Wednesday News: Make it stop

BUDDHIST MONK IN HIGH POINT KILLED IN DRIVE-BY SHOOTING: High Point police responded to the temple around 8 p.m. Saturday after another monk discovered Tam Dinh Tran kneeling in a praying position with blood coming out of his nose, the department said in a statement. The monk reported that he thought Tran was suffering from a medical condition, but first responders determined Tran had a traumatic injury resembling a puncture wound to his right side, the agency said. He was pronounced dead at the scene. During a search, detectives discovered what appeared to be two bullet holes to the exterior of the building and a bullet lodged in a wall, officials said. Detectives also found two handgun bullet casings near the road, which were sent for analysis, according to the statement.

NC'S PROPOSED IN-PERSON BAR EXAM VIOLATES RULE AGAINST LARGE GATHERINGS: While other states are canceling bar exams or moving the tests for new attorneys online due to coronavirus, North Carolina is facing criticism for holding an in-person bar exam next week. On Friday, Raleigh attorney Kieran Shanahan, representing an immunocompromised exam applicant, called on Gov. Roy Cooper to step in and require alternatives for the test. “Our state leaders must realize that the North Carolina Board of Law Examiners waited until the last minute to plan for the health and safety of hundreds of North Carolinians who will gather in Raleigh in two weeks,” Shanahan said in a news release. “Our future lawyers shouldn’t have to choose between their health and their careers.” Cooper’s executive orders still limit indoor gatherings to 10 people, and 390 of the 770 people taking the test will be in the 95,000-square-foot Jim Graham Building, which normally can seat 1,300 people.

FOREST LAWSUIT AGAINST COOPER WILL HAVE FIRST HEARING IN AUGUST: Forest sued the governor three weeks ago, saying a half-dozen executive orders that Cooper's issued during the pandemic should be voided because the Council of State didn't sign off on them. Some orders shuttered businesses and mandated face coverings in public places. Forest, who is trying to unseat Cooper in the November election, wants Gale to block the enforcement of the orders while the case goes to trial. Cooper has said he followed the law while making health and safety decisions. In different litigation, the state Supreme Court on Tuesday suspended Gale's July 7 decision that had allowed several dozen bowling alleys to reopen while the judge's ruling is appealed. Gale overturned Cooper's executive order that had kept the lanes closed. The judge agreed with a trade association that Cooper wrongly treated its members differently than other businesses the governor let reopen. The Supreme Court issued last week a temporary stay on Gale's order that Cooper's state attorneys sought. Tuesday's decision essentially extended that stay.

TRUMP ADMITS TO KNOWING WOMAN WHO PROCURED UNDERAGE GIRLS FOR SEX: The president was asked about Maxwell during a news briefing on the coronavirus and what he thought about the possibility that she could work with authorities to turn over names of powerful men who also sexually abused underage girls. “I wish her well, frankly. I’ve met her numerous times over the years, especially since I lived in Palm Beach, and I guess they lived in Palm Beach,” Trump said. “But I wish her well, whatever it is.” Trump’s comments drew rebukes from Democrats, and even some Republicans expressed unease, including Rep. Chip Roy (R-Tex.). “This is unacceptably obtuse for a woman accused of the most morally depraved of crimes, @realDonaldTrump,” Roy wrote in a Wednesday morning tweet. “She needs to be severely punished . . . and justice must be served for the girls she abused. For ALL involved.” The reaction from Democrats was more pointed. “Today, Donald Trump sent well wishes to Ghislaine Maxwell, who is charged with procuring underage girls to be sexually abused,” Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.) tweeted Tuesday night. “Has he sent any well wishes to the families of the more than 140,000 Americans who have died during this pandemic?” After Epstein was arrested in 2019 on sex trafficking charges, Trump denied having a friendship with him or knowing that he preyed on young girls. Epstein died in jail while awaiting trial. Trump was quoted in a 2002 New York Magazine profile of Epstein discussing their relationship. “He’s a lot of fun to be with,” Trump said then. “It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side.”

TRUMP ORDERS CLOSURE OF CHINESE CONSULATE IN HOUSTON: The United States ordered China to close its diplomatic consulate in Houston within 72 hours, dealing another blow to the rapidly deteriorating relations between the two countries. China promptly vowed to retaliate, calling the move illegal. The State Department said the closure was made in response to repeated Chinese violations of American sovereignty, including “massive illegal spying and influence operations.” The Trump administration’s decision, an unusual and grave step, was a significant escalation of its effort to tighten the reins on Chinese diplomats, journalists, scholars and others in the United States. It comes amid rising tensions that were inflamed by the coronavirus pandemic but that now touch on virtually all aspects of the relationship. In Beijing, Mr. Wang called the move unprecedented and illegal under international law, and described it as the latest in a series of aggressions. “For some time, the United States government has been shifting the blame to China with stigmatization and unwarranted attacks against China’s social system, harassing Chinese diplomatic and consular staff in America, intimidating and interrogating Chinese students and confiscating their personal electrical devices, even detaining them without cause,” he said.