WAREHOUSE SHOOTING-AURORA-THE LATEST
The Latest: CEO: Gunman passed background check when hired
AURORA, Ill. (AP) — The chief executive of the company that owns the warehouse where an employee gunned down five co-workers says a background check on him when he joined Henry Pratt Co.15 years ago did not turn up a 1995 felony conviction for aggravated assault in Mississippi
Scott Hall, president and CEO of Mueller Water Products Inc, which owns Henry Pratt in Aurora, Illinois, told a news conference Saturday that Gary Martin was being fired from his job when he started shooting and killed five co-workers including the human resources manager, plant manager and an intern.
He says: “We can confirm that the individual was being terminated Friday for a culmination of a various workplace rules violations.”
He says that when the shooting started, employees followed procedures and deactivated their access cards and locked down. He says there are security cameras outside but not inside the building.
EMPIRE CAST MEMBER-ATTACK
Chicago police: Jussie Smollett assault case has ‘shifted’
CHICAGO (AP) — Chicago police say “the trajectory of the investigation” into the reported attack on Jussie Smollett has shifted and they want to conduct another interview with the “Empire” actor.
Chicago police late Friday released without charges two Nigerian brothers they had detained for questioning earlier in the week.
On Saturday, Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi issued a statement saying: “We can confirm that the information received from the individuals questioned by police earlier in the Empire case has in fact shifted the trajectory of the investigation. We’ve reached out to the Empire cast member’s attorney to request a follow-up interview.”
Smollett, who is black and gay, has said he was attacked by two masked men shouting racial and anti-gay slurs and “This is MAGA country!” He said they looped a rope around his neck before running away as he was out getting food at a Subway restaurant early on Jan. 29. He said they also poured some kind of chemical on him.
Police have been unable to find surveillance video of the attack.
A spokeswoman for Smollett did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Guglielmi’s statement.
See AP’s complete coverage of the Jussie Smollett case: https://www.apnews.com/JussieSmollett
State Department: Nauert out as pick for UN ambassador
WASHINGTON (AP) — The State Department says Heather Nauert, picked by President Donald Trump to be the next U.S. ambassador to the United Nations but never officially nominated, has withdrawn.
Nauert, State Department spokeswoman, said that “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 was a Fox News Channel reporter with little foreign policy experience when she joined the State Department as spokeswoman less than two years ago.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he respected Nauert’s decision and that she had performed her duties as a senior member of his team “with unequalled excellence.”
The State Department said Trump would announce a nominee for the position “soon.”
Potential privacy lapse found in Americans’ 2010 census data
WASHINGTON (AP) — A top Census Bureau official says an internal agency team found that basic personal information collected from more than 100 million Americans during the 2010 head count could be reconstructed from encrypted data — but with lots of mistakes.
So far, this privacy vulnerability has only been captured by internal hacking teams, and no outside groups are known to have grabbed data that’s supposed to be private for 72 years.
The agency’s chief scientist, John Abowd, tells a scientific conference in Washington that the data vulnerability potentially affects 138 million people.
The Census Bureau is scrapping its old data shielding technique for a state-of-the-art method that Abowd says is far better than Google’s or Apple’s.
VATICAN-US-CHURCH ABUSE-THE LATEST
The Latest: Cardinal calls McCarrick punishment ‘important’
VATICAN CITY (AP) — The archbishop of Boston says the Vatican’s decision to defrock former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick is an important step for “administering justice” for McCarrick’s crimes.
Cardinal Sean O’Malley issued a statement Saturday after the announcement that McCarrick had been found guilty by the Vatican of sex abuse, including while hearing confession.
O’Malley says church leaders “must enforce accountability for cardinals and bishops.”
O’Malley says his archdiocese is committed to taking reports of abuse seriously, saying it has a “moral responsibility” to be always vigilant.
Climate change means more floods, great and localized
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — The growing realization that ever-more ferocious storms are becoming more common as the result of global warming is forcing government officials to revisit how they respond to natural disasters.
