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September 22, 2021

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AP Top News at 2:21 a.m. EDT

Updated Wednesday, Sept. 8, 2021 | 11:21 p.m.

Beatings, buried videos a pattern at Louisiana State Police

MONROE, La. (AP) — The most violent videos languished for years, lost or ignored in a digital vault. Louisiana State Police troopers and top brass alike would often look the other way, even as officers took to official messaging channels to banter about their brutality. In one video, white troopers can be seen slamming a Black man against a police cruiser after finding marijuana in his car, throwing him to the ground and repeatedly punching him — all while he is handcuffed. In another, a white trooper pummels a Black man at a traffic stop 18 times with a flashlight, leaving him with a broken jaw, broken ribs and a gash to his head.

Ida deaths rise by 11 in New Orleans; Louisiana toll now 26

HOUMA, La. (AP) — The death toll in Louisiana from Hurricane Ida rose to 26 Wednesday, after health officials reported 11 additional deaths in New Orleans, mostly older people who perished from the heat. The announcement was grim news amid signs the city was returning to normal with almost fully restored power and a lifted nighttime curfew. While New Orleans was generally rebounding from the storm, hundreds of thousands of people outside the city remained without electricity and some of the hardest-hit areas still had no water. Across southeastern Louisiana, 250,000 students were unable to return to classrooms 10 days after Ida roared ashore with 150 mph (240 kph) winds.

Pentagon chief: al-Qaida may seek comeback in Afghanistan

KUWAIT CITY (AP) — U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said Thursday the al-Qaida extremist group that used Afghanistan as a staging base to attack United States 20 years ago may attempt to regenerate there following an American withdrawal that has left the Taliban in power. “That's the nature of the organization,” he told a small group of reporters in Kuwait City at the conclusion of a four-day tour of Persian Gulf states. He said the United States is prepared to prevent an al-Qaida comeback in Afghanistan that would threaten the United States. The Taliban had provided al-Qaida with sanctuary while it ruled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001.

From election to COVID, 9/11 conspiracies cast a long shadow

Korey Rowe served tours in Iraq and Afghanistan and returned to the U.S. in 2004 traumatized and disillusioned. His experiences overseas and nagging questions about Sept. 11, 2001 convinced him America's leaders were lying about what happened that day and the wars that followed. The result was “Loose Change,” a 2005 documentary produced by Rowe and written and directed by his childhood friend, Dylan Avery, that popularized the theory that the U.S. government was behind 9/11. One of the first viral hits of the still-young internet, it encouraged millions to question what they were told. While the attacks united many Americans in grief and anger, “Loose Change” spoke to the disaffected.

COVID-19 surge in the US: The summer of hope ends in gloom

WASHINGTON (AP) — The summer that was supposed to mark America’s independence from COVID-19 is instead drawing to a close with the U.S. more firmly under the tyranny of the virus, with deaths per day back up to where they were in March. The delta variant is filling hospitals, sickening alarming numbers of children and driving coronavirus deaths in some places to the highest levels of the entire pandemic. School systems that reopened their classrooms are abruptly switching back to remote learning because of outbreaks. Legal disputes, threats and violence have erupted over mask and vaccine requirements. The U.S. death toll stands at more than 650,000, with one major forecast model projecting it will top 750,000 by Dec.

Texas man gets execution delay over pastor’s touch request

HUNTSVILLE, Texas (AP) — A Texas death row inmate won a reprieve Wednesday evening from execution for killing a convenience store worker during a 2004 robbery that garnered $1.25 after claiming the state was violating his religious freedom by not letting his pastor lay hands on him at the time of his lethal injection. The U.S. Supreme Court blocked John Henry Ramirez’s execution about three hours after he could have been executed. He is condemned for fatally stabbing 46-year-old Pablo Castro, who worked at a Corpus Christi convenience store. Ramirez was in a small holding cell a few feet from the Texas death chamber at the Huntsville Unit prison when he was told of the reprieve by Texas Department of Criminal Justice spokesman Jason Clark.

North Korea parades military hardware to celebrate founding

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea paraded goose-stepping soldiers and military hardware in its capital overnight in a celebration of the nation’s 73rd anniversary that was overseen by leader Kim Jong Un, state media reported Thursday. State television hasn’t broadcast footage of the parade as of Thursday morning and the full range of weaponry displayed during the event wasn't immediately clear. But there were indications that the parade, which North Korea said involved paramilitary and public security forces, was toned down compared to previous military parades in January and October last year, when the North rolled out some of its most provocative strategic weapons threatening Asian rivals and the American homeland.

Biden, Dems push Civilian Climate Corps in echo of New Deal

WASHINGTON (AP) — Inspired by the New Deal-era Civilian Conservation Corps, President Joe Biden and congressional Democrats are pushing for a modern counterpart: a Civilian Climate Corps that would create hundreds of thousands of jobs building trails, restoring streams and helping prevent catastrophic wildfires. Building on Biden's oft-repeated comment that when he thinks of climate change, he thinks of jobs, the White House says the $10 billion program would address both priorities as young adults find work installing solar panels, planting trees, digging irrigation ditches and boosting outdoor recreation. “We must seize this opportunity to build a big, bold pathway to critical careers, for a diverse generation of Americans ready to take on this existential crisis that we face,'' said Ali Zaidi, deputy White House climate adviser.

Confederate statue's 1887 time capsule set to be removed

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Now that an iconic statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee has been taken down from its perch above Richmond’s Monument Avenue, crews plan to remove a piece of history from its gigantic pedestal. A time capsule from 1887 that state officials believe is tucked inside the statue's base is set to be removed Thursday. It will be replaced with a new time capsule that contains items reflective of current times, including an expired vial of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, a Black Lives Matter sticker and a photograph of a Black ballerina with her fist raised near the Lee statue after racial justice protests erupted following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis last year.

Crushed by pandemic, conventions mount a cautious return

In pre-COVID times, business events __ from small academic conferences to giant trade shows like CES __ routinely attracted more than 1 billion participants each year. The pandemic brought those global gatherings to a sudden halt, emptying convention centers and shuttering hotels. More than a year later, in-person meetings are on the rebound. In late August, 30,000 masked attendees gathered in Las Vegas for ASD Market Week, a retail trade show. In Chicago, the Black Women’s Expo recently held the largest event in its history, with 432 vendors and thousands of masked attendees. “People are cautious, but they’re glad to be able to get out and network with other people,” said Dr.