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New recommendations from the United States Preventive Services Task Force aim to offset what experts call an alarming trend in American health: a rising number of young people are getting diagnosed with, and dying from, colorectal cancer.The Task Force announced Tuesday morning their proposal to lower the suggested age for when to start colorectal screenings, moving it up five years, from 50, to 45 years old. The move may indicate a growing call for awareness and accelerate action amongst an age group that may not know they’re at risk.

“The prognosis is so much better if you catch it at an earlier stage,” Dr. Kimmie Ng, the director of the Young-Onset Colorectal Cancer Center at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, told ABC News. “These new guidelines are hugely significant. They support and validate the alarming epidemiologic trends we’ve been seeing: This cancer is rising at about a rate of 2% per year, in people under the age of 50, since the 1990s.”

Colorectal cancer impacts the gastrointestinal system’s final segment. While lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S., colorectal cancer comes second, according to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — and yet, it remains one of the most treatable, even curable cancers, when caught in its early stages.
“Way too young” were the words resounding across the globe late this summer, when news broke that actor Chadwick Boseman, at just 43 years old, had died of colon cancer. Boseman had kept his long, difficult battle mostly private, but the shock of his loss was compounded by a common misconception: that the disease only strikes older people.
Even though overall incidence and mortality rates for colorectal cancer have decreased over the past few decades, colorectal cancer deaths among younger adults continue to climb. It’s a concerning trend, experts told ABC News, pointing out the importance of testing and early intervention.

In 2018, the American Cancer Society updated their guidelines, recommending that those at average risk of colorectal cancer begin regular screening at age 45. Experts hope the Task Force’s update shines a light on the importance of the issue.
For years prior, screening was not generally recommended for the below-50 crowd. This led to potentially vulnerable, or even sick adults putting off testing thinking their symptoms did not rise to the level of firm diagnosis. Because of this lack of awareness, pernicious, possibly cancerous growths remained undetected for too long, experts say, and now, young patients are suffering from more advanced, harder to treat cancers.

“Cancer is simply not on their radar,” Ng said, speaking more specifically about colon cancer. “They’re otherwise young and healthy. So we need to emphasize that yes, this can happen in young people.”
Nearly 25% of screening-eligible Americans have never been screened for colon cancer, and yet, it is expected to cause over 53,000 American deaths this year alone. Of the roughly 148,000 individuals who will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer in 2020, about 18,000 of those cases will be young people, according to the American Cancer Society. And although most commonly diagnosed in older adults, about one in every 10 new cases occur in people under 50, according to data collected from the CDC’s National Program of Cancer Registries.
And the trend seems to have no end in sight, as the rate of new colorectal cancer cases in young patients is expected to double by 2030.
The diagnosis strikes younger patients at a different stage in their lives, catching them unaware. Dr. Nancy You, a colorectal surgical oncologist at the MD Anderson Cancer Center, said she’s been “in the trenches” with younger patients, and that tension between life and unexpected sickness.
“The emotions are high when these younger patients walk in the door,” You told ABC. “It catches them completely off guard. They’re finishing school, trying to make a career, building relationships, families, and then this.”
“So, if we’re able to move the needle at all, lowering the stage they’re diagnosed, or when the tumor is smaller, hopefully, that’s a window of intervention such that we never get to invasive cancer.”
The new USPSTF guidelines are not yet final: For the next four weeks, the public will have the chance to peer review for feedback on the recommendation to the Task Force.
“We really approach this in an open way,” Dr. Michael Barry, USPSTF member and director of Informed Medical Decisions in the Health Decision Sciences Center at Massachusetts General Hospital. “We really try to be transparent and take different perspectives into account, before we make a final recommendation. This is an opportunity for clarification.”
With the adoption of this recommendation, more patients in an expanded age bracket will have access to screenings without having to worry about the out-of-pocket cost. Insurance coverage is “directly tied to this Task Force’s recommendations,” Ng said.
So, why has the median age for colorectal cancer shifted lower? “That is really the million dollar question we’re working to understand,” Ng said. One’s diet and one’s lifestyle choices are both suspected to have an impact, but Ng said, the “vast majority” of the younger patients she and her colleagues see live active, healthy lifestyles and have no family history.
There’s another issue, one intertwined with the socioeconomic disparity linked to nutrition and quality of life: Rates of colorectal cancer are higher in Black people, according to the Task Force and experts on the matter.
“We see these well-known disparities in the incidence of colon cancer and mortality from colorectal cancer by race,” Ng said, “Black people are much more likely to get this disease — and at a younger age — than white people, and more likely to die of colorectal cancer than white people. These new guidelines hopefully will contribute to helping to mitigate some of that.”

