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World News

    Ethiopia’s prime minister on Friday said dissidents he recently extended an offer of peace have “taken up arms” in revolt against the government in a week of deadly unrest that followed the killing of a popular singer. Those who participate “in the destruction of the nation cannot be considered guardians of the nation,” Abiy Ahmed said. Police earlier this week told the state broadcaster more than 80 people were killed following the shooting death on Monday of Hachalu Hundessa, a prominent voice in anti-government protests that led to Abiy coming to power in 2018. The military has been deployed, and hundreds of cars this week were burned or damaged in the tense capital, Addis Ababa. The new unrest poses the prime minister’s greatest domestic test since he took office. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize last year for dramatic reforms, including welcoming home once-banned exile groups, but the more open political space has seen some Ethiopians air ethnic and other grievances. At times it has led to deadly violence, and human rights groups have accused security forces of abuses. Ethiopia’s internet service has been cut again this week, making it difficult for rights monitor and others to track the scores of killings. “It’s a moment when people need to pause and de-escalate,” said Murithi Mutiga, project director for the Horn of Africa with the International Crisis Group. He cited a series of challenges in Ethiopia including an armed insurgency in parts of the country and tension over the timing of the next election. The government recently delayed the vote, citing the coronavirus pandemic. “This is not the first but one in a long line of grave provocations by an actor not yet identified,” Mutiga said, adding that the “wiser course of action is to strive to create an atmosphere of reconciliation and dialogue.” Ethiopia's prime minister on Thursday hinted there could be links between this unrest and the killing of the army chief last year as well as the grenade thrown at one of his own rallies in 2018. Police late Wednesday said three people had been arrested in the death of the singer, who was buried Thursday in a ceremony shown on national television. The past few days appear to be the most serious challenge yet to Ethiopia’s transition to multifaceted democracy, Mutiga said. “Thankfully, the situation seems to have calmed down in Addis and parts of Oromia but the scale of the violence, the degree of grievance witnessed on the streets and the danger of instability was quite high.” Abiy in comments after meeting with officials on Friday said those behind the unrest should “rethink their motives,” and those responsible for destructive actions will be held accountable. He added that those opposed to the government should contest power through “ideas and policy options.” Arrests this week included that of a well-known Oromo activist, Jawar Mohammed, and more than 30 supporters. It is not clear what charges they might face. The Oromo make up Ethiopia’s largest ethnic group but had never held the country’s top post until they helped bring Abiy to power. The arrest of opposition figures “could make a volatile situation even worse,” Human Rights Watch has said. ___ Cara Anna in Johannesburg contributed.
  • Experts and cave divers in Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula have found ocher mines that are some of the oldest on the continent, which could explain why ancient skeletons were found in the narrow, twisting labyrinths of now-submerged sinkhole caves. Since skeletal remains like “Naia,” a young woman who died 13,000 years ago, were found over the last 15 years, archaeologists have wondered how they wound up in the then-dry caves. About 8,000 years ago, rising sea levels flooded the caves, known as cenotes, around the Caribbean coast resort of Tulum. Had these early inhabitants fallen in, or did they go down intentionally seeking shelter, food or water? Nine sets of human skeletal remains have been found in the underwater caves, whose passages can be barely big enough to squeeze through, Recent discoveries of about 900 meters (0.5 miles) of ocher mines suggest they may have had a more powerful attraction. The discovery of remains of human-set fires, stacked mining debris, simple stone tools, navigational aids and digging sites suggest humans went into the caves around 12,000 years ago, seeking iron-rich red ocher, which early peoples in the Americas prized for decoration and rituals. Such pigments were used in cave paintings, rock art, burials and other structures among paleolithic peoples around the globe. “While Naia added to the understanding of the ancestry, growth and development of these early Americans, little was known about why she and her contemporaries took the risk to enter the maze of caves,” wrote researchers from the Research Center for the Aquifer System of Quintana Roo, known as CINDAQ for its initials in Spanish. “There had been speculation about what would have driven them into places so complex and hazardous to navigate, such as temporary shelter, fresh water, or burial of human remains, but none of the previous speculation was well-supported by archeological evidence,” they wrote. “Now, for the first time we know why the people of this time would undertake the enormous risk and effort to explore these treacherous caves,' said