Category: Бізнес

економічні і бізнесові новини

Trump Address Mount Rushmore Crowd Without a Mask

U.S. President Donald Trump kicked off the country’s July Fourth celebrations Friday night at Mount Rushmore in South Dakota, telling the crowd their children “are taught in school to hate their own country” and insisting that what he called a radical assault from the left needs to be stopped to preserve the American way of life.Trump also warned the crowd that the demonstrations against racial inequality that have spread across the country in the wake of the death of George Floyd while in police custody in Minneapolis in late May threaten the foundations of American government.Fireworks explode above the Mount Rushmore National Monument during an Independence Day event attended by President Donald Trump in Keystone, South Dakota, July 3, 2020.The president announced that he is ordering the establishment a “National Garden of American Heroes” with statues “of the greatest Americans that ever lived.”Trump did not wear a mask for his address, even though the country is experiencing a raging surge in the coronavirus pandemic.  Most in the crowd did not wear masks either. There was also no attempt to socially distance any of the attendees.Public health officials are concerned that the South Dakota event may end up being a superspreader of the virus, an event at which an usually large number of people are infected.President Donald Trump speaks at Mount Rushmore National Monument on July 3, 2020, in Keystone, S.D.The president talked about each man — George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt — whose likeness is carved into the massive mountain.The president gave only the standard patriotic account of each man without any of the complicated portions of their lives.He also did not mention that the mountain is sacred to Native Americans who now consider the site desecrated because of the carvings.Trump said the growing social justice movement in the country “would in truth demolish both justice and society.”Native American protesters demonstrate in Keystone, S.D., ahead of President Donald Trump’s visit to the memorial July 3, 2020.Trump also said to the cheers of the crowd that the border wall is being built. Building a wall between the U.S. and Mexico was one of Trump’s campaign promises.After his speech, there was a fireworks display, the first at Mount Rushmore in about 10 years.Some politicians, environmentalists and activists had opposed the display because of the dry conditions surrounding the site.  Congresswoman Deb Haaland of New Mexico said the fireworks could pose a threat to what she called the “fragile area” and to firefighters, if a wildfire were started.  

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Trump Plans Large Fireworks Display in Washington Despite City’s Concerns

The Trump administration is planning a large Independence Day fireworks display in Washington Saturday despite the city’s concerns about the coronavirus.  US Continues to Lead in COVID CasesUS has nearly 2.8 million of the globe’s more than 11 million casesInterior Secretary David Bernhardt outlined plans for the July Fourth celebrations, which include a milelong firing of 10,000 fireworks that he called “the largest in recent memory.”Bernhardt said in a statement that Defense Department flyovers would give a “one-of-a-kind air show” and said, “President Trump’s 2020 Salute to America will be a patriotic tribute to our men and women in uniform.”Trump Address Mount Rushmore Crowd Without a MaskPresident says radical left needs to be stopped to preserve American way of lifeInterior Department officials say they will have 300,000 face masks on hand to be given to spectators who come to the National Mall for the festivities, although there is no indication that people will be required to wear them.   Bernhardt said visitors would be encouraged to wear masks and keep a six-foot distance from one another.D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser has criticized the plans, saying they go against established health guidelines.  “We know this is a special event for the Department of Interior. We’ve communicated to them that we do not think this is in keeping with the best CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and Department of Health guidance,” she said.  She noted the event would take place entirely on federal property, which means she does not have the right to shut down the holiday festivities.  Bowser has asked city residents to avoid large crowds and to celebrate July Fourth near their homes.  President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump plan to host events Saturday from the White House South Lawn as well as the Ellipse.New Study Shows Fireworks May Present Health HazardResearchers say explosions release toxins into the airMany other U.S. cities have canceled or scaled back their firework displays this year because of the pandemic and concerns of large groups of people gathering.The organizers of the Macy’s July 4th firework display in New York City canceled the traditional one-night festivities and instead are holding short nightly shows in each borough that began June 29. Video of the displays will be aired on television Saturday night.Americans planning to throw their own celebrations will be banned from several popular beaches, including some in South Florida, Southern California and the Texas Gulf Coast.COVID-19 Spreading in US Too Fast to Control, CDC Expert Says Dr. Anne Schuchat calls the surge in new cases just “the beginning” In the northeast U.S., where coronavirus cases have generally been subsiding, beaches are open. However, government officials are urging people to avoid crowding. The CDC advised Americans who do go to the beach to wear face coverings.Sales of fireworks have been strong, indicating that many Americans are planning to celebrate the holiday in their backyard, according to the Associated Press.    

