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home : news : national news free November 24, 2020

Toy safety group releases annual list of top 10 'worst' toys
Cute plastic animals with tiny accessories that pose a choking hazard, Black Panther-inspired claws with the potential to cause facial or eye injuries, and green slime that could be harmful if swallowed: These are just some of the items on an annual list of potentially dangerous toys released Monday by a consumer advocacy group.
Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Wisconsin presidential recount in its fourth day
Wisconsin’s partial presidential recount entered its fourth day Monday, with very few changes in vote totals as President Donald Trump’s attorneys appeared to be focused on a legal challenge seeking to toss tens of thousands of ballots, including the one cast by an attorney for the campaign.

Democrat Joe Biden won the state by about 20,600 votes and his margin in Milwaukee and Dane counties was about 2-to-1. Those are the only counties where Trump paid to have a recount.

Monday, November 23, 2020

Almost all six of Biden's picks today are Obama admin alumni
President-elect Joe Biden is moving to fill out his national security team with a raft of appointments to top positions that signal his intent to repudiate the Trump administration’s “America First” doctrine.

The six picks announced today, almost all of them alumni of the Obama administration, represent a fundamental shift away from President Donald Trump’s policies and personnel selections. They also mark a return to a more traditional approach to America’s relations with the rest of the world and reflect Biden’s campaign promises to have his Cabinet reflect the diversity of the American population.

In choosing foreign policy veterans, Biden is seeking to upend Trump’s war on the so-called “deep state” that saw an exodus of career officials from government. He will nominate his longtime adviser Antony Blinken to be secretary of state, lawyer Alejandro Mayorkas to be homeland security secretary, Linda Thomas-Greenfield to be ambassador to the United Nations, Jake Sullivan to be his national security adviser, Avril Haines to be Sullivan’s deputy, and former Secretary of State John Kerry to be his climate change envoy.

Monday, November 23, 2020

Latest vaccine effective, cheaper
Drugmaker AstraZeneca said toay that late-stage trials showed its COVID-19 vaccine is highly effective, buoying the prospects of a relatively cheap, easy-to-store product that may become the vaccine of choice for the developing world.

The results are based on an interim analysis of trials in the U.K. and Brazil of a vaccine developed by Oxford University and manufactured by AstraZeneca. No hospitalizations or severe cases of COVID-19 were reported in those receiving the vaccine.

Monday, November 23, 2020

Trump makes late-term bid to lower prescription drug costs
Trying to close out major unfinished business, the Trump administration issued regulations Friday that could lower the prices Americans pay for many prescription drugs.

But in a time of political uncertainty, it’s hard to say whether the rules will withstand expected legal challenges from the pharmaceutical industry or whether President-elect Joe Biden’s administration will accept, amend or try to roll them back entirely.

“The drug companies don’t like me too much. But we had to do it,“ President Donald Trump said in announcing the new policy at the White House. “I just hope they keep it. I hope they have the courage to keep it,” he added, in an apparent reference to the incoming Biden administration, while noting the opposition from drug company lobbyists.

Saturday, November 21, 2020

200-pound tortoise is back home after escaping Alabama pen
A 200-pound tortoise named Sparkplug that escaped from a pen in Alabama is back home after a journey across two counties and at least one soybean field.

Sparkplug, a 60-year-old African spurred tortoise that lived in an enclosure in Etowah County, pushed its way out of the fenced pen on Thursday. A motorist who spotted the animal on the side of the road took it to his 200-acre (81-hectare) spread in Marshall County, owner Ty Harris told The Gadsden Times in a story Monday.

Saturday, November 21, 2020

G-20 leaders urge united response to virus
The Group of 20 summit began on Saturday with appeals by the world’s most powerful leaders to collectively chart a way forward as the coronavirus pandemic overshadows this year’s gathering, transforming it from in-person meetings to a virtual gathering of speeches and declarations.

The pandemic, which has claimed more than 1.37 million lives worldwide, has offered the G-20 an opportunity to prove how such bodies can facilitate international cooperation in crises — but has also underscored their shortcomings.

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Retailers brace as virus bears down on consumers and economy
LaTonya Story is every retailer’s worst fear.

With the viral pandemic re-surging through the country and the economy under threat, Story has decided to slash her holiday shopping budget. She’ll spend less than $2,000 this season, down from several thousand dollars in 2019. Worried about entering stores, she’s buying gifts online and going out only for groceries.

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Wisconsin mall shooting injuries not life-threatening
A shooting at a mall in a suburb of Milwaukee left multiple people with non-life-threatening injuries Friday, according to the city’s mayor.

Wauwatosa Mayor Dennis McBride said in an afternoon statement that a suspect remained at large after the shooting at Mayfair Mall, where witnesses told WISN-TV that they had heard what they believed to be eight to 12 gunshots.

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Analysis: With silence, GOP enables Trump's risky endgame
Republicans in Congress are engaged in a risky but calculated bet that once President Donald Trump has exhausted his legal challenges to the election, he will come to grips with his loss to President-elect Joe Biden.

But the opposite is happening.

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Georgia Sec.of State to certify election for Biden
Georgia’s top elections official said today that he will certify that Joe Biden won the state’s presidential election after a hand tally stemming from a mandatory audit affirmed the Democrat’s lead over Republican President Donald Trump.

His office then stumbled on the final step, prematurely announcing that the certification was complete while only unofficial results remained on the public website. Forty minutes after the big news, the secretary of state’s office corrected its news release and said the results would be released later.

Friday, November 20, 2020

Pfizer seeking emergency use of its vaccine; could bring shots next month
Pfizer said today it is asking U.S. regulators to allow emergency use of its COVID-19 vaccine, starting the clock on a process that could bring limited first shots as early as next month and eventually an end to the pandemic — but not until after a long, hard winter.

The action comes days after Pfizer Inc. and its German partner BioNTech announced that its vaccine  appears 95% effective at preventing mild to severe COVID-19 disease in a large, ongoing study.

Friday, November 20, 2020

Mnuchin says relief loans could be better utilized
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin denied that he is attempting to limit the choices President-elect Joe Biden will have to promote an economic recovery by ending several emergency loan programs being run by the Federal Reserve.

Mnuchin said his decision was based on the fact that the programs were not being heavily utilized. He said Friday that Congress could make better use of the money by re-allocating it in another direction to support grants to small businesses and extended unemployment assistance.

Friday, November 20, 2020

Trump targets vote certification
President Donald Trump’s  effort to review the election is shifting toward  election boards that certify the vote. The battle is centered in the battleground states that sealed Biden’s win.

In Michigan, two Republican election officials in the state’s largest county initially refused to certify results despite no evidence of fraud, then backtracked and voted to certify and then on Wednesday flipped again and said they “remain opposed to certification.” Some Republicans have called on the GOP statewide canvassers to so the same. In Arizona, officials are balking at signing off on vote tallies in a rural county.

The moves don’t reflect a coordinated effort across the battleground states that broke for Biden, local election officials said.

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Sorry Grinch. Virus won't stop NORAD
Children of the world can rest easy. The global pandemic won’t stop them from tracking Santa Claus’ progress as he delivers gifts around the globe on Christmas Eve.

The North American Aerospace Defense Command has announced that NORAD will track Santa on Dec. 24, just as it has done for 65 years. But there will be some changes: Not every child will be able to get through to a volunteer at NORAD’s call center to check on Santa’s whereabouts, as they have in years before.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

House Dems nominate Pelosi for two more years
House Democrats nominated Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday as the speaker to lead them into Joe Biden’s presidency, picking her to guide a smaller and ideologically divided majority in shepherding his agenda toward enactment.

Democrats used a voice vote to make Pelosi, D-Calif., their choice to serve two more years in her post. Scattered around the country, it was the party’s first virtual leadership election, a response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Pfizer confirms last data needed to seek emergency use of shot
Pfizer said today that new test results show its coronavirus vaccine is 95% effective, is safe and also protects older people most at risk of dying — the last data needed to seek emergency use of limited shot supplies as the catastrophic outbreak worsens across the globe.

The announcement from Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech, just a week after they revealed the first promising preliminary results, comes as the team is preparing within days to formally ask U.S. regulators to allow emergency use of the vaccine.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Limits on TP, and empty shelves back as virus rages
Looking for toilet paper? Good luck.

A surge of new coronavirus cases in the U.S. is sending people back to stores to stockpile again, leaving shelves bare and forcing retailers to put limits on purchases.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Volunteers still needed to test COVID- vaccines
Two COVID-19 vaccines might be nearing the finish line, but scientists caution it’s critical that enough people volunteer to help finish studying other candidates in the U.S. and around the world.

Moderna Inc. and competitor Pfizer Inc. recently announced preliminary results showing their vaccines appear more than 90% effective, at least for short-term protection against COVID-19.

If those early results hold up and U.S. regulators agree the shots are safe, emergency use of small, rationed supplies could start in late December. Other countries with contracts for early doses would undertake their own reviews.

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Governors ratchet up restrictions
From California to Pennsylvania, governors and mayors across the U.S. are ratcheting up COVID-19 restrictions amid the record-shattering resurgence of the virus that is all but certain to get worse because of holiday travel and family gatherings over Thanksgiving.

Leaders are closing businesses or curtailing hours and other operations, and they are ordering or imploring people to stay home and keep their distance from others to help stem a rising tide of infections that threatens to overwhelm the health care system.

“I must again pull back the reins,” New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said Monday as he restricted indoor gatherings to 10 people, down from 25. “It gives me no joy.”

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Public health education sees surge in students amid pandemic
As the novel coronavirus emerged in the news in January, Sarah Keeley was working as a medical scribe and considering what to do with her biology degree.

By February, as the disease crept across the U.S., Keeley found her calling: a career in public health. “This is something that’s going to be necessary,” Keeley remembered thinking. “This is something I can do. This is something I’m interested in.”

In August, Keeley began studying at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to become an epidemiologist.

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Lawyer: Toronto van attack suspect didn't know he was wrong
The lawyer for a man who allegedly used a van to kill 10 pedestrians in Toronto said Monday he has autism spectrum disorder and didn’t know what he was doing was wrong.

Alek Minassian faces 10 counts of first-degree murder and 16 counts of attempted murder in connection with the April 23, 2018 attack that drew attention to an online world of sexual loneliness, rage and misogyny. He pleaded not guilty last week.

Monday, November 16, 2020

2nd virus vaccine shows overwhelming success in U.S. tests
Moderna said Monday its COVID-19 vaccine is proving to be highly effective in a major trial, a second dash of hope in the global race for a shot to tame a resurgent virus that is now killing more than 8,000 people a day worldwide.

The company said its vaccine appears to be 94.5% effective, according to preliminary data from Moderna’s ongoing study. A week ago, competitor Pfizer Inc. announced its own COVID-19 vaccine appeared similarly effective — news that puts both companies on track to seek permission within weeks for emergency use in the U.S.

Monday, November 16, 2020

Hate crimes in US reach highest level in more than a decade
Hate crimes in the U.S. rose to the highest level in more than a decade as federal officials also recorded the highest number of hate-motivated killings since the FBI began collecting that data in the early 1990s, according to an FBI report released Monday.

There were 51 hate crime murders in 2019, which includes 22 people who were killed in a shooting that targeted Mexicans at a Walmart in the border city of El Paso, Texas, the report said. The suspect in that August 2019 shooting, which left two dozen other people injured, was charged with both state and federal crimes in what authorities said was an attempt to scare Hispanics into leaving the United States.

Monday, November 16, 2020

Here comes Santa - with face masks and plexiglass
Santa Claus is coming to the mall — just don’t try to sit on his lap.

Despite the pandemic — and the fact that Santa’s age and weight put him at high risk for severe illness from the coronavirus — mall owners are going ahead with plans to bring him back this year.

But they are doing all they can to keep the jolly old man safe, including banning kids from sitting on his knee, no matter if they’ve been naughty or nice.

Monday, November 16, 2020

Germany charges press office worker with spying for Egypt
German prosecutors say they have formally charged an employee of the government’s press office with spying for an Egyptian intelligence service.

Federal prosecutors said Monday that the man, identified only as Amin K. for privacy reasons, had used his position in the press office’s visitor service to obtain information for Egypt’s General Intelligence Service, or GIS.

Monday, November 16, 2020

Americans across party lines, regions embrace marijuana
Bill Stocker could be considered the archetype of a conservative voter: He’s a retired Marine and former police officer who voted for President Donald Trump. But he’s also among the majority of South Dakota voters who broadly legalized marijuana this month.

Stocker, 61, said enforcing marijuana laws gets in the way of pursuing other drug crimes and called warnings about the ills of marijuana “a bunch of baloney“ that even people in a Republican stronghold like South Dakota no longer believe.

Monday, November 16, 2020

Jetliner hits brown bear while landing in southeast Alaska
An Alaska Airlines jetliner struck a brown bear while landing early Saturday evening, killing the animal and causing damage to the plane, officials said.

None of the passengers or crew members on board the plane were injured during the accident at the Yakutat Airport in southeast Alaska, The Anchorage Daily News reported.

Monday, November 16, 2020

Astronauts board SpaceX rocket for night launch, no Musk
Four astronauts climbed aboard a SpaceX rocket Sunday for a night ride to the International Space Station, with the prospects of good weather improving but the company’s leader sidelined by COVID-19.

“Game day!” NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins, the crew commander, tweeted before suiting up and heading to the launch pad in a Tesla Model X. The astronauts’ flashy white suits with black trim matched their rides, made by Elon Musk’s two main companies: SpaceX and Tesla.

