RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — A new surge of coronavirus infections is ravaging parts of Latin America. Mexico and Brazil have set records Friday for cases and deaths in the world's most unequal region. The increases come even as the pandemic’s march slows in much of Europe, Asia and the United States. The surge in Latin America's two largest nations has fueled criticism of their presidents, who have slow-walked shutdowns in an attempt to limit economic damage. Brazil reported more than 330,000 confirmed cases as of Friday, surpassing Russia to become the nation with the second-highest number of infections. Only the United States has more cases.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The U.S. Department of Justice sent a letter to the mayor of Los Angeles warning that an extension of the coronavirus stay-at-home orders may be unlawful. The vague letter sent Friday from the assistant attorney general for the civil rights division said recent comments by Mayor Eric Garcetti suggest a prolonged shutdown may be arbitrary and heavy-handed. The letter comes as the federal government has sided with churches that want to resume services in the face of policies in many states that forbid such gatherings until the spread of the virus is under control.
UNDATED (AP) — Hertz has filed for bankruptcy protection, unable to withstand the coronavirus pandemic that has crippled global travel and with it, the heavily indebted 102-year-old car rental company’s business. The Florida-based company's lenders were unwilling to grant it another extension on its auto lease debt payments past a Friday deadline, triggering the filing. By the end of March, Hertz had $18.7 billion in debt with only $1 billion of available cash. Starting in mid-March, the company lost all revenue when travel nearly shut down due to the novel coronavirus. Hertz also has been plagued by management upheaval, naming its fourth CEO in six years on May 18.
SAN DIEGO (AP) — Millions of Californians are heading into the Memorial Day weekend with both excitement and anxiety after restrictions to control the spread of coronavirus were eased across much of the state. More than 40 counties have been allowed to move beyond takeout service and curbside shopping in the most drastic scaling back of the stay-at-home orders since the governor issued them in mid-March. California was the first in the nation to issue such a statewide mandate, and it was among the last to loosen restrictions. Police, lifeguards and other officials were warning people to not forget about the seriousness of the virus.
HOUSTON (AP) — A judge has criticized the Trump administration’s handling of detained immigrant children and families, ordering it to give the court detailed information about efforts to quickly release them in the wake of the coronavirus. On Friday, the judge ordered the U.S. government to better explain why it hasn't released some of the approximately 350 parents and children in three family detention centers — one in Pennsylvania and two in Texas. Advocates allege that parents in those centers were asked to sign forms that would have allowed their children to be released to sponsors while the parents remained in custody. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement says the forms are part of a “routine parole review consistent with the law.”
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