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US and World News

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Millions of people in the U.S. who haven’t gotten the COVID-19 vaccine could soon have a new reason to roll up their sleeves: money in their pockets. President Joe Biden is calling on states and local governments to join those that already are handing out dollars for shots. New York, the nation’s biggest city, started doling out $100 awards on Friday. The president and health officials are betting that the financial incentive will spur hesitant people to get the shot just as the contagious and potentially more powerful delta variant sweeps through parts of the country and as the number of daily inoculations falls sharply from its April high.   Read more

Two organizations say they are ending cooperation with the Biden administration to identify the most vulnerable migrants waiting in Mexico to be admitted to the United States to seek asylum. The withdrawals of the International Rescue Committee and HIAS from a consortium of groups helping the government is a blow to an effort that was always intended to be temporary. Advocacy groups were choosing a limited number of migrants for U.S. authorities to exempt from a coronavirus-related ban on migrants seeking asylum at the border. Former President Donald Trump imposed the public health order and Biden has largely kept it in place. Read more

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Top congressional Democrats huddled with President Joe Biden, looking to salvage their push to enact voting rights legislation. The meeting Friday between Biden, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer comes after Democrats were forced back to the drawing board with their signature voting bill, after Senate Republicans blocked it with a filibuster last month. They've retooled the proposal and presented a framework to Biden. They also discussed a separate bill that would restore key portions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that were gutted by the Supreme Court in 2013. Read more

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The NCAA Board of Governors is calling for a constitutional convention in November. The goal is to launch dramatic reform in the governance of college sports. The NCAA said it wants to “reimagine” how to more effectively manage the needs of its more than 450,000 athletes at more than 1,100 schools. The willingness to discuss an overhaul of the NCAA comes about a month after the Supreme Court ruled against it in an antitrust case. It threw open the door for more legal challenges to the NCAA’s rules. Read more

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The first-place San Francisco Giants made a big splash just before baseball's trade deadline, getting third baseman Kris Bryant from the Chicago Cubs for two minor leaguers. Chicago received right-hander Caleb Kilian and outfielder Alexander Canario. The 29-year-old Bryant, who can become a free agent after this season, was one of the top position players available on the market as the disappointing Cubs sold off several stars. He is batting .267 with 18 home runs and 51 RBIs. The surprising Giants began the day with a three-game lead in the NL West over their biggest rivals, the defending World Series champion Los Angeles Dodgers. Read more

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Tom Brady says his surgically repaired knee feels good and he’s happy to be back to work with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The seven-time Super Bowl champion revealed recently that he played all of last season with a torn medial collateral ligament that required surgery shortly after the Bucs dominated the Kansas City Chiefs in the NFL title game in February. The soon-to-be 44-year-old quarterback’s recovery has progressed well enough that Brady has shed the black sleeve he’s worn since tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in 2008 and practicing without it.  Read more

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NEW ORLEANS -- Vaccinations and masks are both needed to slow a skyrocketing rate of new COVID-19 infections that is stressing health care facilities in Louisiana, Gov. John Bel Edwards said Friday, but Edwards stopped short of ordering a statewide mask mandate. Read more

Freddy Galvis is back with the Philadelphia Phillies, returning to the franchise where he started his career in a trade with the Baltimore Orioles on Friday. Read more

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In another big setback for the nation’s efforts to stamp out the coronavirus, scientists who studied a big COVID-19 outbreak in Massachusetts concluded that vaccinated people who got so-called breakthrough infections carried about the same amount of the coronavirus as those who did not get the shots. Health officials on Friday released details of that research, which was key in this week’s decision by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to recommend that vaccinated people return to wearing masks indoors in parts of the U.S. where the delta variant is fueling infection surges. The authors say the findings suggest the CDC’s mask guidance should be expanded to include the entire country. Read more

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The Biden administration has announced new sanctions against Cuba’s national revolutionary police and its two top officials as the U.S. looks to increase pressure on the communist regime following this month’s protests on the island. The Police Nacional Revolcionaria and the agency’s director and deputy director were targeted in the latest sanctions announced Friday by the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control. The police are part of Cuba’s interior ministry, which was already the subject of a blanket designation by the Trump administration back in January. The sanctions were announced shortly before President Joe Biden met with Cuban Americans in the White House. Read more

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The Philadelphia Phillies got three pitchers from the Texas Rangers in a trade completed just before Friday's deadline. Philadelphia received All-Star starter Kyle Gibson, closer Ian Kennedy and prospect Hans Crouse. Texas get rookie right-hander Spencer Howard and two other pitching prospects. Gibson is 6-3 with a 2.87 ERA in 19 starts and was a first-time All-Star this season. But the 33-year-old right-hander has lost his last three starts. Kennedy had 16 saves in 17 opportunities for the last-place Rangers.  Read more

