Day: May 3, 2017

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MS-13 gang members charged in machete attack in New York, police say


Authorities in New York announced Wednesday that three members of the MS-13 gang have been charged with attempted murder in an attack over the weekend involving a machete.

Nassau County police said the 19-year-old victim was hit with a machete and shot at Sunday in the Long Island community of Westbury.

On Tuesday, police arrested Jose Hernandez, 26, Fidel Hernandez, 23, and Miguel Urias Arguenta, 18, in connection with the attack.

Authorities said the Hernandez brothers, both from El Salvador and in the country illegally, are responsible for an additional assault in January when a 19-year-old man was slashed in the face with a machete. Arguenta, also born in El Salvador, was in the process of applying for a green card, according to police.

MS-13 – THE GANG THAT SCARES OTHER GANGS

“All three have demonstrated that they are extremely dangerous people,” Nassau County Police Chief Kevin Smith said at a news conference. “We would encourage anyone else who has been victimized or is afraid of these people, maybe afraid to report it, to come forward and contact the police.”

In the most recent assault on Sunday, police said the three attacked a 19-year-old man because they didn’t like the way he was laughing.

“He’s on the street, he may be laughing about something and these people confronted him,” Smith told reporters. “I don’t know about you people, I have been in situations where people have seen me make a face or smirk and thought that it was directed at them, and it wasn’t the case, and I think it might have been the case in this instance.”

AG SESSIONS TO MS-13 GANG: ‘WE ARE COMING AFTER YOU’

The latest incident involving the violent gang happened roughly 20 miles from Brentwood and Central Islip, where MS-13 has been linked to 11 corpses found in the last six months. State officials announced a new task force last month to crack down on the violence plaguing Long Island communities.

NEW YORK LAUNCHES TASK FORCE TO COMBAT MS-13 GANG ON LONG ISLAND AFTER RECENT MURDERS

The bloodshed has gotten the attention of President Trump, who has called it the result of lax immigration policies, and drew in a visit on Friday from U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who vowed to “demolish” MS-13.

MS-13, also called Mara Salvatrucha, is believed to have been founded as a neighborhood street gang in Los Angeles in the mid-1980s by immigrants fleeing a civil war in El Salvador. It grew after some members were deported to El Salvador, helping turn that country into one of the most violent places in the world

Federal prosecutors believe MS-13 has thousands of members across the country. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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Museum of the Bible prepares for DC opening


The vast grove of museums stretching from the U.S. Capitol across the fringes of the National Mall is about to get a new addition, albeit a decidedly less secular one: The Museum of the Bible. 

Just three blocks south of the Capitol, the privately funded museum is set to open this November. Though it may seem out of place next to the well-known museums on American history, air and space and more, those behind the project describe it as a future attraction that will draw in a range of visitors through a blend of historical and religious artifacts and interactive exhibits.

“The goal is to show and to educate people about the many ways that the Bible has impacted America, not just our history but in terms of civil rights and social justice to fashion,” Steve Bickley, vice president of marketing for the museum, told Fox News during an early tour of the museum-in-the-making. 

From presidential inaugural ceremonies to bedside tables in hotels across the country, the Bible has indeed been a fixture in American life. Bickley says the 430,000-square-foot facility aims to offer an “immersive experience to people from all faiths, or no faith, and those who have never even picked up a Bible.”

The $500 million, eight-story museum is financed entirely by private funds. The force behind the design is the architectural firm, Smith Group, while Clark Construction has overseen the project since its groundbreaking in 2015. Both were involved in the construction of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, the popular site near the Washington Monument. 

The museum’s five central exhibit floors will house 40,000 biblical and religious artifacts, including portions of the Dead Sea Scrolls, bibles once belonging to Babe Ruth and Elvis Presley, and the Lunar Bible – the first bible to travel in space.

The first exhibit to arrive at the museum is a 3,200-pound full-scale replica of the original Liberty Bell, gifted to the museum by Dr. Peter Lillback, founder of the Providence Forum. Because of its size, the replica had to be lowered into the building, which is still undergoing construction.

But it is Steve Green, the museum’s founder and president of Hobby Lobby, and his father, David, who have contributed the bulk of the items.

