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Politics • American • US
Joe Biden picks Kamala Harris as his running mate
Joe Biden and Kamala Harris
Joe Biden and Kamala Harris

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has announced Senator Kamala Harris as his running mate. She will be the first black woman to serve in the role.

Harris, once a rival for the Democratic nomination, had long been considered the front-runner for the VP position. She was born in Oakland, California to two immigrant parents: an Indian-born mother and Jamaican-born father.

Politics • American • US
US surpasses 5 million total Covid-19 cases, experts
COVID-19 yard signs along Georgia Avenue in Silver Spring, Maryland. They are in Amharic, English, and Spanish.
COVID-19 yard signs along Georgia Avenue in Silver Spring, Maryland. They are in Amharic, English, and Spanish. Credit: Farragutful / Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

The United States has surpassed 5 million Covid-19 cases early Sunday while experts warn that the estimated number of true cases might be many times higher.

"That's a huge number of cases and a very large number of hospitalizations and deaths -- and more to come. Because over much of this country, this virus is spreading unimpeded because so many folks are not getting with the program to contain it," so Dr. William Schaffner, a professor of infectious diseases at Vanderbilt University.

40% of cases are attributed to only 5 states: Florida, Texas, New York, Georgia and California – the latter has reported the most cases in the country.

Politics • American • US
Georgia school district reports 260 students and 8 teachers contracted Covid-19 in first week of reopening
Frank Long Elementary School, Hinesville, Liberty County, Georgia
Frank Long Elementary School, Hinesville, Liberty County, Georgia Credit: Michael Rivera (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

A week after reopening schools for in-person classes, the Georgia school district reports that at least 260 students and 8 teachers have contracted Covid-19. Those with a confirmed positive result are now under quarantine for two weeks and everyone who had been in contact with them was urged to self-isolate as well. Infections were reported from elementary, middle as well as high schools.

"We have students and staff reporting presumptive, pending and positive COVID-19 tests every day, and this will continue as we operate schools during a pandemic. We are working with the Department of Public Health to confirm, contact trace, quarantine and then notify the school community," so the district's superintendent, Dr Brian V. Hightower.

Politics • American • US
Researchers predict that US Covid-19 death toll could reach 300,000 by December
Researchers predict that US Covid-19 death toll could reach 300,000 by December
Credit: unsplash.com/United Nations COVID-19 Response

Researchers at Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation predict that the US Covid-19 death toll could reach 300,000 by December, almost twice as much as the current number of around 160,000 deaths, or "about five times the number of people who die of flu each year."

"In fact, if this projection pans out, coronavirus will likely be the third-leading cause of death in the U.S. for 2020, only behind heart disease and cancer," so global health correspondent Nurith Aizenman in an interview with NPR.

The forecast also took into consideration "states moving to stay-at-home orders and shutdowns once cases skyrocket" and "50% of schools will be doing online-only instruction" but it does not " assume widespread mask use, and that is what could change things," Aizenman added.

The researchers assumed 50% of people were wearing masks if "out and about", but assuming if 95% of people wore masks " about half of the deaths between now and December 1 would be prevented."

Politics • American • US
Trump hosts press conference at his New Jersey Golf Club, claims Covid-19 is disappearing, accuses Democrats of election cheating
Trump hosts press conference at his New Jersey Golf Club, claims Covid-19 is disappearing, accuses Democrats of election cheating
Credit: @jeffmason1 via Twitter (Reproduction)

On Friday, President Donald Trump hosted a press conference at his New Jersey golf club where he spoke to a group of patrons, most of which were not social distancing nor wearing masks, a violation of New Jersey's Covid-19 gathering capacity limit.

During his speech, Trump claims that the Coronavirus was "disappearing", even though the US reported over 42,000 cases on Friday, and again attributed the number of cases to the large number of tests, stating that more tests lead to more cases. When asked about social distancing, Trump said it was a "political activity" and called his audience a "peaceful protest."

Trump further accused Democrats of "election cheating", saying that "the Democrats are cheating on the election. Because that's exactly what they're doing. If you look at what they're doing even with these negotiations. That's an influence, and an unfair influence, on an election."