CINDAQ founder Sam Meacham. At least one reason, Meacham said, was to prospect and mine red ocher. However, James Chatters, forensic anthropologist, archaeologist, and paleontologist with Applied Paleoscience, a consulting firm in Bothell, Washington, noted that none of the pre-Maya human remains in the caves were found directly in the mining areas. Dr. Spencer Pelton, a professor at the University of Wyoming and the state archaeologist, has excavated a slightly older ocher mine at the Powars II site near Hartville, Wyoming. Pelton agreed that among the first inhabitants of the Americas, ocher had an especially powerful attraction. Red ocher mining “seems especially important during the first period of human colonization ... you find it on tools, floors, hunt sites,” Pelton said. “It’s a substance of great power ... everybody likes shiny red things.” “It gives them a reason” to go into the caves, Pelton said, adding: “Considering the massive scale of this mining, it’s the first thing I would go for.” The caves provide a well-preserved environment and are where one of the oldest sets of human remains found in the Americas, a young woman nicknamed “Naia,' was discovered in 2007. Chatters said Naia “most likely died from a 30 meter (100 foot) fall from the dark cave tunnel' onto the floor of a chamber below.
  • Ukraine’s parliament on Friday accepted the resignation of the country’s top banker, who has stepped down citing political pressure. National Bank head Yakiv Smolii submitted his letter of resignation Wednesday, pointing at “systematic political pressure” as the reason for his decision. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy quickly accepted it and asked lawmakers to approve the decision. Smolii told lawmakers that he stepped down to draw a red line against “further attempts to undermine the institutional foundation of Ukraine's central bank.” He noted that the National Bank has faced continuous pressure aimed at forcing it to “make decisions that lack economic basis and could cost the Ukrainian economy dearly.” Smolii was named the acting National Bank head in May 2017 and then was appointed firmly to the job by parliament in March 2018 under Zelenskiy’s predecessor, Petro Poroshenko. Members of Zelenskiy’s Servant of the People party, which dominates parliament, have criticized the National Bank, arguing that its rigid policies have hurt the economy and stymied growth. Smolii’s resignation follows the International Monetary Fund’s approval of a $5-billion loan package for Ukraine intended to help it cope with the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic. The Ukrainian economy is expected to shrink by 5% because of the outbreak. In the wake of Smolii’s resignation, Ukraine’s Finance Ministry canceled a planned offering of dollar-denominated bonds. The ambassadors of the Group of Seven leading developed nations responded to Smolii’s resignation by emphasizing the crucial importance of the National Bank’s independence. The European Union also noted Thursday that the National Bank has served Ukraine well by stabilizing the currency, reducing inflation and increasing foreign reserves, adding that Smolii’s resignation “sends a worrying signal.”
  • A Turkish court on Friday convicted Amnesty International’s former Turkey chairman, Taner Kilic, of membership in a terror organization and sentenced him to more than six years in prison. The court also convicted three other human rights activists — Gunal Kursun, Idil Eser and Ozlem Dalkiran — of charges of aiding a terror group, sentencing them to two years and one month each. Seven other activists, including German citizen Peter Steudtner and Swede Ali Gharavi, were acquitted of the charges. Ten of the activists were detained in a police raid in July 2017 while attending a digital security training workshop on Buyukada island, off Istanbul. The 11th activist, Kilic, was detained separately a month earlier in the city of Izmir. Ten defendants were charged with aiding terrorist organizations, including the network led by a U.S.-based cleric, which the Turkish government blames for the 2016 coup attempt and has designated as a terror group. Kilic was accused of membership in cleric Fethullah Gulen’s network. Gulen denies allegations that he engineered the coup attempt. Their trial heightened concerns about Turkey’s treatment of human rights defenders and helped sour Turkey’s relations with European nations, notably Germany. Amnesty International condemned the ruling as a “crushing blow for human rights and for justice” in Turkey. “Today, we have borne witness to a travesty of justice of spectacular proportions,” said Andrew Gardner, Amnesty International’s Turkey researcher who observed the hearing. “The court’s verdict defies logic and exposes this three-year trial as the politically motivated attempt to silence independent voices.” The four convicted activists, who were released from jail pending the outcome, were expected to appeal the verdict. All 11 defendants maintained their innocence throughout the trial. Gardner said: “This case has been a litmus test for the Turkish justice system. As such, it is tragic to see the part it has played and continues to play in criminalizing the act of standing up for human rights.” ___ This story has been corrected to show that the three other human rights activists were sentenced to two years and one month, not one year and one month.
