BOSTON – Colleges and universities pushed back Wednesday against the Trump administration's decision to make international students leave the country if they plan on taking classes entirely online this fall, with Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology filing a lawsuit to try to block it, and others promising to work with students to keep them on campus.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement notified colleges Monday that international students will be forced to leave the U.S. or transfer to another college if their schools operate entirely online this fall. New visas will not be issued to students at those schools, and others at universities offering a mix of online and in-person classes will be barred from taking all of their classes online.
Asylum limit halts disease, feds say
The Trump administration on Wednesday proposed empowering border authorities to deny asylum to people from countries with widespread, deadly communicable disease, its latest in a string of regulations before the November elections to dramatically raise the bar on who qualifies for humanitarian protections.
The Homeland Security and Justice departments said in a joint proposal that denying asylum to people from high-risk countries would combat disease in the United States, in some cases stopping it before it reaches American soil. Their argument rests on experiences with the coronavirus pandemic.
The proposal will trigger a 30-day period for public comments. It would take effect after the comment period ends.
Atlanta mayor to require masks
Atlanta's mayor planned to sign an order mandating masks in Georgia's largest city Wednesday, defying Gov. Brian Kemp's decision to strongly encourage but not require face coverings.
Spokesman Michael Smith said Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms plans to sign an order requiring masks, which could set up a confrontation with the Republican Kemp.
The governor has already clashed with the mayor recently over policing issues, calling out the National Guard to protect state government offices after an 8-year-old girl was fatally shot by armed people at the site of a fast food restaurant where an Atlanta police officer shot and killed a Black man.
Trump rally 'likely' led to Tulsa surge
President Donald Trump's campaign rally in Tulsa in late June that drew thousands of participants and large protests “likely contributed” to a dramatic surge in new coronavirus cases, Tulsa City-County Health Department Director Dr. Bruce Dart said Wednesday.
Tulsa County reported 261 confirmed new cases Monday, a one-day record high, and 206 cases Tuesday. By comparison, during the week before the June 20 Trump rally, there were 76 cases on Monday and 96 on Tuesday.
Although the health department's policy is to not publicly identify individual settings where people may have contracted the virus, Dart said those large gatherings “more than likely” contributed to the spike.
Serbians protest over lockdown
Police fired tear gas to disperse rock-throwing protesters in Serbia's capital on Wednesday as violence erupted for the second day in a row during demonstrations against the president's handling of the country's coronavirus outbreak.
President Aleksandar Vucic backtracked on his plans to reinstate a coronavirus lockdown in Belgrade this week, but it didn't stop people from firing flares and throwing stones while trying to storm the downtown parliament building.
A number of people were injured during clashes in front of the parliament that started peacefully but soon turned violent, fueling tensions in the Balkan country, which is battling a surge in virus infection cases.
Bolsonaro: Malaria drug helped me
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who said he is infected with the coronavirus, on Wednesday defended his government's handling of the pandemic that has killed tens of thousands of Brazilians and touted his use of a contentious anti-malaria drug.
Bolsonaro posted a message on Facebook that said his government provided payouts to informal sector laborers, thereby saving jobs and lives without spreading panic about the pandemic. The nation's confirmed death toll from COVID-19 is the second highest in the world after the United States.
Bolsonaro said Tuesday that he tested positive for the virus, after months of downplaying its severity while deaths mounted rapidly inside the country.
The president told reporters he underwent a lung X-ray on Monday after experiencing fever, muscle aches and malaise.
As of Tuesday, his fever had subsided, he said, and he attributed the improvement to hydroxychloroquine.