Twitter ran paid ads from Chinas state news media criticizing the Hong Kong protests

A protester clashing with the police in Hong Kong.

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A protester clashing with the police in Hong Kong.
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REUTERS/Edgar Su
  • Twitter users spotted sponsored posts from Chinese state media criticizing the ongoing Hong Kong protests.
  • The sponsored posts described the protests as violent and destructive and portrayed Hong Kong citizens as in favor of ending them.
  • People in Hong Kong have been protesting the Chinese government for 11 weeks. Organizers say as many as 1.7 million people joined a peaceful rally on Sunday.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Twitter has been distributing sponsored posts from Chinese state media criticizing the Hong Kong protests, as spotted by the account of Pinboard, a social-media bookmarking site run by the entrepreneur and developer Maciej Ceglowski.

The posts were from China’s state-run Xinhua news agency. “Two months on, the escalating violence in Hong Kong has taken a heavy toll on the social order,” one tweet reads, adding that “all walks of life in Hong Kong called for a brake to be put on the blatant violence and for order to be restored.”

Read more: A protester takes us inside the demonstrations in Hong Kong

A second sponsored tweet portrayed the public sentiment in Hong Kong as at odds with the protests, saying that “Hong Kong citizens call for stopping violence, ending chaos and restoring order in the city,” while another pushed a video that described Hong Kong’s economy as deteriorating, though it did not explicitly link this to the protests.

The Hong Kong protests, now in their 11th week, were sparked by a now-shelved bill that would have allowed citizens to be extradited to and tried in mainland China, where they would not be privy to the civil-rights protections preserved in Hong Kong.

Organizers said that as many as 1.7 million people were out in force in a peaceful protest on Sunday, according to CNN.

There have been eruptions of violence in the protests, with police officers spraying tear gas, beating protesters, and firing beanbags.

Twitter is banned in mainland China, blocked by the country’s “Great Firewall” along with Facebook, Google, and numerous other US tech companies.

Ceglowski, who attended the protests, described the promoted tweets from the Chinese outlet as “lies.”

“I just came home from a completely peaceful march where possibly a million Hong Kong residents came out, with no police in sight, to call for basic democratic rights,” he wrote. “What greets me is straight up lies from Xinhua about ‘bands of thugs’, courtesy of Twitter advertising.”

It’s not clear how long the sponsored posts have been running, or exactly where in the world they’ve been distributed using Twitter’s marketing tools.

Twitter was not immediately available for comment when contacted by Business Insider.

Prince Andrew appalled by Jeffrey Epstein claims despite video of royal leaving Manhattan mansion in 2010

Britain’s Prince Andrew on Monday tried to bat back renewed scrutiny of his longtime friendship with accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein, despite new video showing the royal at the disgraced financier’s Manhattan mansion in 2010 — two years after Epstein pleaded guilty to solicitation of prostitution involving a minor and was forced to register as a sex offender.

Epstein, 66, hanged himself in his cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center on Aug. 10 while awaiting trial on charges of sex trafficking and conspiracy, the New York City medical examiner said in a report released Friday. The official results followed a week of speculation about the shocking death at the federal facility in Lower Manhattan. Epstein had pleaded not guilty to the latest charges and was being held without bail at the time of his death.

In the wake of the suicide, concerning allegations about the Duke of York’s relationship with Epstein have reemerged, including accusations made by Virginia Giuffre, who claims Epstein paid her to have sex with the prince nearly two decades ago, when she was 17.

EPSTEIN’S ATTORNEYS ‘NOT SATISFIED’ WITH AUTOPSY RESULTS THAT CONCLUDED FINANCIER DIED BY HANGING

In a statement released Monday, Buckingham Palace said Andrew was “appalled by the recent reports of Jeffrey Epstein’s alleged crimes.”

“His Royal Highness deplores the exploitation of any human being and the suggestion he would condone, participate in or encourage any such behavior is abhorrent,” the Palace said.

The statement was released after the Mail on Sunday newspaper obtained a Dec. 6, 2010, video appearing to show Andrew inside Epstein’s opulent Manhattan home as the prince waves goodbye to a young woman.

The video was recorded two years after Epstein’s controversial deal in which he pleaded guilty to a Florida state felony charge of prostitution involving a minor. The terms of the deal included generous work release conditions for Epstein.

The duke was also photographed with Epstein in 2010 in New York’s Central Park after Epstein had finished serving his 18-month prison sentence. The photos sparked controversy at the time and led Andrew to quit his role as a UK trade envoy in 2011, according to Sky News.

