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home : news : national news free September 27, 2020

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

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

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

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

Saturday, September 26, 2020


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

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

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

Saturday, September 26, 2020

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

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

Saturday, September 26, 2020

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

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

Saturday, September 26, 2020

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

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

Saturday, September 26, 2020

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

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

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

Friday, September 25, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gunman fatally shoots St. Louis officer
A St. Louis police officer who was a “hero” to his family died Sunday after being shot in the head by a barricaded gunman on the city’s south side, authorities said.

Officer Tamarris L. Bohannon, 29, had been with the department for 3 1/2 years.

Monday, August 31, 2020

Man booked in slaying of 3, including Fort Hood soldier
A suspect in the March shooting deaths of three people, including a Fort Hood soldier, was arrested Friday in Mississippi, according to police in Central Texas.

Officers with the U.S. Marshals Gulf Coast Regional Fugitive Task Force arrested the suspected man, identified as Barnard Lnell Morrow, in Newton, Mississippi, Killeen police said in a statement. Morrow, 21, is being held at the Lauderdale County Jail and is expected to be extradited to Bell County in Texas.

Saturday, August 29, 2020

Laura victims may go weeks without power; US deaths reach 14
The Louisiana coastline devastated by Hurricane Laura began a long and gloomy recovery Friday as hundreds of thousands of people still without water and power confronted the possibility that basic services may not return for weeks or even longer. The number of dead climbed to at least 14.

A day after the Category 4 storm hit, more bodies emerged in the aftermath in Louisiana and neighboring Texas. The deaths included five people killed by fallen trees and one person who drowned in a boat. Eight people died from carbon monoxide poisoning due to unsafe operation of generators, including three inside a Texas pool hall, where authorities say the owner had let seven Vietnamese shrimp boat laborers and homeless men take shelter. The other four were in critical condition.

Saturday, August 29, 2020

Census, like Post Office, politicized in election year
The postal service isn’t the only staid federal agency to be drawn into a political battle in 2020.

Unlike the department charged with delivering mail, however, the U.S. Census Bureau has been here before. It has found itself targeted by politicians repeatedly since it conducted its first nationwide head count in 1790.

Saturday, August 29, 2020

2nd Iowa judge backs GOP, rules ballot requests invalid
A second Iowa judge has ruled in favor of President Donald Trump’s campaign and ordered a county to invalidate at least 14,000 absentee ballot requests.

In his ruling issued Friday evening, Judge Patrick Tott found that Woodbury County elections commissioner Patrick Gill acted improperly when he sent absentee ballot request forms to 57,000 registered voters that had their personal information filled in. About 14,000 have been returned so far.

Saturday, August 29, 2020

US consumer spending rose a moderate 1.9% in July
U.S. consumers increased their spending by 1.9% last month, a dose of support for an economy struggling to emerge from the grip of a pandemic that has held back a recovery and kept roughly 27 million people jobless.

The July gain marked the third straight monthly increase in consumer spending, the primary driver of the U.S. economy. Friday’s report from the Commerce Department also showed that income rose 0.4% in July after two months of declines.

Saturday, August 29, 2020

Today's March on Washington will underscore new Black political agenda
Capping a week of protests and outrage over the police shooting of a Black man in Wisconsin, civil rights advocates will highlight  police and vigilante violence against Black Americans at a commemoration of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.

Thousands of people were expected at the steps of the Lincoln Memorial today, where the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his historic “I Have A Dream” address, a vision of racial equality that remains elusive for millions of Americans.

And they were gathering on the heels of yet another shooting by a white police officer of a Black man — this time, 29-year-old Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, last Sunday — sparking days of protests and violence that left two dead.

Friday, August 28, 2020

Laura's wake: More than 750,000 still without power
Hundreds of thousands of people across Louisiana were still without power or water today, a day after Laura sawed a devastating path through the state, while the hurricane’s remnants carried tropical rain and wind across Tennessee and posed new dangers.

Flooding and tornadoes were possible as the storm, now a tropical depression, drifted north. Forecasters warned that the system could strengthen into a tropical storm again upon returning to the Atlantic Ocean this weekend.

Friday, August 28, 2020

After nearly 200 years, Lord & Taylor calling it quits after filing bankruptcy
Lord & Taylor, one of the country’s oldest department store chains, is going out of business after filing for bankruptcy earlier this month.

The retailer was sold just a year ago for $100 million to Le Tote, a San Francisco online clothing rental company, by Canadian parent Hudson’s Bay Co.

Friday, August 28, 2020

Japan's longest-serving prime minister, Abe, is resigning for health reasons
Japan’s longest-serving prime minister, Shinzo Abe, said today he is stepping down because a chronic health problem has resurfaced. He told reporters that it was “gut wrenching” to leave many of his goals unfinished.

Abe has had ulcerative colitis since he was a teenager and has said the condition was controlled with treatment. Concerns about his health began this summer and grew this month when he visited a Tokyo hospital two weeks in a row for unspecified health checkups. He is now on a new treatment that requires IV injections, he said. While there is some improvement, there is no guarantee that it will cure his condition and so he decided to step down after treatment Monday, he said.

Friday, August 28, 2020

Japan's 'flying car' gets off ground with a person aboard
The decades-old dream of zipping around in the sky as simply as driving on highways may be becoming less illusory.

Japan’s SkyDrive Inc., among the myriads of “flying car” projects around the world, has carried out a successful though modest test flight with one person aboard.

Friday, August 28, 2020

Japan's 'flying car' gets off ground with a person aboard
The decades-old dream of zipping around in the sky as simply as driving on highways may be becoming less illusory.

Japan’s SkyDrive Inc., among the myriads of “flying car” projects around the world, has carried out a successful though modest test flight with one person aboard.

Friday, August 28, 2020

Televangelist Jim Bakker gets PPP loans while in a legal battle involving fraud
When the U.S. government extended pandemic hardship loans to thousands of religious institutions, Jim Bakker and Morningside USA, his ministry in Blue Eye, Missouri, were among the most high-profile recipients.

On April 28, the pastor received approval for an amount between $650,000 and $1.7 million in Paycheck Protection Program funds.

