Briefs: The big night for Donald Trump

President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence give a thumbs up after speaking during the first day of the Republican National Convention Monday, Aug. 24, 2020, in Charlotte, N.C. (Travis Dove/The New York Times via AP, Pool)

Associated Press

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The Associated Press

Four years ago, Donald Trump accepted the Republican Party's nomination for president with a dark convention speech that painted a dystopian portrait of America in decline and offered a singular solution: himself.

Though Trump has been president for three-and-a-half years, his rhetoric on the state of the nation has remained bleak. And as he prepares to deliver his second acceptance speech on Thursday, the president faces a country in crisis, one gripped by a once-in-a-century pandemic, a battered economy, a racial reckoning and a massive hurricane taking aim at the Gulf Coast. 

Though he will promise national greatness, there was little expectation he would deliver a message designed to unify the divided electorate. 

In 2016, his message was "I alone can fix it." This time, while trailing in the polls, he will offer himself as the last remaining defense against radical forces threatening the American way of life. 

Aides have closely guarded details of the address, which was being revised the night before Trump was to speak from the White House South Lawn. While Trump has centered his recent stump speech on anarchists that he depicts overrunning city streets, aides signaled that Thursday's speech will not be as dark as his infamous "American carnage" inaugural address.

Vigilante calls on social media before deadly Kenosha attack

Repeated calls for armed vigilantes to travel to Kenosha, Wisconsin, to protect businesses following the police shooting of Jacob Blake spread across social media in the hours before two people were shot to death and a third was wounded during a third night of unrest in the city. 

Multiple threads on Facebook and Reddit urged militias and other armed people to head to the protests, researchers at the Atlantic Council's Digital Forensic Lab said in a blog post Wednesday. The demonstrations broke out after Blake, a 29-year-old Black man, was left paralyzed Sunday when he was shot from behind by officers answering a domestic dispute call.

Two people were killed by gunfire Tuesday night and Kyle Rittenhouse, a white 17-year-old from nearby Antioch, Illinois, was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of first-degree intentional homicide.

A video director for the conservative website The Daily Caller tweeted Wednesday that he had conducted a video interview with the suspected gunman before the shooting and posted a clip in which the armed young man, standing in front of a boarded-up building, said "our job is to protect this business."

"And part of my job is to also help people," he said. "If there is somebody hurt, I'm running into harm's way. That's why I have my rifle -- because I can protect myself, obviously. But I also have my med kit."

New Zealand mosque shooter sentenced to life without parole

CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand — 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 first time the maximum available sentence has been imposed. 

Judge Cameron Mander said the crimes committed by 29-year-old Australian Brenton Harrison Tarrant were so wicked that a lifetime 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 by shooting him in the head as he clung to the leg of his father."

After the sentence was announced, survivors of the shootings raised hands and fists in celebration and greeted supporters waving signs with painted hearts and carrying roses outside the court building.

The March 2019 attacks targeting people praying at the Al Noor and Linwood mosques in Christchurch 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.

Europe is going back to school despite recent virus surge

PARIS (AP) — A mother and her three children scanned the school supplies in a Paris supermarket, plucking out multicolored fountain pens, crisp notebooks – and plenty of masks. Despite resurgent coronavirus infections, similar scenes are unfolding across Europe as a new school year dawns.

Virus or no virus, European authorities are determined to put children back into classrooms, to narrow the learning gaps between haves and have-nots that deepened during lockdowns – and to get their parents back to work.

Facing a jump in virus cases, authorities in France, Britain, Spain and elsewhere are imposing mask rules, hiring extra teachers and building new desks en masse.

While the U.S. back-to-school saga has been politicized and chaotic, with a hodgepodge of fast-changing rules and backlash against President Donald Trump's insistence on reopening, European governments have faced less of an uproar.

And even though the virus has invaded classrooms in recent days from Berlin to Seoul, and some teachers and parents warn that their schools aren't ready, European leaders from the political left, right and center are sending an unusually consistent message: Even in a pandemic, children are better off in class.

TikTok CEO resigns amid US pressure to sell video app

HONG KONG  — TikTok CEO Kevin Mayer resigned Thursday amid U.S. pressure for its Chinese owner to sell the popular video app, which the White House says is a security risk.

In a letter to employees, Mayer said that his decision to leave comes after the "political environment has sharply changed."

His resignation follows President Donald Trump's order to ban TikTok unless its parent company, ByteDance, sells its U.S. operations to an American company within 90 days.

"I have done significant reflection on what the corporate structural changes will require, and what it means for the global role I signed up for," he said in the letter. "Against this backdrop, and as we expect to reach a resolution very soon, it is with a heavy heart that I wanted to let you all know that I have decided to leave the company."

Bytedance is currently in talks with Microsoft for the U.S. firm to buy TikTok's U.S. operations.

Games stop again, this time players decide when they resume

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — NBA players didn't come to Disney solely for a restart. They wanted social reform.

The Milwaukee Bucks showed how far they're willing to go to get it by opting not to play in their playoff game Wednesday. Two more games were postponed later in the day, the second time this season NBA basketball came to an immediate halt.

Other sports followed, just as they did in March when the season was suspended four months because of the coronavirus pandemic.

This time, the players will decide how long the stoppage lasts.

"The biggest thing that we all understand is if we're not playing, what are we doing? What are we doing to show and to help what's going on outside this bubble?" Boston Celtics forward Grant Williams said, shortly before the Bucks were scheduled to tip off their game against the Orlando Magic.

Does a face mask work?

Does a face mask protect me, or just the people around me?

Does a face mask protect me, or just the people around me?

It likely provides protection for both. 

Studies on the new coronavirus and other germs show wearing a mask helps stop infected people from spreading disease to others. Evidence also suggests that masks may offer some protection for the people wearing them.

The virus spreads from droplets people spray when they cough, sneeze or talk. Surgical or cloth face masks can block most of those particles from spreading. 

While some droplets may still spread out, wearing a mask could reduce the amount, providing a benefit to others. Research shows people don't get as sick when exposed to smaller amounts of virus, said Dr. Monica Gandhi, a virus expert at University of California, San Francisco. 

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