TTR News Center

NBA players cover lost wages of arena workers after coronavirus suspends season

No Comments Sports News

:cmannphoto/iStock(NEW YORK) — As health officials race to contain the spread of the coronavirus, NBA players from across the country are opening their wallets to assist stadium workers now forced to stay home.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver announced on March 11 the league would suspend all games for at least 30 days, leaving arena employees without work.

Kevin Love, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Zion Williamson are just a few of the many players who have publicly pledged to donate thousands of dollars to workers after the unexpected hiatus.

“I’m concerned about the level of anxiety that everyone is feeling and that is why I’m committing $100,000,” Love wrote on Instagram.

Love, a power forward for the Cleveland Cavaliers, was one of the first players to take action after the shocking suspension of the league. He mentioned that he was hopeful others would unite in supporting their communities.

“Be kind to one another,” Love wrote. “I encourage everyone to take care of themselves and to reach out to others in need.”

A chain reaction began and other players from teams across the country joined in.

“It’s bigger than basketball,” Antetokounmpo, a forward for the Milwaukee Bucks and reigning NBA MVP, wrote on Twitter, noting his plans to donate $100,000 dollars to the staff at the Fiserv Forum arena.

The list goes on.

Zion Williamson, a forward for the New Orleans Pelicans and the No. 1 draft pick in 2019, said his donation was a way to express his support and appreciation for those who have helped him since he began his career in the city.

“My mother has always set an example for me about being respectful for others and being grateful for what we have,” Williamson wrote on Instagram. “So today I am pledging to cover the salaries for all of those Smoothie King Center workers for the next 30 days.”

Even the Utah Jazz’s Rudy Gobert, who became the first NBA player to test positive for the coronavirus, is donating $500,000 to part-time workers at the Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City, with a portion of the money also going to families impacted by the disease.

“I know there are countless ways that people have been impacted,” Gobert said. “These donations are a small token that reflect my appreciation and support for all those impacted and are the first of many steps I will take to try and make a positive difference, while continuing to learn more about COVID-19 and educate others.”

At least seven NBA players have tested positive for coronavirus, including Gobert, Jazz teammate Donovan Mitchell, Detroit Pistons center Christian Wood and four members of the Brooklyn Nets. The team did not name who was diagnosed, but star Kevin Durant told The Athletic he was one of them.

Numerous teams, such as the Dallas Mavericks, Philadelphia 76ers and Golden State Warriors, have also stepped up to help the arena staff in their cities. Mavericks owner Mark Cuban was one of the first to say he would be helping out workers at the team’s arena.

The donations will have a tremendous effect on many employees who are uncertain of their future in the face of COVID-19.

For Crystal Howell, who works in the ticketing office at Milwaukee’s Fiserv Forum arena, it has meant the world.

“I’m in a two-income family, but due to what’s going on in the world, we’re both out of work,” Howell said. “What Giannis and all the players have done really means a lot. They didn’t have to do it and it’s going to help me and my family.”
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Art teacher streams live classes to kids amid coronavirus crisis

No Comments National News

@cassie_stephenz/Instagram(NEW YORK) — An elementary art teacher is bringing creative fun to young students who are out of school during the coronavirus outbreak.

“I want to engage kids while they’re sitting at home,” Cassie Stephens, a teacher at Johnson Elementary School in Franklin, Tennessee, told “Good Morning America.” “I want them to experience art for normalcy. We are all scared, and confused.”

Over 30,0000 tuned in Monday as Stephens demonstrated a robot art project for children via Instagram and Facebook Live.

Stephens has been teaching art for 21 years. When she learned Franklin Special School District would be closed until April 6, she found a way to make art classes accessible virtually.

Stephens is planning to go live every weekday, until schools reopen, from 11 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. CST on Facebook and Instagram.

The current theme is robots, but she plans on switching it up each week.

Stephens also sent up an email account so parents and children could send photos of finished work.

“My email is flooded with thanks yous and kids holding up their art, and that means the world to me,” Stephens said.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Facing coronavirus pandemic, US confronts cyber attacks

No Comments National News

rarrarorro/iStock(WASHINGTON) — The United States, already dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, is also being targeted for cyber attacks and foreign disinformation campaigns, as federal officials feared.

Multiple sources confirmed to ABC News in recent days that both the efforts that slowed computer systems at the Health and Human Services Department Sunday night and the weekend rash of bogus text messages warning a national quarantine is imminent were the products of foreign actors or components of foreign governments or entities connected to them.

“We are seeing multiple disinformation campaigns right now,” said one federal official briefed on the situation.

The two types of cyber incidents are different, but both are aimed at sowing panic in the American population and feeding distrust in government, according to intelligence officials. Federal officials said the two most likely perpetrators are Russia and China, two nations with the sophistication, skill and desire to carry out such campaigns against the U.S.

In the case of the HHS incident, officials said outsiders deployed automated users — called bots — to target the public-facing computer system. A source familiar with the investigation into the incident told ABC News that it is thought to be either a widespread campaign to scan HHS systems for vulnerabilities, or possibly a “clumsy” attempt to paralyze public online systems with a flood of visitors, something called distributed denial of service, or DDOS.

