Tuesday, 30 June 2020

New York City to cut police budget, but some say it's not enough

New York City to cut police budget, but some say it's not enoughNew York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has agreed with the City Council to slash the New York Police Department's spending in the 2021 fiscal year's budget, which is due to be passed on Tuesday, but some lawmakers said it fell short of a $1 billion cut they had demanded. Nearly $484 million will be cut from the NYPD's budget, while another $354 million will be transferred to other city agencies, with the mayor shifting oversight of school safety officers from the NYPD to the Department of Education, the City Council said. City Council Speaker Corey Johnson disputed de Blasio's characterization that $1 billion was being "shifted away" from the NYPD budget.




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Hong Kong security law: Minutes after new law, pro-democracy voices quit

Hong Kong security law: Minutes after new law, pro-democracy voices quit"The law marks the end of Hong Kong that the world knew before," one activist said as he quit.




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Putin unveils monument to fallen Red Army WWII soldiers

Putin unveils monument to fallen Red Army WWII soldiersRussian President Vladimir Putin and his counterpart from Belarus on Tuesday unveiled a monument honoring the fallen Red Army soldiers who fought in one of the most bloody battles of World War II. Putin and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko traveled to the village of Khoroshevo, just outside Rzhev, about 200 kilometers (about 125 miles) northwest of Moscow for a somber ceremony that involved goose-stepping troops laying wreaths to the towering figure of a soldier. The battle of Rzhev, in which the Red Army launched a series of offensives in 1942-1943 to dislodge the Wermacht from its positions close to Moscow, involved enormous Soviet losses from persistent, poorly prepared attacks against well-fortified Nazi positions.




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Trump in ‘fragile’ mood and may drop out of 2020 race if poll numbers don’t improve, GOP insiders tell Fox News

Trump in ‘fragile’ mood and may drop out of 2020 race if poll numbers don’t improve, GOP insiders tell Fox NewsDonald Trump may drop out of the 2020 presidential race if he believes he has no chance of winning, a Republican Party operative reportedly told Fox News.The claim comes in a report in the president’s favourite news outlet that cites a number of GOP insiders who are concerned about Mr Trump’s re-election prospects amid abysmal polling numbers.




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Homeowner shoots woman trying to steal his Nazi flag, Oklahoma cops say

Homeowner shoots woman trying to steal his Nazi flag, Oklahoma cops sayAuthorities said the victim is expected to recover.




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'Enough': 1 killed in shooting in Seattle's protest zone

'Enough': 1 killed in shooting in Seattle's protest zoneA 16-year-old boy was killed and and a younger teenager was wounded early Monday in Seattle's “occupied” protest zone — the second deadly shooting in the area that local officials have vowed to change after business complaints and criticism from President Donald Trump. The violence that came just over a week after another shooting in the zone left one person dead and another wounded was “dangerous and unacceptable" police Chief Carmen Best said. Demonstrators have occupied several blocks around the Seattle Police Department’s East Precinct and a park for about two weeks after police abandoned the precinct following standoffs and clashes with protesters calling for racial justice and an end to police brutality.




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Fauci says US death toll 'going to be very disturbing' and fears 100,000 daily cases

Fauci says US death toll 'going to be very disturbing' and fears 100,000 daily cases* Infectious disease expert says US ‘going in the wrong direction’ * ‘I’m very concerned. I’m not satisfied with what’s going on’Dr Anthony Fauci, the top US infectious disease expert, has said the country could see 100,000 new coronavirus cases daily unless action is taken to reverse the epidemic.Appearing before the Senate health, education, labor and pensions committee on Tuesday, Fauci warned that the US is “going in the wrong direction” over handling the coronavirus, and said the death toll “is going to be very disturbing”.He appeared a day after the White House insisted the outbreak had been reduced to “embers” but the principal deputy director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr Anne Schuchat, insisted: “This is really the beginning.”Speaking on Capitol Hill, Fauci was asked about the increase in new cases of coronavirus – the US last week reported 40,000 in one day – and whether the pandemic was under control.“The numbers speak for themselves,” he said. “I’m very concerned, I’m not satisfied with what’s going on, because we’re going in the wrong direction.“Clearly we’re not in total control.”Fauci said that without a more robust response, the daily number of cases could more than double.“I would not be surprised if we go up to 100,000 a day if this does not turn around,” he said. Fauci said he could not provide an estimated death toll, but said: “It is going to be very disturbing, I guarantee you that.”The stark warning came after Schuchat told the Journal of the American Medical Association: “What we hope is that we can take it seriously and slow the transmission. We have way too much virus across the country for that right now, so it’s very discouraging.”She added that there was “a lot of wishful thinking around the country” that the pandemic would be over by the summer.“We are not even beginning to be over this,” Schuchat said. “There are a lot of worrisome factors about the last week or so.“We’re not in the situation of New Zealand or Singapore or Korea, where a new case is rapidly identified and all the contacts are traced, and people are isolated who are sick, and people who are exposed are quarantined and they can keep things under control.”Testifying before the Senate committee, Fauci said he was “quite concerned about what we are seeing evolve right now in several states” which had moved quickly in attempts to return to normal.“They need to follow the guidelines that have been very carefully laid out with regard to [reopening] checkpoints. What we’ve seen in several states are different iterations of that, perhaps maybe in some, they’re going too quickly and skipping over some.”The US represents 4% of the world’s population, but accounts for 25% of all cases and deaths from Covid-19. The US has recorded more than 2.5m cases, with some states seeing record rises.On Monday, the governor of Arizona ordered bars, movie theaters, gyms and water parks to shut down for a month, weeks after reopening. Texas, Florida and California, all seeing rises in cases, have rolled back reopening efforts. Oregon and Kansas have ordered people to wear masks in public.Responding to widely shared images of people not following guidelines – including not wearing a mask and gathering in large groups – and especially young people, Fauci said better messaging was required.Fauci said: “We’ve got to get that message out that we are all in this together and if we’re going to contain this, we’ve gotta contain it together.”The Senate committee chair, the Republican Lamar Alexander, urged Trump to wear a mask and to depoliticize the topic. He said: “This small, life-saving practice has become part of the political debate that says, if you are for Trump you don’t wear a mask and if you are against Trump you do.”Alexander continued: “That’s why I’ve suggested that the president occasionally wear a mask. The president has plenty of admirers, they would follow his lead and it would help in this political debate; the stakes are too high for this to continue.”New daily cases are rising in 38 states, according to NPR’s pandemic tracker, but the White House continues its attempts to downplay the severity of Covid-19. At a briefing on Monday, press secretary Kayleigh McEnany ignored the surge.“The people who are being infected tend to be those – as Vice-President Pence has noted – half of those testing positive are under the age of 35. This means we’re catching people in their communities,” she said.She added: “We’re aware that there are embers that need to be put out.”Fauci said on Sunday the US was unlikely to achieve herd immunity to the coronavirus even with a vaccine, given a third of Americans say they would not receive it.“There is a general anti-science, anti-authority, anti-vaccine feeling among some people in this country – an alarmingly large percentage of people, relatively speaking,” Fauci said, adding that the government has “a lot of work to do” to educate people about vaccines.Even states where the rate of new infections has decreased are rethinking plans to allow businesses to reopen. New Jersey has postponed plans to allow indoor dining, while the governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, said he may reverse plans to allow restaurants and bars to reopen.Broadway theaters will remain closed until January 2021, an industry group said on Monday. Theaters had planned to reopen in September.




