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Spain's coronavirus patients surpass Italy's, but new cases slow

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Spain's COVID-19 cases have surpassed Italy as Europe's two main epicenters continue to grapple with curtailing the virus. A slower pace of fatalities and new cases though is offering hope that Spain's outbreak may be edging toward a peak.

Confirmed cases increased by 7,026 to 124,736 over the past 24 hours, according to Health Ministry data, ...Read more

Coral Princess cruise ship, with 2 dead people aboard, has docked at Port Miami

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MIAMI -- Two people have died aboard the Coral Princess cruise ship, which docked in Port Miami Saturday morning.

The captain announced the updates to passengers Saturday morning, said Shannon Kilbane, a passenger from California.

Princess Cruises, a subsidiary of Miami-based Carnival Corp., confirmed in a statement the ship was headed to ...Read more

Coronavirus scofflaws arrested, criminally charged as California cracks down

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LOS ANGELES -- As California officials try desperately to keep people inside to slow the spread of the coronavirus, authorities are beginning to crack down on scofflaws.

The crackdown has escalated in recent days, with nonessential businesses that refuse to shut down as well as people who defy orders to stay out of the water finding themselves ...Read more

Pakistan to challenge acquittal in 2002 killing of US journalist

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ISLAMABAD -- The Pakistani foreign minister said on Saturday that the government will file an appeal against a court decision acquitting the man accused of the 2002 murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl.

"It has been decided to file an appeal against the decision in the Supreme Court," Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said in...Read more

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Trump target, leaps into prominence

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Gretchen Whitmer first gained attention when she ran for governor of Michigan with an unforgettable campaign slogan: "Fix the Damn Roads."

The back-to-basics approach led Whitmer to overwhelmingly claim the seat in 2018, positioning her as a Democratic fresh face capable of winning back the Midwestern voters who abandoned Hillary Clinton two ...Read more

Will New York rebound from the coronavirus pandemic?

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NEW YORK -- The flags at Rockefeller Center fly over a desolate concrete canyon. Photojournalists with long-lens cameras wander through Times Square to capture the solitude on one of the world's busiest thoroughfares. White tents have been erected on the northern section of Central Park to accommodate the overflow of patients from Mount Sinai ...Read more

Trump EPA still hasn't told thousands of Americans about cancer risks from ethylene oxide

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CHICAGO -- Nearly two years after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency identified hot spots of ethylene oxide across the nation, the Trump administration still hasn't told thousands of Americans they face elevated cancer risks from breathing the toxic pollution.

Trump appointees have failed to schedule public meetings or provide information...Read more

At first, most Philly coronavirus patients were white. New cases are now primarily African Americans

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PHILADELPHIA -- When the coronavirus first began spreading in Philadelphia, it primarily was detected among white people, the limited data available to the city indicate. But over time, the demographics shifted, and new cases are predominantly among African Americans, raising fears that existing inequalities in the city will be exacerbated by ...Read more

Trump fires watchdog who raised alarm about whistleblower

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WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump has fired the Intelligence Community inspector general who raised alarm over a whistleblower's complaint that led eventually to Trump's impeachment.

Michael Atkinson alerted Congress about the complaint regarding Trump's demand that Ukraine investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son.

Atkinson ...Read more

Biden says he spoke to Sanders to discuss running mate process

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WASHINGTON -- Former Vice President Joe Biden said Friday night that he has spoken to Bernie Sanders to inform him he was starting the vetting process for a running mate, saying he wanted to give his rival advanced notice so as not to appear "presumptuous."

It was the first time he has publicly acknowledged private conversations with his only ...Read more

Trump rejects voting-by-mail amid virus, citing fraud concerns

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WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump said he doesn't support mail-in voting as a way to limit the spread of the coronavirus, arguing that sending ballots increases the likelihood of fraud.

"I think a lot of people cheat with mail-in voting," Trump told reporters Friday at the White House. "I think people should vote with voter ID. I think voter...Read more

Coronavirus killed China's whistleblower doctor. Now the virus has changed how the country can mourn him

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SHANGHAI -- They speak to him like they know him, calling him brother, uncle, doctor, hero, comrade, martyr, friend.

"Doctor Li, I had a dream that I saw my grandfather just now," one person writes on Dr. Li Wenliang's Weibo wall at 3:35 a.m. "It was like when I was little, coming home from school to find him in the farm, offering me pocket ...Read more

39 million masks for hospitals never materialized. Federal officials are investigating

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LOS ANGELES -- They had seemingly done the impossible. The union that represents healthcare workers in California announced it had arranged the purchase of 39 million N95 masks for hospitals and government agencies that badly need the protective equipment.

Among the intended recipients was Kaiser Permanente, which placed orders for 6 million ...Read more

Sean Penn's nonprofit boosts COVID-19 testing efforts in Los Angeles

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LOS ANGELES -- As the need for COVID-19 testing grows, the city of Los Angeles received an unexpected boost from actor Sean Penn and his nonprofit organization, Community Organized Relief Effort. The group, known as CORE, has been working with L.A. officials to run operations at some coronavirus drive-through testing facilities.

"We are ...Read more

As field hospital requests skyrocket, military shifts some for coronavirus patients

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WASHINGTON -- The number of requests made by cities to the Army Corps of Engineers for field hospitals skyrocketed this week to 750 from 114, as states brace for an expected wave of coronavirus cases in the next three weeks, the chief engineer of the Army Corps of Engineers said Friday.

The Corps knows time is running short, with an expected ...Read more

Nation and world news briefs

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Supreme Court postpones all April arguments because of coronavirus

The Supreme Court has canceled all April arguments because of the coronavirus, it announced Friday in a news release.

All planned arguments for March and April have now been indefinitely postponed.

"The Court will consider rescheduling some cases from the March and April ...Read more

300 people meet at Berlin mosque despite ban on public gatherings

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BERLIN -- Roughly 300 people gathered outside a mosque in the German capital Berlin despite a ban on public gatherings amid the coronavirus pandemic, police said late Friday.

They were apparently responding to calls to prayer at the Dar-as-Salam mosque in Neukoelln district, in the city's southeast.

The mosque's imam and police officers at the...Read more

Pandemic sends families on 1,000-mile trek back to Maduro's Venezuela

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Venezuelan families made destitute by Colombia's coronavirus lockdown are walking a thousand miles or more across the Andes to get home.

Nicolas Maduro's Venezuela might be undergoing one of the deepest economic slumps in modern history, but it's still preferable to sleeping in a park in Medellin, or under a bridge in Bogota, which are now the ...Read more

Wisconsin governor calls legislative session to change voting

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Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers called the state legislature into a special session on Saturday to cancel in-person voting in Tuesday's primary and instead switch to an all mail-in vote with an extended deadline in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

In an executive order he signed Friday, Evers asked lawmakers to take up a bill to send ballots to ...Read more

Trump wins dismissal of Ukraine back-channel diplomacy lawsuit

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The Trump administration won the dismissal of a lawsuit claiming it violated federal record-keeping requirements by conducting off-the-books diplomacy with Ukrainian officials -- the same conduct at the center of the president's impeachment.

U.S. District Judge James E. Boasberg in Washington, D.C., threw out the suit, saying the alleged ...Read more