Day: March 18, 2017

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Manhunt underway for 3 escapees from Oklahoma jail


A manhunt is underway after three men with long rap sheets busted out of an Oklahoma county jail.

Brian Allen Moody, 23, Sonny Baker, 41, and Mark Dwayne Robbins, 23, escaped through the ventilation system of the Lincoln County jail in Chandler around 11 p.m. Thursday, according to reports.

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They stole two pick-up trucks and found a handgun in a one vehicle and a debit card in the other.

Authorities say the escapees then drove 50 miles from Chandler to Midwest and stopped at a 7-11 where they used the debit card.

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All three were in custody for property crimes and each has been arrested multiple times, KWTV in Oklahoma City reported Friday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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'NIGHTMARE' WILL END Pence takes ObamaCare replacement pitch to Fla.


Vice President Pence paid a thank you call Saturday in Florida, thanking voters for helping President Trump win the White House and vowing to repay them with a replacement for “nightmare” ObamaCare.

Pence’s visit marked the second consecutive weekend that he has traveled to states to garner support for the Republican-crafted bill to repeal and replace ObamaCare — ahead of a key House vote scheduled for Thursday.

“Thank you for your hard work, your support, your prayers,” Pence said in Jacksonville, Florida. “Your votes have set us on a path to make America great again.”

Pence tried to assure voters that the GOP House leadership bill, the American Health Care Act, has solid Republican support, despite concern from some of Congress’ most conservative members.  

“President Trump supports the bill 100 percent, and we all do,” said Pence, a conservative and former House member who in recent weeks has worked Capitol Hill for Republican support.

The scheduled House floor vote Thursday, if successful, could send the bill to the GOP-controlled Senate, then to the president’s desk.

Pence, who last weekend visited Kentucky, took his appeal Saturday directly to Florida voters, arguing that ObamaCare has failed them and others across the country.

“Florida’s actually a textbook example of what’s wrong with ObamaCare. … Florida can’t afford ObamaCare anymore,” said Pence, citing premium increases of 19 percent over last year in the state, amid fears the new plan will leave Americans with higher premium costs and fewer health-plan choices.

“The ObamaCare nightmare is about to end,” he continued.

To be sure, Florida helped Trump in his improbable 2016 White House win. Its 29 Electoral College votes were the most of any battleground state. And Florida voted in 2008 and 2012 for Democratic President Obama.

Pence also hit home on other key issues for voters in Jacksonville, which has several military bases and one of the country’s biggest military populations.  

He said Trump’s plan to increase defense spending by roughly $54 billion is “at the very heart of his budget plan” and that he will end the era of cuts for the military.

“We will restore the arsenal of democracy,” Pence said. “That I promise you.”

He also made clear the administration fully intends to fulfill campaign promises on national security, including getting criminal illegal immigrants “off the streets of Florida and out of this country.”

Pence, in vowing a more robust economy with more work opportunities, called Trump “the best friend America’s small businesses will ever have.”

He also defended the GOP health measure that could include work requirements for Medicaid recipients and Trump’s budget plan that attempts to cut the size of the federal government, suggesting an end to spending decisions “from the comforts of the taxpayer-funded metal desks in Washington.”

 

 



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Man charged as run-over medic is mourned as job's matriarch


A man accused of crushing a fire department medic to death under the wheels of a stolen ambulance told reporters Friday he’d done nothing wrong, while his lawyer said he was mentally ill and didn’t act intentionally.

As colleagues mourned Fire Department Emergency Medical Services technician Yadira Arroyo at a stationhouse draped in black and purple bunting, Jose Gonzalez was arraigned on murder and other charges in her gruesome death. The mom of five sons worked as medic for 14 years, and colleagues said she was devoted to her job and a mother figure to co-workers as well as her own family.

Gonzalez, 25, hopped on the back of Arroyo’s ambulance Thursday night, then darted into the driver’s seat and ran her over after a man on the street flagged the vehicle down to say Gonzalez had seized his backpack, authorities said.

“I’m innocent. I didn’t do nothing,” Gonzalez said as he was escorted out of a police station, surrounded by angry, uniformed emergency medical technicians hurling insults.

Police said Gonzalez had been high on drugs during the deadly encounter. His lawyer, Alice Fontier, said he has a severe mental illness. She didn’t identify it, saying his history would be disclosed later in court.

“Whatever may have happened here, none of his actions were intentional,” Fontier said, calling Arroyo’s death a tragedy for both the EMT’s family’s and the suspect’s.

