National News

Judge limits privilege defense in AZ Mormon sex abuse case

An Arizona judge has ruled that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints may not use the state's “clergy-penitent privilege” to refuse to answer questions or turn over documents in a child sex-abuse case. Clergy in Arizona and many other states are required to report information about child sexual abuse or neglect to authorities. But there's an exception if they learn of the abuse through spiritual confessions. Judge Laura Cardinal said the late Paul Adams waived his right to keep his confessions secret when he posted videos of himself sexually abusing his two daughters on the Internet and boasted of the abuse on social media.

LL Cool J, Nicki Minaj and Jack Harlow to emcee MTV Awards

The MTV Video Music Awards later this month will have not one emcee but three, with rap stars LL Cool J, Nicki Minaj and Jack Harlow all set to anchor the ceremony. They’ll introduce and present the famous Moonmen trophies alongside performers including Lizzo, Anitta, BLACKPINK, J Balvin, Måneskin, Kane Brown, Marshmello with Khalid, and Panic! At The Disco on Aug. 28 at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. Harlow, Lil Nas X and Kendrick Lamar have seven nominations. Harlow, Lil Nas X, Drake, Bad Bunny, Ed Sheeran, Harry Styles and Lizzo will compete for artist of the year. Styles and Doja Cat received the second-most nominations with six.

Kemp's ridley sea turtle nests 1st in 75 years in Louisiana

The world's smallest and most endangered sea turtle has hatched in Louisiana's wilds for the first known time in 75 years. Louisiana agencies say crews monitoring the Chandeleur Islands to help design a restoration project found tracks of females going to and from nests, and of hatchlings leaving nests. A news release from the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority and the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries included photos of two hatchlings crawling toward and swimming in the water. The statement says threatened loggerhead sea turtles also are nesting on the islands. It says loggerhead nests found on Grand Isle in 2015 were the first confirmed sea turtle nests in Louisiana in more than 30 years.

Abortion ruling prompts variety of reactions from states

When the U.S. Supreme Court in June overturned Roe v. Wade, the 1973 ruling that established a right to abortion, it sparked legal changes and court challenges in states nationwide. In some states, there are multiple bans and multiple lawsuits in play, keeping the landscape unsettled. And further legislation could soon change things again. The June 24 Dobbs v. Jackson ruling is expected to lead ultimately to bans or deep restrictions on access to abortion in about half the states. Meanwhile, most Democrat-led states have put into place policies intended to protect abortion access.

Rosalynn Carter marking 95th birthday with butterflies

Rosalynn Carter turns 95 Thursday, and her birthday is being marked with butterflies. A friend says the wife of former President Jimmy Carter has a fascination with butterflies dating back to her childhood in Plains, Georgia. That interest led to the formation of the Rosalynn Carter Butterfly Trail, which was established after the former first lady grew concerned about the future of butterflies. The Carters made a rare public appearance last Saturday in Plains at the dedication of a new butterfly sculpture. And the butterfly trail is using her birthday to promote an annual count of butterflies in Georgia planned for Friday and Saturday. Rosalynn Carter is the second-oldest U.S. first lady ever.

For early-childhood grantmakers, collaboration is key

While grantmakers have historically put more resources into elementary and secondary education than early childhood, support for the youngest learners is on the rise. From 2006 to 2013, foundations overall gave at least $4.6 billion to support early-childhood education, according to data from Candid. From 2014 to 2021, that sum grew to $7.1 billion. As more donors contributed, they’ve found new ways to link arms. Grantmakers now support the child-care and educator work force through the Early Educator Investment Collaborative. Dozens of foundations have pooled their resources through organizations such as Alliance for Early Success and the First Five Years Fund, advocacy groups working to get more government funding at the state and federal levels.

A look at the world's skinniest skyscraper: Steinway Tower

One skyscraper stands out from the rest in the Manhattan skyline. It’s not the tallest, but it is the skinniest — the world's skinniest, in fact. New York architecture firm SHoP Architects designed Steinway Tower, which earns the title of “the most slender skyscraper in the world” due to its logic-defying ratio of width to height. The apartments in the 84-story residential tower range in cost as much as $66 million per unit and offer full views of the city. The tower is so tall and skinny that the luxury homes on the upper floors whip around by a few feet whenever the wind ramps up.

