TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew: 3 things to know

TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew: 3 things to know

TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew testified Thursday at a congressional hearing over concerns about user data collected by the popular video-sharing app and potential Chinese spying.

Under his helm, TikTok reached 150 million users in the U.S., the majority of them teens and young adults who are attracted to the app’s simple interface and addictive algorithm that serves up short videos on just about any imaginable topic.

Lawmakers have said they’re worried about American data falling into the hands of the Chinese government and claim it threatens national security and user privacy and could be used to promote pro-Beijing propaganda and misinformation.

Chew attempted to persuade lawmakers not to pursue a ban on the app or force Chinese parent company ByteDance to give up its ownership stake, testifying that TikTok prioritizes the safety of young users. He says the company plans to store all U.S. user data on servers maintained and owned by the software giant Oracle.

Here’s a closer look at Chew:


Chew, 40, is a native of Singapore, where he lives with his wife, Vivian Kao, and their two children. He graduated in 2006 from University College London and worked for two years at Goldman Sachs before moving to the U.S. to pursue a master’s degree at Harvard Business School. Chew had a two-year internship with Facebook.

After earning his MBA, he became a partner at venture capital firm DST Global, where he worked for five years and helped facilitate investment in the company that became ByteDance. He then worked for five years at Xiaomi, a Chinese smartphone company, before being appointed TikTok CEO in 2021, replacing Kevin Mayer, a former Disney executive. Chew reports to ByteDance CEO Liang Rubo.


The U.S. public knows relatively little about Chew compared with Silicon Valley social media giants such as Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, said Brooke Erin Duffy, who studies social media platforms as an associate professor of communications at Cornell University.

“Chew has been in the background on public discourse until now, so he doesn’t have the same reputation we would associate with the Silicon Valley set, especially Zuckerberg,” Duffy said.

Most Americans likely first heard of Chew when he released a video this week speaking directly to TikTok’s U.S. users, she said, “so he doesn’t have the same reputation as someone we know, and (we) don’t have sense of who he is.”

But Chew is well-respected within the U.S. and China tech communities, and was considered a good fit for TikTok because of his background in investment banking and his time at Facebook and DST Global, said Dan Ives, managing director of New York-based Wedbush Securities.

“He gained a lot of respect just by taking that high risk, in-the-hot seat role at TikTok,” Ives said, adding that the company likely thought he was the right person to ease tensions with U.S. lawmakers.


Chew’s decision to emphasize TikTok’s reach in the U.S. might have backfired, and “actually strengthened U.S. lawmakers’ argument that TikTok poses a threat to both national security and young people,” said Jasmine Enberg, a social media analyst at Insider Intelligence.

Enberg said there was little Chew could say to convince lawmakers that TikTok is not monitored or influenced in some way by the Chinese government.

Ives said Chew’s testimony was always going to be fraught, but his lack of concrete answers about data access and security was “a disaster” and likely set the stage for a ban.

“It was a perfect storm and lawmakers were ready,” Ives said.

But Shelly Palmer, a professor of advanced media at Syracuse University who studies social network business models, said Chew did the best he could given the grilling he received from lawmakers who “in my opinion were not actually listening” but instead were grandstanding.

“I don’t think he has the ability, because of who he is and what he does, to be satisfying to this audience,” said Palmer, adding that he believed Chew’s answers were not unlike those given by CEOs from U.S.-based social media companies who have been questioned in the past about privacy.


Webber reported from Fenton, Michigan. Associated Press writer Barbara Ortutay in Oakland, California, contributed to this story.

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Court: Arizona governor not required to carry out execution

Court: Arizona governor not required to carry out execution

PHOENIX (AP) — The Arizona Supreme Court has ruled that state law doesn’t require Gov. Katie Hobbs to carry out the April 6 execution of a prisoner who was convicted of murder.

The decision issued Wednesday marks a legal victory for the newly elected Democratic governor whose office said the state isn’t currently prepared to carry out the death penalty. The high court had set the April execution date for Aaron Gunches, who fatally shot Ted Price near Mesa, Arizona, in 2002.

The order came after Hobbs said executions will not be carried out until Arizonans can be confident that the state isn’t violating constitutional rights when it enforces the death penalty.

