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What US black radio makes of this moment

The killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis has reignited the conversation about racial equality around the world.

BBC World Service has been listening in to some of what is being said on black-owned radio stations across the United States.

As part of a series called Black America Speaks, listeners have been on a virtual road trip across the US from Philadelphia to Los Angeles via Chicago and Houston.

Across the US, 13% of the population identifies as being black, yet only 1.6% of commercial radio stations in the country are black-owned, according to the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters.

Radio stations WURD, KCOH, KJLH and WVON worked with the BBC OS radio team to share the black experience of life in the US during this time of change.

Houston, Texas

One block away from the Third Ward district where George Floyd grew up is Houston’s KCOH radio.

The historic KCOH studio has a “looking glass window” that allows people on the street to watch the activity inside while broadcasters and guests are on air.

Fourteen-year-old Dre Barnes went into the studio with his mum Latarsha and told host Jerri P Beasley that the video of Mr Floyd’s killing felt like it was “happening to me in real time” and that he felt “hunted” by the police because of his skin colour.

Every day, Dre said, “I make myself educated and present a safe demeanour.”

Even at the age of 14 he says he thinks about how to behave if he has an encounter with the police.

“Try to make it seem like I’m not aggressive – like a statistic. Make sure they feel safe and I feel safe at the exact same time, when that moment happens. I want to comply with whatever they are saying, make sure I’m not being difficult and just try to make their job and my job easier so there can be no aggression. And if anything does happen, God forbid, you can’t even say ‘my hand twitched in the wrong direction.”’

Latarsha is mother to four black sons.

“I pray first and prepare my son second. It takes your breath away knowing that education and respect is not enough, that the colour of their skin overrides everything in certain situations. As an African-American parent you cannot 100% prepare them for everything.”

When asked for a solution to racial inequality, Dre said: “Worldwide understanding is what we all need. Make sure your voice is heard wherever you are and what’s happening. We must not be quiet or scared. Let them know you have a passion and a fiery spirit – and you won’t let anything get in the way, whether it’s a baton or pepper spray. We’ve got to make sure it doesn’t go away.”

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

WURD in Philadelphia is the only black-owned and operated talk radio station in Pennsylvania.

Solomon Jones is the presenter of WURD’s breakfast show Wake up with WURD.

“George Floyd was the match, but the powder keg was already there. Our people are talking about the conditions that existed prior to this that made this possible to happen.”

Reverend Barclay called in to the live programme.

“This is our moment and I believe we have to take advantage because it might be the last train home. We need to be authentically black in all the places we occupy, the boardroom or the pulpit. We have to be careful we don’t display just our anger in this moment but clearly identify, in our minds at least, what success is going to look like.”

WURD’s CEO Sara Lomax Reese chaired the conversation and asked her team of presenters about where they saw the line between their need for journalistic objectivity and activism.

Solomon Jones said: “I was black before I was anything else, a journalist, a radio host, before they told me I had to be even-handed! My family worked hard in order to get through the discrimination they faced when they moved from South Carolina and put me in a position where I could actually communicate our history, our needs and wants. For me to be anything other than an activist for my people would be a waste of everything they have gone through. I am a black man first and everything else flows from that.”

Chicago, Illinois

Chicago radio station WVON was originally known as The Voice of the Negro in the third largest city in the US.

Host Perri Small said “We have our own George Floyd, we have Laquan Macdonald” – a teenager who was murdered by a police officer in 2014.

Alongside a discussion about a series of shootings in the city that weekend, the WVON breakfast show discussed how NBA stars are soon to have social justice statements printed on their jerseys.

Breakfast show guest, attorney Ernest B Fenton said:

“It’s ridiculous, because it’s not enough. Symbolism doesn’t work for black people. The real deal is, we should shut it down. We need to control our labour in the NBA, the NFL, entertainment, black lawyers like me – we should shut the court system down.”

Los Angeles, California

In 1992, Los Angeles saw widespread rioting after the acquittal of four police officers who were captured on video beating Rodney King after stopping his car.

Claims of police brutality against black people are now often being supported by mobile phone video footage.

KJLH radio is owned by music legend Stevie Wonder.

Host Dominique DiPrima said: “People think of Tinsel Town, beaches and Hollywood and ‘Straight Outta Compton’ but I don’t think people really give Los Angeles the credit it deserves for the long-term activism we have as a core tradition.”

