Outside the Outbreak: House votes to remove Confederate statues, US sees weekend of violent protests

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Police and protesters clash in violent weekend across US

Demonstrators walk along a steel fence as federal officers launch tear gas during a Black Lives Matter protest at the Mark O. Hatfield United States Courthouse Sunday, July 26, 2020, in Portland, Ore. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Protests took a violent turn in several U.S. cities over the weekend with demonstrators squaring off against federal agents outside a courthouse in Portland, Oregon, forcing police in Seattle to retreat into a station house and setting fire to vehicles in California and Virginia.

A protest against police violence in Austin, Texas, turned deadly when police said a protester was shot and killed by a person who drove through a crowd of marchers. Someone was also shot and wounded in Aurora, Colorado after a car drove through a protest there.

Utah sees high voter turnout amid vote-by-mail mandate

In this May 28 file photo, mail-in ballots are processed at the Chester County Voter Services office in Pennsylvania prior to the primary election. Utah saw a large turnout during its vote-by-mail mandate. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

Utah saw one of its best primary election voter turnouts in years despite issues caused by the coronavirus pandemic. This year’s primaries were conducted exclusively by mail, though some voters were able to vote at drive-through locations in seven counties.

Research suggests voting by mail likely boosted voter turnout compared to 2016 when eight counties barred mail ballots.

Republican Party turnout was 67% of its members in this year’s primary, compared to 39% of party members in the 2016 governor’s primary. Utah Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox won July’s primary in a tight contest with former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman. Cox will take on University of Utah professor Chris Peterson, a Democrat, in November’s gubernatorial election.

House votes to remove Confederate statues from Capitol

The statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee is the only Confederate monument left on Monument Avenue in Richmond, Virginia. The city of Richmond removed 11 Confederate monuments along Monument Avenue as well as other locations in the city. The U.S. House made a similar decision to remove Confederate statues from the Capitol. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

The House approved a bill to remove statues of Gen. Robert E. Lee and other Confederate leaders from the U.S. Capitol on July 22. The vote would also remove a bust of Chief Justice Roger B. Taney, the author of the 1857 Dred Scott decision that declared African Americans couldn’t be citizens.

The House approved the bill 305-113, sending it to the Republican-controlled Senate, where prospects are uncertain. Seventy-two Republicans, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California and Minority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana, joined with 232 Democrats to support the bill.

“Defenders and purveyors of sedition, slavery, segregation and white supremacy have no place in this temple of liberty,” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said at a Capitol news conference ahead of the House vote.

Trade, technology and security at risk in US-China feud

In this June 29, 2019, file photo, U.S. President Donald Trump, left, shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping during a meeting on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Osaka, western Japan. The ongoing sharp deterioration in U.S.-China ties poses risks to both countries and the rest of the world. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

The ongoing sharp deterioration in U.S.-China ties poses risks to both countries and the rest of the world. In the latest escalation, a U.S. consulate in Chengdu in southwestern China shuttered Monday, ordered by China to close in retaliation for the U.S. shutting down its consulate in Houston last week.

With the U.S. presidential campaign heating up, all bets are that relations with China will only get worse. Trade is one of the biggest factors at stake. If talks on ending trade disputes fail, the world could face downward pressure on trade at a time when the global economy is already reeling. Tech giants like Huawei, Apple and Dell may also be among the carnage if relations don’t improve.

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