Day: June 10, 2017

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SHOW US THE PROOF House, Senate committees want Trump tapes, Comey memos


House and Senate lawmakers leading the Russia investigation have asked the White House to produce tapes President Trump hinted might exist of a conversation between him and ousted FBI Director James Comey. They also made a formal request to the Comey camp for copies of the memos he testified he made to document the meetings.

The requests come on the heels of explosive allegations by Comey and a string of strong denials by Trump over the abrupt dismissal of the FBI director and the circumstances surrounding it.

Comey testified Thursday before the Senate Intelligence Committee that he’d given a memo that detailed a conversation with Trump to his friend, Daniel Richman, a law professor at Columbia University.

On Friday, Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, reached out to Comey’s confidant and the committee confirmed Saturday that they had been in touch with Richman about the memo.

“Mr. Richman has had direct contact with the Committee about the request for the memos.,” the committee told Fox News. “Staff for Special Counsel Mueller and the Committee are also in discussions about that request and others, in preparation for a meeting between Mueller and Committee leadership.”

Richman confirmed to Fox News he met with Senate lawmakers through the office of special counsel Robert Mueller, who is spearheading the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Mueller is also looking into whether anyone in the Trump campaign colluded with Russia.

Richman told Fox News that the Special Council’s office “will discuss the memo production issue on Monday.”

Separately, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence announced they had made two requests for evidence themselves – one to Comey and another to White House counsel Don McGahn.

Reps. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., and Michael Conaway, R-Texas, said they wrote to Comey asking for any notes or memos he took.

They also asked McGahn to tell the committee whether the White House has or has ever had recordings of Comey’s conversation with Trump – and put a June 23 deadline on the information.

After he fired Comey on May 9, Trump tweeted that the ex-top cop at the FBI should be careful in case the White House had secretly taped their conversation.

Comey testified Thursday, “Lordy, I hope there are tapes.”

At a press conference in the Rose Garden on Friday, the president toyed with reporters vowing to say “in the very near future” if the tapes exist.

The he-said, he-said controversy is likely to gain even more steam in the coming weeks.

On Tuesday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions will be in the hot seat when he testifies before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee. Democrats have pledged to use the appearance to ask Sessions about his alleged contacts with Russians as well as the very public dismissal of Comey.

Fox News’ Jake Gibson and Jason Donner contributed to this report. 



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ROLLING BACK ON CUBA Trump to unveil new policy on Communist nation


President Trump will head to Miami on Friday, home to a large and influential Cuban-American community, to unveil his administration’s new Cuba policy — which will roll back central parts of his predecessor’s efforts to normalize ties with the Communist island nation, according to a senior administration official and other sources. 

While details on the changes to the policy have yet to be fully revealed, a U.S. official suggested that Trump would call for Cuban President Raul Castro to push for more political freedom and to release democratic activists in Cuban prisons, among other initiatives.

Trump is at the same time expected to announce a reversal in some areas of former President Barack Obama’s previous steps toward normalizing relations including the opening of embassies between the two countries and the easing of flight restrictions between the U.S. and Cuba.

The final actions have not been set as the review over the specifics of the plan continues. However, there will likely be steps in restricting travel from the U.S. to Cuba; there are now daily flights from Florida to Cuba.  Another directive being weighed is taking steps to limit American companies from dealing with businesses owned by the Cuban military, U.S. sources confirm to Fox News.

While campaigning in Miami during a stop in September of 2016, then-Republican presidential nominee Trump hinted at such a move, tying it to demands on the Cuban government.

“All of the concessions Barack Obama has granted the Castro regime were done through executive order which means our next president can reverse them,“ Trump said. “And that I will do unless the Castro regime meets our demands.”

“Those demands include religious and political freedom for the Cuban people, and the freeing of political prisoners,” Trump added.

Key Republican lawmakers Sen. Marco Rubio and Rep. Mario Diaz Balart, both Cuban-Americans from Florida, have been directly involved in working with the White House on the new Cuba policy, according to sources with direct knowledge of the situation.

