texas

Houston police said they rescued 26 people from a human smuggling operation Thursday after discovering them in a home located less than a five minute's walk from an elementary school.

Police said they were alerted to the scene after they received a report of a man running down a street yelling that he had been kidnapped.

When officers arrived, the man said nearly 30 others were being held hostage in a nearby house.

Health care workers are expected to be first in line to be offered a COVID-19 vaccine when one is available.

It makes sense: Getting a safe, effective vaccine would help keep them and their patients healthy. Seeing doctors, nurses and medical aides getting COVID-19 vaccines would also set an example for the community.

More than 1,000 hospitals across the United States are "critically" short on staff, according to numbers released this week by the Department of Health and Human Services.

Those hospitals, which span all 50 states, Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico, represent about 18% of all hospitals that report their staffing status to HHS. And that number is expected to grow: 21% of all hospitals reporting say they anticipate having critical staffing shortages in the next week.

As the coronavirus infection rate continues to skyrocket across the United States, officials in one of the nation's hardest-hit regions, El Paso County, Texas, have posted job openings for morgue workers as the number of local deaths from the virus mounts.

This comes as officials had been relying on low-level inmates from the county jail to assist with moving remains of the deceased.

Updated at 10 a.m. ET

House Democrats started this month hoping, and preparing, to gain seats in the election. Instead, their once-robust majority in the House has dwindled, and Democrats are on track to begin next year with the slimmest majority in decades.

Now members on the progressive left and Democratic Party moderates are again at odds over whose policies won in 2020 and how they should govern as a party.

Republicans hold the Senate 53-47. (There are two independents — Angus King of Maine and Bernie Sanders of Vermont — but they caucus with Democrats and therefore should be counted that way in the math for Senate control.)

To flip the Senate, Democrats would need to net-gain four seats outright or three seats and control of the White House, because in a 50-50 Senate — which is possible this year — the vice president breaks the tie. Republicans can lose up to three seats and hold the majority, as long as President Trump wins reelection.

Twenty-one Utah-based white supremacists have been indicted on drug and firearms charges, according to the U.S. Justice Department. The move comes just days after alleged white supremacist gang members in Texas, Kentucky and Mississippi were brought up on similar charges.

From his bar in Shadyside, Ohio, Matt Coffland has been counting on his town getting a new petrochemical plant since it was first planned, seven years ago. He says the southeastern part of the state has long been neglected.

"For us to get something like that, rightfully, I think we deserve it by now," he says.

The plant, to be built by Thailand-based oil and gas company PTT, would be a major construction project.

"You're talking an influx of close to 10,000 people at one point," Coffland says.

Many Texans who were hoping to vote by mail during this election are instead having to vote in person.

So far, about a million Texans have cast a ballot during the state's extended early voting period, which started Tuesday.

Texans were put into this position thanks to a confluence of events that includes the solidly Republican state becoming more competitive and the nation's federal courts becoming more conservative.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is launching a seven-figure advertising investment aimed at mobilizing Black voters — with a particular eye toward Black men — across nearly a dozen states, a strategic move by House Democrats' campaign committee to further energize the key demographic as the election season heads into its final weeks.

The advertisements — a mix of radio, print, digital and mail — are being deployed across targeted congressional districts in Arkansas, Georgia, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia.

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