Coronavirus:

What You Need to Know

On Air Now

Listen Now

Weather

clear-night
63°
Sunny
H 86° L 64°
  • clear-night
    63°
    Current Conditions
    Sunny. H 86° L 64°
  • clear-day
    82°
    Afternoon
    Sunny. H 86° L 64°
  • clear-day
    82°
    Evening
    Sunny. H 86° L 64°
Listen
Pause
Error

Krmg news on demand

00:00 | 00:00

Listen
Pause
Error

Krmg traffic on demand

00:00 | 00:00

Listen
Pause
Error

Krmg weather on demand

00:00 | 00:00

World News

    Pope Francis is cautioning against pessimism as many people emerge from coronavirus lockdowns to lament that nothing will ever be the same. During Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica to mark Pentecost Sunday, Francis noted a tendency to say “nothing will return as before.” That kind of thinking, Francis said, guarantees that “the one thing that certainly does not return is hope.” He took to task his own church for its fragmentation, saying it must pull together. “The world sees conservatives and progressives” but instead all are “children of God,' he said, telling the faithful to focus on what unites them. “In this pandemic, how wrong narcissism is,” Francis said, lamenting “the tendency to think only of our needs, to be indifferent to those of others, and to not admit our own frailties and mistakes.” “At this moment, in the great effort of beginning anew, how damaging is pessimism, the tendency to see everything in the worst light and to keep saying that nothing will return as before!” the pope said. “When someone thinks this way, the one thing that certainly does not return is hope.'' A few dozen faithful, wearing masks and sitting one to a pew, attended the ceremony as part of safety measures to avoid spreading COVID-19. While the Vatican has re-opened the basilica to tourists, the rank-and-file faithful still aren't allowed yet to attend Masses celebrated by the pope for fear of crowding.
  • Israel's defense minister apologized on Sunday for the Israeli police's deadly shooting of an unarmed, autistic Palestinian man. The shooting of Iyad Halak, 32, in Jerusalem's Old City on Saturday, drew broad condemnations and revived complaints alleging excessive force by Israeli security forces. Benny Gantz, who is also Israel's “alternate” prime minister under a power-sharing deal, made the remarks at the weekly meeting of the Israeli Cabinet. He was sat near Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who made no mention of the incident in his opening remarks. “We are really sorry about the incident in which Iyad Halak was shot to death and we share in the family's grief,” Gantz said. “I am sure this subject will be investigated swiftly and conclusions will be reached.” Halak's relatives said he had autism and was heading to a school for students with special needs where he studied each day when he was shot. In a statement, Israeli police said they spotted a suspect “with a suspicious object that looked like a pistol.” When he failed to obey orders to stop, officers opened fire, the statement said. Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld later said no weapon was found. Israeli media reported the officers involved were questioned after the incident as per protocol and a lawyer representing one of them sent his condolences to the family in an interview with Israeli Army Radio. Lone Palestinian attackers with no clear links to armed groups have carried out a series of stabbings, shootings and car-ramming attacks in recent years. Palestinians and Israeli human rights groups have long accused Israeli security forces of using excessive force in some cases, either by killing individuals who could have been arrested or using lethal force when their lives were not in danger. Some pro-Palestinian activists compared Saturday's shooting to the recent cases of police violence in the U.S.
  • Childhood actor. Pro-democracy activist. Avid supporter of the European Union and LGBT rights. Warsaw’s liberal mayor Rafal Trzaskowski made a late entry in Poland’s presidential election and has quickly emerged as the main challenger to the conservative incumbent, Andrzej Duda. He has injected competition and suspense into a race that Duda had previously seemed certain to win. Trzaskowski jumped in after the coronavirus pandemic forced the conservative government to postpone the election, originally scheduled for May 10. Civic Platform, a centrist, pro-EU party, seized its chance to replace its original candidate, Malgorzata Kidawa-Blonska, who was polling in the low single digits. A new date for the presidential election has not been officially announced, but the conservative ruling Law and Justice party, which backs Duda, says it wants the election held June 28. If no candidate gets at least 50% of the votes, a runoff would take place on July 12. Duda is favored to win, according to recent polls. But his lead has fallen significantly since Trzaskowski's entry into a field that includes 10 candidates. It is considered extremely likely that Duda and Trzaskowski, both of whom are 48, will face off in the runoff. Many Poles feel this is the most important election since Poland threw off communism three decades ago. “At last I know who to vote for. Trzaskowski can really change Poland's politics, and they need changing,” said Aldona Stefanowicz, 58. The Polish president can propose laws and, most importantly, veto laws passed in parliament. He is also the supreme commander of the armed forces. Winning this election is a matter of key importance for Law and Justice if it wants to continue putting its conservative stamp on the country and completing a controversial takeover of the judicial system. Over the past five years Duda has only very rarely blocked the party's plans. Liberal critics of the government see the election as the last chance to save Poland's democracy and mend its relations with the EU, which have soured badly. The EU has denounced laws that have consolidated Law and Justice's control of the courts and other judicial bodies, considering them a violation of the democratic standards of the 27-member union. Trzaskowski's European credentials are certainly solid. He obtained a PhD in political science from Warsaw University in 2004 with a dissertation on the EU decision-making system, and launched his political career as adviser to the Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament. In 2009 he won a four-year term as a member of the EU parliament. From 2013-14 he was the administration and digitization minister in the government of then-Prime Minister Donald Tusk, who later served as EU president. Later he served as deputy foreign minister for EU affairs and as Poland’s negotiator in areas including sanctions towards Russia and