May 14, 2018

White House: Hamas is responsible for Gaza protester deaths

Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah taking questions from reporters. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

White House Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah told reporters on Monday that responsibility for the dozens of Palestinian protestors killed in Gaza "rests squarely with Hamas" and that "Israel has the right to defend itself."

The big picture: The White House said it still hopes to help foster a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinian territories and believes that the protests — sparked by the opening of the new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem — and deaths don't change that.

Other highlights from the briefing:

  • On Kelly Sadler's McCain comments: Shah said Sadler called and apologized to the McCain family privately. He added that she “came to work” on Monday and the matter is “being handled internally.” 
  • On ZTE: Per Shah, President Trump asked Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to examine ZTE and as it was an “concern of the Chinese government" and part of the “give and take” between China and the United States.
  • 1 fun thing: Trump also spoke with the Waffle House shooting hero James Shaw Jr. by phone this morning to “commend his heroic actions and quick thinking” when he wrestled a gun from the shooter last month.

Update: the second paragraph has been corrected to say Palestinian territories instead of Palestine.

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Japan to close schools through late March to control coronavirus outbreak

A couple takes photos in front of the Olympic rings in Tokyo. Photo: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced Thursday that the government will ask elementary, middle and high schools around the country to close until late March as an attempt to contain its novel coronavirus outbreak, AP reports.

Why it matters: The government's decision — impacting 12.8 million students across 34,847 schools — comes as concerns mount about the spread of the virus in Japan, which has 189 confirmed cases and hundreds more abroad the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship.

Go deeper: The latest coronavirus updates

What the coronavirus means for Trump's presidency

Photo Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photo: Chris Graythen/Getty Images

A poor response to the coronavirus could be politically devastating for President Trump, and so far his administration has given the strong impression that it’s still scrambling as the risk of a pandemic mounts.

Why it matters: There’s only so much any president can do to stop a virus from spreading, and for now the coronavirus is still very much under control within the U.S. But if the disease get worse in the months ahead, and if the administration seems to be caught off guard, that spells trouble for public confidence in Trump.

Go deeperArrow2 hours ago - Health

Coronavirus updates: New global case numbers surpass China's

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.

The novel coronavirus is now affecting every continent but Antarctica and the WHO said Wednesday the number of new cases reported outside China has exceeded those inside the country for the first time.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed more than 2,800 people and infected over 82,000 others in some 50 countries and territories. As Denmark and Estonia reported their first cases Thursday, Scott Morrison, prime minister of Australia — which has 23 confirmed infections — told a news conference, "The risk of a global pandemic is very much upon us."

Go deeperArrowUpdated 4 hours ago - Health