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    A small number of Turks are responding to their president's call to boycott American electronic goods by posting videos in which they smash iPhones with bats, hammers and other blunt instruments. In one video , a man collects iPhones from several youths squatting in front of a Turkish flag, lays the devices on the ground and pounds them with a sledgehammer. 'For the motherland!' he says at one point. In another video, a boy pours a plastic bottle of Coca Cola into a toilet in a show of repugnance for U.S. goods. American products remain widely used in Turkey, which is locked in a dispute with Washington over an American pastor being tried in a Turkish court and other issues. The two countries have also imposed tariffs on each other's goods.
  • Russian air defense assets in Syria have downed 45 drones targeting their main base in the country, its military said Thursday. The Russian Defense Ministry spokesman, Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov, said that five of them were shot down in the last three days near the Hemeimeem air base. The base in the province of Latakia serves as the main hub for Russian operations in Syria. Konashenkov said that while the drones appear primitive, they use sophisticated technologies and have a range of up to 100 kilometers (60 miles). He charged that the militants wouldn't have been able to assemble the drones without outside help, but didn't specify who might have assisted them. The Russian general noted that the number of drone attacks have increased recently, adding that all of them were launched by militants based in the northern province of Idlib. Idlib has become the main base for President Bashar Assad's foes, which moved there after being forced out from other areas across Syria as part of surrender deals often negotiated with the Russians on behalf of the Syrian government. With Russia's support, Assad's forces have regained control over key cities, like Aleppo, Homs and Daraa, the southern city where the uprising against the government began in March 2011. The authorities also have restored control over key highways, allowing safe travel all the way form the Jordanian border in the south to the central province of Hama. In Homs, regional Gov. Talal Barazi told international reporters during a trip organized by the Russian Defense Ministry that a key bridge on a highway linking the Homs and Hama provinces that was destroyed in 2012 has been restored. Barazi said that later this year his administration plans to start restoring the old part of Homs that was ravaged by fierce fighting in 2014. He said that about 650 rebels who had left the province and moved to Idlib have come back to Homs and agreed to lay down their arms. Barazi said that the historic city of Palmyra, home to one of the Middle East's most spectacular archaeological sites, could be open for tourist visits by next summer. Many of the city's archaeological treasures were badly damaged by the Islamic State group in 2015. Palmyra is a world heritage site protected by the United Nation's cultural agency. In Aleppo, Hazem Ajan, the director of the city's industrial cluster, told reporters that about 500 companies have resumed operations in the area since the government reclaimed control in 2016.
  • A special United Nations panel is urging Bahrain to immediately release imprisoned activist Nabeel Rajab, describing him as the victim of government-sponsored 'persecution' for his political views in the island kingdom. The statement by the U.N.'s Working Group on Arbitrary Detention comes as Rajab is serving a five-year prison sentence for tweets he sent, a case widely criticized internationally as the kingdom's government continues a crackdown on dissent. He faces further time in prison on other charges similarly denounced abroad. 'Mr. Rajab's political views and convictions are clearly at the center of the present case and that the authorities have displayed an attitude towards him that can only be characterized as discriminatory,' the panel said. 'He has been the target of persecution, including deprivation of liberty, for many years and there is no other explanation for this except that he is exercising his right to express such views and convictions.' Bahrain, home to the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet and a British naval base, disputed the U.N. panel's findings. It described Rajab's court hearings as 'independent, transparent and attended by numerous international observers.' 'As in all countries, there is a distinct difference between legitimate criticism of government and attempts to incite public disorder,' the government said in a statement, without elaborating. Rajab has faced years of imprisonment and a government campaign coordinated against him for backing the island's 2011 Arab Spring protests. Then, the island's Shiite majority and others demanded more political freedoms from the kingdom's ruling Sunni family, the Al Khalifa. Bahrain ultimately put down the demonstrations, relying on reinforcements from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Rajab was sentenced in August 2012 to three years in prison for allegedly fomenting clashes between police and protesters, a case similarly criticized by the U.N. panel. At the time, he was already serving a three-month sentence for posting anti-government