The Associated Press | KBIA

The Associated Press

SAO PAULO (AP) — A Brazilian Supreme Court justice ordered the Senate on Thursday to investigate the government's handling of the coronavirus crisis and the full court ruled that churches can be barred from reopening during the pandemic, threatening to further strain tensions between President Jair Bolsonaro and the judiciary.

The order by Justice Luis Roberto Barroso for a Senate probe came only minutes after the whole court upheld the power of local authorities to prevent churches and other houses of worship from opening.

KABUL, Afghanistan — State media reports that U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin arrived Sunday in Kabul on his first trip to Afghanistan as Pentagon chief, amid swirling questions about how long American troops will remain in the country.

State-owned Radio and Television Afghanistan and popular TOLO Television reported Austin's arrival in Kabul from India. He was expected to meet with senior Afghan government officials, including President Ashraf Ghani.

Missouri law enforcement recruits will be required to undergo training in the history of policing in minority communities.

The commission that sets the training rules and approves the curriculum for law enforcement officers across the state voted Tuesday to add the requirement. The Missouri Department of Public Safety said in a news release that the two-hour block of instruction would cover policing from the founding of the nation through the present.

A spokeswoman for Gov. Mike Parson says he plans to act on a few prisoner clemency cases next week.

Unemployment is inching down in Missouri. But it's still higher than pre-pandemic levels.

The state's economic development department on Wednesday announced employment increased by 17,400 jobs last month. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped from 4.6% in October to 4.4% in November. Missouri's economy is still recovering from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. Compared to the same time last year, the unemployment rate is 1% higher. Employment dropped in Missouri government jobs and the hospitality field.

Lincoln University in Jefferson City is officially the new home of law enforcement academy.

A university officially received a one-year probationary license for the academy on Tuesday. Supporters say Lincoln University is the first historically Black college to house a training academy for law enforcement. Gov. Mike Parson said the training academy at Lincoln University is important in a time when law enforcement agencies are trying to increase diversity in their officers. The academy will focus on attracting low-income students from minority communities.

A U.S. Post Service worker has been indicted on charges alleging that he stole mail from customers along his Kansas City, Missouri, route and deposited the checks he found into his own bank account.

The U.S. attorney’s office said in a news release that 21-year-old Lane Snider, of Kansas City, Kansas, was charged in the indictment returned Tuesday with one count of stealing mail while he worked for the postal service from June through August. He also is charged with 12 counts of bank fraud related to the deposit of a stolen check, in amounts ranging from $25 to $500.

CARTHAGE, Mo. (AP) — Butterball says it plans to cut operations at its Carthage processing plant next spring, costing about 450 jobs.

The company said in a statement Wednesday the changes are intended to better align the company's products with consumer demand. The plant will continue to produce ground turkey and turkey burgers. The changes aren't scheduled to begin until March 1. The company also said a limited number of turkey growers will be affected by the change but it does not expect Carthage-area growers to be impacted.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — The coronavirus pandemic is forcing changes in next month's inauguration of Missouri Gov. Mike Parson and swearing-in ceremonies for state officials.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri’s Republican attorney general has brought the state into an effort by GOP officials across the nation to reverse President Donald Trump’s election loss.

A judge has reinstated parts of a 2015 court reform law spurred by protests after the police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

Health officials in Kansas City and St. Louis County are facing pushback after shutting down some bars and restaurants in recent days.

The officials say the businesses violated coronavirus-related restrictions. And a Kansas City bar owner is seeking a court order to overturn a requirement that bars and restaurants close at 10 p.m. St. Louis County health inspectors closed four businesses on Tuesday for violating a ban against inside services at restaurants and bars.

Democrats in the House and Senate introduced a joint resolution Wednesday aimed at amending the 13th Amendment’s ban on chattel enslavement.

The move would expressly prohibit the use of involuntary servitude as a punishment for crime. The original amendment has permitted exploitation of labor by convicted felons for over 155 years since the abolition of slavery. Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon tells The Associated Press that the 13th Amendment is in part responsible for the historic mistreatment of Black Americans through the nation's penal systems.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Three Black female former detectives have accused the Kansas City Police Department of discriminating against them because of their race and gender during an internal probe of a unit that investigated sex crimes against children.

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) — Conservation officials say three hunters in southwestern Missouri accidentally shot themselves during last weekend's opening of firearms deer season.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Enrollment in Missouri's public schools dropped 3.2% this school year as the education system grapples with the coronavirus pandemic. State education officials say 872,470 students are enrolled in preschool through 12th grade in Missouri public schools this year, a drop of nearly 27,500 students. A spokeswoman for the state education department says officials are trying to determine if the students who left are homeschooling, attending a private school that offers onsite learning, or have simply not enrolled yet.

Starting with the primary election in March, St. Louis voters will pick their mayor and other elected officials on a nonpartisan basis.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that city voters on Tuesday approved a measure requiring nonpartisan elections for mayor, comptroller, aldermanic president and alderman. The measure passed with nearly 70% approval. Under the new system, the top two vote-getters in the March primary will face each other in the general election in April. The measure also allows residents to vote for as many primary candidates as they want.

