Day: October 7, 2020

The Latest: Pence to press ‘law and order’ message at debate

WASHINGTON — The Latest on the 2020 presidential election (all times local):

7:10 p.m.

Republican Mike Pence will press the Trump campaign’s “law and order” message at the vice presidential debate against Democrat Kamala Harris.

Pence’s guests in the debate hall Wednesday night will include Ann Marie Dorn, the widow of retired St. Louis police captain David Dorn, who was shot to death on June 2 after a violent night of protests.

President Donald Trump and his campaign have seized on the scattered violence that has broken out amid otherwise largely peaceful protests demanding racial justice. Trump has wrongly claimed that such violence has been condoned by his Democratic rival, Joe Biden, and has warned it will continue if Biden wins in November.

Ann Marie Dorn also spoke at the Republican National Convention.

Pence will also be joined by the parents of Kayla Mueller, a humanitarian aid worker who was taken captive and killed by Islamic State militants.

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HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT WHAT’S HAPPENING IN THE PRESIDENTIAL RACE:

President Donald Trump is recovering from the coronavirus at the White House. Democrat Joe Biden is holding two virtual fundraisers. The candidates’ running mates, meanwhile, are meeting in a vice presidential debate Wednesday night in Salt Lake City.

Read more:

— Pence-Harris debate to unfold as Trump recovers from virus

— Viewer’s Guide: Virus response on stage with Pence, Harris

— Trump, out of sight, tweets up storm, says he ‘feels great’

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HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:

7 p.m.

Two Utah women will attend Wednesday’s vice presidential debate in Salt Lake City as guests of Democrat Kamala Harris.

Angela Romero is a state representative who also works in local government in Salt Lake City, overseeing the Division for Youth and Family programs. The campaign says Romero is focused on supporting families and local businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Deborah Gatrell is a veteran and teacher who is running for a seat on the Salt Lake County Council. She is a Blackhawk pilot who served in the Utah National Guard and was deployed to the Middle East.

The campaign says the two women represent the hard-working Americans that a Joe Biden-Kamala Harris administration would fight for.

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5:50 p.m.

President Donald Trump’s campaign is dialing back on advertising in Midwestern states that secured his first term in office.

Data from the ad tracking firm Kantar/CMAG shows Trump’s campaign has canceled about $3.3 million in advertising planned for Iowa and Ohio this week. But details provided from Democratic advertising trackers reveal the phenomenon is more widespread.

The data shows Trump is running $1.3 million in advertising this week in Michigan, where Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is spending $2.9 million. In Wisconsin, Trump is spending $229,000 compared to Biden’s $2.5 million. And in Minnesota, a longtime Democratic stronghold where Trump hoped to make inroads, Biden is outspending him $1 million to Trump’s $289,000 this week.

The ad decisions by Trump’s campaign are puzzling.

He amassed a massive campaign

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Australia to Run Record Budget Deficit as Government Cuts Tax, Boosts Job Support | Investing News

By Sam Holmes and Colin Packham

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia pledged billions in tax cuts and measures to boost jobs on Tuesday to help pull the economy out of its historic COVID-19 slump in a budget that tips the country into its deepest deficit on record.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s conservative government has unleashed A$300 billion in emergency stimulus to prop up growth this year, having seen the coronavirus derail a previous promise to return the budget to surplus.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg on Tuesday announced A$17.8 billion in personal tax cuts and A$5.2 billion in new programmes to boost employment in a recovery plan aimed at creating one million new jobs over the next four years.

Those measures are forecast to push the budget deficit out to a record A$213.7 billion, or 11% of gross domestic product, for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2021.

“There is no economic recovery without a jobs recovery,” Frydenberg said in prepared remarks to parliament. “There is no budget recovery without a jobs recovery.”

Australia’s unemployment rate hit a 22-year high of 7.5% in July as businesses and borders closed due to strict lockdown measures to deal with the coronavirus.

