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“All they want to talk about is COVID,” Trump complained in Pennsylvania.

October 26, 2020, 7:03 PM
• 6 min read

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With eight days until Election Day, President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence are charging full steam ahead with a breakneck campaign schedule that has them criss-crossing the country with large-scale events in critical battleground states and defiant in their handling of the coronavirus pandemic despite another White House outbreak and a climbing national case count.
Stumping Monday in the critical state of Pennsylvania that he captured in his surprise victory upset four years ago and needs to win again, Trump argued he is sick of all the focus on the pandemic that has killed some 225,000 Americans in the final stretch of the campaign.

“We’re rounding the turn. You know, all they want to talk about is COVID. By the way, on November 4th you won’t be hearing so much about it. COVID, COVID, COVID, COVID,” Trump said at the first of three rallies in the state.

President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally at HoverTech International, Oct. 26, 2020, in Allentown, Pa.

President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally at HoverTech International, Oct. 26, 2020, in Allentown, Pa.

The vice president, meanwhile, flew to Minnesota to rally supporters despite having been in close contact in recent days to his chief of staff Marc Short, who tested positive for the virus over the weekend and is one of five members of Pence’s orbit to come down with the virus in recent days.
Despite being the leader of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, the vice president disregarded C.D.C. guidelines recommending a 14-day quarantine if you have been in close contact with a person who has the virus. Instead, a spokesman justified the uninterrupted schedule by saying it is in “accordance with the C.D.C. guidelines for essential personnel.”

Vice President Mike Pence waves to supporters, Oct. 24, 2020 in Tallahassee, Fla.

Vice President Mike Pence waves to supporters, Oct. 24, 2020 in Tallahassee, Fla.

In addition to his trip to Minnesota Monday, Pence is scheduled to campaign in North Carolina and South Carolina on Tuesday, and then travels to Wisconsin and Michigan on Wednesday.
The vice president has tested negative every day since Short’s positive diagnosis, including Monday.

In addition to his full campaign schedule, the vice president had said on Sunday he would also preside over the final confirmation vote for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett, expected to happen Monday evening. But after the news sparked backlash on Capitol Hill, sources said the vice president was not expected to attend.
It was not clear if Pence would attend a ceremonial swearing-in that President Trump said he may host at the White House later in the evening following the vote.

President Trump defended the possible event, which has not been officially added to the White House schedule, to reporters on Monday, saying it would not be large and would be held outdoors. But the prospect of another event surrounding the nomination raised eyebrows, since multiple infections, including possibly the president’s, resulted in connection to the prior event in the judge’s honor last month.
As the national numbers and breakouts within the ranks of the administration have proven the White House does not have the virus under control, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows conceded as much in an interview on Sunday.
“We are not going to control the pandemic. We are going to control the fact that we get vaccines, therapeutics and other mitigation areas,” Meadows told CNN.
Vice President Joe Biden seized on Meadows comments as evidence that the administration has given up in trying to contain the pandemic that has killed some 225 thousand Americans,
“This wasn’t a slip by Meadows, it was a candid acknowledgement of what President Trump’s strategy has clearly been from the beginning of this crisis: to wave the white flag of defeat and hope that by ignoring it, the virus would simply go away. It hasn’t, and it won’t,” Biden said in a statement.
Meadows sought to clarify his comments on Monday, mocking Biden for wearing a mask in the process.
“The only person waving a white flag along with his white mask is Joe Biden. We’re going to defeat the virus, we’re not going to control it, we’re going to try to contain it as best we can,” said Meadows.
Asked about Meadows’ comments Monday, President Trump disputed that he had given up.
“No, not at all. In fact, the opposite. Absolutely the opposite. We’ve done an incredible job,” Trump said. “No, we’re doing a great job. We are absolutely rounding the corner. Other than the fake news wants to scare everybody, we are absolutely rounding the corner.”
Even as the president continues to insist that the U.S. is “rounding the corner,” cases are on the rise nationally as experts say the United States is now in a new wave of the virus.

More than 120 ballots were in the box.

October 26, 2020, 6:39 PM
• 5 min read

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Boston police have arrested a man suspected of lighting a ballot box on fire with more than 120 votes inside.
Smoke was seen coming from an early voting ballot box on Boylston Street in Copley Square on Sunday around 4 a.m., according to the Boston Police Department. Firefighters extinguished the fire by filling the ballot box with water, police said.

