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The Ledger - EST. 1978 - Nashville Edition
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VOL. 44 | NO. 16 | Friday, April 17, 2020

Drafting for an NFL season that might never be played

Odds are against 2020 class seeing field before 2021

Are NFL teams using next week’s draft to fill their roster needs for one year or two? It’s a question that’s never been relevant with previous drafts, but these are unprecedented times thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Top Titans draft needs

The Titans head into the April 23-25 draft with the 29th overall pick and seven selections. Here are a few of their most pressing needs:

NFL has unanswered questions about 2020 season, beyond

With the NBA and NHL seasons interrupted and Major League Baseball still on hold for getting its season started, has the NFL sufficiently braced for the unthinkable of a fall without football?


Real estate adapts to life with virus

Drive-thru closings, virtual signatures in age of social distancing

It’s business as usual – in some ways – at Wagon Wheel Title and Escrow in East Nashville. In other ways it is anything but.

Local Weather
Nashville, TN
Wind: from the Southwest at 10.4 gusting to 17.3 mph
Humidity: 33%


Virtual Policy Talks. Williamson, Inc. Policy Talks is a monthly community forum featuring elected officials centered on the issues being discussed in the Tennessee Legislature and in Williamson County. Representatives are given a platform to discuss the issues in greater depth with their constituents. The one-hour program is aired on Comcast Channel 3, the county’s public information channel, and rebroadcast on Williamson County Television’s YouTube Channel. Friday, 7:30 a.m. Information

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US home construction collapsed 22.3% in March

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. home-building activity collapsed in March as the coronavirus spread, with housing starts tumbling 22.3% from a month ago.

US long-term mortgage rates hover near low; 30-year at 3.31%

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. long-term mortgage rates hovered near all-time lows for the third straight week amid fresh signs of severe damage to the economy and the housing market from the shutdown spurred by the coronavirus pandemic.


Q1 home sales jump 9.1% compared to record 2019

First quarter sales in the Nashville area increased a whopping 9.1% compared to 2019, Greater Nashville Realtors sales data reveals.


A ‘substantial’ reversal on tax hike for mayor

Whatever else might be said about Mayor John Cooper, it would be putting it kindly to observe that his political timing stinks.


Community Foundation awards 15 more grants

The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee has announced 15 additional grants of $592,000 to nonprofits and organizations helping victims affected by the March 3 tornadoes, including those in the Nashville area and in Putnam County.


Safe ways to shop for new car during the pandemic

With the country effectively shut down and the economy upended by the coronavirus pandemic, buying a car is likely a low priority.


The underestimated power of a street address

Take a right turn at the church. If you’ve ever gotten those words in the directions to some business, you know what comes following them: A feeling of being totally, inescapably lost. That’s because there were two churches. And you’re angry your GPS app took you somewhere ridiculous.


How to raid your retirement funds in a crisis

In an ideal world, your retirement accounts would be left alone for retirement. You’ve probably noticed that we’re not living in an ideal world.


Questions and answers to build your financial resilience

A few months ago you might not have thought much about strategies for managing credit balances or how much of an emergency fund you really need. But with finances strained by the coronavirus pandemic, making smart money decisions is crucial.


Searching for a new job during a pandemic

Remember last year’s great job market? We all knew it would slow at some point, but who could have imagined the economy would come to a screeching halt because of a global pandemic?


Blues legend Bobby Rush recovers from coronavirus symptoms

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Symptoms of the new coronavirus have subsided for Blues legend Bobby Rush, and now he's warning others about the seriousness of COVID-19.


Trump taps Tennessee national lab expert for science board

NASHVILLE (AP) — President Donald Trump has nominated an expert with Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee for a seat on the National Science Board.

4 Tennessee counties chosen for industrial site evaluation

MEMPHIS (AP) — Four Tennessee counties have been chosen to participate in a program that seeks to improve the inventory of industrial sites and buildings across the state.

Tennessee concedes to release more nursing home information

NASHVILLE (AP) — Tennessee officials on Wednesday finally released more detailed information surrounding confirmed cases and COVID-19 related deaths in its long-term care facilities after open government advocates, Democratic lawmakers and others urged for its release.


New home sales plunge 15.4% in March as virus hits

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. new home sales plunged 15.4% in March as a winding down in the middle of the month due to the coronavirus began to rattle the housing market.


