Nev. gov. calls for state to be first caucus in the nation

Volunteers for various campaigns talk to voters as they enter a presidential caucus site at Mendive Middle School in Sparks, Nev., on Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020. (AP Photo/Scott Sonner)

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UPDATED 4:22 PM PT — Saturday, February 22, 2020

The governor of Nevada has said he believes his state should replace Iowa as the first-in-the-nation caucus. On Saturday, Steve Sisolak suggested that Nevada deserves to be first in the nominating process because it’s more reflective of the country as a whole.

“I think Nevada should go first, I really do,” stated Sisolak. “You’ve got a lot of great candidates…that didn’t have the money to continue and didn’t get to Nevada, and that was lot of the diversity in the field.”

The governor touted the state’s diverse population, which he said included communities of African Americans, Latinos, LGBTQ members, veterans and the disabled. He also claimed it could be a game-changer for minority candidates.

“You’ve got minority candidates (who) couldn’t make it to Nevada, and that’s really unfortunate,” said Sisolak. “Those are voices that should be heard.”

State residents took to caucus sites on Saturday to cast their vote for the Democrat nomination. Nevada is the first contest to be held in a western state in the 2020 election cycle.

According to early results, Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) doubled the county delegate lead against his closet rival in the state, former Vice President Joe Biden. 2020 hopefuls Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) trailed the former vice president, but are still hoping to make crucial gains ahead of the upcoming South Carolina primary.

RELATED: Report: Nev. Caucus Can Be Anybody’s Game

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Parents of teen accused of killing Italian cop speaking out for first time ahead of son’s trial

In this combo photo released by Italian Carabinieri, Finnegan Lee Elder, sits in his hotel room in Rome. (Italian Carabinieri via AP)

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UPDATED 8:42 AM PT — Saturday, February 22, 2020

The parents of one of the teenagers accused of killing an Italian police officer are speaking out. This came as the teen’s lawyer claimed “foul-play” by Italian prosecutors.

Parents of 19-year-old Finnegan Elder broke their silence Friday, just days before their son heads to trial.

Elder and a friend are facing aggravated murder and attempted extortion charges in connection with the stabbing of an officer in Rome last year.

Although the teen admitted to the stabbing, he claimed self defense and said the officers failed to identify themselves as officials and he feared for his life.

Family members of Finnegan Elder embrace as their family attorney Craig Peters, right, speaks to members of the media in front of their home in San Francisco on Saturday, Aug. 3, 2019. (AP Photo/Josh Edelson)

Elder’s defense team claimed poorly translated transcripts are playing out in the prosecution’s favor. His parents said they worry their son is being mistreated by police.

“The pain is relentless,” stated the father Ethan Elder. “It’s constant, it’s when we go to sleep, it’s when we wake up, it’s when we sit together, when we’re happy, it’s when we’re sad, it’s always there.”

Elder’s trial is set to begin Feb. 26.

RELATED: N.Y. Man Arrested After Allegedly Targeting Police Officers

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Pompeo closes first trip to Africa with comments to steer Ethiopia’s leaders away from China’s influence

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on Wednesday Feb. 19, 2020. (Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/Pool via AP)

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UPDATED 7:25 AM PT — Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke with business leaders in Africa to discuss China’s influence in the country. On Wednesday, he gave a speech to the UN Economic Commission in Addis Ababa, where he advised against input from China.

Pompeo added fuel to criticism from President Trump about China’s ability to send poor countries further into debt when funding infrastructure projects.

Meanwhile, the Trump administration has continued working to limit China’s authority in Africa. Secretary Pompeo warned leaders that deals with China are often unstable.

“Not every nation doing business in Africa from outside the continent adapts the American model of partnership,” he explained. “Countries should be wary of authoritarian regimes with empty promises; they breed corruption, dependency…they don’t hire the local people, they don’t train, they don’t lead them.”

Pompeo did not officially announce any new projects, but told the group of leaders that the president loves to make deals.

