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Target and CVS are the latest national retail chains requiring customers to wear masks as the number of COVID-19 cases continues to skyrocket.

The companies announced the new policies on Thursday following similar moves by a growing number of retailers acting to fill a void left by local, state and federal agencies that have so far refused to set mandatory face coverings policies.

As of Thursday, only about half of the country's states require masks in public places.

Stores around the U.S. are struggling with an unexpected shortage. (No, not toilet paper — sorry, we've already made that joke.) They're running low on coins.

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Attorney General William Barr took aim at U.S. tech companies and Hollywood on Thursday over their relationship with China, accusing them of "kowtowing" to the Chinese government for the sake of profits.

In a nearly 45-minute speech on U.S.-China relations, Barr presented America's response to Beijing's global ambitions as a generational struggle that will define the political future of the world.

Updated 6:51 p.m. ET

Twitter is now under scrutiny from the FBI, Congress and state authorities in New York. Officials are demanding details about a breach that targeted some of the social network's most high-profile users.

Europe's highest court has struck down a key agreement between the U.S. and the European Union concerning data privacy. In a ruling Thursday, the European Court of Justice found that the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield fails to protect Europeans' rights to data privacy when companies are transferring those data to the U.S.

When the order of 100,000 masks arrived at an unnamed factory for use in protecting workers against COVID-19, they were covered in dirt, dust and mysterious stains. In short, they were "not fit to be used," according to a complaint filed with the Food and Drug Administration in late March.

Mandy Collins lives in Little Mountain, S.C., with her husband and three kids. The 38-year-old never owned a gun before. Her husband doesn't have one either. But after the pandemic hit, she spent $450 on a powerful handgun.

"With all the toilet paper gone and everything, people just started acting crazy," she says. "I guess the fear of the unknown and letting prisoners out of prison, and I just ... decided I wanted to go ahead and just purchase one."

Retail sales jumped 7.5% in June, giving stores and restaurants a boost, and spending on clothing doubled. But that came before a new surge in coronavirus cases prompted renewed shutdowns in several states.

Last month, spending ticked up 1.1% from a year earlier — the first annual increase since the pandemic began to hammer the economy, the Commerce Department said Thursday.

When India imposed coronavirus restrictions in late March, Arman Rathod's work dried up.

The 29-year-old had made a living washing cars and painting statues of Hindu gods in his hometown of Valsad, in western India. Broke and bored under lockdown, Rathod and his friends started recording videos of themselves in April on the social media app TikTok.

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Americans are buying more guns than ever before. People worried about the pandemic sometimes buy guns. People worried about protests in this country sometimes buy guns. And by one estimate, people have bought 3 million more guns than normal since March. Almost half of all those sales are to first-time gun owners. NPR's Chris Arnold reports.

CHRIS ARNOLD, BYLINE: Mandy Collins is 38. She lives in Little Mountain, S.C., with her husband and three kids. And she just spent $450 on a powerful handgun.

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Walking into Regions Field, home of the Birmingham Barons, Michael Whitten stops to gaze out on the lush green grass, and sees two baseball teams warming up.

Neither is the Barons. Its Minor League Baseball season had been cancelled due to the coronavirus.

Instead, the teams on the field are part of a local amateur league for men age 35 and over. Which doesn't matter to Whitten and his family.

"We haven't been able to go to any sporting events in a long time," he says. "So we wanted to get out and do something fun and be outside."

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For the second time in two months, the Trump administration has sided with the for-profit college industry over a key constituency: veterans. In May, the president vetoed a bipartisan bill promoting debt forgiveness for veterans who were defrauded by for-profit schools. Now, the Department of Veterans Affairs is allowing two repeat-offending schools access to GI Bill money.

Raphael Bostic, president and CEO of the Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank, says racism is a danger to the health of America's economy.

In a recent opinion piece, Bostic reflected on the recent protests against police brutality that he says are fueled, in part, by economic inequalities that stem from systemic racism.

Updated 11:30 p.m. ET

Twitter says it was the victim of a "coordinated social engineering attack" by unspecified individuals who targeted Twitter employees with access to sensitive internal administrative systems.

The breach implicated the accounts of some of the richest and most famous people on the social media platform, including Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, Bill Gates, former President Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Kanye West and others.

As New York City's COVID-19 numbers improve, more and more of the city is reopening. The High Line opens Thursday with ticketed entry. It's one of the first big attractions to reopen in the city.

Broadcast ratings for nearly all of NPR's radio shows took a steep dive in major markets this spring, as the coronavirus pandemic kept many Americans from commuting to work and school. The network's shows lost roughly a quarter of their audience between the second quarter of 2019 and the same months in 2020.

Oil prices are low, and likely to stay that way for a while. And while low prices can be brutal for oil producers, they're also an opportunity: When the going gets tough, Big Oil often gets even bigger.

But will the pandemic-induced price collapse lead to dramatic deal-making and companies scaling up? Some analysts aren't holding their breath.

"I do believe that the golden age of the mega deals in oil and gas may be gone," says Muqsit Ashraf, who leads the energy practice for the consulting firm Accenture.

Copyright 2020 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

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Apple landed a major victory on Wednesday when the second-highest court in the European Union declared that the tech giant does not have to pay $14.8 billion in taxes to Ireland that regulators in Europe claim the company owes.

Updated at 5 p.m. ET

Walmart says shoppers must wear masks inside its stores starting Monday — the largest retailer to join a growing list of companies making face covering mandatory across the nation.

The economy is tanking across the country, with layoffs and bankruptcies as far as the eye can see. But the richest sliver of the country continues to do quite well, thank you.

The latest evidence came Wednesday morning as Goldman Sachs, the bluest of blue-chip banks, said it's raking in money on Wall Street.

While other banks are warning about rising loan losses during the recession, Goldman, which tends to serve a higher-end clientele, is sounding a pretty optimistic note.

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Almost any news conference with President Trump can be a spectacle. He might say anything. That's his brand. Still, his appearance in the Rose Garden yesterday was remarkable.

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The Dakota Access Pipeline may continue to pump crude oil through South Dakota after a federal appellate court on Tuesday temporarily blocked a shutdown ordered by a lower court that was to begin next month.

Over the last three months, Delta Air Lines lost nearly $6 billion as the company's CEO said a slow, brief recovery in air travel has now stalled amid a big resurgence in coronavirus infections.

Delta is the first U.S. airline to report second-quarter financial results; it is the first full quarter since the pandemic began, and the results are worse than anticipated.

Updated at 4 p.m. ET

Months after approving some limited involvement by the Chinese technology giant Huawei in constructing the U.K.'s next-generation wireless data network, British regulators reversed course Tuesday.

Beginning in January, U.K. regulators will implement a ban on telecom operators buying Huawei equipment. Existing Huawei 5G equipment will need to be removed from the U.K.'s 5G network by 2027.

For years, Matt Harris dreamed about building a treehouse out behind his back fence in Knoxville, Tenn. He never got around to it, though, until the pandemic hit.

"It was just a matter of finding time," Harris says. "And that didn't come until everything kind of shut down for a little bit."

When the coronavirus canceled youth sports for the season, Harris suddenly found his weekends free. And his children — ages 8, 7 and 4 — made a willing construction crew.

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