- House passes funding planUnited States 12:30pm - 5,143 views
- Trump co-accused flipsUnited States Sep 29 - 23,614 views
- Navy to test for steroidsUnited States Sep 29 - 1,758 views
- Charged in Tupac's murderLas Vegas Sep 29 - 17,278 views
- Serious flooding in NYCNew York City Sep 29 - 11,775 views
- Oldest senator passesCalifornia Sep 29 - 2,336 views
- 3 dead in shootingsNetherlands Sep 29 - 1,817 views
- Gang violence escalatesSweden Sep 29 - 2,073 views
On the brink of a federal government shutdown, the House on Saturday swiftly approved a 45-day funding bill to keep federal agencies open as Speaker Kevin McCarthy dropped demands for steep spending cuts and relied on Democratic votes for passage to send the package to the Senate.
The new approach would leave behind aid to Ukraine, a White House priority opposed by a growing number of GOP lawmakers, but the plan would increase federal disaster assistance by $16 billion, meeting President Joe Biden’s full request. The package was approved 335-91, with most Republicans and almost all Democrats supporting. the bill.
With hours to go before the midnight deadline to fund the government, the Senate was also in for a rare weekend session and prepared to act next.
“We’re going to do our job,” McCarthy said before the House vote. “We’re going to be adults in the room. And we’re going to keep government open.”
With no deal in place before Sunday, federal workers will face furloughs, more than 2 million active-duty and reserve military troops will work without pay and programs and services that Americans rely on from coast to coast will begin to face shutdown disruptions.
The House measure would fund government at current 2023 levels for 45 days, through Nov. 17, moving closer to the bipartisan approach in the Senate. But the Senate package would have added $6 billion for Ukraine to fight the war against Russia and $6 billion for U.S. disaster relief.
Both chambers came to a standstill as lawmakers assessed their options, some decrying the loss of Ukraine aid.
"The American people deserve better," said House Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries of New York, warning in a lengthy floor speech that “extreme" Republicans were risking shutdown.
For the House package to be approved, McCarthy, R-Calif., was forced to rely on Democrats because the speaker's hard-right flank has said it will oppose any short-term measure, risking his job amid calls for his ouster. Republicans hold a 221-212 majority, with two vacancies.
After leaving his right-flank behind, McCarthy is almost certain to be facing a motion to try to remove him from office, though it is not at all certain there would be enough votes to topple the speaker. Most Republicans backed the package Saturday while fewer than half opposed.
"If somebody wants to remove me because I want to be the adult in the room, go ahead and try,” McCarthy said of the threat to oust him. “But I think this country is too important.”
The quick pivot comes after the collapse Friday of McCarthy's earlier plan to pass a Republican-only bill with steep spending cuts up to 30% to most government agencies that the White House and Democrats rejected as too extreme.
"Our options are slipping away every minute,” said one senior Republican, Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart of Florida.
The federal government is heading straight into a shutdown that poses grave uncertainty for federal workers in states all across America and the people who depend on them — from troops to border control agents to office workers, scientists and others.
Families that rely on Head Start for children, food benefits and countless other programs large and small are confronting potential interruptions or outright closures. At the airports, Transportation Security Administration officers and air traffic controllers are expected to work without pay, but travelers could face delays in updating their U.S. passports or other travel documents.
An earlier McCarthy plan to keep the government open collapsed Friday due to opposition from a faction of 21 hard-right holdouts despite steep spending cuts of nearly 30% to many agencies and severe border security provisions.
The White House has brushed aside McCarthy's overtures to meet with Biden after the speaker walked away from the debt deal they brokered earlier this year that set budget levels.
Catering to his hard-right flank, McCarthy had returned to the spending limits the conservatives demanded back in January as part of the deal-making to help him become the House speaker.
After Friday's vote, McCarthy’s chief Republican critic, Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, said the speaker's bill “went down in flames as I’ve told you all week it would.”
Some of the Republican holdouts, including Gaetz, are allies of former President Donald Trump, who is Biden's chief rival in the 2024 race. Trump has been encouraging the Republicans to fight hard for their priorities and even to “shut it down.”
A bail bondsman charged alongside former President Donald Trump and 17 others has become the first defendant in the Georgia election interference case to accept a plea deal with prosecutors.
Scott Hall pleaded guilty in court on Friday to five counts of conspiracy to commit intentional interference with performance of election duties, all misdemeanors. Prosecutors had accused him of participating in a breach of election equipment in rural Coffee County.
He will receive five years of probation and agreed to testify in further proceedings as part of the deal.
Hall is one of the lower-level players in the indictment filed last month alleging a wide-ranging scheme to overturn Democrat Joe Biden’s presidential victory and keep the Republican Trump in power. But the plea deal nonetheless is a major development in the case and marks a win for Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis as she pursues a historic racketeering case against a former president.
Earlier Friday, a judge rejected a request by former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark to move the Georgia election subversion charges against him from state court to federal court.
U.S. District Judge Steve Jones said he was making no ruling on the merits of the charges against Clark, but he concluded that the federal court has no jurisdiction over the case. He said “the outcome of the case will be for a Fulton County judge and trier of fact to ultimately decide.”
Jones had earlier rejected a similar request from Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows. He is weighing the same question from three Georgia Republicans who falsely certified that then-President Donald Trump won in 2020.
