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    1. 4 CEO Tech Giants Testify Before House Panel

      4 CEO Tech Giants Testify Before House Panel

      So today could go down in history as the tech industry's big moment. For the first time, the four CEOs of tech giants Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google will appear together before Congress - well, not exactly together, via digital video. Really the sign of our times, right? The big overarching question here - do the biggest tech companies use their power to hurt competitors and help themselves?

      NPR's Alina Selyukh is here to cover this. And just to disclose that all four of these companies are among NPR's financial supporters. OK. Alina, it is not a secret that these companies are really big. So why is Congress doing this hearing now?

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    2. House Passes Bill Removing Confederate Statues from Capitol

      House Passes Bill Removing Confederate Statues from Capitol

      The House of Representatives approved legislation Wednesday to remove statues honoring figures who were part of the Confederacy during the Civil War from the U.S. Capitol. The bill would also replace the bust of Chief Justice Roger Brooke Taney, author of the Supreme Court's 1857 Dred Scott decision denying freedom to an enslaved man, and replace it with a bust of Justice Thurgood Marshall.

      "It's time to sweep away the last vestiges of Jim Crow and the dehumanizing of individuals because of the color of their skin that intruded for too long on the sacred spaces of our democracy," House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said at a press conference on Capitol Hill.

      But the vote on ...

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    3. Teachers Sue Florida to Block School Reopening Order Amid Pandemic

      Teachers Sue Florida to Block School Reopening Order Amid Pandemic

      Teachers in Florida are suing the state to block an emergency order requiring schools to open next month with in-person instruction. They say, with the surge of coronavirus cases, the order violates a provision in the Florida Constitution requiring the state to ensure schools are operated safely.

      The emergency order, issued this month by Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran, says all school districts "must open brick and mortar schools at least five days a week for all students." The order says the final decision on whether to reopen schools rests with local superintendents and school boards. But it suggests funding may depend on it. The districts that submit reopening plans approved by the state will receive full funding.

      In a ...

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      Mentions: Florida Coronavirus
    4. Global Coronavirus Death Toll Surpasses 600,000

      Global Coronavirus Death Toll Surpasses 600,000

      Total coronavirus deaths in the U.S. have surpassed 140,000, reaching somber new heights as surging cases continue to break records in parts of the country and around the world.

      The U.S. passed the latest threshold late on Saturday, the same day the World Health Organization reported the largest one-day increase in global fatalities since May, with 7,360 new deaths. Global deaths had been averaging 4,600 a day in June and 4,800 in July.

      According to data from the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center, the virus has killed at least 603,285 people worldwide as of Sunday.

      Nearly one quarter of those deaths are accounted for by the U.S.

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      Mentions: Coronavirus
    5. $2 Trillion Climate Plan Unveiled by Biden

      $2 Trillion Climate Plan Unveiled by Biden

      Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden on Tuesday outlined an updated climate plan, seeking to invest $2 trillion to boost clean energy and rebuild infrastructure. The proposal is the second plank of his new economic agenda called "Build Back Better," which he first detailed last week in Pennsylvania.

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    6. FBI Investigating Black Man's Report of Attempted Lynching

      FBI Investigating Black Man's Report of Attempted Lynching

      A Black man's report of an assault by white men in an Indiana state park has triggered an FBI investigation. Vauhxx Booker, an activist and member of the Monroe County Human Rights Commission, says the men beat him and threatened him with a noose. The incident was partly recorded on video by witnesses – whom Booker credits with saving him. "The reason why I'm here today is simply because these folks, they didn't just stop and watch and film my execution," he tells NPR's Mary Louise Kelly, in an interview on All Things Considered. "They became involved. They became active participants. They put themselves in danger when they stepped forward for me."

      The incident took place on ...

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      Mentions: Human Rights
    7. Pooled COVID-19 Testing Could Stretch Supplies and Help Delays

      Pooled COVID-19 Testing Could Stretch Supplies and Help Delays

      Federal health officials are hoping to stretch the supplies used to test for the coronavirus by combining samples from a number of people and running a single test. Chinese health officials used that strategy to rapidly test large populations in Wuhan and Beijing.

