Duminda Cooray/iStockBY: PATRICK REEVELL, ABC NEWS
(NEW YORK) -- Police used stun grenades and fired non-lethal weapons on Sunday to attack peaceful protesters in Belarus’ capital who are demanding the resignation of authoritarian leader Alexander Lukashenko.
An estimated 100,000 protesters marched peacefully through Minsk in what appeared to be the largest demonstration in weeks. People were rallying ahead of an ultimatum set by the opposition for Lukashenko to step down from power.
Police did not act against the crowds in Minsk for most of the day. But as darkness fell, videos posted by local media showed police attacking a large crowd with stun grenades and appearing to open fire. In the videos, people can be seeing running in panic as explosions and clouds of white smoke go off.
Shots could also be heard and local media reported that rubber bullets had been used.
There were reports of injuries among protesters. The Belarusian human rights group Vesna said over 120 people had been arrested in several cities.
Videos also showed police roughly detaining people in other towns, including in Grodno and Brest.
Huge protests have gathered in Minsk each Sunday for 11 weekends in a row since Lukashenko was awarded a sixth term in a presidential election widely criticized as rigged.
Two weeks ago, Belarus’ key opposition leader, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, announced what she called a “People’s Ultimatum” demanding that Lukashenko resign by midnight Sunday or else face a national strike.
The ultimatum is seen as a potential moment of reckoning for the protest movement and Lukashenko’s regime after two months of stalemate. Despite the huge demonstrations, the security forces and most of the government have remained loyal to Lukashenko.
The question is whether the opposition now has the power to mobilize major strikes and civil disobedience sufficient to move the crisis into a new phase.
Besides Lukashenko’s resignation, the opposition’s ultimatum had also called for all political prisoners to be freed and violence against protesters to end.
Tikhanovskaya — who is in exile in Lithuania — said the national strike should go ahead, noting the violence from Lukashenko’s security forces.
“The regime today again showed Belarusians that violence is the only thing that it’s capable of. But to explode stun grenades in a crowd of people,” she said in a statement Sunday. “That’s not strength.”
She went on, “This regime is not worthy of the Belarusian people. It means it will lose power.”
The United States, the European Union, Britain and Canada have sanctioned senior Belarusian officials over their alleged role in rigging August’s election and violence against protesters.
(NEW YORK) -- It's the $100 million question: With a steady polling lead, a massive cash advantage and only nine days left to spend it, should Joe Biden go big or should he play it safe, following the hard-learned lessons of 2016?
In the final weeks of the general election, the Biden campaign has kept a steady focus on their six core battleground states of Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Arizona, North Carolina and Florida -- all states Hillary Clinton lost in 2016. That focus is expected to continue as Election Day draws closer.
But Biden's campaign is entering the home stretch in a position to spend, compared to President Donald Trump and the Republican Party, which burned through $1.4 billion of the more than $1.6 billion raised over the last two years.
The former vice president's campaign reported having $162 million in cash on hand by mid-October -- nearly four times the $43 million in cash on hand the Trump campaign reported. Overall, Biden and the Democratic party report having $331 million in cash on hand by Oct 14, compared to Trump and the GOP's $223.5 million.
The cash advantage is not lost on Biden's team.
"The resources that we have, have given us an opportunity to continue with an expansive map," Biden campaign national state director Jen Ridder said. "When I started in May, we laid out a 17-state battleground map and I expected it to shrink, and instead we've been able to keep all of the states on the map, but really know where our focus is."
The campaign is now signaling a last-minute push in some of those 17 states they've identified as opportunities to not just win back what was lost in 2016, but expand their pathway to 270 electoral votes and beyond.
Two of the states are Georgia and Texas, where polls this week show a tight race, and neither candidate polling above 50% in in Texas. That's led some allies in the Lone Star State to express frustration that the campaign hasn't done more to capitalize on their competitive position in the state a Democrat hasn't won since 1976.
"It would be so helpful to have the top of the ticket make an investment in Texas," former Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke, who endorsed Biden in March, told ABC News.
