On Air Now

Listen Now

Weather

cloudy-day
43°
Partly Cloudy
H 70° L 56°
  • cloudy-day
    43°
    Current Conditions
    Partly Cloudy. H 70° L 56°
  • cloudy-day
    66°
    Afternoon
    Partly Cloudy. H 70° L 56°
  • cloudy-day
    61°
    Evening
    Partly Cloudy. H 70° L 56°
Listen
Pause
Error

The latest top stories

00:00 | 00:00

Listen
Pause
Error

The latest traffic report

00:00 | 00:00

Listen
Pause
Error

The latest forecast

00:00 | 00:00

    The Latest on the 2020 presidential campaign (all times local): 7:55 p.m. Elizabeth Warren is thanking Nevada voters for keeping her campaign in the fight. She was addressing over 2,000 people at a campaign event in Seattle. She told the crowd at the Seattle Center Armory she believes voters are ready for big, structural change. Warren’s public event took place at the armory near the Space Needle, the same day as the Nevada caucuses where Bernie Sanders scored a resounding victory. Joe Biden was running a distant second in Nevada as results came in and Buttigieg and Warren were further behind. She congratulated Bernie Sanders on winning. She says her campaign has raised $9 million since the candidate debate Wednesday night. She said: 'We have a lot of states to go and right now I can feel the momentum.' She turned immediately from Nevada to attacking Mike Bloomberg, calling him not a tall threat but a big one with his billions of dollars. 6:30 p.m. Precinct captain Nadia Albulet says a deck of cards helped break a tie in very Las Vegas fashion. The Las Vegas entertainer said Saturday that Sen. Bernie Sanders led the precinct at Lucille S. Rogers Elementary School. But, she says, her king of spades trumped a queen of diamonds to get the fourth delegate for former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg. At Buttigieg’s after-caucus rally in a packed room at the Springs Preserve, she said she was motivated by climate change to do more than just vote this year. 6:10 p.m. Pete Buttigieg is delivering a blistering attack against rival Bernie Sanders, who he accuses of leading a divisive movement that has furthered “the toxic tone of our politics.” The former South Bend Indiana mayor and Democratic presidential hopeful made the remarks while addressing supporters in Las Vegas, shortly after Sanders won the Nevada caucuses. Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist, has performed strongly in early contests giving him an early lead. But Buttigieg said the Vermont senator has proven to be ideologically inflexible, fails to police aggressive supporters and has alienated moderate voters who don’t support the wholesale political “revolution” Sanders advocates for. He urged voters to “take a sober look at the consequences” of making Sanders the party’s nominee. Buttigieg said Sanders has a “vision of capitalism as the root of all evil.” And he added that Sanders' political vision would “reorder the economy in ways most Democrats -- let alone most Americans -- don’t support.” Buttigieg called for a broad Democratic coalition. But he said Sanders’ army of online supporters – often referred to as “Bernie Bros” – threaten, intimate and harass the very same people needed to beat President Donald Trump. 5:55 p.m. Sen. Bernie Sanders is celebrating his Nevada caucus victory hundreds of miles away in Texas. The Vermont senator took the stage before thousands of cheering supporters inside the Cowboys Dance Hall in San Antonio on Saturday night and declared, “We’re going to win this election.” The country’s second largest state votes on “Super Tuesday” on March 3, after next week’s South Carolina primary, but Sanders wasted little time declaring, “We are going to win here in Texas.” He added: “We are going to win across the country because the American people are sick and tired of a president who lies all of the time.” Sanders then modified the standard campaign speech he gives multiple times a day to touch more heavily on immigration for an audience about 150 miles from the U.S.-Mexico border. He noted that his father immigrated to the U.S. from Poland 'without a nickel in his pocket' and added, 'I know something about the immigrant experience. Together we are going to end the demonization” of immigrants. 5:50 p.m. Amy Klobuchar is telling supporters her presidential campaign has “exceeded expectations” and she plans to carry on, even as she trailed far behind several rivals in Saturday’s Nevada caucuses. The Minnesota senator returned to her home state Saturday following a morning event in Las Vegas. Speaking to volunteers Klobuchar said that 'a lot of people didn’t even think I would still be standing at this point.' Klobuchar finished in fifth place in the kickoff Iowa caucuses before a strong debate performance helped lift her to third place in New Hampshire. She will campaign Sunday in Fargo, North Dakota, before holding events in Arkansas and Oklahoma, both states that will vote in the March 3 “Super Tuesday” contests. On Monday she will be in South Carolina, which holds its primary Saturday and where she will participate in a Tuesday debate. ___ 5:45 p.m. Joe Biden is declaring himself back into the race for the presidency after early results in Nevada showed the former vice president in second place. Biden told supporters Saturday that “we're alive and we're coming back and we're gonna win.” Biden thanked unions for their support, citing labor groups that have endorsed him including firefighters, ironworkers and electrical workers. He took a shot at the race's frontrunner, self-declared democratic socialist Bernie Sanders, and former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg, who isn't competing in the first four states but has spent hundreds of millions of dollars of his own fortune hoping to pick up delegates starting on Super Tuesday. 'I ain't a socialist. I ain't a plutocrat,' Biden said. 'I'm a Democrat. And I'm proud of it.' Biden said the Russians will continue to support President Donald Trump and Sanders, whose campaign acknowledged Friday that he was briefed last month by U.S. officials about Russian efforts to boost his candidacy. 'Let's give Trump exactly what he doesn’t want,' Biden told his supporters. “Let's give him you and Joe Biden as the nominee.” 4:25 p.m. Hundreds gathered for a Bernie Sanders’ event at the Cowboy Dance Hall in San Antonio which features two levels of dance floors and a mechanical bull that was, perhaps appropriately, not operating as supporters waited for theVermont senator's event to begin Saturday night. The crowd watched CNN coverage of results from Nevada on television and projector screens placed around the venue and cheered whenever a new batch indicated Sanders was performing well. It chanted “Bernie! Bernie! Bernie!” and “Bernie Beats Trump!” Teddy Hilton, a 31-year-old bar tender and server from San Antonio, said he voted for Sanders during the 2016 Democratic primary when the senator was defeated handily in Texas by Hillary Clinton. He said back then Sanders was still unknown to a lot of Texans but not now: “It’s more name recognition but also, I think, a lot of it is passion.” Hilton said of Sanders, “He talks about issues that people are passionate about and they talk to more and more people and it just spreads.” 3:55 p.m. Two of the four caucus precincts at a middle school the northern Nevada city of Gardnerville had trouble getting through on the phone hotline to report results. Kimi Cole, the chair of the Douglas County Democrats who was the site lead at the school, said her precinct and another tried to call the hotline after their caucuses wrapped up early afternoon but instead of being put on hold they were met with a tone that seemed to indicate the number wasn’t working. “I dialed two or three times, couldn’t get through. My friend dialed, couldn’t get through,” Cole said. A third person at the caucus site was able to get through and report results right after, but Cole said she and the other precinct leader decided to use one of the Nevada Democratic Party’s backup methods by texting a photo of their caucus reporting worksheets. Cole said the data was also transmitted by the iPad calculator, which seemed to run smoothly for everyone at that site. 3:45 p.m. Nevada’s Republican party Saturday awarded all 25 of its delegates to President Donald Trump. The Nevada party had already canceled its caucuses. Instead, the state Republican committee voted by acclimation to give Trump all of its delegates at the same time as Democrats were tallying caucus votes, according to party executive director Will Sexauer. No other Republican qualified for the balloting by the state committee, Sexauer said. This gives Trump 86 of the 87 delegates awarded so far. Former Massachusetts Governor William Weld won one delegate in Iowa. South Carolina, which votes next Saturday, also had canceled its primary. Its delegates will not be bound to any candidate. 3:35 p.m. Pete Buttigieg is trying to fundraise off the recent revelation that Russia may be trying to help the campaign of his rival, Sen. Bernie Sanders. News broke Friday that intelligence officials briefed Sanders a month ago about the apparent Russian meddling effort. Sanders called on the Russians to stop, but also used the occasion to take a shot at The Washington Post, which first to report it. He suggested that the story could have been timed to hurt him in the Nevada caucuses on Saturday. Buttigieg’s campaign said in a fundraising email Saturday that Sanders’ response was “deeply troubling” but also “telling of the kind of politics we’re in for in Bernie’s vision of the future.” The email went on to suggest Sanders would foment what it called “more conspiracy theories, more attacks undermining the free press when they write something you don’t like, more attacks on anyone who doesn’t agree with you 100% of the time.” ___ 3:30 p.m. Nevada Democrats have discovered an anomaly as they count up caucus votes at the site on the campus of the University of Nevada, Reno: one of the precincts doesn't have any voters. Amy Travis, a Bernie Sanders supporter from a neighboring precinct, was given the task of filling in the 'zeroes' next to all the candidates names in precinct 7321. She thought it was strange that no one voted there either during early voting or at Saturday's caucus. So she got out her phone and found a map of the precinct to find it consists entirely of a 600-acre county park just west of the UNR campus. Austin Daly, the site leader at the UNR campus, says he thinks there used to be two houses in the precinct along the edge of San Rafael Park. But he says they might be vacant now or at least aren't occupied by residents who wanted to cast a ballot in the Democratic caucus. Daly says the precinct's lone delegate to the county convention will be recorded as 'uncommitted.' Once they get to the county convention, a delegate will be elected to that uncommitted slot. 2 p.m. Bernie Sanders has moved on to Texas, where he addressed about 1,500 supporters in El Paso as the results came in from the Nevada caucuses. Early voting is already underway in Texas, one of the Super Tuesday states holding contests March 3. Before his El Paso campaign event, Sanders visited a memorial for the victims of the Aug. 3 shooting that left 22 dead and about two dozen injured. That’s according to a local politician who addressed the crowd before Sanders took the stage. Another 2020 contender, Mike Bloomberg, also said he visited the memorial before his rally this month. ___ 1:45 p.m. A national co-chair of Elizabeth Warren's presidential campaign says the Massachusetts senator's finishes in some of the first voting contests are not reasons to count her out. Rep. Ayanna Pressley told The Associated Press on Saturday that Warren's strengths have long been underestimated and that she's unconcerned about prior finishes or poll numbers. Warren finished third in Iowa and fourth in New Hampshire. As voters caucused Saturday in Nevada, Pressley said she believed Warren would surprise voters in the states that follow, like South Carolina and the Super Tuesday states. Pressley is spending several days campaigning for Warren in South Carolina before its primary in a week. ___ 12:45 p.m. Votes are being cast in the Nevada presidential caucuses. It's the first presidential contest in the West and the first to test the strengths and weaknesses of the candidates with black and Latino voters. Altogether, 200 locations are hosting caucuses. Among them are seven casino-resorts on the Las Vegas Strip. Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford is a Democrat who's not endorsing a candidate. He says the state “represents an opportunity for these candidates to demonstrate their appeal to a larger swath of our country.” All eyes are on the process after the lead-off Iowa caucuses yielded a muddy result marked by error. ___ 12:40 p.m. What happens at a Nevada caucus site if two candidates end up in a tie? According to one precinct leader, it comes down to the luck of the draw. Several hundred voters and about a dozen observers were crowded into a site on the campus of the University of Nevada in Reno when things got underway. The temporary precinct captain, Becky Cohen, explained the process and said everything will be transparent, with results at each stage written on poster boards stuck to the walls. She closed by holding up a deck of cards and saying, “If there's a tie, God forbid, this is what we do. It's Nevada.” ___ Noon Several of the Democratic presidential candidates are out among the voters as the Nevada caucuses get underway. Pete Buttigieg greeted supporters at a Las Vegas caucus site shortly before the start. The former South Bend, Indiana, mayor shook hands and exchanged small talk with those gathered at a south side high school. Buttigieg nodded to Nevada’s diversity compared with the predominantly white states of Iowa and New Hampshire that have already held contests. He says Nevada offers him a chance to prove he has a broad base of support. Buttigieg has been dogged by low polling numbers with minorities, particularly black voters. Elizabeth Warren swung by a suburban Nevada caucus site to pose for pictures with supporters and offer doughnuts to volunteers. She ducked inside for a moment and called out to voters still waiting in line to caucus. She said: “Thank you for participating in democracy.” ___ 11:45 a.m. At Rancho High School, a 38-year-old Las Vegas resident, community organizer and political activist was changing her voter registration from independent so that she could caucus. Lashonda Marve-Austin said: “I’m black, so I don’t want a candidate that just wants to do the right thing for black people. I want them to do the right thing for all the people. She added: “And then I’m poor, so I don’t want them to just do the right thing for poor people, I want them to do what’s right for people overall.” ___ 11:30 a.m. The chairman of the Democratic National Committee is expressing confidence that the Nevada caucuses will go smoothly and won't repeat the problems that muddied the results in Iowa. The hours ahead will show whether he’s correct. Tom Perez spoke to reporters Saturday at a caucus site at the Bellagio hotel and casino on the Las Vegas strip. He says the goal in Saturday’s caucuses is to release the results as soon as possible but “first and foremost, to get it right.' Perez says the popularity of early voting made processing those votes difficult but party officials have worked overtime to accomplish the task. Nearly 75,000 people participated in a four-day early voting period that ended on Tuesday. Their choices will be added to results of Saturday’s in-person caucusing. Perez says the party has trained more than 3,000 people to carry out the caucuses, with training going on as recently as Friday. ___ 11 a.m. Before the sun started peeking out behind the clouds in late morning, Elizabeth Warren volunteers were shielding Nevada caucus goers for the rain with umbrellas as they entered a caucus location at a high school on the east side of Las Vegas. Turnout appeared to be light and there was no line at the registration tables an hour before caucuses were supposed to start. In one room with about a dozen caucus-goers standing around chatting, about half the attendees were wearing Pete Buttigieg buttons. One Buttigieg supporter, 54-year-old Sue Thornton, said she worried the poor weather in the morning and the early vote may have cut into caucus-day turnout. She said in 2016, lines were out the door when she showed up to caucus. Thornton works in food and beverage management at a hotel-casino. She said she was interested in Buttigieg from the start and his performance in the campaign sealed her support. She says: 'I am a sucker for a nerd and a geek, and he fits the bill. ... Stays calm and collected. Speaks seven languages, for goodness’ sake.” ___ 10 a.m. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren says her presidential campaign has raised $14 million in the past 10 days. In a tweet, the Democratic hopeful says the haul is double what the campaign had hoped to raise between the New Hampshire primary and Saturday’s Nevada caucuses. It's unclear how much came in since Wednesday night, when Warren savaged New York billionaire Mike Bloomberg during the Democratic debate in Las Vegas. Warren’s disappointing fourth place finish in her neighboring state of New Hampshire was considered potentially fatal to her campaign. But her supporters believe she can build on her strong debate performance and find a path to victory. The money will help. ___ 9:45 a.m. Nevada Democrats say they added 10,000 people to their rolls during four days of early caucus voting this week. The state party announced Saturday, hours before presidential caucuses were set to begin, that more than one out of 10 early voters took advantage of same-day registration and became Democratic voters. Nevada’s caucuses are open only to Democrats but people can register as Democrats or switch their affiliation as they show up to vote. Democrats outnumber Republicans in Nevada and had about 610,000 active registered voters through the end of January. ___ 9:15 a.m. The political focus Saturday is on the 200 locations across Nevada that are hosting presidential caucuses. It's the third contest on the 2020 election calendar as Democrats try to determine which candidate will take on President Donald Trump in November. Nevada will test the candidates' strength with black and Latino voters for the first time in 2020, after contests in overwhelmingly white Iowa and New Hampshire. Questions linger about Nevada Democrats' ability to report election results quickly as new concerns surface about foreign interference in the U.S. election. Saturday's caucuses are the first since technical glitches and human errors plagued Iowa's kickoff caucuses. Nevada Democrats have projected confidence in their process but it's not certain full results will be released on the day of the vote. The state party added to its responsibilities by offering early voting — something Iowa didn't attempt. ___ 9 a.m. President Donald Trump is mocking a recent intelligence briefing given to the House intelligence committee about Moscow's interference in the 2020 race. He's claiming that House Democrats are saying Russia wants Bernie Sanders to win. Democratic presidential candidate Sanders said Friday that U.S. officials told him about a month ago that Russia has been trying to help his campaign, just as Russia did on Trump's behalf in 2016. There actually are conflicting accounts about what the briefers told the House intelligence committee about Russia’s intentions. One intelligence official said members were not told in the briefing that Russia was working to aid Trump directly. But advancing Sanders’ candidacy could be seen as beneficial to Trump’s reelection prospects. Trump tweeted sarcastically that Nevada Democrats, voting in Saturday's caucuses, need to be careful of “Russia, Russia, Russia.' ___ 8:45 a.m. A busload of volunteers for Pete Buttigieg is on its way to South Carolina from Indiana to knock on doors for him in the campaign for the Democratic presidential primary a week away. His campaign says 18 volunteers are coming from South Bend and Gary to spread the word on the former South Bend mayor. They’ll also attend Sunday church services before heading back. Buttigieg and other contenders are in Nevada for that state’s caucuses Saturday. The candidates are expected to spend much of the coming week campaigning in South Carolina for the last of the four early-voting contests. Their debate in Charleston on Tuesday will be the final one before that primary and the March 3 Super Tuesday contests.
  • Candidates have hustled past tourists and slot machines to ask housekeepers and cooks for their votes in the back of flashy casinos. They've made their pitches over plates of tamales, tacos and soul food. They've walked a picket line in the street with union workers. And then, with unsurprising showmanship, there was that flock of pigeons with tiny MAGA hats. If Nevada has one job in the Democratic primary, it's to offer something different. And in many ways it has delivered. As the presidential race turned to the state this week, gone was the earnestness of Iowa and tradition of New Hampshire and in its place was racial diversity, a new unpredictability and the muscle of urban, union politics. “Nevada is truly a state that represents the rest of the country,” former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said, famous for his Nevada cheerleading and early primary state trash talk. “It's not like Iowa where you have no diversity ... New Hampshire is a state that has no diversity.” It's far from clear that Nevada's more representative population — it is 29% Latino, 10% black, 9% Asian American and Pacific Islander and 49% white — will result in a dramatic scramble of the pecking order set by Iowa and New Hampshire. In the past, Nevada Democrats have twice been a tiebreaker in two-person contests. In this crowded field of candidates, the state's input isn't expected to reorder the race. Still, the Silver State campaign has delivered on some of its promises to change it up on the campaign trail, offering up scenes that are hard to imagine happening elsewhere. There was Elizabeth Warren ordering a boba tea at a cafe in Las Vegas' Chinatown. Tom Steyer hosting a Black History Month concert with former members of R&B groups En Vogue and Boyz to Men. Bernie Sanders' face plastered on a mobile billboard driving through heavily Latino neighborhoods —- the kind promotion typically used to advertise strip joints and acrobatic shows. President Donald Trump couldn't resist getting in on the action. He spent much of the week sleeping at this gleaming hotel tower on the Las Vegas Strip. Tourists booed and cheered as they watched his motorcade cruise along a Las Vegas Strip eerily cleared of traffic after a rally in Phoenix on Wednesday. He had another on Friday in Las Vegas. On Saturday, seven casino-resorts on the Las Vegas Strip will be among 200 locations hosting sites for the state’s Democratic caucuses. (This state doesn't blink at allowing the democratic process in adult playgrounds devoted to gambling and overindulgence.) Nevada’s turn near the top of the presidential campaign calendar is still new, added ahead of the 2008 election. That means caucuses here don’t come with the same traditions and voters haven’t become habituated to seeing the candidates at their neighborhood parks and high schools. “Dude, we just touched Bernie!” two University of Nevada-Las Vegas students yelled to a third shortly after Sanders wrapped up a campus rally. Campaigns have had to be creative in pursuit of voters who can be hard to find, not hyper-engaged, new to the process and, sometimes, behind a gate. Traditional organizing tactics like door-knocking and phone-banking are tough in Nevada, where people move so often that records of addresses and phone numbers are regularly out of date. So many Nevadans don't have landlines that the former Mayor Pete Buttigieg's campaign relied more on text messaging rather than phone banking, said Olivia Bercow, a campaign spokeswoman. The campaign found it tricky to do routine canvassing in the locked apartment complexes and gated communities in the sprawling suburbs. It focused on asking supporters to organize friends and neighbors, helping them get inside. They’ve also looked to find locals where they hang out — at their church, the “first Fridays” art walk, open mic nights, a Dia de los Muertos celebration or a salsa dancing class. But there's one place you don't go, campaigns learn quickly. “If you go to the Strip thinking that you're going to talk about Pete, most people you find don’t live in Nevada,” Bercow said. “Its not a great use of time.” Natalie Montelongo, a senior strategist for Massachusetts' Sen. Elizabeth Warren's campaign, said