Officer shot dead while detaining suspect at London station

LONDON – A British police officer was shot dead inside a London police station early Friday while detaining a suspect.

London’s Metropolitan Police force said the officer was shot at the Croydon Custody Center in the south of the city. The 23-year-old man being detained also sustained a gunshot wound and is in critical condition in a hospital.

The force said no police weapons were fired.

It is rare for police officers to be shot and killed in the U.K., which has strict firearms laws.

“When a colleague dies in the line of duty the shockwaves and sadness reverberates throughout the Met and our communities,” said Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick. “Policing is a family, within London and nationally, and we will all deeply mourn our colleague.”

The force has launched a murder inquiry and the independent police watchdog is also investigating.

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Asian shares mixed, cheered by US rally, stimulus hopes

TOKYO – Asian shares other than those in China advanced Friday, cheered by a modest rally on Wall Street and rising hopes for fresh stimulus for the U.S. economy.

Despite signs of a global economic rebound in the third quarter, worries remain the upturn may be running out of steam.

House Democrats said they are paring back their proposal for a new stimulus package in an attempt to jump-start negotiations with the Trump administration. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell have said the government’s top priority should be to provide affordable loans to small businesses and further support for millions of Americans still unemployed.

Paralyzing partisanship has prevented a Congressional renewal of aid, and the recent vacancy on the Supreme Court following the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg deepened the divide. The renewed optimism that the biggest economy might get another boost carried over into Friday’s trading.

“This stimulus deal needs to go through,“ Stephen Innes of AxiCorp said in a commentary. “With the risks building up everywhere you look, it doesn’t seem to be a great time to be trying to pick the bottom of equity markets, but a stimulus relief bill will go a long way to nudging the market along.”

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 edged up 0.6% to 23,214.38. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 gained 1.5% to 5,964.90, while South Korea’s Kospi added 0.6% at 2,285.09. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gave up earlier gains, sinking 0.7% to 23,146.61. The Shanghai Composite index fell 0.4% to 3,209.85.

Shares rose in India but fell in Taiwan and Thailand.

On Wall Street, the S&P 500 rose 0.3% to 3,246.59 after swinging between a loss of 0.9% and a gain of 1.3%.

The market’s momentum has shifted with lightning speed recently, often changing direction by the hour.

The U.S. presidential election is a big factor, particularly after President Donald Trump’s refusal Wednesday to commit to a peaceful transition of power i f he lost, and rising tensions between the United States and China. Adding to the uncertainty is the question of how soon drugmakers will be able to develop a coronavirus vaccine to stem future waves of outbreaks.

“We’re focused on the strategic and the long-term, rather than the day-to-day, because it’s going to be volatile between now and the election,” said George Rusnak, head of investment strategy at Wells Fargo Private Wealth Management.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.2% to 26,815.44. The Nasdaq composite added 0.4% to 10,672.27. The Russell 2000 index of small company stocks inched up less than 0.1%, to 1,451.82.

Thursday’s headline report showed that 870,000 workers filed for unemployment claims last week, worse than economists had expected.

Layered on top of all the myriad concerns are the still-raging coronavirus pandemic and the threat that worsening counts around the world could lead to more business restrictions.

In energy trading, benchmark U.S. crude rose 2 cents to $40.33 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, the international standard, added 4 cents to $41.98 a barrel.

The dollar fell to 105.30 Japanese yen from 105.42 yen Thursday. The euro weakened to $1.1670 from $1.1672.

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Yuri Kageyama is on Twitter https://twitter.com/yurikageyama

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At least 1 hurt in hit-and-run during Los Angeles protest

LOS ANGELES – At least one person was hurt when a vehicle ran into a small crowd of people protesting police brutality in Los Angeles Thursday night, authorities said.

An ambulance transported one patient to a hospital in unknown condition following the hit-and-run at Sunset Boulevard and Seward Street in Hollywood shortly before 9 p.m., said Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman Nicholas Prange.

About 30 minutes later, KCAL9 TV showed helicopter footage of a white sedan pushing slowly through a crowd of marchers blocking another intersection on Sunset.

A group of protesters in a black pickup truck chased down the white sedan and cut it off. They confronted the driver and banged on the sedan’s windows before the car drove away.

It wasn’t immediately known if anyone was hurt in the second incident.

There were no arrests. Los Angeles Police Officer J. Chavez said investigators were still gathering information about both incidents.

A few dozen demonstrators marched through Hollywood for hours on Thursday, one of many protests across the country demanding justice for Breonna Taylor. Demonstrators were angered after it was announced that the officers who shot the Black woman in her Louisville, Kentucky apartment during a drug raid last March wouldn’t be charged with her death.