Monday, November 16, 2020

Budding florists star in new reality series
NEW YORK (AP) — They designed epic floral statements in limited time with some very intense judges, but the contestants on the new reality competition series “Full Bloom” did not wilt under pressure.
Saturday, November 14, 2020

Hurricane Center: An Iota could follow Eta
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Just as the remnants of Eta finally blew out to sea today, another storm was brewing that could follow its path of death and destruction into Central America this weekend, and Tropical Storm Theta was moving closer to Europe.
Friday, November 13, 2020

With new surge, many schools suspend in-person
(AP) — With COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in the state spiking to record levels, bus drivers and teachers in quarantine, students getting sick and the holidays looming, Schools Superintendent Scott Hanback in Tippecanoe County, Indiana, made a tough decision this week.
Friday, November 13, 2020

Georgia hand tally of presidential votes gets going
ATLANTA (AP) — Election officials in Georgia’s 159 counties started counting ballots this morning for a hand tally of the presidential race that stems from an audit required by state law.
Friday, November 13, 2020

Justice Alito: COVID restrictions 'previously unimaginable'
WASHINGTON (AP) — Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito on Thursday sounded an alarm about restrictions imposed because of the coronavirus pandemic, saying they shouldn’t become a “recurring feature after the pandemic has passed.”
Friday, November 13, 2020

COVID resurgence sees 120,000+ cases per day
The number of people seeking U.S. unemployment benefits fell last week to 709,000, a still-high level but the lowest figure since March and a further sign that the job market might be slowly healing.

Yet the improvement will be put at risk by the sharp resurgence in confirmed viral infections to an all-time high well above 120,000 a day. Cases are rising in  49 states, and deaths are increasing in 39.  The nation has now recorded 240,000 virus-related deaths and 10.3 million confirmed infections.

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Some airlines back to allowing every seat to be sold
Is it safe yet to fly during the pandemic?

Public health experts say staying home is best to keep yourself and others safe from infection. But if you’re thinking about flying for the holidays, you should know what to expect.

Flights are getting more crowded and more airlines plan to stop blocking seats to accommodate the growing number of people taking to the skies again.

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Florida gets pounded once again; this time by Eta
Tropical Storm Eta dumped torrents of blustery rain on Florida’s west coast as it moved over Florida after making landfall north of the heavily populated Tampa Bay area this morning, triggering some flooding but no major damage.

The storm slogged ashore near Cedar Key, Florida, and was moving northeast across the state, according to the National Weather Service in Miami. Its maximum winds had fallen by early afternoon to 40 mph  and it was located about 40 miles (northeast of Jacksonville.

Thursday, November 12, 2020

New device beams music right into your head
Imagine a world where you move around in your own personal sound bubble. You listen to your favorite tunes, play loud computer games, watch a movie or get navigation directions in your car — all without disturbing those around you.

That’s the possibility presented by “sound beaming,” a new futuristic audio technology from Noveto Systems, an Israeli company. On Friday it will debut a desktop device that beams sound directly to a listener without the need for headphones

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Dr. Fauci: 'The cavalry is coming'
With a COVID-19 vaccine drawing closer, public health officials across the country are gearing up for the biggest vaccination effort in U.S. history — a monumental undertaking that must distribute hundreds of millions of doses, prioritize who’s first in line and ensure that people who get the initial shot return for the necessary second one.

The push could begin as early as next month, when federal officials say the first vaccine may be authorized for emergency use and immediately deployed to high-risk groups, such as health care workers.

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Bottom line: Republicans need 1 Georgia seat for majority; Democrats need both
Jon Ossoff took the stage in Columbus and looked out over a parking lot filled with cars, with supporters blaring their horns in approval as he declared that “change has come to Georgia.”

Hours earlier, Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler stepped to a microphone in suburban Atlanta and addressed hundreds of eager supporters packed into the Cobb County GOP headquarters. The freshman senator and her Florida colleague, Sen. Marco Rubio, stirred the crowd with their insistence that the change offered by Ossoff and his fellow Democratic Senate hopeful Raphael Warnock means “radical elements” would control Washington.

Thursday, November 12, 2020

'Obamacare' likely to survive, high court arguments indicate
A more conservative Supreme Court appeared unwilling Tuesday to  kill off the Affordable Care Act, including its key protections for pre-existing health conditions and subsidized insurance premiums.

Meeting remotely a week after the election  and in the midst of a pandemic that has closed their majestic courtroom, the justices took on the latest Republican challenge to the Obama-era health care law, with three appointees of President Donald Trump, an avowed foe of the law, among them.

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Wall Street pushes toward record highs for S&P 500, Dow; big tech rising
Another rally for the S&P 500 today is sending it to the edge of its record high, and this time big technology stocks are also rising on Wall Street.

The benchmark index was 0.9% higher in afternoon trading at 3,576, nearing its all-time high of 3,580.94 set in September.

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

With GOP win in Alasaka, Senate control will wait
Control of the Senate won’t be decided until the new year after Republicans won a seat in Alaska on today. Neither party can lock the majority until January runoffs in Georgia.

Incumbent Alaska GOP Sen. Dan Sullivan defeated Al Gross, an independent running as a Democrat.

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Doctors better equipped to handle virus this time around
The latest surge in U.S. coronavirus cases appears to be much larger than the two previous ones, and it is all but certain to get worse — a lot worse. But experts say there are also reasons to think the nation is better able to deal with the virus this time.

“We’re definitely in a better place” when it comes to improved medical tools and knowledge, said William Hanage, a Harvard University infectious-disease researcher.

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

AG Barr authorizes federal prosecutors to pursue 'substantial allegations' of fraud
Attorney General William Barr has authorized federal prosecutors across the U.S. to pursue “substantial allegations” of voting irregularities, before the 2020 presidential election is certified.

Trump has not yet conceded the election and is instead claiming that there has been a widespread, multi-state conspiracy by Democrats to skew the vote tally in Biden’s favor.

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Is it safe to stay in hotels; are antiviral masks worth the cost?
Do masks with antiviral coating offer more protection?

It’s an intriguing idea, but there haven’t been enough rigorous independent studies to establish whether antiviral masks are better at protecting wearers or preventing the spread of the virus.

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Biden looks to restore and expand Obama administration policies

Joe Biden is promising to take the country on a very different path from what it has seen over the past four years.

The Democratic president-elect is promising to reverse  policy on things such as withdrawing the U.S. from the Paris climate agreement and weakening protections against environmental pollution.

While Trump wants to shut down the Affordable Care Act, Biden is proposing to expand “Obamacare” by adding a public option to cover more Americans.

Monday, November 9, 2020

Pfizer: Vaccine looking 90% effective

Pfizer said today that early results from its coronavirus vaccine suggest the shots may be a surprisingly robust 90% effective at preventing COVID-19, putting the company on track to apply later this month for emergency-use approval from the Food and Drug Administration.

The announcement was a rare and major piece of encouraging news lately in the battle against the scourge that has killed more than 1.2 million people worldwide, including almost a quarter-million in the United States alone.

Monday, November 9, 2020

Balance of power in DC may be determined in Georgia

Control of the Senate likely won’t be decided until a January runoff in Georgia, even after Democrat Joe Biden was declared the winner of the presidential election on Saturday. 

That post-election cliff-hanger will determine the balance of power in Washington, as neither party appears to have a lock on a Senate majority right now.


Monday, November 9, 2020

Balance of power in DC may be determined in Georgia

Control of the Senate likely won’t be decided until a January runoff in Georgia, even after Democrat Joe Biden was declared the winner of the presidential election on Saturday. 

That post-election cliff-hanger will determine the balance of power in Washington, as neither party appears to have a lock on a Senate majority right now.


Monday, November 9, 2020

Investors encounter trading issues today at some brokerage firms as stocks surge

Investors ran into trading difficulties Monday as several leading brokerage firms experienced technical issues that limited user access. 

The issues arose as the S&P 500 surged above its previous record level on positive news from Pfizer about its COVID-19 vaccine. 

Monday, November 9, 2020

Eta causes severe flooding in Florida's urban areas

Heavy rain from Tropical Storm Eta caused dangerous flooding Monday across Florida’s most densely populated urban areas, stranding cars and swamping entire neighborhoods with fast-rising water that had no place to drain. 

The system made landfall in the Florida Keys and posed a serious threat across South Florida, which was already drenched from more than 14 inches (35 centimeters) of rain last month. Eta could dump an additional 6 to 12 inches (15 to 30 centimeters), forecasters said.


Monday, November 9, 2020

What's next? Saturday's election verdict isn't the last step in selecting a president
Saturday's election verdict isn’t the last step in selecting an American president. Under a system that’s been tweaked over two centuries, there is still a weekslong timeline during which the 538-member Electoral College picks the president.
Monday, November 9, 2020

Joe Biden elected president
WASHINGTON (AP) — Democrat Joe Biden defeated President Donald Trump to become the 46th president of the United States on Saturday, positioning himself to lead a nation gripped by the historic pandemic and a confluence of economic and social turmoil.
Saturday, November 7, 2020

Church to honor 45th anniversary of Fitzgerald shipwreck
DETROIT (AP) — Mariners’ Church of Detroit will observe the 45th anniversary Sunday of the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald during its yearly memorial service for those who have died in Great Lakes shipwrecks.
Saturday, November 7, 2020

Illinois joins community navigators to urge applying for big grants
CHICAGO — The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) today joined the Illinois Business Immigration Coalition, The Resurrection Project and members of the community to call on more minority-owned small businesses to apply for the Business Interruption Grant (BIG) program. Since its launch, the historic BIG program has deployed over 4,000 small business grants. With $175 million in remaining funds, the state and its partner organizations are aiming to get the word out to more Latinx and minority owned businesses facing losses due to COVID-19.
Saturday, November 7, 2020

New York AG: Sotheby's helped rich art lover skirt taxes
NEW YORK (AP) — Sotheby’s helped an art collector dodge millions of dollars in New York sales taxes, the state attorney general said in a lawsuit filed Friday, accusing the prominent auction house of accepting bogus documentation to spare a top client a tax bill.
Saturday, November 7, 2020

Did you know
The Masters Tournament is the first of golf's four major championships in the calendar year. Competitors tee off at the Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, GA, in April 2020. Americans Tiger Woods and Patrick Reed are the two most recent Masters champions, and fans are already eager to see who earns the fabled green jacket this year.
Saturday, November 7, 2020

UAE sheikhdom hopes Bear Grylls camp draws pandemic tourists
JEBEL JAIS MOUNTAIN, United Arab Emirates (AP)  The northern-most sheikhdom in the United Arab Emirates hopes a new adventure camp showcasing its wide-open spaces, fresh air and socially distanced mountain peaks can aid in reviving its tourist industry amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Saturday, November 7, 2020

US job market shows surprising burst of strength
WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. job market showed a surprising burst of strength in October, with employers adding 638,000 jobs and the unemployment rate tumbling to 6.9%. Still, the pace of hiring isn’t robust enough to rapidly soak up the millions of Americans who were thrown out of work by the pandemic recession.
Friday, November 6, 2020

Like magic: Multiply your trees, shrubs by using cuttings
(AP) — How magical: Stick a piece of wood in the ground and next year it becomes a plant.
Friday, November 6, 2020

Biden leading by 9,000 votes in Pennsylvania; 1,500 in Georgia
WASHINGTON (AP) — Democrat Joe Biden was on the cusp of winning the presidency on Friday as he opened up narrow leads over President Donald Trump in the critical battlegrounds of Georgia and Pennsylvania.
Friday, November 6, 2020

Apart but together: Tips for a much cozier Zoom Thanksgiving
(AP) — We all know Thanksgiving is going to look different this year. If you’re lucky, you might live where the weather will still be nice and you have space to create an outdoor Thanksgiving with appropriate social distancing.
Friday, November 6, 2020

Goldilocks Gridlock: Wall Street rallies still as stocks ride post-election wave
Stocks are still riding Wall Street’s post-election wave Thursday, as markets bet on the continuation of several business-friendly policies, and the S&P 500 is rallying 2.2% toward its biggest weekly jump since April.

Markets are banking on Tuesday’s election leading to split control of Congress, which could mean low tax rates, lighter regulation on businesses and other policies that investors like remain the status quo. The election still hasn’t made clear who will run the White House next year, though Joe Biden is pushing closer toward the needed mark.

Thursday, November 5, 2020

86,000 per day: US sets new record for coronavirus
New confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the U.S. have climbed to an all-time high of more than 86,000 per day on average, in a glimpse of the worsening crisis that lies ahead for the winner of the presidential election.

Cases and hospitalizations are setting records all around the country just as the holidays and winter approach, demonstrating the challenge that either President Donald Trump or former Vice President Joe Biden will face in the coming months.

Daily new confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. have surged 45% over the past two weeks, to a record 7-day average of 86,352, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Deaths are also on the rise, up 15 percent to an average of 846 deaths every day.

The total U.S. death toll is already more than 232,000, and total confirmed U.S. cases have surpassed 9 million. Those are the highest totals in the world, and new infections are increasing in nearly every state.

Thursday, November 5, 2020

Trump sues for observation access
As Democrat Joe Biden inched closer to the 270 Electoral College votes needed to win the White House, President Donald Trump’s campaign filed legal challenges Wednesday in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Georgia.

The new filings, joining existing Republican legal challenges in Pennsylvania and Nevada, demand better access for campaign observers to locations where ballots are being processed and counted, and raised absentee ballot concerns, the campaign said. 

Thursday, November 5, 2020

Democrats' Senate drive is halted by the GOP
Democrats had a disappointing night in the battle for Senate control, but it was too soon for Republicans to take a victory lap Wednesday, although they brushed back multiple challengers to protect their now teetering majority.

Key races in North Carolina, Maine and Michigan remained undecided, and at least one in Georgia was headed to a January runoff.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said President Donald Trump’s campaign helped his GOP allies, but it’s still too soon to declare victory as state election officials count ballots.

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Jackpot! Expansion of gambling in US wins big
The U.S. gambling industry won big at the polls Tuesday, with three states authorizing legal sports betting and three others either approving or expanding casino gambling.

Maryland, South Dakota and Louisiana approved sports betting. That sets up a situation in which by the end of next year more than half the country could have legal sports betting, less than three years after a U.S. Supreme Court ruling cleared the way for all 50 states to adopt it if they chose.

