CORONAVIRUS UPDATE… More than 60,000 new coronavirus cases were recorded yesterday to set a daily high and raise the number of confirmed cases in the U.S. to 3,055,004, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University. The nation’s death toll stands at 132,309. More than three dozen states have shown increases over the past week and health officials say hospitalizations and patients in intensive care have also risen significantly. California Governor Gavin Newsom blamed people who have ignored or defied precautions for yesterday’s record-setting 11,694 new cases. New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy yesterday issued an executive order requiring face coverings outdoors where social distancing is not possible. In New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a plan for 1.1 million students in the nation’s largest public school district to return to classes in September, attending only two or three days a week and learning online in between. Meanwhile, President Trump threatened to hold back federal money if school districts don’t bring their students back in the fall and complained that his own public health officials’ safety guidelines are impractical and too expensive.
FEDERAL AGENTS TO COMBAT CRIME IN KANSAS CITY… Attorney General William Barr announced yesterday that the Department of Justice is sending federal law enforcement to Kansas City, Missouri, to combat a recent surge in violent crime. The city has recorded a 40-percent surge in homicides compared with 2019. Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas said he was caught off-guard by the announcement but said he would not oppose the initiative.
SUPREME COURT DECISIONS… The Supreme Court handed down a pair of major decisions on religion and employers yesterday. Justices voted 7-2 to allow employers to opt out of birth control coverage under the Affordable Care Act if they have religious or moral objections to birth control. The High Court also decided that religious school teachers are not covered by the federal government’s fair employment laws and threw out two discrimination lawsuits brought by teachers against their employers.
NEW YORK AG CALLS FOR POLICE REFORM… New York Attorney General Letitia James called for sweeping reforms of the New York Police Department in a new report released yesterday. Among other proposals, James recommends that New York City’s mayor give up sole control over the city police commissioner’s hiring. She urged the creation of a commission with representatives from the mayor, City Council, public advocate and comptroller who would oversee hiring and promotion of senior New York Police Department officials. The commission would have final say on the department’s budget and officer discipline. The Attorney General’s Office issued the report after receiving 1,300 complaints concerning police conduct during protests that erupted following the Memorial Day killing of George Floyd.
EXECUTION IN TEXAS… A 45-year-old man convicted in the 1993 fatal shooting an 82-year-old man was executed by lethal injection in Texas last night. Billy Joe Wardlow was put to death at the state penitentiary in Huntsville for the killing of Carl Cole at his home in Cason, about 130 miles east of Dallas. Wardlow was 18 at the time of the slaying, and his attorneys argued that his brain was still developing at the time.
LADY A SUES OVER NAME… The band formerly known as Lady Antebellum has filed a trademark lawsuit over its new name, Lady A. In a suit filed in Tennessee District Court, Lady A seeks a ruling that would allow it to use the name without infringing on the trademark rights of Anita White, a Seattle-based blues singer who has been using the name for decades. The band claims it had been in negotiations with White but talks fell apart after she demanded $10 million dollars to allow them the new name.
SEARCH FOR NAYA RIVERA… A search-and-rescue effort extended into last night after former “Glee” actress Naya Rivera was reported missing at a Southern California lake. Authorities at Piru Lake in Ventura County say the search began after Rivera’s 4-year-old son was found floating alone on a rented boat three hours after the actress had rented it. The child was said to be unharmed and told investigators that he and his mother were swimming, but his mother never got back into the boat.
AMAZON PULLS REDSKINS MERCHANDISE… Amazon yesterday became the latest company to announce that it is removing Washington Redskins merchandise from its website while the team considers a name change. Sellers were reportedly given 48 hours to remove the items. Nike, Walmart, Target and Dick’s Sporting Goods previously announced they were pulling Redskins merchandise.