Subpoenas mark first steps
WASHINGTON — House Democrats took their first concrete steps in the impeachment investigation of President Donald Trump on Friday, issuing subpoenas demanding documents from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and scheduling legal depositions for other State Department officials. At the end of a stormy week of revelation and recrimination, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi framed the impeachment inquiry as a somber moment for a divided nation. “This is no cause for any joy,” she said on MSNBC. At the White House, a senior administration official confirmed a key detail from the unidentified CIA whistleblower who has accused Trump of abusing the power of his office. Trump, for his part, insisted anew that his actions and words have been “perfect” and the whistleblower’s complaint might well be the work of “a partisan operative.” The White House acknowledged that a record of the Trump phone call that is now at the center of the impeachment inquiry had been sealed away in a highly classified system at the direction of Trump’s National Security Council lawyers.
Cause of boat fire not found
LOS ANGELES — U.S. investigators who examined the burned-out wreckage of a scuba diving boat have not been able to determine what ignited a fire that killed 34 people off the California coast, but two inquiries are still searching for answers. Teams from the FBI and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives have left after spending two weeks reviewing what remains of the Conception. Parts of the vessel have been sent to labs for additional testing, said the official. Investigators are still working to determine the blaze’s cause and origin, though they are done looking at the boat itself, said agent Carlos Canino. There is no indication anyone intentionally set the Sept. 2 fire.
Elk knocks woman down
ESTES PARK, Colo. — Wildlife officials in Colorado are warning people to keep their distance from elk during their mating season after a bull charged people, knocked a woman down and repeatedly butted her with its antlers. Video shows the elk running toward people Thursday near the visitor center in Estes Park near Rocky Mountain National Park. The woman escaped after public works employee Brian Berg drove a pickup on the sidewalk and got between her and the elk. The elk then rammed the front of the truck. Bull elk aggressively fight over their breeding rights. People need to give elk space even in developed areas and let them move away on their own.
Officer testifies in her trial
DALLAS — A Dallas police officer broke her silence Friday about the night she killed a young accountant who lived in the apartment right above hers, telling jurors that she has to live with the guilt every day and that she wished their roles were reversed. Amber Guyger tearfully told the packed courtroom at her murder trial that she was sorry for killing 26-year-old Botham Jean last September, explaining that she mistook his fourth-floor apartment for her own. But during cross-examination, prosecutors cast doubt on Guyger’s grief, wondered why she didn’t call for backup instead of confronting Jean and questioned her attempts to save his life. Guyger, 31, repeatedly apologized for killing Jean as she spoke publicly for the first time about the events of that night. “I hate that I have to live with this every single day of my life and I ask God for forgiveness, and I hate myself every single day,” she said as she looked across the courtroom at Jean’s family. Guyger testified that upon returning home in-uniform after a long shift that night, she put her key into what she thought was her door lock and the door opened because it hadn’t been fully closed. Fearing it was a break-in, she drew her service weapon and stepped inside to find a silhouetted figure standing in the dark. “Let me see your hands! Let me see your hands,” she said she told the man. But Guyger said she couldn’t see his hands and he began coming toward her at a “fast-paced” walk. She said he yelled, “Hey! Hey! Hey!” right before she opened fire. “I was scared he was going to kill me,” she said under questioning by her lawyers, who called her as their first witness on the trial’s fifth day. She said she intended to kill him when she pulled the trigger because that’s what she had been trained to do as a police officer.
First Sikh officer slain in Texas
JERSEY VILLAGE, Texas — A sheriff’s deputy described as “a trailblazer” because he was the first Sikh deputy of the Harris County Sheriff’s Office when he joined the force 10 years ago, was shot and killed while making a traffic stop Friday near Houston. Deputy Sandeep Dhaliwal, 42, was pronounced dead at Memorial Hermann Hospital after the 12:45 p.m. shooting in a residential cul-de-sac 18 miles northwest of Houston. Dhaliwal had stopped a vehicle with two people inside when one of the occupants was able to leave the vehicle, approach the deputy from behind and shoot him at least twice — “basically just shot him in a very ruthless, cold-blooded way,” said Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez. Dhaliwal’s dashboard camera captured video showing Dhaliwal speaking with the driver in what appeared to be a conversational tone with “no combat, no arguing,” Sheriff’s Maj. Mike Lee said. The driver’s door was opened at one point, and Dhaliwal shut it as the driver remained in the vehicle. When Dhaliwal turned to walk back to his patrol car, the driver steps from the car “almost immediately running with a gun already out,” Lee said. The driver shot the deputy from behind, hitting him in the back of the head. The driver got back in his car and drove away. A deputy a short time later found a nervous man matching the description of the driver in a business at a nearby strip shopping center, Lee said. A woman believed to have been a passenger in the car also was taken into custody.