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Americans turn out in force, but still no winner
America woke up this morning without a winner of the presidential election.

Critical battleground states including Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania remained without declared winners, leaving both President Donald Trump and Democrat Joe Biden short of the 270 Electoral College votes needed to win the White House.

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

More Americans said they are on a diet from a decade ago, report finds
If it seems like more and more people are on diets these days, you might not be imagining it.

A higher percentage of Americans said they’re on a special diet to lose weight or for other health reasons compared with a decade ago, according to a report Tuesday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Cruise industry calls it quits for 2020
The cruise industry has jettisoned hopes of restarting operations this year.

Days after both Carnival and Norwegian extended a halt on cruises through the end of the year, the group that represents cruise lines with 95% of global ocean-going capacity said Tuesday that its members have agreed to extend the suspension of U.S. sailing operations for the rest of 2020.

The announcement comes just days after the U.S. government effectively lifted its no-sail order despite a global spike in coronavirus infections.

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

More US patients to have access to doctor's notes
More U.S. patients will soon have free, electronic access to the notes their doctors write about them under a new federal requirement for transparency.

Many health systems are opening up records Monday, the original deadline. At the last minute, federal health officials week gave an extension until April because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

US manufacturing activity at it highest levels in two years
U.S. manufacturing posted a strong gain in October to the highest level in two years even as coronavirus cases have begun to surge again in many parts of the country.

The Institute for Supply Management, an association of purchasing managers, said Monday that its manufacturing index rose by 3.9 percentage-points to a reading of 59.3% last month, up from 55.4% in September.

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Nov. 3, 2020: An Election Day like no other
The scourge of a global pandemic produced an election season like no other in the U.S., persuading record numbers of Americans to cast their ballots early, forcing states to make changes to long-established election procedures and leading to hundreds of lawsuits over how votes will be cast and which ballots will be counted.

Polls began opening Tuesday as election officials warned that millions of absentee ballots could slow the tallies, perhaps for days, in some key battleground states.

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Likely you won't know the outcome when you go to bed tonight
There’s a good chance Americans won’t know the winner of Tuesday’s presidential election when they go to bed that night.

The main reason? Many states have made it easier to request a mail ballot amid the coronavirus pandemic and concerns about crowded polling places. But mail ballots generally require more time to process than ballots that are cast in person.

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

So 2020: From the election come new political terms
“So 2020” is a new phrase that made its way into America’s political lexicon this year.

It has come to describe all things unexpected, unsettling and unprecedented.

This includes the vitriolic political discourse that has deepened the partisan divide, the coronavirus pandemic, economic woes, social upheaval after police killings of Black people, massive protests, smashed up storefronts.

Here are two political terms — “cancel culture” and “QAnon” — that are “so 2020? themselves. What do they mean?

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Return to simpler times, follow minimalist tips to make holidays affordable
After spending nearly $2,000 in gifts for her daughter’s first Christmas in 2017, Meg Nordmann knew her holiday strategy had to change.

“I totally blew it that first Christmas with her,” says the Florida-based author of “Have Yourself a Minimalist Christmas.” “I bought everything this child needed through the first five years of her life.”

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

2 mall operators file for bankruptcy
Two mall operators filed for bankruptcy protection Monday, hurt by the coronavirus pandemic that has forced their tenants to permanently close stores or not pay rent.

Both companies, CBL and Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust, said their malls will remain open as they go through the bankruptcy process.

Monday, November 2, 2020

22 Dead in IS attack at Afghan university
Islamic State militants in Afghanistan stormed the Kabul University on Monday as it hosted a book fair attended by the Iranian ambassador, sparking an hours-long gun battle and leaving at least 22 dead and 22 wounded at the war-torn country’s largest school.

Most of the casualties were students and there were fears the death toll could climb further with some of the wounded said to be in critical condition.

It was the second attack on an educational institution in Kabul in as many weeks.

Monday, November 2, 2020

US manufacturing activity at highest levels in two years
U.S. manufacturing posted a strong gain in October to the highest level in two years even as coronavirus cases have begun to surge again in many parts of the country.

The Institute for Supply Management, an association of purchasing managers, said Monday that its manufacturing index rose by 3.9 percentage-points to a reading of 59.3% last month, up from 55.4% in September.

Monday, November 2, 2020

Trial to begin for Minnesota mosque bombing
Jury selection begin today in the trial of the leader of an Illinois anti-government group who is accused of being the mastermind behind the 2017 bombing of a suburban Minneapolis mosque.

Michael Hari, 49, of Clarence, has pleaded not guilty to multiple civil rights and hate crimes stemming from the pipe bombing of Dar al-Farooq Islamic Center in Bloomington.

No one was injured, but the attack damaged the mosque and frightened local Muslims. Hari’s alleged accomplices, who have pleaded guilty, said they followed Hari’s lead and carried out the bombing to scare Muslims into leaving the U.S.

Monday, November 2, 2020

Judge dismisses defamation claim by Dakota Access protester
A federal judge has dismissed part of a lawsuit by a New York City woman who was severely injured in an explosion while protesting the Dakota Access oil pipeline in North Dakota four years ago.

In a 54-page ruling issued Thursday, U.S. District Judge Daniel Traynor dismissed claims of defamation against law enforcement officials who made public statements blaming the woman for her own injury.

Monday, November 2, 2020

Tropical Storm Eta ties record; expected to become hurricane
Rain-heavy Tropical Storm Eta grew rapidly to near hurricane strength Sunday while heading for a drenching collision with Central America, as this Atlantic hurricane system tied the record for the most named storms.
Monday, November 2, 2020

Midwestern states with few virus rules have low unemployment
Five of the six states with the nation’s lowest unemployment rates are in the Midwest, have Republican governors and have almost no restrictions intended to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

The governors say their decisions not to impose harsher restrictions are paying off with fewer business closures and more hiring reflected in the strong jobless numbers. But economists say it’s not so simple. Although businesses that are struggling during the pandemic can benefit when governors opt not to require masks or limit in-door gatherings, other factors may play an even bigger role in producing such low unemployment rates.

Monday, November 2, 2020

Breonna Taylor memorial moving to an African American museum
A memorial for Breonna Taylor will be moved from a downtown park into a nearby museum in Louisville, Kentucky.

The outdoor memorial honoring Taylor with a mural, posters, artwork and other mementos is currently at Jefferson Square Park, the base for months of protests. The material needs a protected space with winter coming, said Shameka Parrish-Wright, co-chair of the Kentucky Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression. She said the Roots 101 African American Museum is an appropriate place.

Monday, November 2, 2020

Louisiana officials feud over generators for polling places
New Orleans’ Democratic mayor and Louisiana’s Republican secretary of state argued Sunday over who’s responsible for providing generators if some polling places didn’t have electricity on Election Day but by the end of the day it appeared all polling stations would have power.
Monday, November 2, 2020

Get ready: Activist groups primed for November 3 and whatever follows
WASHINGTON (AP) — Activists in the nation’s capital are banding together for Election Day, pooling resources, running training sessions for would-be demonstrators, forming rapid-reaction teams and setting up daylong events that are expected to draw large crowds.
Saturday, October 31, 2020

Moon holds more water in more places than ever thought
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — The moon’s shadowed, frigid nooks and crannies may hold frozen water in more places and in larger quantities than previously suspected. And for the first time, the presence of water on the moon’s sunlit surface has been confirmed, scientists reported Monday.
Saturday, October 31, 2020

Surprising Things That Renters Insurance Covers and Things It Does Not
(NERDWALLET via AP) — Insurance is designed to offer peace of mind, but there’s a reason your policy has all that fine print: You might not have the coverage you expect. Like any other insurance policy, renters insurance has exclusions, and knowing about them ahead of time can help you avoid unexpected bills in a disaster.
Saturday, October 31, 2020

Sunday News Guest Lineups
Saturday, October 31, 2020

Tweedy gives pandemic some 'Love'
“Here I am,” Jeff Tweedy sings at the onset of the title track, and also first song, of “Love Is the King,“ a record made in April while the Wilco frontman was quarantining with his wife and sons at home in Chicago.
Saturday, October 31, 2020

Grant bio is a perceptive look at captivating star

Self-trained English actor Archie Leach pulled off the role of a lifetime: becoming Hollywood legend Cary Grant. Why the child of a broken family hid behind the silver screen’s definition of easy charm and handsome masculinity is another story entirely.

Saturday, October 31, 2020

TV special to replace canceled 2021 Rose Parade
PASADENA, Calif. (AP) — The 2021 Rose Parade is canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic, but viewers will still get a show with a two-hour television special on New Year’s Day, organizers said.
Saturday, October 31, 2020

Long-lost interviews with Bob Dylan have surfaced
(AP) — For nearly half a century, they were blowin’ in the wind: lost interviews that contained surprising new insights about celebrated singer-songwriter Bob Dylan.
Friday, October 30, 2020

Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel will not be retried
STAMFORD, Conn. (AP) — A prosecutor said Friday that Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel will not face a second trial in the killing of Martha Moxley, an announcement that came 45 years to the day after the teenager was bludgeoned to death in her wealthy Connecticut neighborhood.
Friday, October 30, 2020

Federal Reserve expands Main Street program to smaller firms
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Federal Reserve will reduce the minimum loan level in a small business lending program and waive some fees to try to boost participation in a program that has so far provided little assistance to struggling companies.
Friday, October 30, 2020

2nd study testing COVID antibody drug paused
(AP) — For the second time, a study testing an experimental antibody drug for COVID-19 has been paused to investigate a possible safety issue in hospitalized patients.
Friday, October 30, 2020

A few tricks, lots of treats in new car technology
(EDMUNDS via AP) — Whether it’s a ghostly image that makes objects seemingly disappear or a spectral presence turning the steering wheel, modern cars are loaded with more tricks than a haunted house. But these features don’t represent automakers getting in the Halloween spirit — they are actually the latest driving aids designed to make piloting a car easier. Here are a few of Edmunds experts’ favorite tech features guaranteed to make your hair stand on end.
Friday, October 30, 2020

Thanksgiving feast or famine? Turkey industry is left guessing this year
(AP) — For the turkey industry, this Thanksgiving is a guessing game.

Millions of Americans are expected to have scaled-down celebrations amid the pandemic, heeding official warnings against travel and large indoor gatherings. That leaves anxious turkey farmers and grocers scrambling to predict what people will want on their holiday tables.

Friday, October 30, 2020

Zeta leaves trail of damage, 2.6M without power
Zeta sped across the Southeast today, leaving a trail of damage and more than 2.6 million homes and businesses without power in Atlanta and beyond after pounding New Orleans with winds and water that splintered homes and were blamed for at least three deaths.

A Category 2 hurricane when it hit the southeastern Louisiana coast Wednesday, Zeta was still a tropical storm late Thursday morning with maximum sustained winds of 50 mph (85 kph) about 100 miles (155 kilometers) northeast of Asheville, North Carolina — unusual even in a region accustomed to hurricanes and their aftermath.

Thursday, October 29, 2020

France on high alert after attack that leaves 3 dead
A man armed with a knife attacked people inside a French church and killed three today, prompting the government to raise its security alert status to the maximum level hours before a nationwide coronavirus lockdown.

The attack in Mediterranean city of Nice was the third in two months in France that authorities have attributed to Muslim extremists, including the beheading of a teacher. It comes during a growing furor over caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad that were republished in recent months by the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo — renewing vociferous debate in France and the Muslim world over the depictions that Muslims consider offensive but are protected by French free speech laws.

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Trump rule requires health plans to disclose costs
Trying to pull back the veil on health care costs to encourage competition, the Trump administration today finalized a requirement for insurers to tell consumers up front the actual prices for common tests and procedures.

A related Trump administration price disclosure requirement applying to hospitals is facing a federal lawsuit from the industry, alleging coercion and interference with business practices.

The idea behind the new regulations on insurers is to empower patients to become better consumers of health care, thereby helping to drive down costs.

Thursday, October 29, 2020

US economy grew at 33% in Q3 but recovery is incomplete
The U.S. economy grew at a record 33.1% annual rate in the July-September quarter but has yet to fully rebound from its plunge in the first half of the year — and the recovery is slowing as coronavirus cases surge and government aid dries up.
Thursday, October 29, 2020

Latin King gang member is sentenced
A convicted gang member who said he beat up jailed R&B singer R. Kelly in a Chicago cell in August has been sentenced to life in prison for a racketeering conviction that involved two 1999 murders.

A federal judge in Hammond, Indiana, sentenced Jeremiah Farmer, 39, on Tuesday during a hearing in which Farmer represented himself and appeared combative, at times raising his voice and frequently interrupting the judge.

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

60 charged in $300M elderly phone scam
Sixty people have been charged in a widespread magazine telemarketing scam that authorities say netted $300 million from more than 150,000 elderly and vulnerable people nationwide, the U.S. attorney’s office in Minnesota announced Wednesday.

U.S. Attorney Erica MacDonald called the scam the largest elder fraud scheme in the country.

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Social media CEOs get an earful on bias
With next week’s election looming, the CEOs of Twitter, Facebook and Google were scolded at a Senate hearing today for  anti-conservative bias in the companies’ social media platforms and received a warning of coming restrictions from Congress.

Lawmakers of both parties are assessing the companies’ tremendous power to disseminate speech and ideas, and are looking to challenge their long-enjoyed bedrock legal protections for online speech.

The Trump administration, has asked Congress to strip some of the protections that have generally shielded the tech companies from legal responsibility for what people post on their platforms.

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

More lockdowns amid surging virus
An alarming surge in coronavirus cases in Europe and the U.S. is wiping out months of progress against the scourge on two continents, prompting new business restrictions, raising the threat of another round of large-scale lockdowns and sending a shudder through financial markets.

“We are deep in the second wave,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said Wednesday. “I think that this year’s Christmas will be a different Christmas.”

Chancellor Angela Merkel says German officials have agreed to a four-week shutdown of restaurants, bars, cinemas, theaters and other leisure facilities in a bid to curb a sharp rise in coronavirus infections.

