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VIRUS-OUTBREAK-SCHOOL-FUNDING-SPORTS — A growing number of school districts in the U.S. are using federal pandemic funding on athletics projects. One school district in Iowa is spending $100,000 on a weight room renovation, while another in Wisconsin is spending $1.6 million on new synthetic turf fields. School officials argue the projects support students’ physical and mental health, but critics tell The Associated Press the spending clashes with the intent of the pandemic relief. By Collin Binkley and Ryan J. Foley. SENT: 1,530 words, photos. An abridged version of 975 words is available.
CONGRESS-DEBT — President Biden is escalating his campaign to get Congress to lift the federal debt limit, hosting business leaders at the White House and warning in a new report that failure to extend the government’s borrowing authority could set off a global financial crisis. By Lisa Mascaro and Jonathan Lemire. SENT: 730 words, photos. WITH: CONGRESS-DEBT-THE COIN — It would be the token of all tokens: a $1 trillion coin, minted by the U.S. government, then cashed in to flood the treasury with cash and solve a political impasse over suspending the debt limit. SENT: 900 words, photo.
VIRUS-OUTBREAK — COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. are coming down again, hospitalizations are dropping, and new cases per day are about to dip below 100,000 for the first time in two months — all signs that the summer surge is waning. Not wanting to lose momentum, government leaders and employers are looking at strengthening and expanding vaccine requirements. By John Seewar. SENT: 570 words, photos.
VIRUS-OUTBREAK-SLOW-EVICTIONS — Long delayed evictions are rolling out more than a month after the end of a federal moratorium that had protected tenants, including some who hadn’t paid rent for many months because of the coronavirus pandemic. It is far from the tsunami many people predicted, but the lockouts now starting up are nevertheless devastating for families still trying to catch up while the pandemic churns on. Officials say some landlords seem to be holding off on lockouts so they can get repaid with assistance money. By Anita Snow. SENT: 930 words, photos.
CHINA-TAIWAN — With record numbers of military flights near Taiwan over the last week, China has been stepping up its harassment of the island it claims as its own, demonstrating a new level of threat as it asserts its territorial ambitions in the region. With the combination of fighters, bombers and reconnaissance aircraft, experts say the latest sorties resemble a dry run for an attack. The U.S. has called China’s latest actions “risky” and “destabilizing,” and at the same time has stepped up naval maneuvers in the Indo-Pacific with its allies, challenging Beijing’s claims in critical waterways, while Taiwan has been left pleading for more global support. By Huizhong Wu and David Rising. SENT: 1,215 words, photo. WITH: UNITED STATES-CHINA — Top diplomatic advisers to President Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping met for talks in Switzerland as the United States looks to improve communications at a time of rising tensions between the global powers. SENT: 525 words, photos.
HOLIDAY-TOY-DELAYS — With three months until Christmas, toy companies are racing to get their toys onto store shelves as they face a severe supply network crunch. Toy makers are feverishly trying to find containers to ship their goods while searching for new alternative routes and ports. Some are flying in the toys if they can get space instead of shipping by boat to get the goods on shelves well before Christmas. By Anne D’Innocenzio. SENT: 1,095 words, photos.
COLUMBUS-ZOO-ACCREDITATION — The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium has lost its most important accreditation, a major blow to an institution once widely admired in its industry and by the general public. SENT: 350 words, photos.
TURTLE-TRAFFICKING — Federal prosecutors have brought another case against the so-called “Lizard King” of Florida, accusing him of scheming to export illegally harvested turtles to China and Japan. SENT: 265 words.
POLICE-HELICOPTER-SHOOTING — Two men face terrorism charges for allegedly firing gunshots at a Michigan State Police helicopter as it hovered over a nature area while troopers were investigating reported gunfire. SENT: 275 words.
MORE ON THE VIRUS OUTBREAK
VIRUS-OUTBREAK-SWEDEN — Scandinavian authorities suspended or discouraged the use of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine in young people because of an increased risk of heart inflammation, a very rare side effect associated with the shot. Sweden suspended the use of Moderna for those recipients under 30, Denmark said those under 18 won’t be offered the Swiss-made vaccine, and Norway urged those under 30 to get the Pfizer vaccine instead. SENT: 770 words, photos.
