5 things to know for July 30: Coronavirus, police, stimulus, Hong Kong, Germany


1. Coronavirus

More than 150,000 people in the United States have now died from Covid-19, and global cases have passed 15 million. The United States has the most cases, with almost 4.5 million, followed by Brazil (2.5 million) and India (1.6 million). Australia and Japan have recorded their highest number of single-day cases to date, and countries like Italy, which were hit hard at the start of the pandemic, are extending emergency measures into the coming months . The medical community has also expressed concern about the state of African countries. According to the International Rescue Committee, the cases are much higher than official figures suggest, due to lack of testing, stigma and damaged medical infrastructure. The World Health Organization has also warned that there has been an acceleration of cases in sub-Saharan Africa, an area initially seen as untouched by the worst of the pandemic.

2. Police

The Justice Department is sending more federal agents and investigators to Cleveland, Detroit and Milwaukee as part of an initiative to help local and state authorities tackle the spike in violent crime. Past administrations have done the same, and it is generally not controversial. But given the Trump administration’s stance on the current unrest across the country, and the president’s renewed “law and order” personality, local and state leaders have pushed back his deployment of federal efforts. The administration just struck a deal with Oregon to remove federal agents from parts of Portland after they were sent there earlier this month to protect federal assets amid protracted racial justice protests and police accountability.

3. Stimulus

Congress has distributed billions of dollars in humanitarian aid for coronaviruses, but a new Treasury Department report finds states and communities have so far used less than 25% of that money. This number underscores a common complaint – that the money has come with so many restrictions and has been distributed so slowly that local leaders can barely use it. It could also complicate the next round of relief. House Democrats want to send an additional $ 1 trillion in support to states, while the Republican plan contains no additional funding, but changes the flexibility of existing relief rules. By the way, Congress is apparently no closer to agreeing to a final deal, and time is running out for the weekly unemployment increase of $ 600. Some economists say that an extra boost helps keep the economy afloat, and when it expires at the end of the month, jobless Americans won’t be the only ones struggling.

4. Hong Kong

Four Hong Kong student activists were arrested for their social media posts under the sweeping new national security law imposed by China earlier this month. Students, aged 16 to 21, are investigated under a part of the law that deals with secession. The arrests infuriated human rights activists, who vehemently opposed the national security law. There are also fears that broader crackdowns are occurring now that the city’s parliamentary elections are looming in September. However, given the recent spike in coronavirus cases in Hong Kong, the elections may ultimately be postponed.

5. Germany

The United States will withdraw nearly 12,000 troops from Germany, carrying out a controversial Trump administration plan that will cost billions of dollars over the next few years. The pullout has been criticized by US bipartisan leaders and international allies, as many believe the move will weaken the US strategic position vis-à-vis Russia and undermine relations with Germany, NATO and Europe. Republican Senator Mitt Romney even declared that the decision was “a gift to Russia”. The president justified his decision by saying that Germany was not spending enough on defense. NATO’s target for defense spending is 2% of a member nation’s GDP. Germany spends around 1.38% and the United States around 3.4%. However, a 2019 NATO report found that only seven of its 29 member countries met the 2% threshold.


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