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At Least Six Dead, Massive Power Outages After Hurricane Zeta Hits Gulf Coast

At least six people are dead after Hurricane Zeta slammed into the Gulf Coast, leaving power outages and destruction before turning toward the Northeast. More than 1.9 million customers still were without power Thursday afternoon across Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina.

Due to the power outages, 15 counties in Georgia were forced to open early voting locations later in the day. In Douglas County, in the Atlanta metropolitan area, there wasn’t power at any of the six early voting locations, and none opened. Douglas County officials said the voting sites would reopen on Friday. Georgia requires every county to have three weeks of early voting.

Zeta, with winds reaching 110 mph, made landfall Wednesday as a Category 2 storm. Zeta is the strongest storm to hit the U.S. this late in the season since 1899, and it’s the fifth to strike Louisiana this hurricane season.

Zeta is now moving north, with gusty winds slamming the Carolinas and Virginia. Washington, Baltimore and Philadelphia could see up to 4 inches and potential flooding. By Thursday evening, heavy rain hit Philadelphia, New York City and southern New England. Further north, in upstate New York, Massachusetts, Vermont and New Hampshire, as much as 4 inches of snow is possible by Friday morning.

Hurricane Zeta slams into Gulf Coast, killing at least 6

Via www.cbsnews.com
 

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Supreme Court Rejects Second Challenge To North Carolina Absentee Ballot Deadline

On Thursday, the Supreme Court rejected a second challenge to an extension on North Carolina’s deadline to count mail-in ballots. The court voted 5-3 to reject a challenge by North Carolina Republicans to block the state election board’s decision to extend the deadline to count mail-in ballots until Nov. 13.

Republicans in the state effectively asked the justices to undo the action by the state board of elections to extend the deadline under its powers to address natural disasters in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.In Wednesday’s ruling, Gorsuch and Alito described the board’s decision as “constitutional overreach.”

The Supreme Court also allowed Pennsylvania to extend its deadline to receive mail-in ballots to Nov. 6, but rejected a similar extension in Wisconsin.

U.S. Supreme Court rejects Trump bid to block North Carolina absentee ballot extension

Via www.reuters.com
 

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Supreme Court Will Not Grant Review Of Pennsylvania Deadline For Mail-In Ballots

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court refused to take another look at the issue of late-arriving mail ballots in the state of Pennsylvania, leaving intact a lower court ruling that said the state must count ballots that arrive up to three days after the election. It was the second time Republicans had asked the court to roll back the deadline. They lost Oct. 19 on a 4-4 vote, when the justices denied their request to put a hold on a lower court order extending the deadline.

Wednesday’s vote was 5-3, with Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch saying the court should have taken the case immediately. In trying again, the Republicans apparently hoped that newly appointed Justice Amy Coney Barrett’s arrival would help them prevail. But she sat this one out, taking no part in the consideration or disposition of the motion. A court spokeswoman said that was “because of the need for a prompt resolution of it and because she has not had time to fully review the parties’ filings.”

Voters in Pennsylvania can request mail ballots as late as seven days before the election, and they must be delivered to them within two days after the requests are received, leaving only a short time for the completed ballots to be delivered.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled in September that the free and equal clause of the state Constitution required an accommodation in light of mail delays caused by the coronavirus pandemic. It determined that voters would be disenfranchised if their ballots were stuck in mail sorting facilities because of expected Postal Service delays. Under the ruling, ballots can arrive as late as three days after the polls close, unless there’s evidence that a ballot was mailed after Election Day. State election officials began following the ruling immediately, telling Pennsylvania voters that their ballots would be accepted if they are received by Nov. 6, provided they are mailed on or before Election Day.

SCOTUS denies GOP effort to fast-track ruling on Pa. ballot deadline

Via www.cbsnews.com
 

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Hurricane Zeta Makes Landfall In Louisiana As Category 2 Storm

On Wednesday afternoon, Hurricane Zeta strengthened into a Category 2 storm packing 110-mph winds as it bore down on the Gulf Coast. The hurricane’s center was located 65 miles south-southwest of New Orleans, where a hurricane warning was in effect. 

