AP News in Brief at 11:04 p.m. EDT | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

AP News in Brief at 11:04 p.m. EDT

A post-Trump test for Democrats looms in Virginia election

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — For four years, nothing rallied Democrats like the push to get Donald Trump out of office. Now, they're not sure what to do without him.

Democrats in Virginia are scrambling to stave off disaster in the state's governor's race — the most competitive major election since Trump left the White House. The surprisingly tight contest has exposed the depth of the party's dependence on Trump as a message and motivator. Without him top of mind for many, and with headwinds from Washington, Democratic officials privately fear they may lose their first statewide election in Virginia in more than a decade on Tuesday.

Public polling has been shifting in Republican newcomer Glenn Youngkin's direction in recent weeks, while Democrat Terry McAuliffe, a former governor and close ally of President Joe Biden, has struggled to energize his base as Biden's approval ratings sink. Republicans, consumed by infighting and crisis while Trump was in office, are suddenly optimistic they can win in a state Trump lost by 10 percentage points last year.

“Virginia is a very blue state — I do not consider Virginia a purple state — so the fact that we’re this competitive speaks volumes about the state of our country and the popularity of Biden,” said Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel.

A loss in the Virginia governor's race, long considered a bellwether for midterm elections, would trigger all-out panic among Democrats far beyond Virginia. The party is already wary about their chances in elections that will decide control of the House and Senate and statehouses next year.

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Democrats hope for House budget votes as soon as Tuesday

WASHINGTON (AP) — Democratic leaders were hoping for House votes as soon as Tuesday on the two pillars of President Joe Biden's domestic agenda, two Democrats said Saturday, as the party mounted its latest push to maneuver the long-delayed legislation through Congress.

It remained unclear, though, whether the ambitious timetable could be met.

Top Democrats would like a final House-Senate compromise on Biden's now $1.75 trillion, 10-year social and environment plan to be written by Sunday, the Democrats said.

Talks among White House, House and Senate officials were being held over the weekend, said the Democrats, who described the plans on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to speak on the record. The White House unveiled an outline of the $1.75 trillion measure on Thursday that won positive reviews from many rank-and-file lawmakers, pending talks over final details.

An accord could clear the way for congressional approval of that bill and a separate $1 trillion measure funding roads, rail and other infrastructure projects, the Democrats said.

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G-20 endorses global corporate minimum tax at Rome summit

ROME (AP) — Leaders of the world's biggest economies on Saturday endorsed a global minimum tax on corporations, a linchpin of new international tax rules aimed at blunting the edge of fiscal paradises amid skyrocketing profits of some multinational businesses.

The move by the Group of 20 summit in Rome was hailed by U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen as benefiting American businesses and workers.

G-20 finance ministers in July had already agreed on a 15% minimum tax. It awaited formal endorsement at the summit Saturday in Rome of the world’s economic powerhouses.

Yellen predicted in a statement that the deal on new international tax rules, with a minimum global tax, “will end the damaging race to the bottom on corporate taxation.”

The deal did fall short of U.S. President Joe Biden's original call for a 21% minimum tax. Still, Biden tweeted his satisfaction.

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Back in Europe, Biden tries to show allies US is with them

ROME (AP) — Nearly five months after President Joe Biden declared “America is back” on his first presidential visit abroad, the president's challenge now that he's back in Europe is convincing the world that America is here to stay.

Attending twin summits in Rome and then Scotland, Biden is asking world leaders to cast their lot with a country that seems unable to agree on its own future.

His visit is set against the backdrop of the ongoing struggle to get his signature domestic agenda through Congress. The president's fellow Democrats have steadily pared back Biden's proposed spending on families, health care and renewable energy to build support for the plan and battled over the tax hikes needed to pay for it.

Because support for the $1.75 trillion package of expanded social programs is unclear, the president's separate $1 trillion infrastructure package is also on hold. This leaves the president to ask the world to judge him based more on his intentions rather than his results.

Biden administration officials contend that American allies understand the messiness of the legislative process and are unfazed, but world leaders also are keenly aware of Biden’s sagging poll numbers, the prospects of a Republican resurgence in Congress in the 2022 midterm election and the specter the presidency could shift to former President Donald Trump or someone with similar politics two years later.

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'She was my friend' — Alec Baldwin mourns cinematographer

Alec Baldwin has spoken publicly for the first time on camera about the cinematographer he fatally shot on the movie set of “Rust,” calling her a friend and saying he is in “constant contact” with her grieving family.

“She was my friend," Baldwin told photographers Saturday on a roadside in Vermont. “We were a very, very well-oiled crew shooting a film together and then this horrible event happened.” The video was distributed by TMZ.

Investigators believe Baldwin’s gun fired a single live round that killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and wounded director Joel Souza.

Baldwin was joined by his wife, Hilaria, when he spoke to photographers and she filmed the exchange with her smartphone, often trying to get her husband to stop talking. Baldwin said he was speaking out so that the photographers would stop following his family.

Baldwin called the shooting incident a “one-in-a-trillion event” and said he had met with Hutchins' husband. “He is in shock, he has a 9-year-old son. We are in constant contact with him because we are very worried about his family and his kid. As I said, we are eagerly awaiting for the sheriff’s department to tell us what their investigation has yielded.”

