Thursday morning news – August 20, 2020


Harris, Obama headlined speakers on day three of DNC » Former President Barack Obama headlined a slate of prominent Democrats who looked to rally voters last night on day three of the virtual Democratic National Convention. 

OBAMA: For eight years, Joe was the last one in the room whenever I faced a big decision. He made me a better president, and he’s got the character and the experience to make us a better country. 

The former president pulled no punches in his assessment of the current president. He said President Trump has shown no interest in taking the job seriously. 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also spoke last night. She charged that since taking office, Trump has shown a pattern of disrespect toward women—both in his behavior and in his policies. 

PELOSI: And so we are unleashing the power of women to take our rightful place in our national life by defending a woman’s right to choose and defending Roe v Wade. 

Other prominent speakers last night included former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren. 

But the star of the evening was Joe Biden’s running mate, vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris. 

HARRIS: Right now, we have a president who turns our tragedies into political weapons. Joe will be a president who turns our challenges into purpose. 

This evening’s speakers will include New Jersey Senator Cory Booker and California Governor Gavin Newsom. But the night will belong to Joe Biden, who will deliver his nomination acceptance speech just after 10 p.m. Eastern Time.

Democrats revise party platform draft to include “religion” in civil rights protections » A brief update now about yesterday’s report regarding the Democratic Party’s platform.

Democrats gave final approval to their 2020 platform Tuesday night after we recorded a conversation discussing the draft version of the platform.

On Wednesday, we noted the draft version had dropped the word “religion” from a section on protecting civil rights.

But the party ultimately decided to include it. The section now reads—quote…

“Democrats are committed to ending discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, language, gender, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability status.”

The other parts of the draft platform we reported on yesterday remained in the final version, including language saying, “We will reject the Trump administration’s use of broad religious exemptions to allow businesses, medical providers, social service agencies, and others to discriminate.”

Colleges close classrooms over coronavirus concerns » Notre Dame and Michigan State universities are now among the latest colleges to move classes online due to the pandemic. WORLD’s Leigh Jones has more.

LEIGH JONES, REPORTER: Notre Dame has canceled in-person undergraduate classes for at least two weeks. University President Rev. John Jenkins announced the decision in an address to students and staff.

That after 150 students tested positive for COVID-19. 

Jenkins said he decided against sending students home after consulting with healthcare experts. Instead, the university is imposing restrictions on student activity.

And Michigan State, which planned to start in-person classes in two weeks—announced that it will switch to online instruction. University President Samuel Stanley said “despite our best efforts … it is unlikely we can prevent widespread transmission of COVID-19 between students.”

Those announcements came after the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill switched to remote learning starting yesterday. 

Many other schools are now reconsidering plans to hold in-person classes.

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Leigh Jones. 

Wildfires rage in California » AUDIO: [SOUND OF FIRE]

Wind and flames whipped through California wine country on Wednesday. 

State officials ordered thousands of people to evacuate regions surrounding the Bay Area as smoke blanketed San Francisco. 

CalFire spokesman Will Powers…

POWERS: The biggest challenge is terrain, accessibility, getting crews into those areas to fight that fire—really steep, rugged terrain, a lot of thick brush. Fire, with this warm weather, has been consuming a lot of that thick vegetation in there. 

Police and firefighters went door-to-door before dawn Wednesday in a frantic scramble to warn residents as flames advanced on Vacaville. That’s a city of about 100,000 in between San Francisco and Sacramento. 

Nearly 40 wildfires are blazing across the state amid a blistering heat wave. 

To the south in San Mateo and Santa Cruz counties, officials ordered about 22,000 people to evacuate because of a fire burning in dense wooded parkland.

Several fires are also burning in northern coastline areas and in Southern California.

Governor Gavin Newsom said Wednesday…

NEWSOM: This weather has included thousands, quite literally, thousands of dry lightning strikes that have sparked fires throughout the state of California. We’ve seen wind gusts in the Santa Cruz mountains north of 74 miles per hour and record temperatures. 

Newsom has ordered a statewide state of emergency. 

Mali president resigns amid coup » The president of Mali has resigned amid a military coup. WORLD’s Kristen Flavin has that story.  

KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta announced late Tuesday that he was stepping down, effective immediately and that he would dissolve his government and the National Assembly. 

For months, protesters have called for his ouster after disputed elections. And many criticized his handling of a violent Islamic insurgency that began in 2012.

On Tuesday, armed soldiers detained their senior officers and marched to the capital city of Bamako, capturing Keïta and the country’s prime minister. 

Many countries around the globe, including the United States, have condemned the coup. The UN Security Council met Wednesday to discuss a coordinated response. 

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Kristen Flavin. 


(AP Photo/Noah Berger) Seen in a long exposure photograph, embers burn along a hillside as the LNU Lightning Complex fires tear through unincorporated Napa County, Calif., on Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. 

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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