Trump visit stirs debate; massacre defendant in court
PITTSBURGH (AP) — The man charged in the Pittsburgh synagogue massacre was brought into court in a wheelchair Monday, as some members of the Jewish community and others objected to President Donald Trump’s plans to visit, accusing him of contributing to a toxic political climate in the U.S. that might have led to the bloodshed.
With the first funerals set for Tuesday, the White House announced that Trump and first lady Melania Trump will visit the same day to “express the support of the American people and to grieve with the Pittsburgh community” over the 11 congregants killed Saturday in the deadliest attack on Jews in U.S. history.
Some Pittsburghers urged Trump to stay away.
“His language has encouraged hatred and fear of immigrants, which is part of the reason why these people were killed,” said Marianne Novy, 73, a retired college English professor who lives in the city’s Squirrel Hill section, the historic Jewish neighborhood where the attack at the Tree of Life synagogue took place.
Meanwhile, the alleged gunman, 46-year-old truck driver Robert Gregory Bowers, was released from the hospital where he was treated for wounds suffered in a gun battle with police. Hours later he was wheeled into a downtown federal courtroom in handcuffs to face charges.
Pentagon sending 5,200 troops to border week before midterms
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Pentagon said Monday it is sending 5,200 troops to the Southwest border in an extraordinary military operation ordered up just a week before midterm elections in which President Donald Trump has put a sharp focus on Central American migrants moving north in slow-moving caravans that are still hundreds of miles from the U.S.
The number of troops being deployed is more than double the 2,000 who are in Syria fighting the Islamic State group.
Trump, eager to keep voters focused on illegal immigration in the lead-up to the elections, stepped up his dire warnings about the caravans, tweeting, “This is an invasion of our Country and our Military is waiting for you!”
But any migrants who complete the long trek to the southern U.S. border already face major hurdles — both physical and bureaucratic — to being allowed into the United States.
In an interview Monday, Trump said the U.S. would build “tent cities” for asylum seekers.
Official: Pipe-bomb suspect had hit list of targets
MIAMI (AP) — The man suspected of sending pipe bombs to prominent Democrats and other opponents of President Donald Trump kept a list of elected officials and others who investigators believe were intended targets, an official told The Associated Press on Monday.
The disclosure came as 56-year-old Cesar Sayoc made his initial court appearance in Miami federal court Monday, saying little but tearing up, and after bomb squads were called to a post office in Atlanta about a suspicious mailing to CNN similar to the pipe bomb packages recovered in the case last week.
The official said authorities had recovered soldering equipment, a printer, and stamps similar to those used on the package bombs in the investigation into Sayoc, who was arrested last week in Florida. Authorities believe Sayoc was putting explosives together in his van.
The official wasn’t authorized to discuss the ongoing investigation and spoke on condition of anonymity to the AP. The official also said that, as part of the investigation, authorities were scrutinizing Sayoc’s social media posts.
The FBI said via its Twitter account that the recovered package in Atlanta was “similar in appearance” to the bubble-wrapped manila envelopes authorities say were sent by Sayoc to intended targets from Delaware to California, including former President Barack Obama, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former Vice President Joe Biden.
AP Explains: Gab, where Pittsburgh shooting suspect ranted
NEW YORK (AP) — A social media service believed to be used by the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting suspect to post hateful rants advertises itself as a haven for free speech.
No, not Twitter. The site is Gab, which has become a breeding ground for white nationalists, neo-Nazis and other extremists as more mainstream sites cracked down on hate speech and threats of violence.
By Monday, Gab was effectively — if momentarily — left internet-homeless. It was long ago cut off from smartphone app stores, but it’s now banned by payment processors such as PayPal and internet infrastructure providers. Its founder, Andrew Torba, says the site is being censored and smeared.
Police have identified the shooting suspect as Robert Bowers, 46, of Pittsburgh. A man with the same name posted virulently anti-Semitic posts on the morning of Saturday’s shooting. Gab says it suspended the account and contacted law enforcement immediately. In a note posted on Gab.com, Torba said the service has been working with authorities to “bring justice to an alleged terrorist.”
Stocks tumble again on report US plans more tariffs
NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks sank again Monday on fears that the Trump administration will escalate its trade dispute with China by imposing tariffs on all remaining imports from China to the U.S.
The declines came during another dizzying day of trading. The Dow Jones Industrial Average swung between a gain of 352 points and a loss of 566 before closing down 245.39 points, or 1 percent, to 24,442.92.
Bloomberg News reported in the afternoon that the Trump administration will put tariffs on the rest of the country’s imports from China if Presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping don’t make substantial progress in easing the trade dispute next month. The month comes in the midst of a corporate earnings season where a number of big companies have warned that tariffs already in place have raised their costs.
