest Airlines have announced that it will extend the suspension of its Boeing 737 MAX flights until January 2020. In a statement, the company said: "Based on the most recent guidance from Boeing, we currently are assuming regulatory approval of MAX return to service during fourth quarter 2019. With this in mind, we will proactively extend the MAX-related flight schedule adjustments through January 5, 2020, to provide reliability of our operation". Additionally, Southwest said that it will cease operations from New York City's Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) from 03 November 2019. The company stated that the measure comes as the "financial results at Newark have been below expectations" and that it seeks to "consolidate our New York City presence at New York LaGuardia Airport". American Airlines and United already announced their own 737 MAX ban until at least November.

Hundreds of additional cases reported amid Salmonella outbreaks

Nearly 500 additional cases have been reported amid several multi-state salmonella outbreaks. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 768 cases have been confirmed so far, while investigations are still ongoing. CDC confirmed that "backyard poultry from multiple hatcheries are the likely source of these outbreaks". So far, 48 states have been affected and more than 100 people have been hospitalised. At least two people have died. CDC has advised caution to backyard flock owners and buyers. Salmonella's symptoms may include diarrhoea, fever and stomach cramps. Symptoms take at least 12 hours to develop and may last for up to a week. The most vulnerable are young children, the elderly and people with health problems.

Robert Mueller grilled in congressional committees over Russian collusion report

Robert Mueller, the former special counsel in charge of the Russian-meddling investigations, has testified on Wednesday before two congressional committees. For nearly seven hours, Mueller testified before the House Intelligence and Judiciary committees. Both Democrats and Republicans grilled the former special counsel over his 448-page report that concluded that President Donald Trump and his campaign aides did not collude with Russian officials. Among the main topics, it included questions on obstruction of justice, his conduct and eventual impeachment proceedings. Mueller stated that despite some of the conclusions "the president was not exculpated for the acts that he allegedly committed" and could still be charged. Regarding Russian collusion, he said: "Not only wasn't it a single attempt, they are doing it as we sit here and they expect to do it in the next campaign." The official report was released in March.

FTC hits Facebook with record-breaking five-billion-dollar penalty

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has slapped Facebook with a massive five-billion-dollar penalty for violating a previous FTC order. In a statement released on Wednesday, the FTC said that the penalty comes over the company's violation of a 2012 order related to privacy control of user's personal data. FTC Chairman Joe Simons said: “Despite repeated promises to its billions of users worldwide that they could control how their personal information is shared, Facebook undermined consumers’ choices". In addition to the fine, a new privacy structure will be imposed on Facebook alongside new FTC monitoring tools. This is the highest penalty ever to be applied against a company in what concerns privacy enforcement actions - it is around 20 times higher than a previous fine imposed to credit score company Equifax. Additionally, the FTC has also said that actions will be taken against Cambridge Analytica for employing "deceptive tactics to harvest personal information from tens of millions of Facebook users for voter profiling and targeting".

Nuclear research facility partially evacuated due to wildfire near Idaho Falls

A nuclear research centre linked to the US Department of Energy has been partially evacuated after a wildfire broke out near Idaho Falls, south-western Idaho. In a statement, the Idaho National Laboratory (INL) has confirmed that the so-called Sheep Fire has burned more than 36,000 hectares of land. The INL has said that their Emergency Operations Center (EOC) is currently responding to the fire, which broke out on Monday evening. No casualties have been reported so far. The Sheep Fire is among at least four wildfires which are currently active in Idaho. They include the Vader, Canyon and Shady fires. The INL said that it is "the only source of verified information about this event" and that "information reported by unofficial sources may be incomplete or inaccurate".

Credit score agency Equifax to pay up to $700m over 2017 data breach

Credit score agency Equifax has reached an agreement to pay up to $700m after millions of customers were affected in a data breach in 2017. In a statement, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) said that the settlement was reached after investigations concluded that Equifax failed to "implement basic security measures" and to "secure the massive amount of personal information stored on its network". It is estimated that 147m people were affected and had their social security number, date of birth, credit card details and name exposed. The breach happened when hackers exploited the vulnerabilities of Equifax's Automated Consumer Interview System (ACIS). This has been reported as the largest-ever FTC settlement in what concerns data breach.

NHC currently monitoring weather system off US East Coast

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) is currently monitoring a tropical depression that is forecast to move along the US East Coast. Although Tropical Depression Three is not expected to make landfall, it may briefly intensify before dissipating later on the week. According to the latest reports, the system is currently located off the Florida coast. The NHC forecast that the system will move north-eastwards the Atlantic and may not pose a significant threat to coastal areas in the Southeast and the Mid-Atlantic states. For further information, travellers are advised to follow updates from the NHC.

Thousands face power outage as heatwave hits US Northeast

More than 250,000 people in New Jersey suffered widespread power outages after a heatwave hit the US Northeast. Strong winds in the region downed powerlines and transformers, leaving residents without power until at least Tuesday morning. Residents in Michigan, Wisconsin, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia were also reportedly affected. New York City faced its second power cut in two days. An official of the National Weather Service told Reuters: "There are numerous reports of wind damage from downed trees hitting power lines and transformers, through New Jersey and southern New York. The good news is that the heatwave is definitely over". Some flights across the US Northeast are expected to be affected due to rainfall on Tuesday.

Hundreds deployed to tackle wildfire near Flagstaff, Arizona

Hundreds of firefighters have been deployed to tackle the blaze of a wildfire which broke out on Sunday near Flagstaff, Arizona. The so-called Museum Fire broke out in the Dry Lake Hills area in the northern area of Coconino National Forest. Authorities have issued evacuation ordered to some communities north of Flagstaff, while caution has been advised to drivers travelling along Highways 180 and 59. Local authorities have declared a state of emergency on Monday. Travellers in the region are advised to follow updates from the Coconino National Forest and the NWCG's Incident Information System.

US agencies given expanded powers to fast-track deportations

US agencies will be given expanded powers to expedite the deportation of illegal immigrants living in the US. Currently, a so-called fast-track deportation is only applied to illegal immigrants living in the US for less than two weeks and detained up to 160 km from the border. With the new rule, illegals living in the US for less than two years will be allowed to be deported from anywhere in the country without a court hearing. Homeland Security Acting Secretary Kevin McAleenan said that the DHS “expects that the full use of expedited removal statutory authority will strengthen national security, diminish the number of illegal entries, and otherwise ensure the prompt removal of aliens apprehended in the United States”. Rights groups are set to challenge the rule in court.

Power being gradually restored after blackout hits New York City

More than 50,000 people were affected when new power cuts hit New York City. Residents in Brooklyn and Westchester County faced power outages on Sunday. Energy provider Con Edison said that as of Monday morning power supply to more than 30,000 people have been restored. Around 21,500 others are still facing power outages, especially in south-eastern Brooklyn. Con Edison said that power is expected to be fully restored by Monday afternoon. Con Edison claimed that the most recent power cut happened due to heat. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo criticised the company and said: "We have been through this situation with Con Ed time and again, and they should have been better prepared – period. This was not a natural disaster; there is no excuse for what has happened in Brooklyn". New York City faced another blackout last week, where 72,000 people were affected in Manhattan.

Senate minority leader requests probe on FaceApp over national security concerns

Senator minority leader Chuck Schumer has requested the FBI and the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to review national security and privacy risks into a popular photo editing app, called FaceApp. In a statement released on Thursday, he raised concerns over the app's data access and storage capabilities. He added: "I have serious concerns regarding both the protection of the data that is being aggregated as well as whether users are aware of who may have access to it." Among many features, FaceApp allows users to upload their photos to make them look older or younger. FaceApp is owned by Russian-based Wireless Lab. In a statement, the company said that it does not share user data with third parties and that most photos are deleted within 48 hours after being uploaded. It also states that "even though the core research and development team is located in Russia, the user data is not transferred to Russia". Schumer's request came just days after the Democratic National Committee (DNC) sent a security alert regarding the app to those running their 2020 presidential campaigns.

Water supply being gradually restored in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Water supply in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, is being gradually restored after damage to a major water main. The City of Fort Launderlade said in that water supply was compromised after a construction contractor accidentally damaged a 42-inch water main. The city has confirmed that temporary repairs have already been completed, but some works will still be carried out. A boil water notice will remain in effect until further notice. Instructions on the citywide boil water notice should be followed to kill bacteria from tap water. It must be carried out before drinking, making ice, brushing teeth and washing dishes.

Wildfire breaks out near Prescott National Forest in Arizona

The emergency services have been deployed to the Prescott National Forest in Arizona to tackle a massive wildfire. Reports suggest that hundreds of firefighters assisted by air tankers, helicopters and other special fire units have been battling the so-called Cellar Fire, which broke out on Sunday near Prescott, north of Phoenix. As of Friday morning, the fire has not been contained. Residents in Pine Flat have been ordered to evacuate, while several communities across Yavapai County are on alert. So far, the wildfire has extended to nearly 3,000 hectares of brush and grass. Official reports indicate that due to weather conditions, the fire may persist and even expand over the next few days. Heavy smoke may also impact the surrounding areas. For further updates, travellers are recommended to follow reports from the Prescott National Forest and the NWCG's Incident Information System.

Man sentenced for life over killing of Chinese student in Illinois

A 29-year-old man has been sentenced to life imprisonment for the kidnapping and murder of a Chinese student in Illinois. Brendt Christensen was charged with the murder of Yingying Zhang, a 26-year-old University of Illinois student. Zhang was killed back in mid-2017, just months after arriving in the US. Reuters reported that the sentence was handed by default after the jury failed to fully agree on his sentence, which included the possibility of the death penalty. The five-week-long case, handled by the US District Court in Peoria, was extensively covered in Chinese media and social networks in China.

Weather warnings issued due to heatwave in central and north-eastern US

Weather warnings have been issued to most states across central and north-eastern US as a dangerous heatwave is forecast to hit both regions over the weekend. According to the National Weather Service (NWS), excessive heat and temperatures reaching up to 38 degrees Celsius are forecast for most areas. Authorities have urged people to avoid outdoor activities and stay indoors in well-conditioned rooms. Additionally, it is advisable to wear appropriate clothing, eat lightly and drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration. People have been warned to not leave pets or young children inside locked vehicles as scorching temperatures have already led to the death of nine children dead in the US so far this year. Caution is also advised to avoid heat exhaustion and heatstroke. For further information, travellers are advised to follow updates from the NWS and recommendations from the Red Cross.

Dozens arrested in joint anti-mafia operation in New York City and Italy

Nearly 20 people have been arrested in a joint anti-mafia operation simultaneously launched in Italy and New York City. More than 200 police officers have taken part in the 'New Connection' operation that targeted the Inzerillo clan of the infamous Italian mafia Cosa Nostra. The operation involved Italian police officers and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Investigations concluded that the Inzerillo clan was attempting to rebuild the Cosa Nostra's stronghold in several areas in Sicily. Police focused on the group's connection to their US-based counterparts in New York City, such as the historic Gambino family. Last March, the head of the Gambino family was gunned down on Staten Island - this was the first mafia boss to be assassinated since Paul Castellano was killed in 1985. Charges include racketeering, extortion, unlawful competition and fraud. Cosa Nostra has been significantly weakened since its long-time chief, Salvatore Riina, died at an Italian prison last year. The Inzerillo clan is believed to be highly connected with the US, where a number of mafia bosses and high-level members were forced to move. One suspect was detained in a series of coordinated raids across New York City.

Sinaloa Cartel's 'El Chapo' sentenced at Brooklyn federal court

Sinaloa Cartel's Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman has been sentenced to life in prison plus 30 years. After 11 weeks of trial, a US jury has found El Chapo guilty on 10 federal counts. He has been sentenced for engaging in continuing criminal enterprise. Other crimes include conspiracy to commit murder and trafficking drugs, money laundering and drugs distribution. El Chapo was the infamous leader of the powerful Sinaloa Cartel and amassed billions of dollars through trafficking drugs into the US. Last August, he was extradited to the US to face trial after he escaped twice from Mexican prisons. His sentence was handed out at a federal court in New York City. He is currently in solitary confinement at the Metropolitan Correctional Center and is expected to be sent to the US Administrative Maximum Facility in Florence, Colorado, also known as the ADX Florence.

Scores of MS-13 members indicted for hundreds of crimes in the US

More than 20 members of the infamous Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) gang have been indicted for links to nearly 200 crimes across several US states. Reports show that 22 MS-13 members are accused of crimes ranging from racketeering to murder during a period of nine years. The indictment comes as part of a two-year investigation over the gang's operations in the US, especially in the LA area. LA Attorney Nicola Hanna said that those indicted are linked to the Fulton clique, considered on the most dangerous and violent amongst 20 MS-13 factions that currently operate in LA. The Fulton faction is believed to be based across the San Fernando Valley. Among the crimes, the group is accused of seven murders, including the 2017 assassination of a rival gang member who was found dismembered in a forest area in northern LA. The MS-13 has been considered one of the main transnational threats to the US.

Police investigate death of activist in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Police have opened a homicide investigation into the death of a renowned activist in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Sadie Roberts-Joseph was found dead in the boot of a car last week. Preliminary autopsy reports indicate that the cause of death was "traumatic asphyxia, including suffocation". No further information has been released. Roberts-Joseph was a 75-year-old Baton Rouge activist renowned for being engaged in a number of social projects in the city. She was the founder of the African American Museum while being known for promoting events towards the youth and African American community in Baton Rouge. 

Third measles case confirmed in El Paso, Texas

A third case of measles has been confirmed in the bordering city of El Paso, Texas. US media reported that the third patient affected is a toddler and that no further risks of infection have been identified as the city has one of the highest rates of immunisation in the country. Two other cases were confirmed last week. El Paso Public Health Director, Roberto Resendes, told KVIA: "Because El Paso's immunization rates are so high, we don't expect to see a huge number of cases emerge". Measles is a highly contagious disease and preventable by the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccination. Symptoms include high fever, coughing and red eyes. Texas is among 28 American states that reported measles cases this year. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 1,100 cases of measles were confirmed so far this year. This has been considered the highest number of cases since 1992.

US government to end asylum protection to Central American migrants

Asylum protections to Central American migrants are set to end after the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security changed their guidelines on accepting asylum requests. In a document published on Monday, it states that those "who enters or attempts to enter the United States across the southern border after failing to apply for protection in a third country outside the alien’s country of citizenship, nationality, or last lawful habitual residence through which the alien transited en route to the United States is ineligible for asylum". Attorney General William Barr justified the measure by stating that "this rule will decrease forum shopping by economic migrants and those who seek to exploit our asylum system to obtain entry to the United States". A lot of concerns are drawn over the so-called 'safe third country' policy, which President Donald Trump seeks to extend to Central America. Guatemala President Jimmy Morales was set to meet President Trump but the meeting was cancelled after a Guatemalan court challenged the ruling.

Authorities investigate massive blackout that hit NYC over the weekend

Authorities are investigating the potential causes of a massive blackout which affected thousands of people over the weekend in New York City. US media reported that around 72,000 Con Edison costumers were impacted when a power cut hit the city at 18:47 local time on Saturday. The area affected included parts from Fifth Avenue to the Hudson River. NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio said: “We, as in every situation, are going to fully analyse every detail, working with Con Edison to figure out what exactly happened and exactly how we can make sure it never happens again". Con Edison stated: "Over the next several days and weeks, our engineers and planners will carefully examine the data and equipment performance relating to this event, and will share our findings with regulators and the public". Power was restored just before midnight. The blackout happened exactly 42 years after a major power outage hit NYC.

Youngster injured in shark attack off Amelia Island, Florida

A 16-year-old girl has been seriously injured in a shark attack in Florida. CNN reported that the victim was boogie boarding off Amelia Island when she was attacked on Friday. According to reports, she managed to return to her hotel and was later taken to the hospital. Nassau County's Sheriff Bill Leeper said that the incident is highly unusual and warned people to remain vigilant when swimming in the morning and late afternoon. According to the University of Florida's International Shark Attack File (ISAF), last year a single shark attack death was reported in the US, which recorded 32 unprovoked shark attacks - 16 of them were reported in Florida. ISAF offers some useful information on global shark attack trends, factors and safety recommendations.

US airlines further extend Boeing 737 MAX ban

American Airlines has announced that the current Boeing 737 MAX ban will be further extended until early-November. In a statement released on Sunday, American Airlines said: "American is extending cancellations for the MAX through Nov. 2. By doing so, our customers and team members can more reliably plan their upcoming travel on American. In total, approximately 115 flights per day will be cancelled through Nov. 2." United Airlines is also extending the ban until 03 November. Meanwhile, Southwest Airlines has previously said that operations with the aircraft will be suspended until 02 September. In June, several US-based airlines said that they would extend the Boeing 737 MAX ban after the Federal Aviation Administration identified a new potential risk.

Hurricane Barry weakens into a tropical depression as it moves northwards

Hurricane Barry has weakened into a tropical depression just after making landfall as a category one hurricane near Intercontinental City, Louisiana. The National Hurricane Center (NHC) puts Barry just near the border with Arkansas, Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana. According to the National Weather Service (NWS), Barry is forecast to move northwards along the Mississippi Valley and bring intense rainfall until it dissipates in the next few days. Power outages persist in some parts of southern Louisiana, especially in the southern counties. Flash flood watches were also issued to areas located along the Mississippi River. For further information, travellers are recommended to follow updates from the NOAA's Weather Prediction Center (WPC).

Labor Secretary resigns over Epstein sex abuse case

US Labour Secretary Alexander Acosta has resigned over a plea deal made with Jeffrey Epstein, a wealthy financier charged with human trafficking. Acosta is a former federal prosecutor in Florida and linked to a plea deal made with Epstein in 2007. Acosta claimed that the plea deal was necessary to guarantee Epstein's conviction, who was charged for soliciting prostitution. As part of the deal, he was sentenced to just over a year in prison and ordered to provide financial compensation to the victims. Epstein was re-arrested last week and pleaded not guilty in a New York federal court to charges of running a child sex ring. He is known for previously being linked to President Donald Trump and former President Bill Clinton, but both denied any strong connection to him or knowledge of any of the crimes. Acosta was nominated as labour secretary in 2017 and steps down after pressure from several Democrat politicians.

Thousands forced to evacuate due to wildfire in western Maui, Hawaii

Thousands have been forced to evacuate after a wildfire broke out in western Maui, Hawaii. Reuters reported that the fire broke out at around 10:30 local time on Thursday morning. In a press conference, Maui Mayor Michael Victorino said that more than 1,200 hectares of land have been consumed and that the fire was still out of control as of Thursday evening. Firefighters have been deployed to the area to tackle the blaze from Friday morning. The areas evacuated were around the communities of Maalaea and Kihei. Due to a massive cloud of smoke, some flights at Kahului Airport (OGG) have also been affected. Hawaiian Airlines announced the offering of travel waivers for passengers heading to OGG and Kapalua Airport (JHM). Local media reported that the fire started along the Kuihelani Highway - Route 380 between Kahului and Maalaea. Travellers are advised to follow recommendations from the local authorities.

US impose sanctions on DGCIM for death of navy officer

Venezuela's General Directorate of Military Counterintelligence (DGCIM) is the latest Venezuelan government body to be included in the US Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). In a statement released on Thursday, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said: “The politically motivated arrest and tragic death of Captain Rafael Acosta was unwarranted and unacceptable." Rafael Acosta Arevalo was detained in late-June after being accused of links to an assassination attempt against President Nicolas Maduro. He died nearly a week after being arrested. Some reports suggest that his body showed signs of violence and torture. Two intelligence officials have been charged for suspected involvement in his death.

Tropical Storm Barry approaches southern Louisiana

Weather alerts remain in place across southern and southeastern Louisiana as Tropical Storm Barry approaches. Reports from the National Hurricane Center (NHC) warned that dangerous storm surges are expected to hit coastal areas. Widespread flash flooding is also likely between Intracoastal City and Shell Beach. River flooding may affect most areas across the Mississippi Valley. Barry is expected to be a slow-moving storm and adverse weather is forecast to persist until at least Monday. The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued a hurricane warning to most areas in southern Louisiana, while a flash flood watch was issued to the region around the Mississippi River. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said that some flights may be affected. Travellers are advised to check flight status updates and monitor airport conditions. Daily updates from the NHC and NWS should also be monitored.

Air Canada flight makes emergency landing in Honolulu, Hawaii

An Air Canada flight was forced to make an emergency landing in Honolulu's Daniel K Inouye International Airport due to severe turbulence. At least 35 people have been injured, after sudden turbulence affected flight AC33, which took off on Thursday from Vancouver to Sydney, Australia. According to reports, the Boeing 777-200 was several hours past Hawaii when it was forced to return. According to reports, 269 passengers and 15 crew members were on board.

State of emergency declared in Louisiana ahead of potential storm landfall

Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards has declared a state of emergency ahead of the potential landfall of what could become the first hurricane of this year's Atlantic hurricane season. According to the National Weather Service (NWS), Potential Tropical Cyclone Two could become Tropical Cyclone Barry by the end of Thursday. Barry is also expected to strengthen into a category-one hurricane as it heads towards the coast of Louisiana. New Orleans is currently recovering from flash flooding that was caused after heavy rainfall battered the region on Wednesday. Travellers are recommended to follow reports from reliable news sources and updates from official sources, including local offices of the NWS and the National Hurricane Center (NHC).

Rabies alert issued to parts of south-western Orange County, Florida

Florida's health department has issued a rabies alert for parts of south-western Orange County. Authorities said that the include a two-mile radius around the intersection of the Interstate 4 and Epcot Center Drive. People have been advised to avoid contact in the with wild animals, cats and dogs in the area. Epcot Center Drive is the main route towards Walt Disney World Resort's Epcot theme park. Rabies is often spread to humans through bites and scratches from infected animals, that usually include racoons, bats, jackals, mongooses, foxes, skunks, dogs and cats. Rabies symptoms may include fever, headache and general weakness. The best way to prevent the contraction of the disease is through vaccination and avoid contact with wild animals.

Tropical Depression expected to form off Louisiana

A tropical depression is expected to form in the Gulf of Mexico as Tropical Cyclone Two is forecast to strengthen later on Thursday. According to the National Hurricane Center (NHC), Potential Tropical Cyclone Two is located off the Louisiana coast. It is expected to bring adverse weather conditions to the coasts of Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi, Alabama and a small section in north-western Florida. The system is forecast to move inland from Friday evening. Weather alerts have been issued over storm surges, flash flooding and river flooding across the region. The National Weather Service (NWS) has already issued several weather warnings, which includes a hurricane watch for the Louisiana coast and a flash flood watch for coastal areas in Mississippi and Alabama.

Immigration agencies to launch nationwide raids to deport thousands

Nationwide raids are reportedly scheduled to kick off on Sunday after President Donald Trump suspended a previous operation. The New York Times reported that a massive operation will be conducted across the country to remove up to 2,000 people who had already received their deportation order. An unnamed official told the NYT that officers of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will lead the efforts. The operation comes amid previous disagreements between Mark Morgan, the former ICE director and current commissioner of the Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan. Immigration has been one of the hot topics in US politics. In late-June. Congress passed a Republican-backed package that seeks to allocate up to $4.6bn to assist border security - the bill passed after the Senate rejected a previous emergency aid package.

UK ambassador resigns amid leaked emails row

British Ambassador to the US, Sir Kim Darroch, has resigned from his post after emails were leaked to the media. In a series of documents leaked to the Daily Mail, Ambassador Darroch criticised US President Donald Trump and described fierce internal dispute within the White House. The leaks heightened diplomatic tensions between the UK and US, with President Trump saying that the White House "will no longer deal with him". Sir Simon McDonald, the UK Permanent Under-Secretary at the FCO, accepted his resignation and said: "The Prime Minister, Foreign Secretary and whole of the public service have stood with you: you were the target of a malicious leak; you were simply doing your job".

Oil companies evacuate staff from Gulf offshore platforms over potential storm

Major oil companies operating deep water platforms in the Gulf of Mexico have evacuated their staff and shut down production as a low-pressure system in the US Southeast is forecast to strengthen in the next few days. Reuters reported that staff members from at least four major oil companies were preventatively evacuated from more than a dozen offshore platforms. A low-pressure system is currently heading towards the Gulf of Mexico. According to the National Hurricane Center (NHC) the system is expected to become a tropical depression or tropical storm as soon as Thursday. 

Raging wildfires trigger air quality advisories across southern Alaska

Alaska's Department of Environmental Conservation has issued air quality advisories to most areas across southern Alaska due to wildfire smoke. A number of wildfires continue to be active across Alaska as unusually high temperatures affect the state. Major concerns regard smoke from the Swan Lake fire that has already consumed nearly 40,000 hectares of land across the Kenai Peninsula. It has mainly threatened air quality in Anchorage. Meanwhile, the Shovel Creek and Nugget fire have also raised alerts in the city of Fairbanks. Areas of concern also include Mat-Su, Tanana Flats and the Yukon Valley. Authorities have advised vulnerable people, such as the elderly and young children, to avoid outdoor activities and to remain indoors wherever possible. 

Low-pressure to bring adverse weather to parts of US Southeast

A low-pressure system is currently strengthening and forming in the northern Gulf of Mexico. According to the National Hurricane Center (NHC), the system may develop into a tropical depression or tropical storm on Thursday. Heavy rainfall is forecast to impact most areas from the Upper Texas Coast to the Florida Panhandle. There is an increasing risk of storm surges and strong winds are expected to impact Louisiana, Mississippi and south-eastern Texas. Reports from the National Weather Service (NWS) show that as the low-pressure moves southwest, it may get stronger while reaching warm waters on Friday. Travellers have been advised to follow recommendations from local authorities and to monitor daily updates from the NHC and NWS.

Adverse weather to hit US Midwest and Northeast

Adverse weather conditions are forecast to batter the US Midwest and Northeast as a low-pressure system moves across the region. The National Weather Service (NWS) has announced that the system is expected to bring thunderstorms and heavy rainfall to most states located around the Great Lakes. Strong winds and localised flash floods may also impact the region from Wednesday until at least Friday. Areas affected include areas around the upper Great Lakes and the Mississippi Valley. St Louis and Chicago are among the areas that may be impacted. Disruption on flights and road travel are also possible.

DHS request additional National Guard troops to assist border control

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has requested 1,000 additional National Guard troops to assist Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers. AFP reported that the new deployment aims to assist migration facilities based across Texas, including Donna, Tornillo, El Paso and Laredo. Hundreds of National Guard troops are already deployed to address mass migration along the southern US border. Migration detention facilities in the southern US are on the scope of rights organisations after reports emerged of appalling conditions that those detained, including children, are subject to.

Beaches in Mississippi closed due to surge in toxic algae

Beaches in Mississippi have been closed due to a surge in toxic algae. The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) said in a statement that all 21 beaches across the state will remain shut until further notice due to the presence of blue-green harmful algal bloom. People have been advised to avoid contact with the water. Governor Phil Bryant said: "I have received real-time information from MDEQ and DMR and have been monitoring the beach closures. The closures refer to water contact and do not prohibit the use of the sand portion of a beach". Harmful algal bloom, often referred to as HAB, are common across some coastal areas and the Great Lakes states. Health hazards may include rashes, stomach cramps, nausea and vomiting.

President Trump approves emergency declaration over California earthquakes

President Donald Trump has approved a declaration of emergency request after California was hit by two major earthquakes last week. With the state of emergency, the US federal government, through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), will provide assistance to local and state agencies in response efforts and other issues. Southern California was hit by a massive 6.4-magnitude earthquake last Thursday, followed by another 7.1-magnitude tremor days later. Both had their epicentres near the city of Ridgecrest. The US Geological Survey (USGS) has forecast that hundreds of low-magnitude aftershocks are possible within the next few weeks. FEMA provides useful information on how to act in the event of a major earthquake.

Low pressure system forming in central Georgia

Low pressure is currently forming in central Georgia and is forecast to move southwards the Gulf of Mexico later on the week. Although it is still unclear if this system will get stronger and become a tropical cyclone, the National Hurricane Centre (NHC) said that heavy rainfall is expected to hit the region by the end of the week. Travellers to the northern Gulf Coast and the Florida peninsula have been advised to follow updates from the NHC and the US National Weather Service (NWS).

Powerful 7.1-magnitude earthquake rattles Southern California

A powerful 7.1-magnitude earthquake has struck Southern California on Friday evening. According to the US Geological Survey (USGS), the tremor was recorded at 20:30 local time, 17 km northwest of the town of Ridgecrest. It happened around the same area where a previous 6.4-magnitude quake was recorded on Thursday. Kern County Fire Department said that authorities are still assessing potential damage and casualties. Local media reported that some houses caught on fire due to gas leaks and that some people have been injured. Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) has said that no major damage was reported in the city. Since the event, dozens of aftershocks were recorded around Ridgecrest, Little Lake and Searles Valley. Further aftershocks are likely. Travellers are advised to follow updates from official sources and monitor reliable news reports.

UK-bound flight makes emergency landing in Boston due to fire on board

A Virgin Atlantic flight heading from New York City to the UK  was forced to make an emergency landing after a fire broke out on board. More than 200 passengers were evacuated when flight 138 landed at Boston Logan International Airport (BOS). Police said: "Preliminary investigation suggests it is a battery pack consistent in appearance with an external phone charger." 

Powerful 6.4-magnitude earthquake strikes Southern California

A powerful 6.4-magnitude earthquake has been reported in Southern California. According to the US Geological Survey (USGS), the quake was recorded on Thursday at 17:33 UTC near the city of Ridgecrest. No casualties have been initially reported. LA Fire Department confirmed that no major damage was so far reported in LA and surrounding areas. Reports suggest that the tremor was felt across most of the US West Coast and Nevada. Authorities have warned for potential low-intensity aftershocks that may continue to impact the region in the next few hours. USGS has already recorded dozens of aftershocks, with some of them surpassing a 4.0-magnitude. Kern County Fire Department said on social media that some buildings, including a hospital, were evacuated. The US Tsunami Warning System confirmed that no tsunami alert has been issued. Travellers are advised to follow advice from local authorities and monitor reports from reliable news and official sources. This latest earthquake has been considered the strongest to hit California since 1999.

Woman dies after contracting flesh-eating bacteria near Tampa, Florida

A 77-year-old woman has died after contracting a rare flesh-eating bacteria near Tampa, Florida. Wade Fleming contracted the disease several days ago after stumbling on the Coquina Beach in Anna Maria Island. After suffering from a deep cut, she fell ill and was rushed to a hospital. AP reported that Fleming had contracted a flesh-eating disease, known as necrotizing fasciitis (NF). She had suffered two strokes and septic shock while undergoing surgery. NF is often contracted through open wounds. It is most common in open bodies of water, pools and hot tubs. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends taking good care of the wound to prevent infections. The bacteria is known to act fast and the disease is often difficult to diagnose. Symptoms may include fever, dizziness and nausea. Fleming's case was reported just weeks after a 12-year-old girl also contracted the disease in Florida.

Alert level of Hawaii's Mauna Loa volcano raised

The alert level of the Mauna Loa volcano in Hawaii has been raised after a series of low-profile earthquakes hit Hawaii's Big Island. Hawaii Volcano Observatory (HVO) said that the alert level has raised from watch to advisory, which is the second level on a four-tier scale. The HVO stated that:" An eruption is not imminent and current rates are not cause for alarm. However, they do indicate changes in the shallow magma storage system at Mauna Loa." The HVO added that: "It is also possible that the time frame to eruption could be shorter - hours to days. All communities on the flanks of the volcano should be prepared". Mauna Loa is the world's biggest volcano and sits in the southern part of the Island of Hawaii. Mauna Loa last erupted in 1984.

Hurricane Barbara to become category-five storm in the Eastern Pacific

Hurricane Barbara is set to become a major category-five storm as it moves westwards the North Pacific. According to the National Weather Service (NWS) and the National Hurricane Centre (NHC), Barbara currently poses no threat to land despite moving closer to Hawaii. Barbara is forecast to get stronger until the end of the week and is expected to weaken into a tropical depression over the weekend. Its track is still unknown and a potential change of trajectory may bring adverse weather to some parts of Hawaii. Travellers are advised to monitor local media and follow daily updates from the NHC and the NWS.

Two injured in shopping centre shooting near San Francisco, California

At least two people have been injured after a shooting broke out in a shopping centre near San Francisco, California. Police confirmed that the victims were found with gunshot wounds after the emergency services were deployed to the Tanforan Mall in San Bruno. Authorities are currently investigating the circumstances behind the incident and the possibility of a second shooter. Another line of investigation shows that the shooting may have been targeted.

California requires background checks on ammunition purchases

Gun-owners in California will have to pass background checks before buying ammunition. The new legislation will require ammunition buyers to provide their personal information to a database run by the Department of Justice. This is the latest gun control legislation to be introduced by Governor Gavin Newsom. Proposition 63 was approved back in late-2016, where more than 63 percent of Californians vote in favour. California becomes the first state in the US to request checks to buy ammunition. Meanwhile, in Florida, Governor Ron DeSantis signed a new law that will allow paramedics to carry firearms when attending to high-risk situations. The law was signed weeks after the governor signed Senate Bill 7030 to allow teachers to be armed on campus.

Four buildings in Menlo Park evacuated due to potential sarin exposure, California

Four buildings at Facebook's Menlo Park site have been evacuated due to potential sarin exposure. Evacuations were prompted on Monday morning when two packages were flagged at the company's mail facility. Menlo Park Fire Marshal Jon Johnston told Reuters that those who came in contact with the packages showed no symptoms. He added: "The facility tests all of the packages that come in and they had a positive test, so they just initiated their standard protocol". The FBI is currently assisting in the investigation. Sarin is a dangerous nerve agent that may be deadly.

Heatwave triggers weather alerts due to wildfires across Alaska

The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued a dense smoke advisory to areas near Anchorage as southern Alaska faces a heatwave. Intense heat has caused a number of wildfires in the region. Reuters reported that the so-called Swan Lake Fire at the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge continues to burn and has already consumed more than 27,000 hectares of land. Several roads across the park have been closed due to wildfire activity, including routes of access to the park. Major routes are expected to remain shut until at least 11 July. Wildfires are also affecting some areas around Fairbanks, where a fire in Shovel Creek already consumed more than 2,000 hectares. For further information, travellers are advised to monitor updates from the Alaska Wildland Fire Information and the NWS Anchorage.

Long travel delays expected ahead of Forth of July holiday

Long delays are expected to affect road travel across the US ahead of the Fourth of July holiday. Similar to previous years, a high-influx of vehicles will lead to intense congestion in major routes nationwide. US media reported that the busiest day will be on Wednesday evening, while severe disruption may persist until the weekend. AAA told USA Today that the worse affected areas will be New York City, Boston, Houston, Chicago and Seattle. Record-breaking travel are also expected in major airports and train stations. Travellers should consider considerable travel disruption and longer waiting times than usual.

Several killed in light-aircraft crash near Dallas, Texas

Ten people on board a light aircraft have been killed after a crash near Dallas, Texas. According to reports, the Beechcraft BE-350 King Air aircraft crashed just after taking off from Addison Municipal Airport. AP reported that the plane was flying to western Florida. The crash happened on Sunday morning when the plane burst into flames after hitting a hangar. The National Transport Safety Board (NTSB) is currently investigating the crash.

US airlines extend Boeing 737 MAX ban after FAA identifies new risk

Several US-based airlines have extended their ban on the Boeing 737 MAX after the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) identified a new potential risk. United Airlines, American Airlines and Southwest are among US companies that already suspended the operations with the aircraft. In a statement released on Wednesday, the FAA said that it has "recently found a potential risk that Boeing must mitigate". It reiterated that the FAA "will lift the aircraft’s prohibition order when we deem it is safe to do so". For several weeks, US airlines are working on their schedule to mitigate the potential disruption caused by grounding their entire Boeing 737 MAX fleet. The move came after orders from the FAA and other aviation agencies in the country.

Lawmakers in Florida's Lake City agree to pay ransomware demands

Lawmakers in Lake City, Florida, have voted to pay a ransom after the city's IT system suffered a cyber attack. According to US media, for nearly two weeks the city's computer network has been down. Criminals demanded that the city pay 42 Bitcoins - an equivalent to nearly $500k - to restore the system, which affected online municipal payments and staff's email access. Lake City is the second Florida city in less than a week to pay ransomware demands. Rivera Beach has also agreed to pay an equivalent to $600k to criminals. Local governments and public repartitions have been frequently targeted by cybercriminals that find vulnerabilities on their IT security systems, which are often claimed to be outdated.

Migrant father and daughter found drowned near US border

A father and his two-year-old daughter have drowned in the Rio Grande near Matamoros, Tamaulipas. Initially published by a Mexican newspaper, a picture of both victims turned viral, highlighting the risks that migrants and their children take to cross the US-Mexico border. Reports revealed that the victims were El Salvadoran and were found several days after being reported missing. AP reported that the family had recently attempted to book an appointment at the US Consulate to request asylum. The area where they were found is located near an international bridge, just opposite to Texas's Brownsville. According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), more than 160 migrants died so far in 2019 in the US-Mexico border.

Several killed in house fire in Pickerel, Wisconsin

Six people have died after a fire broke out at a house in Pickerel, Wisconsin. CNN reported that the fire erupted on Tuesday morning. According to Langlade County officials, among the victims are four young children. It is still unclear if the victims are related. Pickerel is located north of Wausau. Langlade County Coroner Larry Shadick said that the causes behind the fire are still under investigation.

Three killed in workplace shooting near San Jose, California

Three people have been killed in a workplace shooting near San Jose, California. CBS reported that the shooting broke out on Tuesday evening at a car dealership in Morgan Hill. According to the police, all of the victims worked at the dealership. Preliminary investigations suggest that the shooter was fired before he engaged in a shooting spree, killing two men believed to be his managers. The suspect killed himself before police officers arrived at the scene.

Police investigate disappearance of 23-year-old student in Salt Lake City, Utah

Salt Lake City Police Department is currently searching for a 23-year-old student, who was reported missing last week. Reports suggest that she landed at Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC) in the early hours of the morning. According to the police, Mackenzie Lueck took a ride-sharing service from SLC to an address north of the city. CBS News reported that after leaving the vehicle, Lueck was last seen meeting an unknown individual at Hatch Park.

Seven migrants die as extreme heat affects south-eastern Texas

US authorities confirmed that seven migrants have died near the southern border after extreme heat affected the region over the weekend. Border officials said that among the victims are three young children. Reuters reported that their bodies were found in separate locations along the Rio Grande in southern Texas. The incidents happened as parts of south-eastern Texas were on alert due to intense heat and high humidity levels. A high-influx of migrants continue to attempt to illegally cross the US-Mexico border despite enhanced migration policies. According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), through its Missing Migrants Project, so far in 2019, more than 160 migrants were already killed in the US-Mexico border.

Massive blaze breaks out at Everglades National Park, Florida

Firefighters are currently battling a massive wildfire that broke out at the Everglades National Park in Florida. According to latest reports from the Florida Forest Service (FFS), the so-called Sawgrass Fire remains active and was around 25 percent contained as of Tuesday morning. The fire started on Monday afternoon near Weston in Broward County. Florida Highway Patrol has advised drivers on the Interstate 75 and US-27 caution as the fire may affect visibility - currently, both highways are opened and operating normally - especially around Broward, Palm Beach and Collier counties. For further information, travellers are advised to follow updates from the FFS Everglades. The National Park Service has not reported any disruption to the park's visitor activities.

Seven bikers killed in violent road crash in New Hampshire

Seven bikers have been killed in a violent road crash in New Hampshire. US media reported that the motorcyclists were riding in a convoy when the crash happened. Reports suggest that a 23-year-old driving a pick-up truck towing a trailer along the Route 2 near Randolph collided with the bikers. The group was part of a motorcycle club heading to an event. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is investigating the causes of the accident.

Skydiving plane crash kills 11 in Oahu, Hawaii

Nearly a dozen people have died after a skydiving plane crashed in Oahu, Hawaii. US media reported that the emergency services received calls of a fallen plane on Friday afternoon. Initial reports revealed that nine people died, but authorities later confirmed that two more were also killed. The accident happened near the Dillingham Airfield in Mokuleia. Federal agencies headed to the crash site over the weekend to investigate the causes of the accident. At least three people on board were customers of the skydiving company. This has been reported as the worst civil aviation accident in the US for nearly 10 years.

Delays reported on AirTrain services at Newark Airport, New Jersey

AirTrain services at Newark Liberty Airport (EWR) are facing severe disruption due to emergency repairs. EWR has informed that services on Monday will be provided by supplementary buses. Travellers should expect delays and are advised to allocate extra time before heading to the airport. Alternative services to New York City may include NJ Transit and Amtrak trains from and to the EWR. Bus services are also available.

Online fraudster convince teenager to kill best friend in Anchorage, Alaska

An 18-year-old girl is on trial for plotting the murder of her best friend in Anchorage, Alaska. Denali Brehmer allegedly plotted the assassination of Cynthia Hoffman, who was shot dead in early-June and her body was dumped in Thunderbird Falls. Court documents suggest that Brehmer was allegedly convinced to carry out the murder by a man who she had met online. Reports suggest that the man posed as a US-based millionaire and offered her a reward of $9m (around £7m). Four other teenagers were also involved in the crime. Prosecutors say that Brehmer was targeted in a practice known as catfishing, where criminals use fake online profiles and social network accounts to target their victims. Catfishes frequently target people on online dating sites and social media. US District Attorney warned: "For all of the good the internet can do, it can be a dark place and parents would be wise to monitor the activity of their children online."

Massive fire breaks out at gas refinery in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

A massive fire has broken out at a gas refinery in south-western Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. NBC reported that hazmat crews were deployed after the fire erupted at the Philadelphia Energy Solutions refinery on Friday morning. According to reports, a massive explosion rocked parts of the city. Roads around the area, including the Interstate 76 Highway, Passyunk Avenue and Pennrose Avenue, have been closed. People have been advised to avoid the area.

Several injured in shooting outside nightclub in Allentown, Pennsylvania

At least 10 people have been injured in a shooting outside a nightclub in Allentown, Pennsylvania. AP reported that the shooting broke out in the early hours of Thursday morning outside the Deja Vu nightclub on Hamilton Street. Authorities are currently investigating the potential involvement of rival gangs, while the motives remain unclear. Allentown is located north of Philadelphia. The incident comes after the state capital reported dozens of shootings over the past weekend.

Florida's Riviera Beach to make ransom payment after cyberattack

A city in south-eastern Florida has agreed to pay up to $600k in ransom after being targeted in a cyberattack. Lawmakers in Riviera Beach have agreed to activate their insurance policy to pay the equivalent of 65 Bitcoin to the hacker. Riviera Beach was targeted in a ransomware attack several weeks ago, significantly affecting the city's computer systems. The city is still working with law enforcement agencies to investigate the issue, while it is still unknown if the payment will provide any results. This is the latest cyberattack to hit a local government in the US. CNN reported that more than 20 public sector companies were already targeted so far this year. According to The New York Times, a similar attack that recently targeted Baltimore is expected to cost nearly $18m.

Heat advisory issued to south-eastern Texas

A heat advisory has been issued to south-eastern Texas as intense temperatures are forecast on Thursday. During most parts of the afternoon, scorching temperatures are expected to affect most counties across the region. Houston, Corpus Christi, San Antonio and Austin are included in the advisory. Temperatures reaching up to 45 degrees Celsius are forecast alongside high humidity. The National Weather Service (NWS) has advised people to remain indoors and drink plenty of water. Meanwhile, in the US Northeast and Midwest, a powerful storm is forecast to affect most areas along the Atlantic coast. Flash flooding and powerful winds are forecast to hit the region, while there is a possibility of tornadoes across the Ohio Valley. For further information, travellers are recommended to follow updates from the NWS.

President Trump to launch 2020 re-election campaign

President Donald Trump is set to officially launch his re-election bid during a political rally in Orlando, Florida. President Trump seeks a second term in office ahead of the 2020 presidential elections. Since taking office in 2016, he has been seen as a controversial president, especially regarding foreign policy and immigration. He recently dismissed the results of a number of opinion polls which showed poor approval ratings. Although some polls suggest that he is one of the most unpopular presidents in decades, he continues to nurture a strong economy and the support of his electoral base and parts of the Republican party. Meanwhile, Democrats are looking to remove him from office as dozens already announced their nomination for the Democrat ticket. Among the 23 Democrat contenders, include Beto O'Rouke, Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren. The Orlando rally will be held at the Amway Center and is scheduled to kick off from 20:00 local time. A number of protests around the venue are expected.

Gunman killed after opening fire on federal courthouse in Dallas, Texas

A gunman has been shot dead after opening fire on a federal courthouse in Dallas, Texas. AP reported that the shooting broke out on Monday morning just outside the Earle Cabell Federal Building. Reports suggest that the suspect was carrying a large cache of ammunition and an assault rifle. According to the police, the suspect was named as 22-year-old Brian Isaak Clyde, an Army veteran who was discharged from the military back in 2017. The motives behind the shooting are still under investigation.

One killed in graduation party shooting in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

A person has died and several others have been injured after a shooting broke out at a graduation party in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. CBS reported that the shooting broke out on Sunday evening when dozens of people were attending the event. It is still unclear what the circumstances behind the shooting are. The incidence came as more than a dozen shootings were reported across Philadelphia over the weekend, where at least four people were killed.

Four found dead inside house in West Des Moines, Iowa

Four people with gunshot wounds have been found dead inside a house in West Des Moines, Iowa. CNN reported that the victims were found on Saturday morning. Among the victims were two minors. Police are still investigating what the motives behind the shooting are.

Adverse weather may trigger flight disruption in Houston, Texas

Some flights to and from Houston Bush Airport and Houston Hobby Airport are expected to be affected on Monday due to adverse weather conditions. Weather alerts have been issued to most areas across south-eastern Texas as thunderstorms are forecast to hit the region. The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued a marine warning due to the impact of strong winds and high waves in some coastal areas. Travellers are recommended to check for flight status updates with their respective airlines.

Sarah Sanders to resign as White House press secretary

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders is leaving her post after two years. Sanders has been known as a fierce defender of President Donald Trump, while also having a troubled relationship with the press. She has put an end to daily White House press briefings since she replaced Sean Spicer in 2017. On social media, President Trump said: "After 3 1/2 years, our wonderful Sarah Huckabee Sanders will be leaving the White House at the end of the month and going home to the Great State of Arkansas. She is a very special person with extraordinary talents, who has done an incredible job! (...)". Sanders was one of the few remaining aides since President Trump took office in 2016. She is set to leave by the end of the month, while her replacement is still unknown.

New York congress pass bill to revoke vaccination exemption for children

State legislators in New York have approved a bill to revoke vaccination exemption on religious grounds. In a controversial bill signed into law on Thursday, the state congress has repealed a previous rule that would grant schoolchildren religious exemption to vaccine requirements. Some exemptions are not included in the bill. The bill passed as the US faces its worst measles outbreak in decades. Most of the cases, which so far have surpassed 2,200, mostly impact isolated and religious communities. In New York, most cases were confirmed within the Orthodox Jewish community. Measles is a highly contagious disease and symptoms may include high fever, coughing and red eyes. The disease is preventable with the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccination.

The NYT to halt publishing of political cartoons

The New York Times (NYT) has announced that daily political cartoons published in its international edition will be discontinued. In a statement, the NYT editorial page editor, James Bennet, said that the decision comes after a year of deliberation. The decision generated a backlash from well-known cartoonists while raising questions of freedom of opinion. The move came weeks after the publishing of a cartoon depicting US President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The controversial cartoon was labelled as anti-Semitic across most of the US press and activist circles. It's author, Portuguese veteran cartoonist Antonio Moreira Antunes, told the CNN that he had "no anti-Semitic intent and only drew the cartoon as a political statement".

Data breach expose photos and license plates held by CBP contractor

Photos and license plate information have been hacked in a data breach involving the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP). CBP has said that the breach was identified in late-May when hackers targeted one of their contractors. A government official told The New York Times that data from up to 100,000 people were affected, including tourists, US nationals and immigrants. The relative small breach raises concerns over the introduction of facial recognition in major travel hubs across the US. In a statement, the CBP said that it "will unwaveringly work with all partners to determine the extent of the breach and the appropriate response".

Pilot killed in helicopter crash-landing in New York City

A helicopter has crashed on the top of a skyscraper in New York City. CNN reported that the aircraft crash-landed just minutes after taking off from a heliport in midtown Manhattan. Among the casualties is the pilot, later identified as Tim McCormack, who is believed to be the sole occupant of the aircraft. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is currently investigating the causes of the crash.

American Airlines extend suspension of Boeing 737 MAX flights

American Airlines has decided to extend the suspension of Boeing 737 MAX as they await software updates. Since April, the company and several other airlines have chosen to not to use their MAX aircraft for flight operations due to safety concerns. In the US, the move came after orders from federal and national transportation agencies such as the FAA, DOT and the NTSB. American Airlines has said that some operations may be affected until 03 September. The company said that they already put in place measures to keep disruption at a minimum. According to the company, 115 flights will be cancelled per day. American Airlines said that for further information, travellers are advised to directly contact the airline or their travel agents.

Amusement park evacuated due to bush fire in Santa Clarita, California

Hundreds of guest were voluntarily evacuated after a fast-moving bush fire threatened a major amusement park in Southern California. AP reported that parts of the Six Flags Magic Mountain and Hurricane Harbor were evacuated after smoke and ash spread towards the park. The fire broke out in the outskirts of Santa Clarita on Sunday. Six Flags said that the park will re-open for business as usual on Monday morning. The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued warnings of excessive heat to several counties in central and southern California.

One killed in crane collapse in Dallas, Texas

One person has died and several others have been injured after a crane collapsed in Dallas, Texas. US authorities revealed that the accident happened at an apartment building on Sunday. Investigations have been launched to assess what the caused of the accident are. Strong winds and adverse weather hit major cities across Texas over the weekend. Reports show that more than 270,000 people were affected by power outages statewide. Energy provider Oncor said that engineers have already been deployed to restore power across northern Texas. People should remain vigilant for downed power lines.