organizing in the state “requires creativity and grit.” In a state with strong labor, among the most coveted group of voters are the casino workers’ Culinary Workers Union, Local 226. While they are sometimes unnoticed by the millions of tourists frequenting casinos, the workers who keep the hotels humming, the drinks flowing, the rooms clean and the dishes sparkling are part of a 60,000-member majority-female, majority-Latino group that presidential candidates have aggressively courted. Even though the union’s leaders have said the group is not endorsing, candidates are still working to woo the union’s politically engaged members. Warren and former Vice President Joe Biden were among the candidates touring the casino’s employee dining rooms during the week. On Wednesday, nearly all of the candidates carried signs and chanted as they joined picketing union members in front of a towering casino-hotel that’s been locked in a longstanding labor dispute with the Culinary Union. Warren wore red,matching the workers.Biden wrapped an arm around the union’s leader, Geoconda Argüello-Kline, and former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar and billionaire businessman Tom Steyer carried signs that said “No contract, no peace.” Nearby, a troupe of dancers dressed as a bartender, cook, server, cocktail waitress, housekeeper and janitor danced in unison. There was little peace at the Wednesday debate, the most combative of the primary and the first to feature former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg. Although Bloomberg isn't competing in the Nevada caucus he took nearly as many blows as Trump, who spent the night down the street. As Trump appeared in the city, so too did a group of pigeons with tiny red “Make America Great Again” hats like those worn by by Trump's supporters on their heads. One pigeon had a tiny blond wig similar to Trump's distinctive hair. A self-proclaimed “underground radical group” that goes by the acronym P.U.T.I.N. (Pigeons, United To Interfere Now), told the Las Vegas Review-Journal they released the pigeons as an “aerial protest piece' in response to the 2020 Democratic debate as “ a gesture of support and loyalty to President Trump.” They also hope to elevate the stature of the pigeon, the group said.
  • Former Ukraine ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, the career diplomat who during the impeachment hearings of President Donald Trump offered a chilling account of alleged threats from Trump and his allies, has a book deal. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt confirmed Friday to The Associated Press that it had acquired Yovanovitch's planned memoir, currently untitled. According to the publisher, the book will trace her long career, from Mogadishu, Somalia, to Kyiv and “finally back to Washington, D.C. — where, to her dismay, she found a political system beset by many of the same challenges she had spent her career combating overseas.' “Yovanovitch’s book will deliver pointed reflections on the issues confronting America today, and thoughts on how we can shore up our democracy,” Houghton Mifflin Harcourt said in an announcement. Financial terms were not disclosed, but two people familiar with the deal told the AP that the agreement was worth seven figures, even though the book is not expected until Spring 2021, months after this fall's election. They were not authorized to discuss negotiations and spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss financial terms. Yovanovitch was represented by the Javelin literary agency, where other clients include former FBI Director James Comey and former National Security Adviser John Bolton. Yovanovitch told House investigators last year that Ukrainian officials had warned her in advance that Rudy Giuliani and other Trump insiders were planning to “do things, including to me” and were “looking to hurt” her. Pushed out of her job earlier in 2019 on Trump’s orders, she testified that a senior Ukrainian official told her that “I really needed to watch my back.” Yovanovitch was recalled from Kyiv as Giuliani pressed Ukrainian officials to investigate baseless corruption allegations against Democrat Joe Biden and his son Hunter, who was involved with Burisma, a gas company there. Biden, the former vice president, is a contender for the 2020 presidential election. According to a White House transcript, Trump told Ukranian leader Volodymyr Zelensky last summer that Yovanovitch, “was bad news and the people she was dealing with in the Ukraine were bad news.' The allegations that Trump pressured Ukraine to investigate a political opponent led to his impeachment in December on two counts by the Democratic-run House. Earlier this month, the Republican-run Senate acquitted him on both counts. Yovanovitch, 61, was appointed ambassador to Ukraine in 2016 by President Barack Obama. She recently was given the Trainor Award, an honor for international diplomacy presented by Georgetown University and currently is a non resident fellow at Georgetown's Institute for the Study of Diplomacy.
  • California is the largest prize in the calculations of any Democratic presidential candidate, and Bernie Sanders has been working the state for months, worrying his rivals. Sanders has been organizing intensively among Latinos and young voters, producing campaign materials in seven languages, going, as one aide said, “where most candidates don't go.” Mike Bloomberg has tried to counter Sanders with saturation advertising, including buying time at television stations in Arizona, Nevada and Oregon that also reach California. Pete Buttigieg held three public events in the past week to capitalize on his early state momentum. Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren remain competitive. The attention reflects a growing concern among Sanders' rivals that if he performs well enough in the state, with its 415 delegates at stake on Super Tuesday, March 3, that he could build a delegate lead that is difficult to catch. Early voting is already underway in the state and Sanders and other candidates are aggressively trying to lock down supporters. “California's one of those unique places because these presidential elections don't play out here very often,” said Ace Smith, one of the state's best known political strategists. “There's just a real thirst.' Competing in the state isn't simple; it is home to some of the nation's most expensive media markets, there are roughly 20 million voters, and delegates are awarded both on the statewide level and in each of the 53 congressional districts. A candidate must hit 15% statewide to get a share of 144 delegates. Another 271 awarded by reaching 15% in a congressional district, with heavily Democratic districts offering more delegates. Sanders' campaign has long counted California as important, deploying more than 80 staff here last year and sending Sanders regularly. He planned two rallies Friday in heavily Latino areas, on top of an event earlier this week in the San Francisco Bay Area, a Democratic stronghold rich with delegates. He's running television ads in every market. Campaign staffers were out just days after ballots dropped on Feb. 3, knocking on doors offering to collect them, a legal practice in California, and his events have booths set up to collect them. And he is trying to show that organizing can be more potent that TV ads. Smith, who ran Hillary Clinton's 2016 operation in the state, said the key question for Sanders is how high his support can go. If it hits close to 40%, it will be harder for multiple other contenders to win delegates, allowing him to run up the score. Recent polls show Sanders in front of other top candidates in the state, with Biden, Bloomberg, Buttigieg and Warren all hovering near the threshold for receiving delegates. Rafael Návar, Sanders' state director, said the campaign believes he will win delegates in every congressional district. “We've prioritized where most presidential campaigns don't go,” he said. Still, the campaign sounded alarms Friday that less than 10% of the roughly 4 million California independents who vote by mail have taken the necessary steps to vote in the Democratic primary, which they are allowed to do. Independents are California's second largest voting bloc behind Democrats, and one that's rapidly growing. Sanders' campaign has heavily targeted them. Sanders blamed complicated rules on the low numbers, saying “we risk locking out millions of young people, millions of young people of color,” and many others who “may find it impossible” to vote in the Democratic primary. He and his campaign went on to explain the steps those voters can still take to vote in the primary. Young people and Latino voters have requested Democratic ballots at a rate of less than 5%, according to tracking by Political Data Inc. Both are key demographics for Sanders' campaign. Bloomberg, meanwhile, is blanketing every single television market in the state with ads, in addition to those out-of-state markets that reach California viewers. He is also buying advertisements in weekly newspapers in rural areas, hoping to hit voters who may not be getting much communication from Democrats. He last campaigned in the state on Feb. 3, the day of the Iowa caucuses, traveling from the state capital of Sacramento to Fresno, in the state's farm belt, and ending the day outside Los Angeles. Dan Kanninen, the campaign's states director, said Bloomberg is similarly trying to win delegates in every district. “It's premature to put a number on what we hope to get,” Kanninen said, but he warned Sanders could run away with delegates if non-Sanders voters don't consolidate behind a single alternative. “Voting for a candidate who's going to get 5% or 6% does have the danger of creating the scenario around that threshold that could get Bernie a lead that’s almost insurmountable.” Bloomberg's advertising is buoyed by roughly 300 staff members on the ground, by far the most of any campaign, led by strategists with deep California experience. The campaign will have held 1,000 organizing events in the state by March 3, spokesman Mike Buckley said, including niche get togethers like “Surfers for Mike” and “Scientists for Mike.” California is also home to some of the country's biggest Democratic donors. Bloomberg isn't taking any campaign contributions, but he's set up “leadership committees' of would-be donors who hold events akin to fundraisers where people can learn from Bloomberg allies about his campaign plans and policies. Buttigieg in particularly has done well with the California donor class; he's regularly held fundraisers in Hollywood and has raised nearly $10 million from California donors, more than from any other state. His challenge is to translate that support to votes. He visited Sacramento and the farming city of Turlock last week and spent Thursday at a televised town hall in the Los Angeles media market. For candidates that can't afford to blanket the airwaves with ads, earning free media through campaign events is critical, said Smith, the California strategist. Buttigieg's campaign is holding volunteer organizing events in at least 47 congressional districts this weekend, spokesman Ben Halle said. He declined to say which six districts haven't yet been organized. Buttigieg's campaign has sent out a memo warning of a Super Tuesday scenario where Sanders dominates. And he, like Bloomberg, is arguing he's the single best candidate to go head-to-head with Sanders. Both have urged the other to drop out. Biden, meanwhile, has only held public events twice in the state since November and has no television advertising, though he has a digital buy. He's more urgently focused on reviving his struggling campaign in Nevada and South Carolina, which vote next. Warren similarly has spent no time in the state this year, though her campaign is hosting multiple events targeting Latino voters this week and has more than four dozen staff members. A spokesman declined to say if she plans to run TV ads. Amy Klobuchar has virtually no campaign infrastructure in the state, and her campaign just announced a seven state Super Tuesday ad buy that does not include California. Tom Steyer, the race's other billionaire and a California resident, is also up on the airwaves.
