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6.64 million: Unemployment claims surge as states await federal guidance

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WASHINGTON -- More than 6.64 million workers filed initial claims for unemployment insurance in the week ending March 28, exceeding the 3.3 million who filed claims a week earlier, the Labor Department reported Thursday.

The record-setting filings in the most recent two weeks as the COVID-19 pandemic forces the shutdown of many businesses may ...Read more

Locked in cages, beaten and shamed: Coronavirus laws lead to abuses

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SINGAPORE -- When it comes to social distancing, some authorities are resorting to unprecedented tactics to try and slow the spread of COVID-19.

In India, baton-wielding police have beaten those who flout the curfew-like restrictions or fail to maintain physical distancing, while others have publicly shamed violators by forcing them do squats, ...Read more

It took the coronavirus for UN skeptic Pompeo to embrace global ties

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WASHINGTON -- Secretary of State Michael Pompeo once warned that international organizations like the United Nations must be "reformed or eliminated." With the coronavirus pandemic ravaging the U.S. and the world, he's now embracing them.

At a briefing this week, Pompeo heaped praise on what he called "these important institutions" such as the ...Read more

When death from coronavirus is a matter of interpretation

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PHILADELPHIA -- Asked why Italy had a high rate of deaths due to the coronavirus, government officials there said it was because they were using a broader definition for such deaths than other countries, counting any victims who had tested positive even if other illnesses were at fault.

In Illinois, officials announced last weekend that an ...Read more

WHO is struggling against COVID-19 and a divided world testing its authority

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SINGAPORE -- In a few awkward seconds, Bruce Aylward, a senior official at the World Health Organization, laid bare the flaws and pressures faced by the global health agency charged with leading the response to the worst pandemic in over a century.

A video that's since gone viral shows the distinguished Canadian epidemiologist dodging a ...Read more

Analysis: He got tested for coronavirus. Then came the flood of medical bills

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By March 5, Andrew Cencini, a computer science professor at Vermont's Bennington College, had been having bouts of fever, malaise and a bit of difficulty breathing for a couple of weeks. Just before falling ill, he had traveled to New York City, helped with computers at a local prison and gone out on multiple calls as a volunteer firefighter.

...Read more

Cross-border smuggling tunnel discovered in San Diego; $29.6 million in drugs seized

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SAN DIEGO -- Nearly $30 million worth of drugs was seized after a cross-border tunnel that runs from Tijuana, Mexico, to San Diego was found last month, federal officials said Tuesday.

The 2,000-foot-long tunnel was discovered March 19 by law enforcement officers, with Mexican officers locating the entrance in Tijuana.

Agents searched the San ...Read more

Zaandam coming to South Florida Thursday; sick passengers will go to health department

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MIAMI -- As the beleaguered Zaandam and Rotterdam cruise ships steam toward Port Everglades, more than 1,200 passengers on board still don't know what will happen to them when they arrive early Thursday.

Carnival Corp.'s Holland America Line said in a statement late Wednesday that the company is still waiting on the go-ahead from local ...Read more

In reversal, Georgia Gov. Kemp imposes tough limits amid dire new coronavirus projections

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ATLANTA -- For weeks, Gov. Brian Kemp stood firm. Repeatedly, he said the coronavirus pandemic in Georgia didn't warrant the extreme social distancing measures that most other states were imposing.

Kemp publicly supported a patchwork of stay-at-home orders by Georgia cities and counties, even as his top aide chastised those local governments ...Read more

Newborn baby among 16 additional COVID-19 deaths in Connecticut

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HARTFORD, Conn. -- The death of a 6-week-old from Hartford has been linked to COVID-19, Gov. Ned Lamont said Wednesday, making the baby one of the youngest known people to die from the disease.

The baby arrived at the hospital unresponsive and tested positive for the coronavirus postmortem, officials said.

