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VIRUS OUTBREAK-ARKANSAS

Two more Arkansas inmates die while being treated for virus

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — The Arkansas Department of Corrections says two more state prison inmates who were being treated for the coronavirus have died. Department spokesman Solomon Graves says the cause of their deaths will be determined by medical officials, but that both inmates who died Sunday at the Cummins unit were being treated for COVID-19. State health officials earlier confirmed the deaths of two other inmates at Cummins, where at least 860 prisoners have tested positive. Solomon said a third Cummins inmate died Sunday, but that his death was not related to COVID-19 or to a disturbance Saturday at the unit.

AP-US-VIRUS-OUTBREAK-PETITION-SIGNATURES

Virus restrictions stymie signature-gathering campaigns

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Social distancing rules and bans on mass gatherings during the coronavirus outbreak have made the crucial signature-gathering process of American electoral politics all but impossible. That has stymied a gubernatorial run in Utah, a congressional campaign in Michigan, U.S. Senate contests in Massachusetts and initiatives that were headed to fall ballots in Arizona, Arkansas, Montana, Ohio and Oregon. Campaigns and candidates are seeking relief from governors, state elections officials and sometimes the courts, with mixed results

CHILD HOSTAGE DIES-ARKANSAS

Arkansas boy, 11, dies after being shot in hostage situation

LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas (AP) — An 11-year-old boy who was shot and wounded after being taken hostage by his father in Arkansas has died. Little Rock police said Saturday the boy was found in a bedroom suffering from gunshot wounds after his father was killed by police Friday evening. Officers went to the scene after the child’s mother showed up at a police substation to report a man had taken her son, Jordan Roberts, hostage. Police sent a SWAT team and said officers entered the home when they heard gunshots.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-ABORTION

Abortion clinic challenges Arkansas coronavirus testing rule

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas' only surgical abortion clinic is challenging a state rule requiring coronavirus tests withing 48 hours of elective procedures. The American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas represents the clinic and asked a federal judge Friday to prevent the state fro enforcing the test requirement on three women nearing the state's limit on when abortions can be performed. Arkansas bans abortion 20 weeks into a woman's pregnancy. Arkansas last month eased its ban on elective procedures, but requires testing 48 hours before a procedure. The state had used that ban to prohibit surgical abortions at Little Rock Family Planning Services.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-UNION PACIFIC

Union Pacific laying off staff because of the virus outbreak

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — A company representative says Union Pacific Corp. is furloughing most of the staff at its facility in North Little Rock that repairs the railroad’s locomotives after seeing a substantial drop in business volume because of the coronavirus pandemic. Kristen South is the Nebraska-based railroad's senior director for corporate communications and media relations. She declined to specify how many people were laid off but said employees on Thursday started receiving notifications regarding the Jenks Locomotive Facility’s temporary closure. South added that the company will reevaluate fiscal conditions during the week of May 18 to determine if the facility can resume operations June 1.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-ARKANSAS

2 Arkansas inmates die from virus as business reopen nears

LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas (AP) — Two Arkansas prisoners have died from the illness caused by the coronavirus as the first of businesses shuttered by the virus prepare to reopen. Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Saturday encouraged the state’s residents to “tip very generously” and “spend money” when they head back into public in the coming days as stores, restaurants, malls and other venues start to reopen. Gyms are set to reopen on Monday. The Health Department said two inmates from the Cummins Unit died at an area hospital, with one on a ventilator. Both inmates were in their 60s.