In the News

News and Headlines. 2/6/2019


News and Headlines. In The News, Politics, World News, Commentary/Opinion.

In The News:


Ex-Turkish prisoner Andrew Brunson calls for release of detained Americans

American pastor Andrew Brunson
Four months after his release from Turkey, American pastor Andrew Brunson urged global leaders to turn their attention to the other Americans still held in the country. | Chris McGrath/Getty Images

Tony Perkins, a current commissioner on the panel and president of the Family Research Council, attended Brunson’s final hearing and flew home with him and his wife, Norine.

He told POLITICO the positive outcome likely resulted from a confluence of factors: government advocacy, sanctions, geopolitical shifts and Turkey’s jockeying to curry U.S. favor after Saudi Arabia murdered Jamal Khashoggi.

“Can it be replicated in other cases? That’s hard to say. Certainly the advocacy can,” Perkins said, citing President Donald Trump’s and Vice President Mike Pence’s personal involvement as crucial in the Brunson case. “I’ve met with international leaders. They’re taking note of what America is putting priority on.”


Atlantic Writer Suggests Assassination of President Trump

Jemele Hill
Jemele Hill at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California on December 1, 2018. She suggested that President Donald Trump be assasinated on Feb. 5, 2019. (Photo by Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images)

Jemele Hill, who was fired from ESPN after her commentary on the sports network became increasingly political, made the comment during Trump’s State of the Union speech.

A West Virginia woman was recently indicted on charges of threatening to kill Trump.

A federal grand jury indicted Taryn Corrine Henthorn, 25, of Middlebourne on Feb. 5 on three counts of “threatening to kill the President of the United States,” reported WTRF.


Bette Midler to Pro-Choice Followers: ‘Buy Stock in Coat Hangers’

Midler was particularly irked when Trump argued against late-term abortion laws, which are inexplicably becoming more and more popular.

Midler urged her pro-choice followers to “buy stock in coat hangers” following Trump’s remarks.


Driver of Minnesota school bus with student aboard is shot in apparent road-rage incident, cops say

A person of interest was taken into custody after a school bus driver was shot where Interstate 35W and 94 run together near downtown Minneapolis Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019. (Richard Tsong-Taatarii/Star Tribune via AP)

State Patrol officers reportedly swooped in within a minute of the first 911 calls and made the arrest. A gun – believed to be a semiautomatic weapon – was taken from the suspect, the Tribune reported.

The newspaper reported an image from a Minnesota Department of Transportation traffic camera showed one State Patrol trooper pointing a gun at a person who was standing near an open door of a black sedan.


Shirtless man tries to take Amtrak train for a joyride in California, cops say

Thomas Baldini, a 26-year-old from McCloud, is now facing charges including being intoxicated in public and interfering and hindering the safe and efficient operation of a train following the bizarre incident near Cantara Loop.

Police say Baldini allegedly jumped on-board the back-up engine of the train while it was passing through the area at about 1 a.m. Authorities said he almost immediately started to exhibit hostility.


Douglas County teacher facing termination following controversial tweets

Mountain Ridge Middle School teacher Michelle Grissom has been on administrative leave since January 20th following tweets accusing a student in Kentucky of being involved in a viral video of teens and Native Americans in Washington, D.C.

The tweets accused the boy of being part of the “Hitler Youth”. However, the student she tweeted about was not in Washington, D.C. at the time.

A group of parents had been calling for Grissom to be fired. About two dozen held a rally before Tuesday night’s school board meeting to call on the board to take action against her. The parents are also upset about the board’s policy limiting public comment to items on the agenda.


Idaho nurse to be charged in connection with Colorado mother Kelsey Berreth’s disappearance

Kelsey Berreth, 29, was last seen at a supermarket in Woodland, Colorado on Thanksgiving Day. (Woodland Park Police Department)

Krystal Lee, 32, is scheduled to appear in Teller County court Friday morning on one count of tampering with physical evidence, FOX31 reported. Lee, a nurse in Twin Falls, Idaho, is accused of helping Berreth’s fiancé, Patrick Frazee, in disposing of evidence linked to Berreth’s disappearance.

Berreth was last seen on surveillance video entering a Safeway grocery store in Woodland Park with her 1-year-old daughter, Kaylee, who she shared with Frazee. Her cellphone then pinged from Gooding, Idaho — three days after she was last seen alive.


