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In the news

by The Associated Press | July 28, 2021 at 5:06 a.m.

• Greg Locke, 45, a church pastor in Mount Juliet, Tenn., warned his congregants in a sermon that they would be asked to leave if they showed up wearing masks, adding, "I am not playing these Democrat games up in this church," as he denied the existence of the delta coronavirus variant.

• Paul Veneto, 62, a former flight attendant who lost several colleagues when United Flight 175 flew into the World Trade Center's south tower in New York on Sept. 11, 2001, is honoring his friends on the 20th anniversary of the attacks by pushing an airline beverage cart from Boston to ground zero.

• Antony Blinken, the U.S. secretary of state and stepson of a Holocaust survivor, called it a "painful" reminder that anti-semitism still exists after a swastika was found carved into an elevator wall at the State Department's headquarters in Washington, D.C.

• Fiame Naomi Mata'afa, 64, took office as Samoa's first female prime minister three months after winning an election that sparked a constitutional crisis when her predecessor refused to concede defeat despite several court rulings against him.

• Mike Nearman, a former Oregon Republican legislator who was expelled for letting far-right protesters into the state Capitol during a violent protest, pleaded guilty to official misconduct and was sentenced to 18 months of probation.

• Christine Fesus, 34, who told police she fatally shot a homeless person who had attacked her in a supermarket parking lot north of Houston, was charged with murder after witnesses disputed her claim and investigators reviewed security video.

• Rex Burlison, a St. Louis circuit judge, said that while he can't control how prosecutors charge, "I can control how it's sentenced" as he rejected a plea deal with a lesser penalty and imposed a maximum 10-year sentence on a man in the beating death of a homeless man.

• Howard Young, 75, a Tennessee man accused of running a Ponzi scheme disguised as a holistic wellness business, was sentenced to eight years in prison after being convicted of duping more than 80 victims out of nearly $700,000, prosecutors said.

• Denise Upton, a wildlife rehabilitator in Lake Tahoe, Calif., said veterinarians are treating an underweight bear cub found walking on its elbows in a home's backyard after its paws were burned in a wildfire that swept through an area south of the lake.

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