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US jobless claims below 1 million for first time in pandemic

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The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits fell below 1 million for the first time since the pandemic began in March, suggesting the economic recovery is gaining some traction amid a deceleration in coronavirus infections.

Initial jobless claims in regular state programs fell by 228,000 to 963,000 in the week ended Aug. 8, Labor...Read more

Hong Kong tycoon Jimmy Lai says arrest took him by surprise

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Hong Kong media tycoon and pro-democracy activist Jimmy Lai said his arrest on Monday took him by surprise and that he has been overwhelmed by residents' subsequent support despite the threat from China's new national security law.

"I didn't expect an arrest as quick as this because I thought that China, with such a strong response from the ...Read more

Kamala Harris' VP bid brings outpouring of pride among Indian Americans, a growing force in Democratic politics

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Atlanta lawyer Amol Naik was surprised by his emotional reaction to Joe Biden's selection of Kamala Harris as his running mate.

It's not that Harris will be the first Black woman to be a major party's vice presidential nominee; it's that she will be the first Indian American.

"I have just been moved by it in a way that I didn't expect," said ...Read more

Republicans are divided over how to best attack Kamala Harris

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WASHINGTON -- On Wednesday morning, Matt Schlapp, the chairman of the American Conservative Union and a loyal ally to President Donald Trump, joined the pile-on of Republican attacks against Kamala Harris on Twitter, saying she "was a lock 'em up and throw away the key prosecutor."

Hours later, Vice President Mike Pence offered a contradictory ...Read more

Hundreds quarantined in schools that followed Trump's advice

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President Donald Trump is pushing U.S. schools to open classroom doors wide. In some districts that have followed his instructions, they're slamming shut again.

Schools that reopened fully and early are seeing hundreds of students, staff and teachers put into quarantine as COVID-19 spreads. Some are closing buildings opened just days ago. ...Read more

No fair: COVID-19 disrupts tradition and county revenue

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Percy L. Lewis III was especially looking forward to this year's Neshoba County Fair, an annual Mississippi event where he races his horses and carries forward a family tradition.

At 42, Lewis has been riding horses since he was 5 or 6 years old. Growing up, Lewis, his brother and a childhood friend would race on a local dirt road. As adults, ...Read more

Faded dream: Carmen Best's career aspirations to be Seattle's top cop soured over a few short months

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SEATTLE -- Two years ago, being the police chief in Seattle was Carmen Best's dream job, a position she had worked toward -- and been groomed for -- for much of her 28-year career with the department.

Since May 25 -- the day a Minneapolis police officer killed George Floyd -- that dream has faded into something more of a nightmare, and on ...Read more

In a small Maryland town, a deadly police shooting dredges up an officer's past

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BALTIMORE -- The family of James Meadows doesn't know what set off the frightening breakdown of his final hours. The 45-year-old construction worker was suicidal and mumbling to God in the sky. Before police came, he bashed in his father's locked cabinet and snatched two handguns.

"They are going to shoot you!" Joseph Meadows shouted to his ...Read more

'I've now dipped into the pie.' Will COVID-19 change Americans' views of the social safety net?

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LOS ANGELES -- If you had posed the scenario to him as a hypothetical a few months ago -- "Your company will be hemorrhaging cash, and you'll turn to Uncle Sam for emergency funds" -- Jim Brady would've confidently dismissed it.

"Never," he said, "did I think I would need government help."

Brady, 69, started AToN Center, a luxury rehab ...Read more

Trump's latest move would gut DACA program, Dreamers say

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WASHINGTON -- The Trump administration's move to curtail a program sparing young immigrants from deportation is an effort to "dismantle" an initiative the U.S. Supreme Court just spared, a group of immigrants said in court.

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf said last month that the administration would consider ending the Deferred ...Read more

New Zealand COVID-19 cluster grows with 13 new cases reported

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WELLINGTON, New Zealand -- New Zealand on Thursday reported 13 new cases of COVID-19, with health officials linking them to one Auckland family.

Health officials expected further cases to be detected over the coming days, director general of health Ashley Bloomfield told media.

On Tuesday the country reported four cases of COVID-19 all from ...Read more

Did Meghan and Harry buy in Montecito? Sources point to $14.65 million estate

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LOS ANGELES -- Meghan and Harry have quietly moved up the coast, buying a home in the Santa Barbara area, sources told the Los Angeles Times.

Prince Harry and the former Meghan Markle have purchased a home in the heart of Montecito, according to people familiar with the matter who weren't authorized to speak publicly.

Tabloids first reported ...Read more

Puerto Rico Supreme Court orders island's suspended primaries to resume Sunday

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SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- Puerto Rico's Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that the votes cast in Sunday's botched primary election are valid and will be counted. The island's highest court ordered the election to be continued this coming Sunday for precincts unable to cast their ballots or precincts that were not open for eight hours.

The results of...Read more

Judge to Ghislaine Maxwell: No, I will not delay release of Epstein documents

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A federal judge late Wednesday denied an attempt by Jeffrey Epstein's alleged madam Ghislaine Maxwell to delay the unsealing of potentially embarrassing documents in a now-settled 2017 defamation lawsuit.

U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska earlier this month had ordered unsealed a large batch of documents associated with Maxwell's defamation ...Read more

Behind closed doors: How Biden's team weighed the VP candidates

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WILMINGTON, Del. -- The vetting Kamala Harris endured to earn her spot on Joe Biden's presidential ticket was like none other in recent history.

It was at once a public audition and highly secretive. It took sharp turns as the nation struggled with a pandemic and erupted in protest following the killing of George Floyd. In the era of Trump, the...Read more

Pine Gulch wildfire explodes, becoming one of the largest in Colorado history

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- The Pine Gulch fire, a lightning-sparked wildfire burning north of Grand Junction, exploded overnight, nearly doubling in size to become the seventh-largest fire in the state's history, fire officials said.

The fire, which started July 31, grew from 36,449 acres Tuesday to 51,455 acres Wednesday morning, according to ...Read more

Black militia not coming to Stone Mountain, leader says

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ATLANTA -- Far-right extremists had been gearing up for a confrontation with the group.

The leader of an all-Black militia told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Wednesday that his group of armed members will not show up to confront a coalition of far-right groups planning to hold a rally at Stone Mountain Park Saturday.

The far-right groups ...Read more

Prosecutors seek permission for single trial for all 4 ex-officers in George Floyd killing

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MINNEAPOLIS -- Prosecutors are seeking to try the four former officers charged in George Floyd's killing in one trial.

Assistant Attorney General Matthew Frank filed a motion Wednesday requesting to join the trials of Derek Chauvin, J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao. A trial date has been set for March 8.

Frank argued that the ...Read more

Harris pick sends Trump into a favorite pastime — bashing California

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WASHINGTON -- Early Wednesday, the morning after Joe Biden asked Kamala Harris to run as his vice president, Republicans blasted her as "A California Progressive Radical."

Hours later, the Trump campaign slammed the first-term U.S. senator from the nation's most populous state as "a California Radical who Completes the Left-Wing Takeover of Joe...Read more

How will Kamala Harris impact the rest of the Democratic ticket?

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WASHINGTON -- The fundraising email from California Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris hit inboxes Tuesday evening with the subject line "Proud to announce." But it wasn't about Harris making history as her party's vice presidential nominee.

"I'm excited to let you know ... that I'm proudly endorsing Cindy Axne for Congress!" read the email, touting...Read more