The practical effects of moving to federal court would have been a jury pool that includes a broader area and is potentially more conservative than Fulton County alone and a trial that would not be photographed or televised, as cameras are not allowed inside federal courtrooms. But it would not have opened the door for Trump, if he’s reelected in 2024, or another president to issue pardons because any conviction would still happen under state law.
The indictment says Clark wrote a letter after the election that said the Justice Department had “identified significant concerns that may have impacted the outcome of the election in multiple States, including the State of Georgia” and asked top department officials to sign it and send it to Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and state legislative leaders. Clark knew at the time that that statement was false, the indictment alleges.
Clark’s attorneys had argued that the actions described in the indictment related directly to his work as a federal official at the Justice Department. Clark at the time was the assistant attorney general overseeing the environment and natural resources division and was the acting assistant attorney general over the civil division.
But the judge said Clark provided no evidence to show that he was acting within the scope of his role in the Justice Department when he wrote a letter in December 2020 claiming the DOJ was investigating voter irregularities. “To the contrary, the evidence before the Court indicates the opposite: Clark’s role in the Civil Division did not include any role in the investigation or oversight of State elections,” Jones wrote.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Navy will begin randomly testing its special operations forces for steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs beginning in November, taking a groundbreaking step that military leaders have long resisted.
Rear Adm. Keith Davids, commander of Naval Special Warfare Command, announced the new program Friday in a message to his force, calling it necessary to protect their health and military readiness. The Navy will be the first to begin random testing, but Army Special Operations Command said it will soon follow suit, although no start date has been set.
The Army and Navy have the largest and most well known special operations forces, including the Navy SEALs and Army’s Delta Force, Green Berets and Ranger Regiment. They are often called on to do the military’s most sensitive and dangerous missions. The physical and mental challenges of getting through their selection and training programs and the pressures of the risky missions can lead to some to use performance-enhancing drugs, although officials say the numbers are small.
The use of these drugs has been a somewhat limited but persistent problem across the military, but leaders have balked at increased testing because it is highly specialized, costly and requires contracting with the few labs that do such work. The military services have done occasional tests when they perceive a problem with an individual service member, but they must get special permission from the Pentagon to do routine, random testing.
The Air Force and the Marine Corps special operations commands said they have not yet requested a similar policy change.
According to the Navy command, four units will be randomly selected each month, and 15% of each will be tested. That will amount to as many as 200 sailors monthly, and those testing positive face discipline or removal.
A driving factor in the announcement, which has been in the works for months, was the death of a Navy SEAL candidate early last year.
Kyle Mullen, 24, collapsed and died of acute pneumonia just hours after completing the SEALs' grueling Hell Week test. A report concluded that Mullen, from Manalapan, New Jersey, died “in the line of duty, not due to his own misconduct.” Although tests found no evidence of performance-enhancing drugs in his system, a report by the Naval Education and Training Command said he was not screened for some steroids because the needed blood and urine samples were not available, and that multiple vials of drugs and syringes were later found in his car.
The NETC's broader investigation into SEAL training flagged the use of performance-enhancing drugs as a significant problem among those seeking to become elite commandos and recommended far more robust testing.
Investigations in 2011, 2013 and 2018 into suspected steroid use by SEAL candidates led to discipline and requests for enhanced testing. The use of hair follicle testing was denied at least twice by Navy leaders over that time, and random testing for steroids wasn’t authorized by the Defense Department.
Davids requested the policy change to allow the screening, and in January, the Pentagon undersecretary for personnel approved an exemption authorizing random testing within the Naval Special Warfare force. The testing only affects the roughly 9,000 active-duty military personnel and reservists on active-duty orders in the command. Civilians are not included.
The, random force-wide testing initiative, Davids said, is a commitment to the long-term health of every member of the Naval Special Warfare community.
Lt. Col. Mike Burns, spokesman for Army Special Operations Command, said it also has been approved for random testing and is working on developing a program.
The Navy has provided $225,000 to fund the testing contract through the end of this month, and it's expected to cost about $4.5 million per year for the next two years.
Noting that the drugs are illegal, Davids has told his force that any number above zero is unacceptable, whether during training or downrange when sailors are deployed. He has urged sailors to talk to their teammates and commanders about the drugs and their risks.
“My intent is to ensure every NSW teammate operates at their innate best while preserving the distinguished standards of excellence that define NSW,” he said in his message to the force.
According to the command, personnel will still be allowed to get prescription medication to treat legitimate medical conditions.
Command leaders also stress that there is only anecdotal evidence of performance-enhancing drug use within the ranks.
Between February 2022 and March 2023, the Naval Special Warfare Center conducted more than 2,500 screening tests and detected 74 SEAL or Special Warfare Combat Crewmen with elevated testosterone levels, the command said. It said three candidates ultimately tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs. The testosterone tests are more common but less precise, and additional screening is needed to identify steroid use.
The new random testing will require that sailors provide two urine samples. One will be sent to the Sports Medicine Research and Testing Laboratory, a cutting-edge lab used by international sports to test for doping, and one will go to the Navy Drug Screening Laboratory Great Lakes to check for standard drugs.
If the test result is positive, the sailor will be notified, there will be a preliminary inquiry and if there is no legal reason for the drugs, the sailor will be subject to discipline and removal from the force. A SEAL or SWCC candidate will be removed from training.
Under Navy procedures, all SEALs and SWCC are informed of the substance ban and sign an acknowledgement of the prohibition.
