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WASHINGTON (AP) — Purdue Pharma, the company that makes OxyContin, the powerful prescription painkiller that experts say helped touch off an opioid epidemic, will plead guilty to three federal criminal charges as part of a settlement of more than $8 billion, Justice Department officials announced Wednesday.
The company will plead guilty to three counts, including conspiracy to defraud the United States and violating federal anti-kickback laws, the officials said. The resolution will be detailed in a bankruptcy court filing in federal court. The deal does not release any of the company’s executives or owners — members of the wealthy Sackler family — from criminal liability, and a criminal investigation is ongoing. One state attorney general said the agreement fails to hold the Sacklers accountable, while family members said they had acted “ethically and lawfully.”
Coaching great John Thompson of Georgetown dead at 78
Niecy Nash surprises with wedding to singer Jessica Betts
Grammy-winning producer Detail accused of sexual assault
Viola Davis, LeBron James among honorees at AAFCA TV Honors
WASHINGTON (AP) — John Thompson, the imposing Hall of Famer who turned Georgetown into a “Hoya Paranoia” powerhouse and became the first Black coach to lead a team to the NCAA men’s basketball championship, has died. He was 78.
His death was announced in a family statement released by Georgetown on Monday. No details were disclosed.
“Our father was an inspiration to many and devoted his life to developing young people not simply on but, most importantly, off the basketball court. He is revered as a historic shepherd of the sport, dedicated to the welfare of his community above all else,” the statement said. “However, for us, his greatest legacy remains as a father, grandfather, uncle, and friend. More than a coach, he was our foundation. More than a legend, he was the voice in our ear everyday.”
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Actor and comedian Niecy Nash surprised fans with her weekend wedding to singer Jessica Betts.
Nash, whose legal first name is Carol, captioned the photo “Mrs. Carol Denise Betts,” adding a rainbow emoji and the hashtag #LoveWins.”
“I got a whole Wife,” Betts wrote in her own caption.
The couple had kept their relationship under wraps, and the revelation of the ceremony also served as a coming out for Nash, who had not publicly been in a relationship with a woman before.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Viola Davis, Sterling K. Brown and LeBron James are among several honorees at the AAFCA TV Honors later this month.The African American Film Critics Association announced the recipients of the second annual event on Wednesday. The virtual ceremony is scheduled to air on Aug. 22. Comedian-actress Aida Rodriguez will host the invitation-only streamed event.“In a time of such uncertainty, we have witnessed how powerful the medium of television and streaming is,” said Gil Robertson, co-founder and president of AAFCA. “We couldn’t be more proud to honor shows and performances that uplift and inspire at a time when we all need entertainment the most.”
Francis becomes 1st pope to endorse same-sex civil unions
ROME (AP) — Pope Francis became the first pontiff to endorse same-sex civil unions in comments for a documentary that premiered Wednesday, sparking cheers from gay Catholics and demands for clarification from conservatives, given the Vatican’s official teaching on the issue.
The papal thumbs-up came midway through the feature-length documentary “Francesco,” which premiered at the Rome Film Festival. The film, which features fresh interviews with the pope, delves into issues Francis cares about most, including the environment, poverty, migration, racial and income inequality, and the people most affected by discrimination.
“Homosexual people have the right to be in a family. They are children of God,” Francis said in one of his sit-down interviews for the film. “You can’t kick someone out of a family, nor make their life miserable for this. What we have to have is a civil union law; that way they are legally covered.”
While serving as archbishop of Buenos Aires, Francis endorsed civil unions for gay couples as an alternative to same-sex marriages. However, he had never come out publicly in favor of civil unions as pope, and no pontiff before him had, either.
The Jesuit priest who has been at the forefront in seeking to build bridges with gays in the church, the Rev. James Martin, praised the pope’s comments as “a major step forward in the church’s support for LGBT people.”
Black singer of regional Mexican music sparks buzz, emotion
RIO RANCHO, N.M. (AP) — Before clicking the Instagram video, the sight intrigued most. Sarah Palafox, a Black woman, held an iPhone while standing in front of mariachis. When users turned on the volume, they heard a woman belting out a heartbreak interpretation of Jenni Rivera’s “Que Me Vas A Dar” in perfect Spanish of Mexico’s Zacatecas. Instagram users said the short clip made them cry. Others demanded more.
