Monday Sunrise Briefing: New US surges and shutdowns

Jay Janner/Austin American-Statesman via AP
Closed again. Matthew Gaskamp, general manager of The Lodge, boards up his bar on in Austin, Texas, June 26, 2020, after Gov. Greg Abbott ordered bars closed in Texas due to the coronavirus.

In adjusting the balance between economic health and public health, 13 states are now reversing - or putting on pause - the reopening of businesses. On Sunday, California joined Texas and Florida in shutting down bars. Walt Disney Co. scrapped plans to reopen its California theme parks on July 17. Vice President Mike Pence praised Texas Gov. Greg Abbott Sunday for reimposing restrictions, and told residents to “wear a mask.”  A rise in coronavirus cases prompted the Trump-Pence reelection team to call off campaign events in Florida and Arizona this week. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis attributed the sharp rise in COVID-19 cases to young people flouting social distancing rules. Two Florida counties will close beaches over the Fourth of July weekend. New York is now offering to help Arizona, Texas, and Florida, noting that other states came to its aid. “We will never forget that graciousness, and we will repay it any way we can,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.

2. Democracy wins in Africa, Poland, and Ireland. The opposition candidate won Malawi’s historic rerun of the presidential election Saturday, the first time a court-overturned vote in Africa has led to the defeat of an incumbent leader. It’s an affirmation of the integrity of the electoral process and constitutional checks and balances. The victory by Lazarus Chakwera, a former evangelical church leader, came after months of street protests in the southern African nation.

In Poland, the conservative president, Andrzej Duda, fell short of the needed 50% of votes to win in a first round, according to exit polls Sunday. President Duda’s Law and Justice party has been in conflict with the European Union over passage of laws that give it control over top courts and key judicial bodies. A July 12 runoff will likely pit the populist incumbent against the centrist Warsaw mayor, Rafal Trzaskowski.

Why We Wrote This

Good morning! Welcome to your Monday, June 29 2020, sunrise briefing.

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

In Ireland, centrist politician Micheál Martin became the new prime minister Saturday, fusing two longtime rival parties into a coalition government. The deal will see Mr. Martin’s Fianna Fail govern with Fine Gael — the party of outgoing PM Leo Varadkar — and with the smaller Green Party. Fianna Fail and Fine Gael have never before formed a government together. “I believe civil war politics ended a long time ago in our country, but today civil war politics ends in our parliament,’’ said Mr. Varadkar 

3. Symbols of racial injustice fall. Mississippi is the last U.S. state flying the Confederate battle flag. It has resisted past efforts to remove what is a symbol of oppression for many of its residents. On Sunday, Mississippi lawmakers voted to retire the flag. Republican Gov. Tate Reeves said Saturday for the first time that he would sign a bill to change the flag: “The argument over the 1894 flag has become as divisive as the flag itself and it's time to end it." 

In New Jersey, Princeton University announced it will remove the name of former President Woodrow Wilson from its public policy school because of his segregationist views. Meanwhile, President Trump reposted a video Sunday of his supporters in Florida, including a man shouting “white power.”  A few hours later, Mr. Trump deleted the tweet. The White House said the president had not heard “the one statement” on the video. Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., said the tweet was “indefensible.”

Italian Coast Guard/Handout via REUTERS
Italian Coast Guard divers freed a sperm whale caught in a fishing net off the coast of Lipari, Italy, June 26, 2020.

Look Ahead

Monday, June 29

Rule of law The U.S. Supreme Court has several big cases they could issue opinions on Monday and Tuesday, including decisions on abortion, religion and school tuition, as well as the separation of powers between the president and Congress (i.e. accessing President Trump’s tax returns).

Rethinking a relationship: The EU and the UK resume future relationship negotiations for the first time since the coronavirus outbreak. Negotiations will be conducted in person in Brussels.

Seeking solutions. The annual Aspen Ideas Festival goes digital this year, featuring 56 speakers on subjects ranging from Black Lives Matters and COVID-19 to immigration and communication.  The festival is available to stream for free through July 3. 

Tuesday, June 30

Reckoning with history. To mark the 60th anniversary of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s independence, the Belgian city of Ghent is scheduled to remove a statue of Belgian King Leopold II, accused of causing the death of millions of Congolese in what was at the time Belgian Congo,

Economic insights. Fed Chair Jerome Powell is scheduled to testify before the House Financial Services Committee about the CARE Act, the $2 trillion federal aid package to help individuals, families, and businesses during the COVID-19 shutdown. 

Wednesday, July 1

West Bank annexation. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to officially announce Israel's annexation of the Jordan Valley and northern Dead Sea. Annexation is a term used when a state unilaterally incorporates another territory within its borders. 

Baseball warms up. Major League Baseball players are expected to report to training camps Wednesday. A shortened 60-game season is planned starting late July.

Friday, July 3

‘Hamilton’ on the small screen. The Pulitzer Prize-winning musical from Lin-Manuel Miranda debuts on the Disney Plus streaming service, starring the original Broadway cast.

Generosity Watch

Dominique Moore via Facebook
Dominique Moore, a teacher at Bessemer City High School in Alabama, took a 2020 graduate to lunch. His Facebook post may have changed the teen's life.

Imagine graduating from high school and no one is there to celebrate with you.

As Dominique Moore was cleaning up after graduation festivities at Bessemer City High School in Alabama on June 18, the teacher noticed one of his students sitting alone.

“‘Where are your people?’ and he was like, ‘Nobody’s here,‘’' Mr. Moore told Carol Robinson at the Alabama Media Group. 

The teacher invited him out for lunch at the Cheesecake Factory. After a meal of shrimp, fries, and Oreo cheesecake (a first for the student), Mr. Moore dropped off the graduate at his new job at Amazon. 

The teacher never asked why no one came to the boy’s graduation - he just wanted to celebrate the achievement. And Moore says, like most teachers, he does these small things for students regularly and never tells anyone. “But this one just didn’t sit well with me. I don’t know what it was.” He decided to post the story on Facebook, and included his Cash App in case anyone wanted to be a “blessing” to the teen. As of Thursday, more than $5,000 had been collected.

The next day the two went to a local bank and opened a checking account in the student’s name. Then, they went shopping for a used car to transport the graduate to his job. The teacher says they were overwhelmed by the outpouring of generosity. “It shows that mankind is good,” said Mr. Moore.

Hidden gem

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

Beyond fortitude: COVID-19 nurses tap a hidden strength – “sisu”

Sneak preview

In tonight’s Daily Edition, watch for our story about how a black magician makes racism disappear. 

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

  1. Power shift: How America’s retreat is reshaping global affairs
  2. North Korea and US: Is it back to square one, only worse?
  3. For migrant farmworkers, coronavirus adds new burdens
  4. Tourist treks helped save gorillas. What happens in lockdown?
  5. Racial justice: Five eye-opening documentaries

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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