‘Glee’ star believed drowned
LOS ANGELES — Authorities said Thursday that they believe “Glee” star Naya Rivera drowned in a Southern California lake but they are continuing the search for her a day after her 4-year-old son was found alone in a rented boat. “Investigators believe Rivera drowned in what appears to be a tragic accident,” a Ventura County Sheriff’s Office statement said. The boy, who was found asleep and wearing a life vest late Wednesday afternoon, told investigators that he and his mother went swimming and he got back on the boat, but “his mom never made it out of the water,” Sheriff’s Sgt. Kevin Donoghue said. Surveillance video taken at about 1 p.m. Wednesday shows Rivera and the boy leaving on the boat at Lake Piru, something she had done before. “She had experience boating out here at the lake,” Donoghue said. The boy was discovered by the vendor who rented the boat to the pair. Rivera’s identification and an adult life vest were on the boat, and her car was found in a parking area, Donoghue said. In a news conference more than 24 hours after the two had set out, Donoghue said that the effort had shifted from an attempt to rescue the 33-year-old to an attempt to recover her body. Dozens of people, most of them divers, with help from helicopters, drones and all-terrain vehicles were involved in the search on Lake Piru, 55 miles northwest of Los Angeles in the Los Padres National Forest. In the area where the boat was found, the water was about 30 feet deep, authorities said. Murky waters heavy with vegetation made it difficult for divers to see more than about a foot ahead of them. “In the lake, the visibility is terrible,” Donoghue said. He said the plants proving challenging for divers may have been a problem for Rivera herself. “If the body is entangled on something beneath the water, it may never come back up,” Donoghue said. The search was to continue into the night.
Woman joins Green Beret team
WASHINGTON — For the first time, a female soldier has graduated from the Army’s elite Special Forces course and will join one of the all-male Green Beret teams, capping a yearslong campaign to move women into the military’s front-line combat jobs. The unidentified woman is one of three female soldiers who have been going through the Army Special Forces qualification course at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. She graduated Thursday and donned her Green Beret, along with about 400 other soldiers. Defense officials, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss personnel matters have confirmed that she is a member of the National Guard. Lt. Gen. Fran Beaudette, commander of Army Special Operations Command, presided over the ceremony and was able to say, for the first time, that “our Green Beret men and women will forever stand in the hearts of free people everywhere.” “”From here, you will go forward and join the storied formation of the Green Berets where you will do what you are trained to do: challenge assumptions, break down barriers, smash through stereotypes, innovate, and achieve the impossible,” he said. The Army does not release the identities of its commandos or disclose to which special forces group they will be assigned. The more than 6,700 Army Green Berets are highly trained commandos who usually work in 12-person teams. They are often used for specialized combat and counterterrorism operations and to train other nations’ forces in battle skills. Many work with Afghan forces fighting the Taliban or are training troops in up to 60 countries. The path to becoming a Green Beret consists of several phases, beginning with a grueling assessment and selection phase where commanders believe they can identify soldiers who cannot make the grade or do not belong. The bulk of those who try out fail. Some who get injured or fail are allowed to return and try again.
Economy may be stalling out
WASHINGTON — The U.S. economy is stumbling as the viral outbreak intensifies, threatening to slow hiring and deepening the uncertainty for employees, consumers and companies across the country. Coronavirus case counts are rising in 38 states, and the nation as a whole has been shattering single-day records for new confirmed cases. In six states representing one-third of the economy — Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Michigan, and Texas — governors are reversing their reopening plans. Reopening efforts are on pause in 15 other states. The reversals are keeping layoffs elevated and threatening to weaken hiring. More than 1.3 million people applied for unemployment benefits last week, the Labor Department said Thursday, down from 1.4 million the previous week but still roughly double the pre-pandemic weekly record. Applications had fallen steadily in April and May but have barely declined in the past month. Jobless claims “are stalled out at a new normal of over a million new claims every week,” said Daniel Zhao, an economist at Glassdoor. “The virus is in the driver’s seat and we’re along for the ride until the current public health crisis is resolved.” Some economists have even warned that a so-called “double-dip” recession, in which the economy shrinks again after rebounding, could develop. Consumers, the primary driver of U.S. economic growth, are pulling back on spending in restaurants and bars, especially in the hardest-hit states. Some small businesses are closing, either under government orders or because of a lack of customers, according to private data. Several companies have warned in recent days that more layoffs are coming. Levi’s, the iconic jeans maker, said it will cut 700 corporate jobs. United Airlines has warned 36,000 of its employees — nearly half its workforce — that they could lose their jobs in October. (Airlines aren’t allowed to cut jobs until then as a condition of accepting billions of dollars in government rescue aid.) Motorcycle maker Harley Davidson said it will eliminate 700 corporate jobs. The pandemic drove Walgreens to a deep loss in the most recent quarter, with customers staying home or limiting shopping to essential supplies from grocery stores.