comments on Twitter. He was released in May 2014 after serving two years, but was detained again over his comments on Twitter. Bahrain's King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa pardoned Rajab in July 2015 over concerns about his health after the activist served some three months in prison. But Rajab was again arrested in June 2016 over his tweets alleging abuse at Bahrain's Jaw prison and criticizing civilian casualties in the Yemen war waged by a Saudi-led coalition, of which Bahrain is a member. Prosecutors also investigated the 53-year-old activist for letters he wrote while imprisoned that were later published by newspapers Le Monde and The New York Times. Bahrain's constitution guarantees its citizens freedom of speech. However, Rajab was prosecuted under laws making it illegal to offend a foreign country, spread rumors at wartime or 'insult' a government agency. The U.N. panel criticized those laws being as 'vague and overly broad.' 'Denials of a universally accepted human right to freedom of opinion and expression should not be meekly condoned by a domestic court,' the panel said. The panel's appeal is unlikely to sway the rulers of Bahrain, an island off the coast of Saudi Arabia in the Persian Gulf. The United States previously publicly pushed back against Bahrain on human rights matters, using its influence as the island's defense guarantor with over 7,000 U.S. troops attached to a sprawling base in Manama that hosts the 5th Fleet. However, President Donald Trump's administration has approved a multibillion-dollar sale of F-16 fighter jets to Bahrain without the human rights conditions imposed by the State Department under President Barack Obama. Trump himself told also King Hamad in May 2017 'there won't be strain with this administration.' ___ Follow Jon Gambrell on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jongambrellap . His work can be found at http://apne.ws/2galNpz .
  • The Latest on Turkey's currency crisis (all times local): 4:45 p.m. Turkish media reports say Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak has told international investors that Turkey would come out of the current 'currency fluctuation' stronger than before. Albayrak addressed thousands of investors in a teleconference on Thursday to update about the state of the economy. Private NTV quoted Albayrak as reassuring investors' that Turkey's banks are 'healthy and strong' and that fighting inflation, implementing structural reforms and strict monetary policy remained a priority. The minister ruled out imposing limits on money flows, NTV said. International investors have been worried by Turkey's high levels of foreign debt and Erdogan's refusal to allow the central bank to raise interest rates to support the currency, as experts say it should. ___ 4:20 p.m. The drop in the Turkish lira is attracting more interest from tourists, including last minute travelers, as well as prospective real estate buyers. U.K.-based online travel agent Travel Republic says bookings to Turkey increased by 21 percent in the last three days. The company said the number of nights that tourists are staying in Turkey has also increased, by 47 percent, likely due to costs in resort being low as a result of the currency devaluation. Price comparison site TravelSupermarket.com says it has seen a 19 percent increase in searches for Turkey in the Aug. 9-15 period compared with the previous week. Some are looking for a longer-term bargain — property. Spotblue, a British website focused on Turkish real estate, says the number of people visiting its site has more than doubled since last week. It is too early to say how much of that interest will turn into a deal. ___ 3:40 p.m. Turkish officials say President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has spoken with French President Emmanuel Macron, during which Macron said that Turkey's economic stability is important for France. Officials at Erdogan's office say the two presidents on Thursday stressed the importance of expanding economic and trade ties as well as mutual investments. They added that the Turkish and French finance ministers would meet soon. The high-level conversation comes as Turkey shows signs of a rapprochement with European countries amid an on-going trade and diplomatic spat with the United States that help trigger a Turkish currency crisis. Erdogan held a similar conversation with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday. The officials provided the information only on condition of anonymity, in line with rules. ___ 10:30 a.m. The Turkish lira is rebounding from record losses a day after Qatar pledged US$15 billion in investments to help Turkey's economy. The currency strengthened some 3 percent against the dollar on Thursday, trading at around 5.75 per dollar, hours before Turkey's treasury and finance minister were scheduled to reassure international investors about the economy. The lira had nosedived in recent weeks, hitting a record low of 7.24 last week, amid a diplomatic and trade dispute with the United States. Washington imposed sanctions and tariffs over the continued detention of an American pastor, while Turkey retaliated with some US$500 million of tariffs on some U.S. imports and said it would boycott U.S. electronic goods. The currency recovered after authorities took steps to help bank liquidity and limit swap transactions.