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Russian Authorities Arrest 17 Protesters in Moscow

At least 17 people, included journalists, were detained Friday in Moscow, after protesting in front of the Federal Security Service (FSB) headquarters over criminal charges leveled against a Russian journalist.Prosecutors in Pskov requested a six-year prison term for Svetlana Prokopyeva, who wrote an article on the blast outside a branch of Russia’s FSB in Arkhangelsk in 2018.People have gathered here today because the prosecutors have asked for an impossible six years of prison for her article,” said journalist Irina Dolinina. “But they can’t express their opinion because they are detained and taken to the police car before they can take out their banners.”Protesters have expressed fear that Prokopyeva’s case could be followed by more repression in the country, as people are unable to freely protest because the coronavirus restrictions are still in effect.”Hereafter the society will be decaying, and the repressions will strengthen until people start expressing their anger,” said Moscow resident Alexander Matskevich. “I don’t know how far it (the repression) can go. We have an example of North Korea. I doubt anyone wants to have the same here.”Russian authorities had identified the attacker in Arkhangelsk as a local 17-year-old man and treated the case as an act of terrorism.In her article, Prokopyeva wrote that the attacker’s motives were linked to the political climate in Russia.After the publication, authorities accused Prokopyeva of publicly justifying terrorism.The court is expected to announce the final verdict on Monday. 

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At Rushmore, Trump says Protesters Seek to ‘Defame’ Heroes

Speaking to a largely maskless crowd at Mount Rushmore, President Donald Trump said Friday that protesters have waged “a merciless campaign to wipe out our history” amid demonstrations against racial injustice and police brutality.The sharp rebuke in a holiday address to mark the nation’s independence follows weeks of protests across the nation, sparked by the Memorial Day death of George Floyd while in police custody in Minneapolis. Some demonstrators have also destroyed or damaged Confederate monuments and statues honoring those who have benefited from slavery.”This movement is openly attacking the legacies of every person on Mount Rushmore,” Trump said, adding that some on the political left hope to “defame our heroes, erase our values, and indoctrinate our children.”His speech, intended to rev up his conservative base, comes as Trump has seen his standing slump over his handling of the pandemic and response to protests and unrest around the country. With four months until the election, Trump’s hopes for a second term — once buoyed by low unemployment and a roaring stock market — seem uncertain.Amid the headwinds, Trump has sharpened his focus on his most ardent base of supporters as concern grows inside his campaign that his poll numbers in the battleground states that will decide the 2020 election are slipping.Fireworks explode above the Mount Rushmore National Monument during an Independence Day event attended by President Donald Trump in Keystone, South Dakota, July 3, 2020.Trump in recent weeks has increasingly lashed out at “left-wing mobs,” used a racist epithet to refer to the coronavirus and visited the nation’s southern border to spotlight progress on his 2016 campaign promise to build a U.S.-Mexico border wall.The event, while not a campaign rally, had the feel of one as the friendly crowd greeted Trump with chants of “Four more years!” and cheered enthusiastically as he and first lady Melania Trump took the stage.”Those who seek to erase our heritage want Americans to forget our pride and our great dignity, so that we can no longer understand ourselves or America’s destiny,” Trump said.The event drew thousands of spectators, most of them without masks, even as coronavirus cases spike across the country. The president was set to speak before a big fireworks show, the first to be held at the site in over a decade.Hours before Trump arrived, protesters blocked a road leading to the monument. Authorities worked to move the demonstrators, mostly Native Americans protesting that South Dakota’s Black Hills were taken from the Lakota people against treaty agreements. About 15 protesters were arrested after missing a police-imposed deadline to leave.Trump was expecting a South Dakota show of support, with the state Republican Party selling T-shirts that feature Trump on the memorial alongside George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln. But concern about the coronavirus risk and wildfire danger from the fireworks, along with the Native American groups’ protests were also present.Republican Gov. Kristi Noem, a Trump ally, had said social distancing won’t be required during the event and masks will be optional. Event organizers were to provide masks to anyone who wanted them and planned to screen attendees for symptoms of COVID-19.President Donald Trump speaks at Mount Rushmore National Monument on July 3, 2020, in Keystone, S.D.Noem, in her own remarks, echoed Trump’s attacks against his opponents who “are trying to wipe away the lessons of history.””Make no mistake: This is being done deliberately to discredit America’s founding principles by discrediting the individuals who formed them,” she said.The small town of Keystone, which lies a couple of miles from the monument, was buzzing with people Friday hoping to catch a glimpse of the fireworks and the president. Many wore pro-Trump T-shirts and hats. Few wore masks.”This is going to rank up in the top Fourth of Julys that I talk about,” said Mike Stewhr, who brought his family from Nebraska.Mike Harris of Rapid City, who said he was a Republican, wore a mask and waved an anti-Trump flag. He also was sporting a handgun on each hip. He said he was worried the event would spark a COVID-19 outbreak.”I think it’s a bad example being set by our president and our governor,” Harris said.Leaders of several Native American tribes in the region raised concerns that the event could lead to virus outbreaks among their members, who they say are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 because of an underfunded health care system and chronic health conditions.”The president is putting our tribal members at risk to stage a photo op at one of our most sacred sites,” said Harold Frazier, chairman of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe.Native American protesters demonstrate in Keystone, S.D., ahead of President Donald Trump’s visit to the memorial July 3, 2020.Some Native American groups used Trump’s visit to protest the Mount Rushmore memorial itself, pointing out that the Black Hills were taken from the Lakota people.More than 100 protesters, many Lakota, lined the road leading from Keystone to the monument holding signs and playing Lakota music in 95-degree heat. Some held their fists in the air as cars loaded with event attendees passed by. Others held signs that read “Protect SoDak’s First People,” “You Are On Stolen Land” and “Dismantle White Supremacy.””The president needs to open his eyes. We’re people, too, and it was our land first,” said Hehakaho Waste, a spiritual elder with the Oglala Sioux tribe.Several people who once oversaw fire danger at the national memorial have said setting off fireworks over the forest was a bad idea that could lead to a large wildfire. Fireworks were called off after 2009 because a mountain pine beetle infestation increased the fire risks.Noem pushed to get the fireworks resumed soon after she was elected, and enlisted Trump’s help. The president brushed aside fire concerns earlier this year, saying, “What can burn? It’s stone.”Trump has presided over a several large-crowd events — in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and at an Arizona megachurch — even as health officials warn against large gatherings and recommend face masks and social distancing. He plans a July Fourth celebration on the National Mall in Washington despite health concerns from D.C.’s mayor. Trump and Melania Trump plan to host events from the White House South Lawn and from the Ellipse.   