Rubio, who opposed Trump in the 2016 Republican presidential primary, has worked “diligently behind the scenes” with the administration to develop the approach, said a source directly involved in the policy discussions.

“I am confident the president will keep his commitment on Cuba policy by making changes that are targeted and strategic and which advance the Cuban people’s aspirations for economic and political liberty,” Rubio said in  a statement.

A senior Rubio adviser previewed what may be represented during Friday’s  Trump Cuba policy rollout, including that the new approach would have to be in compliance with the “statutory provisions passed by Congress which govern US-Cuba policy.”

The aide also stressed that the new Cuba policy would be in the best interest of U.S. foreign policy and national security.

Part of the focus is to also encourage the emerging generation of Cuban leaders to take the reigns after Raul Castro steps down in 2018, as he publicly stated he would.

“Raul Castro and his closest advisors are mostly in their 80’s,” the senior aide told Fox News, stressing they are focusing on the “long term.”

“Cuba will soon have a new generation of leaders, one way or another. These policy measures are designed to lay the groundwork for them to empower the Cuban people to develop greater economic and ultimately political liberty.”

Fox News’ John Roberts contributed to this report. 

Serafin Gomez is a White House Producer for FOX News Channel, who also covered the 2016 election as a Special Events & Politics producer and former special campaign correspondent for Fox News Latino. Fin formerly worked as the Miami Bureau Producer for Fox News Channel where he covered Florida Politics & Latin America. Follow him on Twitter: @Finnygo

 

 



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Adam West, TV's 'Batman,' dies at 88 after leukemia battle: family – VIDEO: 'Batman' star Adam West dead at age 88


Actor Adam West, famous for his straight-faced portrayal of the Caped Crusader in the 1960s “Batman” TV series, has died at 88, his family said Saturday on social media.

West died Friday night “after a short but brave battle with leukemia,” the family statement on Facebook said.

“It’s with great sadness that we are sharing this news,” the family said. “He was a beloved father, husband, grandfather, and great-grandfather. There are no words to describe how much we’ll miss him.”

West played the superhero straight for kids and funny for adults. He initially chaffed at being typecast after “Batman” went off the air after three seasons, but in later years admitted he was pleased to have had a role in kicking off a big-budget film franchise by showing the character’s wide appeal.

I’m delighted because my character became iconic and has opened a lot of doors in other ways, too,” he told The Associated Press in 2014.

“He was bright, witty and fun to work with,” Julie Newmar, who played Catwoman to West’s Batman, said in a statement Saturday.

“I will miss him in the physical world and savor him always in the world of imagination and creativity.”

Born William West Anderson in Walla Walla, Washington, he moved to Seattle at age 15 with his mother after his parents divorced.

He graduated from Whitman College, a private liberal arts school, in Walla Walla.

After serving in the Army, he went to Hollywood and changed his name to Adam West, and began appearing on a number of television series, including “Bonanza,” “Perry Mason” and “Bewitched.”

In April 2012, West received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Most recently he did the voice of nutty Mayor Adam West in the long-running “Family Guy” series. And in February 2016, West made an appearance on the CBS sitcom “The Big Bang Theory’s” 200th episode, which marked the 50th anniversary of “Batman.”

West was married three times, and had six children. He had homes in Los Angeles and Palm Springs, but he and his wife, Marcelle, spent most of their time at their ranch near Sun Valley, Idaho.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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Amber Alert: Search is on for 8-year-old Wisconsin boy who may be with armed father


A statewide Amber Alert has been issued in Wisconsin for eight-year-old Jaiden Hunt. He is believed to be in the company of his father, Jamie Hunt. The Amber Alert indicates Jamie Hunt is armed.

Jaiden is missing from the Township of Knowlton in Marathon County. He is described as a male, white, about 4′ tall, 45 pounds with brown hair and blue eyes. He was last seen wearing a white tank top and silver or white shorts.

