The U.S. Roman Catholic Church used a special and unprecedented exemption from federal rules to amass at least $1.4 billion in taxpayer-backed coronavirus aid, with many millions going to dioceses that have paid huge settlements or sought bankruptcy protection because of clergy sexual abuse cover-ups.
The church’s haul may have reached -- or even exceeded -- $3.5 billion, making a global religious institution with more than a billion followers among the biggest winners in the U.S. government’s pandemic relief efforts, an Associated Press analysis of federal data released this week found.
Houses of worship and faith-based organizations that promote religious beliefs aren’t usually eligible for money from the U.S. Small Business Administration. But as the economy plummeted and jobless rates soared, Congress let faith groups and other nonprofits tap into the Paycheck Protection Program, a $659 billion fund created to keep Main Street open and Americans employed. Read the full story here:
Here's an update on all developments. Scroll or swipe further for in-depth coverage.
- Starbucks will start requiring customers to wear facial coverings or masks in all 9,000 of its company-owned American stores beginning July 15.
- President Donald Trump -- who has refused to wear a mask in public, ridiculed those who have and done little to encourage his supporters to embrace the common sense public health measure -- has said he will wear a mask during a visit to Walter Reed National Medical Center on Saturday.
- Worsening coronavirus trends in Texas again set another grim milestone Thursday as the state reported more than 100 deaths in a single day for the first time, making this the deadliest week of the pandemic in what has rapidly become one of America's virus hot zones.
- Two World Health Organization experts were heading to the Chinese capital on Friday to lay the groundwork for an investigation into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic.
- The traditional British summer getaway to the sun-soaked beaches of the Mediterranean Sea is set to pick up steam Friday as U.K. quarantine restrictions are removed from dozens of countries, including France, Greece and Italy.
- The Big Ten Conference announced Thursday it will not play nonconference games in football and several other sports this fall, the most dramatic move yet by a power conference because of the coronavirus pandemic.
- Full-scale practices inside the NBA bubble at the Disney complex started Thursday, with the Magic — the first team to get into the campus earlier this week — becoming the first team formally back on the floor.
For more summaries and full reports, please select from the articles below. Scroll further to learn what to expect when flying, plus the latest virus numbers.
Traveling during the pandemic
Several airports have begun offering COVID-19 tests as travel starts to revive and destinations worldwide compete to attract tourists and keep disease away.