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    Vitoria Gabrielle crawled all the time and was starting to walk this year with a little help, hanging on to her 4-year-old brother's arm while exploring her mother's small apartment on a cobblestone street in Rio de Janeiro's working-class Piety neighborhood. The girl with a constant smile celebrated her first birthday in February, slept and ate well and was enthusiastically saying her first words: “mamãe' and “vovó” (mama and grandma), said her mother, Andréa de Sousa. But after recovering from viral meningitis, Vitoria Gabrielle suffered gastrointestinal problems that sent her from her mother's barely furnished hilltop home back to the hospital several times for treatment. It was during an April hospital stay that de Sousa suspects her daughter was infected with the coronavirus that was just starting to circulate in Rio and Brazil. Vitoria Gabrielle died last month — 1 year, 2 months and 21 days after she was born — as COVID-19 cases surged in Latin America's largest and most populous nation, which is now the hardest-hit country globally after the U.S. for virus cases and deaths. ___ EDITOR’S NOTE: This is part of an ongoing series of stories remembering people who have died from the coronavirus around the world. ___ Only de Sousa and the child's stepfather were allowed to attend Vitoria Gabrielle's funeral in a cemetery where the gravediggers referred to the child and others recently buried there as “little angels' because their lives were cut short long before they could sin. No words were said at the event, kept brief to avoid more infections; the only sounds were de Sousa's sobs. “My heart is destroyed with the loss of my daughter,” de Sousa, 20, said later in an interview. “You are not ready to lose anybody but, a child? I’m not used to being without her. I miss her a lot.” At home these days, de Sousa loses herself as if she were in another world, spending much of her time gazing at a slideshow on her phone of pictures of her daughter set to the song “Law of Life” by Brazilian pop music star Sabrina Lopes. “Everything that is born, dies. Everything that comes, goes. Today a dream died ... On the road of life, we are passengers. But God protects every extra star in the sky,” Lopes sings. It was on April 9 when Victoria Gabrielle was admitted to Jesus Municipal Hospital to undergo tests to determine why she had been vomiting. By April 20, de Sousa said she realized that her daughter was constantly tired and having difficulty breathing, a condition she had never suffered before. The child was put in intensive care on April 24, diagnosed a short time later with the coronavirus and died on May 4. A death certificate that de Sousa showed to The Associated Press said her daughter's causes of death were “Bilateral pneumonia, infected by COVID-19' along with a buildup of fluid in the brain and swelling of the liver and spleen. While de Sousa is convinced her daughter was infected at the hospital, Rio's Municipal Health Secretariat said in a statement said it wasn't possible to identify the origin of infection because the virus had been spreading throughout Brazil when Vitoria Gabrielle was infected. The statement added that the child received proper care while hospitalized. De Sousa said her son, Gabriel, had always been very close to his sister and doesn't understand why he hasn’t seen her for so long. He just wants to play with her. “He asks about her all day. He says, ”Mom, I miss Gabrielle, why is she living with Jesus Christ?' De Sousa added: “And I say to him, ‘God took her, God wanted her close to him.’ Then he says, ‘Wow, but I want to go see my sister.’' “I'm asking God for strength and it's not easy,' de Sousa said. “So I'm looking at her photos and I'm really missing her.” ____ Clendenning reported from Rio de Janeiro. Associated Press senior television producer Yesica Fisch contributed to this report from Rio de Janeiro.
