1. US Won’t Join WHO's Global Effort to Develop Vaccine
WHO knows. More than 170 nations are considering participating in global COVID-19 vaccine alliance COVAX, which plans to coordinate vaccine development and ensure all countries have speedy access with priority for high-risk people. But the Trump administration says it’s not interested — meaning the U.S. is gambling that it’ll create a vaccine on its own first. The World Health Organization has pushed back the deadline to join as it struggles to get wealthy countries to make commitments. Meanwhile, a large Icelandic study found immunity may last longer than earlier research suggested, offering renewed hope that vaccines will make a big difference.
2. Facebook, Twitter Report New Russian Disinformation Campaign
They’re @ it again. The social media giants say they’ve dismantled a network of fake accounts linked to Russia’s Internet Research Agency, the Kremlin-backed cell that interfered in the 2016 U.S. election, after a tip-off from the FBI. The network was centered on PeaceData, a small faux news site focused on attacking the Biden-Harris campaign as too centrist, which covered its tracks by hiring real American journalists alongside computer-generated personas. With the election just two months away, intelligence officials say Russian campaigns are growing more adaptive, knowing voters may be suspicious after 2016’s highly publicized meddling.
Calling the protests that erupted after a Black man was shot seven times in the back by a white police officer “domestic terror,” President Donald Trump toured a burned-out store in the Wisconsin community and took credit for restoring order by sending in 200 federal troops. He also pledged $1 million to support law enforcement and $4 million for small businesses. Two names that Trump never mentioned: Jacob Blake, the man paralyzed by police bullets, and Kyle Rittenhouse, the teen Trump supporter charged with murdering two protesters. The president also declined to visit Blake’s family, instead doubling down on his law and order election message in what’s expected to be a key swing state.
In a bid to contain both the coronavirus and its economic fallout, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has temporarily banned residential evictions of anyone earning less than $100,000 a year. Public health officials worried that the influx of homeless people expected if landlords could kick out nonpaying tenants would cause the virus to spread rapidly through overcrowded shelters. Retail landlords, however, can still evict their tenants, and after months of total or partial shutdowns, many businesses (including Saks Fifth Avenue in Miami) have been unable to negotiate agreements and are being tossed out of their premises.
Longtime Massachusetts Sen. Ed Markey won a narrow primary victory, the only person to ever defeat a Kennedy in the Bay State. The Khmer Rouge’s chief jailer, who oversaw the deaths of at least 16,000 Cambodians, has died at 77 while serving a life sentence for crimes against humanity. And House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is facing questions over footage of her unmasked in a San Francisco hair salon.
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Launches today! Written and narrated by Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and author Jon Meacham, It Was Said explores some of America’s most important, impactful, timeless and relevant speeches in history, which have been both mirrors and makers of the nation's manners and morals at key moments in our common life. From the Peabody-nominated C13Originals studio, produced in partnership with our friends at HISTORY®️, It Was Said features the unforgettable words of Martin Luther King, Jr., JFK, John Lewis, Hillary Clinton and more, taking listeners back to inflection points ranging from the McCarthy era to our present time through the real-time rhetoric that shaped and suffused America. Available today, wherever you listen to podcasts! Click here to listen now.
1. Trump Tweets Denial of ‘Mini-Strokes’ Unprompted
Yesterday President Trump took to Twitter to deny reports from an unnamed “they” that he had a series of mini-strokes last November that prompted a visit to Walter Reed Medical Center. But there were no such reports ahead of the president’s tweet — which itself set off speculation about why he chose to tweet about it now. Presidential physician Sean Conley then issued an additional statement denying any mini-strokes occurred. Trump has repeatedly impugned Joe Biden’s health, though a June poll found 33 percent of respondents rate Trump’s health as “poor,” while 27 percent said the same of Biden.
2. ‘Charlie Hebdo’ Reprints Controversial Muhammad Cartoons
In January 2015, 12 people were murdered when two brothers claiming allegiance to al-Qaida stormed the offices of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo with guns. They professed to be “avenging” caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad reprinted by the magazine. The brothers were killed in a standoff, but today 14 people accused of helping them plan the attack go on trial — and Charlie Hebdo is reprinting the cartoons, which portray the holy figure as a terrorist. “We will never give up,” wrote publishing director Laurent "Riss" Sourisseau, who was himself wounded in the 2015 attack.
They don’t want to do their home work. The youngest generation in the workforce is by far the most excited at the prospect of getting back into the office post-pandemic, OZY reports. While overall, 3 in 4 U.S. workers don’t ever want to go back to commuting full time, 42 percent of Gen Z would rather return to their physical desks, compared to just 21 percent of Gen X. That may be because for younger workers the office is still a novelty, they’re less likely to have to arrange child care — and they’re more likely to live in tiny apartments, home shares or with their parents.
4. Netflix Developing Chinese Sci-Fi Blockbuster Series
Hopefully it won’t get lost in translation. After it was published in English in 2014, Chinese author Cixin Liu’s The Three-Body Problem became a best-seller, the first Chinese translation (and Liu the first Asian writer) to win science fiction’s prestigious Hugo Award. Now David Benioff and D.B. Weiss — the guys who made Game of Thrones — are adapting Liu’s book series for Netflix, alongside The Terror showrunner Alexander Woo. The announcement is raising the hackles (and hopes) of fans who fear the series, which blends a hard science story about alien contact with philosophy and politics, may be unfilmable.
The flame isn’t out yet. With the postponed Tokyo Olympics still scheduled for July 2021, a Japanese government panel will begin meeting this week to determine policies for allowing the games to go forward without becoming a flashpoint for the virus. Under discussion: Tracking apps for athletes, border testing and limiting the number of volunteers and press who come into contact with athletes. Meanwhile, the Ultimate Fighting Championship (whose events are not included at the Olympics) has reached an agreement to train Chinese athletes for the Tokyo Games, as well as the Beijing Winter Games six months later.