"Pennsylvania is an illustration of the law of diminishing returns: You can grow another hundred million in Pennsylvania and I don't know that it's going to move much more than the last hundred million did. You could invest 15 million, 10 million in Texas, and it would be catalytic," the former Texas congressman added.
While Biden himself has not yet visited the states during the general election, they haven't been ignored: The former vice president is set to visit Georgia on Tuesday, where he will give his "closing argument" for the 2020 race in Warm Springs. His running mate Sen. Kamala Harris traveled to the state on Friday, and a source familiar with her travel expects Harris to also make a trip to Texas soon. Harris' husband, Doug Emhoff, and Jill Biden have both made visits to the states as well.
"We have some good opportunities in states ... like Georgia and Texas," Ridder said.
That statement could set off alarm bells for some nervous Democrats, still haunted by the ghost of Clinton's 2016 campaign. But 2020 is not the same election: Biden is polling at 50% in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, according to FiveThirtyEights' polling average -- three states the president narrowly won in 2016 with less than 80,000 votes. Still Biden's campaign insists that the expansion won't come at the expense of their core battleground states.
"We're still entirely focused on those top six and that's the key to our path. But, you know, this election cycle is proving that we might have opportunities elsewhere and If we can spend a little extra time and a little extra money to push them over the edge I think we're willing to take that opportunity in the next 10 days," Ridder continued.
Biden's team is spending in those states. According to ad spending data from media research firm CMAG, Biden has so far invested $3.6 million in the expensive state of Texas, and $2 million in Georgia in the final two weeks of the campaign -- on par with what the campaign will put into Wisconsin and Ohio respectively in the same time frame.
Those totals are in addition to the more than $15 million Biden's campaign was investing on national ads in the 14 days leading up to the election, also likely to get eyeballs in the state.
All told, in the final month before Election Day, the campaign will put in $6 million in Texas and $5.6 million in Georgia on ads as of now.
"I think Texas is in the realm of possibility," ABC News Political Analyst Matthew Dowd said. "I would advocate if they can step it up -- step it up in Texas."
"People forget that Donald Trump only carried Texas by nine in 2016, Beto O'Rourke only lost Texas by 2.5% in 2018 and Texas -- in the registration and all the things that have been happening in Texas in the last two and four years, have all moved towards the Democrats," he continued.
Both states have seen high early voting turnout as the election inches closer: According to the United States Elections Project, between early in-person voting and vote by mail, more than 2.5 million ballots have been cast in Georgia and nearly 7 million have been cast in Texas -- more than 70% of the total ballots that were cast in that state in 2016.
While early voting can provide the campaign with some data on possible trends in the final stretch, the high level of engagement can also pose a new challenge for Biden's team on how and when to go big -- a challenge not seen in 2016.
"If the presidential campaign is going to invest, every single day matters because of vote by mail. Every day is Election Day," said Amanda Renteria, who served as national political director for Clinton during her 2016 presidential run.
"That piece puts a lot more pressure than I think we had in 2016, it puts a lot more pressure on the Biden campaign, because ... every day lost might be votes on that day that we missed."
But even with their cash stores, Renteria said the campaign has the added challenge of thinking beyond Nov. 3 when making their investments, given the possibility that a definitive winner does not emerge on election night.
"The traditional idea is you can spend all your money and not worry about the day after the election. That's just not the case here. There's a very real concern that you will have court cases afterwards. And you have to have the resources to be able to fight those," she added.
Still, O'Rourke argues Texas could play a pivotal role on election night if investments are made in the state.
"Texas will know the vote total on election night, by the way, Pennsylvania will not. Pennsylvania will take days to know their results. Texas could end this race for -- help him win on election night, and it can help us down ballot secure political power for the next decade in Texas. So this is a really important state on a number of levels."
Jetlinerimages/iStockBY: BILL HUTCHINSON, ABC NEWS
(NEW YORK) -- Usually reserved for suspected terrorists, Delta Airlines has added the names of 460 people to its no-fly lists for refusing to comply with a requirement to wear masks during flights, according to a memo to employees from the company's CEO.
