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Trump Announces GOP Will Look for New State to Hold Convention After North Carolina Can’t Guarantee Use of Arena

President Donald Trump said Tuesday that the GOP would look for another location in which to hold the Republican National Convention (RNC) after North Carolina lawmakers balked at the event, citing fears of community spread coronavirus.

Trump has stated his desire to hold a large-scale, in-person convention despite the threat of the community spread of coronavirus. His location of choice for the RNC was the Spectrum Center in Charlotte, North Carolina. Pushback came from North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper, who said he wasn’t sure if the coronavirus situation in the state would make holding an event such as the RNC tenable.

“Governor Cooper is still in Shelter-In-Place Mode,” Trump tweeted Tuesday, “and not allowing us to occupy the arena as originally anticipated and promised. Would have showcased beautiful North Carolina to the World, and brought in hundreds of millions of dollars, and jobs, for the state.”

Newsweek reached out to the Trump campaign for comment. This story will be updated with any response.

North Carolina Governor told GOP leaders Tuesday that he could not guarantee coronavirus spread would be far enough reduced to host the Republican National Convention in August.
Jeff Hahne/Getty

While Governor Cooper still expressed hope that the event could be held in his state, he wrote in a Tuesday letter to Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel of the Republican National Committee and President and CEO of the Republican National Convention that the convention would have to be “scaled-down.”

Republican leadership had expected the convention to include approximately 19,000 people inside the Spectrum Center for the convention, as well as lodging and hospitality providers “at capacity.”

“As much as we want the conditions surrounding COVID-19 to be favorable enough for you to hold the Convention you describe in late August, it is very unlikely,” Cooper wrote. “Neither public health officials nor I will risk the health and safety of North Carolinians by providing the guarantee you seek.”

Chairwoman McDaniel responded to Cooper’s retraction Tuesday by saying the GOP still held out hope it could hold the RNC in Charlotte, “but we have an obligation to our delegates and nominee to begin visiting the multiple cities and states who have reached out in recent days about hosting an historic event to show that America is open for business.”

Should the GOP’s plans to hold the RNC in North Carolina fall through, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp suggested in May that his state would be the perfect place to “safely host” the convention.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said during a May news conference that his state was ready to “have the conversation” about moving the RNC to his state.

“Florida would love to have the RNC,” DeSantis said. “Heck, I’m a Republican. It would be good for us to have the DNC [Democratic National Convention] in terms of the economic impact when you talk about major events like that.”

Democrats are expected to hold their national convention at the Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in August 2020.

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Will of Missing Husband of ‘Tiger King’ Star Carole Baskin Forged, Police Say

Chad Chronister, Sheriff of Hillsborough County, Florida, has said he believes the will of multi-millionaire Don Lewis, the missing husband of animal rights activist Carole Baskin, was forged. The will left his $10 million estate to Baskin with nothing going towards his other surviving relatives.

Baskin gained notoriety in 2020 because of the Netflix documentary series Tiger King which recounts her attempts to shut down the big cat animal park originally owned by the show’s titular subject, Joe “Exotic” Maldonado-Passage.

Lewis disappeared from Tampa, Florida in 1997 and he has never been found. He was formally declared dead in 2002. After Lewis disappeared, Baskin produced a power of attorney and will, allegedly signed by Lewis, that gave her control and ownership of his estate, respectively.

“[The Clarion-Ledger newspaper] had two experts deem it 100 percent a forgery,” Chronister told 10 Tampa Bay. “The will had already been executed at that point. But, it certainly cast another shadow of suspicion, by all means.”

Carole Baskin from Netflix’s “Tiger King”

The Clarion-Ledger reported on May 20 that two separate handwriting experts concluded that every one of Lewis’ signatures on his will and power of attorney were “traced” from his 1991 marriage record.

Another purported signer of the will, Susan Aronoff, has claimed that Baskin threatened her to sign a statement attesting that she was present when Lewis signed the will. Aronoff now says she wasn’t present for any such signing.

Anne McQueen, Lewis’ longtime executive assistant, who claims to have retained a copy of Lewis’ will, power of attorney and life insurance, said the will and power of attorney that Baskin produced after Lewis’ declared death was different from the copy she had kept. The old will named McQueen as Lewis’ executor, the new will named Baskin as his executor.

The publication also states that Sandra Wittkopp, the housekeeper who served Baskin and Lewis for six years and whose notary stamp is on Lewis’ will, says she doesn’t remember ever notarizing the document. Subsequent investigation revealed that her notary stamp used on the will was mailed to Baskin’s home rather than Wittkopp’s home address around the time it was used on Lewis’ documents.