While the number of deaths and infections in Australia from COVID-19 has been low compared with many other countries, the hit to GDP has been severe. Underlying the budget forecasts was an assumption that a vaccine would be developed in 2021.

Australia’s A$2 trillion economy shrank 7% in the three months ended June, the most since records began in 1959.

In its new projections, the government expects unemployment to rise to 7.25% by the end of the current fiscal year and then fall to 6% by June 2023. Australia’s GDP is expected to shrink 1.5% for the current fiscal year before returning to growth of 4.75% in the next.

S&P Global Ratings said Australia remained only one of 11 countries with the highest credit rating of AAA, albeit with a negative outlook, and said fiscal recovery would take years.

“While debt is markedly higher than the past, servicing costs remain manageable, as the interest-rate environment will remain favourable for a number of years,” said Anthony Walker, a director at the rating agency.

Gross debt is projected to surpass A$1 trillion in 2021/22, from A$684 billion in 2019/20, and then rise to around A$1.14 trillion by 2023/24.

The government said it will spend A$4 billion over the next year to pay businesses that hire those under the age of 35 as it targets youth unemployment.

The budget also brings forward previously legislated tax cuts for middle-income earners and extends tax breaks for individuals offered in last year’s budget for low- and middle-income earners.

Some of these cuts will be retrospectively backdated to July 1, 2020.

The government’s highly expansionary budget comes shortly after the central bank’s policy decision on Tuesday, at which it kept interest rates at a record low and flagged reducing high unemployment rate as a national priority.

The Reserve Bank of Australia

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The Little Orchestra Society Presents AN L.O.S. HALLOWEEN BASH

Iconic composers, fantastic music, & contemporary humor combined with special guests to captivate today’s audiences wherever they may be.

The Little Orchestra Society Presents AN L.O.S. HALLOWEEN BASH

Wondering what to offer your “Trick or Treaters” this year? How about adding “tunes” to your goody bag and delight them with The Little Orchestra Society’s® (L.O.S.) “An L.O.S. Halloween Bash,” which can be viewed safely and comfortably from your own home when streaming begins on October 17th.

L.O.S. is brewing up Halloween with a twist this year and planning a fun fest for all of the children, parents, and grandparents who make up the L.O.S. family wherever they may be! Now you won’t miss a beat of another fun filled L.O.S. KIDS concert whether you are at home or sharing space with family and friends in a different city, state or even country as The Little Orchestra Society® offers its unique brand of music performances, combined with other artforms, as its entire 2020-21 season will now be streamed exclusively on line.

Become a L.O.S. member and get your front row tickets for a fun-filled and exciting concert for children ages 3-10 and their adult friends. At home audiences are invited to come in costume as Artistic Advisor David Alan Miller virtually conducts the professional L.O.S. Orchestra, including excerpts from The Sorcerer’s Apprentice!

The unique streaming format will feature Professor Treblemaker and his merry band of mischief makers aided by special young guest artists including dancers, a bassoon soloist, a violin soloist, and singers from the Juilliard MAP program.

A special treat will be a world premiere excerpt from Mexican-American composer Jorge Sosa’s piece – “The Monarch of Uxmal” with a young bi-lingual narrator.

“I am so excited to present The Little Orchestra Society’s new season,” exclaimed David Alan Miller, L.O.S. Artistic Advisor. “I have always felt that our concerts are so visually stunning, theatrically brilliant, and super-fun, that they were just “made” for streaming.”

“We’ll be presenting all our programs virtually, and that just means that they’ll be every bit as wonderful as our live programs, but with lots of additional visual delights. Professor Treblemaker, our brilliant professional musicians, and I will all be there, and we’ll be joined by lots of awesome young guest performers and composers. From Halloween to “Hansel and Gretel,” from Dvořák to “Pictures at an Exhibition,” we are going to have so much fun and discover so much great music together. We can’t wait to see you there!”

