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Missouri governor indicted on felony invasion of privacy charge

Missouri governor indicted on felony invasion of privacy charge Kimberly Gardner, the top prosecutor in the city of St. Louis, said in a statement that the indictment involves an incident that took place on March 21, 2015. Greitens photographed a woman identified as K.S., who was fully or partially nude, without her knowledge or consent in a place where she could expect privacy, according to the indictment and Gardner's spokeswoman Susan Ryan.


Exclusive: U.S. official focused on election security being replaced

Exclusive: U.S. official focused on election security being replaced By Dustin Volz WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The head of a federal commission who has helped U.S. states protect election systems from possible cyber attacks by Russia or others is being replaced at the behest of Republican House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan and the White House. Matthew Masterson, a member of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission who currently serves as its chairman, has been passed over for a second four-year term as one of the agency's four commissioners.


Armed deputy who failed to confront gunman at Florida school resigns

Armed deputy who failed to confront gunman at Florida school resigns The armed sheriff's deputy assigned to the Florida high school where 17 people were shot dead has resigned rather than face suspension after an internal investigation showed he failed to enter the school to confront the gunman during the attack, the county sheriff said on Thursday. Deputy Scot Peterson, who was on duty and in uniform as the resource officer posted at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, was the only law enforcement officer present on Feb. 14 when the rampage started, Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said. Peterson's actions were caught on video during the massacre, which ranks as the second-deadliest shooting ever at a U.S. public school, carried out by a lone gunman wielding a semiautomatic AR-15-style assault rifle.


Puerto Rico governor announces independent probe into Maria death toll

Puerto Rico governor announces independent probe into Maria death toll Puerto Rico's governor said on Thursday he has tapped researchers at the George Washington University, in Washington, D.C., to lead an independent probe into his administration's controversial tally of deaths caused by Hurricane Maria. Governor Ricardo Rossello said in a statement it was "of great interest to the state to identify how many lives were lost" in Maria, announcing an investigation led by Carlos Santos-Burgoa, director of the Global Health Policy Program at GWU's Milken Institute School of Public Health.


White North Carolina man convicted of murdering unarmed black man

White North Carolina man convicted of murdering unarmed black man Chad Copley, 40, was found guilty of fatally shooting 20-year-old Kouren Thomas outside his Raleigh home, said attorney Justin Bamberg, who was in the Wake County courtroom for the two-week trial. An email message left for Copley's attorney was not immediately returned. Copley faces life without the possibility of parole when he is sentenced on Friday.


Texas commutes death sentence, Florida executes murderer

Texas commutes death sentence, Florida executes murderer Texas Governor Greg Abbott commuted the death sentence of a convicted murderer less than an hour before he was set to be executed on Thursday, after the death row inmate's family begged for mercy and won a rare clemency recommendation. Florida executed a man convicted of the 1993 rape and murder of a college student, its Department of Corrections said, while Alabama plans to execute a convicted murderer later in the evening. In Texas, Thomas Whitaker, 38, was convicted of masterminding a 2003 plot against his family in which his mother Tricia, 51, and brother Kevin, 19, were killed.


Easy fixes to school security prove elusive after Florida shooting

Easy fixes to school security prove elusive after Florida shooting "It's not a matter of if, but when," he wrote in the Orlando Sentinel on Jan. 29, urging legislators to boost spending on school security after two school shootings in other states in January. Following last week's mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, Lee has renewed calls for more funding for matters ranging from mental health counseling to emergency lockdown systems. State lawmakers, facing pressure from angry students, have signaled they will boost security funding after failing to do so for years.


Two top White House advisers may leave over tensions with Trump: sources

Two top White House advisers may leave over tensions with Trump: sources Longstanding friction between U.S. President Donald Trump and two top aides, the National Security Adviser and the Chief of Staff, has grown to a point that either or both might quit soon, four senior administration officials said. Both H.R. McMaster and John Kelly are military men considered by U.S. political observers as moderating influences on the president by imposing a routine on the White House. Asked about sources saying that either National Security Adviser McMaster or Chief of Staff Kelly, or both, might be leaving, White House spokesman Raj Shah on Thursday did not address the possibility.