PAINTING OF BILL CLINTON IN BLUE DRESS AND HEELS WAS INSIDE JEFFREY EPSTEIN’S NYC MANSION: REPORT

A document dump on the Friday directly preceding Epstein’s death came after a federal appeals court ordered the release of court papers in a defamation lawsuit Giuffre brought against Epstein’s former girlfriend and alleged “madam,” Ghislaine Maxwell. The civil case was eventually settled.

Included in the documents, however, are portions of a deposition from Johanna Sjoberg, who said she was 21 years old in 2001 when Andrew grabbed her breast at Epstein’s mansion in New York.

Sjoberg testified the incident was sparked when “someone” suggested those gathered take a picture, at which point Sjoberg said she and Maxwell went to a closet and grabbed a puppet of Andrew.

“They told us to go get on the couch,” she said in the 2016 deposition. “And so Andrew and Virginia sat on the couch, and they put the puppet, the puppet on her lap. And so then I sat on Andrew’s lap, and, I believe on my own volition, and they took the puppet’s hands and put it on Virginia’s breast, and so Andrew put his on mine.”

She added: “I knew it was Prince Andrew because I knew him as a person.”

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The court papers also include a photograph that has been in circulation since 2015 showing Andrew with his arm around Giuffre’s bare waist in London in 2001. Giuffre said she was 17 at the time the photo was taken.

Photo from 2001 that was included in court files released last week shows Prince Andrew with his arm around the waist of 17-year-old Virginia Giuffre who says Jeffrey Epstein paid her to have sex with the prince. Andrew has denied the charges. In the background is Epstein's girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell.

Photo from 2001 that was included in court files released last week shows Prince Andrew with his arm around the waist of 17-year-old Virginia Giuffre who says Jeffrey Epstein paid her to have sex with the prince. Andrew has denied the charges. In the background is Epstein’s girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell.
(U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals)

Buckingham Palace has previously denied allegations the prince had sex with Giuffre, and told The Sun that Andrew was not a party to the U.S. proceedings in which his name had appeared and denied any illegality had occurred.

“Any suggestion of impropriety with underage minors is categorically untrue,” the palace said in a statement at the time.

Epstein’s death caused public and official outrage over how such a high-profile prisoner could have gone unmonitored.

Fox News’ Tamara Gitt, Robert Gearty, Nicole Darrah and Samuel Chamberlain, and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

3 mass shooting plots stopped around the country in separate incidents, police say

CLOSE

In the aftermath of two mass shootings, a new poll reveals the stress and fear Americans have over potentially being the victim of another tragedy.
Buzz60

Three mass shooting plots were thwarted in recent days with the arrests of three men in unrelated cases, authorities in Connecticut, Florida and Ohio said.

Tips from the public aided in the three arrests, which occurred on Thursday and Friday. Police in each case said the men, all white and in their 20s, posted online or sent text messages with threats of committing mass shootings.

The arrests come amid renewed cries for legislation to change the country’s gun laws in the wake of mass shootings in California, Texas and Ohio. Multiple false alarm and hoax shooting scares have also kept the nation on edge in recent weeks.

Here’s what we know about the three cases:

Connecticut

Brandon Wagshol, 22, of Norwalk was arrested on four counts of illegal possession of large-capacity magazines, the city’s police department said Thursday.

Wagshol was arrested after a joint investigation from Norwalk police and the FBI was opened after federal authorities received a tip that he was allegedly trying to buy high-capacity rifle magazines out of state.

Mass shootings and misogyny: The violent ideology we can’t ignore

Police said Wagshol purchased rifle parts online to build his own weapon and had posted on Facebook showing “his interest in committing a mass shooting.”

When executing a search warrant, police found two guns registered to Wagshol’s father, multiple rounds of ammunition, body armor and other tactical equipment, Norwalk police said.

Florida

The Volusia County Sheriff’s Office said Tristan Scott Wix, 25, of Daytona Beach was arrested Friday and charged with making threats to commit a mass shooting.

Sheriff’s deputies began investigating after they were alerted to multiple texts Wix allegedly sent with his plans to commit a mass shooting. The office did not say to whom Wix sent the messages.

Mass shooting motives: Weeks since Gilroy, El Paso and Dayton: What if motives behind mass shootings never emerge?

“A school is a weak target.. id be more likely to open fire on a large crowd of people from over 3 miles away.. I’d wanna break a world record for longest confirmed kill ever,” the sheriff’s department said Wix texted.