Four climbers stranded at Mount Rainier, Washington

Four climbers have gotten stranded whilst climbing Mount Rainier in Washington. National Park Service (NPS) revealed that rescue operations were launched on Monday to rescue the climbers, who were following the Liberty Ridge route. Dozens of park rangers and the US military are assisting in rescue efforts; however, they have been hindered by strong winds. As rescue efforts continue, NPS has announced the indefinite closure of the Liberty Ridge route. The NPS describes the route as "one of the more technical and dangerous routes on Mount Rainier". It is the same route where a climber died after a rockfall hit a camp last week.

Heavy rainfall may trigger flash flooding across southern US

Weather alerts have been issued to southern Texas and Louisiana as heavy rainfall is forecast to trigger dangerous flash flooding across the region. The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued an alert to Baton Rouge and most cities in central Louisiana. Travel disruption is likely to impact the region as adverse weather moves eastwards. Thunderstorms are also forecast to hit most towns in central and south-eastern Texas. For further updates, travellers are advised to follow alerts from the NWS.

Six migrants killed after evading car chase in Robstown, Texas

Six migrants have been killed and several others injured in a car crash in Robstown, Texas. AP reported that the vehicle crashed after evading a police chase on Wednesday. The US Border and Customs Patrol said that the victims were undocumented migrants from Central America and Mexico. Nueces County Sheriff JC Hooper claimed that US Route 77 has been long used by human traffickers and smugglers as a corridor between Mexico and the US. This latest accident comes amid a deep crisis reported along the southern US border, where migrant caravans from Central America continue to arrive.

Operation detains several MS-13 members in Houston, Texas

A joint operation has led to the detention of more than 20 people associated with, or members of, the Central American-based MS-13 street gang in Houston, Texas. Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) has confirmed that at least a dozen of those arrested were direct members of the group. The operation happened throughout May amid increasing levels of MS-13 presence reported across Houston. MS-13 is mostly based in Central America, but it also operates in varying levels across the US. Since taking office, President Donald Trump has stepped up efforts to counter the group and its splinter factions.

US border agents shoot driver near border post in California

US border agents have shot dead a driver who refused to stop at a border post in California. According to the police, the shooting happened on Monday near the San Ysidro border post with Mexico. AP reported that the victim was a 23-year-old US national. Authorities are still investigating what the circumstances behind the incident are.

Eight killed in head-on collision in rural highway in Mississippi

Eight people have been killed in a head-on collision between a van and a lorry in a rural road in Mississippi. AP reported that the accident happened in the early hours of Monday morning when the victims were heading to work from their hometown of Macon. According to the police, the crash occurred on the Missipppi Highway 16, near the state border with Alabama. Reports suggest that all victims worked for an agricultural company in Monroeville, Alabama.

Several patients diagnosed with Legionnaires' disease in Ohio hospital

Seven patients at a newly opened hospital near Columbus, Ohio, have been diagnosed with Legionnaires' disease. AP reported that the patients were admitted at the Mount Carmel Grove City hospital, which was opened in late-April. Officials said that additional tests of the hospital's water system and cooling towers are being carried out. According to the Ohio Department of Health, the first patient diagnosed with the disease was admitted just a day after the hospital's opening. Legionnaires' disease mainly affects patients older than 50, smokers and people with respiratory conditions. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), "people can get Legionnaires’ disease when they breathe in mist (small droplets of water in the air) containing the bacteria". Currently, there is no vaccination against the disease. Symptoms may include coughing, fever and shortness of breath.

A dozen killed in Virginia Beach shooting

At least a dozen people have been killed when a gunman opened fire at a local government building in Virginia Beach. CNN reported that the suspect indiscriminately opened fire at the Virginia Beach Municipal Centre building late on Friday afternoon. The suspect has been identified as a 40-year-old city employee. The gunman was later shot down after police officers were deployed to the scene. According to the police, the suspect was holding a pistol and several high-capacity magazines. It is still unclear what the motivations behind the shooting are. This has been considered the deadliest mass shooting in the US so far this year.

2019 Atlantic Hurricane Season begins Saturday

The 2019 Atlantic Hurricane Season is set to kick off on Saturday and last until late-November. During this period, powerful hurricanes and tropical storms become frequent across the US Southeast, the Caribbean and Central America. Last year, the Atlantic experienced one of the busiest hurricane seasons in recent decades. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has already named 15 storms for the current season. Typically, the Atlantic hurricane season starts in June; however, earlier this month, Andrea became the first named storm of 2019. Travellers are highly advised to monitor local media and official updates from reputable sources, such as the US National Hurricane Center (NHC). Updates and useful information are also provided by official meteorological and weather agencies. Among the main threats during this period are storm surges, flooding and landslides. Adverse weather may also affect flights and sea travel across the Caribbean and North Atlantic.

Louisiana governor signs abortion bill into law

Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards has signed into law a controversial abortion bill which prohibits the practice after six weeks of pregnancy. Lousiana follows Mississippi, Kentucky and Ohio in the so-called 'heartbeat bill'. Governor Edwards is a member of the Democratic Party and has been criticised for his party members for the decision. He was widely expected to sign the law after his previous religious remarks and conservative views on the issue. The vote has been overwhelmingly approved both in the House and Senate. Several states across the US are currently pushing to overturn a 1973 court ruling that legalised abortion.

Energy providers allowed to cut power off in high-risk wildfire areas across California

Energy providers in California have been given a green light to cut the power off in areas where wildfire risks are highest. In a decision reached by the California Public Utilities Commission, it has allowed power companies to cut off electricity from high-risk areas during raging wildfires. Authorities ensured that the measure will only be activated in extreme cases. The move comes in the aftermath of a deadly wildfire that killed 85 people last year in Paradise. The fire was reportedly ignited by power lines. Concerns have been raised over the population located in remote areas and those who rely on the power supply for health-related issues. California faced one of its worst wildfires seasons last year. In a document from the National Inter-agency Fire Centre (NIFC), in the coming months, wildfire activity is forecast to range between normal and above normal. August is usually the peak season of wildfires across the western US.

Climber killed in rockfall on Mount Rainier, Washington

A climber has been killed and two others injured in a rockfall on Mount Rainier, Washington. According to park officials, the rockfall happened on Wednesday evening at a camp around 10,000ft on the Liberty Ridge route. Three others part of the group escaped without any injuries. NBC News reported that one of the injured was airlifted to a nearby hospital in critical conditions. Mount Rainier National Park is located south-east of Seattle.

President Trump to impose tariffs on Mexican exports over illegal migration

President Donald Trump has announced the introduction of tariffs on Mexican exports to the US. From mid-June, a five-percent tax will be imposed on all goods exported from Mexico. President Trump continues to pressure the government of Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador to tackle illegal migration, which has generated a deep crisis along the US-Mexico border. In recent months, Mexican authorities have stepped up efforts to address the high-influx of Central American migrants heading to the US. President Trump has said that the five-percent tariff will be increased - it may reach up to 25 percent by October - if Mexico fails to address the issue.

Man dies after setting himself ablaze near the White House, Washington DC

A man has died after setting himself ablaze near the White House in Washington DC. The man was taken to the hospital in critical conditions after he stormed The Ellipse park on Wednesday morning. It is still unclear what the motivations behind the incident are. The man has been identified as Arnav Gupta, a 33-year-old resident in Bethesda, Maryland.

American Airlines technical staff threaten strike action

American Airlines technical staff are threatening to launch strike action in an ongoing contractual dispute between union workers and airline management. According to reports, the workers, including aircraft mechanics, have been working without a contract for the last three years. The Dallas-based airline filed a lawsuit this week against the staff for conducting a "go slow" between February and May, causing cancellations or delays to around 900 flights.

Kansas City International Airport reopens after tornado clear-up

On 29 May, Kansas International Airport reopened after a temporary closure to allow staff to clear debris resulting from nearby tornado damage.

FCO issues severe weather warnings for several states

The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) issued a travel warning for Arkansas, Illinois, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio and Oklahoma. The regions all have a high risk of tornados, severe storms and flooding. Travellers are advised to check forecasts and weather warnings and follow the instructions of local authorities.

Four killed in Virginia road traffic accident

On 28 May, four people were killed and eight others injured when a truck rammed a vehicle in Dinwiddie County. According to reports, the vehicle with 11 passengers was slowing to make a turn into a church parking lot at about 19:00 local time, when it was hit from the rear by the truck pulling a trailer loaded with metal. Police have opened an investigation into the accident, and have appealed for witnesses.

Two killed in hostage situation in Joliet

On 27 May, two people were killed in a hostage situation in Joliet, Chicago. According to reports, the incident happened at around 04:00 local time, when police were called to a domestic dispute. When they arrived they found the property on fire, and a woman being held hostage at gunpoint, and in a subsequent shoot-out, the suspect and hostage were killed and three police officers wounded.

Destructive storms hit Ohio

A severe and destructive weather system moved through Ohio, causing extensive damage to property, power outages and disruption to transport. Multiple tornadoes were reported in the Dayton area, with parts of interstate 75 blocked by debris. Over 80,000 residents throughout the state experienced power outages on Tuesday morning, and the authorities asked people not to travel to the city of Celina because of the danger from live power lines which had been downed during the storm.

Man killed in Hawaii shark attack

A 65-year-old US citizen has been killed in a shark attack in the waters off Kaanapali Shores resort in Hawaii. Officials said that there had been six shark attacks in the area so far this year, and warnings have been posted along the coast. So far this year, at least four shark attacks have been reported in Hawaii. The State of Hawaii's Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) offers useful safety advice and recommendations to prevent shark attacks. The Ocean Safety Division of Hawaii's County Fire Department often issues alerts over potential hazards concerning beaches across the state.

One killed and nine injured in Chesapeake shooting

On 26 May, ten people were shot, one of them fatally, at a Memorial Day event in Chesapeake, Virginia. According to reports, police were on the scene of traffic congestion and a disturbance when a shooting broke out just after 21:00 local time. Police have opened an investigation.

Argentinian businessman in US suspected of money laundering on behalf of Venezuelan president

The US Departments of Justice and Treasury have announced that they are investigating Argentinian businessman Diego Adolfo Marynberg for his involvement in money laundering on behalf of Venezuela's Nicolas Maduro, and may impose sanctions against him.  Maynberg lives in New York and owns an investment fund that has allegedly used information supplied by Venezuelan military officers.  Preliminary reports suggest that the operation involves over $800 million.

Three dead and six injured in Wyoming County traffic accident

An SUV carrying nine people was struck by a pickup truck at an intersection in Wyoming County on 27 May, killing three of its' occupants, and seriously injuring the other six. The driver of the truck, a 20-year-old male, is to face charges of aggravated vehicular homicide, reckless driving and driving while intoxicated. According to preliminary reports, some of the adults in the SUV were not wearing seatbelts and the children were not in appropriate seats.

Five people injured with gunshot wounds in Washington

At least five people have been injured by gunshots on Monday on Sumner Road in Washington. The incident happened at around 14:30 local time, and the authorities reported that four adult males and one male juvenile had been taken to hospital. Police are appealing to the public for information, particularly about a silver vehicle that was seen fleeing from the scene.

Earthquake strikes in Kodiak Island, Alaska

A 5.7 magnitude earthquake has been reported in Kodiak Island region, Alaska on 27 May. There are no reports of injuries or damage.

Nuclear talks with North Korea suspended

Talks on the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula between the US and North Korea have reportedly been suspended. Negotiations have allegedly been suspended until the Trump administration drops requests for unilateral disarmament. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un previously stated that the US had until the end of the year to reconsider their stance and negotiating strategy.

Security guard arrested for endangering aircraft at San Diego Airport

A security guard was arrested for allegedly pointing a high-powered laser at planes approaching San Diego International Airport. A helicopter deployed to search for the source of the laser beam was also targeted but was able to pinpoint the source as a parking lot in Spring Valley, where police were able to detain a suspect. If convicted, the man could face felony charges.

New charges filed against Wikileaks' Julian Assange

The US Department of Justice (DoJ) has filed 17 new charges of espionage against Julian Assange, the Wikileaks founder. Assange is currently detained in the UK for breach of bail, after which he will face extradition. The new charges relate to him violating the US Espionage Act by publishing classified documents relating to military and diplomatic issues in 2010, which according to the DoJ "risked serious harm to US national security". If convicted of all the charges against him, he faces a maximum sentence of 175 years in prison in the US. However, critics say that the charges raise profound questions about the freedom of the press. US army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning was convicted in 2013 of stealing classified records which she passed to the Wikileaks founder for publication and has served seven years in prison. Former President Barack Obama released her during his last days in office, but she is currently back behind bars after she refused to cooperate with a grand jury. According to Manning, she and Assange shared the objective of furthering Wikileaks mission as "an intelligence agency of the people".

Three arrested for Phoenix airport rental car thefts

Three people have been arrested on suspicion of stealing dozens of rental cars from Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport. The two men and a woman are all former employees of the two affected rental companies. Hertz reported at least 26 cars missing from the facility without rental contracts, and Enterprise reported 10 vehicles missing. The suspects were able to leave the airport through a gate without any scan or contract check, and the majority of the vehicles were transported to Mexico via the Nogales entry point.

Offshore earthquake hits Alaska

A magnitude 6.1 earthquake has been recorded 55km off Amatignak Island in Alaska. According to reports, the quake happened at 11:45 local time and with a depth of 27.8 km. There were no immediate reports of injury or damage.

Three killed in Missouri tornado, further warnings issued

A violent tornado has swept across Missouri, killing at least three people in Golden City in the southwest. Extensive damage has been reported across the state, with thousands of residents left without electricity. The capital, Jefferson City has also been hit with another tornado, bringing heavy rain, hail and lightning, with emergency services needing to rescue people trapped in damaged buildings. The National Weather Service has warned of heavy rain from Oklahoma to Illinois until at least Thursday evening when the severe weather will move into the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions. Flight delays and cancellations and power outages are to be expected in affected areas.

Oklahoma's Webbers Falls evacuated due to threat of dam burst

The residents of Webbers Falls in Oklahoma have been evacuated because loose barges on a river are threatening to break through a dam which is holding back floodwater. The authorities said that if the dam breaks, it would be catastrophic for the small town which is in Muskogee County in eastern Oklahoma. Interstate 40 is also closed in both directions creating severe traffic congestion.

Former White House aides subpoenaed

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler has issued two subpoenas for Hope Hicks and Don McGahn. Hicks was the White House communications director, and McGahn was chief of staff and had refused to appear for testimony before the Committee. The move seeks to obtain testimony and documents relating to the investigation into whether President Donald Trump obstructed Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation and allegations of contacts between President Trump's election campaign and Russia. President Trump is himself refusing to cooperate with many congressional probes into his administration and his business interests. He is standing for re-election in 2020.

Taquan Air suspends all Alaskan flights following seaplane crashes

Tarquan Air announced the suspension of all operations following two separate crashes in the last week. The Alaskan air carrier said that the move was voluntary and would be in place indefinitely. On 13 May, a Taquan Air Otter floatplane suffered a midair collision with another floatplane, killing six and injuring 10 sightseeing cruise passengers. On Monday a Beaver floatplane crashed into Metlakatla Harbour during a 22-mile commuter flight, killing the pilot and a passenger who was believed to be a medical professional who provided health services to the Alaskan community. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is investigating both incidents.

Baltimore services suffer cyber attack

Us authorities reported that Baltimore's online servers had suffered a ransomware attack two weeks previously.  According to preliminary reports, the hackers responsible had demanded a payment in bitcoin, but the mayor had refused to pay. The FBI are investigating the case, and the city is in lockdown, with emails, payments, transactions and property sales unable to take place. The cyber attack is one of around 20 made on municipalities this year, and cybersecurity experts said that it could take months for the city to recover. Atlanta suffered a similar incident in March 2018 and later reported that it cost the city $17 million to restore its' systems and operations.

California border agents drop migrants off at bus station

US Border Patrol have started to release migrants from the US-Mexico border at local bus stations because detention facilities are to capacity. Migrant families at the El Centro sector have risen by 383 per cent in the last seven months.  The migrants will wait there for friends and family to collect them, pending court hearings to decide whether they can stay in the country. Record numbers of families from Central America are travelling to the border asking for asylum in the US, fleeing poverty and violence in their home countries and swamping the stations built primarily to house single adults.  

Thousands protest nationwide against new abortion laws

Rallies were held to protest against new state laws restricting access to abortions. In total, more than 400 co-ordinated events took place in cities across the country. Republican state legislatures have approved new restrictions on access to abortions, including in Alabama where last week abortion was banned in all cases except where the mother's life is at risk, including those as a result of rape or incest. Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Missouri and Ohio are amongst other states to also adopt new restrictions, including a so-called heartbeat bill, where as soon as a heartbeat can be detected, abortion becomes illegal. In 1973, the Supreme Court legalised abortion in the Roe v Wade ruling, but religious conservatives hope to lead the nation's top court to overturn a woman's right to terminate her pregnancy.

Three killed in Surry County apartment fire

On 20 May, three people died when a fire broke out at an apartment complex in Surry County, North Carolina. Emergency services received a call at around 03:20 local time and firefighters tried to rescue four people, but three of them could not be saved.  The victims are said to be two women and a man, while a fourth woman is in critical condition in hospital. An investigation has been opened into the cause of the blaze.

Flood warnings and voluntary evacuation notices issued for central US

A powerful storm system has spawned dozens of tornadoes on Monday and caused significant flooding in parts of Oklahoma. At least one person was injured and a dozen homes damaged when a tornado touched down near Tulsa International Airport (TUL). Interstate 450 was closed west of Oklahoma City due to high water, and in Stillwater, residents were being evacuated from their homes by the emergency services. The authorities in the town of New Cambria have asked citizens to voluntarily evacuate for 48 hours. The weather system was expected to move on into Arkansas, Missouri and western Illinois during Tuesday.

Series of unseasonable storms to hit US Pacific Coast

A number of unseasonal storm systems are forecast to batter the US Pacific Coast over the next few days. According to the US National Weather Service (NWS), heavy rainfall is expected to hit California and bring hazardous sea conditions to the coasts of Washington and Oregon. This late-season storm is expected to bring intense snowfall to some areas across Sierra Cascade and the Sierra Nevada, where travel delays are highly expected. This series of storms is forecast to continue to affect the US West Coast until at least Wednesday. Besides impacting road travel, flights to and from major airports are expected to face disruption. Travellers are advised to contact their respective airlines for flight status updates. Some areas in California have already faced record-breaking downpour in the past few days. Additionally, the NWS has issued flood alerts have been issued to northern and eastern Washington state.

Missouri lawmakers approve anti-abortion bill

Lawmakers in Missouri have passed a bill that would ban abortion after eight weeks. In a vote held on Thursday, members of Missouri's state Senate overwhelmingly voted in favour of the measure. The bill still has to pass through the state's House of Representatives and be signed by Governor Mike Parson to become law. The bill passed just after Alabama Governor Kay Ivey signed one of the most strict anti-abortion bills in the US. Several anti-abortion legislation has been facing legal challenges. Last week, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp signed the so-called 'heartbeat law', which bans abortion after six weeks. Republican-controlled states seek to overturn a historic 1973 Supreme Court ruling that cleared the practice.

Migrant child dies at hospital weeks after crossing US border

A migrant child has died weeks after being taken to a hospital in El Paso, Texas. CBS News reported that the minor is a Guatemalan national who was hospitalised just after crossing the US-Mexico border. Sources within the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) told CBS that the child's family crossed the border at the Paso Del Norte Bridge in early-April. This is the fourth minor to die in the US southern border since December. Migrant families from Central America often take part in perilous journeys with their children and family members to reach the US. In recent months, a number of migrant caravans have been departing countries such as El Salvador and Honduras. On arrival, most of them suffer from dehydration and exhaustion.

President Trump grants full pardon to media mogul Conrad Black

President Donald Trump has fully pardoned Canadian-born media mogul Conrad Black, who was charged with fraud. Black was found guilty in 2007 for defrauding shareholders of the Hollinger International - the former owner of the Chicago Sun-Times and UK's Daily Telegraph. He was also charged with obstruction of justice. Initially, he was sentenced to 78 months in prison, but his sentence was reduced to 42 after several appeals. He served three-and-half years in prison before moving back to Canada. In a statement, the White House said: "Lord Black's case has attracted broad support from many high-profile individuals who have vigorously vouched for his exceptional character". Black, a long-time associate and personal friend to President Trump, has recently published a book praising the achievements of the US president.

President Trump declares national emergency over foreign cyber threats

President Donald Trump signed an executive order declaring a national emergency on foreign cyber threats in the US. In a statement released on Tuesday, the White House said that the order aims to "protect America from foreign adversaries who are actively and increasingly creating and exploiting vulnerabilities in information and communications technology infrastructure and services". The order has not singled out any tech company, but it comes amid increasing trade tensions with China and the Chinese telecom Huawei. The company has been key in the development of 5G networks in the US. On previous occasions, the US government has claimed that the company could be vulnerable to espionage from the Chinese government. The company denied any allegations and stated that it operates independently.

Lawmakers approve anti-abortion bill in Alabama

Lawmakers have passed controversial legislation to ban abortion in Alabama. Senators overwhelmingly supported the bill after Alabama's lower house also voted to outlaw the practice. The new legislation is believed to be even stricter than those passed last week in Georgia, where abortion is allowed until up to six weeks of pregnancy. In Alabama, abortion will only be allowed if the mother's health is at risk. The bill still has to be signed into law by Governor Kay Ivey. Several US states mostly controlled by Republican governors have pushed for stricter anti-abortion legislation. So far, Georgia, Mississippi, Kentucky and Ohio are the states where abortion is banned.

WhatsApp discovers 'targeted' surveillance attack

Messaging app WhatsApp, has reported the discovery of 'targeted' surveillance attack. The attack was reportedly detected 10 days ago and it's thought that hackers were able to remotely install surveillance software in phones and other devices by exploiting a security flaw in WhatsApp's voice calling function. Even if the call wasn't answered, surveillance software could be installed, allowing the attacker to read the messages on the target's device. Activists, human rights campaigners, lawyers, and journalists were among those targeted by the attack. Whatsapp - owned by American social media giant, Facebook - released a fix on Friday and advised users to update the app as an added precaution. The attack bore hallmarks of an advanced cyber attack, most likely carried out by a private company working with governments to deliver spyware. According to reports, the attack developed by Israeli security firm NSO Group - referred to in the past as a "cyber-arms dealer".

Police investigate criminal intent in mosque fire in New Haven, Connecticut

US authorities are investigating a fire that broke out over the weekend at a mosque in New Haven, Connecticut. New Haven Fire Chief John Alston told AP that the fire was intentional and that a criminal investigation was opened. The incident happened on Sunday afternoon at the Diyanet Mosque. No casualties were reported as only one person was inside the building, which was being renovated. Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont condemned the act.

Police attempt to evict protesters squatted at Venezuelan embassy in DC

Tensions are brewing outside the Venezuelan Embassy in Washington DC as the police attempt to evict several US protesters. For several days, a number of demonstrators have entered the embassy in a bid to block the entrance of envoys of Venezuela's opposition leader Juan Guaido. They claim that the entrance of unauthorised envoys or US law enforcement would violate international conventions. Dozens of protesters gathered on Monday evening outside the embassy, which is located on 30th Street SW. Last week, power was cut off the embassy building. Tensions around the embassy remain high since the US recognised Guaido as Venezuela's legitimate president.

Several killed in mid-air collision near Ketchikan, Alaska

At least three people have been killed after two sightseeing planes collided mid-air in southeastern Alaska. According to the US Coast Guard, three people are still missing. The plane crashed near the town of Ketchikan. Passengers from one of the planes survived and rushed to the hospital. The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has confirmed that the crash happened at the Coon Cove, near George Inlet. AP reported that the area is popular with tourists heading to excursions to the Misty Fjords National Monument. The FAA is still investigating the circumstances of the crash.

State of emergency declared due to flooding across US Southeast

A state of emergency has been declared in Louisiana and Mississippi after heavy downpours caused flash flooding across the US Southeast. Intense rainfall over the weekend hit the city of New Orleans, where flooding damaged properties and blocked major roads across the entire of the lower Mississippi Valley. Public transport has been affected and power outages were also reported. In Mississippi, some areas were evacuated due to flooding across Hancock County. Meanwhile, in Poplarville, a train derailed due to high waters. Effects of the flooding are still being felt in the worst-hit areas. Flood warnings are still active in cities located along the Mississippi River, especially in Mississippi, Arkansas and Louisiana. According to the National Weather Service (NWS), weather conditions are expected to improve from Monday as thunderstorms move towards Florida.

Massive fire engulfs all-inclusive resort in the Florida Keys

A massive fire has completely destroyed an all-inclusive resort in the Florida Keys. In a statement, Bungalows Key Largo said: "Due to an early morning fire on Sunday, May 5th, which was isolated within the Beach House, the resort will be closed". No casualties were reported, while the causes of the fire are still unknown. The Bungalows Key Largo has been considered the first all-inclusive all-adult resorts in the Florida Keys. In late-2017, parts of the Florida Keys were hit by Hurricane Irma, which significantly impacted tourism in the region.

Flights affected as severe weather continue to hit south-eastern Texas

Some flights to and from Houston Bush Airport and Hobby Airport are expected to be affected as severe weather persists across the southern US. The National Weather Service (NWS) has forecast that intense rainfall and flash flooding may affect most areas across south-eastern Texas, Louisiana and southern and central Mississippi. Flooding may also impact areas in the Houston metropolitan area, Austin and San Antonio. A flash flood warning has been issued to southern Louisiana, especially in areas around Lafayette and Lake Charles.

Chinese national indicted for 2015 Anthem hacking

A 32-year-old Chinese national identified as Fujie Wang has been indicted for hacking computer systems of US-based companies. Wang and another Chinese-based individual are accused of hacking three US companies and the health insurance giant Anthem Inc, based in Indianapolis, Indiana. According to the indictment, "as part of the computer intrusion and data breach of Anthem, the defendants identified and ultimately stole data concerning approximately 78.8 million people from Anthem’s computer network, including names, health identification numbers, dates of birth, Social Security numbers, addresses, telephone numbers, email addresses, employment information and income data". The US Department of Justice said that the individuals are possibly part of a highly sophisticated Chinese-based hacking group. It is still unknown if they are linked to the Chinese government. The Anthem hacking happened back in 2015. Most recently the company reached a settlement with the US Department of Health and Human Services for failing to launch cybersecurity measures.

WikiLeaks' Chelsea Manning released from prison after two months

WikiLeaks' Chelsea Manning has been released from prison two months after being arrested for contempt of court in Virginia. Manning, who is accused of leaking classified military documents, was detained for refusing to testify when summoned by the court. Despite her release, she is still appearing before a grand jury next week after being severe with another subpoena. Manning's legal team fears that she may be sent again to prison due to the same reasons. In a statement, they said: “Chelsea will continue to refuse to answer questions, and will use every available legal defence to prove to District Judge [Anthony] Trenga that she has just cause for her refusal to give testimony." Manning was sentenced to 35 years in 2013 for leaking classified information. She is responsible for releasing thousands of classified documents on the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Manning was first released in 2017 after outgoing President Barack Obama issued a presidential pardon.

New US tariffs on Chinese imports come into effect

New tariffs on Chinese imports to the US have come into effect. The US increased tariffs from 10 percent to 25 percent on approximately $200bn worth of Chinese imports. On Friday, China stated that it "deeply regrets" the tariff increase and will be taking "necessary countermeasures", indicating return tariffs are incredibly likely in retaliation. The increase has come into effect during ongoing talks between Chinese Vice President Liu He and US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. It was hoped the talks could bring about an end to the trade war between the US and China; however, the recent tariff increase has cast doubt over such hopes.

Uber and Lyft drivers protest over pay

A 24-hour strike by Uber and Lyft drivers began at midnight on 8 May in a protest over pay and conditions.  Cities affected include Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, San Diego, Philadelphia and others, while action is also expected in Britain and Australia.  The action comes a day before Uber is due to launch its' shares in a public offering on the US stock exchange.  

Severe weather hits Texas, Kansas and Oklahoma

Severe weather has killed at least one person and injured several others as it crossed the southern half of the US on Wednesday. A fire broke out at a natural gas refinery in Arkansas, and trees and power lines were reported as down in the area. A tornado warning was issued in Shreveport, Louisiana, and the body of a man who had been washed away by high water was found in Austin, Texas, where tornado warnings were also in place. The severe weather prompted evacuations, road closures and forced residents to be rescued across the three states.

Massive weapons cache seized at Los Angeles residence

Police acting on a search warrant to investigate a man suspected of manufacturing and selling illegal firearms, have found more than 1000 weapons at a residence in Holmby Hills in Los Angeles.  The seizure, which included rifles, assault weapons, manufacturing equipment and tools, took place in the early hours of Wednesday, and was led by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives together with the Los Angeles Police Department.  The authorities said that the investigation was the result of an anonymous tip-off.

Woman suffers shark bite off Hawaii

On Thursday, a 34-year-old woman from Oahu was apparently bitten by a shark off Haleiwa.  An emergency Services Department spokeswoman said that the victim first told them she had been injured by a spear, but later amended her account to a shark bite, which was confirmed by further medical examination.  The incident happened at around 09:20 local time, and the woman was taken to hospital in a serious condition.  

Georgia governor signs law to restrict abortion after six weeks

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp has signed a bill that would ban abortion after six weeks of pregnancy. The controversial law, labelled as the 'heartbeat law', has been considered one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the US. Anti-abortion and rights groups are against the ban and said that they will challenge it in the Supreme Court. A number of Republican-controlled states have already introduced or planning to implement stricter abortion legislation. Georgia becomes the fourth state after Mississippi, Kentucky and Ohio to ban the practice. The law will become in effect from 2020.

Student killed in school shooting near Denver, Colorado

An 18-year-old has been shot dead in a school shooting near Denver, Colorado. Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock said that the attack happened on Tuesday afternoon at the STEM School Highlands Ranch. Reports suggest that two shooters, who were believed to be enrolled at the school, were involved in the attack. Both of them were arrested. The incident has come weeks after the 20th anniversary of the Columbine High School massacre - the Columbine High School is located around 10km away from the STEM.

Inclement weather may affect flights in Houston, Texas

Adverse weather conditions may affect flights to and from Houston, Texas. Due to inclement weather reported on Tuesday afternoon, operations at Houston's Hobby Airport and Bush Airport may be affected. According to the National Weather Service (NWS), tornadoes and strong winds may affect the state, especially near the Oklahoma border. The threat of flash flooding and severe weather may also impact the region between Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas until Wednesday. For further information, travellers are advised to check alerts from the NWS and contact their respective airlines for flight status updates.

Police officer shot dead outside police station in Biloxi, Mississippi

A police officer has been shot dead in the parking lot of a police station in Biloxi, Mississippi. Robert McKeithen was shot multiple times on Sunday evening. A 19-year-old suspect was arrested a day later in the town of Wiggins, located north of Biloxi. It is still unclear what the motives behind the shooting are. Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant said that "this was a senseless murder of a veteran police officer". CNN reported that McKeithen was set to retire by the end of the year after serving for nearly 24 years in the force.

Young child killed as migrant boat capsizes on Rio Grande

A young child has died and three other people are missing after a makeshift raft overturned while crossing the Rio Grande. According to the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP), an illegal migrant notified border officers that he was part of a group that was smuggled from Mexico to the US. He told authorities that the boat capsized on Wednesday evening near Del Rio, Texas. CBP said that in 2018, more than 4,300 people were rescued while attempting to cross the perilous Rio Grande. The US-Mexico border is one of the busiest in the world. According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), 87 people have died so far in the US-Mexico border - it represents nearly 10 percent of the total number of migrant fatalities worldwide.

Fresh measles outbreak reported in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

A fresh measles outbreak has been reported as a record-high number of cases are confirmed since the disease eradication in the US in 2000. Health officials in Allegheny County confirmed that four members of the same family were diagnosed with the disease. They were all unvaccinated. Reports confirmed that they are not local residents. A potential exposure site was identified at Pittsburgh International Airport and a local rental company. The cases were confirmed after the first case in Pittsburgh was reported on Tuesday. An unusual number of measles outbreaks - an outbreak is declared after three or more confirmed cases - have been reported in the US. Measles is a highly contagious disease and symptoms may include high fever, coughing and red eyes. The disease is preventable with the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccination.

Man injured after falling into volcano crater in Hawaii

A man has been severely injured after falling into the crater of the Kilauea Volcano in Hawaii. In a press release, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park said that the victim was rescued several hours after falling from a 90-metre cliff at the Steaming Bluff overlook area. Chief Ranger John Broward said: “Visitors should never cross safety barriers, especially around dangerous and destabilized cliff edges. Crossing safety barriers and entering closed areas can result in serious injuries and death". According to the park, the latest fall resulting in death in the park was reported in late-2017. The Kilauea is considered one of the most active volcanoes in the world. Last year, it suffered one of its most destructive eruption sequences, triggering large-scale evacuations.

US attorney general refuses to testify before Democrat-controlled House committee

US Attorney General William Barr has refused to testify before the House judiciary committee on Thursday over the Russian meddling investigations. Barr testified on Wednesday in the Republican-controlled Senate judiciary committee regarding his approach to Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report on the alleged Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential elections. In late-March, Barr concluded that the 22-month investigation showed that there is no evidence of Russian collusion in the electoral process, leading to the election of President Donald Trump. The Democrats, who currently control the House of Representatives, previously questioned Barr's impartiality. His refusal came after the committee's chairman Jerry Nadler planned to allow staff counsel to question him. Despite Barr's absence, the committee will still debate the issue. Barr has faced calls to resign from high-level Democrat officials, while he is being threatened with being held in contempt of Congress. After the conclusion of the investigations, Barr released to Senate a redacted version of the 400-page report. Democrats have demanded that a full version be released until Wednesday - he failed to comply with the request. Democrats are still attempting to investigate potential obstruction of justice from the president.

Two killed as gunman storms university campus in Charlotte, North Carolina

At least two people have been killed and four others injured after a gunman opened fire at a campus of the University of North Carolina (UNC) in Charlotte. US media reported that the shooting broke out on Tuesday afternoon as students were celebrating their last day of classes. Charlotte-Mecklenburg PD confirmed that a 22-year-old suspect was arrested. He was identified as Trystan Terrel. Among the charges are murder, attempted murder and possession of a firearm on educational property. It is still unclear what the motive behind the shooting is. The UNC campus in Charlotte was put on lock down for several hours as local police officers attended reports of shots being fired. UNC has cancelled all activities on Wednesday.

US Army veteran detained for plotting bomb attack in LA

A 26-year-old US Army veteran has been detained for plotting a bomb attack during a white-supremacist rally in Los Angeles. Federal prosecutor Nick Hanna said in a statement released on Monday that: "This investigation successfully disrupted a very real threat posed by a trained combat soldier who repeatedly stated he wanted to cause the maximum number of casualties". He was detained on Friday for planning an attack during a demonstration in Long Beach. The suspect has been identified as Mark Domingo, who according to prosecutors had recently converted to the Muslim faith. He was reportedly looking to launch the attack to avenge Muslim casualties abroad, especially in the aftermath of the New Zealand mosque shooting, where 50 people were killed. 

Hundreds quarantined over measles outbreak fears at two LA universities

More than 1,000 students from two universities in Los Angeles have been quarantined over fears of a potential measles outbreak. Health officials in LA have ordered hundreds of visitors, students and lecturers home after a student infected with measles was identified earlier this month. Students from the University of California and the State of California University were either quarantined at their homes or campus of residence. UCLA has said that most students and staff have already been cleared. Measles outbreaks across the US have generated concerns from health public officials. Local and state authorities are currently introducing tougher measures to avoid the disease to spread. Most cases have been reported across isolated anti-vaccination communities. Measles is a highly contagious disease and preventable by the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccination. Symptoms include high fever, coughing and red eyes. Last week, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that the current measles outbreaks are on track to become the worst since the turn of the century.

Four killed in crane collapse in Seattle, Washington

Four people have been killed and at least three others injured after a construction crash collapsed in downtown Seattle, Washington. AP reported that the accident happened on Saturday afternoon on Mercer Street. Several vehicles were hit when the crane hit the street, temporarily closing both lanes. Seattle Fire Chief said that the victims were in two separate cars, among them including two crane operators. Other victims also included a baby girl, who was rushed to the hospital.

One killed in street shooting in Baltimore, Maryland

At least one person has been killed and eight others injured in a shooting in Baltimore, Maryland. CNN reported that a gunman indiscriminately opened fire on a street when dozens of people were gathered along Edmondson Avenue. It is still unclear what the circumstances behind the shooting are. The incident happened just after another shooting was reported during the morning. Both incidents are believed to be unrelated. Criminality levels in Baltimore have been on the rise since 2015. According to the FBI, in 2017 Baltimore reported one of the highest homicide rates among major US cities.

Woman killed in armed attack at synagogue near San Diego, California

A woman has died after a gunman stormed a synagogue in Poway, California. The incident happened on Sunday morning when a suspect armed with an assault rifle raided the Chabad of Poway synagogue, located in the outskirts of San Diego. Authorities said that a 19-year-old man was arrested moments later. San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore said that officers are currently investigating an open letter published online over the potential motives of the shooting. The incident happened six months after a deadly synagogue armed attack in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, led to the death of 11 people. 

Multiple fatalities reported in massive vehicle pile-up in Denver, Colorado

Multiple fatalities have been reported after a lorry ploughed into standstill traffic along the Interstate 70 in west Denver, Colorado. The accident happened on Thursday afternoon and involved at least 12 cars and three other lorries. At least six people have been taken to hospital, while the number of fatalities is still unknown. Lakewood Police Department said that a large section of the Interstate 70 will be closed until at least Friday morning, while members of the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) inspect the scene. A major bridge over the highway was also damaged after some of the vehicles caught on fire. It is still unclear what caused the accident. The Interstate 70 is a major highway which links eastern Denver to the city's western mountains.

Adverse weather may affect flights in New Orleans, Louisiana

Weather conditions on Thursday afternoon may impact flights to and from Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY). The National Weather Service (NWS) in New Orleans has issued a tornado watch to most counties in southern Louisiana, while isolated hail and strong winds may also affect the region. The alert is active until at least 15:00 local time. For further updates, travellers are to check with their respective airlines for flight status updates. Additionally, further weather information is available from the NWS and the New Orleans' NOLA.

US measles outbreak on track to become the worst since the disease's eradication in 2000

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed that 2019 is on track to become the year where most cases of measles were reported since the disease was first eradicated back in 2000. According to CDC reports, between January and mid-April, 626 cases of measles have been confirmed across 22 states. The number of cases is expected to surpass those of 2014, where 667 confirmed cases were reported. Measles is a highly contagious disease and preventable by the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccination. Symptoms include high fever, coughing and red eyes. Most cases have been confirmed across isolated communities where parts of the population are not vaccinated.

US threatens to deploy armed soldiers after incident along US-Mexico border

President Donald Trump has threatened to send additional armed troops to the US southern border after an incident involving US and Mexican soldiers was reported earlier this month. The US Northern Command said that several Mexican soldiers intercepted two US National Guard soldiers that were patrolling the US-Mexico border in Clint, Texas. President Trump tweeted: "Mexico’s Soldiers recently pulled guns on our National Guard Soldiers, probably as a diversionary tactic for drug smugglers on the Border. Better not happen again! We are now sending ARMED SOLDIERS to the Border. Mexico is not doing nearly enough in apprehending & returning!" On the other side, the Mexican government said that they will investigate the incident.  Mexican authorities claimed that the incident occurred in Mexican territory, near the Parcelas area in Ciudad Juarez. It claimed that the incident happened in a poorly delimited area. US-Mexico relations are strained due to the current crisis along the border, where thousands of Central American migrants continue to attempt to cross to the US.

Florida Senate passes bill to allow teachers to carry firearms

Florida's Senate has approved a bill which would allow teachers to carry firearms on school grounds. In a vote held on Tuesday, senators approved the bill which will now be sent for another vote in the state house of representatives. The bill dictates that school boards would still have to authorise teachers to carry firearms. Teachers would also have to undertake intense training and psychological tests before authorisation is granted. The gun-debate in Florida re-emerged after the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, in which 17 people were killed.

LA health authorities investigate potential measles outbreak

Health authorities in Los Angeles are investigating a potential measles outbreak after five cases were confirmed among residents. Los Angeles County Department of Public Health stated that four of the cases have been associated with international travel and are thought to be connected. A fifth case reported is not thought to be connected to the other four, but has also been linked to international travel. These have been reported as the first measles cases in the county this year. More than 20 states across the US have recorded measles cases in 2019. Measles is a highly contagious disease and preventable by the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccination. Symptoms include high fever, coughing and red eyes. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has considered vaccine hesitancy one of the ten threats to global health in 2019.

Woman injured in shark attack off South Kohala, Hawaii

A 65-year-old woman has been taken to hospital after being attacked by a shark in Hawaii. CNN reported that the US tourist was kayaking off Anaehoomalu Bay in South Kohala when her leg was bitten by a shark. The incident happened on Tuesday morning. Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency has stated that all beaches in the area will be closed until further notice. So far this year, at least three shark attacks have been reported in Hawaii. Officials reports suggest that no deaths caused by shark attacks have been reported in Hawaii since 2015. The State of Hawaii's Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) offers useful safety advice and recommendations to prevent shark attacks. The Ocean Safety Division of Hawaii's County Fire Department often issues alerts over potential hazards concerning beaches across the state.

Woman falls to death at the Grand Canyon, Arizona

A 70-year-old woman has died after falling from the rim at the Grand Canyon, Arizona. Parks officials said that the incident happened on Tuesday afternoon at the park's South Rim. Reports show that the visitors were found near the Pipe Creek Vista. In recent months, a number of accidents have been reported at the Grand Canyon. Between March and early-April, at least three people suffered accidents in different locations of the park. Accidents in the Grand Canyon occasionally occur. Besides risks associated with falls in unmarked paths and isolated terrain, other risks also include dehydration and heat stroke. Grand Canyon National Park officials offer safety recommendations to visitors.

Several injured as vehicle ploughs into pedestrians near San Jose, California

At least eight people have been injured after a vehicle ploughed into pedestrians near San Jose, California. CBS News reported that the crash happened on Tuesday evening at an intersection around El Camino Real in Sunnyvale. Police told US media that: "It looks like this may have been an intentional act by the driver, based upon what's on the scene and also some statements of pain. We are conducting that investigation. We don't know what the motives were". The suspect was detained at the scene.

Head of civilian armed group detained in New Mexico

The head of a southern-based civilian armed group has been arrested in New Mexico on gun charges. Larry Mitchell Hopkins is portrayed as the leader of the United Constitutional Patriots (UCP), who are accused of detaining hundreds of illegal migrants crossing from Mexico into the US. According to the FBI, Hopkins was detained for the unlawful possession of firearms. Hopkins is a felon who was previously charged for impersonating a police officer. UCP and other anti-immigration groups have been known for patrolling the US southern border to detain migrants. FBI court papers also revealed that “Hopkins also allegedly made the statement that the United Constitutional Patriots were training to assassinate George Soros, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama". The UCP argues that they are assisting the US Customs and Border Patrol (CBP), which is currently under enormous pressure due to the influx of migrants continuously arriving from Central America. After reports of UCP operations, New Mexico Governor Michelle Grisham said: "We are actively working with New Mexico Attorney General's Office as well as local and state police. Menacing or threatening migrant families and asylum-seekers is absolutely unacceptable and must cease".

Attorney General Barr to release Special Counsel Mueller's Russian meddling report

The long-awaited report of Special Counsel Robert Mueller is set to be released on Thursday. Attorney General William Barr will release a redacted version of the report, which investigated an alleged Russian interference in the US presidential elections in 2016. According to CNN, the report is expected to have 400 pages, which will detail some of the findings of the 22-month investigation. The report will initially be released to Congress. Lawmakers have demanded the public release of the report after AG Barr released a brief version that cleared President Donald Trump. Despite the document's release, Democrats are still sceptical over the impartiality of Barr as the country's attorney general.

Man detained for carrying flammable materials into a cathedral in New York City

A 37-year-old man has been arrested after being caught carrying flammable materials at a cathedral in New York City. According to the NYPD, the suspect was carrying two containers filled with gasoline, a lighter fluid and butane lighters. He was detained just after entering the St Patrick's Cathedral on Fifth Avenue in Midtown Manhattan. NYPD deputy commissioner of intelligence, John Miller, said: “It’s hard to say exactly what his intentions were, but I think the totality of circumstances of an individual walking into an iconic location like St Patrick’s Cathedral carrying over four gallons of gasoline, two bottles of lighter fluid and lighters is something that we would have great concern over". The suspect has not been formally identified. The incident comes just days after a massive fire engulfed the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France.

Armed woman being hunted by police found dead in Denver, Colorado

An 18-year-old woman being hunted by the police has been found dead. FBI Denver confirmed that Sol Pais died on Wednesday of apparent self-inflicted gunshot wounds. Pais was being hunted by state and federal authorities after reportedly making threats ahead of the Columbine massacre anniversary. A massive search operation was launched across Denver on Tuesday after the FBI in Miami warned that Pais had travelled from Florida to Colorado. Her body was found near the Echo Lake Campground in the Arapaho National Forest, several kilometres west of Denver. Reports previously suggested that Pais was obsessed with the Columbine High School massacre, in which 13 people were killed nearly 20 years ago. Police have said that all school will reopen on Thursday after most of them being put on lockdown.

Denver schools shut as FBI hunt for armed woman ahead of Columbine massacre anniversary

Schools across Denver, Colorado, have been shut on Wednesday as the police and the FBI search for an armed woman who made a number of undisclosed threats ahead of the Columbine massacre anniversary. Jefferson County Sheriff's Office has confirmed that an 18-year-old woman identified as Sol Pais is still at large and poses a threat to the community. Authorities said that Pais is armed and dangerous. Pais is reportedly obsessed with the Columbine massacre, where two students raided a school and killed 13 people. The Columbine high-school has been put on lockdown. The alert came after the FBI in Miami warned that Pais had travelled to Colorado after reportedly making credible threats. Schools across Cherry Creek and Mapleton are also closed. The Columbine massacre is set to complete 20 years on Saturday.

Several killed as powerful tornadoes rip through central Texas

At least eight people have been killed after powerful tornadoes ripped through the southern US. The National Weather Service (NWS) has confirmed that three tornadoes, ranging from EF-1 to EF-3, were recorded on Sunday in Houston County, Texas. AP reported that among the victims are two minors, who died after a tree fell on their vehicle in the town of Lufkin. Substantial damage was also reported across Angelina County. Power outages were also reported across most of the US Southeast, including major counties in Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana and Arkansas.

Obama's former aide indicted in investigation linked to Russian-meddling probe

A former aide to former US President Barack Obama has been indicted for lying to the Justice Department. Greg Craig, who was a White House counsel during the Obama administration, has been charged as part of investigations linked to the infamous Russian-meddling probe. The investigation is linked to President Donald Trump's former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, who was recently sentenced for eight years in prison. Craig is accused of failing to register within the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) - which orders US nationals to register as lobbyists when working on behalf of foreign governments and companies - while working in Ukraine for Russian-backed former President Viktor Yanukovich. His lawyers told the NYT that: "Mr. Craig had no interest in misleading the FARA Unit because he had not done anything that required his registration”. Craig, who also worked in the Bill Clinton administration, is the first person linked to the Democrats to be implicated in the probe headed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

Pentagon awards contracts to President Trump's border wall

A number of contracts jointly almost reaching a billion dollars have been awarded to companies to build President Donald Trump's controversial border wall and other border infrastructures. The Pentagon has announced on Tuesday that a 789-million-dollar contract was given to a Texas-based company to build a section of the wall in El Paso, while another contract of $187m was awarded to build barriers in Yuma, Arizona. A Department of Defense spokesman, Lt Col James Davis, told The Hill that in El Paso the contract includes the building of a "30-foot bollard fencing and a five-foot anti-climb plate", while in Yuma, it includes an “18-foot bollard fencing and a five-foot anti-climb plate.” Both projects are expected to be completed by September and October 2020. Just after lifting a long state of emergency in March, the Pentagon has notified Congress that it is diverting up to $1bn to improve infrastructures in the US southern border with Mexico. They claimed that such would be key to tackle drug-trafficking along the border.

South Korean president to meet Trump for talks on North Korea

President Moon Jae-in has reportedly set off from Seoul for Washington DC in the US to meet with US President Donald Trump for talks on North Korea and the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula. The meeting is the first major diplomatic effort to reignite talks between the US and North Korea following a failed second leaders summit in Vietnam earlier this year, stalling denuclearisation progress. The meeting comes as the North Korean parliament prepares for its first session since last month's elections. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is expected to give an indication during this parliamentary session of his approach to denuclearisation.

Powerful late-season winter storm forecast to hit central and northern US

Weather alerts have been issued to most states across the central and north-central US as a powerful late-season winter storm approaches the region. Blizzard warnings were issued to several areas across South Dakota, Colorado, Nebraska, Minnesota and Kansas, while winter storm warnings remain in place across Wyoming, Utah and parts of northern Montana. The National Weather Service (NWS) has also issued the so-called 'red flag warning' - an increased risk of wildfires due to low humidity and strong winds - to western Texas, Kansas and Oklahoma, and southern Arizona. Inclement weather is forecast to persist in the next few days. Power outages in those areas are likely, while travel disruption may also affect major routes and airports. Hazardous travel conditions are also expected. For further information, travellers are advised to follow updates from the NWS.

New York City declares state of emergency over localised measles outbreak

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has declared a public health emergency due to a measles outbreak. Recent reports show that nearly 300 cases of measles have beenconfirmed since late-2018. They were mainly diagnosed in members of an Orthodox Jewish community in Brooklyn, especially in the Williamsburg and Borough Park neighbourhood. Officials said that those in certain areas that are not vaccinated would face fines up to $1,000. Mayor de Blasio said: “This is about one neighbourhood, and the focus is on tracing folks who have been exposed. This is very pinpointed, very localized, and I think very appropriate." A previous state of emergency was declared in New York's Rockland County. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), around 500 cases of measles were already reported across 19 states this year. Measles is a highly contagious disease and preventable by the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccination. Symptoms may include high fever, coughing and red eyes. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has considered vaccine hesitancy one of the ten threats to global health in 2019.

