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Covid-19: Buenos Aires to reimpose lockdown after rise in coronavirus cases

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Argentina President Alberto Fernandez announced on Friday a toughening of lockdown measures in the capital Buenos Aires and its surrounding area as coronavirus cases are on the rise.

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"We're going back to closing the Buenos Aires metropolitan area so that traffic dramatically decreases, to reduce infections and the need for (hospital) beds," said Fernandez.

From July 1 "we're going to ask everyone to return to isolation at home and to only leave to fetch provisions for daily life," he said.

The measure will last until July 17 with "only essential services and some industrial zones" remaining operational.

The decision comes with coronavirus cases increasing exponentially. Argentina now has more than 1,100 deaths and over 52,000 cases.

Fernandez said the greater Buenos Aires area, home to 14 million of Argentina's 44 million population, "is infecting the rest of the country," where 80 percent of activity has reopened.

Center-left leader Fernandez could not resist a dig at neighbor Brazil's far right President Jair Bolsonaro, saying that the prolonged quarantine had "saved lives."

Gay Pride at 50: Celebrations go online due to coronavirus fears

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LGBTQ Pride is turning 50 this year a little short on its signature fanfare, after the coronavirus pandemic drove it to the internet and after calls for racial equality sparked by the killing of George Floyd further overtook it.

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Activists and organizers are using the intersection of holiday and history in the making – including the Supreme Court's decision giving LGBT people workplace protections – to uplift the people of color already among them and by making Black Lives Matter the centerpiece of Global Pride events Saturday.

“Pride was born of protest,” said Cathy Renna, communications director of the National LGBTQ Task Force, seeing analogies in the pandemic and in common threads of the Black and LGBTQ rights movements.

“Trans women of color have been targeted in what has been called an epidemic, and the Stonewall uprising happened in response to police harassment and brutality,” Renna said in an email.

The first Pride march took place June 28, 1970, a year after the 1969 uprisings at the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in New York, which were led by trans women of color.

A few other commemorations took place that year and later spread until 50 years on, there's scarcely a patch on Earth that doesn't host some type of Pride event.

New York's is among the largest, but social distancing measures to check the spread of COVID-19 everywhere from Scranton to Sao Paulo made cancellation or postponement a certainty.

Facing a boycott by advertisers, Facebook to ban more hateful content in ads

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Facebook said Friday it would ban a "wider category of hateful content" in ads as the embattled social media giant moved to respond to growing protests over its handling of inflammatory posts.

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Chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said Facebook also would add tags to posts that are "newsworthy" but violate platform rules — following the lead of Twitter, which has used such labels on tweets from President Donald Trump.

The initiative comes with the leading social network facing a growing boycott by advertisers — with soft drink behemoth Coca-Cola and Anglo-Dutch giant Unilever joining Friday — as activists seek tougher action on content they deem to promote discrimination, hatred or violence.

The new policy on hateful content in ads will "prohibit claims that people from a specific race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, caste, sexual orientation, gender identity or immigration status are a threat to the physical safety, health or survival of others," Zuckerberg said.

"We're also expanding our policies to better protect immigrants, migrants, refugees and asylum seekers" from hateful ads, he continued.

>>Read: Facebook staff attack Zuckerberg over company stance not to act on Trump posts

Facebook has underscored its moves to stem racism in the wake of civil unrest triggered by the May 25 killing of African American George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police.

US House passes police reform bill but deadlock awaits in Senate

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Democrats pushed sweeping new police guidelines through the US House on Thursday amid a polarising debate after the high-profile killing of African-American George Floyd sparked nationwide protests and calls for change.

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The measure, which bans choke holds and no-knock warrants, restricts officer immunity, combats racial profiling and establishes a database to track police misconduct, passed largely along party lines.

It sets up a showdown in the Senate where Republican leadership has no intention of passing it.

Applause rang out when the bill passed by 236 votes to 181, with three Republicans joining the chamber's Democrats in support.

President Donald Trump is opposed to the House measure, and on Tuesday said the Democrats were aiming to "weaken our police" and end officer immunity.

