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The Latest News about Government and Politics

    The death of George Floyd in police hands has pushed the U.S. military to search its soul and to admit that, like the rest of America, it has fallen short on racial fairness. Although the military historically has prided itself on diversity, leaders acknowledge that black troops often are disproportionately subject to military legal punishment and are impeded in promotions. “I struggle with the Air Force's own demons that include the racial disparities in military justice and discipline among our youngest black male airmen,” Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force Kaleth O. Wright, an African American and the service's top enlisted airman, wrote in a social media post this week. While tensions simmer between the Pentagon and the White House over the proper limits of military involvement in policing protests prompted by the May 25 killing of Floyd in Minneapolis, what goes largely unspoken is that many of the troops being called upon to help keep order are African Americans and other minorities. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said little about the Floyd killing until Wednesday, when he called a news conference and declared the death a police murder. “It is a tragedy that we have seen repeat itself too many times,” he said. Esper, a West Point graduate who served 10 years on active duty in the Army, called the military a leader on the racial front. But he acknowledged it has 'much to do” to improve diversity and stop discrimination. Wright, the chief master sergeant, said his greatest fear is waking up one morning to learn that a black airman has “died at the hands of a white police officer.” On a less drastic, more subtle level, many African Americans who have served say they feel angst. 'I'm black, and when I walk up to somebody and say Hi, unless I have my veteran's sticker on my car or I'm on base, people look at me with a frown or walk away. Tensions are high,” said Elvin Carey, a 35-year-old Iraq War veteran who is a civilian employee at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in a San Diego suburb. Wright was the first senior military leader to speak out after Floyd's death. He was followed by an outpouring of anger and anxiety — some directed at the services' own racial failings — from senior leaders throughout the military. Few concrete proposals for improvement have been offered, though, reflecting the difficulty of rapid change in such a large and tradition-bound institution. “Over the past week, after we’ve watched what is going on, we can’t be under any illusions about the fact that racism is alive and well in our country. And I can’t be under any illusions that we don’t have it in our Navy,” Adm. Mike Gilday, the chief of naval operations, said in a video message to all sailors Wednesday. Army leaders took a similar tack. “Though we all aspire to live by the Army values of loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity, and personal courage, the Army has sometimes fallen short,” Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy and the Army chief of staff, Gen. James McConville, wrote in a message to the force Wednesday. 'Because just as we reflect the best of America, we reflect its imperfections as well.” The military, with African Americans making up a little over 17 percent of its active duty ranks, is more racially diverse than the country, which is 13 percent African American, according to 2019 Census estimates. The Army is the most diverse with more than 21 percent African Americans, while the Marine Corp is the least, with 10 percent. Blacks make up about 17 percent of the Navy and less than 15 percent of the Air Force. But there is a much greater racial divide within the active duty military based on rank. Fully 19 percent of active duty enlisted troops are black, but they make up only 9 percent of the officer corps. Of those, there are just 71 who are general or flag officers, wearing one to four stars, including only two who have attained the top four-star rank. Colin Powell, an Army four-star, was White House national security adviser and then chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff before President George W. Bush named him secretary of state. However, none of the military services has ever been led by a black officer, although that is expected to change soon. Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr., has been nominated to lead the Air Force, succeeding Gen. David Goldfein. In a tangible sign of openness to forcing change on the racial front, Goldfein declared in an internal message June 2, “We must look inward at our Air Force.” The service’s inspector general, he said, will review the Air Force’s legal system as well as “racial injustice and opportunities for advancement.” Wright, the senior Air Force enlisted airmen, faulted himself for not doing enough and encouraged all airmen to suggest solutions. Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, joined the chorus of voices with a message to the force that addressed more broadly the need for troops to stay true to the Constitution. “We all committed our lives to the idea that is America,” he added in a hand-written note beside his signature. “We will stay true to that oath and the American people.” The military has not ignored the race issue entirely. In April, the top Marine, Gen. David Berger, took on the issue of racial tensions within the Corps by banning the display of the Confederate flag and other such symbols. In a memo to the Corps on April 20, he said, 'I am mindful that many people believe that flag to be a symbol of heritage or regional pride. But I am also mindful of the feelings of pain and rejection of those who inherited the cultural memory and present effects of the scourge of slavery in our country.” “Anything that divides us, anything that threatens team cohesion must be addressed head-on,' he declared. ___ AP writer Julie Watson in San Diego contributed.
  • Ten long weeks after a massive coronavirus outbreak sidelined one of the Navy's signature warships, the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt has returned to sea and is conducting military operations in the Pacific region. Lining the flight deck in their dress white uniforms, sailors wearing white face masks stood a virus-safe 10-feet apart in a final, formal thank you as the ship sailed out of port in Guam Thursday and headed into the Philippine Sea. “We manned the rail, which we don't normally do. There was a lot of symbolism in that,” Navy Capt. Carlos Sardiello told The Associated Press in an interview from the ship Thursday. “They're excited. They're fired up to be back at sea doing the mission.” The Roosevelt pulled into Guam March 27, with a rapidly escalating number of sailors testing positive for the virus. Over time, more than 1,000 were infected with COVID-19, setting off a lengthy and systematic process to move about 4,000 sailors ashore for quarantine and treatment, while about 800 remained aboard to protect and run the high-tech systems, including the nuclear reactors that run the vessel. Slowly, sailors were methodically brought back on board, while the others who had remained went ashore for their mandated two-week quarantine. And in late March, the ship with only about 3,000 crew aboard went out to sea for roughly two weeks of training, including the recertification of the flight deck and fighter squadron, such as takeoffs and landings on the carrier. Earlier this week, the Roosevelt wrapped up training and returned to Guam to pick up nearly 1,000 sailors who had been left there to either complete their quarantine or to manage and work with those still on the island. As the ship sailed into the port, it was flying a flag with the words “Don't Give Up the Ship,' a famous Navy battle cry from the War of 1812. “Our sailors didn’t give up the ship. They fought and got it back. So I thought it was appropriate,” said Sardiello, who asked one of the other Navy ships to borrow their flag. “The ship was clean and the ship was healthy with no COVID cases. So I said, ok, we’re going to fly that one time on the way into Guam as a as a symbol to bolster their morale.' RS1 Katie VanDrimmelen was one of the sailors left ashore during the two week training. She had tested positive for the virus and was in quarantine for about five weeks. Walking back onto the ship, she said, was like being welcomed home from a deployment. “It was amazing,” said VanDrimmelen, of Ogden, Utah. “It was very comforting to be back in our normal atmosphere. Everybody was happy.” Sardiello said that watching the sailors board the ship was a great feeling, But he knows he's not done yet. There are still about 350 sailors on Guam who are either in isolation or are there as support staff. “More and more of those sailors are meeting the return-to-work criteria, and we’re flying them on board every single day. So we’re whittling down that number day by day,” said Sardiello. 'But I really want those 350 remaining back. And we’re working hard on that.” He said that any sailors who don't recover in time will be transported back to the U.S. The ship is expected to continue operations in the Pacific, and then would likely head home to San Diego later this summer. The Roosevelt has been at the center of a still unresolved controversy that led to the firing of the ship’s previous captain, the resignation of the Navy secretary and an expanded investigation into what triggered the outbreak and how well top naval commanders handled it. Sardiello, had previously captained the Roosevelt, but was abruptly sent back to the ship in early April to take command after Capt. Brett Crozier was fired for urging his commanders to take faster action to stem the virus outbreak onboard. After a preliminary review last month, Adm. Mike Gilday, the Navy’s top officer, recommended that Crozier be reinstated as ship captain. But the Navy decided to conduct the broader investigation. That review, which effectively delays a decision on Crozier’s reinstatement, was finished and submitted to Gilday at the end of March and he is still reviewing the extensive report, which includes several hundred pages of interviews, documents and recommendations. Cmdr. Nate Christensen, spokesman for Gilday, said is will take time for the admiral to finish his review and make any decisions.
