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

Current Conditions

17.4°C

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

June 28, 2020 - 8:05 PM

World hits coronavirus milestones amid fears worse to come

ROME (AP) — The world surpassed two sobering coronavirus milestones Sunday -- 500,000 confirmed deaths, 10 million confirmed cases -- and hit another high mark for daily new infections as governments that attempted reopenings continued to backtrack and warn that worse news could be yet to come.

“COVID-19 has taken a very swift and very dangerous turn in Texas over just the past few weeks,” said Gov. Greg Abbott, who allowed businesses to start reopening in early May but on Friday shut down bars and limited restaurant dining amid a spike in cases.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom rolled back reopenings of bars in seven counties, including Los Angeles. He ordered them to close immediately and urged eight other counties to issue local health orders mandating the same.

More Florida beaches will be closing again to avoid further spread of the new coronavirus as officials try to tamp down on large gatherings amid a spike in COVID-19 cases. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said interactions among young people are driving the surge.

“Caution was thrown to the wind and so we are where we are," DeSantis said.

___

Trump denies briefing on reported bounties against US troops

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump on Sunday denied that he was made aware of U.S. intelligence officials’ conclusions that Russia secretly offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants for killing American troops in Afghanistan. The Trump administration was set to brief select members of Congress on the matter on Monday.

The intelligence assessments came amid Trump’s push to withdraw the U.S. from Afghanistan, and suggested that Russia was making overtures to militants as the U.S. and the Taliban were holding talks to end the long-running war. The assessment was first reported by The New York Times and then confirmed to The Associated Press by American intelligence officials and two others with knowledge of the matter.

There were conflicting reports about whether Trump was aware of Russia’s actions. The intelligence officials told the AP that the president was briefed on the matter earlier this year; Trump denied that, tweeting on Sunday that neither he nor Vice-President Mike Pence had been briefed.

The intelligence officials and others with knowledge of the matter insisted on anonymity in order to discuss the highly sensitive matter.

The White House National Security Council would not confirm the assessments, but said the U.S. receives thousands of intelligence reports daily that are subject to strict scrutiny.

___

Look away, Dixie: Mississippi to lose rebel emblem from flag

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi lawmakers voted Sunday to surrender the Confederate battle emblem from the state flag, more than a century after white supremacist legislators adopted the design a generation after the South lost the Civil War.

Spectators cheered and applauded after the historic votes in the House and Senate.

Each chamber had broad bipartisan support for the landmark decision. Republican Gov. Tate Reeves has said he will sign the bill, and the state flag will lose its official status as soon as he acts. That could happen “in coming days,” said his spokeswoman, Renae Eze.

Mississippi has a 38% Black population — and the last state flag with the emblem that’s widely seen as racist. The state faced mounting pressure to change its flag as weeks of international protests against racial injustice in the United States have led to the toppling or removal of Confederate statues and monuments.

After an emotional day Sunday, legislators hugged each other — even those on opposing sides.

___

Trump tweets video with 'white power' chant, then deletes it

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump on Sunday tweeted approvingly of a video showing one of his supporters chanting “white power," a racist slogan associated with white supremacists. He later deleted the tweet and the White House said the president had not heard “the one statement” on the video.

The video appeared to have been taken at The Villages, a Florida retirement community, and showed dueling demonstrations between Trump supporters and opponents.

“Thank you to the great people of The Villages,” Trump tweeted. Moments into the video clip he shared, a man driving a golf cart displaying pro-Trump signs and flags shouts 'white power." The video also shows anti-Trump protesters shouting “Nazi," “racist," and profanities at the Trump backers.

“There's no question'' that Trump should not have retweeted the video and "he should just take it down,” Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., told CNN's “State of the Union.” Scott is the only Black Republican in the Senate.

“I think it’s indefensible,” he added.

___

Summer may decide fate of leading shots in vaccine race

People on six continents already are getting jabs in the arm as the race for a COVID-19 vaccine enters a defining summer, with even bigger studies poised to prove if any shot really works -- and maybe offer a reality check.

Already British and Chinese researchers are chasing the coronavirus beyond their borders, testing potential vaccines in Brazil and the United Arab Emirates because there are too few new infections at home to get clear answers.

The U.S. is set to open the largest trials -- 30,000 people to test a government-created shot starting in July, followed about a month later with another 30,000 expected to test a British one.

Those likely will be divided among Americans and volunteers in other countries such as Brazil or South Africa, Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health told The Associated Press.

While he’s optimistic, “we’ve been burned before,” Fauci cautioned.

___

Trump's attacks seen undercutting confidence in 2020 vote

WASHINGTON (AP) — It was a startling declaration about one of the pillars of American democracy, all the more so given its source.

The president of the United States last week publicly predicted without evidence that the 2020 presidential election would be “the most corrupt election in the history of our country.”

“We cannot let this happen," Donald Trump told an audience of young supporters at a Phoenix megachurch. "They want it to happen so badly.”

Just over four months before Election Day, the president is escalating his efforts to cast doubt on the integrity of the vote.