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Democratic Lawmakers Seek More Budget Oversight in Response to USAGM Firings

U.S. House Democrats published an open letter Friday expressing concern about the recent firings of heads of several news agencies under the U.S. Agency for Global Media, urging more transparency in its strategy and suggesting lawmakers should “consider fencing portions of USAGM funding.”Eleven representatives sent the FILE – Michael Pack, President Donald Trump’s choice to lead the U.S. Agency for Global Media, is seen at his confirmation hearing, on Capitol Hill, in Washington, Sept. 19, 2019. Pack’s nomination was confirmed June 4, 2020.Signed by Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel, Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff and other top Democrats, the letter expresses alarm about changes made by USAGM’s CEO, Michael Pack, whom the Senate confirmed to lead the agency last month.Beyond personnel and budgetary matters, the lawmakers expressed concern that the agency’s “truth-based reporting and programming” would be jeopardized if its editorial independence was eroded.The letter was sent ahead of Monday’s scheduled congressional hearing on oversight of the agency by the subcommittee that helps set funding for America’s outreach to the world.Earlier in the week, a bipartisan group of senators sent a letter to Pack saying they planned to review USAGM’s funding in light of recent developments. The senators said they were “deeply concerned” by Pack’s decision to fire the chiefs of Radio Free Asia, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and the Middle East Broadcasting Networks, as well as the Open Technology Fund, which supports the free flow of information to countries that restrict press freedom.“These actions, which came without any consultation with Congress, let alone notification, raise serious questions about the future of the U.S. Agency for Global Media (USAGM) under your leadership,” the senators wrote.Pack and the USAGM have not responded to questions from VOA about the lawmakers’ letters.In an email to USAGM staff shortly after his arrival, Pack promised to respect VOA’s charter and the editorial independence of the news agency, as is mandated by federal law. This week, Pack nominated career employees at VOA, Radio Free Asia, Middle East Broadcasting Networks and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty as acting heads of each agency.FILE – A view of the Office of Cuba Broadcasting in Miami.At the Office of Cuba Broadcasting, Pack named Jeffrey Scott Shapiro, a lawyer, legal analyst and reporter who worked for the Breitbart news website before becoming an adviser at OCB in 2017, as acting director and principal deputy director.The Senate confirmed Pack on June 4, two years after President Donald Trump nominated him to head the agency that oversees U.S. government-funded news networks. Pack said the appointments announced Tuesday “will serve critical roles in allowing our networks to become higher performing and to more effectively serve our audiences.”Together, the five USAGM news networks, including VOA, have a weekly global audience of more than 350 million listeners, viewers and internet users in 61 languages.Trump recently accused VOA of being pro-China in its reporting on Beijing’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak.At the time, VOA’s then-director, Amanda Bennett, defended the U.S.-funded news agency’s mission and reporting.“We export the First Amendment to people around the world who have no other access to factual, truthful, believable information,” she said. “That’s why more than 80% of our 280 million audience in 47 languages in more than 60 countries say they find our work credible.”

