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Taliban say unable to attend Pakistan talks; blame blacklist

The Taliban has postponed an unscheduled round of peace talks with the United States set for Monday in Pakistan saying "most" members of their negotiating team are unable to travel because they’re on the U.S. and United Nations’ blacklists.

The statement Sunday offered no other details. It did not explain how several members previously were able to travel to meetings in the United Arab Emirates and Moscow.

The Taliban maintain a political office in Qatar, where members of the negotiating team reside. The Islamabad talks were seen as significant, coinciding with the visit of the Saudi crown prince to Pakistan.

The Taliban 14-member team includes five former inmates of the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, and Anas Haqqani, the jailed younger brother of the leader of the militant Haqqani network.

Source: Fox News World

Anthony Weiner released from prison as part of federal re-entry program

Disgraced former Congressman Anthony Weiner has been released from prison and is now part of the federal re-entry program in New York as he awaits his full release later this spring.

Weiner, who was convicted for sexting a 15-year-old girl from North Carolina and sentenced to 21 months behind bars, has been transferred from Federal Medical Center in Massachusetts into the care of New York’s Residential Re-entry Management program.

While a staff member at New York’s RRM in Brooklyn’s Sunset Park neighborhood was unable to provide Fox News with Weiner’s exact whereabouts, it is believed that he is serving the remaining time of his sentence in a halfway house or in home confinement before his official release on May 14.

ANTHONY WEINER SENTENCED TO 21 MONTHS IN PRISON IN TEEN SEXTING CASE

Good conduct while in prison has shaved off about three months from his sentence. He will spend three years on supervised release and will have to pay a $10,000 fine as well as register as a sex offender.

Once a prominent star in the Democratic Party, Weiner’s political career began to unravel in 2011 when he resigned from Congress after admitting to sending an X-rated photo and engaging in inappropriate relationships with women online. While he attempted a comeback in 2013 when he ran for New York City mayor, that campaign went off the tracks when it was revealed that he had sexted with another woman under the pseudonym “Carlos Danger.”

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In 2017, he was busted for texting with a high school girl and eventually sentenced to time behind bars.

U.S. District Judge Denise L. Cote issued the sentence in federal court in New York.

“This is a serious crime that deserves serious punishment,” Cote said in a statement.

During his sentencing, Weiner wept openly and read from a prepared statement for several minutes, describing himself as “an addict” and calling his crime “rock bottom.” He said he has a “disease,” but it is not an “excuse.”

Source: Fox News Politics

Sex abuse survivors say Vatican summit must deliver action

Roman Catholics who were sexually abused by clergy are insisting that decisive actions to confront the decades-long problem of pedophile priests and church cover-ups must come out of an upcoming Vatican summit.

A founding member of the advocacy group Ending Clergy Abuse, Peter Isely, contended Sunday that Pope Francis is "facing resistance" from top Vatican officials as he prepares to convene bishops from around the world.

"Let me tell you what it was like to try and have to resist that priest when I was a boy who was sexually assaulting me," Isely said. "So whatever difficulty for him or discomfort this is for anybody in the papal palace, it is nothing compared to what survivors have had to undergo."

Isely offered his perspective in an interview with The Associated Press near St. Peter’s Square shortly before Francis spoke of the importance of the Feb. 21-24 event on protecting children and teenagers in the church,.

Addressing faithful in the square, Francis asked for prayers for the gathering of the heads of Catholic bishops’ conferences worldwide.

Francis said he wanted the summit, to be "an act of strong pastoral responsibility in the face of an urgent challenge of our time."

Revelations in many countries about priests raping and committing other kinds of sexual abuse against children and a pattern of bishops hiding the crimes have shaken the faith of many Catholics.

They also test the pontiff’s ability to ensure the safety of children and punishment for the abusers as well as any complicit superiors.

The Vatican announced Saturday that Francis approved the expulsion from the priesthood for a former American cardinal, Theodore McCarrick, for sexual abuse of minors and adults.

But survivor advocates also have demanded that Francis say what he and other top Vatican officials knew about the prelate’s sexual wrongdoing, which spanned decades.

"You abuse a child, you have to be removed from the priesthood," Isely said. "If you cover up for abusing a child, you have to be removed from the priesthood, and this is the only thing that is going to turn the corner on this global crisis."

Another founding member of the group, Denise Buchanan, a native of Jamaica, said a priest raped and assaulted her when she was 17.

"That rape actually resulted in a pregnancy, and the priest arranged for an abortion," Buchanan said.

Veteran Vatican watcher Marco Politi told the AP he also sees the pope facing inside resistance.

"There is a struggle going on between the pope and his supporters who want a change, and a lot of people among the bishops and among the clergy who don’t want transparency and applying law and order in the abuse issue in the world," Politi said.

Some of Francis’ critics contend that as a product of the Catholic Church’s hierarchical culture, he, too, has been slow to recognize the hierarchy’s role in perpetuating abuse by pedophile priests.

Francis has tried to temper expectations for the summit, saying in January the "problem of abuse will continue" because "it’s a human problem." Isely of Ending Clergy Abuse said the bar should be high and the participants "have to deliver for survivors."

Source: Fox News World

Saudi crown prince arrives in Pakistan for regional visit

Saudi Arabia’s powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman began his four-day regional visit on Sunday, arriving in Pakistan where Saudi officials signed agreements worth $20 billion to help the Islamic nation overcome its financial crisis.

Prime Minister Imran Khan and top government and military officials greeted him at Islamabad’s airport, where he received a 21-gun salute. Earlier, Pakistan Air Force jets escorted Prince Mohammad’s flight when he entered the country’s airspace.

At the airport, a young boy and girl in traditional Pakistani dress handed the prince flowers. He was greeted by a host of Pakistani Cabinet ministers and the country’s powerful army chief, Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa.

Khan himself drove the prince to the prime minister’s residence, where he was met by an honor guard.

During his two-day stay in Pakistan, the crown prince will hold formal talks with Khan to find ways to enhance bilateral cooperation. Saudi Arabia will invest in the energy sector across the country, including setting up an oil refinery in the southwest near the border with Iran. The move will likely irk Tehran as Iran is Saudi Arabia’s regional foe.

Shortly after his arrival, Prince Mohammad, accompanied by a high-powered delegation including leading businessmen and Cabinet ministers, attended a signing ceremony for the investment agreements worth $20 billion.

"This is first phase," he said, at the ceremony, adding that he hoped the future would bring even more Saudi investment in Pakistan.

"Saudi Arabia has always been a fiend of Pakistan, Saudi Arabia has been a friend in need," Khan said.

Pakistan is in the grip of a major debt crisis and is seeking a $12 billion bailout from the International Monetary Fund but has yet to sign the deal which comes with tough conditions.

Prince Mohammad will later travel to neighboring India amid heightened tensions between Islamabad and New Delhi over this week’s attack in Indian-controlled Kashmir that killed 41 troops.

This week also saw an attack in Iran that killed 27 Revolutionary Guard soldiers that was claimed by the Pakistan-based militant Jaish al-Adl group.

Pakistan condemned the attacks, but India and Iran blame it for the violence.

Pakistan enjoys close ties with Saudi Arabia. It maintains a balancing act between Riyadh and Tehran.

Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Sunday that the visit by the crown prince will take their countries’ bilateral relations "to new heights."

Pakistan voiced support for the prince during the international outcry after the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi agents. Khan attended an investment conference in Saudi Arabia in October that saw a wave of cancellations linked to the Khashoggi killing.

The crown prince has called the killing a "heinous crime that cannot be justified."

Khashoggi, who had written critically about the prince, went missing on Oct. 2 after entering the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. After denying any knowledge of his death for weeks, Saudi authorities eventually said that he was killed in an operation aimed at forcibly bringing the writer back to the kingdom.

Saudi prosecutors say the plan was masterminded by two former advisers to the crown prince.

The kingdom denies the crown prince knew of the plot.

Source: Fox News World

Cancun club shooting leaves 5 dead, 5 wounded, authorities say

At least five people were killed and another five were wounded Saturday after four gunmen opened fire inside a club in Cancun, Mexico, authorities said.

The men, armed with a long gun and three handguns, opened fire inside La Kuka, a club located on a main avenue in central Cancun about 4 miles away from the seaside tourist hotel zone, Quintana Roo state prosecutors said.

Two of the five wounded in the shooting remains in critical condition on Sunday.

Cancun and Quintaroo have seen an uptick in violence in the last year, with federal authorities reporting 774 people killed in the state last year, compared to the recorded 359 killings in 2017.

The violence may be due to reports of the Jalisco New Generation cartel moving into the Caribbean resort city and fighting other local gangs to gain control of the area.

MEXICO MURDER RATE BREAKS RECORD WITH MORE THAN 33,000 CASES OPENED IN 2018, STATISTICS SHOW

In January, three gunmen in Cancun shot and killed seven people at a home. The deadly shooting was due to an apparent dispute and ordered by a suspected gang leader who has been linked to the Jalisco cartel.

At least five people were killed when a gunman opened fire inside a club in Cancun, Mexico.

At least five people were killed when a gunman opened fire inside a club in Cancun, Mexico. (iStock)

Homicide cases in Mexico rose by 33 percent in 2018, shattering the country’s record for the second consecutive year, government statistics show. The U.S. State Department’s travel advisory in November urged people to “exercise increased caution” when traveling to Mexico due to crime.

“Violent crime, such as homicide, kidnapping, carjacking, and robbery, is widespread,” the advisory stated.

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Cancun remains one of the most popular travel destinations in Mexico and in the world.

Fox News’ Greg Norman and The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Source: Fox News World

Murdered Memphis mother may be subject in serial killer's sketches, family claims

A convicted murderer who has confessed to 90 killings may be linked by a jailhouse portrait to an unsolved killing of a woman in Memphis who was last seen alive on Christmas Eve over two decades ago.

The FBI released sketches last week made recently by admitted serial killer Samuel Little, based on his memories of some of his victims. Little, 78, is in poor health and last year confessed to 90 homicides nationwide over the past four decades.

The drawings were based on the memories he has of some of his victims, which the FBI said were "marginalized and vulnerable women who were often involved in prostitution and addicted to drugs."

FBI WANTS HELP IN IDENTIFYING VICTIMS FROM PORTRAITS DRAWN BY SERIAL KILLER

After the sketches were released, Anthony Jones told WREG-TV he believes one of the women pictured is his mother, Priscilla Baxter Jones.

Priscilla Baxter Jones was last seen alive on Christmas Eve in 1996.

Priscilla Baxter Jones was last seen alive on Christmas Eve in 1996. (WREG via NNS)

Jones was last seen on Christmas Eve in 1996, when her son was 15.

“She was like, ‘I love you son… I’m gonna see you for Christmas tomorrow.’ I’m like, ‘Yes ma’am, I’ll see you tomorrow.’ Next day comes, nobody heard from my mama. Day after that, nobody heard from my mama,” he told WREG.

The body of the 36-year-old woman, who was a prostitute, according to her son, was found two weeks later in the Mississippi River. Family members said she had been raped, stabbed and strangled.