Secret Service director leaves office in fresh blow to DHS

US Secret Service Director Randolph Alles has left his post just after Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen resigned. White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders confirmed Alles's resignation, while it remains unclear if he resigned or was sacked. Alles worked directly with Nielsen. US media previously reported that Alles was summoned by Senate Democrat leader Chuck Schumer to testify before Congress over potential security vulnerabilities at President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago golf resort. The summons regards the arrest of a Chinese national for carrying a malware device at the resort. Alles's exit is the latest blow to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which had several officials removed. Some claim that a new and tougher approach on immigration has been mainly pushed by President Trump's aide and speechwriter Stephen Miller.

Suspicious fires reported at predominantly black churches in central Louisiana

Three churches with predominantly black congregations have been set on fire in a series of suspicious arson incidents in central Lousiana. All incidents were reported in a period of fewer than 10 days. They all happened across the rural area of the parish of St Landry. State Fire Mashal H Browning said: “There is clearly something happening in this community. That is why it is imperative that the citizens of this community be part of our effort to figure out what it is". The FBI and ATF are also investigating the suspected attacks. The first fire was reported in late-March, while the last two occurred last week. No casualties were reported as the churches were empty.

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen resigns

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen has resigned. President Donald Trump announced on Sunday that Nielsen is being replaced by Kevin McAleenan, the head of the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Nielsen was reportedly removed for failing to address the current crisis along the southern border. Reports suggest that she has failed to launch stronger immigration policies despite a number of controversial measures she had already implemented. In her resignation letter, she said: “Despite our progress in reforming homeland security for a new age, I have determined that it is the right time for me to step aside. I hope that the next secretary will have the support of Congress and the courts in fixing the laws which have impeded our ability to fully secure America’s borders and which have contributed to discord in our nation’s discourse.” The move came just as President Trump retracted his plans to shut the US border with Mexico. Nielsen said that she will step down on Wednesday to "assist with an orderly transition".

Further visitor to Grand Canyon dies

A 67-year-old man died after falling at the Grand Canyon on Wednesday, bringing the total to three deaths in eight days.  The man's body was recovered by helicopter and technical rescue teams around 400 feet below the rim.  A Hong Kong resident died last week after slipping while taking a selfie, and another man died in a forested area of the park, but not from a fall.  A spokesperson for the Grand Canyon National Park said that on average around 12 fatalities occur every year with causes ranging from heat, drowning, and medical issues, with only a small percentage from falls.

Suspect in rapper killing pleads not guilty

A man has been arrested on suspicion of the shooting of 33-year-old Grammy-nominated rapper Nipsey Hussle on Sunday outside his clothing shop in the Hyde Park neighbourhood of Los Angeles.  Eric Holder, who is 29, has pleaded not guilty to murder and the attempted murder of two other men who were injured in the incident. According to police, the two men had a verbal altercation, after which Holder left, before coming back with a gun and opening fire.  Nipsey Hussle was known as an ex gang member who promoted constructive projects in the neighbourhood.  

Pentagon considering selling fighter jets to four European nations

A Pentagon official has told Congress that they are considering selling Lockheed Martin F-35 fighter jets to five new nations.  Vice Admiral Mathias Winter said that future potential customers included Greece, Romania, Spain, Poland and Singapore.  The news coincides with Turkey's plans to buy a Russian missile defence system. The Trump administration has rolled out a "Buy American" plan that has encouraged US officials to take a greater role in increasing business overseas for the US weapons industry, with ten other countries also potentially signing up for new models of warplanes, including Britain, Israel, Japan, South Korea and Belgium.  

Lori Lightfoot wins Chicago's mayoral run-off

Former prosecutor Lori Lightfoot has won the mayoral run-off in Chicago. Lightfoot has become the first African American woman to become mayor of a major city in the US. Lightfoot defeated political veteran Toni Preckwinkle. Although she is new to the political arena, she has recently been appointed by outgoing Mayor Rham Emanuel to head the Chicago Police Board. Besides seeking to introduce significant reforms to the police in Chicago, she is also tasked to address the strained relations of the police with the city's black community. Lightfoot, an openly gay politician, is also expected to push for the LGBT agenda.

Chicago to face mayoral election run-off

Residents in Chicago are set to head to the polls to elect a replacement for Mayor Rahm Emanuel. In a run-off vote scheduled for Tuesday, former police board chief Lori Lightfoot is set to face political veteran Toni Preckwinkle. Regardless of the result, voters will elect Chicago's first female Afro-American mayor. Recent polls suggest that Lightfoot is the favourite to win the race, but some are sceptical over her police record, especially regarding her relationship with Mayor Emanuel. On the other side, Preckwinkle's campaign was tainted after a closely-related alderman, Ed Burke, was arrested on extortion charges. Burke has allegedly contributed $10k to Preckwinkle's campaign. The new mayor of Chicago will have a massive challenge ahead to reduce the city's violence rates, while also looking at reforms to the Chicago Police Department.

Grammy-nominated rapper shot dead outside store in south LA, California

A 33-year-old Grammy-nominated rapper has been shot dead in South Los Angeles. Nipsey Hussle was killed on Sunday outside his clothing shop in the Hyde Park neighbourhood. Two of his companions were injured in the shooting and are in stable condition. LA Police Commissioner Steve Soboroff has said that Hussle was set to meet with the LAPD on Thursday to "talk about ways he could help stop gang violence". Hussle was also known for contributing to social projects in the Crenshaw area. LA Mayor Eric Garcetti said: "Our hearts are with the loved ones of Nipsey Hussle and everyone touched by this awful tragedy. LA is hurt deeply each time a young life is lost to senseless gun violence". Investigations are still ongoing. LAPD Chief Michel Moore said: "We will work aggressively with our community to quell this senseless loss of life".

US airlines may face delays after systemwide glitch

US airlines may experience some delays throughout Monday as they recover from a major system-wide computer outage. According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), several airlines were affected after an issued was reported in the Aerodata airplane planning weight and balance programme. They include Southwest Airlines, Delta, American Airlines, United, Spirit, JetBlue and Alaska Air. Reports suggest that the issue was already resolved, but delays are expected as the system returns to normal. Travellers are advised to contact their respective airlines for flight status updates.

Missing university student found dead in Columbia, South Carolina

A 21-year-old university student has been found dead after being reported missing in Columbia, South Carolina. Samantha Josephson's body was found in a woodlands area in Clarendon County. According to the police, the victim was taken after mistaking the suspect's car for her Uber ride. The incident was reported in the early hours of Friday morning in the Five Points area, a major entertaining district in Columbia. A man later identified as Nathaniel Rowland was detained and charged with murder and kidnapping. Josephson was a student at the University of South Carolina. City of Columbia Police Department has previously published safety recommendations to students at Five Points. Local authorities have urged students to double check the details of the vehicle - model, colour and license plate - when ordering ride-sharing services.

Tourist falls to death in the Grand Canyon, Arizona

A Hong Kong tourist has died after a 300-metre fall in the Grand Canyon, Arizona. Park officials revealed that the visitor stumbled over the edge of the rim while taking a picture. The accident happened on Thursday morning around the Grand Canyon West, around the Hualapai reservation area. The area is known for its Eagle Point, which houses the famous glass-bridge Skywalk. Accidents in the Grand Canyon occasionally occur. Besides risks associated with falls in unmarked paths and isolated terrain, other risks also include dehydration and heat stroke. Grand Canyon National Park officials offer safety recommendations to visitors.

Two killed as gunman open fire on vehicles in Seattle, Washington

Two people have been killed and several others injured after a gunman opened fire on vehicles in Seattle, Washington. The Seattle Times reported that the suspect fatally shot a man while attempting to steal his car in the Lake City area in northern Seattle. He then opened fire on a passenger bus. No passengers were injured as the driver managed to drive the bus away from the scene. Reports suggest that moments later the gunman crashed the stolen car into another vehicle, killing its driver. Local media have identified the suspect as a 33-year-old local resident. The incident unfolded on Wednesday at 16:00 local time. Local authorities and federal agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) are investigating the circumstances behind the shooting.

State of emergency declared over measles outbreak in Rockland, New York

A state of emergency has been declared in New York's Rockland County due to a measles outbreak. Health authorities have warned that, since October, more than 150 people have contracted the disease. The state of emergency dictates that children under 18 years of age are barred from public places, including schools, shopping centres and restaurants. US media reported that the current outbreak has mainly affected members part of the county's Jewish Orthodox community. However, authorities fear a potential spread of the disease ahead of the Easter holidays. The state of emergency was declared after new exposure areas in Monsey and Spring Valley were identified. Measles is a highly contagious disease and preventable by the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccination. Symptoms may include high fever, coughing and red eyes.

Pentagon to divert a billion dollars to build border infrastructures

The Pentagon has notified Congress that it is diverting up to $1bn to improve infrastructures in the US southern border with Mexico. As part of President Donald Trump's emergency declaration, the funds will be directed at supporting the Department of Homeland Security and Customs and Border Patrol. Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan has said that the money will be used to improve roads, build 57-mile fencing in El Paso and Yuma border areas, and install lighting. The move has been justified as essential to addressing drug-trafficking along the border. Democrat and  Republican senators have widely criticised the Pentagon's decision and claimed that it bypassed congressional approval. President Trump declared a state of emergency after he failed to secure up to six billion dollars to build his long-promised border wall.

Mueller report shows no Russian collusion in 2016 presidential campaign

A long-awaited report from Special Counsel Robert Mueller concluded that no collusion between President Donald Trump and his campaign aides with Russian officials took place. In a letter sent to Congress, Attorney General William Barr has said that there was no evidence of Russian interference in the 2016 elections. AG Barr also said that there is no evidence that President Trump committed an obstruction of justice offence. However, the report states: “While this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.” The White House praised the results of the report, while Democrats have called on Mueller to make it public and deliver a full copy of the report to Congress. The investigation into Russian meddling in the presidential elections has been ongoing for two years.

State of emergency declared due to flooding in Missouri

A state of emergency has been declared in Missouri as the risk of flooding continues to threaten the US Midwest. Several communities located along the Missouri River were evacuated. Officials fear that some areas in Kansas City and Missouri may be affected as a high-influx of water moves downstream. Neighbouring Nebraska was also put on a state of emergency after a powerful storm triggered heavy rainfall and flooding last week. Areas located near rivers around the Mississippi Valley may be affected over the weekend. Officials within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) told Reuters that the flood risk may remain high for several weeks due to continued rainfall and snow melting. For further updates, travellers are advised to follow alerts and warnings from the National Weather Service (NWS).

Widespread flooding continue to affect states across US Midwest

Widespread flooding is forecast to continue to affect parts of most states across the US Northeast and Midwest. The US National Weather Service (NWS) has issued flooding warnings and advisories to Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Wisconsin, Montana, Washington, Oregon and Michigan. Districts located along the Mississippi and Missouri rivers may also be affected. Meanwhile, states in the Mid-Atlantic may be hit on Thursday as a powerful coastal storm approaches the region. Weather conditions are also expected to affect the Californian coast and parts of the US Southwest in the next few days. Severe weather may impact flights and public transports. Travellers are advised to contact their respective airlines for flight status updates and follow alerts provided by the NWS.

Fire at Deer Park chemical plant could burn for days

Fire burned through massive chemical storage tanks at Deer Park, east of Houston on Monday, sending plumes of smoke across the city and forcing residents to stay indoors.  The fire is expected to burn for several more days, although health officials said that it is not expected to present a serious health risk because the smoke is rising up to 4,000 feet and dissipating above ground.  The main road, Independence Parkway, is out of use as a precautionary measure and local schools were also closed, but expected to open again on Tuesday.  The storage facility houses 242 tanks capable of holding petrochemical liquids and gases as well as oil products.  Local residents said they were familiar with the risks that come with living near refineries and chemical plants.  An investigation into the cause of the fire is underway.  

Three killed and two missing in Nebraska floods

On 18 March, local authorities in Nebraska issued an emergency declaration for 74 states as floodwaters continued to rise in the midwest.  Around 540 miles of highways have been closed, and the Department of Agriculture estimates the damage to livestock at $400 million.  Water is also covering at least one-third of the Offutt Air Force Base, head of the US Strategic Command.  Three people have been reported to have been killed, with a further two missing.  The water level has reached 47.5 feet, breaking the previous record from 2011 by more than a foot.  Warmer temperatures are expected to speed up the rate of snow melt across the region and contribute to already swollen rivers.

Two injured in casino shooting in Las Vegas

On 15 March, two people were injured when an armed man entered the Bellagio Hotel and Casino to demand money from the cashiers. He then tried to steal a car, and when confronted by police, shot an officer who was wearing a bullet-proof vest.  The suspect was also hit, and was hospitalized for his injuries.  

Woman killed in California freeway shooting

The California Highway Patrol are investigating the death of a woman on State Highway 4 after her vehicle crashed, and was found to have bullet holes on the driver's side.  The incident happened at around 14:25 local time on Saturday when the victim's car veered on to the central reservation and then across other lanes of traffic before coming to a halt.  The road was closed while the investigation was undertaken, and the authorities confirmed that they were treating it as a "suspicious death". 

Record flooding isolates Nebraska towns

Record flooding has been recorded in the Midwest in the last week, breaching levees, prompting evacuations and isolating several towns.  At least 38 locations in Nebraska reported record-high river levels, while heavy flooding was also reported in Wisconsin, Minnesota and South Dakota.  The town of Fremont, Nebraska, sits between the Platte and the Elkhorn rivers, and when both burst their banks, the town was surrounded by floodwater.  Two people are reported to have died in the area as rising water has reduced homes to rubble and destroyed roads. The Midwest often experiences spring flooding as ice melts, but a cold winter has left the ground frozen and unable to absorb water, and as temperatures rose and melted the snow, it also rained, leading to the worst flooding in a half-century.  

Two injured in tanker explosion in Los Angeles

On 17 March, two people were injured, one of them seriously, when a tanker exploded in a residential area of Los Angeles.  The incident happened at around 07:45 local time at a storage yard in the south of the city.   According to preliminary reports, the 9,000 gallon tanker had been leaking gasoline when it caught fire, and gas leaked into storm drains causing further explosions including manhole covers in the area being blown into the air.  Almost 80 firefighters took almost two hours to extinguish the fire and control the area..  

ICC staff to have visas revoked over investigations against US military

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said that prosecutors of the International Criminal Court (ICC) will have their visas revoked if they pursue investigations on alleged abuses committed by soldiers during the US campaign in Afghanistan. In a statement, he said: “We are determined to protect the American and allied military and civilian personnel from living in fear of unjust prosecution for actions taken to defend our great nation. These visa restrictions may also be used to deter ICC efforts to pursue allied personnel, including Israelis, without allies’ consent." It is still unclear if any ICC employees were already targeted. The move comes over a pending investigation on several organisations, including the US military, of abuses committed in Afghanistan since 2003. Although the US signed the statute that established the ICC, the country has not ratified it.

Senate vote in favour to halt President Trump's national emergency declaration

President Donald Trump has suffered a crushing defeat after the US Senate approved a bill to halt his national emergency declaration. The bill was approved in a 59-41 vote held on Thursday. A dozen Republicans broke party lines and joined the Democrat-sponsored bill, which passed in the House of Representatives in late-February. President Trump has declared a national emergency along the southern border in an attempt to allocate funds to build his contested border wall. The emergency declaration came after a 35-day partial shutdown of the federal government. The recently passed legislation is expected to be vetoed by Trump.

Gambino family mafia boss killed in New York City

A mafia boss has been shot dead outside his home in New York City's Staten Island. The New York Times reported that Frank Cali, the boss of the Gambino family, was shot dead on Wednesday evening near Todt Hill area. Officials said that Cali was shot six times. The Gambino family used to be one of the most influential mafia syndicates in New York City. Back in the 1980s, it was led by the infamous John Gotti. This has been reported as the first mafia boss killing since former Gambino leader Paul Castellano in 1985 - in recent years, sporadic incidents involving lower-level mafia members have been reported in New York City.

Weather warnings issued as powerful storm approaches central US

Weather warnings have been issued to most states across central and northern US as a powerful storm approaches the region. Blizzard conditions are forecast to hit parts of Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Montana and Wyoming. Colorado is also being severely affected, with power outages being reported across the state. Flights to and from Denver International Airport (DEN) are being cancelled, while operations across major airports are also being affected. The National Weather Service (NWS) forecast that weather conditions will improve in the next few days, but strong winds may still persist across central and southern US. Power outages have also been reported in New Mexico, Tennessee, Missouri and Texas. In addition to travel disruption caused due to weather conditions, some airlines may have their services impacted after the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) ordered all Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft to be grounded.

California Governor to sign moratorium on death penalty

California Governor Gavin Newsom is set to issue a moratorium on death penalty. The executive order comes as several US states attempt to unilaterally halt the execution of inmates sentenced to death. It has been reported that over 700 prisoners currently awaiting execution will not face capital punishment until after Governor Newsom leaves office. Rights groups praised the move and called for a more permanent approach. For more than a decade, there has not been a single execution in California. Besides halting the death penalty, Governor Newsom also seeks to scrap the so-called lethal injection protocol, which for years has been facing scrutiny from courts. Most US states allow the death penalty.

Paul Manafort sentenced for additional three-and-half years in prison

President Donald Trump's former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, has been sentenced to an additional three-and-half years in prison. At a court hearing in Washington DC on Wednesday, Manafort was sentenced on two conspiracy counts. He was charged for obstruction of justice and not disclosing a consulting agreement with former Ukraine President Viktor Yakunovych. He had already pledged guilty for both crimes. In total, Manafort has been sentenced for around eight years in prison. He also is a key figure in the Russian meddling investigation led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

WikiLeaks' Chelsea Manning arrested for contempt of court in Virginia

Chelsea Manning, a former military intelligence officer linked to the WikiLeaks scandal, has been arrested after she refused to testify before a federal court. Manning was summoned by a federal court in Virginia to testify over the leak of secret documents back in 2010. She is currently being held in contempt of court and may be released after she agrees to testify or after a grand jury deliberation. Manning was sentenced to 35 years in 2013 for leaking classified information. She is responsible for releasing thousands of classified documents on the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Manning was released in 2017 after outgoing President Barack Obama issued a presidential pardon. The court summon comes amid investigations on the WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, who is currently in political asylum at the Ecuadorian Embassy in the UK.

Paul Manafort sentenced to nearly four years in prison for fraud

President Donald Trump's former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, has been sentenced to nearly four years in prison. A judge at a district court in Alexandria, Virginia, has sentenced Manafort for bank and tax fraud. He is accused of not declaring millions in revenue from money acquired while working as a consultant to former Ukrainian President Viktor Yakunovych. The sentence has been heavily criticised as prosecutors called for up to 24 years instead of nearly four. Manafort is jailed for nine months. Next week, he is set to face another court proceeding regarding two charges of conspiracy, where he may face up to 10 years in prison. Manafort has been sentenced amid the infamous Russian meddling investigation led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

Heavy rainfall forecast to persist across central California

Heavy rainfall is forecast to persist across central and southern California as a powerful storm approaches the region. According to the National Weather Service (NWS), adverse weather may particularly impact areas along the state's Central Coast region. Thousands of people have suffered power outages on Wednesday, while rainfall may continue over the next few days. Evacuation orders have been issued to some areas due to the risk of landslides and flooding. Mudslides may impact areas previously affected by wildfires in Santa Barbara, Ventura and Los Angeles counties. Further north, some areas across the Sacramento Valley and the Sierra Nevada may also be affected. For further information, travellers are advised to follow updates from the NWS.

Several still missing after tornadoes ripped through Alabama

At least seven people are still missing after a number of tornadoes ripped through south-eastern Alabama. Lee County officials confirmed that at least 23 people have been confirmed dead after a series of tornadoes hit the state over the weekend. A state of emergency remains in place as search and recovery efforts are still ongoing. A powerful low-pressure system affected most states across the US Southeast, including Lousiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, South Carolina and Georgia. Weather conditions have significantly improved, but ice warnings were issued to most states across the region.

Five injured as plane leaves runway at Newark Liberty Airport

The pilot and four passengers were injured when a United Express aircraft slid off the runway at Newark Liberty Airport during a snowstorm.  According to reports, the pilot had aborted the first landing attempt and made a second attempt at around 11:30 local time on Monday, with the aircraft leaving the slipway and suffering damage to the nose cone and landing gear.

US restores EU's diplomatic status

Following a move last year when the Trump administration downgraded the diplomatic status of the EU's delegation to the US, the decision has been reversed this week. The ambassador will now again be considered to be equivalent to an ambassador from a country rather than just an envoy from an organization. The snub became evident at the funeral of George Bush when the names of the diplomats were read in order of longest-serving to newest, but EU Ambassador David O'Sullivan was called last. US-EU relations were hit when several EU countries disagreed on the US-imposed sanctions against Iran. Further grievances also included the introduction of import tariffs of EU goods to the US.

State of emergency declared for three Georgia counties following tornadoes

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp has declared a state of emergency for Grady, Harris and Talbot counties because of the level of destruction caused by tornadoes and thunderstorms in the last few days. This activates the Georgia Emergency Operations Plan which allows state resources to be allocated for the response to the disaster. The storms killed at least 23 people and injured 40 and left widespread damage across Georgia as well as Alabama and Florida.

Avalanche warning issued for northeast Colorado

An avalanche warning was issued for northeast Colorado following continued snowfall. An avalanche on the previous day shut sections of Interstate 70 only two miles from the Copper Mountain ski resort for around three hours. No injuries or damage were reported. On Sunday, a skier was killed after being caught in an avalanche near Lizard Head Pass. Alerts remain in place to several regions across western Colorado. Travellers are advised to follow updates from the Colorado Avalanche Information Center

Scores arrested at protest over officer-involved shooting

Around 80 protesters were arrested at a demonstration held in Sacramento, California. The rally was held after the District Attorney had said that charges would not be filed against two officers who shot and killed an unarmed man, Stephon Clark, in 2018. Traffic was blocked in the area near 50th Street and participants were warned that the police considered the march an "unlawful assembly". A reporter and a pastor were amongst those detained. The case centres on a 911 call of a man breaking car windows in the Meadowview neighbourhood last year. Two officers chased Clark into a backyard, where they shot him eight times, apparently in the belief that he was in possession of a gun. A cell phone was found next to his body.

Hilary Clinton not to run in 2020 elections

Hilary Clinton has confirmed that she will not run in the 2020 presidential elections, although she added: "I'm not going anywhere". The 2016 Democratic presidential nominee also said that she will continue to speak out about politics, and that "when we have a Democrat in the Oval Office in 2021, there's going to be so much work to be done". Ahead of the 2020 Democratic Party primaries, several candidates put themselves forward to run for office. They include Bernie Sanders, Washington State Governor Jay Inslee, Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar, New Jersey Senator Cory Booker, California Senator Kamala Harris and Massassuchetts Senator Elizabeth Warren.

Los Angeles Airport runway temporarily closed

On 4 March, Runway 25R at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) was temporarily closed due to an emergency landing. A United Airlines flight was forced to make an emergency landing due to a hydraulics failure. There were no reports of injuries amongst the 147 passengers on board and the runway was closed while the aircraft was removed. Some ongoing delays to flight operations are possible.

Officer-involved shooting reported in Des Moines

An armed suspect was killed by police on Monday, after confronting officers over a stolen car. The incident happened around 04:00 local time when a citizen reported that his car had been stolen and one of the perpetrators shot him in the leg. Officers located the stolen vehicle shortly afterwards and the occupants fled on foot. Whilst they were being detained, a third individual approached and confronted the police with a handgun, who shot at him, killing him at the scene. An investigation into the incident is underway.

Measles outbreak continues in Pacific Northwest

At least 70 cases of measles have been recorded in the Pacific Northwest states of Washington and Oregon, with most of those infected under 10 years of age.  The number of cases represent almost half of all reported cases in the US in 2019.  Authorities have urged citizens to ensure that they are vaccinated against the disease to prevent the continued spread.  Symptoms of measles include a high fever, runny nose, cough, red eyes and small white spots inside the cheeks, followed by a rash, usually on the face and neck, and then spreading over the rest of the body.  On average, the rash appears around 14 days after exposure to the virus.  Anyone experiencing these symptoms is advised to seek medical assistance. 

Two killed after vehicle rams into Mardi Gras crowd in New Orleans

At least two people were killed and seven injured, three of them critically, when a vehicle rammed pedestrians walking on Esplanade Avenue in New Orleans, near the Mardi Gras parade. The incident happened on Saturday at 20:00 local time. According to witnesses, the car hit several other vehicles before mounting the pavement. The driver tried to leave the scene but was prevented from doing so by members of the public. According to preliminary reports, the driver is the son of a serving New Orleans police officer. An investigation is underway as to whether the driver was intoxicated, and is not thought to be terror-related.

Fifteen people shot in Chicago since Friday evening

Fifteen people have been shot in Chicago since Friday evening. Six were wounded in a single incident in a bar on the South Side. Police are investigation whether the club has any connection to gangs or organized crime. In separate incidents, a woman was killed in a drive-by shooting in Englewood, and on the West Side, a 25-year-old man was killed during a fight in the street. Two other events involved motorists who were struck by stray bullets and who took themselves to the hospital for treatment. On Saturday morning, two people in ski masks shot a man in his chest in West Garfield Park leaving him in a critical condition.

Fresh disruptions reported at LaGaurdia Airport

Weather conditions are causing fresh disruption at LaGuardia Airport (LGA) on Monday. Passengers are advised to contact their airline before leaving for the airport.

Tornadoes sweep through Lee County, Alabama

At least a dozen destructive tornadoes swept through Alabama, leaving at least 22 people dead. The majority of the deaths were reported in Lee County, about 60 miles northeast of Montgomery, but figures are expected to rise, and heat-seeking drones have been deployed to look for survivors overnight.   Governor Kay Ivey extended a previous state of emergency declaration in the wake of severe weather.

Woman killed in Kentucky officer-involved shooting

Police responded to a domestic disturbance in Grayson in Carter County on Friday, involving a female and a family member. The woman had left the scene when officers arrived but later returned to the property, allegedly with a firearm. When police approached the home, she confronted them, resulting in the police opening fire. The female subject was declared dead at the scene. An investigation has commenced by the Kentucky State Police Critical Incident Response Team.

Californian highway 180 closed due to accident

At least five vehicles have been involved in a crash on Highway 180 near Fresno, California, causing the road to be closed westbound.  The authorities said that all westbound lanes are closed between Temperance Avenue to De Wolf Avenue. Although eastbound avenues are open, the public has been requested to avoid the area. Multiple people were taken to Community Regional Medical Center with severe injuries, while those with minor wounds were treated at the scene.

US to offer reward for capture of Osama Bin Laden's son

The US government is offering a reward of around $1 million for information leading to the capture of Hamza bin Laden, son of late al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. The 30-year-old is thought to be based near the Afghan-Pakistan border and has issued audio and video messages calling for attacks on the US and allies in revenge for his father's killing. On Friday, Saudi Arabia announced that it had stripped him of his citizenship after an audio message last year encouraged citizens to prepare Jihad - holy war - against their monarchs. Osama bin Laden was killed in 2011 after a US-led military raid to a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

Severe weather triggers state of emergency across central California

California Governor Gavin Newsom has declared a state of emergency for the counties of Amador, Glenn, Lake, Mendocino and Sonoma due to flooding and landslides as the result of heavy rainfall over the last few days. The declaration will enable federal assistance to assist local governments to respond to and recover from the flooding. Thousands were already affected in the town of Guerneville, where dozens of roads around the city were blocked, while some major landslides affected major highways. The state of emergency comes after the National Weather Service (NWS) issued flood alerts to most regions in northern and central California.

Flight disruptions reported at LaGuardia Airport, New York

LaGuardia Airport (LGA) is reporting disruptions to flight operations because of weather conditions. Passengers are advised to check with their airline before leaving for the airport.

Over 1,000 homes without power in Brooklyn

Over 1,000 households were without power in Brooklyn, New York due to a transformer explosion in Dyker Heights. The incident happened on Thursday at around 20:00 local time affecting homes from 80th to 86th streets. Emergency services were dispatched to deal with the transformer fire, and Con Edison said that crews were immediately deployed to undertake repairs.

One killed in police-involved shooting in Vancouver

A man was killed by police officers after reportedly waving a gun at passers-by in Vancouver, Washington. The incident happened on Thursday near West 12th and Jefferson Street near a facility that offered services to homeless people. The police Regional Major Crimes Team has started an investigation. The incident comes only a week after another officer-involved shooting in the area.

Storm to hit US Southwest over the weekend

According to the authorities, a strong storm will move across the US Southwest over the weekend. Severe weather is forecast to affect most cities across Arkansas, Lousiana and Mississippi. Residents are advised to monitor local weather reports and follow the instructions of local authorities.

US authorities release further information on massive car pileup in Wisconsin

US authorities have released on Wednesday further information on a massive car pileup that killed at least one person in Wisconsin. According to Winnebago County Sheriff's Office, the accident happened on Sunday along the Interstate 41, near the town of Neenah. Some 131 vehicles were involved in the massive accident. A 30-year-old teacher was killed and over 70 people were injured. The accident happened as hazardous weather conditions were impacting the state and the Great Lakes region.

Widespread flooding reported in Guerneville, California

Thousands of people have been affected after heavy rainfall triggered widespread flooding across Guerneville, northern California. Flooding isolated some neighbourhoods in the region after the Russian River burst its banks. Sonoma County Sheriff's Office has informed that the towns of Monte Rio and Cloverdale were also affected. Dozens of roads around Guernesville were blocked, while some landslides blocked major highways. Authorities estimate that water levels from the Russian River may decrease over the next few days. The National Weather Service has issued flood alerts to most regions in northern and central California.

Trump-Kim talks break down over sanctions

The US-North Korea summit in Vietnam has ended early with no agreement signed after the US refused to relieve sanctions on North Korea. According to reports, Kim Jong-un was asking for a total relief of sanctions but was not offering enough in return. Kim allegedly stated he was willing to dismantle the Yongbyon complex but wanted all sanctions on North Korea lifted in their entirety in exchange. A joint agreement signing had been pencilled in for Thursday according to a White House programme; however, the rest of the programme was cancelled on Thursday morning.

House passes bill to halt President Trump's state of emergency

The Democrat-controlled House of Representatives has overwhelmingly approved legislation to stop President Donald Trump's state of emergency declaration on the Mexican border. Although the vote was approved with 245 in favour and 182 against, the results fall short of being able to overturn a potential presidential veto. The bill will now be sent to the Republican-controlled Senate, where some Republicans may break party lines and vote in favour of the Democrat-sponsored legislation. Earlier this month, President Trump declared a state of emergency on the Mexican border in order to build his long-promised border wall.

News crew robbed at gunpoint while covering teachers' strike in Oakland, California

A news crew has been targeted in a robbery attempt in Oakland, California. ABC News reported that staff members of a local CBS station were robbed at gunpoint while covering a teachers' strike action. Oakland Police Department said that shooting broke out when the victims' bodyguard reacted to the attack. He was injured and taken to a local hospital in stable condition. One suspect was later arrested after a police pursuit. For several days, teachers and education professionals in Oakland have been marching across the city after negotiations collapsed. They demand higher salaries and better working conditions.

Falling rock and ice kill hiker at Yosemite National Park, California

A 56-year-old woman has died after being hit by a falling rock and ice at the Yosemite National Park in northern California. According to the National Park Service, the accident happened on Sunday on the Mist Trail, which leads to the Vernal Falls on the Yosemite Valley. Authorities have stated that the victim allegedly ignored signals warning visitors that the trail was closed due to hazardous weather conditions. Currently, due to snow, the Tioga Road and Glacier Point Roads are closed during the season, while the Upper Pines Campgrounds will remain shut until further notice. Travellers are advised to follow alerts from the National Park Service and their safety recommendations before heading to Yosemite.

Strong winds may affect flights across the US Northeast

Strong winds are currently affecting flights to and from Philadelphia International Airport (PHL). PHL has warned that several cancellations and severe delays have affected flights on Monday morning. Major airports across the US Northeast may also be affected. The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued a high wind warning to most areas across Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Washington DC, Maryland, Virginia, New York, Massachusetts, Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire and Connecticut. Power outages are also possible in those states. Travellers are advised to check for flight status updates with their airlines.

US Coast Guard officer arrested for allegedly plotting a mass killing

A US Coast Guard officer has been arrested on Friday for allegedly plotting a mass killing. Christopher Hasson is accused of compiling a hit-list that included prominent Democrat politicians and journalists. According to prosecutors, Hasson had stashed at his home in Silver Springs, Maryland, more than a dozen firearms and over 1,000 rounds of ammunition. Court documents allege that Hasson backed white-supremacist views, while also being allegedly inspired by the Norwegian far-right terrorist Anders Breivik, who killed 77 people back in 2011 in Oslo and Utoya. Hasson is a former military and an active duty Coast Guard lieutenant stationed in Washington DC. Prosecutors said: "The defendant is a domestic terrorist, bent on committing acts dangerous to human life that are intended to affect governmental conduct".

Adverse weather triggers flight disruption in Washington DC

Washington DC's Reagan National Airport has warned that some flights are being cancelled due to adverse weather conditions. Flight disruption may also affect operations in other airports in Washington DC, including Baltimore-Washington International Airport and Dulles International Airport. Travellers flying to and from major airports across the US Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions are advised to check for flight status updates with their respective airlines. According to the National Weather Service (NWS), inclement weather is forecast to continue over the next few days as a winter storm approaches the region.

Three minors found dead at home near Cedar Springs, Michigan

Four people have been found dead at a residence near Cedar Springs, Michigan. US media reported that the body of three minors and a woman were recovered from a house in Solon Township. Kent County Sheriff's Office has said that all victims sustained gunshot wounds. Investigations are still ongoing as it is believed that there is a second crime scene at another location. Solon is located several miles north of Grand Rapids.

President Trump's national emergency declaration triggers nationwide protests

Thousands of protesters are expected to protest nationwide after President Donald Trump declared a national state of emergency. According to organisers, protests will take place on Monday in major cities, including New York City, Chicago, Washington DC, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Protests are also planned to take place across hundreds of US cities. President Trump has declared a national emergency on Friday to allocate funds to build his long-promised border wall with Mexico. The decision is expected to face legal challenges and resistance from Democrats. The march coincides with the President's Day celebrations.

Several bystanders injured in police shooting in New Orleans, Louisiana

Five people have been injured during a shooting near the French Quarter neighbourhood in New Orleans, Louisiana. CNN reported that five bystanders at a bus stop were hit when a violent shooting broke out. The armed standoff started when state police officers confronted an armed suspect on Sunday. Reports revealed that one of the victims is in critical condition and that the suspect shooter succumbed to his wounds.

Five killed in shooting at manufacturing plant in Aurora, Illinois

Five people have been killed after a gunman opened fire on his fellow co-workers in Aurora, Illinois. US media reported that a disgruntled employee opened fire on a manufacturing plant just after being fired. At least five police officers were injured during the shooting. Among the victims is a 21-year-old university student, who was on his first day of a human resources internship programme. The suspect shooter was identified as Gary Martin, who reportedly worked at the company for more than 15 years. Martin was killed during a violent stand-off with the police. Aurora is located nearly 60km west of Chicago.

Heavy snowfall to continue across the US Northeast

Heavy snowfall is forecast to persist on Monday as a powerful winter storm moves towards the US Northeast on Monday. Over the weekend, hundreds of flights were cancelled in Chicago, while other major airports in the region were also affected. Hazardous travel conditions have been reported across most states around the Great Lakes, while weather alerts were issued to New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Additionally, adverse weather may also affect Washington DC, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia. Another winter storm is expected to form on the Pacific Coast and spread through the US Southwest, Midwest and Northeast in the next few days. Travellers are advised to check for flight status updates with their respective airlines and weather alerts from the US National Weather Service (NWS). 

Adverse weather to continue across Hawaii

Weather alerts remain in place as heavy rainfall is forecast to continue over the weekend across Hawaii. According to the National Weather Service (NWS), weather conditions in Hawaii significantly improved, but some isolated thunderstorms may still affect some regions until Sunday. Inclement weather comes as a powerful Kona low - or Kona storm - continues to affect the state. Strong winds, heavy rainfall and life-threatening surf are possible. Most weather alerts have already been discontinued. Kona lows are common in Hawaii, especially during the winter, autumn and spring months. It mainly affects Hawaii's western regions.

Heavy rainfall triggers mudslides and flooding across California

Mudslides have caused severe damage across California after heavy rainfall battered the state on Thursday. A powerful storm system heavily affected several areas around San Diego, Sacramento, San Francisco and Los Angeles. Widespread flooding also affected the state, while no initial casualties were reported. US media reported that mudslides hit several houses across Sausalito, north of San Francisco. According to the National Weather Service (NWS), the amount of rainfall in the region will decrease from Friday, while the storm moves eastwards. Meanwhile, heavy snowfall is forecast to persist across the Sierra Nevada and the Rockies. The risks of mudslides are especially high in areas previously affected by wildfires - due to the loss of vegetation and changes to the landscape, the terrain is unable to absorb the high-influx of rainfall.

President Trump plans to declare national emergency to build border wall with Mexico

President Donald Trump is set to declare a national emergency to collect funds for his long-promised wall along the Mexico border. Both houses of Congress have achieved a tentative agreement to put an end to weeks of political deadlock, which led to the longest government shutdown in US history. Democrats and Republicans agreed on a spending bill, which will allocate up to $1.3bn to finance border security. Despite President Trump intending to sign the bill, he is set to invoke the National Emergencies Act, which will allow him to access funds for his campaign project. Democrats condemned the move, while some Republicans are reluctant over his intentions. Congress may still reject the decision, but the move could be blocked with a presidential veto. Additionally, the measure could also face legal action and be challenged in court.

Congressional group reaches tentative agreement on border security

Congressional negotiators have reached a preliminary agreement to fund border security until late-September. Reuters reported that the agreement was reached in principle and it does not include $5.7 billion to build a wall along the US-Mexico border. The tentative deal comes ahead of the deadline to avoid a potential government shutdown. A congressional aide told Reuters that the agreement includes up to $1.3 billion to build new fencing and additional border barriers. Negotiations stalled earlier this week after Democrats and Republicans disagreed on funding to immigration detention facilities. Preliminary reports suggest that as part of this new tentative agreement, Democrats gave up on the demand to lower the cap on immigration beds.

Weather warnings issued as winter storm approaches the US Midwest

Weather warnings have been issued to the US Northeast and Midwest as another winter storm approaches the region. According to the National Weather Service (NWS), heavy snowfall is forecast to impact most states from eastern Iowa to northern Michigan. Additionally, upstate New York and most states across New England and the Mid-Atlantic regions will also be affected. Power outages and severe travel disruption are expected to affect those areas from Tuesday. Meanwhile, in the US West Coast, heavy snowfall brought hazardous road travel conditions to Seattle, Tacoma and Olympia in Washington state.

Congressional talks collapse ahead of federal funding deadline

Republican Senator Richard Shelby has said that talks to resolve the long-standing border security impasse are stalled after talks with his Democrat counterparts collapsed. On the weekend, a special congressional negotiating panel met to address border security issues ahead of the federal funding deadline, which is scheduled to expire on Friday. Grievances concern funding to immigration detention facilities along the US border. If no agreement is reached, a fresh shutdown may be triggered. In late-January, the government decided to end the longest partial government shutdown in US history. More than 800,000 federal employees were affected, while national parks, museums, zoos and other attractions were closed for more than a month. A temporary funding agreement was reached despite no funds to a border wall was allocated.

Thousands face power outages as powerful storm hits Hawaii

Strong winds and large waves have affected the northern coast of Hawaii after a powerful storm ripped through the state over the weekend. More than 18,000 people faced power outages, while widespread flooding and fallen trees were reported in some areas across Honolulu. According to the National Weather Service (NWS), adverse weather is forecast to continue on Monday morning as the storm moves eastwards. US media reported that a 66-year-old man died after being trapped in Napili Bay, off northern Maui. Major concerns are along coastal areas, which may face waves reaching up to 18 metres. Energy providers in Maui said that power outages in some areas may continue until Monday evening. For further information, travellers are advised to follow updates provided by NWS offices in Honolulu.

Powerful winter storm to hit the northern US

A powerful winter storm is expected to bring severe weather conditions to most states across the northern US. The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued weather alerts to southern Minnesota and eastern South and North Dakota. Weather warnings are also in place across most parts of Wisconsin and northern Michigan. Meanwhile, freezing rain is forecast to affect western Missouri and southern Iowa. Adverse weather is forecast to continue until Thursday evening. Hazardous driving conditions and power outages are possible, while major airports may also be affected. For further information, travellers are advised to follow updates from the NWS.

Second US-North Korea summit to take place

A second nuclear summit is due to be held between the leaders of the US and North Korea. US President Donald Trump announced the summit in his State of the Union speech delivered on Tuesday evening. According to the BBC, Trump stated that he would meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Vietnam from 27-28 February. The US envoy for North Korea, Stephen Biegun, is currently in Pyongyang for preparatory talks.

Power outage triggers disruption at Augusta Regional Airport, Georgia

A power outage has hit the Augusta Regional Airport (AGS) in Georgia. AGS has stated on Tuesday afternoon that all flights are being affected. Travellers have been advised to check with their respective airlines for flight status updates. AGS is mainly served by Delta - flights to and from Atlanta, Georgia - and American Airlines - flights to and from Charlotte, North Carolina.

Adverse weather may affect flights in Chicago, Illinois

Operations at Chicago Midway and O'Hare airports may be affected on Tuesday evening as adverse weather conditions are forecast to hit the US Midwest. Some companies are offering travel waivers to their passengers due to potential disruption. According to the National Weather Service (NWS), freezing rainfall is expected to hit the region on Tuesday evening. The most affected areas are from eastern Iowa towards Illinois and Wisconsin. Inclement weather may also impact most areas across Ohio Valley. Weather conditions are forecast to improve from Wednesday. For further information, it is advised to follow NWS updates.

Five killed after light-aircraft crashed into a house near Los Angeles, California

Five people have been killed after a light aircraft crashed into a house near Los Angeles, California. CNN reported that the crash happened on Sunday evening in the town of Yorba Linda. Orange County Sheriff's Office has confirmed that the aircraft's pilot and four occupants of the house were killed. Preliminary reports suggest that the plane, which took off from the nearby Fullerton Municipal Airport, caught on fire before crashing. The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is currently investigating the circumstances behind the accident.

Massive fentanyl cargo seized at border crossing in Nogales, Arizona

A large cargo containing 114kg of fentanyl has been seized in a major border crossing in Nogales, Arizona. According to the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the drugs were hidden inside a lorry. Reports also suggest that nearly 180kg of methamphetamine was also seized. This has been considered the largest fentanyl bust ever in the US. A recent report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), labels fentanyl as one of the deadliest drugs in the US. According to the US DEA, the drugs are mostly shipped in from China, but smuggling into the US mainly occurs through Mexico.

Extreme cold weather continues to impact US Midwest

Extreme cold temperatures continue to affect most of the US midwest on Thursday. Hundreds of flights at Chicago O'Hare Airport (ORD) were cancelled, while road travel and public transports are being heavily disrupted. Other major airports are also being affected. At least a dozen people have been reported killed since the so-called polar vortex hit the region. According to the US National Weather Service (NWS), weather conditions are expected to improve in the next few days as the air mass moves eastwards the Atlantic. Although the air mass is expected to warm up, adverse weather may still impact most states in the US Northeast and New England. Travellers have been advised to be cautious and to avoid outdoor activities due to the risk of hypothermia and frostbite. Further information is provided by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Meanwhile, in the US West Coast, the NWS forecast a series of storms to hit southern California until Monday. Flash flooding, landslides and hazardous travel conditions are possible.

Extreme cold temperatures forecast to hit eastern US

Extreme cold weather is forecast to affect most states across the eastern US as a powerful arctic air mass approaches the region. Additional advisories have been issued by the US National Weather Service (NWS) regarding below freezing temperatures across the Upper Midwest (Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Iowa, South Dakota and North Dakota) up until the Great Lakes (Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Indiana) and the Ohio Valley (Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Kentucky). Adverse weather is expected to remain an issue until at least Thursday. State governments are currently working in emergency measures. Travellers are advised to follow recommendations from the NWS. Power outages, hazardous driving conditions and air travel disruption are possible.

Several police officers injured in armed standoff in Houston, Texas

Five police officers have been injured after a shooting broke out in Houston, Texas. US media reported that police officers headed to a residence to serve an arrest warrant linked to a suspected narcotics case. Two of the officers were severely injured. It is believed to multiple suspected opened fire at the police when officers raided the building on Monday evening. The incident happened near the Milby High School is eastern Houston. CBS News reported that two suspected shooters were killed in the standoff. 

Security measures beefed up ahead of Super Bowl in Atlanta, Georgia

Security measures will be heightened as thousands of people are expected to head to Atlanta, Georgia, to attend the final of the National Football League, the Super Bowl. Local, state and federal law enforcement agencies are set to launch a number of joint operations around the city, especially in the surroundings of the Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The Super Bowl will be held on Sunday 03 February. US media estimate that more than a million people will head to Atlanta to attend the event. A large influx of passengers is expected at Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport (ATL) in the days prior to and after the event, especially on Monday. Travellers have been advised to allow plenty of time before heading to ATL. Some disruption is also likely to impact road travel in downtown Atlanta and major roads around the airport.

President Trump agrees to end shutdown after 35 days

President Donald Trump and congressional leaders have agreed to end the partial federal government shutdown that lasted for 35 days. Both parts have agreed to allow funding to the federal government until mid-February. Federal agencies are slowly reopening on Monday, while some federal-funded attractions, such as museums and zoos, may still be closed until Tuesday. The US longest shutdown in history started in late-December after the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives refused to allocated funds to build a border wall - the new short-term agreement did not include funds to the wall. The end of the shutdown came after airports in New York City and Atlanta were facing severe delays due to shortages of security checkpoints and air traffic control staff. Some disruption is still possible as services return to normal.

Adverse weather forecast to hit US Midwest and Northeast

Adverse weather conditions are forecast to persist as a powerful winter storm moves across the US Midwest and Northeast. The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued winter storm warnings and advisories to Wisconsin and Michigan. Some parts of Illinois, Minnesota and Iowa are also on alert. Weather alerts were also issued further south across the Tennesee Valley, including parts of Alabama, Mississippi and Kentucky. According to the NWS, the winter storm is expected to head towards the mid-Atlantic and to the northern states in New England. Flight operations at major airports in those regions may be affected. Some areas may face power outages and hazardous driving conditions. For further information, travellers are advised to check for NWS updates.

Five killed in Louisiana shooting

Five people have been killed in a shooting in the southern state of Louisiana. The suspected gunman, Dakota Theriot, carried out the attacks in the Ascension and Livingston areas of the state, south of Baton Rouge, on Saturday morning. Two of the victims have been identified as the parents of the 21-year-old assailant, who remains at large. He is wanted for first-degree murder, illegal use of weapons and home invasion.

Flight disruption reported at New York City's LaGuardia Airport

Flight disruption has been reported at New York City's LaGuardia Airport (LGA). The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced on Friday afternoon that flights were halted due to shortages of air traffic control staff. Disruption to air travel has been reported across the US amid the current government shutdown. Some airports are experiencing severe delays on security checks due to shortages of Transportation Security Authority (TSA) agents. Reports suggest that Newark Airport is also being impacted. Travellers heading from and to LGA have been advised to check for flight status updates with their respective airlines. 

President Trump's long-time associate charged in Mueller probe

A long-time associate to President Donald Trump has been charged in the infamous Russian meddling probe led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Stone was directly linked to President Trump's campaign. He is facing seven charges, including witness tampering, obstruction of investigations and giving false statements. No charges are currently linked to alleged meddling with Russian authorities. Stone is believed to be involved in the mail leaking scandal, which sought to damage the image of high-ranking Democrats such as presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. He is set to appear in court on Friday. Stone indictment came a day before President Trump's campaign manager, Paul Manafort, is appearing in court. Manafort is currently arrested in Virginia after pleading guilty for conspiracy and facing charges on financial crimes.

President Trump to delay State of the Union speech over government shutdown

President Donald Trump has announced that he is delaying his State of the Union speech until the end of the partial government shutdown. President Trump and House Speaker Nanci Pelosi have been engaged in a row since the federal government was partially shutdown in late-December. Pelosi has blocked President Trump from making his speech in Congress, urging him to reopen the federal government. The State of the Union speech is scheduled for 29 January. The House of Representatives is set to vote on Thursday in a bill to end the shutdown. Democrats seek to release three weeks of funding to relieve current disruption, while no funds to a border wall will be allocated. Meanwhile, a Republican-sponsored bill seeking border wall funding and immigration protection to the so-called 'Dreamers' will also be put for a vote.

Several killed as gunman raids bank in Sebring, Florida

At least five people have been killed after a gunman raided a bank in Sebring, Florida. US media reported that the shooting happened on Wednesday afternoon at a SunTrust Bank branch. Police have identified the shooter as a 21-year-old resident named Zephen Xaver. It is still unclear what the circumstances behind the shooting are. According to the authorities, Xaver entered the bank, locked its doors and opened fire after instructing customers and staff members to lay down on the floor. Highlands County Sheriff's Office said that: "After negotiations to try to get the barricaded subject to exit the bank were not successful, the HCSO SWAT team entered the bank and continued the negotiations. The suspect eventually surrendered to the HCSO SWAT team." Sebring is a small town with 10,000 inhabitants located 150km south-east of Tampa.

Senate to vote in bill to halt partial government shutdown

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said that lawmakers are scheduled to vote in a bill to end the partial government shutdown, which has already lasted for 33 days. McConnel said that the vote will be held on Thursday and will include a provision to finance the federal government for the next three weeks. However, the bill will not include funds to build a border wall. The bill is expected to bring relief to more than 800,000 federal workers, who are not receiving their paychecks for over a month. McConnell reiterated that no bill that would not be signed by President Donald Trump will be put to vote in the Senate. The political deadlock between Democrats and Republicans are expected to continue as the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives refuse to allocate up to five billion dollars to build a border wall with Mexico.

