WXXI US News

Syndicate content
Updated: 26 min 21 sec ago

Disinformation Fuels Distrust And Even Violence At All Levels Of Government

Mon, 03/01/2021 - 5:11am
One day before the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol in January, thousands of miles away in northern California, anger began to boil over at a meeting of the Shasta County Board of Supervisors. "This is a scamdemic, it's a plandemic, and it's a damndemic. We're sick of it!" one woman shouted. Again and again, residents railed against public officials for enforcing social distancing rules. Some warned of "civil war" and possible violent resistance from militias and other groups. The potential consequences of false ideas played out in deadly form on Jan. 6, when extremist supporters of former President Donald Trump – inspired by his lie that the November election was stolen – attacked the Capitol. But widespread acceptance of disinformation is shaping the political process at all levels of government. Dangerous disinformation Conspiracy theories, disinformation and distrust in the election system have sewn controversy, and even violence, at all levels of government in recent months. In

How Fast Are Oceans Rising? The Answer May Be In Century-Old Shipping Logs

Mon, 03/01/2021 - 5:04am
Off the coast of England, there's a tiny, wind-swept island with the remains of a lifeboat rescue station from the mid-1800s. The workers who once ran the station on Hilbre Island did something that, unbeknownst to them, has become crucial for understanding the future of a hotter climate: They recorded the tides. The data, scrawled in long, handwritten ledgers, is just one example of the tens of thousands of pages of tidal measurements stored in archives around the world. Now, scientists and historians are racing to digitize them in an effort to understand how fast oceans are rising. The aging notebooks establish a historical baseline to compare with today's changing world. Sea level rise is accelerating around the globe, likely to displace millions of people who live in coastal communities. Forecasts show between 3 and 6 feet of rise by the end of the century, or potentially more, depending on how much heat-trapping pollution humans emit. Knowing exactly how much inundation to expect

Biden Urges Senate To Move Quickly On COVID-19 Relief Plan

Mon, 03/01/2021 - 5:04am
The House early Saturday passed President Biden's $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package. Now the measure heads to the Senate.

In The Job For A Month, Haines Oversees All 18 U.S. Intelligence Agencies

Mon, 03/01/2021 - 5:04am
Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Disinformation Still Swirls Concerning Legitimacy Of Biden Administration

Mon, 03/01/2021 - 5:04am
While conspiracy theories aren't new, experts say their reach is spreading — accelerated by social media, encouraged by former President Donald Trump and weaponized in a way that is unprecedented.

For Some Black Students, Remote Learning Has Offered A Chance To Thrive

Mon, 03/01/2021 - 5:00am
Back when school was in person, Josh Secrett was always tired. "I used to come home and just lay down and go to sleep for like hours," the eighth-grader says. "Wake up for dinner, go to bed." Josh's mom, Sharnissa Secrett, says teachers at his Portland, Ore., school would sometimes discipline Josh for small things, like talking when he wasn't supposed to. Those interactions would hang over him the rest of the day. "You look in my baby's eyes, when he used to come home, he was tired...mentally tired," she says. But ever since his school went all-virtual, Josh has been doing much better. His mom says there are fewer distractions, he can work independently and it's been easier for him to focus. "It's like almost the noise is shut out and we can just get to the work." Middle school is tough for just about everyone, but for Black students like Josh, school can be even harder. That's because, in addition to learning algebra and coping with social awkwardness, they're often navigating an

'Run The Oil Industry In Reverse': Fighting Climate Change By Farming Kelp

Mon, 03/01/2021 - 5:00am
In the race to stall or even reverse global warming, new efforts are in the works to pull carbon dioxide out of the air and put it somewhere safe. One startup in Maine has a vision that is drawing attention from scientists and venture capitalists alike: to bury massive amounts of seaweed at the bottom of the ocean, where it will lock away carbon for thousands of years. The company is called Running Tide Technologies, and it's prototyping the concept this winter. On a recent day in the Gulf of Maine, boat captain Rob Odlin says the task itself isn't much different from any other in his seafaring career, whether chasing tuna or harvesting lobster. "We're just fishing for carbon now, and kelp's the net," he says. Running Tide CEO Marty Odlin — the boat captain's nephew — comes from a long line of Maine fishermen, and once imagined he would continue the tradition. But he watched as the warming climate drove major shifts in fish populations, while regulators put a lid on how much could be