Merkel and the country’s 16 state governors, who are responsible for imposing and easing restrictions, agreed on the partial lockdown in a videoconference today. It is set to take effect on Monday and last until the end of November.

Merkel said, “We must act, and now, to avoid an acute national health emergency.”

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Hurricane Zeta: Storm-weary Louisiana in the crosshairs again
Hurricane Zeta was speeding toward storm-weary Louisiana and intensifying, with landfall expected as a Category 2 hurricane this afternoon. New Orleans, where a pump system failure raised flood risks, was squarely in its way.

Workers closed one of the last floodgates surrounding New Orleans as residents braced for the 27th named storm of a historically busy Atlantic hurricane season. Tropical storm warnings were issued as far as the north Georgia mountains, highly unusual for the region.

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Pandemic gains: Tupperware partying like it's 1965
Tupperware relied on social gatherings for explosive growth in the mid 20th century. In the 21st century, it is social distancing that is fueling sales.

Restaurant pain has turned into Tupperware’s gain with millions of people in a pandemic opening cookbooks again and looking for solutions to leftovers. They’ve found it again in Tupperware, suddenly an “it brand“ five decades after what seemed to be its glory days.

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Conservative activist: Justice Thomas' wife boosts claims against Biden
The wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas is using her Facebook page to amplify claims of corruption by Joe Biden.

Ginni Thomas, a longtime conservative activist, asked her more than 10,000 followers Monday to consider sharing a link focused on alleged corruption by the Democratic nominee for president and his son, Hunter, as well as claims that social media companies are censoring reports about the Bidens.

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

The issues that lie ahead for Barrett
Amy Coney Barrett was formally sworn in toay as the Supreme Court’s ninth justice, her oath administered in private by Chief Justice John Roberts. Her first votes on the court could include two big topics affecting the man who appointed her.

The court is weighing a plea from President Donald Trump to prevent the Manhattan district attorney from acquiring his tax returns. It is also considering appeals from the Trump campaign and Republicans to shorten the deadline for receiving and counting absentee ballots in the battleground states of North Carolina and Pennsylvania.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Zeta: Hurricane warning for New Orleans
Storm-weary Louisiana is once again under a hurricane warning, with Zeta leaving Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula on a path that could hit New Orleans Wednesday night.

Zeta, the 27th named storm in a very busy Atlantic season, made landfall as a hurricane just north of the ancient Mayan city of Tulum with maximum sustained winds of 80 mph (130 kph). It weakened to a tropical storm as it crossed over land, but it was expected to regain strength over the Gulf of Mexico.

Zeta’s top winds were 65 mph (100 kph) Tuesday, and it was centered about 520 miles (835 kilometers) south of the mouth of the Mississippi River just off the Yucatan Peninsula. If Zeta makes landfall in Louisiana, it will be the fifth named storm to hit the state this year, joining Cristobal, Laura, Marco and Delta.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Stockmarket continues slip slip
U.S. stocks are falling Tuesday, as momentum slows following Wall Street’s worst day in a month on worries about rising virus counts and Washing ton’s inability to deliver more aid to the economy.

The S&P 500 fell 0.2% in afternoon trading after earlier swinging between small gains and losses. Most of the stocks in the index were lower, particularly oil producers and other companies whose profits tend to track the strength of the economy. Counterbalancing them were technology stocks, which rose after AMD said it would buy fellow chipmaker Xilinx for $35 billion.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

UN watchdog: Iran building at nuclear facility
Inspectors from the U.N.’s atomic watchdog have confirmed Iran has started building an underground centrifuge assembly plant after its previous one exploded in what Tehran called a sabotage attack over the summer, the agency’s head told The Associated Press on Tuesday.

Iran also continues to stockpile greater amounts of low-enriched uranium, but does not appear to possess enough to produce a weapon, Rafael Grossi, director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, told the AP in an interview in Berlin.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Deaths per day from the coronavirus in the U.S. are on the rise again, just as health experts had feared, and cases are climbing in practically every state.

With Election Day just over a week away, average deaths per day across the country are up 10% over the past two weeks, from 721 to nearly 794 as of Sunday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Newly confirmed infections per day are rising in 47 states, and deaths are up in 34.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Scientists remove 98 'murder hornets' in Washington state nest
Workers from the state Department of Agriculture managed to destroy the first nest of so-called murder hornets discovered in the U.S. without suffering any stings or other injuries, the agency said Monday.

The nest, located in Whatcom County near the Canadian border, created concern because the Asian giant hornets are large and their sting can be lethal, especially if a person is stung numerous times. The hornets also pose a huge threat to honey bees that pollinate many crops.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Zeta likely to strike Mexico then head to US gulf coast
A strengthening Tropical Storm Zeta is expected to become a hurricane Monday as it heads toward the eastern end of Mexico’s resort-dotted Yucatan Peninsula and then likely move on for a possible landfall on the central U.S. Gulf Coast at midweek.

Zeta on Sunday became the earliest ever 27th named storm of the Atlantic season. The system was centered about 175 miles southeast of Cozumel island this morning, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said. It had maximum sustained winds of 70 mph.

Monday, October 26, 2020

Europe desperately tries to slow virus surge
A French doctor warned Monday that his country has “lost control of the epidemic,” a day after health authorities reported more than 52,000 new coronavirus cases as nations across Europe enact more sweeping restrictions to try to slow surging infection rates.

Dr. Jean-Francois Delfraissy, president of the scientific council that advises the French government on the virus, said the country is in a “very difficult, even critical situation.“

Monday, October 26, 2020

Vote to confirm Barrett expected tonight
A divided Senate is set to confirm Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, giving the country a ninth justice tonight as Republicans overpowered Democratic opposition to secure President Donald Trump’s nominee the week before Election Day.

Democratic leaders asked Vice President Mike Pence to stay away from presiding over her Senate confirmation due to potential health risks after his aides tested positive for COVID-19. But although Pence isn’t needed to break a tie, the vote would present a dramatic opportunity for him to preside over confirmation of Trump’s third Supreme Court justice.

Monday, October 26, 2020

1 million lbs. of food distributed daily in Houston
In car lines that can stretch half a mile, workers who lost jobs because of the coronavirus pandemic and other needy people receive staggering amounts of food distributed by the Houston Food Bank. On some days, the hundreds of sites supplied by the country’s largest food bank collectively get 1 million pounds.

Among the ranks of recipients is unemployed construction worker Herman Henton, whose wife is a home improvement store worker and now the sole breadwinner for their family of five. They tried to get food stamps but were told they only qualified for $25 of federal food assistance monthly.

Monday, October 26, 2020

American families and small business jeopardized by Congress' inability to act on 2nd round of virus relief
With winter looming and confirmed viral cases rising, Bob Szuter’s craft brewery and restaurant in Columbus, Ohio, could use another government lifeline to help survive until spring.

So could many restaurants and bars that buy his beer. Szuter knows of nearly 20 in the region that have folded, with many others “limping along.”

As a small businessman, Szuter benefited from the multi-trillion-dollar stimulus aid that Congress passed in March after the pandemic recession flattened the economy. Countless other business people did, too, along with millions of laid-off workers, struggling states and localities and individual Americans.

Monday, October 26, 2020

Germany's Bayer to buy US gene therapy specialist
German health care company Bayer said today it is buying Asklepios BioPharmaceutical, a U.S.-based firm specializing in gene therapy, in a deal worth up to $4 billion.

Bayer said it will pay $2 billion up front for privately held AskBio plus “potential success-based milestone payments” of up to another $2 billion. About three-quarters of the latter are expected to be due over the next five years, it added.

Monday, October 26, 2020

Analysts say early Democratic turnout puts extra pressure on GOP in final week
With eight days before Election Day, more people already have cast ballots in this year’s presidential election than voted early or absentee in the 2016 race as the start of in-person early voting in big states led to a surge in turnout in recent days.

The opening of early voting locations in Florida, Texas and elsewhere has piled millions of new votes on top of the mail ballots arriving at election offices as voters try to avoid crowded places on Nov. 3 during the coronavirus pandemic.

Monday, October 26, 2020

US sets coronavirus infection record; deaths 224,000
The U.S. coronavirus caseload has reached record heights with more than 83,000 infections reported in a single day, the latest ominous sign of the disease’s grip on the nation, as states from Connecticut to the Rocky Mountain West reel under the surge.

The U.S. death toll, meanwhile, has grown to 223,995, according to the COVID-19 Dashboard published by Johns Hopkins University. The total U.S. caseload reported on the site Friday was 83,757, topping the 77,362 cases reported on July 16.

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Will we know the winner on election night?
How soon will we know the results of the U.S. election

A shift to mail voting is increasing the chances that Americans will not know the winner of the 2020 presidential race on election night, Nov. 3.

Election officials in some key battleground states have warned that it might take days to count the votes given what they expect will be a surge of ballots sent by mail.

Because processing mail ballots is more laborious than in-person voting, states that haven’t updated their laws and systems for the different workload can see delays. But a presidential election hasn’t been left in limbo since 2000, when ballot irregularities in Florida led to weeks of chaos and court fights.

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Double trouble: Peru hard hit with Covid and Dengue
Two of Lidia Choque’s close family members had already gotten sick with the new coronavirus when the mosquitos arrived.

The 53-year-old woman lives in a wooden house near the airport of a Peruvian city in the Amazon rainforest. City fumigators usually visit several times during the rainy season to eliminate the pests, but this year, because of the pandemic, they were absent.

When she went to a hospital after coming down with a fever and body aches, doctors delivered a double diagnosis: COVID-19 and dengue.

“I couldn’t even walk,” she said.

Friday, October 23, 2020

Fiasco over pope's civil union quote intensifies
The world premiere of a documentary on Pope Francis was supposed to have been a bright spot for a papacy locked down by pandemic and besieged by a corruption scandal, recalling Francis’ glory days travelling the world to bless the oppressed.

But the red carpet rollout of “Francesco” has been anything but bright, with evidence that the Vatican censored the pope last year by deleting his endorsement of same-sex civil unions from an interview, only to have the footage resurface in the documentary.

Aside from the firestorm the remarks created, the fiasco once again has put the spotlight on the Vatican’s often self-inflicted communications wounds and Francis’ willingness to push his own agenda, even at the expense of pushback from conservatives.

Friday, October 23, 2020

You can' crush this: Beetle armor gives clues to tougher planes
It’s a beetle that can withstand bird pecks, animal stomps and even being rolled over by a Toyota Camry. Now scientists are studying what the bug’s crush-resistant shell could teach them about designing stronger planes and buildings.

“This beetle is super tough,“ said Purdue University civil engineer Pablo Zavattieri, who was among a group of researchers that ran over the insect with a car as part of a new study.

So, how does the seemingly indestructible insect do it? The species — aptly named diabolical ironclad beetle — owes its might to an unusual armor that is layered and pieced together like a jigsaw, according to the study by Zavattieri and his colleagues published in Nature on Wednesday. And its design, they say, could help inspire more durable structures and vehicles.

Friday, October 23, 2020

2 states could play pivotal role in election
Nebraska will never be mistaken for a swing state given that it hasn’t supported a Democratic presidential candidate since 1964, but if the race is close this fall, the state could have a key role in choosing the next president.

It’s all thanks to a law approved decades ago that was intended to attract presidential candidates to a state they usually ignore because it’s so reliably conservative. While the statewide vote will clearly go to President Donald Trump, former Vice President Joe Biden has a good chance of winning in the state’s 2nd Congressional District, meaning one of Nebraska’s five Electoral College votes could go to the Democrat.

But there’s a problem with that scenario: Maine.

Maine is the only other state that awards Electoral College votes by congressional district, and it could go the opposite way and award a vote to Donald Trump even as the state as a whole likely will go to Biden.

Friday, October 23, 2020

Viewers Guide: A few things to look for in tonight's debate
Tonight’s presidential debate, starting at 8 p.m.CST, from Nashville, Tennessee, marks the candidates’ second and final face-to-face meeting, with Election Day less than two weeks away. Here’s what to look for:
Thursday, October 22, 2020

Trump to nominate Kirsch to succeed Barrett on bench
President Donald Trump intends to nominate a northern Indiana federal prosecutor to the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals if Amy Coney Barrett is confirmed to the U.S. Supreme Court, the White House has announced.
Thursday, October 22, 2020

CDC redefines COVID-19 'close contact'
U.S. health officials Wednesday redefined what counts as close contact with someone with COVID-19 to include briefer but repeated encounters.

For months, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said close contact meant spending a solid 15 minutes within 6 feet of someone who tested positive for coronavirus. On Wednesday, the CDC changed  it to a total of 15 minutes or more — so shorter but repeated contacts that add up to 15 minutes over a 24-hour period now count.

The CDC advises anyone who has been in close contact with a COVID-19 patient to quarantine for two weeks.

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Barret advances despite boycott
Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett is speeding toward confirmation, with a majority of the Senate supporting her and a final vote expected Monday. The Senate Judiciary Committee approved her nomination this morning as Democrats boycotted the vote.
Thursday, October 22, 2020

Melania Trump nixes campaign trip due to lingering cough from COVID
Melania Trump’s return to the campaign trail will have to wait.
The first lady decided against accompanying President Donald Trump to a campaign rally Tuesday in Erie, Pennsylvania, because of a lingering cough after her bout with COVID-19, said Stephanie Grisham, her chief of staff.

It was to be Mrs. Trump’s first public appearance since recovering from the coronavirus, as well as her first time out on the campaign trail in more than a year.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

After years of grappling with Google, Europe has some sound tips for US
The U.S. antitrust crackdown on Google might seem like deja vu for European Union regulators.
By U.S. standards, the Justice Department’s move to sue Google this week for abusing its dominance in online search and advertising was a bold move. But it treads on ground already broken years before by EU officials in Brussels.

