Friday morning news – July 24, 2020

Trump calls of Fla. segment of GOP convention » President Trump announced Thursday that he’s canceling his in-person speech at the Republican National Convention … and other RNC activities in Florida.

TRUMP: The timing of this event is not right. It’s just not right with what’s happened recently, the flare up in Florida, to have a big convention it’s not the right time. 

The president had already moved the convention from North Carolina and scaled back its programming in Jacksonville in an effort to keep it on track. 

A small subset of GOP delegates will still formally renominate Trump on Aug. 24 in Charlotte.

Trump said he’ll deliver an acceptance speech in an alternate form, potentially online.

U.S. passes 4 million COVID-19 cases as two states record fatalities » His announcement came as United States passed 4 million confirmed coronavirus cases. And positive tests are still rising in 42 states.

While increased testing is part of the reason … more people are also checking into hospitals in many states. In Georgia, hospitalizations have tripled in just a month. 

And at least two states recorded new record highs this week in daily COVID-19 fatalities. Florida reported 173 deaths on Thursday. And 197 people died one day earlier in Texas.

Corpus Christi Mayor Joe McComb said the virus is exploding along the Texas coast. And he pointed back to Memorial Day weekend. 

MCCOMB: We had probably over a 100,000 people on our beaches. That meant they went into our grocery stores, our restaurants, department stores, everything here

The Republican mayor said the public seemed to let its guard down way too soon.

U.S. unemployment claims rise » The number of Americans seeking jobless benefits rose last week to 1.4 million, up from 1.3 million the week before. It was the first time new claims increased in nearly four months … a possible sign of the renewed toll the recent COVID-19 surge is taking on the economy. 

But chief economist for PNC, Shelley Faucher, said the news may not be as bad as it sounds. 

FAUCHER: Although the number of people who have filed for unemployment insurance is up, the number of people—total people who are getting benefits did fall slightly in mid-July. So perhaps that’s an indication that some of those people who lost their jobs are being rehired. 

Before the pandemic, jobless applications had never exceeded 700,000.

Largest U.S. theater chain further delays reopening » No industry has been hit harder than the movie theater business. Screens have been almost entirely blacked out for months … and there’s no end in sight. WORLD’s Leigh Jones has more. 

LJ: The world’s largest theater chain, AMC, announced Thursday that it will not reopen next week as planned.

Regal Cinemas and Cinemark theaters have also announced further delays. 

Those announcements came as Warner Bros. indefinitely pushed back the release of its highly anticipated action-thriller Tenet … which was supposed to hit the big screen this month. And Disney delayed the release of its live-action remake of Mulan, slated for an August release.  

John Fithian is president of the National Association of Theatre Owners. He recently urged studios to release blockbuster films soon. He called the shutdown an “existential” threat to the industry, adding … “If we go a year without new movies, it’s over.”

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Leigh Jones. 

Justice Dept. dispatches federal officers to Chicago, Albuquerque » The Trump administration announced this week that the federal government is sending federal law enforcement officers to Chicago and Albuquerque … to battle rising crime in those cities.

The recent support includes at least 100 officers from the Department of Homeland Security. Federal agents are already on the ground in Kansas City, Mo., and Portland.

Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum has sued the U.S. government, claiming its agents arrested protesters unfairly. 

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler joined protesters in the streets Wednesday night, calling the presence of federal officers an occupation of his city. 

WHEELER: We’re demanding that they leave!

Wheeler was still among protesters when federal agents fired tear gas into the crowd. That after some began setting fires and launching fireworks. 

Democratic mayors from 15 cities signed a letter to Attorney General William Barr condemning the government’s actions in Portland. 

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she had come to an agreement with U.S. officials, and local authorities “welcome actual partnership.”

China launches rover to Mars » China launched its most ambitious Mars mission yet on Thursday … in a bold attempt to join the United States in successfully landing a spacecraft on the red planet. 

SOUND (rocket NATS): [slowly out under start of Anna’s RV]

WORLD’s Anna Johansen has that story. 

AJ: With engines blazing orange, a Long March-5 rocket took off under clear skies from an island south of China’s mainland.

China’s space agency said the rocket carried the probe for 36 minutes before successfully placing it on the looping path that will eventually take it into Mars’ orbit.

It marked the second flight to Mars this week, after a United Arab Emirates orbiter blasted off on a rocket from Japan on Monday. The United States is aiming its most sophisticated Mars rover ever from Florida next week.

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Anna Johansen.

Major League Baseball returns » After four months of coronavirus delays, baseball is back! 

SOUND (game call NATS): It’ll be a 1-1 to Stanton. And the pitch is swung on and hit high in the air to left-center. That ball is high, it is far, it is gone!

The Yankees’ Giancarlo Stanton with the 2-run homer in the first official game of the 2020 season. The call, heard there on WFAN radio. The stands were empty, but Major League Baseball is using some recorded, “piped in” fan noise during games this season. 

The Yankees beat the defending world Series champion Nationals in Washington 4-to-1. New York’s new ace Garrit Cole out-dueled Nationals ace Max Scherzer with 5 dominant innings in a rain-shortened game. 

Washington was without one of its star players last night. The team announced Thursday that outfielder Juan Soto had tested positive for COVID-19.

I’m Kent Covington.

Straight ahead: redefining racial reconciliation.

Plus, Word Play with George Grant.

This is The World and Everything in It.

Posters for upcoming movies are displayed in an empty corridor at the currently closed AMC Burbank Town Center 8 movie theaters complex in Burbank, California. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello, File)

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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