US soldiers injured in Iran’s attack on Iraqi military bases

UNTV News   •   January 17, 2020   •   542

US soldiers stand next to the damage caused by Iran’s missile attack inside Ain al-Assad air base in Anbar province, Iraq, 14 January 2020. EPA-EFE FILE/STR

Washington, DC — Eleven United States soldiers were injured in the Jan. 8 Iranian bombing of a military base in Iraq in retaliation for the killing of Qasem Soleimani in a targeted strike, the US Central Command said in a statement Thursday.

Initially, the Pentagon had said that the attack had not caused any injuries but now, after re-evaluating the victims, it has identified some symptoms of possible concussions due to the force of the impact of the missiles.

“While no US service members were killed in the Jan. 8 Iranian attack on Al Asad air base, several were treated for concussion symptoms from the blast and are still being assessed,” Centcom spokesperson Bill Urban said in a statement.

“Out of an abundance of caution,” in the days following the attack, eight soldiers were transported from the Al Asad air base in western Iraq to the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, while three others were sent to Camp Arifjan in Kuwait for follow-on screening, the official said.

“When deemed fit for duty, the service members are expected to return to Iraq following screening,” he added.

After the attack on the air base, Iran warned that it was only the beginning of a series of retaliatory actions it would take to avenge the death of Soleimani, the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps’ elite Quds Force and a highly respected figure in the Persian county, in a US targeted strike in Baghdad on Jan. 3.

At the time, US President Donald Trump chose not to respond to the Iranian offensive with military force and said in a speech to the nation that he would impose more sanctions against Iran.

Those sanctions were directed against eight senior Iranian officials, including Iran’s Supreme National Security Council secretary Ali Shamkhani, as well as against the country’s steel, iron, aluminum and copper industry.

“The United States is targeting senior Iranian officials for their involvement and complicity in Tuesday’s ballistic missile strikes,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had said in a statement outlining the sanctions.

“We are also designating Iran’s largest metals manufacturers, and imposing sanctions on new sectors of the Iranian economy including construction, manufacturing, and mining,” he added.

Tehran and Washington, which have had no diplomatic relations since 1979, have experienced multiple crises since Trump ordered the US’ exit from a landmark multilateral agreement on Tehran’s nuclear program in 2018.

The current escalation of tension coincides with the downing of a Ukrainian aircraft by the Islamic Republic, which caused the death of all 176 people aboard. EFE-EPA

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Detroit bus driver dies of COVID-19 days after posting rant vs coughing passenger

Aileen Cerrudo   •   April 6, 2020

A bus driver in the United States (US) died 11 days after he posted a video on Facebook complaining about a coughing passenger.

50-year-old Detroit bus driver Jason Hargrove posted a video on March 21 recounting an incident where an woman in her late fifties coughed several times without covering her mouth.

“I feel violated, I feel violated for those folks that was on the bus when this happened,” he said on his video.

He also advised everyone watching the video to take the pandemic seriously.

He reiterated his anger to the old woman who coughed without covering her mouth saying it was those kinds of people who are not taking the situation seriously.

“This is real, I’m out here. We are all here. We are moving in this city back and forth, trying to do our jobs and be professional about what we do,” he said.

“We’re out here as public workers, doing our job, trying to make an honest living to take care of our families. But for you to get on the bus, and stand on the bus, and cough several times without covering up your mouth, and you know that we’re in the middle of a pandemic, that lets me know that some folks don’t care.”

A week after his Facebook rant, Hangrove, a father of six, died on April 1 due to complications from COVID-19.

His video has already been viewed more than half a million times. Netizens are also rallying for the frontliners amid the COVID-19 pandemic. AAC

Trump extends national COVID-19 guidelines to April 30

UNTV News   •   March 30, 2020

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Sunday that he will extend the guidelines aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus to April 30, from his original target of Easter on April 12. Trump added that deaths from the coronavirus could peak around Easter.

U.S. President Donald Trump also called on Congress Sunday (March 29), to restore the full tax deduction for meals and entertainment in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

As part of a wide-ranging 2017 tax reform measure, Congress eliminated the corporate tax deduction for entertainment expenses, but taxpayers were allowed to continue to deduct 50% of the cost of client business meals. Trump said he wanted to restore that tax deduction “so companies can send people to restaurants.”

In a long and wide-ranging news conference focused on his administration’s response to COVID-19, President Trump questioned the increasing need for masks, urging New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio to look into hospitals requesting hundreds of thousands of masks during the pandemic.

“How do you go from 10 to 20 to 300-thousand? 10 to 20,000 masks to 300,000, even though this is different? Something’s going on. And you ought to look into it as reporters. Where are the masks going? Are they going out of the back door? he asked. “I don’t think it’s hoarding. I think it’s maybe worse than hoarding. But check it out. Check it out.”

On March 25, Trump issued an executive order to prevent the hoarding of essential medical equipment to deal with the coronavirus pandemic, including ventilators and masks.

The executive order authorized the U.S. government to directly target hoarders, who can be criminally prosecuted.

But with the infection rate rising rapidly, Reuters has documented shortages of vital protective equipment in hospitals in hard-hit New York, where healthcare workers are hiding supplies such as facemasks from colleagues in other departments.

As supply chains break down or delay delivery of vital equipment, nurses say they are locking away or hiding N95 respirator masks, surgical masks and other supplies that are prone to going missing if left unattended for long. (Reuters)

(Production: Vanessa Johnston, Arlene Eiras)

US Indo-Pacific Command cancels 2020 Balikatan Exercises amid COVID-19 threat

Robie de Guzman   •   March 27, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The United States Indo-Pacific Command on Friday said it has canceled the Balikatan exercises scheduled for May 4 to 15 in the Philippines amid the threat posed by the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

In a statement, the US Indo-Pacific Command said the cancellation of the joint military exercises between the troops from the Philippines and the US is in accordance with international travel restrictions implemented by the two countries in response to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

“In light of the extraordinary circumstances surrounding COVID-19 pandemic and in the best interest of the health and safety of both countries’ forces, it is prudent to cancel Balikatan 2020,” Admiral Phil Davidson, Commander, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, said.

“We remain deeply committed to our long-standing Alliance and friendship,” he added.

Balikatan is an annual exercise between the Republic of the Philippines and the United States, and involves the participation of Australia.

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