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Jeff Bezos has lost his appeal of NASA's contract with Elon Musk's SpaceX to build its new moon lander. The Government Accountability Office Friday ruled that NASA's award of the $2.9 billion contract to just SpaceX was legal and proper. SpaceX, which has a more established track record, also had a significantly lower bid than Bezos' Blue Origin and a third firm, Dynetics. Blue Origin still holds out hope that NASA will change its mind or Congress will require it to give two contracts for the job even though the space agency says it doesn't have the money. Read more

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Walmart is requiring that all workers at its headquarters as well as managers who travel within the U.S. be vaccinated against COVID-19 by Oct. 4. The retailer based in Bentonville, Arkansas, is also reversing its mask policy for its employees working in stores, clubs, distribution facilities and warehouses. Going forward, they will be required to wear masks in areas with high infection rates, even if they have been vaccinated. Walt Disney Co. also said Friday it’s requiring all salaried and non-union hourly employees in the U.S. working at any of its sites to be fully vaccinated.  Read more

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A wealthy San Francisco couple notched a record half-million-dollar buyout to vacate their luxury apartment of three decades. The buyout underscores the lengths landlords will go to to get rid of long-term tenants in a city with strict rent control and soaring market rents. The $475,000 voluntary buyout is considered to be the largest in city history and reflects the high-end value of the apartment. San Francisco has among the strongest tenant protections in the country, which encourages tenants to hang on to apartments as market prices go up. Tenants groups say rent control is necessary to protect low-income renters.  Read more

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The New York Mets have acquired flashy shortstop Javier Báez and pitcher Trevor Williams from the Chicago Cubs for outfield prospect Pete Crow-Armstrong. Báez, a two-time All-Star and 2020 Gold Glove winner, gives the NL East leaders an immediate fill-in for injured buddy Francisco Lindor at shortstop. Lindor is sidelined with a strained oblique and isn’t expected back until at least mid-to-late August. Báez, who can become a free agent after the season, is batting .248 with 22 home runs and 65 RBIs. He also leads the National League with 131 strikeouts and has made 18 errors in 88 games. When Lindor returns, Báez could move to second base or third. Read more

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“Better Call Saul” star Bob Odenkirk says he “had a small heart attack” but will “be back soon.” The 58-year-old actor took to Twitter Friday to make his first public statement since collapsing on the show’s New Mexico set three days earlier. Odenkirk says he's going to be OK thanks to the doctors  who knew how to fix his blockage without surgery. He says he's going to “take a beat to recover, but will "be back soon.” Odenkirk has been nominated for four Emmys for playing the title role on the show that was shooting its sixth and final season.  Read more

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The Senate has advanced a roughly $1 trillion infrastructure plan with a bipartisan group of senators helping it clear one more hurdle on Friday. They are now bracing to see if support can hold during the next few days of debate and efforts to amend it. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., says that the chamber should be able to process the legislation quickly given the bipartisan support. Whether the number of Republican senators willing to pass a key part of President Joe Biden’s agenda grows or shrinks in the days ahead will determine if the president’s signature issue can make it across the finish line. Read more

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Tunisian authorities jailed an opposition lawmaker and charged four members of the powerful Islamist movement Ennahdha, according to local media. The moves came after the president decided to suspend parliament and seize exceptional powers. The Ennahdha members were accused of trying to incite violence outside the parliament building after President Kais Saied’s announcement Sunday. The president says he's trying to save the country amid public anger at the government over joblessness, rising prices and one of Africa’s worst coronavirus outbreaks. Critics — most notably Ennahdha — accused him of a coup.  Read more

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An Alaska Native artist has created a new stamp for the U.S. Postal Service. A ceremony marking the release of Rico Worl’s Raven Story stamp was held Friday in Juneau. Raven is a trickster or transformer and a key figure in Tlingit culture. Worl says he was inspired a story in which Raven discovers that a clan leader had in his possession the sun, moon and stars. Raven assumed human form to share those items with the world. The stars were in the last box Raven opened. Worl said he hopes the stamp will be a gateway for people to learn about his culture. The Sealaska Heritage Institute is hosting the unveiling and says this is the first stamp by a Tlingit artist. Read more

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Stocks ended lower on Wall Street, giving up their gains for the week. The S&P 500 still managed to end July higher, marking six monthly gains in a row, the longest such streak since 2018. The benchmark index fell 0.5% Friday, with a big drag coming from Amazon. The online retail giant slumped 7.6% after it reported sales growth that was big but not as big as Wall Street expected. Its sales forecast also disappointed investors. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.4% and the Nasdaq fell 0.7%. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 1.23%. Read more