Over the last five years, the Green Collection has grown into the world’s largest private collection of biblical texts and artifacts.

The Greens gained national recognition in 2012 when they mounted a legal challenge to the contraceptive mandate included in ObamaCare. In 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby and the Green family in a landmark victory for religious freedom advocates.

To critics who believe the museum will only present the Bible from a Christian perspective, Bickley poses a question.

“Why would the Israel Antiquities Authority be partners in a project which only promotes Christianity?” he asked in reference to a multi-year agreement the museum signed with the Authority to fill gallery space with objects contained in Israel’s National Treasures.

One of the more interesting offerings is a digital guide, with which visitors would be able to design their own tours on their phones — and take a virtual tour of the locations in Washington, D.C., where biblical passages can be found.

There is an emphasis on making the site more than just a building.

In May 2011, the Museum of the Bible launched its first travelling exhibit. A collection of about 400 items has made stops in Colorado Springs and the greater Los Angeles area, as well as at The Vatican and in Cuba.

Another arm of the museum is the Scholars Initiative, which pairs together younger scholars with more established analysts to work on artifacts in the Museum Collection. Currently, more than 60 universities around the world are participating in the Scholars Initiative, and others are in the process of joining.



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At least 3 dead, 9 injured after SUV hits crowd – VIDEO: Car plows into crowd at Massachusetts auto auction


At least three people were killed and nine others were injured Wednesday when an SUV that was being shown to prospective buyers at a Massachusetts auto auction suddenly accelerated and crashed into bystanders. 

The crash happened around 10:30 a.m. at LynnWay Auto Auction in Billerica, about 20 miles northwest of Boston, Fox 25 reported. 

One man and two women were killed in the crash, Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan said at a news conference. Nine people were hurt, including two with life-threatening injuries, she said. The driver wasn’t hospitalized, she said.

Investigators said an auction employee in his 70s was behind the wheel of the 2006 Jeep Grand Cherokee when it apparently lurched out of control.

Ryan said the preliminary investigation suggests the incident was a “tragic accident,” though she stressed the probe is ongoing.

Massachusetts State Police investigators are working to reconstruct the accident, which happened while several hundred people were in the building.

Ryan did not release the name of the driver, a man in his 70’s who she said is an employee at LynnWay Auto. Only employees, Ryan said, are permitted to drive vehicles at auto actions on site. The driver was not hospitalized after the incident.

Witnesses told Fox 25 the driver had a medical emergency and shot through the building, only stopping when the Jeep crashed through a cement wall.

“He went through the door, went through the lane of people, and then through the building,” one witness told the station. “He was going fast, he was going really fast,” said the witness.

Another described the scene as a “war zone,” with many people left bloodied

Employee Woody Tuttle told WCVB-TV he heard tires screeching and saw the vehicle strike several people.

Tuttle told the station: “(The driver) avoided the cars and went on to hit the people who were standing between the cars.”

Car dealer Fredrick Kyazze said he and a colleague had just moved out of the path of the SUV minutes before it tore through the building.

“We heard a bang from where we just came from,” Kyazze said. “I thought probably the building collapsed or something like that. Then we ran back to see what was going on and … we just saw people lying on the floor.”

Emergency personnel were quick to respond to the scene because four police officers and a firefighter are routinely stationed at the auction site because of the large crowds it draws every Wednesday, Billerica Police Chief Daniel Rosa said. Ambulances from several surrounding towns responded.

Images from TV helicopters showed a vehicle covered in debris. Medics wheeled people out of the building on gurneys.

In 2015, an SUV driven by an elderly man hurtled through an auto auction in the Boston suburb of Framingham, striking other cars, patrons and a cinder block wall and injuring eight people. No charges were filed.

Fox News’ Cristina Corbin and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Click for more from Fox25Boston.com



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Marine Le Pen, Emmanuel Macron spar in France presidential debate


In a heated, high-pressure primetime TV debate, French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron warned of “civil war” if his far-right opponent Marine Le Pen is elected, saying Wednesday that her hard-line plans to combat Islamic radicals would play into their hands. She painted him as subservient to Islamic extremism, saying: “They control you.”

