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Chris Kleponis/Sipa USA/TNS

Thanksgiving testing crunch foreshadows strain in December

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NEW YORK — Americans flocked to coronavirus testing sites in the week leading up to Thanksgiving in search of a clean bill of health for travel, which drove up wait times and strained capacity.

Nationally, Saturday saw a record with 1.98 million tests performed, according to COVID Tracking Project data. California set its own new mark Tuesday...Read more

Nation and world news briefs

Current News / News & Features / is up and running — and it's a laughing matter

NEW YORK — Whether or not President Donald Trump runs in 2024 is anyone's guess, but the website is up and running, thanks to a pair of jokers who snatched up the domain name to taunt the lame-duck president.

Comedians Jason Selvig and Davram Stiefler,...Read more

Oliver Contreras/Pool/Abaca Press/TNS

Commentary: How Trump's destructive behavior emboldens authoritarian leaders abroad

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U.S. presidential elections have always attracted a global audience, and in general, that's been a good thing.

Our quadrennial balloting, despite the obscene spending by campaigns and the often rancorous exchanges between candidates, has served as an example to the world that free and fair elections are possible and that transitions of power ...Read more

Handout/Getty Images North America/TNS

COVID-19 order shows Barrett fortifies Supreme Court on religious rights

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WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court's sharply divided ruling blocking New York's COVID-19 restrictions on in-person worship has bolstered the prospects of already-successful religious legal advocates while making their adversaries fear for their future at the high court.

In its most significant public action since Justice Amy Coney Barrett ...Read more

Don Pollard/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuo/TNS

New York COVID-19 cases rise as state reports record number of tests, highest daily infections since April

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ALBANY, N.Y. — New York's COVID-19 cases rose again on Friday, reaching levels not seen since the spring, as the state braces for a post-Thanksgiving surge of infections.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that 219,442 coronavirus test results were reported to the state a day earlier, a record high for the second consecutive day.

However, the ...Read more

Spencer Platt/Getty Images North America/TNS

N.J. attorney general tells prosecutors to stop pressing charges for small amounts of marijuana

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As New Jersey lawmakers continue to hash out legislation to legalize marijuana, the attorney general on Wednesday directed all prosecutors to put a hold on cases charging possession of small amounts of the substance.

"All New Jersey municipal, county, and state prosecutors are instructed to seek an adjournment, until at least Jan. 25, 2021," of...Read more

Al Seib/Los Angeles Times/TNS

Los Angeles County adopts new stay-at-home order

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LOS ANGELES — As the number of new coronavirus cases continued to rise in Los Angeles County, health officials Friday issued a temporary stay-at-home order that will take effect Monday.

The restrictions, which will last for three weeks, are not as severe as those imposed this spring.

"Residents are advised to stay home as much as possible ...Read more

Michael Bryant/The Philadelphia Inquirer/TNS

Cosby spokesman creates video comparing comedian's conviction to racist cops

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A spokesman for Bill Cosby posted a bizarre, 100-second Instagram video Friday equating racist police officers to allegedly biased jurists who in 2018 convicted his client of drugging and sexually assaulting a woman.

"In this 21st century, we have witnessed the senseless murders of black men and women at the hands of a few bad law enforcement ...Read more

Greg Lovett/Palm Beach Post/TNS

Florida releases 2 days of COVID-19 numbers, adding 17,344 cases and 109 deaths

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MIAMI — Florida's Department of Health released two days' worth of figures on Friday, confirming 17,344 additional cases of COVID-19, bringing the state's known total to 979,020. Also, 109 new resident deaths were announced, bringing the resident toll to 18,363.

Five new non-resident deaths were also announced, bringing the non-resident toll ...Read more

Mario Tama/Getty Images North America/TNS

Texas reports 2,473 new coronavirus cases Friday

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AUSTIN, Texas — State health officials on Friday reported 2,473 new coronavirus cases and 51 new deaths in Texas.

