AP: Women accuse opera legend Domingo of sexual harassment
For decades, Placido Domingo, one of the most celebrated and powerful men in opera, has tried to pressure women into sexual relationships by dangling jobs and then sometimes punishing the women professionally when they refused his advances, numerous accusers told The Associated Press.
Regarded as one of the greatest opera singers of all time, Domingo also is a prolific conductor and the director of the Los Angeles Opera. The multiple Grammy winner is an immensely respected figure in his rarefied world, described by colleagues as a man of prodigious charm and energy who works tirelessly to promote his art form.
At 78, Domingo still attracts sellout crowds around the globe and continues adding to the 150 roles he has sung in 4,000-plus performances, more than any opera singer in history.
But his accusers and others in the industry say there is a troubling side to Domingo — one they say has long been an open secret in the opera world.
Eight singers and a dancer have told the AP that they were sexually harassed by the long-married, Spanish-born superstar in encounters that took place over three decades beginning in the late 1980s, at venues that included opera companies where he held top managerial positions.
Concerts canceled, investigation opened into Placido Domingo
SAN FRANCISCO — Two music companies canceled appearances by Placido Domingo and the Los Angeles Opera said Tuesday it would launch an investigation in response to an Associated Press story in which numerous women accused the opera legend of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior spanning decades.
Domingo has been general director of the LA Opera since 2003 and previously served as the company’s artistic director, jobs that gave him the power to cast roles and — his accusers say — make, or break, careers.
Some of the women told the AP that Domingo used his power at the LA company and elsewhere to try to pressure them into sexual relationships, with several saying that he dangled jobs and then sometimes punished them professionally if they refused his advances.
On Tuesday, the Philadelphia Orchestra and San Francisco Opera announced they would cancel upcoming performances featuring the star, regarded as one of the greatest opera singers of all time.
New York’s Metropolitan Opera said it would await the results of LA Opera’s investigation “before making any final decisions about Mr. Domingo’s future at the Met,” where he is scheduled to appear next month.
Flights resuming at Hong Kong airport after protest chaos
HONG KONG — Check-in counters have reopened at Hong Kong’s airport after being shut during protests the previous day.
About three dozen protesters remained camped out in the arrivals area Wednesday morning. Flights appeared to be operating normally.
The airport closed check-in for remaining flights late Tuesday afternoon as protesters swarmed the terminal and blocked access to immigration for departing passengers.
More than 100 flights were cancelled on the fifth consecutive day protesters occupied the airport. Airlines had still been trying to clear a backlog of more than 200 flights from Monday.
The airport disruptions escalated a summer of demonstrations aimed at what many Hong Kong residents see as an increasing erosion of the freedoms they were promised in 1997 when Communist Party-ruled mainland China took over what had been a British colony.
2 guards suspended and warden reassigned after Epstein death
NEW YORK — The warden at the federal jail where Jeffrey Epstein took his own life over the weekend was removed Tuesday and two guards who were supposed to be watching the financier were placed on leave while federal authorities investigate the death.
The move by the Justice Department came amid mounting evidence that the chronically understaffed Metropolitan Correctional Center may have bungled its responsibility to keep the 66-year-old Epstein from harming himself while he awaited trial on charges of sexually abusing teenage girls.
Epstein was taken off a suicide watch last month for reasons that have not been explained, and was supposed to have been checked on by a guard every 30 minutes. But investigators learned those checks weren’t done for several hours before he was found Saturday morning, according to a person familiar with the case who was not authorized to discuss it and spoke on condition of anonymity.
Attorney General William Barr ordered warden Lamine N’Diaye temporarily assigned to the Bureau of Prisons’ regional office while the FBI and the Justice Department’s inspector general investigate. The two guards were not identified.
While the exact manner of Epstein’s death has not been officially announced, a second person familiar with operations at the jail said the financier was discovered in his cell with a bedsheet around his neck. That person likewise spoke on condition of anonymity for the same reason.
Trump amplifies conspiracy theories from perch of presidency
MORRISTOWN, N.J. — With a pair of weekend retweets, President Donald Trump amplified an unfounded conspiracy theory.
It was hardly the first time. His political career began the same way.
Trump has a long history of spreading falsehoods drawn from the conservative fringe. His unlikely rise to the White House was fueled in part by spreading the lie that President Barack Obama was not born in the U.S., and he has trafficked in numerous others to malign his opponents and advance his own views.
Now he has used the power of the presidency to promote a baseless claim about the death of disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein, breaking another norm of the office and further sowing public confusion over the apparent suicide of one of the most high-profile inmates in the federal system. Epstein, who faced up to 45 years in prison on federal sex trafficking and conspiracy charges, was found dead in his cell in a Manhattan jail early Saturday.
Epstein had ties to prominent people around the globe, including Trump, who partied with him in the 2000s, and former President Bill Clinton. Within hours of Epstein’s apparent suicide, Trump retweeted an accusation that tied both Bill and Hillary Clinton to the death, one of many conspiracies circulating on social media. Trump defeated Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election.