  • After decades in a French museum, the skulls of 24 Algerians decapitated for resisting French colonial forces were formally repatriated to Algeria on Friday in an elaborate ceremony led by the teary-eyed Algerian president. A 21-gun salute thundered from Algiers’ international airport as a military plane touched down, carrying the remains. Boats in the ports of Algiers sounded their horns to welcome the arrival. The return of the skulls was the result of years of efforts by Algerian historians, and comes amid a growing global reckoning with the legacy of colonialism. “The valiant resistance fighters who refused the colonization of their country by imperial France were displayed immorally for decades, like vulgar objects of antiquity, without respect for their dignity, their memory. That is the monstrous face of colonization,” Algerian army chief Said Chengiha said in a speech. “Algeria is living a special day today,” he said. The 24 fought French colonial forces who occupied Algeria in 1830 and took part in an 1849 revolt. After they were decapitated, their skulls were taken to France as trophies. In 2011, Algerian historian and researcher Ali Farid Belkadi discovered the skulls at the Museum of Man in Paris, across from the Eiffel Tower, and alerted Algerian authorities. The researcher lobbied for years for their return, and Algeria’s then-president, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, eventually launched the formal repatriation request. French President Emmanuel Macron agreed in 2018 but bureaucratic obstacles delayed the return until now. The remains will be on public display at the Palace of Culture in the capital Saturday, and then will be buried in a special funeral east of Algiers on Sunday — the 58th anniversary of Algeria’s independence from France after a long and bloody war. In tears, Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune presided over Friday’s ceremony, alongside the heads of both houses of parliament and top military officials. Three MiG jets escorted the Algerian Ilyushin military plane carrying the remains. The skulls were placed in coffins wrapped in the Algerian flag, and carried by soldiers across the tarmac as a military band played. Historians welcomed the return of the remains, but say they are just part of Algeria’s history that is still in French hands. “We have recovered part of our memory,” historian Mohamed El Korso told The Associated Press. “But the fight must continue, until the recovery of all the remains of the resistance fighters, which number in the hundreds, and the archives of our revolution.”
