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HeadlinesJuly 20, 2020

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Coronavirus on the Rise Around the World, with the U.S. Leading the Charge

Jul 20, 2020

A record number of confirmed coronavirus cases were recorded around the world Saturday, with over one-quarter of a million new cases reported — a first, according to the World Health Organization. The largest increases were noted in the U.S., Brazil, India and South Africa. Total confirmed cases now top 14.5 million, with over 600,000 deaths.

Here in the U.S., which has by far the most coronavirus infections and deaths, cases are on the rise in at least 40 states. The situation remains especially dire in the South and West of the country. Kentucky, Louisiana, Oregon and South Carolina all set single-day records for new cases on Sunday. Florida, one of the worst-hit states, again reported over 12,000 new cases Sunday. In California, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said the city reopened too quickly and that new shelter-at-home orders are likely.

In Georgia, Republican Governor Brian Kemp is seeking an emergency injunction to “restrain” Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms from speaking to the press. Kemp sued Mayor Bottoms last week in an effort to overturn her local mask ordinance. Bottoms has contracted COVID-19 herself. Governor Kemp’s refusal to mandate mask-wearing defies a scientific consensus on the effectiveness of face coverings. Top U.S. infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci has urged state and local leaders to be as forceful as possible in getting their constituents to wear masks.

Trump Seeks to Block Billions in Federal Funds for Testing as He Continues to Downplay Virus

Jul 20, 2020

President Trump is reportedly trying to block billions of dollars for testing and contact tracing as part of an upcoming coronavirus relief bill, as well as funds for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Pentagon and State Department. On Friday, Democrats from the House Education and Labor Committee said the White House blocked CDC Director Robert Redfield from testifying before Congress on the issue of schools reopening in the fall.

Speaking on “Fox News Sunday,” Trump again claimed the virus will “disappear,” and repeated the false argument that surging cases were simply a reflection of increased testing. This is Trump speaking to Chris Wallace.

President Donald Trump: “We have embers, and we do have flames. Florida became more flame-like, but it’s — it’s going to be under control.”

During his interview, Trump also called Dr. Fauci “a little bit of an alarmist” and refused to say whether he would accept the results of November’s election if Joe Biden wins.

Civil Rights Icon and Long-Standing Congressmember John Lewis Dies

Jul 20, 2020

John Lewis, the civil rights icon and longtime congressmember, has died at the age of 80. During the 1960s, Lewis was arrested more than 40 times and was beaten almost to death in Selma, Alabama, during a march for voting rights in 1965. He helped found SNCC, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, marched side by side with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., organized the Freedom Rides and spoke at the 1963 March on Washington. Lewis once said, “Do not get lost in a sea of despair. Be hopeful, be optimistic. Our struggle is not the struggle of a day, a week, a month, or a year, it is the struggle of a lifetime. Never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble.” John Lewis had served in Congress since 1987.

C. T. Vivian, Civil Rights Legend, Dubbed “Greatest Preacher to Ever Live” by MLK, Dies at 95

Jul 20, 2020

Civil rights legend C. T. Vivian passed away at the age of 95. The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once described Vivian as “the greatest preacher to ever live.” He was a leading proponent of nonviolent struggle, a close associate of King and a leader in the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

Protesters Rail Against Federal Officers’ Violent and Covert Attacks in Portland

Jul 20, 2020

In Oregon, tensions continue to flare in Portland as outrage mounts over violent attacks by militarized federal officers on antiracist protesters. The U.S. attorney for the District of Oregon on Friday filed a lawsuit and called for an investigation into unidentified federal officers who have been snatching protesters off the streets into unmarked vans and detaining them. Oregon Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden are also demanding a probe, and for federal forces to be removed from the streets. The Nation is reporting Customs and Border Protection was responsible for one such arrest that was filmed and went viral last week. An internal CBP memo reviewed by The Nation says federal agents will be deployed indefinitely, in undisclosed locations.

