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

September 06, 2020 - 8:04 PM

Mayor promises police reforms following Daniel Prude's death

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (AP) — The mayor of Rochester promised reforms are coming to the city's police department as community elders sought to bring calmer minds to a fifth night of demonstrations Sunday over the March death of Daniel Prude, who lost consciousness after police held him down with a hood over his head.

Mayor Lovely Warren announced at a news conference Sunday that the crisis intervention team and its budget would move from the police department to the city’s department of youth and recreation services. Warren did not provide specifics, but said the move would be part of a series of reforms planned for “the coming weeks, months and years.”

“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, who joined Warren at the news conference, said he supports the need for reform in his department and is working with experts and clinicians in getting outpatient services for people with mental health issues that bring them into repeated police contact.

Warren suspended the seven officers involved in Prude's death last week after his family released police video from the March night when he was restrained on a city street.

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California simmers while it burns, but no big power outages

SHAVER LAKE, Calif. (AP) — Rescuers in military helicopters airlifted 207 people to safety after an explosive wildfire trapped them in a popular camping area in California’s Sierra National Forest, one of dozens of fires burning Sunday amid record-breaking temperatures that strained the state's electrical grid and threatened power outages for millions.

The California Office of Emergency Services said Black Hawk and Chinook helicopters were used for the rescues that began late Saturday and continued into Sunday morning at Mammoth Pool Reservoir. At least two people were severely injured and 10 more suffered moderate injuries. Two campers refused rescue and stayed behind, the Madera County Sheriff's Office said, and there was no immediate word on their fates.

A photo tweeted by the California National Guard showed more than 20 evacuees packed tightly inside one helicopter, some crouched on the floor clutching their belongings. In another photo taken on the ground from a helicopter cockpit, the densely wooded hills surrounding the aircraft were in flames.

The blaze dubbed the Creek Fire has charred more than 71 square miles (184 square kilometres) of timber, and the 800 firefighters on the scene had yet to get any containment after two days of work on steep terrain in sweltering heat. Some homes and businesses have burned, but there was no official tabulation yet.

Other blazes broke out in Southern California and forced evacuations in San Diego and San Bernardino counties.

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Veterans are divided about reports Trump disparaged military

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (AP) — In this soldier's city and across the country, veterans and military families are divided about reports that President Donald Trump made disparaging comments toward the military, with some service members bristling at the remarks and others questioning whether they happened.

Thomas Richardson, a retired member of the Army’s 82nd Airborne, did not like what he heard.

Richardson was trained to respect the office of commander in chief, but he was rankled by allegations in The Atlantic, many of them independently confirmed by The Associated Press, that Trump had referred to fallen and captured U.S. service members as “losers” and “suckers.”

“Usually, you don’t choose those kinds of missions. You agree to serve and you agree to go where your assignment is,” said Richardson, who did not vote for Trump in 2016.

Fayetteville, home to more than 200,000 people, is bordered by Fort Bragg on its northern limits. It was named in 1783 for the Marquis de Lafayette, the French hero of the American Revolution.

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States plan for cuts as Congress deadlocks on more virus aid

Spending cuts to schools, childhood vaccinations and job-training programs. New taxes on millionaires, cigarettes and legalized marijuana. Borrowing, drawing from rainy day funds and reducing government workers' pay.

These are some actions states are considering to shore up their finances amid a sharp drop in tax revenue caused by the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.

With Congress deadlocked for months on a new coronavirus relief package, many states haven't had the luxury of waiting to see whether more money is on the way. Some that have delayed budget decisions are growing frustrated by the uncertainty.

As the U.S. Senate returns to session Tuesday, some governors and state lawmakers are again urging action on proposals that could provide hundreds of billions of additional dollars to states and local governments.

“There is a lot at stake in the next federal stimulus package and, if it’s done wrong, I think it could be catastrophic for California,” said Assemblyman Phil Ting, a Democrat from San Francisco and chairman of the Assembly Budget Committee.

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As pandemic raged, roadways became speedways

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Some drivers took advantage of roads and highways emptied by the coronavirus pandemic by pushing well past the speed limit, a trend that continues even as states try to get back to normal.

The Iowa State Patrol recorded a 101% increase from January through August over the four-year average in tickets for speeds exceeding 100 mph, along with a 75% increase in tickets for speeds of 25 mph or more over the posted speed limit.

California Highway Patrol officers issued more than 15,000 tickets from mid-March through Aug. 19 for speeds exceeding 100 mph, more than a 100% increase over the same time period a year ago. That includes a continuing spike from May on.

The most likely explanation is drivers taking advantage of more open roads because of the pandemic, said Officer Ian Hoey, a spokesman for the California agency.

The patrol planned a heavy presence over the Labor Day weekend, he said.

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The Latest: Australia OKs funding for two potential vaccines

CANBERRA, Australia — Australia announced on Monday it had struck supply and production agreements with pharmaceutical companies worth 1.7 billion Australian dollars ($1.2 billion) over two potential COVID-19 vaccines.

