China reportedly lobbied the EU to dial down criticism of its Covid-19 disinformation campaigns

China has reportedly successfully lobbied European Union officials to rewrite and soften language in a new report criticizing Beijing for spreading disinformation around coronavirus.

According to reports in the New York Times and Politico, Chinese diplomats managed to persuade EU officials to scrap a reference to China running a “global disinformation” campaign, and also remove reference to Beijing’s criticism of the French response to the pandemic.

The final version of the report reads mildly: “Official and state-backed sources from various governments, including Russia and — to a lesser extent — China, have continued to widely target conspiracy narratives …

Study: 71 percent of jobless Americans did not receive their March unemployment benefits

The majority of unemployed Americans did not receive unemployment benefits in March — a month that shattered US records for job loss claims — according to a new study.

The Pew Research Center has found that, although more than 11 million Americans filed first-time unemployment claims in March, the wide variety of methods states and territories use to administer their jobless programs have resulted in wide disparities in who has received their payments, and how much those payments were worth.

As a result, only 29 percent of jobless Americans received benefits in March, according to Pew’s analysis of Labor Department …

India takes a small step toward relaxing its strict lockdown

India’s nationwide coronavirus lockdown — the world’s largest, and one of its strictest — was eased slightly on Saturday when small neighborhood convenience stores were allowed to reopen.

The incremental step represents the government’s desire to slowly reopen some business sectors and provide relief for small, cash-strapped businesses as the economy reels from stay-at-home orders that have been in place since March.

India’s federal home ministry announced on Friday that small retail shops could reopen with half their staff, and with the expectation that people physically distance and wear masks and gloves. The stores sell things like food, drinks, and …

New York and Kentucky just made it easier to vote by mail

New York and Kentucky announced new programs on Friday aimed at improving access to mail-in ballots, as both states work to find ways to limit interaction at the polls during upcoming elections amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

On Friday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear both signed executive orders mandating applications for absentee ballots be sent to all of their states’ voters — upon returning the applications to state officials, voters will receive ballots.

“I am issuing an Executive Order to ensure every New York voter automatically receives a postage-paid application for an absentee ballot because …

The whiteness of anti-lockdown protests

Last weekend, thousands gathered in Washington, Michigan, Texas, Maryland, and California to protest lockdown orders resulting from the coronavirus pandemic. Some marched with rifles draped across their backs and handguns resting on their hips, while others shared conspiracy theories about Bill Gates and his involvement with the Covid-19 vaccine. Even in larger, less-rural cities in California, groups waved “Trump 2020” flags and marched the streets with signs that read, “No Liberty. No Life.”

But what was most glaringly obvious about these protests wasn’t the far-right theatrics. It was that almost everyone marching to end stay-at-home orders was white. …

This weekend’s coolest concert is happening in Fortnite

In 2020, you likely either play Fortnite or you don’t. The expansive multiplayer shooter video game attracted massive media attention in 2018 for its popularity with more than 250 million players of all ages.

All those eyes on Fortnite helped the game grab the attention of people with more clout than the average teen. Celebrities like Joe Jonas, Josh Hart, and Drake got in on the Fortnite craze, livestreaming with some of the most popular players in the game’s community.

Eventually, developer Epic Games started incorporating some of its famous fans into Fortnite itself, hosting live concerts and …