The barbed exchange over France’s fight against terrorism characterized the ill-tempered tone of the debate. Both candidates sought to land damaging blows, in a clash of styles, politics and personalities that highlighted their polar-opposite visions and plans for France.

Le Pen painted the former banker and economy minister as a servant of big business and finance, and declared herself “the candidate of the people, of the France that we love.”

Saying that Islamic extremists must be “eradicated” in the wake of repeated attacks since 2015, Le Pen charged that Macron wouldn’t be up to the task.

“You won’t do that,” she charged.

Macron countered that Le Pen’s anti-terror plans would play into the hands of the extremists and divide France, adding that this is “what the terrorists expect. It’s civil war, it’s division, it’s heinous speech.”

He painted the far-right nationalist as an empty shell, shaky on details and seeking to profit politically from the anger of French voters — a dominant theme of the campaign. He called her “the high priestess of fear.”

“You lie all the time,” he said. “You propose nothing.”

Sitting opposite one another at a round table, the debate quickly became a shouting match, with no common ground between the pro-European Union centrist candidate and the anti-EU Le Pen.

She had piles of notes in colored folders on her side of the table, and referred to them occasionally. His side of the table was sparser, with just a few sheets of paper. He at times rested his chin on his hands as she spoke.

They clashed over France’s finances, its future and their respective proposals for tackling its ills. He scoffed at her monetary plans, saying reintroducing a franc for purchases within France but allowing big firms to continue using the shared euro currency that Le Pen wants to abandon made no sense.

She dismissed his economic proposals with sweeping critiques and bristled at his suggestions that she didn’t understand how finance and business works.

“You’re trying to play with me like a professor with a pupil,” she said.

They also clashed over foreign policy, with Le Pen saying that Macron would be in the pocket of German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

“Either way France will be led by a woman; either me or Madame Merkel,” she said derisively.

The debate offered risk and reward for both. A major trip-up or meltdown beamed direct into the homes of millions of electors could dent their presidential ambitions in the closing stages of the intense, suspenseful campaign that has, already, steered France into uncharted territory. The first round of voting on April 23 eliminated mainstream parties from the left and right and propelled the 39-year-old Macron, who has no major party backing, and the 48-year-old Le Pen into the winner-takes-all runoff on Sunday.

For both candidates, the meticulously calibrated TV face-off, organized in close collaboration with their campaign teams and held in a studio in northern Paris, was a first. Le Pen finished third in the last presidential election in 2012, locking her out of the TV debate reserved for the top two vote-getters between rounds one and two.

Macron, a former investment banker and economy minister for outgoing Socialist President Francois Hollande, is running his first-ever campaign for elected office, with a year-old grassroots movement.

In a first, this year’s presidential race also included TV debates before the April 23 first round, but those involved multiple candidates, not just two. Wednesday night’s debate, scheduled to run for more than two hours, immediately highlighted the gulf between Le Pen’s “French-first” protectionist proposals for a more closed France free from the EU and Macron’s vision of a proudly pro-EU France that keeps its borders open to trade and people.

Trailing in polls, Le Pen needed a knockout blow in the debate to erode the seemingly comfortable lead of Macron, the front-runner who topped round one, nearly three points ahead of Le Pen.

For Macron, the priority was to prevent Le Pen from making up ground in the race’s final days.



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Court rejects woman's request for hotel to identify man she spent night with


A request from a German woman for a hotel to release the identity of a man she spent the night with has been rejected by a Munich court.

The woman and man were together for three nights at the hotel in 2010. She later gave birth to a son and contacted the hotel in order to obtain the man’s full name and address in an attempt to acquire child support. She only knew his first name, Michael.

The hotel shot down her request, saying it could not release the personal information of one of its guests, according to thelocal.de.

The hotel also claimed to have had four guests in that time period with the name Michael.

The woman filed a suit to obtain the information from the hotel, but  judges rejected the bid, saying it could breach the privacy of the four men who were staying at the hotel in that period.

The judges said that the woman’s vague description of the man would make it impossible to clearly identify him. The court also questioned if “Michael” was the correct name of the man involved.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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Saturn probe stuns scientists


NASA’S Cassini spacecraft made the first-ever dive between Saturn and its rings last week. What the probe found stunned scientists.