L.O.S. is a 74-year-old nonprofit organization and has been working diligently over the last few months to develop innovative ways of connecting with audiences in these uncertain times. On the L.O.S. website and YouTube channel you can find a collection of videos free of charge presenting unique at home lessons, crafts, concerts, and entertainment.

In order to develop its programming and ability to serve a wide spectrum of diverse audiences from public schools to its community partners, L.O.S. has created a Membership Plan for families to support a new type of music in our community while enjoying

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Virtual meetings of local government bodies in jeopardy after Supreme Court ruling

Local governments across Michigan are in limbo following a state Supreme Court ruling, uncertain whether they’ll be able to keep holding public meetings virtually.

The court last Friday, Oct. 2, struck down Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s authority to continue Michigan’s state of emergency amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

It’s the state of emergency that has empowered Whitmer to unilaterally issue orders like allowing public bodies to hold electronic meetings since March.

After several months of livestreaming meetings using platforms like Zoom, elected officials around the state are now wondering if they’re going to be forced to return to in-person meetings.

“Things got even more interesting in this incredibly strange year,” said Ann Arbor City Council Member Ali Ramlawi as the issue came up during a virtual council meeting Monday night.

While the governor said Friday her orders remain in effect for 21 more days and the Michigan Municipal League has advised cities they can continue to meet virtually during that time, some elected bodies are moving to cancel meetings or return to in-person meetings due to a lack of clarity on the issue.

The Lansing City Council and Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners are among bodies that canceled their meetings this week due to the uncertainty.

“Our goal has been and continues to be that we serve as good stewards, not only of the work of running Washtenaw County government, but also good stewards of the health and safety of our staff and residents,” said Washtenaw County Board Chairman Jason Morgan, D-Ann Arbor.

“We’re postponing our agenda items until our next meeting out of an abundance of caution. We want to ensure we have clarity from the state of Michigan on our legal ability to meet virtually and we are still following the science and abiding by the orders of both our county and state health departments.”

COVID-19 is still a very real threat, added Washtenaw County Administrator Greg Dill.

“Until there is a vaccine or a cure, we will continue to take all the necessary precautions to keep everyone safe as we continue to handle (the) business of running Washtenaw County,” he said.

Police investigating racist, sexist ‘Zoom bomb’ during Washtenaw County meeting

Grand Blanc Township near Flint held its first in-person meeting in months on Tuesday, Oct. 6.

Supervisor Scott Bennett said the township decided to follow direction it received from the Michigan Townships Association and others in making the decision.

“We have business we need to take care of,” Bennett said, adding the township is following Michigan Department of Health and Human Services requirements.

“We’re following the guidelines for the number of people in the room,” he said, noting the township set up an overflow area in case more than 25 people showed up and it still has a livestream for those who don’t want to attend in person.

It went well Tuesday night, Bennett said.

State Sen. Jeff Irwin, D-Ann Arbor, said state lawmakers are scrambling to address the issue of public meetings and he expects a

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San Diego Humane Society nurses orphaned mountain lion cub back to health

San Diego Humane Society wildlife staff is nursing a mountain lion cub back to health after the orphaned animal was found dying near a road in Riverside County.

After weeks of intense care, the cub is expected to fully recover, the agency said Wednesday.

U.S. Forrest Service firefighters stationed near the mountain community of Idyllwild spotted the female cub on Sept. 2. At about 14 weeks old and 10.5 pounds, she was semiconscious, emaciated, dehydrated and weak — and had tremors.

The cub was taken to the local Humane Society’s Project Wildlife center in Ramona, where she was given daily fluid therapy and medications.

Fed ground protein and a milk replacer, the cub’s weight has more than doubled to 22 pounds, according to the Humane Society .

“With each passing day, she becomes more active and responsive, and though she still has some medical issues to overcome from being in such a fragile state, we are delighted she has responded well to our treatment and are hopeful she will make a full recovery,” said Christine Barton, director of operations and wildlife rehabilitation at the center in Ramona.