Jamie Hunt, age 34, is described as a male, white, 5’9″ tall, 150 pounds with brown hair and brown eyes. Hunt was last seen wearing a bright blue T-shirt with an image of a game controller with the words “play me.” Hunt may be driving a 2004 Chrysler Town and Country van, purple with license plate 139YNU. The van has Star Wars Storm Troopers stickers on the driver’s side rear window, and a white paint transfer on the driver’s side from the front bumper to the rear.

If you have information that could help locate either Jaiden or Jamie Hunt, you are urged to call the Marathon County Sheriff’s Office at 715-261-1200.

Monitor FOX6 News and FOX6Now.com for updates on this developing story.



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Texas mom left tots in hot car to die, ignored cries, sheriff says


Two Texas toddlers died after being left in a hot car intentionally for hours by their teenage mom who ignored their cries and then lied to investigators about what happened, authorities said.

Amanda Hawkins, 19, of Kerrville, is facing two counts of child endangerment in the deaths of daughters, Brynn Hawkins, 1, and Addyson Overgard-Eddy, 2, on Thursday.

“This is by far the most horrific case of child endangerment that I have seen in the 37 years that I have been in law enforcement,” Kerr County Sheriff Rusty Hierholzer said in a news release Friday announcing Hawkins’ arrest. He said a grand jury could upgrade the charges.

“Blonde, blue-eyed kids,” he told Fox 29 San Antonio in a report that aired Friday.

Hierholzer told the station Hawkins and a 16-year-old boy drove to a friend’s house Tuesday night and left the children in the car while they were inside. Temperatures were in the 80s at the time.

He said the kids were alone in the car for 15 hours except for a brief time when the boy went out to the car and went to sleep before going back inside.

“We had heard that someone in the house could even hear crying and told her to bring them in the house and she didn’t,” he said.

She said, “No, they’re fine. They’ll cry themselves to sleep,” the sheriff said, KSAT-TV reported Saturday.

Hierholzer said Brynn and Addyson were unconscious by the time Hawkins drove them home around noon Wednesday. She bathed them and changed their clothes.

Eventually, others urged her to take the children to the hospital, Fox 29 reported.

At the hospital, she told doctors that the girls had collapsed while smelling flowers at a lake that may have been poisonous.

Investigators were notified and interviewed Hawkins.

“I think she pretty much admitted to what happened,” Hierholzer told Fox 29.

Brynn and Addyson were taken off ventilators Thursday afternoon.

Hierholzer said autopsies have been ordered.



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Rallies against Islamic law draw counter-protests across US


Demonstrators at small but raucous gatherings around the country Saturday raised the specter that extremist interpretations of Islamic law might somehow spread across the U.S., but many of the rallies drew even more boisterous counter-protests by people who called such fears unfounded.

Hundreds of counter-protesters marched through downtown Seattle, banging drums, cymbals and cowbells behind a large sign saying “Seattle stands with our Muslim neighbors.” Participants chanted “No hate, no fear, Muslims are welcome here” on their way to City Hall, where dozens of anti-Shariah protesters rallied.

A phalanx of bicycle police officers kept the sides separated during the sanctioned events, but conflicts flared as the gatherings concluded. Police used tear gas to disperse rowdy demonstrators and arrested several people, including some for investigation of assault.

In front of the Trump building in downtown Chicago, about 30 people demonstrated against Islamic law and in favor of President Donald Trump, shouting slogans and holding signs that read “Ban Sharia” and “Sharia abuses women.” About twice as many counter-protesters marshaled across the street.

A similar scene played out in a park near a New York courthouse, where counter-protesters sounded air-horns and banged pots and pans in an effort to silence an anti-Shariah rally. In St. Paul, Minnesota, state troopers arrested about a half-dozen people when scuffles broke out at the close of competing demonstrations at the state Capitol.

“The theme of today is drowning out racism,” said New York counter-protester Tony Murphy, standing next to demonstrators with colorful earplugs. “The more racists get a platform, the more people get attacked.”

The rallies, held in more than two dozen U.S. cities, were organized by ACT for America, which claims Islamic law is incompatible with Western democracy.

The organization said it opposes discrimination and supports the rights of those subject to Shariah. However, the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups, calls it the largest American anti-Muslim group.