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Virus delays Rio’s Carnival for first time in a century

Rio de Janeiro delayed its annual Carnival parade, saying Thursday night that the global spectacle cannot go ahead in February because of Brazil’s continued vulnerability to the pandemic.

Rio’s League of Samba Schools, LIESA, announced that the spread of the coronavirus has made it impossible to safely hold the traditional parades that are a cultural mainstay and, for many, a source of livelihood.

“Carnival is a party upon which many humble workers depend. The samba schools are community institutions, and the parades are just one detail of all that,” Luiz Antonio Simas, a historian who specializes in Rio’s Carnival, said in an interview. “An entire cultural and productive chain was disrupted by COVID.”

Rio’s City Hall has yet to announce a decision about the Carnival street parties that also take place across the city. But its tourism promotion agency said in a statement to The Associated Press on Sept. 17 that without a coronavirus vaccine, it is uncertain when large public events can resume.

Brazil’s first confirmed coronavirus case was Feb. 26, one day after this year’s Carnival ended. As the number of infections grew, the samba schools that participate in the glitzy annual parade halted preparations for the 2021 event. Thursday’s announcement removed the cloud of uncertainty that has hung over the city — one of worst hit by the pandemic in Brazil.

Nearly all of Rio’s samba schools are closely linked to working class communities. Their processions include elaborate floats accompanied by tireless drummers and costumed dancers who sing at the top of their lungs to impress a panel of judges. Tens of thousands of spectators pack the bleachers of the arena, known as the Sambadrome, while tens of millions watch on television.

Before the schools began competing in the 1930s, Carnival was celebrated in dance halls and haphazardly on the streets, Simas said. The parades entered the Sambadrome in the 1980s, and have become Rio’s quintessential Carnival display.

The immense labour required for each show was already stymied by restrictions on gatherings that Rio’s governor imposed in March. Even with those measures, Rio’s metropolitan region, home to 13 million people, so far has recorded more than 15,000 deaths from COVID-19.

Beneath the Sambadrome’s bleachers, the city created a homeless shelter for the vulnerable population during the pandemic.

Samba schools suspended float construction, costume sewing, dance rehearsals, and also social projects. The Mangueira school’s program in the favela near downtown Rio that teaches music to children — keeping them away from crime, and cultivating the school’s future drummers — hasn’t held classes since March.

The pulse of entire suburban Rio cities like Nilopolis, whose population of 160,000 cheers the Beija-Flor samba school, has faded, Simas said.

Some performers resorted to odd jobs and gigs. Diogo Jesús, the lead dancer referred to as “master of ceremonies” in the Mocidade school, couldn’t make rent without his income from private events. He started driving for Uber and sewing facemasks to sell at a fair.

“It was a blow. We live Carnival all year round, and many people when they realized everything would stop wound up getting sick or depressed,” Jesus said in an interview inside his house in Madureira, a neighbourhood in northern Rio. “Carnival is our life.”

The last year Rio’s Carnival was suspended was 1912, following the death of the foreign relations minister. The mayor of Rio, at the time Brazil’s capital, postponed by two months all licenses for the popular dance associations’ Carnival parties, according to Luís Cláudio Villafañe, a diplomat and author of the book “The Day They Delayed Carnival.” The mayor also voiced opposition to unregulated celebrations, but many Rio residents partied in the streets anyway.

Revelers were undeterred during World War II. And they poured into the street every year during more than two decades of military dictatorship, until 1985, with government censors reviewing costumes, floats and song lyrics.

Then came coronavirus.

“We must await the coming months for definition about if there will be a vaccine or not, and when there will be immunization,” LIESA’s president, Jorge Castanheira, told reporters in Rio on Thursday. “We don’t have the safety conditions to set a date.”

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The 2020 coronavirus already forced Rio’s City Hall to scrap traditional plans for its second-biggest party, New Year’s Eve, which draws millions of people to Copacabana beach for dazzling fireworks. Earlier this month, the city’s tourism promotion agency Riotur announced that main tourist spots will instead display light and music shows to be broadcast over the internet.

Delay of the Carnival parade will deprive Rio state of much needed tourism revenue. In 2020, Carnival drew 2.1 million visitors and generated 4 billion reais ($725 million) in economic activity, according to Riotur. A statement from the agency Thursday provided no further clarity on the fate of the Carnival street parties.

Some parties are small — for example one including a few dozen dog owners exhibiting their pets wearing wigs or funny hats. But most feature amps blasting music to throngs of thousands who dance, kiss and swill booze in a crush of celebration. The biggest one boasts more than two million partygoers.

