Sunday, May 20, 2018

Maine high school students block street for prom photo as cops get in on the fun


When a group of high school students was reported to police in Maine for blocking a street to take prom photos, cops made their way to the scene — and decided to get in on the fun.

“What do you do when someone calls the cops about Hermon High School students blocking Bangor’s Exchange Street for a prom photo?” the Bangor Police Department asked on Facebook. “Nothing.”

Officer Jamie Fanning and Mental Health liaison Andrea Carver posed for a photo with the 14 teens. Fanning wore a “classy gun belt and black prom gloves” while Carver donned her “best ballistic vest.”

The department told the students to enjoy their prom night, and to “Keep your hands to yourself, leave other people’s thing alone, and be kind to one another. We will be here.”


Bangor Police posted a similar photo with John Bapst High School students at their prom on Saturday, as those “prom goers felt left out.”

The students posed for a “prom-off” picture with Officer Tom Clarke and Dan Place, as the department wrote the two officers seemingly “tried to dab.”

“Look at these great kids allowing cops in their photos,” the post read. “A glimpse of your America on a Saturday night.”

The Bangor Police Department joked that “prom-offs” are “now a thing.”

Nicole Darrah covers breaking and trending news for Follow her on Twitter @nicoledarrah.

'No, I'm not over it': Hillary Clinton jabs Trump, shows off Russian hat at Yale Class Day


Early in her address to graduating Yale students at Sunday’s Class Day, Hillary Clinton reached behind the lectern, pulled out a traditional Russian ushanka hat, and held it aloft.

“I mean, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.” she said as the audience laughed and applauded.

The Russian hat gag, a nod to the student tradition of wearing extravagant headgear during Class Day, set the tone for a wide-ranging speech in which Clinton alternately cracked jokes about her loss to Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election and warned Yale’s Class of 2018 that “we are living through a full-fledged crisis in our democracy.”

“There are certain things that are so essential they should transcend politics,” said Clinton, who never mentioned Trump by name during her address. “Waging a war on the rule of law and a free press, de-legitimizing elections, perpetrating shameless corruption, and rejecting the idea that our leaders should be public servants undermines our national unity.”


Clinton admitted that she still thinks about her defeat by Trump: “No, I’m not over it … I still regret the mistakes I made. I still think, though, that understanding what happened in such a weird and wild election in American history will help us defend our democracy in the future.”

The former first lady, secretary of state, New York senator and 2016 Democratic nominee for president also threw in a call for “common-sense gun safety legislation as soon as we can get it” during a brief discussion of Friday’s mass shooting at Santa Fe High School in Texas.

“You don’t need to experience gun violence to know that when a teenager in Texas who just survived a mass shooting says she’s not surprised at what happened at her school because, and I quote, ‘I’ve always felt like eventually it was going to happen here too,’ we are failing our children,” she said. “So, enough is enough.”

Clinton, who graduated from Yale Law School in 1973, cracked some jokes as well. She told students that she was thrilled for all of them, “even the three of you who live in Michigan and didn’t request your absentee ballots in time.” She also joked about her audition to join Yale’s famous Whiffenpoofs singing club, saying she had buried the tape “so deep that not even Wikileaks will be able to find it..”

She continued, “If you thought my emails were scandalous, you should hear my singing voice.”

Class Day is celebrated at Yale on Sunday the day before degrees are handed out. It includes the awarding of academic, artistic, and athletic prizes and the major address of commencement weekend.

It also includes such traditions as the planting of the class ivy, awarding top academic and athletic prizes to students, and the singing of Yale’s “Bright College Years” while waving a white handkerchief.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Mueller said he could wrap up investigation by Sept. 1 if he can interview Trump by mid-July, Giuliani tells Fox News


Special Counsel Robert Mueller told President Trump’s legal team he should be able to wrap up his investigation by Sept. 1 if he is able to interview Trump by mid-July, Rudy Giuliani told Fox News on Sunday.

Man drives SUV into North Carolina restaurant, killing 2; police call it 'domestic' incident


Two people were killed and several others were injured on Sunday after a man drove his SUV into a North Carolina restaurant, in what police have described as a “domestic” incident.

Kate Self, a corporal with the Gaston County Sheriff’s Office, was killed at the Surf and Turf Lodge in Bessemer City, officials announced at a news conference Sunday afternoon. The second victim — reportedly believed to be a family member — was not immediately identified.

Several other members of Self’s family were injured in the incident, the Gaston Gazette reported, adding the driver to the vehicle was identified by friends as Roger Self, Kate Self’s father and a businessman.

The news outlet reported that restaurant staff claimed Roger Self went with his family to the restaurant and had them seated. The father then allegedly went outside and drove his Jeep into the building.

Bessemer City Police Chief Tom Ellis said an officer who arrived on scene saw Self’s SUV “completely in the building” just after noon on Sunday.

It’s unclear how many people were seated at the restaurant table, but police said “several others” were hurt. Paramedics rushed them to two nearby hospitals.

This is a developing story; please check back for updates.

Nicole Darrah covers breaking and trending news for Follow her on Twitter @nicoledarrah.

University of Oregon student found dead during frat event at California campground, reports say


A University of Oregon student was found dead Saturday at a popular campground in Northern California, officials said.

