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U.S. coronavirus deaths surpass 140,000 as outbreak worsens

deaths pass 140,000U.S. deaths from the novel coronavirus topped 140,000 on Saturday as cases continued to rise in 42 out of 50 states over the past two weeks, according to a Reuters tally.

Since late June, the United States has seen a resurgence in new cases and now, six weeks later, deaths have also begun rising, according to a weekly Reuters analysis of state and county data.

America is losing about 5,000 people to the virus every week. By contrast, neighboring Canada has reported total deaths of 8,800 since the pandemic started.


Trump says Confederate flag proud symbol of U.S. South

Confederate flagU.S. President Donald Trump declined to say the Confederate flag was an offensive symbol in an interview broadcast on Sunday, saying it is a source of pride for people who love the South.

The Republican president was asked on “Fox News Sunday,” if the flag, considered a symbol of slavery and oppression by most Americans, was offensive.

“It depends on who you’re talking about, when you’re talking about,” Trump responded. “When people proudly had their Confederate flags they’re not talking about racism. They love their flag, it represents the South. They like the South ... I say it’s freedom of many things, but it’s freedom of speech.”


Oregon AG sues federal agencies over Portland arrests, says tactics are similar to kidnapping

Portland arrest  more like kidnappingsOregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum has sued multiple federal agencies alleging agents in unmarked vehicles have grabbed people off Portland's streets without a warrant in recent days.

The lawsuit, filed Friday in Oregon U.S. District Court, says the agents violated the civil rights of Oregon residents using unlawful tactics. It comes after federal authorities allegedly injured and threatened peaceful protesters and seeks to bar the agencies from arresting people without probable cause or a warrant.


Manhunt underway in Peoria, Illinois, after 12 people are shot on Riverfront

Peoria shooting spree

Twelve people were wounded early Sunday when at least one gunman opened fire in a crowd on the Riverfront in Peoria, Illinois, police said.

Peoria Police Department spokesperson Amy Dotson said none of the injuries were considered to be life-threatening. Officers responding to the incident at about 4:42 a.m. local time found a gathering of about 200 people, Dotson said.

Two of the victims were transported by an ambulance to an area hospital; the others were transported by private vehicle, Dotson said. Two people were in serious condition with gunshot wounds to the neck, she said.

No arrests had been made, and the investigation was continuing, she said.


You can see five planets and the moon all at once this weekend. Here’s what to know

Five p;lanets line up July 19th

You might want to set your alarm pretty early on Sunday to catch an amazing sight in the sky.

Five planets and the moon will all be visible about 45 minutes before sunrise on Sunday, July 19, space experts said.

“Step outside early in the morning, at least an hour before sunrise,” Jeffrey Hunt, an astronomy educator and former planetarium director told CNET. “Find the four bright planets -- Venus, Mars, Saturn and Jupiter. They look like overly bright stars. Brilliant Venus is low in the east-northeast. Mars is the lone ‘star’ in the southeast, and Jupiter and Saturn are the stars in the southwest. To your eyes, they won’t look like the photos made by spacecraft, just overly bright stars.”

Phyllis Somerville, Actor in 'The Big C' and 'Little Children,' Dies at 76

Phyllis Somerville, dead at 76

Phyllis Somerville, an actor known for The Big C and Little Children, died of natural causes at her home in New York City on July 16, her manager Paul Hilepo told The Hollywood Reporter. She was 76.

"She was the consummate professional who lived her dream of being a working actress her entire life in NYC which spanned over 45 years," wrote Hilepo in a statement to THR. He was first her agent and then her manager, working with Somerville for over 28 years. "I will miss her greatly. Her friends and colleagues will miss her greatly as well."

Somerville was born in Iowa City, Iowa in 1943 and began her acting career as a saleslady in the 1981 film Arthur. Among her early TV appearances, she played Mrs. Beasley in Guiding Light and was featured in Law & Order, NYPD Blue, Sex and the City and The Sopranos. In 2010, she took on the character of Marlene in The Big C and later acted in an episode of House of Cards.



White House portraits of Bill Clinton and George W. Bush moved from prominent space to rarely used room

Portrats of Clinton and GW Bush moved out of prominenceThe official portraits of former Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush were removed from the Grand Foyer of the White House within the last week, aides told CNN, and replaced by those of two Republican presidents who served more than a century ago.

White House tradition calls for portraits of the most recent American presidents to be given the most prominent placement, in the entrance of the executive mansion, visible to guests during official events.
That was the case through at least July 8, when President Donald Trump welcomed Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. The two stood in the Cross Hall of the White House and made remarks, with the portraits of Clinton and Bush essentially looking on as they had been throughout Trump's first term.

The US loses two icons of the civil rights movement in one day

John LewisTwo towering figures of the American civil rights movement died Friday, a major loss for a nation still grappling with protests and demands for racial equality decades later.

John Robert Lewis died at age 80 after a battle with cancer. Rev. Cordy Tindell "C.T." Vivian died at age 95 of natural causes. They died a day before the birthday of the late Nelson Mandela -- another renown champion of racial equality.
Both men were the epitome of "good trouble" -- Lewis' favorite saying and approach to confronting injustices without violence. They worked alongside the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in the forefront of the historic struggle for racial justices in the 1960s.

White House blocks CDC director from testifying before House panel on reopening schools

Robert Redfield
The Trump administration is rebuffing House Democrats' effort to hear testimony from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Robert Redfield on safely reopening schools during the coronavirus pandemic.

House Education and Labor Committee Chairman Bobby Scott (D-Va.) sent Redfield a letter last week asking him or a CDC designee to testify at a hearing on how K-12 public schools can reopen for in-person classroom instruction this fall. But on Friday, Scott said his panel had been informed that the Trump administration would not allow CDC testimony at the hearing planned for next week.

“It is alarming that the Trump administration is preventing the CDC from appearing before the committee at a time when its expertise and guidance is so critical to the health and safety of students, parents, and educators. This lack of transparency does a great disservice to the many communities across the country facing difficult decisions about reopening schools this fall," Scott said in a statement.


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