Gonzalez is being held without bail.

Police said Gonzalez, who lived for about a month at a group home for chronically homeless single adults, had a history of arrests and violent and erratic behavior with officers. Fontier said his record involves mostly marijuana possession charges, as well as ongoing misdemeanor assault and criminal mischief cases.

Arroyo, 44, was incredibly dedicated, responding to calls even during asthma attacks, her colleagues said Friday.

“Yadi was the matriarch of the station,” Lt. George Lampon said, choking back tears during a somber ceremony at Arroyo’s stationhouse. “She was not only a mother of five, but a mother to the 100-plus people who worked here.”

Another medic, Anastasia Rabos, said Arroyo was a great mentor and friend and “a very humble person.”

Arroyo and another EMT were responding to a routine medical call when Gonzalez began riding on the back of the ambulance, police said. Arroyo was driving.

After they were flagged down, Arroyo got out and briefly spoke to Gonzalez before he dashed into the driver’s seat, according to a court complaint.

She tried to stop him from driving off, but he threw the vehicle in reverse and ran her over, then drove forward and hit her again, the complaint said. A bystander’s video, posted on Twitter, captured a horrific scene of the ambulance speeding across an intersection with one of its doors open, its lights flashing and Arroyo’s body being dragged beneath.

Gonzalez was captured moments later by a passing transit police officer and a bystander after the ambulance hit several parked cars and got stuck on a snowbank, authorities said.

The second EMT, seen in the bystander’s video kneeling and sobbing over the body of her fallen partner, was treated at a Bronx hospital for minor injuries, police said.

All but the youngest of Arroyo’s children, who range in age from 7 to 24, were able to say goodbye to her, her sister-in-law Monica Salazar told the New York Post.

“It was devastating. It was their mother. They were very upset, but the eldest held it together for the others, and he gave them a beautiful speech, saying he was going to take care of his brothers and be a rock for them,” she told the newspaper.

While EMTs know their vital work can be dangerous, they don’t expect violence, Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro said Friday. Arroyo, he said, was extremely brave.

“We will, with her family, celebrate her life,” he said. “We will mourn her death and stand strong together.”



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Federal cyanide trap injures Idaho boy, kills dog


This Thursday, March 16, 2017 photo released by the Bannock County Sheriff's Office shows a cyanide device in Pocatello, Idaho, The cyanide device, called M-44, is spring-activated and shoots poison that is meant to kill predators. The U.S. Department of Agriculture released a statement Friday, March 17, 2017, confirming that workers placed the device that activated Thursday which resulted in the death of a 3-year-old Lab named Casey. Bannock County Sheriff Lorin Nielsen says a 14-year-old  boy was taken to a hospital to be tested for cyanide poisoning but was not seriously injured and was released. (Bannock County Sheriff's Office via AP)

This Thursday, March 16, 2017 photo released by the Bannock County Sheriff’s Office shows a cyanide device in Pocatello, Idaho, The cyanide device, called M-44, is spring-activated and shoots poison that is meant to kill predators. The U.S. Department of Agriculture released a statement Friday, March 17, 2017, confirming that workers placed the device that activated Thursday which resulted in the death of a 3-year-old Lab named Casey. Bannock County Sheriff Lorin Nielsen says a 14-year-old boy was taken to a hospital to be tested for cyanide poisoning but was not seriously injured and was released. (Bannock County Sheriff’s Office via AP)

 (The Associated Press)

An eastern Idaho sheriff says he’s investigating after a cyanide trap placed by federal authorities to kill coyotes injured a 14-year-old boy and killed his dog.

Bannock County Sheriff Lorin Nielsen tells the Idaho State Journal (http://bit.ly/2mCFmGu) that the device activated Thursday near Pocatello.

Nielsen says the boy was taken to a hospital to be tested for cyanide poisoning but was not seriously injured and was released. The dog, a 3-year-old Lab named Casey, died.

Nielsen says the device was placed in the area by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

It’s a spring-activated device that is typically smeared with bait and shoots poison into an animal’s mouth when it tugs on the trap.

Federal authorities declined to comment when contacted Friday by The Associated Press.

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Information from: Idaho State Journal, http://www.journalnet.com



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FIGHTING BACK: DOJ challenges Hawaii judge’s halt on new travel ban


The Justice Department is asking the federal judge in Hawaii, who temporarily halted President Trump’s new travel ban, to limit the scope of his ruling so that the United States can immediately stop taking in refugees worldwide.

