Friday morning news – July 31, 2020

Economy takes record dive in most recent quarter » The U.S. economy plunged by a record-shattering 32.9 percent annual rate in the last quarter, ending in June. 

That came as COVID-19 pushed many already hurting businesses to close for a second time. That sent unemployment surging to nearly 15 percent. 

PNC economist Gus Faucher said Thursday…

FAUCHER: The good news is that the number will be better in the third quarter and we will see the economy return to growth. But the level of economic activity is going to continue to be much lower than it was at the end of 2019. 

Republicans and Democrats continue to wrangle over another economic stimulus package to help individuals and employers. 

Prosecutor: No charges against officer who shot Michael Brown » St. Louis County’s top prosecutor announced Thursday that he will not charge the former police officer who fatally shot Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

It was nearly six years ago that a grand jury declined to indict Darren Wilson, the white police officer who shot Brown, an 18-year-old Black man. 

But prosecuting Attorney Wesley Bell, the county’s first Black prosecutor, re-investigated the case over five months. 

Bell said his office conducted a review of witness statements, forensic reports, and other evidence. And he concluded the evidence simply did not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Wilson committed a crime. 

MLB announces new coronavirus rules following outbreak » Major League baseball is adjusting it’s coronavirus protocols as the virus continues to spread in big league clubhouses. WORLD’s Leigh Jones has more. 

LEIGH JONES, REPORTER: Another player for the Miami Marlins has reportedly tested positive for the virus, bringing the total number of infected Marlins players to 17. Two coaches also tested positive.

And now the Philadelphia Phillies announced Thursday that they’re cancelling a weekend series against the Blue Jays after a coach and a staff member tested positive. 

In response, Major League Baseball has announced changes. 

Teams will have to use surgical masks instead of cloth masks while traveling. They’ll also have to travel with a compliance officer to help enforce the rules. 

And the league is reportedly investigating in-stadium behavior, such as mask wearing and social distancing when possible as well as the off-field activities of players, coaches, and staff. 

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Leigh Jones. 

Herman Cain dies of COVID-19 » Former GOP presidential candidate turned talk radio host Herman Cain has died  after contracting COVID-19. That despite doctors saying last weekend that he would likely recover.

Cain was the retired CEO of the Godfather’s Pizza chain when he mounted a strong challenge for the Republican nomination eight years ago.

CAIN: This economy is on life support. That’s why my 9-9-9 plan is a bold solution. 

Cain heard there during a September, 2012 debate. 

Accusations of sexual harassment and infidelity, which he denied, led him to end his bid early. Cain, who once served as an associate minister at Antioch Baptist Church in Atlanta, beat stage 4 colon cancer in 2006. 

He was 74 years old. 

Trump suggests delaying November election » President Trump on Thursday suggested delaying the Nov. 3 presidential election. WORLD’s Anna Johansen reports. 

ANNA JOHANSEN, REPORTER: President Trump tweeted “With Universal Mail-In Voting (not Absentee Voting, which is good), 2020 will be the most INACCURATE & FRAUDULENT Election in history. It will be a great embarrassment to the USA.” He then asked. “Delay the Election until people can properly, securely and safely vote???”

It was the first time Trump publicly raised the idea of pushing back the vote. 

But shifting the election is virtually impossible.

The date of the presidential election is enshrined in federal law. It’s the Tuesday after the first Monday in November every fourth year. And it would require an act of Congress to change. Lawmakers in both parties slammed the door shut on that notion Thursday.

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Anna Johansen. 

NASA launches most ambition Mars mission yet » The biggest, most sophisticated Mars rover ever built blasted off for the red planet Thursday.

AUDIO: [Sound of Mars launch]

NASA’s Perseverance rover rode an Atlas V rocket into a clear morning sky in the world’s third and final Mars launch of the summer. China and the United Arab Emirates got a head start last week, but all three missions should reach their destination in February after a journey of seven months and 300 million miles.

The rover is a car-sized vehicle bristling with cameras, microphones, drills and lasers. The launch was part of an ambitious, long-range project to bring the first Martian rock samples back to Earth for analysis.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine…

BRIDENSTINE: NASA is one of those agencies. We do stunning things in good times and in bad times. We have a history of being able to do this. But there is a reason we call the robot Perseverance, because going to Mars is hard. It is always hard. It has never been easy. 

The plutonium-powered, six-wheeled rover will drill down and collect tiny geological specimens that will be brought home in about 11 years from now. The overall cost: more than $8 billion.

NASA pronounced the launch the start of “humanity’s first round trip to another planet.”

(AP Photo/Evan Vucci) President Donald Trump holds articles as he speaks during a news conference at the White House, Thursday, July 30, 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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