Air gondolas join Disney’s world
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Walt Disney World on Friday introduced its newest way to get around the Florida resort: an aerial cable car system that whisks visitors from hotels to theme parks three stories above the ground while going 11 mph. The Disney Skyliner cable cars opening to visitors on Sunday are the latest addition to one of the largest private transportation systems in the U.S. The almost 300 enclosed cable cars join 423 buses, 61 mini-vans (appropriately named Minnie Vans), 30 parking lot trams, 29 watercraft and 12 monorail trains. In any given 24 hours, 350,000 people — the population of a medium-size city — can be on Disney World property, which is the physical size of San Francisco. Disney transportation workers need to move them efficiently from parks to hotels to Disney World’s shopping and restaurant districts with as little friction as possible. “There are a lot of benefits to being in the air,” said Alison Armor, vice president of transportation at Disney World. “People are off the roadways. They’re moving very smoothly and very seamlessly.” In a given year, Disney World visitors take 100 million rides on its entire transit system, said Thomas Mazloum, a Disney senior vice president. With the Skyliner air gondolas, visitors get neon-colored cars painted with the images of almost two dozen Disney characters taking them on the three lines to five stations where they can access nine resorts and two parks. Disney World has four theme parks and more than two dozen resorts. No more than 10 people are allowed in each cable car. A car will arrive every 10 seconds, allowing the cabins to handle about 3,000 people an hour.
European trees face extinction
GENEVA — An international conservation group is warning that more than half of the European tree species that exist nowhere else in the world are threatened with extinction. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature said in a new report Friday that 58% of Europe’s 265 endemic trees face an elevated risk of disappearing from the continent. More than 150 experts contributed to the report, which the conservancy called the first comprehensive assessment of the extinction threat for all types of trees native to Europe. IUCN, a 71-year-old organization known for its “Red List” classification of threatened species, said that “invasive and problematic” species are the top threat to European trees, with urban development and “unsustainable logging” as other factors. of important tree species. Among the recommendations , the report’s authors called for the creation of protected areas, improved monitoring and increased research on the impacts of climate change on forests and individual tree species. The conservancy highlighted Aesculus hippocastanum, or the horse chestnut tree, native to southeastern Europe. The polished brown conker inside its spiked fruit “is perhaps more famous than the tree itself” because of its use in children’s playground games, the report said.
He’s not a killer, just lonely
SALT LAKE CITY — A man serving prison time after posting a Facebook message threatening to kill “as many girls as I see” says he was extremely lonely. Arecording of a parole hearing Tuesday reveals Christopher W. Cleary said he made the post on a train ride after going to a Utah Jazz basketball game and feeling sad seeing so many people on dates and with their families. It was Cleary’s first parole hearing since he was sentenced in May to up to five years in prison after pleading guilty to attempted threat of terrorism. His post stoked fears because it came hours before women marched through many U.S. cities in January. Cleary, of Denver, explained his previous stalking and harassment convictions in Colorado were related to his struggles to form relationships.
$4K of ornamental fish swiped
SANTA FE, N.M. — It’s a fishy mystery caught on camera. Fish worth thousands of dollars recently were stolen from a business and the alleged theft was captured on video. Owner Melissa D’Angelico says the thief hit the pond in front of Santa Fe Landscapes and Water Gardens and took 10 of her koi. A video shows a man using a net to remove fish. Koi fish are colorful, ornamental versions of the common carp and can grow up to three feet. D’Angelico says a thief stole fish at different times over the past few months. She says the fish were worth more than $4,000.
