1. Articles from reuters.com

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    1. Justice Department Charged 57 People with Coronavirus Aid Fraud

      Justice Department Charged 57 People with Coronavirus Aid Fraud

      WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Federal law enforcement authorities have charged 57 people with stealing $175 million from an aid program meant to help small businesses weather pandemic lockdowns, officials said on Thursday, adding that they are eyeing hundreds more suspected cases of fraud.

      Officials said they have identified 500 individuals who may have defrauded the $660 billion Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and that, in many cases, criminal rings had worked together to steal funds from the program. The Justice Department along with other agencies would focus more closely on this organized criminal activity, officials said.

      “The involvement of these rings isn’t surprising, but it is particularly troubling to us here at the department, we will be focusing on these types of ...

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      Mentions: Coronavirus
    2. Biden Has Nearly 100 Republicans and Independents to Endorse Him

      Biden Has Nearly 100 Republicans and Independents to Endorse Him

      (Reuters) - Nearly 100 Republican and independent leaders will endorse Democrat Joe Biden for president on Thursday, including one-time 2020 Republican presidential candidate Bill Weld and the former Republican governors of Michigan and New Jersey, people involved in the effort told Reuters.

      The latest Republican-led effort to oppose the re-election of President Donald Trump also includes current and former Republicans in the key battleground state of Michigan that will help decide the outcome of the Nov. 3 election, the group’s members said.

      Called ‘Republicans and Independents for Biden’, the group is headed by Christine Todd Whitman, a former Republican governor of New Jersey who has become one of Trump’s fiercest critics and who spoke at the recent Democratic National ...

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    3. Vietnamese Tech Firm is Suing TikTok for Copyright Infringement

      Vietnamese Tech Firm is Suing TikTok for Copyright Infringement

      HANOI (Reuters) - Vietnamese technology firm VNG is suing TikTok, the popular short-form video app, saying it does not have adequate licences for the songs being used in its videos, sources said on Monday.

      VNG is accusing the Chinese-owned company of using audio tracks owned by Zing, a VNG subsidiary, without the company’s consent, two sources familiar with the issue said.

      A legal document from the people’s court of Ho Chi Minh City seen by Reuters seeks damages from TikTok and demands that it ceases use of Zing’s music.

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    4. $3.5M Settlement from Florida Pharmacy to Resolve Kickback Claims

      $3.5M Settlement from Florida Pharmacy to Resolve Kickback Claims

      BOSTON (Reuters) - A Florida-based specialty pharmacy will pay $3.5 million to resolve allegations it served as a conduit for a Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd subsidiary to pay kickbacks to Medicare patients, the U.S. Justice Department said on Thursday.

      The settlement with Advanced Care Scripts Inc was the latest to result from an industry-wide U.S. probe of drugmakers’ financial support of patient assistance charities that has resulted in nearly $921 million in settlements.

      Representatives for Teva and ACS did not respond to requests for comment. Teva has said it has been cooperating with the investigation since first receiving a subpoena from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Boston in 2017.

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      Mentions: Florida
    5. US Surpasses 150,000 Deaths and Records Death Every Minute

      US Surpasses 150,000 Deaths and Records Death Every Minute

      One person in the United States died about every minute from COVID-19 on Wednesday as the national death toll surpassed 150,000, the highest in the world

      The United States recorded 1,461 new deaths on Wednesday, the highest one-day increase since 1,484 on May 27, according to a Reuters tally.

      U.S. coronavirus deaths are rising at their fastest rate in two months and have increased by 10,000 in the past 11 days.

      Nationally, COVID-19 deaths have risen for three weeks in a row while the number of new cases week-over-week recently fell for the first time since June.

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      Mentions: Coronavirus
    6. Donald Trump Jr.'s Twitter is Temporarily Restricted over COVID-19 Video

      Donald Trump Jr.'s Twitter is Temporarily Restricted over COVID-19 Video

      (Reuters) - Twitter Inc said on Tuesday it had restricted Donald Trump Jr.’s ability to tweet from his account for 12 hours, after it required him to delete a post that violated the social media site’s policy on coronavirus misinformation.

      The eldest son of U.S. President Donald Trump posted a since-deleted tweet on Monday with a viral video of doctors talking about the drug hydroxychloroquine.

      The video was posted by others on Facebook Inc and Alphabet Inc-owned YouTube and taken down for breaking those sites’ rules on COVID-19 misinformation after racking up tens of millions of views.