  • The new leader of Amnesty International says many world leaders, especially President Donald Trump, are rolling back gains made in respecting human rights, with the Trump administration's separation of families at U.S. borders 'one of the worst atrocities' seen in a long time. 'The presidency of Donald Trump is a major challenge for the people of the U.S. and the people of the world,' Kumi Naidoo told The Associated Press on Thursday, saying the psychological damage of the border separation policy alone could be long-lasting. 'Overall on human rights he has set us back ... and it should be no surprise that Donald Trump will be in my vision of activism and will be somebody who will receive quite close focus by Amnesty as a global movement.' With a background of activism against apartheid in his native South Africa and for environmental issues as a director of Greenpeace, Naidoo said he intends to make Amnesty 'bigger, bolder and more inclusive.' He began a four-year term at the helm of the London-based rights group this week. 'What I hope to do at Amnesty is to intensify our appetite for peaceful civil disobedience,' he said. Although world leaders often ignore letters and meetings, he said that 'when you mobilize thousands of people on their doorstep ... that seems to work much better.' He added: 'We should not allow the shrinking democratic space to prevent us from having a more robust and more courageous activism that will include peacefully resisting unjust laws and breaking unjust laws where necessary.' Despite the recent setbacks for human rights, Naidoo said he is optimistic. Amnesty currently has a global membership of 7 million people and he said he would like to see that increase to 70 million, especially among younger people. 'Young people will not accept wisdom that they are the leaders of tomorrow, they will assert their leadership now,' he said. ___ Follow Africa news at https://twitter.com/AP_Africa
  • Former Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, a Hindu nationalist who set off a nuclear arms race with rival Pakistan but later reached across the border to begin a groundbreaking peace process, died on Thursday after a prolonged illness. He was 93. The All India Institute of Medical Sciences, where Vajpayee had been hospitalized for more than two months for treatment of a kidney infection and chest congestion, announced his death. Vajpayee, a leader of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, had suffered a stroke in 2009. A onetime journalist, Vajpayee was in many ways a political contradiction: He was the moderate leader of an often-strident Hindu nationalist movement. He was a lifelong poet who revered nature but who oversaw India's growth into a swaggering regional economic power. He was the prime minister who ordered nuclear tests in 1998, stoking fears of atomic war between India and Pakistan. Then, a few years later, it was Vajpayee who made the first moves toward peace. Vajpayee's supporters saw him as a skilled politician who managed to avoid fanaticism, a man who refused to see the world in black and white. But his critics considered him the leader of a fanatic movement - a movement partially rooted in European fascism - that sought power by stoking public fears of India's large Muslim minority. The one thing both sides could agree on was his honesty. Vajpayee was that rare thing in Indian politics: a man untainted by corruption scandals. One of seven children of a schoolteacher in central India, Vajpayee joined India's Hindu revivalist political movement in his late 20s. Elected to Parliament in 1957, he became the best-known figure in its moderate wing, and helped the Bharatiya Janata Party become one of India's few national political parties. One of India's longest-serving lawmakers, Vajpayee was elected nine times to the powerful Lok Sabha, or lower house of Parliament. He also served two terms in the Rajya Sabha, or upper house. He led the party to its first national electoral victory in 1996, but lasted just 13 days as prime minister before he resigned in the face of a no-confidence motion. He returned to power in 1998 for 13 months after forging an alliance of 22 parties, mostly regional power brokers with disparate local appeal. He again served as India's prime minister from 1999 to 2004. It was in India's relations with Pakistan where Vajpayee's influence may last the longest. While India's nuclear weapons program is believed to date to the 1980s, New Delhi had long insisted its atomic program was purely for peaceful purposes. That changed within a month of Vajpayee returning to the prime minister's post in 1998, when he approved a series of nuclear weapons tests that shocked the world and pushed Islamabad to launch its own tests. But the next year, when Islamabad sent fighters across the cease-fire line that divides the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir between