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10 things you need to know today: May 29, 2020



Trump signs executive order seeking regulations on social media

President Trump on Thursday signed an executive order seeking to chip away at regulations protecting social media companies from lawsuits over content posted on their platforms. Trump's announcement came two days after Twitter for the first time labeled two of his tweets "potentially misleading." Trump said the "unchecked power" of social media giants presents a dire threat to free speech, and he told federal agencies to review protections for companies such as Twitter and Facebook under a 1996 law shielding websites from lawsuits. Critics said Trump was overstepping his authority and threatening the First Amendment rights of private companies. "(Trump) is trying to steal for himself the power of the courts and Congress to rewrite decades of settled law," said Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.). [USA Today, CNN]


Minneapolis police station set on fire as George Floyd protests intensify

Rioters set a Minneapolis police station on fire Thursday as protests intensified over the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, in police custody. It was the third straight night of unrest. Earlier Thursday, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz deployed 500 Minnesota National Guard troops to restore order after Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey declared a state of emergency and requested assistance. "George Floyd's death should lead to justice and systemic change, not more death and destruction," Walz said. President Trump called protesters "THUGS" and criticized Frey, demanding he bring the city under control. "Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts," Trump tweeted. Twitter tagged Trump's post, saying it "violated the Twitter Rules about glorifying violence." [Star Tribune]


House panel calls for DOJ to investigate police conduct

The House Judiciary Committee, which is controlled by Democrats, on Thursday asked the Justice Department to investigate police conduct in the wake of several recent killings of African Americans. Chair Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) and other Democrats on the panel said in a letter to Attorney General William Barr that the killings of George Floyd, who died after a white officer kneeled on his neck, and Breonna Taylor, who was fatally shot in her Kentucky apartment, suggested a possible "pattern or practice of unconstitutional conduct" by police. "Public trust in the blind administration of justice is being seriously tested by recent high-profile killings of African Americans," Nadler wrote. The FBI has launched investigations into three recent incidents, including Floyd's killing. [Reuters]


7 injured in protest over Breonna Taylor's death

Seven people suffered gunshot wounds Thursday at a protest in Louisville, Kentucky, over the fatal March shooting of a black woman, Breonna Taylor, in her home by three white police officers. Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said two of the injured people were undergoing surgery and five were in good condition. He said the violence occurred within the crowd, and no police officers fired their weapons. Protesters demanded police accountability for Taylor's death, and chanted, "no justice, no peace, prosecute police." Taylor, a 26-year-old emergency medical technician, was killed when the police raided her apartment in a narcotics investigation that wasn't targeting her. Her sister, Juniyah Palmer, in a Facebook post thanked demonstrators for demanding justice and urged them not to "resort to violence." [The New York Times]


2.1 million more Americans filed unemployment claims last week

The Labor Department reported Thursday that 2.1 million Americans made initial applications for unemployment benefits last week despite the gradual lifting of coronavirus lockdowns around the country. The new claims brought the total number of people who have lost work since the coronavirus crisis began in mid-March to 41 million. In a positive sign, the running total of those currently receiving benefits fell to 21 million last week from 25 million the week before. It was the first weekly drop since the crisis began, suggesting some businesses were starting to rehire. Still, the new jobless claims showed that the economy is struggling as the U.S. coronavirus death toll surpasses 100,000, more than the number of Americans killed in the Vietnam and Korean wars combined. [The Associated Press]


U.S. charges dozens in largest ever North Korean sanctions case

The U.S. on Thursday charged 28 North Korean and 5 Chinese nationals with laundering more than $2.5 billion used to help fund Pyongyang's nuclear weapons and missile program. The indictment accuses the defendants of serving as agents of North Korea's Foreign Trade Bank to move the money through the global financial system using a web of 250 shell companies. Officials said the scheme was the biggest example to date of North Korean sanctions violations. The charges were widely seen as a tacit acknowledgment that the Trump administration has not been able to stop North Korea from building nuclear weapons through a mix of sanctions and diplomacy that has included meetings between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. [The Washington Post , The New York Times]


Johnson announces plan for phased reopening in U.K.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Thursday that the United Kingdom would start lifting its coronavirus lockdown in phases. He said that social distancing policies would remain in place but business, schools, and other gathering places would be allowed to begin resuming operations under new guidelines. Groups of up to six people will be allowed to gather outside "as long as they respect social distancing rules," Johnson said. People from different households are still being told not to meet inside homes, although they can meet outside as long as they remain safely apart. Nursery and primary schools will start reopening next week, followed by secondary schools in mid-June. [CNN]


Nevada Sen. Cortez Masto withdraws name from Biden's VP list

Nevada Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D) on Thursday said she will not be former Vice President Joe Biden's running mate, as she wants to focus on helping her state get through the coronavirus pandemic. It was "an honor to be considered," Cortez Masto said, "but I have decided to withdraw my name from consideration. Nevada's economy is one of the hardest hit by the current crisis and I will continue to focus on getting Nevadans the support they need to get back on their feet." Biden is the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, and in a statement, said that he has "admired Sen. Cortez Masto as long as I have known her because she's a leader with integrity." [The Washignton Post]


New Zealand reports 1 remaining coronavirus case

New Zealand on Friday reached a milestone in its effort to end its coronavirus outbreak, with just one person in the nation of 5 million still known to be infected. The country has reported 22 COVID-19 deaths out of 1,504 infections. The rest have recovered. New Zealand hasn't reported any new cases for a week; its borders remain closed. But the pandemic, which has infected more than 5.8 million worldwide and killed about 360,000 people, continued to worsen in numerous other countries. India reported a record one-day increase of 7,466 cases ahead of the end of its two-month lockdown on Sunday. Pakistan reported 57 deaths, the most it has had in a single day. The death toll in the United States reached more than 101,000, with 1.7 million cases. [The Associated Press]


Boston Marathon canceled for 1st time

Boston Marathon organizers announced Thursday that they were canceling the race for the first time in its 124-year history. The event is normally held on Patriots' Day in April, but it was postponed this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Boston Athletic Association originally wanted to reschedule the Marathon, and hold it on Sept. 14, but changed plans due to the possibility that a second wave of COVID-19 cases could make the new date untenable. "The concern of a second surge made me have some real reservations about can we have the marathon or not," Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said Thursday. BAA CEO Tom Grilk said the organization plans to refund registered participants' entry fees, and invite runners to compete in a virtual 26.2-mile race in September. [USA Today]