US

Tongan mum of COVID-19 victim in US calls for people to take virus seriously

Finau’s daughter and partner are ill.

“If any of you are feeling unwell, go and get tested,” she said.

“There is no shame in it.”

Kaniva News reports Finau, who is currently in Auckland, said she is concerned that people in the United States are travelling from state to state.

They were not facing the same strict restrictions as New Zealanders.

“I ask Americans to take it seriously,” she said.

“I wish I was home so I could do something for her.”

'Murder hornets' land in the US for the first time

The 2-inch long Asian giant hornets have landed in the US for the first time, spotted on the west coast.

Multiple stings are deadly to humans and in their "slaughter phase" the hornets destroy honeybees, whose bodies they feed to their young.

Scientists are now on a hunt for the hornets, hoping to eradicate the species before they wipe out US bees.

Though they typically avoid people, in Asia, "murder hornet" stings are thought to cause as many as 50 human fatalities a year, according to the New York Times.

US increases support for Pacific Covid-19 response by over $32m

The bulk of the funds will go to its Freely Associated States with Marshall Islands, Micronesia and Palau receiving over $US27.5-million from various federal agencies.

Other Pacific countries will receive a combined total of $US3.3-million from USAID while Papua New Guinea will get a separate $US1.2-million.

The funding announced late last week is on top of the more than $US32-million already committed by Washington since the start of the pandemic.

Deadly tornadoes batter southern US states

Tornadoes touched down in Louisiana, Texas and Mississippi.

On Sunday, the Mississippi Emergency Management Agenda confirmed deaths across three counties.

In Louisiana, a number of homes were destroyed in the city of Monroe, with the city's official social media account initially reporting only minor injuries.

The National Weather Service said severe thunderstorms were likely through late Sunday into Monday, in particular across parts of Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia.

US overtakes China with most coronavirus cases

According to the latest figures collated by Johns Hopkins University, the US has overtaken China (81,782 cases) and Italy (80,589).

But with 1,200 Covid-19-related fatalities, the US death toll lags behind China (3,291) and Italy (8,215).

The grim milestone came as President Donald Trump predicted the nation would get back to work "pretty quickly".

How did the White House react?

Asked about the latest figures at a White House briefing on Thursday afternoon, President Trump said it was "a tribute to the amount of testing that we're doing".

Teen held for killing that bystanders filmed

Tyler Flach, 18, is accused of second-degree murder in the deadly after-school brawl that broke out not far from the victim's Long Island school.

Police said that most of the "50, 60, 70" kids who witnessed the attack on Khaseen Morris did nothing to stop it.

"That's egregious," said Detective Lt Stephen Fitzpatrick.

"Kids stood here and didn't help Khaseen," Lt Fitzpatrick said. "They would rather video this event."

Police were called to a row of shops near Oceanside High School in Nassau County on Monday afternoon.

Stronger quake rattles Southern California

It struck at the shallow depth of 0.9km (0.6 miles) and its epicentre was near the city of Ridgecrest, about 240km north-east of Los Angeles.

A 6.4 magnitude quake hit the same region on Thursday at a depth of nearly 11km.

As yet, there have been no reports of casualties or of major damage.

The Los Angeles Fire Department said nobody had been killed or injured. A statement after the latest quake said the authorities had seen "no major infrastructure damage" after a survey of the city.

Seized North Korean freighter heading to American Samoa

The Wise Honest is a 17,000 tonne cargo ship which was stopped in Indonesia last year after it was found to be carrying coal in violation of UN sanctions.

On Thursday, the Justice Department asked a federal judge to give the US ownership of the vessel through a civil forfeiture action - the same process for seizing planes or boats used by drug smugglers.

The Justice Department said the US was entitled to take the action because payments to maintain and equip the vessel were made through American banks.

US women buy a box of Lego, find meth inside

The women, who were on a shopping trip in Charleston, South Carolina, returned home to Statesboro, Georgia, and gave the Lego to a young child. 

They realised something was seriously wrong when the child opened the box and found a package of meth instead of Lego.

The quantity of methamphetamine had an estimated street value of US$40,000 (NZ$60,790). Although the women were unaware of the concealment, they had unwittingly committed a felony by transporting the disguised drug.

US court to rehear Tongan death row case decision

A Nevada news media report said another hearing was scheduled for this month.

Siaosi Vanisi was convicted in the beating death of police officer George Sullivan while in his patrol car at a parking lot near an information kiosk between UNR’s Morrill Hall and Manzanita Lake.

Sullivan had 10 blows to his face, seven to his scalp area, two on the upper part of his body and another to the left hand that nearly severed two fingers, an autopsy report said.

This was not the first time Vanisi’s death case had been challenged in court.