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Orphaned toddler grows up in shadow of massacre, coronavirus

An infant boy who survived a shooting last year that left his parents and 21 others dead now likes to thumb through picture books and dance to a Batman jingle with his grandmother, according to an uncle who helps care for 1-year-old.

It will be years before Paul Anchondo learns what happened to his parents in an event that many El Paso residents still struggle to comprehend, Tito Anchondo said. Anchondo’s brother Andre and sister-in-law Jordan died in the shooting at a Walmart store.

“We’ve been putting collections together of my brother’s photos, his accomplishments, basically trying to get as much information that we can and save it for” the boy, Gilbert said. “When he does get to that age, we can tell him, ‘You know what, like, this is what happened to your dad. … Something horrible happened to your mom and dad. But, you know, we’re still here.'”

Authorities say Jordan Anchondo shielded the baby from gunfire, while her husband shielded them both. Paul suffered broken fingers and became the focus of public adulation as a seemingly miraculous survivor of the horror.

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump visited Paul in the hospital. His first birthday, during the coronavirus pandemic, was attended by a drive-by caravan of cars and motorcycles.

Tito Anchondo said “baby Paul” won’t attend a series of events associated with the anniversary of the Aug. 3, 2019, shooting because of concerns about the spread of COVID-19. Paul’s paternal grandmother has health conditions that could make her extra vulnerable to the virus.

A relative of the boy’s deceased mother declined to offer thoughts on the anniversary of the shooting. Tito acknowledged that Paul has been the focus of court-supervised custody negotiations between his paternal and maternal families.

Tito Anchondo’s parents grew up in Mexico’s Ciudad Juarez, adjacent to El Paso. He works with his father at their auto-body repair shop in El Paso and describes himself as a patriot who regards the United States as a land of opportunity. He supports the president without reservations.

Gilberto said the mass shooting opened his eyes to divisive political, racial and ethnic tensions beyond El Paso. Authorities say the gunman was targeting Latinos.

“The shooting was the biggest racist attack on Mexican Americans, and to me that was something that was, you know, nonexistent,” he said. “Call it privilege (from) living in El Paso, one of the safest cities in the United States.”

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Lee reported from Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Morgan Lee, The Associated Press

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Bank of England holds off more stimulus, sees slow recovery

LONDON — The Bank of England left its benchmark interest rate at a record low of 0.1% on Thursday as it expressed caution about how rapidly the United Kingdom’s economy will recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The bank also left its target for buying government and corporate bonds unchanged at 745 billion pounds ($980 billion).

The decision to hold off more stimulus was widely expected as the uncertainty over the pandemic could require more action later, economists say.

New figures due next week are expected to show the economy contracted almost 19% in the second quarter from the previous three-month period. That would be better than the central bank’s forecast in May for a 25% drop. Yet the recovery from that historic plunge is now also expected to be more gradual.

The Bank of England said the economy was not expected to return to pre-pandemic levels before the end of 2021, with outlook highly uncertain.

The minutes of the bank’s meeting showed that its policymakers are particularly concerned that the rise in unemployment could prove to be more persistent than expected. Unemployment, meanwhile, is expected to hit 7.5% this year.

They said they were worried that the economy could recover slowly as uncertainty over the pandemic leads some households and businesses to hold off spending.

The Associated Press

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Grammy-winning producer Detail accused of sexual assault

LOS ANGELES — Grammy Award-winning music producer Detail was arrested Wednesday on more than a dozen charges of sexual assault, authorities said.

The 41-year-old producer was held on nearly $6.3 million bail, according to a statement from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

Detail, whose real name is Noel Christopher Fisher, was charged on July 31 with 15 counts of sexual assault and five counts of felony assault, the statement said. He is accused of crimes between 2010 and 2018.

Detectives submitted the case to the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office in January, the statement said. It didn’t provide other details.

“Mr. Fisher was just arrested some hours ago and I have not had an opportunity to speak to him or look at the charges. I am quite certain he will enter a not guilty plea and contest to the fullest all of these allegations,” his attorney, Irwin Mark Bledstein, said in an email late Wednesday night.

Detail won a Grammy in 2015 for co-writing the Beyonce and Jay-Z hit “Drunk in Love” and has also produced hits for Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj and Wiz Khalifa.

Last year, a model and aspiring singer was awarded $15 million in a Los Angeles lawsuit that accused the producer of abusing and raping her.

She is one of six women, some established professionals and others music-industry newcomers, who have spoken out publicly against what they said was Fisher’s sexual aggression.

At least two, both former assistants, have filed their own lawsuits. Fisher has said in court documents filed in those lawsuits that all the allegations against him are false, and have led to his losing all work and being evicted.

The Associated Press

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Bomb survivors lament Japan not doing enough for nuke ban

HIROSHIMA, Japan — Hiroshima on Thursday marked the 75th anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombing on Aug. 6, 1945, the world’s first nuclear attack.

The bombing destroyed the city and killed 140,000 people, mostly civilians and including many children. The U.S. dropped a second bomb three days later on Nagasaki, killing another 70,000. Japan surrendered on Aug. 15, ending World War II and its nearly half-century of aggression in Asia.

Survivors, their relatives and other participants marked the 8:15 a.m. blast anniversary with the sound of a bell followed by a minute of silence.

Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui urged world leaders to more seriously commit to nuclear disarmament.

Associated Press, The Associated Press

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