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Heightened unrest in Philadelphia after Black man’s killing

By Claudia Lauer Associated Press PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A tense Philadelphia braced for more demonstrations Wednesday over the police killing of a Black man following two nights of protests that set off clashes with police and break-ins of stores on the other side of the city. The death of Walter Wallace Jr., who was fatally shot by police Monday after authorities say he ignored orders to drop a knife, came amid already heightened tensions in the battleground state just days before the…

Trump’s diagnosis rocks final stage of presidential campaign

By Bill Barrow and Steve Peoples Associated Press An election year already defined by a cascade of national crises descended further into chaos Friday, with President Donald Trump declaring that he’s tested positive for the coronavirus after consistently playing down the threat. Democratic challenger Joe Biden, who spent 90 minutes on stage with Trump in their Tuesday debate, tested negative and moved forward with plans to attend a campaign event in Michigan Friday afternoon. No one…

US outlines sweeping plan to provide free COVID-19 vaccines

By Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar Associated Press WASHINGTON (AP) — The federal government outlined a sweeping plan Wednesday 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…

Big Ten changes course, will play fall football after all

By Ralph D. Russo Associated Press Big Ten is going to give fall football a shot after all. Less than five weeks after pushing football and other fall sports to spring in the name of player safety during the pandemic, the conference changed course Wednesday and said it plans to begin its season the weekend of Oct. 23-24. Each team will play eight games in eight weeks and the conference championship game will be held Dec. 19 — if all goes well. That should give the Big Ten an…

Ex-Trump adviser Steve Bannon charged in border wall scheme

By Larry Neumeister, Colleen Long and Jill Colvin Associated Press NEW YORK (AP) — President Donald Trump's former chief strategist, Steve Bannon, and three associates were arrested Thursday on charges they ripped off donors to an online fundraising effort to build a privately funded southern border wall, making him the latest in a long list of Trump allies to be charged with a crime. The organizers of the "We Build The Wall" group portrayed themselves as eager to help the president build…

2nd US virus surge hits plateau, but few experts celebrate

By Mike  Stobbe and Nicky Forster Associated Press NEW YORK (AP) — While deaths from the coronavirus in the U.S. are mounting rapidly, public health experts are seeing a flicker of good news: The second surge of confirmed cases appears to be leveling off. Scientists aren’t celebrating by any means, warning that the trend is driven by four big, hard-hit places — Arizona, California, Florida and Texas — and that cases are rising in close to 30 states in all, with the outbreak's center of…

John Lewis mourned as ‘founding father’ of ‘better America’

By Jeff Martin Associated Press ATLANTA (AP) – John Lewis was celebrated as an American hero during his funeral Thursday as former President Barack Obama and others called on people to follow Lewis' example and fight injustice. Three former presidents joined in the eulogies at Atlanta's Ebenezer Baptist Church after nearly a week of mourning that took the civil rights icon from his birthplace in Alabama to the nation's capital of Washington to his final resting place in his home of…

Former GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain dies at 74

By Lisa J. Adams Wagner Associated Press ATLANTA (AP) – Herman Cain, former Republican presidential candidate and former CEO of a major pizza chain who went on to become an ardent supporter of President Donald Trump, has died of complications from the coronavirus. He was 74. A post on Cain's Twitter account Thursday announced the death. Cain had been ill with the virus for several weeks. It's not clear when or where he was infected, but he was hospitalized less than two weeks after…

Virus sends jobless claims up for first time since March

By Christopher Rugaber AP Economics Writer WASHINGTON (AP) — The viral pandemic's resurgence caused the number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits to rise last week for the first time in nearly four months, evidence of the deepening economic pain the outbreak is causing. The increase in weekly jobless claims to 1.4 million served to underscore the outsize role the unemployment insurance system is playing among the nation's safety net programs — just when a $600 weekly federal aid…

July Fourth weekend will test Americans’ discipline

By John Seewer Associated Press The U.S. headed into the Fourth of July weekend with many parades and fireworks displays canceled, beaches and bars closed, and health authorities warning that this will be a crucial test of Americans' self-control that could determine the trajectory of the surging coronavirus outbreak. With confirmed cases climbing in 40 states, governors have ordered the wearing of masks in public, and families were urged to celebrate their independence at home. Even…

Crowds tear down statues, attack Wisconsin state senator

By Scott Bauer Associated Press MADISON, Wis. (AP) –Gov. Tony Evers said Wednesday he was prepared to activate the National Guard to protect state properties after protesters outside the Wisconsin Capitol tore down statues commemorating an abolitionist and women's rights and threw a Molotov cocktail into a government building during a night of violence that also included an attack on a state senator. The violence from a group of between 200 and 300 people broke out Tuesday night as…

Appeals court orders dismissal of Michael Flynn prosecution

By Eric Tucker Associated Press WASHINGTON (AP) –A divided federal appeals court on Wednesday ordered the dismissal of the criminal case against President Donald Trump's former national security adviser Michael Flynn, turning back efforts by a judge to scrutinize the Justice Department's extraordinary decision to drop the prosecution. The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia said in a 2-1 ruling that the Justice Department's decision to abandon the case against Flynn…

Senate GOP police bill hits roadblock, as Dems seek changes

By Lisa Mascaro Associated Press WASHINGTON (AP) –A Republican policing bill hit a roadblock Wednesday as Senate Democrats voted against it as inadequate, leaving the parties to decide whether to negotiate a compromise or walk away despite public outcry over the killings of Black Americans. The impasse threatens to turn the nationwide protests over the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and others into another moment that galvanizes the nation but leaves lawmakers unable to act.…

Police disciplinary records are largely sealed

By Claudia Later and Colleen Long Associated Press PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Officer Derek Chauvin had more than a dozen misconduct complaints against him before he put his knee on George Floyd's neck. Daniel Pantaleo, the New York City officer who seized Eric Garner in a deadly chokehold, had eight. Ryan Pownall, a Philadelphia officer facing murder charges in the shooting of David Jones, had 15 over five years.  But the public didn't know about any of that until the victims' deaths.…

Officer charged in death of George Floyd released on bond

By Jim Hagerty Reporter MINNEAPOLIS - One of four ex-officers charged in the death of George Floyd has been released on bond. Thomas Lane, 37, was released from Hennepin County Jail Wednesday afternoon after posting bail, according to court documents. His bond was set at $1 million. Lane is charged with manslaughter and aiding and abetting second-degree murder, allegations that stem from a May 25 incident that left Floyd, 46, dead. The Memorial Day incident drew national outrage when a…