AP News in Brief at 11:04 p.m. EDT - InfoNews

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AP News in Brief at 11:04 p.m. EDT

June 01, 2020 - 8:04 PM

Trump threatens military force against protesters nationwide

WASHINGTON (AP) — Wielding extraordinary federal authority, President Donald Trump threatened the nation’s governors on Monday that he would deploy the military to states if they did not stamp out violent protests over police brutality that have roiled the nation over the past week. His announcement came as police under federal command forced back peaceful demonstrators with tear gas so he could walk to a nearby church and pose with a Bible.

Trump’s bellicose rhetoric came as the nation braced for another round of violence at a time when the country is already buckling because of the coronavirus outbreak and the Depression-level unemployment it has caused. The president demanded an end to the heated protests in remarks from the White House Rose Garden and vowed to use more force to achieve that aim.

If governors throughout the country do not deploy the National Guard in sufficient numbers to “dominate the streets,” Trump said the U.S. military would step in to “quickly solve the problem for them.”

“We have the greatest country in the world,” the president declared. “We’re going to keep it safe.”

Minutes before Trump began speaking, police and National Guard soldiers began aggressively forcing back hundreds of peaceful protesters who had gathered in Lafayette Park, across the street from the White House, where they were chanting against police brutality and the Minneapolis death of George Floyd. As Trump spoke, tear gas canisters could be heard exploding.

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Amid protests, Trump talks of war -- and reelection

WASHINGTON (AP) — Embracing the language of confrontation and war, President Donald Trump on Monday declared himself the “president of law and order” and signalled he would stake his reelection on persuading voters his forceful approach, including deploying U.S. troops to U.S. cities, was warranted in a time of national tumult and racial unrest.

Trump made his Rose Garden declaration to the sound of tear gas and rubber bullets clearing peaceful protesters from the park in front of the White House. It created a split screen for the ages, with his critics saying the president was deepening divisions at a time when leadership was crucial to help unify a fractured country.

The president’s forceful turn to a partisan posture was reminiscent of the us-vs.-them rhetoric he has often used when under pressure, including in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. He has responded to the violence with a string of polarizing tweets, one starkly laying out the political stakes by underscoring the approach of Election Day.

“NOVEMBER 3RD,” was all it said.

Trump vowed to deploy the U.S. military to America’s own cities to quell a rise of violent protests, including ransacking stores and burning police cars. He offered little recognition of the anger coursing through the country as he demanded a harsher crackdown on the mayhem that has erupted following the death of George Floyd.

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The Latest: Officers use tear gas, helicopters in Washington

The Latest on the death in Minneapolis of George Floyd, a handcuffed black man who pleaded for air as a white police officer pressed a knee on his neck:

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WASHINGTON — Law enforcement officers used tear gas, pellets and low-flying helicopters to turn back demonstrators in Washington protesting the death of George Floyd.

Protesters remained on the streets well past the 7 p.m. curfew that had been imposed by District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser. They had spent hours marching peacefully around the nation’s capital before they were buzzed by the helicopters, which kicked up debris.

A standoff developed within site of the Capitol.

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On the spot where George Floyd died, his brother urges calm

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — George Floyd’s brother pleaded for peace in the streets Monday, saying destruction is “not going to bring my brother back at all.”

Terrence Floyd's emotional plea came as the United States braced for another night of violence in response to Floyd's killing a week ago.

Chants of “What’s his name? George Floyd!” filled the air as a large crowd gathered at the spot where the black man who became the latest symbol of racial injustice in America lay handcuffed and dying as a white police officer pressed his knee into his neck.

Wearing a face mask with Floyd's image on it, his brother dropped to his knees at the storefront that has been turned into a memorial covered with flowers and signs. As he kneeled silently, many who were around him joined him on the ground.

The memorial site was a space of calm compared to the devastation left in the wake of fires and violence that paralyzed the city for days last week before it spread nationwide.

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DC Episcopal bishop: 'I am outraged' by Trump church visit

The bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington sharply criticized President Donald Trump on Monday for staging a visit to the historic St. John's Church across from the White House, where he held up a Bible after authorities had cleared the area of peaceful protesters.

The Rev. Mariann Budde, whose diocese St. John's belongs to, said in a statement that she was “outraged” by Trump's visit and noted that he didn’t pray while stopping by the church, a landmark known for its regular visits from sitting presidents since the early 19th century.

"He took the symbols sacred to our tradition and stood in front of a house of prayer in full expectation that would be a celebratory moment," Budde said in an interview after her statement on Trump's visit was posted to the diocese's Twitter account.

“There was nothing I could do but speak out against that,” she added, calling for a focus on “the deeper wounds of the country” amid ongoing demonstrations against racial injustice.

Budde said the church was “just completely caught off-guard” by the visit, with “no sense that this was a sacred space to be used for sacred purposes." In order to facilitate Trump's statement there, she said, she believed tear gas was used in the area between the White House and the church.