  • President Donald Trump is apparently not a fan of Oscar winner “Parasite,' his biggest complaint being that the movie was made in South Korea. Trump started talking about the Academy Awards during a campaign rally in Colorado Springs, Colorado, on Thursday night. “Parasite” was named best picture, the first non-English-language film to get the top honor. “What the hell was that all about?' Trump said. “We've got enough problems with South Korea with trade. On top of that, they give them best movie of the year. Was it good? I don't know.' Neon, the U.S. distributor for the subtitled film, shot back on Twitter: “Understandable. He can't read.' Meanwhile, Trump praised decades-old Hollywood movies, one of which was set during the time of slavery in the U.S. The audience booed when Trump mentioned the Academy Awards and then cheered when he said: “Can we get like 'Gone with the Wind' back please? ‘Sunset Boulevard,' so many great movies.' Trump would not let it go on Friday when he addressed another crowd of supporters at a rally in Las Vegas. “Look, I get along great with South Korea, but you know I never saw that one before,” Trump said. “Parasite' tells the story of how a family of four poor, unemployed people living in a slum basement apartment comically infiltrates a wealthy family residing at a luxurious mansion before things unravel violently and tragically. The movie made history Feb. 9, the first South Korean film to win in the international film category, and the first foreign language film to win best picture. The wins put a diverse film front-and-center during a ceremony that had been criticized for its lack of diversity in several categories, with only one actor of color nominated and no women recognized in the directing category. Those omissions came amid efforts by both the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which hosts the Oscars, and the broader industry to have more diversity in its films and filmmakers. Known for liberal leanings, Hollywood is a regular target of Trump's conservative base. Many have seen the best picture win as a sign that the film industry will become more global, a shift that’s already playing out in box-office receipts. Before the coronavirus outbreak, it was expected that China would become the world’s No. 1 film market, surpassing North America. Trump has a record of criticizing Asian leaders, particularly South Korea's, going so far as to mock them with a fake Asian accent. Meanwhile, “Gone with the Wind” shot to No. 1 among topics trending on Twitter Thursday night. The 1939 antebellum epic, based on Margaret Mitchell's novel, follows belle Scarlett O'Hara at her Georgia plantation home as the South braces for the Civil War. The movie went on to become a hit and snagged eight Academy Awards, including best picture. But in the last few decades, the movie has been criticized for its romanticized portrayal of slavery, with its main characters oblivious to the horrors experienced by those kept in bondage. The film has a complicated history in Hollywood. Hattie McDaniel became the first African American performer to win an Oscar, the supporting actress award for her portrayal of Mammy, an oft-criticized character. McDaniel was criticized by the NAACP for frequently playing maids onscreen. At the time, she defended herself and said she often was able to influence directors into toning down or omitting racist elements. For the film’s 75th anniversary in 2014, Warner Bros. included in a home video re-release a 30-minute documentary that candidly assessed the film’s shortcomings and how Mammy’s status as a slave is ignored. The re-assessment of the film hasn't waned. Memphis’ Orpheum Theatre in 2017 ended its annual screenings of it after 34 years, saying it could no longer 'show a film that is insensitive to a large segment of its local population.' ____ Associated Press writers Anthony McCartney in Los Angeles and Terry Tang in Phoenix contributed to this report.
  • Relishing in Democrats' jumbled primary in the wake of a fractious debate, President Donald Trump offered stinging criticism of his rivals as he sought to take advantage of the moment. Making a rare four-day swing through the West, Trump was exuding reelection confidence Thursday at a campaign rally in Colorado, after taking in the prior night's prize fight of a debate in Las Vegas. He reveled in the intra-party squabbling and the weak debut debate performance turned in by former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, according to aides and allies. “I don’t know if anyone watched last night’s debate,” Trump told an arena of raucous supporters. “It got very big ratings, and you know what, Mini Mike didn’t do well last night. I was going to send him a note, saying it’s not easy doing what I do is it?' He offered other biting assessments of the Democratic contenders, contrasting them to his own performance in debates four years ago. 'I became president because of the debates because unlike Mini Mike I could answer questions,' Trump said. Feeling reelection odds rising after his acquittal in the Senate impeachment trial and his campaign's record fundraising, Trump seized on the deep divisions and personal tiffs on display in the Democratic field. But his preoccupation with the scrambled nomination race for the Democrats seeking to replace him has been clear throughout the trip. When Trump woke up Thursday morning in his gilded Las Vegas hotel, his base during the four-state western trip, he tuned in to the post-debate coverage and displayed his glee. Repurposing one of Bloomberg's own quotes about the Democratic infighting, Trump tweeted: “The real winner last night was Donald Trump.” He tacked on his own coda: “I agree!” The night before, after a campaign rally in Phoenix, Trump summoned reporters to his office aboard Air Force One to join him in watching a replay of the debate on the return flight to Las Vegas. He was scheduled to hold a rally in the city — his third in as many days — Friday on the eve of the caucuses, as he did before contests in Iowa and New Hampshire. Bloomberg has been the most disconcerting force in the 2020 race for Trump since the ultra-billionaire entered the fray in November and spent more than $400 million, which rocketed him in the polls in just three months. Bloomberg's willingness to spend near-unlimited sums to defeat Trump this fall, and the mocking tone of many of his ads, have deeply rankled the president. Trump's campaign had organized itself around the strategy that it would be able to paint any rival as an extreme liberal, a 'socialist' or worse, and concerns mounted that strategists would have to come up with a different plan should Bloomberg win the nomination. Trump's team saw the debate as validating his reelection strategy and providing a fresh opening for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, a self-described Democratic socialist, to gain a significant delegate lead on Super Tuesday. The president was hopeful that panic from more moderate Democrats at Sanders' rise would only further fracture the Democratic Party. On Thursday, Trump predicted the debate would be the end of Bloomberg's campaign, and said Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar's campaign was also mortally wounded. “I think you lost two last night,' he said in Colorado, adding that “it looks like Bernie” will emerge as the Democratic nominee. Trump on Thursday placed a round of calls to confidants, echoing the thoughts he had posted on Twitter — at times with more colorful language — and opining that Bloomberg did not appear ready for the moment, according to two Republicans close to the White House who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about private conversations. Long insecure about Bloomberg’s wealth, Trump told confidants that the debate proved money alone did not lead to his own electoral success. Between three rallies and a pair of high-dollar fundraisers, Trump sought to use his western swing to highlight administration policies that delivered on campaign promises and appealed to key demographics. On Wednesday, he ceremoniously signed new environmental regulations that eased water restrictions on farmers in the heavily Republican California Central Valley. On Thursday, Trump spoke to a graduating class of ex-prisoners in a renewed appeal to communities of color, as he championed his administration’s work on criminal justice reform. In Colorado Springs, Trump was rallying support for Republican Sen. Cory Gardner, who is considered one of the most vulnerable senators seeking reelection this year. “We are going to win Colorado in a landslide and you’re going to help us get Cory Gardner across that line because he’s been with us 100%,” Trump said, referencing his vote in the impeachment trial. “There was no waver with Cory.” Between touting his administration's accomplishments and attacking his opponents, Trump also critiqued the Academy Awards for awarding best picture to the South Korean film Parasite — the first foreign language film to win an Oscar. “How bad were the Academy Awards this year, “Trump said. ”And the winner is: a movie from South Korea. What's that all about?' ___ Associated Press staff writer James Anderson in Colorado Springs and Kevin Freking in Washington contributed to this report. Lemire reported from Washington.
  • This week's feisty Democratic presidential debate, the first to feature former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, was a huge television hit with nearly 20 million viewers. The Nielsen company said the debate, seen by 19.7 million people on NBC or MSNBC on Wednesday, attracted more viewers than any Democratic nomination contest ever. It was more than double the 7.9 million people who watched ABC's coverage of a debate just before the New Hampshire primary on Feb. 7. It beat the 18.1 million people who tuned in for the second night of the first debate in this campaign season, back in June. The big jump in numbers showed how curious people were to see how Bloomberg, who had been flooding the airwaves with commercials, did the first time he met his competitors in verbal combat. It was a rough start for Bloomberg, who drew sharp attacks from his rivals, particularly Sen. Elizabeth Warren. The session's first half hour was particularly action-packed. The ratings also indicate that with Super Tuesday primaries approaching next month, voters are starting to pay closer attention. NBC said the debate attracted an additional digital audience of 417,000 viewers.
  • Three months after Bloomberg News tried to thread the needle with a plan for covering a presidential campaign with company founder Mike Bloomberg as a candidate, its journalists are learning how hard that can be. Bloomberg's rise in the polls has invited fresh scrutiny of his wealth and his record as a businessman and mayor of New York City. Bloomberg News can only look so close, however, after declaring it would cover his campaign but not investigate it — rules that were extended to his Democratic rivals out of fairness. For the most part, Bloomberg journalists are doing exactly what the company said it would — for better or worse. “There are many, many reporters who have to cover their boss, and for most of them, it's a point of pride to beat their competition,” said Kelly McBride, head of the Craig Newmark Center for Ethics and Leadership at the journalism think tank Poynter Institute. “In this situation, it's like they're deliberately trying to lose to their competition.” To a certain extent, Bloomberg is relying on its competitors for some of its coverage. In the same policy pronouncement, the service said it would continue to aggressively cover Republican President Donald Trump's administration. The Trump campaign swiftly responded by refusing to credential Bloomberg reporters at campaign events. Reporter Jennifer Jacobs was escorted out of a Trump rally earlier this month in Iowa. The news service, started in 1990 to join Bloomberg's thriving business selling financial information, would not make its executives or editors available to speak to The Associated Press. It has filed some 800 news and opinion pieces on the presidential campaign since Bloomberg announced his candidacy in November. Bloomberg News reported Thursday on how the boss was beaten up in his first Democratic debate, which included Elizabeth Warren's challenge that he release women from nondisclosure agreements signed to settle complaints against the company for sexual harassment and a hostile work environment. The story even quoted Trump, who twice tweeted that Bloomberg had the worst