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All the big news of the day, at home and around the world. || News Plexus LLC — delivering your news in a convenient, AD-FREE and easy-to-read stream.

All the big news of the day, at home and around the world. || News Plexus LLC — delivering your news in a convenient, AD-FREE and easy-to-read stream.
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NewsPlexus Media August 6, 2020

State Department watchdog resigns after predecessor's ouster
The State Department’s acting inspector general resigned abruptly on Wednesday following the firing of his predecessor in circumstances now being investigated by Congress. Stephen Akard announced his resignation just two days after Democrats issued subpoenas for several of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s top aides to answer questions about the shakeup in the watchdog's office. The department said Akard would return to the private sector but offered no other reason for his departure.
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NewsPlexus Media August 6, 2020

No hoopla: Virus upends Trump, Biden convention plans
At the last minute, President Donald Trump and his Democratic rival, Joe Biden, are searching for places to impressively yet safely accept their parties' presidential nominations as the spread of the coronavirus adds fresh uncertainty to the campaign for the White House. Trump said Wednesday he's considering giving his Aug. 27 acceptance speech on the grounds of the White House, a move that could violate ethics law. Biden, meanwhile, scrapped plans to accept the Democratic nomination on Aug. 20 in Milwaukee, where the party has spent more than a year planning a massive convention.
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NewsPlexus Media August 6, 2020

'We don't seem to learn': Beirut explosion echoes US tragedy
The staggering videos from the Lebanese capital are grimly familiar to Tommy Muska thousands of miles away in Texas: a towering blast, a thundering explosion and shock waves demolishing buildings with horrifying speed. It is what the mayor of West, Texas, lived seven years ago when one of the deadliest fertilizer plant explosions in U.S. history partly leveled his rural town. On Wednesday, Muska also couldn't shake a familiar feeling — that yet again, no lessons will be learned.
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NewsPlexus Media August 6, 2020

Virus testing in the US is dropping, even as deaths mount
U.S. testing for the coronavirus is dropping even as infections remain high and the death toll rises by more than 1,000 a day, a worrisome trend that officials attribute largely to Americans getting discouraged over having to wait hours to get a test and days or weeks to learn the results. An Associated Press analysis found that the number of tests per day slid 3.6% over the past two weeks to 750,000, with the count falling in 22 states. That includes places like Alabama, Mississippi, Missouri and Iowa where the percentage of positive tests is high and continuing to climb, an indicator that the virus is still spreading uncontrolled.
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NewsPlexus Media August 6, 2020

Bush latest Ferguson protester with political success
Cori Bush earned a reputation as a fierce activist on the streets of Ferguson, Missouri. Come January, she'll almost certainly be representing the St. Louis suburb in Congress, making her the most prominent of many Ferguson protesters who have turned to politics. On Tuesday, just days shy of the sixth anniversary of a white police officer's fatal shooting of Black 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Bush pulled a stunning political upset by ousting 20-year Rep. William Lacy Clay in the Democratic primary. Both Bush and Clay are Black.
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NewsPlexus Media August 6, 2020

Fed should address racial gaps in jobs, income, Dems propose
A group of congressional Democrats introduced legislation Wednesday that would require the Federal Reserve to pursue the elimination of racial disparities in jobs, wealth and income as one of its policy goals. The legislation would also require the Fed's chair, currently Jerome Powell, to report every six months on the status of wealth and income gaps and the Fed's efforts to counter them as part of its regular reports to Congress. The Fed now has a dual mandate that requires it to seek “maximum employment” and stable prices.
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NewsPlexus Media August 6, 2020

State Department: Russia pushes disinformation in online network
The State Department says Russia is using a well-developed online operation that includes a loose collection of proxy websites to stir up confusion around the coronavirus by amplifying conspiracy theories and misinformation. The disclosure on Wednesday was rare for the Trump administration, which has been cautious about blaming the Kremlin for disinformation campaigns, especially around the U.S. election. Despite evidence that Russia launched a divisive disinformation operation on social media during the 2016 U.S. presidential election, the State Department’s report did not examine how — if at all — Russia is waging another online influence campaign in this year’s election.
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NewsPlexus Media August 6, 2020

