Thursday morning news – June 11, 2020

House lawmakers hold hearing on police reform » Lawmakers on Capitol Hill wore masks and sat three seats apart during a hearing Wednesday on police reform. 

Members of the House Judiciary Committee heard testimony from civil rights and law enforcement leaders, as well as George Floyd’s brother Philonise. 

FLOYD: Honor George and make the necessary changes that make law enforcement the solution and not the problem. 

Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo vowed that he won’t let Floyd’s death be in vain. 

ARRADONDO: What our city needs now more than ever is a pathway and a plan that provides hope, reassurance, and actionable measures of reform.

Democrats have introduced sweeping police reform legislation that would make a series of changes on a national level. California Congresswoman Karen Bass wrote the bill. 

BASS: It should never be that you could do a chokehold in one city and not in another. There should be basic standards, there should be basic accreditation, there should be continuing education just as there are in so many other professions. 

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said President Trump has been reviewing police reform proposals to determine what he can support. She said she hopes to have an announcement soon. But Trump will not agree to House Democrats’ proposal to remove legal shields that protect police from civil lawsuits. 

Trump says his administration will not consider renaming bases » McEnany also relayed the president’s response to a push to rename Army bases named after Confederate generals, like Ft. Bragg and Ft. Hood. Trump said those bases have become part of a heritage of victory and freedom. 

MCANANY: The United States of America trained and deployed our heroes here and won two world wars. 

The president said, therefore, he will “not even consider” renaming them. 

Series of attacks target police » As the debate over police reform continues, law enforcement officers have been the victims of a series of recent attacks. WORLD’s Kristen Flavin reports. 

KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: A sheriff’s deputy was wounded Wednesday while responding to a report of a gunman firing shots at a central California police station.  

The gunman fired at the Paso Robles Police Department around 3:45 a.m. Investigators are still searching for the suspect.

The wounded deputy was hospitalized in serious but stable condition. 

That shooting follows two recent deadly attacks targeting officers in California.

An Air Force sergeant allegedly carried out an attack on Saturday that killed Santa Cruz County sheriff’s Sgt. Damon Gutzwiller and injured another deputy.

The FBI is investigating whether he has links to the killing of a federal security officer who was shot outside the U.S. courthouse in Oakland on May 29th.

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Kristen Flavin.

Fed to continue aid, hold rates through 2022 » Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell made clear Wednesday that the Fed will keep doing all it can to limit COVID-19’s damage to the economy. He said it will keep fueling lending programs and continue to buy bonds to keep borrowing rates low. 

POWELL: We are deploying these lending powers to an unprecedented extent enabled in large part by financial backing and support by and from the Treasury. We will continue to use these powers forcefully, proactively, and aggressively until we are confident that we are solidly on the road to recovery. 

He also forecasted no rate hikes through the end of 2022.

The Fed has cut its benchmark short-term rate to near zero. Keeping its rate ultra-low for more than two more years could make it easier for consumers and businesses to borrow and spend enough to sustain an economy.

Fed officials estimate that the economy will shrink 6.5 percent this year, before expanding 5 percent in 2021. They foresee the unemployment rate, now at 13 percent, continuing to fall. 

J&J coronavirus vaccine human trials moved up to July » But Powell said the economy likely cannot begin a full recovery until the coronavirus crisis has passed. And labs around the world are working overtime to defeat the virus. 

Johnson & Johnson is accelerating human trials of a potential vaccine. WORLD’s Anna Johansen has that story. 

ANNA JOHANSEN, REPORTER: The company initially aimed to start human trials in September. But chief scientific officer Paul Stoffels said “based on the strength of preclinical data we have seen so far and interactions with regulatory authorities” those trials will start next month.

Johnson & Johnson stated earlier this year that if the vaccine proves safe and effective, it could make as many as 900 million doses by April of next year. 

Worldwide, more than 100 possible vaccines are in development. And at least 10 are in clinical trials. 

The National Institutes of Health has shown optimism over an experimental vaccine from biotech firm Moderna. 

The company plans to recruit about 30,000 people when it moves to phase three of its trial next month. 

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Anna Johansen. 

Movie theater chains plan to reopen in weeks ahead » Moviegoers may be hearing this again soon … 

AUDIO: Please be quiet and courteous to others and silence your cell phones now.

After three months of a near total nationwide blackout, movie theaters are preparing to reopen.

Cinemark Theaters will start firing up projectors in the next few weeks. And the two largest U.S. theater chains, AMC and Regal, both plan to reopen nearly all of their theaters next month. 

But with social distancing guidelines still in place almost everywhere, it’s unclear if studios will be reluctant to release new films to only partially filled theaters. 

The larger question might be whether moviegoers feel safe. But many industry insiders believe there will be pent up demand and people will be anxious to get out of the house and back to the movies.

(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky) President Donald Trump speaks during a roundtable discussion with African-American supporters in the Cabinet Room of the White House, Wednesday, June 10, 2020, in Washington. 

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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