Veterans of Europe’s antitrust tech battles welcomed the U.S. investigation and said American authorities should learn from the bloc’s experience.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Opioid epidemic: OxyContin maker Purdue to plead to 3 criminal charges
Purdue Pharma, the company that makes OxyContin, the powerful prescription painkiller that experts say helped touch off an opioid epidemic, will plead  guilty to three federal criminal charges as part of a settlement of more than $8 billion, Justice Department officials announced Wednesday.

The company will plead guilty to three counts, including conspiracy to defraud the United States and violating federal anti-kickback laws, the officials said. The resolution will be detailed in a bankruptcy court filing in federal court.

The deal does not release any of the company’s executives or owners — members of the wealthy Sackler family — from criminal liability, and a criminal investigation is ongoing. But one state attorney general said the agreement fails to hold the Sacklers accountable.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Pandemic relief talks inch forward
Negotiations on a huge COVID-19 relief bill have taken a modest step forward, though time is running out and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, President Donald Trump’s most powerful Senate ally, is pressing the White House not to move ahead right now.
Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Next up in the hunt for a COVID-19 vaccine: Testing shots in children
The global hunt for a COVID-19 vaccine for kids is only just beginning — a lagging start that has some U.S. pediatricians worried they may not know if any shots work for young children in time for the next school year.

Older adults may be most vulnerable to the coronavirus, but ending the pandemic will require vaccinating children, too. Last week, Pfizer Inc. received permission to test its vaccine in U.S. kids as young as 12, one of only a handful of attempts around the world to start exploring if any experimental shots being pushed for adults also can protect children.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Long lines as Missouri's first licensed medical marijuana dispensaries open
Missouri’s first licensed marijuana dispensaries opened this weekend in the St. Louis area with long lines.

The two dispensaries run by N’Bliss opened Saturday in Ellisville and Manchester. Another dispensary opened  Monday in the Kansas City area nearly two years after Missouri voters approved a constitutional amendment to allow the sale of medical marijuana.
To buy the drug, people need approval from a doctor and a state medical marijuana card. Prices are expected to be high initially because the supply is limited in the state at this stage. N’Bliss was charging $60 for an eighth of an ounce of marijuana when it opened Saturday.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

US drug overdose deaths may reach all-time high
National data is incomplete, but available information suggests U.S. drug overdose deaths are on track to reach an all-time high. Addiction experts blame the pandemic, which has left people stressed and isolated, disrupted treatment and recovery programs, and contributed to an increasingly dangerous illicit drug supply.

Before the coronavirus even arrived, the U.S. was in the midst of the deadliest drug overdose epidemic in its history, with a record 71,000 overdose deaths last year.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

It’s deadline day for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on COVID-19 relief, with the contours of a potential deal taking shape behind the scenes even as President Donald Trump’s GOP allies are recoiling at the administration’s tolerance for a $2 trillion package.

Pelosi negotiated with Mnuchin for nearly an hour on Monday, and her office said they are continuing to narrow their differences — though the progress may be coming too late to immediately deliver on jobless aid, a second round of $1,200 direct payments, and money for schools, testing, and vaccines. Another Pelosi-Mnuchin phone call was slated for Tuesday afternoon.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Landmark case filed against Google
The Justice Department today sued Google for antitrust violations, alleging that it abused its dominance in online search and advertising to stifle competition and harm consumers.

The lawsuit marks the government’s most significant act to protect competition since its groundbreaking case against Microsoft more than 20 years ago. It could be an opening salvo ahead of other major government antitrust actions, given ongoing investigations of major tech companies including Apple, Amazon and Facebook at both the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Questions answered about COVID treatment and flu vaccine
There are several, and which one is best depends on how sick someone is.

For example, steroids such as dexamethasone can lower the risk of dying for severely ill patients. But they may do the opposite for those who are only mildly ill.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Thai authorities seek to censor coverage of student protests
Thai authorities worked Monday to stem a growing tide of protests calling for the prime minister to resign by threatening to censor news coverage, raiding a publishing house and attempting to block the Telegram messaging app used by demonstrators.

The efforts by Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha’s government to drain the student-led protests of support and the ability to organize comes as demonstrations have grown in the capital and spread around the country, despite an emergency decree, which bans public gatherings of more than four people in Bangkok, outlaws news said to affect national security and gives authorities broad power to detain people.

Monday, October 19, 2020

Trump, Biden go on offense in swing states
President Donald Trump on Monday sought to buck up his campaign staffers two weeks from Election Day, dismissing the cautionary coronavirus advice of scientific experts as well as polling showing him trailing Democratic rival Joe Biden across key battleground states.

Speaking to campaign aides on a conference call, Trump insisted he believes he’s going to win, volunteering he didn’t have that sense of confidence two weeks ago when he was hospitalized with COVID-19. One week since returning to the campaign trail, where his handling of the pandemic is a central issue to voters, Trump blasted his government’s own scientists for their criticism of his performance.

Monday, October 19, 2020

Nonprofit reminds Illinoisans to get help with utility bills
A nonprofit is reminding Illinoisans struggling to pay utility bills during the coronavirus pandemic to seek help.

The Citizens Utility Board said customers should contact their utility provider for specific details on protection available.

Monday, October 19, 2020

Woman missing for 2 weeks found safe in National Park
A California woman who was missing for about two weeks in Zion National Park in Utah has been found and left the park with her family who had feared the worst, authorities said.

Holly Suzanne Courtier, 38, of Los Angeles, was found Sunday by search and rescue crews after park rangers received a tip that she had been seen in the park, Zion National Park officials said in a news release. They didn’t say where she was found or anything about her condition or what had happened.

Monday, October 19, 2020

World struggles as COVID-19 cases pass 40 million
The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases across the planet has surpassed 40 million, but experts say that is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the true impact of the pandemic that has upended life and work around the world.

The milestone was hit Monday morning, according to Johns Hopkins University, which collates reports from around the world.

Monday, October 19, 2020

Supreme Court to review Trump's 'Remain in Mexico' policy
The Supreme Court agreed on Monday to review a Trump administration policy that makes asylum-seekers wait in Mexico for U.S. court hearings.

As is typical, the court did not comment in announcing it would hear the case. Because the court’s calendar is already full through the end of the year, the justices will not hear the case until 2021. If Joe Biden were to win the presidential election and rescind the policy, the case would become largely moot.

Monday, October 19, 2020

Judge to hold trial on Northam's plans to remove Lee statue
A lawsuit seeking to prevent Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam from removing an enormous statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee in Richmond is scheduled to go to trial Monday.

The plaintiffs, a group of Richmond residents who live near the monument, filed suit after Northam ordered the removal of the statue in June amid the outcry and unrest caused by the death of George Floyd in police custody.

Monday, October 19, 2020

Early in person voting begins in key swing state of Florida
Florida begins in-person early voting in much of the state Monday as the Trump campaign tries to cut into an early advantage Democrats have posted in mail-in votes in the key swing state.

With its 29 electoral votes, Florida is crucial to both candidates but especially so for President Donald Trump, who moved his official residence to his Palm Beach estate Mar-a-Lago from New York last year. A Florida loss would make it nearly impossible for Trump to reach the 270 electoral votes needed to retain the White House over former Democratic Vice President Joe Biden.

Monday, October 19, 2020

Rhonda Fleming, film star of '40s and '50s dies
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Actress Rhonda Fleming, the fiery redhead who appeared with Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas, Charlton Heston, Ronald Reagan and other film stars of the 1940s and 1950s, has died. She was 97.
Saturday, October 17, 2020

'Wicked' author: Latest book like 'comfort food'
NEW YORK (AP) — Gregory Maguire attributes the first grain of the idea for his new book “A Wild Winter Swan” to “Mary Poppins” author P.L. Travers.
Saturday, October 17, 2020

Is Springsteen's 'Letter to You' a goodbye note?
(AP) — Has Bruce Springsteen written a “Letter to You” to say goodbye?
Saturday, October 17, 2020

Film: Chicago 7 trial gets the Aaron Sorkin touch
(AP) — If anyone was born to make a film about the infamous federal trial surrounding the protests outside the 1968 Democratic National Convention, it’s Aaron Sorkin.
Saturday, October 17, 2020

Tourists beginning to return to Hawaii amid ever-changing pandemic rules
HONOLULU (AP) — Coronavirus weary residents and struggling business owners in Hawaii weree watching closely as tourists began to return to the islands this past week without being required to self-quarantine upon arrival.
Saturday, October 17, 2020

Tomatoes, turnips rule in big year for veggie gardening
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — In the year of the new coronavirus, when new gardeners came out in droves to try growing their own vegetables, tomatoes were still king. And in a twist, the respect-seeking turnip actually turned some heads.
Saturday, October 17, 2020

Trump's drug discount card for seniors unlikely to materialize by election
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump’s plan to mail millions of seniors a $200 prescription savings card has hit legal and budget roadblocks, making it unlikely the government can carry it out before Election Day.
Friday, October 16, 2020

Earth breaks September heat record
(AP) — Earth sweltered to a record hot September last month, with U.S. climate officials saying there’s nearly a two-to-one chance that 2020 will end up as the globe’s hottest year on record.
Thursday, October 15, 2020

Frost doesn't mean the gardening season is over

(AP) — Cleaning up some frosted bean and marigold plants the other day, I thought of a weather report I heard recently on the radio. The announcer stated: “Freezing temperatures are predicted for tonight, thus ending the gardening season.”

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Europe reeling from virus resurgence
BERLIN (AP) — Fears rose today that Europe is running out of time to control a resurgence of the coronavirus, as infections hit record daily highs in Germany, the Czech Republic, Italy and Poland. France slapped a 9 p.m. curfew on many of its biggest cities and Londoners faced new travel restrictions as governments imposed increasingly tough measures.
Thursday, October 15, 2020

Senate sets Oct. 22 vote on Barrett's nomination
WASHINGTON (AP) — With a vote date set, the Senate Judiciary Committee today debated the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett for the Supreme Court, Democrats objecting to Republicans’ rush to confirm President Donald Trump’s pick before the Nov. 3 election.
Thursday, October 15, 2020

St. Louis couple defending home plead not guilty
ST. LOUIS (AP) — A St. Louis couple celebrated in some circles and vilified in others for waving guns at protesters marching on their private street pleaded not guilty to two felony charges at a brief hearing Wednesday.
Thursday, October 15, 2020

Dr. Fauci criticizes herd immunity; urges families to rethink Thanksgiving
WASHINGTON — Dr. Anthony Fauci is criticizing a declaration by a group of scientists that supports the concept of “herd immunity,” which the White House is using to bolster a push to reopen schools and businesses.
Thursday, October 15, 2020

Some disinformation experts say NYPost article on Biden raises red flags
WASHINGTON (AP) —  The story published in the New York Post regarding Joe Biden’s ties with Ukraine raises many questions, including about the authenticity of an email at the center of the story. Associated Press offers these details:
Thursday, October 15, 2020

Amy Coney Barret bats away tough questioning
Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett batted away Democrats’ skeptical questions Tuesday on abortion, health care and a possible disputed-election fight over transferring presidential power, insisting in a long and lively confirmation hearing she would bring no personal agenda to the court but decide cases “as they come.”

The 48-year-old appellate court judge declared her conservative views with often colloquial language, but refused many specifics. She declined to say whether she would recuse herself from any election-related cases involving President Donald Trump, who nominated her to fill the seat of the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and is pressing to have her confirmed before the the Nov. 3 election.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Virus imperils AA cofounder's birthplace, a virtual shrine for those it helps
The shrinelike birthplace of one of the two Vermont natives who founded Alcoholics Anonymous is in danger of closing, another victim of the restrictions made necessary by the coronavirus pandemic.

The shutdown from March until midsummer meant no people could stay in rooms in the hotel where AA co-founder Bill Wilson, who according to the organization’s lore, was “born behind the bar“ in 1895.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

WWII jungle fighting unit approved for congressional medal of honor
The soldiers spent months behind enemy lines, marching hundreds of miles through the tangled jungles and steep mountains of Burma as they battled hunger and disease between firefights with Japanese forces during their secret mission.

In February 1944, the American jungle fighting unit nicknamed Merrill’s Marauders set out to capture a Japanese-held airfield and open an Allied supply route between India and China. Starting with 3,000 soldiers, the Marauders completed their mission five months later with barely 200 men still in the fight.

The journey of roughly 1,000 miles  on foot was so grueling that fighting “was the easy part,” said Robert Passanisi, who at age 96 is among just nine known Marauders still known to be alive.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

A slight uptick coming for Social Security recipients in 2021
Social Security recipients will get a modest 1.3% cost-of living-increase in 2021, but that might be small comfort amid worries about the coronavirus and its consequences for older people.

The increase amounts to $20 a month for the average retired worker, according to estimates released today by the Social Security Administration. That would follow a 1.6% increase this year in the cost-of-living adjustment, or COLA.

The COLA affects the personal finances of about 1 in 5 Americans, including Social Security recipients, disabled veterans and federal retirees, all in all some 70 million people.

The economic fallout from the virus has reduced tax collections for Social Security and Medicare, likely worsening their long-term financial condition. But there’s been no real discussion of either program in the personally charged election contest between President Donald Trump and Democrat Joe Biden.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

McConnell slates October revote on virus relief
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said today that he’s scheduling a vote regarding a GOP COVID-19 relief bill for later this month, saying aid to hard-hit businesses shouldn’t be held up by gridlock involving other aid proposals.

The Kentucky Republican says the first item of Senate business when the chamber returns Oct. 19 will be a procedural vote on a scaled-back aid bill. Democrats filibustered a GOP-drafted aid bill last month and recent talks on a larger deal with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., fell apart this past weekend, probably for good.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

ACA on the line; how likely is it to fall?
To hear Democrats tell it, a Supreme Court with President Donald Trump’s nominee Amy Coney Barrett could quickly get rid of the law that gives more than 20 million Americans health insurance coverage.

But that’s not the inevitable outcome of a challenge the court will hear Nov. 10, just one week after the election.