Colon cancer screening methods run the gamut from clinical visits to at-home collection. Experts agree, the “best” test is the one that optimizes screening and understanding.
“The best test is the one that the patient will do,” Barry said.
Ng also said that while a colonoscopy is considered the “gold standard,” it just isn’t for everybody. And not everybody will do it, as we’ve seen, because compliance rates with colorectal cancer screening across the U.S. are currently only about 60%.
Screening for colon cancer earlier won’t have a specific downside: The risk of bleeding, or tears in the intestinal lining, that occur with colonoscopy occur more frequently in older patients, experts say. But the current guidelines — even the new ones — won’t sweep worries or undiagnosed cases off the table.
“For a lot of people diagnosed under the age of 45, like Boseman, these new guidelines still won’t help those younger patients,” Ng said. “And so, research really has to continue, into who exactly we should target and why this is happening.”

As President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden battle for the presidency in November, Republicans and Democrats are wrestling over the Senate — with a handful of races likely to determine which party will control the chamber in 2021, and with it, influence over the next president’s agenda, Cabinet and judicial nominees.With Republicans holding a 53-47 majority, Democrats need to win back at least four seats — three, if they also win the White House since the vice president breaks 50-50 ties — for control of the Senate. They will also have to grapple with the likely loss of Democratic Sen. Doug Jones in Alabama as they try to flip the chamber.

Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) speaks at a hearing of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, Sept. 23, 2020, in Washington, D.C.Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) speaks before the arrival of President Donald Trump at a Keep America Great rally, Feb. 20, 2020 in Colorado Springs, Colo. Sen. Martha McSally (R-AZ) speaks at a campaign event, Oct. 12, 2020, in Scottsdale, Ariz.

Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) speaks at a hearing of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, Sept. 23, 2020, in Washington, D.C.Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) speaks before the arrival of President Donald Trump at a Keep America Great rally, Feb. 20, 2020 in Colorado Springs, Colo. Sen. Martha McSally (R-AZ) speaks at a campaign event, Oct. 12, 2020, in Scottsdale, Ariz.

As Biden consistently leads in the polls, and the president’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic sinks his popularity, the number of competitive races across the map has expanded into traditionally red territory like Texas, Georgia and even South Carolina, where Democrats and aligned outside groups have also outspent their GOP opponents thanks to record-breaking fundraising hauls.
The outlook is looking increasingly bleak for Republicans — so much so that even Trump admitted it will be “very tough” to keep the Senate, according to a Washington Post report about his remarks at a private fundraiser last week.
Of the dozen races that are competitive in 2020 for either party, here is a look at six key Senate races this year:
Democrats hope for a 2018 repeat in Arizona
While Trump won Arizona in 2016 against Hillary Clinton by roughly 90,000 votes, Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema’s victory over Rep. Martha McSally in the 2018 Senate race gave Democrats confidence that the rapidly-changing Sunbelt state could be in play in 2020 on the presidential level, too.
And McSally, who was appointed to fill the seat held by the late Sen. John McCain in December 2018, is in danger of losing a second Senate race to Mark Kelly, a former Navy captain and NASA astronaut who became a leading gun-control activist after his wife, former Rep. Gabby Giffords, was shot in the head and nearly killed by a gunman while meeting with constituents in 2011.