Flights resume after drone sightings at Newark Airport

Operations at New York City's Newark Airport were temporarily suspended after two drone sightings were reported near the airport. According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), one of the drones was seen on Tuesday around the nearby Teterboro Airport, a regional terminal mainly used by private jets. Newark has stated that operations have already been fully resumed. In recent weeks, several flights in the UK were affected after drone sightings were reported near two London airports.

Avalanche kills skier near Aspen, Colorado

A skier has died after an avalanche occurred near Aspen, Colorado. Pitkin County Sheriff's Office said that the victim was killed when an avalanche hit Markley Hut, near Ashcroft, on Monday. Reports suggest that the victim was part of a group of backcountry skiers. Authorities have warned people that hazardous conditions are currently being reported in major slopes west of Denver. Travellers are advised to follow updates from the Colorado Avalanche Information Center. This is the third deadly avalanche reported in less than a week in the US. Earlier this month, two avalanches killed a man in Utah and two skiers in New Mexico.

Public health emergency declared amid measles outbreak in Clark County, Washington

Authorities in Clark County, Washington, declared a public health emergency amid a measles outbreak over the weekend. Health officials confirmed that one adult and 20 children have contracted the disease since the start of the year - most of them were not vaccinated. Exposure sites include several schools and clinics in Vancouver, located on the state border with Oregon, just opposite to Portland. Authorities urged people to be up-to-date with their measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccination. Measles is a highly contagious disease. Symptoms may include rash, fever and a cough.

Thousands of flights cancelled as winter storm batters US Northeast

More than 4,500 flights are expected to be cancelled as Winter Storm Harper continues to impact the US Northeast. Thousands of flights to and from major airports were cancelled over the weekend in the Midwest and Northeast as the storm brought heavy snowfall to both regions. Road travel is also being heavily affected due to hazardous driving conditions, while power outages are also possible. Metro services may also be impacted. According to the National Weather Service (NWS), weather conditions are expected to improve from Wednesday. Travellers are advised to contact their respective airlines for flight status updates.

Skier killed after avalanche at ski resort in Taos, New Mexico

A skier has died and another is in critical condition after an avalanche hit a ski resort in Taos County, northern New Mexico. Taos Ski Valley has stated that the incident happened on Thursday morning on the Kachina Peak in the Sangre de Cristo mountain range. Reuters reported that the victim succumbed to his wounds after being airlifted to a hospital in Taos. The other victim was airlifted to the University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque. Authorities are still investigating what triggered the avalanche. Avalanches in New Mexico are relatively rare. The avalanche happened as heavy snowfall hit the southern Rockies.

Powerful winter storm forecast to hit US Midwest over the weekend

A major winter storm is forecast to hit the central US over the weekend. The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued winter storm warnings in Iowa, southern Minnesota, northern Missouri, Illinois and South Dakota. Weather warnings were also issued to parts of the northeastern New England region, including New York. Additionally, adverse weather may affect most states across the US Midwest and Northeast. Travel disruption may impact major airports in those regions, while hazardous driving conditions are possible. Power outages are also likely to occur. Travellers are advised to follow NWS updates.

Hundreds ordered to evacuate due to flooding risks in southern California

Hundreds of residents in southern California have been ordered to evacuate as a powerful winter storm is forecast to hit the region. Los Angeles County Sheriff's Office has urged residents in high-risk areas across Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, Ventura and Malibu counties to be vigilant due to potential flooding. Risks are particularly high in areas previously affected by the Woolsey Fire, which destroyed nearly 40,000 hectares of land last year. Some areas affected by the Creek Fire are also at risk. Los Angeles County has said that some roads will remain closed until Thursday. According to the National Weather Service (NWS), a major winter storm will hit the region on Wednesday and Thursday. Floods after wildfires tend to be extremely dangerous as they usually drag debris - mainly due to the loss of vegetation and changes to the landscape.

US military to remain on Mexican border until September

Acting Secretary of Defence Pat Shanahan has announced that the US military will continue stationed along the Mexican border until September. US troops were deployed to the south-western border to support Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers ahead of the arrival of migrant caravans from Central America. Thousands of migrants have already arrived in the northern Mexican city of Tijuana in an attempt to seek asylum in the US. Former Secretary of Defence Jim Mattis has initially deployed the military for 45 days and extended the mission until the end of January. President Donald Trump has called lawmakers to address policies on border security. For weeks, the US federal government is partially shutdown as the Democrat-controlled House refuses to release up to $5 billion in funds to build a border wall with Mexico.

Deadly storm trigger power outages across central US

At least nine people have been killed after a powerful winter storm hit the central US over the weekend. It is estimated that over 200,000 people faced power outages in Missouri, Kansas, Virginia and North Carolina, while some disruption was reported across major airports in those regions. The storm moved eastwards during the weekend and it is forecast to dissipate on Monday as the low-pressure system moves offshore.

Government shutdown forces closure of TSA checkpoint at Houston Bush Airport

The security checkpoint of the Transportation Security Authority (TSA) at Houston Bush Airport (IAH) has been closed due to staff shortages. Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said that the TSA checkpoint on Terminal B - which usually operate flights from United Airlines - is currently closed. Such comes due to the partial government shutdown, which is affecting TSA workers across the US. Travellers have been advised to allow extra time when heading to IAH. Last week, US media reported the increasing queues at TSA security checks due to shortages of officers. The partial government shutdown kicked off in late-December.

Winter storm system to bring adverse weather to central US

The National Weather Service (NWS) in St Louis, Missouri, has warned that a powerful winter storm is forecast to hit the region over the weekend. Heavy snowfall is forecast to eastern Missouri and western Illinois, while inclement weather may impact most central states. They include Indiana, Kansas, Iowa, Nebraska, Kentucky and West Virginia. Travellers are advised to check for flight status updates with their respective airlines as some airports may be affected. Icy roads may also bring hazardous travel conditions in some areas as the storm moves to the mid-Atlantic region. It is recommended to follow updates from the NWS.

President Trump's former lawyer to testify before Congress

President Donald Trump's former lawyer, Michael Cohen, is set to testify before Congress in early-February. Cohen has been summoned to testify before the House oversight and reform committee amid the Russia meddling investigations led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. He accepted the invitation made by House Democrat Elijah Cummings, who said that "we have no interest in inappropriately interfering with any ongoing criminal investigations". Cohen was sentenced to three years for paying hush money to two women and for previously giving Congress false declarations on President Trump's business deals in Russia. 

California's San Ysidro port of entry partially closed due to security exercise

US authorities have partially shut the San Ysidro point of entry in south-western California as Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers took part in a security drill on Thursday. Some areas of one of the busiest border crossings in the region were temporarily closed during the exercise, which took place as President Donald Trump visited the US-Mexico border in Texas. The San Ysidro port of entry is the main crossing point used by several migrant caravans from Central America. Mexico has announced earlier this week that the border with Guatemala will be reinforced over reports of a new wave of US-bound caravans in February.

Cruise ship to cut journey short after scores fell ill on board

A Royal Caribbean cruise ship was forced to cut short its journey after more than 270 passengers fell ill on board. CNN reported that the passengers from the Oasis of the Seas cruise ship were returning to Port Canaveral in Florida after reports of a suspected outbreak of gastrointestinal illness. The company has said that the situation is under control and that all passengers are being assisted by the cruise's medical staff. Investigations have been launched over a potential norovirus outbreak. The Oasis of the Seas was reportedly transporting nearly 8,000 passengers in a seven-day trip through Jamaica, Haiti and Mexico.

Some airports facing large queues on security checks due to staff shortages

Some airports in the US are reporting increasing queues at security checks due to shortages of officers from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). US media reported that waiting times are increasing as the federal government shutdown continues. TSA has said that security at airports will not be compromised. The federal government shutdown began in late-December. Despite attempts by the Democrat-controlled House to end it, bills are being blocked in the Republican-dominated Senate. President Donald Trump is pressuring Democrats to release up to $5bn in funds to build a border wall with Mexico.

Adverse weather forecast to hit US Northeast

The National Weather Service (NWS) has informed that inclement weather is forecast to hit the US Northeast until at least Thursday. Heavy rainfall and strong winds are expected to affect most areas in northern New York up to the New England coast. Travel disruption is likely to impact the region, causing cancellations of flights across major airports and hazardous driving conditions.

Democrat Gavin Newsom takes office as new California governor

Democrat Gavin Newsom has been sworn into office as the new governor of California. Newsom defeated Republican candidate John Cox in the mid-terms held last November. He is the former mayor of San Francisco and two-term lieutenant governor of outgoing governor Jerry Brown. During his swearing-in ceremony, Newsom vowed to revamp California's Medicaid system, enhance gun control policies and increase public spending. Newsom is also set to launch an open approach to immigration. He further criticised the administration of President Donald Trump, claiming that he is “hostile to California’s values and interests".

CDC confirm 13 deaths during current flu season

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has informed that 13 children have died since the flu season kicked off in October. According to a recent report, flu activity has spread to 19 states across the US. Influenza activity is widespread in most states in the US Southwest and along the east coast. Children are the most vulnerable to the flu, especially to the H1N1 strain. People have been advised to get vaccinated as most fatal cases affected those who did not receive a flu shot - the CDC recommends people to be vaccinated at the beginning at every season. The current flu season is set to last until May.

Mudslides trigger closure of Pacific Coast Highway near Malibu, California

A large stretch of the Pacific Coast Highway remains closed after a winter storm triggered mudslides near Malibu, California. California Department of Transportation has informed that the highway is closed between Malibu and Ventura County. Travellers have been advised to remain vigilant when travelling along mountain roads due to further risks of landslides. The region has become vulnerable to landslides after it was affected by wildfires in November - due to the loss of vegetation and changes to the landscape, the terrain is unable to absorb the high-influx of rainfall.

Evacuations ordered as fire breaks out in Wailea, Hawaii

Several areas around Wailea have been ordered to evacuate as emergency services are deployed to battle a large brush fire. Maui Police Department has stated that some stretches of the Piilani Highway - Route 31 - have been closed. Guests at the Hotel Wailea were ordered to evacuate as a precaution, while the fire continues to burn north of Kalai Waa Street. Police have urged people to avoid the area. Wailea is located in western Maui, Hawaii's second biggest island. Travellers in the area are advised to follow updates from the Maui Police Department.

Cyber attack hit several newspapers across US West Coast

A suspected cyber attack has disrupted the printing of a number of newspapers across the US West Coast. According to the New York Times, the attack targeted printing processes from major newspapers in the region, including the Los Angeles Times and San Diego Union-Tribune. The West Coast versions of the NYT and the WSJ were also affected, while other newspapers that share the same presses were also collaterally impacted. It is believed that networks of the Tribune Publishing were targeted with malware, but no further details were released. Preliminary reports suggest that the attack may be linked to ransomware, but such claims were not independently confirmed. No data from customers was compromised.

House passes bill in attempt to end federal government shutdown

The US House of Representatives has approved a bill that seeks to end the current federal government shutdown. For nearly two weeks, some branches of the federal government have been closed after Congress failed to pass the budget. This latest bill, which was approved just as Democrat Nancy Pelosi was nominated as the new House speaker, aims at funding the Department of Homeland Security through additional grants to border security, but no funds to build a wall along the Mexican border. Republican Senate majority leader, Mitchell McConnell, said that the bill will likely fail to go through the Republican-dominated Senate due to a potential veto from President Donald Trump - he seeks up to $5bn to build the wall.

Seven killed in multi-vehicle crash near Gainsville, Florida

At least seven people have been killed and several others were injured in a multi-vehicle crash near Gainsville, Florida. CNN reported on Thursday afternoon that the crash happened along the southbound lane of the Interstate 75. Florida Highway Patrol said that both lanes of the I75 were closed for several hours, but traffic has since resumed. Reports revealed that two lorries and two other vehicles were involved in the crash.

Democrat Nancy Pelosi to be sworn as new House speaker

Democrat Nancy Pelosi is set to become the new House speaker on Thursday. Pelosi is reclaiming the Democrat leadership in the House of Representatives after a Republican defeat in the last mid-terms. She is returning to the post after serving as House speaker in the administrations of George W Bush and Barack Obama. In November, she faced challenges within Democrat ranks, temporarily casting doubt over her nomination. She is the main challenger to President Donald Trump's request for funds to build a wall along the Mexican border, which forced the federal government to partially shutdown. In the US, the House speaker holds significant influence as they virtually control key legislative procedures.

Health authorities monitoring Hepatitis A cases in Arkansas

Health authorities in Arkansas are currently monitoring a potential Hepatitis A outbreak in the north-eastern regions of the state. The alert emerged after a worker from a Mexican restaurant in Jonesboro contracted the virus. Such came just after another person was exposed to the virus in another restaurant also in Jonesboro. Concerns come after more than 230 cases of Hepatitis A were identified in the region in the past year - two people were killed. Hepatitis A is a serious disease that mainly affects the liver. Symptoms may include fever, nausea and fatigue.

Government shutdown to continue after failed talks

The partial federal government shutdown is set to continue after congressional leaders failed to reach an agreement with President Donald Trump. In a meeting held on Wednesday afternoon to discuss border security, Democrats repeatedly refused to allow funding to build the border wall with Mexico. Currently, several sectors managed by the federal government are being affected, including major tourist attractions and national parks.

Adverse weather forecast to hit US Southwest

The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued several alerts as adverse weather is forecast to hit the US Southwest in the next few days. Heavy rainfall is set to hit New Mexico as a low-pressure system moves eastwards towards the Gulf coast. Adverse weather is set to affect some areas along the Mississippi and Tennessee valleys, while central and south-eastern Texas will also be impacted. Meanwhile, wintery conditions will also move towards Oklahoma. In Texas, major airports are expected to face severe delays from Wednesday morning. The NWS has further advised caution in the US Northwest, where heavy snowfall will hit Oregon and Washington. For further updates, travellers are advised to follow alerts from the NWS.

President Trump to negotiate end of government shutdown

President Donald Trump is set to meet with congressional leaders to negotiate the potential end to the current federal government shutdown. Since late-December, some branches of the federal government have been partially shutdown after Congress failed to approve the budget. The situation occurred after Democrats refused to approve funds to build a border wall with Mexico. The Guardian reported that the meeting is scheduled for Wednesday afternoon, where border security will be discussed. The meeting comes just a day before Democrat Nancy Pelosi is confirmed as the new House speaker. The federal government shutdown has already affected hundreds of thousands of workers. Some busy national parks are also being heavily impacted, alongside garbage collection, maintenance of public toilets, prompting concerns over public and wildlife safety.

Scores arrested as fresh clashes erupt on US-Mexico border

More than 20 people have been arrested after clashes between border officers and migrants broke out on the US-Mexico border. According to the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP), migrants attempted to forcefully cross the border into San Diego, California overnight on Monday. Sporadic clashes between migrants and US law enforcement have been reported near the San Ysidro Port of Entry. For months, thousands of Central American migrants have been camped in the northern Mexican city of Tijuana while they wait for a response to their asylum requests.

Eight-year-old boy dies after being detained at US-Mexico border

An eight-year-old Guatemalan migrant has died just days after being detained at the US-Mexico border. According to the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the victim was suffering from symptoms of a cold and had a fever. This is the second child to die while in US custody. Felipe Alonzo-Gomez died on Christmas day when taken to a hospital in New Mexico. Thousands of migrants are currently camped in the northern Mexican city of Tijuana, while they wait for asylum requests to be approved. They are part of several migrant caravans coming from Central America.

US federal government partially shutdown amid border row

Several branches of the US federal government are currently closed amid a partial government shutdown. Such comes just after Congress and President Donald Trump failed to agree upon a new provisionary budget. The shutdown kicked off on Friday evening after President Trump refused to sign the bill, which excluded funds to build a border wall. President Trump said: "I can't tell you when the government's going to be open. I can tell you it's not going to be open until we have a wall or fence, whatever they'd like to call it." Despite the shutdown mainly impacting administrative services within the Justice Department or Homeland Security, some national parks across the US are currently closed or offering limited services.

Hundreds of thousands face power outages as powerful storm hits Seattle, Washington

More than 300,000 people face power outages after a powerful storm hit Seattle, Washington. Thousands of homes and businesses across the US Northwest were affected when winds reaching up to 70mph hit the region. Energy providers in Washington are still working to restore power. According to the National Weather Service (NWS), weather conditions in the state are forecast to improve from Friday afternoon.

President Trump refuses to sign budget provision amid border wall row

President Donald Trump has said that he is not signing the recently approved budget provision as it does not include funds to his border wall. He said: “I’ve made my position very clear. Any measure that funds the government must include border security – has to. Not for political purposes but for our country, for the safety of our community. It is our sacred obligation. We have no choice". Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, said that further discussions will be held on Friday afternoon. Congress has to approve the bill before the end of the day to avoid the shutdown of the federal government.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis resigns

US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has resigned from his position. Mattis is set to stay in office until the end of February when Congress is expected to confirm his replacement. Mattis said that he is stepping down due to differences with President Donald Trump, including the US presence in Afghanistan, Syria and the relationship with NATO. The letter came just after President Trump announced plans to fully withdraw the military from Syria while halving the US contingent in Afghanistan. He told President Trump: "you have the right to have a secretary of defence whose views are better aligned with yours on these and other subjects". Mattis, who has been in office for nearly two years, is the highest-ranking military official to leave the Trump administration after HR McMaster and John Kelly.

Adverse weather triggers flight disruption across Florida

Adverse weather conditions are impacting flights at Florida's Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL). FLL has informed that nearly 50 flights are delayed and several others were cancelled on Thursday morning. Other airports across the state, such as Miami, Tampa and Orlando may also be impacted. The National Weather Service (NWS) has stated that powerful thunderstorms are forecast to hit the Florida Peninsula throughout the day and some parts of eastern South and North Carolina. NWS has said that strong winds and small tornadoes may affect central Florida later in the day as an air mass moves inland.

Senate approves bill to avoid federal government shutdown

The US Senate has approved legislation to release emergency funds to avoid the federal government shutdown. Republican Senator Mitch McConnell said that the funds will guarantee operations of the federal government until early-February. The bill still has to pass through the House and be signed by President Donald Trump. Although providing funds to the IRS, Department of Justice and Homeland Security, the new provision will not include funds for a border wall. Last week, President Trump has threatened to shut down the federal government if his border wall policies fail to go forward.

Justice Department announces ban on bump stock firearm devices

The US Justice Department has announced a ban on bump stocks, devices that enable semi-automatic guns to turn into automatic weapons. President Donald Trump announced the measure back in March, just months after 58 people were killed in a mass shooting in Las Vegas - in which such a device was used. The ban comes after the justice department changed the interpretation on two pieces of gun legislation. Gun owners that own a device were instructed to hand them over to the Bureau of Alchohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) within 90 days. Pro-gun associations said they are preparing a lawsuit against the ATF, while the influential National Rifle Association (NRA) said that the rule "fails to address the thousands of law-abiding Americans who relied on prior ATF determinations when lawfully acquiring these devices.”

Senators approve overhaul to US criminal justice system

Senators have approved a bill to reform the US criminal justice system. The criminal justice overhaul comes to address the ongoing approach of law enforcement and the judicial system regarding drug offences. It will give judges further discretion when trialling drug cases, while some sentences will be reduced for repeated drug offenders. The bill comes over rising concerns about an increasing number of people being sent to prison and deficient rehabilitation mechanisms. Both Republicans and Democrats backed the bill, which had 12 votes against. The bill must be passed in the House before being signed by President Donald Trump.

Powerful tornado rips through Port Orchard, Washington

A powerful tornado has ripped through the town of Port Orchard in Washington. Kitsap County Sheriff's Office has said that clearing efforts were launched on Wednesday morning as some roads were blocked by debris and power cuts continue to affect some areas - although power across the town has been mostly restored. There are no preliminary reports of casualties as emergency services are currently patrolling the town. According to the National Weather Service (NWS), tornadoes in Washington are extremely rare, especially in December. The NWS will launch an extensive damage survey to determine the tornado's strength.

Heavy snowfall forecast to hit eastern Maine

Heavy snowfall is forecast to hit the northern areas of New England as a powerful storm system approaches the US Northeast. According to the National Weather Service (NWS), adverse weather conditions may severely impact eastern Maine on Tuesday. Inclement weather is forecast to last until Wednesday. Meanwhile, in the US West Coast, two events may affect central California and Washington, while rainfall may also hit the mountainous areas in Idaho. NWS has issued winter storm watches to northern Idaho and some parts in western Montana. Rough sea conditions are expected to impact most of the Pacific coast of Oregon and southern Washington. Travel delays are likely to impact road traffic and major airports in those regions. For further information, travellers are advised to follow updates from the NWS.

Dozens of businesses targeted in potential bomb hoax campaign across the US

Dozens of bomb threats were reported against businesses and public venues across the US. Several emails were sent on Thursday to companies in Florida, New York, Massachusetts, Louisiana, Pennsylvania and several other states over potential bomb threats. In an email sent to the alleged targets, criminals demanded the payment of up to $20k in bitcoin. It is still unclear who is behind the threats. NYPD Counterterrorism Chief James Waters said on social media that the situation is being monitored and that the threats are not considered credible. Meanwhile, Michigan State Police confirmed that “organizations nationwide, both public and private, have reported receiving emailed bomb threats" and that "they are not targeted toward any one specific sector.” In a statement, the FBI said that "as always, we encourage the public to remain vigilant and to promptly report suspicious activities which could represent a threat to public safety." Bomb threats were also issued in Calgary, Winnipeg, Ottawa and Toronto, Canada.

Guatemalan girl dies days after being detained on US-Mexico border

A seven-year-old Guatemalan girl has died days after being detained on the US-Mexico border. US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers told the Washington Post the girl was airlifted to a hospital just after suffering from severe dehydration and shock. She died just after suffering a cardiac arrest at a hospital in El Paso. More than 7,000 Central American migrants are in the northern Mexican town of Tijuana. Migrants continue to head towards the US border on the attempt to seek asylum. Reports suggest that most of them are currently living in makeshift camps as they wait for their application results, which may take months.

President Trump threatens to shutdown government over border wall row

President Donald Trump has threatened to shut down the federal government if his border wall policies do not go forward. The announcement came during a heated argument in at the Oval Office between Senate Democrat Leader Chuck Schumer and House Democrat Leader Nancy Pelosi. He said that: “If we don’t get what we want, one way or the other – whether it’s through you, through a military, through anything you want to call – I will shut down the government". A government provision is in place until 21 December, when new legislation has to be passed to allow future funding to the IRS, Department of Justice and Homeland Security. In the mid-terms, Democrats took over control of the House, while Republicans extended their leadership in the Senate. In September, he signed a spending bill despite grievances over the border wall funding.

Scores arrested during pro-immigration protest in San Diego, California

More than 30 religious leaders have been arrested during a pro-immigration protest in San Diego, California. Federal agents detained several people as more than 400 protesters gathered on the Mexican border to support the entry of hundreds of migrants into the US. San Diego is located just across the border from the Mexican city of Tijuana, where thousands of migrants from Central America are currently waiting for answers on their asylum requests. Border agents said that the arrests came after several protesters trespassed a restricted area. Security measures along the San Ysidro border crossing has been significantly reinforced since several migrant caravans arrived in Tijuana.

Suspected Russian agent to plead guilty over alleged NRA infiltration attempt

The alleged Russian spy Maria Butina is set to plead guilty to espionage charges over a suspected attempt to infiltrate the influential National Rifle Association (NRA). Butina is scheduled for a hearing in court on Wednesday. US media reported that she brokered a deal with prosecutors, but judicial sources have not confirmed the allegations. Prosecutors allege that Butina was working on behalf of Russia to infiltrate the NRA. CNN reported that one of the main lines of investigation regards the role of Butina's partner, Paul Erickson, and his suspected links to Russian officials. Butina is believed to be closely linked to Alexander Torshin, the vice-governor of the Russian Central Bank - he has announced his retirement from the position in late-November. The case is a separate probe from the Russian meddling investigations led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

Winter storm system triggers power outages across the US Southeast

Nearly 300,000 people faced power outages across the US Southeast as a powerful winter storm system hit the region over the weekend. Power outages may still affect thousands throughout Monday as the storm moves towards the coast. Areas most affected include South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia and Tennessee. Flight cancellations were reported in Richmond, Virginia and North Carolina's Charlotte and Raleigh-Durham. Road travel may continue to face disruption due to icy conditions. The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued a winter storm warning to most areas in western Virginia and North Carolina. 

Fire breaks out at Jehovah's Witness centre in Yelm, Washington

A fire broke out at a Jehovah's Witness centre in Washington amid a wave of suspected arson attacks across the state. ABC News reported that the latest fire broke out on Friday at the Kingdom Hall in Yelm, near Olympia. It is still unclear what caused the fire, but the ATF ruled that it was arson. US media reported that at least five Jehovah's Witness centres in Washington were set on fire this year. It is still unclear what the circumstances behind the suspected attacks are. Governor Jay Inslee condemned the alleged attacks, while the ATF confirmed that at least three of the previous incidents are believed to be connected.

John Kelly to step down as the White House chief of staff

President Donald Trump has confirmed on Saturday that the White House Chief of Staff John Kelly is stepping down from office. Kelly has been brought to the White House as the replacement of Reince Priebus, who stepped down from office in July 2017 after being linked to alleged leaks to the press. Although an initial good relationship with President Trump as his enforcer within a chaotic White House, in recent months it started to fade. Kelly is set to step down until the end of the year, while POLITICO reported that negotiations are still ongoing to the nomination of Nick Ayers - the chief of staff of VP Mike Pence - as his replacement. However, he said in a statement on Saturday that he is also stepping down from his post until the end of the year - the new chief of staff is expected to hold the job through the 2020 presidential election.

Mudslides and flooding trigger travel disruption in Los Angeles, California

Severe travel disruption has been reported in Los Angeles as heavy rainfall triggered widespread flooding and mudslides across Southern California. Major roads across Los Angeles and Ventura counties were temporarily blocked. The Interstate 5 was temporarily closed, but reopened hours later. People have been advised to be cautious when travelling across the region due to potential icy roads. According to the National Weather Service (NWS), adverse weather is forecast to persist in the region throughout Friday. Risks of mudslides and flooding in the region significantly increased after this year's busy wildfire season.

Winter storm system to bring adverse weather to central and southern US

The National Weather Service (NWS) has warned that a powerful storm system may bring adverse weather to the US Southeast over the weekend. Snowfall and heavy rain are forecast to affect several areas in Texas, Georgia, New Mexico, North Carolina and Oklahoma, while the storm is moving eastwards from the Desert Southwest. Weather watches have been issued from the Texas Panhandle to the Ozarks in northern Arkansas. Travel disruption in the southern US is possible, while power outages may also affect the region. Travellers are advised to follow updates from the NWS.

Millions of pounds of raw beef recalled over suspected salmonella

The US Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has announced on Tuesday that more than five million pounds of raw beef produced by JBS Tolleson are being additionally recalled due to suspicious of being tainted with salmonella. CNN reported that the products were packaged between late-July and early-September and may include products of the brands Kroger, Laura's Lea and JBS generic. The same recall was first issued back in October, leading to total of 12 million pounds of raw beef being recalled. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the recall is linked to the illness of more than 200 people across 25 states. In a statement, the FSIS said that it "is continuing to investigate illnesses associated with this widespread outbreak, and additional product from other companies may also be recalled." People have been advised to discard products that may be potentially affected.

Defense secretary to extend deployment of troops along US-Mexico border

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has extended the deployment of soldiers along the US-Mexico border until late-January. Nearly 6,000 soldiers are currently stationed on the US south-western border to assist border agencies to manage the arrival of several migrant caravans from Central America. Troops are mainly stationed in southern California, Arizona and Texas. In recent weeks, tensions broke out at the San Ysidro port of entry when dozens of migrants attempted to breach security perimeters. Meanwhile, several others attempted to jump the border wall after thousands were relocated from shelters due to poor sanitary conditions. The situation on the US-Mexico border is expected to last for several months over the high-influx of asylum requests. Such led the mayor of the northern Mexican city of Tijuana to declare a state of emergency.

Users of Quora website affected in data breach

The question-and-answer website Quora confirmed on Monday that millions of its users may have been affected in a recent data breach. CNN reported that up to 100 million users may have had their personal data compromised, including usernames, passwords, email addresses and social media linked to the website. Quora CEO Adam D'Angelo said that most of the data which was breached was already public. He reiterated that investigations are being carried out. The hacking comes amid a series of data breaches involving large companies worldwide, such as Marriott International and British Airways.

Traffic restrictions to be imposed over President Bush's funeral motorcade in DC

Severe traffic restrictions will be enforced on Monday and Wednesday ahead of the funeral procession for former President George H W Bush. Several roads across Washington DC will be closed as the procession heads towards the Capitol roundabout. Local, state and federal authorities will work alongside the Secret Service to enhance security measures. Local media reported that a motorcade will departure from Joint Base Andrew to the Capitol. Further information on road closures can be found on the WTOP website. President Bush died at the age of 94 on Friday evening in Houston, Texas.

Several tornadoes rip through central Illinois

More than 20 tornadoes ripped through central Illinois over the weekend. CNN reported that at least 21 people were injured as several houses across the state were destroyed. Major damages and casualties occurred in Taylorville, south of Springfield, where thousands of people faced power outages. According to the National Weather Service (NWS), this was the biggest tornado outbreak in December. Tornadoes are frequent in Illinois, but they are rare during December - the tornado peak season in Illinois is usually in May.

Powerful 7.0-magnitude earthquake strikes near Anchorage, Alaska

A powerful 7.0-magnitude earthquake has struck near Anchorage, southern Alaska. According to the US Geological Survey (USGS) the quake hit nearly eight miles north of the city. Governor Bill Walker has issued a major declaration of disaster. Local authorities confirmed major structural damages. People have been advised caution and to stay off the streets. Anchorage Police Department has informed that multiple roads and bridges are currently closed. NBC reported that more than 16,000 people faced power outages, while some disruption has been reported at Anchorage's Ted Stevens International Airport. Alaska is located in the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire, a region known for its intense seismic and volcanic activity.

US, Canada and Mexico sign revamped trade agreement

Mexico, the US and Canada have signed a new trade agreement during a meeting held in Buenos Aires, Argentina. US President Donald Trump, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexico's outgoing President Enrique Pena Nieto signed the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), a revamped version of the defunct North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The signing of the USMCA came amid rising tensions on international trade after President Trump announced steep tariffs on the imports of certain metals and products. World leaders are in Argentina to attend the G20 summit.

Millions potentially affected in Marriott Starwood data breach

Marriott International has announced that around 500 million of its guests may have been affected in a massive data breach. The hotel chain has informed that data including personal information, email addresses, passport numbers and payment details may have been compromised. The incident happened on 08 September when hackers attempted access to its Starwood guest reservation database. Marriott said that "learned during the investigation that there had been unauthorized access to the Starwood network since 2014". According to the company, only its Starwood network was affected, which include brands such as W Hotels, St. Regis, Sheraton Hotels & Resorts, Westin Hotels & Resorts, Element Hotels, Aloft Hotels, The Luxury Collection, Tribute Portfolio, Le Méridien Hotels & Resorts, Four Points by Sheraton and Design Hotels.

Flash flooding hits areas affected by Camp Fire in Northern California

Flash flooding has impacted Northern California as heavy rainfall hit the region on Thursday. Evacuation orders were issued to several areas across Butte County, especially in communities located between Paradise and Chico. Some areas near Durham were also affected. Northern California continues to recover from extreme damage caused by the Camp Fire, in which 88 people were killed and nearly 200 others are still missing. Risks of landslides and flooding significantly increased after the fire due to the lack of vegetation to absorb the rain. People have been advised to remain vigilant and avoid areas near unstable slopes. According to the National Weather Service, flooding and landslides may also affect downtown Los Angeles, Malibu, San Fernando Valley and Santa Clarita - they are also recovering from damage caused by the Woolsey Fire.

Trump's former lawyer pleads guilty for lying to Congress

President Donald Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen has pledged guilty for lying to congressional investigators. Cohen appeared on Thursday morning at a federal court in New York City. He is accused of lying over a real estate deal to build a Trump Tower in Moscow. The failed agreement allegedly happened during the 2016 presidential campaign. Cohen had already pledged guilty to eight criminal charges back in August, including fraud and tax evasion. This is the latest development on the Russia probe, which continues being led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

Republicans widens Senate majority after Mississippi victory

Republicans have widened their advantage in the Senate after Cindy Hyde-Smith won the Senate special election in Mississippi. Preliminary results revealed that Hyde-Smith garnered more than 54 percent of the votes against Democrat Mike Espy. The special election went to a run-off after neither candidate garnered a majority in the vote held earlier this month. With Hyde-Smith's victory - who was already an incumbent senator after Thad Cochran stepped down due to health reasons - the Republicans hold a 53-47 advantage in the Senate.

FDA narrows warning on consumption of romaine lettuce

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has said that they are restricting the warning regarding the consumption of romaine lettuce. The FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are investigating an e.coli outbreak linked to romaine lettuce in the US and Canada. In a statement released on Monday, the FDA said that the warning is now limited to those produced in California's Central Coast. The FDA said: "Growing and harvesting of romaine lettuce is now shifting to the winter growing regions of the U.S., which include mainly the California desert region of the Imperial Valley, the desert region of Arizona in and around Yuma, and Florida. Romaine lettuce grown in Mexico is exported to the U.S. during the winter months. Smaller quantities of romaine lettuce are grown in other states. At this time, the FDA has no information to suggest any of these growing areas are involved in the current outbreak". People have been advised to check the label of romaine lettuce products before consumption.

Mississippi to hold senate special election run-off

Mississippi is set to face a senatorial run-off vote on Tuesday after neither candidates garnered a majority in the Senate special election held earlier in November. The election was called to fill the vacated seat of Thad Cochran, who stepped down from office. Republican Cindy Hyde-Smith replaced Cochran after being appointed by Governor Phil Bryant. She is set to face Democrat Mike Espy in an attempt to hold the seat in the deep-red state, which in the mid-terms choose to re-elect Republican Senator Roger Wicker.

Heavy snow to trigger severe travel disruption across New England

Severe travel disruption is expected to impact most airports and roads across New England as heavy snow is forecast to hit the region on Tuesday. The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued winter storm warnings to several areas in the US Northeast, especially to Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. Adverse weather impacted most areas across Illinois and the US Midwest on Monday, mainly affecting Chicago and forcing Kansas Governor Jeff Colyer to issue a state of emergency. Power outages were also reported and may continue to impact the region until Thursday. Inclement weather may further impact New York City, Boston and Philadelphia. Travellers should contact their airlines for flight status updates.

Adverse weather may trigger travel disruption across the US Midwest

Adverse weather conditions may affect flights across the US Midwest on Monday morning. A Winter Storm Warning was issued on Sunday afternoon for Chicago. The warning is set to last until Monday 09:00 local time. Flights to and from Chicago's O'Hare International Airport may face disruptions throughout the day, while other airports in the region may also be affected. Some major roads are likely to be impacted, especially around the metropolitan area of Chicago. Travellers are advised to check for flight status updates before heading to the airport. The US National Weather Service (NWS) has issued a warning over hazardous travel conditions in most areas across the Midwest and the Great Lakes.

US officers fire tear gas at migrants attempting to breach border fence

The San Ysidro border crossing in California has been temporarily shut down after a protest turned violent on Sunday. Tensions along the border between San Diego and Tijuana remain high as thousands of migrants are camped awaiting to request asylum in the US. Migrants are part of a number of caravans from Central America. Violence broke out when officers of the US Customs and Border Protection fired tear gas at protesters forcefully attempting to cross the border. Mexico's government said that those involved in the incident may be deported. Meanwhile, rights groups accused US law enforcement agents of engaging without any reason. It is estimated that over 6,000 migrants are currently camped in Tijuana.

Border crossing disruptions reported in south-western California

Severe travel disruption was reported on Thursday in one of the busiest border crossings between Mexico and the US. The San Ysidro border crossing between Tijuana and San Diego, California, was temporarily shut down, leaving thousands of vehicles stranded in a massive queue before operations resumed. A high influx of vehicles was heading to the US ahead of Thanksgiving celebrations. More than 6,000 migrants already arrived in northern Mexico as part of several migrant caravans from Central America. Further disruptions on this specific port of entry are highly expected to continue. Mexican authorities claim that some may wait up to six months to get an appointment to request asylum in the US.

Democrat Nancy Pelosi faces resistance on becoming next House speaker

At least 16 Democrats signed a letter on Monday to oppose the nomination of Nancy Pelosi as the new House speaker. Democrats are set to take over control of the House of Representatives after reaching a massive victory in the last mid-terms. In the letter, they called for a vote on a new leadership. As some races are still being decided, it remains unclear if Pelosi will garner the necessary support to assume the position in January. Democrat Marcia Fudge, who was believed to be her main opponent, has announced on Tuesday that she is endorsing Pelosi.

People urged not to eat romaine lettuce due to e.coli outbreak

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has urged people to not eat romaine lettuce due to a suspected multi-state e.coli outbreak. So far, more than a dozen people have been hospitalised after consuming contaminated romaine products. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is still investigating the outbreak, while it remains unclear to which supplier or grower it is linked to. FDA Commissioner Dr Scott Gottlied told the CNN that the products include: "whole heads of romaine, hearts of romaine, and bags and boxes of pre-cut lettuce and salad mixes that contain romaine, such as spring mix and Caesar salad". Restaurants and the general public are being called to dispose of any romaine products until further investigations are carried out. The FDA has confirmed that this new outbreak is not connected to a previous one reported in June, which was linked to a farm in Arizona. E.coli is an infection that usually lasts up to a week. Symptoms include diarrhoea, fever and abdominal cramps.

Downpour may trigger landslides in areas affected by California wildfires

Los Angeles County Fire Department has urged residents to remain vigilant as heavy rainfall may affect the region in the next few days. Major concerns regard the increasing risks of mudslides in areas affected by the Woolsey Fire. People have been advised to stay away from canyons, waterways and slopes. Rainfall is forecast to start on Wednesday and last through the week. Floods after wildfires tend to be extremely dangerous as they usually drag debris - due to the loss of vegetation and changes to the landscape, the terrain is unable to absorb the high-influx of rainfall.

JFK AirTrain services suspended due to disabled train in New York City

Services to JFK Airport's AirTrain have been temporarily suspended on Tuesday due to disruption reported at the Federal Circle Station in New York City. AirTrain services are being replaced by shuttle buses. Travellers are advised to allow extra time before heading to the airport. For further information, travellers may directly contact JFK Airport. Alternatively, updates can be found on JFK Airport Twitter page.

Authorities confirm first local case of Dengue fever in Florida

Miami-Dade Health Department has confirmed the first local case of Dengue fever in Florida. In a statement released on Monday, authorities said that they are working alongside other agencies to tackle mosquito breeding grounds across the state. The action comes after another mosquito infected with the West Nile Virus was found in a trap. No further details have been released. Dengue fever is a mosquito-borne disease common in the Caribbean and Latin America. Symptoms may include headache, nausea, vomiting and muscle and joint pain. There is no vaccination against Dengue. 

One killed in shooting in downtown Denver, Colorado

One person has been killed and four others were injured in a shooting in downtown Denver, Colorado. TIME reported that the shooting happened on Monday evening near the Coors Field baseball stadium in LoDo neighbourhood. Denver Police Department said that it is still unclear what the motives were behind the shooting, while the suspect is still at large.

US troops on southern border may be allowed to protect CBP officers

President Donald Trump may grant troops stationed along the south-western US border authority to protect members of the Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Nearly 6,000 soldiers have been deployed to the Mexican border ahead of the arrival of thousands of migrants. Several officials told CNN that President Trump may soon sign the order to allow soldiers to intervene if necessary. Previously, the call was made by the Department of Homeland Security but was refused to be carried out by Defense Minister Jim Mattis. Meanwhile, a US district judge in San Francisco has temporarily barred President Trump's declaration to refuse asylum to those crossing the southern border.

Four killed as gunman storm hospital in Chicago

Four people have been killed after a gunman stormed a hospital in Chicago. CBS reported that the incident broke out on Monday afternoon at the parking lot of University of Chicago's Mercy Hospital. According to the police, a doctor started to argue with her ex-fiance before the shooting erupted. A police officer and a pharmacy technician were also killed in the incident. It is still unclear if the suspect was shot by the police or killed himself.

Camp Fire death toll reaches 77 as hundreds are still unaccounted for

Butte County Sheriff's Office has confirmed that nearly 1,000 people are still unaccounted for as the emergency services continue firefighting efforts across Northern California. Cal Fire has stated that more than 60,000 hectares of land have already been consumed, while 65 percent of the so-called Camp Fire was contained. Authorities said that the fire may be fully contained by the end of the month. Several evacuation orders have been lifted, but authorities urged caution regarding downed electricity poles and damaged natural gas equipment. Travellers are recommended to follow daily updates from InciWeb, CalFire and Butte County Sherrif's Office. Air quality in Northern California, especially around Sacramento, have been heavily compromised. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) offers some recommendations. Air quality updates are provided by EPA's AirNow.

Local measles outbreak reported in Rockland County, New York

Dozens of measles cases have been reported amid a potential measles outbreak in Rockland County, New York. US media reported that at least 75 cases have been confirmed across the county since the outbreak first started earlier in November. Rockland County Department of Health said that several schools were shut down as a vaccination campaign has been launched, especially in Spring Valley. Authorities urged people to be up-to-date with their measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccination. Measles is a highly contagious disease. Symptoms may include rash, fever and a cough.

USDA recalls 90,000 pounds of raw turkey amid salmonella outbreak

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has ordered more than 91,000 pounds of raw ground turkey to be recalled due to a potential salmonella contamination. The USDA said in a statement on Thursday that the recall concerns products of Jennie-O Turney Store Sales produced in September. Such comes amid ongoing investigations on cases of Salmonella Reading across more than 26 states. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 164 people were already affected. Health authorities urged caution when handling raw turkey products. 

Severe weather triggers power outages across eastern US

Nearly 300,000 people across the US Northeast and Midwest suffered power outages on Friday morning as a snowstorm hit the region. Traffic and travel disruptions have been widely reported across major cities ahead of the arrival of a powerful nor'easter. CNN reported that at least eight people were killed in weather-related incidents. The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued a Winter Storm Warning to most areas across New England. Inclement weather is forecast to continue over the weekend.

Camp Fire smoke triggers disruptions at Sacramento Airport

Operations at Sacramento International Airport (SMF) in northern California are expected to be affected due to low visibility. SMF has stated on Friday morning that due to smoke from the so-called Camp Fire, some flights are being impacted. Travellers have been advised to watch for flight status updates with their respective airlines before heading to SMF. The airport is located nearly 100 km south of Butte County, where the Camp Fire continue highly active, especially in Concow, Magalia, Pulga and Paradise. Cal Fire reported that just over 40 percent of the fire was contained.

Officials confirm that 600 are still missing over Northern California fire

Butte County officials said that over 600 people are still missing as the Camp Fire continues to be highly active across Northern California. Officials said that the numbers are expected to drastically fluctuate as search efforts are underway. CalFire has reported that more than 15,500 structures are threatened, while nearly 10,000 were already destroyed. Latest reports show that the Camp Fire death toll reached 63 and already spread across 57,000 hectares of land. Evacuation orders continue in place for several areas around Paradise, Magalia, Concow and Pulga. Firefighting efforts were initially compromised due to strong winds and dry vegetation around the town of Paradise. Travellers are advised to follow daily updates from CalFire and Butte County Sheriff's Office. Further south, the Woolsey Fire remains active around Los Angeles and Ventura counties.

Severe flight disruption reported across Northeast US

Hundreds of flights across the US Northeast are expected to be cancelled on Friday as a powerful nor'easter approaches the region. Delays and severe disruptions are expected to impact operations in Philadelphia, New York City and Washington DC. Flights to and from major airports in the region are also likely to be affected. Disruptions may last over the weekend. In the coming days, airports across the US are also expected to be busier than usual ahead of the Thanksgiving celebrations. Travellers are advised to check for flight status updates before heading to the airport.

Several norovirus cases reported at shelters in California

Health officials in Butte County have stated that at least 15 people sheltered from the Camp Fire in Northern California have been infected with norovirus. A spokeswoman for the Butte County Public Health Department, Lisa Almaguer, told US media that the localised outbreak occurred at Neighbourhood Church in Chico. Almaguer further confirmed that five other cases were reported at another shelter at Oroville Church. Hundreds of people were forced to flee to shelters as the so-called Camp Fire continues active in Northern California. Norovirus is a stomach bug that causes vomiting and diarrhoea. Other symptoms may include fever and headache. Symptoms usually last up to two days.

Northern California's Camp Fire death toll reaches 56

Officials in Butte County have confirmed that the Camp Fire death toll in Northern California has reached 56. Authorities stated on Wednesday that eight bodies were found under rubble and houses in the town of Paradise, which was completely destroyed. CalFire has confirmed that the Camp Fire remains highly active and that over 40 percent of the fires have been contained so far. Although some evacuation orders were lifted, thousands of houses are still at risk. Travellers have been advised to follow updates from CalFire, Butte County Sheriff's Office and InciWeb. Meanwhile, in Southern California, the Woolsey Fire continue active around Ventura and Los Angeles counties. According to CalFire, nearly 60 percent of the fire was contained. Latest updates revealed that the fire still threatens residences around Thousand Oaks, Malibu and Simi Valley.

Weather alerts issued as noreaster approaches US East Coast

Weather watches and warnings have been issued to several states in the US Northeast as adverse weather conditions are forecast to hit the region in the coming days. A powerful nor'easter is approaching several states along the US East Coast and Midwest, which may be impacted by heavy rainfall, snow showers and strong winds from Wednesday afternoon. The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued a Winter Weather Advisory to several areas in Arkansas, Indiana, Tennessee, Illinois, Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia. Visitors should anticipate travel delays in affected regions.

Security reinforced ahead of migrants arrival in San Ysidro, California

Security measures in the US south-western border have been reinforced ahead of the arrival of a number of migrant caravans. Thousands of people part of several migrant caravans are currently crossing through Mexico towards the US border. President Donald Trump has previously announced that more than 5,000 soldiers would be deployed to assist border officials. On Tuesday, the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced the closure of several traffic lanes in the San Ysidro Port of Entry, one of the busiest in the region, where soldiers are assembling barbed wires and barricades. Travellers crossing the US-Mexico border should anticipate severe delays. Travel updates and border wait times are provided by CBP.

First Lady calls for resignation of top national security aide

First Lady Melania Trump has publicly called for the resignation of a top national security aide, Mira Ricarel. Her spokeswoman said that: “It is the position of the Office of the First Lady that she no longer deserves the honour of serving in this White House”. Reports suggest that Ricarel was engaged in a feud with Melania during her latest Africa tour. The calls come amid current reports of a reshuffle to the Trump administration, including the potential removal of President Donald Trump's Chief of Staff John Kelly and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.

CDC investigate AFM cases across 27 states

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has informed that 90 cases of a polio-like disease have been recorded so far in the US during 2018. The CDC is currently working alongside local and state health authorities to assess the circumstances behind dozens of cases of Acute Flaccid Myelitis (AFM), a rare disease that mainly affects the nervous system. Since 2014, the CDC is investigating a potential surge in the number of AFM cases in the US. Most AFM cases affect young children. Symptoms include difficult eye movement, trouble swallowing and slurred speech.

California fires death toll reaches 42

Butte County Sheriff's Office has announced that an additional 13 people have been found dead as the emergency services continue to search for survivals in Northern California. US media reported that 42 people were killed as three major wildfires continue active in Southern and Northern California. The so-called Camp Fire has been considered the deadliest in state history. According to Cal Fire, more than 6,000 residences were destroyed and more than 47,000 hectares of land were consumed. Latest reports issued on Monday evening reported that 30 percent of the fire is contained, while some evacuation orders have been lifted. Further updates on the Camp Fire are provided by the Butte County Sheriff's Office and InciWeb. Meanwhile, in Southern California, the Woolsey Fire and Hill Fire remain active. Ventura County has informed that evacuation orders to some areas were already lifted. For further information on both Woolsey and Hill fires, travellers are advised to follow daily updates from Cal Fire.

Scores killed as wildfires continue to spread across California

More than 250,000 people have been forced to evacuate as three major wildfires continue to spread across Northern and Southern California. At least 31 people have been reported dead while over 200 others are still missing. In Northern California, the Camp Fire has completely destroyed the town of Paradise. Meanwhile, in Southern California, the Woolsey and Hill fires continue active around Los Angeles, where several residences were completely burned down in Malibu and Thousand Oaks. Cal Fire has announced on Monday that several evacuation orders have been lifted. However, people should remain vigilant and follow updates from Cal Fire, the LAFD, Butte County's CalFire and the Butte County Sheriff's Office.

US judge halts construction of Keystone XL pipeline

A US judge in Montana has ordered the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline to be halted after the government failed to provide an appropriate environmental assessment. US District Court Judge Brian Morris ruled in favour of a 2017 lawsuit against the US government. Morris demanded the government to submit a fresh set of environmental impact studies to support the project. The Keystone XL is a project carried out by TransCanada Corp. Rights groups and environmentalists claim that it would highly impact Native American lands and the environment. The 1.900-kilometre pipeline, which will transport crude from Canada to Nebraska, was approved by President Donald Trump after he was sworn into office.

Wildfires trigger mass evacuations in southern California

Over 30,000 people have been forced to evacuate as two wildfires continue to spread across southern California. According to Ventura County, the Woolsey and Hill fires consumed an area larger than 7,000 hectares. The Hill Fire is currently threatening the areas across Santa Rosa Valley. Evacuation orders have been issued to Camarillo Springs, California State University Channel Islands, Dos Vientos and South Coast. Nearby, the Woolsey Fire is active near Thousand Oaks, where evacuation orders were issued to parts of Bell Canyon and Oak Park. Travellers should expect travel delays in the region as some major roads and highways were shut down. Further updates are provided by the VCFD, the LAPD and CalFire.

