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 • Headlines: Saturday, July 31, 2:20 PM   (More news)
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  Team USA started Day 8 of the 2020 Summer Games with a silver medal in the triathlon in Tokyo. The Americans went on to win two golds in swimming and two bronze medals in track and field and shooting Saturday. The five podium appearances pushed Team USA's Olympic medal total to 46, which is tied with China for the most medals at the Games. China earned six medals Saturday and owns an Olympic-high 21 gold medals. France also earned six medals on Day 8, but ranks eighth in the medal count. Katie Zaferes, Kevin McDowell, Taylor Knibb and Morgan Pearson were the first Americans to reach the podium Saturday. Their time of 1:23:55 was fast enough to win a silver medal in the mixed relay triathlon at Odaiba Marine Park. Great Britain won gold and beat Team USA by 14 seconds. France finished third. Team USA went on to win bronze in the 4x400-meter mixed track relay Saturday in Tokyo. Vernon Norwood, Trevor Stewart, Kendall Ellis and Whitney Kaylin helped the Americans finish third in that event. Poland and the Dominican Republic claimed respective gold and silver medals in the relay. Jamaica swept the women's 100-meter final in track. Elaine Thompson-Herah won the gold medal with an Olympic-record time of 10.61 seconds. Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Shericka Jackson finished in second and third place, respectively. American Teahna Daniels finished seventh. In swimming, Team USA's Caeleb Dressel won his third gold medal of the Games with a win in the men's 100-meter butterfly. Dressel's time of 49.45 seconds set a world record. Katie Ledecky claimed her second gold and fourth overall medal of the Games with a victory in the women's 800-meter freestyle final. American Katie Grimes, 15, finished fourth in that event. Team USA added its final medal of the day with a third-place finish in shooting. Madelynn Ann Bernau and Brian Burrows teamed up to claim the gold medal in the trap mixed team bronze medal match. Spain beat San Marino in the gold medal match. In tennis, Switzerland's Belinda Bencic beat Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic in the women's singles gold medal match Saturday in Tokyo. Elina Svitolina of the Ukraine beat Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan in the bronze medal match. Spain's Pablo Carreno Busta upset Novak Djokovic of Serbia for the bronze medal in the men's singles tournament. In non-medal events, Team USA beat South Korea to improve to 2-0 in the baseball tournament. The win Saturday in Yokohama, Japan, helped the Americans (2-0) clinch the top seed in Group B in the double-elimination tournament. In basketball, Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant and Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum led Team USA to a 119-84 win over the Czech Republic. Durant recorded 23 points, eight rebounds and six assists. He passed Carmelo Anthony the top point scorer in Team USA history. Tatum recorded a game-high 27 points in the win. Team USA (2-1) is in second place by 3-0 France in Group A. In soccer, Japan, Mexico, Brazil and Spain won their quarterfinal matches Saturday and advanced to the semifinals of the men's tournament. Spain's Rafa Mir scored three goals in a 5-2 win over the Ivory Coast. Japan beat New Zealand in a penalty kick shootout. Brazil beat Egypt 1-0. Mexico ended the day with a 6-3 win over South Korea. In golf, American Xander Schauffele fired a 3-under par 68 in the third round to maintain a one-stroke lead on the field in the men's tournament. Schauffele is 14-under par entering the final round. Japan's Hideki Matsuyama fired a 4-under par 67 in the third round and is 13-under par through three rounds. Great Britain's Paul Casey and Mexico's Carlos Ortiz are tied for third at 12-under par. Ireland's Rory McIlroy is tied for fifth. Team USA's Collin Morikawa is tied for 17th. Americans Patrick Reed and Justin Thomas are tied for 38th.