Dylan Pietrs, 21, “died in an incident at Lake Shasta this weekend,” the school said in a statement. According to the college’s student newspaper, the Daily Emerald, a cause of death is not yet clear.

Pietrs reportedly was at the lake, roughly 300 miles south of Eugene where the school is located, with hundreds of other University of Oregon students for an annual event organized by fraternities that was scheduled to be held from Thursday to Sunday this year. 

Sunset at Bridge Bay located on Shasta Lake. Shasta Lake is a reservoir in Shasta County, California, United States. It is within the Whiskeytown–Shasta–Trinity National Recreation Area, operated by the Shasta-Trinity National Forest. It is impounded by Shasta Dam, the ninth tallest dam in the United States. Known as the keystone of the Central Valley Project, the outflow of Shasta Dam provides electricity and irrigation water. It also provides Sacramento River flood control below the dam for the Sacramento Valley

According to reports, Pietrs was spending the weekend at Shasta Lake in Northern California.  (iStock)

The 21-year-old was seen drinking in the area throughout the day on Friday, before he went to his tent early in the evening, Fox 12 reported.

Pietrs was found not breathing at the Gooseneck Campground. CPR was performed, but he was declared dead at the scene, according to KEZI.

Investigators did not believe foul play was involved in Pietrs’ death, the Shasta County Sheriff’s Office told multiple news agencies.

The university’s initial statement, according to reports, said that, “As devastating as this sudden passing is, it is important to point out that this tragedy is connected to an unauthorized tradition among many college students.

“Students from many institutions have a history of demonstrating poor life choices during visits to Lake Shasta,” the statement reportedly read. “These activities are contrary to the values of the university and fraternity and sorority organizations.”

Investigators said they did not believe foul play was involved in Pietrs’ death.  (Facebook)

The school amended the statement and wrote Pietrs’ “death is tragic, and the university offers its deepest sympathy to family and friends of Dylan and the communities he was a part of at the University of Oregon.”

Pietrs was a member of the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity and was studing business administration.

Nicole Darrah covers breaking and trending news for Follow her on Twitter @nicoledarrah.

Ticket sold in New Jersey wins Powerball jackpot


Lottery officials say a single ticket sold at a New Jersey grocery store won the Powerball jackpot worth an estimated $315.3 million.

The New Jersey Lottery says the winning ticket for Saturday night’s drawing was sold at a Shoprite in Hackensack, Bergen County. The ticket matched all five white balls and the Powerball to win the jackpot, which has a $183.2 million cash value.

Acting Executive Director John White says officials encourage the winner to sign the back of the winning ticket, make a copy of both sides and put it in a safe place, and then contact lottery headquarters.

White notes that the Mega Millions winning ticket was sold in New Jersey in March.

The winning numbers in the May 19 drawing were 3, 6, 9, 17, 56 and Powerball 25. The Power Play multiplier was 3.

German cartoonist fired over Netanyahu caricature


A prominent German daily newspaper has severed ties with its longtime cartoonist following an uproar over his depiction of Benjamin Netanyahu — which critics said used “anti-Semitic” clichés.

The controversial image, which ran in the May 15 edition of Süddeutsche Zeitung, drawn by 85-year-old Dieter Hanitzsch, showcased the Israeli prime minister dressed up as singer Netta Barzilai, who recently won the 2018 Israeli Eurovision contest. The cartoon Netanyahu held a microphone in one hand and a rocket with the Star of David in the other, with the speech bubble: “Next year in Jerusalem.”

The daily’s editor-in-chief, Wolfgang Krach, publically apologized for the cartoon’s publication and the “anti-Semitic” undertones that came with it. It was printed just one day after the U.S Embassy opening in Jerusalem and related violent protests.

However, Hanitzsch himself refused to apologize and insisted that he certainly didn’t “sneak” the image into the paper.

President Donald Trump meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the Oval Office of the White House, Monday, March 5, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

 (Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

The cartoonist told local media outlets that he thought Netanyahu had taken advantage of the singer’s success and the Eurovision contest in general to propel his own agenda.


Netanyahu used the phrase, traditionally spoken annually in the Jewish festival of Passover, in a congratulatory Facebook message to Barzilai in which he stated, “You brought a lot of respect to the State of Israel,” and “Next year in Jerusalem!”


The German Press Council has since opened an inquiry to determine whether the cartoon was anti-Semitic after readers had complained that the image “reminded them of the anti-Semitic language of Nazi times,” Reuters reported. 

However, this was not the first time Hanitzsch’s work raised eyebrows. The cartoonist previously took aim at Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan – in cartoons published in the same newspaper – but defended his drawings against “Islamophobia” accusers on the basis of freedom of the press and expression.

Hollie McKay has been a staff reporter since 2007. She has reported extensively from the Middle East on the rise and fall of terrorist groups such as ISIS in Iraq. Follow her on twitter at @holliesmckay

Billboard Music Awards nominees, performers and everything else you need to know


The 2018 Billboard Music Awards are almost here. 

The awards show — which is slated to feature several star performances — will take place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on Sunday night.

Here’s what you should know ahead of the big event. 

Where can I watch the 2018 Billboard Music Awards?

You can catch the awards on NBC at 8 p.m. ET.

Who is hosting?

Singer Kelly Clarkson will emcee the Billboard Music Awards. 

