In Brief: July 3, 2020

US jobs surge: Trump sees sunshine, Biden ‘no victory yet’

NEW YORK — The U.S. economy just posted its best single-month job gain in history.

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U.S. unemployment is at one of its worst points since the Great Depression.

Both are true.

As Republicans and Democrats fought to spin Thursday’s jobs numbers to their advantage, both sides face tremendous political risks in navigating a delicate and defining issue heading into the presidential campaign’s final months.

Democrats, led by presumptive nominee Joe Biden, seized on the growing threat presented by coronavirus after the better-than-expected numbers were released, a stance the Republicans called rooting against America’s recovery. President Donald Trump claimed a major economic victory and played down the health threat, even as an explosion of new infections threatened to stall, or even reverse, the economic gains.

Epstein pal arrested, accused of luring girls for sex abuse

British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell was arrested Thursday on charges she helped lure at least three girls — one as young as 14 — to be sexually abused by the late financier Jeffrey Epstein, who was accused of victimizing dozens of girls and women over many years.

According to the indictment, Maxwell, who lived for years with Epstein and was his frequent companion on trips around the world, facilitated his crimes and on some occasions joined him in sexually abusing the girls.

Epstein, 66, killed himself in a federal detention center in New York last summer while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.

Maxwell has, for years, been accused by many women of acting as a madam for Epstein, helping him scout young girls for abuse, then hiring them to give him massages, during which the girls were pressured into sex acts. In one lawsuit, a woman alleged Maxwell was the “highest-ranking employee” of Epstein’s alleged sex trafficking enterprise. Those accusations, until now, never resulted in criminal charges.

The 58-year-old was arrested in Bradford, New Hampshire, where she was living on a wooded estate she purchased for $1 million last December. The FBI had been keeping tabs on her after she disappeared from public view following Epstein’s arrest a year ago.

House judiciary panel to interview ousted NY prosecutor

WASHINGTON — The ousted former U.S. attorney for Manhattan will sit down with the House Judiciary Committee next week for a closed-door interview as the panel investigates politicization in the Justice Department.

Geoffrey Berman, the former U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York who led investigations into allies of President Donald Trump, will appear in person for the transcribed interview July 9, according to a person familiar with the meeting who requested anonymity because it hasn’t yet been announced. The committee plans to publicly release the transcript.

Berman left his job last month after an extraordinary standoff in which he refused to resign until Trump himself fired him. Attorney General William Barr had attempted to force him to resign under pressure, but he refused to go.

Justice officials said Berman’s investigations would remain undisturbed, but Democrats on Capitol Hill have accused Barr of politicizing the agency and acting more like Trump’s personal lawyer than the country’s chief law enforcement officer. The Judiciary Committee is investigating the politicization and is scheduled to hear from Barr himself at the end of the month.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., said last week that “the effort to remove Mr. Berman is part of a clear and dangerous pattern of conduct that began when Mr. Barr took office and continues to this day.”

From wire sources

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Herman Cain treated for COVID-19 after attending Trump rally

WASHINGTON — 2012 GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain is being treated for the coronavirus at an Atlanta-area hospital, according to a statement posted on his Twitter account Thursday.

It’s not clear when or where Cain was infected, but he was hospitalized less than two weeks after attending President Donald Trump’s campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He did not meet with Trump there, according to the campaign.

Cain, 74, was hospitalized after developing “serious” symptoms but is “awake and alert,” according to the statement.

The former pizza company executive has been an outspoken backer of the president and was named by the campaign as a co-chair of Black Voices for Trump.

“I realize people will speculate about the Tulsa rally, but Herman did a lot of traveling the past week, including to Arizona where cases are spiking,” Dan Calabrese, who has been editor of HermanCain.com, wrote on the website. “I don’t think there’s any way to trace this to the one specific contact that caused him to be infected. We’ll never know.”

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Fish more vulnerable to warming water than first thought

Global warming looks like it will be a bigger problem for the world’s fish species than scientists first thought: A new study shows that when fish are spawning or are embryos they are more vulnerable to hotter water.

With medium-level human-caused climate change expected by the end of the century, the world’s oceans, rivers and lakes will be too hot for about 40% of the world’s fish species in the spawning or embryonic life stages, according to a study in Thursday’s journal Science. That means they could go extinct or be forced to change how and where they live and reproduce.

Until now, biologists had just studied adult fish. For adult fish, around 2% to 3% of the species would be in the too-hot zone in the year 2100 with similar projected warming. So using this new approach reveals a previously unknown problem for the future of fish, scientists said.

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In a worst-case climate change scenario, which some scientists said is increasingly unlikely, the figure for species in trouble jumps to 60%.

These vulnerable times in the life of a fish make this a “bottleneck” in the future health of species, said study co-author Hans-Otto Portner, a marine biologist at the Alfred Wegener Institute in Germany.

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