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

August 24, 2020 - 8:05 PM

Republicans paint dark picture of future if Trump loses

WASHINGTON (AP) — Republicans predicted a national “horror movie” should President Donald Trump lose in November, flinging out dark warnings on Monday's opening night of their scaled down national convention.

Trump's campaign had promised to offer an inclusive and uplifting prime-time message, hoping to broaden his appeal beyond his hard-core base by featuring the next generation of party stars including two Republicans of colour, Rep. Tim Scott and former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley. Yet efforts to strike an optimistic tone were frequently overshadowed by dire talk that Democrat Joe Biden would destroy America, allowing communities to be overrun by violence.

Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida likened the prospect of Biden’s election to a horror movie.

“They’ll disarm you, empty the prisons, lock you in your home, and invite MS-13 to live next door,” Gaetz declared.

Later in the night, Haley and Scott did offer a softer tone as they highlighted their experience growing up as people of colour.

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The Latest: Trump Jr. name-calls Biden in fiery RNC speech

WASHINGTON (AP) — Donald Trump Jr. is ridiculing Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden with name-calling in a fiery speech to the televised Republican National Convention.

But more broadly, President Donald Trump’s eldest son is painting his father’s opponent for the presidency as part of a movement aimed at stripping the nation of its most basic freedoms.

“In the past, both parties believed in the goodness of America,” the younger Trump says. “This time, the other party is attacking the very principles on which our nation was founded," citing freedom of thought, speech, religion and the rule of law.

Mocking Biden’s past meetings with Chinese leaders as vice-president, he calls the Democrat “Beijing Biden” and pokes at his decades in the Senate and previously unsuccessful presidential bids by calling him “The Loch Ness Monster of the swamp.”

But the younger Trump offered a full-throated support of his father’s campaign theme that protests for racial justice are lawless, violent mobs intent on toppling long-honoured past leaders.

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AP FACT CHECK: Trump, GOP distort on health care, vote fraud

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump made a dizzying array of misleading claims about voting fraud and health care Monday as fellow Republicans opened their convention with speeches distorting the agenda of his Democratic rival, Joe Biden.

Trump falsely asserted that he was the one who ensured that people with preexisting medical problems will be covered by health insurance; actually that was Democratic President Barack Obama. Several speakers accused Biden of proposing to defund police, ban fracking, take over health care and open borders — none of that true.

A look at statements at the Republican National Convention:

HEALTH CARE

TRUMP: “We protected your preexisting conditions. Very strongly protected preexisting ... and you don’t hear that.”

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Republican Convention takeaways: All Trump, all the time

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump aggressively asserted control over the Republican National Convention on Monday, overshadowing the prime-time speakers, as he made clear he wants voters to focus on him.

Here are key takeaways from the first night of the convention:

AN OMNIPRESENT CONVENTION PRESENCE

Trump. Trump. And more Trump.

Never one to shy away from the spotlight, Trump showed he will be omnipresent at the convention, appearing every night and sure to dominate the proceedings.

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Official says Falwell leaving Liberty; Falwell says he's not

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Jerry Falwell Jr.’s future at evangelical Liberty University was unclear late Monday, with a senior school official saying he had resigned from his leadership post but Falwell telling several news outlets that he does not plan to leave permanently.

A formal announcement from the school was expected later in the day, according to the school official, who spoke with The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the matter. The disclosure of Falwell’s resignation followed the publication of news stories about his wife’s sexual encounters with a much younger business partner.

On Monday night, attorneys for Falwell and the school were negotiating the details of a possible departure, according to a person close to the school’s board of trustees who also spoke on condition of anonymity because the person was not authorized to discuss it.

But several news outlets quoted Falwell as saying that he has not agreed to leave the post permanently, nor does he plan to.

Falwell, who was already on an indefinite leave of absence, did not return a call from the AP seeking comment.

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Postal leader defends changes, denies 'sabotaging' election

WASHINGTON (AP) — Postmaster General Louis DeJoy told lawmakers Monday that he has warned allies of President Donald Trump that the president’s repeated attacks on the legitimacy of mail-in ballots are “not helpful,” but denied that recent changes at the Postal Service are linked to the November elections.

DeJoy, who has come under intense scrutiny over sweeping policy changes at the U.S. Postal Service, faced new questions on mounting problems at the agency as it prepares to deliver record numbers of ballots this fall as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

During an exchange with Rep. Gerald Connolly, D-Va., DeJoy first denied having contacted the president’s campaign team, but later backtracked, saying he has “spoken to people that are friends of mine that are associated with the campaign” over Trump’s baseless claims that mail voting will lead to fraud.