Politics • American • US
State department lifts international travel advisory,
State department lifts international travel advisory,
Credit: unsplash.com/Blake Guidry

The State Department has lifted its international travel advisory urging Americans to not travel overseas due to the Covid-19 pandemic, which was first established in March. The department will go back to issuing recommendations on "country-specific levels", available on Travel.State.gov.

"With health and safety conditions improving in some countries and potentially deteriorating in others, the Department is returning to our previous system of country-specific levels of travel advice ... to give travellers detailed and actionable information to make informed travel decisions," so the State Department in a press release.

The department has issued travel warnings for over 50 countries and said it would "continue to recommend U.S. citizens exercise caution when traveling abroad due to the unpredictable nature of the pandemic."

Politics • American • US
Ohio Gov. DeWine second Covid-19 test came back negative
Ohio Gov. DeWine second Covid-19 test came back negative
Credit: (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock) / Public domain

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine (R) announced late Thursday that he had tested negative for Covid-19, after initially testing positive shortly before he was scheduled to meet President Trump in Cleveland. The positive result came from an antigen test, which brings faster results but is believed to be less reliable. The second test was a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) which delivered a negative result.

"In a second COVID-19 test administered today in Columbus, Governor Mike DeWine has tested negative for COVID-19. First Lady Fran DeWine and staff members have also all tested negative," Gov. DeWine announced on Twitter.

Politics • American • US
Trump signs executive order banning business between U.S. citizens and TikTok from in 45 days on
Trump signs executive order banning business between U.S. citizens and TikTok from in 45 days on
Credit: Illustration: Pendect, Logo TikTok

The president of the United States Donald Trump has followed through with his announcement to make a move against the social media application TikTok with the help of an executive order. In the signed executive order, Trump outlaws all transactions between ByteDance, which is the parent company of TikTok, and citizens of the United States. The reason for that are national security concerns according to Trump.

The outlined transaction ban in the executive order will become effective in 45 days and most likely prevent the application from being downloaded or updated.

Politics • American • US
US Senate bans TikTok from phones owned by government
US Senate bans TikTok from phones owned by government
Credit: Solen Feyissa (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

In a unanimous decision, the senate of the United States has decided that the social media app TikTok will be banned from all government-owned devices.

This step comes after President Donald Trump has repeatedly threatened to ban the app for everyone in the United States.

Politics • American • US
Ohio Gov. DeWine tests positive for Covid-19 before planned Trump visit
DeWine at  at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, 2019
DeWine at at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, 2019 Credit: (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock) / Public domain

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine (R) has tested positive for Covid-19. DeWine was scheduled to greet President Donald Trump at the Cleveland airport but was tested hours before the planned meeting as part of a standard screening protocol. He did not meet with Trump.

DeWine is currently asymptomatic and will be self-quarantining for the next 14 days, so his office.

Politics • American • US
New York attorney general sues to dissolve NRA
Wayne LaPierre
Wayne LaPierre Credit: Gage Skidmore (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

New York's attorney general Letitia James announced a lawsuit aimed at dissolving the National Rifle Association (NRA) over allegations that high-ranking executives, including longtime leader Wayne LaPierre, diverted millions of dollars for their personal use.

James said in a statement announcing the lawsuit: "The NRA’s influence has been so powerful that the organisation went unchecked for decades while top executives funnelled millions into their own pockets."

Politics • American • US
Facebook deletes a post by Trump campaign for "spreading misinformation"
Facebook deletes a post by Trump campaign for "spreading misinformation"
Credit: The White House from Washington, DC / Public domain

Facebook has deleted a video shared by the Trump campaign for violating its policy against spreading misinformation about Covid-19. The video, a segment of an interview with Fox News, President Donald Trump falsely claimed that children were "virtually immune" to the novel Coronavirus and pressed to reopen schools. It was the first post by the Trump campaign that was deleted by Facebook.

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Florida surpasses half a million Covid-19 cases, reports over 7,700 deaths
Ron DeSantis
Ron DeSantis Credit: Gage Skidmore (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0)

As of Wednesday, Florida has reported over 500,000 Covid-19 cases since March, and the state's death toll has surpassed 7,700. Governor Ron DeSantis announced Monday that the state would try to speed up testing by implementing "symptomatic testing lanes" at testing sites aimed specifically at people with Covid-19 symptoms who should get their results in 2-3 days.