The NETC report released earlier this year suggested that SEAL candidates may have gotten conflicting messages about the use of performance-enhancing drugs. In one case, it noted that during a discussion about the policy with Mullen’s class, an instructor, who was not identified, told sailors that all types of people make it through the course, including “steroid monkeys and skinny strong guys. Don’t use PEDS, it’s cheating, and you don’t need them. And whatever you do, don’t get caught with them in your barracks room.”
The report said that after an “awkward silence” the instructor added, “that was a joke.” It said some candidates interpreted it as an implicit endorsement of using the drugs. And it noted that routine barracks inspections have found the drugs or sailors have admitted their use.
One of the last living witnesses to the fatal drive-by shooting of rapper Tupac Shakur in Las Vegas was charged with murder Friday in the 1996 killing, a long-awaited breakthrough in a case that has frustrated investigators and fascinated the public.
A Nevada grand jury indicted Duane “Keffe D” Davis on one count of murder with a deadly weapon, Clark County Chief Deputy District Attorney Marc DiGiacomo announced in court Friday.
Davis has long been known to investigators and has himself admitted in interviews and in his 2019 tell-all memoir, “Compton Street Legend,” that he was in the Cadillac from which the gunfire erupted during the September 1996 drive-by shooting.
DiGiacomo described Davis as the “on-ground, on-site commander” who “ordered the death” of Shakur, who was killed at 25. Homicide Lt. Jason Johansson called Davis the “leader and shot caller.”
“For 27 years the family of Tupac Shakur has been waiting for justice,” Clark County Sheriff Kevin McMahill said at a news conference Friday. “While I know there’s been many people who did not believe that the murder of Tupac Shakur was important to this police department, I’m here to tell you that is simply not the case.”
After Davis’ 2018 interview, Johansson said the police department “knew this was likely our last time to take a run at this case to successfully solve this case and bring forth a criminal charge.”
The charges were revealed hours after Davis, 60, was arrested this morning while on a walk near his home in the Las Vegas suburb of Henderson, according to DiGiacomo.
In mid-July, Las Vegas police raided Davis’ home. They were looking for items “concerning the murder of Tupac Shakur,” according to the search warrant. They collected multiple computers, a cellphone and hard drive, a Vibe magazine that featured Shakur, several .40-caliber bullets, two “tubs containing photographs” and a copy of Davis’ memoir.
“It has often been said that justice delayed is justice denied,” District Attorney Steve Wolfson said after the hearing in a brief comment to the AP. “In this case, justice has been delayed, but justice won’t be denied.” A grand jury has been hearing evidence in the case for several months.
On Friday, Clark County District Judge Jerry Wiese denied Davis bail.
It wasn’t immediately clear if Davis has an attorney who can comment on his behalf. Davis hasn’t responded to multiple phone and text messages from The Associated Press seeking comment since the house raid.
Messages left Friday for his wife, Paula Clemons, also weren’t returned.
On Sept. 7, 1996, Shakur was in a BMW driven by Death Row Records founder Marion “Suge” Knight in a convoy of about 10 cars. They were waiting at a red light near the Las Vegas Strip when a white Cadillac pulled up next to them and gunfire erupted. Shakur was shot multiple times and died a week later.
The rapper’s death came as his fourth solo album, “All Eyez on Me,” remained on the charts, with some 5 million copies sold. Nominated six times for a Grammy Award, Shakur is still largely considered one of the most influential and versatile rappers of all time.
In his memoir, Davis said he was in the front passenger seat of the Cadillac and had slipped the gun used in the killing into the backseat, from where he said the shots were fired.
Davis implicated his nephew, Orlando “Baby Lane” Anderson, saying he was one of two people in the backseat. Anderson, a known rival of Shakur, had been involved in a casino brawl with the rapper shortly before the shooting. Anderson denied any involvement in Shakur’s death. He died two years later.
After the casino brawl, “Mr. Davis formulated a plan to exact revenge upon Mr. Knight and Mr. Shakur” in his nephew’s defense, DiGiacomo said.
Emails seeking comment from two lawyers who have previously represented Knight were not immediately returned. Knight was grazed by a bullet fragment in the shooting but had only minor injuries. He is serving a 28-year prison sentence in California for an unrelated voluntary manslaughter charge.
In his memoir, Davis revealed that he first broke his silence in 2010 during a closed-door meeting with federal and local authorities. At the time, he was 46 and facing life in prison on drug charges. He agreed to speak with them about Tupac’s killing, as well as the fatal shooting six months later of Tupac’s rap rival, Biggie Smalls, also known as the Notorious B.I.G.
“They offered to let me go for running a ‘criminal enterprise’ and numerous alleged murders for the truth about the Tupac and Biggie murders,” he wrote. “They promised they would shred the indictment and stop the grand jury if I helped them out.”
Shakur was feuding at the time with rap rival Biggie Smalls, who was fatally shot in March 1997. At the time, both rappers were in the middle of an East Coast-West Coast rivalry that primarily defined the hip-hop scene during the mid-1990s.
Greg Kading, a retired Los Angeles police detective who spent years investigating the Shakur killing and wrote a book about it, said he’s not surprised by Davis’ arrest.
The former Los Angeles police detective said he believed the investigation gained new momentum in recent years following Davis’ public descriptions of his role in the killing, including his 2019 memoir. “It’s those events that have given Las Vegas the ammunition and the leverage to move forward,” Kading said. “Prior to Keffe D’s public declarations, the cases were unprosecutable as they stood.”
