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Coronavirus fraudsters keep prosecutors busy

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A Hollywood film producer allegedly tried to use $1.7 million from the federal coronavirus business relief fund to pay personal credit card bills. Two New England men allegedly applied for more than half a million in refundable loans through the program by claiming to have dozens of employees at four businesses. They had none.

Many fraudsters ...Read more

As protests against police brutality go global, these Latina moms fight in memory of their sons

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LOS ANGELES -- Rosa Moreno had heard many stories in her neighborhood about mothers whose sons were killed by police.

Their pain seemed unspeakable. Their cases left a trail of questions.

"Police are supposed to keep us safe," Moreno used to think. "Why would they hurt people and take away their children?"

Then in 2017, her 23-year-old son, ...Read more

Noah Smith: Pandemic aid helps make the case for basic income

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The relief programs supporting Americans through the pandemic are also demonstrating the viability of a bold proposal for reducing poverty: basic income.

The idea of basic income -- paying a monthly fixed amount to each person in the country -- has been around for a long time. Recently it has gained more attention and support. It has the ...Read more

LAPD investigates 'Blue Flu' claims after officers call in sick over July 4 holiday

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LOS ANGELES -- An unsigned letter circulated among the Los Angeles Police Department rank and file last week, encouraging officers to call in sick to protect their own interests.

It had been a month of upheaval for police, with unprecedented protests over police killings of Black people and the Los Angeles City Council agreeing to cut the LAPD'...Read more

US sets visa restrictions on China officials over Tibet policy

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WASHINGTON -- The U.S. has imposed travel restrictions on Chinese officials determined to be "substantially involved" in restricting access to Tibet, Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said.

"Beijing has continued systematically to obstruct travel to the Tibetan Autonomous Region and other Tibetan areas by U.S. diplomats and other officials, ...Read more

New York's Deutsche Bank settlement shines spotlight on Jeffrey Epstein's murky finances

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WASHINGTON -- After decades of secrecy, Jeffrey Epstein's finances are coming into clearer view with the arrest of his onetime girlfriend and longtime associate, Ghislaine Maxwell, and Tuesday's announcement that Deutsche Bank will pay $150 million in penalties in part because of its relationship with the disgraced financier.

The New York ...Read more

'I have nothing to fear.' Puerto Rico governor denies allegations from fired justice official

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SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- Puerto Rico Gov. Wanda Vazquez denied allegations Tuesday that she fired the island's secretary of justice amid claims that Vazquez mishandled aid for victims of ongoing earthquakes that have struck the island since last December.

The new claims from the now-former secretary of justice, Dennise Longo Quinones, are the ...Read more

Chief Justice Roberts was hospitalized overnight after head injury in June

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WASHINGTON -- Chief Justice John Roberts was hospitalized overnight last month for an injury he suffered to his forehead after falling while walking for exercise, a U.S. Supreme Court spokeswoman said.

Roberts' doctors believe the fall was due to lightheadedness caused by dehydration and have ruled out a seizure, spokeswoman Kathy Arberg said. ...Read more

Nation and world news briefs

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After a June lull in storms, be ready for hurricane season to heat up again

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- From the earliest outlooks of 2020, experts have warned of a busy hurricane season. But after starting with a bang, the Atlantic went quiet.

Things are changing with the disappearance of a hurricane-suppressing layer of Saharan dust and hot, ...Read more

South Texas officials sue to block Trump's 'racist' border wall

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South Texas elected officials claim in a new court challenge that President Donald Trump's border wall is a politically motivated attack on Mexican Americans, a protected class under the U.S. Constitution.

Zapata County officials allege that Trump's "hostile and racist remarks" led directly to Department of Homeland Security policies that ...Read more

Trump urges K-12 schools to reopen; others aren't so sure

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WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump on Tuesday urged the nation's public schools to reopen "quickly and beautifully" and jabbed at districts such as Los Angeles' that remain uncertain, again injecting politics into the pandemic response.

As the nation's death toll from COVID-19 surged past 130,000 this week, cases are rising in 38 states, ...Read more

US starts one-year clock to quit World Health Organization

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WASHINGTON -- The Trump administration sent a letter giving the United Nations a one-year notice for the U.S. to quit the World Health Organization, formalizing President Donald Trump's decision to leave the agency even as the coronavirus rages out of control in the U.S. and in many other countries.

The administration sent the letter to U.N. ...Read more

Deutsche Bank kept Jeffrey Epstein's money moving as red flags flew

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NEW YORK -- When Deutsche Bank AG sought out Jeffrey Epstein as a client, he was a convicted Florida sex offender with a publicized taste for young women from Eastern Europe.

The bank helped him send millions of dollars to his alleged co-conspirators. It handled transfers to women with Russian bank accounts. And it didn't fuss when the ...Read more

California sheriff who mocked the state's stay-at-home order now has changed his tune

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LOS ANGELES -- In mid-May, Merced County Sheriff Vernon Warnke had a lot to say about California's stay-at-home orders to slow the spread of coronavirus, none of it good.

He posted a defiant message to Facebook saying he refused to enforce the state's orders because they meant "economic slaughter" and he believed government had no right to tell...Read more

Business relief program hits the campaign airwaves

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WASHINGTON -- A bipartisan federal package to rescue the pandemic-rocked U.S. economy this spring has morphed into a cudgel on the campaign trail in pivotal Senate races where outside groups and candidates have launched ads with sometimes veiled attacks on pieces of the law or its earlier iterations.

Montana, Maine, North Carolina and Iowa are ...Read more

Michael V. Drake expected to be named UC president, first Black leader in system's 152-year history

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LOS ANGELES -- Michael V. Drake, a national champion for access and equity who previously headed Ohio State University and the University of California, Irvine, is poised to be named the new president of the University of California and first Black leader in the system's 152-year history.

The UC Board of Regents was set to vote on the selection...Read more

Texas sees new records in coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and deaths

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AUSTIN, Texas -- Texas health officials reported 10,028 new COVID-19 cases, 60 additional deaths and 9,286 total hospitalizations Tuesday -- all single-day records for the state amid a pandemic that is showing no sign of diminishing.

Texas Department of State Health Services had warned that Texas would see a surge in new cases Tuesday after ...Read more

What AIDS is teaching us about COVID-19

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SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Even as the deadly virus spread, the federal response stalled. Tests were short. So were treatments. A vaccine was imminent, experts promised. The hardest hit? The sick, the poor and people of color.

That pathogen was HIV, not COVID-19. The year was 1990, not 2020. The event: The International AIDS Conference, held in San ...Read more

At least 17 shot, 4 fatally, in less than 12 hours in Chicago

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CHICAGO -- At least four people were shot to death across Chicago from Monday night into Tuesday morning, part of a series of attacks that also left 13 people injured, including six wounded in a single attack, according to police.

Three of the overnight shootings left three or more people wounded.

The shootings come after a string of violent ...Read more

With no mask mandate and lots of summer left, Branson area hits triple digits on COVID

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Coronavirus cases in the Branson area have more than doubled in less than two weeks amid pleas from officials for people to wear masks.

Taney County, home of Branson, has recorded 107 coronavirus cases, according to numbers updated Tuesday by the county health department. On June 26, the county had just 43.

And on Friday, ...Read more