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The global pandemic is forcing organizers behind the famous Miss Venezuela pageant to be creative. The beauty pageant that airs Thursday has had to adapt to quarantine requirements local authorities imposed since mid-March. The goal is pulling off an event filled with fanfare while avoiding infection for the 22 candidates, dozens of stagehands and the TV production crew. Miss Venezuela’s general manager, Nina Sicilia, says they’ve taken a positive approach. Miss Venezuela has produced seven Miss Universe winners, six Miss Worlds and seven Miss Internationals. Venezuela is a major player in the world of beauty pageants. This is the 67th Miss Venezuela competition. Read more

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Britain bungled its response to the coronavirus the first time around. Now many scientists fear it’s about to do it again. The virus is on the rise once more in the U.K., with confirmed infections at their highest level since May. The surge has brought new restrictions on daily life, the prospect of a grim winter of mounting deaths. And a feeling of deja vu. Epidemiologist John Edmunds says the government is repeating its mistake of March, when it did not act quickly enough to curb the virus. Many other scientists agree, citing continuing failings with social distancing measures, a struggling testing program and mixed messages from Prime Minister Boris Johnson's government. Read more

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Federal judge Eli Richardson in Nashville was an appointee of President Donald Trump. Yet he recently bucked the president's conservative base by blocking a Tennessee law that restricts mail-in voting. In issuing his decision, Richardson took the step of saying his decision wasn't influenced by politics. Trump has repeatedly assured voters he picks conservative judges who will make decisions they like. But when jurists sworn to impartial justice issue rulings that deviate from party politics, at times they create an outcry. Following the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, those judges and their perceived ideological purity are facing even greater scrutiny. Read more

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VALLEY FORGE, Pa., Sept. 24, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Vanguard today launched its first fixed income environmental, social, and governance (ESG) ETF for U.S. investors, Vanguard ESG U.S. Corporate Bond ETF (VCEB). The ESG ETF provides investors access to the U.S. corporate bond market and expands Vanguard's current index-and-actively-managed ESG offerings. Vanguard ESG U.S. Corporate Bond ETF seeks to track the performance of Bloomberg Barclays MSCI U.S. Corporate SRI Select Index and is listed on the Chicago Board Options Exchange (Cboe) with a low expense ratio of 0.12%.(1) Read more

The European Union's top migration officials are struggling to sell their new plan to overhaul the bloc's failed asylum system. Some are concerned that plan focuses too much on deporting people who don't qualify for asylum and on persuading African countries to stop them leaving in the first place. They said Thursday that anti-migrant governments like those in Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia have won. The European Commission is trying to convince EU lawmakers and the 27 member countries to adopt the “New Pact on Migration and Asylum” by the end of the year, and it's proving a hard sell. Read more

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PITTSBURGH, Sept. 24, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- The We Wear the Mask film, which is executive produced by Halima Tammy Thompson and directed by Michael Savisky, will be available to purchase on Amazon starting Thursday, October 1, 2020. Post production of the documentary was made possible thanks to Laura Wright Rock and the Rock Family Foundation. Read more

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(The Center Square) – The U.S. Supreme Court may end up reviewing the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s decision to extend the deadline for mailed ballots to be received and counted in this year’s general election. Read more

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An annual tribute to John Lennon held in his adopted city of New York will go online like so many other events during the coronavirus pandemic. Organizers said there was no way they'd miss it, not on what would have been the former Beatle's 80th birthday and their 40th year of gathering to pay homage. The five-hour event will be streamed for free on Lennon's birthday, October 9, starting at 7 p.m. Eastern time on the LennonTribute.org website. It will feature recorded performances from Patti Smith, Rosanne Cash, Natalie Merchant, Jackson Browne, Jorma Kaukonen and others. Read more

Six months after Breonna Taylor was fatally shot by police in her Kentucky apartment, a grand jury delivered a long-awaited answer about whether the officers would be punished. The jury on Wednesday did charge one of the officers, Brett Hankison, with three counts of wanton endangerment for firing shots that went into another home with people inside. But jurors didn’t indict any of the officers on charges directly related to Taylor’s death. The jury relied on evidence presented to it by Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron. Read more