On Saturday, a group of mothers formed what they called a “Wall of Moms” outside a federal courthouse to help shield protesters from federal officers. This is one of the protesting mothers.

Protesting mother: “Their actions are terrifying. I mean, we, as a democracy, we need to stand up. I am 60 years old. I probably shouldn’t be here in public. But this is beyond acceptable.”

The ACLU is suing the Trump administration for what it says are the unconstitutional actions of the federal agents.

Charges Dropped Against BLM Protesters as New Info Emerges About Police Killing of Breonna Taylor

Jul 20, 2020

A prosecutor announced Friday he is dropping felony charges against dozens of protesters who were arrested last week as they gathered at the Kentucky attorney general’s home demanding justice in the police killing of Breonna Taylor, a Black Louisville emergency medical technician who was shot inside her own home in March.

This comes as new information has emerged about Breonna Taylor’s killing. Dispatch logs from March 13 show her body lay on the ground for 20 minutes and received no medical attention, after she was shot at over 20 times. Her boyfriend, who was also in the apartment, said she coughed and struggled for her life for at least five minutes. One officer has been fired, but no charges have been filed.

Police in Chicago Punch Black Teenage Activist in Face, Knocking Out Her Teeth

Jul 20, 2020

In Chicago, protesters are denouncing excessive police force after officers attacked a teenage activist Friday during a demonstration in which people attempted to topple a statue of Christopher Columbus in Grant Park. An officer punched 18-year-old Miracle Boyd in the face, knocking out several teeth. Boyd is a recent high school graduate and an organizer with the group GoodKids MadCity. Journalists also reported being mistreated by police officers, who used chemical sprays and batons on protesters. Police said 12 people were arrested.

Two Men Charged over Racist Attack, Attempted Lynching of Indiana Activist Vauhxx Booker

Jul 20, 2020

In Indiana, two white men who were caught on camera attacking a Black man over Fourth of July weekend were charged Friday with battery, intimidation and other crimes. The men — Sean M. Purdy and Jerry Edward Cox II — were part of a group of five white men who pinned Vauhxx Booker to a tree, beat him and threatened to lynch him. Booker was able to escape their clutches after passersby intervened. Booker revealed last week he tested positive for COVID-19. His lawyer said his attackers spat on him and yelled in his face. Click here see our interview with Vauhxx Booker, human rights commissioner for Monroe County.

Pentagon Bans Confederate Flag on U.S. Military Bases Despite Trump’s Opposition

Jul 20, 2020

The Pentagon has effectively banned the Confederate flag on U.S. military bases. A memo issued by Defense Secretary Mark Esper Friday does not mention Confederate flags directly but calls on the military to “reject divisive symbols” and lists the flags that are authorized. The memo did not address changing names of bases honoring Confederate leaders. Trump has threatened to veto the National Defense Authorization Act if it removes Confederate names from bases. On Sunday, Trump mocked the push to rename Fort Bragg, saying, “We’re going to name it after the Rev. Al Sharpton?” Trump also likened support for Black Lives Matter to support for the Confederate flag, saying they were both issues of freedom of speech. The new Pentagon policy also means Black Lives Matter and LGBTQ flags are likely no longer allowed on bases.

Floods in India and Nepal Kill 200 People and Displace Millions

Jul 20, 2020

Heavy floods and landslides from monsoon rains have displaced 4 million people in India’s northeastern state of Assam and in Nepal, with close to 200 reported deaths and dozens of people missing. This is a resident of Assam.

Mukul Das: “This flooding comes every year. This year, it’s the biggest one, so the roads have been submerged. How will people live? Many people are living on boats. Our houses have also been submerged.”

The devastating floods are also destroying wildlife and their habitats. As much as 95% of the Kaziranga National Park may be underwater, and over 100 animals, including eight rare rhinos, have died in the floods.