  Two Green Line trains crashed in Boston, injuring 23 people. None of the injuries were life-threatening, authorities said. The trains were running along Commonwealth Avenue west of Boston University when one train crashed into the other from behind Friday. The Boston Fire Department asked residents to avoid the area after the crash and use the Route 57 bus instead. Train service was suspended around 6:15 p.m. The cause of the crash was unknown, NY Daily News reported Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority General Manager Steve Poftak saying at a news conference. Some injuries included sprained wrists and shoulder injuries, WHDH-TV reported.
  The theatrical release of the family adventure Clifford the Big Red Dog is being postponed out of concerns regarding the new Delta variant of the coronavirus. The movie is scheduled its have a world premiere screening at the Toronto International Film Festival. It was expected to open in North American theaters Sept. 17, but Paramount Pictures is looking for a new date since COVID-19 cases are again on the rise and might keep parents and children from heading to the multiplex. The live-action and animation hybrid adaptation of Norman Bridwell's children's book stars Darby Camp, Jack Whitehall, John Cleese, Rosie Perez, Siobhan Fallon Hogan and Tony Hale. David Alan Grier lends his voice to the titular, 25-foot-tall pup. Most U.S. and Canadian cinemas closed temporarily, then reopened with strict safety measures in place in recent months, but attendance at screenings has not yet returned to pre-pandemic levels. Many studios -- such as Disney and Warner Bros. -- have opted to release their films on both streaming platforms and in theaters to give them the widest audience possible.
  Amid a rise in COVID-19 cases due to the Delta variant, New Orleans has required all city employees and contractors be vaccinated and reinstated a citywide mask mandate. New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell announced the news rules Friday at a news conference. "Thanks to the Delta variant, the COVID pandemic is once again raging out of control," Cantrell said, citing 35,115 cases and 814 deaths reported in Orleans Parish since the pandemic began. Over the past week alone, there has been over 1,000 new cases in New Orleans, Cantrell said. The average daily cases surged from 104 last week to 272 this week, she added. "This is a very dangerous number," Cantrell said. "We have been here before we've seen the movie over again, and what was once unpreventable, today is preventable, and it's through our people getting vaccinated. The COVID-19 positivity rate is at 10.7% and was 6.5% two days ago, she continued. "This touches everyone in our community, but with a very laser focus on young children in our community," Cantrell said. "Our children are dying, from 2-weeks-old, to 2-years-old, to 4-years old. Cantrell pointed out the alarming rate COVID-19 has surged in Louisiana and New Orleans and affect on hospital and other emergency resources. She also said she signed an emergency contract routed through the city's office of Homeland Security to increase capacity to respond to 911 calls amid the strain from COVID-19 cases. The city is among the first to require its employees and contractors be vaccinated along with New York City, and federal agencies. California has also pushed for employee vaccination, requiring all state workers and healthcare workers show proof of full vaccination or be tested at least once a week. New Orleans' mask policy requiring face coverings in public was first implemented in June 2020. Under the new mandate, everyone is required to wear masks when indoors with people outside their household. A separate policy has required masks also be worn at large outdoor gatherings. Along with state policies, private companies, such as Walmart and Disney, have required that some employees be vaccinated, following similar announcement from Google, Facebook, Uber and others, The New York Times reported. The Walmart vaccine mandate applies to employees at its headquarters and managers who travel in the United States, not employees in stores, clubs and distribution and fulfillment centers. Walmart has also restored its mask mandate in substantial or high transmission areas based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance due to spread of the Delta variant. Walmart's retail and warehouse workers are not covered by collective bargaining units. At Disney, the vaccine mandate applies to salaried and non-union hourly U.S. employees with provisions that unvaccinated workers already on site have 60 days to become fully vaccinated. New hires will have to be fully vaccinated before starting work. Disney told The New York Times it has begun conversations with unions about mandatory