  • Four months after the opening race was called off at the last minute, the Formula One season finally gets underway this weekend on another continent and in a different-looking world. There will be no fans on hand at the remote Spielberg track in Austria, with the coronavirus still creating uncertainty over how many races can actually be held — and where. That may not be the only unusual sight, as drivers are discussing whether to take the knee together on the grid before Sunday’s race in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. Defending F1 champion Lewis Hamilton has been an outspoken supporter of the movement and will be competing in an all-black Mercedes car — instead of the usual silver — as a statement against racism. “It is so important that we seize this moment,” said Hamilton, the only Black driver to become F1 champion. The truncated campaign kicks off with back-to-back races in Austria, as part of a hastily reworked schedule. It was meant to start nearly 10,000 miles (16,000 kilometers) away in the Australian city of Melbourne. But the fast-spreading impact of the coronavirus pandemic led to the Australian GP being canceled on March 13, two days before the scheduled race, while people were still queuing for the first practice sessions. Several other races, including the showcase Monaco GP, were also canceled. A rescue package with eight European races squeezed into 10 weeks, culminating with the Italian GP on Sept. 6, was scrambled together. F1 still hopes to rearrange some of the postponed races in order to finish the season with 15-18 of the scheduled 22. There will also be two consecutive races at the British GP. If the season continues beyond Europe, it will end with races in Bahrain and Abu Dhabi in December. “We actually don’t even know the amount of races we are going to do,' McLaren and future Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz Jr. said. “It’s an unprecedented scenario.” Spielberg's Red Bull Ring, cut off from major towns or cities, offers a reassuringly secluded feel amid coronavirus fears. But strict health and safety measures have been put into place. Everyone entering the track, including a greatly reduced number of media representatives, must have tested negative for Covid-19 and further tests will be carried out every five days. F1 teams are not allowed to mingle with each other — on or off the track — and media have no access to F1's paddock area. Drivers would normally have faced a barrage of questions in a news conference room, but health requirements dictate that drivers hold news conferences via video link and with questions sent in advance. And, of course, Spielberg's 4.3-kilometer (2.7-mile) circuit will be largely empty. It is normally swarming with tents, camper vans, makeshift barbecues and tens of thousands of orange-shirted Max Verstappen fans. The Red Bull driver, hugely popular back home in the Netherlands, has won the past two races here. The track is among the shortest in F1 but also one of the most aggressive. Drivers spend about 72% of the time at full throttle, second only to Italy's Monza track with 77%. That's perfectly suited to Verstappen's bold and abrasive racing style. Last season he chased down the leading trio before making a typically brazen overtaking move on race leader Charles Leclerc's Ferrari. The 22-year-old Verstappen showed last season that he is closing the gap to Hamilton in terms of wheel-to-wheel driving. Red Bull's car also made a considerable jump in speed, while Ferrari's faded, and Verstappen is emerging as a major title threat to Hamilton. The 35-year-old British driver is chasing a record-equaling seventh F1 title to equal Michael Schumacher's record, and only needs to win eight more races to beat Schumacher's mark of 91. Aside from Verstappen and possibly Valtteri Bottas — Hamilton's improving teammate at Mercedes — the other main challenger is Leclerc. The 22-year-old Monaco driver is extremely quick and impressed observers in his first season at Ferrari with seven pole positions — two more than Hamilton — and two wins. He is now Ferrari's No. 1 ahead of four-time F1 champion Sebastian Vettel, whose star has faded after he wasted mid-season leads in 2017 and 2018 and lost those titles to Hamilton. The German veteran is leaving at the end of the year after failing to agree on a new contract, and his future in F1 is uncertain. Like so many other things this season. ___ More AP auto racing: https://apnews.com/apf-AutoRacing and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
