States submit vaccine orders as coronavirus death toll grows

The number of Americans hospitalized with COVID-19 hit an all-time high in the U.S. on Thursday at 100,667, according to the COVID Tracking Project.

  Biden predicts ‘bleak future’ if Congress doesn’t act on aid

  Texas prep football player attacks referee, charged with assault

  COVID-19 relief: What’s on the table as Congress seeks deal

  Gripped by surging pandemic, US employers cut back on hiring

Wayward wallaroo rescued from river after chase in Illinois

  Alabama WWII Veteran beats COVID-19 in time for 104th birthday

Continued Coverage

Police guide that calls BLM a terrorist group draws outrage

House votes to decriminalize marijuana at federal level

  Fugitive is killed, 2 US marshals shot in Bronx gunfight

  CVS, Walgreens get ready to give out coronavirus vaccines

  Public school enrollment decreases nationwide

  How COVID-19 vaccines will get from the factory to your local pharmacy

California attorney withdraws from Rittenhouse criminal case

Los Angeles civil lawyer John Pierce has been at the forefront of the case of Kyle Rittenhouse, who is accused in the shootings during protests in Kenosha this summer.

  Kamala Harris says husband will be ‘second gentleman’

Harris briefly discussed it Thursday in an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper. Her husband, Doug Emhoff, will be the first male spouse of a president or vice president.

California fire danger remains high even as winds ease

Firefighters are busy trying to contain a number of blazes south and east of Los Angeles.

  UK defends vaccine decision amid criticism it moved too fast

U.K. regulators went on the offensive Friday to beat back criticism that they rushed their authorization of a COVID-19 vaccine, saying they rigorously analyzed data on safety and effectiveness in the shortest time possible without compromising the thoroughness of their review.

  Politicians eat own words after dining out, taking trips while advising public to stay home

After being fined by US, Hyundai recalls more vehicles

  Biden adjusting agenda to reflect narrow divide in Congress

  Nearly 30 people freed from alleged human smuggling operation in Houston

Alison Lurie, prize-winning novelist, dead at 94

US intelligence director says China is top threat to America

  Among first acts, Biden to call for 100 days of mask-wearing

President-elect Joe Biden said he will ask Americans to commit to 100 days of wearing masks as one of his first acts as president.

  Walmart will light up the sky with holiday drone light shows

The free and contactless experience will feature nearly 1,000 Intel drones.

  Wind fans wildfire in California canyons, residents flee

The new blaze broke out as Southern California utilities cut the power to tens of thousands of customers to avoid the threat of wildfires during the notorious Santa Anas.

  States plan for vaccines as daily US virus deaths top 3,100

Across the U.S., the surge has swamped hospitals with patients and left nurses and other health care workers shorthanded and burned out.

  Wisconsin high court declines to hear Trump election lawsuit

Trump had asked the Wisconsin Supreme Court to disqualify more than 221,000 ballots in the state’s two biggest Democratic counties, alleging irregularities in the way absentee ballots were administered.

Southwest warns nearly 7,000 workers of possible furloughs

Southwest Airlines warned nearly 7,000 workers on Thursday that they could lose their jobs unless labor unions accept concessions to help the airline cope with a sharp drop in travel caused by the pandemic.

  Next for Biden: Getting the right health team as virus rages

Biden is expected to announce his choice for HHS secretary next week.

  California monolith pops up after finds in Utah, Romania

The mysterious metal monument has taken hikers by surprise and it has since started trending on social media.

Chinese spacecraft carrying lunar rocks lifts off from moon

The spacecraft touched down on the moon on Tuesday on a mission to bring lunar rocks back to Earth for the first time since a Russian spacecraft did so in 1976.

Govt accuses Facebook of discriminating against US workers

The action followed a two-year investigation by the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.

  California governor: Most of state nears stay-home order

California's governor announced the new plans amid an unprecedented surge of new coronavirus cases in the nation’s most populous state amid fears that hospitals could be overwhelmed within weeks.

  Vaccine rollout could ease crisis, but who gets it first?

Getting a COVID-19 vaccine to the right people could change the course of the pandemic in the United States. But who are the right people?

  Trump aide banned from Justice after trying to get case info

The official serving as President Donald Trump’s eyes and ears at the Justice Department has been banned from the building after trying to pressure staffers to give up sensitive case information she could relay to the White House.

