Published: 10:04 pm, Sat. Oct. 17th, 2020Updated: 9:04 pm
Trump, Biden go on offense in states they’re trying to flip
CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — President Donald Trump and Democratic rival Joe Biden went on offense Sunday, as both campaigned in states they are trying to flip during the Nov. 3 election that is just over two weeks away.
Trump began his day in Nevada, making a rare visit to church before a fundraiser and an evening rally in Carson City. Once considered a battleground, Nevada has not swung for a Republican presidential contender since 2004.
The rally drew thousands of supporters who sat elbow to elbow, cheering Trump and booing Biden and the press. The vast majority wore no masks to guard against the coronavirus, though cases in the state are on the rise, with more than 1,000 new infections reported Saturday. The president, as he often does, warned that a Biden election would lead to further lockdowns and at one point appeared to mock Biden for saying he would listen to scientists.
“He’ll listen to the scientists. If I listened totally to the scientists, we would right now have a country that would be in a massive depression,” Trump said.
Biden, a practicing Catholic, attended Mass in Delaware before campaigning in North Carolina, where a Democrat has not won in a presidential race since Barack Obama in 2008.
Millions more virus rapid tests, but are results reported?
WASHINGTON (AP) — After struggling to ramp up coronavirus testing, the U.S. can now screen several million people daily, thanks to a growing supply of rapid tests. But the boom comes with a new challenge: keeping track of the results.
All U.S. testing sites are legally required to report their results, positive and negative, to public health agencies. But state health officials say many rapid tests are going unreported, which means some new COVID-19 infections may not be counted.
And the situation could get worse, experts say. The federal government is shipping more than 100 million of the newest rapid tests to states for use in public schools, assisted living centers and other new testing sites.
“Schools certainly don’t have the capacity to report these tests,” said Dr. Jeffrey Engel of the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists. “If it’s done at all it’s likely going to be paper-based, very slow and incomplete.”
Early in the outbreak, nearly all U.S. testing relied on genetic tests that could only be developed at high-tech laboratories. Even under the best circumstances, people had to wait about two to three days to get results. Experts pushed for more “point-of-care” rapid testing that could be done in doctors offices, clinics and other sites to quickly find people who are infected, get them into quarantine and stop the spread.
Michigan governor pushes back against Trump rally chants
DETROIT (AP) — Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said Sunday that President Donald Trump is inciting “domestic terrorism” following “lock her up” chants at his rally in the state the night before.
Whitmer told NBC’s “Meet the Press” that the rhetoric is “incredibly disturbing” a little more than a week after authorities announced they had thwarted an alleged plot to kidnap the Democratic governor.
“The president is at it again and inspiring and incentivizing and inciting this kind of domestic terrorism,” Whitmer said. “It is wrong. It’s got to end. It is dangerous, not just for me and my family, but for public servants everywhere who are doing their jobs and trying to protect their fellow Americans. People of good will on both sides of the aisle need to step up and call this out and bring the heat down.”
At a rally in Muskegon Saturday evening, Trump urged supporters to push Whitmer to reopen the state following COVID-19 restrictions. When the crowd starting chanting “lock her up” Trump added, “Lock ’em all up.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, speaking on ABC’s “This Week,” said Trump’s statements were “irresponsible” and accused him of injecting fear tactics.
Black officers break from unions over Trump endorsements
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Police unions nationwide have largely supported President Donald Trump’s reelection, amid mass demonstrations over police brutality and accusations of systemic racism — but a number of Black law enforcement officers are speaking out against these endorsements, saying their concerns over entering the 2020 political fray were ignored.
Trump has touted his support from the law enforcement community, which includes endorsements from national, city and state officers’ unions — some of which publicly endorsed a political candidate for the first time. He’s running on what he calls a “law and order” platform and tapping into a strain of anger and frustration felt by law enforcement who believe they are being unfairly accused of racial discrimination.
There are more than 8,000 law enforcement agencies in the U.S., with large departments holding sway nationally. The number of minority officers in policing has more than doubled in the last three decades, but many departments still have a smaller percentage of Black and Hispanic officers compared to the percentage of the general population those communities make up.
Many fraternal Black police organizations were formed to advocate for equality within police departments but also to focus on how law enforcement affects the wider Black community. There have often been tensions between minority organizations and larger unions, like in August, when the National Association of Black Law Enforcement Officers issued a letter condemning use of deadly force, police misconduct and abuse in communities of color.
While support for the Republican incumbent does not strictly fall along racial lines, many Black officers say the endorsements for Trump don’t fairly represent all dues-paying members.
Tulsa digs again for victims of 1921 race massacre
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A second excavation begins Monday at a cemetery in an effort to find and identify victims of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre and shed light on violence that left hundreds dead and decimated an area that was once a cultural and economic mecca for African Americans.
“I realize we can tell this story the way it needs to be told, now,” said Phoebe Stubblefield, a forensic anthropologist at the University of Florida and a descendant of a survivor of the massacre who is assisting the search, told The Associated Press. ”The story is no longer hidden. We’re putting the completion on this event.”
The violence happened on May 31 and June 1 in 1921, when a white mob attacked Tulsa’s Black Wall Street, killing an estimated 300 people and wounding 800 more while robbing and burning businesses, homes and churches.
