Friday morning news – July 3, 2020

U.S. sees record job gain, but fresh shutdowns threaten recovery » New jobs numbers show that the U.S. economy continued to bounce back in June. The economy added 4.8 million jobs—a record gain. And it smashed expectations of just under 3 million jobs.

President Trump on Thursday touted the recovery and said the economy is “roaring back.” 

TRUMP: 80 percent of small businesses are now open. New business applications have doubled since late March. 

But while unemployment is down, it remains high at about 11 percent. And Trump’s presidential rival, Joe Biden on Thursday said he was very happy for the millions who returned to work, but… 

BIDEN: There is one number that I was stunned the president didn’t mention even once in the process in the entire time he talked about it. The number was 50,000. Yesterday, the number of new COVID-19 cases in America topped 50,000 in a single day. 

The positive jobs numbers were compiled during the second week of June, just before many states began to pause or backtrack on reopenings.

Coronavirus cases rising in 40 states » And coronavirus cases are now rising in 40 of the 50 states. Thirty-six states are also seeing an increase in the percentage of positive tests. 

Florida set a daily record Thursday, reporting more than 10,000 new cases. Speaking in the Tampa area yesterday, Governor Ron DeSantis said the numbers suggest younger Floridians are fueling the spread of the virus. 

DESANTIS: You go back a month, the median age of our cases was in the 50’s. Now, the median age for the cases here in Hillsborough County for the entire pandemic has dropped to 34. And there will be days where we’ll get cases in Hillsborough County and the median age will be under 30. 

Colorado Governor Jared Polis shares the same concern. His state is the latest to shut down bars and nightclubs. 

POLIS: Our uptick, much like the major spikes in other states is largely among a younger demographic. And I think it is partially attributable to the bars and nightclubs and also potentially to the large public gatherings in the protests movements we’ve seen outside. 

And Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued an order Thursday requiring face masks in public spaces in nearly every county in the state. 

Health officials say Americans not wearing masks or socially distancing as states have reopened is largely to blame for COVID-19’s resurgence. 

Lawmakers move to block U.S. troop withdrawal from Germany » Lawmakers on Capitol Hill, including some notable Republicans, are pushing back against President’ Trump’s plans to drastically cut the U.S. troop presence in Germany. WORLD’s Kristen Flavin has more. 

KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: About 35,000 U.S. troops are now stationed in Germany. The president’s plan would cut that number by nearly 10,000. 

But GOP Senator Mitt Romney is among the lawmakers worried that the withdrawal would weaken the security of NATO allies. And Romney said the move would be a “gift” to Russia. 

He’s pushing an amendment to the military spending bill for the next fiscal year that would block the use of funds to move troops from Germany. That is, unless the defense secretary can vouch for the move. Mark Esper would have to certify that it would not weaken NATO’s defense, hurt the U.S. military’s global objectives, or lead to big redeployment costs down the road.

And the GOP’s ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee, Mac Thornberry said his committee could approve a similar measure. 

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Kristen Flavin. 

Fire hits nuclear facility in Iran » In Iran, a fire and an explosion struck a centrifuge production plant above an underground nuclear enrichment facility on Thursday. 

The Natanz nuclear facility is one of the most tightly guarded sites in the country after earlier acts of sabotage there.

Iran downplayed the fire, calling it an “incident” that only affected an under-construction “industrial shed.”

But Iran’s state-run news agency published a commentary addressing the possibility of sabotage by enemy nations such as Israel and the United States.

Prosecutors charge longtime Epstein associate » Authorities in New Hampshire have arrested a close associate of Jeffrey Epstein. 

Acting U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss made the announcement Thursday. 

STRAUSS: Today we announce charges against Ghislaine Maxwell for helping Jeffrey Epstein sexually exploit and abuse multiple minor girls from a period of 1994 to 1997. 

Prosecutors say the 58-year-old British socialite helped recruit three girls for sexual encounters with the now-deceased billionaire—one as young as 14.

Epstein killed himself in a federal detention center in New York last year while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.

Strauss called the charges against Maxwell a “prequel” to charges prosecutors brought against Epstein a year ago.

(AP Photo/Evan Vucci) President Donald Trump arrives on stage to speak at a campaign rally at the BOK Center, Saturday, June 20, 2020, in Tulsa, Okla.

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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