Judge Approves $800M Payout Plan for Vegas Shooting Victims

A court on Wednesday approved a total of $800 million in payouts from casino company MGM Resorts International and its insurers to more than 4,400 relatives and victims of the Las Vegas Strip shooting that was the deadliest in recent U.S. history.

The action makes final a deal announced earlier this month and settles dozens of lawsuits on the eve of the third anniversary of the shooting that killed 58 people and injured more than 850 at an open-air concert near the Mandalay Bay resort.

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Outbreak in the NFL: Three Tennessee Titans Players, Five Personnel Test Positive for COVID-19

The Tennessee Titans suspended in-person activities through Friday after the NFL says three Titans players and five personnel tested positive for the coronavirus, becoming the first COVID-19 outbreak of the NFL season in Week 4.

The outbreak threatened to jeopardize the Titans’ game this weekend against the Pittsburgh Steelers and posed the first significant in-season test to the league’s coronavirus protocols.

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Court Pick Barrett Visits Senate Ahead of Confirmation Fight

President Donald Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court, Amy Coney Barrett, was on Capitol Hill on Tuesday for a day of meetings with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other pivotal Republican senators in preparation for her fast-track confirmation before the Nov. 3 election.

Joined by Vice President Mike Pence, McConnell said he was glad to welcome Barrett and “get the process started” on her confirmation. But the Republican leader declined to answer questions about whether the judge should recuse herself if legal challenges to the election between Trump and Democrat Joe Biden land at the high court.

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Debate Takeaways: Pugilist Trump Runs Rings Around Debate Opponents Biden and Wallace

After more than a year of circling each other, Republican President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden met on the debate stage Tuesday night in Ohio.

The 74-year-old president and the 77-year-old former vice president are similar in age, and they share a mutual dislike. But they differ starkly in style and substance. All of that was evident from the outset on the Cleveland stage.

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Kuwait Ruler, Longtime Diplomat Sheikh Sabah, Dies at Age 91

Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah, the ruler of Kuwait who drew on his decades as the oil-rich nation’s top diplomat to push for closer ties to Iraq after the 1990 Gulf War and solutions to other regional crises, died Tuesday. He was 91.

In a Middle East replete with elderly rulers, Sheikh Sabah stood out for his efforts at pushing for diplomacy to resolve a bitter dispute between Qatar and other Arab nations that continues to this day.

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Opposition Team Criticizes Enbridge Plans for Oil Tunnel

Enbridge’s plans for drilling an oil pipeline tunnel beneath a channel linking two of the Great Lakes do not meet industry standards and pose significant hazards to workers and the environment, experts who reviewed project documents on behalf of opposition groups said Monday.

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Amazon to Kick Off Holiday Shopping with October Prime Day

Amazon is aiming to kickstart the holiday shopping season early this year.

The company is holding its annual Prime Day over two days in October this year, after the pandemic forced it to postpone the sales event from July. It’s the first time Prime Day is being held in the fall, and Amazon is positioning it as a way to get people to start their holiday shopping.

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Trump, Biden Prepare to Debate Tuesday as National Tensions Rise

In an election year like no other, the first debate between President Donald Trump and his Democratic challenger, Joe Biden, could be a pivotal moment in a race that has remained stubbornly unchanged in the face of historic tumult.

The Tuesday night debate will offer a massive platform for Trump and Biden to outline their starkly different visions for a country facing multiple crises, including racial justice protests and a pandemic that has killed more than 200,000 Americans and cost millions of jobs.

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California Braces for Power Shutoffs and Warm, Windy Weekend

Firefighters and officials at California’s largest utility company braced for hot, dry and windy weather in northern and central areas of the state this weekend that may fan the flames of several major wildfires or ignite new ones.

Pacific Gas & Electric warned Friday it may cut power from Sunday morning to Monday, potentially affecting 97,000 customers in 16 counties, during which forecasters said a ridge of high pressure will raise temperatures and generate gusts flowing from the interior to the coast.

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Oregon Governor Sends State Police to Portland for Protests

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown declared a state of emergency Friday as she announced that state troopers and sheriff’s deputies would be sent to Portland through the weekend to help police, in the state’s largest city, monitor a weekend rally by the right-wing group Proud Boys and counter protests by liberal groups

Portland has been roiled by often violent protests for more than three months following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

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Trump Picks Conservative Amy Coney Barrett for Supreme Court

President Donald Trump nominated Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court on Saturday, capping a dramatic reshaping of the federal judiciary that will resonate for a generation and that he hopes will provide a needed boost to his reelection effort.