COVID-19 Relief Package Heads To Senate As Debate Over Minimum Wage Continues

Mon, 03/01/2021 - 5:00am
The Senate takes up President Biden's $1.9 trillion coronavirus aid package this week, following a largely party-line House vote early Saturday morning. Democrats are using a process to avoid a Republican filibuster in the Senate that leaves them no room for error in the divided 50-50 chamber. Pushing Biden's plan through budget reconciliation allows Democrats to approve it more quickly and without Republican support. But it also means there are limits regarding what can be in the package, because of rules dictating how policies affecting spending, taxes and the debt are considered. Democratic leaders need to keep their caucus unified and will count on Vice President Harris to break a tie, since no GOP lawmakers in the House voted for the bill, and none are expected to back it in the Senate. Potential efforts to try to push businesses to boost the minimum wage, or any changes to tax credits or other elements, mean the bill may pingpong back to the House, since any changes to the

Autism Nature Trail under construction at Letchworth State Park; completion by fall possible

Mon, 03/01/2021 - 5:00am
A mile-long Autism Nature Trail at Letchworth State Park is expected to open to the public later this year. It’s a project that has been over a half-decade in the making. Back in 2016, the Humphrey Nature Center opened as a year-round facility that focused on providing educational opportunities. New York State Commissioner of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Erik Kulleseid said Letchworth’s Autism Nature Trail is, in many ways, an offshoot of their most recent nature center. “We opened with a lot of private fundraising,” Kulleseid said. “And there was a small group of people from that, who have been impacted by autism spectrum disorder and had always noted that Letchworth had kind of a calming effect on kids with ASD.” Kulleseid said three women from the Letchworth area started a private initiative to raise money for ANT, which has currently reached $3 million of its $3.7 million goal in collaboration with Letchworth State Park. “And they have assembled experts in autism to

Hong Kong Democracy Advocates Charged Under National Security Law

Sun, 02/28/2021 - 8:39pm
Updated at 8:05 a.m. ET The Hong Kong government charged 47 democracy advocates Sunday with violating a national security law that prohibits "conspiracy to commit subversion," prompting hundreds of protesters to gather in defiance of the law to show their support. The activists charged were among a group of more than 50 people arrested in January for organizing and taking part in a primary election last July. The mass arrests last month were the most extensive roundup since the law was introduced in the summer. The law criminalizes four types of activity: secession, subversion of state power, terrorism and collusion with foreign entities. In practice, it severely curtails whatever autonomy that Hong Kong had previously enjoyed under Chinese rule. Those arrested were among Hong Kong's most vocal democracy advocates, a group that includes many opposition lawmakers. The group of 39 men and eight women had been asked to check in with police on Sunday in preparation for a court appearance

Vaccination clinic set up to inoculate grocery store workers

Sun, 02/28/2021 - 8:03pm
Monroe County, the city of Rochester, Wegmans and the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce have partnered to vaccinate grocery store employees, including those who work at independent stores and bodegas, against COVID-19. “Grocery store employees have been on the front lines since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, playing a critical role in providing goods and services that are needed throughout these unprecedented times, while keeping our public health at the forefront,” said County Executive Adam Bello. “Throughout the pandemic, our truly essential workers – our health care, grocery store and restaurant employees and others – the people who truly make daily life possible – have suffered greatly,” said Mayor Lovely Warren. “It is only right and equitable to ensure they have dedicated access to the vaccine." To ensure equity in access, Monroe County is reserving approximately 30% of the appointments for smaller, city-based employers, and is partnering with the City of Rochester

Trump Keeps Up Conspiracies, Blasts Biden And GOP Foes In 1st Post-Presidency Speech

Sun, 02/28/2021 - 6:36pm
Updated at 8:10 p.m. ET Just a month after leaving office, Donald Trump on Sunday broke with the practices of past former presidents and took on the man who beat him in the 2020 election. During a keynote address that lasted an hour and a half — and began more than an hour late — in Orlando, Fla., to the friendly Conservative Political Action Conference, or CPAC, Trump blasted Biden's tenure so far. He called it "the most disastrous first month of any president in modern history," hitting Biden on many fronts — from immigration to national security to Biden's pandemic response. The main thrust of Trump's criticism, though, was on immigration policy. He claimed Biden was "eliminating our [southern] border," triggering "a massive flood of illegal immigration" that was letting criminals pour out onto U.S. streets. It was similar to the dark and nativist anti-immigration vision that helped launch Trump to political prominence in the first place, from his 2015 presidential campaign

Cuomo releases new statement Sunday on alleged harassment

Sun, 02/28/2021 - 5:47pm
Gov. Andrew Cuomo released a new statement late Sunday afternoon regarding the allegations of sexual harassment by two former staffers: "Questions have been raised about some of my past interactions with people in the office," Cuomo stated. "I never intended to offend anyone or cause any harm. I spend most of my life at work and colleagues are often also personal friends. "At work sometimes I think I am being playful and make jokes that I think are funny. I do, on occasion, tease people in what I think is a good natured way. I do it in public and in private. You have seen me do it at briefings hundreds of times. I have teased people about their personal lives, their relationships, about getting married or not getting married. I mean no offense and only attempt to add some levity and banter to what is a very serious business. "I now understand that my interactions may have been insensitive or too personal and that some of my comments, given my position, made others feel in ways I never

