At least six people have been killed after the hurricane flooded streets, submerging or destroying buildings, and leaving more than 700,000 people without power in Louisiana and neighbouring Texas.
Hurricane Laura slams into southwest Louisiana, a marshy region particularly prone to storm surge and flooding, and also barrels toward heart of US oil industry, forcing oil rigs and refineries to shut down production.
Satellite images show that Laura has become “a formidable hurricane" in recent hours with maximum sustained winds climbing to around 175 kilometres per hour.
The Democratic-controlled US House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to remove statues honouring those who upheld slavery or joined the Confederacy from the Capitol building, which houses statues selected by all 50 states.
The lopsided storm moved ashore between the mouth of the Mississippi River and the barrier island resort community of Grand Isle, which had been evacuated a day earlier.
Novel coronavirus has infected more than 6.4 million people around the world. Here are pandemic-related updates for June 2:
With pressure growing in many countries for more measures to restart the economy, politicians also are trying to boost funding for research into a vaccine for Covid-19 which many scientists warn could take much longer than a few months.
The US death toll was creeping toward the grim milestone of 10,000 as the pandemic's epicentre in New York racked up hundreds of lives lost a day and hospitals girded for an influx of new infected patients.
In a statement, Mayor LaToya Cantrell said, “Ellis Marsalis was a legend. He was the prototype of what we mean when we talk about New Orleans jazz. He was a teacher, a father, and an icon."
New York city reports 157 deaths and some 15,000 cases of Covid-19 – nearly one-third of US total – as WHO says US could become next epicentre of global pandemic.
The number of coronavirus cases worldwide has passed 155,000, driven by a spike in infections in Italy, which announced 3,497 new cases on Saturday. The virus has so far claimed almost 6,000 lives across 154 countries and territories.
Storm-related fatalities were reported in Texas due to icy weather, in Alabama from a deadly tornado and in Louisiana, where winds were so strong that a trailer home was lifted off its foundation and carried several hundred feet.
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