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AP-VIRUS OUTBREAK-TEXAS

Nursing home patients trying unproven virus drug in Texas

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas Gov. Greg Abbott says about 30 nursing home residents near Houston who tested positive for the coronavirus are receiving treatment with an anti-malaria drug not yet approved for fighting COVID-19. Abbott said Monday the drug was being given to residents who tested positive at a Texas City nursing home where more than 80 residents and staff members have tested positive. President Donald Trump has promoted the drug but medical officials warn that it’s dangerous to be hawking unproven remedies

SUPREME COURT-BIASED JUDGE

Supreme Court won't hear case of 'Texas Seven' inmate

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court is declining to take up the case of a Texas death row inmate who argued he should get a new trial because the judge who presided over his case was biased against Jews. The justices said they would not hear the case of Randy Halprin. He's one of the so-called Texas 7. Halprin’s claims of bias and that he should get a new trial are still under review by a Texas court. Lawyers for Halprin said an investigation found that Judge Vickers Cunningham, who presided over his trial, was anti-Semitic and frequently used racial slurs.

BC-TX-VIRUS-OUTBREAK-TEXAS-EXECUTION

4th Texas execution delayed in midst of virus outbreak

DAINGERFIELD, Texas (AP) — A fourth scheduled execution of a Texas death row inmate has been delayed because of the coronavirus spread around the state. Billy Joe Wardlow's execution, which had been set for April 29, has been rescheduled to July 8.  State District Judge Angela Saucier of Titus County in East Texas changed the date in an order made public Monday. Three other executions were delayed by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. Wardlow was condemned for the June 1993 fatal shooting of 82-year-old Carl Cole during a robbery at Cole's East Texas home.

BODY CAPITOL GROUNDS

Man found dead on Texas State Capitol grounds; cause unknown

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The Texas Department of Public Safety says a dead man was found on the grounds of the State Capitol. A security guard came across the body Monday morning near the entrance to a state office building in the downtown Austin Capitol Complex. Paramedics pronounced the man dead at the scene, outside the Texas Workforce Commission building. The agency didn't identify the man or say what caused his death. The Texas Rangers are investigating. Sgt. Victor Taylor says the man was not a state employee and that it is typical for the Rangers to investigate potential crimes on the Capitol grounds.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-TEXAS CHURCH

San Antonio-area church holds sermons during deadly pandemic

SUTHERLAND SPRINGS, Texas (AP) — A small-town church in Texas continues to hold in-person services despite warnings from health experts who say large gatherings pose a great danger to the spreading the new coronavirus. More than 40 people on Sunday attended the sermon at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs. Parishioners told the San Antonio Express-News that their willingness to attend the service stems from surviving a mass shooting in their own church in 2017 that left 26 people dead and 20 wounded. Sutherland Springs is in Wilson County, a rural area southeast of San Antonio that has six confirmed cases of coronavirus.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-ABORTION

Ohio, Oklahoma courts rule abortions can continue amid virus

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Court decisions in two U.S. states Monday allowed abortions to continue after the procedure was caught in the crosshairs of governors’ orders suspending non-essential elective surgeries due to the new coronavirus. The decisions in Ohio and Oklahoma responded to challenges by abortion rights groups. The U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals declined an appeal by Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost seeking to reverse a judge’s temporary restraining order allowing abortion facilities in the state to continue performing surgical abortions. In Oklahoma, a judge issued a similar order against the administration, allowing clinics there to resume providing medication and surgical abortions.

DEAN FOODS-BANKRUPTCY

Court approves Dean Foods asset sale

NEW YORK (AP) — A bankruptcy court has approved the asset sale of one of the U.S.’s biggest dairy companies, Dean Foods. Dean got the go-ahead to sell $433 million worth of properties and interests to the Dairy Farmers of America. Dean applied for bankruptcy protection in November of last year. Another major milk producer, Borden Dairy Co., filed for bankruptcy protection in January. The dairy industry has struggled for decades as consumers increasingly shun milk for juice, soda and an array of non-dairy milk substitutes. Since 1975, the amount of liquid milk consumed per capita in the U.S. has tumbled more than 40%.

LOUISIANA MEDICAID

New Louisiana Medicaid director begins job in virus outbreak

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana has a new state Medicaid director. Ruth Johnson started the job Monday in the middle of the coronavirus epidemic. The state health department announced Johnson's hiring Monday. She has has worked in state government agencies across Louisiana, South Carolina and Texas over the last three decades. Johnson worked as the secretary of the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services from 2010-12 during former Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration. Most recently, Johnson was chief operating officer for the Texas Health and Human Services Commission. Louisiana also will soon have a new health secretary. Courtney Phillips is supposed to take over the position later this month. Phillips has led the Texas Health and Human Services Commission.

AP-US-KEYSTONE-XL-PIPELINE

Work starts in Montana on disputed Canada-US oil pipeline

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A Canadian company has started construction on the long-stalled Keystone XL oil sands pipeline despite calls from tribal leaders and environmentalists to delay the $8 billion project amid the coronavirus pandemic. A spokesman for TC Energy says work began over the weekend at the pipeline's border crossing in northern Montana's Phillips County. About 100 workers are involved initially. That number is expected to swell into the thousands in coming months as work proceeds. Opponents fear the workers could spread the coronavirus in rural areas that are not equipped to handle an outbreak.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-FRONT LINE GROCERS

Grocery workers are key during the virus. And they're afraid

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Grocery workers across the globe are working the frontlines during lockdowns meant to keep the coronavirus from spreading. Their stores are deemed essential, and their work puts them close to the public and therefore at risk. Often in low-wage jobs, the workers have earned praise from Pope Francis and former U.S. President Barack Obama. But with infection and death rates climbing, workers are demanding better pay, protections and access to testing. Some major chains like Kroger and Walmart are providing bonuses and protective gear. But that doesn't always alleviate workers' fears, especially when customers don't practice social distancing.