“I don’t believe Islam can peacefully co-exist with the Constitution,” said Seattle anti-Shariah demonstrator Aaron Bassford, 29. “We need unity in this country under no ideology and no banner except the Constitution of the United States of America.”

But the overwhelming majority of Muslims don’t want to replace U.S. law with Islamic law, known as Shariah, and only “radical extremist groups” would call for that, said Liyakat Takim, a professor of Islamic studies at McMaster University in the Canadian city of Hamilton, Ontario.

Shariah, Takim said, refers to guidelines or principles — how Muslims should live. “Fiqh” refers to jurisprudence, or specific laws. The values embedded in Shariah do not change and are shared among Muslims, he said, while fiqh is open to interpretation and change, and in fact differs among Islamic sects and communities.

“The Quran allows slavery. So does the Old Testament. That doesn’t mean we allow it today, too,” Takim said. “Laws are amenable to change.”

In Seattle, activists set up an “Ask an American Muslim” booth to give rally participants on either side a chance to speak with a Muslim.

“American Muslims support the American values and freedoms we all cherish,” said Arsalan Bukhari, executive director of the state chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

The marches come amid a rise in reports of anti-Muslim incidents in the U.S., including arson attacks and vandalism at mosques, harassment of women wearing Muslim head coverings and bullying of Muslim schoolchildren.

In California, small but raucous demonstrations were held in a handful of cities, including San Bernardino, where a husband and wife inspired by the Islamic State group killed 14 people and wounded 22 in a 2015 shooting attack.

Clusters of protesters and counter-protesters gathered on four corners of an intersection at a memorial to the slain, yelling and waving American flags and posters proclaiming various causes. Anti-Islamic law demonstrators marched past the building where the shootings occurred.

“There’s an anti-Trump, a pro-Trump, anti-extremists, so there are a variety of messages here,” San Bernardino police spokeswoman Eileen Hards said. “There are so many messages going on that I’m not sure who’s who.”

Anti-Islamic law protester Denise Zamora, 39, said she and others in her group were not opposed to all Muslims.

“We’re anti-Shariah. We’re anti-radicals,” the Upland woman said. She added, of Shariah: “It’s coming in very slowly, and a lot of the refugees are bringing that ideology here. All of it is just barbaric.”

About 300 people attended San Bernardino’s rallies. Three were arrested on suspicion of vandalism for smashing windows of two cars, Hards said.

___

Associated Press writers Andrew Selsky in Portland, Oregon; Deniz Cam in New York; Jeff Karoub in Detroit; Kimberlee Kruesi in Boise, Idaho; Robert Jablon in Los Angeles; Dave Kolpack in Fargo, North Dakota; and Michael Tarm in Chicago contributed to this report.



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Border Patrol arrests in 2017 break historical trend


The chief of the Border Patrol’s El Paso sector says President Trump should get the credit for a break in a historical trend in illegal immigration. 

New data out for the month of May shows the Border Patrol apprehended 19,967 illegal immigrants last month. That’s 35,475 fewer apprehensions than the 55,442 in May 2016. 

“The administration has communicated clearly that they support our people out in the field that they will enforce our immigration laws and there will be consequences to those who violate those laws,” Jeffrey Self, Chief Patrol Agent for the El Paso Sector, told Fox News during a recent ride along.  

Self also credits the ending of the “catch and release” program as well as new infrastructure for the downward trend in border arrests.  

Catch and release is the unofficial name for a longstanding protocol where illegal immigrants are arrested for being in the U.S. but are released as they wait for a hearing.

Historically, the number of illegal immigrants arrested across the southern border and the number of immigrants attempting to cross spikes from February to June. Not this year.  The downward trend in apprehensions that started when President Trump took office has continued through Spring. 

“As a result of the border security initiatives that we’ve implemented, it has sent a clear message that there will be a consequence applied to any illicit traffic,” said Self. 

April 2017 had the smallest number of Border Patrol apprehensions in five years, at 15,780. This year is the first time in at least five years that apprehensions have dropped below 20 thousand a month. 

