US

Ukraine crisis: Biden and Johnson say still hope for diplomatic agreement

In a 40-minute call, Joe Biden and Boris Johnson agreed a deal was still possible despite a chorus of warnings of imminent Russian military action.

Russia has always denied plans to invade Ukraine, despite massing more than 100,000 troops on the border.

On Monday its foreign minister said diplomacy was "far from exhausted".

More than a dozen nations have urged their citizens to leave Ukraine, and the US has said aerial bombardments could begin "at any time".

New Zealander jailed in US for producing child pornography

Aucklander Troy George Skinner made headlines when he travelled to the US state of Virginia to meet a teenage girl he had chatted to online.

The girl's mother shot him in the neck as he was trying to smash his way into their home on 22 June, 2018.

Skinner fled from the house but collapsed in a neighbour's yard, where he was caught by members of the local Goochland County sheriff's office.

A local newspaper, the Richmond Times-Dispatch, reported Skinner created 49 videos around sexual acts that he had persuaded the 14-year-old to perform online.

 

US delays Covid vaccine for children under five by at least two months

The FDA had planned to decide on the vaccine based on early trial data as soon as next week with the government planning to roll it out on 21 February. It had asked Pfizer to speed up its application as the Omicron variant of the coronavirus caused a surge of infections, including among children.

On Friday, the agency said it had reviewed new trial information that arrived after Pfizer and BioNTech's request for emergency authorisation and decided it needed more data before weighing in on the authorisation.

Ukraine tensions: Russia invasion could begin any day, US warns

An invasion could start with aerial bombing that would make departures difficult and endanger civilians, the White House said on Friday.

A host of other countries have also urged their nationals to leave Ukraine.

Moscow has repeatedly denied any plans to invade Ukraine despite massing more than 100,000 troops near the border.

Russia's foreign ministry on Friday accused Western countries of spreading false information.

US trying to draw Russia into war says Putin

In his first significant comments on the crisis in several weeks, he said America's goal was to use a confrontation as a pretext to impose more sanctions on Russia.

He also said the US was ignoring Russia's concerns about Nato alliance forces in Europe.

Tension is high over a Russian troop build-up close to Ukraine's borders.

Russia denies Western accusations that it is planning an invasion, nearly eight years after it annexed Crimea and backed a bloody rebellion in Ukraine's eastern regions.

Almost 500-mile-long lightning bolt crossed three US states

The lightning bolt, extended a total of 477.2 miles (768 km) and spread across Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas.

The previous record was 440.6 miles (709 km) and recorded in Brazil in 2018.

Lightning rarely extends over 10 miles and usually lasts under a second.

Another lightning flash recorded in 2020 - in Uruguay and Argentina - has also set a new record for duration at 17.1 seconds. The previous record was 16.7 seconds.

Sir Elton John postpones US shows after positive Covid-19 test

The musician, 74, is fully vaccinated and boosted, and is currently experiencing only mild symptoms, according to a post on his Instagram.

The global pandemic has caused many delays in Sir Elton's Farewell Yellow Brick Road world tour.

Another British superstar, Adele, also cancelled US shows last week.

The Dallas shows were originally scheduled to take place on Tuesday and Wednesday.

US could sanction Putin if Russia invades Ukraine, Biden says

Mr Biden said there would be "enormous consequences" for the world if Russia made a move on the nation, which sits on its south-western border.

His comments came as other Western leaders repeated warnings that Russia would pay a heavy price for invasion.

Russia has accused the US and others of "escalating tensions" over the issue and denies it plans to enter Ukraine.

However, Moscow has built up troops at the border, with some 100,000 Russian soldiers deployed in the region.

Get away from shore - US and Japan warn after Tonga tsunami

The US warned of strong currents and waves, and coastal flooding.

The huge underwater volcanic eruption caused waves of more than a metre to crash into Tonga.

The eruption of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Haʻapai volcano was heard across the South Pacific, and eventually as far away as the US.

A tsunami warning has been issued for parts of Australia's east coast and Tasmania, and the north and east coast areas of New Zealand's North Island.

Prince Andrew to face civil sex assault case after US ruling

Virginia Giuffre is suing the prince, claiming he abused her in 2001.

His lawyers said the case should be thrown out, citing a 2009 deal she signed with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. But a New York judge ruled that the claim could be heard.

He has consistently denied the claims. Buckingham Palace said it would not comment on an ongoing legal matter.

The motion to dismiss the lawsuit was outlined in a 46-page decision by Judge Lewis A Kaplan of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.