Weeks before, the Missouri attorney general filed a complaint, the New York attorney general sent a cease-and-desist warning and the Federal Drug Administration and Federal Trade Commission sent warning letters alleging Bakker engaged in deceptive practices by touting purported health benefits of a silver product on The Jim Bakker Show — including a suggestion it could be used to treat or prevent COVID-19 infection, something the FDA says is false. In June, the Arkansas attorney general's office followed with its own lawsuit.

Friday, August 28, 2020

How nations are going back to school - or not
The U.N. says it’s urgent to get kids back to schools after months-long coronavirus lockdowns, but with the virus still raging in parts of the United States and resurging in countries from South Korea to France, Spain and Britain, medical authorities are urging caution.

Governments are taking different strategies toward the new school year, depending on how many infections they’re seeing, the state of their health care systems and political considerations.

Friday, August 28, 2020

Does a face mask protect me, or just the people around me?
Does a face mask protect me, or just the people around me?

It likely provides protection for both.

Studies on the new coronavirus and other germs show wearing a mask helps stop infected people from spreading disease to others. Evidence also suggests that masks may offer some protection for the people wearing them.

The virus spreads from droplets people spray when they cough, sneeze or talk. Surgical or cloth face masks can block most of those particles from spreading.

Friday, August 28, 2020

Major policy change: Fed to keep rates near zero
The Federal Reserve announced a significant change Thursday in how it manages interest rates by saying it plans to keep rates near zero even after inflation has exceeded its 2% target level.

The change means the Fed is prepared to tolerate a higher level of inflation than it generally has in the past. And it means that borrowing rates for households and businesses — for everything from auto loans and home mortgages to corporate expansion — will likely remain ultra-low for years to come.

The new goal states that “following periods when inflation has been running persistently below 2%, appropriate monetary policy will likely aim to achieve inflation moderately above 2% for some time.”

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Powerful Laura blasts the Gulf Coast
Hurricane Laura pounded the Gulf Coast with ferocious wind and torrential rain today and unleashed a wall of seawater that could push 40 miles inland as the Category 4 storm roared ashore in Louisiana near the Texas border. At least one person was killed.

Laura arrived as one of the strongest hurricanes ever to strike the U.S. based on its wind speed of 150 mph (241 kph). Louisiana took the brunt of the damage when the system barreled over Lake Charles, an industrial and casino city of 80,00 people, and nearby low-lying fishing communities. Powerful gusts blew out windows in tall buildings and tossed around glass and debris.

Police spotted a floating casino that came unmoored and hit a bridge. Drone video showed water surrounding homes with much of their roofs peeled away. Gov. John Bel Edwards reported Louisiana’s first fatality — a 14-year-old girl who died when a tree fell on her home in Leesville, more than 100 miles inland.

Thursday, August 27, 2020

No equipment needed for rapid $5 coronavirus test
The Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday authorized the first rapid coronavirus test that doesn’t need any special computer equipment to get results.

The 15-minute test from Abbott Laboratories will sell for $5, giving it a competitive edge over similar tests that need to be popped into a small machine. The size of a credit card, the self-contained test is based on the same technology used to test for the flu, strep throat and other infections.

Thursday, August 27, 2020

WHO chief: Virus is like a long-lasting tornado
The coronavirus is a “tornado with a long tail” and rising infections among young people could spread to more vulnerable older people and cause an uptick in deaths, the World Health Organization’s top official in Europe warned Thursday.

Dr. Hans Kluge said younger people are likely to come into closer contact with the elderly as the weather cools in Europe and families move activities inside.

“We don’t want to do unnecessary predictions but this is definitely one of the options: that at one point there would be more hospitalizations and an uptick in mortality,” he said, speaking from Copenhagen, site of WHO’s European headquarters.

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Iran to allow access to 2 suspected nuke sites
BERLIN (AP) — Iran has agreed to allow inspectors in to two sites where the country is suspected of having stored or used undeclared nuclear material, the U.N. atomic watchdog agency said Wednesday.

The International Atomic Energy Agency said Iran was “voluntarily providing the IAEA with access to the two locations specified by the IAEA and facilitating the IAEA verification activities to resolve the issues.”


Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Laura now forecast to be catastrophic
Hurricane Laura rapidly gained strength today, raising fears that it could come ashore as a catastrophic Category 4 storm with an “unsurvivable” 20-foot storm surge that could sink entire communities in Texas and Louisiana. Authorities implored coastal residents to flee before it’s too late.

Laura grew nearly 70% in power in just 24 hours to reach Category 3 status, and it showed no sign of weakening before making landfall late Wednesday or early Thursday. The system was on track to arrive as the most powerful hurricane to strike the U.S. so far this year.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Orders for big-ticket US goods jumped 11.2%
Orders to U.S. factories for big-ticket manufactured goods jumped 11.2% in July, the third consecutive monthly gain.

The Commerce Department reported Wednesday that the July advance followed a 7.7% increase in June.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Tulsa Mayor GT Bynum wins re-election
Incumbent Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum won re-election to a second term in office Tuesday, holding off a challenge from a young, Black community organizer and six other candidates to secure another four-year term in office.

The 43-year-old Bynum earned a reputation as a moderate who used data to drive decision making, but he found himself under attack from both the right and left in the city of about 420,000.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

'Fighting for you': First lady makes her case for Trump vote
First lady Melania Trump portrayed her husband as an authentic, uncompromising leader in a Rose Garden address as President Donald Trump turned to family, farmers and the trappings of the presidency to boost his reelection chances on the second night of the scaled-down Republican National Convention.

But it was part of a broader effort to show a more forgiving side of a combative president who will soon face the voters. Beyond the first lady’s remarks, Trump pardoned a reformed felon and oversaw a naturalization ceremony for several immigrants in the midst of the program, though he frequently states his vigorous opposition to more immigration, legal as well as illegal.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

3 shot, 2 killed in 3rd night of unrest over Blake shooting
Two people were shot to death and another was wounded during a third night of protests in Kenosha over the police shooting of a Black man, Jacob Blake, and authorities Wednesday hunted for a possible vigilante seen on cellphone video opening fire in the middle of the street with a rifle.