Singer Kelly Clarkson poses at the Billboard Women in Music awards in Los Angeles, California, U.S., November 30, 2017. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni - RC157DA42460

Kelly Clarkson will host the award show.  (REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni)

“I already have 20 costume changes planned,” Clarkson said in a statement last month. “I will be flying in like my girl P!nk, and calling Amy Schumer and Sarah Silverman for jokes.”

She continued, “Well, or I’m just gonna show up and celebrate my favorite artists and get to know a few more. Yeah, maybe I’ll go with that plan.”

Clarkson is also set to perform during the program. 

What about the other artists performing?

Ariana Grande is going to kick off the awards show “with a show-stopping performance from her upcoming LP,” a press release stated.

The show also will feature a duet from Christina Aguilera and Demi Lovato. They’ll perform the tune “Fall in Line.” 

Ed Sheeran “will deliver a special performance on location from Dublin, Ireland,” a press release announced. Zedd, Maren Morris and Grey will perform “The Middle.”

Fans can also expect to see Salt-N-Pepa with En Vogue and Macklemore join forces with Kesha.

Shawn Mendes is expected to peform “In My Blood” before he performs “Youth” with Khalid, a press release explains. A duet with Khalid and Normani is also set to take place. 

K-pop band BTS — along with pop stars Camila Cabello, John Legend, Dua Lipa and Jennifer Lopez — also are among the announced performers. 

Who is presenting?

Actresses Mila Kunis and Rebel Wilson, EDM duo The Chainsmokers, “World of Dance” host Jenna Dewan, pop star Nick Jonas and rapper French Montana are just some of the presenters who have been revealed

How are award finalists determined? 

“Billboard Music Awards nominees and winners are based on key fan interactions with music, including album and digital song sales, streaming, radio airplay, touring and social engagement, tracked by Billboard and its data partners, including Nielsen Music and Next Big Sound,” a May 7 press release explained. “The awards are based on the reporting period of April 8, 2017 through March 31, 2018.”

The Billboard Chart Achievement Award and the Top Social Artist Award are both voted on by fans.

Who’s up for Top Artist?

Drake, Kendrick Lamar, Bruno Mars, Ed Sheeran and Taylor Swift have all been nominated for the award.

FILE - In this June 28, 2015, file photo, Janet Jackson accepts the ultimate icon: music dance visual award at the BET Awards in Los Angeles. Jackson, will be honored with the prestigious ICON Award at the 2018 Billboard Music Awards on Sunday, May 20, 2018. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP, File)

Janet Jackson is set to get the Billboard Icon Award.  (Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP, File)

What about the Top New Artist nominees?

This year’s nominees include Camila Cabello, R&B singer Khalid, plus rappers 21 Savage, Cardi B and Kodak Black.

Nominees for other Billboard categories can be found here. You can see the winners for categories that won’t be part of the broadcast here

Who is getting the Billboard Icon Award?

Janet Jackson. The artist will also reward fans with a performance on the live telecast — her first televised performance in 9 years.

“I can’t wait!” the singer said in a May 7 tweet.

Past award recipients include Prince, Stevie Wonder, Cher, Neil Diamond, Celine Dion and Jennifer Lopez.

Jackson has been a dominant force on the Billboard charts for decades, thanks to hits including “That’s The Way Love Goes,” “I Get Lonely” and “All for You.”

The multi-platinum superstar will kick off another leg of her State of the World Tour in July.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Cubans mourn plane crash dead, officials ID 20 bodies


At morgues and in church services, Cubans are mourning loved ones who died in the country’s worst air disaster in three decades.

Island authorities say they have identified 20 bodies and recovered all human remains from the field next to Havana’s international airport where a passenger jet crashed Friday, killing 110 people.

Maidi Charchabal’s son Daniel Terrero would have turned 22 years old Sunday. She wept at Havana’s Institute of Legal Medicine as she waited for experts to complete their identification of his body.

Charchabal said she hoped to receive Daniel’s body so she could “be able to be with him on his birthday.”

14-year-old pretends he's a NY cop, robs a legally blind man


Police say a 14-year-old boy posing as a New York police officer is under arrest for snatching a legally blind man’s wallet in a Manhattan subway station — while pretending to help him.

The youth was in custody Sunday, nearly a week after he fled the station at 34th Street and Eighth Avenue.

Police say he approached the 64-year-old man last Monday afternoon, offering to lead him past a turnstile. Security video shows the teen unzipping the man’s backpack and taking out the wallet. The boy then bolted, and a credit card was charged $500 at a nearby store.

The video led to Sunday’s arrest.

Authorities did not release the name of the teen, who faces charges of grand larceny and criminal impersonation of a police officer.

Hillary Clinton to get Harvard medal for ‘transformative impact on society’


Hillary Clinton will receive Harvard’s prestigious Radcliffe Medal for her “transformative impact on society,” according to the Ivy League university.

Hillary Clinton to get Harvard medal for 'transformative impact on society'


Hillary Clinton will receive Harvard’s prestigious Radcliffe Medal for her “transformative impact on society,” according to the Ivy League university.

She will receive the award Friday as part of the school’s graduation-week activities.