Thousands evacuated due to wildfire near Chico, California

More than 20,000 people have been forced to evacuate after a massive wildfire broke out near Chico, northern California. CalFire has stated that evacuation orders are in place in the towns of Paradise, Magalia, Concow, Butte Creek Canyon and Butte Valley. Butte County Sheriff's Office said that some areas of Durham are also being evacuated. The so-called Camp Fire broke out on Thursday afternoon. It has already consumed more than 8,000 hectares of land, while also threatening more than 15,000 structures. Although the fire is far away from San Francisco, a smoke advisory was issued to the entire Bay Area. Travellers are advised to follow updates from CalFire, Chico Fire Department and Butte County Sheriff

Metrorail services to Reagan Airport suspended due to works

Metrorail services to Washington DC's Reagan Airport (DCA) will be suspended between Friday and Monday due to scheduled works. Metrorail has informed that works will be carried on both Blue and Yellow lines between Braddock Road and Pentagon City. Shuttle buses will be provided to and from those stations, with stops at Ronald Reagan Washington National A and Crystal City. DCA has urged travellers to find alternative methods of transportation. The airport has also informed that passenger traffic on DCA will be higher than usual due to Veterans Day holiday.

US Attorney General Jeff Sessions forced to step down

US Attorney General Jeff Sessions has been forced to step down just after the results of the midterm elections were announced. Sessions is resigning after a request by President Donald Trump. Matthew Whitaker, Sessions's chief of staff, was named as acting Attorney General until a permanent replacement is nominated. Whitaker will now be responsible for handling the Russian probe, currently led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Since the Russian meddling investigations unfolded, Sessions and President Trump have been engaged in grievances. 

Several killed in mass shooting at a bar in Thousand Oaks, California

At least 11 people have been killed after a gunman raided a bar near Los Angeles, California. Preliminary reports suggest that at least 40 people were injured when shots were fired at the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks, Ventura County. Among the dead is the suspected shooter. Authorities have advised people to avoid the area. The bar is located off the 101 Ventura Freeway, near a residential area on the intersection between Rolling Oaks Drive and South Moorpark Road.

Democrats take over House while Republicans secure Senate in US midterms

Democrats have taken over control of the House of Representatives after garnering more than 218 seats in the US midterms. Democrats needed to turn at least 23 seats to regain control of the lower house of Congress. House Democrat leader Nancy Pelosi is set to become the new house speaker. With a Democrat winning in the House, such may pave the way for investigations against President Donald Trump, while also offering some resistance against legislation on healthcare and immigration. Despite an apparent Democrat success, Republicans tightened their grip in the Senate. Major victories included Rick Scott in Florida and Ted Cruz in Texas. By securing the Senate, President Trump may still freely appoint members to his executive branch and the judiciary. Meanwhile, Democrats made significant gains in the gubernatorial race, especially in Illinois, Kansas, Missouri, Maine, New Mexico, Wisconsin and Nevada. With traditional low participation, Tuesday's midterms turnout was one of the highest in years.

Americans to cast their ballots ahead of US midterms

President Donald Trump is set to face one of his biggest challenges since he was elected in 2016. Millions of Americans are set to cast their ballots in the US midterms, during which Democrats will aim to take over the House of Representatives away from the Republican party, which currently holds a majority in both houses of Congress. In total, all 435 seats in the House are up for grabs, while 35 seats are being disputed in Senate. Meanwhile, there is also a battle for 39 governor seats. Midterm turnouts are usually significantly lower than the presidential vote, which has for long benefited Republicans to keep control. The vote comes amid an anti-immigration rhetoric from Trump regarding the migrant caravans approaching the southern border. Other issues include the definite scrapping of the so-called ObamaCare and the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

Militiamen reportedly heading to southern border to tackle migrant caravan

Dozens of members of self-titled militias have reportedly announced plans to head towards the US southern border ahead of the arrival of the migrant caravan. US media has reported that some groups have called its members to monitor the current situation and head towards the border to join other irregular militia groups comprised of armed civilians. Army commanders and border agencies already raised concerns over such reports. More than 6,000 soldiers have been deployed along the border with Mexico to tackle the arrival of thousands of Central American migrants.

Three girl scouts killed in hit-and-run crash in Wisconsin

Three girl scouts and their supervisor have been killed after a pick-up truck veered off road and hit them on a highway in western Wisconsin. US media reported that the vehicle hit the group who was picking up litter alongside a highway near Chippewa Falls. Officials revealed that a 21-year-old driver has been arrested after he fled the scene and surrendered to the authorities. The driver is set to appear in court on Monday.

Two killed as gunman storms yoga studio in Tallahassee, Florida

Two people have been killed and five others were injured when a gunman opened fire at a yoga studio in Tallahassee, Florida. The incident happened on Friday evening at the Hot Yoga Tallahassee studio on Thomasville Road. US media reported that the suspect posed a customer before engaging in a shooting spree. Police said that some people attacked the shooter when his pistol jammed. The gunman has been identified as 40-year-old Scott Bierle, who died due to self-inflicted injuries. It is still unclear what the circumstances of the shooting are, while police are investigating the connection between the victims and the suspect.

Power loss trigger disruption at Connecticut's Bradley Airport

Flight delays are expected throughout Monday morning after a loss of power was reported at Bradley International Airport (BDL) in Connecticut. According to the airport, power has already been restored, but operations are still expected to be disrupted as BDL is working alongside the TSA and airlines to bring services back to normal. Travellers are advised to check for flight status updates with their respective airlines before heading to BDL.

Trial of Mexican drug-lord 'El Chapo' to kick off in Brooklyn

The trial of the infamous Mexican drug-lord Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman is set to kick off in New York City on Monday. Jury selection will start ahead of the opening statements scheduled for next week. The trial is expected to last more than four months. El Chapo pleaded not guilty on charges of money laundering, drugs and arms trafficking. A large-scale operation has been launched to guarantee the protection of hundreds of witnesses and the jury, which will be anonymous. El Chapo is known as the former leader of the notorious Sinaloa Cartel, which has been responsible for trafficking hundreds of tonnes of drugs into the US. He has been detained in Brooklyn since January 2017, when he was extradited from Mexico to the US.

NYPD investigate death of Saudi sisters found on Hudson River

The New York Police Department (NYPD) is investigating the circumstances behind the death of two Saudi sisters whose bodies were found last week on the Hudson River. Tala and Rotana Farea were reported missing back in August. They arrived in the US back in 2015 to live with their mother in Fairfax, Virginia. Both victims were found taped together on the river in western Manhattan. The Saudi Arabian consulate general in New York said that it is assisting in the investigations. The Guardian reported that the victims' mother told the police that she had previously received a call from a Saudi Arabian Embassy in Washington ordering the family to leave the country after her daughters reportedly applied for political asylum. The incident highlighted tensions between Washington and Rihad after the killing of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Adverse weather forecast to hit the US East Coast

Heavy rainfall and strong winds are forecast to batter the southern area of New England on Saturday. Adverse weather conditions are expected to hit most towns across Massachusetts, especially the counties of Franklin, Hampden, Hampshire, Middlesex and Worcester. According to the National Weather Service (NWS), damaging winds may knock down trees and power lines. The NWS has also announced that all states along the US East Coast may be affected over the weekend. Travellers to and from major airports in the region are advised to check for flight status updates with their respective airlines.

President Trump suggest that soldiers could open fire if attacked in the US southern border

President Donald Trump has suggested that soldiers deployed along the US southern border will be cleared to open fire on migrants who attack border officials. In a statement at the White House, President Trump said: "I hope there won't be that, but I will tell you this – anybody throwing stones, rocks (...) we will consider that a firearm, because there's not much difference.” At least 7,000 soldiers are set to be deployed along the US-Mexican border, while President Trump said that the number may increase to up to 15,000. Clashes on border crossings have been reported n Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico after governments enhanced border security to halt at least three US-bound caravans.

Three wildfires currently active at Sequoia National Park, California

Three wildfires are currently active at the Sequoia & King Canyon National Park in eastern California. According to latest reports, the so-called Moses, Mountaineer and Alder fires are burning across the region since early-October. Authorities revealed that in total, the fires have consumed more than 500 hectares of land and is currently 45 percent contained. They were ignited by lightning. Further updates can be found on InciWeb. Meanwhile, several roads in the park are currently closed. According to the National Parks Service, "Cedar Grove is closed due to a Highway 180 closure by CalTrans just east of Hume Lake Road in Kings Canyon National Park". Construction works may also generate significant delays to travellers between the Sequoia National Park entrance and the Giant Forest.

Pentagon announces deployment of 5,200 soldiers to southern border

More than 5,200 soldiers are set to be deployed along the southern border ahead of the arrival of a migrant caravan comprised of thousands of Central Americans. The Pentagon has announced the launching of 'Operation Faithful Patriot' which is aimed at assisting border officers and law enforcement agents across the US Southwest. More than 800 soldiers - additional to 2,000 National Guard soldiers - were already ordered to be deployed in southern Texas, while the remaining will be headed to Arizona and California. Reports of tensions between some caravan members and law enforcement agents were previously reported in the Guatemalan-Mexican border. The caravan is still crossing through southern Mexico.

Security heightened at Jewish centres in New York after Pittburgh shooting

Security measures around Jewish centres and synagogues have been heightened after a shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Governor Andrew Cuomo has ordered state police and the NYPD to make additional patrol around centres located in Long Island, New Jersey, Bridgeport, Clarkstown and South Brunswick. In a statement, Cuomo said: "While the nation awaits further details of what occurred, initial reports suggest that this senseless act of gun violence was an anti-Semitic attack." 11 people, including four police officers, were killed in a shooting at the Squirrel Hill synagogue.

Scores indicted for cartel-linked drug-trafficking in the US West Coast

More than 20 people have been indicted for being part of a drug-trafficking network that operates in the West Coast states of Oregon and Washington. The US Attorney's Office for the District of Oregon has said that 17 people appeared in court for trafficking large quantities of drugs into both states. They are accused of colluding with an unnamed cartel based in Michoacan, western Mexico. The group is alleged to operate in Oregon's Hillsboro, Gresham, Portland and Hood River and in Washington's Tacoma. According to the US Department of Justice, the indictments came amid a joint investigation involving the FBI, the US Department of Homeland Security and other law-enforcement task forces.

Suspect arrested following deadly synagogue attack

A suspect has been detained following the attack on a synagogue in Pittsburgh on Saturday. Eleven people were killed and six others were wounded after Robert Bowers opened fire on the Squirrel Hill synagogue. He had previously posted anti-Semitic threats online, including one against the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, who he claimed" likes to bring invaders in that kill our people. I can't sit by and watch my people get slaughtered. Screw your optics, I'm going in."

Police arrest in Miami suspect of sending mail bombs

The spokeswoman within the US Department of Justice, Sarah Isgur Flores, has said that the suspect of sending more than a dozen packages to several high-profile personalities have been arrested in Miami, Florida. Flores did not provide details but said that further information will be released during a press conference on Friday afternoon. At least a dozen suspicious packages were sent within a 72-hour period. Recipients included former President Barack Obama and the residence of Bill and Hillary Clinton in New York.

Couple found dead at Yosemite National Park, California

US authorities are investigating the circumstances behind the death of two people who were found near a popular tourist spot at California's Yosemite National Park. According to park officials, the unidentified couple were found just beneath the famous 900-meter-high Taft Point. Preliminary reports suggest that the couple fell to their deaths. At least 10 people have been killed at Yosemite National Park in 2018. The National Parks Service offers some guidelines on both hiking and climbing safety at Yosemite National Park and other national parks across the US.

NYPD found two other suspicious parcels in Manhattan

The NYPD has confirmed that two suspicious packages have been found in New York City. The authorities urged people to avoid the area between West 52nd Street and 8th Avenue in Midtown Manhattan. Travellers have been warned to expect an intense police presence in the area. Reports suggest that both packages were found at a post office and were addressed to former national intelligence director James Clapper and Senator Cory Booker. US media reported that investigations are also being carried out after another package addressed to Senator Booker was found in Florida. The FBI is currently investigating at least a dozen suspicious packages which have all been delivered within a 72-hour period. 

Adverse weather to trigger disruptions across US East coast

Adverse weather conditions are forecast to affect the US East coast as a potential so-called Nor'easter cyclone approaches the region over the weekend. Heavy rainfall is expected to generate localised flooding across most areas in New England, where the National Weather Service (NWS) issued a Storm Warning to coastal areas in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut and New York's Long Island. High surf conditions are also forecast to impact the entire US East Coast between Maine and Georgia. Some areas to be affected also include those recovering from Hurricane Michael and Florence. Travel disruption is also likely to impact major airports in the region, including New York City, Boston, Washington DC, Philadelphia and Baltimore.

FBI focusing US mail bomb investigation in Florida

US Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen has confirmed that the FBI is focusing its investigations in Florida after at least 10 suspicious parcels were mailed to high-profile personalities nationwide. It is believed that some of the parcels were mailed from Florida, where FBI units are sweeping a mail facility in Opa-Locka, near Miami. Suspicious packages believed to contain explosive devices were sent to several Democrats and advocates to liberal causes. Some of them include billionaire George Soros, Joe Biden, Bill and Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

Jim Mattis to sign order to deploy military along US-Mexico border

More than 800 soldiers are set to be deployed along the Mexican border ahead of the arrival of a US-bound migrant caravan. A US official told AP that Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is set to sign the order on Thursday. President Donald Trump has previously threatened to shut down the border and deploy the military to assist US Border Patrol agents. More than 7,000 migrants are believed to be part of the caravan, which took off from northern Honduras last week. Latest reports suggest that the majority of them are still travelling through southern Mexico.

Suspicious package sent to affluent restaurant in Manhattan

A suspicious package has been sent to an affluent restaurant in New York City. According to the NYPD, a special police unit was sent on Thursday morning to the Tribeca Grill restaurant at Greenwich Street in Manhattan. The whole area was temporarily cordoned off due to the potential presence of an explosive device - the area has already been cleared. The restaurant is reportedly owned by Hollywood star Robert de Niro. The incident came a day after similar packages were mailed to the residence of Bill and Hillary Clinton, former President Barack Obama and the TimeWarner offices of the CNN. Last night, the FBI confirmed that another package was sent to Democrat House Representative Maxine Waters.

Surge in West Nile virus cases reported across the US

A record number of cases of the West Nile virus was reported in the US in 2017. All states across the US mainland and Alaska reported cases of the mosquito-borne disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 2,000 cases were reported in 2017, with nearly 150 deaths. Most of them were reported in Georgia, Pennsylvania, Texas and Massachusetts. It is still unclear what may have generated an increase in the number of cases, while some blame changing temperatures and abnormal levels of flooding. West Nile virus symptoms include headache and fever, while in most severe cases may lead to meningitis. There is currently no vaccination against the virus. Prevention techniques include the use of insect repellent and wearing long-sleeved clothing.

CNN HQ in Manhattan evacuated due to suspicious package

The CNN HQ in New York City has been evacuated after reports of a suspicious package. The NYPD is currently investigating the incident, which was reported on Wednesday morning at the Time Warner building in Manhattan. No further information has been provided. The NYPD has urged people to avoid the area around Columbus Circle. The report came hours after the Secret Service announced that two suspicious parcels were delivered to the New York residence of Hillary and Bill Clinton, while a similar parcel was sent to the office of former President Barack Obama.

Suspected explosive devices sent to Bill Clinton and Barack Obama

A suspicious package believed to be an explosive device was recovered on Wednesday morning outside the residence of former President Bill Clinton in New York. The FBI said: "We are aware of a suspicious package found in the vicinity of the Clinton residence in Chappaqua, NY, and our JTTF has engaged with our federal, state and local partners to investigate.  As this is an on-going investigation, we will have no further comment at this time." According to the Secret Service, a similar parcel was also sent to the office of former President Barack Obama. Such comes days after an explosive device was discovered outside the residence of billionaire George Soros. Soros is known for his role in supporting liberal causes and has previously been targeted by far-right activists. He also has a history of backing Democrat campaigns, such as Barack Obama's and Hillary Clinton's.

Several killed amid adenovirus outbreak in Haskell, New Jersey

Six children have died amid an adenovirus outbreak at a rehabilitation nursing centre in New Jersey. In a statement, the New Jersey Department of Health (DOH) said that 18 adenovirus cases were confirmed at the Wanaque Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation in Haskell. All victims were paediatric residents. The facility is currently on lock down as a team was sent to further investigate the outbreak. The DOH said: "The particular strain of adenovirus (#7) in this outbreak is affecting medically fragile children with severely compromised immune systems". Adenovirus is a viral infection that mainly affects the respiratory system. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), most cases are mild and may last up to 10 days. Such outbreaks are extremely rare. Common symptoms include conjunctivitis, sore throat, pneumonia and diarrhoea.

President Trump threatens to withdraw from nuclear deal with Russia

President Donald Trump has said that the US will proceed with building up its nuclear arsenal amid US threats to withdraw from the Cold War-era Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty, based on claims that Russia violated the agreement on several occasions. The INF was signed back in 1987 to ban the development of medium-range missiles. President Trump has said that such will proceed "until people come to their senses. When they do, then we’ll all be smart and we’ll all stop.” He reiterated that "It's a threat to whoever you want to include China and it includes Russia and it includes anybody else that wants to play that game." - China is not part of the INF. The EU has urged the US to remain in the deal, which is paramount to European security.

Explosive device found near George Soros home in New York

An explosive device has been found in the mailbox of the house of billionaire George Soros in Westchester County, New York. According to US law enforcement, the police received reports on Monday afternoon of a suspicious explosive device in the affluent area of Katonah, near Bedford. The New York Times reported that Soros was not at the residence during the incident, which is now being investigated by the FBI. Soros is known for his role as a political activist and philanthropist. He has been previously targeted by far-right groups due to his support to liberal causes and through his global Open Society Foundations - he also has a history of backing Democrat campaigns, such as Barack Obama's and Hillary Clinton's.

Several injured in shooting outside Jacksonville stadium, Florida

Six people have been injured after a shooting broke out near a football stadium in Jacksonville, Florida. Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said that the incident happened on Sunday afternoon when thousands of people were heading to an NFL match at the EverBank Field in downtown. Reports suggest that an unknown man opened fire from a vehicle in the stadium's general area. Police investigator Ron Lendvay said that: "This may be gang-related based on information obtained in the early stages of the investigation".

Administrative officers to be deployed over violence spate in Baltimore

More than 200 additional police officers will be deployed across Baltimore amid a spate of gun violence reported in the city. After more than a dozen shootings were reported in less than 48 hours, Interim Police Commissioner Gary Tuggle said that he is suspending administrative duties of some officers and sending them to patrol the streets. Tuggle confirmed that most incidents are drug-related. Reports revealed that 44 murders were reported in Baltimore last month, one of the deadliest in over a year. According to the Washington Post, more than 230 murders were reported so far in 2018. Last year, Baltimore topped the FBI annual crime report, being considered the deadliest city in the US with a population over 500,000 people.

State of emergency declared due to floods across Texas

Governor Greg Abbott has declared a state of emergency in 18 counties after downpours triggered widespread flooding across central and southern Texas. At least one person has been killed so far after a body was recovered from the Colorado River near Kingsland and Granite Shoals. In Kingsland, a bridge over the Llano River has collapsed. Flash flooding warnings are still in effect in some areas across Hill Country and the Edwards Plateau. Local rivers such as Guadalupe, Colorado, Llano, Leon and San Saba are also at risk of overflowing as heavy rainfall is forecast to continue. The National Weather Service has issued flash flooding alerts in the areas surrounding Burret, Kerrville, Rocksprings, Uvalde, Eagle Pass and Del Rio.

JFK AirTrain services to be suspended due to scheduled maintenance

AirTrain services at New York City's JFK airport will be suspended due to scheduled maintenance works. Works will be carried out between Friday and Saturday, between 22:00 and 11:00 local time. JFK has informed that free shuttle buses will be provided during this period. Travellers are advised to allow extra time to head from and to the airport.

Hundreds still reported missing in Hurricane Michael aftermath

A Houston-based rescue group, CrowdSource Rescue, has claimed that more than 1,000 people are still reported missing nearly a week after Hurricane Michael make landfall as a powerful category-four storm in Florida. CrowdSource Rescue's Michael Marchetti said that most of the victims were from Panama City. Meanwhile, the death toll has risen to 27, with casualties reported in Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia and Florida. Emergency services are still carrying out works in the region, especially in Mexico Beach, which was directly affected. Reuters reported that more than 160,000 homes and businesses across the US Southeast are still without power, while it may take weeks to several Panhandle counties to have power restored.

Jeff Sessions announce new task force against transnational criminal groups

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has announced on Monday a tougher approach to five groups listed as transnational criminal organisations. Among them are the Sinaloa Cartel and the Cartel Jalisco New Generation. The crackdown will be mainly carried out by a special task force, which will be introduced over the next few months. He said that the team will be comprised of “experienced international narcotics trafficking, terrorism, organised crime, and money laundering prosecutors”. Lebanon-based Hezbollah, Colombia's Clan del Golfo and the MS-13 will also be targeted.

Dozens still missing after Hurricane Michael hit Florida

Dozens of people across Florida and Georgia are still missing after Hurricane Michael made landfall as a powerful category-four storm last week. CNN reported that more than 250,000 people across seven states are still without power. Authorities confirmed that at least 18 people were killed, while 30 others are still missing. A state of emergency has been declared in Georgia in the counties of Baker, Decatur, Dougherty, Early Miller and Seminole. In Florida, President Donald Trump approved disaster declarations in the counties of Bay, Calhoun, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Jackson, Liberty, Taylor and Wakulla. The emergency services are still operating in some areas to rescue some people who are feared to be trapped inside their houses.

Scores injured in bus crash in Los Angeles

At least 40 people have been injured when a private charter bus crashed into several vehicles in Los Angeles. According to US media, the accident happened on Sunday afternoon along the 405 Freeway on the San Fernando Valley. Emergency services said that five of the victims were severely injured. It is still unclear what caused the crash, which forced all lanes of the 405 Freeway to temporarily close - traffic has since returned to normal.

Four killed at children's birthday party near Corpus Christi, Texas

At least four people have been killed when a shooting broke out at a children's birthday party in southern Texas. AP reported that the incident happened on Sunday afternoon in the town of Taft, located on the outskirts of Corpus Christi. According to the police, all the people involved were related. Reports suggest that the shooting erupted after an altercation among party-goers.

Man charged over mid-term bomb plot

A man has been charged with plotting to blow himself up in Washington DC during the mid-term elections next month. US prosecutors said Paul Rosenfeld built a 91kg explosive device which he planned to detonate on the National Mall on 6 November. The device was wound by law enforcement officials at Rosenfeld's home in Tappa, New York state, earlier this week. If found guilty he faces 20 years in jail.

Two killed as Hurricane Michael batters Florida coast

Two people have been confirmed dead after Hurricane Michael made landfall as a Category-4 storm on the Florida Panhandle on Wednesday afternoon. Michael, which was the third-strongest storm to hit the mainland US in recorded history, delivered winds of 250kmp/h and caused storm surges of more than 3m in some places. Trees and power lines were downed across the state, while buildings were also destroyed or severely damaged. The storm has now been downgraded to a tropical storm as it passes through Georgia and heads towards the Carolinas.

Hurricane Michael strengthens to category 4

Hurricane Michael has strengthened to a category 4 storm as it heads to northern Florida. More than half a million people have been urged to seek shelter before the storm makes landfall, with storm surges of up to four meters expected in some areas along the Gulf Coast. "This is a life-threatening event for portions of the northeastern Gulf Coast," said the US National Hurricane Centre. The National Weather Service (NWS) said Michael would be the first category 4 storm to hit the Florida Panhandle in recorded history.

UN Ambassador Nikki Haley resigns

The US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley has resigned, according to reports in the US media. The former South Carolina governor has been the US envoy since January 2017. President Trump accepted Haley’s resignation on Tuesday and is expected to address the issue in a speech at the Oval Office later today. It is not yet clear why Haley decided to quit.

Hurricane Michael heading for Florida

Mandatory evacuations are underway in Florida and a state of emergency declared in 25 counties as the state prepares for Hurricane Michael to make landfall. Meteorologists said Michael was gaining strength and could develop into a category-3 storm when it hits the Florida Panhandle (Gulf Coast) on Wednesday. "We are running out of time," Florida's governor Rick Scott said in a post on Twitter. "TODAY is the day to get a plan, because tomorrow could be too late." The storm killed at least 13 people in Central America over the weekend after heavy rains caused flash flooding and landslides.

Twenty killed in New York limousine crash

At least 20 people have been killed in a crash involving a stretch limousine in New York. According to the BBC, the incident happened on Saturday afternoon, when the SUV-style stretch limousine reportedly shot across a junction, hit another car, and then ploughed into pedestrians in a car park outside the Apple Barrel store on route 30A. All of the 18 people inside the limousine were killed, along with two pedestrians. It remains unclear precisely what caused the accident; however, the incident caused significant traffic disruption throughout parts of the Schoharie area as the emergency services responded. Investigations into the accident have been launched, while state police confirmed the passengers would not have been required to wear seat belts in the limousine - a factor which possibly contributed to the high death toll.

Kavanaugh sworn in to Supreme Court

President Donald Trump's nominee for the Supreme Court has been sworn in following a close vote in the Senate. The appointment of Brett Kavanaugh has been extremely contentious after he was accused of sexual assault, allegations he has strongly denied. In recent days there have been major women-led protests against Kavanaugh and the Senate vote - 50/48 - was the closest nomination since 1881.

Chicago police officer jailed for killing teen

A white police officer has been found guilty of second-degree murder over the killing of black teenager Laquan McDonald. Jason Van Dyke shot McDonald 16 times during the incident in 2014, which was captured on police dashcam. The officer was also found guilty on 16 counts of aggravated battery with a firearm. Three officers were charged last year with conspiring to cover up the shooting.

Hundreds arrested at Supreme Court protest

Hundreds of people have been arrested at a protest against President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh in Washington DC. Police detained 302 people, including several celebrities, during the rally at Capitol Hill on Thursday. The Senate will hold a vote on the nomination on Friday following an investigation by the FBI into allegations of sexual assault by Judge Kavanaugh. Another protest was held outside Trump Tower in New York City.

Police officer killed during armed stand-off in Florence, South Carolina

A police officer has been killed and six others were injured during an armed stand-off in Florence, South Carolina. Fifty-two-year-old Terrance Carraway succumbed to his wound after taken to a local hospital. The suspect was injured after a violent shooting broke out. The incident happened on Wednesday evening when a gunman took several children hostage when law enforcement officers attempted to serve an arrest warrant.

Heavy rainfall triggers flash floods across Phoenix, Arizona

Widespread flooding has been reported across Phoenix, Arizona, as the remnants of Tropical Depression Rosa battered the US Southwest. Heavy rainfall was reported across Phoenix, which according to the National Weather Service (NWS), was the city's second wettest day ever to be recorded in October. The city of Yuma and Tucson were also heavily affected. Adverse weather conditions are forecast to continue to hit the region. Flash floods may occur in south-eastern Nevada, northern Arizona and central counties in Utah. Travellers are advised to follow updates from the NWS.

Shots fired outside Turkish cleric's compound in Pennsylvania

Police officers responded to reports of shots fired after an unknown individual reportedly attempted to get access to a private compound where Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen lives in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania. According to his media adviser, a private security guard fired a shot to the air after the alleged intruder was spotted. Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan accuses Gulen of being behind a failed coup back in 2016, where more than 240 people were killed. He denied any wrongdoing. Diplomatic tensions with between both countries escalated after the US refused to extradite Gulen.

Millions to receive message on new national emergency alert system

More than 225 million mobile devices across the US are expected to receive a text message on Wednesday to test the so-called national Presidential Alet system. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) said that the new system will allow government agencies to send alerts in the event of an emergency. The first message will be sent on Wednesday afternoon and will contain a message from President Donald Trump that reads: “THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed.” When operational, the text messages are set to be sent minutes before being broadcast on national radio and television. Despite the name, which will officially be called the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS), the messages will be crafted and sanctioned by federal and state emergency agencies and not by the president.

FBI investigate suspicious mail delivered to the Pentagon

US authorities are investigating the contents of two suspicious envelopes sent to the Pentagon on Monday. The Secret Service and a US defence official told the CNN that they received a suspicious envelope addressed to President Donald Trump, but it did not reach the White House. Reports revealed that the mail was also addressed to Defense Secretary James Mattis and Admiral John Richardson. Preliminary reports suggest that they contained ricin, a highly toxic substance, while further investigations are being led by the FBI, which said that "in coordination with the Pentagon Force Protection Agency, FBI Special Agents took possession of two suspicious envelopes that had been screened at the Pentagon mail facility."

Man killed in bear attack near Juneau, Alaska

An 18-year-old has been killed after being attacked by a bear near Juneau, Alaska. State police said that the victim was attacked near a silver mine on Admiralty Island. Reports revealed that the bear and its two cubs fatally mauled the victim before being put down by state troopers. The victim worked for the Hecla Greens Creek mine, which officials claimed that, although bear attacks are rarely reported, employees receive specific training to deal with the threat. 

Hundreds of firearms stolen from parcel depot in Memphis, Tennessee

Nearly 400 firearms have been reported stolen from a parcel depot in Memphis, Tennessee. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) said on Monday that such incident may pose a significant threat to public safety. ATF spokesman Michael Knight told AP that: "We are concerned that the firearms will end up on the streets not only potentially in the Memphis area, but also across the country." He said that this is one of the largest incidents to ever be investigated by the ATF. According to the FBI, Memphis recorded over 15,000 violent crime incidents in 2017.

Three killed in car explosion in Allentown, Pennsylvania

Three people have been killed after a car exploded on the streets of Allentown, Pennsylvania. The incident happened on Saturday evening in the downtown area. District Attorney James Martin said in a press conference that: "We know there's been a criminal incident. We have a high degree of confidence that the perpetrator was probably killed in the incident." He said that several law enforcement agencies are confident that "this was A. an isolated incident and B. there's no continuing threat." The victims have not been identified and what caused the vehicle to explode remain unclear.

Teenager injured after suffering shark attack off California

A 13-year-old was severely injured after suffering a shark attack off the coast of Encinitas, southern California. The victim was reportedly diving for lobsters with a group of divers near the Beacon's Beach. According to emergency services, the shark bit the victim's torso. The head of the Long Beach State University Shark Lab, Chris Lowe, said that such incidents are rare "considering the number of people that use southern California waters, but people do need to be aware that the fall season is a time when more large juvenile and adult white sharks may be moving along the coast”. In California, a red flag or double red flag may be flying if sharks are thought to be in the water. The City of Encinitas offers advice on marine safety.

Ransomware attack hits Port of San Diego, California

A ransomware attack targeted the Port of San Diego, California. Port CEO Randa Coniglo said in a statement released on Thursday that they are being assisted by the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security to curb the threat, which was first identified three days ago. Coniglo said that disruptions caused were purely administrative and that operations at the port are running normally. An undisclosed amount of Bitcoin has been requested as the ransom payment. The incident comes months after a similar attack hit a shipping terminal in Long Island, New York.

Chamber of Commerce CEO shot dead in Memphis, Tennessee

The CEO and president of the Greater Memphis Chamber of Commerce was shot dead in downtown Memphis, Tennessee. Philip Trenary was killed on Thursday evening on the South Front St, near where an event was being held. Governor Bill Haslam stated that: "Our hearts are broken with the news of the loss of Phil Trenary". Mayor Jim Strickland said: "I'm shocked at the senseless loss tonight of Phil Trenary, a leader in our community. I'm in close contact with MPD, which is leading a thorough investigation". Trenary was known as the former CEO of the Memphis-based airline Pinnacle.

Hurricane Rosa to bring adverse weather to US Southwest

Adverse weather conditions are expected to hit south-eastern California and southern Arizona as category-four Hurricane Rosa moves northwards the Pacific. The National Weather Service in Phoenix has advised people to expect rainfall heavy rainfall and to remain vigilant for the potential risk of flash floods. Rosa is forecast to hit the region as a Tropical Storm before being downgraded to a Tropical Depression on Tuesday evening. Travellers are advised to follow updates from the National Hurricane Center (NHC) and local offices of the National Weather Service (NWS).

Chinese national arrested for espionage

A Chinese national part of the US Army Reserves has been jailed in Chicago for allegedly sharing information with a Chinese intelligence officer. According to the New York Times, Ji Chaoqun is in the US since 2003 and joined the military in 2016. He went to the country to complete his master's degree in engineering. FBI reports suggest that Chaoqun met several times with a handler within China's Ministry of State Security. He is suspected of sharing information related to defence contractors from Taiwan and China. Several months ago, a Chinese-based hacker group targeted a number of satellite companies and defence contractors in the US - such was claimed not to be directly linked to state-sponsored espionage.

Two major wildfires continue to burn in central Utah

Nearly 50,000 hectares of land have been consumed as two wildfires continue to burn in central Utah. According to the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest, more than 60 percent of the so-called Bald Mountain fire is contained. The fire broke out in late-August in the Mount Nebo Wilderness. Meanwhile, the nearby Pole Creek Fire continues active north-east of Nephi. Although most evacuation orders were lifted, some surrounding communities are still being threatened. 

Thousands ordered to evacuate due to flooding in Georgetown, South Carolina

More than 8,000 people around the town of Georgetown, South Carolina, have been ordered to evacuate as flooding is expected to hit the area later in the week. The remnants of Hurricane Florence, which made landfall in the region last week, continues to trigger flooding further inland across South and North Carolina. Major concerns include rising levels of the Pee Dee and Waccamaw rivers. The coastal Pawley Island is also under alert. Meanwhile, in Wilmington, North Carolina, residents are still being affected by flooding, which is expected to continue throughout the week. Travellers are advised to follow daily updates and alerts issued by the National Weather Service.

Thousands still without power in South and North Carolina

More than 62,000 people across North and South Carolina are still facing power outages a week after Hurricane Florence made landfall along the East Coast. Out of more than 2.2 million people who were impacted by the storm, Duke Energy Corp confirmed that power is still to be restored to several houses and businesses. Meanwhile, Florence's death toll was increased to 40. Some areas along the coast are still recovering from flooding, especially in north-eastern South Carolina and south-eastern North Carolina. Advice from the National Weather Service and FEMA should be followed.

Several injured in knife attack at daycare in New York City

At least five people, including three babies, have been stabbed at a daycare facility in New York City. US media reported that a worker stabbed the victims with a butcher knife and a meat cleaver, which were found at the scene. The incident happened in the early hours of Friday morning in Queens. Police detained the suspect after she was reportedly found with self-inflicted wounds in the building's basement. Reports suggest that all victims are stable. Police are still investigating the motives behind the attacks alongside the relevant operations licencing of the care centre.

Police kill armed suspect near Miami Airport, Florida

Police officers killed a man after he opened fire on agents near Miami International Airport. NBC News reported that the suspect was armed with an assault rifle when he was confronted by law enforcement agents on Thursday afternoon. According to the FBI, he was being investigated for a hate crime, when he fled the scene and fired several times with an AK-47 rifle. Miami PD said that the incident happened in the area of Northwest 72 Avenue and Northwest 7 Street. No injuries were reported.

Several casualties reported during shooting in Aberdeen, Maryland

Several people have been reportedly shot at an industrial area south of Aberdeen, Maryland. Harford County Sheriff has informed on Thursday morning that several agencies were responding to shots fired near an area close to Spesutia and Perryman roads. Governor Larry Hogan confirmed the shooting. US media reported that a woman killed three people before killing herself. Reports suggest that the suspect was a temporary worker at a warehouse. It is still unclear the motives behind the shooting.

Gunman killed after shooting near Middleton, Wisconsin

At least three people have been injured after a gunman opened fire on his co-workers near Madison, Wisconsin. Police revealed that a man armed with a semi-automatic pistol stormed the offices of a software company in Middleton and engaged in a shooting spree. The suspect was shot dead by the police. Investigations were launched to assess the causes of the shooting and if the victims were deliberately targeted.

Jogger stabbed to death in Washington DC

A 35-year-old woman has been stabbed while she was jogging in Washington DC. Wendy Karina Martinez was attacked at a residential neighbourhood located near Logan Circle on Tuesday evening. According to the police, Martinez was stabbed multiple times and succumbed to her wounds after being rushed to a hospital. US media reported that Martinez was the chief of staff of a tech company. Although sporadic violent incidents have been reported in Logan Circle, crime rates in the area are relatively low. It is still unclear the motives behind the attack, while the police is still searching for the suspect.

Several injured as gunman raid courthouse in Masontown, Pennsylvania

At least four people have been injured after a gunman opened fire in a courtroom in Masontown, Pennsylvania. According to the authorities, the unknown suspect was shot dead by a police officer. Reports revealed that the suspect was due in court for charges related to domestic violence, but the circumstances behind the shooting are still unclear. 

President Trump orders release of documents from Russia probe

President Donald Trump has ordered the FBI and the Justice Department to release sections of some classified documents linked to the Russian investigation. Among them are sensitive documents related to search warrants to his campaign foreign policy adviser, Carter Page. Some documents also involve FBI - such as former FBI Director James Comey - and Justice Department officials. Democrat Adam Schiff, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, has accused President Trump of selectively releasing "materials he believes are helpful to his defence team and thinks will advance a false narrative." His Republican allies praised the move, while White House spokeswoman, Sarah Sanders, said the decision was taken for reasons of transparency. President Trump claims that the investigation led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller is a political 'witch hunt'.

Spanish golfer found dead at golf course in Ames, Iowa

A 22-year-old Spanish golfer has been killed at a golf course in Ames, Iowa. Celia Barquin was found dead on Monday at the Coldwater Golf Links. A suspect has been detained. Preliminary reports suggest that Barquin was assaulted, while the cause of her death is still being investigated. Barquin was a student-athlete at Iowa State University. She had recently won the European Amateur Championship.

Massive fire breaks out at New York City mall

At least 21 people have been injured, most of them firefighters, after a major fire broke out at a mall in New York City. According to the FDNY, the fire erupted on Monday morning at the King's Plaza Shopping Centre in Mill Basin, Brooklyn. A 23-year-old suspect was detained for arson. The fire broke out at a local garage that stores dozens of vehicles. The incident happened an hour before all stores were open. The mall was closed for the rest of the day - it is expected to be reopened late on Tuesday - as hundreds of firefighters were deployed to the scene to tackle the fire.

Hundreds rescued as Hurricane Florence death toll increases

More than 900 people have been rescued after widespread flooding completely isolated the coastal city of Wilmington, North Carolina. Hurricane Florence made landfall in South and North Carolina last week and it continues to affect areas further inland. Thousands of people are still without power. Meanwhile, authorities have increased the death toll to 31, most of them reported in North Carolina. Although Florence has been downgraded to a tropical depression and is expected to further deteriorate into a subtropical depression on Wednesday, flooding is still likely to occur due to abnormal water levels across several rivers along the East Coast. Further updates are provided by the National Weather Service.

Mother of MS-13 victim killed after being struck by an SUV in New York

A 50-year-old woman who was setting up a vigil for her murdered daughter has been killed after being hit by a vehicle in Brentwood, New York. Evelyn Rodriguez was organising a memorial to mark two years since her 16-year-old daughter was killed by the Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) gang. According to the police, Rodriguez was killed after a man drove an SUV towards her and her partner. Preliminary reports suggest that an altercation with the driver occurred before the incident, which is believed not to be connected to the MS-13. Rodriguez met with President Donald Trump last year to discuss gang violence carried out by the MS-13 in Long Island. She also attended the State of Union address alongside Melania Trump.

Surfer dies after shark attack off Cape Cod, Massachussetts

A 26-year-old surfer has succumbed to his wounds after being attacked by a shark off Cape Cod, Massachusetts. The victim was identified as Joe Booth, who was also a local fisherman. According to the authorities, the attack happened on Saturday afternoon at the Newcomb Hollow Beach in Wellfleet. In mid-August, a 61-year-old surfer was injured in a suspected shark attack in the same region. Such incidents are extremely rare in the US as this is claimed to be the first fatal shark attack in 80 years.

Scores killed as Hurricane Florence makes landfall in North Carolina

At least 17 people have been killed after Hurricane Florence made landfall as a category-one storm in North Carolina. Hundreds of thousands of residents in North Carolina and South Carolina were without power, while flooding continues to batter the region. Flash floods completely isolated the coastal city of Wilmington, which is expected to remain affected until at least Tuesday. According to the FAA, Wilmington International Airport (ILM) is scheduled to reopen on 30 September. The remnants of Florence, which has been downgraded to a tropical depression, is forecast to bring adverse weather to West Virginia and Virginia before moving towards the Northeast and New England. Flash flooding and landslides continue to pose a risk to some areas along the Appalachian Mountains and coastal towns in mid-Atlantic states.

Newark Airport's AirTrain to face disruptions until mid-November

AirTrain services at New York City's Newark Airport (EWR) are scheduled to face night-time disruptions until mid-November. The airport said on Friday that services from 22:00 to 05:00 will be extremely limited. Shuttle buses will be provided on those services. EWR has advised travellers to allocate extra time before departure. For further information, passengers are recommended to contact EWR directly.

Thousands without power as Hurricane Florence approaches North Carolina

More than 180,000 people have suffered power outages as Hurricane Florence approaches North Carolina. Florence is expected to make landfall on Friday morning, but widespread flooding and life-threatening storm surges are already being reported along coastal areas and further inland. According to the National Hurricane Center (NHC), Florence is a slow-moving category-two storm. Winds reaching up to 159km/h are currently being reported at some monitoring stations. Flight disruption is highly likely. Travellers are advised to follow official updates from reputable sources such as the NHC, the National Weather Service, FEMA and state emergency management departments in North Carolina and South Carolina.

One killed after gas explosions trigger evacuation near Boston

More than 8,000 people have been evacuated from several towns near Boston after dozens of gas explosions were reported on Thursday afternoon. Residents in Andover, North Andover and Lawrence were forced to leave their houses as more than 70 fire engines rushed to the area. An 18-year-old man was killed and at least a dozen other people were injured. US media reported that several roads in the area are still closed. Reuters reported that investigations have been launched over a potential pressure issue to gas mains operated by Columbia Gas of Massachusetts.

Thousands put on alert over potential dam spillage near Honolulu, Hawaii

Over 10,000 people were put on evacuation alert due to the potential spillage of a local dam east of Honolulu, Hawaii. Tropical Storm Olivia made landfall in the islands of Oahu and Maui on Wednesday. Olivia's remnants - Olivia is moving away from Hawaii after being downgraded to a tropical depression - triggered heavy rainfall that significantly increased water levels at a dam in Nuuanu. The Board of Water Supply said that the dam is not under risk of breaching and currently presents no danger to the community, but some areas nearby may need to be evacuated due to risks of flooding - Mayor Kirk Caldwell said that evacuation is highly unlikely. A stretch along the Pali Highway (Highway 61) was preventively closed as works continue on Friday morning.

Hurricane Florence to bring life-threatening storm surge to Southeast

Hurricane Florence has been downgraded to a category two storm as it approaches the South Carolina and North Carolina coast. According to the National Hurricane Center (NHC), Florence is expected to make landfall on Friday morning. Although Florence was downgraded, it is forecast to slow down and bring life-threatening storm surges to coastal areas and the mainland. FEMA has warned of risks associated with strong winds, flooding, heavy rainfall and rough surfs. A hurricane warning remains in place from the central coast of South Carolina to the border with Virginia. Daily updates are provided by the NHC, the National Weather Service and FEMA.

Several killed in shooting spree in Bakersfield, California

Five people have been killed after a gunman went on a shooting spree in Bakersfield, California. According to US media, the suspect initially killed his own wife and two other individuals after driving to a local business at Manwell Boulevard. Minutes later, two others were killed after the suspect hijacked a car and drove to another location. The suspect then shot himself when police officers intercepted him on Edison Highway. The motive behind the shooting remains unknown, while investigators are still working to establish whether, asides from his wife, the suspect knew any of the other victims.

Hurricane Florence likely to impact flights across the US Southeast

Several US airlines are issuing travel alerts to passengers heading to and from the US Southeast. Due to the potential landfall of Hurricane Florence, delays and cancellations are likely to impact major airports in the South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Washington DC and Georgia. American Airlines, United, Frontier, JetBlue, Southwest and Delta have already warned their passengers about potential disruptions between Thursday and Monday. Some of them waived cancellation and change fees. Travellers are advised to contact their respective airline for flight status updates.

Airports to remain open as Storm Olivia approaches Hawaii

Hawaii's Department of Transportation (HIDOT) has confirmed that all airports statewide will remain open despite the approach of Tropical Storm Olivia, which is expected to hit the archipelago on Wednesday morning. The National Hurricane Center (NHC) has issued a tropical storm warning to all Hawaiian islands. HIDOT has stated that there may be some operational delays, but airports will remain open unless major damage is reported. Travellers are advised to check for flight status updates with their respective airlines and daily emergency alerts from HIDOT. Further recommendations on Tropical Storm Olivia are also being provided by the Hawaiian Tourism Authority and the National Weather Service.

North Korean leader invites Trump to follow-up summit

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has invited US President Donald Trump to a potential follow-up summit. Kim allegedly wrote a letter to Trump, asking for a second summit following their historic meeting in Singapore earlier this year. According to the BBC, the US administration is already looking into coordinating another summit, with the hope that the second meeting will allow for further discussions of denuclearisation on the Korean peninsula. It remains unclear when a follow-up summit might take place, while Kim's letter was described as 'warm' and South Korea has seemingly supported the move.

Evacuation orders issued as Hurricane Florence approaches East Coast

More than one million people have been ordered to evacuate along coastal areas of North and South Carolina and Virginia as Hurricane Florence is forecast to make landfall on Thursday evening as a major category-four storm. A state of emergency has been declared in all three states, along with Maryland, Washington DC and Georgia. Virginia Governor Larry Hogan has issued evacuation orders to 245,000 people living across the state's Eastern Shore and parts of Hampton Roads. In North Carolina, Governor Ray Cooper ordered evacuations in the Hatteras Islands and the counties of Dare, Brunswick, Currituck, Onslow, Hyde and New Hanover. Meanwhile, South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster has issued mandatory evacuations to the coastal counties of Jasper, Beaufort, Colleton, Charleston, Dorchester, Georgetown, Harry and Berkeley. Travellers are advised to follow daily updates from the National Hurricane Center, the National Weather Service and the states' respective emergency management departments or divisions.

Weather alerts issued as Hurricane Olivia approaches Hawaii

A tropical storm watch has been issued to most Hawaiian islands as Hurricane Olivia heads westwards the Central Pacific. According to the National Hurricane Center (NHC), Olivia is currently a category-one hurricane and is expected to be downgraded to a tropical storm after hitting Hawaii on Tuesday evening. Strong winds and heavy rainfall are expected to bring flash flooding. Rip currents and dangerous surfs are also forecast to hit the eastern regions of most islands. Travellers are advised to follow updates from the National Weather Service and the NHC.

State of emergency declared as Hurricane Florence approaches East Coast

A state of emergency has been declared across three states along the East Coast as Hurricane Florence approaches the US. According to the National Hurricane Center (NHC), the category-one hurricane is expected to make landfall as a major hurricane on Thursday evening. States of emergency have been declared in South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia. Adverse weather conditions are also expected to affect the entire Southeast coast, while it is still unclear where Florence will hit first. Flights in the region are expected to be disrupted. Travellers are recommended to check for flight status updates with their respective airlines and to follow developments provided by the NHC.

Tropical Storm Florence may strengthen and affect US East Coast

Hurricane Florence has been downgraded to a tropical storm as it currently moves nearly 1,000 miles south-east the island of Bermuda. According to the National Hurricane Center (NHC), Florence is expected to strengthen over the weekend and become a hurricane on Monday. Although it is still unclear if Florence will make landfall along the US East Coast, rip current and dangerous surfs are expected to hit the region. Travellers have been advised to monitor updates from the NHC and the National Weather Service (NWS).

Passengers examined after falling ill on two flights to Philadelphia

At least a dozen people have been examined after falling ill on two separate flights to Philadelphia International Airport (PHL), Pennsylvania. According to PHL, the passengers landed on two American Airlines services from France and Germany. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) told TIME that: "Twelve passengers from the two flights reported sore throat and cough; none were identified with fever". All passengers have been already discharged. The incident came a day after dozens of passengers on a flight from Dubai were quarantined at New York City's JFK after experiencing flu-like symptoms.

Major wildfire in northern California spreads overnight

Northern California's Delta Fire has significantly spread overnight on Thursday, triggering further evacuations across several counties in the region. According to the authorities, a large stretch of the Interstate 5 highway is still closed north of Redding, where some residents who live along the highway are being forced to evacuate. Further evacuation orders have been issued to the town of Dunsmuir in Siskiyou County. The areas of main concern are located around Lakehead. Meanwhile, the nearby Hirz Fire continues active. People have been advised to follow updates from Siskiyou County Sheriff's Office and Shasta County Sheriff's Office. Further updates can also be found at National Wildfire Coordination Groups's InciWeb.

Three killed in shooting in Cincinnati, Ohio

An active shooter situation is currently being reported in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio. Cincinnati Police Department has said that an active shooter incident was reported on Thursday afternoon at Fifth Third Bank in Walnut Street. Some areas around Fountain Square were put on lockdown. At least three people were killed and five others were injured. The suspect was shot dead. It remains unclear the motives behind the shooting.

Several reported ill after plane lands in New York City

A plane from Dubai that landed at New York City's JFK Airport was quarantined after nearly 20 people fell ill. According to the New York Mayor's Office, 10 passengers and cabin crew - more than 520 people were on board - were taken to the hospital. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said that symptoms included a cough and fever. New York Health Commissioner Oxiris Barbot said that the causes of the illness were potentially linked to influenza. All passengers were later discharged.