Feds propose consent decree to ensure care at Virginia jail
The Justice Department proposed Wednesday that a Virginia jail comply with a consent decree requiring officials to improve medical treatment for inmates, marking one of the first times the department has proposed such a resolution in the Trump administration. The rare action follows a multiyear investigation into the practices at the Hampton Roads Regional Jail in Portsmouth, Virginia, which prosecutors said uncovered unlawful conditions for the inmates housed there. Federal officials allege, in part, that the jail “fails to provide constitutionally adequate mental health care to prisoners,” according to court documents.
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NewsPlexus Media August 6, 2020

Negligence probed in deadly Beirut blast amid public anger
Investigators probing the deadly blast that ripped across Beirut focused Wednesday on possible negligence in the storage of tons of a highly explosive fertilizer in a waterfront warehouse, while the government ordered the house arrest of several port officials. International aid flights began to arrive as Lebanon's leaders struggled to deal with the widespread damage and shocking aftermath of Tuesday's blast, which the Health Ministry said killed 135 people and injured about 5,000 others.
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NewsPlexus Media August 6, 2020

Proposal to disband Minneapolis police blocked from ballot
A Minneapolis commission decided Wednesday to take more time to review a City Council amendment to dismantle the Police Department in the wake of George Floyd’s death, ending the possibility of voters deciding the issue in November. Members of the Charter Commission expressed concern that the process to change the city’s charter was being rushed after Floyd died following an encounter with police. While several commissioners said changing the Police Department was necessary, they said the amendment before them was flawed.
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NewsPlexus Media August 6, 2020

Rep. Clyburn warns US lacks plan to stop virus
Rep. James Clyburn said Wednesday the COVID-19 crisis is “much, much worse” than the 2008 Great Recession because the U.S. is without a national strategy to contain the coronavirus. The third-ranking House Democrat said he's hopeful that negotiators on Capitol Hill can reach an agreement soon on a new virus aid package. But he said it's a direr situation than the financial crisis more than a decade ago.
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NewsPlexus Media August 6, 2020

World responds to Lebanon's plight, France's Macron to visit
As Lebanese rescuers counted the dead and combed rubble for signs of life a day after a huge explosion shattered swaths of Beirut, nations near and far pledged Wednesday that the country, already trapped in a deep economic crisis, would not be left alone. The explosion at the capital's port that killed at least 135 and injured thousands, with shock waves smashing deep into the city, stunned the world. From Australia to Indonesia to Europe and the United States, countries readied to send in aid and search teams.
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NewsPlexus Media August 6, 2020

Seeking refuge in US, children fleeing danger are expelled
When officers led them out of a detention facility near the U.S.-Mexico border and onto a bus last month, the 12-year-old from Honduras and his 9-year-old sister believed they were going to a shelter so they could be reunited with their mother in the Midwest. They had been told to sign a paper they thought would tell the shelter they didn’t have the coronavirus, the boy said. The form was in English, a language he and his sister don’t speak. The only thing he recognized was the letters “COVID.” Instead, the bus drove five hours to an airport where the children were told to board a plane.
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NewsPlexus Media August 6, 2020

MLB tightening virus protocols, including masks in dugouts
Major League Baseball is cracking down on coronavirus safety protocols, mandating that players and staff wear face coverings at all times, including in the dugouts and bullpens, except for players on the field of play. The league sent a memo to teams Wednesday outlining changes to its 2020 operations manual after outbreaks on the Miami Marlins and St. Louis Cardinals led to 21 postponements in the first two weeks of a shortened 60-game season.
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NewsPlexus Media August 5, 2020

