Computer glitches disrupt classes as schools return online
HOUSTON (AP) — Students across the U.S. ran into computer glitches Tuesday as they began the school year with online instruction at home because of the coronavirus, adding to the list of problems that have thrust many a harried parent into the role of teacher’s aide and tech support person.
The online learning platform Blackboard, which provides technology for 70 of the nation’s 100 biggest districts and serves more than 20 million U.S. students from kindergarten through 12th grade, reported that websites were failing to load or were loading slowly, and users were unable to register on the first day of school.
Three of Texas’ largest districts — Houston, Dallas and Fort Worth — were hit with technical problems, as were school systems in places such as Idaho and Kansas. A ransomware attack forced schools in Hartford, Connecticut, to postpone Tuesday's start of virtual and in-person classes.
Elsewhere across the country, Seattle’s system crashed last week. An online learning program used in Alabama and other places recently went down. And North Carolina’s platform crashed on the first day of classes last month.
Amanda Mills’ 8-year-old son, Rowan, woke up excited to start his first day of third grade, even though it was online through Idaho’s largest school district, based in the town of Meridian, just outside Boise. But they ran into trouble even after practicing logging in smoothly on Monday.
Firefighters injured, airlifted in central California blaze
SHAVER LAKE, Calif. (AP) — The U.S. Forest Service says 14 firefighters and bulldozer operators were injured Tuesday while battling a blaze in central California. One is in critical condition.
The Forest Service says the crew has injuries that include burns and smoke inhalation. Three were airlifted to a hospital, including one in critical condition.
Officials say they were fighting the Dolan Fire in Los Padres National Forest in Monterey County and the firefighters had to deploy their fire protection shelters.
The three injured were flown to a hospital in Fresno.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story follows below.
Tech’s sudden sell-off continues; Nasdaq sinks 10% in 3 days
NEW YORK (AP) — Big technology stocks tumbled again on Tuesday, continuing the Icarus-like flight path for companies that just a week ago were the high-flyers carrying Wall Street to record heights.
The S&P 500 fell 95.12, or 2.8%, to 3,331.84 and clinched its first three-day losing streak in nearly three months. Big names that were the main reasons for the market’s rocket ride back from its pandemic-caused losses were among the heaviest weights. Apple sank 6.7%, Microsoft pulled 5.4% lower and tech stocks across the index were down 4.6%.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 632.42 points, or 2.2%, to 27,500.89. The Nasdaq composite, which is packed with tech stocks, dropped 465.44, or 4.1%, to 10,847.69 and is down 10% since it set its latest record on Wednesday.
Tech stocks had been the darlings of Wall Street on expectations that they can continue to deliver strong profit growth almost regardless of the economy and global health. Tech stocks in the S&P 500 are still up nearly 23% for 2020 so far, and Amazon has rocketed 70.5%, even when unemployment remains high and much of the economy is limping ahead.
Analysts say a flurry of activity for stock options of Big Tech companies goosed the gains even further recently. With certain kinds of options, investors can make huge profits on a stock, without having to pay for its full share price, as long as the stock’s price keeps rising. If enough of these kinds of stock options are getting sold, it can create a buying frenzy for the stock that accelerates the gains even more.
Rochester police leaders retire after suffocation death
Top police leaders in Rochester, New York, announced their retirements Tuesday amid nightly protests over the handling of the suffocation death of Daniel Prude, whose family filed a federal lawsuit alleging a coverup by law enforcement.
Police Chief La’Ron Singletary, Deputy Chief Joseph M. Morabito and a commander retired, while two more leaders gave up command positions. The outgoing chief accused critics of trying to "destroy my character and integrity."
The abrupt change of course for Singletary came after "new information that was brought to light today that I had not previously seen before," Mayor Lovely Warren said during a video call with members of the City Council. She said she did not ask the chief to resign but otherwise did not elaborate.
While the "timing and tenor" of the retirements were difficult, Warren said later at a brief news conference, "I truly believe that we will get through this."
The sudden announcements came more than five months after the death of Prude, a 41-year-old Black man who died several days after an encounter with police March 23 in New York's third-largest city. There have been nightly protests in the city since the video's release Wednesday.
Trump expands ban on new offshore drilling sites in Atlantic
JUPITER, Fla. (AP) — President Donald Trump expanded a ban on new offshore drilling Tuesday, an election-year reversal likely to appeal to voters in Florida and other coastal states. Two years ago, Trump had taken steps to vastly expand offshore drilling from coast to coast.
"This protects your beautiful gulf and your beautiful ocean, and it will for a long time to come," Trump said as he announced the expanded drilling ban during an appearance at the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse.
The president signed a memorandum instructing the interior secretary to prohibit drilling in the waters off both Florida coasts, and off the coasts of Georgia and South Carolina for a period of 10 years — from July 1, 2022, to June 20, 2032.
The existing moratorium covers the Gulf of Mexico, and Trump said the new one would also cover the Atlantic coast — a significant political concern in coastal states like Florida.
Trump used the event to portray himself as an environmental steward and contrast his record against that of Democrat Joe Biden. But the Trump administration has overturned or weakened numerous regulations meant to protect air and water quality and lands essential for imperiled species.
McConnell proposes 'targeted' virus aid, Dems say not enough
WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday the Senate would vote on a trimmed-down Republican coronavirus relief package, though it has a slim chance of passage in the face of Democrats' insistence for more sweeping aid.
