Around the world, where confirmed cases have now topped 11 million, with over half a million deaths, other countries are also reversing lockdowns after recording new spikes in coronavirus cases.
Australia has closed the border between its two most populous states — New South Wales and Victoria — for the first time in 100 years. Around 3,000 people across nine public housing tower blocks in Victoria’s capital Melbourne have been on strict lockdown since Saturday and have been told they cannot leave their homes until further notice.
In Spain, parts of the regions of Galicia and Catalonia have been ordered to lock down.
In India, the world’s largest temporary hospital to treat coronavirus patients opened in New Delhi. The 10,000-bed hospital opened Sunday as officials reported a record 25,000 new cases and 600 deaths.
Mexico topped 30,000 COVID-19 deaths this weekend, to overtake France as the country with the fifth-highest reported death toll.
Brazil, second only to the U.S. in cases and death toll, surpassed 1.6 million coronavirus cases.
In the Persian Gulf, infections in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia are on the rise after curfews in both nations were lifted last month.
Meanwhile, around 240 medical experts from around the world are asking the World Health Organization to revise its official recommendations based on evidence the coronavirus is airborne and can be transmitted through tiny droplets that linger in the air in closed spaces.
At least 15 Indigenous activists and allies were arrested in South Dakota Friday after blocking a highway leading to Mount Rushmore, where President Trump gave a divisive speech attacking what he called “far-left fascism.”
President Donald Trump: “Make no mistake: This left-wing cultural revolution is designed to overthrow the American Revolution. … To make this possible, they are determined to tear down every statue, symbol and memory of our national heritage.”
During his Mount Rushmore address, Trump made only a passing reference to the coronavirus pandemic. Public health officials criticized the White House for not requiring social distancing or masks at the event. Trump gave another divisive speech on July 4 at a White House event where he compared the “radical left” to Nazis. We’ll have more on the Indigenous protests after headlines.
In Seattle, 24-year-old antiracist activist Summer Taylor was killed Saturday evening when a driver rammed a crowd of protesters on a closed section of Interstate 5. A second protester was hospitalized in serious condition. The driver fled the scene but was chased down by another protester and arrested. Investigators say they don’t have a motive in the killing. Summer Taylor was an animal lover who worked full-time at a Seattle veterinary clinic.
In Washington, D.C., protesters marched along the National Mall Saturday to Lafayette Park near the White House ahead of President Trump’s Fourth of July fireworks event. This is 18-year-old Cherish.
Cherish: “What have they given us? They gave us new laws that just enslaved us under a different name. … I’m sick, and I’m tired. I’m tired of coming out here to scream this. I want to see change. Do you know where that starts?”
Protester: “With us.”
Cherish: “That starts with us.”
In Baltimore, Maryland, protesters toppled a statue of Christopher Columbus Saturday night and threw it in the harbor. The statue stood since 1984, when it was dedicated by then-President Ronald Reagan.
In Georgia, heavily armed protesters — most of them African American — marched on Stone Mountain Park on the Fourth of July demanding the removal of a massive carving of Confederate leaders from the side of the mountain.
In Des Moines, Iowa, hundreds of people rallied at the state Capitol Saturday demanding the removal of monuments glorifying white supremacy, including a statue depicting an Indigenous person seated below a white pioneer.
In Portland, Oregon, police declared a Fourth of July protest a riot and fired tear gas to clear demonstrators, some of whom fired commercial-grade fireworks at a federal courthouse and a downtown jail. At least 13 were arrested.
Meanwhile, in Colorado, three officers with the Aurora Police Department were fired, and a fourth resigned, after they staged a photo reenacting the killing of Elijah McClain, an African American man who died after an officer put him in a chokehold as he attempted to walk home from a store last August. Aurora’s interim police chief, Vanessa Wilson, called the photo a “crime against humanity and decency.”
In sports news, pressure is growing on the Washington R-dsk-ns to change its racist name. On Thursday, FedEx, which holds the naming rights for the team’s football stadium, called on the team to come up with a new name. Nike has also pulled gear for the team from its store. The team has announced it is undergoing a “thorough review” of the team’s name. Meanwhile, in baseball news, Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona has backed changing the team’s name. On Sunday, he said, “I think it’s time to move forward.”
