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US businesses near border struggle with boundaries’ closure

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NOGALES, Ariz. (AP) — Small businesses in border towns across the U.S. are reeling from the economic fallout of the partial closure of North America’s international boundaries. Restrictions on nonessential travel were put in place a year ago to curb the spread of the virus and have been extended almost every month since. Small businesses, residents and local chambers of commerce say the financial toll has been steep, as have the disruptions to life in communities where it’s common to shop, work and sleep in two different countries. And as more Americans are vaccinated against COVID-19 and infection rates fall across the U.S., many are hoping the restrictions will soon be eased. 

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Asian women say shootings point to relentless, racist tropes

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A deadly rampage at three Georgia massage businesses, where the employees were mostly of Asian descent, has prompted Asian American women to openly share stories of being sexually harassed or demeaned based on their race. They say dealing with men who cling to a perpetual narrative that Asian women are exotic and submissive is a frequent occurrence they’re forced to tolerate. While the suspect, a 21-year-old white man, hasn’t been charged with hate crimes, advocates and scholars say race is an inherent component in Tuesday’s killings in the Atlanta area that points to a larger discussion on the deep history of fetishizing Asian women.

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Pakistan court condemns 2 men to death in highway rape case

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LAHORE, Pakistan (AP) — A Pakistani court has sentenced two men to death for the gang rape of a woman in front of her children last year alongside a motorway in the eastern city of Lahore. Hafiz Asghar says the verdict in the closely watched, six-month trial of Abid Malhi and his accomplice Shafqat Ali was issued inside the prison where it was held in Lahore on Saturday. Judge Arshad Hussain Bhutta also sentenced the men to 14 years imprisonment, time that must be served before any executions can take place, he added. Appeals or commutations are likely. Malhi and Ali found the woman waiting for help after her car ran out of fuel.

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Judge OKs mental health review in Illinois couple’s death

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ALGONQUIN, Ill. (AP) — An Illinois woman charged with killing a couple will undergo a psychological evaluation on her state of mind at the time. The Northwest Herald reports that Arin Fox previously was found to be capable of assisting in her own defense. McHenry County Judge Robert Wilbrandt on Friday granted Fox’s attorneys’ request that she be evaluated again with a focus on her state of mind at the time of the November killings. 

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Half of UK adults have gotten one dose of COVID-19 vaccine

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LONDON (AP) — The U.K. says half of the country’s adults have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine. Health Secretary Matt Hancock said Saturday that more people received injections on Friday than any day since the country’s vaccination program began in early December. But the celebration comes amid growing concerns about the failure of wealthy countries to share scarce vaccine supplies with developing nations. The director of a London-based health policy think tank says while Britain should be proud of the success of its vaccination drive, it’s time to start thinking about the rest of the world. He says the country has the rights to enough doses to vaccinate its entire population twice. 

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Flood Warning issued March 20 at 10:28AM CDT by NWS Lincoln IL

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The Flood Warning continues for
the Illinois River near Havana.
* Until further notice.
* At 9:45 AM CDT Saturday the stage was 14.0 feet.
* Flood stage is 14.0 feet.
* Minor flooding is occurring and minor flooding is forecast.
* Recent Activity…The maximum river stage in the 24 hours ending
at 9:45 AM CDT Saturday was 14.0 feet.
* Forecast…The river is expected to rise to a crest of 15.0 feet
Wednesday morning.
* Impact…At 14.0 feet, Minor flooding begins to agricultural areas
not protected by levees.

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International spectators to be barred from entering Japan for Tokyo Olympics

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TOKYO (NewsNation Now) — International spectators will be barred from the Tokyo Olympics when they open in four months, the International Olympic Committee and local organizers said Saturday.

The move was expected and rumored for several months. Officials said the risk was too great to admit ticket holders from overseas during a pandemic, an idea strongly opposed by the Japanese public. Japan has attributed about 8,800 deaths to COVID-19 and has controlled the virus better than most countries.

Olympic and Paralympic tickets purchased by overseas residents will be refunded, according to a statement released following a five-party meeting including the head of the International Olympic Committee, Thomas Bach, and Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike.

“We could wait until the very last moment to decide, except for the spectators,” said Seiko Hashimoto, the president of the organizing committee. “They have to secure accommodations and flights. So we have to decide early otherwise we will cause a lot of inconvenience from them. I know this is a very tough issue.”

About 1 million tickets are reported to have been sold to fans from outside Japan. Organizers have promised refunds, but this will be determined by so-called Authorized Ticket Resellers that handle sales outside Japan. These dealers charge fees of up to 20% above the ticket price. It is not clear if the fees will be refunded.