“All the other direct conspirators or participants are all dead,” Kading said. “Keffe D is the last man standing among the individuals that conspired to kill Tupac.”
Much of New York City is underwater Friday after what Gov. Kathy Hochul has called “a life-threatening rainfall event,” and the city has declared a state of emergency.
A flash-flood warning is in effect for Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens, and videos from the city show extreme flooding in the streets and subway areas.
“This is a very challenging weather event,” Hochul said in an interview on New York’s WNBC-TV. “This a life-threatening event. And I need all New Yorkers to heed that warning so we can keep them safe.”
The New York Times reports that as of 2 p.m. local time, nearly 14 cm of rain had fallen over New York City since midnight. The newspaper reports that it's now the second-wettest September in New York City history, with more than 35 cm of rain falling this month.
The unprecedented rain has forced the cancellation of Friday night's New York Mets baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies and the New York Rangers preseason NHL game against the New York Islanders.
Flash flood warnings have been issued in the New York metropolitan area pic.twitter.com/7V96yuIys9— TIME (@TIME) September 29, 2023
U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, a centrist Democrat who was elected to the Senate in 1992 in the “Year of the Woman” and broke gender barriers throughout her long career in local and national politics, has died. She was 90.
Three people familiar with the situation confirmed her death to The Associated Press on Friday.
Feinstein, the oldest sitting U.S. senator, was a passionate advocate for liberal priorities important to her state -- including environmental protection, reproductive rights and gun control -- but was also known as a pragmatic lawmaker who reached out to Republicans and sought middle ground.
She was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1969 and became its first female president in 1978, the same year Mayor George Moscone was gunned down alongside Supervisor Harvey Milk at City Hall by Dan White, a disgruntled former supervisor. Feinstein found Milk’s body.
After Moscone’s death, Feinstein became San Francisco's first female mayor. In the Senate, she was one of California’s first two female senators, the first woman to head the Senate Intelligence Committee and the first woman to serve as the Judiciary committee’s top Democrat.
Although Feinstein was not always embraced by the feminist movement, her experiences colored her outlook through her five decades in politics.
"I recognize that women have had to fight for everything they have gotten, every right," she told The Associated Press in 2005, as the Judiciary Committee prepared to hold hearings on President George W. Bush's nomination of John Roberts to replace Sandra Day O'Connor on the Supreme Court.
"So I must tell you, I try to look out for women's rights. I also try to solve problems as I perceive them, with legislation, and reaching out where I can, and working across the aisle," she said.
Her tendency for bipartisanship helped her notch legislative wins throughout her career. But it also proved to be a liability in her later years in Congress, as her state became more liberal and as the Senate and the electorate became increasingly polarized.
A fierce debater who did not suffer fools, the California senator was long known for her verbal zingers and sharp comebacks when challenged on the issues about which she was most fervent. But she lost that edge in her later years in the Senate, as her health visibly declined and she often became confused when answering questions or speaking publicly. In February 2023, she said she would not run for a sixth term the next year. And within weeks of that announcement, she was absent for the Senate for more than two months as she recovered from a bout of shingles.
Amid the concerns about her health, Feinstein stepped down as the top Democrat on the Judiciary panel after the 2020 elections, just as her party was about to take the majority. In 2023, she said she would not serve as the Senate president pro tempore, or the most senior member of the majority party, even though she was in line to do so. The president pro tempore opens the Senate every day and holds other ceremonial duties.
One of Feinstein’s most significant legislative accomplishments was early in her career, when the Senate approved her amendment to ban manufacturing and sales of certain types of assault weapons as part of a crime bill that President Bill Clinton signed into law in 1994. Though the assault weapons ban expired 10 years later and was never renewed or replaced, it was a poignant win after her career had been significantly shaped by gun violence.
Feinstein remembered finding Milk’s body, her finger slipping into a bullet hole as she felt for a pulse. It was a story she would retell often in the years ahead as she pushed for stricter gun control measures.
She had little patience for Republicans and others who opposed her on that issue, though she was often challenged. In 1993, during debate on the assault weapons ban, Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho, accused her of having an insufficient knowledge of guns and the gun control issue.
Feinstein spoke fiercely of the violence she’d lived through in San Francisco and retorted: ''Senator, I know something about what firearms can do.”
Two decades later, after 20 children and six educators were killed in a horrific school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, first-term Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas similarly challenged Feinstein during debate on legislation that would have permanently banned the weapons.
"I'm not a sixth grader,” Feinstein snapped back at the much younger Cruz -- a moment that later went viral. She added: "It's fine you want to lecture me on the Constitution. I appreciate it. Just know I've been here a long time."
Feinstein became mayor of San Francisco after the 1978 slayings of Moscone and Milk, leading the city during one of the most turbulent periods in its history. Even her critics credited Feinstein with a calming influence, and she won reelection on her own to two four-year terms.
With her success and growing recognition statewide came visibility on the national political stage.
In 1984, Feinstein was viewed as a vice presidential possibility for Walter Mondale but faced questions about the business dealings of her husband, Richard Blum. In 1990, she used news footage of her announcement of the assassinations of Moscone and Milk in a television ad that helped her win the Democratic nomination for California governor, making her the first female major-party gubernatorial nominee in the state's history.
Although she narrowly lost the general election to Republican Pete Wilson, the stage was set for her election to the Senate two years later to fill the Senate seat Wilson had vacated to run for governor.