Yes, the Trump administration is asking the high court to throw out the Obama-era healthcare law, and if she is confirmed quickly Barrett could be on the Supreme Court when the court hears the case.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Virginia gov also targeted by anti-government groups
Members of anti-government paramilitary groups discussed kidnapping Virginia’s governor during a June meeting in Ohio, an FBI agent testified today during a court hearing in Michigan.

Special Agent Richard Trask also revealed more detail about investigators’ use of confidential informants, undercover agents and encrypted communication to arrest and charge six men last week with plotting to kidnap Michigan’s Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Your health: How long can I expect a COVID illness to last?
How long can I expect a COVID-19 illness to last?

It depends. Most coronavirus patients have mild to moderate illness and recover quickly. Older, sicker patients tend to take longer to recover. That includes those who are obese, or have high blood pressure and other chronic diseases.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Economists win Nobel prize for improving auctions
Two American economists won the Nobel Prize for improving how auctions work, research that underlies much of today’s economy — from the way Google sells advertising to the way telecoms companies acquire airwaves from the government.

The discoveries of Paul R. Milgrom and Robert B. Wilson, both of Stanford University, “have benefitted sellers, buyers and taxpayers around the world,” the Nobel Committee said.

Wilson was once Milgrom’s Ph.D. adviser, and the two also happen to be neighbors. Reached by phone at his home in California, Milgrom said he received news of their win “in a strange way.”

“I got a knock at my door from Bob Wilson,” he told The Associated Press.

Monday, October 12, 2020

Health care is focus as Barrett Supreme Court hearing opens
Senate Democrats branded Supreme Court  nominee Amy Coney Barrett a threat to Americans’ health care during the coronavirus pandemic Monday at the start of a fast-tracked hearing that Republicans are confident will end with Barrett’s confirmation to replace the late  Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg before Election Day.

In a competing effort to approvingly define the 48-year-old Barrett, who sat silent and wearing a face mask, Republican senators called President Donald Trump’s pick a thoughtful judge with impeccable credentials.

Monday, October 12, 2020

As the global pandemic presses on, sheer waves of grief follow in its path
In a strong voice tinged with her Irish homeland, Fiona Prine talks hauntingly about loss. From her COVID-19 infection and isolation — self-imposed in hopes of sparing her husband, folk-country legend John Prine — to his own devastating illness and death, she’s had more than her share in this year like no other.

Illness and death are the pandemic’s most feared consequences, but a collective sense of loss is perhaps its most pervasive. Around the world, the pandemic has spread grief by degrees.

Monday, October 12, 2020

Tutu girls: This group of cancer survivors didn't let pandemic spoil reunion
Lauren Glynn is the shy one with the toy husky dog. Smiley McKinley Moore has a doll with blond hair just like hers, and Avalynn Luciano is the squirmer with the pretty white bow on top of her head. Together, they are a brave posse of cancer survivors known as the tutu girls.

All age 7 or nearly so, the three girls were diagnosed with leukemia in 2016 and met at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, Florida, where they became fast friends. In the hospital, they sang together and played ring-around-the-rosy. They shared popsicles, and kept each other company while undergoing brutal treatment.

Monday, October 12, 2020

Parents take school year on the road
In RVs, rental homes and five-star resorts, families untethered by the constraints of physical classrooms for their kids have turned the new school year into an extended summer vacation, some lured by the ailing hotel industry catering to parents with remote learners through “roadschooling” amenities.

With the pandemic ongoing, the change of scene for desperate work- and school-from-home families boils down to “risk versus reward,” said Amanda Poses, a travel consultant and mother of two teenagers in Austin, Texas. “God willing, we don’t have the opportunity to do this again.”

Poses and her husband let 13-year-old Addison attend school from Park City, Utah, for three days of a five-night stay in early September. In search of a flight of three hours or less, they rode horses, hiked and zip-lined. They went tubing and enjoyed an alpine slide. And, yes, there was a bit of logging in to school.

Saturday, October 10, 2020

Democrats walk tightrope on Barrett's faith
“The dogma lives loudly within you.”

It’s that utterance from California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, that’s on the minds of Democrats and Republicans preparing for this coming week’s hearings with Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett.

Feinstein’s 2017 remarks as she questioned Barrett — then a nominee for an appeals court — about the influence of Barrett’s Catholic faith on her judicial views sparked bipartisan backlash, contributing to the former law professor’s quick rise as a conservative judicial star.

Saturday, October 10, 2020

Men accused in plot on governor attended protests
Among the armed protesters who rallied at the Michigan Capitol against Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s coronavirus lockdown this past spring were some of the men now accused in stunning plots to kidnap her, storm the Capitol and start a “civil war.”

The revelation has sparked scrutiny of rallies that were organized by conservative groups opposed to the Democratic governor’s orders and egged on by President Donald Trump. It has also prompted renewed calls from Democrats for  a gun ban in the building — an effort that so far has failed even after they reported feeling threatened by rifle-carrying men who entered the Statehouse.

Saturday, October 10, 2020

California fire investigators seize utility equipment
Fire investigators looking into what caused a wildfire that killed four people in far Northern California have taken possession of equipment belonging to Pacific Gas and Electric, the utility reported Friday.

PG&E said in a filing with the Public Utilities Commission that investigators with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection seized some of its electrical equipment near where the Zogg Fire started Sept. 27.

Saturday, October 10, 2020

Delta adds insult to injury in hurricane-ravaged Louisiana
Ripping tarps from damaged roofs and scattering massive piles of storm debris in the wind and water, Hurricane Delta inflicted a new round of destruction in Louisiana communities along a path Hurricane Laura carved just six weeks earlier.

Delta hit as a Category 2 hurricane with top winds of 100 mph (155 kph) before rapidly weakening over land. It was barely a tropical storm Saturday morning, with top winds of 40 mph (65 kph), but heavy rain, ocean water from the storm surge and flash floods continued to pose dangers from parts of Texas to Mississippi, where up to 10 inches of rain was predicted in places by day’s end.

Saturday, October 10, 2020

Cook Co. owes $100 million-plus in tax refunds
More than $100 million in property tax refunds is owed to thousands of Cook County residents, county Treasurer Maria Pappas says, and most have no idea they are due the money.

“If people knew that they had this money, then they would come and get it,” Pappas said. “This is simply a matter of not knowing.”

Friday, October 9, 2020

McConnel: No COVID- bill likely before election
President Donald Trump’s most powerful GOP ally in the Senate said today that Congress is unlikely to deliver another big COVID-19 relief bill before the election, casting doubt on the on-again, off-again negotiations that have failed to deliver results so far despite weeks of talks.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told an audience in Kentucky that he doesn’t see a deal coming together soon out of a “murky“ situation in which the participants in the negotiations are elbowing for political advantage.

Friday, October 9, 2020

Sheer anxiety: Louisiana braces again
Louisiana residents still recovering from the devastation of a powerful hurricane less than two months ago braced for another hit as Hurricane Delta steamed north through the Gulf today after swiping Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula.

Forecasters warned that the storm could blow ashore Friday with winds of up to 100 mph and a storm surge of up to 11 feet. They placed most of Louisiana within Delta’s path, including the southwest area of the state around Lake Charles, where Category 4 Hurricane Laura  ripped houses from their foundations, peeled off roofs and tore trailers in half on Aug. 27.

Thursday, October 8, 2020

'So frustrating': Doctors, nurses battle virus skeptics
Treating the sick and dying isn’t even the toughest part for nurse Amelia Montgomery as the coronavirus surges in her corner of red America.

It’s dealing with patients and relatives who don’t believe the virus is real, refuse to wear masks and demand treatments like hydroxychloroquine,  even though experts say it is not effective against the scourge that has killed over 210,000 in the U.S.

Montgomery finds herself, like so many other doctors and nurses, in a world where the politics of the crisis are complicating treatment efforts, with some people even resisting getting tested.

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Virus cases surge in Wisconsin and the Dakotas
A surge of coronavirus cases in Wisconsin and the Dakotas is forcing a scramble for hospital beds and raising political tensions, as the Upper Midwest and Plains emerge as one of the nation’s most troubling hotspots.

The three states now lead all others in new cases per capita, after months in which many residents and politicians shunned mask requirements while downplaying the risks of the disease.

It is increasingly apparent that those choices have come with costs.

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Six charged in plot to kidnap Michigan governor
Six men plotted to try to kidnap Michigan Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer at her vacation home, according to a criminal complaint unsealed Thursday in federal court.

Four of the six men had planned to meet Wednesday to “make a payment on explosives and exchange tactical gear,” the FBI said in the court filing.

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Trump reports no symptoms as he returns to work
President Donald Trump, said to be making progress in his recovery from COVID-19, tweeted his eagerness to return to the campaign trail today.

As Trump convalesced out of sight in the White House on Tuesday, the administration defended the protections it has put in place to protect the staff working there to treat and support him. Trump again publicly played down the virus on Twitter after his return from a three-day hospitalization, though even more aides tested positive, including one of his closest advisers, Stephen Miller.

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Democrats call for Congress to rein in and break up Big Tech
Democratic lawmakers are calling for Congress to rein in Big Tech, possibly forcing Facebook, Google, Amazon and Apple to break up their businesses, while making it harder for them to acquire others and imposing new rules to safeguard competition.

The proposals in a report issued Tuesday follow a 15-month investigation by a House Judiciary Committee panel into the companies’ market dominance.

Those kinds of forced breakups through a legislative overhaul would be a radical step for Congress to take toward a powerful industry. The tech giants for decades have enjoyed light-touch regulation and star status in Washington, but have come under intensifying scrutiny and derision over issues of competition, consumer privacy and hate speech.

The 450-page report offers Congress a possible roadmap for action, potentially with a new balance of political power in Congress and a new president next year. Democratic presidential contender Joe Biden has said that company breakups should be considered. If such steps were mandated, they could bring the biggest changes to the tech industry since the federal government’s landmark case against Microsoft almost 20 years ago.

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Researchers say superspreader events appear to be behind much of the pandemic
What do we know about superspreader events in the pandemic?

We’re still learning, but it seems that much of the spread of the coronavirus has been caused by what disease trackers call superspreader events.

That’s when a single person infects a large number of other people, or when a gathering is linked to a large number of cases.

There’s no rule for when a cluster of cases is big enough to be called a superspreader event. But these are not instances of spread within one household. Instead, these are large clusters of cases where infection occurs in settings such as churches, restaurants or bars.

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Activists, scientists, authors among 'genius grant' recipients
An activist speaking out about inadequate waste and water sanitation in rural America, an author of young adult and children’s literature reflecting the world’s diversity, and a neuroscientist who used mathematics to study the brain’s development are among the 21 recipients of this year’s “genius grants“.

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation announced the fellowships Tuesday. Each will receive $625,000 over five years to spend as they please.

Writers, sociologists, scientists, a documentary filmmaker, a legal scholar and an environmental health advocate are among the luminaries named this year. The Chicago-based foundation has awarded the “genius grants” every year since 1981 to help further the pursuits of people with outstanding talent.

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Powell: Lack of further stimulus imperils recovery
Strong financial support from the government and the Federal Reserve have spurred a solid recovery from the pandemic recession, but the rebound may falter without further aid, Fed Chair Jerome Powell warned Tuesday.

Powell said that government support — including expanded unemployment insurance payments, direct payments to most U.S. households and financial support for small businesses — has so far prevented a recessionary “downward spiral” in which job losses would reduce spending, forcing businesses to cut even more jobs.

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

California wildfires huge, but not the deadliest
With months still to go in California’s fire season, the state has already shattered records for the amount of land scorched in a single year — more than 4 million acres to date, with one blaze alone surpassing the 1 million acre mark. Five of the 10 largest wildfires in state history have occurred since August.

Beyond their size, how do the scope and devastation of this year’s fires compare to previous wildfire seasons in California? Here are some comparisons:

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Trump makes dramatic return to White House
President Donald Trump is back at the White House, dramatically returning from the military hospital where he was receiving an unprecedented level of care for COVID-19. He immediately ignited a new controversy by declaring that despite his illness the nation should not fear the virus that has killed more than 210,000 Americans.

Trump’s message  suggested the president’s own illness had not caused him to rethink his often-cavalier attitude toward the disease, which has also infected the first lady and several White House aides, including new cases revealed Monday.

Landing Monday night at the White House on Marine One, Trump climbed the South Portico steps, removed his mask and declared, “I feel good.” He gave a double thumbs-up to the departing helicopter from the portico terrace, where aides had arranged American flags for the sunset occasion. He entered the White House, where aides were visible milling about the Blue Room, without wearing a face covering.

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

COVID Questions: How to ask someone to wear a mask and more
Tuesday, October 6, 2020

3 win Nobel medicine prize for discovering hepatitis C virus
Three scientists won the Nobel Prize in medicine Monday for discovering the liver-ravaging hepatitis C virus, a breakthrough that led to cures for the deadly disease and tests to keep the scourge out of the blood supply.

Americans Harvey J. Alter and Charles M. Rice and British-born scientist Michael Houghton were honored for their work over several decades on an illness that still plagues more than 70 million worldwide and kills over 400,000 each year.

Monday, October 5, 2020

Service sector grows for the 4th consecutive month
The U.S. services sector, where most Americans work, grew for a fourth consecutive month in September as the country attempts to re-open from earlier COVID-19 shutdowns.

The Institute for Supply Management reported Monday that its index of services activity rose to a reading of 57.8 last month, 0.9 percentage point higher than the August reading of 56.9. Any reading above 50 signifies expansion in services industries such as restaurants, department stores and delivery companies.

Monday, October 5, 2020

Census Bureau: Target could be met if not for court meddling
The U.S. Census Bureau could meet a year-end deadline for turning in numbers used for deciding how many congressional seats each state gets, if it wasn’t for a federal judge’s order extending the 2020 census for another month, Trump administration attorneys told appellate judges in court documents.

A three-judge panel on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco is hearing arguments Monday on the administration’s efforts to overturn U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh’s preliminary injunction.