      The technique, called pooled testing, won't resolve the testing bottlenecks in the United States. But it could help.

      The idea is simple. Instead of running a coronavirus test on every specimen that arrives in a lab, take a sample of that specimen and combine it with samples from other specimens. Then run a single test on that pooled sample.

      If it comes back negative, you can assume that all of the original samples are negative. A ...

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      Mentions: Coronavirus
    8. 3rd Officer Charged in George Floyd's Death Released on Bond

      3rd Officer Charged in George Floyd's Death Released on Bond

      A third former Minneapolis police officer involved in the killing of George Floyd has been released from jail.

      According to Hennepin County jail records, Tou Thao was released from custody with conditions on Saturday morning after posting $750,000 bond.

      Thao, 34, faces charges of aiding and abetting second-degree murder while committing a felony, as well as aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter with culpable negligence. He has not yet entered a plea.

      He is scheduled to appear in court on Sept. 11.

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    9. Employee Accuses Facebook of Racial Discrimination

      Employee Accuses Facebook of Racial Discrimination

      A Black Facebook employee is accusing his employer of racial discrimination.

      In a complaint filed Thursday with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Oscar Veneszee Jr. said the social network does not give Black workers equal opportunities in their careers.

      "We have a Black people problem," Veneszee told NPR. Veneszee is a Navy veteran who recruits other veterans and people of color as part of diversity initiatives at Facebook's infrastructure division. "We've set goals to increase diversity at the company, but we've failed to create a culture at the company that finds, grows and keeps Black people at the company."

      Veneszee, who has worked for Facebook since 2017, filed the employment discrimination charge along with Howard Winns, Jr ...

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    10. Photos Taken at Elijah McClain Memorial Lead to Officer Investigation

      Photos Taken at Elijah McClain Memorial Lead to Officer Investigation

      The police department in Aurora, Colo., is investigating several officers who posed for photographs near the site where Elijah McClain was forcibly arrested as he walked home from a convenience store last summer. The site became a memorial to the 23-year-old who died in police custody. He was not suspected of committing any crime.

      Vanessa Wilson, the interim police chief, announced the investigation Monday night, saying that when she learned about the photos Thursday, she "immediately ordered Internal Affairs to make this investigation their top priority."

      The photos came to light after an Aurora police officer reported them to the department's internal affairs unit. Summarizing that initial report, Wilson said that "multiple Aurora Police officers were depicted in photographs ...

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    11. US Pediatricians Urge Schools to Resume In-Person This Fall

      US Pediatricians Urge Schools to Resume In-Person This Fall

      The nation's pediatricians have come out with a strong statement in favor of bringing children back to the classroom this fall wherever and whenever they can do so safely. The American Academy of Pediatrics' guidance "strongly advocates that all policy considerations for the coming school year should start with a goal of having students physically present in school."

      The guidance says "schools are fundamental to child and adolescent development and well-being." The AAP cites "mounting evidence" that transmission of the coronavirus by young children is uncommon, partly because they are less likely to contract it in the first place.

      On the other hand, the AAP argues that based on the nation's experience this spring, remote learning is likely ...

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    12. Golden State Killer Pleads Guilty to 13 Murders

      Golden State Killer Pleads Guilty to 13 Murders

      Wearing an orange jumpsuit and a clear face shield to protect against the coronavirus, former police officer Joseph James DeAngelo Jr. pleaded guilty on Monday to 13 counts of first-degree murder. The string of murders in the 1970s and '80s terrorized California, and the suspect who committed them became known as the Golden State Killer.

      DeAngelo, 74, sat in a wheelchair as he rasped out "yes" and "I admit" to the charges, after prosecutors described the grisly circumstances of each crime. Otherwise, he hardly spoke and did not look at the victims' families. "Mr. DeAngelo is acknowledging his guilt for the heinous crimes he has committed," said Contra Costa County District Attorney Diana Becton. "There is really nothing that could ...

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      Mentions: Coronavirus
    13. IRS Sent Almost $1.4B in Coronavirus Relief to Dead People

      IRS Sent Almost $1.4B in Coronavirus Relief to Dead People

      The IRS sent nearly $1.4 billion in coronavirus relief payments to dead Americans, a new report by an independent government agency shows. The Government Accountability Office said the error involved almost 1.1 million checks and direct deposits sent to ineligible Americans. The payments were part of the coronavirus aid package passed in March known as the CARES Act.