Eddie from LA called into Dominique’s Front Page morning show.

He wanted to look ahead to this year’s elections and how Democratic Party candidate Joe Biden should approach the debate to resolving conflict on race relations: “Biden needs to be clear about the idea of reparations; we need a clear vision of what we want. What does it mean? Free education, medicine, some housing thing?”

Many schools and universities across the US have campus police forces.

After weeks of protests, the Los Angeles Board of Education decided to reduce its police force on school campuses by 35%.

Amara Abdullah said: “I’ve had multiple bad experiences with school police and it’s another sign that when we fight we win. People need to get involved when they can, there’s social media – there’s not just one way to organise.”

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World News

What is behind mysterious ‘attacks’ at Iran sites?

Just after midnight on 30 June, an email dropped into my inbox. It claimed to be from an unknown group calling itself the Homeland Cheetahs.

The group said it had attacked the major Iranian nuclear site at Natanz some two hours earlier, at 02:00 local time. In the detailed message, it claimed it had blown up a facility and that the Iranian regime would not be able to hide it.

The group said it was composed of dissidents within Iran’s military and security forces and that they had been behind numerous attacks that the Iranian authorities had so far concealed from the public.

I went online to check Iranian news agencies and reliable accounts on social media, but I found no mention of such an attack anywhere.

Several hours later, Iran’s Atomic Energy Organisation announced there had been an incident at the Natanz nuclear plant, but they ruled out sabotage.

Interactive

Incident at Natanz nuclear site

3 July

Satellite image showing the nuclear facility in Natanz, Iran, 3 July 2020

1 July

Satellite image showing the nuclear facility in Natanz, Iran, 1 July 2020

The next day, Iran’s Supreme National Security Council – its top security body – announced that it knew what caused the “incident” at Natanz but that “for security reasons” it would not for the time being say what this was.

Nasa satellite images showed there had been a fire at Natanz at 02:06. The damage corresponded with details contained in the email from the Homeland Cheetahs.

The group’s message had been carefully crafted and included a propaganda video about attacks on strategic sites it said it had carried out inside Iran.

Preparing this kind of statement and video requires hours, if not days, of planning. Whoever authored it knew about the Natanz explosion in advance, which supports the theory that it was an act of sabotage.

But there is also the possibility that the email was an elaborate attempt to mislead us as to who was behind the attack, and could actually be the work of foreign agents posing as opponents of the regime in Iran.

Attack ‘thwarted’

The group’s name, the Homeland Cheetahs, is similar to those of other “Iranian” cyber groups, such as Persian Cat, or Charming Kitten – teams of hackers believed to be part of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Cyber Army.

It is possible that the Homeland Cheetahs were born to confront the Persian Cat.

In late May, national cyber security in Israel – Iran’s arch-foe – said the country had prevented a major cyber attack on its water system, widely thought to have been the work of Iran.

Days later, there was a cyber attack on Shahid Rajaae, an important economic and shipping hub in southern Iran.

More than 50% of Iran’s sea imports and exports take place through this harbour. The attack caused a massive blockage of water in the canals and flooded roads leading to the terminal.

Iranian officials blamed power shortages, but Western intelligence sources believe it was Israeli retaliation against Iran.

Fires and blasts

In the past three months there have been an increasing number of mysterious incidents which have damaged sensitive sites in Iran.

Numerous fires have broken out in nuclear facilities, oil refineries, power plants, major factories and businesses across the country.

Since 26 June alone, there have been several such incidents:

Saeed Aganji, a Finland-based Iranian journalist who has been following the events, says the incidents are unusual and could be deliberate.

“By targeting Iran strategic and economic sites, the aim is to bring Iran’s economy to its knees and force the regime to stop financing militia groups and change course in the Middle East.”

Parchin and Khojir are two military sites believed to house nuclear and missile production facilities on the eastern edge of Tehran.

گزارش‌ها از تهران حاکی از دیده شدن نوری در شرق تهران است که از زمین آغاز تا ارتفاع بالا آسمان را روشن می‌کند.
این ویدئو از شهرک پردیس گرفته شده و کسی که آن را پست کرده می‌گوید صدای انفجار شنیده است.
برخی دیگر می‌گویند صدایی نشنیده‌اند.
هنوز منابع رسمی گزارشی در این‌باره نداده‌اند pic.twitter.com/S79NqSQBKN

End of Twitter post by @bbcpersian

Inspectors from the global nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), have long been denied access to Parchin, where Iran is suspected of having conducted high-explosive tests related to the manufacture of nuclear weapons.

