Monday Sunrise Briefing: Do federal agents make cities safer?

Why We Wrote This

Good morning! Welcome to your Monday, July 27, 2020, sunrise briefing. 

Here are three news events from this past weekend (while you may have been jet-skiing, out for a picnic, and enjoying an offline life). Also, what to look for in the news this week.

AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez
Demonstrators push on a fence as tear gas is deployed during a Black Lives Matter protest at the Mark O. Hatfield United States Courthouse Saturday, July 25, 2020, in Portland, Ore.

It’s a pattern we’ve seen sporadically for two months: large peaceful protests against racial injustice are followed by acts of vandalism and violence by fringe players. This weekend, violence erupted in half-a-dozen U.S. cities. From Seattle to Baltimore buildings and vehicles were damaged. Most of the peaceful protests were described as opposing federal agents posted in Portland, Oregon. This past week, President Trump unveiled “Operation LeGend,” to send federal agents to other U.S. cities that have seen a spike in violent crimes. Former Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel said the president is trying to “entice those elements, small elements, to become the face of legitimate protests.” Former N.J. Gov. Chris Christie said on ABC’s “This Week,” that President Trump is right to send in federal agents “if the mayors of those towns are too politically timid to address people who are defacing and destroying their cities,”

In Russia, the tension between local and national authorities brought tens of thousands of people into the streets of the Russian city of Khabarovsk Saturday to protest the arrest of a regional governor. The unrest is in response to what residents see as Moscow usurping their local judicial system and simmering discontent with President Vladimir Putin.

2. First hurricane test. South Texas was battered by rain, an unusually strong storm surge, and the 90 m.p.h. winds of Hurricane Hanna this weekend, leaving about 150,000 homes without power. Hanna was the first big test of coastal state plans to handle an emergency during the pandemic. Gov. Greg Abbott said Saturday that some people in need of shelter would be given hotel rooms to keep them apart from others. Meanwhile, Hurricane Douglas, another Category 1 storm, passed close to Hawaii on Sunday. 

3. Entertainment giants. This weekend marked the passing of two entertainment giants: Olivia de Havilland and Regis Philbin. De Havilland was perhaps best known for her role in the Civil War film “Gone With the Wind.” But the two-time Oscar winner was also a labor activist, who effectively challenged Hollywood’s studio system, which often locked actors into long-term, punitive labor contracts. She won a lawsuit against Warner Bros. that became known as  the “De Havilland law.”

Philbin was one of television's most durable and endearing personalities. He was most recently known for the morning talk show,“Live! with Regis and Kelly” (2001 - 2011) and as game show host on “Who Wants to Be a Millianare.” Philbin’s question to contestants,“Is that your final answer?” became a national catchphrase. The genial and relatable Philbin clocked more than 15,000 hours on the air, setting the Guinness Book World Record for the most broadcast hours logged by a TV personality.

REUTERS/Christopher Aluka Berry
Honoring John Lewis: The casket of late U.S. Congressman John Lewis, a pioneer of the civil rights movement, travels in a procession from Brown Chapel A.M.E. Church to the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, Sunday, July 26, 2020.
Look Ahead

Tuesday, July 28

The best TV shows. Nominations for the 72nd Emmy Awards are announced. It will be the first major awards show held since the coronavirus pandemic was declared. The show itself won’t be until September. 

The Hajj begins.  First day of the annual Muslim pilgrimage, held under unprecedented restrictions and with no foreign pilgrims allowed because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Wednesday, July 29

Honoring John Lewis. A lie-in-state service is scheduled in Atlanta, followed by a funeral service Thursday.

Economic boost? Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell is scheduled to hold a press conference. Amid signs of a struggling economy, he’s likely to announce steps to help the economy, including a cut in interest rates. 

Thursday, July 30

Mars, again. NASA plans to launch the  Mars 2020 Perseverance rover, designed to search for evidence of ancient microbial life. It will also do climate and geology research to pave the way for human exploration of the Red Planet. The robotic scientist also will carry the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter, the first attempt at powered, controlled flight on another planet.

The NBA returns.  Men’s pro-basketballs resumes play with 22 teams (out of 30) in Orlando. Some 20 players did not travel with teams to the “bubble” after testing positive for the virus.

Friday, July 31

Federal help ends. The CARES (The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act - which allotted $600 weekly to unemployment benefits during the pandemic - expires Friday. Congress is negotiating another economic stimulus package. 

Generosity Watch

Courtesy of Kelly Soulard
Six-year-old Andy Soulard shows off one of the bracelets she makes for each person who donates $25 or more to the Oakland Zoo.

Andy Soulard is being raised to be generous. 

Each year on her birthday, she asks people to donate to a charity instead of giving her a present. Her birthday isn’t until next month, but this year the giving started early. 

On June 30, she lost a tooth, and the next day the six-year-old found a $5 bill under her pillow. Her parents, reports, the East Bay Times, suggested she could donate the $5 to her “birthday charity.” 

When the Soulard family learned that the Oakland Zoo might have to close permanently, due to the lost revenue during the pandemic, the zoo officially became Andy’s birthday charity. 

Kelly Soulard announced on Facebook that her daughter had donated $5 as seed money to raise $200 to help the zoo. And Andy sweetened the deal by offering to make a bracelet for anyone donating $25 or more.

Andy’s generosity has been contagious. She’s had to enlist classmates, family and friends to help her make more than 900 bracelets for donors (and she includes a thank you note with a drawing of an elephant). She’s raised more than $216,000 For the zoo.  

Oakland Zoo's president, Dr. Joel Parrott. calls Andy’s ability to turn $5 into $215,000 "a gift." "We've never seen anything like it," he told NPR.

The Oakland Zoo plans to reopen on July 29. 

And Andy just lost another tooth. You can probably guess where the $5 in tooth-fairy money went.

Hidden gem

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

99 days, 4 lives, 1 pandemic: South Africa in lockdown

Sneak preview

In tonight’s Daily Edition, watch for our profile of Iman Khatib-Yasin, the first hijab-wearing Muslim woman to be elected to Israel's parliament.

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

  1. 99 days, 4 lives, 1 pandemic: South Africa in lockdown
  2. The feds take their Portland approach on the road. Three questions.
  3. How George Floyd and #BlackLivesMatter sparked a street art revival
  4. The Warsaw Ghetto curbed an epidemic. Scientists now say they know how.

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

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