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Trial in Killing of Journalist Khashoggi Opens in Turkey

A trial of those charged in the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi opened Friday in Turkey, but none of the 20 Saudi nationals accused in the killing were in attendance.The fiancee of Khashoggi, Hatice Cengiz, told the court in Istanbul that the accused used “great betrayal and deception” to lure the journalist to his death at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.Cengiz told reporters outside the courthouse that “we will continue seeking justice not just in Turkey but everywhere we can.”Khashoggi, who was a U.S. resident, went to the consulate in 2018 to pick up documents that would allow him to marry Cengiz, who is Turkish. He was killed inside the consulate while Cengiz waited outside, sparking global outrage.The journalist, who wrote columns for The Washington Post, was a prominent critic of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.The 20 defendants, including two former aides of the crown prince, have all returned to Saudi Arabia. Riyadh has rejected Turkey’s request for their extradition.Some of the men have been tried in Saudi Arabia behind closed doors.Turkish prosecutors allege the men were sent to Turkey from Riyadh to confront Khashoggi.Rogue operatives blamedSaudi Arabia has given varying accounts of Khashoggi’s disappearance, eventually saying the killing was the work of rogue operatives.The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency has concluded with “medium to high confidence” that Crown Prince Mohammed ordered the killing. The crown prince denies he was involved.The remains of Khashoggi have not been found. Turkish and Saudi prosecutors allege the Saudi agents dismembered his body after the killing.A handyman at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, Zeki Demir, told the Turkish court Friday that he had been asked to light a tandoor oven less than one hour after Khashoggi entered the building. He described the Saudi agents as having an “air of panic.”The trial was adjourned Friday until November 24.

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France’s Macron Picks Little-known Civil Servant as New Prime Minister

French President Emmanuel Macron named Jean Castex, a senior civil servant, as his new prime minister on Friday as he acted to recast his presidency and take back control of policy ahead of elections in 2022.Macron wants to start afresh after the coronavirus crisis reversed some of the hard-fought gains earned from moves to liberalize the economy, and is aware he needs to win back disillusioned voters.Outgoing premier Edouard Philippe gave Castex a “namaste” welcome greeting outside the prime minister’s Matignon office, having earlier tendered his government’s resignation ahead of an anticipated reshuffle.”The economic crisis is already here,” Castex said. “Priorities will therefore have to evolve, ways of working will have to be adapted. We will have to unite the nation to fight this crisis that is setting in.”Macron is reshaping his government as France grapples with the deepest economic slide since World War II, a sharp downturn that will shrink the economy by about 11% in 2020 and bring about big job losses.Castex, 55, hails from the center-right, a career technocrat with experience in local politics who most recently has been known as “Monsieur Deconfinement” for his role bringing the country out of lockdown measures.Also the mayor of Prades, a town in southwest France, he speaks with a local lilt and will help Macron connect with provincial France, Elysee insiders hope.Investors will be watching to see if Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire, who has overseen reforms to liberalize the economy and spent big to keep companies like Air France and Renault afloat during the crisis, keeps his job.FILE – French President Emmanuel Macron speaks during the closing press conference at the G5 Sahel summit on June 30, 2020, in Nouakchott.”The return from summer holidays will be difficult, we must get ready,” Macron said on the eve of his government’s resignation.Taking controlPhilippe’s popularity had grown as he steered France through the coronavirus crisis with calm, leaving Macron with a tough decision over whether to jettison his prime minister and opt for a new team.As he did with Philippe, Macron plucked Castex from relative obscurity. The new prime minister, an alumni of France’s top administrative school for politicians and public servants, has held civil servant positions at all levels of government, including as a senior adviser to former President Nicolas Sarkozy.The appointment of a civil servant with a low profile showed “Macron’s willingness to exert full control over the policy agenda in the coming months,” said Antonio Barroso at risk advisory firm Teneo.An Elysee source confirmed Macron had imposed his choice of chief of staff on Castex but rejected suggestions this was an attempt to reduce Matignon’s influence over decision-making.LoyaltyMacron said in mid-June that he wanted to “reinvent” his presidency as France emerges from its coronavirus slump. Then came his party’s dire showing in nationwide municipal elections on June 28.The president’s first three years in office have been mired in social unrest and the elections showed surging support for the Green party and underlined Macron’s troubles connecting with ordinary folk. His ruling party failed to win a single big city, depriving the president of a local power base ahead of 2022.The most notable win was Philippe’s success in Le Havre. His exit from the government clears the way for him to be mayor of the northern port, from where he could emerge as a rival to Macron in two years.Macron aides said Macron and Philippe were leaving on warm terms. Philippe will be tasked with rebuilding Macron’s majority ahead of 2022, a sign Macron may want to ensure he keeps his former prime minister close to him.”I don’t think Philippe’s loyalty has ever been called into question,” the Elysee official said.

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US Celebrates Independence Amid Push to Remove Symbols of Pro-Slavery Legacy