Clinton is a former first lady, New York senator, secretary of State and two-time Democratic presidential candidate. Her 2016 White House bid was damaged severely by an FBI investigation into her use of private email servers to send and receive classified information while at the State Department.

Organizers at Harvard say Clinton was chosen for the award because she’s a “champion for human rights,” a “skilled legislator” and “an advocate of American leadership” on the world stage.

Former Secretary of State and 2001 Radcliffe Medalist Madeleine Albright will deliver a personal tribute to Clinton, and Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey will take part in a keynote conversation with her Friday at the school in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Previous medal recipients include Federal Reserve Chairman Janet Yellen, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and former Sen. Elizabeth Dole, R-N.C.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

DNA leads to arrest in Washington cold-case murder of young couple


A 55-year-old man has been arrested in a 31-year-old cold case involving a young couple murdered in Washington state.

Detectives from the Snohomish County and Skagit County Sheriff’s Offices arrested William Talbott for the November 1987 murders of 20-year-old Jay Cook and 18-year-old Tanya Van Cuylenborg, the Skagit County Sheriff’s Office said Thursday.

He was ordered held on $2 million bond after a court appearance Friday, Q13 Fox reported.

“We never gave up hope that we would find Jay and Tanya’s killer,” Snohomish County Sheriff Ty Trenary said Friday. “Yesterday’s arrest shows how powerful it can be to combine new DNA technology with the relentless determination of detectives.”

Investigators tapped a public genealogy website to match crime scene DNA. The analysis was performed by Parabon, a Virginia company.


The sheriff’s office said Talbott is the first murder suspect to be arrested using results from Parabon’s genetic genealogy service, which became generally available less than two weeks ago. A digital file containing DNA genotype data derived from evidence at the crime scene was uploaded to GEDMatch, a public genetic genealogy website, and promising matches were found for two of the suspect’s relatives, the sheriff’s office said.

Authorities used GEDMatch to arrest a suspect in the Northern California’s notorious “Golden State Killer” case. From 1976 to 1986, the Golden State Killer murdered 12 people, raped 45 others, and burglarized more than 100 homes.

Van Cuylenborg and Cook left their Saanich, British Columbia, homes on Nov. 18, 1987, for an overnight trip to Seattle. They were driving a brown 1977 Ford van to buy furnace parts for Cook’s family business.

When they failed to return home, their families reported them missing.

On Nov. 24 of that year, a man walking on an isolated road south of Bellingham, Washington, discovered Van Cuylenborg’s body. She had been sexually assaulted, bound with plastic ties and shot in the head, investigators said.

Cook’s battered body turned up the next day about two miles south of Monroe, Washington. The two locations where the bodies were found are about 75 miles apart.

Police were able to obtain DNA from the van.

In April, police released composite sketches of the killer that Parabon created based on the the DNA evidence.

John Van Cuylenborg told a radio talk show that he almost gave up hope his sister’s killer would be found, Global News in Vancouver reported.

“After a while you have to sort of adjust to the fact that it seems as though the case is never going to be solved, and that probably would be true if it wasn’t for these advancements in DNA techniques,” he said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

UAE to loosen visa rules for investors and innovators


The United Arab Emirates, home to financial hubs Abu Dhabi and Dubai, is loosening its residency laws and will grant long-term visas for up to 10 years to investors and highly-skilled professionals.

The 10-year residency visas will be granted to specialists in science, medicine and research, and to “exceptional students.” The state-run WAM news agency says the plan aims to attract global investment and innovators.

The UAE Cabinet approved the new rules on Sunday, saying plans are also on track to allow foreign investors 100 percent ownership of their UAE-based companies this year. Under current laws, foreign companies must have an Emirati owning 51 percent of the shares, unless the company operates in a free zone. Major brands Apple and Tesla are believed to be exceptions to the rule.

Iranian general's visit draws protest in Baghdad


If last weekend’s federal elections demonstrated anything, it was that much of the Iraqi population is done with foreign intervention.

The frontrunner in the national elections, Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr — who long has decried both Iranian and U.S. influence — described his party’s victory as “an achievement for the Iraqi people and its national entitlement,” just as scores have taken up a stance over Tehran’s latest efforts to maintain leverage.

The arrival of Iran’s prominent Major General Qasem Soleimani to Baghdad last Saturday subsequently has been met with hundreds taking to the streets in opposition of Iran’s “destabilizing” maneuvers in Iraq, advocating that the neighboring country should instead channel its resources into “liberating” the occupied Palestinian territories.

Soleimani, who oversees Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards, is reported to be deal-making desperately  to form alliances with other major Iraqi parties to ensure Tehran’s interests are upheld and to counter the influence of Sadr’s Sayirun party — a mishmash of Shiites, secularists, technocrats and communists — which has taken a surprise sweep, according to preliminary electoral results.

Tehran’s desired pick for prime minister, Hadi Al-Amiri, leader of the Tehran-supported Badr paramilitary unit, so far has finished second in the election-counting, while the U.S.-favored reigning prime minister, Haider al-Abadi, has come in third. Sadr has signaled that he will not cower to forming an alliance with Amiri, but has expressed openness to working with Abadi.

But despite Sadr’s apparent victory on the outset, his bloc still could be hindered from forming the next government if Soleimani is successful in amassing support from other parties in the coming days.