energy security. In 2017, he was awarded France’s highest distinction, the Legion of Honor, for strengthening Polish-French relations. While he criticizes Poland's conservative government, Trzaskowski also has said he does not want the EU to punish Poland with financial sanctions. He argues that would hit ordinary people hardest and instead wants the EU to bypass the national government and make its funding directly available to local governments. In 2015 he became a lawmaker in the Polish parliament and since 2018 he has been the mayor of his hometown of Warsaw, winning support from liberals for his strong support for LGBT rights. Last year he signed a declaration of tolerance for gays and lesbians that included promises of city help for gay youth rejected by their families, and he rode on a float in the city's annual gay pride parade. His strong position — unusual in this largely conservative and mostly Catholic country — triggered a backlash. Ruling party leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski denounced the LGBT rights movement as a threat to the Polish nation and many other Polish municipalities declared themselves “LGBT-free zones.' Trzaskowski has said his win would launch a “huge wave of change.' It's unclear, however, if enough Poles will embrace the kind of change he represents. In a recent survey, voters gave Duda an edge of about 2.7 percentage points over Trzaskowski in a possible second round. Trzaskowski is the son of late pianist and composer Andrzej Trzaskowski. He was briefly a child actor in a children's series, an experience he remembers as a 'nightmare.' In the dying days of communist rule, when he was 17, he helped “the best I could” the pro-democracy Solidarity movement organize Poland's first partly free election in 1989, putting up posters and even sweeping the office floor. The historic vote led to the ouster of communists from power. Knowing several languages — he speaks English, French, Spanish, Russian and Italian — Trzaskowski assisted Western journalists in covering the events in Poland.
  • It’s nothing flashy. But then, it’s not supposed to be. The plywood wall that surrounds a building site, painted with the words ``WE GRIEVE″ in massive letters, has become a focal point for people of the Stamford Hill neighborhood. It is there that they gather each Thursday to remember those who have died during the coronavirus pandemic. It might seem an odd venue. But it’s central and there’s space for social distancing — a place for civic grief. 'What we’ve found, almost by accident, is the need for communities to stand together and grieve,″ said the Rev. William Taylor, vicar of St. Thomas’, an Anglican church on Clapton Common. This London neighborhood is diverse, even for a multicultural city. The common park was once surrounded by terraced houses built for the genteel who flocked to the area in the 19th century. But new groups moved in after World War II, and these days it is most well known as home to one of the largest Ultra Orthodox Jewish communities in Europe. And, in a way, it is that diversity that spawned the grief wall. Taylor felt bereft when Britain’s coronavirus lockdown prevented him from mourning with others after the death of his friend Rabbi Avrohom Pinter, a leader of the Orthodox Jewish community. The friendship between Taylor, who tweets as @HackneyPreacher and Pinter, a leading figure in the deeply traditional community of thousands, may have seemed unlikely. But the two bonded over their wish to build a spirit of friendship among those who lived near Clapton Common. Among many initiatives, the pair worked together to convert a derelict public toilet into a community center on the edge of the common. The mock-Tudor structure was half-timbered like the Liberty department store in central London, giving the new center its name — Liberty Hall. The project was designed to create neutral ground. Pinter, for instance, was adamant that it offer a bicycle repair clinic, so his cycling-mad community would go there. After years of work, Liberty Hall was nearly complete. Ahead of its April opening, backers painted the words THANK YOU on the temporary wall surrounding the site in bright orange letters to show gratitude for often small contributors who raised 50,000 pounds, ($61,600), for the project. Then the virus struck. Pinter tried to persuade his community to follow the government’s lockdown rules, which many were reluctant to do. He spread the word door-to-door until he contracted COVID-19 himself. The rabbi died April 13. Taylor grieved. One morning while running the common, he was jarred by the sign on their joint project. He discussed it with other members of the Clapton Commons community group, and they decided to repaint the wall. “THANK YOU’’ was replaced by “WE GRIEVE.’’ Everyone who rode the 254 bus into central London could see it. The community responded, flooding social media with support. The wall clearly hit a nerve, for Britain has seen over 38,000 people die in the pandemic, a death toll second only to the United States. A conversation between Taylor and designer Mike Abrahams led to the ceremony of posting the names of the dead every Thursday, just before the nation pauses to clap in support of health workers battling the pandemic. Each person is remembered with a simple sheet of paper glued to the wall. A bell is rung. Then there’s a moment of silence. Sixteen people have been remembered. They include a doctor, a hospital porter, a father and son who worked as cobblers, a retired seamstress, and a bass guitarist. Marcia Mullings came to remember a friend and her brother, Gary, who died of cancer and had only a small funeral because of coronavirus restrictions. Being with her neighbors eased her pain. “We remember that we have lost loved ones,’’ she said. “We also are going to remember that we’re not alone in this.'' ___ While nonstop global news about the devastating effects of the coronavirus pandemic have become commonplace, so, too, are tales of kindness. “One Good Thing” is a series of AP stories focusing on glimmers of joy and benevolence in a dark time. ___ Follow AP coverage of the pandemic at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak.