The governor vowed two weeks ago that she wouldn’t carry out the court’s order while the state reviews death penalty protocols that she ordered because of Arizona’s history of mismanaging executions.

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Gunches took part in a brief hearing Thursday before Arizona’s clemency board, which can recommend to the governor that prisoners’ sentences be lessened and that they be given reprieves of execution. He voluntarily gave up his right to ask for clemency.

The five-minute meeting was held to double-check that Gunches had waived his chance at relief. “Yes, ma’am,” Gunches said through a video conferencing link, confirming his decision to Mina Mendez, who chairs the board.

Lawyers for Hobbs said the corrections department lacks staff with proper expertise and does not have a current contract for a pharmacist to compound the pentobarbital needed for an execution. They also said corrections officials are unable to find out the identity of the state’s prior compounding pharmacist, who primarily had contact with an official no longer with the department.

A top corrections leadership position critical to planning executions remains unfilled.

Corrections Director Ryan Thornell has said he was unable to find enough documentation to understand key elements of the execution process and instead has had to piece it together through conversations with employees on what might have occurred in past executions.

Hobbs maintained that while the court authorized Gunches’ execution, its order doesn’t require the state to carry it out.

Karen Price, whose brother was the victim in Gunches’ case, had asked the court to order Hobbs to carry out the execution. Colleen Clase, an attorney for Karen Price, didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment on Wednesday evening.

Gunches pleaded guilty to murdering Ted Price, who was his girlfriend’s ex-husband.

Arizona, which currently has 110 prisoners on death row, carried out three executions last year after a nearly eight-year hiatus brought on by criticism that a 2014 execution was botched and because of difficulties obtaining execution drugs.

Since then, the state has been criticized for taking too long to insert an IV for lethal injection into a condemned prisoner’s body and for denying the Arizona Republic permission to witness the three executions.

Gunches, who is not a lawyer, represented himself in November when he asked the Supreme Court to issue his execution warrant so that, he said, justice could be served and the victim’s families could get closure. In Republican Mark Brnovich’s last month as state attorney general, his office asked the court for a warrant to execute Gunches.

But Gunches then withdrew his request in early January, and newly elected Democratic Attorney General Kris Mayes later asked for the warrant to be withdrawn.

The state Supreme Court rejected Mayes’ request, saying that it must grant an execution warrant if certain appellate proceedings have concluded and that those requirements were met in Gunches’ case.

In another reversal, Gunches said in a filing that he still wants to be executed and asked to be transferred to Texas, where, he wrote, “the law is still followed and inmates can still get their sentences carried out.” Arizona’s high court denied the transfer.

Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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Israel passes law protecting Netanyahu as protests continue

Israel passes law protecting Netanyahu as protests continue

TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) — Israel’s parliament on Thursday passed the first of several laws that make up its contentious judicial overhaul as protesters opposing the changes staged another day of demonstrations aimed at raising alarm over what they see as the country’s descent toward autocracy.

Thousands of people protested throughout the country, blocking traffic on main highways and scuffling with police in unrest that shows no sign of abating, especially as the overhaul moves ahead.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition approved legislation that would protect the Israeli leader from being deemed unfit to rule because of his corruption trial and claims of a conflict of interest surrounding his involvement in the legal changes. Critics say the law is tailor-made for Netanyahu, encourages corruption and deepens a gaping chasm between Israelis over the judicial overhaul.

Netanyahu’s office said he would be delivering “an important declaration” Thursday evening after Israeli media reported that his defense minister, Yoav Gallant, would publicly call for a halt to the legislative drive. Sara Netanyahu, the prime minister’s wife and close informal advisor, also issued a rare statement calling for broad compromise.

The legal changes have split the nation between those who see the new policies as stripping Israel of its democratic ideals and those who think the country has been overrun by a liberal judiciary. The government’s plan has plunged the nearly 75-year-old nation into one of its worst domestic crises.

“Either Israel will be a Jewish, democratic and progressive state or religious, totalitarian, failing, isolated and closed off. That’s where they are leading us,” Tzipi Livni, a former foreign minister and a prominent supporter of the protest movement, told Israeli Army Radio.