  In seismic shift, Warner Bros. to stream all 2021 films

In the most seismic shift by a Hollywood studio yet during the pandemic, Warner Bros. Pictures on Thursday announced that all of its 2021 film slate will stream on HBO Max at the same time they play in theaters.

  Optimism growing for COVID relief bill as pressure builds

Capitol Hill’s top leaders have spoken about COVID-19 relief for the first time in month.

No fans to be allowed at Rose Bowl for CFP semifinal game

The Rose Bowl is hosting one of the playoff semifinals; the other is at the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans.

  Biden eyes defeated candidates for key administration roles

President-elect Joe Biden is eyeing several Democrats who lost congressional reelection races last month for key positions in his administration. They include outgoing Reps. Abby Finkenauer of Iowa and Donna Shalala of Florida and Sen. Doug Jones of Alabama.

Census Bureau says data irregularities being fixed quickly

The timeline remains in flux for turning in the apportionment numbers used for deciding how many congressional seats and Electoral College votes each state gets in future elections.

  Phishing ploy targets COVID-19 vaccine distribution effort

The precision targeting and careful efforts to leave no tracks bore “the potential hallmarks of nation-state tradecraft.”

Court: Rittenhouse bound over for trial in protest shootings

Kyle Rittenhouse, of Antioch, Illinois, is charged with homicide and attempted homicide for the Aug. 25 fatal shootings of Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber and the wounding of Gaige Grosskreutz during a night of unrest two days after the police shooting in Kenosha of Jacob Blake.

OPEC, Russia agree to nudge up oil production from January

OPEC and a group of allied countries including Russia agreed Thursday to increase oil production by 500,000 barrels per day from January and will meet monthly after that to decide whether to further adjust output.

Police: 4 die after explosion at UK wastewater plant

Four people died following an explosion in a silo that holds treated biosolids at a wastewater treatment plant near the southwest England city of Bristol, police said Thursday.

  Ex-presidents would get vaccine publicly to boost confidence

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will prioritize healthcare workers and people living in long-term healthcare facilities to receive a vaccine once approved.

  Georgia GOP seeks mail-in ballot changes after Biden’s win

Republicans are zeroing in on a plan to require a photo ID for ballots cast by mail.

  NORAD’s Santa tracker website is operational for Christmas

NORAD Tracks Santa has a Santa tracker countdown clock, games, music and other holiday fun.

  Trump honors football coach Holtz as ‘one of the greatest’

President Donald Trump on Thursday called Lou Holtz “one of the greatest coaches in American history” as he honored the college football Hall of Famer and political ally with the nation’s highest civilian honor.

4 lost children rescued from under Okla. dam

The children -- ages 5, 6, 7, and 9 -- were reported missing Tuesday afternoon when they walked away from their grandmother’s house.

Ivanka Trump deposed as part of inauguration fund lawsuit

The Washington, D.C., attorney general’s office has filed a lawsuit alleging the committee made more than $1 million in improper payments to the president’s Washington, D.C., hotel during the week of the inauguration in 2017.

  Facebook to remove COVID-19 vaccine-related misinformation

Facebook said Thursday it will start removing false claims about COVID-19 vaccines, in its latest move to counter a tide of coronavirus-related online misinformation.

  Ho, ho — Whoa! Virus keeping most Santas at a distance

Santas this year are wearing masks and face shields, sitting behind glass or visiting with children online.

  Biden is facing high hopes, tough choices on border wall

Biden faces immediate pressure when he enters the White House in January to fulfill a pledge to stop border wall construction. But he also will confront tough choices left behind by President Donald Trump as well as skepticism about his own record on border walls.

Elon Musk predicts he’ll put people on Mars by 2026

Elon Musk predicts SpaceX will have humans on Mars by 2026.

One person bitten by tiger at Carole Baskin’s “Big Cat Rescue”

Big Cat Rescue has confirmed that one person suffered mild injuries after being bitten by an animal Thursday morning.

Alaska mayor: Evacuations underway, 6 people missing after landslides

Search and rescue crews are in the area and commercial fishermen are using their personal boats to assist.

