Latest Tennessee news, sports, business and entertainment at 4:20 p.m. CDT


US virus patients and businesses sue China over outbreak

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Lawsuits are starting to pile up around the U.S. seeking to hold China accountable for the coronavirus pandemic. The complaints claim that Chinese authorities did not do enough to corral the virus initially, tried to hide what was happening and engaged in a cover-up to conceal their actions and what they knew. The Chinese foreign ministry says the country has been transparent and that the lawsuits have no factual basis. The cases face an uphill climb because of a 1976 federal law stating that foreign governments are immune from U.S. lawsuits with certain exceptions.


Little Richard, flamboyant rock ‘n’ roll pioneer, dead at 87

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Little Richard, one of the chief architects of rock ‘n’ roll, has died. He was 87. Pastor Bill Minson, a close friend of Little Richard’s, told The Associated Press that Little Richard died Saturday morning after battling bone cancer. Known for his piercing wail, pounding piano and towering pompadour, he irrevocably altered popular music while introducing black R&B to white America. His hits included “Long Tall Sally” and “Tutti Frutti.” The trailblazing rocker helped shatter the color line on the music charts, joining Chuck Berry and Fats Domino in bringing what was once called “race music” into the mainstream.


Visitors flock to Smoky Mountains park on reopening day

GATLINBURG, Tenn. (AP) — The reopening of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park was a little too tempting of a draw as scores of nature lovers from dozens of states crowded trails and trekked into blocked-off areas. A park spokeswoman on Saturday said parking lots were packed and lines of cars snaked down tree-lined streets. Many people did not wear masks. Visitors also walked past heavy barricades on one of the park’s most trafficked trails, Laurel Falls, which was closed off to heed federal social distancing guidelines. On the Tennessee-North Carolina border, the Great Smoky Mountains is the county’s most visited national park. It was closed March 24.


Tennessee providing virus patient info to first responders

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The names and addresses of Tennesseans who've tested positive for COVID-19 are being provided to first responders, law enforcement and paramedics under a state agreement deemed necessary to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. According to documents obtained by The Associated Press, the agreement was finalized April 3 between Tennessee’s Department of Health and the state’s Emergency Communications Board. The agreement — known as a memorandum of understanding — wasn't publicized when it was signed, but instead distributed to local leaders across the state.


Rangers, IRS volunteers lead in returns of federal workers

WASHINGTON (AP) — IRS volunteers getting bonus pay and workers at a handful of national parks are among the first federal workers venturing back under Trump administration guidelines for the coronavirus outbreak. The Trump administration says its phased plan for returning some 2 million federal workers is strongly based on local conditions in the pandemic. Some unions representing federal workers say those guidelines are too loose, and fear the administration will rush back federal workers to try to kick the U.S. economy back on its feet. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park - the country's most visited national park — was reopening Saturday.


A distinct possibility: 'Temporary' layoffs may be permanent

WASHINGTON (AP) — Call it realism or pessimism, but more U.S. employers seem to be recognizing a growing possibility: That many, if not most, of the employees they’ve had to lay off in the face of the coronavirus pandemic may not be returning to their old jobs anytime soon. Some large companies won’t have enough customers to justify it. And some small businesses won’t likely survive at all despite aid provided by the federal government. In the April jobs report issued Friday, a record-shattering 20.5 million people lost jobs. Yet a sizable majority of the jobless — nearly 80% — characterized their loss as temporary.