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

September 02, 2020 - 8:04 PM

CDC tells states: Be ready to distribute vaccines on Nov. 1

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — The federal government has told states to prepare for a coronavirus vaccine to be ready to distribute by Nov. 1.

The timeline raised concern among public health experts about an “October surprise" — a vaccine approval driven by political considerations ahead of a presidential election, rather than science.

In a letter to governors dated Aug. 27, Robert Redfield, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said states “in the near future” will receive permit applications from McKesson Corp., which has contracted with CDC to distribute vaccines to places including state and local health departments and hospitals.

“CDC urgently requests your assistance in expediting applications for these distribution facilities and, if necessary, asks that you consider waiving requirements that would prevent these facilities from becoming fully operational by November 1, 2020,” Redfield wrote.

He wrote that any waivers will not compromise the safety or effectiveness of the vaccine. The Associated Press obtained the letter, which was first reported by McClatchy.

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Video in Black man's suffocation shows cops put hood on him

A Black man who had run naked through the streets of a western New York city died of asphyxiation after a group of police officers put a hood over his head, then pressed his face into the pavement for two minutes, according to video and records released Wednesday by the man's family.

Daniel Prude died March 30 after he was taken off life support, seven days after the encounter with police in Rochester. His death received no public attention until Wednesday, when his family held a news conference and released police body camera video and written reports they obtained through a public records request.

“I placed a phone call for my brother to get help. Not for my brother to get lynched,” Prude’s brother, Joe Prude, said at a news conference. “How did you see him and not directly say, ‘The man is defenceless, buck naked on the ground. He’s cuffed up already. Come on.’ How many more brothers gotta die for society to understand that this needs to stop?"

The videos show Prude, who had taken off his clothes, complying when police ask him to get on the ground and put his hands behind his back. Prude is agitated and shouting as he sits on the pavement in handcuffs for a few moments as a light snow falls. “Give me your gun, I need it,” he shouts.

Then, they put a white “spit hood” over his head, a device intended to protect officers from a detainee's saliva. At the time, New York was in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic.

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Biden: Trump ignores pandemic, stokes unrest, solves neither

WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) — Joe Biden is calling the struggle to reopen U.S. schools amid the coronavirus a “national emergency” and accusing President Donald Trump of turning his back to stoke passions instead about unrest in America's cities.

The Democratic presidential nominee's broadsides came a day ahead of his own trip to Kenosha, Wisconsin, where Biden said he wants to help “heal” a city reeling from another police shooting of a Black man. The wounding of Jacob Blake and subsequent demonstrations have made the political battleground state a focal point for debate over police and protest violence, as well as the actions of vigilante militias.

Biden assailed Trump for his vilifying of protesters as well as his handling of the pandemic that has killed nearly 190,000 Americans and crippled the national economy, leaving millions out of work, schools straining to deal with students in classrooms or at home and parents struggling to keep up. An American president, Trump's challenger declared, should be able to lead through multiple crises at the same time.

“Where is the president? Why isn’t he working on this?,” Biden asked. “We need emergency support funding for our schools — and we need it now. Mr. President, that is your job. That’s what you should be focused on — getting our kids back to school. Not whipping up fear and division — not inciting violence in our streets.”

Trump answered almost immediately with his own event in North Carolina, where he continued casting the protests generally as “violent mobs here at home” that must be met with a strong show of force. “These people know one thing: strength,” he said. If local leaders would ask for federal muscle, Trump said, “We’ll have it done in one hour.”

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House subpoenas embattled Postal Service leader over delays

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — The House Oversight Committee on Wednesday subpoenaed Postmaster General Louis DeJoy for records about the widespread mail delivery delays that have pulled the Postal Service into the political spotlight as it prepares to handle an onslaught of ballots in the November election.

The subpoena, which seeks documents related to operational changes that have slowed mail and the agency's plans for the presidential election, comes after committee chair Rep. Carolyn Maloney said DeJoy has not sufficiently answered the panel's requests for more information.

“It is clear that a subpoena has become necessary to further the Committee’s investigation and help inform potential legislative actions,” Maloney, D-N.Y., said this week.

DeJoy, a major donor to Republicans and President Donald Trump, took over the agency in June after a career in logistics and set in motion a set of policy changes that have delayed mail and sparked concern over the agency's ability to process mail-in ballots this fall.

He has appeared before Congress twice in recent weeks to testify about the removal of the agency's blue collection boxes and mail sorting machines, as well as changes to trucking operations and overtime hours that postal workers say are resulting in delays. Amid a public outcry, DeJoy said he halted some of the changes until after election.

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Tom Seaver, heart and mighty arm of Miracle Mets, dies at 75

NEW YORK (AP) — Tom Seaver transformed a franchise and captivated a city, setting enduring standards as he whipped his powerful right arm overhead for the Miracle Mets and dirtied his right knee atop major league mounds for two decades.

A consummate pro and pitching icon, he finished fulfilled after a career remembered with awe long after his final strikeout.

“It is the last beautiful flower in the perfect bouquet,” Seaver said on the afternoon he was inducted into baseball’s Hall of Fame.