      So far, the IRS has dispersed over 160 million payments — worth nearly $270 billion — to people for coronavirus relief.

      The improper payments happened because of confusion over whether dead people should receive payments, the GAO report concludes. In the hectic early days, as the IRS was preparing to send out millions of payments, the tax bureau bypassed established protocols, declined ...

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      Mentions: Coronavirus
    14. Florida Surpasses 100,000 Coronavirus Cases

      Florida Surpasses 100,000 Coronavirus Cases

      Florida has hit a grim milestone — passing 100,000 cases of the coronavirus. The latest report from the state's Department of Health adds 2,926 new infections to the total number of COVID-19 cases, which now stands at 100,217 with 3,173 deaths.

      Along with Florida, six other states have registered more than 100,000 cases: New York, California, New Jersey, Illinois, Texas and Massachusetts.

      Like some other states, Florida has seen a surge of COVID-19 infections in recent weeks. A new record high of 4,049 new cases was set Saturday. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has linked the rising number of cases to increased testing.

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    15. PG&E Pleads Guilty to 85 Counts in 2018 Wildfire

      PG&E Pleads Guilty to 85 Counts in 2018 Wildfire

      Pacific Gas & Electric pleaded guilty on Tuesday to 84 separate counts of involuntary manslaughter and one felony count of unlawfully starting a fire in a case stemming from a horrific 2018 blaze that destroyed much of the town of Paradise in Northern California.

      PG&E CEO and President Bill Johnson entered the guilty pleas in Butte County Superior Court one at a time as he watched photographs of each of the victims flash on a screen.

      With hands clasped, Johnson rocked back and forth while Judge Michael Deems called out the names of the dead. Each time, Johnson responded in an even voice, saying, "Guilty your honor."

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    16. Fired FL Data Scientist Creates Own Accurate Dashboard

      Fired FL Data Scientist Creates Own Accurate Dashboard

      Rebekah Jones was fired last month from her job at the Florida Department of Health, where she helped create a data portal about the state's COVID-19 cases. Now, she has created a dashboard of her own.

      In some ways, Jones' new portal for Florida coronavirus data looks a lot like the state health department's. But it has a few key differences that reflect just how contentious coronavirus data has become amid politicized arguments about whether it's safe for states to reopen.

      Case in point: Jones' dashboard has a map that shows which Florida counties are ready for the next phase of reopening. By her calculations, only two of the state's 67 counties at the moment meet ...

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      Mentions: Florida Coronavirus
    17. Federal Reserve Commits to Helping Economy Through Pandemic Recession

      Federal Reserve Commits to Helping Economy Through Pandemic Recession

      The Federal Reserve left interest rates near zero Wednesday and once again promised to deliver whatever monetary medicine it can to an economy that's badly ailing from the coronavirus pandemic.

      "The Federal Reserve is committed to using its full range of tools to support the U.S. economy in this challenging time," the central bank said in a statement.

      While noting that "financial conditions have improved, in part reflecting policy measures to support the economy," the Fed's rate-setting committee reiterated its intent to leave interest rates at rock-bottom levels, "until it is confident that the economy has weathered recent events and is on track to achieve its maximum employment and price stability goals."

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      Mentions: Coronavirus
    18. Global COVID-19 Death Toll Surpasses 400,000

      Global COVID-19 Death Toll Surpasses 400,000

      The COVID-19 pandemic has now claimed more than 400,000 lives worldwide, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University.

      The university's Coronavirus Resource Center noted the grim milestone on Sunday. The United States — at more than 109,000 — accounts for more than a quarter of those deaths.

      Worldwide, more than 6.9 million people have been infected with the coronavirus since the first known cases began to emerge in the Chinese province of Hubei late last year. Experts at Johns Hopkins say infections are expected to surpass 7 million by mid-week.

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      Mentions: Coronavirus
    19. Trump's Photo Op with a Bible Causes Uproar

      Trump's Photo Op with a Bible Causes Uproar

      President Trump's controversial foray to St. John's Church on Monday is generating widespread criticism, after police and National Guard troops physically cleared out demonstrators, using tear gas, to allow a photo opportunity outside the church. The bishop who oversees St. John's is among the critics.