debate performance in history. Like most stories that mention the boss, the debate write-up included a parenthetical phrase that makes the business relationship clear. It reads: “Bloomberg is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News.” Articles about climate control and gun legislation similarly contain disclaimers about Bloomberg's philanthropy in those areas. Most of the service's political stories cover the basics of endorsements, campaign spending, advertising and issue announcements. One veteran Washington hand says deep-dive investigations aren't Bloomberg's strength anyway. “Their reputation is solid, centrist to center-right, but not as the first go-to source of news or investigations,” said Frank Sesno, director of the School of Media and Public Affairs at George Washington University. “They're not known for their scoops, but they're not disrespected in any way.” As the debate coverage illustrated, the service has not hidden news unflattering to Bloomberg's campaign. Two such stories emerged in the past week, when Bloomberg's words defending his “stop-and-frisk” police policy in a 2015 appearance were unearthed and when The Associated Press wrote about Bloomberg's views on the discriminatory “redlining” housing policy. Bloomberg reporter Mark Niquette has written about Warren calling on Bloomberg to divest from his company's news division “so there's no question about his influence” over campaign coverage. Niquette also wrote about a complaint from one of Bloomberg's former mayoral opponents, Mark Green, to the Federal Communications Commission, arguing that Bloomberg News coverage amounted a campaign contribution. Bloomberg News claims some beats on the campaign trail, including stories about Trump supporters clogging phone lines used to report Iowa results and the resignation of Iowa's Democratic party chairman after the caucus debacle. Kathleen Culver, director of the Center for Journalism Ethics at the University of Wisconsin, said she fears less that reporters are being held back internally than externally, where some readers feel the name of their organization speaks more about their independence than the work they do. “That is so difficult for journalists to handle,” she said. “No matter how hard you try to be fair in reporting, people bring their own biases.” There's been no indication that Bloomberg has been favored with undue attention. Through Feb. 14, Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders and Warren were mentioned more in stories than Bloomberg, according to data provided by the company. Despite predictions of an exodus of journalists when the policy was announced, the only noted defection has been national political writer Sahil Kapur to a similar job at NBC News Digital. Some Bloomberg reporters are clearly uncomfortable working with the new policy and concerned about what it might mean for their own and their company's professional reputations, said one journalist who works at Bloomberg News but spoke on condition of anonymity because the person was not speaking for the company. The company's policy has long been not to cover news about itself or do stories about Bloomberg's personal life or wealth. When the campaign policy was announced, Bloomberg News published the company's memo but — following policy — has not allowed its reporters to write about it. The rule about discussing the boss' wealth makes for a particularly delicate dance. Niquette has written about Bloomberg's ability to spend on staff and advertising and picked up reporting from The New York Times that the candidate was doubling his ad budget and staff following the inconclusive Iowa results. Per company policy, Bloomberg's net worth isn't revealed, keeping from readers a key indication of his ability to spend. “Make no mistake, Michael Bloomberg's wealth is a central issue in this campaign and if Bloomberg News is constrained in reporting on that, it's a problem,” Culver said. The Washington Post and New York Times published investigative pieces on Bloomberg during Presidents Day weekend — the Post examining allegations of sexist comments and the Times tracing how he built an “empire of influence” through philanthropy to causes popular with Democrats. Bloomberg News offered both stories to readers, illustrating its promise to highlight on its website in-depth or investigative stories about candidates written by other news organizations. Despite solid day-to-day coverage, the service rarely originates or expands upon such projects, said Kathy Kiely, a former politics editor at Bloomberg who now teaches journalism at the University of Missouri. It is also light on enterprise efforts, which seek to break news, she said. “There are lots of stories that journalists can do that can add context and perspective for citizens that are looking for information, and these are the stories that I see missing from the Bloomberg menu,” Kiely said. That's unfortunate, since Bloomberg News' strength is its financial coverage, and it has expertise it could bring to bear on Bloomberg's business record, Poynter's McBride said. As a company, Bloomberg News needs to ask, “Are our values more important than our self-interest?” McBride said. She supported the idea of Bloomberg appointing an editor with independence and authority to shape campaign coverage. For executives, the policy put in place in November attempted to deal with the realities of a seemingly can't win situation: No matter how much independence is stressed, some in opposing campaigns will always suspect the service is a stalking horse for candidate Bloomberg. And what kind of professional future results from making the boss mad? “It's hard,” Kiely said. “But that doesn't mean you shouldn't try.”
  • President Donald Trump's new acting director of national intelligence is facing criticism that he doesn't have the right experience for the job. Richard Grenell is the American ambassador to Germany and he's served as a spokesman in various roles in government. But he has little background in intelligence or in running the sprawling bureaucracy of the nation's 17 spy agencies. Here is a look at U.S. directors of national intelligence and their qualifications for the job: ___ Appointed by Trump: RICHARD GRENELL (acting) —Ambassador to Germany, spokesman for four U.S. ambassadors to the United Nations —Press spokesman for: members of Congress, a former San Diego mayor and a former New York governor RETIRED VICE ADM. JOSEPH MAGUIRE (acting) —Director of the National Counterterrorism Center —Commander, Naval Special Warfare Command. DAN COATS —Former Republican congressman and senator from Indiana —Ambassador to Germany MICHAEL DEMPSEY (acting) —Deputy director of national intelligence —Career at CIA, including deputy associate director for military affairs ___ Appointed by President Barack Obama: RETIRED ADM. DENNIS BLAIR —Commander of U.S. Pacific Command —34-year Navy career, director of the Joint Staff, Rhodes scholar DAVID GOMPERT (acting) —Deputy director of national intelligence —Special assistant to President George H.W. Bush, senior director on the National Security Council, senior positions at the State Department, special assistant to then-Secretary of State Henry Kissinger RETIRED AIR FORCE LT. GEN. JAMES CLAPPER —Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, undersecretary of defense for intelligence —32-year military career ___ Appointed by President George W. Bush: JOHN NEGROPONTE —Deputy national security adviser to President Ronald Reagan —Ambassador to Honduras, Mexico, the Philippines, Iraq and the United Nations, and assistant secretary of state RETIRED VICE ADM. MIKE MCCONNELL —Director of the National Security Agency under Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton. —Intelligence officer for Colin Powell, when Powell was Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman, and Dick Cheney, when he was defense secretary
  • Mike Bloomberg would sell the financial data and media company he created in the 1980s — which bears his name and made him a multibillionaire — if he is elected U.S. president, a top adviser said Tuesday. Bloomberg would put Bloomberg LP into a blind trust, and the trustee would then sell the company, adviser Tim O'Brien said. Proceeds from the sale would go to Bloomberg Philanthropies, the charitable giving arm that funds causes from climate change to public health and grants for American cities. The only restriction Bloomberg would put on the sale is that it not be sold to a foreign buyer or a private equity company, O'Brien said. Bloomberg, a Democrat, is currently chief executive of the company. “We want to be 180 degrees apart from Donald Trump around financial conflicts of interest,” O'Brien told The Associated Press. “We think it's one of the biggest stains on the presidency, and Trump's record is his refusal to disengage himself in his own financial interests. And we want to be very transparent and clean and clear with voters about where Mike is on these things.” Indeed, as one of the world's wealthiest people, Bloomberg would have an extraordinarily complicated financial picture to untangle if he wins the presidency. His commitment to selling the company stands in stark contrast to the Republican Trump, who refused to fully divest from his business, instead putting his assets in a trust controlled by his two adult sons and a senior company executive. He has continued to make money from his properties. Bloomberg said in 2018, when he was considering a presidential run, that he would consider selling his business if elected. The company is not currently for sale. He retained ownership in the company when he served as New York City mayor from 2002 to 2013, but gave up his title of chief executive. O'Brien's comment comes amid increasing scrutiny of Bloomberg's wealth and business holdings from his rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination. He'll face them on the debate stage for the first time on Wednesday in Las Vegas. If he won the White House, the exact timeline for a sale isn't clear, O'Brien said. There's also been no decision on what would happen to Bloomberg Philanthropies. Walter Shaub, former director of the Office of Government Ethics, said such an action would need to follow complex rules and be approved by the ethics office. The administer of the blind trust would need to be an institution, not a person, and it's not clear how a trustee would navigate confidentiality requirements when trying to sell off a private company, Shaub said. There are no comparable examples of any executive branch official putting a large private company into a blind trust and up for sale, he said. He said it would be smart for every candidate to set up meetings with the office now to begin discussing potential conflicts of interest. “Bottom line: It could be a costly mistake for any candidates to make firm commitments to establish qualified blind trusts without first having their attorneys meet with OGE's Director and legal staff,” Shaub tweeted. Bloomberg created his own company in 1981, after he was fired from the investment bank Salomon Brothers with a $10 million severance payment. His new venture created the Bloomberg Terminal, a dedicated computer with proprietary software that allowed Wall Street traders, buyers and sellers to see financial transaction data in real time. The terminal quickly became a must-have product around the financial world and has been used by entities including the World Bank and the Federal Reserve Bank. Bloomberg then grew the business to include a financial news arm, which has morphed into a major news wire service. The outlet has faced criticism for allowing its reporters to cover the campaign but blocking them from reporting in-depth investigations into Bloomberg or his Democratic rivals. Newsroom leaders didn't impose similar restrictions on reporting regarding Trump. Bloomberg has also faced renewed scrutiny over lawsuits filed by women at his company alleging discrimination or hostile treatment. Bloomberg has said he won't release women from any nondisclosure agreements they've signed with the company. Bloomberg entered the presidential race in November and has been steadily climbing in national polls, buoyed by $400 million in advertising. Worth an estimated $60 billion, he is entirely self-funding his campaign. ___ Catch up on the 2020 election campaign with AP experts on our weekly politics podcast, “Ground Game.”

