Also in the news this Tuesday: song leads to sign thefts, opera star accused of sexual harassment and intense scrutiny of Epstein's jail death
No flying out of Hong Kong as protesters swarm airport
Protesters severely crippled operations at Hong Kong's international airport for a second day Tuesday, forcing authorities to cancel all remaining flights out of the city after demonstrators took over the terminals as part of their push for democratic reforms.
After a brief respite early Tuesday during which flights were able to take off and land, the airport authority announced check-in services for departing flights were suspended as of 4:30 p.m. Other departing flights that had completed the process would continue to operate.
It said it did not expect arriving flights to be affected, though dozens of arriving flights were already cancelled. The authority advised the public not to come to the airport, one of the world's busiest transport hubs.
On Monday more than 200 flights were canceled and the airport was effectively shut down with no flights taking off or landing.
Passengers have been forced to seek accommodation in the city while airlines struggle to find other ways to get them to their destinations.
The airport protests and their disruption are an escalation of a summer of demonstrations aimed at what many Hong Kong residents see as an increasing erosion of the freedoms they were promised in 1997 when Communist Party-ruled mainland China took over what had been a British colony.
Those doubts are fueling the protests, which build on a previous opposition movement that shut down much of the city for seven weeks in 2014 that eventually fizzled out and whose leaders have been imprisoned.
The central government in Beijing ominously characterized the current protest movement as something approaching "terrorism" that posed an "existential threat" to the local citizenry.
Meanwhile, paramilitary police were assembling across the border in the city of Shenzhen for exercises in what some saw as a threat to increase force brought against the mostly young protesters who have turned out in their thousands over the past 10 weeks.
Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said the ongoing instability, chaos and violence have placed the city on a "path of no return."
The demonstrators have shown no sign of letting up on their campaign to force Lam's administration to respond to their demands, including that she step down and entirely scrap legislation that could have seen criminal suspects sent to mainland China to face torture and unfair or politically charged trials.
While Beijing tends to define terrorism broadly, extending it especially to nonviolent movements opposing government policies in minority regions such as Tibet and Xinjiang, the government's usage of the term in relation to Hong Kong raised the prospect of greater violence and the possible suspension of legal rights for those detained.
Demonstrators have in recent days focused on their demand for an independent inquiry into what they call the police's abuse of power and negligence. That followed reports and circulating video footage of violent arrests and injuries sustained by protesters.
Dog owners warned about killer algae
Dog owners in the Southeast are spreading the word about the dangers of contaminated water following the deaths of their beloved pets.
In Wilmington, North Carolina, three dogs died after frolicking in a pond, while another succumbed after a swim in Lake Allatoona, Georgia. A common enemy likely led to the deaths of all four dogs: liver failure brought on by ingesting water contaminated with toxic blue-green algae.
These pets died in the same region, but toxic algae can be found all over the United States -- so dog owners throughout the nation need to be on the lookout.
What is toxic algae?
Algae occurs naturally in water, but the blue-green variety are considered Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs). Blue-green algae, also known as cyanobacteria, are "primitive," photosynthetic organisms that can feed off the sun to make their own energy and release oxygen and possibly toxins in the process, said David G. Schmale III, a professor at Virginia Tech.
Some species produce potent toxins that can sicken or even kill people, pets and wildlife, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency. Blue-green algae and other HABs can produce different types of poisons, some that affect the liver, others the brain.
Schmale said he hasn't seen a coroner's report to verify the causes of death, still he speculates the dogs were thirsty and the water contaminated. "Samples of the water where the dogs were likely exposed will need to be tested" for toxins and bacteria to verify this, though, he said.
The harmful algae can bloom in both fresh and marine water. They've been observed in large freshwater lakes, smaller inland lakes, rivers, reservoirs and marine coastal areas and estuaries in all 50 states, according to Schmale.
Toxic algae can also grow in decorative ponds as well as backyard pools, providing homeowners with a good reason to properly sanitize swimming water.
The toxic algae can look like foam, scum, or mats on the surface of water, said Schmale. Harmful algae blooms, which can be blue, vibrant green, brown or red, are sometimes mistaken for paint floating on the water.
Toxic algae often stink, sometimes producing a downright nauseating smell, yet animals may be attracted to the smell and taste of them, according to the EPA.
Symptoms, which usually arise anywhere from 15 minutes to several days after exposure, include diarrhea or vomiting, weakness or staggering, drooling, difficulty breathing and convulsions or seizures, the EPA reports.
Immediately, take your pet to the vet if you see these symptoms.
Dogs, more than other pets, are especially vulnerable because of their tendency to play in water and so sometimes they drink the toxic algae, other times they lick it off their fur. Even dogs that avoid the water may be in danger. Many dogs like to scavenge the shore where they may find -- and eat -- drying clumps of algae.
Good luck finding 'Old Town Road' in this town
For the residential road in Massachusetts that shares its name with the smash country/rap hit, apologies are in order.
The signs in Wellesley, Mass., have been stolen at least three times in recent months, apparently by fans of the Lil Nas X and Billy Ray Cyrus hit song "Old Town Road." It's been at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 charts for 18 straight weeks.
The city's website said that the town's Department of Public Works "is waiting fo rthe song's popularity to fade before replacing the signs again."
Wellesley officials seem to be amused by the attention their town is getting, but they say the thefts are still a serious and expensive problem.
"First responders often rely on the street signs in emergencies and missing signs could delay response times," the town wrote.
Replacement signs cost about $280, plus the labor to put them back up. Wellesley, a suburb of Boston, is not the only community dealing with this.