  • Freshman Sen. Tom Cotton has risen to the ranks of potential 2024 Republican presidential contenders by making all the right enemies. By lining up behind President Donald Trump’s law-and-order recipe for controlling civic unrest, he’s making even more. “One thing above all else will restore order to our streets: an overwhelming show of force to disperse, detain and ultimately deter lawbreakers,” the 43-year-old Arkansan wrote this week in a New York Times opinion column. That infuriated Democrats and liberals, whom he swiped at by writing that protests rocking cities are “carnivals for the thrill-seeking rich as well as other criminal elements.” For good measure, he tweeted Thursday that “liberal arts professors” won’t have to “live with the consequences of chaos and destruction.” Later Thursday, after the Times released a statement saying Cotton's essay did not meet its standards, he accused it of “surrendering to the mindless woke mob.” Taciturn as he strides through Capitol hallways, seldom acknowledging reporters’ questions, Cotton is known for tough stances on issues that thrill Trump’s conservative supporters. He’s been a hard-liner on immigration, Iran and most recently China, including accusing that country of developing the coronavirus in a secret lab. He’s edged away from that charge but asserts he was among the first to warn of “the looming pandemic.” Cotton’s office declined to make him available for this article. But a person close to him, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the lawmaker’s thinking, said Cotton would consider serving in the Cabinet for a second Trump term if he’s reelected in November and running for president himself in 2024. An Army combat veteran and Harvard Law School graduate, Cotton’s ambition is no surprise in Washington or Arkansas. Notice has been taken of his unusually high profile for a first-term senator and his frequent appearances on the network of choice for Trump and his followers. “Cotton is out there every night, and he’s winning the Fox GOP primary for 2024,” said Scott Reed, senior political strategist for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “Everything he’s doing looks like what a very ambitious person who wants to run for president at the next available time does,” said GOP consultant Liz Mair, who says she’s “not a fan.” Cotton was on Fox again Thursday, saying the outrage about his call for physically overpowering protesters “exposes the hypocrisy of all these woke progressives” who can’t tolerate opinions they don’t like. And with some protests over police killings of black men veering into violence in New York and elsewhere, Cotton reprised his role as one of Trump’s chief defenders in Congress. He disputed Defense Secretary Mark Esper’s comment that this week’s turbulence didn’t create an urgent need to use troops in cities, saying that was Trump’s call. And to former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis’ stunning assertion that Trump was dividing the country and violating the Constitution, Cotton said, “He’s wrong on this one.” None of that went over well with Democrats. “I’m appalled that anyone, let alone a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, would advocate for the use of military force to silence dissent,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., a fellow member of that panel. Representing a state that has turned increasingly Republican in recent years, Cotton faces reelection in November with no Democratic opponent. He plans to use some time helping GOP Senate candidates including Bill Haggerty in Tennessee and Joni Ernst in Iowa, which holds each presidential cycle’s first caucuses. In an ad that aired earlier this year in Ohio — a swing state in presidential contests — Cotton tied together two foes: China and Trump’s all-but-certain Democratic presidential opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden. “China is the greatest threat to America’s security and our values,” the announcer says, accusing China of running concentration camps and stealing millions of American jobs. “Career politician Joe Biden is weak on China.” As the spot ends, it shows a split screen of Cotton wearing his combat fatigues and Trump in a Make America Great Again hat. “Senator Cotton is standing with President Trump to take on China and keep America great,” the announcer says. “Sen. Cotton has taken the Trump approach of playing to the fears and darkest, most negative things that appeal to Trump supporters,” said Michael John Gray, chairman of the Arkansas Democratic Party. “His ambition’s been bigger than Arkansas from the moment he sought a seat in the House.” Cotton served six years in the Army in the early 2000s, leading a combat platoon in Iraq and being deployed to Afghanistan. He also spent time in the Old Guard, whose tall, ramrod-straight members keep watch over the Tomb of Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery just outside Washington. Cotton grew up on his family’s farm and attended Harvard University and its law school. While a student there in 1996, he wrote an article in the school’s paper, The Harvard Crimson, lauding the political skills of a fellow Arkansan: then-President Bill Clinton, whom he called “the most sincere campaigner of our time.” He also praised the intelligence of Hillary Clinton, later to become Trump’s vanquished Democratic presidential rival, saying Bill Clinton “would have never made it past county commissioner” without her. But what Cotton described as Bill Clinton’s “easy-going, affable” style has not seemed to rub off on Cotton’s manner in the Washington. “He’s definitely accumulated the right national security and foreign policy experience to put him on track to run in 2024,” said Ron Bonjean, a GOP political consultant and former top congressional aide. He added: “He’s not a backslapper. He’s a really serious guy.” Cotton served one House term before being elected to the Senate in 2014, defeating Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor. Within weeks of becoming a senator, he incensed Democrats. He drafted an open letter to Iranian leaders, signed by 46 GOP colleagues, warning that a nuclear deal that President Barack Obama was seeking would not be binding and could be dismantled by the next president. Trump pulled the U.S. out of that agreement in 2018. ___ AP reporter Andrew DeMillo contributed from Little Rock, Arkansas.
  • Maine’s Democratic governor is urging President Donald Trump to watch his tone during a visit to the state Friday to showcase a company that makes specialized swabs for coronavirus testing. And the sheriff in the state’s most rural county is urging those expected to protest Trump’s visit — and those who support him — to behave themselves as demonstrations continue around the country over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Trump has drawn criticism for urging governors to “dominate” protesters and toss perpetrators of violence in prison, and for his administration's move earlier this week to forcibly clear out peaceful protesters near the White House so the president could walk to a nearby church to pose for photos holding up a Bible. Gov. Janet Mills, a Democrat, this week urged the Republican president to “check the rhetoric at the door and abandon the divisive words' during his visit. 'I hope he will heed this call and appeal to the best in all people and lead us with courage and compassion through this difficult time,' she said Thursday. During a call earlier this week with governors, Mills told the president she was concerned about “security problems for our state” if Trump visited because of his harsh remarks about handling demonstrators. The president said her remarks only made him more determined to come, adding, “she just doesn't understand me very well.” Mills has said she will be working during Trump's visit. Trump’s first visit to Maine since taking office will take him to Guilford, population 1,500, home to Puritan Medical Products, one of only two major companies producing a special type of swab needed to ramp up coronavirus testing. The other is in Italy. More than 350 workers in Guilford have been working long hours since the pandemic began. “There is pressure. There’s always not enough. There’s always not enough. You’re always working to provide the extra capacity that’s needed,” co-owner Timothy Templet told The Associated Press. “We're doing our best to supply the needs. It's critical that our country is taken care of.' The Trump administration is providing $75.5 million through the Defense Production Act for Puritan to double production to 40 million swabs a month, and the company plans to open a second production site by July 1. Trump is also scheduled to meet with members of the commercial fishing industry in Maine earlier in the day. He's set to fly into Bangor, where a group of demonstrators has pledged to have a presence, in the afternoon. “It's not the right time for him to be coming to our state,” said Marie Follayttar, director of Mainers for Accountable Leadership, which is helping organize the demonstration. Normally, Friday's events would make for a friendly visit for Trump in a congressional district that awarded him an electoral vote in the 2016 election. But it comes against the backdrop of demonstrations across Maine and the nation following Floyd’s death after being detained by police. Video showed a white police officer pressing his knee on the neck of Floyd, who was black, while Floyd was handcuffed on the ground and pleading that he couldn't breathe. In Maine, the nation’s whitest state, there were four consecutive days of demonstrations. Earlier in the week, more than 1,000 people gathered in Portland, stopping traffic, setting trash cans afire and pelting police with objects. More than 30 people have been arrested. All four members of Maine's congressional delegation, including Republican Sen. Susan Collins, have been critical of Trump's actions this week. Piscataquis County Sheriff Robert Young said he's spoken to organizers of a planned demonstration during Trump's visit and said their 'motives and intent are good.' “They want to speak for social change and are heart-broken by what they see happening to their country,” he said. ___ Whittle reported from Portland, Maine. AP writer David Sharp contributed to this report from Portland.
  • The attorney general for Washington, D.C., pressed the Trump administration and several state governments Thursday to justify the legality of their decision to send a growing contingent of National Guard troops to the nation's capital in the wake of street protests. D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine said in letters sent Thursday that he was “reviewing the legality of aspects of the federal government's response to the George Floyd protests in the city.” In letters sent to Attorney General William Barr, Defense Secretary Mark Esper and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, Racine said the district's government “has received very little information about the legal basis for these entities' presence.” In all of the letters, Racine asked the federal and state authorities to explain the legal authority for the deployments, the troops’ mission and whether they have been given the authority to make arrests. On Tuesday, the day after U.S. Park Police and other federal law enforcement swept protesters away from the White House with pepper projectiles and aggressive force, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser decried President Donald Trump's boast that his use of Guardsmen in the capital would “dominate the streets.' “I don't think that the military should be used on the streets of American cities against Americans,” Bowser said. “And I definitely think it shouldn't be used for a show.” At least 5,000 Guard members were initially activated last weekend, the National Guard Bureau reported at the time, and hundreds more troops have been deployed to the district over the past several days. The troops have been used for security at the White House and at federal monuments and installations across the district. National Guard troops were sent by Indiana, New Jersey, Maryland, South Carolina, Missouri, Florida, Tennessee and Utah. Racine sent letters to governors of all of those states, along with other states that were reportedly asked to send troops: New York, Virginia, Delaware, Illinois and Pennsylvania.
  • Google said state-backed hackers have targeted the campaigns of both President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden, although it saw no evidence that the phishing attempts were successful. The company confirmed the findings after the director of its Threat Analysis Group, Shane Huntley, disclosed the attempts Thursday on Twitter. Huntley said a Chinese group known as Hurricane Panda targeted Trump campaign staffers while an Iranian outfit known as Charming Kitten had attempted to breach accounts of Biden campaign workers. Such phishing attempts typically involve forged emails with links designed to harvest passwords or infect devices with malware. The effort targeted personal email accounts of staffers in both campaigns, according to the company statement. A Google spokesman added that 'the timeline is recent and that a couple of people were targeted on both campaigns.” He would not say how many. Google said it sent targeted users “our standard government-backed attack warning” and referred the incidents to federal law enforcement. Graham Brookie, director of the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab, called the announcement “a major disclosure of potential cyber-enabled influence operations, just as we saw in 2016.” His tweet referred to the Russian hacking of the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign and subsequent online release of internal emails — some doctored — that U.S. investigators determined sought to assist the Trump campaign. Neither the Biden nor the Trump campaign would not say how many staffers were targeted, when the attempts took place or whether the phishing was successful. Both campaigns have been extremely reticent about discussing cybersecurity. “The Trump campaign has been briefed that foreign actors unsuccessfully attempted to breach the technology of our staff,' the campaign said in a statement. 'We are vigilant about cybersecurity and do not discuss any of our precautions.” The Biden campaign did not even confirm the attempt. “We are aware of reports from Google that a foreign actor has made unsuccessful attempts to access the personal email accounts of campaign staff,' it said in a statement. 'We have known from the beginning of our campaign that we would be subject to such attacks and we are prepared for them.” Hurricane Panda, also known by security researchers as Zirconium or APT31 — an abbreviation for “advanced persistent threat” — is known for focusing on intellectual property theft and other espionage. Charming Kitten, also known as Newscaster and APT35, is reported to have targeted U.S. and Middle Eastern government officials and businesses, also for information theft and spying. In October, Microsoft said hackers linked to Iran’s government had targeted a U.S. presidential campaign and the New York Times and Reuters identified the target as Trump’s re-election campaign. Campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh said at the time that there was “no indication that any of our campaign infrastructure was targeted.” A former director of the National Security Agency, Keith Alexander, said Thursday during an online seminar that he fully expects geopolitical rivals of the U.S. to take advantage of the COVID-19 crisis and unrest in the U.S. “This is an increased time I think for adversaries to hurt our country and I do think they will take that during elections,” he said.
