White House says Defense Secretary Esper still in post

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Updated 03 June 2020

White House says Defense Secretary Esper still in post

  • Esper said he did not support invoking the Insurrection Act to deploy active-duty forces to quell civil unrest for now

WASHINGTON: White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said US Defense Secretary Mark Esper was still in his post on Wednesday as speculation swirled that President Donald Trump wanted to remove the Pentagon chief over his comments on nationwide protests.
“As of right now, Secretary Esper is still Secretary Esper and should the president lose faith we will all learn about that in the future,” McEnany said at a press briefing.
Earlier on Wednesday, Esper said he did not support invoking the Insurrection Act to deploy active-duty forces to quell civil unrest for now. He also said he was unaware he would be a part of Trump’s politically-charged photo opportunity on Monday in front of a partly burned church across the street from the White House.
McEnany said people protesting the police killing of George Floyd were moved from in front of the historic church before Trump, cabinet members and top aides, including McEnany, walked over because Attorney General William Barr had ordered the security perimeter around the White House be widened earlier in the day.
“It was early afternoon. He noticed that it hadn’t been cleared, gave the order for it to be cleared, and that action took place,” McEnany said.
Trump has said he did not ask for protesters to be moved and the US Park Police has said they used pepper balls and smoke canisters to respond to protesters throwing things.


Germany already dealing with second coronavirus wave

Updated 5 min 53 sec ago

Germany already dealing with second coronavirus wave

  • The number of daily confirmed coronavirus cases has ticked up steadily in recent weeks
  • The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 879 to 211,281
BERLIN: Germany is already contending with a second wave of the coronavirus and risks squandering its early success by flouting social distancing rules, the head of the German doctors’ union said in a newspaper interview published on Tuesday.
The number of daily confirmed coronavirus cases has ticked up steadily in recent weeks, with health experts warning lax adherence to hygiene and distancing rules among some of the public is spreading the virus across communities.
“We are already in a second, shallow upswing,” Susanne Johna, president of Marburger Bund, which represents doctors in Germany, told the Augsburger Allgemeine newspaper.
She said there was a danger that a longing to return to normality and a suppression of containment measures would fritter away the success Germany had achieved so far, urging people to stick to social distancing and hygiene rules and wear masks.
Europe’s biggest economy has so far withstood the pandemic with far fewer deaths than some large neighbors like France and Italy, owing to widespread testing, a well-equipped health care system and good adherence to social distancing.
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 879 to 211,281, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Tuesday. The reported death toll rose by eight to 9,156, the tally showed.
Johna said hospitals were prepared and would make intensive care beds available to COVID-19 patients on a staggered basis, while at the same time gradually reducing the number of planned admissions to normal wards.
According to the DIVI intensive care register there are almost 21,000 intensive care beds in Germany, of which some 12,200 are currently free. As of Monday, there were 270 COVID-19 patients in intensive care, of whom 130 were being ventilated.