Feds feared for Maxwell’s life
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Federal officials were so worried Jeffrey Epstein’s longtime confidant Ghislaine Maxwell might take her own life after her arrest that they took away her clothes and sheets and made her wear paper attire while in custody. The steps to ensure Maxwell’s safety while she’s locked up at a federal jail in New York City extend far beyond the measures federal officials took when they first arrested her in New Hampshire last week. The Justice Department has implemented additional safety protocols, and federal officials, outside the Bureau of Prisons, have been specifically tasked with ensuring that there is adequate protection and that the prisons protocols are being followed, the official said. The protections are in case she harms herself and in case other inmates wish to harm her. The concern comes in part because Epstein, 66, killed himself in a federal jail in Manhattan last summer while in custody on sex trafficking charges. The Bureau of Prisons has been the subject of intense scrutiny and conspiracy theories since then, with staff shakeups and leadership changes. The other protocols put in place for Maxwell’s confinement include ensuring that she has a roommate in her cell, that she is monitored and that someone is always with her while she’s behind bars, the official said.
Missing mayor’s body found
SEOUL, South Korea — The missing mayor of South Korea’s capital, reportedly embroiled in sexual harassment allegations, was found dead early Friday, more than half a day after giving his daughter a will-like message and then leaving home, police said. Police said they located Park Won-soon’s body near a traditional restaurant in wooded hills in northern Seoul, more than seven hours after they launched a massive search for him. Choi Ik-su, an officer from the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency, told reporters there were no signs of foul play and no suicide note had been found at the site or in Park’s residence. He refused to elaborate on the cause of Park’s death. Choi said rescue dogs found Park’s body, and police had recovered his bag, cellphone and business cards.The Seoul-based SBS television network reported that one of Park’s secretaries had lodged a complaint with police on Wednesday night over alleged sexual harassment such as unwanted physical contact that began in 2017. The SBS report, which didn’t cite any source, said the secretary told police investigators that an unspecified number of other female employees at Seoul City Hall had suffered similar sexual harassment by Park.
Court keeps Trump taxes private
WASHINGTON — Rejecting President Donald Trump’s complaints that he’s being harassed, the Supreme Court ruled Thursday in favor of a New York prosecutor’s demands for the billionaire president’s tax records. But in good political news for Trump, his taxes and other financial records almost certainly will be kept out of the public eye at least until after the November election. In a separate case, the justices kept a hold on banking and other documents about Trump, family members and his businesses that Congress has been seeking for more than a year. The court said that while Congress has significant power to demand the president’s personal information, it is not limitless. The court turned away the broadest arguments by Trump’s lawyers and the Justice Department that the president is immune from investigation while he holds office or that a prosecutor must show a greater need than normal to obtain the tax records. But it is unclear when a lower court judge might order the Manhattan district attorney’s subpoena to be enforced.
Lemurs, whales near extinction
GENEVA — Nearly all of Madagascar’s much-loved lemurs are under threat, and almost one-third are just one step away from extinction, largely due to deforestation and hunting on the giant island off eastern Africa. The International Union for Conservation of Nature, updating its “red list” of threatened species, said the lemurs are increasingly imperiled — a key finding in a broad warning about the impacts of human activity on fauna and flora across the globe. The Swiss-based conservancy also warns that North Atlantic Right Whales are nearing extinction: Not only are they increasingly ensnared in fishing gear but they’re colliding more with ships, possibly a result of climate change that drives their migratory patterns northward into shipping lanes. The “red list” highlights the plight of some 6,000 species that are in the most danger, but also notes that of the 120,000 species of plants, animals and fungi assessed, more than a quarter are threatened with extinction.
Serbia bans mass gatherings
BELGRADE, Serbia — Serbian authorities on Thursday banned gatherings of more than 10 people in the capital, Belgrade, after two nights of violent clashes between police and thousands of demonstrators protesting coronavirus lockdown measures. Thousands of people defied the ban Thursday night to stage a sit down protest in front of Parliament, but that gathering and others in at least two other Serbian towns remained peaceful despite a large police presence. Many protesters wore white T-shirts with the inscription, “Sit Down, Don’t Be Set Up” — referring to widespread claims that the violence in the previous nights’ protests was staged by hooligan groups close to the authorities to smear the opposition groups’ image. “This is how the protest should really look like, without their mad dogs present,” said one of the main opposition leaders, Dragan Djilas. Serbia’s government crisis team said the restrictions imposed Thursday were intended to prevent the virus’ further spread following two nights of clashes, during which few people wore face masks. In addition to limiting gatherings, businesses in closed spaces, such as cafes, shopping malls or shops, were ordered to operate shorter hours.