  • Tens of thousands of mosques across Saudi Arabia reopened Sunday for the first time in more than two months, with worshipers ordered to follow strict guidelines to prevent the spread of the coronavirus as Islam's holiest site in Mecca remained closed to the public. The Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, Islam's holiest site outside of Saudi Arabia, also reopened for prayers for the first time since it was closed in mid-March. With little regards for social distancing, throngs waited outside the holy site's gates before it opened early Sunday, with many wearing surgical masks. As they were allowed to enter, the faithful stopped to have their temperature measured. The mosque was one of Jerusalem’s many holy sites, including the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and the Western Wall, that were restricted to worshipers at the height of Israel’s coronavirus outbreak. Throughout that period, worshipers continued to pray in the alleyways outside the mosque. Jews also resumed their pilgrimages Sunday to the hilltop compound they revere as the Temple Mount, site of the two Jewish biblical temples. In Saudi Arabia, the government prepared for the reopening of around 90,000 mosques after sanitizing prayer rugs, washrooms and shelves holding copies of the Quran, the Muslim holy book. The Ministry of Islamic Affairs said millions of text messages were sent to people in multiple languages to inform them about the new rules for public prayer, which include keeping a two-meter (six-foot) distance between people during prayer, wearing face masks at all times and abstaining from greeting one another with handshakes or hugs. Children under 15 years-old were not being allowed inside mosques. The elderly and those with chronic conditions were being told to pray at home. People are also being advised to perform the mandatory ablution at home since washrooms at mosques will be closed, to use hand sanitizers and to bring their own prayer rugs and copies of the Quran. The restrictions call for mosques to open just 15 minutes before each of the five daily prayers and to close 10 minutes after they conclude. Friday sermons and prayers are to last no longer than 15 minutes. On Sunday, Saudi Arabia also lifted a ban on domestic air travel and permitted some public sector workers to resume office work again, though full attendance will not be allowed until mid-June. The new measures come as Saudi Arabia and other countries around the world begin to loosen restrictions and stay-at-home orders following weeks of curfews and lock downs. However, the Grand Mosque in Mecca, which houses the cube-shaped Kaaba that Muslims around the world pray toward, will remain closed to the public. The city has been under a strict lock down for several weeks. The mosque in Medina where the Prophet Muhammad is buried will be partially opened to the public to pray outside. The continued closure of Mecca points to the increasing likelihood that the kingdom may suspend this year's annual Muslim hajj pilgrimage, which falls in late July. Already, a senior Saudi official has told prospective pilgrims not to plan for the hajj this year amid the global pandemic. Despite taking early and unprecedented measures to curb the spread of the virus, Saudi Arabia has recorded more than 83,000 people contracting the virus, including 480 deaths. Israel has weathered the coronavirus better than other harder-hit countries. It has recorded fewer than 300 deaths and has managed to mostly keep its daily infection count to the low dozens since the beginning of May. But it also imposed severe restrictions that battered its economy and sent its unemployment rate skyrocketing. Many of those restrictions, including on places of worship, began to be eased earlier this month. The Temple Mount is the holiest site in Judaism, but for the most part Jews are forbidden to pray there and instead do so at the adjacent Western Wall. In recent years Jewish activists have been agitating for greater Jewish access to the site, including what they say is the right to pray there. That has angered Palestinians who see the attempt as part of Israeli encroachment on land they seek for their future state. The fate of the shrine is an emotional issue at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In Pakistan meanwhile, the country's daily death toll from COVID-19 kept climbing, hitting a new high of 88 overnight. Amid reports of an acute bed shortage and near daily warnings from health professionals to tighten lock down measures, the government has kept mosques open, urging safe distancing but not enforcing it. In the latest easing of restrictions, the government has withdrawn the limits on congregations in mosques and churches. Pakistan’s coronavirus death toll of 1,483 is third only to Iran and Turkey in the Middle East. The country has counted 69,496 positive cases of COVID-19. ____ Associated Press writers Tia Goldenberg in Jerusalem and Kathy Gannon in Islamabad, Pakistan, contributed to this report.
  • The mayor of Atlanta, one of dozens of U.S. cities hit by massive protests in recent days, has a message for demonstrators: “If you were out protesting last night, you probably need to go get a COVID test this week.” As emergency orders are lifted and beaches and businesses reopen, add protests to the list of concerns about a possible second wave of coronavirus outbreaks. It's also an issue from Paris to Hong Kong, where anti-government protesters accuse police of using social distancing rules to break up their rallies. Health experts fear that silent carriers of the virus who have no symptoms could unwittingly infect others at gatherings with people packed cheek to jowl and cheering and jeering, many without masks. “Whether they’re fired up or not that doesn’t prevent them from getting the virus,” said Bradley Pollock, chairman of the Department of Public Health Sciences at the University of California, Davis. One Atlanta protester said she has no choice following the death last Monday of George Floyd, a black man, after a white police officer in Minneapolis pressed a knee into his neck. “It’s not OK that in the middle of a pandemic we have to be out here risking our lives,” Spence Ingram, a black woman, said after marching with other protesters to the state Capitol in Atlanta on Friday. “But I have to protest for my life and fight for my life all the time.” Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, in her warning Saturday evening, said “there is still a pandemic in America that’s killing black and brown people at higher numbers.” After another night of unrest in Minneapolis, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz said that many protesters wearing masks were simply trying to hide their identities and “cause confusion and take advantage of this situation.” The state’s health commissioner has warned that the protests are almost certain to fuel new cases of the virus. Minnesota reported 35 deaths on Thursday, a single-day high in the outbreak, and 29 more on Friday. “We have two crises that are sandwiched on top of one other,” Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said. The protests come at a time when many U.S. cities are beginning to relax stay-at-home orders. When Los Angeles officials announced the reopening of stores last week, they said political protests could resume but with a cap of 100 people. That didn't stop several hundred people from showing up for a protest that shut down a freeway. Most wore masks, but many did not observe a buffer zone. Even for the many protesters who have been wearing masks, those don’t guarantee protection from the coronavirus. