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

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

August 29, 2020 - 8:04 PM

'How dare we not vote?' Black voters organize after DC march

WASHINGTON (AP) — Tears streamed down Brooke Moreland’s face as she watched tens of thousands gather on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to decry systemic racism and demand racial justice in the wake of several police killings of Black Americans.

But for the Indianapolis mother of three, the fiery speeches delivered Friday at the commemoration of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom also gave way to one central message: Vote and demand change at the ballot box in November.

“As Black people, a lot of the people who look like us died for us to be able to sit in public, to vote, to go to school and to be able to walk around freely and live our lives,” the 31-year-old Moreland said. “Every election is an opportunity, so how dare we not vote after our ancestors fought for us to be here?”

That determination could prove critical in a presidential election where race is emerging as a flashpoint. President Donald Trump, at this past week’s Republican National Convention, emphasized a “law and order” message aimed at his largely white base of supporters. His Democratic rival, Joe Biden, has expressed empathy with Black victims of police brutality and is counting on strong turnout from African Americans to win critical states such as North Carolina, Florida, Pennsylvania and Michigan.

As the campaign enters its latter stages, there's an intensifying effort among African Americans to transform frustration over police brutality, systemic racism and the disproportionate toll of the coronavirus into political power. Organizers and participants said Friday's march delivered a much needed rallying cry to mobilize.

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Trump's intel chief ends election security briefings to Hill

WASHINGTON (AP) — The nation’s top intelligence official has informed Congress that his office will no longer give in-person election security briefings on Capitol Hill, a move that raised concern among lawmakers Saturday about the public’s right to know about foreign interference in the upcoming presidential election.

President Donald Trump said National Intelligence Director John Ratcliffe made the decision because the administration "got tired” of intelligence about election security leaking from Congress.

“They leaked the information ... and what's even worse, they leaked the wrong information and we got tired of it,” Trump told reporters while attending a briefing on Hurricane Laura in Orange, Texas. He didn't offer details to support his statement.

Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, said the idea that the national intelligence director’s office would stop briefing Congress on foreign threats to the U.S. election is “an outrage” and that written updates were “flatly insufficient.”

“America’s election — indeed, our foundation of democracy itself — is under threat as we face weaponized disinformation from global foes around the planet,” King, a member of the Senate's intelligence committee, said in a lengthy statement. “To stifle and limit the American peoples’ awareness of this fact cannot be explained — or allowed.”

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Chadwick Boseman, who embodied Black icons, dies of cancer

LOS ANGELES (AP) — First Chadwick Boseman slipped on the cleats of Jackie Robinson, then the Godfather of Soul’s dancing shoes, portraying both Black American icons with a searing intensity that commanded respect. When the former playwright suited up as Black Panther, he brought cool intellectual gravitas to the Marvel superhero whose “Wakanda forever!” salute reverberated worldwide.

As his Hollywood career boomed, though, Boseman was privately undergoing “countless surgeries and chemotherapy” to battle colon cancer, his family said in a statement announcing his death at age 43 on Friday. He’d been diagnosed at stage 3 in 2016 but never spoke publicly about it.

The cancer was there when his character T’Challa visited the ancestors’ “astral plane” in poignant scenes from the Oscar-nominated “Black Panther,” there when he first became a producer on the action thriller “21 Bridges,” and there last summer when he shot an adaptation of a play by his hero August Wilson. It was there when he played a radical Black leader — seen only in flashbacks and visions — whose death is mourned by Vietnam War comrades-in-arms in Spike Lee’s “Da 5 Bloods.”

“A true fighter, Chadwick persevered through it all, and brought you many of the films you have come to love so much,” his family said. “It was the honour of his career to bring King T’Challa to life in Black Panther.” Boseman died at his home in the Los Angeles area with his wife and family by his side, his publicist Nicki Fioravante told The Associated Press.

Boseman is survived by his wife and a parent and had no children, Fioravante said.

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'7 bullets, 7 days': Protesters march for Blake in Kenosha

KENOSHA, Wis. (AP) — With chants of “One person, one vote!" and "No justice, no peace!” a crowd of about 1,000 demonstrators gathered outside a Wisconsin courthouse Saturday to denounce police violence and share messages of change, a week after an officer shot Jacob Blake in the back and left the 29-year-old Black man paralyzed.

The diverse group of protesters also chanted “Seven bullets, seven days!” — a reference to the number of times Blake was shot last Sunday — as they marched toward the courthouse in Kenosha. There, Blake's father, Jacob Blake Sr., gave an impassioned call for changing a system he described as fostering police brutality and racial inequities.

“There were seven bullets put in my son’s back. ... Hell yeah, I’m mad," said Blake Sr. He said he wants to ask the police “what gave them the right to attempted murder on my child? What gave them the right to think that my son was an animal? What gave them the right to take something that was not theirs? I’m tired of this.”

Kenosha Police Officer Rusten Sheskey and two other officers were responding to a domestic dispute call last Sunday when Sheskey shot Blake in the back. Blake Sr. told reporters on Saturday that his son is heavily sedated, but he has regained consciousness.

“He’s in a lot of pain,” he said. “I just wish I could pick my baby up and make it all right.” He called for Sheskey to be charged and for the other two officers at the scene to be fired.

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'A time to pick up:' Hurricane-hurt Louisiana begins cleanup

CAMERON PARISH, La. (AP) — Residents in southwestern Louisiana embarked Saturday on the epic task of clearing away felled trees, ripped-off roofs and downed power lines after Hurricane Laura tore through parts of the state.

The U.S. toll from the Category 4 hurricane rose to 16 deaths, with more than half of those killed by carbon monoxide poisoning from the unsafe operation of generators. The latest deaths included an 80-year-old woman and an 84-year-old man who died from just such a poisoning.

