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home : news : national news free 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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

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

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

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

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

'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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Trump to make court pick by Saturday
President Donald Trump said Monday he expects to announce his pick for the Supreme Court on Friday or Saturday, after funeral services for Ruth Bader Ginsburg and just days before the first presidential election debate.

Ginsburg’s casket will be on public view Wednesday and Thursday at the iconic steps outside the court building to allow for public mourning during the coronavirus pandemic. On Friday, Ginsburg will lie in state in the Capitol’s Statuary Hall in a ceremony open only to invited guests, Speaker Nancy Pelosi said.

The court said Ginsburg will be buried next week at Arlington National Cemetery in a private service.

Monday, September 21, 2020

Microclimates: something gardeners can do about the weather
The weather has gotten weirder and more unpredictable, but there is a small way that gardeners can take more control: finding and exploiting microclimates.

I’ve been looking for them around my yard as cooler weather slowly creeps in.

Microclimates are pockets of air and soil that are colder or warmer, or more or less humid, than the general climate due to the influence of slopes, walls and pavement.

Every parcel of land, from a 40-acre farm field to a quarter-acre lot, will have some microclimates. Siting plants with this in mind can be the difference between whether or not they thrive or even survive.

Monday, September 21, 2020

Plants, like humans, can develop 'gut health' issues
Many of us have heard about inflammatory bowel disease, a debilitating condition that is associated with an abnormal collection of microbes in the human gut  known as the gut microbiome. My lab recently found that, like humans, plants can also develop this condition, known as dysbiosis, with severe consequences.

As part of this study, my colleagues and I discovered that some genes and processes involved in controlling dysbiosis in plants may be similar to those in humans. Discovery of dysbiosis in the plant kingdom opens new possibilities for stimulating innovation in plant health and global food security.

Monday, September 21, 2020

Harvest Safety: Combine Fires
Harvest season can be a dangerous time of year with combine fires.

Costly but Preventable

Combine fires are one of the most common and expensive types of fire incidents in production agriculture. They can also cause substantial setback during harvest. Combine fires are hazardous because they often occur or start behind the operator. They can be difficult to see and by the time they are visible are difficult to extinguish. However, combine fires are preventable!

Monday, September 21, 2020

Review: 'Perilous Bounty' argues U.S. farmlands are in peril
“Perilous Bounty: The Looming Collapse of American Farming and How We Can Prevent It,” by Tom Philpott (Bloomsbury Publishing)

Americans long have taken abundant and cheap food for granted, blessed as we are by millions of acres of fertile farmland, particularly in California and the central states.

Those farmlands, and our food supply, are tipping toward grave risk unless we modify our farming habits, author Tom Philpott says in “Perilous Bounty: The Looming Collapse of American Farming and How We Can Prevent It.”

Monday, September 21, 2020

Gardeners in a pickle over scarce canning supplies
MARSHFIELD, Vt. (AP)  It's the time of year when gardeners are turning their ripe tomatoes into sauces and salsas and cucumbers into pickles. But a boom in gardening and preparing food at home during the coronavirus pandemic has led to a scarcity of supplies with which to preserve them.
Saturday, September 19, 2020

Tropical storm Beta gains strength, Gulf of Mexico
MIAMI (AP) — An exceptionally busy Atlantic hurricane season was churning along Saturday as the Texas coast prepared for a tropical storm that’s forecast to strengthen into a hurricane before breaching its shores in the week ahead.
Saturday, September 19, 2020

Underwater and on fire, US climate is extreme
 (AP) — America’s worsening climate change problem is as polarized as its politics. Some parts of the country have been burning this month while others were underwater in extreme weather disasters.
Saturday, September 19, 2020

Monarch butterflies' spectacular migration is at risk
(THE CONVERSATION via AP)  — One of nature's epic events is underway: Monarch butterflies' fall migration. Departing from all across the United States and Canada, the butterflies travel up to 2,500 miles to cluster at the same locations in Mexico or along the Pacific Coast where their great-grandparents spent the previous winter.
Saturday, September 19, 2020

USDA plans an additional $14 billion for farmers reeling from virus
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The federal government said Friday that it will give farmers an additional $14 billion to compensate them for the difficulties they have experienced selling their crops, milk and meat because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Saturday, September 19, 2020

EPA sides with corn farmers in major victory on ethanol
Federal regulators this week handed a victory to corn farmers and the renewable fuels industry by refusing to allow a group of petroleum refiners in 14 states to forego requirements to blend ethanol into the gasoline they make.
Saturday, September 19, 2020

Trump: Fill vacancy 'without delay'
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump on Saturday urged the Republican-run Senate to consider “without delay” his upcoming nomination to fill the Supreme Court seat vacated by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg just six weeks before the election.
Saturday, September 19, 2020

Ginsburg, the second female on the Supreme Court, died at her DC home
Saturday, September 19, 2020

Conference on Illinois History will explore Prairie State stories online this year
SPRINGFIELD — Native Americans establishing cities, immigrants building new lives, activists fighting for their rights, soldiers making the ultimate sacrifice – they are all part of Illinois’s fascinating story and will be examined at the 22nd Conference on Illinois History.
Saturday, September 19, 2020

195 homicides in St. Louis, surpassing all of 2019
ST. LOUIS (AP) — The shooting death of a woman in St. Louis marks the city’s 195th homicide this year, topping the 194 killings in all of 2019.
Friday, September 18, 2020

Hurricane Center has to go Greek
ORANGE BEACH, Ala. (AP) — A second death from Hurricane Sally was reported Friday in Alabama on a day that also saw the National Hurricane Center have to resort to using the Greek alphabet for storm names in a record-setting season.
Friday, September 18, 2020

US judge blocks Postal Service changes that slowed mail

SEATTLE (AP) — A U.S. judge on Thursday blocked controversial Postal Service changes that have slowed mail nationwide, calling them “a politically motivated attack on the efficiency of the Postal Service” before the November election.

