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Hurricane Laura slams Gulf Coast, pro sports refuse to play to protest police shootings and RNC Night 3

"Our focus today cannot be on basketball," Milwaukee Bucks players said as they explained why they refused to play an NBA playoff game on Wednesday.
Image: Waves from the storm surge from Hurricane Laura began to come ashore at Sea Rim State Park
Waves from the storm surge from Hurricane Laura began to come ashore at Sea Rim State Park on Wednesday in Sabine Pass, Texas.Eric Thayer / Getty Images

Good morning, NBC News readers.

Hurricane Laura has hit the Gulf Coast, professional sports refused to play last night to protest the latest police shooting and the GOP stuck with its "law and order" message on the third night of the Republican National Convention.

Here's what we're watching this Wednesday morning.

Hurricane Laura slams into Gulf Coast

Packing wind speeds of 150 mph and threatening a catastrophic storm surge, Laura on Thursday became one of the strongest hurricanes to make landfall in U.S. history as it struck Louisiana near the Texas border.

The "extremely dangerous" storm brought incredibly high winds and flash flooding when it made landfall near Cameron in southwestern Louisiana at about 1 a.m. local time (2 a.m. ET), the National Hurricane Center said.

The storm's maximum sustained winds have since fallen to 110 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center.

  • Live blog: Get the latest updates on Hurricane Laura.
  • Storm surge tracker: The National Weather Service warned that Laura's "unsurvivable storm surge" could cause "catastrophic damage" to the shores of Louisiana and Texas. See a map live-tracking the storm surge.
  • Map: Follow Laura's path as it continues inland.
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Teen arrested in Kenosha shooting promoted 'Blue Lives Matter,' guns and Trump online

On Wednesday 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse was arrested and charged with first-degree homicide in connection with the deaths of two people during protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on Tuesday night over the police shooting of Jacob Blake.

NBCNews' investigative reporters Brandy Zadrozny and Jason Abbruzzese found that Rittenhouse's online footprint revealed strong support for law enforcement, including the "Blue Lives Matter" movement, guns and President Donald Trump.

Numerous videos, recorded Tuesday night by journalists and people on the streets of Kenosha, appeared to show Rittenhouse before the shootings he was arrested in connection with. Other videos appeared to have captured at least some of the violence he is accused of.

The identities of the two people who were killed on Tuesday have not been released yet.

Meantime, Wisconsin's attorney general says Blake — the Black man who was shot seven times in the back by a police officer in Kenosha on Sunday — was near a knife when the shooting took place. But he would not say whether Blake was carrying the knife when he was shot.

The wider reckoning over the police shooting continued Wednesday with the NBA and other professional sports teams delaying play in protest of Blake's shooting.

The Milwaukee Bucks kicked off the pro-sports protest by refusing to take the floor for its scheduled playoff game against the Orlando Magic.

"Despite the overwhelming plea for change, there has been no action, so our focus today cannot be on basketball," the players who represent Milwaukee and Wisconsin said.

The team owners supported the move and the NBA followed up by postponing other playoff games.

The Los Angeles Clippers head coach Doc Rivers presaged the ban with raw, emotional comments about the state of race relations in the U.S. late Tuesday that quickly went viral.

"All you hear is Donald Trump and all of them talking about fear," Rivers said of the Republican National Convention. "We're the ones getting killed. We're the ones getting shot. We're the ones that we're denied to live in certain communities. We've been hung. We've been shot. And all you do is keep hearing about fear.

"It's amazing why we keep loving this country, and this country does not love us back," Rivers said.

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Pence drives home 'law and order' message on third night of RNC

Vice President Mike Pence praised law enforcement and drove home President Donald Trump's "law and order" message on the third night of the Republican National Convention as the country is roiled again over the police shooting of a Black man.

"Let me be clear: the violence must stop – whether in Minneapolis, Portland, or Kenosha," said Pence, referring to protests in the wake of police shootings. "The hard truth is, you won't be safe in Joe Biden's America."

Pence honored a police officer killed during recent protests, but did not mention by name any of the Black Americans killed by law enforcement whose deaths have sparked the recent Black Lives Matter protests.

"Law and order are on the ballot," the vice president said. "The choice in this election is whether America remains America."

He concluded by saying, with Trump back in office, "We will Make America Great Again — again."

  • "The most pro-life president": Abortion was another major theme on Wednesday night. Here are 5 key takeaways from Night 3.
  • Fact check: Has ISIS really been defeated? Not according to the U.S. military. See our fact-check on some of the RNC speakers' claims from Wednesday night.
  • Catch up: Read analysis of the night's big moments.
  • Night 4: Trump will officially accept his party's nomination for president with the White House as a backdrop this evening. Tune into NBC News, MSNBC and for special coverage of the final day of the convention.

RNC highlights from Night 3

Aug. 27, 202004:47

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THINK about it

The Republican Party has no platform because it has no principles, former secretary of the Navy and NASA administrator Sean O'Keefe writes in an opinion piece.


Meet the 107-year-old who had Spanish flu as a child and recovered from COVID-19.

One fun thing

As the world waits for a vaccine to help bring about the end of the coronavirus pandemic, scientists in Northern California have been at work on a different approach — one that takes cues from llamas and their unique antibodies.

Scientists say they hope to harness the power of llama antibodies to stop the coronavirus from infecting humans.

"It binds to the virus' spike protein with an unmatched affinity — we've never seen anything like this in my lab before," said Peter Walter, a molecular biologist and biochemist who is part of a team working to develop a potential coronavirus treatment using the llama-inspired compound. "It was absolutely beautiful to see."

Could llamas save us all? Martin Mejia / AP

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Thanks, Petra