AP News in Brief: 07-27-20

  • A boat sinks in the Packery Channel during Hurricane Hanna, Saturday, July 25, 2020, in North Padre Island, Texas. The Category 1 storm continued to strengthen before reaching Padre Island at 5 p.m. Saturday. (Annie Rice/Corpus Christi Caller-Times via AP)

South Texas drenched by cyclone amid surge in virus cases

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — A day after roaring ashore as a hurricane, Hanna lashed the Texas Gulf Coast on Sunday with high winds and drenching rains that destroyed boats, flooded streets and knocked out power across a region already reeling from a surge in coronavirus cases.

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Downgraded to a tropical depression, Hanna passed over the U.S.-Mexico border with winds near 50 mph, the National Hurricane Center said. It unloaded more than 12 inches (30 centimeters) of rain on parts of South Texas and northeastern Mexico.

Border communities whose health care systems were already strained by COVID-19 cases — with some patients being airlifted to larger cities — found themselves under siege from the first hurricane of the 2020 Atlantic season. There were no immediate reports of any deaths on either side of the border.

Dr. Ivan Melendez, the health authority in Hidalgo County, Texas, was treating a patient overnight at a hospital when he and a nurse noticed water streaming down a wall and pooling on the floor. The water was flowing through a vent in the room, which had been retrofitted with a fan to create negative pressure and prevent the virus spreading through the hospital.

After driving home in the storm in the middle of the night, Melendez was trapped Sunday morning in his home by downed trees and had no electricity. He used the phone to discuss whether to put a 58-year-old woman on a ventilator, a decision he felt uncomfortable making without seeing the patient in person.

Olivia de Havilland dies at age 104

NEW YORK — She was one of Hollywood’s most glamorous stars and determined off-screen fighters. No one was better suited than Olivia de Havilland to play the sainted Melanie Wilkes in “Gone With the Wind” or more tenacious about the right to appear in the films of her choosing.

Fans and actors alike owe much to de Havilland, the Oscar-winning performer who became, almost literally, a law unto herself.

De Havilland, who died Sunday at 104, was one of the last survivors of Hollywood’s so-called Golden Age. She was beloved to millions as Wilkes in “Gone With the Wind, but also won Oscars for “To Each His Own” and “The Heiress” and challenged and unchained Hollywood’s contract system.

De Havilland died peacefully of natural causes at her home in Paris, publicist Lisa Goldberg said.

During a career that spanned more than 70 years, de Havilland was praised in roles ranging from an unwed mother to a psychiatric inmate in “The Snake Pit,” a personal favorite. The doe-eyed actress projected both a gentle, glowing warmth and a sense of resilience and mischief that made her uncommonly appealing, leading critic James Agee to confess he was “vulnerable to Olivia de Havilland in every part of my being except the ulnar nerve.”

White House pushes narrow virus aid; Pelosi blasts delay

WASHINGTON — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Sunday assailed Republican “disarray” over a new pandemic relief package as the White House suggested a narrower effort might be necessary, at least for now.

The California Democrat panned the Trump administration’s desire to trim an expiring temporary federal unemployment benefit from $600 weekly to about 70% of pre-pandemic wages. “The reason we had $600 was its simplicity,” she said from the Capitol.

The administration’s chief negotiators — White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin — spent a few hours at the Capitol later Sunday to put what Meadows described as “final touches” on a $1 trillion relief bill Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is expected to bring forward Monday afternoon.

“We’re done,” Mnuchin said as he and Meadows left Capitol Hill after meeting with GOP staff.

Meadows said as the White House was “looking for clarity” on a “handful” of remaining issues ahead of Monday. “We have an agreement in principle,” he said.

Police and protesters clash in violent weekend across U.S.

ATLANTA — Protests took a violent turn in several U.S. cities over the weekend with demonstrators squaring off against federal agents outside a courthouse in Portland, Oregon, forcing police in Seattle to retreat into a station house and setting fire to vehicles in California and Virginia.

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A protest against police violence in Austin, Texas, turned deadly when police said a protester was shot and killed by a person who drove through a crowd of marchers. And someone was shot and wounded in Aurora, Colorado, after a car drove through a protest there, authorities said.

The unrest Saturday and early Sunday stemmed from the weeks of protests over racial injustice and the police treatment of people of color that flared up after the May 25 death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Floyd, who was Black and handcuffed, died after a white police officer used his knee to pin down Floyd’s neck for nearly eight minutes while Floyd begged for air.

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