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GOP senators consider $600 extension; US orders 100 million vaccine doses from Pfizer; California cases top NY

The U.S. government has placed an initial order for 100 million doses of a vaccine candidate being developed by Pfizer and a German firm, BioNTech, for $1.95 billion, the companies announced Wednesday.

The U.S. can acquire up to 500 million additional doses, the statement said.

Meanwhile, federal unemployment benefits are taking a hit at a time when more states are abruptly pausing their reopening plans. The $600 weekly jobless benefits bonus, approved in March, is about to expire and likely won’t be extended or replaced before next month.

The U.S. has been averaging more than 60,000 new cases daily for multiple weeks, and hospitalizations have climbed to totals not seen in three months. A USA TODAY analysis of Johns Hopkins data through late Tuesday shows 10 states set seven-day records for new cases while five states had a record number of deaths over the period.

📈 Today’s stats: The U.S.

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UK buying 90 million coronavirus vaccine doses

LONDON — British officials say they have signed a deal to buy 90 million doses of experimental coronavirus vaccines being developed by the pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and others.

The British government said in a statement Monday that it had secured access to a vaccine candidate being developed by a Pfizer and BioNTech, in addition to another experimental vaccine researched by Valneva. Britain had previously signed a deal with AstraZeneca to provide 100 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine being tested by Oxford University, which is expected to announce further results later Monday.

“Millions of people could be vaccinated against coronavirus,” the government statement said, citing the three different vaccines it has now invested in.

Although it is still unclear which if any of the vaccines will ultimately prove effective against the virus, Britain and other rich countries are already investing in the vaccines to ensure there is enough manufacturing capacity

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Five million begin lockdown in Australian city

Melbourne (AFP) – Five million people in Australia’s second-biggest city began a new lockdown Thursday, returning to tough restrictions just weeks after they ended as Melbourne grapples with a resurgence of coronavirus cases.

Residents have been told to stay at home for six weeks after other measures to contain a spike in COVID-19 failed to prevent the virus spreading.

The state of Victoria has been effectively sealed off in an effort to preserve the rest of Australia’s success in curbing the virus.

However, a rush of travellers across the border into neighbouring New South Wales on Wednesday has raised concerns those efforts could be torpedoed.

“A few cases coming over the border from Victoria (can) tip that magic number into outbreaks that are going to be very hard to control,” epidemiologist Mary-Louise McLaws told public broadcaster ABC.

New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian said two cases of COVID-19 had been

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Pritzker’s $56 Million For ‘Fair Tax’ Values Politics Over People

CHICAGO — Back when Gov. J.B. Pritzker was secretly spending taxpayer cash on private charter flights to China to buy personal protective gear as the coronavirus crisis hit Illinois, some people would ask to poke the billionaire for not kicking in the kind of cash he spent to get elected — $171 million of his own money — to help people struggling under his stay-at-home order.

At the time, that didn’t seem fair. Pritzker did donate $4 million to the Illinois COVID-19 Response fund. Even a billionaire doesn’t deserve to be criticized for not donating enough of his own money to help people during unprecedented pandemic.

But I changed my mind about that after seeing a campaign finance disclosure filed late Friday — the start of the July 4th holiday weekend — that showed the Hyatt Hotel heir peeled off $51 million of his inherited fortune to fund a marketing

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Justin Bieber Files $20 Million Defamation Lawsuit Against 2 Women Who Accused Him of Sexual Assault

Justin Bieber is seeking legal recourse against two anonymous women who previously accused him on social media of sexual assault.

In a filing of a defamation lawsuit against the two Jane Does (who remain anonymous save for their Twitter handles @danielleglvn and @ItsnotKadi and respective names they went by on social media: Danielle and Kadi, respectively), Bieber’s lawyers say the accusations against him are “factually impossible, and disproven both by indisputable documentary evidence and the individuals’ own admissions.”

“Danielle claimed she was sexually assaulted at the Four Seasons Hotel on March 9, 2014, however, Bieber did not stay at that hotel in March 2014 and there are multiple witnesses and documentary evidence to dispute Danielle’s malicious lie,” the complaint, filed on Thursday and obtained by PEOPLE, says, before calling Kadi’s accusation “likewise factually impossible, are contradicted by her own prior written statements, are supported only by falsified or faked texts.”

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Richard Weitz’s ‘Quarantunes’ All-Star Benefit Livestreams Pass the $4 Million Fundraising Mark

Click here to read the full article.

A few months ago, it might have been unimaginable that multimillion dollar fundraising efforts would be hosted not in black tie from behind a ballroom dais but in ballcaps in front of a refrigerator. But the “RWQuarantunes” livestream music series has proven that show-business philanthropy can take as much of a different tack as anything during the pandemic.

On Sunday night, the series of star-studded, invitation-only live charity shows, hosted by top agent Richard Weitz and his 17-year-old daughter Demi, passed the $4 million mark in contributions made to a wide array of causes. Their ability to pull that off from their kitchen countertop (aside from one online field trip to the shuttered Hollywood Bowl a few weeks ago) may augur poorly for the immediate future of the tux rental business … but it’s been good news for L.A.’s Cedars-Sinai, several New York

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Biden campaign and DNC raise more than $80 million in May

Joe Biden‘s campaign announced Monday that it raised $80.8 million in May, along with the Democratic National Committee and joint fundraising committee. It’s the most the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee has raised to date during the 2020 presidential election cycle.

According to the campaign, more than half of the donors last month were new contributors, signaling a surge in grassroots momentum, with more than 1.5 million new supporters joining the campaign in the last few weeks. The campaign also said the number of online donors has tripled since February. The average online donation in May was $30 and educators continue to be listed as the largest occupation group for donors. 

“I’m humbled and honored that you have put your trust in me as your presumptive Democratic nominee. And I’m incredibly honored by the support I’ve received from you all,” Biden wrote in an email to supporters.

Biden alluded to

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Student loan glitch affected up to 5 million credit scores

Jeramiah Harrington struggled for nearly a year to drive his credit score up from a grim 527 to pretty good 682. Then in a matter of days, his score unexpectedly tumbled by 91 points in May.

What’s worse: He apparently didn’t do anything wrong to drive that score back below 600. He simply was caught in a COVID-19-related glitch connected to some student loans.  

“I had never even been close to 700,” said Harrington, 38, who lives in Flint Township, Michigan.

Harrington, who works as a cartographer at a civil engineering company, wondered just how long it would take to see his score regain lost ground. But the good news is that a fix apparently may be in the works, as he saw his score go up somewhat as of June 7. 

Nearly 5 million student loan borrowers were harmed by an unusual mistake that was triggered after new rules

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