Woman denies OD death charge
NEW YORK — A woman pleaded not guilty Friday to charges she supplied the fentanyl-laced drug that caused the fatal overdose of a man whose body was found in a New York City motel — one of three deaths linked to her, including that of an Italian chef at an upscale restaurant. Angelina Barini entered the plea in federal court in Brooklyn after prosecutors unsealed an indictment charging her in the death of a man it didn’t name. News reports have identified him as Jean-Alessander Silvero. Authorities say the victim was found July 11 in a motel room in Queens where security video from earlier that day captured a woman who appeared to be Barini, 41, and the man entering the location together. A criminal complaint that brought initial drug charges against Barini last month links her to two other overdose deaths. One of those victims was Andrea Zamperoni, an Italian chef for a restaurant in Grand Central Terminal that’s part of the renowned Cipriani chain. The complaint alleges Barini told investigators that she was a prostitute and that she had given Zamperoni liquid ecstasy after they went to another Queens motel together in August. It says she described not being able to wake the victim after finding him bleeding from the nose and mouth. Barini told investigators that her pimp, labeled a co-conspirator in the complaint, wouldn’t let her call the police and talked about trying to dispose of the body, the court papers say. She said a second co-conspirator had supplied the drugs. The medical examiner announced Friday that Zamperoni died from a combination of alcohol, cocaine and GHB, a sedative used to treat narcolepsy but also often used as a recreational drug.
Coach gets 24 years for abuse
MINNEAPOLIS — A Minnesota figure skating coach was sentenced Friday to 24 years in prison for sexually abusing one of his skaters. Thomas Incantalupo, 48, of St. Louis Park, was arrested last year when he worked with the Eden Prairie Figure Skating Club. He pleaded guilty in June, admitting to sexually abusing the girl for over two years, taking her to hotels for sex beginning in 2015 when she was just 14 years old. Incantalupo made a teary apology in court to his wife and the skating community. But the judge scoffed at a reference in a court document in which Incantalupo allegedly characterized the abuse as an “affair.” “This is not cheating on your wife,” Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cahill said. “This is a crime against a child.” The survivor delivered a victim impact statement to the court, saying her coach’s abuse turned her dreams into a nightmare. “He robbed years of my childhood and I’ll never get those years back,” she said.
Protecting boys, dog killed
SUMTER COUNTY, Fla. — A family’s 8-month-old pit bull Zeus died of snake bites as it was trying to protect his sons. Gary Richardsonsaid the boys were outside the family’s home here Monday, cleaning Zeus’ water dish when the venomous coral snake slithered toward them. Richardson says the children didn’t see the snake but the dog did and attacked it. Richardson says the snake bit Zeus four times. The dog was rushed to a veterinarian but he died a day after the attack.
Ex-athlete found guilty of rape
GEORGETOWN, Del. — An ex-University of Delaware baseball player accused of a string of sexual assaults was convicted Friday in the first case brought to jurors, who found that he raped a woman he met online but declined to apply the harshest charge. After a 10-day trial, the jury deliberated for about three hours before finding 23-year-old Clay Conaway of Georgetown guilty of fourth-degree rape. Conaway, who faced a possible life sentence if convicted of first-degree rape, was taken away in handcuffs as friends and relatives wept. Fourth-degree rape carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison, but no mandatory prison time. The charge is defined as intentional penetration with any object or body part without consent. Sentences for this type of offense typically carry imprisonment of between zero and 30 months. Sentencing will take place at a later date. The 21-year-old woman, who cried after the verdict was read, declined to comment as she and her family left the courthouse. She is among six women whom Conaway, 23, is charged with sexually assaulting between 2013 and 2018. A judge ordered separate trials
Woman found bullet in her skull
ATLANTA — Jerrontae Cain, 39, has been sentenced to 25 years in prison for shooting his girlfriend, who didn’t realize she survived a bullet to the brain until she went to the hospital for treatment of headaches and memory loss.
Nicole Gordon, 42, didn’t remember being shot, but did remember an argument with Cain during which her car window shattered and she passed out. She thought she was hurt by broken glass, and she was patched up at the home of Cain’s mother.