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City crews remove some barriers from Seattle protest zone

City crews remove some barriers from Seattle protest zoneSeattle city crews used heavy equipment Tuesday to remove makeshift barriers around the city’s “occupied” protest zone following two fatal shootings in the area. People have occupied several blocks around a park and the Seattle Police Department’s East Precinct for about two weeks after police abandoned the building following standoffs and clashes with protesters calling for racial justice and an end to police brutality. Seattle police Assistant Chief Adrian Diaz said the large, makeshift barriers would be removed in incremental steps to allow traffic to move through portions of a road that had been closed off.




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Man arrested over fatal shooting in Kentucky park at center of protests

Man arrested over fatal shooting in Kentucky park at center of protests"The man has been participating in the protest since the beginning and he had been arrested a couple of times in the past several weeks," Schroeder said. Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said he was saddened by the incident. The park has been a focal point of protests against the death of Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old emergency medical technicinan who was killed in a hail of gunfire when drug investigators burst into her home in Louisville on March 13.




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Astronaut says losing mirror on spacewalk was 'real bummer'

Astronaut says losing mirror on spacewalk was 'real bummer'The commander of the International Space Station said Monday that losing a mirror during last week’s otherwise successful spacewalk was “a real bummer.” NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy said he has no idea how the small mirror on his left sleeve came off. “I just happened to glance down and I saw this reflecting thing disappearing into the darkness, and that was the last I saw of it,” Cassidy said in an interview with The Associated Press.




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As coronavirus spreads to people under 40, it's making them sicker — and for longer — than once thought

As coronavirus spreads to people under 40, it's making them sicker — and for longer — than once thoughtOnce assumed to be safe from the dangers of COVID-19, younger adults share their prolonged struggles with the disease.




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National parks – even Mount Rushmore – show that there's more than one kind of patriotism