Though the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office had investigated the forgery allegation, it handed the case to the Florida attorney general’s office which declared that the five-year statute of limitations for forgery had already passed, making Baskin unable to be prosecuted for any charges related to it.

Maldonado-Passage achieved recent notoriety due to the Netflix series covering his exploits as the former owner and operator of the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park, an Oklahoma-based park which displayed rare and exotic animals, including over 200 big cats—like lions, tigers, pumas and cross-bred varieties.

In April 2019, Maldonado-Passage was sentenced to 22 years in federal prison after being found guilty on 17 federal charges of animal abuse and two counts of murder for hire after he tried to solicit an undercover FBI agent posing as a hitman to kill Carole Baskin, an animal rights activist who also serves as CEO of the Florida-based wildlife sanctuary Big Cat Rescue.

Baskin had repeatedly protested Maldonado-Passage’s treatment of his animals and his use of them in public shows, even securing a million-dollar 2011 legal judgment against him and his park. The following year, Maldonado-Passage began making public threats against Baskin on Facebook and YouTube, causing her to fear for her and her family’s safety.

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Last Meal of ‘Exceptionally Preserved’ Armor-Plated Dinosaur That Died 110 Million Years Ago Revealed by Scientists

Researchers have revealed what a 2,800-pound armor-plated dinosaur ate for its last meal before it perished around 110 million years ago.

In 2011, miners accidentally uncovered the fossilized remains of a dinosaur specimen representing the species Borealopelta markmitchelli—a type of nodosaur—at a site near Fort McMurray in Alberta, Canada.

Following the discovery, a team of Canadian scientists from the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology, Brandon University, and the University of Saskatchewan (USask) began investigating the extremely well-preserved specimen, whose fossilized stomach contents have survived to this day as a soccer-ball-sized mass.

“The finding of the actual preserved stomach contents from a dinosaur is extraordinarily rare, and this stomach recovered from the mummified nodosaur by the museum team is by far the best-preserved dinosaur stomach ever found to date,” Jim Basinger, one of the scientists from USask, said in a statement.

“When people see this stunning fossil and are told that we know what its last meal was because its stomach was so well preserved inside the skeleton, it will almost bring the beast back to life for them, providing a glimpse of how the animal actually carried out its daily activities, where it lived, and what its preferred food was.”

In a study published in the journal Royal Society Open Science, the researchers reveal that the dinosaur’s last meals were composed almost entirely of ferns, providing the most detailed insight yet of the diet of large herbivores living more than 110 million years ago.

“The last meal of our dinosaur was mostly fern leaves—88 per cent chewed leaf material and seven per cent stems and twigs,” David Greenwood, another author of the study from Brandon University, said in a statement.

“When we examined thin sections of the stomach contents under a microscope, we were shocked to see beautifully preserved and concentrated plant material. In marine rocks we almost never see such superb preservation of leaves, including the microscopic, spore-producing sporangia of ferns.”

Analysis of the stomach contents suggested that the dinosaur was a picky eater, mostly choosing to eat certain types of ferns—known as leptosporangiates—over others that would have also been common in the animal’s environment at the time, according to the study.

While previous studies into the diets of herbivorous dinosaurs has revealed evidence of seeds and twigs in the gut, they did not provide an indication of which kids of plants the animals were eating. Paleontologists have long had to resort to speculation when it comes to determining the diet of herbivorous dinosaurs based on characteristics such as tooth and jaw shape, as well as the known availability of specific plants.

Artist’s illustration of the Borealopelta markmitchelli dinosaur eating ferns.
© Illustration by Julius Csotonyi © Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology

“This new study changes what we know about the diet of large herbivorous dinosaurs,” Royal Tyrrell Museum palaeontologist Caleb Brown said in the statement. “Our findings are also remarkable for what they can tell us about the animal’s interaction with its environment, details we don’t usually get just from the dinosaur skeleton.”

In addition to the plant material, the authors also detected an abundance of charcoal in the stomach contents of the dinosaur, suggesting that the animal lived in an environment that was prone to regular wildfires.

“There is considerable charcoal in the stomach from burnt plant fragments, indicating that the animal was browsing in a recently burned area and was taking advantage of a recent fire and the flush of ferns that frequently emerges on a burned landscape,” Greenwood said.

“This adaptation to a fire ecology is new information. Like large herbivores alive today such as moose and deer, and elephants in Africa, these nodosaurs by their feeding would have shaped the vegetation on the landscape, possibly maintaining more open areas by their grazing.”

