10 Things to Know for Wednesday
Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Wednesday:
1. TRUMP SPARKS ANOTHER POLITICAL FIRESTORM
He says Second Amendment advocates might find a way to stop Hillary Clinton from rolling back gun rights if she’s elected — and Democrats accuse him of encouraging violence against his opponent.
2. BALTIMORE POLICE FACE WITHERING CRITICISM
The city’s officers routinely discriminate against blacks, use excessive force and aren’t adequately disciplined for misconduct, a federal investigation concludes.
Phelps wins 20th Olympic gold with redemption win in 200 fly
RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — This is the one Michael Phelps really wanted, and it showed.
With challengers all around, he simply wouldn’t be denied.
After touching the wall first — barely — he held up one finger. Then he sat on a lane rope, egging on the roaring crowd at the Olympic Aquatics Center with both hands, before emphatically pumping his fist in the direction of his fiancee and their infant son.
Once again, the gold medal in the 200-meter butterfly belongs to Phelps.
Being the 20th gold of his career only added to the satisfaction.
What to watch at the Rio Games on Wednesday
RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Day 5 of the Rio Games features medal action in gymnastics, swimming, judo, fencing and more. Here are some things to watch (all times local):
A day after Michael Phelps won his 20th Olympic gold , taking first in the 200 meter butterfly, he and Ryan Lochte will be looking to get to the semifinals in the men’s 200 meter individual medleys.
Those are held at 11:29 p.m. Heats start earlier in the day, at 2:09 p.m. Lochte holds the world record, which he set in 2011, and Phelps has the Olympic record, set in 2008 (Beijing).
At 11:03 p.m. the men will go in the 100 meter freestyle. Australian Kyle Chalmers had the fastest qualifying time on Tuesday, and he already shared in a bronze in the 4×100 freestyle relay. American Caeleb Dressel was nipping at his heels in the preliminaries, and he takes to the water with a gold already in hand , also from the 4×100.
US to release report criticizing Baltimore police force
BALTIMORE (AP) — Baltimore police officers routinely discriminate against blacks, repeatedly use excessive force and are not adequately held accountable for misconduct, according to a harshly critical Justice Department report being presented Wednesday.
The report, the culmination of a yearlong investigation into one of the country’s largest police forces, also found that officers make large numbers of stops — mostly in poor, black neighborhoods — with dubious justification and unlawfully arrest citizens for speech deemed disrespectful. Physical force is used unnecessarily, including against the mentally disabled, and black pedestrians and drivers are disproportionately searched during stops, the report says.
The Justice Department released a copy of the report in advance of its public announcement at an event Wednesday morning in Baltimore.
The report represents a damning indictment of how the city’s police officers carry out the most fundamental of policing practices, including traffic stops and searches and responding to First Amendment expression. Beyond that, though, it could serve as a blueprint for change: The Justice Department is seeking a court-enforceable consent decree that would force the police agency to commit to improvements to avoid a federal lawsuit.
The Justice Department in recent years has undertaken similar wide-reaching investigations into police in Chicago, Cleveland, Albuquerque and Ferguson, Missouri, among other cities.
Computer outage could tarnish Delta’s on-time reputation
NEW YORK (AP) — We don’t cancel flights.
That’s been the message for the past two years from Delta Air Lines. Double decker buses roamed the streets of New York, wrapped in ads proclaiming “canceling cancellations.” Delta executives boasted about the number of days without a single flight scrapped.
That all literally ground to a halt Monday when a system-wide computer outage led to the cancellation of more than 1,500 flights. Passengers were stranded around the globe with many spending the night in the airport.
Until this outage, Delta had an impressive record, envied by other airlines. By June 9 of this year, Delta had already notched up 100 days where none of its own jets canceled flights — more than all of its major competitors’ no-cancel days combined. And the cancellations during the other 61 days were mostly related to weather, not maintenance issues.
“Our people are hitting it out of the park, delivering on our promise to be a safe and reliable airline and making canceling cancellations a reality,” Gil West, Delta’s chief operating officer, said in a news release at the time trumpeting its record.
Judge denies Blagojevich’s bid to lighten 14-year sentence
CHICAGO (AP) — A federal judge refused Tuesday to lighten Rod Blagojevich’s original 14-year prison sentence for corruption, rejecting pleas for lenience by the now white-haired former Illinois governor who attended the resentencing hearing by video from a Colorado prison a thousand miles away.
Blagojevich, 59, was eligible for resentencing after an appeals court last year threw out several convictions related to his alleged attempt to sell or trade an appointment to President Barack Obama’s old Senate seat.
