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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 July 13, 2020

South Africa returns to ban on alcohol sales as virus surges
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa says the country will immediately return to a ban on the sale of alcohol to reduce the volume of trauma patients so that hospitals have more beds open to treat COVID-19 patients. Confronted by surging hospitalizations due to the coronavirus, South Africa is also reinstating a night curfew to reduce traffic accidents and made it mandatory for all residents to wear face masks when in public.
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NewsPlexus Media July 13, 2020

Trump, Biden try to outdo each other on tough talk on China
China has fast become a top election issue as President Donald Trump and Democrat Joe Biden engage in a verbal brawl over who's better at playing the tough guy against Beijing. The Trump campaign put out ads showing Biden toasting China's Xi Jinping, even though Trump did just that with Xi in Asia and hosted the Chinese leader at his Florida club. Spots from the Biden campaign feature Trump playing down the coronavirus and praising Xi for being transparent about the pandemic, even though it's clear China hid details of the outbreak from the world.
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NewsPlexus Media July 13, 2020

As US grapples with virus, Florida hits record case increase
With the United States grappling with the worst coronavirus outbreak in the world, Florida hit a grim milestone Sunday, shattering the national record for a state's largest single-day increase in positive cases. Deaths from the virus have also been rising in the U.S., especially in the South and West, though still well below the heights hit in April, according to a recent Associated Press analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University.
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NewsPlexus Media July 13, 2020

Undaunted, US global media chief plows ahead with changes
Despite a barrage of criticism from both Democrats and Republicans, the new chief of U.S. global media is plowing ahead with changes to the Voice of America and other international broadcasters that are heightening concerns about their future as independent news organizations. Although Agency for Global Media chief executive Michael Pack has assured Congress that VOA and its sister networks will remain independent and pledged he would consult lawmakers on significant developments, last week he initiated personnel changes and began a review of visas for foreign employees.
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NewsPlexus Media July 13, 2020

Ready or not: Election costs soar in prep for virus voting
The demand for mail-in ballots is surging. Election workers need training. And polling booths might have to be outfitted with protective shields during the COVID-19 pandemic. As officials prepare for the Nov. 3 election, one certainty is clear: It's coming with a big price tag.
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NewsPlexus Media July 13, 2020

Activists seek to decriminalize 'magic' mushrooms in DC
The posters started blanketing light posts just a few weeks after the city entered what would be a monthslong stay-at-home order. Vividly colored and bearing a three-headed mushroom, they asked Washingtonians to “reform laws for plant and fungi medicines” by making natural psychedelics “the lowest level police enforcement priority.” It was the start of an underdog campaign that just managed a truly improbable political feat: a successful grassroots petition drive conducted entirely under pandemic lockdown conditions.
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NewsPlexus Media July 13, 2020

Reports: Washington to shed 'Redskins' name Monday
Washington’s NFL team will get rid of the name ‘Redskins’ on Monday, according to multiple reports. It’s unclear when a new name will be revealed for one of the league’s oldest franchises.
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NewsPlexus Media July 13, 2020

Look out, Mars: Here we come with a fleet of spacecraft
Mars is about to be invaded by planet Earth — big time. Three countries — the United States, China and the United Arab Emirates — are sending unmanned spacecraft to the red planet in quick succession beginning this week, in the most sweeping effort yet to seek signs of ancient microscopic life while scouting out the place for future astronauts.
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NewsPlexus Media July 12, 2020

Lawmakers vote to shut down Philippines' largest TV network
Philippine lawmakers voted Friday to reject the license renewal of the country's largest TV network, shutting down a major news provider that had been repeatedly threatened by the president over its critical coverage. The House of Representatives' Committee on Franchises voted 70-11 to reject a new 25-year license for ABS-CBN Corp. The National Telecommunications Commission had ordered the broadcaster to shut down in May after its old franchise expired. It halted broadcasting then, but the vote takes it off the air permanently.
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NewsPlexus Media July 12, 2020

Mexican American man charged with hate crime in fatal crash
A Mexican American man from Wisconsin is charged with homicide as a hate crime because prosecutors say he intentionally crashed his pickup truck into a motorcyclist and killed the man because he was white. Daniel Navarro, 27, of Fond du Lac, told investigators he had been harassed by co-workers and neighbors, and poisoned, drugged and verbally attacked by white people because of his race, authorities said.
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NewsPlexus Media July 12, 2020