RELATED: U.S. to offer financial support for Ethiopia political reforms

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French officials confirm first coronavirus death in Europe

French lab scientists in hazmat gear inserting liquid in test tube manipulate potentially infected patient samples at Pasteur Institute in Paris, Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)

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UPDATED 7:00 AM PT — Saturday, February 15, 2020

Officials from the French Health Ministry reported an 80-year-old Chinese tourist succumbed to the coronavirus on Saturday, marking the first virus-related death in Europe since the outbreak began. Up to this point, the only deaths outside of China have been reported in Hong Kong, Japan and the Philippines.

The man’s daughter also contracted the virus, but is expected to be released soon. The man and his daughter were both from the Hubei province in China, which officials are calling the epicenter of the outbreak.

“He was hospitalized at the Bichat Hospital under strict isolation measures on January 25th,” stated Health Minister Agnès Buzyn. “His condition deteriorated rapidly, he was in a critical state for several days and he was in intensive care.”

France has confirmed 11 cases of coronavirus so far.

French lab scientists are silhouetted working in a lab at Pasteur Institute in Paris, Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)

Meanwhile, President Trump has applauded his administration for its efforts to contain the coronavirus. The president shared a poll during his remarks to the National Border Patrol Council on Friday, which said a majority of American voters approve of his handling of the virus.

This came after he previously received criticism for temporarily banning residents of the Hubei province.

“’61 percent of the voters approve of Trump’s handling of the coronavirus,’” stated President Trump. “I was criticized by a lot of people at the beginning because we were the first, we’d never done it before, we closed our borders to certain areas.”

As of Friday night, there are 15 people in the U.S. infected with the virus. The president said many of them are getting better and reiterated his theory the virus could weaken as the weather gets warmer.

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Okla. man charged with first-degree manslaughter after deadly hit-and-run crash

A makeshift memorial for Rachel Freeman at the location on Main Street Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020, where Moore High School cross country runners were run over by a pickup truck driven by Max Leroy Townsend, 57, Monday, killing Freeman and Yuridia Martinez. (Doug Hoke/The Oklahoman via AP)

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UPDATED 12:20 PM PT — Saturday, February 8, 2020

An Oklahoma man could face life behind bars in connection with a deadly hit-and-run crash, which left two people dead earlier this week. On Friday, 57-year-old Max Townsend was charged with 13 felony counts, including leaving the scene of a fatal accident and driving under the influence.

This Feb. 3, 2020 photo from the Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office shows Max Leroy Townsen. (Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office via AP)

Townsend reportedly struck six members of the Moore High School track team just outside Oklahoma City on Monday. The group was running on the sidewalk near their school when Townsend reportedly plowed into them with his truck. All were rushed to the hospital, where two victims died.

“Down the street and around the corner, where he collided with another vehicle, he was stopped by some witnesses and was held until the police got there,” explained Cleveland County District Attorney Greg Mashburn. “They could obviously see that he was under the influence.”

One student remains in critical condition. The suspect is being held on a $1 million bond and faces life in prison if convicted.

Moore Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Robert Romines offered his condolences to the families of the victims.

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Lakers pay tribute to Kobe Bryant at first game after his death

The jerseys of late Los Angeles Laker Kobe Bryant, right, and his daughter Gianna are draped on the seats the two last sat on at Staples Center, prior to the Lakers’ NBA basketball game against the Portland Trail Blazers in Los Angeles, Friday, Jan. 31, 2020. (AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo)

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UPDATED 11:10 AM PT — Saturday, February 1, 2020

The Los Angeles Lakers paid tribute to NBA legend Kobe Bryant during their first game since his tragic death. Before Friday’s game against the Portland Trail Blazers, number eight and number 24 jerseys covered the 20,000 seats of the Staples Center arena, which is notably called “the house that Kobe built.”

Lakers star LeBron James stepped forward and delivered a moving speech, in which he praised Bryant “straight from the heart.”

Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James, wearing a No. 24 jersey, speaks about Kobe Bryant prior to an NBA game between the Lakers and the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday, Jan. 31, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

Head Coach Frank Vogel said earlier this week the game would be an “important night” for the team and Lakers Nation.

“I would imagine it probably makes it a little harder than an ordinary game, with all the emotions and all that stuff, but we shouldn’t do it any other way,” he said. “It’s the right thing to do, and it will be an important night for our franchise and for Laker Nation.”

Despite support from fans in the arena and around the world, the Lakers were unable to defeat the Blazers. They lost 127 to 119. However, they do remain first in the Western Conference.

