Reuters US Domestic News Summary

Following is a summary of current US domestic news briefs.

On the trail: Biden battles to secure needed victory in South Carolina

Former Vice President Joe Biden plans to stump hard in South Carolina on Friday, aiming to solidify support in the Southern state where a lead among black voters may give his campaign for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination a needed boost. Rivals including Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, currently leading among Democrats in national opinion polls, Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg will also be crisscrossing the state, which holds its presidential nominating contest on Saturday.

'This Land is Your Land' lawsuit dismissed by U.S. judge

A federal judge in Manhattan on Friday dismissed a lawsuit claiming that Woody Guthrie's iconic 1940 folk song "This Land is Your Land" belongs to the public. U.S. District Judge Kevin Castel ruled against members of the New York band Satorii, which recorded two versions of "This Land," after the two publishers that control the song's rights agreed not to sue them for copyright infringement.

Hoarding in the USA? Coronavirus sparks consumer concerns

American consumers awoke this week to the coronavirus threat and are beginning to display a symptom of the illness seen in Asia and Europe - hoarding. Nothing in the United States yet resembles what Italy witnessed in recent days - where supermarket shelves were stripped bare and videos posted on social media showed consumers coming to blows over bags of pasta.

U.S. court deals serious blow to Trump's 'Remain in Mexico' immigration policy

A U.S. appeals court on Friday blocked one of President Donald Trump's signature immigration policies that has helped to sharply curb a migration surge on the southern border and forced tens of thousands of migrants to wait in Mexico. The decision is a major blow to Trump who has declared the policy a success in reducing the flow of hundreds of thousands of people from Central America into the United States as he campaigns for a second term in office.

Madoff customer payout nears $14 billion, as dying swindler seeks freedom

Bernard Madoff's former customers will soon see their total recovery approach $14 billion, a court-appointed trustee said on Friday, as the dying swindler awaits a decision on whether the U.S. government will support his request to leave prison early. Irving Picard, the trustee liquidating Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC, said he has begun distributing $369 million to holders of 854 accounts, bringing the total payout to all eligible customers to $13.93 billion.

U.S. to push production of protective gear for coronavirus; new case confirmed in California

The United States will invoke a federal defense law to boost production of masks, gloves, gowns and other items to protect against the new coronavirus, the Trump administration said, as a new case was confirmed in California on Friday. The latest U.S. case was reported in Santa Clara county in California, home to the Silicon Valley technology hub. At the same time more countries were reporting new infections, companies curtailed travel and global stock markets were on the precipice of a free fall.

Super Tuesday contests offer big rewards, challenges in Democratic presidential race

Fourteen states and one U.S. territory host Super Tuesday primaries next week, a flurry that could bring more clarity about which Democratic presidential contender voters prefer to challenge Republican President Donald Trump in November. More than a third of delegates will be doled out in Tuesday's nominating contests, compared with less than 5% awarded from the four states voting in February. A candidate needs 1,991 delegates to win the Democratic nomination at the party's national convention in July.

Mulvaney alleges U.S. media is focusing on coronavirus to hurt Trump, advises turning off TV

White House Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney on Friday played down the deadly coronavirus that has caused U.S. stock markets to plummet, telling top conservatives that wall-to-wall news coverage of the disease is a ploy to hurt his boss, President Donald Trump. "The reason you're seeing so much attention to it today is that they think this is going to be what brings down the President. That's what this is all about," Mulvaney said at a meeting of the Conservative Political Action Conference, where Republican Party superstars and right wing media personalities gather each year.

U.S. lawmakers may vote on coronavirus response bill as soon as next week: source

The U.S. House of Representatives could vote on an emergency bill aimed at providing funding for the country's coronavirus response as soon as next week, a congressional source said on Friday. Negotiators were looking at approving between $6 to $8 billion in funding for the response, the source said, significantly higher than the $2.5 billion the White House had requested.

Fasten your seat belts, U.S. Congress sets hearing on air travel

The airline industry could run into turbulence on Capitol Hill next week as a U.S. Congressional panel tackles passenger complaints about unpleasant airline experiences, holding a hearing that will include budget airline Spirit Airlines Inc and passenger advocates. The U.S. House Transportation Committee's aviation subcommittee said the hearing "will examine the U.S. airline passenger experience today, how airlines are working to improve the air travel experience, and opportunities to invest in technologies or innovations that could enhance the air travel experience."