Rita Fernandes, president of Os Blocos da Sebastiana, said her association already cancelled its 11 street parties that together draw 1.5 million revelers. Most others groups will follow, she said.

“We cannot be irresponsible and bring the multitudes to the street,” she said, pointing to Europe’s second wave of contagion.

After several weeks of declining daily infections, Rio authorities have begun expressing concern about an uptick. Public spaces such as beaches have been crowded in violation of pandemic restrictions.

A drummer in Mangueira’s samba school, Laudo Braz Neto, said the children he instructed before the pandemic are listless, and he knows there is no way to put on Carnival without being able to safely gather.

“Carnival will only really happen when the whole world can travel. It’s a spectacle the world watches, brings income and movement here,” he said. “I have no hope for 2021.”

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Associated Press videojournalist Diarlei Rodrigues contributed to this report.

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Australian think-tank finds 380 detention camps in Xinjiang

CANBERRA, Australia – China appeared to be expanding its network of secret detention centres in Xinjiang, where Muslim minorities are targeted in a forced assimilation campaign, and more of the facilities resemble prisons, an Australian think-tank found.

The Australian Strategic Policy Institute used satellite images and official construction tender documents to map more than 380 suspected detention facilities in the remote Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, highlighting reeducation camps, detention centres and prisons that have been newly build or expanded since 2017.

The report builds on evidence that China has made a policy shift from detaining Uighurs and other Muslim minorities in makeshift public buildings to constructing permanent mass detention facilities.

This is despite Chinese state news agency Xinhua reporting late last year that “trainees” attending “vocational education and training centres“ meant to deradicalize them had “all graduated.”

Regional government chairman Shohrat Zakir was quoted as saying foreign media reports of 1 million or 2 million people attending these centres were fabricated.

Predominantly Muslim minorities in the remote Xinjiang region have been locked in camps as part of a government assimilation campaign launched in response to decades of sometimes violent struggle against Chinese rule. Some have been subjected to forced sterilization and abortion, and in recent months, ordered to drink traditional Chinese medicines to combat the coronavirus.

Australian Strategic Policy Institute researcher Nathan Ruser wrote in a report released late Thursday: “Available evidence suggests that many extrajudicial detainees in Xinjiang’s vast ‘re-education’ network are now being formally charged and locked up in higher security facilities, including newly built or expanded prisons, or sent to walled factory compounds for coerced labour assignments.”

At least 61 detention sites had undergone new construction and expansion work in a year to July 2020, the report said. These included at least 14 facilities still under construction this year.

“Of these, about 50% are higher security facilities, which may suggest a shift in usage from the lower-security, ‘re-education centres’ toward higher-security prison-style facilities,” Ruser wrote.

At least 70 facilities appeared to have lesser security by the removal of internal fencing or perimeter walls, the report said.

These included eight camps that showed signs of decommissioning, and had possibly been closed. Of the camps stripped of security infrastructure, 90% were lower security facilities, the report said.

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Groups decry proposal to roll back Alaska forest protections

JUNEAU, Alaska – The U.S. Forest Service is proposing to exempt the country’s largest national forest from a ban on timber harvests and road building in roadless areas, a move conservation groups denounced Thursday.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture, under which the Forest Service falls, announced Thursday the upcoming release of a final environmental review identifying a preferred alternative to exempt the Tongass National Forest from the so-called Roadless Rule. Once the review is released, at least 30 days must pass before a final decision is made.

The Tongass, which covers more than 25,000 square miles (64,750 square kilometres) in southeast Alaska, is one of the largest, relatively intact temperate rain forests in the world, and a majority of the Tongass is in a natural condition, “unlike most other national forests,” the Forest Service has said.

The state in 2018, under then-Gov. Bill Walker, asked the federal government to consider the exemption and members of Alaska’s congressional delegation last fall lauded a draft proposal that listed an exemption as a preferred alternative.

Supporters of the exemption see it as increasing access to federal lands for such things as timber harvests and development of minerals and energy projects. Critics say it could adversely affect wildlife, contribute to climate change and hurt tourism and recreation opportunities.

Randi Spivak, public lands director at the Center for Biological Diversity, in a statement said the federal proposal could pour “gasoline on the inferno of climate change. These towering ancient trees take enormous amounts of carbon out of the air and we need them now more than ever. We’ll do everything possible to keep these magnificent giants standing for centuries to come.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said 9.2 million acres, or about 55% of the forest, currently are designated as roadless areas.

Kate Glover, an attorney for Earthjustice, said her organization has long defended the Tongass as part of litigation, “and we will use every tool available to continue defending this majestic and irreplaceable national forest.”

