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Warning signs for Biden in North Carolina, California faces twin threats and Novak Djokovic out of U.S. Open

One of California's wildfires was started by a pyrotechnic device at a gender-reveal party.
Image: San Miguel County Firefighters battle a brush fire along Japatul Road during the Valley Fire in Jamul, California
San Miguel County Firefighters battle a brush fire in Jamul, California, on Sunday.Sandy Huffaker / AFP - Getty Images

Good morning, NBC News readers.

Happy Labor Day. Before you go out and enjoy the last unofficial day of summer, here's what you need to know.


'He needs to come': Warning signs for Biden in North Carolina as race tightens

With the election nearing, polls show a tight race in North Carolina, an important Southern swing state.

Interviews with a number of North Carolina voters, current and former party officials, political strategists, pollsters and politics watchers paint a picture of a critical battleground state that remains within President Donald Trump's grasp, even as the coronavirus continues to ravage the nation's health and economy and protesters keep up calls for racial justice.

If Joe Biden wants to win the states' 15 electoral votes in November, voters say he needs to do more than just phone it in.

"He needs to come. He needs to address North Carolinians," said Debbie George, 61, a yoga instructor in Charlotte, North Carolina. "These rehearsed speeches in front of no one are not cutting it."

Meantime, despite the fact that Biden continues to lead Trump in every battleground state and Trump's "law and order" message doesn't seem to be working, Democrats are panicking about the election.

"Democrats under Trump have a bad case of Charlie Brown syndrome: They can't stop being afraid that the ball is going to get yanked out from under them," said Jared Leopold, a former top aide to Washington Gov. Jay Inslee's Democratic presidential campaign.

No matter who you plan to vote for, many Americans are feeling anxious about making sure their vote counts. Check out five voting tips experts recommend to make sure that happens.


Trump calls on fans to bombard Atlantic co-owner after bombshell story

President Donald Trump called on his fans Sunday to inundate The Atlantic's co-owner Laurene Powell Jobs with messages after the magazine reported that he once called American service members killed in combat "losers" and "suckers."

"Steve Jobs would not be happy that his wife is wasting money he left her on a failing Radical Left Magazine that is run by a con man (Goldberg) and spews FAKE NEWS & HATE," Trump tweeted Sunday morning. "Call her, write her, let her know how you feel!!!"

The tweet was the latest salvo in the president's dayslong effort to deny the story, written by The Atlantic's Editor-in-Chief Jeffrey Goldberg. The story cited several sources with firsthand knowledge of Trump's remarks.

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California hiker dies as record heat wave and wildfires scorch state

Authorities in Los Angeles County shut down trails in the Santa Monica Mountains after a woman died while hiking as a record-setting heatwave and wildfires scorched California.

The National Weather Service documented a slew of record-setting temperatures across the state Sunday. In Woodland Hills, just north of Calabasas, the mercury reached a sweltering 121 degrees.

The weather service issued its highest fire alert — a red flag warning — for the mountains of Los Angeles and Ventura counties Sunday evening.

The warnings were issued as firefighters continued to fight massive blazes across the state.

One of 23 major wildfires burning in California was started by a pyrotechnic device used at a gender-reveal party, authorities said Sunday.

Meantime, with the state still battling coronavirus, San Francisco's mayor railed against a Burning Man gathering on a local beach.

"This was absolutely reckless & selfish," Mayor London Breed tweeted. "You are not celebrating. You are putting people's lives at risk."


Rochester officials announce police reforms after death of Daniel Prude

Rochester, New York, is moving crisis intervention out of the police department amid outrage and protests over the death of Daniel Prude, a Black man with mental health issues who died after officers placed a spit hood over his head and restrained him.

"We had a human being in a need of help, in need of compassion. In that moment, we had an opportunity to protect him, to keep him warm, to bring him to safety, to begin the process of healing him and lifting him up," Warren said. "We have to own the fact that in the moment we did not do that."

Police Chief La'Ron Singletary told reporters that he recognized the need for reform in his department and that he was working with experts and clinicians to get outpatient services for those who struggle with mental health and are in repeated contact with police.

"I understand that there are certain calls that law enforcement shouldn't handle alone, and we are looking at ways to reimagine policing surrounding mental health and have been for the last several months," Singletary said.


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Plus

  • Novak Djokovic, the No.1-ranked men's tennis star, was disqualified from the U.S. Open for hitting a line judge with a ball.
  • In his new book Peter Strzok, the FBI agent who helped launch the Russia investigation, says Trump was "compromised."
  • After being stranded at sea for 6 months, nearly 300 Rohingya refugees finally landed in Indonesia.
  • Lou Brock, the baseball Hall of Famer known for stealing bases who helped the St. Louis Cardinals win three pennants and two World Series titles in the 1960s, has died. He was 81.

THINK about it

"Class Action Park" made me understand my Gen X mom's worries — and her teen years, Lexi Lane writes in an opinion piece.


Shopping

Check out the best Labor Day sales from REI, Amazon, Best Buy, Home Depot, Staples and more.


One amazing thing

A tee-shirt, boots and a jacket marked the spot where Jonathan Ceplecha lay trapped under a tree for four agonizing days.

The 59-year-old Iraq war veteran did everything he could to survive and was finally rescued in Redwood County, Minnesota.


Thanks for reading the Morning Rundown.

Have a great Labor Day!

If you have any comments — likes, dislikes — send me an email at: petra@nbcuni.com

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Thanks, Petra Cahill