“People, they were just robbed, white people coming in saying Black people had better property than they had and that that was just not right,” said Stubblefield, whose great-aunt Anna Walker Woods had her home burned and property taken. “Burning, thieving, killing wasn’t enough. They had to prevent Black people from recovering.
“Personally, professionally, spiritually I have an investment in this,” said Stubblefield, a Los Angeles native who said she is in her early 50s and learned of the massacre and her ancestor, who she doesn’t recall ever meeting, in the 1990s.
Puerto Rico, unable to vote, becomes crucial to US election
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — The campaigns of President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden are rallying people in a place where U.S. citizens cannot cast ballots but have the ear of hundreds of thousands of potential voters in the battleground state of Florida.
The candidates are targeting Puerto Rico in a way never before seen, with the U.S. territory suddenly finding itself in the crosshairs of a high-stakes race even though Puerto Ricans on the island cannot vote in presidential elections despite being U.S. citizens since 1917.
Campaigners know this, but they hope those on the island will push relatives and friends on the U.S. mainland to vote for them in a strategy that capitalizes on the close ties they share.
It’s a novel role that plays off the sentiment that Puerto Ricans in Florida feel they are voting by proxy for those back home left out of U.S. democracy. And a growing number find this role appealing, especially since many on the island are struggling to recover from hurricanes Irma and Maria, a string of strong earthquakes, a deep economic crisis and the pandemic.
“I’m voting for 3 million Puerto Ricans on the island, including my entire family,” said Jerick Mediavilla, who is from the mountain town of Corozal and is voting in a U.S. presidential election for the first time after moving to Orlando four years ago. “Puerto Rico doesn’t have a voice. Our voice is via the United States.”
Policy vs. personality: Undecideds torn as election nears
WASHINGTON (AP) — Amanda Jaronowski is torn. The lifelong Republican from suburban Cleveland supports President Donald Trump’s policies and fears her business could be gutted if Democrat Joe Biden is elected.
But she abhors Trump personally, leaving her on the fence about who will get her vote.
It’s a “moral dilemma,” Jaronowski said as she paced her home one recent evening after pouring a glass of sauvignon blanc. “It would be so easy for him to win my vote if he could just be a decent human being,” she had said earlier during a focus group session.
Jaronowski is part of a small but potentially significant group of voters who say they remain truly undecided less than three weeks before the Nov. 3 election. They have been derided as uninformed or lying by those who cannot fathom still being undecided, but conversations with a sampling of these voters reveal a complicated tug of war.
Many, like Jaronowski, are longtime Republicans wrestling with what they see as a choice between two lousy candidates: a Democrat whose policies they cannot stomach and a Republican incumbent whose personality revolts them. Some voted for third-party candidates in 2016 because they were so repelled by their choices — Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton — and may do so again.
Twitter blocks tweet from Trump adviser downplaying masks
NEW YORK (AP) — Twitter blocked a post Sunday from an adviser to President Donald Trump who suggested that masks do not work to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
Scott Atlas, who joined the White House in August as a science adviser, had tweeted “Masks work? NO,” and said widespread use of masks is not supported.
The tweet violated a Twitter policy that prohibits sharing false or misleading misinformation about COVID-19 that could lead to harm, a company spokesperson said. The policy bans statements that have been confirmed to be false or misleading by experts such as public health authorities.
In such cases, Twitter disables the account until its owner deletes the post in question.
Trump has downplayed the importance of masks in reducing the spread of the virus, even after he contracted the disease, which has killed more than 215,000 Americans.
Plan to retrieve Titanic radio spurs debate on human remains
NORFOLK, Va. (AP) — People have been diving to the Titanic’s wreck for 35 years. No one has found human remains, according to the company that owns the salvage rights.
But the company’s plan to retrieve the ship’s iconic radio equipment has sparked a debate: Could the world’s most famous shipwreck still hold remains of passengers and crew who died a century ago?
Lawyers for the U.S. government have raised that question in an ongoing court battle to block the planned expedition. They cite archaeologists who say remains could still be there. And they say the company fails to consider the prospect in its dive plan.
“Fifteen hundred people died in that wreck,” said Paul Johnston, curator of maritime history at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. “You can’t possibly tell me that some human remains aren’t buried deep somewhere where there are no currents.”
The company, RMS Titanic Inc., wants to exhibit the ship’s Marconi wireless telegraph machine. It broadcast the sinking ocean liner’s distress calls and helped save about 700 people in lifeboats.
Touch-and-go: US spacecraft sampling asteroid for return
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — After almost two years circling an ancient asteroid hundreds of millions of miles away, a NASA spacecraft this week will attempt to descend to the treacherous, boulder-packed surface and snatch a handful of rubble.
The drama unfolds Tuesday as the U.S. takes its first crack at collecting asteroid samples for return to Earth, a feat accomplished so far only by Japan.
Brimming with names inspired by Egyptian mythology, the Osiris-Rex mission is looking to bring back at least 2 ounces (60 grams) worth of asteroid Bennu, the biggest otherworldly haul from beyond the moon.
The van-sized spacecraft is aiming for the relatively flat middle of a tennis court-sized crater named Nightingale — a spot comparable to a few parking places here on Earth. Boulders as big as buildings loom over the targeted touchdown zone.
“So for some perspective, the next time you park your car in front of your house or in front of a coffee shop and walk inside, think about the challenge of navigating Osiris-Rex into one of these spots from 200 million miles away,” said NASA’s deputy project manager Mike Moreau.