National parks – even Mount Rushmore – show that there's more than one kind of patriotismJuly 4th will be quieter than usual this year, thanks to COVID-19. Many U.S. cities are canceling fireworks displays to avoid drawing large crowds that could promote the spread of coronavirus. But President Trump is planning to stage a celebration at Mount Rushmore National Memorial in South Dakota on July 3. It’s easy to see why an Independence Day event at a national memorial featuring the carved faces of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt would seem like a straightforward patriotic statement. But there’s controversy. Trump’s visit will be capped by fireworks for the first time in a decade, notwithstanding worries that pyrotechnics could ignite wildfires. And Native Americans are planning protests, adding Mount Rushmore to the list of monuments around the world that critics see as commemorating histories of racism, slavery and genocide and reinforcing white supremacy. As I show in my book, “Memorials Matter: Emotion, Environment, and Public Memory at American Historical Sites,” many venerated historical sites tell complicated stories. Even Mount Rushmore, which was designed explicitly to evoke national pride, can be a source of anger or shame rather than patriotic feeling. Twenty-first-century patriotism is a touchy subject, increasingly claimed by America’s conservative right. National Park Service sites like Mount Rushmore are public lands, meant to be appreciated by everyone, but they raise crucial questions about history, unity and love of country, especially during this election year. For me, and I suspect for many tourists, national memorials and monuments elicit conflicting feelings. There’s pride in our nation’s achievements, but also guilt, regret or anger over the costs of progress and the injustices that still exist. Patriotism, especially at sites of shame, can be unsettling – and I see this as a good thing. In my view, honestly confronting the darker parts of U.S. history as well as its best moments is vital for tourism, for patriotism and for the nation. Whose history?Patriotism has roots in the Latin “patriotia,” meaning “fellow countryman.” It’s common to feel patriotic pride in U.S. technological achievements or military strength. But Americans also glory in the diversity and beauty of our natural landscapes. That kind of patriotism, I think, has the potential to be more inclusive, less divisive and more socially and environmentally just. [Expertise in your inbox. Sign up for The Conversation’s newsletter and get expert takes on today’s news, every day.]The physical environment at national memorials can inspire more than one kind of patriotism. At Mount Rushmore, tourists are invited to walk the Avenue of Flags, marvel at the labor required to carve four U.S. presidents’ faces out of granite, and applaud when rangers invite military veterans onstage during visitor programs. Patriotism centers on labor, progress and the “great men” the memorial credits with founding, expanding, preserving and unifying the U.S. But there are other perspectives. Viewed from the Peter Norbeck Overlook, a short drive from the main site, the presidents’ faces are tiny elements embedded in the expansive Black Hills region. Re-seeing the memorial in space and contextualizing it within a longer time scale can spark new emotions. The Black Hills are a sacred place for Lakota peoples that they never willingly relinquished. Viewing Mount Rushmore this way puts those rock faces in a broader ecological, historical and colonial context, and raises questions about history and justice. Sites of shameSites where visitors are meant to feel remorse challenge patriotism more directly. At Manzanar National Historic Site in California – one of 10 camps where over 110,000 Japanese Americans were incarcerated during World War II – natural and textual cues prevent any easy patriotic reflexes. Reconstructed guard towers and barracks help visitors perceive the experience of being detained. I could imagine Japanese Americans’ shame as I entered claustrophobic buildings and touched the rough straw that filled makeshift mattresses. Many visitors doubtlessly associate mountains with adventure and freedom, but some incarcerees saw the nearby Sierra Nevada as barricades reinforcing the camp’s barbed wire fence. Rangers play up these emotional tensions on their tours. I saw one ranger position a group of schoolchildren atop what were once latrines, and ask them: “Will it happen again? We don’t know. We hope not. We have to stand up for what is right.” Instead of offering visitors a self-congratulatory sense of being a good citizen, Manzanar leaves them with unsettling questions and mixed feelings. Visitors to incarceration camps today might make connections to the U.S.-Mexico border, where detention centers corral people in unhealthy conditions, sometimes separating children from parents. Sites like Manzanar ask us to rethink who “counts” as an American and what unites us as human beings. Visiting and writing about these and other sites made me consider what it would take to disassociate patriotism from “America first”-style nationalism and recast it as collective pride in the United States’ diverse landscapes and peoples. Building a more inclusive patriotism means celebrating freedom in all forms – such as making Juneteenth a federal holiday – and commemorating the tragedies of our past in ways that promote justice in the present. Humble patriotismThis July 4th invites contemplation of what holds us together as a nation during a time of reckoning. I believe Americans should be willing to imagine how a public memorial could be offensive or traumatic. The National Park Service website claims that Mount Rushmore preserves a “rich heritage we all share,” but what happens when that heritage feels like hatred to some people? Growing momentum for removing statues of Confederate generals and other historical figures now understood to be racist, including the statue of Theodore Roosevelt in the front of New York City’s Museum of Natural History, tests the limits of national coherence. Understanding this momentum is not an issue of political correctness – it’s a matter of compassion.Greater clarity about value systems could help unite Americans across party lines. Psychologists have found striking differences between the moral frameworks that shape liberals’ and conservatives’ views. Conservatives generally prioritize purity, sanctity and loyalty, while liberals tend to value justice in the form of concerns about fairness and harm. In my view, patriotism could function as an emotional bridge between these moral foundations. My research suggests that visits to memorial sites are helpful for recognizing our interdependence with each other, as inhabitants of a common country. Places like Mount Rushmore are part of our collective past that raise important questions about what unites us today. I believe it’s our responsibility to approach these places, and each other, with both pride and humility. This is an updated version of an article originally published on June 26, 2019.This article is republished from The Conversation, a nonprofit news site dedicated to sharing ideas from academic experts.Read more: * More than scenery: National parks preserve our history and culture * The twisted roots of U.S. land policy in the WestJennifer Ladino received funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities to support her book on national memorials.




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Tucker Carlson’s Journey From Coronavirus Alarm-Puller to COVID Truther

