Feb. 20, 2020

REUTERS

President Donald Trump on Wednesday named U.S. ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell, a strong supporter of his policies, to be acting director of national intelligence.

The Democratic presidential contenders begin a frantic dash for votes on Thursday after a fiery debate featuring a volley of attacks on big-spending billionaire Michael Bloomberg, who was making his debut on the national debate stage.

Morgan Stanley said it would buy discount brokerage E*Trade Financial in an all-stock deal worth about $13 billion, the biggest deal by a Wall Street bank since the financial crisis.

Georgia's former Prime Minister Vano Merabishvili said on Thursday after release from prison that he would return to active politics and fight against the current government.

The streets of South Korea's fourth-largest city were abandoned on Thursday, with residents holed up indoors after dozens of people caught the coronavirus in what the authorities described as a "super-spreading event" at a church.

Newly released data from a Japanese research institute appears to back the government's case that its quarantine strategy for the Diamond Princess cruise ship was successful in stemming contagion of the coronavirus among passengers.

A gunman with suspected far-right links shot dead nine people, some of them migrants from Turkey, in an overnight rampage through a German city before killing himself, officials said.

The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits rose modestly last week, suggesting sustained labor market strength that could help to support the economy amid risks from the coronavirus and weak business investment. Initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased 4,000 to a seasonally adjusted 210,000 for the week ended Feb. 15.

AP Top Stories

Frustrated by liberal policies, some Oregon residents petitioned to leave the state - by moving the border with Idaho westward. The movement secured initial approval from two counties and aims to get enough signatures to put the proposal on ballots in November, according to the group called Greater Idaho.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam's push to ban the sale of assault weapons has failed after members of his own party balked at the proposal. Senators voted to shelve the bill for the year and ask the state crime commission to study the issue, an outcome that drew cheers from a committee room packed with gun advocates.

India will not rush into a trade deal with the United States, an Indian foreign ministry spokesman said on Thursday, days before U.S. President Donald Trump's visit. The two sides have been trying to narrow differences over tariffs and U.S. demands for greater access to India's poultry and dairy markets.

A student activist group that took over a Syracuse University administration building to protest long-simmering charges of racism and bias on campus rejected an attempt by the school to end its three-day sit-in, the school said in a statement Wednesday. The black-led movement #NotAgainSU launched the sit-in at Crouse-Hinds Hall with more than 20 students Monday to protest the administration's handling of racial incidents at the university. They charged that the school failed to address issues of racism, homophobia, anti-Semitism and white supremacy that prompted #NotAgainSU's initial protests in November.

Two elderly passengers became the first people from aboard a cruise ship moored near Tokyo to die of the coronavirus, the Japanese government said on Thursday, as hundreds more passengers disembarked after two weeks' quarantine.

The Mormon Church's secretive $100 billion investment fund revealed massive stakes in Microsoft, Apple, and other tech titans for the first time this month.

Mexican authorities arrested a couple believed to have kidnapped, tortured and murdered a seven year-old girl on Wednesday, days after the discovery of the victim's body sparked protests in the violence-wracked country.

Larry Ellison, co-founder of Oracle, one of the largest software companies in the world, hosted a fundraiser for Donald Trump's re-election on Wednesday at the tech titan's Southern California estate. The event was expected to bring in some $7 million for the incumbent president.

Gov. Andy Beshear spoke against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity and supported a ban on conversion therapy for LGBTQ youth during a historic appearance at a gay-rights rally Wednesday at Kentucky's Capitol. Beshear became Kentucky's first sitting governor to attend a rally staged by the Fairness Campaign in the Capitol Rotunda, a few steps from the governor's office.

BBC

At Kennedy Catholic High School in Washington State, crowds gathered after two recently engaged LGBT teachers left their jobs.

An 18th Century Ethiopian crown has been returned home after being hidden in a Dutch flat for more than 20 years. Ethiopian Sirak Asfaw, who fled to the Netherlands in the late 1970s, found the crown in 1998 in the suitcase of a visitor and realized it was stolen.

A UN human rights investigation has accused the government of South Sudan and other armed groups of deliberately starving civilians. Investigators found access to humanitarian aid and other basic services was intentionally blocked, leaving more than half the population in acute need of food.

WND

President Trump long has described most of the legacy media outlets, the old newspapers, the television networks and such, as "fake news." But now two of those outlets, CNN and the Washington Post, have been recognized by lawmakers officially as "fake news."

In Washington state, if you knowingly infect someone with HIV, you could soon be receiving a much lighter punishment -- and it's partially because Democrats there want to reduce the "stigma" around LGBT individuals, the same people who arguably be most negatively affected by this change.

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