Manage episode 198135519 series 1867455
An orphaned 19-year-old with a troubled past and his own AR-15 rifle was charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder Thursday morning following the deadliest school shooting in the U.S. in five years. Law enforcement officials said that Nikolas Cruz legally purchased the assault weapon used in the attack. The dead included a football coach from the school who was hailed as a hero by many of the students. Fourteen wounded survivors were hospitalized as bodies were recovered from inside and around Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Cruz, still wearing a hospital gown after being treated for labored breathing, and weighing in at 5-foot-7 and 131 pounds, was ordered held without bond and booked into jail. It was the nation’s deadliest school shooting since a gunman attacked an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, more than five years ago. Authorities offered no immediate details about a possible motive, except to say that Cruz had been kicked out of the high school, which has about 3,000 students. Students who knew him described a volatile teenager whose strange behavior had caused others to end friendships with him.
Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday was elected as South Africa’s new president by ruling party legislators after the resignation of Jacob Zuma, whose scandals brought the storied African National Congress to its weakest point since taking power at the end of apartheid. Ramaphosa was the only candidate nominated for election after two opposition parties said they would not participate. The two parties instead unsuccessfully called for the dissolution of the National Assembly and early elections. Zuma resigned after years of scandals that damaged the reputation of the ruling ANC, which had instructed him this week to step down or face a parliamentary motion of no confidence that he would almost certainly lose. Zuma denies any wrongdoing. Ramaphosa is South Africa’s fifth president since the end of the apartheid system of white minority rule in 1994. On Friday evening, he is expected to deliver the state of the nation address that had been postponed during the ruling party’s days of closed-door negotiations to persuade Zuma to resign.
A group of senators reached a bipartisan agreement aimed at balancing Democrats’ fight to offer citizenship to young “Dreamer” immigrants with President Trump’s demands for billions to build his coveted border wall with Mexico. Overnight, the Trump administration denounced the deal. The compromise was announced Wednesday by 16 senators with centrist views on the issue and was winning support from many Democrats, but it faced an uncertain fate. Leaders were trying to schedule votes on that plan and three other immigration proposals for Thursday, which they hoped would bring the chamber’s showdown over the hot-button issue to a close. Trump’s Department of Homeland Security, in a statement, issued just before 1 a.m. Thursday, condemned the deal, saying it will “create a mass amnesty for over 10 million illegal aliens, including criminals.” There were also qualms among Democrats. The party’s No. 2 Senate leader, Dick Durbin of Illinois, said some Democrats had “serious issues” with parts of the plan. Those concerns focused on its spending for Trump’s wall and its bar against Dreamers sponsoring their parents for legal residency.
Congressional Democrats introduced legislation on Wednesday that would provide more than $1 billion to boost cybersecurity of U.S. voting systems, and Vice President Mike Pence defended the administration’s efforts to protect polls from hackers. The measure followed warnings on Tuesday from U.S. intelligence officials that midterm races in November are likely to see renewed meddling from Russia and possibly other foreign adversaries. Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic leader in the House of Representatives, told a news conference, “We cannot let the Russians laugh about and take joy in the success they had in the last election. Their goal is to undermine democracy.” Lawmakers have introduced several bills, some with bipartisan support, to bolster election security since the 2016 polls in which Republican Donald Trump was elected president. None have become law. The new bill is the most comprehensive to date and is aimed at bolstering protection for the midterms and subsequent elections. It has no Republican co-sponsors in the House, which the party controls, and is therefore unlikely to succeed.
Moscow has tangible evidence of “the destructive interference of some Western countries” in Russia’s domestic affairs ahead of a presidential election next month, a Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman told a briefing on Thursday. Maria Zakharova said Moscow had warned European countries that “such activity should stop”. “If it does not stop we will have to take tough counter-measures”, she said.
President Donald Trump’s first chief of staff says all those reports about chaos in the early days of the Trump White House were true — and then some. “Take everything you’ve heard and multiply it by 50,” Reince Priebus said, according to an updated book to be published next month about White House chiefs of staff. In an adaptation from the next edition of the book, “The Gatekeepers: How the White House Chiefs of Staff Define Every Presidency,” Chris Whipple writes in Vanity Fair about a dramatic showdown that nearly led to the resignation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions last May after the president berated him for the appointment of a special counsel to investigate Trump campaign contacts with Russia. The episode is one of many chaotic scenes recounted in the latest book to chronicle the inner workings of the Trump White House. Priebus also is quoted about his unsuccessful campaign to rein in Trump’s tweets, including an early effort by staff to write tweets for him. Priebus was ousted by Trump last July and replaced by retired Gen. John Kelly, whose own job security is now in doubt as Trump complains about Kelly’s handling of allegations of domestic abuse by top aide Rob Porter. Porter resigned last week. For all of the drama and tumult of his days with Trump, Priebus told Whipple, “I still love the guy.”
Actor Luke Wilson played a real-life hero in the aftermath of a Los Angeles car crash that also involved golfer Bill Haas. According to witnesses on Wednesday, Wilson, whose own car was clipped in the three-vehicle accident, pulled a 50-year-old woman from the smoking wreckage of her BMW. “He was the hero, he led the charge,” said 46-year-old tattoo artist Sean Heirigs, who was right behind the accident. Heirigs said he and his 14-year-old daughter saw the driver of Ferrari accelerate and appear to lose control, with the back end swinging into oncoming traffic. It hit the BMW and clipped Wilson’s car before running into a pole. Police are investigating whether speed was a factor in the crash. Wilson, the 46-year-old Dallas-native and star of films including “Legally Blonde,” ″Idiocracy” and “The Royal Tenenbaums” wasn't hurt. The woman from the BMW is hospitalized with serious injuries. Haas, who had been in the passenger seat of a Ferrari, had pain and swelling in his legs, but no broken bones and is returning home to South Carolina to recuperate. Officials said the Ferrari’s driver, who died at the scene, was Mark William Gibello of Pacific Palisades. Haas was staying with Gibello’s family as he prepared to play this week in the Genesis Open at nearby Riviera Country Club.
The first blood test to help doctors diagnose traumatic brain injuries has won U.S. government approval. The move means Banyan Biomarkers can commercialize its test, giving the company an early lead in the biotech industry’s race to find a way to diagnose concussions. The test doesn’t detect concussions and the approval won’t immediately change how patients with suspected concussions or other brain trauma are treated. But Wednesday’s green light by the Food and Drug Administration “is a big deal because then it opens the door and accelerates technology,” according to Michael McCrea, a brain injury expert at Medical College of Wisconsin. The test detects two proteins present in brain cells that can leak into the bloodstream following a blow to the head. Banyan’s research shows the test can detect them within 12 hours of injury. It’s designed to help doctors quickly determine which patients with suspected concussions may have brain bleeding or another brain injury. Patients with a positive test would need a CT scan to confirm the results and determine if surgery or other treatment is needed. The test will first be used in emergency rooms, possibly as soon as later this year, but Banyan’s hope is that it will eventually be used on battlefields and football fields. Traumatic brain injuries affect an estimated 10 million people globally each year; at least 2 million of them are treated in U.S. emergency rooms. With Department of Defense funding, Banyan’s research shows its Brain Trauma Indicator can accurately pick up brain trauma later found on CT scans. That means patients with negative blood tests can avoid CT scans and unnecessary radiation exposure.
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