Massive Beirut blast kills more than 70, injures thousands
A massive explosion rocked Beirut on Tuesday, flattening much of the city's port, damaging buildings across the capital and sending a giant mushroom cloud into the sky. More than 70 people were killed and 3,000 injured, with bodies buried in the rubble, officials said. It was not clear what caused the blast, which struck with the force of a 3.5 magnitude earthquake, according to Germany’s geosciences center GFZ, and was heard and felt as far away as Cyprus more than 200 kilometers (180 miles) across the Mediterranean. Lebanon's interior minister said it appeared that a large cache of ammonium nitrate in the port had detonated.
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NewsPlexus Media August 5, 2020

Police facing scrutiny in Elijah McClain case get new chief
The interim chief of a suburban Denver police department has become the first woman to permanently lead the agency that's looking to regain public trust following a tumultuous year since the death of Elijah McClain, a 23-year-old Black man officers stopped on the street and put into a chokehold. The City Council chose Vanessa Wilson in a 10-1 vote Monday night, hours after she apologized for the latest controversy tied to the Aurora Police Department. Officers investigating a stolen vehicle this past weekend made four Black girls, ranging from 6 to 17, lie face down on the ground and handcuffed at least two of them.
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NewsPlexus Media August 5, 2020

Los Angeles deputy says colleagues are part of violent gang
A violent gang of Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies who call themselves “The Executioners” control a patrol station in Compton through force, threats, work slowdowns and acts of revenge against those who speak out, a deputy alleges in a legal claim. Austreberto Gonzalez, a former Marine and a sheriff's deputy since 2007, said in a notice of claim ahead of a planned lawsuit that the gang retaliated against him for months after he anonymously reported a fellow deputy for allegedly assaulting a coworker in February “to further the reputation of the gang.”
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NewsPlexus Media August 5, 2020

Technical issue has California under-reporting virus cases
A technical problem has caused a lag in California's tally of coronavirus test results, casting doubt on the accuracy of recent data showing improvements in the infection rate and number of positive cases, and hindering efforts to track the spread, the state's top health official said Tuesday.
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NewsPlexus Media August 5, 2020

'Too many are selfish': US nears 5 million virus cases
Fourth of July gatherings, graduation parties, no-mask weddings, crowded bars — there are reasons the U.S. has racked up more than 155,000 coronavirus deaths, by far the most of any country, and is fast approaching an off-the-charts 5 million confirmed infections, easily the highest in the world. Many Americans have resisted wearing masks and social distancing, calling such precautions an overreaction or an infringement on their liberty. Public health experts say the problem has been compounded by confusing and inconsistent guidance from politicians and a patchwork quilt of approaches to containing the scourge by county, state and federal governments.
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NewsPlexus Media August 5, 2020

UN experts: North Korea flouts sanctions on nukes, missiles
U.N. experts say North Korea is flouting U.N. sanctions by expanding its nuclear arsenal and ballistic missile program and by exporting coal and illegally importing refined petroleum products in excess of its annual quota. The experts said in key sections of a report obtained Tuesday by The Associated Press that North Korea has also evaded sanctions through "targeted" cyber attacks against officials of countries on the U.N. Security Council and on members of its expert panel. They did not elaborate or identify which of the 15 council nations were targeted.
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NewsPlexus Media August 5, 2020

Malaysia police raid Al Jazeera's office, seize computers
Malaysian police raided the office of news broadcaster Al Jazeera and two local TV stations on Tuesday, seizing computers as part of an investigation into a documentary on undocumented migrants that enraged the government. Al Jazeera, a Qatari-state owned broadcaster, said in a statement that police seized two computers during the raid, which it called a "troubling escalation" in a government crackdown on media freedom.
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NewsPlexus Media August 5, 2020

Federal program offers new cybersecurity tool for elections
State and local officials are receiving additional tools from the federal government to help defend the nation’s election systems from cyberthreats ahead of the November vote, as intelligence officials continue to warn about foreign efforts to interfere in the U.S. election. Under a $2.2 million pilot program that began in March, the Department of Homeland Security’s cybersecurity agency in partnership with the Center for Internet Security has been deploying software to election offices.
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NewsPlexus Media August 5, 2020

