The US now leads the world in the number of confirmed coronavirus cases. There are almost 86,000 confirmed cases of the COVID-19 virus in the US – roughly 16% of the world’s total of 532,000. This puts it ahead of China, where the virus originated. The country has seen a sharp decrease in new cases in recent weeks and has moved to suspend visits from almost all foreign nationals.
The U.S. government on Thursday indicted Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and more than a dozen other top Venezuelan officials on charges of “narco-terrorism,” the latest escalation of the Trump administration’s pressure campaign aimed at ousting the socialist leader. The State Department offered a reward of up to $15 million for information leading to the arrest of Maduro.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s main rival has reportedly agreed to join a unity government, ending a year of political deadlock. Benny Gantz’s surprise election as speaker of parliament on Thursday paved the way for the deal. He will stay in the role until he is named foreign minister, Israeli media report, and will then take over the premiership in September 2021.
Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson has tested positive for coronavirus, he said in a tweet Friday. He had developed “mild symptoms” in the last 24 hours and was “self-isolating,” he said. “I will continue to lead the government’s response via video-conference as we fight this virus.” On Thursday, Johnson’s government announced that another 115 people had died after testing positive for the virus, bringing the total number of deaths to 578.
A bacterium that feeds on toxic plastic has been discovered by scientists. The bug not only breaks the plastic down but uses it as food to power the process. The bacterium, which was found at a waste site where plastic had been dumped, is the first that is known to attack polyurethane. More than 8bn tonnes of plastic has been produced since the 1950s and most has ended up polluting the world’s land and oceans.