Iran warning

In a rare acknowledgement, Iran’s state news agency Irna said the fire at Natanz could have been the result of sabotage “by hostile countries, especially the Zionist regime [Israel] and the US”.

Iran’s civil defence chief has vowed to “respond” if it turns out Iran was the victim of a cyber attack.

On Sunday, an unnamed “Middle Eastern intelligence official” told the New York Times Israel had caused the blast at Natanz. Just a day earlier, Israel’s foreign minister responded obliquely when asked if Israel was behind the incident, saying “our actions in Iran better left unsaid”.

Israel does not normally take responsibility for these kinds of “attacks”, and Iranian officials have avoided blaming Israel directly. But it seems the cyber war between the two countries has already started.

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What makes bars and restaurants potential COVID-19 hot spots

NYC restaurants will take longer to bounce back: Union Square Hospitality CEO

Union Square Hospitality CEO Danny Meyer discusses the postponement of indoor dining in New York City, taking an entrepreneurial approach to reopening restaurants and feeding the hungry.

Public-health experts and government officials say they are worried bars and restaurants are playing a significant role in increasing Covid-19 case counts across parts of the U.S.

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These spaces pose particular challenges for transmission control because of both human behavior and the way the coronavirus spreads most efficiently—indoors through close, prolonged contact without protection. Potentially risky behavior includes loud talking, not wearing masks and drinking alcohol, which can make people less risk-conscious, scientists said.

To limit transmission, public-health experts recommend people stay 6 feet apart, wear masks, practice good hand hygiene and avoid touching their faces.

Waiter with a mask and gloves and client at the table of an outdoor bar (iStock)

“It’s much harder to do those four things in a bar or restaurant than in a workplace,” said Lisa Lee, an infectious-disease epidemiologist and associate vice president at Virginia Tech. In work and office settings, it can be easier to socially distance, control who is present and wear masks continuously, plus people aren’t normally drinking, she said. “Generally, office work will be much less risky than a bar kind of situation.”

At least 138 new cases of Covid-19 were recently traced back to a bar in East Lansing, Mich., according to Ingham County Health Officer Linda Vail. Based on case investigations and contact tracing, health officials found that as of July 1, 119 of those cases were people who contracted the virus while at the bar. The other 19 were secondary infections—people who were infected by someone who caught the disease at the bar.

RESTAURANTS IN NYC WILL TAKE LONGER TO BOUNCE BACK: DANNY MEYER

The bar’s owners told Ms. Vail that they were operating at 45% capacity, but video on social media showed many patrons lined up outside were clustering together, without masks. Ms. Vail said her office got complaints of overcrowding and inconsistent mask-wearing by staff inside; many patrons weren’t wearing masks inside, some complaints said.

Some state and local governments are winding back reopening plans and renewing restrictions on bars, restaurants, movie theaters, zoos and museums after seeing record numbers of daily coronavirus infections. Colorado Gov. Jared Polis ordered bars and nightclubs to stop in-person service. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said the state’s coronavirus crisis was driven in part by people congregating in bars. He closed bars and capped restaurant capacity at 50%. In California, where cases are also rising, Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday ordered restaurants to close for indoor dining and shut down bars in much of the state.

Deep Sushi restaurant employees Jordan Arrowood, left, cleans the bar top as Carrie Souza enters an order at the sushi restaurant. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

In New York City, restaurants are open for dining, but can only serve patrons outdoors, where transmission risk is lower. Air flow dilutes the amount of virus hanging around.

“We have to think about this in terms of relative risk. There’s no absolutes,” said Thomas Russo, professor and chief of infectious disease at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University of Buffalo.

There is a general pecking order to risk in dining out, he said. The safest route is simply getting food through a drive-through or takeout. Outdoor dining comes next, with caveats: Tables need to be spaced out, and the farther the better. Least safe is dining indoors at a restaurant.

YELP ASKS DINERS TO BE MORE 'EMPATHETIC' WITH RESTAURANT REVIEWS

This echoes the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations, which note that drive-through, delivery, takeout and curbside pickup carried the lowest risk of transmission because they limited the number and duration of interactions among potentially infected individuals. On-site dining, indoors and outdoors, represented the highest risk if capacity wasn’t reduced and tables weren’t spaced at least 6 feet apart.

