AP News in Brief at 11:04 p.m. EDT | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

Current Conditions

Mostly Cloudy
10.6°C

AP News in Brief at 11:04 p.m. EDT

March 19, 2021 - 8:04 PM

Biden, Harris offer solace, denounce racism in Atlanta visit

ATLANTA (AP) — President Joe Biden and Vice-President Kamala Harris offered solace to Asian Americans and denounced the scourge of racism at times hidden “in plain sight” as they visited Atlanta on Friday, just days after a white gunman killed eight people, most of them Asian American women.

Addressing the nation after a roughly 80-minute meeting with Asian American state legislators and other leaders, Biden said it was “heart-wrenching” to listen to their stories of the fear among Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders amid what he called a “skyrocketing spike” of harassment and violence against them.

“We have to change our hearts," he said. "Hate can have no safe harbour in America.”

Biden called on all Americans to stand up to bigotry when they see it, adding: “Our silence is complicity. We cannot be complicit.”

“They’ve been attacked, blamed, scapegoated and harassed; they’ve been verbally assaulted, physically assaulted, killed," Biden said of Asian Americans during the coronavirus pandemic.

___

Judge won't move trial in Floyd's death; 13th juror picked

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A judge said Friday he won’t delay or move the trial of a former Minneapolis police officer charged in George Floyd’s death over concerns that a $27 million settlement for Floyd’s family could taint the jury pool, but he’ll allow limited evidence from a 2019 arrest.

Jury selection in the trial of Derek Chauvin will stretch into a third week after attorneys seated just one additional juror Friday. The 13th juror picked is a woman who said she’d seen only clips of the video of Floyd’s arrest and needs to learn more about what happened beforehand.

Hennepin County Judge Pete Cahill said court would resume Monday to pick two more jurors -- for a total of 15, one more than expected. Asked about the apparent discrepancy, a court spokesman cited a November order from Cahill that had said up to 16 jurors -- 12 to deliberate and four alternates -- would be seated.

Seven jurors had been picked last week when the Minneapolis City Council announced it had unanimously approved the massive payout to settle a civil rights lawsuit over Floyd’s death. Chauvin’s attorney, Eric Nelson, subsequently sought to halt or move the trial, saying the settlement timing was deeply disturbing and jeopardized Chauvin’s chance for a fair trial. Chauvin is charged with murder and manslaughter.

But Cahill, who called the timing “unfortunate,” said he believed a delay would do nothing to stem the problem of pretrial publicity, and that there’s no place in Minnesota untouched by that publicity.

___

CDC changes school guidance, allowing desks to be closer

NEW YORK (AP) — Students can safely sit just 3 feet apart in the classroom as long as they wear masks but should be kept the usual 6 feet away from one another at sporting events, assemblies, lunch or chorus practice, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday in relaxing its COVID-19 guidelines.

The revised recommendations represent a turn away from the 6-foot standard that has sharply limited how many students some schools can accommodate. Some places have had to remove desks, stagger schedules and take other steps to keep children apart.

Three feet “gives school districts greater flexibility to have more students in for a prolonged period of time,” said Kevin Quinn, director of maintenance and facilities at Mundelein High School in suburban Chicago.

In recent months, schools in some states have been disregarding the CDC guidelines, using 3 feet as their standard. Studies of what happened in some of them helped sway the agency, said Greta Massetti, who leads the CDC's community interventions task force.

“We don’t really have the evidence that 6 feet is required in order to maintain low spread,” she said. Also, younger children are less likely to get seriously ill from the coronavirus and don't seem to spread it as much as adults do, and “that allows us that confidence that that 3 feet of physical distance is safe.”

___

US, China wrap up testy 1st face-to-face talks under Biden

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Top U.S. and Chinese officials wrapped up two days of contentious talks in Alaska on Friday after trading sharp and unusually public barbs over vastly different views of each other and the world in their first face-to-face meeting since President Joe Biden took office.

The two sides finished the meetings after an opening session in which they attacked each other in an unusually public way. The U.S. accused the Chinese delegation of “grandstanding” and Beijing fired back, saying there was a “strong smell of gunpowder and drama” that was entirely the fault of the Americans.

The meetings in Anchorage were a new test in increasingly troubled relations between the two countries, which are at odds over a range of issues from trade to human rights in Tibet, Hong Kong and China’s western Xinjiang region, as well as over Taiwan, China’s assertiveness in the South China Sea and the coronavirus pandemic.

“We got a defensive response,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said after the meetings concluded.

“We wanted to share with them the significant concerns that we have about a number of the actions that China has taken, and behaviours exhibiting concerns, shared by our allies and partners," he said. "And we did that. We also wanted to lay out very clearly, our own policies, priorities, and worldview. And we did that too.”

___

Georgia church disowns suspect, says he betrayed faith

The church attended by the white man charged with killing eight people at three Atlanta-area massage businesses, most of them women of Asian descent, condemned the shootings Friday and said they run contrary to the gospel and the church’s teachings.

Crabapple First Baptist Church in Milton, Georgia, also announced in a statement that it plans to remove 21-year-old Robert Aaron Long from its membership because it “can no longer affirm that he is truly a regenerate believer in Jesus Christ.”

Previously the church had only issued a brief statement expressing condolences, without mentioning Long. It also shut down its social media accounts and made its website private.

On Friday it said those measures were taken to protect the safety of its congregants.