Tucker Carlson’s Journey From Coronavirus Alarm-Puller to COVID TrutherIn early March, while President Donald Trump’s loudest allies at Fox News downplayed the coronavirus pandemic, with some claiming it was nothing more than an “impeachment scam” to destroy the president, Tucker Carlson received widespread—and usual, considering his notoriously far-right rhetoric—praise for calling out his colleagues and Trump for “minimizing” the impending danger.The Fox News primetime star continues to receive plaudits for reportedly convincing the president to finally take the crisis seriously. Days after that March 9 monologue, which was delivered shortly after Carlson privately spoke with Trump about the virus, the president publicly addressed the nation and his administration began pushing social-distancing guidelines.While Carlson sounding the alarm much earlier than his Fox News peers may have a had a positive impact (on his viewers, especially, as studies show his audience took protective measures before Trump confidant Sean Hannity’s), it didn’t take long for the right-wing TV host to shift gears and rage against social distancing, lockdowns, and any other measure implemented to slow the spread of the virus.Over the past two months, Carlson has devoted much of his coronavirus coverage to discrediting public-health experts, specifically top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci, a member of the White House coronavirus task force. On top of telling his audience to stop listening to Fauci and other health officials, the Fox News star has repeatedly boosted a fellow contrarian, former New York Times reporter-turned-spy-novelist Alex Berenson, as an expert on the deadly virus.Less than a month after his much-lauded call to action on the virus, Carlson declared the crisis to be over—a claim that received far less attention from the mainstream press than his rogue stance against the president. Despite the United States having already experienced 13,000 deaths by that point, Carlson pointed to revised models showing lower expected deaths to call for the easing of stay-at-home orders, insisting that the “short-term crisis may have passed.”Since the Fox star’s assertion that the pandemic was essentially over and it was time to go back to business as usual, the nation has suffered roughly 115,000 more deaths and at least two million more confirmed cases.Carlson, in his quest to convince viewers that social distancing was futile and lockdowns were useless, began taking aim at Fauci almost immediately, framing the Medal of Freedom honoree as a power-hungry bureaucrat who had suddenly become the most powerful person in the world. Furthermore, the conservative talk-show host repeatedly portrayed the top doctor as incompetent and unknowledgeable about infectious diseases.One way Carlson often sharply criticized the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases was by highlighting his shifting opinions on the virus as more information became known about the disease. In particular, he hit Fauci for initially saying mask-wearing was unnecessary—a position the renowned immunologist quickly reversed, as have other health officials who initially worried that masks might instill a false sense of security.Tucker Carlson Wants to Have It Both Ways on CoronavirusAt one point in mid-May, following Sen. Rand Paul dressing down Fauci in a Senate hearing, Carlson applauded the pro-Trump Republican before delivering his own lengthy takedown of Fauci, arguing that the top doctor’s advice was “buffoon-level stuff,” later describing him as “the chief buffoon of the professional class.” Weeks prior, Carlson called it “national suicide” for Fauci to urge aggressive social-distancing restrictions.“We should never let someone like that run this country,” he fumed.Besides repeatedly dismissing social distancing, Carlson has also told his viewers that the virus is just not that deadly, even as the death toll continues to rise. In late April, for instance, Carlson pointed to some antibody studies—which have since largely been dismissed due to a large number of false-positive statistical errors—and the laughable claims made by a pair of California doctors who pushed for reopening by claiming the disease “just isn’t nearly as deadly as we thought it was.”The segment was steeped in so much disinformation on the disease that MSNBC host Chris Hayes, his direct 8 p.m. time slot competitor, directly called out Carlson for peddling “coronavirus trutherism” the next evening, picking apart the arguments put forth by the Fox star.“There is a reason many of the employees of Fox News, which is based in New York, are working from home right now,” Hayes pointedly stated. “At least someone there understands why it is important to continue to keep physical distance.”Weeks later, Carlson again pointed to antibody tests and cherry-picked surveys to claim the deadly virus was relatively tame.“We now know, thanks to widespread blood testing, that the virus isn't that deadly,” he said on May 21. “An enormous percentage of coronavirus infections produce mild symptoms or no symptoms at all, they're asymptomatic. The death toll is a tiny fraction of what we were told it would be.”Carlson, meanwhile, has also seemed more than willing to accept that the death toll—which is now approaching 130,000—is overinflated and possibly a hoax, despite overwhelming evidence showing it has likely been undercounted. Besides giving airtime to “COVID Contrarian” Berenson, who has repeatedly suggested the death toll is inflated or would remain low, he has also hosted Fox News senior political analyst Brit Hume to make those same claims. “Dr. Birx said tonight during the briefing at the White House that all deaths from anyone who died with coronavirus is counted as if the person died from coronavirus. Now, we all know that isn’t true,” Hume said on April 7 before relaying anecdotal evidence: “ I remember my own doctor telling me at one point when I was discussing prostate issues, he said about prostate cancer—I didn't have it, as it happened, but he said, ‘You know, a lot more people die with it than die from it.’”In recent weeks, amid nationwide unrest following the Minneapolis police killing of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, Carlson has spent far more time demonizing the Black Lives Matter movement than covering the outbreak of new coronavirus cases, many of which are occurring in the states that rushed to reopen. When the Fox host did shift from fear-mongering about a race war to cover the virus, however, he actively minimized the damage of the pandemic while once again claiming lockdowns do not work.Just as multiple states began seeing a massive uptick in confirmed cases following relaxed restrictions and Memorial Day weekend celebrations, Carlson definitively declared social-distancing rules to be useless.“We do think it’s worth, for a minute, taking a pause to assess whether or not they were in fact lying to us about the coronavirus and our response to it,” he said on June 10, taking issue with media criticizing lockdown protests but praising police brutality demonstrations. “And the short answer to this is: Yes, they were definitely lying.”“As a matter of public health, we can say conclusively the lockdowns were not necessary. In fact, we can prove that and here’s the most powerful evidence: states that never locked down at all, states where people were allowed to live like Americans and not cower indoors alone, in the end turned out no worse than states that had mandatory quarantines, the state you probably live in,” Carlson continued. “The states that did lock down at first but were quick to reopen have not seen explosions of coronavirus cases.”Since making that proclamation, Florida, Texas and Arizona have all set single-day records for confirmed cases, and have reported newly overwhelmed hospitals and ICU capacity. Presented with Carlson's repeated claims that social distancing and stay-at-home orders have been unnecessary, Dr. Irwin Redlener, a Daily Beast contributor and director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University outright dismissed the TV host’s analysis.“Tucker Carson is one of the most fervent anti-science commentators on the airway,” the public-health activist told The Daily Beast. “He, like Sean Hannity, seems to relish in unwavering support for Donald Trump, no matter how outlandish, dishonest or ignorant the president’s statements or policies might be. I assume that Tucker is probably a bright guy, but his uncritical support of Trump is a dangerous disservice to his audience.”While Carlson has privately advised the president on several issues and is regularly cited by the president's Twitter account, he has also stood out among his Fox primetime peers in offering up criticism of Trump. Besides subtly calling the president out over his COVID-19 response, Carlson has also knocked the president for not being tough enough in dealing with the protests, arguing that it is placing him on a trajectory to lose.An analysis from Columbia University, meanwhile, has found that if the United States had implemented physical-distancing guidelines just one week earlier in March, as many as 36,000 American lives could have been saved.I Spent a Week Down the Right-Wing Media Rabbit Hole—and Was Mesmerized by ItAs Carlson has dismissed the expertise of epidemiologists and scientists, while boosting spy novelists and talking heads, he has occasionally sought the advice of actual medical professionals to provide pandemic analysis. One of the most frequent voices on his show in this respect has been Fox News medical contributor Dr. Marc Siegel.While the Fox News primetime star has blasted Fauci and others for their inaccurate predictions and so-called buffoonery, he doesn’t seem to have an issue with Siegel’s history of comically over-the-top projections and medical punditry that seemingly bends over backwards to please the Fox audience.For example, Siegel, who infamously said in March that the “worst-case” for coronavirus is that it “will be the flu,” told Carlson last month that “we're not going to have a big second wave,” citing the low number of cases in Australia. “That’s the southern hemisphere,” he said. “That’s essentially our November right now.”He would eventually walk back that claim on Carlson’s show days later, noting that Brazil—which is also in the southern hemisphere—was experiencing a huge surge in cases. And last week, Siegel lashed out at the European Union for possibly banning American visitors due to the latest rise in cases. “Could this be retaliatory? Possibly,” he huffed. “Could it be public health? Whatever it is, it is not the tone they sounded back in March, when they were horrified at our travel ban, at a time when thousands and thousands of cases were coming here.” And then the unmistakably Carlson-esque reactionary barb. “So I have a message for the European Union tonight: How about remembering what we did for you in the middle of the 20th century?”Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.