      The U.S. Food and Drug Administration last month revoked its emergency-use authorization for hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19 after several studies ...

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    7. Biden Opens Plans to Fight Racial Inequities

      Biden Opens Plans to Fight Racial Inequities

      WILMINGTON, Del. (Reuters) - U.S. presidential candidate Joe Biden promised on Tuesday to fight the outsized economic burdens of nonwhite families with billions of dollars in federal spending for minority-owned businesses and provisions for more affordable housing.

      The Democrat, who faces Republican President Donald Trump in the Nov. 3 presidential election, announced the proposal as the fourth and final plank of a plan to revitalize the coronavirus-hit U.S. economy.

      Speaking in his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware, Biden, who leads Trump in national polls, invoked the name of U.S. Representative John Lewis, the Black civil rights hero who died of cancer 10 days ago.

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    8. US Government Pays Moderna Additional $472M for Coronavirus Vaccine Development

      US Government Pays Moderna Additional $472M for Coronavirus Vaccine Development

      Moderna Inc said on Sunday it has received an additional $472 million from the U.S. government’s Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) to support development of its novel coronavirus vaccine.

      The U.S.-based drug maker said the additional funding will support its late-stage clinical development including the expanded Phase 3 study of Moderna’s vaccine candidate.

      In April, Moderna had received $483 million from the U.S. federal agency that funds disease-fighting technology, when the experimental vaccine was in an early-stage trial conducted by the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

      “Encouraged by the Phase 1 data, we believe that our mRNA vaccine may aid in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic and preventing future outbreaks,” Chief Executive ...

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      Mentions: Coronavirus
    9. US Coronavirus Cases Surpass 4 Million

      US Coronavirus Cases Surpass 4 Million

      The United States on Thursday recorded more than 1,100 deaths from COVID-19, marking the third straight day the nation passed that grim milestone as the pandemic escalates in southern and western U.S. states.

      Fatalities nationwide were recorded at 1,118 on Thursday. Deaths were 1,135 on Wednesday and 1,141 on Tuesday.

      Even though deaths are rising in the United States for a second week in a row, they remain well below levels seen in April, when 2,000 people a day on average died from the virus.

      The United States on Thursday also passed a total of more than 4 million coronavirus infections since the first U.S. case was documented in January, according to a ...

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      Mentions: Coronavirus
    10. Confederate Flag is Proud Symbol of the South, Trump Claims

      Confederate Flag is Proud Symbol of the South, Trump Claims

      U.S. President Donald Trump declined to say the Confederate flag was an offensive symbol in an interview broadcast on Sunday, saying it is a source of pride for people who love the South.

      The Republican president was asked on “Fox News Sunday” if the flag, a symbol of U.S. slavery and white supremacy for many Americans, was offensive.

      “It depends on who you’re talking about, when you’re talking about,” Trump responded. “When people proudly had their Confederate flags they’re not talking about racism. They love their flag, it represents the South. They like the South ... I say it’s freedom of many things, but it’s freedom of speech.”

      Trump has in the past appeared ...
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    11. Pelosi Says Trump "Messing With" Children's Health Amid School Reopenings

      Pelosi Says Trump "Messing With" Children's Health Amid School Reopenings

      House Speaker Nancy Pelosi accused President Donald Trump of “messing with” children’s health on Sunday and said federal guidelines on reopening schools amid the coronavirus outbreak should be mandatory.

      The Democratic House of Representatives leader sharply criticized the Trump administration for advocating a return to school in the fall as coronavirus infections surge across the country, particularly in states that reopened their economies earliest during the pandemic.

      The federal government can make the Centers for Disease Control guidelines for reopening schools mandatory, like some state governors have done with anti-coronavirus measures, she said. Critics of the Trump administration’s pandemic response have long called for a national strategy on mitigation efforts.

      “Going back to school presents the biggest risk ...

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    12. Cisco Faces Employee Discrimination Lawsuit

      Cisco Faces Employee Discrimination Lawsuit

      California regulators sued Cisco Systems Inc (CSCO.O) on Tuesday, accusing it of discriminating against an Indian-American employee and allowing him to be harassed by two managers because he was from a lower Indian caste than them.

      U.S. employment law does not specifically bar caste-based discrimination, but California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing contends in the lawsuit that the Hindu faith’s lingering caste system is based on protected classes such as religion.

