Epstein Ex Maxwell Denied Getting Prince Andrew Sex Partners

Jeffrey Epstein’s ex-girlfriend denied introducing Britain’s Prince Andrew to underage sex partners in a defensive and combative deposition made public Thursday, calling the prince’s accuser an “awful fantasist.”

“Are we tallying all the lies?” Ghislaine Maxwell asked during the 2016 deposition, saying she could not recall taking Epstein accuser Virginia Giuffre out for a night of clubbing with Andrew in London. “Her tissue of lies is extremely hard to pick apart what is true and what isn’t.”

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Trump, Biden Debate Marked by Clashes, but Less Chaos

After the first presidential debate was panned so widely that organizers introduced a mute button, Thursday’s second and final debate between President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden was far more civil.

Whether because of that button or the terrible reviews — especially for Trump — the two interrupted each other far less frequently, even as they clashed on issues ranging from the coronavirus to crime.

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Pope Francis Becomes First Pope to Endorse Same-Sex Civil Unions

Pope Francis endorsed same-sex civil unions for the first time as pontiff while being interviewed for the feature-length documentary “Francesco,” which premiered Wednesday at the Rome Film Festival.

The papal thumbs-up came midway through the film that delves into issues Francis cares about most, including the environment, poverty, migration, racial and income inequality, and the people most affected by discrimination.

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OxyContin Maker Purdue Pharma to Plead to Three Criminal Charges

Purdue Pharma, the company that makes OxyContin, the powerful prescription painkiller that experts say helped touch off an opioid epidemic, will plead guilty to three federal criminal charges as part of a settlement of more than $8 billion, Justice Department officials announced Wednesday.

The company will plead guilty to three counts, including conspiracy to defraud the United States and violating federal anti-kickback laws, the officials said. The resolution will be detailed in a bankruptcy court filing in federal court.

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Justice Dept. Files Landmark Antitrust Case Against Google

The Justice Department on Tuesday sued Google for antitrust violations, alleging that it abused its dominance in online search and advertising to stifle competition and harm consumers.

The lawsuit marks the government’s most significant attempt to protect competition since its groundbreaking case against Microsoft more than 20 years ago. It could be an opening salvo ahead of other major government antitrust actions, given ongoing investigations of major tech companies including Apple, Amazon and Facebook at both the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission.

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Doctor Asks Court to Dismiss Murder Indictment in 25 Deaths

Lawyers for the Ohio hospital doctor charged with murder in 25 patient deaths accused the prosecutor of misconduct and asked Tuesday that the court dismiss the indictment handed up by a grand jury.

Former intensive care doctor William Husel is accused of ordering excessive painkillers for patients who died shortly thereafter in the Columbus-area Mount Carmel Health System. Prosecutors charged him only in cases involving at least 500 micrograms of fentanyl, saying doses that big in nonsurgical situations pointed to an intent to prematurely snuff out lives.

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Study of Late-Night Comics Finds Few Joe Biden Jokes, But Plenty for President Trump

From the perspective of late-night joke writers, there’s really only one person running for president.

A staggering 97% of the jokes Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Fallon told about the candidates in September targeted President Donald Trump, a study released Monday found.

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Woman Missing for Two Weeks Found Safe in Zion National Park

A California woman who was missing for about two weeks in Zion National Park in Utah has been found and left the park with her family who had feared the worst, authorities said.

Holly Suzanne Courtier, 38, of Los Angeles, was found Sunday by search and rescue crews after park rangers received a tip that she had been seen in the park, Zion National Park officials said in a news release. They didn’t say where she was found or anything about her condition or what had happened.

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Sen. Tina Smith Tests Negative for COVID After Skipping Warren Event

Democratic U.S. Sen. Tina Smith skipped a campaign event with Sen. Elizabeth Warren over the weekend after learning that a person who attended one of her events eight days earlier had tested positive for the coronavirus.

“I’m getting tested & I am quarantining until I test negative,” Smith tweeted Sunday. After learning Monday morning that she had tested negative, Smith tweeted that she was “Headed back to Washington to keep working for Minnesotans.”

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Michigan Court Blocks Two-Week Absentee Ballot Extension

Absentee ballots must arrive by Election Day to be counted, the Michigan Court of Appeals said Friday, blocking a 14-day extension that had been ordered by a lower court and embraced by key Democratic officials in a battleground state.

Any changes must rest with the Legislature, not the judiciary, the Republican-appointed appeals court judges said in a 3-0 opinion.

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Justices to Weigh Trump Census Plan to Exclude Noncitizens

The Supreme Court agreed Friday to take up President Donald Trump’s policy, blocked by a lower court, to exclude people living in the U.S. illegally from the census count that will be used to allocate seats in the House of Representatives.