Friday, September 18, 2020

California paid leave law among nation's broadest
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A new law in California lets more people than almost anywhere else in the country take up to three months off from work to care for a family member thanks in part to a nursing mother who brought her baby to work with her on the final day of the state legislative session to vote for it.
Friday, September 18, 2020

'Forrest Gump' author Winston Groom dead at 77
FAIRHOPE, Ala. (AP) — Winston Groom, the writer whose novel “Forrest Gump” was made into a six-Oscar winning 1994 movie that became a soaring pop cultural phenomenon, has died at age 77.
Friday, September 18, 2020

US bans WeChat, TikTok citing national security
WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. will ban the downloads of the Chinese apps TikTok and WeChat on Sunday, with a total ban on the use of the latter, citing national security and data privacy concerns.
Friday, September 18, 2020

Big wedding in home of 'The Godfather' fuels virus
ROME (AP) — The Sicilian town of Corleone, made famous by the fictional Mafia clan in “The Godfather,” has ordered schools closed and a limited lockdown after a spate of coronavirus infections were tied to a big wedding there last week.
Friday, September 18, 2020

Justice Dept. explored charging officials in Portland
The Justice Department explored whether it could pursue either criminal or civil rights charges against city officials in Portland, Oregon after clashes erupted there night after night between law enforcement and demonstrators, a department spokesperson said Thursday.

The revelation that federal officials researched whether they could levy criminal or civil charges against the officials — exploring whether their rhetoric and actions may have helped spur the violence in Portland — underscores the larger Trump administration’s effort to spotlight and crack down on protest-related violence. The majority of the mass police reform demonstrations nationwide have been peaceful.

Thursday, September 17, 2020

College towns emerge as virus hotspots
Just two weeks after students started returning to Ball State University last month, the surrounding county had become Indiana’s coronavirus epicenter.

Out of nearly 600 students tested for the virus, more than half have been positive. Dozens of infections have been blamed on off-campus parties, prompting university officials to admonish students.

University President Geoffrey Mearns wrote that the cases apparently were tied not to classrooms or dormitories but to “poor personal choices some students are making, primarily off campus.”

“The actions of these students are putting our planned on-campus instruction and activities at risk,” he said.

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Gulf Coast braces for second round of flooding in Hurricane Sally's wake
Homeowners and businesses along the soggy Gulf Coast began cleaning up today in the wake of Hurricane Sally, even as the region braced for a delayed, second round of flooding in the coming days from rivers and creeks swollen by the storm’s heavy rains

In hard-hit Pensacola and surrounding Escambia County, where Sally’s floodwaters surged through downtown streets and lapped at car door handles on Wednesday before receding, authorities went door-to-door to check on residents and warn them the danger wasn’t over.

“We are not out of the woods yet,” said Escambia County emergency manager Eric Gilmore.

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Tribes' ancestral remains return home to Mesa Verde
Tribal leaders have reburied the remains of their ancestors that were taken more than a century ago from what’s now a national park in Colorado.

A Swedish researcher unearthed the remains of about 20 people and more than two dozen funerary objects from southwestern Colorado in 1891. They eventually became part of a larger collection at the National Museum of Finland.

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Western wildfire smoke causes East Coast haze, vivid sunsets
The smoke from dozens of wildfires in the western United States is stretching clear across the country — and even pushing into Mexico, Canada and Europe. While the dangerous plumes are forcing people inside along the West Coast, residents thousands of miles away in the East are seeing unusually hazy skies and remarkable sunsets.

The wildfires racing across tinder-dry landscape in California, Idaho, Oregon and Washington are extraordinary, but the long reach of their smoke isn’t unprecedented. While there are only small pockets in the southeastern U.S. that are haze free, experts say the smoke poses less of a health concern for those who are farther away.

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Big Ten's plan to play football includes trying to save lives in the future
The Big Ten’s plan to play football this fall includes trying to save lives in the future.

The conference, which reversed course and announced Wednesday it would have a fall football season, is setting up a cardiac registry to study the effects COVID-19 has on athletes’ hearts.

“It will help all students, our surrounding communities, and really it can have an impact on the entire nation,“ Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren said. “When you’re able to have an opportunity in a global pandemic to be able to help solve some of these medical issues, especially from a cardiac-registry standpoint, and be leaders from a research standpoint, that was really important.“

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Study hints antibody drug may cut duration of COVID hospitalization
A drug company says that partial results from a study testing an antibody drug give hints that it may help mild to moderately ill COVID-19 patients from needing to be hospitalized, a goal no current coronavirus medicine has been able to meet.

Eli Lilly announced the results Wednesday in a press release, but they have not been published or reviewed by independent scientists.

The drug missed the study’s main goal of reducing the amount of virus patients had after 11 days, except at the middle of three doses being tested. However, most study participants, even those given a placebo treatment, had cleared the virus by then, so that time point now seems too late to judge that potential benefit, the company said.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

More than 20 workers hurt in crane accident in Texas
Two cranes collided today at a construction site in Austin, Texas, causing one of them to partially collapse and injuring at least 22 workers who were sent scrambling for safety, authorities said.

The cranes collided and got tangled several stories above a building under construction a few miles north of downtown in a rapidly growing neighborhood that includes residential, retail and office space. The development also includes a children’s hospital near the accident site.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Sweeping plan outlined to provide free vaccines
The federal government outlined a sweeping plan today to make vaccines for COVID-19 available for free to all Americans, assuming a safe and effective shot is established and widely accepted though polls show skepticism remains across America.

In a  report to Congress and an accompanying “playbook” for states and localities, federal health agencies and the Defense Department sketched out complex plans for a vaccination campaign to begin gradually in January or even later this year, eventually ramping up to reach any American who wants a shot. The Pentagon is involved with the distribution of vaccines, but civilian health workers would be the ones giving shots.

The campaign is “much larger in scope and complexity than seasonal influenza or other previous outbreak-related vaccination responses,” says the playbook for states from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Dirty air from massive Western fires won't ease up
Dangerously dirty air spewing from the West Coast wildfires is seeping into homes and businesses, sneaking into cars through air conditioning vents and preventing people already shut away by the coronavirus pandemic from enjoying a walk or trip to the park.

People in Oregon, Washington state and California have been struggling for a week or longer under some of the most unhealthy air on the planet. The acrid yellow-green smog may linger for days or weeks, scientists and forecasters said.

It is also a sign of things to come. With wildfires getting larger and more destructive because of climate change and more people living closer to areas that burn, smoke will likely shroud the sky more often in the future.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Sally unleashes a long, slow, disastrous drenching
Hurricane Sally lumbered ashore near the Florida-Alabama line today with 105 mph  winds and rain measured in feet, not inches, swamping homes and trapping people in high water as it crept inland for what could be a long, slow and disastrous drenching across the Deep South.