In Ethiopia, over 160 people have been killed during unrest following the murder of popular singer and activist Hachalu Hundessa last Monday. He was a member of the ethnic Oromo group and had once served five years behind bars as a political prisoner. His music became the soundtrack to anti-government protests that swept the country and led to the resignation of Ethiopia’s prime minister in 2018, and the appointment of Abiy Ahmed, the country’s first Oromo leader and recipient of the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize. At least five people have been arrested in connection with Hundessa’s killing.
China continues its crackdown on Hong Kong, days after it enacted its National Security Law last Tuesday. Books from pro-democracy activists have been removed from Hong Kong libraries so that they can be reviewed for possible violations of the law, which criminalizes what it calls acts of “secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces.” On Friday, a 23-year-old man became the first person to be charged under the new law after he rode a motorcycle into police, while carrying a sign that read “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times” — a slogan which is now banned. At a protest Monday, Hong Kong residents held up blank pieces of paper to protest the legislation and censorship.
Mr. Leung: “These slogans will always be in my heart, and those words will always stay on white paper, which will never disappear. They can silence us, create white terror and let us censor ourselves, but our heart will never die.”
Prominent Hong Kong pro-democracy figure and former lawmaker Nathan Law said he fled Hong Kong to an undisclosed location following the signing of the law. Nathan Law testified before U.S. House members last week and told supporters he would continue the struggle from outside Hong Kong.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has signed a so-called anti-terror bill into law, further consolidating his authoritarian power. Critics say the law could be used to silence all forms of dissent and threaten civil liberties. Human Rights Watch said the law “pushes Philippine democracy into an abyss.” Opponents say they will challenge the law in the courts.
Rescue operations continued in Burma over the weekend, following a deadly landslide at a jade mine that killed over 170 people. The tragic incident is shining a spotlight on the secretive, often illegal practices of the jade industry, which human rights group Global Witness says fuels armed conflict between government troops and rebel fighters seeking self-rule in northern Burma.
In the United States, the family of Vanessa Guillén, the 20-year-old Fort Hood soldier who has been missing since April, says military investigators have positively identified her remains. The remains were found last week in a shallow grave near the Texas Army base. Army investigators told the family Guillén was beaten to death with a hammer before being removed from the base. The main suspect in her killing, Specialist Aaron David Robinson, died by suicide last week. According to her family, Guillén had been planning on reporting Robinson for sexual harassment. Click here to see our interview with the Guillén family’s lawyer, Natalie Khawam.
The killings of 17-year-old Black transgender girl Brayla Stone and 22-year-old Black trans woman Merci Mack mark at least the 17th and 18th violent deaths of transgender people in the U.S. so far this year. Brayla Stone’s body was found in a car in a suburb of Little Rock, Arkansas, on June 25. Her death is now being investigated as a homicide after a man reportedly claimed on social media he had been paid $5,000 to kill her. An 18-year-old suspect was arrested last week. Merci Mack was found June 30 in Dallas, Texas, with a gunshot wound to the head. Mack had recently posted on Facebook that she was excited to return to her job at a restaurant that had been closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The FBI has arrested Ghislaine Maxwell, a British socialite who is accused of luring girls to be sexually abused by convicted predator and sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein. Maxwell is scheduled to appear in a New York court this week and could face up to 35 years behind bars. Epstein died from an apparent suicide last August in his jail cell. Maxwell has also previously been accused of sexually assaulting girls with Epstein.
In related news, The New York Times is reporting lawyers for Prince Andrew spoke with a Washington lobbyist who has ties to the Trump administration about assisting Prince Andrew with the fallout from his relationship with Jeffrey Epstein. The lobbyist, Robert Stryk, reportedly did not feel comfortable representing the prince, and no deal was made. Prince Andrew was a close friend of Epstein’s and has been accused of being involved in Epstein’s sex trafficking crimes and having sex with one of Epstein’s survivors when she was 17 years old. Prince Andrew is the son of Queen Elizabeth. Prior to Trump firing him last month, former U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman had been heading up investigations into Epstein’s co-conspirators.
In environmental news, Duke Energy and Dominion Energy have canceled plans to build the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, in a major victory for Indigenous and environmental activists who have opposed the project since it was announced in 2014. The 600-mile pipeline would have carried fracked gas from West Virginia to North Carolina, passing under the Appalachian Trail in Virginia’s George Washington National Forest.