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‘Unprecedented’ wildfires across West expected to cause more disruption

Weather conditions favorable for fire spread are expected to last until Thursday as fast-growing wildfires across the Western United States have forced mass evacuations and destruction. More than 90 major fires that have burned more than 5,300 square miles — almost the size of Connecticut — are raging in 13 Western states, according to a count by the National Fire Information Center. In Oregon, wildfires powered by 50-mph wind gusts have left almost 100,000 homes and businesses without power.Meanwhile, fires have continued to roar across parts of Washington state, with more than 500 square miles burned on Monday alone, according to Gov. Jay Inslee.Northern, Central and Southern California are also under siege as the state remains plagued by high heat and parched terrain. At least seven people have been  confirmed to have died from the wildfires across the Western states. 

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Senate GOP poised for initial vote on slimmed-down COVID-19 relief bill

Senate Republicans are anticipated to put forth an initial vote on a coronavirus relief plan Thursday, a bill that even Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says isn’t perfect. The proposal faces an uphill battle to becoming law as Democrats instantly vowed to block what they called a political ploy to help endangered Republicans in November and not meet the needs of American families and businesses. The estimated $300 billion proposal, dubbed the Delivering Immediate Relief to America’s Families, Schools and Small Businesses Act, includes bolstered unemployment benefits, funding for schools and liability protections for businesses and healthcare facilities. 

Patrick Mahomes, Deshaun Watson highlight NFL opener amid pandemic

After an offseason and preseason like none other, the NFL’s 2020 regular season kicks off Thursday when the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs host the Houston Texans (8:20 p.m. ET). The opener features a matchup of two of the league’s premier young quarterbacks, Deshaun Watson and Patrick Mahomes, who this offseason became the two highest-paid players in the NFL. In a lucky stroke for NFL, Kansas City’s Arrowhead Stadium will be one of the few venues that will accommodate fans in Week 1 — albeit with just 22% of normal capacity.

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Following jarring revelations from new book, Trump heads to Michigan

As the country reels in the wake of jarring revelations from a new book that details his tenure, President Donald Trump will make a campaign stop at an airport hangar in Michigan on Thursday. For his new book, “Rage,” veteran Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward interviewed Trump 18 times and included audio of their conversations, during which the president acknowledged COVID-19 was more deadly and contagious than the flu — even as he publicly downplayed its dangers. The revelations came on the day that deaths from the virus nationwide topped 190,000. The president has said he was eager to visit Michigan, which he won in 2016 by less than 11,000 votes — or about two-tenths of a percentage point — becoming the first Republican presidential nominee to win the state since George H.W. Bush in 1988. 

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A new book suggests that President Trump understood the threats of the coronavirus even as he told the nation it was no worse than the seasonal flu.

USA TODAY

US Open semifinals: Will Serena Williams inch closer to her 24th major title?

After a three-set win in the U.S. Open quarterfinals, 23-time major champion Serena Williams will get right back to work Thursday, taking on Victoria Azarenka in the semifinals. For the second consecutive round, Williams needed three sets to defeat her opponent — she dropped the first set to unseeded Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria before winning 4-6, 6-3, 6-2. Williams, who will turn 39 this month, is on a much-publicized journey to win her 24th Grand Slam singles title to tie Margaret Court’s Open-era record. Her last major win came at the 2017 Australian Open, before she gave birth to her daughter Olympia, who turned three Sept. 1.

Contributing: The Associated Press

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