  School closings threaten gains of students with disabilities

Some schools have prioritized high-needs students in reopening plans, bringing small numbers of them back to campuses that otherwise are sticking with distance learning. But those options have only fueled further anguish when they have been reversed because of the virus.

  US jobless claims remain high at 712,000 as virus escalates

The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits fell last week to a still-high 712,000, the latest sign that the U.S. economy and job market remain under stress from the intensified viral outbreak.

NASA: Mystery object is 54-year-old rocket, not asteroid

The object formally known as 2020 SO entered a wide, lopsided orbit around Earth last month and, on Tuesday, made its closest approach at just over 31,000 miles.

Search persists for parents of 628 kids separated at border

The joint filing by attorneys for the Justice Department and families offers the latest snapshot of efforts to reunite families under a “zero tolerance” policy on illegal border crossings that resulted in thousands of separations when parents were criminally prosecuted.

California boy, 11, fatally shoots self during online class

Deputies were called to the 11-year-old boy's home, where they found him with a self-inflicted head wound. He died at a hospital.

  Boy, 5, killed in train crash as Calif. family waited to see Christmas display

The cause of the crash is still under investigation.

  Artist spreads holiday cheer with garage mural of Santa, the Grinch

The artist says he hopes to make the neighborhood kids smile and give them a sense of self.

Police: Hawaii couple arrested after boarding plane knowing they were COVID positive

Two Kauai residents were arrested over the weekend after they got on a plane for the island knowing they were positive for COVID-19.

  In video, Trump recycles unsubstantiated voter fraud claims

President Donald Trump has delivered a 46-minute diatribe against the election results that produced a win for Democrat Joe Biden.

  Saturn, Jupiter will align for ‘Christmas Star’ this month

The heavenly meeting of the two biggest worlds in our solar system is an extremely close one.

  Nurses wanted: Swamped hospitals scramble for pandemic help

The CDC director said the coming months are "going to be the most difficult time in the public health history of this nation."

Rafer Johnson, 1960 Olympic decathlon champion, dies at 86

He died at his home in the Sherman Oaks section of Los Angeles, according to family friend Michael Roth. No cause of death was announced.

  New Mexico Christmas tree lot offers ‘pay what you can’ trees

Chad Akenhead decided to sell over 40 Christmas trees for whatever amount families could afford to pay.

  Biden, top Democrats swing behind bipartisan virus aid bill

President-elect Joe Biden is calling upon lawmakers to pass a relief bill now, with more aid to come next year.

  ‘Brush the haters off’: Bainbridge, Ga., freshman born without hands makes catch in playoff game

A five-yard catch late in the blowout win was the first varsity catch for freshman Jamauri Williams, who was born without hands.

  Arizona’s Mark Kelly is sworn into Senate, narrowing GOP edge

Arizona Democrat and former astronaut Mark Kelly was sworn into the Senate on Wednesday, narrowing GOP control of the chamber and underscoring his state’s shift from red to blue.

US tightens definition of service animals allowed on planes

The government has decided that when it comes to air travel, only dogs can be service animals, and companions used for emotional support don’t count.

Lon Adams, Slim Jim jerky recipe creator, dies of COVID-19

Alonzo “Lon” T. Adams II, the man who created the formula for Slim Jim beef jerky sticks, has died from complications of COVID-19.

  Britain OKs Pfizer vaccine and will begin shots within days

In giving the go-ahead for emergency use of the vaccine developed by American drugmaker Pfizer and Germany’s BioNTech, Britain vaulted past the United States by at least a week.

  Biden: I won’t immediately lift China tariffs

President-elect Joe Biden says he won’t immediately lift tariffs placed by President Donald Trump on many imports from China or break Trump’s initial trade deal.

  Stay home for the holidays or get tested twice, CDC urges

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that the best way to stay safe and protect others is to stay home.

  Trump teases 2024 run at White House Christmas party

Trump has been challenging his defeat in November's election despite his own attorney general acknowledging there is no evidence of widespread voter fraud.

US lawmakers unveil anti-slavery constitutional amendment

Constitutional amendments are rare and require approval by two-thirds of the House and Senate, as well as ratification by three-quarters of state legislatures.

  Fed and Treasury urge Congress to approve more virus relief

In his most direct comments so far, Powell told the House Financial Services Committee on Wednesday that it’s “very important” for Congress to provide economic support.