While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, June 20

Thousands of Americans demand racial justice at Juneteenth observances

Thousands marched in US cities, major companies gave employees the day off and people in coronavirus lockdown held online forums on Friday as America marked Juneteenth, a holiday commemorating the end of Black slavery that carries special resonance this year.

After a wave of recent protests and national soul-searching about the country’s legacy of racial injustice, marchers took to the streets from Atlanta to Oakland to mark the day and protest police brutality.

With many formal Juneteenth events cancelled due to coronavirus concerns, activists instead organized street marches and “car caravans” to give people a way to show solidarity.

The annual Juneteenth celebration of the emancipation of slaves a century and a half ago comes this year on the heels of mass protests triggered by the killing of George Floyd, a Black man who died after a white Minneapolis police officer pinned him to the ground with a knee to his neck for nearly nine minutes.


Tulsa backtracks on curfew ahead of Trump rally

The US city of Tulsa – which will host President Donald Trump’s first campaign rally since the coronavirus crisis began – on Friday rescinded a curfew implemented the day before amid fears that protests could turn violent.

Tensions were flaring in the Oklahoma city – which was the scene in 1921 of one of the worst racial massacres in US history – as residents celebrated Juneteenth on Friday, a day commemorating the end of slavery in the country.

Tulsa Mayor GT Bynum said on Friday he had instituted the curfew the day before at the request of the Secret Service, proclaiming a “civil emergency.”


World in ‘new and dangerous phase’ of Covid-19 pandemic: WHO

The new coronavirus pandemic is now in a “new and dangerous phase”, the World Health Organisation said on Friday, with the disease accelerating at the same time as people tire of lockdowns.

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus urged nations and citizens to remain extremely vigilant, as the number of cases reported to the UN health agency hit a new peak.

“The pandemic is accelerating. More than 150,000 new cases of Covid-19 were reported to WHO yesterday – the most in a single day so far,” Tedros told a virtual press conference.


Golf: Watney tests positive for Covid-19, withdraws from PGA Tour event

American golfer Nick Watney withdrew from the RBC Heritage in South Carolina ahead of the second round on Friday  after he became the first PGA Tour member to test positive for Covid-19.

Watney, who travelled privately to Hilton Head Island for the tournament and was not on the PGA Tour-provided charter flight, is the first member of the circuit to test positive for the novel coronavirus.

The PGA Tour said upon arriving at Harbour Town for second-round action, Watney indicated he had symptoms consistent with the illness. After consulting a physician, Watney was administered a test and found to be positive.


Ex-F1 driver Alex Zanardi ‘in extremely serious condition’ after bike crash

Former Formula One driver and twice Champ Car champion Alex Zanardi underwent surgery for severe head injuries on Friday after being involved in a road accident while racing his handbike in Italy.

Siena’s Santa Maria alle Scotte hospital said in a statement that the 53-year-old Italian, who lost both legs and nearly his life in a 2001 Champ Car crash in Germany, was in a “very serious” condition.

The Italian news agency Ansa reported sources saying the accident involved a truck on a state highway near the town of Pienza to the south-east of Siena.


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