Despite warnings, Trump downplays threat of virus returning

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump on Wednesday played down the possibility that the coronavirus could be worse this winter despite medical experts' warnings that COVID-19 could combine with the flu to make a more complicated return to the United States.

Expert claims reprisal for opposing virus drug Trump touted

WASHINGTON (AP) — The head of a government agency combating the coronavirus pandemic is alleging that he was ousted for opposing politically connected efforts to promote a malaria drug that President Donald Trump touted without proof as a remedy for COVID-19.


26 million have sought US jobless aid since virus hit

WASHINGTON (AP) — More than 4.4 million laid-off workers applied for U.S. unemployment benefits last week as job cuts escalated across an economy that remains all but shut down, the  government said Thursday.

Legal battles loom as businesses hit by virus sue insurers

CHICAGO (AP) — A once-bustling bar and grill tucked below a Michigan Avenue overpass famously inspired a "Saturday Night Live" skit starring John Belushi and Bill Murray. But the money the Billy Goat Tavern is losing during the coronavirus outbreak is no joke.

Banks: New $310B for small businesses likely already used up

NEW YORK (AP) — The more than $300 billion set aside to replenish the emergency loan program for small businesses impacted by the coronavirus pandemic is likely already all spoken for, banking industry groups said Wednesday.

As 4th virus relief bill nears passage, fight looms over 5th

WASHINGTON (AP) — Congress is on the verge of passing an almost $500 billion coronavirus relief bill, but battle lines already are forming over the next measure amid growing demands to approve additional billions for state and local governments, the Postal Service and even infrastructure.

House expected to send 4th coronavirus aid bill to Trump

WASHINGTON (AP) — The House is reassembling to send President Donald Trump a fourth bipartisan bill to help businesses crippled by the coronavirus, an almost $500 billion measure that many lawmakers are already looking beyond.

European economies on course for unprecedented recessions

LONDON (AP) — Europe's economies are heading for unprecedented recessions as a result of the lockdown measures put in place by governments to get a grip on the coronavirus pandemic, closely watched surveys indicated Thursday.

EU leaders weigh massive virus economic recovery measures

BRUSSELS (AP) — European Union leaders are set to weigh Thursday the damage the coronavirus has inflicted on health care systems and the lives of around half a billion citizens across the bloc as they struggle to devise a more robust plan to resuscitate their ravaged economies.


Iran-US tensions rise on Trump threat, Iran satellite launch

WASHINGTON (AP) — Tensions between Washington and Tehran flared anew Wednesday as Iran's Revolutionary Guard conducted a space launch that could advance the country's long-range missile program and President Donald Trump threatened to "shoot down and destroy" any Iranian gunboats that harass Navy ships.

Trump signs immigration order featuring numerous exemptions

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump claimed Wednesday that he had signed an executive order "temporarily suspending immigration into the United States." But experts say the order will merely delay the issuance of green cards for a minority of applicants.


Presidential debate planning proceeds despite virus worries

WASHINGTON (AP) — Preparations for the 2020 general election debates are proceeding "according to schedule" despite the coronavirus outbreak.

Nashville adding 20 tornado sirens that sound geographically

NASHVILLE (AP) — Nashville is adding 20 tornado sirens in a system upgrade that will let the warnings go off in specific areas, instead of throughout all of the city.


Some Tennessee cities cautious on gov's May 1 reopening goal

NASHVILLE (AP) — Some of Tennessee's biggest cities are not making any promises about starting to reopen their economies by Gov. Bill Lee's stated goal of May 1, saying they are going to let data, not dates, dictate their roll-outs.


Nashville to pay $35K to family of man slain at Waffle House

NASHVILLE (AP) — Nashville will settle a lawsuit with the family of one of four victims shot to death inside of a Waffle House restaurant.

You've reached the Supreme Court. Press 1 for live arguments

WASHINGTON (AP) — This is how the Supreme Court embraces technology. Slowly.


Facebook to label national origin of popular posts

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Facebook said Wednesday it will label posts from popular accounts with their geographic origin in an attempt to curb political misinformation by foreign-based pages that mimic legitimate groups and political parties.


AP-NORC poll: States earn more praise for outbreak response

WASHINGTON (AP) — To fight the spread of coronavirus, Americans are confined to their homes and public life is all but shuttered — and a majority say that's the right call. A new survey from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research also finds that a wide majority approve of how their state and local governments are responding to the pandemic.