#WeAreUnited players reach out to California Gov. for help
A group of Pac-12 football players with the #WeAreUnited movement met with officials from the California governor’s office Tuesday to discuss concerns about their schools’ COVID-19 protocols and protecting their college eligibility. Meanwhile, the NCAA's highest governing body put off a decision on whether to conduct fall championship events, and is moving toward passing on making that call altogether.
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NewsPlexus Media August 5, 2020

Judge orders trial tied to discovery of missing kids' bodies
A judge ruled Tuesday there's enough evidence for a man to go to trial after the bodies of his new wife's two children were found buried on his Idaho property. The bizarre case involving doomsday beliefs and the deaths of several people linked to the couple has attracted national headlines. Chad Daybell, 52, has pleaded not guilty to charges related to hiding the remains of 7-year-old Joshua "JJ" Vallow and 17-year-old Tylee Ryan. Investigators found their bodies during a search in June, months after they were last seen in September.
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NewsPlexus Media August 5, 2020

Endangered GOP senators are driving force for virus deal
A small but singularly influential group is a driving force for an agreement on a stalled coronavirus relief bill: Endangered Senate GOP incumbents who need to win this fall if Republicans are going to retain control of the majority. Confronted with a poisonous political environment, vulnerable Senate Republicans are rushing to endorse generous jobless benefits, child care grants, and more than $100 billion to help schools reopen.
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NewsPlexus Media August 5, 2020

Progress slow as urgency grows on virus relief legislation
Frustrated Senate Republicans re-upped their complaints that Democratic negotiators are taking too hard a line in talks on a sweeping coronavirus relief bill, but an afternoon negotiating session brought at least modest concessions from both sides, even as an agreement appears far off. Top Democrats emerged from a 90-minute meeting Tuesday with Trump administration officials to declare more progress. The Trump team agreed with that assessment and highlighted its offer to extend a moratorium on evictions from federally subsidized housing through the end of the year.
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NewsPlexus Media August 5, 2020

US sending highest rep to Taiwan since 1979 break in ties
U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar is scheduled to visit Taiwan in coming days in the highest-level visit by an American Cabinet official since the break in formal diplomatic relations between Washington and Taipei in 1979. The visit, and especially a planned meeting with Taiwan's president, will likely create new frictions between the U.S. and China, which claims Taiwan as its own territory to be annexed by force if necessary. Taiwan is a key irritant in the troubled relationship between the world's two largest economies, who are also at odds over trade, technology, the South China Sea and China's response to the coronavirus pandemic.
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NewsPlexus Media August 5, 2020

Kansas Rep. Watkins unseated after facing criminal charges
Freshman Kansas Rep. Steve Watkins lost his Republican primary Tuesday after being charged with felony election fraud and other crimes. State Treasurer Jake LaTurner unseated Watkins after arguing that the criminal charges against Watkins made an already vulnerable incumbent an even worse bet with Democrats sensing an opportunity to pick up the 2nd District seat in eastern Kansas despite its Republican leanings. Watkins had largely toed the conservative line and vocally supported President Donald Trump in Congress.
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NewsPlexus Media August 5, 2020

Though it was the final word for many, the landmark national ruling could be a hollow win for LGBTQ people facing workplace hostility, according to advocates.
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NewsPlexus Media August 5, 2020

Sorry, boomers: millennials and younger are new US majority
Sorry, boomers. Millennials and their younger siblings and children now make up a majority of the U.S. population. A new analysis by the Brookings Institution shows that 50.7% of U.S. residents were under age 40, as of July 2019.
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NewsPlexus Media August 5, 2020

Double-digit unemployment. Increased hours of child care. Lost hours and benefits. In three months, women lost a decade’s worth of economic advancement. How long will it take to catch back up?
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NewsPlexus Media August 5, 2020

Thousands of migrant children — including babies — have been expelled by the Trump administration since March. Some have been held in hotels without access to lawyers or family. Advocates say many are now “virtually impossible” to find.
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NewsPlexus Media August 5, 2020