The opposition is rooted in broad swaths of society — including business leaders and top legal officials. Even the country’s military, seen as a beacon of stability by Israel’s Jewish majority, is enmeshed in the political conflict, as some reservists are refusing to show up for duty over the changes. Israel’s international allies have also expressed concern.

The law to protect Netanyahu passed in an early morning vote 61-47 in Israel’s 120-seat Knesset, or parliament, after a debate that ran through the night. Netanyahu, seated by his Justice Minister, and the overhaul’s architect, Yariv Levin, was seen smirking during the vote.

It stipulates that a prime minister can only be deemed unfit to rule for health or mental reasons and that only he or his government can make that decision. It comes after the country’s attorney general has faced growing calls by Netanyahu opponents to declare him unfit to rule over his legal problems. The attorney general has already barred Netanyahu from involvement in the legal overhaul, saying he is at risk of a conflict of interest because of his corruption trial.

The Movement for Quality Government in Israel, a good governance organization, said it was challenging the law in court, in what could set up the first showdown between judges and the government over the legal changes. Experts say the overhaul could set off a constitutional crisis that would leave Israel in chaos over who should be obeyed, the government or the courts.

On Thursday, protesters launched a fourth midweek day of demonstrations. They blocked major thoroughfares, set tires ablaze near an important seaport and draped a large Israeli flag and a banner with the country’s Declaration of Independence over the walls of Jerusalem’s Old City. Police said they made several arrests around the country. Several protest leaders were among those arrested, organizers said.

Protesters blocked the main highway in seaside Tel Aviv and police used water cannon to disperse demonstrators in that city and Haifa in the north.

Netanyahu called on opposition leaders to “stop the anarchy immediately,” after what he said was an attack on Agriculture Minister Avi Dichter, a former head of the Shin Bet domestic security agency.

Video on social media showed a protester swiping her flagpole in Dichter’s direction, hitting him once on the head, but he appeared unharmed and continued walking. A spokesman for Dichter said the flagpole tapped his head lightly and that the protester also smacked his car with it.

A protest was planned later in the day in a large ultra-Orthodox city near Tel Aviv. The demonstration’s organizers say the demonstration there is meant to drive home to that community that their rights are in danger under the overhaul. Ultra-Orthodox leaders see the demonstration in their midst as provocative.

The overhaul crisis has magnified a longstanding rift between secular Jewish Israelis and religious ones over how much of a role religion should play in their day-to-day lives. Ultra-Orthodox lawmakers in government are central drivers of the overhaul because they believe the courts are a threat to their traditional way of life. In contrast, secular opponents to the changes fear they will open the door to religious coercion.

In addition to Thursday’s demonstrations, tens of thousands of people have been showing up for weekly protests each Saturday night for more than two months.

Netanyahu’s government rejected a compromise proposal earlier this month meant to ease the crisis. It said that it would slow the pace of the changes, pushing most of them to after a monthlong parliamentary recess in April.

But the government was plowing forward on a key part of the overhaul, which would grant the government control over who becomes a judge. The government says it amended the original bill to make the law more inclusive, but opponents rejected the move, saying the change was cosmetic and would maintain the government’s grip over the appointment of judges. The measure was expected to pass next week.

Netanyahu is on trial for fraud, breach of trust and accepting bribes in a series of scandals involving wealthy associates and powerful media moguls. He denies wrongdoing and dismisses critics who say he could find an escape route from the charges through the legal overhaul his government is advancing.

The government says the changes are necessary to restore a balance between the executive and judicial branches, which they say has become too interventionist in the way the country is run.

Critics say the government, Israel’s most right-wing ever, is pushing the country toward authoritarianism with its overhaul, which they say upends the country’s fragile system of checks and balances.

Rights groups and Palestinians say Israel’s democratic ideals have long been tarnished by the country’s 55-year, open-ended occupation of lands the Palestinians seek for an independent state and the treatment of Palestinian Israeli citizens, who face discrimination in many spheres.


Associated Press reporter Isaac Scharf contributed to this report from Jerusalem.

