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Dispatches Human Race

Biden chooses Harris

(Jeff Kowalsky/AFP/Via Getty Images)

Picked

Sen. Kamala Harris beat out former national security adviser Susan Rice, Rep. Karen Bass, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and several other possible choices for a spot next to Joe Biden on the 2020 Democratic presidential ticket. Harris ran against Biden for the Democratic nomination before dropping out in December 2019. The former vice president called the senator from California “a fearless fighter for the little guy and one of the country’s finest public servants” in a tweet on Tuesday.

During her campaign for the nomination, Harris bashed Biden for his previous association with Southern senators who supported segregation, but she threw her full support behind him after he became the party’s presumptive nominee. Harris is known for her fierce defense of Planned Parenthood and prosecution of pro-life activists.

Announced

After drawing criticism over numerous public statements and scandals, Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. apologized in early August for posting a racy photo on Instagram. On Aug. 7, the executive committee of the university’s Board of Trustees announced it had requested Falwell take an indefinite leave of absence from his positions as president and chancellor, and Falwell agreed. The image showed Falwell with his arm around his wife’s pregnant assistant, both of them with their midsections exposed and their pants partially unzipped. Falwell said they were posing for fun at a costume party but admitted he should not have posted it.

Sentenced

Pastor David Lah, a Canadian citizen born in Myanmar, held a worship service on April 7 in Yangon, the largest city in the Southeast Asian country also known as Burma. A court on Aug. 6 convicted him of violating Myanmar’s coronavirus gathering ban and sentenced him to three months in prison. The judge applied the time Lah spent in jail awaiting a ruling and said authorities likely will release him within a few weeks. Footage from the event showed Lah claiming that Christians’ faith could lead to immunity from the virus. After the April service, he and more than 20 attendees contracted COVID-19.

Banned

President Donald Trump banned U.S. firms from doing business with the Chinese companies that own TikTok and WeChat in two executive orders signed on Aug. 6. In a letter to House and Senate leaders explaining the move, the president said the apps have continued “to threaten the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States.” Some experts say the decision could see TikTok and WeChat removed from the Apple and Google app stores. Because China blocks nearly all U.S.-owned messaging and social media apps, WeChat is the main means of communication for Chinese citizens. Trump also set a Sept. 15 deadline for TikTok either to sell its U.S. operations to Micro­soft or find another buyer or face an outright ban.