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Antonio Perez/Chicago Tribune/TNS

Facing potentially decades in prison, R. Kelly 'hopeful' despite jail beating, COVID-19 lockdown

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CHICAGO — Beleaguered singer R. Kelly is to go to trial on federal racketeering charges in New York in just four months, but already he's feeling the squeeze.

Facing the potential of decades in prison, Kelly is back on lockdown at Chicago's federal jail because of a new COVID-19 outbreak. His repeated attempts to win release on bond pending ...Read more

Robert Willett/The News & Observer/TNS

COVID-19 hospitalizations set a new daily record in North Carolina as surge continues

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Another 3,444 people have tested positive for coronavirus in North Carolina, and the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 hit a new high, the state Department of Health and Human Services reported Saturday.

The daily report indicates that the November spike in cases shows few signs of abating. In the second half of the ...Read more

Carline Jean/Sun Sentinel/TNS

'Sheriff, hurry up please.' Disabled man battles intruder as cops wait down the street

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FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — He had just stepped from the shower and was settling in for the night when he caught a glimpse of a figure outside his window.

Seventy-year-old Bill Norkunas, a childhood polio survivor, headed over to the light and flicked it on hoping to scare away whoever was there. Instead, the light was a beacon drawing a young ...Read more

Michigan reports 8,080 new COVID-19 cases, 103 deaths

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DETROIT — Michigan reported 8,080 new cases of COVID-19 and 103 new deaths Saturday, according to an update from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

Seventy of the 103 deaths were found in a records review to see if a COVID-19 infection contributed to one's death.

The state now has 9,036 confirmed deaths and 350,021 ...Read more

Hurricane center monitors 2 systems in Atlantic

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ORLANDO, Fla. — Two systems in the Atlantic Ocean with potential to form into a tropical or subtropical depressions or storms are under close watch by the National Hurricane Center on Saturday, as the end of hurricane season grows closer.

As of 7 p.m., one nontropical low pressure system was located about 700 miles east-southeast of Bermuda ...Read more

Joe Raedle/Getty Images North America/TNS

When will kids get a COVID-19 vaccine? Experts say it may be long after adults

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WASHINGTON — The U.S. may be weeks away from getting its first coronavirus vaccine approved for adults, but many parents and doctors wonder when children will be able to benefit from the protection it offers.

Experts have said that adults in the general public likely won't get vaccinated until spring, and kids might have to wait even longer �...Read more

Western states call for massive rent relief — and political wins

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SAN JOSE, Calif. — The best hope for swift pandemic aid to struggling California tenants and landlords might come from Georgia.

State lawmakers from California and three other Western states this week are urging their congressional delegations to step up with $100 billion for rent relief — an achievable goal, they believe, if Democrats win ...Read more

Chicago pilot plan for emergency mental health responses does not include police

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CHICAGO — City officials said have revised their plans for a new citywide response on emergency mental health calls to include nonpolice responder teams, an idea pushed hard for several months by activists and community leaders.

The plan for the so-called mobile crisis teams of clinicians and paramedics — without police — will now be part...Read more

Protest against Macron's security law turns violent in Paris

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PARIS — Violence erupted in Paris on Saturday during a march against a controversial new security legislation that would ban the publication of images of police officers with intent to cause them harm.

Turmoil erupted at about 4 p.m. local time on Saturday during the march, which was near the Bastille square where as many as 46,000 people ...Read more

Average winter temperatures in Northeast have warmed by up to 4.8 degrees since 1970, new research shows

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PHILADELPHIA — In the winter of 1969-70, Philadelphia had an average temperature of 30.3 degrees Fahrenheit. Last year, the average was 39.4.

No one says snow and cold spells are things of the past. But winters have warmed considerably since 1970 in the Northeast, according to data compiled by Climate Central, an organization of scientists ...Read more

SC reports highest number of new COVID-19 cases since July

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COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina on Saturday reported the highest number of new coronavirus cases in more than four months with 1,797, according to the Department of Health and Environmental Control.

It's the fourth time since July that South Carolina has reported at least 1,700 cases — all four were this month — and the most confirmed ...Read more

Kevin P. Coughlin/Office of Governor Cuomo/TNS

New York nears 4% COVID-19 positivity rate and 42 die as second wave spreads, Gov. Cuomo says

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NEW YORK — New York continues to grapple with a holiday COVID-19 outbreak that shows no signs of easing.

The state recorded an overall positive test rate of just under 4% Saturday, the highest number recorded in more than six months.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the state's policy of targeting clusters was effective up to a point but conceded that...Read more

ASHRAF SHAZLY/AFP/Getty Images North America/TNS

Ethiopian forces take control of capital of Tigray region

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Ethiopian forces have taken "full control" of Mekelle, the capital of the restive Tigray region, ending a three-week military conflict.

The military has gained control of the airport, public institutions and regional administrative offices, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said in a statement. The armed forces also secured the Northern Command ...Read more

Second person dies after Black Friday shooting at Sacramento mall

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A second person has died after being wounded in a shooting inside Arden Fair during the height of Black Friday shopping in what was described as a targeted and isolated attack.

The victim, a 17-year-old male, was pronounced dead at a hospital several hours later, the Sacramento Police Department said Saturday morning. The...Read more

JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP/Getty Images North America/TNS

UK to approve BioNTech-Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine within days, report says

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LONDON — The U.K. is about to become the first western country to approve a COVID-19 vaccine, with the independent regulator set to grant approval within days, according to the Financial Times.

The paper reports that deliveries of the vaccine developed by BioNTech SE and Pfizer Inc. will begin within hours of the authorization, citing ...Read more

Retired Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh dies at 46 after Connecticut house fire

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Tony Hsieh, the former CEO of online shoe retailer Zappos, died from injuries sustained during a fire that ripped through a loved one's home in Connecticut, the company confirmed.

The iconic tech entrepreneur died Friday night. He was 46.

"The world has lost a tremendous visionary and an incredible human being," Zappos CEO Kedar Deshpande ...Read more

COVID-19 drugs from Lilly, Regeneron raise access, timing concerns

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WASHINGTON — Powerful drugs recently authorized by the U.S. that may prevent those at the earliest stages of COVID-19 from suffering severe disease present thorny new challenges, including who will get them and where they'll be administered.

Antibody treatments, like one from Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. that was used to treat President ...Read more

Jay L. Clendenin/Los Angeles Times/TNS

Coronavirus hospitalizations worsen in California, raising new alarms

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LOS ANGELES — The number of people hospitalized with coronavirus infections in California has doubled in just the last two weeks and is rapidly headed to breaking past its summertime high, according to a Times analysis.

The surge in hospitalizations came as California surpassed another bleak milestone: More than 19,000 deaths related to COVID...Read more

BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images North America/TNS

Trump's plan to import drugs into US and Florida faces legal challenge

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — An influential pharmaceutical lobbying group is suing to end the Trump administration's plan to allow prescription drugs to be imported from Canada into the United States.

That could have major implications for Florida, where Gov. Ron DeSantis and President Donald Trump have highlighted state and federal efforts to lower ...Read more

Alex Slitz/Lexington Herald-Leader/TNS

On Thanksgiving, Kentucky saw largest single-day increase in COVID-19 cases

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LEXINGTON, Ky. — Gov. Andy Beshear announced 5,617 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday across Kentucky and 36 additional deaths, bringing the statewide case total to 171,755 and the death toll to 1,871.

Friday's increase in cases and deaths is especially high because it includes totals from Thanksgiving. On the Thursday holiday, Kentucky reported...Read more