VIRUS-OUTBREAK-CALIFORNIA — Los Angeles leaders were poised to enact one of the nation’s strictest vaccine mandates — a sweeping measure that would require the shots for everyone entering a bar, restaurant, nail salon, gym or even a Lakers game. SENT: 580 words, photo.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-ZIMBABWE-VACCINES FOR BOOZE — Zimbabwe is allowing bars to reopen for the first time in more than a year, but only fully vaccinated people will be allowed to take a swig from inside the premises. SENT: 430 words, photos.
VIRUS-OUTBREAK-RUSSIA — Russia’s daily coronavirus death toll surpassed 900 for the first time in the pandemic, a record that comes amid the country’s low vaccination rate and the government’s reluctance to impose tough restrictions to control new cases. SENT: 430 words, photos.
CONGRESS-BUDGET — President Biden and congressional Democrats’ push for a 10-year, $3.5 trillion package of social and environmental initiatives has reached a turning point, with the president repeatedly conceding that the measure will be considerably smaller and pivotal lawmakers flashing potential signs of flexibility. SENT: 960 words, photos.
CONGRESS-BUDGET-MEDICARE NEGOTIATIONS — Negotiating Medicare drug prices is a linchpin of President Biden’s ambitious health care agenda. But Congress barred that nearly 20 years ago, when medicines costing $100,000 a year were rare. Now Biden and congressional Democrats want to create an exception for the most expensive drugs without generic competition and for insulins, but the pharmaceutical industry is vehemently opposed, and all Democrats can’t agree. UPCOMING: 900 words, photos by 4 p.m.
JUSTICE-DEPARTMENT-CYBERSECURITY — The Justice Department is poised to sue government contractors and other companies who receive U.S. government grants if they if they fail to report breaches of their cyber systems. That’s according to the Justice Department’s No. 2 official. Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco said the department is prepared to take legal action under a statute called the False Claims Act against contractors who misuse federal dollars by failing to disclose hacks or by having deficient cybersecurity standards. SENT: 575 words, photos.
STUDENT-LOAN-FORGIVENESS — The Biden administration is moving to relax the rules for a student loan forgiveness program that has been criticized for its notoriously complex requirements — a change that could offer debt relief to thousands of teachers, social workers, military members and other public servants. SENT: 750 words, photo.
SUPREME-COURT-GUANTANAMO-STATE-SECRETS —The Supreme Court seemed skeptical of requiring the government to divulge what it says is secret information being sought by a Guantanamo Bay detainee. But in a surprising turn, several justices also raised questions about the man’s rights. SENT: 630 words, photos.
BIDEN-ENVIRONMENTAL-REVIEWS — In the latest reversal of a Trump-era environmental rollback, President Joe Biden is restoring federal regulations guiding environmental reviews of major infrastructure projects such as highways and pipelines. The reviews were scaled back by the Trump administration in a bid to fast-track the projects. SENT: 600 words, photo.
CALIFORNIA OIL SPILL — A ship’s anchor may have hooked, dragged and torn an underwater pipeline that spilled tens of thousands of gallons of crude oil into the ocean off Southern California, according to federal investigators who also found the pipeline owner didn’t quickly shut down operations after a safety system alerted to a possible spill. SENT: 830 words, photos, videos. WITH: CALIFORNIA-OIL-SPILL-ANCHORED-SHIPS — Ship anchor suspected in pipeline break that fouled beaches. SENT: 570 words, photo. WITH: CALIFORNIA-OIL-DRILLING— California oil spill renews calls to ban offshore drilling. SENT: 1,005 words, photos.
TEXAS-HIGH-SCHOOL-SHOOTING — A student opened fire inside a Dallas-area high school during a fight, injuring four people before he fled, authorities said. The shooting happened at Timberview High School in Arlington, which is part of the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area. Two people were shot and two others had unspecified injuries, Arlington Assistant Police Chief Kevin Kolbye said at a news conference. SENT: 245 words, photos. developing.
MAKING-WATER-OUT-OF-AIR — Some residents in the drought-parched U.S. West are turning to pricey machines that developers say can produce hundreds of gallons of water a day, literally out of thin air. SENT: 420 words, photos, video.
