Tuesday morning news – June 30, 2020

Beaches, bars close amid coronavirus surge » With the coronavirus surging in the south, many Florida beaches are shutting down ahead of the July 4th weekend.  

Broward County Mayor Dale Holness told reporters…

HOLNESS: Miami Beach has closed their beaches. Miami-Dade County has closed their beaches. Palm Beach is closing theirs. We know that if we stay open we’ll have a crowd here and that would lead to further spread of the COVID-19 disease.

And the county is now mandating the use of masks at indoor businesses. 

Florida is also shutting down bars. And Texas is doing the same. Governor Greg Abbott said—quote— “it is clear that the rise in cases is largely driven by certain types of activities, including Texans congregating in bars.”

The state is also cutting back restaurant capacity from 75 percent to 50 percent and placing new restrictions on large outdoor gatherings. 

Florida and Texas were among the first states to reopen many businesses, including restaurants and bars. Some critics blasted the early re-openings as irresponsible. But Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said Monday…

PAXTON: It’s easy to second guess, but the reality is we’ve only had around 3,000 deaths, which is 3,000 too many. But we have 28 million people. We can’t keep the economy shut down forever. We don’t have a cure for this and so there’s going to be a constant balance. 

In New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo said Monday that shopping malls can only reopen if they have or install HEPA air filtration systems. 

Maker of COVID-19 drug announces treatment price » The maker of the drug Remdesivir has announced the price for a typical treatment course of the drug. Remesivir is delivered through an IV and is shown to help severely ill COVID-19 patients recover more quickly. 

Gilead Sciences said Monday that it will cost about $2,300 for people covered by government health programs in the United States and other rich nations. And it will be about $3,100 for patients with private insurance. The amount that patients pay out of pocket will depend on insurance, income, and other factors.

Gilead’s CEO Dan O’Day suggested that because of the pandemic the company is pricing the drug lower than it would otherwise to “ensure wide access.” But some critics say the drug is overpriced, given the amount taxpayers invested toward the drug’s development.

In more than a hundred poorer nations, Gilead is allowing generic makers to supply the drug at a steep discount. 

Boeing Max jets begin certification test flights » Boeing’s troubled 737 Max jetliners are one step closer this week to returning to service. WORLD’s Kristen Flavin has that story. 

KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: Boeing Max jets took to the air on Monday as the FAA began certification test flights. 

The Federal Aviation Administration grounded the planes for more than a year following two deadly crashes. This week’s flights with FAA test pilots are a key step to returning the planes to service. 

The company has revamped a faulty flight control system that pushed the planes into nosedives and led to crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia.

If and when the FAA deems the jetlines airworthy, it’s likely to take at least a month to get pilots trained … and to get mothballed planes upgraded, inspected, and serviced. 

Boeing delivered nearly 400 Max jets to airlines before they were grounded, and the company has built several hundred more.

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Kristen Flavin. 

White House: Top officials confirm Trump not briefed on Russian intel » The White House on Monday addressed a recent New York Times report about a U.S. intelligence assessment. 

The report referenced intelligence suggesting Russian military operatives secretly offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants for killing American troops. And The Times reported that President Trump had been briefed on that intel. 

President Trump called that fake news and White House Press Secretary Kaleigh McEnany said Monday…

MCENANY: The CIA director, NSA, national security adviser and the chief of staff can all confirm that neither the president nor the vice president were briefed on the alleged Russian bounty intelligence. 

She said that—even now—Trump has not been briefed on the allegations because the intelligence—quote—“would not be elevated to the president until it was verified.”

She added that there is “no consensus within the intelligence community on these allegations” and that some intelligence officials have their doubts. 

But some Democrats say they’re not buying the White House explanation because it’s rare for intelligence to be confirmed with absolute certainty before reaching the White House. 

Report: China subjects Uighers to forced birth control, abortion » A new report claims the Chinese government is subjecting Uighur Muslims to forced abortions and birth control. WORLD’s Leigh Jones has that story. 

LEIGH JONES, REPORTER: An Associated Press investigation found a sweeping campaign by the Chinese government to curb its Muslim population in the Xinjiang region. The investigation cites state documents and interviews with 30 ex-detainees and others. 

They show the state regularly subjects minority women to pregnancy checks, and forces intrauterine devices, sterilization, and even abortion on hundreds of thousands of woman. 

China backs the control measures with mass detention both as a threat and as a punishment for failure to comply. The AP report stated that having too many children is a major reason people are sent to detention camps. Parents of three or more are often ripped away from their families in police raids unless they can pay huge fines. 

Across the Xinjiang region, birth rates continue to plummet, falling nearly 24 percent last year alone—compared to just 4.2 percent nationwide.

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Leigh Jones.

(AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee) Beachgoers enjoy a day on the sand near a lifeguard stand, Wednesday, June 10, 2020, on Miami Beach, Florida’s famed South Beach. 

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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