The analysis of the stomach contents has even shed new light on the animal’s death, indicating that it must have occurred shortly after the last meal.

“Plants give us a much better idea of season than animals, and they indicate that the last meal and the animal’s death and burial all happened in the late spring to mid-summer,” Brown said.

“Taken together, these findings enable us to make inferences about the ecology of the animal, including how selective it was in choosing which plants to eat and how it may have exploited forest fire regrowth. It will also assist in understanding of dinosaur digestion and physiology.”

According to research featured in the CBC documentary Dinosaur Cold Case, the dinosaur may have drowned in a flood and its body was washed out into the vast inland sea that once cut right through the North American continent, covering the area that is now Alberta.

Once the dinosaur had sunk to the seafloor, it became coated in mud, helping to preserve it in exceptional condition for more than a hundred million years until miners accidentally uncovered the remains during work at the Suncor Millennium open pit mine around 17 miles north of Fort McMurray in April, 2011.

In fact, the renowned Borealopelta markmitchelli specimen—which has been on display at the Royal Tyrrell Museum since 2017—is considered to be the best-preserved nodosaur fossil ever found. Nodosaurs are a family of heavily-armored dinosaurs that lived between the Late Jurassic (around 163 to 145 million years ago) and Cretaceous (around 145 to 66 million years ago) periods in what is now North America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and Antarctica.

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25 Percent Of Staff Test Positive For Coronavirus At Iowa Tyson Foods Plant, Production Resuming On Wednesday

Close to 600 people employed by a Tyson Foods plant in Storm Lake, Iowa, have tested positive for the new coronavirus, accounting for slightly more than one-quarter of the facility’s staff.

This is the latest outbreak reported by Tyson Foods, which confirmed additional virus cases among employees in Arkansas and a second Iowa plant in Council Bluffs on Monday and Tuesday.

The outbreak at Tyson’s pork facility in Storm Lake is one of the largest so far identified by the company throughout the pandemic. According to a statement released on Tuesday, 591 of 2,303 staff members tested positive for the respiratory syndrome during facility-wide evaluations administered late last month. According to Tyson, more than 75 percent of positive cases were asymptomatic.

Tyson’s statement also confirmed plans to resume limited production at the Storm Lake plant on Wednesday, as previously scheduled. The facility temporarily suspended activity for deep cleaning and sanitation due to concerns about transmission. During that time, the company said all workers who had not been tested for the virus by the county’s health department or personal health care providers received tests onsite at the Storm Lake plant.

Tyson, one of the world’s largest meatpacking corporations, began conducting similar procedures at other plants across the U.S. in April, after a handful of initial outbreaks were reported. The company now publicly shares results of facility-wide diagnostic assessments, which it initiates based on the quantity of virus cases confirmed in a given area.

“Our top priority is the health and safety of our team members, and we continue to take strong action to ensure they feel protected in their community and when they come to work,” said Tyson’s SVP of Health and Safety, Tom Brower, in Tuesday’s statement, referencing Storm Lake’s test results. He noted that Tyson follows protocols outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that determine a timeline for employees to return to work after contracting the virus.

As of Tuesday, virus outbreaks had been confirmed among staff at Tyson facilities in at least eight U.S. states, including Iowa, according to the company’s reports. Though many temporarily suspended production for sanitation and testing purposes, all plants have since reopened. After multiple meatpacking corporations closed their plants due to virus outbreaks in April, President Donald Trump invoked the Defense Production Act to categorize processing facilities as critical infrastructure, requiring them to remain open through the pandemic.

Tyson Foods released results of its latest large-scale testing procedure to identify cases of the new coronavirus at a meat processing facility in Store Lake, Iowa, on Tuesday. The company said nearly 600 of its 2,303 employees tested positive for the illness, most of whom were asymptomatic.
Ramin Talaie/Corbis via Getty Images

Last week, a statement from the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) International Union estimated at least 44 employees of meatpacking facilities across the country had died after testing positive for the new coronavirus, while more than 3,000 had tested positive. The statement called for increased worker safety measures to reduce the likelihood of future outbreaks.

Newsweek reached out to Tyson Foods and UFCW for additional comment but did not receive replies in time for publication.

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Free Police Scanner Apps Surpass Facebook and Instagram on Apple’s Charts As George Floyd Protests Escalate

Free police scanner apps surpassed Facebook and Instagram downloads on Apple’s charts as George Floyd protests continue to escalate.

Police scanner apps were downloaded 213,000 times over this past weekend, surpassing the popular social media apps Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok on the App Store, according to data from Apptopia, an app data firm.