AP-NORC poll: Few Americans support easing virus protections

WASHINGTON (AP) — Despite pockets of attention-grabbing protests, a new survey finds Americans remain overwhelmingly in favor of stay-at-home orders and other efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus. A majority say it won't be safe to lift such restrictions anytime soon, even as a handful of governors announce plans to ease within days the public health efforts that have upended daily life and roiled the global economy.

Administration offers plan to cover COVID care for uninsured

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration announced a plan Wednesday to start paying hospitals and doctors who care for uninsured COVID-19 patients, but Democratic lawmakers and health industry groups are likely to press for more.

Medical companies pummeled by outbreak; a fresh market opens

The outbreak of the coronavirus has dealt a shock to the global economy with unprecedented speed. Following are developments Wednesday related to the global economy, the work place and the spread of the virus.

Southern states largely go it alone in reopening decisions

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Governors in 17 states have committed to regional coordination to reopen their economies during the coronavirus outbreak — but none are in the South, where leaders are going it alone, just as they did in imposing restrictions.

Trump says he'll help New York's Cuomo boost virus testing

WASHINGTON (AP) — Setting aside their differences for at least an afternoon, President Donald Trump and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo agreed in an Oval Office meeting to work to double coronavirus testing in the hard-hit state over the next few weeks.


Stocks climb after two drops; oil prices crawl off the floor

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks rallied on Wednesday, and the S&P 500 clawed back a chunk of this week's sharp losses as a bit of oxygen pumped through markets around the world.

Many small businesses say loans won't get them to rehire

WASHINGTON (AP) — Some small businesses that obtained a highly-coveted government loan say they won't be able to use it to bring all their laid-off workers back, even though that is exactly what the program was designed to do.

Tyson Foods idling its largest pork plant amid Iowa outbreak

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Tyson Foods suspended operations Wednesday at an Iowa plant that is critical to the nation's pork supply but had been devastated by a growing coronavirus outbreak.

Less driving, fewer crashes should bring cheaper insurance

DETROIT (AP) — Those lightly traveled freeways and streets could be putting a few dollar bills into your wallet.

Congress eyes new virus aid, but McConnell signals 'pause'

WASHINGTON (AP) — Congress is sprinting to approve a $483 billion coronavirus  aid package, as the White House and lawmakers begin scoping out the next rescue deal for health care providers and an economy battered by the crisis.

Publicly traded firms get $365M in small-business loans

Companies with thousands of employees, past penalties from government investigations and risks of financial failure even before the coronavirus walloped the economy were among those receiving millions of dollars from a relief fund that Congress created to help small businesses through the crisis, an Associated Press investigation found.

Trump order to bar new green cards, not temporary visas

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump announced what he described as a "temporary suspension of immigration into the United States." But an executive order he is expected to sign Wednesday to implement the change would bar only those seeking permanent residency, not temporary workers.

Delta's 1st quarterly loss in 5+ years; worse is on the way

Delta Air Lines, the biggest and most profitable U.S. airline, lost $534 million in the first quarter, a setback that will appear trivial when the full force of the pandemic is revealed in the current quarter.

Trump tells Chevron to "wind down" oil fields in Venezuela

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — The Trump administration on Tuesday ordered Chevron Corp. to "wind down" operations in Venezuela by Dec. 1, barring the California-based oil giant in the meantime from drilling or exporting, as the U.S. increases pressure on President Nicolás Maduro to give up power.


Social Security and Medicare funds at risk even before virus

WASHINGTON (AP) — The financial condition of the government's two biggest benefit programs remains shaky, with Medicare expected to become insolvent in just six years, while Social Security will be unable to pay full benefits starting in 2035, the government said Wednesday.

Pelosi retreats on House proxy voting during virus pandemic

WASHINGTON (AP) — Speaker Nancy Pelosi has called off a Thursday vote on whether to allow House members to cast votes by proxy and is instead forming a bipartisan group to review options for reopening the House during the coronavirus pandemic.

Iran-US tensions rise on Trump threat, Iran satellite launch

WASHINGTON (AP) — Tensions between Washington and Tehran flared anew Wednesday as Iran's Revolutionary Guard conducted a space launch that could advance the country's long-range missile program and President Donald Trump threatened to "shoot down and destroy" any Iranian gunboats that harass Navy ships.

Analysis: Pandemic fallout tracks nation's political divide

WASHINGTON (AP) — America's entrenched political divide is now playing out over matters of life and death.