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Missouri couple point guns at protesters calling for St. Louis mayor to resign

Missouri couple point guns at protesters calling for St. Louis mayor to resignA video on social media shows a couple pointing guns at protesters marching through a St. Louis neighborhood demanding Mayor Lyda Krewson's resignation.




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CanSino's COVID-19 vaccine candidate approved for military use in China

CanSino's COVID-19 vaccine candidate approved for military use in ChinaChina's military has received the greenlight to use a COVID-19 vaccine candidate developed by its research unit and CanSino Biologics after clinical trials proved it was safe and showed some efficacy, the company said on Monday. The Ad5-nCoV is one of China's eight vaccine candidates approved for human trials at home and abroad for the respiratory disease caused by the new coronavirus.




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Distancing from Trump? Some Republicans step up critiques

Distancing from Trump? Some Republicans step up critiquesFor more than three years, President Donald Trump instilled such fear in the Republican Party's leaders that most kept criticism of his turbulent leadership or inconsistent politics to themselves. Four months before voters decide the Republican president's reelection, some in Trump's party are daring to say the quiet part out loud as Trump struggles to navigate competing national crises and a scattershot campaign message. “He is losing,” former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a Trump friend and confidant, said Sunday of Trump’s reelection prospects on ABC’s “This Week.”




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The 20 Best Deals from REI’s Fourth of July Sale



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'Dirty' depiction of Kim's wife outraged NKorea: Russian envoy

'Dirty' depiction of Kim's wife outraged NKorea: Russian envoyNorth Korea's fury over anti-Pyongyang leaflets launched from the South is driven by "dirty, insulting" depictions of leader Kim Jong Un's spouse, Russia's top envoy in the reclusive country has said. In recent weeks Pyongyang has issued a series of vitriolic condemnations over anti-North leaflets which defectors based in the South send across the militarised border -- usually attached to balloons or floated in bottles. The campaigns have long been a point of contention between the two Koreas, but this time, Pyongyang upped the pressure, blowing up a liaison office and threatening military measures.




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Woman Choked, Robbed In Manhattan

Woman Choked, Robbed In ManhattanThe 64-year-old victim was attacked in Kips Bay on Sunday and suffered cuts. CBS2's Natalie Duddridge reports




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Rand Paul again rips Dr. Anthony Fauci over coronavirus: 'We just need more optimism'

Rand Paul again rips Dr. Anthony Fauci over coronavirus: 'We just need more optimism'Paul criticized Fauci for a lack of "certitude" when it comes to advice on if kids should be allowed to go back to school in the fall amid COVID-19.




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What's going on between Russia, US and Afghanistan?

What's going on between Russia, US and Afghanistan?Russia denies reports it paid militants to kill US troops. The BBC's Jonathan Marcus evaluates those reports.




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More Chinese regions brace for floods as storms shift east

More Chinese regions brace for floods as storms shift eastTorrential rain is set to hit China's eastern coastal regions this week after overwhelming large parts of the southwest, inundating villages and tourist spots and displacing more than 700,000 people, state weather forecasters said on Monday. Nearly 14 million people in 26 different provinces had been affected by storms and floods by Friday, with 744,000 evacuated, the China Daily reported, citing the Ministry for Emergency Management. Much of the damage has hit southwestern regions like Guangxi and Sichuan, and the municipality of Chongqing on the upper reaches of the Yangtze river last week experienced its worst floods since 1940.




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Woman shot in back while trying to steal man's Nazi flag, authorities say

Woman shot in back while trying to steal man's Nazi flag, authorities sayThe victim had been with friends at a nearby party when she apparently snatched one of the swastika flags displayed outside the man's home.




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Monday, 29 June 2020

Italian teen moves closer to becoming 'patron saint of the internet'

Italian teen moves closer to becoming 'patron saint of the internet'Italian boy, who programmed his home computer to catalog miracles and died at 15, moves a step closer to becoming the Catholic Church's first millennial saint.




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Minneapolis Spends Thousands on Private Security for City Councilmen amid Calls to ‘Defund’ the Police

Minneapolis Spends Thousands on Private Security for City Councilmen amid Calls to ‘Defund’ the PoliceMinneapolis has spent over $63,000 to provide private security for members of its city council, which has been outspoken in calls to defund the police department following the death of George Floyd.Andrea Jenkins (Ward 8), Phillipe Cunningham (Ward 4), and Alondra Cano (Ward 9) are being provided details that cost $4,500 a day, a city spokesperson confirmed to local outlet FOX9.While Cano did not return a request for comment, Cunningham said he was not “comfortable publicly discussing the death threats against me,” but said the security was temporary. Jenkins — an African American man who identifies as a woman — told FOX9 that the security was over concern for “the large number of white nationalist(s) in our city and other threatening communications I’ve been receiving.”A Minneapolis Police Department spokesperson told FOX9 that the police had not been made aware of any threats against city council members.The city spokesperson explained that the current measures are “a temporary bridge” to more formal procedures for council members, and are not expected to pass $175,000, which would require official approval by the City Council.Last week, the Minneapolis City Council voted 12-0 to further advance a proposal for dismantling the city’s police department. City Council president Lisa Bender has argued in response to questions over safety that fear comes from “a place of privilege.”“I think we need to step back and imagine what it would feel like to already live in that reality where calling the police may mean more harm instead,” she told CNN earlier this month.