Zeta became the fifth named storm to hit the Louisiana coast during the season, and the 11th to strike the country as a whole — a national record. City officials in New Orleans called for residents who live outside the levee system to evacuate voluntarily as forecasts showed that Zeta’s eyewall could move right over the Big Easy.

In addition to New Orleans, hurricane warnings were in effect along the Gulf Coast from central Louisiana eastward to the Mississippi-Alabama border and tropical storm watches have been issued northward through Atlanta. Dangerous and damaging storm surge, high winds and flooding rainfall was predicted to hammer the area from southeastern Louisiana to the Florida Panhandle, and several tornadoes could also touch down as the Zeta batters the U.S. Gulf Coast, especially near and east of where the storm comes onshore.

Zeta is predicted to be the fifth tropical system to make landfall in Louisiana at tropical storm strength or greater following hits from Tropical Storm Cristobal, Hurricane Laura, Tropical Storm Marco and Hurricane Delta.  Zeta became the 11th hurricane of the extremely busy Atlantic hurricane season over the northwestern Caribbean Sea on Monday afternoon.

Hurricane Zeta makes landfall in Louisiana as Category 2 storm with 110 mph winds

Via news.yahoo.com
 

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Philadelphia Protests Over Police Shooting Lead To 30 Officers Injured

Overnight protests in the city of Philadelphia, prompted after a Philadelphia police shot and killed a black man waving a knife toward them, left some 30 officers injured, authorities said on Tuesday.

The fatal shooting of Walter Wallace Jr., 27, on Monday afternoon was captured on video, leading to the protests against police brutality and racial bias. The video showed two Philadelphia police officers pointing guns and moving away from Wallace as he walks toward them with a knife in hand. Police Sgt. Eric Gripp said Wallace was “brandishing” the knife and “waving it erratically.”

The protests and looting that became violent Monday night with some protesters throwing objects at officers, causing dozens of injuries. One officer was hospitalized with a broken leg and other injuries after a pickup truck intentionally struck her, police said. Authorities said protesters also set fire to five police vehicles and one fire vehicle.

Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said authorities arrested 91 people during the protests, 11 for assaults on officers and 76 for burglary.

30 Philadelphia officers injured, one run over by truck, in protests after police fatally shoot Black man

Via www.usatoday.com
 

Editorial credit: Ray Fearon / Shutterstock.com

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NXIVM Cult Leader Keith Raniere Sentenced to 120 Years in Prison

Keith Raniere, who ran a cult-like group that kept women as virtual sex prisoners in upstate New York, was sentenced to 120 years in prison on Tuesday. Raniere was convicted on federal sex trafficking, racketeering and possession of child pornography charges last year for his role in the alleged sex cult called NXIVM (pronounced “nexium”). The sentence was handed down by U.S. District Judge Nicholas Garaufis, who presided over the six-week trial last year that ended in Raniere convicted on all counts. 

Acting U.S. Attorney Seth DuCharme said he hopes the sentence will serve as a deterrence to any aspiring cult leaders. “When justice catches up to you, as it did today, it is severe,” DuCharme told reporters outside court in Brooklyn. “Keith Raniere will not be able to victimize people anymore after today’s sentence and we’re very grateful for that.”

In a jailhouse interview that aired Friday on “Dateline NBC,” Raniere apologized for the “tragedy” and “hurt” he caused victims — but also said that he’s not guilty of any crimes. “I am innocent,” Raniere said, adding, “This is a horrible tragedy with many, many people being hurt. There is a horrible injustice here. And whether you think I’m the devil or not, the justice process has to be examined.”

NXIVM’s president, Nancy Salzman, her daughter Lauren Salzman, bookkeeper Kathy Russell and Claire Bronfman, the Seagram liquor heiress, have all pleaded guilty to various charges. Bronfman was a key NXIVM benefactor and sentenced to 81 behind bars.

Keith Raniere, founder of cult-like group NXIVM, sentenced to 120 years in prison

Via www.usatoday.com
 

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More Than 60,000 Evacuated In Irvine, CA., Schools Closed Due To Wildfires

More than 60,000 residents of Irvine, Calif. were evacuated on Monday after the quick-burning Silverado Fire in Orange County scorched 2,000 acres. Nearly 500 firefighters were working on the blaze according to the Orange County Fire Authority. About 20,000 homes in Orchard Hills are in the evacuation zone and a number of schools have been evacuated or are asked to be ready to evacuate.