Justice Department attorneys argued in a motion Friday that U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson was essentially based on the argument that the ban appears to unconstitutionally targets Muslims.

So his temporary restraining order should be limited to the part of Trump’s March 6 executive order that temporarily bans visa to travels from six mostly-Muslim countries, not the temporarily refugees ban, they say.

The attorneys essentially want Watson’s ruling to be in line with a federal judge in Maryland’s ruling Thursday that temporarily halts the travel ban.

U.S. District Judge Theodore Chuang cited earlier Trump statements and said the purpose of the new executive order “remains the realization of the long-envisioned Muslim ban.” However, he declined to issue an injunction blocking the entire executive order.

Since Watson’s federal ruling went further than the Maryland judge’s, that decision that has most impact on the president’s intended actions. However, the Justice Department also on Friday stated its intention to appeal the Maryland decision to the Fourth Circuit Court.

A formal reply from Hawaii should is expected soon 

All of this is a precursor to an expected appeal to the ninth circuit. 

Trump says the temporary bans are matters of national security.

Trump’ new travel ban, which does not include Iran, is an attempt to avoid the legal roadblocks to the ones he issued in January that created confusion at U.S. airports and was temporarily halted by a federal judge in Washington state.

This story is based in part on wire service reports.



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UNIVERSITY OUTRAGE Professor under fire for holding mock slave auction


A Howard University professor is under investigation after he reportedly held a mock slave auction in class.

Details about the incident first were reported by the Caged Bird, an online magazine that targets readers who are students at historically black colleges and universities.

The professor, who is white, was reportedly teaching a lesson on Frederick Douglass’ slave narrative.

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According to the report, the professor singled out one of the two black men in the class. The instructor then apparently discussed how slaves were examined before they were sold.

Caged Bird reported the professor asked the black student to stand up because he looked “healthy” and “like the type of slave buyers would look for.” Even more shocking was the student said he was asked to “turn around so we can see your buttocks” so the class could get a better sense of how much he was worth. That is when he said the class spoke up in disgust and he sat down.

“Personally I’m upset because I feel as though you can’t really have a mock slave auction at an HBCU, especially a professor of a different race,” said student Corey Jefferson. “I feel a little bit disrespected by that because I feel like we are past that. That was years before this and now we are at a different age. It doesn’t feel right.”

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“It’s very disappointing to hear that, especially a professor anywhere [and] here at Howard,” said student Grant Edwards. “I guess we just got to hope to understand why he would choose to do that and try to move on from there. Kind of to understand how to prevent that and why that would be a necessary thing.”

The student involved said he stood up because he did not expect the professor to do or say the things he did. He also said he didn’t sit down sooner because I was so shocked.

A Howard University spokesperson says, “The university is aware of the incident and is investigating the matter.”

Click here for more news from Fox 4 DC.



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'BEAUTY AND BEAST' HEADED FOR MONSTROUS OPENING…


The Disney live-action fairy tale — earning a record $63.8 million on Friday — is on its way to landing one of the top 10 openings of all time and the biggest ever for a PG title.

Director Bill Condon’s Beauty and the Beast is doing monstrous business at the North American box office, waltzing to $63.8 million on Friday for a projected record-breaking weekend north of $170 million in another huge win for Disney’s growing stable of live-action fairy tale movies.

The update of the classic 1991 animated musical is destined to set a number of records, including the biggest start ever for a PG title (Finding Dory is the current champ with $135 million).

Beauty looks to pass up the $166 million domestic debut of last year’s Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice to land the top March opening of all time. The family friendly movie should boast one of the top 10 openings of all time, and the biggest outside of summer save for fellow 2015 December blockbuster, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, not accounting for inflation.

Friday’s tally is the largest single day for a PG movie, beating the 2009 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince ($58 million). Beauty, playing in 4,210 theaters, skewed heavily female on Friday (72 percent), according to one polling service. Audiences gave the film an A CinemaScore.

The $160 million tentpole, produced by Mandeville Films, should see a nice boost from a full run in Imax theaters, generally known as a haven for fanboys, and not families.

But with PG films booming, Imax is expanding its programming to include such are. Imax worked with Condon on making a special version of Beauty that allows more to be seen on the screen because of a different aspect ratio.

Beauty and the Beast stars Emma Watson as Belle and Dan Stevens as the Beast, and the cast also includes Luke Evans, Josh Gad, Ewan McGregor, Stanley Tucci, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Ian McKellen and Emma Thompson.