Feinstein campaigned jointly with Barbara Boxer, who was running for the state's other U.S. Senate seat, and both won, benefiting from positive news coverage and excitement over their historic race. California had never had a female U.S. senator, and female candidates and voters had been galvanized by the Supreme Court hearings in which the all-male Senate Judiciary Committee questioned Anita Hill about her sexual harassment allegations against nominee Clarence Thomas.
Feinstein was appointed to the Judiciary panel and eventually the Senate Intelligence Committee, becoming the chairperson in 2009. She was the first woman to lead the intelligence panel, a high-profile perch that gave her a central oversight role over U.S. intelligence controversies, setbacks and triumphs, from the killing of Osama bin Laden to leaks about National Security Agency surveillance.
Under Feinstein’s leadership, the intelligence committee conducted a wide-ranging, five-year investigation into CIA interrogation techniques during President George W. Bush’s administration, including waterboarding of terrorism suspects at secret overseas prisons. The resulting 6,300-page “torture report” concluded among other things that waterboarding and other "enhanced interrogation techniques" did not provide key evidence in the hunt for bin Laden. A 525-page executive summary was released in late 2014, but the rest of the report has remained classified.
The Senate investigation was full of intrigue at the time, including documents that mysteriously disappeared and accusations traded between the Senate and the CIA that the other was stealing information. The drama was captured in a 2019 movie about the investigation called “The Report,” and actor Annette Bening was nominated for a Golden Globe for her portrayal of Feinstein.
In the years since, Feinstein has continued to push aggressively for eventual declassification of the report.
"It's my very strong belief that one day this report should be declassified," Feinstein said. "This must be a lesson learned: that torture doesn't work."
Feinstein sometimes frustrated liberals by adopting moderate or hawkish positions that put her at odds with the left wing of the Democratic Party, as well as with the more liberal Boxer, who retired from the Senate in 2017. Feinstein defended the Obama administration’s expansive collection of Americans' phone and email records as necessary for protecting the country, for example, even as other Democratic senators voiced protests. “It’s called protecting America,” Feinstein said then.
That tension escalated during Donald Trump’s presidency, when many Democrats had little appetite for compromise. Feinstein become the top Democrat on the Judiciary panel in 2016 and led her party’s messaging through three Supreme Court nominations -- a role that angered liberal advocacy groups that wanted to see a more aggressive partisan in charge.
Feinstein closed out confirmation hearings for Justice Amy Coney Barrett with an embrace of Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and a public thanks to him for a job well done. “This has been one of the best set of hearings that I’ve participated in,” Feinstein said at the end of the hearing.
Liberal advocacy groups that had fiercely opposed Barrett's nomination to replace the late liberal icon Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg were furious and called for her to step down from the committee leadership.
A month later, Feinstein announced she would remain on the committee but step down as the top Democrat. The senator, then 87 years old, did not say why. In a statement, she said she would “continue to do my utmost to bring about positive change in the coming years.”
Feinstein was born on June 22, 1933. Her father, Leon Goldman, was a prominent surgeon and medical school professor in San Francisco, but her mother was an abusive woman with a violent temper that was often directed at Feinstein and her two younger sisters.
Feinstein graduated from Stanford University in 1955, with a bachelor’s degree in history. She married young and was a divorced single mother of her daughter, Katherine, in 1960, at a time when such a status was still unusual.
In 1961, Feinstein was appointed by then-Gov. Pat Brown to the women's parole board, on which she served before running for the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. Typical of the era, much of the early coverage of her entrance into public life focused on her appearance, and she was invariably described as stunning, tall, slender and raven-haired.
Feinstein's second husband, Bert Feinstein, was 19 years older than she, but she described the marriage as "a 10" and kept his name even after his death from cancer in 1978. In 1980, she married investment banker Richard Blum, and thanks to his wealth, she was one of the richest members of the Senate. He died in February 2022.
In addition to her daughter, Feinstein has a granddaughter, Eileen, and three stepchildren.
A lone gunman wearing a bulletproof vest opened fire in an apartment and a hospital in the Dutch port city of Rotterdam on Thursday, killing three people, including a 14-year-old girl, police said.
The shooting sent patients and medics fleeing the Erasmus Medical Center in downtown Rotterdam, including some who were wheeled out of the building in beds. Others barricaded themselves into rooms and stuck hand-written signs to windows to show their location.
Police Chief Fred Westerbeke told reporters that the shooter was a 32-year-old student from Rotterdam. He was arrested at the hospital carrying a firearm. His identity was not released, and the motive for the shootings was still under investigation.
He first shot and killed a 39-year-old woman and seriously injured her 14-year-old daughter at an apartment close to where the suspect lived, Police Chief Fred Westerbeke said. Police said the girl later died of her injuries.
The shooter then went to the nearby Erasmus Medical Center where he shot and killed a 43-year-old man, a teacher at the academic hospital, police said. He also started fires at the scenes of both shootings.
The identities of the victims were not released.
The suspect was cooperating with police, Westerbeke said.
“It was a black day,” said Rotterdam Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb.
Dutch King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima expressed their sympathy on social media. “Our hearts go out to the family and friends of the victims of the violence this afternoon in Rotterdam,” the royal pair wrote. “We also think of everybody who lived in fear during these terrible actions,” they added.
The Erasmus Medical Center appealed on social media for people not to go to the hospital, but later said it was reopening. It said that all appointments scheduled for Friday would go ahead as planned.