A somber, contrite Blagojevich spoke for 20 minutes in a sometimes apologetic, sometimes rambling statement before U.S. District Judge James Zagel announced the sentence, telling the court he understood he made mistakes.
“I wish I could turn back the clock and make different choices,” said Blagojevich, who didn’t use notes. “These have been hard years.”
Zagel said that even though the appeals court threw out five of the 18 counts against the former governor, the remaining ones still justified the original sentence. The appeals court said in its ruling last year that Blagojevich wasn’t necessarily entitled to a lower sentence, adding that the 14-year term fell below what federal guidelines recommended.
Turkey unlikely to drop Syria rebels in latest realignment
BEIRUT (AP) — Minutes after news broke of a coup against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, government-held areas in Syria broke out in celebratory gunfire, heralding what they believed was the removal of the leader they blame for fueling their country’s five-year civil war.
Erdogan survived the insurrection, and judging by the surprise reversal of rebel fortunes in Aleppo this week, so has his government’s support for the Syrian opposition. But Turkey, post-coup, is realigning, and as tensions with the West soar, Erdogan has shown a desire to mend fences with Russia, a key ally of Syrian President Bashar Assad.
On Tuesday, following talks in St. Petersburg, Russia, with President Vladimir Putin, the Turkish leader agreed to hold a separate discussion on Syria, involving top military and intelligence officials.
The meeting — Erdogan’s first trip abroad following the July 15 failed coup attempt — comes amid boiling tensions over the contested northern city of Aleppo near the Turkish border, with both nations supporting opposing sides.
Here is a look at the Turkish involvement in Syria and how Turkey’s latest post-coup realignment may play out:
Waterslide complaints surface after Kansas boy dies on ride
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — At least two people who rode in the last year on the same Kansas waterslide where a 10-year-old boy was killed say nylon shoulder straps came loose during the raft ride featuring a 17-story drop.
It’s unclear whether the straps on “Verruckt” — German for “insane” — played any role in Sunday’s death of Caleb Schwab, a Kansas lawmaker’s son. Police and Schlitterbahn Waterpark have yet to explain how Caleb sustained a fatal neck injury on the 168-foot-tall ride, which the park said Tuesday would be closed for the remainder of the season.
On the 2-year-old waterslide certified by Guinness World Records as the world’s tallest, riders sit in multi-person rafts that begin with the steep drop, followed by a surge up a second hill before a 50-foot descent to a finishing pool. Along the way, riders clutch ropes along the inside of the raft.
Riders are harnessed in with two nylon seatbelt-like straps — one that crosses the rider’s lap, the other stretching diagonally like a car shoulder seatbelt. Each strap is held in place by long Velcro-style straps, not by buckles.
Ken Martin, a Richmond, Virginia-based amusement park safety consultant, questioned whether the straps were appropriate for what he called “nothing more than a roller coaster with water.”
Putin, Erdogan agree on steps to mend relations
ST. PETERSBURG, Russia (AP) — Turkey’s president cozied up to his “dear friend” Vladimir Putin on Tuesday in a visit intended to send a message to his allies in the West, whom he blames for what he considers a lack of support after a failed coup.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has pressed the United States to extradite the man he claims was behind the failed insurrection, and has sought more funds and visa-free travel from the European Union, but it’s unclear what leverage improved ties with Russia could give him.
Putin, in turn, expects Turkey to become more accommodating of Russia’s interests in Syria and move faster on major energy projects — demands Ankara could find difficult to meet.
After their talks in St. Petersburg’s ornate Konstantin Palace, both leaders emphasized their shared desire to rebuild ties, but it remained unclear if they could reach common ground on the Syrian crisis. While Moscow has backed Syrian President Bashar Assad throughout the nation’s civil war and further bolstered that support by launching an air campaign last September, Turkey has pushed for Assad’s removal and helped his foes.
Putin said he and Erdogan would have a separate discussion on Syria later Tuesday involving top diplomats and intelligence officials.
US women gymnasts golden again; Serena Williams loses
RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — The U.S. women’s gymnastics team is golden once more.
Tennis star Serena Williams is headed home.
The top-seeded player in the women’s tennis tournament at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics got upset on Tuesday by Elina Svitolina of Ukraine, deprived of a chance to defend the gold medal she won four years ago in London.
Simone Biles and her acrobatic teammates had a much better day in gymnastics.
The Americans’ second straight Olympic triumph was never in doubt, their score of 184.897 at the Rio Games more than eight points clear of the field. Their day was capped by fan favorite Biles with a boundary-pushing floor exercise that showed just how far ahead they are of everyone else.