  • The death of George Floyd in police hands has pushed the U.S. military to search its soul and to admit that, like the rest of America, it has fallen short on racial fairness. Although the military historically has prided itself on diversity, leaders acknowledge that black troops often are disproportionately subject to military legal punishment and are impeded in promotions. “I struggle with the Air Force's own demons that include the racial disparities in military justice and discipline among our youngest black male airmen,” Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force Kaleth O. Wright, an African American and the service's top enlisted airman, wrote in a social media post this week. While tensions simmer between the Pentagon and the White House over the proper limits of military involvement in policing protests prompted by the May 25 killing of Floyd in Minneapolis, what goes largely unspoken is that many of the troops being called upon to help keep order are African Americans and other minorities. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said little about the Floyd killing until Wednesday, when he called a news conference and declared the death a police murder. “It is a tragedy that we have seen repeat itself too many times,” he said. Esper, a West Point graduate who served 10 years on active duty in the Army, called the military a leader on the racial front. But he acknowledged it has 'much to do” to improve diversity and stop discrimination. Wright, the chief master sergeant, said his greatest fear is waking up one morning to learn that a black airman has “died at the hands of a white police officer.” On a less drastic, more subtle level, many African Americans who have served say they feel angst. 'I'm black, and when I walk up to somebody and say Hi, unless I have my veteran's sticker on my car or I'm on base, people look at me with a frown or walk away. Tensions are high,” said Elvin Carey, a 35-year-old Iraq War veteran who is a civilian employee at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in a San Diego suburb. Wright was the first senior military leader to speak out after Floyd's death. He was followed by an outpouring of anger and anxiety — some directed at the services' own racial failings — from senior leaders throughout the military. Few concrete proposals for improvement have been offered, though, reflecting the difficulty of rapid change in such a large and tradition-bound institution. “Over the past week, after we’ve watched what is going on, we can’t be under any illusions about the fact that racism is alive and well in our country. And I can’t be under any illusions that we don’t have it in our Navy,” Adm. Mike Gilday, the chief of naval operations, said in a video message to all sailors Wednesday. Army leaders took a similar tack. “Though we all aspire to live by the Army values of loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity, and personal courage, the Army has sometimes fallen short,” Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy and the Army chief of staff, Gen. James McConville, wrote in a message to the force Wednesday. 'Because just as we reflect the best of America, we reflect its imperfections as well.” The military, with African Americans making up a little over 17 percent of its active duty ranks, is more racially diverse than the country, which is 13 percent African American, according to 2019 Census estimates. The Army is the most diverse with more than 21 percent African Americans, while the Marine Corp is the least, with 10 percent. Blacks make up about 17 percent of the Navy and less than 15 percent of the Air Force. But there is a much greater racial divide within the active duty military based on rank. Fully 19 percent of active duty enlisted troops are black, but they make up only 9 percent of the officer corps. Of those, there are just 71 who are general or flag officers, wearing one to four stars, including only two who have attained the top four-star rank. Colin Powell, an Army four-star, was White House national security adviser and then chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff before President George W. Bush named him secretary of state. However, none of the military services has ever been led by a black officer, although that is expected to change soon. Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr., has been nominated to lead the Air Force, succeeding Gen. David Goldfein. In a tangible sign of openness to forcing change on the racial front, Goldfein declared in an internal message June 2, “We must look inward at our Air Force.” The service’s inspector general, he said, will review the Air Force’s legal system as well as “racial injustice and opportunities for advancement.” Wright, the senior Air Force enlisted airmen, faulted himself for not doing enough and encouraged all airmen to suggest solutions. Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, joined the chorus of voices with a message to the force that addressed more broadly the need for troops to stay true to the Constitution. “We all committed our lives to the idea that is America,” he added in a hand-written note beside his signature. “We will stay true to that oath and the American people.” The military has not ignored the race issue entirely. In April, the top Marine, Gen. David Berger, took on the issue of racial tensions within the Corps by banning the display of the Confederate flag and other such symbols. In a memo to the Corps on April 20, he said, 'I am mindful that many people believe that flag to be a symbol of heritage or regional pride. But I am also mindful of the feelings of pain and rejection of those who inherited the cultural memory and present effects of the scourge of slavery in our country.” “Anything that divides us, anything that threatens team cohesion must be addressed head-on,' he declared. ___ AP writer Julie Watson in San Diego contributed.
  • Democratic attorneys general in more than a dozen states filed a federal lawsuit Thursday attempting to block Education Secretary Betsy DeVos' new policy guiding schools and colleges in the handling of sexual assault cases. The lawsuit alleges that DeVos' policy undercuts existing mandates in Title IX, the 1972 law barring discrimination based on sex in education. It also challenges DeVos' order to implement the rules by Aug. 14, saying the deadline is impracticable during a pandemic. The case is being led by attorneys general in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and California, with backing from a total of 17 states and the District of Columbia. “Title IX’s mandate is simple: Our schools must give women and men equal access to education, which means no one should experience sexual harassment,” Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro said. “But instead of making it easier for students to report, and for schools to respond, to sexual harassment, Secretary DeVos has unlawfully narrowed Title IX’s reach.” The Education Department declined to comment on the lawsuit but said the rules “protect all students by requiring schools to follow a reliable, transparent, and fair process in handling complaints of sexual misconduct.” DeVos issued her rules May 6 after rescinding earlier guidelines from the Obama administration in 2017. DeVos' new policy bolsters the rights of the accused, narrows the definition of sexual harassment and allows students to question one another at live hearings, among other changes. According to the lawsuit, the policy clashes with other federal and state laws and Supreme Court precedent. It says the policy forbids schools from addressing isolated cases of abuse because the new definition of sexual harassment is limited to “pervasive” cases. It also alleges that schools would be blocked from investigating sexual abuse complaints from former students or cases arising at off-campus apartments, which are not deemed to be “under the substantial control” of the school under the new policy. The attorneys general argue that the policy creates “procedural barriers” for schools and discourages students from filing complaints. “As a result, fewer sexual harassment complaints will be filed, and schools will be less well equipped to protect their students’ safety and rid their programs and activities of the pernicious effects of sex discrimination,” the suit alleges. Victims' advocates say rules created under former President Barack Obama forced colleges to confront sexual abuse after sweeping the issue aside for years. But DeVos has said the guidelines turned campus disciplinary panels into “kangaroo courts' that were too quick to deal judgment against accused students. The Education Department finalized the new policy after reviewing more than 120,000 public comments. It softened some provisions from an earlier proposal, and for the first time clarified that dating violence and stalking must be addressed under Title IX. But the lawsuit says the final rules also included new provisions “that are not a logical outgrowth of the proposed rule,” and it alleges that the Education Department failed to provide the public with data and analysis used to create the policy. Schools and colleges have urged DeVos to reconsider the Aug. 14 deadline, which the lawsuit says will be impossible to meet as schools deal with fallout from the coronavirus and prepare for next fall. It says schools across the nation “will be required to completely overhaul their systems for investigating and adjudicating complaints of sexual harassment in less than three months, in the midst of a global pandemic that has depleted school resources.” The suit asks a federal judge to declare the policy unlawful, postpone its effective date during a judicial review and block the department from enforcing the rules. In its statement, the Education Department countered that, even amid the pandemic, schools are still receiving Title IX complaints as students learn remotely. “Civil rights are not on hold during this pandemic,” the department said. “To pretend otherwise is to let students down.”
  • A Senate impasse over a widely backed bill to designate lynching as a federal hate crime boiled over on Thursday in an emotional debate cast against a backdrop of widespread protests over police treatment of African Americans. Raw feelings were evident as Sen. Rand Paul — who is single-handedly holding up the bill despite letting it pass last year — sought changes to the legislation as a condition of allowing it to pass. But the Senate's two black Democrats, Cory Booker of New Jersey and Kamala Harris of California, protested, saying the measure should pass as is. The debate occurred as a memorial service was taking place for George Floyd, a Minneapolis man who died after a police officer kneeled on his neck for almost nine minutes, sparking the protests that have convulsed the nation. The legislative effort to make lynching a federal hate crime punishable by up to life in prison comes 65 years after 14-year-old Emmett Till was lynched in Mississippi, and follows dozens of failed attempts to pass anti-lynching legislation. The Senate unanimously passed virtually identical legislation last year. The House then passed it by a sweeping 410-4 vote in February but renamed the legislation for Till — the sole change that returned the measure to the Senate. “Black lives have not been taken seriously as being fully human and deserving of dignity, and it should not require a maiming or torture in order for us to recognize a lynching when we see it,” said Harris. Paul, who has a history of rankling colleagues by slowing down bills, said the legislation was drafted too broadly and could define minor assaults as lynching. He also noted that murdering someone because of their race is already a hate crime. He said the Senate should make other reforms, such as easing “qualified immunity” rules that shield police officers from being sued. “Rather than consider a good-intentioned but symbolic bill, the Senate could immediately consider addressing qualified immunity and ending police militarization,” Paul said. He sought to offer an amendment to weaken the measure, and Booker blocked it. The conflict had been kept relatively quiet as Booker and Paul sought an agreement, but media reports recently pegged Paul as the reason the measure is stalled. “Tell me another time when 500-plus Congress people, Democrats, Republicans, House members and senators come together in a chorus of conviction and say, ‘Now is the time in America that we condemn the dark history of our past and actually pass anti-lynching legislation,’” Booker said.