Michelle Obama's star power could help Biden unite Democrats

WASHINGTON (AP) — Seeking to unite Democrats, Joe Biden has raced to line up supporters ranging from progressive icon Bernie Sanders to former President Barack Obama, whose administration sometimes irked liberals. But the person with the most influence may be Michelle Obama.


Lawmakers pushed Tennessee gov to toughen virus abortion ban

NASHVILLE (AP) — When Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee ordered a halt to non-emergency medical services last month due to the coronavirus, GOP lawmakers peppered his office with the same question: What about abortion?

Most Tennessee State Parks to reopen Friday

Tennessee will reopen most of its 56 state parks on Friday for day use only. Specific details on which parks will reopen will be available on tnstateparks.com this week.

Tennessee revenues up in month before virus downturn hits

NASHVILLE (AP) — Tennessee saw a boost in tax revenues in March ahead of the stark budget realities that await the state due to the coronavirus pandemic.


University of Tennessee to hold meeting on virus response

KNOXVILLE (AP) — The University of Tennessee's Board of Trustees is planning a special meeting on Friday to discuss the system's response to COVID-19.


US home sales plunge 8.5% in March, and it may grow worse

BALTIMORE (AP) — U.S. sales of existing homes cratered 8.5% in March with real estate activity stalled by the coronavirus outbreak.


Volvo, Daimler to found truck fuel cell joint venture

BERLIN (AP) — Volvo and the truck division of Daimler have agreed to set up a joint venture to develop and produce fuel cell systems for heavy vehicles, the Swedish and German companies said Tuesday.


Watchdog: Pandemic worsening threat to global media freedom

PARIS (AP) — Media watchdog Reporters Without Borders is sounding the alarm that the coronavirus pandemic poses a threat for press freedom around the world.


More deaths, no benefit from hydroxychloroquine in VA virus study

A malaria drug widely touted by President Donald Trump for treating the new coronavirus showed no benefit in a large analysis of its use in U.S. veterans hospitals. There were more deaths among those given hydroxychloroquine versus standard care, researchers reported.

Big unknowns about virus complicate getting back to normal

WASHINGTON (AP) — Reopening the U.S. economy is complicated by some troubling scientific questions about the new coronavirus that go beyond the logistics of whether enough tests are available.

US OKs 1st coronavirus test that allows self-swab at home

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. health regulators on Tuesday OK'd the first coronavirus test that allows people to collect their own sample at home, a new approach that could help expand testing options in most states.

Doctors: Execution drugs could help COVID-19 patients

HOUSTON (AP) — Secrecy surrounding executions could hinder efforts by a group of medical professionals who are asking the nation's death penalty states for medications used in lethal injections so that they can go to coronavirus patients who are on ventilators, according to a death penalty expert and a doctor who's behind the request.

Poll: Americans sour on China amid pandemic, broader rivalry

WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans are increasingly hostile to China as the coronavirus pandemic wreaks havoc on the U.S. and global economies and after three years of Trump administration antagonism toward the country, according to a nationwide poll released on Tuesday.

2 types of testing look for COVID-19 infections new and old

WASHINGTON (AP) — Testing is critical to controlling the coronavirus and eventually easing restrictions that have halted daily life for most Americans. But there's been confusion about what kinds of tests are available and what they actually measure.

Trump criticism aside, governors call for more federal help

WASHINGTON (AP) — A chorus of governors from both parties pushed back hard after President Donald Trump accused Democrats of playing "a very dangerous political game" by insisting there is a shortage of tests for the coronavirus. The governors countered that the White House must do more to help states do the testing that's needed before they can ease up on stay-at-home orders.


Congress, Trump reach $500B virus aid deal; Senate debates

WASHINGTON (AP) — Congress and President Donald Trump reached agreement Tuesday on a nearly $500 billion coronavirus relief bill that would replenish a small business rescue program and provide new funds for hospitals and a virus testing program.

Highlights of the nearly $500B coronavirus relief bill

WASHINGTON (AP) — A $483 billion coronavirus relief bill — the fourth coronavirus response legislation so far — is moving through Congress. The legislation is likely to pass the Senate on Tuesday and has the support of House Democrats and Republicans and President Donald Trump.

Collapse in oil prices continues, dragging US stocks lower

NEW YORK (AP) — Oil prices are continuing to collapse, inflicting more damage on stock markets around the world as shutdowns related to the coronavirus pandemic bring economies to a halt.