  • Cyprus’ beleaguered tourism sector got some good news after the government announced on Friday that travelers from the U.K. will be allowed entry into the east Mediterranean island nation next month without having to undergo a compulsory 14-day quarantine. But Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou said that depends on whether U.K. coronavirus infection rates stay at the current low ebb. Ioannou said that as of Aug. 1 Britain will be grouped with 17 other countries including France, Italy and Spain from which travelers will be required to obtain a health certificate declaring them coronavirus-free three days prior to boarding a flight. “The decision will be implemented on the condition that the United Kingdom continues to post the same positive epidemiological results,” Ioannou said after a Cabinet meeting with a scientific advisory body. The U.K. is Cyprus’ prime tourism market. U.K. citizens made up a third of Cyprus’ 4 million tourist arrivals last year. Tourism officials say July appears to be a bust in terms of tourism, despite earlier hopes that holidaymakers would flock to Cyprus because of its minimal infection rate. Tourism accounts for 13% of Cyprus’ economy and officials say the aim remains to recoup 25-30% of tourist arrivals the country received in 2019. Deputy Tourism Minister Savvas Perdios said setting a date for opening up Cyprus to U.K. holidaymakers was important for tour operators, airlines and other tourism-oriented businesses to start planning ahead. A 14-day quarantine period remains in effect for all travelers from Russia — another key tourism market for Cyprus. Perdios said there are hopes for reviving the Russian market later in the year. “Unfortunately, it's a year where everything's in flux,' said Perdios. “We are obligated ... to show flexibility and understanding that whichever decision is taken could change in a few weeks.' Travelers from 23 countries including Germany, Australia and Norway don't need a health certificate to enter Cyprus. Ioannou said there are plans for a five-fold increase in random COVID-19 testing of all arriving passengers at Cyprus’ two airports at no extra cost to the government. Currently, around 15% of arriving travelers are being tested. ___ Follow AP coverage of the pandemic at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak
  • A Turkish court on Friday released four pilots and a private airline official from jail, pending the outcome of their trial on charges of smuggling former Nissan Motor Co. chairman Carlos Ghosn out of Japan to Lebanon, via Turkey. The court, however, barred the five from leaving Turkey and ordered them to report to authorities at regular intervals. The five are on trial in Istanbul, along with two flight attendants, for allegedly aiding Ghosn to flee while awaiting trial in Japan. Turkish prosecutors are seeking up to eight years in prison each for the four pilots and the airline official on charges of illegally smuggling a migrant. The two flight attendants, who were not under custody, face a one-year prison term each if convicted of not reporting a crime. Ghosn, who was arrested over financial misconduct allegations in Tokyo in 2018, skipped bail while awaiting trial late last year. He was flown from Osaka to Istanbul and was then transferred onto another plane bound for Beirut, where he arrived Dec. 30. He is believed to have been smuggled inside a large box. In the first hearing of their trial, the pilots and flight attendants denied involvement in the plans to smuggle Ghosn or of knowing that Ghosn was aboard the flights. The airline official, Okan Kosemen, claimed he was made aware that Ghosn was on board the flight from Osaka to Istanbul after the plane landed. He admitted helping smuggle Ghosn onto the second, Beirut-bound plane out of fear for the safety of his family. Kosemen said that a business associate named, Nicolas Mezsaroz, who organized the flights called him through a messaging app to say that the Nissan CEO was on board the plane from Osaka. “I was surprised, there were two passengers on the manifest, but there were three passengers,' Anadolu quoted Kosemen as telling court. “Nicolas said: ‘we put him in the music box and took him out (of Japan).’' Kosemen said he told Mezsaroz that he didn't want to be “a partner to such a thing.' “I became a nervous wreck,' Kosemen went on to say, according to Anadolu. “He told me that he knew where my wife worked and the name of my child's nursery school.' The airline official said that in Istanbul, he took Ghosn to the second plane and accompanied him to Beirut. The Turkish airline company MNG Jet said in January that two of its planes were used illegally in Ghosn’s escape, first flying him from Osaka, Japan, to Istanbul, and then on to Beirut. The company said at the time that its employee had admitted to falsifying flight records so that Ghosn’s name didn't appear on them. The indictment against the defendants states that Ghosn is believed to have been smuggled inside a “foam-covered music box” large enough to carry a person. It notes a 216,000-euro and $66,000 increase in the airline official’s bank accounts between Oct. 16 and Dec. 26, 2019. During his testimony, Kosemen denied receiving payment for Ghosn's escape. Asked about the increase in his bank accounts, Kosemen said they were from tips or bonuses he received for his work. “It has nothing to do with this incident,' he said. Meanwhile, Pilot Bahri Kutlu Somek told the court that he didn't suspect that anyone could be hiding in the box. “We have carried a variety of things in the past. I was not suspicious,' Anadolu quoted him as saying. Separately, a former U.S. Green Beret and his son were also arrested in the United States on charges that they helped smuggle Ghosn out of Japan. Ghosn, who has Lebanese citizenship, said he fled because he couldn't expect a fair trial in Japan. Lebanon has no extradition treaty with Japan. __ Suzan Fraser reported from Ankara.