      The lawsuit, filed in federal court in San Jose, does not name the alleged victim. It states he has been a principal engineer at Cisco’s San Jose headquarters since October 2015 and that he was born at the bottom of caste hierarchy as ...

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    13. Supreme Court Clears Way for First Federal Executions Since 2003

      Supreme Court Clears Way for First Federal Executions Since 2003

      The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday paved the way for President Donald Trump’s administration to carry out the first federal executions since 2003, turning away an appeal by four inmates challenging the lethal injection protocols due to be used.

      The justices left in place a lower court ruling that had let the executions proceed. The condemned men, convicted in federal courts of murder, had appealed after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on April 7 threw out a judge’s injunction that had blocked the executions.

      The inmates - Daniel Lee, Wesley Purkey, Alfred Bourgeois and Dustin Honken - are scheduled for execution in July and August at a federal prison in Terre Haute ...

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    14. Trump Admin Urges Supreme Court to Scrap Obamacare

      Trump Admin Urges Supreme Court to Scrap Obamacare

      President Donald Trump’s administration petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to invalidate the Obamacare law introduced by his predecessor that added millions to the healthcare safety net, seeking to scrap coverage during the novel coronavirus crisis.

      Solicitor General Noel Francisco, in a filing late on Thursday, argued for the administration that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) - one of former Democratic President Barack Obama’s signature achievements - became invalid after the previous, Republican-led Congress axed parts of it. “No further analysis is necessary; once the individual mandate and the guaranteed-issue and community-rating provisions are invalidated, the remainder of the ACA cannot survive,” Francisco wrote, adding that lawmakers in 2017 did not show that they intended for the ACA to continue ...

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      Mentions: Coronavirus
    15. As COVID-19 Cases Approach 10M, WHO Warns of Oxygen Shortage

      As COVID-19 Cases Approach 10M, WHO Warns of Oxygen Shortage

      “Many countries are now experiencing difficulties obtaining oxygen concentrators,” WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a news conference. “Demand is currently outstripping supply.”

      The new coronavirus has hit 9.3 million people and killed more than 480,000 so far and is rising by about 1 million cases per week. This has pushed oxygen demand to 88,000 large cylinders per day, or 620,000 cubic metres of oxygen, Tedros said. The sudden rise has created a dearth of oxygen concentrators needed to support breathing of COVID-19 patients suffering from respiratory distress.

      The health agency has purchased 14,000 oxygen concentrators from manufacturers and plans to send them to 120 countries in coming weeks, Tedros said. A further 170 ...

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      Mentions: Coronavirus
    16. Senate Democrats to Reject GOP Police Reform Bill

      Senate Democrats to Reject GOP Police Reform Bill

      The U.S. Senate headed for a showdown on Wednesday over a Republican police reform bill that Democrats have rejected as too limited to rein in police misconduct as public protests continue over George Floyd’s death.

      The bill, crafted by the Senate’s only Black Republican, Senator Tim Scott, must garner 60 votes to move forward in the 100-seat chamber. But Republicans control only 53 votes, and Democrats have vowed to oppose the measure while urging talks on a new bipartisan measure.

      “It will never get 60 votes,” Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer vowed on Tuesday. “We need a bipartisan bill and a process to get there. That’s when we will move a bill.” A vote is expected ...

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    17. Democrats Express Wariness at Protesters' Calls to Defund Police

      Democrats Express Wariness at Protesters' Calls to Defund Police

      U.S. Democrats have largely embraced the activists packing into streets nationwide to decry the killings of black men and women by law enforcement but so far express wariness at protesters’ calls to defund the police.

      While they are clearly attuned to the cries of demonstrators from New York to Los Angeles, some top Democratic elected officials are proceeding cautiously with any suggestion they would slash police budgets to fund programs to address other social ills.

      Senator Cory Booker said during an interview Sunday on NBC News that he understood the sentiment behind the “defund the police” push but would not use that phrase.

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    18. Amazon Sued After Worker Brings Home Coronavirus and Cousin Dies

      Amazon Sued After Worker Brings Home Coronavirus and Cousin Dies

      Amazon.com Inc has been sued for allegedly fostering the spread of the coronavirus by mandating unsafe working conditions, causing at least one employee to contract COVID-19, bring it home, and see her cousin die.