Bodies of 59 Refugees Pulled from Turkish Lake Weeks After Shipwreck

Jul 20, 2020

Turkish media is reporting rescue teams have pulled the bodies of 59 refugees from Lake Van in eastern Turkey, following a shipwreck in late June. The boat was carrying up to 60 people — three times over its capacity limit. At least five suspects have been detained over the deaths. Most of the refugees were believed to be from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran.

Garífuna Land Defenders Kidnapped in Honduras

Jul 20, 2020

In Honduras, four Garífuna land defenders were kidnapped over the weekend in the northern coastal town of Triunfo de la Cruz. Snider Centeno, Milton Martínez, Suany Álvarez and a fourth unidentified Garífuna leader were all taken from their homes by heavily armed men in what local leaders say is the latest attack against the community by the government of Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández, as Afro-Indigenous and Indigenous peoples continue to fight against mining and other extractive industries on sacred land.

Honduran Reporter David Romero, Who Exposed Gov’t Corruption, Dies in Prison of Suspected COVID-19

Jul 20, 2020

Prominent journalist David Romero has died after reportedly contracting COVID-19 in prison. He was serving a 10-year sentence over so-called slander and defamation charges for his reporting exposing government corruption and possible links between drug traffickers and top military and government officials, including President Hernández. Romero was the director of the media outlets Rádio Globo and Globo TV.

Michigan Supreme Court to Review Case of 15-Year-Old Student Jailed for Not Doing Schoolwork

Jul 20, 2020

In Michigan, a hearing in a family court is scheduled today in the case of a 15-year-old student who was sent to prison for not doing her schoolwork. The girl, known simply as Grace to protect her identity, has been in detention since mid-May after a judge ruled she violated probation by not completing her coursework online during the pandemic lockdown. Students have rallied in support of the teen, who they say was targeted because she is Black. The Michigan Supreme Court has also said it will review Grace’s case.

Progressive NY Congressional Candidate Jamaal Bowman Officially Ousts Eliot Engel

Jul 20, 2020

In New York, Jamaal Bowman was officially declared the winner of his congressional primary race against incumbent Eliot Engel Friday, putting an end to the 16-term run of the powerful chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Bowman ran on a Green New Deal, Medicare for All and anti-racist platform. Click here to see our interviews with Jamaal Bowman.

Gunman Attacks Home of NJ Federal Judge, Killing Her Son and Injuring Her Husband

Jul 20, 2020

The son of a federal judge in New Jersey has died after a gunman opened fire on their home in North Brunswick Sunday. Judge Esther Salas was unharmed in the shooting that killed her 20-year-old son Daniel Anderl and critically injured her husband. The gunman was reportedly wearing a FedEx uniform when he approached Judge Salas’s home. Last week, Salas was assigned to a lawsuit brought by Deutsche Bank investors who accuse the bank of making false statements about its anti-money-laundering policies and failing to monitor “high-risk” customers, including convicted sexual predator Jeffrey Epstein, who died last year. In 2011, Salas became the first Latina on the District Court of New Jersey.

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Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Says Her Cancer Is Back But She Will Remain on the Court

Jul 20, 2020

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg announced Friday she is undergoing chemotherapy treatments for a recurrence of her cancer. The cancer is in her liver. Ginsburg previously survived pancreatic, colon and lung cancer. Ginsburg was hospitalized briefly last week for chills and a fever but says it was unrelated to the cancer. In a statement, the 87-year-old justice said, “I have often said I would remain a member of the court as long as I can do the job full steam. I remain fully able to do that.”

Workers to Walk Off the Job in Nationwide “Strike for Black Lives”

Jul 20, 2020

In labor news, organizers for the “Strike for Black Lives” expect tens of thousands to walk out of work today in over 25 cities in support of the nationwide uprising against racism and police brutality. Oakland labor organizer and McDonald’s worker Angely Rodriguez Lambert said, “Companies like McDonald’s cannot on the one hand tweet that 'Black Lives Matter' and on the other pay us poverty wages and fail to provide sick days and adequate PPE.” Workers from nursing homes, airports, fast-food chains, farms and the gig economy are joining the nationwide day of action.

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