In South Carolina late last year, Republican Gov. Henry McMaster created a special floodwater commission. The group will be tasked with figuring out how to better combat flooding unleashed by hurricanes, rising ocean levels and other rain systems upstream that send rivers and creeks over their banks on the way to the Atlantic Ocean.
Larry Larson is a former director and senior policy adviser for the Association of State Floodplain Managers. He says officials need to start using forecast tools that predict several different scenarios depending on temperature rise, rather than relying on flood maps based on past events.
ELECTION 2020-CAMPAIGN RDP-THE LATEST
The Latest: Gillibrand accuses Trump of dividing people
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, in her second day of campaigning in New Hampshire, issued a rebuke of what she called President Donald Trump’s divisive language.
The New York senator and Democratic presidential candidate told a crowd of about 450 people Saturday at Dartmouth College — her alma mater — that the president’s worst offense since he was elected has been to “dehumanize people” and create a climate of fear and hatred, especially toward immigrants.
Gillibrand said Trump wants Americans “to be afraid of one another.” She insisted “that’s not who we are.”
Gillibrand, who took questions from the audience, said she favors a single-payer health care system modeled on Medicare and would take on climate change by incentivizing the creation of renewable energy. She added that she was optimistic that “common sense” gun laws would pass now that young voters are calling for change.
Gone in a New York minute: How the Amazon deal fell apart
NEW YORK (AP) — When Amazon chose the Long Island City neighborhood of Queens to build a $2.5 billion campus that could house 25,000 workers, New York’s top brass saw it as a major coup.
But what they didn’t expect was the protests, the hostile public hearings and the disparaging tweets that would come in the next three months, eventually leading to Amazon’s dramatic Valentine’s Day breakup with the city.
The list of grievances was long: the deal was done secretively; Amazon didn’t need nearly $3 billion in tax incentives; and rising rents could push people out of the neighborhood.
City officials and union leaders were talking to Amazon until the last minute. Then the company surprised even the city’s mayor by announcing they were ditching New York in a blog post.
ALL-STAR WEEKEND-THE LATEST
The Latest: OKC’s Diallo leaps over Shaq to win dunk contest
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Oklahoma City’s Hamidou Diallo is the NBA’s slam dunk champion.
Going over Shaquille O’Neal in the first round, then getting a boost from rapper Quavo in the finale, Diallo soared to the crown by topping New York’s Dennis Smith Jr.
Diallo topped Smith 88-85 in the finale. Charlotte’s Miles Bridges and Atlanta’s John Collins went out in the first round.
Smith leapfrogged Miami’s Dwyane Wade and took a lob from Stephen Curry to give himself a chance with his last dunk, getting a perfect score from the judges — and a round of boos from the crowd, many of whom weren’t that impressed.
That left Diallo as the night’s final participant.
Diallo pulled off a dunk that will be talked about for years in the first round — dunking over O’Neal, hanging on the rim by his elbow, then tearing open his jersey to reveal a “Superman” shirt underneath. And then he plucked the ball from Quavo as he went airborne for the dunk that sealed the title.
Scattered yellow vest protests against Macron, anti-Semitism
PARIS (AP) — Yellow vest protesters are holding scattered demonstrations around Paris and the rest of France amid waning support for their movement.
A few hundred people gathered peacefully Saturday on the Champs-Elysees, the stage of past rioting. This marks the 14th straight weekend of demonstrations by a movement that started against fuel taxes and grew to a mass movement against President Emmanuel Macron and his pro-business policies.
Another protest planned later Saturday was organized to denounce anti-Semitism, after recent anti-Semitic vandal attacks that raised national concern. Some yellow vest protesters have expressed racist views online and on the sidelines of protests, and French authorities fear the weekend protests are radicalizing.
Polls suggest public support is fading for the weekend protests, which often descend into shocking violence between demonstrators and police.
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