The police scanner apps most downloaded last weekend included Police Scanner, with over 88,000 downloads, Scanner Radio – Fire and Police Scanner, with the highest daily user count, 5-0 Radio Police Scanner, and Police Scanner Radio & Fire. Some of the scanners offer paid versions as well.

Interest in the apps spiked as protests continued to grip the country following Floyd’s death on Memorial Day. Floyd was arrested outside a supermarket in Minneapolis, where video later shared to social media showed ex-police officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes as Floyd told officers he couldn’t breathe. Floyd was later pronounced dead at a local hospital and, days later, Chauvin was arrested and charged with murder and manslaughter. He and the three other officers involved in Floyd’s arrest were fired on May 26.

App users to listen in on police calls to get real-time updates in where law enforcement is headed. The 5-0 Radio App even allows users to communicate with one another on an online message board.

Monday night was the seventh night of protests as people seek changes in policing tactics that many feel disproportionately affect the black community. While many protesters have peaceably gathered to share their displeasure with law enforcement, others have used these opportunities to riot, loot and set fires to businesses.

A 7-11 in St. Louis, Missouri was broken into and looted Monday night after peaceful protests were held in the state. Looters were caught by FOX 2 News’ helicopter camera breaking into and eventually throwing fireworks at the establishment, which later caught fire. Multiple officers were also hit with gunfire in the city.

Mayor Lyda Krewson announced a curfew for the city Tuesday, joining the more than 20 cities across the country that have already implemented curfews to make policing more manageable.

“This is certainly an inconvenience for all of our residents, I apologize for that because the actions of a few, the actions of a few hundred individuals, some of whom may not even be from our community, are causing this curfew. But we have to give law enforcement and our fire department the tools that they need to try and keep us safe and try and protect property, and this curfew is a means to that end,” said Krewson.

Newsweek reached out to Apple for comment on the increase in downloads of the apps, but did not hear back by publication.

MAY 02, 2018: iPhone screen displaying phone apps. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Justin Sullivan/Getty
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State Secretary Mike Pompeo to Visit China’s Tiananmen Square Survivors Amid Growing U.S. Protests

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was set to meet survivors of China’s bloody crackdown at Tiananmen Square just over three decades ago as the death toll of ongoing protests in the United States continues to rise.

A schedule released Tuesday by the State Department read that Pompeo would meet the survivors of the 1989 Tiananmen Square uprising at 2:30 p.m. ET ahead of the 31st anniversary of its suppression by Chinese armed forces. The visit will come after he is expected to also accompany President Donald Trump on a visit to the Saint John Paul II National Shrine and the signing of an Executive Order to Advance International Religious Freedom.

Pompeo’s event would be another symbolic jab at Beijing, with whom the Trump administration has been feuding on several overlapping geopolitical and economic issues.

But it also played out on the backdrop of worsening unrest at home. The president said Monday he would invoke a 200-plus-year-old military law to deploy troops in the U.S. in a bid to quell sometimes violent protests sparked by the death of George Floyd, a black man, after a white Minneapolis police officer, Derek Chauvin, kneeled on his neck. Chauvin has since been fired and charged with murder and manslaughter.

As of Tuesday, around at least nine people had been reported killed in connection with the protests against police brutality and systemic racism, and they include bystanders, suspected looters and one police officer.

A woman stands in front of police officers, on June 1 as they take part in a “Black Lives Matter” rally in response to the recent death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died while in police custody, in Las Vegas, where a police officer was shot and a suspect killed during a violent encounter. Another night of clashes erupted as protesters defied curfew orders and President Donald Trump invoked an 1807 law to threaten to send regular U.S. military units into major U.S. cities.

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and other international voices have condemned Floyd’s death and a growing number of countries critical of U.S. policy have taken aim at the ongoing clashes between police and protestors. China has accused the Trump administration of holding a “double standard” in condemning Hong Kong’s crackdown on demonstrations there while mobilizing the National Guard at home and threatening to shoot suspected looters.

Thousands have been arrested in both in the U.S. at protests following Floyd’s killing and in the Hong Kong demonstrations where residents seek more independence from Beijing. Chinese officials have cautioned against comparing the two situations.

“During the disturbance over proposed legislative amendments in Hong Kong, hostile local and foreign forces flagrantly engaged in secessionist, subversive and terrorist activities that severely threaten national security, which are ‘Hong Kong independence’ and violence in essence,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian told reporters Monday.

“As to the trigger for protests across the U.S., American media have made thorough coverage,” he added.