Wildfire shuts down interstate highway in northern California

A massive wildfire in northern California has forced the closure of a large stretch of the Interstate 5. According to the US Fire Service, the stretch from Fawndale Road north of Redding to Mott Road south of Mount Shasta was shut down in both directions. Heavy delays are expected in the area. The so-called Delta Fire has significantly spread across more than 2,000 hectares on Wednesday evening through Shasta-Trinity National Forest. Meanwhile, around 75 percent of the nearby Hirz Fire, located south-east of Redding, has already been contained. Travellers are advised to follow updates from the Shasta-Trinity National Forest. Last July, several people were killed in the region after a massive wildfire broke out near Redding.

Tropical Depression Gordon may bring adverse weather to central US

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) has said that Tropical Depression Gordon may bring adverse weather conditions across the central US. In the final advisory issued on Wednesday, the NHC stated that despite Gordon is expected to dissipate, heavy rainfall and flooding are likely to affect "the western Florida Panhandle, southwest Alabama, central Mississippi, Arkansas, Missouri, southern Iowa and Illinois". Gordon was located on Wednesday near Jackson, Mississippi. Travellers are advised to follow updates from the National Weather Service (NWS).

One killed as Tropical Storm Gordon makes landfall

A child has been killed after Tropical Storm Gordon made landfall near the Alabama-Mississippi border on Tuesday night. The child died when a tree fell on to his home in Pensacola in Florida. The storm also knocked down power lines, leaving more than 20,000 homes in Florida and Alabama without power. Further torrential rain is expected as the storm moves inland.

Gulf Coast braced for Tropical Storm Gordon

The Gulf Coast is braced for Tropical Storm Gordon, which is expected to make landfall near New Orleans with hurricane strength winds late on Tuesday. The storm is predicted to move over the lower Mississippi Valley into Wednesday, bringing heavy rain, strong winds and potentially life-threatening storm surges. Storm warnings are in place from Florida to Louisiana.

Seven killed New Mexico crash

At least seven people have been killed and dozens more wounded after a Greyhound bus crashed with a lorry in New Mexico. The accident occurred near the town of Thoreau on Thursday. According to initial investigations, a tyre on the lorry blew out, forcing it to veer into oncoming traffic. State police said 49 people were on the bus at the time and the death toll is expected to increase.

Thousands of teachers launch strike action in Washington

Thousands of teachers launched a strike action as more than 80,000 students were set to get back to school in Washington. Teachers' unions are demanding higher salaries. Protests and strike actions started being called in mid-August and are highly expected to become more frequent as new contracts are being negotiated across hundreds of schools. Earlier this year, similar actions have also taken place in West Virginia, Arizona and Oklahoma.

Police recover remains of MS-13 victim in Long Island, New York

The police have recovered human remains from a clandestine grave in Long Island, New York. Nassau County Police told US media that the victim is believed to have been killed by members of the notorious street gang Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13). His body was found near the Meadowbrook Parkway in East Meadow. In recent years, MS-13 has increased its presence along the US East Coast. It has been reported that more than 25 people were killed in incidents linked to the gang in Long Island since 2016. Most incidents are related to territorial disputes between rival gangs and MS-13 factions.

Great Lakes beaches on alert due to rough surf conditions

The National Weather Service (NWS) has announced on Wednesday afternoon that some beaches across the Great Lakes may face rough sea conditions. Dangerous surfs are forecast to batter beaches along the eastern coast of Lake Michigan, the south-eastern area of Lake Superior and the north-western tip of Lake Huron. Travellers are advised to exercise caution and to follow the recommendations from the NWS and the US Lifeguard Association.

Two killed and several injured in Jacksonville shooting

At least two people have been killed and several others were injured when a gunman raided a restaurant in Jacksonville, Florida. The incident happened on Sunday afternoon during an NFL e-tournament in Jacksonville Landing. Jacksonville Sheriff's Office identified the victims as Elijah Clayton and Taylor Robertson. According to the police, the shooter was David Katz, a 24-year-old from Maryland. According to EA Sports, Katz was last year's tournament winner. He killed himself after engaging in a shooting spree. AP and CNN reported that Katz had been previously treated for mental illness, while witnesses told US media that he was angry for losing an earlier match. The police are still investigating the motives of the shooting.

Eight killed in apartment fire in Chicago

At least eight people have been killed after a fire broke out at an apartment in Chicago. According to the authorities, six of the victims were children. US media reported that the fire erupted in the early hours of Sunday morning in the Little Village neighbourhood. At least two nearby buildings were also affected, while two people were taken to hospital in critical conditions. Investigations have been launched to assess the causes of the fire.

Heavy rainfall forecast as Hurricane Lane moves away from Hawaii

Heavy rainfall and strong winds are forecast to batter Hawaii in the next few days. Risks of landslides and flooding are still active across the state despite Hurricane Lane moving away. Localised rainfall is expected to mainly affect Hawaii's Big Island and Maui County, while the adverse weather may continue in the northern Oahu and Kauai islands. Cleanup efforts are still ongoing across some of the affected areas. Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Miriam is moving westwards the central Pacific but is not expected to directly affect Hawaiian islands. Travellers are advised to follow updates from the US National Weather Service (NWS).

US Republican Senator John McCain dies aged 81

US Republican Senator John McCain has died on Saturday aged 81. McCain was facing a long-standing battle with an aggressive form of brain cancer. His office confirmed that he died in the early hours of Saturday morning, a day after his family chose to discontinue medical care. He is expected to be replaced by Arizona Governor Doug Ducey. Despite sharing the same party as President Donald Trump, McCain has been one of the most avid critics of the president. Political tensions between them have escalated since he voted against the Obamacare repeal bill. 

New York City's Liberty Island reopened after fire triggers evacuation

New York City's Liberty Island was evacuated after a fire broke out on Sunday morning. Statue of Liberty National Monument said on Twitter that operations were resumed on Sunday afternoon at 14:00 local time. It is believed that the fire happened at a propane tank on a construction site. According to FDNY, more than 3,400 people were evacuated. No injuries or major damages were reported.

Shooting reported in Jacksonville, Florida

A shooting was reported on Friday afternoon in Jacksonville, Florida. Jacksonville Sheriff's Office has reported on Twitter: “Mass shooting at the Jacksonville Landing. Stay far away from the area. The area is not safe at this time." Reports suggest that the shooting happened at a restaurant which was hosting a video game tournament. The Jacksonville Landing is an entertainment and shopping venue in downtown Jacksonville.

NSA contractor sentenced to five years for leaking classified report

A former NSA contractor has been sentenced for more than five years in prison for leaking a classified intelligence report. Reality Winner is being accused of leaking a top-secret document linked to alleged Russian hacking attempts to the 2016 US elections. She has been detained since June 2017. Winner worked for the defence contractor Pluribus International Corporation and was sentenced under the Espionage Act. Her sentence is one of the harshest applied to whistleblowers, while his defence attorney claimed that it was excessive to try her under the Espionage Act.

Hurricane Lane triggers widespread flooding in Hawaii's Big Island

Hurricane Lane has been downgraded to a category three storm as is moves westwards the central Pacific. A Hurricane Warning remains in place to the islands of Maui and Molokai. Although the alert to Big Island has been downgraded to a Tropical Storm Watch, County of Hawaii's Civil Defense (COHCD) reported that heavy rainfall has triggered widespread flooding across the island, especially to the eastern regions. Some areas around Reeds Island have been evacuated. Travellers are advised to follow updates from the National Hurricane Center (NHC) and alerts from COHCD.

Hurricane warnings issued ahead of Hurricane Lane approach to Hawaii

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) has issued Hurricane Warnings to most Hawaiian islands as category-four Hurricane Lane approaches the state. Although Lane is not expected to make landfall, adverse weather conditions are forecast to hit all islands. A lower Hurricane Watch was issued to the northern island of Kauai as weather conditions are set to improve later in the week. Shelters have been opened as people in Hawaii have been advised to exercise caution and to prepare for the rough weather, especially in the western and southern coastal areas. Hawaiian Airlines and major carriers are offering to waive rebooking fees. Hawaii's Department of Transportation (HDOT) said that "the 15 airports located throughout the state and their associated runways will remain open and accessible, barring infrastructure damage or debris to the facility that makes flight operations unsafe." Travellers are advised to check for flight updates with their airlines and to follow daily alerts from the NHC, the National Weather Service and the HDOT.

Hurricane Lane upgraded to category-five as it approaches Hawaii

Hurricane Lane has been upgraded to a powerful category-five storm as it moves closer to the Hawaiian islands. The National Hurricane Center (NHC), forecast Lane to hover off the western coast of Big Island later on the week, while flash flood alerts are in place to the islands of Maui, Molokai, Oahu and Kauai. Lane is expected to be downgraded to a tropical storm on Saturday. According to the National Weather Service (NWS), Lane is the strongest hurricane to approach the state since Hurricane John in 1994. Travellers are advised to follow updates from the NWS and NHC.

President Trump's campaign manager charged with fraud

A federal judge in Virginia has charged President Donald Trump's former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, with eight counts of fraud. Manafort was facing 18 accusations, but 10 of them were declared as mistrials by Federal Judge TS Ellis. If convicted, he may be sentenced to up to 80 years in prison. Manafort's trial - not linked to the Russian investigations - came nearly at the same time Trump's personal lawyer Michael Cohen pledged guilt on eight fraud charges. Rudy Giuliani, Trump's lawyer, said that Cohen's charges show “no allegation of any wrongdoing against the president”.

Scores of former officials sign support letter to former CIA chief

More than 175 former US officials have signed an open letter to support former CIA Director John Brennan, who had his security clearance revoked last week. President Donald Trump stripped Brennan's security clearance over claims of his "erratic conduct and behaviour". The letter is signed by former CIA officials, former ambassadors and US attorneys. Several days ago, more than a dozen former CIA senior officials also backed Brennan in another letter to President Trump. Brennan is an avid critic to President Trump, especially regarding the ongoing Russian investigations.

Severe storms forecast to batter US Northeast

Severe storms are forecast to batter the US Northeast on Tuesday evening. Strong winds and heavy rainfall are expected to impact several areas in Washington DC, Pennsylvania and New York. Flight delays are likely across major airports in the region, while public transportation may also be impacted due to flash floods.

Dozens shot in fresh wave of shootings in Chicago

Around 60 people were shot over the weekend in a fresh wave of violence across Chicago, Illinois. At least six people have been killed in separate incidents across the city. Earlier in the month, another violent weekend led to the death of more than four people, while 40 others were injured. Chicago is particularly plagued with gang-related gun violence. Despite several shootings being reported in the city, the Chicago Tribune and Chicago PD reported that the number of incidents in 2018 has significantly decreased compared to last year.

Chinese national kidnapped near Los Angeles, California

US authorities are investigating the kidnap of a 28-year-old Chinese national in San Gabriel, California. FBI Agent Gene Kowel told CNN that three men pulled Tony Liao Ruochen into a van. The incident happened in mid-July. Reports suggest that ransom of two million dollars has been demanded, but the suspects did not follow up on the request. Liao owned a luxury car dealership in southern California.

Hundreds topple Confederate statue in North Carolina

Hundreds of protests gathered outside the campus of the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill to demonstrate against a statue of a Confederate soldier. Reports revealed that the statue of Silent Sam was grounded after protests escalated. In recent years, a movement to remove Confederate monuments in the US has emerged. Protesters claim that they symbolise the US legacy of slavery present during the Civil War.

Hurricane Lane forecast to approach Hawaii's Big Island

Further adverse weather is expected to impact Hawaii as Hurricane Lane moves towards the archipelago. Lane has been upgraded to a category-four hurricane and currently sits nearly 800km south of Hawaii's Big Island. According to the National Weather Service (NWS), Lane is forecast to make a north-west turn towards Hawaii, bringing inclement weather to some of its southern islands on Thursday. Travellers in Honolulu and across the northern islands should monitor NWS updates. Lane is expected to be gradually downgraded from Thursday afternoon.

Young surfer injured in suspect shark attack in North Carolina

A 14-year-old boy has been injured in a suspected shark attack off North Carolina. The incident was reported on Sunday morning near the Dunes Club at Atlantic Beach. The victim was surfing when the shark attacked his right leg. He was taken to the hospital to be treated for non-life-threatening injuries. Shark attacks are extremely rare in the US. However, some incidents have been recently reported along the US East Cost - New York and Massachusetts. Travellers are advised to follow local authorities' recommendations when going to the beach and check for warning flags.

Further evacuation orders issued to Glacier National Park, Montana

Further evacuation orders have been issued to some areas in the Glacier National Park in Montana. A massive wildfire continues to spread around Lake McDonald, where evacuations orders were issued to a local lodge and a campground last week. New evacuation orders apply to campers at the Fish Creek Campground. Reports revealed that the fire continues to threaten the iconic 'Going-to-the-Sun' Road, which is partially closed. Residents in the town of Apgar are under evacuation alert. The fire broke out earlier in the month after lightning struck dry vegetation. Travellers are advised to follow alerts from Glacier National Park. Meanwhile, the so-called Fergurson Fire, which was burning near Yosemite National Park in California, has been contained. Although the park was already reopened, travellers are recommended to follow daily updates from Yosemite National Park.

Hurricane Lane may bring adverse weather to southern Hawaii

Hurricane Lane has been formed in the North Pacific nearly 2,600 km from the southern tip of Hawaii. According to the National Hurricane Centre (NHC), Lane is currently sustaining winds of up to 130 km/h as it moves westwards. Lane is highly expected to intensify and may potentially bring adverse weather conditions to Hawaii next Wednesday. Travellers should closely monitor local media and official updates from the NHC.

Former intelligence officials condemn Trump's move against Brennan

More than a dozen senior intelligence officials have signed an open letter condemning President Donald Trump's move to revoke the security clearance of former CIA chief John Brennan. In a joint letter, they said: "We feel compelled to respond in the wake of the ill-considered and unprecedented remarks and actions by the White House regarding the removal of John Brennan’s security clearances. Insinuations and allegations of wrongdoing on the part of Brennan while in office are baseless." Among the subscribers are former CIA General David Patreus and Retired Admiral William McRaven. Brennan was known as a vocal critic of President Trump.

President Trump revokes former CIA chief security clearance

President Donald Trump has revoked the security clearance of former CIA chief John Brennan. Press Secretary Sarah Sanders announced that the move comes due to his "erratic conduct and behaviour". President Trump alleges that Brennan "has leveraged his status as a former high-ranking official with access to highly sensitive info to make a series of unfounded and outrageous allegations”. In the same statement, President Trump said that security clearances are being reviewed to a number of members of the intelligence community, including former FBI director James Comey. Brennan is an avid critic to President Trump, especially regarding the alleged Russian meddling scandal.

US judge orders environmental review to Keystone XL oi pipeline

A US District Judge in Montana has ordered an environmental review on the construction of the billionaire Keystone XL oil pipeline. Judge Brian Morris said that the environmental impact should be revised. Keystone XL is an oil pipeline that is set to transport crude from Alberta, Canada, to Nebraska. Its construction was previously halted during the Obama administration but re-emerged after President Donald Trump took office.

Scores overdose in New Haven park, Connecticut

More than 70 people have reportedly overdosed on synthetic drugs in a park in New Haven, Connecticut. According to the police, most incidents happened around New Haven Green, a park located near downtown New Haven. It is believed that all the patients consumed a variety of K2, a synthetic cannabis-based drug, which may have been mixed with several other substances. Three people have been detained, while two patients remain hospitalised in serious condition. Governor Dannel Malloy raised concerns over the incident, while Mayor Toni Harp highlighted the struggle to tackle illicit drug usage.

Surfer injured in alleged shark attack off Cape Cod, Massachussetts

A 61-year-old surfer has been injured after an alleged shark attack off Cape Cod, Massachusetts. US media reported that the attack happened on Wednesday afternoon at Long Nook Beach in Truro. The victim was airlifted to a local hospital. Last week, several beach towns in Plymouth were temporarily closed for swimming after two white sharks were spotted along Cape Cod. Shark attacks in the area are extremely rare. Reports suggest that this is the first such attack to occur since 2012. Travellers are advised to follow local authorities' recommendations when going to the beach and check for warning flags - double red flags mean that the beach is closed for swimming.

Washington family killed in car crash in Oregon

Seven members of the same family have been killed in a car crash in eastern Oregon. State police revealed that the accident happened on Monday along the Highway 78 near Burns, Harney County. Reports suggest that they crashed head-on into another vehicle. Most victims are young children, who were heading with their parents from Lacey, Washington, to Las Vegas, Nevada.

Heavy rainfall triggers widespread flooding across US Northeast

A state of emergency has been declared in five counties in New Jersey after heavy rainfall triggered widespread flooding across the US Northeast. Severe weather has caused flash floods and triggered evacuations in Bergen, Ocean, Essex, Monmouth and Passaic counties. In New York, evacuations happened in Seneca County, while flood warnings were issued in Binghamton. Some areas in Pennsylvania were also severely affected. Weather conditions are expected to improve on Thursday, but another storm is forecast to hit the region over the weekend. Flight delays are expected throughout the week, especially in New York City, Philadelphia and Washington DC.

Hundreds of priests implicated in child abuse scandal in Pennsylvania

More than 300 priests have been implicated in a fresh grand jury report regarding alleged sexual abuses against minors within the Catholic Church in Pennsylvania. In a lengthy report - with more than 1,000 pages - over 1,000 children were believed to have been victims across six dioceses in Allentown, Ernie, Greensburg, Harrisburg, Pittsburg and Scranton. Some of the crimes date back to 1947. Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro said that this is the "largest, most comprehensive report into child sexual abuse within the Catholic Church ever produced in the United States."

Nine injured in natural gas explosion in Denver, Colorado

At least nine people have been injured after a natural gas explosion levelled a building in Denver, Colorado. Search efforts were launched to locate for potential missing victims under the rubble. The incident happened on Tuesday at an apartment building in Baker neighbourhood. Investigations have been launched to assess the causes of the blast.

US judge denies to move El Chapo's trial in New York City

A US Judge denied calls to move the trial of drug-lord Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman from Brooklyn to Manhattan. El Chapo is set to be trialled in early-November. Enhanced security measures will be implemented to transport him from a high-security prison in Manhattan to a courthouse in Brooklyn. El Chapo's lawyers claim that such may influence public opinion and compromise the chances of a fair trial. On the same grounds, lawyers previously criticised a court decision of an anonymous jury. El Chapo is a notorious drug-lord linked to the infamous Sinaloa Cartel.

Five injured in supermarket shooting near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

At least five people have been injured during a shooting at a supermarket near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The incident happened on Tuesday evening at a Walmart at the Cedarbrook Plaza Shopping Centre in Cheltenham. Preliminary reports suggest that the shooting broke out after an altercation between two individuals. Police revealed that the shooter was arrested after a car chase.

State of emergency declared due to red tides in southern Florida

A state of emergency has been declared in seven counties in southwestern Florida after thousands of marine animals - especially fish - were killed due to the so-called red tide algae bloom. The emergency includes the counties of Hillsborough, Charlotte, Lee, Sarasota, Manatee, Pinellas and Collier. Those areas include the cities of Tampa, Bradenton, Fort Myers and Naples. This toxic algae bloom may be harmful to people with respiratory problems, mainly those suffering from asthma. The phenomenon has been developing since late-2017, but has just recently intensified.

Firefighter killed while battling Medocino fire in northern California

A firefighter battling Mendocino Complex fire succumbed to his wound after being airlifted to a local hospital in northern California. No further details about the firefighter's identity and the circumstance behind the incident have been revealed. The fire in the Mendocino Complex already consumed more than 140,000 hectares of land. This is the sixth casualty reported in the region. It has been considered the largest fire in the state's history. It significantly intensified over the last few days due to adverse weather conditions, but CalFire confirmed that around 70 percent of the fire is contained.

Cases of cryptosporidiosis reported in Zumbrota, Minnesota

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) has confirmed that three people have fallen ill amid a suspected cryptosporidiosis outbreak at a campground in Zumbrota. Reports revealed that the incidents are suspected to have originated at the Shades of Sherwood Campground, which had some of its facilities shut while investigations are ongoing. More than 70 cases are being investigated. Cryptosporidiosis is a water-borne parasitic illness often contracted due to the ingestion of contaminated water. Symptoms include diarrhoea, nausea, fever and vomiting.

Yosemite National Park to reopen after wildfire

California's Yosemite Valley is set to reopen to visitors on Tuesday. Yosemite Valley was closed since late-July after the so-called Ferguson Fire threatened some of its trails. Yosemite National Park said that access to Yosemite Valley can be made from the El Portal Road (Highway 140),  the Big Oak Flat Road (Highway 120) or the Tioga Road (Highway 120). Meanwhile, the Wawona Road (Highway 41) will remain closed. Travellers are advised caution as some trails and areas remain on alert. People are advised to check for daily updates provided by Yosemite National Park.

Wildfire breaks out at Glacier National Park, Montana

Evacuation orders have been issued after lightning ignited wildfires across the Glacier National Park in northern Montana. A local lodge and a campground were among the places evacuated on Saturday evening, while some nearby residents were also ordered to leave their homes. According to National Park Service officials, the fire erupted around the north side of Lake McDonald, while the touristic areas of the park remain unaffected. Some trails have been closed, including the 'Going-to-the-Sun' Road. Travellers are advised to follow alerts from Glacier National Park.

Dozens injured in bus crash in New York City

Dozens of people have been injured after a tour bus crashed in New York City. US media reported that the vehicle crashed on Sunday evening into an overpass at Newark Penn Station. It was transporting around 50 people from Washington DC to New Jersey. No critical injuries were reported.

Heavy rainfall may impact flights in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Flights to and from Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) may be impacted due to severe weather conditions on Monday. Some flights across major airports in New York and New Jersey may also be impacted throughout the day. Adverse weather is expected to last until Tuesday and may spread along the US East Coast. Passengers are advised to check for flight status updates with their respective airlines before heading to the airport.

Powerful 6.4-magnitude eathquake hits North Slope, Alaska

A powerful 6.4 magnitude earthquake has been recorded in the remote North Slope in Alaska. According to the US Geological Survey (USGS), the quake struck on Sunday morning near Kavik River Camp at a shallow depth of 10km. USGS said that this is the strongest earthquake ever recorded in the region - it surpasses the 5.2-magnitude quake recorded back in 1995. A 6.1-magnitude quake and several aftershocks were also felt several hours later in the region. North Slope is known for the presence of oil companies working on the trans-Alaska pipeline, which were not damaged.

State of emergency declared as wildfire spreads in southern California

Governor Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency for Orange and Riverside counties as the so-called Holy Fire continues to spread in southern California. More than 20,000 people were ordered to evacuate as the blazes are threatening residential areas south of Los Angeles. More than 4,000 hectares of land were already consumed. Areas of main concern are Lake Elsinore and some areas across Cleveland National Forest.

Scores detained in LA for links to Sinaloa Cartel

More than 20 people have been detained during a lengthy joint operation in southern California. For nearly three years, the FBI and the DEA alongside Mexican authorities were investigating three groups tasked to transport and distribute drugs from the notorious Sinaloa Cartel. According to the authorities, more than one tonne of cocaine, 950 kg of methamphetamine and nearly $1.4m in cash were seized during the operation. Most arrests were made in Los Angeles, while 25 suspects are still at large. The Sinaloa Cartel is one of the most powerful drug cartels in Mexico.

US announces sanctions on Russia

The US has announced a new set of sanctions against Russia over the poisoning of ex-Russian spy Sergei Skirpal and his daughter, Yulia Skripal, in the UK. The sanctions will come into effect later this month, on Wednesday 22 August. According to the BBC, the Russian rouble has slumped in response to the sanctions, most notably against the US dollar and the euro. Earlier this year, the Skripals were poisoned with the Russian nerve agent Novichok in Salisbury in an attack which Russia are widely seen as being responsible for, although Russia has continued to deny any involvement in the attack. The UK Foreign Secretary has thanked the US following the announcement, while Russia has criticised the new sanctions as 'draconian'.

Wildfire triggers evacuations in southern California

Several towns across southern Califonia's Orange and Riverside counties have been ordered to evacuate as the so-called Holy Fire continues to spread. The fire broke out on Monday near Holy Jim Canyon. So far, more than 2,500 hectares of land were consumed as the blaze continues to threaten areas in the outskirts of Cleveland National Forest. The Ortega Highway 74 is currently closed. CalFire reported on Wednesday that around five percent of the fire was already contained. The authorities reported that a 51-year-old man was detained for arson.

State of emergency declared in Charlottesville, Virgnia

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam has declared a state of emergency in Charlottesville ahead of the one-year anniversary of the white supremacist rally. More than 700 officers will be mobilised alongside the National Guard to prepare for potential unrest and prevent the spread of violence. According to Time Magazine, one of last year's organiser is planning a rally, but such permit was denied. However, a number of other marches are scheduled for Sunday in Washington DC. Last year, one person was killed and 14 others were injured when a vehicle ploughed into counter-protesters.

Ohio faces special district election while four states hold their primaries

Republicans and Democrats are set to cast their ballots for Tuesday's primaries in Kansas, Michigan, Missouri and Washington. In Kansas, Republican Governor Jeff Colyer is running against Secretary of State Kris Kobach, while in Michigan, both parties seek to put forward strong candidates to occupy the seat of Governor Rick Snyder, who reached his term limit. In Ohio, a special election is being held in the state's 12th district, where Democrat Danny O'Connor attempts to secure the Republican House seat away from Troy Balderson. Ohio's election comes as a test to President Donald Trump ahead of November's midterm vote, where Democrats seek to secure an additional 23 seats in the House and two more in the Senate.

Mendocino Complex Fire becomes largest wildfire in California's history

California's Mendocino Complex Fire has become the state's largest wildfire in history after the River and Ranch fires merged in the southern area of Mendocino National Forest on Monday. More than 114,000 hectares of land has been consumed so far, destroying dozens of houses and forcing thousands to evacuate. Meanwhile, in Orange County, people were ordered to evacuate areas around the Cleveland National Forest canyons after a blaze broke out during the afternoon. Travellers are advised to follow daily updates provided by CalFire, which monitors wildfires in California.

Cape Cod beaches closed after shark spotted in Plymouth, Massachusetts

Beach towns in Plymouth have been closed for swimming for several hours after two white sharks were spotted along Cape Cod, Massachusetts. The closures happened on Monday afternoon when the sharks were seen in Marconi Beach and Plymouth Harbour. Shark attacks in the US are extremely rare, but several incidents along the East Coast have been reported recently. Travellers are advised to follow local authorities' recommendations when going to the beach and check for warning flags - double red flags mean that the beach is closed for swimming.

Train derailment causes travel disruption in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Severe travel disruption is likely to impact Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on Monday after a train derailment in the city's South Side. According to US media, a freight train derailed on Sunday afternoon near Station Square. No casualties were reported. Some disruption is currently being reported on train services, while some roads and bridges have also been closed.

California's Mendocino Complex Fire doubles in size over the weekend

Mandatory evacuation orders continue to be in place after the so-called Mendocino Complex Fire nearly doubled in size over the weekend. CalFire has issued evacuation orders to some areas across Lake, Mendocino and Colusa counties as more than 100,000 hectares of land have been consumed. Parts of the Interstate 20, between Upper Lake and Clearlake Oaks, was closed. The Mendocino Complex Fire is comprised of the Ranch and River fires, which are nearly 60 percent contained. Meanwhile, the Yosemite National Park is shut indefinitely as the Ferguson Fire continues to spread.

Sightseeing aircraft crashes at Denali National Park in Alaska

A sightseeing aircraft carrying five people has crashed on Saturday at the Denali National Park and Preserve in central Alaska. A military rescue operation has been launched after an emergency assistance request was issued that evening. Four Polish nationals were killed and another reported missing. According to park officials, the aircraft crashed near the summit of Thunder Mountain. The tour was operated by the private company K2 Aviation, which has suspended tour operations.

Two drown at Lake Michigan beach in Grand Haven, Michigan

Two people have drowned and three others were taken to hospital after a series of incidents were reported at Lake Michigan. The incidents happened on Sunday at the City Beach in the Grand Haven State Park. Dangerous swimming conditions led to a number of people in distress being pulled out of the water. Ottawa County has issued on Sunday an alert to beach-goers, warning of high waves and strong currents.

Five killed in plane crash in Los Angeles, California

Five people have been killed when a light aircraft crashed at a parking lot in Santa Ana, Los Angeles. US media reported that the accident happened on Sunday afternoon at a parking lot near South Coast Plaza. According to the FAA, the Cessna 414 aircraft was travelling from Concord to John Wayne Airport. It is still unclear what caused the plane to crash.

Hurricane Hector to bring adverse weather to Hawaii

Severe weather conditions are expected to hit the southern tip of Hawaii's Big Island as Hurricane Hector heads in a westerly direction towards the North Pacific. Hector is expected to approach the island on Wednesday afternoon, bringing heavy rainfall, strong winds and rough surfs. The region is currently being impacted by the eruption of the Kilauea Volcano, but meteorologists of Accuweather expect that risks associated with acid rain and hazardous gases will not increase. Hector was just upgraded to a category-four storm and is highly expected to weaken as it approaches Hawaiian cold waters.

Four killed in wave of shootings across Chicago

At least four people have been killed and more than 40 others were injured in a series of shootings in Chicago. According to the Chicago Police Department, the incidents happened overnight on Saturday. Authorities confirmed that most of the incidents were gang-related and occurred across the city's West Side. Chicago is particularly plagued with gang-related gun violence. Despite a number of shootings being reported in the city, the Chicago Tribune reported that the number of incidents in 2018 has significantly decreased compared to last year.

Evacuation orders issued due to potential dam failure in Lynchburg, Virginia

Evacuation orders have been issued to dozens of residences in Lynchburg, Virginia, over fears of a dam collapse. Heavy rainfall over the week led the College Lake Dam to near its maximum capacity, triggering an alert for potential flooding in some areas downstream. The emergency services ordered more than 100 people living in low-ground areas to evacuate, while dozens of schools were closed on Friday. College Lake Dam is located on the Blackwater Creek.

Chinese girl kidnapped at Reagan Airport, Washington DC

A 12-year-old Chinese girl has been reportedly abducted at Reagan National Airport (DCA). US authorities have issued an alert for the disappearance of Jinjing Ma, who disappeared after being separated from her travel group. Ma was part of a group of students that arrived in the US last week. Officials revealed that the victim was seen alongside a woman entering a New York-platted vehicle parked outside the airport's arrivals area.

Severe weather may impact flights in Washington DC

Severe weather conditions are expected to impact flights in Washington DC on Thursday. According to the FAA, operations at Ronald Reagan Airport (DCA), Baltimore-Washington International Airport (BWI) and Dulles International Airport (IAD) may be affected. Somewhere else, disruptions are likely in Denver, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Atlanta and Charlotte. Passengers are advised to check for flight status updates before heading to the airport.

Three detained for hacking dozens of US companies

Three Ukrainian nationals have been detained for hacking more than 100 retailers in the US. According to the US Justice Department, the suspects are members of a European hacking group known as FIN7. They are accused of stealing and selling card records of more than 15 million customers in the US. FBI's Special Agent Jay Tabb said that the group would explore companies' security vulnerabilities through encouraging people to open email attachments containing malware. They operated through a front company named Combi Security, which is based in Russia and Israel.

US Congress approve bill to address foreign software probes

The US Congress has passed a bill which will require tech companies to disclose software reviews from foreign entities. Such regards investigations from foreign companies to the source codes of software sold to federal agencies and the military. The legislation, which is part of the wider Pentagon spending bill, was proposed by Democrat Senator Jeanne Shaheen, who told Reuters that: "The Department of Defense and other federal agencies must be aware of foreign source code exposure and other risky business practices that can make our national security systems vulnerable to adversaries.”

President Trump calls AG to shutdown Russia probe

President Donald Trump has called the US Attorney General Jeff Sessions to shut down the Russian probe, which is investigating the alleged Russian meddling in the US 2016 presidential vote. In a series of statements on social media, Trump accused Special Counsel Robert Mueller of being engaged in a politically-motivated witch hunt. Trump's remarks come as the investigations - linked to the probe headed by Mueller - into his former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, kicked off on Tuesday. Paul Manafort faces 18 criminal counts, including fraud and bank fraud conspiracy.

Severe thunderstorms hit southern Michigan

Power outages and widespread flooding have been reported after severe thunderstorms hit southern Michigan. Heavy rainfall battered the region overnight on Tuesday, mainly affecting towns in Wayne, Macomb and Monroe counties, where some roads were completely blocked. The National Weather Service (NWS) issued a number of alerts during the morning, but they were later withdrawn as weather conditions improved. According to the NWS, severe weather conditions are forecast to impact some eastern and south-western states until Thursday.

New wildfire triggers fresh evacuation orders in Mendocino County, California

Fresh evacuation orders have been issued after a new wildfire broke out in northern California. Dozens of buildings located near Covelo, Mendocino County, were threatened when the so-called Eel Fire erupted on Tuesday afternoon. US media reported that the blazes were also spreading to some areas near Mendocino National Forest. Emergency services across Mendocino and Lakes counties are already stretched as the Mendocino Complex fires already consumed more than 32,000 hectares. Recent reports revealed that around 12,000 homes are under threat in Lake County.

Federal judge blocks online publishing of 3D-printable guns

A federal judge in Seattle, Washington, has temporarily blocked the release of blueprints of 3D-printed weapons. US District Judge Robert Lasnik has issued a restraining order to the online publishing of the blueprints, which were scheduled to become available on Wednesday. Judge Lasnik said: "There is a possibility of irreparable harm because of the way these guns can be made". Washington is among eight states which sued the US government for reaching a settlement with a Texas-based defence company, which previously appealed a ban against 3D guns.

Health alert issued after potential parasite outbreak in some salads

The US Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has issued a public health alert regarding a potential contamination of some beef, pork and poultry salad. The alert concerns products sold at Kroger, Trader Joe's and Walgreens that may contain Cyclospora. According to USDA, the products included in the alert are those sold in late-July. The alert was issued after a food distributor based in Indiana received a notification from their chopped romaine lettuce supplier, Fresh Express. In early-July, health authorities launched investigations after more than 100 people across the US Midwest have fallen ill amid a suspected Cyclospora outbreak. The cyclospora parasite is often linked to intestinal illness after the consumption of contaminated food or water. Symptoms may include diarrhoea, loss of appetite, vomiting and fatigue.

Chipotle branch in Ohio closed over reports of illness

More than 140 people have reportedly fallen ill after eating meals at a Chipotle restaurant in Powell, Ohio. Chipotle has ordered the local branch to be preventatively shut down after several customers wrote online that they experienced symptoms linked to diarrhoea and nausea. It is still unclear if the illness is connected to any ingredient consumed at the restaurant. A spokeswoman told Reuters that: “We acted quickly and closed this single restaurant out of an abundance of caution and we are working with the local health officials to reopen this restaurant as soon as possible."

Eight states sue US government for settling 3D guns dispute

Attorney Generals from eight states are filing a lawsuit against the US government after a settlement was made to allow a Texas-based company to release blueprints of 3D-printable guns. The states involved in the lawsuit are Washington, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Oregon, Maryland and DC, which claim that such would facilitate the access of criminals to weapons. The blueprints are set to be released on Wednesday. In previous months, the gun debate in the US intensified after a number of mass shootings.

Four killed in apparent murder-suicide in New York City

Four people have been killed at an apartment building in Queens, New York City. According to the NYPD, the incident happened on Monday evening, when shots were fired at a building in the Astoria neighbourhood. Among the victims is a five-year-old child. Preliminary reports suggest that the incident was a murder-suicide, while further investigations are being carried out. 

Five killed in separate incidents near Corpus Christi, Texas

Five people have been killed in separate incidents near Corpus Christi, Texas. According to local authorities, three people were shot dead at a nursing home in Robstown on Friday evening. The incident happened just moments before two other victims were found dead at another location. City Secretary Herman Rodriguez said that both incidents are likely connected, while the motives behind them are unclear.

Family killed as fire breaks out at a motel in Michigan

Six people from the same family have been killed when a fire broke out at a motel in Michigan. Reports revealed that five young children and their mother died due to smoke inhalation. The fire erupted on Saturday evening at the Cosmo Extended Stay Motel in Sodus, located on the Interstate 94. Authorities said that several guests were treated at the scene. It remains unclear what caused the fire, which completely destroyed the building.

Wildfires trigger evacuation in Mendocino and Lake counties, California

Thousands of people have been ordered to evacuate as the Mendocino Complex Fire significantly spread over the weekend. Residents in Mendocino and Lake counties were put on alert after two major wildfires - River and Ranch fires - consumed more than 12,000 hectares of land. US media reported that around 50,000 people in Ukiah faced power outages, while the blaze reached a stretch of Highway 20. Thousands of structures across the region have been threatened. Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency to Mendocino, Lake and Napa counties. Travellers in the area are advised to follow updates on social media from CalFire Mendocino.

Several killed as wildfires continue to spread around Redding, California

At least six people have been killed as the Carr Fire quickly spread over the weekend across Redding, California. According to CalFire, nearly 40,000 hectares of land were consumed as intense heat and high humidity continues to fuel the blaze. More than 800 structures have been destroyed since the fire erupted last week. President Donald Trump has declared a state of emergency in the Shasta County to release federal funding. CalFire revealed on Sunday that 17 percent of the fire has already been contained, while thousands are still under evacuation orders and several roads remain closed.

Three killed in strip mall shooting in New Orleans, Louisiana

At least three people have been killed and several others were injured when gunmen opened fire on a crowded New Orleans strip mall. Police Chief Michael Harrison said that two armed men opened fire indiscriminately on the crowd at Claiborne Avenue, which is located several miles away from the French Quarter. Harrison said that investigations have been launched while it remains unclear if the shooting is gang-related.

Young girl injured after plastic bottle explodes in Vancouver, Washington

A 13-year-old girl has been severely injured when a plastic bottle exploded in Vancouver, Washington. According to local police, the incident happened on Saturday evening along Fort Vancouver Way. Preliminary reports suggest that the victim collected the object from the streets after it was tossed from a moving vehicle. Investigations have been launched to assess the circumstances of the incident.

North Korea returns remains of US troops

The remains of US troops killed during the Korean War have been returned by North Korea. The repatriation of the remains comes as part of a series of agreements made during the US-North Korea leaders summit held in Singapore last month. According to the BBC, US troops formed an honour guard as the plane carrying the remains arrived at a US base on Friday morning. The remains of as many as 55 US soldiers are thought to have been returned; however, forensic testing may take years to confirm whether or not the remains do belong to slain US troops.

State of emergency declared as wildfire threatens Redding, California

A state of emergency has been declared in Shasta County after a massive wildfire threatened residential areas in Redding, northern California. According to CalFire, the Carr Fire, which started on Monday, has quickly grown to more than 12,000 hectares, mainly forcing evacuations in West Redding. US media reported that the fire led to the death of a bulldozer operator. Meanwhile, in southern California, a state of emergency was also declared for Riverside County, where the Cranston Fire continues to spread - it was caused by an arsonist in the San Jacinto Mountains, east of LA.

Thunderstorms may continue to impact flights across the US Northeast

Thunderstorms are likely to continue to impact flights across the US Northeast on Thursday. Disruptions are expected at New York City's JFK, LaGuardia (LGA) and Newark (EWR). Operations are also likely to be impacted in Philadelphia (PHL), Boston (BOS) and Hartford (BDL). Other major airports in the region may also be affected. Passengers are advised to check for flight status updates before heading to the airport.

Thousands evacuated over fire in San Jacinto Mountains, California

Thousands of residents from California's San Jacinto Mountains have been ordered to evacuate their homes after a quick-spreading wildfire threatened residences on Wednesday evening. According to the authorities, the so-called Cranston Fire has consumed around 2,000 hectares of land, forcing the evacuation of residents across Idyllwild, Apple Canyon Area and Mountain Center. A 32-year-old man was detained in the area for causing the fire. Travellers are advised to follow local authorities' recommendations and updates of the San Bernardino National Forest.

Thunderstorms may trigger travel disruption across the US Northeast

Thunderstorms are forecast to batter the US Northeast coast on Wednesday. Flight disruptions are likely in Washington DC, New York City and Philadelphia. The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued flash flood watches to most areas along the Atlantic coast from North Carolina to New York. Travellers are advised to check for flight status updates before heading to the airport and to expect traffic delays due to flooded roads.

Yosemite National Park closes due to wildfire threat

Some areas across Yosemite National Park have been preemptively closed on Wednesday as the so-called Ferguson Fire rages near the park. According to the park, the Yosemite Valley will be closed until Sunday. The area houses the El Capital, Half Dome, Wawona and the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias. More than 16,000 hectares of land have been consumed since the blaze broke out in the nearby Sierra National Park. Advisories have also been issued regarding air quality in the region. Travellers should follow local authorities' recommendations and updates from Yosemite.

Severe weather triggers flight disruptions along US East coast

Severe weather conditions are currently impacting flights at New York City's LaGuardia (LGA), Newark (EWR) and JFK airports. FAA confirmed on Tuesday afternoon that delays are also expected across the whole US East coast, including Washington DC and Philadelphia. Elsewhere, flights in Atlanta, Denver, Las Vegas and Phoenix may also be impacted. Passengers have been advised to check for flight status updates with their respective airlines before heading to the airport.

Goldfish Crackers recalled over Salmonella concerns

Pepperidge Farms has ordered the recall of more than three million units of its Goldfish Crackers over Salmonella fears. According to the company, the recall involves four varieties of the product. No illness related to Goldfish Crackers has been reported. Such is believed to be linked to whey powder, which may contain the bacteria. This week, Mondelez International also ordered the voluntary recall of some of its Ritz Crackers products over concerns regarding the same ingredient.

Heavy rainfall triggers widespread flooding across Denver, Colorado

Hundreds of people have been evacuated after heavy rainfall triggered widespread flooding and landslides in Colorado. All residents from Manitou Springs, south of Denver, were ordered to evacuate their homes due to flooding. Roads across Denver were also blocked, while adverse weather caused severe delays and cancellations to flights at Denver International Airport (DIA). Highway 285 was temporarily shut down near Bailey when mudslides cut the road. Flooding also caused Highway 24 to be closed. Weather conditions are forecast to gradually improve on Tuesday.

Three people killed in knife attacks across California's Bay Area

An 18-year-old woman has been killed in a knife attack in Oakland, California. Authorities revealed that the victim was walking alongside her sisters when they were targeted at the MacArthur station of the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART). The victim was identified as Nia Wilson. A suspect named John Cowell was later detained for the attack. This is the third death reported in less than a week amid a series of unconnected knife attacks across the BART network. On Saturday, a 47-year-old man was killed in San Leandro, days after another victim succumbed to his wounds in Walnut Creek.

Traffic closed in Miami Beach avenue after building collapse

At least one person was injured when a building collapsed in Miami Beach, Florida. According to the police, the building was set to be demolished on Monday morning. A large plume of smoke was seen in areas surrounding Collins Avenue, especially between 41st and 63rd Street. Miami Beach PD said that traffic in the area will be highly conditioned until the end of the day.

Some Ritz crackers products recalled over Salmonella fears

Mondelez International has voluntarily recalled some of its Ritz Cracker sandwiches and Ritz Bits products after a suspected Salmonella contamination of one of their ingredients. In a statement, the company said that the case concerns whey powder, the supplier of which has already recalled it due to a potential presence of Salmonella. The company ensured that no one has fallen ill so far. The recall includes more than a dozen of Ritz bits and Ritz sandwiches products sold across the US, Puerto Rico and US Virgin Islands.

One killed after police standoff triggers hostage situation in LA

One person has been killed during after a police standoff led to a hostage situation at a supermarket in Los Angeles. US media reported that dozens of people were held hostage for several hours after an armed suspect stormed a Trader Joe's supermarket in Silver Lake area on Saturday evening. Reports revealed that before the standoff, the suspect engaged in a police car chase after his involvement in a domestic dispute.

One killed after church shooting in Fallon, Nevada

One person has been killed after a gunman raided a church in western Nevada. CBS News reported that a 48-year-old shooter opened fire on Sunday evening at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Fallon, located east of Reno. The suspect has been identified as John O'Connor, who was later detained at his house. It remains unclear what the motives behind the attack are, but it's believed the attack was targeting one of the churchgoers.

Tornadoes leave widespread destruction near Des Moine, Iowa

Widespread destruction has been left after a series of tornadoes ripped through central Iowa on Thursday afternoon. According to the National Weather Service, at least 32 reports of tornadoes were reported in the region. Areas affected included the towns of Marshalltown, Bondurant, Altoona, Valeria, Pella and Oskaloosa. No casualties have been reported so far. Adverse weather is forecast to impact large areas across the US Midwest and Southeast - especially along the Ohio Valley - on Friday.

Several killed as tourist boat sinks on Table Rock Lake in Missouri

Nearly a dozen people have been killed and seven others were injured when a tourist boat sank on Table Rock Lake in Missouri. At least five people have been reported missing. Stone County Sheriff Doug Rader believes that severe weather is behind the accident, which occurred near Branson and involved an amphibious 'duck boat'. More than 30 people were on board the 'Ride the Duck' tour. Missouri is on its boating season, which traditionally runs from late-May until early-September.

Steam pipe explosion reported in Manhattan, New York City

Travel disruption has been reported across Manhattan after a steam pipe explosion on Thursday morning. According to the New York Fire Department (NYFD), a powerful blast was reported in the Flatiron district. The NYFD has urged people to avoid the area near 21st Street and the Fifth Avenue, while investigations are ongoing. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority said that trains are being rerouted and that metro stations in the area are being bypassed. Several blocks of the Fifth Avenue has been preemptively evacuated, while the police blocked traffic nearby.

Two New York beaches closed after suspected shark attacks

Two beaches in New York have been temporarily closed after two children fell victim to two suspected shark attacks. Authorities revealed that the incidents happened at Sailors Haven and Atlantique beaches, located nearly eight kilometres apart from each other at Great South Bay. Investigations are ongoing. Shark attacks are extremely rare in New York. Local officials revealed that those are the first incidents reported in the last 70 years.

Massive wildfire continues to spread across northern Oregon

Evacuation orders have been issued as a massive wildfire continues to spread across northern Oregon. More than 20,000 hectares of land have already been consumed across Wasco and Sherman counties. The so-called Substation Fire currently sits in the outskirts of The Dalles, located east of Portland, on the state border with Washington. Some parts of Highway 97 was shut down on Wednesday afternoon. At least one person was found dead near a burnt tractor. According to the authorities, the fire started on Tuesday near an electric substation.

Southern California's Highway 1 fully reopens a year after landslides

Another stretch of southern California's Highway 1 has been reopened nearly a year after mudslides forced the so-called Pacific Coast Highway to shut down. According to California's Department of Transport, the blocked area around Mud Creek was the last portion left to be cleared. Highway 1 is a popular tourist attraction in the Big Sur region. It mainly connects the cities of San Francisco and San Diego - passing through Los Angeles.

Three killed in midair collision in southern Florida

At least three people have been killed in a midair collision in southern Florida. According to the authorities, the accident happened on Tuesday afternoon during a training flight over the Everglades. According to the FAA, the crash occurred between a Piper PA-34 and a Cessna 172 aircraft near the Miami Executive Airport.

Severe weather trigger flight disruptions at New York's JFK

Severe delays are currently affecting flights arriving at New York's JFK Airport. According to the airport, delays are being reported at the departure origin due to inclement weather. Delays are also expected to affect La Guardia (LGA) and Newark (EWR). The FAA has said that major airports along the US Northeast may also be impacted. Passengers have been advised to check for flight status updates with their respective airlines.

Police shooting video triggers protests in Chicago

Tensions remain high across Chicago after the police released a controversial video showing officers shooting a black man in the city's South Side neighbourhood. Protests broke out on Saturday when Harith Augustus was shot dead after the police approached him - Augustus was reportedly armed. Since 2015, police brutality protests have intensified across Chicago after authorities released the video of a police shooting which resulted in the death of a 17-year-old. 

Russian woman charged with espionage

A 29-year-old Russian woman has been charged with espionage after being detained in Washington DC. The US Justice Department said on Monday that Maria Butina is accused of being an unregistered Russian agent in the US and gathering intelligence on US officials and political groups. Butina's charges emerged hours after President Donald Trump met with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin. Last week, Special counsel Robert Mueller - who is leading the Russian collusion investigations - charged over a dozen Russian spies for hacking the US 2016 Presidential election.

Several injured as molten rock hits lava sightseeing boat in Hawaii

At least 23 people have been injured after molten rock from Hawaii's Kilauea Volcano hit a sightseeing tourist boat. The boat was part of a tour which provides tourists with a closer look at areas where lava meets ocean waters. According to Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources, the tour was operated by Lava Oceans Tours. Kilauea Volcano continues active since May. More than 700 homes have been destroyed, mostly in the south-eastern tip of the Island of Hawaii.

Wildfire shuts down highway towards Yosemite National Park, California

Further evacuations have been ordered as the so-called Ferguson Fire almost doubled in size - almost 4,000 hectares of land were consumed - on Monday. Highway 140 continues closed as pre-evacuation orders are still in place across nearby communities. The fire is currently concentrated around Sierra National Forest, located west of the Yosemite National Park. Travellers have been advised to avoid Highway 140 and to seek alternative routes. People who are sensitive to smoke have been advised to take the necessary precautions to limit exposure.

Three killed in multi-vehicle crash near Albuquerque, New Mexico

At least three people have been killed in a multi-vehicle crash along the Interstate 25 in New Mexico. The accident happened on Sunday morning north of Bernalillo, near Albuquerque, when a car and a pick-up truck collided before hitting a lorry and a bus carrying 35 passengers. At least two dozen people were injured. Police are investigating the circumstances behind the accident.

Massive blaze spreads across Sierra National Forest, California

A massive wildfire continues to spread across Sierra National Forest in eastern California. The so-called Ferguson Fire has significantly spread to more than 1,600 hectares since it broke out on Friday evening. The fire is currently located west of Yosemite National Park. Highway 140 has been shut down over the weekend, while traffic towards Yosemite remains highly conditioned. California is currently experiencing a busy wildfire season, which is being mainly exacerbated due to extremely hot weather and strong winds. Travellers are advised to follow official updates on social media from Yosemite National Park and Sierra National Forest.

