Tuesday morning news – September 8, 2020

Trump, Biden battle over economy, COVID-19 on Labor Day » President Trump marked Labor Day at the White House by touting the country’s economic recovery. 

He said jobs are coming back strong, but that won’t continue if his opponent wins in November. 

TRUMP: We are currently witnessing the fastest labor market recovery from an economic crisis in history. By contrast, Biden presided over the worst, the weakest, and the slowest economic recovery since the Great Depression. 

The president also said while COVID-19 has taken a heavy toll, the U.S. economy has held up better than other Western nations. And he predicted a proven vaccine will be available by the end of the year. 

But his Democratic rival Joe Biden fired back as he spoke to supporters in Pennsylvania. 

BIDEN: More than 6 million people infected with COVID. You’re heading toward 200,000, above 200,000 range of people that have died from COVID. And he still has no plan. 

Florida reports its lowest new single-day cases » But the White House has also been pointing to improving infection rates in many parts of the country. 

Florida on Monday reported the lowest number of new coronavirus cases in almost three months. The state reported just over 1,800 new cases—the fewest since June 15th. Positivity rates and deaths related to COVID-19 are also dropping. 

But health officials across the state are bracing for a possible rise in new cases after holiday gatherings and an influx of tourists over the Labor Day weekend. 

Most of the state’s beaches remained open through the Labor Day holiday, with umbrellas sprouting across many of the most popular.

Experts have pointed to gatherings on Memorial Day weekend and the July 4th holiday as likely culprits in earlier upticks in infections.  

Trump orders agencies to halt some diversity training » President Trump has ordered the federal government to halt certain types of diversity training, which he sees as “divisive, anti-American propaganda.” WORLD’s Leigh Jones has more. 

LEIGH JONES, REPORTER: Federal agencies will identify spending tied to programs on white privilege, critical race theory, or any other content that presents any race as—quote—“inherently racist or evil.”

Director of the Office of Management and Budget Russell Vought issued the notice on Trump’s orders. He said the administration will provide further guidance on the training sessions.

Vought cited press reports in which federal employees had to say they benefit from racism and instructors said virtually all white people contribute to racism. He said such training runs counter to American principles and engenders resentment within the workforce. 

In a tweet, Trump called critical race theory “a sickness that cannot be allowed to continue.”

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Leigh Jones. 

Fire officials expand evacuation orders in California » As a huge wildfire roars through California’s Sierra National Forest, officials on Monday expanded evacuation orders. They urged people in more mountain communities to leave the area. That as fire crews battle dozens of blazes amid a record-setting heat wave. 

Rescuers flew more than 200 people to safety over the weekend after fire surrounded Mammoth Pool Reservoir northeast of Fresno. California Army National Guard Colonel David Hall told reporters…

HALL: The crews were absolutely ecstatic when they came off the helicopters. All of the individuals that they rescued were greeting the crew members with hugs as they were boarding onto the helicopter and again after getting off the helicopter, a lot of high fives. 

To the south, the flames wiped out 30 houses in the remote town of Big Creek.

Sheriff’s deputies went door to door to make sure residents were complying with orders to leave. 

The blaze dubbed the Creek Fire has charred well over a hundred square miles in the lush forest region.  

Meantime, in Southern California, several fires are burning, including one in eastern San Diego County and another that closed mountain roads in Angeles National Forest. 

Scorching temperatures are partially fueling the fires. Downtown Los Angeles reached 111 degrees on Sunday. And a nearby part of the San Fernando Valley recorded a record-shattering high of 121 degrees. 

Saudi court sentences eight people in Khashoggi murder » A Saudi court has handed down sentences to eight people involved in the 2018 murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. WORLD’s Kristen Flavin has that story. 

KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: The court ordered a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for five people. Another person received a 10-year sentence and the court ordered two others to serve seven years behind bars. It did not name any of the people sentenced. 

But the case continues to cast a shadow over Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. He has denied ordering the hit against Khashoggi, but the intelligence communities of the United States and many other countries aren’t buying it. 

Critics of Saudi Arabia’s trial note that no senior officials nor anyone suspected of ordering the killing has been found guilty. 

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Kristen Flavin. 

Russian opposition leader Navalny out of coma » German doctors treating Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny said Monday that they have been able to take him out of a medically induced coma as his condition has slowly improved.  

Navalny was flown to Germany last month after falling ill on a domestic flight in Russia. 

German scientists said last week that tests showed “proof without doubt” that he was poisoned with a chemical nerve agent from the Novichok group. 

That’s the same type of Soviet-era chemical used to poison former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in England two years ago. 

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told reporters over the weekend…

STOLTENBERG: NATO allies agree that Russia now has serious questions it must answer. The Russian government must now cooperate with the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons on an impartial international investigation. 

The Russian government is not cooperating. It denies any involvement and claims Russian doctors found no evidence that he was poisoned. 

Navalny is a fierce and high-profile critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks during an event with local union members in the backyard of a home in Lancaster, Pa., Monday, Sept. 7, 2020. 

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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