Never in U.S. history have immigrants been excluded from the population count that determines how House seats, and by extension Electoral College votes, are divided among the states, a three-judge federal count said in September when it held Trump’s policy illegal.

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Suspect in Teacher’s Beheading in France Was Chechen Teen

A suspect shot dead by police after the beheading of a history teacher near Paris was an 18-year-old Chechen refugee unknown to intelligence services who posted a grisly claim of responsibility on social media minutes after the attack, officials said Saturday.

France’s anti-terrorism prosecutor’s office said authorities investigating the killing of Samuel Paty in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine on Friday arrested nine suspects, including the teen’s grandfather, parents and 17-year-old brother.

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WHO Study Finds Remdesivir Didn’t Help COVID-19 Patients

A large study led by the World Health Organization suggests that the antiviral drug remdesivir did not help hospitalized COVID-19 patients, in contrast to an earlier study that made the medicine a standard of care in the United States and many other countries.

The results announced Friday do not negate the previous ones, and the WHO study was not as rigorous as the earlier one led by the U.S. National Institutes of Health. But they add to concerns about how much value the pricey drug gives because none of the studies have found it can improve survival.

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Awash in Red Ink: U.S. Posts Record $3.1T 2020 Budget Deficit

The federal budget deficit hit an all-time high of $3.1 trillion in the 2020 budget year, more than double the previous record, as the coronavirus pandemic shrank revenues and sent spending soaring.

The Trump administration reported Friday that the deficit for the budget year that ended on Sept. 30 was three times the size of last year’s deficit of $984 billion. It was also $2 trillion higher than the administration had estimated in February, before the pandemic hit.

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Judge Finds Cases Against Five in Whitmer Plot Can Move Forward

Prosecutors provided enough evidence to move toward trial for five Michigan men accused of plotting to kidnap the state’s governor, a federal judge ruled Friday in Grand Rapids.

A two-day preliminary hearing this week featured testimony by one of the FBI agents who ran the investigation, relying on confidential informants and undercover agents to thwart the purported scheme to abduct Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

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GOP Pushes Barrett’s Nomination Ahead, Dems Decry ‘Sham’

Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s Supreme Court nomination cleared a key hurdle Thursday as Senate Judiciary Committee Republicans powered past Democrats’ objections in the drive to confirm President Donald Trump’s pick before the Nov. 3 election.

The panel set Oct. 22 for its vote to recommend Barrett’s nomination to the full Senate for a final vote by month’s end.

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Harris Suspends Travel After Staffer Tests COVID-19 Positive

Kamala Harris, the Democratic vice presidential nominee, will suspend in-person events until Monday after two people associated with the campaign tested positive for the coronavirus.

Joe Biden’s presidential campaign said Thursday that the 77-year-old candidate had no exposure, though he and Harris spent several hours campaigning together in Arizona on Oct. 8, when the two people were on a flight with Harris. Both candidates have tested negative for COVID-19 multiple times since then, and Biden’s campaign said he tested negative again on Thursday.

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C-SPAN Suspends Scully After He Admits to Lie About Hack

C-SPAN suspended its political editor Steve Scully indefinitely Thursday after he admitted to lying about his Twitter feed being hacked when he was confronted about a questionable exchange with former Trump aide Anthony Scaramucci.

The news came on the day of what was supposed to be a career highlight for the 30-year C-SPAN veteran. Scully was to moderate the second debate between President Donald Trump and Democrat Joe Biden, which was canceled after Trump would not agree to a virtual format because of his COVID-19 diagnosis.

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Europe, US Reel as Virus Infections Surge at Record Pace

Coronavirus cases around the world have climbed to all-time highs of more than 330,000 per day as the scourge comes storming back across Europe and spreads with renewed speed in the U.S., forcing many places to reimpose tough restrictions they had eased just a few months ago.

Well after Europe seemed to have largely tamed the virus that proved so lethal last spring, newly confirmed infections are reaching unprecedented levels in Germany, the Czech Republic, Italy and Poland, and most of the rest of the continent is seeing similar danger signs.

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Another Suspect Charged in Alleged Michigan Kidnap Plot

Michigan’s attorney general charged an eighth person Thursday in what authorities have described as a foiled scheme to storm the state Capitol building and kidnap officials, including Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

Brian Higgins, 51, of Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin, was charged with material support of an act of terrorism, Attorney General Dana Nessel said. If convicted, Higgins could get up to 20 years in prison.

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After Independent Coronavirus Test, NBC Sets Trump Town Hall

NBC News agreed to put President Donald Trump before voters in a town hall event on Thursday after the president submitted to an independent coronavirus test with the results reviewed by Dr. Anthony Fauci.