Self said the Trump Administration has created what he calls a mindset of deterrence. 

The Border Patrol conducts post arrest interviews with illegal immigrants. Self said the arrestees from Central America say there is a perception that the dangerous journey to America may not be worth the risk because the chances of being sent back are much higher. Self said it’s a definite indicator the Border Patrol is having an effect. 

“It makes them think twice about taking their life savings, giving it to a smugglers, getting on this track and coming to the United States. Just to get here and returned to your country of origin,” Self said.

He added that there’s been a stronger effort to capture and prosecute human smugglers and drug traffickers. He also said additional funding, new technology and infrastructure also helps. The infrastructure includes new fencing in the El Paso sector – which started before Trump won the 2016 election.

Self said there has also been an initiative to conduct more joint operations with other local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, in addition to their counterparts in Mexico. 

Although numbers have trended down for the first few months of the year, when they typically trend up, Self still anticipates a rise in immigration this summer. Signs of that began in May when the Border Patrol arrested about 4,000 more illegal immigrants than they did in April. 

 

Ray Bogan is a Fox News multimedia reporter based in El Paso, Texas. Follow him on twitter: @RayBogan

 



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Belmont Stakes up for grabs to end uneven Triple Crown


This year’s topsy-turvy Triple Crown trail comes to an end in a Belmont Stakes without the Kentucky Derby and Preakness winners or the expected favorite who dropped out. It does come with questions about a Japanese horse with a sore foot.

No horse has dominated the 3-year-old ranks so far, leaving the 1½-mile Belmont up for grabs among 12 horses that on Saturday will run the longest race of their lives.

The 7-2 early favorite Irish War Cry is only in the Belmont after trainer Graham Motion licked his wounds from the colt’s 10th-place finish in the Kentucky Derby five weeks ago.

“When you get beaten as one of the favorites in the Derby, it’s pretty discouraging and you just want to put it behind you,” he said. “My horse is doing well. As long as he’s doing well, he deserved a chance.”

Irish War Cry inherited the role of favorite after Classic Empire was forced out earlier in the week with an abscess in his hoof.

Speculation on the status of early 4-1 second choice Epicharis continued to swirl Friday after the colt didn’t train for a third straight day because of his sore right front hoof.

He was examined by veterinarians from the New York Racing Association and the Japan Racing Association, but no details on his condition were given. His trainer, Kiyoshi Hagiwara, didn’t speak to the media.

Epicharis received a treatment of the legal anti-inflammatory Phenylbutazone, or bute, on Wednesday for what was described as lameness in his right front leg.

The colt stood in ice to help his hoof and was fitted with a glue-on shoe, an alternative for horses with a damaged hoof. Instead of being nailed on, which could cause more soreness, the plastic-coated shoe is wrapped around the hoof wall.

Martin Panza, vice president of racing for NYRA, said Epicharis was walking soundly Friday.

“They feel confident they can make the race tomorrow, but they’re still going to monitor the horse,” he said of the Japanese team. “Obviously the horse comes first, and if there are any problems, they’ll re-evaluate. Right now they’re very comfortable that the horse is comfortable and much better than he was two days ago.”

Epicharis last trained on the track Tuesday. He hasn’t raced since finishing second in the UAE Derby on March 25.

“He’s a nice horse to ride because you can use any tactics,” said Christophe Lemaire, his French jockey. “If there’s no pace at all, he can lead or he can sit in second position. A mile and a half is a long way to go, but in his previous races he has shown us some stamina.”

A victory would earn Epicharis a $1 million bonus from NYRA, which worked to lure a horse from Japan.

Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming finished eighth in the Preakness, so he is skipping the Belmont. His trainer Todd Pletcher has two shots at winning the $1.5 million race on his home track: He will saddle 6-1 fourth choice Tapwrit and one-eyed Patch.

Tapwrit was sixth in the Derby and Patch was 14th.

“I think he ran a sneaky good race in the Derby,” Pletcher said of Tapwrit. “I don’t think it would be a surprise if either of them ran well.”