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends cloth masks because they can make it more difficult for infected people to spread the virus — but they are not designed to protect the person wearing the mask from getting it. In Europe, unions in Paris flouted a ban on large gatherings Saturday at a march to protest conditions for workers in the country illegally. Police used tear gas to disperse the crowds and said they had banned the march due to the “health risks that such an event is likely to generate.” Hong Kong police have used tear gas, pepper spray and rubber bullets to break up protests in recent weeks. A ban on gatherings of more than eight people has been extended to June 4, the day of an annual candlelight vigil to mark the Chinese military's 1989 crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators in Beijing's Tiananmen Square. More than 6 million coronavirus infections have been reported worldwide, with over 369,000 deaths and more than 2.5 million recoveries, according to the Johns Hopkins tally. The true death toll is widely believed to be significantly higher, with experts saying many victims died of the virus without ever being tested for it. The situation worsened in India, where new daily cases topped 8,000 for the first time and 193 people died in the last 24 hours. The last week has been the deadliest for the country since the outbreak began. In Saudi Arabia, tens of thousands of mosques reopened Sunday for the first time in more than two months, but Islam’s holiest site in Mecca remained closed. Elsewhere, throngs of worshippers waited outside the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem before it reopened for the first time since mid-March. Many wore surgical masks and, as they entered, the faithful stopped for temperature checks. In South America, the city of Bogota, Colombia, will lock down an area of nearly 1.5 million people where cases are continuing to raise. Mayor Claudia Lopez said Saturday that no one in the working-class Kennedy area — inaugurated by late U.S. President John F. Kennedy in 1961 — will be allowed out, except to seek food or medical care or in case of an emergency. Factories that had been allowed to operate will be ordered closed. The area has reported more nearly 2,500 cases and hospitals are reaching maximum capacity. Elite sporting events will be allowed to resume in England starting Monday, but without spectators, paving the way for the planned June 17 return of the Premier League, the world’s richest soccer competition. England’s deputy chief medical officer Jonathan Van-Tam warned that the situation overall remained precarious. “I believe this is also a very dangerous moment,” he said. “We have to get this right.” ___ Seewer reported from Toledo, Ohio. AP reporters from around the world contributed to this report. ___ Follow AP pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak
  • President Donald Trump said Saturday that he will postpone until the fall a meeting of Group of 7 nations he had planned to hold next month at the White House despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. And he said he plans to invite Russia, Australia, South Korea and India as he again advocated for the group's expansion. Trump told reporters on Air Force One as he returned to Washington from Florida that he feels the current makeup of the group is “very outdated' and doesn't properly represent 'what’s going on in the world.” He said he had not yet set a new date for the meeting, but thought the gathering could take place in September, around the time of the annual meeting of the United Nations in New York, or perhaps after the U.S. election in November. Alyssa Farah, White House director of strategic communications, said that Trump wanted to bring in some of the country's traditional allies and those impacted by the coronavirus to discuss the future of China. The surprise announcement came after German Chancellor Angela Merkel's office said Saturday that she would not attend the meeting unless the course of the coronavirus spread had changed by then. The leaders of the world’s major economies were slated to meet in June in the U.S. at Camp David, the presidential retreat in Maryland, but the coronavirus outbreak hobbled those plans. Trump announced in March he was canceling the summit because of the pandemic and that the leaders would confer by video conference instead. But Trump then switched course, saying a week ago that he was again planning to host an in-person meeting. “Now that our Country is ‘Transitioning back to Greatness’, I am considering rescheduling the G-7, on the same or similar date, in Washington, D.C., at the legendary Camp David,” Trump tweeted. “The other members are also beginning their COMEBACK. It would be a great sign to all - normalization!” The G7 members are Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States. The group’s presidency rotates annually among member countries. Trump has repeatedly advocated for expanding the group to include Russia, prompting opposition from some members, including Canada’s Justin Trudeau, who told reporters he had privately aired his objection to Russian readmittance. “Russia has yet to change the behavior that led to its expulsion in 2014, and therefore should not be allowed back into the G7,” he said at a news conference. The House also passed a bipartisan resolution in December 2019 that supports Russia’s previous expulsion from the annual gathering. Russia had been invited to attend the gathering of the world’s most advanced economies since 1997, but was suspended in 2014 following its invasion of Ukraine and annexation of Crimea. ___ Freking reported from Washington.