The announcement Wednesday sets up dueling town halls with Democratic opponent Joe Biden on a night the two candidates were supposed to meet for their second debate. Biden is appearing on a similar town hall event in Philadelphia, televised by ABC.

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Mark and Patricia McCloskey Plead Not Guilty

A St. Louis couple celebrated in some circles and vilified in others for waving guns at protesters marching on their private street pleaded not guilty to two felony charges at a brief hearing Wednesday.

Mark and Patricia McCloskey, who are both attorneys in their early 60s, were indicted by a St. Louis grand jury last week on charges of unlawful use of a weapon and tampering with evidence. They will appear in court again Oct. 28.

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Supreme Court Halts Census in Latest Twist of 2020 Count

The Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled that the Trump administration can end census field operations early, batting aside a lawsuit that warned the truncated schedule will lead to minorities being undercounted in the crucial once-a-decade head count.

Still, the decision was not a total loss for the plaintiffs, who managed to get two extra weeks of counting people as the case challenging the U.S. Census Bureau’s decision to end the census in September made its way through the courts.

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FBI: Groups Also Discussed Kidnapping Virginia Governor

Members of anti-government paramilitary groups discussed kidnapping Virginia’s governor during a June meeting in Ohio, an FBI agent testified Tuesday during a court hearing for a group of men accused of plotting to kidnap Michigan’s governor.

Special Agent Richard Trask also revealed new details about investigators’ use of confidential informants, undercover agents and encrypted communication to arrest and charge six men last week in the plot aimed at Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

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Microsoft Attempts Takedown of Global Criminal Botnet

Microsoft announced legal action Monday seeking to disrupt a major cybercrime digital network that uses more than 1 million zombie computers to loot bank accounts and spread ransomware, which experts consider a major threat to the U.S. presidential election.

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Federal Judge Upholds Minnesota’s Extended Ballot Counting

A federal judge has upheld a Minnesota state court agreement that allows the counting of absentee ballots received up to seven days after Election Day.

Republicans had asked U.S. District Judge Nancy Brasel to block the seven-day extension that said ballots postmarked on or before Election Day must be counted.

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West Virginia Site Chosen for High-Speed Hyperloop Travel Facility

Virgin Hyperloop One will build a certification center in West Virginia for the high-speed transportation concept that uses enclosed pods to zip passengers underground at over 600 mph (960 km/h).

The company had received bids from more than a dozen states in the past year to build a 6-mile (9.7-kilometer) testing track and other safety facilities over hundreds of acres for the electromagnetic levitation transportation technology.

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Ohio Officials Say Some Ballots Reported Incorrect May be Right

Officials in Ohio say some of the nearly 50,000 absentee ballots reported last week to be incorrect may have been correct after all, but replacement ballots will be sent to all of the affected voters in the county that is home to the state’s capital and largest city.

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Delta Adds Insult to Injury in Hurricane-Ravaged Louisiana

The day after Hurricane Delta blew through besieged southern Louisiana, residents started the routine again: dodging overturned cars, trudging through knee-deep water to flooded homes with ruined floors and no power, and pledging to rebuild after the storm.

Delta made landfall Friday evening near the coastal Louisiana town of Creole with top winds of 100 mph (155 kph). It then moved over Lake Charles, a city where Hurricane Laura damaged nearly every home and building in late August. No deaths had been reported as of Saturday afternoon, but officials said people were not out of danger.

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Trump Official Says Vaccine Expected Starting in January

A Trump administration official leading the response to the coronavirus pandemic says the U.S. can expect delivery of a vaccine starting in January 2021, despite statements from the president that inoculations could begin this month.

And a growing, bipartisan chorus of lawmakers, experts and public health officials says the country is ill prepared for a projected winter surge of COVID-19.

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Next Trump-Biden Debates Uncertain, Though October 22 Is Likely

The fate of final debates between President Donald Trump and Democrat Joe Biden was thrown into uncertainty Thursday as the campaigns offered dueling proposals for the remaining faceoffs that have been upended by the president’s coronavirus infection.

The chair of the nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates said on CNN that the final debate, scheduled for Oct. 22, is still slated to go on in person as planned — but that Trump’s campaign hadn’t yet said whether he’d participate. Biden said he would attend the event regardless of Trump’s plans.

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Police Arrest Dozens of Protesters After Officer in Floyd Death Released on Million Dollar Bond

Fifty-one people were arrested during protests Wednesday after a former Minneapolis police officer charged in the death of George Floyd was released on bail.

Derek Chauvin had been in custody in a Minnesota prison as he awaits a March trial on charges of murder and other counts. He was released Wednesday after posting a $1 million bond. He had been held in a state prison instead of a local jail for security reasons.