  • NEW DELHI — The number of confirmed coronavirus infections in India has topped 600,000, with health authorities reporting 19,148 new cases in the past 24 hours. As of Thursday, India's virus tally stood at 604,641 infections, with 100,000 of those infections reported in the past four days. India’s Health Ministry said the death toll from the virus was now 17,834 people. The worst hit three states, including those home to the cities of Mumbai and New Delhi, account for more than 60% of the country’s cases. Despite the surge in infections, the western beach of state of Goa, a popular backpacking destination, opened for tourism on Thursday with the state government allowing 250 hotels to reopen after more than three months. Tourists will either have to carry COVID-19 negative certificates or get tested on arrival. The state has so far reported 1,387 positive cases with four deaths. Many industries and businesses have reopened across the country, and Indians have cautiously returned to the streets. Schools remain closed. ___ HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK: — — A predicted surge in U.S. job growth for June might not last — Closing bars to stop coronavirus spread is backed by science — Trump says he’ll now wear mask in public, thinks it makes him looks like Lone Ranger ___ HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING: DARWIN, Australia — Australia’s Northern Territory has detected its first person infected with COVID-19 in three months, a man who spent time overseas and in a virus hotspot within the city of Melbourne. Northern Territory Health Minister Natasha Fyles said Thursday the man returned from Melbourne on Monday before 36 suburbs in Australia’s second-largest city were locked down for a month on Wednesday night. Fyles said the man had spent two weeks in hotel quarantine in Melbourne after returning from overseas then spent “a couple of days“ with family in one of the 36 suburbs. Fyles did not say whether the man was likely infected in Melbourne or overseas. The Northern Territory last detected a case on April 6. Victorian Chief Health Minister Brett Sutton said 77 infections had been detected in the past 24 hours in Melbourne, mostly in the locked-down suburbs. ___ SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea says it has confirmed 54 more COVID-19 cases as the coronavirus continues to spread beyond the capital region and reach cities like Gwangju, which has shut schools and tightened social restrictions after dozens fell sick this week. The figures reported Thursday brought the national case total to 12,904, including 282 deaths. Twenty-two of the new cases are in Gwangju, a southwestern city where infections were tied to various places, including office buildings, public libraries, welfare centers and a Buddhist temple. Twenty-three of the new cases came from the densely popular Seoul metropolitan area, which has been at the center of a virus resurgence since late May amid increased economic activity and eased attitudes on social distancing. Health Minster Park Neung-hoo is expressing alarm over the rise of infections in Gwangju, which had one of the smallest case loads among major South Korean cities before this week. ___ BEIJING — China is reporting three newly confirmed cases of coronavirus, and says just one of them involved local transmission in the capital of Beijing. The report Thursday appears to put the country where the virus was first detected late last year on course to eradicating it domestically, at least temporarily. The National Health Commission says the other two cases were brought from outside China. No new deaths were reported, leaving the toll at 4,634 among 83,537 total cases of COVID-19. China credits strict quarantine, social distancing and case tracing policies with helping radically lower the number of cases. China is moving swiftly to re-open its economy, but mass employment looms as the heavily indebted government is reluctant to spend lavishly on stimulus programs. ___ Follow AP pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak
  • A coronavirus outbreak in Australia's second-largest city continued to grow Thursday and the Northern Territory detected its first case in three months. Northern Territory Health Minister Natasha Fyles said the man came home to Darwin on Monday from Melbourne before a one-month lockdown was imposed on 36 of its suburbs Wednesday night. Before the man tested positive Wednesday, the Northern Territory had last detected a case on April 6. Fyles said the man had spent two weeks in hotel quarantine in Melbourne on returning from overseas then spent “a couple of days“ with family in one of the city's suburbs identified as a coronavirus hot spot. Fyles did not say whether the man was likely infected in Melbourne or overseas. Victorian state Chief Health Minister Brett Sutton said 77 cases had been detected in the past 24 hours in Melbourne, mostly in the locked-down suburbs. A retired judge is holding an inquiry into breaches of infection control in Melbourne hotel quarantine, which has been blamed for some of the spread in the city while much of Australia is virus-free. The Herald Sun newspaper reported allegations that security firms charged the state government for hotel guards that were not provided, guards had sex with quarantined hotels guests and allowed families to go between rooms to play cards. In other developments around the Asia-Pacific region: — India’s coronavirus caseload crossed 600,000 with 19,148 new cases reported in the past 24 hours and the curve on the rise. Nearly 100,000 cases came in the past four days as India’s tally reached 604,641 on Thursday. A total of 17,834 people have died, according to India’s health ministry. Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Delhi states account for more than 60% of cases. The western beach of state of Goa, a popular backpacking destination, opened for tourism on Thursday with the state government allowing 250 hotels to reopen after more than three months. Tourists must have COVID-19 negative certificates or get tested on arrival. — The Philippine government is shifting defense spending and putting on hold military modernization projects to help finance the response to COVID-19. Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana told a news forum that $260 million from his department's budget was shifted to the pandemic campaign. Defense spokesman Arsenio Andolong told The Associated Press the country’s military modernization program may be set back by up to three years after its annual allocation was also slashed by $348 million, which will be used to fight the virus. It’s a tough balancing act for a country with a surfeit of security concerns, including Muslim and communist insurgencies and South China Sea territorial conflicts. Its coronavirus cases exceed 38,500, including 1, 270 deaths. — South Korea reported 54 new cases as the virus continues to spread beyond the capital area and reach cities like Gwangju, which has shut schools and tightened social restrictions after dozens were found infected this week. Health Minster Park Neung-hoo during a virus meeting expressed alarm over the rise of infections in Gwangju, which had one of the smallest caseloads among major South Korean cities before this week. Park urged the city’s residents to refrain from unnecessary gatherings, maintain distance from others and wear masks. — China reported three new cases of coronavirus, including just one case of local transmission in the capital Beijing, appearing to put the country where the virus was first detected late last year on course to eradicating it domestically, at least temporarily. The other two cases were brought from outside the country, according to the National Health Commission. China credits strict quarantine, social distancing and case tracing policies with reducing its cases. Masks are require for entry into many buildings, sometimes along with proof on a mobile phone app that the person is healthy. — New Zealand’s health minister resigned following a series of personal blunders during the coronavirus pandemic. David Clark had earlier described himself as an “idiot” for breaking the nation’s lockdown measures and then last week appeared to blame a beloved health official for border lapses, generating an angry response from the public. Clark said he was becoming a distraction from the country's virus response.
  • U.S. employers likely rehired several million more workers in June, thereby reducing a Depression-level unemployment rate, but the most up-to-date data suggests that a resurgent coronavirus will limit further gains. Economists have forecast that businesses, governments and nonprofits added 3 million jobs — a record high — and that the unemployment rate fell a full percentage point to 12.3%, according to data provider FactSet. The predicted hiring gain would be up from 2.5 million jobs in May. Even so, the combined job growth for May and June would recover only a fraction of the 22 million jobs that were lost in March and April, when the virus forced business shutdowns and layoffs across the country. And even a jobless rate above 10% wouldn’t fully capture the scope of the pandemic’s damage to the job market and the economy. Millions more people are working part time but would prefer full-time work. And an unusually high proportion of workers have been subject to pay cuts, research has found. With confirmed coronavirus cases spiking across the Sun Belt, a range of evidence suggests that a nascent recovery is stalling. In states that are suffering the sharpest spikes in reported virus cases — Texas, Florida, Arizona and others — progress has reversed, with businesses closing again and workers losing jobs, in some cases for a second time. On Wednesday, California re-closed down bars, theaters and indoor restaurant dining across most of the state. And Arizona’s outbreak grew more severe by nearly every measure. Florida has closed some beaches. Credit and debit card data tracked by JPMorgan Chase show that consumers have slowed their spending in just the past week, after spending had risen steadily in late April and May. The reversal has occurred both in states that have seen surges in reported COVID cases and in less affected states, said