Published: 9:04 pm, Thu. Apr. 20th, 2017
Paris police shot on Champs-Elysees; IS group claims attack
PARIS (AP) — A gunman opened fire on police on Paris’ iconic Champs-Elysees boulevard Thursday night, killing one officer and wounding three people before police shot and killed him. The Islamic State group quickly claimed responsibility for the attack, which hit just three days before a tense presidential election.
Security already has been a dominant theme in the campaign, and the violence on the sparkling avenue threatened to weigh on voters’ decisions. Candidates canceled or rescheduled final campaign events ahead of Sunday’s first round vote.
Investigators searched a home early Friday in an eastern suburb of Paris believed linked to the attack. A police document obtained by The Associated Press identifies the address searched in the town of Chelles as the family home of Karim Cheurfi, a 39-year-old with a criminal record.
Police tape surrounded the quiet, middle-class neighborhood in Chelles, and worried neighbors expressed surprise at the searches. Archive reports by French newspaper Le Parisien say that Cheurfi was convicted of attacking a police officer in 2001.
Authorities are trying to determine whether “one or more people” might have helped the attacker, Interior Ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet told reporters at the scene of the shooting.
Trump raps Iran as violating ‘spirit’ of nuclear deal
WASHINGTON (AP) — Iran is failing to fulfill the “spirit” of its nuclear deal with world powers, President Donald Trump declared Thursday, setting an ominous tone for his forthcoming decision about whether to pull the U.S. out of the landmark agreement.
As he often had during the president campaign, Trump ripped into the deal struck by Iran, the U.S. and other world powers in 2015 and said “it shouldn’t have been signed.” Yet he pointedly stopped sort of telegraphing whether or not the U.S. would stay in.
“They are not living up to the spirit of the agreement, I can tell you that,” Trump said of the Iranians, though he did not mention any specific violations. Earlier this week, the administration certified to Congress than Iran was complying — at least technically — with the terms of the deal, clearing the way for Iran to continue enjoying sanctions relief in the near term.
In a news conference alongside Italian Premier Paolo Gentiloni, Trump also said:
— The U.S. is committed to a strong Europe, though he didn’t say directly whether he prefers that the European Union stay intact.
10 Things to Know for Friday
Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Friday:
1. ISLAMIC STATE GROUP CLAIMS PARIS ATTACK ON POLICE OFFICERS
French presidential candidates cancel or reschedule last-minute campaign events ahead of Sunday’s first round vote in the tense election.
2. TRUMP RAPS IRAN AS VIOLATING ‘SPIRIT’ OF NUCLEAR DEAL
The president sets an ominous tone for his forthcoming decision about whether to pull the U.S. out of the landmark agreement struck with Tehran in 2015.
Iran approves 6 to run for president, but Ahmadinejad is out
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — An Iranian panel charged with vetting candidates approved the country’s incumbent president and five challengers but disqualified former hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad from running in next month’s presidential election, state television reported Thursday.
The decision by the Guardian Council means that President Hassan Rouhani, a relative moderate, will face off against a field that includes two prominent hard-liners: Ebrahim Raisi, who is considered close to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and Tehran Mayor Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf.
The Guardian Council, a cleric-dominated body, controls elections and must approve all laws passed by parliament. It has never allowed a woman to run for president and routinely rejects political dissidents and others calling for dramatic reform.
Other presidential candidates who made the cut, according to an Interior Ministry statement carried by state TV, include moderate Senior Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri, former conservative culture minister Mostafa Mirsalim, and former pro-reform vice president Mostafa Hashemitaba.
Ahmadinejad, who remains a deeply polarizing figure even among Iranian hard-liners, had shocked the country by registering last week. Khamenei had previously urged him not to run.
GM quits Venezuela after government seizes its factory
VALENCIA, Venezuela (AP) — General Motors announced Thursday that it was shuttering its operations in Venezuela after authorities seized its factory in the country, a move that could draw the Trump administration into the escalating chaos engulfing the South American nation amid days of deadly protests.
The plant in the industrial city of Valencia was confiscated Wednesday as anti-government protesters clashed with security forces and pro-government groups in a country battered by economic troubles, including food shortages and triple-digit inflation. Three people were killed and hundreds arrested in the deadliest day of protests since the unrest began three weeks ago.
The seizure arose from an almost 20-year-old lawsuit brought by a former GM dealership in western Venezuela. The dealership had been seeking damages from GM of 476 million bolivars — about $665 million at the official exchange rate, or $115 million on the black market where many Venezuelans are forced to turn to sell their increasingly worthless currency. GM said it was notified this week that a low-level court ordered the seizure of its plant, bank accounts and other assets in the country.
Hundreds of workers desperate for information about their jobs gathered at the plant Thursday to meet with government and military officials, as well as representatives of the dealership that brought the lawsuit. The neglected factory hasn’t produced a car since 2015 but GM still has 79 dealers that employ 3,900 people in Venezuela, where for decades it was the market leader.
General Motors’ announcement came as Venezuela’s opposition moved to keep up pressure on President Nicolas Maduro, taking to the streets again Thursday a day after the biggest anti-government demonstrations in years.
