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HeadlinesOctober 29, 2020

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“Unrelenting, Broad Community Spread”: U.S. Coronavirus Cases Surge to Record Highs

Oct 29, 2020

The United States recorded more than 80,000 new coronavirus infections Wednesday and over 1,000 new deaths, as the White House Coronavirus Task Force warned in an internal report of “unrelenting, broad community spread in the Midwest, Upper Midwest and West.” Every state in the union is either holding steady or seeing an increase in new cases, with the U.S. headed for a third surge that’s set to rival two previous peaks.

On the campaign trail, President Trump continues to rally his supporters at packed events where few people wear masks. On Wednesday, Trump traveled to Arizona, where he mocked a statewide mask mandate ordered by California Governor Gavin Newsom.

President Donald Trump: “In California, you have a special mask. You cannot, under any circumstances, take it off. You have to eat through the mask.”

Trump’s remarks came as a new study by Vanderbilt University researchers found coronavirus hospitalizations rose dramatically in places without a local mask mandate compared to places where a large majority of people wore face coverings in public. On Wednesday, top infectious disease scientist Dr. Anthony Fauci made his strongest comments yet in favor of a nationwide mask mandate.

Dr. Anthony Fauci: “Let’s put aside these extraordinary excuses for not doing it, when we’re dealing with a situation that’s not trivial. You know, we have 225,000 deaths. The modeling tells us we’re going to get a hundred or more thousand as we get into the winter. That is just something that’s unacceptable.”

Meanwhile, new audio has emerged of President Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner bragging about Trump’s decision to ignore the advice of his top public health officials early in the pandemic. Kushner was speaking with journalist Bob Woodward on April 18.

Jared Kushner: “You know, it was almost like Trump getting the country back from the doctors, right? In the sense that what he now did was, you know, he’s going to own the open-up.”

Last week, a study in the journal Nature Medicine found universal mask wearing across the U.S. could save nearly 130,000 lives by the end of next February.

L.A. Dodgers’ Justin Turner Celebrated with Teammates Despite Positive Coronavirus Test

Oct 29, 2020

The University of Wisconsin has canceled Saturday’s football game at the University of Nebraska, after six players and six staffers — including head coach Paul Chryst — tested positive for coronavirus. The team’s outbreak came as the state of Wisconsin set a record-high coronavirus test positivity rate of more than 27%, with hospitalizations more than doubling over the last month.

Meanwhile, Major League Baseball sharply criticized Los Angeles Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner on Wednesday, after he returned to the field just hours after testing positive for coronavirus. Turner was pulled from Game 6 of the World Series during the eighth inning Tuesday evening but then returned to celebrate after the Dodgers clinched the series, taking a turn hoisting the World Series trophy overhead and even removing his face mask to pose for photos with teammates. In a statement, Major League Baseball promised an investigation, adding, “While a desire to celebrate is understandable, Turner’s decision to leave isolation and enter the field was wrong and put everyone he came in contact with at risk.”

France and Germany Lock Down Again as COVID-19 Cases Surge

Oct 29, 2020

French President Emmanuel Macron has ordered a nationwide lockdown for the second time since the pandemic began, after France registered more than 30,000 coronavirus cases Wednesday for the third day in a row.

President Emmanuel Macron: “Like in the spring, you will be able to leave your house only to work, for a medical appointment, to provide assistance to a relative, to shop for essential goods or to get some air near your house. This means the return of the permission slip.”

Germany said it will close restaurants, bars, gyms and theaters for a month — but will keep schools and daycares open — after a massive second wave of infections pushed daily case counts and hospitalizations to record highs.

Iran reported a record death toll for a second straight day Wednesday, with fresh warnings that the nation’s healthcare system — already strained by U.S. sanctions — could collapse.

In Latin America, Mexico has passed 900,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and over 90,000 deaths, while Argentina continues to set records for infections with one out of every 44 people confirmed to have acquired the virus.

Supreme Court to Allow Counting of Absentee Ballots Past Election Day in PA, NC

Oct 29, 2020

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled the states of Pennsylvania and North Carolina can accept absentee ballots received after November 3 — at least for now. In the Pennsylvania case, the justices refused to take up a plea from Republicans to overturn a ruling by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to count ballots received up until three days after the election if they are postmarked by November 3. But the justices could still consider the Republican challenge again after the election if the state turns out to be pivotal to the election.

In the North Carolina case, the justices let stand a lower court ruling allowing the state’s Board of Elections to extend the deadline for counting ballots to nine days after Election Day. Newly confirmed Justice Amy Coney Barrett did not take part in either case.

7 Hospitalized in Nebraska as Trump Campaign Leaves Hundreds Stranded in Cold

Oct 29, 2020

In Nebraska, hundreds of Trump supporters were left stranded in the freezing cold for hours at an airfield in Omaha Tuesday night following a rally by President Trump. At least seven people were taken to the hospital. One 68-year-man was found shivering with possible hypothermia and altered mental status, according to an account on the Omaha police scanner. The rally was held three miles from the closest parking lot, and the Trump campaign didn’t have enough buses to transport everyone in a timely manner.