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The World Series champion Los Angeles Dodgers have pulled off a monster deal for ace Max Scherzer and All-Star shortstop Trea Turner, getting the dynamic duo from the Washington Nationals shortly before Friday’s trade deadline. Washington acquired a pair of rookies, right-hander Josiah Gray and catcher Keibert Ruiz, and two minor leaguers, righty Gerardo Carrillo and outfielder Donovan Casey. Scherzer had been given permission to speak to the Dodgers to see if he would waive his right to veto any trade, a power he had as a 10-year veteran who has been with his team for at least five years. Read more

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Congress is trying to extend the nation's eviction moratorium just hours before it is set to expire. It's a long-shot effort to prevent millions of Americans from being forced from their homes during a COVID-19 surge. With quick congressional action difficult, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi urged the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to step in. President Joe Biden has called on Congress to act, wary of challenging a Supreme Court decision. Biden announced Thursday that he would allow the moratorium to expire Saturday. With passage unlikely in the split Congress, more than 3.6 million Americans are at risk of eviction. Read more

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The first flight evacuating Afghans who worked alongside Americans in Afghanistan has brought more than 200 people to new lives in the United States. Friday's arrival at Dulles International Airport outside Washington, D.C., brought Afghan translators and close family members, including scores of children and babies in arms, to new lives in the United States. The U.S. plans several more flights for Afghan translators who fear retaliation from the Taliban as U.S. forces leave Afghanistan. President Joe Biden has issued a statement saying he was proud to welcome them home. Read more

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COVID-19 vaccinations and masks will be required for all Broadway audience members when theaters reopen in the coming weeks. The Broadway League announced Friday that audience members will have to wear face coverings and show proof they're fully vaccinated when they enter the theaters. There'll be exceptions to the vaccine rule for children under 12 and for people with a medical condition or religious belief that prevents vaccination. Those individuals will need to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test. Vaccinations will also be required for performers, crew members and theater employees. Read more

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Less than half of the 67 NFL players who opted out of the 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic are still with the same team as training camps kicked off for the 2021 season. Four of them retired, including Patriots linebacker Patrick Chung. One was traded and 29 were either released or waived. That leaves 33 players who have returned to their teams. The higher than 50% turnover rate is greater than the average roster turnover of 36.2%.  Read more

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Saginaw Grant, a prolific Native American character actor and hereditary chief of the Sac & Fox Nation of Oklahoma, has died. He was 85. Grant's publicist, Lani Carmichael, says Grant died peacefully in his sleep of natural causes on Wednesday at a private-care facility in Hollywood, California. Born July 20, 1936, in Pawnee, Oklahoma, Grant was a U.S. Marine Corps veteran. He began acting in the late 1980s and played character roles in dozens of movies and television shows over the last three decades, including The Lone Ranger, The World’s Fastest Indian and Breaking Bad. Read more

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South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem says she has no plans to ratchet up her messaging to urge people to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Other Republican leaders across the country are trying to persuade vaccine skeptics to roll up their sleeves and take the shots as a new, more contagious variant sends caseloads soaring in some parts of the country. The Republican governor says she believes her messaging has reached “a saturation level where people start to tune you out.” But it has been months since the governor used her position to encourage the vaccine. Infections in the state are on the rise again. Read more

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Chinese companies hoping to sell their shares in the United States must start making more disclosures about their potential risks before U.S. regulators will allow them to list their stock. The move announced on Friday by the Securities and Exchange Commission comes after Beijing said it would step up its supervision of Chinese companies listed overseas, including cybersecurity reviews. Many of the new U.S. requirements focus on Chinese businesses that uses shell companies to get around Chinese rules blocking foreign ownership for their industries.  Read more

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The Chicago White Sox have acquired closer Craig Kimbrel from the crosstown Cubs. The move should should give the AL Central-leading White Sox a fearsome bullpen for their playoff push. The South Siders already had one of baseball’s best closers in All-Star Liam Hendriks. Now they add Kimbrel, who has a 0.49 ERA and 23 saves in 25 opportunities for the Cubs this season. Kimbrel ranks ninth in history with 371 saves in his 12 years in the majors. The price the White Sox paid was steep. They sent second baseman Nick Madrigal to the Cubs along with right-handed reliever Codi Heuer. Read more

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Video recordings of New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft allegedly engaging in massage parlor sex will be destroyed. A Palm Beach County judge signed off on their destruction on Friday. Kraft and nearly two dozen other men had been charged in a 2019 investigation into possible prostitution at a Jupiter, Florida, massage parlor. Prosecutors dropped misdemeanor solicitation charges last year against Kraft and the others after a state appeals court upheld a lower court ruling that the videos were inadmissible at trial. A judge had ruled the warrant allowing the installation of hidden cameras inside the massage parlor didn’t sufficiently protect the privacy of innocent customers who received legal massages. Read more