All 50 states have now issued warnings about mysterious packages of seeds people have been getting in the mail. Officials think they may be related to a type of scam designed to increase positive online reviews. Here's what else you need to know to Get Up to Speed and On With Your Day. (You can also get "5 Things You Need to Know Today" delivered to your inbox daily. Sign up here.)
More than 150,000 people in the US have now died of Covid-19, and global cases have topped 15 million. The US has the most cases, with nearly 4.5 million, followed by Brazil (2.5 million) and India (1.6 million). Australia and Japan recorded their highest single-day case numbers yet, and places like Italy, which were hit hard at the beginning of the pandemic, are extending emergency measures into the next few months. The medical community has also expressed concern about the state of African countries. The International Rescue Committee says cases there are much higher than official numbers suggest, due to lack of testing, stigma, and damaged medical infrastructure. The World Health Organization has also warned that there has been an acceleration of cases in sub-Saharan Africa, an area initially thought to be spared from the worst of the pandemic.
The Justice Department is sending more federal agents and investigators to Cleveland, Detroit and Milwaukee as part of an initiative aimed at helping local and state authorities tackle a spike in violent crime. Past administrations have done the same thing, and it typically isn't controversial. But given the Trump administration's stance on current nationwide unrest, and the President's renewed "law and order" persona, local and state leaders have been pushing back on his deployment of federal efforts. The administration just reached an agreement with Oregon to withdraw federal officers from parts of Portland after they were sent there earlier this month to allegedly protect federal assets amid prolonged protests for racial justice and police accountability.
Congress has doled out trillions in coronavirus relief aid, but a new report from the Treasury Department finds states and localities have used less than 25% of that money so far. That number underscores a common complaint -- that the money has come with so many restrictions and has been distributed so slowly that local leaders can barely use it. It also could complicate the next round of relief. House Democrats want to send an additional $1 trillion in support to states, while the Republican plan contains no additional funding, but changes the flexibility of existing relief rules. By the way, Congress is reportedly no closer to agreeing on a final deal, and the clock is running out on the $600 weekly unemployment enhancement. Some economists say that extra boost is helping keep the economy afloat, and when it expires at the end of the month, unemployed Americans won't be the only ones in trouble.
4. Hong Kong
Four Hong Kong student activists have been arrested for their social media posts under the city's sweeping new national security law imposed by China at the beginning of the month. The students, ages 16 to 21, are being investigated under a part of the law that deals with secession. The arrests have incensed human rights activists, who have vehemently opposed the national security law. There are also concerns that wider crackdowns may be coming now that the city's legislative elections are right around the corner in September. However, given the recent spike in coronavirus cases in Hong Kong, the elections may ultimately be postponed.
The US will withdraw nearly 12,000 troops from Germany, making good on a controversial Trump administration plan that will cost billions of dollars over the next few years to execute. The withdrawal has been criticized by bipartisan US leaders and international allies, since many think the move will weaken the US' strategic position regarding Russia and undermine relations with Germany, NATO and Europe. Republican Sen. Mitt Romney even said the move was "a gift to Russia." The President has justified the decision by saying Germany doesn't spend enough on defense. The NATO target for defense spending is 2% of a member country's GDP. Germany spends about 1.38%, and the US spends about 3.4%. However, a 2019 NATO report revealed only seven of its 29 member countries were meeting the 2% threshold.
Malik B., founding member of the Roots, has died at 47
A statement from the group called him "a beloved brother" and "one of the most gifted MCs of all time."
Colin Kaepernick and Anthony Fauci will be honored as Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights award laureates
Two of the biggest names in two of the biggest crises the country is facing right now.
A landmark study reveals what makes a successful relationship
Apparently, it's more about what you're able to build rather than who you build it with( Aww!).
Lamborghini's new super car isn't legal to operate on public roads
An Australian hotel bans two rowdy emus for bad behavior
They were probably just ... emusing themselves.
That's the year global air travel will finally recover from the Covid-19 crisis, according to the International Air Transport Association. The group says lack of consumer confidence, a decline in business travel, and fresh coronavirus spikes around the world will contribute to a sluggish recovery.
"Racism is bad for everyone's health."
T Gonzales, a member of Louisville, Kentucky, Mayor Greg Fischer's administration. Fischer has recommended that the city's Metro Council pass a resolution declaring racism a public health crisis. His administration says racism contributes to poverty and other disadvantages that affect health and wellbeing.
Tiny shark rescue!
It only takes three minutes for a guy and this very lost shark to become good buds.