Former DHS Official Miles Taylor Was “Anonymous” Critic Within Trump Administration

Oct 29, 2020

Former Department of Homeland Security official Miles Taylor has revealed he was the Trump administration insider who first critiqued the president in 2018 in The New York Times under the pen name Anonymous. The Times described Anonymous as a “senior official in the Trump administration,” prompting speculation that the article may have been written by a member of Trump’s Cabinet. At the time, Taylor was an adviser to then-Homeland Security Director Kirstjen Nielsen. In August, Taylor endorsed Joe Biden for president.

Virginia to Curb Militarized Police Departments, Ban No-Knock Raids

Oct 29, 2020

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam has signed several police reform bills limiting the militarization of police departments and banning the use of no-knock warrants — joining Florida and Oregon as the third state to bar unannounced raids by police. Virginia House Bill 5099 was nicknamed “Breonna’s Law” after Breonna Taylor, the 26-year-old Black woman shot to death in her own home last March by Louisville, Kentucky, police officers serving a no-knock warrant.

Philadelphia Activist Anthony Smith Arrested Amid Protests of Police Killing of Walter Wallace Jr.

Oct 29, 2020

In Philadelphia, federal agents arrested prominent civil rights activist Anthony Smith at his home Wednesday over unspecified charges related to protests against police brutality that erupted in May. Smith’s lawyers are questioning the timing of the arrest, which came as protests continued against the police killing of Walter Wallace Jr., a 27-year-old Black man who was shot and killed by two Philadelphia officers during a mental health crisis. Philadelphia’s mayor ordered a curfew overnight, following incidents of arson and looting on the sidelines of mostly peaceful protests on Monday and Tuesday. Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Police Department says it has launched an investigation into officers who were filmed smashing the windows of an SUV during protests early Tuesday morning — then beating the driver and removing a small child from the back seat.

Hurricane Zeta Is Fifth Named Storm to Strike Louisiana During Record 2020 Season

Oct 29, 2020

On the Gulf Coast, at least two people were killed Wednesday after Hurricane Zeta made landfall south of New Orleans as a Category 2 storm. Zeta moved rapidly inland, leaving more than 1.7 million customers without power between Louisiana and the Carolinas. It was the fifth named storm to make landfall in Louisiana this year, the strongest hurricane since 1899 to hit the U.S. this late in the year, and the 27th named storm of 2020’s unprecedented Atlantic hurricane season.

Trump to Open Alaska’s Tongass National Forest to Logging and Road Building

Oct 29, 2020

The Trump administration has stripped protections against logging and road building in the Tongass National Forest in Alaska — one of the world’s largest temperate rainforests. The 9.3-million-acre forest is home to pristine old-growth trees and vulnerable species, including Pacific salmon, wolves and bears. This month, the Natural Resources Defense Council noted the Tongass “stores more carbon per acre than almost any other forest on the planet, which makes preserving it a matter of real urgency in the fight against climate change.”

21 Civilians Killed as Azerbaijan and Armenia Continue War over Nagorno-Karabakh

Oct 29, 2020

The International Red Cross warns fighting between Azerbaijan and Armenia in the Nagorno-Karabakh region risks spiraling out of control as civilian casualties mount. On Wednesday, Armenia accused Azerbaijan of bombing a maternity hospital in Stepanakert. Meanwhile, Azerbaijan claims 21 people died after Armenian forces shelled the town of Barda.

Colombian Riot Police Evict Hundreds of Indigenous People from Homes in Amazonas

Oct 29, 2020

In Colombia, riot police used tear gas and truncheons Wednesday to force more than 600 Indigenous families from their homes on privately owned land in the southern Amazonas region. The area is one of Colombia’s poorest, and residents say poverty drove them to occupy the property two months ago in a desperate bid for survival.

Indigenous woman: “If the police are going to evict me, then kill me first! But, I tell you, I am not going. I am not going!”

ICE to Pay $100,000 Settlement for Targeting Migrant Justice Leaders in Vermont

Oct 29, 2020

In the United States, Immigration and Customs Enforcement has agreed to pay $100,000 in damages to settle a lawsuit for targeting members of the Vermont-based group Migrant Justice. Under the agreement, ICE will also stop deportation proceedings against three members of Migrant Justice, including Victor Diaz, who spoke in Burlington at a rally on Wednesday.

Victor Diaz: ”ICE tried to terrorize us by going after our leaders. They tried to divide us by going after our organization. They tried to silence us. But with this settlement, we are saying that we will not be silenced!”

Baltimore Museum of Art Calls Off Auctions to Fund New Exhibits by Women and Artists of Color

Oct 29, 2020

In news from the art world, the Baltimore Museum of Art has called off plans to sell three paintings, including an Andy Warhol, to raise money to buy more art by women and artists of color. The museum was hoping to raise $65 million from the auction and sale, but the move set off a fierce debate within Baltimore and the art community.

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