  • Pope Francis prayed Saturday for an end to the coronavirus pandemic and the development of a vaccine as he presided over an outdoor gathering that signaled a semblance of normalcy returning to the Vatican after a coronavirus lockdown lasting more than two months. Francis was joined in the Vatican Gardens by a representative sampling of people on the front lines of the emergency: a doctor, a nurse, a hospital chaplain, a pharmacist, a journalist and a civil protection official. A recovered COVID-19 patient, a person with a relative who died during Italy’s outbreak, and the parents of a baby born during the emergency also were among the pope’s more than 100 guests for the prayer at the grotto dedicated to the Virgin Mary. They sat spaced far apart, and most wore protective masks; Francis didn't. In his prayer, Francis urged Mary to comfort those who lost a love one to the virus, He noted that many virus victims died alone due to hospitals needing to prohibit visitors and that the dead were “buried sometimes in a way that wounds the soul.” He prayed that doctors and nurses are protected from becoming infected themselves and for God to “illuminate the minds of the men and women of science, so that they find the right solutions to beat this illness.” He begged world leaders to act wisely and generously to provide social and economic relief for the many workers who have lost jobs. And he called for the “enormous sums of money used to grow and perfect armaments be instead used to fund research to prevent similar catastrophes in the future.” The prayer service, held on a cool evening in the verdant Vatican Gardens, marked Francis’ biggest gathering to date since the Vatican followed Italy in locking down in March to prevent virus infections. During the peak of the outbreak, when churches were closed for services, Francis livestreamed his morning Masses each day and presided over Holy Week and Easter services without any faithful present. One of the most stirring moments of the outbreak in Italy was his solitary March 27 nighttime prayer for an end to the pandemic in a rain-slicked and empty St. Peter’s Square. Italy is now opening back up. Francis is due to celebrate a Pentecost Mass in St. Peter's Basilica on Sunday, albeit without members of the public in attendance. He will then go to his studio window to recite his blessing at noon to the crowds below. The Vatican says police will ensure the faithful gathered in the piazza keep an appropriate distance apart.
  • Israeli police shot dead an unarmed autistic Palestinian man in Jerusalem's Old City on Saturday after saying they suspected he was carrying a weapon. The shooting drew broad condemnations and revived complaints alleging excessive force by Israeli security forces. On social media, some compared the shooting to police violence in the U.S. Relatives identified the deceased man as Iyad Halak, 32. They said he suffered from autism and was heading to the school for students with special needs where he studied each day when he was shot. “They killed him in cold blood,” Halak's mother, Rana, told Israel's Channel 12 TV. In a statement, Israeli police said they spotted a suspect “with a suspicious object that looked like a pistol.” When he failed to obey orders to stop, officers opened fire, the statement said. Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld later said no weapon was found. Channel 12 said members of Israel's paramilitary border police force fired at Halak's legs and chased him into a dead-end alley. It said a senior officer ordered a halt in fire as they entered the alley, but that a second officer did not listen and fired six or seven bullets from an M-16 rifle, killing Halak. The report said both officers were taken into custody and interrogated for several hours. AP video from the scene showed three bullet holes in a white wall at the end of the alleyway. Halak's father, Kheiri, said police raided the family's home after the shooting. “They found nothing,” he said, claiming that police had cursed his daughter when she became upset at them. Lone Palestinian attackers with no clear links to armed groups have carried out a series of stabbings, shootings and car-ramming attacks in recent years. Palestinians and Israeli human rights groups have long accused Israeli security forces of using excessive force in some cases, either by killing individuals who could have been arrested or using lethal force when their lives were not in danger. “We must resist the expected cover-up and make sure that the police will sit in jail,” Ayman Odeh, the leader of the main Arab party in parliament, wrote on Twitter. “Justice will be done only when the Halak family, their friends and the rest of the Palestinian people know freedom and independence.” On social media, some pro-Palestinian activists compared the shooting to this week's killing of George Floyd, a handcuffed black Minnesota man who pleaded for air as a white police officer pressed a knee on his neck. His death has set off violent protests across the U.S. Israeli opposition leader Yair Lapid, whose daughter is autistic, said Halak’s death was “heartbreaking.” “The death of a young person with special needs is heartbreaking and all of Israel bows their heads. This is not our way,” he tweeted. In west Jerusalem, about 150 protesters, some pounding drums, gathered to demonstrate against police violence. “A violent policeman must stay inside,” they chanted in Hebrew. At a smaller protest in Tel Aviv, one poster read “Palestinian lives matter.' The shooting came a day after Israeli soldiers killed a Palestinian in the occupied West Bank who they said had tried to ram them with his vehicle. No Israelis were wounded in either incident. Saturday’s shooting occurred in east Jerusalem, which Israel captured in the 1967 war along with the Israeli-occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The Palestinians want all three territories for their future state. Tensions have risen in recent weeks as Israel has pressed ahead with plans to annex large parts of the West Bank in line with President Donald Trump's Middle East plan, which strongly favors Israel and was rejected by the Palestinians. Netanyahu has said he plans on moving ahead with the plan in July. The Palestinian Authority, which governs autonomous enclaves in the West Bank, said last week that it was no longer bound by past agreements with Israel and the United States and was cutting off all ties, including longstanding security coordination, to protest the annexation plan. The Trump plan would allow the Palestinians to establish a capital on the outskirts of the city, beyond Israel's separation barrier. It would grant them limited statehood in a cluster of enclaves surrounded by Israel, but only if they meet a long list of stringent conditions. The annexation plan has also drawn widespread condemnations from Israeli allies in Europe and across the Arab world.
