June 28, 2020

With coronavirus cases sharply rising in California, Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) on Sunday ordered that seven counties, including Los Angeles, immediately shutter all bars that are open.

"COVID-19 is still circulating in California, and in some parts of the state, growing stronger," Newsom said in a statement. "That's why it is critical we take this step to limit the spread of the virus in the counties that are seeing the biggest increases." This affects bars in L.A., Fresno, Kern, San Joaquin, Tulare, Kings, and Imperial counties. Newsom also recommended that eight other counties — San Bernardino, Riverside, Ventura, Santa Barbara, Contra Costa, Santa Clara, Sacramento, and Stanislaus — issue local health orders closing their bars.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti tweeted that he supports the order, and noted that "as we started reopening more businesses, we cautioned that we may need to change course to protect public health from this deadly virus."

State health officials said they determined which counties needed to take action based on daily reports on hospitalization rates and patterns of transmission, the Los Angeles Times reports. In bars, there is more of a risk of airborne particles spreading coronavirus due to larger crowds, people frequently removing masks to drink, and loud music causing people to talk louder. There have been 213,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases in California, with the death toll at 5,910. Catherine Garcia

4:11 p.m.

NASCAR's Bubba Wallace is calling for "love over hate" after being the subject of an angry tweet by President Trump.

Wallace, the series' only Black driver, in a tweet on Monday afternoon reflected on the fact that "you will always have people testing you" and "seeing if they can knock you off your pedestal," but "all the haters are doing is elevating your voice and platform to much greater heights!" He added that people should "always deal with the hate being thrown at you with love," advocating for "love over hate every day" — "even when it's hate from the POTUS."

He was referring to the fact that on Monday morning, Trump in a tweet demanded Wallace apologize after the FBI determined he wasn't the target of a hate crime following NASCAR announcing a noose was found in his garage stall. Trump's demand for an apology for what he claimed was a "hoax" was despite the fact that Wallace himself didn't actually report the noose; in a statement after the FBI's conclusion, he said he was "relieved" that the situation "wasn't what we feared it was." White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany in a briefing on Monday afternoon didn't explain why Wallace should have to apologize.

NASCAR also issued its own statement on Monday saying it's "proud to have Bubba Wallace in the NASCAR family," praising his "courage and leadership" and adding, "NASCAR continues to stand tall with Bubba, our competitors and everyone who makes our sport welcoming and inclusive for all racing fans." Brendan Morrow

4:06 p.m.

American colleges' pandemic learning decisions are going to have big consequences for international students.

Colleges are starting to roll out their plans for how they'll reopen in the fall, with some announcing all their classes will be taught fully remote as the COVID-19 threat lingers. But the thousands of students from outside the U.S. who go to those newly remote schools won't be able to stay in the states, Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced Monday.

To attend college, high school, or any other learning program and live in the U.S. without pursuing citizenship, international students need an F or M visa. But "nonimmigrant F-1 and M-1 students attending schools operating entirely online may not take a full online course load and remain in the United States," ICE said in a Monday press release. Students will have to consider "transferring to a school with in-person instruction," or "must depart the country" despite the pandemic preventing safe travel anywhere in the world, ICE said. If they don't leave or change their plans, they may be deported.

That decision will likely apply to a big portion of the more than 1 million foreign students who attend colleges in the U.S; More than 5,000 international students attend Harvard University, which announced Monday its undergraduate classes were going fully online this fall, for example. Harvard and other schools have offered to let students without good home learning environments to return to campus, but considering classes would still be remote no matter where students live, ICE's directive will likely keep international students from even staying in a dorm. Kathryn Krawczyk

3:02 p.m.

The White House is now claiming that when President Trump lashed out at NASCAR for banning the Confederate flag, he was actually taking no position on the issue.

Trump in a tweet on Monday wrongly claimed that NASCAR's "flag decision," in addition to the recent incident involving Bubba Wallace, resulted in the "lowest ratings EVER." The "flag decision" he was referring to was NASCAR announcing it would ban display of the Confederate flag at events.

When asked in a briefing on Monday afternoon why Trump is supporting the Confederate flag, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said he "never said that" and that the tweet is being taken "completely out of context." Yet when directly asked whether Trump believes NASCAR should ban the Confederate flag or not, McEnany didn't say.

