The US has recorded more than 1,000 Covid-19 deaths per day for the past five days, as cases continue to surge across the south and west of the country. Meanwhile, in Washington, Senate Republicans are expected to unveil a $1tn coronavirus stimulus package on Monday: a significantly downscaled version of the $3tn Heroes Act passed by the House in May.
After weeks of deliberating, and with enhanced unemployment payments set to expire imminently, GOP leaders told the Sunday news shows they would offer a new unemployment insurance extension equal to 70% of wages, new $1,200 direct payments to many Americans, as well as an extension of eviction moratoriums.
People who wear face masks do not abandon other coronavirus prevention measures, a study has found. Some scientists have raised concerns that mask-wearers might develop a false sense of security that makes them less likely to maintain social distance or wash their hands regularly. But researchers say such fears are unfounded.
Bortac: the elite border patrol unit Trump sent to Portland
The clashes between federal paramilitaries and protesters in Portland continued over the weekend, with demonstrators besieging the downtown courthouse to demand the Trump administration withdraw its agents from the city. The paramilitaries are led by a group of elite border patrol agents known as Bortac; that Trump should choose the US border patrol to lead his authoritarian crackdown on US cities ought to be alarming to anyone familiar with the agency’s violent track record, as Ed Pilkington reports.
A Utah militia has attracted more than 15,000 members in a month. The Utah Citizens’ Alarm aims to deter violent protests, its leaders tell Nicolle Okoren. They also say they’re prepared for a civil war with antifa.
Anti-fascists have not been linked to a single murder for decades, according to research, which found that rightwing extremists have killed far more than their leftwing counterparts, despite Trump’s repeated warnings of “far-left fascism.”
Beijing’s consulate seizure marks a new low for US-China ties
At dawn on Monday, the American flag was lowered over the now-former US consulate in the south-western Chinese city of Chengdu, marking the official closure of the diplomatic mission and a new low for relations between Washington and Beijing. Chinese officials took over the consulate three days after ordering its closure, in retaliation over the Trump administration’s order to shut the Chinese consulate in Houston last week.
Trump may think stoking a new cold war can cover up his own bungled response to Covid-19, argues James Millward, but the president’s anti-Chinese posturing is driven by self-serving, not humanitarian, motivations – and it will do little to assuage the suffering of the Uighurs:
Although there are certainly structural issues underlying US-Chinese rivalry, we should not discount the extent to which power-grasping and sheer lunacy from the top has needlessly exacerbated tensions. Both the US and China are better than their current leaders.
The Climate countdown: 100 days to save the planet
If Trump is re-elected, America will exit the 2015 Paris climate agreement on 4 November, 24 hours after the presidential vote. The US would thus join Turkey and Iran as the only major nations not to participate in a deal that was decades in the making, and which is widely considered the bare minimum required to curb global emissions. The architects of the pact say America’s departure would likely doom any realistic hopes of averting disastrous climate change.
The stakes could scarcely be higher. That’s why the Guardian is launching a new series, Climate countdown, to draw attention to the threat and to put it at the heart of our 2020 election coverage. Ban Ki-moon, the former UN secretary general who negotiated the Paris agreement, says the world needs US leadership in its fight to tackle the consequences of climate change:
The president is closing his eyes to reality. He is turning away from the only opportunity to save humanity from the effects of rising temperatures. Far from making America great again, his decision leaves it isolated – as everyone else comes together to face this great challenge.
Are you a first-time voter worried by the climate crisis? This September, the Guardian will team up with Covering Climate Now and other top news organisations to amplify the voices of a younger generation set to be severely impacted by climate change. And we’re inviting first-time voters to apply to be guest editors of Guardian US for a day.
In other news …
Millions of wild animals are trafficked within and out of Brazil every year, according to a new report by the wildlife trade monitoring network Traffic, which said the Amazon’s illegal wildlife trade could have dire consequences for biodiversity.
Senator Tom Cotton described slavery as a ‘necessary evil’ in an interview. The Arkansas Republican has introduced legislation to block the New York Times’ 1619 project, which aims to reframe the teaching of US history around the arrival of the first slave ships on American shores.
Trump is feuding with the Reagan Foundation, after keepers of the 40th president’s flame asked the RNC and the Trump campaign to stop fundraising off his name by selling a pair of “limited edition” coins depicting Reagan and Trump.
The curse of the Confederate flag
Dukes of Hazzard star John Schneider recently asked fans if they thought his ’80s TV hit was “racially charged”, given the Confederate flag emblazoned on the roof of its famous Dodge Charger. Spike Lee has compared the flag to a swastika. Steve Rose wonders what this controversial symbol of the south really means to people in the age of Black Lives Matter.
Why are young people getting their news from Instagram?
According to a recent survey, 18- to 24-year-olds are increasingly getting their news about protests, police actions and stay-at-home orders from their social media feeds, reports Katie Bishop. Does that mean they are being influenced rather than informed?
Opinion: What if Trump loses but refuses to leave?
The risks of a catastrophic breakdown in the US presidential election system are ordinarily very small, writes Lawrence Douglas. But in 2020, an unusual combination of stressors could feasibly bring about a crisis of historic proportions.
The problem begins – but does not end – with President Trump, who, in his recent interview with Chris Wallace, once again reminded the nation that losing is not an option. He will reject any election that results in his loss, claiming it to be rigged.
Last Thing: the world’s most controversial moustache
Harry Harris, the US envoy to South Korea, has long faced criticism in Seoul for an unusual reason: his moustache, which some South Koreans felt evoked the fashions of imperial governors-general from the era of Japanese colonial rule. Over the weekend, he finally shaved it off.
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