The United States celebrates its Independence Day holiday this weekend as a campaign to remove symbols of the country’s pro-slavery legacy gains momentum. Efforts to remove monuments that celebrate the Confederacy, a government of 11 slave-holding southern states that seceded from the United States, triggering the Civil War in 1861, began to gain momentum in 2015 after a white supremacist fatally shot nine African Americans inside a church in Charleston, South Carolina. The campaign further escalated after George Floyd, an African American, died in police custody May 25 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Stone Mountain Confederate Memorial, the world’s largest Confederate monument, is among the many memorials that have been the focus of the removal campaign.  FILE – A youngster plays on a rock in front of the carving on Stone Mountain, in Stone Mountain, Ga., June 23, 2015.The 518-meter-high carving that was substantially funded by the Ku Klux Klan features Confederate President Jefferson Davis, and Confederate generals Robert E. Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, all of whom were enslavers. Members of the Klan continue to periodically gather at the memorial. FILE – Paint and graffiti cover the Jefferson Davis Memorial in Richmond, Va., June 7, 2020, following a week of unrest in the U.S. against police brutality and racism in policing.Also Wednesday, Mississippi, the only state that continued to incorporate the Confederate emblem on its official flag, retired the banner in a quiet ceremony in the capital city of Jackson. The flag was sent to a nearby museum after Governor Tate Reeves signed legislation ordering its removal. U.S. President Donald Trump signed an executive order on June 26 to protect statues, monuments and memorials. The move came days after police halted protesters’ efforts to topple a statue of President Andrew Jackson in a park across Pennsylvania Avenue from the White House. Jackson was also a slave holder. Trump visits the Mount Rushmore National Memorial on Friday to celebrate Independence Day. The 18-meter-high granite carving in the Black Hills of South Dakota depicts slave-holding presidents George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, and presidents Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt. Some Native American groups have been protesting the Mount Rushmore memorial, noting the Black Hills were taken from the native Lakota people. Trump Heads to Mt. Rushmore Amid Controversy President’s visit comes as Americans are urged to stay home to avoid COVID infection and as country faces national reckoning on racismConfederate memorials have also been taken down recently in other states.  In Mobile, Alabama, a statue of Confederate Admiral Raphael Semmes was removed in early June and placed in storage days later after city officials agreed to do so. A statue of former Vice President John C. Calhoun, a defender of slavery, was removed from a pedestal in Charleston, South Carolina on June 24 after the city council’s approval. Many African Americans and a growing number of people of other racial groups believe symbols of the Confederacy have racist connotations while many white people, particularly in southern states, maintain they are part of the area’s heritage. The fight for racial justice continues as America celebrates Independence Day on July 4, despite a part of the U.S. Declaration of Independence, written by President Jefferson, that says, “All men are created equal.” 
 

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Redskins to Have ‘Thorough Review’ of Name Amid Race Debate

The Washington Redskins began a “thorough review” of their nickname Friday, a significant step toward moving on from what experts and advocates call a “dictionary-defined racial slur.”Even though owner Dan Snyder had shown no willingness to change the name since buying the team in 1999, the recent national conversation on race has renewed opposition to the name and prompted sponsors to speak up. With support from the NFL, it may finally lead to a new moniker for the long-struggling storied franchise with long-ago Super Bowl success.Washington Redskins head coach Ron Rivera holds up a helmet during a news conference at the team’s NFL football training facility in Ashburn, Virginia, Jan. 2, 2020.”In the last few weeks, we have had ongoing discussions with Dan, and we are supportive of this important step,” Commissioner Roger Goodell said.In a statement, the team said recent events around the U.S. and feedback from the community prompted the formal review.”This process allows the team to take into account not only the proud tradition and history of the franchise but also input from our alumni, the organization, sponsors, the National Football League and the local community it is proud to represent on and off the field,” Snyder said.  Washington Redskins Remove Racist Founder From Team Material George Preston Marshall refused to integrate his team until government forced him to do so in 1962Native American advocacy groups have tried for decades to force a change, and a peer-reviewed UC Berkeley study released earlier this year revealed 67% of those surveyed who strongly identify as Native agreed or strongly agreed the name was offensive. The death of George Floyd in Minnesota and other examples of police brutality against Black people in the U.S. sparked protests worldwide and changes to various brands considered racially insensitive.Asked last month about the name, a spokesman said the team had no comment. But this week marked a possible sea change on the issue with investors writing to FedEx, PepsiCo and other sponsors hoping they woould influence change.FedEx was the first to act publicly. The title sponsor of the team’s stadium in Landover Maryland, FedEx said Thursday, “We have communicated to the team in Washington our request that they change the team name.” FedEx paid $205 million in 1999 for the naming rights to the stadium.Controversy Continues Over Washington Redskins Name

        A leading U.S. 

On Thursday night, Nike appeared to remove all Redskins gear from its online store. Nike did not respond to multiple messages seeking comment. PepsiCo did not immediately respond to an email Friday seeking comment.Coach Ron Rivera, who said in a recent radio interview now is not the time to discuss the name, called it “an issue of personal importance.” Rivera, who is of Mexican and Puerto Rican descent and is the only Hispanic head coach currently in the NFL, added he’d work closely with Snyder during the process.Washington mayor Muriel Bowser said recently the name was an “obstacle” to the team building a stadium in the District. The current lease at FedEx Field expires in 2027, and the old RFK Stadium site in Washington is one of several options for the team’s new headquarters, along with locations in Maryland and Virginia.The team in late June removed racist founder George Preston Marshall from its Ring of Fame. A monument of Marshall was also removed from the RFK Stadium site.Marshall’s granddaughter supported those moves and recently told The Associated Press she’s fine with the team changing its name.”I think if anybody’s offended that they should change the name,” Wright said. “I’ve always felt that way.”