The number of infections and hospitalizations in the state continues to climb, placing a growing strain on hospital capacity and staffing, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.

Friday's numbers depart from a...Read more

Joshua A. Bickel/Columbus Dispatch/TNS

Ohio nears 400,000 total COVID-19 cases, with at least 17,065 reported Thursday and Friday

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COLUMBUS, Ohio — At least 17,065 Ohioans tested positive for COVID-19 Thursday and Friday, the Ohio Department of Health reported Friday after a delay in posting.

The state health department didn't report the latest coronavirus cases, deaths and hospitalizations on Thanksgiving. The daily COVID-19 data is posted every day at 2 p.m., but there...Read more

Rick Loomis/Los Angeles Times/TNS

Minneapolis adds ethnic studies to high school graduation requirements

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MINNEAPOLIS — In addition to English, math, science and art classes, Minneapolis high school students will now have a new one to take — in ethnic studies — before they receive their diploma.

The school board unanimously approved the requirement, which goes into effect for the class of 2025, at a meeting earlier this month.

"This is an ...Read more

Cuban police quell protest and detain young artists and academics on hunger strike

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MIAMI — While Americans were celebrating Thanksgiving on Thursday night, in Havana Cuban police forcefully ended a hunger strike by young artists, academics, journalists and activists protesting government repression.

The protesters are members of the Movimiento San Isidro, a loose collective advocating for freedom of expression on the ...Read more

New COVID-19 spike spreading beyond urban areas to all corners of California

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LOS ANGELES — The autumn COVID-19 surge has now spread not only through major urban areas like Los Angeles but across California and even to the far northern rural reaches of the state, a troubling sign as the state faces its greatest challenge from the pandemic yet.

A Los Angeles Times data analysis found that most California counties are ...Read more

CDC: US COVID-19 death toll could reach 321,000 by mid-December

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ATLANTA — A new report issued this week by the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the coronavirus death toll could reach up to 321,000 by the middle of December.

According to the CDC's "COVID-19 Forecasts: Deaths," models are predicting the number of coronavirus deaths will likely increase over the next four weeks, ...Read more

Tracy Glantz/The State/TNS

SC reports most COVID-19 cases since late July, highest death total this month

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COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina public health officials on Friday reported 1,777 new confirmed COVID-19 cases, the highest daily case count in more than four months, and a monthly high 28 deaths from coronavirus complications.

It's the third time since July that South Carolina has reported at least 1,700 cases — all three were this month ��...Read more

Kevin Dietsch/UPI/Pool/Abaca Press/TNS

Take the vaccine even if you've already had coronavirus, Fauci says

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WASHINGTON — Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's leading infectious disease expert, is advising Americans who have already had the coronavirus — or suspect that they've had it — to take the coming vaccines for it anyway.

In a recent interview, the longtime director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases told McClatchy ...Read more

Iranian nuclear scientist gunned down, news agency reports

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BEIRUT — A top Iranian nuclear scientist and his bodyguards were gunned down on a highway near Tehran on Friday, state media reported, in an attack seen as part of the U.S. and Israel's shadow war aimed at dismantling the country's nuclear weapons program.

The killing appears to be the latest in an assassination campaign targeting Iran's ...Read more

India and Pakistan are clashing again. This time it's about rice

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MUMBAI, India — Nuclear-armed neighbors India and Pakistan have a new ingredient in their long-simmering rivalry: basmati rice.

India has asked the European Union to recognize the fragrant, long-grain staple as originating in seven Indian states and territories, which would give its producers exclusive rights to the basmati label in the ...Read more

Hospitals race to set vaccine priorities for health care workers

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Large hospital systems are grappling with how best to decide which health care workers will be vaccinated first for COVID-19, a daunting task when it's unclear which shots they'll get, how many and when they'll arrive.

The first COVID-19 vaccine could be cleared for U.S. use as soon as next month, with Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE's candidate ...Read more