  • Canada suspended its extradition treaty with Hong Kong on Friday after China imposed a new security law on the territory. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canada is a firm believer in the one country, two systems framework for Hong Kong and will stand up for its people. Trudeau said Canada is also looking at other measures, including immigration. Other countries are considering offering asylum. About 300,000 Canadians live in Hong Kong. China bypassed Hong Kong’s Legislative Council to pass the sweeping legislation without public consultation. The security law, which took effect Tuesday night, targets secessionist, subversive or terrorist acts, as well as collusion with foreign forces intervening in the city’s affairs. Under Beijing’s direction, local authorities have moved swiftly to implement the law’s sweeping conditions, with police arresting about 370 people Wednesday, including 10 on suspicion of directly violating the law, as thousands took to the streets in protest.
  • The Russian Orthodox Church on Friday defrocked a coronavirus-denying monk who has defied Kremlin lockdown orders and taken control of a monastery. A church panel in the Ural Mountains city of Yekaterinburg ruled to defrock 65-year-old Father Sergiy, who has attracted nationwide attention by urging believers to disobey church leadership and ignore church closures during the pandemic. The monk didn't show up at the session and dismissed the verdict, urging his backers to come to defend the Sredneuralsk women's monastery where he has holed up since last month. In Friday's video, Father Sergiy denounced President Vladimir Putin as a “traitor to the Motherland” serving a Satanic “world government” and dismissed Russian Orthodox Church Patriarch Kirill and other top clerics as “heretics” and “enemies of God and Holy Mother of God” who must be “thrown out.” The monk called for an all-Russia assembly to put Putin, Patriarch Kirill and his entourage on trial to prevent them from plunging the country into a civil war. “We can't allow that wolf pack to mangle Russia and the neighboring nations,” he said. The church banned the monk from ministry in May, but he has continued preaching and last month took charge of the monastery outside Yekaterinburg that he had founded years ago. Scores of volunteers, including battle-hardened veterans of the separatist conflict in eastern Ukraine, helped enforce his rules, while the prioress and several nuns have left. The police visited the monastery last month a day after Father Sergiy took over, but found no violations of public order. Facing stiff resistance by his supporters, church officials have appeared indecisive, lacking the means to enforce their ruling and evict the rebellious monk by force. Father Sergiy, who was born as Nikolai Romanov, served as a police officer during Soviet times, then left the ranks and was sentenced to 13 years in prison on charges of robbery and assault. After his release, he joined a church school and later became a monk. The charismatic monk quickly became widely known for his enthusiastic efforts to open new churches and monasteries in the Urals. In his fiery sermons, he denounced alleged plots of the “world government” and glorified Russia’s last czar, Nicholas II, who was killed by the Bolsheviks along with his entire family in Yekaterinburg in 1918. Father Sergiy has been the most visible and outspoken of a few ultra-conservative Russian Orthodox clerics who have challenged the church leadership. The top church hierarchy has avoided conflict with the monk until he openly defied the Kremlin and the Moscow Patriarchy during the coronavirus pandemic. As contagion engulfed Russia, Father Sergiy has declared the coronavirus non-existent and denounced electronic passes introduced in Moscow and some other regions to stem the outbreak as “Satan’s electronic camp.” The monk has described the vaccines being developed against COVID-19 as part of a global plot to control the masses via chips. He also urged believers to disobey the closure of churches during the nationwide lockdown. Orthodox churches across Russia were closed to parishioners on April 13 amid a quick rise in COVID-19 cases and were allowed to reopen in early June as authorities eased restrictions. Speaking in a video from his monastic cell where icons and images of Orthodox Church hierarchs of the past adorn the wall alongside pictures of Russia’s last Czar and Soviet dictator Josef Stalin, Father Sergiy warned church officials that they will need to seize the monastery by force to get him out. “I'm calling on all Orthodox believers to come to defend the monastery,' he said in his latest video. “I will not leave the monastery.”
