A giant, yellow ‘Black Lives Matter’ mural was painted Thursday on New York City's Fifth Avenue right in front of Trump Tower, a skyscraper that serves as the headquarters for the Trump Organisation.
Mayor Bill de Blasio joined dozens of people in painting the three words with a roller on the ground Thursday morning, attracting hundreds of onlookers, reports Xinhua.
"Our city isn't just painting the words on Fifth Avenue. We're committed to the meaning of the message," he tweeted.
President Donald Trump last week lashed out at NYC plan to paint the mural, calling it "a symbol of hate" on Twitter.
In response, de Blasio said the mural is to honour members of the black community who helped build Fifth Avenue and "so much of this nation."
The mural is one of five that will be created in each borough of the city following the tragic death of African American George Floyd in Minneapolis in May, which sparked nationwide protests over racial injustice and police brutality.
"I ask all New Yorkers to recognise the power of this moment -- that the city of New York is saying loudly, clearly, consistently black lives matter and we will back up that belief with action after action after action," de Blasio said at a press briefing in mid-June while announcing the plan about the murals.
International students have become worried as federal immigration authorities notified colleges this week that international students must leave the U.S. or transfer to another college if their schools operate entirely online this fall.
They said the new immigration policy could potentially cost them their visas and they feel stuck between being unnecessarily exposed during the coronavirus pandemic and being able to finish their studies in America.
The students from countries as diverse as India, China and Brazil say they are scrambling to devise plans after federal immigration authorities notification.
If they don’t leave the country, colleges were asked to transfer them to another college if their schools operate entirely online this fall, they said.
Some of the students said they are thinking about returning home or moving to nearby Canada.
Batuhan Mekiker, a Ph.D. student from Turkey studying computer science at Montana State University in Bozeman, said “I’m generating research, I’m doing work in a great economy.”
”If I go to Turkey, I would not have that,” he said. “I would like to be somewhere where my talent is appreciated.”
Mathias, a Seattle-based student, on condition of not using his last name for fear of losing his immigration status, said he is set to sell his car, break his lease, and get his cat Louis permission to fly back to his home in Paris in the next two weeks.
“Everyone’s very worried,” he said adding that “We have our whole lives here.”
Many American universities have come to depend on the revenue from more than 1 million international students, who typically pay higher tuition.
President Donald Trump has insisted that schools and colleges return to in-person instruction as soon as possible — and some universities have accused the administration of issuing the guidelines to force the schools into reopening.
Trump has alleged that schools are being kept closed for political reasons.
Meanwhile, Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology filed a lawsuit this week to block the decision.
The guidance was released the same day Harvard announced it would keep all undergraduate classes online this fall and several graduate schools have said they would as well.
The university says the directive would prevent many of its 5,000 international students from remaining in the U.S.
The University of Southern California sent a letter to students and faculty, saying “It’s deeply troubled by the decision.”
“The policy could negatively impact countless international students,” it said.
U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Twitter that President Donald Trump's official withdrawal of the country from the World Health Organization (WHO) is "an act of true senselessness,"
"With millions of lives at risk, the President is crippling the international effort to defeat the virus," Pelosi wrote on Wednesday.
Trump made the decision at a time when "the WHO coordinates the global fight against COVID-19," she wrote.
The United States will leave the WHO on July 6, 2021, and currently it owes the organization more than 200 million U.S. dollars in assessed contributions, according to the WHO website.
The UN secretary-general has been in the process of verifying with the WHO if the U.S. meets all the conditions for its withdrawal, U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said in a statement on Tuesday.
Despite a spike in coronavirus cases in the country, U.S. President Donald Trump said on Tuesday the White House will push state governors hard to get schools opened in the fall.
"We're very much going to put pressure on governors and everyone else to open the schools," Trump said at a White House meeting with government officials and school administrators.
"Our country has got to get back, and it's got to get back as soon as possible, and I don't consider our country coming back if the schools are closed," Trump said.
