BIG, SCARY HORNETS MAKE THEIR WAY INTO U.S.

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — The world's largest hornet, a 2-inch killer dubbed the "Murder Hornet" with an appetite for honeybees, has been found in Washington state, where entomologists were making plans to wipe it out.

The giant Asian insect, with a sting that could be fatal to some people, is just now starting to emerge from winter hibernation.

“They’re like something out of a monster cartoon with this huge yellow-orange face,” said Susan Cobey, a bee breeder at Washington State University.

“It’s a shockingly large hornet,” said Todd Murray, a WSU Extension entomologist and invasive species specialist. “It’s a health hazard, and more importantly, a significant predator of honeybees.”

The hornet was sighted for the first time in the U.S. last December, when the state Department of Agriculture verified two reports near Blaine, Washington, close to the Canadian border.

The hornet can sting through most beekeeper suits, deliver nearly seven times the amount of venom as a honeybee, and sting multiple times, the department said, adding that it ordered special reinforced suits from China.

CORONAVIRUS RE-OPENINGS VARY NATIONWIDE

UNDATED (AP) — The reopening of the economy and loosening of coronavirus-prompted restrictions remain uneven and varied throughout the U.S. as governors watch

Texas, Oklahoma, and Montana are among states newly allowing restaurants to reopen. Malls, movie theaters and other venues are reopening in several states. Some states have outlined phased re-openings: North Carolina's governor said he hopes to start such a process after this week if virus trends allow.

Some states, including epicenter New York, are moving more slowly, with restrictions in place at least until May 15. In California, some counties have announced their reopening in defiance of an ongoing stay-home order.

And some states never issued stay-home orders at all.

An Associated Press tally says least 100 million Americans were in states making assertive moves to reopen — or had no stay-home orders to begin with. States home to more than 210 million were taking more gradual steps or didn’t appear close to reopening.

BRAZILIAN PRESIDENT - CORONAVIRUS

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro says he twice tested negative for the coronavirus but many, including a federal judge, are demanding he share the actual results. The leader has refused.

The surreal standoff is the latest flashpoint in a broader battle between a president who has repeatedly tested the limits of his power and democratic institutions. There are concerns that as Bolsonaro pushes back, it could spark a constitutional crisis.

Bolsonaro has consistently downplayed the coronavirus pandemic and has fiercely criticized efforts by governors and mayors to impose measures to control the virus' spread, instead advocating for most people to get back to work.

But the courts have repeatedly curtailed him — on this issue and others.

CHARGES MULLED FOR MAN WHO WORE KKK MASK SHOPPING

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Authorities are looking into whether a man who they say wore a Ku Klux Klan hood while grocery shopping in a San Diego suburb over the weekend could face criminal charges.

The sheriff’s department says the unidentified man was photographed with the white hood while pushing a grocery cart at the store in the town of Santee on Saturday. That was a day after the county required people to wear masks outside to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Store clerks asked him to take off the hood or leave the store, according to The San Diego Union-Tribune. He removed the tall, pointed hood that had two small eye holes cut into it, paid for his groceries and left.

Deputies were not called to the scene but are investigating to see if he could be charged with a possible hate crime.

S.F. POLICE TO SWITCH AWAY FROM “THIN BLUE LINE” MASKS

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — San Francisco’s police chief said the city’s rank and file will wear neutral face coverings to defuse a controversy after officers sent to patrol a May Day protest wore masks adorned with the “thin blue line” flag.

The police union ordered and distributed the masks emblazoned with black-and-white American flag with a blue stripe across the middle. The symbol is associated with the Blue Lives Matter movement, a display of unity among police officers in response to the national Black Lives Matter movement.

In an email obtained by KTVU-TV, Chief Bill Scott told officers Friday he considered the blue flag and stripe “a meaningful expression to honor fallen officers." However, he worried that some may perceive the symbol as “divisive and disrespectful.”

VENEZUELA’S PRESIDENT ANNOUNCES BUST OF “MERCENARIES”

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro said authorities arrested two U.S. citizens among a group of “mercenaries” on yesterday, a day after a beach raid purportedly aimed at capturing the socialist leader that authorities say they foiled.

Maduro held up a pair of blue U.S. passports, reading off the names and birth dates on them in a nationwide broadcast on state television. He showed images of the fishing boats the alleged attackers rode in on and equipment like walkie-talkies and night-vision glasses collected in what Maduro called an “intense” couple of days. He blamed the attacks on the Trump administration and neighboring Colombia, both of which have denied involvement.

“The United States government is fully and completely involved in this defeated raid," Maduro said, praising members of a fishing village for cornering one group in the sweep netting the “professional American mercenaries.”

Before dawn on Sunday, officials say the first attack started on a beach near Venezuela's port city of La Guaira, when security forces made the first two arrests and killed eight others attempting to make a landing by speedboats.