The gunfire was reported just before midnight, and Sheriff David Beth said one victim was shot in the head and another in the chest, the Milwaukee Journal Sentine l reported. The third victim’s wounds were not believed to life-threatening.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Hurricane Laura aims at U.S. coast
Thousands of people were ordered to evacuate the Texas and Louisiana coasts today as Laura strengthened into a hurricane that forecasters said could slam into land as a major storm with ferocious winds and deadly flooding.

More than 385,000 residents were told to flee the Texas cities of Beaumont, Galveston and Port Arthur, and still more were ordered to evacuate low-lying southwestern Louisiana, where forecasters said more than 11 feet  of storm surge topped by waves could submerge entire towns.

The National Hurricane Center projected that Laura will become a Category 3 hurricane before landfall, with winds of around 115 mph, capable of devastating damage.

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

FDA chief apologizes for overstating plasma effect
Responding to an outcry from medical experts, Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Stephen Hahn today apologized for overstating the life-saving benefits of treating COVID-19 patients with convalescent plasma.

Scientists and medical experts have been pushing back against the claims about the treatment since President Donald Trump’s announcement on Sunday that the FDA had decided to issue emergency authorization for convalescent plasma, taken from patients who have recovered from the coronavirus and rich in antibodies.

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Revved by Sturgis Rally, COVID-19 infections move fast and far
The hundreds of thousands of bikers who attended the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally may have departed western South Dakota, but public health departments in multiple states are trying to measure how much and how quickly the coronavirus spread in bars, tattoo shops and gatherings before people traveled home to nearly every state in the country.

From the city of Sturgis, which is conducting mass testing for its roughly 7,000 residents, to health departments in at least six states, health officials are trying to track outbreaks from the 10-day rally which ended on Aug. 16. They face the task of tracking an invisible virus that spread among bar-hoppers and rallygoers, who then traveled to over half of the counties in the United States.

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Redwoods survive wildfire at California's oldest state park
When a massive wildfire swept through California’s oldest state park last week it was feared many trees in a grove of old-growth redwoods, some of them 2,000 years old and among the tallest living things on Earth, may finally have succumbed.

But an Associated Press reporter and photographer hiked the renowned Redwood Trail at Big Basin Redwoods State Park on Monday and confirmed most of the ancient redwoods had withstood the blaze. Among the survivors is one dubbed Mother of the Forest.

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Money: 6 Great Recession lessons that still apply
The Great Recession demolished jobs across the U.S., and it eventually came for mine, too. After graduating in 2009, I worked four months as an entry-level executive assistant at a nonprofit before being laid off.

I had limited financial knowledge, a short work history and a lot to prove to break into the field of journalism, my ultimate goal. Along the way, I picked up valuable lessons that might help you manage your finances during the coronavirus-related recession.

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

U.S housing market continues to show resilience in face of pandemic
U.S. home prices rose at a slightly slower pace in June, but the U.S. housing market continued to show resilience in the face of the coronvavirus pandemic.

The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller 20-city home price index rose 3.5% in June from a year earlier, down from May’s 3.6% increase and slightly below economists’ expectations.

Phoenix led the way with a 9% increase followed by Seattle (up 6.5%) and Tampa (up 5.9%). But prices rose at all 19 cities measured in June. The 20-city index released Tuesday excluded prices from the Detroit metropolitan area index because of delays related to pandemic at the recording office in Wayne County, which includes Detroit.

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

'Dead' woman found to be breathing at Detroit funeral home
A young woman was discovered to be alive after she had been declared dead and taken to a Detroit funeral home, officials said.

The Southfield fire department said paramedics tried to revive the 20-year-old woman for 30 minutes Sunday.

“Given medical readings and the condition of the patient, it was determined at that time that she did not have signs of life,” the department said.

Monday, August 24, 2020

Republicans nominate Trump to take on Biden
The Republican Party formally nominated President Donald Trump for a second term in the White House Monday, one of the first acts of a GOP convention that has been dramatically scaled down to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Trump has sought to minimize the toll of the pandemic, but its impact was evident as proceedings began in Charlotte. Instead of the thousands of people who were expected to converge on this city for a week-long extravaganza, just 336 delegates participated in a roll-call vote from a Charlotte Convention Center ballroom.

Earlier, the convention renominated Vice President Mike Pence, and he thanked the delegates in person.

Monday, August 24, 2020

Trump announces plasma treatment authorized for COVID-19
President Donald Trump on announced emergency authorization to treat COVID-19 patients with convalescent plasma — a move he called “a breakthrough,” one of his top health officials called “promising” and other health experts said needs more study before it’s celebrated.

The announcement came after White House officials complained there were politically motivated delays by the Food and Drug Administration in approving a vaccine and therapeutics for the disease that has upended Trump’s reelection chances.

On the eve of the Republican National Convention, Trump put himself at the center of the FDA’s announcement of the authorization at a news conference Sunday evening. The authorization makes it easier for some patients to obtain the treatment but is not the same as full FDA approval.

Monday, August 24, 2020

DeJoy says he won't restore mail-sorting machines
Postmaster General Louis DeJoy refused requests by Democrats on Monday to restore mail-sorting machines or mailboxes removed from service as part of sweeping operational changes at the Postal Service, despite complaints that the changes are causing lasting damage and widespread delays.

Rep. Stephen Lynch, D-Mass., told DeJoy at a hearing on Capitol Hill that changes imposed by DeJoy this summer have threatened the reliability of mail service in his state and across the country.

Monday, August 24, 2020

Austria expels Russian diplomat, Moscow responds in kind
Austria said Monday that it is expelling a Russian diplomat, and Russia responded within hours by declaring an Austrian diplomat persona non grata.

The Austrian Foreign Ministry confirmed that a diplomat at the Russian Embassy is being ordered to leave, saying only that his behavior was not compatible with the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, the Austria Press Agency reported. The ministry said it would not give further details.