  • Two Republican-led Senate committees have launched election-year investigations into the Justice Department’s Russia probe, resurrecting the issue at the urging of President Donald Trump while reigniting the partisan hostility that comes along with it. In two committee rooms Thursday, tensions boiled as lawmakers considered a raft of subpoenas for current and former Justice Department officials. With the country suffering through civil unrest over police brutality, mass unemployment and the coronavirus pandemic, Democrats and even some Republicans questioned whether looking back at the Russia investigations — now dating back more than three years — should be a top priority. Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham of South Carolina was defiant, angrily stating that there are people “who are real good candidates for going to jail' in the Justice Department. Rhode Island Democrat Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse countered that he was concerned that the panel was turning into “political errand boys” for Trump’s reelection. As the senators bickered, Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., burst out that “it’s bullshit the way people grandstand for cameras in here” and “some of us have other work to do.” Graham shot back: “If you’ve got to go somewhere else, go.” He later postponed the vote on more than 50 subpoenas, saying he would give people more time to talk. In a Senate office building next door, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee approved its own slate of three dozen subpoenas related to the Russia probe over strong Democratic objections. The panel’s top Democrat, Michigan Sen. Gary Peters, dismissed it as an election-year defense of Trump. But while all Republicans on the panel voted to authorize the subpoena authority, two urged the committee’s chairman, Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson, to change course. Speaking on the committee’s investigation, Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, told Johnson that “I continue to be concerned that this is politically motivated” even as he voted to move ahead. “The committee’s inquiry is not entirely without basis, but as you know, I believe there are far more urgent priorities that the committee should address, particularly given the trauma in our country from COVID-19, the shattered economy, widespread protests against systemic racism, foreign cyberattacks — and the list goes on and on,” Romney said. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, said he hopes the subpoenas won’t actually be issued, given the similar investigations underway and “all of the other things we have on our plate right now.” Graham and Johnson, both close allies of the president, announced their sweeping probes in recent weeks as Trump faced criticism on his handling of the coronavirus outbreak. The president has continued to rail against the Russia probe, which he calls a hoax. Former special counsel Robert Mueller effectively brought the Russia investigation to a close with a report issued in April 2019 that detailed multiple contacts between Trump’s 2016 campaign and Russia and concluded that Russia interfered in the presidential election. But he found insufficient evidence to establish a criminal conspiracy between the campaign and Russia. Months later, an internal department report found multiple errors and key omissions in the applications the FBI submitted to conduct surveillance on a former Trump campaign aide in the early months of the investigation. That's where Republicans have turned their attention, launching investigations to find out what went wrong and whether Justice Department officials conspired against Trump. “You think I’m in Trump’s pocket. I get all that,” Graham said to the Democrats. “It’s not lost on me what you think. And I’m sad because I like you all. But to expect me to punt? Forget it. We’re not going to punt, we’re not going to have a rule of law for Republicans, and a rule of law for Democrats, where it’s okay to turn the Republican nominee’s life upside down.” Among the officials the Judiciary Committee might subpoena are former FBI Director James Comey, former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and former CIA Director John Brennan. The list also includes some current officials who deal with the investigation, including Attorney General William Barr and FBI Director Christopher Wray. Graham’s committee is focusing on the origins of the probe during the 2016 election, much of it before it was turned over to Mueller. Johnson’s panel, meanwhile, is looking at a list of Obama administration officials who Republicans say may have learned the identity of Michael Flynn, Trump's incoming national security adviser, from intelligence reports in 2016 and 2017. Among the names on that list is Trump’s Democratic opponent, Joe Biden, who was vice president when the Russia probe began. Requests to “unmask” names in intelligence reports are routine, including during the Trump administration, which has requested them thousands of times. The Judiciary panel, meanwhile, kicked off its Russia investigation on Wednesday by grilling former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who told lawmakers that he would not have approved an FBI surveillance application for former Trump campaign aide Carter Page had he known at the time about the problems it contained. The comments were a striking concession that law enforcement officials made mistakes during the probe, though Rosenstein strongly defended Mueller and his conclusions. “I do not consider the investigation to be corrupt, senator, but I certainly understand the president’s frustration given the outcome, which was in fact that there was no evidence of conspiracy between Trump campaign advisers and Russians,” Rosenstein said. ___ Associated Press writer Eric Tucker contributed to this report.

The Latest Headlines You Need To Know

  • Charges have been filed against all four Minneapolis police officers involved in the situation that led to the May 25 death of George Floyd, 46, who died while in police custody in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Charges against former officer Derek Chauvin, who was previously charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter, have been upgraded to second-degree murder. The other three officers involved -- Thomas Lane, J.A. Kueng and Tou Thao -- were charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter. Floyd died on Memorial Day after he was detained for questioning regarding a possible forgery in progress. Video of his death caught by bystanders showed Chauvin holding his knee to Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes as Floyd pleaded for air, sparking outrage and demonstrations which have spread nationwide. Live updates for Friday, June 5 continue below:  NYC mayor: Essential workers’ arrests after curfew are ‘NOT acceptable and must stop’ Update 4:38 a.m. EDT June 5: New York Mayor Bill de Blasio implored police to safeguard the rights of essential workers after viral videos recorded late Thursday showed the arrest of a food delivery worker out past the city’s 8 p.m. curfew.  In one video, a man is seen holding an insulated backpack from a food delivery company. A bicycle is splayed at his feet, and at least six officers have him surrounded. “Are you serious? Look, look, look I’m not even doing anything,” the man can be heard shouting, while officers tell him to “relax” and begin removing his backpack. A second video shared a few minutes later shows the unidentified man being loaded into a police van. NYPD officials told The Washington Post the man’s credentials were later verified at a nearby precinct, and he was released. California mayor resigns after sending email claiming local police never killed a ‘good person of color’ Update 4:11 a.m. EDT June 5: The mayor of Temecula, California, resigned late Thursday after sending an email earlier in the week that claimed local police had never killed a “good person of color.”  The email, sent by Mayor James “Stew” Stewart Tuesday night, was in response to a constituent asking what his administration is doing to address systemic racism in policing. After the communication was made public, Stewart claimed talk-to-text software had mistakenly added the word “good,” The Press-Enterprise reported. “As you know the City of Temecula does not have its own Police Department. We contract with Riverside County Sheriff’s Department. And I don’t believe there’s ever been a good person of color killed by a police officer. So I’m kind of confuse what you are looking for,” the email read. Stewart said he failed to proofread the email before sending after working a 12-hour shift at his barber shop, The Press-Enterprise reported. In the statement announcing his resignation, Stewart wrote, “City of Temecula, I hear you, I agree with you, and I am deeply sorry,” the newspaper reported. “I understand that even my sincerest apologies cannot remedy this situation. Because actions speak louder than words, I will step down as your Mayor and City Council Member effective immediately,” he added. 1 shot, 2 possibly injured near Denver protest Update 2:41 a.m. EDT June 5: A chaotic scene unfolded in Denver Thursday night after a man was shot one block away from protesters gathered near the capitol building. Denver Police confirmed one man had been shot and transported to a nearby hospital, but they offered no additional details on his condition or possible motivations for the shooting.  Two other “walk-in” patients – one with a gunshot wound and another suffering stab wounds – arrived at the hospital a short time later, but a police spokesman told The Washington Post that officers have not confirmed if those injuries are connected to the shooting of the first unidentified man. 2 Buffalo police officers suspended after video shows them pushing, injuring elderly man Published 2:27 a.m. EDT June 5: Two police officers in Buffalo, New York, have been suspended without pay after video of protests appears to show them knocking down a 75-year-old man. WARNING: Links in this post may contain video some readers might find disturbing due to its violent nature. The video shows the man being pushed by officers and then falling backward. The victim appears to bleed from his head while lying motionless on the ground. Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said in a Thursday night statement he was “deeply disturbed” by video of the altercation and an immediate investigation has been launched by the city’s police commissioner. According to The Washington Post, officers who were not directly involved but witnessed the incident initially described the man as “tripping and falling,” but Brown launched his investigation immediately upon viewing the footage. Capt. Jeff Rinaldo with the Buffalo Police Department told the Post the victim is in stable condition with a laceration and possible concussion. 'After days of peaceful protests and several meetings between myself, police leadership and members of the community, tonight’s event is disheartening. My thoughts are with the victim tonight,” Brown said in the statement. Meanwhile, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo called the incident “unjustified and utterly disgraceful.” xxx
  • More than 6.6 million people worldwide -- including nearly 1.9 million in the United States – have been infected with the new coronavirus, and the number of deaths from the outbreak continues to rise. While efforts to contain the COVID-19 outbreak continue, states have begun to shift their focus toward reopening their economies. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is tracking cases in the U.S. here. Live updates for Friday, June 5, continue below: US coronavirus cases near 1.9M, deaths top 108K Published 12:41 a.m. EDT June 5: The number of novel coronavirus cases in the United States continued to climb toward 1.9 million early Friday across all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands. According to a Johns Hopkins University tally, there are at least 1,872,660 confirmed U.S. cases of the virus, which have resulted in at least 108,211 deaths.  The hardest-hit states remain New York with 375,133 cases and 30,174 deaths and New Jersey with 162,530 cases and 11,970 deaths. Massachusetts, with 102,063 cases, has the third-highest number of deaths with 7,201, while Illinois has the third-highest number of cases with 124,759. Only 15 states and territories have confirmed fewer than 5,000 cases each. Six other states have now confirmed at least 55,000 novel coronavirus cases each, including: • California: 122,168 cases, resulting in 4,444 deaths • Pennsylvania: 78,335 cases, resulting in 5,832 deaths • Texas: 70,555 cases, resulting in 1,776 deaths • Florida: 60,183 cases, resulting in 2,607 deaths • Michigan: 58,241 cases, resulting in 5,595 deaths • Maryland: 55,858 cases, resulting in 2,668 deaths Meanwhile, Georgia, Virginia, Connecticut and Louisiana each has confirmed at least 41,000 cases; Ohio, Indiana and North Carolina each has confirmed at least 32,000 cases; Colorado, Minnesota, Tennessee, Arizona, Washington and Iowa each has confirmed at least 20,000 cases; Wisconsin and Alabama each has confirmed at least 19,000 cases, followed by Mississippi with 16,560; Rhode Island and Nebraska each has confirmed at least 15,000 cases, followed by Missouri with 14,438 and South Carolina with 12,415; Utah, Kentucky and Kansas each has confirmed at least 10,000 cases; Delaware, Nevada and the District of Columbia each has confirmed at least 9,000 cases; Arkansas and New Mexico each has confirmed at least 8,000 cases, followed by Oklahoma with 6,907 and South Dakota with 5,247. Click here to see CNN’s state-by-state breakdown.