There have been scores of small explosions and at homes and businesses across Rotterdam this year, blamed on rival drug gangs. There was no immediate suggestion that Thursday's shooting was linked to the feuding drug gangs.
Sweden’s prime minister on Thursday said that he’s summoned the head of the military to discuss how the armed forces can help police deal with an unprecedented crime wave that has shocked the country with almost daily shootings and bombings.
Getting the military involved in crime-fighting would be a highly unusual step for Sweden, underscoring the severity of the gang violence that has claimed a dozen lives across the country this month, including teenagers and innocent bystanders.
Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson said that he would meet with the armed forces' supreme commander and the national police commissioner on Friday to explore “how the armed forces can help police in their work against the criminal gangs.”
It wasn’t immediately clear in what capacity the military would get involved, but previous proposals have focused on soldiers taking over protection duties from police to free up more resources for crime-fighting.
“Sweden has never before seen anything like this,” Kristersson said in a televised speech to the nation. “No other country in Europe is seeing anything like this.”
Sweden has grappled with gang violence for years, but the surge in shootings and bombings in September has been exceptional. Three people were killed overnight in separate attacks with suspected links to criminal gangs, which often recruit teenagers in socially disadvantaged immigrant neighborhoods to carry out hits.
One of the victims was a woman in her 20s who died in an explosion in Uppsala, north of Stockholm. Swedish media said she was likely not the intended target of the attack.
Newspaper Dagens Nyheter said an 18-year-old rapper was killed late Wednesday in a shooting outside a sports complex on the outskirts of Stockholm.
More than 60 people died in shootings last year in Sweden, the highest figure on record. This year is on track to be the same or worse. Swedish media have linked the latest surge in violence to a feud between rival factions of a criminal gang known as the Foxtrot network.
Earlier this week, two powerful blasts ripped through dwellings in central Sweden, wounding at least three people and damaging buildings.
Kristersson's center-right government took power last year with a promise to get tough on crime, but so far hasn't been able to stem the violence. The government and the leftist opposition have been trading accusations over who’s to blame for the situation. The opposition says the government has made the country less safe while Kristersson put the blame on “irresponsible migration policies and failed integration" under the previous government.
Sweden long stood out in Europe along with Germany for having liberal immigration policies and welcoming hundreds of thousands of asylum-seekers from the Middle East and Africa. Sweden has since sharply restricted migration levels, citing rising crime levels and other social problems.
Kristersson said that he met with New York Mayor Eric Adams last week to learn from the city's efforts to fight crime, including surveillance methods and weapon detection systems.
The prime minister said that the government is overhauling Sweden's criminal code to give police more powers, criminals longer sentences and witnesses better protection.
“Swedish laws aren’t designed for gang wars and child soldiers,” Kristersson said.
A suspected suicide bomber blew himself up among a crowd of people celebrating the Prophet Muhammad’s birthday in southwestern Pakistan on Friday, killing at least 52 people and wounding nearly 70 others, authorities said, in one of the country's deadliest attacks targeting civilians in months.
An open area near a mosque was left strewn with the shoes of the dead and wounded, TV footage and videos on social media showed. Bodies lay covered with bedsheets. Residents and rescuers were seen rushing the wounded to hospitals.
No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack in Mastung, a district of Baluchistan province. But suspicion is likely to fall on the militant Islamic State group’s regional affiliate, which has claimed previous deadly bombings around Pakistan. IS carried out an attack days earlier in the same area after one of its commanders was killed there.
On Friday, around 500 people had gathered for a procession from the mosque to celebrate the birth of the prophet, known as Mawlid an-Nabi. Similar events were held in communities across Pakistan, often including parades of children in traditional garb. The blast went off before the Mastung procession was to begin.
Among the wounded seen at hospital were a number of young boys, bloodied and wrapped in bandages, though the full number of children among the casualties was not immediately known. Some of the wounded were in a critical condition, government administrator Atta Ullah said.
Thirty bodies were taken to one hospital and 22 were counted at another, said Abdul Rasheed, the district health officer in Mastung. A senior police officer, Mohammad Nawaz, was among the dead, Ullah said. Officers said they suspect the attack was carried out by a suicide bomber.
Friday’s bombing came days after authorities asked police to remain on maximum alert, saying militants could target rallies for Mawlid an-Nabi.
Also Friday, a blast ripped through a mosque located on the premises of a police station in Hangu, a district in the northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, killing at least five people and wounding seven, said Shah Raz Khan, a local police officer.
Khan said two suicide bombers approached the mud-brick mosque and while guards shot and killed one, the other managed to reach the mosque and set off his explosives. The mosque collapsed with about 40 people inside worshipping, most of them police officers, officials said. Rescuers were pulling people from the rubble, Khan said.
No one claimed responsibility for the attacks in Mastung and Hangu.
The Pakistani Taliban, the country’s main militant group, denied any role in either attack and denounced them. Known at Tehreek-e-Taliban, or TTP, the Pakistani Taliban has waged a campaign of violence that usually hits government or security targets, and it has repeatedly said it does not target places of worship or civilians.
The TTP is separate from the Afghan Taliban but closely allied to them and has increased its attacks since the group seized power in neighboring Afghanistan in August 2021.
Suspicion is more likely to fall on the Islamic State in Khorasan Province, as the IS affiliate in Afghanistan and Pakistan is known. It has been more ruthless in attacking civilians and places of worship – often Shiite Muslim mosques but also Sunni ones like that in Mastung.