Anthony Jones’ wife, Erica Wells-Jones, said she spotted the sketches and when they compared the photos the similarities jumped out.

This undated file photo provided by the Ector County Texas Sheriff's Office shows Samuel Little.

This undated file photo provided by the Ector County Texas Sheriff’s Office shows Samuel Little. (Ector County Texas Sheriff’s Office via AP)

Besides the photo, Anthony Jones told WREG-TV that be believes his mom and Little possibly knew each other for months before her murder, and that he even met the killer.

“I just seen the older picture first and I automatically knew who he was cause I don’t forget faces. That’s just me. I can’t forget faces,” he said.

SERIAL KILLER WHO MAY HAVE COMMITTED 90 MURDERS IS LINKED TO YET ANOTHER KILLING

Little drew sketches of at least 16 of the unidentified women, including one in the Memphis area. He admitted to killing a black female about 28 years old who he picked up in Memphis, according to the FBI.

This combination of undated sketches provided by the FBI shows drawings made by admitted serial killer Samuel Little, based on his memories of some of his victims.

This combination of undated sketches provided by the FBI shows drawings made by admitted serial killer Samuel Little, based on his memories of some of his victims. (Courtesy of FBI via AP)

While Jones said his mother was stabbed, all of Little’s other victims were reported to be strangled with their bodies dumped in mostly wooded areas. Because there were no gunshot or knife wounds on the victims, investigators blamed accidents, natural causes or drug overdoses for the slayings.

SAMUEL LITTLE, TED BUNDY, JEFFREY DAHMER AND OTHER PROLIFIC SERIAL KILLERS THROUGHOUT HISTORY

The Memphis Police Department told FOX13 on Thursday the victim with Memphis ties has not been identified at this point. The department’s homicide bureau is looking into the case and will “provide additional information as it becomes available,” according to FOX13.

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Anthony and his wife said they are just hoping to finally get some closure decades later.

“It would be a big weight off him and his brothers’ shoulders to know that this man is off the street,” Erica said.

Fox News’ Katherine Lam and Louis Casiano contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News National

New database would protect lost African-American burial sites

New legislation proposed to Congress last week would protect lost African-American burial grounds, and green-light the creation of a database for tracking the historic areas.

Burial sites with the remains of enslaved or segregated African-Americans over the last few centuries are often uncovered during new construction nationwide, because they are not registered with state or local departments, according to Forbes. The new legislation, proposed on Wednesday by Congressman A. Donald McEachin, who represents Virginia’s 4th District, and Congresswoman Alma Adams, of North Carolina’s 12th District, would protect historic burial sites discovered as a part of the National Parks Service.

In addition to being registered with the NPS, the bill would also establish a federal nationwide database to record information about the spaces, as well as provide information for communities surrounding the burial grounds and secure funding for further research.

BIZARRE MEDIEVAL ‘TRIPLE TOILET SEAT’ REVEALED

The bill intends to “help communities identify and record burial grounds and preserve local history while better informing development decisions and community planning."

African-American burial sites have been steadily discovered for decades, but there has not been a nationwide initiative to centralize the information about them. Many of the graves remain unmarked and the grounds unannounced, leaving countless African-Americans in modern society without any information about where there ancestors’ remains lie.

In 1991, the largest reclaimed African-American burial site was discovered in New York. It is believed to be home to the graves of 15,000 slaves. About 419 sets of remains were found there, and the site has since been renamed and memorialized as the African Burial Ground in Lower Manhattan.

LOST CITY IN SOUTH AFRICA REVEALED IN STUNNING DIGITAL IMAGES

More recently in New York, another African burial site was discovered in the East Harlem neighborhood in 2016. Local residents had reportedly claimed for many years that there were pre-Civil War remains underneath the 126th Street Bus Depot, and it was later revealed to be a former Dutch Reformed churchyard where black people were buried between the 17th and 19th centuries. Archaeologists discovered more than 140 bones and bone fragments, including an intact skull, acording to the Atlanta Black Star.

In Texas, the remains of 95 African-Americans were discovered at a construction site where a new school was being built about 20 miles from Houston in December. They had all been buried in pine boxes between the years of 1878 and 1911. Archaeologists also reportedly found chains near the unmarked graves. The individuals were thought to have been forced to work on sugar plantations long after slavery ended through a program called convict leasing, in which prisoners were "leased out" to provide manual labor.

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The new bill would allow the creation of the African American Burial Grounds Network, so that graveyards like those found in New York and Texas could be researched, documented and preserved.

Source: Fox News National

Hunt under way for suspect in shooting of officer

Authorities say a Virginia police officer has been shot and seriously wounded after making a traffic stop.

State police say a Bluefield officer was shot after stopping a 2008 Toyota Yaris for an equipment violation on Route 460 shortly before midnight Saturday.

Authorities say a passenger in the vehicle began shooting at the officer.

The officer and another Bluefield officer, who had responded to assist with the traffic stop, returned fire. The Toyota’s driver surrendered but the passenger got into the driver’s seat and drove off.

The Toyota was found abandoned a few hours later in Bluefield, West Virginia. The search for the passenger continued Sunday.

The wounded officer was being treated for serious injuries that were not considered life threatening at Roanoke Memorial Hospital.

Source: Fox News National

Groups: ICE detainees in Boston jail go on hunger strike

Dozens of people detained by federal immigration officials are on a hunger strike at a Boston jail.

Rhode Island-based community groups Alliance to Mobilize Our Resistance and the Fighting Against Natural Gas Collective say they’ve been in contact with about 70 detainees at the Suffolk County House of Correction who are participating in a hunger strike that began Friday.

The organizations say the detainees are protesting abuse by jail officials and "inhumane conditions" such as bad food and broken bathroom fixtures. They also challenge the jail’s authority to detain people on behalf of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The organizations say the detainees sent jail officials a list of their grievances Feb. 10. Spokespersons for the jail and ICE didn’t immediately respond to emails seeking comment Sunday.

Source: Fox News National

Graham calls McCabe comments 'beyond stunning' as he threatens to subpoena former FBI chief

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., vowed Sunday to investigate alleged discussions at the Department of Justice about invoking the 25th Amendment as a way to oust President Trump from office and threatened to subpoena former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe if he refused to testify on the matter before the Senate.

"We’re going to find out what happened here and the only way I know to find out is to call the people in under oath and find out, through questioning, who’s telling the truth because the underlying accusation is beyond stunning," Graham, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said on CBS’ "Face the Nation."

Graham added that he also plans to subpoena both McCabe and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein if they won’t voluntarily agree to testify before the committee.

"There is no organization beyond scrutiny," Graham said. "There is no organization that can’t withstand scrutiny. And the FBI will come out stronger."

ANDREW MCCARTHY: MCCABE, ROSENSTEIN AND THE REAL THRUTH ABOUT THE 25TH AMENDMENT COUP ATTEMPT

He said: "But we’ve got to get to the bottom of it. What are people to think after they watch "60 Minutes" when they hear this accusation by the acting deputy — acting FBI director that the deputy attorney general encouraged him to try to find ways to count votes to replace the president? That can’t go unaddressed."

Graham’s comments come on the heels of a Fox News story that reported that former FBI lawyer James Baker, in closed-door testimony to Congress, detailed alleged discussions among senior officials at the Justice Department about invoking the 25th Amendment.

The testimony was delivered last fall to the House Oversight and Judiciary Committees. Fox News has confirmed portions of the transcript. It provides additional insight into discussions that have returned to the spotlight in Washington as fired FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe revisits the matter during interviews promoting his forthcoming book.

Baker did not identify the two Cabinet officials. But in his testimony, the lawyer said McCabe and FBI lawyer Lisa Page came to him to relay their conversations with Rosenstein, including discussions of the 25th Amendment.

“I was being told by some combination of Andy McCabe and Lisa Page, that, in a conversation with the deputy attorney general, he had stated that he — this was what was related to me – that he had at least two members of the president’s Cabinet who were ready to support, I guess you would call it, an action under the 25th Amendment,” Baker told the committees.

CBS News reported on McCabe’s comments after he told “60 Minutes” that Justice Department officials discussed the possibility of removing Trump via the 25th Amendment and that Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein had offered to wear a wire around the president.

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The 25th Amendment provides a mechanism for removing a sitting president from office. One way that could happen is if a majority of the president’s Cabinet says the president is incapable of discharging his duties.

Since giving the interview to “60 Minutes,” McCabe has since made an about-face, with a spokesperson for the former FBI chief releasing a statement that says McCabe did not "participate in any extended discussions about the use of the 25th Amendment, nor is he aware of any such discussions."

The Justice Department issued a statement calling McCabe’s comments “inaccurate and factually incorrect."

Reports of the discussions of invoking the 25th Amendment and of Rosenstein wearing a wire were reported in The New York Times.

Source: Fox News Politics

New York City's de Blasio blames Amazon for caving on deal for new headquarters in city

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio laid the blame on Amazon deciding to pull up stakes on a new headquarters in the city squarely on the corporate behemoth, saying that the company just “took their ball and went home.”

Speaking on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” de Blasio defended progressive Democrats who argued against Amazon’s move to the country’s largest city, but did add that the deal could have been a way for progressive leaders to show a balance on economic issues.

“I have no problem with my fellow progressives critiquing a deal or wanting more from Amazon — I wanted more from Amazon, too,” de Blasio said. “The bottom line is, this was an example of an abuse of corporate power. They had an agreement with the people of New York City."

He added: "They said they wanted a partnership, but the minute there were criticisms, they walked away. What does that say to working people, that a company would leave them high and dry, simply because some people raised criticism?"

AMAZON BLASTS OCASIO-CORTEZ, SAYS ‘WE DON’T WANT TO WORK IN THIS ENVIRONMENT IN THE LONG TERM’

Amazon officials joined de Blasio and Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo in November to announce plans to build a $2.5 billion headquarters in Queens.

De Blasio and Cuomo said the $2.8 billion in tax breaks and subsidies they were offering Amazon would result in $27 billion in tax revenue.

The company, however, announced on Thursday that it had dropped plans to build a new headquarters in Queens amid pressure from politicians and activists over the tax breaks it would receive.

“We are disappointed to have reached this conclusion — we love New York,” the online giant from Seattle said in a blog post announcing its withdrawal.

The stunning move was a serious blow to Cuomo and de Blasio, who had lobbied intensely to land the project, competing against more than 200 other metropolitan areas across the continent that were practically tripping over each other to offer incentives to Amazon in a bidding war the company stoked.

Cuomo lashed out at fellow New York politicians over Amazon’s change of heart, saying the project would have helped diversify the city’s economy, cement its status as an emerging tech hub and generate money for schools, housing and transit.

“A small group (of) politicians put their own narrow political interests above their community,” he said.

But Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, New York City’s new liberal firebrand, exulted over Amazon’s pullout.

“Today was the day a group of dedicated, everyday New Yorkers and their neighbors defeated Amazon’s corporate greed, its worker exploitation, and the power of the richest man in the world,” she tweeted, referring to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.

The swift unraveling of the project reflected growing antipathy toward large technology companies among liberals and populists who accuse big business of holding down wages and wielding too much political clout, analysts said.