Lawyer: Over 150 Minneapolis officers seeking disability
More than 150 Minneapolis police officers are filing work-related disability claims after the death of George Floyd and ensuing unrest, with about three-quarters citing post-traumatic stress disorder as the reason for their planned departures, according to an attorney representing the officers. Their duty disability claims, which will take months to process, come as the city is seeing an increase in violent crime and while city leaders push a proposal to replace the Minneapolis Police Department with a new agency that they say would have a more holistic approach.
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NewsPlexus Media July 12, 2020

Singer says lawsuit over Lady A name is 'white privilege'
Singer Anita White, who was sued by a country group over the use of the name Lady A, says the group is using their white privilege against her. The band, who had previously been known as Lady Antebellum, filed a lawsuit in federal court on Wednesday seeking a ruling that their use of the trademark “Lady A" does not infringe on White's use of the same name. The band is not seeking monetary damages.
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NewsPlexus Media July 12, 2020

Indiana GOP ousts attorney general after groping allegations
Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill’s bid for reelection was scuttled Friday as he lost the Republican nomination following a monthlong suspension of his law license over allegations that he groped a state lawmaker and three other women during a party. Former U.S. Rep. Todd Rokita prevailed in mail-in voting by state convention delegates after a campaign among party activists that centered on whether the allegations against Hill left him vulnerable to defeat in the November election.
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NewsPlexus Media July 12, 2020

Trump commutes longtime friend Roger Stone's prison sentence
President Donald Trump has commuted the sentence of his longtime political confidant Roger Stone, intervening in extraordinary fashion in a criminal case that was central to the Russia investigation and that concerned the president's own conduct. The move came Saturday, just days before Stone was to begin serving a 40-month prison sentence for lying to Congress, witness tampering and obstructing the House investigation into whether Trump's campaign colluded with Russia to win the 2016 election.
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NewsPlexus Media July 12, 2020

Cops fired over photos of chokehold used on Elijah McClain
Three officers were fired Friday over photos showing police reenact a chokehold used on Elijah McClain, a 23-year-old Black man who died last year after police stopped him on the street in a Denver suburb. One of those fired is Jason Rosenblatt, a white Aurora officer who helped stop McClain in August for wearing a ski mask and "being suspicious." Police put McClain in a chokehold, paramedics injected him with a sedative and McClain suffered cardiac arrest before later being taken off life support.
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NewsPlexus Media July 11, 2020

Thomas spoke, Roberts ruled in unusual Supreme Court term
Justice Clarence Thomas spoke and Chief Justice John Roberts ruled. The Supreme Court's most unusual term featured victories for immigrants, abortion rights, LGBTQ workers and religious freedoms. The usually quiet Thomas' baritone was heard by the whole world when the coronavirus outbreak upended the court's traditional way of doing business. When the biggest decisions were handed down, the chief justice was almost always in the majority and dictated the reach of the court’s most controversial cases, whether they were won by the left or the right.
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NewsPlexus Media July 11, 2020

Trump lags Biden on people of color in top campaign staff positions
Amid a summer of racial unrest and calls for more diversity in leadership, President Donald Trump lags Democratic rival Joe Biden in the percentage of people of color on their campaign staffs, according to data the campaigns provided to The Associated Press. Twenty-five percent of the Republican president's senior staff are nonwhite, compared to 36% of Biden's senior staff. Biden's overall campaign team is 35% nonwhite; Trump's campaign did not provide a comparable number.
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NewsPlexus Media July 11, 2020

COVID-19 heroes must jump through hoops for workers' comp
Lauded for their service and hailed as everyday heroes, essential workers who get the coronavirus on the job have no guarantee in most states they'll qualify for workers' compensation to cover lost wages and medical care. Fewer than one-third of the states have enacted policies that shift the burden of proof for coverage of job-related COVID-19 so workers like first responders and nurses don't have to show they got sick by reporting for a risky assignment.
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NewsPlexus Media July 11, 2020

Foreign students weigh studying in person vs. losing visas
International students worried about a new immigration policy that could potentially cost them their visas say they feel stuck between being unnecessarily exposed during the coronavirus pandemic and being able to finish their studies in America. Students from countries as diverse as India, China and Brazil told The Associated Press they are scrambling to devise plans after federal immigration authorities notified colleges this week that international students must leave the U.S. or transfer to another college if their schools operate entirely online this fall.
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NewsPlexus Media July 11, 2020

Tapping into crime fears, GOP conflates mayhem with protests
Apocalyptic images of blazing buildings and window-smashing protesters pop on the TV screen as a caller to a 911 emergency line reaches voicemail. The computer offers to take reports of rapes, murders or home invasions, adding, “Our estimated wait time is five days.” The 30-second ad by President Donald Trump's reelection campaign ends with “You won't be safe in Joe Biden's America” emblazoned across a flickering hellscape. It blames a push by progressive activists to defund the police as “violent crime has exploded.”
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NewsPlexus Media July 10, 2020