vaccinations. The theme park company has also announced it would restore its mask mandate due to the more contagious Delta variant. Meanwhile, Florida's Gov. Ron DeSantis has issued an executive order to prevent mask mandates for school-age children, saying parents should have the freedom to choose whether or not their children wear masks. All of Florida is considered a high transmission area, except for Glades County, which is a substantial transmission area, according to a CDC map. In the Washington, D.C., area, health officials have replenished contract tracers to curb COVID-19 infections, which have reached their highest point since May and could lead to reinstating widespread restrictions, like the new mask order in the capital. The United States recorded a seven-day moving average of 77,275 cases Friday, an increase of 150% over the past 14 days, according to a New York Times analysis. There were 301 deaths, a 10% increase over two weeks. Louisiana has the highest rate of cases in the United States at 89 per 100,000 people, followed by Florida at 74. Louisiana also has one of the lowest percentages of fully vaccinated people at 37. At 34%, Alabama and Mississippi are the lowest. Florida has the highest hospitalization rate in the country, with 37 per 100,000 people, with 49% of residents fully vaccinated. Nevada has the highest rate of deaths at 0.44 per 100,000, with a 44% vaccination rate. The United States has the highest number of COVID-19 cases and deaths globally at over 34.9 million cases and over 613,000 deaths, the Johns Hopkins global map shows. Although there are some "vaccine breakthrough cases," vaccines remain highly effective at protecting people from getting COVID-19 and becoming severely ill from it as they are "much less likely to get sick," according to the CDC. According to the CDC, 49.5% of people in the United States are fully vaccinated and 57.4% have received at least one dose of a two-shot vaccine. White House chief of staff Ronald Klain tweeted Saturday COVID-19 vaccination rates have recently increased. "First time we've had four days in a row, over 700K shots, in a long stretch," Klain said in the tweet. "About 3M people got their first shot in the past seven days -- also a significant increase."
  Evil Dead icon Bruce Campbell has joined the Season 4 cast of the sitcom A.P. Bio. "Hi class, meet the first Mr. Griffin," the show's Twitter feed said Friday, along with a link to a report on the casting news. Campbell will play John Griffin, who tries to reunite with his estranged son, the high school-set workplace comedy's main character, Jack Griffin (Glenn Howerton). Peacock picked up the series for Seasons 3 and 4 after NBC canceled it. The cast includes Patton Oswalt, Mary Sohn, Lyric Lewis, Jean Villepique and Paula Pell. In addition to the Evil Dead film franchise, Campbell has starred in the TV shows Ash vs. Evil Dead, Fargo and Lodge 49.
  The was a 50% increase in the number of rhinoceroses killed in the first six months of 2021 in South Africa compared to the same period last year, but the figure is still lower than pre-pandemic years, the country's government announced Saturday. Barbara Creecy, the minister of environment, forestry and fisheries, said 249 rhinos have been poached for their horns from Jan. 1 through the end of June. That's up from the 166 poached in the same time period in 2020, but still a marked decline from 2019, which saw 318 rhino poaching. The ministry blamed the 2021 increase over 2020 on the lifting of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions. "While the national lockdowns that curbed the movement of people to halt the spread of the virus in 2020 contributed to a decrease in rhino poaching, the lifting of the stringent lockdown regulations appears to have seen an increase in rhino poaching in the first six months of 2021," a ministry statement said. During the first half of 2021, there were 715 poaching incidents -- including 132 rhino deaths and one elephant death -- in Kruger National Park, a 3.77% increase over 2021. The ministry said authorities arrested 40 alleged poachers in the park during the first half of the year, and 125 throughout the country. Authorities finalized 14 cases of poaching with a 93% conviction rate, with an overall slowdown of court cases due to pandemic restrictions. "It is clear that the multi-disciplinary, integrated approach to investigating illegal wildlife trade is bearing fruit and that effective collaboration with critical role players remains key to our success," Creecy said. "I congratulate the teams on a job well done." White rhinoceroses are classified as near threatened and primarily call South Africa their home, though populations can also be found in Namibia, Zimbabwe and Kenya, according to the World Wildlife Fund.