Stones to release unheard tracks
The Rolling Stones will release a new version of their 1973 album “Goats Head Soup” featuring three unheard tracks, including one featuring Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page. The band announced on Thursday that the release on Sept. 4 will include a four-disc CD and vinyl box set editions that includes 10 bonus tracks, including outtakes and alternative versions. Page appears on a song called “Scarlet,” and the Stones also released a video for one of the unheard songs, called “Criss Cross.”
Virus has effect on state lotteries
Boston — The coronavirus pandemic has been a rollercoaster for state lotteries across the country, with some getting a boost from the economic downturn and others scrambling to make up for revenue shortfalls. Since March, Texas, Arkansas and Montana and several other states have seen an increase in sales, in part, driven by housebound residents putting cash down for scratch-off tickets. But lottery officials say other states, like Massachusetts and Oregon, confronted revenue drops due to stay-at-home orders that forced the closure of restaurants, bars and some retailers selling tickets.Some also blamed a lack of an online presence, something only a handful states currently allow. “We got used to lottery as a constant companion supporting the system and it was a gut punch to realize we don’t have the time to react,” said Chris Havel, spokesperson for Oregon Parks and Recreation, which laid off 47 people and closed more than two dozen parks due to a $22 million projected budget shortfall through next year driven in part by a drop in lottery revenues. State lottery revenues do not make up a huge portion of a state budget. But because the monies are often directed to specific programs like education, environment or veterans programs, they can have an outsized impact when there are upticks or declines in sales.
2 Disney World parks to reopen
ORLANDO, Fla — Forget about up-close “meet-and-greet” sessions with Mickey Mouse or Donald Duck when Walt Disney World parks reopen. There will be no firework shows or parades — those would draw too many people together — and both visitors and employees will be getting temperature checks when they enter. Despite a huge surge of Floridians testing positive for the new coronavirus in recent weeks, two of Disney World’s four parks are reopening Saturday. When they do, visitors to “The Most Magical Place on Earth” will find new rules in place. Everyone has to wear a mask and maintain social distance. No hopping between parks is allowed, for the time being, and visitors will need reservations to enter. Disney employees won’t be allowed to take photos of visitors in front of Cinderella’s Castle since it involves touching the tourists’ cameras. There will be no live shows since the reopening has caused a labor dispute between Disney World and its actors and singers. Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom will reopen Saturday. Disney World’s other two parks, Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios, will welcome back guests four days later. All of the parks closed in mid-March in an effort to stop the virus’s spread. Disney World’s crosstown rivals, Universal Orlando and SeaWorld Orlando, also closed in March but have been back open for several weeks after instituting similar rules to protect employees and customers from the virus.
Woman arrested in hit-and-run
INDIANAPOLIS — An Indiana woman was arrested in a hit-and-run crash that sent one woman to the hospital and caused minor injuries to a man during a southern Indiana protest over the assault of a Black man by a group of white men. Christi Bennett, 66, was booked into the Monroe County Jail early Thursday on preliminary charges of criminal recklessness and leaving the scene of an accident. A 29-year-old woman was injured when a car accelerated into her, launching her onto the hood, police said. A 35-year-old man then grabbed the driver’s side of the car and held on as the vehicle continued to accelerate. Both were eventually flung to the ground and the car fled the scene, they said. The woman was knocked unconscious and suffered a cut to her head, while the man scraped his arm. Bloomington Police Department investigators determined Wednesday that Bennett, the woman the car was registered to, was staying at a motel in Scottsburg. Investigators found her exiting a motel room. Police say her driver’s license shows her as living in Greensburg, but that she has recently been living at the motel where she was found.
New York mayor turned painter
NEW YORK — New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio grabbed a roller Thursday to paint “Black Lives Matter” in front of the namesake Manhattan tower of President Donald Trump, who tweeted last week that the street mural would be “a symbol of hate.” De Blasio was flanked by his wife, Chirlane McCray, and the Rev. Al Sharpton as he helped paint the racial justice rallying cry in giant yellow letters on Fifth Avenue in front of Trump Tower. Activists watching chanted, “Whose streets? Our streets!” “When we say ‘Black Lives Matter,’ there is no more American statement, there is no more patriotic statement because there is no America without Black America,” de Blasio said.