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In our news wrap Monday, more than 200 universities have announced their support of a lawsuit against pandemic restrictions on international students. The schools object to the Trump administration's plan to deny visas to students not taking at least one in-person class this fall. Also, the United Nations warned that the coronavirus pandemic could push 130 million more people into chronic hunger.
In the day's other news: The United Nations warned the coronavirus pandemic could push 130 million more people worldwide into chronic hunger this year.
Last year, before the outbreak, the annual U.N. report estimated 690 million people went hungry. That's nearly 9 percent of the overall global population, and an increase of 10 million from the year before.
More than 200 universities have come out in support of a lawsuit against pandemic curbs on international students. The Trump administration is denying visas to those not taking at least one in-person class this fall. The schools filed briefs today, backing the suit by Harvard and MIT. In addition, 17 states and the District of Columbia filed a separate suit against the policy.
The White House is defending President Trump's grant of clemency to Roger Stone. On Friday, the president commuted his longtime ally's 40-month prison sentence for witness tampering and lying to Congress. Today, the White House press secretary dismissed criticism of that decision.
It is not the case that only those who are politically connected get a pardon. This president is the president of criminal justice reform.
This president did the FIRST STEP Act. This president has fought for those who are given unduly harsh sentences more than any Democrat who liked to talk about it, but never actually did it.
The presiding federal judge in the case demanded to know today if Stone will still have two years of supervised release. The Justice Department said the clemency order wipes out that requirement as well.
We will have more on this later in the program.
Tensions between the United States and China are escalating again in the South China Sea. The Trump administration today rejected nearly all of Beijing's territorial claims in the region. In recent years, China has built military bases to back up those claims, and U.S. warships have sailed through the region to contest them.
Separately, China announced sanctions against two U.S. senators, Ted Cruz of Texas and Marco Rubio of Florida. Both have criticized human rights abuses against Muslims in Western China. The U.S. ambassador for religious freedom, Sam Brownback, was also included. The sanctions could ban all three from entering China.
In Poland, conservative President Andrzej Duda has narrowly won a second term after he defeated Warsaw's liberal mayor in Sunday's vote. Duda apologized today for a campaign that stoked anti-Semitism and homophobia. But gay activists warned of what may lie ahead.
Jakub Kwiecinski (through translator):
It looks like we live in a country where hatred wins over love. It looks like we live in a country where fear wins over the openness towards others, in a country where lies win over honesty.
And I am saying all of this as an ordinary person, who is disappointed with people around, disappointed with my neighbors, disappointed with my fellow countrymen.
Duda has reduced poverty in Poland, but has also raised fears that he is curtailing freedom of the press and independence of the courts.
Back in this country, more than 1,000 employees of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are demanding that the agency address internal racism. NPR obtained a letter from the group addressed to director Robert Redfield. It speaks of a toxic culture of racial aggressions against black employees.
The CDC confirms that Redfield received the letter, but says nothing of his response.
Washington, D.C.'s NFL franchise announced today it will change its name, long criticized as a racial slur against Native Americans. The team also retired its Indian head logo. The move comes after years of protests, and just days after the franchise launched a formal name review, under pressure from corporate sponsors. There's no word yet on what the new team name will be.
The U.S. budget deficit hit an all-time high of $864 billion in June. That came amid increased spending to counter the pandemic's economic toll and a massive decline in tax revenue.
Meanwhile, trading was rocky on Wall Street today. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 10 points to close at 26086. The Nasdaq plunged 226 points, and the S&P 500 shed 30.
And two passings of note: Actor Kelly Preston has died of breast cancer, according to her husband, John Travolta. Her movie highlights included "Jerry Maguire" in 1996. She was 57 years old.
And Naya Rivera's body was found today in a Southern California lake. Officials say she drowned. Rivera starred in the former TV series "Glee." And she was just 33 years old.
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