Secrecy and spin: How Florida's governor misled the public on the COVID-19 pandemic
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Throughout the COVID-19 crisis in Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration engaged in a pattern of spin and concealment that misled the public on the gravest health threat the state has ever faced, a South Florida Sun Sentinel investigation has found. DeSantis, a Republican who owes his job to early support from President Donald Trump, imposed an approach in line with the views of the president and his powerful base of supporters. The administration suppressed unfavorable facts, dispensed dangerous misinformation, dismissed public health professionals, and promoted th...
Biden's DHS pick reveals immigration vision during virtual summit
Alejandro Mayorkas — President-elect Joe Biden’s nominee tapped to lead the Department of Homeland Security — gave the public a first glimpse Thursday of how he’ll approach his new post overseeing the country’s “broken immigration system.” His public comments via Zoom during a virtual bipartisan immigration summit held by the American Business Immigration Coalition, a national business and immigration organization, are his first since being nominated last week. Mayorkas emphasized that immigration reform will require Republicans and Democrats to work together in 2021 — a stark contrast to the ...
Lawsuit: Correctional officer trainee fired for wearing 'Black Lives Matter' shirt after others wore 'Police Lives Matter' shirts
SEATTLE — A newly hired correctional officer was fired by the Washington state Department of Corrections after wearing a “Black Lives Matter” shirt to work in response to several other officers wearing “Police Lives Matter” shirts, according to a federal lawsuit. Enow-Tambong Agbor-Baiyee sued the DOC in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington on Saturday, alleging his firing constitutes racial discrimination and retaliation. Agbor-Baiyee, who is Black, was hired in May as an on-call correctional officer at Airway Heights Corrections Center in Spokane County, and started a s...
The Seattle Times
Nation and world news briefs
North Carolina’s COVID-19 hospitalizations set record for fifth consecutive day RALEIGH, N.C. — Statewide hospitalizations in North Carolina reached 2,039 Wednesday, the highest daily total of the pandemic and the fifth consecutive day the state has reached a new record. Wednesday’s hospitalizations inched just past Tuesday’s total of 2,033. The state Department of Health and Human Services reported 4,199 new cases Wednesday, the fourth highest daily increase overall. The seven-day average daily case increase is now 3,584. Statewide deaths associated with COVID-19 increased by 82 since Tuesday...
Tribune News Service
Coronavirus vaccine to arrive in Texas week of Dec. 14
AUSTIN, Texas — Roughly 1.4 million Texans will receive the first of two doses of a coronavirus vaccine beginning the week of Dec. 14, Gov. Greg Abbott said Wednesday. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will send the second doses for the same group in January, said Chris Van Deusen, a spokesman for the Texas Department of State Health Services. The two pharmaceutical companies that have applied for emergency use authorization have developed vaccines that require two doses. The Food and Drug Administration is expected to make authorization decisions shortly after holding hearin...
More than one-third of PPP money in Illinois went to employers that got $1 million or more, new SBA data shows
More than one-third of the funds Illinois businesses and nonprofits received through the federal Paycheck Protection Program went to less than 2% of participants, according to data released late Tuesday by the Small Business Administration.Nearly 4,000 businesses in Illinois received loans of $1 million or more, adding up to $8.67 billion, or 38% of the total. In Illinois, the SBA approved more than 221,000 loans worth nearly $23 billion, according to the newly published data.The agency released the data under a court order in a federal lawsuit filed by news organizations, making public the na...
Trump's Pa. allies turn to US justices in appeal to overturn the election
PHILADELPHIA — Even as the nation’s top prosecutor said Tuesday that the U.S. Justice Department had not uncovered evidence of widespread voting fraud that would have changed the outcome of the 2020 election, President Donald Trump and his allies in Pennsylvania persisted with their unsupported claims of a stolen election and sought to revive rejected legal bids to overturn the results.Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly, one of Trump’s top boosters in Congress, turned to the U.S. Supreme Court, asking it to issue an emergency order decertifying the state’s returns, which declared President-elect ...
The Philadelphia Inquirer
Small businesses frequent targets of pandemic loan scams
Kara Kapczynski could tell something wasn’t right.The Vinings School of Art — which she started in 2006 to offer painting, drawing and music classes — had received a federal pandemic relief loan in May.So, when an Atlanta-based employee with the Small Business Administration called Kapczynski on Nov. 17 to verify information for another loan, alarm bells went off, she said.“At first, I thought he was trying to scam me,” she said.As it happens, a fraudster had submitted an application for a $71,000 COVID-19 relief loan in the name of the Vinings School of Art.Fraud — whether it’s someone posing...
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
What the science says about coronavirus, cold weather, and steps you can take to stay safe
As the weather cools, COVID-19 is only surging hotter across the country. With safer, outdoor gatherings less viable, people inevitably flock for warmth and shelter — and its more conducive environment for viral transmission.But there is new evidence of another factor driving the surge: This new coronavirus also thrives in colder conditions, as well as at extreme relative humidities. That can further guide public health measures, as well as your own personal actions through what has been billed as a long, dark winter.“Bottom line, this virus is well adapted to multiple environmental stressors,...
The Mercury News
Nation and world news briefs
FCC chief who ended net neutrality says he’ll quit Jan. 20WASHINGTON — U.S. Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai said he’ll leave the agency Jan. 20, eliminating the possibility of a holdover Republican majority at the agency that could have temporarily stymied changes sought by the incoming Biden administration.Since being elevated to the chairmanship by President Donald Trump in 2017, Pai, a Republican, has led the commission in dismantling net neutrality regulations and pushed for fast wireless broadband service.Pai’s term as a commissioner extends to July 2021 and he could h...
Tribune News Service