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Samsung’s 2020 A series phones start at $109. So what’s the catch?

If the idea of spending $1,000 or more for a new, top-of-the-line Samsung phone rubs you the wrong way, may we interest you in a model from the same company for $109.99? 

Samsung announced Wednesday a new line of low-priced entry-level phones with specs that rival the best phones from two or three years ago, with a range that begins at just over $100 and go up to $500. 

What’s the catch? Lower-resolution screens, less power and no access to modern features, such as wireless charging. 

For many consumers looking for a low-cost phone to make calls, send texts, have access to email and the internet, this may be all they need. 

A01 Specs

The entry-level phone Galaxy A01 has a 5.7-inch screen, comes with a very small storage of 16 GB and has the same camera as older phones: one on the front for selfies and another on the back. 

The A01 is the successor to last year’s A10E, which sold for $159.99, had a 5.8-inch screen and more storage with 32 GB. The phone was sold in the U.S. but not marketed with the same verve as the top-of-the-line Galaxy S phones. The bulk of the A line sales were in other regions, such as Europe, Asia and Africa. 

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John Prine dead; Wuhan ends lockdown; Wisconsin

A day after the U.S. had nearly 2,000 coronavirus deaths – its most so far in one day – Dr. Deborah Birx said there are encouraging signs in parts of the country where the number of new cases is leveling off. 

Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, said California and Washington’s curves have been “persistently flat and that’s very encouraging” and that new cases in New York and New Jersey are “stabilizing.”

But she warned against ending social distancing practices too early. 

“If people start going out again and socially interacting, we could see a very acute second wave very early,” Birx said in an interview with the “TODAY” show.

Meanwhile, U.S. stocks ticked up Wednesday as President Donald Trump said a second round of cash payments to Americans as part of another recovery package was “absolutely under serious consideration.” Disney’s chairman suggested temperature checks may be implemented at its parks when they reopen. 

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Three killed, one injured at Tennessee truck stop

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Three people were killed and a fourth was wounded in a stabbing at a truck stop in Tennessee Tuesday morning that ended when the assailant was fatally shot by a responding sheriff’s deputy, authorities confirmed.

The attack was reported to 911 shortly before 7 a.m. at a Pilot Travel Center off Interstate 40. Investigators have yet to establish a motive, said Leslie Earhart, a spokeswoman for the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

“At this point, that’s what we’re trying to determine,” she said.

All three women killed in the attack were Pilot employees, Pilot CEO Jimmy Haslam confirmed in a statement. They are Joyce Whaley, 57; Patricia Denise Nibbe, 51; and Nettie R. Spencer, 41. They were pronounced dead at the scene.

A fourth victim, a female customer, remains hospitalized. Her condition was not immediately available.

Jimmy Haslam arrives at the scene of a stabbing and shooting at a Pilot truck stop on Strawberry Plains Pike in Knoxville, Tennessee on Tuesday, April 7, 2020. Multiple police agencies including KCSO, KPD, THP and TBI were investigating the scene. Several people were stabbed Tuesday morning at a Pilot Travel Center just off Interstate 40 on Strawberry Plains Pike.

“Today is a difficult day for the Pilot Company family,” Haslam said in the statement. “We are devastated to confirm the loss of three team members and the injury of a guest after an act of violence at our Strawberry Plains, Tennessee, location this morning.

“It is with heavy hearts that we extend our deepest sympathy to the families and loved ones of the victims. We are providing support and counseling to the families and our team. We are working closely with local authorities.

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Coronavirus ventilators for $100? They’re being built in Mississippi

JACKSON, Miss. — As states across the country beg for ventilators to help patients suffering with respiratory issues from COVID-19, the University of Mississippi Medical Center is building its own makeshift ventilators with supplies found at a hardware store

Dr. Charles Robertson, a UMMC pediatric anesthesiologist and the mastermind behind the idea, said he set out to make the “absolute simplest ventilator we can build with parts available in any city, you don’t need special tools to put together and can be done quickly as the need arises.”

Made with “primarily a garden hose, a lamp timer and electronic valve,” the ventilator, named the Robertson Ventilator, for less than $100, can be assembled in approximately 20 to 30 minutes, meaning a dedicated team of four to five could produce nearly 100 in a day if needed, he said. 