Moving at an agonizing 3 mph, or about as fast as a person can walk, the storm made landfall at 4:45 a.m. close to Gulf Shores, Alabama, battering the metropolitan areas of Mobile, Alabama, and Pensacola, Florida, which have a combined population of almost 1 million.

Emergency crews plucked people from flooded homes. In Escambia County, which includes Pensacola, more than 40 were rescued, including a family of four found in a tree, Sheriff David Morgan said.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Primer: Electoral college vs popular vote in America
Election Question: Why is it that one candidate can win the popular vote but another wins the electoral vote and thus the presidency?

Answer: That’s how the framers of the Constitution set it up.

This unique system of electing presidents is a big reason why Donald Trump won the presidency in 2016. Four candidates in history have won a majority of the popular vote only to be denied the presidency by the Electoral College.

Five presidents who won election but did not win the popular vote include John Quincy Adams, Rutherford B. Hayes, Benjamin Harrison, George W. Bush and Donald Trump.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Oops: VP Pence missing from some Michigan ballots
President Donald Trump ... and “Spike?”

Local election clerks in Michigan downloading absentee ballots for residents overseas were given ballots that listed Trump’s Republican running mate as Jeremy Cohen, who is the Libertarian Party candidate for vice president, the Michigan Secretary of State’s office said.

Vice President Mike Pence wasn’t on the ballot next to Trump. Cohen, whose nickname is “Spike,” is running with Jo Jorgensen.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Virus brings Mexican toilet paper to US
Toilet paper is back on store shelves. But you may not recognize some of the brands.

Demand for toilet paper has been so high during the pandemic that in order to keep their shelves stocked, retailers are buying up foreign toilet paper brands, mostly from Mexico. Major chains, across the country, including CVS, Piggly Wiggly, Safeway, 7-Eleven and others, are carrying the international brands.

In recent weeks, a CVS in New York has been selling three Mexican brands: Regio, Hoteles Elite and Daisy Soft. Mexico’s Petalo was on the shelves of a Piggly Wiggly in Sister Bay, Wisconsin. And a Safeway supermarket in Fremont, California, had those same brands, plus Vogue, whose label says in Spanish that it smells like chamomile.

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

House to stay in session until they deliver on virus relief
Speaker Nancy Pelosi said today the House will remain in session until lawmakers deliver another round of COVID-19 relief.

Pelosi told her Democratic colleagues on a morning conference call that “we have to stay here until we have a bill.” That’s according to a Democratic aide speaking on condition of anonymity but authorized to quote her remarks.

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

400 years later, a new Mayflower taking to the water
The Mayflower is taking to the water in Plymouth harbor.

It’s not the ship that left this southwest England port 400 years ago carrying Pilgrim settlers to America. The sleek vessel being readied Tuesday for its official launch has no passengers, no crew — but like its predecessor, an ambitious mission.

The 50-foot trimaran has “no one on board, no captain, no place to eat, no place to sleep,” said Brett Phaneuf, co-director of the Mayflower Autonomous Ship project. “It’s sophisticated artificial intelligence that will captain the ship across the ocean.”

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

House GOP unveils tax cuts, police funds for '21
House Minority leader Kevin McCarthy rolled out Republicans’ priorities of tax breaks and police funding today, the GOP’s calling card to voters as they try to wrest back seats from Democrats in a November election bid  for majority control.

Republicans campaigning alongside President Donald Trump are promising to restore the country to the way it was before the COVID-19 crisis  hit, tapping into themes of health care and infrastructure investment. They’re also taking a page from Trump’s playbook by portraying Democrats as aligned with the racial injustice protests in American cities, vowing a tougher approach.

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Wildfires dividing officials over how to prevent them
Deadly West Coast wildfires are dividing President Donald Trump and the states’ Democratic leaders over how to prevent blazes from becoming more frequent and destructive, but scientists and others on the front lines say it’s not as simple as blaming either climate change or the way land is managed.

The governors of California, Oregon and Washington have all said global warming is priming forests for wildfires as they become hotter and drier. But during a visit Monday to California, Trump pointed to how states manage forests and said, “It will start getting cooler, just you watch.”

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Trump presiding over historic Arab-Israel deals
President Donald Trump presided today over the signing of historic diplomatic deals between Israel and two Gulf Arab nations that could herald a dramatic shift in Middle East power dynamics and give him a boost ahead of the November U.S. election.

In a White House ceremony aimed at showcasing presidential statesmanship, Trump hosted more than 700 guests on the South Lawn to witness the sealing of the agreements between Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. Trump and his allies hope the occasion will burnish Trump’s credentials as a peacemaker at the height of his reelection campaign.

“This can lead to peace, real peace, in the Middle East,” Trump said in the Oval Office as he welcomed Emirati Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the brother of Abu Dhabi’s powerful crown prince.

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

What are the types of coronavirus tests?
What are the different types of coronavirus tests?

There are three broad categories of coronavirus tests in the U.S. Two diagnose whether you have an active infection, and a third indicates if you previously had the virus.

Here’s how they work

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Sally churns towards the Gulf Coast
Storm-weary Gulf Coast residents rushed to finish lastminute preparations today as Tropical Storm Sally chugged slowly through warm Gulf waters. Forecasters predicted landfall as a hurricane, and said the biggest threat is flooding, with as much as two feet of rain falling in some areas.

“The bottom line continues to be that Sally is expected to be a dangerous slow-moving hurricane near the coast of southeastern Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama during the next 2-3 days,“ the National Hurricane Center said early Monday.

Monday, September 14, 2020

Astronomers see hints of life in Venus's clouds
Astronomers have found a potential sign of life high in the atmosphere of neighboring Venus: hints there may be bizarre microbes living in the sulfuric acid-laden clouds of the hothouse planet.

Two telescopes in Hawaii and Chile spotted in the thick Venutian clouds the chemical signature of phosphine, a noxious gas that on Earth is only associated with life, according to a study in Monday’s journal Nature Astronomy.

Monday, September 14, 2020

Weekend gun violence in Chicago leaves 10 dead
Gun violence in Chicago left 10 people dead over the weekend and 43 others injured.

The gunfire came amid a surge in violence this year in the nation’s third-largest city. Statistics released by the Chicago Police Department bring the number of shooting victims for the year thus far to 2,887 and the number of homicides to 542. Last year at this time, according to police statistics, there were 1,862 shooting victims and 364 homicide

Monday, September 14, 2020

Anti-inflammatory drug may shorten COVID recovery
A drug company says that adding an anti-inflammatory medicine to a drug already widely used for hospitalized COVID-19 patients shortens their time to recovery by an additional day.