President Donald Trump toured the damage from Laura in Louisiana and Texas on Saturday. He and Gov. John Bel Edwards made their way down a street blocked by trees and where houses were battered by the storm, which the governor said was the most powerful hurricane to strike the state. That means it surpassed even Katrina, which was a Category 3 storm when it hit 15 years ago on Saturday, to the day.

Although the storm was not as bad as once feared, authorities were still warning it could leave people with out running water or power for weeks in the stifling late summer heat. It made roads impassable, tore roofs and walls off buildings and strew debris about.

It also led to fires at a chlorine plant in Westlake in the hard-hit Lake Charles area. On Saturday, crews were battling a new blaze, leading authorities to broaden a shelter-in-place order to 1 mile (1.6 kilometres) around the plant, state Department of Environmental Quality spokesman Greg Langley said.

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The Latest: S. Korea sees 299 new cases as virus spikes

SEOUL, South Korea -- South Korea has reported 299 new cases of the coronavirus as officials placed limits on dining at restaurants and closed fitness centres and after-school academies in the greater capital area to slow the spread of the virus.

The 17th consecutive day of triple-digit daily increases brought the national caseload to 19,699, including 323 deaths.

The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said 209 of the new cases came from the capital of Seoul and nearby Gyeonggi province and Incheon, a region that had been at the centre of a viral resurgence this month.

Health authorities have ordered churches and nightspots to close and shifted more schools back to remote learning nationwide as infections spiked in recent weeks.

For eight days starting Sunday, restaurants in the Seoul metropolitan area will be allowed to provide only deliveries and takeouts after 9 p.m. Franchised coffee shops like Starbucks will sell only takeout drinks and food while gyms and after-school academies will be shut to slow the viral spread in the region.

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Biden, aiming at Trump, says he won't use military as 'prop'

WASHINGTON (AP) — Joe Biden said on Saturday that as president, he would never use the military “as a prop or private militia” and accused President Donald Trump of employing U.S. forces to settle “personal vendettas" and violate citizens' rights.

The Democratic presidential nominee, in a virtual address to the National Guard Association of the United States' general conference, said Trump recommended "that you should be deployed to quote, ‘dominate,’ your fellow citizens for exercising their right to peacefully protest.”

“We’re so much better than this," Biden said. "You deserve so much better.”

His comments came a day after Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told Congress that the armed forces will have no role in carrying out the election process or resolving a disputed vote.

It was a sign of rising tensions on both sides as the president has declared without evidence that the expected surge in mail-in ballots during the coronavirus pandemic will make the vote “inaccurate and fraudulent." Trump has also suggested he might not accept the election results if he loses.

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California moves to consider reparations for slavery

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California lawmakers are setting up a task force to study and make recommendations for reparations to African Americans, particularly the descendants of slaves, as the nation struggles again with civil rights and unrest following the latest shooting of a Black man by police.

The state Senate supported creating the nine-member commission on a bipartisan 33-3 vote Saturday. The measure returns to the Assembly for a final vote before lawmakers adjourn for the year on Monday, though Assembly members overwhelmingly already approved an earlier version of the bill.

“Let's be clear: Chattel slavery, both in California and across our nation, birthed a legacy of racial harm and inequity that continues to impact the conditions of Black life in California,” said Democratic Sen. Holly Mitchell of Los Angeles.

She cited disproportionate homelessness, unemployment, involvement in the criminal justice system, lower academic performance and higher health risks during the coronavirus pandemic.

Although California before the Civil War was officially a free state, Mitchell listed legal and judicial steps state officials took at the time to support slavery in Southern states while repressing Blacks.

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‘Protect our babies:’ Hospital cares for babies in hurricane

As the wind howled and the rain slammed down, a team of nurses, respiratory therapists and a doctor worked through the night to care for 19 tiny babies as Hurricane Laura slammed southwestern Louisiana.

The babies, some on ventilators or eating through a feeding tube, seemed to weather the storm just fine, said Dr. Juan Bossano, the medical director of the neonatal intensive care unit at Lake Charles Memorial Hospital for Women.

“They did very well. They tolerated it very well. We had a very good day,” he said.

Laura made landfall early Thursday morning as a Category 4 storm, packing top winds of 150 mph (241 kph), and pushing a storm surge as high as 15 feet in some areas.

Hours before it made landfall, officials had to move the babies from the women’s hospital to the main hospital in the system after it became clear that storm surge could inundate the women’s hospital, located on the southern end of Lake Charles. The hospital has its own generator and hospital administrator Alesha Alford said it was built to withstand hurricane force winds. But in the single story facility, there's no room to move up and storm surge in that area was expected to hit nine feet.

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Fans hope Marvel comic book improves Native representation

Past portrayals of Native American or Indigenous comic book superheroes would often follow the same checklist — mystical powers, an ability to talk to animals and a costume of either a headdress or a loincloth.

“Poor research was done. They were just going off of TV and film,” said artist Jeffrey Veregge of the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe in Washington state. One of his biggest complaints is that mainstream “heroes from every place else had actual costumes" while Native characters weren't represented well.

Growing up reading comic books on his tribe's land outside Seattle, Veregge related more with non-Native heroes like Iron Man or Spider-Man. Now, he's “living a dream,” overseeing a Marvel comic book about Native stories told by Native people.

Marvel Comics announced this month that it's assembled Native artists and writers for “Marvel Voices: Indigenous Voices #1,” an anthology that will revisit some of its Native characters. It's timed for release during Native American History Month in November.

Native comic book fans hope it's a new start for authentic representation in mainstream superhero fare. Marvel says the project was planned long before the nation's reckoning over racial injustice, which has prompted changes including the Washington NFL team dropping its decades-old Redskins mascot.

News from © The Associated Press, 2020
The Associated Press

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