On Sept. 14, IS set off a bomb targeting the convoy of a senior figure of a pro-Afghan Taliban political party as it passed through Mastung. The bomb wounded 11 people but the politician survived. The attack came days after police killed an IS commander in the town.
The most recent major IS attack came in July, when a suicide bomber killed at least 54 people at an election rally by the same pro-Taliban party in northwest Pakistan.
Pakistan’s President Arif Alvi condemned Friday’s attacks and asked authorities to provide all possible assistance to the wounded and the victims’ families.
In a statement, caretaker Interior Minister Sarfraz Bugti called the Mastung bombing a “heinous act” to target people in the Mawlid an-Nabi procession.
Also Friday, the military said two soldiers were killed in a shootout with Pakistani Taliban after insurgents tried to sneak into southwestern district of Zhob in Baluchistan province. Three militants were killed in the exchange, a military statement said.
The gas-rich southwestern Baluchistan province at the border of Afghanistan and Iran has been the site of a low-level insurgency by Baluch nationalists for more than two decades. Baluch nationalists initially wanted a share of provincial resources, but they later launched an insurgency calling for independence.
Pakistan has faced waves of militant violence over the years from multiple groups. In 2014, 147 people, mostly schoolchildren, were killed in a Taliban attack on an army-run school in the northwestern city of Peshawar.
In recent years, the Pakistani Taliban have emerged as the most powerful group. The group is suspected in this year’s deadliest bombing, in which more than 100 people were killed, in a Jan. 30 bombing at a mosque inside a high-security compound housing Peshawar police headquarters.
A man formerly known as a powerful Michigan lawmaker was sentenced Thursday to nearly five years in federal prison for accepting bribes as head of a marijuana licensing board.
Rick Johnson admitted accepting at least $110,000 when he led the board from 2017 to 2019.
“I am a corrupt politician,” Johnson told the judge, according to The Detroit News.
Johnson was a powerful Republican lawmaker years ago, serving as House speaker from 2001 through 2004. He then became a lobbyist, and ultimately chair of a board that reviewed and approved applications to grow and sell marijuana for medical purposes.
U.S. District Judge Jane Beckering sentenced Johnson to about 4.5 years in prison.
“You exploited your power, and you planned it out even before you got the appointment,” Beckering said.
Two lobbyists who referred to Johnson as “Batman” in text messages have also pleaded guilty to bribery-related charges. A Detroit-area businessman who paid bribes, John Dalaly, was recently sentenced to more than two years in prison.
Prosecutors had recommended a nearly six-year prison term for Johnson. In a court filing, they said one of the lobbyists paid for him to have sex with a woman.
“Rick Johnson’s brazen corruption tainted an emerging industry, squandered the public’s trust and scorned a democracy that depends on the rule of law,” U.S. Attorney Mark Totten said after the hearing.
Michigan voters legalized marijuana for medical purposes in 2008. A decade later, voters approved the recreational use of marijuana.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer abolished the medical marijuana board a few months after taking office in 2019 and put oversight of the industry inside a state agency.
House Republicans launched their first formal impeachment hearing Thursday against President Joe Biden saying they intend to “provide accountability” as they make their case to the public, their colleagues and skeptics in the Senate.
The chairmen of the Oversight, Judiciary, and Ways and Means committees are using the first hearing of their impeachment inquiry to review the constitutional and legal questions involved. They are trying to show what they say are links to his son Hunter’s overseas businesses, though key witnesses said they do not yet see hard evidence of impeachable offenses.
Rep. James Comer, R-Ky, the Oversight chairman, said in opening remarks the lawmakers have “a mountain of evidence” that will show that the elder Biden “abused his public office for his family's financial gain.”
Comer said the panel will continue to “follow the money and the evidence to provide accountability” to the American people.
It’s a high-stakes opening act for Republicans as they begin a process that can lead to the ultimate penalty for a president, punishment for what the Constitution describes as “high crimes and misdemeanors.”
The hearing comes days before a potential government shutdown and while House Republicans face deep resistance in the Senate from Republicans who worry about political ramifications of impeachment — and who say Biden’s conviction and removal from office is a near impossibility.
As the hearing began, Democrats displayed a screen showing the days, hours and minutes left until the government shuts down as Congress struggles to fund the government before Saturday’s deadline.
“We’re 62 hours away from shutting down the government of the United States of America and Republicans are launching an impeachment drive, based on a long debunked and discredited lie,” said Rep. Jamie Raskin, the top Democrat on the Oversight panel.
Raskin questioned the legitimacy of the hearing since the House has not voted to formally launch the impeachment inquiry. He said Republicans are rehashing five-year-old allegations from Donald Trump, who is Biden’s chief rival in 2024, first raised during the 2019 Trump impeachment.
“They don’t have a shred of evidence against President Biden for an impeachable offense,” he said.
The hearing Thursday is not featuring witnesses with information about the Bidens or Hunter Biden's business work. Instead, the panel heard testimony from outside experts in tax law, criminal investigations and constitutional legal theory.
A top Republican witness, Jonathan Turley, a George Washington University law professor who is an expert in impeachment issues, said he believed the House had passed the threshold for an inquiry but that the current evidence was not enough for charges.
“I do not believe that the current evidence would support articles of impeachment,” Turley said.
Democrats, who decry the investigation as a political ploy aimed at hurting Biden and helping Trump as he runs again for president, brought in Michael Gerhardt, a law professor who has also appeared as an expert in previous impeachment proceedings.