Pandemic and chill: Netflix adds a cool 16M subscribers

BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) — Netflix picked up nearly 16 million global subscribers during the first three months of the year, helping cement its status as one of the world's most essential services in times of isolation or crisis.

SBA reports data breach in disaster loan application website

NEW YORK (AP) — The Small Business Administration reported a potential data breach last month in its website that handles disaster loan applications.

Chipotle agrees to record $25 million fine over tainted food

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. agreed Tuesday to pay a record $25 million fine to resolve criminal charges that it served tainted food that sickened more than 1,100 people in the U.S. from 2015 to 2018, federal prosecutors said.

3 takeaways from AP review of small-business loan program

Small businesses have, like much of the U.S. economy, been walloped by the coronavirus. In response, Congress created the Paycheck Protection Program to infuse small businesses, which typically have less access to quick cash and credit, with hundreds of billions of dollars in emergency loans so they can keep workers employed.

Back to work? Companies finding it easier said than done

NEW YORK (AP) — As state and federal leaders tussle over when and how fast to "reopen" the U.S. economy amid the coronavirus pandemic, some corporations are taking the first steps toward bringing their employees back to work. Which in many cases is easier said than done.

Criminal records shut small biz owners out of aid program

WASHINGTON (AP) — Damon West was hoping the government's coronavirus rescue package for small business owners would help replace the income he's lost now that he can't travel the country as a keynote speaker.

Pandemic is dealing European tourism 'staggering' blow

HALLE, Belgium (AP) — The European Union says its vaunted tourist industry is facing "staggering" figures of decline because of the coronavirus crisis and the bloc's internal market commissioner wants the sector to be first in line when it comes to recovery funds.

10 years after BP spill: Oil drilled deeper; rules relaxed

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Ten years after an oil rig explosion killed 11 workers and unleashed an environmental nightmare in the Gulf of Mexico, companies are drilling into deeper and deeper waters, where the payoffs can be huge but the risks are greater than ever.

Coca-Cola volume plunges 25% in April; hopes for 2nd half rebound

Coca-Cola's global volume tumbled 25% in April as the coronavirus pandemic gripped large swaths of the world population.

US pork farmers panic as virus ruins hopes for great year

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — After enduring extended trade disputes and worker shortages, U.S. hog farmers were poised to finally hit it big this year with expectations of climbing prices amid soaring domestic and foreign demand.


Senate panel backs assessment that Russia interfered in 2016

WASHINGTON (AP) — A bipartisan Senate report released Tuesday affirms the U.S. intelligence community's conclusions that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election in a far-ranging influence campaign approved by Russian President Vladimir Putin and aimed at helping Donald Trump win the White House.

United Auto Workers union backs Democrat Biden for president

DETROIT (AP) — The United Auto Workers union is endorsing Democrat Joe Biden for President.

Trump vows to 'suspend immigration,' adviser cites health

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump said that he will sign an executive order "to temporarily suspend immigration into the United States" because of the coronavirus.

Pandemic squeezes finances of Democratic grassroots donors

WASHINGTON (AP) — Well-to-do donors gathered last August at the sprawling Charlotte, North Carolina, home of Erskine Bowles, a former chief of staff to President Bill Clinton, where they nibbled finger food, sipped wine and listened to Joe Biden.


Tennessee preps to reopen, conducts more prison mass testing

NASHVILLE (AP) — Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee announced Monday that businesses across the majority of the state will begin reopening as early as next week.

Tennessee conducts another round of mass testing in prisons

NASHVILLE (AP) — Tennessee has launched a third round of mass testing inside the state's prisons after 150 inmates tested positive for COVID-19 over the weekend.

Tennessee bar exam applicants will have additional test date

NASHVILLE (AP) — Applicants for the Tennessee bar exam will have an additional opportunity to take the test this year.

Tennessee offering essential workers free child care

NASHVILLE (AP) — Tennessee is offering free child care to essential workers during the coronavirus pandemic.


Australia to make Google and Facebook pay for news content

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Global digital platforms Google and Facebook will be forced to pay for news content in Australia, the government said Monday, as the coronavirus pandemic causes a collapse in advertising revenue.


Trump says governors play 'political game' with virus tests

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump accused Democrats on Monday of playing "a very dangerous political game" by insisting there is a shortage of tests for the coronavirus. But Democratic Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly, expressing the frustration of many state leaders, said the federal response has simply not been "good enough."