Arkansas poised to carry out first execution since 2005
VARNER, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas was poised Thursday to carry out its first execution since 2005 after three other lethal injections planned by the end of the month were scrapped in the face of court challenges.
A ruling from the state Supreme Court allowing officials to use a lethal injection drug that a supplier says was obtained by misleading the company cleared the way for Arkansas to proceed to execute Ledell Lee on Thursday night. But with his death warrant set to expire at midnight, the U.S. Supreme Court was still considering several appeals.
Arkansas dropped plans to execute a second inmate, Stacey Johnson, on the same day after the state Supreme Court said it wouldn’t reconsider his stay, which was issued so Johnson could seek more DNA tests in hopes of proving his innocence.
The state originally set four double executions over an 11-day period in April. The eight executions would have been the most by a state in such a compressed period since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976. The state says the executions need to be carried out before its supply of one lethal injection drug, midazolam, expires on April 30. Three executions were canceled because of court decisions, and legal rulings have put at least one of the other five in doubt.
Lee was set to be executed for the 1993 death of his neighbor Debra Reese, who was struck 36 times with a tire tool her husband had given her for protection. A prison spokesman said Lee on Thursday declined a last meal and opted instead to receive communion.
In final hours, Hernandez thought of family, not football
BOSTON (AP) — Family, not football, dominated Aaron Hernandez’s final hours as a lifer in prison.
As the hour of his death approached, the former NFL star chatted on the phone with his longtime fiancee, Shayanna Jenkins-Hernandez. Authorities say the pair stayed on the phone until the 8 p.m. lockdown at the maximum-security prison where he was serving a life sentence for murder.
Alone in his cell, the ex-New England Patriots tight end scribbled three notes. He laid them carefully next to a Bible.
Then he turned his bedsheet into a noose and hanged himself.
Those cryptic details emerged Thursday as authorities ruled Hernandez’s death a suicide and turned his body over to a funeral home so his family could lay him to rest.
Gunfire sensors credited with quick arrest in Fresno rampage
FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — Acoustic sensors mounted on lampposts and telephone poles picked up the crack of gunfire and rapidly enabled police to zero in on where it was coming from. Within minutes, the alleged gunman in the deadly rampage was under arrest.
Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer credited the technology Wednesday with the swift capture of Kori Ali Muhammad, a 39-year-old black man who authorities say killed three people Tuesday in a bid to wipe out as many whites as possible.
“He was in custody within 4 minutes and 13 seconds,” Dyer said Wednesday at a news conference where he played audio clips of the ShotSpotter technology. “Kori Muhammad would be outstanding today if it wasn’t for shots-fired detection.”
First developed two decades ago, ShotSpotter technology has been used widely since 2011 in U.S. cities. The Fresno rampage is one of the more serious crimes in which it played a vital role.
Police say Muhammad randomly targeted white men he encountered in a tree-lined Fresno neighborhood, firing 17 rounds within a few minutes before running out of ammunition, police said.
Without O’Reilly, Fox News faces its toughest test
NEW YORK (AP) — Fox News Channel has thrived despite losing founding leader Roger Ailes and next generation star Megyn Kelly within the past nine months. Wednesday’s firing of defining personality Bill O’Reilly will be its toughest test yet.
Fox moved quickly to install a new lineup after announcing O’Reilly’s exit due to several harassment allegations by women, which he continues to deny. Outside pressure isn’t leaving with him; members of the National Organization for Women demonstrated outside Fox’s headquarters Thursday, saying the company’s workplace culture won’t really change unless management cleans house of other high-ranking executives who knew about the sexual harassment but didn’t do anything.
For most of Fox’s existence, O’Reilly had been the linchpin of its success as the most visible and most watched host. Fox’s viewership at 9 p.m. went up when Tucker Carlson replaced Kelly in January — her battles with Donald Trump cost her support among many Fox viewers — but don’t expect Carlson to repeat the feat when he moves an hour earlier on Monday.
“There’s going to be some dismay among the Fox audience,” said Tim Graham, director of media analysis at the conservative watchdog Media Research Center. “The real question is what happens next. If they offer the same generic product, then it will be forgive and forget.”
Announcing a new lineup at the same time as the O’Reilly firing was smart, Graham said, because it enabled some viewers to say, “Oh, that’s not bad. I can live with that.”
Germ in raw milk, poultry now tops food poisoning list
NEW YORK (AP) — The U.S. government’s latest report card on food poisoning suggests that a germ commonly linked to raw milk and poultry is surpassing salmonella at the top of the culprit list.
The report counts cases in only 10 states for nine of the most common causes of foodborne illness, but is believed to be a good indicator of national food poisoning trends.
Highlights from Thursday’s report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
WHAT’S MAKING US SICK?
The most common bug last year was campylobacter (kam-pih-loh-BAK’-tur). It’s mostly a problem in unpasteurized dairy products, but also is seen in contaminated chicken, water, and produce. Salmonella was No. 1 for the last 20 years but last year moved down to No. 2. Other causes like listeria, shigella (shih-GEHL’-uh) and E. coli trail behind.