Pennsylvania Republicans file second challenge to new congressional map

Pennsylvania Republicans file second challenge to new congressional map The lawsuit, filed in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, accused the state's Supreme Court of violating the U.S. Constitution, first by invalidating the old map and then by drawing its own lines after Republicans and Democratic Governor Tom Wolf could not reach an agreement. "We are unwilling to acquiesce to the court's attempt to hijack the functions of the legislative and executive branches," Pennsylvania Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman, a Republican, said in a statement. The complaint came one day after Republican legislative leaders filed a separate emergency appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.


BlackRock puts gunmakers on notice after Florida school shooting

BlackRock puts gunmakers on notice after Florida school shooting BOSTON/NEW YORK (Reuters) - The world's largest asset manager put U.S. gunmakers on notice on Thursday that it is no longer business as usual in the wake of a shooting that killed 17 at a Florida high school. BlackRock Inc said it will speak with weapons manufacturers and distributors "to understand their response" to the second-deadliest shooting at a public school in U.S. history, putting pressure on companies such as Sturm Ruger & Company Inc and American Outdoor Brands Corp. It stopped short of saying it would divest its funds of gun companies, however.


Florida lawyer sentenced to more than two years for insider trading scheme

Florida lawyer sentenced to more than two years for insider trading scheme A Florida lawyer was sentenced to two years and three months in prison on Thursday for engaging in insider trading based on information that he improperly obtained from his law firm's databases and also passed on to a friend. Walter "Chet" Little, 44, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Katherine Polk Failla in Manhattan. A friend accused of receiving tips from him, Andrew Berke, was also charged.


Exclusive: U.S. official focused on election security being replaced

Exclusive: U.S. official focused on election security being replaced The head of a federal commission who has helped U.S. states protect election systems from possible cyber attacks by Russia or others is being replaced at the behest of Republican House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan and the White House. Matthew Masterson, a member of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission who currently serves as its chairman, has been passed over for a second four-year term as one of the agency's four commissioners.


Armed deputy at Florida school resigns after failing to engage shooter

Armed deputy at Florida school resigns after failing to engage shooter The armed deputy assigned to the campus of a Florida high school during a deadly shooting last week stayed outside the building during the attack and failed to engage the shooter, the county sheriff said on Thursday. As a consequence, Scott Peterson, on duty as the school resource officer at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, resigned from the department, said Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel, who earlier has suspended the officer from the force. Israel said he decided to suspend Peterson after viewing a video that showed the deputy's actions during the rampage that killed 17 people.


California state senator resigns after sexual misconduct accusations

California state senator resigns after sexual misconduct accusations A California state senator accused of engaging in "unwelcome flirtation and sexually suggestive behavior" with several women, including subordinates, resigned on Thursday as colleagues were due to vote on whether he should be expelled. Tony Mendoza, a Los Angeles-area lawmaker, became the third member of the California legislature, all Democrats, to resign over allegations of sexual misconduct since the #MeToo movement took root last fall, toppling powerful men in politics, the media and other realms of American life. "None of these women alleged they had a sexual relationship with Mendoza or that he had been physically aggressive or sexually crude towards them," the report said.


Missouri governor indicted on felony invasion of privacy charge: prosecutor

Missouri governor indicted on felony invasion of privacy charge: prosecutor (Reuters) - Missouri Governor Eric Greitens was indicted on a felony invasion of privacy charge, a St. Louis prosecutor said in a statement on Thursday. Kimberly Gardner, city of St. Louis circuit attorney, cited an incident that took place on March 21, 2015, in St. Louis.


U.S. special counsel files new charges against Trump former campaign aides

U.S. special counsel files new charges against Trump former campaign aides By Sarah N. Lynch WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller filed a new set of criminal charges on Thursday against President Donald Trump's former campaign aides Paul Manafort and Rick Gates that include bank and tax fraud, escalating a legal battle that started last year. The charges were contained in a 32-count indictment against the two men that was filed in the Eastern District of Virginia in Alexandria. Manafort and Gates are already facing criminal charges by Mueller's office in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia that include conspiracy to launder money, conspiracy to defraud the United States and failure to register as foreign agents for political work they did for a pro-Russian Ukrainian political party.