Jesse Edgerton, an economist at J.P. Morgan. Nationwide, card spending fell nearly 13% last week compared with a year ago. That was worse than the previous week, when year-over-year card spending had declined just under 10%. Real-time data from Homebase, a provider of time-tracking software for small businesses, shows that the number of hours worked at its client companies has leveled off after having risen sharply in May and early June. Business re-openings have also flattened. The economic bounce produced by the initial lifting of shutdown orders may have run its course. Still, Thursday’s jobs report will be based on data gathered in the second week of June, so it will still likely reflect an improving hiring trend. Last week’s plateau in hours worked will instead affect the July jobs figures, to be released in early August. “Whatever picture the jobs report gives us, things have become worse since then,' said Julia Pollak, a labor economist at ZipRecruiter. In addition to the renewed shutdowns across the Sun Belt, New York City has postponed plans to reopen indoor seating at restaurants in the face of more confirmed virus cases. Such moves are causing another round of layoffs or will limit future hiring. McDonald's has paused its reopening efforts nationwide. And Apple said it will re-close 30 more of its U.S. stores, on top of 47 it had already shut down for a second time. Economists have long warned that the economic benefits of allowing businesses to reopen would prove short-lived if the virus wasn't brought under control. Until most Americans feel confident enough to dine out, travel, shop or congregate in groups without fear of infection, restaurants, hotels and retailers won't have enough demand to justify rehiring all their previous workers. “The path forward for the economy is extraordinarily uncertain and will depend in large part on our success in containing the virus,” Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell told a House committee this week. “A full recovery is unlikely until people are confident that it is safe to re-engage in a broad range of activities.” Still, some bright spots in the economy may emerge in Thursday's jobs report. Manufacturers expanded in June after three months of shrinking, the Institute for Supply Management, a trade group, said Wednesday. New orders are flowing in and factories are adding more jobs, the ISM said. And record-low mortgage rates are encouraging more home buyers. Purchases of new homes rose sharply in May. And a measure of signed contracts to buy existing homes soared by a record amount in May, a sign that sales should rebound after falling for three straight months.
  • Authorities are closing honky tonks, bars and other drinking establishments in some parts of the U.S. to stem the surge of COVID-19 infections — a move backed by sound science about risk factors that go beyond wearing or not wearing masks. In the words of one study, it comes down to the danger of “heavy breathing in close proximity.' Crowded indoor spaces filled with people yelling, leaning close to hear one another and touching the same sticky surfaces are “the opposite of social distancing,” said Dr. David Hamer of the Boston University School of Medicine. “Can you do social distancing at a bar? Can you wear a mask while drinking?” Hamer said. “Bars are the perfect place to break all those rules.' The rapid spread of a bar outbreak can swamp public health workers. In East Lansing, Michigan, an outbreak tied to a large brewpub near Michigan State University has spread to nearly 140 people in 12 counties, causing authorities to recruit nursing students and retirees to help with contact tracing. “In 12 days, we went from two identified cases to 128, and, honestly, I don’t have today’s numbers yet,” Ingham County health officer Linda Vail said Wednesday before cases shot up again. She described her outlook as “shocked and overwhelmed.” Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer responded by closing indoor seating in bars in parts of the state. Taverns will not have to close completely. They can sell to-go cocktails and keep outdoor patios open. In California, Gov. Gavin Newsom took similar action, ordering bars and indoor restaurant dining to close again for the next three weeks in most of the state. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio delayed the city's resumption of indoor dining. Two other factors at play in bars make them potential virus flashpoints. Alcohol lowers inhibitions, so people forget precautions, said Natalie Dean, an infectious diseases expert at the University of Florida. Plus, the attractive, healthy person buying you a drink could be a silent carrier, shedding contagious virus with each breath. “Young people have less severe illness, so they may be infected and able to infect others inadvertently,” Dean said, noting outbreaks in Japan and South Korea associated with restaurants, bars and karaoke parties. In recent weeks, college towns across America have seen clusters of cases that have been traced back to bars. Bars and restaurants near the University of Iowa and Iowa State University closed only weeks after the governor allowed them to reopen. As of last week, 90% of cases in the county that is home to Kansas State University involved people ages 18 to 24. Health officials said most of them spent time in a bar and restaurant district known as “Aggieville.” Citing a similar spike, the Kansas county that includes the city of Lawrence and the University of Kansas also ordered bars and nightclubs to close beginning Friday for the next two weeks. “Congregation at a bar, inside, is bad news,' Dr. Anthony Fauci told a Senate panel Tuesday. 'We really have got to stop that.” Texas, Arizona, Los Angeles and some Pennsylvania counties are closing bars to slow the spread of the virus. Florida and Colorado have told bars they cannot serve alcohol on site. Most bar owners and employees feel that they have been unfairly singled out, particularly because restaurants are still open and serving alcohol. In Texas, bar owners said that on Friday after they were forced to close their doors, they noticed restaurants were still packed. “You can go into a restaurant and they have bars, and you can have as many drinks as you want,” said Nikki Forsberg, owner of the Old Ironhorse Saloon in Blanco, Texas. “It doesn’t seem fair. Restaurants get this pass and the bars don’t.' The bar’s manager, Tami Cooley, said although she did not wear a mask at work, she felt the tavern was taking every precaution to safely stay open. No one was allowed to drink or order at the bar, and tables were limited to six people. They closed for a few days after finding out one of the bartenders had been in contact with someone who tested positive for the virus. “We were cautious at our bar. We social-distanced, sanitized the tables, chairs, bathrooms, doorknobs,” she said. “We did everything right.' In the Michigan bar outbreak investigation, “huge concern” now centers on the parents and grandparents exposed to the virus by their offspring who partied at the brewpub, Vail said. She worries about “a climb in secondary cases if the people we asked to self-quarantine didn’t do that ... Where is this secondary transmission going to land?” Saskia Popescu, an infectious diseases expert in Phoenix, said it’s difficult to disinfect surfaces at a bar enough to make a difference. Even sitting at a table with friends at a bar involves loud talking and laughing that could spread virus. It’s not worth it, she concludes. “You can make a cocktail at home,” Popescu said. ___ Associated Press Writer John Seewer in Toledo, Ohio, contributed to this report. ___ The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.
  • Criticized for inaction, President Donald Trump and top officials stepped up their defense of the administration's response to intelligence assessments that Russia offered bounties for killing U.S. troops in Afghanistan. Trump's national security adviser said he had prepared a list of retaliatory options if the intelligence proved true. Trump, meanwhile, called the assessments a “hoax” and insisted anew he hadn't been briefed on them because the intelligence didn't rise to his level. However, national security adviser Robert O’Brien said both the CIA and Pentagon did pursue the leads and briefed international allies. “We had options ready to go,” O’Brien said Wednesday on “Fox and Friends.” “It may be impossible to get to the bottom of it.” At a State Department news conference, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the situation was handled “incredibly well” to ensure the safety of U.S. troops. “We took this seriously, we handled it appropriately,” Pompeo said, without giving additional details. He said the administration receives intelligence about threats to Americans “every single day” and each is addressed. Pompeo added that Russian activity in Afghanistan is nothing new and that Russia is just one of many nations acting there. He said that Congress has had similar information in the past, and that he often receives threat assessments that don't rise to the level of a presidential briefing. Trump is coming under increasing pressure from lawmakers of both parties to provide more answers about the intelligence and the U.S. response or lack of one. Democrats who were briefed at the White House on Tuesday suggested he was bowing to Russian President Vladimir Putin at the risk of U.S. soldiers’ lives. The president has repeatedly said he wasn’t briefed on the assessments that Russia offered bounties because there wasn’t corroborating evidence. Those assessments were first reported by The New York Times, then confirmed to The Associated Press by American intelligence officials and others with knowledge of the matter. White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany pointed to an individual who she said made the decision not to brief Trump, identifying the person as a female CIA officer with more than 30 years of experience. O'Brien said the person was a “career CIA briefer.” “The national security adviser agreed with that decision,' McEnany said. 