Iranian officials, prior to the May 12 elections, announced that they would not allow Sadr’s Sayirun party to command Iraq. Sadr — who once directed a bloody insurgency against American soldiers following the 2003 invasion before instructing his army to lay down arms — did not run for a seat himself, thus cannot become prime minister. Yet given that his party is assumed to have taken the most seats, he is in a position to nominate the next leader and determine the political bill for the next four years.

But it all hinges on how successful Soleimani is in his current Baghdad deal-making.

Sadr appears to have taken direct swipe at the military leader’s lobbying, stating on Wednesday that he “rejected any foreign intervention in the efforts to form a new government,” and that he would cooperate with other parties, providing that they are “not occupiers of our country, both for occupation and domination.”

While maintaining relations with Iran’s Shiite religious leadership, Sadr has taken significant steps to distance himself further from Iran militarily in the election lead-up — promoting a nationalist agenda and aligning himself with traditional combatant cleric, Ammar al-Hakim, who too has moved away from Iranian influence in recent times.

Sadr staunchly has rejected Iran’s continued backing of Shiite militias across Iraq, known as the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), which came into being initially to fight the sudden onslaught of ISIS in 2014. Sadr has cautioned that the militias — which essentially control Iraq’s Interior Ministry and large territorial swaths of the country — should be dissolved into Iraq’s national security forces, thus limiting Tehran’s direct control.

Official discussions regarding the establishment of a governing coalition will begin after the proclamation of the final election results, likely to take place this week.

Hollie McKay has been a staff reporter since 2007. She has reported extensively from the Middle East on the rise and fall of terrorist groups such as ISIS in Iraq. Follow her on twitter at @holliesmckay

Montenegro's president talks of EU aims during inauguration


Montenegro’s new president has promised to boost democratic freedoms and to fight corruption in the small Balkan nation seeking European Union membership.

Milo Djukanovic said in his inaugural speech on Sunday that Montenegro is a front-runner for EU integration, but more must be done to achieve European standards for the country’s citizens.

During his inauguration in the historic capital of Cetinje, Djukanovic also warned that the future of Balkan countries in the EU is “blurred” by the bloc’s internal and global problems.

Djukanovic and his Democratic Party of Socialists have ruled Montenegro since the early 1990s, taking the country to independence from the much larger Serbia in 2006. Last year, Montenegro defied traditional ally Russia by joining NATO.

Critics have accused Djukanovic of a poor democratic record and rampant corruption.

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's first dance song revealed


One day after Prince Harry and Meghan Markle tied the knot at their highly-publicized royal wedding, details are emerging about their intimate reception afterwards. Specifically, the song the royal couple chose to be the first one they danced to as husband and wife.

According to Us Weekly, the couple left their ceremony, where 600 people saw them wed, to a more intimate location at Windsor Castle in England. The event, hosted by the groom’s father, Prince Charles, began at 7 p.m. and reduced the royal guest list to about 200 closer friends. The outlet notes that this reception was different than the more subdued lunchtime one held by the queen, where Elton John performed.

With their guests able to let their hair down, the couple chose a more upbeat, albeit still loving, song as their first dance as a married pair. They opted for Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody,” according to E! News.

Markle changed into a second wedding dress that didn’t drag 16 feet, like her ceremonial dress, while her new husband ditched his royal uniform for a regular, but stylish, tuxedo for the big reception. They reportedly traveled to the party in an E-Type Jaguar modified with an electric engine so as to be environmentally friendly.

The evening capped off with a fireworks display in honor of the new couple, which was captured on Instagram by reporter Emily Nash. Guests reportedly left the party after midnight.

Trump to ‘demand’ Justice probe whether feds spied on campaign for political purposes


President Trump said Sunday that he will officially demand that the Justice Department investigate whether federal agents infiltrated or surveilled his 2016 presidential campaign for political purposes and whether the preceding Obama administration was behind such action.

Trump to 'demand' Justice probe whether feds spied on campaign for political purposes


President Trump said Sunday that he will officially demand that the Justice Department investigate whether federal agents infiltrated or surveilled his 2016 presidential campaign for political purposes and whether the preceding Obama administration was behind such action.

“I hereby demand, and will do so officially tomorrow, that the Department of Justice look into whether or not the FBI/DOJ infiltrated or surveilled the Trump Campaign for Political Purposes — and if any such demands or requests were made by people within the Obama Administration!” the president tweeted.

Trump, late last week, began accusing the Justice Department of trying to frame him by planting a spy in his campaign — an allegation his own lawyer said might not be true.

Promoting a theory that is circulating, Trump quoted Fox Business anchor David Asman and tweeted Friday: “Apparently the DOJ put a Spy in the Trump Campaign. This has never been done before and by any means necessary, they are out to frame Donald Trump for crimes he didn’t commit.”

But Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani cast some doubt on that.

On whether there was an “informant” in the 2016 presidential campaign, Giuliani told CNN, “I don’t know for sure, nor does the president, if there really was one,” though he said they have long been told there was “some kind of infiltration.”

Earlier this month, the National Review raised the question of a possible FBI spy in Trump’s campaign. The article cites work by California Republican Rep. Devin Nunes, an ardent Trump supporter and head of the House Intelligence Committee, who has demanded information on an FBI source in the Russia investigation.

