Wednesday, April 19, 2017

10 things you need to know today

Republicans force Democrat Jon Ossoff into runoff in Georgia's special election, Facebook murder suspect commits suicide, and more

1. Democrat Jon Ossoff faces runoff in Georgia special election

Democrat Jon Ossoff fell just short of the 50 percent of the vote needed to avoid a runoff in the race for a House seat in Georgia vacated by Republican Tom Price when he became President Trump's secretary of health and human services. Ossoff received just over 48 percent of the vote. He will face Republican Karen Handel, who came in second with just under 20 percent of the vote, in the June runoff. The high-profile, 18-candidate race was seen as an early referendum on Trump's presidency. Ossoff, a 30-year-old political newcomer and documentary filmmaker, raised $8.3 million for the campaign, more than four times as much as his nearest rival. Republicans, including Trump, bashed Ossoff in the closing days of the campaign, and called on Republicans to turn out to oppose Ossoff to avert an embarrassing defeat.

Source: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The Washington Post
2. Facebook murder suspect commits suicide after police chase

Facebook murder suspect Steve Stephens shot and killed himself on Tuesday after police caught up to him after a brief chase in Erie County, Pennsylvania. A McDonald's employee recognized Stephens and his car, a white Ford Fusion, when he pulled into the restaurant's drive-through. McDonald's workers called police and tried to delay Stephens by holding up his french fries, but he took off without them. "He just took his nuggets and said, 'I have to go,'" a manager of the restaurant said. Stephens had been the target of a nationwide manhunt since he allegedly killed 74-year-old Robert Godwin Sr. in Cleveland, and livestreamed the killing on Facebook. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook's co-founder and CEO, said the social network had the responsibility to "get better" at keeping video of violent acts off of its network.

Source: The New York Times, USA Today
3. Trump orders tightening of visas for highly skilled foreign workers

President Trump signed an executive order Tuesday instructing his administration to review and tighten rules on awarding coveted H-1B visas to skilled foreign workers. The order, known in the White House as the "Buy American, Hire American" policy, addresses one of the central promises of Trump's campaign by aiming to "aggressively promote and use American-made goods and to ensure that American labor is hired to do the job," Trump said at the headquarters of toolmaker Snap-on in Wisconsin. "We're going to do everything in our power to make sure more products are stamped with those wonderful words 'Made in the USA.'" Trump also called for government procurement changes increasing purchases of U.S. products under government contracts.

Source: Reuters, USA Today
4. U.S. carrier was not headed to North Korea as White House claimed

White House officials said Tuesday that they were mistaken last week when they said a U.S. aircraft carrier battle group had been sent to the Sea of Japan off North Korea as tensions rose over its missile and nuclear weapons programs. The carrier, the Carl Vinson, and the three other warships in its strike force in reality were heading the other way, toward the Indian Ocean to participate in joint exercises with the Australian Navy.
White House officials said they had been relying on information from the Defense Department, possibly a reference to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis' incorrect explanation of the Pacific Command's announcement of the Carl Vinson's deployment.

Source: The New York Times
5. Fresno police call triple murder a hate crime

Police arrested Kori Ali Muhammad, 39, for a shooting spree that left three men dead in Fresno, California, on Tuesday. The victims, all white men who are believed to have been randomly targeted, were shot in a span of two minutes. Witnesses said Muhammad, who is black, shouted "Allahu Akbar" (God is great) when he was arrested. Muhammad also is suspected in the murder of an unarmed Motel 6 security guard, also white, last week. Muhammad has a history of advocating for black separatism, and has made negative posts about white people and government on social media. Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer said investigators believe the killings were a hate crime, not terrorism. "This is solely based on race," Dyer said.

Source: Los Angeles Times
6. Trump administration says Iran complying with nuclear deal

The Trump administration notified Congress late Tuesday that Iran is complying with the 2015 nuclear deal negotiated under former President Barack Obama. The determination, required every three months, resulted in the extension of sanctions relief in exchange for continued curbing of Iran's controversial nuclear program. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said, however, in a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan that the administration is reviewing the deal, which President Trump strongly criticized during his campaign, to determine whether it "is vital to the national security interests of the United States."

Source: The Associated Press
7. Hernandez gets 25 years for 1979 murder of Etan Patz

Pedro Hernandez, a former store clerk, was sentenced to at least 25 years in prison on Tuesday for the 1979 murder of first-grader Etan Patz. The child disappeared after leaving his family's New York City apartment to go to school, on the first day his parents let him walk alone to the bus stop. The search for Etan Patz became one of the nation's most widely followed missing persons cases, and it raised consciousness about missing children. Hernandez, who was a teenager at the time of the killing, confessed to choking the boy, but his lawyers said he was mentally ill and his confession was false. Stan Patz, Etan's father, told Hernandez the world final knows "what dark secret you had locked in your heart ... I will never forgive you. The god you pray to will never forgive you. You are the monster in your nightmares."

Source: The Associated Press
8. France detains two men suspected of planning attack ahead of election

French authorities said Tuesday that they had arrested two men in the southern port city of Marseille on suspicion of plotting a terrorist attack aiming to disrupt the first round of France's presidential election, scheduled for Sunday. The suspects, both French citizens, were known to French intelligence officials, who said the suspects were "radicalized" and were believed to be planning to "imminently commit a violent action on the eve of the French presidential election." The campaigns of far-right candidate Marine Le Pen, who plans a Wednesday night rally in Marseille, independent candidate Emmanuel Macron, and conservative candidate Francois Fillon had received warnings of the possible threat the suspects allegedly posed.

Source: The New York Times
9. Ex-NFL player Aaron Hernandez commits suicide in prison

Former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez was found dead, hanged by a bedsheet in his prison cell early Wednesday. He was 27. Massachusetts prison officials said the former NFL star had tried to keep anyone from getting into his cell by jamming something into the door. Hernandez's suicide came just days after he was found not guilty on Friday in a 2012 double murder that allegedly was sparked by a spilled drink in a nightclub. He was serving a life sentence for another murder committed the following year.

Source: The Associated Press
10. George H.W. Bush back in hospital, but recovering

Former President George H.W. Bush, 92, is back in the hospital but already recovering, his office announced Tuesday. Bush was admitted to Houston Methodist Hospital last Friday for a persistent cough that was keeping him from getting enough rest. Doctors found he had mild pneumonia, which they successfully treated. "President Bush is in very good spirits and is being held for further observation while he regains his strength," his spokesman, Jim McGrath, said, and he is "going to be fine." In January, Bush spent two weeks, some of it in intensive care, in the same hospital due to an acute respiratory problem.

Source: Houston Chronicle
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