Technology and internet companies, industrials and retailers took steep losses after the Bloomberg report as Wall Street’s recent bout of volatility continued. The S&P 500 index has dropped 9.4 percent in October and is on track for its worst monthly loss since February 2009. That was right before the market hit its lowest point during the 2008-09 financial crisis.
The S&P 500 index fell 17.44 points, or 0.7 percent, to 2,641.25.
Large challenges loom for Brazil’s president-elect Bolsonaro
RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Brazil’s President-elect Jair Bolsonaro signaled Monday his administration would make tackling the country’s budget-crushing pension system a top priority, doubling down on a campaign promise that made him the choice of the business community despite frequently saying he doesn’t understand the economy.
The tough-talking former army captain cruised to a 10-point victory Sunday by capitalizing on widespread frustration in Latin America’s largest economy, which has fallen on hard times less than a decade after being a darling of investors among emerging markets.
Bolsonaro’s victory moved Brazil, the world’s fourth-largest democracy, sharply to the right after four consecutive elections in which candidates from the left-leaning Workers’ Party won.
Perhaps more than belief in Bolsonaro himself, his victory represents a widespread rejection of the Workers’ Party, which was at the center of a massive corruption investigation and oversaw both Brazil’s boom and its bust.
Like other right-leaning leaders who have risen to power around the globe, Bolsonaro, who takes office Jan. 1, built his popularity on a mixture of often outrageous comments and hard-line positions, but he consolidated his lead by promising to enact market-friendly reforms.
South Dakota executes inmate who killed prison guard in 2011
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — A South Dakota inmate was put to death Monday evening for killing a correctional officer in a failed escape seven years ago on the guard’s 63rd birthday, marking the state’s first execution since 2012.
Rodney Berget, 56, received a lethal injection of an undisclosed drug for the 2011 slaying of Ronald “R.J.” Johnson, who was beaten with a pipe and had his head covered in plastic wrap at the South Dakota State Penitentiary in Sioux Falls. It was the state’s fourth execution since it reinstituted the death penalty in 1979.
The execution, originally scheduled to be carried out at 1:30 p.m. CDT, was delayed for hours while the U.S. Supreme Court weighed a last-minute legal bid to block it. Berget joked in his last words about the wait, saying, “Sorry for the delay, I got caught in traffic.”
He was soft-spoken and appeared emotional. He also thanked people for their support and mentioned two by name.
“I love you, and I’ll meet you out there,” he said while appearing to give a peace sign with his left hand.
Indonesia plane crash search finds remains, debris at sea
JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Search and rescue personnel worked through the night to find victims of the Lion Air plane crash in Indonesia, sending 24 body bags to identification experts as the airline flew dozens of grieving relatives to the country’s capital.
The 2-month-old Boeing jet crashed into the Java Sea early Monday, just minutes after taking off from Jakarta, killing all 189 people on board.
The National Search and Rescue Agency said Tuesday that 10 intact bodies as well as body parts had been recovered. President Joko Widodo had ordered the search and rescue effort to continue through the night.
The disaster has reignited concerns about safety in Indonesia’s fast-growing aviation industry, which was recently removed from European Union and U.S. blacklists.
Data pinged from the Boeing 737 Max 8 showed erratic speed, altitude and direction in the minutes after takeoff. Safety experts cautioned, however, that the data must be checked for accuracy against the plane’s so-called black boxes, if they are recovered.
NASA spacecraft sets record for closest approach to sun
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — NASA’s Parker Solar Probe is now closer to the sun than any spacecraft has ever gotten.
Parker on Monday surpassed the record of 26.6 million miles (43 million kilometers) set by Helios-2 back in 1976. And it will keep getting closer to the sun until it flies through the corona, or outer atmosphere, for the first time next week, passing within 15 million miles (24 million kilometers) of the solar surface.
Parker will make 24 close approaches to the sun over the next seven years, ultimately coming within just 3.8 million miles (6 million kilometers).
Launched in August, Parker is on track to set another record late Monday night. It will surpass Helios-2’s speed record of 153,454 miles per hour (247,000 kilometers per hour), relative to the sun.
Klay Thompson breaks Stephen Curry’s record for 3s in game
CHICAGO (AP) — Klay Thompson has broken teammate Stephen Curry’s NBA record for 3-pointers in a game with his 14th during a brilliant offensive performance by the Golden State Warriors.
Thompson set the mark with just under five minutes remaining in the third quarter Monday night against the Chicago Bulls. He was mobbed by teammates as the players headed to the sideline for a timeout, with the Warriors leading 113-69.
Golden State led 92-50 at halftime, the second highest point total for a half in NBA history. Phoenix scored 107 points in the first half of a 173-143 victory over Denver in 1990.
Thompson was just 5 for 36 from long range through Golden State’s first seven games.
Curry hit 13 3-pointers against New Orleans on Nov. 11, 2016.
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