Monday, August 24, 2020

Falwell says wife had affair, family faced blackmail attempt
Jerry Falwell Jr., currently on a leave of absence as the leader of evangelical Liberty University, has released a statement saying that he is seeking help for the “emotional toll” from an affair his wife had with a man who he says later threatened his family.

Falwell issued a lengthy statement to The Washington Examiner on Sunday, publicly disclosing the affair and saying the man involved had been threatening to reveal the relationship “to deliberately embarrass my wife, family, and Liberty University unless we agreed to pay him substantial monies.”

Monday, August 24, 2020

Big California wildfires burn on as death toll reaches 7
Firefighters battling three massive wildfires in Northern California got a break from the weather early Monday as humidity rose and there was no return of the onslaught of lightning strikes that ignited the infernos a week earlier.

The region surrounding San Francisco Bay remained under extreme fire danger until late afternoon amid the possibility of of lightning and gusty winds, but fire commanders said the weather had aided their efforts so far.

Monday, August 24, 2020

Protest erupts after Wisconsin police shoot Black man
Officers deployed tear gas early Monday to disperse hundreds of people who took to the streets following a police shooting in Kenosha that also drew a harsh rebuke from the governor after a video posted on social media appeared to show officers shoot at a Black man’s back seven times as he leaned into a vehicle.

A person was hospitalized in serious condition following a shooting by officers about 5 p.m. Sunday as officers were responding to a “domestic incident,” the Kenosha Police Department said in a news release. Police in the city, which is in the southeastern corner of Wisconsin about 40 miles (64 kilometers) south of Milwaukee and 50 miles (80 kilometers) north of Chicago, did not provide details about what led to the shooting, but said the person was transported to a hospital in Milwaukee for treatment.

Monday, August 24, 2020

Portland cops tear gas protesters attacking precinct station
Police in Portland used tear gas early Monday to scatter demonstrators who marched on a precinct station in another night of violence — hurling rocks, bottles, commercial-grade fireworks at officers and setting fires in the streets.

The protests have gripped Oregon’s largest city for months since the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis and demonstrators in Portland Sunday night who marched to the precinct from a park chanted the name Jacob Blake.

Monday, August 24, 2020

House debates postal issues in rare Saturday session
WASHINGTON (AP) — The House has opened a rare Saturday session to address mail delivery disruptions, launching debate on legislation that would reverse recent changes in U.S. Postal Service operations and send $25 billion in emergency funds to shore up the agency ahead of the November election.
Saturday, August 22, 2020

State making final push for census participation
SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois Department of Human Services said the state is poised to have one of the top census response rates in the country despite two tumultuous months of changing deadlines as determined by the Trump Administration.
Saturday, August 22, 2020

Two tropical storms threaten Gulf Coast
(AP) — Two newly formed tropical storms could become almost simultaneous threats to the U.S. Gulf Coast early next week. They could even get sucked into an odd dance around each other. Or they could fall apart as they soak the Caribbean and Mexico this weekend.
Saturday, August 22, 2020

Another pandemic must have? Houseplants, she says
NEW YORK (AP) — It wasn’t just toilet paper that people stocked up on during the pandemic. There was a run on houseplants, too.
Saturday, August 22, 2020

Reinforcements arriving to help in deadly California fires
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Firefighters and aircraft from 10 states began arriving in California Friday to help weary crews battling some of the largest blazes in state history as weekend weather threatened to renew the advance of flames that have killed six people and incinerated hundreds of homes.
Saturday, August 22, 2020

Convention silence from Democrats with high court at stake
The future of the Supreme Court is on the line, though it would be hard to tell from the Democratic National Convention that just concluded.
Saturday, August 22, 2020

Rise in unemployment claims nationwide shows the US still struggling
WASHINGTON (AP) — The coronavirus recession struck swiftly and violently. Now, with the U.S. economy still in the grip of the outbreak five months later, the recovery looks fitful and uneven — and painfully slow.
Friday, August 21, 2020

Portland clashes rage again outside US immigration building
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Protesters in Oregon’s largest city have clashed again with federal agents outside a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement building that has become a new focus of the demonstrations that have gripped Portland for months, officials said Friday.
Friday, August 21, 2020

Shopping for groceries online: You could pay more
By LAUREN SCHWAHN
of NerdWallet

I haven’t set foot in a grocery store in nearly four months.

Friday, August 21, 2020

Expert says new movie theater protocols address two of the three risk factors
(AP) — As movie theaters come back to life across the country, the National Association of Theater Owners is helping to take the guess work out of safe operating practices in the era of COVID-19.
Friday, August 21, 2020

Edmunds: Many reasons to pay small difference and opt for a new model
(EDMUNDS via AP) — A rule of thumb for car buying is that a used vehicle will provide greater savings and better value than a new vehicle. But “better value” isn’t applicable to every car, especially right now.
Friday, August 21, 2020

More charges surface in Sweetie Pie case
O’FALLON, Mo. (AP) — An investigation into 2016 killing of a man whose grandmother’s St. Louis-area soul food restaurant was the setting for the reality show “Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s” has led to fraud charges against his uncle and a man who helped produce a hit album for the rapper Nelly.
Friday, August 21, 2020

Pelosi endorses Kennedy over Markey in US Senate primary
WASHINGTON (AP) — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi endorsed Democratic Rep. Joe Kennedy III on Thursday in his bid to oust Sen. Edward Markey in the Massachusetts Democratic primary, backing a young challenger against a veteran lawmaker with whom she’s served in Congress since 1987.
Friday, August 21, 2020

Christian groups unveil new initiative
(AP) — A coalition of Christian groups including the Church of God in Christ and the National Association of Evangelicals is launching a new criminal justice reform push that seeks to rally believers behind policing changes grounded in biblical principles.
Friday, August 21, 2020

Spfld. Race Riot site added to African American network
Today, U.S. Secretary of the Interior David L. Bernhardt was in Springfield designating the site of the 1908 Springfield Race Riot in Illinois as the 30th addition to the African American Civil Rights Network (AACRN). The designation formally recognizes the historical significance of a landmark event in the struggle for civil rights that served as the catalyst in the creation of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Inclusion of the 1908 Springfield Race Riot site in the AACRN was requested by U.S. Representative Rodney Davis (IL-13) in 2019.