Monday, October 5, 2020

Armenia accused Azerbaijan of firing missiles
Armenia accused Azerbaijan of firing missiles into the capital of the separatist territory of Nagorno-Karabakh on Monday, while Azerbaijan said several of its towns and its second-largest city were attacked.

Iran, which borders both countries, said it was working on a peace plan for the decades-old conflict, which reignited last month and has killed scores of people on both sides.

The region of Nagorno-Karabakh lies inside Azerbaijan but has been under the control of ethnic Armenian forces backed by Armenia since the end of a separatist war in 1994.

Monday, October 5, 2020

Appeals court upholds ban on holding migrant kids in hotels
An appeals court refused Sunday to allow the Trump administration to resume detaining immigrant children in hotel rooms before expelling them under rules adopted during the coronavirus pandemic.

Three judges on the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals left in place a lower court’s order that requires the U.S. to stop using hotels in most situations to detain children unaccompanied by a parent. The judges denied the U.S. government’s request for a stay of that order.

Border agents since March have placed at least 577 unaccompanied children in hotel rooms before expelling them from the country without a chance to request asylum or other immigration protections. The Trump administration argues it has to expel most people crossing the border due to public health considerations. Advocates for immigrants accuse the administration of using the coronavirus as a pretext to restrict immigration.

Monday, October 5, 2020

President admitted to military hospital
A feverish and fatigued President Donald Trump was spending the weekend at a military hospital for treatment of COVID-19, as new cases emerged among some of his top advisers and allies. Attention focused in particular on last Saturday’s White House event introducing Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, with several attendees announcing they had tested positive for the virus.

Among them: former White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, the president of the University of Notre Dame, and at least two Republican lawmakers — Utah Sen. Mike Lee and North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis. Though the ceremony announcing Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination was held outdoors, attendees sat closely together and few wore masks. Some also mingled at a smaller event inside the White House.

The White House said Trump’s expected stay of “a few days” at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center was precautionary and he would continue to work from the hospital’s presidential suite, which is equipped to allow him to keep up his official duties. The White House physician said he was being treated with remdesivir, an antiviral medication, after taking another experimental drug at the White House.

Saturday, October 3, 2020

It's a very different tune for college marching bands in this pandemic
As the Oklahoma marching band’s rendition of “Sweet Victory” filled Memorial Stadium, everything was in place on the field.

More than 300 Pride of Oklahoma members formed a perfect pattern from one goal line to the other during an elaborate performance for the game against Kansas State. The sharp tweet of a whistle kicked off songs from familiar TV shows. Crimson and cream flags waved in unison under the stadium’s bright lights.

Saturday, October 3, 2020

What's the best time to plant a tree? Probably now
Planting a tree is one of the best things you can do to help the planet, and these days it’s gotten easier. There’s a better understanding now of what trees need, including when they should generally be planted (the fall).

Why plant trees? It’s well-known that trees mitigate global warming by taking in and storing carbon dioxide. Their shade can cool things down in summer. As windbreaks, they can slow heat loss. Their beauty and delicious fruits and nuts are other perks.

Experts used to recommend planting trees in spring. But that’s changed for most species.

Saturday, October 3, 2020

2020 election spending to reach nearly $11 billion
Nearly $11 billion dollars will be spent by federal candidates and political action committees during the 2020 election cycle, a jaw-dropping sum that will far surpass records set in the past.

That the projection contained in a new report released this week by the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan Washington-based group that tracks the money coursing through the U.S. political system.

The projected spending by presidential, Senate and House candidates, as well as political action committees and super PACs, is more than 50 percent greater than what was spent in the 2016 election. It also surpasses 2012, the most expensive election cycle until now at $7.1 billion when adjusted for inflation, the group’s analysis found.

Friday, October 2, 2020

Film tries to prove existence of dead Lincoln photo
The image is haunting, depicting a gaunt-faced man with a familiar beard, staring ahead lifelessly. The right eye is bulging and appears disfigured from an unseen wound.

Some experts believe the man is Abraham Lincoln, captured hours after the nation’s beloved 16th president succumbed to an assassin’s bullet on April 15, 1865, a heretofore unknown photo of incalculable emotional and historic value.

Others dismiss the mere possibility.

Friday, October 2, 2020

Diagnosis rocks final stage of campaign
President Donald Trump is experiencing “mild symptoms“ of COVID-19 after revealing today that he and first lady Melania Trump have tested positive for the coronavirus, a stunning announcement that plunged the country deeper into uncertainty just a month before the presidential election.

Trump said he and Mrs. Trump were quarantining. The White House physician said the president was expected to continue carrying out his duties “without disruption” while recovering.

Trump’s diagnosis was sure to have a destabilizing effect in Washington and around the world, raising questions about how far the virus had spread through the highest levels of the U.S. government. Hours before Trump announced he had contracted the virus, the White House said a top aide who had traveled with him during the week had tested positive.

Friday, October 2, 2020

Trump's business deductions: Sketchy or normal?
The  losses Donald Trump has claimed on his tax returns were reportedly due at least in part to the huge deductions he took against the income his businesses made before and after he became president.

A key question is whether those deductions reported by The New York Times were excessive and possibly illegal; they enabled Trump to avoid millions of dollars in taxes.

Trump reportedly wrote off millions of dollars for taxes and other expenses on real estate properties that he used personally but claimed were businesses or owned as an investment. He also deducted millions of dollars in unexplained consultants’ fees, including fees paid to his daughter Ivanka. Other notable deductions included $70,000 for hairstyling and expenses for Trump’s private aircraft. It would be up to the IRS, which is auditing some of Trump’s returns, to decide whether the deductions are legitimate.

Thursday, October 1, 2020

MLB's first retail store opens tomorrow in NYC
Inside a former Manhattan television studio, the scaffolding has come down and Major League Baseball’s first retail store opens Friday across from Radio City Music Hall in a part of Midtown Manhattan largely emptied by the coronavirus pandemic.

The commissioner’s office moved across town from Park Avenue during the offseason and Baseball Advanced Media came over from the Meatpacking District along with the video review control room where umpires gather to make final decisions on calls. The administrative staff is just starting to come to work more often on floors 5-9, and the Flagship Store at street level opens in about 10,000 square feet filled with caps, balls, jerseys and assorted licensed items splashed with club logos and player likenesses.

Thursday, October 1, 2020

Celebrating a birthday today, Carter is the longest lived president of all
Former President Jimmy Carter marks his 96th birthday Thursday, the latest milestone for the longest-lived of the 44 men to hold the highest American office.

Carter planned to celebrate at his home in Plains, Georgia, with his wife of 74 years, Rosalynn Carter, according to a spokeswoman for the Carter Center in Atlanta.

The 39th president, in office from 1977-81, has largely receded from public view amid the coronavirus pandemic and his own health challenges due to a series of falls in 2019. He previously survived a dire cancer diagnosis in 2015. Yet Carter remains a quiet force in politics at home and, through his post-presidential Center, in public health and human rights advocacy around the world.

Thursday, October 1, 2020

US housing market roars back despite recession and pandemic
The U.S. housing market has staged a furious comeback this summer, even as the economy struggles to regain its footing after being knocked into a recession due to the coronavirus.

After stalling in the first few weeks of the pandemic, U.S. home sales have surged in recent months to the highest level in more than a decade.

The strength in housing has been driven by ultra-low mortgage rates, fierce competition for a chronically low inventory of properties on the market and a wave of millennials and others increasingly vying to become homeowners.

Thursday, October 1, 2020

Gov't funding bill signed today includes ag relief
President Donald Trump has signed a bill to fund the government through Dec. 11, averting the possibility of a government shutdown when the new fiscal year starts Thursday.

Trump signed the bill, which was approved by sweeping bipartisan agreement Wednesday, into law early Thursday morning shortly after returning from campaigning in Minnesota.

The temporary extension will set the stage for a lame-duck session of Congress later this year, where the agenda will be largely determined by the outcome of the presidential election.

The measure would keep the government running through Dec. 11 and passed by a 84-10 vote. The House passed the bill last week.

Thursday, October 1, 2020

Virus relief talks gain momentum
The White House is backing a $400 per week pandemic jobless benefit and is dangling the possibility of a COVID-19 relief bill above $1.5 trillion as last-ditch, pre-election negotiations hit a critical phase today.

The offer by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on unemployment is higher than many Republicans would like in any potential COVID deal with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Significant, possibly unbridgeable hurdles remain.

But the talks have gained momentum as the Trump administration presses for an agreement. On Air Force One Wednesday night, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said Trump made an offer that was “extremely generous and certainly above the $1.5 trillion that has been articulated to date.“

Thursday, October 1, 2020

Judge says gov't suit over Bolton book can proceed
The Trump administration can move forward with its lawsuit against former national security adviser John Bolton over his tell-all book, a judge ruled today in denying a request to dismiss the complaint.

The Justice Department alleges that Bolton’s book, “The Room Where It Happened” contains classified information, and the government sued in June to try to prevent the release. Though the book was published as scheduled, a suit accusing Bolton of breaking contracts with the government by disclosing classified information and by failing to complete a required prepublication review can proceed, U.S District Judge Royce Lamberth said in a 29-page opinion.

Thursday, October 1, 2020

Can the coronavirus travel more than 6 feet in the air?
Can the coronavirus travel more than 6 feet in the air?

Research indicates it can, but it’s not clear how much of the pandemic is caused by such cases.

People spray liquid droplets of various sizes when they cough, sneeze, talk, sing, shout and even just breathe. The coronavirus can hitchhike on these particles.

Thursday, October 1, 2020

Debate veers from 'How you doing' to 'Shut up'
It started out civilly enough, with President Donald Trump striding deliberately to his lectern, and Democrat Joe Biden nodding to his opponent and offering a “How you doing, man?”

But within 15 minutes, the debate had devolved into a series of endless interruptions, with Biden, seemingly unable to complete a sentence, finally blurting out, “Will you shut up, man?”

It was a chaotic and unusually bitter first presidential debate of the 2020 general election, made all the more unusual by the the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. There was no friendly handshake to kick things off, no room full of supporters in each candidate’s court. Instead, the debate played out before a socially-distanced audience of about 100 people in a makeshift debate hall built in an atrium that had been previously set up as an emergency hospital for patients with COVID-19.

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Walmart looks to airports as inspiration
Walmart is getting inspiration from the airport terminal as it revamps the layout and signage of its stores to speed up shopping and better cater to smartphone-armed customers.

The nation’s largest retailer, based in Bentonville, Arkansas, said that the look, which includes signs with bold dimensional typeface spotlighting sections, is currently in one store. It will be rolled out to 200 stores by early next year. with plans to add another 800 stores by early 2022. Walmart says it was working on a new store layout a year ago. But the pandemic accelerated those efforts as customers are increasingly focused on contactless shopping amid safety concerns.

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Last-ditch meeting on virus relief today
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin planned to meet face to face for the first time in more than a month late today in a last-ditch effort to seal a tentative accord on an additional round of coronavirus relief.

The Democratic-controlled House, meanwhile, moved on a separate track to overrun GOP opposition and pass a $2.2 trillion COVID-19 rescue bill as one of their final acts before leaving Washington to campaign.

Pelosi and Mnuchin were scheduled to continue negotiations in hopes of a deal that would permit another round of $1,200 direct stimulus payments, restore bonus pandemic jobless benefits, speed aid to schools and extend assistance to airlines, restaurants and other struggling businesses.

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Cyberattack hobbles major hospital chain in US
A computer outage at a major hospital chain thrust healthcare facilities across the U.S. into chaos Monday, with treatment impeded as doctors and nurses already burdened by the coronavirus pandemic were forced to rely on paper backup systems.

Universal Health Services Inc., which operates more than 250 hospitals and other clinical facilities in the U.S., blamed the outage on an unspecified IT “security issue” in a statement posted to its website Monday but provided no details about the incident, such as how many facilities were affected and whether patients had to be diverted to other hospitals.

UHS workers reached by The Associated Press at company facilities in Texas and Washington, D.C. described mad scrambles after the outage began overnight Sunday to render care, including longer emergency room waits and anxiety over determining which patients might be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19.

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Tennessee Titans have NFL's first COVID outbreak
The Tennessee Titans suspended in-person activities through Friday after the NFL says three Titans players and five personnel tested positive for the coronavirus, becoming the first COVID-19 outbreak of the NFL season in Week 4.

The outbreak threatened to jeopardize the Titans’ game this weekend against the Pittsburgh Steelers and posed the first significant in-season test to the league’s coronavirus protocols.

The NFL issued a statement today saying both the Titans and Minnesota Vikings suspended in-person activities Tuesday following the Titans’ test results. The Titans beat the Vikings 31-30 in Minneapolis last weekend

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

What to expect in tonight's presidential debate
President Donald Trump and his Democratic challenger, Joe Biden, will meet on the debate stage for the first time Tuesday night in Cleveland. Millions of voters will get their first opportunity to compare the candidates’ policies and personalities side by side on national television for 90 minutes just five weeks before Election Day and as early voting is already unfolding in some states.
Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Tomorrow's debate: How much does it matter?
Presidential politics move fast. What we’re watching heading into a new week on the 2020 campaign:

Days to general election: 36

Days to first debate: 1

Monday, September 28, 2020

Trump vows quick court vote; Biden urges delay
President Donald Trump said Sunday that confirmation of his Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett will go “quickly” but his Democratic rival, Joe Biden, implored the Republican-led Senate to hold off on voting on her nomination until after the Nov. 3 election  to “let the people decide.”

Speaking at a press conference at the White House, the president spotlighted Barrett’s Roman Catholic religion, portraying her as a victim of attacks on her faith. But it’s her conservative approach to the law, particularly health care access that is drawing opposition from Democrats, not her private beliefs.

Monday, September 28, 2020

Six million confirmed virus cases in India
India’s confirmed coronavirus tally reached 6 million today, keeping the country second to the United States in number of reported cases.

