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Death toll of new SARS-like virus rises to 30

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The global death toll from a SARS-like virus has risen to 30, the World Health Organization said Friday after three people died of the illness in Saudi Arabia, which is bearing the brunt of the outbreak.

WHO spokesman Glenn Thomas told reporters that the number was raised from 27 after Saudi authorities confirmed the deaths of the three, who had previously been reported to the WHO as suffering from the disease.

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In addition, Thomas said, a new case has been recorded in Saudi Arabia, lifting the global total to 50, including the fatalities.

The new virus was last week renamed the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus, or MERS, reflecting the fact that the bulk of the cases are in that region.

There have now been 39 confirmed cases in Saudi Arabia, 25 of them fatal, according to WHO figures.

The UN health agency logs cases and deaths according to the country where the individual is thought to have caught the disease, with its Saudi toll including one individual who subsequently died in Britain.

Previously known as nCoV-EMC novel coronavirus, the disease is a cousin of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), which sparked a world health scare in 2003 when it leapt from animals to humans in Asia and went on to kill some 800 people.

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Like SARS, the new virus appears to cause an infection deep in the lungs, with patients suffering from a temperature, cough and breathing difficulty. But it differs from SARS in that it also causes rapid kidney failure.

Health officials have expressed concern about the high rate of fatalities compared to the number of cases, warning that the disease could spark a new global crisis if it acquires an ability to spread more easily.

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2020 Election

Nevada debate highlights: The dance of women leaders and limited economic opportunity

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Editor’s note: Six Democratic candidates met on the debate stage in Las Vegas on Feb. 19, discussing health care, immigration, billionaires and economic equality – as well as the name of the president of Mexico. We asked two scholars to pick out what they viewed as the night’s biggest moments as Nevada Democrats get ready for their caucuses on Feb. 22.

Both Lisa DeFrank-Cole, a professor of leadership studies at West Virginia University, and Jeffrey Waddoups, a professor of economics at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, highlighted moments when Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren engaged in a fierce back-and-forth across the stage.

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While Trump tries to remake the federal courts, progressive state prosecutors are making huge inroads

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On the national level, President Donald Trump is appointing judges by the dozens to positions on US federal courts, ensuring a conservative tilt for a generation.

But on the local level, a small group of progressive state prosecutors have been elected, and they have big ideas about criminal justice reform.

Parisa Dehghani-Tafti -- who is now the top prosecutor in northern Virginia's Arlington county in the Washington suburbs -- knows she is not the "typical" candidate for the job.

"I am an immigrant. I grew up very poor. I have done some (public) defender work," says the 46-year-old, who was born in Iran, and is a mother to two black children.

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2020 Election

Trump lobs late-night attacks at Bloomberg after debate flop: ‘Worst in the history of debates!’

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President Donald Trump took a victory lap around Mike Bloomberg after the billionaire candidate flopped in his first Democratic presidential debate.

The former New York City mayor qualified for the debate in Las Vegas just last week, and his rivals were waiting for him with pointed attacks -- especially Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), who eviscerated his record with women -- while Bloomberg appeared unprepared.

"Mini Mike Bloomberg’s debate performance tonight was perhaps the worst in the history of debates, and there have been some really bad ones," Trump tweeted Thursday at 1:19 a.m.

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