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5 things to know for June 29: Coronavirus, Russia, police reform, Facebook, Pakistan



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1. Coronavirus

More than half a million people have died of Covid-19 worldwide and more than 10 million cases have been diagnosed. These are not the only worrying numbers: only two U.S. states reported a downward trend in cases over the weekend and Friday marked the largest nationwide increase in cases throughout the day, with 40,173 new reports. Although states have increased tests, a survey conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that the total number of infections could be up to 24 times higher than reported. All of this can result in a new set of restrictions. At least a dozen states are pausing their reopening plans and others are looking for ways to prevent the weekend̵
7;s July 4th holidays from becoming a disastrous melting pot of new infections. On the vaccine front, Dr. Anthony Fauci said that a vaccine may not be enough for the United States to acquire immunity if not enough people agree to get it. On the hill, spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi expressed her support for a federal mandate on the use of the mask. None of this seemed to bother Vice President Mike Pence, who attended a church service in Texas with thousands of other faithful and a choir of 100 people without a mask

2. Russia

Russian intelligence officers for military intelligence GRU recently offered money to Taliban fighters in Afghanistan as a reward if they killed US or British troops there, according to a European intelligence official. Reports on the alleged bounty deal circulated through various outlets over the weekend, including a report in the New York Times stating that the Trump administration had been informed of the news in late March. President Trump has denied any such information and has said that “there have not been many attacks” on US troops by Taliban fighters could mean that the information is “false”. However, the Washington Post reports that the gifts actually caused U.S. troops to die, citing U.S. intelligence gathered by military interrogation. Both the Russian embassy and the Taliban have denied the news. If the GRU looks familiar, it’s because it’s the same Russian military agency that the U.S. concluded that it was behind the interference in the 2016 U.S. election.

3. Police reform

New protests materialized over the weekend as Americans continued to push for police responsibility and reforms in response to several high-profile deaths of black men and women. In Colorado, protesters closed a highway during a peaceful demonstration calling for justice for the death of Elijah McClain, a 23-year-old who died after a confrontation with Aurora’s police officers in August. Activists from other cities are pushing to remove police from schools, and officials from schools in Minneapolis, Denver, Milwaukee and Portland, Oregon have so far all announced that they are severing such ties. School resource officers are a family sight in public schools, but opponents argue that sometimes these officers criminalize black and Latin students. Despite all this activity, hopes are fading for significant and widespread police reform legislation. Congress is stuck on competing reform plans and the President’s recent executive order has been criticized for lack of implementation plans.

4. Facebook

Several large companies have joined a growing Facebook advertising boycott because of claims that the platform is not doing enough to stop the spread of hatred. Ben and Jerry’s, Coca-Cola, Hershey’s, Honda, Levi Strauss, Verizon and Starbucks are just a few of the big names to engage in the #StopHateForProfit boycott, organized by a civil rights coalition that includes the Anti-Defamation League and NAACP. Facebook vice president for public affairs Nick Clegg rejected the boycott premise, stating that the social media giant does not benefit from the proliferation of hate speech on its platform. However, Facebook and its founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg have undergone frequent checks on how the platform responds and regulates cases of hate speech, misinformation and harassment.

5. Pakistan

At least five people died in an attack on the Pakistani Karachi stock exchange. Abid Ali, the PSE director, said in a media briefing that four attackers threw a grenade at the entrance to the complex, entered and started shooting. Eventually they were killed by security forces. Ali also said the attackers “wore uniforms that looked like police uniforms.” A message from the PSE administration described the attackers as “terrorists”. The Karachi PSE is the largest exchange in the country and is located in the financial center of the city, where there is usually a strong security presence.

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QUOTE OF TODAY

“We have to vote how our life depends on it, because it does.”

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THE TIME OF TODAY

<<<Check the local forecast here >>>

AND FINALLY

Flying in the week like …

New project: create a giant paper airplane. Because? Because it is beautiful.


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