The song's popularity has created an unlikely tourist attraction in the District of Sicamous, British Columbia, where fans are stopping to pose for photos on Old Town Road.
After some of the road signs went missing, the local chamber of commerce made copies of the sign and started selling them for $25 plus shipping.
"They are selling like hotcakes already," Mayor Terry Rysz told CBC News.
The district has made 100 of the signs so far and may have to order more, the CBC reported.
"If you want one of these signs, rather than stealing it, we'll sell you one," said Rysz. "It's a wonderful way of dealing with a negative and turning it into a positive, and at the same time, it's promoting our community."
Opera star Placido Domingo accused of sexual harassment
For decades, Placido Domingo, one of the most celebrated and powerful men in opera, has tried to pressure women into sexual relationships by dangling jobs and then sometimes punishing the women professionally when they refused his advances, numerous accusers told The Associated Press.
Regarded as one of the greatest opera singers of all time, Domingo also is a prolific conductor and the director of the Los Angeles Opera. The multiple Grammy winner is an immensely respected figure in his rarefied world, described by colleagues as a man of prodigious charm and energy who works tirelessly to promote his art form.
At 78, Domingo still attracts sellout crowds around the globe and continues adding to the 150 roles he has sung in 4,000-plus performances, more than any opera singer in history.
But his accusers and others in the industry say there is a troubling side to Domingo — one they say has long been an open secret in the opera world.
Eight singers and a dancer have told the AP that they were sexually harassed by the long-married, Spanish-born superstar in encounters that took place over three decades beginning in the late 1980s, at venues that included opera companies where he held top managerial positions.
One accuser said Domingo stuck his hand down her skirt and three others said he forced wet kisses on their lips — in a dressing room, a hotel room and at a lunch meeting.
"A business lunch is not strange," said one of the singers. "Somebody trying to hold your hand during a business lunch is strange — or putting their hand on your knee is a little strange. He was always touching you in some way, and always kissing you."
In addition to the nine accusers, a half-dozen other women told the AP that suggestive overtures by Domingo made them uncomfortable, including one singer who said he repeatedly asked her out on dates after hiring her to sing a series of concerts with him in the 1990s.
The AP also spoke to almost three dozen other singers, dancers, orchestra musicians, members of backstage staff, voice teachers and an administrator who said they witnessed inappropriate sexually tinged behavior by Domingo and that he pursued younger women with impunity.
Domingo did not respond to detailed questions from the AP about specific incidents, but issued a statement saying: "The allegations from these unnamed individuals dating back as many as thirty years are deeply troubling, and as presented, inaccurate."
Scrutiny of Epstein's death and co-conspirators intensifies
Amid revelations about the circumstances around Jeffrey Epstein's death , federal authorities have intensified parallel inquiries into what went wrong at the Manhattan jail where he was behind bars and who now may face charges for assisting or enabling him in what authorities say was his rampant sexual abuse of underage girls.
One of the new details provided by people familiar with the Metropolitan Correctional Center was that one of Epstein's guards the night he died in his cell wasn't a regular correctional officer.
Serene Gregg, president of the American Federation of Government Employees Local 3148, told The Washington Post that one of the guards was a fill-in who had been pressed into service because of staffing shortfalls.
In addition, Epstein was supposed to have been checked on by a guard about every 30 minutes. But investigators have learned those checks weren't done for several hours before Epstein was found, according to one of the people familiar with the episode. That person was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.
A second person familiar with operations at the jail said Epstein was found with a bedsheet around his neck. That person also wasn't authorized to disclose information about the investigation and spoke on condition of anonymity.
Epstein, 66, was found Saturday morning in his cell at the MCC, a jail previously renowned for its ability to hold notorious prisoners under extremely tight security. At the time of his death, he was being held without bail and faced up to 45 years in prison on federal sex trafficking and conspiracy charges unsealed last month.
Attorney General William Barr at a police conference on Monday said that he was "frankly angry to learn of the MCC's failure to adequately secure this prisoner."
He added: "We will get to the bottom of what happened and there will be accountability."
At the same time, Barr warned on Monday that any co-conspirator in the ongoing criminal probe "should not rest easy. ... The victims deserve justice, and they will get it."
In the days since Epstein's death while awaiting charges that he sexually abused underage girls, a portrait has begun to emerge of Manhattan's federal detention center as a chronically understaffed facility that possibly made a series of missteps in handling its most high-profile inmate.
Epstein had been placed on suicide watch after he was found in his cell a little over two weeks ago with bruises on his neck. But he had been taken off that watch at the end of July and returned to the jail's special housing unit.
The manner in which Epstein killed himself has not been announced publicly by government officials. An autopsy was performed Sunday, but New York City Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Barbara Sampson said investigators were awaiting further information.
The Associated Press does not typically report on details of suicide, but has made an exception because Epstein's cause of death is pertinent to the ongoing investigations.
Baptist college kicks out transgender student after surgery
A 21-year-old transgender man says his private Tennessee college kicked him out after he got breast reduction surgery.
Yanna Awtrey tells the Tennessean that his Baptist missionary parents wanted him to attend Welch College, previously known as the Free Will Baptist Bible College.
He says he was outed to school officials, who ordered him to conceal his gender identity and attend Christian therapy.
He started transitioning this spring, and says he thought everything would be OK if he kept the surgery secret.
But student services Vice President Jon Forlines emailed Awtrey the day of the surgery saying Awtrey couldn't return to student housing. The school paid for a week in a hotel, then brought Awtrey before a disciplinary committee that cited a "sexual perversion" rule for the suspension.