Cloud Computing skipped the Derby, won the Preakness and is sitting out the Belmont. His trainer Chad Brown has 20-1 shot Twisted Tom, who brings a three-race winning streak into the race on his home track.

Lookin At Lee will be the only horse to run in all three Triple Crown races. He was second in the Derby and fourth in the Preakness. He’s the early 5-1 third choice on Saturday.

Gormley, ninth in the Derby, flew from his Southern California base to take a shot after staying home from the Preakness.

Multiplier sat out the Derby and was sixth in the Preakness.

The longest shot in the field is 30-1 Hollywood Handsome, who along with 15-1 Meantime, didn’t run in either of the first two legs.

J Boys Echo is one of five Belmont runners who skipped the Preakness after running in the Derby, a route taken last year by Belmont winner Creator. Trainer Dale Romans is ready to get his hands on the trophy after finishing third four times.

“The mile and a half should help him and hopefully we’re going to see the best of him,” Romans said. “He’s got a good rhythm to the way he runs and I think that’s important going that far.”

Belmont Park’s deep, sandy track and sweeping turns can wipe out a tiring horse and benefit a closer able to negotiate the long stretch.

Senior Investment surged late to take third in the Preakness and his trainer, Ken McPeek, won the 2002 Belmont with 70-1 shot Sarava. In 2012, he trained 20-1 shot Atigun to a third-place finish.

“This thing is wide open, completely wide open,” McPeek said. “It will be interesting to see it unfold.”



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'THIS IS WAR' Fla. sheriff urges citizens to get armed in case of attack


A Florida sheriff’s office posted a controversial message on social media, urging citizens to arm themselves in self-defense.

Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey posted the video on Facebook Wednesday, two days after a deadly workplace shooting in nearby Orlando claimed the lives of five people.

FLORIDA SHERIFF DEFENDED AFTER ANTI-HEROIN MESSAGE COMPARED TO ISIS VIDEO

“Folks, now more than ever is the time for our citizens to be prepared to serve as the first line of defense, not only for them, but for their families,” Sheriff Ivey said.

As images of the Fort Lauderdale airport shooting and Pulse nightclub massacre flashed on-screen, Ivey warned residents that attacks have happened locally as well as abroad.

“What’s next is to fully understand that this is war, and you better be prepared to wage war to protect you, your family, and those around you if attacked,” he said.

Ivey stressed that attackers rely on people running, hiding, and waiting for help, rather than fighting back.

“What they don’t count on is being attacked themselves, having to become defensive to save their own lives,” Ivey argued.

The sheriff said that calling 911 means officers are on their way, but said, “Until they arrive, it’s up to you and those with you to neutralize or eliminate the threat.”

Ivey encouraged people to take self-defense classes, and urged those with concealed weapons permits to carry their guns with them at all times.

“No matter who you are or what your position is on guns, there’s no denying the fact that the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun or a knife is an armed and well-prepared citizen or law enforcement officer,” Ivey said.

The sheriff’s message received a mixed response. Some residents applauded his stance while others criticized it, calling it “fear-mongering” and encouraging vigilantes.

Read more at WSVN.



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AMSTERDAM CAR CRASH 8 injured when driver hits pedestrians by train depot


A motorist drove into pedestrians in Amsterdam Saturday and injured eight people, according to police who said there was “no indication whatsoever” the incident was a terrorist attack.

Amsterdam police reported the incident took place around 9 p.m. near the Central Train Station. Six of the victims were hospitalized, with two seriously injured.

“There is no indication whatsoever that this is a terrorist attack,” Amsterdam police spokesman Marjolein Koek said.

Police said that the driver was parked in a place where he wasn’t allowed to stop and drove off when approached by police and ran into a wall. 

“Motorist has been arrested and is being interrogated; Car is examined. Some people were injured,” police said on Twitter.

The incident received immediate widespread attention after several extremist attacks in Europe over the past year involving vehicles, including one in London last week.

The first images from the Amsterdam incident area showed a major police presence around the railway station with first aid responders treating one person. A black car was shown to be slightly damaged against a low retaining wall close to the station.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

 



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