Merkel rejected Trump’s invitation to attend the G7 in person. Then Trump postponed the summit.

President Trump told reporters on Saturday that he was postponing a Group of 7 meeting scheduled to be held in the United States next month. Earlier Saturday, Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany said she would not attend in person, citing concerns about the coronavirus.

Mr. Trump also announced that he wants to invite Russia to rejoin the group.

Making the announcement while returning from the SpaceX launch in Florida, he said he also planned to invite South Korea, Australia and India to the summit, with an adviser adding that the idea was to bring together traditional allies to discuss China. He said he now wants to hold the meeting in September.

“I don’t feel that as a G7 it properly represents what’s going on in the world. It’s a very outdated group of countries,” Mr. Trump said. But his decision to say he will unilaterally invite Russia — which was indefinitely suspended in March 2014 after the annexing of Crimea — is certain to inflame other member nations.

Holding the summit in June would have underscored Mr. Trump’s message that America can reopen and that the worst of the coronavirus crisis has passed, even as many public health experts warned that a rush to do that could lead to a new wave of infections.

But given that most international and even diplomatic travel has been on hold for months, his proposal struck many foreign policy experts as fanciful. World leader summits like the G7 typically involve hundreds of officials and support staff, as well as elaborate security.

In March, Mr. Trump had announced that the June summit would take place virtually as the coronavirus outbreak was spreading around the world and international travel was curtailed. But he changed plans this month, saying he might invite the leaders of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan to Washington, as a demonstration of a return to normalcy.

Earlier Saturday, Ms. Merkel’s spokesman said in an emailed statement that she “thanks President Trump for his invitation to the G7 summit in Washington at the end of June. As of today, considering the overall pandemic situation, she cannot agree to her personal participation, a trip to Washington.”

Throngs of Muslim worshipers returned to formal services in Israel and Saudi Arabia on Sunday as two of Islam’s holiest sites reopened for the first time since they were closed more than two months ago over coronavirus fears.

At the Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, Islam’s third-holiest site, worshipers entering the massive compound for dawn prayers were greeted by officials who took their temperatures, distributed masks and implored them to follow social-distancing guidelines.

“We are depending on your heedfulness,” Omar Kiswani, the director of the mosque, could be heard saying through a loudspeaker system.

Ibrahim Zaghed, 25, an unemployed resident of Jerusalem, was weeping as he laid down his blue and silver prayer mat on an elevated outdoor space on the eastern side of the mosque.

“Today is no different than a holiday,” said Mr. Zaghed, who was not wearing a mask. “I feel like a complete person again.”

The compound, which Jews revere as their holiest site and refer to as the Temple Mount, is often at the center of tensions between Israelis and Palestinians.

In Saudi Arabia, the government said that 90,000 mosques across the kingdom had reopened on Sunday, including parts of the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina, considered Islam’s second-holiest site. The most revered site in Islam, the Kaaba in Mecca, remains closed to the Muslim public.

Imam Kiswani of the Aqsa Mosque, who estimated that about 3,000 people participated in the prayers on Sunday, said that while most of them followed social-distancing guidelines, some needed to exercise “greater attentiveness.”

Manal Balala, 50, a housekeeper from Jerusalem who was wearing a mask and gloves, was overjoyed as she socialized with her friends after prayers.

“I feel like my soul has been restored,” she said.

Asked whether she was concerned about the virus spreading at the mosque, Ms. Balala replied: “We all need to follow the rules, but I believe we will survive because God is protecting us from above.”

The Romanian prime minister, Ludovic Orban, paid a fine on Saturday for breaking his own coronavirus restrictions, after a photo widely shared on social media showed him with other cabinet members smoking in his office and not wearing a mask.

In a statement, Mr. Orban admitted to breaking the lockdown rules on May 25, his 57th birthday, when some cabinet members gathered at his office after work.

“He followed the instincts of every father and every parent, and I do not mark him down for that,” Mr. Johnson said at a news briefing. “I believe that in every respect, he has acted responsibly, and legally, and with integrity.”

But that account came under question after The Observer and the Sunday Mirror reported that Mr. Cummings and his family had been spotted elsewhere on Easter Sunday.