Another text allegedly read: “But a good 100 kills would be nice. I already have a location (laughing cry face emoji) is that bad?”

Wix said he doesn’t own firearms but was “fascinated with mass shootings,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement.

Police also released body cam video of Wix’s arrest.

CLOSE

Tristan Wix of Daytona Beach was charged with written threats to commit a mass shooting in Volusia County.
VIDEO CONTRIBUTED BY VOLUSIA COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE

Ohio

Police arrested James P. Reardon, 20, after receiving a tip about an online video where the man identified himself as the shooter at a Jewish community center – an incident that hadn’t happened yet, according to the FBI.

Reardon was arrested Friday on charges of telecommunications harassment and aggravated menacing, FBI Cleveland Division said.

More numerous and deadly: Dayton, El Paso, Gilroy and beyond: You’re right to be afraid

The video post on Instagram tagged the Jewish Community Center of Youngstown from Reardon’s account, police say.

A search warrant was executed at Reardon’s parent’s home the same day local police received the tip about the video. Reardon was arrested without incident and police said rounds of ammunition, semi-automatic weapons and anti-Semitic information were found.

Contributing: Jordan Culver and The Associated Press. Follow USA TODAY’s Ryan Miller on Twitter @RyanW_Miller

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Trial in the Clearwater parking lot shooting, Day 1: It begins

KATHRYN (12:39 p.m.)

Twenty more jurors were struck. That brings us to a total of 31 gone. (We miscounted in the first round — sorry.)

And now the rest of us our breaking for lunch.

KATHRYN (12:34 p.m.)

We’re back in session. Ten jurors were excused over the break.

The judge is now going over hardships that may prevent a juror from sticking around, including physical disabilities and pressing professional or personal circumstances.

One juror said she’s newly on seizure medication. A few others have family matters, transportation difficulties and work conflicts that may distract them from following the trial.

Some specifics: A woman with a vitamin deficiency worried she can’t focus, a woman with a relative with terminal lung cancer whom she was planning to visit, an elementary school teacher (today is the fourth day of school), a woman who has a vacation starting Thursday who, when Judge Bulone asks if she would be able to focus on the case, answers, “Oh no. I’d be pissed.” Bulone asks her to use the word “disappointed” instead.

To a University of South Florida student studying criminology, Bulone asks, “What better learning opportunity than this?”

Another prospective juror says he’s moving to Tennessee at the end of next week to work on a hemp farm. But he said he could stick around until the end of the trial and would do his best to concentrate while he was here.

That brought us a little more clarity on the trial length.

“It’s not going to go beyond next week,” Judge Bulone says. “I’ll tell you that right now.”

And with that, it’s time for lunch.

Noon update: Process starts with grilling of potential jurors

Six people will decide whether Michael Drejka is guilty of manslaughter in the death of Markeis McGlockton.

On Monday morning, lawyers began the tedious task of determining whom those six should be.

They started with a pool of close to 100 Pinellas County residents, who crammed into the wooden benches inside the largest courtroom in the county’s criminal justice building.

They were introduced to the prosecutors and the four defense attorneys. They also met the defendant, who wore a gray jacket and tie and smiled politely as he stood before them.

Drejka, 49, will argue that he killed McGlockton, 28, in self-defense.

It happened the afternoon of July 19, 2018, outside the Circle A Food Store at 1201 Sunset Point Road, near Clearwater. Drejka got into an argument with McGlockton’s girlfriend, Britany Jacobs, over her parking in a handicap-reserved space.

In court Monday, Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge Joseph Bulone explained that the case has received “some media attention,” and that the jurors cannot watch or read any news about the case while they’re fulfilling their service.

He asked if anyone had opinions, positive or negative regarding law enforcement, whether they would automatically believe or disbelieve a witness simply because he or she was a law enforcement officer.

A few hands went up.

“What strong feelings do you have?” the judge asked one man.

“Negative,” the man replied.

He says his opinion is based on personal experience and “things that have appeared in media.”

Another man said he has positive feelings about law enforcement, having worked for 38 years as a corrections officer, but that if a police officer takes the witness stand, he won’t automatically believe or disbelieve the testimony

The jurors were asked whether they had difficulty understanding English, whether they would be uncomfortable sitting for long periods of time.

One man told the judge that serving as a juror would “go against my personal conscience.”

Before noon, lawyers for both sides agreed to excuse the handful of jurors who voiced concerns or biases.

If convicted, Drejka could get 30 years in prison.

KATHRYN (11:38 a.m.)