But most wondered: Who was this woman with a voice like the late Tejano star Selena? And what’s her story?
Palafox, an African American woman raised by a Mexican immigrant family, has generated excitement online with her versions of regional Mexican music.
Born in Southern California but raised in the Mexican state of Zacatecas, 23-year-old Palafox, who goes by the stage name Sarah La Morena, has sparked emotions following a series of viral videos on social media. The clip of Palafox singing with mariachis spawned a half of million views on Instagram and another 200,000 on Twitter. Other videos of her singing banda — another form of regional music from Mexico’s southwest coast — also have been shared thousands of times. (She is working on an album.)
However, as Palafox has been stroking a frenzy with her voice, she’s also been to the target of a racist backlash online over her love of Mexican music. A few Black social media users accuse of her being ashamed of her Blackness. Some Latino users sling racist slurs and accused her of appropriation. The insults come in English and Spanish.
In an interview with The Associated Press, Palafox said the scorn is similar to what she faced after her family returned to Southern California when she was in middle school. That has led to bouts of depression and a suicide attempt in 2018, she said.
Kanye West’s NJ ballot petition falls short, complaint says
John Lewis’ funeral set for Atlanta church that MLK once led
Witness: Driver gunned down armed protester in Texas capital
Police and protesters clash in violent weekend across the US
Election law attorney Scott Salmon, a registered Democrat, filed the objection with the state Division of Elections after reviewing the more than 1,300 signatures the rapper had submitted.
New Jersey requires presidential candidates to get 800 signatures to appear on the ballot, but Salmon said in an interview that he counted more than 600 that were in some way defective.
“Mr. West’s petitions do not contain the valid signatures of 800 qualified voters and should have been rejected by the Division,” Salmon wrote in the complaint.
The arc of Lewis’ legacy of activism will once again be tied to Ebenezer’s former pastor Martin Luther King Jr., whose sermons Lewis discovered while scanning the radio dial as a 15-year-old boy growing up in then-segregated Alabama.
King continued to inspire Lewis’ civil rights work for the next 65 years as he fought segregation during sometimes bloody marches, Greyhound bus “Freedom Rides” across the South and later during his long tenure in the U.S. Congress.
The shooting happened just before 10 p.m. Saturday as demonstrators were marching through downtown Austin, police spokeswoman Katrina Ratliff told reporters early Sunday. The man who was shot was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
A protest against police violence in Austin, Texas, turned deadly when a witness says the driver of a car that drove through a crowd of marchers opened fire on an armed demonstrator who approached the vehicle. And someone was shot and wounded in Aurora, Colorado, after a car drove through a protest there, authorities said.
Braxton posted a lengthy message on social media late Saturday that paid tribute to David Adefeso being her “angel on earth.” She said she is grateful for Adefeso who found her “lifeless” in their home, saying it “couldn’t have been easy” for him.
The R&B singer did not provide details about her hospitalization. Police only confirmed they responded to a medical emergency July 16 at the downtown Los Angeles high rise that she calls home.
“Through this entire time, you have held my hand, heard my cries, held me when I have been weak. You have had my ENTIRE back‼️” she said in the post
Braxton, 43, shared the post along with an older video of the couple talking about getting engaged. She called Adefeso and her 7-year-old son Logan, whom she shares with former husband Vincent Herbert, a priority.
“Although I been said yes in this old video… now and then, I couldn’t imagine what life would be like if you weren’t by my side,” she wrote. “Thank God I’m here and thank God for you.”
Arts – Entertainment – Culture – Politics
For racial justice protests, US taps tactical border squads
Jul 25, 2020 11:58AM
One day this past week, they were in a far different setting — a city park in Portland, Oregon, looking for two people suspected of throwing rocks and bottles at officers guarding the downtown federal courthouse.
Beyond the debate over whether the federal response to the Portland protests encroaches on local authority, another question arises: whether the Department of Homeland Security, with its specialized national security focus, is the right agency for the job.