Experts expected Cassini to encounter dust when it dived through the 1,200-mile gap between Saturn and its rings on April 26. To protect the spacecraft, Cassini used its dish-shaped high-gain antenna, which measures 13 feet across, as a protective shield.

However, scientists were amazed by the lack of dust in the previously unexplored area. “The region between the rings and Saturn is ‘the big empty,’ apparently,” said Cassini Project Manager Earl Maize of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, in a statement. “Cassini will stay the course, while the scientists work on the mystery of why the dust level is much lower than expected.”

NASA’S CASSINI SPACECRAFT SENDS FIRST IMAGES FROM SATURN RINGS DIVE

Cassini only encountered a few dust particles as it passed through the ring gap, according to NASA, none of which were larger than the particles in smoke. Data from sensors in the spacecraft’s Radio and Plasma Wave Science (RPWS) instrument was also converted to an audio format. Typically dust particles hitting the instrument’s sensors would sound like pops and cracks. Instead, scientists heard the usual whistles and squeaks of waves in the charged particle environment of space.

“It was a bit disorienting — we weren’t hearing what we expected to hear,” said William Kurth, RPWS team lead at the University of Iowa, Iowa City. “I’ve listened to our data from the first dive several times and I can probably count on my hands the number of dust particle impacts I hear.”

The spacecraft came within about 1,900 miles of Saturn’s cloud tops during its epic dive and within about 200 miles of the innermost visible edge of the rings, according to NASA.

NASA FINDS HIGHEST PEAK ON SATURN’S LARGEST MOON TITAN

Cassini will make a total of 22 dives between Saturn and its rings as part of the orbiter’s so-called “Grand Finale.” Its most recent dive was on May 2.

The spacecraft has generated a trove of scientific data on Saturn and its moons during its mission. Last month, for example, NASA announced that Saturn’s moon Enceladus could support life thanks to the discovery of hydrogen.

After almost two decades in space, the mission will end on Sept. 15 2017 when Cassini is scheduled to crash into Saturn.

TRUMP MAKES SPACE CALL TO RECORD-BREAKING NASA ASTRONAUT PEGGY WHITSON

The Cassini mission began on Oct. 15 1997 when the spacecraft launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station aboard a Titan IVB/Centaur rocket. Cassini arrived at Saturn in 2004.

NASA is partnering with the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Italian Space Agency on the Cassini-Huygens mission. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), a division of Caltech, manages the mission for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate.

Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers

 



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Escaped inmate gets $10M bail in killing of Iowa deputy


A Nebraska judge has set bail at $10 million for a man accused of shooting two Iowa deputies, one fatally, while escaping from jail earlier this week.

Wesley Correa-Carmenaty was surrounded by six officers Wednesday as the Omaha judge read off the Nebraska charges against him, including kidnapping, which carries a potential life sentence.

Prosecutors allege that the 24-year-old carjacked a woman after escaping from the jail across the Missouri River in Council Bluffs, Iowa, and didn’t let her go until he drove to Omaha.

Correa-Carmenaty was being transporting to the Council Bluffs jail Monday when officials say he managed to grab one of the deputies’ guns and shoot them both, killing Pottawattamie County Sheriff’s Deputy Mark Burbridge.

He faces several other charges in Iowa, including murder and attempted murder.



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Snake on the loose: 17-foot python goes missing in northern Alaska


A 17-foot python has been reported missing by its owner in a community north of Anchorage, Alaska.

The 100-pound albino Burmese python is believed to be on the loose in the Meadow Lakes area.

PYTHON HUNTERS CAPTURE 15-FOOT SNAKE IN FLORIDA EVERGLADES

The albino Burmese python doesn’t usually attack adults unless it is provoked, but it could still pose a threat to pets and young children, according to The Matanuska-Susitna Borough Animal Care Department.

Authorities have advised residents to keep their small pets inside until the snake is found.