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Kentucky Senate candidates take up Breonna Taylor case

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Democrat Amy McGrath called for fundamental change to combat “systemic racism“ as the Senate candidate met Thursday with some of the Kentucky protesters seething over a grand jury’s decision not to charge officers in the killing of Breonna Taylor.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, her Republican opponent, said peaceful protests offer a way to honour Taylor’s memory. He defended the investigation by his political ally, Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, into the Black woman’s death

The senator condemned incidents of property damage and gunfire that broke out during demonstrations in his hometown of Louisville. Two police officers were shot and wounded during the protests Wednesday evening.

Nationwide protests over the deaths of Blacks by police have been a simmering issue with just weeks left in the bitter, big-spending Kentucky Senate campaign. McConnell, who is seeking a seventh term in November, has at times focused on acts of violence at protests, as has his political ally, President Donald Trump.

On Thursday, McConnell and McGrath weighed in on fallout from the decision not to charge officers for killing Taylor — a case that garnered global attention.

Taylor, a Black emergency medical worker, was shot multiple times by white officers after one of them was fired upon and wounded while conducting a raid in a narcotics investigation in March. No drugs were found inside. One officer was charged by a grand jury Wednesday in the Taylor case with wanton endangerment for shooting into a neighbour’s apartment but no direct charges where filed in the death itself, touching off angry protests.

The day after the grand jury’s decision, McGrath brought her change message to downtown Louisville where protesters kept up their call for justice.

“I am here today, and I’ve been all around this state trying to campaign for change in this country,“ McGrath said. “A change for health care — affordable, accessible health care for everyone. For change to tackle the systemic racism that we’ve been seeing for far too long.”

McGrath has called for banning no-knock search warrants in federal drug cases and prohibiting police chokeholds.

McGrath, a retired Marine combat pilot, said the country “can’t go back to normal” but instead must “do better” to combat racial inequities, adding: “Normal is what got us this.”

The Democrat’s appearance drew a mixed response from protesters. Rose Henderson, who has been a fixture at demonstrations, complained that McGrath hasn’t spent time getting to know the protesters.

“You can’t walk up in the park and think we’re going to have open arms for you,“ Henderson said of McGrath. “We don’t know you. It’s about cameras, it’s about politics, and this is our life that we’re out here fighting for.”

Meanwhile, McConnell used a Senate speech to comment on the unrest.

“Peaceful protests honour the memory of Breonna Taylor,“ he said. “Peaceful protests move us toward justice. Smashing windows does not. Setting fires does not. Rioting in the streets does not. And trying to gun down law enforcement officers who are bravely serving their community is the kind of despicable cowardice that must be met with the full force of the law.”

McConnell has defended peaceful protests, but his campaign has aired TV ads showing footage of protests turning destructive while the senator denounces the actions.

The vast majority of protests around the country have been peaceful. Protesters in Louisville have occupied a downtown square peacefully for 120 days with few acts of violence since the beginning of the movement in the spring.

McGrath tweeted that the shooting of the Louisville officers was “unacceptable“ and said the focus “needs to be on tearing down systemic injustices, not tearing down our communities or harming each other.”

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Meanwhile, McConnell said Cameron had done “the kind of thorough, impartial investigation that justice demands“ in the Taylor case. Cameron, the state’s first Black attorney general, once served as legal counsel for the senator.

But McGrath said Cameron should release the evidence presented to the grand jury.

“Part of what we are as a nation is making sure that we have transparency,“ she said. “And to me, that’s a really important piece of this. Let’s have a transparent investigation. Let’s release it to everybody.”

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Two window washers rescued after scaffold collapses at Toronto highrise at Yonge and Eglinton

Two workers were rescued after the scaffold they were on at a Toronto highrise collapsed Thursday afternoon

At 12:19 p.m., Toronto police tweeted its officers were responding to an unknown trouble call in the area of Yonge Street and Eglinton Avenue.

Officers had reports two men were seen dangling from the side of a building after the scaffold they were working on collapsed. The two men were on their safety lines near the 25th floor, police said.

Both men were later brought to safety at the top of the building.

No injuries have been reported.

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Park identifies hunter killed by bear in Alaska as Ohio man

COPPER CENTER, Alaska – The hunter killed by a grizzly bear last weekend in a remote part of Alaska’s Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve was identified Thursday by park officials as a 22-year-old man from Ohio.

The death of Austin Pfeiffer late Sunday was the first recorded fatal bear attack in the park since it was established in 1980, the park said in a statement. Park spokesperson Jan Maslen, said in an email that officials were not releasing his hometown at the family’s request.