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Locks of Beethoven's hair reveal health issues, family secret

Locks of Beethoven's hair reveal health issues, family secret

Before composer Ludwig van Beethoven died on March 27, 1827, it was his wish that his ailments be studied and shared so “as far as possible at least the world will be reconciled to me after my death.”

Now, researchers have taken steps to partially honor that request by analyzing Beethoven’s DNA from preserved locks of his hair and sequencing the composer’s genome for the first time.

A study detailing the findings published Wednesday in the journal Current Biology.


The researchers determined that the Hiller Lock, long attributed to Beethoven, was actually a hair sample from a woman.

“Our primary goal was to shed light on Beethoven’s health problems, which famously include progressive hearing loss, beginning in his mid- to late-20s and eventually leading to him being functionally deaf by 1818,” said study coauthor Johannes Krause, a professor at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, in a statement.

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The five hair samples helped scientists discover insights about family history, chronic health problems and what might have contributed to his death at the age of 56.


A portrait of Beethoven by Joseph Karl Stieler, 1820, is pictured here.

Beethoven’s maladies

In addition to hearing loss, the famed classical composer had recurring gastrointestinal complaints throughout his life, as well as severe liver disease.

Beethoven wrote a letter to his brothers in 1802 asking that his doctor, Johann Adam Schmidt, determine and share the nature of his “illness” once Beethoven died. The letter is known as the Heiligenstadt Testament.

But Beethoven outlived his favorite doctor by 18 years, and after the composer died, the testament was discovered in a hidden compartment in his writing desk. In the letter, Beethoven admitted how hopeless he felt as a music composer struggling with hearing loss, but his work kept him from taking his own life. He said he didn’t want to leave ”before I had produced all the works that I felt the urge to compose.”

Since his death, questions have swirled around what ailed Beethoven and his true cause of death. Within the last seven years of his life, the composer experienced at least two attacks of jaundice, which is associated with liver disease, leading to the general belief that he died from cirrhosis.

Medical biographers have since combed through Beethoven’s letters and diaries, as well as his autopsy, notes from his physicians, and even notes taken when his body was exhumed twice in 1863 and 1888, with the hopes of piecing together his complicated medical history.

But the researchers behind the new study took things a step further about eight years ago when they set out to do a genetic analysis of Beethoven’s hair. The samples they used included hair cut from his head in the seven years prior to his death.

Genetic revelations

The team started by analyzing a total of eight hair samples from public and private collections across the UK, Europe and the US. During their authentication work, they discovered that two didn’t come from Beethoven at all, while another was too damaged to analyze.

Previous work suggesting that Beethoven had lead poisoning was determined to be based on a hair sample that didn’t belong to him — one that instead had belonged to a woman.


The Stumpff Lock, from which Beethoven’s whole genome was sequenced, with inscription by former owner Patrick Stirling.

But five of the samples all came from the same European male and matched his German ancestry. Beethoven had hand delivered one of the locks himself to the pianist Anton Halm in April 1826, saying “Das sind meine Haare!” (“That is my hair!”)

The genetic analysis spotted clues hiding in the composer’s DNA that could add context to his health issues.

“We were unable to find a definitive cause for Beethoven’s deafness or gastrointestinal problems,” Krause said.


The Moscheles Lock, authenticated by the study, includes an inscription by former owner Ignaz Moscheles.

“However, we did discover a number of significant genetic risk factors for liver disease,” he added. “We also found evidence of an infection with hepatitis B virus in at latest the months before the composer’s final illness. Those likely contributed to his death.”

Beethoven’s genetic data also helped the researchers rule out other potential causes of his ailments, such as celiac disease, an autoimmune condition, lactose intolerance or irritable bowel syndrome.

Letters written by Beethoven, as well as those of his friends, show that the composer regularly consumed alcohol. Although it’s difficult to tell how much he drank, a close friend wrote that Beethoven had at least a liter of wine with lunch each day.


These two locks of hair, including one delivered to pianist Anton Halm by Beethoven, were both authenticated by the study.

Drinking alcohol, combined with genetic risk factors for liver disease and his hepatitis B infection, might have been the perfect storm for Beethoven’s health near the end of his life.

