Coronavirus, Afghanistan, Carl Reiner: Your Tuesday Evening Briefingjuin 30, 2020
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Good evening. Here’s the latest.
1. “I’m very concerned because it could get very bad.”
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, warned that the U.S. could see 100,000 new coronavirus cases a day. The surge in infections, largely in the South and West, puts “the entire country at risk,” he said. There are currently about 40,000 new daily cases.
The stark warning came at a Senate hearing where health officials spoke about the need to reassure people about the safety of vaccines. Dr. Robert Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said the agency had spent around three months developing a plan to rebuild “vaccine confidence.”
And if that wasn’t dire enough: A study warns that a new strain of the H1N1 swine flu virus spreading in China should be “urgently” controlled to avoid another pandemic.
2. Masks — and President Trump’s refusal to wear one — were a central topic at a Senate committee hearing.
Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, the committee chairman, called on the president to set a better example by occasionally covering his face, and lamented that wearing a mask had “become part of the political debate.”
3. The U.S. intercepted financial transfer data that bolstered suspicions about Russian bounties on American troops in Afghanistan, officials say.
The large transfers came from a bank account controlled by Russia’s military intelligence agency to a Taliban-linked account. The findings are among the evidence pointing to an effort by Russia to covertly offer rewards to the Taliban for killing U.S. and coalition troops in Afghanistan, and they further undercut White House officials’ claim that the intelligence was too uncertain to brief President Trump.
Cpl. Robert Hendriks, right, was killed in Afghanistan in 2019 in what may have been a related attack, along with Sgt. Benjamin Hines, left, and Staff Sgt. Christopher Slutman. We spoke with Mr. Hendriks’s father.
4. We unpacked the details of China’s new national security law for Hong Kong, which gives Beijing sweeping powers to crack down on dissent.
The legislation, released to the public for the first time hours after its adoption, provides a blueprint for the authorities and courts to suppress the city’s protest movement and for China’s security apparatus to penetrate layers of Hong Kong society.
Despite criticism of the measure from the U.S. and the West, the business world has largely fallen in line behind China’s campaign to tighten its grip on Hong Kong.
5. The government’s centerpiece relief program for small businesses is ending today — with $130 billion left over.
The Paycheck Protection Program handed out $520 billion in loans to preserve workers’ jobs during the coronavirus pandemic, like West Virginia Eye Consultants, above. But lenders cited two main reasons there was money still in the program’s coffers: Most eligible companies that wanted a loan were ultimately able to obtain one, and the program’s complicated requirements may have put off qualified borrowers.
As lawmakers prepare for negotiations over another round of stimulus, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and the Federal Reserve chair, Jerome Powell, presented a mixed picture of the U.S. economy’s recovery at a congressional hearing.
Wall Street ended June with its best quarter since 1998, with the S&P 500 up about 20 percent since the end of March.
6. The Supreme Court ruled that states must allow religious schools to participate in aid programs for private schools.
7. Amy McGrath narrowly won Kentucky’s Senate Democratic primary, defeating a progressive rival, Charles Booker, to take on Mitch McConnell in November.
Ms. McGrath, a former Marine fighter pilot who built a formidable campaign war chest, fended off a challenge from the left that highlighted the party’s ideological divisions. Mr. Booker had harnessed energy in the final weeks of the campaign from the protests over racial injustice.
The results came one week after the primary was conducted. Today brings a handful of new contests, including a competitive Democratic Senate primary race in Colorado and a governor’s race in Utah. Here’s what to watch for.
8. We remember a master of comedy, Carl Reiner, who died at 98.
Mr. Reiner, pictured in 1967, created “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” one of the most celebrated situation comedies in television history, and teamed with Mel Brooks on the hugely successful “2000 Year Old Man” records. His acting and writing in television’s early days helped define what TV would become, our critic writes.
We also got a glimpse at one of Milton Glaser’s final works before the graphic designer died last week, a graphical treatment of the word “Together.” Here are 10 of his signature images, including his “I ♥ NY” logo.
9. The boom and rattle of Brooklyn drill has become the soundtrack to a summer of unrest.
It began as a hyperlocal strain of hip-hop in Chicago that was then tweaked by bedroom producers in the U.K. before taking over Brooklyn.
The subgenre’s biggest breakout star, Pop Smoke, was shot and killed in a home invasion in February. Now Fivio Foreign, above, is picking up where Pop Smoke left off with “Big Drip.” We break down the hit in the latest episode of Diary of a Song.
10. And finally, an ode to the dogs of the sea.
We’re talking about sea lions, of course. They play fetch with rocks and starfish, and often seem enamored of the few humans who swim with them, sometimes nibbling on their swim fins.
In our latest virtual diary from Travel, the photographer Benjamin Lowy takes us to Los Islotes, a small island off the Baja coast, where sea lions populate every rocky outcrop and live up to their nickname. There’s even a small underwater cave that is home to the sea lion “nursery.”