Pfeiffer was hunting with a friend and they were salvaging meat from a moose they killed a day earlier when the attack occurred, the statement said.

National Park Service investigators determined it was a surprise attack and that Pfeiffer did not have ready access to a gun or deterrent, like bear-repellant spray, at the time.

Pfeiffer’s hunting partner was later evacuated safely from the site, the statement said. No other visitors were known to have been in that area of the more than 20,300 square-mile (52,600-square-kilometre) park that is larger than the states of New Hampshire and Vermont combined.

Rangers will continue monitoring the area for bear activity, the statement said.

The park said it offers hunting opportunities on its preserve lands.

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Trump niece files suit saying family cheated her of millions

NEW YORK – Donald Trump’s niece followed up her bestselling , tell-all book with a lawsuit Thursday alleging that the president and two of his siblings cheated her out of millions of dollars over several decades while squeezing her out of the family business.

Mary L. Trump sought unspecified damages in the lawsuit, filed in a state court in New York City.

“Fraud was not just the family business — it was a way of life,” the lawsuit said.

The lawsuit alleged the president, his brother Robert, and a sister, the former federal judge Maryanne Trump Barry, portrayed themselves as Mary Trump’s protectors while secretly taking her share of minority interests in the family’s extensive real estate holdings. Robert Trump died last month.

Messages seeking comment were sent to the Justice Department and lawyers for the president. Messages also were sent to a lawyer for Robert Trump and to email addresses listed for Maryanne Trump Barry.

Mary Trump and her brother, Fred Trump III, inherited various real estate business interests when her father, Fred Trump Jr., died in 1981 at 42 after a struggle with alcoholism. Mary Trump was 16 at the time.

According to the lawsuit, Donald Trump and his siblings devalued Mary Trump’s interests, which included a share of hundreds of New York City apartments, by millions of dollars even before Donald Trump’s father, Fred Trump Sr., died on June 25, 1999.

After the family patriarch’s death, Mary Trump and her brother filed objections to the will and Donald Trump and his siblings “ratcheted up the pressure” to settle by cutting off health insurance to their niece and nephew, the lawsuit said.

It said the action amounted to “unfathomable cruelty” because Fred Trump III’s third child, born hours after Fred Trump Sr.’s funeral, was having seizures and required extensive medical care including months in a neonatal intensive care unit.

As they pressured Mary Trump to accept a settlement and relinquish all interests in the Trump businesses, the uncles and aunt provided fraudulent accounting and financial statements that misrepresented the value of their father’s estate at $30 million or less, the lawsuit said.

“In reality, Mary’s Interests were worth tens of millions of dollars more than what Defendants represented to her and what she received,” the lawsuit said.

In keeping with a confidentiality clause in a settlement of the dispute over Fred Trump Sr.’s will, lawyers for Mary Trump refused to say how much she received. But the numbers provided in Thursday’s lawsuit make it unlikely that she would have received more than several million dollars.

In a lawsuit aimed at stopping the July publication of Mary Trump’s book, “Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man,” Robert Trump said the payout was substantial.

Roberta Kaplan, one of Mary Trump’s lawyers, said in an interview that today she lives “at a level that is certainly miles away from the luxury her aunts and uncles enjoy.”

Since her book’s publication, Mary Trump has promoted it extensively. She also has released portions of 15 hours of recordings she made in 2018 and 2019 with Maryanne Trump Barry in which her aunt is heard criticizing Donald Trump, saying “he has no principles” at one point and “Donald is cruel” at another.

The lawsuit said the fraud against Mary Trump “was particularly egregious and morally culpable because Defendants deliberately targeted her because they disliked her.” It noted that the president, in a tweet, has said she was “rightfully shunned, scorned and mocked her entire life.” It said cited tweets in which he described her as “a mess” who her grandfather “couldn’t stand.”

In her book, Mary Trump, a psychologist, analyzed the president extensively in unflattering ways and made an assertion — which he denied — that he paid someone to take the SATs for him when he sought to transfer to the University of Pennsylvania.

The lawsuit, which seeks a jury trial, would have to overcome laws that limit how long someone can wait to sue over fraudulent activity.

Mary Trump maintains that she learned of the fraud only after an in depth analysis of the Trump family financial history by The New York Times that discussed how Donald Trump and his siblings inherited and built fortunes.

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In a statement, she said: “Recently, I learned that rather than protecting me, they instead betrayed me by working together in secret to steal from me, by telling lie after lie about the value of what I had inherited, and by conning me into giving everything away for a fraction of its true value. I am bringing this case to hold them accountable and to recover what is rightfully mine.”

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Associated Press Writer Maryclaire Dale in Philadelphia contributed to this report.

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