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China to impose visa restrictions on U.S. individuals over Hong Kong

China to impose visa restrictions on U.S. individuals over Hong KongBeijing said on Monday it will impose visa restrictions on U.S. individuals with "egregious conduct" on Hong Kong-related issues, mirroring U.S. sanctions against unnamed Chinese officials deemed responsible for curbing freedoms in the city. The announcement comes as the top decision-making body of China's parliament deliberates a draft national security law for Hong Kong that pro-democracy activists in the city fear will be used to eliminate dissent and tighten Beijing's control. Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian, who announced the new sanctions during a press briefing in response to a question about Washington's new visa restrictions, did not specify which U.S. individuals have been targeted.




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New Yorkers who travel to Florida, Texas, and other states with high COVID-19 infection rates will lose paid sick leave benefits

New Yorkers who travel to Florida, Texas, and other states with high COVID-19 infection rates will lose paid sick leave benefitsAlabama, Arizona, Georgia, Florida, Mississippi, Nevada, South Carolina, Utah, and Texas all currently have positive test rates higher than 10%.




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Russia denies nuclear incident after international body detects isotopes

Russia denies nuclear incident after international body detects isotopesRussia said on Monday it had detected no sign of a radiation emergency, after an international body reported last week that sensors in Stockholm had picked up unusually high levels of radioactive isotopes produced by nuclear fission. The Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), which monitors the world for evidence of nuclear weapons tests, said last week one of its stations scanning the air for radioactive particles had found unusual, although harmless, levels of caesium-134, caesium-137 and ruthenium-103. The isotopes were "certainly nuclear fission products, most likely from a civil source", it said.




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Huntsman at risk of shocking defeat in Utah

Huntsman at risk of shocking defeat in UtahAfter a decade away from Utah politics and a weeks-long fight with the coronavirus, the former governor is locked in a tight race for his old job.




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Trump was 'near-sadistic' in phone calls with female world leaders, according to CNN report on classified calls

Trump was 'near-sadistic' in phone calls with female world leaders, according to CNN report on classified callsTrump's conduct over the phone with world leaders posed a "danger to the national security of the United States," according to intel officials.




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Saharan dust cloud hits Southern states in U.S. already struggling with coronavirus surge

Saharan dust cloud hits Southern states in U.S. already struggling with coronavirus surgeFlorida in particular faces a greater risk from the dust as the state experiences record-breaking coronavirus numbers, its ICU capacity under 25 percent.




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Dozens arrested as Hong Kongers protest planned national security laws

Dozens arrested as Hong Kongers protest planned national security lawsHong Kong police arrested at least 53 people on Sunday after scuffles erupted during a relatively peaceful protest against planned national security legislation to be implemented by the mainland Chinese government. Armed riot police were present as a crowd of several hundred moved from Jordan to Mong Kok in the Kowloon district, staging what was intended as a "silent protest" against the planned law. Hong Kong Police said on Facebook that 53 people had been arrested and charged with unlawful assembly, adding that earlier some protesters tried to blockade roads in the area.




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Supreme Court makes it easier for president to fire CFPB head

Supreme Court makes it easier for president to fire CFPB headIn her scathing dissent, Justice Elena Kagan called the ruling the "civics class version of separation of powers."




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Orange County Democrats Want John Wayne Airport Renamed, Citing His 'I Believe In White Supremacy' Interview

Orange County Democrats Want John Wayne Airport Renamed, Citing His 'I Believe In White Supremacy' InterviewOrange County Democrats are calling on the OC Board of Supervisors to change the name of John Wayne Airport, citing the late Hollywood star's "white supremacist, anti-LGBT, and anti-Indigenous views." Brittney Hopper reports.




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Despite Police Confrontation, the Queer Liberation March Was a Powerful and Peaceful Call for Justice