Fire authority Captain Greg Barta said high Santa Ana winds up to 70 mph were making it impossible to use helicopters. Said Barta, “The wind is making it very difficult on us. We do have crews on the ground that are attempting to construct what we call a line, which is to put hose lines and remove some of the fuel that is in the fire’s path. But it is very difficult.”

Most of the emergency shelters at community centers were reported to be full Monday afternoon, and Irvine Mayor Christina Shea said in a news release “we are asking everyone to comply with the evacuation orders for their safety and the safety of our first responders.”

California wildfire leaves two firefighters critically injured, forces 60,000 to evacuate

Via www.nbcnews.com
 

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Amy Coney Barrett Sworn In As Newest Supreme Court Justice After Senate Votes To Confirm

The Senate confirmed Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court on Monday, solidifying the conservative majority on the court. Barrett was sworn in shortly after her confirmation by the Senate by Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas at the White House.
The 48-year-old Barrett was confirmed by a vote of 52-48 on Monday evening. Only one Republican, Senator Susan Collins, voted against confirming Barrett to the Supreme Court. All the Democrats voted against her. Barrett, who was confirmed 30 days after Trump announced her nomination, is the first nominee in the modern era to be sent to the Supreme Court on a partisan vote.
Some legal experts say it will be the most conservative Supreme Court since before World War II.  Barrett’s confirmation has left Democrats concerned about the fate of the nation’s health care law, the Affordable Care Act, and Roe v. Wade, the landmark decision allowing women to have access to abortions. 

Following confirmation to Supreme Court, Barrett takes 1st oath at White House

Via abcnews.go.com
 

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Dow Jones Drops 650 Points As Stock Market Plummets Due To Rise In COVID-19 Cases

U.S. stocks dropped on Wall Street Monday, losing 650 points in their worst day since early September. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed the day down 650.19 points, or 2.29%, for its worst day since Sept. 3 after falling by as much as 890 points earlier in the day. The S&P 500 was down about 1.86% and the Nasdaq Composite fell 1.64%.

Analysts say stocks tumbled in part due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the United States and the lack of additional stimulus to aid businesses and Americans. There were about 300,000 new cases nationwide between Thursday and Monday.

Rising cases caused travel stocks to sink. Royal Caribbean dropped 9.65% and Norwegian Cruise Line declined 8.45%, while United Airlines fell 7.02% and American Airlines slid 6.35%.

The House passed a new round of aid months ago but the Senate has failed to reach a consensus and weeks of negotiations between Democratic lawmakers and White House officials have failed to produce an agreement.

Stocks have their worst day in a month as virus cases surge

Via abcnews.go.com
 

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El Paso, Texas See 300% Increase In Covid-19 Hospitalizations As Cases Continue To Rise Across The U.S.

After the city recorded a roughly 200 percent increase in hospitalizations in less than a month, El Paso, Texas has turned its convention center into a field hospital and is asking residents to stay at home for two weeks. The spike in hospitalizations came as much of the United States saw a rise in the spread of coronavirus. Texas’ neighbor New Mexico recorded 4,252 new cases last week. 

In El Paso, a border city of more than 680,000, the number of hospitalizations recorded in the last three weeks jumped from 259 to 786, according to the city’s director of public health, Angela Mora. In a statement, Mora warned that local health services and hospitals will remain strained for people suffering non-coronavirus emergencies like heart attacks, strokes and car accidents. “If we continue on this trend, we risk detrimental effects to our entire healthcare system,” Mora said. “For the sake of those hospitalized and the frontline healthcare workers working tirelessly each day to care for them, we ask you to please stay home for two weeks and eliminate your interactions with those outside your household until we can flatten the curve.”

People who don’t follow new local health orders requiring masks and social distancing will face fines, the public health department said in a news release on Sunday. In a separate statement, the office of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said that El Paso’s convention center is set to open this week as a hospital with a capacity of as many as 100 beds. State officials were also deploying auxiliary medical units to local hospitals that can provide another 100 beds each, the statement said.

El Paso reports 517 new COVID-19 cases; more than 11,000 active cases

Via www.msn.com
 

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