Under the agreement, Britain’s University of Oxford in collaboration with AstraZeneca and Australia’s University of Queensland working with CSL will provide more than 84.8 million vaccine doses for Australia’s population of 26 million people, almost entirely manufactured in the Australian city of Melbourne, a government statement said.

Australians would have access to 3.8 million doses of the University of Oxford vaccine in January and February, it said.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said both vaccines would need to be proven safe and effective and meet all necessary regulatory requirements before being made available to the public. Any vaccine would be free to all Australians.

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Jacob Blake speaks out for first time since police shooting

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Jacob Blake has spoken publicly for the first time since a Kenosha, Wisconsin, police officer shot him seven times in the back, saying he's in constant pain from the shooting, which doctors fear will leave him paralyzed from the waist down.

In a video posted Saturday night on Twitter by his family's lawyer, Ben Crump, Blake said from his hospital bed that, “Twenty-four hours, every 24 hours it’s pain, nothing but pain. It hurts to breathe, it hurts to sleep, it hurts to move from side-to-side, it hurts to eat.”

Blake, a 29-year-old father of six, also said he has staples in his back and stomach.

“Your life, and not only just your life, your legs, something you need to move around and forward in life, can be taken from you like this,” Blake said, snapping his fingers.

He added: “Stick together, make some money, make everything easier for our people out there, man, because there’s so much time that’s been wasted.”

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As virus cases drop, governors may gamble on bars. Again.

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A guy walks into a bar, which still isn't allowed in Texas.

But Jeff Brightwell owns this bar. Two months into an indefinite shutdown, he's just checking on the place — the tables six feet apart, the “Covid 19 House Rules” sign instructing drinkers not to mingle. All the safeguards that didn't keep the doors open because Dot's Hop House & Cocktail Courtyard is a bar under Texas law. And bars, in a pandemic? “Really not good," Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's infectious disease expert, told Congress in June.

But some governors are warming up to good enough. Thousands of bars forced to close after massive virus outbreaks swept across the U.S. this summer could be starting to see an end in sight as cases drop off and the political will for continuing lockdowns fades. For some states, it is a gamble worth trying, only a few months after a rush to reopen bars in May and June ended in disaster.

“Our governor waved the magic wand, put us out of business and offered us nothing,” said Brightwell, whose Dallas bar typically employs around 50 people. He says his industry has been scapegoated.

Bars remain under full closure orders in more than a half-dozen states, including hard-hit ones like Texas but also Connecticut, which has one of the nation’s lowest positivity rates. And even in states already letting bars operate, restrictions vary from one county to the next and can tighten or loosen abruptly, reflecting the unease among governors even as reopening movie theatres and amusement parks create a look of getting over the hump.

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Djokovic out of US Open after hitting line judge with ball

NEW YORK (AP) — Novak Djokovic was kicked out of the U.S. Open for accidentally hitting a line judge in the throat with a tennis ball after dropping a game in his fourth-round match Sunday, a stunning end to his 29-match winning streak and bid for an 18th Grand Slam title.

As he walked to the Arthur Ashe Stadium sideline for a changeover, trailing Pablo Carreño Busta 6-5 in the first set, Djokovic — who was seeded and ranked No. 1 and an overwhelming favourite for the championship — angrily smacked a ball behind him. The ball flew right at the line judge, who dropped to her knees at the back of the court and reached for her neck.

During a discussion of about 10 minutes near the net involving tournament referee Soeren Friemel, Grand Slam supervisor Andreas Egli and chair umpire Aurelie Tourte, Djokovic pleaded his case.

“His point was that he didn't hit the line umpire intentionally. He said, ‘Yes, I was angry. I hit the ball. I hit the line umpire. The facts are very clear. But it wasn't my intent. I didn't do it on purpose.’ So he said he shouldn't be defaulted for it,” said Friemel, who made the decision to end the match. “And we all agree that he didn't do it on purpose, but the facts are still that he hit the line umpire and the line umpire was clearly hurt.”

Friemel didn't see what happened, and said he was not allowed to check a video replay, but was given a rundown by Egli and Tourte. Friemel said that even if Djokovic didn't intend to hurt the line judge, she was hurt, and that was enough to merit the ruling.

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Suppliers reluctant to ship goods without credit insurance

NEW YORK (AP) —

Gold Medal International is sitting on millions of dollars worth of socks at its North Carolina warehouse that it can’t ship to stores.

The reason? The 66-year-old family-owned sock maker can’t get enough credit insurance to cover potential losses if the stores can’t pay for the goods they’ve ordered.

Without that insurance, Gold Medal — and thousands of other suppliers facing a similar dilemma — would be on the hook for unpaid bills. But not shipping the goods to retailers means losing sales and big write-downs on inventory. The problem will only get worse if retailers can’t stock their shelves and shoppers can’t find what they want heading into the critical holiday season.

“I got the goods, I made them. I don’t have a liquidity problem,” said Paul Rotstein, who’s been president of New York-based Gold Medal for 30 years. ”But if I can’t ship $12 million worth of orders, guess what? I have a big liquidity problem.”

News from © The Associated Press, 2020
The Associated Press

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