10 things you need to know today: August 29, 2020

Actor Chadwick Boseman has died at 43 after a battle with colon cancer. The Black Panther star died at home in Los Angeles on Friday, his publicist confirmed to The Associated Press. Boseman starred as T’Challa in Marvel’s superhero blockbuster Black Panther, and he rose to fame after portraying Jackie Robinson in 42. He also played James Brown and Thurgood Marshall. In 2016, Boseman was diagnosed with cancer, and he filmed numerous movies “during and between” surgeries and chemotherapy, his family said. “A true fighter, Chadwick persevered through it all, and brought you many of the films you have come to love so much,” Boseman’s family said. “…It was the honor of his career to bring King T’Challa to life in Black Panther.” [The Associated Press, The New York Times]

The Kenosha Professional Police Association, the union representing police officers in Kenosha, Wisconsin, released what they called “the actual and undisputed” account of the events that preceded the shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man who was shot by officers multiple times on Sunday, CNN and NPR report. The account says Blake had a knife and “forcefully fought” the officers trying to arrest him, putting one in a headlock. The statement also said the officers failed to subdue Blake after twice shooting tasers at him. Blake’s uncle, Justin Blake, said the union’s version was “garbage” and his nephew didn’t have a weapon, while legal defense called the statement “overblown.” Raysean White, a witness who recorded a brief video of the incident, said Blake did not pose a threat and that officers put Blake in a headlock while one “punched him in the ribs.” [CNN, NPR]

Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Stephen Hahn ousted two communications experts, including chief spokesperson Emily Miller on Friday, following a messaging debacle over the use of plasma to treat COVID-19. Miller was hired by the White House just 11 days prior. She was reportedly responsible for a press release announcing the FDA’s emergency authorization of convalescent plasma as a COVID-19 treatment, packaging it as “another achievement in administration’s fight against pandemic.” Hahn admitted Tuesday he actually oversold the plasma treatment’s effectiveness. The White House quickly touted a “major therapeutic breakthrough,” and President Trump promised plasma would “save thousands and thousands of lives.” The treatment has not yet been shown to be widely effective. The other spokesperson, Wayne Pines, recommended Hahn “correct the record.” Officials denied Pines’ termination was related to the plasma incident. [The New York Times]

Kyle Rittenhouse did not appear for his extradition hearing Friday after requesting his presence be waived as he hires a legal team, leading his hearing to be delayed for 30 days. The 17-year-old is charged with killing Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, and Anthony Huber, 26; and injuring Gaige Grosskreutz, 26, during a protest in Kenosha, Wisconsin, Tuesday night. Rittenhouse is from and was arrested in Illinois, so he will have to be extradited to Wisconsin to face charges of intentional homicide and reckless homicide, among other counts. Investigators say they identified Rittenhouse on a video holding a long gun and shooting at protesters. Protests have gone on since Kenosha police shot Jacob Blake, a Black man, on Sunday, and turned violent when armed militias came downtown. [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, The Week]

Thousands of demonstrators gathered for the “Get Your Knee Off Our Necks” March in Washington, D.C., on Friday, planned months ago to coincide with the 57th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech. The headline speakers included Rev. Al Sharpton and Martin Luther King III, and there were speeches from the families of Jacob Blake, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Rayshard Brooks, and Eric Garner. “Like those who marched before us, we are standing up,” said Sharpton, against police, lawmakers, and “the people and systems that have kept us down for years.” People in the U.S. are “finally acknowledging that Black Lives Matter,” said King, but “police brutality and misconduct is still occurring, it is beyond time for immediate action.” [ABC News, USA Today]

At a campaign rally in Londonderry, New Hampshire, on Friday night, President Trump gave a speech in which he called protesters demonstrating against police brutality “thugs” and “anarchists” who are just “looking for trouble” and “don’t even know who George Floyd is.” Trump said that Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) was attacked by protesters Friday near the White House and claimed Paul and his wife would be “in very bad shape, or dead” if not for the police presence in the area. During the speech, the president also targeted the Democratic vice presidential nominee, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.). Trump said he wants “to see the first woman president also,” but “I don’t want to see a woman president get into that position the way she’d do it, and she’s not competent.” [Reuters, The Hill]

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows on Friday said President Trump is willing to sign a $1.3 trillion coronavirus relief bill, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said in a statement that the figure was not enough to meet Americans’ needs and repeated her call for a $2.2 trillion bill. In Pelosi’s statement, the speaker argued Republicans are not meeting the Democrats’ desired numbers for coronavirus testing and contact tracing. Pelosi also said the GOP is in “disarray,” citing reports that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is targeting a $500 billion plan. The House in May passed a $3.4 trillion relief bill, but the Republican-led Senate did not take it up. [Reuters, The Hill]

Researchers in Nevada on Friday confirmed a COVID-19 reinfection in the U.S., and found the patient experienced more severe symptoms when contracting the virus again. The first U.S.-confirmed reinfection comes after anecdotal evidence of second infections, and after researchers in Hong Kong confirmed a reinfection for the first time earlier this week. A 25-year-old Reno, Nevada, man tested positive for COVID-19 in April and showed mild symptoms. He tested positive again in May, with more severe symptoms. Researchers confirmed it was a separate infection because the second virus had a different genetic strain. The discovery has implications for coronavirus vaccine development — promising vaccines have so far produced COVID-19 antibodies in human trials, but these cases of reinfection suggest antibodies gained from catching COVID-19 don’t necessarily guarantee long-term immunity. Scientists said more studies are needed to fully understand the possibility of reinfection. [Reuters, SSRN]

Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the ruler of Abu Dhabi and leader of the United Arab Emirates, issued a decree Saturday formally ending the federation’s economic boycott against Israel. The order comes on the heels of the U.S.-brokered deal opening up relations between the UAE and Israel earlier this month. Israelis and Israeli firms can now do business in the UAE, and the decree also allows for the purchase and trade of Israeli goods. As was the case when the deal was originally announced, some Palestinians criticized the order for undermining the efforts of the Boycott, Divest, and Sanctions movement which targets Israel. Historically, UAE law stated the recognition of Israel would only occur if Palestine became an independent state. [The Associated Press, Al Jazeera]

NBA officials announced Friday that playoff games will resume Saturday. Numerous games were postponed this week as players boycotted in response to the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The decision to continue the season was made “with the understanding” that the league will enact several commitments. The NBA and its players have agreed to establish a social justice coalition that will be “focused on a broad range of issues” including increased access to voting and police and criminal justice reform. Teams will work with city officials to convert arena facilities into voting locations or voter registration sites for the 2020 election. The NBA will also work to include ads during games “dedicated to promoting greater civic engagement” in elections. The Milwaukee Bucks and Orlando Magic will restart the postseason at 3:30 p.m. ET. [CNN, NBA]

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