Trump leans into fear tactics in bid to win Midwest states

JANESVILLE, Wisconsin (AP) — President Donald Trump leaned into fear tactics Saturday as he accused the left of trying to "destroy the American way of life" in a late reelection pitch to voters in Michigan and Wisconsin — two Midwestern states that were instrumental to his 2016 victory but may now be slipping from his grasp.

In back-to-back rallies, Trump accused the left of wanting to “erase American history" and “purge American values.” He claimed, with no basis, that Democratic rival Joe Biden would put communities at risk.

Trump offered the dark message as he faces headwinds not only in national polling, which shows Biden leading, but also in key battleground surveys. His comments come after his campaign, with far less cash than Biden's, largely retreated from TV advertising in the Midwest, shifting much of its money to Sun Belt states such as Florida, North Carolina, Arizona and Georgia, as well as Pennsylvania.

As he tries to energize his base and keep on-the-fence voters from turning against him, Trump sought to paint Democrats as “anti-American radicals” and said moderates had “a moral duty” to join the Republican Party.

“The Democrat Party you once knew doesn’t exist,” he said.


Rural Midwest hospitals struggling to handle virus surge

WESSINGTON SPRINGS, S.D. (AP) — Rural Jerauld County in South Dakota didn't see a single case of the coronavirus for more than two months stretching from June to August. But over the last two weeks, its rate of new cases per person soared to one of the highest in the nation.

“All of a sudden it hit, and as it does, it just exploded,” said Dr. Tom Dean, one of just three doctors who work in the county.

As the brunt of the virus has blown into the Upper Midwest and northern Plains, the severity of outbreaks in rural communities has come into focus. Doctors and health officials in small towns worry that infections may overwhelm communities with limited medical resources. And many say they are still running up against attitudes on wearing masks that have hardened along political lines and a false notion that rural areas are immune to widespread infections.

Dean took to writing a column in the local weekly newspaper, the True Dakotan, to offer his guidance. In recent weeks, he's watched as one in roughly every 37 people in his county has tested positive for the virus.

It ripped through the nursing home in Wessington Springs where both his parents lived, killing his father. The community’s six deaths may appear minimal compared with thousands who have died in cities, but they have propelled the county of about 2,000 people to a death rate roughly four times higher than the nationwide rate.


Trump plays down virus as he steps up pitch for second term

WASHINGTON (AP) — Gone are the days when President Donald Trump held forth daily at the White House podium flanked by members of his coronavirus task force. And the days when Vice President Mike Pence and other task force officials would head to Trump’s office to brief him immediately after their meetings.

The White House won’t say when Trump last met with the task force.

In the week since he emerged from coronavirus isolation, Trump has demonstrated new determination to minimize the threat of the virus that has killed more than 215,000 Americans and complicated his chances of winning another four years in the White House.

“The light at the end of the tunnel is near. We are rounding the turn,” Trump told supporters Friday at an event in Fort Myers, Florida, one of many moments during a week of campaigning when the president tried to play down the virus threat. “Don’t listen to the cynics and angry partisans and pessimists.”

In word and action, he is pushing an optimistic outlook even as coronavirus infections are spiking in Europe and public health officials are raising alarm that the infection rate in the U.S. is climbing toward a new peak.


Suspect in teacher's beheading in France was Chechen teen

PARIS (AP) — A suspect shot dead by police after the beheading of a history teacher near Paris was an 18-year-old Chechen refugee unknown to intelligence services who posted a grisly claim of responsibility on social media minutes after the attack, officials said Saturday.

France’s anti-terrorism prosecutor’s office said authorities investigating the killing of Samuel Paty in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine on Friday arrested nine suspects, including the teen's grandfather, parents and 17-year-old brother.

Paty had discussed caricatures of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad with his class, leading to threats, police officials said. Islam prohibits images of the prophet, asserting that they lead to idolatry. The officials could not be named because they were not authorized to discuss ongoing investigations.

French anti-terrorism prosecutor Jean-Francois Ricard said an investigation for murder with a suspected terrorist motive had been opened.

Ricard told reporters that the Moscow-born suspect, who had been granted a 10-year residency in France as a refugee in March, was armed with a knife and an airsoft gun, which fires plastic pellets.


Conservatives staging free speech rally attacked by critics

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A free speech demonstration staged by conservative activists quickly fell apart in downtown San Francisco on Saturday after several hundred counterprotesters surged the area, outnumbering and attacking those gathered, including knocking one in the mouth.

A photographer working for The Associated Press witnessed a Trump supporter being taken away in an ambulance and an injured San Francisco police officer on the ground by San Francisco’s United Nations Plaza.

