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Feds launch effort to help ex-felons register to vote in Minnesota

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MINNEAPOLIS - Derek Carlson, an ex-felon in Minnesota, received a letter from the government recently informing him of his right to vote. Had it not arrived, he says, he might not have registered to vote for the 2020 election.

"I had no idea that my voting rights were restored as soon as I finished probation," said Carlson, who lives in Duluth....Read more

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Markeith Loyd won't face trial this year in Orlando cop's killing

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ORLANDO, Fla. - Markeith Loyd will not face trial this year in the 2017 shooting of Orlando police Lt. Debra Clayton, a judge said at a Tuesday hearing.

Loyd's trial, which was scheduled to start in May, was postponed in March due to concerns over COVID-19.

"This case is not going to be tried this year," Circuit Judge Leticia Marques said ...Read more

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Kentucky AG didn't recommend homicide charges in Breonna Taylor's killing, won't block release of grand jury recordings

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Kentucky's top prosecutor says he never recommended grand jurors return homicide charges against the police officers who killed Breonna Taylor and says he won't try to block the release of grand jury recordings.

In a statement Monday night, Attorney General Daniel Cameron acknowledged he only asked for wanton endangerment charges against the ...Read more

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ICE reverses COVID-19 measure, says it will resume arresting noncriminal migrants

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U.S. immigration officials quietly announced they would resume regular apprehension and detention practices, an apparent reversal from an earlier temporary suspension of noncriminal enforcement due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Late Friday afternoon, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement updated its COVID-19 information webpage to say that the ...Read more

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Glass fire nearly quadruples in size in a day, burning 80 homes in Napa Valley

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SANTA ROSA, Calif. - At least 80 homes have been destroyed in Napa and Sonoma counties as the Glass fire continues to rampage through California's wine country.

The blaze had burned 42,560 acres as of Tuesday - nearly quadruple its size since Monday morning - and there is still no containment, according to Erick Hernandez, a public information ...Read more

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Manhattan DA's office will hold off on demand for Trump's taxes

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NEW YORK - Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance indicated Tuesday he would hold off on enforcing subpoenas for President Donald Trump's taxes, despite an appeals court judge's suggestion the prosecutor could go ahead and demand the paperwork.

Vance attorney Carey Dunne wrote that the office would not demand the documents from Trump's longtime ...Read more

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College's random COVID-19 testing gets mixed reactions from students, parents

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ORLANDO, Fla. - Students and parents have voiced mixed reactions to the University of Central Florida's plans to randomly select students for COVID-19 testing, with some questioning the legality of mandatory testing and the penalties students who refuse will face.

Since the policy, which also applies to faculty and staff, was announced Sept. 15...Read more

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California fire that killed 3 explodes as firefighters struggle with lack of resources

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A deadly wildfire continued to carve a destructive path through California's Shasta County overnight, swelling to more than 40,000 acres.

The fast-moving Zogg fire - which started Sunday afternoon near the rural community of Igo, about nine miles southwest of Redding - has already been blamed for three deaths, destroyed 146 structures and ...Read more

E. Jason Wambsgans / Chicago Tri/Chicago Tribune/TNS

Illinois governor to isolate for a second time after another staffer tests positive for coronavirus

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CHICAGO - Gov. J.B. Pritzker is going into self-isolation for the second time after a third staff member in his office tested positive for the coronavirus, the governor's office said Tuesday.

The unidentified staff member tested negative Wednesday during a routine screening for employees in the governor's office but was tested again Monday ...Read more

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How wine country became the epicenter for fires in California

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SANTA ROSA, Calif. - Perhaps no part of California has felt more threatened by fire in recent years than the vast expanse of wine country and the Redwood Empire north of San Francisco.

More than 9,000 structures were lost and dozens of people were killed in 2017, when fires swept through Santa Rosa and surrounding communities. Last year, the ...Read more

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After dozens died in 2017, Santa Rosa residents were prepared when flames returned this week

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SANTA ROSA, Calif. - Like almost everyone else in the Coffey Park neighborhood, Maria del Carmen lost her home three years ago.

"I still get panic attacks," the 33-year-old Santa Rosa resident said Monday. Terror shoots through her when she smells smoke, "until I can figure out there's no fire here. Then I can relax."

She learned of the 2017 ...Read more

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Coronavirus infections among school-age kids rose in the summer, CDC says

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Keen to send the nation's kids back to reopened schools, President Donald Trump has called children "virtually immune," "essentially immune" and "almost immune" to the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

But a new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention underscores how wrong those assertions are.

Children can catch, suffer and ...Read more

HEATHER KHALIFA/The Philadelphia Inquirer/TNS

After two years in Philly church sanctuary, an undocumented immigrant family departs — but not to freedom

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PHILADELPHIA - After living two years inside a Philadelphia church to avoid deportation, Clive and Oneita Thompson have finally moved out - but not to freedom, nor back to their old life in South Jersey.

The undocumented Jamaican couple moved eight miles south to another church, where they'll continue their battle to stay in the United States. ...Read more

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Mayor announces fines for people who refuse to wear masks in certain NYC neighborhoods amid alarming surge

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NEW YORK - People who refuse to wear face masks in neighborhoods where COVID is surging will be fined and private schools there face possible closure, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday.

The city is sending "hundreds" of staffers to hand out masks and spread information in parts of Brooklyn and Queens undergoing an alarming surge in coronavirus,...Read more

As flames tear through wine country, residents flash back to 2017

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SANTA ROSA, Calif. - In the hills above Highway 12, Emmilia Carrington hoisted a trash can full of water into her neighbor's backyard and tipped it over, turning smoldering ash into a rush of steam that curled up over her black rain boots.

Nearby, the 15-year-old's brother Brody, three years younger, picked up a shovel and dumped dust over live...Read more

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Amnesty International halts work in India, blaming government 'witch hunt'

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SINGAPORE - Amnesty International has suspended its work in India after Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government froze the group's bank accounts over alleged fundraising violations, the human rights organization said Tuesday.

The Nobel Peace Prize-winning watchdog said it has been the target of an "incessant witch hunt" by the Indian ...Read more

Faith E. Pinho/Los Angeles Times/TNS

The Bear fire nearly wiped this town off the map. Miraculously, one landmark survived

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FEATHER FALLS, Calif. - When the Bear fire barreled over the mountain ridge headed for the Butte County town of Feather Falls, Nancy Baker Preston and her daughter Kellie Swann made a pact: meet at the Gold Flake.

After packing their most important possessions, Preston and Swann converged at the historic saloon, which doubles as a post office ...Read more

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These secret safety panels will pick the COVID vaccine winners

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Most Americans have never heard of Dr. Richard Whitley, an expert in pediatric infectious diseases at the University of Alabama-Birmingham.

Yet as the coronavirus pandemic drags on and the public eagerly awaits a vaccine, he may well be among the most powerful people in the country.

Whitley leads a small, secret panel of experts tasked with ...Read more

Confederate monuments are falling across the nation, but in Philly a memorial to Southern troops still stands

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PHILADELPHIA - Confederate monuments and statues are coming down across America, scores of them gone in just the last few months.

But not in Philadelphia, where a memorial to Southern war dead has stood for more than a century in the National Cemetery in West Oak Lane.

Its dedication in 1912 - on the 42nd anniversary of the passing of Gen. ...Read more

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Corralling the facts on herd immunity

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For a term that's at least 100 years old, "herd immunity" has gained new life in 2020.

It starred in many headlines last month, when reports surfaced that a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force and adviser to the president, Dr. Scott Atlas, recommended it as a strategy to combat COVID-19. The Washington Post reported that Atlas, a ...Read more