While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, June 8

From small towns to cities, US sees biggest rallies yet for racial justice

Demonstrations were planned across the United States on Sunday to demand racial justice after George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis police custody, with weekend rallies spreading to smaller communities including an east Texas town once a haven for the Ku Klux Klan.

The US marches also inspired anti-racism protests around the globe, as demonstrators from Brisbane and Sydney in Australia to London, Paris and other European cities embraced the Black Lives Matter message.

In Washington, tens of thousands of people chanting “I can’t breathe” and “Hands up, don’t shoot” rallied at the Lincoln Memorial then marched to the White House on Saturday in the biggest protest yet during 12 days of demonstrations across the United States since Floyd died.

A common message of the day was a determination to transform outrage generated by Floyd’s death last month into a broader movement seeking far-reaching reforms to the US criminal justice system and its treatment of minorities.


Former top Republican General Powell endorses Joe Biden for president

Colin Powell, who served as America’s top military officer and top diplomat under Republican presidents, said Sunday he will vote for Democrat Joe Biden, accusing Donald Trump of drifting from the US constitution and Republicans of failing to hold him accountable.

In a scathing indictment of Trump on CNN, Powell denounced the US president as a danger to democracy whose lies and insults have diminished America in the eyes of the world.

“We have a constitution. We have to follow that constitution. And the president’s drifted away from it,” Powell said.


European cities join global wave of anti-racism protests

Chanting for justice, protesters rallied in European cities on Sunday, joining a wave of demonstrations sparked by the death of African American George Floyd at the hands of US police.

Several thousand people massed Sunday outside the US embassy in Madrid, shouting “I cannot breathe”, Floyd’s last words, and demanding racial justice.

Rome’s Piazza del Popolo also fell silent for eight minutes – around the time Floyd was pinned down by the white policeman – with thousands of people taking a knee in memory of Floyd, their fists in the air.


Saudi Arabia’s coronavirus cases top 100,000 with new spike ahead of the haj

The number of coronavirus cases in Saudi Arabia surpassed 100,000 on Sunday, the health ministry said, amid a new surge in infections just weeks ahead of the start of the haj.

The total number of infections rose to 101,914 – the highest in the Gulf – while the death toll climbed to 712, the ministry added.

The kingdom has seen infections spike as it eases stringent lockdown measures, with the number of daily cases exceeding 3,000 for the second day in a row on Sunday.


Airbnb joins vacation-rental sites seeing surge in summer demand

Antsy city dwellers seeking to escape their Covid-19 refuges are road-tripping to nearby vacation rentals in surprisingly strong numbers, showing the first signs of life for an industry that essentially ground to a halt in March.

Airbnb saw more nights booked for US listings between May 17 and June 3 than the same period in 2019, and a similar boost in domestic travel globally.

The San Francisco-based home-share company is seeing an increase in demand for domestic bookings in countries from Germany to Portugal, South Korea, New Zealand and more.


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