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Photos show the intense smoke from Colorado's largest wildfire ever

Colorado firesFirefighters face another day of critical danger Saturday as the Cameron Peak Fire, the biggest wildfire in Colorado history, continues to rage in the mountains west of Fort Collins and Loveland.

The wildfire measured more than 270 square miles Friday night as more strong winds kept firefighting aircraft on the ground and forced evacuations along a highway leading to Rocky Mountain National Park. The fire is 57% contained as of Saturday morning.

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The US has reached 8 million Covid-19 cases, and the pace of new infections signals a tough winter

8 million Covid-19 reached in USThe United States on Friday surpassed 8 million recorded Covid-19 cases -- a milestone that comes as daily infection rates are rising, which experts say is setting the country up for a very difficult winter.
The country has recorded more than 8,008,000 cases, Johns Hopkins University says. That total is likely a vast undercount, largely because of a low testing capacity early in the pandemic, researchers have said in several reports.
Perhaps more immediately concerning than Friday's milestone is a recent rise in cases per day. The country's one-week average of new daily cases has moved above 53,000 -- an increase of more than 55% in just over a month, Johns Hopkins data show.
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Trump administration blocks California wildfire relief

Clifornia aid blocked by Trump admin.

As California seeks additional federal aid in recovering from the record-breaking wildfire season that continues to grip the state, the Trump administration has reportedly denied California’s request for disaster relief funds, the Los Angeles Times reports.

The decision was handed down either late Wednesday or early Thursday after the request was submitted on Sept. 28. The aid is sought to be allocated toward cleaning up debris leftover from recent wildfires like the El Dorado, Creek, and Bobcat fires.

Brian Ferguson, the deputy director of crisis communication and media relations for the California governor’s Office of Emergency Services, couldn’t provide a reason behind the White House’s rejection.

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Judge lifts Texas governor's order limiting ballot drop boxes to one per county

Judge lifts Texas governor's one box ruling.

A Texas judge on Thursday lifted an order by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott that limited counties to a single drop-off location for absentee ballots in the Nov. 3 presidential election, siding with Democrats who have denounced the limit as voter suppression.

“The limitation to a single drop-off location for mail ballots would likely needlessly and unreasonably increase risks of exposure to COVID-19 infections, and needlessly and unreasonably substantially burden voters’ constitutionally protected rights to vote,” said state court judge Tim Sulak, who sits in Austin, in a short written order.

Abbott’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment but he was expected to appeal.

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Justice Dept. charges Texas billionaire with biggest tax fraud case in US history

Robert Brockman

The Department of Justice has charged a Texas billionaire with the biggest tax fraud case in U.S. history, prosecutors said on Thursday.

Robert Brockman, 79, of Houston and Pitkin County, Colo., faces a 39-count indictment that was unsealed on Thursday and covers a 20-year period, including charges of money laundering, conspiracy, wire fraud and tax evasion.

U.S. Attorney David Anderson announced the grand jury’s indictment during a Thursday press conference, saying Brockman was charged with two schemes: a tax-fraud scheme and an investor-fraud scheme.

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White supremacist pleads guilty in plot to blow up Colorado synagogue

Temple Emanuel, Pueblo

A self-identified white supremacist and neo-Nazi pleaded guilty on Thursday to a plot to blow up a Colorado synagogue.

Richard Holzer was arrested last year and charged with federal hate crime and explosives charges for plotting to blow up the Temple Emanuel Synagogue in Pueblo. In a Thursday plea agreement, Holzer said he planned to destroy the synagogue, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

He had previously used social media accounts to promote white supremacy, and he visited the synagogue to observe congregants, according to a Thursday statement from the Department of Justice.

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YouTube bans QAnon conspiracy videos if they target a person or group

QAnon conspiracy theories barred from YouTube

YouTube pledged to remove videos that claim a person or group is part of a conspiracy if those theories have already triggered real-world violence -- like QAnon.

YouTube on Thursday banned videos that claim people are part of such false conspiracies as QAnon or Pizzagate, the company said in a blog post. With tweaks to its policies around hate and harassment, YouTube said it would remove videos targeting an individual or group with conspiracy theories that have been used to justify real-world violence in the past. That means Google's massive video service would take down videos that suggest somebody is complicit in the unfounded conspiracy QAnon, which has grown in prominence in the last three years.

QAnon is a collection of untrue beliefs that, for example, a secret club of Satanist Democrats, child-trafficking millionaires and state officials are trying to topple the administration of President Donald Trump. Pizzagate is a false conspiracy theory linking Hillary Clinton to a pedophile ring. Both have been debunked.

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