Kelly, who is running as a moderate, has led McSally in nearly every public poll of the race in the final months of the election, a more consistent lead than Biden’s slimmer margin over Trump in the state.
For the second consecutive cycle, McSally is tying her political fortunes to Trump, hoping that the support of his base is enough to offset the movement of Latinos, women and suburban voters toward Democrats.
It’s led to a difficult balancing act underscored in a response she gave when asked at an Oct. 6 debate if she was proud of her support for Trump.
“I’m proud that I’m fighting for Arizonans on things like cutting your taxes,” she said, without mentioning the president. “I’m proud to be fighting for Arizona every single day.”
Democrats confident in Colorado
First elected to the Senate in 2014 on a wave of backlash to the Obama administration’s handling of the Ebola virus and the ascent of ISIS, Sen. Cory Gardner is in a similar position as McSally: running for reelection in a state where the president is deeply unpopular.
While Arizona is in the midst of a potential political realignment, Colorado has already made the shift. No Republican presidential candidate has won the state since 2004, and the Trump campaign has abandoned its early vows to compete here.
Gardner has worked to cultivate his own brand to distinguish himself from the president in the minds of independent voters. He led a bipartisan effort to secure funding to address the backlog of maintenance issues at national parks – a law repeatedly touted in his campaign ads.
But it’s unlikely that his efforts will be enough to keep his Senate seat in a state Trump is expected to lose handily, even as his opponent, former Gov. John Hickenlooper — who entered the race after his long-shot White House bid fizzled — has faced criticism for violating state ethics rules by accepting a jet flight and other benefits he didn’t pay for on a trip to Italy. (Hickenlooper paid a $2,750 fine and acknowledged wrongdoing.)
“This isn’t a question of pride, this is a question of getting through this together,” Gardner said when asked in an Oct. 9 debate whether he was proud of Trump’s coronavirus response. “I believe we must get through this by staying together, staying united.”
The last New England Republican?
Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, helped tank Trump’s plans to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act by voting against the GOP health care proposal in 2017 and voted to hear witnesses in the president’s Senate impeachment trial. She also said she couldn’t support the president’s campaign four years ago.
Republicans argue that her record over the last four years has added up to boost her independent credentials, but Democrats have seized on the pro-choice senator’s votes for Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh and to acquit the president in his impeachment trial to cast her as an enabler of the president’s agenda, despite her occasional criticisms of his words and actions.
Collins, the only Republican holding federal office in New England, has deep institutional support in Maine — most notably from the Bush clan — but the state, like many other battlegrounds, has trended increasingly blue since 2016, when Trump nabbed an electoral vote by winning Maine’s 2nd Congressional District.
Maine House Speaker Sara Gideon, the Democratic candidate, has repeatedly outraised Collins, and public polling has shown Gideon ahead of the four-term senator.
Could the GOP lose a seat in the Hawkeye State?
It’s a state that Trump won by 10 points in 2016, senior senator Chuck Grassley won reelection by over 20 points the same year.
Four years later, Sen. Joni Ernst, who was first elected in 2014 when she catapulted onto the national stage with a promise to “make Washington squeal,” is now fighting for her political life. In a race with Democrat Theresa Greenfield, a businesswoman, recent polling shows the two women neck-and-neck.
Ernst has remained loyal to Trump, sticking by him even as other Republicans put distance between them and the president and as his polling in the state slumps. But as the president currently trails former Vice President Joe Biden in a New York Times/Siena College by a three-point margin, her campaign tells ABC News that the senator has been running her own campaign and is willing to work with both Democrats and Republicans to deliver for Iowa.
Heading into the final stretch, Ernst has sought to cast Greenfield as out of step with Iowa voters, accusing her of representing the views of voters on the coasts, rather than in rural America, on issues like abortion.
But Ernst recently struggled over an issue that is critical to Iowa voters — soybeans. Asked for the breakeven price for soybeans in Iowa twice, the senator first deflected, before responding, “probably about $5.50.”
“Well, you’re a couple dollars off I think here because it’s $10.05,” the moderator said.
In addition to Ernst’s stumbling over a question about a product that is crucial to Iowa’s economy, Greenfield’s significant edge in the money race — bringing in $21 million more than Ernst in their most recent filings — has worried Republicans who once considered Ernst one of the safer incumbents earlier this year.
One week out, Greenfield, who describes herself as a “scrappy farm kid,” is looking to make gains in rural areas, win over those counties that voted both for Trump and former President Barack Obama and run up the score in the suburban Iowa.
The Senate could hinge on North Carolina’s Senate race
In the all-important Tar Heel state that is crucial to Trump’s pathway to reelection, Sen. Thom Tillis is in a tight race for a second term against Cal Cunningham, a former Democratic state lawmaker and Army veteran.
Tillis was widely seen as endangered from the race’s onset — a Democratic strategist told ABC News last year that Tillis is a top target for Democrats in 2020, who see him as “one of the weakest incumbents.” An ABC News/Washington Post poll released last week shows Cunningham with a slight edge, 49% to 47%.
Tillis, whose electoral fortune is likely tied to Trump’s, is navigating a delicate balancing act between running his own race without alienating Trump’s base. He even pointed out the importance of keeping the Senate in GOP hands in the event that Trump loses, recently telling Politico the “best check on a Biden presidency is for Republicans to have a majority in the Senate. And I do think ‘checks and balances’ does resonate with North Carolina voters.”
But a number of late-breaking episodes have reverberated in North Carolina, including Tillis’ battle with COVID-19 in early October, and text messages revealing Cunningham’s extramarital affair with a woman who claimed they had at least one intimate encounter. (The Army Reserves is investigating the allegations about Cunningham, who is a lieutenant colonel in the Army Reserves. Cunningham has confirmed sending romantic text messages to a woman who is not his wife, but he has neither confirmed nor denied the alleged encounter.)
Cunningham has kept a low profile in the final days of the race, using his appearances to focus on the issue of health care — and the role Judge Amy Coney Barrett could play in determining the fate of the Affordable Care Act once seated on the Supreme Court.
Both candidates are hoping to capitalize on the coalitions forming around Trump and Biden: Cunningham is hoping to drive up turnout in the cities and suburbs, particularly among minorities and women, while Tillis is looking to the white enclaves in rural parts of the state and conservatives energized by the Supreme Court confirmation battle and the president’s repeated visits to the state. The race is essentially tied among independents and suburban voters, the ABC News/Washington Poll survey found.
Democrats don’t need North Carolina to capture the majority, but their path becomes harder without it.
Democrats on defense in Michigan
Sen. Gary Peters, a low-key incumbent who arrived in the Senate after winning in a wave year for Republicans in 2014, is seeking a second term in one of the most critical states for Democrats.
In his race against John James, a former Apache combat helicopter pilot in Iraq, Peters is largely spending his time highlighting his accomplishments for Michigan and tethering his opponent to Trump, who is behind Biden in a recent poll by eight points.
James, who lost a Senate bid two years ago, has tried to cast Peters as too liberal for the Rust Belt state won by Trump in 2016.
Despite Democrats’ chances of capturing Michigan in the presidential race, the Senate campaign has come into more focus, with recent polling showing a tighter contest — and fundraising numbers — than the presidential polling would suggest.
James has yet to publicly contrast himself with Trump or criticize him in any significant way — in the hopes of shoring up support from Trump’s base to capture a long-held Democratic seat. But he’s also sought to retain independence from Trump.
“Look, I put my life on the line for the Constitution. Not any party or president. So when any president is doing right by Michigan, I’ll help them. When they’re not, I’ll fight back,” he said in a closing ad.
Michigan will certainly be a key barometer of Democrats’ strength in the suburbs and among minorities in urban centers, with their hopes hinging on high turnout in Detroit and significant margins in its suburbs to rebuild their “blue wall.” Before Trump carried the state by the thinnest of margins — just under 11,000 votes — the state was firmly in the Democrats’ grip for two decades.
The wildcard races: South Carolina, Alaska, Georgia, Texas, Kansas
Biden’s surprisingly strong performance in Texas and Georgia has buoyed Democrats’ hopes in races to unseat Sens. John Cornyn of Texas, and Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue in Georgia.
In Texas, MJ Hegar has recently outraised Cornyn — and wiped out his cash advantage too — and could benefit from surging early turnout that has worried Republicans and potentially put the Lone Star State in play once again for Democrats, after Sen. Ted Cruz’s slim victory in 2018.
In Georgia, Raphael Warnock, the pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church, the church of Martin Luther King Jr., is running ahead of Loeffler, who is fending off Rep. Doug Collins in the crowded race. Jon Ossoff, a former Democratic House candidate, is also in a neck-and-neck contest with Perdue.
Both races are likely to lead to runoffs with the top two finishers if no candidate secures at least 50% of the vote in November.
Trump-foe-turned-ally Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., is in a surprisingly close race with Jamie Harrison, the former South Carolina Democratic County Chair, who is banking on Black voter turnout, Trump’s unpopularity in suburbia and some Republicans’ wariness of Graham — along with his record-breaking fundraising haul — to deliver an upset in a state Trump is expected to win.
In a sign of Graham’s vulnerability, Vice President Mike Pence is scheduled to travel to South Carolina ahead of the election.
Alaska, where GOP Sen. Dan Sullivan is running against Dr. Al Gross, an independent aligned with Democrats, is another late-breaking state where Republicans have been put on the defensive.
Notoriously difficult to poll, its independent-minded voters and Gross’ fundraising advantage have left both parties preparing for a nail-biter.
And in Kansas, a state where Sen. Jerry Moran, won reelection by 30 points the last time Trump was on the ballot, an open seat vacated by Sen. Pat Roberts, has left Republicans on unsteady footing. GOP Rep. Roger Marshall is running against state Sen. Barbara Bollier, who boasts cross-party appeal as a Republican-turned-Democrat.
After Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who would have been a heavy favorite to capture the seat, passed on a Senate bid, Bollier, a former doctor, is reaching for what once seemed impossible but is now a competitive race that only slightly favors Republicans.