Federal study: New climate law to slice carbon pollution 40%

The first official federal calculations of the new spending package that President Biden signed this week show it will slice America's carbon pollution by more than 1 billion tons by the end of the decade. Thursday's Department of Energy calculations show emission reductions by 2030 will be about the same as the amount of greenhouse gases that U.S. homes produce each year. Overall, the analysis says the U.S. will reduce its emissions to about 40% below 2005 levels by the end of the decade. That still does not reach the national goal of cutting carbon pollution in half.

Gas-powered muscle cars drive into the sunset, turn electric

Thundering gas-powered muscle cars will be closing in on their final Saturday-night cruises in the coming years. That's because automakers are replacing the vehicles with super-fast cars that run on batteries. Stellantis’ Dodge brand has long been the performance flag-bearer of the company formerly known as Fiat Chrysler. Now it is officially moving toward electricity. On Wednesday night, Dodge unveiled a battery-powered Charger Daytona SRT concept car. One like it will be in showrooms in 2024 as the sun sets on some petroleum models. Other automakers are moving — or have moved — in the same direction.

For hire or food, garden sitters save the day during summer

Home gardening has been on a tear during the pandemic, and now it's harvest time in many places. It's also vacation season. How do you maintain a garden and what do you do with your hard-won vegetables and flowers during extended trips away? Some home gardeners hire professional sitters. Others rely on neighbors and hope for the best. The New York Botanical Garden's Adam Choper suggests designating one trusted person to avoid a free-for-all in your garden. There also are steps you can take to help protect your plants while you're gone from water loss and competition from weeds.

Columbia River's salmon are at the core of ancient religion

The Columbia River, which natives call Nch’i-Wána, or “the great river,” has sustained Indigenous people in the region for millennia. The river’s salmon and the roots and berries that grow around the area, are known as “first foods” because of the belief that they volunteered to sacrifice themselves for the benefit of humans at the time of Creation. These foods are prominently featured in longhouse ceremonies and rituals. The foods and the river are still threatened by industrialization, climate change and pollution. Many Indigenous people still live along the river because their blood lines are here and the practice of their faith requires them to do so.

Disqualified for disabilities, railroad workers fight back

Union Pacific has already lost three lawsuits over the way it removes employees with health conditions because of safety concerns, and the prospect of hundreds more lawsuits looms over the railroad. The lawsuits were originally going to be part of a class-action case before a federal appeals court decided the cases must be pursued individually. The first few lawsuits have now been tried with verdicts over $1 million coming in all three cases, but more than 200 more discrimination complaints are still pending with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that are likely to turn into lawsuits. Union Pacific has vigorously defended its policy in court, and the railroad says it is designed to protect its workers and the public from significant injury risks.

Anne Heche's death ruled accidental after fiery car crash

The coroner's office says actor Anne Heche died from burns and inhalation injury after her fiery car crash and the death has been ruled an accident. The cause of her death was released on the Los Angeles County coroner's website Wednesday, although a formal autopsy report is still being completed. Heche was 53 when her car plowed into a Los Angeles home on Aug. 5 and caught fire. Her family has said she suffered a severe brain injury caused by lack of oxygen. The coroner's office says she died Aug. 11, but she was removed from life support on Sunday so that her organs could be donated.

Kimi Raikkonen hits pause on retirement to race NASCAR

Kimi Raikkonen will take a break from his retirement to return to racing this weekend in the NASCAR race at Watkins Glen International in upstate New York. The 2007 Formula One world champion will drive for TrackHouse Racing and its Project91, which is a program to give top international drivers exposure to NASCAR. Sunday's race with the Raikkonen is the debut of Project91. The Finnish driver has tried NASCAR racing once before. In 2011, he ran the Xfinity and Truck Series races at Charlotte. This will be his Cup debut. There are a NASCAR-record seven countries represented in Sunday's field.