“If his alcohol consumption was sufficiently heavy over a long enough period of time, the interaction with his genetic risk factors presents one possible explanation for his cirrhosis,” said lead study author Tristan Begg, Ph.D. student at the University of Cambridge.

But the researchers cautioned that the timing of all of these events was critical to understanding what contributed to Beethoven’s death. Future research could reveal more insights — including the reason behind his hearing loss, the authors said.

“We hope that by making Beethoven’s genome publicly available for researchers, and perhaps adding further authenticated locks to the initial chronological series, remaining questions about his health and genealogy can someday be answered,” Begg said.

A secret in the DNA

Once the research team established Beethoven’s genetic profile, they compared it with the DNA of his living relatives in Belgium. But in a twist, they weren’t able to determine a complete match.

While some of the relatives shared a paternal ancestor through Beethoven’s family in the late 1500s and early 1600s, there was no match for the Y-chromosome in Beethoven’s hair samples.

This suggests that somewhere in the family’s history, there was an extramarital affair on Beethoven’s father’s side that resulted in a child.

“Through the combination of DNA data and archival documents, we were able to observe a discrepancy between Ludwig van Beethoven’s legal and biological genealogy,” said study coauthor Maarten Larmuseau, a genetic genealogist at the KU Leuven in Belgium.

The researchers think the affair occurred sometime between the 1572 conception of Hendrik van Beethoven, an ancestor in the paternal Beethoven line seven generations removed from the composer, and the conception of Beethoven in 1770.


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CASEY: Controversy erupts over transgender student's use of girls' bathroom at Roanoke high school

CASEY: Controversy erupts over transgender student's use of girls' bathroom at Roanoke high school

A public controversy over a transgender student’s use of girls’ restrooms at Glenvar High began on St. Valentine’s Day. That’s still occurring on social media and seems to be growing.

It all started around lunchtime Feb. 14, when a female sophomore entered a girls’ bathroom. Here’s what she told the Roanoke County School Board during its meeting Feb. 16.

“While I was in a stall I noticed someone walked by, slowed down and was attempting to look through the crack in the door. I was finishing up at the time, so I walked out of the stall and noticed it, it was a transgender boy in my school, male to female.

“As I walked out of the stall … he walked into the corner and got on his phone. There were multiple empty stalls yet he continued to stand there as I washed and dried my hands. I wasn’t sure if he was staring at me or trying to video me but at that point I was uncomfortable with the entire situation. When I walked out of the bathroom he was still there.”

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The Roanoke County Public Schools central office.

The student said similar events had happened to “multiple other girls in the bathroom” at Glenvar but that they were afraid of making waves. The student said she reported her unease to Glenvar’s dean of students.

“The most that [the dean has] done is given me a key to the private bathrooms,” the student continued. “After thinking about the situation and talking with my parents, I decided it was best to give … the key back.

“If their solution is to help one girl instead of everyone, why should I be that girl? Neither the principal nor assistant principal have reached out to address the situation with me and I do not believe my school will take further action.”

The student offered three possible “solutions” to the school board. The first was for schools to station a female monitor in each girls’ bathroom “to make sure that we are not being harassed, assaulted or recorded.”

The second was to give all girls at Glenvar High a key to private bathrooms. The third went further, and seems the most unrealistic.

“Simply label the bathroom[s] as ‘Penis’ and ‘Vagina,’” the student said. “This creates a middle ground for both transgender and cisgender people. It wouldn’t matter if you identified as a cat, dog, unicorn, male or female. You would use the bathroom simply based on your anatomy.”

She finished: “I’m a biological female. God made me this way. Why should I have to give up my privacy, safety and dignity to make someone else feel included?”

Board members, as they typically do in the public comments section of their meetings, remained silent and stoic.

After the meeting, the girl’s mother, Heather Teubert, posted a message on social media about her daughter’s plea to the board. That erupted into a Facebook free-for-all, with dozens of responses and back-and-forths.

A number of those messages were ugly and are unprintable in a family newspaper. Teubert herself called the transgender girl “a pervert” in at least one post, and also in a later phone conversation with me.