Virginia Sen. Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee as its vice chairman, objected Friday to such demands, emphasizing “the critical importance of protecting sources and methods.”

“It would be at best irresponsible, and at worst potentially illegal, for members of Congress to use their positions to learn the identity of an FBI source for the purpose of undermining the ongoing investigation into Russian interference in our election,” Warner wrote in a statement. “Anyone who is entrusted with our nation’s highest secrets should act with the gravity and seriousness of purpose that knowledge deserves.”

The New York Times reported separately this past week that at least one government informant met several times with Carter Page and George Papadopoulos, both former foreign policy advisers for Trump’s Republican campaign.

The Times reported Friday that the informant talked to Page and Papadopoulos because they had suspicious contacts linked to Russia. The newspaper attributed the information to current and former FBI officials.

Also Friday, Giuliani said special counsel Robert Mueller has narrowed his possible interview subject areas from five to two as negotiations continue over whether the president will sit down and answer questions in the Russia investigation.

Mueller is investigating possible coordination between Russia and Trump’s 2016 campaign.

A number of Trump outside advisers — including former chief strategist Stephen Bannon — have stepped up their attacks on the Department of Justice, calling for it to release more documents to the White House while saying a confidential source has worked against Trump.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Activists occupy 9 vacant Berlin buildings in rent protest


Berlin police say activists protesting rising rents and gentrification in the German capital have occupied nine vacant buildings.

The dpa news agency reported Sunday that apartments in the trendy Kreuzberg, Neukoelln and Friedrichshain neighborhoods were among the buildings taken over.

The protesters hung banners out windows and tweeted using the hashtag #besetzen, German for “occupy.”

Real estate prices and rents have skyrocketed in Berlin in recent years, creating affordability pressures that have been the subject of demonstrations for stricter rent control and more affordable housing.

The building occupiers issued a statement saying they are staging a “radical intervention against the principle of speculative vacancies.”

It was not immediately clear how many activists were involved or how long they planned to stay the buildings.

25 African migrants come ashore in Brazil after sea rescue


Authorities say about two dozen African migrants have come ashore in northeastern Brazil after being rescued at sea by fishermen.

The government of Maranhao state said Sunday that the group of 25 people from Senegal, Nigeria, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Cape Verde landed late Saturday. Two Brazilians were aboard.

The government said officials provided medical care and meals to those who were dehydrated.

Federal police are looking into whether any crimes were committed against the group. That could mean there is suspicion they were exploited by people who smuggle migrants. The G1 news portal reported the migrants’ boat was adrift for weeks.

Every year, tens of thousands of people from Africa and the Middle East try to reach Europe in smugglers’ boats. But such journeys to Brazil are rare.

'Hope and healing': Texas town worships after school attack

Congregations in this deeply religious community near Houston gathered Sunday for their first worship services since a teenager with a shotgun blasted his way into a high school art classroom and killed 10 people — eight students and two teachers.

Dayspring Church, where one of the slain students, Angelique Ramirez, attended services, provided a licensed counselor for members who needed to talk about the deaths.

“Our objective as a church is to offer hope and healing that we understand only comes through a relationship with Jesus Christ,” Senior Pastor Brad Drake said.

Church leaders wore green T-shirts with gold lettering —the colors of Santa Fe High School — that spelled out a verse from Corinthians within an outline of the state of Texas: “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.”

Ramirez was a member of the church’s youth ministry, Drake said.

“She was a sweet young lady, had a style all of her own,” he said. “She almost always had a new hairstyle.”

At Arcadia First Baptist Church, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott hugged grieving parishioners as they arrived. Among them was Monica Bracknell, an 18-year-old senior who survived the shooting. She stopped to tell the governor that the attack should not be turned into a political battle over gun control.

Surrounded by television cameras, photographers and reporters, she told Abbott guns were not to blame.

“People are making this into a political issue,” she said she told him. “This is not a political issue. It’s not a gun-law issue.”

It was not the first time faith in Santa Fe has been tested with the whole country watching. In 2000, the city of 13,000 people was at the center of a landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision that banned students from leading pregame prayer over loudspeakers.

The court ruled 6-3 that the school district’s policy of allowing student-led prayers at campus events violated the constitutionally required separation of church and state. Justices said that giving students a public forum for prayer was effectively sponsoring the message.

Also Sunday, Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick called for a “hardening” of the nation’s school buildings in the wake of the attack by a 17-year-old student who killed 10 people at a high school near Houston.

Patrick, a Republican, blamed a “culture of violence” and said more needs to be done to keep shooters away from students, such as restricting school entrances and arming teachers.

“When you’re facing someone who’s an active shooter, the best way to take that shooter down is with a gun. But even better than that is four to five guns to one,” he told CNN’s “State of the Union.”

On ABC’s “The Week,” Patrick said he supports background checks for gun purchasers but stressed that “gun regulation starts at home.”

The first funeral for a shooting victim was set for later Sunday. Services for 17-year-old Pakistani exchange student Sabika Sheikh were to take place at a mosque in suburban Houston.

Her father, Abdul Aziz Sheikh, described his daughter as an accomplished student who aspired to work in civil service and hoped one day to join Pakistan’s foreign office. Her body is to be returned to her family in Karachi.