Jackson County voters have rejected a proposal to remove statues of President Andrew Jackson that stand in front of the county's two courthouses.

Activists had pushed to have the statues removed because Jackson was a slave owner who also signed a law in 1830 that forced Native American tribes from their land, causing thousands to die. Jackson County, Missouri, was named after Jackson in 1826. The push to remove the statues from in front of courthouses in Independence and Kansas City coincided with similar efforts around the county this year after racial injustice demonstrations.

ST. LOUIS (AP) — A St. Louis police union founded by a group of Black officers nearly 50 years ago has a new president.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Sgt. Donnell Walters’ election as leader of the Ethical Society of Police was announced Tuesday. He replaces Sgt. Heather Taylor, who resigned upon her September retirement from the police force. ESOP was founded in 1972 to address racism in the city police department. Its membership is smaller than the other city police union, the St. Louis Police Officers Association.

The food concessions provider for Kauffman Stadium and the Kansas City Convention Center has announced it will lay off more than 550 workers at both venues.

Republican Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft’s investigation of Democratic Auditor Nicole Galloway over a GOP group’s allegations of campaign finance violations has prompted a legal fight. With Galloway engaged in a tight race for the governor’s seat with Republican incumbent Mike Parson, Ashcroft agreed last month to look into concerns raised by the Liberty Alliance that an opinion piece Galloway wrote on a restrictive state abortion law was submitted by one of Galloway’s state-paid press aides. The St.

Saturday’s game between Missouri and No. 17 LSU has been moved to Missouri’s home stadium and will be played in the morning because of Hurricane Delta. The Southeastern Conference announced the move on Wednesday. SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said in a statement that moving the game was in the best interest of safety for Louisiana. The game will be played at 11 a.m. Central time in Columbia, Missouri, after being previously scheduled for Saturday night in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

The NFL says the Pittsburgh-Tennessee game originally scheduled for Sunday will be played either Monday or Tuesday after a new positive coronavirus test among the Titans.

The NFL announced the switch Wednesday. The previous day, the NFL said three Titans players and five team personnel had tested positive for COVID-19. The Titans have closed their facility at least through Friday and will not be able to practice in any fashion together until Saturday at the earliest.

The police chief in Missouri’s largest city says his department would have to cut staff by 400 people, close divisions and eliminate services to meet proposed budget cuts due to the coronavirus. The Kansas City Star reports that Kansas City Police Chief Rick Smith, in a blog post, wrote that the cuts would be “devastating.” All city departments, including police, were asked to provide scenarios for what an estimated 11% budget cut would look like. At issue is a $60 million decline in tax revenue created by the fallout from the coronavirus. The city’s next fiscal year starts May 1.

Most of St. Louis’ Black aldermen say they oppose a Nov. 3 ballot proposal that would make future elections for mayor, alderman and other city offices nonpartisan. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the aldermanic African American caucus said in a statement that Proposition D would result “in the elimination of the Democratic Party in the city.” The caucus also criticized another part of the proposal that would allow residents in the city’s March primaries to vote for more than one candidate at the same time. The two top votegetters would move on to the April general election.

St. Louis Police Chief John Hayden is optimistic that the removal of the residency requirement for his department will help fill several vacancies -- perhaps leading to a net increase of about 100 officers over the next year. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the department is authorized to have 1,349 officers but is currently 129 officers short. On Monday, Gov. Mike Parson signed a law repealing the long-standing residency requirement.

St. Louis County is relaxing some restrictions on youth sports as coronavirus positivity rates have decreased among children in the region. The regulations announced Wednesday by County Executive Sam Page fall short of allowing high-contact high school sports such as football and ice hockey to resume. But Page says if the trend continues to improve, there may be a “path forward” to allow play to begin later this fall. Page's limits have drawn criticism from some parents. A few school districts have moved games elsewhere to skirt the regulations. St.

A state audit says Jackson County government spent millions of dollars on no-bid contracts or contracts that were not reevaluated for years. State Auditor Nicole Galloway says the audit released Wednesday also found the county was not transparent about millions it spent on legal, lobbying and other professional services. Galloway, the Democratic nominee in the Missouri governor's race, said Jackson County ignored requirements in its charter that all professional services contracts over $5,000 be competitively bid, except in emergencies.

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson, a Republican who has steadfastly refused to require residents to wear masks, tested positive for the coronavirus. His office confirmed the positive test Wednesday. Parson was tested after his wife, Teresa, tested positive earlier Wednesday. Teresa Parson had experienced mild symptoms, including a cough and nasal congestion. Gov. Parson postponed several events through the remainder of the week. Parson is 65.

A state audit released today accuses the former clerk of a tiny town in remote northeast Missouri of spending more than $300,000 in taxpayer money on concerts, vacations and other personal needs. Tracey Ray, the former clerk of Center, Missouri, hasn't been criminally charged with financial crimes, but she is facing four felony charges for an exchange of gunfire. The shooting injured the Ralls County sheriff and a deputy on July 2, 2019, the day city officials questioned her about financial concerns. Ray also was injured. She was fired the next day.

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