Staff has been in contact with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to monitor the cub’s progress and find her a permanent home at a qualified facility, the San Diego Humane Society said.

The cub is the first wildlife animal admitted at the Ramona center since the agency acquired it from the Humane Society of the United States on Sept. 1.

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In call with Democratic senator, Barrett declines to discuss how she might rule on health-care law

Particularly scrutinized is a 2017 essay that Barrett penned for a Notre Dame Law School journal in which she argued that Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., Jr., who wrote the majority opinion when the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the health-care law in 2012, “pushed the Affordable Care Act beyond its plausible meaning to save the statute.”

Sen. Christopher A. Coons (D-Del.), who talked by phone with Barrett on Wednesday, said he asked her about a pair of Supreme Court decisions upholding the Affordable Care Act as well as the 2017 essay. Barrett, Coons said, repeatedly declined to speak to the specifics of a case, saying “she wouldn’t get into the details of how she might rule.”

“The ACA is not just on the docket of the Supreme Court,” Coons, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, told reporters on Wednesday. “It’s on the ballot this fall.”

The conversation between Coons and Barrett is part of the traditional Supreme Court confirmation process that has become quite unusual not only because of the intense toxicity around her nomination but also because of the effects of the coronavirus pandemic hitting the Capitol.

At least eight Democratic senators have met with Barrett — either in person or via phone — while a host of others have refused the courtesy sit-downs because they don’t want to legitimize a confirmation process they say should not occur.

Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.) quietly met with Barrett in the Capitol on Thursday, and in a statement released the following day said her writings on the ACA “continue to give me serious concerns” about her confirmation.

An aide to Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the Judiciary Committee’s ranking Democrat, confirmed that the senator spoke with Barrett on the phone Wednesday, but declined to give further details. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) also had a phone conversation; a spokesman said he “walk[ed] her through his concerns about dark-money influence around the Supreme Court, which he called ‘the scheme around the Court.’”

White House spokesman Judd Deere said that during the calls, Barrett “emphasized the importance of judicial independence and spoke about her judicial philosophy and family.”

The meetings are also used to preview some of the lines of questioning from senators at the confirmation hearing. For Barrett, many of the questions from Democratic senators at her hearing starting Monday will center on health care and the fate of the ACA.

In her meeting with Coons, Barrett said that she has had no conversation with President Trump about any particular decision or case. She also made no commitment to recuse herself from any election-related disputes that may rise to the Supreme Court — a call made by a slew of Democrats because of the explicit link that Trump has made between potential election challenges and the need to have a full slate of nine justices to hear them.

Trump announced in a White House ceremony on Sept. 26 that he would nominate Barrett, a judge on the U.S. 7th Circuit

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U.S. Government Asks Vaccine Makers To Hold Filing for Authorization Until They Have Enough Doses to Distribute

President Trump Makes Statement On Vaccine Development
President Trump Makes Statement On Vaccine Development

Moncef Slaoui, head of the White House’s “Operation Warp Speed” project to develop a coronavirus vaccine, listens to U.S. President Donald Trump deliversremarks about vaccine development in the Rose Garden of the White House on May 15, 2020 in Washington, DC. Credit – Drew Angerer—Getty Images

As the COVID-19 pandemic enters its 10th month, the pressure to develop an effective vaccine, or vaccines, continues to mount. Speaking at the Johns Hopkins University and University of Washington Vaccine Symposium online, Dr. Moncef Slaoui, scientific head of Operation Warp Speed—the government organization funding and supporting development and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines—provided the latest updates on when a vaccine (and how many doses) might be available in coming months.

Perhaps most strikingly, Slaoui said that the government has told vaccine manufacturers not to seek authorization of their drugs from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) until they have enough doses to provide to a desperate public. “We have recommended to companies that if they achieve efficacy demonstration while no vaccine doses are available at industrial scale of several million doses to at least immunize a relevant fraction of the population, then they should refrain or consider refraining from filing an emergency use authorization, because the populations would have a major disappointment [over] expectation of the availability of the vaccine,” he said.

