Monday Sunrise Briefing: US tries to balance liberty and safety

AP Photo/Evan Vucci
President Donald Trump speaks during a Fox News virtual town hall from the Lincoln Memorial, Sunday, May 3, 2020, in Washington, co-moderated by FOX News anchors Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum.

President Trump tried to reassure Americans Sunday that the U.S. economy could reopen while protecting lives. But clashes over individual freedom vs. public safety continued this weekend. In New York City, where some 50 summonses were given Saturday for social distancing violations, video of the violent arrest of one man resulted in an investigation of a police officer. In Arizona, two county sheriffs refused to enforce the governor’s lockdown orders. In Ohio, Gov. Mike DeWine extended partial stay-at-home orders until May 29 but explained Sunday why he wouldn’t require people to wear masks: “People were not going to accept the government telling them what to do,” he said. The U.S. Justice Department Sunday joined a Virginia church suing the state for enforcing a ban on gatherings of more than 10 people.  Meanwhile, White House coronavirus coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx called Michigan protests, which violated social distancing rules, “devastatingly worrisome.”  She added: “We need to protect each other at the same time we’re voicing our discontent.”

2. Integrity test. The Israeli Supreme Court heard arguments Sunday whether an indicted politician can form a government. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been charged with fraud, breach of trust, and accepting bribes. He denies the charges, and accuses the judiciary of overstepping its authority. His opponents say Israel’s fragile democracy is at stake.  Former Prime Minister Ehud Barak, a critic, says the decision is the high court's “most important verdict ever.” On Monday, the court will hear arguments about the legality of a coalition government, spurred by the coronavirus outbreak, and formed by Mr. Netanyahu and Benny Gantz.

3. Fears fade about instability. Rare gunfire was exchanged at the border between North and South Korea Sunday, but the bigger news was that fears about North Korea’s instability faded with the reappearance of the North's leader Kim Jong-un. State media showed video of Kim for the first time in nearly three weeks - an absence that triggered intense speculation about his health. A senior South Korean presidential official said Sunday that Kim did not have surgery or any other medical procedure. And the DMZ gunfire? “We think those [shots by North Korean soldiers] are accidental,” said U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on ABC's “This Week.”

WANA (West Asia News Agency)/Ali Khara via REUTERS
For the first time since the 1979 revolution, Iranians are going to the drive-in cinema. The movie "Exodus" was shown in a Tehran parking lot on May 3, 2020, in response to the coronavirus outbreak.
Look Ahead

Why We Wrote This

Good morning! Welcome to your Monday, May 4, 2020, sunrise briefing.

Here are three news events from this past weekend (while you may have been cycling, playing disc golf, and enjoying an offline life). Also, what to look for in the news this week.

Monday, May 4

The best in journalism and the arts. The winners of this year’s Pulitzer Prizes are announced at 3 p.m. and can be watched live online

Lawmakers return. The Senate (but not the House of Representatives) returns to work. 

Sounds of justice. The U.S. Supreme Court will meet over the phone (no video) to hear arguments in the first of 10 cases over six days. Among the cases: the privacy of President Trump's financial records and casting ballots in the Electoral College. 

Tuesday, May 5

Will he don a mask? President Trump is scheduled to visit a Honeywell mask manufacturing facility in Phoenix, Arizona. The state remains under a stay-at-home order. 

Leadership choices. U.S. Senate committees are expected to hold hearings, including one to consider Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Texas) for director of national intelligence, and separately, a hearing to consider Kenneth Braithwaite as Navy secretary.

Play ball. The South Korea's 10-team professional baseball league officially opens the season today. It begins without fans in the stands but expects to gradually open for public access depending on the coronavirus situation.

Wednesday, May 6

A first lady emerges. A Netflix documentary film, based on Michelle Obama's 2018 memoir, “Becoming,” is scheduled to be released on the streaming site today.

Friday, May 8

A 75th anniversary of peace: Ceremonies in Britain, France, and Germany commemorate Victory in Europe Day, the formal end of World War II in Europe.

Back on the court? The NBA may begin to reopen team practice gyms today, allowing a limited number (4) of players to use the facilities for voluntary workouts. No word yet, on when actual games would restart. 

Saturday, May 9

Russia's Victory Day. Despite the cancellation of the traditional parade to mark the 75th anniversary of the allied victory over Nazi Germany, other events, including an aerial display and fireworks, will be held in Moscow to honor WWII veterans and mark the occasion.

Generosity Watch

Sen. Jessica Ramos via Facebook
New York state Sen. Jessica Ramos (D-Queens) packs bags of food sent by New York farmers on May 1, 2020 to give to needy families in East Elmhurst, N.Y.

With millions out of work, local food banks in the U.S. are struggling to keep pace with surging demand. But individuals and companies are stepping up to meet the need. Here are three examples of generosity served with a side of resiliency. 

  • In Erie, Pennsylvania, an estimated 10,000 free, chef-cooked meals - ranging from chicken stroganoff to meatloaf with mashed potatoes and vegetables - are being prepared for families in need this month by Scott Enterprises, the owner of several hotels and restaurants. “We believe in our city and know that by coming together, Erie will get through these difficult times,” said Nick Scott Sr., president of the family-owned company, reported
  • Farmers in upstate New York donated more than 34,000 pounds of fresh milk, beef, apples, yoghurt, and vegetables to the New York City borough of Queens for needy families this past Friday and Saturday. “We cannot have hungry families in New York City, and farmers upstate dumping their product because they cannot sell it,” said State Sen. Jessica Ramos, who worked with the Northeast Dairy Producers Association to distribute the food. “What we’ve learned is that no matter where you live ... we’re all New Yorkers and together we are New York Tough,” said Maureen Torrey, co-owner of Torrey Farms, Inc. 
  • In Wellington, Colorado, Jackie Isvanca, the owner of The Cakery, is delivering a little cupcake cheer. In addition to giving fresh bread and cupcakes to the local food bank, she’s encouraging her customers to donate canned food: Every customer who brings three cans of soup or food into the shop as a donation, will get a free cupcake, reports the North Forty News.

Each giving of their talents to help others. 

Hidden gem

Start your week with a recent story that inspired Monitor readers:

Poems to remind us of our strength during quarantine

Sneak preview

In tonight’s Daily Edition, watch for our story about going on an African safari, live from your living room. 

Finally, check out the Monitor’s selected stories from Friday's subscription-only Daily Edition:

  1. As Biden denies assault allegation, Democrats wrestle with hypocrisy charge
  2. Why coronavirus looks different to black America
  3. Who’s ‘essential?’ From Germany to the US, you might be surprised.
  4. ‘Left with my thoughts’: How our reporter fought the coronavirus
  5. Home theater: See the world through the eyes of director Satyajit Ray

Editor’s note: As a public service, all our coronavirus coverage is free. No paywall.

This is a beta test - an experiment with an early Monday news update. Please give us your feedback via the link below and let us know what you think. Thank you!

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