Indoor dining is particularly dangerous in crowded settings where ventilation and air filtration are poor, experts say, because viral particles can build up in the air. In January, an infected diner who wasn’t yet symptomatic transmitted the virus to five others while eating in a restaurant in Guangzhou, China. Some researchers looking at the case noted that ventilation was poor. They hypothesized that aerosolized virus from the patient’s breathing or speaking built up in the air over time, while strong airflow from an air-conditioning unit helped recirculate particles.

People sit outside Suprema restaurant in the West Village as New York City moves into Phase 2 of re-opening. (Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images)

Even the safer option of outdoor dining has risks, experts say. Viral particles dissipate more outdoors, lowering the risk of coming into contact with enough virus to get infected. On a population level, being outdoors lowers the risk of a superspreader event. But on an individual level, experts say, if someone is outside and sitting or standing next to an infectious person, there isn’t as much dilution. The likelihood of breathing in what they are breathing out is high, especially if they aren’t wearing masks and are talking and sharing food for a prolonged period.

“That creates the greatest risk for a transmission,” said Rachael Jones, a University of Utah occupational-health and safety expert.

CHICK-FIL-A NAMED TOP RESTAURANT IN CUSTOMER SATISFACTION FOR 6TH YEAR A ROW

In crowded urban settings like New York City, tables might be crammed together on a sidewalk, exposing people to diners outside their own party. “It’s difficult to maintain separation,” Dr. Jones said. “You can’t wear a mask while you eat.”

Bars are “logarithmically worse” than restaurants, Dr. Russo said. People in bars tend to be clustered together, he said, and are more likely to be moving around. That means one person who has the virus can spread it to many more than if the individual was seated at a table eating a meal.

Another thing to keep in mind, infectious-disease experts said: When people drink, they become more relaxed and sometimes their risk tolerance is higher. Even if they start off well-intentioned, wearing masks and social distancing, they are likely to be more lax about those things as the drinks progress. People in bars are also more likely to shout, spraying respiratory droplets into the air, the experts said.

Guests dine in-house at a restaurant in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York,File)

Transmission among younger people, who tend to experience a milder form of Covid-19, is on the rise, in states including Florida.

“I think it’s important for us to get the younger people to understand that it’s imperative that they take this seriously,” said Charlie Latham, mayor of Jacksonville Beach, Fla. He said the city didn’t see an appreciable increase in cases when restaurants reopened at 25% capacity and then expanded to 50%, but did experience one when bars reopened. As of June 26, Florida bars can’t sell alcohol for consumption on-site.

New York City has delayed the start of indoor dining, citing concerns over the spread of coronavirus around the country. On Monday, Mayor Bill de Blasio cited the East Lansing situation, as well as case clusters in Texas and Florida that could be tied back to bars and restaurants, as reason for concern. “We cannot go ahead at this point in time with indoor dining in New York City,” Mr. de Blasio said later in the week.

SHAKE SHACK RETURNS PPP SMALL BUSINESS LOAN THESE RESTAURANTS COULDN'T GET 

The National Restaurant Association has issued reopening guidelines based on CDC recommendations, encouraging the use of face coverings for employees, socially-distanced seating, mobile payments and limits on the number of employees in break rooms. Temperature checks for staff are at management’s discretion.

“We ask all of our customers to help us keep our employees and their fellow diners safe by following all of the existing guidelines,” a spokesperson said.

While there are ways to make dining-out safer, there will always be some level of risk around other people, said Benjamin Chapman, professor and food-safety specialist at North Carolina State University, who has worked with state and industry officials to develop a best-practices training program for restaurants looking to reopen.

A woman uses a face mask as she sells drinks at a bar by the boardwalk in Asbury Park, New Jersey on May 24, 2020. (KENA BETANCUR/AFP via Getty Images)

He and other experts say restaurants should limit the number of patrons, move seating outdoors if possible, space customers apart and require staff and guests to wear face coverings. Restaurants also should enforce distancing and mask-wearing among people waiting in line, they say.

Servers should minimize interactions with patrons, Dr. Chapman said. That could mean using mobile ordering and having patrons pick up food from a counter, he said.