Advisory issued over potential water contamination in Washington DC

DC Water has issued on Friday morning an advisory to most areas in northern Washington DC regarding a potential contamination of its tap water. People in the area have been advised to boil tap water before drinking and cooking. The advisory, which is likely to last for up to 48 hours, comes after a valve issue triggered a sudden drop in water pressure. DC Water underlined that the measure is exclusively precautionary.

Some trails closed as flash floods hit Zion National Park, Utah

Flash floods across southern Utah have forced the closure of several trails and roads at Zion National Park on Thursday. Some of the trails are being gradually reopened as officials assess damages caused by rock falling and flood waters. During the evening, a flash flooding warning was still in effect. Travellers are advised to check for further official updates from Zion National Park on social media.

CDC warn over salmonella outbreak linked to cereal across 33 states

US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has said that more than 100 people across 33 states have been infected amid a salmonella outbreak. CDC has urged people on Thursday to avoid eating Kellogg's Honey Smacks, which has been subject to a voluntary recall since mid-June. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said in a statement that it "has become aware that recalled Kellogg's Honey Smacks cereal are still being offered for sale". Most people have developed symptoms of diarrhoea, fever and abdominal cramps.

Authorities investigate parasite outbreak in Illionois and Iowa

More than 100 people across the US Midwest have fallen ill amid a suspected Cyclospora outbreak. Health authorities in Illinois and Iowa are still investigating the issue, where some cases may be linked to salads sold at McDonald's. In a statement, the Illinois Department of Public Health said: "The initial investigation indicates a link to consumption of McDonald's salads produced for McDonald's restaurants. Approximately one-fourth of Illinois cases reported eating salads from McDonald's in the days before they became ill". The cyclospora parasite is often linked to intestinal illness after the consumption of contaminated food or water. Symptoms may include diarrhoea, loss of appetite, vomiting and fatigue.

UK trade deal with US unlikely, says Trump

President Trump has said that the UK will "probably not get a trade deal" with the US if Theresa May's Brexit plan goes ahead, as it would mean the US would be dealing with the EU, and not exclusively with the UK.  Mr Trump also said that Boris Johnson, who resigned as Foreign Secretary this week, would make a "great prime minister", as well as criticising London Mayor Sadiq Khan over terror attacks and violence in the capital.  Mr Khan had given permission for a giant inflatable of Mr Trump to fly over London.  Protesters had gathered outside the US Ambassador's residence in Regent's Park as Mr Trump arrived in the UK, and around a thousand of them also demonstrated outside Blenheim Palace where he and his wife were given a red-carpet reception on Thursday evening.  On Friday, Mrs May and Mr Trump will watch a counter-terrorism exercise at a military base before travelling to Chequers for talks with Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, and then on to Windsor to meet the Queen.  The President and his wife will then fly to Scotland to his Turnberry golf resort for the weekend.

Emergency NATO meeting held in Brussels following Trump comments

On 12 July North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) leaders held an emergency meeting about defence spending, following Donald Trump's criticism on the subject.  President Trump had demanded that members spend two percent of GDP on defence as had been previously agreed.  Only three member countries currently meet the target with five more expected to do so by the end of this year.  French President Emmanuel Macron denied that any substantial agreement had been reached at the emergency session, and said that the aim of 2 percent by 2024 had merely been confirmed.

Severe storms forecast to hit Minneapolis, Minnesota

Severe storms are forecast to impact large areas across the central US days after a powerful tornado ripped through North Dakota. Strong winds and heavy rainfall is expected to hit areas around Sioux Falls in South Dakota, Green Bay in Wisconsin, and the metropolitan area of Minneapolis. Most areas across southern Minnesota, northern Wisconsin, northern Iowa, and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan may also be affected.

Dozens injured as powerful tornado rips through North Dakota

Dozens of people were injured when a powerful tornado ripped through Watford City, North Dakota. More than 100 structures across the city were destroyed as winds reached up to 127 mph. Most of the injured were people at a local RV park. Local authorities said that a newborn baby succumbed to his wounds after being transported to an intensive care unit. North Dakota's tornado came a day after strong winds hit the neighbouring state of Montana, destroying several houses and a number of small aircraft at a local airfield in Plentywood.

Hundreds evacuated from Los Angeles observatory over wildfire

Hundreds of visitors have been evacuated from Los Angeles' Griffith Observatory after a wildfire spread through the nearby Griffith Park. A city fire official told Reuters that the evacuation was precautionary as the blaze did not pose a threat to the observatory. The observatory museum's guide, Juan Gutierrez said that this is the third time the building has been evacuated due to a wildfire. California is currently facing its wildfire season. Extreme weather around Los Angeles has been the main factor behind a major wildfire in Santa Barbara County, which was already contained on Tuesday.

Three injured in gas duct blast near Madison, Wisconsin

Three people have been injured when a gas duct exploded on the outskirts of Madison, Wisconsin. According to the police, the blast happened on Tuesday evening in downtown Sun Prairie. Among the victims are two firefighters and a police officer. They were at the scene after reports of a gas leak. Some areas around the city's Main Street and City Hall were evacuated and cordoned off.

Family found dead inside residence in Prices Corner, Delaware

Five members of the same family have been found dead inside a residence in New Castle County, Delaware. State Police told reporters that officers responded to the incident in Prices Corner on Monday evening. Reports suggest that all of the victims sustained gun wounds and included a couple on their forties and three young children. It is still unclear what the circumstances behind the incident were.

Flight disruption reported at Las Vegas McCarran Airport, Nevada

Flight disruption is currently being reported at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas (LAS). LAS has announced on Tuesday morning that a number of flights are being diverted from the airport due to adverse weather conditions. Some departures are also facing severe delays. Disruption is likely to last until Wednesday morning. Passengers have been advised to check for flight status updates with their respective airlines before heading to LAS.

Tropical Storm Chris to bring adverse weather to US East Coast

Adverse weather conditions are expected to affect most of the US East Coast over the next few days as Tropical Storm Chris is expected to become a hurricane. Chris currently sits nearly 300km off the North Carolina coast and is forecast to move northwards throughout the week. Mid-Atlantic states up to New England are expected to be affected by heavy rainfall, rip-currents and high surf. Travellers are advised to check updates from official sources and the US National Hurricane Center (NHC).

Northern California wildfire spreads cross-border into Oregon

A massive wildfire in northern California has crossed into Oregon as strong winds and low humidity continue to fuel a number of blazes across the region. The so-called Klamathon Fire has already consumed more than 14,000 hectares of land, killing one person and destroying dozens of structures. Another wildfire broke out on Sunday evening leading to the temporary closure of the Interstate 580 near Altamont Pass, nearly 65km east of Oakland. Fires have also erupted in Santa Barbara and San Diego, southern California, while several others are still active in southern Colorado and central Utah.

Planned night-time closures to affect AirTrain at San Francisco Airport

San Francisco International Airport (SFO) has warned that planned night-time closures to its AirTrain service will last until mid-August. Services will be suspended daily from Monday to Friday between 20:00 and 05:00. During weekends, services may be impacted during the night. Shuttles will be provided on the departure level. Passengers have been advised to allow extra time during this period and to directly contact SFO for further details.

State of emergency declared over wildfire in Siskiyou County, California

California Governor Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency for Siskiyou County after the so-called Klamathon Fire crossed the Interstate 5 highway along the Oregon border. Some sections of the highway were temporarily closed near Hornbrook, where evacuations have been ordered as the blazes consumed more than 2000 hectares of land. Several houses and buildings were destroyed or damaged as the blaze continues to threaten other residential areas. California is currently facing its wildfire season, which triggered widespread destruction across the state last year.

Senate committee finds further evidence of alleged Russian meddling

The Senate intelligence committee has announced findings of fresh evidence that support claims of Russian meddling in the US 2016 presidential election. The announcement was made on Tuesday after a meeting to review the so-called intelligence community assessment (ICA) - published back in January 2017 - which claimed potential Russian involvement to discredit Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton. “The committee finds that the overall judgments issued in the ICA were well-supported and the tradecraft was strong". The probe comes amid investigations led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating allegations of collusion between Russian officials and members of President Donald Trump's campaign.

Heat wave continues to impact US Northeast and Midwest

A heat wave is set to continue to impact most parts across the US Northeast in the coming days. Latest reports issued by the National Weather Service shows that extreme heat is also forecast to affect parts of the US Midwest, Mid Atlantic and the Plains until Thursday. Meanwhile, in the US Southwest, extreme weather is being forecast for next week, especially for south-eastern California and south-western Arizona. People are advised to avoid long exposure to the sun, drink plenty of water and take necessary precautions to stay cool.

Rainfall triggers power outages across New Orleans, Louisiana

Thousands of residents in New Orleans, Louisiana, suffered power outages as heavy rainfall battered the region overnight on Tuesday. The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood warning to New Orleans, Chalmette, Terrytown English Turn, Belle Chasse and Marrero. People have been advised to avoid walking or driving through flood waters and move to higher grounds. 

Chinese Embassy issues US travel advisory amid tensions

China's Embassy in Washington DC has issued a travel advisory warning Chinese travellers of public security risks in the US. Among the new recommendations are the risk of shootings and robberies. The alert states: “Public security in the United States is not good. Cases of shootings, robberies, and theft are frequent." The alert was published amid increasing trade tensions between both countries. China and the US are also engaged in diplomatic tensions after the US issued a travel alert regarding a mysterious illness affecting US diplomats stationed in Guangzhou.

State of emergency declared over floods in Maryland

President Donald Trump has declared a state of emergency in Maryland after intense rainfall triggered widespread flooding across the state. Federal funds are set to be assigned to state and local authorities across Baltimore and Howard counties, which suffered most from the rain which battered the region in late-May. For several weeks the state was badly affected by record-breaking rainfall, which destroyed several roads and dozens of buildings.

Man detained for planning Fourth of July attack in Cleveland, Ohio

The FBI said that a man has been detained for planning a bomb attack ahead of the Fourth of July parade in Cleveland, Ohio. According to federal officials, the American national was known for expressing his support to the al-Qaeda militant group. Demetrius Pitts has been charged with supporting a terror organisation. FBI Special Agent Stephen Anthony said that the attack was being intended to target downtown Cleveland. 

Several stabbed at children's birthday party in Boise, Idaho

At least nine people have been injured after a knifeman stormed a birthday party in Boise, Idaho. The incident happened at a refugee shelter, which houses several children. Most of the injured are children aged between three and 12. The suspect has been identified as Tommy Kinner, a 30-year-old who was reportedly kicked out from the residential complex last week.

Clashes erupt during right-wing protest in Portland, Oregon

At least four people have been taken to hospital after clashes between right-wing militants and counter-protesters erupted in Portland, Oregon. Tensions escalated during a demonstration on Saturday, when members of the right-wing group Patriot Prayer clashed with anti-fascist protesters in downtown Portland. Four people were detained and a number of weapons seized.

Fresh evacuations ordered over wildfires in northern California

Fresh evacuation orders have been issued to residents across northern California as wildfires keep spreading across the region. Several rural communities across Yolo County were evacuated as hundreds of firefighters attempt to tackle the so-called County Fire, which has already consumed more than 13,000 hectares of land. Monitors of the National Interagency Fire Centre said that wildfires significantly intensified across the region compared with last year. The fires have spread due to an intense drought, especially across in western and south-western states.

Hundreds detained during protest at US Senate, Washington DC

More than 600 people have been detained during a sit-in protest inside the US Senate in Washington DC. Women's rights groups called the protest on Thursday afternoon to demonstrate against President Donald Trump's immigration approach. Most concerns have been drawn towards the separation of families at the border under the so-called 'zero-tolerance' policy. Further protests are expected to occur across the US over the weekend.

Hundreds evacuated due to wildfires in Colorado

Hundreds of residences have been evacuated as two wildfires continue to threaten several areas in northern and southern Colorado. In the south, more than 350 residences located east of Fort Garland were ordered to preventively evacuate after a wildfire broke out on Wednesday. Meanwhile further north, more than 300 houses located near the Rocky Mountains National Park were also evacuated. Officials said that the fire has not yet reached the park, but one trail was closed. Wildfire risks have significantly increased across the region in recent days due to high temperatures.

Five killed as gunman storms news HQ in Annapolis, Maryland

Five people have been killed and two others were injured when a gunman opened fire at a local newspaper office in Annapolis, Maryland. Anne Arundel County Police has confirmed that the suspect was armed with a shotgun and smoke grenades when he stormed the Capital Gazette headquarters on Thursday afternoon. The suspect has been identified as Jarrod Ramos, who was reportedly engaged in long-standing grievances with the newspaper. It is still unclear precisely what the motives are behind the attack.

Mass protests expected in Washington DC over US immigration policy

Mass protests are expected to occur across Washington DC against the so-called 'zero tolerance' approach to immigration. Demonstrators are expected to march across the US capital from Saturday morning. Organisers claim that hundreds of thousands - the actual number have not been yet confirmed by Washington DC's Metropolitan Police Department - will take part in the demonstration, while other rallies will also take place nationwide. Womens' rights activists also called for a protest on Thursday. Protests have recently emerged after children were claimed to be separated from their parents at the US border - the US government has already suspended the policy through a presidential executive order.

TSA to impose limits on powdered material carried in cabin luggage

The US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has announced that new restrictions will be imposed on carrying powder-like substances in cabin luggage on all international US-bound flights. The measure has already been implemented on domestic flights. According to TSA guidelines, the measure will be implemented from 30 June and dictates that any powder container weighing more than 12 ounces or 350ml must be placed in separate x-ray trays for screening. TSA spokesman Mike England told the New York Times that: “These measures are part of TSA’s efforts to stay ahead of threats, keep passengers safe and constantly increase capabilities through a layered approach to security,”

Alaska's Cleveland Volcano may trigger flight disruption

Alaska's Volcano Observatory has said that the Cleveland Volcano, located in the remote Aleutian Islands, may suffer a major eruption in the next few days. An orange aviation alert has also been issued ahead of the imminent eruption. University of Alaska's scientist Jeff Freymueller told Reuters that: “Things that get to 30,000 feet, or even close to that, would start affecting trans-Pacific flights.” 

Severe weather triggers flights disruptions in New York

Severe weather conditions are currently impacting flights at New York's La Guardia (LGA), JFK and Newark (EWR) Airports. The FAA has announced on Thursday that delays are also expected in Atlanta (ATL), North Carolina's Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) and Boston Logan International Airport (BOS). Passengers have been advised to check for flight status updates with their respective airlines before heading to the airport.

Several injured as tornado rages through Eureka, Kansas

At least five people have been injured after a powerful tornado raged through Eureka, Kansas. Several houses across dozens of blocks were damaged on Tuesday evening, while nearly 2,000 residents faced power outages. Major roads, such as the Highway 99, were temporarily shut down due to damage. Authorities warned people to be aware of falling trees and downed power lines.

National park in New Mexico preventively closed due to drought

New Mexico's Carson National Forest will be preventively closed on Wednesday due to high levels of drought currently reported statewide, which may potentially trigger wildfires. Officials from the park said that the measure is widely precautionary. Meanwhile, four major blazes continue to ravage Northern California, forcing Governor Jerry Brown to declare a state of emergency in Lake County.

One killed at hospital blast in Gatesville, Texas

One person has been killed and several others were injured when a blast struck a hospital in Gatesville, Texas. Patients and residents living around the Coryell Memorial Hospital were ordered to evacuate the area as the emergency services rushed to the scene. Reports suggest that the explosion happened in an area of the hospital which is currently under construction.

Supreme Court upholds travel ban against Muslim-majority countries

Supreme Court judges have upheld the current travel ban introduced in September which blocks entry to the US for citizens from a number of Muslim-majority countries. In a close vote, judges said that challengers failed to address any violation the policy may pose to the constitution or domestic immigration policies. The ban currently targets most citizens from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Yemen, Venezuela and North Korea.

Seven states to hold their primaries ahead of mid-term vote

Seven states are set to face their primaries as Republicans and Democrats choose their candidates ahead of the mid-term election in November. Democrats seek to secure a majority at the currently Republican-controlled House of Representatives. Democrats aim to launch strong candidates to gather 23 seats that they need to achieve a house majority. Voters will head to the polls on Tuesday in New York, Colorado, Maryland, Utah, Oklahoma, Mississippi and South Carolina.

Orlando International Airport to introduce face-scanning system

Orlando International Airport (MCO) is set to introduce face-scanning technology to all international travellers. MCO will be the first US airport to introduce the system, which according to the Customs and Border Protection seeks to "combat this fraud is to bio-metrically verify that a person who presents a travel document is the true bearer of that document." MCO said that the system will be fully implemented until the end of the year and is mostly being tested on flights from London Gatwick (LGW).

State of emergency declared over wildfires in northern California

Governor Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency in Lake County as the so-called Pawnee Fire keeps spreading across northern California. The blaze is currently being fuelled by strong winds which already affected more than 3,000 hectares of dry land. Alerts have been previously issued to Tehama and Shasta counties after thousands were forced to evacuate the Spring Valley area. Travellers are widely advised to follow the advice and updates on social media from Cal Fire.

Firefighter shot dead during retirement home fire response in California

A firefighter has been shot dead while responding to a fire at a retirement home in southern California. Police officers have detained a 77-year-old man who is being accused of deliberately setting the home on fire and shooting at the emergency services. The incident happened on Monday morning at the Covenant Manor near downtown Long Beach in southern Los Angeles, where dozens of senior citizens were evacuated. It is still unclear what the motivations behind the attack are.

Thousands evacuated due to wildfires in northern California

Thousands of residents in northern California have been evacuated after a massive wildfire broke out on the outskirts of Clearlake Oaks on Saturday. Authorities ordered more than 3,000 people living around the Spring Valley area to evacuate as the so-called Pawnee Fire destroyed more than a dozen buildings and threatened hundreds of people. Meanwhile, two minor wildfires continue in Tehama County and another in Shasta County. California is currently facing its wildfire season, which triggered widespread destruction across the state last year.

Widespread flooding reported in McAllen, Texas

Widespread floods have been reported as heavy rainfall battered McAllen, Texas, earlier in the week. Travel disruption was reported after major roads were shut down and several houses were submerged. The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued a flash flood warning from McAllen to Salineno. People have been advised to head to higher ground and avoid walking through flood waters.

Dozens of children fall ill at summer camp in Florida

Dozens of children have fallen ill at a summer camp in Lake Placid, Florida. CBS News reported that officials in Highlands County confirmed that patients started to suddenly feel nauseous at the camp. It is still unclear what caused the illness as the local health department is investigating.

US quits UN Human Rights Council over political bias claims

The US has pulled out of the UN Human Rights Council over accusations that the international body is a 'cesspool of political bias'. The US envoy to the UN, Nikki Haley, said in press conference that: “Regrettably it is now clear that our call for reform was not heeded. Human rights abusers continue to serve on, and be elected to, the council. The world’s most inhumane regimes continue to escape scrutiny and the council continues politicising and scapegoating of countries with positive human rights records in an attempt to distract from the abusers in their ranks."

North Korea returns remains of 200 US soldiers

The remains of some 200 US soldiers have been returned by North Korea. US President Donald Trump confirmed the news at a rally in Minnesota yesterday. The soldiers died on North Korean soil during the Korean War. The returning of the remains is the first action to be taken in adherence to the joint declaration made earlier this month when both leaders met in Singapore. 

President Trump signs order to halt family separation at the border

President Donald Trump has signed an executive to address the recent situation in which children were being separated from their parents for illegally crossing the US border from Mexico. Amid a so-called no-tolerance approach to illegal immigration launched last month, President Trump has reversed his position after domestic and international condemnation regarding children being held at border detention facilities. He said: “We’re going to have strong, very strong borders, but we’re going to keep the families together.”

CIA classifies two Indian groups a terrorist organisations

The US has officially recognised two Indian groups as terrorist organisations. As of Wednesday morning, the Bajrang Dal and Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) were both classified by the CIA as terrorist bodies under the 'political pressure groups' category in the most recent edition of the 'World Factbook'. According to reports, supporters of the two groups claim the classification is evidence of an anti-Indian sentiment in the US. Representatives of the two groups are said to be looking into legal proceedings against the classification.

Chinese hackers target US communications

Hackers based in China have reportedly been carrying out cyber attacks target US military and civilian communications. A report by US cyber security firm Symantec showed that a group of Chinese hackers known as 'Thrip' was responsible for recent sophisticated malware attacks on American satellite operators, defence contractors, and telecommunications companies. According to Reuters, it's speculated that the hacking campaign - which violated the information networks of US defence companies to intercept military communications - may have been driven by national espionage goals.

US threatens further trade tariffs on China

The US administration has threatened further trade tariffs on Chinese imports. US President Donald Trump has recently announced plans for a 10 percent tariff on approximately $200bn (£151bn) of Chinese goods, escalating the trade row. According to the BBC, Trump stated that the recent tariff would be brought in if China didn't back down and change their tariffs enforced on US goods. China recently announced a new tariff on US goods in a like-for-like response to a different US tariff announced last week on Chinese goods. China has reportedly responded to the latest tariff by accusing the US of 'blackmail' - sparking fears of a full-blown trade war.

US rapper shot dead in Florida

A 20-year-old American rapper has been shot dead in Florida. According to the BBC, an armed suspect opened fire on Jahseh Onfroy as he left a motorbike dealership in Deerfield Beach. It's believed two armed suspects were involved in the attack, although only one fired at Onfroy before both fled the scene in a car. The police suspect the attack was a possible robbery. Onfray was well known in the music industry as a rapper under the name 'XXXTentacion'. 

Tariff war escalates with China

A tariff war between the US and China has escalated after like-for-like tariffs are exchanged. The Trump administration announced a 25 percent tariff on $50bn worth of Chinese imports earlier today and further still, threatened even more tariffs, provoking a response from the Chinese government. China announced it would enforce equal tariffs on a similar range of imported American goods, escalating the ongoing trade dispute.

Texas-born cartel leader sentenced to 50 years in jail

Texas-born Edgar Valdez Villarreal, leader of the Beltran-Leyva cartel, was yesterday sentenced to 50 years in prison by a court in Atlanta, Georgia.  Known as "La Barbie" because of his blond hair and pale eyes, he was arrested in Mexico in 2010 and extradited to the US in 2015 together with 12 other suspects.  Villarreal pleaded guilty to trucking vast quantities of cocaine from Mexico to the United States and shipping millions of dollars in cash back to Mexico.  In 2009 the cartel's previous leader was killed during a gun battle, leading to a power struggle between Villarreal and the victim's brother, leaving dismembered and decapitated bodies in the streets and hanging from bridges.  In addition to the prison sentence, Villarreal must forfeit $192 million.

US president meets North Korean leader in Singapore

US President Donald Trump has met with the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in a historic summit. The pair met on Singapore's Sentosa island this morning, where they reportedly signed a 'comprehensive' document, promising a new US-North Korea relationship. According to the BBC, the document is said to commit North Korea to work towards the "complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula". The two sides have agreed to follow-up talks and to work on building a lasting peaceful relationship.

Four children killed during Florida hostage siege

A man has shot dead four children before killing himself at an apartment in Florida. Gary Wayne Lindsey Jr, 35, took the four children hostage at the Westbrook Apartment complex in Orlando on Monday, leading to a standoff with police. Two of the victims were Lindey's children, while the other two reportedly belonged to his girlfriend. Court records show Lindsey had an extensive criminal history involving arson, battery and theft.

Four killed in Chicago shootings

Four people have been killed and 17 others wounded in shootings across Chicago. A 26-year-old man was shot dead outside his home on South Winchester on Sunday afternoon. Earlier in the day, a 39-year-old man was shot multiple times in South Eberhart, while other deadly incidents were reported in West Garfield and Englewood. On Saturday three people were killed in shootings across the city.

North Korea to establish new US-relationship

North Korea is believed to be seeking to establish a new relationship with the US during the leaders' summit in Singapore tomorrow. The statement, released by North Korean state media, marks a more definitive optimistic shift in the country's approach to diplomacy with the US. According to the BBC, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and US President Donald Trump both arrived in Singapore on Sunday ahead of the scheduled summit.

Kilauea volcano destroyed more than 600 houses since eruption

Hawaii County Mayor Harry Kim said on Thursday that more than 600 houses have already been destroyed since the Kilauea volcano's eruption in early-May. Kim told reporters that in the last few days, a massive lava flow measuring around half-a-mile wide engulfed residents, including more than 160 homes in the island's Vacationland development. Leilani Estates continues to be the area most affected as lava recently reached ocean waters at Kapoho Bay. Reports further suggest that communication in the area is being widely disrupted due to damage to power and telephone lines.

Warning issued after Kilauea's lava flow reaches Kapoho Bay

Hawaii's Kilauea volcano continues to release toxic steam and lava mainly through the Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens in the south-eastern tip of the island. In the last few days, lava has reached ocean waters along the Kapoho Bay, where people have been advised to stay away due to hazardous laze plumes. Some stretches along highway 132 are currently blocked while a mandatory evacuation order has been issued to areas east of Pomaikai Street. More than 120 hours have been destroyed since Kilauea's first eruption in early-May. Travellers have been advised to follow the local news and recommendations from local authorities - such as updates from Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency and the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency.

Eight states to hold primaries ahead of midterm elections in November

Eight states across the US are set to hold their primaries ahead of the upcoming midterm elections in early-November. Republicans and Democrats are set to cast their ballots on Tuesday to choose strong candidates in Alabama, California, Iowa, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico and South Dakota. One of the main battlegrounds is California, where the former mayors of San Francisco and Los Angeles are the main Democrat contenders in the run to replace Governor Jerry Brown. New Jersey is also at the centre of Democrat quest to secure several House seats.

Flash floods trigger state of emergency in West Virginia

A state of emergency has been declared in eight counties across West Virginia after heavy rainfall struck the US northeast on Sunday. Governor Jim Justice said that the counties included are Berkeley, Grant, Hampshire, Hardy, Jefferson, Mineral, Morgan and Pendleton. Some evacuations are underway while the National Guard was deployed. Some areas in Virginia, Maryland and Washington DC were also affected by flash floods.

CDC confirms four deaths amid lettuce e.coli outbreak

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has announced on Friday that four more people have been killed amid a recent E.coli outbreak linked to romaine lettuce. In the CDC's latest update, it was reported that the deaths occurred in Minnesota, Arkansas and New York; while new cases of illness have also been confirmed in Arkansas, North Carolina and Oklahoma. So far, nearly 200 people have been affected across 35 states. The outbreak was first reported back in mid-April, involving lettuces harvested in Yuma, Arizona. CDC has confirmed that most of the romaine lettuce in question have passed their shelf life and are likely no longer available in stores and restaurants.

State of emergency declared over tap water toxins in Salem, Oregon

Oregon Governor Kate Brown has declared a state of emergency in Salem due to potential health risks associated with water quality around the city. Oregon's National Guard has been deployed across the region to deliver bottled water. The emergency comes after local authorities identified low levels of cyanotoxins in the city's water supply system - such was caused by algae blooms discovered in Detroit Lake. City of Salem officials said that people with compromised immune systems, pregnant women and young children are the main public at risk. An advisory was also issued to the city of Turner. People are also being warned that boiling tap water or using filters may still not be entirely effective to eliminate the toxins. 

Mandatory evacuation order issued to Leilani Estates, Hawaii

Hawaiian authorities have issued a mandatory evacuation order to a large area cross Leilani Estates as the lava flow continues to threaten the area. Big Island's Mayor Harry Kim said that a 17-block area has been isolated while residents have been ordered the leave within 24 hours. It is expected that more than 2,500 people have already been evacuated from risk areas, which recently included Kapoho. Travellers have been advised to follow the local news and recommendations from local authorities - such as updates from Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency and the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency.

US braces for the arrival of the Atlantic hurricane season

The Atlantic hurricane season has officially started on Friday and is set to last until September. The US already experienced the early-start of the season after Subtropical Storm Alberto made landfall in north-western Florida last week. Authorities are also preparing ahead of a busy storm season after a number of hurricanes left a trail of destruction in Texas, Georgia and Florida. Travellers have been advised to closely monitor local media and follow recommendations from the emergency services and local civil protection authorities. The US-based National Hurricane Centre (NHC) often monitor and release timely forecasts and the storms' potential paths.

Two killed as landslides trigger house collapse in North Carolina

At least two people have been killed when a landslide caused a house to collapse in North Carolina. Police reported that the deaths happened in the Watauga County in Boone, located in the western region of the state, where a state of emergency was declared. Adverse weather continues to impact the area due to the remnants of Subtropical Storm Alberto. In Virginia, two people have been reported missing after heavy rainfall triggered flash floods in Albermarle County.

US to reintroduce metal tariffs after temporary exemption

US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said on Thursday that the government will reintroduce tariffs on aluminium and steel imports from EU countries, Canada and Mexico. The measure is set to come into force after trade negotiations between the US and its allies collapsed. A tariff of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminium were introduced back in March. Since then, several countries benefited from a temporary exemption, which will expire on Friday. International markets fear that the move may engage with the US in a trade war with the EU and NAFTA members.

Thousands evacuate due to risk of dam failure in Lake Tahoma, North Carolina

Authorities in North Carolina's McDowell County have issued evacuation orders after heavy rainfall and flash floods put Lake Tahoma Dam at risk of failure. According to the National Weather Service (NWS), a landslide has compromised the integrity of the dam. Thousands are being ordered to evacuate all areas below Lake Tahoma, especially those located along the NC80 state highway from Lake Shore Drive to Lake Tahoma Road. Travellers are advised to closely monitor local media and follow recommendations from the emergency services.

Kilauea's lava flow forces highway closure

Officials have ordered the closure of a stretch of Highway 132 on Tuesday as lava from Kilauea volcano continues to move across Leilani Estates in the eastern area of Hawaii's Big Island. Reuters reported that the section between Lava Tree State Park and Four Corners was closed. Residents in the area have been warned of potential evacuations. Meanwhile, an explosion expelled ashes up to 4,600 metres into the atmosphere. People in the area were advised caution due to potential harms caused by inhalation or contact with volcanic glass fibres brought through the wind.

Scandal-riddled Missouri Governor to step down

Missouri's Republican Governor Eric Greitens has announced that he is stepping down from office on Friday. Greitens was facing impeachment proceedings regarding allegations of an extramarital affair and irregularities on a political fundraising. He denied any wrongdoing and said that the accusations are politically motivated. Greitens was indicted back in February with invasion of privacy in a case involving an alleged affair with his hairdresser. He was also being investigated by a special House committee for allegedly receiving unlawful donations during his 2016 campaign. 

Kilauea's lava flow continues to expand across Leilani Estates, Hawaii

The US Geological Survey (USGS) revealed on Monday the latest developments of the ongoing eruption of the Kilauea Volcano in Hawaii's Big Island. Over the weekend, lava flow has expanded across the Nohea Street, Kahukai Street and Pohoiki Road in Leilani Estates. Furthermore, the lava also reached areas near Puna Geothermal Venture (PGV), which already capped its wells with iron plugs to avoid the emission of hazardous gases. In a period of less of eight hours, three earthquakes were reported while ashes were expelled up to 3,600 metres into the air. According to the National Weather Service (NWS), ash clouds already reached the Marshall Islands as it continues to move across the Federated States of Micronesia, located nearly 3,700km from the volcano. Authorities in the Marshall Islands advised caution to people who suffer from respiratory problems.

Thousands evacuated as Subtropical Storm Alberto makes landfall in Florida

Thousands of people have been forced to evacuate as Subtropical Storm Alberto made landfall in north-western Florida on Friday. Alberto made landfall on Laguna Beach, near Panama City. According to the National Hurricane Centre (NHC), Alberto has been downgraded to a subtropical depression as it moves northwards through the Tennessee Valley. Flash flood alerts have been issued to some areas in Georgia, Alabama and the eastern region of North and South Carolina. Alberto is the first storm named ahead of the Atlantic hurricane season, which starts on 01 June.

Middle school put on lockdown after shooting in Noblesville, Indiana

A middle school in Noblesville, Indiana, was put on lock down on Friday morning after reports of shots fired. Noblesville Fire Department said that an unknown suspected shooter was detained as emergency services rushed to the scene. At least one person is believed to be injured. 

Trump calls off North Korea summit

US President Donald Trump has issued a statement confirming the cancellation of the scheduled US-North Korea summit - which was due to take place in Singapore next month. In a letter to the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, Trump wrote that he felt it was inappropriate to hold the meeting based on 'tremendous anger and open hostility' in a recent North Korean statement. "You talk about you nuclear capabilities, but ours are so massive and powerful that I pray to God they will never have to be used", said Trump. According to the BBC, Trump expressed his sadness at the missed opportunity and a continued desire to one day meet Kim in a better context.

Mudslide shuts major Nevada-California highway near Lake Tahoe

A massive mudslide and flooding have closed the Highway 395 in Lake Tahoe, near the state border between Nevada and California. Officials revealed that on Tuesday morning the road was completely blocked near Topaz Lake in Douglas County, Nevada. Road maintenance crew are currently at the scene as it is still unclear when traffic in the area will be resumed. Traffic has been diverted onto Highway 208 through Wellington. Intense rainfall and inclement weather have caused a number of landslides and flooding across the US Southwest. Rainfall is forecast in the coming days.

Arkansas, Georgia and Kentucky to face mid-term primaries

Three states in the southern US are set to face their mid-term primaries on Tuesday. Republicans and Democrats from Arkansas, Georgia and Kentucky are set to head to polls to elect their congressional candidates. Voters in Texas will also cast their ballots in a runoff vote after no majority was reached in the state's primaries held earlier in March. Democrats seek to launch strong candidates in their pursuit to take additional 23 seats to secure a majority in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives later in the year.

Kilauea's lava flow forces geothermal power plant to shutdown

A key geothermal plant in Hawaii's Big Island has been preventively shutdown as Kilauea Volcano's lava flow approaches some of its wells. Workers at the Puna Geothermal Venture (PGV) power plant worked around the clock to cap the wells with iron plugs to avoid the emission of hazardous gases. The Guardian reported that gallons containing flammable chemicals were already moved from the plant. PGV is responsible for the production of more than 25 percent of the island's power. 

Three killed in boat accident on the Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri

Three people have been killed and two others were injured when a boat crashed on the Lake of the Ozarks in central Missouri. The accident happened early on Saturday morning across an area known as Simmons Point. All victims were men on their early twenties from Johnson County, outskirts of Kansas City. reports revealed that a 22-year-old was temporarily held by the police as preliminary investigations suggest the boat's driver was intoxicated. Missouri is set to initiate its boating season, which traditionally runs from late-May until early-September.

Potential tropical system to affect western Florida

The US National Hurricane Center (NHC) is currently monitoring a tropical weather system which may potentially affect the central and eastern areas in the Gulf of Mexico. According to a Special Tropical Weather Outlook, the NHC informed that locally heavy rainfall is expected to hit western Florida later in the week. Travellers are advised to monitor local media and NHC online updates.

Two killed as man drives car into a restaurant in North Dakota

Two people have been killed and several others were injured when a man intentionally drove a car into a restaurant in Bessemer City, North Carolina. US media reported that the incident happened on Sunday at the Surf and Turf Lodge restaurant. Police have identified the suspect as 62-year-old Roger Self. Reports revealed that one of the victims is his daughter, Katelyn Self. It is still unclear what the motivation behind the attack was, but Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department said that the incident seems to be domestic related.

Hawaii's Kilauea volcano reaches the Pacific

Hawaii's Kilauea Volcano has reached the Pacific after crossing the Highway 147 in the south-eastern corner of the state's Big Island. As the eruption recently intensified and a number of new fissures were identified, dozens of structures in the region have been destroyed. Hawaii Volcano Observatory said that levels of sulphur dioxide have tripled in recent days. The emergency services have warned people to stay away from areas where the lava flow meets ocean waters.

Two killed and scores injured in school bus accident in New Jersey

Two people have been killed and more than 40 others were injured when a school bus collided with a dump lorry in New Jersey. Police reported that the accident happened on Thursday afternoon along the Interstate 80 in Mount Olive. Governor Phil Murphy confirmed that a teacher and a student are among the fatalities. No further details about the circumstances of the crash were revealed, while investigations are being carried out by the National Transportation Safety Board.

Several killed at school shooting in Santa Fe, Texas

Ten people have been killed and several others were injured when a gunman raided a high school in Santa Fe, Texas. Shootings were reported on early Friday morning at Santa Fe High School. The suspect shooter has been identified as Dimitrios Pagourtzis, a 17-year-old student. Governor Greg Abbott confirmed the casualties and said that Pagourtzis used his father's weapons to carry out the attack - a shotgun and a revolver claimed to be legally owned. Furthermore, Governor Abbott said that a cache of explosives was found in several locations connected to Pagourtzis.

Lawmakers to decide fate of scandal-riddled Missouri governor

Lawmakers in Missouri are set to discuss the potential opening of impeachment proceedings against Republican Governor Eric Greitens. Members of the Republican-controlled General Assembly will convene to consider which disciplinary steps will be taken against Greitens. He is being investigated by a special House committee, which is set to report its conclusions later on Friday. Greitens has been implicated in a number of scandals, including an alleged sexual misconduct and irregularities on a political fundraising.

Hawaii's Kilauea volcano suffers major explosive eruption

A powerful explosive eruption has been recorded at Hawaii's Kilauea volcano. Reports revealed that ashes were expelled up to 9,000 metres into the atmosphere, prompting state emergency services to advise people to remain indoors on Thursday afternoon - ashes were particularly moving south-eastwards. According to the US Geological Survey, explosive eruptions and other powerful events may still occur in the coming weeks. Travellers have been advised to follow the local news and recommendations from local authorities - such as updates from Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency and the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency.

Five killed in suspected murder-suicide in Ponder, Texas

Five people have been killed in a domestic shooting in Denton County, Texas. US media reported that the shooting broke out on Wednesday morning in Ponder, nearly 40 miles north of Dallas. Reports revealed that the gunman raided his ex-wife's home, killing her boyfriend and three children. The ex-wife sustained injuries and was rushed to a local hospital. Denton County Sheriff's Office said that the suspect shot himself.

Massive blaze engulfs mall in Los Angeles, California

The emergency services were deployed after a massive blaze engulfed a mall in San Gabriel, Los Angeles. The fire was reported on Wednesday morning near Valley Boulevard and Stevens Avenue. According to LA media, the fire caused the mall's roof to collapse. No injuries have been reported so far as the area was cordoned off. 

Thousands of teachers to march across Raleigh, North Carolina

Thousands of teachers are expected to march across Raleigh, North Carolina, to demand better benefits and state funding to education. More than 27 schools were shut down on Wednesday ahead of the march, which is scheduled to start at 10:00 local time. Similar marches occurred in recent weeks in Oklahoma and Arizona.

Senate committee approves Gina Haspel as new CIA chief

Gina Haspel has been approved by the Senate intelligence committee as the new director of the CIA. In a 10-5 vote, Republican voted in favour of the replacement of Mike Pompeo, who left the agency to become the new US Secretary of State. Haspel's nomination was scrutinised over her alleged role in the torture of inmates held at covert detention centres. Haspel is set to be confirmed before the full Senate later in the week.

Alert issued as Hawaii's Kilauea volcano produces massive ash cloud

A red alert has been issued after the Kilauea Volcano in Hawaii produced massive clouds of ash on Tuesday. According to the US Geological Survey (USGS), ash was projected up to 3,650 metres into the atmosphere. The USGS has said that air routes may be affected due to the imminent eruption of the volcano located in the southern tip of Hawaii's Big Island. Previous alerts were issued over the risk posed by hazardous gases as a number of new fissures have emerged. 

Thousands affected as powerful storms rip through US Northeast

At least two people have been killed as powerful storms batters the US Northeast on Tuesday. Hundreds of thousands of people faced power outages in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Virginia. Flight cancellations and travel disruption were also reported in the region. An 11-year-old girl was killed when a tree fell over a car in Newburgh, New York, while in a similar incident, a man was killed in Danbury, Connecticut. The threat of severe storm has been severely diminished, but rainfall is expected to affect the region in the coming days.

North Korea threatens to cancel summit with the US

North Korea has threatened to cancel the upcoming summit with US President Donald Trump. It's believed the North made the threat in response to a military training conducted by the US and South Korean forces. The warning comes after planned talks with South Korea were cancelled this morning. The Korean leaders were due to discuss ways to re-unite families separated by the war. Trump was due to meet with the North Korean leader next month in Singapore.

Delays reported at New York City airports

Delays are currently being reported on New York City's JFK, Newark (EWR) and LaGuardia (LGA). Passengers have been advised to check for flight status updates with their respective airlines.

State of emergency declared over floods in Washington

Washington Governor Jay Inslee has declared a state of emergency to 20 counties as a snowmelt triggered widespread floods in the eastern region of the state. The areas of most concern are Ferry, Okanogan and Pend Oreille, where local rivers are expected to remain at flood levels over the coming weeks. Although the situation has significantly improved in western Montana, hundreds of residents continue under evacuation warning as further floods are expected to hit the area later in the week. Evacuation orders were also issued to the neighbouring British Columbia province in Canada.

Pennsylvania, Idaho, Nebraska and Oregon to hold primaries

Republicans and Democrats in Pennsylvania, Nebraska, Oregon and Idaho are set to head to polls on Tuesday to choose their candidates ahead of the midterm elections later in November. The main battleground is considered to be Pennsylvania, which had its congressional district boundaries recently redrawn. Democrats seek to launch strong candidates in their pursuit to take additional 23 seats to secure a majority in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.

Alert issued over potential activity increase of Kilauea volcano, Hawaii

The US Geological Survey has issued a warning on Sunday over the potential activity increase of the Kilauea volcano in Hawaii's Big Island. Residents living near the volcano are being advised to take caution as more fissures are being opened - so far at least 17 fissures were identified - while evacuation orders are being gradually extended. In a statement, the USGS revealed that: “More explosive activity generating larger ash clouds remains possible and can occur with no warning." Previous warnings included the risk of hazardous gas being expelled by the volcano. The areas on the highest alert are located around Lower Puna district, while residents from Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens were already ordered to evacuate.

Police responds to possible school shooting in Palmdale, California

Police officers are responding to reports of a possible shooting at a high school in southern California. US media reported that the Highland High School in Palmdale is currently on lock down. CNN reported that three nearby schools were also put on lock down. LA County Sheriff's Office said that reports of a shooting emerged at 07:05 local time. The LA County Fire Department confirmed that a suspect is in custody. 

Hawaii Governor requests emergency declaration over Kilauea volcano

Hawaii Governor David Ige has requested that President Donald Trump to declare the island a major disaster due to the ongoing seismic activity and eruption of the Kilauea volcano in the Big Island. Such would allow the funnelling of federal funding to assist state authorities "as more fissures open and toxic gas exposure increases, the potential of a larger scale evacuation increases." Parts of the lower Puna District are currently under alert as evacuation orders were already issued to Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens.

Trump-Kim summit to be held in Singapore

The highly-anticipated leaders summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has been scheduled to take place in Singapore on Tuesday 12 June. The New York Times has reported that Trump announced the agreed time and place of the summit on his Twitter account, just hours after three US prisoners arrived safely in the US following their release by North Korea as a 'goodwill gesture' ahead of the planned summit.

Three US captives released from North Korea

Three US captives have been released from imprisonment in North Korea following talks between US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and North Korean leader North Korea. The three American detainees - Kim Hak-song, Kim Dong-chul, and Tony Kim (aka Kim Sang-duk) - were all detained on charges related to espionage or hostile activity. According to reports, the three Americans are now on their way back to the US and are reported to be in good health by US President Donald Trump.

Fresh evacuation orders issued to residents in Lanipuna, Hawaii

Fresh evacuation orders have been issued to residents across Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens in Hawaii's Big Island. As lava continues to be spilt from the Kilauea volcano, authorities warned residents for the risk of hazardous gases, earthquakes and potential damages to infrastructure. Hawaii Civil Defense revealed that more than 30 structures have already been destroyed, while more than a dozen fissures have also been formed. Travellers have been advised to follow the local news and recommendations from local authorities - such as updates from Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency or the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency.

Oliver North elected new president of the NRA gun lobby

Oliver North has been elected as the new president of the influential gun lobby National Rifle Association (NRA). North is a former aide to President Ronald Reagan and was one of the key actors behind the Iran-Contra controversy - a Cold War-era scandal which funnelled money from the sale of weapons to Iran to back anti-communist rebels in Nicaragua. North was chosen to replace Pete Brownell, who chose not to run for a second term.

Government announces end of TPS to Hondurans

The Department of Homeland Security has confirmed on Friday that the so-called Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Hondurans is being shut down. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said that Hondurans part of the programme will have until early-January 2020 to regularise their immigration status. Honduras is the latest country to join others in the recent TPS crackdown, which is estimated to affect more than 400,000 people. The TPS is a programme which grants special immigration protection to people from countries hit by natural disasters, war or violence.

Planned closures to affect AirTrain at San Francisco Airport

San Francisco International Airport (SFO) has confirmed dates of planned night-time closures of its AirTrain service. Further closures will occur daily from 14 May until 15 June from 20:00 to 05:00 due to construction works of a new station. Shuttles will be provided on the departure level to all terminals and rental car centre. Passengers have been advised to allow extra time during this period and to directly contact SFO for further details.

Kansas and Oklahoma grants charities rights on LGBT adoptions

Lawmakers in Kansas and Oklahoma have narrowly passed a bill that grants faith-based adoption charities the right to refuse adoption to LGBT couples. Both Republican-controlled houses agreed to proceed with the measure, which is already in place in Texas, Alabama, South Dakota, Virginia and Michigan.

Hundreds evacuated as Kilauea Volcano erupts in Hawaii

Hawaii Governor David Ige has declared a state of emergency and ordered the mobilisation of the National Guard after the Kilauea Volcano erupted in the Island of Hawaii. More than 1,500 people were ordered to evacuate as a massive lava flow threatened residential areas in the south-eastern area of the island and the local 130 highway in Puna district. According to the US Geological Survey (USGS), several earthquakes were reported before the eruption, including a 5.0-magnitude tremor on Thursday. It is still unclear when the eruption is going to last until. The eruption comes after Kilauea's Puu Oo crater collapsed last Monday.

President Trump denies use of campaign funds to reimburse lawyer

President Donald Trump has rejected allegations that he used campaign funds to pay for a non-disclosure agreement with adult film actress Stephanie Clifford (Stormy Daniels). Allegations emerged after former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani - who joined Trump's legal team - confirmed in an interview that the president paid Daniels a sum of $130k through his former lawyer, Michael Cohen. President Trump later acknowledged the payment and that he reimbursed Cohen with his personal money.

United Airlines to change pet air transport policies

United Airlines has announced that several new policies on pet air transportation will be implemented from mid-June 2018. Among the new guidelines is the restriction of the transport of cats and dogs only. However, some dog and cat breeds - especially short-nosed dogs and cats - deemed to be adverse to health risks will be forbidden. The move comes after a French bulldog was killed while stored in an overhead compartment. For further information, travellers are advised to contact the airline or check the company's PetSafe webpage

Nine killed as military aircraft crashes in Georgia

Nine people have been killed after a military cargo plane crashed onto a highway in Georgia. The accident happened on Wednesday moments after the C-130 aircraft took off from Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport. The crash occurred along the Highway 21 in Effingham County. All victims on board were part of the Puerto Rican National Guard. Reports suggest that the 60-year-old aircraft was on its last flight before retiring in Arizona.

Iowa lawmakers approve anti-abortion bill

The Republican-controlled House of Representatives in Iowa has approved a bill which seeks to virtually ban abortion in the state. Lawmakers approved the so-called 'fetal heartbeat' bill, which introduces a ban on abortion at six weeks of pregnancy. The bill still has to pass in Senate, which will likely approve it due to its Republican majority. This has been labelled as the most restrictive abortion law in the US.

Protests expected ahead of NRA convention in Dallas, Texas

Protests are expected as President Donald Trump is scheduled to address the National Rifle Association (NRA) in Dallas, Texas. President Trump is expected in the city on Friday to attend the NRA annual meeting. The convention - Governor Greg Abbott, Senator John Cornyn and Senator Ted Cruz will also attend - will take place at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in downtown Dallas from Thursday until Sunday.

Severe weather forecast to central and southern Plains

Severe weather is forecast to batter the US central and southern Plains throughout the week. Adverse weather is expected until Thursday as dangerous storms move from Texas to Iowa. On Monday, severe weather is forecast to hit eastern South Dakota and central Nebraska, while storms move eastwards to Kansas, northern Missouri and Iowa. Flood alerts are in place to Omaha, Des Moines and Kansas City. Oklahoma is also expected to be hit later in the week as the storm expands through the Plains and parts of the US Midwest.

Wildfires continue to spread across the US Southwest

Evacuations and widespread damage have been reported as wildfires continue to spread across central Arizona. Authorities revealed that the areas of most concern include Coconino National Forest and Coconino County, which are currently being affected by the so-called Tinder Fire. Meanwhile, the Rattlesnake Fire continues to spread across Navajo County. According to the Global Wildfire Information System (GWIS), the highest wildfire alert remains in place in Arizona, south-western New Mexico, south-western California, southern Nevada and southern Utah.

Three killed as medical helicopter crashes in Wisconsin

Three people were killed when a medical helicopter crashed in northern Wisconsin. Oneida County Sheriff's Office confirmed that the aircraft crashed in Hazelhurst while travelling from Madison to Woodruff. It is still unclear what caused the crash. Reports revealed that the last contact with the aircraft was on Thursday evening. The aircraft belongs to the health company Ascension.

Senate confirms Mike Pompeo as US Secretary of State

Former CIA Director Mike Pompeo has been confirmed as the new US Secretary of State. Pompeo is replacing Rex Tillerson, who was sacked last month amid alleged grievances with President Donald Trump. He was confirmed by the US Senate after a 57-42 vote. Pompeo's confirmation comes as the US foreign policy drives towards negotiations with North Korea - Pompeo made a secret trip to the country over the Easter holidays to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un.

Teachers to stage protest in Denver, Colorado

Teachers in Denver, Colorado, are set to launch protests to demand more education funding in the state. Demonstrators will gather across the state capital downtown on Thursday and Friday. Students and sympathisers are also expected to take part in the marches. A similar demonstration was also called in Phoenix, Arizona.