  • A Congolese militia leader accused of involvement in the murder of an American citizen and a Swedish national working with the United Nations has been arrested more than three years after their brutal slayings, a prosecutor said Saturday. Trésor Mputu Kankonde was apprehended in Katole, 15 kilometers (9 miles) north of Kananga late Friday and was being interrogated Saturday by Congolese authorities. 'We have tried many times to arrest him since 2017 but he escaped us,” said Lt. Col. Jean-Blaise Kuzola, the senior military prosecutor in Kasai-Central province. The bodies of American Michael Sharp, Swedish national Zaida Catalan and a local interpreter, Betu Tshintela, were found in March 2017 after they went missing while investigating human rights abuses in central Congo. A gruesome video of their slayings, captured on a mobile phone, later emerged, and several dozen people were arrested. Congolese authorities have long accused Kankonde's militia, known as Kamwina Nsapu, of murdering the U.N. experts. However, rights groups have said state security forces may have been involved, which the government denies. Among those arrested was a Congolese colonel who had failed to disclose that he had met with the U.N. experts just two days before their murders. A total of 36 defendants appeared at the latest court hearing in connection with the case held in August 2019.
  • Hundreds have gathered Saturday to call for justice and reform in light of police violence happening throughout the country in Tulsa’s Brookside neighborhood. One protester was struck by a car after a march moved North to I-44 and spilled onto the highway. I-44 was shut down westbound towards Riverside for several hours as the scene was cleared. Police said that person received non-life threatening injuries.  All lanes of I-44 are back open. Peaceful protesters led by Reverend Robert Turner and Tiffany Crutcher marched along Peoria from 41st to 34th in response to the recent killing of George Floyd. Tiffany Crutcher is Terence Crutcher’s sister.  You may recall he was shot and killed by Tulsa police back in 2016. Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, 44, was charged Friday with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the death of Floyd. Tulsa protesters are asking the city for four things: they want a police oversight committee, several lawsuits settled including one involving the shooting of Terence Crutcher, greater investment in mental health training for the Tulsa Police Department, and the immediate end of the city’s contract with “Live PD”.
  • A divided U.S. Supreme Court late Friday upheld Coronavirus restrictions placed on church gatherings by the state of California, as Chief Justice John Roberts joined with the four more liberal justices in backing the power of states to enforce measures for public health. 'Although California’s guidelines place restrictions on places of worship, those restrictions appear consistent with the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment,' the Chief Justice wrote in an unusual late night ruling. 'The notion that it is “indisputably clear” that the Government’s limitations are unconstitutional seems quite improbable,' Roberts added in a three page 5-4 opinion. The ruling came on a request from a California church to dispense with limits on church gatherings imposed by Gov. Gavin Newsom and the Golden State. The decision came just over a week after President Trump had very publicly pressured states to drop Coronavirus restrictions on houses of worship. The South Bay United Pentecostal Church in San Diego argued the health requirements put in place by the Governor were far too restrictive, and violated their constitutional rights. 'Although curbing the pandemic is a laudable goal, those orders arbitrarily discriminate against places of worship in violation of their right to the Free Exercise of Religion under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution,' lawyers for the church argued. That agreement resonated with the High Court's four more conservative justices. 'I would grant the Church’s requested temporary injunction because California’s latest safety guidelines discriminate against places of worship and in favor of comparable secular businesses,' wrote Justice Brett Kavanaugh in his dissent. 'Such discrimination violates the First Amendment.' The decision quickly struck a nerve with more conservative Republicans and supporters of the President, many of whom have long harbored doubts about Roberts, who was put on the Supreme Court by President George W. Bush. 'Chief Justice Roberts sides with the Left again,' said Fox News host Laura Ingraham, as the head of the Conservative Political Action Committee called for Roberts to be impeached. In Congress, there was anger as well. 'SHAMEFUL failure by SCOTUS to defend 1st & 5th amendments,' tweeted Rep. Warren Davidson (R-OH).
  • In a brazen, aggravating crime, a man who lives at a home near 31st and Memorial says someone burglarized his pickup truck in broad daylight in his own driveway around noon on Friday. Ed Douglass says he was taking some things from his pickup truck, and only left the truck unattended for about five minutes, when he came back outside and saw the doors on the truck were open. He discovered that someone had grabbed his cellphone and some other stuff. Luckily, some alert neighbors saw the suspect going into his backyard. “They saw her and they apprehended her and then the police showed up and the police arrested her,” Douglass said. The woman told police that she had tossed the phone somewhere, but they eventually got it back and returned it to Douglass.
  • Governor Kevin Stitt confirmed Friday that Oklahoma will proceed to Phase Three of the Open Up and Recover Safely (OURS) plan on June 1st, as scheduled. By early Friday afternoon, Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum and Tulsa Health Department Executive Director Bruce Dart had also announced that while the number of new infections, and hospitalizations, continues to grow in our area, hospital capacity remains more than adequate. “The daily number of patients in hospitals have been steadily increasing since May 11th, with a marked increase since May 15th,” Dart said Friday. “But the bottom line as at this time, those levels remain manageable.” And that is the key point, Mayor Bynum emphasized. “Throughout Phase Three... the most important thing for me is monitoring that healthcare system capacity,” Bynum said. Phase Three includes relaxing restrictions on special events - e.g., concerts, sports, festivals, and so forth. Employers can bring their entire workforce back in, if they choose. Hospitals can relax their restrictions somewhat on visitation. Both men encouraged efforts to maintain social distancing, the wearing of masks, and hygiene. “Unfortunately, the pandemic is not over,” Dart said. “So remember that, remain vigilant, wear your mask, wash your hands, social distance, and continue to do this until we see actually see signs of this virus going away.” Here's the city's full statement on Phase Three: To date, the Tulsa Health Department (THD) has confirmed 983 positive COVID-19 cases in Tulsa County. 