Top of the News – 16th June 2020

Supreme Court says gay, transgender workers protected by law

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court ruled Monday that a landmark civil rights law protects gay, lesbian and transgender people from discrimination in employment, a resounding victory for LGBT rights from a conservative court.

NKorea blows up inter-Korea liaison office, raising tensions


SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea blew up an inter-Korean liaison office building just north of the heavily armed border with South Korea on Tuesday in a dramatic display of anger that sharply raises tensions on the Korean Peninsula and puts pressure on Washington and Seoul amid deadlocked nuclear diplomacy.

Trump signals a move past coronavirus with rallies, even as cases spike in many states

By  Philip Rucker, Joshua Partlow and Isaac Stanley-Becker 

President Trump is defying Tulsa’s top public health official by pressing ahead with a massive indoor political rally there. Scores of his aides have been reporting to work in their office cubicles at his campaign headquarters. Virtually nobody around the president — neither White House staffers nor Secret Service agents — regularly wears a mask anymore. And social distancing is a thing of the past.

To observe Trump and his entourage this month as he prepares to resume normal campaign activity coast to coast could lead one to conclude that the coronavirus pandemic is over.

In reality, the virus continues to ravage the United States and is fast spreading in some midsize and small cities that avoided bad outbreaks this spring. Recent spikes in coronavirus cases have been recorded in Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, Texas and Oklahoma — all states where Trump has said he plans to soon hold campaign rallies.


Market Madness in the Pandemic

Why are investors rushing to buy junk?

By Paul Krugman

After all these years, Hertz is No. 1 again. Not in market share: The car-rental company is a distant second to Enterprise. But Hertz has become Exhibit #1 of the madness that has been sweeping the stock market in these times of Covid-19 — a madness that may do considerable harm, not because stock prices themselves matter all that much, but because Donald Trump and his minions treat the stock market as a measure of their success.

About Hertz: Last month the company, which is deeply in debt and has seen its business plunge amid the pandemic, filed for Chapter 11 protection. This is a form of bankruptcy that keeps a company operating by restructuring its debts.

But while companies that enter Chapter 11 often survive, their stockholders are normally wiped out. So Hertz stock should have become more or less worthless.

Sure enough, Hertz’s stock price fell from more than $20 in February to less than $1 in early June. But then a funny thing happened: Investors suddenly piled into the stock, driving it up by more than 500 percent. And Hertz — in bankruptcy! — announced plans to raise money by selling more stock.

The Hertz story was just one example of a broader phenomenon. The run-up in stock prices that took place between mid-May and Thursday’s sudden plummet was driven, to an important extent, by investors rushing into very dubious companies — what one observer called a “flight to crap.”