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Biden says 600 lawyers will guard against election 'chicanery'

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WASHINGTON -- Joe Biden said Wednesday that his campaign had convened a group of 600 lawyers and thousands of volunteers to prepare for any "chicanery" that might disrupt or interfere with the November election.

"We're continuing to fight any effort to exploit the pandemic for political purposes, support the countless state and local officials ...Read more

Fort Lauderdale police officers laugh after shooting rubber bullets at protesters

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MIAMI -- Fort Lauderdale police officers laughed and celebrated after shooting protesters with rubber bullets at a May 31 George Floyd rally in Fort Lauderdale, newly released body camera footage shows.

"Beat it, little f---er," Detective Zachary Baro, leader of a Fort Lauderdale SWAT team unit, can be heard saying after officers shot "less ...Read more

Trump rule restricting asylum-seekers blocked by US judge

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A federal judge in Washington, D.C., blocked a Trump administration rule that disqualified immigrants at the southern U.S. border from receiving asylum unless they had already sought it elsewhere.

U.S. District Judge Timothy J. Kelly ruled Tuesday that the government had "unlawfully promulgated" the asylum rule, bypassing the usual public ...Read more

Lauren Boebert ran against AOC and the 'squad' in Colorado, and beat Rep. Scott Tipton in the process

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WASHINGTON -- When Lauren Boebert launched her Republican primary campaign against Colorado Rep. Scott Tipton back in December, she was asked who she considered her actual opponent: Tipton or New York Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

"I'm absolutely running against her," Boebert said, according to a clip of the interview with Denver's ...Read more

Some Black leaders in Minneapolis speak out against City Council's moves to defund police

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MINNEAPOLIS -- Egregious, grotesque, absurd, crazy, ridiculous.

These are a handful of the words that some local African American leaders are using to rebuke the Minneapolis City Council's moves toward dismantling the Police Department, even as they demand an overhaul of law enforcement.

While the movement to defund the police has been driven ...Read more

Appeals court halts Florida felons from registering to vote, pending further review

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- A federal appellate court has temporarily stopped a judge's order that granted hundreds of thousands of felons the right to vote, the latest turn in Florida's battle over felon voting rights.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit ruled in favor of state officials and Gov. Ron DeSantis, who asked the court to stop a...Read more

Mexico gunman executes 24 at rehab center in feud between gangs

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Heavily armed gunman attacked a drug rehabilitation center in central Mexico on Wednesday, killing 24 people in what appeared to be a revenge hit amid a feud between gangs.

Police said that in addition to the dead, seven were wounded at a rehabilitation center in Irapuato, Guanajuato, Reforma newspaper reported.

Mexico's government has been ...Read more

Biden edges out Trump with $141 million haul in June

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WASHINGTON -- Joe Biden's presidential campaign, the Democratic National Committee and associated state parties raised $141 million in June and brought in twice that amount for the full second quarter, topping the hauls from Donald Trump and Republicans in the those same periods.

The take is the biggest yet for either candidate during the 2020 ...Read more

Music teacher linked to semen-tainted flutes pleads guilty to child porn charges

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LOS ANGELES -- A music teacher accused of giving semen-tainted flutes to elementary school students has agreed to plead guilty to state and federal charges involving various sex crimes against children, authorities said Wednesday.

John Edward Zeretzke, 61, of Ventura agreed to plead guilty to a federal charge of production of child pornography,...Read more

Pete Buttigieg on running as a gay man and his struggles with Black voters

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Pride 2020 is officially in the books and man, it was complicated: The COVID-19 pandemic forced organizers to cancel parades; the horrific deaths of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery sparked monthlong Black Lives Matter protests, many joined by the LGBTQ community in a show of solidarity; marriage equality turned 5; and the Supreme ...Read more

Young Americans are partying hard and spreading COVID-19 quickly

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COVID-19 is increasingly a disease of the young, with the message to stay home for the sake of older loved ones wearing off as the pandemic wears on.

The dropping age of the infected is becoming one of the most pressing problems for local officials, who continued Wednesday to set curfews and close places where the young gather. U.S. health ...Read more

House clears bill extending loan program for small businesses to Aug. 8

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WASHINGTON -- A day after the Senate passed a last-minute extension of the Paycheck Protection Program loan application deadline, the House did the same Wednesday, clearing the bill for the president.

Somewhat unexpectedly, the Senate by unanimous consent passed a bill on Tuesday from Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin, D-Md., extending the Small Business...Read more

Los Angeles cuts LAPD spending, taking police staffing to its lowest level in 12 years

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LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles City Council voted Wednesday to cut hiring at the Police Department, pushing the number of sworn officers well below 10,000 and abandoning a budget priority once seen as untouchable by city leaders.

Faced with a grim budget outlook and deluged by demands for reductions in police spending, the council voted 12-2 to...Read more

Made-in-China law keeps Hong Kong guessing whether it's guilty

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HONG KONG -- Chinese officials have described Hong Kong's new national security law as "tailor-made" for the former British colony. Lawyers in the city, however, say the statute may be open to abuse and difficult to apply.

The 35-page legislation drafted behind closed doors in Beijing represents an uneasy marriage between China's "socialist ...Read more

Illinois, Chicago officials watching COVID-19 metrics but say they have no plans to tighten restrictions

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CHICAGO -- With neighboring Indiana and other states pausing their reopening plans or even moving backward as new cases of the coronavirus surge, officials in Chicago and Illinois said Wednesday they have no plans to alter loosened rules that took effect statewide last week.

When Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced his "Restore Illinois" reopening ...Read more

As Congress leaves town, hopes for police reforms fade

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WASHINGTON -- After George Floyd's death in police custody, both Republicans and Democrats immediately wrote bills to change policing practices, sparking hope that they would overcome the partisanship gripping most policy debates to enact meaningful legislation.

But as lawmakers leave Washington for a two-week recess, the parties are locked in ...Read more

Mary Trump's publisher gets court to lift order blocking tell-all book

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The publisher of a memoir about President Donald Trump's family got a temporary restraining order against the book lifted by an appeals court that said the company doesn't appear to be bound by a confidentiality agreement signed by the book's author, Mary Trump, nearly 20 years ago.

The decision issued Wednesday by a New York state appeals ...Read more

Trump raises $266 million in second quarter, widening advantage

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WASHINGTON -- Donald Trump's campaign along with the Republican National Committee raised $266 million during the second quarter of 2020, widening the president's cash advantage over Joe Biden.

The Trump campaign said Wednesday that it increased its fundraising by 71% from the first quarter, despite the coronavirus pandemic, which shut down ...Read more

Nation and world news briefs

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Half of all COVID tests are positive in Mexico, highest in world

As nations around the world try to get their economies humming again, the number of coronavirus tests coming back positive has turned into the metric to watch. Five percent is the threshold to reopen safely. Ten percent is troubling, 20% outrageous.

In Mexico, it stands at 50%.

...Read more

US says leaking nuclear waste dome is safe; Marshall Islands leaders don't believe it

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In response to a directive from Congress, the Department of Energy released a report this week assessing the risks of a 50-year-old cracking and crumbling concrete nuclear waste repository in the Marshall Islands, but the findings did little to ease the concerns of Marshallese leaders in the Central Pacific.

The DOE report found that Runit Dome...Read more