the nations, Vajpayee resisted military pressure to launch a broad counter-attack of Indian forces. After 11 weeks and more than 1,000 deaths, Pakistan ordered the fighters to withdraw. India earned international praise for its caution. His peace efforts began with a groundbreaking bus ride to Lahore, Pakistan, in February 1999, where he met with then-Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. The diplomatic journey inaugurated the first regular bus service between the two nations. Then, just before leaving office in 2004, he launched a peace process that, while often rocky, remains the basis of ongoing negotiations. Vajpayee avoided bedrock nationalist issues, like plans to build a Hindu temple at the site of a demolished north Indian mosque. But critics excoriated him for failing to quickly quell anti-Muslim riots that shook the state of Gujarat in 2002. More than 1,100 people, almost all of them Muslim, were killed in the riots, which began after a train fire killed 60 Hindu pilgrims. Muslims were accused of setting the fire, though the true cause was never known. Vajpayee's public response to the riots reflected his many contradictions. In the days after the pogrom, Vajpayee said he could not understand how Hindus could burn women and children alive, sadly asking a group of Muslim survivors: 'Have we lost our way so much that we cease to be humans?' Just a year later, though, he told a mostly Hindu audience, 'Wherever there are Muslims in large numbers, they do not want to live in peace.' While known for his poetry and gifted with a politician's common touch - as a parliamentarian he would take his dogs for walks in public - he was not known for public introspection. Few people could claim to understand what drove him. He never married, but lived with his adopted daughter, her husband and their daughter. Vajpayee quickly dropped from sight after the BJP lost power to the long-dominant Congress party in 2004 elections. As his health failed, Vajpayee stayed out of the limelight even when the BJP returned to power a decade later and Narendra Modi became prime minister. Modi's government presented Vajpayee as an icon, seeking inspiration from his political career and cashing in on his stature and popularity as a statesman acceptable across political divides. 'It was Vajpayee's exemplary leadership that set the foundations for a strong, prosperous and inclusive India in the 21st century. His futuristic policies across various sectors touched the lives of each and every citizen of India,' Modi tweeted Thursday. Rahul Gandhi, the leader of the Congress party, said 'India has lost a great son' who was 'loved and respected by millions.' In 2015, the government honored Vajpayee with the Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian award, while his Dec. 25 birthday was declared 'Good Governance Day' in a tribute to his leadership. Vajpayee's body it to be taken to his New Delhi home and then to the BJP's office on Friday for people to pay their last respects. His funeral is to be held Friday afternoon. The government announced that the national flag will be flown at half staff as a sign of mourning for seven days at government offices in the country and at all Indian embassies abroad. ___ This story has been corrected to show that Vajpayee's second tenure as prime minister was for 13 months instead of 11 months.
  • Malaysia's new government on Thursday repealed a widely criticized law prohibiting 'fake news,' in a move hailed as a landmark moment for human rights by a group of Southeast Asian lawmakers. The bill was rushed through Parliament in April under former Prime Minister Najib Razak despite concerns that it would be used to silence dissent ahead of a May 9 general election. It carried a penalty of up to six years in jail and a fine of 500,000 ringgit ($128,000). Najib's long-ruling coalition was ousted in the polls, ushering in the country's first transition of power since independence from Britain in 1957. After an intense six-hour debate in Parliament and protest by lawmakers in Najib's party, the law was repealed Thursday with a simple voice vote. The group ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights hailed the move, saying the law shouldn't have been approved in the first place because it was clearly designed to silence criticism of the government and quell public debate. 'It not only shows that the (new) government is serious about its promises to strip controversial laws from the legal books, it also sends a signal to the wider region that positive human rights change is within reach,' its board member, Filipino lawmaker Teddy Baguilat, said in a statement. He urged Malaysia to follow up and repeal all other repressive laws, including the Sedition Act. 'This must also be a wake-up call for other ASEAN governments to follow suit and ensure their legal codes are not used to restrict human rights,' he added.