Of the 122 ballots inside the box, 87 were legible and able to be processed, Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth William F. Galvin said in a statement. Officials are asking voters who placed their ballots in that box to check the status of their vote.
The suspect, 39-year-old Boston resident Worldy Armand, was arrested late Sunday and charged with willful and malicious burning, according to police. It is unclear if he has a lawyer.

Worldly Armand is shown this surveillance image released by the Boston Police Department.

Worldly Armand is shown this surveillance image released by the Boston Police Department.

He was spotted just before 11 p.m. near Copley Square by the department’s Drug Control Unit, which was on patrol in the area, police said.
After the officers approached him, they discovered an active warrant for his arrest for receiving stolen property, police said.

Voters who who used the Copley Square drop box between 2:30 p.m. on Saturday and 4 a.m. on Sunday and are not able to confirm their ballot status are urged to contact the Boston Elections Department immediately. The City of Boston will mail a replacement ballot to affected voters, who will have the option of casting that replacement ballot or voting in person until 8 p.m. on Election Day.

If any affected voter does not submit a new ballot, their original ballot will be counted by hand to the extent possible, Galvin said.

Worldly Armand sets fire to a ballot box in this surveillance image released by the Boston Police Department.

Worldly Armand sets fire to a ballot box in this surveillance image released by the Boston Police Department.

Galvin contacted the office of U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling to request the FBI investigate “what appears to be deliberate attack.” He has also directed all local election officials to increase security of drop boxes by employing guards, installing video surveillance and emptying drop boxes frequently.
“What happened in the early hours of this morning to the ballot drop box in Copley Square is a disgrace to democracy, a disrespect to the voters fulfilling their civic duty, and a crime,” according to a joint statement from Galvin and Boston Mayor Martin Walsh. “Our first and foremost priority is maintaining the integrity of our elections process and ensuring transparency and trust with our voters, and any effort to undermine or tamper with that process must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

Armand is expected to be arraigned in Boston Municipal Court at an unknown date.
ABC News’ Joshua Hoyos and Ben Stein contributed to this report.

Federal prosecutors are asking a judge to give them an extra 40 days until mid-December to seek a grand jury indictment in an alleged scheme to kidnap Michigan’s governor

Body camera video purportedly showing a Waukegan, Illinois, police officer opening fire on a car, leaving an unarmed Black man dead and the mother of his child wounded, is expected to be released this week, the mayor said at a vigil held near the scene of the shooting.Marcellis Stinnette, 19, was killed in the police encounter last week. His 20-year-old girlfriend, Tafarra Willams, remains in a hospital with multiple gunshot wounds. Protesters have taken to the streets of Waukegan to demand justice.

During the vigil Sunday, Mayor Sam Cunningham said he intends for the city to release police video from the shooting over the next few days after the families of Stinnette and Williams first get a chance to view the footage. He has repeatedly requested that protesters remain calm and allow the independent investigation by the Illinois State Police to unfold.

Sherrellis Sheria Stinnette, grandmother of Marcellis Stinnette, 19, is comforted by Rayon Edwards, of Waukegan, Ill., during a protest rally for Marcellis Stinnette who was killed by Waukegan Police in Waukegan, Ill., Oct. 22, 2020.

Sherrellis Sheria Stinnette, grandmother of Marcellis Stinnette, 19, is comforted by Rayon Edwards, of Waukegan, Ill., during a protest rally for Marcellis Stinnette who was killed by Waukegan Police in Waukegan, Ill., Oct. 22, 2020.

Cunningham, the first Black mayor of Waukegan, who is a personal friend of both Stinnette’s and Williams’ families, said he wants to see the body camera video released before Thursday, the deadline of a Freedom of Information Act request filed to make all footage of the shooting public.
On Friday, the police officer who unleashed the deadly gunfire on the car Williams was driving was terminated from the Waukegan Police Department for allegedly violating multiple department policies and procedures, Police Chief Wayne Walles said in a statement.
The former officer’s name has not been released.
Relatives of Stinnette also spoke at Sunday’s vigil, asking the community to refrain from violence.
“You know the officer’s been terminated. It hasn’t even been seven days,” Stinnette’s cousin, Satrese Stallworth, said. “Don’t tear up, don’t get undignified, don’t burn down, don’t destroy because guess what? They’re being held accountable and they’re already making progress in our favor.”
Lake County State’s Attorney Michael Nerheim, who was at the vigil, would only say the State Police investigation of the shooting is progressing but cautioned that it could take several weeks before he reviews the evidence and decides whether to file criminal charges. Nerheim on Friday requested that the FBI join the State Police probe.

