Dismissed employee kills five co-workers in Illinois factory shooting

Dismissed employee kills five co-workers in Illinois factory shootingA gunman opened fire at an Illinois factory just after receiving notice of termination from his job there on Friday, killing five fellow workers and wounding five policemen before he was slain by police, authorities said. The assailant, identified as Gary Martin, 45, had worked at the Henry Pratt Company for 15 years before Friday's violence unfolded at the firm's sprawling facility in Aurora, 40 miles (65 km) west of Chicago, Aurora Police Chief Kristen Ziman said. At a late-night news conference, Ziman said it was not yet clear whether the suspect, armed with a Smith & Wesson handgun, was carrying the weapon at the time of his dismissal or whether he "went to retrieve it" before opening fire.



Suspects in alleged attack on 'Empire' actor released

Suspects in alleged attack on 'Empire' actor released"Due to new evidence as a result of today's interrogations, the individuals questioned by police in the Empire case have now been released without charging and detectives have additional investigative work to complete," the Chicago Police Department said in a email to Reuters. A spokesman for the department on Friday night declined to confirm to Reuters whether the individuals released were the two Nigerian brothers police said they arrested on Wednesday at Chicago O'Hare Airport in connection to the attack. Authorities had previously said only that the pair, whose names have not been released, were persons of interest after they were recognized from surveillance camera footage taken in the area where Smollett said two men shouted slurs at him and put a rope around his neck on Jan. 29.



U.S. court faults Puerto Rico board appointments, keeps bankruptcy alive

U.S. court faults Puerto Rico board appointments, keeps bankruptcy aliveA U.S. Appeals Court ruled on Friday that members of Puerto Rico's federally created oversight board were unconstitutionally appointed but declined to dismiss the bankruptcy cases the board filed for the U.S. commonwealth. The ruling allows the island's 2017 federal court cases seeking to restructure about $120 billion of debt and pension obligations to continue and leaves court-approved restructuring deals in place. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit set a 90-day period to allow President Donald Trump and the U.S. Senate to constitutionally validate the appointments or reconstitute the board.



U.S. to slash payouts from 9/11 victims fund

U.S. to slash payouts from 9/11 victims fundRupa Bhattacharyya, the special master, said the reduction in payouts from the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund is necessary because the $2.375 billion remaining in the $7.375 billion fund is not enough to compensate the thousands of additional eligible victims and family members. "I am painfully aware of the unfairness of this plan," Bhattacharyya said on a conference call with reporters. Bhattacharyya said the fund would have needed to be $12 billion, instead of $7.375 billion, to compensate everyone fully.



Trump declares emergency for border wall, House panel launches probe

Trump declares emergency for border wall, House panel launches probeThe Republican president's move, circumventing Congress, seeks to make good on a 2016 presidential campaign pledge to build a border wall that Trump insists is necessary to curtail illegal immigration he blames for bringing crime and drugs into the United States. Within hours, the action was challenged in a lawsuit filed on behalf of three Texas landowners, saying that Trump's declaration violates the U.S. Constitution and that the planned wall would infringe on their property rights. Hours after Trump's announcement, the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives' Judiciary Committee said it had launched an investigation into the emergency declaration.



Trump to nominate Jeffrey Byard as U.S. emergency management chief

Trump to nominate Jeffrey Byard as U.S. emergency management chiefPresident Donald Trump intends to nominate Jeffrey Byard, a senior official at the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency, to be its administrator, replacing Brock Long who said this week he was resigning, the White House said on Friday.



U.S. Supreme Court to decide legality of census citizenship query

U.S. Supreme Court to decide legality of census citizenship queryThe justices, in a brief order, granted the administration's request to hear its appeal of Manhattan-based U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman's Jan. 15 ruling even before a lower appeals court has considered the matter. Furman's ruling came in lawsuits brought by 18 U.S. states, 15 cities and various civil rights groups challenging the Republican administration's decision to include the question. Furman ruled that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross had concealed the true motives for his "arbitrary and capricious" decision to add the citizenship question in violation of federal law.



Five killed as gunman opens fire at Illinois warehouse

Five killed as gunman opens fire at Illinois warehouseA gunman opened fire in an industrial warehouse in Aurora, Illinois, on Friday, killing five people and wounding five police officers before he was slain, law enforcement officials said. Aurora Police Chief Kristen Ziman said the gunman, identified as Gary Martin, 45, was an employee at the industrial complex. Please avoid the area," the Aurora Police Department said in a tweet shortly after 2 p.m. CST, adding that additional details would be forthcoming.



Amazon invites Ocasio-Cortez for tour, calls worker claims untrue

Amazon invites Ocasio-Cortez for tour, calls worker claims untrueOcasio-Cortez, a newly elected progressive Democrat who was an outspoken critic of the plans to locate Amazon's second headquarters in a New York City neighborhood near her congressional district, asked on Twitter if Amazon's culture of "strict performance" is "why Amazon workers have to urinate in bottles & work while on food stamps to meet 'targets?' Performance shouldn’t come at the cost of dehumanizing conditions." She cited a September Newsweek story that raised those claims. A spokesman for Ocasio-Cortez did not respond to a request for comment. Ocasio-Cortez was among progressive New York Democrats who had objected to the $2.8 billion in incentives from the city and New York state to woo Amazon to build a new headquarters in the city's borough of Queens.



U.S. court faults Puerto Rico board appointments, keeps bankruptcy alive

U.S. court faults Puerto Rico board appointments, keeps bankruptcy aliveA U.S. Appeals Court ruled on Friday that members of Puerto Rico's federally created oversight board were unconstitutionally appointed but declined to dismiss the bankruptcy cases the board filed for the U.S. commonwealth. The ruling allows the island's 2017 federal court cases seeking to restructure about $120 billion of debt and pension obligations to continue and leaves court-approved restructuring deals in place. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit set a 90-day period to allow President Donald Trump and the U.S. Senate to constitutionally validate the appointments or reconstitute the board.



Trump declares emergency for border wall, House panel launches probe

Trump declares emergency for border wall, House panel launches probeThe Republican president's move to circumvent Congress represented an escalation in his efforts to make good on a 2016 presidential campaign pledge to build a wall to halt the flow into the country of illegal immigrants, who Trump says bring crime and drugs. Hours after Trump's announcement, the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives' Judiciary Committee said it had launched an investigation into the emergency declaration. In a letter to Trump, committee Democrats asked him to make available for a hearing White House and Justice Department officials involved in the action.



House panel announces emergency declaration probe in letter to Trump

House panel announces emergency declaration probe in letter to TrumpA key committee in the U.S. House of Representatives announced on Friday it was launching an immediate investigation into President Donald Trump's national emergency declaration, saying his move to fund his promised wall at the U.S.-Mexico border raised constitutional and statutory issues. In a letter to Trump, Democrats who control the House Judiciary Committee asked the Republican president to make available for a hearing White House and Justice Department officials involved in the action. "We believe your declaration of an emergency shows a reckless disregard for the separation of powers and your own responsibilities under our constitutional system," said the letter signed by committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler and other top Democrats on the panel.



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