Wednesday, June 23

Update on the latest news, sports, business and entertainment at 8:20 p.m. EDT


World hits coronavirus milestones amid fears worse to come

ROME (AP) — The world has surpassed two sobering coronavirus milestones — 500,000 confirmed deaths, 10 million confirmed cases — and hit another high mark for daily new infections as governments that attempted reopenings continued to backtrack and warn that worse news could be yet to come. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott warned that COVID-19 “has taken a very swift and very dangerous turn in Texas over just the past few weeks.” And California Gov. Gavin Newsom rolled back reopenings of bars in seven counties, including Los Angeles. He ordered them to close immediately and urged eight other counties to issue local health orders mandating the same.


Mississippi lawmakers vote to remove rebel emblem from flag

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi legislators have taken historic votes to remove a Confederate battle emblem from their state flag. Spectators in the Capitol cheered and applauded after the votes Sunday. It’s the last state flag that includes a Confederate symbol that many people condemn as racist. Republican Gov. Tate Reeves has said he will sign the bill. The change comes amid widespread protests over racial injustice. Mississippi has a 38% Black population. A commission will design a new flag that cannot include the Confederate symbol but must have the words “In God We Trust.” Voters will be asked to approve the new design in the Nov. 3 election.


Trump tweets video with ‘white power’ chant, then deletes it

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump tweeted approvingly of a video showing one of his supporters chanting “white power,” a racist slogan associated with white supremacists. He later deleted the tweet and the White House said the president had not heard “the one statement” on the video. The video appears to have been taken at The Villages, a Florida retirement community. It shows dueling demonstrations between Trump supporters and opponents. Trump tweeted: “Thank you to the great people of The Villages.” South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott told CNN that “there’s no question “ that Trump should not have retweeted the video and ”should just take it down.” Scott is the only Black Republican in the Senate.


Speedway owner loses staff, ‘all but 2’ sponsors after post

PINE HALL, N.C. (AP) — The owner of a North Carolina racetrack says he has faced death threats, lost employees and seen “all but two” of his sponsors evaporate amid the backlash over his social media post invoking the noose found in the garage stall of Black NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace. Mike Fulp, who owns the dirt track 311 Speedway in Stokes County, told the News & Record he knew his troubles from what he described as a joke were self-inflicted. Fulp’s post advertised “Bubba Rope” for sale on Facebook Marketplace the day after an investigation determined the noose had been there since at least October and was not a hate crime.  


Gunman at Walmart distribution center was former employee

RED BLUFF, Calif (AP) — A man who drove into a Walmart distribution center in Northern California and went on a shooting rampage that left him and another man dead, and four others wounded, was fired from his job at the center last year. Authorities say Louis Wesley Lane was let go from the distribution center near Red Bluff in February 2019 after failing to show up for work. On Saturday, authorities say he circled the parking lot four times before crashing into the distribution center and opened fire with a semi-automatic weapon. Lane was shot by Red Bluff police officers in the parking lot. Investigators have not determined a motive in the shooting.


Virus death toll drops to 5 in NY, once the US epicenter

NEW YORK (AP) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo says the daily death toll caused by the coronavirus fell to 5 on Saturday — the lowest number New York state has recorded in more than three months. Saturday’s total compared to 13 fatalities the day before as the number of fatalities caused by COVID-19 continues to fall. The state’s daily death tally peaked at 799 on April 8. The governor cautioned that the numbers could spike again if New Yorkers let down their guard down and fail to follow social distancing and mask-wearing requirements. 


Black candidates push race debate into GOP-held districts

COLUMBUS, Ind. (AP) — The reenergized movement against racial inequality and police brutality following the killing of George Floyd  has amplified the voices of Black candidates across the country. Among them is Jeannine Lee Lake, who is challenging Rep. Greg Pence, the vice president’s brother, in a deeply conservative Indiana congressional district. Democrats say the protests and other mobilization have brought a boost in fundraising and other engagement for candidates in some more competitive contests and could help the party flip some Republican-held districts in November.  Polls show usually broad bipartisan support for some change to the nation’s criminal justice system. But lawmakers in Washington are at an impasse.


In NYC, marking 50th anniversary of Pride, no matter what

NEW YORK (AP) — There were protests, and rainbow flags, and performances — it was LGBTQ Pride, after all. But what is normally an outpouring on the streets and in the venues of New York City looks a little different this year, thanks to social distancing rules required by the coronavirus. The performances were virtual, the flags were flying in emptier than normal spaces, and the protesters were mostly masked. The disruption caused by the virus would be an aggravation in any year, but particularly in this one, the 50th anniversary of the first Pride march in New York City. 


Suspect in killing at Louisville protest in custody

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Police in Kentucky say a suspect is in custody in the death of a man who was fatally shot amid a protest over the killing of Breonna Taylor. A police arrest citation released Sunday night says Steven Nelson Lopez is charged with murder and wanton endangerment. Police say Lopez was struck in the leg when some bystanders returned fire. The shooting occurred Saturday night at Jefferson Square Park in downtown Louisville. The Jefferson County coroner’s office identified the victim as 27-year-old Tyler Charles Gerth of Louisville.


The Latest: Saliva test used to test for virus in Australia

Another tragic milestone was passed Sunday in the coronavirus pandemic: 500,000 deaths worldwide. The reported tally comes from Johns Hopkins University researchers. About 1 in 4 of those deaths – more than 125,000 – have been reported in the U.S. The country with the next highest death toll is Brazil, with more than 57,000, or about 1 in 9. Meanwhile, more Florida beaches will be closing again to avoid further spread of the new coronavirus as officials try to tamp down on large gatherings amid a spike in confirmed COVID-19 cases. And in Melbourne, Australia, where the disease is spreading at an alarming rate, health authorities are using what they describe as a world-first saliva test for coronavirus.

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