Despite Police Confrontation, the Queer Liberation March Was a Powerful and Peaceful Call for JusticeThousands of protesters flooded the streets of lower Manhattan on Sunday for the Queer Liberation March for Black Lives and Against Police Brutality, a rallying cry against police violence that combined the spirit of Pride with the ongoing calls of the Black Lives Matter movement. Late afternoon reports on social media showed disturbing moments of confrontation after a largely peaceful march, with the police pushing through crowds of protesters and appearing to detain multiple people.New York City’s First Ever Queer Liberation March Showed a New-Old Way to Feel PrideAn NYPD spokesperson confirmed to The Daily Beast that two people were arrested in the act of graffiting a police vehicle, and that pepper spray was deployed against those who tried to intervene. (The use of pepper spray was “totally allowed,” the spokesperson said, as intervening in an arrest is illegal.) Despite videos and social media posts that continue to surface showing police coming after the crowd, a department spokesperson otherwise noted the day’s events were peaceful without “widespread reports of violence or anything of that nature.” Participants first gathered under the hot midday sun in front of City Hall and made their way north, up past the historic Stonewall Inn and eventually into Washington Square Park. Approaching the West Village, the crowd spanned nearly a dozen city blocks in length.Similar to the many protests that have continued since the death of George Floyd last month, the march was not city-sanctioned but rather fueled by explicit calls to abolish and defund the police.Volunteers directed protesters, held traffic, and passed out supplies, while police presence (on foot, in vehicles and at least one helicopter) occasionally rose up on the route’s periphery. Altercations were only reported near the march’s endpoint in Washington Square. The event marked the 50th anniversary of the city’s first organized march for LGBTQ+ rights (known as Christopher Street Liberation Day) on what was to be New York City’s annual day of Pride celebrations. With the official parade canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Queer Liberation March restored the political rigor and intent that characterized Pride from its earliest days, with a robust sense of solidarity and defiance in the face of injustice.New York City Gets Ready for the Battle of the LGBT Pride MarchesThe Queer Liberation March was initially canceled as well, but the grassroots group behind the event, the Reclaim Pride Coalition, decided to remount it in the wake of the ongoing uprising over anti-Black racism.“When we saw the eruption of protests, we were reminded of AIDS-era activism,” Jon Carter, a member of the coalition, told The Daily Beast. “There are times when physical presence in the streets speaks volumes.” Opposing police violence is one of the founding principles of Reclaim Pride, which organized the first Queer Liberation March last year as counter-programming to the city-approved Stonewall 50 Pride parade and accompanying glut of sponsored events and parties. Reclaim Pride’s resistance to corporate influence, and most especially to police involvement, this year assumed obvious renewed resonance.New York’s 50th LGBTQ Pride March Should Be as Political as Possible“We’re tapping into a decades-long intersection” of the broader movements for queer and Black rights, Carter said. Trans women of color Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, who spearheaded the modern LGBTQ+ rights movement and have rightfully assumed a central place in its history, were among the trailblazers rendered in effigy, towering 20 feet off the ground on the backs of tireless puppeteers. Carter also pointed out that the founders of Black Lives Matter have personal ties to the queer community. “It’s an ongoing relationship that goes back to the Queer Liberation Front collaborating with the Black Panthers in the ‘60s,” Carter told The Daily Beast. “It’s always been intersectional.” Signs demanding justice for Layleen Polanco, Nina Pop, Islan Nettles, and other trans women of color rose above the crowd, along with powerful statements that pointed to anti-racism as fundamental to queer liberation (“There is no Pride without Black trans lives”). While some participants dressed in the colorful, provocative tradition of Pride, the air was decidedly one of resistance and calls for justice.“I’m here to join everyone in fighting for trans lives, especially Black trans lives,” said Jordana, 26, cooling off in the shade of an awning near Stonewall. “I’m a trans woman, and this year alone, 16 of us have been killed by hate crimes.” If cis white gay men were subject to that kind of violence, “there would be so much more attention,” said Jordana, a New York native. “It’s so important for us to get out here, even despite the virus, to spread our voice and make the media pay attention to our struggles.” The crowd in the street chanted: “They can’t deny it, Stonewall was a riot!”“I’ve been going to a lot of Black Lives Matter protests, and I’m a gay person, and I feel we need to be in the streets and fighting for the rights of Black trans people,” said Todd, 53, an East Village resident who’s been attending Pride events for more than 20 years. “This is what queer Pride should be.”In Washington Square Park, where exhausted and exuberant protesters gathered and reconnected, a speaker with a microphone told the growing crowd: “If you’re here for a photo opp, you’re here for the wrong reason. If you’re here to put resources toward saving Black trans bodies, I’m here for that!” Benches filled up and small groups sat together on the grass, recharging in the shade. “This march is not only celebratory, but focused on issues we are still trying to overcome,” said Dylan, 20, draped in a trans flag and waiting to meet up with friends. “We’re living in a nation where queer life is directly under attack by our government,” Carter from Reclaim Pride told The Daily Beast. “The fact that we’re able to rally together and play a role in protecting the progress we’ve made, and insist on further progress—that’s cause for celebration,” he said. “We have it in our hearts; even in the deepest tragedy, we find ways to bring hope and joy to our lives.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.




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2020 Watch: Trump's new focus on baseless voter fraud claims

2020 Watch: Trump's new focus on baseless voter fraud claimsPresident Donald Trump is aggressively working to undercut public confidence in the November general election by stoking baseless concerns about voter fraud as he continues to struggle through one of the lowest points of his presidency. The familiar yet startling attacks on a pillar of democracy come amid a resurgence of the coronavirus under Trump's watch that forced Vice President Mike Pence to cancel upcoming campaign stops in Florida and Arizona and pushed several Trump-allied Republican governors to scale back reopening efforts. The Republican president is hoping that a high-profile appearance at Mount Rushmore this Friday can help boost his standing.




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South Pole warming three times faster than rest of Earth: study

South Pole warming three times faster than rest of Earth: studyThe South Pole has warmed three times faster than the rest of the planet in the last 30 years due to warmer tropical ocean temperatures, new research showed Monday. Antarctica's temperature varies widely according to season and region, and for years it had been thought that the South Pole had stayed cool even as the continent heated up. Researchers in New Zealand, Britain and the United States analysed 60 years of weather station data and used computer modelling to show what was causing the accelerated warming.




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Judge in George Floyd case says likely to move hearing out of Minneapolis as officers appear in court

Judge in George Floyd case says likely to move hearing out of Minneapolis as officers appear in courtA Minnesota judge on Monday warned that he is likely to move the trials of four police officers charged in George Floyd's death out of Minneapolis if public officials and attorneys do not stop talking about the case. Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill stopped short of issuing a gag order on attorneys, but he said one is likely if public statements continue. Cahill added that such a situation would also make him likely to grant a change-of-venue motion if one is filed. "The court is not going to be happy about hearing about the case in three areas: media, evidence and guilt or innocence," Cahill said. It was the second pretrial hearing for the officers, who were fired after Floyd's May 25 death. Derek Chauvin, 44, is charged with second-degree murder and other counts, while Thomas Lane, 37, J. Kueng, 26, and Tou Thao, 34, are charged with aiding and abetting Chauvin.




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Israel orders evangelical Christian media network God TV to take channel off air

Israel orders evangelical Christian media network God TV to take channel off air“The channel does not appeal to the Christian population in Israel, but rather to the Jews,” Israel's broadcasting regulator said in a statement.




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Is international travel allowed yet? See when Singapore, Jamaica, other countries plan to reopen borders

Is international travel allowed yet? See when Singapore, Jamaica, other countries plan to reopen bordersJamaica is preparing to welcome back international tourists June 15, while Austria requires negative coronavirus tests and won't allow direct flights.