"President Trump enacted the African American Civil Rights Network legislation to honestly tell the full and sometimes painful story of the struggle for civil rights to foster healing, tolerance and understanding among all Americans. The horrible events of the Springfield Race Riot more than 110 years ago are a part of our history and a story that must be told and remembered," said Secretary Bernhardt. "I thank Representative Davis for his advocacy in giving this site the recognition it deserves."

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Bannon charged in border wall scheme
President Donald Trump’s former chief strategist Steve Bannon was arrested toay on charges that he and three others ripped off donors to an online fundraising scheme to build a southern border wall, making him the latest in a long list of Trump associates to be indicted or charged.

The “We Build The Wall“ fundraiser was headed by men who pushed their close ties to President Trump, giving their effort a legitimacy that helped them raise more than $25 million. They touted their effort to help the president realize his vision of a “big beautiful” border wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, especially after his effort to redirect millions in government funds, was held up through lawsuits.

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Why California continues to burn
If you want to build a fire, you need three things: Ignition, fuel and oxygen. But wildfire in California is a much more complex people-stoked witch’s brew.

The state burns regularly because of fierce autumn winds, invasive grasses that act as kindling, fire-happy native shrubs and trees, frequent drought punctuated by spurts of downpours, a century of fire suppression, people moving closer to the wild, homes that burn easily, people starting fires accidentally or on purpose — and most of all climate change.

“California has a really flammable ecosystem,” said University of Colorado fire scientist Jennifer Balch. “People are living in flammable places, providing ignition, starting the wildfires against a backdrop of a warming climate that is making wildfires worse.”

Thursday, August 20, 2020

American Airlines will drop flights to Springfield and 14 other cities in Oct.
(AP) — American Airlines will drop flights to 15 smaller U.S. cities in October when a federal requirement to serve those communities ends.
Thursday, August 20, 2020

Trail of bubbles leads scientists to new virus clue
A doctor checking comatose COVID-19 patients for signs of a stroke instead stumbled onto a new clue about how the virus may harm the lungs — thanks to a test that used tiny air bubbles and a robot.

Dr. Alexandra Reynolds, a neurologist at New York’s Mount Sinai Health System, initially was baffled as she tracked “the cacophony of sound” made by those harmless bubbles passing through the bloodstream of patient after patient.

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Portland protesters set fire to county gov't building
Protesters in Portland broke out the windows of a county government building, sprayed lighter fluid inside and set a fire in a demonstration that started Tuesday night and ended Wednesday morning with clashes with police, officials said.

The fire at the Multnomah Building damaged the county government’s office of community involvement, where Oregon’s first gay marriage took place and where protective gear has been distributed to try to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, said Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury.

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Obama has top billing at DNC tonight
Democrats hoping to create a surge of enthusiasm behind Joe Biden’s presidential bid will look to tonight’s convention headliners to broaden the party’s focus from a multipart rebuke of President Donald Trump to a message of change.

Former President Barack Obama, a transformational figure for the Democratic Party who picked Biden as his running mate a dozen years ago, has top billing for the third night of the all-virtual Democratic National Convention, starting at 9 p.m. EDT.

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Pharmacists nationwide can give childhood shots now, US officials say
Pharmacists in all 50 states are now allowed to give childhood vaccinations under a new directive aimed at preventing future outbreaks of measles and other preventable diseases.

Alex Azar, the head of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, took the step using emergency powers he has during the U.S. coronavirus epidemic, which was declared a public health emergency. The directive announced Wednesday will temporarily preempt restrictions in 22 states starting this fall.

The move is designed to help prevent vaccination rates from falling during the pandemic, Azar said.

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Notre Dame cancels classes after spike
Notre Dame University on Tuesday canceled in-person undergraduate classes for two weeks after a spike of coronavirus cases that occurred since the semester began Aug. 10.

University president the Rev. John Jenkins said there have been 147 confirmed cases of coronavirus on campus since the start of classes for the university’s approximately 12,000 students.

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Son of Sweetie Pie's owner is charged
The son of the owner of a St. Louis-area soul food restaurant that was the setting for the reality show “Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s” has been charged in a murder-for-hire plot that resulted in the death of his nephew four years ago.
Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Many steps needed for accurate COVID-19 testing
A widely used coronavirus test is under scrutiny this week after federal health officials warned that it could deliver inaccurate results if laboratory technicians don’t follow the the latest updates from the manufacturer.

The Food and Drug Administration’s warning over Thermo Fisher’s TaqPath test underscores the complexity of COVID-19 tests and how easily they can be skewed by faulty processing and equipment.

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Voters in every state join in DNC virtual convention to formally nominate Biden
Democrats formally nominated Joe Biden as their presidential candidate, with party elders, a new generation of politicians and voters in every state joining in an extraordinary, pandemic-cramped virtual convention to send him into the general election campaign to oust President Donald Trump.

For someone who has spent more than three decades eyeing the presidency, the moment Tuesday night was the realization of a long-sought goal. But it occurred in a way that the 77-year-old Biden couldn’t have imagined just months ago as the coronavirus pandemic prompted profound change across the country and in his presidential campaign.

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

13-ton statue of Gen. Robert E. Lee will be cut into pieces and hauled away
When the bronze equestrian statue of Gen. Robert E. Lee arrived by rail in Richmond from Paris in 1890, it took 10,000 men, women and children to haul its pieces more than a mile to the site where the towering monument was erected as a tribute to a Confederate hero.

Now, 130 years later, conservation experts who plan to relocate, yet preserve, the statue face the intricate logistics of disassembling and transporting it to a storage facility. They must also ensure worker safety amid heated public debate over whether the statue is an important piece of Southern heritage or a symbol of white supremacy and racism.

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

US, Russia still at odds over arms treaty
The United States and Russia concluded two days of arms control talks Tuesday with the two sides still at odds over the U.S. demand to include China in any new treaty but showing signs of a possible willingness to extend the existing New START deal, which expires next year.

