Jun 20, 2019

Classified UFO briefing given to senators on Navy encounters: Report

Photo: Getty Image artwork

Three senators received a classified Pentagon briefing on Wednesday about several reported U.S. Navy encounters with unidentified aircraft, Politico reports, citing congressional and government officials.

Details: The outlet noted it's part of a growing number of requests from members of key oversight committees into unidentified flying objects (UFOs). A spokeswoman for Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), the vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, confirmed to Politico he had received a briefing.

What they're saying: "If naval pilots are running into unexplained interference in the air, that’s a safety concern Senator Warner believes we need to get to the bottom of," Warner's spokeswoman Rachel Cohen, said in a statement to Politico.

Why it matters: The Navy announced in April there had been a rise in reports of UFO sightings. Although the Navy isn't saying aliens are out there, it is concerned about the increasing number of reports alleging highly advanced aircraft flying near sensitive military facilities and in military-controlled ranges.

The big picture: In December 2017, the Pentagon officially confirmed the existence of its $22 million program to investigate UFOs. Then-Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) requested the program's funding in 2007. Much of it came from Robert Bigelow, the billionaire behind an aerospace program who currently works with NASA.

Go deeper: The interstellar object Oumuamua is almost certainly not an alien spaceship

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World coronavirus updates: Cases surge past 720,000

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens and confirmed plus presumptive cases from the CDC

There are now more than 720,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus around the world, according to data from Johns Hopkins. The virus has now killed more than 33,000 people — with Italy alone reporting over 10,000 deaths.

The big picture: Governments around the world have stepped up public health and economic measures to stop the spread of the virus and soften the financial impact. In the U.S., now the site of the largest outbreak in the world, President Trump said Sunday that his administration will extend its "15 Days to Slow the Spread" guidelines until April 30.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 36 mins ago - Health

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 718,685 — Total deaths: 33,881 — Total recoveries: 149,076.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in cases. Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 139,675 — Total deaths: 2,436 — Total recoveries: 2,661.
  3. Federal government latest: President Trump says his administration will extend its "15 Days to Slow the Spread" guidelines until April 30.
  4. Public health updates: Fauci says 100,000 to 200,000 Americans could die from virus.
  5. State updates: Louisiana governor says state is on track to exceed ventilator capacity by end of this week — Cuomo says Trump's mandatory quarantine comments "panicked" some people into fleeing New York
  6. World updates: Italy on Sunday reports 756 new deaths, bringing its total 10,779. Spain reports almost 840 dead, another new daily record that bring its total to over 6,500.
  7. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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Trump says peak coronavirus deaths in 2 weeks, extends shutdown

Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

President Trump is extending his administration's "15 days to slow the spread" shutdown guidelines for an additional month in the face of mounting coronavirus infections and deaths and pressure from public health officials and governors.

Driving the news: With the original 15-day period that was announced March 16 about to end, officials around the country had been bracing for a premature call to return to normalcy from a president who's been venting lately that the prescription for containing the virus could be worse than the impacts of the virus itself.

Go deeperArrow2 hours ago - Health