CORONAVIRUS UPDATE… The number of reported coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 1,721,750 and the death toll stands at 101,617, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University. Illinois, which is the only U.S. state to meet the White House’s five criteria for reopening for business, will reopen for business today. The reopening applies to both essential and non-essential businesses, although employers are still encouraged to allow working from home. Social gatherings of ten people or less are allowed. State parks will be open.
THIRD NIGHT OF PROTESTS… Protests sparked by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody spread to cities nationwide last night in the third straight night of violent demonstrations. Buildings were burned, stores looted and a police precinct was set ablaze in Minneapolis. Minnesota Governor Tim Walz signed an executive order activating the National Guard. President Trump warned that “once the looting starts, the shooting starts.” Minneapolis police say the officer who kneeled on Floyd’s neck for several minutes before his death, Derek Chauvin, was a 19-year veteran who had 18 prior complaints filed against him. Video captured by witnesses appears to contradict police claims that Floyd resisted arrest.
28 INDICTED FOR VIOLATING NORTH KOREA SANCTIONS… The Justice Department has accused 28 North Korean and Chinese nationals of violating U.S. sanctions to prevent Pyongyang from developing nuclear weapons. According to an indictment filed in February and unsealed yesterday, the accused allegedly laundered more than $2.5 billion through some 200 shell companies. The funds were then reportedly funneled into North Korea’s state-owned Foreign Trade Bank and used to fund North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.
NSA WARNS OF RUSSIAN HACKERS… The U.S. National Security Agency issued a stern warning yesterday that the same Russian military hacking group that interfered in the 2016 presidential election and unleashed a devastating malware attack the next year has been exploiting a major email server program since last August or earlier. The NSA did not say who has been targeted but senior U.S. intelligence officials fear the hackers could threaten the integrity of the November presidential election. Officials say attackers gain access using specially crafted email and install programs, modify data and create new accounts to enter a compromised network.
2M MORE JOBLESS CLAIMS… Another 2 million American workers have filed for unemployment benefits, according to numbers released by the Labor Department. The new figure is 323,000 fewer than the previous week. More than 40 million American workers have now filed for unemployment benefits over the last 10 weeks. The Labor Department’s report claimed that the U.S. economy lost more than 25 million jobs for the month of April and unemployment was close to 15 percent.
DENZEL WASHINGTON AIDS DETAINED HOMELESS MAN… Video posted online yesterday shows actor Denzel Washington helping a homeless man during an encounter last week with Los Angeles police. In the video, Washington comforts the man and waits with him as he answers officers’ questions. LAPD said the man was released but did not clarify whether he had been arrested.
APPLE GREENLIGHTS HEDDY LAMAR SERIES… Apple announced yesterday that it has green lit the biographical series “Hedy Lamarr” for Apple TV Plus. Gal Gadot stars as Lamarr and serves as executive producer in the eight-episode series. The series will cover a 30-year period spanning from Lamarr’s escape from Vienna prior to World War II to her invention of a system that protected Allied torpedoes from German U-boat fire during the war and, finally, her downfall in the late 1950s. Lamarr starred in such films as “Algiers,” “Lady of the Tropics,” “Comrade X,” “Ziegfeld Girl,” “Samson and Delilah” and “The Story of Mankind.”
NFL APPROVES THREE NEW RULES… NFL owners yesterday approved three new rule changes for the 2020 season and tabled a proposed change to the onside kick rule. The owners voted to make permanent the expansion of the automatic replay review system to include touchdowns and/or turnovers negated by penalty; expand the defenseless player protection to kick and punt returners; and prevent the manipulation of the game clock with multiple dead-ball fouls. Owners also ratified a change to the injured reserve return designation, allowing teams to bring three players back from IR rather than two.
MINOR LEAGUE BASEBALL PLAYERS LOSING JOBS… ESPN reported yesterday that hundreds of minor league baseball players have been cut and hundreds more are expected to be let go amid an expected cancellation of the season. Owners of minor league teams have begun laying off front-office. Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred said he would inform Minor League Baseball if and when players would be allowed to join their teams.