Congregants were “distraught" when they learned the alleged shooter was a member of the community, the statement said. His family has belonged to the church for many years.

___

Oral Roberts shocks Ohio State, first big upset of NCAAs

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) — Ohio State's players were dancing around in the moments before tipoff against Oral Roberts, relaxed and full of swagger.

The Buckeyes aren't dancing anymore. The 15th-seeded Golden Eagles pulled off the first major upset of the first NCAA Tournament in two years, holding off second-seeded Ohio State 75-72 in overtime on Friday.

“When they rank them, it was only just a number at the end of the day,” said Kevin Obanor, who led Oral Roberts with 30 points and 11 rebounds. “We put our shoes on just as the other team puts their shoes on. We just had the mindset of, ‘Show us that you deserve to be No. 2,’ and we came out with a lot of confidence.”

Oral Roberts got poised, impeccable performances from its two stars, Obanor and guard Max Abmas, to become the ninth 15 seed to win a first-round game and the first since Middle Tennessee shocked Michigan State in 2016. Last year's tournament was called off because of the pandemic.

Obanor scored seven of Oral Roberts' 11 points in overtime, including two free throws with 13 seconds left. Abmas, the nation’s leading scorer, had 29 points.

___

'An all-hands moment': GOP rallies behind voting limits

On an invitation-only call last week, Sen. Ted Cruz huddled with Republican state lawmakers to call them to battle on the issue of voting rights.

Democrats are trying to expand voting rights to “illegal aliens” and “child molesters,” he claimed, and Republicans must do all they can to stop them. If they push through far-reaching election legislation now before the Senate, the GOP won't win elections again for generations, he said.

Asked if there was room to compromise, Cruz was blunt: “No.”

“H.R. 1's only objective is to ensure that Democrats can never again lose another election, that they will win and maintain control of the House of Representatives and the Senate and of the state legislatures for the next century,” Cruz said told the group organized by the American Legislative Exchange Council, a corporate-backed, conservative group that provides model legislation to state legislators.

Cruz's statements, recorded by a person on the call and obtained by The Associated Press, capture the building intensity behind Republicans' nationwide campaign to restrict access to the ballot. From statehouses to Washington, the fight over who can vote and how — often cast as “voting integrity” — has galvanized a Republican Party in search of unifying mission in the post-Trump era. For a powerful network of conservatives, voting restrictions are now viewed as a political life-or-death debate, and the fight has all-but eclipsed traditional Republican issues like abortion, gun rights and tax cuts as an organizing tool.

___

Brazil security law being turned on president's critics

SAO PAULO (AP) — Protesters against Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro defied police in the capital Friday, a day after the latest round of arrests of the leader's critics under a dictatorship-era national security law.

Four demonstrators were detained Thursday after calling Bolsonaro “genocidal” for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic and displaying a cartoon depicting the president as a Nazi. But on Friday, police quietly watched an hour-long protest against Bolsonaro staged by about 40 people.

The national security law, which dates from 1983, near the end of the country's military dictatorship, states it is a crime to harm the heads of the three branches of government or expose them to danger. That vague definition has recently been used to detain or investigate Bolsonaro critics.

Geography teacher Katia Garcia said she showed up in front of the president's office Friday because the arrests had inspired her.

“They were jailed because the description ‘genocidal’ suits our president very well,” Garcia said, wearing a face mask and face shield. “He has contributed to our health care system collapsing, for the lack of vaccines. Police can’t silence us.”

___

New York Times: Current aide accuses Cuomo of sex harassment

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — A woman who currently works in the office of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo says he looked down her shirt and made suggestive remarks to her and another aide, according to a newspaper report published Friday.

Alyssa McGrath told The New York Times that Cuomo called her beautiful in Italian, referred to her and her female colleague as “mingle mamas,” asked why she wasn’t wearing a wedding ring and inquired about her divorce.

"He has a way of making you feel very comfortable around him, almost like you’re his friend,” Ms. McGrath told the newspaper. “But then you walk away from the encounter or conversation, in your head going, ‘I can’t believe I just had that interaction with the governor of New York.’”

McGrath is the first current aide to come forward publicly to join mounting allegations of sexual misconduct against Cuomo. His behaviour with women is the subject of an investigation overseen by the state's attorney general and a separate impeachment investigation by the New York Assembly, the state’s lower legislative chamber.

McGrath told The New York Times that her female colleague was the same woman the governor is accused of groping in the Executive Mansion, an allegation that was revealed in a report last week in the Times Union of Albany.

___

Trump's Mar-a-Lago partially closed due to COVID outbreak

WASHINGTON (AP) — Former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida, has been partially closed after staff members tested positive for the coronavirus.

That's according to several people, including one familiar with club operations, who said Mar-a-Lago had “partially closed” a section of the club and quarantined some of its workers “out of an abundance of caution.” The person spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the situation by name.

An email sent to members said that service had been temporarily suspended in the club’s dining room and at its beach club because some staff members had recently tested positive. It said the club had undertaken “all appropriate response measures,” including sanitizing affected areas," and that banquet and event services remain open.

“The health and safety of our members and staff is our highest priority,” it read.

The Florida Department of Health did not immediately respond to a phone call and email.

News from © The Associated Press, 2021
The Associated Press

  • Popular penticton News
View Site in: Desktop | Mobile