Republican senators are already lining up for a swift confirmation of Barrett ahead of the Nov. 3 election, as they aim to lock in conservative gains in the federal judiciary before a potential transition of power. Trump, meanwhile, is hoping the nomination will serve to galvanize his supporters as he looks to fend off Democrat Joe Biden.

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Former Congressman Ron Paul Hospitalized, Says He’s Okay

Former GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul posted a picture of himself in a hospital Friday but said he was OK after video circulated online of him struggling to speak during an interview.

The 85-year-old former Texas congressman, who ran for president three times, posted a picture on Facebook showing him smiling in a hospital gown and giving a thumbs-up. “I am doing fine. Thank you for your concern,” he said.

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Health Officials Seek to Block Trump Rally in Virginia

A Virginia health official is warning of a “severe public health threat” if a planned campaign rally for President Donald Trump goes forward Friday evening.

Dr. Natasha Dwamena, a Department of Public Health district director, said in a letter Thursday that the 4,000 people expected to attend Trump’s rally at the Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport would be breaking Gov. Ralph Northam’s executive order generally banning gatherings of more than 250 people. She said the rally should be canceled, rescheduled or scaled down to comply with the governor’s order.

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Senate GOP Lines up with Trump to Quickly Fill Court Seat

Senate Republicans have swiftly fallen in line behind President Donald Trump’s push to fill the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Supreme Court seat as one of the last holdouts, Sen. Mitt Romney, said Tuesday he supports a vote despite Democrats’ objections it’s too close to the Nov. 3 election.

Trump, who will announce his nominee Saturday, is all but certain to have the votes to confirm his choice.

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Michigan-Ohio State Finale Highlights Third Big Ten Schedule

The Big Ten’s third football schedule of the 2020 season is highlighted by Michigan-Ohio State on Dec. 12, the final day of the conference’s regular-season and the latest date the rivals have ever played.

The Big Ten released an eight-games-in-eight-weeks schedule on Saturday that will start the weekend of Oct. 24. Just three days ago, the conference reversed course and decided to play a fall football season after postponing on Aug. 11 because of concerns about COVID-19.

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Robert W. Gore, the Inventor of Gore-Tex Fabric, Dead at 83

Robert W. Gore, whose invention of what created the breathable-yet-waterproof fabric known as Gore-Tex revolutionized outdoor wear and helped spawn uses in numerous other fields, has died. He was 83.

Gore, who was president of W. L. Gore & Associates for almost 25 years and company chairman for 30 years, died on Thursday at a family home in Maryland following a prolonged illness, company spokesperson Amy Calhoun confirmed Saturday.

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Feds Explored Possibly Charging Portland Officials in Unrest

The Justice Department explored whether it could pursue either criminal or civil rights charges against city officials in Portland, Oregon, after clashes erupted there night after night between law enforcement and demonstrators, a department spokesperson said Thursday.

The revelation that federal officials researched whether they could levy criminal or civil charges against the officials — exploring whether their rhetoric and actions may have helped spur the violence in Portland — underscores the larger Trump administration’s effort to spotlight and crack down on protest-related violence. The majority of the mass police reform demonstrations nationwide have been peaceful.

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Homes Burned as Winds Push California Fire into Desert Floor

Strong winds pushed a wildfire burning for nearly two weeks in mountains northeast of Los Angeles onto the desert floor and spread it rapidly in several directions, causing it to explode in size and destroy homes, officials said Saturday.

Meanwhile, officials were investigating the death of a firefighter on the lines of another Southern California wildfire that erupted earlier this month from a smoke-generating pyrotechnic device used by a couple to reveal their baby’s gender.

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After Ginsburg: McConnell Pledges Quick Vote on Successor

The death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg just over six weeks before the election cast an immediate spotlight on the high court vacancy, with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell quickly vowing to bring to a vote whoever President Donald Trump nominates.

McConnell, in a statement just over an hour after Ginsburg’s death was announced, declared unequivocally that Trump’s nominee would receive a vote, even though he had stalled President Barack Obama’s choice for months ahead of the 2016 election, eventually preventing a vote.

