May 23, 2020

There's been a lot of talk about the hard-hit airline industry during the coronavirus pandemic, but the decision by the United States' No. 2 car rental firm Hertz to file for bankruptcy protection Friday is just another example of how much the travel industry as a whole is reeling.

Hertz, which was founded in 1918, has struggled since the pandemic severely reduced global travel, and its lenders were unwilling to grant another extension on its auto lease debt payments beyond Friday's deadline. The Associated Press notes the filing wasn't much of a surprise as the company warned in its first-quarter report that it may not be able to repay or refinance debt or have enough cash to keep operating (though it will continue to do so, along with its subsidiaries, during the process.)

By the end of March, the company accrued more than $24 billion in debt and was unable to generate revenue after travel largely shut down. Around that time, Hertz laid off 12,000 workers, furloughed 4,000, cut vehicle acquisitions by 90 percent, and stopped all nonessential spending, but the moves proved too late. Read more at The Associated Press and Reuters. Tim O'Donnell

10:30 p.m.

Statues and monuments in honor of Confederate soldiers and leaders are coming down in Alabama and Virginia, with some covered in graffiti spray painted by protesters against racism and police brutality.

In Birmingham, a 115-year-old obelisk dedicated to Confederate soldiers and sailors was removed early Tuesday, one day after demonstrators tried to pull it down themselves. The monument stood in a park just a few blocks away from the 16th Street Baptist Church, which was bombed in 1963 by white supremacists. Four young black girls died in the bombing, including Sarah Collins Rudolph's sister, Addie Mae Collins.

Rudolph, who was seriously injured in the attack, went to the former site of the obelisk on Tuesday, and said she couldn't believe it was finally gone. It was "a hate monument," she told The Associated Press. "It didn't represent the blacks. It just represented the hard times back there a long time ago."

Following the 2015 shooting at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, when a white supremacist targeted black worshipers, there was a call to remove Confederate statues across the South. Alabama instead passed a state law in 2017 to protect those monuments, and Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall (R) filed a lawsuit against Birmingham on Tuesday over the removal of the obelisk. The state plans on fining the city $25,000 for violating the law, which is fine by Mayor Randall Woodfin, who said it's worth it for peace in his town, AP reports.

While some monuments have come down due to vandalism, other organizations said they are removing their statues and flags by choice. On Tuesday, the United Daughters of the Confederacy in Alexandria, Virginia, took down a statue of a Confederate soldier titled "Appomattox." It was first erected in 1889, and one year later, a law was passed to prevent officials from removing it; the law was repealed this year. Near Tampa, Florida, a Sons of Confederate Veterans chapter lowered its giant Confederate battle flag, which had been visible from two highways. Catherine Garcia

8:53 p.m.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Tuesday blocked a resolution that would have condemned President Trump's actions against peaceful protesters who gathered near the White House on Monday evening.

Officers used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse the crowd at Lafayette Square so Trump could walk over and take photos in front of St. John's Church while holding a Bible. The resolution, introduced by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), also affirmed the constitutional rights of Americans to peacefully assemble and that violence and looting are unlawful and contrary to the purpose of peaceful protests.

McConnell said Americans want to see "justice for black Americans in the face of unjust violence, and peace for our country in the face of looting, riots, and domestic terror," and the resolution "does not address" these issues. "Instead, it just indulges in the myopic obsession with President Trump that has come to define the Democratic side of the aisle," he added.

In response, Schumer said McConnell and Republicans "do not want to condemn what the president did, though every fair minded American of any political party would. We certainly should condemn violence — let me repeat, this resolution condemns violence — but it is insufficient in light of what happened just to condemn violence, and not condemn what the president did as well." Catherine Garcia

7:35 p.m.

Former President George W. Bush on Tuesday said it's time for America to "examine our tragic failures" in order to end systemic racism.

In a statement, Bush said he and former first lady Laura Bush are "anguished" by the "brutal suffocation of George Floyd" and "resisted the urge to speak" in the wake of Floyd's death and the ensuing protests because "this is not the time for us to lecture. It is time for us to listen."