774 residents have recovered and 51 have died. Test results are updated daily at www.tulsa-health.org/COVID19. For the most up-to-date news, information and business resources in Tulsa, visit www.cityoftulsa.org/COVID-19.  New Civil Emergency Order | Phase 3 Guidance  Starting June 1, events (no size limit) may resume in Tulsa. Special event permits will be issued pursuant to the State’s Reopening Plan on June 1.  During Phase 3, employers can resume unrestricted worksite staffing and visits to hospitals and senior living facilities may resume subject to certain guidelines as outlined by the state and each individual facility. Additionally, businesses who have been taking customers by appointment only can start taking walk-ins.  The updated civil emergency order can be found at www.cityoftulsa.org/COVID-19. For additional guidance and information, visit: www.okcommerce.gov/ours-plan/.  Water Moratorium Updates  Starting in June, utility bill collections will resume through a phased approach. For customers who have already setup a payment arrangement due to COVID-19, the City will start calling those customers in early June to ensure payments are being made and/or to come to terms on a new arrangement to avoid service interruptions. Bills mailed in June will include a cut-off date and special notice. Payments or arrangements must be made by the cut-off date to avoid service interruptions for these bills starting June 15. Late fees will resume for customers not paying bills on June 19. City Hall Updates June 1 Starting June 1, City Hall visitors will be asked to wear cloth face coverings and have their temperature checked by Security before entering the building. This measure is for visitors’ safety and the safety of City employees. Tulsa Parks Updates As of June 1, the following plan and policies will be in place and enforced until further notice: Parks & Trails - Parks and trails are all open, so long as patrons practice social distancing. Outdoor shelter rentals and park event permits will start being accepted again, with an initial limit of up to 100 people. Park Amenities – After conferring with local health authorities, park amenities including playgrounds, outdoor exercise equipment, basketball courts, and outdoor bathrooms will be reopened with social distancing guidelines and other restrictions in place. Other than bathrooms, equipment will NOT be sanitized, and users should wash hands before and after use and use hand sanitizer regularly while using the equipment. It is still important to keep social distancing and to wash hands and/or use hand sanitizer before and after using any equipment. Basketball courts will be limited four people per hoop and participants should maintain distance or use masks. Sports complexes, as well as individual use fields will reopen, and games and large group practices may resume with safety protocols in place. Water faucets at dog parks are turned on for dog use, but water fountains will remain shut off.  Aquatics & Pools Water playgrounds and splash pads will be reopened with safety and social distancing policies. Tulsa Parks pools will remain closed for the 2020 season. Community Centers & Programs Community and specialty centers (including Oxley Nature Center and WaterWorks Art Center) will reopen June 1. Residents can see specific center hours and programs by visiting www.tulsaparks.org. Community centers will not offer summer kids day camps, nor will they offer youth or adult summer sports leagues.  Masks will be required to enter each building and may be removed only during participation in exercise and physical activities (such as working out, dance, martial arts, etc.), where the staff or instructor has allowed the removal of masks. Everyone will be asked to sign/scan in upon entering the building, and temperatures will be checked.  Centers who offer open gym/studio will do so in a limited capacity for specific activities varying by site, some may require reservations. Indoor basketball will be limited to one-man drills, shooting practice. Fitness rooms will open but may will close throughout the day for 30-minute disinfectant breaks, smaller fitness rooms may limit the number and time allowed, residents should call their facility for details. CVS Testing Sites Added  Several new testing sites have been added across the Tulsa metro at select CVS locations. Testing sites are by appointment only. Users should bring evidence of insurance or know their social security number. To schedule an appointment, visit https://www.cvs.com/minuteclinic.  SNAP Assistance Available For residents who need food assistance, SNAP is an important resource that can be used. If residents have been impacted by furloughs, layoffs or cut hours, they might be eligible for SNAP. Right now, qualifying families of four could get up to $649/month for help with groceries. To inquire, call 1 (877) 760-0114. To learn more, visit www.hungerfreeok.org/groceries.  Tulsa County Update The Tulsa County Review Committee for CARES Act funding received further clarification from the Oklahoma Attorney General regarding the legality of sharing these funds with municipalities, small businesses, nonprofits and other entities. As of yesterday, the Review Committee received approximately 50 applications.  On June 1, the Family Safety Center will reopen for normal business hours, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. for victims of intimate partner and domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, and elder abuse to begin filing for Emergency Protective Orders. There will be new access procedures including that only victims may enter—no accompanying supporters or children will not be allowed inside. Masks, temperature readings, and participation in a COVID-19 exposure survey will be required to enter (masks will be provided to those who do not have one).  Phase 2 of the Tulsa County District Courts reopening plan is expected to begin on Monday. The BOCC expects continued commitments on behalf of the courts to reduce the population of Courthouse visitors. Visitors should not visit the Courthouse if they are sick or think they may be sick.
  • Attorney General Mike Hunter urges Oklahomans to not assume unmarked envelopes are junk mail.  The debit cards arrive in plain envelopes, leading to confusion. Some people are mistaking it for junk mail or fraudulent activity. The Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced last week the agencies had begun the process of sending nearly 4 million Visa debit cards loaded with the $1,200 stimulus payments to Americans.  Attorney General Hunter is encouraging Oklahomans to open the envelopes.