The Kentucky Republican released the approximately $500 billion measure as senators returned to Washington for an abbreviated pre-election session, as hopes are dimming for another coronavirus relief bill — or much else.
Republicans struggling to retain their Senate majority this fall have been divided, with some GOP senators in close races anxious to respond further to the pandemic, even as conservatives are tiring of all the spending and passing legislation in concert with liberal House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
McConnell called the package "a targeted proposal that focuses on several of the most urgent aspects of this crisis, the issues where bipartisanship should be especially possible." They included school aid, new money for vaccines and testing, and a second round of the popular Paycheck Protection Program for smaller businesses.
Democrats are demanding a far larger bill, including hundreds of billions of dollars for state and local governments, more generous jobless benefits, and help for renters and homeowners, along with other provisions in the House Democrats' $3.5 billion relief bill that passed in May.
7 killings investigated at illegal pot grow in California
AGUANGA, Calif. (AP) — Detectives on Tuesday investigated what prompted the Labor Day killings of seven people at an illegal marijuana growing operation in a small, rural Southern California community known for its horse ranches and nurseries along dirt roads.
The fatal shootings in Aguanga, north of San Diego, represent the latest flashpoint in the violence that often permeates California's illegal marijuana market.
The state broadly legalized recreational marijuana sales in January 2018 but the illicit market is thriving — in part because hefty legal marijuana taxes send consumers looking for better deals in the illegal economy.
Before dawn Monday, Riverside County sheriff's deputies responded to a report of an assault with a deadly weapon at an Aguanga home. They found a woman suffering from gunshot wounds who later died at a hospital, according to a sheriff's department statement.
The deputies also discovered six more dead people at the house that "was being used to manufacture and harvest an illicit marijuana operation," the statement said.
Now that NFL supports Colin Kaepernick's fight, what's next?
Four years later, the NFL admitted it was wrong and said it now supports Colin Kaepernick in his fight against racial injustice, encouraging players to take a stand - or a knee - for the cause.
What happens next?
The league’s 101st season kicks off Thursday night, when the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs host the Houston Texans. NFL end zones will be inscribed this season with two slogans: "It Takes All Of Us" on one side, "End Racism" on the other.
As part of its social justice awareness initiatives, the NFL also will allow similar visuals on helmets and caps. Players will be permitted to wear decals on the back of helmets, or patches on team caps, displaying names or phrases to honour victims of racism and/or police brutality.
"The NFL stands with the Black community, the players, clubs and fans," NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said last week. "Confronting recent systemic racism with tangible and productive steps is absolutely essential. We will not relent in our work."
Battered by the virus, tribes race to boost census count
LODGE GRASS, Mont. (AP) — When Lauri Dawn Kindness was growing up, her hometown on the Crow Indian Reservation had an arcade, movie theatre, gas stations and family cafe along streets shaded by towering cottonwood trees near a bend in the Little Bighorn River. Today, there's only a small grocer and a propane dealer among the deserted lots scattered through downtown Lodge Grass.
Kindness is back here after more than a dozen years in the U.S. Army, including four combat tours, and she wants to help her people. One essential step, she said, is an accurate count on the once-a-decade U.S. census, which will determine how much federal money flows in for housing, schools, health care and other dire needs.
Reaching a full count on most reservations now looks nearly impossible. Less than a month before the Sept. 30 deadline, just a fraction of people have been counted on Crow land, where the coronavirus pandemic has taken a toll.
The Trump administration has pushed the Census Bureau to speed up the timeline for the count, and the Republican-controlled Senate failed to pass an extension allowing it to continue into next year. That has exacerbated concerns by civil rights groups and others of hard-to-count communities getting missed, especially people of colour like Native Americans.
So Kindness, an activist for a Native American non-profit, spends her days sweating in a mask and face shield under the merciless summer sun, urging drivers to fill out the forms at drive-thru census sign-up stations, including in Lodge Grass, known among the Crow as Aashbacheeitche, or Valley of the Chiefs.
Myanmar army deserters confirm atrocities against Rohingya
BANGKOK (AP) — Two soldiers who deserted from Myanmar’s army have testified on video that they were instructed by commanding officers to "shoot all that you see and that you hear" in villages where minority Rohingya Muslims lived, a human rights group said Tuesday.
The comments appear to be the first public confession by soldiers of involvement in army-directed massacres, rape and other crimes against Rohingya in the Buddhist-majority country, and the group Fortify Rights suggested they could provide important evidence for an ongoing investigation by the International Criminal Court.
More than 700,000 Rohingya have fled Myanmar to neighbouring Bangladesh since August 2017 to escape what Myanmar’s military called a clearance campaign following an attack by a Rohingya insurgent group in Rakhine state. Myanmar's government has denied accusations that security forces committed mass rapes and killings and burned thousands of homes.
Fortify Rights, which focuses on Myanmar, said the two army privates fled the country last month and are believed to be in the custody of the International Criminal Court in the Netherlands, which is examining the violence against the Rohingya.
According to Fortify Rights, privates Myo Win Tun, 33, and Zaw Naing Tun, 30, who served in separate light infantry battalions, gave "the names and ranks of 19 direct perpetrators from the Myanmar army, including themselves, as well as six senior commanders ... they claim ordered or contributed to atrocity crimes against Rohingya."