COVID-19 pandemic in Africa is now reaching 'full speed'
The COVID-19 pandemic in Africa is reaching “full speed,” the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention chief said Thursday, while a South African official said a single province is preparing 1.5 million graves. Just a day after confirmed coronavirus cases across Africa surpassed the half-million milestone the total was over 522,000 and climbing, with more than 12,000 deaths. With testing levels low, the real numbers are unknown.
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NewsPlexus Media July 10, 2020

Study suggests fetal coronavirus infection is possible
A small study strengthens evidence that a pregnant woman infected with the coronavirus might be able to spread it to her fetus. Researchers from Italy said Thursday that they studied 31 women with COVID-19 who delivered babies in March and April. They found signs of the virus in several samples of umbilical cord blood, the placenta and, in one case, breast milk.
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NewsPlexus Media July 10, 2020

WHO: Indoor airborne spread of coronavirus possible
The World Health Organization is acknowledging the possibility that COVID-19 might be spread in the air under certain conditions — after more than 200 scientists urged the agency to do so. In an open letter published this week in a journal, two scientists from Australia and the U.S. wrote that studies have shown “beyond any reasonable doubt that viruses are released during exhalation, talking and coughing in microdroplets small enough to remain aloft in the air.”
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NewsPlexus Media July 10, 2020

Officers in deadly Breonna Taylor raid thought she was alone
Louisville police officers who fatally shot Breonna Taylor while serving a warrant were told she should be home alone because the main target of the narcotics investigation was elsewhere, according to an interview with one of the detectives who served the warrant.
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NewsPlexus Media July 10, 2020

Wisconsin Supreme Court OKs GOP-authored lame-duck laws
The conservative-controlled Wisconsin Supreme Court on Thursday upheld Republican-authored lame-duck laws that stripped power from the incoming Democratic attorney general just before he took office in 2019. The justices rejected arguments that the laws were unconstitutional, handing another win to Republicans who have scored multiple high-profile victories before the court in recent years.
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NewsPlexus Media July 10, 2020

US sanctions Chinese officials over repression of minorities
The United States on Thursday imposed sanctions on three senior officials of the Chinese Communist Party, including a member of the ruling Politburo, for alleged human rights abuses targeting ethnic and religious minorities that China has detained in the western part of the country.
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NewsPlexus Media July 10, 2020

DC judge asks for full appeal review of Flynn dismissal
The U.S. District Court judge who oversaw the criminal case of President Donald Trump's former national security adviser Michael Flynn has requested a full appeals court review after a three-judge panel ordered him to dismiss it. U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan made the highly unusual the request Thursday. A three-judge panel last month ordered Sullivan to dismiss the case against Flynn, following the Justice Department's extraordinary decision to drop the prosecution.
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NewsPlexus Media July 10, 2020

Ousted NY prosecutor tells panel Barr 'urged' him to resign
The ousted U.S. attorney who was leading investigations into President Donald Trump's allies told the House Judiciary panel on Thursday that Attorney General William Barr “repeatedly urged” him to resign during a hastily arranged meeting that sheds light on the extraordinary standoff surrounding his departure. Geoffrey Berman, the former federal prosecutor for the Southern District of New York, provided the committee with a detailed account behind closed doors of three days in June as he was pushed out, according to his opening statement, which was obtained by The Associated Press.
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NewsPlexus Media July 10, 2020

Pentagon: US will respond if Russia bounty reports are true
Top Pentagon leaders told Congress on Thursday that reports of Russia offering Taliban militants bounties for killing Americans were not corroborated by defense intelligence agencies, but said they are looking into it and the U.S. will respond if necessary. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said his military commanders heard initial reports on the the bounty issue in January and he first saw an intelligence paper about it in February. While the threats were taken seriously, he said they have not yet been found credible.
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NewsPlexus Media July 10, 2020

CDC head sticking to school-opening guides Trump criticized
Federal health officials won't revise their coronavirus guidelines for reopening schools despite criticism from President Donald Trump, the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday. What they will do, he said, is provide additional information to help states, communities and parents decide what to do and when.
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NewsPlexus Media July 10, 2020

Medical experts: Floyd's speech didn't mean he could breathe
As George Floyd repeatedly pleaded “I can’t breathe” to police officers holding him down on a Minneapolis street corner, some of the officers responded by pointing out he was able to speak. One told Floyd it takes “a lot of oxygen” to talk, while another told angry bystanders that Floyd was “talking, so he can breathe.” That reaction — seen in police restraint deaths around the country — is dangerously wrong, medical experts say. While it would be right to believe a person who can’t talk also cannot breathe, the reverse is not true – speaking does not imply that someone is getting enough air to survive.
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NewsPlexus Media July 10, 2020

