Monday News: Twelve thousand, nine hundred fifty eight


NEARLY A MILLION NC CITIZENS HAVE CONTRACTED CORONAVIRUS: At least 995,754 people in North Carolina have tested positive for the coronavirus and 12,958 have died since March 2020, according to state health officials. The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services reported 1,020 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, down from 1,187 reported on Thursday. At least 763 people were hospitalized with the coronavirus as of Friday, down from 793 the day before. As of Wednesday, the latest day for which data is available, 3.4% of coronavirus tests were reported positive. More than 52% of adults in North Carolina have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine and 47.4% are fully vaccinated, according to the state health department.

MEMORIALIZING A SLAVE AUCTION? PETITION SAYS WAKE FOREST SHOULD CHOOSE DIFFERENT NAME FOR BUILDING: Wake Forest announced plans to rename the building formerly known as Wingate Hall as “May 7, 1860 Hall,” which refers to the date when the college sold 16 enslaved men, women and children at auction. The college created its first endowment with the $10,718 in proceeds from the slave auction. The Winston-Salem Journal reports that more than 1,000 users have signed an online petition that calls for the university to pick a different name. The petition says Wake Forest shouldn’t memorialize the date when its fourth president, Washington Manly Wingate. allowed the slaves to be sold. Instead, the petition encourages Wake Forest to name the building after a Black person who is a notable graduate or a figure from Winston-Salem’s history. “The administration is putting up a constant reminder of racial trauma for Black Wake Forest students as if being Black at Wake Forest isn’t already hard enough,” said Chloe Baker, a rising Wake Forest senior who started the petition.

NC STUDENTS WILL CONTINUE TO EAT BREAKFAST AND LUNCH FOR FREE THROUGH NEXT SCHOOL YEAR: North Carolina public schools can continue serving free breakfasts and lunches to all students next school year. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently extended the Child Nutrition Program waiver to allow the nation’s public schools to serve free meals to all children through June 2022. The Wake County school system emailed families on Thursday to let them know that breakfast and lunch will be available at no costs to students during the 2021-22 school year. “It’s critical that our efforts to reopen schools quickly and safely include programs that provide access to free, healthy meals for our most vulnerable students, particularly those whose communities have been hardest hit by the pandemic,” U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said in a news release. “This program will ensure more students, regardless of their educational setting, can access free, healthy meals as more schools reopen their doors for in-person learning.”

TOP INTELLIGENCE OFFICIALS ARE TALKING OPENLY ABOUT UFO SIGHTINGS: Late last year, former CIA director John Brennan, appearing on a podcast hosted by George Mason University economics professor Tyler Cowen, said it was “a bit presumptuous and arrogant for us to believe that there’s no other form of life anywhere in the entire universe.” And last month, former CIA director R. James Woolsey said in an interview with the Black Vault, a website that collects paranormal sightings, that he wasn’t “as skeptical as I was a few years ago, to put it mildly, but something is going on that is surprising to a series of intelligent aircraft, experienced pilots.” Both former CIA directors were referring to Air Force and Navy pilot videos that have surfaced in recent years showing unexplained objects on radar traveling at unusual speeds and performing aerial maneuvers that defy logic when compared with what even the most advanced military planes are known to be capable of. “Look at that thing!” a pilot screams in one video as his radar locks in on a strange flying object. “It’s rotating,” another pilot says. “My gosh,” the other pilot says. The authenticity of the videos have been confirmed by Pentagon officials. Some of them were recently featured on “60 Minutes.” “I’ve seen some of those videos from Navy pilots,” Brennan said, “and I must tell you that they are quite eyebrow-raising when you look at them.” He added, “I think some of the phenomena we’re going to be seeing continues to be unexplained and might, in fact, be some type of phenomenon that is the result of something that we don’t yet understand and that could involve some type of activity that some might say constitutes a different form of life.”

SAMOA IN LIMBO AS LONG-TIME RULER REFUSES TO STEP DOWN AFTER ELECTION LOSS: Still shut out of Parliament by Monday evening, Ms. Mata’afa’s party held its own swearing-in under a tent erected right outside. As the sun set, she took the oath of office, flanked by members of her party dressed in cardinal-red blazers and traditional men’s wraparound skirts known as ie faitaga. With the party’s defiant act, the country now has two competing governments and two claimants to the prime ministership. Each side has accused the other of carrying out a coup. The incumbent prime minister, Tuilaepa Aiono Sailele Malielegaoi, who has led Samoa for 23 years, and members of his political party were nowhere in sight during Ms. Mata’afa’s ceremony. He emerged afterward, delivering a speech in which he said he would not recognize her appointment and called her swearing-in an act of “treason.” A tortuous seven weeks have followed the April election as Ms. Mata’afa has grappled with Mr. Tuilaepa, the leader of the Human Rights Protection Party. A coalition led by FAST won 26 of the 51 seats in the election. After a legal challenge appeared to give the H.R.P.P. an additional seat, leaving both parties with 26, the appointed head of state called for a rerun. The judiciary rejected the request and ejected the 26th H.R.P.P. member of Parliament. Some 28 legal challenges to the election result have yet to be determined. Over the weekend, the machinations reached a head. Late on Saturday night, the head of state, an ordinarily ceremonial position, issued a proclamation suspending Parliament “until such time as to be announced and for reasons that I will make known in due course.” The proclamation, Ms. Mata’afa, 64, told The New York Times, was tantamount to a coup. This seems oddly familiar...