How I Built This: Sara Blakely, CEO of Spanx
How I Built This: Sara Blakely, CEO of Spanx

Disturbing Coronavirus Surge; New Russia Controversy; The Science Of Happiness

Email sent: Jun 29, 2020 8:53am

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Plus, a black mother reflects on giving her sons “the talk” … again and again.
by Korva Coleman and Jill Hudson

First Up

President Trump denied Sunday that he'd ever been briefed on bounties that Russia reportedly offered to Taliban-linked fighters to kill coalition forces in Afghanistan.
Alex Brandon/AP
Here's what we're following today.

In a tweet late Sunday night, President Trump denied that he was told Russia had offered the Taliban bounty payments to kill Western forces — including U.S. troops — stating the intelligence community did not find the reports credible. The Washington Post reported Sunday night that the bounties are "believed to have resulted in the deaths of several U.S. service members" — a conclusion based on interviews with captured militants.

The coronavirus pandemic reached a new milestone on Sunday, with confirmed deaths surpassing half a million around the world and cases topping 10 million. At least a dozen states say they will not move to the next phase of reopening because of resurgences. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that for every confirmed case, there are 10 others undiagnosed.

The White House said President Trump did not hear part of a video he retweeted on Sunday in which his supporters yelled “white power” during a protest at a Florida retirement village. Trump posted the video on his own account, but deleted it about three hours later. South Carolina's Tim Scott, the only Black Republican senator, called the retweet "indefensible." "He should not have retweeted," Scott said on CNN Sunday. 

The Justice Department has charged four men in connection with the June 22 attempt to tear down the statue of Andrew Jackson in Lafayette Park, which is across the street from the White House. Trump has vowed to prosecute each of the cases to the fullest extent of the law, and threatened lengthy prison terms.

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Today's Listen

Clare Schneider/NPR

Would you like to be happier— even just a little bit? Life Kit reached out to the host of The Happiness Lab podcast, psychologist Laurie Santos, who shares the science of cultivating gratitude and reframing positive thinking. Santos also teaches a class on the science of happiness at Yale University; it is the most popular course in the university's 300-year history. (Listen here or read the story)

Broadway star Lin-Manuel Miranda says his musical Hamilton, based off of a political moment that took place 244 years ago, has the same “language of revolution” that is happening today. (Listen here or read the story)

It's Been A Minute host Sam Sanders talks with Kenya Young, executive producer of Morning Edition and mother of three boys about "the talk" that Black parents have with their kids, particularly their sons, about how they should deal with police if they encounter them. “I remember the kids asking to go to the park and the laundry list of what I had to tell them: ‘Don't wear your hood. Don't put your hands in your pocket. If you get stopped, don't run. Put your hands up. Don't make a lot of moves. Tell them your mother works for NPR,’" Young says. (Listen here or read the story)

Before You Go

Beyoncé performs at Coachella in 2018.
Photo illustration: Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Coachella and Angela Hsieh/NPR
  • A new visual album written, directed and executive produced by Beyoncé is on its way. Black Is King will celebrate Black resilience and culture, and premiere globally on Disney+ on July 31.
  • Did comedian and actor Sacha Baron Cohen prank a far-right group rally in Washington state over the weekend? 
  • Have you had your sleep disrupted recently (like NPR’s Korva Coleman did) by merry neighbors setting off fireworks? There are plenty of conspiracy theories on social media about the mysterious nightly displays of fireworks that are being set off across the country.
  • Princeton University is removing Woodrow Wilson's name from its School of Public and International Affairs. The school's board of trustees said, "Wilson's racist thinking and policies make him an inappropriate namesake."
— Suzette Lohmeyer contributed to this report. 

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