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Trump Heads to Mt. Rushmore Amid Controversy

President Donald Trump Friday heads to Mount Rushmore, where he will headline U.S. Independence Day celebrations featuring fireworks for the first time in more than a decade at the national park in South Dakota.“It’s going to be a fireworks display like few people have seen. It’s going to be very exciting,” Trump said during a White House event Thursday.FILE – FILE- President Donald Trump and Governor Kristi Noem.Americans urged to stay homeAs the nation witnessed a spike in new coronavirus cases, with an 80 percent increase in the past two weeks, health officials urged Americans to stay home on July 4 – a holiday usually celebrated with big parties and town parades.“The safest choice this holiday is to celebrate at home,” the Oregon Health AuthorityFireworks explode over Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument and U.S. Capitol, along the National Mall in Washington, during the Fourth of July celebration, July 4, 2018.Presidential preferenceAmerican presidents typically have celebrated July 4 based on their personal preferences and many have done so in ways that are “very much connected to what’s happening at that moment”, said Matthew Costello, a historian with the White House Historical Association, in an interview with VOA.   James K. Polk, the nation’s 11th president and the one who pursued the expansion of the continental United States through wars in the mid-19th century, celebrated with military parades and other ways that were very much about patriotism, said Costello. “It was about the war effort, but it was also about continuing the fight for what he believed was in the best interest of the country.”Trump is not the first American president to commemorate Independence Day in a pandemic. During the Spanish Flu in 1918, Woodrow Wilson reviewed a parade that marched on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, said Costello.Wilson missed the 4th of July in 1919, as he was returning from the Paris Peace Conference. Many historians, including John M. Barry, professor at the Tulane University School of Public Health and author of The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History, believe Wilson himself fell ill with the flu around that time. 

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Biden Slams Trump on Russia Bounties in Foreign Policy Contrast

Presumptive Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s rebuke of President Donald Trump’s handling of allegations that Russians paid bounties for the killing of American soldiers reflects his longstanding criticism of the president on national security and foreign policy. However, on closer inspection the two presidential rivals are not that far apart on key issues, such as ending foreign wars, protecting American jobs, and countering China’s aggression.On Tuesday, Biden slammed Trump’s passive response to intelligence reports that Russians paid Taliban fighters to kill American soldiers in Afghanistan, claiming he was not briefed, and the reports were not credible.“The idea that somehow he didn’t know or isn’t being briefed, it is a dereliction of duty. If that’s the case, and if he was briefed and nothing was done about this, that’s a dereliction of duty,” Biden said to reporters in Wilmington, Delaware on Tuesday.The White House has disputed a New York Times report on Friday that a Russian military intelligence unit had offered bounties to Taliban fighters in Afghanistan for U.S. and allied soldiers, saying it has “not been verified, and there is no consensus among the intelligence community.”FILE – American soldiers wait on the tarmac in Logar province, Afghanistan.Brink of warBiden, who served as President Barack Obama’s vice president, has been highly critical of what he says is Trump’s “deference” to Russian President Vladimir Putin and other authoritarian leaders, his “haphazard” handling of national security threats, and his “America First” foreign policy.In January, Biden said Trump put the U.S. on the brink of war, after the president authorized a U.S. airstrike that killed top Iranian general Qasem Soleimani in Baghdad, after deadly Iranian backed attacks on Americans in Iraq.  “The failure to consult with our allies or Congress and the reckless disregard for the consequences that would surely follow was, in my view, dangerously incompetent,” Biden said in New York Jan. 7. Calls for “harsh revenge” during Soleimani’s massive funeral in Tehran raised concerns that military conflict with the United States could escalate, but tensions have eased after Iran retaliated with a non-lethal missile attack against a U.S. military base in Iraq.Biden agenda  In contrast to Trump’s reliance on personal diplomacy and unilateral action to confront U.S. security threats, the former vice president said he would organize a summit of democracies to strengthen alliances in the face of growing authoritarianism around the world, and would prioritize negotiation over confrontation. Biden wants to restore military ties with NATO in Europe after Trump strained relations by demanding increased defense spending. Trump recently ordered the military to withdraw about 10,000 U.S. troops from Germany, unless Berlin increases its NATO contributions.  The Trump administration has also demanded steep cost sharing increases for basing U.S. troops in Germany, South Korea and Japan.However, the Democratic presidential candidate is closer to Trump’s position on ending U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan and Syria, continuing negotiations with North Korea to end its nuclear program, and confronting China’s suppression of human rights in Hong Kong and military buildup in the South China Sea.  
On Thursday, Biden issued a statement denouncing China’s crackdown on democracy protests in Hong Kong and as said as president he would prohibit U.S. companies from “abetting repression” in Hong Kong and impose sanctions on China for human rights abuses.NEW: Statement by Vice President Joe Biden on China’s Human Rights Abuses
Biden’s most comprehensive statement to date on China human rights, including several steps he’ll take as President. pic.twitter.com/jlwWYR31We
— Ely Ratner (@elyratner) FILE – Vice President Joe Biden and President Barack Obama wave to the delegates at the conclusion of President Obama’s speech at the Democratic National Convention, September 6, 2012.Obama eraBiden would likely rejoin the Iran nuclear deal, negotiated by the Obama administration, that Trump pulled out of because it did not limit ballistic missile development and support for Iranian backed militias.He would recommit the U.S. to the Paris climate accord, signed by nearly 200 countries and designed to cut greenhouse gas emissions from cars and factories to counter global warming.But Biden said he would not rejoin the Obama-era Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade pact, which Trump pulled out of in early 2017, until stronger protections for labor and American jobs are added.  “There is no going back to business as usual on trade,” Biden said on his campaign website. But he also argues in favor multilateral trades agreements to improve fair trade practices and democratic values in the developing world.  