Los Angeles Lakers players stand during a moment of silence for late NBA player Kobe Bryant prior to an NBA basketball game against the Portland Trail Blazers at Staples Center, Friday, Jan. 31, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

RELATED: All-Stars To Wear Special Uniforms, Patches To Honor Bryant

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Spain announces country’s first case of coronavirus

Medical workers in protective suits move a coronavirus patient into an isolation ward at the Second People’s Hospital in Fuyang in central China’s Anhui Province, Saturday, Feb. 1, 2020. (Chinatopix via AP)

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UPDATED 10:19 AM PT — Saturday, February 1, 2020

Officials in Spain have confirmed the country’s first case of the fast spreading coronavirus. On Friday, Spain’s health minister said the patient is a German citizen, who came into contact with one of the recent cases of the virus in Germany.

The news came after a plane carrying 27 people from multiple nations arrived in Madrid from Wuhan, China, where the outbreak originated. Officials said the patient was part of a group that was vacationing in the Canary Islands.

“Yesterday, we had the results of the samples of these five people who were isolated, only one of them was positive,” stated Ministry of Health official Fernando Simón. “We put him in isolation and the rest are kept in quarantine.”

Passengers disembark from the plane carrying British nationals from the coronavirus-hit city of Wuhan in China, at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire, England, Friday, Jan. 31, 2020. A civilian passenger plane carrying British evacuees from China has landed at a Royal Air Force base in England. Eighty-three Britons are on board the Wamos Air Boeing 747, which will later fly on to Spain carrying the remaining 27 passengers, who are not UK citizens. (Ben Birchall/PA via AP)

Spain’s repatriated citizens will be quarantined and observed for the next two weeks. Five others who were aboard the plane will be set back to their home countries.

The health minister is expected to hold a meeting on Saturday to discuss Spain’s next steps.

MORE NEWS: Public Health Emergency Declared Over Coronavirus Outbreak

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Overdose drug deaths drop for first time in 28 years

FILE – This Aug. 29, 2018, file photo shows an arrangement of Oxycodone pills in New York. Data released on Thursday, Jan. 30, 2020 shows that U.S. life expectancy has improved for the first time in four years, thanks to a sharp decline in the cancer death rate and to a drop in fatal drug overdoses. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

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UPDATED 10:10 AM PT — Thursday, January 30, 2020

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported the number of drug overdoses in the U.S. significantly fell in 2018. According to CDC data released Thursday, the number of deaths caused by drug overdose fell 4.1 percent from 2017 to 2018.

This is the lowest rates have been in 28 years. The decrease was primarily caused by a drop in deaths caused by prescription painkillers and heroin. This comes as the Trump administration has continued to take steps to halt the practice of over-prescribing in light of the opioid crisis.

Researchers have said there is still more work to be done to stop overdoses. The CDC data also showed fatalities from meth and cocaine are on the rise.

“So even though this is the first year where we’ve had a decline, I think it’s important to point out that we’re not we’re not done with an overdose crisis in the United States,” stated Katherine Keyes, associate epidemiology professor at Columbia University. “It’s still really important to put all of our public health efforts into reducing the burden of overdose.”

FILE – In this Aug. 29, 2019, file photo, members of the Coast Guard stand near seized cocaine in Los Angeles. The nation’s drug addiction crisis has been morphing in a deadly new direction: more Americans struggling with meth and cocaine. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson, file)

According to reports, the lower death rates from drug overdoses in 2018, along with lower death rates from cancer, have helped the life expectancy in America go up for the first time in four years.

RELATED: OxyContin maker Purdue is ‘Pharma Co X’ in U.S. opioid kickback probe – sources

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President Trump becomes first president to speak at ‘March for Life’ rally in D.C.

President Donald Trump waves after speaking during the annual “March for Life” rally on the National Mall, Friday, Jan. 24, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

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UPDATED 12:23 PM PT — Friday, January 24, 2020

President Trump is renewing his commitment to protect the dignity and sanctity of human life. On Friday, he became the first sitting president to attend the annual ‘March for Life’ rally.

Tens of thousands flocked to the National Mall in D.C. for the 47th annual rally, which is the largest pro-life gathering in the world.