Judge Bulone is giving jurors a 15-minute break, after one juror said they needed to use the restroom. The last half-hour consisted of questions about language barriers, hardships and feelings toward law enforcement.

He reminds them not to talk about or seek out information on the case. They shuffle out of the room. The judge and lawyers for each side begin striking jurors while they’re gone.

Strikes went mainly to prospective jurors who didn’t speak English well and those who had strong feelings about law enforcement they couldn’t overcome.

DAN AND KATHRYN (11:05 a.m.)

The prosecutors and defense attorneys introduce themselves.

The defense introduces their client, Michael Drejka. He stands and smiles.

The judge asks if any of the jurors know any of the attorneys or the defendant. No one does.

The prosecutor, Fred Schaub, then reads the list of witnesses in the case. It is long. The jurors are asked if they know anyone on the list.

Schaub is starting with law enforcement witnesses. Notably, Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri is not on that list. The sheriff made headlines after the shooting when he announced that he wouldn’t arrest Drejka because he acted within Florida’s stand your ground law. Prosecutors charged him with manslaughter a few weeks later.

The defense tried to list the sheriff as an expert witness, but the judge struck it down.

Judge Bulone asks if any of the jurors would automatically believe or disbelieve what a police officer says just because he or she is a police officer. One woman raises a hand and says she would not believe a police officer.

A man also raises his hand when the judge asks if the jurors have strong feelings about law enforcement.

“What strong feelings do you have?” the judge asks.

“Negative,” the man says.

He says his opinion is based on personal experience and things that have appeared in media.

In the back row, a man says he has positive feelings about law enforcement, having worked for 38 years as a corrections officer. But he says if a police officer takes the witness stand, he won’t automatically believe or disbelieve the testimony.

A few more jurors express strong feelings, both positive and negative, toward law enforcement. The judge talks with each witness about whether they can remove those feelings in assessing testimony from cops.

Three say they wouldn’t be able to, two who feel negatively and one who feels positively.

DAN (10:41 a.m.)

The judge tells the jurors they can’t watch or read any news about the case while they’re fulfilling their jury duty.

He asks which of the prospective jurors subscribes to the Tampa Bay Times. Six hands go up.

Tells them not to read it during the trial. Other things he tells the jurors not to do: tweeting, emailing, discussing the case with other people.

KATHRYN (10:34 a.m.)

After some lessons in civic responsibility, Bulone reads the charging document to jurors. Read it, and Drejka’s arrest warrant, here.

DAN (10:30 a.m.)

The initial pool of 90 prospective jurors has crammed the benches in Courtroom 1. Judge Bulone has sworn them in.

The judge explains their duty. It is “an extraordinarily high duty,” he says. The judge explains that this is a manslaughter trial and that it has gotten “some media attention.”

“It’s very important that if you have any knowledge about the case … that you not blurt anything out in front of the other jurors,” he says.

The lawyers will choose six jurors, plus up to four alternates for the panel.

Your guide to watching the trial of Michael Drejka

Who’s who, timeline and links to complete coverage

DAN AND KATHRYN (10:10 a.m.)

We’re back in session. Family members of Drejka and McGlockton will not be here today, say lawyers for each side. McGlockton’s family will attend later in the week when the trial starts.

Members of the jury pool begin to file in, some carrying bags, umbrellas, water bottles. A bailiff guides them to reserved rows in the gallery.

Lawyers switch their seats to face the gallery, where the prospective jurors are sitting.

 Defendant Michael Drejka, right, steps out during a recess in the morning's proceedings. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]
Defendant Michael Drejka, right, steps out during a recess in the morning’s proceedings. [SCOTT KEELER | Times]

KATHRYN (9:44 a.m.)

Bulone calls for a 15-minute break. Jury selection will begin after.

DAN (9:40 a.m.)

The judge asks Drejka if he agrees to his lawyers arguing that this was a case of self-defense. He speaks with one of his lawyers briefly, then says, “Yes.”

In a discussion about whether the jury will have the option of convicting Drejka of something less than manslaughter, the prosecutor says it will be ask for third-degree felony murder to be included as a lesser-included offense. The judge seems unsure that such a lesser-included offense might apply.

Pinellas Pasco Circuit Court Judge Joseph Bulone answers lawyers' questions during the first day of the manslaughter trial of  Michael Drejka. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]
Pinellas Pasco Circuit Court Judge Joseph Bulone answers lawyers’ questions during the first day of the manslaughter trial of Michael Drejka. [SCOTT KEELER | Times]

KATHRYN (9:30 a.m.)

