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

August 26, 2020 - 8:05 PM

GOP convention defends police as racial tension rises anew

WASHINGTON (AP) — Republicans aggressively defended law enforcement on the third night of their convention, as the nation faced renewed tensions following the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man in Wisconsin that sparked protests in a state that could decide the fall election.

Vice-President Mike Pence, the evening's featured speaker, seized on the national reckoning over racial injustice to argue that Democratic leaders are allowing lawlessness to prevail in cities from coast to coast. He and others described cities wracked by violence, though protests in most locations have been largely peaceful.

“The American people know we don’t have to choose between supporting law enforcement and standing with African American neighbours to improve the quality of life in our cities and towns,” he said in remarks released before his appearance. He also assailed Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden for saying there is an “implicit bias” against minorities and “systemic racism” in the U.S.

“The hard truth is ... you won’t be safe in Joe Biden’s America,” Pence said.

Meanwhile, the steady image Republicans were aiming to portray of President Donald Trump at the convention was running into a turbulent outside reality: the police shooting of Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, the potentially catastrophic hurricane bearing down on the Gulf Coast, wildfires that have ravaged huge areas of California and the still-raging coronavirus pandemic that is killing more than 1,000 Americans a day.

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The Latest: At RNC, Pence warns of impending Hurricane Laura

WASHINGTON (AP) — Vice-President Mike Pence says people in the path of Hurricane Laura should heed warnings about the strength of the storm and he pledged the Trump administration’s help.

He said, “Stay safe and know that we’ll be with you every step of the way.”

Pence spoke at Fort McHenry in Baltimore, Maryland, as he “humbly” accepted the GOP’s nomination for vice-president at the Republican National Convention. It was not clear until just before he took the stage that he would address the looming Category 4 hurricane.

The strengthening storm menaced Texas and Louisiana along the Gulf Coast, raising fears of a 20-foot (6-meter) storm surge that forecasters said would be “unsurvivable.” Authorities implored coastal residents of Texas and Louisiana to evacuate, but not everyone did before winds began buffeting trees back and forth.

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Republican Convention takeaways: Sharing stage with crises

WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican proceeded with the third night of their national convention, but many Americans — particularly those in the path of Hurricane Laura — were focused on more immediate concerns. Here are some key takeaways:

CRISES DRAIN CONVENTION ATTENTION

A political convention is the most scripted, tightly controllable of events, especially when it is mostly virtual and much of it is prerecorded.

That is, until events beyond the control of convention planners make the political ritual seem almost inconsequential.

As Republicans gathered for the third day of a convention to renominate President Donald Trump, a massive hurricane was taking aim at the Gulf Coast, wildfires continued to scorch California and the National Guard was being deployed to a city in the battleground state of Wisconsin after a white police officer shot a Black man. And all the while a deadly pandemic continued to claim the lives of nearly 1,000 Americans a day.

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AP FACT CHECK: Pence presses a distorted case on economy

WASHINGTON (AP) — Vice-President Mike Pence and fellow Republicans pressed a distorted case Wednesday that President Donald Trump took over a moribund economy from Barack Obama and supercharged it. That's not what happened.

Speakers at the Republican National Convention also hailed Trump for protecting the health insurance of people with preexisting illness, flipping reality on its head as his administration tries to overturn the law that guarantees those protections.

A look at how some of the the rhetoric from the convention's first night compares with the facts:

ECONOMY

PENCE, in prepared remarks: “Four years ago, we inherited ... an economy struggling to break out of the slowest recovery since the Great Depression. Despite unrelenting opposition and obstruction from the swamp in Washington, we built the greatest economy in the world."

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Laura moves toward landfall near Louisiana-Texas border

DELCAMBRE, La. (AP) — Laura roared toward landfall near the Lousiana-Texas border as a menacing Category 4 hurricane late Wednesday, raising fears of a 20-foot storm surge that forecasters said would be "unsurvivable” and capable of engulfing entire communities. Ocean water topped by white-capped waves began rising ominously as the monster neared.

Authorities implored coastal residents of Texas and Louisiana to evacuate, but not everyone did before winds began buffeting trees back and forth in an area that was devastated by Rita in 2005.

The storm grew nearly 87% in power in just 24 hours to a size the National Hurricane Center called “extremely dangerous.” Drawing energy from the warm Gulf of Mexico, the system was on track to arrive during high tide late Wednesday or early Thursday as the most powerful hurricane to strike the U.S. so far this year.

“It looks like it’s in full beast mode, which is not what you want to see if you’re in its way," University of Miami hurricane researcher Brian McNoldy said.

Bands of heavy rain fell 30 miles (48 kilometres) from the coast in Lake Charles while the fiercest winds were still offshore. The eye of the storm could hit early Thursday, forecasters said.

