Judges: Florida felons can’t vote until they pay fines, fees
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — A federal appeals court has ruled that Florida felons must pay all fines, restitution and legal fees before they can regain their right to vote. Friday’s order reverses a lower court judge’s decision that gave Florida felons the right to vote regardless of outstanding financial obligations. The ruling disappoints voting rights activists and could have national implications in November’s presidential election. Florida is considered a must-win state in President Donald’s Trump’s bid for reelection. Florida’s disenfranchised felons represent a significant bloc in a state well known for razor-thin election margins. Democrats hoped for an advantage among former felon voters.
US budget deficit hits record $3 trillion through 11 months
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Treasury Department says that the U.S. budget deficit hit an all-time high of $3 trillion for the first 11 months of this budget year. The ocean of red ink is a product of the government’s massive spending to try to cushion the impact of a coronavirus-fueled recession that has cost millions of jobs. The deficit from October through August was more than double the previous 11-month record of $1.37 billion set in 2009. At that time the government was spending large sums to get out of the Great Recession triggered by the 2008 financial crisis.
Stocks swing as Wall Street’s tumultuous week comes to close
NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks keep swinging between gains and losses on Wall Street Friday, as a tumultuous week of abrupt stops and starts comes to a close. The S&P 500 was down 0.1% in afternoon trading, after a roller-coaster day where it careened from a gain of 0.9% to an equivalent loss. Momentum has been lightning-quick to shift on Wall Street recently. The Nasdaq composite, which includes many of the superstar tech stocks that have been the focus of the market’s recent selling, was down 0.7% after flip-flopping earlier between gains and losses. It has swung at least 1.3% in each of the last five days.
Officials battle online misinformation along with wildfires
SEATTLE (AP) — Emergency responders in the Pacific Northwest are fighting misinformation along with raging wildfires as people spread unsubstantiated social media posts blaming arsonists from both the far left and far right for setting the blazes. The FBI says it’s investigated several claims that extremists are responsible for Oregon’s wildfires and found them to be untrue. A sheriff’s office and a firefighter’s union in Washington state also are knocking down competing narratives. Some posts have blamed far-left antifa activists and others claimed the far-right group the Proud Boys is responsible for the fires. The false claims come as left- and right-wing groups have clashed during protests in the Northwest, particularly in Portland, Oregon.
US marks 9/11 anniversary at tributes shadowed by virus
NEW YORK (AP) — Americans are commemorating 9/11 as the coronavirus pandemic reconfigures memorial ceremonies and a presidential campaign carves a path through the observances. In New York, victims’ relatives gathered Friday morning for split-screen remembrances at the Sept. 11 memorial plaza at the World Trade Center and another nearby set up by a separate 9/11-related organization. President Donald Trump spoke at the Flight 93 National Memorial in Pennsylvania, when Vice President Joe Biden later laid a wreath there. Biden also attended the observance at the 9/11 memorial in New York, where he and Vice President Mike Pence exchanged an elbow bump.
Prosecutors: Similar charges warrant 1 trial in Floyd death
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Prosecutors in the case of four former Minneapolis officers charged in the death of George Floyd say the men should face trial together because the evidence and charges against them are similar. But defense attorneys have argued for separate trials, saying they are likely to offer “antagonistic” defenses. The former officers appeared in court Friday for a hearing on the prosecution’s request to hold a joint trial and other issues. Judge Peter Cahill took those issues under advisement and is expected to rule at a later date. Floyd, who was Black, died May 25 after Derek Chauvin pressed his knee against his neck.
Bahrain becomes latest Arab nation to recognize Israel
WASHINGTON (AP) — Bahrain is the latest Arab nation to agree to normalize ties with Israel as part of a broader diplomatic push by President Donald Trump and his administration to fully integrate the Jewish state into the Middle East. Trump announced the agreement on Friday — the 19th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States. He’ll host a White House ceremony next week to mark the establishment of full relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates. The Israel-UAE agreement was announced on August 13 and has been followed by several significant steps, including the first commercial flight between the two countries just two weeks ago.
SEPT 11-ANNIVERSARY-THE LATEST
The Latest: Relatives, Trump, Biden gather to mark 9/11
NEW YORK (AP) — Former Vice President Joe Biden laid a wreath under First Officer LeRoy Homer’s name at the Flight 93 memorial in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, before going to greet some of Homer’s family members with elbow bumps. Biden spoke to a few people gathered about his respect for the passengers on the flight that sacrificed themselves to help bring it down. He said sacrifices like theirs “mark the character of a country.” President Donald Trump delivered a speech at a commemoration of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in Shanksville earlier Friday.
Daily US virus deaths decline, but trend may reverse in fall
The number of daily U.S. deaths from the coronavirus is declining again after peaking in early August, but scientists warn that a new bout with the disease this fall could claim more lives. Experts say the arrival of cooler weather and the likelihood of more indoor gatherings will add to the importance of everyday safety precautions, like wearing masks, staying home and washing hands. The U.S. has seen two distinct peaks in daily deaths. The nation’s summertime surge crested at about half the size of the first deadly wave, which arrived in April. That’s when deaths first peaked at an average of 2,240 each day.
Vote-by-mail advocates lose appeal in Texas
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A federal appeals court has dealt another blow to vote-by-mail advocates in Texas. A push by the state’s Democrats and some voters to allow mail balloting during the coronavirus pandemic had been upheld by a federal district judge. But a divided three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals vacated that ruling late Thursday. The panel rejected an argument that the vote-by-mail statute in Texas discriminates on the basis of age. The argument was based on the law allowing people ages 65 and over to vote by mail, but not younger voters who don’t have a disability or other specified reason for absentee voting.