Bulone is going over several housekeeping points. One is that the defense listed an expert witness this morning. Schaub says he and Rosenwasser will need a chance to depose the expert, a toxicologist, and will likely need a hearing to discuss the limitations of the expert.

The defense didn’t list the expert earlier, Coy says, because it took three tries to get the cost of the expert approved in court, as is standard in cases with low-income defendants. She texted Rosenwasser on Sunday night to let him know.

“My response when Mr. Rosenwasser called me at midnight last night is, ‘Not surprised. This is par for the course,’” said Schaub, already throwing barbs.

Bulone gave the state the go-ahead to depose the witness and make time for a hearing.

KATHRYN (9:23 a.m.)

After a five-minute recess, Bulone takes the bench and turns his attention to the Drejka case. He is sitting at the defense table with his four lawyers: Coy, Flores, John Trevena and Bryant Camareno. Prosecutors Fred Schaub and Scott Rosenwasser are across the aisle.

A few people have taken seats in the gallery, but no sign of family members of Drejka or shooting victim, Markeis McGlockton.

Jury selection is in Courtroom 1. Schaub expresses concern that the courtroom in which the trial will take place, No. 7, is no longer big enough after the trial coverage media outlet Court TV set up equipment. Trevena seconds and asks if the trial can stay in No. 1 the whole time.

Bulone says they will stick to the plan for now and Courtroom 1 will be available for overflow seating with a video.

KATHRYN (8:30 a.m.)

Michael Drejka arrived in Courtroom 1, wearing a gray suit. He greeted two of his attorneys, William Flores and Theresa Jean-Pierre Coy.

Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge Joseph Bulone convened court just after 8:30 a.m. He has a few other docket items to take care of before hearing Drejka’s case.

Background

The manslaughter trial of Michael Drejka is set to begin Monday morning with jury selection.

Drejka, 49, is accused in the fatal shooting July 19, 2018, of 28-year-old Markeis McGlockton.

McGlockton stopped by the Circle A Food Store at 1201 Sunset Point Road near Clearwater at about 3:30 p.m. His girlfriend, Britany Jacobs, parked in a handicap-reserved spot outside the convenience store and waited in the car with two of the couple’s children — 4 months and 3 at the time. McGlockton, 28, went into the store with their third child, Markeis Jr., who was 5.

Drejka pulled into the parking lot and approached Jacobs. He asked Jacobs why she had parked in the spot if she didn’t have a handicap-designated plate or placard. The two started arguing. It escalated to the point that others in the parking lot started paying attention.

One of the witnesses entered the store and reported what was going on. McGlockton stepped back outside, walked up to Drejka and shoved him to the ground. Drejka pulled out a .40-caliber Glock handgun and shot McGlockton once in the chest. McGlockton was taken to Morton Plant Hospital and pronounced dead shortly after. The entire incident was caught on the store’s surveillance video.

Each day, our trial coverage team will live blog events straight from the courtroom.

American doctor falls to his death on hike in Ibiza with fiancée

A New Jersey doctor on vacation in Spain before starting his dream job fell to his death on a hike with his fiancée.

Dr. Daniel Sirovich, 33, and Kristi Kelly were on a trail in Ibiza when he fell more than 80 feet off a cliff on Wednesday, according to multiple reports and the Spanish Civil Guard.

Dr. Daniel Sirovich was vacationing in Ibiza with his fiancée, not pictured, when he suddenly slipped while hiking a trail.GoFundMe

Sirovich and Kelly, who met seven years ago in school, were originally supposed to go to a music festival in England, but changed their plans at the last minute when the concert was rained out, Kelly’s mother, Mary Ann Kelly, told The Staten Island Advance last week.

Sirovich was set to start a new job in Boston, her mother said, adding the couple planned to get married next year.

“It’s a horrible end to a beautiful romance,” she said.

Mary Ann Kelly also told the Advance that Sirovich slipped trying to get a picture during their excursion on Sa Pedrera de Cala d’Hort, on the southwestern part of the popular Spanish vacation island.

However, she subsequently reached out to NBC News on Monday saying Sirovich’s fall has nothing to do with taking a photo, “It was a pure accident, no pictures involved.”

NBC News reached out to the Advance for clarification.

One-third of economists predict US recession in 2021

Among 226 economists surveyed by the National Association for Business Economics, 34% said a recession would hit the U.S. in 2021, an increase from 25% who believed so in February.

The new survey, released Monday by the Washington-based organization, also revealed that fewer economists expected a recession to begin this year — only 2%, down from 10% who said so February.