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'Hate just hides': Biden vows to take on systematic racism

WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) — Joe Biden vowed to address institutional racism in his first 100 days in office as he sought to elevate his voice Monday in the exploding national debate over racism and police brutality.

The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee offered emotional support and promised bold action during an in-person discussion with black leaders in Delaware and a subsequent virtual meeting with big-city mayors who are grappling with racial tensions and frustrated by a lack of federal support.

“Hate just hides. It doesn’t go away, and when you have somebody in power who breathes oxygen into the hate under the rocks, it comes out from under the rocks,” Biden told more than a dozen African American leaders gathered at a church in downtown Wilmington, his face mask lowered around his chin as he spoke.

Without offering specifics, he promised to “deal with institutional racism” and set up a police oversight body in his first 100 days in office, if elected. The former vice-president also said he'd be releasing an economic plan focused on education, housing and “access to capital" and investments, especially for minority Americans, later this month.

“I really do believe that the blinders have been taken off. I think this tidal wave is moving,” Biden told the mayors of Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles and St. Paul, Minnesota. “I realize we’ve got to do something big, we can do it, and everyone will benefit from it.”

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CBO projects virus impact could trim GDP by $15.7 trillion

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Congressional Budget Office said Monday that the U.S. economy could be $15.7 trillion smaller over the next decade than it otherwise would have been if Congress does not mitigate the economic damage from the coronavirus.

The CBO, which had already issued a report forecasting a severe economic impact over the next two years, expanded that forecast to show that the severity of the economic shock could depress growth for far longer.

The new estimate said that over the 2020-2030 period, total GDP output could be $15.7 trillion lower than CBO had been projecting as recently as January. That would equal 5.3% of lost GDP over the coming decade.

After adjusting for inflation, CBO said the lost output would total $7.9 trillion, a loss of 3% of inflation-adjusted GDP.

CBO called this a “significant markdown” in GDP output as a result of the pandemic.

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Sobering US nursing home death report as lockdowns ease

WASHINGTON (AP) — At least a quarter of the COVID-19 deaths in the United States were among nursing home residents, a new report said, a disclosure that came as coronavirus restrictions eased Monday even as U.S. protests against police brutality sparked fears of new outbreaks.

The Florida Keys welcomed visitors for the first time in two months, the Colosseum opened its ancient doors in Rome, ferries restarted in Bangladesh and golfers played in Greece. But as tourist destinations worldwide reopened for business, new rules were in place to guard against the virus’ spread.

“Bring facial coverings, gloves, hand sanitizer, reef-safe sunscreen and personal essential medicines. If you’re feeling unwell, please stay home,” the Monroe County Tourist Development Council, which includes the tourist-dependent Keys, said on its website.

Electronic signs warned travellers to two of the world’s largest casinos about COVID-19 on the first day they partially reopened over Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont’s objections. “Avoid Large Crowds, Don’t Gamble With COVID,” flashed the signs near Foxwoods Resort Casino and Mohegan Sun as cars — many with Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New York license plates — passed by.

Meanwhile, the scope of the devastation in the nation's nursing homes became clearer in a report prepared for U.S. governors that said nearly 26,000 nursing home residents have died from COVID-19 — a number that is partial and likely to go higher.

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Iran FM: Scientist acquitted in US trade secrets case freed

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — An Iranian scientist imprisoned in the U.S. after being acquitted in a federal trade secrets case is on his way back to Iran after being freed, the country's foreign minister said Tuesday.

Sirous Asgari was in the air on a flight back to Iran, Mohammad Javad Zarif said in an Instagram post.

"Congratulations to his wife and his esteemed family,” Zarif wrote.

There was no immediate word on Iranian state-run media about the flight.

Asgari, a professor at Iran's Sharif University of Technology, had been indicted in April 2016, accused by federal prosecutors of trying to steal secret research from Case Western Reserve University. The Cleveland school had been working on a project for the U.S. Navy Office of Naval Research to create and produce anti-corrosive stainless steel.

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Spike Lee on what's different about these protests

NEW YORK (AP) — It's not the first time that Spike Lee's “Do the Right Thing” has been freshly urgent, but Lee's 1989 film has again found blistering relevance in the wake of George Floyd's death.

On Monday, Lee released a short film titled “3 Brothers" connecting the death of Radio Raheem (played by Bill Nunn) in “Do the Right Thing” to the deaths of Floyd and Eric Garner. Floyd died last week after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee against his neck as he begged for air. Garner's dying plea of “I can't breathe” became a rallying cry against police brutality in 2014.

Blazed across the screen is the question: “Will history stop repeating itself?"

“I've seen this before. This is not new," Lee said in an interview with The Associated Press on Monday. “I was born in '57 so I was 11 years old when I saw the riots with Dr. King's assassination, later on with Rodney King and the Simi Valley verdict, Trayvon Martin and Ferguson.”

“People are tired and they take to the streets,” said Lee.

News from © The Associated Press, 2020
The Associated Press

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