Mayor Eric M. Garcetti of Los Angeles said on Saturday that the city’s coronavirus testing centers had closed that afternoon “because of safety concerns” amid escalating nationwide protests over the death of a black man in police custody.

The death of George Floyd, 46, last week after being pinned down by a Minneapolis police officer and the unrest it has provoked has tugged at painful memories in Los Angeles of the beating of Rodney King in 1991 and the riots that occurred the following year after the acquittal of the four police officers involved in the case.

Mr. Garcetti said he would not be calling for the deployment of the National Guard, which patrolled the streets of Los Angeles during those riots. “This is not 1992,” he said.

The curfew is needed to clean up debris and restore order, Mr. Garcetti said.

Before the riots started in Los Angeles on Saturday afternoon, several hundred people reflecting the diversity of the city — white, black, Latino, Asian-American — had protested peacefully.

World leaders, royals and human rights activists will headline a 24-hour online celebration of gay pride on June 27 that was organized after the coronavirus pandemic forced the cancellation or postponement of hundreds of L.G.B.T.Q. pride events around the world.

Organizers announced on Saturday that the Global Pride event would feature remarks by Prime Minister Erna Solberg of Norway, Prime Minister Xavier Bettel of Luxembourg and President Carlos Alvarado Quesada of Costa Rica, which legalized same-sex marriage last week. Mary Elizabeth, crown princess of Denmark, and Manvendra Singh Gohil, India’s first openly gay prince, are also expected to deliver taped remarks.

The virtual pride celebrations may allow some L.G.B.T.Q. people to participate for the first time, according to a president of InterPride, one of the chief organizers.

“This means people who aren’t out, or who are living in socially conservative countries, can take part,” the president, Julian Sanjivan, said in a statement.

The names of musicians and bands who will perform in the event, which will be streamed on the Global Pride website and YouTube, will be announced throughout June, organizers said.

Though the number of infections in India is still skyrocketing, officials said easing the lockdown was necessary to rescue an ailing economy. The restrictions, which were imposed more than two months ago, have been brutally hard on migrant workers and poor people.

The country’s Home Ministry said the new rules, which will take effect on June 8, were part of a broader plan to reopen. Movie theaters and schools will remain shut, but people are now free to move around outside “containment zones,” areas with a high number of infections.

Officials began lifting some restrictions early this month, hoping to ease suffering in India, a nation of 1.3 billion. But in recent weeks, as industry has resumed and more people have poured onto the streets, the country has emerged as a worrisome outbreak zone.

India’s number of daily new infections is among the highest in the world, surpassed only by Brazil, the United States and Russia. The country has reported more than 170,000 total infections and 4,971 deaths.

India’s struggles with the virus stand out, as other countries in southern Asia have recently held infections low enough to reopen more aggressively. Thailand has begun reopening restaurants, with other businesses like some salons and gyms cleared to resume operations on Monday.

Unlike India, though, Thailand relies disproportionately on tourism as a source of revenue, and the industry has suffered since incoming commercial flights were suspended in early April. The flight ban will last until at least the end of June, jeopardizing millions of tourism jobs.

President Shinzo Abe has lifted Japan’s state of emergency, but his government is urging people to continue avoiding what it calls the “Three Cs”: close contact in closed-off, crowded places.

That’s not a joke: The Japanese news media has lately helped to popularize the notion that talking loudly may be linked to increased aerosol transmission of the virus that causes Covid-19.

Some emerging scientific research, however, suggests that the rate of transmission may also be linked to how — and at what volume — you speak.

A 2019 study in the journal Scientific Reports, for example, found that the rate of particle emission increased as speech grew lower, regardless of language. It also said that “speech superemitters” consistently released “an order of magnitude more particles than their peers.”

And in January, a study in the journal PLOS One found that certain vowels and consonants — “i” and “d,” for example — were linked to higher particle emission rates, among other speech patterns.

Among the questions to be studied further, they wrote, is why some people are “superemitters”; how far droplets travel once expelled from one’s mouth; and how fast they fall to the ground.

Reporting was contributed by Maggie Haberman, Mike Ives, Aimee Ortiz, Suhasini Raj, Adam Rasgon, Kai Schultz and Derrick Bryson Taylor.

source: nytimes.com

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