Eli Lilly announced the results Monday from a 1,000-person study sponsored by the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. The result have not yet been published or reviewed by independent scientists, but the government confirmed that Lilly’s statement was accurate.

Monday, September 14, 2020

Many opt for Medicare Advantage plans, but are they worth the risk
About 1 in 3 people 65 and older in the U.S. enroll in Medicare Advantage, the private insurance alternative to traditional Medicare. It’s not hard to see why: Medicare Advantage plans often cover stuff that Medicare doesn’t, and most people don’t pay extra for it.

But Medicare Advantage can be more expensive if you get sick because copays and other costs can be higher, says Katy Votava, president of Goodcare.com, a health care consultant for financial advisors and consumers.

Monday, September 14, 2020

Edmunds recommends these crossover SUVs for towing
RV and trailer sales greatly increased this summer as consumers sought out vacations while remaining socially distant during the pandemic. But what’s the best vehicle to tow them?

Many shoppers assume they’ll need a brawny pickup truck or a full-size SUV to tow a trailer. But there are also some crossover SUVs that can handle the extra demands of towing.

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Thousands still homeless after Greek refugee camp fire
Thousands of asylum-seekers have spent a fourth night sleeping in the open on the Greek island of Lesbos, after successive fires destroyed a notoriously overcrowded migrant and refugee camp during a coronavirus lockdown.

Officials have said the Tuesday and Wednesday night blazes were deliberately set by some camp residents angered at quarantine and isolation orders imposed after 35 people in the Moria camp tested positive for COVID-19.

Saturday, September 12, 2020

AstraZeneca to resume vaccine trial
Oxford University says trials of a coronavirus vaccine that it is developing with pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca will resume, days after being paused due to a reported side-effect in a patient in the U.K.

In a statement, the university said in large trials such as this “it is expected that some participants will become unwell and every case must be carefully evaluated to ensure careful assessment of safety.”

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Family believes boy died in fire trying to save grandmother
The fire was 15 miles away, so the Oregon family went to sleep but planned to leave soon.

On Monday evening, Angela Mosso had packed a few things for the family to take with them and her husband, Chris Tofte, drove to town to borrow a friend’s trailer to carry the family, their dog and their belongings.

But as family members slept, the Beachie Creek Fire bore down, the Statesman Journal reported. Eventually, it reached their house, turning a night of calm preparation into harrowing loss.

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Crews battling California fires head to devastated areas
Smoke from massive wildfires that painted California skies orange was also helping crews corral the deadliest blaze of the year, but despite the progress there was concern that the death toll could mount as crews reach devastated areas.

Nine people, including a 16-year-old boy, have been confirmed dead since lightning-caused fires that started weeks ago fused into a monster that largely destroyed Berry Creek, a tiny hamlet in the Sierra Nevada foothills northeast of San Francisco.

Saturday, September 12, 2020

From a stable job to a tent: A waiter's homeless struggle
Jeff Lello has never been rich, but the 42-year-old could pocket $100 cash most weekend nights at the steakhouse chain where he waited tables. He always had enough money for groceries, his car and the modest Orlando apartment he rented with roommates.

But when he reported for work on a Friday night in March, the manager ushered him and the rest of the staff into an office and told them they were laid off indefinitely as the restaurant, along with much of the country, shut down amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Relatives, Trump and Biden gather to mark 9/11 anniversary
President Donald Trump marked the 19th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks on Friday with a patriotic message for the world: “No matter the threat. No matter the odds. America will always rise up, stand tall and fight back.”

Trump delivered a sobering speech in rural Shanksville, Pennsylvania where Flight 93, hijacked by terrorists, crashed in a field, killing all 40 aboard. Former Vice President Joe Biden is to visit Shanksville later Friday after attending the 9/11 Memorial & Museum’s annual commemoration at ground zero in New York.

Friday, September 11, 2020

Fire officials battle rumors as well as the devastating wildfires
Emergency responders in the Pacific Northwest are fighting rumors along with raging wildfires as people spread unsubstantiated social media posts blaming coordinated groups of arsonists from both the far left and far right for setting the blazes.

A sheriff’s office and a firefighters union in Washington state were among the officials who turned to Facebook this week to squash competing narratives — some posts blamed far-left antifa activists and others claimed the far-right group the Proud Boys was responsible for the fires scorching wide swaths of the region.

Friday, September 11, 2020

Emergency fire shelters save lives but raise questions
After flames trapped 14 firefighters in California and they had to use last-resort fire shelters to survive, questions are emerging about how well the emergency devices work and how often crews are forced to use them during wildfires.

“They are for an extreme emergency, never to be considered as an alternative to safe firefighting,” National Interagency Fire Center spokeswoman Carrie Bilbao said Wednesday. “They’re to be used as a last resort if there’s no planned escape out or safety zones become inadequate.”

Friday, September 11, 2020

Lawyers raise Floyd's history of crime and drug use
An attorney for one of four former Minneapolis officers charged in George Floyd’s death is highlighting Floyd’s past crimes and history of drug use, calling him an ex-con and “evident danger to the community.” Another is seizing on Floyd’s medical issues and addiction, saying he likely died from fentanyl, not a knee on his neck.

Floyd, a Black man who was in handcuffs, died May 25 after Derek Chauvin pressed his knee against Floyd’s neck as Floyd said he couldn’t breathe and became motionless. Chauvin is charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter. Thomas Lane, J. Kueng and Tou Thao are charged with aiding and abetting both second-degree murder and manslaughter.

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Unprecedented fires rage in Northwest
Numerous wildfires burned in Oregon’s forested valleys and along the coast, destroying hundreds of homes and causing mass evacuations. Farther north, flames devoured buildings and huge tracts of land in Washington state.

Officials said the number of simultaneous fires and perhaps the damage caused was unprecedented. Several deaths were reported, including a 1-year-old boy in Washington state. Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said communities have been “substantially destroyed” and warned there could be numerous fatalities.

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Virus reshapes the anniversary of 9/11
In a year when the coronavirus pandemic has reshaped countless American rituals, even the commemoration of 9/11 could not escape unchanged.