Demonstrating the functionality of the machine at a news conference Tuesday afternoon, Robertson turned on a ventilator hooked up to a mannequin. The mannequin’s chest began to rise and fall. 

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John Prine dead; Wuhan celebrates end of lockdown

The U.S. coronavirus death toll neared 13,000 early Wednesday — less than 48 hours after cresting 10,000 — amid contradicting comments from U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams about the deadly force of the virus.

While the coronavirus is inexplicably and disproportionately killing black people compared to other Americans, particularly in states like Louisiana and Illinois, Adams on Tuesday retreated from a weekend prediction and said he expected U.S. deaths would be less than the projections of 100,000 to 240,000 issued by the White House task force a week ago.

“That is absolutely my expectation, and I feel a lot more optimistic because I’m seeing mitigation work,” said Adams, who on Sunday warned that this week would be the outbreak’s “Pearl Harbor moment.” He lauded public health officials in California and Washington state, where the curve has flattened on confirmed cases.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti on Tuesday night issued an order that requires all residents to wear a face covering when visiting most essential businesses, including grocery stores, restaurants and pharmacies, effective Friday.

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5 things to know Wednesday

Passover traditions change as the coronavirus spreads

Despite stay-at-home orders and social distancing guidelines, Jewish Americans will still celebrate Passover, one of the most significant holidays of the year. Pesach, as it’s called in Hebrew, is observed from sundown Wednesday to April 16. The traditional Passover seder (or ceremonial dinner) includes eating symbolic foods and reciting the biblical story of Exodus, when God freed the enslaved Jews more than 3,000 years ago. The coronavirus pandemic, with its public health mandates against gatherings, has spurred synagogues and families to alter their Passover celebration this year. Some will be using video chat and substituting some of the harder-to-find foods.

Census Bureau to begin sending paper forms to those who haven’t responded

If you haven’t yet filled out your Census form for the 2020 headcount, the federal government is going to try another way to get in touch with you. Starting Wednesday, the U.S. Census Bureau is mailing out paper forms to 65.6 million homes whose residents haven’t yet answered the once-a-decade questionnaire. Most U.S. residents started getting notices about a month ago that they could respond online or by phone. The bureau’s suspension of field operations between mid-March and mid-April due to the coronavirus pandemic may be affecting response rates.  Census Day was last week  and was the latest effort from community leaders to get people to fill out the population survey. .

It’s the end for ‘Modern Family’

ABC’s’ Modern Family’ ends its remarkable 11-season run Wednesday night after 250 episodes, big ratings and 22 Emmys, including five in a row for best comedy series. The show, which follows the blended, multigenerational Pritchett-Dunphy-Tucker clan, says goodbye in a one-hour series finale (9 EDT/PDT), preceded by a retrospective (8 EDT/PDT). ‘Modern Family’ was considered revolutionary in 2009 when it included a gay couple, Mitch and Cam, said co-creator Christopher Lloyd. “I don’t think it feels revolutionary today and that’s a good thing, a sign of how much we’ve grown.” Ed O’Neill, who plays patriarch Jay, says “Family” arrived at the right moment. “Like every hit show, I always think it has to be the timing, what the country wants to see at a certain time.”

What will they talk about? Howard Stern goes one-on-one with Tom Brady

Six-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady is scheduled to make his first-ever appearance on “The Howard Stern Show” Wednesday where many NFL fans hope the future Hall of Fame quarterback will open up about his shocking departure from the New England Patriots. Another topic that is likely to come up is Ivanka Trump, the eldest daughter of President Donald Trump. There had been buzz “people in high places” were once interested in fixing up the NFL legend with Trump’s daughter. According to a 2018 New York Times story, Trump joked that he “could have had Tom Brady” as a son-in-law. “Instead, I got Jared Kushner,” he added.  Brady signed with the Buccaneers in March after spending the last 20 years with the New England Patriots. The anticipated interview will be widely available, with SiriusXM currently free through May 15 due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Can the emergency stimulus check sustain millions of Americans?

Nearly one-third of U.S. adults who anticipate receiving a stimulus check say the money wouldn’t be enough to sustain their financial well-being for one month, according to a new report released Wednesday.  Roughly 80% say getting a check would be very important (50%) or somewhat important (30%) to their near-term financial situation, according to’s study. The report, which surveyed 1,465 adults, including 994 who anticipate receiving a stimulus check as part of the CARES Act, found that half of those surveyed think they would use the payment to help pay monthly bills such as rent, mortgage or utilities.The emergency stimulus checks could be as much as $1,200 per person, $2,400 for married couples filing taxes jointly and $500 per dependent child. 

