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

Current Conditions

Partly Cloudy
14.7°C

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

June 16, 2020 - 8:04 PM

Trump signs order on police reform, doesn't mention racism

WASHINGTON (AP) — Following weeks of national protests since the death of George Floyd, President Donald Trump signed an executive order Tuesday that he said would encourage better police practices. But he made no mention of the roiling national debate over racism spawned by police killings of black men and women.

Trump met privately with the families of several black Americans killed in interactions with police before his Rose Garden signing ceremony and said he grieved for the lives lost and families devastated. But then he quickly shifted his tone and devoted most of his public remarks to a need to respect and support “the brave men and women in blue who police our streets and keep us safe.”

He characterized the officers who have used excessive force as a “tiny” number of outliers among “trustworthy” police ranks.

“Reducing crime and raising standards are not opposite goals," he said before signing the order, flanked by police officials.

Trump and Republicans in Congress have been rushing to respond to the mass demonstrations against police brutality and racial prejudice that have raged for weeks across the country in response to the deaths of Floyd and other black Americans. It's a sudden shift that underscores how quickly the protests have changed the political conversation and pressured Washington to act.

___

A drug offers hope amid spikes in coronavirus infections

ATLANTA (AP) — As nations grapple with new outbreaks and spiking death tolls from the coronavirus, a commonly available drug appeared Tuesday to offer hope that the most seriously ill could have a better chance of survival.

The pandemic has forced countries to impose lockdowns and tough restrictions on daily life and travel, but infections have surged as they eased these rules and reopened their economies. With no vaccine available and much still unknown about the virus, researchers in England announced the first drug shown to save lives.

The drug, called dexamethasone, reduced deaths by 35% in patients who needed treatment with breathing machines and by 20% in those only needing supplemental oxygen, researchers in England said. It did not appear to help less ill patients.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the drug was the “biggest breakthrough yet” in treating the coronavirus, and top U.S. infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci called it "a significant improvement in the available therapeutic options that we have.”

Britain is making dexamethasone available to patients on the country’s National Health Service. The U.K. Department of Health said the drug had been approved to treat all hospitalized COVID-19 patients requiring oxygen, effective immediately. It said the U.K. had stockpiled enough to treat 200,000 patients.

___

Calls for de-escalation training grow after Atlanta shooting

ATLANTA (AP) — The deaths of George Floyd in Minneapolis and Rayshard Brooks in Atlanta in the span of less than three weeks have led to a push in the U.S. for more training of police officers in how to de-escalate tense situations before they explode in violence.

“You’ve got to get cops to understand that it’s not a cowardly act, that backing off could save this person’s life,” said Tom Manger, a retired police chief in Virginia and Maryland and former president of the Major Cities Chiefs Association.

Officers undergoing de-escalation training are taught how to keep their cool, talk to people to calm them down, and use the least amount of force required. Typically the instruction includes exercises in which actors playing members of the public try to provoke officers.

“It’s very clear that our police officers are to be guardians and not warriors within our communities,” Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said Monday in announcing she will require officers to continuously undergo such training in the wake of Brooks’ fatal shooting Friday.

Calls for increased de-escalation training have also come from politicians on Capitol Hill as well as from California’s attorney general, Michigan lawmakers and Houston’s police chief.

___

Powell warns that long downturn would mean severe damage

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell warned Tuesday that the U.S. economy faces a deep downturn with “significant uncertainty” about the timing and strength of a recovery. He cautioned that the longer the recession lasts, the worse the damage that would be inflicted on the job market and businesses.

In testimony to Congress, Powell stressed that the Fed is committed to using all its financial tools to cushion the damage from the coronavirus. But he said that until the public is confident the disease has been contained, “a full recovery is unlikely.” He warned that a prolonged downturn could inflict severe harm — especially to low-income workers who have been hit hardest.

Powell delivered the first of two days of semi-annual congressional testimony to the Senate Banking Committee before he will address the House Financial Services Committee on Wednesday. Several senators highlighted the disproportionate impact of the viral outbreak and the downturn on African-Americans and Latinos. Powell expressed his agreement.

“The way the pandemic has hit our economy... has been a real inequality-increaser,” the chairman said, because low-wage service jobs have been hardest hit and are disproportionately held by minorities. “That’s who’s bearing the brunt of this.”

He noted that the pandemic also poses “acute risks” for small businesses and their employees.

___

India: 20 troops killed in Himalayas clash with Chinese army

SRINAGAR, India (AP) — A clash high in the Himalayas between the world’s two most populated countries claimed the lives of 20 Indian soldiers in a border region that the two nuclear armed neighbours have disputed for decades, Indian officials said Tuesday.

The clash in the Ladakh region Monday — during which Indian officials said neither side fired any shots — was the first deadly confrontation between India and China since 1975. Experts said it would be difficult for the two nations to ease heightened tensions.

The Indian and Chinese troops fought each other with fists and rocks, Indian officials said on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to disclose the information.

The Indian Army initially said in a statement that three Indian soldiers had died, but later updated the number to 20 and said 17 "were critically injured in the line of duty at the standoff location and exposed to sub-zero temperatures in the high altitude terrain.” The statement did not disclose the nature of the soldiers' injuries.

China accused Indian forces of carrying out “provocative attacks” on its troops without offering more details and did not disclose if any of its soldiers died.

___

Near Trump's rally site, black Tulsa lives with fiery legacy

TULSA, Okla. (AP) — In the real world, 74-year-old Donald Shaw is walking on the empty, parched grass slope by Tulsa’s noisy crosstown expressway. He's on the other side of the city’s historical white-black dividing line from where President Donald Trump will hold a rally Saturday with his overwhelmingly white supporters.