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“This all of a sudden became a perfect test case for all those arguments,” said Joe Parilla, a fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program.

Amazon ultimately decided it did not want to be drawn into that battle.

Amazon announced in November that it had chosen the Long Island City section of Queens for one of two new headquarters, with the other in Arlington, Va. Both would get 25,000 jobs. A third site in Nashville, Tenn., would get 5,000.

The company planned to spend $2.5 billion building the New York office, choosing the area in part because of its large pool of tech talent. The governor and the mayor had argued that the project would spur economic growth that would pay for the $2.8 billion in state and city incentives many times over.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News Politics

California AG Becerra plans to sue Trump administration over national emergency declaration

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said Sunday that he will "definitely and imminently" file a lawsuit against the Trump administration for declaring a national emergency at the U.S.’ southern border.

"It’s clear that this isn’t an emergency, it’s clear that in the mind of Donald Trump he needs to do something to try to fulfill a campaign promise," Becerra said during an interview on ABC News’ "This Week." The construction of a border wall has been a central issue for Trump since he first announced he was running for president in 2015.

Becerra added: "That doesn’t constitute a national emergency that would require us to essentially stand down on all sorts of federal laws and also violate the U.S. Constitution.”

TRUMP DECLARES EMERGENCY ON BORDER, EYES $8B FOR WALL

Becerra, a former Democratic congressman for the state, has become one of the Trump administration’s biggest foils on a state level, especially in regards to the White House’s policies on immigration and border security.

"It’s become clear that this is not an emergency, not only because no one believes it is, but because Donald Trump himself has said it’s not," Becerra said. "Typically, our presidents have focused on issues where the national interests are clearly at stake. The national interests aren’t at stake here."

Trump declared the emergency Friday in an effort to go around Congress to fund his border wall. It would allow him to move federal dollars earmarked for military construction to the border — but is already facing legal and political challenges.

Democrats are planning to introduce a resolution disapproving of the declaration once Congress returns to session and it is likely to pass Congress. Several Republican senators are already indicating they would vote against Trump — though there are not yet enough votes to override a veto by the president.

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White House senior adviser Stephen Miller told "Fox News Sunday" that "the president is going to protect his national emergency declaration." Asked if that meant Trump was ready to veto, Miller added, "He’s going to protect his national emergency declaration, guaranteed."

Miller insisted that Congress granted the president wide berth under the National Emergencies Act to take action. But Trump’s declaration goes beyond previous emergencies in shifting money after Congress blocked his funding request for the wall, which will likely factor in legal challenges.

Source: Fox News Politics

Israel to withhold $138 million in Palestinian funds

Israel says it will withhold over $138 million from the Palestinian Authority for payments given to families of Palestinians who carried out attacks against Israelis.

The government’s security Cabinet said Sunday that it was implementing a law passed last year allowing Israel to withhold funds used to pay stipends to Palestinian attackers and their families from taxes Israel collects on the Palestinian Authority’s behalf.

Israel says the payments encourage violence — a claim the Palestinians reject.

The freeze comes as the Palestinians face major budget cuts made last year after the United States slashed funding for the U.N.’s Palestinian refugee program UNRWA and for development programs in the Palestinian territories. The U.N.’s World Food Program also cut back services due to funding shortages.

Source: Fox News World

Gunman sought after shooting, wounding Virginia police officer, officials say

Authorities are hunting Sunday for a gunman who shot and wounded a Virginia police officer during a traffic stop.

Donquale Maurice Gray, 25, is being sought following the shooting in Bluefield just after midnight Sunday, Virginia State Police said. Gray is considered armed and dangerous.

A Bluefield police officer, who was not identified, was conducting a traffic stop on Route 460 when Gray allegedly opened fire, WVNS-TV reported.

The officer was taken to the hospital and is in “guarded” condition.

ABDUCTED OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY STUDENT AND SUSPECTED ABDUCTOR KILLED IN POLICE SHOOTOUT

Police have not located Gray, but found his blue 2008 Toyota Yaris hatchback Sunday morning. Gray is now believed to be fleeing on foot.

Gray is described as being 6 foot 1 inch tall, 185 pounds with brown eyes and black hair.

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Anyone with information is urged to call 911 or the Bluefield Police Department at 276-326-2621.

Source: Fox News National

Court documents: DNA trail led to Alaska cold case suspect

Court documents say police in Alaska were able to make an arrest in a quarter-century-old cold case with the help of DNA voluntarily submitted by an aunt of the man charged.

Alaska State Troopers have said 44-year-old Steven Downs of Auburn, Maine, was arrested in his hometown Friday on murder and sexual assault charges related to the 1993 death of Sophie Sergie. Sergie’s body was found in a dorm bathtub at University of Alaska Fairbanks when she was 20 years old.

The Portland Press Herald reports a charging document filed Friday in District Court in Alaska provides new details about how police identified Downs. Genealogical study traced Downs to Maine.

Court documents say Downs told investigators he recalled Sergie’s murder but had never met her. He’s due in court Tuesday.

Source: Fox News National

Parents of Kelsey Berreth cite custody battle in missing mom's disappearance

The parents of missing Colorado mother Kelsey Berreth are alleging she was murdered by her fiancé, Patrick Frazee, because she wouldn’t agree to give him full custody of their year-old child, per court documents and ABC News.

“Upon information and belief, Frazee had motive to kill Kelsey in that he wanted full custody of Kaylee and/or Kelsey to leave Kaylee with him and Kelsey would not agree,” the parents’ attorney, Angela Jones, wrote in an amended civil complaint filed on behalf of Kelsey’s parents, Cheryl and Darrell Berreth.

SEARCH FOR MISSING COLORADO MOM KELSEY BERRETH POSSIBLY EXPANDS TO LANDFILL

Cheryl Berreth claims she called Frazee on Dec. 2, asking if her daughter was OK, and she alleges he told her a series of lies to hide the fact he had killed her or caused her to be killed.

Frazee told Berreth their relationship eventually turned sour. He said he had enough and wasn’t going to deal with things anymore. She was always putting him down in front of their child, according to the report.

The complaint mentioned in that phone call how Frazee said Kelsey left Kaylee with him while she “figured out what she was going to do.” He says she asked him for her belongings, so he gave Kelsey her keys and her gun,” per the complaint.

Frazee mentioned he sent her a text message, but when she didn’t respond he assumed her phone was on do-not-disturb mode, something he says she did often. A day later, Frazee called Cheryl and mentioned he couldn’t access her online phone records because she had set up an online account and he couldn’t answer the security questions. One being “where did you meet your spouse?”

He also suggested “Kelsey didn’t always return home directly after she got off of work and that she had gone out to dinner with some co-workers,” per the complaint.

After that phone call Cheryl became worried and asked the Woodland Park Police Department to check on her daughter. When they arrived there were cars in the driveway, but no one answered.

INVESTIGATION YIELDS FEW CLUES ON MISSING COLORADO WOMAN

Cheryl Berreth also accused Frazee of making false reports, including how Kelsey had been to rehab, that she had run off, and how she abandoned their daughter in Frazee’s car. Other statements made by Frazee include that Kelsey was not their daughter’s primary caregiver and that she had “issues” that would warrant him “getting full custody.”

Berreth says she continues to suffer severe emotional distress caused by Frazee’s behavior, including insomnia, stress, anxiety and depression.

Frazee was charged with murder on December 21, 2018, even though the body of Kelsey is yet to be found. Frazee is currently in custody.

On Feb. 8. Idaho nurse Krystal Lee Kenney testified under oath that Frazee had admitted to murdering Kelsey on Nov. 22, 2018, per the document. That same day Kenney pleaded guilty to helping Frazee dispose of Berreth’s cell phone.

Kelsey’s parents, Cheryl and Darrell Berreth, were granted temporary custody of Kaylee last month, per a judge’s order. The next court date for Frazee is Feb. 19.

Source: Fox News National

In Nigeria's tight election, Christian vote is seen as key

Nigeria’s presidential campaign has been largely free of the religious pressures that marked the 2015 vote when Muhammadu Buhari, a Muslim northerner, defeated a Christian president from the south who had grown unpopular over his failure to control Boko Haram.

Now, with the leading candidates both northern Muslims, the Christian vote in the upcoming election on Saturday may be decisive in sweeping the incumbent from power for the second time in as many elections in Africa’s most populous country.

Nigeria’s 190 million people are divided almost equally between Christians mainly in the south and Muslims, like Buhari and his opponent, Atiku Abubakar, who dominate in the north.

Yet religious tensions remain even in an election that offers no clear sectarian choice, underscoring the pervasive influence of faith in Nigerian politics.

Source: Fox News World

Judge tosses $37 million award in case of Maryland woman killed by police

A jury’s $37 million award to the family of a woman killed by police in suburban Baltimore has been thrown out of court by a judge.

A police bullet killed 23-year-old Korryn Gaines and wounded her 5-year-old son in 2016 in Randallstown, Md., after an hours-long standoff—an incident that drew national attention.

In a lengthy decision, Maryland Judge Mickey Norman rejected the jury’s finding that the officer who shot Gaines acted unreasonably in violation of her civil rights, the Baltimore Sun reported Friday.

BALTIMORE COUNTY JURY AWARDS $37M TO FAMILY OF POLICE SHOOTING VICTIM

Norman, who sits in Baltimore County, said in his ruling that the officer, Royce Ruby, was entitled to qualified immunity, a legal doctrine shielding cops and government officials from civil liability when carrying out their duties, the paper reported.

POLICE KILL MARYLAND WOMAN WHO POINTED GUN DURING HOURS-LONG STANDOFF; BOY WOUNDED

Baltimore County police said in 2016 that Gaines was shot after pointing a shotgun at police who went to her home to serve warrants on her and her fiancé. She had failed to appear in court in a traffic case. Her son, Kodi, was shot in the face.

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Gaines family lawyer J. Wyndal Gordon told the paper the judge’s ruling would be appealed.

The “family is disappointed but not deterred,” Gordon told Fox45 Baltimore.

Source: Fox News National

New Jersey man, 43, stabs parents to death in home, flees to nearby ShopRite, police say

A New Jersey man was arrested after he stabbed his parents to death inside their home on Saturday, officials said.

Pawel Boduch, 43, was charged with murder Sunday after police discovered Edward Boduch, 71, and Miroslawa Potocka, 72, dead with knife wounds, NorthJersey.com reported. Police discovered the couple’s bodies just before 11 a.m. Saturday after one of their sons requested a welfare check at their Englewood home.

Police began hunting for Pawl Boduch, who lived with his parents, shortly after making the grisly discovery. They located Boduch hours after the alleged murder when located his car in a ShopRite parking less than a mile away from the family’s house.

TEXAS WOMAN SHOT DEAD IN $200 GAS STATION ROBBERY, POLICE SAY

The motive for the murders was not released.

Rufus Moore, who lived across the street from the Boduch family, told NorthJersey.com the couple was “very good people” but their son “had some issues.”

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Boduch was charged with two counts of murder and one count of possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose. He’s scheduled to make his first court appearance at 1:30 p.m. Sunday.