"It's just a reminder that nobody is ...Read more

As the coronavirus spreads in Ecuador, bodies are being left on streets

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QUITO, Ecuador -- The corpses have been overwhelming Guayaquil, a port city of 2.8 million at the epicenter of the coronavirus crisis in Ecuador.

Over the last few days, several were wrapped in plastic and left on the streets. Others have lain unclaimed in hospitals and clinics that have been overwhelmed by infections. The city morgue is full. ...Read more

He invested his life's savings in a new Haiti beach resort. Then a mob sent it up in flames

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A Haiti judge has issued more than a dozen arrest warrants for individuals accused of looting and torching a million dollar beach resort in northern Haiti owned by a Haitian-American engineer and his wife.

"It was a hired mob of at least 30 to 40 people," said Jude Jean-Gilles, the owner of the Joupana Beach Resort, which was set ablaze ...Read more

Many NY coronavirus patients are young, surprising doctors

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Younger adults in New York City are being hospitalized with COVID-19 infections at surprisingly high rates, said doctors and other health-care workers treating them, undermining earlier assumptions about who's most at risk from the new coronavirus.

New York has more confirmed cases than anywhere else in the U.S., and one in five hospitalization...Read more

Michael Avenatti stuck in jail after judge sets tough bail terms

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LOS ANGELES -- A federal judge has effectively turned down a request by Los Angeles lawyer Michael Avenatti to be released from a New York jail where three inmates have tested positive for the coronavirus, according to Avenatti's attorney.

Judge James V. Selna of U.S. District Court in Santa Ana said Avenatti, a former lawyer for adult film ...Read more

Italy's virus death count still high as lockdown extended to April 13

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ROME -- Italy's record death toll from the novel coronavirus grew by more than 700 on Wednesday, as a top official said social restrictions were getting harder to bear for the population.

The nationwide lockdown had been due to expire on April 3, but Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced it would now be extended to April 13 -- Easter Monday. ...Read more

Pentagon sends 540 troops to 'seal off' Mexico border from migrants with coronavirus

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WASHINGTON -- The Defense Department is deploying an additional 540 troops to the U.S. border with Mexico to keep migrants potentially infected with the coronavirus from entering the country, the head of U.S. Northern Command said Wednesday.

The additional military forces were requested by the Department of Homeland Security to help "seal off" ...Read more

US will increase military presence in the Caribbean to fight drug trafficking funding Maduro

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The U.S. is expanding its military presence in the Caribbean to fight drug cartels wanting to take advantage of the coronavirus crisis and to deny funds going to the Nicolas Maduro regime in Venezuela, the Trump administration announced late Wednesday.

"Today the U.S. is launching an enhanced counternarcotics operation in the Western Hemisphere...Read more

Some Washington gun dealers keeping stores open, defying Inslee's order amid coronavirus outbreak

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OLYMPIA, Wash. -- Washington Gov. Jay Inslee's emergency stay-home order didn't deem firearms dealers essential -- like grocery stores and pharmacies -- and necessary to stay open as much of society closes down to slow the spread of the new coronavirus.

But that isn't stopping Tiffany Teasdale, owner of Lynnwood Gun, from keeping her doors open...Read more

Pro-Trump super PAC targets Biden in first round of swing state ads

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WASHINGTON -- Even with the country largely at a standstill amid the worsening coronavirus pandemic, election year politics are intensifying as the general election matchup has come into clearer focus.

The main super PAC backing President Donald Trump's reelection bid Wednesday announced a $10 million ad buy that will target former Vice ...Read more

LA man charged with derailing train near Mercy ship over coronavirus concerns

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LOS ANGELES -- Federal prosecutors charged a locomotive driver at the Port of Los Angeles with intentionally derailing a train near the U.S. Navy's hospital ship Mercy because he suspected it was not there to help with the coronavirus crisis.

Eduardo Moreno, 44, of the Los Angeles port community of San Pedro, was charged with deliberately ...Read more