  Belinda Bencic beat Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic to become the first woman in history to win an Olympic gold medal in tennis for Switzerland at the 2020 Summer Games on Saturday in Tokyo. Bencic fired 15 backhand winners and converted six of 10 break points in her 7-5, 2-6, 6-3 victory. "It's amazing," Bencic told NBC. "I can't believe it. I don't get it yet. I don't know whether to laugh or cry. I didn't know it would be possible." Bencic, 24, started her run with a straight-sets win over American Jessica Pegula in the first round on July 24 in Tokyo. She went on to beat Misaki Doi of Japan, Barbora Krejcikova of the Czech Republic and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of the Russia Olympic Committee. She then beat No. 20 Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan in the semifinals Thursday to advance to the women's final. She battled the Tokyo heat and overcame a second-set loss Saturday to claim her historic gold medal. "I was trying everything to keep the rallies really long and make her work hard for it," Bencic said of Vondrousova. "It was a balance between taking too much risk and pushing her. ... I don't know how I won, I really don't know." Bencic will team up with Viktorija Golubic and attempt to win another gold medal against the Czech Republic's Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova in a women's doubles match Sunday in Tokyo. No. 6 Elina Svitolina of the Ukraine claimed the bronze medal in the women's singles tournament. She beat Rybakina in Saturday's second match on centre court at Ariake Tennis Court. Men's world No. 1 Novak Djokovic of Serbia also suffered his second-consecutive upset, losing in three sets to No. 11 Pablo Carreno Busta of Spain in a bronze medal match Saturday on centre court. Carreno Busta won that two-hour, 47-minute match 6-4, 6-7(6), 6-3. He converted one of two break points in the win. Djokovic failed to convert his lone break point opportunity. "Dreams come true," Carreno Busta told NBC. "This is amazing. I've never felt anything like this. It's a bronze medal, but for me it [feels] like a gold." Djokovic also withdrew from the mixed doubles bronze medal match due to a left shoulder injury. Australia's Ash Barty and John Peers were given that medal due to the withdrawal. No. 5 Alexander Zverev of Germany upset Djokovic in a men's singles semifinal Friday in Tokyo. Zverev battles No, 25 Karen Khachanov of the Russian Olympic Committee in the men's singles final Sunday at Ariake Tennis Park.
  Rapper Kanye West is planning a second listening party for his new album, Donda, in Atlanta on Thursday night. Live Nation said Friday the event is once again to take place at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Tickets cost between $30 and $75, and will be available for purchase starting Monday at Ticketmaster. West, 44, unveiled his 10th studio record at a party held at the venue earlier this week. It set a new Apple Music Global Livestream record with 3.3 million viewers. TMZ cited unnamed sources as saying West is reworking the event to give fans a new experience. Donda is named after West's late mom, who died at age 58 in 2007. The record features several new songs, including collaborations with Jay Z, the late Pop Smoke, Travis Scott, Pusha T, Baby Keem, Lil Baby and other artists. Billboard said the album was originally expected to be released on July 23, but is now slated to go on sale on Aug. 6.