Source: Fox News National

Austrian leader: Trump foreign policy successful in parts

Austria’s chancellor has described parts of U.S. President Donald Trump’s foreign policy as "very successful" as he prepares to visit Washington this week.

Chancellor Sebastian Kurz told Sunday’s edition of Austrian newspaper Die Presse one of the main aims of his visit is to help avert a trade war.

On Saturday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said U.S. authorities appear to have concluded that European cars were a national security threat.

Kurz is expected at the White House on Wednesday. He pointed to differences with Trump on trade and the Iran nuclear deal, but praised the president’s support for Israel and efforts to secure peace on the Korean Peninsula.

The Austrian leader was quoted as saying "Trump is running, in part, a very active and also very successful foreign policy."

Source: Fox News National

Aurora shooting raises questions over gun permit checks

An initial background check five years ago failed to flag an out-of-state felony conviction that would have prevented a man from buying the gun he used to kill five co-workers and wound six other people, including five responding police officers, at a suburban Chicago manufacturing plant, authorities say.

Gary Martin, who was killed in a shootout with officers Friday, ending his deadly rampage at the Henry Pratt Co. in Aurora, was issued a firearm owner’s identification card in January 2014 after a background check failed to show a 1995 aggravated assault conviction in Mississippi, Aurora police Chief Kristen Ziman said Saturday.

He bought the Smith and Wesson handgun he used in Friday’s attack two months later, on March 11, 2014, she said. Five days after that, he applied for a concealed carry permit, which included a more rigorous background check that used digital fingerprinting and that did flag his Mississippi felony conviction, which led the Illinois State Police to revoke his permit.

"Absolutely, he was not supposed to be in possession of a firearm," Ziman said.

Martin was able to keep his gun despite losing his permit, raising questions about what, if anything, the state did to get him to relinquish it.

Authorities said Saturday that Martin pulled out the gun and began shooting right after hearing he was being fired from his job of 15 years at the industrial valve manufacturer.

Martin killed the other three people in the room with him and two others just outside, Ziman said. Among those killed was a college student starting a human resources internship at the plant that day. Martin also wounded a sixth worker — who is expected to survive — before police began arriving, drawing his attention toward them.

After wounding five officers and with law enforcement from throughout the region pouring in to help, Martin ran off and hid in the back of the building, where officers found him about an hour later and killed him during an exchange of gunfire, police said. All of the wounded officers are expected to live.

"He was probably waiting for us to get to him there," police Lt. Rick Robertson said. "It was just a very short gunfight and it was over, so he was basically in the back waiting for us and fired upon us and our officers fired."

Martin, 45, was no stranger to police in Aurora, where he had been arrested six times over the years for what Ziman described as "traffic and domestic battery-related issues" and for violating an order of protection.

Scott Hall, president and CEO of Mueller Water Products Inc., which owns Henry Pratt, said at a news conference Saturday that Martin was being fired "for a culmination of various workplace rules violations," though he didn’t elaborate.

He said a company background check of Martin when he joined Henry Pratt 15 years ago did not turn up the 1995 felony conviction in Mississippi.

A vigil was planned for Sunday in Aurora, which is about 40 miles (65 kilometers) west of Chicago and is Illinois’ second-largest city, with about 200,000 people.

Police identified the slain workers as human resources manager Clayton Parks of Elgin; plant manager Josh Pinkard of Oswego; mold operator Russell Beyer of Yorkville; stock room attendant and fork lift operator Vicente Juarez of Oswego; and Trevor Wehner, the new intern and a Northern Illinois University student who lived in DeKalb and grew up in Sheridan.

It was Wehner’s first day on the job, his uncle Jay Wehner told The Associated Press. Trevor Wehner, 21, was on the dean’s list at NIU’s business college and was on track to graduate in May with a degree in human resource management.

"He always, always was happy. I have no bad words for him. He was a wonderful person. You can’t say anything but nice things about him," Jay Wehner said of his nephew.

___

Associated Press writers Carrie Antlfinger and Amanda Seitz contributed to this report. Babwin and Rousseau reported from Chicago.

Source: Fox News National

Lee Radziwill, stylish sister of Jackie Kennedy, dies at 85

Lee Radziwill, the stylish jet setter and socialite who made friends worldwide even as she bonded and competed with her older sister Jacqueline Kennedy, has died. She was 85.

Anna Christina Radziwill told The New York Times her mother died Friday of what she described as natural causes. The Associated Press left messages Saturday and Sunday for the family.

The husky-voiced Radziwill shared her sister’s affinity for fashion and adventure, as well as her dark, wide-set eyes and high cheekbones.

They were confidantes as young women, and Radziwill was a frequent guest at the White House during President John F. Kennedy’s administration.

Radziwill counted Gloria Steinem, Andy Warhol and Truman Capote among her friends.

Source: Fox News National

About 40 people remain trapped in Liberian gold mine

Liberian authorities say rescuers are digging with their bare hands in an effort to free about 40 people who have been trapped for a week in a collapsed gold mine.

Archievego M. Doe, spokesman for the National Disaster Management Agency, said Sunday that officials are now trying to arrange for an excavator to help the rescue effort in northeastern Liberia.

So far seven bodies have been recovered and Monday has been declared a national day of mourning.

The government deployed army and police to the Gbonipea mining town over the weekend, where they met with resistance from some local miners. Officials said about 65 illegal gold miners were arrested for battling the deployment.

Red Cross officials are also in the area trying to determine how many people remain trapped.

Source: Fox News World

Aurora shooter brought gun to termination meeting, opened fire as soon as he was fired, police say

A disgruntled worker who went on a shooting rampage at a manufacturing warehouse in a Chicago suburb brought the weapon to his termination meeting and opened fire as soon as he was fired, police say.

Gary Martin, 45, was killed by police after he shot five people dead at the Henry Pratt Company on Friday in Aurora and injured 11, including five police officers. Officers believe that at least several of Martin’s victims were those present during his termination meeting, according to a statement obtained by CNN.

Martin worked for the plant for 15 years, and his firing was the result of multiple workplace rule violations, according to Scott Hall, the CEO of Mueller Water Products, which owns Henry Pratt Company.

Aurora Police Chief Kristen Ziman revealed the new information about Martin’s motives at a press conference on Saturday.

AURORA SHOOTING VICTIMS RANGED FROM HR INTERN TO PLANT MANAGER 

"During this meeting he was terminated and my understanding from the witnesses is that he opened fire right after the termination," she said. "We believe that several people who were involved in that meeting are the ones who are deceased."

After opening fire during the meeting, Martin then ran down aisles of the manufacturing plant and was shooting people using a pistol with a green laser sight on it.

One employee of the plant said that a blood-soaked victim told him that Martin simply "went ballistic."

Law enforcement personnel gather near the scene of a shooting at an industrial park in Aurora, Ill., on Friday, Feb. 15, 2019.

Law enforcement personnel gather near the scene of a shooting at an industrial park in Aurora, Ill., on Friday, Feb. 15, 2019. (AP)

The identities of his five victims were revealed on Saturday, and included Trevor Wehner, a college student on his first day of an internship with the company; Clayton Parks, a human resources manager; Josh Pinkard, a plant manager; Russell Beyer, a mold operator and Vicente Juarez, a stockroom attendant.

At least three of the five police officers he injured during the 90-minute shootout were still in the hospital as of Saturday, according to police.

Martin was not legally allowed to own a gun, and was illegally in possession of the one he used during Friday’s attack. In 2014, he passed a background check and purchased a .40-caliber Smith & Wesson handgun, but later was denied a concealed-carry permit because his background check revealed a felony conviction.

AURORA WORKPLACE SHOOTER WAS SET TO BE FIRED BY COMPANY, POLICE CHIEF SAYS

in 1995, Martin was convicted of aggravated assault in Mississippi. His Firearm Owner Identification Card was then revoked, and he was allegedly sent a letter ordering him to give up his weapon, though it is unknown whether he ever received it or if he failed to surrender the weapon.

In addition to his Mississippi conviction, Martin was also reportedly arrested several times in Aurora for traffic stops and domestic violence incidents. He was also charged in Oswego, Illinois, in 2017 for disorderly conduct and criminal damage to property, police say.

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The means by which he was still in possession of a firearm on Friday will be investigated along with the rest of the incident.

"We’re looking into whether we followed up on that, and what agencies followed up on that," Chief Ziman said.

Source: Fox News National

#MeToo comes to West Hollywood as gay mayor accused of sexual harassment: report

The #MeToo movement, which has swept through the corridors of power in Hollywood and Silicon Valley, has now arrived in West Hollywood, California.

West Hollywood Mayor John Duran, who is openly gay, is under fire from fellow lawmakers who are urging him to step down after new sexual harassment allegations by members of the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles.

“It is time that the #MeToo movement comes to West Hollywood,” Robert Oliver, who resigned as vice chair of the city’s public safety commission last week after his colleagues declined to condemn Duran, told the Los Angeles Times.

3 MARYLAND TEENS, 12-YEAR-OLD BOY, CHARGED IN RAPE OF WOMAN

Duran, who is 59, has refused to step down, describing himself as a "proudly sensual gay man," according to the publication.

“There’s a culture clash going on,” the mayor told the Times. “If somebody expresses himself or herself sexually, that doesn’t make it harassment, per se.”

In 2016, West Hollywood paid $500,000 to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit brought by Duran’s ex-council deputy, the Times reports. He was also reportedly once accused by another council member of using the dating app Grindr during a public meeting.

This Tuesday, protesters are planning to call for Duran’s ouster at the City Council meeting and demonstrators reportedly plan to push for action on the recent deaths of two black gay men inside the home of Ed Buck, a wealthy, white Democratic donor. Duran has worked as an attorney for Buck in the past.

SON ALLEGEDLY KILLED PARENTS, HOUSEKEEPER IN GATED NEWPORT COMMUNITY

The Times reports that three current or former members of the Gay Men’s Chorus have accused Duran, who was a prolific fundraiser and board member of the organization, of making crude sexual comments and engaging in unwanted touching.

Several members of the Gay Men's Chorus in Los Angeles have accused West Hollywood Mayor John Duran of sexual harassment.

Several members of the Gay Men’s Chorus in Los Angeles have accused West Hollywood Mayor John Duran of sexual harassment. (Getty Images)

One chorus member, Jason Tong, 23, told the Times that Duran came up behind him and put two fingers inside his waistband near his hips in a changing room in October. The singer made eye contact with Duran, who apparently then walked out of the room.

“I sort of went into a shocked state,” Tong told the Los Angeles newspaper. “It all happened very quickly, five seconds or so. … I went to the next changing room over and told a couple of my friends what happened. Only then did I realize I had been violated by someone.”

Tong said the idea of consent is easy to understand, regardless of the age difference between him and Duran.

“No matter how old you are, it’s very easy to ask first,” he added.

Several City Council members have called on Duran to resign immediately.

"I believe it is time for our mayor to step away from his role on the Council. Our City cannot focus on the work of the people when we have to address new and numerous allegations of sexual misconduct, including whether our mayor used his title to solicit sexual favors," Council member Lindsey Horvath wrote on her Facebook page.

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Council member John D’Amico also called on Duran to resign, noting that the allegations are taking attention away from the governing body’s actual work.