The 19th anniversary of the terror attacks will be marked by dueling ceremonies at the Sept. 11 memorial plaza and a corner near the World Trade Center, reflecting a divide over the memorial’s decision to suspend a cherished tradition of relatives reading victims’ names in person. Vice President Mike Pence is expected at both those remembrances in New York, while President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden plan to attend  a truncated ceremony at the Flight 93 National Memorial in Pennsylvania.

Thursday, September 10, 2020

New Trump rule ties college funding to free speech and religious rights
The Trump administration is moving forward with a policy that expands protections for religious groups on college campuses and threatens to cut federal education funding to colleges that violate free speech rules.

The rule was issued by the Education Department Wednesday, less than two months before the election, and cements much of what President Donald Trump outlined in a March 2019 executive order demanding wider speech protections at U.S. colleges. In taking up the issue, Trump highlighted concerns from conservatives who complained that their voices had been suppressed on university campuses.

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Norwegian nominates Trump for Nobel
A Norwegian lawmaker said today that he has nominated U.S. President Donald Trump for the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts in the Middle East.

Christian Tybring-Gjedde, a member of the Norwegian parliament for the populist Progress Party, said Trump should be considered because of his work “for a peace agreement between the United Arab Emirates and Israel which opens up for possible peace in the Middle East.”

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

General says US cutting troops in Iraq by 2,200
The United States is reducing its troop presence in Iraq this month from 5,200 to 3,000, the top American commander for the Middle East said today, as President Donald Trumpmakes good on his campaign promise to get America out of “endless wars.“

During a visit to Iraq, Marine Gen. Frank McKenzie, the commander of U.S. Central Command, said the reduction in Iraq reflects the Trump administration’s confidence in the ability of U.S.-trained Iraqi security forces to handle the militant threat from the Islamic State group, which entered Iraq from Syria in 2014.

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Homeland top official defends response to protests
The head of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security today defended his response to protests in Portland, Oregon, amid criticism that the agency overstepped its authority with a heavy-handed deployment that reflected the law-and-order re-election campaign of President Donald Trump.

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf ranked the civil unrest in downtown Portland as among the top threats facing the United States, along with the COVID-19 pandemic, election interference and drug trafficking along the southern border.

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Hot, dry, fast-moving winds fuel catastrophic wildfires in the Northwest
Strong winds and high temperatures continued to fuel catastrophic fires in many parts of Oregon today, forcing thousands of people to flee from their homes. Huge wildfires also continued to grow in neighboring Washington state.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown declared a statewide emergency as blazes grew in Marion, Lane, Jackson, Coos, Lincoln, Washington and Clackamas counties.

“This is proving to be an unprecedented and significant fire event for our state,” Brown said Tuesday.

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Judge: Smoky Mountains park officials failed to keep public updated on fire
U.S. park officials have failed to show enough was done to keep the public updated as a deadly wildfire spread from Great Smoky Mountains National Park in 2016, a judge ruled.

The decision Tuesday by U.S. District Judge Ronnie Greer in Knoxville keeps lawsuits by survivors of the blaze on track for a potential trial, though the U.S. Justice Department can still appeal.

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Man wins $1M powerball, $10,000 lottery in same week
It’s been a winning summer for one lucky Illinois Lottery player from Loves Park, who won a $1 million Powerball prize the same week he claimed a $10,000 prize from the “$5 Million Jackpot” instant ticket.

The winning journey for the player, who chose to remain anonymous, started on July 28 when he went to an Illinois Lottery claim center to collect his $10,000 prize. “I was excited because it was the largest win I ever had,” the player explained.

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Halted study shows 'no compromise'
AstraZeneca’s suspension of final testing of its potential COVID-19 vaccine while it investigates a volunteer’s illness shows there will be “no compromises” on safety in developing the shots, the chief of the National Institutes of Health told Congress on Wednesday.

“This ought to be reassuring,” NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins said before a Senate committee. “When we say we are going to focus first on safety and make no compromises, here is Exhibit A of how that is happening in practice.”

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Bradley quarantines its entire student body
Bradley University is requiring its entire student body to quarantine for two weeks because of clusters of COVID-19 on campus and is reverting to remote learning, officials announced Tuesday.

Officials of the private university said they have linked a spike of the coronavirus to off-campus gatherings. The Peoria university is requiring students to limit nonessential interactions, stay in their off-campus apartments, residence halls or Greek houses and take classes remotely beginning Tuesday.

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Absentee ballots that could go uncounted this year could triple in number
Thousands of absentee ballots get rejected in every presidential election. This year, that problem could be much worse and potentially pivotal in hotly contested battleground states.

With the coronavirus creating a surge in mail-in balloting and postal delays reported across the country, the number of rejected ballots in November is projected to be significantly higher than previous elections.

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Technology stocks just keep on tumbling
Big tech stocks are continuing their Icarus-like flight path, and more sharp declines for them are dragging Wall Street toward a third straight loss on today.

The S&P 500 was down 2.1% in midday trading, after dropping as much as 2.5% shortly after the U.S. market opened. Big names that were the main reasons for Wall Street’s rocket ride back to record heights were among the heaviest weights. Apple sank 4%, Microsoft pulled 3.7% lower and tech stocks across the index were down 2.9%.

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Obesity may be tied to serious COVID risk
In the early days of the pandemic, doctors noticed something about the people severely ill from COVID-19: Many were obese.

The link became more apparent as coronavirus swept across the globe and data mounted, and researchers are still trying to figure out why.

Excess weight increases the chances of developing a number of health problems, including heart disease and diabetes. And those are among the conditions that can make COVID-19 patients more likely to get very sick.

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Kanye West makes presidential ballot in Mississippi
Kanye West will appear as a presidential candidate on Mississippi’s ballot in November, after being approved as a qualified candidate by the State Board of Election Commissioners on Tuesday.

The rapper has already qualified to appear on the ballot as an independent candidate in several states, including Arkansas, Idaho, Iowa, Tennessee, Oklahoma and Utah.

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Congress returns, virus aid in crosshairs
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, under pressure from GOP senators in tough reelection races, said today the Senate would vote on a trimmed-down Republican coronavirus relief package, though it has a slim chance of passage in the face of Democrats’ insistence for more sweeping aid.

“The Senate Republican majority is introducing a new targeted proposal, focused on some of the very most urgent healthcare, education, and economic issues,“ McConnell, R-Ky., said in a statement.

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Census Bureau stops layoffs for door knockers after order
Two days after a federal judge ordered the U.S. Census Bureau to stop winding down 2020 census operations for the time being, the statistical agency said Tuesday in court papers that it’s refraining from laying off some census takers and it’s restoring some quality-control steps.