But Shaw can conjure stories and images of so much more — the once-thriving black community that stood on this same ground, destroyed nearly a century ago by white violence and ensuing decades of repression.

“Just imagine, in your mind, all these homes,” Shaw said one morning this week, describing the black-built, black-owned houses and churches that once covered dozens of blocks where he's walking, the site of Tulsa's 1921 race massacre. “Just picture that.”

“Hotels, movie theatre, roller rink,” said Shaw, a retired man who spends his mornings sitting in the shade of an engraved stone memorial to the Home Style Café, A.S. Newkirk photography studio, and literally hundreds of other African American-owned bakeries, barber shops, attorney offices and businesses razed in the massacre.

Burned bricks and a fragment of a church basement are about all that survive today of the more than 30-block historically black district. On May 31 and June 1 in 1921, white residents and civil society leaders looted and burned Tulsa's black Greenwood district to the ground, and used planes to drop projectiles on it.

___

N. Korea's military to reenter inter-Korea co-operation sites

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea said Wednesday it will redeploy troops to now-shuttered inter-Korean co-operation sites, reinstall guard posts and resume military exercises at front-line areas, nullifying the landmark tension-reducing deals reached with South Korea just two years ago.

The announcement came a day after North Korea destroyed an inter-Korean liaison office in a choreographed display of anger that puts pressure on Washington and Seoul amid deadlocked nuclear diplomacy. The demolition was the most provocative act by North Korea since it entered nuclear talks in 2018, though the building in its border town of Kaesong was empty and the North had previously signalled plans to blow it up.

The North’s General Staff said military units will be deployed to the Diamond Mountain resort and the Kaesong industrial complex, both just north of the heavily fortified border. Those sites, once symbols of inter-Korean co-operation, have been shuttered for years due to inter-Korean disputes and the economic sanctions imposed on North Korea because of its nuclear program.

The North said it will resume military exercises and reestablish guard posts in border areas and and open front-line sites for flying propaganda balloons toward South Korea. It said it'll upgrade front-line military readiness to "top-class combat duty system,” while citizens are ready to “launch the largest ever leaflet scattering with a blitz.”

These steps would end September 2018 agreements reached during inter-Korean diplomacy that were aimed at lowering military tensions at border areas.

___

AP FACT CHECK: Trump on an AIDS vaccine that doesn't exist

WASHINGTON (AP) — Seizing on a medical milestone that doesn't exist, President Donald Trump said Tuesday he thinks the same scientific expertise that produced a vaccine for AIDS can deliver one soon for COVID-19, too. There is no vaccine for AIDS.

Trump also accused the previous administration of making no effort to stop abusive policing, ignoring a conspicuous drive by President Barack Obama to do just that.

Trump addressed policing and the pandemic in remarks at the White House for the signing of an executive order encouraging better law enforcement practices. A day earlier, his vice-president mischaracterized the state of the pandemic in Oklahoma as Trump gears up for a weekend rally in Tulsa, his first such event in months.

A look at their statements:

TRUMP, on scientists: “These are the people – the best, the smartest, the most brilliant anywhere, and they’ve come up with the AIDS vaccine. They’ve come up with ... various things.” — Tuesday at the White House.

___

Businesses, colleges plead with Trump to preserve work visas

BOSTON (AP) — Gregory Minott came to the U.S. from his native Jamaica more than two decades ago on a student visa and was able to carve out a career in architecture thanks to temporary work visas.

Now a U.S. citizen and co-founder of a real estate development firm in Boston, the 43-year-old worries that new restrictions on student and work visas expected to be announced as early as this week will prevent others from following a similar path to the American dream.

“Innovation thrives when there is cultural, economic and racial diversity,” Minott said. “To not have peers from other countries collaborating side by side with Americans is going to be a setback for the country. We learned from Americans, but Americans also learn from us.”

Minott is among the business leaders and academic institutions large and small pleading with President Donald Trump to move cautiously as he eyes expanding the temporary visa restrictions he imposed in April.

They argue that cutting off access to talented foreign workers will only further disrupt the economy and stifle innovation at a time when it’s needed most. But influential immigration hard-liners normally aligned with Trump have been calling for stronger action after his prior visa restrictions didn’t go far enough for them.

___

Virginia governor to propose Juneteenth as state holiday

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam announced Tuesday that he's making Juneteenth — a day that commemorates the end of slavery in the U.S. — an official holiday in a state that was once home to the capital of the Confederacy.

Juneteenth, which is also called Emancipation Day and Freedom Day, is celebrated annually on June 19. Texas first made it a state holiday in 1980. The holiday would be a paid day off for all state employees. Northam said he thinks Virginia would be only the second state to do so.

“It’s time we elevate this,” Northam said of the June 19 commemoration. “Not just a celebration by and for some Virginians but one acknowledged and celebrated by all of us.”

The Democratic governor is giving every executive branch employee this Friday off as a paid holiday and will work with the legislature later this year to pass a law codifying Juneteenth as a permanent state holiday. The legislation is likely to pass the Democratic-controlled legislature with little trouble.

The holiday commemorates June 19, 1865, when news finally reached African Americans in Texas that President Abraham Lincoln had issued the Emancipation Proclamation freeing slaves living in Confederate states two years earlier. When Union soldiers arrived in Galveston to bring the news that slavery had been abolished, former slaves celebrated.

News from © The Associated Press, 2020
The Associated Press

  • Popular penticton News
View Site in: Desktop | Mobile