Emergency use authorization (EUA) is an accelerated review and authorization process by the FDA that would allow vaccine makers to distribute vaccines that are safe and effective but not fully approved by the agency.

Slaoui also supported the FDA in its recent conflict with the White House over stringent guidelines proposed by the agency for evaluating data from vaccine studies, which include a recommendation that all vaccine trial volunteers be followed for two months for any potential side effects. Vaccine makers supported the guidelines, but after initially rejecting them, arguing they would delay availability of the vaccines, the White House has accepted them.

At this point, meeting demand would not be a problem if an EUA were given to the two vaccines, made by Moderna and Pfizer, that are currently furthest along in testing. The companies began late-stage testing for these vaccine candidates in the summer, and Slaoui said the manufacturers have been manufacturing doses at large scale in parallel to testing. The government began stockpiling doses of these unapproved but promising vaccines “in the single digit millions” in September, and will continue to do so in October, he said, and both Moderna and Pfizer will likely have 20 to 30 million doses produced by November and December this year.

Two of the other most promising vaccines in development are from AztraZeneca and J&J, both of which are quickly enrolling participants in late stage studies outside of the U.S., and may deliver first hints of safety and effectiveness by late October or early November. However, even if those results prove positive, these companies would likely have to consider waiting until their manufacturing capabilities

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Kentucky’s Bizarre Riot Law Is a New Target After Breonna Taylor Arrests

When Kentucky Rep. Attica Scott, the only Black woman in the state’s legislature, was arrested at a protest last month, she assumed she’d been booked on a curfew violation.



a group of people sitting at night: REUTERS/Lawrence Bryant


© Provided by The Daily Beast
REUTERS/Lawrence Bryant

She wasn’t.

Instead, Scott and 17 other racial-justice protesters arrested alongside her were booked on a much more serious charge: rioting. The allegation was they had marched near—that is, proximal to—someone who vandalized a library.

Even local prosecutors couldn’t stomach the case: On Tuesday, the county attorney who brought those charges announced he was dropping them, calling them too hard to prosecute.

Now a fellow state lawmaker is taking aim at the murky riot law that led to the mass arrests in the first place, an effort to help stem the tide of harsh crackdowns on protesters across America.

Scott was arrested hours after a prosecutor declined to press charges against any cop for the killing of Breonna Taylor, a Black woman who was shot to death by Louisville Police officers during a botched attempt to serve a warrant on her home in March. Police obtained a warrant for a “no-knock” raid (later changed to a “knock and announce” raid) on Taylor’s home and, while details about how police actually entered remain in contention, a prosecutor announced charges against one cop for firing into Taylor’s neighbors’ walls.

The announcement, which did not include charges for shooting Taylor, sparked a national outcry, especially in Louisville, where a mass of marchers took to the streets, over 100 people were arrested, protesters were pepper sprayed and hit with flash-bangs, and two cops were shot.

Amid the chaos, someone broke a library window and threw a flare inside. Local media that witnessed the library vandalism said it was the work of one person, not a group. Nevertheless, Louisville Police—whom Scott and others were protesting—arrested them on the grounds that they were “part of a large group” allegedly involved in that act.

It didn’t matter that Scott and others—including her 19-year-old daughter Ashanti and prominent local organizer Shameka Parrish-Wright—were not accused of property damage. Kentucky’s riot law allows groups of people to be charged for the actions of others.

The law, as used in Scott’s case, is overbroad—and not even used the way it was intended, according to fellow Kentucky Rep. Lisa Willmer. She’s proposing legislation called “Attica’s Law” to prevent future mass riot charges against protesters who aren’t directly accused of wrongdoing.

“What happened in Representative Scott’s case, and in so many arrests that we have seen over the past several months, has just been real misapplication of the law,” Willmer told The Daily Beast.