"If he does not take action on his own there are a limited set of actions for our City Council to take. We are able to demote John from his position as mayor and/or censure him and remove his travel budget. We cannot remove John from office," D’Amico said on Facebook.

In a statement posted to Facebook on Wednesday, Duran indicated that he has no intention of stepping down, writing in part:

"I understand that the ground has shifted in a tectonic way with the "Me Too" movement. I get that. But the pendulum swings too far when [an] accusation is treated as truth, and mobs swirl around rumor and conclusions are drawn based on someone’s race, gender or sexual orientation and accusation alone. That leads to injustice. So, will I resign? Those of you who know me well, know the answer. HELL NO."

Source: Fox News National

Polish PM cancels Israel visit amid new Holocaust tensions

A Polish government official says Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki will not attend a meeting in Israel starting Monday amid new tensions between the two countries over how to remember Polish behavior during the Holocaust.

Michal Dworczyk, who heads Morawiecki’s chancellery, announced the change of plans on Sunday.

Netanyahu made an off-hand comment last week during a Middle East conference in Warsaw that "Poles cooperated with the Nazis" – wording suggesting some Poles during the German occupation of Poland participated in killing Jews.

He was initially quoted by the Jerusalem Post as saying "the Poles," which could be taken as blaming the entire Polish nation.

Both Netanyahu’s office and the newspaper say he was misquoted in an editing error, but the Polish government said it was not satisfied.

Source: Fox News World

Democrats reject push to alert ICE when illegal immigrants fail firearm background checks

Democrats this week approved legislation to require background checks for essentially all sales and transfers of firearms — but rejected GOP-led efforts to amend the legislation to alert law enforcement authorities when gun buyers, including illegal immigrants, fail those background checks.

The House Judiciary Committee voted in favor of the bill 23-15, in a strict party-line vote, sending it to the House floor. If approved by the full House, the bill would be the most significant gun-control legislation approved by either chamber of Congress in at least a decade — although it stands little chance of passage in the Senate, where Republicans command a slim majority.

Republicans in the House charged that H.R. 8, known as "The Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019," should have included Florida Rep. Greg Steube’s proposed amendment to require that law enforcement be notified "when an individual attempting to purchase a firearm fails a federal background check." (H.R. 8 was numbered in honor of former Arizona Rep. Gabby Giffords, who was shot in Arizona on Jan. 8, 2011 by a mentally ill gunman.)

“Clearly, the Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee don’t care about preventing gun violence, they simply are playing politics with Americans’ Second Amendment rights,” Steube, a Republican, said after the vote. “The fact that Democrats do not want law enforcement notified if an individual attempting to purchase a firearm fails a background check is truly troubling.”

WATCH: FATHER OF PARKLAND SHOOTING VICTIM BLAMES ‘OBAMA-ERA’ POLICIES, REFLECTS ON 1-YEAR ANNIVERSARY

He continued: “In rejecting this amendment, the Democrats have shown their true colors. It is clear they are not interested in preventing gun violence or stopping the illegal purchase of firearms, but rather they are only interested in limiting the rights of law-abiding citizens to advance their own political agenda."

Wednesday’s vote came a day before the one-year anniversary of the high school shooting in Parkland, Florida, that killed 17 people. However, Steube dismissed arguments that the massacre necessitated the new legislation.

“As written now, H.R. 8 would not have prevented any of the mass shootings in Florida in recent years,” Steube’s office said in a press release. “The shooter in Parkland passed a background check before purchasing a firearm, the shooter at Pulse Nightclub passed a background check before purchasing a firearm, and the shooter just weeks ago that murdered five women in District 17 passed a background check before purchasing the handgun he used in the commission of that heinous crime."

Florida GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz echoed Steube’s concerns.

"Democrats in the Judiciary Committee just voted against notifying ICE when an illegal alien fails a background check to buy a gun," Gaetz wrote on Twitter. "They hate ICE so much that they’d keep ICE in the dark when illegals try to get guns!"

The vote on the bill came after a contentious, daylong hearing in which Republicans offered a series of other amendments in addition to Steube’s proposal, all of which were blocked by Democrats. Among the rejected amendments were some seeking to address background check fees, which Republicans said could be unduly burdensome for family members trying to transfer guns to relatives.

Republicans said they were ready to offer additional amendments when Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., shut off debate around 8 p.m., 10 hours after the hearing began.

CONNECTICUT DEM INTRODUCES 50 PERCENT TAX ON AMMO

Nadler called the background checks bill long overdue to address a "national crisis of gun violence" that claimed nearly 40,000 lives in 2017.

"Our country is awash in guns, and we have the shameful death toll to show for it," he said.

Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia, the panel’s senior Republican, called Nadler’s action "disturbing" and said it did not bode well for the two-year congressional session.

In this Feb. 8, 2019, photo, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., gestures during questioning of acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker on Capitol Hill in Washington. A key House committee has approved a bill to require background checks for all sales and transfers of firearms, a first by majority Democrats to tighten gun laws after eight years of Republican rule. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

In this Feb. 8, 2019, photo, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., gestures during questioning of acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker on Capitol Hill in Washington. A key House committee has approved a bill to require background checks for all sales and transfers of firearms, a first by majority Democrats to tighten gun laws after eight years of Republican rule. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

"If this is the way the chairman wants to begin this session of Congress, I really wonder where we go from here" and whether the two parties can work together, Collins said.

But Democrats said Republicans were delaying a vote on the bill because they oppose universal background checks for gun purchases.

"This isn’t a debate, it’s a show," said Rep. Val Demings, D-Fla. She called universal background checks for all gun sales common sense and said, "Let’s move forward."

At one point, Steube displayed a large cup that read, "The Second Amendment is my gun permit."

Democrats have pledged additional gun legislation, including restrictions on high-capacity magazines and a measure to allow temporary removal of guns from people deemed an imminent risk to themselves or others.

Meanwhile, fellow freshman Rep. Madeleine Dean, D-Pa., said lawmakers "know background checks work, that they save lives, and yet we need to close loopholes" that allow some private purchases and transfers to be made without background checks.

"They hate ICE so much that they’d keep ICE in the dark when illegals try to get guns!"

— Florida GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz

Instead of working with Democrats, "Republicans are adding more loopholes, which is shameful," Dean said.

BACKGROUND CHECK REQUIREMENTS ACTUALLY DO VERY LITTLE, STUDY SHOWS

However, earlier this month, gun violence experts from the Center for Gun Policy and Research and the Violence Prevention Research Program conducted a study in Washington state, Colorado and Delaware to analyze whether state laws requiring more background checks actually resulted in more checks.

The results, published in medical journal Injury Prevention, suggest the laws had little impact.

Delaware was the only state that saw apparent results, with an increase ranging from 22 to 34 percent based on the type of firearm. But according to the study, "no overall changes were observed in Washington and Colorado."

The study said data "external to the study" suggested Washington saw a “modest, but consistent” increase in background checks for private-party sales, and Colorado saw a similar increase in checks for non-gun show sales.

Separately, Republicans pushed to allow exceptions for victims of domestic violence and transfers among family members, but were dismissed by Democrats.

Rep. Lucy McBath, D-Ga., a freshman whose son was killed by gun violence, said she has been working on gun legislation since his death more than six years ago.

"As a survivor of gun violence myself, I refuse to let my colleagues stand here and devalue the importance that this bill has," she said.

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And Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Fla., said that while the bill "can’t bring back" any of those killed in Parkland or other shootings, it will help reduce gun violence.

"If this legislation prevents one person wishing to do harm to others with a gun from doing that, it will be something we can be proud of," he said.

Fox News’ Brooke Singman and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News Politics

UN envoy arrives in Yemen to discuss truce around port city

Yemeni security officials say U.N. envoy Martin Griffiths has arrived in the capital, Sanaa, to discuss the "complex situation" in and around the key port city of Hodeida.

The Houthi rebels say their leader, Abdul-Malek al-Houthi, met with Griffiths on Sunday to discuss the implementation of peace deals from December talks with Yemen’s internationally recognized government.

Yemen’s warring sides agreed to a cease-fire in December, as well as a prisoner exchange that has yet to take place.

The conflict in Yemen began with the 2014 takeover of Sanaa by the Iran-aligned rebels. A Saudi-led coalition allied with the internationally recognized government has been fighting the Houthis since 2015.

The officials spoke anonymously as they weren’t authorized to brief journalists.

Source: Fox News World

Texas woman shot dead in $200 gas station robbery, police say

A newlywed convenience store clerk in Texas was shot to death early Friday during an armed robbery, becoming the second person to be killed at a business in the area in three months.

The Lewisville Police Department said in a Facebook post the incident happened just after midnight at a Valero gas station when two armed robbers walked in.

During the robbery, which was captured on surveillance video, one of the men apparently said nothing to 51-year-old Ashraf Lakhani before shooting her.

“It briefly shows the two suspects coming in,” Lewisville Police Capt. Dan Rochelle told FOX4. “The suspect wearing the blue zippered jacket immediately shoots her, and she falls to the ground. Then, he takes the money and they both run out of the store.”

AURORA WORKPLACE SHOOTER WAS SET TO BE FIRED BY COMPANY, POLICE CHIEF SAYS

Police said a customer interrupted the robbery. The customer saw the two men running away and discovered Lakhani lying on the floor. She was rushed to the hospital, but she did not survive.

A security camera image shows one of the two suspects the moment after the clerk was killed.

A security camera image shows one of the two suspects the moment after the clerk was killed. (Lewisville Police Department.)

Authorities released an image of one suspect wearing a blue zipper jacket with white stripes. The two men then fled the scene with about $200, according to police.

“Money’s not everything,” store manager Abedin Mawani told FOX4. “A life. It’s very sad.”

AURORA SHOOTER OPENED FIRE AT TERMINATION MEETING; ONE VICTIM WAS HR INTERN ON FIRST DAY

A family spokesperson said Lahkani was married two weeks ago, and has two adult sons.

“She was a very friendly, compassionate person,” family spokesperson Samina Hooda told FOX4. “Really was ready to help out anybody in need. Hardworking person trying to make better of her life.”

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The deadly shooting on Friday took place next door to where a man was shot and killed in November while closing his liquor store in another apparent robbery.

The shooting took place early Friday at the Valero gas station in Lewsville, Texas, located northwest of Dallas.

The shooting took place early Friday at the Valero gas station in Lewsville, Texas, located northwest of Dallas. (Google Street View)

Lewisville Police said, at this time, detectives do not have any evidence suggesting that Lakhani’s murder and robbery is related to the shooting that occurred at Liquor City in November 2018.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Lewisville Police Department’s tip line at 972-219-TIPS.

Source: Fox News National

Italian populists ask if minister deserves immunity

Italy’s populist 5-Star Movement, which is part of the country’s ruling coalition, is asking its supporters to vote online on whether the leader of its junior coalition partner should be prosecuted.

The Senate’s immunity panel votes this week to recommend if Sicily-based magistrates should prosecute anti-migrant League party leader Matteo Salvini. As interior minister, Salvini is under investigating for alleged kidnapping for refusing for days in 2018 to let migrants rescued at sea disembark at a Sicilian port from an Italian coast guard ship.

