• Sun. Oct 25th, 2020

Labor Day, Julian Assange, Serena Williams, Creek Fire: 5 things to know Monday – USA TODAY

A Labor Day weekend like no other

The first Monday of September marks Labor Day, signaling the unofficial end of summer, the start of school and a change in the way we act and dress for the rest of the year. Labor Day also has historical significance: It has been a federal holiday since 1894 aimed at celebrating the contributions of American workers. For many, that usually means a long holiday weekend full of traveling, camping trips, and backyard barbecues. And while all of those activities are still possible in 2020, they’ll likely look a lot different this year amid the coronavirus pandemic. Health officials, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, have cautioned against gatherings this Labor Day weekend, as more outbreaks are traced to small gatherings of family and friends.

Serena Williams seeks to continue US Open run

The quest for the all-time Grand Slam record continues for Serena Williams, who will take the U.S. Open court Monday in the first match on Arthur Ashe Stadium. Williams, the No. 3 seed, will face No. 15 seed Maria Sakkari of Greece in the Round of 16. Williams has won 23 Grand Slam singles titles, one short of the all-time record set by Margaret Smith Court. Of those 23, six have come at the U.S. Open — which ties fellow American Chris Evert for most all time — but Williams hasn’t celebrated a singles title at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center since 2014.

WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange fights extradition to U.S. to face spying charges

The extradition hearing of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange resumes in London on Monday after being postponed due to the coronavirus. Washington wants British authorities to extradite Assange to the U.S. to face charges of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion. The Department of Justice has indicted him on 18 counts, alleging 17 forms of espionage and 1 instance of computer misuse crimes connected to WikiLeaks’ dissemination of secret U.S. military documents provided to him by former U.S. Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning. Assange, 49, denies the charges and claims the U.S. documents WikiLeaks published in 2010 exposed war crimes and human rights abuses by the U.S. military in Iraq. WikiLeaks says the U.S. is trying to criminalize journalistic activity and if Assange is extradited it could have serious implications for First Amendment protections. 

Extreme heat is a concern for firefighters

A heat wave is expected to spread triple-digit temperatures over much of California through Monday as a high-pressure system perches over the Western United States. Officials urged people to conserve electricity to ease strain on the state’s power grid and to follow social distancing and mask requirements when they hit recreational areas. A record-breaking 117 degrees was recorded in Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley on Saturday and temperatures in the Central Valley are expected to be in the triple digits until Thursday. The extreme heat is a cause for concern for firefighters battling wildfires across the state, including the Creek Fire in eastern Fresno County and the SQF Complex fire in Tulare County.

  • More than 200 campers rescued by helicopter as Creek Fire prompts state of emergency in California: What we know

Should Americans be concerned about election meddling this November? New book explores past elections

A new book that claims to be the first in-depth analysis of election interference “from the dawn of the modern era to the 2016 Russian intervention in the U.S. election” comes out Monday. “Meddling in the Ballot Box: The Causes and Effects of Partisan Electoral Interventions,” by Dov H. Levin, a political scientist at the University of Hong Kong, says he has found that meddling could “potentially determine the election result in 2020, as it is very likely to have done many times in the past both in the U.S. and elsewhere.” As Americans reflect on the threat of Russia wading into November’s presidential election, the book delivers the score on topics such as election interference, common tactics used by meddlers, which country has meddled the most, and which country is the top target. But you’ll have to pick up the book to find those answers.