It's a well-worn tactic for Trump, who in 2016 went after the very process that ultimately put him in the White House. He first attacked the Republican primaries (“rigged and boss controlled") and then the general election, when he accused the media and Democratic rival Hillary Clinton’s campaign of conspiring against him to undermine a free and fair election.

___

DaBaby pays tribute to George Floyd at BET Awards

NEW YORK (AP) — Performing as a police officer pressed his knee on his neck, replicating the last moments of George Floyd’s life, multi-platinum rapper DaBaby rapped a verse from the Black Lives Matter remix of his hit song “Rockstar” at the BET Awards.

Sunday’s show, a virtual event because of the coronavirus pandemic, featured a number of highly produced, well-crafted and pre-taped performances. DaBaby’s clip, featuring Roddy Ricch, also featured images from protests, a reflection of the current world in the wake of Floyd’s death and the death of others, including Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery.

The BET Awards, celebrating its 20th anniversary, kicked off Sunday with a performance featuring Black artists rapping and singing anthems about the Black experience and fighting for equal rights.

The 12-year-old sensation Keedron Bryant, who turned heads on social media with his passionate performance about being a young Black man in today’s world, started the show with an a cappella performance of his poignant song “I Just Wanna Live,” which earned him a record deal. That was followed by an all-star performance of Public Enemy’s 1989 anthem “Fight the Power,” featuring Nas, Black Thought, Rapsody and YG adding new lyrics to the song, even namedropping Taylor and others.

Chuck D kicked off the performance, replacing the year 1989 with 2020. “Fight the Power” topped the Billboard rap charts more three decades ago and was featured in Spike Lee’s epic “Do the Right Thing.” Flavor Flav, Questlove and Black Thought and Chuck D’s artist Jahi were also part of the performance.

___

Starbucks latest to say it will pause social media ads

Starbucks is the latest company to say it will pause social media ads after a campaign led by civil rights organizations called for an ad boycott of Facebook, saying it doesn't do enough to stop racist and violent content.

Starbucks said Sunday that its actions were not part of the “#StopHateforProfit” campaign, but that it is pausing its social ads while talking with civil rights organizations and its media partners about how to stop hate speech online.

The coffee chain's announcement follows statements from Unilever, the European consumer-goods giant behind Ben & Jerry's ice cream and Dove soap; Coca-Cola; cellphone company Verizon and outdoors companies like Patagonia, Eddie Bauer and REI; film company Magnolia Pictures; jeans maker Levi's and dozens of smaller companies. Some of the companies will pause ads just on Facebook, while others will refrain from advertising more broadly on social media.

In response to companies halting advertising, Facebook executive Carolyn Everson said earlier this week the social networking platform is committed to purging hateful content from its services.

“Our conversations with marketers and civil rights organizations are about how, together, we can be a force for good,” said Everson, vice-president of Facebook’s global business group.

___

New knotholes: Good MLB views, if fans know where to look

BOSTON (AP) — Tucked under the centre field seats at Fenway Park, down some stairs from Lansdowne Street in an area previously used as the visiting team’s batting cage, is a sports bar that is preparing to reopen from the coronavirus shutdown.

Largely windowless and decorated with sepia photographs hung on dark wooden walls, the main source of light is the sunshine streaming in through a thick metal screen that reveals the true treasure of the location: a view of the Boston Red Sox field, from Green Monster to Pesky Pole, that could make the Bleacher Bar one of the few spots to watch a major league game in person this season.

“It’s one of a kind. It really is,” said Joe Hicks, who runs the restaurant and three others in the area. “Kids and families, they get excited when they walk in here and they see how cool this is. People, they walk in and they’re just naturally happy.

“Being able to see inside the park, it doesn’t get much better than that.”

Major League Baseball suspended spring training on March 12, and the season that was scheduled to open on March 26 never did. Last week, players and owners reached an agreement to play an abbreviated, 60-game season that would start July 23 or 24 in teams’ home ballparks.

___

Fracking pioneer Chesapeake files for bankruptcy protection

NEW YORK (AP) — Chesapeake Energy, a shale drilling pioneer that helped to turn the United States into a global energy powerhouse, has filed for bankruptcy protection.

The Oklahoma City-based company said Sunday that it was a necessary decision given its debt. Its debt load is currently nearing $9 billion. It has entered a plan with lenders to cut $7 billion of its debt and said it will continue to operate as usual during the bankruptcy process.

The oil and gas company was a leader in the fracking boom, using unconventional techniques to extract oil and gas from the ground, a method that has come under scrutiny because of its environmental impact.

Other wildcatters followed in Chesapeake’s path, racking up huge debts to find oil and gas in fields spanning New Mexico, Texas, the Dakotas and Pennsylvania. A reckoning is now coming due with those massive debts needing to be serviced by Chesapeake and those that followed its path.

More than 200 oil producers have filed for bankruptcy protection in the past five years, a trend that’s expected to continue as a global pandemic saps demand for energy and depresses prices further.

News from © The Associated Press, 2020
The Associated Press

  • Popular vernon News
View Site in: Desktop | Mobile