Instead he backs a narrower, Senate Republican proposal. That measure was blocked by Democrats on Tuesday and there were no signs of new negotiations.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said her chamber's bill is named after George Floyd, whose final words "I can't breathe" before his death at the hands of Minneapolis police "changed the course of history in our nation."

NASCAR releases photo of noose found in Black racing driver Bubba Wallace’s garage

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NASCAR said on Thursday it had completed its own investigation into the noose found in the garage of Bubba Wallace, the only Black driver competing in the top series, without determining who did it or how it got in the stall.

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An FBI investigation into the incident that put a global spotlight on NASCAR determined on Tuesday that no federal crime had been committed.

The noose, a symbol connected to lynching and America's slave history, found in Wallace's stall at the Talledaga Superspeedway on Sunday may have been there since last October.

NASCAR continued to conduct its own probe in an effort to discover how the noose got into the garage and how it went unnoticed for so long.

While NASCAR said it was able to roughly pinpoint when the noose was made, there was no way given garage access and procedures at the time to determine with any certainty who tied it and why.

NASCAR president Steve Phelps said the noose was not in place when last October's race began but was created at some point during that weekend.

"We have completed our own investigation," confirmed Phelps during a conference call on Thursday. "I could speculate but it would not do any good.

New Yorkers rejoice over phase two of lockdown re-opening

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New York City residents, gradually emerging from more than 100 days of coronavirus lockdown, celebrated an easing of social-distancing restrictions on Monday by shopping at reopened stores, dining at outdoor cafes and getting their first haircuts in months.

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But even as New Yorkers, confined for weeks at the epicenter of the global pandemic, returned to some semblance of normalcy, alarming spikes in coronavirus infection rates elsewhere around the country worried public health experts.

Chief among the latest hotspots was Florida, one of the last states to impose stay-at-home restrictions and one of the first to begin lifting them, with nearly 3,000 new infections reported over the previous 24 hours. Arizona, meanwhile, had almost 2,200 additional cases since Sunday.

The two are prime examples of a troubling trend, mostly in the South and West, where the percentage of positive test results among all people who are screened – a metric called the positivity rate – has climbed.

That is a consequence of people venturing back into public spaces without wearing masks and not practicing safe social-distancing, said Eric Toner, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security in Baltimore.

"Wherever people mix, wherever people have person-to-person contact, there will be spread of the virus," Toner told Reuters. "The question is not whether it will spread – that's a certainty. The question is how big that increase will be, and that's largely a function of what government and individuals do."

The World Health Organization considers positivity rates above 5% to be especially concerning, and widely watched data from Johns Hopkins University shows a dozen states with average rates over the past week exceeding that level and rising.

Joel Schumacher, director of Batman films and ‘The Lost Boys’, dies aged 80

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Joel Schumacher, the journeyman director who dressed New York department store windows before shepherding the Brat Pack to the big screen in “St. Elmo's Fire” and steering the Batman franchise into its most baroque territory in “Batman Forever” and “Batman & Robin,” has died. He was 80.

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A representative for Schumacher said the filmmaker died Monday in New York after a yearlong battle with cancer.

A native New Yorker, Schumacher was first a sensation in the fashion world after attending Parsons School of Design and decorating Henri Bendel's windows. As a director, he established himself as a filmmaker of great flare, if not often good reviews, in a string of mainstream films in the 80s and 90s.

The success of his first film, “St. Elmo's Fire," with Rob Lowe, Demi Moore, Emilio Estevez and Ally Sheedy, not only helped make a name for the Brat Pack but made Schumacher in demand in Hollywood. He followed it up with the 1987 vampire horror comedy “The Lost Boys.”

After films including “Flatliners” and “A Time to Kill,” Schumacher inherited the DC universe from Tim Burton. His garish take on Batman resulted in two of the the franchise's most cartoonish movies in 1995's “Batman Forever” and 1997's “Batman & Robin.”

Schumacher also directed the thrillers “Tigerland” and “Phone Booth,” as well as “The Phantom of the Opera.”

Most recently, he directed two episodes of Netflix's “House of Cards" in 2013.