Politics • American • US
Joe Biden will not travel to the Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee
Joe Biden will not travel to the Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee
Credit: Marc Nozell (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

Democratic National Committee announced Wednesday Joe Biden would not travel to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to accept the Democratic presidential nomination at the Democratic National Convention due to concerns over the Covid-19 pandemic.

Biden will accept his nomination virtually from his home state of Delaware, and the other scheduled speakers will also address the convention remotely. The DNC announcement, in effect, makes the event all-virtual.

Biden told attendees of a virtual fundraiser Wednesday afternoon that he felt the move was "the right thing to do."

Politics • American • US
Chicago Public Schools will reopen online only in September
Lincoln Park High School, Chicago, IL, USA
Lincoln Park High School, Chicago, IL, USA Credit: Kseferovic

Public schools in Chicago will start the coming academic year remote-only, meaning all classes will be held online for all students from September to at least November 9. The situation will be reevaluated then whether a hybrid learning model can be implemented. The decision came just a day after the Chicago Teachers Union prepared for a strike over school safety and the demand for remote learning.

"As a district, we value parent feedback and we cannot overlook that a large percentage of parents have indicated they do not feel comfortable sending their students to school under a hybrid model for the start of the school year," so Janice K. Jackson, CEO of the Chicago Public Schools.

Politics • American • US
125 human rights abuses during BLM protests by US law enforcement, says Amnesty International
Black Lives Matter Protest in DC, 5/31/2020.
Black Lives Matter Protest in DC, 5/31/2020. Credit: unsplash.com/Koshu Kunii

According to a press release by Amnesty International, US law enforcement committed at least 125 incidents of police violence against "protestors, medics, journalists and legal observers in 40 states and D.C." during the Black Lives Matter protests in May and June.

The NGO further stated that US law enforcement "repeatedly used physical force, chemical irritants such as tear gas and pepper spray, and kinetic impact projectiles as a first resort tactic against peaceful protestors rather than as a response to any sort of actual threat or violence." Amnesty recorded 89 cases of use of tear gas, six incidents of the use of batons, 13 instances of the use of rubber bullets and 31 cases of unlawful pepper spray.

Politics • American • US
Donald Trump falsely claims US Covid-19 deaths "lower than the world", alleges virus is "under control"
Donald Trump falsely claims US Covid-19 deaths "lower than the world", alleges virus is "under control"
Credit: Axios, Screenshot via YouTube

During an interview with Axios, President Trump falsely claimed that the Covid-19 deaths in the US were "lower than the world" as the country's death toll surpasses 155,000 deaths, making it the highest total globally. Axios reporter Jonathan Swan pointed out he was talking about "deaths as a proportion of the population," Trump answered that "you can't do that", arguing that Covid-19 deaths should be measured as a proportion to cases rather than population.

Trump furthered claimed that the US had the novel Coronavirus "under control". When confronted with the deaths of thousands of Americans, Trump responded by saying: "They are dying, that's true. It is what it is. But that doesn't mean we aren't doing everything that we can. It's under control as much as you can control it."

Politics • American • US
Federal Judge rules that not granting Puerto Rico access to federal programs is unconstitutional
Federal Judge rules that not granting Puerto Rico access to federal programs is unconstitutional
Credit: unsplash.com / Ernesto Tapia

Judge William G. Young has ruled that the United States federal government "discriminates" Puerto Ricans by denying Supplemental Security Income and is unconstitutional. Nine plaintiffs had appealed to the courts.

The judge has granted the federal government a two-month administrative timeframe in which the ruling only applies to the nine plaintiffs and legal experts expect the government to appeal the ruling and probably take it to the highest instance, the United States Supreme Court.

Politics • American • US
Pittsburgh Mayor announces participation in "guaranteed income" program
Pittsburgh Mayor announces participation in "guaranteed income" program
Credit: unsplash.com / Eilis Garvey

Bill Peduto, the mayor of Pittsburgh, has announced that his city will participate in a "guaranteed income" program. Eligible residents will receive $500 per month. Peduto did not specify how many people will receive the money but stated that they'll look for people where the sum of $500 would improve their lives and that they'll look for people of different backgrounds and demographics in order to conduct an impact study.

The project is financed by Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey who tweeted that "this is one tool to close the wealth and income gap, level systemic race and gender inequalities, and create economic security for families".