U.S. negotiator Marshall Billingslea told reporters after the talks in Vienna ended that “there are some areas of convergence between Russia and the United States, but we do remain far apart on a number of key issues.”

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Nursing home cases up nearly 80% in COVID-19 rebound
COVID-19 cases in U.S. nursing homes jumped nearly 80% earlier this summer, driven by rampant spread across the South and much of the West, according to an industry report released Monday.

"The case numbers suggest the problem is far from solved," said Tamara Konetzka, a research professor at the University of Chicago, who specializes in long-term care. She was not involved with the study.

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Advocates plan birthday gift for the 19th Amendment: The ERA
It was a huge step forward for American women when, exactly 100 years ago, they finally gained the guaranteed right to vote with ratification of the 19th Amendment. But to Alice Paul, the step wasn’t nearly large enough.

Paul, a suffragist who’d waged hunger strikes and endured forced feedings in jail so women could get the vote, equipped herself with a law degree and got to work writing another constitutional amendment — one that would guarantee women equal rights under the law. She introduced that amendment — now known as the Equal Rights Amendment — in Congress in 1923.

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

'Horrifying' data glitch skews key Iowa coronavirus metrics
A state agency says it is working to fix a data error on Iowa’s coronavirus website that artificially lowers the number of new confirmed cases and therefore downplays the severity of the current outbreak.

The glitch means the Iowa Department of Public Health has inadvertently been reporting fewer new infections and a smaller percentage of daily positive tests than is truly the case, according to Dana Jones, an Iowa City nurse practitioner who uncovered the problem.

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Books for Dad: Sons use e-books to help virus-stricken dad and other patients
Geoff Woolf gave his sons a love for literature. When he got sick with COVID-19, they turned to books to help him — and others.

The 73-year-old retired lawyer was hospitalized in London in March, and within days he was on a ventilator in intensive care. Unable to visit, his family could only watch from afar with frustration and dismay.

Then sons Nicky, a 33-year-old journalist, and Sam, a 28-year-old actor, had an idea: Maybe literature could help him and other patients.

Monday, August 17, 2020

Democrats open a new kind of convention tonight
The Democratic Party will convene, sort of, amid a pandemic that has upended the usual pomp-and-circumstance of presidential nominating conventions.

Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez will be in Milwaukee, which he’d chosen as the 2020 convention host city. But presidential candidate Joe Biden and his running mate, Kamala Harris, won’t be. Nor will the 57 state, territorial and international delegations, party activists and media hordes that would have filled a downtown arena to see Biden and Harris nominated to take on President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence in November.

Instead, Democrats will put on essentially an all-virtual convention, broadcasting two hours of prime-time programming starting at 9 p.m. EST, much of it pre-taped, Monday through Thursday. No crowds. No hullabaloo. And no balloons.

Monday, August 17, 2020

Meteorologists seeks to confirm 130-degree temp
An automated measuring system in California’s Death Valley reported a temperature of 130 degrees (54.4 degrees Celsius) amid a blistering heat wave on Sunday, a reading that would be among the highest ever recorded globally if it is confirmed.

The temperature was recorded at 3:41 p.m. at Furnace Creek near the park’s visitor center, the National Weather Service said in a statement that described the measurement as preliminary and not yet official.

Monday, August 17, 2020

Pelosi calls House back to vote on PO
Speaker Nancy Pelosi is calling the House back into session over the crisis at the U.S. Postal Service, setting up a political showdown with President Donald Trump.

Pelosi is cutting short lawmakers’ summer recess with a vote expected Saturday on legislation that would prohibit changes at the agency as tensions mount. President Trump’s new postmaster general, Louis DeJoy, has sparked nationwide outcry over delays, new prices and cutbacks just as millions of Americans will be trying to vote by mail to avoid polling places during the coronavirus outbreak.

Monday, August 17, 2020

Illinois imposes new rules in Metro East after virus resurgence
Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced fresh restrictions Sunday for southwestern Illinois after a resurgence of COVID-19 cases.

The rules, effective Tuesday, include limiting meetings and social events to the lesser of 25 people or 25% of overall room capacity and closing bars and casinos at 11 p.m.

Monday, August 17, 2020

Events for nude cyclists is canceled
The coronavirus pandemic has slammed the brakes on this year's Philly Naked Bike Ride.

The annual event, which usually draws thousands of nude cyclists for a trip around Philadelphia and its tourist sites, had been set for later this month. But organizers who had been gearing up for it said the city's COVID-19 cases made them halt their planning.

Monday, August 17, 2020

Why taking Social Security early costs most people too much
Starting Social Security early typically means getting a smaller benefit for the rest of your life. The penalty is steep: Someone who applies this year at age 62 would see their monthly benefit check reduced by nearly 30%.

Many Americans have little choice but to accept the diminished payments. Even before the pandemic, about half of retirees said they quit working earlier than they’d planned, often due to job loss or health issues. Some have enough retirement savings  to delay claiming Social Security, but many don’t. And now, with unemployment approaching Depression-era levels, claiming early may be the best of bad options for older people who can’t find a job.

Monday, August 17, 2020

US is imposing another round of restrictions on Chinese tech giant Huawei
The U.S. is imposing another round of restrictions on China’s Huawei as President Donald Trump renewed accusations that the company’s telecommunications equipment is used for spying.

“We don’t want their equipment in the United States because they spy on us,” Trump told Fox today. “And any country that uses it, we’re not going to do anything in terms of sharing intelligence.“

Monday, August 17, 2020

A look at the numbers: Up to 205,000 extra deaths so far this year in the US
The number of deaths in the United States through July 2020 is 8% to 12% higher than it would have been if the coronavirus pandemic had never happened. That’s at least 164,937 deaths above the number expected for the first seven months of the year – 16,183 more than the number attributed to COVID-19 thus far for that period – and it could be as high as 204,691.
Monday, August 17, 2020

Census Bureau adds emails, phone calls to door-knocking
If you haven’t filled out the 2020 census form yet, you may be getting an email, call or questionnaire in the mail asking you to answer the questions.