It is a "shocking failure that many African Americans, especially young African American men, are harassed and threatened in their own country," Bush said, and it is a "strength when protesters, protected by responsible law enforcement, march for a better future."

He called Harriet Tubman, Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass, and Martin Luther King Jr. "heroes of America," and said "their calling has never been for the fainthearted. They often revealed the nation's disturbing bigotry and exploitation — stains on our character sometimes difficult for the American majority to examine. We can only see the reality of America's need by seeing it through the eyes of the threatened, oppressed, and disenfranchised."

To have "lasting peace in our communities" there must be "truly equal justice" for everyone, Bush said, and achieving that is "the duty of all." Read his entire statement here. Catherine Garcia

6:39 p.m.

Six Atlanta police officers are facing charges after being accused of using excessive force during the arrest of two college students Saturday night, Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard announced on Tuesday.

Howard said arrest warrants have been issued for the six officers, with the charges including aggravated assault, criminal damage to property, and simple battery.

The incident took place after a George Floyd protest in downtown Atlanta. Body cam footage shows officers approaching a vehicle, with one using a baton to hit the driver's side window before breaking it and tasing the driver. A second officer tased the passenger. Later, one of the officers said he used the taser because it wasn't clear if the driver and passenger were armed.

After reviewing the footage, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms on Sunday ordered the firing of two of the officers. Catherine Garcia

6:16 p.m.

Less than 24 hours after Lea Michele was accused of making a Glee co-star's life "a living hell," she's already lost a partnership.

Samantha Ware, who played Jane Hayward on Glee, in a tweet on Monday night publicly called out Michele, claiming the actress made her first television job "a living hell" with "traumatic" microaggressions and even told people that "if you had the opportunity you would 's--t in my wig." Other black Glee actors soon backed her up, with Dabier Snell alleging Michele wouldn't let him sit with other cast members because she said he "didn't belong there."

Amid the controversy, HelloFresh announced on Twitter it would sever a partnership with Michele.

"HelloFresh does not condone racism nor discrimination of any kind," the company said. "We are disheartened and disappointed to learn of the recent claims concerning Lea Michele. We take this very seriously, and have ended our partnership with Lea Michele, effective immediately."

Michele has yet to respond to her co-stars' allegations. Brendan Morrow

6:03 p.m.

It's been a week since George Floyd's death in police custody sparked worldwide protests against systemic racism, specifically within law enforcement and against black men. But the legacy of racist policing stems back much, much further, The New York Times Magazine's Nikole Hannah-Jones explained to CBS News on Tuesday.

As Hannah-Jones, creator of the Times' 1619 project, noted, "modern policing," particularly in the south and parts of the northeast, "actually evolved out of the slave patrols." They "deputized white Americans to police enslaved communities, to ensure slaves were only in the places they were allowed, to put down slave insurrections," and gave them practically unlimited power to stop, question, and even "execute enslaved people," Hannah-Jones continued.

"So we have a long history of devaluing black lives, of allowing white police to kill black Americans," even for minor crimes, Hannah-Jones said. And while "we want to always say that slavery was a long time ago ... what we see today is a direct lineage from that idea that black lives are worth less than white lives," she finished. Watch Hannah-Jones' whole explanation below. Kathryn Krawczyk

5:56 p.m.

Minnesota's Department of Human Rights is filing a commissioner's charge of discrimination against and launching a civil rights investigation into the Minneapolis Police Department, Gov. Tim Walz (D) said Tuesday.

The decision comes a week after a police officer allegedly killed George Floyd by pressing his knee against Floyd's neck while in custody, sparking nationwide protests against police brutality. "The investigation will review MPD's policies, procedures, and practices over the last 10 years to determine if the department has utilized systemic discriminatory practices toward people of color," Walz said.

Investigators will have subpoena powers, but they likely won't need to wield them, Human Rights Commissioner Rebecca Lucero said, since she expects the city to be open with records. The Minneapolis City Council said it would assist with the process and urged the state "to use its full weight" to hold the police department accountable. Read more at NBC News. Tim O'Donnell

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