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U.S. Bans WeChat, TikTok from App Stores Citing Security Risk

The U.S. Commerce Department said Friday it will ban Chinese-owned TikTok and WeChat from U.S. app stores on Sunday and will saddle the apps with technical restrictions that could seriously limit their functionality in the U.S.

The order, which cited national security and data privacy concerns, follows weeks of dealmaking over the video-sharing service TikTok. President Donald Trump has pressured the app’s Chinese owner to sell TikTok’s U.S. operations to a domestic company. It is not clear how the latest prohibitions will affect a deal recently struck by California tech giant Oracle aimed at satisfying U.S. concerns over TikTok’s data collection and related issues.

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‘Nothing Left in the Bucket’: Wildfire Resources Run Thin

Justin Silvera came off the fire lines in Northern California after a grueling 36 straight days battling wildfires and evacuating residents ahead of the flames. Before that, he and his crew had worked for 20 days, followed by a three-day break.

Silvera, a 43-year-old battalion chief with Cal Fire, California’s state firefighting agency, said he’s lost track of the blazes he’s fought this year. He and his crew have sometimes been on duty for 64 hours at a stretch, their only rest coming in 20-minute catnaps.

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Relocated Isle Royale Wolves Form Groups, Reduce Moose Herd

Gray wolves that were taken to Michigan’s Isle Royale National Park to rebuild its nearly extinct population are forming social groups, staking out territory and apparently mating — promising signs despite heavy losses from natural causes and deadly fights, scientists said Monday.

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Pandemic Chases ‘Wonder Woman 1984’ to Christmas

Following the less-than-stellar theatrical debut of Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet,” Warner Bros. is delaying its next big release, “Wonder Woman 1984,” to Christmas.

The postponement Friday of the “Wonder Woman” sequel, which had been scheduled to hit theaters Oct. 2, comes on the heels of Hollywood’s boldest attempt to lure moviegoers back to theaters during the pandemic.

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Ex-Baltimore Mayoral Aide Gets Prison in Book Sales Scam

A former aide who helped ex-Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh fraudulently sell her self-published children’s books to nonprofits was sentenced Friday to more than two years in federal prison.

Gary Brown Jr. apologized for his actions and expressed regret for bringing shame to his family and friends before U.S. District Judge Deborah Chasanow sentenced him to 27 months.

In February, Chasanow sentenced Pugh, a Democrat, to three years in prison for her role in the scheme to profit from sales of her “Healthy Holly” books.

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Billionaire Mike Bloomberg to Spend at Least $100M to Help Biden in Florida

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is committing at least $100 million to help Joe Biden’s presidential campaign in the crucial battleground state of Florida.

Bloomberg’s late-stage infusion of cash reflects Democrats’ concerns about the tight race in a state that is a priority for President Donald Trump. A victory for Biden in Florida, the largest of the perennial battleground states, would significantly complicate Trump’s path to reaching the 270 Electoral College votes needed to secure a second term.

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Two California Deputies Shot in Apparent Ambush in Patrol Car

Authorities searched Sunday for a gunman who shot and wounded two Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies who were sitting in their squad car — an apparent ambush that drew an angry response from the president and sparked an anti-police protest outside the hospital where the deputies were being treated.

The 31-year-old female deputy and 24-year-old male deputy underwent surgery Saturday evening, Sheriff Alex Villanueva said in a late-night news conference. Both graduated from the academy 14 months ago, he said.

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Dozens Missing as Firefighters Battle Two Large Oregon Fires

Hundreds of firefighters battled two large wildfires Friday that threatened to merge near the most populated part of Oregon, including the suburbs of Portland, and the governor said dozens of people are missing in other parts of the state.

The state’s emergency management director, Andrew Phelps, said officials are “preparing for a mass fatality event” and that thousands of structures have been destroyed.

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Experts: Revamped OxyContin Hasn’t Curbed Abuse, Overdoses

A panel of government health advisers said Friday there’s no clear evidence that a harder-to-crush version of the painkiller OxyContin designed to discourage abuse actually resulted in fewer overdoses or deaths.

The conclusion from the Food and Drug Administration advisory panel comes more than a decade after Purdue Pharma revamped its blockbuster opioid, which has long been blamed for sparking a surge in painkiller abuse beginning in the 1990s.

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‘There Was No Fighting This Fire,’ California Survivor Says

John Sykes built his life around his cabin in the dense woods of Northern California. He raised his two children there, expanded it and improved it over time and made it resilient to all kinds of disaster except fire.