The tale follows Belle, who attempts to rescue her father from the castle of a terrifying beast, and instead becomes his captor. But she soon starts to fall for the Beast and the enchanted staff of his castle, who were all put under a spell by a witch.

Beauty is also opening around the world and should earn at least $100 million overseas. It took in a strong $11.5 million on its opening day, debuting as the No. 1 film in all but one market (Slovakia, where it was the No. 1 non-local film). It is also doing well in Russia, despite a restrictive rating slapped on the film after Condon recently revealed that Gad’s character, Gaston’s sidekick, is gay.

Censors in Malaysia have gone one step further and asked Disney to cut what it deems a “gay moment,” but the studio says it won’t make any changes.

The only other film opening nationwide this weekend in North America is The Belko Experiment, which grossed $1.5 million Friday from 1,341 theaters for a projected $3.6 million weekend, just below an expected $4 million. 

Written by James Gunn (Guardians of the Galaxy), The Belko Experiment is an Orion Pictures’ low-budget horror thriller which Blumhouse’s distribution arm, BT Tilt, is releasing.

The film, directed by Greg McLean, follows a group of 80 Americans who are locked in their high-rise office in Bogota, Colombia, and ordered by an unknown voice coming from the company’s intercom system to participate in a deadly game of kill or be killed in order to survive.

March 17, 12:20 p.m. Updated with revised weekend projections.

March 18, 7:35 a.m. Updated with Friday numbers and revised weekend projections.

 

 



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TERROR IN PARIS Airport attacker suspected of possible extremism


The 39-year-old suspected attacker killed at Paris’ Orly airport on Saturday after trying to wrestle away a soldier’s weapon had already crossed authorities’ radar for suspected Islamic extremism.

Paris prosecutors said the suspect’s house was among scores searched in November 2015 in the immediate aftermath of ISIS-led suicide bomb-and-gun attacks that killed 130 people in Paris. Those searches targeted people with suspected radical leanings.

The prosecutor’s office said its anti-terrorism division was handling the investigation and had taken the attacker’s father and brother into custody for questioning.

A French official connected to the investigation confirmed French media reports identifying the attacker as Ziyed Ben Belgacem.

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French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said the attacker assaulted three Air Force soldiers patrolling the airport. He said the soldier who was attacked managed to hold on to her rifle and the two soldiers she was with opened fire to protect her and the public.

No one else in the busy terminal was hurt, but thousands of travelers were evacuated and flights were diverted to the city’s other airport.

A spokesman for the military force that patrols public sites in France told BFM television the soldier attacked was “shocked” but uninjured after the “very violent aggression” by a man who was quickly shot dead by two of her fellow patrolmen.

French President Francois Hollande ruled out any link between Saturday’s attack and the upcoming French presidential election in April and May, noting that France has been battling the threat of extremism for several years.

He said the attack shows that France’s policy of having military patrols guarding public sites “is essential,” and that the nation “must remain extremely vigilant.”

Interior Minister Bruno Le Roux said the man was linked to a carjacking about 90 minutes earlier in a northern Paris suburb.

In that incident, the Paris police office said, a man fired birdshot at officers who stopped him during a traffic stop, wounding one in the face. He then fled and stole a woman’s car after threatening her with a weapon. The car was found near Orly.

A police source described the man as a radicalized Muslim but did not identify him by name, according to Reuters.

French national police said that only one man was involved in the airport attack and denied reports of a possible second attacker.

Witnesses described a chaotic scene at the airport.

A witness identified only as Dominque told BFM television: “The soldiers took aim at the man, who in turn pointed the gun he had seized at the two soldiers.”

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A French journalist on a flight that landed from Nice told France-Info radio passengers were kept on the plane and weren’t allowed to disembark.

A national police official said the soldiers are part of the Sentinel special force installed around France to protect sensitive sites after a string of deadly Islamic extremist attacks.

Police warned visitors to avoid the airport while the police operation was underway. Emergency vehicles surrounded the airport as confused passengers gathered in parking lots, and the elite RAID special police force worked to secure the airport.

An airport authority official said flights to and from Orly were being redirected to Charles de Gaulle airport.

Orly is Paris’ second-biggest airport behind Charles de Gaulle, serving domestic and international flights, notably to destinations in Europe and Africa.

The shooting came after a similar incident last month at the Louvre Museum in which an Egyptian man attacked soldiers guarding the site and was shot and wounded.

