Nation and World briefs for August 14

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.

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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.

Russian military orders village evacuation, then cancels it

MOSCOW — The Russian military on Tuesday told residents of a village near a navy testing range to evacuate, but canceled the order hours later, adding to the uncertainty and confusion fueled by a missile explosion last week that led to a brief spike in radiation that frightened residents and raised new questions about the military’s weapons program.

Initially the military told residents of Nyonoksa, a village of about 500, to move out temporarily, citing unspecified activities at the range. But a few hours later, it said the planned activities were canceled and rescinded the request to leave, said Ksenia Yudina, a spokeswoman for the Severodvinsk regional administration.

Local media in Severodvinsk said Nyonoksa residents regularly receive similar temporary evacuation orders usually timed to tests at the range.

The Defense Ministry initially said Thursday’s explosion of a rocket engine at the navy range killed two people and injured six others, but the state-controlled Rosatom nuclear corporation said two days later that the blast also killed five of its nuclear engineers and injured three others. It’s still not clear what the final toll is.

And just as the Severodvinsk administration reported a brief spike in radiation levels, the Defense Ministry insisted that no radiation was released.

Police divided on whether Dayton gunman targeted sister

DAYTON, Ohio — 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 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.

California counties sue over public benefit immigration rule

SAN FRANCISCO — San Francisco and Santa Clara counties filed the first lawsuit challenging the Trump administration’s new rules to deny green cards to migrants who use Medicaid, food stamps, housing vouchers or other forms of public assistance.

The lawsuit, filed Tuesday, came after the Department of Homeland Security’s announcement Monday of its expanded “public charge” rules to restrict legal immigration.

In a filing , the counties of Santa Clara and San Francisco argued that the rules will worsen the health and well-being of their residents, increase public health risks and financially harm the counties.

The rules, the counties argued, would result in a “chilling effect” in which migrants forgo or disenroll from federal public assistance programs to reduce the risk of being denied a green card. This practice would mean that the cost of services would shift from federal to state governments, the counties argued.

The counties also said the rules undermine Congress’ broader system of immigration laws that prioritizes family unification and that the federal government did not sufficiently offer any rationale to explain the alleged benefits of the rules or justify its costs.

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.”

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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.

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