Local News

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A thick plume of black smoke can be seen from Reading and its surrounding suburbs, at least 16 miles away. Read more

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Edwin Islas-Cruz, 23, of Norristown, is charged with first-degree murder related to the Sept. 18, 2021 shootout on Astor Street. Read more

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(The Center Square) – Pennsylvania senators agreed Tuesday to send a bill that reforms punishments for probation violations to the chamber floor on Tuesday. Read more

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Cheryl Johnson Watts has notified the board that she has resigned from her position, effective Friday, Oct. 15. Read more

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Acting Secretary of State Veronica Degraffenreid urged Pennsylvanians Tuesday planning to vote by mail ballot in the election to apply now, before the Oct. 26 deadline. Read more

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The former Pennsylvania Health Secretary will now lead 6,000 members of the Commissioned Corps in their responses to health crises in the U.S. Read more

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NUANGOLA BOROUGH, Pa. - New grisly details were revealed about the stabbing death of a woman in Luzerne County over the weekend. Read more

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The striking vehicle is described as a blue/gray Honda CRV. Read more

The Biden administration announced Tuesday Dr. Rachel Levine will become the first openly transgender four-star admiral of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps. Read more

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Authorities say a trucker was on his cell phone when he ran a red light on Route 309 and crashed into a car in May, seriously injuring the teenage driver. Read more

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The fire Sunday afternoon in the bathroom of the iFix and More store prompted an evacuation of the mall. Read more

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Northampton County Council's search for a new controller yielded one applicant, who will be interviewed Wednesday. Read more

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A man charged with raping a woman on a SEPTA train just outside of Philadelphia harassed her for more than 40 minutes while multiple people held up their phones to seemingly record the assault without intervening, authorities said. Read more

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Last year, the team played with no fans in the stands, but now the team says it's ready to get people back in their seats. Read more

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A student reported they were walking home when a man grabbed and restrained them, exposed himself and threatened to kill the student, police said. Read more

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Over the next few days, winds will gradually diminish, after one more somewhat breezy day on Tuesday, and temperatures will slowly warm each day as well. Read more

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A murder-suicide is sending shockwaves through Pottstown in Montgomery County, and a director with one support organization is speaking out. Read more

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Developer Rocco Ayvazov wants to knock down a one-story building at 128 E. Third St. and put up six floors with retail space and 55 apartments.  Read more

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Members of Emmaus Borough Council unanimously passed a revised pollution reduction plan Monday, which according to the borough manager, will save the municipality over $900,000 in estimated costs. Read more

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During a 19-month period ending in July, the chief said there were 5,425 vehicle accidents in the city and 136 accidents involving pedestrians. Read more

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To be eligible, you must make less than 150 percent of the poverty line, which is just under $40,000 for a family of four. Read more

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City voters who opted to vote by mail are already seeing the questions. Those voting in person can weigh in on Nov. 2. Read more

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Police say the person who fired the first shot is in the hospital awaiting charges. Read more

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Every cardboard cutout represented a victim whose life was snuffed out by domestic violence. Read more

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Parkland School District is just one of the area districts that's been experiencing food shortage issues.  Read more

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BETHLEHEM, Pa. - Bethlehem is getting some help from across the Atlantic in its quest to name the city's Moravian Settlements an UNESCO World Heritage Site. Read more

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(The Center Square) – A bill that would require school districts to post curriculum online received approval from a key Senate panel on Monday.  Read more

US and World News

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For more than 55 years, Medicare has followed a simple policy with covered benefits the same, no matter if you’re rich, poor, or in-between. But as Democrats try to design a dental benefit for the program, one idea calls for limiting it based on income. The so-called “means test” is drawing internal opposition from many Democratic lawmakers, as well as groups for older people, like AARP. Yet a senior Democratic congressional aide says an income limit is still in the mix as President Joe Biden tries to bring divided Democrats together on sweeping social and environmental legislation, the party's calling card in next year’s midterm elections. Read more

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Facing a surge of seriously ill COVID-19 patients, the head of an intensive care unit at a Moscow hospital says the situation could easily have been avoided if more Russians were vaccinated. With only about a third of Russia’s 146 million people fully vaccinated, the country has hovered near or over 1,000 reported deaths per day for weeks. Russia's death toll is now 225,325 — by far the highest in Europe, even though most experts agree even that figure is an undercount. Dr. Georgy Arbolishvili, head of the ICU at Hospital No. 52, says those statistics are directly linked to the lack of vaccinations. Read more