JBS shuts down Minnesota pork plant hit by COVID-19 outbreak

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — JBS USA said it is temporarily shutting down its big pork processing plant in southwestern Minnesota because of an outbreak of COVID-19 among workers, the latest closure of a major U.S. food processing plant due to the pandemic.

'Under siege': Overwhelmed Brooklyn care home tolls 55 dead

NEW YORK (AP) — As residents at a nursing home in Kirkland, Washington, began dying in late February from a coronavirus outbreak that would eventually take 43 lives, there was little sign of trouble at the Cobble Hill Health Center, a 360-bed facility in an upscale section of Brooklyn.

AP FACT CHECK: Trump's misdirection on virus testing, deaths

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump is falsely assigning blame to governors and the Obama administration for shortages in coronavirus testing.


Oil price goes negative as demand collapses; Dow drops 592 pts.

NEW YORK (AP) — Oil futures plunged below zero on Monday, the latest never-before-seen number to come out of the economic coma caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

White House, Congress get closer on $450B virus aid talks

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration and Congress indicated Monday they were working toward agreement on a coronavirus aid package the Senate could take up as soon as Tuesday, with more than $450 billion to boost a small-business loan program  that's out of money, help for hospitals and virus testing.

Gov't relief loans to restaurant chains draw complaints

Some big restaurant chains have obtained loans under a small-business relief program, leading business groups to cry foul even though the loans are within the guidelines of the lending program.

Shake Shack gets funding, to return paycheck protection loan

The burger chain Shake Shack says it has obtained new funding and will return a small-business loan it got to help weather the coronavirus crisis.

4/20 fizzle: Pot industry tested as virus slams economy

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The unofficial holiday celebrating all things cannabis arrives Monday as the nation's emerging legal marijuana market braces for an economic blow from the coronavirus crisis, with many consumers reducing spending or going underground for deals.

Japan's exports sink in March as pandemic hits major markets

TOKYO (AP) — Japan's exports sank 11.7% in March as the coronavirus pandemic slammed auto shipments to the U.S. and China, generally its two biggest markets.


As mail voting pushed, some fear loss of in-person option

ATLANTA (AP) — Scrambling to address voting concerns during a pandemic, election officials across the country are eliminating polling places or scaling back opportunities for people to cast ballots in person — a move raising concerns among voting rights groups and some Democrats who say some voters could be disenfranchised.


Tennessee church sues to hold drive-in services

NASHVILLE (AP) — A Tennessee church is challenging a local ban on drive-in church services, joining a growing list of lawsuits seeking to push back against limitations on religious gatherings that have been enacted to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Tennessee, clinics spar over need for abortions in pandemic

NASHVILLE (AP) — A federal judge says he will rule before Monday on an emergency motion to allow abortions to continue in Tennessee in spite of a temporary ban on nonessential medical procedures to slow the spread of COVID-19.


Gov. Lee appoints new finance agency commissioner

NASHVILLE (AP) — Gov. Bill Lee named a new head of Tennessee's finance agency this week after the previous commissioner stepped aside to spearhead efforts to combat the coronavirus outbreak in the state.


White House moves to weaken EPA rule on toxic compounds

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump White House intervened to weaken one of the few public health protections pursued by its own administration, a rule to limit the use of a toxic industrial compound in consumer products, according to communications between the White House and Environmental Protection Agency.


No plan in sight: Test troubles cloud Trump recovery effort

WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States is struggling to test enough people to track and control the spread of the novel coronavirus, a crucial first step to reopening parts of the economy, which President Donald Trump is pushing to do by May 1.

China pushes back on Trump administration coronavirus theory

WASHINGTON (AP) — China is pushing back against President Donald Trump and some of his officials, who've flirted in recent days with an outlier theory that the coronavirus was set loose by a Chinese lab that let it escape.

Public trust key, EU insists, in developing virus apps

BRUSSELS (AP) — As European countries develop coronavirus tracing apps, the European Union is urging its 27 member states them to make them voluntary and ensure that the many national systems can work together.

Trump, aides float outlier theory on origins of coronavirus

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump and some of his officials are flirting with an outlier theory that the new coronavirus was set loose on the world by a Chinese lab that let it escape. Without the weight of evidence, they're trying to blame China for sickness and death from COVID-19 in the United States.


Europe car sales tank 55% in March on coronavirus lockdowns

MILAN (AP) — European car sales tanked last month amid strict lockdown measures to contain the coronavirus that shut down dealerships for at least half of March and dried up consumer spending.