'It was the right decision to make, and at this moment as I speak to you it is still unverified.” Trump remained defensive about the intelligence in early morning tweets, dismissing stories about it as “Fake News” made up to “damage me and the Republican Party.” Later in the day, Trump said in a television interview that it was a hoax and “we never heard about it” because intelligence officials didn't think it rose to that level. “The intelligence people, many of them didn’t believe it happened at all,' Trump said on Fox Business. O'Brien said the intelligence wasn’t brought to Trump’s attention initially because it was unverified and there was no consensus among the intelligence community. But it’s rare for intelligence to be confirmed without a shadow of doubt before it is presented to senior government decision-makers. The national security adviser echoed the recent White House talking point faulting not Russia but government leakers and the media for making the matter public. Senate Republicans appeared split on the matter, with several defending the president and saying that the Russian meddling wasn't new. Others expressed strong concern. Sen. Patrick Toomey of Pennsylvania called for administration officials to address the entire Senate and answer questions. He said he had reviewed classified documents regarding the potential bounties “upon which recent news reports are based” and said the information raises many questions. “If it is concluded that Russia offered bounties to murder American soldiers, a firm American response is required in short order,” Toomey said. Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley had similar words on the Senate floor, saying that if the reports are true, 'it demands a strong response, and I don’t mean a diplomatic response.” House Democrats who were briefed at the White House on Tuesday questioned why Trump wouldn't have been briefed sooner and pushed White House officials to have the president make a strong statement. They said the administration should brief all members of Congress. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, one of the Democrats who attended the briefing, said it was “inexplicable” that Trump won’t say publicly that he is working to get to the bottom of the issue and won’t call out Putin. He said Trump’s defense that he hadn't been briefed was inexcusable. “Many of us do not understand his affinity for that autocratic ruler who means our nation ill,” Schiff said. Senate Republicans who received their own briefing largely agreed with the White House that the intelligence was unverified. Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson, chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said Trump “can’t be made aware of every piece of unverified intelligence.” Similarly, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he didn’t think Trump should be “subjected to every rumor.” Intelligence officials, including CIA Director Gina Haspel and Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe, will brief the so-called Gang of 8 — McConnell, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the top Republicans and Democrats on the two intelligence committees — in a classified meeting on Capitol Hill Thursday morning. While Russian meddling in Afghanistan isn’t new, officials said Russian operatives had become more aggressive in their desire to contract with the Taliban and members of the Haqqani Network, a militant group aligned with the Taliban in Afghanistan and designated a foreign terrorist organization in 2012. The intelligence community has been investigating an April 2019 attack on an American convoy that killed three U.S. Marines when a car rigged with explosives detonated near their armored vehicles as they traveled back to Bagram Airfield, the largest U.S. military installation in Afghanistan, officials told the AP. Three other U.S. service members were wounded in the attack, along with an Afghan contractor. The Taliban claimed responsibility. The officials the AP spoke to also said they were looking closely at insider attacks from 2019 to determine if they were linked to Russian bounties. Intelligence officials told the AP that the White House first became aware of alleged Russian bounties in early 2019 — a year earlier than had been previously reported. The assessments were included in one of Trump’s written daily briefings at the time, and then-national security adviser John Bolton had told colleagues he had briefed Trump on the matter. ___ Associated Press writers Zeke Miller, Lisa Mascaro, Alan Fram, Matthew Daly and Deb Riechmann in Washington and Jonathan Lemire in Mystic, Connecticut, contributed to this report.