Additionally, 38% of the economists are predicting a recession will begin in 2020, down from 42% in February. The number who believe a recession could hit later than 2021 increased to 14% from 11%.

President Donald Trump has made the U.S. economy a cornerstone of his reelection campaign, and he told reporters on Sunday, “I don’t see a recession.”

“I’m prepared for everything,” Trump added. “I don’t think we’re having a recession. We’re doing tremendously well. Our consumers are rich. I gave a tremendous tax cut. And they’re loaded up with money.”

PHOTO: U.S. Secret Service agents guard President Donald Trump as he boards Air Force One to return to Washington from Morristown Municipal Airport in Morristown, New Jersey, Aug. 18, 2019.Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

U.S. Secret Service agents guard President Donald Trump as he boards Air Force One to return to Washington from Morristown Municipal Airport in Morristown, New Jersey, Aug. 18, 2019.

Peter Navarro, a White House trade adviser, said Sunday on “This Week” that the U.S. economy would be strong through 2020.

“One of the things the president does beautifully,” Navarro said during the interview, “is engage with the business community, labor leaders and everybody in between.”

The NABE was formed in 1959 and, according to the organization’s website, is “the premier professional association for business economists and others who use economics in the workplace.” Past NABE presidents include Alan Greenspan, the former Federal Reserve chair.

Ebola outbreak spreads to 3rd province in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo

The yearlong Ebola outbreak in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo has spread to a third province, health officials said.

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Two new patients, a 24-year-old woman and her 7-month-old child, tested positive for the virus in the Mwenga area of South Kivu province on Thursday night. They fell ill after returning from a visit to Beni in North Kivu province, the epicenter of the current outbreak. The mother has since died, and her child is receiving treatment, according to a statement released Friday from Dr. Jean-Jacques Muyembe, director general of the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s National Institute for Biomedical Research and head of the country’s Ebola response team.

Officials have identified dozens of people who may have been infected by coming in contact with the woman and her child. They will receive the experimental vaccine that has been used to inoculate some 200,000 people in the outbreak zone, according to Muyembe.

A third Ebola case was confirmed in the same area of South Kivu on Saturday, according to the latest data from the Congolese health ministry and the World Health Organization, the global health arm of the United Nations, which last month declared the current outbreak a global health emergency.

Since Aug. 1, 2018, a total of 2,877 people have reported symptoms of hemorrhagic fever in the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s eastern provinces of North Kivu, Ituri and now South Kivu, according to the latest data. Among those cases, some 2,783 have tested positive for Ebola virus disease, which causes an often-fatal type of hemorrhagic fever and is transmitted through contact with blood or secretions from an infected person. An average of 81 new Ebola cases are confirmed each week.

The ongoing outbreak has a case fatality rate of about 67%. There have been 1,934 deaths so far, most from confirmed cases of Ebola, according to the latest data.

PHOTO: A health worker wearing a protective suit enters an isolation pod to treat a patient at a treatment center in Beni, Democratic Republic of Congo, July 13, 2019.Jerome Delay/AP

A health worker wearing a protective suit enters an isolation pod to treat a patient at a treatment center in Beni, Democratic Republic of Congo, July 13, 2019.

The vast majority of cases have been concentrated in North Kivu, specifically around the northeastern areas of Beni, Butembo, Katwa, and Mabalako. There are currently no confirmed cases of Ebola outside the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

This is the 10th outbreak of the disease in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the most severe there since 1976, when scientists identified the deadly virus near the Ebola River. It’s also the second-largest, second-deadliest outbreak in the world.

The WHO’s director-general has described the current outbreak as more complex than the deadlier 2014-2016 outbreak in multiple West African countries due to the region’s political instability, attacks on health workers, a highly mobile population and community mistrust and misinformation. It’s also the first Ebola outbreak in an active war zone.

However, two of four experimental treatments being tested in the current outbreak now will be offered to all patients after showing promise in saving lives. Preliminary findings from a a randomized controlled trial that began last November in four Ebola treatment centers in North Kivu indicated that patients receiving either of two antibody-based therapies, known as REGN-EB3 and mAb114, had a greater chance of survival compared to those receiving two other experiential drugs, known as ZMapp and remdesivir

After a meeting to review the initial results, an independent monitoring board recommended all future patients be offered either REGN-EB3 or mAb114, while the other two treatments be stopped.

“From now on, we will no longer say that Ebola is incurable,” Muyembe told reporters during a telephone briefing last week.

White nationalist who allegedly threatened Jewish center to appear in court

The alleged white nationalist who was arrested for making threats towards a Jewish community center in Ohio is slated to appear in court for the first time since facing charges.