  • Charges have been filed against all four Minneapolis police officers involved in the situation that led last week to the death of 46-year-old George Floyd while he was in police custody in Minneapolis. Former Officer Derek Chauvin, who was previously charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter, has been charged with second-degree murder. The other officers involved in the situation, Thomas Lane, J.A. Kueng and Tou Thao were charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter. Floyd, 46, died May 25 after he was detained for questioning regarding a possible forgery in progress. Video of his death caught by bystanders showed Chauvin holding his knee to Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes as Floyd pleaded for air, sparking outrage. Live updates for Thursday, June 4 continue below: New fencing dramatically expands White House security zone Update 11:20 p.m. EDT June 4: Even as the number of people demonstrating over the police killing of George Floyd dwindled to a small group on Thursday afternoon in the nation's capital, workers were busy installing new high fencing around the park area known as the Ellipse just to the south of the White House, significantly expanding the security zone for President Donald Trump. 'It's a sad commentary that the (White) House and its inhabitants have to be walled off,' said Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser. 'We should want the White House to be opened up,' the Mayor told reporters. Critics immediately compared the new fencing to the President's push to build a wall along the border with Mexico. 'And American taxpayers, not Mexico, will again be sent the bill,' said Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT). By Thursday afternoon, workers had run the new fencing all the way down to, and along Constitution Avenue, which crosses in between the White House and the Washington Monument. Portland, other cities rethink school police amid protests Update 8 p.m. EDT June 4: Oregon’s largest school district will no longer have police officers in its schools and joins a handful of urban districts from Minneapolis to Denver that are rethinking their school resource officer programs amid national outrage over the death of George Floyd. Superintendent Guadalupe Guerrero said Thursday that Portland Public Schools needed to “re-examine our relationship” with the police in light of protests over the death of Floyd, a handcuffed black man who died after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee into his neck for nearly nine minutes. The district of more than 49,000 students joins Minneapolis, which severed ties with its school resource officers on Tuesday. Districts in St. Paul, Minnesota and Denver are considering doing the same. Protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia, have made the end of the school resource officer program in their district one of their demands. Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler said Thursday that he would also discontinue using school resource officers in two smaller metropolitan districts under a program that costs the city $1.6 million a year. The move is in response to the demands of thousands of protesters, many of them young, who have filled the streets of Oregon’s largest city for six consecutive nights. Having the officers in high schools has been a touchy topic for several years in this liberal city. Students have protested in recent years for an end to the program, at one point even overwhelming a school board meeting. “Leaders must listen and respond to community. We must disrupt the patterns of racism and injustice,” Wheeler said Thursday of the most recent demonstrations. “I am pulling police officers from schools.” The presence of armed police officers in schools is a contentious one. While many Portland residents applauded the decision, others raised immediate concerns about student safety in the event of a school shooting or other emergency. Wheeler said the city would make sure officers could respond rapidly in an emergency. The move is “a knee-jerk reaction,” and the decision by a few districts to stop their programs could snowball — to the detriment of students nationwide, said Mo Canady, executive director of the National Association of School Resource Officers, whose association represents about 10,000 dues-paying officers. There are an estimated 25,000 school resource officers nationwide, he said. Headlines, op-ed prompt staff protests at NY Times, Inquirer Update 6:45 p.m. EDT June 4: Some staffers at The New York Times and Philadelphia Inquirer called in sick Thursday to protest decisions at each newspaper they believe were insensitive in the midst of nationwide protests about police mistreatment of black Americans. At the Times, an opinion column by U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton supporting use of the military to quell demonstrations prompted a rare public rebuke from dozens of staffers and the paper’s guild. Times management didn’t back down from the decision to publish it. The Inquirer apologized for a “horribly wrong” decision to use the headline “Buildings Matter, Too” on an article. The twin uprisings illustrated raw feelings unleashed by the video of George Floyd dying last week after a Minneapolis police officer pressed a knee against his neck, along with long-time concerns about whether newspaper staffs reflect the makeup of their communities. In his column, headlined “Send in the Troops,” Cotton condemned “nihilist criminals” out for loot and the thrill of destruction and “left-wing radicals” who want to exploit Floyd’s death to create anarchy. The Arkansas Republican, supporting President Donald Trump, said it was time to supplement local law enforcement with federal troops. Pentagon-Trump clash breaks open over military and protests Update 5:40 p.m. EDT June 4: President Donald Trump is not only drawing criticism from his usual political foes but also facing backtalk from his defense secretary, his former Pentagon chief and a growing number of fellow Republicans. A day after Defense Secretary Mark Esper shot down Trump’s idea of using active-duty troops to quell protests across the United States, retired four-star Gen. John Allen joined the chorus of former military leaders going after the president. And Republican Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski said Esper’s remarks were “overdue” and she didn’t know if she would support Trump in November. Although Esper’s declaration was followed by the Pentagon reversing course on pulling part of the 82nd Airborne Division off standby outside Washington, the rising criticism underscored an extraordinary clash between the U.S. military and its commander in chief. On Thursday, an official said the troops in question from the 82nd were going home to Fort Bragg, North Carolina, after all. Both Trump and Esper also drew stinging, rare public criticism from Trump’s first defense secretary, Jim Mattis, in the most public pushback of Trump’s presidency from the men he put at the helm of the world’s most powerful military. 3 ex-officers charged in George Floyd’s death ordered held on $750,000 bail Update 3:25 p.m. EDT June 4: Court records from Hennepin County, Minnesota, show three former police officers charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter in the death of George Floyd have each been ordered held on bails of $750,000. Thomas Lane, J.A. Kueng and Tou Thao made their first court appearances Thursday, according to court records. They were fired last week from Minneapolis Police Department after Floyd died on May 25. In video captured by passersby, the trio could be seen standing by or holding Floyd down as then-Officer Derek Chauvin pressed his knee to Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes. The three are scheduled to next appear in court on June 29. Chauvin is scheduled to make his first court appearance on charges of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter on June 8. First of three memorial services for George Floyd set to begin in Minneapolis Update 3 p.m. EDT June 4: A memorial for George Floyd, who died last week in an encounter with Minneapolis police, is set to begin at 1 p.m. local time Thursday. President of North Central University announces George Floyd memorial scholarship Update 2:55 p.m. EDT June 4: The president of North Central University in Minneapolis announced that university officials have launched a memorial scholarship in honor of George Floyd, who was killed last week in an encounter with Minneapolis police. University President Scott Hagan announced the establishment of the fund during a memorial held Thursday for Floyd in Minneapolis. “Even before announcing this scholarship, yesterday, unsolicited, over $53,000 was handed to me to contribute toward the educational promise of aspiring young Black American leaders,” Hagan said. “I am now challenging every university president in the United States in America to establish your own George Floyd memorial scholarship fund.” Pelosi asks Trump for full list of agencies involved in response to DC protests  Update 2:20 p.m. EDT June 4: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday asked President Donald Trump to name the agencies involved in the response to protests against police brutality in Washington D.C. and clarify their roles and responsibilities. The California Democrat wrote to the president days after peaceful protesters were tear-gassed to clear them from a park near the White House to allow for Trump to walk across the street for a photo-op at St. John’s Episcopal Church. “We are concerned about the increased militarization and lack of clarity that may increase chaos,” Pelosi said in the letter. “Congress and the American people need to know who is in charge, what is the chain of command, what is the mission, and by what authority is the National Guard from other state operating in the capital.' Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, who has been critical of the decision to allow out-of-state National Guard officials and military troops into the city, shared Pelosi’s letter on Twitter. “If it can happen in DC, what jurisdiction is next?” Bowser wrote. Los Angeles mayor lifts city’s curfew Update 2:05 p.m. EDT June 4: Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti on Thursday lifted a curfew enacted over the city as protests against police brutality and the death of Black Americans including George Floyd erupted nationwide. “I have lifted the curfew in the City of Los Angeles,” Garcetti said in a statement posted on Twitter. “We remain strongly committed to protecting the right of Angelenos to make their voices heard and ensuring the safety of our community.” University of Central Florida reviewing comments by professor who tweeted about ‘black privilege’ Update 1:50 p.m. EDT June 4: The University of Central Florida is reviewing a professor’s tweets after a hashtag calling for his removal began to trend Thursday morning on social media, WFTV reported. A Change.org petition was launched asking for an investigation into psychology professor Charles Negy, who in recent days compared African-Americans to Asian-Americans and claimed “black privilege” exists, according to WFTV and the Miami Herald. >> Read more on WFTV.com Ohio governor calls for moment of silence to remember George Floyd Update 1:35 p.m. EDT June 4: Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine on Thursday requested that state residents observe a moment of silence at 2 p.m. to remember George Floyd, who authorities said was killed last week in police custody. WHIO-TV reported DeWine cancelled a planned news conference scheduled Thursday afternoon because it was set to begin at the same time as a memorial service for Floyd in Minneapolis. Los Angeles County sheriff says deputies will no longer enforce county’s curfew Update 12:25 p.m. EDT June 4: Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said Thursday that deputies will no longer enforce a curfew amid protests against police brutality and the killing of George Floyd. “Based upon current situational awareness and the recent pattern of peaceful actions by protesters, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department will no longer enforce a curfew,” Villanueva said in a statement. “Other jurisdictions are free to make their own decisions.” Virginia governor announces plans to take down statue of Gen. Robert E. Lee Update 11:35 a.m. EDT June 4: Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam on Thursday announced plans to take down a large statute of Gen. Robert E. Lee along Richmond’s prominent Monument Avenue. “Yes, that statue has been there for a long time. But it was wrong then, and it is wrong now,” Northam wrote in a series of Twitter posts announcing the decision. “So