10 things you need to know today: August 1, 2020

Members of Congress and the White House have yet to make an agreement for the next iteration of the CARES coronavirus relief bill, ending the week of negotiations with frustration on all sides. Friday marked the expiration date for the $600/week unemployment boost, meaning nearly 30 million U.S. workers will now have a lapse in their unemployment benefits. Democrats have argued the boost should continue at $600/week, while Republicans have proposed cutting the aid to $200/week. Republicans have also pushed a short-term fix for unemployment payments, while Democrats want to pass a large-scale $3 trillion bill that includes the payments. Each side has blamed the other for the failure to strike a deal. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) were scheduled to continue negotiations with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows on Saturday. [The Washington Post, Reuters]

President Trump on Friday said he will ban the popular Chinese-owned video app TikTok from the United States, either via executive order or another method. Earlier in July, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the U.S. was looking into banning the app because of national security concerns. In response to Trump’s announcement, a TikTok spokesperson told NBC News the company has created jobs in the U.S. and is committed to protecting users’ privacy. Meanwhile, Microsoft has reportedly been working to buy TikTok from its Chinese parent company, ByteDance, for some time. Trump reportedly said he wasn’t a fan of the idea, but Bloomberg reports Trump’s threat to ban the app is likely a “negotiation tactic” to pressure ByteDance into selling the app to a U.S. company. [CNBC, Bloomberg]

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, appeared before Congress on Friday for a hearing on the federal government’s coronavirus response. Fauci said the U.S. outbreak of COVID-19 has been so severe partly because states did not shut down thoroughly enough and lockdown measures were rolled back too quickly. He also suggested the response was too splintered across several state and local plans rather than a unified federal plan. “I think there was such a diversity of response in this country from different states, that we really did not have a unified bringing everything down,” he said. Fauci also reiterated he believed a vaccine could be ready by the end of the year. [Politico]

The Bahamas is expected to continue to feel the brunt of Hurricane Isaias on Saturday. Officials evacuated people who have been living in temporary structures on Abaco Island since Hurricane Dorian caused severe damage last year. After it moves on from the Bahamas, the storm will head toward Florida, which will likely experience either a direct hit or a close call. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) issued a state of emergency for counties along the Atlantic coast. Forecasts then anticipate Isaias moving up the East Coast early next week, prompting states like North Carolina and Virginia to issue their own states of emergency. A mandatory evacuation of North Carolina’s Okracoke Island, which was also hit by Dorian, was ordered beginning Saturday morning. The storm reportedly has maximum sustained winds of 85 miles per hour, but is not expected to strengthen significantly over the weekend. [The Washington Post, USA Today]

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced Friday it was time to “squeeze the brake pedal” on the easing of coronavirus lockdown restrictions in England after an increase in cases for the first time since May. England’s chief medical officer, Prof. Chris Whitty, added that the country has “probably reached near the limit, or the limits, of what we can do in terms of opening up society.” Cases are also on the rise in other European countries, including France, which has seen more than 1,300 new infections per day for the last three days. At the beginning of July, the number of daily new cases in France had dropped to several hundred. It’s been suggested the recent spike is related to increased holiday travel. [The Guardian, BBC]

A federal appeals court overturned the death sentence for Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on Friday. Tsarnaev, along with his older brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev, was found guilty of planting two pressure cooker bombs at the finish line of the marathon in April 2013, killing three people and injuring more than 250 others. A three-judge panel of the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals determined the initial trial did not properly screen jurors for possible biases. The judges said Tsarnaev “will spend his remaining days locked up in prison, with the only matter remaining being whether he will die by execution.” Tamerlan was killed by police following a days-long manhunt for the brothers. Dzhokhar was convicted on 30 charges and is in prison in Colorado. [NBC News]

Hong Kong authorities have issued the arrest of six pro-democracy activists — Nathan Law, Wayne Chan Ka-kui, Honcques Laus, Simon Cheng, Ray Wong Toi-yeung, and American citizen Samuel Chu — living in exile abroad on suspicion of secession or colluding with foreign governments. The warrants are the first example of the city’s law enforcement using extraterritorial power to go after activists who aren’t living in Hong Kong since Beijing passed a new national security law that seeks to undermine the movement. Chu said the move shows “how desperate and how scared” China is of international pressure. Separately, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam said the city’s Legislative Council election slated for September will be postponed due to coronavirus concerns. But critics believe the real reason behind the decision was that the Chinese Communist Party wants to avoid defeat from opposition candidates. [Al Jazeera, The New York Times]

On Friday, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred reportedly said the league could shut down the entire season if teams don’t find a way to contain coronavirus infections among players and staffers. Earlier in the day, a game between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Milwaukee Brewers was postponed after two Cardinals players tested positive for COVID-19. Just days ago, a Miami Marlins coronavirus outbreak prompted the MLB’s first game cancellation related to COVID-19, and the Marlins’ season was put on hold. With infections among Philadelphia Phillies staff and now the Cardinals, The Washington Post notes, “six teams, or 20 percent of the league, will sit idle Friday due to coronavirus-related postponements.” [ESPN, The Associated Press]

A teenager was arrested Friday in Florida in connection with this month’s massive Twitter hack. Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren announced that 17-year-old Graham Clark, who lives in Tampa, Florida, was arrested “for being the mastermind behind” the July 15 hack. During the hack, high-profile accounts like former President Barack Obama’s were taken over to promote a Bitcoin scam. Clark has been hit with 30 felony charges, including one count of organized fraud and 17 counts of communications fraud, Warren said. He allegedly gained access to Twitter’s internal controls “through compromising a Twitter employee” and then received more than $100,000 in Bitcoin. Twitter on Friday said “we appreciate the swift actions of law enforcement in this investigation and will continue to cooperate as the case progresses.” [WFLA]

Beyoncé debuted Black Is King on Disney+ on Friday, a new film she wrote, directed, and produced based on music from her 2019 album The Lion King: The Gift. The film “reimagines the lessons of The Lion King for today’s young kings and queens in search of their own crowns.” Beyoncé on Thursday explained that her hope with the project was “that it shifts the global perception of the word Black, which has always meant inspiration and love and strength and beauty to me.” Beyoncé previously wrote on Instagram that “the events of 2020 have made the film’s vision and message even more relevant.” The visual album features a dedication to Beyoncé’s son, Sir Carter, as well as to “all our sons and daughters.” [Good Morning America, Disney]

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