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MISSION, S.D. — The small, brick post office in Mission, South Dakota, sees steady business most days as people wait outside to allow one family at a time to check for mail at one of just four such depots scattered across the Rosebud Indian Reservation.With limited polling places on a reservation that’s roughly 2,000 square miles (5,180 square kilometers) and officials pushing people to vote by mail amid the coronavirus pandemic, cramped post offices such as this one are a lifeline to preserving Native Americans’ right to vote.

But voting rights advocates fear it’s not enough.
The slow-moving nature of mail on large reservations puts the people who live there at a disadvantage to getting their votes counted, advocates say. They have launched a series of legal challenges in several states to gain accommodations for reservation voters while also pressing people to figure out how to get their ballot counted as the coronavirus upends life in Native American communities.
“Using the mail is less effective, and it’s devastating in Indian Country,” said OJ Semans, co-founder of an advocacy group called Four Directions.
Home mail delivery is rare on Rosebud Indian Reservation, Semans said, so people rely on post office boxes, some making a roundtrip of over 60 miles (95 kilometers) to check their mail — or to vote. Complicating the process: Many people don’t have reliable transportation and extended families share post office boxes.
“Poverty, time, distance, transportation has always been a barrier to participating in elections,” Semans said, describing the compounding obstacles that lead to low voter turnout on many large reservations.
Native Americans have a long history of exclusion from voting, with the U.S. government depriving them of citizenship until 1924. Some states, including the Dakotas, had laws preventing tribal members from voting into the 1950s.
In recent years, voting rights advocates and tribes have won or settled 86 election-related lawsuits in a state-by-state legal battle to increase voting access for Native Americans. But advocates worry that progress could face setbacks as election officials push for mail-in voting and tribes scramble to contain COVID-19 outbreaks by locking down reservation communities.
In Arizona, an appeals court recently rejected a lawsuit from six members of the Navajo Nation seeking an extra 10 days to count tribal members’ mailed ballots.