The U.S. Census Bureau said Friday it was sending out emails to homes in neighborhoods where the response rate was less than 50%. The email addresses were culled from contact information from state assistance programs and from commercial lists. The Census Bureau said it expects to send out 20 million emails, as the agency enters the homestretch of the once-a-decade head count of every U.S. resident.

Saturday, August 15, 2020

What's happening at the US Postal Service
The U.S. Postal Service is warning states it cannot guarantee that all ballots cast by mail for the Nov. 3 election will arrive in time to be counted, even if ballots are mailed by state deadlines. That's raising the possibility that millions of voters could be disenfranchised.

It's the latest chaotic and confusing development involving the agency, which has found itself in the middle of a high-stakes election year debate over who gets to vote in America, and how. Those questions are particularly potent in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, which has led many Americans to consider voting by mail instead of heading to in-person polling places.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends mail ballots as a way to vote without risking exposure to the virus at the polls. But President Donald Trump has baselessly excoriated mail ballots as fraudulent, worried that an increase could cost him the election. Democrats have been more likely than Republicans to vote by mail in primary contests held so far this year.

Saturday, August 15, 2020

Trump gets endorsement of NYC police union
Seeking to amplify his law-and-order message, President Donald Trump on Friday told hundreds of New York Police Department officers that “no one will be safe in Biden’s America“ if the former Democratic vice president defeats him in November .

“This guy has been taking your dignity away and your respect,““ Trump said of former Vice President Joe Biden. “And I’m telling you on Nov. 3 you’re going to be getting it back.“

Saturday, August 15, 2020

Japan marks 75th anniversary of war end with no Abe apology
Japan on Saturday marked the 75th anniversary of its surrender in World War II, with Emperor Naruhito expressing “deep remorse” over his country’s wartime actions at a somber annual ceremony curtailed by the coronavirus pandemic.

Naruhito pledged to reflect on the war’s events and expressed hope that the tragedy would never be repeated. There was no word of apology from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who gave thanks for the sacrifices of the Japanese war dead but had nothing to say about the suffering of Japan’s neighbors.

Saturday, August 15, 2020

California heat spurs 1st rolling power outages since 2011
California on Friday ordered rolling power outages for the first time since 2011 as a statewide heat wave strained its electrical system.

The California Independent System Operator (California ISO), which manages the power grid, declared an emergency shortly after 6:30 p.m. and directed utilities around the state to shed their power loads.

Saturday, August 15, 2020

High court leaves vote-by-mail agreement in place
The U.S. Supreme Court on today left in place an agreement that allows Rhode Island residents to vote by mail in two upcoming elections without signing their ballots in the presence of two witnesses or a notary.

State officials had agreed to suspend the requirement because of the coronavirus pandemic. They have said that fulfilling the requirement results in close contact between voters and others, which could expose people to the virus.

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Virus relief on hold: Both sides playing blame game
With talks on emergency coronavirus aid having stalled out, both sides played the blame game Thursday rather than make any serious moves to try to break their stalemate. Official Washington is emptying, national politics is consuming the airwaves and the chasm between the warring sides appears too great for now.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi pressed the case for funding for the U.S. Postal Service, rental assistance, food aid and rapid testing for the virus at her weekly press event, blasting Republicans as not giving a damn and declaring flatly that “people will die” if the delay grinds into September

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Confucius Institute designated an 'arm of Beijing'
The Trump administration today designated the Confucius Institute U.S. Center as a foreign mission of the Chinese Communist Party, alleging that the program to help teach Chinese language classes in America is part of Beijing’s propaganda and influence operations on campuses and other classrooms.

The designation requires the the Confucius Institute U.S. Center, based in Washington, to submit reports to the U.S. government about its funding, personnel, curriculum and other activities in the United States.

Thursday, August 13, 2020

US unemployment falls below 1 million
The number of Americans applying for unemployment dropped below 1 million last week for the first time since the coronavirus outbreak took hold in the U.S. five months ago, but layoffs are still running extraordinarily high.

The figures show that the crisis continues to throw people out of work just as the expiration of an extra $600 a week in federal jobless benefits has deepened the hardship for many — and posed another threat to the U.S. economy.

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Is public transit safe now?
The main way that the virus spreads is through droplets people spray when they talk, cough or sneeze. That means the best way to reduce the spread of infection on public transit and elsewhere is to wear and mask and stay 6 feet from others, experts say.

Transit systems around the world are requiring riders to wear masks and encouraging people to socially distance. Compliance could vary, especially as ridership levels start rebounding and trains and buses get more crowded. But there are other steps you can take to make trips less risky.

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Virus diary: Have toilet seat, will travel
People said we were crazy. We said we’d be careful.

Maybe so, my doctor-uncle warned, but it would only take one moment of carelessness to get infected — one time finding ourselves too close to unmasked people.

Others raised eyebrows in Zoom calls, silently judging our desire to spend a nonessential week at the beach in South Florida, the U.S. epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic.

Thursday, August 13, 2020

With low interest rates, should you lease or buy?
One of COVID-19’s impacts has been the reduction in interest rates, including those for auto loans. In June 2020, the average interest rate for new auto loans decreased to 4.2%, down from 6.0% one year ago, according to Edmunds.

But Americans are buying more expensive vehicles, which means monthly payments have increased year over year. As of June, the average payment is $568 per month. This has caused many shoppers to turn to leasing and its lower payments, freedom from long-term maintenance worries and lure of getting a new car every 3 years.

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Science and politics tied up in global race for vaccine
No, Russia isn’t having a Sputnik moment.

The announcement Tuesday by Russian President Vladimir Putin that his country was the first to approve a coronavirus vaccine did not provoke the awe and wonder of the Soviet Union’s launch of the first satellite into orbit in 1957. Instead, it was met by doubts about the science and safety.

But the claim underscored how, like the space race, the competition to have the first vaccine is about international rivalries as well as science. The first nation to develop a way to defeat the novel coronavirus will achieve a kind of moonshot victory and the global status that goes along with it.

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Hardball politics and some inexperience keeping Washington from a virus deal
Hopes that talks on a huge COVID-19 relief deal would generate an agreement soon are fizzling, with both the Trump administration negotiating team and top congressional Democrats adopting hard lines and testy attitudes.

