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US visit to Taiwan begins, adding to escalating China tensions

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Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar will arrive in Taiwan on Sunday for the highest-ranking visit by a U.S. official to the island in decades, a trip that stands to further worsen spiraling relations between the U.S. and China.

Azar is set to discuss the international response to the coronavirus, along with supplies of medical ...Read more

Tear gas and clashes in Beirut amid fury over massive explosion

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BEIRUT -- Demonstrators stormed government buildings, lighting fires and fighting pitched street battles with security forces in the Lebanese capital on Saturday, even as the country's beleaguered prime minister called for early parliamentary elections.

The protests, which drew thousands to Beirut's downtown district, come days after a massive ...Read more

Final canister of nuclear waste transferred to storage facility at San Onofre

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SAN DIEGO -- It took 32 months to complete but the transfer operations that moved canisters filled with spent radioactive fuel, or waste, from wet storage pools to a newly constructed dry storage facility at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station wrapped up Friday.

Shortly before 5 a.m., workers lowered the 73rd and final canister into its ...Read more

Brazil marks grim COVID milestone with 3 million confirmed cases

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SAO PAULO, Brazil -- Brazil topped 3 million coronavirus infections as the disease flares up in parts of the country it had spared, spreading misery from the beaches of Bahia to the soybean fields of the vast interior.

The milestone comes less than a month after Brazil hit the 2 million-case mark and as the disease sweeps into more remote ...Read more

LA County coronavirus hospitalizations continue to decline

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LOS ANGELES -- Los Angeles County public health officials on Saturday reported 2,645 new cases of the coronavirus and 51 related deaths but said hospitalizations continue to decline.

The latest case numbers did not include a pending backlog of lab reports the county is expecting the state to send via its electronic reporting system over the ...Read more

Georgia police shot at teens following traffic stop, investigators say

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ATLANTA -- Members of a South Georgia community are demanding a thorough investigation after Waycross police opened fire on at least two juveniles during a traffic stop Saturday morning.

The officer-involved shooting took place about 8 a.m. after police attempted to stop a vehicle for a traffic violation, Georgia Bureau of Investigations ...Read more

Trump's order to bypass Congress on coronavirus relief faces likely legal challenges

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WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump on Saturday said he was bypassing Congress and taking unilateral action to provide financial relief to Americans struggling during the coronavirus crisis, despite uncertainty about his legal authority to do so.

Following the breakdown of talks on Capitol Hill to reach a bipartisan deal, Trump signed four ...Read more

Hong Kong, Chinese officials call US sanctions 'despicable'

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HONG KONG -- Hong Kong's government on Saturday called U.S.-imposed sanctions against senior officials responsible for a recent crackdown on political opponents "shameless and despicable."

The United States on Friday sanctioned Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam and 10 other officials, in response to the imposition of a Chinese national ...Read more

Plane makes emergency landing on Florida expressway

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CORAL SPRINGS, Fla. -- The 29-year-old pilot of a single-engine plane was able to walk away from an emergency landing on the Sawgrass Expressway in the Coral Springs, Parkland area on Friday night.

The Piper PA28-140 Cherokee took-off from Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport about 9:30 p.m., according to Flightaware.

It experienced engine ...Read more

'Substantial' pier shift closes Seattle's Waterfront Park

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SEATTLE -- Officials closed the downtown Waterfront Park this week after discovering a pier had shifted several inches, leaving a gap between the pier and land.

The city's Parks and Recreation department received a report Wednesday of a waterline failure and possible shifting at Pier 58, between University and Pike streets next to the Seattle ...Read more

From peanut butter to applesauce, Washington state stockpiles tons of food for the need ahead

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SEATTLE -- In Washington state's new food warehouse, there's enough Jif peanut butter to make nearly 3 million sandwiches.

Barilla pasta boxes stretch to the ceiling, 100,000 in all. Large stacks of TreeTop applesauce, pancake mix and canned green beans sit on pallets, like soldiers waiting to be sent into duty.

Since the coronavirus crisis ...Read more

Trump orders extended jobless benefits, payroll tax deferral

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President Donald Trump announced four executive actions on Saturday, including continued expanded unemployment benefits and a temporary payroll tax deferral for some workers, as the coronavirus pandemic continues to hobble the U.S. economy.

Trump also ordered continued eviction protection and student-loan relief.

The moves could jeopardize ...Read more

TikTok to sue Trump administration as soon as Tuesday, NPR says

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TikTok plans to file a federal lawsuit as soon as Tuesday to challenge President Donald Trump's executive order banning the video-sharing service from the U.S. as unconstitutional, National Public Radio reported.

The lawsuit will be filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California, where TikTok's American operations are ...Read more

Hard-hit Italy cautiously embraces new normal in coronavirus era

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ROME -- With tourists still absent and office workers continuing to toil from home more than two months after Italy's strict coronavirus lockdown ended, few were out and about on Rome's central Via del Corso last week.

But in the Farmacrimi drug store, one product was being briskly traded.

"Masks keep on selling," said manager Federica ...Read more

Professor in a tree over TransMountain Pipeline vows not to come down

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SEATTLE -- At 63, professor Tim Takaro didn't see himself as a tree sit protester.

But now he's living 82 feet up in the air on a sling between two cottonwoods, in a one-man protest against the expansion of the TransMountain Pipeline.

Takaro is a Vancouver-area physician and professor of health sciences on sabbatical from Simon Fraser ...Read more

SC warns about rates of COVID-19 without symptoms, announces nearly 1,200 new cases

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COLUMBIA, S.C. -- State health officials are sending up an alarm about the rate of COVID-19 infections in people who don't have symptoms and likely don't know they're carrying the disease.

"Evidence is increasing about the high rates of infection in people who do not have symptoms and don't know they are infectious," the Department of Health ...Read more

Oakland ready for Trump attacks if 'proud daughter' Kamala Harris joins Democratic ticket

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OAKLAND, Calif. -- When Joe Biden's vice presidential search committee met with a who's who of California Democrats on a Zoom call late last month, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf used up every second of her turn to make an urgent pitch for Kamala Harris, a self-described proud "daughter of Oakland, California."

Schaaf has known the U.S. senator ...Read more

Housing company pressured Ga. system to reopen campuses, critics say

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ATLANTA -- A letter recently posted online is raising questions about whether the University System of Georgia's reopening plans for the fall semester, which starts Monday on some campuses, is being steered by finances and not the health and safety of its students and employees.

The May 29 letter from a vice president at Corvias, a Rhode Island...Read more

2 Americans convicted after failed kidnapping attempt in Venezuela

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RIO DE JANEIRO -- Two mercenaries from the United States have been convicted for a failed kidnapping attempt on Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro in May, Venezuelan Attorney General Tarek William Saab tweeted on Friday.

Luke Denman and Airan Berry admitted their responsibility and admitted to having committed crimes of conspiracy, illegal ...Read more

Idaho judge says GOP-backed anti-transgender birth certificate law violates injunction

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BOISE, Idaho -- An Idaho judge on has clarified a court order by ruling that a new Idaho law barring transgender people from changing their birth certificate to match their gender violates an injunction she first issued in 2018.

Magistrate Judge Candy Dale's ruling on Friday granted a motion that was sought by those who challenged the law and ...Read more