The 5-Stars members are in a bind. As an anti-establishment force, on principle it considers parliamentary immunity an "elite" privilege. But if their lawmakers vote to lift Salvini’s immunity, that risks worsening a rift in the government with the League.

So the 5-Stars are sounding out supporters.

Source: Fox News World

Transgender bathroom ban may end, but transcript irks teen

A school board in Virginia that was willing to defend its transgender-bathroom policy all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court may finally give up the fight.

The Gloucester County School Board will hold a public hearing Tuesday. It will discuss the possibility of allowing transgender students to use restrooms that correspond with their gender identity.

The meeting comes just months before a trial is set to begin over the board’s current bathroom policy. Former student Gavin Grimm has been suing the board since 2015 for banning him from using boys restrooms.

Grimm is also expanding his case. A federal judge ruled Thursday that Grimm can sue the school board over its refusal to change the gender listed on his high school transcript. The record still lists him as female.

Source: Fox News National

Libyans, to varying degrees, celebrate 2011 uprising

Libyans are celebrating the eighth anniversary of their 2011 uprising that led to the overthrow and killing of longtime ruler Moammar Gadhafi, with the varying intensity of festivities underscoring the split between the country’s east and west.

Hundreds of people reveled Sunday in the western cities of Tripoli, Misrata and Zawiya, where bands played national songs and flags lined the streets.

But festivities were much more subdued in the country’s east, with only a few people gathering at the central courthouse in Benghazi, a city that has billed itself as the birthplace of Libya’s uprising.

Libya remains largely a chaotic patchwork of territory run by militias and gangs, with rival administrations in Tripoli and the east.

Source: Fox News World

Assad: Only Syrian army can protect groups in northern Syria

Syrian President Bashar Assad says only the Syrian army can protect groups in northern Syria.

In a speech in the Syrian capital Damascus on Sunday, he appeared to be referring to U.S.-allied Kurdish groups, which fear a Turkish assault once American troops withdraw from northeastern Syria.

Assad said any foreign troops in Syria will be dealt with as occupation forces.

He did not specifically mention the planned withdrawal of 2,000 American troops from northern Syria but said "no one should bet on protection from the Americans." He suggested that the Syrian army will return to the area after the American troop pullout.

"Every inch of Syria will be liberated, and any intruder is an enemy," he said.

Source: Fox News World

Transgender teen fights to have sex changed on transcript

A school board in Virginia that was willing to defend its transgender-bathroom policy all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court may finally give up the fight.

The Gloucester County School Board will hold a public hearing Tuesday. It will discuss the possibility of allowing transgender students to use restrooms that correspond with their gender identity.

The meeting comes just months before a trial is set to begin over the board’s current bathroom policy. Former student Gavin Grimm has been suing the board since 2015 for banning him from using boys restrooms.

Grimm is also expanding his case. A federal judge ruled Thursday that Grimm can sue the school board over its refusal to change the gender listed on his high school transcript. The record still lists him as female.

Source: Fox News National

24 bodies found after Zimbabwe mine disaster; search goes on

Searchers have recovered 24 bodies from a mine in Zimbabwe that was flooded after heavy rains, trapping dozens of subsistence miners underground.

Henrietta Rushwaya, leader of the country’s small-scale miners’ association, said Sunday that 23 of the bodies have been identified since the disaster on Tuesday near Kadoma.

Eight people were rescued from the flooded tunnels, and all but one have been discharged from a hospital after treatment.

The government is continuing its search, saying up to 70 gold miners may have been trapped after a dam wall collapsed and water rushed into nearby mining tunnels.

Large groups of people using picks, shovels and hoes are commonly seen in Zimbabwe’s mineral-rich fields. The miners operate without regulation. Illegal mining has become rampant in a country where many people are unemployed.

Source: Fox News World

Iran unveils first semi-heavy missile-equipped submarine

Iran’s state TV is reporting that the country’s President Hassan Rouhani has unveiled the first Iranian made semi-heavy submarine.

The Sunday report said the Fateh, "Conqueror" in Persian, is capable of being fitted with cruise missiles.

Since 1992, Iran has developed a homegrown defense industry that produces light and heavy weapons ranging from mortars and torpedoes to tanks and submarines.

The Fateh has subsurface-to-surface missiles with a range of about 2,000 kilometers (1,250 miles), capable of reaching Israel and U.S. military bases in the region.

Source: Fox News World

3 Maryland teens, 12-year-old boy charged in rape of woman, 19, police say

Three Maryland teens and a 12-year-old boy were charged for raping a 19-year-old woman after she got off a bus in Baltimore, police said.

Wilmer Ramos, 14, Philip Worrell, 14, and Nile Campbell, 14, were charged as an adult with first- and second-degree rape on Thursday following the sexual assault that occurred on Feb. 6, Baltimore police said Saturday.

4 TEENS ACCUSED IN SUSPECTED RAPE OF 18-YEAR-OLD IN IDAHO, REPORT SAYS

A 12-year-old boy who was at the scene when the alleged sex assault occurred was charged as a juvenile with first-degree rape, third- and fourth-degree sex offense, conspiracy kidnapping, conspiracy robbery, perverted practice and handgun on person.

The unidentified woman got off the bus and was walking about 10 p.m. on Feb. 6 when the teens and the boy allegedly approached her at gunpoint and forced her into a backyard. Police said the three teens were sexually assaulting her when neighbors heard noises and came out of their home, interrupting the assault.

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The four attackers fled the scene, but were ultimately caught after school police recognized two of them that led them to the two other suspects.

Source: Fox News National

India's fastest train breaks down on its first trip

The fastest train to hit the rails in India came to an abrupt halt on Saturday during its first trip, one day after it was premiered by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The Vande Bharat Express was on its way from Varanasi to New Delhi in the northern Utta Pradesh when it ran into trouble.

"There seems to be disruption due to a possible cattle run over. It wasn’t a scheduled commercial run," Asian News International said in a post on Twitter.

India's fastest train, the "Vande Bharat Express," broke down on Saturday during its inaugural run.

India’s fastest train, the "Vande Bharat Express," broke down on Saturday during its inaugural run. (Ministry of Railways)

2 AMERICANS AMONG 5 KILLED AFTER SMALL PLANE CRASHES RETURNING FROM KENYAN WILDLIFE RESERVE

India’s NDTV reported that power went out in some coaches on the train, with a "foul smell and mild smoke" reported due to a "mechanical fault in the braking system" that caused the train to move at a sluggish speed.

There were no signs of damage on the front of the train, but it was stalled for about 2 hours before resuming its journey only to break down again, according to NDTV.

The train, which was carrying mostly railway officials and journalists, eventually made it to New Delhi where repairs are expected to be made.

CALIFORNIA REPUBLICANS CALL FOR RE-DO VOTE ON HIGH-SPEED RAIL PROJECT AFTER NEWSOM’S ‘BAIT-AND-SWITCH’

The Indian-built Vande Bharat Express can reach a maximum speed of up to 110 miles per hour, Reuters reported.

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The new train is expected to make its commercial debut on Sunday. The express train is expected to reduce the travel time between Delhi and Varanasi by six hours, according to the BBC.

Source: Fox News World

Rights group: 14 Tunisian workers kidnapped in Libya

A rights group in Libya says an armed group has kidnapped 14 Tunisian workers near the capital, Tripoli.

The National Commission for Human Rights in Libya said late Saturday that the Tunisians were abducted on their way to work at an oil refinery in the western city of Zawiya.

It said the armed group, which it did not name, demanded the release of a Libyan man, also unnamed, detained in Tunisia on drug-related charges.

Tunisia’s Foreign Ministry says the workers were kidnapped on Thursday.

In 2015, an armed militia stormed the Tunisian consulate in Tripoli and took 10 staff members hostage.

Libya slid into chaos after its 2011 uprising that toppled long-time ruler Moammar Gadhafi. The country is currently governed by militia-backed rival authorities in Tripoli and the east.

Source: Fox News World

Teen who joined ISIS gives birth in Syria, says people should be sympathetic toward her

A teenager who fled the United Kingdom to join the Islamic State said people should be sympathetic toward her after her family revealed the 19-year-old gave birth to a baby boy in Syria.

Shamima Begum, who has been living in Syria for the past four years, gave birth at a refugee camp and she and the baby are in good health, her family said in a statement.

"We, the family of Shamima Begum, have been informed that Shamima has given birth to her child; we understand that both she and the baby are in good health,” the family’s lawyer said, according to Sky News. "As yet we have not had direct contact with Shamima, we are hoping to establish communications with her soon so that we can verify the above."

UK OFFICIAL VOWS TO PREVENT RETURN OF BRITONS WHO BACKED ISIS

Begum revealed to The Times newspaper that she wants to return to the U.K. after spending four years in Syria. She was one of a group of schoolgirls from London’s Bethnal Green neighborhood who went to the country to marry ISIS fighters in 2015.

Metropolitan police released this image in 2015 of Kadiza Sultana, left, Shamima Begum, center, and Amira Abase going through security at Gatwick airport, south England, before catching their flight to Turkey.

Metropolitan police released this image in 2015 of Kadiza Sultana, left, Shamima Begum, center, and Amira Abase going through security at Gatwick airport, south England, before catching their flight to Turkey. (AP)

She told the newspaper that she was pregnant twice and gave birth to two babies, but they died of starvation and illness.

Before she gave birth to her third child, Begum said she wanted to raise the child in Britain with her family. She told Sky News on Sunday that she lived as a housewife since 15 while she was married to a Dutch ISIS fighter and insisted she “never did anything dangerous.”

“I think a lot of people should have sympathy toward me for everything I have been through. I didn’t know what I was getting into when I left,” she told Sky News. "I was hoping that maybe for the sake of me and my child they’d [U.K. government officials] let me come back. Because I can’t live in this camp forever."

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Begum said U.K. authorities didn’t have “any evidence” to prove she participated in ISIS activities.

"When I went to Syria I was just a housewife for the entire four years. Stayed at home, took care of my kids,” she added. “I never did anything dangerous. I never made propaganda. I never encouraged people to come to Syria."

Her legal situation remains unclear. She may face charges for supporting the banned extremist group.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Source: Fox News World

Aurora attacker took gun to work he shouldn't have owned

The man who opened fire and killed five co-workers including the plant manager, human resources manager and an intern working his first day at a suburban Chicago manufacturing warehouse, took a gun he wasn’t supposed to have to a job he was about to lose.

Right after learning Friday that he was being fired from his job of 15 years at the Henry Pratt Co. in Aurora, Gary Martin pulled out a gun and began shooting, killing the three people in the room with him and two others just outside and wounding a sixth employee, police said Saturday.

Martin shot and wounded five of the first officers to get to the scene, including one who didn’t even make it inside the sprawling warehouse in Aurora, Illinois, a city of 200,000 about 40 miles (65 kilometers) west of Chicago.

After that flurry of shots and with officers from throughout the region streaming in to help, he ran off and hid in the back of the building, where officers found him about an hour later and killed him during an exchange of gunfire, police said.