Team Save America organized the rally to protest Twitter, which it said squelches conservative speech. Members of the group wore red “Make America Great Again” Trump campaign hats and carried pro-police “Thin Blue Line” flags and U.S. flags.

Philip Anderson, the organizer of the event, posted photos to social media of his bloody mouth with a front tooth missing and another hanging loosely. He said anti-fascist protesters attacked him “for no reason."

Anderson took the stage at about 1 p.m. and was greeted by chants and plastic water bottles and glass bottles thrown over police barricades.


'Big pile' of eels dumped in NYC park; impact not yet known

NEW YORK (AP) — Andrew Orkin was taking a break from his evening jog to sit by Prospect Park Lake when he turned around and was startled to see a tangle of wriggling snakes.

“And quite a big pile — fully alive,” said Orkin, a music composer who lives near the Brooklyn park.

They turned out to be eels that had escaped from one of two large plastic bags that split open as a man dragged them to the shoreline. After dumping the eels in the lake, the man walked away, explaining to bystanders that “I just want to save lives.”

The illegal release late last month became a curiosity on social media, but the dumping of exotic animals in urban parks isn’t new. In cities across the country, nonnative birds, turtles, fish and lizards have settled into, and often disturbed, local ecosystems.

New Yorkers free thousands of non-native animals every year, many of them abandoned pets that quickly die. But others can survive, reproduce and end up causing lasting harm.


Armenia, Azerbaijan announce new attempt at cease-fire

BAKU, Azerbaijan (AP) — Armenia and Azerbaijan on Saturday announced a new attempt to establish a cease-fire in their conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh starting from midnight, a move that comes a week after a Russia-brokered truce frayed immediately after it took force.

The new agreement was announced following Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov's calls with his counterparts from the two nations, in which he strongly urged them to abide by the Moscow deal. There were no immediate claims of violations after the truce took effect at midnight.

Nagorno-Karabakh lies within Azerbaijan but has been under the control of ethnic Armenian forces backed by Armenia since a war there ended in 1994. The latest fighting that began on Sept. 27 has involved heavy artillery, rockets and drones, killing hundreds in the largest escalation of hostilities between the South Caucasus neighbors in more than a quarter-century.

Russia, which has a security pact with Armenia but has cultivated warm ties with Azerbaijan, hosted top diplomats from both countries for more than 10 hours of talks that ended with the initial cease-fire agreement. But the deal frayed immediately after the truce took effect last Saturday, with both sides blaming each other for breaching it.

The full-scale fighting continued to rage through the week.


Organizers exhort women to vote for change at US rallies

Thousands of mostly young women in masks rallied Saturday in the nation's capital and other U.S. cities, exhorting voters to oppose President Donald Trump and his fellow Republican candidates in the Nov. 3 elections.

The latest of rallies that began with a massive women’s march the day after Trump’s January 2017 inauguration was playing out during the coronavirus pandemic, and demonstrators were asked to wear face coverings and practice social distancing.

Rachel O’Leary Carmona, executive director of the Women’s March, opened the event by asking people to keep their distance from one another, saying that the only superspreader event would be the recent one at the White House.

She talked about the power of women to end Trump’s presidency.

“His presidency began with women marching and now it’s going to end with woman voting. Period,” she said.


AP FACT CHECK: Trump sees what others do not in the pandemic

WASHINGTON (AP) — “I believe we’re rounding the corner." “We’re a winner on the excess mortality.” “We have the vaccines coming and we have the therapies coming.” “We have done an amazing job.”

President Donald Trump sees in the pandemic what he wants to see. He seemed to acknowledge as much when he was challenged on stage a few days ago for repeatedly and thoroughly misrepresenting a study about masks.

No, the study did not find that most people who wear masks get COVID-19. Most people don't. But, “that’s what I heard and that’s what I saw, and — regardless....”

Regard for the facts is not a hallmark of Trump's campaign for the Nov. 3 election or of his presidency.

His assurance, heard for weeks, that the U.S. is rounding the corner on the coronavirus is belied by rising infection in the vast majority of states and higher deaths in 30 by week's end, as well as by a surge in Europe. This as the flu season approaches, another layer of risk to health.


Seager homers again, Dodgers force NLCS Game 7 with 3-1 win

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Corey Seager's sweet swing. Walker Buehler's calm. Kenley Jansen's resurgence.

The Los Angeles Dodgers got what they needed — again.

“We did what we had to do to force a Game 7," Justin Turner said.

They sure did.

Seager homered again, Buehler pitched six scoreless innings and the Dodgers beat the Atlanta Braves 3-1 on Saturday to send the NL Championship Series to a winner-take-all finale.

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