“I have put word around to different people that this is not helpful,” DeJoy said during a six-hour House Oversight Committee hearing.

DeJoy faced tense questions from lawmakers over mail delivery delays seen since he took the helm in mid-June. It was his second appearance before Congress in four days.

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New Zealand mass shooting survivors describe ongoing pain

CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand (AP) — Relatives and survivors from a mass shooting at two New Zealand mosques described in court on Tuesday how more than a year later, they are still having trouble sleeping, enjoying life and providing for their families.

It was the second day of a four-day sentencing hearing for white supremacist Brenton Harrison Tarrant, who slaughtered 51 worshippers and injured dozens more during the March 2019 attacks.

The 29-year-old Australian gunman in March pleaded guilty to murder, attempted murder, and terrorism, reversing an earlier not guilty plea. He could become the first person in New Zealand to be sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole, the toughest sentence available.

The hearing has given many a chance to confront Tarrant, who has shown little emotion throughout as he sits in the dock surrounded by five officers. He is noticeably thinner than after he was first arrested.

Rashid Omar, whose 24-year-old son Tariq was killed at the Al Noor mosque, said he'd desperately held out hope his son had survived until police and Muslim leaders read out a list of those who'd died.

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Kenosha protesters clash with police after Black man shot

KENOSHA, Wis. (AP) — Police in Wisconsin deployed tear gas in an attempt to disperse protesters who converged on the county courthouse during a second night of clashes after the police shooting of a Black man turned Kenosha into the nation’s latest flashpoint city in a summer of racial unrest.

Wisconsin Democratic Gov. Tony Evers activated 125 members of the National Guard to assist local law enforcement. Exit ramps off Interstate 94 from the Illinois state line into Kenosha County were closed Monday night, blocked off by police vehicles and trucks in some places.

Protesters chanted, “No justice, no peace” minutes before the 8 p.m. curfew. Some threw water bottles and other objects and confronted members of law enforcement who wore protective gear and stood shoulder-to-shoulder in front of the courthouse entrance.

Police fired the tear gas about 30 minutes after the curfew took effect, but not all the protesters left.

The latest confrontation came after protesters set cars on fire, smashed windows and clashed with officers in riot gear Sunday night over the wounding of 29-year-old Jacob Blake, who was hospitalized in serious condition. In a widely seen cellphone video made by an onlooker, Blake was shot, apparently in the back, as he leaned into his SUV while his three children sat in the vehicle.

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As world grapples with pandemic, schools are the epicenter

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The world is settling into a new normal for everyday life amid the coronavirus pandemic: online school classes, intermittent Zoom outages, museums that will only allow about a quarter of their usual visitors.

More than 800,000 people worldwide have perished from the virus and more than 23.5 million have contracted it, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University — figures experts say understate the true toll due to limited testing, missed mild cases and other factors.

Older people and those with underlying health conditions appear to be the most vulnerable. However, there's uncertainty about long-term effects and what impact millions of school children around the globe returning to classrooms might have on the virus' spread.

A significant red flag emerged in Hong Kong, where scientists say they have the first evidence of someone being reinfected with the virus that causes COVID-19. The case raises alarm bells, suggesting that surviving an infection does not provide lifelong immunity.

WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION

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Redwoods survive wildfire at California's oldest state park

BOULDER CREEK, Calif. (AP) — When a massive wildfire swept through California’s oldest state park last week it was feared many trees in a grove of old-growth redwoods, some of them 2,000 years old and among the tallest living things on Earth, may finally have succumbed.

But an Associated Press reporter and photographer hiked the renowned Redwood Trail at Big Basin Redwoods State Park on Monday and confirmed most of the ancient redwoods had withstood the blaze. Among the survivors is one dubbed Mother of the Forest.

“That is such good news, I can’t tell you how much that gives me peace of mind,” said Laura McLendon, conservation director for the Sempervirens Fund, an environmental group dedicated to the protection of redwoods and their habitats.

Redwood forests are meant to burn, she said, so reports earlier this week that the state park was “gone” were misleading.

The historic park headquarters is gone, as are many small buildings and campground infrastructure that went up in flames as fire swept through the park about 45 miles (72 kilometres) south of San Francisco.

News from © The Associated Press, 2020
The Associated Press

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