In Montana, tribes and voter advocates successfully sued to overturn a law limiting the number of absentee ballots that a person can collect and turn in to county auditors — “ ballot harvesting” that tribes said is vital.
Data from this year’s primaries, which relied heavily on mail-in voting, reveals shortfalls in voter turnout on reservations. An Associated Press analysis of Democratic primaries in South Dakota showed that turnout was 10% lower among voters who lived in counties with a majority American Indian population and at least 95% of the county on reservation land. The analysis considered data from presidential Democratic primaries because the Republican presidential primary was not competitive this year.
That gap in turnout has voter advocates concerned. With coronavirus cases surging across the Dakotas and Montana, voting groups have tried to get creative, holding outdoor or drive-up voter registration drives.
Wicahpi Yankton, an 18-year-old member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe in South Dakota, worked a number of drives this year. She said people showed up from all corners of the Pine Ridge Reservation, getting rides with family members to travel as far as 50 miles (80 kilometers).
She was surprised to meet a fellow first-time voter who was 71 years old — born when South Dakota still had laws barring tribal members from voting. Yankton helped the woman, whom she called unci (grandmother in the Lakota language), complete the voter registration form.
Completing the form can be tricky because reservation residents don’t always have addresses with a street name and number. Instead they rely on descriptions such as, “I’m on the highway going towards Gordon, take a left, you should see a white trailer, then you go past that trailer and you should see another trailer there. That will have two cars in the front. That’s where I live,” Yankton said.
Oglala Lakota County, where Yankton helped with voter drives, had the lowest voter turnout in the state during this year’s Democratic primaries, with just 14% of registered voters casting ballots.
Despite the difficulties, community leaders are emphasizing the importance of voting. Many tribes are entitled to federally provided health care and education, leaving these essentials to the fluctuations of bureaucracy.
But many Native Americans are distrustful of federal and state governments — another factor that mitigates voter turnout, according to Jean Schroedel, a political science professor at Claremont Graduate University who has conducted polling on several reservations.
“In particular, when you turn to voting by mail, the levels of trust dropped dramatically,” Schroedel said.
Tribes also have found themselves pushing back against moves to shrink the number of satellite offices that collect absentee ballots on reservations. The Blackfeet Nation in Montana sued to have a satellite office opened on reservation land. In Arizona, a federal judge denied the Pascua Yaqui Tribe’s request to open an early voting and ballot collection site on their reservation that was closed after 2016.
In the Dakotas, organizations are looking at options like coordinating rides among family members instead of using the vans or buses that usually ferry people to polling places on Election Day. Several tribes dealing with virus outbreaks have issued lockdown orders, adding another element of uncertainty.
On the Standing Rock Reservation, which spans North Dakota and South Dakota, the tribe has joined with the Lakota People’s Law Project to organize a phone bank to call Native American voters, especially in the battleground state of North Carolina, where they say tribal members have struggled to get to the polls in previous years.
Voter advocates in North Dakota believe they can help. After tribes fought a state law that would have required verified street addresses on ID cards, local organizations doubled-down on their get-out-the-vote efforts. In 2018, two counties with large tribal populations saw their highest turnout in years.
The resolve is something that phone bank worker Melanie Thompson hopes she passes on to Native Americans in North Carolina who had mail-in ballots sent back because they weren’t filled out properly.
“They say they are going straight to the polls to get in that line,” Thompson said. “Coronavirus or no coronavirus.”
Deshpande reported from Chicago. Associated Press reporters Felicia Fonseca in Flagstaff, Arizona, and Matthew Brown in Billings, Montana, also contributed.

LOS ANGELES — From the beloved opening lines of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” to the rousing, children’s-choir conclusion of the Rolling Stones’ “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” President Donald Trump’s campaign rallies have been filled with classic songs whose authors and their heirs loudly reject him and his politics.It’s become a sub-cycle in the endless campaign cycle. The Trump campaign can hardly play a song without the artist denouncing its use and sending a cease-and-desist letter. Neil Young, John Fogerty, Phil Collins, Panic! At The Disco and the estates of Leonard Cohen, Tom Petty and Prince are just a few of those who have objected.