we’re taking it down.” The move comes amid protests nationwide over police brutality, racism and the deaths of Black Americans like George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery at the hands of police and vigilantes. Officials in Richmond, one of the former capitals of the Confederacy, have resisted calls to remove the statue for years. Massachusetts man accused of bringing Molotov cocktails to protest Update 11:15 a.m. EDT June 4: Authorities have charged a Worcester, Massachusetts, man with civil disorder and possession of several Molotov cocktails during a demonstration in the city over the death of George Floyd, WFXT reported. In a news release obtained by WFXT, U.S. Attorney Andrew E. Lelling said 18-year-old Vincent Eovacious “attempted to obstruct or interfere with law enforcement officers” by bringing the Molotov cocktails to a peaceful protest on June 1. Eovacious was arrested Wednesday after being released on bond following state charges, including possession of an incendiary device, WFXT reported. >> Read more on Boston25News.com Washington State Patrol apologizes after trooper says, ‘Don’t kill them but hit them hard’ during protests Update 10:55 a.m. EDT June 4: Officials with Washington State Patrol apologized after video surfaced on social media showing a trooper saying, “Don’t kill them, but hit them hard” during protests in Seattle on Tuesday night, KIRO-TV reported. “Using that language ... which gives the impression of over-aggression and physicality and hurting people and harming people by law enforcement by intent was totally out of line, totally inappropriate, hurtful, confusing,” WSP Communications Director Chris Loftis said, according to KIRO-TV. He implored the public to understand the context of the situation. “(The trooper) was preparing his troops for what would be a physically confrontational situation,' Loftis said, according to KIRO-TV. “He was letting them know there were limits to what we could do.” The woman who caught the trooper’s comments on video, Krystal Marx, told KIRO-TV that WSP’s apology and explanation are not enough. “I would encourage WSP -- any other law enforcement agency -- if you are there to protect the peace, keep the peace and to listen and learn from communities that are hurting,' Marx said. “Make sure you use your language appropriately.” >> Read more on KIRO7.com Some Minneapolis police take knee as hearse for George Floyd passes by Update 10:40 a.m. EDT June 4: Some Minneapolis police officers were seen kneeling Thursday morning as the hearse carrying the body of George Floyd passed them, Twin Cities PBS reported. Ben Crump, an attorney representing Floyd’s family, said a memorial for the 46-year-old will be held at 1 p.m. local time Thursday at North Central University in Minneapolis. Senate Democrats hold moment of silence to remember George Floyd, victims of police brutality Update 10:30 a.m. EDT June 4: Senate Democrats on Thursday stayed silent for 8 minutes and 46 seconds in remembrance of George Floyd, the man who died last week as a Minneapolis police officer held his knee to Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes. Drew Brees apologizes after saying protests during national anthem disrespect the flag Update 8:55 a.m. EDT June 4: New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees apologized Thursday after saying in an interview with Yahoo! that he thought protests during the national anthem were disrespectful to the flag. “I would like to apologize to my friends, teammates, the City of New Orleans, the black community, NFL community and anyone I hurt with my comments yesterday,” Brees said in a statement posted Thursday morning on Instagram. He acknowledged that while speaking Wednesday with Yahoo! he “made comments that were insensitive and completely missed the mark on the issues we are facing right now as a country.” “They lacked awareness and any type of compassion or empathy,” Brees wrote. “Instead, those words have become divisive and hurtful and have misled people into believing that somehow I am an enemy. This could not be further from the truth, and is not an accurate reflection of my heart or my character.” Asked a question Wednesday about players protesting police brutality by taking a knee during the national anthem, Brees told Yahoo! that he would “never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country.” Brees was heavily criticized on social media for his comments. “WOW MAN!!” LeBron James said in a tweet Thursday. “Is it still surprising at this point. Sure isn’t! You literally still don’t understand why Kap was kneeling on one knee?? Has absolute nothing to do with the disrespect of (the flag) and our soldiers (men and women) who keep our land free.” Beyoncé urges fans to stay ‘focused’ in fight for justice  Update 8:10 a.m. June 4: Beyoncé Knowles-Carter is urging her fans to stay “focused” in fighting for justice for George Floyd. The Grammy-winning artist shared a message on Instagram, which featured an aerial photo of of Black Lives Matter demonstrators filling the streets of Minneapolis, Minnesota. The caption framing the photo read: “The world came together for George Floyd. We know there is a long road ahead. Let’s remain aligned and focused in our call for real justice.” Friend in car says George Floyd did not resist arrest Update 6:17 a.m. June 4: A friend who was in the passenger seat of George Floyd’s car when he had a fatal encounter with a police officer said the Minneapolis man tried to defuse the situation and did not try to resist arrest. Maurice Lester Hall, 42, was arrested on outstanding warrants Wednesday in Houston and was interviewed by investigators in Minnesota, The New York Times reported. “He was, from the beginning, trying in his humblest form to show he was not resisting in no form or way,” Hall told the newspaper. “I could hear him pleading, ‘Please, officer, what’s all this for?’” Hall called Floyd a mentor and said the two Houston natives spent time together May 25 before the incident with Minneapolis. Hall said he will not forget what he saw as Derek Chauvin placed a knee against Floyd’s neck and held it there for nearly nine minutes. “He was just crying out at that time for anyone to help because he was dying,” Hall told the Times. “I’m going to always remember seeing the fear in Floyd’s face because he’s such a king. That’s what sticks with me, seeing a grown man cry, before seeing a grown man die.” LA police arrest protesters who broke curfew Update 5:18 a.m. June 4: Police in Los Angeles arrested nearly 100 protesters who broke the city’s curfew, with some staying outside more than 90 minutes past the 9 p.m. deadline, The Washington Post reported. The rally occurred outside City Hall on Wednesday night and many of the 1,000 attendees obeyed the curfew and went home, the newspaper reported. Those who did not were handcuffed by police in riot gear. “When I first got here it was really scary, because when I came here I saw the National Guard and I was not myself,” Ashley, a 22-year-old protester from Pasadena, California, who declined to give her last name, told the Post. “So seeing that made me fear what was going to happen.” Most observers said that despite the arrests, the rally was peaceful, the newspaper reported. Georgia police: 3 protesters torched squad cars Update 5:08 a.m. June 4: Three protesters in Georgia are accused of setting police cars on fire, WSB-TV reported. According to police, the protesters tracked the officers down at their homes and torched the cars. Ebuka Chike-Morah, Alvin Joseph and Lakaila Mack all face charges for lighting two Gwinnett police cars on fire, according to WSB-TV. Meghan Markle speaks out against George Floyd’s death Update 3:37 a.m. June 4: Meghan Markle spoke out about the death of George Floyd, calling it “absolutely devastating.” The Duchess of Sussex made her comments in a video to the graduating class of Immaculate Heart High School in Los Angeles “George Floyd’s life mattered and Breonna Taylor’s life mattered and Philando Castile’s life mattered, and Tamir Rice’s life mattered, and so did so many other people’s names we know and names we don’t know,' Markle said. “You’re going to use your voice in a stronger way than you have ever been able to because most of you are 18, or you’re turning 18, so you’re going to vote. You’re going to have empathy for those who don’t see the world through the same lens that you do.” Kareem Abdul-Jabbar says arrests ‘a step toward justice’  Update 3:20 a.m. June 4: Basketball Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul Jabbar told CNN the decision to charge all four former Minneapolis police officers was “a step toward justice.” The NBA legend, who wrote an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times on Sunday and observed that “racism in America is like dust in the air,” praised Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz and Minneapolis MayorJacob Frey for their fast actions. “It’s like, you know, the United States is this wonderful bus with great seats in the front of the bus,' Abdul-Jabbar told CNN. “But as you go further to the back of the bus, the seats get worse and the fumes from the exhaust leak in and really wreck with people’s health and their lives. But the people at the front of the bus, they have no complaints. It’s kind of like that. “That dust accumulates in the lives of black Americans, and it eliminates all the mechanics of democracy. Democracy doesn’t work for us.” The former Los Angeles Lakers center said nothing had changed in terms of systematic racism since the Rodney King incident and riots in Los Angeles in 1992. “Something has to be done,” Abdul-Jabbar told CNN. “It’s not enough to say, ‘That was terrible and my thoughts and prayers are with you.’ That’s not getting anything done.” National Guard to assist authorities in San Diego County Update 2:59 a.m. June 4: Two hundred members of the National Guard have been deployed in San Diego County to prevent looting, the San Diego County Sheriff’s Office said in a tweet. The Guardsmen will work with local law enforcement agencies to provide security to “critical infrastructures” during protests to prevent looting and arson, the department tweeted. Police use tear gas when protesters try to block Iowa interstate Update 2:33 a.m. June 4: Hundreds of protesters attempting to block an Iowa interstate were met by state troopers and Iowa City police, who fired tear gas, the Iowa City Press-Citizen reported. The crowd attempted to skirt the line of officials who were blocking their path, the newspaper reported. “Disperse immediately,” said a speaker, who was identified as an Iowa State Patrol officer. The voice added that failure to do so would result in the deployment of chemical deterrents. “Quit your job,” the crowd chanted back, the Press-Citizen reported. Huntsville police arrest more than 20 protesters, use tear gas Update 2:13 a.m. June 4: Police in Huntsville, Alabama, arrested more than 20 protesters and used tear gas at the Madison County Courthouse square, WHNT reported. Protests began peacefully earlier Wednesday in a march sponsored by the NAACP and ended around 6:30 p.m. The majority of the crowd stayed and marched from Big Spring Park East to the courthouse, the television station reported. Around 8 p.m., authorities used rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse the crowd, WHNT reported. The area was cleared within an hour, according to WHNT. Police said more arrests could be pending. New Orleans police fire tear gas at protesters Update 1:33 a.m. June 4: Police in New Orleans fired tear gas into a crowd of protesters near the Crescent City Connection late Wednesday, NOLA.com reported. Police said the action was taken after protesters refused to comply with three orders not to walk across the CCC. “The NOPD deployed tear gas tonight to disperse protesters after the crowd refused to comply with three orders not to attempt to walk across the CCC,” the department said in a statement. “Escalation and confrontation hurts us all. NOPD is committed to respectful protection of our residents’ First Amendment rights. However, tonight we were compelled to deploy gas on the CCC in response to escalating, physical confrontation with our officers.” 3 Minneapolis officers charged Wednesday to appear in court Thursday Update 1:15 a.m. June 4: The three former Minneapolis police officers who were arrested Wednesday on charges of aiding and abetting the murder of George Floyd will have their first court appearances Thursday afternoon. The former officers -- J. Alexander Keung, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao -- are set to appear before the judicial officer at 1:45 p.m. EDT, CNN reported. The hearings were pushed up by 45 minutes from their original schedule, according to court records.