The home of James Reardon Jr., 20, was raided, and authorities seized dozens of rounds of ammo, multiple semi-automatic weapons, a gas mask and bulletproof armor.

Now police have confirmed that Reardon, who is being held in the Mahonging County Jail, was interviewed on camera in a National Geographic video during the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August 2017. That rally turned deadly when a white nationalist plowed his car into a group of counterprotesters.

Now, in light of the alleged threats he made against a Jewish community center in New Middleton, Reardon has been charged with telecommunications harassment and aggravated menacing.

Police initially became aware of Reardon on July 11 when he posted a video on Instagram of a man shooting a semi-automatic rifle with sirens and screams in the background. He tagged the Jewish Community Center of Youngstown in the post.

PHOTO: James Reardon Jr., 20, is accused of making threats against a Jewish community center in New Middletown, Ohio.Mahoning County Jail

James Reardon Jr., 20, is accused of making threats against a Jewish community center in New Middletown, Ohio.

“That kicked off an intense investigation, a very rapidly evolving investigation, because of the way the world is,” New Middletown Police Chief Vince D’Egidio told Youngstown ABC affiliate WYTV.

During the raid on his house on Friday, police also discovered anti-Semitic and white nationalist propaganda.

Reardon had publicly stated that he wanted to see a homeland established for white people when he was interviewed for the National Geographic documentary, according to D’Egidio. Police also discovered that his social media feed was filled with racial slurs and derogatory statements about minorities.

“This is a person that has declared himself as a white nationalist. With the hate crimes and everything else going on, we want to make sure we do our part to make sure this person was taken off the streets very quickly,” D’Egidio said.

The FBI has not yet announced whether they will pursue federal charges against Reardon.

Extensive probe into Philly police standoff to take months

An “extensive” investigation is underway after a gunman shot six Philadelphia police officers in a dramatic, hours-long standoff that left the city “reeling,” prosecutors said Monday.

All officers survived the Wednesday violence and the suspected shooter, Maurice Hill, is in custody on charges including attempted murder.

But Anthony Voci, the district attorney’s homicide chief, warned Monday that the “the scale of this investigation … is immeasurable” and will take months to complete.

Over 100 rounds of ammunition were fired, Voci said, and investigators are now digging bullets out of cars, ceilings and walls.

PHOTO: A police officer patrols the block near a house as they investigate an active shooting situation, Aug. 14, 2019, in the Nicetown neighborhood of Philadelphia.Matt Rourke/AP

A police officer patrols the block near a house as they investigate an active shooting situation, Aug. 14, 2019, in the Nicetown neighborhood of Philadelphia.

Investigators are also working to process footage from over 250 body-worn cameras as well as footage from home surveillance cameras, Voci said.

“That is why it would be premature to talk about any and all the details as it relates to these charges because it’s our anticipation that there will be more based on what we see on the film and what we find throughout the investigation,” Voci said at a news conference on Monday.

PHOTO: Philadelphia police stage as they respond to an active shooting situation, Aug. 14, 2019, in the Nicetown neighborhood of Philadelphia.Matt Rourke/AP

Philadelphia police stage as they respond to an active shooting situation, Aug. 14, 2019, in the Nicetown neighborhood of Philadelphia.

Officers were serving a narcotics warrant on Hill and had entered a North Philadelphia home when gunfire erupted Wednesday afternoon, authorities said.

Hill allegedly barricaded himself inside and fired from the first floor as he held two officers and three civilians hostage on the second floor, police said.

Gunfire rained down on police for hours. Gunshots ricocheted off sidewalks and homes as officers crawled and crouched behind cars to avoid getting hit.

After a tense, seven-hour standoff — during which Hill and his lawyer spoke over the phone with the district attorney and police commissioner — tear gas was deployed and Hill surrendered.

PHOTO: Police take shooting suspect, Maurice Hill, into custody after a standoff on Aug. 14, 2019 with police, that wounded several police officers, in Philadelphia.Elizabeth Robertson/AP

Police take shooting suspect, Maurice Hill, into custody after a standoff on Aug. 14, 2019 with police, that wounded several police officers, in Philadelphia.

Hill, who has an “extensive” criminal record, has been charged with attempted murder, aggravated assault, assault of a law enforcement officer, simple assault, unlawful restraint, reckless endangerment, violations of the uniforms firearms act, causing or risking a catastrophe and possession of an instrument of crime, Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner said at Monday’s news conference.

