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China's virus death toll surpasses SARS but new cases fall

BEIJING (AP) — China's death toll from the new virus outbreak has risen by 89 to 811, surpassing the number of fatalities in the 2002-03 SARS epidemic, as other governments stepped up efforts to block the disease. Some 2,656 new cases were reported, fewer than on the previous day, something experts see as a sign the virus's spread may be slowing. SARS had killed 774 people and sickened 8,098, mainly in mainland China and Hong Kong. Elsewhere, France closed two schools after five British visitors contracted the virus at a ski resort. South Korea reported one new case while the Philippines flew home 30 of its citizens from the city at the center of the outbreak.


Flooding starts to abate; 21 people evacuated to safety

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Oregon National Guard troops aboard two helicopters airlifted 21 people to safety on Saturday, and authorities reported a 62-year-old woman who lived in one of the areas hit by floods was missing. On Saturday, National Guard troops, working with the Umatilla County Sheriff's Office, used two helicopters to evacuate 21 people who were stranded by the floods. The center says more evacuations are planned for Sunday, The Umatilla County Sheriff's Office also says that it is searching for a woman who went missing near Bar M Ranch, which has had flooding in recent days. Janet Tobkin Conley, 62, was last seen about 7 p.m. Thursday in the Bar M Ranch area.


Rain extinguishes Australian wildfire and causes flooding

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Torrential rain lashing Australia’s east coast has extinguished a major wildfire and caused widespread flash flooding. The New South Wales state Rural Fire Service says rain extinguished the Currowan Fire south of Sydney late Saturday after it destroyed 312 homes and razed 1.2 million acres over 74 days. Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons says he hopes the heavy rain will move inland from the coast and drench more major fires that have burned for months. Fitzsimmons bid farewell at a Sydney Airport hotel on Sunday to 21 American and 21 Canadian firefighters who were heading home after their deployment battling Australian blazes.


21 dead, 31 hurt in Thai mass shooting; gunman hides in mall

NAKHON RATCHASIMA, Thailand (AP) — A gunman described as a soldier angry over a financial dispute killed two people and then went on a far bloodier rampage Saturday in northeastern Thailand, shooting as he drove to a busy mall where shoppers fled in terror. At least 21 people were killed in all, 31 were injured and others were believed to be still inside the building as more gunshots rang out early Sunday morning. Police commandos are searching the mall for the shooter, and police say they have now secured the building from the ground floor up. It was the country’s second mass shooting in about a month.


Afghan official: Multiple US deaths after insider attack

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — An Afghan official says multiple U.S. military deaths have been reported in Afghanistan's Nangarhar province after an insider attack by a man wearing an Afghan army uniform. U.S. military officials have confirmed multiple casualties but have not confirmed the number wounded or killed or the nature of the attack that took place Saturday. A member of the Nangarhar Provincial Council, Ajmal Omer, tells The Associated Press the gunman was killed. It isn't clear if the gunman was an insurgent infiltrator or rogue Afghan military personnel. There have been numerous attacks by Afghan national army soldiers on their allied partners over the 18 years of Afghanistan's protracted war.


Biden tells NH Democrats that Buttigieg 'not a Barack Obama'

MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) — Joe Biden is scrambling to salvage his presidential campaign as New Hampshire’s primary looms. The former vice president has sharpened his criticism of a leading rival, former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, pointing to his comparatively thin resume. While Buttigieg has compared himself in some ways to President Barack Obama, who also drew criticism over his experience, Biden told voters in New Hampshire that “this guy's not a Barack Obama.” In response to such taunts, Buttigieg told a Democratic Party dinner in Manchester Saturday night that small rural towns in industrial communities and elsewhere are ready for someone to take their voice to Washington.


Mom, 6 kids die in Mississippi house fire; dad injured

CLINTON, Miss. (AP) — Authorities have released the identities of a mother and six children who died in a house fire in a suburb of Jackson, Mississippi. Thirty-three-year-old Brittany Presley and her six children died in a fire reported around 12:30 a.m. Saturday in the city of Clinton. The dead children ranged in age from 1 to 15. A city spokesman says the father tried to rescue the family and was later hospitalized with burns, smoke inhalation, cuts and bruises. The state Fire Marshal's Office is investigating the cause of the fire. The Canton Public School District says that Brittany Presley was an elementary school teacher.


In the Pink: Border collie wins Westminster agility contest

NEW YORK (AP) — She might have looked like a black-and-white blur, but this dog is pretty in Pink. Pink the border collie streaked to the Westminster Kennel Club’s agility title Saturday night with dazzle, determination and a steady stream of barks. Handler Jennifer Crank of Pickerington, Ohio, says Pink gives 110% all the time. Pink's win extends an all-but sweep for border collies in agility’s seven years at Westminster, save for an Australian shepherd’s win in 2016. Meanwhile, a 10-year-old dog named Moses took a special award for the top mixed-breed dog. Moses ran with handler Jordan York of Evansville, Indiana.


From Pitt to '1917,' what to anticipate at Sunday's Oscars

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Oscars are here, already. After the shortest awards season in decades, the 92nd annual Academy Awards will get underway Sunday evening at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. The red carpet is being rolled out two to three weeks earlier than usual in a bid to freshen up a ceremony and potentially boost ratings. Fittingly for a fast race, a movie about a mad dash has risen to the top of the heap. After winning nearly every major precursor award, Sam Mendes’ “1917” is the favorite for best picture. But many believe the Korean thriller “Parasite” has a chance at an upset. The ceremony begins at 8 p.m. EST, telecast live on ABC.


Robert Conrad, star of "The Wild, Wild West," dies at 84

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Robert Conrad, the rugged, contentious actor who starred in the hugely popular 1960s television series "Hawaiian Eye" and "The Wild, Wild West," has died. He was 84. A family spokesperson says the actor died Saturday morning in Malibu, California, from heart failure. Conrad became an overnight star after the show “Hawaiian Eye" debuted in 1959. Conrad was known as a tough customer with a reputation for fist fights. Playing himself in a 1999 episode of the TV series "Just Shoot Me," he lampooned his threatening, tough-guy persona.

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