Rapper allegedly filmed girlfriend eating thorns, calling for parents hours before overdose death

Ceon Broughton
Ceon Broughton arrives at Winchester Crown Court on February 04, 2019 in Winchester, England.

Jurors watched a 50-minute video of Louella Fletcher-Michie hours before her death that was filmed by Ceon Broughton at the festival in September 2017.

He is alleged to have given her class A party drug 2C-P and left her to die.

Louella, the daughter of actor John Michie, took the drug in the woods at the Dorset music festival and died an hour before her 25th birthday, the court heard.


NYPD to Google: Stop revealing the location of police checkpoints

The department sent a cease-and-desist letter over the weekend demanding Google disable the crowd-sourced app’s function that allows motorists to pinpoint police whereabouts, StreetsBlog reported.

“Individuals who post the locations of DWI checkpoints may be engaging in criminal conduct since such actions could be intentional attempts to prevent and/or impair the administration of the DWI laws and other relevant criminal and traffic laws,” wrote Acting Deputy Commissioner for Legal Matters Ann Prunty in the letter, according to the website.

Politics:


Trump announces campaign rally in El Paso as border wall debate rages

The Monday rally, which will take place just four days before the Feb. 15 deadline for congressional negotiators to come up with a compromise and avoid another partial government shutdown, will highlight president’s insistence that money be designated in the deal for the wall he wants built along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Trump plans to rally supporters on Monday night at the county coliseum. His campaign manager, Brad Parscale, tweeted that the rally will be held “less than 1000 feet from the successful border fence that keeps El Paso safe!”


House Republicans move to fast-track anti-abortion bill on heels of Virginia debate

The bill is known as the Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, which penalizes the intentional killing of a born-alive child.

Missouri GOP Rep. Ann Wagner reintroduced the legislation Wednesday, and House Republican Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana said in a statement he plans to file a discharge petition in 30 days that would force a vote on if signed by a majority of members of the House.

The effort comes on the heels of controversial comments made by Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam over a late-term abortion bill in the state. Senate Republicans attempted this week to bring the bill directly to the floor but it was blocked by Democrats.


Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax’s accuser releases statement detailing sexual-assault allegations

“With tremendous anguish, I am now sharing this information about my experience and setting the record straight. It has been extremely difficult to relive that traumatic experience from 2004.

Mr. Fairfax has tried to brand me as a liar to a national audience, in service to his political ambitions, and has threatened litigation. Given his false assertions, I’m compelled to make clear what happened,” she said in a statement.

“I met Mr. Fairfax on July 26, 2004 when he and I were working at the convention,” she said. “We crossed paths occasionally during the first two days and our interactions were cordial, but not flirtatious.”

Tyson explained that on July 28, 2004, Fairfax invited her to accompany him on a “quick errand to retrieve documents from his room in a nearby hotel.”

World News:


Army to Buy Israeli-Made Iron Dome to Protect Soldiers from Indirect Fire

An Iron Dome launcher deployed next to Sderot, Israel,
An Iron Dome launcher deployed next to Sderot, Israel, in June 2011.Natan Flayer via Wikipedia

“The U.S. Army has announced its intent to procure a limited number of Iron Dome weapon systems to fill its short-term need for an interim Indirect Fire Protection Capability,” Col. Patrick Seiber, spokesman for Army Futures Command, said Wednesday in a press release.

“It’s the world’s most used missile defense system, intercepting more than 1,500 targets with a greater than 90 percent success rate since being fielded in 2011,” according to Raytheon’s website.

Air and missile defense is one of the Army’s top modernization priorities in an effort to replace its Big Five weapons platforms — which include the Patriot air defense system — by 2028.


Japan may have to kill up to 15,000 pigs amid ‘extremely serious’ swine fever epidemic

Members of the Japan Self-Defense Forces (JSDF)
Members of the Japan Self-Defense Forces (JSDF) undergo a quarantine operation at a hog farm after an outbreak of swine fever was detected, in Toyota, Aichi Prefecture, Japan. (Kyodo via REUTERS)

Five central and western prefectures in Japan have reported cases of the highly contagious virus at farms since January, Kyodo News reported.

“We are facing an extremely serious situation,” Agriculture Minister Takamori Yoshikawa told a meeting at his ministry in Tokyo.

If not contained, the disease may affect Japanese pork imports, Kyodo reported.