Milley: Confederate names on Army bases divide the military
Confederate Army symbols within the military, including prominent Army bases named for rebel generals, are divisive and can be offensive to Black people in uniform, the nation's top officer said Thursday. "The American Civil War was fought and it was an act of rebellion, it was an act of treason at the time, against the Union, against the Stars and Stripes, against the U.S. Constitution, and those officers turned their backs on their oaths," Army Gen. Mark Milley told a House Armed Services Committee hearing.
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NewsPlexus Media July 10, 2020

Biden pledges New Deal-like economic agenda to counter Trump
Democrat Joe Biden turned his campaign against President Donald Trump toward the economy Thursday, introducing a New Deal-like economic agenda while drawing a sharp contrast with a billionaire incumbent he said has abandoned working-class Americans amid cascading crises. The former vice president presented details of a comprehensive agenda that he touted as the most aggressive government investment in the U.S. economy since World War II. He also accused Trump of ignoring the coronavirus pandemic and the climate crisis while encouraging division amid a national reckoning with systemic racism.
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NewsPlexus Media July 10, 2020

Watchdog details storm of political pressure in Sharpiegate
Political pressure from the White House and a series of “crazy in the middle of the night” texts, emails and phone calls caused top federal weather officials to wrongly admonish a weather office for a tweet that contradicted President Donald Trump about Hurricane Dorian in 2019, an inspector general report found. Commerce Department Inspector General Peggy Gustafson concluded in a report issued Thursday that the statement chastising the National Weather Service office in Birmingham, Alabama, could undercut public trust in weather warnings from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and for a short time even hindered public safety. Agency officials downplayed and disputed the findings.
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NewsPlexus Media July 10, 2020

Official: Feds feared Epstein confidant might kill herself
Federal officials were so worried Jeffrey Epstein’s longtime confidant Ghislaine Maxwell might take her own life after her arrest that they took away her clothes and bedsheets and made her wear paper attire while in custody, an official familiar with the matter told The Associated Press. The steps to ensure Maxwell’s safety while she’s locked up at a federal jail in New York City extend far beyond the measures federal officials took when they first arrested her in New Hampshire last week.
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NewsPlexus Media July 10, 2020

North Korean leader's sister says Kim-Trump summit unlikely
The powerful sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said Friday she doesn't expect her brother to meet President Donald Trump this year, saying there's no reason for the North to gift Trump high-profile meetings when it's not being substantially rewarded in return. "But also, you never know," Kim Yo Jong said in a statement released through Pyongyang's official Korean Central News Agency, where she called for major concessions from Washington to keep alive the nuclear diplomacy.
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NewsPlexus Media July 10, 2020

Big Ten scraps nonconference football games due to pandemic
The Big Ten Conference announced Thursday it will not play nonconference games in football and several other sports this fall, the most dramatic move yet by a power conference because of the coronavirus pandemic. The conference cited medical advice in making its decision and added ominously that the plan would be applied only “if the conference is able to participate in fall sports.”
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NewsPlexus Media July 10, 2020

Ex-Trump lawyer Michael Cohen back in federal prison
President Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer and fixer, Michael Cohen, was returned to federal prison Thursday, after balking at certain conditions of the home confinement he was granted because of the coronavirus pandemic. Records obtained by The Associated Press said Cohen was ordered into custody after he “failed to agree to the terms of Federal Location Monitoring" in Manhattan.
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NewsPlexus Media July 10, 2020

Seoul mayor left note saying 'sorry' as South Korea mourns
Seoul's mayor left a note saying he felt "sorry to all people" before he was found dead early Friday, officials in the South Korean capital said as people began mourning the liberal legal activist seen as a potential presidential candidate. Mayor Park Won-soon had been found dead in wooded hills in northern Seoul hours after his daughter reported to police he had left her a "will-like" verbal message and disappeared. His body was found after hours of searching near the last location of his phone.
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NewsPlexus Media July 10, 2020

Authorities search for 'Glee' star believed to have drowned
Authorities planned Friday to renew the search for "Glee" star Naya Rivera, who is believed to have drowned in a Southern California lake while boating with her 4-year-old son. Rivera, 33, disappeared after renting the pontoon boat for three hours Wednesday afternoon and taking it out on Lake Piru in Ventura County, the Sheriff's Office said Thursday.
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NewsPlexus Media July 10, 2020