In that, Teubert seemed to characterize her daughter as the victim in this matter. She said her daughter “has no rights” and that the school “did nothing about it.”

“God forbid, you upset someone that’s transgender or gay or lesbian, or whatever, that identifies with anything other than their biological sex,” Teubert said, “Because then you get in trouble for that. But if you do the same to a biological female, it’s OK.”

The school board heard a somewhat different account at its March 16 meeting, again during public comments.

On that occasion, the bathroom situation at Glenvar arose once more. From what I’ve been able to glean, the high school has two transgender students, in a total enrollment of roughly 630.

One speaker was Chad Brown, who said his daughter attends the high school. He asked the board to adopt a policy requiring students use restrooms according to the gender listed on their birth certificates. (Under current Virginia law and a relatively recent federal appeals court ruling from an eastern Virginia school division, that would constitute illegal discrimination.)

The transgender girl’s mom, Kerry Shepherd, also spoke, to support her daughter and ask for the board’s understanding. (The Roanoke Times isn’t naming either teenage student, out of sensitivity to each.)

Next, Shepherd’s daughter stood at the lectern and told board members her side of the story.

“I was in the bathroom,” the girl said the Feb. 14 incident. “I have been struggling to find somewhere to sit during B-day lunches, and have been suffering with an eating disorder. I was in the bathroom skipping lunch, feeling general hate towards my body that day, considering self-induced vomiting, when a girl walked in.

“I didn’t want anyone else to see me vomit, so I stared in the mirror and stood in the corner. I walked out for a little bit and walked back in. I went straight back to the spot I was at and waited as she walked out, washed her hands and dried them.

“That was my perspective of what happened that day.”

That wasn’t the end, though.

“Much later, I heard from a friend about the online frenzy against me. I was told the original claim against me was that I made the student uncomfortable,” the girl said.

“I would like to tell you what uncomfortable feels like. Uncomfortable feels like being harassed on a day-to-day basis. Uncomfortable feels like developing an eating disorder and feeling the need to hide it. Uncomfortable feels like getting sexually harassed and nothing being done about it.

“Uncomfortable feels like getting random panic attacks just from being in the same room as certain people. I would personally love to see how this compares to the student’s original claim,” the girl said.

She added that she struggles daily with mental health issues, “and this situation has made it SO much more difficult. I genuinely fear going to school because of the threats being made.”

“I deserve to learn in a school environment where I feel respected, protected and seen from my full humanity,” the girl said.

In between the two meetings, the transgender pupil was bullied in two separate incidents and threatened in the latter. Kerry Shepherd reported those to school administrators on March 1 and March 6, and shared documents reflecting those complaints.

The first involved unkind comments to Shepherd’s daughter, from other female students, about using the girls’ bathroom. In the second, some boys followed Shepherd’s daughter outside to the school bus.

One taunted her, repeatedly called her “boy,” and demanded she stop using the same bathrooms that his sister used. Otherwise, “I’ll beat your a—,” Shepherd reported.

In a phone conversation Wednesday, Teubert told me she called the transgender student “a pervert” on social media because the student had “dated” her daughter’s best friend before undergoing the transition to a girl.

Shepherd said that the relationship Teubert referred to occurred in the fifth grade. That casts the term “dated” in a far different light.

This week, Shepherd told me her daughter, 16, has been hospitalized multiple times after trying to harm herself. When her daughter initially came out as transgender, “I prayed she was gay, because her life would be easier,” Shepherd said.

I found those comments heartbreaking, in part because I have a teenage niece who’s transgender, and that has provided me a bit more insight into the issue. My niece left both public and private schools because she felt so unsafe in each.

Chuck Lionberger, spokesman for Roanoke County schools, said the school system would not comment on specifics of the situation, because that could violate the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.

“We can confirm that the accusation [at the Feb. 16 meeting] was fully investigated by the school and any students or parents who had concerns were able to communicate those concerns with the school principal. The principal communicated directly with both students and families in her investigation,” Lionberger wrote in an email.

“Roanoke County Public Schools encourages and promotes a climate of respect for all students, including transgender students, and any incidents of bullying or harassment are investigated and addressed appropriately,” he added. “Our students are human beings that deserve to be treated with dignity and respect by other students as well as adults.”