  • Brussels is highlighting its sun-splashed summer with a Mexican-themed carpet of over half a million flowers on its historic Grand-Place. The UNESCO World Heritage site on Thursday opened up the cobblestones of its market square for a giant display of flowers depicting scenes and symbols from Guanajuato, a Mexican region with an exceptionally rich culture and flower tradition. The city lays down such a flower carpet every two years but the extreme heat of this summer posed special challenges. Brussels Culture alderwoman Karine Lalieux says that beyond the traditional use of Belgian begonias, dahlias also were used 'as this year was very, very hot.' The carpet, measuring 75 by 24 meters (246 by 79 feet), will be on view until Sunday.
  • As Italy comes to terms with the disaster of this week's bridge collapse, the government is accusing the highway operator for focusing too much on its financial interests, putting a spotlight on the country's management of vital infrastructure. The Italian government lashed out Thursday at Atlantia, the holding company of the Benetton fashion family that owns highway operator Autostrade per l'Italia. Atlantia has lost a quarter of its market value in the first trading since the government said it would take steps to revoke the concession to run half of the nation's toll highways following the deadly bridge collapse in Genoa. Atlantia's share price slid to 17.57 euros from 23.54 euros in early trading, burning 5 billion euros ($5.69 billion) in market value. Autostrade is by far the biggest of the two dozen concessions that manage the nation's 6,003 kilometers (3,730 miles) of highway and more than 1,034 kilometers of bridges and viaducts traversing mountainous regions and 865 kilometers of tunnels. It makes money by charging tolls. It controls 3,020 kilometers of highway, including the bridge, which was scheduled for a major retrofit. The business daily il Sole 24 Ore said the 20-million-euro project aimed to reinforce two vertical pillars, including one that collapsed on Tuesday. Before markets opened, Atlantia put out a statement underlining conditions for revoking the concession, including penalties and a clear finding of fault against it. The company noted that the cause of the crash still was not known. Deputy premier Luigi Di Maio, head of the 5-Star Movement party, told reporters in Genoa that the statement was 'shameful.' 'They could have at least spared a word for the victims on this day, instead of thinking yet again of profits, yet again of the market numbers,' he said. He repeated Premier Giuseppe Conte's pledge not to wait for the judicial system to assign blame for the collapse, a process that can take years to reach a verdict, saying that there were clear areas of lack of compliance. Prosecutors were investigating both maintenance issues and design flaws, and have not identified any targets.