U.S. gun lobby slams anti-gun 'elites' after Florida school massacre

U.S. gun lobby slams anti-gun 'elites' after Florida school massacre The head of the National Rifle Association lashed out at gun control advocates on Thursday, saying Democratic elites are politicizing the latest mass school shooting in the United States to try to erode constitutionally guaranteed gun rights. NRA chief executive Wayne LaPierre echoed President Donald Trump's call to arm teachers to prevent school shootings, and weighed in on a long-running political and cultural divide over access to weapons that has been inflamed by last week's massacre at a Florida high school that killed 17 students and staff. "The elites don't care not one whit about America's school system and school children," LaPierre told a friendly audience of conservatives outside Washington.


First National Bank of Omaha won't renew NRA contract for Visa card

First National Bank of Omaha won't renew NRA contract for Visa card (Reuters) - First National Bank of Omaha will not renew a contract with the National Rifle Association (NRA) to issue an NRA-branded Visa card, the bank said on Thursday. "Customer feedback has caused us to review our relationship with the NRA," said First National Bank of Omaha spokesman Kevin Langin.


Trump's call for more gun regulation boosts firearm stocks

Trump's call for more gun regulation boosts firearm stocks By Noel Randewich SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Shares of gunmakers American Outdoor Brands and Sturm Ruger & Company rallied on Thursday after U.S. President Donald Trump advocated tightening background checks for guns in response to last week's high school massacre in Florida. The Republican president's tweets and comments were seen as increasing the possibility of greater curbs on gun ownership, fueling expectation that people might seek to stock up on guns in advance of any changes. Both of those sentiments had dipped since Trump was elected in November 2016 - illustrating a paradox under which a president viewed as more favorable to gun ownership can depress gun sales and shares in gunmakers.


With elections imminent, Italy pulls out the stops to fight fake news

With elections imminent, Italy pulls out the stops to fight fake news With parliamentary elections looming on March 4, they’ve been fighting fake news for the past three weeks of the electoral campaign. Each morning, they decide which fake story they’ll spend the day debunking, choosing from a pool of fake news, misleading titles, and articles that mix real and false elements. “In these first days of the program, when we’re still trying to show people what we do and that they can trust us, we’re focusing on the more blatantly false stories,” says Mr. Zagni, the chief editor of the team of independent fact checkers hired by Facebook Italy ahead of the election.


Sheriff at White House meeting dogged by questions about 'offensive' jokes and controversial comments

Sheriff at White House meeting dogged by questions about 'offensive' jokes and controversial comments Controversial North Carolina sheriff Charles McDonald, who was among 10 local officials joining President Trump at Thursday’s White House meeting on school safety, has faced questions about his spending and comments he made about anti-Trump protesters last year, and was sued by a former deputy for discrimination last month.


Three executions planned Thursday in three U.S. states

Three executions planned Thursday in three U.S. states A trio of inmates are scheduled to be executed on Thursday, one each in Alabama, Florida and Texas, raising the possibility that U.S. prison authorities will carry out three death sentences on the same day for the first time since 2010. The circumstances behind each case could halt any of the executions, including the one in Texas, where the convict received an unprecedented clemency recommendation. The state has conducted all three of this year's U.S. executions.


As midterms approach, will US offer unified defense of its elections?

As midterms approach, will US offer unified defense of its elections? Russia will try to meddle in the upcoming 2018 US mid-term elections. Will Washington be unified in defense of America when they do? Kremlin-linked social media trolls and bots, as revealed in last week’s indictment by special counsel Robert Mueller of 13 Russians and three Russian companies, are just one part of a larger strategy to further divide a nation already riven by its own partisan divisions.


Trump: Active shooter drills 'a very negative thing'

Trump: Active shooter drills 'a very negative thing' President Trump signaled Thursday that he does not believe that active shooter drills at the nation's schools are a good way to address the rash of gun violence plaguing them. 


'France first', far right's Marechal-Le Pen says in comeback speech

'France first', far right's Marechal-Le Pen says in comeback speech France should follow U.S. President Donald Trump's lead and fight for "France first", Marion Marechal-Le Pen, seen as a potential leader of France's far right, told U.S conservatives on Thursday in her first public appearance in months. The 28-year-old former lawmaker, granddaughter of National Front founder Jean-Marie Le Pen and niece of party leader Marine Le Pen, temporarily withdrew from politics after her aunt's presidential election defeat last May. But she has long been viewed in France as a possible future leader of the National Front, and the fact that she was a keynote speaker at a conference that both Trump and U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence were addressing was widely commented on in French media as posing a challenge for Marine Le Pen.