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English Pubs Are Reopening — They Won’t Be the Same

Asking people in English pubs to keep their distance is going to be tough after they’ve had a few of their favorite tipples.Pub managers will have to be resourceful come Saturday when they and other parts of the hospitality industry in England open their doors to customers for the first time since March 20, provided they meet COVID safety requirements.The British government has been accused of being reckless in allowing pubs to open again, given coronavirus infection and death rates are still high and amid evidence that reopening bars in countries like the U.S. has led to new outbreaks. The U.K. has recorded nearly 44,000 virus-related deaths, third behind the United States and Brazil.Closing Bars to Stop Coronavirus Spread is Backed by ScienceAlcohol lowers inhibitions, so people forget precautions, Natalie Dean, an infectious diseases expert at the University of Florida saysMany cash-starved pubs will take the plunge anyway, though they will be very different from what they were when they shut down given the need to ensure everyone is safe — from registering customers upon entrance to making sure tables are far enough apart to meet social distancing rules.”I’m nervous,” said Are Kolltveit, who runs the Chandos Arms in north London with his wife Emily. They have turned around the fortunes of the pub in the past few years by taking it back to the community, offering activities like live music — in addition to a finely poured pint of ale. It was voted Best Local in the 2019 British Pub Awards.”It won’t be the same, but we’ll do our best to make it just as great as ever,” he said.The pandemic is an existential threat to most of England’s 37,500 pubs. The Chandos, and countless others, have benefited from government measures, notably a wage support scheme that prevented mass firings. Around 90% of pub staff were furloughed under the scheme, according to the Beer and Pub Association.Reopening — as early as 6 a.m. if they wish, the government confirmed Friday — offers hope to publicans like Kolltveit, but margins are tight.Kolltveit wants to think people will abide by the rules, given the pandemic is still ongoing, and says his pub can survive for around five months without further help — provided it runs at 50% of maximum capacity and there’s no second spike in contagions or a new lockdown on businesses.”The best pubs are extensions of the landlord’s personality and the atmosphere of the pub is going to be massively challenged, but I think the best publicans will find ways of reinventing it in some way,” said Pete Brown, an award-winning beer writer.When they reopen, pubs will need to ensure table service, a move that halts the cherished tradition of the English boozer — crowding and chatting around the bar. Guests will be limited to groups of six and, where possible, sit side by side to reduce any risk of contagion that may come from shouting too loudly.They will be spaced at least one meter (3.3 feet) apart and be encouraged to take other measures to keep safe, such as using hand sanitizers. Wearing masks, even by staff, is optional.  Pub staff will also have to register the names of customers at the door — and keep them for 21 days — to assist in any efforts to trace virus contagions.Tim Sheehan, co-owner of Franklins, a pub and restaurant in southeast London, is annoyed by the effective enrolment of the hospitality industry in the effort to track and trace contagions and wonders how he is meant to verify anyone’s health or identity.”How many Mr. and Mrs. Presleys are we going to get? And how do you go about asking people personal questions?,” he said. “I’m dreading it in that respect.”He’s also concerned it will be “like New Year’s Eve” in some pubs, particularly those that cater to younger people, and that social distancing guidelines “may go out of the window after people have had a few shandies.””We are moving to the stage where the advice is to essentially use common sense,” said Jon Cross, a 40-year-old accountant in north London.”Most people will trust their local to make the right choices,” added Cross who said he’d happily frequent his local pub, The Wrestlers, if it isn’t busy.The guidelines are the same whatever the size and layout of the pub. But the challenges are likely to be very different for a huge venue like JD Wetherspoon’s The Moon Under Water in Manchester and a quaint country pub like The George at Burpham, tucked between a church and a cricket pitch in southern England.Pubs like The George are inherent to the rhythm of their rural surrounding. It is starting with an outside barbecue on Saturday, followed by a traditional Sunday roast service indoors and out.”Not since the Duke of Norfolk opened Arundel Railway Station on his land in August 1863 has a summer event been more eagerly awaited by Sussex locals than the re-opening of The George,” said Robert Essex, a 59-year-old marketing services executive and one of the locals who bought the pub in 2013.Not everyone is reopening. The Tollington Arms, a pub near Arsenal’s soccer stadium in north London thinks the government is ignoring expert scientific advice and voiced worries about “contributing to a second wave of this pandemic.”Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Friday that people are “appreciably less likely now to be in close proximity” with someone with the virus and that the latest easing of the lockdown had been carefully thought through.”Let’s not blow it now,” he said.