The Census Bureau said it’s refraining from laying off census takers who were in the late phases of the head count of every U.S. resident and those door-knockers still are being assigned homes to visit in an effort to get answers for the 2020 census questionnaire.

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Companies testing vaccine pledge safety
Drugmakers likely to produce the first vaccines against the new coronavirus signed an unprecedented pledge meant to boost public confidence in any approved vaccines.

The companies said today that they will stick to the highest ethical and scientific standards in testing and manufacturing and will make the well-being of those getting vaccinated their top priority.

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Canadian auto workers pick Ford as potential strike target
The union that represents Canadian auto workers has picked Ford as a potential strike target in contract talks this year.

The Unifor union’s contracts with all three Detroit automakers expires at 11:59 p.m. on Sept. 21.

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Chord change a big event for John Cage project
Hundreds of fans attended a special kind of musical happening Saturday at a church in Germany: a chord change in an organ piece that is supposed to last for an entirety of 639 years.

The performance of the “ORGAN/ASLSP,” or As Slow As Possible, composition began in September 2001 at the St. Burchardi Church in the eastern town of Halberstadt and is supposed to end in 2640 — if all goes well.

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Scientists study sewage
An analysis of sewage in one Virginia county indicates that it has 10 times as many people walking around with the coronavirus than test results suggest.

Stafford County has been conducting experimental testing at two wastewater plants since April.

The Stafford facilities are among more than 100 wastewater treatment plants across the country that are participating in a no-cost pilot program.

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Can I get COVID-19 more than once?
Can I get the coronavirus twice?

It seems possible, though how often it happens isn’t known.

Researchers in Hong Kong  recently reported evidence of a person who got the coronavirus a second time, months after an initial infection.

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

UK judge rejects bid to delay Assange extradition hearing
A British judge on Monday rejected a request by lawyers for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to delay his extradition hearing until next year to give his lawyers more time to respond to U.S. allegations that he conspired with hackers to obtain classified information.

The adjournment request came on the first day of a London court hearing where Assange is fighting American prosecutors' attempt to send him to the U.S. to stand trial on spying charges.

Monday, September 7, 2020

Absentee ballot rejections could triple
Thousands of absentee ballots get rejected in every presidential election. This year, that problem could be much worse and potentially pivotal in hotly contested battleground states.

With the coronavirus creating a surge in mail-in balloting and postal delays reported across the country, the number of rejected ballots in November is projected to be significantly higher than previous elections.

Monday, September 7, 2020

Hopes fading for coronavirus deal as Congress returns
At least there won’t be a government shutdown.

But as lawmakers straggle back to Washington for an abbreviated preelection session, hopes are dimming for another coronavirus relief bill — or much else.

Talks between top Democrats and the Trump administration broke off last month and remain off track, with the bipartisan unity that drove almost $3 trillion in COVID-19 rescue legislation into law this spring replaced by toxic partisanship and a return to Washington dysfunction.

Monday, September 7, 2020

North Carolina-Virginia chase leaves 3 injured, 1 arrested
A man accused by authorities of firing gunshots at random cars on Interstate 95 is in custody after a high-speed police chase began Saturday in North Carolina and ended in Virginia, leaving two people and a deputy injured.

Officers began pursuing the suspected shooter in southern North Carolina’s Nash County after receiving calls Saturday evening about an erratic driver firing a weapon on the interstate, Nash County Sheriff Keith Stone said during a news conference Sunday. The chase continued through Halifax County before heading across the North Carolina-Virginia state line.

Monday, September 7, 2020

California avoids major power outages as wildfires rage
Rescuers in military helicopters airlifted 207 people to safety over the weekend after an explosive wildfire trapped them in a popular camping area in California’s Sierra National Forest, one of dozens of fires burning amid record-breaking temperatures that strained the state’s electrical grid and for a time threatened power outages for millions.

The California Office of Emergency Services said Black Hawk and Chinook helicopters were used for the rescues that began late Saturday and continued into Sunday morning at Mammoth Pool Reservoir. At least two people were severely injured and 10 more suffered moderate injuries. Two campers refused rescue and stayed behind, the Madera County Sheriff’s Office said, and there was no immediate word on their fates.

Monday, September 7, 2020

They can dig it: New England clammers press through pandemic
For New England’s vanishing commercial clam harvesters, the coronavirus pandemic represents only the most recent in a string of setbacks that have held down the centuries-old industry.

The clamdiggers, who pull softshell clams for use in chowders and clambakes from tidal muck, have weathered an aging workforce, relentless predators that eat shellfish, warming waters and fickle markets. This summer’s pandemic has held back few of the clamdiggers from plying their trade in the coastal clam flats that have fed their customers for generations, members of the industry said.

Monday, September 7, 2020

Portland, Oregon, demonstrators gather near police precinct
Demonstrators against police brutality have gathered Sunday night near a police precinct on the city’s north side.

Shortly before 10 p.m., the Portland Police Bureau said the demonstrators had blocked streets near the precinct. The protesters had come to the area after rallying at a nearby park, KOIN-TV reported.

Monday, September 7, 2020

Wyoming lands major US carbon capture study
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Wyoming’s governor is promoting a Trump administration study that says capturing carbon dioxide emitted by coal-fired power plants would be an economical way to curtail the pollution — findings questioned by a utility that owns the plants and wants to shift away from the fossil fuel in favor of wind and solar energy.
Saturday, September 5, 2020

Protests in Portland reach 100 consecutive days
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Law enforcement declared an unlawful assembly Friday night and arrested 27 people after protesters marched through the streets of Portland on to a police building, where officers stood waiting outside.
Saturday, September 5, 2020

Mustang Ranch brothel eligible for virus relief
LAS VEGAS (AP) — The famed Mustang Ranch brothel is eligible to apply for small business grants as part of money a Nevada county received under a federal coronavirus relief package, officials have decided.
Saturday, September 5, 2020

Trump won't let Pentagon close Stars and Stripes
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump said Friday that he won’t allow the Pentagon to cut funding for the military’s independent newspaper, Stars and Stripes, effectively halting Defense leaders’ plan to shut the paper down this month.
Saturday, September 5, 2020

Trump targets white privilege training
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump has directed the Office of Management and Budget to crack down on federal agencies’ anti-racism training sessions, calling them “divisive, anti-American propaganda.”
Saturday, September 5, 2020