Dreadful heat, humidity invade South as misery continues
ATLANTA — Stifling heat smothered states from Texas to South Carolina on Tuesday with temperatures that felt like 120 degrees (49 Celsius), making it difficult to be outside for long, much less work or play.
As the entire Southeast baked amid heat warnings and advisories that reached from central Texas to coastal Georgia, construction workers toiled under a blazing sun in Louisiana. Alabama’s largest city opened its auditorium as a refuge for anyone needing to cool down.
Some schools and coaches limited football practice for players getting ready for the upcoming season, and social media was dotted with photos showing automobile thermometers with triple-digit readings.
Forecasters said a cold front and storms could lead to a slight midweek cool down, but for the meantime it was just too hot.
The National Weather Service said the afternoon heat index, a combination of temperature and humidity, climbed to 120 degrees (48.8 Celsius) in Clarksdale, Mississippi, nearly hitting the 121 degrees (49.4 Celsius) it felt like Monday . Readings were nearly as high in cities including Dyersburg, Tennessee, and West Memphis, Arkansas.
Trump delays tariffs on some Chinese goods until December
WASHINGTON — Responding to pressure from businesses and growing fears that a trade war is threatening the U.S. economy, the Trump administration is delaying most of the import taxes it planned to impose on Chinese goods and is dropping others altogether.
The announcement Tuesday from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative was greeted with relief on Wall Street and by retailers who have grown fearful that the new tariffs would wreck holiday sales.
The administration says it still plans to proceed with 10% tariffs on about $300 billion in Chinese imports — extending its import taxes to just about everything China ships to the United States in a dispute over Beijing’s strong-arm trade policies.
But under pressure from retailers and other businesses, President Donald Trump’s trade office said it would delay until Dec. 15 the tariffs on nearly 60% of the imports that had been set to absorb the new taxes starting Sept. 1. Among the products that will benefit from the 3½-month reprieve are such popular consumer goods as cellphones, laptops, video game consoles, some toys, computer monitors, shoes and clothing.
The administration is also removing other items from the tariff list entirely, based on what it called “health, safety, national security and other factors.”
Trump claims credit for Shell plant announced under Obama
MONACA, Pa. — President Donald Trump sought to take credit Tuesday for a major manufacturing complex in western Pennsylvania in his latest effort to reinvigorate the Rust Belt support that sent him to the White House. He was cheered on by fluorescent-vest-clad workers who were paid to attend by Shell, their employer, which is building the facility.
Despite Trump’s claims, Shell announced its plans to build the complex in 2012, midway through President Barack Obama’s term in the White House.
The event was billed as an official White House event, but Trump turned much of it into a campaign-style rally, boasting of achievements he claims as president and assailing his would-be Democratic rivals for the 2020 election.
“I don’t think they give a damn about Western Pennsylvania, do you?” he prodded the crowd.
Trump was visiting Shell’s soon-to-be completed Pennsylvania Petrochemicals Complex, which will turn the area’s vast natural gas deposits into plastics. The facility is being built in an area hungry for investment and employment, though critics claim it will become the largest air polluter in western Pennsylvania.
Did the Dayton gunman target his sister? Police can’t agree
One of the first victims struck by the Dayton shooter during his 32-second rampage that left nine people dead was his younger sister, but whether he intentionally killed her remains unknown more than a week later, the Ohio city’s police chief said Tuesday.
Investigators have “radically different views” on whether Connor Betts targeted his 22-year-old sister, Megan, two hours after they arrived with a friend at a popular strip of nightclubs, Chief Richard Biehl said at a news conference.
Text messages show the 24-year-old gunman knew his sister and their friend were going to a taco stand minutes before he came down an alley and started shooting, Beihl said.
“There’s a real question whether he could see who was on the other side,” the police chief said, adding that its possible investigators may never come up with an answer.
“If we can’t seem to make that call conclusively — that we’re divided about how, whether that was intentional or not — I think it’s inconclusive,” Biehl said.
CBS, Viacom to reunite as media giants bulk up for streaming
NEW YORK — The newly combined ViacomCBS will invest in more movies and TV shows and try to sell more advertising as it seeks to become a bigger player in the growing business of streaming video.
Yet the bigger company still might not be big enough to be competitive, as larger rival Disney launches its own service in November and streaming pioneer Netflix spends even more on original shows and movies.
That isn’t stopping Viacom CEO Bob Bakish, who will lead the combined company, to declare that ViacomCBS will be “one of only a few companies with the breadth and depth of content and reach to shape the future of our industry.”
CBS and Viacom, which separated in 2006, announced their long-anticipated reunion Tuesday.
Viacom owns the Paramount Pictures movie studio and pay TV channels such as Comedy Central, MTV and BET, while CBS has a broadcast network, television stations, Showtime and a stake in The CW over-the-air network.