Bach called it a “difficult decision.”

The ban on fans from abroad comes just days before the Olympic torch relay starts Thursday from Fukushima prefecture in northeastern Japan. It will last for 121 days, crisscross Japan with 10,000 runners, and is to end on July 23 at the opening ceremony at the National Stadium in Tokyo.

The relay will be a test for the Olympics and Paralympics, which will involve 15,400 athletes entering Japan. They will be tested before leaving home, tested upon arrival in Japan, and tested frequently while they reside in a secure “bubble” in the Athletes Village alongside Tokyo Bay.

Athletes will not be required to be vaccinated to enter Japan, but many will be.

The Olympic Games are now scheduled for July 23 to Aug. 8, and the Paralympics from Aug. 24 to Sept. 5.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

Here’s what Michael Stanley Day will look like in Cleveland

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CLEVELAND (WJW) — Cleveland City Council declared March 25 Michael Stanley Day earlier this week, and now we know what that celebration is going to look like.

Come that Thursday morning, which was the legendary Cleveland musician’s birthday, city leaders are gathering in the Rock Hall Plaza to remember Stanley who passed away March 5 from cancer at age 72. They’ll be joined by members of the Stanley family and band for an official proclamation scheduled for 10:15 a.m.

“I invite all Clevelanders to join me in remembering Mr. Stanley and his immense accomplishments. He will be missed,” Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson said in a statement.

Throughout the day, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame plans to play Stanley’s music from speakers around the city and also have precious Stanley memorabilia on display at the museum, including the custom Jon Hill guitar.

“His contributions to rock ‘n’ roll and our region will not be forgotten, and we are honored to preserve his legacy and tell his story forever at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame,” Rock Hall President and CEO Greg Harris said in a statement.

The Rock Hall is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on March 25. Find ticket information right here.

Downtown Cleveland club cited for violating state COVID-19 orders

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**Related Video Above: Federal grant money expected to help local bars and restaurants stay afloat**

COLUMBUS (WJW) — Last night, one Ohio club were found to be in violation of various state health orders, the Ohio Investigative Unit reported.

Despite a statewide curfew now being lifted, other health orders, such as mask wearing and proper social distancing are still in place.

Here’s what the club, located in downtown Cleveland on St. Clair, was cited with after being observed in reported violation by the Ohio Investigative Unit:

The DSTRKT Club, Cleveland: Agents arrived at the establishment around 12:30 a.m. to find customers not social distancing and standing very close together. At the bar, patrons were seen ordering drinks while standing directly behind those seated at the bar top. Few physical barriers were put in place throughout the establishment, agents said, and most people (staff and customers alike) were not wearing masks. The bar was cited with improper conduct – disorderly activity.

The case will be reviewed by the Ohio Liquor Control Commission, and includes potential fines and liquor permit suspensions.

Three other Cleveland bars were cited earlier this week following St. Patrick’s Day.

Twitter to establish legal entity in Turkey, comply with law

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ISTANBUL (AP) — Twitter has announced it will establish a legal entity in Turkey in order to continue operating in the country, which passed a controversial social media law last year.

In a statement Friday, the social media company said it had reviewed the amended internet law and made the decision to comply with, it but promised to continue “defending open, public conversation and ensuring our service is available to people everywhere.”

Turkey slapped advertising bans on Twitter, Periscope and Pinterest in January. Those bans were the next step in a series of measures to force social media companies to maintain legal representatives in Turkey to manage content complaints.

Companies with more than 1 million users that refuse to designate an official representative are subjected to fines, followed by advertising bans. The next penalty would be bandwidth reductions that would make their platforms too slow to use.

Human rights and media freedom groups say the law amounts to censorship and violates the rights to privacy and access to information.

Under the law, local representatives of social media companies are responsible for answering individual requests to take down content violating privacy and personal rights within 48 hours or to provide grounds for rejection. The company would be held liable for damages if the content is not removed or blocked within 24 hours.

The law also requires social media data to be stored in Turkey, raising concerns in a country where the government has a track record of clamping down on free speech.

“We remain committed to protecting the voices and data of people in Turkey who use Twitter. We will continue to be transparent about how we handle requests from government and law enforcement,” Twitter said.

Turkey’s legal demands for content removal make up 31 percent of all requests globally, according to Twitter. The country has made some 45,800 demands and Twitter says it complied with about a third.

The government insists the legislation is needed to combat cybercrime and to protect the rights of Turkish social media users.

According to the Freedom of Expression Association, as of October 2020, more than 450,000 domains, 120,000 links and 42,000 tweets were blocked in Turkey.