Russia sentences Jehovah’s Witness to 6 years in prison for ‘extremism’

Dennis Christensen, a Jehovah’s Witness accused of extremism, leaves after a court session in handcuffs in the town of Oryol, Russia January 14, 2019. (REUTERS/Andrew Osborn)

Russia banned Jehovah’s Witnesses in 2017 and declared the religious group an extremist organization. Nearly 100 of the church’s members face charges and there are currently about 20 members in prison and awaiting trial.

Dennis Christensen was arrested in May 2017 after a police raid on his congregation just south of Moscow. He was found guilty of extremism.


Russia will send fighter jets to patrol North Pole, report says

File photo -A Mikoyan MiG-31BM interceptor aircraft
File photo -A Mikoyan MiG-31BM interceptor aircraft performing a training flight at the Tsentralnaya Uglovaya airfield. (Photo by Yuri SmityukTASS via Getty Images)

Citing Russian Defense Ministry sources, Izvestia reports that two squadrons of MiG-31BM interceptor jets will be patrolling the North Pole’s airspace.

The move follows Russian training flights over the North Pole that occurred last year and will be closely watched by the U.S.

Russia’s military arsenal is also in the spotlight. A Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently warned that the U.S. lacks the defenses needed to protect against a new breed of highly sophisticated hypersonic weapons from China and Russia.



Venezuelan troops blockade bridge to stop aid from Colombia

The Tienditas bridge, on the border between Cúcuta, Colombia and Táchira, Venezuela,
The Tienditas bridge, on the border between Cúcuta, Colombia and Táchira, Venezuela, after Venezuelan military forces blocked it with containers on Wednesday. Photograph: Edinson Estupinan/AFP/Getty Images

On Wednesday lunchtime a fuel tanker and two shipping containers blocked the Tienditas international bridge which connects the two countries and has become a staging ground for the planned relief effort. Members of Venezuela’s Bolivarian national guard could also be seen at the bridge.

A convoy carrying the aid, which was donated by the US, left Bogotá at 11am on Wednesday morning, and is currently making its way along winding mountain rounds to Cúcuta, a Colombian government official said. The earliest it will reach the border is Thursday morning.

Maduro has repeatedly denied his economically devastated country is facing a humanitarian crisis, apparently fearing such an acceptance could be used to justify foreign military intervention. “We are not beggars,” he said in a speech to troops this week.


‘Barbaric’: Human organs harvested from Chinese prisoners prompts outrage, call for retraction of 400 scientific papers

The study, which was published in the journal BMJ Open and led by Australian researchers, highlights a facet of scientific ethics that does not receive a lot of attention.

Namely, that many English-language academic journals do not follow international ethics rules over donor consent for organ transplants.

“There’s no real pressure from research leaders on China to be more transparent,” Wendy Rogers, a professor of clinical ethics at Macquarie University and the study’s author, told the Guardian.

“Everyone seems to say, ‘It’s not our job.’ The world’s silence on this barbaric issue must stop.”


Real Life Dexter Preys On Rapists In Bangladesh

India and Bangladesh have been facing an incredible epidemic of rapes and gang rapes for years.

The rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl in Kashmir last year (which was shockingly defended by some) in the same month as the brutal rape of an eight-month-old baby in New Delhi along with two other girls who were sexually assaulted and mutilated in Haryana reignited the global conversation about India’s rape crisis.

In 2012 a student was gang-raped then murdered on a bus in New Delhi. After that incident protests led to talk of increasing reforms to curb the tide of sexual assaults in the Indian subcontinent.

Commentary/Opinion:


Todd Starnes: I had a front-row seat at Trump’s State of the Union — You won’t believe what I saw

My seatmate was a Democrat from Illinois. She runs a non-profit food pantry in Aurora. We found common ground by talking about food – the belief that no American should ever have to go to bed hungry.

Also in my section was an investment guy from the Silicon Valley and a Packers fan from Wisconsin – and a decorated Army Ranger from Texas. He was gracious as all of us shook his hand and thanked him for his service.

In advance of the big night I had to provide the congressman’s staff with my name and birthdate and Social Security number. It all made perfect sense what with the president and the vice president and all the other important people in the House chamber.

So you can imagine my surprise when I learned there were several DACA recipients in the audience and one was seated in our midst. How she gained entry into the building without a Social Security card is beyond me.

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