Good morning. Featuring an executive pardon for a bank robber turned social entrepreneur, a naturalisation ceremony for new US immigrants, and a speech from the secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, during an official visit to Jerusalem, the second day of the Republican national convention led critics to accuse Donald Trump of turning politics into a series of reality TV-style stunts.
But the implications of this display of presidential power may be more serious: legal observers warned that these segments appeared to violate the Hatch Act, which prevents federal employees from taking part in political activity while on duty, and a senior Democrat on the House foreign affairs committee has launched an investigation into whether Pompeo’s appearance broke the law.
Mike Pompeo address to RNC from Jerusalem praises Trump for standing up to China – video
Alongside three Trump family members, the convention included a speech from the former Florida attorney general Pam Bondi, who accused the Biden family of nepotism. There was also a last-minute change to the line-up after Mary Ann Mendoza’s appearance was pulled after she urged her followers to look into an antisemitic conspiracy theory linked to QAnon.
Coronavirus was rarely discussed, with the White House economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, describing the pandemic in the past tense, and it fell to Melania Trump to acknowledge its impact as she offered her condolences to the families of more than 178,000 Americans who have died from the virus. However, the first lady’s speech stood in the shadow of a report released hours earlier that alleged she had been taped making derogatory comments about her husband and his adult children, with the transcripts set to be released in an upcoming book.
‘We risk our lives for our patients’: While immigrant doctors make up 18% of the US healthcare system, they constitute nearly a third of healthcare workers who have died from Covid-19. Danielle Renwick speaks to those who knew and loved them.
Progress made on California wildfires as Louisiana and Texas make evacuation orders ahead of hurricane
The California governor, Gavin Newsom, said 625 fires were burning throughout the state and had scorched more than 1.2m acres. Photograph: Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images
Firefighters in California were able to make progress on Tuesday against the wildfires that have killed seven people and displaced tens of thousands, after the dry lightning and wind forecasters had warned could stoke the blazes were less severe than feared. An estimated 170,000 people remain under evacuation orders as Jake Hess, a Cal Fire unit chief, warned reporters that “we are essentially living in a mega-fire era”.
In Louisiana and Texas on Tuesday, at least nine local jurisdictions made evacuation orders as Hurricane Laura barrelled towards the US Gulf coast, expected to hit late on Wednesday or early on Thursday morning. Hospitals in the region were attempting to discharge as many patients as possible to clear room for potential casualties, as they prepare to face the impact of the hurricane and coronavirus pandemic simultaneously.
One shot dead during Jacob Blake protests in Wisconsin
Family of Jacob Blake say he is paralysed after police shooting – video
The family of Blake, a black man shot several times by police in front of his three sons, have called for justice after the family’s lawyer said it would be a “miracle” if Blake could ever walk again. Julia Jackson, Blake’s mother, called for healing after the violent unrest that followed peaceful marches against the shooting, saying Jacob would be “very unpleased” with the “violence and destruction”. Despite her pleas, three people were shot, one fatally, on Tuesday night.
On Tuesday, the Wisconsin governor, Tony Evers, promised to move forward with changes to curb law enforcement misconduct. He demanded state legislators meet on 31 August in a special session to consider a set of nine police reform bills that were floated more than two months ago, including banning chokeholds and limiting other use-of-force methods.
In other news…
Over a period of three days, 91 victims of the Christchurch attacks read statements to the gunman in court. Photograph: John Kirk-Anderson/AAP
The Christchurch terrorist who killed 51 people at two mosques in New Zealand will not address the court himself at his sentencing. Following apparent initial hesitancy from some victims, there was an outpouring of grief and anger on Wednesday in powerful victim impact statements that left officials and reporters in tears.
Police in Hong Kong have arrested pro-democracy lawmakers over their involvement in protests in 2019, amid a crackdown on dissent and freedom of expression.
China has accused a US spy plane of entering a no-fly zone over Chinese live-fire military drills, in the latest escalation of tension between the two nations. The Chinese defence ministry described the incident as “an act of naked provocation” and said it had “lodged stern representations” with the US.
California’s popular Squaw Valley ski resort will change its name after consultations with local Native American groups and research into the history of the term “squaw”, which is used as a misogynist and racist term against indigenous women.
Palm Springs is full of mid-century modern properties … and stylish dogs to match. Photograph: Alamy
At home: the pampered pooches of Palm Springs
In this dazzling photo gallery, Nancy Baron travels to meet California’s most glamorous canines, capturing them at home in their colourful Palm Springs pads.
The men renouncing women
Laura Bates explores the “men going their own way” movement – a group of men who aspire to live their lives with no contact with women. MGTOW isn’t as fringe as you might think: the movement’s website has a surprising 33,000 members and video channels have a combined following of 730,000.
As Britney Spears attempts to remove her father’s conservatorship, which allows him to run her affairs and means every purchase she makes is scrutinised by a court, the #FreeBritney movement is growing. We should be concerned about the ease with which these powers could be abused, writes Arwa Mahdawi.
A growing #FreeBritney movement believes the singer is being exploited; her dad says that’s nonsense, he just wants what’s best for Spears and her $59m fortune (as it stood in 2018). But even if he does have her best interests at heart, the sweeping powers a conservatorship grants, and the extent to which these can be exploited, should alarm us all.
Last Thing: French minister defends ‘precious’ right to topless sunbathing
Topless sunbathing in France is not illegal although it can be restricted by local rules outlawing certain styles of dress. Photograph: Jesús Mérida/SOPA Images/Rex/Shutterstock
France’s interior minister has publicly defended the “precious” right to go topless sunbathing on beaches, after police in a Mediterranean seaside town asked a group of women to cover up following a complaint from a family. The incident unleashed a wave of criticism on social media and an admission of error from the spokeswoman of the French gendarmerie, Maddy Scheurer, who tweeted: “You will always see me in uniform, but topless sunbathing is allowed on the beach at Sainte-Marie-la-Mer.”
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Originally published: 2020-08-26 05:16:55