US Justice Department tries to oust attorney probing Trump allies, but lawyer refuses to leave

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The Justice Department moved abruptly Friday night to oust Geoffrey S. Berman, the U.S. attorney in Manhattan overseeing key prosecutions of President Donald Trumps allies and an investigation of his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani. But Berman said he was refusing to leave his post and his ongoing investigations would continue.

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“I have not resigned, and have no intention of resigning, my position,” Berman said. His statement came hours after Attorney General William Barr said Berman was stepping down from his position.

The standoff set off an extraordinary clash between the Justice Department and one of the nations top districts, which has tried major mob and terror cases over the years. It is also likely to deepen tensions between the Justice Department and congressional Democrats who have pointedly accused Barr of politicizing the agency and acting more like Trumps personal lawyer than the nations chief law enforcement officer.

The move to oust Berman also comes days after allegations surfaced from former Trump national security adviser John Bolton that the president sought to interfere in an Southern District of New York investigation into the state-owned Turkish bank in an effort to cut deals with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Barr offered no explanation for why he was pushing out Berman in the statement he issued late Friday. The White House quickly announced that Trump was nominating the chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission to the job, a lawyer with virtually no experience as a federal prosecutor.

Hours later, Berman issued his own statement saying he had learned that he was being pushed out through a press release. He vowed to stay on the job until a Trump nominee is confirmed by the Senate, challenging Barrs power to remove him from office because he was appointed to the job by federal judges, not by the president. Under federal law, a U.S. attorney who is appointed by district court judges can serve “until the vacancy is filled.”

A senior Justice Department official said the department was pressing forward with its plans and will have Craig Carpenito, the U.S. attorney in New Jersey, take over the office temporarily, starting on July 3. The official wasnt authorized to speak publicly about the issue and spoke to AP on condition of anonymity.

Democrats have repeatedly accused Trumps Justice Department of political interference, and those concerns have also been pervasive among some rank and file officials in the agency. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler said his committee was inviting Berman to testify next week.

US judge rules Bolton can publish White House memoir despite Trump bid to block it

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A federal judge ruled Saturday that former national security adviser John Bolton can move forward in publishing his tell-all book despite efforts by the Trump administration to block the release because of concerns that classified information could be exposed.

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The decision from U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth is a victory for Bolton in a court case that involved core First Amendment and national security concerns. But the judge also made clear his concerns that Bolton had “gambled with the national security of the United States” by opting out of a prepublication review process meant to prevent government officials from spilling classified secrets in memoirs they publish.

The ruling clears the path for a broader election-year readership and distribution of a memoir, due out Tuesday, that paints an unflattering portrait of President Donald Trump's foreign policy decision-making during the turbulent year-and-a-half that Bolton spent in the White House.

Nonetheless, Lamberth frowned upon the way Bolton went about publishing the book. Bolton took it “upon himself to publish his book without securing finaRead More – Source

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US police killing of Rayshard Brooks in Atlanta ruled a homicide

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The death of Rayshard Brooks, a black man killed by a white police officer in Atlanta on Friday, was a homicide caused by gunshot wounds to the back, the Fulton County Medical Examiner's office said on Sunday.

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Brooks' death reignited protests in Atlanta after days of worldwide demonstrations against racism and police brutality prompted by the death of George Floyd, an African American, in Minneapolis police custody on May 25.

An autopsy conducted on Sunday showed that Brooks, 27, died from blood loss and organ injuries caused by two gunshot wounds, an investigator for the medical examiner said in a statement. The manner of his death was homicide, the statement said.

Brooks' fatal encounter with police came after an employee of a Wendy's restaurant in Atlanta phoned authorities to say that someone had fallen asleep in his car in the restaurant's drive-through lane.

Caught on the officer's body camera and a surveillance camera, the encounter seemed friendly at first, as Brooks cooperated with a sobriety test and talked about his daughter's birthday.

"I watched the interaction with Mr. Brooks and it broke my heart," Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said on CNN. "This was not confrontational. This was a guy that you were rooting for."

But when an officer moved to arrest him, Brooks struggled with him and another officer at the scene before breaking free and running across the parking lot with what appears to be a police Taser in his hand, a bystander's video showed.

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