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12 killed in Costa Rican crash

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San Jose, Jan 1: At least 12 people including a family of five from New York perished in a Central American plane crash, a media report said on Monday. 

No one survived the single-engine Cessna crash on Sunday when it smashed into a mountainous region in Guancaste in Costa Rica while en route to the beachside resort town of Punta Islita on the Pacific coast, an official said, news agency IANS reported.

The victims included Bruce and Irene Steinberg and their sons, Matthew, William and Zachary from Scarsdale,  according to the New York Post report.

Reports from Costa Rican media identified the other Americans as Mitchell Weiss, Leslie Levin Weiss, Hanna Mae Weiss, Amanda Rae Geissler and Gene Wing Szeto.

Apart from this, the crew member of Costa Rican were identified as Juan Manuel Retana and Emma Ramos Calderon, Former Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla, who held office from 2010 to 2014, posted on Twitter that Retana was her cousin.

“Fatality gets in the way of family celebrations. Our beloved cousin dies as part of the crew of the plane crash in Guanacaste. Force to your children and brothers and peace to your remains. You will remain in our dear heart # JuanManuelRetana,” she said in a tweet.

Video posted online by the crhoy.com website showed burning wreckage next to what appeared to be the tail section of the plane.

Security Minister Gustavo Mata stated autopsies would be needed to confirm the number and identities of the badly burned victims, the report said.

The Aviation Safety Network website asserted the plane was a single-engine Cessna 208B Grand Caravan.

It was owned and operated by Nature Air, which did not immediately respond to requests for comment, reports said.

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Disaster

CDC forecast projects 200,000 COVID-19 deaths in US by Sept 5

If the United States allowed the coronavirus to spread unchecked in an attempt to try to achieve so-called herd immunity, the “death toll would be enormous,” Anthony Fauci, U.S. top infectious disease expert, warned.

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Coronavirus Death US

WASHINGTON, Aug. 14 : A new ensemble forecast published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has projected up to 200,000 total COVID-19 deaths in the United States by Sept. 5.

The projection published Thursday forecast that 4,200 to 10,600 new COVID-19 deaths will be reported during the week ending Sept. 5 and that 180,000 to 200,000 total COVID-19 deaths will be reported by that date.

“State- and territory-level ensemble forecasts predict that the number of reported new deaths per week may increase over the next four weeks in Colorado and may decrease in Arizona, the Northern Mariana Islands, Vermont, and Wyoming,” the CDC said on its forecasting website.

If the United States allowed the coronavirus to spread unchecked in an attempt to try to achieve so-called herd immunity, the “death toll would be enormous,” Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, warned on Thursday.

“If everyone contracted it, even with the relatively high percentage of people without symptoms … a lot of people are going to die,” Fauci said during a live Instagram session.

“Testing continues to fall, especially in the South, one of the areas where the country needs it the most. Cases, too, are falling, which remains hard to interpret, given the testing decline — but fewer people are now in the hospital with COVID-19 than last week,” said a new report of The COVID Tracking Project.

This is the second week in a row that hospitalizations seem to have dropped, which suggests that infections may be declining independently of testing reductions, according to the report.

The number of COVID-19 cases in the United States topped 5.29 million as of Friday afternoon with more than 168,100 deaths, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

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Middle East

Turkey may suspend ties with UAE over Israel deal, Erdogan says

The deal makes UAE the third Arab country to establish full relations with Israel, after Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994.

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ISTANBUL : Turkey is considering suspending diplomatic ties with the United Arab Emirates and withdrawing its ambassador over the Gulf state’s accord to normalise ties with Israel, President Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday.

The Turkish foreign ministry said history would never forgive the UAE’s “hypocritical behaviour” in agreeing such a deal, which recasts the order of Middle East politics.

Under the U.S.-brokered, the first between Israel and a Gulf Arab, the Jewish state agreed to suspend its planned annexation of areas of the occupied West Bank. Palestinian leaders have denounced it as a “stab in the back” to their cause.

“The move against Palestine is not a step that can be stomached. Now, Palestine is either closing or withdrawing its embassy. The same thing is valid for us now,” Erdogan said, adding he gave orders to his foreign minister.

“I told him we may also take a step in the direction of suspending diplomatic ties with the Abu Dhabi leadership or pulling back our ambassador,” he told reporters after Friday prayers.

The Foreign Ministry had earlier said Palestinians were right to reject the deal in which the UAE betrayed their cause.

“History and the conscience of the region’s peoples will not forget and never forgive this hypocritical behaviour,” it said. “It is extremely worrying that the UAE should, with a unilateral action, try and do away with the (2002) Arab Peace Plan developed by the Arab League.”

Turkey has diplomatic and trade ties with Israel, but relations have been strained for years. In 2010 Israeli commandos killed 10 Turkish activists trying to breach a blockade on the Gaza Strip, which is ruled by the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas.

The deal makes UAE the third Arab country to establish full relations with Israel, after Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994.

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Election

Trump plans to accept Republican presidential nomination at White House

Trump’s intent to give the speech at the White House triggered criticism from the Democrats, who said it would be both illegal and unethical for the President to do so.

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Donald Trump

Washington, Aug 14 : President Donald Trump said that he plans to deliver his convention speech while formally accepting the Republican presidential nomination from the White House lawn, according to media reports.

“I’ll probably be giving my speech at the White House because it is a great place. It’s a place that makes me feel good. It makes the country feel good,” Xinhua news agency quoted Trump as saying to the New York Post in an exclusive interview on Thursday.

Earlier this week, he had floated the idea of giving the speech at either the White House or Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, an American Civil War battlefield.

Trump told the New York Post that he would visit Gettysburg at a later date.

“We’d do it possibly outside on one of the lawns. We have various lawns, so we could have it outside,” he said, citing the ongoing coronavirus pandemic as a reason.

Trump’s intent to give the speech at the White House triggered criticism from the Democrats, who said it would be both illegal and unethical for the President to do so.

A federal law known as the Hatch Act generally forbids the use of government property and employees for political activities with some exceptions

“Whether it’s legally wrong or ethically out of the question, it shouldn’t even have been something that was expressed,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said.

“For the President of the US to degrade once again the White House, as he has done over and over again by saying he’s going to completely politicize it, is something that should be rejected right out of hand,” she added.

The pandemic, which has infected over 5 million people and killed more than 160,000 in the US, has forced the Republican Party to scale back its national convention, scheduled for August 24-27, by moving most of the activities to be held online, while only some in-person business meetings will take place in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Trump scrapped the part of the Republican National Convention in Jacksonville, Florida, due to skyrocketing COVID-19 caseloads in the state.

He originally planned to give the acceptance speech there on the last day of the convention.

The President still insisted on having a big crowd of supporters at his speech, telling the New York Post that “it’s very big, a very big lawn. We could have a big group of people”.

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