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Top of The World — our morning news round up written by editors at The World. Subscribe here.

Pachinko defies easy description. Imagine if a pinball machine and a slot machine had a baby — an incredibly loud baby that bleeps and jingles and lures you into a daze.

As with slot machines, playing pachinko is gambling, though the Japanese government insists it is a game of skill, lest the popular game run afoul of anti-gambling laws.

Related: Japan’s Studio Ghibli teaches fans how to draw its beloved character Totoro

Madagascar defends coronavirus herbal remedy 

May 13, 2020

In the face of mounting criticism, Madagascar’s President Andry Rajoelina continues to champion COVID Organics, an herbal remedy produced by Malagasy Institute of Applied Research (IMRA) last month.

Top of The World — our morning news round up written by editors at The World. Subscribe here.

Jon Huntsman: ‘Stakes are high’ for US-China relationship

May 12, 2020

Sino-US tensions have mounted over the coronavirus outbreak, with Trump blaming China for causing tens of thousands of deaths and millions of job losses in the United States.

These renewed tensions between Beijing and Washington threaten cooperation on halting the spread of COVID-19 and make completion of the landmark trade deal between the two superpowers less likely. 

Top of The World — our morning news round up written by editors at The World. Subscribe here.

Amsterdam has long been one of the most-visited cities in Europe, welcoming nearly 20 million tourists every year to its legendary tulip gardens, canals and windmills.

President Donald Trump wants the Catholic vote. Recently, Trump was on a conference call with several hundred Catholic educators — and many prominent bishops.

Trump reportedly described himself as the “best [president] in the history of the Catholic Church.” 

In reality, though, there’s a growing rift within the church on support for the president. A number of prominent Catholics are criticizing Trump's handling of the coronavirus pandemic — and many have been vocal on Twitter.

Fiona Hill: Putin has become ‘wild card’ for Russia's political system

May 8, 2020

Russian President Vladimir Putin sent telegrams on Friday to US President Donald Trump and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson suggesting the need to rekindle their nations' cooperation during World War II to solve today's problems.

Putin's overture was the latest in a series of contacts with Washington with which Moscow is keen to rebuild relations frayed over everything from election hacking allegations to Syria. Ties with London remain badly strained over the poisoning of a former Russian spy and his daughter in England.

Top of The World — our morning news round up written by editors at The World. Subscribe here.

Today is the 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day, or V-E Day, which commemorates the 1945 Nazi surrender during World War II.

Meet June Almeida, the Scottish virologist who first identified the coronavirus

May 7, 2020

By her 30s, Scottish virologist June Almeida had already developed new techniques to better visualize and identify viruses using an electron microscope.

She was not only a pioneer of virus imaging: Almeida also played a pivotal role in identifying the first human coronavirus, the same type of virus with tiny spokes as SARS-CoV-2, the virus that is causing the COVID-19 pandemic.

The United States recorded its first COVID-19 infection in late January — the same week that the virus officially reached Vietnam.

That was nearly four months ago. Since then, America has suffered more than 1 million cases and is losing thousands of lives to the coronavirus each day.

Vietnam has zero reported deaths and fewer than 300 cases.

As for Vietnam? Zero reported deaths and fewer than 300 cases. Not bad for a nation of 95 million people.

Top of The World — our morning news round up written by editors at The World. Subscribe here.

Every day in Queens, New York City, the line for food stretches for blocks outside the nonprofit community organization Alianza Ecuatoriana Internacional. Through a bullhorn, founder Walther Sinche directs people to tables stacked with prepackaged food.

“Just looking at their eyes breaks my heart,” he said. “It’s stressful sometimes, but what keeps you moving is that I can help someone have a meal a day.”

United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday renewed his aggressive criticism of China, blaming it for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people from the coronavirus and demanding again that it share information about the outbreak.

"They knew. China could have prevented the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people worldwide. China could have spared the world descent into global economic malaise," Pompeo told a State Department news conference.