At CPAC, Trump Returns To Public Stage

Sun, 02/28/2021 - 4:46pm
MICHEL MARTIN, HOST: And finally today, decades after legendary singer Billie Holiday last took the stage, she is back in the spotlight. Hulu just released "The United States Vs. Billie Holiday," a film about the jazz icon starring Andra Day and directed by Lee Daniels. And while many people might know Holiday's struggles with addiction from previous treatments of her life, this film focuses on something else - the way Holiday was targeted by federal authorities, both for her addiction and for her activism through her art, especially her insistence on singing the famous anti-lynching anthem "Strange Fruit." (SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "STRANGE FRUIT") BILLIE HOLIDAY: (Singing) Black bodies swinging in the Southern breeze. Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees. MARTIN: The film is based in part on reporting for the book "Chasing The Scream: The First And Last Days Of The War On Drugs" by Johann Hari. It's about why and how certain drugs came to be criminalized in the U.S. Hari served as

At Least 18 Killed By Myanmar Security Forces In Deadliest Day Since Coup

Sun, 02/28/2021 - 3:44pm
One week ago, Myanmar military forces warned pro-democracy protesters that if their demonstrations continued, there would be further loss of life. The military has made good on its threat. Sunday was the bloodiest day in Myanmar since a military junta seized power there one month ago. According to the United Nations Human Rights Office, at least 18 people were killed and more than 30 wounded after security forces fired live ammunition into crowds of peaceful demonstrators in several cities across the country. "The people of Myanmar have the right to assemble peacefully and demand the restoration of democracy," U.N. Human Rights Office spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani said in a statement. "These fundamental rights must be respected by the military and police, not met with violent and bloody repression. Use of lethal force against non-violent demonstrators is never justifiable under international human rights norms." In additional to live rounds, police also used tear gas to disperse

Virginia Lawmakers Sign Off On Bill Legalizing Recreational Marijuana

Sun, 02/28/2021 - 3:15pm
Lawmakers in Virginia have reached a deal to make the state the 16th in the nation and the first in the south to legalize recreational marijuana use. But the compromise bill is receiving blow back from some legalization advocates who say it falls short of racial justice aims. Lawmakers in both the House and Senate passed the bill in a Saturday legislative session in a party line vote of 48 to 43 in the House and 20 to 19 in the Senate. The legislation would legalize the use of cannabis by people over the age of 21 starting in 2024, when retail markets would be established. The law would also allow possession of up to an ounce by anyone over 21 and establishes a state agency to oversee regulation of the cannabis market. Specifics of the regulations were punted until next year, when they'll be decided by the legislature. The bill calls for 30% of marijuana tax revenue to go to a fund aimed at communities historically over-policed for marijuana-related crimes. Under the legislation,

N.Y. Gov. Andrew Cuomo Faces Sexual Harassment Allegations From 2nd Former Aide

Sun, 02/28/2021 - 2:03pm
A second former aide to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has come forward with allegations of sexual harassment that took place last spring as the state was facing a surge in cases and deaths in its fight against the coronavirus. Cuomo says he will now ask New York's attorney general and the state's chief judge to pick an independent investigator to review the accusations against him. The allegations were first reported by The New York Times on Saturday — just four days after another former aide published similar allegations about the governor in a Medium post, including an unwanted kiss and touching . The latest allegations were brought by Charlotte Bennett, 25, who worked as an executive assistant and health policy adviser for Cuomo until leaving his administration in November. The Times said it approached Bennett about her story following a tweet she wrote in support of Lindsey Boylan for sharing her account of what happened with Cuomo — an account the governor has called untrue.

Cuomo agrees to give AG subpoena powers after 2nd woman comes forward

Sun, 02/28/2021 - 12:21pm
A second woman has come forward and accused New York Governor Andrew Cuomo of sexual harassment. Cuomo denies the allegations, but has agreed to make a referral to the state’s Attorney General Leticia James, to conduct an investigation. Charlotte Bennett, a 25 year old former executive assistant to Cuomo, who told her story to the New York Times on Saturday, joins Lindsey Boylan in accusing Cuomo of harassing, intimidating and inappropriate behavior. Bennett says beginning last spring, during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the governor began showing what she felt was an inappropriate interest in her, asking her in private meeting in his office questions about her sex life and whether she was monogamous in her relationships. Bennett says the 63 year old governor, asked her whether she had ever had sex with older men, and told her that he was open to having relationships with women who are in their 20s. Bennett requested a job transfer with an office on the opposite end of the

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo Accused Of Sexual Harassment By Two Former Staffers

Sun, 02/28/2021 - 10:35am
Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.