Morning headlines: 16 more years of Putin?; Tuesday election surprises; minor league baseball scrapped for 2020

Today is Wednesday, July 1, 2020. Let’s get caught up.

These non-virus headlines are in the news this morning: Russia is awaiting results on an amendment that would allow Vladimir Putin to rule until 2036; Tuesday’s primary elections in several states brought some surprises; and minor league baseball has been canceled for the 2020 season.

Read on for these stories, other top headlines, celebrity birthdays and more.

Top stories

Russian vote on extending Putin’s rule until 2036 nears end

Russia’s vote on constitutional amendments that could allow President Vladimir Putin to extend his rule until 2036 entered its final day Wednesday amid widespread reports of pressure on voters and other irregularities.

For the first time in Russia, the polls were kept open for a week to help reduce crowds on election day and to bolster turnout amid the coronavirus pandemic — a provision that Kremlin critics saw as just an another way to manipulate the vote. Putin is all but guaranteed to get the result he wants following a massive state propaganda campaign and the changes and the opposition’s failure to mount a coordinated challenge. Read the full story here:

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Oklahoma expands Medicaid; 5-term Colorado congressman ousted

Oklahoma voters narrowly decided on Tuesday to expand Medicaid health insurance to tens of thousands low-income residents, becoming the first state to amend its Constitution to do so.

Five-term Colorado U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton was upset in Tuesday’s Republican Party primary by Lauren Boebert, a pistol-packing businesswoman, ardent defender of gun rights and border wall supporter who wants to abolish the U.S. Department of Education.

Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper won the Democratic nomination Tuesday to face Republican Sen. Cory Gardner in November, overcoming a series of stumbles and beating back a challenge from his left. Read these stories here:

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Baseball’s minor leagues cancel 2020 seasons

Baseball’s minor leagues canceled their seasons Tuesday because of the coronavirus pandemic, and the head of their governing body said more than half of the 160 teams were in danger of failing without government assistance or private equity injections.

The National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues, the minor league governing body founded in September 1901, made the long-expected announcement. The minors had never missed a season. Read the full story here:

In other news today …

President Donald Trump came under growing pressure to respond to allegations that Russia offered bounties for killing American troops in Afghanistan, with Democrats demanding answers and accusing Trump of bowing to Russian President Vladimir Putin at the risk of U.S. soldiers’ lives.Body camera video shows Antonio Arnelo Smith handing his driver’s license to a Black police officer and answering questions cooperatively before a white officer walks up behind him, wraps him in a bear hug and slams him face-first to the ground.Multiple police officers in suburban Denver have been placed on paid leave during an investigation into photos that emerged of them near where Elijah McClain died last summer after three white officers stopped the Black man as he walked down the street and one put him into a chokehold.President Donald Trump and his challenger, Joe Biden, have found something they agree on: The November election could be rife with corruption because of how officials handle the voting process.Distribution of a tell-all book by President Donald Trump’s niece was blocked by a judge Tuesday after the president’s brother said its publication would violate a pact among family members, but a publisher’s chief executive says the book has already been shipped and could not be stopped.With a stroke of the governor’s pen, Mississippi is retiring the last state flag in the U.S. with the Confederate battle emblem — a symbol that’s widely condemned as racist.Harvey Weinstein and his former studio’s board have reached a nearly $19 million settlement with dozens of his sexual misconduct accusers, New York state’s attorney general and lawyers in a class-action lawsuit said Tuesday.New York City lawmakers approved an austere budget early Wednesday that will shift $1 billion from policing to education and social services in the coming year, acknowledging protesters’ demands to cut police spending — but falling short of what activists sought.From Tokyo to Brussels, political leaders have swiftly decried Beijing’s move to impose a tough national security law on Hong Kong that cracks down on subversive activity and protest in the semi-autonomous territory.Boston’s arts commission voted unanimously Tuesday night to remove a statue that depicts a freed slave kneeling at Abraham Lincoln’s feet.

Click on the links below for full versions of these stories and scroll further for trending stories, a look at today in history and celebrity birthdays.

Today’s national forecast

July is arriving with heat index values reaching the triple digits from Kansas through the tip of Florida. CNN meteorologist Pedram Javaheri has the details of who will feel the hottest and also explains ways to beat the heat. Watch here:

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