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No fair: COVID-19 disrupts tradition and county revenue

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Percy L. Lewis III was especially looking forward to this year's Neshoba County Fair, an annual Mississippi event where he races his horses and carries forward a family tradition.

At 42, Lewis has been riding horses since he was 5 or 6 years old. Growing up, Lewis, his brother and a childhood friend would race on a local dirt road. As adults, ...Read more

Faded dream: Carmen Best's career aspirations to be Seattle's top cop soured over a few short months

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SEATTLE -- Two years ago, being the police chief in Seattle was Carmen Best's dream job, a position she had worked toward -- and been groomed for -- for much of her 28-year career with the department.

Since May 25 -- the day a Minneapolis police officer killed George Floyd -- that dream has faded into something more of a nightmare, and on ...Read more

In a small Maryland town, a deadly police shooting dredges up an officer's past

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BALTIMORE -- The family of James Meadows doesn't know what set off the frightening breakdown of his final hours. The 45-year-old construction worker was suicidal and mumbling to God in the sky. Before police came, he bashed in his father's locked cabinet and snatched two handguns.

"They are going to shoot you!" Joseph Meadows shouted to his ...Read more

'I've now dipped into the pie.' Will COVID-19 change Americans' views of the social safety net?

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LOS ANGELES -- If you had posed the scenario to him as a hypothetical a few months ago -- "Your company will be hemorrhaging cash, and you'll turn to Uncle Sam for emergency funds" -- Jim Brady would've confidently dismissed it.

"Never," he said, "did I think I would need government help."

Brady, 69, started AToN Center, a luxury rehab ...Read more

Trump's latest move would gut DACA program, Dreamers say

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WASHINGTON -- The Trump administration's move to curtail a program sparing young immigrants from deportation is an effort to "dismantle" an initiative the U.S. Supreme Court just spared, a group of immigrants said in court.

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf said last month that the administration would consider ending the Deferred ...Read more

New Zealand COVID-19 cluster grows with 13 new cases reported

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WELLINGTON, New Zealand -- New Zealand on Thursday reported 13 new cases of COVID-19, with health officials linking them to one Auckland family.

Health officials expected further cases to be detected over the coming days, director general of health Ashley Bloomfield told media.

On Tuesday the country reported four cases of COVID-19 all from ...Read more

Did Meghan and Harry buy in Montecito? Sources point to $14.65 million estate

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LOS ANGELES -- Meghan and Harry have quietly moved up the coast, buying a home in the Santa Barbara area, sources told the Los Angeles Times.

Prince Harry and the former Meghan Markle have purchased a home in the heart of Montecito, according to people familiar with the matter who weren't authorized to speak publicly.

Tabloids first reported ...Read more

Puerto Rico Supreme Court orders island's suspended primaries to resume Sunday

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SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- Puerto Rico's Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that the votes cast in Sunday's botched primary election are valid and will be counted. The island's highest court ordered the election to be continued this coming Sunday for precincts unable to cast their ballots or precincts that were not open for eight hours.

The results of...Read more

Judge to Ghislaine Maxwell: No, I will not delay release of Epstein documents

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A federal judge late Wednesday denied an attempt by Jeffrey Epstein's alleged madam Ghislaine Maxwell to delay the unsealing of potentially embarrassing documents in a now-settled 2017 defamation lawsuit.

U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska earlier this month had ordered unsealed a large batch of documents associated with Maxwell's defamation ...Read more

Behind closed doors: How Biden's team weighed the VP candidates

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WILMINGTON, Del. -- The vetting Kamala Harris endured to earn her spot on Joe Biden's presidential ticket was like none other in recent history.

It was at once a public audition and highly secretive. It took sharp turns as the nation struggled with a pandemic and erupted in protest following the killing of George Floyd. In the era of Trump, the...Read more

Pine Gulch wildfire explodes, becoming one of the largest in Colorado history

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- The Pine Gulch fire, a lightning-sparked wildfire burning north of Grand Junction, exploded overnight, nearly doubling in size to become the seventh-largest fire in the state's history, fire officials said.

The fire, which started July 31, grew from 36,449 acres Tuesday to 51,455 acres Wednesday morning, according to ...Read more

Black militia not coming to Stone Mountain, leader says

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ATLANTA -- Far-right extremists had been gearing up for a confrontation with the group.

The leader of an all-Black militia told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Wednesday that his group of armed members will not show up to confront a coalition of far-right groups planning to hold a rally at Stone Mountain Park Saturday.

The far-right groups ...Read more

Prosecutors seek permission for single trial for all 4 ex-officers in George Floyd killing

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MINNEAPOLIS -- Prosecutors are seeking to try the four former officers charged in George Floyd's killing in one trial.

Assistant Attorney General Matthew Frank filed a motion Wednesday requesting to join the trials of Derek Chauvin, J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao. A trial date has been set for March 8.

Frank argued that the ...Read more

Harris pick sends Trump into a favorite pastime — bashing California

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WASHINGTON -- Early Wednesday, the morning after Joe Biden asked Kamala Harris to run as his vice president, Republicans blasted her as "A California Progressive Radical."

Hours later, the Trump campaign slammed the first-term U.S. senator from the nation's most populous state as "a California Radical who Completes the Left-Wing Takeover of Joe...Read more

How will Kamala Harris impact the rest of the Democratic ticket?

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WASHINGTON -- The fundraising email from California Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris hit inboxes Tuesday evening with the subject line "Proud to announce." But it wasn't about Harris making history as her party's vice presidential nominee.

"I'm excited to let you know ... that I'm proudly endorsing Cindy Axne for Congress!" read the email, touting...Read more

LA father whose tip exposed college admissions scandal gets a year in prison

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LOS ANGELES -- Morrie Tobin, the Los Angeles financier who tipped federal authorities in Boston to William "Rick" Singer's college admissions scam, was sentenced Wednesday to a year and a day in prison for selling stock at fraudulently inflated prices to unwitting investors, robbing them of millions.

U.S. District Judge Nathaniel M. Gorton ...Read more

Nation and world news briefs

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Georgia high school that drew national attention over masks will reopen part time

ATLANTA -- Students at the Paulding County high school that drew attention nationwide after leaked photographs showed crowded hallways and few masks will return to campus part time under a new plan to control the spread of the coronavirus.

North Paulding High ...Read more

Chicago mayor announces review of city monuments as part of 'a racial healing and historical reckoning project'

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CHICAGO -- Nearly three weeks after ordering the removal of Christopher Columbus statues in Chicago, Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Wednesday announced the formation of a committee to review the city's monuments as part of "a racial healing and historical reckoning project."

The Lightfoot administration also said it will commission "a series of ...Read more

Social Security is safe with us, Mnuchin says

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WASHINGTON -- Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Wednesday that the Trump administration will "create a level of certainty" to encourage businesses to participate in President Donald Trump's payroll tax holiday, and that after November's election a victorious Trump would push legislation "to fully top up" Social Security's finances.

Trump ...Read more

'America is crying out for leadership': Biden and Harris make first appearance as Democratic ticket

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WILMINGTON, Del. -- The Biden-Harris presidential ticket made its pandemic-inflected debut on Wednesday, forgoing the conventional giddiness of an introductory campaign event for a more somber tone centered on the challenges facing the nation.

Instead of cheering crowds and waving campaign signs, there were face masks and temperature checks, as...Read more