Currently, Kentucky’s riot statute applies to people who “knowingly participate” in a riot that results in significant injuries or property, Louisville’s Courier-Journal reported. (The state defines a riot as a violent public disturbance of five or more people that creates a dangerous situation.)

Open-ended language about “knowing participation” can make riot laws like Kentucky’s ripe for abuse. Some of

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Humane society ‘blown away’ by anonymous $1.1M donation

The P.E.I. Humane Society says a $1.1-million gift from an anonymous donor will allow it to achieve its dream of a better animal shelter.

Development manager Jennifer Harkness says this is one of the largest donations the society has ever received.

“I was blown away. It took me days to process that this is actually happening,” she said. “Our dream, the big dream that we’ve been working on … is actually going to be a reality.”

The money brings the total capital funds raised to $3,132,109 and completes the society’s fundraising goal to finish major renovations at the Charlottetown animal shelter. 

The renovations will include new sick bays, dog kennels, recovery rooms and treatment facilities for sick and injured animals.

The money will go toward major renovations at the Charlottetown animal shelter, shown here in a design by SableArc Studios. (Submitted by P.E.I. Human Society)

The project is expected to be complete by early 2022. The shelter will have to relocate for a year while the renovations take place.

“Just to know that we can move forward confidently with renovating the shelter and doing what’s right for the animals— it’s just an amazing feeling,” Harkness said.

She said she knows the identity of the donor, but the “humble” family wishes to remain anonymous.

More from CBC P.E.I.

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Essential workers rally for state law mandating workplace safety


A bodega

The law’s standards would include providing workers with personal protective equipment, implementing testing protocols, supplying hand sanitizer, following social distancing, and disinfecting areas in the workplace. | Stephanie Keith/Getty Images

Essential workers, union leaders and elected officials are pushing for legislation that would mandate workplace safety standards for Covid-19 and establish industry-specific worker committees to determine what those standards will be.

Though not yet introduced, the NY HERO Act, sponsored by Assemblywoman Karines Reyes, and State Sen. Michael Gianaris, would include fines for businesses that rack up violations and encourage workers to monitor and report them, along with guarantees the workers would be protected from retaliation.

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“We’re still working on the benchmarks and the language,” Reyes said during a rally in front of Northwell Health’s Greenwich Village location Wednesday. She highlighted the importance of worker input into what the bill’s protocols will entail.

“We believe worker committees are the most important concept here,” Reyes said.

Fines, which have not yet been set, would function as additional revenue for the Department of Labor. The standards include providing workers with personal protective equipment, implementing testing protocols, supplying hand sanitizer, following social distancing, and disinfecting areas in the workplace.

UPS worker Lennox James said the company was not proactive enough in supplying worker protections back in April, more than a month into the pandemic. He said his union, Teamsters Local 804, pushed his employers to do so and directed them to masks available at wholesale prices.

“They did not do their due diligence until the heart of this pandemic,” James said, noting that adequate protections have since been maintained for himself and his colleagues.

Others had to take time off because of a lack of protections that exacerbated fears of contracting Covid-19.

“I had to leave my job for one month because I didn’t have access to [personal protective] equipment,” said Maria Parra, a restaurant worker, in Spanish.

Beena Martinez, a member of the Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union and trainer for the Retail Action Project, lost her mother, a retired nurse who spent most of her career at Flushing Hospital, to Covid-19 this May after a two week battle with the virus.

Martinez, who moved to New York from India in 1991 and has been in the retail industry for more than 20 years, noted additional concern for her brother, who works in a nursing home.

“It was scary [for them] but they had to take care of patients,” said United Food & Commercial Workers Union Local 2013 union field director Francine Streich, carrying a folder stuffed with letters from union members relaying their on-the-job experiences. Streich works with many immigrant workers on Long Island, including those in the home care field.

“We don’t depend on drivers of their cars to keep to a certain speed; we have rules and regulations. Without enforceable standards, many people would die on the highway. That’s what happened to essential workers during the last pandemic,” said Judy Sheridan-Gonzalez, president of the New York State

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