Washington Insider

  • A divided U.S. Supreme Court late Friday upheld Coronavirus restrictions placed on church gatherings by the state of California, as Chief Justice John Roberts joined with the four more liberal justices in backing the power of states to enforce measures for public health. 'Although California’s guidelines place restrictions on places of worship, those restrictions appear consistent with the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment,' the Chief Justice wrote in an unusual late night ruling. 'The notion that it is “indisputably clear” that the Government’s limitations are unconstitutional seems quite improbable,' Roberts added in a three page 5-4 opinion. The ruling came on a request from a California church to dispense with limits on church gatherings imposed by Gov. Gavin Newsom and the Golden State. The decision came just over a week after President Trump had very publicly pressured states to drop Coronavirus restrictions on houses of worship. The South Bay United Pentecostal Church in San Diego argued the health requirements put in place by the Governor were far too restrictive, and violated their constitutional rights. 'Although curbing the pandemic is a laudable goal, those orders arbitrarily discriminate against places of worship in violation of their right to the Free Exercise of Religion under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution,' lawyers for the church argued. That agreement resonated with the High Court's four more conservative justices. 'I would grant the Church’s requested temporary injunction because California’s latest safety guidelines discriminate against places of worship and in favor of comparable secular businesses,' wrote Justice Brett Kavanaugh in his dissent. 'Such discrimination violates the First Amendment.' The decision quickly struck a nerve with more conservative Republicans and supporters of the President, many of whom have long harbored doubts about Roberts, who was put on the Supreme Court by President George W. Bush. 'Chief Justice Roberts sides with the Left again,' said Fox News host Laura Ingraham, as the head of the Conservative Political Action Committee called for Roberts to be impeached. In Congress, there was anger as well. 'SHAMEFUL failure by SCOTUS to defend 1st & 5th amendments,' tweeted Rep. Warren Davidson (R-OH).
  • The feud between Twitter and President Donald Trump escalated on Friday after the President used the social media platform to threaten the use of force against rioters in Minneapolis, as Twitter slapped a warning label on the President's tweet, saying Mr. Trump had violated rules on 'glorifying violence.' 'These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd,' the President wrote, referring to the black man who was suffocated to death when a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his head and neck for an extended period of time earlier this week. The President then spoke of sending in National Guard troops to restore order, warning that 'when the looting starts, the shooting starts.' That was evidently too much for Twitter, which placed a warning on the President's tweet. In the President's mind, the warning label from Twitter was the latest indignity against him by the social media giant, as Mr. Trump tore into Twitter early on Friday morning. 'Twitter is doing nothing about all of the lies & propaganda being put out by China or the Radical Left Democrat Party,' the President tweeted soon after 7 am. 'They have targeted Republicans, Conservatives & the President of the United States.' Earlier this week, Twitter added a link to a couple of the President's tweets about mail-in voting, giving a link for more information about the issue. The President was incensed, leading to his executive order on Thursday, and a direct threat to close down the company, which experts said he had no power to do. On Capitol Hill, the two parties saw the developing events on Twitter much differently. 'Twitter is censoring the President of the United States,' said Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ). Democrats in Congress said the President was overreacting, and acting like an authoritarian. “Trump’s behavior is growing increasingly unhinged, authoritarian, and outright violent and is designed to inflame and divide America further,” said Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-NJ). “This is vile behavior,” said Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ).  “The President should not be encouraging violence.” “(T)he President’s executive order is a shameless attempt to use the power of his office to silence his critics and intimidate his perceived enemies,” said Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-CA).
  • With a series of studies raising questions about the side effects and the efficacy of a drug pushed by President Donald Trump for use against the Coronavirus, the VA has curtailed its use of the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroqine in Veterans Affairs medical facilities. 'Last week, we only used it three times,' VA Secretary Robert Wilkie told a House Appropriations Committee hearing, a very small number compared to the over 1,300 vets who have received the drug for Coronavirus treatment. 'We started ratcheting it down as we went more to remdesivir and we went more to the convalescent plasma,' Wilkie said, as he took fire from Democrats over using the drug in the first place. 'It's very disappointing to me that the VA was using that drug,' said Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY), the chair of the panel, as she slammed the President's embrace of hydroxychloroquine as 'wishful thinking' by someone who is not a medical expert. 'What is astounding to me is the VA is still insisting on providing this drug to veterans,' said Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL). “We have ratcheted down as we've brought more treatments online,” Wilkie said at another point.  “And I expect that to continue.” Wilkie said he spoken this week with the government's top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, who told reporters in recent days that hydroxychloroquine should no longer be used by doctors. The VA chief though couched Fauci's advice as one which would leave the door open to possible use of the malaria drug as more evidence comes in. 'The rest of the world is all over the map,' Wilkie said of the use of hydroxychloroquine against the Coronavirus. 'France banned it, and then the government of India said it absolutely essential for them.' The message from the White House continued to be much more upbeat than Dr. Fauci. “It's important to note that this drug has been safely used by millions of people for a long time,” said White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany on Thursday.
  • A day after the United States topped 100,000 deaths from the Coronavirus outbreak, President Donald Trump joined the expression of grief for the families of those who have died in the pandemic which has swept around the globe. 'We have just reached a very sad milestone with the coronavirus pandemic deaths reaching 100,000,' the President wrote on Twitter, as he expressed his 'heartfelt sympathy' to family and friends of the dead.  As the numbers hit 100,000 on Wednesday, the President made no statement about death toll, as leading Democrats took on that role instead. 'God Bless each and every one of you and the blessed memory of the one you lost,' former Vice President Biden said in a video message from his home in Delaware. 'One hundred thousand,' said Rep. Val Demings (D-FL). Those we have lost can’t just be a number. A statistic. A line in a history book. They were our friends, our loved ones, our children and grandparents.' While calling the 100,000 deaths 'tragic,' Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) said all sides need to be paying more attention to the large number of deaths in nursing homes and assisted living facilities around the nation. 'Seniors in these settings should be a top focus of our prevention efforts,' Rubio said on Thursday. In some states, the nursing home deaths represent an overwhelming share of Coronavirus losses, over 80 percent in Minnesota, 70 percent in Ohio, and near 50 percent in Florida and Georgia. Democrats continued to blame the President and his administration for not being better prepared, as an old tweet from October 2019 by Joe Biden became a focal point on Twitter. 'We are not prepared for a pandemic,' Biden said that day. 'Trump has rolled back progress President Obama and I made to strengthen global health security. We need leadership that builds public trust, focuses on real threats, and mobilizes the world to stop outbreaks before they reach our shores.
  • As the nation marked the grim milestone of 100,000 deaths from the Coronavirus in just over three months, President Donald Trump spent Wednesday talking about almost any other subject, attacking Twitter, jabbing at the news media, questioning the Russia investigation, denouncing expanded mail-in voting, and again pressing a conspiracy theory that an ex-GOP Congressman was involved in the death of a female aide almost 19 years ago. 'He is arguably the greatest president in our history,' the President quoted Fox Business host Lou Dobbs saying about him. President Trump's only official comment related to the virus outbreak came in a single tweet early on Wednesday morning, in which he highlighted the growing number of virus tests nationwide. 'We pass 15,000,000 Tests Today, by far the most in the World,' Mr. Trump tweeted, adding, 'Open Safely!'  But there was no mention by the President, no tweet, no written statement in his name honoring those who have died, or who remain hospitalized by the Coronavirus. Democrats moved to fill the void. 'Would you have ever thought that we would be observing 100,000 people?' asked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in a Capitol Hill news conference. From his home in Delaware, former Vice President Joe Biden took aim at the President as well. 'I'm so sorry for your loss,' Biden said, marking the 100,000 death toll. 'They were not numbers. They were our neighbors. Our friends. Our family,' said Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO). The President met with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo in the Oval Office on Wednesday morning, and then flew to Florida, only to have the launch of a SpaceX crew vehicle scrubbed by bad weather. Over 1,400 deaths were reported in the U.S. on Wednesday, with over 300 combined from Illinois and New Jersey, two states which continue to struggle with virus cases. 'This is a tragic day. My heart aches for those we have lost,' said Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA). 'The day the United States hit 100,000 deaths from the COVID-19 pandemic Trump shares a messages calling himself “the greatest President in our history,' said Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA). 'His vanity is nauseating.' On Capitol Hill, Democrats pressed for more money to conduct virus testing and tracing, but Senate Republicans have refused to bring up a House-passed bill with $75 billion more in funding. 'Are we going to do what we need to do to prevent the next 100,000 deaths?' asked former CDC Chief Dr. Tom Frieden.