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New York City mayor plans to cut $1bn from police budget

New York City mayor plans to cut $1bn from police budgetNew York City mayor Bill de Blasio has proposed cutting $1bn (£814m) from the police force’s $6bn (£4.48bn) yearly budget, amid calls for reform.Mr de Blasio announced the plan during his daily City Hall press briefing on Monday, and said the proposed budget would help reform the New York City Police Department (NYPD).




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Minneapolis police chief, mayor launching policy changes

Minneapolis police chief, mayor launching policy changesThe Minneapolis police chief and mayor on Sunday began their push for sweeping policy changes with a new rule that prevents officers involved in using deadly force from reviewing body camera footage before completing an initial police report. The new standards come after a proposal by the Minneapolis City Council to dismantle the police force following the death of George Floyd, a handcuffed Black man who died after a white police officer pressed his knee on Floyd’s neck for nearly eight minutes.




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Greta Thunberg accused German Chancellor Angela Merkel of lining up to take a selfie with her just to 'look good'

Greta Thunberg accused German Chancellor Angela Merkel of lining up to take a selfie with her just to 'look good'Thunberg castigated Angela Merkel and other world leaders at the UN summit as stealing her dreams, but they still craved an Instagram moment with her.




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Supreme Court strikes down consumer agency's autonomy in win for Trump administration

Supreme Court strikes down consumer agency's autonomy in win for Trump administrationThe case was a major test of the separation of powers between the executive and legislative branches.




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Mississippi Becomes Last State to Remove Confederate Emblem from Flag

Mississippi Becomes Last State to Remove Confederate Emblem from FlagThe Mississippi state legislature voted on Sunday to remove the emblem of the Confederacy from the state flag.State residents had previously been resistant to changing the flag, however polling from the state's Chamber of Commerce indicated that 55 percent of residents now supported removing the Confederate symbol."In the nearly 20 years we have held the position of changing the state flag, we have never seen voters so much in favor of change,” Scott Waller, president of the Mississippi Economic Council, said on Thursday. “These recent polling numbers show what people believe, and that the time has come for us to have a new flag that serves as a unifying symbol for our entire state."Governor Tate Reeves, a Republican, said he would sign legislation to change the flag after previously expressing ambivalence."The argument over the 1894 flag has become as divisive as the flag itself and it’s time to end it. If they send me a bill this weekend, I will sign it," Reeves wrote on Facebook on Saturday."I would guess a lot of you don't even see that flag in the corner right there," Mississippi state Representative Ed Blackmon, a Democrat and African American who has served in the legislature continuously since 1983, said on Saturday. "There are some of us who notice it every time we walk in here, and it's not a good feeling."The push to remove the Confederate emblem comes amid massive nationwide demonstrations over the death of George Floyd, an African American man killed during arrest by Minneapolis police officers. Activists have called to remove the symbol of the secessionist states, which broke away from the union to preserve the system of slavery, as well as monuments to Confederate leaders from prominent public spaces. NASCAR has announced that it will ban spectators from waving the Confederate flag at races.




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Robert Jenrick under fresh pressure after whistleblower claims he ignored pleas to block Westferry project

Robert Jenrick under fresh pressure after whistleblower claims he ignored pleas to block Westferry projectRobert Jenrick has found himself under fresh pressure, after a whistleblower claimed he ignored pleas from senior officials to block the controversial Westferry printworks project. The Housing Secretary reportedly overruled objections from civil servants and lawyers to greenlight Tory donor Richard Desmond’s £1 billion development in January, with one source saying he showed “total disregard” for the law. Mr Jenrick had weeks earlier watched a promotional video for the luxury East London project on the businessman’s mobile phone during a dinner at the Savoy hotel in London. Home Secretary Priti Patel insisted she would not “be watching videos” at Conservative fundraisers when quizzed on the matter on Sunday. Ms Patel also argued that going to Tory events would “absolutely not” help a person’s chances in securing planning permission as she described the matter as "closed". She told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show: "I haven't followed the details of every single decision on this but what I do know and what I can tell you is that the correspondence, the documentation is out in the public domain on this particular application - and rightly so. "The papers have been published, the Secretary of State has followed all issues around transparency. "It has been discussed in Parliament a number of times, questions have been answered on this and the matter is deemed to be closed."




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Sunday, 28 June 2020

US intercepts Russian warplanes off Alaska

US intercepts Russian warplanes off AlaskaUS warplanes intercepted four Russian reconnaissance aircraft near Alaska on Saturday, US commanders said. The Russian Tu-142's came within 65 nautical miles south of Alaska's Aleutian island chain and "loitered" in the Alaskan Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) for eight hours. An ADIZ is a perimeter within which air traffic is monitored by the air forces of one or more friendly countries so they have extra time to react to hostile action.




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Biden campaign says 36% of senior staff are people of color

Biden campaign says 36% of senior staff are people of colorJoe Biden’s campaign says a little more than a third of its senior staff are people of color, sharing staff diversity data after facing pressure to answer questions on the issue. The campaign said that 36% of its senior staff are people of color, but did not disclose how much of its overall campaign staff are people of color. The Biden campaign released the data after the presumptive Democratic nominee was pressed at a forum on Asian American and Pacific Islander issues.




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Chinese firm says coronavirus vaccine candidate shows promise in human test



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Reporter Who Covered President Trump's Tulsa Rally Says He Tested Positive for COVID-19

Reporter Who Covered President Trump's Tulsa Rally Says He Tested Positive for COVID-19Paul Monies told the AP that he covered the President's rally in Tulsa for around six hours




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Transcript: Mike Pence on "Face the Nation"

Transcript: Mike Pence on "Face the Nation"The following is a transcript of an interview with Vice President Mike Pence that aired Sunday, June 28, 2020, on "Face the Nation."




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Mississippi moves to strip Confederate emblem from state flag

Mississippi moves to strip Confederate emblem from state flagThe southern state of Mississippi is the last in the US to feature the emblem on its flag.




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