The suspect in Friday’s attack began by firing a shotgun through an art classroom door, shattering a glass pane and sending panicked students to the entryway to block him from getting inside, witnesses said.

Dmitrios Pagourtzis fired again through the wooden part of the door and fatally hit a student in the chest. He then lingered for about 30 minutes in a warren of four rooms, killing seven more students and two teachers before exchanging gunfire with police and surrendering, officials said.

Freshman Abel San Miguel saw his friend Chris Stone killed at the door. San Miguel was grazed on his left shoulder by another volley of shots. He and others survived by playing dead.

“We were on the ground, all piled up in random positions,” he said.

Galveston County Judge Mark Henry, the county’s chief administrator, said he did not think Friday’s attack was 30 minutes of constant shooting, and that assessment was consistent with other officials who said law enforcement contained the shooter quickly. But authorities did not release a detailed timeline to explain precisely how events unfolded.

In their first statement since the massacre, Pagourtzis’ family said Saturday that the bloodshed “seems incompatible with the boy we love.”

“We are as shocked and confused as anyone else by these events,” said the statement, which offered prayers and condolences to the victims.

Relatives said they remained “mostly in the dark about the specifics” of the attack and shared “the public’s hunger for answers.”

The 17-year-old suspect has been jailed on capital murder charges. His attorney, Nicholas Poehl, said he was investigating whether his client endured any “teacher-on-student” bullying after reading reports of Pagourtzis being mistreated by football coaches.

In an online statement, the school district said it investigated the accusations and “confirmed that these reports were untrue.”

Poehl said that there was no history of mental health issues with his client, though there may be “some indications of family history.” He said it was too early to elaborate.


Associated Press Writer Paul J. Weber contributed to this report.


Follow AP’s coverage of the Santa Fe High School shooting here: .

Italian populist says he and rival have deal on new premier


One of Italy’s two main populist leaders says he and his rival finally have agreed on who should be the next premier — neither of them.

Exactly 11 weeks after a parliamentary election with inconclusive results created political gridlock, League leader Matteo Salvini said Sunday that he and 5-Star Movement leader Luigi Di Maio also have reached a deal on the choice of Cabinet ministers.

Salvini says he and Di Maio will reveal their choice for premier to Italian President Sergio Mattarella. Italian media say the president, who is head of state, is likely to summon the two political leaders on Monday.

If Mattarella is convinced their choice can muster a solid majority in Parliament, he can then confer a mandate to form what would be Italy’s first populist government.

Maduro favored as Venezuelans vote amid crisis


Voting centers across Venezuela’s capital city appeared largely empty during elections on Sunday despite assurances from government officials that millions of voters had turned out to vote by mid-morning.

President Nicolas Maduro is expected to handily win a second term despite the deepening crisis that’s made food scarce and inflation soar as oil production in the once wealthy nation plummets.

By mid-morning, poll workers at a voting center in San Agustin, a pro-government stronghold in Caracas, said less than a fifth of the 1,916 registered voters had cast a ballot, but they expected a mid-day surge.

Information Minister Jorge Rodriguez said about 2.5 million people had voted by 10 a.m.

While polls show Venezuelans overwhelmingly blame Maduro for their mounting troubles, he’s still heavily favored to win thanks to a boycott of the election by his main rivals amid huge distrust of the nation’s electoral council, which is controlled by government loyalists.

More than 1 million Venezuelans have abandoned their country for a better life abroad in recent years, while those staying behind wait in line for hours to buy subsidized food and withdraw cash that’s almost impossible to find.

Maduro, setting an example for government supporters who he called on to vote early, cast his ballot in Caracas shortly after fireworks and loud speakers blasting a military hymn roused Venezuelans from sleep around 5 a.m. local time.

Voters register with members of the ruling United Socialist Party before proceeding to a polling post to vote in presidential elections in Valencia, Venezuela, Sunday, May 20, 2018. Known as "red points' the checkpoints are set up outside voting centers to confirm peoples' cards, which are needed to access social programs. President Nicolas Maduro is seeking a second six-year term, despite a deepening crisis that's made food scarce and inflation soar as oil production in the once wealthy nation plummets.(AP Photo/Fernando Llano)

Voters register with members of the ruling United Socialist Party before proceeding to a polling post to vote in presidential elections in Valencia, Venezuela, Sunday, May 20, 2018.  (AP)

He said Venezuelans would provide an example of democracy to the world and brushed back suggestions he was taking the country down an authoritarian path.

“It’s offensive when they say the Venezuelan people are falling under dictatorship,” he said after voting, adding that if he were to win the election he would seek an understanding with his opponents on a way forward for the crisis-wracked country. “I’m going to stubbornly and obsessively insist in dialogue for peace.”

Meanwhile, in Petare, home to Caracas’ biggest slum, voters waited in line to have their so-called “Fatherland Card” scanned by socialist party volunteers.

A woman wearing the red, yellow and blue colors of Venezuela’s flag scanned each card with her phone — a form of verifying that cardholders had done their patriotic duty of voting, presumably for President Nicolas Maduro.


The existence of so-called “Red Points,” many just a few steps from voting centers, is an integral part of the government’s get out the vote machinery.

Maduro’s main rival, independent candidate Henri Falcon, said he had received at least 350 complaints from voters about the existence of the “red points,” including some inside voting centers.