In Honolulu, Joey and Yana Cabell reopened their seaside restaurant for dine-in service in early June. Employees wear masks and gloves. Fewer staff frequent tables to cut down on interactions. Most of the dining room is well ventilated by natural air flowing through open floor-to-ceiling doors, Ms. Cabell said. The owners have installed partitions for booths and spread out seating. They are encouraging customers to make reservations to reduce crowding and have instituted mandatory temperature checks for employees.

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“We want people to feel as comfortable as possible in these strange times,” said Ms. Cabell, 56, a Covid-19 survivor. “There still are so many unknowns.”

Contact tracing will play a big part in dictating the pace of reopening restaurants, bars and other businesses, epidemiologists and infectious-disease experts said. As states reopen, it is critical to monitor the number of new infections and hospitalizations and re-evaluate which businesses can remain open and which should cut back, they said.

“The more we reopen, each increment—each thing you do—does increase the risk,” said Lisa Winston, vice chief for inpatient medical services and an epidemiologist at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, who works closely with the local health department. “As with most things, it’s a balance.”

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What is TSA?

Fox Business Flash top headlines for June 30

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The Transportation Security Administration, or TSA, was formed in the wake of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, to prevent such events from happening again, according to the government website.

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The agency falls under the umbrella of the Department of Homeland Security and was formed under the Aviation and Transportation Security Act.

“Driven by a desire to help our nation, tens of thousands of people joined TSA and committed themselves to strengthening our transportation systems while ensuring the freedom of movement for people and commerce,” the agency website states.

TSA SCREENS MORE THAN 500,000 PASSENGERS FOR FIRST TIME SINCE LATE MARCH

A Transportation Security Administration agent wears a protective mask and stands behind a protective barrier while screening a traveler at Ronald Reagan National Airport in Arlington, Virginia, on June 9, 2020. (Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Ima

TSA is led by David P. Pekoske.

Of the roughly 60,000 TSA employees, an estimated 45,000 were airport screeners as of May 2019. Agents are most commonly associated with airport security who check travelers and their belongings for any contraband or illegal activity before boarding a flight.

TSA PREPARING TO CHECK PASSENGER TEMPERATURES

But TSA begins the screening its passengers “long before” they get to the airport for their flights, according to the site.

TSA TELLS ITS EMPLOYEES TO WEAR MASKS AT CHECKPOINTS

“TSA works closely with the intelligence and law enforcement communities to share information,” according to TSA’s “Security Screening” webpage. “Additional security measures are in place from the time you get to the airport until you get to your destination.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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What is the Supreme Court of the United States?

SCOTUS will not ‘nibble away’ at Roe v. Wade: Judge Napolitano

Fox News Senior Judicial Analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano on the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down Louisiana law regulating abortion clinics.

The Supreme Court of the United States, sometimes called SCOTUS, is the highest court in the country and is made up of nine justices.

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The U.S. Supreme Court's motto is, “Equal Justice Under Law,” which is emblazoned above the Supreme Court building in Washington, according to the court’s website.

“As the final arbiter of the law, the Court is charged with ensuring the American people the promise of equal justice under law and, thereby, also functions as guardian and interpreter of the Constitution,” the website states.

SUPREME COURT RULES GENERIC URLS CAN BECOME TRADEMARKS

SCOTUS is led by Chief Justice John G. Roberts and eight Associate Justices, all of whom are nominated by a sitting president. Five of the nine current Supreme Court Justices are Republicans.

United States Supreme Court (Front L-R) Associate Justice Stephen Breyer, Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, Chief Justice John Roberts, Associate Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Samuel Alito, Jr., (Back L-R) Associate Justices Neil Gorsuch, Sonia Soto

The Associate Justices are Clarence Thomas, Stephen G. Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Samuel A. Alito, Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan and, the newest justices, Neil M. Gorsuch and Brett M. Kavanaugh, both of whom were nominated by President Trump.

SUPREME COURT STRIKES DOWN LOUISIANA ABORTION CLINIC LAW

Justices can remain in office until they die or choose to resign or retire, unless they are impeached. But SCOTUS impeachments are rare. The last and only time this type of action was taken was in 1805, when the House passed articles of impeachment against Associate Justice Samuel Chase, according to the government website. The Senate later chose to acquit Chase.

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On Monday, the Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, struck down a Louisiana law seeking to require doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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What is the most watched late night talk show?

Fox Business Flash top headlines for June 30

Fox Business Flash top headlines are here. Check out what’s clicking on FoxBusiness.com.