Thousands of teachers to march across Phoenix, Arizona

Tens of thousands of teachers are expected to march across Phoenix, Arizona, to demand better salaries and education funding. The march is scheduled to start at 11:00 local time at Arizona Capitol. Another demonstration is also scheduled for Friday. According to the march organisers, more than 40,000 people are expected to attend the protest, while 90 schools will be shutdown.

Republicans secure victory in Arizona special vote

The Republicans secured a narrow victory in a special election held in Arizona. Republican Debbie Lesko defeated Democrat Hiral Tipirneni in a close race to replace Trent Frank as the representative for the eighth congressional district - a traditional Republican stronghold comprised of Phoenix suburbs. Frank left office over a sexual misconduct case. The vote comes as a test to the Republican party ahead of November's mid-terms.

Police officers severely injured in Dallas shooting

Two police officers were critically wounded during a violent shooting at a store in Dallas, Texas. US media revealed on Tuesday that a 29-year-old suspect was detained after a high-speed pursuit. A civilian was also collaterally shot during the stand-off. The incident happened at a Home Depot store in the Hamilton Park neighbourhood.

Federal court charges three MS-13 members

Three members of the notorious street gang Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) have been charged at a federal court in Boston. The suspects are accused of links to organised crime and to the assassination of a rival gang member in Chelsea, Massachusetts. This is one of the latest blows to the Central American-based gang which widely operates in some neighbourhoods across the US.

Gunman kills four at Nashville restaurant

Four people have been killed when an armed individual stormed a restaurant in Nashville, Tennessee. US media reported that the main suspect is a 29-year-old named Travis Reinking. The incident happened at a Waffle House restaurant in Antioch area. 

Road closures around Charlotte-Douglas Airport, North Carolina

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department has stated that several roads between Charlotte-Douglas International Airport (CLT) and the Park Expo and Conference Centre will be closed between 15:00 to 20:00 on Friday. The measure comes due to the visit of US VP Mike Pence to the city. Drivers have been advised to check for alternative routes and allow extra time if heading to the airport.

Gunman detained after school shooting in Ocala, Florida

A school has been put on lockdown after an armed student opened fire on Friday morning. Local media reported that one student was injured in the incident, which happened at the Forest High School in Ocala. Police revealed that the suspect - also a student - was detained, while the motive behind the shooting remains unclear. The incident comes amid a strong gun debate in the US after a deadly school shooting last February in Parklands, Florida.

California reaches deal to deploy troops to Mexican border

California Governor Jerry Brown has reached a deal with the federal government to send troops along the Mexican border. Governor Brown has already pledged to send 400 National Guard soldiers to the region, but negotiations were still underway regarding guarantees of their role to fight transnational criminal gangs and not be engaged in immigration duties. President Donald Trump requested bordering states to jointly contribute to the deployment of up to 4,000 soldiers until late-September.

Wildfire alert issued to US Southwest

The US National Weather Service (NWS) has issued a warning on Thursday over the extreme risk of wildfires in Arizona and New Mexico due to strong winds and very low relative humidity. Areas of major concern are the almost the whole territory of Arizona and some parts in western New Mexico, including Albuquerque. Warnings have also been issued to southern Colorado and south-eastern Utah.

Leaders summit with Japan

A leaders summit between US President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo is due to take place over the next few days. The talks will take place at the Mar-a-Lago retreat in Palm Beach, Florida. Among other issues on the agenda is the topic of North Korea's nuclear programme. Reuters has reported that the two leaders seek to find common ground on the issue ahead of Trump's highly anticipated meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un next month. 

Woman killed as aircraft makes emergency landing in Philadelphia

A Southwest Airlines flight was forced to make an emergency landing in Philadelphia after the explosion of an aircraft's engine. The powerful blast reportedly caused damage to a window, the fuselage, and both wings. A woman was killed when she was nearly sucked out of the plane. Jennifer Riordan died after she was taken in serious condition to hospital. Seven other passengers were also injured. The aircraft was carrying 148 passengers and crew from New York's La Guardia to Dallas, Texas.

Thousands affected as tornadoes rip through southern US

Thousands of people have been affected after powerful tornadoes triggered widespread damage across the south and the south-east US. More than a dozen tornadoes were confirmed across the Carolinas, Virginia, Mississippi, Georgia, Arkansas, Alabama and Texas. Houses and schools were destroyed when a tornado hit Mississippi's Brandon and Meridian. Virginia's Lynchburg and Danville were also widely affected. NBC reported that at least four people were killed and more than 20 others were injured over the weekend.

Two killed as wildfire spreads across north-western Oklahoma

At least two people have been killed and hundreds were forced to evacuate as a wildfire ravages north-western Oklahoma. Residents in Vici, Seilling, Taloga and Putnam were forced to leave their homes as the so-called Rhea Fire keeps spreading due to dry weather and strong winds. So far, more than 55,000 hectares of land have been torched. Wildfire warnings have been issued to several regions in Oklahoma, New Mexico, Texas, Colorado and Kansas.

Warning issued over potential wildfire risk in the Southwest

The US National Weather Service (NWS) has issued a warning over the extreme risk of wildfires in the Southwest on Tuesday. The areas of most concern are north-western Texas, western Oklahoma, south-western Kansas, south-eastern Colorado and most areas in New Mexico. Regional outbreaks of wildfires may occur due to strong winds and very low relative humidity.

Disruptions reported on I95 Highway near Savannah Airport

Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport (SAV) has stated that traffic restrictions are currently in place along the Interstate 95, one of the main hubs of access to the airport. Roadworks are currently in place in Chatham County until early-May. Travellers have been advised to seek an alternative route or allow extra time.

Adverse weather trigger severe delays at New York airports

Severe delays and cancellations are widely affecting flights at New York's JFK, La Guardia (LGA) and Newark (EWR) airports on Monday. Major airports in the US East Coast and across the Midwest are also expected to face delays due to adverse weather conditions. Passengers have been advised to check for flight status information before heading to the airport.

Seven inmates killed in prison riot in Bishopville, South Carolina

At least seven inmates have been killed and more than a dozen others were injured when a prison riot broke out in Bishopville, South Carolina. US media reported that a riot erupted on Sunday evening at Lee Correctional Institution, a maximum-security facility. According to South Carolina Department of Corrections, the fights involved multiple inmates across three blocks.

Winter Storm Xanto brings heavy snow to Upper Midwest

Around 300,000 people suffered power outages in Michigan after Winter Storm Xanto ravaged the Upper Midwest over the weekend. Adverse weather conditions caused hundreds of road accidents in Minnesota, while more than 200 people were forced to evacuate due to flooding in Monroe County, Michigan. Hundreds of flights were cancelled over the weekend at Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport (MSP). A warning is in place in Illinois and Wisconsin over the risk of flooding along the Lake Michigan. Snow is forecast on Monday in the Upper Midwest, Great Lakes and parts of the Northeast; especially across Michigan, Wisconsin, northeastern Illinois, Indiana and Ohio. Travel disruption is widely expected to impact flights, train journeys and major roads.

House Speaker Paul Ryan not to run for re-election

US House Speaker Paul Ryan has announced that he will not run for re-election in the mid-term elections later in November. The Republican Congressman to Wisconsin has said that the move comes due to family reasons. Ryan said that he will still finish his term as speaker until 2019. With Ryan's announcement, 46 House Republicans already confirmed that they weren't running for another term. Such talk generated fears of a potential Democrat uprising, which would need 24 seats to reconquer their House majority.

California agrees to send troops to Mexican border

California Governor Jerry Brown has agreed to send up to 400 National Guard soldiers to the Mexican border. Governor Brown was the last - and the most resistant - to respond to President Donald Trump's request to reinforce the military presence in the southern US border. President Trump urged bordering states - New Mexico, California, Texas and Arizona - to allow the support of the National Guard to law enforcement officials in tackling drug-trafficking and smuggling. Up to 4,000 troops are expected to be stationed along the whole border. 

Facebook CEO testifies before Congress

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has testified for nearly five hours before his first congressional hearing on Tuesday. Among many topics approached, they included the harvesting of data from millions of users amid the Cambridge Analytica scandal, the company's compliance with Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regulations and the use of Facebook in the alleged Russian meddling in the US 2016 presidential elections. Zuckerberg is set to face another hearing on Wednesday before the House energy and commerce committee.

White House Homeland Security Adviser resigns

President Donald Trump's Homeland Security Adviser Tom Bossert has resigned. Reuters reported that an official said that Bossert is stepping down at the request of John Bolton, the White House new national security adviser. Bossert was a key adviser on cybersecurity issues, which included strong stances on Russia and North Korea. He is the second national security official to leave after Bolton replaced General HR McMaster last Monday.

FBI raid offices of President Donald Trump's attorney

FBI agents raided the offices of President Donald Trump's attorney, Michael Cohen. The move was ordered by the US attorney's office for the Southern District of New York after a referral of Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating the alleged Russian electoral meddling. US media reported that the FBI seized a number of attorney-client confidential records, including an alleged payment made to adult film star Stormy Daniels. Furthermore, the Washington Post revealed that Cohen is also being investigated for fraud and suspected campaign finance violations. President Donald Trump condemned the move and said that: “I have this witch hunt constantly going on for over 12 months now or longer. It’s an attack on our country in a true sense; it’s an attack on what we all stand for”.

Arizona and Texas to send troops to Mexican border

More than 400 National Guard members are set to be deployed along the Mexican border after calls for President Donald Trump to reinforce border security and curb illegal immigration. Arizona and Texas announced last week that they will send reinforcements over the next few days. Overall, it is expected that more than 4,000 troops will be sent to the region after Defense Secretary James Mattis allocated a Pentagon budget to pay for them. Other states such as New Mexico and California are still considering sending troops, which are set to exclusively support border officials.

Chicago's ATS night services suspended until further notice

Monday to Friday night services of the Airport Transit System (ATS) at Chicago O'Hare International Airport (ORD) will be shut down until further notice. ORD has stated that shuttle buses will replace ATS services from 22:00 to 08:00. For further information, passengers have been advised to directly contact ORD.

Trump threatens further tariffs against China

US President Donald Trump has threatened a further $100bn (£71.3bn) tariff on imported goods from China. The escalation comes after the US already proposed a $50bn tariff on hundreds of Chinese imports, provoking a retaliatory tariff on US goods in China. Trump's latest tariff proposal has heightened concerns of a full-blown trade war developing between the US and China.

US spending bill bans arms sales to Ukrainian militia

The recently passed US spending bill has banned the sale of arms to an ultra-nationalise militia in the Ukraine. The Azov Battalion has been described as a white supremacy group led by neo-Nazis. According to reports, previous spending bill drafts had proposed similar bans before but none had made it into legislation. 

President Trump seeks to deploy National Guard to Mexican border

President Donald Trump has vowed to deploy the National Guard along the Mexican border over fears of the imminent arrival of a migrant caravan. After accusing the Mexican government of not doing enough to curb illegal immigration into the US, President Trump said: "Until we can have a wall and proper security, we're going to be guarding our border with the military". The caravan is backed by the immigrant group Pueblo Sin Fronteras and is comprised of more than 1,200 people mostly from Central American countries.

Police responds to active shooter at YouTube HQ in California

Police responded to reports of an active shooter at the YouTube global headquarters in San Bruno, California. US media reported that shots have been fired near or at YouTube's offices in Silicon Valley. The suspect has been identified as Nasim Najafi Aghdam, who killed herself after wounding three people. Aghdam was reportedly known for criticising the company for filtering some of her videos. Police are still investigating the motives behind the shooting.

State Department considers to request social media history from visa applicants

The US State Department is considering requesting visa applicants - immigrant and non-immigrant - to provide officials with their social media identities in their application process. The proposal is still to be publicly discussed before the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approves or rejects it. The new rule comes as part of tougher security measures to identify visitors linked to terrorism.

Two Missouri schools placed on lockdown

Two schools in Hinds County, Missouri, were placed on lockdown yesterday owing to a bomb threat.  A parent had received a text message affecting both facilities.  The restrictions were lifted at around 10:00 local time, and police are investigating the source of the message.

Several states to sue US government over census citizenship question

Several states are considering filing a lawsuit against the US government after the Commerce Department announced the introduction of a citizenship question in the upcoming 2020 Census. While the Justice Department claims that the move comes to defend the voting rights of minorities, critics - mostly Democrats - claim that the move will contribute to low participation in states that house a large immigrant population. The White House supports the move but said that the decision to introduce the question came directly from the Commerce Department. The Census is held every 10 years and significantly influences federal funding and political representation in Congress.

Five killed as car plunges off a cliff in Mendocino, California

Five people have been killed when a car plunged off a cliff near Mendocino, California. Highway Patrol revealed that the accident happened on Highway 1 near Westport, a remote area along the Mendocino Coast. Three children are among the casualties while it is unclear what caused the crash.

Dozens of Russian diplomats expelled over UK nerve attack

At least 60 Russian officials are set to be expelled from the US in response to the nerve agent attack earlier this month in Salisbury, southern England. As diplomatic tensions between the US and Russia worsen, officials based at the Russian Embassy in Washington DC and part of the Russian mission in the UN are expected to be targeted in the most recent wave of expulsions. Furthermore, the Russian Consulate in Seattle will also be temporarily shut down. Last year, Russia expelled 755 US diplomats based in Moscow amid the ongoing electoral meddling row.

Thousands take part in nationwide gun-control march

Thousands of people took to the streets nationwide to attend the 'March for Our Lives' event. Demonstrators marched across hundreds of US cities to pressure the government to implement stricter gun-control regulations. One of the main marches occurred in Washington DC, where protesters marched along Pennsylvania Avenue. Lower-scale demonstrations also took place across major cities in Europe, Canada and Australia.

White House National Security Adviser resigns

The White House national security adviser, General HR McMaster, has handed in his resignation. He is set to step down in early-April and will be replaced by John Bolton, a former US ambassador during the George W Bush administration. Official statements revealed that McMaster's departure had been discussed for weeks and he and Donald Trump have had public disagreements on key foreign policy approaches towards Iran and Afghanistan. Bolton is the latest addition to the Trump administration as the White House's foreign policy team faces a major reshuffle ahead of the meeting with North Korea's Kim Jong-un.

Adverse weather conditions trigger flights disruptions across the US Northeast

Adverse weather conditions are likely to affect flights across the US East Coast on Thursday. Dozens of flights were cancelled at Philadelphia International Airport (PHL), while disruptions are also being reported at Bradley International Airport (BDL) in Connecticut. New York City's JFK, Newark (EWR) and LaGuardia (LGA) airports are also experiencing cancellations. Flights from major northeast airports are also generating disruptions elsewhere in the US. At Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) more than 100 flights to the Northeast were already cancelled. Passengers have been advised to check for flight status updates before heading to the airport.

21,000 ordered to evacuate Montecito before storm

Over 21,000 resident of Montecito have been ordered to evacuate as a powerful storm approaches, amid fears of destructive mudslides. The storm made landfall on Tuesday and is expected to dump up to 10 inches of rain in the California mountains by Friday.  According to the National Weather Service, the storm is projected to have the heaviest rainfall and the longest duration of this winter storm season, and residents in Ventura County have also been ordered to evacuate.  The Sierra Nevada mountain range could see up to five feet of snow.  The warning comes just four months after the area was savaged by wildfires, and heavy rains caused powerful mudslides, killing 21 people.  

Texas bomber dead, but police warn of other devices

The man suspected of carrying out a spate of bombings in Texas over the last few weeks killing two people, died today when he detonated a device in his car while in a standoff with police.  He has been identified as 24-year-old Mark Anthony Conditt, who was tracked down to a hotel in Round Rock.  Police say that the motive behind the attacks remains unclear, but warned the public to be vigilant for other explosive devices as they did not know where Conditt had been in the 24 hours preceding his capture and death. 

West Allis bomb threat forces evacuation of 700 employees

Over 700 employees were evacuated from the Quad Graphics printing plant in West Allis, Wisconsin on 20 March, after a note threatening a bomb attack was discovered.  Staff were sent home or to other company facilities as the emergency plan was deployed.  Law enforcement conducted a sweep of the area including the use of sniffer dogs, but nothing was found.  Police are appealing for information.

Man injured in package blast at goodwill store in Austin

On 20 March, a man was injured when a package at a goodwill store in Austin, Texas, detonated.  The victim suffered serious injuries, but they were not thought to be life-threatening.  The incident was originally thought to be linked to five previous blasts which have occurred in Austin earlier this month and which are believed to be the work of a serial bomber.  However police said that this package was an incendiary device rather than an explosive.  The suspect responsible for the five other explosions was shot dead by police on 21 March. 

Louisiana State Penitentiary employees arrested

On Saturday as part of a routine employee check, investigators discovered drugs and cash in the vehicle of a Louisiana State Penitentiary employee, leading to her arrest on felony introduction of contraband.  Over the following days, several more employees were also accused of various charges, including drug smuggling, accepting bribes, and inappropriate relationships with offenders.  Invesigations are continuing and more arrests are expected.  

Austin bombing suspect killed in shootout

Austin police tracked down a suspect in the Austin bombings, and engaged fire with him on Wednesday morning.  A device was detonated, and the suspect died in the explosion.  Five blasts have occurred in Austin, Texas this month, leaving two people dead and several injured.  

Trump proposes death penalty for drug traffickers

Speaking in New Hampshire, Donald Trump has called for drug traffickers to be given the death penalty.  He called for improved education about drug addiction as well as better access to treatment and recovery programmes, but the main point of his speech was tougher penalties for traffickers.  The federal death penalty is available for limited drug-related offences.  Opioids including prescription and synthetic drugs killed more than 42,000 US citizens in 2016, and New Hampshire is one of the states that has been hardest hit.  The move has been seen as Mr Trump laying down his plans for a re-election campaign for 2020.

Shooting reported at Maryland school

Great Mills High School in Maryland was put on lockdown, following reports of a shooting at the facility.  Three people have been transported to hospital but there are no reports of fatalities.  It is understood that one of those injured is the shooter.  Around 1,600 students attend the community school. The parents of students have been requested not to go to the school, but rather to attend another local school for information.  There have been 16 confirmed school shootings this year in the United States, and this incident comes a month after 17 students were killed at a high school in Parkland, Florida, and four days before the March for our Lives rally for student safety.     

Pedestrian killed by self-driving car in Arizona

On Monday, an Uber self-driving car hit and killed a female pedestrian as she crossed the street in Arizona.  This is the first known fatality involving an autonomous vehicle, and raises questions about the safety of the technology which is expected to revolutionize transportation.  Companies such as Uber, Alphabet Inc and General Motors are all currently testing self-driving cars which are expected to drastically reduce vehicle fatalities and create new billion-dollar businesses.  Police officials said that it would have been difficult to avoid the collision in any kind of mode, ie autonomous or human operated, as the pedestrian apparently stepped into the road, and not at an official crossing point.  Uber said that it was suspending North American testing until further investigations have been completed.  On Friday car companies had urged Congress to pass legislation to speed up the introduction of self-driving cars, and the fatality could hamper passage of the bill. 

Nine-year-old shoots his sister in row over games controller

A nine-year-old boy shot his 13-year-old sister, killing her, in an argument over a game controller in Monroe County, Mississippi.  Their mother was in the house at the time of the incident, but was apparently unaware of what was happening.  The girl was taken to Le Bonheur Children's Hospital in Memphis, but was declared dead on arrival.  The case is under investigation, and the local Sheriff said that he was talking to the district attorney, and as yet no charges had been filed.

Homes evacuated after grenades found inside house

Around 10 homes were evacuated on the afternoon of 19 March after grenades were found inside a house in San Jose, California, during an estate sale.  Roads were closed off and the bomb squad was deployed to safely remove the devices.  

Reports of an explosion at FedEx office in San Antonio

There have been reports of an explosion at a FedEx facility in Schertz in San Antonio, Texas.  No further details are available, but police are investigating whether there is a connection to a spate of bombings across Texas in recent weeks.

Severe weather warnings issued for the South

Severe weather warnings, including the possibility of tornadoes, significant hail and damaging winds, have been issued for the South on Monday into Tuesday.  The alerts are most numerous in eastern Mississippi, Middle Tennessee, northern and central Alabama and north Georgia.  On Tuesday the tail-end of the cold front could cause severe storms across northern and central Florida, southeast Georgia and South Carolina.  

Two wounded in blast in Austin, Texas

Following reports of an explosion police officers responded to a suburban neighbourhood south-west of Austin, and found two men in their twenties who had been seriously injured.  The incident, which may have been triggered by a tripwire, took place at 20:30 on Dawn Song Drive, and according to police, it may be the fourth explosive device to be linked to a serial bomber terrorizing the city.  Two people have been killed in three explosions since 2 March, and police have demanded that the culprit surrender to authorities.  Police Chief Brian Manley said today that the bombings could be hate crimes, since all those affected have been either black or Hispanic.  

Residents evacuated following train derailment

A train derailed in Scott County, Kentucky, late on Sunday night, and the county's Emergency Management Captain Robert Duncan said that buses were sent to evacuate nearby residents because of the presence of a potentially hazardous material.  Dozens of people who live in a trailer park near the scene of the derailment were taken to a nearby elementary school as a precaution.  No further details about the material were released, but witnesses reported hearing a loud explosion and seeing a fire near the train tracks. 

Pedestrian bridge collapses killing six

An under-construction pedestrian bridge collapsed on Thursday lunchtime over a busy road west of Miami, crushing eight vehicles.  Emergency workers struggled to free motorists from huge chunks of concrete from the 950 ton bridge, which was designed to connect Sweetwater and the Florida International University campus.  On Friday, authorities announced that the death toll had risen to six with several injured who were taken to hospital.  According to witnesses, the affected vehicles were stopped at a red light at the time of the collapse.  The National Transportation Safety Board immediately sent a team to Miami to commence an investigation.  The bridge had been hailed as a "first-of-its'-kind" construction method where the span is completed off site and swung into place to minimise disruption, and was a method being worked on at the university.  The incident happened at Spring Break when few students were on-site at the University.  

Students rally to mark Florida school shooting

High school students and teachers across the US staged a walkout to mark the Florida school shooting on Wednesday. Lessons were suspended for 17 minutes to commemorate the 17 people killed at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland last month. Students have been calling for stronger gun control laws following the latest in a long series of deadly school shootings in the country. In the capital, Washington DC, a large crowd gathered outside the White House holding signs which included: "Protect People Not Guns," "Never again" and "Enough is enough".

Democrat wins congressional election in Pennsylvania

Democrat Conor Lamb has won a special congressional election in Pennsylvania. The result, which is yet to be formally announced, represents a massive swing for his party against the Republicans and suggests that they will struggle in the mid-term elections in November. President Donald Trump had visited Pennsylvania to campaign for Rep. Rick Saccone but the White House has tried to distance itself from the result, claiming that Lamp supported the president's policies.

Four shot dead at a residence in New York City

Four members of the same family have been killed at a home in Brooklyn, New York City. NBC reported on Wednesday morning that among the victims is a young child. The circumstances of the incident remain unclear.

US State Department top aide sacked moments after Rex Tillerson

A top aide within the US State Department has been sacked just moments after his boss, Rex Tillerson, stepped down from office. Steve Goldstein was dismissed on Tuesday afternoon after reportedly contradicting a White House statement regarding Tillerson's firing. Goldstein was the undersecretary of public affairs and is being replaced by State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert. This is the latest change in the State Department, which currently has only one permanent undersecretary in place out of six.

Rex Tillerson sacked as Secretary of State

President Donald Trump has sacked Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Tillerson has been engaged in long-standing grievances with the White House, but he has so far survived a wave of layoffs in the Trump administration. He is being replaced by Mike Pompeo, the head of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), as the US government prepares for talks with North Korea. CIA Deputy Director Gina Haspel will become the first woman to lead the agency. 

Adverse weather trigger flight disruptions across US Northeast

Dozens of flights across the US Northeast were cancelled on Tuesday due to the approach of Winter Storm Skylar. Disruptions have been reported across New York City's LaGuardia (LGA), JFK and Newark (EWR) airports, Philadephia International Airport (PHL) and Bradley International Airport (BDL) in Connecticut. Flights to and from major airports across New England are expected to be further affected on Wednesday. Passengers have been advised to check for flight status updates with their respective airlines.

Police investigates series of parcel bombs in Austin, Texas

A 17-year-old has been killed and two other people injured when two parcel bombs went off in separate locations in Austin, Texas. Both explosions happened on Monday, nearly two weeks after a 39-year-old man was killed in a similar incident. It is still unclear what may be behind the attacks. Chief Brian Manley from Austin PD urged people to remain vigilant and not to open unrequested packages and call 911 immediately. Investigations have been launched to assess if the incidents are linked. He also said that there is no indication that this is a threat to the ongoing SXSW festival.

Winter Storm Skylar to trigger disruptions across the US Northeast

Widespread flight disruptions are likely to occur on Tuesday and Wednesday as Winter Storm Skylar approaches the US Northeast. Strong winds and heavy snowfall are expected alongside power outages from Monday evening. According to the National Weather Service (NWS), the nor 'easter will not be as severe as the previous ones but will hit New England the hardest. Flights are likely to be affected in New York City, Boston, Washington and other major airports across the region. Passengers have been advised to check for flight status updates with their respective airlines.

Five killed in helicopter crash in New York City

Five people have been killed in a helicopter crash in New York City. Emergency services rushed to the East River on Sunday evening when a Eurocopter AS350 landed on the freezing waters near the northern tip of Roosevelt Island. All victims were passengers of a chartered tourist flight, whose pilot survived the crash. The Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) is investigating the accident, which is likely to be linked to a potential engine failure.

Severe thunderstorms forecast to US Southeast

The National Weather Service (NWS) has informed that severe thunderstorms are forecast for the US Southeast over the weekend. The areas to be mostly hit are southern Alabama, Mississipi and Arkansas. Further, severe weather conditions are forecast for central and northern Louisiana. The NWS is also closely monitoring the possibility of a fresh snowstorm along the East Coast on Sunday.

President Trump introduces taxes on steel and aluminium imports

President Donald Trump has signed a bill that is set to introduce hefty taxes on aluminium and steel imports. The measure seeks to implement a tariff of 25 percent on the imports of steel and 10 percent on the imports of aluminium. The EU, IMF and several countries raised concerns over a potential trade war with the US over claims that the move may harm global economic growth. Canada and Mexico will be exempted from the new tariff, while the US government said that such exemptions may be extended to other countries. 

US president to meet North Korean leader

US President Donald Trump and the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, have reportedly agreed to a meeting. The announcement has come after a detente in inter-Korean relations in recent months. Throughout the last year, the US and North Korea have engaged in an escalating 'war of words', culminating in nuclear threats. According to the BBC, a South Korean delegation confirmed the news after meeting with Trump at the White House in Washington DC. The US has repeatedly stressed that talks with North Korea depend on denuclearisation - which Kim has allegedly committed to.

Flight disruptions reported across East Coast airports

Flights to and from airports across the US East Coast are currently facing delays and cancellations as snow removal operations are ongoing. Disruption is being reported at Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) and Bradley International Airport (BDL) in Connecticut. Dozens of flights were also cancelled at New York City's Newark (EWR), JFK and LaGuardia (LGA) airports. Furthermore, operations are also being slightly affected at Savannah Hilton Head International Airport (SAV) and Atlanta (ATL), Georgia. Passengers have been advised to check for flight status updates before heading to the airport as harsh weather conditions may continue to impact flights across the whole East Coast.

Florida lawmakers approve key gun-school safety bill

Florida lawmakershave approved a bill that seeks to limit gun access and allow some armed teachers at schools. The so-called Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act was approved on Wednesday and is currently pending approval from Governor Rick Scott. The bill underlines a number of provisions, including: the increase of the minimum age to purchase firearms, the ban on bump stocks and the creation of a programme that allows some school employees to be armed. The bill comes weeks after 17 people were killed in a shooting at a high school in Parkland.

Weather warning issued as nor'easter approaches East Coast

Travel disruptions are likely to occur as a powerful nor'easter approaches the US East Coast. New Jersey Governor Phill Murphy has declared a state of emergency as heavy snow is expected in some parts of the state overnight on Wednesday. Philadelphia also declared a snow emergency. The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning from eastern Pennsylvania for most areas in New England until Thursday morning.

Trump's top economic adviser to resign

On Tuesday, President Donald Trump's top economic adviser, Gary Cohn, announced his resignation. Cohn, the head of the National Economic Council, is set to leave the White House in the coming weeks without a particular reason. Cohn's resignation comes after markets were shaken when President Trump said that he is considering introducing hefty taxes on steel and aluminium imports.

Nor'easter triggers flight cancellations in New York City

More than 1,200 flights were cancelled across New York City's airports on Wednesday. Operations at Newark (EWR), JFK and LaGuardia (LGA) are being widely disrupted as a powerful nor'easter approaches the US East Coast. Disruptions are also likely to affect flights across other major cities in the region, including Washington DC and Boston. Passengers have been advised to check for flight status updates with their respective airlines.

Weather conditions likely to affect flights in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) has announced that due to adverse weather conditions flight disruptions are likely to occur until Thursday. Passengers have been advised to check for flight status updates with their respective airlines before heading to the airport.

Chicago's ATS night services suspended until mid-March

The Airport Transit System (ATS) at Chicago O'Hare International Airport (ORD) will have its night services suspended until mid-March. ATS services running from Monday through to Friday between 18:45 to 04:45 will be replaced by shuttle buses. For further information, passengers have been advised to directly contact ORD.

Weather warning issued to Northern Plains

The US National Weather Service has informed that weather warnings remain in place across the Northern Plains. A winter storm warning has been issued to most areas in North Dakota and Minnesota, while a blizzard warning is in place to most areas in central South Dakota. The alert comes after Winter Storm Riley caused widespread destruction and a number of casualties over the weekend across the US Northeast. 

Several killed as Winter Storm Riley batters the East Coast

At least six people have been killed as Winter Storm Riley battered the US East Coast. Most areas along the US Mid-Atlantic, Northeast and New England suffered widespread power outages and flooding. Thousands of flights were cancelled at major airports in the US Northeast due to powerful winds and heavy rainfall. A state of emergency was later declared in Massachusetts, Maryland, New York and Virginia. Weather conditions were expected to improve later on Saturday.

Gunman kills himself outside The White House

Shots were reported just outside the White House on Saturday morning. CNN reported that the shooter was identified as 26-year-old Cameron Ross Burgees from Alabama. Metropolitan Police Department said in a statement that several rounds were fired, but none of them was believed to be directed at the building. President Donald Trump was in Florida at the time. Reports revealed that the suspect died of a single self-inflicted shot.

Two killed as shooting breaks out at Michigan University

Two people have been killed when shooting broke out at Central Michigan University (CMU) in Mount Pleasant. According to US media, the 19-year-old suspected shooter is still at large. The shootout happened at CMU's Campbell Hall on Friday morning. Students have been warned to avoid the area as the shooter is armed and dangerous.

Delays expected due to heightened security at Charlotte Airport

Delays are expected as security measures have been heightened at Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) in North Carolina due to the arrival of President Donald Trump and VP Mike Pence. President Trump is heading to Charlotte to attend the funeral of Billy Graham, an influential evangelist who died last week. Passengers have been advised to check for flight status updates with their respective airlines. Road travel disruptions and restrictions are also likely to occur throughout the day around the city.

Weather alert issued as winter storm approaches Southern Califonia

A weather alert has been issued for Southern California as a powerful winter storm is forecast to hit the region. Hazardous conditions are especially expected around burned areas damaged in recent mudslides. Evacuation orders have been issued to Montecito and some parties of Santa Barbara County. TIME Magazine reported that 30,000 people were already ordered to evacuate. Further north, blizzard warnings were issued to parts of Sierra Nevada while areas around the mountain areas are also on alert.

Flights cancelled as Winter Storm Riley hits US Northeast

Hundreds of flight cancellations have been reported at New York City's LaGuardia (LGA), Newark (EWR) and JFK as Winter Storm Riley approaches the US Northeast on Friday. Disruptions have also been reported at DC airports, including Ronald Reagan International Airport (DCA) and Dulles (IAD). Passengers have been advised to check with their respective airlines for flight status updates before heading to the airport.

Adverse weather to impact operations at NYC airports

Flights to and from New York City's LaGuardia (LGA), JFK and Newark (EWR) airports are expected to suffer disruption due to adverse weather conditions forecast on Friday and Saturday. Disruptions and delays are also likely to affect operations across most cities in the US north-east. Passengers have been advised to check with their respective airlines for further flight status updates.

Hope Hicks resigns as White House communications director

The White House Communications Director Hope Hicks has announced her resignation. Hicks was also one of the closest allies to President Donald Trump during a turbulent time at the White House. Her resignation comes just a day after she testified for more than nine hours before Special Counsel Robert Mueller as part of the Russia investigations. Hicks has been deeply involved from the beginning of the Trump presidential campaign.

One killed as avalanche hit Wenatchee Forest, Washington

A hiker has been killed and five others were injured when an avalanche hit the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest in Washington state. The 32-year-old victim was with his family and friends when a snow slope above them broke free. On Saturday, the Northwest Avalanche Center (NWAC) issued an Avalanche warning for roads surrounding the Olympics, Washington Cascades and Mt Hood areas.

Heavy rainfall continues to affect states of the US Midwest

Several states across the US Midwest have been affected as heavy rainfall continues to batter the region. US media reported that two people were killed in separate incidents in Michigan and Oklahoma, while several others were forced to evacuate their homes in Indiana and Dallas, Texas.

President Trump signs order to ban bump-stocks devices

President Donald Trump has signed an order that seeks to ban the so-called bump-stock devices, which converts semi-automatic weapons into automatic guns. The device was used in the Las Vegas massacre, where 58 people were killed when a gunman opened fire at a concert. The order comes just after the gun debate has once again emerged in the light of the death of 17 people who were slaughtered at a Florida school shooting. President Trump has also shown his support for a bipartisan bill which seeks to introduce tougher background checks.

President Trump 'supportive' of improving gun background checks

A statement released on Monday by the White House has revealed that President Donald Trump is willing to support a bipartisan bill to extend background checks on gun ownership. White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said: "While discussions are ongoing and revisions are being considered, the president is supportive of efforts to improve the federal background check system." The announcement regards a bill introduced in November, which is still being revised.

Snow storms to bring travel disruptions to the Upper Midwest

Travel disruptions are expected on Monday and Tuesday as winter storms are expected in the US Upper Midwest. Snow and icy weather conditions are forecast to affect the areas east of the Rocky Mountains to the Upper Midwest. The most affected areas are from Nebraska and South Dakota to the northern areas of Minnesota and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Traffic is expected to be heavily disrupted due to icy roads. Passengers have been advised to check for flight updates with their respective airlines before heading to the airport.

Special counsel charges 13 Russians for elections interference

Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is in charge of the Russia investigations, announced on Friday that the US Department of Justice has indicted 13 Russian individuals for interfering in the US presidential vote back in 2016. All of them have been charged with conspiracy to defraud the US for their varied roles in influencing voters through social media and purposefully supporting President Donald Trump during the presidential campaign. Among them is the Russian billionaire Yevgeny Prigozhin, who is accused of financing the state-sponsored Internet Research Agency.

Senate fails to approve key immigration plans

The Senate has overwhelmingly rejected key immigration amendments, including two with bipartisan support. Among the measures rejected was the allowance of $25bn to border security and guarantees to thousands of immigrants under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Consensus was also not reached in a bill which scraps the diversity visa lottery and the strengthening of immigration policies. Democrats attempt to move quickly as President Donald Trump already settled a deadline to end the DACA program in early March.

Scores killed in Florida high school shooting

Broward County's Police has confirmed that 17 people have been killed in a high school shooting in Parklands, Florida. The incident happened on Wednesday afternoon at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school, when a gunman armed with an AR-15 rifle and a cache of ammunition stormed the building. Reports revealed that the shooter activated the school's fire alarm and indiscriminately opened fire while people were being evacuated. Police identified the suspect as 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, who was recently expelled from the school due to disciplinary issues.

Climber killed after falling from Mount Hood, Oregon

A 44-year-old climber has been killed and seven others remained stranded for hours on Mount Hood, northern Oregon. The victim was severely injured after he fell more than 300 metres just before reaching the mountain's summit. Reports revealed that he succumbed to his wounds while being taken to the hospital. Brian Jensen of the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office told Reuters that two other groups were also stranded in the 3,353-metre mountain due to harsh weather conditions.

Shooting erupts outside NSA HQ in Fort Meade, Maryland

Three people have been injured when shooting erupted outside the National Security Agency (NSA) headquarters at Fort Meade, Maryland. A suspect has reportedly been detained after a black SUV ran into a barrier. No further information has been so far released as the FBI is heading to the scene. 

Mardi Gras celebrations to attract thousands in New Orleans, Louisiana

Large crowds are expected to take to the streets of New Orleans ahead of the Mardi Gras celebrations on Tuesday. Tens of thousands are set to march across Louisiana's capital amid the town's anniversary and the end of the carnival season. Traffic restrictions are expected during this period. It is widely advisable to remain vigilant whilst in crowded areas while security citywide has been heavily reinforced. Marches are set to occur mainly in Uptown New Orleans, Metairie and Covington.

Immigration debate kicks off in Senate

A historical debate kicked off in the Senate on Monday over an attempt to push for amendments to address legislation on immigration and border security. Democrats and Republicans will attempt to reach a consensus on the immigration debate, especially regarding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), an Obama-era program which protects the immigration status of hundreds of thousands of people who arrived in the US as children. All amendments have to get at least 60 votes in the Republican-controlled chamber so it can be taken for discussion to the House.

Three killed in violent standoff in Detroit, Michigan

Three people have been killed during a lengthy standoff in Detroit, Michigan. Reports revealed that the police were called on Sunday evening to respond to a domestic dispute in eastern Detroit. Three police officers were injured when shooting broke out. US media identified the shooter as 49-year-old Lance Smith, who killed himself after opening fire on his girlfriend and two other women.

Flight disruptions due to rough weather in New York and Chicago

Adverse weather conditions are likely to impact flights across the Midwest and Northeast US on Monday. Flights to and from New York's La Guardia (LGA), JFK and Newark (EWR) airports are expected to face delays. Cancellations have also been reported at Chicago's O'Hare (ORD) and Midway (MDW) airports. Meanwhile, the National Weather Service (NWS) has issued a weather warning to the western US. This concerns the central and southern Rockies, while a secondary weather system approaches the Great Basin region later in the week.

Four killed in light aircraft crash in Agua Dulce, California

Four people have been killed when a light aircraft crashed in Agua Dulce, California. US media revealed that the accident happened on Sunday morning in the northern region of Los Angeles County. Reports revealed that all passengers were returning to Winnetka from a weekend trip to Las Vegas. Preliminary investigations revealed that the Cyrrus VK-30 aircraft hit power lines while approaching the Agua Dulce Airpark.

Five killed in Paintsville shooting spree, Kentucky

Five people have been killed when a man engaged in a shooting spree near Paintsville, eastern Kentucky. Police reports revealed that the gunman killed four members of his family before shooting himself. The incident happened on Saturday afternoon when the suspect, who was later identified as Joseph Nickell, killed both his parents at their home in rural Paintsville along with his girlfriend and her mother at another location in the town. 

British tourists killed in Grand Canyon helicopter crash

Three British nationals have been killed and three others injured when their helicopter crashed during a sightseeing tour across the Grand Canyon. The accident happened on Saturday afternoon when the EC-130 aircraft crashed in the Quartermaster Canyon area in Arizona. The 42-year-old pilot was also injured in the crash. The tour was being operated by the Las Vegas-based company Papillon Airways, which claims to carry more than 600,000 passengers yearly on its tours.

Heavy snowfall triggers flight disruptions at Chicago Airports

Heavy snowfall has triggered severe disruptions on operations at both Chicago Airports on Friday. More than 500 flights were cancelled at O'Hare International Airport (ORD) and around 200 more at Midway International Airport (MDW). Travel alerts were also issued to Milwaukee International Airport (MKE) and Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW). Other airports in the east are likely to experience similar disruptions. Travellers have been advised to check for flight status updates with their respective airlines before heading to the airport.

House of Representatives narrowly passes two-year budget

The US House of Representatives has narrowly passed the budget bill after the Senate approved the same measure earlier on Friday. The government had briefly entered on its second shutdown after the Senate failed to meet the voting deadline, which was imposed after Democrats and Republicans voted last month to approve a temporary funding bill to end the previous three-day shutdown.

Large crowds expected at Super Bowl parade in Philadelphia

Large gatherings and potential traffic restrictions are expected on Thursday due to the Super Bowl celebration parade in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The event is set to start at 11:00 local time and last throughout the afternoon. The pre-established route includes the Broad Street, the City Hall and will end at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. 

Black Lives Matter activist shot dead in New Orleans, Louisiana

A 32-year-old activist of the group Black Lives Matter group has been shot dead while riding a bike in New Orleans, Louisiana. The victim was identified as the prominent activist Muhiydin Moye, also known as d'Baha. He was found with severe injuries and later rushed to hospital by a police officer. The circumstances behind the incident are still unclear. Moye was a resident of Charleston and was visiting New Orleans. In 2017, New Orleans reported more than 150 murders, one of the highest rates in the country.

Adverse weather conditions trigger flight disruptions in New York

Hundreds of flights across New York's LaGuardia (LGA), Newark (EWR) and JFK have been cancelled due to adverse weather conditions. Due to snowfall, some flights at Chicago's Midway International Airport (MDW) were also cancelled on Wednesday. Disruptions have also been reported at Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) and Boston Logan International Airport (BOS). Delays are further likely at airports in Washington DC - Ronald Reagan (DCA) and Dulles (IAD) - and Atlanta (ATL). Travellers have been advised to check for further flight status updates with their respective airlines.

Snowfall triggers flight delays at Chicago airports

Flight disruptions have been reported at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport (ORD) due to heavy snowfall. More than 500 flights were cancelled on Tuesday while further severe delays are expected throughout the day. Dozens of flights were also cancelled at Chicago's Midway International Airport (MDW). Passengers have been advised to check flight status updates with their respective airlines before heading to the airport.

Two killed and scores injured in train collision in South Carolina

Two crew members have been killed and more than 100 passengers injured when two trains collided near Columbia, South Carolina. Federal officials revealed that the accident happened in the early hours of Sunday when an overnight Amtrak service bound from New York City to Miami collided head-on into a freight train. It is believed that the accident was caused due to a signalling problem that led the train into a siding loading station.

Sacked employee kills two in Detroit, Michigan

A 45-year-old suspect has been detained after he engaged in a killing spree across Detroit, Michigan. Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said that the suspect was armed with an assault rifle and was holding 200 rounds of ammunition. The victims were killed in two presumed targeted murders in Pontiac and a trucking firm in Taylor. The suspect was later detained after a shootout with police officers in Waterford. The Washington Post reported that the suspect was dismissed from the trucking company back in November.

Five injured in accidental school shooting in Los Angeles

Five people have been injured after a 12-year-old girl discharged a firearm at a school in California. LA police revealed that the shooting was unintentional. Among the victims is two 15-year-olds who are currently in a stable condition. The incident happened on Thursday afternoon at the Salvador Castro Middle School in Westlake District. The shooting comes days after two students were killed when a student opened fire at a school in Kentucky.

NYC MetroCards to accept cash only due to system upgrade

Travellers heading to and from New York's LaGardia and JFK airports via NYCT Subway or Bus services have been warned that the purchase of MetroCards can temporarily only be made in cash. The measure will last from Friday evening, 02 February, to early Monday morning, 05 February, due to a scheduled system software update. Travellers have been advised to use cash or purchase MetroCards before Friday evening as card payments may not be accepted.

Disruptions expected due to winter weather on the East Coast

Winter weather conditions are expected to cause disruptions across the US East Coast over the weekend. Travel disruptions and power outages are likely to affect major cities in the region until Monday. Traffic along major interstate highways are also expected to be affected as well as flights to and from major international airports. Rain and thunderstorms are forecast for the south-east coast, while snow is expected further north. It is widely advisable to monitor US media and official channels for further developments.

President Trump signs order to keep Guantanamo Bay open

On Tuesday, President Donald Trump signed an executive order to keep the infamous Guantanamo Bay military prison open. President Trump said: “Terrorists who do things like place bombs in civilian hospitals are evil. (...) When necessary, we must be able to detain and question them. But we must be clear: Terrorists are not merely criminals. They are unlawful enemy combatants." The move virtually reverses the intention of both previous administrations to shut down the prison. Currently, the prison located on the Cuban island, holds more than 40 prisoners captive, way lower than its 2003 peak, when it held a population of 680 inmates.

FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe steps down

FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe resigned on Monday just months before he was set to retire. McCabe filled the post of leader of the bureau when its former director, James Comey, stepped down. Both of them were involved in the investigations on Hillary Clinton's emails and the alleged Russian collusion with President Donald Trump's campaign. McCabe was facing increasing pressure from Republicans and, most recently, from FBI Director Christopher Wray. The White House spokeswoman, Sarah Hackabee, said that President Trump has not influenced the decision. It is believed that McCabe is leaving office after being offered another post just before the release of an inspector general report into the FBI.

Four killed as gunman storms car-wash in Melcroft, Pennsylvania

Four people have been killed when a gunman stormed a self-service car-wash in Melcroft, Pennsylvania. Fayette County district attorney, Richard Bower, revealed in a press conference that a 28-year-old suspect wearing armoured gear was armed with a high-calibre semi-automatic rifle and a handgun. All victims were in their 20s, while the suspect shooter sustained a gunshot wound to his head. Local US media reported that the incident is likely linked to a domestic dispute.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions testifies in Russia probe

The US Justice Department has revealed on Tuesday that Attorney General Jeff Sessions has been questioned by the US House of Representatives special committee as investigations over the alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential elections unfold. Sessions is the highest-ranking official and the first member of President Donald Trump's cabinet to testify. Special Counsel Robert Mueller is investigating an alleged interference to the FBI probe into contacts between Russian officials and Trump's campaign officers. President Donald Trump may soon be called to clarify some aspects, such as the firing of former FBI chief James Comey back in May.

Flight disruptions reported across eastern US

Flight delays have been reported at Minneapolis-St Paul International Airport (MSP) while severe weather conditions are limiting operations along the US East Coast. According to the US Federal Aviation Authority (FAA), gusty winds and low clouds are impacting flights from and to airports in Boston (BOS), New York (LGA, JFK, EWR), Washington DC (BWI, DCA, IAD), Philadelphia (PHL), Chicago (MDW, ORD) and Detroit (DTW). Passengers have been advised to check for flight updates with their respective airlines before heading to the airport.

Casualties reported in high-school shooting in Benton, Kentucky

Two teenagers have been killed and 17 others were injured when shooting broke out at a high school in Benton, south-western Kentucky. Governor Matt Bevin confirmed the casualties, which happened on Tuesday morning at Marshall County High School. Further reports suggest that the shooter is in custody, while the circumstances behind the incident remain unknown.

US shutdown ends as Congress pass temporary funding bill

The US federal government shutdown has ended as both Republicans and Democrats struck a deal in Senate. On a Monday afternoon vote, Democrats and Republicans overwhelmingly voted to pass a temporary funding bill which guarantees to fund the government until 08 February. Last Friday the government entered a shutdown after Democrats demanded the status protection of the so-called 'Dreamers', which represent more than 700,000 immigrants who arrived in the US as children. Republicans further agreed to discuss a discuss a long-term immigration deal if Democrats chose to lift the shutdown.

Powerful earthquake triggers tsunami watch for US West Coast

A tsunami watch has been issued to the entire US West Coast after a powerful 8.2-magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Alaska. According to the US Geological Survey, the quake was recorded on Tuesday morning at a shallow depth of around 10km. Its epicentre was nearly 300km southeast of Chiniak in the Gulf of Alaska. Meanwhile, the US Tsunami Warning System revealed that a tsunami warning was also issued to some areas in Alaska and Canada.

Several workers missing after blast at Oklahoma gas field

Five workers have been reported missing after a powerful blast struck an oil and gas site near Quinton, eastern Oklahoma. In a statement released on Monday, Pittsburg County Emergency Management Department (PCEMD) revealed that gas from the well was fueling a fire, which initially limited rescue operations. Executives of the Houston-based company Patterson-UTI said that an investigation is being carried out to assess the cause of the incident.

Flights disruptions reported in Chicago and Minneapolis

Winter weather conditions have triggered disruption to both Chicago airports. Due to storms, several flights to and from Midway (MDW) and O'Hare (ORD) are delayed or being cancelled. Disruption has also been reported on flights to Minneapolis International Airport (MSP). Passengers have been advised to check flight status updates with their respective airlines before heading to the airport.

US government goes into shutdown as Senate rejects new budget

The US federal government has faced a shutdown after senators failed to pass the new budget. On Thursday, members of the House of Representative approved a temporary funding bill set to last until mid-February. However, one day later, the same bill failed to pass through Congress. Despite Republicans holding the majority on both houses of Congress, the bill still needs 60 votes to pass. The main disagreement regards immigration policies towards more than 700,000 immigrants who arrived in the US as children. Democrats demanded that Republicans include provisions regarding the Obama-era DACA programme, which protects the immigration status of the so-called 'Dreamers'. Non-essential federal agencies will remain closed on Monday as a fresh vote is scheduled to take place later in the afternoon - the last shutdown happened five years ago and lasted for 16 days.

Boil-water advisory issued in New Orleans, Louisiana

New Orleans' Sewerage & Water Board has issued a precautionary boil-water advisory as water pressure has dropped below the safety threshold. In a press release published on Wednesday, the board said that "broken frozen pipes and increases in water use to keep pipes from freezing likely have strained New Orleans' water distribution system." Boil-water advisories are issued as lower water pressure may lead to contamination to damaged pipes. The advisory is only in place on the east side of New Orleans. People have been advised not to consume tap water - or safely boil it - and be careful when bathing. The advisory is expected to last over the weekend. Pipes and disruptions at the city's water stations have been affected by harsh winter conditions.

Five killed in helicopter crash near Raton, New Mexico

Five people have been killed and another injured when a helicopter crashed near Raton,