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‘Death is a welcomed friend’: Pastor calls on Christians to defy coronavirus lockdown — even if it kills them

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Pastor Tony Spell of Life Tabernacle Church in Baton Rouge spoke to TMZ this Wednesday, saying that if his church members die from coronavirus, they’ve done so in the name of religious freedom.

Spell was charged with violating an executive order that bans churches from holding large gatherings, but showed his defiance last Tuesday by holding a service that was attended by over 1,000 people. Speaking to TMZ, Spell said that true Christians would be willing to die from coronavirus, adding that those who “prefer tyranny over freedom do not deserve freedom.”

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“The bible teaches us to be absent from our bodies so we can be present with the Lord,” Spell said. “So like any revolutionary, or like any zealot, or like any pure religious person, death looks to them like a welcomed friend.”

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‘The president isn’t above the law’: Supreme Court expected to rule on two key Trump cases on Thursday

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Can Donald Trump refuse to hand over his financial records to Congress and New York prosecutors simply because he is president of the United States? The Supreme Court will rule Thursday on two related cases to answer this, with potentially widespread political implications.

The decision by the nine justices could lift the veil on Trump's finances ahead of the November 3 election.

Unlike all of his predecessors since Richard Nixon in the 1970s, New York real estate mogul Trump refused to release his tax returns, despite promising to do so during his 2016 White House campaign.

Trump made his fortune a key component of that campaign, and his lack of transparency raises questions about his true worth and possible conflicts of interest.

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2020 Election

Houston convention center operator cancels in-person Texas GOP meeting

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The Republican Party of Texas' in-person convention next week has been canceled, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said Wednesday.

The news came after Turner directed the city's legal department to work with the Houston First Corp., which operates the George R. Brown Convention Center, to review the contract with the state party.

Turner said officials with Houston First sent a letter this afternoon to the State Republican Executive Committee, the state party's governing board, canceling the gathering, which was set to happen July 16-18 and was expected to draw roughly 6,000 attendees.

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This government official tried to share optimism about vaccines — but he also hinted at a dark possible future

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Dr. Kayvon Modjarrad, the director for Emerging Infectious Diseases at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, joined CNN's Anderson Cooper for a recent TV interview to discuss the ongoing work to create a vaccine for the coronavirus. And in many ways, his remarks brought good news about the development process and progress toward a safe and effective vaccine. But he also hinted at a dark potential future for the virus, a consideration that has not yet received much public discussion.

"I am very optimistic that we will have a vaccine in the near future, a safe vaccine," he said. "How effective that vaccine will be — time will tell. And I don't think there's going to be just one vaccine. There'll be multiple vaccines that we try to get across the finish line, as quickly as possible. And we may need multiple interactions of the vaccine going forward, season to season."

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