CBS's "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert" has captured the title of the most-watched late-night program during the 2019-2020 season, according to Nielsen.

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The late-night program notched an average of 3.6 million viewers throughout the entire season. The show was also the most-watched amongst adults between the ages of 25 and 54, according to CBS citing data from the Nielsen live “Most Current” ratings through the week of May 15, 2020.

Colbert topped NBC's “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon" by more than 1.55 million viewers, according to CBS. Although both shows tied in gaining the attention of the 18-49 age group.

CORONAVIRUS CAUSES STEPHEN COLBERT TO BROADCAST FROM HOME

This milestone marked the largest margin of victory for CBS over “The Tonight Show” since 1994. What's more, it also marked the largest margin of victory ever for the show starring Colbert, the network touted.

Falling in third place was ABC’s "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" with an average of 1.9 million viewers.

Jerry Seinfeld on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on Wednesday Jan. 6, 2016 on the CBS Television Network. (Jeffrey R. Staab/CBS Broadcasting Inc.)

However, the ratings came amid a time when the late-night comedians continue to adjust to a new show set up — one without an audience– until the pandemic subsides.

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In 2014, CBS moved swiftly to replace the retiring David Letterman with Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert who has since battled with Fallon and Kimmel for late-night television supremacy.

Prior to becoming Letterman's successor, Colbert had been hosting “The Colbert Report” since 2005, in character as a fictional conservative talk-show host.

Before attaining his own program, Colbert worked on “The Daily Show” for eight years under former host Jon Stewart.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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Fitness

Julius Maddox Breaks Down What Happened During His 800-Pound Bench Press Attempt

Powerlifter Julius Maddox attempted to break his own bench press world record over the weekend with a massive 800 pound rep. Maddox first took the world bench press crown in August 2019 when he lifted 739.6 pounds. After that, he beat his own record at the Arnold Classic earlier this year with a press of 770 pounds. The 800 mark was in his sights, and he set out on an ambitious training plan to work up to the feat.

Unfortunately, Maddox wasn’t able to complete the 800 pound lift. and took to his YouTube channel to discuss what happened.

“The day before I probably should have been more conservative and chilled out, but there were certain things I needed to handle,” says Maddox, like making sure his family arrived safely to watch his meet. “So from the jump, I was very fatigued.”

However, he was determined that he wasn’t going to let that get in the way.

“The day of the meet, I woke up and I was so anxious. I had a knot in my stomach, I couldn’t even eat,” he says, but he managed to get down a sausage-egg-and cheese McGriddle (“I can always hold those, those are always clutch”) and Pedialyte to keep him hydrated. While he says his pre-warmups went great, timing was an issue. The event started a few minutes earlier than scheduled, which threw off his last scheduled warmup.

“I hadn’t taken my last warmup yet when they started,” says Maddox.

Despite that, his first round of lifts went off without a hitch, knocking out 722 pounds.

“After that, my chest was cramping up a bit. It wasn’t due to a lack of hydration. When your brain knows that it’s game time, it wants to pump that fresh blood to your muscles, and that’s what it’s doing. So you’re twitching and spazzing out,” says Maddox.

His second attempt was his world record lift, something he’d been training his whole life for.

“When the weight came off the rack, instantly I knew something wasn’t right. A weight just doesn’t shift like that. And sure enough, on my second attempt, they mis-loaded the weight,” says Maddox. “They messed up, but I understand. Whatever is going to go wrong is going to go wrong. But I couldn’t even talk after the lift because of how mad I was.”

For his second attempt, he was angry, but had a couple minutes to re-group.

“I didn’t want to lose more momentum than I had already lost. So I tried to hype myself up, went back out there and missed the weight again. and by that time I had tweaked my back. And I scratched on my third lift,” he says. “I have every right to be pissed off, angry and mad, but I choose to take it out on the platform.”

Moving forward, he says the next 12 to 16 weeks of training, “you’re going to see a different person”.

“I’m done playing games, and we’re going to crank it up. One hundred percent all gas. Nothing is going to stop me,” says Maddox. “That meet gave me the fuel. This is exactly what I needed, and I’m going to take it and show the world.”

He says he’s back to the drawing board with his coach and team.

“My work ethic hasn’t been where it needed to be,” he says. “Forget the coronavirus, forget all of that, because there’s no excuse. You’re just gonna see a different side of me. No more games.”


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