  • Canadian police said Friday an armed man who this week crashed his truck through a gate on the grounds where Prime Minister Justin Trudeau lives had several weapons. Police earlier identified the suspect as a member of Canada’s armed forces. Royal Canadian Mounted Police Deputy Commissioner Mike Duheme declined to name the suspect or talk about his motivation. The man has a bail hearing Friday. Police, who said he’s facing multiple charges, believe he was acting alone. Police said the man crashed his truck through the gate at 6:30 a.m. Thursday. The truck was disabled and the suspect was spotted with a rifle before being contained in a greenhouse on the sprawling property. Police began talking to him and he was arrested two hours later. Trudeau lives on the grounds of the property where Canada’s governor general resides. The post of governor general, currently held by Julie Payette, is a mostly ceremonial position. Payette also was not at the home at the time. Trudeau, his wife and three children live in a cottage on the property because the prime minister’s traditional residence is in disrepair. “This was something that no one wants to hear, that someone entered your home,” Trudeau said. “I want to extend my sincere thanks to the RCMP and the Ottawa police service that did a remarkable job in ensuring that there were not injuries.” Trudeau declined further comment.

News

  • There are new rules in place for the holiday weekend if you plan to rent an Airbnb. The company says guests under 25 years old with fewer than three positive reviews will not be able to book an entire home close to where they live Airbnb didn’t reveal how it defines what is “close.” Airbnb said it wants to weed out any potential problems, specifically unauthorized house parties and feels this is the best way to do so. The company says it’s a nationwide policy, but it is most relevant for a handful of cities. The company says its technologies would block that guest from booking. “No one policy is going to stop all unauthorized parties. We’re also conscious that just because you’re 25 or older doesn’t mean that every single person in that group is booking for the right reasons too,” spokesperson Ben Breit told WSB-TV. Guests under 25 with at least three positive Airbnb reviews and no negative reviews won’t be subject to the restrictions. Airbnb began stepping up efforts to ban “party houses” last November after five people were shot and killed during an unauthorized party at an Airbnb rental in Orinda, California. At the time, Airbnb set up a rapid response team to deal with complaints from neighbors and started screening “high risk” bookings, such as reservations at a large home for one night. In a message to hosts, the company said reducing unauthorized parties is even more of a priority right now as states try to avoid coronavirus outbreaks. “With public health mandates in place throughout the country, we’re taking actions to support safe and responsible travel in the United States,” the company said. The Associated Press contributed to this story.
  • Jillian Wuestenberg, 32, and Eric Wuestenberg, 42, were charged Thursday with felonious assault after pulling a gun out on a Black mother and her children when a confrontation escalated outside a Chipotle in Michigan. Each of them had a loaded firearm and concealed pistol licenses. Deputies seized the two handguns, Sheriff Mike Bouchard said. On Thursday, the couple was arraigned and were given a $50,000 personal bond.  “As part of the bond conditions, they must turn over all firearms, not engage in any assaultive behavior, and may not leave the state,” sheriff’s officials told The Detroit News. The Detroit News first reported on the three-minute video posted online that shows part of the interaction. Takelia Hill, who is Black, told the newspaper that it happened after the white woman bumped into Hill’s teenage daughter as they were entering the fast food restaurant. The video footage [WARNING: Contains graphic language] starts after that, in the parking lot. A woman since identified as Jillian Wuestenberg is heard arguing with Hill and her daughters. Wuestenberg climbs into the vehicle, rolls down the window and says, “White people aren’t racist,” and, “I care about you,” before the vehicle she was in starts to back away. Her husband, who had led his wife to the vehicle, turns to the camera and asks, “Who ... do you think you guys are?,” using an expletive. Then, as someone is standing behind the vehicle, Jillian Wuestenberg jumps out and points a handgun in the direction of a person who’s recording. She screams at people to get away from her and her vehicle. A woman shouts, “She’s got a gun on me!” and urges someone in the parking lot to call the police. Wuestenberg then lowers the gun, climbs into the passenger seat and the vehicle drives off. Cooper, the prosecutor, told The Associated Press that her office viewed the available video and looked at the facts before filing charges. “It is an unfortunate set of circumstances that tempers run high over, basically, not much of an incident,” she said of the initial alleged spark that caused the confrontation. Bouchard said people are “picking sides” and that threatening calls were made to the sheriff’s office dispatch center after the videos were posted online. “We don’t see sides. We see facts,” he said. “There’s a lot of tension in our society, a lot of tension among folks and people with each other. I would just say this, we are asking and expect our police — and rightfully so — to deescalate every situation they possibly can, and we should be doing that. But I would say that needs to happen with us individually in our own lives and situations, that we interact with each other and deescalate those moments.” The Associated Press contributed to this story.