The Latest News Headlines

  • The death toll attributed to the 2019 novel coronavirus continues to rise, with tens of thousands of people sickened and thousands of others killed by the virus, mostly in China. The coronavirus, dubbed COVID-19 by the World Health Organization, was discovered late last year in Wuhan, China. Here are the latest updates:  South Korea reports 46 more coronavirus cases; total there hits 602 Update 3:51 a.m. EST Feb. 23: South Korean health officials said they have confirmed a total 602 coronavirus cases in the country, CNN is reporting. News of the new total came Sunday after the country’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed 46 more cases of the virus, according to CNN. Five patients in South Korea have died from the illness, the outlet reported. 6th person dead from coronavirus in Iran  Update 5:36 p.m. EST Feb 22: A sixth person in Iran has died from the deadly coronavirus that originated in China.  The person also had a heart condition, The Associated Press reported. A fifth fatality in Iran was reported earlier Saturday.  There have been 28 reported cases of coronavirus in Iran. People are being treated in Tehran, Qom, Arak and Rasht. Officials will use center in Alabama as quarantine facility Update 2:06 p.m. EST Feb 22: Concern is growing in Israel, where health officials said a woman who was a passenger aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan tested positive for the virus after returning home, The New York Times reported. Meanwhile, after nine South Koreans who visited Israel tested positive for the coronavirus after returning home, the Israeli government began closing the country to South Korean travelers, the newspaper reported. Passengers flying on a Korean Air flight scheduled to land at Ben Gurion Airport at 7:30 p.m. Saturday were expected to be barred entry into the country, the Times reported, citing Ynet, an Israeli news organization. Government officials were expected to decide Sunday whether other inbound flights from South Korea would be allowed, the newspaper reported. Japan waited 72 hours before imposing quarantine on cruise ship Update 10:56 a.m. EST Feb 22: More than 72 hours elapsed before Japanese officials imposed a quarantine on the Diamond Princess cruise ship, The New York Times reported. Early on the morning of Feb. 2, before the ship had docked in Yokohama, Hong Kong officials informed the Japanese health ministry about an infected passenger, the newspaper reported. A spokeswoman for Princess Cruises said the company received “formal verification” of the infection from Hong Kong on Feb. 3, the Times reported. The announcement was made to passengers that night, and they were advised around 11 p.m. to remain in their rooms, the Times reported. On Feb. 5, the captain of the Diamond Princess confirmed there were 10 cases of the coronavirus on the ship, and passengers were told they needed to return to their rooms, where they were quarantined for 14 days, according to the newspaper. University of Memphis graduate Luke Hefner, a singer who was aboard the Princess Diamond, was one of the 10 people on board confirmed with the virus, WHBQ reported. After Hefner tested positive for the virus, crews rushed him off the ship and into a Japanese hospital Feb. 18, the television station reported. WHO experts heading to China; African nations warned Update 9:25 a.m. EST Feb 22: A team of experts from the World Health Organization was heading to the Chinese city of Wuhan, the center of the coronavirus epidemic, the agency’s director general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, told The New York Times. Tedros confirmed the trip during an address Saturday morning to African officials from Geneva, the newspaper reported. “We have to take advantage of the window of opportunity we have, to attack the virus outbreak with a sense of urgency,” Tedros told the leaders during an emergency meeting on the response to the coronavirus in the continent. There has been only one confirmed case of coronavirus in Africa, but officials are concerned because several countries have strained health systems, the Times reported. The WHO has identified 13 priority countries in Africa because of their direct links to China, the newspaper reported. Italy confirms 2nd coronavirus death  Update 6:45 a.m. EST Feb 22: A second novel coronavirus patient in Italy has died. A spokesperson for the country’s department of civil protection, or Protezione Civile, confirmed the death to CNN on Saturday. According to a health ministry spokesman, the woman who previously tested positive for the virus died in the northern region of Lombardy. South Korea reports 229 new cases in 24 hours  Update 6:17 a.m. EST Feb 22: An additional 87 novel coronavirus cases reported Saturday brings South Korea’s 24-hour total to 229 and the country’s total number of confirmed cases to 433. According to a statement issued by the South Korean Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 62 of the 87 new cases are linked with the Shincheonji religious group, and three cases are linked with Cheongdo Daenam hospital, in North Gyeongsang province. Iran confirms 10 new cases, 5th death  Update 6:15 a.m. EST Feb 22: The numbers might sound low, but the surge in diagnosed novel coronavirus cases in Iran is boosting concerns among global health officials the outbreak could soon reach pandemic levels. Iran’s health ministry confirmed 10 new cases of the virus – bringing the country’s total to 28 – and a fifth fatality. The ripple effect among travelers, however, is sounding alarm bells among infectious disease experts. According to the New York Times, cases confirmed in both Canada and Lebanon have been traced to travel to and from Iran. “The cases that we see in the rest of the world, although the numbers are small, but not linked to Wuhan or China, it’s very worrisome,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization, said Friday at a news conference at the agency’s headquarters in Geneva. “These dots are actually very concerning.” Kianoush Jahanpour, Iran’s health ministry spokesman, said that of the 10 latest reported cases, two were diagnosed in Tehran and eight are in Qom. According to The Associated Press, two elderly patients died in Qom Wednesday and the two Tehran patients either visited or had links to Qom. Novel coronavirus cases diagnosed outside mainland China surpass 1,500  Update 3:24 a.m. EST Feb 22: With health officials monitoring the novel coronavirus’ spread beyond its epicenter in Wuhan, China, the number of confirmed cases diagnosed outside mainland China hit a new milestone early Saturday morning. The latest figures indicate more than 1,500 cases and 15 deaths attributed to the virus have been recorded in more than 30 countries and territories outside mainland China since December, CNN reported. The geographic breakdown of confirmed cases and deaths is as follows: • Australia: at least 21 cases • Belgium: at least 1 case • Cambodia: at least 1 case • Canada: at least 9 cases • Egypt: at least 1 case • Finland: at least 1 case • France: at least 12 cases, 1 death • Germany: at least 16 cases • Hong Kong: at least 68 cases, 2 deaths • India: at least 3 cases • Iran: at least 18 cases, 4 deaths • Israel: at least 1 case • Italy: at least 17 cases, 1 death • Japan: at least 738 cases, including 639 linked to the Diamond Princess cruise ship; 3 deaths • Lebanon: at least 1 case • Macao: at least 10 cases • Malaysia: at least 22 cases • Nepal: at least 1 case • Philippines: at least 3 cases, 1 death • Russia: at least 2 cases • Singapore: at least 86 cases • South Korea: at least 347 cases, 1 death • Spain: at least 2 cases • Sri Lanka: at least 1 case • Sweden: at least 1 case • Taiwan: at least 26 cases, 1 death • Thailand: at least 35 cases • United Arab Emirates: at least 9 cases • United Kingdom: at least 9 cases • United States: at least 35 cases • Vietnam: at least 16 cases Mainland China death toll reaches 2,345  Update 3:22 a.m. EST Feb 22: China’s National Health Commission confirmed early Saturday the death toll from the novel coronavirus has increased by another 109 fatalities to 2,345. According to CNN, all but three of the latest mainland deaths occurred in the outbreak’s Hubei province epicenter. The latest figures bring the global death toll to 2,360. Meanwhile, confirmed cases in increased by 397 on Friday, bringing mainland China’s total number of recorded cases to 76,288. Health authorities contend a total of 20,659 patients have recovered from the virus and been discharged from medical facilities. Australia confirms 6 new cases  Update 3:20 a.m. EST Feb 22: Six people repatriated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, boosting Australia’s total infection count to 21. According to the Australian government’s Department of Health, 10 patients have recovered from the illness. Diamond Princess cruise ship awaits scrub down  Update 3:18 a.m. EST Feb 22: The Diamond Princess cruise ship will soon undergo a thorough deep cleaning to prepare the vessel to resume sailing on April 29. Negin Kamali, Princess Cruises’ public relations director, told CNN Travel the company is working in tandem with the Japanese health ministry to hammer out sanitation specifics for the 116,000-ton ship. The vessel will be “fully sanitized by a cleaning company with an expertise in this area following guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and World Health Organization,” Kamali told CNN. Only 31 passengers remained onboard the ship Saturday morning after 253 who tested negative for the novel coronavirus were allowed to disembark on Friday. The ship’s 924-member crew also remains aboard. The ship has been moored in Yokohama Bay off the coast of Japan since early February. To date, the virus-stricken ship, which housed 3,600 crew and passengers upon arrival, is linked to at least 639 coronavirus infections, CNN reported. Japan reports 12 new cases  Update 3:16 a.m. EST Feb 22: Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare confirmed early Saturday the diagnoses of 12 new novel coronavirus cases, including three teenagers. The latest report brings Japan’s total number of infections to 738, including 99 on land and 639 from the Diamond Princess cruise ship.  