Politics • American • US
Personal banker of Donald Trump and Jared Kushner under investigation by Deutsche Bank
Personal banker of Donald Trump and Jared Kushner under investigation by Deutsche Bank
Credit: Office of Ivanka Trump, Senior Advisor to the President (Public Domain)

A Deutsche Bank spokesperson confirmed that the bank has launched an internal investigation into Rosemary Vrablic, the longtime personal banker of Donald J. Trump and Jared Kushner.

After Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner declared in a financial disclosure report on Friday that they've received between $1 and $5 million from Bergel 715 in 2019, an investigation has been launched into Rosemary Vrablic. Deutsche Bank is looking to determine if she had acted improperly by buying an apartment from Bergel 715 Associates in 2013 together with two colleagues.

According to the original reporting by the New York Times, neither Vrablic nor her colleagues did know about Kushner having an ownership stake in the company at the time they bought the apartment.

Politics • American • US
Alaska: Seven dead in midair collision of two planes, including state Rep. Knopp
Representative Gary Knopp. Juneau, Alaska
Representative Gary Knopp. Juneau, Alaska Credit: Courtesy Paxson Woelber The Alaska Landmine / Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

Seven people have died in an airplane crash as two aircraft have collided mid-air on Friday morning on the Kenai peninsula. Multiple had witnessed the crash from the ground and all except of one person were confirmed dead at the scene. The one surviving passenger has later died on the way to the way to the Central Peninsula Hospital.

All of the people involved have been identified with one of them being state legislator Gary Knopp.

Governor Mike Dunleavy has stated that "throughout his 42 years on the Kenai Peninsula, Gary became well known as an avid outdoorsman, a skilled pilot, and a dedicated public servant. His presence will no doubt be missed by those he faithfully served".

Politics • American • US
Fauci: Hydroxychloroquine not effective as Covid-19 treatment
Fauci: Hydroxychloroquine not effective as Covid-19 treatment
Credit: The White House from Washington, DC / Public domain

Dr. Anthony Fauci, NIAID Director and WH Coronavirus advisor, reports that there is no valid scientific data that shows hydroxychloroquine is an effective treatment for Covid-19.

"You look at the scientific data and the evidence. And the scientific data ... on trials that are valid, that were randomized and controlled in the proper way, all of those trials show consistently that hydroxychloroquine is not effective in the treatment of coronavirus disease or Covid-19," Fauci told MSNBC just a day after President Trump promoted hydroxychloroquine as a working treatment. Trump had claimed that many doctors thought the drug was "extremely good" and that it was safe to take. As of now, there is no FDA-approved drug for the treatment of Covid-19.

Politics • American • US
Trump tweets proposal to "delay the election", citing mail-in voting fraud
Trump tweets proposal to "delay the election", citing mail-in voting fraud
Credit: @realDonaldTrump via Twitter

Trump took to Twitter on early Thursday morning to call for a delay of the 2020 U.S. Presidential election, citing mail-in voting fraud. "With Universal Mail-In Voting (not Absentee Voting, which is good), 2020 will be the most INACCURATE & FRAUDULENT Election in history," so President Trump, adding it would be an "embarrassment to the USA."

He ended the tweet by suggestion to "delay the Election until people can properly, securely and safely vote???."

Politics • American • US
US Secretary of Defense announces details and costs for troop withdrawal from Germany
US Secretary of Defense announces details and costs for troop withdrawal from Germany
Credit: William King (Public Domain)

The Secretary of Defense Mark Esper has formally announced the decision of the Pentagon to withdraw around 11,900 troops from Germany.

According to US defence officials the relocation of the troops will take years and Esper has acknowledged that it will cost billions to execute. Around 6,400 troops will return to the United States while around 5,400 troops will stay in Europe according to the plans of the Pentagon.

Politics • American • US
US House Antitrust Subcommittee will question tech CEOs over dominance of online platform
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg Credit: Anthony Quintano (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

The chief executives Jeff Bezos (Amazon), Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook), Tim Cook (Facebook) and Sundar Pichai (Google) will be questioned today by the United States House Antitrust Subcommittee that currently investigates the into market dominance of online platforms.

