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Pelosi revives ambitious infrastructure bill for next stimulus

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WASHINGTON -- Democrats have responded to President Donald Trump's call for a $2 trillion infrastructure investment in the next coronavirus relief bill by dusting off the five-year, $760 billion infrastructure plan they introduced in January.

The proposal would invest $329 billion for highways and bridges and aim to increase the availability of...Read more

Public schools expected to remain closed for the rest of the academic year, Newsom says

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LOS ANGELES -- California's public K-12 school campuses are expected to remain closed for the remainder of the academic year in response to the escalating coronavirus pandemic as educators take on the massive challenge of distance learning for about 6.1 million students, state officials announced Wednesday.

Families and educators should operate...Read more

Gov. DeSantis to issue order limiting Florida to essential services only for 30 days

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- After weeks of resisting a statewide stay-home order, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced on Wednesday that he would sign an executive order limiting all activity in Florida to essential services only for the next 30 days to try to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The order, which will go into effect at 12:01 a.m. Friday,...Read more

Iran, Venezuela and other US foes fight coronavirus amid American sanctions

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BEIRUT -- Hezbollah, the Iran-backed Islamic faction in Lebanon deemed a terrorist group by the U.S., has decades of experience fighting wars. But not the kind it launched this week.

Armed with red, yellow and green Hezbollah flags and face masks decorated with the same colors, thousands of doctors, nurses and medical technicians began ...Read more

As Trump lets private sector supply the coronavirus fight, the well-connected often get first dibs

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WASHINGTON -- As hospitals, doctors and state and local governments race for masks, ventilators and other medical supplies with little coordination by the Trump administration, the well-connected are often getting to the front of the line.

An outpouring of corporate and philanthropic support has funneled badly needed supplies to combat the ...Read more

Joshua Tree National Park closes to all visitors over coronavirus

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Joshua Tree National Park closed indefinitely to all visitors Wednesday amid the coronavirus pandemic, the park's website says. The 800,000-acre desert park earlier had closed campgrounds and access roads into the park but allowed walkers and cyclists to enter.

The California park took action after consulting "with the local county health ...Read more

Fox isn't enough: Amid coronavirus crisis, Trump leans on a new media friend

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WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump has made contentious exchanges with reporters a feature of his daily coronavirus briefings, often using personal invective to bulldoze past questions about shortfalls with masks, ventilators and testing and his own past statements.

But he has shown an altogether different response to one lesser-known media ...Read more

What it's like to be locked in prison during the coronavirus pandemic

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PHILADELPHIA -- At the Pike County, Pa., Correctional Facility, a contraband economy has sprung up around limited supplies of soap.

Fights have broken out between prisoners in Montgomery County over phone time since the state prisons banned visitors.

Inmate trustees in Schuylkill County have logged 12-hour shifts fulfilling thousands of ...Read more

California may face 5,000 coronavirus deaths a week if social distancing eases too soon, health official says

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MILLBRAE, Calif. -- California faces 5,000 coronavirus deaths a week if the state's stay-at-home policies are relaxed too early, a health officer in the Bay Area said Tuesday.

"Some of the modeling is predicting -- at the peak -- up to 5,000 deaths a week throughout California," Dr. Chris Farnitano, health officer for Contra Costa County, told ...Read more

Coronavirus stay-at-home orders have reduced California traffic accidents by half

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LOS ANGELES -- Coronavirus stay-at-home orders that went into effect on March 20 have reduced vehicle collisions on California roadways by roughly half, according to a UC Davis survey that is the first to estimate the impact of the extraordinary health orders on traffic.

"The reduction works out to about 15,000 fewer collisions per month and 6,...Read more

Coronavirus vaccine race gets unlikely partner: big tobacco

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Cigarette makers may seem like an unlikely source of life-saving vaccines, yet Philip Morris International Inc. and British American Tobacco Plc are trying to devise a defense against the coronavirus from the humble tobacco leaf.

BAT said Wednesday that it's in pre-clinical testing of a plant-based vaccine via a U.S. biotech subsidiary Kentucky...Read more

At the state level, no shortage of COVID-19 policies or spats

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WASHINGTON -- States' responses to the COVID-19 pandemic have created a patchwork of policies and, in some states, opportunities for intrastate political skirmishes.

The dust-ups have occurred mostly in states where governors have let counties take the lead in imposing social distancing rules.

In Florida, 10 House Democrats wrote a letter ...Read more

Spain virus deaths rise by 864 in deadliest day of outbreak

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Spain reported 864 new coronavirus fatalities on Wednesday, marking its deadliest day since the crisis began as the number of confirmed cases surged past 100,000.

Total deaths rose to 9,053 in the past 24 hours, from 8,189 Tuesday, according to Health Ministry data. The number of confirmed cases increased to 102,136, though the gain of 7,710 ...Read more

Defense industry on sidelines, for now, during pandemic fight

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WASHINGTON -- The defense industry has high-tech production lines sprinkled around the country and a skilled workforce that has been deemed essential during the COVID-19 pandemic, factors that would seemingly make it a candidate for building desperately needed ventilators and personal protective equipment.

But Pentagon contractors are, for now,...Read more

28 test positive for coronavirus after returning from spring break trip to Mexico, Austin health officials say

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AUSTIN, Texas -- Twenty-eight University of Texas students who returned to Austin from a spring break trip to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, have tested positive for the coronavirus, UT officials say. Dozens more are being monitored.

Austin Public Health officials said Tuesday a group of about 70 people in their 20s took a chartered plane to and from ...Read more

Billion-dollar blows to US states crater spending plans

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The coronavirus is threatening to blow a massive hole in U.S. state and city budgets as millions of people stay home, workers are idled and the stock market flounders.

New York, the epicenter of the U.S. outbreak, is projected to lose between $10 billion and $15 billion of revenue in the fiscal year that starts Wednesday. Ohio state agencies ...Read more

Saudi Arabia asks Muslims to put hajj plans on hold amid virus

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Saudi Arabia asked Muslims to put on hold plans to perform the obligatory annual hajj pilgrimage this year as the kingdom grapples with the coronavirus.

"We have asked our Muslim brothers around the world to wait" on making hajj plans "until there is clarity," Mohammad Benten, the ninister of hajj and Umrah, told state-run Al Ekhbariya TV.

...Read more

Coronavirus could overwhelm legal help for America's poor

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WASHINGTON -- Attorneys at the Southeast Louisiana Legal Services Corporation helped the state's poorest residents in the aftermath of two major hurricanes, the Gulf oil spill and the Great Recession -- but the COVID-19 outbreak threatens to strain work there and at similar agencies across the country like never before.

Laura Tuggle worked on ...Read more

Wall Street donors forgo political contributions during pandemic

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WASHINGTON -- Big donors to U.S. presidential campaigns are feeling the economic pinch from the coronavirus pandemic and holding on to their money just when the candidates -- especially Democratic front-runner Joe Biden -- need it most.

With stocks falling, businesses shrinking and unemployment soaring, donors of all sizes are feeling the ...Read more

As the coronavirus grips the Americas, Venezuelan migrants feel the pain

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Yorgelis del Carmen Beli Fonseca fled Venezuela two years ago to try to scratch out a living in neighboring Colombia, selling candy and garbage bags on the streets of the port city of Barranquilla.

On a good day she makes about $5, enough to rent a two-room house that she shares with her infant son and eight other people.

"Things were going ...Read more