Hope takes the reins on Wall Street, stocks rally worldwide

NEW YORK (AP) — In Wall Street's tug of war between hope and pessimism about the coronavirus pandemic, hope is pulling back. U.S. stocks joined a worldwide rally Friday and closed out their first back-to-back weekly gain since the market began selling off two months ago.

GOP signals possible movement in business virus aid standoff

WASHINGTON (AP) — Republicans signaled Friday they are willing to accept Democratic demands for additional federal funding for hospitals as part of an effort to break a stalemate over the Trump administration's $250 billion emergency request for a small-business paycheck subsidy program that's out of money.

US restaurants expect big changes when their doors reopen

The days of standing shoulder-to-shoulder at a bar or sharing a meal at a table for 10 are gone for now — and could take a long time to return even after the coronavirus pandemic ends.

IMF, World Bank pledge help amid calls for more debt relief

WASHINGTON (AP) — The 189-nation International Monetary Fund and its sister lending agency, the World Bank, on Friday pledged to step up their efforts to cushion the blow to the global economy from the coronavirus pandemic.

As $2 trillion starts to flow, oversight of virus cash lags

WASHINGTON (AP) — Congress unleashed about $2 trillion to deal with the coronavirus crisis. So far, only two people are working to oversee how it is spent.

Relief checks are a lifeline for some, a cushion for others

Millions of Americans received government relief checks this week, and more are on the way. For some, the payment gets them to a more comfortable place financially; for others, the money just gets them to next month.

Trump gives governors options on how to reopen the economy

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump has given governors a road map for recovering from the economic pain of the coronavirus pandemic, laying out "a phased and deliberate approach" to restoring normal activity in places that have strong testing and are seeing a decrease in COVID-19 cases.

A look at new guidance to states on the coronavirus

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration has issued new guidelines for states, individuals and employers on how to gradually revive activity and ease up on social distancing in areas where coronavirus cases are on the decline.


Florida congressman flouts House rules with district lease

WASHINGTON (AP) — Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz is paying a former legal client and donor $5,000 a month to rent space for his district office, a possible violation of U.S. House rules that dictate that lawmakers should not lease from people with whom they have had a professional or legal relationship.

Ex-Trump lawyer Cohen to serve out prison sentence at home

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump's former lawyer and longtime fixer Michael Cohen will be released from federal prison to serve the remainder of his sentence in home confinement because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Federal judge denies new criminal trial for Roger Stone

WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal judge on Thursday denied a request for a new trial made by Trump ally Roger Stone following his conviction on charges related to the Russia investigation.


Music industry mainstay Knox Phillips dies in Memphis

MEMPHIS (AP) — Knox Phillips, the son of renowned music producer Sam Phillips and an enthusiastic ambassador of Memphis music who worked on records by Jerry Lee Lewis, Willie Nelson and John Prine during more than 50 years in the industry, has died. He was 74.


Pandemic provokes spike in demand for food pantries in US

FRANKLIN (AP) — Brooklyn Dotson needed food. Her first unemployment check had yet to arrive after she was let go by the warehouse where she used to work.


Mayors of Tennessee's 4 largest cities launch ‘Restart Task Force’

Nashville and Davidson County Mayor John Cooper, Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland, Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon and Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke today announced the formation of the Tennessee Major Metros Economic Restart Task Force to plan and coordinate the restoration of business activity currently suspended due to COVID-19.

GOP Senate hopefuls pour personal cash into Tennessee race

NASHVILLE (AP) — Republican Bill Hagerty injected $2.5 million of his personal wealth into Tennessee's open race for U.S. Senate last quarter, while his main GOP rival, Manny Sethi, added $400,000 of his own, bringing his personal stake in the contest to more than $1.9 million.

Committee rejects DeBerry's appeal to remain on ballot

MEMPHIS (AP) — The Tennessee Democratic Party has rejected an appeal by a longtime state representative to remain on the primary ballot.


Tennessee: Allowing abortions would undermine virus efforts

NASHVILLE (AP) — The Tennessee Attorney General's Office on Wednesday defended an order that restricts abortions to prevent the spread of COVID-19.


EPA gutting rule credited with coal-plant toxic air cleanup

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration is gutting an Obama-era rule that compelled coal plants to cut back emissions of mercury and other human health hazards, limiting future regulation of air pollutants by petroleum and coal plants.

