10 things you need to know today: June 14, 2020


Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields has resigned, the city's Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said Saturday, while an officer, Garrett Rolfe, who fatally shot a 27-year-old black man named Rayshard Brooks was fired, the police department announced early Sunday. Rolfe and another officer, Devin Brosnan, found Brooks sleeping in a Wendy's parking lot Friday evening. After Brooks failed a sobriety test, a struggle ensued and ended with Rolfe shooting and killing Brooks. Bottoms said she does not believe the shooting was justified. Brooks' death, which comes amid nationwide protests against police brutality, sparked more demonstrations in Atlanta, and protesters set fire to the Wendy's where the shooting took place. Since the protests began following the killing of George Floyd at the end of May, multiple Atlanta police officers have been suspended, fired, and charged for use of excessive force. [The Associated Press, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution]


New York state has "tamed the beast," Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said Saturday, referring to the coronavirus, which took a devastating toll on the state in the early months of the pandemic. New York reported 32 COVID-19-related deaths Saturday, the lowest daily figure since the pandemic hit, and hospitalizations are at their lowest point since March 20. But coronavirus cases are still increasing in several states, and some, like Texas and North Carolina, are now seeing a record number of hospitalizations amid efforts to re-open their economies. Overall, more than 115,000 people have died from COVID-19 in the United States. Elsewhere, China has seen its largest increase in local infections — most of which are linked to a market in Beijing — in months, and Brazil is now recording the highest number of daily deaths. [The New York Times, CNN]


President Trump on Saturday addressed the 1,107 cadets graduating from the United States Military Academy at West Point. During the commencement ceremony, the cadets wore masks, sat several feet apart, and saluted Trump as they received their diplomas instead of shaking hands due to the coronavirus pandemic. Family and friends watched online. In the two weeks before Saturday's event, the cadets quarantined in groups of about 250 upon returning to campus, and all were tested for the virus; at least 15 tested positive, but West Point believed the ceremony could be conducted safely. Trump's speech veered away from overtly touching on politics at a time when tensions between the commander-in-chief and the military have heightened, and he instead focused his narrative on unity. [Bloomberg, The Wall Street Journal]


With bilateral relations between North and South Korea worsening, Kim Yo Jong — North Korea's first vice department director of the ruling Workers' Party's Central Committee and the sister and close confidant of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un — on Saturday instructed the country's military leaders to carry out the next step of retaliation against South Korea, whatever and whenever that may be."If I drop a hint of our next plan the (South Korean) authorities are anxious about, the right to taking the next action against the enemy will be entrusted to the General Staff of our army," she said in a statement." Our army, too, will determine something for cooling down our people’s resentment and surely carry out it, I believe." It's unclear what type of military action North Korea would take, though The Associated Press reports weapons tests are "an easy guess." [The Associated Press, The Week]


Far-right groups claiming they wanted to protect London's monuments reportedly hurled racial slurs at anti-racism protesters, and the two sides broke out into fights as police tried to break them up on Saturday in the British capital. London's Black Lives Matter protests were reportedly smaller and more scattered than in recent days because the right-wing groups announced they would congregate in the area where a larger march had been planned. Meanwhile, French police reportedly used tear gas against protesters who tried to hold a banned march in Paris. The protests inspired by the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota, have struck a chord in France, where police have reportedly received almost 1,500 complaints against officers last year, many of them alleging violence. [Reuters, BBC]


Artem Sytnyk, the head of Ukraine's national anti-corruption bureau, said Saturday that three people have been detained after offering officials $5 million in bribes to end a probe into Mykola Zlochevksy, the founder of energy company Burisma. Allegations against the company had previously made their way to the United States since former Vice President Joe Biden's son, Hunter, once sat on the board, prompting President Trump and some of his allies to accuse the Bidens of corruption without evidence. Notably, Trump urged Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate the Bidens in a phone call, which paved the way for his impeachment. Ukraine's anti-corruption prosecutor Nazar Kholodnitsky said neither Joe or Hunter Biden is connected to the bribe attempt. [Reuters, The Associated Press]


Authorities in Cape Verde on Friday arrested Colombian businessman Alex Saab Morán who is wanted in the United States on money-laundering charges. Saab's private jet landed in the West African nation to refuel en route to Iran when the arrest was made. He has developed a reputation as one of the top deal makers on behalf of Venezuelan President Nicoás Maduro, making him a high-profile, long-time target in Washington's efforts to weaken Maduro financially and eventually force him out of office. There's no extradition treaty between the U.S. and Cape Verde, but the latter could expel him and allow the U.S. to take custody. Venezuela has demanded Saab's release, calling it an illegal act of aggression. [Al Jazeera, The Wall Street Journal]


Militants connected to the Islamic State West Africa Province killed at least 20 soldiers and 40 civilians and injured hundreds in two attacks in the northeastern Nigerian state of Borno, residents and security sources said. The militants reportedly set fire to a local police station and burned down the United Nations' humanitarian hub in the Monguno district, and they also attacked the Nganzai district. The Nigerian military said Sunday that the army and air force had "successfully repelled" the Monguno attack, killing 20 militants. The attacks occurred just days after militants killed at least 69 people in a raid on a village in another area, Gubio. [Reuters, Deutsche Welle]


A tanker transporting liquified natural gas between Ningbo and Wenzhou, China, exploded on a highway exit ramp close to the city of Wenling on Saturday, reportedly killing at least 19 people and injuring 172. Aerial images of the scene show multiple nearby buildings collapsed as a result of the explosion. People are reportedly still missing and a large rescue mission is under way. Zhu Minglian, the deputy mayor of Wenling, said Sunday that the cause of the explosion is under investigation. Per local sources, the company which owns the truck has been penalized by authorities 11 times in the past for health and safety violations. [BBC, CNN]


The Major League Baseball Players Association on Saturday rejected the league's latest proposal to start the 2020 season amid the coronavirus pandemic, but asked MLB to set a schedule for the season, indicating the players want to get back on the field. "Further dialogue with the league would be futile," said MLBPA Executive Director Tony Clark. "It's time to get back to work. Tell us when and where." A March agreement allows the league to impose a schedule of somewhere around 50 games with players receiving full pro-rated salaries in the absence of a negotiated agreement. The players have said they want to hear what the league's plan is by the end of the day Monday. If MLB does implement a schedule, the sides would still need to work out a health-and-safety protocol before resuming activity. [ESPN]

Atlanta protests.