Seaver, the galvanizing force who steered the New York Mets from the National League cellar to a stunning World Series title in 1969, has died. He was 75.

The Hall said Wednesday night that Seaver died Monday from complications of Lewy body dementia and COVID-19. Seaver spent his final years in Calistoga, California.

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Critics: Eviction ban may only delay wave of homelessness

BOSTON (AP) — Housing advocates say the Trump administration's surprise national moratorium on evictions only delays a wave of crushing debt and homelessness, and an attorney representing landlords questions whether the measure is aimed at voters ahead of the November election.

The White House announced Tuesday that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would act under its broad powers to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The measure would forbid landlords from evicting anyone for failure to pay rent, providing the renter meets four criteria.

Critics call it everything from an empty stall tactic to an outright political ploy.

“My first reaction was, 'Thank God,'" said Matthew Hill, an attorney with the Public Justice Center in Baltimore. But he noted that tenants will be expected to repay their rent when the moratorium expires on Jan. 1, and without some kind of rental assistance, “we are just going to be kicking the can down the road.”

Richard Vetstein, the lead attorney representing landlords who are challenging an eviction moratorium in Massachusetts, called the CDC order “convoluted" and poorly drafted.

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Kennedy loss in Massachusetts may mark end of 'Camelot' era

BOSTON (AP) — After the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy, Jacqueline Kennedy famously compared his 1,000-day presidency to “Camelot,” a popular Broadway musical about the legend of King Arthur — crafting a wistful shorthand for the Kennedy tenure, and by extension the entire Kennedy dynasty.

Now, 60 years after JFK’s election as president, some are wondering if the days of “Camelot” are over after U.S. Rep. Joe Kennedy lll’s failed attempt to oust incumbent U.S. Sen. Edward Markey in Tuesday's state Democratic primary.

The loss marks the first time a member of the political dynasty has come up short in a race for Congress in Massachusetts.

The 39-year-old Kennedy, even as he conceded the election, seemed to leave open the possibility of a future chapter in his family’s long political saga.

“No matter the results tonight, I would do this again with all of you again in a heartbeat,” Kennedy told supporters. “We may have lost the final vote count tonight, but we built a coalition that will endure because this coalition, our coalition, is the future of a Democratic Party.”

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Germany says Soviet-era nerve agent used on Russia's Navalny

BERLIN (AP) — Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was poisoned with the same type of Soviet-era nerve agent used in a 2018 attack on a former Russian spy, the German government said Wednesday, provoking outrage from Western leaders who demanded Moscow provide an explanation.

The findings — which experts say point strongly to Russian state involvement — added to tensions between Russia and the West. German Chancellor Angela Merkel called Navalny's poisoning attempted murder, meant to silence one of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s fiercest critics.

The Berlin hospital treating the dissident said he remains on a ventilator though his condition is improving. It said it expects a long recovery and still can’t rule out long-term effects on his health from the poisoning.

The German government said that testing by a German military laboratory showed “proof without doubt of a chemical nerve agent from the Novichok group.” British authorities identified Novichok as the poison used on former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in England.

“There are very serious questions now that only the Russian government can answer, and must answer,” Merkel said.

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Former Italian premier Berlusconi tests positive for COVID

ROME (AP) — Italy’s former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi has tested positive for COVID-19 after a precautionary check and will quarantine at home, his press office said on Wednesday.

Berlusconi, who is 83, is currently isolated in his Arcore residence near Milan, his office said, adding that he will continue to work from there as he completes the necessary quarantine period.

His personal doctor, Alberto Zangrillo, said that the former premier is “asymptomatic,” Italian media reported.

Reports said Berlusconi confirmed the news in a private Zoom conversation with the women's movement of Forza Italia, his centrist party.

The three-time premier and media tycoon had been recently pictured in Sardinia with an old friend, businessman Flavio Briatore, who was hospitalized after testing positive to COVID-19 in mid August. Berlusconi had tested negative at the time.

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Venice opens 'miraculous' film festival, but veterans lament

VENICE (AP) — The beachfront terrace at the Excelsior Hotel, usually hopping with movie industry VIPs and minor celebrities, is pleasantly quiet. The red carpet has a three-meter-high (ten-foot) wall blocking the public’s view. Veteran film-goers walk away dejected after being told they had to reserve seats online, well in advance.

Welcome to the Venice Film Festival in the time of coronavirus.

The world’s oldest film festival opened Wednesday under a slew of anti-COVID protocols, with the few A-list celebrities making the trip wearing face masks and the general public largely absent.

Paparazzi who in past years rented boats to chase stars as they crossed the lagoon to the Lido filmed the opening arrivals from special, socially-distanced spots along the red carpet. Masked guards took temperatures at nearly every turn, and no jostling, crowding or cramming was allowed.

It’s all part of the measures imposed by Venice organizers to try to safely host the first major in-person festival of the COVID-19 era when others cancelled or went online. That the festival is happening at all is significant, given Italy was the first country in the West to be hit hard by the virus.

News from © The Associated Press, 2020
The Associated Press

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