      The complaint was filed on Wednesday in the federal court in Brooklyn, New York, by three employees of the JFK8 fulfillment center in Staten Island, and by family members.

      One employee, Barbara Chandler, said she tested positive for COVID-19 in March and later saw several household members become sick, including a cousin who died on April 7.

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      Mentions: Coronavirus
    19. Democratic Senator Wants Bill to Ban Use of Military Against Peaceful Protests

      Democratic Senator Wants Bill to Ban Use of Military Against Peaceful Protests

      A Democratic U.S. senator said on Tuesday he would try to make it illegal for President Donald Trump to use the military against protesters, after days of demonstrations over the killing of George Floyd, a black man who died as a white policeman kneeled on his neck.

      Trump has threatened to deploy the armed forces, after clashes between police and protesters and looting in some cities.

      Senator Tim Kaine said he would introduce an amendment to the annual National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA, a massive bill setting policy for the Pentagon, which the Senate will be considering over the coming weeks.

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    20. Trump Threatens to Shut Down Social Media After Twitter Fact-Checked His Tweet

      Trump Threatens to Shut Down Social Media After Twitter Fact-Checked His Tweet

      U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday threatened to regulate or shut down social media companies for stifling conservative voices, a day after Twitter attached a warning to some of his tweets prompting readers to fact check the president’s claims.

      Without offering evidence, Trump again accused such platforms of bias, tweeting: “Republicans feel that Social Media Platforms totally silence conservatives voices. We will strongly regulate, or close them down, before we can ever allow this to happen.”

      The president, a heavy user of Twitter with more than 80 million followers, added: “Clean up your act, NOW!!!!”

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    21. Nissan and Renault Rule Out Planned Merger

      Nissan and Renault Rule Out Planned Merger

      The companies have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic just as they were trying to rework their partnership following the arrest of its chief architect, Carlos Ghosn, who had been pushing for a merger despite stiff resistance from Nissan.

      The new plan, which entails cutting the alliance’s vehicle ranges by a fifth, pooling manufacturing by region and capitalising on joint designs, is meant to serve as a peace treaty, sources have told Reuters.

      “We don’t need a merger to be efficient,” Renault Chairman Jean-Dominique Senard told a joint news conference.

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      Mentions: Coronavirus
    22. Large Employers Push Back on U.S. Healthcare Mergers During Coronavirus

      Large Employers Push Back on U.S. Healthcare Mergers During Coronavirus

      A group representing some of the largest U.S. employers has asked Congress for a year-long ban on mergers and acquisitions among hospitals and doctors groups that received government money to cope with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

      The Pacific Business Group on Health, whose members include Boeing, Salesforce, Tesla, and Walmart, said in a letter addressed to congressional leaders this week that it feared that further consolidation in the healthcare industry could lead to higher costs.

      Physician practices’ revenues have plummeted across the United States since shutdowns were imposed to stop the spread of the coronavirus, as patients stay home except for emergencies. 

       

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      Mentions: Coronavirus
    23. Trump's USDA Fights Court Ruling Protecting Food Benefits During Pandemic

      Trump's USDA Fights Court Ruling Protecting Food Benefits During Pandemic

      The Trump administration, aiming to tighten rules for federal food benefits, has appealed a federal judge’s ruling that temporarily enabled hundreds of thousands of people to maintain food stamp benefits during the coronavirus pandemic, according to court documents.

      The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, known as SNAP, provides free food to 36 million Americans. During the pandemic, millions of U.S. residents have lost jobs, and thousands have waited in lines at food banks. 

      Last year, Congress blocked a Trump administration-backed effort to tighten the rules through the Farm Bill. Since then, the administration has tried changing rules at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which administers the program.

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      Mentions: Coronavirus
    24. Trump Claims China Wants Him to Lose Re-Election Race

      Trump Claims China Wants Him to Lose Re-Election Race

      U.S. President Donald Trump said on Wednesday he believes China’shandling of the coronavirus is proof that Beijing “will do anything they can” to make him lose his re-election bid.

      In an interview in the Oval Office, Trump said he was looking at different options in terms of consequences for China for the virus. “I can do a lot,” he said.

      Trump has been heaping blame on China for a global pandemic that has killed at least 60,000 people in the United States according to a Reuters tally, and thrown the U.S. economy into a deep recession, putting in jeopardy his hopes for another four-year term.

      The Republican president, often accused of not acting early enough to ...

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      Mentions: Coronavirus
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