  Spain, Brazil, Japan and Mexico each clinched spots in the semifinals of the 2020 Summer Games men's soccer tournament with quarterfinal victories Saturday in Japan. Spain started the day with a 5-2 win over the Ivory Coast at Miyagi Stadium in Rifu. Right wing Rafa Mir entered the game as a substitute in stoppage time. He went on to record a hat-trick in the extra-time triumph. Mir scored in the third minute of stoppage time, the 117th minute and stoppage time in the second half of extra time. Forwards Dani Olmo and Mikel Oyarzabal also scored for Spain. Defender Eric Bailly and left wing Max Gradel scored for the Ivory Coast. Japan beat New Zealand through a penalty kick shootout in the next quarterfinal. The teams played to a scoreless draw through regulation and extra time at Ibaraki Kashima Stadium in Kashima. Ayase Ueda, Kou Itakura, Yuta Nakayama and Maya Yoshida each converted their attempts for Japan the shootout. The Ivory Coast converted on just two of its four penalty kicks. Striker Matheus Cunha scored in the 37th minute to lead Brazil to a 1-0 win over Egypt in another men's quarterfinal Saturday at Saitama Stadium in Saitama. Mexico ended the day with a 6-3 win over South Korea in Yokohama. Forward Henry Martin and left wing Francisco Cordova scored two goals apiece in the victory. Dong-Gyeong Lee also scored two goals in the loss. Right wing Luis Romo and forward Eduardo Aguirre also scored for Mexico. South Korea striker Hwang Ui-Jo scored the final goal of the game in stoppage time. Mexico battles Brazil in the first semifinal Tuesday at Ibaraki Kashima Stadium. Japan faces Spain in the other semifinal Tuesday in Saitama. Those games air at 4 a.m. EDT and 7 a.m. EDT Tuesday on NBCSN and Universo, respectively.
  A federal eviction moratorium expired Saturday after Congress failed to pass legislation extending the ban, prompting some House progressives to sleep outside the Capitol in protest. The moratorium to help renters who have lost their jobs and income due to COVID-19 expired after House leaders failed eleventh-hour attempt to extend it to Oct. 18 ahead of a six-week summer recess. House Democratic leader Steny Hoyer told ABC News an "overwhelming number" of Democrats supported extension, but some were concerned about getting payments to landlords who could not enforce rent collections. "Not a single Republican would support the measure," a joint statement by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Hoyer and Democratic Whip James Clyburn said. Hoyer asked for unanimous consent on the House Floor on Friday evening to bring up legislation to extend the eviction ban, but "it was objected to and blocked," the joint statement added. Rep. Cori Bush, D-Mo., who struggled with homelessness in the past, slept outside the U.S. Capitol overnight in protest, along with Reps. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., and Ilhan Omar, D-Minn. "Many of my Democratic colleagues chose to go on vacation early today rather than staying to vote to keep people in their homes," Bush tweeted Friday night. "I'll be sleeping outside the Capitol tonight. We've still got work to do." Omar said in a tweet she joined the protest because of homelessness in her district. "We are here!" Omar tweeted. "So many people are at risk of homelessness in our district and many have already experienced it. We are out here for them." The moratorium was originally scheduled to expire April 1 until the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention moved to extend it to at least July 1 due to ongoing pandemic and threat of COVID-19 spread in homeless shelters. Then, the CDC extended it to July 31, saying it would be the last extension. The eviction ban had been subject to multiple federal court decisions before its expiration. In June, a federal appellate court upheld the ban after a legal defeat the prior month when a federal judge ruled the CDC exceeded its authority in ordering the ban. Under the CDC ban, landlords were prohibited from evicting renters who have made partial rent payments and demonstrated through sworn declaration they would face overcrowded conditions if evicted from home. "Given the recent spread of the Delta variant, including among those Americans both most likely to face evictions and lacking vaccinations, President [Joe] Biden would have strongly supported a decision by the CDC to further extend this eviction moratorium to protect renters at this moment of heightened vulnerability," White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement Thursday. Pelosi told reporters Friday that Congress received a last-minute notice from the White House about the need to fix the issue with legislation. "Really, we only learned about this yesterday," Pelosi said. "Not really enough time to socialize it within our caucus as well as to build the consensus necessary." Pelosi noted that $3 billion out of $46 billion for renters, landlords and housing providers in the COVID-19 relief legislation has been distributed. "How shameful. I mean, what? While people -- and the people who are on the verge of being evicted are paying the price for whatever obstacles these localities and states refuse to overcome to distribute this -- these funds," Pelosi said. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortex, D.-N.Y., told reporters that party leaders waited too long to attempt to extend the moratorium. "Everybody knew this was happening," Cortez said. "We were sounding the alarm about this issue."

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