"He was probably waiting for us to get to him there," Aurora police Lt. Rick Robertson said. "It was just a very short gunfight and it was over, so he was basically in the back waiting for us and fired upon us and our officers fired."

Like in many of the country’s mass shootings, Friday’s attack was carried out by a man with a violent criminal history who was armed with a gun he wasn’t supposed to have.

Martin, 45, had six arrests over the years in Aurora, for what police Chief Kristen Ziman described as "traffic and domestic battery-related issues" and for violating an order of protection. He also had a 1995 felony conviction for aggravated assault in Mississippi that should have prevented him from buying his gun, Ziman said.

He was able to buy the Smith and Wesson .40-caliber handgun on March 11, 2014, because he was issued a firearm owner’s identification card two months earlier after passing an initial background check. It wasn’t until he applied for a concealed carry permit five days after buying the gun and went through a more rigorous background check using digital fingerprinting that his Mississippi conviction was flagged and his firearm owner’s ID car was revoked, Ziman said. Once his card was revoked, he could no longer legally have a gun.

"Absolutely, he was not supposed to be in possession of a firearm," she said.

But he was, and on Friday he took it and several magazines of ammunition to work.

Scott Hall, president and CEO of Mueller Water Products Inc., which owns Henry Pratt, said that Martin came to work for his normal shift Friday and was being fired when he started shooting.

"We can confirm that the individual was being terminated Friday for a culmination of a various workplace rules violations," he told a news conference Saturday. He gave no details of the violations by Martin at the plant that makes valves for industrial purposes.

A company background check of Martin when he joined Henry Pratt 15 years ago did not turn up a 1995 felony conviction for aggravated assault in Mississippi, Hall said.

The employee who survived being shot is recovering at a hospital, Ziman said Saturday. None of the officers who were shot received life-threatening wounds, she said.

Police identified the slain workers as human resources manager Clayton Parks of Elgin; plant manager Josh Pinkard of Oswego; mold operator Russell Beyer of Yorkville; stock room attendant and fork lift operator Vicente Juarez of Oswego; and human resources intern and Northern Illinois University student Trevor Wehner, who lived in DeKalb and grew up in Sheridan.

It was Wehner’s first day on the job, his uncle Jay Wehner told The Associated Press. Trevor Wehner, 21, was on the dean’s list at NIU’s business college and was on track to graduate in May with a degree in human resource management.

"He always, always was happy. I have no bad words for him. He was a wonderful person. You can’t say anything but nice things about him," Jay Wehner said of his nephew.

___

Associated Press writers Carrie Antlfinger and Amanda Seitz contributed to this report. Babwin and Rousseau reported from Chicago.

Source: Fox News National

Son allegedly killed parents, housekeeper in gated Newport community

The three people found dead inside a home in an affluent Southern California community were the parents of the suspect and their housekeeper of more than 10 years, authorities said.

Camden Nicholson, 27, of Newport Beach, has been charged with three counts of murder for the deaths of Richard Edward Nicholson, 64; Kim Harrell Nicholson, 61; and Maria Gomez Morse, 57, of Anaheim, according to media reports. Authorities believe Nicholson killed his parents on Monday and Morse on Tuesday.

He was arrested Wednesday, a police statement read. Heather Rangel, a spokeswoman for the Newport Beach Police Department, declined to provide details of the killings or a motive, the Orange County Register reported.

Police visited the home after authorities in a nearby city spoke with Camden Nicholson in a hospital emergency room, prompting them to call Newport Beach police to check on Nicholson’s parents. Upon entering the home, the Nicholsons and Morse were found dead. It was not clear why Camden Nicholson was at the hospital.

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Morse’s daughter Miriam Trujillo, who is in the Air Force and stationed in Texas, told the paper Friday that her mother became close with Kim Nicholson. Her husband, Wayne Morse, told the Register that Nicholson recently gave his wife a letter and asked that she deliver it to an attorney because she was scared of Camden Nicholson.

Nicholson is expected to be arraigned March 8.

Source: Fox News National

4 teens accused in suspected rape of 18-year-old in Idaho, report says

Authorities in Idaho arrested and charged four teenagers on suspicion of rape on Thursday and Friday, including a 16-year-old who was also taken into custody.

Nineteen-year-old Elias Lupango, 18-year-old Rashidi Mulanga and 18-year-old Swedi Iyombelo, all of Boise, were charged. Bail was set at $250,000.

Prosecutors say the three men are from Tanzania. The Idaho Statesman reported that Iyombelo had been in the U.S. for five months and the other two for three years. The report said that they had worked at McDonald’s.

The 16-year-old, who is also a refugee, was being held in juvenile detention.

Authorities say the 18-year-old woman was raped on or around Feb. 7 after agreeing to meet one of the men.

Authorities say the woman initially consented to having sex with Iyombelo, but then told him to stop. Police say the three other defendants then took turns raping the victim. The prosecutor said that the alleged victim said she was afraid that if she told them to stop, she’d be killed.

The three men told the court the accusations are false.

A public defender reportedly said that the men were paying for sex and the case was “complicated.”

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"Apparently she had been aware that there were four of them and that they were going to pay her for sex," the attorney said, according to KTVB. "There’s a little more to this story than we all know at this point."

The Associated Press contributed to this report

Source: Fox News National

Aurora shooting victims ranged from intern to plant manager

The victims of a disgruntled employee who opened fire at a suburban Chicago industrial warehouse were co-workers ranging from an intern to the plant manager. A look at the victims:

TREVOR WEHNER

The 21-year-old Northern Illinois University student was on his first day as an intern in human resources at Henry Pratt Co. in Aurora and attended the fateful meeting where the gunman was fired and then started shooting.

Jay Wehner said his nephew grew up about 30 miles (50 kilometers) south of Aurora in Sheridan and was expected to graduate from Northern Illinois University in May with a degree in human resource management. He was on the dean’s list at NIU’s business college.

"He always, always was happy," Jay Wehner said. "I have no bad words for him. He was a wonderful person. You can’t say anything but nice things about him."

RUSS BEYER

Ted Beyer said his son had a "big heart" and tried his best to make his office a better place. He told the Chicago Sun-Times that’s why the 20-year mold operator and union chairman sat in on Gary Martin’s termination meeting Friday afternoon. Ted Beyer said his son had helped Martin win back his job months earlier.

Russ Beyer was shot outside the meeting

"He was a hard worker, just like I was," Ted Beyer, 71, said of his son. "I loved him … We were close. He was my first kid."

Russ Beyer had followed in the footsteps of his father, a previous union chairman who worked at Henry Pratt Co. for four decades. Ted and his 46-year-old son enjoyed camping, fishing and swimming together, usually at Taylorville Lake in central Illinois.

They also shared one more connection: Ted Beyer had also previously vouched for Martin in grievance meetings with management. Beyer remembered Martin as a kind, caring man who brought him coffee and walked with him following back surgery.

But, Beyer said, that doesn’t take away the pain of losing Russ, the oldest of three children, who also had two adult children of his own.

"Anybody who knew him knew he had a big heart," Ted Beyer said of his son. "I just recently lost my sister and now this and, you know, it hurts. It’s just like somebody reached in there and took your heart out."

CLAYTON PARKS

The 32-year-old from Elgin, about 20 miles (32 kilometers) north of Aurora, had just joined Henry Pratt in November 2018 as HR manager responsible for operations in Aurora, Illinois, Hammond, Indiana and Denver, the company said. He also was in the meeting where the gunman was being fired from his job.

Parks was married and had an infant son Axel, according to a Facebook post by his wife Abby.

"Every time I’ve closed my eyes over the last twelve hours, I’ve opened them hoping to wake from a terrible dream, but that’s not the case," Abby posted. "I’m living my worst nightmare. My husband, my love, my best friend."

Parks was a 2014 graduate of the Northern Illinois University College of Business.

VICENTE JUAREZ

Neighbors remembered Vicente Juarez as a hard-working grandfather and rock of his tight-knit family.

Juarez was shot outside the meeting where the gunman was being fired from his job. Juarez had been employed at Henry Pratt since 2006 and was a member of the shipping and warehouse team in Aurora. He had held several other jobs previously in the warehouse, the company said.

The Chicago Tribune reported that Juarez lived with his wife, adult daughter and four grandchildren in a subdivision in Oswego, about 6 miles (10 kilometers) south of Aurora

Relatives declined comment, saying they appreciate the support but are still dealing with the shock. Neighbor Julie Zigman called Juarez "the patriarch of the family" and said "everyone looked to him."

Neighbor Joven Ang said anytime he was working outside Juarez asked him if he needed help. "That’s the kind of person he was," Ang said.

JOSH PINKARD

A native of Alabama, Pinkard became plant manager at Henry Pratt in the spring of 2018. He was also in the meeting with the gunman.

The company said Pinkard, 37, joined the parent company 13 years ago at its Albertville, Alabama facility.

The father of three earned a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from Mississippi State University and a master’s degree from University of Arkansas, according to his LinkedIn account.

"He loved God, his family and Mississippi State sports," a cousin wrote in a text to the Chicago Tribune that he said was written on behalf of Pinkard’s wife, Terra.

Source: Fox News National

Florida boy, 11, arrested after refusing to recite ‘racist’ Pledge of Allegiance: report

A Florida middle school student was arrested earlier this month after allegedly getting into a confrontation with school officials and a law enforcement officer following reports that he refused to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance.

The 11-year-old attends the sixth grade at Lawton Chiles Middle Academy in Lakeland. He has been charged with disrupting a school function and resisting arrest without being violent, both misdemeanors. The Feb. 4 incident began when the boy allegedly told his substitute teacher he did not want to stand for the pledge because he viewed the American flag as racist against African-Americans.

In a handwritten statement to Polk County Public Schools, the teacher reported telling the boy, "Why if it was so bad here he did not go to another place to live." She said he then said, "they brought me here," according to Bay News 9.

The student was arrested by a school resource officer after he refused to follow commands and called school officials racists, reports said. He has not been identified by the school or police. A Lakeland police spokesperson declined to comment on the matter, The Ledger newspaper reported.

The boy’s mother told the news station that "if she (the teacher) felt like there was an issue with my son not standing for the flag, she should’ve resolved that in a way different manner than she did."

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Kyle Kennedy, a spokesman for the school district, told the paper that students are not required to recite the pledge. He said the substitute teacher will no longer be working with the district and that he could not comment on the student’s discipline.

Source: Fox News National

Los Angeles City Council’s president suggests to deploy ‘army of cats’ to deal with rat situation

He thought it’d be a purrrr-fict idea.

Herb Wesson, the president of Los Angeles’ City Council, suggested deploying an “army of cats” to fight City Hall’s rodent problem but was told Friday that adding cats to the equation would likely only worsen the issue.

Anyone who’s ever seen Tom and Jerry knows that cats can be lethal to smaller prey, even though a recent study suggested otherwise. But the idea seems to have even less of a chance of implementation due to city health officials said cats would help spread fleas in the 91-year-old building and its City Hall East annex.

“The fleas from the rat would immediately jump onto the cat,” Dr. Dawn Terashita, an associate director at the city’s Department of Public Health, told The Los Angeles Times.