Italy confirms first novel coronavirus death Update 3:14 a.m. EST Feb 22: Italian officials confirmed Saturday their first citizen has succumbed to the novel coronavirus. The 78-year-old man died in a Padua hospital in northern Italy. To date, the country has recorded a total of 17 infections. Taiwan confirms 2 new cases Update 3:12 a.m. EST Feb 22: Taiwan’s novel coronavirus infection count now stands at 26 after two additional cases were confirmed on the island Saturday. The most recent patients are the daughter and granddaughter of a previously diagnosed patient, and neither had traveled recently. 142 new cases of the virus reported in South Korea  Update 9 p.m. EST Feb 21: South Korea reported a six-fold jump in viral infections in four days to 346, most of them linked to a church and a hospital in and around the fourth-largest city where schools were closed and worshipers and others told to avoid mass gatherings.  Of the 142 new cases in South Korea, 131 are from Daegu and nearby regions, which have emerged as the latest front in the widening global fight against COVID-19.  China the daily count of new virus cases there fell significantly to 397, with another 109 people dying of the disease, most in the epicenter of Hubei province.  The new figures bring the total number of cases in mainland China to 76,288 with 2,345 deaths, as strict quarantine measures and travel bans continue to contain the disease that emerged in China in December and has since spread world-wide. The daily figure is down from 889. WHO’s latest situation report The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization says that coronavirus has been found in 30 countries around the world. Read the latest situation report from the WHO below. Italy’s virus cases quadruples Update 1:20 p.m. EST Feb 21: Officials in Italy are reporting that the number of people infected by coronavirus has quadrupled. As of Friday, the country has seen 17 cases, with 14 of them new. They are being considered secondary contagion cases and are clustered in small towns around Lodi, in the Lombardy region, The Associated Press reported. It was previously reported that a 38-year-old man, who is in critical condition due to coronavirus, passed the illness to his wife and a close friend after he picked it up from a person who had been in China, but not showing any symptoms. The person who was in China is in isolation and may have antibodies to battle the illness. Three patients at the hospital where the patient who is in critical condition visited when he was being treated for flu-like symptoms have tested positive. As do five nurses and doctors at the same facility. Three people who went to the same cafe as the 38-year-old man who is sick also have tested positive. Because of the cluster, the mayor of Codogno has closed schools, public buildings,s restaurants and coffee shops. And has ordered the 14-day quarantine of anyone who came in contact with the man and the two people first diagnosed, the AP reported. 1 new coronavirus case confirmed in Singapore Update 11 a.m. EST Feb. 21: Officials with Singapore’s Ministry of Health have verified another case of coronavirus in the country, bringing the total number of people infected in Singapore to 86. Authorities said the newest case involves a 24-year-old Singaporean man who was under isolation Friday at Ng Teng Fong General Hospital. His illness was linked to one reported earlier this week involving a 57-year-old woman who had no history of recent travel to China. Officials said 47 people who have been diagnosed with coronavirus in Singapore have since recovered and been released from hospitals. Lebanon, Israel confirm 1st coronavirus cases Update 10 a.m. EST Feb. 21: Health officials in Lebanon and Israel announced Friday the first confirmed coronavirus cases in the countries. Lebanon’s health minister, Hamad Hassan, said Friday that a 45-year-old woman tested positive for coronavirus after entering the country from Iran, Reuters reported. She was being quarantined Friday at a hospital in Beirut, according to Reuters. The Jerusalem Post reported an Israeli who returned to the country Thursday after being evacuated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship has tested positive for the virus. The coronavirus case marked the first in Israel, though health officials noted the passenger had contracted virus while in Japan. Earlier this month, thousands of people were quarantined on the Diamond Princess, docked off the coast of Japan, due to coronavirus fears. Hundreds of people on the ship ended up testing positive for the viral infection. South Korea reports 2nd coronavirus death  Update 9 a.m. EST Feb. 21: Officials in South Korea reported the country’s second death due to coronavirus Friday, The Washington Post reported. Citing the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Post reported a woman in her 50s died after testing positive for the virus Friday at Daenam Hospital. She was transferred to a bigger hospital in Busan, where she died around 6 p.m., according to the newspaper. The death marked the second related to COVID-19 in South Korea. On Wednesday, a 63-year-old patient died after suffering symptoms of pneumonia in what was suspected to be the country’s first coronavirus death, according to The New York Times. Iran confirms 18 cases, 4 deaths Update 7:50 a.m. EST Feb. 21: Iranian officials confirmed on Friday that 13 new cases of the novel coronavirus have been diagnosed and two additional patients have died. Friday’s figures bring Iran’s total number of infections to 18 and the death toll from the virus to four, CNN reported. “According to the latest laboratory reports 13 more contractions of coronavirus have been confirmed, including 7 in Qom, 4 in Tehran, and two in Gilan. Unfortunately, out of these cases two have lost their lives,' health ministry spokesman Kianoosh Jahanpour tweeted Friday. 3 novel coronavirus cases confirmed in Italy Update 7:32 a.m. EST Feb. 21: Italy confirmed its first novel coronavirus cases Friday, noting three people in a city near Milan have tested positive for the illness. According to The Washington Post, the first patient to contract the virus was a 38-year-old man in the northern region of Lombardy, who fell ill after dining with a friend who had recently returned from China. The man then passed the illness on to his wife and a close friend. All three patients have been hospitalized, the Post reported. Confirmed novel coronavirus cases, fatalities continue to increase globally Update 6:46 a.m. EST Feb. 21: Globally, more than 76,900 novel coronavirus cases have been reported, according to the latest figures released Friday morning by health officials in China. Although the majority of cases – around 75,600 – remain clustered in mainland China, more than 1,300 cases have been confirmed in 29 countries, CNN reported. Meanwhile, 118 additional deaths were confirmed in mainland China Friday, with the global death toll reaching 2,247, the network reported. Vaccine nearing clinical trials in China Update 6:44 a.m. EST Feb. 21: Xu Nanping, China’s vice minister of Science and Technology, told reporters Friday that Chinese researchers expect to submit the first COVID-19 vaccine for clinical trials around late April. The status update comes roughly one month after Chinese officials established a coronavirus scientific research group, consisting of 14 experts led by renowned pulmonologist Zhong Nanshan, The Washington Post reported. “One month is a very short time for scientific research, but a very long time for patients struggling with the disease. The scientific and technological community nationwide will put the safety of people’s lives and health first and spare no effort to continue to produce tangible and effective scientific research results,” Xu told reporters during the briefing. Protesters attack Wuhan evacuee bus in Ukraine; 9 police officers, 1 civilian injured Update 6:42 a.m. EST Feb. 21: The Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs said nine police officers and one civilian were injured Thursday when protesters attacked a bus carrying evacuees from Wuhan, China. According to CNN, protesters had blocked roads in Noviy Sanzhari, the town where the evacuees are to be monitored for two weeks at a medical facility belonging to the Ukrainian National Guard. “Those people who today threw stones at the evacuees of Ukrainians and law enforcement officers ... We will make a decision on their punishment,” said Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov, confirming one officer was seriously injured in the incident instigated by “aggressive citizens,” the network reported. South Korean coronavirus infections continue to increase Update 3:46 a.m. EST Feb. 21: The number of confirmed novel coronavirus infections in South Korea increased to 204 on Friday, nearly doubling in 24 hours and almost quadrupling in three days, the South Korean Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed in a statement issued early Friday. Health officials believe the majority of the new cases are connected to a church in Daegu, a city of about two and half million people in the southeastern region of the country. Specifically, 42 of the newest cases reported Friday have been traced to the church called Shincheonji. The country also reported on Thursday what officials believe could be South Korea’s first fatality from the virus. The 63-year-old woman exhibiting symptoms of pneumonia died Wednesday at the Daenam Hospital in Cheongdo, The New York Times reported. Prison outbreaks boost novel coronavirus cases in mainland China Update 3:43 a.m. EST Feb. 21: More than 500 novel coronavirus cases have been confirmed in prisons across China, including 271 cases – 51 of which had been counted in previous tallies – in Hubei province, CNN reported. Meanwhile, officials announced in a joint news conference on Friday that of the 2,077 prisoners and staff at Rencheng prison in China’s eastern Shandong province tested for the virus, 200 prisoners and seven staff members tested positive. Zhejiang province announced 34 prison cases on Friday, bringing the correctional total to 512, CNN reported. Canada records its 9th confirmed novel coronavirus case, 6th in British Columbia Update 3:41 a.m. EST Feb. 21: British Columbia’s Ministry of Health confirmed Friday a woman in her 30s has become the province’s sixth diagnosed case of novel coronavirus and the ninth for Canada. According to the statement, the woman had recently returned from Iran and is being isolated at home while public health officials identify and contact those people with whom she had contact upon returning Meanwhile, 47 of the 256 Canadian passengers aboard the beleaguered Diamond Princess cruise ship – moored off the coast of Japan – have tested positive for the virus. All 256 will be subject to a 14-day quarantine in Ontario once their evacuations are complete, CNN reported. 