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The Department of Homeland Security says Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas has tested positive for COVID-19. A DHS statement says the secretary has only “mild congestion” after taking a routine test Tuesday and testing positive. Mayorkas is fully vaccinated. The agency says he will isolate and work from home under the protocols recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease and Prevention. DHS says contract tracing is being done to check for possible exposure among others. Mayorkas was with President Joe Biden Saturday at the annual National Peace Officers’ Memorial Service at the Capitol, standing on the podium between first lady Jill Biden and FBI Director Christopher Wray.  Read more

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Minnesota's Democratic Gov. Tim Walz has launched his campaign for a second term in an increasingly divided state, saying he has made the tough calls necessary to beat back the COVID-19 pandemic and revive the economy. The former high school football coach made the announcement in a YouTube video posted Tuesday that shows him standing on a football field. The former congressman won office in 2018 on a theme of “One Minnesota,” a slogan he’s using again for 2022. But the fissures in Minnesota politics have grown deeper since then, mostly disagreements over his management of the pandemic, as well as the unrest and spike in crime that followed the death of George Floyd. Read more

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Stocks are closing higher on Wall Street Tuesday, giving the S&P 500 its fifth straight gain and getting it closer to the record high it set in early September. The benchmark index added 0.7%. Health care companies made some of the biggest gains. Johnson & Johnson climbed 2.3% after raising its 2021 profit forecast again. Insurance company Travelers rose 1.6% after releasing results that easily beat analysts' forecasts. The first exchange-traded fund to track Bitcoin futures rose 4.7% on its first day of trading. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 1.64%. Read more

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Ben Simmons has been kicked out of practice and suspended by the Philadelphia 76ers for their season opener due to what they called conduct detrimental to the team. Coach Doc Rivers said after Tuesday's practice that he asked Simmons to leave because he was being a distraction. The three-time All-Star was a holdout in training camp following his offseason trade demand. When Simmons finally returned, Joel Embiid blasted his teammate for his behavior, saying he's “not here to babysit.” Embiid said the team would be fine without Simmons. Rivers remained diplomatic and said Simmons would be welcome to return to practice. The 25-year-old from Australia had four years and $147 million left on his max contract when he decided he wanted a trade. Read more

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Facebook is paying a $4.75 million fine and up to $9.5 million to eligible victims to resolve the Justice Department’s allegations that it discriminated against U.S. workers in favor of foreigners with special visas to fill high-paying jobs. Facebook also agreed in the settlement to train its employees in anti-discrimination rules and to conduct more widespread advertising and recruitment for job opportunities in its permanent labor certification program. The department said Facebook “routinely refused” to recruit, consider or hire U.S. workers, a group including U.S. citizens and nationals, asylees, refugees and lawful permanent residents, for positions it had reserved for temporary visa holders.  Read more

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Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield wants to tough it out. Mayfield said he expects to play Thursday night against the Denver Broncos despite a painful left shoulder injury that has worsened since he first hurt it a month ago while trying to make a tackle. Mayfield said “I do” when asked if he'll play. He hasn't missed a start because of injury since 2013. Mayfield said it was still to be determined if he would practice. Mayfield has played the past four games with a complete tear of his left labrum suffered on Sept. 19. Read more

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Attorneys have resumed questioning potential jurors in Georgia who may ultimately decide the fate of three white men charged with killing Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old Black man. Jury selection continued Tuesday with several pool members saying they know people close to the case. Two said they know the defendants standing trial, while another said she knows Arbery's father. The judge did not immediately decide whether to dismiss them from jury service. Graphic video of Arbery's slaying in 2020 sparked a national outcry. Father and son Greg and Travis McMichael and their neighbor, William “Roddie” Bryan, are charged with murder and other crimes. Defense attorneys insist they committed no crimes.  Read more

Manatees are starving to death because algae blooms and contaminants are killing the seagrass the beloved sea mammals eat. A state wildlife official detailed the problem for a Florida House committee on Tuesday. Algae and pollutants in the Indian River Lagoon have decimated seagrass. The aquatic plant thrives in clear, sandy water, but murkier water has made it harder for seagrass to survive. Melissa Tucker of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission said 968 manatees have died this year. The previous annual high was 830 deaths in 2013. Read more

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Proctor & Gamble is raising prices on a range of goods as higher commodity and freight costs are set to take a bite out of its profits. The maker of Pampers diapers, Tide detergent and Crest toothpaste said Tuesday it has been raising prices on product lines including baby, family, home and fabric care. In the last few weeks, it has started telling retailers that it will boost prices on more categories including grooming, skin care and oral care. And though it’s still early, the company said it has yet to notice consumer behavior changing in reaction to the higher prices. Read more

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The fatal police shooting of a Black teen in Chicago seven years ago is looming large over the city’s former mayor, Rahm Emanuel, as he looks to win confirmation as ambassador to Japan. Several liberal House lawmakers and activists complain that Emanuel’s handling of the death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, who was shot 16 times as he ran away from police, should have disqualified him for consideration for a coveted role. Emanuel is set to appear before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday for his confirmation hearing. The hearing will occur on the seventh anniversary of McDonald’s murder. Read more