It’s not just the Border Patrol Tactical Unit that has been called to duty in Portland. DHS has dispatched air marshals as well as the Customs and Border Protection Special Response Team and even members of the Coast Guard.
“The Department of Homeland Security was never intended as a national police force let alone a presidential militia,” said Peter Vincent, a former general counsel for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which is also an agency within DHS.
The deployment of DHS agents and officers is legal, both under existing law and an executive order President Donald Trump signed June 26 to protect federal property and monuments. But it has made the agency, created to improve the nation’s response to terrorism, a target of widespread criticism.
MIAMI (AP) — Miami Dolphins coach Brian Flores says he regrets that his players found out about the team’s switch to quarterback Tua Tagovailoa through social media rather than from him.
And Flores says the decision to bench popular veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick was difficult.
“Fitz has done a great job,” Flores said Wednesday. “He has been productive. His leadership has been great. But we felt like for the team now, moving forward, this is a move we need to make.”
Tagovailoa, the fifth pick in the April draft, will make his first NFL start on Nov. 1 against the Los Angeles Rams after the Dolphins’ bye this week.
News of the change leaked Tuesday.
“The one thing in this situation that’s unfortunate is that I didn’t get a chance to address the team before this was out in the media,” Flores said. “It’s not the way I or we want to do business. Unfortunately, it’s kind of the way of the world right now.
“I’m not happy about that at all. I’ll address that to the team, and really apologize to them that they had to find out through social media. I don’t think that’s fair to them.”
The timing of Tagovailoa’s promotion was surprising because the Dolphins (3-3) have won their past two games by a combined score of 67-17.
Some worry that White House briefings are a broken tradition
Jul 25, 2020 8:49AM
That visual, however, may be the only part of a time-honored government tradition that is familiar.
Under Kayleigh McEnany, the White House press briefing has become a streamlined, full-throated advertisement for a president facing re-election, a venue for attacks on the media and a forum relatively light on information about what government is doing.
ABC News’ Jonathan Karl, whose term as White House Correspondents’ Association president just ended, wrote in The Washington Post this month that he believed it is the White House press secretary’s duty to hold briefings regularly, “but not like this.”
Arts Entertainment Culture
Fresh comedy faces, ‘Modern Family’ farewell seek Emmy nods
The 72nd prime-time Emmys are the first major entertainment honors to unfold amid the coronavirus’ disruption, and Tuesday’s virtual announcement makes clear how much improvising is required.
The nominations, typically unveiled with fanfare at the TV academy’s Los Angeles headquarters, will be announced online Tuesday by host Leslie Jones (“Saturday Night Live”) and presenters Laverne Cox (“Orange is the New Black”), Josh Gad (“Frozen”) and Tatiana Maslany (“Orphan Black”).
Last year’s best series winners “Game of Thrones” and “Fleabag” called it a wrap, clearing the path for others to prevail. With the downtime forced on academy TV voters by the virus, the field could include underdogs that benefited from more attention.
Something else to look for: Whether recent social justice tumult affects the Emmys’ up-and-down record of ethnic and gender inclusivity in nominations and awards.
On the drama side, “The Morning Show” is aiming for best series and actress bids for Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon. It’s the flagship entry from Apple TV+, one of the new kids on the increasingly competitive streaming block.
“The Handmaid’s Tale,” which took the best drama trophy in 2017, is vying for its third nomination in the category. “Big Little Lies,” last year’s winner for best limited series, is hunting for a drama series nod for its second season.
The comedy categories hold the promise of fresh faces, including the Muslim American series “Ramy.” Its star and co-creator, Ramy Youssef, earned a Golden Globe in January for his performance.
Others seeking their first top comedy nod include the female-led comedies “Insecure”; “Dead to Me”; “Better Things” and “The Great,” with past winner “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” also in the running.
Previous nominees “Schitt’s Creek,” “The Good Place” and “Silicon Valley” are pursuing recognition for their farewell seasons, as is “Modern Family” — which aired for 11 seasons and has five wins to date in the category, a record it shares with “Frasier.”