Rep. David Cicilline, chairman of the subcommittee has stated that "these platforms have been allowed to run wild and free from really any constraints" adding that the committee has to clarify "what the impacts are of the lack of competition in the digital marketplace".

Politics • American • US
Arkansas US senator tested positive for Covid-19 after sharing article that describes virus as "hoax"
Arkansas US senator tested positive for Covid-19 after sharing article that describes virus as "hoax"
Credit: Twitter (Reproduction)

The Republican senator for Arkansas Jason Rapert has contracted Covid-19 and has been hospitalised with pneumonia on July 24th.

While he previously shared an article on Facebook that has called the Covid-19 pandemic the "biggest political hoax in history" and criticised the mandatory mask order of the Arkansas governor Asa Hutchinson. He described the order "an overreach of executive power without consultation with the members of the Arkansas legislature".

After being hospitalised, he then released a statement saying that "we have all been doing our best to wear a mask, social distance and be careful like everyone else. This virus is serious and can attack anyone regardless of age or general health".

Politics • American • US
Twitter temporarily suspends Donald Trump Jr's account
Twitter temporarily suspends Donald Trump Jr's account
Credit: Screenshot via Twitter

Twitter has temporarily suspended Donald Trump Jr's account for posting "misleading and potentially harmful information" about Covid-19, which will temporarily prevent him from tweeting. Trump Jr shared a video of people claiming to be doctors promoting hydroxychloroquine as a cure for Covid-19 and falsely stating that masks are not necessary. The same video had also been shared by Donald Trump, while his account remains active, the tweet was replaced with a message stating that the video was "no longer available."

A Twitter spokesperson confirmed the suspension of the account, saying: "The Tweet is in violation of our COVID-19 misinformation policy. The account will be locked until the account owner removes the Tweet."

Politics • American • US
Trump claims Twitter's Trending Topics are "really ridiculous, illegal, and, of course, very unfair"
Twitter's Trending Page
Twitter's Trending Page Credit: Screenshot via twitter.com

On Monday, President Donald Trump once again attacked Twitter, this time focussing his anger onto the "Trending" page, calling it "really ridiculous, illegal, and, of course, very unfair".

"So disgusting to watch Twitter’s so-called “Trending”, where sooo many trends are about me, and never a good one. They look for anything they can find, make it as bad as possible, and blow it up, trying to make it trend," so Trump on Twitter.

According to Twitter's FAQs, the "Trending" topics are "determined by an algorithm and, by default, are tailored for you based on who you follow, your interests, and your location" and that the "algorithm identifies topics that are popular now."

Politics • American • US
No in-person family tributes during this year's 9/11 memorial ceremony
President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, along with former President George W. Bush and former First Lady Laura Bush, pause at the North Memorial Pool of the National September 11 Memorial in New York, N.Y., on the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks against the United States, Sunday, Sept. 11, 2011.
President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, along with former President George W. Bush and former First Lady Laura Bush, pause at the North Memorial Pool of the National September 11 Memorial in New York, N.Y., on the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks against the United States, Sunday, Sept. 11, 2011. Credit: The White House's photostream / Public domain

Every year since 2002, family members who lost loved ones on 9/11 gathered in New York city to read out their names and personal messages. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the National September 11 Memorial Museum has asked families to record their name-readings, citing an "abundance of caution". The recordings will later be played during the memorial. Families are welcome to attend, but the Memorial Museum is still working on providing a safe visit.

Politics • American • US
Republican senator Tom Cotton says slavery was a "necessary evil"
United States Senator Tom Cotton (l) with Judge Brett Kavanaugh (r)
United States Senator Tom Cotton (l) with Judge Brett Kavanaugh (r) Credit: Office of Senator Tom Cotton / Public domain

In an interview with the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Arkansas Republican senator Tom Cotton said the "role of slavery can't be overlooked," and that America shouldn't be portrayed as "an irredeemably corrupt, rotten and racist country" but rather "as an imperfect and flawed land, but the greatest and noblest country in the history of mankind."

Cotton, who was seen as a possible presidential candidate for 2024, further stated: "We have to study the history of slavery and its role and impact on the development of our country because otherwise we can’t understand our country. As the Founding Fathers said, it was the necessary evil upon which the union was built, but the union was built in a way, as Lincoln said, to put slavery on the course to its ultimate extinction."