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English Pubs Are Reopening — They Won’t Be the Same

Asking people in English pubs to keep their distance is going to be tough after they’ve had a few of their favorite tipples.Pub managers will have to be resourceful come Saturday when they and other parts of the hospitality industry in England open their doors to customers for the first time since March 20, provided they meet COVID safety requirements.The British government has been accused of being reckless in allowing pubs to open again, given coronavirus infection and death rates are still high and amid evidence that reopening bars in countries like the U.S. has led to new outbreaks. The U.K. has recorded nearly 44,000 virus-related deaths, third behind the United States and Brazil.Closing Bars to Stop Coronavirus Spread is Backed by ScienceAlcohol lowers inhibitions, so people forget precautions, Natalie Dean, an infectious diseases expert at the University of Florida saysMany cash-starved pubs will take the plunge anyway, though they will be very different from what they were when they shut down given the need to ensure everyone is safe — from registering customers upon entrance to making sure tables are far enough apart to meet social distancing rules.”I’m nervous,” said Are Kolltveit, who runs the Chandos Arms in north London with his wife Emily. They have turned around the fortunes of the pub in the past few years by taking it back to the community, offering activities like live music — in addition to a finely poured pint of ale. It was voted Best Local in the 2019 British Pub Awards.”It won’t be the same, but we’ll do our best to make it just as great as ever,” he said.The pandemic is an existential threat to most of England’s 37,500 pubs. The Chandos, and countless others, have benefited from government measures, notably a wage support scheme that prevented mass firings. Around 90% of pub staff were furloughed under the scheme, according to the Beer and Pub Association.Reopening — as early as 6 a.m. if they wish, the government confirmed Friday — offers hope to publicans like Kolltveit, but margins are tight.Kolltveit wants to think people will abide by the rules, given the pandemic is still ongoing, and says his pub can survive for around five months without further help — provided it runs at 50% of maximum capacity and there’s no second spike in contagions or a new lockdown on businesses.”The best pubs are extensions of the landlord’s personality and the atmosphere of the pub is going to be massively challenged, but I think the best publicans will find ways of reinventing it in some way,” said Pete Brown, an award-winning beer writer.When they reopen, pubs will need to ensure table service, a move that halts the cherished tradition of the English boozer — crowding and chatting around the bar. Guests will be limited to groups of six and, where possible, sit side by side to reduce any risk of contagion that may come from shouting too loudly.They will be spaced at least one meter (3.3 feet) apart and be encouraged to take other measures to keep safe, such as using hand sanitizers. Wearing masks, even by staff, is optional.  Pub staff will also have to register the names of customers at the door — and keep them for 21 days — to assist in any efforts to trace virus contagions.Tim Sheehan, co-owner of Franklins, a pub and restaurant in southeast London, is annoyed by the effective enrolment of the hospitality industry in the effort to track and trace contagions and wonders how he is meant to verify anyone’s health or identity.”How many Mr. and Mrs. Presleys are we going to get? And how do you go about asking people personal questions?,” he said. “I’m dreading it in that respect.”He’s also concerned it will be “like New Year’s Eve” in some pubs, particularly those that cater to younger people, and that social distancing guidelines “may go out of the window after people have had a few shandies.””We are moving to the stage where the advice is to essentially use common sense,” said Jon Cross, a 40-year-old accountant in north London.”Most people will trust their local to make the right choices,” added Cross who said he’d happily frequent his local pub, The Wrestlers, if it isn’t busy.The guidelines are the same whatever the size and layout of the pub. But the challenges are likely to be very different for a huge venue like JD Wetherspoon’s The Moon Under Water in Manchester and a quaint country pub like The George at Burpham, tucked between a church and a cricket pitch in southern England.Pubs like The George are inherent to the rhythm of their rural surrounding. It is starting with an outside barbecue on Saturday, followed by a traditional Sunday roast service indoors and out.”Not since the Duke of Norfolk opened Arundel Railway Station on his land in August 1863 has a summer event been more eagerly awaited by Sussex locals than the re-opening of The George,” said Robert Essex, a 59-year-old marketing services executive and one of the locals who bought the pub in 2013.Not everyone is reopening. The Tollington Arms, a pub near Arsenal’s soccer stadium in north London thinks the government is ignoring expert scientific advice and voiced worries about “contributing to a second wave of this pandemic.”Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Friday that people are “appreciably less likely now to be in close proximity” with someone with the virus and that the latest easing of the lockdown had been carefully thought through.”Let’s not blow it now,” he said.

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