Smile more? Some critics see sexism in debate over Biden VP
She's too ambitious. She's not apologetic enough. She should smile more. The debate over Joe Biden's running mate has recently ticked through a familiar list of stereotypes about women in politics as the Democratic presidential candidate and his allies stumble through a search they had hoped would stand out for its inclusion and diversity.
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NewsPlexus Media August 4, 2020

Court hearing held in notorious case of children's deaths
A detective Monday described in excruciating details how investigators unearthed the remains of two children who had been missing for months while searching the rural Idaho property of a man charged with concealing evidence. The testimony came during a preliminary hearing where a judge will decide whether there is enough evidence to hold Chad Daybell for trial. He and the children's mother face charges related to the hiding of the remains of 17-year-old Tylee Ryan and 7-year-old Joshua "JJ" Vallow, although authorities have yet to say how the two died, or whether homicide charges will be filed in the case that has attracted worldwide headlines.
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NewsPlexus Media August 4, 2020

Police in suburban Denver have apologized after a group of Black girls was detained, and at least two handcuffed during a weekend investigation of a stolen car. Officers later determined that the vehicle they were seeking had the same license plate number but was from out-of-state. A video taken Sunday by a bystander shows the children, ranging in age from 6 to 17 years old, in a parking lot in Aurora, where there have recently been protests over the death of a Black man stopped by police last year.
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NewsPlexus Media August 4, 2020

House panel calls new postal chief to explain mail delays
The House Oversight Committee has invited the new postmaster general to appear at a September hearing to examine operational changes at the U.S. Postal Service that are causing delays in mail deliveries across the country. The plan imposed by Louis DeJoy, a Republican fundraiser who took over the top job at the Postal Service in June, eliminates overtime for hundreds of thousands of postal workers and orders that mail be kept until the next day if postal distribution centers are running late.
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NewsPlexus Media August 4, 2020

Kids getting caught in crossfire as US gun violence surges
July in Chicago ended as it began: Mourning the death of a child whose only mistake was venturing outside to play when someone armed with a gun came to the neighborhood hunting for an enemy. On Monday, two days after his department released statistics that revealed the month had been one of the deadliest in the history of the city, Police Superintendent David Brown repeated what has become a grim ritual of recounting the death of a child.
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NewsPlexus Media August 4, 2020

One year after mass shooting, frustration in Ohio city
Tormented by mind-scarring memories and questions without answers, Dion Green has dedicated his life after the death of his father and eight other people in a mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio, to memorializing them and trying to bring helpful change. “That purpose is my ‘Why?’” said Green, whose father died in his arms after he was caught in the barrage of bullets in Dayton's Oregon entertainment district in the early morning of Sunday, Aug. 4, one year ago. “I didn't die, so that's why I'm still here fighting.”
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NewsPlexus Media August 4, 2020

Wave of evictions expected as moratoriums end in many states
Some 23 million people nationwide are at risk of being evicted, according to The Aspen Institute, as moratoriums enacted because of the coronavirus expire and courts reopen. Around 30 state moratoriums have expired since May, according to The Eviction Lab at Princeton University. On top of that, some tenants were already encountering illegal evictions even with the moratoriums. Now, tenants are crowding courtrooms — or appearing virtually — to detail how the pandemic has upended their lives.
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NewsPlexus Media August 4, 2020

Who's who on the committee vetting Biden's possible VPs
Vice presidential searches make for perhaps the most popular of Washington parlor games: Veepstakes. The 2020 version now rests with Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden. If he defeats President Donald Trump, his pick would become the first woman to hold U.S. national elected office. Here's who's setting the stage for Biden's decision.
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NewsPlexus Media August 4, 2020

Vehicle malfunction sparked Southern California wildfire
A wildfire in mountains east of Los Angeles that has forced thousands of people from their homes was sparked by a malfunctioning diesel vehicle, fire officials said Monday. The vehicle spewed burning carbon from its exhaust system, igniting several fires Friday on Oak Glen Road in Cherry Valley, and authorities were asking anyone who may have seen such a vehicle at the time to contact investigators.
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NewsPlexus Media August 4, 2020