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Trump press conference; Navy secretary out

The acting Navy Secretary who fired the captain of an aircraft carrier who sought help for his virus-stricken sailors, then disparaged him, was forced out of his post Tuesday.

A rally by U.S. stocks fizzled toward the end the trading day after they initially rose sharply, fueled by hopes the peak of the coronavirus pandemic may come soon and President Donald Trump’s hint of a second round of stimulus checks.

Masked voters ignoring a stay-at-home order spent hours in well-spaced lines at polling sites across Wisconsin, while in Britain, Prime Minister Boris Johnson was in a life-and-death struggle with the coronavirus that already has killed more than 82,000 worldwide.

While federal health officials have warned Americans of a grim week ahead, there are “positive signs” emerging in coronavirus hot spots. Fewer hospitalizations and intubations were reported in New York, while Spain and Italy also appeared headed for the downside of the curve.

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LeAnn Rimes details quarantine life with Eddie Cibrian

Going stir-crazy in quarantine? You’re not alone. Celebrities are cooped up in their homes across the country just like the rest of us. As we collectively navigate this uncharted territory, USA TODAY presents Quarantine Diaries, which give readers a peek into how our favorite stars are spending their time at home.

Today’s diarist is singer LeAnn Rimes, who is shacked up at home with husband Eddie Cibrian amid the coronavirus pandemic. Rimes has been hosting weekly Instagram Live meditation sessions on her Soul of EverLe page and recently released a cover of Darrell Brown and Beth Nielsen Chapman’s “There Will Be a Better Day” as a message of hope to her fans. Here’s what a day in the life of Rimes’ quarantine looks like. – As told to Anika Reed

6:17 a.m. I wake up to Eddie, my husband, laying sideways on the bed because our 70 lb dog Fleetwood has decided to take over his side. She sleeps on the floor, but for some reason she has an internal alarm clock where at 5:30 a.m. she jumps up on the bed. God bless her.

LeAnn Rimes with her dog, Fleetwood.

6:30 a.m. Eddie and I lay there and snuggled with Fleetwood for a bit. And then we get up and I go downstairs and make coffee. I don’t usually drink coffee, but these times are calling for desperate measures. Some days I feel like I need a jolt of something to wake me up. It’s a new thing for me. One of the other things I do first is take all of my supplements. We have a lot of vitamin C and vitamin D in our house right now with everything going around.

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John Prine, prolific American songwriter, dies at 73

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — John Prine, a consummate storyteller who rose from the 1970s Chicago folk scene to become one of a generation’s most celebrated and prolific songwriters, has died at age 73.

Prine died from COVID-19 complications after being hospitalized for the virus nearly two weeks, the Prine family confirmed to The Tennessean, part of the USA TODAY Network.

The songwriter’s songwriter, Prine penned his five-decade legacy with gut-wrenching honesty and a simple, timeless wit that drew comparisons to Mark Twain and praise from Bob Dylan. 

Prine’s songbook transcended era and genre, earning him a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and place in the Songwriters Hall of Fame. His dedicated showmanship and candid humor drew audiences from Bonnaroo to the Library of Congress and back to the Grand Ole Opry House, where he often celebrated New Year’s Eve with a foot-stomping performance. 

“If God’s got a favorite songwriter,” Kris Kristofferson shared in 2003, “I think it’s John Prine.” 

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Donald Trump says he never saw aide’s warning memos

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump said Tuesday he has not seen memos in which one of his top advisers warned earlier this year that a coronavirus pandemic could endanger millions of Americans, but that even if he had, it would not have changed his response to the crisis.

Peter Navarro, the top trade and manufacturing aide to the president, laid out the warning in two memos – one on Jan. 29 and another on Feb. 23 – while Trump played down concerns about the coronavirus, according to reports from the New York Times and Axios.

Trump said he didn’t know about the memos until a couple of days ago. “I asked him about it a little while ago because I read something about a memo,” Trump said during a White House coronavirus briefing.

Trump downplayed Navarro’s warnings, arguing that he already had started to move to shut down U.S. borders by the time the memos were written.