  • Mali's President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita won a second five-year term in the turbulent West African nation with more than 67 percent of the vote in a runoff election, the Ministry of Territorial Administration said Thursday. Opposition leader Soumaila Cisse received over 32 percent of the vote in Sunday's runoff that had an estimated turnout of 34 percent amid threats of violence from extremist groups. The turnout dropped from the first round, in which nearly 43 percent of voters made it to the polls. The constitutional court must approve the results by Aug. 22. 'We are very happy for this well-earned victory for our president,' said Mahamadou Camara, spokesman for Keita. 'Malians have expressed a choice which had already been evident since the first round. Our candidate came in first. We are not scared of a post-election crisis.' Cisse supporters gathered in the capital, Bamako, shouting in disappointment. The 68-year-old opposition leader has blamed Keita for the country's insecurity, and his party alleged fraud in the first round and warned against it in the runoff. It was not immediately clear whether the party would challenge the runoff's results in court. 'We are not in agreement with these results. It's Soumaila Cisse who won, and we will march in protest because IBK stole our victory,' said 33-year-old Oumar Toure, referring to the president by his initials. Cisse's campaign director, Tiebile Drame, urged supporters to protest. 'Nothing was spared by the supporters of the regime to divert the vote of the Malians. We are launching a strong call for citizen mobilization to exert popular, peaceful and democratic pressure to uphold the Malian vote,' Drame said. The 73-year-old president leads a nation that has grown more insecure since he beat Cisse in a second-round election in 2013, the same year that French-backed forces pushed extremists in the north from their strongholds. He took power the year after a military coup ushered in an era of chaos that allowed the extremists to flourish. The extremists linked to both al-Qaida and the Islamic State organization have been staging more brazen attacks that have spread into central Mali. Deadly communal clashes between ethnic groups and accusations of heavy-handed counterterror operations have caused even deeper tensions and mistrust of the state. In northern and central Mali more than 50 polling stations had closed before noon on Sunday because of threats by extremists, according to the Citizen Observation Pool of Mali which had more than 2,000 observers. The observers also reported several incidents of violence on voting day, including the killing of a village chairman and the harassment of at least four election workers. A number of polling stations were burned. In Bamako, voting was also hindered by rains. Diplomats have called for calm and respect for the election results, with the United Nations urging the use of 'legal and constitutional channels to settle disputes.' ___ Follow Africa news at https://twitter.com/AP_Africa

The Latest News Headlines

  • Musicians, fans and friends of Aretha Franklin, the “Queen of Soul,” are honoring her legacy after news of her death Thursday. Franklin’s publicist said she died at her home in Detroit, according to The Associated Press. She was 76. >> Read more trending news  Fans are remembering Franklin’s singular presence, stage command and legendary performances. >>Related: Aretha Franklin dies at 76 Franklin’s family issued an official statement to The Hollywood Reporter: “In one of the darkest moments of our lives, we are not able to find the appropriate words to express the pain in our heart. We have lost the matriarch and rock of our family. The love she had for her children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews and cousins knew no bounds.  “We have been deeply touched by the incredible outpouring of love and support we have received from close friends, supporters and fans all around the world. Thank you for your compassion and prayers. We have felt your love for Aretha and it brings us comfort to know that her legacy will live on. As we grieve, we ask that you respect our privacy during this difficult time.” Family members confirmed Monday to WDIV-TV that Franklin, 76, was “gravely ill,” after a report from entertainment site Showbiz411 claimed she was being surrounded by friends and family in Detroit. >>Photos: Aretha Franklin through the years Franklin canceled several concerts this year due to health issues, Fox13Memphis reported. According to The Associated Press, “she was ordered by her doctor to stay off the road and rest up.” She performed in her hometown of Detroit in June 2017, the Detroit Free Press reported. She ended the concert with an appeal for those in the crown to, “Please keep me in your prayers,” according to the newspaper. She last performed in November at Elton John’s AIDS Foundation gala in New York City, the News reported. >>Related: The best Aretha Franklin songs: A timeline Franklin was born March 25, 1942, in Memphis, Tennessee. Her family moved to Detroit when she was young, according to Fox13Memphis. Franklin started singing when she was young, with encouragement from her mother, Barbara, and her father, the Rev. C.L. Franklin. She started out singing gospel but launched a career in secular music after she turned 18. She rose to fame after signing in 1967 with Atlantic Records. Franklin’s career, spanning six decades, has spawned hits including “Respect,” “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” and “Chain of Fools.” She’s considered one of the best-selling artists of all time, selling more than 75 million albums worldwide. Franklin was inducted in 1987 to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. She’s earned 18 Grammy Awards and a Presidential Medal of Freedom for her work. In 2005, then-President George W. Bush described Franklin as “a woman of achievement, deep character and a loving heart.”