  • Florida police officers can be heard laughing and celebrating after shooting protesters with rubber bullets during a May protest against police brutality, according to newly released body camera footage. In response to a story by the Miami Herald, Fort Lauderdale police posted a video on its official YouTube channel Wednesday taken from the body camera of Detective Zachary Baro, who was leading the department's SWAT team unit on May 31. It was less than a week after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody, which sparked protests through the U.S. At one point in the video, Baro can be heard saying, “Beat it” and using a profanity, after officers shot less lethal projectiles. LaToya Ratlieff was shot in the face during what had been a largely peaceful protest, suffering a fractured skull and requiring 20 stitches. She couldn’t eat for a week and still has trouble seeing out of one eye that is filled with blood. She has asked to sit down with the police department to discuss ways to change the system and make sure there’s accountability going forward. “I’m heartbroken. We deserve better,” she said in response to the video late Wednesday night. A Fort Lauderdale police officer was charged for an incident during that same protest after video showed he pushed a kneeling woman to the ground. Witnesses said the peaceful gathering turned after that as angry protesters responded by throwing bottles. The officer’s colleagues quickly pushed him away from the woman and down the street. During another section of the video, an officer approaches Baro behind the police line and asks if his body camera is off. After Baro replies incorrectly that his camera is in stand-by mode and not recording, the two officers begin laughing and joking about the people they had shot with rubber bullets. Fort Lauderdale Police Chief Rick Maglione said in a statement that the department was conducting an exhaustive review of nearly 8,000 minutes of body camera footage, with a report to be completed within the next month. “The entire video clearly demonstrates our officers were under attack by a group of people who chose to use violence instead of peace to antagonize the situation,” Maglione said. “Although the language is extreme, and offensive to some, our officers were dealing with the chaos of a developing situation.”
  • Democratic presidential challenger Joe Biden outpaced President Donald Trump's campaign fundraising juggernaut in June and in the second quarter of this election year, continuing a stunning reversal of fortune from his threadbare primary campaign. The joint GOP effort still has considerably more cash left to spend ahead of the Nov. 3 election, but Biden's newfound fundraising muscle suggests Democrats will have the resources to finance a strong operation across a wide footprint of battleground states. The former vice president's spokesman said Tuesday night that Biden and the Democratic National Committee raised $141 million in June, bringing their second-quarter total to more than $282 million. Republicans announced earlier Tuesday that Trump and the national GOP had raised $131 million in June and $266 million for the quarter. The president's reelection effort still had nearly $300 million cash on hand at the end of June, the campaign said. Biden's campaign has not yet disclosed its cash-on-hand figure, though it will be well behind Trump's figure. At the end of May, Democrats had about $122 million. Top Biden aides and allies have downplayed that gap in recent weeks, noting that Trump already has spent lavishly on advertising and voter outreach, yet still finds himself trailing Biden in national and many battleground state polls. Still, the Trump campaign's deep pockets have allowed the president a head start on everything from reserving television advertising months from now to building a sophisticated data operation to target his supporters online.
  • Gunmen burst into an unregistered drug rehabilitation center in central Mexico and opened fire Wednesday, killing 24 people and wounding seven, authorities said. Police in the north-central state of Guanajuato said the attack occurred in the city of Irapuato. Three of the seven wounded were reported in serious condition. Apparently the attackers shot everyone at the rehab center. State police said nobody was abducted. Photos purporting to show the scene suggest those at the center were lying down when they were sprayed with bullets. Guanajuato is the scene of a bloody turf battle between the Jalisco cartel and a local gang, and the state has become the most violent in Mexico. No motive was given in the attack, but Gov. Diego Sinhue Rodríguez Vallejo said drug gangs appeared to have been involved. “I deeply regret and condemn the events in Irapuato this afternoon,” the governor wrote. “The violence generated by organized crime not only takes the lives of the young, but it takes the peace from families in Guanajuato.” Mexican drug gangs have killed suspected street-level dealers from rival gangs sheltering at such facilities in the past. It was one of the deadliest attacks on a rehab center since 19 people were killed in 2010 in Chihuahua city in northern Mexico. More than a dozen attacks on such facilities have occurred since then. Mexico has long had problems with rehab centers because most are privately run, underfunded and often commit abuses against recovering addicts. The government spends relatively little money on rehabilitation, often making the unregistered centers the only option available for poor families. In addition, addicts and dealers who face attacks from rivals on the streets sometimes take refuge at the rehab clinics, making the clinics themselves targets for attack. Still other gangs have been accused of forcibly recruiting recovering addicts at the centers as dealers, and killing them if they refused.