Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today's Headlines and Commentary

By Tia Sewell
Tuesday, July 7, 2020, 4:22 PM

Video footage has gone viral of a police killing of 28-year-old James Porter Garcia in Phoenix, reports the Washington Post. Demonstrators in Phoenix took to the streets on Sunday, outraged by the fatal shooting amid a nationwide movement protesting police brutality in the wake of George Floyd’s death.

As the nation continues to grapple with issues of racial injustice and police brutality, demonstrations have prompted many local prosecutors to re-examine older cases of police violence, writes the Wall Street Journal. “It’s critical because it puts some light on an issue that is ever present in our society,” said James Bible, who represents the family of Manuel Ellis, a Black man who died in police custody in Washington on March 3rd. “It certainly furthered the dialogue, no question.”

Authorities announced Monday an investigation into a reported racist attack on Vauhxx Booker, a Black activist from Bloomington, Indiana, according to the Post. Booker alleges that a group of white men assaulted him and threatened to “get a noose” on July 4th. On Sunday, Booker shared partial video footage of the incident on Facebook.

Pentagon leaders are considering a policy banning Confederate flags at all military bases, reports the Post. This comes amid a nationwide reckoning with legacies of the Civil War, slavery and racism that have recently prompted the removal of many Confederate statues in public spaces across the country.

As US coronavirus cases have continued to rapidly rise in recent weeks, some U.S. cities are facing shortages in testing capacity, writes the Times. In Arizona, even basic testing components like swabs are in limited supply. “That really speaks to the national and global supply chain issues,” said Daniel Ruiz, Arizona’s chief operating officer. “It’s not that these things are in a warehouse ready to be delivered.”

Maryland-based company Novavax announced today that it will receive $1.6 billion from the federal government to expedite the development of a coronavirus vaccine, according to the Times. The deal marks the largest investment made so far in Operation Warp Speed, the Trump administration’s initiative to make a vaccine available to the American public as quickly as possible. In exchange for the payment, Novavax is expected to produce 100 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine by the beginning of next year. China is also rapidly forging ahead in developing a coronavirus vaccine, reports Reuters. Beijing is behind eight of the 19 vaccine candidates currently undergoing human trials and has two experimental vaccines entering final stage testing later this month.

On Monday, Google, Facebook and Twitter announced that they will temporarily halt processing of data requests from the Hong Kong government, writes the Times. TikTok will withdraw its app from the region altogether. “We are pausing the review of government requests for user data from Hong Kong pending further assessment of the National Security Law, including formal human rights due diligence and consultations with international human rights experts,” Facebook wrote in a statement.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Monday that Americans should be cautious about using TikTok, which is owned by the China-based government ByteDance, according to Reuters. Pompeo suggested that TikTok shares information with the Chinese government and stated that the U.S. is “certainly looking at” banning the social media app. TikTok denies these allegations and claims that it has never provided user data to China.

U.S. officials recently seized a shipment of nearly 13 tons of hair suspected to have originated from Chinese manufacturers utilizing forced labor in the Xinjiang region of China, reports the Journal. According to a top official from Customs and Border Protection, the Chinese Xinjiang region, where Muslim minorities have faced mass detentions, has become the agency’s most active site of investigation into forced-labor operations.

The White House has opened an internal investigation to find out who leaked intelligence about the covert Russian program paying Afghan militants to kill U.S. soldiers, writes Politico. The Trump administration believes it has narrowed down its suspects for the leak to fewer than 10 people.

On Monday, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced that international students will have to leave the United States in the fall if their classes are not in-person, according to the Hill.

The British government imposed new sanctions on people from Russia, Saudi Arabia and Myanmar for human rights abuses, reports the Times. Dominic Raab, the British foreign secretary, said that the move was part of a “dynamic new vision for a truly global Britain,” in which the post-Brexit U.K. will stand as “an even stronger force for good in the world.”

The Seoul Central District Court ruled that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un owes more than $35,000 in damages to two former South Korean prisoners of war (POW) from the Korean War, writes the Journal. Though it remains unclear whether the two men will receive their remittances, analysts have noted that this legal victory could open new avenues for other people to sue the North Korean regime. Nearly two dozen of the estimated 83,000 South Korean POWs who were held captive in North Korea at the end of the Korean War are still alive.

Mary L. Trump, the niece of the president, plans to publish a scathing family memoir next week, according to the Times. The book, “Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man,” is now set to be released on July 14th, two weeks earlier than originally scheduled, despite a legal battle to block its publication that began in late June.

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Jen Patja Howell shared an episode of the Lawfare Podcast featuring an interview with Christian Brose, former staff director of the Senate Armed Services Committee, on China’s military modernization and the challenge it poses to United States security.

Jed Handelsman Shugerman argued that presidential removal power should be subject to more congressional control than recent Supreme Court decisions have provided for.

Leston Munson shared an episode of Fault Lines discussing the Russian bounty program and its implications for U.S.-Russia relations.

Alexander Graef analyzed the Trump administration’s withdrawal from the Open Skies Treaty and assessed the White House’s allegations of Russian non-compliance.

Bobby Chesney shared an episode of the National Security Law Podcast featuring conversation on the Russian bounty program, the Julian Assange prosecution and the Supreme Court, among other things.

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