  • One of the development groups behind a plan to build a Convention Center at the Jacksonville Shipyards site, is now putting forward a proposal for “Riverwalk Place”, less than a mile down the street. GALLERY: “Riverwalk Place” in Downtown Jacksonville Jacksonville’s Downtown Investment Authority solicited bids to build a Convention Center, hotel, and parking garage at the site of the old Courthouse and City Hall Annex. Three proposals were returned, including one from Rimrock Devlin DeBartolo Jacksonville, LLC. That group is, in turn, a partnership between Rimrock Devlin Development and DeBartolo Development, LLC.  Despite offering that plan, RDD then partnered with Iguana Investments Florida- which is a development group backed by Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan- to propose a Convention Center and hotel for the Shipyards site instead. The DIA previously selected Iguana as the master developer for that site, and Iguana is pitching this Convention Center project as the first phase of the overall redevelopment.  GALLERY: Convention Center proposed for Jacksonville Shipyards “We believe the Shipyards is the optimal location for the Convention Center and hotel because of its riverfront location, ability to expand if needed, and synergies gained from its proximity to the existing sports venues and other development activities planned in the immediate aftermath, says DeBartolo Development President and Chief Operating Officer Edward Kobel.  Now, RDD is offering alternate plans for the old Courthouse/Annex site, where the DIA initially imagined the Convention Center potentially being constructed.  “Our alternative development proposal for the Old Courthouse property will serve as a perfect complement and will provide downtown with much needed uses and facilities that will help strengthen the connectivity between the downtown core and sports complex area,” Kobel says.  “Riverwalk Place” is a “mixed-use 24 x 7 lifestyle community”, according to RDD. It includes a 10,000 square foot multi-restaurant venue along the St. Johns River. Along Bay Street, there would be a five-story, 347-unit luxury multi-family apartment complex; nine-story, 150-room limited service hotel; and six-and-a-half story, 468-space parking garage.  “We believe our interwoven plans for the Old Courthouse and Shipyards will help accomplish this goal and we are thrilled to take this next step in pursuing this vision,” says Rimrock Devlin Development’s Wallace Devlin.  RDD believes these proposals together will be an impetus for riverfront development in Downtown, and could also serve to transform the Downtown core overall.  RDD delivered this proposal to the DIA today. It’s not yet clear how the DIA will receive this proposal, as it still has active bids for a Convention Center and hotel at the old Courthouse/Annex site.  These project proposals come as several projects are underway to try to revitalize the area. GALLERY: Shad Khan’s plan for the Jacksonville Shipyards WOKV has brought you an in-depth look at the City’s proposal to take down the Hart Bridge ramps, to further accommodate riverfront development. Khan’s group continues to negotiate the Shipyards redevelopment, and has a greater $2.5 billion redevelopment vision for the Shipyards and Sports Complex combined. The Laura Street Trio is also undergoing redevelopment, Berkman Plaza II was recently sold, and The District is underway on the Southbank.
  • Drain your property of standing water.  The Nassau County Health Department is seeing an increase in West Nile Virus activity in chickens that are used to test for mosquito-borne illness.   There's also been an outbreak of Eastern Equine Encephalitis reported in emus.  According to the Health Department, human infections with EEEV and WNV are asymptomatic or may result in a nonspecific flu-like syndrome with fever and headache.   So far in 2018, there have been four cases of Eastern Equine Encephalitis infection in horses in Nassau, and one outbreak of EEEV reported in emus. Ten sentinel chickens have tested positive for EEEV, and 17 have tested positive for WNV.  Nassau County health officials urge you to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes and to take precautions to help limit your exposure:  -Drain water from garbage cans, house gutters, buckets, pool covers, coolers, toys, flower pots or any other containers where sprinkler or rain water has collected. -Discard old tires, drums, bottles, cans, pots and pans, broken appliances and other items that aren't being used. -Empty and clean birdbaths and pet's water bowls at least once or twice a week. -Protect boats and vehicles from rain with tarps that don’t accumulate water. -Maintain swimming pools in good condition and appropriately chlorinated. Empty plastic swimming pools when not in use.  You are also encouraged to cover your skin with repellent and/or clothing.  Repellents with DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, para-menthane-diol, and IR3535 are effective.