Downtown Los Angeles is in the midst of a typhus outbreak, according to health officials, with several homeless people who live near City Hall among those afflicted. It flourishes in unsanitary conditions and is often spread by infected fleas hitching rides on rats. It is rarely fatal when treated quickly with antibiotics but epidemics killed thousands in the Middle Ages.

The paper reported that at least two city employees say they were bitten by fleas. Eric Garcetti, the mayor, said the health risks are minimal.

“It’s been rats since I’ve been there,” Garcetti told the paper. “[There is] one case that may or may not have come from there, but that still is in the normal range of what we have each year.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report

Source: Fox News Politics

NYC theater complex evacuated after manhole covers catch on fire

NEW YORK — A series of manhole fires in midtown Manhattan on Saturday forced the evacuation of a theater complex where performances of plays including "Jersey Boys" and "Avenue Q" were underway.

No injuries were reported from the manhole fires at around 8 p.m. at West 50th Street near Eighth Avenue.

But a representative for the theater complex New World Stages said patrons were evacuated as a precaution.

"Thankfully, no one was hurt," said Michael Coco, senior director of theater operations for the Shubert Organization.

The plays that were canceled for the night also included "The Play That Goes Wrong," ”Puffs" and "As Spirited History of Drinking."

Photos posted on social media show flames shooting into the air. Tim Teeman, a senior editor at the Daily Beast, posted on Twitter that he was inside the theater complex when he heard "4 or 5 bangs/explosions" and smelled smoke.

The Fire Department says the fires were under control by 9:15 p.m.

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Subway trains skipped the 50th Street station on the C and E lines while firefighters investigated.

A spokesman for Consolidated Edison said no one lost power. The cause of the fires was not known.

Source: Fox News National

Former top FBI lawyer: 2 Trump Cabinet officials were ‘ready to support’ 25th Amendment effort

Former top FBI lawyer James Baker, in closed-door testimony to Congress, detailed alleged discussions among senior officials at the Justice Department about invoking the 25th Amendment to remove President Trump from office, claiming he was told Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said two Trump Cabinet officials were “ready to support” such an effort.

The testimony was delivered last fall to the House Oversight and Judiciary Committees. Fox News has confirmed portions of the transcript. It provides additional insight into discussions that have returned to the spotlight in Washington as fired FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe revisits the matter during interviews promoting his forthcoming book.

MCCABE DETAILS CENTRAL ROLE IN RUSSIA PROBES, DOJ MEETINGS ON WHETHER TO OUST PRESIDENT

Baker did not identify the two Cabinet officials. But in his testimony, the lawyer said McCabe and FBI lawyer Lisa Page came to him to relay their conversations with Rosenstein, including discussions of the 25th Amendment.

“I was being told by some combination of Andy McCabe and Lisa Page, that, in a conversation with the Deputy Attorney General, he had stated that he — this was what was related to me – that he had at least two members of the president’s Cabinet who were ready to support, I guess you would call it, an action under the 25th Amendment,” Baker told the committees.

The 25th Amendment provides a mechanism for removing a sitting president from office. One way that could happen is if a majority of the president’s Cabinet says the president is incapable of discharging his duties.

Rosenstein, who still works at the Justice Department but who is expected to exit in the near future, has denied the claims since they first surfaced in the media last year.

Fox News requested further comment from the parties involved. Lawyers for Baker and McCabe declined comment, as did an FBI spokesperson.

In his testimony, Baker said of McCabe’s state of mind: “At this point in time, Andy was unbelievably focused and unbelievably confident and squared away.  I don’t know how to describe it other than I was extremely proud to be around him at that point in time because I thought he was doing an excellent job at maintaining focus and dealing with a very uncertain and difficult situation.  So I think he was in a good state of mind at this point in time.”

The testimony, for which there are criminal penalties if the witness lies to congressional investigators, comes as McCabe, who was fired last year by then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions, has discussed the alleged meetings as he promotes his forthcoming book.

FBI LAWYER’S TESTIMONY AT ODDS WITH ROSENSTEIN DENIAL ON ‘WIRE’ REPORT

On Thursday, the Justice Department issued a statement that said Rosenstein rejects McCabe’s recitation of these events “as inaccurate and factually incorrect.” It also denied that Rosenstein ever OK’d wearing a "wire" to tape Trump.

“The deputy attorney general never authorized any recording that Mr. McCabe references,” the statement said. “As the deputy attorney general previously has stated, based on his personal dealings with the president, there is no basis to invoke the 25th Amendment, nor was the DAG in a position to consider invoking the 25th Amendment.”

During his testimony, Baker acknowledged he was not directly involved in the May 2017 discussions but testified over a two-day period in October that McCabe and Page came to him contemporaneously after meeting with Rosenstein for input in the days after Comey was fired by the president.

STRZOK-PAGE TEXTS CALLING TO ‘OPEN’ CASE IN ‘CHARGEABLE WAY’ UNDER FRESH SCRUTINY

As Fox News has previously reported, the eight days in May 2017 between Comey’s firing and appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller were seen as a major turning point in the Russia probe, which has also involved examining whether the president obstructed justice.

“I had the impression that the deputy attorney general had already discussed this with two members in the president’s Cabinet and that they were…onboard with this concept already,” Baker said.

During the closed-door hearing, the former FBI lawyer told lawmakers he could not say whether Rosenstein was taking the initiative to seek out Cabinet members:

Question: “Do you know what direction that went? Was it Mr. Rosenstein seeking out members of the Cabinet looking to pursue this 25th Amendment approach or was it the other way around?”

Baker: “What I recall being said was that the Deputy Attorney General had two members of the Cabinet.  So he – how they came to be had, I don’t know, but…”

Question: “So he had two members, almost like he was taking the initiative and getting the members?”

Baker: “That would be speculation on my part.”

Baker also said he did not know the names of the two Cabinet officials.

“Lisa and Andy did not tell me, and my impression was they didn’t know themselves,” he said.

But when the New York Times broke the story in September, it reported that Rosenstein told McCabe he might be able to persuade then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions and then-Secretary of Homeland Security and later White House chief of staff John Kelly to invoke the 25th Amendment.

FBI’S TOP BRASS RACED TO HANDLE FOX NEWS INQUIRY ON ALLEGED QUID PRO QUO OVER CLINTON EMAILS, NEW DOCUMENTS SHOW

On Thursday, the top Republicans on the House and Senate Judiciary Committees called for McCabe and Rosenstein to testify before their respective panels, following McCabe’s comments about these discussions. Rosenstein did not appear for Capitol Hill testimony to clarify these discussions, despite multiple requests from lawmakers, when Republicans held the majority last year.

On Friday, a spokeswoman for McCabe responded to media reports about his upcoming 60 minutes interview.

"Certain statements made by Mr. McCabe, in interviews associated with the release of his book, have been taken out of context and misrepresented,” the spokeswoman said. “To clarify, at no time did Mr. McCabe participate in any extended discussions about the use of the 25th Amendment, nor is he aware of any such discussions.”

NEW DETAILS ABOUT BASIS FOR ANDREW MCCABE’S FIRING FROM FBI REVEALED

Fox News has reported, based on a source who was in the meeting, that Rosenstein’s "wire" comments were viewed as "sarcastic." But Baker testified that it was taken seriously.

Baker testified in October that the alleged discussions took place during an uncertain and anxious time at the FBI and DOJ after Comey’s termination, and that the mood was “pretty dark":

Question: “Did people tell you that the DAG (Deputy Attorney General) was upset?”

Baker: “Yes.”

Question: “Did they tell you that he was making jokes?”

Baker: “No.”

Question: “Did they tell you that…”

Baker: “This was not a joking sort of time. This was pretty dark.”

In October, during a separate closed-door interview, another senior FBI lawyer Sally Moyer, who sometimes commuted to work with Page, described Page’s private reaction to the claim that Rosenstein’s comments were sarcastic.

“It was when the news hit about the wiretap and the department’s position and what they were saying happened, and she was indicating she did not believe that they were telling the truth,” Moyer said.

Also during the testimony, Moyer said the chances of securing a 2016 surveillance warrant for a Trump campaign aide were only “50/50” without the controversial anti-Trump “dossier,” according to transcripts confirmed by Fox News.

Moyer’s testimony appears to underscore how critical the dossier — funded by the Democratic Party and Clinton campaign — was in obtaining the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant, and appears to conflict with Democratic assertions that the dossier played a limited role in the process.

Asked whether the FBI would have been able to establish probable cause if the application “did not have the Christopher Steele information in it,” Moyer responded: "So I think it’s a close call, like 50/50, 51/49. I really think it’s a close call."

Source: Fox News Politics

Patrick Caddell, pollster who also contributed to Fox News, is dead at 68: report

Patrick Caddell, a former Fox News contributor, reportedly died Saturday at age 68.

The political pollster died as a result of complications of a stroke, his colleague Professor Kendra Stewart told The New York Times.

Caddell was born in South Carolina on May 19, 1950. He lived in Massachusetts and Florida during his childhood, among other places, as a result of his father’s role in the Coast Guard, the outlet said.

His launch into the world of polling came when he devised a “voter election model” for a class in high school, which he attended in Jacksonville, Florida, according to The Times.

“I set up at the courthouse and called all the elections early with great abandon, with no idea what I was doing,” he reportedly said. “And they all turned out right.”

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Among Caddell’s credits throughout his career in politics were his contributions to former President Jimmy Carter’s campaign, The Times said.

Caddell reportedly leaves behind two siblings, a daughter and three grandchildren.

Source: Fox News Politics

Heather Nauert withdraws from consideration for UN ambassador nomination, State Department says

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert withdrew her name from consideration for the U.N. ambassador nomination, the department said Saturday.

“I am grateful to President Trump and Secretary [Mike] Pompeo for the trust they placed in me for considering me for the position of U.S. ambassador to the United Nations," Nauer said in the statement. "However, the past two months have been grueling for my family and therefore it is in the best interest of my family that I withdraw my name from consideration.

She went on to describe her time working in the administration as being "one of the highest honors of my life."

A State Department source told Fox News that the process, on top of traveling around the world and between Washington D.C., and New York to see family, grew to be too much.

Trump — who picked Nauert to succeed Ambassador Nikki Haley in December — will make an announcement "soon" about a nominee for the position, the State Department said.

Before she worked at the State Department, Nauert worked as an anchor and correspondent at Fox News — including as a breaking news anchor on “Fox & Friends.” Before Fox, she was a reporter at ABC News. She moved to the State Department in April 2017.

Secretary of State Pompeo also addressed the decision in the statement, saying it was one he respected.

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"Heather Nauert has performed her duties as a senior member of my team with unequaled excellence," he said. "I wish Heather nothing but the best in all of her future endeavors and know that she will continue to be a great representative of this nation in whatever role she finds herself.”

When Trump tapped Nauert for the U.N. role last year, he said she was "very talented." His announcement came roughly two months after Haley, the former governor of South Carolina, abruptly resigned from the position.

Fox News’ Alexandra Pamias, Rich Edson, Adam Shaw and Kaitlyn Schallhorn contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News Politics


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