Apr 13, 2017

Assad denies chemical weapons attack in Syria

Syrian Presidency via AP

President Bashar al-Assad told AFP that last week's chemical weapons attack is "100 percent fabrication," and that the U.S. concocted the whole story in "order to have a pretext" for the missile strike on his forces.

"There was no order to make any attack. We don't have any chemical weapons. We gave up our arsenal three years ago. Even if we had them, we wouldn't use them. We have never used our chemical arsenal in our history, said Assad. "Our impression that the West, mainly the United States, is hand-in-glove with the terrorists. They fabricated the whole story in order to have a pretext for the attack."

An important detail: The AFP said that during the TV interview, the Syrian government wouldn't let them use their own cameras — only cameras belonging to the Syrian government were allowed. And afterward, the government only gave AFP the tape of the first 5 questions and answers.

Meanwhile: Samples taken from the attack in Syria tested positive for the nerve agent sarin, the British delegation at the world's chemical weapons watchdog said on Thursday, per Reuters.

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Coronavirus dashboard

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  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 5 p.m. ET: 657,691 — Total deaths: 30,438 — Total recoveries: 139,263.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in cases. Total confirmed cases as of 5 p.m. ET: 119,748 — Total deaths: 1,991 — Total recoveries: 921.
  3. Federal government latest: President Trump is considering a quarantine on New York, parts of New Jersey and Connecticut. He signed a $2 trillion stimulus bill to give businesses and U.S. workers financial relief.
  4. State updates: Alaska is latest state to issue a stay-at-home order — New York is trying to nearly triple its hospital capacity in less than a month and has moved its presidential primary to June 23. Some Midwestern swing voters that supported Trump's handling of the virus less than two weeks ago are now balking at his call for the U.S. to be "opened up" by Easter.
  5. World updates: In Spain, over 1,400 people were confirmed dead between Thursday to Saturday.
  6. 🚀 Space updates: OneWeb filed for bankruptcy amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.
  7. Hollywood: Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson have returned to U.S. after being treated for coronavirus.
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Infant dies after testing positive for coronavirus in Chicago

Hospital staff working inside a COVID-19 screening tent in Chicago on March 26. Photo: Jim Vondruska/NurPhoto via Getty Images

An infant less than one year old died in Chicago, Illinois after testing positive for the novel coronavirus, the state health department said on Saturday.

Why it matters: The death would mark the first reported infant mortality from COVID-19 in the U.S. The fatality rate for the novel coronavirus in the U.S. is highest among those over 85 years old, per the CDC.

Trump weighs quarantine of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

President Trump said on Saturday he is considering a "short term" quarantine of New York, New Jersey and parts of Connecticut — states that have already taken steps to quarantine residents and promote social distancing.

The big picture: With 112,000 people infected, the U.S. has the most COVID-19 cases in the world, exceeding China and Italy, per data from Johns Hopkins. A second wave of American cities, including Boston, Detroit, New Orleans and Philadelphia, are reporting influxes of cases.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Health