Campaigns have been turning popular songs into theme songs for more than a century, and American artists have been objecting at least since 1984, when Bruce Springsteen denied the use of “Born in the U.S.A.” to the Ronald Reagan reelection campaign.
But this year, the issue has reached an unprecedented saturation point, indicative of a wide cultural divide between the president and his supporters, and overwhelmingly left-leaning musicians, who virtually never make the same demands of Democratic candidates.
“I’ve been covering this beat for probably 20 years, and this is probably as stark a division I’ve seen as far as artists not wanting a politician to use their songs,” said Billboard contributor Gil Kaufman, who has been covering the convergence of music and politics for the record trade magazine during the campaign. “The choice is so stark for a lot of voters, and it is for musicians too.”
Few have objected as adamantly as Young. The fiercely opinionated rock Hall-of-Famer is the rare musician who has gone beyond demands and filed a lawsuit over the repeated use of his songs.
“Imagine what it feels like to hear ‘Rockin’ in the Free World’ after this President speaks, like it is his theme song,” Young wrote on his website in July. “I did not write it for that.”
That feeling that they’ve been drafted onto Team Trump clearly fuels many artists’ anger.
“Their music is their identity,” Kaufman said. “It’s important to them to not appear as though they are tacitly endorsing Trump.”
Other artists have been more befuddled than angry about the playing of songs whose themes are the exact opposite of the messages Trump is sending.

Fogerty said he was baffled by Trump’s use of “Fortunate Son,” his 1969 hit with Creedence Clearwater Revival, whose condemnation of privileged children of rich men who did not serve in Vietnam sounds like a tailor-made slam of Trump.
“I find it confusing that the president has chosen to use my song for his political rallies, when in fact it seems like he is probably the fortunate son,” Fogerty said in a video on Facebook in September.
He was more fiery after he kept hearing it played.
“He is using my words and my voice to portray a message that I do not endorse,” Fogerty said in an Oct. 16 tweet announcing a cease-and-desist order.
That the president’s rallies are potential spreaders of the coronavirus may be adding intensity to artists’ desire not to have their music contribute.
“It’s not a great look for the artists, if their music is aligned with something seen as unsafe,” Kaufman said.
Many social-media observers pointed out that, given its title, Collins’ “In The Air Tonight” was especially tone-deaf when it was played at Trump’s Oct. 14 rally in Iowa. Collins’ attorneys promptly demanded the campaign stop using the song.
Legally, politicians don’t necessarily need direct permission from artists.
Campaigns can buy broad licensing packages from music rights organizations, including BMI and ASCAP, that give them legal access to millions of songs
BMI said the Rolling Stones had opted out of inclusion in those licenses, and it informed the Trump campaign that if it did not stop playing “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” a Trump favorite in regular rotation at his rallies, the campaign would be in breach of its agreement.
But even if their songs can be played contractually, artists can still object. That usually just means a public demand to the campaign.
“A lot of the time it just takes the cease-and-desist to tell them not to use it, that’s already enough for the artist to get their message out that they’re not associated with the campaign and did not approve the use,” said Heidy Vaquerano, a Los Angeles attorney who specializes in entertainment law and intellectual property.
And there are other legal channels, such as states’ right-of-publicity laws, which treat an artists’ identity as their property, or the federal Lanham Act, which protects an artist’s personal trademark and contains a provision barring false endorsement.
“The use of their music, it could dilute the worth of their trademark,” Vaquerano said. “Courts have recognized that that could be an implied endorsement.”
The Trump campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The president has turned more recently to slightly friendlier ground, dancing at events to “Y.M.C.A.” by the Village People, whose leader and primary songwriter, Victor Willis, has said he doesn’t feel he’s endorsing Trump when the song plays.
Yet the campaign cannot avoid condemnation even when playing dead artists.
Petty’s widow and daughters, who had been fighting in court over his estate, united in their demand in June that Trump stop using his song, “I Won’t Back Down.”
Cohen’s estate attorneys vehemently objected to the prominent use of “Hallelujah” during the final-night fireworks at the Republican National Convention in August, saying in a statement it was an attempt to “politicize and exploit” a song they had specifically told the RNC not to use.
Cohen attorneys made the rare move of suggesting an alternative, whose title could be taken as a dig at Trump.
“Had the RNC requested another song, ‘You Want it Darker,’” the lawyers said, “we might have considered approval.”
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Local officials in Niger say that an American citizen has been kidnapped by gunmen in the West African country

By DALATOU MAMANE Associated Press

October 27, 2020, 3:16 PM
• 2 min read

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NIAMEY, Niger — Gunmen kidnapped an American citizen in the West African nation of Niger early Tuesday and demanded a ransom from his relatives, a local government official said.
Philipe Nathan Walton was taken from his farm in Massalata in southern Niger at 1:45 a.m., Ibrahim Abba Lele, a prefect in Birni-N’Konni town, told The Associated Press.