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A gang that kidnapped 17 members of a U.S.-based missionary group is demanding $1 million ransom per person, although authorities are not clear on whether that includes the five children being held. That's what a top Haitian official tells The Associated Press. The official, who wasn’t authorized to speak to the press, said the gang called a ministry leader shortly after kidnapping the missionaries on Saturday and demanded the ransom. A person in contact with Christian Aid Ministries also confirmed the ransom amount. A wave of kidnappings in Haiti has prompted a protest strike that shuttered businesses, schools and public transportation. Read more

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South Carolina is ranked No. 1 in The Associated Press preseason women’s basketball poll for the second consecutive season. UConn is No. 2. Defending national champion Stanford was third. Maryland and North Carolina State round out the top five. Two Big Ten teams have their best preseason ranking ever: Indiana is No. 8 and Michigan is No. 11. There is excitement in Iowa, too: Iowa is ranked ninth and Iowa State is 12th. Read more

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A judge in South Carolina has denied bond for attorney Alex Murdaugh on the second set of charges he has faced since finding his wife and son dead in June. Circuit Judge Clifton Newman issued the decision Tuesday after hearing attorneys describe how Murdaugh used portions of $3.4 million in insurance payments to pay his father, personal credit card bills and checks to himself. The payments were supposed to go to the sons of his longtime housekeeper, who died in 2018 a few weeks after falling at the family’s home. Newman also ordered a psychiatric evaluation for Murdaugh. He said he'll reconsider his decision after the evaluation.  Read more

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The Washington state attorney general has filed two misdemeanor criminal charges against a county sheriff stemming from his confrontation with a Black newspaper carrier in January. Pierce County Sheriff Ed Troyer faces one count of false reporting and one count of making a false statement to a civil servant for claiming to an emergency dispatcher that the carrier, Sedrick Altheimer, had threatened to kill him. The charges were filed Tuesday in Pierce County District Court by Attorney General Bob Ferguson. Troyer is a 35-year veteran of the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department, and served for years as the agency’s public face and media spokesperson before being elected sheriff in November 2020. Read more

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Manager Aaron Boone has been re-signed by the New York Yankees to a three-year contract with a club option for 2025 after four winning but unsuccessful seasons. Boone has led the Yankees to a 328-218 record and four postseason appearances but just one AL East title. They lost to the Red Sox in this year’s wild-card game. Owner Hal Steinbrenner says the team needs to get better and that Boone embraces its “expectations of success.” General manager Brian Cashman says the Yankees “want more and we expect more.” They haven't won it all since 2009. Read more

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The South African drug regulator has rejected the Russian-made coronavirus vaccine Sputnik V, citing some safety concerns the manufacturer wasn’t able to answer. The country’s regulator said in a statement Tuesday that the request for Sputnik V to be authorized could “not be approved at this time” and pointed to past failed HIV vaccines that used a similar technology as the Russian vaccine. Those studies suggested men who got the experimental shots had a higher risk of HIV. Other experts described the South African decision as “strange” and said the technology used in the vaccine was unlikely to cause higher rates of HIV.  Read more

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A federal judge has denied motions to suppress video evidence found on electronic devices seized from former reality TV star Josh Duggar, who is facing child pornography charges. The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports that U.S. District Judge Timothy L. Brooks also said Monday that a hearing on the motions isn’t warranted. Duggar, who appeared in TLC’s “19 Kids and Counting,” was charged in April with two counts of downloading and possessing child pornography. He faces up to 20 years in prison and fines of up to $250,000 on each count if convicted. Duggar denies the charges. Trial is set for Nov. 30. Read more

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A Navy report has concluded there were sweeping failures by commanders, crew members and others that fueled the July 2020 arson fire that destroyed the USS Bonhomme Richard. The report, obtained by The Associated Press, called the massive five-day blaze preventable and unacceptable. A sailor has been charged with setting the fire, but the report lists three dozen officers and sailors whose failings either directly led to the ship’s loss or contributed to it. The findings detailed widespread lapses in training, coordination, communication, fire preparedness, equipment maintenance and overall command and control.  Read more

A boast by the leader of Hezbollah that he commands 100,000 fighters has come as a surprise to many Lebanese. That's not least because it was addressed to a domestic audience rather than the group’s archenemy Israel. That figure would exceed the size of Lebanon's army by about 15,000 armed men. Experts say the Hezbollah claim is likely an exaggeration. But is is further raising sectarian tensions in the small country roiled by multiple crises. The Hezbollah claim on Monday evening is part of a growing confrontation over a judicial investigation into last year’s massive Beirut port explosion that killed more than 215 people. Read more