Intel did not tell U.S. cyber officials about chip flaws until made public

Intel did not tell U.S. cyber officials about chip flaws until made public Intel Corp did not inform U.S. cyber security officials of the so-called Meltdown and Spectre chip security flaws until they leaked to the public, six months after Alphabet Inc notified the chipmaker of the problems, according to letters sent by tech companies to lawmakers on Thursday. Current and former U.S. government officials have raised concerns that the government was not informed of the flaws before they became public because the flaws potentially held national security implications. Intel said it did not think the flaws needed to be shared with U.S. authorities as hackers had not exploited the vulnerabilities.


White House: Trump not looking to ban an entire class of firearms

White House: Trump not looking to ban an entire class of firearms President Donald Trump does not want to ban the sales of an entire class of firearms, the White House said on Thursday, despite mounting pressure to put assault weapons such as the one used in last week's deadly school shooting out of civilian reach. "We don't think the immediate policy response would be to ban an entire class of firearms," White House spokesman Raj Shah said at a daily press briefing.


Trump predicts NRA will back raising age limit on gun purchases

Trump predicts NRA will back raising age limit on gun purchases Amid a national debate over U.S. gun laws in the wake of last week’s deadly school shooting in Parkland, Fla., President Trump on Thursday pledged action and laid out his ideas for school safety — even as the National Rifle Association is resisting calls for change.


What is really scarce in a water drought

What is really scarce in a water drought Earlier this year, the South African city of Cape Town was told that it would make history by April 16. On that date, dubbed Day Zero, it was expected to become the world’s first major city to run out of water because of an extended drought. Rather, the people of Cape Town have cut their water consumption.


Puerto Rico should rebuild power from scratch: U.S. Fed official

Puerto Rico should rebuild power from scratch: U.S. Fed official Puerto Rico should "start from scratch" rebuilding its already outdated power infrastructure after deadly Hurricane Maria last year devastated it and left citizens marooned, the U.S. central banker overseeing the island territory said on Thursday. New York Fed President William Dudley did not comment on U.S. interest rates in a presentation of research on the effects of the storm that struck on Sept. 20. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York, whose district includes the Caribbean island, said Maria wiped out about 4 percent of its jobs, the fifth-worst among U.S. disaster regions in recent decades.


U.S. budget deal grants $1.5 billion for drug-affected babies, families

U.S. budget deal grants $1.5 billion for drug-affected babies, families (This version of the Feb 9 story corrects in 10th paragraph to 'prevention' from 'intervention') By Duff Wilson and John Shiffman WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A U.S. budget deal adopted by Congress on Friday includes what advocates call a landmark compromise to provide an estimated $1.5 billion over 10 years to try to keep struggling families together, including those with babies born dependent on opioids. The provision allows assistance on mental health, substance abuse and parenting whenever any child is deemed at imminent risk of entering foster care. The funding is part of a bipartisan budget deal passed by lawmakers which alleviates spending fights that marked President Donald Trump's first year in office, but sets the stage for a battle over immigration and exploding deficits ahead of November's congressional elections.


US seeks energy 'dominance.' But is that a shield against geopolitical risks?

US seeks energy 'dominance.' But is that a shield against geopolitical risks? For decades, haunted by fears of oil shortages, the United States made “energy independence” its goal. “There seems to be a desire to use energy as a geopolitical tool more aggressively,” suggests Meghan O’Sullivan, author of “Windfall,” a book about the blessings that America’s energy abundance has brought. US deposits of shale oil and gas, newly reachable through fracking, have profoundly transformed those markets.


U.S. charges more than 250 in elder fraud scam crackdown

U.S. charges more than 250 in elder fraud scam crackdown More than 250 people were charged in a major U.S. crackdown on elder fraud scams that victimized over 1 million people and led to $500 million in losses, the Justice Department announced on Thursday. The scams included the use of mass mailing, telemarketing and investment frauds as well as identity theft and theft by guardians, the department said in a statement announcing the criminal and civil charges. "Today is only the beginning. I have directed department prosecutors to coordinate with both domestic law enforcement partners and foreign counterparts to stop these criminals from exploiting our seniors," Attorney General Jeff Sessions said.