Delta CEO Ed Bastian revealed the number in an internal memo about breast cancer awareness month. He encouraged employees to participate in helping to raise money to fight the disease.
"Throughout the pandemic, we have focused our efforts on protecting our people, our customers and our communities," Bastian wrote in the memo sent to employees on Thursday and obtained by ABC News.
Bastian went on to cite a significant increase in COVID-19 infections across the nation, saying the continuing public health crisis "makes it as important as ever for us to be aware of the multiple layers of defense." The coronavirus has killed nearly 225,000 people and infected more than 8.5 million the United States.
"Wearing a mask is among the simplest and most effective actions we can take to reduce transmission, which is why Delta has long required them for our customers and our people," Bastian wrote. "As of this week, we’ve added 460 people to our no-fly list for refusing to comply with our mask requirement."
Bastian's memo followed several incidents in which Delta flight crews and those of other airlines experienced confrontations with people refusing to wear masks.
On Saturday, the departure of a Delta flight from Detroit to Las Vegas was delayed for 90 minutes because a passenger refused to put on a mask. On Oct. 19, a Delta flight attendant was struck in the face by a passenger who allegedly refused to wear a mask on a flight from Miami to Atlanta, a confrontation that was recorded on cellphone video by other passengers and posted on social media.
In July, a Delta flight from Detroit to Atlanta was taxiing on a runway when a confrontation erupted over two customers who refused to wear masks, forcing the pilot to return to the gate to eject the passengers from the plane.
In September, a mother and her 2-year-old son were kicked off an American Airlines flight because the toddler refused to wear a mask.
All major U.S. airlines require any child age 2 and over to wear a mask in order to fly, but the policy has come under scrutiny as more stories of parents with small children being kicked off flights have surfaced.
In late August, a mother and her six children were kicked off a JetBlue Airways flight because her 2-year-old daughter refused to wear a mask.
In June, the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, a union representing more than 50,000 members, implored the federal government to mandate that passengers wear face coverings on all flights, noting at the time that more than 350 flight attendants had contracted COVID-19 and some had died.
“Masks are essential to keep passengers, flight attendants, and frontline aviation workers safe during the Coronavirus pandemic," the union's statement said. "It is also essential to rebuild confidence in air travel. The federal government has completely abdicated its responsibility to keep the flying public and aviation workers safe during COVID-19."
(BOSTON) -- Five people have died from an outbreak of COVID-19 at a nursing home in Massachusetts, according to officials.
A total of 30 people were infected at the Sunny Acres Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Chelmsford, according to statistics released weekly by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.
The outbreak comes after 15 weeks of no positive cases at the nursing home, Sunny Acres administrator Jeff Schwartz wrote on its website. Many of the residents began testing positive in late September.
"Unfortunately, it has proved impossible to keep this rapidly spreading and highly contagious virus out of this center," Schwartz said.
Several residents have moved past their 14-day isolation period and are now recovering, Schwartz said. The facility has been receiving support from infection control specialists and has been following state and federal COVID-19 guidance.
Meanwhile, one church in North Carolina has been barred from holding services after a week-long convocation drew more than 1,000 people, leading to three deaths.
The convocation held by the United House of Prayer for All People led to a COVID-19 cluster tied to 121 cases in three counties, ABC Charlotte affiliate WSOC reported. Those numbers do not include an additional 127 people who were tested in drive-by facilities on Friday.
The Mecklenburg County Health Department issued an "Abatement of Imminent Hazard" on the church due to the cluster.
"We have taken this action out of an abundance of caution to prevent the COVID-19 virus from further spreading in our community," Mecklenburg County public health director Gibbie Harris said in a statement. "This type of order is rare, but sometimes necessary. It prevents the church from opening or allowing any further gathering, making sure we stop this outbreak from going any further."
The order was issued after church leaders announced they still planned to hold large events scheduled for Oct. 25 through Oct. 31, according to WSOC.