People march during a protest rally for Marcellis Stinnette who was killed by Waukegan Police in Waukegan, Ill., Oct. 22, 2020.

People march during a protest rally for Marcellis Stinnette who was killed by Waukegan Police in Waukegan, Ill., Oct. 22, 2020.

The shooting unfolded around 11:55 p.m. on Tuesday when an officer went to investigate a “suspicious” car that was parked in a residential neighborhood, Waukegan Police Cmdr. Edgar Navarro said at a news conference last week. When the officer approached, the car fled, Navarro said.
He said a second officer spotted the vehicle and pulled it over. As that officer walked toward the car, it went into reverse, prompting the officer to open fire, Navarro said.
Stinnette was sitting in the passenger seat of the car and Williams was behind the wheel, Navarro said.
Stinnette was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead, Navarro said. Williams remains in a hospital being treated for wounds to her stomach and hand, her mother, Clifftina “Tina” Johnson, told reporters.
Police said no weapons were found in the car.
Johnson said her daughter told her she and Stinnette were shot “for nothing.”
“My daughter said she put her hand up, and if she didn’t put her hand up, she said, ‘Mama, I would be dead,'” Johnson said last week.
The officer involved in the shooting and the one who initiated the suspicious vehicle investigation were immediately placed on administrative leave.
Police said the now-former officer who shot the couple is Hispanic and had been with the police force for five years. The other officer, officials said, is white and also a five-year veteran of the police department.

Civil rights attorneys Ben Crump and Antonio M. Romanucci, who are representing Williams, said in a joint statement released last week that they are conducting their own investigation “because we do not trust the police narrative in this case.”

Scientists say the moon’s shadowed, frigid nooks and crannies may hold frozen water in more places and in larger quantities than previously suspected

By MARCIA DUNN AP Aerospace Writer

October 26, 2020, 4:34 PM
• 3 min read

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CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — The moon’s shadowed, frigid nooks and crannies may hold frozen water in more places and in larger quantities than previously suspected, good news for astronauts at future lunar bases who could tap into these resources for drinking and making rocket fuel, scientists reported Monday.
While previous observations have indicated millions of tons of ice in the permanently shadowed craters of the moon’s poles, a pair of studies in the journal Nature Astronomy take the availability of lunar surface water to a new level.

More than 15,400 square miles (40,000 square kilometers) of lunar terrain have the capability to trap water in the form of ice, according to a team led by the University of Colorado’s Paul Hayne. That’s 20% more area than previous estimates, he said.
These ice-rich areas are near the moon’s north and south poles. Temperatures are so low in these so-called cold traps — minus 261 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 163 degrees Celsius) — that they could hold onto the water for millions or even billions of years.
“We believe this will help expand the possible landing sites for future lunar missions seeking water, opening up real estate previously considered ‘off limits’ for being bone dry,” Hayne said in an email to The Associated Press.
Using data from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, the researchers identified cold traps as small as a few yards (meters) across and as wide as 18 miles (30 kilometers) and more, and used computer models to get all the way down to micrometers in size.
“Since the little ones are too small to see from orbit, despite being vastly more numerous, we can’t yet identify ice inside them,” Hayne said. “Once we’re on the surface, we will do that experiment.”
For a second study, scientists used NASA’s airborne infrared observatory Sofia to conclusively identify water molecules on the sunlit portions of the moon, just outside the polar regions. Most of these molecules are likely stored in the voids between moon dust and other particles or locked inside glassy volcanic material.
Scientists believe all this water on the moon came from comets, asteroids, interplanetary dust, the solar wind or even lunar volcanic eruptions. They’ll have a better idea of the sources “if we can get down on the surface and analyze samples of the ice,” Hayne said.
The lead researcher, Casey Honniball, a postdoctoral fellow at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, said at a news conference that she wanted to make it clear the Sofia study had not found puddles on the moon. Rather, the identified hydrogen and oxygen molecules are so far apart, they are neither in liquid or solid form, she noted.