Escaped yak killed by vehicle
LOVINGSTON, Va. — A vehicle has hit and killed a yak who rose to internet fame by making his great escape in Virginia while on the way to a butcher shop. The owner of the yak, Robert Cissell, said on social media that the animal named Meteor died Friday morning on U.S. 29 in Nelson County. Meteor had been on the loose since Sept. 10 when he kicked off the back door of a livestock trailer and ran into the mountains. Nelson County Animal Control officer Kevin Wright says there were no witnesses to Friday’s collision. He says a commercial vehicle may have hit the yak and kept going. The Nelson County Farm Bureau wrote a tribute to Meteor on social media that ended with, “Roam free, Meteor!”
Michigan to spray for mosquitos
LANSING, Mich. — Michigan will conduct aerial spraying for the first time since 1980 to combat a rare mosquito-borne virus that has killed three people and been recorded across the southern half of the state. The spraying is set to begin Sunday night and will include portions of 14 counties, including 13 where eastern equine encephalitis has been confirmed in humans or animals. Planes flying at 300 feet will spray an organic pesticide over 720,000 acres at an estimated cost of about $1.5 million.
Gas leak, evacuations in Mass.
BOSTON — A gas leak forced the temporary evacuation Friday of hundreds of residents from a Massachusetts city still reeling from a destructive series of gas explosions and fires a year ago. Residents in about 150 homes in Lawrence evacuated in the early morning hours after a police officer smelled gas around 3:15 a.m. and alerted authorities. The leak was located and sealed off by 5 a.m. There were no reported injuries, explosions or fires.
Pakistan PM warns of bloodbath
UNITED NATIONS — Insisting he wasn’t making a threat, Pakistan’s leader denounced his Indian counterpart on Friday and warned that any war between the nuclear rivals could “have consequences for the world.” India’s prime minister took the opposite approach, skipping any mention at the United Nations of his government’s crackdown in the disputed region of Kashmir. “When a nuclear-armed country fights to the end, it will have consequences far beyond the borders. It will have consequences for the world,” Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan said in a wide-ranging, at times apparently extemporaneous U.N. General Assembly speech in which he called Modi’s actions in Kashmir “stupid” and “cruel.” “That’s not a threat,” he said of his war comments. “It’s a fair worry. Where are we headed?” An hour earlier, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the U.N. meeting with a speech that focused primarily on his country’s development, though he warned of the spreading specter of terrorism. He never mentioned Kashmir directly. India and Pakistan have fought two of their three wars over the Himalayan region. They’ve been locked in a worsening standoff since Aug. 5, when Modi stripped limited autonomy from the portion of Kashmir that India controls.
Former ambassador Wilson dies
SANTA FE, N.M. — Joseph Wilson, the former ambassador who set off a political firestorm by disputing U.S. intelligence used to justify the 2003 Iraq invasion, died Friday, according to his ex-wife. He was 69. Wilson’s died of organ failure in Santa Fe, said his former wife, Valerie Plame, whose identity as a CIA operative was exposed days after Wilson’s criticism of U.S. intelligence that Saddam Hussein was attempting to purchase uranium. The leak of Plame’s covert identity was a scandal for the administration of President George W. Bush that led to the conviction of vice presidential aide Scooter B. Libby for lying to investigators and justice obstruction. President Donald Trump pardoned Libby in 2018. Plame, who is running as a Democrat for Congress — in part as a Trump adversary — called Wilson “a true American hero, a patriot, and had the heart of a lion.” Plame and Wilson moved to Santa Fe in 2007 to raise twin children and divorced in 2017.
Judge blocks rules for migrants
LOS ANGELES — A U.S. judge on Friday blocked new Trump administration rules that would enable the government to keep immigrant children in detention facilities with their parents indefinitely. U.S. District Court Judge Dolly Gee in Los Angeles said the rules conflict with a 1997 settlement agreement that requires the government to release immigrant children caught on the border as quickly as possible to relatives in the U.S. and says they can only be held in facilities licensed by a state. Gee said the Flores agreement — named for a teenage plaintiff — will remain in place and govern the conditions for all immigrant children in U.S. custody, including those with their parents. “The agreement has been necessary, relevant, and critical to the public interest in maintaining standards for the detention and release of minors arriving at the United States’ borders,” the judge wrote in her decision. “Defendants willingly negotiated and bound themselves to these standards for all minors in its custody, and no final regulations or changed circumstances yet merit termination of the Flores agreement.”