August 28, 2020

This is VOA news. Reporting by remote, I'm David Byrd.

As the nation is battered by a perfect storm of societal, medical and environmental troubles, President Donald Trump will make his case for another four years in accepting the GOP nomination. AP's Sagar Meghani reports.

He painted a dark picture of America when Republicans first nominated him in Cleveland. Tonight, the president will say he spent the four years since cleaning up the mess Joe Biden has created over 47 years.

In excerpts of remarks he'll deliver on the South Lawn, he calls Biden an "empty shell of a candidate," previewing what's likely to be an ugly ten weeks before election day.

The speech was nearly put off. "I was actually prepared to postpone" in case he needed to visit the Gulf coast which the president says got a little bit lucky when Hurricane Laura passed quickly.

He'll go to Texas and Louisiana this weekend.

Sagar Meghani, Washington.

Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris stepped up her criticism of President Donald Trump Thursday, blasting him for a lack of leadership on the coronavirus pandemic hours before Trump's planned address on the final night of the Republican National Convention.

In her first major Trump-focused speech since she joined the Democratic ticket, Harris said the president had bungled the response to the coronavirus, which has killed more than 180,000 people in the United States.

"Donald Trump still won't take responsibility. He still won't act. And the tragedy in all of this is, it didn't have to be this bad."

Harris and her running mate former Vice President Joe Biden have been largely silent during the first three days of the GOP convention, during which Republicans have tried to link them to violent protesters.

This is VOA news.

Laura has weakened to a tropical storm after blasting the Louisiana coast with high winds and heavy rain for hours.

The system which came ashore as a Category 4 hurricane early Thursday is blamed for at least six deaths and widespread damage around Lake Charles, an industrial and casino city of 80,000 people.

It is the most powerful storm to hit the U.S. this year.

Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards said that hundreds of thousands of people are still without power.

"The good news is, we had more line crews prepositioned in Louisiana ahead of landfall than ever before, but that is not to say that restoration of power is gonna be done very quickly because we believe there was tremendous damage done to the power infrastructure."

Rescuers have to wait for winds to die down before looking for survivors.

President Trump plans to visit the area later this week.

Laura is now headed toward Arkansas.

Rescuers have to wait for winds to die down before looking for survivors. Laura is now headed toward the center of the country.

World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Thursday warned against mass gatherings of people amid resurgence of coronavirus cases in many countries.

Tedros said that as nations begin to reopen more social events, many are starting to see a resurgence of transmission and that countries would have to make their own decisions about how to host those events safely.

"These types of gatherings can be amplifying events that can be the spark that creates a much larger fire. Every country and community must make its own decisions about how to host these events safely based on their own level of risk."

The director-general also highlighted the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on worldwide mental health, saying it has caused anxiety and fear as well as disruption to mental health services.

The National Basketball Association said Thursday it hopes to resume play in a day or two after a boycott by players protesting against racial injustice and police brutality.

The NBA players decided not to end their season after meeting among themselves in the bubble-like campus at Disney World in Florida.

President Trump, during a briefing at the Federal Emergency Management Agency, criticized the NBA.

"... that's unfortunate. They've become like a political organization and that's not a good thing."

The protest by the NBA players focused on the police shooting on Sunday of a Black man named Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

On Thursday, the National [Ice] Hockey League announced that it would postpone its playoff games in the wake of Jacob Blake's shooting.

Reporting by remote, I'm David Byrd.