First Thing: Trump juked the stats over police killing black Americans

First Thing: Trump juked the stats over police killing black Americans
Good morning,

Donald Trump has once again stoked racial divisions after telling a CBS interviewer that “more white people” than black are killed by US police, in his answer to a question about the death of George Floyd and the nationwide protests over police brutality and racism that followed. The Guardian’s reporting has found that black people are in fact more than twice as likely as other Americans to be killed by law enforcement.

In the same interview on Tuesday, Trump criticised Nascar’s ban on the Confederate flag, describing it as a free speech issue: “People love it, and I know people that like the Confederate flag, and they’re not thinking about slavery,” he said.

  • A Phoenix police officer brutalised a woman during a minor traffic stop in January, body camera footage has revealed. The video also shows another policeman instructing the officers at the scene to “cover your ass” in the paperwork.

Fauci says young people are ‘inadvertently’ fuelling the virus

From California to Oregon, Nevada to Texas, US states and localities are locking down amid the ongoing surge in Covid-19 infections, just as they did in the early days of the pandemic. In Florida, however, the state’s Republican governor, Ron DeSantis, has persisted with his reopening strategy, despite being told by the mayor of Miami that “things have not gone according to plan”. That’s something of an understatement: on Tuesday, the state surpassed its daily record for coronavirus deaths.

Dr Anthony Fauci has said the global coronavirus outbreak could end up being as bad as the 1918 flu pandemic, and warned that young Americans may be spreading the virus by socialising en masse. “They don’t mean to be part of the problem,” he said. “But inadvertently they are part of the problem.” Observers are not surprised the plain-speaking infectious disease expert is under attack from the White House, reports David Smith:

Trump has a long history of resenting staff or spokespeople who come to rival him for media attention. In the early days of the pandemic, the president was reportedly disturbed by the coverage that Fauci was receiving.

  • 33 million people have gone back into lockdown in India, where Covid-19 cases have surpassed 900,000 – the third-highest national total in the world.

  • Egyptian medics are being targeted by the country’s security services after speaking out about their poor working conditions and lack of PPE.

Joe Biden has a new $2tn climate and jobs plan

As he bids to claim a corner of the spotlight from the incumbent, the Democratic presidential challenger, Joe Biden, has unveiled his new and notably more aggressive climate plan, proposing $2tn for clean energy infrastructure and other climate solutions, which would also create new jobs in an economy devastated by the coronavirus crisis. “When Donald Trump thinks about climate change, the only word he can muster is ‘hoax’,” Biden said. “When I think about climate change, the word I think of is ‘jobs’.”

  • A coronavirus recovery designed to counter humanity’s destruction of the natural world could create 400m jobs worldwide and $10tn in business value each year by 2030, according to a report from the World Economic Forum.

‘This is the rule by fear’: life in the new Hong Kong

Trump announced on Tuesday that the US would end its preferential economic treatment of Hong Kong, after China tightened its grip on the supposedly semi-autonomous territory by implementing a controversial new national security law. China, in turn, warned of a “firm response” against the US for interfering in its “purely internal affairs”.

Pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong say the city has already been drastically altered since the legislation took effect earlier this month, but have vowed to keep campaigning against Beijing’s “rule by fear”. Amid the uncertainty over press freedom under the new law, the New York Times has announced it will relocate about one-third of its Hong Kong bureau to Seoul, the South Korean capital.

  • Chinese state media has called for ‘public and painful’ retaliation after the UK government reversed course and banned the Chinese tech giant Huawei from the country’s 5G networks.

In other news…

  • A slaver’s statue has been replaced with that of a Black Lives Matter protester. Local artist Marc Quinn erected the likeness of activist Jen Reid in Bristol, England, on a plinth previously occupied by the slave trader Edward Colston.

  • Jeff Sessions has lost the GOP nomination for his former US Senate seat in Alabama. The 73-year-old held the seat for two decades before becoming Trump’s attorney general in 2017. The president, who fired Sessions in 2018, endorsed his rival.

  • The global population could be 2 billion fewer than the UN’s forecast at the end of this century, according to a University of Washington study that predicts Earth will be home to a mere 8.8 billion people in 2100.

  • Ghislaine Maxwell was denied bail after pleading not guilty to charges related to her friend Jeffrey Epstein’s sex trafficking of underage girls. Maxwell appeared in a Manhattan federal court via video feed.

Great reads

The never (again) Trumpers: ‘I’d rather vote for a tuna fish sandwich’

A group of traditionally GOP-supporting Never Trumpers have sought out conservatives who backed Trump in 2016 but have now decided “never again”. Poppy Noor talks to some of the the Republican Voters Against Trump.

The president won power four years ago thanks to America’s authoritarian streak, writes Jennifer Mercieca. Will those same voters – who appear to value the social status quo over democracy – help him to keep it in 2020?

The deadly plague that could devastate America’s rabbits

Rabbit hemorrhagic disease has been around since the 1980s, and already wiped out about 140m domestic rabbits in China. Now the virus – which causes fevers, internal bleeding and liver failure – has hit the US wild rabbit population. It could prove catastrophic, as Katharine Gammon reports.

Opinion: healthcare is Trump’s Achilles heel

About 5.4 million people have lost healthcare coverage as a result of the coronavirus crisis. Meanwhile the Trump administration is trying to strike down the Affordable Care Act. The president’s timing could not be worse, says Lloyd Green.

Rugged individualism has limited appeal when death looms and collapse is all around. Trump’s stance appears to be more about keeping the Republican donor-base happy than winning votes.

Last Thing: how many hotdogs can one human eat?

The four-minute mile and the two-hour marathon were once thought impossible: now a new gauntlet has been thrown down for the world of elite competition, writes Hannah Devlin. A scientific analysis suggests competitive eaters have come within nine hotdogs of the limits of human performance.

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