/First Thing: Trumps latest coronavirus take – sue China

First Thing: Trumps latest coronavirus take – sue China

Good morning.

Donald Trump was back behind the microphone on Monday after a weekend off from his daily White House coronavirus briefings. Upon his return, Trump revealed his administration was conducting “serious investigations” into China’s handling of the disease outbreak, and would most likely seek “very substantial” damages from Beijing over the pandemic.

Trump says China could have stopped coronavirus from spreading – video

The president’s Rose Garden performance was nonetheless subdued compared to his briefing last Thursday, when he appeared to suggest treating Covid-19 with disinfectant injections. As David Smith writes:

For White House aides and Republican allies, it was reportedly the straw that broke the camel’s back: these daily briefings had become a political liability that could cost Trump the presidential election.

  • Did the EU downplay its China report? The bloc’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, is facing allegations that a report on Chinese disinformation over the virus outbreak was watered down after pressure from Beijing.

The pandemic portends a grim decade for women worldwide

A police officer from Rio de Janeiro’s Maria da Penha patrol, which specialises in tackling domestic violence.

A police officer from Rio de Janeiro’s Maria da Penha patrol, which specialises in tackling domestic violence. Photograph: Pilar Olivares/Reuters

Experts have predicted a 20% rise in cases of domestic violence around the world during the coronavirus crisis: an additional 15m cases for every three months that lockdowns are extended. The “calamitous” figures were published by the UN Population Fund, which also calculated that tens of millions of women will lose access to modern contraceptives, and millions more girls will undergo female genital mutilation or be married off as children by 2030.

Californians crowd the beaches over weekend

‘What not to do’: governor Newsom condemns California beach crowds – video

The governor of the Golden State has chastised Californians after thousands hit the beach at the weekend amid an April heatwave. “This virus doesn’t go home because it’s a beautiful, sunny day along our coast,” Gavin Newsom said at a Monday briefing.

At Newport Beach in southern California’s Orange County, where temperatures topped out at almost 90F, some locals compared the crowds to a Fourth of July celebration. The city council is now considering closing its beaches for the next three weekends.

Elsewhere in the world …

  • New Zealand has started to relax its strict lockdown, allowing residents to travel to work, order takeaway food and spend more time outdoors.

  • Nigeria’s president announced a two-week lockdown in the city of Kano, where officials have denied that a sudden rise in fatal cases of pneumonia is related to the coronavirus.

  • Tokyo’s plan to host the Olympics a year late, in 2021, will be “difficult”, according to the head of the Japan Medical Association, who said he was “pessimistic” about the prospect.

Trump’s court takeover

Trump’s judicial appointments: ‘a giant step backward for America.’

Trump’s judicial appointments: ‘a giant step backward for America.’ Illustration: Ricardo Santos/The Guardian

Amid a noisy presidency, it has been a quiet project. But as Tom McCarthy reports, Trump’s judicial appointments could have a long-lasting impact on healthcare, voting rights, criminal justice and the climate for decades to come.

For the Guardian’s new series, Trump’s court takeover, McCarthy also explains how the president went about delivering conservative courts, thus earning the unwavering loyalty of his evangelical base. As the judge Shira A Scheindlin argues, that represents a giant step backwards for the country:

When I was appointed to the bench I was 48. I had been a federal prosecutor, a defense lawyer, and had handled many civil cases in trial and appellate courts. That experience was invaluable. I knew both the substance and procedure of federal practice. The same cannot be said of many of Trump’s nominees, whose only qualifications appear to be their consistently rightwing voting records.

In other news …

Internally displaced Syrian children at a camp in Quneitra.

Internally displaced Syrian children at a camp in Quneitra. Photograph: Alaa Al-Faqir/Reuters

Great reads

Caroline Calloway: ‘I really believe in karma.’

Caroline Calloway: ‘I really believe in karma.’ Photograph: Zack Wittman/The Guardian

How Caroline Calloway survived being cancelled

The Instagram influencer achieved a new kind of online notoriety last year, when her ghostwriter published a tell-all essay about their relationship, her disastrous “creativity workshops” and her failed book deal. “I just always wanted to write about my life,” she tells Elle Hunt. “I wanted to be famous.”

Face masks: the world’s most coveted commodity

No object better symbolises the pandemic than the face mask, and a global scramble to acquire more of them has minted unlikely new moguls, exposed the harsh realities of international politics – and pushed the limits of the free market. Samanth Subramanian reports.

Words at the window

With most of us stuck indoors, the best way to express our feelings with the outside world is via our windowsill. The Brooklyn photographer Stephen Lovekin has started documenting his neighbors and their messages of hope – through their windows.

Opinion: private giving is needed as never before

There is a widespread view that wealthy do-gooders ought to stay out of solving the world’s problems. But Beth Breeze and Paul Ramsbottom argue that philanthropy will be crucial during the coronavirus crisis.

It is perfectly possible to be in favour of higher levels of progressive, loophole-free taxation and also believe that private giving has a legitimate, critical role. This case has been made by both Bill Gates and Warren Buffett.

Last Thing: Pentagon releases its UFO tapes

Pentagon formally releases ‘UFO videos taken by US Navy pilots’

The Pentagon has officially released three declassified videos in which US Navy pilots came across “unexplained aerial phenomena”. The clips had been previously leaked online, so the Pentagon published them “to clear up any misconceptions” as to whether they were real or not. They are. The truth is out there.

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