NASA is under White House direction to put astronauts back on the moon by 2024. The space agency wants its new Artemis moon-landing program to be sustainable, unlike the Apollo program a half-century ago.
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The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

Minnesota Republican U.S. Senate candidate Jason Lewis has been rushed into emergency surgery for a severe internal hernia

By STEVE KARNOWSKI Associated Press

October 26, 2020, 4:55 PM
• 2 min read

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MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota Republican U.S. Senate candidate Jason Lewis was rushed into emergency surgery Monday for a severe internal hernia, just eight days before the election, his campaign announced.
The condition is life-threatening if not treated quickly, the campaign said in a statement.

Lewis, a one-term former congressman best known to Minnesota voters from his days as a conservative talk radio host, is challenging incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen. Tina Smith.
Campaign manager Tom Szymanski said in the statement that Lewis experienced severe abdominal pain early Monday morning and was taken to an emergency room.
“Prior to being taken to the operating room, Jason was in good spirits, optimistic, and true to form, he was speculating about when he could resume campaigning, eager to continue fighting for his fellow Minnesotans,” Szymanski said.
He said the campaign would release further information as it became available.
Smith tweeted well-wished to Lewis for “a successful surgery and a speedy recovery.”
Lewis has been all in for President Donald Trump during the campaign. He has stressed their common opposition to coronavirus restrictions, support for law and order in the state where George Floyd was killed, and the need to put Amy Coney Barrett on the Supreme Court.
Trump has returned the love with frequent name-checks at recent rallies in Minnesota. Lewis was part of the welcoming committee when Trump arrived in Minneapolis on his most recent visit, and he got to fly with Trump on Air Force One. He has taken himself off the campaign trail twice due to potential coronavirus exposures but tested negative.
A recent New York Times/Siena College poll gave Smith a 9-point lead over Lewis, the same margin that the same poll gave Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden over Trump in Minnesota. And the race isn’t showing up on major handicappers’ lists of Senate seats likely to flip.

Police say a 39-year-old man has been charged with lighting a fire in a Boston ballot drop box  and damaging dozens of ballots

ByThe Associated Press

October 26, 2020, 4:43 PM
• 2 min read

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BOSTON — A man was charged with lighting a fire in a Boston ballot drop box and damaging dozens of ballots, police said Monday.
Worldy Armand, a 39-year-old Boston resident, was taken into custody late Sunday after drug control unit officers on patrol saw a man who matched the description of the suspect authorities were looking for in the ballot box fire, police said. Police said he also had an active warrant for receiving stolen property.

Armand faces a charge of willful and malicious burning, police said. It was not immediately clear whether he has an attorney to comment on his behalf.
The FBI said Sunday that it’s investigating the fire that was set around 4 a.m. in a ballot drop box outside the Boston Public Library downtown.
Officers called to the scene saw smoke coming out of the box before firefighters managed to extinguish the fire by filling the box with water, police said.
There were 122 ballots inside the box when it was emptied Sunday morning, and 87 of them were still legible and able to be processed, Galvin’s office said.
Voters can go online to see whether their ballot was processed. Those who used that dropbox between Saturday afternoon and 4 a.m. Sunday and can’t confirm the status of their ballot online should contact the Boston Elections Department immediately, officials said.
Voters whose ballots were affected can either vote in person or by a replacement ballot that will be mailed to them, officials said. If those voters don’t submit a new ballot, “their original ballot will be hand-counted to the extent possible,” election officials said.
The FBI said in a statement announcing their investigation that “it is a top priority of our offices to help maintain the integrity of the election process in Massachusetts by aggressively enforcing federal election laws.”

An overflow of ICU patients are being airlifted to other cities.

October 26, 2020, 4:40 PM
• 5 min read

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A recent surge in positive COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in El Paso, Texas, has caused city officials to order a curfew for residents.
The curfew has been imposed for 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. to limit mobility in the community, El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego said at a press conference Sunday. For the next two weeks, citizens are required to stay home unless they are traveling to and from work or accessing essential services.

Only one person is permitted to access essential services at a time, and trick-or-treat activities on Halloween are not allowed, Samaniego said. Violators will be fined $250 for failing to wear a face mask and $500 for any other violations of the order.

Cars line up for Covid-19 tests at the University of Texas El Paso on Oct. 23, 2020 in El Paso, Texas. The city has seen a surge in cases, reporting over 1,150 new cases on Oct. 22.

Cars line up for Covid-19 tests at the University of Texas El Paso on Oct. 23, 2020 in El Paso, Texas. The city has seen a surge in cases, reporting over 1,150 new cases on Oct. 22.