“When you’re dealing with something like a denial of service attack on HHS during a pandemic, that’s a very grave action for another country to take,” Attorney General William Barr told The Associated Press Tuesday, confirming that an investigation is ongoing. “So, if it is another country doing this, I’m sure the ramifications will be severe.”

More insidious was the attack that began late last week in the New York City area and then broadened to Washington, D.C., Boston, Kansas and the West Coast where an entity infiltrated the cellphone MMS and SMS text-messaging system to send out realistic-looking warnings about an impending shutdown of public and government services because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Sunday afternoon, suspicious texts made their way to medical staff in at least one department of a top hospital the Boston area, according to a recipient there. The person who had passed it along to the department said they had received the original message from an out-of-state “friend,” who was described as credible and had received the message from elsewhere. Texts were also received by doctors in at least one major hospital in San Francisco and by some members of the military around the country.

In New York City, the messages spread like wildfire and told people to stock up on money and food because bridges, tunnels and mass transit would be shutting down.

By the weekend, messages were pinging cellphones all over the nation’s capital region saying that an unnamed friend’s brother had come out of a meeting and that the president was poised to enact a national quarantine within days. The message instructed recipients to share it — like a panic-inducing chain letter.

Late Sunday night, one official told ABC News, “It was a cyber attack — we’re trying to track and origin.” By Monday, the intelligence community, officials said, had determined the source was foreign and that the technique was sophisticated. The U.S. intelligence community is leading the effort to find the culprits; by law, agencies like the CIA are confined to working outside U.S. borders, making it clear that the government believes the perpetrators are connected to a foreign power.

The attacks also confirmed the fears that U.S. officials voiced as worries of the coronavirus spread through government in the last two weeks.

“So much focus has been on meddling in the election,” said one senior administration official involved in cyber defense. “The goal of [foreign attackers] is really just creating instability in society and trying to erode trust in a situation like this, to drive messages — frequently polar opposite messages — to incite distrust and anger.”

During a congressional hearing nearly two weeks ago, a top State Department official told members of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Department Management that the Russians have been spreading disinformation aggressively in connection with the global pandemic.

Lea Gabrielle, head of the Global Engagement Center, told senators her agency’s recent analysis shows “accounts tied to Russia, the entire ecosystem of Russian disinformation has been engaged in the midst of this world health crisis. … It’s well known at this point that there are false narratives out there around coronavirus.”

At the same time, China’s government has been aggressively pushing propaganda that blames the West for the pandemic, though the virus was first identified in Wuhan, the capital of China’s Hubei province.

Officials at the federal Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency told ABC News that the government “has taken a number of steps over the last several weeks to increase cybersecurity preparedness across federal civilian agencies, including enhanced monitoring, issuing recommendations as agencies shift to telework, and identifying and protecting particularly important systems supporting COVID response

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Tom Hanks, Idris Elba offer updates on their COVID-19 diagnosis

No Comments Entertainment News

ABC/Ida Mae Astute(LOS ANGELES) — Tom Hanks and Idris Elba, two big-name celebs who’ve been diagnosed with COVID-19 coronavirus, took to social media Tuesday to give updates on their condition.

Hanks posted a message to Instagram and Twitter to give the good news and bad news of his situation as he recovers from the virus in Australia.

“Hey folks. Good News: One week after testing Positive, in self-isolation, the symptoms are much the same,” he wrote. “No fever but the blahs. Folding the laundry and doing the dishes leads to a nap on the couch.”

As for the bad news? His wife Rita Wilson, who’s also been diagnosed, is beating him at Gin Rummy.

Accompanying his post is a photo of a typewriter – one he “used to love.” The typewriter is branded with the word “Corona.”

Elba, meanwhile, went on Instagram Live Tuesday to chat with fans about the “mad 24 hours” he’s experienced since revealing his diagnosis Monday.

“I think it made it a lot more real for some people,” Elba said. “Definitely made it a lot more real for me and my family.”

He added that he’s still not experiencing any symptoms, revealing, “My voice is a little bit tired, I just didn’t sleep that well, but still don’t have any symptoms. I’m checking my fever twice a day, and feel good, feel OK.”

His wife, Sabrina, is currently awaiting the results of her own coronavirus test. They are both in self-quarantine together.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

North Carolina's Outer Banks closed off to nonresidents as coronavirus precaution

No Comments National News

iStock/Lquang2410(OUTER BANKS, N.C.) — Officials in the Outer Banks, along North Carolina’s coastline, instituted an emergency policy Tuesday that barred nonresidents from entering due to coronavirus precautions.

Dare County officials emphasized that their order, which went into effect at 2 p.m, isn’t an evacuation order and certain people will be allowed to remain in the region.

Emergency workers, essential business owners and Dare County residents will still be allowed to enter, however, they must present a permit, which is available at the Dare County website, to get past a checkpoint.

The first priority for access will be given to “essential utilities personnel, government personnel, medical personnel, and damage assessment personnel,” and second priority will be given to permanent residents with a valid state ID and employees at “grocery stores, food distributors, pharmacies, banks, gas stations, property management, building supply and hotels,” according to officials.

The order also prohibits nonresidents from driving through Dare County to access the neighboring Outer Banks regions of Currituck County (Corolla), Hyde County (Ocracoke Island) and Tyrrell County.

Reentry permits from previous years, such as ones issued during hurricanes, are not valid, officials said.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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