The incident also comes just days after a letter bomb exploded at the International Monetary Fund offices in Paris. One person was injured.

The attack further rattled France, which remains under a state of emergency after attacks over the past two years that have killed 235 people.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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Small Brazil city on edge after man dies from yellow fever


This small city in the state of Rio de Janeiro is on high alert after authorities confirmed the death of one man by yellow fever and are investigating several other possible cases.

Health authorities this week confirmed that 38-year-old Watila Santos died from the illness on March 11.

Authorities are investigating possible cases involving four relatives of Santos, including a 13-year-old and a 9-year-old.

In the city center and rural areas of Casimiro de Abreu, about 93 miles (150 kilometers) from Rio de Janeiro, a large tent has been set up to vaccinate people. Authorities say around 30,000 of the city’s 42,000 people have been vaccinated in recent days.

Yellow fever is transmitted by mosquito and causes fever, body aches, vomiting and sometimes jaundice.



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CONNECTED TO FANS Debbie and Carrie's memorial details revealed


When Debbie Reynolds saw the documentary “Bright Lights,” featuring herself and children Carrie Fisher and Todd Fisher, she was asked what she took away from the film. According to Todd, “She said, ‘I saw how much I loved my children.’ My mother was the ultimate mother. And if you asked her what was your greatest accomplishment, it wasn’t he singing and the dancing and all the entertaining she did. She would say, ‘It was my kids, my family.’ That was what was important to her.”

Todd Fisher spoke of his late mother and sister, both of whom passed away in December, following a screening of “Bright Lights” at the San Luis Obispo International Film Festival on Wednesday night. The festival will also screen Reynolds’ Oscar-nominated performance in “The Unsinkable Molly Brown” Thursday night in a special screening held in a barn. Todd Fisher was joined by his wife, actress and author Catherine Hickland, for the conversation, moderated by Variety’s Jenelle Riley. Introducing himself as “Princess Leia’s brother,” Fisher talked at length about the making of the film and his special relationship with his mother and sister.

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He also revealed details about the upcoming memorial service for the two, to be held on March 25 at Forest Lawn Memorial Park. “The public is invited because that’s how my mother would want it,” said Fisher. “She was very connected to her fans and felt they were a part of her, so we’re opening it to the public.”

Hickland added that it will be held at a 1,200-seat theater and it would be “spectacular,” as the pair have been hard at work planning the event for months. It will also be livestreamed, with information on how to watch found at http://www.debbiereynolds.com.

Fisher revealed that one special tribute will be paid by musician James Blunt, who was a good friend of Carrie’s and even wrote his hit song “You’re Beautiful” in her bathroom. “He wrote a beautiful song to Carrie that will be released on the day of the memorial; we’re going to premiere the song,” said Fisher, warning that “it might rip your heart out.”

Though the night was full of laughter as “Bright Lights,” directed by Alexis Bloom and Fisher Stevens, details the often humorous relationship between Reynolds and Carrie Fisher — who at one point refers to her mother as “tsu-mommy” — there was also much emotion. After Carrie passed away Dec. 27, Todd recalled a conversation with his mother where, he says, “She was kind of asking my permission to leave the planet.” Reynolds passed away the next day.

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In fact, in “Bright Lights,” Reynolds speaks about her own passing, even though filming of the doc finished in 2015. “In this movie she says, ‘I will not be here.’ She just called this whole thing; it’s uncanny,” Todd Fisher noted. “In show business they say it’s important to know how to make a great entrance and a great exit. She told me one day she was leaving and the next day she left. I can only say it was God’s grace and her amazing faith and her power to call these things. When this movie was being made, we didn’t see two people who were leaving.”

Hickland also recalled a touching moment after Reynolds had had a stroke and was struggling with her memory. She was in bed watching TV with Reynolds (Hickland admitted with some embarrassment she thinks they were watching “Keeping Up with the Kardashians.”) “She turned to look at me and said, ‘I don’t know who I am. Do you know who I am?’” said Hickland. “And I said, ‘Have I got some good news for you!’ I got the Blu-ray of ‘Singin’ in the Rain’ and put it on and she could not believe that that was her. And I said, ‘You are the last living legend, you are very loved by people, and you are supremely talented.’”

Added Fisher, “She was more Molly Brown than Molly Brown. And Carrie was also like that, in her own right.”

The SLO Film Festival runs through March 19; for more information visit slofilmfest.org. “Bright Lights” is available to watch on HBO and Amazon.com.



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