El Paso County has had the fifth-highest number of positive cases in the state at more than 39,000, according to data from the Texas Department of State Health Services.
Since Oct. 1, the county has seen a 160% increase in COVID-19 positivity rates and a 300% jump in hospitalizations.
Intensive care units at all area hospitals reached 100% capacity as of Saturday, Samaniego said. An overflow of ICU patients are being airlifted to other cities.

People wearing masks amid the Covid-19 pandemic are pictured in downtown El Paso, Texas, Oct. 24, 2020.

People wearing masks amid the Covid-19 pandemic are pictured in downtown El Paso, Texas, Oct. 24, 2020.

The county is working to find more morgue space, and funeral homes are prepping for an influx of bodies, Samaniego said.
The El Paso Convention And Performing Art Center is being turned into a hospital with 100 beds, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said in a statement. The University Medical Center of El Paso is setting up tents outside to treat patients.

More than 862,000 cases and 17,500 fatalities have been reported in the state of Texas, according to the state health department. On Sunday, the daily count of new cases had hit nearly 3,800 and 48 fatalities.
Forty-two states and territories in the U.S. are experiencing an upward trajectory of new COVID-19 cases, according to an internal memo by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services obtained by ABC News.
ABC News’ Matt Gutman, Marilyn Heck and Morgan Winsor contributed to this report.

Gap and Banana Republic join a host of other stores announcing mass closings.

October 26, 2020, 4:12 PM
• 4 min read

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Joining a host of several other popular retailers, Gap is planning to make major changes amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The global American retailer announced it will shutter 225 of its stores by 2024 — a third of its locations. With these closures, 80% of Gap’s remaining stores will be free-standing outside of malls and a 30% drop in overall locations that will remain.

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Gap Inc.’s plans are closely tied to many clothing retailers losing foot traffic in stores due to lockdowns during the pandemic. Many have also reported that shopping habits have pivoted toward online versus in-store throughout the past few months.
“We’ve been overly reliant on low-productivity, high-rent stores,” said Mark Breitbard, CEO of the Gap brand in a statement. “We’ve used the past six months to address the real estate issues and accelerate our shift to a true Omni-model.”

A pedestrian walks by the closed GAP flagship store on Aug. 18, 2020, in San Francisco.

A pedestrian walks by the closed GAP flagship store on Aug. 18, 2020, in San Francisco.

In addition to Gap’s store closings, the company is planning to also close 130 of it’s Banana Republic stores in North America to focus on growing e-commerce business and outlet stores.

“As result of this work, our mall-based exposure will decline meaningfully,” Gap Inc.’s chief financial officer Katrina O’Connell said in an investor presentation on Thursday, according to Business Insider. “Gap said that in 2023 roughly 80% of its revenues will come from online sales and locations outside of malls.”

Gap and Banana Republic are joining a host of other companies, such as H&M, Victoria’s Secret, JCPenney, that have announced store closures.

A Tennessee couple pleaded not guilty Monday to dozens of charges including murder and abuse involving children they had adopted

ByThe Associated Press

October 26, 2020, 4:03 PM
• 2 min read

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KINGSTON, Tenn. — A Tennessee couple pleaded not guilty Monday to dozens of charges including murder and abuse involving children they had adopted.
Michael Gray Sr., 63, and Shirley Gray, 60, were arraigned on the 42-count indictment handed down last week by a Roane County grand jury, news outlets reported.

The charges involve the death of a girl, whose remains were found on the property, and other children the couple had adopted.
The couple was arrested in May after a little boy was spotted walking alone along a Roane County road.
Arrest warrants say passersby called 911, and a responding officer began asking questions. The boy’s legal guardian soon confessed, the warrants said, to burying the remains of a little girl in a barn and locking a 15-year-old boy in the basement for four years.
Two other children spent time in a wire dog cage, while all were supposedly homeschooled and appeared to be “stunted in growth,” according to the warrants.
Michael Gray told authorities that the girl was about 10 when she died in 2017, a few months after she was locked in the basement, and that he buried her inside a barn in the backyard, the warrants said. Investigators found her skeletal remains the day after the 911 call.
The couple is also facing a theft charge. Authorities say they didn’t report the girl’s death and kept receiving state benefits.
The Roane County case led authorities to search a Knox County property where the couple lived previously and court records show the remains of a second child were found.
The Knox County case is still under investigation and no charges have been filed, news outlets reported.

The Grays are due in court again in December.