Takata agrees to settle U.S. probe by 44 state AGs over deadly air bags

Takata agrees to settle U.S. probe by 44 state AGs over deadly air bags Takata Corp's U.S. unit agreed Thursday to settle a probe by 44 state attorneys general into claims it concealed a deadly safety defect with air bag inflators. TK Holdings Inc, which is in bankruptcy reorganization proceedings, agreed in the settlement to a $650 million civil penalty over the defect linked to at least 22 deaths. In February 2017, Takata pleaded in a U.S. federal court to a felony charge as part of a $1 billion settlement that included compensation funds for automakers and victims of its faulty air bag inflators in connection with the largest automotive recall in history.


Florida doctor linked to New Jersey senator sentenced in fraud case

Florida doctor linked to New Jersey senator sentenced in fraud case Ophthalmologist Salomon Melgen was also ordered to repay $42 million to Medicare following an eight-week jury trial, in which he was convicted last April on 67 counts of health care fraud and related charges, U.S. Attorney for Southern Florida Benjamin Greenberg said. The sentence, imposed by U.S. District Judge Kenneth Marra in West Palm Beach, Florida, also calls for three years of supervised release after Melgen serves his prison time, and the possibility of more restitution to insurance companies and patients, Greenberg said.


Billy Graham to lie in honor at Capitol: House speaker

Billy Graham to lie in honor at Capitol: House speaker The body of evangelist Billy Graham will lie in honor under the U.S. Capitol rotunda next week as Congress pays tribute to a clergyman who counseled presidents and preached the Gospel to millions worldwide, House Speaker Paul Ryan said on Thursday. Graham, who died at his home near Asheville, North Carolina, on Wednesday at age 99, will arrive at the white-domed Capitol on Feb. 28 and lie in honor there until the following day, Ryan said in a statement. "Members of the public and Capitol Hill community are invited to pay their respects to the late reverend while he lies in rest," the speaker of the House of Representatives said.


Trump emphasizes arming teachers as response to school shootings

Trump emphasizes arming teachers as response to school shootings WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday emphasized that he wants to see trained teachers able to carry concealed guns to ward off potential school shooters, and said he has recently spoken with the National Rifle Association about his ideas. During an hour-long meeting with state and local officials on school safety in the wake of last week's mass shooting in Florida, Trump brushed aside a suggestion of mandatory active-shooter drills for schools, and said he did not like the idea of having more armed guards in schools. ...


BMW settles U.S. claims it refused lease refunds to military personnel

BMW settles U.S. claims it refused lease refunds to military personnel In the first case of its kind, the U.S. Department of Justice on Thursday said BMW Financial Services NA violated the federal Servicemembers Civil Relief Act by having since August 2011 refused to reimburse so-called capitalized cost reductions to service members who ended their leases early. BMW's payout includes $2.17 million to compensate the 492 service members, plus $60,788 to the U.S. Treasury. Capitalized cost reductions are upfront payments made to reduce monthly lease payments, and typically amount to thousands of dollars.


Trump aides say U.S. forces can legally stay in Syria, Iraq indefinitely

Trump aides say U.S. forces can legally stay in Syria, Iraq indefinitely President Trump has all the legal authority he needs to keep U.S. forces in Syria and Iraq indefinitely, the Pentagon and State Department told Sen. Tim Kaine, who has been pushing for a new AUMF.


Lawsuit says race motivated Trump to end immigrant protections

Lawsuit says race motivated Trump to end immigrant protections By Nate Raymond BOSTON (Reuters) - A group of Haitian and Salvadoran immigrants on Thursday filed a lawsuit claiming that the decision by U.S. President Donald Trump's administration to terminate the protections that allowed them to remain in the country was racially motivated. The lawsuit filed in federal court in Boston seeks to challenge the Trump administration's decision to terminate the temporary protective status enjoyed by thousands of immigrants from Haiti and El Salvador. The lawsuit cited statements it said showed the Republican president's "dislike and disregard for Latino and Black immigrants," most recently in reported remarks in January by Trump saying immigrants from Africa and Haiti come from "shithole countries." "The animus directed towards Latino and Black immigrants is a clear and unfortunate thread running throughout President Trump's statements - and is actualized by his Administration’s policies, such as the ones challenged by this lawsuit," the complaint said.