Now that President Donald Trump has issued a series of executive edicts and the national political conventions are set to begin, consuming the attention of both Trump and top Democrats, the talks seem to be on an indefinite pause. The urgency has evaporated now that rank-and-file lawmakers have been set free for the August recess, and while both sides still want an agreement — and pressure is likely to remain high — it’s looking more like a September legislating effort than an August one.

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

A quickly growing number of parents are turning to homeschooling now
As parents nationwide prepare to help their children with more distance learning, a small but quickly growing number are deciding to take matters entirely into their own hands and begin homeschooling.

Some are worried their districts are unable to offer a strong virtual learning program. For others who may have been considering homeschooling, concerns for their family’s health amid the coronavirus and the on-again, off-again planning for in-person instruction are leading them to part ways with school systems.

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

She brings interfaith roots to the ticket
Kamala Harris, tapped on Tuesday as Joe Biden’s running mate, attended services at both a Black Baptist church and a Hindu temple growing up – an interfaith background that reflects her historic status as the first Black woman and woman of South Asian descent on a major-party presidential ticket.

The 55-year-old first-term Democratic senator, whose name means “lotus” in the Sanskrit language, identifies as a Baptist as an adult and brought another faith into her life in 2014 when she married Douglas Emhoff, a Jewish attorney. Their wedding featured the breaking of a glass, a Jewish tradition, and Harris’ stepchildren gave her the nickname of “Momala,” a rhyme with her name that recalls the Yiddish term “mamaleh.”

During a 2017 speech at a historic Black church in Atlanta, Harris invoked both of the faiths she encountered as the daughter of immigrants from Jamaica and India.

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

How Biden chose Harris: Inside his months-long search for a running mate
Gretchen Whitmer wanted out.

The Michigan governor had caught the interest of Joe Biden and his vice presidential vetting committee, who were drawn to her prominence in a crucial battleground state and her aggressive response to the coronavirus outbreak there. But by late spring, the nation was in the midst of a reckoning over race and inequality following the death of George Floyd, a Black man who died after a white police officer pressed his knee into his neck for several minutes.

Whitmer sent word to Biden’s team that while she was flattered, she no longer wanted to be considered for the running mate slot, according to a high-ranking Democrat familiar with the process. She recommended Biden pick a Black woman.

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Trump adamantly defends payroll tax deferral relief
President Donald Trump’s move to defer Social Security payroll taxes could be taking him into treacherous political territory.

His directive — aimed at boosting an economy shaken by the coronavirus pandemic — doesn’t affect retirement benefits but impacts how they’re paid for. Democrats seized on it Monday as a signal that Trump would cut the social safety net and break a promise he made as a candidate in 2016 not to touch Social Security and Medicare. Some nonpartisan experts also expressed concerns.

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Global virus cases top 20 million as Russia approves world's first vaccine
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases worldwide topped 20 million, more than half of them from the United States, India and Brazil, as Russia today became the first country to approve a vaccine  against the virus.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said that one of his two adult daughters had already been inoculated with the cleared vaccine, which he described as effective. “She’s feeling well and has a high number of antibodies,” Putin said.

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Derecho leaves path of devastation across Midwest
A rare storm packing 100 mph winds and with power similar to an inland hurricane swept across the Midwest, blowing over trees, flipping vehicles, causing widespread property damage and leaving hundreds of thousands without power as it moved through Chicago and into Indiana and Michigan.

The storm known as a derecho lasted several hours Monday as it tore from eastern Nebraska across Iowa and parts of Wisconsin and Illinois, had the wind speed of a major hurricane, and likely caused more widespread damage than a normal tornado, said Patrick Marsh, science support chief at the National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma.

In northern Illinois, the National Weather Service reported a wind gust of 92 mph near Dixon, about 100 miles (160 kilometers) west of Chicago, and the storm left downed trees and power lines that blocked roadways in Chicago and its suburbs. After leaving Chicago, the most potent part of the storm system moved over north central Indiana by late afternoon.

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

55 Years ago today: Watts riots erput in Los Angeles
— EDITOR’S NOTE: On Aug. 11, 1965, an uprising began in Los Angeles after the drunken driving arrest of a young Black man by a white California Highway Patrol officer.

It was focused in the segregated Black neighborhood of Watts, where violence exploded in response to systemic problems residents said they faced, including abusive police, high unemployment and poor health care.

Watts has never fully recovered from fires that leveled hundreds of buildings or the violence that killed 34 people — two-thirds of whom were shot by police or National Guard troops.

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Health officials are quitting or getting fired amid virus outbreak
Vilified, threatened with violence and in some cases suffering from burnout, dozens of state and local public health leaders around the U.S. have resigned or have been fired amid the coronavirus outbreak, a testament to how politically combustible masks, lockdowns and infection data have become.

One of the latest departures came Sunday, when California’s public health director, Dr. Sonia Angell, was ousted following a technical glitch that caused a delay in reporting hundreds of thousands of virus test results — information used to make decisions about reopening businesses and schools.

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Company accused of saying product could lower COVID-19 risk
A Georgia company falsely claimed a vitamin D product it was selling could lower the risk of becoming infected with COVID-19, federal prosecutors said.

Matthew Ryncarz and his company Fusion Health and Vitality, which operated as Pharm Origins, are accused of saying a product called Immune Shot would lower the risk of getting COVID-19 by 50%, according to federal prosecutors in Savannah. The product “bore false and misleading labeling,” leading to a charge of selling a misbranded drug, prosecutors said in a news release Monday.

Monday, August 10, 2020

Gas explosion levels 3 Baltimore homes; 1 dead
A “major gas explosion” completely destroyed three row houses in Baltimore this morning, killing a woman, injuring several other people and trapping at least one person in the wreckage, firefighters said.

At least three dozen firefighters converged on the disaster scene, where the natural gas explosion reduced to the homes to piles of rubble and pieces of debris. A fourth house in the row was partly destroyed, and the neighborhood was strewn with glass from shattered windows.

Monday, August 10, 2020










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