The Health Ministry reported 82,170 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, driving the overall total to 6,074,703. At least 1,039 deaths were recorded in the same period, taking total fatalities up to 95,542.

New infections in India are currently being reported faster than anywhere else in the world. The world’s second-most populous country is expected to become the pandemic’s worst-hit country in coming weeks, surpassing the U.S., where more than 7.1 million infections have been reported.

In the past week, nearly one in every three new infections reported in the world and one in every five reported coronavirus deaths were in India, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. While most of India’s deaths remain concentrated in its large cities, smaller urban centers across the country’s vast landscape are also reporting a surge in infections.

Monday, September 28, 2020

Trump calls Times tax story fake news
President Donald Trump paid just $750 in federal income taxes the year he ran for president and in his first year in the White House, according to a report in The New York Times.

Trump, who has fiercely guarded his tax filings and is the only president in modern times not to make them public, paid no federal income taxes in 10 of the past 15 years.

The details of the tax filings published Sunday reveal a series of financial losses and income from abroad. The president’s financial disclosures indicated he earned at least $434.9 million in 2018, but the tax filings reported a $47.4 million loss.

Monday, September 28, 2020

New Calif. fire scorches wine country
California firefighters battled destructive new wildfires in wine country north of San Francisco today as strong winds fanned flames in the already badly scorched state.

The new fires erupted Sunday in the famed Napa-Sonoma wine region and in far Northern California’s Shasta County, forcing hasty evacuations of neighborhoods.

In wine country, flames engulfed the distinctive Chateau Boswell Winery north of St. Helena, The Black Rock Inn in the small community of St. Helena and multiple homes in the city of Santa Rosa, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. Residents of a senior home were among those evacuated.

Monday, September 28, 2020

500 years ago, the lessons of another epidemic are largely forgotten today
There were mass cremations of bodies; entire families died and the inhabitants of the city, afraid to pull their bodies out, simply collapsed their homes on top of them to bury them on the spot.

The scene, beyond even the current coronavirus pandemic, was a scourge brought 500 years ago by Spanish conquistadores and their servants that exploded in Mexico City in September 1520.

Smallpox and other newly introduced diseases went on to kill tens of millions of indigenous people in the Americas who had no resistance to the European illnesses. The viruses later spread to South America, and helped lead to the downfall and overthrow of empires like the Aztecs and Incas. And its lessons remain largely forgotten today.

Monday, September 28, 2020

In Breonna Taylor's name: Devastation and a search for hope
Chea Woolfolk searched the crowd until she found the face of the woman she’d come to regard as a second mother. And then she watched the tears roll down Rose Henderson’s cheeks.

Looking into Mama Rose’s eyes, Woolfolk could see that her heart was breaking.

This formidable woman looked off balance, like she might topple. Mama Rose has been the matriarch of “Injustice Square,” a block downtown that protesters, many of them Black women, have occupied for 120 days.

They have been tear gassed by police together, arrested, threatened online, shot with pepper bullets. They lost jobs and friends and homes to show up every day because they had hope: that there would be justice for Breonna Taylor, the 26-year-old emergency medical technician shot and killed by police when they burst into her house in the middle of the night in a botched raid. And that in that justice America would signal that their lives and the lives of other Black women have value.

Saturday, September 26, 2020

Mushrooms linked to salmonella outbreaks in 10 states
Federal officials are warning of salmonella cases in at least 10 states linked to dried mushrooms from a Southern California company.

More than 40 people have gotten sick and four have been hospitalized, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday.

The product suspected in the outbreak is wood ear mushrooms distributed by Wismettac Asian Foods based near Los Angeles. The company has recalled all of its Shirakiku brand imported mushrooms that were distributed to restaurants in six packs of five-pound bags, the CDC said.

Saturday, September 26, 2020

Informant in top Venezuela case lied to feds
A key informant against one of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s closest aides has been accused of lying to his law enforcement handlers in a case involving millions of dollars transported on private jets in violation of U.S. sanctions, The Associated Press has learned.

The surprise reversal could hurt the case against Oil Minister Tareck El Aissami, who the U.S. considers one of Venezuela’s most corrupt power brokers, giving oxygen to claims by the nation’s socialist elite that the U.S. is resorting to trumped-up charges to pursue its goal of regime change.

Saturday, September 26, 2020

Thousands protest COVID-19 restrictions in central London
Thousands gathered Saturday at London’s Trafalgar Square to protest lockdowns and social distancing rules imposed to slow the spread of COVID-19.

London’s Metropolitan Police has warned demonstrators to follow social-distancing rules. Police said before the event that officers will first engage with people and explain the social distancing rules, but they may take enforcement action if protesters still fail to comply. As the protest began, police were visible around the edges of the crowd but didn’t confront protesters, most of whom weren’t wearing masks.

Saturday, September 26, 2020

Maine lobster business salvaged its summer despite pandemic
Maine’s lobster fishermen braced for a difficult summer this year because of the coronavirus pandemic, but then the unexpected happened. They kept catching lobsters, and people kept buying them.

The pandemic has posed significant challenges for the state’s lobster fishery, which is the nation’s largest, but members of the industry reported a steady catch and reasonable prices at the docks. Prices for consumers and wholesalers were low in the early part of the summer but picked up in August to be about on par with a typical summer.

Saturday, September 26, 2020

Judge says 2020 census must continue
A federal judge has stopped the 2020 census from finishing at month’s end and suspended a year-end deadline for delivering the numbers needed to decide how many seats each state gets in Congress.

The preliminary injunction granted by U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in California late Thursday allows the once-a-decade head count of every U.S. resident to continue through the end of October.

Koh said the shortened schedule ordered by President Donald Trump’s administration likely would produce inaccurate results that would last a decade.

Friday, September 25, 2020

HBCU president: Student's BB gun suspension should be voided
The president of a historically Black college has asked a Louisiana school superintendent to revoke the punishment of a fourth grader who was suspended from school because his teacher saw a BB gun in his room during a virtual lesson.

Dillard University President Walter Kimbrough urged Jefferson Parish Superintendent James Gray to reconsider the punishment of Woodmere Elementary student Ka Mauri Harrison, who was suspended for six days and almost expelled, news outlets reported.

Friday, September 25, 2020

Ginsburg is first woman to lie in state at US Capitol
Capping days of commemorations of her extraordinary life, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg becomes the first woman in American history to lie in state in the U.S. Capitol.

Ginsburg, who died last week at age 87, also will be the first Jewish-American to lie in state and just the second Supreme Court justice. The first, Chief Justice William Howard Taft, also had been president.

Friday, September 25, 2020

At UN, China, Russia and US clash over pandemic responses
China, the United States and Russia butted heads at the United Nations on Thursday over responsibility for the pandemic that has interrupted the world, trading allegations about who mishandled and politicized the virus in one of the few real-time exchanges among top officials at this year’s COVID-distanced U.N. General Assembly meeting.

The remarks at the U.N. Security Council came two days after U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres decried the lack of international cooperation in tackling the still “out-of-control” coronavirus.

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Sales of new homes surge 4.8% in August
Demand for new homes continues to surge despite an ongoing pandemic and lingering anxiety about the U.S. economy. The pace of sales have now reached levels last seen before the Great Recession in 2006.

Sales new homes in August rose by a very strong 4.8% to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 1.01 million units, the U.S. Department of Commerce reported Thursday. The jump followed a new home sales spike in July of 13.9%.

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Support for racial injustice protests declines
As the decision in Kentucky to bring charges against only one of three police officers involved in a raid that killed Breonna Taylor sparks renewed protests nationwide, a new survey finds support has fallen for demonstrations against systemic racism.

The poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research finds that 44% of Americans disapprove of protests in response to police violence against Black Americans, while 39% approve. In June, 54% approved. The new survey was conducted Sept. 11-14, before Wednesday’s announcement that a lone Louisville police officer would be charged in the Taylor case, but not for her actual death.

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Manure pits create often unknown farm hazards
A confined-space hazard that often claims multiple lives before anyone realizes there is a danger is manure gas. Manure pits can be oxygen-deficient, toxic and explosive. There are four gases in manure pits that are of primary concern.

Hydrogen Sulfide is a highly toxic gas that is heavier than air. It can cause dizziness, unconsciousness and death. At low concentrations it may smell like rotten eggs, but at higher concentrations it deadens the sense of smell so that no odor can be detected.

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Single-dose vaccine tested, no corners cut
A huge international study of a COVID-19 vaccine that aims to work with just one dose is getting underway as top U.S. health officials sought Wednesday to assure a skeptical Congress and public that they can trust any shots the government ultimately approves.

Hopes are high that answers about at least one of several candidates being tested in the U.S. could come by year’s end, maybe sooner.

“We feel cautiously optimistic that we will be able to have a safe and effective vaccine, although there is never a guarantee of that,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, infectious disease chief at the National Institutes of Health, told a Senate committee.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Greece: European Union to ready Turkey sanctions despite crisis thaw
Greece said Wednesday that it still expects the European Union to approve sanctions against Turkey despite the two NATO members agreeing to restart talks on maritime boundaries, energy rights and other long-standing disputes.

The leaders of the EU’s 27 nations are expected to review proposals for imposing sanctions on Turkey at their next summit, which was originally scheduled for this week and has been postponed until Oct. 1-2. Greece is an EU member, but not Turkey.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

US delegation pledges support to Serbia, Kosovo after deal
A U.S. delegation pledged Tuesday to move forward with helping to boost business and investment between Serbia and Kosovo after the former war foes agreed at the White House this month to work together to normalize economic relations.

American officials visited Serbia’s capital of Belgrade after traveling to Kosovo on Monday. The U.S. delegation brought together representatives from the Serbian and Kosovar business chambers and met top government officials later Tuesday.

“What we did in Washington seems big and it is big,” Richard Grenell, U.S. President Donald Trump’s special envoy for talks between Serbia and Kosovo, said at a news conference held at the American ambassador’s residence in Belgrade. “We are not finished. That symbolism is important, but it’s all about job creation.”

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

US death toll from virus hits 200,000
The U.S. death toll from the coronavirus topped 200,000 Tuesday, a figure unimaginable eight months ago when the scourge first reached the world’s richest nation with its state-of-the-art laboratories, top-flight scientists and stockpiles of medicines and emergency supplies.

“It is completely unfathomable that we’ve reached this point,” said Jennifer Nuzzo, a Johns Hopkins University public health researcher.

The bleak milestone, by far the highest confirmed death toll from the virus in the world, was reported by Johns Hopkins, based on figures supplied by state health authorities. But the real toll is thought to be much higher, in part because many COVID-19 deaths were probably ascribed to other causes, especially early on, before widespread testing.

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Michigan renames building to honor civil rights leaders
A state building previously named after a slave owner now bears the name of two former state legislators who led efforts to reform Michigan’s civil rights laws.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and other state officials unveiled the new sign in a ceremony in Lansing on Monday. It marks the first time in state history a state building is named after an African-American woman.

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

What are the rules on masks in schools?
Whether students have to wear masks, and the trouble they could face if they don’t, depends on where they go to school.
Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Deputy Secretary Censky to return to ASA as CEO
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced that U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Deputy Secretary Stephen Censky will be departing November 8, 2020. He will be returning to become the CEO of the American Soybean Association (ASA), a position in which he previously served for 21 years. He will begin that role on November 9, 2020.
Tuesday, September 22, 2020

It's a small farm built out of big ideas
He was a teacher, and she worked in retail  then Schuyler and Jane Oliver Dickson moved to rural Chickasaw County, Mississippi, to start afresh in pursuit of a healthy life, healthy soil and healthy food.

To get to Alali Farms, travelers could drive south on Highway 15, and then swing onto a back road. The pavement soon gives out and a sign warns, "Road subject to flooding."

Press on just a little further down the dusty colored way and before long a few houses, a barn, and rows of greenhouses and raised beds will emerge into view.

This is where Schuyler and Jane Oliver Dickson now call home, with their twin daughters Dot and Aila.

It's a small farm built out of big ideas.

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Moscow announces advanced trials for new COVID-19 vaccine
The mayor of Moscow invited residents Wednesday to join trials of a coronavirus vaccine that Russia approved for use earlier this month, in what officials described as a breakthrough on par with the Soviet Union's launch of the world's first satellite in 1957.

The world's first vaccine against the coronavirus to receive a government go-ahead has caused unease among international medical experts, who called Russia's fast-tracked approval and failure to share any data supporting claims of the vaccine's efficacy a major breach of scientific protocol.

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

NY judge: Postal service must timely process election mail
The U.S. Postal Service must live up to its responsibilities to timely process election mail by treating it as a priority, a New York judge ordered on Monday, adding that the agency’s workers should be permitted to make extra deliveries and work overtime near the November presidential election.

The written decision by U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero came after several individuals, including candidates for public office, sued. They said President Donald Trump, the postal service and its new postmaster general were endangering election mail.

Marrero gave both sides until noon Friday to settle the case in a manner consistent with his findings.

Monday, September 21, 2020

Arrest in case of ricin letters sent to White House
A woman suspected of sending an envelope containing the poison ricin, which was addressed to the White House, has been arrested at the New York-Canada border and is also suspected of sending similar poisoned envelopes to law enforcement agencies in Texas, officials said Monday.

The letter had been intercepted earlier this week before it reached the White House. The woman was taken into custody by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Peace Bridge border crossing near Buffalo and is expected to face federal charges, three law enforcement officials told The Associated Press.

Monday, September 21, 2020

US household wealth hits record even as economy struggles
Americans’ household wealth rebounded last quarter to a record high as the stock market quickly recovered from a pandemic-induced plunge in March. Yet the gains flowed mainly to the most affluent households even as tens of millions of people endured job losses and shrunken incomes.

The Federal Reserve said Monday that American households’ net worth jumped nearly 7% in the April-June quarter to $119 trillion. That figure had sunk to $111.3 trillion in the first quarter, when the coronavirus battered the economy and sent stock prices tumbling.

Monday, September 21, 2020

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