  • More than 6.4 million people worldwide – including more than 1.8 million in the United States – have been infected with the new coronavirus, and the number of deaths from the outbreak continues to rise. While efforts to contain the COVID-19 outbreak continue, states have begun to shift their focus toward reopening their economies. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is tracking cases in the U.S. here. Live updates for Thursday, June 4, continue below:  MLB players reaffirm pay stance, no deal with teams in sight Update 11:30 p.m. EDT June 4: Baseball players reaffirmed their stance for full prorated pay, leaving a huge gap with teams that could scuttle plans to start the coronavirus-delayed season around the Fourth of July and may leave owners focusing on a schedule as short as 50 games. More than 100 players, including the union’s executive board, held a two-hour digital meeting with officials of the Major League Baseball Players Association on Thursday, a day after the union’s offer was rejected by Major League Baseball. “Earlier this week, Major League Baseball communicated its intention to schedule a dramatically shortened 2020 season unless players negotiate salary concessions,” union head Tony Clark said in a statement. “The concessions being sought are in addition to billions in player salary reductions that have already been agreed upon. This threat came in response to an association proposal aimed at charting a path forward.” “Rather than engage, the league replied it will shorten the season unless players agree to further salary reductions,” Clark added. Players originally were set to earn about $4 billion in 2020 salaries, exclusive of guaranteed money such as signing bonuses, termination pay and option buyouts. The union’s plan would cut that to around $2.8 billion and management to approximately $1.2 billion plus a $200 million bonus pool if the postseason is completed. MLB last week proposed an 82-game season with an additional sliding scale of pay cuts that would leave a player at the $563,500 minimum with 47% of his original salary and top stars Mike Trout and Gerrit Cole at less than 22% of the $36 million they had been set to earn. Seattle to offer free citywide coronavirus testing Update 9:30 p.m. EDT June 4: Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan announced Thursday that the city will offer free citywide coronavirus testing in partnership with the University of Washington Medicine. Testing will be performed at two locations. Drive-up sites will be located in north and south Seattle. Those sites are former emissions testing sites, which will allow for up to 1,600 tests per day, officials said. However, the testing will only be for those who drive through and book ahead. Outbreak reported at Tyson food plant in North Carolina A COVID-19 outbreak was reported at the Tyson Food plant in Claremont, where town leaders said more than 700 people work. Tyson sent WSOC-TV an email saying it doesn’t plan on doing widespread testing there because the number of COVID-19 cases is less than 2%. Family members of the plant workers said that 10 workers have been infected with the virus. The company makes frozen prepacked sandwiches and biscuits. The news comes after 570 people tested positive at the Tyson chicken plants in Wilkesboro, NC. California Gov. says protests may lead to spike in virus cases Update 7:30 p.m. EDT June 4: California Gov. Gavin Newsom said Thursday he’s concerned about the spread of coronavirus as thousands of people gather for protests across the state, and he said the state should prepare for higher rates of positive tests because of both the protests and the reopening of businesses that’s underway. “If you’re not (concerned), you’re not paying attention to the epidemiology, to the virulence of this disease,” he said during a visit to Stockton, California, where he met with Mayor Michael Tubbs and business owners to discuss systemic racism and injustices. Newsom added he’s particularly concerned about the disproportionate deaths from the virus among black Californians. Still, California has no plans to halt its reopening efforts, though Newsom hasn’t announced any new guidance for businesses this week. Mark Ghaly, secretary of the California Health and Human Services agency, said the state is in a “range of stability” on cases and hospitalizations and is “working hard” on more guidance. California has already allowed most counties to reopen restaurants, nail salons, churches and other businesses with restrictions. But highly anticipated guidance on schools has not been released, nor have details on the resumption of professional sports, possibly without fans. Ghaly acknowledged it will be weeks before the effects of the protest on public health are fully known. He highlighted the “importance of the freedom and liberty to protest” but added, “it does create infectious disease concern that we weren’t contending with before.” Telehealth expansion could become permanent after pandemic Update 6:50 p.m. EDT June 4: The temporary expansion of telehealth during the coronavirus pandemic would become permanent under a bill endorsed Thursday by a Senate committee. As passed by the House in March, the bill would allow reimbursement for medication-assisted treatment for substance use disorders conducted via telehealth. But an amendment recommended by the Senate Health and Human Services Committee would also make permanent the provisions of Gov. Chris Sununu’s emergency order on telehealth, which allowed all health care providers to offer services remotely and required insurers to cover them. Officials representing hospitals, community health centers, dentists and mental health providers all told the committee that telehealth has been a valuable tool during the pandemic and should continue. “As many experts have predicted, telehealth is here to stay, which is why this legislation is so important to ensure patients are able to get the right care at the right time in the right setting, which ultimately may be in the safety of their own homes,” said Paula Minnehan of the New Hampshire Hospital Association. Ken Norton, director of the New Hampshire chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, said telehealth has greatly expanded access to mental health treatment. “We can’t go back,” he said. Study on safety of malaria drugs for coronavirus retracted Update 4:50 p.m. EDT June 4: Several authors of a large study that raised safety concerns about malaria drugs for coronavirus patients have retracted the report, saying independent reviewers were not able to verify information that’s been widely questioned by other scientists. Thursday’s retraction in the journal Lancet involved a May 22 report on hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine, drugs long used for preventing or treating malaria but whose safety and effectiveness for COVID-19 are unknown. The study leaders also retracted an earlier report using the same company’s database on blood pressure drugs published by the New England Journal of Medicine. That study suggested that widely used blood pressure medicines were safe for coronavirus patients, a conclusion some other studies and heart doctor groups also have reached. Even though the Lancet report was not a rigorous test, the observational study had huge impact because of its size, reportedly involving more than 96,000 patients and 671 hospitals on six continents. Its conclusion that the drugs were tied to a higher risk of death and heart problems in people hospitalized with COVID-19 led the World Health Organization to temporarily stop use of hydroxychloroquine in a study it is leading, and for French officials to stop allowing its use in hospitals there. “Not only is there no benefit, but we saw a very consistent signal of harm,” study leader Dr. Mandeep Mehra of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston told The Associated Press when the work was published. The drugs have been controversial because President Donald Trump repeatedly promoted their use and took hydroxychloroquine himself to try to prevent infection after some White House staffers tested positive for the virus. The drugs are known to have potential side effects, especially heart rhythm problems. The Lancet study relied on a database from a Chicago company, Surgisphere. Its founder, Dr. Sapan Desai, is one of the authors. Dozens of scientists questioned irregularities and improbable findings in the numbers, and the other authors besides Desai said earlier this week that an independent audit would be done. In the retraction notice, those authors say Surgisphere would not give the reviewers the full data, citing confidentiality and client agreements. Cases, testing hit single-day highs in NC Update 3:45 p.m. EDT June 4: Health officials in North Carolina reported the state’s highest single-day number of new coronavirus infections and daily testing figures on Thursday, WSOC-TV reported. Officials with the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services said 1,189 new COVID-19 cases have been reported statewide. WSOC-TV reported that the previous highest one-day increase in cases was 1,185. State officials also reported having conducted 19,039 tests, the highest number reported in a single day so far and well over the state’s goal of 5,000 to 7,000 tests per day. Officials have reported 31,966 cases of COVID-19 in North Carolina. At least 960 people statewide have died of coronavirus infections. >> Read more on WSOCTV.com 1,805 new coronavirus infections reported in the UK Update 2:45 p.m. EDT June 4: Officials in the United Kingdom reported 1,805 new coronavirus infections Thursday, raising the country’s total number of infections to 281,661. Officials said that as of 5 p.m. local time Wednesday, the most recent date for which data was available, 39,904 people had died nationwide of COVID-19. NBA season to resume from Orlando in late July, reports say Update 2:35 p.m. EDT June 4: The NBA’s Board of Governors has approved a plan to restart the season after it was suspended three months ago due to the coronavirus pandemic, The Associated Press and other media outlets reported. The 2019-2020 season will be played in Orlando at Walt Disney World’s ESPN’s Wide World of Sports complex starting in late July, the AP reported. 603 new cases of COVID-19 reported in New Jersey Update 2:05 p.m. EDT June 4: Gov. Phil Murphy of New Jersey said Thursday that 603 new coronavirus infections have been reported, raising the total number of COVID-19 cases in the state to 162,530. “We still have work to do,” Murphy said in a statement posted on Twitter. “Let’s keep pushing these numbers down. When we do, (we’ll) get through Stage 2 that much sooner.” Officials also reported 92 more deaths associated with the coronavirus pandemic. As of Thursday, 11,970 people have died statewide of COVID-19. CDC chief urges Americans to be vigilant on coronavirus Update 1:20 p.m. EDT June 4: Worried by photos of large gatherings of people which could lead to a spike in coronavirus cases, the head of the Centers for Disease Control used testimony before Congress on Thursday to plead with Americans to wear masks in public and continue to engage in social distancing measures to stop the spread of the virus. “We’re very concerned that our public health message is not resonating,” Redfield told a hearing of the House Appropriations Committee. 104 new cases of COVID-19 reported in DC Update 12:20 p.m. EDT June 4: Health officials in Washington D.C. said Thursday that 104 new coronavirus infections have been reported in the area, raising the total number of cases in the area to 9,120. Officials also announced that two more people, aged 76 and 89, had died of COVID-19 in Washington D.C., bringing the total number of deaths in the District to 475. 