When McEnany was once again asked what Trump's position on NASCAR's Confederate flag ban is, she simply said the president "was not making a judgment one way or the other" in the tweet but again avoided saying what he thinks about it. She repeated that talking point a second time when a reporter followed up with the same question, this time faulting the press for "focusing on one word at the very bottom" of his tweet.

Trump in his tweet also suggested Bubba Wallace, the series' only Black driver, should apologize after the FBI concluded he wasn't the target of a hate crime following a noose being found in his garage stall, even though Wallace didn't report the noose. McEnany during the briefing said Trump was making a point about not rushing to judgment but offered no explanation as to why Wallace should need to apologize. Brendan Morrow

2:54 p.m.

Not long after he lashed out at NASCAR and driver Bubba Wallace over the sport's investigation of a possible hate crime and decision to ban the Confederate battle flag from events, President Trump kept his focus on the professional sports world Monday.

The president's next targets were the NFL's Washington Redskins and MLB's Cleveland Indians, both of which are considering changing their nicknames in response to long-running protests that the Native American mascots are racist. Trump tweeted that the mascots were symbols of "strength," and said that the franchises, which announced they were exploring the possibility last week, are simply trying to be "politically correct."

It's the latest example of the president taking a strong stance amid a larger debate about systemic racism in the United States that has gained steam since the killing of George Floyd, although calls for both organizations to change their names have existed for quite some time.

Perhaps not surprisingly, Trump also found a way to mock Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) — who was criticized in the past for claiming tribal heritage — in the process. Tim O'Donnell

2:39 p.m.

Country singer, songwriter, and musician Charlie Daniels died Monday after suffering a stroke. He was 83.

Daniels had long been a powerhouse in country music, getting his start by co-writing the Elvis Presley song "It Hurts Me" in 1964. His guitar, fiddle, and banjo skills also landed him on other major artists' records around that time. Daniels launched his own singing career in 1971 with a self-titled debut album, and found his trademark in 1979 with the fast-fiddling No. 1 hit "The Devil Went Down to Georgia."

Daniels and his eponymous band remained active for decades and toured the U.S. multiple times. He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2016.

Daniels spent his last days as he did every other: Tweeting "Benghazi ain't going away!" for the umpteenth time in a row. Kathryn Krawczyk

2:32 p.m.

Hong Kong's new national security bill alone has many residents and much of the international community concerned that China is severely limiting the city's freedoms, but some experts think the law's new implementation rules are what's really alarming.

Under new regulations settled Monday during the first meeting of Hong Kong's Committee for Safeguarding National Security, police will, in "exceptional circumstances," be able to enter premises without a warrant, order internet firms to remove content — although several tech giants like Facebook and Twitter said they've suspended processing requests for user data from Hong Kong law enforcement — and demand information from political groups operating outside the city, The South China Morning Post reports.

"The new rules are scary, as they grant power to the police force that are normally guided by the judiciary," said Anson Wong Yu-yat, a practicing barrister. "For example, in emergency and special circumstances police do not need a warrant under one rule, but it never explains what it means by special circumstances."

Alan Wong Hok-ming, a solicitor, also noted that even if these rules do provide for some limits on police power, there's nothing stopping the government from expanding the policies to bypass "scrutiny, checks, and balances by other institutions like the Legislative Council." Read more at The South China Morning Post. Tim O'Donnell

1:52 p.m.

Colin Kaepernick and Disney are getting down to business.

Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback who while in the NFL kneeled during the national anthem in protest of police brutality and racial injustice, has signed a first-look deal with The Walt Disney Company, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The partnership between Disney and Kaepernick's Ra Vision Media will "focus on telling scripted and unscripted stories that explore race, social injustice, and the quest for equity," a statement said, and the first project will be a documentary series about Kaepernick being produced by ESPN Films.

In the series, Kaepernick will "tell his story from his perspective," the announcement said, and it will make use of "extensive new interviews and a vast never-before-seen archive that documents his last five years."

This news comes after Netflix last week announced Ava DuVernay is working on a limited series about Kaepernick's high school years, which Kaepernick will himself narrate. Kaepernick on Monday called his partnership with Disney "historic," adding that he looks forward "to sharing the docuseries on my life story, in addition to many other culturally impactful projects we are developing.” Brendan Morrow

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