WASHINGTON – Donald Trump falsely declared during a weekend rally in Florence, Arizona, that public health authorities are denying the COVID-19 vaccine to white people because of their race.
The former president seeded racial resentments in remarks that twisted the facts on public-health policy and exaggerated the effects of racially conscious antiviral treatment guidelines in New York.
Trump distorted a New York policy that allows for race to be one consideration when dispensing oral antiviral treatments, which are in limited supply. The policy attempts to steer those treatments to people at the most risk of severe disease from the coronavirus.
It says that nonwhite race or Hispanic ethnicity “should be considered a risk factor” because long-standing health and social inequities make people of color more likely to get severely ill or die from the virus.
Trump extrapolated from that to assert wrongly that white people are being forced to “the back of the line” for health care and being shut out both from vaccines and therapeutics.
Netanyahu negotiating plea deal
Former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is negotiating a plea deal in his corruption case, a person involved in the talks said Sunday.
The deal, which could be signed as early as this week, could usher Netanyahu off the Israeli political stage for years, paving the way for a leadership race in his Likud party and shaking up Israeli politics. Any deal could spare Netanyahu an embarrassing and protracted trial over an issue that has gripped the nation and risks tarnishing his legacy.
Reports of a deal angered critics who said it would undermine the rule of law. Demonstrators gathered against the developing deal outside the attorney general's house Saturday evening. Any deal will likely be challenged in court.
Tonga dealing with waves, ash fall
New Zealand's military this morning was able to send a surveillance flight to Tonga to assess the extent of the damage from a huge undersea volcanic eruption. A towering ash cloud had prevented the military from launching any flights earlier to the Pacific island nation.
People on Tonga described their country as looking like a moonscape as they began the task of cleaning up from the tsunami waves and ash fall caused by the eruption. Communications with the island nation remained limited after the internet was cut soon after the eruption on Saturday evening.
There were no reports of injuries or deaths, although concerns remained for the fate of people on some of the smaller islands near the volcano.
A sonic boom could be heard as far away as Alaska and sent pressure shockwaves around the planet twice, altering atmospheric pressure. Large waves were detected as far as the Caribbean due to pressure changes generated by the eruption.
Ukraine accuses Russia of hack
Ukraine said Sunday that Russia was behind a cyberattack that defaced its government websites and alleged that Russia is engaged in an increasing “hybrid war” against its neighbor.
The statement from the Ministry of Digital Development came a day after Microsoft said systems at an unspecified number of Ukrainian government agencies had been infected with destructive malware disguised as ransomware. That disclosure suggested the attention-grabbing defacement attack on official websites last week was a diversion.
The attack comes as the threat of a Russian invasion of Ukraine looms and diplomatic talks to resolve the tense standoff appear stalled.