The kidnappers called and demanded ransom from Walton’s father, who lives approximately 1 kilometer (about half a mile) away from his son’s farm, said the official. The attack has not yet been claimed and police are investigating, he said.
A spokesperson for the U.S. state department said it is aware that an American citizen was abducted in Niger and is providing support to the family and working with local authorities to carry out search efforts.
Niger has faced a growing number of attacks by extremists linked to both the Islamic State group and to al-Qaida. The kidnapping comes two months after Islamic State-linked militants killed six French aid workers and their Niger guide while they were visiting a wildlife park east of the capital.
Tuesday’s kidnapping brings to seven the number of foreign hostages believed to be held by extremist groups in Niger.
Extremists are kidnapping westerners in the Sahel region to “advance their goals, whether for ransom, for the spotlight, or to amp up the pressure on local and international governments,” said Laith Alkhouri, a counterterrorism specialist at CTI-ME, an intelligence advisory group based in Dubai.
“Militant factions will continue to resort to kidnappings as it has proven advantageous for their operations in West Africa,” he said. The Islamic State group is believed to be holding one other American, Jeffrey Woodke, who was abducted from his home in Abalak, Niger in 2016. Woodke had been in Niger for nearly three decades providing humanitarian services and disaster relief, according to a video message released by his wife to the kidnappers two years ago.
A German, Jorg Lang, who was kidnapped in April 2018, is also believed to be held by the IS group.
Four other foreign hostages believed to be held by al-Qaida-linked militants are from Romania, Australia, Colombia and South Africa.

Associated Press writer Sam Mednick in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso contributed.

MILAN — Italy braced Tuesday for more protests in cities nationwide against virus-fighting measures like regional curfews, evening shutdowns for restaurants and bars and the closures of gyms, pools and theaters — a sign of the growing discontent across Europe with renewed coronavirus restrictions.Police in the financial capital of Milan arrested 28 people after protests turned violent on Monday night when police blocked their procession to the regional government headquarters. And in Italy’s industrial northern city of Turin, at least 11 people were arrested, including a pair who smashed the window of a Gucci boutique and stripped a mannequin of its lemon yellow trousers.

Italy is not the only country facing unrest. All of Europe is grappling with how to halt a fall resurgence of the virus before its hospitals become overwhelmed again.
Nightly curfews have been implemented in French cities and in Spain, and restaurants and bars in Italy must close at 6 p.m. Schools have been closed in Northern Ireland and the Czech Republic. German officials have ordered de-facto lockdowns in some areas near the Austrian border and new mask-wearing requirements are popping up weekly across the continent, including a nationwide requirement in Russia.
“We would all like to live like before, but there are moments where you have to make tough decisions,” French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said Tuesday as the government held emergency meetings on the pandemic.
Yet in this new round of restrictions, governments are finding a less compliant public, even as the continent has seen over 250,000 confirmed deaths in the pandemic and last week recorded 46% of the world’s new infections, according to the World Health Organization.
Over the weekend, police used pepper spray against protesters angry over new virus restrictions in Poland. Spanish doctors staged their first national walkout in 25 years on Tuesday to protest poor working conditions, and other protests were planned in the Netherlands.
In Britain, anger and frustration at the government’s uneven handling of the pandemic has erupted into a political crisis over the issue of hungry children. The Conservative government is under huge pressure to keep giving free school lunches to children from lower-income families when schools close during the current midterm break and the Christmas holidays.
Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte’s Cabinet was preparing a new decree Tuesday with 5 billion euros ($5.8 billion) in economic remedies for those hurt by the new restrictions that took effect Monday. Professional soccer is playing in empty stadiums and Italy’s cultural venues, like Milan’s La Scala opera house, are drawing the curtains on an already money-losing season.
The violence of protests that erupted in major Italian cities from Milan to Turin to Naples indicated that the promise of government relief offered little salve to frustrations over a tightening of personal freedoms after a relatively care-free summer, and as many businesses are still trying to get back on their feet.

Taxi drivers in Turin occupied a central square, restaurant owners banged pots and pans in front of the prefect’s office in Cremona, hundreds marched in Treviso, north of Venice, and young people blocked traffic and threw firecrackers in Viareggio on the Tuscan coast.
Italy’s national prosecutor for terrorism and organized crime, Federico Cafiero de Raho, on Tuesday said subversives had infiltrated peaceful protests in the country. He said they included proponents of the extreme right and anarchists on the extreme left.
Investigators have also looked into indications that organized crime in the Naples area provoked violence at a peaceful protest.
Italy, the first Western country caught up in the pandemic, has seen as many as 20,000 new cases a day in the resurgence. Some 13,000 COVID-19 patients have been hospitalized — up from summertime lows in the hundreds — and nearly 1,300 ICU beds are occupied.
“These are difficult days,” said Italian Health Minister Roberto Speranza. “In all of Europe, the wave is very high. We must react immediately and with determination if we want to avoid unsustainable numbers.”
France is warning of possible new lockdowns, include extending existing curfews, fully keeping residents at home on weekends or all week and closing non-essential businesses. Since curfews were imposed a couple of weeks ago, French police have issued 14,000 fines, the interior minister said Tuesday. Doctors are seeing growing pressure on France’s emergency services and intensive care wards, where COVID patients now take up more than half of the beds.
In Spain, the Canary Islands was seeking to pass a law demanding that visitors arrive at the popular archipelago off northwest Africa with proof of a negative COVID-19 test.
Russia, which has the fourth highest tally of 1.5 million confirmed cases, is resisting a second lockdown after most restrictions were lifted this summer. But with cases rising at over 15,000 a day, the health agency ordered all Russians to wear masks in crowded public spaces, including public transport, and in closed spaces like taxis and elevators.
Dr. Michael Ryan, WHO’s emergencies chief, said the European Union’s open borders might even need to be shut down again to “take the heat out of this phase of the pandemic.”
“There’s no question that the European region is an epicenter of disease right now,” he said.
WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said even more stringent measures should be applied to stop the virus.
“If it’s let go freely, it can create havoc, especially when we don’t have vaccines at hand,” he said. “Governments should do their share and citizens should do their share … we should not give up.”
D’Emilio reported from Rome. AP reporters from throughout Europe contributed.
Follow all of AP’s coronavirus pandemic coverage at and