“Alaska’s cold temperatures may weaken the snake or compel it to seek a warm place,” said Animal Care Director Kirsten Vesel.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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Trump meets with Palestinian leader Abbas, vows to 'get it done' on peace deal – OPINION: What Trump should tell Abbas


President Trump met Wednesday with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas at the White House, pressing him to do more to combat and condemn terrorism – while voicing confidence he can help mediate a lasting Middle East peace agreement.

That goal has eluded all the president’s modern predecessors, including Barack Obama, but Trump vowed Wednesday: “We will get it done.”

“I’m committed to working with Israel and the Palestinians to reach an agreement,” Trump said. “I will do whatever is necessary to facilitate the agreement.”

Acknowledging an Israeli-Palestinian accord is seen as the “toughest deal to make,” Trump told Abbas, “Perhaps we can prove them wrong” – before heading into a meeting with the Palestinian Authority president.

Abbas told Trump moments earlier, “Mr. President, with you we have hope.”

The peace process has been stalled since 2014 when former Secretary of State John Kerry’s effort to lead the sides into peace talks collapsed. Since then, there have been no serious attempts to get negotiations restarted. The Obama administration spent its last months in office attempting to preserve conditions for an eventual resumption.

“We hope this will be a new beginning,” Abbas told Palestinians at a meeting in Washington on the eve of the talks.

During remarks alongside Trump at the White House, Abbas – through a translator – stressed that his people want a Palestinian state with the capital of East Jerusalem and borders along the pre-1967 lines.

Israel rejects the 1967 lines as a possible border, saying it would impose grave security risks.

Trump stressed that there can be no lasting peace unless Palestinian leaders speak in a unified voice against “incitement … to violence and hate.”

He also was expected to press Abbas to end payments to families of Palestinians killed or held in Israeli jails, which critics decry as payments for terrorism. Republicans lawmakers have urged a halt to such payments.

While Abbas will be challenged on the payments, officials said Trump will reiterate his belief that Israeli settlement construction on land claimed by the Palestinians does not advance peace prospects.

In his Wednesday comments, Abbas also criticized ideas for a “one state” peace agreement, saying it could mean “racial discrimination” or an apartheid-like system.

In a February news conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Trump broke with longtime U.S. policy by raising the one-state idea and withholding clear support for an independent Palestine, though officials quickly stressed he would support any arrangement agreed by the two sides.

Another contentious issue: Trump’s campaign promise to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The symbolic relocation would essentially recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Abbas and other Arab leaders have said doing so would inflame already simmering tensions.

Since taking office, Trump has backed away from the pledge while saying he’s still discussing it. On Tuesday, Vice President Mike Pence said the White House was giving “serious consideration” to the idea.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 



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Manuscript: Obama once dreamed of being Trump – Book: Obama asked woman to marry him before meeting Michelle


More than two decades before he railed against Donald Trump’s “temperament” and “core values,” a young Barack Obama dreamed of becoming the billionaire businessman.

Obama revealed his idolization of The Donald – and what he stood for – in a never-published book written with a classmate during his Harvard Law School days, portions of which are published in the upcoming Obama biography “Rising Star.”

Americans have a “continuing normative commitment to the ideals of individual freedom and mobility,” Obama wrote in the manuscript, revealed in a Washington Post book review. “The depth of this commitment may be summarily dismissed as the unfounded optimism of the average American — I may not be Donald Trump now, but just you wait; if I don’t make it, my children will.”

Obama wrote the discarded book, alternately referred to as “Transformative Politics” or “Promises of Democracy: Hopeful Critiques of American Ideology,” with classmate Rob Fisher during Obama’s enrollment at Harvard from 1988-1991. More than 25 years later, Obama, now a former president, has given a far different evaluation of Trump, the current president who has promised to undo much of Obama’s White House legacy and was a frequent critic of Obama during his tenure in the Oval Office.

After Trump launched a fruitless campaign questioning whether Obama was born in the U.S., Obama, as president, viciously needled Trump during a White House Correspondents Dinner speech in 2011 – with Trump looking on stoically.

Obama in October derided Trump as “insecure enough that he pumps himself up by putting others down – not a character trait that I would advise in the Oval Office.” The ex-president has also criticized his successor via a spokesperson since leaving office.



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