Monday morning news – June 29, 2020

Coronavirus cases surpass 2.5 million in United States » The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the United States surpassed 2.5 million on Sunday. That as new hot spots are emerging from Arizona to Florida.

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar told NBC’s Meet the Press

AZAR: We’re seeing surging in cases in counties, especially in the southern parts of the United States. We’ve gotten reports from our governors that the majority of the positive cases we’re seeing are age 35 and under. A large number of those are going to be asymptomatic. 

Georgia is the latest southern state to break daily case records. On Friday, Georgia set a new record with 1,900 new cases and then broke that record the next day with nearly 2,000. 

That came as the United States hit an all-time high of 40,000 new cases on Friday.

In Texas, Vice President Mike Pence joined Governor Greg Abbott at a news conference in Dallas Sunday. Pence said it’s “all hands on deck.”

PENCE: If the governor needs additional public resources to expand testing, that will be made available. 

And in Florida, where the caseload is also spiraling upward, Governor Ron DeSantis said his state is testing more than ever, but the results are troubling.

DESANTIS: We have seen the positivity rate increase from the May standby of 4 or 5 percent to now 6/14 was almost 10 percent and now 12 percent. 

Global coronavirus cases surpass 10 million » Globally, confirmed coronavirus infections hit the 10 million mark Sunday, as voters in Poland and France went to the polls for elections already delayed by the virus.  

French voters cast ballots wearing mandatory masks and carrying their own pens to sign voting registers. Poles also wore masks and used hand sanitizer, and some in virus-hit areas were told to mail in their ballots to avoid further contagion.

Coronavirus cases are still rising in some parts of Europe, but not at the rate seen right now in the United States.

The European Union is expected to place new travel restrictions on Americans soon.

White House denies report of briefing on Russian bounties against U.S. troops » President Trump is calling a Friday New York Times report fake news. The Times reported that Trump had been briefed on U.S. intelligence that Russian military operatives offered bounties to militants in Afghanistan for killing American troops.

In a Sunday morning tweet, the president said “Nobody briefed or told me” or Vice President Mike Pence or chief of staff Mark Meadows about “the so-called attacks on our troops in Afghanistan by Russians.”

He added “Everybody is denying it & there have not been many attacks on us.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi pounced on the report over the weekend. 

PELOSI: This is as bad as it gets. And yet the president will not confront  the Russians on this score—denies being brief. Whether he was or not, his administration knows. And some of our allies who work with us in Afghanistan had been briefed and accept this report.

In a statement, the White House did not confirm or deny the accuracy of the reported intelligence. But it said the Times story “erroneously suggested” that Trump was briefed on the matter.

Miss. lawmakers working to remove Confederate emblem from flag » Mississippi legislators have voted to remove a Confederate battle emblem from the state flag. 

The state House and Senate voted in succession Sunday to retire the flag, with broad bipartisan support. Republican Gov. Tate Reeves has said he will sign the bill.

A commission would then design a new flag that cannot include the Confederate symbol and that must have the words “In God We Trust.”

Trump tweets, deletes video clip of supporter shouting racist phrase » President Trump is taking heat tweeting a video on Sunday showing one of his supporters chanting a racist phrase. 

The video showed heated dueling demonstrations between Trump supporters and opponents at The Villages retirement community in Florida. 

The president tweeted the video saying “Thank you to the great people of The Villages.” Moments into the video clip, a man drove past in a golf cart displaying pro-Trump signs and shouting…

AUDIO: [Sound of demonstration]

The White House later said the president did not hear the “white power” chant on the video.

South Carolina Senator Tim Scott, the lone Black Republican in the Senate, told CNN…

SCOTT: There’s no question he should not have retweeted it and he should just take it down. 

The president did delete the tweet a short time later. White House spokesman Judd Deere said in a statement that “President Trump is a big fan of The Villages. He did not hear the one statement made on the video. What he did see was tremendous enthusiasm” from his supporters.

(AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, File) This June 25, 2020, file photo shows a Mississippi state flag flying outside the Capitol in Jackson, Miss. 

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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