52 new fatal COVID-19 cases reported in New York Update 11:55 p.m. EDT June 4: Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York said Thursday that 52 more people have died of COVID-19 in the state. The number is slightly higher than the 49 new fatal coronavirus infections reported one day before and lower than the 58 deaths reported Tuesday and the 54 deaths reported on Monday. Ohio State University to resume in-person classes in fall Update 11:10 a.m. EDT June 4: Officials with Ohio State University announced plans Wednesday to reopen its campus in Columbus, Ohio come the fall, WHIO-TV reported. University President Michael V. Drake announced the decision at a board of trustees meeting and in a message to the university community, according to WHIO-TV. Specific guidelines will be announced in the coming weeks based on guidance from state and local health authorities and recommendations of the Safe Campus and Scientific Advisory Subgroup of the university’s COVID-19 Transition Task Force. >> Read more on WHIO.com Stocks open slightly lower after 4 straight days of gains Update 10:05 a.m. EDT June 4: Stocks eased back in early trading Thursday on Wall Street as a four-day market rally cooled off. The stretch of gains had brought the S&P 500 back to where it was just one week after reaching an all-time high in February. The index fell 0.4%. In more grim news on the economy, nearly 1.9 million people applied for unemployment benefits last week, but that marked the ninth straight decline since applications spiked in mid-March. European markets were mostly lower after the European Central Bank said it now expects the region’s economy to shrink by 8.7% this year and increased its stimulus program. RNC to meet Thursday with officials in NC to discuss future of convention Update 10 a.m. EDT June 4: Officials in Charlotte, North Carolina, plan to meet Thursday with members of the Republican National Committee to discuss plans for the Republican National Convention, WSOC-TV reported. The meeting comes after President Donald Trump said he was looking into moving the convention, which is scheduled for August, from Charlotte due to the safety precautions put in place statewide to try to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. >> Read more on WSOCTV.com 1.9 million seek jobless aid even as reopenings slow layoffs Update 8:40 a.m. EDT June 4: Nearly 1.9 million people applied for U.S. unemployment benefits last week, the ninth straight decline since applications spiked in mid-March, a sign that the gradual reopening of businesses has slowed the loss of jobs. The diminishing pace suggests that the job market meltdown that was triggered by the coronavirus may have bottomed out as more companies call at least some of their former employees back to work. The total number of people who are now receiving jobless aid rose only slightly to 21.5 million, suggesting that rehiring is offsetting some of the ongoing layoffs. Though applications for benefits are slowing, the latest weekly number is still more than double the record high that prevailed before the viral outbreak. It shows that there are limits to how much a partial reopening of the economy can restore a depressed job market mired in a recession. Prince Charles says he was ‘lucky’ symptoms were mild Update 7:45 a.m. EDT June 4: Britain’s Prince Charles said he considered himself “lucky” after he contracted mild symptoms of the coronavirus, and had “got away with it quite lightly.” The prince told UK broadcaster Sky News that his brush with COVID-19 increased his commitment to advocating environmental causes. “It makes me even more determined to push and shove and shout and prod, if you see what I mean. Whatever I can do behind the scenes sometimes ... I suppose it did partly, I mean I was lucky in my case and got away with it quite lightly,” he told Sky News in a video call from Scotland. “But I’ve had it, and I can so understand what other people have gone through. And I feel particularly for those, for instance, who have lost their loved ones but were unable to be with them at the time. That to me is the most ghastly thing.” Civil unrest forces at least 70 testing sites to close Update 5:33 a.m. EDT June 4: Looting and civil unrest nationwide have forced at least 70 coronavirus testing sites to close, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services told The Washington Post. Agency officials said most of the sites were located in private pharmacies in “socially vulnerable” neighborhoods, the newspaper reported. “We shouldn’t feel comforted if we don’t see an uptick,” Leana S. Wen, Baltimore’s former health commissioner, told the Post. “There may be a reason why the numbers aren’t being captured.” South Korea confirms 39 new cases Update 4:56 a.m. EDT June 4: South Korea health officials confirmed 39 new cases of COVID-19onn Thursday -- 33 of which are locally transmitted. According to the country’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the news cases are related to several clusters in Seoul and surrounding areas. Yoon Tae-ho, an official with the South Korean Health Ministry, warned that locally transmitted cases may become tougher to trace, CNN reported. Confirmed cases top 6.5 million worldwide Update 4:10 a.m. EDT June 4: The number of confirmed novel coronavirus cases worldwide topped 6.5 million early Thursday, according to Johns Hopkins University. According to the tally kept by the university, there are at least 6,514,639 confirmed cases of the virus, and there are at least 386,111 deaths. The United States remains the leader in confirmed cases with 1,851,520 and 107,175 deaths. Pakistan has more confirmed cases than China Update 2:50 a.m. EDT June 4: Pakistan has passed China in confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to Johns Hopkins University. As of Thursday, Pakistan had 85,264 confirmed cases and 1,770 virus-related deaths. China has reported 84,160 coronavirus cases and 4,638 deaths. US coronavirus cases climb past 1.85M, deaths top 107K Update 12:50 a.m. EDT June 4: The number of novel coronavirus cases in the United States continued to climb past 1.85 million early Thursday across all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands. According to a Johns Hopkins University tally, there are at least 1,851,520 confirmed U.S. cases of the virus, which have resulted in at least 107,175 deaths. The hardest-hit states remain New York with 374,085 cases and 30,019 deaths and New Jersey with 162,068 cases and 11,880 deaths. Massachusetts, with 101,592 cases, has the third-highest number of deaths with 7,152, while Illinois has the third-highest number of cases with 123,830. Six other states have now confirmed at least 54,000 novel coronavirus cases each, including: • California: 117,215 cases, resulting in 4,305 deaths • Pennsylvania: 77,225 cases, resulting in 5,667 deaths • Texas: 67,310 cases, resulting in 1,716 deaths • Michigan: 57,731 cases, resulting in 5,553 deaths • Florida: 57,447 cases, resulting in 2,530 deaths • Maryland: 54,175 cases, resulting in 2,597 deaths Meanwhile, Georgia, Virginia, Connecticut and Louisiana each has confirmed at least 40,000 cases; Ohio, Indiana and North Carolina each has confirmed at least 30,000 cases; Colorado, Minnesota, Tennessee, Washington, Arizona and Iowa each has confirmed at least 20,000 cases; Alabama and Wisconsin each has confirmed at least 18,000 cases, followed by Mississippi with 16,041 and Rhode Island with 15,112; Nebraska and Missouri each has confirmed at least 14,000 cases, followed by South Carolina with 12,415; Utah and Kentucky each has confirmed at least 10,000 cases; Kansas and Delaware each has confirmed at least 9,000 cases; the District of Columbia, Nevada and New Mexico each has confirmed at least 8,000 cases; Arkansas, Oklahoma and South Dakota each has confirmed at least 5,000 cases Click here to see CNN’s state-by-state breakdown. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
  • UPDATE 7:00 P.M. The Orange County Sheriff’s Office has released the body-cam footage from the arresting officer. Click/tap here to see that video. By tapping here, you can read the arrest report from Deputy Christopher Moore.  ORIGINAL STORY: A video circulating on Twitter shows a traffic stop by an Orange County Sheriff’s deputy in which a woman’s car window is shattered. According to a report from the Orlando Sentinel, the sheriff’s office is now reviewing body-cam footage of the incident which happened nearby a George Floyd protest around 7 p.m. Wednesday. In the 37-second video posted Thursday, a deputy orders the woman out of her car for being “stopped in the middle of the roadway.” The Sentinel cites Orange County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Michelle Guido, who says the unidentified woman was not arrested but was cited for being parked on a roadway and not wearing a seat belt. Guido told the Sentinel the Sheriff’s Office plans to file a case with the Ninth Judicial Circuit for battery on a law enforcement officer and resisting without violence. Read more from the Orlando Sentinel here. Sheriff Mina has asked for a review of the deputies' actions and that review is under way. Later Thursday evening, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office released the arresting officer’s body-cam video.

Washington Insider

  • Even as the number of people demonstrating over the police killing of George Floyd dwindled to a small group on Thursday afternoon in the nation's capital, workers were busy installing new high fencing around the park area known as the Ellipse just to the south of the White House, significantly expanding the security zone for President Donald Trump. 'It's a sad commentary that the (White) House and its inhabitants have to be walled off,' said Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser. 'We should want the White House to be opened up,' the Mayor told reporters. Critics immediately compared the new fencing to the President's push to build a wall along the border with Mexico. 'And American taxpayers, not Mexico, will again be sent the bill,' said Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT). By Thursday afternoon, workers had run the new fencing all the way down to, and along Constitution Avenue, which crosses in between the White House and the Washington Monument. The move to close off the Ellipse - an over 80 acre park which often hosts families, tourists, joggers, and picknickers - was reminiscent of other moves by the federal government to increase security, without the consent of the Washington, D.C. government. For example, after the Oklahoma City bombing, Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House was closed to traffic. Roads were also closed to through traffic on Capitol Hill near House and Senate office buildings, and security bollards were placed in front of a number of federal buildings, museums, and monuments. Because the federal government controls many of those areas, they are not under the direct jurisdiction of the District of Columbia. 'I'm also concerned that some of the hardening that they are doing may be not just temporary,' the Mayor said of the new security fencing. Extra fencing has already been put in place to the north of the White House, to wall off Lafayette Square from demonstrators. Here's a satellite map of the area around the White House to give you a better idea of the changes which are being made: The red area at the top is Lafayette Square. This is normally open to the public, but now a tall fence at the northern end along H Street does not allow anyone into the park. The yellow area is the normal White House security perimeter. The Old Executive Office Building is on the left, and the Treasury Department is on the right. The orange area at the bottom is how the perimeter is being extended with new fencing to add in the Ellipse, which is normally open to the public.  The road at the bottom of the graphic is Constitution Avenue.