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Pitt wins Oscar as supporting actor for 'Once Upon a Time'

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Brad Pitt has won his first acting Oscar, claiming the supporting actor trophy for “Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood.” He beat out an iconic group that included Tom Hanks, Anthony Hopkins and Al Pacino. Six years ago, Pitt earned a best picture Oscar for producing “12 Years a Slave.” He's been nominated four times for acting and three times for producing. Pitt had been the heavy favorite throughout this awards season, giving humorous speeches while collecting trophies at the Golden Globes and SAG Awards. Said the actor: “I'm a bit gobsmacked.”


The Latest: Joaquin Phoenix wins best actor at the Oscars

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Joaquin Phoenix has won the best actor Academy Award Sunday for his role as a wanna-be comedian destined to become a supervillain in “Joker.” It is Phoenix’s first Oscar and comes on his fourth nomination. Widely praised for performances in films ranging from “Gladiator” to the Johnny Cash biopic “Walk the Line,” a best actor win had proved elusive for Phoenix. He becomes the second actor to win an Oscar for playing the notorious DC Comics villain. Heath Ledger won a posthumous Oscar for playing the Joker in “The Dark Knight” in 2008.


Mainland China virus cases rise again after earlier decline

BEIJING (AP) — Mainland China has reported another rise in cases of the new virus after a sharp decline the previous day, while the number of deaths grow by 97 to 908, with at least two more outside the country. On Monday, China's health ministry said another 3,062 cases had been reported over the previous 24 hours, raising the Chinese mainland's total to 40,171. Earlier, France closed two schools after five British visitors contracted the virus at a ski resort. Malaysia, South Korea and Vietnam reported one new case each. Meanwhile, the mother of a physician who died last week in the hardest-hit city of Wuhan said she wants an explanation from authorities who reprimanded her son for warning about the virus.


Trump budget to face skepticism, overwhelming politics

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump is preparing a $4.8 trillion budget plan that rehashes previously rejected spending cuts while leaving Social Security and Medicare benefits untouched. Trump’s fiscal 2021 budget plan, to be released Monday, seeks to wrestle trillion-dollar-plus deficits into balance after 15 years. It isn't likely to generate a serious Washington dialogue about what to do, if anything this election year, about entrenched fiscal problems that have deficits surging despite a healthy economy. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that “once again the president is showing just how little he values the good health, financial security and well-being of hard-working American families.”


Asia stocks decline amid warnings China virus still a threat

BEIJING (AP) — Asian stock markets have declined amid warnings China's virus outbreak is still a threat and investor optimism that it is ending might be premature. Market benchmarks in Tokyo, Hong Kong and Shanghai retreated. The number of new virus cases reported daily by Chinese authorities had declined for a few days, which investors took as a sign disease control measures were working and the economic impact would pass. But health experts and economists warn the disease is still a threat and its impact will weigh on industries including retailing, tourism, electronics and shipping. China's central bank promised additional lending to cushion companies against the blow of intensive controls that have closed shops, factories and other businesses.


'QAnon' conspiracy theory creeps into mainstream politics

MILWAUKEE (AP) — A far-right conspiracy theory forged in a dark corner of the internet is creeping into the mainstream political arena. It's called QAnon, and it centers on the baseless belief that President Donald Trump is waging a secret campaign against enemies in the “deep state.” Trump has retweeted QAnon-promoting accounts. Followers have flocked to his rallies wearing apparel with QAnon symbols and slogans. And at least 23 current or former congressional candidates in the 2020 election cycle have endorsed or promoted QAnon. Meanwhile, an FBI bulletin last year warned that conspiracy theory-driven extremists have become a domestic terrorism threat.


Sanders to seek partial recanvass of Iowa caucus results

WASHINGTON (AP) — Sen. Bernie Sanders' campaign plans to ask for a “partial recanvass” of the results of last week's Iowa caucuses. A campaign aide confirmed the plans Sunday night, ahead of a Monday deadline for candidates to ask the Iowa Democratic Party to recanvass the results. A recanvass is not a recount, but a check of the vote count to ensure the results were added correctly. The state party released updated results on Sunday showing Pete Buttigieg leading Sanders by two state delegate equivalents.


Pope to Web companies: guard against human traffickers' bait

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis is calling on internet-based companies to be vigilant about keeping human traffickers from using technology to ensnare victims. Francis said during remarks to the public in St. Peter's Square on Sunday that “this plague” of human trafficking "exploits the weakest." He says research shows how criminal organizations use the “most modern means of communications to hook their victims with deception.” The pope said education is needed on “healthy” technology use and “suppliers of such electronic services must be held to their responsibilities.” Jobs advertised on the internet have sometimes turned out to be ruses for tricking people who respond into prostitution and slave labor.


Hurricane-force winds pound UK and Europe, upend travel

LONDON (AP) — Storm Ciara has battered the U.K. and northern Europe with hurricane-force winds and heavy rains. The storm on Sunday halted flights and trains and produced heaving seas that closed down ports. Soccer games, farmers' markets and other events were canceled as millions of people were urged to stay indoors. The storm brought massive wind gusts, including one clocked at 97 miles per hour on the Isle of White. In Paris, authorities warned tourists and residents alike to stay indoors. A flight-tracking website said the winds were so strong a British Airways flight made it from New York to London in record-setting time and arrived 102 minutes early.


Solar Orbiter blasts off to capture 1st look at sun's poles

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — Europe and NASA's Solar Orbiter has rocketed away on an unprecedented mission to capture the first pictures of the sun's poles. The $1.5 billion spacecraft will join NASA's Parker Solar Probe, launched 1 1/2 years ago, in coming perilously close to the sun in order to unveil its secrets. An Atlas 5 rocket blasted off late Sunday night from Cape Canaveral, Florida. Nearly 1,000 scientists and engineers from across Europe gathered under a full moon to watch Solar Orbiter depart. The spacecraft will fly past Venus to maneuver into a unique out-of-plane orbit that will take it over both poles.

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