“Our money just doesn’t stretch as far as it should. Eating out is so expensive.”

– Henri Roldan, 62, a retired computer technician

Falcon called on election officials to shut them down, calling it a “pressure mechanism, an element of political and social blackmail” directed at a poorer sector of the population.

“If the opposition wants to do the same, they are free to do so,” said Rigoberto Barazarte, the owner of a small car wash business who wants to see a re-elected Maduro toughen his stance against elites he says are trying to sabotage Venezuela’s economy.

In the opposition stronghold of eastern Caracas not all voters heeded a call to stay indoors in protest.

Nayra Martinez, a city employee and opposition activist, bucked her party’s call to abstain from casting her ballot, saying it’s no time to stop fighting.

Voters register with the ruling United Socialist Party after casting their ballots in the presidential election in Caracas, Venezuela, Sunday, May 20, 2018, at a so-called "red point" set up outside a voting center to confirm peoples' cards which are needed to access government-run social programs. President Nicolas Maduro is seeking a second, six-year term despite a deepening crisis that's made food scarce and inflation soar as oil production in the once wealthy nation plummets. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)

Voters register with the ruling United Socialist Party after casting their ballots in the presidential election in Caracas, Venezuela, Sunday, May 20, 2018, at a so-called “red point” set up outside a voting center to confirm peoples’ cards which are needed to access government-run social programs.  (AP)

“If you’re sick and the doctor gives you few days to live, you don’t lay in bed waiting to die,” she said. “You seek treatment.”

But in the opposition stronghold of eastern Caracas, the leafy streets were largely empty.

In the neighborhood of Los Palos Grandes opposition supporter Henri Roldan, 62, said he’s not voting. Instead, he’s going to eat out at a restaurant, a luxury he now limits himself to only once a month since inflation has devoured his pension check.


“Our money just doesn’t stretch as far as it should,” said the retired computer technician, stopping near fountains at his neighborhood plaza to chat with friends. “Eating out is so expensive.”

Around 80 percent of Venezuelans believe Maduro has done a bad job, yet turnout is expected to be the lowest since Chavez was elected in 1998, with only 34 percent saying they are certain they will vote, according to recent polling by Datanalisis.

The election has drawn broad criticism since some of Maduro’s most-popular rivals were barred from running, and several more were forced into exile. Echoing the views of Venezuela’s tattered opposition movement, the United States, European Union and many Latin American countries have already said they won’t recognize the results.

A member of the Bolivarian Militia sits at a polling station to assist with security during presidential elections in Caracas, Venezuela, Sunday, May 20, 2018. Amidst hyperinflation and shortages of food and medicine, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is seeking a second, six-year term in an election that a growing chorus of foreign governments refuse to recognize after key opponents were barred from running. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)

A member of the Bolivarian Militia sits at a polling station to assist with security during presidential elections in Caracas, Venezuela, Sunday, May 20, 2018.  (AP)

In addition, pressure tactics honed in past campaigns have kicked into overdrive, further tilting the playing field in Maduro’s favor.

Almost 75 percent of households said they received government-issued food boxes in the past three months, according to Datanalisis, and Maduro on the stump has promised that the 16.5 million holders of the fledgling “fatherland card” will be rewarded for their vote.

Still, some question the wisdom of not competing in an election, even if it is widely seen as rigged.

A 2010 study by the Brookings Institution covering 171 electoral boycotts around the world — from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe — found that such maneuvers rarely succeed in rendering elections illegitimate in the eyes of the world. Instead, the boycotting party usually emerges weaker and the incumbent empowered.

Javier Corrales, a Venezuela expert at Amherst College, said the opposition’s sit-out strategy could be as disastrous as its boycott of congressional elections in 2005, which led the ruling party to sweep all seats and pass legislation removing presidential term limits that further strengthened Chavez.

“The irony is that this is the least democratic election of all but it’s also the best chance the opposition has ever had,” said Corrales. “If Maduro wins by a large margin, he’ll take it is as a green light to continue radicalizing and moving in the direction of completely destroying the private sector.”

3 killed in boat crash on Missouri lake; operator arrested


Authorities allege a Kansas man was intoxicated when the boat he was operating struck a rock bluff on the Lake of the Ozarks in central Missouri, killing three friends.

Hayden Frazier, 22, of Overland Park, was released from jail Sunday morning. He was arrested Saturday on three preliminary charges of boating while intoxicated involving a death of another person. It wasn’t immediately clear when formal charges will be filed.

The Missouri Highway Patrol on Sunday identified says the three victims who were killed: 23-year-old Joseph LeMark, of Overland Park; 24-year-old Daniel Lewis, of Overland Park; and 21-year-old Hailey Hochanadel, of Olathe.

Authorities say 21-year-old Ashley Lamb, of Olathe, was in serious condition after being flown to a Springfield, Missouri, hospital.

The crash happened before 2 a.m. Saturday, throwing three people into the water, authorities said. All five people involved were friends who graduated from high school in Olathe.

Accident reports say Frazier, Hochanadel and LeMark were ejected into the water in the crash that happened before 2 a.m. Saturday. State Patrol Sgt. Scott White said Frazier climbed back aboard and paddled the 1991 Regal Runabout across the channel to a dock at Simmons Point.

A neighbor called to report the incident.