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17-year-old arrested after 2 killed during unrest in Kenosha

KENOSHA, Wis. (AP) — A white, 17-year-old police admirer was arrested Wednesday after two people were shot to death during a third straight night of protests in Kenosha over the police shooting of a Black man, Jacob Blake.

Kyle Rittenhouse, of Antioch, Illinois, about 15 miles (24.14 kilometres) from Kenosha, was taken into custody in Illinois on suspicion of first-degree intentional homicide in the attack Tuesday that was largely captured on cellphone video. The shooting left a third person wounded.

“I just killed somebody,” the gunman, carrying a semi-automatic rifle, could be heard saying at one point during the rampage that erupted just before midnight in the city of 100,000 people midway between Milwaukee and Chicago.

In the wake of the killings, Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers authorized the deployment of 500 members of the National Guard to Kenosha, doubling the number of troops. The governor's office said he is working with other states to bring in additional National Guard members and law officers. Authorities also announced a 7 p.m. curfew, an hour earlier than the night before. Even so, protesters were out Wednesday night after the curfew.

“A senseless tragedy like this cannot happen again,” the governor, a Democrat, said in a statement. “I again ask those who choose to exercise their First Amendment rights please do so peacefully and safely, as so many did last night. I also ask the individuals who are not there to exercise those rights to please stay home and let local first responders, law enforcement and members of the Wisconsin National Guard do their jobs.”

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Defence official: Arson suspected as cause of Navy ship fire

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Arson is suspected as the cause of a July 12 fire that left extensive damage to the USS Bonhomme Richard docked off San Diego, and a U.S. Navy sailor was being questioned as a potential suspect, a senior defence official said Wednesday.

The sailor was being questioned as part of the investigation by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the official said, adding that defence department leaders were notified of the development. The official, with knowledge of the investigation, spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity to provide details not yet made public. The sailor was not detained.

The amphibious assault ship burned for more than four days and was the Navy’s worst U.S. warship fire outside of combat in recent memory.

The ship was left with extensive structural, electrical and mechanical damage and its future remains uncertain.

The development in the investigation was first reported by KGTV, the ABC affiliate in San Diego. The Navy declined to answer questions.

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New Zealand mosque shooter sentenced to life without parole

CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand (AP) — The white supremacist who slaughtered 51 worshippers at two New Zealand mosques was sentenced Thursday to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

The judge imposed the maximum available sentence on 29-year-old Australian gunman Brenton Harrison Tarrant, the first time the sentence has been imposed in New Zealand.

Judge Cameron Mander said Tarrant's crimes were so wicked that a life time in jail could not begin to atone for them. He said they had caused enormous loss and hurt and stemmed from a warped and malignant ideology.

“Your actions were inhuman,” Mander said. “You deliberately killed a 3-year-old infant as he clung to the leg of his father.”

The March 2019 attacks targeting people praying at the Al Noor and Linwood mosques shocked New Zealand and prompted new laws banning the deadliest types of semi-automatic weapons. They also prompted global changes to social media protocols after the gunman livestreamed his attack on Facebook.

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Boycott: NBA playoff games called off amid player protest

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) — Making their strongest statement yet in the fight against racial injustice, players from six NBA teams decided not to play post-season games on Wednesday in a boycott that quickly reverberated across other professional leagues.

Also called off: Some games in Major League Baseball, Major League Soccer and the three WNBA contests, as players across four leagues decided the best way to use their platform and demand change was to literally step off the playing surface.

Players made the extraordinary decisions to protest the shooting by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin on Sunday of Jacob Blake, a Black man, apparently in the back while three of his children looked on.

Kenosha is about 40 miles south of Milwaukee. That city’s NBA team, the Bucks, started the boycotts Wednesday by refusing to emerge from their locker room to play a playoff game against the Orlando Magic.

“There has been no action, so our focus today cannot be on basketball,” said Bucks guard Sterling Brown, who joined teammate George Hill in reading a statement on the team’s behalf. Brown has a federal lawsuit pending against the city of Milwaukee alleging he was targeted because he was Black and that his civil rights were violated in January 2018 when officers used a stun gun on him after a parking violation.

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Computer pioneer Arnold Spielberg, Steven's dad, dies at 103

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Arnold Spielberg, father of filmmaker Steven Spielberg and an innovating engineer whose work helped make the personal computer possible, has died at 103.

Spielberg died of natural causes while surrounded by his family in Los Angeles on Tuesday, according to a statement from his four children.

Spielberg and Charles Propster designed the GE-225 mainframe computer in the late 1950s while working for General Electric. The machine allowed computer scientists at Dartmouth College to develop the programming language BASIC, which would be essential to the rise of personal computers in the 1970s and ‘80s.

“Dad explained how his computer was expected to perform, but the language of computer science in those days was like Greek to me,” Steven Spielberg told the General Electric publication GE Reports. "It all seemed very exciting, but it was very much out of my reach.”

Later on he understood.

News from © The Associated Press, 2020
The Associated Press

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