Hill’s attorney, Shaka Johnson, told ABC News last week that he believed the standoff wasn’t planned. He said Hill, who welcomed a baby two days earlier, was caught up in the moment and the situation escalated quickly.

According to Johnson, Hill wasn’t making demands to police and just wanted to end the situation in a way that ensured him no harm.

Hill will appear in court on Sept. 5, Krasner said. Johnson could not immediately be reached for comment on Monday.

Four others, whom Krasner did not name, were arrested in the case on charges including drug and paraphernalia possession and conspiracy, Krasner said Monday. They will appear in court on Sept. 3, Krasner said.

George F. Will: Amash’s independence shows voters they don’t have to settle for binary choice

Grand Rapids, Mich. • It is difficult to discourage and impossible to manage Justin Amash because he, unusual among politicians, does not want much and wants nothing inordinately. He would like to win a sixth term as congressman from this culturally distinctive slice of the Midwest. He does not, however, want it enough to remain in today’s Republican Party, which he has left because that neighborhood has become blighted. Amash, 39, a founding member of the House Freedom Caucus, also has left that once-admirable faction because he does not define freedom as it now does, as devotion to the 45th president.

He is running as an independent, which might accomplish two admirable things: It might demonstrate that voters need not invariably settle for a sterile binary choice. And it might complicate Donald Trump’s task of again winning Michigan’s 16 electoral votes, which he did in 2016 by just 0.2 percentage points.

With a city named Holland and a college named for John Calvin, West Michigan’s culture reflects its settlement by Dutch Americans, who set about vindicating Max Weber’s connection between the “Protestant ethic” and the “spirit of capitalism,” a spirit incubated in 17th and 18th century Amsterdam. Distinguished Michigan denizens of Dutch descent have included Peter De Vries, America’s wittiest novelist.

Local Christian schools drummed into Amash and other young sinners fear of a particular moral failing: pride. His one-word description of his constituents — “modest” — suggests an aversion to vanity, vulgarity and ostentation that has an obvious pertinence to the leader of Amash’s former party. Amash compares West Michiganders — culturally, not theologically — to Mormons. Donald Trump carried 16 states by larger margins than he carried Utah, and won only 51.6% in Amash’s district, which traditionally has been the epicenter of Michigan Republicanism. “I think,” Amash says dryly, “the Trump people are confounded by this area,” where Trump held his final 2016 rally.

A few hours after Amash declared his independence from the husk of the Republican Party, he marched in several Independence Day parades where “I got an overwhelmingly positive feeling.” This might indicate increased negative feelings about Trump, who carried Michigan by just 10,704 votes out of 4,799,284.

In Amash’s single term in the state legislature, he cast the only “no” vote on more than 70 measures. In 2013, he had the gumption to vote against reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act for no better reason than that there was no reason for it, and it was inimical to federalism: It “created new federal crimes to mirror crimes already on the books in every state.” His average margin of victory in four reelection contests has been 15.1 percentage points.

Amash, the son of a Palestinian refugee who arrived in West Michigan in 1956, is philosophically unlike Grand Rapids’ most famous son, whose philosophic interests were few and did not include Amash’s favorite Austrian economists (Von Mises, Hayek). Amash, however, shares Gerald Ford’s devotion to the idea, if not the actuality, of Congress. Ford’s pipe, loud sport coats, decency and legislative seriousness validate a famous judgment: “The past is a foreign country: They do things differently there.”

Presently, Congress is rarely a legislative, let alone a deliberative, body. Two years ago, when Republicans controlled the House, a Republican congressman defended a committee chairman accused of excessive subservience to the president by saying: “You’ve got to keep in mind who he works for. He works for the president. He answers to the president.” Pathetic.

Because congressional leaders live in terror of spontaneity among the led, hearings designed to generate publicity are tightly scripted, which is why, Amash says, such hearings are “an elaborate form of performance art” and members “often look as though they are asking questions they do not understand.” Congressional leaders’ stern message to potentially unmanageable members is to pipe down and “live to fight [for spending restraint, entitlement reform, open House processes, etc.] another day.” Amash’s campaign slogan should be: “Vote for someone who is as disgusted with Congress as you are.”

The Libertarian Party might ask Amash to take his — actually, it’s the Founders’ — message to the nation as the party’s presidential nominee. He does not seek this — he has three young children — but does not summarily spurn the idea of offering temperate voters a choice of something other than a choice between bossy progressivism and populist Caesarism. Or he could become the first non-Republican the Grand Rapids area has sent to Congress since 1974.

Geroge F. Will