WHO experts to visit China as part of COVID-19 investigation
Two World Health Organization experts will spend the next two days in the Chinese capital to lay the groundwork for a larger mission to investigate the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic. One animal health expert and one epidemiologist during their visit to Beijing on Saturday and Sunday will work to fix the “scope and terms of reference” for the future mission aimed at learning how the virus jumped from animals to humans, the agency's statement said Friday.
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NewsPlexus Media July 10, 2020

Virus loans helped entities tied to Trump evangelical allies
Churches connected to President Donald Trump and other organizations linked to current or former Trump evangelical advisers received at least $17.3 million in loans from a federal rescue package designed to aid small businesses during the coronavirus pandemic. Those receiving loans include City of Destiny, the Florida church that Trump’s personal pastor and White House faith adviser Paula White-Cain calls home, and First Baptist Dallas, led by Trump ally and senior pastor Robert Jeffress. City of Destiny got between $150,000 and $350,000 from the Paycheck Protection Program, or PPP, and First Baptist Dallas got between $2 million and $5 million, according to data released by the Treasury Department on Monday.
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NewsPlexus Media July 10, 2020

Mary Trump's book offers scathing portrayal of president
President Donald Trump's niece offers a scathing portrayal of her uncle in a new book, blaming a toxic family for raising a narcissistic, damaged man who poses an immediate danger to the public, according to a copy obtained Tuesday by The Associated Press. Mary L. Trump, a psychologist, writes that Trump's reelection would be catastrophic and that “lying, playing to the lowest common denominator, cheating, and sowing division are all he knows.”
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NewsPlexus Media July 10, 2020

Data: Congress created virus aid, then reaped the benefits
At least a dozen lawmakers have ties to organizations that received federal coronavirus aid, according to newly released government data, highlighting how Washington insiders were both author and beneficiary of one of the biggest government programs in U.S. history. Under pressure from Congress and outside groups, the Trump administration this week disclosed the names of some loan recipients in the $659 billion Paycheck Protection Program, launched in April to help smaller businesses keep Americans employed during the pandemic. Connections to lawmakers, and the organizations that work to influence them, were quickly apparent.
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NewsPlexus Media July 10, 2020

Exhausted cities face another challenge: a surge in violence
Still reeling from the coronavirus pandemic and street protests over the police killing of George Floyd, exhausted cities around the nation are facing yet another challenge: a surge in shootings that has left dozens dead, including young children. The spike defies easy explanation, experts say, pointing to the toxic mix of issues facing America in 2020: an unemployment rate not seen in a generation, a pandemic that has killed more than 130,000 people, stay-at-home orders, rising anger over police brutality, intense stress, even the weather.
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NewsPlexus Media July 10, 2020

Time may be running out for TikTok as Pompeo joins chorus of warnings
Florida's U.S. senators have maintained for months the proliferation of Chinese social media apps is a national security threat. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has responded to those claims several times this week, announcing the Trump administration is “certainly looking at” banning several of the apps, including the popular video app TikTok, which has been alleged to be used by the Communist Party of China for data mining.
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NewsPlexus Media July 9, 2020

Biden-Sanders task forces unveil joint goals for party unity
Political task forces Joe Biden formed with onetime rival Bernie Sanders to solidify support among the Democratic Party's progressive wing recommended Wednesday that the former vice president embrace major proposals to combat climate change and institutional racism while expanding health care coverage and rebuilding a coronavirus-ravaged economy.
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NewsPlexus Media July 9, 2020

Lawyer: TSA makes changes after whistleblower's complaint
The Transportation Security Administration has improved coronavirus protection for airport screeners after a TSA official accused the agency of endangering travelers, the whistleblower's lawyer said Wednesday. The changes include requiring screeners to change or sanitize gloves after every time they pat down a passenger, and to wear face shields around travelers if there aren't plastic barriers between them and the public.
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NewsPlexus Media July 9, 2020

Ivy League suspends fall sports due to coronavirus pandemic
The Ivy League on Wednesday became the first Division I conference to suspend all fall sports, including football, leaving open the possibility of moving some seasons to the spring if the coronavirus pandemic is better controlled by then. “We simply do not believe we can create and maintain an environment for intercollegiate athletic competition that meets our requirements for safety and acceptable levels of risk,” the Ivy League Council of Presidents said in a statement.
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NewsPlexus Media July 9, 2020

'Strike for Black Lives' to highlight racism
A national coalition of labor unions, along with racial and social justice organizations, will stage a mass walkout from work this month, as part of an ongoing reckoning on systemic racism and police brutality in the U.S. Dubbed the “Strike for Black Lives,” tens of thousands of fast food, ride-share, nursing home and airport workers in more than 25 cities are expected to walk off the job July 20 for a full day strike.
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