So when the winds started howling Tuesday and the skies became so dark from smoke that he had to turn on his lights at midday, he didn’t hesitate to leave it all behind in an instant before any evacuation order.

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Bahrain Becomes Latest Arab Nation to Recognize Israel

Bahrain has become the latest Arab nation to agree to normalize ties with Israel as part of a broader diplomatic push by President Donald Trump and his administration to fully integrate the Jewish state into the Middle East.

Trump announced the agreement on Friday, following a three-way phone call he had with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa. The three leaders also issued a brief six-paragraph joint statement, attesting to the deal.

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GOP’s Slimmed-Down Virus Bill Scuttled by Senate Democrats

Senate Democrats scuttled a scaled-back GOP coronavirus rescue package on Thursday, saying the measure shortchanged too many pressing needs as the pandemic continues its assault on the country.

The mostly party-line vote capped weeks of wrangling over a fifth relief bill that all sides say they want but are unable to deliver. The bipartisan spirit that powered earlier aid measures has given way to election-season political combat and name-calling. The 52-47 vote fell well short of what was needed to overcome a filibuster and seems likely to end hopes for coronavirus relief before the November election.

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California Fire That Killed Three Threatens Thousands of Homes

A Northern California wildfire threatened thousands of homes Thursday after winds whipped it into a monster that incinerated houses in a small mountain community and killed at least three people.

Several other people have been critically burned and hundreds, if not thousands, of homes and other buildings are believed to have been damaged or destroyed by the fire in the foothills of the northern Sierra Nevada, authorities said.

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Trump Releases List of 20 New Possible Supreme Court Picks

Hoping to replicate a strategy that has long been seen as key to his appeal among conservative voters, President Donald Trump on Wednesday announced he is adding 20 names to a list of Supreme Court candidates that he’s pledged to choose from if he has future vacancies to fill.

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NIH: Halted Vaccine Study Shows ‘No Compromises’ on Safety

The suspension of a huge COVID-19 vaccine study over an illness in a single participant shows there will be “no compromises” on safety in the race to develop the shot, the chief of the National Institutes of Health told Congress on Wednesday.
AstraZeneca has put on hold studies of its vaccine candidate in the U.S. and other countries while it investigates whether a British volunteer’s illness is a side effect or a coincidence.

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GM to Make Electric Vehicle, Supply Batteries for Nikola

General Motors announced its second major electric vehicle partnership in less than a week on Tuesday, this time a $2 billion deal with startup Nikola.

GM will take an 11% ownership stake in the Phoenix company and will engineer and build Nikola’s Badger hydrogen fuel cell and electric pickup truck. The Badger is expected to be in production by the end of 2022.

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Trump Readying Potential Supreme Court Nominee List Including Former Michigan Supreme Court Justice Robert Young

President Donald Trump is preparing to again release a list of potential Supreme Court nominees, one that voters can compare to rival Joe Biden’s promise to nominate a Black woman to the high court if given the chance.

White House chief of staff Mark Meadows told reporters at the White House on Tuesday that Trump’s list will be released soon. “I’m optimistic that you’ll see those SCOTUS picks in coming days,” Meadows said.

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California Fires Bring More Chopper Rescues, Power Shutoffs

Helicopters rescued more people from wildfires Tuesday as flames chewed through bone-dry California after a scorching Labor Day weekend that saw a dramatic airlift of more than 200 people and ended with the state’s largest utility cutting power to 172,000 customers to try to prevent more blazes.

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In Battlegrounds, Absentee Ballot Rejections Could Triple

Thousands of absentee ballots get rejected in every presidential election. This year, that problem could be much worse and potentially pivotal in hotly contested battleground states.

With the coronavirus creating a surge in mail-in balloting and postal delays reported across the country, the number of rejected ballots in November is projected to be significantly higher than previous elections.

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Trump, Biden Spar Over Economy, Workers in Labor Day Blitz

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and President Donald Trump spent Monday diminishing each other’s credentials on the economy and understanding of the American worker as the presidential campaign entered its final, post-Labor Day stretch.

While workers live by an “American code,” Biden said Trump “lives by a code of lies, greed and selfishness” as he met with labor leaders in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, a key swing state. Trump, meanwhile, tried to put the halting economic recovery under the best light in a White House press conference where he said Biden and his running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris, would “destroy this country and would destroy this economy.”

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