During his address, the president noted there has been significant progress made for the pro-life movement in recent years. He said he will continue working in the White House to veto pro-abortion legislation and appoint pro-life judges.

The president thanked those in attendance and members of the faith for fighting for the unborn in a time of when they’re threatened the most.

“Together, we are the voice for the voiceless,” stated President Trump. “When it comes to abortion, Democrats have embraced the most radical and extreme positions, taken and seen in this country for years and decades.”

President Donald Trump speaks at the “March for Life” rally, Friday, Jan. 24, 2020, on the National Mall in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Prior to his address, Vice President Mike Pence and his wife Karen delivered a televised message to the crowd. The pair gave a special thanks to members of the Catholic faith for their help in the fight for life.

RELATED: ‘Human Life’ Film Premieres In Washington & Pro-Life Activists Prepare For ‘March For Life’ In Washington, D.C

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Cory Booker to run his first TV ad during Thursday’s Democratic debate

closeCory Booker unhappy with DNC debate rules; Joe Biden spars with caucus goerVideo

Cory Booker unhappy with DNC debate rules; Joe Biden spars with caucus goer

Democrats swarm Iowa as caucus looms; Peter Doocy reports from Des Moines.

He didn’t make the stage, but many TV viewers watching Thursday night’s Democratic presidential primary debate will likely – and briefly – still see Sen. Cory Booker.

The senator from New Jersey will run the first television commercial of his Democratic campaign during the debate, which will be broadcast nationally on PBS and simulcast on cable TV by CNN.

DEBATE IS ON – DEAL REACHED IN LABOR DISPUTE THAT THREATENED TO SIDELINE THURSDAY'S SHOWDOWN

Booker’s campaign announced early Thursday that their ad is specifically targeting viewers tuning into the debate and will be seen in 22 TV markets across the country, including the four early primary and caucus states of Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina, as well as in New York City, Washington D.C., and Los Angeles.

In the 30-second spot titled ‘Together,’ Booker jokes “how long are these things? 30 seconds? Are you sure we can afford this?”

The candidate – who has struggled with fundraising and is hovering in the low single digits in most polling – then spotlights that “you're only gonna see this ad once because I'm not a billionaire. I won't be on tonight's debate stage, but that's okay because I'm going to win this election anyway.”

“This election isn't about who can spend the most, or who slings the most mud. It's about the people. It's about all of us, standing together, fighting together. Not just to beat Donald Trump, but to bring about the transformative change we need,” he adds.

Only 7 of the roughly 15 remaining Democratic White House hopefuls qualified for Thursday’s sixth round debate. They are former Vice President Joe Biden, Sens. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, South Bend Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, billionaire environmental and progressive advocate Tom Steyer, and tech entrepreneur Andrew Yang.

Booker reached the individual donor qualifying criteria set by the Democratic National Committee, but was far short of reaching the polling threshold. Thursday’s debate is the first for which he’s failed to qualify.

HE DIDN'T QUALIFY FOR THE DEBATE, BUT BOOKER SAYS HIS 'PATH FORWARD IS CLEAR'

On Saturday, Booker spearheaded a letter to the DNC asking the national party committee to "consider alternative debate qualification standards" for four nomination debates scheduled in January and February in the early voting sates.

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, who besides Booker is the other remaining black candidate in the nomination race, also failed to qualify for the debate. A third black candidate – Sen. Kamala Harris of California – qualified for the debate but ended her White House bid earlier this month. Former Housing Secy. Julian Castro, the only Latino candidate in the field, also failed to qualify. Yang – who’s Asian-American – is the only non-white candidate to qualify.

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey campaigns in Portsmouth, NH in February 2019

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey campaigns in Portsmouth, NH in February 2019

Booker – in his letter – argued that the higher thresholds have “unnecessarily and artificially narrowed what started as the strongest and most diverse Democratic field in history.”

The letter, which was co-signed by all seven candidates who will appear in the debate, appeared to receive a frosty reception by the DNC, which has yet to reveal the qualifying thresholds for the January and February primary showdowns.

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While Booker's commercial runs on TV, the candidate will be in Iowa Thursday night, kicking off a five day swing through the state that leads off the presidential nominating calendar.

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