- 1. Coronavirus cases continue to rise globally
- 2. Republicans wrap week's unemployment renewal debate with no agreement
- 3. Federal agents continue to police Portland protests
- 4. Fauci: Vaccine likely won't be 'widely available' until 'months' into 2021
- 5. Tropical Storm Hanna becomes season's 1st Atlantic hurricane
- 6. CDC says one-third of coronavirus patients have ongoing symptoms
- 7. Supreme Court rejects Nevada church's petition against attendance limit
- 8. Singaporean man pleads guilty to spying for China
- 9. Analysts: Democrats potentially poised to take control of Senate
- 10. LeBron James group to donate $100,000 to Florida ex-felons' fines so they can vote
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1. Coronavirus cases continue to rise globally
Coronavirus data collected by Reuters shows a growing number of countries across every global region are experiencing resurgent coronavirus epidemics. Nearly 40 countries have reported record daily increases in infections over the past week, double the number that did so the previous week. The United States, India, and Brazil continue to be major drivers in global infections, but Australia, Japan, South Africa, and Spain are among other countries that have seen an uptick in certain places. South Korea on Saturday reported more than 100 newly confirmed cases for the first time in four months, although 68 of those were workers returning from Iraq and crew members of a Russian freighter. South Korean authorities have warned about a spike in cases coming from abroad and asked the public not to panic.
2. Republicans wrap week's unemployment renewal debate with no agreement
Republicans wrapped a week of coronavirus relief bill discussions on Friday seemingly no closer to an agreement. The GOP has spent the week discussing the next CARES Act and the unemployment boost that expires at the end of the month, but haven't agreed with a party-wide approach to replace it. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced Tuesday that the party would seek another round of $1,200 stimulus payments and leave out the $600/week unemployment boost. However, a meeting of Senate GOP leaders and Trump administration officials signaled there was still disagreement within the party and with the administration. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) called the lack of consensus "simply unacceptable." McConnell said he hoped to reach an agreement "in the next few weeks."
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3. Federal agents continue to police Portland protests
At least 18 people in the past week have been arrested as federal agents continue to crack down on protests in Portland, Oregon, the Department of Justice said Friday. The same day, a federal judge denied Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum's request for a temporary restraining order that would require federal agents to identify themselves before making an arrest. People protesting racism and police brutality have been met with tear gas, rubber bullets, and alleged "kidnapping" by federal agents, some of them unidentified. Agents were recently recorded shoving volunteer medics to the ground as they tried to aid injured protesters. Homeland security officials have defended the agents, while former department officials have roundly decried DHS's actions. President Trump has announced he's deploying more agents to other cities, but to help with routine crime fighting instead of protest crackdowns.
4. Fauci: Vaccine likely won't be 'widely available' until 'months' into 2021
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and member of the White House's coronavirus task force, on Friday said a COVID-19 vaccine likely won't be widely available until months into next year. "I think as we get into 2021, several months in, that you would have a vaccine that would be widely available to people in the United States," Fauci told The Washington Post. Fauci said he believes it is "likely" there will be "tens of millions of doses" of a potential vaccine available by the beginning of next year, however, adding that he expects answers about whether one is safe and effective by the end of 2020 or by early 2021.
5. Tropical Storm Hanna becomes season's 1st Atlantic hurricane
The United States National Hurricane Center said Saturday that Tropical Storm Hanna, which is barreling toward the Texas coast, has been upgraded to the first Atlantic hurricane of the 2020 season. The storm has parts of Mexico and Texas on alert and is reportedly threatening to bring six to 12 inches of heavy rain, storm surge of up to five feet, and possible tornadoes. As of Saturday morning, its maximum sustained winds had increased to 75 miles per hour. Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Gonzalo is still moving through the Caribbean with 40 mile per hour winds. Tropical storm warnings were in effect for Tobago and Grenada. Gonzalo and Hanna both set records for the earliest seventh and eighth Atlantic named storms, a feat also accomplished this year by Cristobal, Danielle, Edouard, and Fay. In the Pacific Ocean, Category 3 Hurricane Douglas is nearing Hawaii.
6. CDC says one-third of coronavirus patients have ongoing symptoms
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday said as many as a third of coronavirus patients who were never hospitalized do not recover within three weeks of their diagnosis and instead experience ongoing symptoms like fatigue or a cough. One patient, who is reportedly on day 129 of her recovery, told NBC News the CDC's report "is monumental" for people dealing with prolonged recoveries. The acknowledgment comes shortly after the CDC updated its quarantine guidelines, which now say people with mild to moderate cases can leave their isolation after 10 days, the point at which the agency no longer considers a person to be infectious. So while symptoms can last for much longer, it appears the CDC does not consider those patients to be a transmission risk.
7. Supreme Court rejects Nevada church's petition against attendance limit
The Supreme Court on Friday denied a petition from Calvary Chapel Dayton Valley in Dayton, Nevada, claiming a state policy limiting in-person church attendance to 50 during the coronavirus pandemic violated the Constitution. Chief Justice John Roberts was the swing vote in the 5-4 decision, joining the court's liberal justices. As is typical in such cases, the majority did not provide a reason for the rejection. The bench's conservative wing, meanwhile, dissented, emphasizing the church's argument that houses of worship were treated differently from other places where large gatherings take place, including casinos, gyms, and restaurants. "The world we inhabit today, with a pandemic upon us, poses unusual challenges," Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote. "But there is no world in which the Constitution permits Nevada to favor Caesars Palace over Calvary Chapel."
8. Singaporean man pleads guilty to spying for China
A Singaporean man named Jun Wei Yeo on Friday pleaded guilty to working as an illegal agent of the Chinese government from 2015 to 2019. He was charged with using his political consultancy in the United States as a front for collecting information for Chinese intelligence. The U.S. also said Friday that it has detained a Chinese researcher, Juan Tang, who was among four Chinese nationals charged earlier this week with visa fraud after allegedly lying about serving in the Chinese military. The two incidents are the latest in a series of events highlighting the rising tensions between Washington and Beijing. Earlier this week, the U.S. ordered China's consulate in Houston to shut, prompting Beijing to close the U.S. consulate in Chengdu.
9. Analysts: Democrats potentially poised to take control of Senate
Political analysts are pointing to Democrats' increasing odds of flipping the Senate this fall. July ratings from The Cook Political Report predict the race for Sen. Martha McSally's (R-Ariz.) seat is now in Democrat Mark Kelly's favor, and Georgia and Iowa's Republican-held spots are now rated toss-ups. Four other Republican-held seats are considered toss ups as well, and just one win would negate a likely loss for Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.). If Democrats won three Senate seats, they would take control of the chamber. Even Republican strategists tell Cook they're worried. "Something remarkable would have to happen for Republicans to still have control of the Senate after November," one GOP pollster said.
10. LeBron James group to donate $100,000 to Florida ex-felons' fines so they can vote
More Than A Vote, a group that LeBron James helped establish this year, on Friday announced it would donate $100,000 toward paying fees and fines of people in Florida with past felony convictions so they can register to vote. "Your right to vote shouldn't depend upon whether or not you can pay to exercise it," said Miami Heat player Udonis Haslem, who is also a member of More Than A Vote. Florida passed a law stating former felons who have completed their sentences must pay all court fees and fines before they are able to register to vote. A judge in May found it unconstitutional, saying it creates a "pay-to-vote system," but the Supreme Court allowed the law to stay in effect while legal challenges continue.
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