The U.S. casino industry is seeking tax and regulatory relief from the government as it tries to recover from a coronavirus outbreak that cost states more than $2 billion in lost tax revenue while casinos were shut down for four months this year

By WAYNE PARRY Associated Press

October 27, 2020, 3:30 PM
• 3 min read

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ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — The U.S. casino industry is seeking tax and regulatory relief from the government as it tries to recover from the coronavirus outbreak, which cost states more than $2 billion in lost tax revenue while casinos were shut down for four months this year.
While 90% of casinos have reopened, they are operating at restricted levels to try to slow the spread of the virus, and additional financial aid is needed for casinos and their workers, according to the head of the gambling industry’s national trade group.

In his State of the Casinos speech Tuesday at the G2E 2020 conference, held online this year because of the pandemic, American Gaming Association President Bill Miller said the industry is coming back but needs a hand.
“Gaming has never experienced a disruption like COVID-19,” he said. “Over two weeks in March, every casino in America was closed by government-mandated shutdowns, impacting each of the 1.8 million jobs we support.
“Gaming workers, their families, and the small businesses that depend on us have all been hit hard,” Miller said. ”And our states and communities are feeling it, too. In addition to COVID’s impact on businesses, jobs, and the well-being of our families, friends and colleagues, state budgets have been decimated by the pandemic.”
Detroit lost $600,000 in gambling tax revenue for every day its casinos were shut, he said. The pandemic wiped out $209 million in gaming tax revenue in Maryland and $323 million in Pennsylvania, he added.
The U.S. commercial casino industry took in $43.6 billion in 2019, a figure that is certain to decline this year due to the virus-related closures, the remaining restrictions on occupancy, and the hesitancy of some customers to return to casinos and hotels.
Miller said the casino industry succeeded in gaining access to pandemic relief funds as part of a massive package Congress approved this year — and will insist on inclusion in any future aid package. He did not say how much the industry has received thus far, and the association said it could not provide a figure.
The casinos want liability protection so that businesses that follow public health guidelines cannot be sued by people who contract the virus.
It also wants tax relief to help save jobs, alleviate COVID-19 expenses and help boost consumer travel.

And the casinos, which have long advocated a switch to digital payments, are now pushing them as a public health measure that would avoid the handling of cash by customers and workers.
Miller said 22 states and the District of Columbia have thus far approved legal sports betting.
In an unrelated webinar last week sponsored by Stockton University in New Jersey, Jim Ziereis, vice president of sales for the four Caesars Entertainment casinos in Atlantic City, said casinos have had to adapt quickly to the virus.
“Keep an eye out when you walk around the casino floor. Just about every other slot machine is turned off,” he said. “There are fewer seats at the gaming tables. That contributes to lower revenue.”
Ziereis also said the high number of Americans who have lost and continue to lose jobs is a danger for the casino industry.
“As we move forward, more and more people are being furloughed or laid off,” he said. “It will be very hard to sustain that high rate of visitation.”
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The teenager who recorded the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police in May will be honored in December by PEN America

By HILLEL ITALIE AP National Writer

October 27, 2020, 12:33 PM
• 2 min read

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NEW YORK — The teenager who recorded the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police in May will be honored in December by PEN America, the literary and human rights organization.
Darnella Frazier will be presented the PEN/Benenson Courage Award.

“With nothing more than a cell phone and sheer guts, Darnella changed the course of history in this country, sparking a bold movement demanding an end to systemic anti-Black racism and violence at the hands of police,” PEN America CEO Suzanne Nossel said in a statement Tuesday.
The 17-year-old Frazier will share the Courage Award with Marie Yovanovitch, the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine who was pushed out by the Trump administration.
Because of the coronavirus pandemic, PEN had postponed its annual gala from May 19, six days before Floyd’s death, to Dec. 8, and will host the event online.
“Darnella Frazier took an enormous amount of flak in the wake of releasing the video,” Nossel told The Associated Press. “People were accusing her of being in it for the money, or for being famous, or were asking why she didn’t intervene. And it was just left this way. We wanted to go back and recognize and elevate this singular act.”
Others being honored by PEN in December include the author and musician Patti Smith and Chinese dissident Xu Zhiyong.