The Emmy Awards, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, will be presented Sept. 20 on ABC.
Recordings reveal confusion behind Breonna Taylor’s death
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — The police officer who fatally shot Breonna Taylor described seeing only “shadowy mass” and said he didn’t recall firing the 16 bullets later matched to his gun. As she lay bleeding, Taylor’s boyfriend called his mother before dialing 911.
And neighbors roused by the gunfire at Taylor’s apartment after midnight on March 13 only added to conflicting testimony about whether police serving a narcotics warrant announced themselves before using a battering ram to break down her door.
Details of the chaos and confusion during the raid that resulted in the 26-year-old Black woman’s death were revealed in 15 hours of audio recordings released Friday. They contained testimony and recorded interviews presented last month to the Kentucky grand jury that decided not to charge any Louisville police officers for killing Taylor.
“If you told me I didn’t fire a gun, I would be like, OK,” detective Myles Cosgrove told investigators soon after the shooting.
In fact, investigators determined Cosgrove shot 16 of the 32 bullets police fired into Taylor’s apartment, responding to a single gunshot from her boyfriend when they rammed down her door. Evidence showed one of Cosgrove’s bullets killed Taylor.
Her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, said he thought intruders had burst into Taylor’s home, not police. As she lay bleeding, Walker said he called his mother — then dialed 911, telling an operator: “Somebody kicked in the door and shot my girlfriend.”
The dramatic accounts of the moments before Taylor’s death are key to a case that has fueled nationwide protests against police brutality and systemic racism. Police said they knocked and announced themselves for a minute or more before using a battering ram to get inside. Walker said he did not hear officers identify themselves, perhaps because he was too far from the door.
Game on: NBA finally set to see games that count again
The world has changed since the NBA stopped on March 11.
For 22 franchises, however, there is a goal that remains in place.
The NBA, at long last, is officially back. A re-opening night doubleheader inside the bubble at Walt Disney World awaits Thursday, when New Orleans takes on Utah before a matchup of the top two teams in the Western Conference — the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers.
There won’t be any fans in attendance, health and safety protocols that were painstakingly written in response to the coronavirus pandemic will be paramount, and teams can’t even shower in the arena after games. But after 20 weeks of waiting, wondering and worrying, the 2019-20 NBA season is ready to hit the restart button with a champion scheduled to be crowned in October.
Arts Entertainment Culture
Barack Obama to appear on Michelle Obama’s podcast debut
The former United States president is expected to appear on “The Michelle Obama Podcast” on Spotify, the Obama’s Higher Ground and streaming service announced Friday. The podcast will debut Wednesday.
In the premiere episode, the former first lady and her husband will hold an intimate conversation about community, the love that powers relationships and life after living eight years in the White House.
“For eight years my life was full of crazy schedules, juggling big initiatives, speeches, state dinners,” Michelle Obama says in the first episode’s intro. “Not to mention trying to raise two daughters and keeping my head above water. But once Barack’s second term ended, the presidency was over and finally had some time to breathe.”
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From police chief to VP? Inside Val Demings’ unlikely path
South Texas drenched by cyclone amid surge in virus cases
Police investigate anti-Semitic tweets by grime artist Wiley
Oprah’s O Mag to end regular print editions after 20 years
In 1972, the future Florida congresswoman was a young Black girl struggling to make friends at a predominantly white Jacksonville high school. She and her best friend, Vera Hartley, created the Charisma Club. Hartley was president and Demings was her second-in-command.
“We created an environment of inclusion,” Hartley said, recalling how she and Demings invited white students to join. Then “we were able to get into other clubs.”
Downgraded to a tropical storm, Hanna passed over the U.S.-Mexico border with winds near 50 mph (85 kph), the National Hurricane Center said. It unloaded more than 12 inches (30 centimeters) of rain on parts of South Texas and northeastern Mexico.
Twitter banned the rapper for seven days after rants on Friday and Saturday. He was also dropped by his management company after he shared the comments, which called Jews “cowards’’ and “snakes,’’ among other things.