Virginia’s current policy allows transgender students to use bathrooms in accord with their gender identity. But that was adopted under the previous Gov. Ralph Northam’s administration. The administration of current Gov. Glenn Youngkin is said to be preparing new guidelines, but those have not yet been issued.

The school board “is waiting for the state to issue guidance,” said board member Mike Wray. “Until then it would be too soon to share any thoughts.”

Kerry Shepherd vehemently denies her daughter in any way peeked in the bathroom stall at the other girl on Feb. 14.

Teubert said she is consulting with lawyers, but she declined to name them.

Contact metro columnist Dan Casey at 981-3423 or dan.casey@roanoke.com. Follow him on Twitter:@dancaseysblog.

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GM to stop making the Camaro, but a successor may be in works

GM to stop making the Camaro, but a successor may be in works

DETROIT (AP) — The Chevrolet Camaro, for decades the dream car of many teenage American males, is going out of production.

General Motors, which sells the brawny muscle car, said Wednesday it will stop making the current generation early next year.

The future of the car, which is raced on NASCAR and other circuits, is a bit murky. GM says another generation may be in the works.

“While we are not announcing an immediate successor today, rest assured, this is not the end of Camaro’s story,” Scott Bell, vice president of Chevrolet, said in a statement.

The current sixth-generation Camaro, introduced in 2016, has done well on the racetrack, but sales have been tailing off in recent years. When the current generation Camaro came out in 2016, Chevrolet sold 72,705 of them. But by the end of 2021 that number fell almost 70% to 21,893. It rebounded a bit last year to 24,652.

GM said last of the 2024 model year of the cars will come off the assembly line in Lansing, Michigan, in January.

Spokesman Trevor Thompkins said he can’t say anything more about a future Camaro. “We’re not saying anything specific right now,” he said.

If GM revives the Camaro, it almost certainly will be electric, said Stephanie Brinley, an associate director with S&P Global Mobility. “It would be unlikely to see another internal combustion engine vehicle,” she said.

GM has said it plans to sell only electric passenger vehicles worldwide by 2035.

Brinley said the push to sell more electric vehicles makes it likely that all new muscle cars will be powered by batteries. But if there’s still a mixed combustion and battery fleet on sale in 2030 or 2040, some gas-powered muscle cars could survive.

Thompkins said GM has an understanding with auto-racing sanctioning bodies that the sixth-generation car can continue racing. GM will have parts available and the Camaro body will stay on the race track, he said.

NASCAR said that because the Generation 6 Camaro was in production when GM originally got permission to race, it remains qualified to race in NASCAR Cup and NASCAR Xfinity Series races.

GM will offer a collector’s edition package of the 2024 Camaro RS and SS in North America, and a limited number of high-performance ZL-1 Camaros. The collector’s edition cars will have ties to the first-generation Camaro from the 1960s and its GM code name “Panther,” the company said without giving specifics.

GM’s move comes as traditional gas-powered muscle cars are starting to be phased out due to strict government fuel economy regulations, concerns about climate change and an accelerating shift toward electric vehicles.

Stellantis, will stop making gas versions of the Dodge Challenger and Charger and the Chrylser 300 big sedan by the end of this year. But the company has plans to roll out a battery-powered Charger performance car sometime in 2024.

Electric cars, with instant torque and a low center of gravity, often are faster and handle better than internal combustion vehicles.

Stellantis, formed in 2021 by combining Fiat Chrysler and France’s PSA Peugeot, earlier this week announced the last of its special edition muscle cars, the 1,025 horsepower Dodge Challenger SRT Demon 170. The company says the car can go from zero to 60 mph (97 kilometers per hour) in 1.66 seconds, making it the fastest production car on the market.

In addition, Ford rolled out a new version of its Mustang sports car in September.

The Camaro was first introduced in 1966, two years after Ford’s wildly popular Mustang.

GM retired the Camaro nameplate in 2002, but revived it as a new 2010 model with hopes of appealing to enthusiasts and younger buyers. The 2010 version was similar to its predecessors, with a long, flat front and side “gills” that evoke the original, while still sporting a modern overall design.

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