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Model Gigi Hadid and her musician boyfriend Zayn Malik took to social media to celebrate the arrival of an infant girl, with dad saying he’s “grateful” and “thankful.” He shared a image featuring Malik and their daughter holding hands. Hadid also shared a similar photo on Instagram, with the caption: “Our girl joined us earth-side this weekend and she’s already changing our world.” Neither parent revealed the baby’s name. Hadid and Malik have been dating off-and-on for several years. She has become one of the world’s most in-demand models and he was the first to leave One Direction to strike out as a solo artist. Read more

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Facebook’s long-awaited oversight board that will act as a referee on whether specific content is allowed on the tech giant’s platforms is set to launch in October. CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced two years ago that he was setting up the quasi-independent board, following criticism that the company wasn’t moving fast enough to remove misinformation, hate speech and malign influence campaigns. The board is intended to rule on thorny content issues, such as when Facebook or Instagram posts constitute hate speech. The board said it's testing newly deployed technical systems and if those tests go to plan, it would start accepting and reviewing appeals from users in mid to late October. Read more

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While politicians heatedly debate over replacing Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court, others are reflecting on her life as an advocate for women’s rights and striving to reach just decisions as a jurist, all informed by her Jewish upbringing. The Torah, the Jewish holy scripture, stresses the pursuit of justice where the outcome and the means to it are just. Rabbi Abraham Cooper is associate dean of of the Simon Wiesenthal Center. He says those beliefs were part of Ginsburg’s “Jewish spiritual DNA" and that "she lived and upheld the highest standards for a public servant.” Read more

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A former truck driver has learned his fate after causing a fiery chain-reaction crash on Interstate 78 in Berks County that killed a couple heading to their wedding. Read more

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Police in Portland say protesters hurled Molotov cocktails at officers in Oregon’s largest city during a demonstration over a Kentucky grand jury’s decision to not indict officers in the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor. In a statement, police say the protesters Wednesday night also threw rocks that shattered windows at a law enforcement precinct station. One officer was hit on the foot with a Molotov cocktail but a fire department medic managed to extinguish the flames. Portland has been gripped by protests for four months since the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Read more

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A German court has ruled that former Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn must face trial on a second set of charges in the company’s diesel emissions scandal, these ones related to alleged market manipulation. Thursday’s announcement by the Braunschweig state court followed a decision earlier this month that he must stand trial on fraud charges. No date has been set for either set of proceedings. Winterkorn, who has denied wrongdoing, resigned days after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced a notice of violation on Sept. 18, 2015. The company had for years been using software that turned emission controls off during normal driving. Read more

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PITTSBURGH, Sept. 24, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- When COVID-19 shut down normal operations, Net Health needed to reinvent itself as a virtual company overnight. With first-hand experience as to the benefits of the model, Net Health is now moving to a permanent Work from Anywhere (WFA) model. Josh Pickus, the company's CEO, described the Company's journey to the new model during a presentation at the National Association of Rehabilitation Providers and Agencies (NARA) Fall Virtual Conference on September 23. Read more

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The number of people seeking U.S. unemployment aid rose slightly last week to 870,000, a historically high figure that shows that the viral pandemic is still squeezing restaurants, airlines, hotels and many other businesses six months after it first erupted. The figure coincides with evidence that some newly laid-off Americans are facing delays in receiving unemployment benefits as state agencies intensify efforts to combat fraudulent applications and clear their pipelines of a backlog of jobless claims.  Read more

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A guilty plea is scheduled Thursday for the former director of the Allentown Cadets Drum and Bugle Corps. Read more

Partnership Kick-off for NFL Alumni Academy Activation in Canton, Ohio Read more

TikTok's owner says it has applied for a Chinese technology export license as it tries to complete a deal with Oracle and Walmart to keep the popular video app operating in the United States. Responding to Washington’s attempt to force an outright sale of TikTok to U.S. owners on security grounds, Beijing tried to gain leverage by expanding its list of regulated technologies to include “personalized information services.” President Donald Trump said this week he would approve a proposed deal in which Oracle Corp. and Walmart Inc. would own 20% of a new U.S. entity, TikTok Global. ByteDance said Thursday it applied to the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Commerce for a technology export license and awaited a reply. Read more