With pools closed, some St. Louis homeowners rent theirs by the hour
KIRKWOOD, Mo. (AP)  Strangers have been swimming in Mary Lee Salzer-Lutz's backyard pool this summer.
Saturday, September 5, 2020

Thanks, but no thanks: Small businesses shun payroll tax deferral for now
NEW YORK (AP) — As employees of small businesses get their first September paychecks, they’re probably receiving their usual amount — company owners are still withholding money for Social Security despite a presidential order allowing the tax to be deferred.
Saturday, September 5, 2020

Edmunds recommends these top picks for road trip vehicles with max range
(AP) — Many Americans are wary of flying because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Driving is one alternative to minimize your exposure to large crowds and still get an opportunity to see some sights this summer. You can also further reduce your social contact on a road trip by driving a vehicle with an exceptionally long range.
Saturday, September 5, 2020

Labor Day is a great time to sell or trade your car
(EDMUNDS via AP) — Historically, Labor Day weekend is an opportune moment to get a great deal on a new vehicle. But this time around, the great deal could very well come about by selling or trading in your car.
Saturday, September 5, 2020

Mercedes-Benz unveils new flagships S-Class sedan
FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Daimler AG this week unveiled the new version of its Mercedes-Benz S-Class luxury sedan, the company's most important model and one it hopes will generate fat profits to help the Stuttgart-based automaker through the COVID-19 recession and wrenching structural changes to the auto industry.
Saturday, September 5, 2020

Edmunds: Is it time for a plug-in hybrid vehicle?
(EDMUNDS via AP) — Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles — typically abbreviated as PHEVs — make up a very small percentage of vehicle sales, but they can be a smart pick for a certain kind of shopper.
Saturday, September 5, 2020

Hyundai now says leave recalled vehicles outside
DETROIT (AP) — Hyundai has reversed itself on a recall to fix a defect that could cause engine fires and is now telling owners of more than 200,000 vehicles to park them outdoors until repairs are made.
Saturday, September 5, 2020

Pentagon orders shutdown of military's independent newspaper
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Pentagon has ordered the military’s independent newspaper, Stars and Stripes, to cease publication at the end of the month, despite congressional efforts to continue funding the century-old publication.
Friday, September 4, 2020

Trump denies calling US war dead losers, suckers
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump defended himself today against accusations that he mocked American war dead as his Democratic rival, Joe Biden, intensified efforts to frame the election as a referendum on the president’s character.
Friday, September 4, 2020

US unemployment: About half of the 22 million jobs lost to virus restored
WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. unemployment dropped sharply in August from 10.2% to a still-high 8.4%, with about half the 22 million jobs lost to the coronavirus outbreak recovered so far, the government said Friday in one of the last major economic reports before Election Day.
Friday, September 4, 2020

Hard seltzer the 'it' drink for the summer of 2020
(AP) — I know I am revealing my age when I say that the last time I remember an alcohol craze like this it was wine coolers. I was barely scraping legal when they were super-hot in the 1980s, but I knew there was an “it drink.”
Friday, September 4, 2020

Sweden's Disgusting Food Museum opening exhibit with revolting alcohol
MALMO, Sweden (AP) — Desperate for a drink? There is spit-fermented wine, liquor fermented in prison toilets, and a strong Scottish brew served from the mouth of a taxidermied squirrel.
Friday, September 4, 2020

Bar betting whether Chicago or NYC will see more violence
Authorities are investigating a Long Island bar that posted on Instagram that it was taking bets on whether Chicago or New York City would see more shootings over Labor Day weekend.

The Cliffton, a bar in Patchogue, New York, shared photos of a paper grid hung in the bar with patrons placing bets on the number of shootings in the two cities, Newsday reported Tuesday. The winner would take home an unspecified cash prize.

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

No constraints: US to go it alone on vaccine
The Trump administration said Tuesday that it will not work with an international cooperative effort to develop and distribute a COVID-19 vaccine because it does not want to be constrained by multilateral groups like the World Health Organization.

The decision to go it alone, first reported by The Washington Post, follows the White House’s decision in early July to pull the United States out of the WHO. Trump claims the WHO is in need of reform and is heavily influenced by China.

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Derby prepares for race without fans
The fastest two minutes in sports will also be the quietest in Kentucky Derby history.

Churchill Downs scrapped plans earlier this month for 23,000 physically distanced, masked fans to attend Saturday's rescheduled Triple Crown race due to the rise in coronavirus cases. It will be the first time spectators will not be allowed to attend the race.

That means no iconic scene of thoroughbreds rounding the first turn before packed grandstands beneath the Twin Spires. No sea of women in big, colorful hats or men in bright suits, many sipping mint juleps with Kentucky’s famous bourbon while cheering the Run For The Roses.

But the good news for Derby diehards is there will be a race.

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Pelosi takes heat over visit to California hair salon
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is getting heat over a solo hair salon visit in San Francisco at a time when California businesses are limited by concern over coronavirus.

But Pelosi’s spokesman said she was complying with the rules as presented to her by eSalon.

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Mississippi flag: Magnolia could replace rebel symbol
Mississippi voters will decide whether to accept a new state flag with a magnolia to replace an old one legislators retired under pressure because it included the Confederate battle emblem that’s widely seen as racist.

A commission today voted to recommend the magnolia over one other final design that featured a shield with wavy lines representing water.

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Markey defeats Joe Kennedy III in Mass. primary
U.S. Sen. Edward Markey of Massachusetts defeated U.S. Rep. Joe Kennedy III in Tuesday’s hard-fought Democratic primary, harnessing support from progressive leaders to overcome a challenge from a younger rival who is a member of America’s most famous political family.

It was the first time a Kennedy has lost a race for Congress in Massachusetts.

Markey appealed to voters in the deeply Democratic state by positioning himself as aligned with the liberal wing of the party. He teamed up with a leading progressive, New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, on the Green New Deal climate change initiative — and at one point labeled Kennedy “a progressive in name only.”

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

DC monuments task force targets founding fathers
A task force commissioned by the Washington, D.C., government has recommended renaming, relocating or adding context to dozens of monuments, schools, parks and buildings because of their namesakes’ participation in slavery or racial oppression. Among the targets are the Washington Monument and Jefferson Memorial.

Some of the proposals in the report released Tuesday are definite non-starters, as many of the most prominent monuments and statues stand on federal land, outside D.C. government control. Still, the recommendations have already prompted fierce reactions amid an ongoing national debate over America’s racial history.

