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Cruise ship passengers held off California; tested for coronavirus

A Princess Cruises ship that was expected to dock in San Francisco on Thursday will be kept offshore until its thousands of passengers can be tested for the coronavirus. The company confirmed that 62 passengers onboard may have been exposed to a “small cluster’’ of patients from a previous voyage who have contracted the illness. One of those patients, described in the release as a 71-year-old male, died Wednesday at a hospital in Placer County, northeast of Sacramento. He’s the first person to die of coronavirus in California and the 11th in the U.S. The Grand Princess’ chief medical officer had previously said the ship, at sea off the coast of Mexico, would skip a scheduled stop in Ensenada and return directly to San Francisco, where CDC and cruise officials will meet to determine the next course of action. Meanwhile, lawmakers came to a compromise deal that will provide $8.3 billion to both combat the spread of coronavirus in the U.S. and help treat those affected. The number is more than triple the $2.5 billion President Donald Trump originally asked for last month. 

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Bernie Sanders hits the campaign trail after Super Tuesday shake-up

While moderates consolidate their support around former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Bernie Sanders will stage a campaign rally in Phoenix on Thursday, bringing his progressive message to the masses for the first time this election season. Defying polls that showed him trailing less than a week ago, Biden dominated Super Tuesday and racked up wins in 10 of 14 states, building a lead in delegates over Vermont’s independent senator, who had seemed poised to build an insurmountable lead himself. The race arguably gets even tougher for Sanders on March 17 in primaries in three large states, each with hundreds of delegates at stake: Florida, 219 delegates; Illinois, 155; Ohio, 136; and Arizona, 67. The rally, which is expected to draw thousands, will be held at Veterans Memorial Coliseum. 

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Bernie Sanders told supporters with “absolute confidence” Tuesday night that he is going to “win the Democratic nomination.” Sanders spoke to supporters in Vermont after rival Joe Biden racked up a number of Super Tuesday victories. (March 3)

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Martin Luther King III among petitioners pleading to halt inmate’s execution

Nathaniel Woods is scheduled to become the latest Alabama Department of Corrections inmate to be executed Thursday and son of civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr. has released an open letter to Governor Kay Ivey asking her to intervene in the case. Family and friends of Woods are pleading for a reprieve, writing petitions and seeking legal help. Woods was convicted of capital murder in the shooting death of three Birmingham police officers in June 2004. Woods was convicted — despite personally killing no one — as an accomplice to the actual shooter. Woods’ family is asking for him to be let go or given more time for the courts to review his case, stating he was simply at the wrong place at the wrong time. More than 72,000 people had signed a petition on Change.org on Wednesday afternoon to halt the execution. 

Harry and Meghan to appear at one of last events as senior working royals

Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan of Sussex’s farewell tour as royals of the United Kingdom will get underway Thursday evening in London when the soon-to-exiting couple will appear at the annual Endeavour Fund Awards, where four awards will be handed out. According to The Endeavour Fund’s website,  the organization’s goal is to “inspire many more wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women to explore new physical challenges as part of their recovery.” It’s a fitting venue for Harry especially as he is a former Army officer who has made campaigning for military veterans and wounded personnel a major focus of his philanthropy. The awards engagement is one of several in the couple’s diary as they wind down their roles as senior working royals and prepare for new lives in Canada as financially independent “free royals.”

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New Mars rover will get its name

NASA has big plans for its next Mars rover. The six-wheeled, 10-foot-long craft is set for launch in July on a space journey that will take about seven months. If all goes according to plan, the rover will come to life next February in an ancient river delta and begin its two-year mission to explore and collect soil samples from the Red Planet. On Thursday, NASA will give the rover its formal name, which was the subject of a nationwide contest that drew more than 28,000 essays by K-12 students from across the USA. The nine finalists were Fortitude, Endurance, Vision, Clarity, Perseverance, Ingenuity, Promise, Tenacity and Courage. NASA will televise the naming at 1:30 p.m. ET.

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