Donald Trump has insisted he was not briefed by intelligence officials over an alleged Russian plot to pay out bounties to Taliban hitmen in exchange for targeting American and British soldiers in Afghanistan to sow unrest, after the president was accused of sitting on the report by his domestic political rivals.

Several southern states are meanwhile racing to impose new lockdown restrictions on citizens after cases of the coronavirus surged following their reopening, with California joining Texas and Florida in closing bars in seven counties and the latter shutting its beaches. “Caution was thrown to the wind and so we are where we are,” Republican governor Ron DeSantis commented.

With the world now suffering 10m cases of Covid-19 and 500,000 deaths – and with the US accounting

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