  • Aretha Franklin is the Queen of Soul, and while her rendition of the national anthem was soulful before Thursday’s NFL game between Detroit and Minnesota, some critics believed the song was too long. Those naysayers were drowned out by Franklin's fans, who said they needed to show a little R-E-S-P-E-C-T. >> Read more trending stories Franklin wore her trademark fur coat and a Detroit beanie to signify her hometown. She sat down at a piano and belted out a 4-minute, 35-second version of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Her version brought the house down at Detroit's Ford Field, and her performance quickly went viral. For reference, the average length of the last ten Super Bowl national anthems has been just under two minutes. Twitter had a field day with the song’s length, and so did the game’s broadcaster, CBS. The network put up a graphic that showed not only the time of possession by the Lions and Vikings, but also by Franklin. But Franklin’s legion of fans responded in kind, defending the song’s length. “That was a gospel version of the #NationalAnthem,” tweeted John Miller (@jfreemon63) “It's called seasoning folks. Prep takes longer ... but it tastes better.”
  • Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee was among the passengers on board an American Airlines plane that was quarantined in Nashville early Thursday. That plane has since “been cleared” and the passengers allowed to leave, according to WZTV. Here are the latest updates: Update 9:10 a.m. EDT Aug. 16: Huckabee thanked American Airlines employees for their professionalism  in a tweet Thursday morning. “Kudos to @AmericanAir pilot and crew -- handled medical issue on red eye from LAX to Nashville very professionally,” Huckabee wrote. “We were held for a while as medical personnel made sure the person wasn’t Gwyneth Paltrow from Contagion. Seriously, hope the lady is okay -- taken on gurney.” Airport officials said in a statement released to The Tennessean Thursday morning that American Airlines Flight 1289 was quarantined as a precaution because of fears that a passenger’s recent illness might still be contagious. The plane has since been cleared and all passengers released, according to multiple reports. Officials did not identify the illness. Update 8:40 a.m. EDT Aug. 16: Nashville International Airport spokesperson Shannon Sumrall said in a statement released to The Tennessean that passengers were held Thursday morning on American Airlines Flight 1289 as a precaution because of a passenger’s recent illness. Sumrall told the newspaper that a physician “medically cleared” the passenger ahead of the flight, but that the passenger did not have paperwork to confirm his or her health. “(The passenger) was talking bout the recent illness and other passengers on board became worried of exposure,” Sumrall told The Tennessean. “For safety, passengers were held by BNA (Nashville International Airport) Police until contact was made with the physician to confirm clearance, which it was.” Officials did not identify the illness. Update 7:52 a.m. EDT Aug. 16: The American Airlines passenger who appeared to be ill “has been cleared,” WZTV reports. The passengers are now off the plane, the station said. Original report: Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee is on board an American Airlines plane that has been quarantined in Nashville, WZTV reports. Flight 1289, which traveled from Los Angeles to Nashville overnight, was detained at Nashville International Airport after a passenger appeared to be sick, an American Airlines spokeswoman told the news station. >> Read more trending news  Huckabee tweeted about the incident early Thursday. “5 hr red eye flight on @AmericanAir Nashville from LA. On ground for 40 min and now told someone on board is sick & we are being towed to other gate and quarantined until all checked out. Can’t get up to go to bathroom or get off plane. It’s the Russians! I just know it!” he wrote just after 6:30 a.m. EDT Thursday. “1 hr after landing got to far away gate where @AmericanAir will hopefully get us off this plane! Medical [personnel] at gate. Hope it’s not because I got that straw in CA,” he added. According to WZTV, “the plane was taken to a remote portion of the airport where emergency personnel were waiting for the plane.” Those on board were instructed to stay put as a Vanderbilt Hospital doctor examined the patient. Read more here.

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