Led by the Americas, the pandemic topped 13 million known infections, with 573,000 of those being fatal. “Too many countries,” lamented World Health Organization Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, “are headed in the wrong direction.” In the U.S., which is in the lead with 3.3 million cases, California reimposed closures of indoor operations for a host of businesses, including restaurants, theaters and bars. Meanwhile, the country’s top pandemic expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, returned to the White House after presidential aides questioned his judgement in the face of his increasingly dire warnings.
They’re “completely unlawful.” That’s what U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo yesterday called Beijing’s claims to large swaths of the South China Sea, now solidified with artificial islands. China’s claims have long been disputed by nations like the Philippines and Vietnam, which share the same Pacific waters. China said it was “firmly opposed” to the pronouncement, accusing the U.S. of adding to an already “tense situation” by distorting facts. The two nations have frequently prodded each other by deploying warships and planes in the area, something the new declaration may escalate.
In a predawn decision split along ideological lines, the U.S. Supreme Court denied a last-chance appeal of the federal government’s first executions in 17 years. The reprieve effort convinced a federal judge in Washington D.C., to stay lethal injections, a capital punishment protocol that’s being challenged by defense attorneys. White supremacist murderer Daniel Lewis Lee was to be put to death yesterday; it is unclear when his sentence will be carried out. Two other federal inmates covered by the stay are also slated for executions this week.
Spare no expense. That’s the kind of thinking — aimed at relieving the pandemic’s economic toll on businesses and average Americans — that’s led to a federal budget deficit of $3 trillion during the 12 months ending in June. That’s 14 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product, which is higher than at any time since World War II, pushed by a record deficit of $864 billion in June alone. While it puts the government’s fiscal health in question, the alternative, said one analyst, of “mass defaults, evictions and bankruptcies” is unthinkable.
A San Diego sheriff’s deputy faces a second-degree murder charge in the May 1 shooting of a fleeing, unarmed, mentally ill suspect. A Ryanair flight from Poland to Ireland was diverted to an airport near London after a note was found in a bathroom saying explosives were on the plane. And newly released details of President Donald Trump’s clemency for confidant Roger Stone show that in addition to serving no prison time, he won’t have to pay fines or comply with a supervised release regimen.
Coronavirus update: A new study concludes that deaths from diseases like AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria could rise as much as 36 percent in the next five years as a result of weakened health systems grappling with COVID-19.
Stay safe and fight on: Hit the streets for justice, but keep yourself and others safe with our breathable, two-ply “Reset America” cotton mask. You can wash and reuse this mask, making a statement each time you put it on. Best of all, 100 percent of profits go to your choice of racial justice organization. Get it from the OZY store today.
We declare it: Cariumas are the shoes of the summer. The bright colors of these sustainable, stylish and crazy-comfortable sneakers will bring the summer to wherever you are. And they’re now back in stock!
Better yet, for a limited time, OZY readers get $15 off these premium kicks. Order now with code OZY-15 before they sell out again!
Bosnia, Rwanda, Iraq … and now Oklahoma. For Americans, mass graves exist elsewhere, but on Monday, authorities began digging for bodies of victims of the 1921 destruction of Tulsa’s “Black Wall Street.” An estimated 300 Black citizens were killed by white mobs in a neighborhood known for its affluence in an event that researchers found had economic impacts lasting to the present day. Now that scans have found underground anomalies in a cemetery, Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum said, “We will follow the truth where it leads us.”
C’est la guerre. A war, that is, against a raging pandemic whose soldiers may be appreciated, but are overworked. So as France celebrates a low-key, socially distanced Bastille Day today, the French government has agreed with unions to provide $8.5 billion for health worker pay increases. Most of the money will go toward $208 monthly raises for nurses and care providers. Strictly public-sector doctors will also see increases. While Prime Minister Jean Castex praised workers and the “historic moment,” he also admitted it was overdue. Some hardline unions balked at signing, indicating further tensions ahead.
She’s transformed one state, now others are calling. Amber McReynolds is at the center of one of democracy’s biggest struggles: voting by mail. OZY reports that the single mother of two built a pioneering all-mail balloting system as Denver’s elections director and now runs Vote At Home. It’s a resource for secretaries of state racing against the clock to make it safe to vote in November. “There is urgency right now to get this figured out,” McReynolds says. But with the president calling mail balloting a tool for fraud, it’s up to the nation whether the change will last.
There’s no script for this. Authorities have found the body of the 33-year-old Glee star, missing since her 4-year-old son Josey Dorsey was found Wednesday in a boat alone on Lake Piru north of Los Angeles. Lake currents and hypothermia may have been factors in her drowning, indicated investigators, who believe her last act was helping Josey onto the boat. But the child told sheriff’s deputies that when he looked back, his mother was gone. After the news broke, Glee co-star Jane Lynch tweeted, “Rest sweet, Naya. What a force you were.”
Could the Atlanta Braves be next? After decades of swearing he’d never change the Washington Redskins’ name despite it being an acknowledged slur against Native Americans, team owner Daniel Snyder has decided to retire the team name. That could mean the team returns to a home stadium in the District of Columbia when its current deal with Maryland’s FedExField is up, an option that wasn’t on the table with the current team name. Also unclear is what the new name will be, though some have suggested the Redtails, Code Talkers or the Washington Monuments.