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Third vaccine reaches major hurdle
A handful of the dozens of experimental COVID-19 vaccines in human testing have reached the last and biggest hurdle — looking for the needed proof that they really work.

AstraZeneca announced Monday its vaccine candidate has entered the final testing stage in the U.S. The Cambridge, England-based company said the study will involve up to 30,000 adults from various racial, ethnic and geographic groups.

Two other vaccine candidates began final testing this summer in tens of thousands of people in the U.S. One was created by the National Institutes of Health and manufactured by Moderna Inc., and the other developed by Pfizer Inc. and Germany’s BioNTech.

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Chamber Commerce endorses 23 new Democrats
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has decided to endorse 23 freshmen House Democrats in this fall’s elections, a bipartisanship move by an organization that has long leaned strongly toward Republicans.

The country’s largest business group is also endorsing 29 freshmen House Republicans, said a person familiar with the organization’s decision who described the actions. Even so, the decision has prompted internal divisions, with some state chamber officials criticizing the national group’s decision to back freshmen Democrats in their areas.

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Walmart launching membership service for shoppers
Walmart is launching a new membership service that it hopes can compete with Amazon Prime.

Called Walmart+, it will cost $98 a year, or $12.95 a month, and give members same-day delivery on 160,000 items, a fuel discount at certain gas stations and a chance to check out at Walmart stores without having to wait at a register.

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Sheriffs slam plan to curb Portland violence
A plan by the governor of Oregon to use sheriff’s deputies from surrounding counties to help patrol Portland following the deadly shooting of a right-wing Trump supporter was sharply criticized by law enforcement officials who said it wouldn’t end the “cycle of violence” in the city that’s approaching 100 consecutive nights of often-violent Black Lives Matter protests.

Gov. Kate Brown, a Democrat, announced the plan Sunday to temporarily use deputies from two counties, as well as Oregon State Police troopers, to help Portland police as the liberal city struggles to regain its footing in the glare of the national spotlight.

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Justice Department tightens rules on surveillance of political candidates
The Justice Department announced new restrictions today on how it conducts any secret national security surveillance of candidates for federal office or their staff.

The restrictions, announced by Attorney General William Barr in a pair of memos, are part of broader changes to the Justice Department’s surveillance procedures implemented in response to problems detected during the 2016 investigation into ties between Russia and President Donald Trump’s campaign.

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

House panel warns of fraud in virus relief program
Congressional investigators say they have identified lapses pointing to possible fraud and abuse in the coronavirus relief program, including more than $1 billion awarded to small businesses that received multiple loans.
Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Trump heads to Kenosha, show of support for police
President Donald Trump is diving into the latest eruption in the nation’s reckoning over racial injustice with a trip today to Kenosha, Wisconsin.

The city has been riven by protests since the Aug. 23 shooting  of Jacob Blake, a Black man hit seven times in the back by police as he was getting into a car while they were trying to arrest him. On the eve of his visit, Trump defended a teenage supporter accused of fatally shooting two men at a demonstration in Kenosha last week and accused Democrat Joe Biden of siding with “anarchists“ and “rioters” in the unrest.

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

70% of relief payments to the dead have been recovered
The Trump administration says that it has recovered nearly 70% of the government relief payments that went to dead people.

The Government Accountability Office said Monday it had been told by the Treasury Department that nearly 70% of the $1.6 billion that had mistakenly gone to dead people had been recovered.

The GAO said it could not immediately verify that amount but said its auditors were working with Treasury to determine the exact number of payments that have been recovered.

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Does occasionally forgetting a name or word mean that I have dementia?
The number of cases of dementia in the U.S. is rising as baby boomers age, raising questions for boomers themselves and also for their families, caregivers and society. Dementia, which is not technically a disease but a term for impaired ability to think, remember or make decisions, is one of the most feared impairments of old age.

Incidence increases dramatically as people move into their 90s. About 5% of those age 71 to 79 have dementia, and about 37% of those about 90 years old live with it.

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Rally supporting police draws scores
Scores of police supporters gathered Sunday in downtown Kenosha where protesters have been demonstrating against police brutality since the shooting of Jacob Blake last weekend.

Some attending the rally in the Wisconsin city wore “back the blue” shirts. Others carried American flags. They applauded when law enforcement vehicles rolled by.

Monday, August 31, 2020

Trump seeks to dramatically expand aquaculture
President Donald Trump wants to dramatically expand aquaculture production in the United Statest.

Trump’s bid to grow fish farming is designed to address the so-called “seafood deficit,” which refers to the fact that nine-tenths of the seafood Americans eat comes from overseas. The seafood trade gap with other countries approached $17 billion in 2017, according to one federal government report.

The president issued an executive order in May that promised broad changes in how the U.S. regulates fish farming. It included provisions to expedite the development of offshore aquaculture in deep federal waters. That sector of the industry has yet to emerge in the U.S., where most aquaculture takes place near shore where farmers grow salmon, oysters and other popular seafood items.

Monday, August 31, 2020

Frank Lloyd Wright home in Phoenix sells for $7.25 million
A Frank Lloyd Wright-designed home in Phoenix has sold more than $7 million.

The Arizona Republic reported Monday that the David and Gladys Wright House sold for $7.25 million. The group of buyers include businessman Jim Benson and architect Bing Hu, who apprenticed at Wright’s Taliesin West school in nearby Scottsdale.

Monday, August 31, 2020

St. Louis 'gun' couple says they committed no crime
The attorney for a white St. Louis couple charged for waving guns during a racial injustice protest outside their home said today that they’re anxious to prove “with absolute certainty” that they did not commit a crime.

One week after Mark and Patricia McCloskey spoke on video to the Republican National Convention, they were in court briefly this morning and did not enter a plea. The judge continued their case until Oct. 6.

Monday, August 31, 2020

Experts fear summer could give way to a bleaker fall
As the Summer of COVID draws to a close, many experts fear an even bleaker fall and suggest that American families should start planning for Thanksgiving by Zoom.

Because of the many uncertainties, public health scientists say it’s easier to forecast the weather on Thanksgiving Day than to predict how the U.S. coronavirus crisis will play out this autumn. But school reopenings, holiday travel and more indoor activity because of colder weather could all separately increase transmission of the virus and combine in ways that could multiply the threat, they say.

Monday, August 31, 2020











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