The president stressed that death rates from the virus are going down, though experts fear they will begin to go back up soon.
Trump said on Monday that presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden doesn't want schools to open in the fall for "political reasons."
"SCHOOLS MUST OPEN IN THE FALL!!!" Trump tweeted on Monday. It's thought the school lockdown has played an active role in the downturn of the U.S. economy which is key to the president's reelection chances.
A Biden campaign official told Fox News later that the former vice president "of course" hoped students could return to school in the fall, while urging the authorities to make those decisions to keep in line with recommendations from public health experts.
On Tuesday morning, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos told state leaders that plans that included only limited in-person instruction were unacceptable, according to local media reports.
"American education must be fully open and fully operational this fall!" DeVos tweeted one day earlier.
"When it comes to reopening our schools, nobody should hide behind our CDC's (guidance) as a way to not reopen schools," Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar said on Tuesday, "our guidance is to enable and empower the reopening of schools and physical attendance by our kids."
The Trump administration is rushing to reopen schools at a time when the country is already experiencing significant surges of newly confirmed COVID-19 cases.
Almost 3 million people have contracted the virus with more than 131,000 deaths in the U.S. as of Tuesday morning, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
Anthony Fauci, the U.S. top infectious disease expert, warned on Monday that the country is "still knee-deep in the first wave" of the pandemic and the U.S. handle of the outbreak is "really not good."
Two people were killed and eight others were injured in a shootout at a nightclub in South Carolina, a sheriff's official said.
Two Greenville County sheriff's deputies noticed a disturbance at Lavish Lounge just before 2am, and saw a large crowd running out of the building, Sheriff Hobart Lewis said at a press conference. There was “active gunfire from inside the building,” Lt Jimmy Bolt said in an initial statement, and Lewis said all the shots were fired inside, reports AP.
Both Lewis and Bolt initially said 12 people had been wounded — with at least four in critical condition, Lewis said — but Bolt told The Associated Press that two victims were likely counted twice in the confusion at the hospital.
No one was immediately taken into custody. Bolt told the AP that the sheriff's office was looking for two suspects, but couldn't provide names or descriptions.
“We don't really have a person of interest that we can name," Lewis said at the press conference, later adding that authorities weren't sure what led to the gunfire.
Lewis said a “very large crowd” was at the nightclub for “some type of concert.” A post on Lavish Lounge’s Facebook page advertised a July 4 performance by trap rapper Foogiano. An Instagram direct message from the AP wasn’t immediately returned, but a bookings representative told the AP via text message that Foogiano was fine and his team was safe.
Coronavirus cases in South Carolina have risen swiftly and the state’s rate of positive tests is three times the recommended level. In late June, the Upstate city of Greenville — which has experienced some of the state's highest COVID-19 rates — became the first city to mandate face coverings in South Carolina, where Gov. Henry McMaster has refused to implement a statewide mask requirement.
McMaster reminded South Carolinians last week that he hadn't lifted restrictions on large crowds, and that those operating nightclubs illegally or holding concerts against his orders don't have to be caught in the act to face criminal charges, but instead could be charged weeks later if COVID-19 cases are traced back.
Lewis said at the press conference that he didn't know whether the club had sought an exemption to the governor's order or secured a permit for Saturday night's event, but said it was clear that the club's patrons weren't 6 feet (2 meters) apart.
“It's certainly not the best situation to stop the spread of this virus,” the sheriff said.
A phone call and an Instagram direct message from the AP to Lavish Lounge weren’t immediately returned, but the club posted on Facebook just before 6 a.m. that events “have been postponed until further notice.”
Lewis said the victims, whose names were not immediately released, were taken to the Prisma Health hospital in Greenville, some via private vehicle. Bolt said that of the eight wounded, some had non-life-threatening injuries and others were in critical condition, but he didn't have a tally of the latter.
Prisma Health spokesperson Tammie Epps could not immediately comment when reached by telephone.