      "He used violent means to ask to be escorted across the park into the courtyard of the church," Bishop Mariann Edgar Budde of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington tells NPR's Morning Edition. "He held up his Bible after speaking [an] inflammatory militarized approach to the wounds of our nation."

      "He did not pray," the bishop continued.

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    20. Dozens of Lawsuits Challenge Mail-In Ballot Procedures Amid Pandemic

      Dozens of Lawsuits Challenge Mail-In Ballot Procedures Amid Pandemic

      With the widespread expansion of vote-by-mail this year in response to the pandemic, both major political parties and their allies are waging an intense legal battle to shape the rules around absentee and mail-in voting. The details matter a lot and could affect the outcome in November.

      Dozens of lawsuits have been filed so far, with Democrats seeking to remove mail-in voting restrictions that they say are burdensome and unconstitutional, and Republicans trying to preserve laws they say protect against voter fraud.

      Among the main targets are witness and signature requirements for absentee ballots — such as signing the envelope, or getting a witness or notary to sign it, or making sure the voter's signature is legible. Such requirements — which ...

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      Mentions: Coronavirus
    21. 124th Annual Boston Marathon Canceled, To Be Held as a Virtual Event

      124th Annual Boston Marathon Canceled, To Be Held as a Virtual Event

      The 124th annual Boston Marathon has been canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Boston Athletic Association announced the move in a statement on Thursday, saying that the marathon will instead be held as a virtual event.

      All participants who were set to run in the event initially slated for April 20 and later pushed back to Sept. 14 will be offered a full refund of their entry fee and have the opportunity to participate in the alternative.

      This is the first time the in-person event has been canceled since the race's inception in 1897, according to ESPN.

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      Mentions: Coronavirus
    22. Coronavirus Is Changing America's Plans For Its Newest Spaceship

      Coronavirus Is Changing America's Plans For Its Newest Spaceship

       This week, NASA and the commercial company SpaceX are set to launch two astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) in a new capsule. This is the first launch by NASA of astronauts from U.S. soil in nearly a decade, but it's happening in the middle of a pandemic. 

      Here are some of the ways that the coronavirus will, and won't, change the plans for the space agency's latest launch.

      For decades, astronauts have avoided illness before flying by entering into quarantine ahead of their missions.

      Even a minor illness on Earth has the potential to cause big problems in space, says Serena Auñón-Chancellor, a NASA astronaut and associate professor of internal medicine at Louisiana ...

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      Mentions: Coronavirus
    23. Trump Administration Confirms U.S. Is Leaving Open Skies Surveillance Treaty

      Trump Administration Confirms U.S. Is Leaving Open Skies Surveillance Treaty

      President Trump's administration will give official notice of the U.S.'s intent to exit the Open Skies treaty, officials announced Thursday. The 34-nation agreement allows the U.S., Russia and other countries to fly their aircraft over each other's territory – increasing transparency and reducing the chances for perilous miscalculations.

      "Russia didn't adhere to the treaty, so until they adhere, we will pull out," Trump said, adding that there is "a very good chance" to reach a new deal. "We're going to pull out, and they're going to come back and want to make a deal."

      Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that "it has become abundantly clear that it is no longer in America ...

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    24. Senate Committee Subpoenas Firm With Suspected Ties To Hunter Biden

      Senate Committee Subpoenas Firm With Suspected Ties To Hunter Biden

      The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee voted along party lines Wednesday to subpoena documents and depositions from Blue Star Strategies, a consulting company that worked with the Ukrainian energy company Burisma when Hunter Biden served on its board. 

      "We need to get to the truth about the Bidens' relationship with Burisma, and these hearings will provide the Senate with the full picture," Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., said.

      Democrats on the committee said Republicans were chasing conspiracy theories and bolstering Russian disinformation efforts by using their power to investigate the Biden family instead of the government response to the coronavirus pandemic, which falls under the committee's jurisdiction. 

      Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., called the investigation "a charade that ...

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      Mentions: Coronavirus
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