  • The United States Geological Survey reported that a 4.9 magnitude earthquake struck this morning near Puerto Rico around 9:55 a.m. EDT. The quake was felt across the U.S. territory and is the latest in a series of tremors that began in late December and have damaged or destroyed hundreds of homes. Ángel Vázquez, who oversees the emergency management agency in Ponce, said a house collapsed in the town of Lajas. The house was empty and slated for demolition, according to Kiara Hernández, spokeswoman for Puerto Rico’s Department of Public Security. Víctor Huérfano, director of Puerto Rico’s Seismic Network, told The Associated Press that the tremor is an aftershock related to the 6.4-magnitude quake that struck in early January, killing at least one person and causing millions of dollars in damage. The Associated Press contributed to this story.
  • With The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Peachtree Road Race postponed this year, the Atlanta Police Department warned people against running or walking the course on the Fourth of July. APD noted in a tweet Friday that the course will not be closed to car traffic on Independence Day. With hashtags including #MyPersonalPeachtree and #APDCares, the police department said in the tweet that people should avoid running or walking the course on Saturday for safety reasons. >>Read MORE on AJC.com. [Summary]
  • The Washington Redskins issued a statement that they will “undergo a thorough review of the team’s name.” “This process allows the team to take into account not only the proud tradition and history of the franchise but also input from our alumni, the organization, sponsors, the National Football League and the local community it is proud to represent on and off the field,” Majority owner Daniel Snyder said in the the statement. Snyder had previously shown no indication he would change the name since buying the team in 1999, but was quoted in the release. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said that he supports “this step.” The title sponsor of the Washington Redskins’ stadium, FedEx asked the NFL team to change its name in a statement Thursday. The company paid the team $205 million in 1999 for the naming rights to FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland. Amid the national debate over race, pressure has been mounting on the organization to abandon the name called a “dictionary-defined racial slur” by experts and advocates. Investors this week wrote to FedEx, PepsiCo and other sponsors asking them to request a change. FedEx is believed to be the first to take action. Nike appeared to remove all Redskins gear from its online store Thursday evening according to The Associated Press. The other 31 NFL teams were listed and a search for “Redskins” came up with no results. The team last week removed the name of racist founder George Preston Marshall from its Ring of Fame at FedEx Field, and a monument to him was removed from the site of the old RFK Stadium. Washington, D.C., mayor Muriel Bowser also said the name was an “obstacle” to the team returning to the District. The team’s lease at FedEx Field expires in 2027, and it is still talking to Washington, Virginia and Maryland about building a new stadium. The Associated Press contributed to this story.
  • Two people are dead after a shooting Friday morning near North Carolina A&T State University. The shooting happened just before 6:30 a.m. near North Dudley and and Salem streets in Greensboro. The victims, 34-year-old Rodney Letroy Stout and 34-year-old Bakeea Abdulla Douglas both died of their injuries, according WGHP. Police said they are now investigating the case as a homicide. The university sent out an Aggie Alert at 7:15 a.m., encouraging students and staff to “stay behind closed and locked doors until further notice.” University officials said the shooting involves a “male suspect wearing a white t-shirt with black pants and a black mask traveling in an unknown direction.” No arrests have been made.