Oil and gas giant Shell targets 'net zero' emissions by 2050

BERLIN (AP) — Energy company Royal Dutch Shell told investors Thursday that it aims to stop adding greenhouse gases to the atmosphere by 2050, a move that was welcomed by some climate campaigners even as others called it "corporate greenwash."

Tribes press judge to halt US-Canada pipeline as work starts

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — American Indian tribes and environmental groups are pressuring a federal judge to shut down work on the disputed Keystone XL pipeline from Canada to Nebraska less than two weeks after it started, because of fears over workers spreading the coronavirus and worries about a future spill.


Trump faces global resistance to US plan to cut WHO funding

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump faced international resistance Thursday to his plan to cut U.S. payments to the World Health Organization over its handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

Nurses push back on pressure to work without right equipment

Nurse Mike Gulick was meticulous about not bringing the coronavirus home to his wife and their 2-year-old daughter. He'd stop at a hotel after work just to take a shower. He'd wash his clothes in Lysol disinfectant. They did a tremendous amount of handwashing.

Facebook to warn users who "liked" coronavirus hoaxes

NEW YORK (AP) — Have you liked or commented on a Facebook post about the COVID-19 pandemic?

Medical intelligence sleuths tracked, warned of new virus

WASHINGTON (AP) — In late February when President Donald Trump was urging Americans not to panic over the novel coronavirus, alarms were sounding at a little-known intelligence unit situated on a U.S. Army base an hour's drive north of Washington.


Stocks end higher as Amazon, Netflix pull away from pack

NEW YORK (AP) — Stock indexes ended a wobbly day with modest gains Thursday, while the biggest increases went to Amazon, Netflix and other companies poised to do the best during the coronavirus crunch.

Trump readies roadmap for economic recovery from virus

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump prepared to unveil national guidelines Thursday on when and how the country starts to recover from the sharp economic pain of the coronavirus pandemic as a bipartisan panel of lawmakers urged him to heed the advice of public health experts.

Layoffs and pay cuts are now striking more white collar jobs

WASHINGTON (AP) — First, it was bars, restaurants, hotels. And clothing stores, movie theaters, entertainment venues. And countless small businesses, from bookstores to barber shops.

New pressure on lawmakers as virus aid for firms hits limit

WASHINGTON (AP) — With a key coronavirus  rescue fund exhausted, lawmakers faced new pressure Thursday to break a stalemate over President Donald Trump's $250 billion emergency request to replenish the program that helps small businesses keep workers on their payroll.

GOP lawmakers push for 'clean' extension of payroll program

WASHINGTON (AP) — With a key coronavirus rescue fund exhausted, negotiations are accelerating in Washington over President Donald Trump's $250 billion emergency request to help smaller employers across the country keep workers on their payroll.

Record 22 million have sought US jobless aid in 4 weeks

WASHINGTON (AP) — The wave of layoffs that has engulfed the U.S. economy since the coronavirus struck forced 5.2 million more people to seek unemployment benefits last week, the government reported Thursday.

US job losses mount as economic pain deepens worldwide

WASHINGTON (AP) — The ranks of America's unemployed swelled toward Great Depression-era levels Thursday in an unprecedented collapse that intensified the push-pull from the White House on down over how and when to lift the coronovirus restrictions that have crippled the economy.

Trump says new guidelines aim to lift some restrictions

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump said he's prepared to announce new guidelines allowing some states to quickly ease up on social distancing even as business leaders told him they need more coronavirus testing and personal protective equipment before people can safely go back to work.

Need for seed: Gardeners flock to stores, overwhelm websites

NITRO, W.Va. (AP) — The sweet peppers were picked over, the tomatoes were taken and the flowers were fixing to be next. The empty spots on the store's display were starting to outnumber the full ones.

UK government extends virus lockdown by at least 3 weeks

LONDON (AP) — The British government says a nationwide lockdown imposed to slow the spread of the new coronavirus will remain in place for at least three more weeks.

Skeletal flights for airlines; economic signals flash red

The outbreak of the coronavirus has dealt a shock to the global economy with unprecedented speed. Following are developments Thursday related to the global economy, the work place and the spread of the virus.


US House considers proxy voting during coronavirus crisis

WASHINGTON (AP) — With Congress essentially closed, House Democrats are proposing a temporary rules change during the coronavirus crisis that would allow lawmakers to vote remotely via another lawmaker physically present at the U.S. Capitol.

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