In detailing the reasons Republicans say they have to impeach Biden, Gerhardt concluded: “If that’s what exists, as a basis for this inquiry, it is not sufficient. I say that with all respect.”
Gerhardt said, “A fishing expedition is not a legitimate purpose.”
In the run-up to the hearing, Republicans unveiled a tranche of new documents and bank records that detail wire transfers from a Chinese businessman to Hunter Biden in 2019. Hunter Biden had listed his father’s address on the wire transfer form, which Republicans say provided a clear link to the president.
Abbe Lowell, an attorney for Hunter Biden, said the address on the wire transfer, which he says was a loan, was listed to the president's Delaware home only because it was the address on Hunter Biden's driver's license and "his only permanent address at the time.”
“Once again Rep. Comer peddles lies to support a premise — some wrongdoing by Hunter Biden or his family — that evaporates in thin air the moment facts come out,” Lowell said in a statement.
Republicans have been investigating Hunter Biden for years, since his father was vice president. And while there have been questions raised about the ethics around the family's international business, none of the evidence so far has proven that the president, in his current or previous office, abused his role, accepted bribes or both.
House Republicans are also looking into the Justice Department investigation into Hunter Biden's taxes and gun use that began in 2018. Two IRS whistleblowers came forward to Congress in the spring with claims that department officials thwarted their efforts to fully investigate Hunter Biden and that the agents faced retaliation when they pushed back.
“The Biden Justice Department protected the Biden family brand.” said Rep. Jason Smith, a Missouri Republican and Ways and Means chairman.
What Smith did not mention was that that message occurred during the Trump Justice Department and was likely in keeping with the agency’s practice of avoiding overt investigative steps concerning political candidates in the immediate run-up to an election.
The claims have since been disputed by the Department of Justice, the IRS and FBI agents who worked on the case.
The central focus of the testimonies have been surrounding an Oct. 7, 2022, meeting that agents from both the IRS and FBI had with David Weiss, U.S. attorney for Delaware, who has been charged with investigating Hunter Biden.
Gary Shapley, a veteran IRS agent who had been assigned to case, testified to the Ways and Means Committee in May that Weiss said during that meeting that he was not the “deciding person whether charges are filed” against Hunter Biden.
Two FBI agents who were in attendance told lawmakers this month that they have no recollection of Weiss saying that.
But Republicans have pointed to a failed plea deal over the summer as proof that Hunter Biden received preferential treatment because of who his father was.
“They tried to put together this sweetheart deal,” said Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, the Judiciary chairman.
The impeachment inquiry hearing is taking place as the federal government is days away from what is likely to be a damaging government shutdown that would halt paychecks for millions of federal workers and the military and disrupt services for millions of Americans.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy announced the impeachment inquiry this month after he yielded to mounting pressure from his right flank to take action against Biden or risk being ousted from his leadership job.
The hearing Thursday is expected to be the first of many as House Republicans explore how this inquiry will end and whether or not they will pursue articles of impeachment against the president.
It's unclear if McCarthy has support from his slim Republican majority to impeach Biden, as rank-and-file lawmakers have expressed reservations about the inquiry. If Biden was impeached, the charges would then be sent to the Senate, where Democrats hold a slim majority and the president would likely be acquitted in a trial.
The winner of last month's $1.6 billion Mega Millions jackpot — the third-largest in U.S. history — has come forward to claim the prize, officials said Wednesday.
In all, Mega Millions has had five prizes of more than a billion dollars.
Under a new Florida law, the winner’s name remains anonymous for 90 days from the date the prize was claimed, which was on Sept. 25, lottery officials said in an email. The lottery did not confirm whether the winner took the lump sum or the annuity, and did not specify the estimated lump sum amount.
In Florida, winners have to claim the lump sum within 60 days of the drawing. They have up to 180 days if they choose to go with an annuity, which is paid out in 30 annual installments. The jackpot is also subject to federal taxes. There's no state income tax in Florida.
The winning ticket was sold at a Publix supermarket in Neptune Beach, a town along the Atlantic Coast near Jacksonville. The winning numbers on Aug. 8 were 13, 19, 20, 32, 33 and the Mega Ball was 14.
The largest jackpot ever was a Powerball ticket in California worth a whopping $2.04 billion from the drawing on Nov. 8, 2022. The next largest was also a Powerball prize of $1.586 billion on Jan. 13, 2016. That prize was split among three winning tickets sold in California, Florida and Tennessee.
Trailing the recent Florida jackpot in third place, three other Mega Millions prizes were the fourth, fifth and sixth largest jackpots.
A single person in South Carolina won $1.537 billion on Oct. 23, 2018, while $1.35 billion was won in Maine on Jan. 13, 2023, and $1.337 billion was won in Illinois on July 29, 2022.
The Maine winner collected the prize in February, and chose to remain anonymous. The winner collected the cash option through a limited liability company, LaKoma Island Investments LLC, Maine State Lottery officials said.
Historically, most grand prize winners have opted to receive the prize as a one-time, lump sum payment, according to the Multi-State Lottery Association.
Sometimes, winners do opt for the annuity, including the jackpot winner in Virginia from the March 4, 2023 drawing. That winner, whose name remains anonymous under Virginia law, chose an annuity worth $156.7 million to be paid out annually.
Before that, the last time a Powerball winner opted for the annuity was in 2014.
Mega Millions is played in 45 states as well as Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
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