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An enigmatic painting from Renaissance master Sandro Botticelli will go on auction next year and art watchers will be seeing if it fetches more than its eye-watering $80 million estimate, despite the pandemic. Botticelli’s 15th-century portrait of a nobleman in “Young Man Holding a Roundel” is the highlight of Sotheby’s Masters Week sale series in New York in January. Opportunities to acquire a Botticelli — behind such masterpieces as “Primavera” and “The Birth of Venus” — are very rare. The auction house believes it could get over $100 million. The last painting to achieve that level at auction was Claude Monet’s “Meules” in 2019, going for $110 million. Read more

Germany's economy is rebounding from the virus shutdowns but there's still a long road ahead. That's the takeaway from the latest survey of businesses in the country that has Europe's largest economy. The Ifo index rose for the fifth month in a row as businesses tell the institute they feel the current environment has improved. But they're still cautious about the future. Analysts say the economy is rebounding but the latest increase in cases presents worrisome risk for the last part of the year.  Read more

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Sir Harold Evans, the charismatic publisher, author and muckraker who was a bold-faced name for decades for exposing wrongdoing in 1960s London to publishing such 1990s best-sellers as “Primary Colors,” has died, his wife said Thursday. He was 92. His wife, fellow author-publisher Tina Brown, said he died Wednesday in New York of congestive heart failure. A vision of British erudition and sass, Evans was a high-profile go-getter, starting in the 1960s as an editor of the Northern Echo and the Sunday Times of London and continuing into the 1990s as president of Random House. Married since 1981 to Brown, their union was a paradigm of media clout. He was knighted by his native Britain in 2004 for his contributions to journalism.  Read more

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Britain’s treasury chief has announced a new income support program for workers hurt by the coronavirus pandemic as the government races to prevent widespread layoffs when earlier employer subsidies end next month.  Chancellor Rishi Sunak, in a speech to lawmakers, on Thursday unveiled his plan to subsidize the wages of workers whose hours are cut due to the pandemic as part of a wider package of measures to help businesses and bolster the economy. The plan comes in response to pressure from businesses and labor unions to step in with more direct support for people in precarious work situations.  Read more

A troublesome baboon has been evicted from a seaside village in South Africa. Activists are now demanding he be returned home. Kataza was relocated from Kommetjie, on the edges of Cape Town, to a nearby area late last month after city authorities decided enough was enough. They claim he was responsible for leading other baboons in his troop on raids through the village, where they would invade houses, knock over trash cans, and steal fruit and vegetables from gardens. One activist says Kataza is now wandering alone in an unfamiliar area and sleeping in a prison yard. There are around 500 urban baboons in the greater Cape Town area and they have been a complicated issue for authorities for years. Read more

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Police in Berks County are investigating shots fired on a highway that may have stemmed from a road rage incident. Read more

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Our normal highs for late September should be in the low 70s, but we'll pretty much run in the upper 70s to around 80 degrees through the weekend. Read more

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The 26-year-old victim was taken to the hospital with injuries that do not appear to be life-threatening, police said. Read more

The European Union says the swearing in of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko to a sixth term lacks democratic legitimacy, defies the will of the people of Belarus and will only deepen the country’s political crisis. Lukashenko was sworn in Wednesday at an inaugural ceremony not announced in advance. EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrel reiterated Thursday that the 27-nation bloc did not recognize the result of the Aug. 9 election that kept Lukashenko in power and said that “on this basis, the so-called ‘inauguration’...and the new mandate claimed by (him) lack any democratic legitimacy.” Thousands of Belarus citizens have taken part in weeks of rallies against the president's reelection, which the opposition says was rigged.  Read more

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Democrats are scrambling in Pennsylvania to reduce the number of mail-in ballots that could be rejected because voters fail to put them in the required “secrecy envelope.” These mail ballots have been dubbed “naked ballots” and election officials fear that as many as 100,000 or more could be rejected in November. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled last week that naked ballots could not be counted. On Thursday the Biden campaign and the Democratic National Committee launched a 30-second digital ad sent to their voters who have requested a mail ballot walking them through how to send it back correctly. Democrats promise other outreach, too. Read more