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How 'Let's Go Brandon' became code for insulting Joe Biden

WASHINGTON (AP) — When Republican Rep. Bill Posey of Florida ended an Oct. 21 House floor speech with a fist pump and the phrase “Let’s go, Brandon!” it may have seemed cryptic and weird to many who were listening. But the phrase was already growing in right-wing circles, and now the seemingly upbeat sentiment -- actually a stand-in for swearing at Joe Biden -- is everywhere.

South Carolina Republican Jeff Duncan wore a “Let’s Go Brandon” face mask at the Capitol last week. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz posed with a “Let’s Go Brandon” sign at the World Series. Sen. Mitch McConnell’s press secretary retweeted a photo of the phrase on a construction sign in Virginia.

The line has become conservative code for something far more vulgar: “F—- Joe Biden.” It's all the rage among Republicans wanting to prove their conservative credentials, a not-so-secret handshake that signals they’re in sync with the party’s base.

Americans are accustomed to their leaders being publicly jeered, and former President Donald Trump’s often-coarse language seemed to expand the boundaries of what counts as normal political speech.

But how did Republicans settle on the Brandon phrase as a G-rated substitute for its more vulgar three-word cousin?

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More NYC workers get jabs amid mandate; 1 in 6 still refuse

NEW YORK (AP) — One in six New York City municipal workers remained unvaccinated after Friday’s deadline to show proof they’ve gotten at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, the city said Saturday.

A last-minute rush of jabs boosted the vaccination rate to 83% among police officers, firefighters, garbage collectors and other city workers covered by the mandate as of 8 p.m. Friday, up from 76% a day earlier.

The more than 26,000 workers who haven’t complied with the requirement will be put on unpaid leave starting Monday, leaving the Big Apple bracing for the possibility of closed firehouses, fewer police and ambulances and mounting trash.

Vaccination rates for the city’s fire and sanitation departments jumped significantly Friday as workers rushed to meet the deadline for the mandate and an extra incentive: Workers who get a shot by Friday will get $500.

The fire department’s rate rose 8% and the sanitation department saw an additional 10% of its staff get vaccinated Friday, according to city data. The fire and sanitation departments each have 23% of their staffs that still haven’t been vaccinated.

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University of Florida prohibits professors from testifying

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — The University of Florida is prohibiting three professors from providing expert testimony in a lawsuit challenging a new law that critics claim restricts voting rights, saying it goes against the school's interest by conflicting with the administration of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Though the decision is being criticized as threat to academic freedom and free speech, the university said in a statement Saturday that allowing professors Dan Smith, Michael McDonald and Sharon Austin to serve as paid experts for plaintiffs challenging the law would be “adverse to the university’s interests as a state of Florida institution."

“The University of Florida has a long track record of supporting free speech and our faculty’s academic freedom, and we will continue to do so," the statement said.

Lawyers for a coalition of civic groups challenging the law said in court papers Friday that the professors were told by the university that their expert testimony would dissent from the administration of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, creating a conflict for the school.

“UF will deny its employees’ requests to engage in outside activities when it determines the activities are adverse to its interests. As UF is a state actor, litigation against the state is adverse to UF’s interests," according to an email from an assistant vice president at the university to McDonald that was filed with the court documents.

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In Rittenhouse case, Americans see what they want to see

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — From the moment Kyle Rittenhouse shot three people on the streets of Kenosha during protests over the police shooting of a Black man, he’s personified America’s polarization.

The 17-year-old from Illinois who carried an AR-style rifle and idolized police was cheered by those who despised the Black Lives Matter movement and the sometimes destructive protests that followed George Floyd’s death. He was championed by pro-gun conservatives who said he was exercising his Second Amendment rights and defending cities from “antifa,” an umbrella term for leftist militants.

Others saw him as the most worrisome example yet of vigilante citizens taking to the streets with guns, often with the tacit support of police — a “chaos tourist,” in the words of the lead prosecutor, who came to Kenosha looking for trouble.

Though Rittenhouse and all three men he shot are white, many people saw racism at the heart of Kenosha — an armed white teen, welcomed by police to a city where activists were rallying against a white officer’s shooting of a Black man, and allowed to walk past a police line immediately after shooting three people.

That division is likely to be on display at Rittenhouse's trial, which opens Monday with jury selection. Rittenhouse, now 18, faces several charges, including homicide — and could see a life sentence if convicted.

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LL Cool J, Carole King, Tina Tuner inducted into Rock Hall

CLEVELAND (AP) — LL Cool J got together some of his heavyweight musical friends to usher him into rock immortality.

Part of an eclectic 2021 class that includes Carole King, Tina Turner, The Go-Gos, Jay-Z, Foo Fighters and Todd Rundgren, Cool J was joined on stage by rapper Eminem and Jennifer Lopez for a powerful performance on Saturday night during the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony.

With New York street style and swagger, Cool J was one of hip-hops first superstars in the 1980s and remains a relevant artist more than 40 years later.

“What does LL really stand for?” asked rapper/produced Dr. Dre at the opening of his induction speech for his good friend. “Ladies love? Living large? Licking lips? I’m here because I think it stands for living legend.”

Cool J then did a medley of his hits, including “Rock The Bells” accompanied by a bearded Eminem before he was joined by J-Lo for “All I Have.” Cool J wrapped up his blistering performance with one of his biggest hits “Mama Said Knock You Out.”

News from © The Associated Press, 2021
The Associated Press

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