Progress slow on virus relief bill as negotiations continue
Negotiators on a huge coronavirus relief bill reported slight progress after talks resumed in the Capitol, with issues like food for the poor and aid to schools struggling to reopen safely assuming a higher profile in the talks. Multiple obstacles remain, including an impasse on extending a $600-per-week pandemic jobless benefit, funding for the Postal Service, and aid to renters facing eviction. Democratic negotiators spoke of progress Monday at almost the very moment that top Senate Republican Mitch McConnell was slamming them for taking a hard line in the talks.
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NewsPlexus Media August 4, 2020

Irksome in Iceland, brusque in Britain? US envoys draw ire
In Iceland, a nation so safe that its president runs errands on a bicycle, U.S. Ambassador Jeffery Ross Gunter has left locals aghast with his request to hire armed bodyguards. Gunter has also enraged lawmakers by casually and groundlessly hitching Iceland to President Donald Trump's controversial "China virus” label for the novel coronavirus. Not particularly diplomatic? Well, Gunter is hardly a diplomat by training. He’s a dermatologist. But he is also a contributor to Trump’s campaign, and that landed him the post in Reykjavik.
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NewsPlexus Media August 4, 2020

Hurricane Isaias makes landfall in North Carolina
Hurricane Isaias has made landfall near Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina, according to the National Hurricane Center. The hurricane touched down just after 11 p.m. on Monday with maximum sustained winds of 85 mph (136 km/h). Coastal shops and restaurants closed early, power began to flicker at oceanfront hotels and even the most adventurous of beachgoers abandoned the sand Monday night as newly restrengthened Hurricane Isaias sped toward the Carolinas.
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NewsPlexus Media August 4, 2020

Financially struggling zoos could be latest pandemic victims
Since the coronavirus pandemic began keeping visitors at home, the jaguars and chimpanzees at the Oakland Zoo have enjoyed the quiet, venturing out to areas of their exhibits they usually avoid. The bears and petting pigs miss the children, though, and are seeking more attention from zookeepers. Some things, however, haven't changed. The $55,000 in daily animal food costs have put the nearly 100-year-old zoo in a dire financial situation.
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NewsPlexus Media August 4, 2020

Thousands protest in Berlin against coronavirus restrictions
Thousands protested Germany's coronavirus restrictions Saturday in a Berlin demonstration marking what organizers called "the end of the pandemic" — a declaration that comes just as authorities are voicing increasing concerns about an uptick in new infections. With few masks in sight, a dense crowd marched through downtown Berlin from the Brandenburg Gate.
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NewsPlexus Media August 3, 2020

Ruling renews fairness debate in Boston Marathon bomber case
“Boston Strong” remains a “vibrant” rallying cry more than seven years after the marathon bombing killed three people and injured more than 260 others, a federal appeals court noted as it threw out the death sentence of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. But even as the ruling opened old wounds, it raised familiar questions about whether Tsarnaev can receive a fair hearing in the city where the bombs exploded — a community that may now be asked to relive unspeakable trauma.
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NewsPlexus Media August 3, 2020

Debate begins for who's first in line for COVID-19 vaccine
Who gets to be first in line for a COVID-19 vaccine? U.S. health authorities hope by late next month to have some draft guidance on how to ration initial doses, but it’s a vexing decision. “Not everybody’s going to like the answer,” Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, recently told one of the advisory groups the government asked to help decide. “There will be many people who feel that they should have been at the top of the list.”
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NewsPlexus Media August 3, 2020

Ginsburg waited 4 months to say her cancer had returned
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is perhaps the most forthcoming member of the Supreme Court when it comes to telling the public about her many health issues. But she waited more than four months to reveal that her cancer had returned and that she was undergoing chemotherapy. One big difference from her past battles with cancer is that Ginsburg and the rest of the court have been out of the public eye since early March because of the coronavirus pandemic.
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NewsPlexus Media August 3, 2020

As school begins amid virus, parents see few good options
As the academic year begins in many places across the country this week, parents are faced with the difficult choice of whether to send their children to school or keep them home for remote learning because of the coronavirus pandemic. Many are unhappy with either option.
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