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One of the world's largest elevator towers will soon be opened to test elevators of the future as well as current ones high above the Atlanta suburbs. TK Elevator says its 420-foot tower is set to become fully operational early next year. General contractor Brasfield & Gorrie says it's the largest elevator test tower in the Western Hemisphere. The tower looks down into the nearby Atlanta Braves' stadium and offers stunning views of the Atlanta skyline. It's next door to the company's new North American headquarters in Cobb County, just northwest of the city. Construction on the tower began in 2019 with 3,000 tons of steel. Read more

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U.N. agencies say Afghanistan's Taliban rulers have agreed to a nationwide polio vaccination campaign for the first time in three years. Since 2018, some 3.3 million Afghan children have gone without vaccinations because door-to-door teams could not reach them, either because of ongoing fighting or because Taliban controlling the areas forbid it. WHO and UNICEF now say they will launch polio inoculation teams nationwide in November and December to reach all 10 million children under 5. The Taliban's reported reversal appears to be aimed at showing they are ready to cooperate with international agencies after taking power on Aug. 15. Read more

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Young Sudanese men who escaped war in their country now spend their days in the French port of Calais, trying to jump onto moving trucks bound for Britain. Most attempts fail, but they’ve come this far and aren’t giving up. Politicians on both sides of the English Channel are arguing over how to stop them, after thousands of migrants have crossed into Britain in recent months. Hundreds of people mostly from East Africa and the Middle East are in the northern French town of Calais, looking for a way to the U.K. Read more

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It started in 1946 with 11 teams and 160 players. The shot clock was nearly a decade away, the 3-point line was a couple generations away. Buildings were smaller. So were the players. And it wasn’t even called the National Basketball Association. The NBA, 75 years ago, was different in almost every imaginable way. Over the coming months, The Associated Press will look back at what the league was on and off the court, how it became what it is and where it’ll be going over the next 25 years as it moves toward the century mark. The series will show how what was happening in the country seemed to mirror what was happening in the league, from the league’s path toward integration to its stance on social issues and race relations today. Read more

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A federal judge has ruled that North Carolina’s flagship public university may continue to consider race as a factor in its undergraduate admissions. The ruling goes against a group working to undo affirmative action. Students for Fair Admissions argues that race-based admissions puts white and Asian students at a disadvantage. But Judge Loretta Biggs says the University of North Carolina showed it has a compelling reason to pursue a diverse student body, and measurable benefits that result. The group's president, Edward Blum, told The Associated Press he's appealing and hoping the Supreme Court will consider this case together with his suit against Harvard University. Read more

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Queen Elizabeth II is Britain’s longest-lived and longest-reigning monarch. But don’t call her an oldie. The 95-year-old queen has politely declined the honor of being named “Oldie of the Year” by a British magazine. The Oldie magazine on Tuesday published the queen’s response to its suggestion that she follow in the footsteps of former recipients, including former Prime Minister John Major, actor Olivia de Havilland and artist David Hockney. An aide wrote that “Her Majesty believes you are as old as you feel, as such The Queen does not believe she meets the relevant criteria to be able to accept, and hopes you will find a more worthy recipient.” The accolade went instead to 90-year-old actress and dancer Leslie Caron. Read more

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Ice-T has never forgotten the path his life might have taken. The rapper and actor has a deal with Gallery Books for the memoir “Split Decision,” in which Ice-T and his longtime friend identified only as Spike look back on their time as partners in jewelry heists in Los Angeles and elsewhere. Spike ended up in prison while Ice-T went on to fame as a musician and for his roles in “New Jack City” and the TV series “Law & Order: SVU,” among others. Gallery, a Simon & Schuster imprint, will publish the book July 19, 2022.  Read more

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The kidnapping of 17 missionaries and their relatives in Haiti is only one of hundreds of abductions that have occurred in recent months as the country struggles with a spike in gang violence. One woman said her elderly father, a Vietnam veteran, was abducted last month by a gang that demanded $10 million in ransom. Now she doesn't leave home without a bodyguard. Many other kidnappings go unnoticed. The rise in abductions leads some to question whether the international community should get involved. It also puts a spotlight on the Haitian police, who are outmatched by the gangs and their weapons. Read more

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Soprano Anna Netrebko needs shoulder surgery and has canceled performances in Verdi’s “Nabucco” at the Vienna State Opera. The 50-year-old was to have sung Abigaille on Nov. 1, 6, 9 and 12, the first three with Amartuvshin Enkhbat in the title role and the last with Plácido Domingo. She says in a statement “I have been suffering from debilitating pain in my shoulder for many months now and my doctor has advised me that I must undergo urgent surgery on my shoulder." She says she will need physical rehabilitation following surgery. Read more