WOMEN-KILLED — A New Jersey man who used dating apps to lure and kill three women five years ago was sentenced to 160 years in prison after a trial in which it was revealed that friends of one victim did their own detective work on social media to ferret out the suspect. SENT: 605 words.
NATO-RUSSIA — NATO has expelled 8 members of Russia’s mission to the military alliance saying that they were secretly working as intelligence officers and cut the size of Moscow’s team able to work at its headquarters. SENT: 300 words, photos.
IRAQ-ELECTION BLUES — Candidates running in Iraq’s parliament election Sunday try to persuade the country’s disillusioned youth, the largest demographic, to trust an electoral process tainted by past tampering and fraud. But apathy is widespread, and some of the pro-reform activists whose street protests in 2019 led to the upcoming vote now call for a boycott. Others pin their hopes on a redrawn map of electoral districts and argue that voting is the only path to change. SENT: 1,140 words, photos.
LEBANON PANDORA PAPERS — A trove of leaked documents have confirmed what many in crisis-hit Lebanon had known for a long time. As the Lebanese people battled poverty, lack of services and lost access to their savings in local banks, politicians and bankers were transferring money abroad to buy expensive properties. SENT: 1,140 words, photos.
ISRAEL-SETTLER-VIOLENCE — Residents of a small Palestinian shepherding village in the occupied West Bank say an Israeli settler attack last week was especially violent but not unusual. The attack damaged much of the village’s fragile infrastructure and a 4-year-old boy was hospitalized after being struck in the head by a stone thrown by one of the settlers. The Palestinians view the attack as part of a much larger effort by Israel to force them off the land. SENT: 1,060 words, photos.
BRITAIN CONSERVATIVES — Prime Minister Boris Johnson shrugged off Britain’s problems of empty gas pumps, worker shortages and gaps on store shelves as he told fellow Conservatives on that the U.K. would emerge from Brexit and the coronavirus pandemic as a more productive and dynamic nation. SENT: 980 words, photos.
GERMANY-HOLOCAUST-JEWISH-CLAIMS — The organization that handles claims on behalf of Jews who suffered under the Nazis says that Germany has agreed to extend compensation to Jewish survivors who endured the World War II siege of Leningrad and two other groups who had not received any monthly pensions from Germany. SENT: 820 words, photos.
HEALTH & SCIENCE
NOBEL-CHEMISTRY — Two scientists won the Nobel Prize for chemistry for finding an “ingenious” and environmentally cleaner way to build molecules that can be used to make a variety of compounds, including medicines and pesticides. SENT: 950 words, photos.
MED-WHO-MALARIA-VACCINE — The world’s first malaria vaccine should be given to children across Africa, the World Health Organization recommended, a move that officials hope will spur stalled efforts to curb the spread of the parasitic disease. SENT: 700 words, photo.
SAUDI-ARAMCO — Saudi Arabia’s oil company Aramco closed just shy of a $2 trillion valuation the kingdom’s crown prince has long sought. Aramco’s market cap is being buoyed by high oil prices and increased demand for energy as economies recover from last year’s pandemic lockdowns. SENT: 585 words, photos.
FINANCIAL-MARKETS — Stocks were lower as Wall Street undergoes a bout of volatility, driven in part by big swings in technology companies. SENT: 465 words, photo, developing.
FILM-REVIEW-THE-RESCUE — The Oscar-winning filmmaking team E. Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin, who took audiences sweaty-palmed up the vertical slope of Yosemite’s El Capitan in “Free Solo,” turn their attention to the 2018 Thai cave incident in which 12 young soccer players and their coach were stranded in a flooded cave for 18 days. Through extraordinary footage, exclusive interviews and recreations, “The Rescue” chronicles the efforts to save the 13 souls. SENT: 665 words, photos.
BBN-CARDINALS-DODGERS — Max Scherzer starts for the 106-win Los Angeles Dodgers against Adam Wainwright and the St. Louis Cardinals, who won 90 games, in the NL wild-card game. The winner advance to play San Francisco in the NL Division Series, while the loser goes home. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos. Game starts at 8 p.m.
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