11 of 13 people evacuated to Omaha test positive for COVID-19  Update 11 p.m. EST Feb. 20: Federal experts confirmed that 11 of 13 people evacuated to an Omaha hospital from a cruise ship in Japan have tested positive for COVID-19, Nebraska officials announced Thursday night. The University of Nebraska Medical Center said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had verified test results completed Monday by the Nebraska Public Health Lab. Ten of those people are being cared for at the National Quarantine Unit while three are in the nearby Nebraska Biocontainment Unit. The medical center said only a few of the patients were showing symptoms of the disease. All 13 people were passengers of the Diamond Princess cruise ship who were evacuated to the U.S. on Feb. 17. China reports fall in new virus cases, 118 deaths  Update 10 p.m. EST Feb. 20: China reported a further fall in new virus cases to 889 as health officials expressed optimism over containment of the outbreak that has caused more than 2,200 deaths and is spreading elsewhere.  New infections in China have been falling for days, although changes in how it counts cases have caused doubts about the true trajectory of the epidemic.  China’s figures for the previous 24 hours brought the total number of cases to 75,465. The 118 newly reported deaths raised the total to 2,236. More than 1,000 cases and 11 deaths have been confirmed outside the mainland. 4 Americans who tested positive for COVID-19 sent to hospital in Spokane, Washington  Update 7:30 p.m. EST Feb. 20: Four Americans who tested positive for the new virus that caused an outbreak China are being sent to a hospital in Spokane, Washington, for treatment, officials said Thursday.  The four were passengers on the Diamond Princess cruise ship and were flown back to the U.S. over the weekend, according to a spokeswoman for the Department of Health and Human Services. They were being transferred from Travis Air Force Base in California, hospital officials said.  Two patients arrived at the hospital Thursday in satisfactory condition with two more expected soon, said Christa Arguinchona, who manages a special isolation unit at Sacred Heart Medical Center. The hospital is one of 10 in the nation funded by Congress to treat new or highly infectious diseases.  “The risk to the community from this particular process is zero,” said Bob Lutz of the Spokane Regional Health District at a briefing Thursday at the hospital. WHO: ‘This is no time for complacency’ Update 2:25 p.m. EST Feb. 20: World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Thursday that recent declines in the number of new coronavirus cases being reported in China were encouraging, but he warned, “this is no time for complacency.” As pf 6 a.m. Geneva time Thursday, 74,675 people in China and 1,076 people in order parts of the world had been sickened by coronavirus, according to WHO. Officials said 2,121 people in China and seven people outside of the country have died thus far of the viral infection. 'This is the time to attack the virus while it is manageable,” Tedros said, according to The Washington Post. “You will get sick of me saying that the window of opportunity remains open for us to contain this COVID-19 outbreak.” CDC warns travels to take precautions for travel to Japan, Hong Kong Update 12:20 p.m. EST Feb. 20: The Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new coronavirus-related travel advisories Thursday for Americans visiting Japan or Hong Kong. The advisories warned travelers to avoid contact with sick people, avoid touching their eyes, noses or mouths with their unwashed hands and recommended using soap and water often to wash hands for at least 20 seconds. Officials said Thursday that it remained unnecessary to postpone or cancel trips to Japan or Hong Kong due to the virus. However, the CDC advisories noted “multiple instances of community spread' in both locales, meaning people “have been infected with the virus, but how or where they became infected is not known.” Officials with the CDC previously issued an advisory warning travelers to avoid non-essential travel to China. According to Japanese health officials, authorities have seen 73 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the country. One person in Japan has died of the viral infection. Health official in Hong Kong have confirmed 65 cases of coronavirus. Japan reports 12 new coronavirus cases, Singapore confirms 1 more  Update 11 a.m. EST Feb. 20: Officials in Japan have reported a dozen new confirmed cases of the coronavirus, CNN reported, citing the Japanese health ministry. The new cases include two government officials who worked on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship, according to CNN. Thousands of people were quarantined on the ship for two weeks as it was docked off the coast of Japan due to coronavirus fears. Hundreds of people on the ship ended up testing positive for the viral infection.  Officials with the Singapore Ministry of Health said Thursday that a new case of coronavirus had been confirmed in the country. The case, involving a 36-year-old Chinese national who was in Singapore on a work pass, is the 85th reported in Singapore.  Global death toll hits 2,126  Update 7:40 a.m. EST Feb. 20: More than 2,120 people have died globally and thousands of others have fallen ill due to the 2019 novel coronavirus, according to multiple reports.  At least 2,126 people globally have died from coronavirus, CNN reported Thursday. A majority of the deaths have been reported in China, where health officials announced 114 more deaths and 394 more confirmed cases of the illness. Overall, 75,730 coronavirus cases have been reported worldwide, including 74,576 in China, according to CNN.
  • The Florida Highway Patrol said witnesses saw a woman hanging from a black pickup truck for a several hundred feet while it drove on I-75 in Alachua County Saturday evening. They told police the woman fell from the truck and was run over by its right rear tire. The truck, which is believed to be a black early 2000′s Ford F-250 or F-350 Super Duty, was seen exiting at 39th Avenue off I-75 South afterwards. Witnesses saw a while male with short dark hair driving. They also said he was swerving on the grass shoulder of I-75 with the woman hanging from the door of his truck before she fell off. FHP said the woman was taken to UF Health Shands Hospital where she was pronounced dead. Anyone who saw this happen or knows information about the incident should contact Crime Stoppers at (352)372-STOP or FHP Communications Center at 1-800-387-1290 or * FHP.
  • There’s a new initiative to make hotels in Jacksonville safer. City Councilman Danny Becton has been instrumental in getting the ball rolling, and he says the Tourism Industry and Public Safety Alliance is the result of more than a year’s worth of work. “TIPSA will operate as an exclusive network that will work on the basis of if you see something say something,” Becton says. The alliance will have three components. Organizers plan to implement basic standard across all hotels. They’ll improve communication and access to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office. Lastly, participating hotels will join a WhatsApp thread to communication between each other and police. So far 30 hotels around Jacksonville have signed up with the number continuing to climb, and Becton says they’re also keeping an eye on the hotels that aren’t involved yet. “We’re going to put pressure on them right now to participate and not be part of the problem,” Becton says. Some of the changes are as simple as checking guest IDs and standardizing payment procedures for everyone involved.
  • On Friday, Jacksonville’s Downtown Investment Authority gave the green light to develop the land where the old courthouse and annex used to stand. Right now, two lots on prime riverfront property are empty. One lot sits behind the Hyatt. The other lot is right on the water next to the Berkman Plaza.  The DIA signed off on the Spandrel Group’s $136 million vision called the Ford on Bay.  There would be restaurants, lofts, retail space and a lot of pedestrian space built in two phases. The first phase would happen on the property right on the water. The second phase involves the lot next door, but there’s a catch – the Hyatt has the right of first refusal to buy the land. If it doesn’t, Spandrel can get the land and start phase two.  Action News Jax’s Paige Kelton drove by the lots today and found signs that development could soon be in the works.  Fences were up around the property Friday.  Spandrel wants the city to give it the property to develop. That aspect is still being worked out.  The Jacksonville City Council must still sign off on the referendum approved by the DIA.
  • A new push is underway in St. Augustine to honor and recognize African American soldiers who fought in the Civil War. A group is spearheading a new project to put the memorial next to a Confederate statue.  Many neighbors support the idea, but not the placement.  The memorial would be in the park on the westside of the Governor’s House Cultural Center and Museum.  St. Augustine’s Historic Architectural review board is asking a University of Florida board to get input from neighbors and relatives of black soldiers.  “To me it’s like a slap in the face with that,” said business owner Nyk Smith.  Smith works at her family corner store in historic Lincolnville.  “The placement of that new statue that they’re talking about, yea sure, that’s great down there but definitely not next to the confederate monument,” said Smith.  St. Augustine’s Historic Review Board said the memorial to honor black troops who fought in the civil war will stand next to the monument of Confederate General William Loring and his ashes.  The board said the memorial will be about 8 feet tall with three granite panels.  It will list names of local men who served in what was then called the colored troops.  “They need to remove the monument and put it in the cemetery where it belongs,” said Smith.  “Hopefully something like this with them hearing what black people are thinking and feeling they would be moved to do some action,” Mclain said.  The board will now wait until April 16 to decide whether or not to move forward with the new memorial.

The Latest News Videos