The brand, which is among the most recognizable magazines in the U.S., is not going away but will become more “more digitally-centric,” a Hearst spokeswoman Monday said. There will be “some form of print” after the December issue “but what it is exactly is still being worked out,” she said.
Movie theaters implore studios: Release the blockbusters
Since then, Hollywood has turned opening weekends into an all-out assault. Staggered rollouts still happen, of course, but the biggest films are dropped like carpet bombs. Anything less risks losing the attention of moviegoers. Global debuts north of $300 million became commonplace. Last year, “Avengers: Endgame” made well north of $1 billion in a couple days.
Hollywood has now gone more than four months without a major theatrical release. While some films have found new streaming homes, the biggest upcoming ones — “Tenet,” “Mulan,” “A Quiet Place Part II” — remain idled like jumbo jets on the tarmac. The leading chains are still shuttered. Recent coronavirus spikes have forced release dates to shuffle and chains to postpone reopening to August.
Civil rights icon John Lewis remembered in his hometown
US attorney: Feds will stay in Portland until attacks end
Sophie Turner, Joe Jonas greet first child
fter talk of collaboration, conferences go their own way
SALEM, Ore. (AP) — After George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police, people in Portland came out in droves to protest police brutality and racism, chanting that “Black lives matter.” As the weeks went by, the crowds dwindled to a few dozen and the protests increasingly turned violent.
“It is not a solution to tell federal officers to leave when there continues to be attacks on federal property and personnel,” U.S. Attorney Billy Williams said. ”We are not leaving the building unprotected to be destroyed by people intent on doing so.”
The 24-year-old “Game of Thrones” star Turner and the 30-year-old singer Jonas announced the birth Monday.
“Sophie Turner and Joe Jonas are delighted to announce the birth of their baby,” they said in a statement released through his label Republic Records.
Plans for the college football season — if it is played — should start coming into focus this week.
They will trickle down from the top of major college football, with Power Five conferences putting in place revised schedules they hope will make it easier to manage potential disruptions brought on by COVID-19.
The Power Five commissioners talked a lot in the spring about the importance of collaboration and trying to launch the season together, with all of the Football Bowl Subdivision acting in unison. The way things are heading, that appears to be out the window.
Here’s where each conference stands with the first scheduled college football games about a month away.
LEADING OFF: Marlins postponed again amid virus outbreak
Here’s how Trump’s opposition to mail voting hurts the GOP
The Latest: South Africa nearing half-million virus cases
Ex-49er Dana Stubblefield convicted of raping disabled woman
Major League Baseball has already postponed a second scheduled game between Miami and Baltimore after more than a dozen Marlins players and staff tested positive for the coronavirus, prompting the club to lock down in Philadelphia. Commissioner Rob Manfred said the soonest the Marlins could resume their schedule is Wednesday, when they are set to play in Baltimore.
“I don’t see it as a nightmare,” Manfred told MLB Network on Monday night. “We built the protocols to allow us to continue to play. That’s why we have the expanded rosters, that’s why we have the pool of additional players. And we think we can keep people safe and continue to play.”
After months of hearing Trump denigrate mail-in balloting, Republicans in the critical battleground state now find themselves far behind Democrats in the perennial push to urge their voters to cast ballots remotely. While Democrats have doubled the number of their voters who have requested mail ballots compared to 2016, Republicans have increased their numbers by about 20% since the same time.
The recent tally is the hard evidence confirming many Republicans’ fears about Trump’s tweeting about mail-in voting: GOP voters are listening and appear less likely to take advantage of what many election and health officials agree is the easiest and safest way to vote in a pandemic.
South Africa now has 452,529 cases and 7,067 deaths, making up more than half the reported cases on the African continent. It has the fifth highest caseload in the world.
Like many others, the country has struggled with trying to ease lockdown restrictions and then seeing cases rise. But businesses have expressed frustration as unemployment is now above 30% and likely to keep increasing.
And corruption related to pandemic aid is a problem as the president has warned that now, more than ever, persistent graft puts people’s lives at risk.
A jury found Stubblefield, 49, guilty of rape by force, oral copulation by force and false imprisonment, and acquitted him of raping a person incapable of giving consent, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.