All in-person gatherings at United House of Prayer facilities are now canceled until at least Nov. 6, and the church is required to clean and disinfect indoor surfaces.
pixelfit/iStockBY: JOSH MARGOLIN AND EMILY SHAPIRO, ABC NEWS
(NEW YORK) -- Forty-two states and territories are in an upward trajectory of new COVID-19 cases, while only nine jurisdictions are improving, according to an internal Health and Human Services memo obtained by ABC News.
Just five jurisdictions are at a plateau.
The U.S. reported 428,793 new cases of the coronavirus in the week of Oct. 16 to Oct. 22 -- a 14.3% increase from the previous week, the memo said.
There were 5,530 deaths recorded from Oct. 16 to Oct. 22, marking a 15.1% increase in new deaths compared with the previous week, according to the memo.
The national test-positivity rate increased from 5.1% to 5.9% in week-to-week comparisons.
Across the country, 24% of hospitals have more than 80% of their ICU beds filled. That number was 17 to 18% during the summertime peak.
In Florida, new cases are up 30% among high school students compared to two weeks ago, and up 42% among young adults ages 18 to 24, the memo said.
In Kentucky, new deaths have been increasing over the last two weeks. Kentucky reported its second-highest daily fatality count on Wednesday, the memo said.
The state is preparing its surge capacity as hospitalizations rise.
Mississippi reported a 26.2% increase in cases over the last week, according to HHS.
COVID-19 related hospitalizations in Mississippi are up 24% since last week, with COVID-19 ICU hospitalizations up 7%.
The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, who primarily live in Neshoba County, are disproportionately affected by the virus. The tribe reported 22 new cases this past week with 43 active cases, according to the memo.
North Carolina reported its highest single-day death toll on Tuesday, with 53 more lives lost, the memo said.
In Greensboro, North Carolina, coronavirus-related hospitalizations hit record numbers Monday.
Smaller hospitals in North Carolina have reported running out of room. Forty-one percent of facilities reported that over 80% of their ICU space was in use, the memo said.
Oklahoma recorded a record high of 821 COVID-19 hospitalizations on Tuesday.
Tennessee also reported a record number of hospitalizations on Tuesday, with 1,259 confirmed COVID-19 patients, the memo said.
Over a quarter of Tennessee's COVID-19 patients were in the ICU on Sunday, the memo said.
"I found playing her quite extraordinary because she's just different from me," Mosaku tells ABC Audio. "I'm not as composed."
In the Netflix horror film, Mosaku and actor Sope Dìrísù play a married couple who react very differently to the paranormal activity going on in their temporary housing. While Sope attempts to ignore the spirits, Mosaku seems attentive to them. The actress says Rial's reaction is nothing like her own.
"Like I am someone who would run for the hills," Mosaku jokes. "Like... Jurassic Park is scary for me."
Even though Mosaku admits Rial's behavior and reactions are very surprising, the Lovecraft Country star said she loved the challenge of playing an unpredictable character.
"I really love Rial because she dealt with this whole haunting in such an unusual way," Mosaku says. "Whereas someone would probably respond how Bo does in his fear, and like push it away, saying 'It doesn't exist.' Rial's like, 'What are you gonna say, let me hear.' She like listens to this thing and she's just feels fearless to me."
It's that fearlessness and confidence that Mosaku says ultimately attracted her to the role.
"There's just something about her that's just so intriguing and... [her] humor," she says. "She's the first to make a joke. She's also so in sync with her husband that she knows that he's no longer the same person. She knows that he's changed. And she's waiting for him to kind of get to that realization too."
(NEW YORK) -- The Washington Football Team will allow about 3,000 season ticket holders to attend its Nov. 8 game against the New York Giants, the team said Friday.
Everyone must wear a mask, use mobile ticketing, follow social distancing rules and pay without cash. Tailgating won't be allowed, the team said.
The decision was made with "the state of Maryland's approval and under the supervision of Prince George's County," the team said, adding that it'll continue to re-evaluate fan numbers for future games.