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Michigan Governor Blames Trump After 13 Charged in Kidnap Plot

Agents foiled a stunning plot to kidnap Michigan Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, authorities said Thursday in announcing charges in an alleged scheme that involved months of planning and even rehearsals to snatch her from her vacation home.

Six men were charged in federal court with conspiring to kidnap the governor in reaction to what they viewed as her “uncontrolled power,” according to a federal complaint. Separately, seven others were charged in state court under Michigan’s anti-terrorism laws for allegedly targeting police and seeking a “civil war.”

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Supremes Hear Google, Oracle Case of Copyright Clash

The topic was high tech: the code behind smartphones.

But on Wednesday the Supreme Court looked to more low tech examples, from the typewriter keyboard to restaurant menus, try to resolve an $8 billion-plus copyright dispute between tech giants Google and Oracle.

The case, which the justices heard by phone because of the coronavirus pandemic, has to do with Google’s creation of the Android operating system now used on the vast majority of smartphones worldwide. In developing Android, Google used some of Oracle’s computer code.

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Judge Again Blocks Restrictions on Ballot Drop Boxes in Ohio

A federal judge on Thursday temporarily blocked an order by Ohio’s elections chief that limits the number of ballot drop boxes available in next month’s election, calling the move “essential to vindicate a vital constitutional right.”

Republican Secretary of State Frank LaRose moved immediately to appeal.

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Trump Administration to Sharply Limit Skilled-Worker Visas

The Trump administration announced plans Tuesday to sharply limit visas for skilled workers from overseas, a move officials said was a priority amid job losses caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Department of Homeland Security and Department of Labor officials said new rules for what’s known as the H1-B program will restrict who can obtain a work visa and will impose additional salary requirements on companies seeking to hire foreign workers.

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Boeing Says Pandemic Will Cut Demand for Planes for a Decade

Boeing is lowering its expectations around demand for new planes over the next decade as the coronavirus pandemic continues to undercut air travel.

The company on Tuesday predicted that the world will need 18,350 new commercial airplanes in the next decade, a drop of 11% from its 2019 forecast. The value of that market will slide by about $200 billion from last year’s forecast, to $2.9 trillion.

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Ohio Elections Chief Okay’s Drop Boxes Inside, Outside Boards

Ohio’s secretary of state adjusted his one-box-per-county restriction Monday to say counties may collect absentee ballots both at their buildings and at locations outside, an update to an order that has landed him in both state and federal court.

Republican Secretary of State Frank LaRose characterized his revised order as a “clarification” in a case that has highlighted the interest in access to ballot drop boxes amid coronavirus concerns, cuts at the U.S. Postal Service and President Donald Trump’s baseless assertions that mail-in voting is rigged.

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Chris Christie Hospitalized with ‘Mild’ Virus Symptoms

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie tweeted Saturday that he’s checked himself into a hospital, hours after he announced he had tested positive for the coronavirus.

Christie said that after consulting with his doctors, he went to Morristown Medical Center on Saturday afternoon. He said he’s only experiencing mild symptoms.

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‘Out of an Abundance of Caution:’ Trump Goes to Walter Reed Medical Center

President Donald Trump will spend a “few days” at a military hospital after contracting COVID-19, the White House said Friday, as the virus that has killed more than 205,000 Americans spread to the highest reaches of the U.S. government. Trump “remains fatigued,” his doctor said.

Trump was to depart the White House by helicopter late Friday for Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. The White House said the visit was precautionary and that he would work from the hospital’s presidential suite, which is equipped to allow him to continue his official duties.

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NFL Postpones Steelers-Titans After Two More Positive Tests

The NFL postponed Sunday’s Pittsburgh Steelers game at Tennessee until later in the season after one additional Titans player and one personnel member tested positive for COVID-19.

The announcement Thursday came one day after the league said it hoped to play the game on Monday or Tuesday. The NFL said a new game date would be announced “shortly.”

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California to Study Reparations for Black Americans

California will develop a detailed plan for reparations under a new law signed on Wednesday by Gov. Gavin Newsom, making it the first state to mandate a study of how it can make amends for its role in the oppression of Black people.

The law creates a nine-member task force to come up with proposals for how the state could provide reparations to Black Americans, what form those reparations might take and who would be eligible to receive them.

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Judge Approves $800M Payout Plan for Vegas Shooting Victims

A court on Wednesday approved a total of $800 million in payouts from casino company MGM Resorts International and its insurers to more than 4,400 relatives and victims of the Las Vegas Strip shooting that was the deadliest in recent U.S. history.

The action makes final a deal announced earlier this month and settles dozens of lawsuits on the eve of the third anniversary of the shooting that killed 58 people and injured more than 850 at an open-air concert near the Mandalay Bay resort.

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